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Reader Comments (41)

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 8:13AM Vilberg said

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I quit wow because I didn't like it anymore, doesnt matter how many people there are when you only have a few thousand in your realm.

I played warhammer for the better part of a year, despite all its troubles, and right now I have an active subscription for it (but dont really play it ... lack of PvE in end game got the best of me)

I quit aion because of the grind (obviously).. no amount of subscribers is going to make me go back there anytime soon.

Right now I'm happily progressing through the ranks in Runes of Magic.. they seem to be doing alot for the games end-game.
Too bad it takes forever to get both classes to 55.

Oh and I've also got my EVE Online account.. after 5 years I've finally gotten the hang of it. I love how many people there are on the shard in eve.
I also live like 5km from CCP Iceland headquarters so I like the idea of supporting them.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 8:14AM (Unverified) said

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Subscription numbers can give you an indication of a solid game that has some addictive gameplay, does not mean that game will suit eveybody though.

World of Warcraft was very lucky to hit the market just as the Internet boom happened and most homes started to dabble in the WWW, no longer did the geeks on thier 56k's own the waves but now kids and mums were playing.

If subscription/sales numbers counted we would all be playing The Sims ;)

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 9:02AM (Unverified) said

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2004, internet boom? Really?

Not even close...
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Posted: Nov 8th 2009 10:08AM ultimateq said

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It's true. Few people were interested in playing their games online because of their slow 56k internet connections. The fact that Everquest, launched in 99, managed to pull the number's it did, when online gaming and especially MMOs were still in their infancy; is nothing short of amazing.

2003-2005 is when the broadband became widely available. I didn't get my cable internet connection until some late 2003. I remember when my cable company announced they were installing the proper lines in our area to run broadband, I counted the days.
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Posted: Nov 8th 2009 8:14AM Thunder7 said

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I think it is somewhat important, as it can indicate how much long term support and additional content there will be for the game. MMOs have a life of their own, but if you know the game you are playing is being played by many others, you know it will go on. Terminally ill games that have few players will end up going away. That is frustrating when you invest the time over months/years then poof....gotta go somewhere else and do it all over again. Having confidence that the game will endure is important.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 8:17AM (Unverified) said

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To me, the subscriber number means nothing in most cases. I don't care if 12 million people play WoW, I am not going to interact with those 12 million people at the same time, what's important to me is the number of people per server, in games like WAR, where population is important.
If a game has enough players for me to be able to play as I like, it's fine. Right now I gave Champions Online a shot, game in which an instance will hold 100 people. Is that too few? Well it's not like I'm going to need more than 4 to make a party and play. Well, seeing more people around you helps the inmersion into an alive world, but it isn't decisive, I'd say. Most people usually play alone when they wander the world, anyways, and will just see the random bypassers without even noticing (even if these will complain that instanced play is stupid because it takes the "massive" out of MMO).

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 8:22AM (Unverified) said

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I don't care. I just want people to play with on my server. If there was only one server but it was populated enough, I'd be fine with it.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 8:40AM Psychotic Storm said

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I don't care much or at all, if I enjoy a game I don't care if it is not the most popular game on earth.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 9:10AM Wisdomandlore said

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I only care about subscription numbers in so far as they indicate how long the game will be playing, and how healthy the servers are.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 9:00AM Xanija said

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I look at subscription numbers - if they are available anyway - but it's just one piece of a puzzle, when I try to get a picture of a MMO. Huge numbers of subscribers means, it attracts a lot of people, it might have fewer bugs and probably is great fun for those who play it. On the other hand, games with fewer subscriber number often have a better community and more people willing to help new players.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 9:03AM (Unverified) said

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Basically I agree with what dave said above. Sales numbers don't mean much to me if it's a single player game but with mmog's numbers can mean a lot. How full servers will be, how much continued support you can expect from the developer or even simple things like your chances of running into people irl that play the same game as you. These are all important to me when it comes to the time commitment an mmog is and higher subscriber numbers generally indicate these things.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 9:11AM Vendayn said

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after a certain point it doesn't matter. BUT...if subscription levels are too low, and the MMO can't support itself...it does start to matter.

There is one MMORPG I really like (gameplay rise), but even on the newbie island there is a very distinct lack of people...making groups near impossible to find (since its a group based game, and can't do much without one). A double edged sword if the numbers are too low...people don't play because they can't find anyone to group with and decide not to subscribe...which doesn't help the population either.

Another problem that rises, at least with this MMO, is that since there is so few subscribers...updates are smaller and take a lot longer to produce. Maybe this is just how the company works, but I imagine they don't have as a big of a budget as larger companies (which is sorta obvious).

but like I said, after a while...numbers start to not really matter that much. I don't know the "magic" number, but I want to say past 100k subscribers and the MMO is doing really well. After that, it doesn't really matter how many people are subbed or not. One benefit I see of more subscribers, is the feeling the game is stable and just won't shut down from lack of population.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 9:13AM Scuffles said

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Yup subscription numbers on a game itself can be nifty to know but really have no effect on my enjoyment of the game or my continued subscription ..... its the number of people on my server that I care about, which I guess is a subset of the over all subscription number but I still.

They also generally don't go into things like how many of those subscriptions are currently active, so yeah they have Xmillion subscriptions but only Ymillion actually have current accounts and then only Zmillion bother to log in on a regular basis and keep in mind that a percent of those coveted accounts are the RMT and gold spammers that you love to hate so ...how many of those play in other regions that don't even effect me?.. just saying you have a crapton of accounts is a bit to vague for me, unless their willing to break that down into a nice pie chart or a bar graph, heck I'd take a spreadsheet ..... without more info on what that number actually means.

Its like McD's saying they have served over a billion people ...doesn't tell me what they served those billion people nor does it tell me what the people at my local franchises prefer ... and it certainly doesn't make me like their fish sandwich.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 9:44AM (Unverified) said

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Well to me, it's only important as an indicator of how many people are playing and the impact it will have on me.
As long as the server is healthy and there are people to play with, I don't care if a game has one server or 1000, I can only play on one at a time.

Now where it does matter is how much support a company is going to give a game. Many small companies put a ton of effort into their titles no matter how small the player base is because every subscriber counts.
Big companies like SOE and NCSoft to many times launch and abandon a title or shut it down if it doesn't make goal sales numbers. Vanguard, Tabula Rasa, Auto Assault and true support for Warhammer seems to be lacking... just to name a few.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 9:45AM (Unverified) said

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As long as the game is not dying subscription numbers don't matter. It's more interesting if they are stable or increasing/decreasing. That's some sort of indication wether or not the game has met the expections of it's players.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 9:59AM JaySpeed said

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Alot of subscribers does not mean a game is good. It just means alot of people like it. We all have our opinions. I don't like boy bands but they sell millions of CD's. I don't think the music is good but many people do. We all have our own opinion's. I put more faith in press review scores. If a game is getting consistent scores by many press outlets, it leads me to believe what the reviewer's are saying. Going by reviews I consider the top current MMO's to be WoW and LOTRO.

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 10:05AM bassec said

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Gators? Seriously?

Ugh -- as a Seminole, kind of offended Massively took sides. :D

Posted: Nov 9th 2009 7:08AM (Unverified) said

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Seminoles? Seriously?

Ugh -- as a natural-born Gainesville Gator, kind of offended you took the wrong side. :D
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Posted: Nov 8th 2009 10:14AM Enaris said

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My gaming tastes have always tended towards things that are less popular (lots of niche games), so in one sense, numbers don't mean a great deal to me. I know well enough that my tastes are "apart from the norm", so if I enjoy a game that doesn't get the big numbers, that's just same old same old for me.

So, on that level, I look at what a game is, and what you do, and ignore the numbers of people playing it, when I decide what I want to take a poke at.

That said, once I'm playing a game, I want it to do well. I want the publisher to be well rewarded, and in the case of an MMO, I want the game to be strong enough to stick around and get Dev-love. If the numbers carry that, I'm happy.

So, for instance, City of Heroes is getting expansions, will have a new paid expansion next year, so I'm happy. (Even if this years expansions have been rather content-light)

Posted: Nov 8th 2009 10:20AM eyeball2452 said

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I agree that subscriber numbers are not that important. One of my favorite MMOs was CoX and it maxed out around 250,000.

However, subscriber numbers do tend to be a good indicator of how a game's doing. Declining subscriber numbers from WAR, AoC, and TR were definitely indicative of them having released unfinished games into the market.

In any event, the important part is the game. Subscriber numbers will not sell a game. A fun experience will and then the subscriber numbers will follow. EVE is an excellent example of this.

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