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NC Soft Q4 earnings report. GW2 25% decline over Q3


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@Vayne.8563 said:

@Diak Atoli.2085 said:While the drop in revenue is cause for concern, I must point out that
all
of NCSoft's western MMOs had negative quarters. Food for thought: Is this drop reflected in other companies?From what Square-Enix's saying, FF XIV is actually gaining, not only in general, but also specifically in US and EU. So, it's not some universal thing.

There's always exceptions to the rule. But they're a sub game, that has a huge amoung of income because the IP was massively popular before it came out. I mean I don't know about you but I saw a Final Fantasy movie...many many years ago. Never did see a Guild Wars 2 movie.

It's also far easier to expand when you add a console version which Final Fantasy XIV did. So yeah, console version, famous IP (it is the XIVth installment in that series), it doesn't mean a pattern doesn't exist. That's like saying we have one cold day and so there's no climate change.

Ff14 was also considered dead for 1 or 2 expansions based on the terrible launch it innitially had.

Eso is also showing growthand it has paid dlc and expacs and a sub fee (optional).

Legion showed growth too (at least the playerbase was bigger than wod, not a strong feat).

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@Ayrilana.1396 said:

@Ayrilana.1396 said:I wonder what their revenue would have been had they charged real world currency to unlock the LW episodes rather than give them out for free.

My guess is that it would've been much lower since the game would have far less players.

As opposed to a game that charges for content through expansions?

Expansions are usually "worth" the money, LW episodes are not. I can't think of a single LW episode that I'd pay for.

Expansions and seasons are essentially the same thing. If I split HoT and PoF into episodes, would you consider them to not be worth paying for?

Lol? Verdant Brink Has more content than all content released in Ice Brood Saga combined. And it is just one map. This season now has 3 release over 8 month period.

Also, the main point of an expansion is the elite lines.

The idea of expansions and seasons have equal content, is not only false, it is laughable.

And Anet, if you are reading this, no, templates and level 500 cooking are not remotely close to expansion features.

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@zealex.9410 said:

@Diak Atoli.2085 said:While the drop in revenue is cause for concern, I must point out that
all
of NCSoft's western MMOs had negative quarters. Food for thought: Is this drop reflected in other companies?From what Square-Enix's saying, FF XIV is actually gaining, not only in general, but also specifically in US and EU. So, it's not some universal thing.

There's always exceptions to the rule. But they're a sub game, that has a huge amoung of income because the IP was massively popular before it came out. I mean I don't know about you but I saw a Final Fantasy movie...many many years ago. Never did see a Guild Wars 2 movie.

It's also far easier to expand when you add a console version which Final Fantasy XIV did. So yeah, console version, famous IP (it is the XIVth installment in that series), it doesn't mean a pattern doesn't exist. That's like saying we have one cold day and so there's no climate change.

Ff14 was also considered dead for 1 or 2 expansions based on the terrible launch it innitially had.

Eso is also showing growthand it has paid dlc and expacs and a sub fee (optional).

Legion showed growth too (at least the playerbase was bigger than wod, not a strong feat).

Growth for three months is not what I'm talking about. Over time WoW went from 12.4 million subscirbers to under 4 million. From one expansion to another, sure the numbers will go up when the expansion launches. But if you're just looking at people buying an expansion and not staying, if the subscriber numbers drop to 3 million, it's not sustained growth. Up until this last quarterly report, Guid Wars 2 showed stability. In between expansions stability. To me those numbers are much more important than an influx of funds from any one expansion.

I agree that expansions are better for the game than what we have now. But what you're saying has nothing to do with what I'm saying. FF XIV got a second chance precisely because it was final fantasy and it was a huge name. People had been playing that series for a long long time. They had the playerbase long before they ever had the game, just like people will play Star Wars because it's Star Wars. Even ESO has the benefit of a very long very popular series behind it. And both those series had the advantage to being both console and PC, just as both those MMOs now do.

You're trying to say well if we had expansions we'd be growing but I don't think that PoF did as well over all as HOT did at least in total dollar value. It's just so easy to say expansion = a win. That doesn't always prove to be the case.

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@Evon Skyfyre.9673 said:

@"maddoctor.2738" said:Also keep in mind that Arenanet stopped selling Heart of Thorns in late Q3 and of course it was free for the entirety of Q4
Maybe that can explain part of the drop, depending on how well Heart of Thorns was selling.

Good point, while it may not account for the entire drop, it certainly contributed. But HOT now comes with POF, so there should be an increase in rev from an increase in value as a pack?

That depends on how much HOT was selling before. When the game went free to play, the Core Game was still selling on online retailers, meaning the game lost a good amount of revenue from going free back in 2015. I believe its' the same situation here, the content quality/quantity, the Saga announcement and so on, are good indicators of a drop in revenue, I won't deny that, but I think stopping the sale of a, popular, expansion is likely to have an impact on revenue too. It's a very big bump in Q4 from being so stable in the previous 3 quarters to be justified on content "quality" or the build templates in my opinion. Of course we'll never know.

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We can talk all day about LWs being expansion quality or not. At the end numbers and graphics in this very post tells you the truth. Is not. Players are leaving, revenues are getting low. Only time we see the trend is raising is when a expansion is released. So players love expansions and LWs whatever which season does not come near an expansion revenues wise. Now why we are not playing right now an expansion as we should its an enigma.

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@"Vayne.8563" said:It's just so easy to say expansion = a win. That doesn't always prove to be the case.

You are right. It has to be a good expansion (quality and quantity) that attracts players and reviewers from media. And the timing of release has to be right. And the marketing and the coverage in (special interest) media has to be good. And of course several other factors…

Anets original idea was to do this different than the competitors, so they invented the LW as a better alternative than expansions. So you do not have to wait 1-2 years for the next expansion whithout new content, then play the expansion, then wait again 1-2 years etc.

Instead the LW idea promised a nearly continuous stream of fresh/new content. So there will be no long waiting period for new content. And Anet realised that and delivered in a two-weekly release cycle for some time. Which was new, no competitor could do this before. I call this the "golden time of new content". :)

Maybe it was because too much content delivered too fast for lots of players, maybe it was because lots of the content could no be replayed later, maybe they put too much ressources away for other secret projects, but after that "golden time", the "average new content per month" ratio (not measured scientificly, just my gut feeling) decreased a lot over time and is now on a very low level compared to the "golden time".

My guess is: If we still would get good content and also the same amout of fresh content per i.e. month like in the "golden time", nearly no player would ask for an expansion.

The Saga was announced/hyped as the "next big thing" (my words, not theirs) and if I remember Mike Z. correctly, he said, the Saga fits much better to how Anet wants to deliver content than an expansion. I believe he said the truth. However, I am not sure if how (much) Anet wants to deliver content matches the needs and wishes of the player base.

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@Zok.4956 said:

@"Vayne.8563" said:It's just so easy to say expansion = a win. That doesn't always prove to be the case.

You are right. It has to be a good expansion (quality and quantity) that attracts players and reviewers from media. And the timing of release has to be right. And the marketing and the coverage in (special interest) media has to be good. And of course several other factors…

Anets original idea was to do this different than the competitors, so they invented the LW as a better alternative than expansions. So you do not have to wait 1-2 years for the next expansion whithout new content, then play the expansion, then wait again 1-2 years etc.

Instead the LW idea promised a nearly continuous stream of fresh/new content. So there will be no long waiting period for new content. And Anet realised that and delivered in a two-weekly release cycle for some time. Which was new, no competitor could do this before. I call this the "golden time of new content". :)

Maybe it was because too much content delivered too fast for lots of players, maybe it was because lots of the content could no be replayed later, maybe they put too much ressources away for other secret projects, but after that "golden time", the "average new content per month" ratio (not measured scientificly, just my gut feeling) decreased a lot over time and is now on a very low level compared to the "golden time".

My guess is: If we still would get good content and also the same amout of fresh content per i.e. month like in the "golden time", nearly no player would ask for an expansion.

The Saga was announced/hyped as the "next big thing" (my words, not theirs) and if I remember Mike Z. correctly, he said, the Saga fits much better to how Anet wants to deliver content than an expansion. I believe he said the truth. However, I am not sure if how (much) Anet wants to deliver content matches the needs and wishes of the player base.

Competitors are releasing content drops throughout their expansions, so that covers the Living World aspect of GW2, even if the LW is to some extent more polished versus competitor content (and it is, no matter how one might stand towards Living World content. It is very polished and well made).

Expansions create buzz, attention and most important, they bind players to the game for extended periods of time via big content drops. A player bound longer period to a game is more likely to get others to join him.

Now this is anecdotal, but when I mention Living World releases in my circle of longtime gaming friends (as far back as our Diablo 1 times together), all I get is a mild: oh is that game still a thing? If ANY expansion drops for any game, the buzz we have about it is far bigger, no matter if all of us are going to play it or not (for example not all of us played or gave BfA a try, but we certainly discussed it).

That's what Living World, no matter how good it is, will never achieve.

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I am not sure these numbers are correct I looked on the NcSoft site found 2 mobil games available in several countries all other ncsoft games also available In other countries even the original Guildwars, but Guildwars2 2 only shows the US in China it is not called Guildwars2 its called Fierce Battle 2. So is GW2 only showing numbers for the NA and EU or just the NA and not china. My question is this is NcSoft doctoring numbers to make their games look good or is GW2 doing that bad?

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@"Cyninja.2954" said:That's what Living World, no matter how good it is, will never achieve.

This isn't entirely true and it depends on how one defines an expansion and a "living world". For example the game Warframe has been around for as long as Guild Wars 2 (since late 2012) and never had any expansions in the "usual" term (massive paid content drops). They never charged players to play the game and never released a paid expansion or even a small DLC. It's all free content updates for everyone and yet it's been featured on many online media, conventions (they even have their own convention in July) and many of their free updates create lots of hype and interest. Which is probably why the game is in the top 10 of the Steam Charts since forever and never dropped out, during their biggest releases the game even gets to top 5.

A non-expansion content update can create a lot of noise and increase hype for a game, but it needs to be substantial enough and fundamentally change the way players play the game. To continue the Warframe example, their latest (probably over-hyped) release allows players to fly in space and participate in space combat, while the game itself has been a boots-on-the-ground shooter/looter up to that point. It's a gigantic change in scope and gameplay. The marketing campaign for that thing was intense.

You don't need paid expansions to increase hype and excitement, but you need something really substantial (in terms of gameplay) to do it. The Guild Wars 2 Living World has failed to provide that so far, but other games can do it. So Guild Wars 2 could, if they changed a lot of things.

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@maddoctor.2738 said:

@"Cyninja.2954" said:That's what Living World, no matter how good it is, will never achieve.

This isn't entirely true and it depends on how one defines an expansion and a "living world". For example the game Warframe has been around for as long as Guild Wars 2 (since late 2012) and never had any expansions in the "usual" term (massive paid content drops). They never charged players to play the game and never released a paid expansion or even a small DLC. It's all free content updates for everyone and yet it's been featured on many online media, conventions (they even have their own convention in July) and many of their free updates create lots of hype and interest. Which is probably why the game is in the top 10 of the Steam Charts since forever and never dropped out, during their biggest releases the game even gets to top 5.

Warframe has regular huge content drops though in form of new classes and huge expansion like content drops. So yes, if individual content drops rival expansions in content, sure then that would suffice. We are miles away from that though in GW2's Living World. Also the pace of which Warframe delivers its content is far more similar to expansions, than 2-3 month content releases.

Warframe also keeps implementing completely new grinds which players can/have to work through with each of their content drops. I fail to see how saying: well if regular content matches the scope of a regular expansion, it can work.

@maddoctor.2738 said:A non-expansion content update can create a lot of noise and increase hype for a game, but it needs to be substantial enough and fundamentally change the way players play the game. To continue the Warframe example, their latest (probably over-hyped) release allows players to fly in space and participate in space combat, while the game itself has been a boots-on-the-ground shooter/looter up to that point. It's a gigantic change in scope and gameplay. The marketing campaign for that thing was intense.

You don't need paid expansions to increase hype and excitement, but you need something really substantial (in terms of gameplay) to do it. The Guild Wars 2 Living World has failed to provide that so far, but other games can do it. So Guild Wars 2 could, if they changed a lot of things.

I never said the expansion has to be payed. I said it has to be expansion scope of content. Given the vast difference between Warframe's monetization and GW2, there would be issues there too.

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@Cyninja.2954 said:

@Zok.4956 said:

@"Vayne.8563" said:It's just so easy to say expansion = a win. That doesn't always prove to be the case.

You are right. It has to be a good expansion (quality and quantity) that attracts players and reviewers from media. And the timing of release has to be right. And the marketing and the coverage in (special interest) media has to be good. And of course several other factors…

Anets original idea was to do this different than the competitors, so they invented the LW as a better alternative than expansions. So you do not have to wait 1-2 years for the next expansion whithout new content, then play the expansion, then wait again 1-2 years etc.

Instead the LW idea promised a nearly continuous stream of fresh/new content. So there will be no long waiting period for new content. And Anet realised that and delivered in a two-weekly release cycle for some time. Which was new, no competitor could do this before. I call this the "golden time of new content". :)

Maybe it was because too much content delivered too fast for lots of players, maybe it was because lots of the content could no be replayed later, maybe they put too much ressources away for other secret projects, but after that "golden time", the "average new content per month" ratio (not measured scientificly, just my gut feeling) decreased a lot over time and is now on a very low level compared to the "golden time".

My guess is: If we still would get good content and also the same amout of fresh content per i.e. month like in the "golden time", nearly no player would ask for an expansion.

The Saga was announced/hyped as the "next big thing" (my words, not theirs) and if I remember Mike Z. correctly, he said, the Saga fits much better to how Anet wants to deliver content than an expansion. I believe he said the truth. However, I am not sure if how (much) Anet wants to deliver content matches the needs and wishes of the player base.
Expansions create buzz, attention and most important, they bind players to the game for extended periods of time via big content drops.
A player bound longer period to a game is more likely to get others to join him.

Yes, it is easier for a marketing department to create buzz with expansions for user acquisition than with smaller content drops like LW. But my feeling with HoT and PoF was, that Anets marketing was not very good at this. And expansions are a bigger financial risk. The studio has to invest ressources for a year or two into the expansion and if the expansion (or the marketing department) misses the mark, it could be a big financial loss.

But a (nearly) continuous stream of new content (which is much more than only small content drops every 2-3 months like it is now) binds existing players much more/longer to a game than one bigger content drop every 2 years. Because there will always be new things in the game to do/explore.

The typical player retention for lots of players regarding expansions (at several games, not only GW2) is: Leave the game when there is no new content, come back for an expansion and then leave again after the expansion is done/played through, until the next expansion is delivered.

Increasing the player retention is important and the reason, why we can unlock LW episodes without GEMs just by logging in during the time of the latest episode.

I think, LW episodes are different than expansions and that the combination of expansions and LW is a good thing, if the quantity and quality of both is good.

But I do not believe, that there are many players that only want new content (expansions) every two years without any new content in between this two years.

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@"Cyninja.2954" said:Warframe has regular huge content drops though in form of new classes and huge expansion like content drops. So yes, if individual content drops rival expansions in content, sure then that would suffice. We are miles away from that though in GW2's Living World. Also the pace of which Warframe delivers its content is far more similar to expansions, than 2-3 month content releases.

Oh I agree that the two games are miles apart. I just gave an example of a game that doesn't release "expansions" and is doing very well, if not too well. And my belief that the Living World could be like that too. It's obviously not on that level (not even close) but the Living World can become a way to release meaningful/good quality content that rivals expansions. I believe that the Living World -could- be a substitute for expansions, it's just that Arenanet's scope for it is way too limited. They -still- treat it as filler content, even though there is nothing to fill for!

Imagine if every next episode of the Living World we got a new Elite Spec, tied to the story of the episode, unlocked through actually playing the latest content. An elite spec that is part of the story for a change, with lore/story and an unlock method that involves doing things for that Elite spec. A Ranger that has to interact with the Druids to learn how to become like them, a Holosmith that needs to craft their own Photon Forge before they can master it, and so on. Those are examples using existing elite specs, but I think anyone can understand the idea. But of course this won't happen due to how the episodes are monetized, that kind of system would make the Elite Specs content "locked" behind episode purchase. One can dream right?

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@Cyninja.2954 said:

@Cyninja.2954 said:That's what Living World, no matter how good it is, will never achieve.

This isn't entirely true and it depends on how one defines an expansion and a "living world". For example the game Warframe has been around for as long as Guild Wars 2 (since late 2012) and never had any expansions in the "usual" term (massive paid content drops). They never charged players to play the game and never released a paid expansion or even a small DLC. It's all free content updates for everyone and yet it's been featured on many online media, conventions (they even have their own convention in July) and many of their free updates create lots of hype and interest. Which is probably why the game is in the top 10 of the Steam Charts since forever and never dropped out, during their biggest releases the game even gets to top 5.

Warframe has regular huge content drops though in form of new classes and huge expansion like content drops. So yes, if individual content drops rival expansions in content, sure then that would suffice. We are miles away from that though in GW2's Living World. Also the pace of which Warframe delivers its content is far more similar to expansions, than 2-3 month content releases.

That was the point in my other post: The reason for several discussions about "expansion" versus "LW episodes" is really based upon the underlying issue of the (low) quantity and quality of the recent content drops in GW2 and if we would have more/bigger and better content drops in GW2, we would not talk about expansions this much.

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@Cyninja.2954 said:

@Zok.4956 said:

@"Vayne.8563" said:It's just so easy to say expansion = a win. That doesn't always prove to be the case.

You are right. It has to be a good expansion (quality and quantity) that attracts players and reviewers from media. And the timing of release has to be right. And the marketing and the coverage in (special interest) media has to be good. And of course several other factors…

Anets original idea was to do this different than the competitors, so they invented the LW as a better alternative than expansions. So you do not have to wait 1-2 years for the next expansion whithout new content, then play the expansion, then wait again 1-2 years etc.

Instead the LW idea promised a nearly continuous stream of fresh/new content. So there will be no long waiting period for new content. And Anet realised that and delivered in a two-weekly release cycle for some time. Which was new, no competitor could do this before. I call this the "golden time of new content". :)

Maybe it was because too much content delivered too fast for lots of players, maybe it was because lots of the content could no be replayed later, maybe they put too much ressources away for other secret projects, but after that "golden time", the "average new content per month" ratio (not measured scientificly, just my gut feeling) decreased a lot over time and is now on a very low level compared to the "golden time".

My guess is: If we still would get good content and also the same amout of fresh content per i.e. month like in the "golden time", nearly no player would ask for an expansion.

The Saga was announced/hyped as the "next big thing" (my words, not theirs) and if I remember Mike Z. correctly, he said, the Saga fits much better to how Anet wants to deliver content than an expansion. I believe he said the truth. However, I am not sure if how (much) Anet wants to deliver content matches the needs and wishes of the player base.

Competitors are releasing content drops throughout their expansions, so that covers the Living World aspect of GW2, even if the LW is to some extent more polished versus competitor content (and it is, no matter how one might stand towards Living World content. It is very polished and well made).

Expansions create buzz, attention and most important, they bind players to the game for extended periods of time via big content drops.
A player bound longer period to a game is more likely to get others to join him.

Now this is anecdotal, but when I mention Living World releases in my circle of longtime gaming friends (as far back as our Diablo 1 times together), all I get is a mild: oh is that game still a thing? If ANY expansion drops for any game, the buzz we have about it is far bigger, no matter if all of us are going to play it or not (for example not all of us played or gave BfA a try, but we certainly discussed it).

That's what Living World, no matter how good it is, will never achieve.

I am absolutely convinced that this game was doing better before HoT came out. Heart of Thorns, as much as I like it (and I do like it) was a mistake. Not only because it had a bad release and a lot of bugs, but because Anet listened to a small but very loud portion of the playerbase that demanded harder content. We needed something like PoF difficulty first and Heart of Thorns would have been a decent third expansion. Anet needed to ramp up the difficulty. The company seems to have a history of over compensating.

An expansion, in and of itself, can bring interest to a game, can make money for a game, but an expansion can also sink a game. I think Anet learned that lesson and they're hesitant to put the time and energy into something which could, like HoT, just as easily backfire.

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To be absolutely honest, now we know why we got so many news, posts, everything will be perfect in 2021, we lay the groundwork etc.

This improvement of communication was caused by this massive drop of money.

That can be read in both ways: more positive and more negative, first is that the community has spoken with their wallets, and that's why there is some kind of improvement on PR side. second on the other hand means they actually panicked before the NCsoft's report and wanted to cover this massive drop by milions of news, i mean that's why we got this big post from Andrew Gray few days ago.

just look at reddit rn, like people still believe in bright future https://imgur.com/a/A1xzaNp

Everything looks so beautiful now, right? I am not sure, for me it's just another mirage, and people will believe there is an oasis, while it's going to be just a dry desert.

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@Vayne.8563 said:

@Zok.4956 said:

@Vayne.8563 said:It's just so easy to say expansion = a win. That doesn't always prove to be the case.

You are right. It has to be a good expansion (quality and quantity) that attracts players and reviewers from media. And the timing of release has to be right. And the marketing and the coverage in (special interest) media has to be good. And of course several other factors…

Anets original idea was to do this different than the competitors, so they invented the LW as a better alternative than expansions. So you do not have to wait 1-2 years for the next expansion whithout new content, then play the expansion, then wait again 1-2 years etc.

Instead the LW idea promised a nearly continuous stream of fresh/new content. So there will be no long waiting period for new content. And Anet realised that and delivered in a two-weekly release cycle for some time. Which was new, no competitor could do this before. I call this the "golden time of new content". :)

Maybe it was because too much content delivered too fast for lots of players, maybe it was because lots of the content could no be replayed later, maybe they put too much ressources away for other secret projects, but after that "golden time", the "average new content per month" ratio (not measured scientificly, just my gut feeling) decreased a lot over time and is now on a very low level compared to the "golden time".

My guess is: If we still would get good content and also the same amout of fresh content per i.e. month like in the "golden time", nearly no player would ask for an expansion.

The Saga was announced/hyped as the "next big thing" (my words, not theirs) and if I remember Mike Z. correctly, he said, the Saga fits much better to how Anet wants to deliver content than an expansion. I believe he said the truth. However, I am not sure if how (much) Anet wants to deliver content matches the needs and wishes of the player base.

Competitors are releasing content drops throughout their expansions, so that covers the Living World aspect of GW2, even if the LW is to some extent more polished versus competitor content (and it is, no matter how one might stand towards Living World content. It is very polished and well made).

Expansions create buzz, attention and most important, they bind players to the game for extended periods of time via big content drops.
A player bound longer period to a game is more likely to get others to join him.

Now this is anecdotal, but when I mention Living World releases in my circle of longtime gaming friends (as far back as our Diablo 1 times together), all I get is a mild: oh is that game still a thing? If ANY expansion drops for any game, the buzz we have about it is far bigger, no matter if all of us are going to play it or not (for example not all of us played or gave BfA a try, but we certainly discussed it).

That's what Living World, no matter how good it is, will never achieve.

I am absolutely convinced that this game was doing better before HoT came out. Heart of Thorns, as much as I like it (and I do like it) was a mistake. Not only because it had a bad release and a lot of bugs, but because Anet listened to a small but very loud portion of the playerbase that demanded harder content. We needed something like PoF difficulty first and Heart of Thorns would have been a decent third expansion. Anet needed to ramp up the difficulty. The company seems to have a history of over compensating.

An expansion, in and of itself, can bring interest to a game, can make money for a game, but an expansion can also sink a game. I think Anet learned that lesson and they're hesitant to put the time and energy into something which could, like HoT, just as easily backfire.

That would relate way more to PoF, which needed multiple reworks to even sustain player attention, than HoT, which is considered some of the games best content longevity wise. HoT might have been a tad to challenging for the player base on release.

The game would be dead without HoT. If you think otherwise, you are not remembering the 12 months pre HoT the same way I do, which were basically an entire player base waiting on new content and only holding on because an expansion was promised. The continued living world releases of Living World Season 1 had failed as a concept by then. The time pre HoT was CARRIED by hope for an expansion. Not unlike the hope for the content reveal last year by the way.

We'll see what the future brings I guess.

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I love these reports and the discussion that ensues.

In case anyone cares about the previous years:

  • 2014 85,634

  • 2015 100,526

  • 2016 76,636

  • 2017 82,824

  • 2018 80,163

  • 2019 58,688

  • Q4 2015 37,331 Heart of Thorns

  • Q4 2016 14,870 Nothing

  • Q4 2017 34,903 Path of Fire

  • Q4 2018 15,699 Nothing

  • Q4 2019 11,331 Nothing

This would indeed make 2019 their worst year by far and Q4 2019 their worst (or one of the worst) quarter(s).

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@"Bassdeff.1895" said:Anet needs and better PR department. Players would prbably be more willing to open up their wallet if they felt confident that the game wasn't being put into maintenance mode. With all the drama that happened in 2019 and their historical ability over hype and under deliver many players are on the fence with a "I'll believe it when I see it and then maybe I will spend money" attitude.

This is pretty much where I'm am. I am sitting on the fence with templates. I don't believe this should have been monetized unless they actually put them in an expansion with expansion quality content. They told us the next LS would directly follow the previous one. Then they delayed and hyped "Saga" but under-delivered. If they don't provide the promised expansion quality content, I will not buy gems or convert gold to gems for anything else.

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As a direct result of the choices made over the past two and a half years.No long term vision, no expansion, so some players don't buy gems anymore because with a 4 / 6 months vision in an MMO it's not what MMo players expect.The carnage on the buid template that scared a lot of people away.The layoffs and the chain departure of 1 year of developers.The promises that still don't come #the WvW alliance, and Swiss round tournaments that only happen now.The living story that always brings very very little replayability : people connect 1 day and wait for the next 2 or 3 months later.

There are positive points, they improve a communication with the community, feedback that is taken into account, it's really good and enjoyable.But unfortunately is that it's not too late already.

For a return of money and players it would be necessary to invest massively in the game to make an expansion with real new features that attracts players and with these results of the last quarter they can not afford it.

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@"Cyninja.2954" said:

I think we are slowly seeing this ceiling reached among many veteran players, especially those who occasionally spend money on gems. Reason I am saying so is I am in the exact same boat as you (frightening similar btw, I too have exactly 31 characters :o ). My main squad (core 9 classes) have maxed everything (most even equipment and build template slots), maxed shared slots, almost all utility items, maxed bank space, gathering tools,etc.

Yes, the veterans will reach a point when they will be close of a cap level for: the amount of gold / QoL items / achievements / ... even the saturation level with GW2. And they may leave or play less. But this is something any game manager should be able to predict. Unfortunately, it seems that very few are able to find solutions. This is the reason we see online games having less and less players. Even the "all mighty" WoW experiences this. The usual reasons we find are: "The game is old - it is normal to see this" - WHY is normal? Or we can see: "The mobile game are a strong competition" - HOW it is this possible? Starting from ZERO few years ago and being a strong competition now? OR - ... etc.

The real reason (in my opinion - a personal opinion) is that all the games affected by this "illness" have no proper methods to attract new players and in the same time letting the old players to leave too easy. Not the leaving-and-then-returning-and-leaving-again veterans are the problem - but the lack of new players. And GW2 is very good at this point - let's see:

  1. Reliability on the group content even for completing individual parts of the story (or even for map completion in some cases).
  2. The tendency to create "one use only" maps. populated at the launch, deserted when a new map is released. And this turning a new player to the point 1.
  3. The "unfair concurrence" of the veteran players in the low level maps reported to the true low level new players (I will mention here the mounts only). Sometimes a mount can make a free to play account owner to buy the game. Many times they will leave before reaching the max level. At least this is what I would do.
  4. The BiS gear "madness" - this is due to the old players, but the virus is spreading very fast to the new ones - especially if they experienced before games where the gear was important. Time gates are very important - let's take only one example: the celestial gear. Why do you need more than a month to craft ONE set of armor with this stat? You cannot buy the charged quartz, so you must craft it daily. Even if a players creates only 5 characters (what he has on a full payed account) it will take a LOT of time only to gear them.
  5. The LS availability model - A LS episode is free if you log-in during the episode. But what about a new player? He was not lazy by not logging in. He simply did not know GW2 existed. Now, after buying the game he must buy the episodes as well? It may be OK - but he finds that the LS episodes were free before he even started the game. Frustrating.
  6. I'm sure other reasons exist as well - I will stop here.

My conclusion - the Q4 report shows the normal result of ANet's lack of interest (or inability) to attract new players. The LS model adopted is a method to have the old players to come back into game (and leaving again until the new episode is released). Not a method to bring new players.

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@Cyninja.2954 said:

@Zok.4956 said:

@Vayne.8563 said:It's just so easy to say expansion = a win. That doesn't always prove to be the case.

You are right. It has to be a good expansion (quality and quantity) that attracts players and reviewers from media. And the timing of release has to be right. And the marketing and the coverage in (special interest) media has to be good. And of course several other factors…

Anets original idea was to do this different than the competitors, so they invented the LW as a better alternative than expansions. So you do not have to wait 1-2 years for the next expansion whithout new content, then play the expansion, then wait again 1-2 years etc.

Instead the LW idea promised a nearly continuous stream of fresh/new content. So there will be no long waiting period for new content. And Anet realised that and delivered in a two-weekly release cycle for some time. Which was new, no competitor could do this before. I call this the "golden time of new content". :)

Maybe it was because too much content delivered too fast for lots of players, maybe it was because lots of the content could no be replayed later, maybe they put too much ressources away for other secret projects, but after that "golden time", the "average new content per month" ratio (not measured scientificly, just my gut feeling) decreased a lot over time and is now on a very low level compared to the "golden time".

My guess is: If we still would get good content and also the same amout of fresh content per i.e. month like in the "golden time", nearly no player would ask for an expansion.

The Saga was announced/hyped as the "next big thing" (my words, not theirs) and if I remember Mike Z. correctly, he said, the Saga fits much better to how Anet wants to deliver content than an expansion. I believe he said the truth. However, I am not sure if how (much) Anet wants to deliver content matches the needs and wishes of the player base.

Competitors are releasing content drops throughout their expansions, so that covers the Living World aspect of GW2, even if the LW is to some extent more polished versus competitor content (and it is, no matter how one might stand towards Living World content. It is very polished and well made).

Expansions create buzz, attention and most important, they bind players to the game for extended periods of time via big content drops.
A player bound longer period to a game is more likely to get others to join him.

Now this is anecdotal, but when I mention Living World releases in my circle of longtime gaming friends (as far back as our Diablo 1 times together), all I get is a mild: oh is that game still a thing? If ANY expansion drops for any game, the buzz we have about it is far bigger, no matter if all of us are going to play it or not (for example not all of us played or gave BfA a try, but we certainly discussed it).

That's what Living World, no matter how good it is, will never achieve.

I am absolutely convinced that this game was doing better before HoT came out. Heart of Thorns, as much as I like it (and I do like it) was a mistake. Not only because it had a bad release and a lot of bugs, but because Anet listened to a small but very loud portion of the playerbase that demanded harder content. We needed something like PoF difficulty first and Heart of Thorns would have been a decent third expansion. Anet needed to ramp up the difficulty. The company seems to have a history of over compensating.

An expansion, in and of itself, can bring interest to a game, can make money for a game, but an expansion can also sink a game. I think Anet learned that lesson and they're hesitant to put the time and energy into something which could, like HoT, just as easily backfire.

That would relate way more to PoF, which needed multiple reworks to even sustain player attention, than HoT, which is considered some of the games best content longevity wise. HoT might have been a tad to challenging for the player base on release.

The game would be dead without HoT. If you think otherwise, you are not remembering the 12 months pre HoT the same way I do, which were basically an entire player base waiting on new content and only holding on because an expansion was promised. The continued living world releases of Living World Season 1 had failed as a concept by then. The time pre HoT was CARRIED by hope for an expansion. Not unlike the hope for the content reveal last year by the way.

We'll see what the future brings I guess.

You saying the game would be dead without HoT doesn't make it true. It would simply have differenet players. Casuals left, hard core players came in. It didn't do well for the company in my opinion. I mean the game wasn't dying before HoT and after HOT it had lost a lot of steam, whether HoT is more popular now or not.

Also people go where the rewards are. If they made PoF metas the most rewarding metas out of the gate, people would be doing PoF metas. It's just not possible to draw actual conclusions due to the complexity of the issues. I surmsie the game would be healthier now if that first expansion had been better for casuals, even at the expense of harder core players. That's obviously an opinion I can't prove. Nor can you prove the game would be dead if it weren't for HoT. Sure that's how it looks now, because of the effect HoT had on the playerbase over all. But that's not to say we wouldn't have completely different players in greater numbers. No one can really say one way or another.

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for me, it was the reminder in my face that ncsoft can do anything they want as the parent company, and the subsequent leak of brains, and noticeable shift in direction.

i trusted anet's general customer orientation; i do not trust ncsoft.

and buying an 'unlimited-duration' item/skin/qol means nothing if the game ceases to have the fresh innovations that it used to generate from time to time. especially since ncsoft can make any unilateral decision that they wish, whenever they want.

i'm fully aware that it's self-fulfilling.

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@Vayne.8563 said:

@Zok.4956 said:

@Vayne.8563 said:It's just so easy to say expansion = a win. That doesn't always prove to be the case.

You are right. It has to be a good expansion (quality and quantity) that attracts players and reviewers from media. And the timing of release has to be right. And the marketing and the coverage in (special interest) media has to be good. And of course several other factors…

Anets original idea was to do this different than the competitors, so they invented the LW as a better alternative than expansions. So you do not have to wait 1-2 years for the next expansion whithout new content, then play the expansion, then wait again 1-2 years etc.

Instead the LW idea promised a nearly continuous stream of fresh/new content. So there will be no long waiting period for new content. And Anet realised that and delivered in a two-weekly release cycle for some time. Which was new, no competitor could do this before. I call this the "golden time of new content". :)

Maybe it was because too much content delivered too fast for lots of players, maybe it was because lots of the content could no be replayed later, maybe they put too much ressources away for other secret projects, but after that "golden time", the "average new content per month" ratio (not measured scientificly, just my gut feeling) decreased a lot over time and is now on a very low level compared to the "golden time".

My guess is: If we still would get good content and also the same amout of fresh content per i.e. month like in the "golden time", nearly no player would ask for an expansion.

The Saga was announced/hyped as the "next big thing" (my words, not theirs) and if I remember Mike Z. correctly, he said, the Saga fits much better to how Anet wants to deliver content than an expansion. I believe he said the truth. However, I am not sure if how (much) Anet wants to deliver content matches the needs and wishes of the player base.

Competitors are releasing content drops throughout their expansions, so that covers the Living World aspect of GW2, even if the LW is to some extent more polished versus competitor content (and it is, no matter how one might stand towards Living World content. It is very polished and well made).

Expansions create buzz, attention and most important, they bind players to the game for extended periods of time via big content drops.
A player bound longer period to a game is more likely to get others to join him.

Now this is anecdotal, but when I mention Living World releases in my circle of longtime gaming friends (as far back as our Diablo 1 times together), all I get is a mild: oh is that game still a thing? If ANY expansion drops for any game, the buzz we have about it is far bigger, no matter if all of us are going to play it or not (for example not all of us played or gave BfA a try, but we certainly discussed it).

That's what Living World, no matter how good it is, will never achieve.

I am absolutely convinced that this game was doing better before HoT came out. Heart of Thorns, as much as I like it (and I do like it) was a mistake. Not only because it had a bad release and a lot of bugs, but because Anet listened to a small but very loud portion of the playerbase that demanded harder content. We needed something like PoF difficulty first and Heart of Thorns would have been a decent third expansion. Anet needed to ramp up the difficulty. The company seems to have a history of over compensating.

An expansion, in and of itself, can bring interest to a game, can make money for a game, but an expansion can also sink a game. I think Anet learned that lesson and they're hesitant to put the time and energy into something which could, like HoT, just as easily backfire.

That would relate way more to PoF, which needed multiple reworks to even sustain player attention, than HoT, which is considered some of the games best content longevity wise. HoT might have been a tad to challenging for the player base on release.

The game would be dead without HoT. If you think otherwise, you are not remembering the 12 months pre HoT the same way I do, which were basically an entire player base waiting on new content and only holding on because an expansion was promised. The continued living world releases of Living World Season 1 had failed as a concept by then. The time pre HoT was CARRIED by hope for an expansion. Not unlike the hope for the content reveal last year by the way.

We'll see what the future brings I guess.

You saying the game would be dead without HoT doesn't make it true. It would simply have differenet players. Casuals left, hard core players came in. It didn't do well for the company in my opinion. I mean the game wasn't dying before HoT and after HOT it had lost a lot of steam, whether HoT is more popular now or not.

The game was barely released and in its first 2 years. WvW was full of players. You can't argue the game was healthy when 6 years later a majority of dissatisfaction comes from lack of new content. I can only tell you how I, and many players I know felt pre HoT: we were waiting for new content desperately. That's a well documented fact, even WP made videos about that. People were running Silverwastes RIBA and dungeons all day. That was the content we had in PVE.

Would the base game be popular 6 years in? Maybe, but its very unlikely. If you want to pretend that running the same content for 6 more years would have kept the game alive, I have to disagree.

@Vayne.8563 said:Also people go where the rewards are. If they made PoF metas the most rewarding metas out of the gate, people would be doing PoF metas. It's just not possible to draw actual conclusions due to the complexity of the issues. I surmsie the game would be healthier now if that first expansion had been better for casuals, even at the expense of harder core players. That's obviously an opinion I can't prove. Nor can you prove the game would be dead if it weren't for HoT. Sure that's how it looks now, because of the effect HoT had on the playerbase over all. But that's not to say we wouldn't have completely different players in greater numbers. No one can really say one way or another.

True, I am simply pointing at flaws in your reasoning as I see them, as you can point to flaws in mine.

I would also disagree that a majority of the income Arenanet has comes from a casual player base but rather the very invested hardcore crowd, which started moving to other games last year. Again, something none of us can prove and only Arenanet has metrics on.

I keep hearing this notion of: casual players need content and are funding this game. Well we have 1 year behind us where pretty much the entire content this game has seen was for the casual players: only Living World releases with fast to complete achievements, no new legendaries, 1 raid with no new raids in sight, no new fractals with one some time in the future. 2019 was literally THE year of only casual content with promise of more casual content.

My personal opinion is and always has been: the most invested players in a game spend money, be it casual or hardcore. Losing either will affect the bottom line. As can be seen now.

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