Tuesday, April 14, 2015

AOC Server population

I am not here to prophesize end of AOC as we know it (people have been doing that since 2008), but it is hard not to notice a major shift in population. Again, I am not claiming that AOC is "bleeding players" (far from it, if anything recent updates brought more players back), but Crom has became black hole server that is sucking in players from Fury and Rage (that second one is pretty much a non-server already). Why is this happening? Well population > all. People will sacrifice personal preferences in order to get on populated server because at the end of day AOCs is a MMO and this type of beast thrives on player-to-player interaction. Fury still has some people because there is a pay wall between this server and Crom (aka paid transfers) and Rage players can't transfer at all. What would happen if you just let people transfer between servers for free? I don't have to do the guess work because I have witnessed it in Wildstar which was launched last yet. Interestingly Wildstar team made every single mistake possible, pretty much retracting the steps that Funcom took with AOC launch. Examples? Wildstar launched with gross abundance of servers and then had to merge them all into mega-servers giving EU and US players one PVE and one PVP server. Now the interesting part: Carbine (team that developed Wildstar) made up this dumb rule that PVE players can't transfer to PVP server, but PVP players can transfer to PVE (the reason for that was, get this, "it is harder to lvl up on PVP server").
Here is where shit went wrong: since PVE server had better population to begin with some pvpers decided to move to PVE server and that created snowball effect of pvpers transferring en mass.
After few days PVE server became the only server and PVP server is left as place for odd balls and angry loners (I am both those things). You can check the PVP server boards here and here to get the full story.  

Same thing is happening to AOC and the only factor that is preventing that from fully unfolding is above mentioned transfer fee. This is, of course, nothing new, but the all time low in population resulted in end of T4 and beyond raiding  with many last of dedicated raiders leaving for Crom. With geared and experienced players leaving the server it is pretty much impossible to recover from that: there won't be people capable of raiding nor players experienced enough to lead them. If T4 can't be farmed on regular basis then no guild or group of players on Fury can even dream of attempting T5.
In this state T6 raid (Palace of Cetriss) and crafting revamp (which seem like will be PVE focused) will be proverbial nail in Fury coffin. 

With PVE activity dieing down on Fury the state of PVP is far from declining. If anything minigames are poping all day and all night. But then again if miniagames are your thing Crom can offer same content and probably even more minigames on hourly basis. 

With the addition of Arenas (instanced PVP) Crom players will again take advantage of superior population while on Fury people will be forced to play against same, small numer of teams. 

And how will Funcom react to this? I doubt it will be even noticed. Server mergers/folding are bad press for any MMO and seeing how Rage is still kept around the bar for "population deemed acceptable in order to keep the server running" is set very loooooooooooooow, So hold on tight Fury, your population is due for some spring cleaning,  Crom has a broom and knows how to use it.