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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

A Look At the Growth of MMOs In 2008 122

Zonk writes with news of a collaboration between Massively and GamerDNA to analyze the state of MMO player bases for 2008. Sifting through the data brought out several interesting trends. For example, Age of Conan took a substantial hit when Warhammer arrived on the scene, but none of the other major MMOs were significantly affected. Also, it seems Lord of the Rings: Online got a big shot in the arm from its Mines of Moria expansion — even moreso than World of Warcraft from Wrath of the Lich King, relatively speaking. The article also asserts the following about the recently-canceled Tabula Rasa: "... until the cancellation announcement in November, numbers were trending in the right direction, however slightly. Players were growing more interested in the sci fi MMO shooter, and logins were on the rise. If its development had not been so long, so expensive, and so vastly overhyped and mismarketed, this title could have been left alone to find its legs and found some small measure of success in a long tail environment akin to the Sony Station Pass."
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A Look At the Growth of MMOs In 2008

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  • Funny to see (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aranykai ( 1053846 ) <> on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @06:52AM (#26278309)

    I think its quite amusing to see exactly how bad AoC failed. Just wish I could say I wasn't one of the people who fell for the hype and bought it on release.

    • by Saysys ( 976276 )
      As in any market there are "needs" that are being filled. The need for a hobby extends well past games and games extend well past MMOS.

      That said the particular desire for a hobby MMO with a PvP focus is served quite well by Age of Conan... the only problem is WHoL fills the exact same need and desire a bit better.
      • AOC has absolutely the most fun combat mechanic of any MMO I've played. It was an interesting experiment in social gaming to have free for all PVP, as well. The problem AOC had was it didn't have a good mechanic for leveling up besides PVE, and PVE was completely ignored by the dev team after around lvl 60. There were no instances and no quests for me to do at lvl 64, so I quit the game. The instances they had pre-60 were pretty awful anyway, so I didn't hold much hope. They did so many things right (P

    • What impresses me the most is that according to this graph [], AoC has seen a 300% decrease in number of logins from the start to the end of their sample period. Which means that for every person playing at the start of the period, two anti-people are playing now. That's quite an impressive failure, all in all.

      Seriously though, these charts are dubious at best - looking at WoW, it has an almost perfectly straight graph, showing 150% growth over the 6 months of last year, which I don't think anyone thinks is m

  • Why does nobody post statistics for Final Fantasy XI? Seriously. The game still kicks with over 500,000 subscribers according to the last census and in this list are at least three MMOs probably doing nowhere near that lately.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @07:14AM (#26278429)

      Yes, but how many of those are chinese farmers trying to sell in-game money to the 4 americans that play?

    • by ubrgeek ( 679399 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @07:42AM (#26278569)
      > Why does nobody post statistics for Final Fantasy XI?

      Because just like in the game, it takes too long to travel from the article to the statistics.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by falcon5768 ( 629591 )
      The charts from them are extremely American centric. I would just chalk it up to a western bias and have it at that.
    • by Talderas ( 1212466 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @09:05AM (#26278961)

      Honestly, I'll give FFXI kudos for staying alive all this time, but personally I found that requiring players to party in groups of 6 to level up was a bad idea. When you can log in, and want to be leveling dragoon, then sit at the zone entrance with your looking for party tag up for 30-60 minutes before you get a message for a party invite, then travel out to the party only to have it disband after 1 kill. Yeah that's pretty dumb.

      FFXI major flaw, in my humble opinion, was the inability to do anything on your own if you wanted to. There is no progressing your character if you can't find a group.

      • Had the same problem with DDO. TO compelte many of the instances you had to have a complete group. No fun to stand around LFG.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by b1t r0t ( 216468 )

        How many expansions and updates ago did you stop playing?

        First of all, there are the constant campaign battles from WotG (and the infrequent Besieged battles from ToAU) which work rather like a "group solo" kind of play, though mostly intended for level 60+. Then there was the introduction of Level Sync back in September, which meant that you weren't endlessly LFG just because nobody wanted your level range (FFXI needs a tight level range in a party to get decent XP). At the same time, they increased XP fo

        • I quit during Treasures. The problem with grouping with your LS is that your LS had to want to level jobs around your level. When you're stuck at lv30 something and your LS is all trying to get lv60 ish leveling done, you're kind of SoL.

          The thing is, adding new features to make it easier isn't likely going to attract old players back, it's going to make new players easier to integrate in and match up to the old players that still play.

          Actually, the most intriguing leveling feature I've seen so far has been

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by moose_hp ( 179683 )
            Level sync was introduced a couple updates ago, it basicly makes you able to sync down all your party (2 to 6 members, I never tried on alliance) to a level of one of them, even sync you down your weapon and equipment to fit the options for that level (which is great in rpinciple, but in reallitty is not that good, correct level equipment is usually better). You can basicly make a party from people with any level and just go level sync to the lowest member and have a good exp party.

            Anyway, I havnet playe
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Psmylie ( 169236 ) *
        Ok, sorry, but I can't leave this one alone.

        First of all, that was never true. The game never required you to level in a group of 6. It's just that the player base wasn't willing to try anything else, because they always insisted on fighting critters 5-10 levels higher than they were.

        While I agree that, for most jobs, soloing to 75 was a task not worth contemplating (especially a few years ago) that doesn't mean that you needed six people to gain decent XP. Really, any damage dealer job + a healer job wor

  • by Andy_R ( 114137 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @07:19AM (#26278451) Homepage Journal

    The sample of players used for this article (only GamerDNA members with profiles) is so skewed that the second biggest MMO of all (Runescape) doesn't feature in the article at all.

    This is probably an excellent article if you are interested in what GamerDNA members are up to, but it's not very relevant outside that.

    • While true, the question you should be asking is "was their sample big enough?"

      because the other option is to get all the gaming companies to tell you directly, which well, isn't going to happen....
      • by pjt33 ( 739471 ) seems to get some figures from the companies directly (and others from anonymous sources inside the companies). Unfortunately for the purposes of this discussion it doesn't seem to have been updated for months.

    • The author acctually says that the increase in WOW''s share is probally not due to rising useage rather increase in GamerDNA registrations. He also said that GW has a higher than average users with GamerDNA.

      so take it with a pince of salt.

      It was quite interesting to me since I play WAR and was considering going back to WOW since the population is dwindling. Its intresting to see that it seems to be a bigger problem.

      • The author acctually says that the increase in WOW''s share is probally not due to rising useage rather increase in GamerDNA registrations. He also said that GW has a higher than average users with GamerDNA.

        it's a she actually, the article is posted by Michael Zenke but it says at the top "Written by the highly talented Sanya Weathers", which perhaps ought to merit a mention that she worked at EA/Mythic for 6 years []

      • I went from WoW to WAR back to WoW for the expansion but now I'm back playing WAR and I've canceled my WoW account.

    • I also feel that the market of MMOs is under represented, especially considering that none of the MMOs I have ever played are on that list (FF XI, Lineage 2, Ragnarok Online, Dream of Mirror... the list goes on) which means they are only looking at a sample of the market. I know Lineage 2 may not be extremely significant in America but I do know it is one of the more popular MMOs world wide. Of course their sample group is the group that was willing to go with the gamerDNA system.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @08:09AM (#26278705)

    TR was a very interesting experiment. It offered a completely different and new gameplay (in terms of MMOs), it offered a kinda-sorta-FPS experience which created, at least in my opinion, a much better immersion experience than the various other MMOs. It had a good storyline that offered the player a little more freedom in his choices than the average MMO out there when it comes to quests. The quests themselves were usually a touch more interesting than the usual "kill X of Y" treadmill. It had a lot of new and exciting features that appealed to some people, so the question why it failed regardless should be asked.

    Is it that people don't want any other gameplay than the usuall point-n-click style the usual MMOs offer? Now, I doubt that. I did a few interviews with people who played (some of which quitted), and usually the interface was either the feature that kept them playing for as long as they did, or at least they thought it was interesting. It never was the reason why people quitted.

    It was the usual, people. It was the same reason why all the other failed MMO projects sunk.

    1. Being barely beta quality. Frequent crashes, buggy quests, buggy skills, buggy everything. Until well into mid-2008, the game was barely playable.

    2. Broken balance. Actually a subset of the first reason, but you can see long time successful MMOs fail when balance goes out the window. And for the longest time, balance was a huge problem for TR. Some classes could solo base attacks (something that should be "hard" in this game, akind to boss battles in normal MMOs), some classes could barely do equal level quests. Some classes would get fantastic rich without trying, some could barely afford their standard ammo. And so on.

    3. Quick leveling and no endgame content. This straw actually broke the camel's back. It's trivially fast to get to top level in TR. An experienced player needs less than two weeks of more or less dedicated playing (faster even when he can start from a clone, a feature of the game that allows you to start at mid level under certain circumstances). And there isn't anything to be done when you're 50. No item harvesting, no boss runs, no nothing. You can just shelf your top level character and start over.

    In my opinion, and from what I gather I'm not alone with this feeling, TR failed not because it dared to be different. If anything, this difference allowed the game to stay alive for as long as it did. The slow but steady increase in subscribers (until the announcement of its demise) showed that people did come back when the devs started to iron out the problems and add "stuff to do" for the top level players.

    It's sad to see this game go. It's one of those things where you know it could've been great if they just hadn't committed the cardinal sins of MMO design.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )

      Oh, I almost forgot another cardinal sin of TR: No sensible grouping. For the longest time, it was virtually impossible to heal sensibly because of targeting issues. Now it's "better", meaning that you're almost as successful when you heal as you are when you just continue firing and hope the mob dies first. Grouping mostly means that you split XP, not that you're actually able to get too many synergies. Which, in turn, is mostly also due to people being too used to playing solo simply because there is no c

    • Well, that's an interesting list, because it makes a kind of intuitive sense, but doesn't seem to actually pan out when you compare it to games that are successful. For example, when WoW was released, it was horrendously guilty of both #2 (as of 1 year ago when I quit it still wasn't balanced, but it was really bad in the beginning) and #3 (all of the big raids were added after release). Then again, it had so much polish that it avoided #1 and perhaps made up for it on that front.

      On the other hand, RuneSc

      • Compared to other MMOs Runescape started small. This game the developers time to refine and improve the game. As for WoW, it may have had some issues, but compared to many MMOs the game was released in a reasonably polished state.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 )

        WoW didn't commit any of the cardinal sins, actually. Or rather, they managed to hide them much better than most MMOs.

        I was in WoW beta and thus got a pretty good look at the steps between the "OMFG, does it sometimes NOT crash within the first hour of play" and release. First of all, unlike for some games, those two things were NOT synonymous anymore at WoWs release.

        WoW was actually pretty "ready" at release. Some skills were lacking, balance was so-so, but the two most important things worked at a satisfa

    • It failed cuz it sucked ass. There was economy, the storyline was thrown together haphazardly (collect x,y,z runes, for no reason!). Customization was a joke, quests were boring.

      Even the whole part of it being like a fps was a joke. Aiming doesn't matter for crap in that game, it was just select a target and smash fire in fps mode, or just turn on autoattack like in every other mmo. You could be facing the complete opposite direction and hit your target as well.

      It was one of the most unpolished turds ev

      • Actually, I can't really agree, at least not completely.

        The economy was shot, no questions about that. At first, it was impossible to use high ammo consumption weapons without going broke. Later it was changed to a more sensible level but the economy was never really in balance with itself. Or anything.

        The storyline was actually something I liked. It was quite nice for an MMO. Of course, if you expect something groundbreaking you're playing the wrong kind of game. MMOs were never really known for in-depth s

    • by S77IM ( 1371931 )

      Here are the main reasons I quit; I have anecdotal evidence to suggest they apply to others as well:

      1. Lousy controls made the game inaccessible. (You allude to this in your self-reply about "No sensible grouping.") The controls were the sort of clunky memorize-15-different-keys system used by most MMOs, but the gameplay was the fast-paced and action-oriented fare we find on consoles. It was a poor match. I played to level 37, and spent the entire time wishing they had gamepad support. (You could hack

      • The controls were really a problem. As usual, I tried to play a "healer" (read: medic), but one of the most frustrating things you could possibly try was to heal a Spy that was (out of necessity) constantly zipping around between enemies. You could simply not target him in time to actually heal him. It was just much more sensibly to ignore the Spy's HP bar and try to get the enemies killed because medics, odd as it may seem, had one of the most powerful weapons in the game in their arsenal that could circum

    • by Mojo66 ( 1131579 )
      Replace TR with AoC and the text would still be true.
  • Do you have a hobby that costs less than $20 a month?
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @08:13AM (#26278723)

      TODO: insert masturbation joke here

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      MMOs are only cheap if your time has no value.

      • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @10:24AM (#26279467) Journal

        Newsflash, buddy: the whole purpose of gaming is to waste some time in a pleasant way. Same as virtually any other hobby.

        Yes, I know, people like to pretend that _their_ hobby is some great building skills... which they are only going to use the next time they do that hobby. Whether it's mountaineering, or going camping, or going out in the woods with a compass, or whatever, guess what? You're only going to use those skills at all the next time you go mountaineering, or camping, or going out in the woods with a compass. Chance to actually ever actually need to find your way in a city with a compass and/or by seeing which side of the tree has moss... zero. Actual RL value gotten out of it... zero. They too are just killing time in a more pleasant way than staring at the walls.

        Or to quote Publilius Syrus: "Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it."

        The whole "if your time has no value" only applies if you were, indeed, planning to sell it. Otherwise, without a purchaser actually paying for it, it has no value whatsoever. I.e., it applies if you were otherwise going to take a second job and get paid. (Self-employed crafting does count, but, again, if you were actually going to produce stuff you sell in that time.)

        The same applies to installing Linux, OSS, and god knows where else that retarded meme pops up: only if you were going to otherwise get paid for doing something else in that time.

        Were you? No? Then get a brain and find something more productive to do than repeating memes. It's only intelligence if you came up with it, not if you're the 1234567'th guy who parrots it verbatim.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Interesting perspective.

          Here's a list of the hobbies I tend to engage in: exercising; gardening (mostly foodstuffs); cooking; writing software; making music; watching movies; reading; and the occasional video game - usually vocabulary-based ones, except for the Wii Fit or Wii Sports game at a friend's house. I would argue that most, if not all, of these hobbies provide something of value - health benefits, cost savings, building useful skills, broadening or informing one's perspective. Sitting around on you

          • and who is to say MMO players DONT do this as well?

            I garden (well ok its a aerogarden being a apartment and all lol) go to the gym 4 times a week for 1+hours depending on the routine that day model, read, cook, clean my apartment, AND play FFXI about 2-3 hours a night. I hang out with friends, I go to work, have a wonderful wife who also games, and in general have no problems with things. So this idea that MMO players ONLY play MMOs needs to die. I am sure there are people like tha but in general all of t

          • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @02:25PM (#26282703) Journal

            Here's a list of the hobbies I tend to engage in: exercising; gardening (mostly foodstuffs); cooking; writing software; making music; watching movies; reading; and the occasional video game - usually vocabulary-based ones, except for the Wii Fit or Wii Sports game at a friend's house. I would argue that most, if not all, of these hobbies provide something of value - health benefits, cost savings, building useful skills, broadening or informing one's perspective. Sitting around on your ass playing a MMO likely has a few benefits, but, barring those games being fundamentally different from when I was familiar with them, the benefits drop off quite quickly after the first few hours.

            1. I think the keywords there, are "if not all." Unless you can tell me that _all_ your hobbies are chosen purely for utility value, then you too have some time simply "whittled away". Same as an MMO player, as falcon5768 was pointing out.

            But, more importantly:

            2. You still don't have a dollar value there, to make that silly "if your time is worth nothing" meme work in a topic about a $15 a month MMO subscription. Sure, you broadened your horizons, but what is the dollar value of that? Exactly how many more dollars will you be paid for those horizons, to make the comparison to MMO subscription costs?

            Ok, you've learned some skills in walking in wilderness or in doing silly tricks with a Wii. How much will you be paid for those skills? Dollar value, please.

            Cost savings? Exactly which of your hobbies save costs? Even the health ones, actually, according to recent health insurance data, it's the healthy, lean, non-smokers which cost the most money in treatments during their life time. Just because they live more and end up for 20 years on lots of expensive medicine at the end, while the obese smokers died earlier and cheaper. So in the long run, the dollar worth of that time is actually a negative one.

            _That_ is the problem I have: that meme trying to shove some supposed "value of your time" in a discussion about _money_, _costs_, that kind of thing.

            I could swallow other arguments about that time, like your health benefits above, but "if your time is worth nothing" is simply the awfully stupid thing there. Unless your whole day, from waking up to crashing back in bed, 7 days a week, 366 days a year, is spent doing _only_ paid stuff -- or heck, let's even include stuff which is arguably useful in some vague way, like in your argument above -- you too have some time which you whittled away, and its value was exactly zero. You too have time worth nothing.

            3. If you still want to argue that, do you pick those pastimes to maximize utility per minute? Do you pick exactly which novel will broaden your horizons the most? Do you make an analysis of the benefits of 1 hour with the Wii vs 1 hour at the gym?

            Because, if not, you too have more wasted time indirectly. If you need 6 hours with a Wii to get the same equivalent workout as 2 hours at the gym, then you effectively wasted 4 hours in achieving the same result. Same as buying a $20k car for $60k is a waste of $40k. You can do the same maths with time to achieve something, if your time is that valuable. So, really, if your time is worth that much as to judge other people's hobbies by it, why _do_ you waste it like that?

            Or maybe, just maybe, we're coming back to the fact that the real purpose was to have fun, and the utility value is secondary at best.

            • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              1. My activities are chosen largely because they offer a variety of different forms of recreation and produce a variety of stimuli and positive results - whether physical products, improved skills, improved health, artistic stimulus, or what-not.

              2. You're taking the phrase "worth nothing" in a much too narrow and literal interpretation, as though cash is the only possible metric for deciding the value of things. I've not used the term worth or the phrase value in this conversation (I'm not the AC who replie

              • My activities are chosen largely because they offer a variety of different forms of recreation and produce a variety of stimuli and positive results - whether physical products, improved skills, improved health, artistic stimulus, or what-not.

                Let me see, and my gaming directly or indirectly produced such skills as:

                - programming. That's how I got into it in the first place.

                - 3d modelling. I actually made a couple of meshes recently, for some (minor) mods.

                - perception. Hey, at least one of those old adventure

        • Excellent post. One thing I'd quibble with slightly, however, is that the "cheaper only if your time has no value" meme is most often applied to Linux when it is being recommended as a money-saver, not a hobby. If you have free time to muck around with computers and wouldn't mind learning a new OS that could be useful in the future, Linux is a great investment of your time (and I spent a substantial portion of freshman year doing just that). On the other hand, if you're trying to convince somebody to switch

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Self-employed crafting does count, but, again, if you were actually going to produce stuff you sell in that time.

          Absence of purchases does count as net gain - if my hobby is say fishing then the fish I didn't buy at the store is money "earned". The abiltiy to give away or swap selfmade items instead of making purchases could also be considered the same. That said, even those hobbies tend to have far, far lower earnings than doing it on a professional / commercial scale. For the most part it'd be more than offset by working a little overtime (you get overtime pay, right?) and dedicating hobby time to whatever hobby you

    • by LMacG ( 118321 )

      Yep. Photography. And since the camera I'm using was a gift, there wasn't even an initial cost. Oh, and sometimes I even make a little practicing my hobby.

      • but I am sure you have bought batteries, memory cards or film, case, lenses other than your initial one, transportation costs to go to the places you do, print being made etc. Average that out and see what you get.
    • Well my modeling hobby costs WELL more than 20 a month when you average i out. Just building my Enterprise refit alone will be costing me around 100-300 dollars depending on how cheap I can get some of the chips for the lights and other parts, not to mention paint, airbrush supplies, and a few other parts I need. So really thats a bullshit comment because EVERYONES hobbies cost them something, be it in a sporting item, gas for travel, maybe paint paintball gun and safety device. Etc.
  • Ultima Online. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Grimbleton ( 1034446 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @08:31AM (#26278809)

    Hey, it's still hanging in there! Don't forget the granddaddy of MMOs!

  • Did they count.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thyamine ( 531612 ) <thyamine AT ofdragons DOT com> on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @08:51AM (#26278903) Homepage Journal
    Did they figure in me canceling my WoW account twice? I'm not sure how that counts, except in my loss of sanity. I need a new MMORPG so that when I start the inevitable grind I don't feel like I've done it 500 times before. Unfortunately, few of them seem to have native OS X clients.
    • Have you tried City of Heroes/Villains?

      The amount of customization they throw at you for your character (character model not included in this) is staggering.

      For example, with just 10 character classes (5 heroes, 5 villains), there's 1150 different possible Lv1 characters. Halve that number for the possible number of primary/secondary power set combinations. You'd need a mathematician to figure out how many unique characters can be made with their system once you factor in ancillary powers and the lv40 power

      • I'm going to wait for Champions Online. The guys doing that are the same guys that did CoH/CoV, only this time they get to do what they wanted to do from the beginning, create a game based on the Champions rpg.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cthulu_mt ( 1124113 )
      EVE Online will run on OS X and Linux.
      • crap (under OS X). CCP should be lauded for having a 'native' client (albeit under WINE), but the last 6 months under both Empreayn Age and Quantum Rising have horrible graphics bugs.

        Oh, and the current "quit game" works, but "log out" doesn't.

        Still a great game with different aspects than WoW and similar ilk.

      • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
        I'm not sure I'd call what it does on OSX "running." Its windows emulation is so good it crashes once every hour or two. Don't expect to be able to PvP effectively or tank for a corporation with the OSX client. Also you have to log out of OSX and back in after you quit the game. The cedega client lingers like herpes once you exit the game, and will cause your system to be very unstable unless you logout to clear it from memory completely.

        I know I should be thankful that it works under the OS at all, but a

        • I wonder if it might work better with CrossOver (real Wine as opposed to Cedega/Cider)? I've never used CrossOver on either Mac or Linux, but I know some people who played EVE in CrossOver and they reported no problems except lack of sound (irritating, but less irritating than crashes... and this was nearly a year ago).

          For what it's worth, I use Wine and the Windows client, rather than the Cedega-based Linux client. Premium graphics, good stability and performance, occasional graphical glitches from version

    • by Andy_R ( 114137 )

      While we are still waiting for the first decent iPhone MMPORG, which will quickly dominate the world, I suggest giving Runescape a go.

      While it's traditionally been thought of as a kids browser game with shoddy graphics, it's starting to grow up a lot, especially the high level content - there are jokes in 1 recent quest that you wouldn't get unless you know Brecht's Threepenny Opera for example.

      It runs in any Java equipped browser, and the recent addition of a full-screen mode with graphics accelleration me

    • by Ocker3 ( 1232550 )
      World War II Online ( is a Really sweet World War II (really!) MMOFPS, 1/3rd scale map of western europe, very realistic damage models, been going for 7 years now, and they Do have a native Mac client, it works fine (they've even had a poll about a Linux client). They're having a promo deal right now, I can send you a free 2 month trial (no credit card details necessary). I'm a huge fan, if you're interested, reply and we'll work out a way to exchange e-mails.
    • Your account isn't counted twice. Blizzard might count your account twice (I still wonder about that 11.5M 'users'), but not GamerDNA. These numbers are mostly counted from Xfire data, and partially from WoW Armory data. Its counting if you actually played, not if you registered an account.

      Also, all numbers are from 'actual' measurement, not estimates of what the larger population is doing. You can potentially make assumptions about what the larger population is doing, but there is little/no error in the
  • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @09:16AM (#26279013)

    I think part of the reason why MMORPGs continue to increase in popularity in the PC gaming space is that latest crop of non MMO games is composed mostly of "me-too" titles (games based on previously successful games) and ultra-extreme-DRM filled games (which often won't run because of the DRM or even make your PC unstable because the install buggy drivers).

    Personally in the last year I went back to MMORPGs (in the past I used to play EVE-Online and WoW) with LOTRO because I felt that most newer PC games were too simple, too much alike games I had played to death already and/or too risky to install (due to their rootkit-like DRM and the instability problems that often come with it).

    Successful MMORPGs like LOTRO and WoW have a huge value for money to gamers because their content is enormous (they're huge virtual worlds) they support multiple playing forms (PvP, solo PvE, cooperative PvE) and they keep getting expanded: to keep people playing and paying their monthly fees, games with a PvE side must continuously expand with new areas/items.

    About LOTRO:
    Before Mines of Moria, LOTRO was indeed getting a bit stale and the number of players online at any time was dwindling. This was visible both in PvE and PvP.

    Immediately when MoM came out the number of players online increased a lot (doubled or tripled). At the moment most people are more or less done with exploring the new areas and are starting to do mostly group instances to acquire the necessary kit to go do the single new Raid area that came with MoM (most LOTRO players are casual players, hence the number of power-players that went trough all the new content in 2 or 3 weeks is very low).

    To keep momentum going more content will have to start being released in the next month or two (Turbine, the makers of the game, usually release free expansions - "books" - about once every 2 months). As pointed above, the continued success of a MMORPG depends a lot on keeping a steady stream of new content coming out to keep players playing (and paying).

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )

      Once you've played one FPS, you've played them all. Starting with Wolfenstein to playing Counter-Strike 10 hours/day for a few year. Eventually I got to the point where I would automatically react faster than I could consciously keep up.

      My conscious mind would literally be lagging behind my reactions. I could hear a sound, turn around, make a decision if it's friend or foe. All of this in a fraction of a second and I could be half-way asleep.

      FPS are fun because of always pushing your limits, but they were t

  • I know its not really an MMO, but sometimes I think of it as a Mini-MMO (MMMO or MO?)

    Anyway Call of Duty 4 and Call of Duty World at War both have great online play. Its a FPS but as you get kills you gain XP and you level up an unlock perks and new weapons.

    Also its cool because you don't have to have a huge time investment at any given time. You can sign in, kill stuff, get some XP and be on your merry way.

    • by Samah ( 729132 )

      Anyway Call of Duty 4 and Call of Duty World at War both have great online play. Its a FPS but as you get kills you gain XP and you level up an unlock perks and new weapons.

      Except for that fact that (with CoD4 at least) your rank is stored client side so you can just go and manually make yourself rank 50 or whatever the max was (I haven't played it in ages).

  • WAR had a good start but its shine has worn off Due to faction imbalance Races/Classes do not look that good compared to Destruction counterparts this was major mistake. Mythic believed that people will mostly choose the Good guys rather than going for coolness factor like you saw in WoW but forgot that reason why most people choose Alliance pre BC was because it was the pretty race :p not because they were the good guys. -As a result RvR is pretty broke in servers like Ironfist, Dest. zerg pretty much ta
    • by Tridus ( 79566 )

      Facton imbalance is a cosntant problem when wide open PvP is supposed to be the goal. It happens in every game. If they don't do something to force the populations to be balanced, you will find some server where the game is totally broken over it.

      They really should instance stuff so they can enforce population limits on the fights. You might have to wait in line to get in, but that beats a 200 vs 35 battle.

  • Nice article, but they missed one of the biggest MMOG's in the world (and one of the older ones, as well): Ogame []!

    • (Most) browser based games aren't tracked currently. This will likely change in the future, but for the moment most MMO tracking comes from data feeds from the companies (WoW Armory) and Xfire data. Other sources such as Xbox Live and Steam are also supported.

      Disclaimer:I work for GamerDNA.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday December 31, 2008 @02:00PM (#26282339) Homepage Journal
    I mean other than Second Life. I'm sure the first graphical MMORGY will make a BILLION dollars. No questing (Just grinding,) top: level 69, armor choices: leather or latex. Weapon choices, whips or riding crops. Oh yeah!
    • There are a couple of them, and they aren't all that popular. I don't remember what they were called, or I'd give you a link.

    • Its ok, i alerady obtained the ultimate weapon, the sybian! No woman can resist the effects of it.

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