Tag Archives: Raptr

Five Years of Raptr Tracking

I hit my five year anniversary with Raptr this week.  It is today actually.

RaptrLogo

Raptr, for those who do not know, is a gamer social network, an instant messenger client, a streaming platform, an advertising venture, a producer of gaming statistics, and a client that will track your video game play time.  Founded by Dennis “Thresh” Fong, it is essentially the second coming of Xfire, which was also founded by Dennis “Thresh” Fong and later sold Viacom.  Thresh is a matter of legend in some gaming circles, as the Wikipedia bio I linked will attest.  I used to be an avid reader of his old site, Firing Squad.

I also used to use Xfire back in the day and picked up Raptr five years back to track my game play time to see what I was really doing on that front.

I rarely use any of the other Raptr features.  Occasionally Potshot will send me an IM via the Raptr client, since we both use it, and I will occasionally log into a game when Raptr announces that a friend has just logged in.  I also used to be quite fond of the individual stats and summaries they used to offer.  Their individual yearly review was quite nice, but they stopped doing that a couple of years back.

Which means that I mostly leave it installed to track my game time.  To mark this five year anniversary I thought I would lay out the top 20 games that Raptr has tracked me playing.

So here we have the list, with the top 20 presented in order to the percentage of the total hours tracked.  So it is Rank, Percentage, Game, and (Raptr ranking/rep), the last being how I stack up in hours played versus the community. (details here)  Basically, Elite puts me in the top 10% of the community for hours played (plus achievements earned in some cases) for that game.

The ranking/rep chart

The ranking/rep chart

The list:

  1. 26.50%World of Warcraft (Elite)
  2. 18.12%EVE Online (Elite)
  3. 8.60%Rift (Elite)
  4. 7.28%EverQuest II (Elite*)
  5. 6.86%Minecraft (Elite)
  6. 6.24%Lord of the Rings Online (Elite)
  7. 5.10%World of Tanks (Elite)
  8. 4.86%Civilization V (Elite)
  9. 2.99%EverQuest (Hardcore)
  10. 1.65%Need for Speed: World (Elite)
  11. 1.46%Diablo III (Hardcore)
  12. 1.07%Defense Grid (Elite)
  13. 0.82%War Thunder (Hardcore)
  14. 0.76%Guild Wars 2 (Dedicated)
  15. 0.53%Empires & Allies (Hardcore)
  16. 0.44%Age of Empires II Age of Kings (Elite)
  17. 0.33%Path of Exile (Dedicated)
  18. 0.29%Neverwinter (Dedicated)
  19. 0.29%Total War: Rome II (Dedicated)
  20. 0.21%Torchlight II (Dedicated)

I suppose the top two are no surprise.  Or maybe they are to some readers.  To me they are not.  Years of playing WoW with a regular group bears out this number, even through the Cataclysm expansion.  And if anything, the EVE Online percentage is probably low.  Raptr has problems tracking it some days, so it should probably be much closer to the WoW number.

Then we get into the strange zone.

That Rift is number three ought to strike you as odd.  It benefits from Raptr tracking it accurately and all of my play time with the game, including when the instance group went to Telara, being within the five year tracking window.  So despite the fact that I didn’t start playing until nearly nine months after it launched and stopped not too long after the first expansion, it still represents a pretty good chunk of the last five years of play time.

Likewise, the ranking of EverQuest II is largely determined by the time frame measured.  If it had been a 12 year window, it probably would have been the top title.  A three year window would have seen it far down the list.  But within this five year time frame came EverQuest II Extended and a revival of my interest in the game for a bit.  And, just a side not, EQII and EQIIE are tracked as different games on Raptr, so that is the combined hours for both games. (I would be “Elite” if they were lumped together, hence the asterisk.  Otherwise I am “Hardcore” for EQII and “Elite” for EQIIE.)

And then there is Minecraft, which I started playing in June of this year and yet is in the number five spot for five years of game play.  Clearly that hooked me.  It even beat out Lord of the Rings Online, which I have played “seriously” a couple of times in the last five years.  Had I guessed at the ranking, I would have put LOTRO further up the list.

There was a time when I played a lot of World of Tanks and when Civilization V was a regular thing for me.  Then we are finally out of the all elite category.

EverQuest is a game from a bygone age. I spend more time posting about it than playing it I am sure.  I played all I could play of Need for Speed: World, and then it was closed down.

Diablo III and Defense Grid aren’t bad numbers for essentially single player games.  I feel like I have played more Diablo III than that.  Meanwhile, I am elite for Defense Grid because it only had so much content and I didn’t feel like chasing every single achievement. (Just most of them.)

War Thunder I ebb and flow on.  I reinstalled it last month and played it a bit.

The numbers reported for Guild Wars 2 though are completely bogus.  Raptr counts time spent in the launcher patching as game time.  It does that with EverQuest sometimes too, so that percentage is inflated as well.  But the GW2 number is mostly installing and patching the game.

Empires & Allies, a Zynga Facebook game, and the most embarrassing item on the list.  At least it wasn’t FarmVille.

And then we’re down below one half of one percent.  You can see which of the heirs to Diablo II I ended up playing the most along with a couple other titles, including a single MMORPG.

So there it is, five years of video game play time summed up.

Now the question is, what to do with Raptr.  Even a year back I was pondering if keeping it around was worth the CPU cycles.  It hasn’t given me a personal statistics report since my 2013 play time summary.  I suppose adding data to the Raptr pool helps generate their monthly stats for their own blog, though their relevance to the broader gaming world is pretty tenuous.  League of Legends, which tops the Raptr list, is not being played twelve times as much as Minecraft, as their October stats might lead you to believe.  Raptr represents a self-selected group of gamers that trend to the more hard core and much more to PvP, just like its predecessor, Xfire.

And the gamer social network aspect… well, I am still not sure if there is any real value in such a thing, given all of the other avenues for gamers to connect.

So does Raptr have any value?

And What of Raptr?

I originally installed Raptr to track my game play time.  I wanted to see what games I was really playing over the course of time.

And for that it has worked out well enough.  I had previously used XFire, which did give me better low level data, but which always had some problem or another.  It was bad at tracking certain games.  I could never, for example, get it to track EVE Online, a game I have played a lot of over the years.  Leaving that out of the mix would be a serious gap.

So, since late 2010, Raptr has been keeping track of my time spent playing games.

The start date is a little late to get a real sense of my gaming history.  EverQuest II is dramatically under represented in hour played if the time frame had been from 2004 or even 2006 forward.  And there is a big chunk of time allocated to EverQuest II Extended, which is still counted as a separate game despite having been merged into EverQuest II in late 2011.  And game tracking isn’t perfect.  There are games it does not track.  Nobody will know, as an example, how many hours I have spent playing Civilization II.

But it gets the basic job done.

And over the years Raptr has added some things that I have found interesting.  I like the friend’s list comparisons for each game, so you can see who else plays a game on your list.  I am okay with the notification of people launching a game.  It often isn’t that helpful, but once in a while it alerts me that Potshot is logging on.  And the yearly gaming reports have some fun trivia.

Raptr2012RareAchi

I was also happy when Raptr let me import my XFire stats, which basically added Battlefield 1942 to my list.

RaptrBF1942

XFire used to be quite useful back in the day for games like that.  You could see your friends online and join them on the server on which they were playing.  That was a huge boon, as the server interface for the game was a mess.

And they have given out some fun stuff as part of promotions done in conjunction with games like Rift and EVE Online.  While I flew around a bit in the Catalyst destroyer in EVE, I think the little Raptr dino pet in Rift is probably my favorite.

Four Enter... plus a dino

Four Enter… plus a dino

Generally speaking, I like Raptr and look at it regularly.

Of course, there have always been parts of Raptr that I haven’t cared for.

I realize, for example, that Raptr probably has to have an IM client built into it, but given nearly a dozen other IM services on my system, it isn’t one I use very often.

They also push a lot of promotions at me in which I have no interest, something that has ramped up since Raptr started giving you points for your play time which you can spend on these special offers.  I have a lot of points and haven’t spent a one.

And they have started integrating other services into the client so I can launch my games, stream on Twitch, optimize my video settings, share screen shots, and record gaming sessions, none of which I particularly want or need.  Even if I wanted to do something like stream, I am not sure the first recommendation for getting started would be “Install Raptr!”

I understand that Raptr has to find its niche and make money, but as each of these features has been added over time, the bits I actually use have been pushed further and further into the background.  Not so long ago I used to be able to just bring up my profile from the taskbar control.  Now I can only bring up the Control Center.

Out of Control

Out of Control

From there I can click on my avatar in the upper right hand corner to get to my profile.  But that is my social media profile (which I no longer use because they don’t want external stuff… like blog posts… linked and I am not interested in having essentially another blog) and I have to click on About to get to the little bit of detail that I actually want to see.

That BoonSmith has a lot of hours...

That BoonSmith has a lot of hours…

I know, cry me a river over the horrible inconvenience I face trying to access a bit of trivial data.

What I installed Raptr for in the first place is mostly still there, even if it gets moved around or hidden more and more often.  But more and more Raptr is cramming stuff into their client that does not interest me, which is not without cost.  Just sitting idle the various Raptr processes are eat up more memory and processing time than Steam.  At some point I have to ask myself if I am the type of person Raptr wants using their service.  Are they burying the bits of their service I like because they would really rather people like me just go away?

 

 

Raptr Corrects My Perceptions – What I Played in 2013

As they did last year, Raptr sent me a nice summary of games that it tracked me playing over the past calendar year.  So I now have my gaming summary for 2013.

This is pretty much why I bother to run Raptr.  It quantifies my play time.

The report for 2012 wasn’t a big surprise.  The three games I said I was playing most of the year, Rift, EVE Online, and World of Tanks,  ended up being the top 3 in about the order I expected.  The three together represented 71% of the play time that Raptr tracked for me.

Raptr2012MostPlayed

I wasn’t keen on the circle displays, but the parity between my fantasy and space faring MMO time was pretty even.

For 2013 though, I have to admit that the numbers surprised me a bit.  My guess as to how things might stack up looked something like:

  • EVE Online in the #1 spot, what with the war in Fountain and Delve along with deployments to Curse.
  • Something close to a four-way tie between Rift, World of Tanks, Lord of the Rings Online, and World of Warcraft, each of which I played for about a season in 2013, but none of which I played all year long.
  • Then maybe Neverwinter, War Thunder, and a couple other games that I played in shorter streaks trailing behind

And what did I end up with?  I will put that after the cut in order to develop some moderate level of suspense.  Plus I have a lot (more) dumb graphics in the post that really look like crap and will clutter up the front page.  Go artistic me.

Continue reading

How Bribing Rift Players Brought Raptr to New Heights

Raptr put up a case study blog post about how their cooperation with Trion around Rift lead to an increase in average user play time and hours tracked, complete with a colorful chart that proves that everything went great.

The Chart

The Chart

The numbers being thrown about are a 58% increase in the average daily play time and a 470% increase overall in Rift hours, as tracked by Raptr.

This was accomplished via a two-prong approach.  First, Trion and Raptr offered up a free copy of Rift to players who had time tracked in games that seemed likely to have some overlap of interest.  Skyrim, World of Warcraft, and Torchlight II were mentioned specifically.

Second, Trion and Raptr offered some in-game rewards for people who already played Rift.  I mentioned these prizes as part of a mail bag post back in November.

The goggles reward

The goggles reward

The conclusion offered is pretty much “Huge success!”

During the Raptr Rewards promotion, RIFT’s daily active player numbers among Raptr members increased a full 470%.  By giving away free copies of the game, and giving users exclusive rewards to work towards, Raptr and Trion Worlds managed to lower the game’s barrier to entry and revitalize the game’s community.

However, there are a couple of key items missing.

The first is that there is no mention of how many new players this promotion really brought in.

While I would accept that the entire increase wasn’t current subscribers installing Raptr just to get a special in-game item, I have to think that they represent a large portion of the increase.  If I recall right, this promotion got Potshot to install Raptr again.  And it is a well established fact that players will jump through hoops happily if offered a shiny in-game item.

Then there is the second item, which is more of a glaring omission.

What happened on November 13, 2012, right as that chart begins to spike?

Oh, yeah, the Storm Legion expansion launched.  That alone could account for a lot of the increase, including the ramp up right before the expansion hit, as old players got themselves patched up and ready to go.

You would think that if you were going to count coup honestly, you might bring that detail up as part of your case study.  I am also curious about how the hours tracked continued after the end of the chart, which cut off as numbers were starting to decline.

Ah well.  It was certainly a success for Raptr, as I am sure that it got more people to use their service.  I can see that more people tracked time in Rift.  I just cannot tell if it added a single user to the pool of Rift players.

Now we’ll have to see if Raptr puts up a case study about the EVE Online Catalyst promotion.  That also corresponded with an increase in player activity.

Xfire Numbers Now Imported into Raptr

I was digging through the Raptr settings trying to get it to stop sending me email for really stupid things.

because who needs this crap?

because who needs this crap?

Along the way I found myself in the “Identities and Achievements” section of the settings.  I was wondering if any games I play might have had their achievements synced up with Raptr since I last looked.  So far, no, but I did spy a setting for another service.

RaptrXfire
You can enter your Xfire account.  And, more importantly, you can then import your hours tracked on Xfire into Raptr.

I suppose that shouldn’t be a big deal, since the team at Raptr was the team that did Xfire originally.

The upshot of this is that a bunch of tracking data of mine from Xfire is now reflected in my Raptr profile.  To give you an idea how old some of this data is, I have a new elite ranking for…

RaptrBF1942

I was playing Battlefield 1942… and specifically the Desert Combat mod for it… before EverQuest II came out.

That was back when the main reason I ran Xfire was to be able to launch games and jump onto the same server as a friend.  Is that even still a feature of either Xfire or Raptr any more?

Raptr Attempts to Sum Up My 2012 Gaming

Somebody must have reminded Raptr that a new year has arrived, as they just sent me a summary of my 2012 gaming as tracked by them.

Since tracking my gaming is pretty much the main reason for my using Raptr, I was interested to see what they had to say, even if the calendar was already well into February 2013.  (Compare this to World of Tanks, which sent out its 2012 summary in mid-December of 2012.  Which is better, early or late?)

Anyway, on to see what they had to offer.  It turned out to be just a few simple metrics.

It started with my top three most played games, out of the 36 games Raptr tracked me playing in 2012, and which were… not much of a surprise.

Raptr2012MostPlayed

They happen to be the same games I have listed as “The Games I Play” on the sidebar of the blog, Rift, EVE Online, and World of Tanks, which ate up 71% of my Raptr tracked gaming hours.

Actually, World of Tanks might be a bit of a surprise, as I only went back to that with the 8.0 patch that included the big physics update.

Then again, I am not sure what else might have contended for third place.  It certainly wouldn’t have been Raptr’s most tracked game of 2012… which is also not much of a surprise.

Raptr2012MostPlayedGame

I have gotten this far in life and have never played a Call of Duty game.  Shooters just aren’t my thing… except for tanks I guess.

A little more surprising is my achievements.  Well, sort of surprising.

Raptr2012MostAchi

I think it is mostly a reflection of the games that both have a lot of achievements and have their achievements wired into Raptr.   Rift’s achievements are not tracked by Raptr or I would guess that they would be on the top of the list.

As for the games, I did play a lot of Torchlight II.  Probably more than I played Diablo III.  And while I did not play a lot of World of Warcraft, the whole unification of achievements across characters meant that all of my tracked characters earned at least a few.  So WoW probably doesn’t belong on the list.

And Little Big Planet was all my daughter.  The PlayStation 3 account is tied into my Raptr and LBP was her game until Minecraft came along.

Raptr also let me know which was my rarest achievement among its users, which turned out to be a Defense Grid achievement.

Raptr2012RareAchi

Not as rare as all that I guess.

And then Raptr came up with a bit more data on when I actually played the most in 2012.

Most Played Times

My Most Played Times

I play on Saturdays.  That makes sense, what with the instance group and all.  I played the most in November of 2012.  And, November 17th was my busiest play day of the year.

Then they followed up with the same data for all users.

Most played times for everybody on Raptr

Most played times for everybody on Raptr

While Sunday was the busiest day of the week overall, not Saturday, the month of November lined up with my own busiest month and, oddly enough, November 17th was the most played date of 2012 over all, again matching my own profile.

Which makes me wonder, what was going on during that week that made Saturday, November 17th, 2012 such a busy gaming date?

Items from the Mail Bag – Barrel Scrapings and the Like

Mail bag was going to be a regular monthly feature, but frankly the mail I have been getting on the blog account really hasn’t been living up to the role.  Still, I do get something amusing now and again.  A pity none of it showed up recently, so this is all you get.

Three Kias, One Cup

The Kia Motors Overseas Communications Team ( 해외커뮤니케이션팀) wants me to go connect with their Facebook page so I can play a flash based tennis game featuring players that are, if I understand this correctly, anthropomorphized versions of their cars.  The SoulSorento, and Cerato to be specific.  Except I think that last one is sold as the Forte here in the US.

Totally not ripping off Disney/Pixar

Totally not ripping off Disney/Pixar

All because Kia sponsors some aspect of the Australian Open… which is a tennis tournament.

I had to look that up.

I almost want to go play this, just to see how they get that lumpy Sorento to move its ass around the court.  But a surge of apathy has stayed my hand so far.

Still, don’t let me stop you!  You can find the page on Facebook here.  Just be quick, as the game only runs from January 16th through the 31st.  Of course, they only sent me this note on the 29th, so clearly my participation was not all the important.

Aventurine Fails Again

Aventurine sent me a “Media Alert” to invite me to come and explore the world of Agon, which I am afraid always brings up images of Larry Storch.

A little whackier than this though

A little whackier than this though

Unfortunately for Aventurine, all they actually had for me was a link to a dev diary video about their upcoming (some day) Darkfall: Unholy Wars reboot.

Then they listed out the price of the game ($14.95 if you are a Darkfall Online returning player or $29.95 (25% off) if you are new to this game) like they expected me, a member of the media (who else gets “media alerts” right?), to actually pay for it myself.  This is how you get 2/10 reviews.  (Though I still suspect there was a method to their madness.)

Haven’t we all learned by now that companies can get game journalists to degrade themselves and their profession with a few simple freebies?  Playing it straight is a mug’s game.

The Soda Sipping Inside Joke?

I keep getting press notices about a game called Soda Drinker Pro, but cannot tell if this is just the internet yanking my chain or not.  The quotes sound tongue in cheek.

Soda Drinker Pro is the most advanced soda drinking simulator ever created

While sites like Gamasutra have reprinted the press releases due to contractual obligations.

Mashable has a brief write up, but it still ends up sounding like an internet goof.

I have to think that the only reason I got this was that I have written about soda, and soda experiments, here in the past.

Somebody Sued Facebook

Which probably isn’t news, but the announcement showed up in my email.  It was something about sponsored stories.

Why did I get this notice? This Notice relates to a proposed settlement (“Settlement”) of a class action lawsuit (“Action”) filed against Facebook relating to a particular Facebook feature called “Sponsored Stories.” According to available records, you may be a “Class Member.”

What is the Action about? The Action claims that Facebook unlawfully used the names, profile pictures, photographs, likenesses, and identities of Facebook users in the United States to advertise or sell products and services through Sponsored Stories without obtaining those users’ consent. Facebook denies any wrongdoing and any liability whatsoever. No court or other entity has made any judgment or other determination of any liability.

You can read more about it here.  If Facebook used your likeness without your consent, it could be worth a sawbuck to you.

Meanwhile if the suit succeeds the lawyers will all get paid for the hours they billed and Facebook will have to change their terms of service so that by accepting them you allow Mark Zuckerberg to do whatever he damn well pleases with your likeness.

Oh, Mark, you crazy!

Oh, Mark, you crazy!

So who is going to win here?

Raptr Has a List!

Raptr sent me a list of awards they made up and gave out for 2012 based on their game tracking stats.

  • Most Played New Game – Borderlands 2
  • Most Played Game (Released Anytime) – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  • Biggest Boost from User-Generated Content – Portal 2
  • Most Played Long-Awaited Sequel – Borderlands 2
  • No Bathroom Break – Borderlands 2
  • Most Played XBLA Game – Minecraft
  • Most Played New IP – Dragon’s Dogma
  • Most Successful Paid to Free-to-Play Game – Star Wars: The Old Republic

Some of those make sense, while others… I am not so sure.  The “Bathroom Break” bit probably relates to a measurement of play sessions, but how did they come up with “Long Awaited Sequel?”  Was Borderlands 2 really that long in showing up?  Relative to what?

Meanwhile, their last category almost always reflects a sentiment of “crap, we’d better mention MMOs!”  They used the same category as 2011, but this time they managed to combine it with an attempt to suck up to EA/BioWare.  Or does somebody think if you were going to mention MMOs that there weren’t other categories or titles you might choose?  “Most played MMO” or  GuildWars 2 certainly springs to my mind.

Anyway, you can read their full post here, which includes some additional details.

The Rest

Finally, I seem to be getting more and more messages asking me if I would like to come write for other sites.  These invites are rather transparent requests to please provide free content for such and such a site to exploit for ad revenue.

It is the sources of these requests that are getting more interesting.  I had one from a web media group from everybody’s favorite Germans, ProSiebenSat.1 and another from a group that purports to run the largest MMO gaming site in China.

All I can think is, “China?”  My Larry Storch jokes are probably too obscure for Cracked.com, how would they possibly play in China.

Anyway, send me something interesting that isn’t about your 99 cent iPhone app and maybe I’ll make fun of it.  As always, contact info is on the About page.