The Daily Grind: Which MMO do you wish were more transparent about its metrics?

    
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Numbers numbers numbers: I wish we could have more. No, let me amend that. I wish we had fewer numerical representations inside MMOs. I’d much rather go back to the days when item quality was a basic suffix or prefix, the days before gearscore and stat squish.

But behind the scenes? I want all the numbers. I want to know why people buy butter in video games, how many people do raids, what type of people play which classes, what people do when you tweak things ever so slightly. I want to know how many people play period! That’s why I was so excited when EG7 bought Daybreak and delivered so much information about its MMOs to investors. It’s not an MMO, but Slay the Spire did something even more epic before the holidays, pushing out a 27GB data dump covering 77,000,000 runs over the last few years. 27GB! It’s the rare MMO that gives players more than a press release or a sanitized infographic. Imagine what people could do with data like those.

Which MMO do you wish were more transparent about its metrics?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Rndomuser

I want to see number of current players logged into each server. And I wish this info would be mandatory for each MMORPG. I want to play on most populated servers, this is why I choose to play MMORPGs in first place – I like seeing actual players running around in game or doing their own thing, and using definitions like “high” or “medium” to describe server population is not enough, especially if multiple servers are described with same definition.

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Schmidt.Capela

No, let me amend that. I wish we had fewer numerical representations inside MMOs.

I’m the opposite. I want more numerical, precise representations that concern the inner workings of the game. Heck, I would love to see the math (or else the source code) behind combat, crafting, gathering, etc.

In fact, one of the reasons I love Unity games is because I can just open their executables with DNSpy to take a look at their source code and as such find how the game handles every single mechanical aspect (and often change those that I dislike; for example, before I lost my game HD, my copy of Final Fantasy IX had all the RNG in growing TetraMaster cards removed, because while I love the mini-game I hated how much progression depended on raw luck).

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MassivelyMacD

I for one would like to finally play an MMORPG that does not give away any numbers at all. No theory-crafting, no “you-do-not-have-the-one-viable-build” toxicity about “being carried”. You have equipment and abilities and you need to guess from your successes whether this is working or not.

I would be very interested to find out for myself how that would do.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

Any MMO with lockboxes and transparency behind drop rates.

The lot of em are cowards.

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Bryan Correll

I want to know why people buy butter in video games

I assume it’s to go on the popcorn.

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Harbinger_Kyleran

I’d like to see how much revenue each form of monetization makes in the games I play, preferably before I decide to play them.

Yeah, I know, when pigs fly…

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Sleepy

Specifically, I’d pay to see the player numbers in Neverwinter for the past week. It can’t be pretty.

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kjempff

About the games: Absolutely I want more numbers. How many play, how many are subbed, how many distinct users in a month, how many raids, class and level distribution, timezone, peak hours and count, how many does certain content etc etc..
But providing this information is kinda helping your competitors, so I am not sure how realistic it is that big game companies would provide this.

In the games: Mmos are way too much about the number game, so less numbers please.
Make more generic power descriptions instead of numbers.
Make it harder to calculate a precise value, by varying encounters and situational options, by advanced combos of co-op, and a variety of strategies to handle encounters.
Make “success” less about raw damage output and more about using tactics, such that a specific player/characters worth can not be calculated.

Or even my old idea of just hiding the numbers from the main interface. So that you can go and find the numbers in some sub screens if you need to, but the main game is free of numbers and more about “being present as your character” and less/not about distractions from numbers and other things that take you out of the “suspension of disbelief” (this is actually quite realistic to do for a mmo, and doesn’t require any radical change in game design).

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Anstalt

Like Bree, I want all the numbers, but primarily I’d like to see the player numbers: active subscriptions, active players, concurrent players, server numbers and retention stats, then I’d love to see what content all those players are consuming.

I’d particularly like to find out about the relationship between “hardcore” and “casual” gamers and how it affects retention. We know that the casual crowd is a lot larger than the hardcore crowd, but I’ve long believed that if you could retain the hardcore players then it would have a positive effect on casual retention too. This is based off anecdotal evidence that the hardcore players are the ones running guilds, organising events, writing guides and generally increasing community engagement, all of which has a positive effect on retention. However, I have no numbers to back it up!

For specific games, the ones I’m most curious about are LotRO, SWTOR and WoW.

LotRO because i played it for so many years. Last years data dump was interesting, but only covered a snapshot in time. I would love to see their numbers for every year since release.

SWTOR because its the game I love to hate. At launch, EA used to release it’s numbers in their investor reports and those reports showed that the game dropped below 500k within the first 3-6 months….and 500k was their break even point, hence the switch to F2P. The game has obviously kept going ever since so I’m curious to see how.

WoW just because its the biggest, I’d like to see exactly how big and how those numbers changed over the years. Is it retaining all those people for multiple years? Does it have a high churn rate? What are all those people doing in game?

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Kickstarter Donor
Peregrine Falcon

I agree with you. Those are exactly the numbers I’d like to see and for the exact same reasons. Developers and studio heads don’t want us to see those numbers, not just so they can continue to lie to us, but also so as not to give ammo to their critics.

Right now most of the criticism they get is from random trolls on the internet, who have no credibility. The last thing they want is to hear from a million back seat drivers who’ve looked at the data and either drawn incorrect conclusions or demand that their game do the same thing as every other game in existence because “the numbers support it.”

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Oleg Chebeneev

Knowing playerbase numbers for every MMO would be cool. Sadly never happens

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Jon Wax

Are you playing the game? Do you like the game?

If yes, then those are the only numbers that count.

Once you dive into anything too deep you run the risk of turning fun into work.

And personally I prefer an organic feeling of discovery when mucking about. If you already know what it takes to achieve a thing, meh. What’s the point then?

I don’t want to know there’s a super secret cap of if you kill 3000 X with headshots, your arrows become tracer rounds. I’d rather stumble across it organically.

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feleran

It’s definitely not that simple. Before I invest lots of time somewhere I want to be sure the game is still there and well populated after 2 years too. Otherwise I could have selected another game that meets this condition.

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Jon Wax

Meh. It’s a game, not a new car.

Trying to hedge your bets waiting for the perfect game means you’ll miss out on stuff. Some stuff is worth missing but there are ok moments even in smaller games.

Being popular doesn’t mean a game is good.

Mcdonald’s sells millions of burgers. But that doesn’t make it real food. It’s just cheap and easy to access.

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Every last one–although I would then like some explanation of what said numbers mean.

For the love of Spock, could STAR TREK ONLINE explain what all the different skills, traits, attributes, gear and weapons do?!!

I remember in the days of the STO-ked podcast, they’d have segments on builds, aka minmax sessions, that Mine Eyes Glazed Over–and I love Differential Calculus.

For STAR CITIZEN, which floods players with data (now if only they were open about bad news, major obstacles they have and how they are dealing with them, you know, the thing we wish all studios would do, it would be souch better, but I digress), I like how there YouTube accounts that summarize the raw numbers, Bored Gamer, Super Mac Brother, Noobifier, Space Tomato.

For GUILD WARS 2, I think Wooden Potatoes has a ton of guides, especially the “Boomerang” guides for players returning to the games after an extended absence.

For ELITE DANGEROUS, I think Obsidian Ant and Dig That, though Dig That does and interesting intro to ED for SC players and vice versa.

Also, a certain mmo news website, MASSIVELY OP, also summarizes a lot of other mmo’s raw numbers when they’re released.