Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Digital Dozen: 3 June 2014

The rankings of the top twelve MMORPGs as determined by the players of the Xfire community from play on Sunday, 1 June 2014.  For more details about the methodology, click here.  Historical data can be found here.

Rank Prev Week Game ScoreHours Played +/- %
11World of Warcraft 33.7 6,946+5.4
32Guild Wars 212.72,626-13.2
43Star Wars: The Old Republic7.91,620-1.3
65Elder Scrolls Online4.0832-16.6
74Final Fantasy XIV4.0825-21.9
97EVE Online3.3681-19.0
Total Digital Dozen Hours: 20,608

Sunday saw a big increase in interest by the Xfire community in its favorite MMORPGs.  The 16% increase in time spent playing these games was spurred by the early access launch of Wildstar over the weekend.  Many games saw a decrease in interest as a result, led by Guild Wars 2 (-399 hours) and Final Fantasy XIV (-231 hours).  In addition to Wildstar, RIFT jumped back into the Digital Dozen after a four-week absence.  The games falling off the list this week were Metin 2 and Maple Story.

Measuring Success.  So how did Wildstar do with Xfire members during its early access weekend?  I went through the records of the past two years and pulled information from the launches of several other games.

The score is the Digital Dozen score for either the first or second week of a game's launch.  The rank is the game's ranking in the Digital Dozen for that week.  The Digital Dozen score helps normalize the rankings over the past two years given the declining membership of the Xfire community.

According to the Digital Dozen scores, Wildstar had the second most popular launch among the Xfire community since February 2012.   Only Guild Wars 2's highly successful debut in August 2012, when it vaulted past World of Warcraft, received a warmer reception.  The score promises to get higher next week on the first Sunday after the full launch today.  Of the seven previous games listed, only Neverwinter experienced a drop in interest the second Sunday.  Neverwinter did experience a disastrously exploit-ridden launch in which the in-game economy was crippled right at the start.  Barring news like that, I expect Wildstar to solidify its great start next week.

Blizzard's Magic.  Hidden in the news about Wildstar, World of Warcraft actually experienced a 5.4% increase in playtime on Sunday.  What gives?  Was it the patch released last Tuesday?  Maybe the excitement over the in-game mount competition and the voting that started on Friday?  Or perhaps players were excited at the chance to purchase the Armored Bloodwing mount and Blossoming Ancient pet for 35% off (offer good through 11:59pm PDT today).  The cynical might claim that due to the queues in Wildstar, a lot of players logged into WoW instead.  Whatever the reason, WoW did not see a decline in interest Sunday.  Will that trend continue next week?


  1. As someone who loves numbers, I really enjoy seeing this article every week. I do have a question though.

    I might be reading the xfire stats completely wrong, but at 7210 minutes per day, shouldn't EverQuest be on that list?

    1. The figures in the table are hours, not minutes. So the 7210 minutes turns into 120 hours. As an old EQ2 player, as much as I'd love to see EQ make the list one week, it doesn't get there.

    2. I almost forgot. The page I look at shows the play time in hours. Where can I find the minutes played?

    3. This is where I found it: http://classic.xfire.com/games/eq/EverQuest/

      I was curious to see where SoE's franchise came in and it was the first page I got after a Google search. My thinking was that 7210 minutes per day would be ~120 hours per day or 840 hours per week.

    4. That explains the misunderstanding. The hours on the list are for Sunday only, not for the whole week. I picked Sunday because that tends to be the busiest day for gaming.

  2. I have a theory about the effect of MMO releases on WoW participation.

    New MMOs draw disproportinately many people form other non-WoW MMOs. SWTOR drew people from Rift, Wildstar is pulling them from GW2 and SWTOR, and so on. The release of a new MMO is a natural time for guilds in these other MMOs to fall apart. When that happens, some of the players go back to WoW instead of to the new game.