Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Counting crows

Snapcount is still off doing its thing and this strikes me as a good time to provide an update of what's been happening since May and March.

Short answer?  Not a lot.  After peaking at an average logged-in user count around 31000 just before summer began, there's been a long very slow decay.  What I believe is the explanation for the pronounced dip in late May and early June is below.  But we're now at 90-day rolling average of about 29000 logged-in players and that's where things seem to be trapped.  Things are so flat on this metric that it got me curious how long that's been the case now.  The answer turns out to be 40 months, since right around 1 May 2009:

The mountain in early 2011 is the release of the Incursion expansion.  That still currently holds the holds the record for the highest sustained logged-in user counts particularly during the incursion live events that were frequent at that time.  The deep valley later in the same year is the summer of rage, ending with the announcement of "all spaceships, all the time" that happened that autumn.  But overall, the curve remains remarkably flat.  CCP is not having any luck breaking out of this deadlock at present.

I didn't show the 7-day rolling averages on these charts because if one thing has changed, it's that the data is much more volatile this year.  There's been a lot of competition in the MMO space in the last 12 months, and I attribute the volatility to that.  Every time a new competitor is released you can see massive dips in EVE's logged-in players, particularly on the weekends.  Very prominent on the upper chart starting in late May is what I've started thinking of as the "MechWarrior depression."  There was a less-pronounced "Star Wars depression" and the September Snapcount data so far shows there's going to be a fairly pronounced "Guild Wars 2" depression as well.

Still, EVE seems to survive each depression and bounce back to its previous average.  So the game doesn't seem to be losing we hard-core players to other MMOs.  As I said, we're just not having much luck adding many new players to that core.

So as I said, not a lot to talk about.

The question does come up, though: how much longer is Snapcount data going to valid and measurable?  This has come up in my thinking because the data is about to get goosed pretty hard.  Look at the Singularity logged-in user data and you'll see that the average logged-in users over there has been running between 100 and 200 for a couple of years now.  This was the case right up until mid-August this year, when DUST 514 testing was moved to Singularity

Now that that's taken place, daily logged in averages on Sisi are running at about 1200 with peaks to anywhere from 1700 to 2500 logged-in users.  Last weekend, the peak logged-in users on Sisi pushed more than 3000.

So... yeah.  We can expect this means that the same thing will happen with the Tranquility API once DUST 514 goes live presumably later this year.  So, unless the API is tweaked to differentiate between EVE players and DUST 514 players -- and I don't see any reason why CCP would want to -- there will probably be one more Snapcount update based purely on EVE players this year.  After that, there will be a new normal and any changes will probably be influenced much more by DUST 514 player count changes than EVE player count changes.

I'll have to decide what to do with this little project when we get to that point, but I'll probably keep it running.  Why not?  It'll be a very nice measure of how successful DUST is in the marketplace.


  1. So what do you think Ripard? Has Dust rly improved during the beta that it will mess up your chart with 'wave peaks' of fps'ers? And what about cross over from the fps to EvE. Can we get a blog on that?
    Personally i was underwhelemed with the beta and gave up Dust and EvE. What say you?

  2. It should provide an interesting metric ... unless CCP eliminates the api pull altogether they can't in any way hide what happens with the DUST 514 roll out. With an established baseline of 29000 you should be able to very quickly measure and understand the success on 30/60/90 day changes. Even assuming a pick up in EVE players as opposed to DUST you have at least some data suggesting the probable uptick ranges in EVE players based on successful or unsuccessful expansions so you can reasonably filter that out.

    Every other MMO refuses this kind of direct release data ... CCP's response will be interesting... stealth API nerfs on the way?

  3. I know that Chribba was asking about this on Twitter. I think the reply is that the API might be changed to allow for only picking up Eve players or allowing for a split. It's been awhile know so I don't know what the current plans are.

  4. To recap (again), DUST is Eve. Stop talking like it is a separate game/product.

    CCP is unlikely to distinguish between DUST stats and Eve stats; that would be stupid from a PR and investor perspective. Instead, they will trot out the aggregate stats as a huge win for Eve/DUST.

    1. What your saying is half true. CCP will propably talk that way. Doesn't mean you or Jester or anyone else has to.

      If we actually cared about your advice. That means I would have to watch more Jar Jar binks movies and buy toys of him. Gorge Lucas made him Star Wars, and there is no difference between jar jar binks and Star Wars then.

    2. Anon2052: A better analogy would be whether or not you consider everything after the first Star Wars movie to also be Star Wars, or not.

      George Lucas, and pretty much everyone else, agrees that all six full-length live-action films make up "Star Wars". Arguably, GL and many others believe that The Clone Wars - the animated series - also are part of "Star Wars". After that, there is much debate.

      However, despite what critics might say, GL is the creator of Star Wars, so he pretty much gets to define what is, and is not, "Star Wars".

      Unfortunately, yes, this happens to include Jar Jar Binks and the Ewoks.

  5. Hmmmm I spy with my eye a dip due to the Escalation nerfs... must have been a few Incursion alts that went the way of the dinosaurs after the nerf meteor hit!

  6. I would be pretty interested on your analysis on the Chinese server, as there's big a pretty big change some months ago, may be nice for CCP wallet :

  7. I know nothing of the API, but the latest buckingham includes a chat filter for "Infantry." There appear to be ways and means for distinguishing one from the other.

  8. I am somewhat skeptical about DUST boosting EVE's numbers. EVE has been out long enough, and advertised well-enough, to tap out the niche market for an FFA pvp spaceships game. Everybody who wanted to play EVE Online is already doing so. DUST is attracting FPS players, not hardcore sandbox fans.

    And regardless of how closely the two games are integrated, the core mechanics and nature of EVE are not going to change. Integration with DUST is a nice feature, but it's being tacked on to the same old game we've been playing for years. A DUST player logging into EVE will discover the usual landscape of a punishingly boring, spreadsheet-heavy, hardcore game with a steep learning curve. How will this be any different than the countless others who've tried EVE Online and quit after the first few hours? I doubt DUST is going to break EVE out of its niche.

    *And what are mainstream and niche exactly? EVE's numbers are comparable to every other established MMO out there except WoW. If WoW is mainstream, then every other MMO is a niche game.*


  9. Firstly - Great blogs mate!

    The past 2 days has seen over 40000 logged on, as players are reminded through tragedy that they play EVE.

    Does snapshot take into account that 40000 are logged in for US prime, then near DT an almost entirely different set of 15 - 20 thou' logged in. Making for a possible average of 60000 per day. If so how many or what percentage are logged for the 23 1/2 hours?

    ~Felicia Bastian

  10. So the biggest jump, by far, in EVE's numbers comes from a major and well-executed PVE expansion. CCP is now boasting that they only have 4 content designers. Yeah, I think EVE will be stuck where it is for a while.

    That's just as well. They're renovating the existing game, which is valuable and good. It will give them a more solid base on which to add content, should they ever choose to do that. And they should, because a lot of their PVE content is either boring or outright broken.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.