October 16, 2008

Warhammer in Decline?

Warhammer launched well. 750,000 people well. However, since that fateful announcement, various numbers have started to trickle in showing WAR may not be doing so well keeping those 750,000 logged in.

First off, Blizzard is spouting off:
While a number of World of Warcraft users dropped the widely popular MMO to play EA's recently released Warhammer Online, more than half of those gamers have already returned to Blizzard's market-leader.
Hmmmm... the market-leader downplaying the success of a competitor. Maybe we'll just throw this away.

Next, the ever-faithful Xfire provides a nice history track that shows WAR total play times declining among Xfire users. While not hard evidence that WAR may be in decline, Xfire declines were an early indicator during Age of Conan's post-launch collapse. However, some people will always try and use Xfire stats to make some noise.
The decline continues. Whether people like it or not. You can make unfounded claims all you want that Xfire is not representative but until someone cab provide empirical evidence Xfire isn't representative you're just waving your fanboi pom poms in the air.

I want WAR to succeed and I am worried about the trend line that continues its steady decline.

What is it going to take to turn this thing around?

- Scenarios have effectively destroyed open world RvR.
- The "magnet" abilities are destroying what RvR is happening.
- What meager open world RvR manages to survive the anemic number of open RvR players and magnet idiocy ends up being not worth it due to the inferior rewards for such activities.

WARHAMMER IS DYING A SLOW DEATH BECAUSE THE CENTRAL ACTIVITY AROUND WHICH WAR HAS BEEN DESIGNED, I.E. "WAR", IS NOT HAPPENING!
My take?

WAR is in decline. Why? Because it is not the game MANY players expected, on both sides of the fence. WAR is a good game, just not the best game in any category. WAR is destined for a core audience that enjoys the Realm vs Realm. No one will be sticking around for the other parts (partly because everyone is in Scenarios and therefore nothing else gets touched, but thats for another blog post).

17 comments:

Melf_Himself said...

I'm hoping they'll make it to the 1 mil mark, as I'm guessing that's a breakpoint for a whole ton of people to start jumping on the bandwagon. A critical mass if you will.

But, for those already playing, their will to keep on playing is probably diminishing. I just hope Mythic manage to fix things a little to turn that trend around... it's like, an awesome game held back by a couple of piddly details.

Tipa said...

EVERY MMO (except WoW) has a spike at launch and then settles down to a steady plateau at some point. WoW was lucky enough to reach a tipping point where it really became the face of a whole genre, but we can't really look for that to happen again unless another game lowers the barrier of entry to even more people.

It's been shown again and again in MMOs that PvE is more popular than PvP. Warhammer will grab the PvPers, for awhile, but the PvE-ers who are the majority of MMO players will drift back to WoW or other PvE-focused MMOs.

That doesn't mean WAR is dead or hurting or even bruised. Just because it may not ever reach ten million subscribers in no way means it's anything but an unqualified success. Even if their plateau is only half a million players -- that will be damn impressive for a non-FPS PvP game.

Tipa said...

EVERY MMO (except WoW) has a spike at launch and then settles down to a steady plateau at some point. WoW was lucky enough to reach a tipping point where it really became the face of a whole genre, but we can't really look for that to happen again unless another game lowers the barrier of entry to even more people.

It's been shown again and again in MMOs that PvE is more popular than PvP. Warhammer will grab the PvPers, for awhile, but the PvE-ers who are the majority of MMO players will drift back to WoW or other PvE-focused MMOs.

That doesn't mean WAR is dead or hurting or even bruised. Just because it may not ever reach ten million subscribers in no way means it's anything but an unqualified success. Even if their plateau is only half a million players -- that will be damn impressive for a non-FPS PvP game.

heartlessgamer said...

Whats sad is WAR's PvE is great in place, but completely inaccessible to the casual player. Even sadder is the fact that WAR PvE was built for the casual player! Scenario RvR and a disjointed world just absolutely destroys any "world" Mythic has created, and the "world" is where the PvE is.

Werit said...

If players like scenarios then that's what they will do and there is nothing wrong with that. It may hurt other peoples who want open rvr, but who are we to force them into it?

Relmstein said...

I just hope Mythic doesn't nerf the renown and experience rewards from scenarios. Too many people like this type of short term PvP and punishing them would be the fastest way to lose players.

Instead, what they really need to do is greatly boost the rewards for taking open world RvR objectives. More exp, renown, and decent loot off the different Lords.

Arean said...

The lack of open RVR is what is keeping me away right now. I enjoyed the game for the first couple of weeks but once it was known that you level much faster in scenarios the open world emptied out except in war camps.

I'm all for scenarios but IMO they need to nerf them and get people back out into the world. If they don't WAR is going to just keep on tumbling and I'll be adding to the numbers of the decline.

Arean said...

The lack of open RVR is what is keeping me away right now. I enjoyed the game for the first couple of weeks but once it was known that you level much faster in scenarios the open world emptied out except in war camps.

I'm all for scenarios but IMO they need to nerf them and get people back out into the world. If they don't WAR is going to just keep on tumbling and I'll be adding to the numbers of the decline.

Jack Barrier said...

On the one hand, I love scenarios. On the other, RVR has proven that numbers are all that matter. I joined WAR for the RVR, but I ended up spending 75% of my time in scenarios due to the overall lack of rewards in RVR. No one likes to raid a keep just to see 3 people out of 100 get loot.

Buffing the RVR drops as well as nerfing scenarios would have been a good fix AT THE BEGINNING, not after people have already fallen in love with scenarios. Mythic is in a rough spot right now.

Zubon said...

Just to start on a positive note, this is a candidate for the worst argument ever: You can make unfounded claims all you want that Xfire is not representative but until someone cab provide empirical evidence Xfire isn't representative you're just waving your fanboi pom poms in the air. That completely reverses the burden of proof. Until you can prove that aliens didn't use invisible heat rays to make the World Trade Center collapse, under cover of airplane crashes, you're just a dupe falling for the government's unlikely conspiracy theory. Mmhmm.

Magnets are messing things up that much? Two classes get that ability, right? I have seen two Maguses and zero Engineers using it. If you're on Averherim, Niinii probably hit 32 last night, so watch for him in your scenarios. I don't remember who the other guy was, and heck it might have been him.

I think it was Jessica Mulligan whose graphs showed the critical point around 4 months. Every game went up for four months or so. Successful games kept going a bit longer or plateaued. Unsuccessful games started cratering, although they could level off at profitable subscription numbers. That appealed to me, since I anecdotally recalled all my college gamer buddies switching games every 3-4 months.

Sara Pickell said...

@Blizzard's quote: Given the fact that playing two MMOs at once is neither impossible nor even improbable, the fact that (almost) half didn't even bother to return seems like a fairly strong statement to me.

Overall, The curve hasn't done anything new in my opinion. Strong opening spike, decline to some stable point, steady growth to a peak, then constant decline. So far we have opening peak, not what I'd hoped, and now we're seeing decline. From what I've seen in game, I don't see any reason for WAR to vary from this curve. It's not so bad it'll fall to constant decline, but it doesn't have the long term player connection to build truly stable player growth either.

All that really remains to be pondered is the vertical variance and the time it'll take to cycle.

Anonymous said...

The signal of its success will be if it has a stable customer base at the 1, 2, and 5 year marks, and big enough so that EA will consistently continue its development.

Won't know til we get there :)

Anonymous said...

The signal of its success will be if it has a stable customer base at the 1, 2, and 5 year marks, and big enough so that EA will consistently continue its development.

Won't know til we get there :)

Anonymous said...

Every attempt to establish new MMO is pointless. The only way to do it is to attract more then half of WoW players in the very day of the lauch and even then you are not sure your result. Now after few years of leading the market, beating WoW is almost impossible. Game parameters are less important than populations. There are two main rules (affecting our RL as well). Rule 1 - bigger population hijack players from lower population. Rule 2 - longer you play more addicted you are. Both rules are based on social psychology and were well proven before word "online" was said for its very first time in human history.

Anonymous said...

Every attempt to establish new MMO is pointless. The only way to do it is to attract more then half of WoW players in the very day of the lauch and even then you are not sure your result. Now after few years of leading the market, beating WoW is almost impossible. Game parameters are less important than populations. There are two main rules (affecting our RL as well). Rule 1 - bigger population hijack players from lower population. Rule 2 - longer you play more addicted you are. Both rules are based on social psychology and were well proven before word "online" was said for its very first time in human history.

Anonymous said...

I agree with some others that WAR COULD have been an awesome game, but its just not. I love how everyone is saying "WoW clone" when in fact, WoW was a DAoC clone. (Albeit a better marketed and improved one.) Mythics desire to not be a WAR clone made them turn their back on the formula that made DAoC a great game, while keeping all the things WoW decided (wisely) to let pass.

WAR is graphically beautiful. There is so much detail....just like DAoC, so much so, that it limits the amount of people who have the equipment to play the game. Does the graphic excellence matter that much? No. It doesnt. They should have learned that from DAoC. People want to play, and have fun, not stand in one place looking at rendered blades of grass.

Another thing I am just sick over is how, (yet again) Mythic is shoving group play down our throats. Is RvR more fun when tons of people are in it? Hell yeah!! But do they need to micro manage every aspect of the game from level 1 up so that a solo player cannot enjoy the game? No. And that, in my opinion, is what will lead to the failure of this game. If you have no worthy PVE content, and a solo player cannot enjoy the game at 2am when no one else is around, you just wont last long. Not everyone has the schedule or the desire to work around the servers peak time, the game should work around the players.

I am really saddened by WAR. I loved DAoC, I hated to leave for WoW and I was first in line to come back to Mythic and they just put the worst elements of DAoC back into this game while dumping all the great ones. What they should have done was learned from WoW's capitalization on their original concept and then kept their superior RVR. This game could have been great, and I am sad to say it isnt fun at all.

Well it was for the brief moment it was populated, but now it is an utter bore to be a low level player in empty public quests. Mythic should have thought about that, it has to hold interest for the new players who join the game and miss the masses in the newbie areas, and it has to be fun for the solo play style as well.

Anonymous said...

I agree with some others that WAR COULD have been an awesome game, but its just not. I love how everyone is saying "WoW clone" when in fact, WoW was a DAoC clone. (Albeit a better marketed and improved one.) Mythics desire to not be a WAR clone made them turn their back on the formula that made DAoC a great game, while keeping all the things WoW decided (wisely) to let pass.

WAR is graphically beautiful. There is so much detail....just like DAoC, so much so, that it limits the amount of people who have the equipment to play the game. Does the graphic excellence matter that much? No. It doesnt. They should have learned that from DAoC. People want to play, and have fun, not stand in one place looking at rendered blades of grass.

Another thing I am just sick over is how, (yet again) Mythic is shoving group play down our throats. Is RvR more fun when tons of people are in it? Hell yeah!! But do they need to micro manage every aspect of the game from level 1 up so that a solo player cannot enjoy the game? No. And that, in my opinion, is what will lead to the failure of this game. If you have no worthy PVE content, and a solo player cannot enjoy the game at 2am when no one else is around, you just wont last long. Not everyone has the schedule or the desire to work around the servers peak time, the game should work around the players.

I am really saddened by WAR. I loved DAoC, I hated to leave for WoW and I was first in line to come back to Mythic and they just put the worst elements of DAoC back into this game while dumping all the great ones. What they should have done was learned from WoW's capitalization on their original concept and then kept their superior RVR. This game could have been great, and I am sad to say it isnt fun at all.

Well it was for the brief moment it was populated, but now it is an utter bore to be a low level player in empty public quests. Mythic should have thought about that, it has to hold interest for the new players who join the game and miss the masses in the newbie areas, and it has to be fun for the solo play style as well.