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Hiding player numbers?


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With the latest patch, Artcraft has updated their API to no longer allow anyone to see the population of the game anymore.

A site like https://www.crowfallstatus.com/ was able to spit out 100% accurate information about how many players the game had at any given time.

Obviously everyone has already seen that the population of the game sat around ~1000 players most of the day on most days and then occasionally reached 2000-3500 spread out over all servers and EKs during a few hours of primetime.

So what is the point of hiding these numbers NOW after everyone has already seen them and already know about them?

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"Crowfall's evolution has been interesting: when we started, the game leaned much more heavily on survival mechanics. over time we added more and more strategy and pulled the survival mechanics. by launch, we'll be the most strategic virtual universe (IMO surpassing Eve Online)" - J. Todd Coleman, January 5th 2020

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1 hour ago, macavity said:

Obviously everyone has already seen that the population of the game sat around ~1000 players most of the day on most days

You are understating that.

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1 hour ago, macavity said:

So what is the point of hiding these numbers NOW after everyone has already seen them and already know about them?

Maybe they realized it was a bad idea to have it out there to begin with. If currently there's no positive messaging that can come out of the data, it makes no sense to keep putting it out there. 

Also, if CF matches other MMO releases, around the 10-day mark when trials fall off and people on the fence make their decisions, that dip looks ugly on a chart. Day 31 is another ugly day for MMO sub/pop data. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Jah said:

You are understating that.

Upon closer inspection, I will admit that it's more like ~2000 players and reaching 3000-3500 during peaks.

Not that it makes THAT much difference in the grand scheme of things.

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"Crowfall's evolution has been interesting: when we started, the game leaned much more heavily on survival mechanics. over time we added more and more strategy and pulled the survival mechanics. by launch, we'll be the most strategic virtual universe (IMO surpassing Eve Online)" - J. Todd Coleman, January 5th 2020

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I can think of a few reasons:

Metagame shouldn't be determined by analysing server populations

People might try to optimise based on when player populations are up or down and dodge the game when it looks too busy, instead of doing concurrent activities. The exact number of players in server shouldn't be available so people don't dodge busy times or try to optimize based on that. The game should have a component of risk on the server pop which you should not be able to calculate externally.

People misread the numbers

Even after many years of steam having player numbers up, people don't understand the difference between concurrent and active players, with even "news" articles on the subject continually getting it wrong. For example registered users, paying users vs the concurrent online number comparisons as if it made any sense. Concurrent doesn't mean active, since no-one is playing 24/7. 4000 active players at peak doesn't mean 4000 players are the only ones playing the game. It could be ten times that number, you don't know unless you track unique accounts over a period of time. This game does not need daily commitment necessarily either even if you want to do things in the game. Likewise, a consumer making a judgement on player numbers without context of the actual game, is unlikely to be accurate. It's better to ask someone about the game if they're interested, whether in a forum or otherwise, on the state of the game, to get a better idea of purchasing.

You're better off just hiding it. Especially if "media" picks up on it and makes dumb articles.

It creates a negative feedback loop

Game doesn't have high player numbers because game doesn't have high player numbers is something you can't break unless you obscure that information. Toxicity in MMO communities is enough to do that. Especially if you're trying something new.

Steam games have playercounts, but that is not the norm. It also creates a lot of annoyances and a graveyard of sometimes good games. My point is that this sort of talk would have been dooming for CS:GO and Dota 2 early on if they didn't have established communities. If you are establishing a community and playerbase, it creates a situation that people can make poor conclusions on the player numbers without knowing the game. League of Legends doesn't have live player number tracking either, but people don't complain there.

Instead, if people just asked those who are playing the game how the health of the game was, they'd can make their own conclusions. The game is probably healthy even with a seemingly low population, for the player. The matter of whether it is a return on investment for the development team and the scaling question is a separate issue. We don't know finances to make an assessment there.

That isn't the case for Australia and Brazil due to a lack of a campaign server, but a marketing push along is promised to come along to boost some of those numbers. 

 

Edited by LashLash
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35 minutes ago, LashLash said:

Metagame shouldn't be determined by analysing server populations
-snip-

That's actually a very good one, I didn't even think about that. I know people that used to do that poorly made dergs in a lot of games that had ranked PvP where they'd take advantage of certain times to get queued into worse players. Some even went as far as to queue into themselves/each other for win trading.

38 minutes ago, LashLash said:

People misread the numbers
-snip-


It creates a negative feedback loop
-snip-

While that is all very true, I think the damage has already been done. I guess the numbers should have been hidden from the start to avoid these things. Now it makes me wonder why they didn't hide the numbers from the start if they knew it was just going to show low numbers. Were they counting on that somehow all those ~60k backers would at least try out the game and thus pad the numbers?

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"Crowfall's evolution has been interesting: when we started, the game leaned much more heavily on survival mechanics. over time we added more and more strategy and pulled the survival mechanics. by launch, we'll be the most strategic virtual universe (IMO surpassing Eve Online)" - J. Todd Coleman, January 5th 2020

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bot is still working afaik

One Ring to Rule them all, One Ring to Find them, One Ring to bring them all an in the darkness and bind them.

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29 minutes ago, macavity said:

While that is all very true, I think the damage has already been done. I guess the numbers should have been hidden from the start to avoid these things. Now it makes me wonder why they didn't hide the numbers from the start if they knew it was just going to show low numbers. Were they counting on that somehow all those ~60k backers would at least try out the game and thus pad the numbers?

Maybe they did. If you assume 60K unique players over a week, and 2K average players through all the time, you can do the maths to see the average number of hours they played.

2K average * 24 hours * 7 days = 336K player hours per week

336K player hours per week / 60K players in a week = 5.6 hours average play time over the week for all players

A crude estimate. If someone can be bothered, you have to take the area under the players vs time graph to find the actual player hours played (i.e. it's integration). 

But given the distribution of players (some play 50 hours and some might play 2 hours due to life), which is an unknown, all you can do is estimate the average play time per player if you assume the total number of unique players over a time period.

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31 minutes ago, LashLash said:

Maybe they did. If you assume 60K unique players over a week, and 2K average players through all the time, you can do the maths to see the average number of hours they played.

Last week Jtodd said something to the effect that less then or equal to 25% of backers logged in and total backers was 87k.

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1 minute ago, mystafyi said:

Last week Jtodd said something to the effect that less then or equal to 25% of backers logged in and total backers was 87k.

That sounds about right. I don't doubt that all, but do you have a source? I want to see what else he was saying.

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"Crowfall's evolution has been interesting: when we started, the game leaned much more heavily on survival mechanics. over time we added more and more strategy and pulled the survival mechanics. by launch, we'll be the most strategic virtual universe (IMO surpassing Eve Online)" - J. Todd Coleman, January 5th 2020

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There's plenty of people in the world to engage with. Lots of fights, battles over land, resource and camp farming. Yet, rather than just having fun with the game, you all are just worried that you're not one of the popular kids playing the cool new popular game.

 

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18 minutes ago, macavity said:

That sounds about right. I don't doubt that all, but do you have a source? I want to see what else he was saying.

his twitter on july 9th replying to evel_steve. After looking at my screencap, I was incorrect in that the number is greater then 25% of backers have already played, not less then. sorry. 

https://ibb.co/0q3WBKT

 

Edited by mystafyi
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2 minutes ago, mystafyi said:

his twitter on july 9th replying to evel_steve. After looking at my screencap, I was incorrect in that the number is greater then 25% of backers have already played, not less then. sorry. 

That is 3 days after launch. The numbers can be different after a week. More than 21K logins by backers isn't that bad for the first 3 days which were weekdays. Also plenty of people like myself who weren't backers started playing as well. Active player count could be quite high. Some of the mega guilds also have lots of casual players, which is actually a good thing since it controls the impact of those guilds, while also allowing a good experience for those who play casually and contribute to something bigger and enjoy the game. Although Zerg controls still need to happen for various reasons.

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34 minutes ago, mystafyi said:

his twitter on july 9th replying to evel_steve. After looking at my screencap, I was incorrect in that the number is greater then 25% of backers have already played, not less then. sorry. 

https://ibb.co/0q3WBKT

 

Oh I thought it was some sort of interview that I had missed. Thanks anyway.

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"Crowfall's evolution has been interesting: when we started, the game leaned much more heavily on survival mechanics. over time we added more and more strategy and pulled the survival mechanics. by launch, we'll be the most strategic virtual universe (IMO surpassing Eve Online)" - J. Todd Coleman, January 5th 2020

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28 minutes ago, mystafyi said:

@LashLash You said you were assuming numbers and then did a bunch of math, I was just giving you a little better data since it came from the top. Interpret it as you may. 

I should have made it clear I was in fact responding to @macavity, not directly to yourself. Thanks for the info. If it's 30K active player in a week instead of 60K, for example, that is around 11 hours played on average by each of those players, assuming 2K average.

It's not straightforward or intuitive to get these numbers out, hence my point about people misreading numbers especially concurrent ones.

Edited by LashLash
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MMORPG population is always a delicate subject with Game Developers etc.

No one involved in making managing any MMORPG wants to hear the dreaded "Player Population is low"...thats a deathnell either in reality or even if just perceived to be.

Frankly, I want this game to succeed I enjoy it.

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Perception is a dangerous tool. Hell, we have a global economy that relies entirely on people clapping if they believe in fairies. Imagine a monetary system where systemic doubt can drag the entire world into a major depression....

But I digress, most MMOs don't tend to share this information for exactly the kind of speculation that comes out of this. I've got mixed opinions on the matter but if the word of mouth is "this game is already dead" is made worse, then less new players are willing to try out something they might enjoy and it might be harder for Crowfall to find its intended audience. My guess is the business model is going to have to look something like STO/Champions if it's to proceed. Either way, I'm enjoying myself and I hope that ArtCraft is smart in how they shape this game going forward.

 

 

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On 7/17/2021 at 10:33 AM, Vindictus said:

No one involved in making managing any MMORPG wants to hear the dreaded "Player Population is low"...thats a deathnell either in reality or even if just perceived to be.

The game was always DoA. We knew this from lack of interest during 6 years of beta and lack of retention of even those few players. The low numbers the API has shown during release is just indisputable proof to all of the backers who said "everyone was waiting until launch to play".

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