Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Digital Dozen: 3 September 2013

The rankings of the top twelve MMORPGs as determined by the players of the Xfire community from play on Sunday, 2 September 2013.  For more details about the methodology, click here.  Historical data can be found here.

Rank Prev Week Game ScoreHours Played +/- %
11World of Warcraft 33.4 13,763-3.4
22Guild Wars 218.27,498-0.7
3--Final Fantasy XIV17.57,200--
43Star Wars: The Old Republic7.43,064-8.6
64EVE Online3.91,599-15.4
89Planetside 22.2903-3.2
108Lord of the Rings Online2.0821-12.9
12--Metin 21.8761+28.6
Total Digital Dozen Hours: 41,145

The unofficial final Sunday of the summer saw the Xfire community flock back to their computers to play MMORPGs, with the amount of time spent in their favorite virtual worlds increasing by 17.5% over the previous Sunday.  The increase was led by the first live weekend of Final Fantasy XIV along with Aion (+60.7%) and Metin 2 (+28.6%).  All was not well as a bevy of games led by EVE Online (-15.4%), Neverwinter (-14.5%) and Tera (-13.4%) all experienced double-digit declines in playtime.

Final Fantasy XIV - The big news of the week was the relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV on 28 August.  I doubt anyone really expected a subscription game would receive such a warm welcome after a full revamp of the game.  That included Square Enix, which not only saw major issues with logging in but neglected to provide a login queue to get into the game.  Square Enix also did not install code to kick AFK players from the servers, which led many players to just remain logged into the game in an attempt to beat the login issues.

That last practice created a question as to whether Final Fantasy XIV should be listed.  I do have an "anti-bot" rule in place to weed out games that encourage players to stay logged in, either through game mechanics or through having players stay logged in to artificially inflate the Xfire hours.  At an average playtime of 7.5 hours, I determined that FFXIV was just within the boundaries.  Hopefully the 10 hour maintenance that Square Enix will perform today beginning at 5pm PDT will help solve the issues.  Then again, that may not reduce the number of hours played as Square Enix had halted sales of the digital download version on the 27th.

Unlocking Wealth - Aion found a new way to get players to login: reduce the cooldown times for instances.  That's right, NCSoft is selling reduced instance cooldowns for level 61+ instances in the cash shop.  For $5, players can for 30 days see cooldowns on their favorite instance drop from 46-98 hours.  With players now able to run 11 instances every day, players now have more content they can play every day.  The question remains whether Aion will see the population remain at this level for the long term.

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