Monday, May 10, 2010

Gaming the Xfire - Latest Update

Wow. What a weekend. Major disturbances in the force of the charts really made me feel that we needed a post to discuss the latest movers and shakers on the Xfire charts.

I will be referencing an article I did at the end of March, thanks to a press release from Cryptic and their newest MMO, Star Trek Online - STO (SOURCE). The data was sound, and we had something to base some numbers off of. The Xfire charts hit a home run, and calculated almost precisely the number of subs STO had, compared to the statement by Cryptic.
As I make notes and do the calcs, just refer to the previous article if you have any questions in how it relates.

The reason I wanted to do the new numbers is that starting this week is, of course, the Age of Conan expansion launch; Rise of the Godslayer. I think this will have a major impact on a lot of MMO's. And as you will see, it really made some adjustments. This will also allow us to see how people are feeling about the new expansion, and how subs "could" be affected.
As well, several other news tidbits made some changes to sub counts. For example, STO had a free return for old subs and introduced a new free trial.
Warhammer Online had another blow struck against it as well, thanks to a set of court papers being filed by Games Workshop against the fan site Warhammer Alliance.GW really has nothing to do with Mythic and WAR, but it is the same IP. The issue is that so many think it DOES relate to WAR and EA/Mythic...and thus, we see what the outcome is of this latest wound. Watch them bleed...

Lets start with some OTHER surprises first.

Lord of the Rings Online
This was really interesting. Especially seeing that Codemasters was offering a "Free Return Weekend". But, it looks like other games are in the spotlight and took the stage away from this critical darling and fan favorite.

Calcs show that subs dropped a bit.  1518 x 120.05 = 182,235 subs. Previously LOTRO had 213,689. This is a considerable drop. I will keep track of this, and see if it is ongoing or just a fluke. For now, looks like age is catching up to LOTRO.

Another interesting change here. Now, mind you, Aion is STILL a top 10 game, so it does not affect it too much. But, it is also a bit of a drop.

If we do the Calcs, we get - 3662 x 120.05 = 439,623 subs. Last check we had 463,873.
Again, a sizable change. But, I also know that some numbers will be down. Why? HELLO, summer on the way, warm weather. We are bound to see these types of lower numbers. But, it is still interesting.

Age of Conan
Not so surprising. But, I am assured that Funcom has to be one happy camper right now. The numbers continue to rise. Lets take a look.

Very nice. 994 x120.05 = 119, 329 subs. This not only is above the previous articles numbers (81,274), but as well, I did a post discussing the rise May 3rd, and they had roughly 110k players (War of the Failures).
If Funcom can launch Rise of the Godslayer tomorrow, and not have any MAJOR concerns, they could be the comeback kid of 2010.

Warhammer Online
While Funcom may be the "Comeback Kid", WAR and Mythic are the kid being bullied on every corner. Talk about several weeks of pain for these guys. And this past week culminating in another hit with the Games Workshop court order against WHA (Warhammer Alliance), it looks like things are growing worse. Talk about being put on "life support".

These are actually some of the worse numbers for WAR since I started watching Xfire several years ago with Age of Conan's launch. 535 x 120.05 = 64,226. That is a drop from the previous article (74,551) and as well from last weeks post (War of the Failures, calc'd at 70k).
All I can say is if the new patch does not hit by at least next week, servers will be critically empty. Since I am still playing, I saw a weekend of a low number of scenario's being done and as well, we started some alts in the Elf region, and was able to flip the whole zone in Tier 1 to Order with just the 3 of us. Yes, 3 people took a whole zone....
Here is a prayer for ya WAR...I hardly knew ye'

Dungeons & Dragons Online
Well, this could only last so long. We see a minor drop in numbers here.

The calcs say 766 x 120.05 = 91,958. Not too bad. But, last post had DDO at 111,647. So it looks like interest is waning a bit. But, there is no doubt that Turbine still has to be enjoying some great cash flow off this title. Those kinda stats are not anything to laugh about. And having two games doing decent numbers probably doesn't hurt either.

Star Trek Online
Give something away and they will come. Free time for old subs, new free trial...all adding up to a small rise in numbers.

Mind you, this is NOT a rise from my last post, but a rise from what happened after the first 30 days. STO had fallen to close to 200 to 300 players and was in the low #100's and had even fallen at one point into the low #200's on the charts.
Todays calcs put them at 527 x 120.05 = 63,266. And as we can even see on the charting, it was at #92 previously, but shot up to #88. I expect this to rise a little bit more. But, overall, STO did not do well, and that is too bad. It looks gorgeous thanks to screenshots from @Longasc (on Twitter), but must be missing some appeal to a majority of MMO players.

Like I said, this was quite a bit of a change for a lot of titles. Not sure what is up yet, and as the summer progresses, I expect more drops. But, some titles I think are hurting (WAR, STO), but we may see a return on Age of Conan. I wish them luck tomorrow.

Ok, thats it for this week. Watch my Twitter account if you want more info.



br3ntbr0 said...

It would be really great to have a single, accurate usage database for this type of analysis. However, Xfire is probably the next best thing for this type of game usage analysis. Thanks for your work on this, I enjoy seeing the comparisons when you do them.

Yasmina said...

Psst, Godslayer is fun so far.

Cyberwiz said...

Using xfire to calculate mmo subs is doable, but the problem is that you need a starting point for each game.

You can't use a multiplier ( like 120,5 ) and apply it to all mmo's.

That is why your multiplier was not correct for EVE in your first post in december 2008 ( later on there was a deal between EVE and xfire, which influenced and this changed the multiplier ).

And that is also why your multiplier fails for EQII, based on historical data, servers and server load, I come up with a multiplier of 230 for EQII.

You are correct that using xfire daily users is a better method than using xfire hours played.

Still you need some historical datapoints to derrive a multiplier for each game in itself.

The 120,5 multiplier does work for LOTRO.

Anyway, if anyone wants to check out mmorpg sub numbers, check out my site, I use a combination of sources ( including xfire for estimates, but no estimate is ever based soly on xfire ).