Monday, February 21, 2011

X-Fire Game: Rifted

So ends the Open Beta weekend for Rift. And with that note, we should be able to see a very unique list here for our X-Fire game.

What effect did the "Rift OB" effect cause? Lets find out. 

  1. Rift (OB 3962)
  2. Lord of the Rings Online - 24932597 ↓ )
  3. Aion - 2339 ( 2458 ↓  )
  4. EvE Online - 2263  ( 2263 - )
  5. Champions Online - 722 ( 766 ↓ )
  6. Star Trek Online -  450 ( 471 ↓ )
  7. Dungeons & Dragons Online - 443 ( 478 ↓ )
  8. Age of Conan - 292 ( 281 ↑ )
  9. DC Universe - 265 ( 370 ↓ )
  10. Warhammer Online - 168 ( 220 ↓ )
  11. Final Fantasy XIV - 139 ( 129  )
Some interesting and shocking results here. Lets start from the top.

Rift steadied out since launch of open beta, but still took in enough players to top the list. The first day results here showed Rift hitting 4623 players. Tourists abound and as a result, we would see such a drop. What will prove interesting is how next weeks launch holds up. Watch for it, Retentionista's

Most other MMO's were down, but a few EvE holding steady to last week, was fascinating.  But, look at our two risers here. Age of Conan and Final Fantasy XIV. Could it be they were different enough from the familiar Rift, that players who were done with a theme park MMO style headed there?

Lets focus on our continued loser, who lost big here. Earlier last week I had noted on Twitter an unusual drop for Warhammer Online through XFire. It was sizeable. Around Wednesday, a big chunk of players had showed up missing from Xfire for WAR. It looks like it was not an anomaly due to an outage, or what not. The drop has continued through the weekend. This does not spell good news for this fledgling MMO. Unless Bioware/Mythic does something quick, this game will be on it's last legs.

We will continue that Deathwatch through the month of March and see if any new updates happens ...either from Mythic or the playerbase.

  1. EvE Online - 1219 ( 1108 ↑ ) players
  2. Lord of the Rings Online - 995 ( 1064 ↓ )
  3. DC Universe - 630 ( 750 ↓ )
  4. Aion - 606 ( 659 ↓ )
  5. Champions Online - 539 ( 637 ↓ )
  6. Rift (OB 365)
  7. Dungeons & Dragons Online -  337 ( 318  )
  8. Final Fantasy XIV - 160 ( 180 ↓ )
  9. Star Trek Online - 157 ( 202  ↓  )
  10. Age of Conan -  140 ( 122   )
  11. Warhammer Online -  95 ( 101 ↓ )
I have tried to figure out the rhyme and reason of how Raptr works compared to X-Fire when rankings take place...but, I just can't. The only logical explanation may be that Raptr is not available in all languages? XFire does have great language support...but, I cannot find much in Raptrs documentation on their accessibility.

Anyways, lets check this out.

EvE continues to hold it's top spot here, with LOTRO holding a close second. DC Universe also in the top 3.

For some reason Raptr does not feel the Rift effect. Will this change come launch? Some switches took place with FFXIV moving ahead of Star Trek Online. Weird.

Age of Conan was up here as well as on XFire. Was there a promotion I am not aware of? And holding the bottom and with some losses is of course, Warhammer Online.

Now, for this weeks game, I felt we should hold up another game that had it's own type of event this past week...

Launching the new "progression server" which offers an old school style of play for players to reminisce and then realize that sometimes you "can't go back"...offered us a view of how many remember their First Time.

XFire  = 80 players
Raptr = 86 players

So, really...this may not look like much. But, what you really need to see is this.

Note the upward swing there? That would be "Progression Server". 

Congrats to SOE.

Thats it for this week. Stay tuned, as next week the XFire game should EXPLODE with the launch of a new MMO.

Can Rift become our new #1?


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rift: Interim Game for Clarity

Just a quick post to share some data before this next X-Fire game.

I decided to see how the launch of Rift's open beta was doing on our services. This way, come next week, we can compare notes to see how retention is going.

The numbers were quite big for X-Fire with 4,623 players. Compared to last beta, which had 2,755 players..we see almost 2000 more players join the ranks. This is on a weekday as well. These numbers clearly put Rift in the #1 position for our charts. This coming "game" report should give some clarity on how Rift is holding up to scrutiny of new and prospective players.

Raptr had Rift at 507 players. This is compared to last round with 243 players. Rift more than doubled their player counts on Raptr.

Quite an anomaly on the numbers between X-Fire and Raptr. But, it still allows us a clear view of how Rift is doing.

Also, as a side note, I will be doing Everquest as my game of the week for the next report. Seeing the new progression server launched the same day as Rift open beta...would be cool to see how it is doing. Raptr had EQ going from 26 to 80 players for a Tuesday and X-Fire was ranked, so numbers are not clear yet. It had 71 players though and jumped quite a few spots in the rankings (from #213 to #180).

Cheers for now, and see you next week for more on the game.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The X-Fire Game: Back to Normal

Another week, and this time no Super Bowl or Rift beta to cause concerns.

What will be nice this go-round is that next weekend will be the return of another Rift beta...and this one being an open beta to boot. I expect some pretty big numbers out of Rift. so, this time out, we will have a good read on how the current games are doing and if Rift will affect any numbers next week.

For now, lets see how our games are doing. Since last week was all over the map thanks to the Bowl, I plan to do a two week review...including the previous two weeks of data for comparison. Pre-Bowl numbers will be what I compare this weeks ratings to.

  1. Lord of the Rings Online -  2597 (Pre-Bowl 2524  Super Bowl 1813)
  2. Aion -  2458 (Pre-Bowl 2131   Super Bowl 1874 )
  3. EvE Online -  2263 (Pre-Bowl 2415 ↓ Super Bowl 1776)
  4. Champions Online -  766 (Pre-Bowl 1458 ↓ Super Bowl 724)
  5. Dungeons & Dragons Online -  478 (Pre-Bowl 421  Super Bowl 338)
  6. Star Trek Online -  471 (Pre-Bowl 385  Super Bowl 371)
  7. DC Universe -  370 (INTRO 316)
  8. Age of Conan -  281 (Pre-Bowl 290 ↓ Super Bowl 214)
  9. Warhammer Online - 220 (Pre-Bowl 240 ↓ Super Bowl 133)
  10. Final Fantasy XIV -  129 (Pre-Bowl 130 ↓ Super Bowl 111)
Quite a few movers and shakers here.

Aion truly showed some massive jumps. Thanks to a Valentines event, I think this really helped them jump so high here. I have seen Aion perform like this on a regular basis whenever the devs do something special.

STO and DDO both showed good jumps here as well. STO had their one year anniversary, and a sale on the main client...which most likely helped. Anyone know what happened with DDO? Any special event this weekend?

Now, if we look at Champions, we can see a massive drop here. This WAS to be expected. Still, their rankings look great and from what CO had been seeing (the low teens for number of players), this is a marked improvement. DC Universe though hardly budged here. Still think this may go up a bit as X-Fire recognizes some clients...but, hard to say as it nears the 30 day mark.

As I suspected, WAR is still on a downhill slide. Each week their numbers dwindle. When we compare it to the other two fail MMO's on the list, the drop is double or more than AoC or FFXIV. I hope the bleed out can stop. The fact a special event was going this weekend also says a lot for player retention and popularity as a return MMO for players.

  1. EvE Online -  1108 (Pre-Bowl 1151 ↓ Super Bowl 684) players
  2. Lord of the Rings Online -  1064 (Pre-Bowl 799  Super Bowl 661)
  3. DC Universe -  750 (Pre-Bowl 1256 ↓ Super Bowl 732)
  4. Aion -  659 (Pre-Bowl 554  Super Bowl 484)
  5. Champions Online -  637 (Pre-Bowl 1231 ↓ Super Bowl 500)
  6. Dungeons & Dragons Online -  318 (Pre-Bowl 241  Super Bowl 240)
  7. Star Trek Online -  202 (Pre-Bowl 121    Super Bowl 140)
  8. Final Fantasy XIV -  180 (Pre-Bowl 216 ↓ Super Bowl 156)
  9. Age of Conan -  122 (Pre-Bowl 119   Super Bowl 85)
  10. Warhammer Online -  101 (Pre-Bowl 94  Super Bowl 57)
Overall a good week on Raptr for a few games. 

As we saw on X-Fire, Aion up quite a bit here. LOTRO also had a big spike. STO and DDO also up as we had seen on X-Fire.

Even some low games had a small bump...including AoC and WAR.

FFXIV had a small tumble though. DC Universe took a dive (ouch). Champions also felt the cruch as it took some numbers off. Couple more weeks and DCUO and Champions should stabilize.

Now, on to the game of the week.

I try to highlight a game I usually do NOT track for this weekly posting.

Todays game is...

City of Heroes
Having been around for quite a few years, I often wonder how games that have been going rate here. Lets take a look.

X-Fire = 148 players
Raptr = 132 players

If we compare this to our main charts, we can see CoH outdoing Age of Conan and Warhammer Online....and rightfully so. The game has had great accolades from it's player base and the current MMORPG rating is at 8.29, so overall a game that, though getting up there in years, still has a loyal following.

Ok, thats it for this weeks charts. Stay tuned for a Rift to open in next weeks stats.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Rift: Not Enough Chatter

It did not take long. I truly tried my best to avoid all discussion of Rift. Blogs could not sway me. Forums could not irk me.

Then the magic happened.

"Just before Beta 6, we made an anti griefing change that prevented enemy wardstones at hubs and towns from being destroyed by the opposing faction, and significantly boosted guard strength around PvE hubs. We’re pretty happy with how that worked out on the PvE servers...

In time for Open Beta, we’ve developed the ability to repeal those changes on the PvP servers only, to see if they can remain playable without it. Ideally, it’s our hope that there’s gameplay value in having people being able to band together to attack and defend those areas on PvP servers.  "

Scott Hartsman - Post Beta 6 - On Rifts, Raids, PvP, and Damage…

So, with a single move, Trion does something most developers do not want to do. Cater to more than one type of player.

We have seen the promises before of Developers who say they "want" to listen to the player.  They constantly look for feedback, yet how often does that feedback become an implementation. Why is it so many devs make changes that make you shake your head and wonder why?

It was a concern last beta, when these anti-grief changes were done, and then were carried over to PvP servers. The yells of "PvE players are killing our PvP" were shouted on the forums...and at the same time the PvE bunch were all "You got PvP in my PvE" and were crying over this issue, which caused this change to take place.

What is a dev to do? Usually the easy way out. Change the major core and cater to that "casual" crowd as so often happens as of late.

Not this time.

So, for those who continue to worry about Rift, because it is the same? Or is it becoming too easy? Is it catering to that one audience all game devs want...

For once, we may have a company who puts their customer first.

Cheers to Trion...

Oh, and ,my comment ban is removed. Trion and Rift deserve the discussion.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rift: Too much chatter

And it has happened....again.

A beta is being discussed like it is a release. the hype-o-meter has gone through the roof. The hate blogs of my "Communist Bloc" days of blogging are tenfold.

And I am convinced it needs to go away.

As of today, besides my usual "X-Fire" commentary, the discussion of Rift as a game like it is released disappears from my blog and my twitter. Really, do we know what is going to happen? Do we think the way Rift is, as of TODAY, the Rift that will be launched?

Some do, and I say "Nay". >>>>>>>>>> NAY I SAY....

The audience will be huge...the number of players will be through the roof. Servers will die. Queues will melt your monitors and the usual blather of balance, playability and what not will make the blogs scream with rage.

I will be there. But, as of today, I think Rift discussions need to go.

No more commenting on blogs about Rift (my final comments are out, and I refuse to say anymore). No more discussion on gameplay, mechanics, the company....etc. Trion has done a fab job, but I REALLY want to see if they can handle a huge launch.

So, until February 24th...Rift shall be the game that remains un-discussed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The X-Fire Game: Rifted at the Super Bowl

This weeks post is brought to you by the letters R. I. F. T. and those little things called "Touchdowns".

Thats right, this past weekend was a large Rift beta weekend. Massive numbers of keys were sent out, pre-order keys galore, and the added bonus of some key sets allowing 100 invites per code. Thats not all, as the Super Bowl cranked up the heat on game playing; a male dominated gaming world was diluted by that male dominated television event.

So, how can two such events like these affect various games on the charts, and then how does Rift itself rank? Lets find out.

  1. Rift - 2755 (INTRO) players
  2. Aion - 1874 (2131 ↓ )
  3. Lord of the Rings Online - 1813 (2524 ↓ )
  4. EvE Online - 1776 (2415 ↓ )
  5. Champions Online - 724 (1458)
  6. Dungeons & Dragons Online - 338 (421 ↓ )
  7. Star Trek Online - 371 ( 385 ↓  )
  8. DC Universe - 316 (INTRO)
  9. Age of Conan - 214 (290 ↓ )
  10. Warhammer Online - 133 (240 ↓ )
  11. Final Fantasy XIV - 111 (130 ↓ )
What an interesting chart. ALL games were way down. Thank you Super Bowl.

Check out Rift though. What a great entrance into the charts on X-Fire. Number one with a bullet. Seems football could not keep a majority of gamers out of at least trying it. I think this will be a telling sign, and I expect the launch of Rift to be one of the largest in recent MMO history (previous launches have had Warhammer Online at #4 and Age of Conan and Aion at #5 on X-Fire, yet falling immensely in the following month).

What a bizarre twist though. Thanks to this past weekends football extravaganza, Aion was able to move ahead of EvE and LOTRO. Odd, but not unprecedented (as we had seen previously thanks to the FFXIV polls... Europe loves Aion more than North America... you know, who happen to love Football probably MUCH more than Europeans). Seeing that most Euros were probably NOT watching the Super Bowl, I think we know who to thank for Aion's success here.

Champions Online's fall, though large, was to be expected, and until next week, we will not know how Free to Play is helping overall. Should see some stabilizing numbers soon. The drop, though large, should see better results next week.

DC Universe finally intros this week to X-Fire...but, to some rather shocking numbers. I am not sure how the X-Fire software works, and if it will re-recognize games or not when updates take place, unless you force it. DCUO just seems rather low, almost like it may not notice a majority of players. Hopefully this will rectify itself next week.

Warhammer Online is still seeing a disturbing trend. Now, even though we cannot tell much from this weeks chart, it seems to have lost a good share of players compared to it's companion game, Age of Conan. I am expecting a MASSIVE drop come Rift launch, but, the fact that this past week Mythic announced free transfer off servers and an eventual "retirement" (their wording) of several servers...this is still not boding well for this flailing MMO.


Raptr, as we saw last week, was not as affected by the mid week Rift event as X-Fire seemed to be this weekend beta. Even though the first day had good numbers (about 700+ players started), the following days fell down. It was a weekday beta though.

Now, how will this NEW event, which was weekend based, help Rifts chances on Raptr?

  1. DC Universe - 732 (1256 ↓ ) players
  2. EvE Online - 684 (1151 ↓ )
  3. Lord of the Rings Online - 661 (799 ↓ )
  4. Champions Online - 500 (1231 ↓ )
  5. Aion - 484 (554 ↓ )
  6. Rift - 243 (INTRO)
  7. Dungeons & Dragons Online - 240 (241 ↓ )
  8. Final Fantasy XIV - 156 (216 ↓  )
  9. Star Trek Online - 140 (121    )
  10. Age of Conan - 85 (119 ↓  )
  11. Warhammer Online - 57 (94 ↓ )

Raptr shows certain games falling massively (EvE losing roughly 40%) and Champions taking a dive. Still weird how there seems to be some major discrepancies between Raptr and X-Fire. but, it does allow us to see some nice variations, so lets take a look.

I did expect loss in Champions and DC Universe. As they continue to find their sweet spot on the charts due to their relative changes (going F2P and being new, respectively). Hopefully in another week or two we should see how successful these games are.

The only game up? Star Trek Online. Just like in high school, all the sci-fi nerds never really liked football anyways (me being one of Yet, when I say that, we MUST look at EvE's strange drop. I really did not expect such a huge loss. So, unless there was an outage I am not aware of, EvE's numbers seemed to have the oddest loss here.

Rift enters the chart respectively, but could have been better. My money though is on a lot of players, like myself, that are avoiding the game and wanting it to be fresh for launch. I do expect launch to be huge for this title as well on the Raptr rankings.

Just like on X-Fire, WAR took a noticeable dive. AoC, the companion game to WAR did not seem to get hurt too much. As I mentioned last week, WAR needs to be watched. I expect a lot of pain for this game, and no matter how you cut it...the ongoing discussion of profitability that people throw up, that Mythic announced last year, may need to be questioned now. Guess closing servers is one way to help in that respect...good thing they are shutting down quite a few.

Wow. Talk about some massive drops thanks to the Super Bowl. Not unexpected. But, I have to say, the big winner here was Rift on X-Fire and STO on Raptr. They really pulled through, even with such a big event like the Bowl.

Next week: Back to normalcy...and hopefully some better views of DC Universe and Champions Online.

(PS: I will skip the Game of the Week that I do for games I do not track, due to the massive losses due to the Super Bowl. Watch for that next week.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You got your PvP in my PvE - Redux

Previously I have written about how the interaction of PvP and PvE can be a success if done correctly. But, the question remains; what does the MMO audience REALLY want in their MMO's. Can PvP and PvE really mix? And, what is the current crop of MMO's teaching us about what the MMO audience wants to see.

This became even more of a subject to broach thanks to the recent changes in Rift for Beta 6. You can read about these changes here in depth (SOURCE). What it boils down to is making quest hubs more powerful against opposition invasions from the other factions. As well, objective based PvP is being moved into their own areas, so those who do not wish to engage in PvP, may avoid it almost completely (on PvE servers).

So, what does this tell us?

If we look at previous year offerings when it comes to PvP based games, the consensus seems clear. If your game does not have a well laid out PvE component and instead focuses on PvP, you will alienate a large audience (WAR, AoC Launch). And to top it off, if you force PvE audiences to PvP, prepare to fall down (Aion, which has been rectified as of late).

Basically, my feelings are that PvE has the larger audience, and PvP is too niche.

Rift at least looks to offer an alternate path though for a PvE/PvP based style of gameplay.

Thanks to the way that you can set yourself up to be auto-flagged for PvP on PvE servers, it allows a player to be near danger, but to avoid it if they wish. But, on the PvP servers, the always on flag allows the PvP player to engage whenever they wish...mostly.

Here is where the contention arises for the PvP servers. Seems they are disgruntled over the changes, and believe that PvE is already ruining their PvP experience. Why should they not be allowed to attack the quest hubs of alternate factions, and cause havoc against those players?

So, who exactly is right here? And, can Trion see to it that PvP can have separate server rules from PvE?

My hope is that for 2011 we will see what the MMO audience really wants. Rift's success as a PvE game with PvP may just answer that. Especially when we can see which servers hold the largest populations...and of course, how those numbers on X-Fire and Raptr look.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spectator Sports: Aion

Due to the nature of watching the rankings on MMO's, I have what I like to call "speed dial" for the various forums and blogs of the MMO's I track. It is interesting to see the views of different players as I rank their games on the tracking services. Whether they be a standard supporter, forum troll, or fanboi blog, the discussion is ripe for commentary.

I like to call it "Spectating"

This round I am stalking: AION

Aion fascinates me, due to the fact that there is an underlying group who continue to call the game an utter failure. Yet, contrary to this, I see an MMO that is thriving, at least in this genre. MMO's, as we all know, is one tough business to hold onto. So many games have their detractors, but we can only go so far in knowing what is fact or what is fiction when discussing said games.
As I continue to track Aion on the services, such as X-Fire and Raptr, the picture is of a game doing quite well (at least in this business). According to NCSoft, their financials list the game as "flat"...thus not losing money, nor gaining. But, it IS a revenue stream.

Work continues to be done to the game in North America and Europe at a steady pace to alleviate initial issues such as perceived grind and a more Asian feel to the game. A recent patch put out last week approached crafting and issues with materials, costs and adding new recipes.

So, based on this data, why would anyone call Aion a "failure".

Gamerdrone did a post at launch called "10 Reasons why Aion will fail" stating these as concerns.
  • PvP-oriented Gameplay 
  • Flight is a Gimmick 
  • Visual Style 
And more..

Why would someone immediately be calling the failure of a game considered to be doing well? And explain to me how items looked upon as strengths or considered "good" to a certain group would lead to Aion's failure?

If I head to the forums, I can look at Aionsource (a fan site) and see a relative good set of posts, with maybe one or two "fails" within. Compare this to last weeks forum list of Warhammer Online, where the majority of the forums were full of disgruntled players, locked threads and what not; this is tame in comparison.

If we head to and their ratings system, the picture starts to become a little clearer. With a lowly 7.8 by player standards, we see one aspect stands out: Service.
With a 6.8, this is bringing their overall rank lower than expected. It seems NCSoft is the core of the failure calls. No matter how good the game may be, the service seems to be the number one concern. Looking at the forums, you can see the discussions all leading to NCSoft not knowing what they are doing (according to their opinions).

So, though there may be a consensus on the game doing well, an underlying hate of the company itself continues to bring Aion down lower than it needs to be in the eyes of the spectator.
The best bet for anyone who questions whether Aion may be any good is to ignore the vocal minority as they are often referred to, and load up and see for themselves. Too bad the "company" makes this difficult by not even offering a trial. 

Luckily the main game can be gotten for a lower price, and if you have held out due to what you may have "read", just decide on your own for this one. You may have to accept that you may not be treated well by the company taking your money. Luckily, based on all will be entering a healthy, populated game.

Just know that numbers sometimes speak louder than words when it comes to Aion.