State of the Donut

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gorboth
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Posts: 2306
Joined: 03 Mar 2010 20:51
Location: Some old coffin

State of the Donut

Post by gorboth » 27 Oct 2009 00:24

Code: Select all

Fellow Genesis Enthusiasts, 

It has become customary about this time of the year for me to offer an
analysis of progress in the game - a State of the Donut Address, as it
were. We'll begin by looking at graphs and tables that track the
playerbase, followed by an analysis of these data. Then, I'll wrap up
discussing goals and offer some perspective from my vantage point.

METHODS AND DATA:

Two years ago, the Genesis Census was created to keep a running tally of
the number of active players in the game. The census takes a snapshot of
the APH (average per hour) once per hour. The APH is comprised of only
non-wizard non-linkdead players. At first, we didn't have much data to
stare at, so all we could do was compare individual days, weeks, and
months against one another. Now, finally, we have two years worth of
data, and we can begin to make much larger and more meaningful comparisons.

I would like to start looking at comparisons of similar times in a
calendar year. For this reason, we will only examine the first ten months
of the year, since we have not yet reached the end of 2009. As you stare
at the following graphs, here are a few considerations.

    - One horizontal line on a the graph indicates a Sunday-Saturday week,
      averaged to determine the APH for all hours counted in that week.
    - Months that have 5 Sundays in them appear larger on the graph, as
      a week is tallied within the month in which its Sunday occured.
    - The graph is set at a resolution of 0.5 players per line, and the
      range extends from 12.5 APH to 22.5 APH. 
    - Examples: 1st week of March had APH of 14.0 in 2008.
                3rd week of April had APH of 19.0 in 2008.


                             2008 GRAPH
    +---------+----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+
    |    22.5 |    |    |     |    |    |     |X   |X    |    |
    |    22.0 |    |    |     |    |    |   X |XX  |X    |    |
    |    21.5 |    |    |     |    |    |   XX|XX  |X    |    |
    |    21.0 |    |    |     |    |    |   XX|XX X|XXX  |    |
    |    20.5 |    |    |     |    |    |   XX|XX X|XXX  |    |
    |    20.0 |    |    |     |    |    |   XX|XX X|XXXX |    |
    |    19.5 |    |    |     |    |    |   XX|XX X|XXXX |    |
    |    19.0 |    |    |     |  X |    |   XX|XXXX|XXXX |    |
    | A  18.5 |    |    |     |  X |    |   XX|XXXX|XXXX |    |
    | V  18.0 |    |    |     |  X |    |  XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|    |
    | G  17.5 |    |    |     |  X |    |  XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|    |
    |    17.0 |X   | X  |     |  X |    |  XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|    |
    | P  16.5 |X   | X  |     |XXX |    |  XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|    |
    | E  16.0 |X  X| XX |     |XXX |    |  XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|    |
    | R  15.5 |X  X| XX |    X|XXX |   X|  XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|    |
    |    15.0 |X  X|XXX |    X|XXXX|   X|  XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|    |
    | H  14.5 |XXXX|XXX |    X|XXXX|   X|  XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XX  |
    | O  14.0 |XXXX|XXXX|X  XX|XXXX|XX X|  XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XX  |
    | U  13.5 |XXXX|XXXX|X  XX|XXXX|XXXX|X XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXX |
    | R  13.0 |XXXX|XXXX|XX XX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|
    |    12.5 |XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|
    +---------+----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+
    |  Month  |Jan |Feb |Mar  |Apr |May |Jun  |Jul |Aug  |Sep |
    +---------+----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+



                             2009 GRAPH
    +---------+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+
    |    22.5 |    |    |     |    |     |    |    |     |    |
    |    22.0 |    |    |     |    |     |    |    |     |    |
    |    21.5 |    |    |     |    |     |    |    |     |    |
    |    21.0 |    |    |     |    |     |    |    |     |    |
    |    20.5 |    |    |     |    |     |    |    |     |    |
    |    20.0 |    |    |     |    |     |    |    |     |    |
    |    19.5 |    |   X|     |    |     |    |    |     |    |
    |    19.0 |    |   X|     |    |     |    |    |    X|    |
    | A  18.5 |    |  XX|     |    |  X  |    |    |    X|    |
    | V  18.0 |    |  XX|   X |    | XX  |    |X   |   XX|    |
    | G  17.5 |    | XXX|   X | X  | XX X|    |X   |   XX|    |
    |    17.0 |   X| XXX|X XX | X  | XXXX|X   |XX  |  XXX|  X |
    | P  16.5 |   X| XXX|X XX |XX  |XXXXX|XXXX|XXX |  XXX|  X |
    | E  16.0 | X X| XXX|X XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXX |  XXX|X XX|
    | R  15.5 |XX X| XXX|X XXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|  XXX|X XX|
    |    15.0 |XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|X XXX|X XX|
    | H  14.5 |XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|X XX|
    | O  14.0 |XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|X XX|
    | U  13.5 |XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|
    | R  13.0 |XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|
    |    12.5 |XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|XXXX|XXXXX|XXXX|
    +---------+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+
    |  Month  |Jan |Feb |Mar  |Apr |May  |Jun |Jul |Aug  |Sep |
    +---------+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+


                        COMPARISON GRAPH:
                          ::::: = 2008
                          ooooo = 2009
                          @@@@@ = intersection
    -----------------------------------------------------------
         22.5                                 :    :             
         22.0                              :  ::   :             
         21.5                              ::  : : :             
         21.0                              :   : :  ::           
         20.5                              :   : :   :           
         20.0                              :   : :    :          
         19.5         o                    :   : :    :          
         19.0         o         :          :    :     :o         
      A  18.5        oo         :    o     :          :o         
      V  18.0        oo    o    :   oo    :   o       o:        
      G  17.5       o o    o   o:   oo o  :   o       oo        
         17.0    o  :   o oo   o:   ooo  o:   oo     o o   o    
      P  16.5    o  o   o oo  @::  o      ooo   o    o o   o   
      E  16.0  o :  o:  o o o : oo        :     o    o : o oo    
      R  15.5  o o  o:  o o :   :     :   :      o   o :         
         15.0   o  @ :   o  :    :    :   :        o o :         
      H  14.5  ::    :      :    :    :   :         o    ::      
      O  14.0         : :  :       :: :   :               :      
      U  13.5           :  :         : :  :                :    
      R  13.0            : :             :                  :   
         12.5             :                                      
    +---------+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+
    |  Month  |Jan |Feb |Mar  |Apr |May  |Jun |Jul |Aug  |Sep |
    +---------+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+----+-----+----+


                RATE OF CHANGE FROM 2008 to 2009
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                January:   no   change
                February:  up   11%
                March:     up   17%
                April:     down 3%
                May:       up   17%
                June:      down 2%
                July:      down 24%
                August:    down 28%
                September: up   8%
        
        Overall: no meaningful change (both years APH roughly 16.50)

ANALYSIS:

In broad strokes, the graph from 2008 a bit of a roller-coaster ride. From
January through mid-June, the graph spikes up and down wobbling around
the 15.00 APH mark. In mid-June, a monstrous spike that lasts until the
end of August, reaching the impressive highs of 22.50 on the graph. In
September, the spike effect dissolves entirely, ending with numbers that
are quite low.

By contrast, the graph from 2009 shows a much more even keel, with smaller
spikes dipping above and below the 16.50 mark. No dramatic spike upward
is seen in 2009. In fact, the biggest noticable dip in the graph occurs
in early August, picking back up to end the month of September right
around the mean point for the total Average. 

In that the large spike in Summer 2008 was in direct correlation to the
opening and subsequent nerfing of the Angmar Guild, we can perhaps safely
assume that this spike represents the effects of design intervention rather
than the norm. Thus, it may be more useful to examine the months before
Summer so that we are comparing apples to apples:

    Jan 01 2008 - May 30 2008:  15.38 APH
    Jan 01 2009 - May 30 2009:  16.86 APH

               Rate of Change: +8.7%

This may give us a truer sense of the numbers for the year, but we cannot
know without more years to establish a reliable baseline.

CONCLUSIONS / COMMENTS:

Okay!

So ... the goal has been, from the start, to double the playerbase in
the course of a year. The comparison of the two years shows zero change.
The comparison of non-summer months shows an improvement of almost 9%.
So ......... we've still got lots of work to do. :-)

The learning curve has been steep for those of us who are fresh in the
Admin scene. When I first became Keeper, I was filled with zeal, energy,
and drive. I recruited the best and brightest I could to work with me on
the changes I wanted to see in the game. And then ........

Well. I learned some lessons! Those lessons have resulted in some of the
action on the previously shown graph, both for good and for bad. 2008 was
a costly year for we developers. The "lessons learned" included some
very rough spots and growing pains as the wizard workforce came to grips
with new norms, new expectations, and restructuring. 

The restructuring included some high-visibility loss of a few prominent
wizards, some of whom were among the hardest workers and most talented
visionaries. These losses were due to miscommunication, breach of trust,
and other of the usual irreconcilable differences. As often transpires,
the ripple effects from these losses were not insubstantial, translating
into various forms of disgruntlement and bewilderment on the parts of
the playerbase who heard various sides of the issue.

As the smoke has cleared and the ripples smoothed over, we have continued
our work as wizards with fewer public announcements and much steadier
energy and cooperation. The 2009 graph reflects this less-intense,
more-stable effect. In general, the playerbase has grown and continues
to build.

Does this mean we are on the right track? Well, yes, I believe so! But,
it also means that we are not necessarily walking it properly yet. There
is a lot left to determine in terms of game design and what makes this
game the most fun for those who come here to enjoy it.

Thus, I have a revised goal for the coming year, which I will revisit
with a full year-graph when we reach the New Year of 2010. The goal, for
the end of 2010 is that we have finished the recoding of all guilds, and
begun to implement things beyond pure combat (crafting) that will make
the game more enjoyable for those of us who come here for purposes other
than grind and item-grab. The natural outcome of these goals being met
will, indeed, be:

   "TO DOUBLE THE PLAYERBASE IN ONE-YEAR'S TIME!!!"

I love to hear your thoughts and perspectives! Thanks for reading mine.
G.
Mmmmmm ... pie ...

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