Per-Player Revenue (ARPU) for MMOs

ARPU for 10 Major MMO Titles, per SuperData Research

It’s a fascinating article. What jumps out to me is that the ARPU’s are significantly less than a monthly subscription of $15 – the closest was World of Tanks (WoT) at 30% of that amount.

My guildee Sujitsu tweeted a hilarious set of conclusions based on the above table:

@taugrim So what I’m seeing here is #1 gold rounds, #2 hats, #3 costumes, #4 skipping play time, #5 A better Skywhale..

As CrossleyColor tweeted, Guild Wars 2 (GW2) is technically not a pure F2P game, given that it’s buy-to-play (B2P). The $3.88 figure for GW2 is probably based on post-purchase spending, because the $60 purchase price would jack up the monthly ARPU.

One of the big questions raised in the article is whether it’s best to go for quantity of players versus ARPU. Of course, in an ideal situation, the answer is both. To date, World of Warcraft (WoW) is really the only title that has had both a high active player base (7+ MM) and high ARPU ($100+ annually). Although I believe that the WoW phenomenon is not reproducible for a new MMO, by Blizzard or anyone else, as the market has evolved and shifted dramatically over the past decade.

League of Legends (LoL) has been enormously successful at scaling its player base, so even though Riot Games is #10 in the list, they’re generating significant revenue and the industry consensus is that they are killing it in terms of profitable growth. It is interesting that the $1.32 in monthly revenue per active player must be sufficient to more than cover all the costs of doing business: game development, marketing, production environment hosting and bandwidth, etc. As TriumphSP tweeted, this article didn’t provide those costs.

GW2 is in the top 3, and I credit ArenaNet for devising a monetization scheme that does not punish players who opt not to pay, after the initial purchase price. Both paying and non-paying customers have a positive experience in GW2.

I’m not at all surprised to see WoT top the list – Wargaming has done a very savvy job of designing game mechanics that incent players to fork over real money:

Easing the grind for new tanks
Developing crews that are highly skilled
Acquiring a monthly subscription for 50% higher income and experience
Sadly, being able to pay for bullets that are superior at armor-piercing, and while these can be paid for with in-game credits, the extent to which you can accumulate in-game credits tends to be correlated with how much real money you spend
Any F2P developer designing their monetization schemes should take a long look at what Wargaming has done, because many of the above concepts could be modified and applied to non-shooter games.

The WoT community often strongly defends WoT as a high skill-cap game – which I agree with – and that it is not Pay-to-Win (P2W), but the reality is paying real money does provide advantage relative to non-paying players.

I will confess that I’m what the gaming and casino industries classify as a “whale” – I’m in the low single-digit percentage of customers who accounts for 90+% of the revenue. I’ve been averaging over $30 per month playing WoT. As a full-time working stiff, spending the money is worth it to me to ease the grind. After the initial purchase $60 purchase price for GW2, I averaged over $10 per month, mostly to buy gems to sell for in-game currency to pay for gear-related improvements.

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Thirds of the Top-Rated Players in WildStar 2v2 Arena are Inactive

I’ve been wondering how accurately the WildStar PVP Leaderboards reflect the current meta and player activity, so I compared the 2v2 Arena Leaderboards from September 25th and October 10th.

You can find my analysis in the following spreadsheet document:

There is a summary tab with calculations and two tabs for the Leaderboards. I sorted the Leaderboards by name – you can easily move between the tabs to see the changes for each player.

Here are my conclusions:

The highest number of active classes who gained rating or joined the top 250 on October 10th were Warriors (16) and Medics (13), followed by Espers (9), Spellslingers (8), Stalkers (5), and Engineers (3)
A whopping 65% of the 250 top-rated players in 2v2 are inactive. Meaning they have either stopped playing WildStar or they are still playing but not participating in 2v2 anymore
Point #1 should be no surprise to anyone, given the recent changes to PVP stats to decrease damage and increase healing. Warrior/Medic was always a good comp, but with the current meta they faceroll most other comps. The Medic is durable, can kite effectively, and can heal even when out of Focus (i.e. they are un-OOMable), and the Warrior has high passive mitigation, strong burst, and is difficult to sustainably peel/CC. The longer TTK has made life harder for Stalkers, although in my experience the top-end Stalkers in a dual DPS comp are still very dangerous, if they spec to strip shields and coordinate their burst. I’ve never been able to understand why Engineers aren’t played more in 2v2 – in particular heal-soak Engi/Medic is a strong comp.

What is alarming about point #2 is that even with cross-server queues for BG and Arena, the PVP queue times outside of prime time are very high – as Lewis B discussed in his recent article The WildStar Ghost Town – and during prime time PBGs still take 5+ minutes to pop. As a comparison, with World of Tanks (WoT), the queue pops for Random Battles in under a minute any time day or night.

I love WildStar’s action combat system – it’s the most skill-based and engaging of any MMORPG that I’ve played. That said, the dwindling population has a direct impact on me: I have to worry about queue times and the likelihood that the queues will get longer.

On top of that, I’m very burned out by the RNG runes system, where the rune colors are randomized. In most games, when you get a purple drop in PVE or PVP, you rejoice. In WildStar, you hold your breath and pray for decent runes. To date I’ve purchased approximately 55 pieces of 1800 PVP gear, and it’s been a very frustrating and unrewarding experience. Players have said “wait until you can re-roll runes in Drop 3″ but that doesn’t solve my problem now, and I face other 1800-geared players who got their PVP gear prior to the RNG system being introduced for PVP gear. After my 4th purchase of an 1800 weapon resulted in another non-upgrade from the 1800 weapon I’m using, I finally gave up and unsubbed from WildStar last weekend.

This is a tough time for WildStar. The community is hoping/praying that Drop 3 will turn the game around. Since WAR and AoC in 2008, I have yet to see a game that hemorrhaged subs in the first 3 months make a meaningful recovery. Some folks point to SWTOR, which transitioned to F2P, but that game has not only an epic combat feel but one of the most valuable IPs of any genre.

Over the past week I’ve been playing ArcheAge (AA) and shaking off rust in WoT. I doubt I will stick with AA as the leveling process is bland and there are no BGs to enjoy, practice, test specs, and gain leveling experience. I really appreciate AA’s flexible build system, and on paper I found a class that suits me well: Abolisher, which combines Battlerage/Defense/Auramancy for a durable MDPS build that has CC and can counter CC. That said, my Abolisher is only level 15 and the road to 50 is many hours of tedium. Folks have told me AA’s endgame sandbox PVP is worth it, but I’ve never played a game that I disliked while leveling and loved at endgame. If the game can’t pull me in during the leveling process, the shoe doesn’t fit.

WoT has thankfully reminded what a (mostly) skill-based game with a very active population looks like, and I’m continuing to try to play at a Super Unicum (2900+ WN8 rating) level without gold ammo. It’s a fun goal :)

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Lumbridge Gets A Summer Makeover In RuneScape


Jagex Games Studio today announced the release of an exciting new content update for the ever-popular world of RuneScape as the previously desolate environment of the Lumbridge Crater has received a much welcomed facelift just in time for Summer. What was once a thriving newbie welcoming town, Lumbridge recently fell victim to a catastrophic event following the epic battle between two of RuneScape’s most powerful gods, it has since been reduced to a mere hole in the ground. However, all hope is not lost as the community of RuneScape have come together to create a small corner of paradise in the aftermath of the Lumbridge battle.

Players can look forward to a number of unique and exciting Summer-themed events and activities to get involved in including sandcastle building, fishing in rock pools, beach grills and even a legendary coconut shy. Each activity in the RuneScape Summer event will provide experience points based on the skills involved in the activities accompanied by further rewards such as Summer Emotes and unique cosmetic items.

It’s not all fun and games however as every hour Clawdia, a giant beach boss monster, will appear and will need the collective efforts of many players to take her down. Defeating Clawdia quickly will reward participants with better loot such as ice creams and cooling cocktails.

The RuneScape Summer event is already underway and is scheduled to run through until August 31st.


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League of Angels Fire Raiders Emblem and Guild Treasures Coming Soon

Behind every successful league, there is a powerful angel. League of Angels-Fire Raiders will soon release two new features: Emblem and Guild Treasure Raids! Come find out more from the Angel of Protection.

To further increase the power of the league and to utilize all heroes in the advancement of the team, we are proud to introduce the Emblem Function. The Emblem Function of《League of Angles-Fire Raiders》is unique in that it grants emblem to specific types of heroes!

Guild Instance – Guild Treasure Unlocked

Guild Treasure has long been looked forward to. In the new version, Guild Treasure will be unlocked along with a new GVE method of play that encourages guild members to share goals and conquer them together. Aside from the rewards, it is a good way to bring players together and increase activity within the guild.
Guild Instances are made up of multiple chapters and stages. The daily target is set by the leader or vice leader of the guild a day in advance. Players gets a reward with each challenge. Once the daily target is reached, each player gets to choose a treasure chest to open that contains a random reward.
At the same time we have designed three rankings(Personal Daily Ranking, Personal Aggregate Ranking and Guild Aggregate Ranking) and Instance Shop. Battle in Guild Instance and gain Emblem Exp, Guild Instance Coin, Gold and Limitless Item.

Ancient Arena – New competition

The new version of “Ancient Arena” will get rid of the old system of single team combat and will instead employ a three team combat system. When the player accesses the Ancient Arena, the game will automatically distribute 3 heroes and 3 angels with the highest BR in 3 separate teams, then the player will have the option to complete the rest of the formation with 1 click. This formation will be the player’s defensive formation. The player can alter formation according to the opponent’s team set up.


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Testing out the EverQuest Beta Progression Server


As soon as I heard that Daybreak was going to be opening a new EverQuest progression server this summer, I decided that I would dedicate some time to playing it. I didn’t start playing EverQuest until after POK released, so there nostalgia factors that I never experienced. I wanted to help test, the smoother the experience is at release the better, so I patched up the beta client and was met with – old character graphics. This made me smile. These were not the character graphics when I was playing, and it’s odd to think of them making anyone smile this day in age, but there they were. They’re horrible, and it’s fantastic.

The starter zones are packed with people. There’s no beginner armor quests so you have to ignore the dialect from most of the NPC. One thing they have added is the ability to swap to another instance of your zone if there are too many people there (around 50+). You can do this by using the /pickzone zone # command. So for example /pickzone gfay 2 will open a window with a selection of instances to choose from. I did this on my dark elf enchanter, Blesse (pictured above) and ended up in a zone with no one else.

The beta allows players to buff their characters in order to test things like expansion unlocks. Kunark unlocked yesterday afternoon, all of the raid mobs finally defeated. The base game, ‘EverQuest’ doesn’t have a whole lot of quests. Killing is slow depending on what class you’re looking to play. Right now the server is open to anyone, but eventually you’ll need all access to play – which I have to admit, I’m a fan of. Even on the beta server there are people running around with 5+ boxed accounts. I have been debating whether or not I want to box myself, I used to when I was playing on Drinal not so long ago, but I haven’t decided yet. Some days I just like to play and not have to focus on more than one character.

Of course because it’s beta everyone is pretty much doing their own thing. Ideally I’d like to meet up with a social guild, and join others in their adventures. I’m not sure if there’s a central place for people to advertise that stuff, so if anyone else hears anything, let me know.

It took me about an hour to ding level 2 in Nektulos forest. I died a few times when guards couldn’t reach me in time, and I collected 10 or so of the adventure stones that are going to allow players to ‘earn’ rewards when progression goes live, for helping with the beta. I’m unsure what those rewards are yet. All in all, I’m still very excited to begin these adventures. I’m not a huge fan of the beta because of the buff command, but I understand why it’s important to test everything.

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Ragefire – Leveling Continues

I haven’t written about it much (well, I haven’t written about anything much this summer to be honest) but I am still playing on the EverQuest progression server, Ragefire. My magician is now level 17, along with my druid. I’ve been camping Dervish out in South Ro along with Kasul playing his shaman. The place is dangerous. There’s a mixture of dark blue mobs mixed with some white, a handful of yellow, and then the reds (usually Orc Warriors, and the odd Sand Giant that wanders by). The zones are still really packed with players, and I use the /pick function as often as I can to swap to quieter instances. There’s a large number of players who are now at the level cap, but I’m not in any rush.

We did have a poll option to see if we’d like Kunark to come out earlier than normal, which I did vote in favour of. I think it offers players a larger range of zones to explore and will help spread the population out even further. Of course one day I’d like to see myself in a raid but because of the population issue I’m not expecting to be able to help out for quite some time. I’ve been contemplating creating (yet another) alt in the meantime, but I suppose I should at least reach 50 on one pair of characters first. I know there are better (ie: faster) camps out there, but I”m content to sit and wait on three spawns in a relatively safe location.

There has been a lot of chatter in all of the channels I join when I log in, but not a lot of that chatter is centered around groups or camp checks. This is one of the biggest differences I’ve seen between playing back when I first started, and playing now. Now it’s only to easy for people to box multiple accounts, or to have already established groups. I suppose it was a bit foolish to think that things would be exactly as they were 10 years ago, but a part of me had hoped.

Between leveling I’m working up my tradeskills. Earning skill points is a slow process, but one I find incredibly valuable. I haven’t been selling anything I’ve created yet, but I do enjoy having a fine selection of foods and drinks to choose from. I did also create myself a set of gear, and while it offers nothing in terms of actual stats, it does offer AC, which is very important.

Playing a magician is quite easy. There’s so many of them around. The only time I really have any concerns is when a roaming mob (or two, or three) has wandered into my camp, and then I get flustered and forgot to watch the health of my pet and before I know it I’ve been taken out by a named I wasn’t even aware of. It’s exciting times, and I’m glad to be a part of it.

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Diablo III Legendary Items Changes , Monk Changes and Outdated Achievements in Patch 2.1

Apart from the topic of Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition, a great large number of Diablo III players are focusing on the changes of Patch 2.1. This time, Diablo 3 would like to let you know changes of Legendary Items, Monk and outdated achievements according to documented notes and undocumented but as observed on the PTR.
Diablo III Legendary Items Changes in Patch 2.1.

Most changes are not retroactive in patch 2.1 because players have to find the item anew, otherwise, others cannot agree with you. However, there are a few exceptions, like the class set bonus changes, the two-handed buff which has proved to be up to 30% more base damage, and the arcane damage roll on Moonlight Ward.

At the same time, people should note that life on hit and life regeneration will be re-rolled on all your existing diablo 3 items. For instance, a Royal Ring of Grandeur can roll up to roughly 7500 life on hit in 2.1. Therefore, don’t be too quick to roll LoH off some items!

Furthermore, existing rolls will be more than tripled when 2.1 hits and life regeneration will see a similar buff in Patch 2.1.

Monk changes in Diablo III Patch 2.1.

Increase the Spirit generation and damage of each Primary skill without just upping the numbers. That means that each of Primary skill will operate more quickly and scale better with Attack Speed.

Some of the remaining Dodge mechanics that Monks have left in their Kit will be addressed. Mantra of Evasion is being replaced with Mantra of Salvation, and the base skill will now provide you and your allies within 60 yards a 20% bonus to All Resistance. What’s more, the Dodge bonus will be moved to a new rune, Agility, and you will find some other useful utility among the other new runes.

Outdated achievements changes in patch 2.1.

Two outdated Jeweler achievements will become Feats of Strength in the upcoming patch 2.1. They are Perfect As Tears and Like Stars in the Sky. These two Jeweler achievements are nearly impossible to obtain any more. The achievements involve crafting a Radiant Star Gem, but to craft each of those gems required having 3000 Flawless Square Gems, which only drop for level 57-60 characters.

Considering the above reasons, these two achievements will change in patch 2.1 into Feats of Strength: They will no longer be part of the regular achievement list and will not reward achievement points.

Anyhow, Diablo III patch 2.1 will bring you all a lot of new changes. Today, Dibalo 3 only tells you some changes about the Legendary items, Monk and outdated achievements. Hope they will do you a favor in game.

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