Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Digital Dozen: 29 January 2013

This Week's Rankings:  The rankings of the top twelve MMORPGs as determined by the players of the Xfire community from play on Sunday, 27 January 2013.  For more details about the methodology, click here.  Historical data can be found here.

Rank Prev Week Game ScoreHours Played +/- %
11World of Warcraft 37.9 26,745-13.1
22Guild Wars 219.914,041-5.7
33Star Wars: The Old Republic10.77,543-8.4
55Eve Online4.63,217-6.7
66Planetside 24.02,809-0.8
87Lord of the Rings Online3.32,341-16.9
911Metin 22.92,067+32.5
109The War Z2.92,057-9.4
1110APB: Reloaded2.31,631-10.1
12--Star Trek Online1.91,371-2.2
Total MMORPG hours played Sunday: 92,543
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?


  1. Nice work. It's bad enough dealing with the Jita spammers...just thinking of what a pain Eve would be if RMT also filled the chat. Think I would run out of "block" slots pretty quickly. It's good that Eve offers a way to easily report isk spammers in local. Looking forward to next entry!

  2. The number of people doing heroic raids is miniscule, so I doubt hotfixes to H HoF/ToES would have any discernable effect on the numbers.

    I'll add that usage figures are trending up right now on warcraftrealms.com (see "Faction Activity"), so there's something odd going on with one or both of these sets of numbers.