Tobold's Blog
Friday, July 03, 2015
 
Decreasing relevancy

While I was writing my previous post I was struck by the thought of how it was of very little relevancy to the majority of my readers. Not only is the general interest in MMORPGs declining, as can be traced by the Alexa ranking of MMORPG.com, or the popularity of the search term on Google (see graph below).
But in addition of being already a niche subject, the MMORPG world is now increasingly fragmented. When I started there were just 3 major MMORPGs on the market, Everquest, Ultima Online, and Asheron's Call. Today there are hundreds, and many of them big enough to be discussed on various blogs.

Now some of my posts are about topics of general interest to many MMORPGs, like discussing the holy trinity of tank, healer, dps, or discussing the advantages and disadvantages of different business models. But a big part of MMORPG blogging has always consisted of discussing the game one is playing at the moment, and the subject is frequently about minor details that can only be of possible interest to somebody playing the same game. As we are increasingly not playing the same game any more, the blog posts become less interesting.

(As an aside, I also blog occasionally about Dungeons & Dragons, but that is even more niche.)

Now I happened to be around at the peak of the above curve of interest in MMORPGs, and got over a million pageviews per year. Fortunately I stopped caring about pageviews, because numbers are way down. And as far as I can see there aren't any other MMORPG blogs around that get a million pageviews a year either. Between the general decline of interest in the field, and the fragmentation into too many different games, blogging about MMORPG is becoming increasingly irrelevant as a subject of interest for other people. As I always say, you need to blog for yourself, not for others.

Comments:
I had to check the statistics page of my blog.
"Pageviews today: 1,283
Pageviews yesterday: 2,956
Pageviews last month: 95,577
Pageviews all time history: 8,246,561"
If we multiply last month with 12, we get 1.14M visits per year. That said, my chart is also going down, particularly for switching to EVE from the more common WoW.
 
Not that I think page views are particularly meaningful, but for what it's worth, June 2015 saw my highest single month for page views since I started blogging getting on for five years ago. Blogger's stats recorded just over 24000 page views for last month.

That's the highest since I got 23k in August 2013 but the overall trend is generally upwards (the zig-zagging line on the graph is still drifting upwards). I do agree that we should all blog primarily to please ourselves but I also think there is an audience out there that just likes to read about games, including ones they don't play. I know I do.
 
Prior to 2010, I think the MMO term was growing rapidly and probably taking over some of MMORPG's territory. Since then they've both been declining: https://www.google.ie/trends/explore#q=mmorpg%2C%20mmo&cmpt=q&tz=Etc%2FGMT-1

But it's hard to know whether this really represents a drop in interest. There are more MMORPGs now, and maybe people search by name. What about total hours played, has anyone tried to estimate that?
 
It has to be mentioned that the MMORPG market IS in a sad state right now, and has been for a little while. We haven't had a successful big release since GW2 in 2012. And here is MMORPG.com's list of most anticipated games for 2015:

10) Neverwinter on Xbox One
9) Planetside 2 on PS4
8) Shroud of the Avatar
7) Elder Scrolls Online for Consoles
6) Skyforge
5) Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade
3) Landmark
2) Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns
1) The Division

Half of these games are either expansions or console releases for existing games. The Division and Warhammer 40k: Eternal Crusade are PvP games and not traditional MMORPGs (I really question their inclusion on this list). Landmark is closer to Minecraft than anything. Shroud of the Avatar is another game where the "big innovation" is just to remove all the innovations and conveniences from the last 10 years.

That leaves Skyforge. Now, I am the prime demographic for MMORPGs, and yet only one game out of 10 even merits looking into at all. And the studio making that game only has one previous game on their resume, Allods Online, which is probably worse than having nothing at all.

So it seems fairly likely I will go a third year in a row without even starting a new MMORPG, much less liking one enough to stick with it.
 
The rage these days is MOBAs (aka lord management games).
 
I do not play WOW and never have, but still check out your page regularly because I play other MMOs and a lot of the same principles apply. I have really enjoyed your D&D write-ups and so I would say that that is the carrot that keeps me coming back.
 
Hey Tobold.
I read your blog regularly and enjoy your thoughts and musings on the biggest and greatest MMO ever made (no denying that objectively), even though it has been 4+ years since I was last a subscriber myself.

Maybe for the same reason I still read EVE blogs.

By all means, keep up the good (and fun) work.
/M
 
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