Global Chat: What is the population of Guild Wars 2?

Does it matter how many people are playing your MMO? For some, yes, it does. It’s at least of passing interest to others, especially if players are looking for a “healthy” title or want a large number with which to impress their friends and argue that this MMO is besting another.

So don’t be too surprised that there is an effort to figure out what Guild Wars 2’s (undisclosed) population is at the moment. In An Age challenges one community estimate of 3.3 million players by looking at the available evidence and financial reports.

“Here’s my gut check: Guild Wars 2 probably has about 1.5 million monthly ‘players’ and many times less people who actually log on when there isn’t a holiday event/Living Story taking place,” he argues. “Ultimately though, I think Guild Wars 2 is actually uniquely well-positioned to survive regardless of whether it consists of a million actives or three million tourists.”

Tales of the Aggronaut: Fall of Gigantic

“When it finally launched in July of 2017, it was the textbook definition of ‘too little too late.’ It released on Windows Store/Xbox One and a version that ran on the Arc Client available through the Perfect World store or Steam. At this point unfortunately nobody really cared. I’ve never actually played the released version of this game because while I filled up a hype balloon at Pax South 2015, over the course of the next few years a bunch of tiny punctures drained every bit of it away to where I was left with a flaccid balloon that could never be inflated again.”

The Ancient Gaming Noob: Falling into Battle for Azeroth mania

“The Highmountain mount is moose-like, which seems a little odd when you see a Tauren with moose antlers riding what seems to be a moose as well. It is a bit like he is riding his second cousin or something.”

MMO Bro: We have enough MMOs

“We don’t need a constant chain of new games to play. We need games that we can stick with for the long haul, that continue to thrive years after launch. The health of the MMORPG genre is therefore best measured not by the number of new releases, but by the prosperity and popularity of the games that are already live.”

Occasional Hero: Do MMO control schemes discourage player interaction?

“Later, games moved away from point-and-click controls to more WoW-style controls, and now we’re seeing more and more games (like ESO) with shooter-style action combat controls. In these games you can’t really type without bringing your gameplay to a grinding halt, or at best running the risk of autorunning off of a cliff.”

Dragonchasers: Monster Hunter World is frustrating fun

“Anyway, no regrets on this purchase. I mean, it is a WEIRD game with some pretty frustrating design decisions, honestly. Sometimes it feels like the controls are intended to be a challenge to overcome. Most quests have a time limit of 50 minutes and there’s no way to ‘save’ mid-quest as far as I know.”

GamingSF: Character permanence

“That got me thinking about character permanence: it’s a core feature of MMORPGs in general, something that I take for granted in my online gaming. The characters that I create and play will be there (barring a game shutdown) whenever I come back to them, there is permanence and progression ready to return to. The concept of creating a temporary character for a season, leveling them over a fixed time period and then abandoning them, is anathema to me.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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40 Comments on "Global Chat: What is the population of Guild Wars 2?"

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Armsbend

Tales of the Aggronaut:

“I’ve never actually played the released version of this game”

k. thanks for your riveting opinion on the game then.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

That actually kind of says a lot about why it failed out the gate. People tried the pre-release state and didn’t find it substantive enough to even bother trying the released. That’s the risk a lot of these titles with extended testing are taking. They use up all that pre-launch hype way too early on and when it releases people do not have any left and have moved onto the next hype train.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Yeah, it ran in beta for soooooo long. In this case, that’s not a demerit for the author!

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Vorender

GW2, despite its flaws, is one of the gems of the genre. Especially one made within the last 7 years. Not many other ‘recent’ titles seem as healthy.

distaste_hatesu
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distaste_hatesu

If you just picked it up now I’m sure the experience is better, but if you started at the beginning its far from a gem. I mean I find it hard to even get passed the blatant lying by the devs, followed by no communication at all, and of course the neglect of major features of the game that leads to people not playing it and since no one is playing it it doesn’t get updates. ArenaNet devs embody “one step forward, two steps back”. Time and time again they showed they weren’t listening and even when they finally said they were adding a feature that people wanted they would find a way to implement it that defeated the purpose. Don’t even get me started on class balance or the push for Esports.

The 1-80 PvE leveling experience is great. Not having to pickup quests I absolutely loved. Sadly that only goes so far and ArenaNet failed constantly on nearly every front. The only reason it seems so healthy is the dearth of AAA MMO’s released. You’ve got WoW, ESO, FFXIV, SWTOR, and GW2. So it’s no wonder why a B2P game like GW2 is still doing alright, if it was a sub based game it would have died long ago.

kalamari_
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kalamari_

your first paragraph is just horribly wrong and full of missinformations and personal opinions and not a fair review of the game in its current state at all.

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Bruno Brito

Or maybe we don’t have any mmo’s above mediocre nowadays.

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Castagere Shaikura

For me i don’t seem to stick with any mmo’s like i used to when i was younger. There are so many mmo’s to chose from and today its one reason why people don’t stick to just one anymore. In 2000 when i played Anarchy Online there were just a few mmo’s to chose from so player bases were larger back then. GW2 doesn’t really need a massive player base to keep running like many here love to post. These people want to believe this and its just a myth. Look at the smaller mmo’s out there as proof of this. DAOC is still going fine with its small player base heck even a game like Istaria the gifted is still running.

Line
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Line

Plenty of people.
But probably a vast majority of low paying, little time invested casuals.
Makes sense, since it’s made for them by design, and the content of the last few years definitely was tailored to players looking for story and easy, informal group play.

That was also proved with the revenue last quarter, more lootboxes=more money, instead of content like raids. Patches haven’t been relevant moneymakers in a while.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

MMO Bro: We have enough MMOs

I found this article’s opening statement interesting but, although I share his general optimism, I believe his reasoning has some subtle flaws:

MMO players don’t need a constant stream of new titles; we just need a solid selection of games that continue to grow and prosper. And that’s exactly what we’ve got. Simply put, we have enough MMOs.

A constant stream of sloppily made titles are definitely not needed, they will make the cranky gamers even crankier. We definitely do not need more MMO’s in this sense, and we do need a solid selection of a few games that prosper, but we do need new concepts, new and original ideas, and more dynamic mechanics. And that is exactly what we DO NOT have.

We want to be able to set down roots in a game and settle in for the long haul. … We don’t need a constant chain of new games to play. We need games that we can stick with for the long haul, that continue to thrive years after launch. … That means that any new games are going to cannibalize the players from existing games, at least to some extent. … The pool of potential MMO players is, I believe, relatively static. … We have sci-fi MMOs, like EVE Online and Star Trek Online. We have shooter MMOs, like Destiny and Warframe. We have story MMOs and PvP MMOs and raiding MMOs. We have action combat MMOs and tab target MMOs, photo-realistic MMOs and anime MMOs, subscription MMOs and free to play MMOs.

When a gamer gets burnt out from his primary game there are three possibilities:

(1) they go and try something similar and return, exactly because they remain attached to their original favorite game
(2) they go and try an MMORPG with a completely different concept and stick to the new one
(3) they go and try something else that does not stick, and end up being disappointed and bitter.

(3) would still count to the potential pool of MMO players, but their activity in the genre would be minimized. This is really obvious when looking it from the perspective of a purely-PVE, or a purely-PVP, or a PVX player. There are few successful purely PvP MMORPG games, meaning that the PVP playerbase is bleeding towards lobby games. And the PVE games are usually a reskin of one another, which means that many PVE players that do not land on (1), end up landing on (3), with PVX players being able to switch easier between different games.

Finally, a constant stream of games which try different concepts, even if they fail, seeds good and fresh ideas that a future successful game might pick up. And this is DEFINITELY something the genre needs at this point.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

idk what the mmo community obsession is with putting down roots in general. it tends to come from the most vocal adn visible bunch that get into and smash their heads on getting self serving feedback impleemneted in beta and then abandon the game as soon as possible when their exact demands aren’t executed in exactly the way they’ve imagined only to repeat the process with the next game while talking shit about everyone they deem to be casual game hoppers who don’t deserve mmo’s.

every single game i ever spent years in mmo or not i never went into them thinking about “utting down roots” or makign the game last me more than 15 minutes. i might’ve started making longer term plans in them but there was never some burning compulsion to force myself to play beyond their currently entertaining me (and my friends). and in each case of those games that did last me years the moment they stopped being entertaining i dropped them like a hot potato and tried out other games that caught my fancy.

apparently to some tho this makes me a villain XD

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Thomas Zervogiannis

Not a villain, and personally I believe that this is the healthy approach. But I think you are the minority :)

I always found this going hand-to-hand with the investment/reward mentality that many MMO gamers have, which leads them to think more of the reward at the end of the road (and the attachment to the game that this builds) rather than whether they enjoy getting there in the first place. Which is also what drives them away from games implementing perma-loss or full loot mechanics. Gamers judging the game loops as being more important than the reward system tend to brush aside perma-loss mechanics more easily: they can just recover their losses while having the same fun that they had getting there in the first place.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

eh i think i’m the majoirity, just the majority of mmo players have been driven off voicing that and other stuff by the vocal and visible minority that makes betas and launch feedback forums all about themselves and themselves alone rather than anyone else at all.

otherwise i think the entire wow clone era’s launch boomk then bust paradigmi speaks volumes to my mentality, even if different people arrive there at different times.

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Paragon Lost

No, I think you’re thinking is incorrect Dk. Maybe in the case of MMO’s in general it “might” be true or closer to true. I think that in the case of mmo-RPGs, most of us are looking for a long term home.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

you edited your post from nothing more than “no.” to this well after i replied below so i’ll say everyone probably would like any game to last as long as possible, wether they are conciously looking for an mmorpg to call home or not.

few people are memeing about putting down roots and expecting any given mmorpg to last them years repeatedly to no avail, except for people who keep coming back to wow and even wow’s veteran returners rarely anymore have any delusions about “putting down roots in teh community long term” but rather realize it can be quite fluid and transient.

and that’s difference, the ever looking for an mmo home cliche that never finds it but is always betting on the next big mmorpg vs the vast majority that have learned to enjoy the ride while it lasts for as long as it lasts, even if it takes some time to come to that realization.

and the others that smash their head in frustration on an mmo for years only to come away feeling abused by the game company for giving their loyalty.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

no? you think the vocal visible people who talk about how the next big game of the past decade plus would be their game to call home for the next 20 billion years is the majority?

the ones that mmo devs pandered to over and over again with the same tired cliches in different minor iterations at the expense of anyone else’s feedfback while those other people slowly just stopped asking for anything at all?

the majorty of mmo playres in any given game let alone over all don’t post on forums or social media to begin with, let alone the ones that have been run roughshed over for daring to give feedback that isn’t the same old same old.

and we just get run off. changes get made to pander to those vocal visible feedback spammers at our expense, and patch after patch that ruins a game for us we leave.

while the vocal visible feedback givers are never happy and rage quit and go on to claim to new game’s devs that the last game that listened to them failed because it didn’t listen to them.

it was a vicious cycle for well over a decade.

might as well say the majority of mmo players noped out of wildstar because it wasnt hardcore enough like the visible vocal feedback players keep saying on social media was it’s problem.

edit: i’m not saying i and my specific desires are the majority. just that the majority of people’s desires and feedback and what they like in a game is undermined and over ridden by the small number of vocal and visible people that engage in tropes like “put down roots and play a game for years to come” that are most viisible and vocal in mmo feedback venues. who despite getting their way time and time again are never satisfied and while driving away most other players of these games by getting devs to shit on what they like about them, are never happy with how devs implement what they say they want and so are also soon to leave despite constantly repeating “putting down roots and making a game last long term”.

in the end what remains is a smaller fraction of what a game starts with that is not unhappy with changes or simply smahses their head on them for as long as they can convince themselves to do so.

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Bruno Brito

I just think most MMO players aren’t happy because most MMOs are pretty limited.

I loved the concept of Wildstar. The way they sold me the world sounded like a sandboxy game with all the tools you would have to unchart Nexus. The idea of classes were a bit locked to me, but the game itself sounded cool. Then it came, and it was a themepark through a through. A good one? Yeah. But a Themepark.

Same issue that i had with GW2.

I wanna be part of a world. Having my home instance in GW2 being unable to be customized, or realizing half of my character is locked behind dubious design decisions and shallow mechanics is pretty immersionbreaking. GW2 is specially hurtful to me because of it. The game mechanics are shallow, and the whole game suffers from it. The Fashion Wars and the map discovery is ok. The player to player interaction is good, but it’s not as open-ended as it could be. And the way the players interact with the world is bad, limited. Not what it was in the tin can.

That’s my biggest gripe with MMO’s nowadays. They fail to bring us the feeling of belonging. The feeling of having a home. And then, the next one comes promising the world. Of course, we’ll take the bait.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

and that’s what i feel like the majority of mmorpg players want in one direction or another. as opposed to these visible vocal minorities that devs on each subgenre paner to over and over again.

i feel like there’s a really massive desire for the virtual world game, but the mmorpg genre has utterly failed at providing it.

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Bruno Brito

Pretty much. We’re too themepark focused yet. I think the gems we had are the old games, and they’re worth taking a look upon to direct where we should go next. Neocron, Fallen Earth, hell, even Tibia.

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Bryan Turner

Does it really matter what size GW2’s population is, the real question is are there enough paying customers to keep GW2 Solvent at pace of content we’ve become used to for the past year.

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Sally Bowls

to keep GW2 Solvent

That is a necessary but not sufficient condition for investment. Anet/GW2 is not a standalone company. They are one product in a multi-product, multibillion-dollar company.

NCSoft executives have finite resources and far more opportunities than they can all fund aggressively. So when NCSoft is allocating resources, they can fund e.g. Mergers&Acquisitions, mobile, B&S, or GW2. I think GW2 is the fourth of those four. For every dollar of “profit”/contribution margin that GW2 earns, how much is reinvested back in GW2? $0.10? $0.80? In one year, NCSoft went from 0 to 60% of its devs being mobile. You can’t really fund that and still allow games like Lineage and GW2 to spend 100% of their “profits” on themselves, the older games have to fund the development of the stars of tomorrow.

The numbers are not just about how much GW2 makes, but how much of that do they get to spend. Are they a high-growth business to be invested in? Or a stable/declining cash cow to be miked? So there is probably a feedback loop: the more GW2 profits increase/decrease, not only does the amount increase/decrease but the % of that amount the product gets to keep also increases/decreases.

bcg_matrix.jpg
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Bryan Turner

Maybe this is why Heart of Thorns was so feature rich, they wanted to make sure they put as much polish as possible front loaded into the first expansion because ANet knew they were going to have less and less reinvestment, all newer expansions would be cheaper because the frame work was done?

plasmajohn
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plasmajohn

Isn’t ArenaNet independent of NCSoft? At the very least they have much more autonomy over their game(s) than say Carbine which is definitely wholly owned.

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Sally Bowls

They are 100% owned; I don’t think they have any more or less legal independence than Carbine. They have as much autonomy as NCSoft chooses to give them. The CEO’s wife is the head of NCWest.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

> there enough paying customers to keep GW2 Solvent at pace of content we’ve become used to for the past year.

more like enough people buying the next series of must have lockboxes amirite? >>

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

extrapolate what the maximum number of copies of the latest expansion sold were, and then infer from experienced past observation that retention falls off after bringing back people for new expansions.

i don’t recall exact best generous guess estimates for the current expansion sales but i remember HOT selling alot better and that was well under a million copies sold at best, so undoubtedly unless there’s a large fraction of the active playerbase that is sitting on vanilla there is less than a million active players playing gw2 with any regularity at all.

Emmanuel Carabott
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Emmanuel Carabott

dont forget HOT costs 30% more then POF so while HOT did 67M in its first 2Q and while POF did 54M in its first 2Q, in essence the 54M is the equivalent of 70.2M in terms of HOT sales. Not just that but HOT 1st quarter consisted of 1 1/2 months while POF 1st quarter was just a week long.

but in any case this is all speculative and none of this really translates to any meaningful numbers. We dont know how many people bought the basic vs deluxe ,we cant know how many people bought gems or didnt, we dont know how many spent their gems or didnt.

Like someone said whats important is for ncsoft to be happy with the numbers and nothing else.. so far for POF seems like they’re okey with them (happy is probably stretching it)

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Sally Bowls

See below: we know, at least for HoT, the majority of the revenue was from the cash shop, not box sales
—-
“POF 1st quarter was just a week long.” does not seem to matter since this quarter NCSoft said

NCSoft180207.JPG
Emmanuel Carabott
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Emmanuel Carabott

that quote though is from the call for the 2nd quarter which actually reinforces the fact that since 1st quarter only consisted of a week of sales it had an effect so much so they felt the need to point that out at the 2nd quarter call.

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Sally Bowls

Perhaps. It could be a translation issue, but if they booked some expansion sales in Q1, that you could say “included in full” for the second quarter. Maybe I am too literal or they are too sloppy, but to me “in full” means “full” and does not mean “most of the revenue except for the seven days.”

BTW, this is not about seven days; PoF went on sale IIRC August 1, so sales through Sept 30 would not only include the sales on the 22nd through 30th but also the 52 days prior to 9/22.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

some good points, which is why i prefer to say “generous/liberal” guestimates and give it the benefit of the doubt.

ncsoft seems happy with their current western studios and properties rn wether anet or carbine so… while i’m not fond of anet and i think carbine has some real culture issues despite the game being one of my faves i hope ncsoft keeps both around for a long time to come and develops both to a beter place for ncsoft the studios’ workers and players.

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Sally Bowls

The HOT sales were closer to a third or a half million so yeah a million playing regularly seems very high and 3.3M would be much more inconceivable for me.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

as usual in part because of my personal bias i go with most liberal and generous guesstimates.

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

from what i recall off the top of my head HOT launch sales would’ve been damn near spot on 500k if no one bought gems that quarter.

POF came in at the end of a quarter as others have noted but the quarter after had the mount skin sales that got more publicity than the expansion itself… so it can go either way. but i think we’d agree on where to put our bets on where that bump in revenue came from in teh 2nd quarter.

YARRR

Emmanuel Carabott
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Emmanuel Carabott

Thing is we dont know how many sales HOT had, 300k – 500k is entirely speculative. all we can say with certainty is in the first 2 quarters sales were at best 1.4m. Truth is real number could be as small as 100k or as big as 1m … we just dont know and have no way of know. as far as i know no official number has ever been released

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

$500k usd is the entirely quartely revene for gw2 that quarter. we are being being generous and liberal with our estimates when we fill it out to box sales to the max considering they also went f2p on vanilla and would’ve had cash shop sales from that as well as returning expansion buyers.

we are speculating if at all in anet’s favour on this one.

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Sally Bowls

It most certainly is not entirely speculative. I don’t know what “we” know, but let me give you my calculations from what NCSOft itself has said.

In Seoul Aug 11, 2016 (Thomson StreetEvents) — Edited Transcript of NC Soft Corp earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, August 11, 2016 at 1:30:00am GMT

Jeong Yongjei, Mirae Asset Securities – Analyst [15]
——————————————————————————-
(Interpreted) So there are two questions that I would like to ask you. First is about Guild Wars 2. If you look at the Guild Wars 2 revenue performance it seems that the performance in this quarter was even lower than the actual performance that we had seen when — before the expansion pack was actually launched. So therefore it seems that this quarter was very weak in terms of the revenue. Is there any specific reason for that?

——————————————————————————-
Yoon Jae-Soo, NC Soft Corp – CFO [16]
——————————————————————————-
(Interpreted) So to answer the question about Guild Wars 2, if you look at the revenue before the expansion pack it was in the range of around KRW20 billion so what you have said is the situation that we face right now. Then after we launched the expansion pack of course we did see a revenue increase. If you see where the revenue drivers were in terms of the increase in itself, actually around three-quarters or maybe two-thirds of the revenue came from our in game item sales or our gem sales and then the remaining revenue was actually driven by the actual box sales that we had. However, as the effects of the new expansion pack launch faded, the revenues that were generated from the box sales in itself have weakened and therefore that has been the result against the weak performance that we have seen this quarter.
What we’re planning to do going forward is that we are going to shorten the span for the next launch of the expansion pack. So right now we are in the phase of preparing for the second expansion pack and we are going to shorten the launch — timing between the different boxes that we launch to be able to create more momentum.

Other facts we know are the Q4’15 GW2 sales were 37,331 an increase of about 17B kwon which Google says is currently US$15.9M. Using the above, the box sales were (1-3/4) to (1-2/3) of that incremental number.

That comes out to box sales of about US$4M to US$5.3M. So I think 300,000 is optimistic and think sales of 1M is demonstrably counter to what NCSoft’s CFO has said.

Emmanuel Carabott
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Emmanuel Carabott

Thanks for digging up this quote, that must have been difficult to find. These numbers are super interesting. I’d argue chances are you’d get less gem sales when an expansion hits (I am assuming people are more likely to drop $10-$20 on gems if they didnt have to pay $50 for an expansion that month) which means what? most of the gem sales were from f2p players? that would imply a massive influx of f2p (I dont assume a lot of people would drop money on a f2p title the first month they start playing especially when said game doesnt really have anything you’re forcefully made to buy. But then the question is where did those people go just 4 months later? Unless, could the CFO counting the deluxe version as gem sales rather then a box sale? I have no idea I just cant wrap my head around why you’d have a gem sale increase of
about $2m on the first month of an expansion launch.

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sophiskiai

I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a large contingent of active F2P players who haven’t bought expansions or the base game.

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Robert Basler

Anecdotally, I see more people on the heart of thorns maps than on vanilla.