Thursday, March 8, 2012

Version 3.7 thoughts and comments

With v3.7 I revised some MMORPG's, and retracted some datapoints. I had to retract the last 2 datapoints from WoW East and WoW West as it became clear my estimates were based old information in one case and unreliable information in the other.

Furthermore, because the WoW East and WoW West are less reliable than WoW Global, even with the last 2 retractions, I made a separate rating for WoW East and WoW West and downgraded their rating to B.

I realize that I must revise the datapoints more carefully before publishing them. I haven't had to do many retractions in the past, and I will do my best to avoid it in the future.

That being said, v3.7 became more than just a revision. I was able to add 2 new Asian MMORPG's, Wen Dao and Journey to the West, because I found a second datapoint for each of them.

I was able to add many new datapoints for EVE, including subscriptions, trials and even Chinese subscriptions. For SWTOR and STO there are is also a new datapoint, they are estimates and you can check the comments on the V3.7 version notes to get an idea on how I came there. Because STO went F2P I changed it from SS to AA.

I fixed some issues and cosmetic stuff and last but not least added vertical gridlines to easier detect misalignment problems, add this to the improved checks and sums ( internal only )from v3.6 and nothing can go wrong anymore ( I wish :p ).

About EVE Online

I received more datapoints from CCP, they truly are the most trustworthy source in the industry. They kept providing me with datapoints when EVE Online was in the decline. But this time they have better news. Their subscriptions have gotten back up to 352,5k in March 2012 from a lowpoint of 340k in December 2012. They had a little dip in between with the release of SWTOR, but as I expected, they quickly recovered, and I believe the recovery may even become a new high in the next few months.

It all depends of course how they will handle EVE Online, and if they will continue to do it right. If they keep improving the spaceship game as they are doing since the Incarna debacle and improve Incarna sandbox style instead of with microtransactions I think they have large potential. I think they realised by now they are not the dinosaur of the industry, even if they get rid of microtransactions, but they are the turtle of the industry, slowly moving forward but outliving all others. I still have quite a bit of reservations on the implementation of Dust, but we will tackle that when we get there.

I have also added EVE Online Global and China AA ( Active Accounts ), this includes the Global server Tranquility, the China server Serenity and the trial accounts. This way you get an idea of how many people are playing EVE Online around the globe, but by keeping the EVE Online Global SS ( Subscriptions ) listed separatly, we still have a view on the health of EVE Online on the main Tranquility server. As always, SS is more important than AA here at, but having them both is even better.

About Star Wars The Old Republic

It is clear their active players are dropping quite a bit, and this is without a doubt translated into their subscription number.

My opinion is that SWTOR has a good base game with enough quality content for a newly released game and at the same time it was released quite polished. The problem is that you burn thru the content too fast because it is just too easy, couple this with a light endgame and a thin social fabric and players reach the point of leaving the game rather sooner than later.

To elaborate on this further, when you level out of an area before you have done all the content, you either have to skip it, or fight green/gray mobs. If you at the same time want to do all the flashpoints and space missions a few times, then you are definitely fighting gray mobs and there is no longer any challenge.

So I bet most of the players that stopped playing just skipped the content and went to the endgame pretty fast. Too bad that the endgame is quite light, which is understandable for a newly released MMORPG, but when the MMORPG is so easy it becomes a serious handicap.

Add to this that the social fabric is quite thin because of the heavy use of instancing, quick travel, light guild features, redundancy of crafting and so on, and it becomes clear that there is little to keep the players from leaving.

At this rate I don't see EA Bioware putting out enough content to keep the players satisfied, they just can't keep up. It is a mystery to me why they made the content so easy, give out a good chunk less XP and you would have a different situation. I mean the content is there, why force players to skip it?

The way I see it is that you should be able to do all of the regular content and then a combination of flashpoints, bonus series and space missions before leveling out of an area.


  1. Having quit SWTOR myself, I can say it wasn't because of this. It was because the game engine constantly stuttered (even on a mid to high end machine) and even after literally 10's of thousands of posts about it Bioware still hasn't even admitted or discussed the issue, so I didn't see it getting better.

  2. Hmm honestly, I did not experience many issues, the occasional crash but nothing more.

    SWTOR does stres your computer quite a bit, the Hero Engine may be a bit bloated.

    SWTOR runs dual core, so you need at least a triple core to get the best results. Besides that I run a GTX285 and it performs nicely with everything maxed, except trees at 50% and no AA ( I don't think it works yet anyway ). Of course running Windows 7 and with 4GB RAM should be the minimum to consider playing any serious game. My system uses around 4GB RAM when running SWTOR, media player, internet explorer, ventrilo, anti virus and some other stuff at the same time.

    Also it takes a while before the game is loaded from my OCZ SSD, so that alone is a testament of how heavy the game is.

    However, I consider my computer midrange, except the SSD maybe.

    So maybe it is an ATI issue or Multi GPU problem, but from empirical evidence, from myself and friends playing the game, the issue may be partially because of not up to spec systems.

    I remember back in the day in EVE Online when the new stations were released ( not incarna, but the spinning ships version ), and many players their GPU melted. Now of course this was partially to blame on CCP, but if your system is properly cooled, tweaked and up to spec, nothing should ever melt your GPU.

    And 10's of thousands of posts may seem a lot, but we were talking about 1,7 million active subscribers at their peak, so then this number is relative.

    I don't say there can't be any issue on the side of SWTOR, but I don't want to count the players with bad rigs that get melted by a game that stresses the CPU and GPU heavily.

    My recommended specs are Windows 7, 6GB RAM, Core 2 Quad and Nvidia GTS 250 or better. Of course properly configured and cooled.

  3. I just checked the minimum specs :

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better
    Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz or better
    Operating System: Windows XP Service Pack 3 or later
    Windows XP: 1.5GB RAM
    Windows Vista and Windows 7: 2GB RAM
    PCs using a built-in graphical chipset are recommended to have 2GB of RAM.

    Star Wars: The Old Republic requires a video card that has a minimum of 256MB of on-board RAM as well as support for Shader 3.0 or better. Examples include:
    ATI X1800 or better
    nVidia 7800 or better
    Intel 4100 Integrated Graphics or better

    Obviously if you want to run SWTOR with the above minimum specs you can expect a slide show :p And the fact that they even mention on-board cards is just ridiculous :)

  4. It is entirely random as far as I can tell... check out this thread for an example. There are plenty of others out there.

    I have a 6 core win 7 64 bit machine with 4 gigs of ram (yeah, I need more) and a GTX-560 and it would periodically drop on me.

    The simplest test is just jumping while opening your inventory. It freezes the game and you can watch your fps drop to nothing for a significant fraction of a second. Note that jumping isn't actually necessary, it just gives a nice visual illustration.

    1. I should add that it is also interesting watching the GPU and CPU when the framerate drops to nothing, so does the GPU and the CPU usage. (As detailed in that thread I posted, but I tested it also. It really does). So it is -not- system bottlenecked.


    Looks like they're holding at 1.7 Million Subscribers as of March.

  6. Thanks Venge, I already received this link, but it is not as straightforward as it looks.

    Here is the quote from the EA Wedbush comments :

    "Star Wars, this is an area that I think has got a lot of people anxious. I've heard from investors today saying that we must have 800,000 subscribers. I heard 600,000 yesterday. So what I think a lot of people have misunderstood is we said we had 1.7 million subscribers on the last call, which was about a month ago. What that was about was the fact that only about – just about half that number had triggered through their 30-day point and become active subscribers, our definition of recurring subscribers. We had about half that total still in the 30-day trial period, but they're subscribers because that first month is including with a package good. What I said a month ago was, just over half.

    I can now confirm for you today that the vast majority of the 1.7 is now triggered through that point and they're recurring subscribers."

    So the vast majority of the 1,7m are now recurring subscribers, I'd say that the vast majority is 90%, and we are talking about the end of February here.

    Meanwhile Xfire numbers keep going down, as well as server load. However this news will make me revise the estimate upwards, but definitely not at 1,7m.

  7. The SWTOR comment is so dead on its exactly what happened to me. It's like I wrote that post, great analysis.