Tag Archives: Charts and Graphs

Top 25 EVE Online Corporations Graph – The End Number

CCP Quant put up the monthly economic report for January 2017 yesterday.  I always go peruse the numbers and to see what has changed.  Cobalt Edge, for example, passed Delve as the regional mining champion.  Who is mining away up there?  Anyway, it is a treasure and not the sort of thing other MMO devs put out there.  EVE is its own special thing.

At the end of the report there was a bonus graph tracking the growth and changes of the “top 25” corporations, so ranked due to their peak membership.  It is a nice chart to look at:

Development of the top 25 corporations in EVE Online since 2012

Development of the top 25 corporations in EVE Online since 2012

It shows the ebb and flow of some of the long standing corporations as well as the rise of the new player friendly corporations in Null sec, starting with Brave Newbies Inc. then followed by KarmaFleet and Pandemic Horde Inc.

However, the chart was missing one detail in my opinion.  The left edge of the chart indicates the starting scale indicating how wide the flow would be at 8,000 members.  However, there is no gradation and no further measure, so it is hard to tell how big the combined mass of capsuleers in these corps really is.  So I went to DOTLAN and searched up each of the corporations and added up their current membership to get a number.

The right side of the graph represents about 45,000 pilots spread across 21 corporations, with the individual counts as follows, listed out top to bottom as they appear on the graph:

  1. Pandemic Horde – 12,054
  2. KarmaFleet – 4,848
  3. Red Federation – 2,312
  4. Blue Republic – 3,580
  5. EVE University – 1,944
  6. Fusion Enterprises Ltd. – 488
  7. Ascendance – 1,130
  8. Imperial Guardians – 530
  9. Sniggerdly – 477
  10. health clinic – 523
  11. Wildly Inappropriate – 1,052
  12. The Graduates – 416
  13. Conoco. – 1,187
  14. Mission Ready Mining – 1,735
  15. Peoples Liberation Army – 894
  16. 30plus – 374
  17. Signal Cartel – 822
  18. BOVRIL bOREers Mining CO-OP – 221
  19. GoonWaffe – 3,349
  20. Dreddit – 4,026
  21. Brave Newbies Inc. – 3,123

That is a snapshot of course, the count for a brief  moment in time as the numbers are constantly changing.  But it helps set the scale of the change over the time frame of the graph.

Torn on MMORPGs

That headline doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Back at the start of November I got an unsolicited email asking me for something.  Not an uncommon occurrence.  I get a surprising amount of offers on the blog email address, most of which I delete out of hand.  This one, however, appeared to be from an actual person.  I was still skeptical.  If you send me a note asking for something on that account, expect that.  But wanted to know what he was really up to.

Kevin, Head of Digital at Chedburn Networks Ltd, the makers of the text MMO Torn (from which I draw the title of this post, so there is that question answered) wanted to know if I would provide feedback on something akin to an MMORPG white paper project they were working on and, also, would I like my blog to be listed on the finished product.

After a bit of back and forth and cynicism on my part, set off by trigger words like “brand exposure,” I said I would look take a look.  After seeing an early draft, I said I would be okay with being listed as an example of an MMORPG blogger along with Syp, Murph, Jewel, Chris from Game by Night (where is your handle, man?), and some John Doe guy that used to write about MMOs, then stopped, but who can’t stop reminding people that he could have been a contender or something.

(I also appear to be the only one of the six that can follow instructions, judging from the final product, where I am the only one with an “established” date.)

That was in late November, after which the whole thing dwindled into silence… until this week, when I got an email with a link to the finished product.  You can go see it here.

There is actually quite a bit of information packed into that.  There is a nice little history of online games with a timeline that starts with Ultima Online and carries through to today, picking out some events that have happened along the way.  It is interesting, in its way, to see what got included.  I’m not sure that the EVE Online T20 scandal ranks up there with the advent of Leeroy Jenkins.  And did nothing happen in 2009 besides the launch of Aion?  It is also hard for me to see these two next to each other like they were totally unconnected events.  And no mention of Warhammer Online, which killed the genre.

SWG was closed because of SWTOR

SWG was closed because of SWTOR

There is also a chart listing out the top MMOs out right now that contains some hard numbers that I am sure people will want to see.  You can, I suppose, extrapolate total player bases by multiplying players per world by the number of worlds they list out.  Of course EVE Online is the top MMO when you sort that way, though the total players is a bit gloomy, while the WoW numbers seem to add up to a total not seen since 2010.

That is a lot of daily players...

That is a lot of daily players…

I asked about the source for some of those numbers, as some of them seem quite questionable, like the ones listed for EverQuest Next.

Daybreak dreaming here?

Daybreak dreaming here? These can’t be Landmark numbers…

But there it is, a pile of data ready to be argued over.  I can foresee some doom and gloom coming from a few entries on the list or what it means to be in the top five, depending on how you sort things.

Anyway, if you are a general MMORPG nerd there is probably something in the report that will interest you.  If nothing else, there ought to be something to spark a blog post.  I will likely write something further once I have had time to sit down and digest what is there.  And it is nice to be told how popular I am again.  It says so right there in that last section.  All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my authoritative close-up.

MMO Activity Chart for 2015

Inspired by Belghast’s chart (and Liore did one as well) I thought I might put together a little chart about what I played this year.

2015 MMO Gaming Chart

2015 MMO Gaming Chart

You will note that there are no single player games on the list.  I don’t actually spend that much time playing what one might call the traditional, non-networked, video games, as my five year Raptr list would certainly attest.  I do play other games, but not to the extent that I do MMOs.  So while I played some Defense Grid 2 and Elite: Dangerous, and a few other titles, the time spent on those was nowhere near the time spent with games on the chart.

Likewise, I supposed I could list iOS games I played on the iPad.  But those are almost a different context of gaming.  I pop in and spend a couple minutes with DragonVale or Candy Crush Saga or Neko Atsume when sitting on the couch or in bed before I turn out the lights.  It isn’t really the same.  Those are like little snacks when we’re talking about full meals.  MMOs are the full meal around here.

So, now that we have narrowed it down, what did I play?

Well, EVE Online is no surprise.  It is the only MMO I played consistently throughout 2015.  And I wasn’t just docked up doing the skill training thing.  One of the reasons I liked to get on a kill mail now and again is that it shows I have been undocked and active.  So you can see my chart from 2015 for New Eden.

2015 Kills and Losses

2015 Kills and Losses

In a lot of ways kill mails are deceptive or misleading.  As I noted in the past, a positive kill ratio is the norm, since you get counted on every kill mail you assisted on, but losses are only when you blow up.  But they do show you’ve been undocked and doing stuff.

World of Warcraft was good for the first half of the year, until the garrison blues got me.  I came back for a bit in November by buying a WoW Token with some gold, but all I did was garrison stuff to earn back the money I spent on the WoW Token.  It is cool that you can log into the game and reactivate with gold.

WoW Tokens are up in price

WoW Tokens are up in price

I just wasn’t that interested in coming back to play.

Minecraft took over in June and has rolled out through the end of the year.  As a game, it is very project oriented, as sandboxes will be.  When I have something I want to build, I can spend hours playing.  But when I am done, I don’t log in so much.

There were brief runs with EverQuest and EverQuest II, largely due to the nostalgia server thing.   Then I played a bit of Diablo III, while lately I have been dabbling in Lord of the Rings Online.

So that was my year in MMOs.

Of course I’ve done charts before, they just tended to be of a bigger scale.

The Genres

My favored genres over the years

Did anybody else do a chart this year?  It seems so:

Charting the Relative Natures of MMO Economies

I think that by this point in time, some fifteen years down the road from the launch of Ultima Online, having a player economy is one of the hallmarks of games I consider to be MMOs, at least when I use the term.

If there is no player to player economy, then the game is something else to my mind.  World of Tanks, not an MMO in my book.  EverQuest certainly is.

And desire for a player driven economy stems from the deep in the roots of the genre.

In 1993 I was playing TorilMUD, arguably the precursor of EverQuest, which was very much a gear driven game.  Despite there being no mechanism at all to handle or encourage a player economy, one spontaneously appeared.  The desire to exchange gear for trade or coin, the need to create an economy, was so strong that an unofficial one was started and developed its own rules and customs.  And it became popular enough that there were standard prices for certain items.  We would sit around in Waterdeep and people would do shout auctions for items, which you would bid on with a direct tell to the seller.  And it you were looking for something, you would shout out a “want to buy” or WTB.

The economy become very popular very quickly, to the point that the people running TorilMUD were not quite sure what to do with it.  First they tried to contain the amount of spam it caused in town, putting a limit on the number of yells you could do over a given period of time and then by trying to get us to do this in a single room rather than shouting across a whole zone.  Eventually, an auction house was implemented, though the devs put the auctioneer in out of the way places, as I think they were still suspicious of the player driven economy.

This suspicion came, in part, from the fact that the player driven economy pointed out flaws in the game.  With little to spend the in-game currency on besides items from other players, some people began to amass huge quantities of cash.  This, of course, drove up the price of everything in the player economy because the long term players could afford to drop a lot of coins on things they wanted for themselves or alts.

But the whole sinks and faucets and inflation aspect of the currency is another discussion.

Likewise, when EverQuest launched, there were no tools to drive a player economy.  It formed around the Commonlands tunnel where people would go to buy and sell, very much in the model of TorilMUD.  This popped up again for a bit on the progression servers, at least until the bazaar showed up.

The Plane of Knowledge kills all this...

Nostalgia at the tunnel

I was thinking about all of this and trying to fit MMO player economies into a two dimensional system for comparison.

What I came up with was how much of a requirement the player economy was to play the game and how much friction there was to engaging in the player economy.

The first seems pretty reasonable to gauge.  Can you play the game, or can you get very far in the game, without engaging in the player economy.  For example, in EVE Online, you have to use the player economy to play the game.  You could, I suppose, try to avoid it.  In fact, it might be an interesting experiment to see what you could do without it.  But I imagine that it would be a long, slow grind to completely avoid the market and it would limit what you could accomplish.

Most other MMOs make the player economy somewhat optional, and have moved more in that direction over time.  The combination of quest rewards and game difficulty have moved in the direction of keeping players independent of the player economy.

Friction, on the other hand, encompasses a whole range of things, such as:

  • How easy is it to access the market?
  • How easy is it to buy and take delivery?
  • How good is the UI?
  • How high are the fees/taxes on transactions?
  • How stable is pricing?
  • Do enough people use the economy to make it viable?

And it is with this that you start to get all over the map.  For example, Guild Wars 2 and EVE Online are oddly similar in how easy it is to view the market.  You can bring it up in the UI wherever you are.  On the other hand, while GW2 shows you everything on the market in the game, EVE limits you to your current region.

Anyway, in order to compare these, I made a little graph and put down where I thought certain games might sit on those two continuum.  This is what I ended up with.

Click to make readable

Click to make readable

The X axis is friction, and the mixed bag of items that represents.  The Y axis is how much of a requirement it is to engage in the player driven economy.  For a few games I made entries for past states of the game and how they seem currently.

EVE Online is, of course, the game furthest down the required end of the spectrum.  I also put it midway along the high end of the friction scale.  On the one hand the market is chopped up by regions, there is no delivery so you have to go get the item from the station in which it was listed, this leads to interesting price differentials based on convenience, there is a double tax/fee system, and then there is the whole contracts economy to confuse the issue.  And pity the poor capsuleer in the middle of nowhere in need of something.

Mitigating that friction is that if you go to the right system, usually Jita, you can find what you want to buy, and there are so many buyers and sellers competing that there is price stability.

At the other end of things is Guild Wars 2, where you can list to sell anywhere and just have to find the right NPC to pick up items you have purchased and proceeds from sales.  The friction is so low that low that lots of people engage in the economy, so commodities for crafting and the like are readily available at reasonable prices.  How much a player is really required to participate is a wild guess on my part.  Gear provided by your personal quest line seemed good if you kept up, but I have no idea if that carries on through the game.

In the middle, well, a few other games.  I ranked LOTRO‘s friction higher than most because of the low participation and the annoying locations and mediocre UI of the auctioneers.  On the other hand, you don’t really need it, and doubly so since Turbine started selling very good armor in the cash shop.

EverQuest II was high friction at launch in some ways… you had to be online to sell, sales were restricted to the storage space of your home (which you had to have to sell), and fees pushed players to go visit players directly in their homes.  And, if you were crafting at the time, there was the interdependence of the crafting skills that required you to use the market or use up your four character slots to make crafting alts.  On the other hand, when you buy something on the broker in EQII, it appears right in your inventory.  A lot of that got smoothed out over time, but dependence on the broker went with a lot of that.

EverQuest started at high friction, you had to be online and see the right person on the auction channel selling something you wanted.  Later the Bazaar came and you could get a listing, but sellers had to be online, in the Bazaar, and you had to go find them.  Finally, things got to offline selling in the more recent expansions, though I think you still have to show up at the Bazaar.

I ranked TorilMUD even higher on friction, if only because the player base was so much smaller.  When your player population is a few hundred, and only 256 can be on at a time, your buying and selling options are pretty limited.

And in the middle there is World of Warcraft, which used to have a segmented market, but which has since been unified.  The UI for it has gotten better over time, and the addons for playing the auction house have grown more sophisticated, but the need for the auction house has diminished over time as quest rewards in the form of gear have become more regular and standardized through the leveling process.

So there is my chart.  It is pretty much a gut-level, unsubstantiated work at this point.  Where do you think I am right and where am I clearly wrong?  And where would other games fit on the chart?

And, of course, where do you think MMOs should sit on that chart?  What would be ideal, if anything?

Memories, Timelines, and the Bigger Picture

There is a horribly worn out old book on the book shelf in my office.  It is a soft-bound copy of The Twentieth Century – An Almanac.

The Twentieth Century: An Almanac

The cover in good condition

I used to pick up that book and read through sections all of the time, to the point that the book looks very worn out.  There wasn’t anything particularly startling or new or exciting about the content of the book, except that it was history, which I enjoy.

What drew me to the book was the format.

At its heart, the book is a simple listing of details, year by year, decade by decade, in chronological order, without breaking them out into the usual topics.  So rather than reading just about WWII or the Great Depression or any other events that we tend to look at in a vacuum, everything is woven together, giving a better sense, to my mind, of the complexity and parallel nature of history.

There are always a lot of things going on at once.  Just because the Korean War was going on did not stop politics, the arts, diplomacy, and a whole host of other conflicts, brewing, in progress, or otherwise, from continuing apace.  The world never stops.

Of course, the book’s title is a bit misleading.  As it was published in 1985, it was only an almanac of roughly 84% of the 20th century.  And since no update or revision was ever done, the 20th century ends with Reagan’s re-election, while the Cold War continues on.

Still, I enjoyed the book immensely.  I have never found another work that combined the detail and parallel flows of history so well.

And to a certain degree, that book influences what I have ended up trying to do with this blog.  Part of the blog is a chronicle of my own gaming adventures.  But I also try to include bigger events, things that are landmarks in the time stream of gaming, not because I aspire to be a news site, but because they indicate what else was going on in the field.

It is an attempt to make my own almanac of gaming I suppose.

After the cut, there are lots of words about the distortion of memory, old games, and what I was playing when in a general sense, along with some charts.  The charts are an attempt to provide a framework for memory, and are a work in progress themselves.

You have been warned.

Continue reading

What is the Scale of this Blog Health-o-Meter?

WordPress.com had something new for me this new years.  They sent to me, and presumably anybody else with an active WordPress.com blog a little year end summary report on my blog.

Actually, I received a report for three different blogs: this blog, EVE Online Pictures, and Star Trek Online Pictures.

(That last one represents how committed I was to STO a year ago.)

The report came with the option to automatically post it to your blog, though I declined to do that here as I found the formatting awkward and inconsistent with the theme I use.  But if you really want to see a full report, I did post the one for EVE Online Pictures just to see what it looked like. (Awkward and inconsistent.)

But getting three reports let me see something that somebody might not notice if they only had a single blog or perhaps multiple blogs that got about the same number of page views over the course of the past year.  The report has a “Blog Health-o-Meter” as part of the package, and it is, I gather, based on the number of page views your blog received in 2010.

So, for example, this was the meter reading for The Ancient Gaming Noob:

Health of The Ancient Gaming Noob

I think that “Wow” is their assessment of the blog and not an indication of what I a lot of my posts are about.

And then they include some text to give some basis to the reading of the meter.

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 460,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 20 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, you wrote 396 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1763 posts. You uploaded 894 pictures, taking up a total of 160mb. That’s about 2 pictures per day.

20 days of Louvre traffic.  So that is what it takes to get my reading on the meter. (The site actually had 473,063 page views, but I guess I fell into a bucket of 460-475K or the like.)

So there, I thought, is the scale.

Then I went and looked at the EVE Online Pictures report, which had this meter reading:

Health of EVE Online Pictures

Not bad.  I’m on fire, which I guess is a good thing.  And given the size of the whole meter and the difference in position between the two blogs, you might guess that EVE Online Pictures is somewhere in the same zone as TAGN.

Here is what WordPress.com said:

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 38,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, you wrote 107 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 308 posts. You uploaded 155 pictures, taking up a total of 59mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The ratio there is about 12 to 1 in favor of TAGN, something you don’t really get a sense of from the meter. (The actual page view number is 38,966 for 2010, so they were closer this time around.)

And we learn that the Lourve is more than twice as popular as the Taj Mahal.  I bet you didn’t know that!

And then there is Star Trek Online Pictures, which I suspended posting to when I stopped playing regularly, which wasn’t that long after launch.  Here is the meter for that:

Health of Star Trek Online Pictures

Doing awesome, up there on the line between the green and the… not green section of the meter.  And what does it take to get on the line like that?

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, you wrote 13 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 21 posts. You uploaded 25 pictures, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

There is about a 17 to 1 ratio in favor of EVE Pics and a 209 to 1 ratio in favor of TAGN, but still in the green.  They were nearly spot on with the number of page views (2246 total) and they left me with the strange desire to calculate how many 747-400 jets it would take to transport all the visitors to the Louvre… or the Taj Mahal… or both.

But the scale of the meter, that is still somewhat ambiguous.

Okay, I get it.  WordPress.com is in the business of hosting blogs and you get people to pay for services by encouraging them.  With that goal you can’t really send people a meter with the arrow all the way to the left and the caption, “Nobody even knows you exist!” then compare them to, say, the number of live births at the North Pole and expect that to be a winning formula for customer encouragement and retention.

And maybe the green segment has significance.  Maybe you do not even get a chart if you do not meet a certain minimum threshold.

I have two other blogs that I was experimenting with at one point, one of which got 516 page views in 2010, and one which got 5.  I did not get a report for either of those.  Then again, maybe they haven’t gotten that far down the list.  I wonder how many page views is at the mean of the bell curve.  With 16 million blogs hosted, I cannot imagine it is a huge number.

Do you have a WordPress.com blog?  Did you get a new year’s chart?  To what did they compare your traffic?

Do you use a different service for your blog?  Do they do anything similar?

Integrated stats is one of the main reasons I went with WordPress.com over four years ago, after experimenting with a couple of other services.  But things change.