Planetside II – There’s a heartbeat there still, I think

I thought looking at an older game might be instructive with respect to the decline of games over time.

Planetside II can be seen very much as a spiritual successor to the Tribes franchise, released by SOE back in Nov 2012. It’s a game which never really got much exposure but maintained a loyal core following over the intervening years.

The PC version of the game is available either stand-alone or though steam, so the numbers reported by steam charts is not representative of its actual player counts showing Steam only, but the movement in player count probably tracks well.

The following graph shows the player count over the intervening years, with the dramatic drop-off at the start and a largely stable if waning player count in the following years.

This slow decline in player count can be seen in the numbers for the more recent months, showing a game clearly still pulling some new players to replace those who leave. But unfortunately not quite in numbers to reverse the overall slow decline.

Helldivers II – Player count slide

Helldivers II is a bit of a one-trick pony, but it’s a pretty good trick in fairness.

But like anything without much variety it runs the risk of becoming stale and losing people’s attention. Which is what we can see now by looking at the player numbers over the last few months.

Steam Charts: Helldivers II

Moving from a massive peak of 458,208 players, there has been a consistent slide in the player count of about 34% month on month.

Though for a newly released game in the first 5 months, such a drop-off as the novelty factor wanes is not unexpected.

The expectation is that the player-base will stabilise to a core audience that can be maintained going forward; with an expectation of a more gradual decline going forward.

This looks like that is happening with the player count now.

Having settled from the 22th May onwards around the 50k mark with a much less pronounced attrition in numbers.

The new patch released on 13th June saw a slight spike in numbers , with a peak of 91,692 players following its release. But did not result in a notable increase of the player count.

To truly revitalise the player-base something bigger is going to be needed. Possibly the release of a third faction (The Illuminate from the original?) is the one to watch for and maybe that could reinvigorate the player-base and count.

Death of a MMO

I had seen some talk about the state of New World, an MMO released approximately 2 years and 5 months ago by Amazon Games. So I decide to take a closer look at it myself.

Released to great fanfare and with the deep deep pockets of Amazon to back it up, you would think to yourself that it couldn’t fail.

Though those of us with memory of Crucible, also by Amazon might have had some foreshadowing of a possible lack of success.

Starting off with an average of 410,000 players, it quickly settled down to an average mid-to-late teens with respect to players count. But its really fallen off a cliff as of this year.

New World Historic Player Counts

Even taking November 2021 as a starting point, the player-base has shrunk to just 3.75% of that number. That’s a pretty spectacular drop in just about two and a half years.

Personally I found it an interesting game, but always found the movement in it strange and slightly off-putting. Something I’ve noticed in other games based on the CryEngine from which Lumberyard was derived.

Link: Steam Charts: New World

AI Art Wallpapers

One of the things I like about AI Art is the surreal images it can generate which make for great wallpapers and general backgrounds.

Here’s a selection of fantasy themed images I’ve used for wallpapers or visual aids for use in roleplaying games.

Vaesen Solo Play Aid

I’ve been dabbling with Vaesen by Free League Publishing for a bit now.
It’s nice investigative driven RPG set in an alternative Nordic 19th century, along with an expansion which covers Ireland and Britain during the same time period.

So as a forever DM, I was pleased to see a set of rules for solo play has been released.
It utilities a series of random tables to drive the story and encounters, making use of both dice and standard playing cards.

It was the later, the playing cards which I found rather cumbersome in use, so to that end I knocked up a simple web-page to simplify that part of the process.

You’ll still need the solo-rules, but image below (showing a sample card) takes you to web-page.

Pressing “Deal Card” will deal a new card from the deck of 52, creating and shuffling a new card deck as required.

Pressing “NPC State” will deal two cards, which are used to determine an NPC state to the players.

AI for RPG Art

AI Art is such a godsend when it comes to generating images/art for role-playing game sessions. I’m using it constantly now to generate pictures for player characters and tokens.

The results are getting exponentially better as time goes on.

Here are a few I did a while back using Midjourney while not free, does have the edge out of the box over Stable Diffusion. That said Stable Diffusion is more than capable of generating useable images and tokens, added to which it is free.

Wizards walks back OGL changes.

Now this was an unexpected announcement, Wizards have walked back their talk of revoking the OGL 1.0a and even gone further than anyone imagined by putting the SRD 5.1 into the Creative Commons.

Paizo announces Open RPG License

Things are moving apace in the RPG space, with multiple publishing companies announcing moves away from the Wizards owned OGL.

But the most significant development so far is the announcement today by Paizo of a new open license by them for use by the wider RPG community. The contents of the announcement is below.

Paizo Open RPG License Announcement

  • Their site is currently getting overwhelmed by the interest for the license.

DnD Carnage – Open Games License 1.1

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ll have to be aware of the turmoil within role-playing games community over Hazbo/Wizards of the Coast attempting to revoke the OGL 1.0a license which has been used for 20 or so years.

And replace it with one which is closed (in spite of the name) and also performs a serious land-grab of third-party IP at the same time as looking to milk everyone they can.

Naturally this hasn’t gone down to well 🙂

The following video gives a good run-down on the situation along with providing a link to the revised license.