Server Population Issues

31 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Hey guys, I'm new to this forum. I have a character on Arkenstone, and I hadn't played for about six months until just recently. When I logged on I noticed that there was hardly anyone around. I'm having trouble progressing through some parts of the game because I can never find anyone to form a fellowship with, and it constantly feels dead.

Is Arkenstone a particularly unpopulated server, or is this a general issue with the game lately? Is there another server you would recommend I switch to that has a higher population?

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Posted · Report post

Darmokk will have some login stats somewhere here, check he's posts.

When I do log in occasionally snowbourn still seems quite busy

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Posted · Report post

Here is a chart of the weekly logins for the US servers

weekly-logins-us.png

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Posted · Report post

jeez, well I guess I did join the wrong server, didn't I?

edit: wait never mind I was looking at bullroarer.

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Posted · Report post

Bullroarer, of course, being low due to it being limited to those with access to it ;)

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Posted · Report post

Arkenstone used to be a cool mid-size server but it dropped very rapidly. I never spotted the reason.

plot-all-mean-sep.jpg

plot-Arkenstone-mean-sep.jpg

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Posted · Report post

Arkenstone used to be a cool mid-size server but it dropped very rapidly. I never spotted the reason.

plot-all-mean-sep.jpg

plot-Arkenstone-mean-sep.jpg

Thats a drop of 77% from its peak of roughly 26 to 6. I have no idea where these 40,000 new F2P accounts that are created weekly according to Sapience are going but they are definitely not going to Arkenstone.

There is also a drop 39% across all servers from my estimate high of 275 (RoI/U4) to 170 currently at the moment. Activity is currently only up 36% from its lowest recorded point. Definitely a trend to watch in the future.

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Posted · Report post

Arkenstone used to be a cool mid-size server but it dropped very rapidly. I never spotted the reason.

plot-all-mean-sep.jpg

plot-Arkenstone-mean-sep.jpg

Sorry, my bad... I used to play on Arkenstone, but don't log in that much anymore.

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Posted · Report post

The peak on Arkenstone is from when it was the preferred server for new characters/new users. Nothing special about that, most smaller servers look like that.

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Posted · Report post

Here is a chart of the weekly logins for the US servers

weekly-logins-us.png

Am I being retarded or is that graph difficult to read? I can't work out why all those peaks are spread out... is that just due to preferred server status?

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Posted · Report post

Yes, looks like preferred server status. I find that those peaks are quite telling. Why would they be 'peaks' and not have a sustained higher population after their status? People log in, look around, and never come back or something?

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Posted · Report post

Yes, looks like preferred server status. I find that those peaks are quite telling. Why would they be 'peaks' and not have a sustained higher population after their status? People log in, look around, and never come back or something?

Seems like it, yeah. Sapience is right, there are loads of new accounts made every day... they just don't last more than 2 or 3 months before quitting, resulting in the server falling back to the original level that the more dedicated players hold it at. Funny, really, that the majority of a server's population is made up of thousands of people who won't even make it half a year.

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Posted · Report post

I find it sad, actually. I'm not so sure anymore F2P turns out too well for LotRO population-wise. It is a kind of game that requires long-time investment and a great community that sticks together. Hard to do that when the population is dwindling slowly but steadily.

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Posted · Report post

Yes, looks like preferred server status. I find that those peaks are quite telling. Why would they be 'peaks' and not have a sustained higher population after their status? People log in, look around, and never come back or something?

Well the peaks are 2-3 months wide. I don't think this represents customers staying for 2-3 months and then losing interest.

You can clearly see how the "preferred server" gets switched around by Turbine, so the peaks are probably representing many new users each staying much less than 2-3 months.

The interesting data is how steep or flat the downward slope is after "default server" has been switched to a new one. You can clearly see how fast or slow extra from default servering are leaving. It then drops to the original state. However, that doesn't mean all the new members left. If you look at the graph for all servers you can see that usage of LOTRO as a whole is declining drastically, so existing users are leaving. A server that ends up with the same number of users after the 5 months or so of peak from defaulting it is clearly better off than the rest, new users did stay.

Overall there is a real problem here. As summer goes out a MMO should gain traction starting from the second half of September. But that doesn't seem to happen for LOTRO anymore, although it did happen in 2011.

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Posted · Report post

Well, if they could get around to, er, advertising - that could help. I don't think I've seen LOTRO advertised anywhere for months!

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Posted · Report post

Well, if they could get around to, er, advertising - that could help. I don't think I've seen LOTRO advertised anywhere for months!

They are back to just doing banner ads on gaming websites, and that's about it. I see LOTRO ads on my website every time I write an article about LOTRO, as well as on other LOTRO-related sites, but that's about it.

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Posted · Report post

The Churn rate for players coming in, using the Store to get started and then leaving and being replaced by new players doing the same thing is what's keeping LOTRO alive anymore. Many of the long term raiders I played with on Arkenstone have long since left for SWTOR, GW2 and others.

LOTRO was always about the journey and that was the tie that build the close knit community, the Store and F2P model have removed that appeal and replaced it with a fast 'try it and leave' type of player. Some of the F2P players stay but that number is much smaller than the longer term players who have decided to leave.

Bottom line, I can't see how this model is going to be sustainable for the LoTR IP. Immersion in Tolkien's world was captured when LOTRO was launched but has been replaced with the F2P Asian grind-fest type of MMO.

I give it another 2 years before it looks just like DDO....

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Posted · Report post

2 years? I've played enough chinese-korean p2w grind games to know that it's nearly there. ONE dude already asked for 1st age symbols to be on store... we all know where that's going. Fuck, even the "exp off" toggle got monetized.

(Edit: scratch that, it's as bad as c-k pwg grind game... has a bit less in store but you gotta pay for the expansions)

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Posted · Report post

I logged onto Gilrain today. Rode through every part of Bree and saw nothing but npc's. Left Bree, there were two other people out there and I suspect they were just riding through the area. If there are people around, they're probably all in the high level areas. It's probably reasonably safe to assume that a large proportion of those will be lifetimers, that doesn't indicate a hell of a lot of money coming in. Ok, it was a very small sample (!) but even so, it wasn't that long ago the place was bustling at all times of the day. A bit depressing really but pretty much lost interest when they raised the level cap...I couldn't face all that grinding again.

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Posted · Report post

Well, if they could get around to, er, advertising - that could help. I don't think I've seen LOTRO advertised anywhere for months!

Games in maintenance mode don't advertise.

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Posted · Report post

Games in maintenance mode don't advertise.

What maintenance?

Did they fix the dragon? The lag?

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Posted · Report post

What maintenance?

Did they fix the dragon? The lag?

I wish maintenance mode meant they'd get around to fixing

things. Unfortunately it's more like back burner mode. The

game's no longer a priority and is one step closer to life

support.

The game I love, DAoC, is in it's final death throws

after being in maintenance mode for the past 6 or 7 years.

The similarities in unfixed bugs, unaddressed issues, decline

of the forums etc... is eerie.

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Posted · Report post

Did LOTRO ever advertise much? What, one TV ad in 5.5 years?

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Posted · Report post

There was this

No idea if it ever got on the TV

Just remembered this one

Edit: found another, I'm sure there was a release one as well but can't find it

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Posted · Report post

There was a definite change in their marketing campaign to ring in the F2P move, I know that much. Excepting that brief period LOTRO's marketing has always been subdued at best. For the F2P move it was enormous and sustained.

Something that I suggested back in the day was the possibility that their big spike in registered users, active accounts and profit margins at the time of the F2P switch had more to do with the marketing campaign that coincided with it than it did with the F2P switch itself. And you know what? I never saw a convincing argument against that theory.

Of course, there is the possibility that if they hadn't agreed to take the game F2P WB may not have agreed to give them such a massive marketing budget in the first place. But it's food for thought nonetheless.

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