Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Age of Conan - Is she dying??

As we roll into Fall and see the release of several more MMO's on the horizon, I want to discuss how things look for Age of Conan.

First off, as we have all done in the past, we look over various sources of info which may reflect how the game is doing on the markets.

  • Sales of boxes and subs.

Box sales we cannot know for sure. But, we DO know the game has been available VERY cheaply from differing sources. I have seen multiple places with the game for 5 bucks.
I even took the plunge and found a Collectors Edition for only 7.99 (awesome soundtrack, art book, in game items...way cool).

But, the game IS available still for purchase. So, that is a plus.

Subscriber wise we have nothing. Funcom does not share this data, and we cannot tell by server listings (they have all been "Medium" since launch on the servers list...).
We can look at Xfire and see that it is back down into the 50's...but it has been holding steady there. Of note, in comparison, Warhammer Online has been at times in the 10's then the 20's, then the 30's. Now that Aion has launched...Warhammer is in the 50's. So, how is THAT for a comparison.

  • The naked eye.

As a player, I am on two servers now. The wife and myself will be starting on Wiccana, and we already have higher levels on SET.
For this conclusion of populace I use several features.
Sales of items on the trader, Raids being formed, Groups being formed, and visual.

Sales of items
Through various times of the day, the wife has a market on the trader. She continues a buy/sell system of various product that people want. We constantly see how these items are doing; Gems, Certain Resources, Rares (usually resources), and Blue BoE items.
We then compare this to how many are selling, prices and also variation in names.
The only difficulty here is we do not know how many of these are alts selling the same product. But, we CAN tell when someone is new (for example: Items sells for 5-7 silver and someone comes in and sells it for 2-3 coppers...NEWB!!).

So far, the market is STILL thriving, with the wife averaging 2-4 gold IN A DAY! Now, this is just SET. When we start on Wiccana, we will be able to see how their market is.

Next, we test the waters and see how many "crafted" pieces are for sale. We have several level of characters, and we can see if the items we "need" are for sale, and for how much. As we level, we also search each of the earmark levels (40, 50, 60, 70 and 80) and see just how many pieces exists.
SET has been slightly flat. Especially with the "high end" culture pieces.
These are special recipes for gear for specific classes (even though this has changed...but, we can tell what is for who...like if it has more INT., STR. etc...)
But, on Wiccana, there is a LOT more of the crafted pieces for sale based on a cursory view from a character I quick leveled there.
This leads me to believe there are MORE players on Wiccana than SET...but, for what level ranges?

For level ranges we can look at...

LFG and RAIDS
Through this method, we can view how many players at various level ranges are needing assistance.
First I will touch on Wiccana, since I have not had too much time there yet to look over the population. But, from the time I did log in, one thing was abundantly clear.
Lots of mid level stuff. Lots of Guild Recruiting, and lots of RP guilds (good deal). Several raids were going, and this was not prime time either. Also discussions were plenty (and not hateful...just chatting about game stuff).

SET on the other hand has a majority of Raids and most raids seem to need at least 6-8 people on average. This tells me (1) Guilds doing raids are not quite "full" (2) There are more higher levels than lower levels running on SET.
Also of note. Only large and notable guilds were recruiting on SET. Never saw any "new" names (Bloodline, Prophets, etc..all old standbys).

Something of interest on SET is a TON of PvP minis. Especially a new format.

12 man raid PvP, higher level...

Basically a group of 12 in a raid formation is set up. Then they all enter PvP at once. The system then splits this group up into the best team formats of 6vs6. So, there is not any "majority rules" class taking over the PvP.

This seems like a really cool idea and I hope it takes off.

Visual
How does she look Captain....?
We all know this is very subjective. I can only state what I see. Others may have varying viewpoints.
We all know we will never see launch day / Aion like numbers of people running around. But, what I want to know is DO I see anyone, and can I get groupings.
This weekend the wife and I headed out into a level 60+ zone and had several group based quests. We could not get anyone using the LFG method, so switched to using the built in tools and sending tells. We gained two people in our group this way. We also saw maybe 10 players in our particular zone using this tool. So, this is not good.
But, upon arrival back to the trader, we saw all of the traders full of players probably checking items, and what not.
As to Wiccana, since I was new, I could only see what was going on in Tortage...and it was bustling...whether from old players or new...who knows.

But, it was busy.

So for now, even though we have the launch of Aion, and even had Champions and Fallen Earth...it seems the population is not falling too much.

So, will it die? Hard to say.

Certainly not by year end. Discussion of new content and veteran rewards is coming down the pike (Craig has even said some stuff will be on Testlive this week).
My sub dies this coming Sunday. It looks like the wife and I are not done yet with the game, and I plan to reup again for another two months.

Maybe I am a glutton for punishment?

Naw, just the most fun I have had in an MMO in a LONGGGGG time.

Now...as a side note. I am still up in the air how much I will blog. But, I have had some questions about Dungeons (yes...for you Longasc)..so, I plan to tour some of these and discuss how they are working, etc.
Hopefully more on that as time permits.

Cheers all

7 comments:

Lars said...

I think Warhammer Online would die before AoC. AoC I think has found its niche. It will probably never grow significantly, but it won't lose a whole lot of people. Warhammer Online on the other hand still has huge problems with its game design that people will bail en masse as soon as they find another PVP game. Aion might be that for many of them.

Tempest of News said...

I think it helps with the new direction Funcom has went, including looking more to the PvE end of things in the expansion, and adding PvP as a side project in patches and what not.

Thanks for the comment (and from me...a big agree)

adingworld said...

While there are not direct subscription numbers for Age of Conan the revenue is public information, since Funcom is a public company.

In Q2 2009 revenue were 6145K USD. The majority would be AoC, a little bit AO. A rough estimate from the revenue would probably be 125K-130K subscribers.

jeff said...

Are these Xfire stats available to everyone that downloads Xfire?

Jayedub said...

I bought the CE of AoC too, love the soundtrack.

I think all MMO's take a small hit when new ones are releases, specially one as big as Aion. I do like the direction that Funcom has taken with AoC as well, and I'm sure that the expansion will bring new and old players back when that comes out.

Tempest of News said...

@jeff

Yes...so everyone that uses Xfire also has it calculate the time for the gaming..
As well, you can go to Xfire.com and look at all the games.

Cheers

Ardwulf said...

I strongly suspect that AoC is much more Aion-proof than WAR is. Further, aside from occasional spikes, AoC has been floating around in the same neighborhood in the Xfire numbers since a few months after launch, while WAR has shown a tendency to decline steadily.

Furthermore, an Xfire ranking in the 50's really is fairly good. There are plenty of games that eke by uner 200, and many nominally helthy games (EQ2, etc.) seem to do just fine around 100.

Whenever a big new game comes out, I suspect that every other game in the MMO space takes a hit to some degree. Rigt now, you have Aion, FalennEarth and the DDO relaunch. AoC is in a lull patch right now, but with Godslayer (gawds, I hate that title...) on the horizon I think it's in a pretty healthy place for the long haul.

The difference between WAR and AoC, the way I see it, is that WAR's fundamental gameplay is broken. AoC's isn't, and it's also a much more well-rounded game than WAR.

In other words, I wouldn't worry too much. Will AoC contract again? Maybe. But I don't think it's in any danger of disappearing.