|Rank||Prev Week||Game||Score||Hours Played||+/- %|
|1||1||World of Warcraft||37.9||26,745||-13.1|
|2||2||Guild Wars 2||19.9||14,041||-5.7|
|3||3||Star Wars: The Old Republic||10.7||7,543||-8.4|
|8||7||Lord of the Rings Online||3.3||2,341||-16.9|
|10||9||The War Z||2.9||2,057||-9.4|
|12||--||Star Trek Online||1.9||1,371||-2.2|
After a month of stability the Xfire community saw its interest in MMORPGs drop as members spent 8.6% less time playing the genre as it did the week before. Only two games, Metin 2 (+32.5%) and Aion (+4.1%) saw playtime rise while the biggest percentage losers were Maple Story (-17.5%), Lord of the Rings Online (-16.9%) and World of Warcraft (-13.1%).
A Bad Hotfix? With free-to-play games like Maple Story and Lord of the Rings Online a drop in hours usually signals the end of an event or deal, but what happened with World of Warcraft? Patch 5.1 received a hotfix on 22 January to change that nerfed bosses in the heroic version of Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring and adjusted trinket burst damage. Did making the content easier backfire on Blizzard or are students just returning to college after the winter break?
Use It Or Lose It. The big jump in playtime for Metin 2 is possibly due to Visa closing the Playspan website. This was the last weekend for people to spend their codes purchased from the site as the last day for redemption is 31 January.
Permanent Ban. The other game that saw a rise in play Sunday was Aion. Massively reports that Aion is facing a "scourge" of 3rd party kinah-sellers and they are constantly spamming the chat channels trying to sell their goods. In an effort to combat the RMT operators NCSoft banned all IP addresses from China on 23 January as a way to combat the practice.
Many within the industry believe that the presence of RMT harms a game and costs the companies money. In 2006 Indiana University's Dr. Edward Castronova calculated that RMT cost game companies $1.50 per user per month. Part of the lost cost is players leaving a game because they cannot handle the excessive RMT spam in chat channels. Can we use the Xfire numbers to confirm if the IP address ban is effective in drawing players into the game?