Is Guild Wars 2 dying?
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 18 October 2012, 3:44 am
The Nosy Gamer forced me into this sensationalist title, by specifically asking for it in this quote: "For the fifth week in a row the time the Xfire community has spent playing Guild Wars 2 has declined by more than 12.5%. Since 2 September the number of hours played has fallen by 68%. Has anyone started asking if GW2 is dying?" Apparently someone has to step up and pose that question. Might as well be me.

First of all let me repeat my believe that the XFire community isn't representative of the general gaming population. If you need software which measures how much you hop from one game to the next, that is probably because you switch between games more than the average gamer.

Second there is a huge difference between measuring the number of people actively playing a game, and the time they spend playing. Most people play more when a game is new, before falling into some sort of routine with less hours per week played.

Third there is the argument of Chris from Game By Night, who asks whether there is a No pressure, no login effect. Compare that to World of Warcraft, where factors like "I have a 3-month subscription" or "My guild will start raiding soon" or "Oh, the Headless Horseman event started today" might exert some "pressure" on you to login and play. In a game like Guild Wars 2 where you are more left to advance at your own pace, there is less of such pressure.

And finally there is my theory that MMORPGs resemble each other too much, thus you need a lot less time to fully understand a new game these days. And once you fully understood it, endlessly repeating the same sort of gameplay over and over isn't much fun. Thus after a few weeks of understanding "oh, this is how this works in Guild Wars 2" everybody gets to a phase where he realizes that doing hearts in GW2 isn't actually *that* different from the questing we've already been doing for a decade, or that the PvP isn't actually *that* different from the PvP we've been doing for a decade. And then we stop playing, because we were already bored of the games that came before, and our expectation of finding something radically different wasn't fulfilled.

So in summary I would say that Guild Wars 2 isn't so much dying as it is experiencing what counts for the normal life-cycle of a modern MMORPG. Every game starts "dying" after a month these days and is considered "dead" after three. Ultimately ArenaNet isn't worried about how many hours people play Guild Wars 2 on a Sunday, they are worried how many people are going to buy the next expansion, because that is their business model.
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