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Jul 20, 2005

Comments

1.

It is interesting to see Blizzard Korea admitting what a lot of players in all territories have known for a very long time - almost none of the servers are properly balanced between the two factions. Will a similar statement and breakdown of the problem be forthcoming in the US or EU? Also I wonder how many really bad Alliance/Horde imabalances are hiding in category D? My current server could certainly do with more players on both sides but compounding that problem we have a huge Alliance/Horde imbalance as well.

2.

Imagine the thoughts that go through an gaming exec working at one of the multi-platform gaming companies.

If they were in SL, you'll see lots of bubbles of $ signs.

3.

The process of character migration in WoW Korea will be going as follows.

First, 7 new severs will be created.

Second, horde players in group A can have choice of migration to one of new 7 servers.

Third, alliance players in D will automatically be migrated to one of new servers assigned by Blizzard Korea.

Last, horde players in D will automatically be migrated to one of group C servers assigned by Blizzard korea.

Then, how many really bad Alliance/Horde imabalances are hiding in category D could be inferred from above procedure.

4.

Interesting to see that Lineage2 just overtook Lineage in the list. Did that transition take two years? How far down the list might Ragnarök be by the way. I thought it still was large.

5.

Ragnarok Online is not in the top 50 list. But remind that the rank list samples just PC-Bang broadband, not nation-wide home broadband. South Korea remains king of high-speed internet penetration.(see below link). So the list can not show how many school girls or boys have been playing Ragnarok at home.

http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/tech/200505/kt2005052919235711790.htm target=_blank>http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/tech/200505/kt2005052919235711790.htm

However,IMHO, even taking into consideration the broadband home factor, the occupation rate of Ragnarok (in Korea) would not amount to that of top 30 listed one. Because Ragnarok already and successfully transformed itself to global MMO, not remains domestic one. (at present, Ragnarok is being serviced in 37 countries, and the Russia is the 37th) It can be said that Wemade/Actoz's Legend of Mir & Nexon's Mabinogi follow the similiar route Ragnarok has carved out.

BTW, many korean MMO players are keep waiting for Granado Espada(being made by ex-Ragnarok lead developer 'HakGyu Kim') & Ragnarok 2 in this fall 2005.


6.

I'm surprised that a game like Mu-Online comes in the TOP 10. With it's horrible graphics and outdated Diablo-Style gameplay, I tought this game would "die" by itself.

I tried it a while ago and I found it so boring and outdated, the game even made me feel like I should reinstall Diablo/Diablo II on my PC.

ABOUT WOW IMBALANCE :
Does anyone knows if any other MMO ever suffered from imbalance issue and how they resolved it? I know that the WoW imbalance is not only present on Korean servers. A friend of mine stopped playing Horde on a PvP server (I think it's on Lightning's Blade server), because it was nearly impossible for him to get to high-level region because there was like 2-3 Horde char. for each Alliance char.

7.

LEKO wrote:
"I'm surprised that a game like Mu-Online comes in the TOP 10."

My guess is that you are viewing MMORPG as an quantitative extension of (networked)game.

What if viewing MMORPG not as mmorp'G' but as grp'MMO' as an qualitative transformed extension of community/association for playing?

Somewhat unlike mmorpGs developers hardworking to insert company-made, visually tangible contents into them, grpMMOs developers delve into making empty room in them where players utilize and creat user-made invisible contents by themselves.

That might be subtle difference between Mu-Online and Diablo 2 and also between Lineage bros and Everquest/WoW, I feel. Perhaps, the reason why lots of Korean players log in Mu-Online would be (1) its emptiness, not fullness, (2) for other players, not against its NPC mob.

8.

Having two opposing sides in a PvP server environment invites imbalances, since as soon as either side gets a significant edge, people abandon the weaker side. The traditional, time-tested and extremely effective solution to this problem is to always have THREE sides in any PvP environment. This solution worked extremely well throughout the 90s for many PvP games, such as almost all of the air combat products (like Air Warrior, Warbirds, etc.). DAoC was aware of the three-side rule, and was very careful in their game to include three sides.

I am surprised that modern MMORPG and MMOFPS designers are unaware of this, and therefore repeat the mistakes of a past they failed to learn from.

9.

Perhaps the triangular PvP is something Blizzard will adopt.I remember reading rumors of a new third race being added to Azeroth via an expansion pack in 2006.

10.

Incidentally, I think that Blizzard has failed to listen to 95% of its players on one particular issue for a very specific reason. The issue is that Shamans are horrendously overpowered (PvP), but since the Alliance often outnumber the Horde by 2:1 or more, Blizzard must see the relative superiority of the Shaman over the Paladin as a minor sort of compensation for the massive population imbalance.

One can hypothesize as to why players (on American servers at least) love playing Alliance: I suspect it has a lot to do with being a "good-looking, human-like" char (Night Elf or Human). There are certainly some other reasons as well, but I think that the desire to have a good-looking character is an overwhelming one for many players.

11.

On a slightly related note, Blizzard issued another press release today. 3.5 million subscribers world wide, with 1.5 million in China signing up since the release of the game there just over a month ago.

As always, the issue of how to count customers in Asia is a confusing one, but Blizzard offers this definition of Customer Base:

World of Warcraft customers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or a prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the installation box bundled with one free month access. Internet Game Room players having accessed the game over the last seven days are also counted as customers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or canceled subscriptions, and expired pre-paid cards. Customers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules.

From what I understand, this is the same basic way that Lineage/LineageII, Mu, Ragnarok, etc, count their customers in Asia, so even if we want to quibble over the way players are counted, the ratios should be the same, making WoW the largest MMOG in the world right now.

12.

Regarding DAoC mentioned above, their 3-way fight in no way at all prevented severe population imbalances. They always had horribly skewed numbers that hurt their PvP experience. Which realm was strongest varied with the nerfing and adjusting that Mythic engaged in, but on any given server there was always one side that dominated to the detriment of anyone who was the underdog.

Also, in traditional board wargames 3-sided fights are actually really rare because generally a 3-way fight collapses into 2 vs. 1 until that 1 is knocked out and then the 2 become 1 vs. 1. Three-way fights just are not any sort of panacea, despite the claims above.

13.

LEKO wrote:

Does anyone knows if any other MMO ever suffered from imbalance issue and how they resolved it?

A similar issue is currently becoming a problem in Guild Wars. The player population is divided into three realms -- America, Europe, and Korea. Some significant parts of the game world are only accessible when your realm currently has "the Favour of the Gods", meaning that it has won dominance in realm-vs-realm combat.

Normally this revolves between the three realms in the course of each day, reflecting the times when most players in each realm are active. The problem is that Europe has the smallest player base (and, I suspect, the least experience with online gaming) of the three realms, so they tend to hold Favour for a very short period each day, and often fail to achieve it at all. This has now reached the point where some of the best European players are switching to the American servers, which of course only makes the problem worse.

The upshot is that European players are complaining more and more about being effectively locked out of some of the most popular parts of the game world. ArenaNet have so far refused to comment on the issue, but I suspect they'll have no choice but to do something about it before long.

14.

What's interesting to me is how few of the titles in that list are recognizable. Local products dominating the local marketplace, with the odd global megahit popping up now and again. In a way that situation is exactly comparable to popular entertainment genres like film, novels, etc.

15.

Samantha LeCraft wrote:

From what I understand, this is the same basic way that Lineage/LineageII, Mu, Ragnarok, etc, count their customers in Asia, so even if we want to quibble over the way players are counted, the ratios should be the same, making WoW the largest MMOG in the world right now.

I dunno. Habbo or Runescape may be bigger. I'm not actually sure how many in total those guys have. WoW may be (according to their PR releases at least, which are hardly to be trusted) the game with the most subscribers, but it's possible that Habbo or Runescape may actually be bigger in terms of players. Neopets definitely is, though whether that's an MMOG or not depends on whom you ask (I think it is. Others don't think so.)

--matt

16.

Unggi Yoon wrote: "But remind that the rank list samples just PC-Bang broadband, not nation-wide home broadband."

Would you say that there big gap between the games played at home and those enjoyed at PC-bangs? If so, what charactarize the differences?

17.

From what I understand, Lineage 2's latest expansion Chronicle 3 didn't go over very well in Korea, and it created a large number of gamers looking for new titles.

Chronicle 3 incorporated a lot of changes that are very positive to the North American, Chinese, and Taiwan markets but disconnected with traditional Korean gameplay, and was ultimately rejected by many.

I am not sure what to make of all the statistics. After playing an Asian game like Lineage 2 so long, and comparing it to the various North American titles I have noticed large cultural differences in playstyles, some appealing and some not so appealing depending upon where your from and what your used to.

Example, I have noticed risk vs reward under a single ruleset is a big thing in Asian markets, but North American gamers don't necessarily enjoy the player consequences and harrassment capabilities this type of system encourages. On the flip side, I have noticed that traditionally Korean and other asian titles have enormous character development and economic curves for for characters and gear, where in North America people prefer games that are easier.

However, WoW appears to be doing very well in Korea, so maybe ease of play isn't that big of a factor anymore like it used to be. It will be interesting if the WoW numbers fall off quickly or they are able to maintain high subscriptions, after all, what other game, particularly korean or asian game, has such a relatively small curve for character development and gear like WoW?

I can't think of any... ever.

18.

Runscape, last I heard, was at around 2m. Habbo, however, was over 4m uniques a month as of just a few days ago.

19.

Speak of World of Warcraft, someone I know is claiming that the game can be downloaded for free in China, at least by PC cafes. Can anyone confirm this?

20.

If you ever want an interesting study in unbalanced mmolg's then look no further than ww2ol. It's gotten to the point where the point of the game (winning the 'map') revolves around breaking one sides moral and having them log off.

Ask me about it if your interested.

21.

Martin Im wrote:
Would you say that there big gap between the games played at home and those enjoyed at PC-bangs? If so, what charactarize the differences?

Hard to say there's a big gap, but some gap exists, Becuase children under 13 ages usually do not play games at PC-bang(partly due to the parental care and guidance), and Female players seem to favour playing at home.

So games targeting/appealing children or female players(eg Ragnarok, Mabinogi or Nexus etc) relatively would be in a disadvantageous position on PC-bang rank.

22.

> Brent Michael Krupp wrote:
>
> Also, in traditional board wargames 3-sided
> fights are actually really rare because
> generally a 3-way fight collapses into 2 vs. 1
> until that 1 is knocked out and then the 2
> become 1 vs. 1. Three-way fights just are not
> any sort of panacea, despite the claims above.

That is precisely why they WORK in MMOs.

Board games end. MMOs don't.

The fact that things trend the way you said is why it is good. If one side becomes overpowered, the other 2 can team up against it until it is beaten down a bit. Then they can all turn against each other.

Since no team ever gets "knocked out", and since the game never actually ends, this process continues over and over.

Now, it didn't work perfectly for DAOC, but that was more because of gross class/realm imbalance. This was worsened by severe power fluctuations caused by their extreme back-and-forth nerfing and buffing of classes.

Despite that, the 3 realm system often did play a very good equalizing role.

I remember on Midgard/Percival, there would be times where we somewhat teamed up with Hibernia against the Albions. There were also many times where they both teamed up against us (Percival was rare in that it was probably one of the strongest Midgard servers in the game).

23.

Fascinating. According to this list, Special Force is the most popular title in Korean PC-bangs. Does this refer to Special Force (the first-person shooter designed as a propaganda tool by the militant group Hezbollah) or to Special Forces (the first-person shooter designed as a propaganda tool by the U.S. army)?

24.

Aaron/ Not either. The SF in the list is a korean FPSMOG made by Dragonfly Inc, so ofcourse it's not a video game as propaganda tool.

The SF defeated totally the Counter-strike in field of korean PC-Baang by virtue of (1) collective assistance of nationwide PC-Baang association opposing billing policy of Valve/VUG and (2) its simple game interface and casual play though hardcore FPS gamers condemn.

25.

Hey Sy, who develops/publishes SF? And what items does it sell?

26.

Alexis/

The SF(http://pmang.sayclub.com/specialforce/)
is
developed by Dragonfly(http://www.dragonflygame.com/)&
published by Neowiz(http://www.neowiz.com)

Items for sale :
ex. Kill/death data initialization
camouflage badge
camouflage face
peculiar cross hair
clan mark alteration
chat-room power managing
peculiar beret
headshot point 5+ card
point x2 card
etc.



27.

mu online wup all ya'll butts cuz 1. best graphics on earth 2. u can go frickin high lvls 3. a lot of peeps play it and 4.download it now!

28.

mu online wup all ya'll butts cuz 1. best graphics on earth 2. u can go frickin high lvls 3. a lot of peeps play it and 4.download it now!

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