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.”
“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 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”