Player Population

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    • Player Population

      The player population numbers in Albion Online are an often talked about topic.

      In this thread, we will share key population numbers with you, provide important background information and present you with an outlook of how we see the population developing going forward.

      Population metrics in games

      Different metrics are used when talking about population in online games.When making comparisons, it is extremely important to base them on the same metric.

      Often, huge numbers are thrown around for marketing purposes without much meaning.
      For example, if the number of “players” is mentioned without much extra info. This could mean anything. Often, players are counted even if they are inactive, or if they just played once in the last quarter.

      For an MMO, it’s important that the world is active and there are lots of people to interact with. The metric for this is “concurrent users” (CCU). It measures how many players are online in the game at the same time, hence measuring the actual in-game activity.
      It’s much different from “daily active” or “weekly active users”, as for these metrics, logging in just once per day or week already counts - they do not necessarily tell you much about the actual in-game activity. Somebody who plays just 1 minute per day counts the same as somebody who puts in 8 hours.

      Albion Online is a hardcore game, meaning that the average daily active player puts in about 4 hours per day. Also, weekly active Albion players play on average for 4 days per week.

      These numbers are much higher than in typical MMO games. This means that a weekly active user in Albion Online creates much more actual in-game activity as a weekly active player in a typical MMORPG game.

      Also note that weekly active players (which you can approximate somewhat through Albion's in-game leaderboards) do not fully correlate with CCU numbers. The reason for this is that the least active players are the most likely to quit, and the most active players are the least likely to quit - on average, players who quit are not as active as those who play on. Hence, a 10% reduction in weekly active players does not translate into a 10% reduction of CCUs.


      Albion’s Numbers
      • Highly active WoW servers on average have around 2.000 CCUs. For an average WoW server, it can be much lower than that. (based on crowd-sourced data)
      • Our daily average is close 4.000 CCU. Peaks can go up to 6.000.
      • This puts Albion at around 2 well-populated WoW servers.
      • This is also more than 3 times the numbers that we had during our last beta phase, which was the most popular one.
      • On Steam, it would put us well into the top #100 right now, in the neighbourhood of some of the most successful niche games such as Elite Dangerous, Factorio, Rimworld and Cities Skylines, despite our more expensive pricing policy.
      • Note: for those of you who look at fame rankings to estimate weekly active players: only the "last week" setting is accurate, as the "this week" setting goes by calendar week, hence, for example, if you check it on Monday, you only have 1 day worth of data.


      Actual in-game activity

      What matters most in an MMORPG is how active the world actually feels. Are zones and cities populated? Do you often encounter other players? Can you find action if you are looking for it?

      The very clear answer to this is “yes”. In fact, when you look at how often you meet and interact with other players, we’d go further and say that Albion Online certainly feels more active than most other MMORPGs on the market right now.

      A good indicator for this is how active the main cities are. Caerleon currently has a total of 745 players, and the royal cities are at around 100 each. Below, find some screenshots of Caerleon to get a feel for how this looks like.





      Assessment


      At launch, the hype around Albion Online was much bigger than what we expected. We had a peak CCU value of close to 30.000 players. It's fair to assume that alot of these players were not familiar with what playing a hardcore sandbox MMORPG entails.

      Coming from such a high level, the subsequent & expected drop of players numbers looks bad in relative terms, in the same way that getting a B on a test might feel bad if you had gotten straight As on the 10 tests before that.

      In absolute terms, the current activity numbers that we see right now are a great!


      Outlook

      After the initial release rush the population will taper off heavily. This is true for almost all online games released today. The tapering should stop eventually and reach a saddle point, as illustrated by the chart below.



      At the saddle point, the population will be pretty stable and ideally, will start growing. This will be supported by us continuing to improve and expand the game.

      There is a serious of strategic measures that will support this:
      • Marketing campaigns accompanying major game updates (each update will get at least a small push from us, the next large one is planned for the Lancelot update)
      • New refer-a-friend system
      • iOS release and Android app store integration
      • Digital distribution platforms (such as Steam)
      Our goal is to reach the saddle point over the coming months, roughly with the release of the Kay upgrade, and then starting to actively grow the population from the Lancelot upgrade onwards.
    • Very interesting update. As always, the forums are interested in blowing things out of proportion... and I think, to some extent, because this game is as hardcore as you describe, we're always leery of the first sign of trouble. People invested months of their lives into games like Darkfall, Archeage & Black Desert for example, only to be let down not once but twice. Most won't let that happen again and will always have a toe out the door, ready for things to go south. It's promising that we're not even at your saddlepoint yet.

      In the future, I'd love to see a roadmap reassessment - whether or not things have changed or what you're looking to deliver is still basically what you said. For me in particular, the idea that more instanced content is being worked on is troubling at best, as I feel those who you are hoping to entertain and retain with Instanced Content - the types who use it because they're too lazy and/or risk averse to spend much time in the Red or Black Zones - are a lost cause anyway. You could devote all your time to trying to appease them and they'll still leave you to go back to WoW in the end... because what they want this game to be is not what you built the game to be:


      Korn wrote:

      a hardcore sandbox MMORPG

      Your words, not mine.

      So lets get this hardcore, sandbox MMORPG back on track and PLEASE stop focusing on instanced content... before population is something we really have to worry about. And lets face it - the issue of population and instanced content are linked. If 20% of people are running instanced content, the game looks 20% deader to the 80% who aren't. Arenas & Expeditions do have a measurable, negative impact on the hardcore sandbox nature of this MMORPG.

      The post was edited 4 times, last by RockLobster ().

    • Really interesting post to see. As a vet of some previous hardcore MMORPGs like pre-trammel UO, Shadowbane and Darkfall - I'm curious to see what things Albion can do in order to grow from the saddle point, as opposed to dying out slowly like SB and DF. IMHO, there's three keys to growing Albion:

      1) Varied and interesting content in the open world
      2) Balancing Risk vs. Reward
      3) Balancing Combat

      First point, take UO as inspiration and create a broad range of new content, from systems for encouraging PvP (IE treasure maps) to small things like purely aesthetic content (IE rare spawns). These are just two examples from UO that were a lot of fun and got people out into the open world. But as others have mentioned, CCU makes the most impact when players are out in the open world, not in instanced content. For a game like Albion to thrive, Open World content should always be the primary focus and more rewarding gameplay versus instanced content. WoW is the opposite, and not the right model to copy.

      The second big factor for Albion devs to consider is balancing risk and reward. The thrill of full loot PvP games and territory conquest games is that you can take other peoples stuff, but also have to worry about having yours taken. The key to balance is making sure that both sides of the PvP equation need to bring something valuable to the table in order to win, so that players are rewarded for doing so, while at the same time the sting of defeat is not so harsh as to drive players away from trying again. Again, UO struck a good, albeit more casual balance of this in the pre-Trammel days especially. Gear and regs were affordable, but not so cheap that there was no joy in killing someone and taking their stuff.

      Lastly, and maybe most importantly, combat needs to be balanced and skill based. Players need to be viable with multiple different builds, and skill needs to play a primary factor in determining the outcome of fights. Of course, sometimes pure strength of numbers or significant gear advantage can be the deciding factor, but in order for hardcore and casual players alike to continue PvPing, the game needs to prioritize player skill in combat as much as possible as the key determining factor. As a counterexample, WoW often felt very gear based or rock/paper/scissor which really made the PvP boring in that game.

      Just my 3 cents, but I'm hopeful for Albion and thank you Korn and team for the hard work you guys put into this game.
      AO Quick Reference Guide
      Discord: Grimhawke#9254

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Grimhawke-EB ().

    • Hey man, interesting post as a player who played a lot (small group/solo PVP) I quit recently. I really enjoyed the game and have followed it for a real long time. I just don't see the game going anywhere good by only promoting people to group up in the largest blue donut possible and the world is empty unless you run into these massive groups. I understand that the game is an MMO but to have nothing to incline individual players to log in and go out in the world for themselves and it makes the world feels extremely empty.

      Other games offer things to get players out in the world missions/quests/faction rep any real in-depth mechanic would work really, which for some reason you guys totally disregard. Its really stale to ask a players to log in to fame farm, Resource farm, or PVP. Which guess what as people who get tired of farming resources for "nothing" or the crazy fame farmers die of boredom and stop logging in to grind for shitty percentage gains, you get less and less interaction and PVP.

      Look at recently TC and other large alliances have resorted to coming to reds and looking for content since the BZ is dead and so large you cannot find people to fight its retarded. This is partly because you offer no way for players to accurately hunt and PVP. Why is there no mechanics around hunting players especially when you have a world where you are supposed to search for people to fight. Its honestly quite baffling to see a supposed hardcore pvp game offer nothing in terms of any systems to pvp.

      It feels a little weird and disingenuous to talk about the liveliness of the game and then to link screens of Careleon. Why not show screens of the other cities? Maybe show some stats of player activily in areas of the BZ or how many people have died in zones. Hell as someone who solo hunted in eve why don't you have any information in terms of something like the DOTLAN or the many other resources a real mmo has for hunting. I feel the devs have squandered many opportunities to make this game great. :thumbdown:
    • Thanks for taking your time, particularly on a Sunday, to provide a developer's statement to us.

      However, it strikes me as very odd that the issue you have decided to address is the decrease in players and essentially telling us "it's fine guys, we expect it to keep going"?

      Can we please have some feedback on the other, arguably more popular feedback? I won't enumerate them all here, but some responses in the feedback section would be greatly appreciated considering the decrease in threads submitted lately and the generally held popularity of opinions?

      I must say that this thread reminded me of the following meme:

    • Korn wrote:

      Caerleon currently has a total of 745 players
      lol, i and i think many other players don't care that much about how many players are in caerleon, we want players to be outside of the cities instead of hanging out in the cities and doing expeditions all the time...

      but i'll give albion some more time, but don't know for how long i can overlook all these mistakes that could be easily solved
    • Oh my goodness, there is so much wrong with this downright embarrassing post. As a developer, you shouldn't be 'defending' your game from accusations that it's dead, it just makes it look more dead, and dead it is.

      Firstly, World of Warcraft has cross-realm functionality, comparing it's CCU to Albion's is pointless and irrelevant, because you have people from DOZENS/HUNDREDS of other servers interacting with you all the time.

      Secondly, all one has to do to see any relevant data is not look at your 'claim' of CCU numbers, but to access the killboard's kills. Kills are a perfect metric, because it's the 'end game' statistic of anyone who cares about statistics related to player count. Are you a crafter/gatherer? Well people need to be dying to make your profession fun. Are you a PvPer? Well people need to be dying to make your profession fun. Are you an X? Well people NEED TO BE DYING to make a sandbox full loot mmo any good.

      The fact that there are less than 5% of the average weekly kills this week than there were during the first month shows that the game has lost effectively, 95% of it's players. And the stats get worse every week too, (with a few exceptions) the number of (excluding sub 1000 fame deaths) pvp deaths (or kills, semantic) decreases anywhere from 5% to 25% PER WEEK. The only three increases ever were after the first week, week 5, and week 7, of which the increases were (675% first week outlier statistic) (7.7%) and (1.1%).

      Not to mention I tried playing yesterday, ran around for two hours, found no one, and /suicided home and uninstalled.

      It's one thing to have a dead game, it's another thing entirely to try and lie and morale post to your players as a developer instead of trying to fix it.