07/10/2012 09:59 AMWe understand that labeling this number as "In Games" in the Public Games window can be confusing, so we're currently looking into ways to make the number and what it represents more clear. In the meantime, we continue to closely monitor both the state of the game service and your questions and comments about Diablo III.
Posted by Lylirra
Thank you for the post Lylirra. Even though it's a bit late, since the topic furor has settled a bit, allow me to indulge the topic.
I like that Blizzard is usually confident enough to be more transparent with population numbers. As I type this (before 10am PST), SC2 tells me there are about 750k players on BattleNet, 14105 games worldwide, 3693 games in my region, and 174 players in public channels. I remember BattleNet 1.0 telling me similar stats when I logged into WC, SC, and Diablo.
So it's with a puzzled look that I look at the change for the D3 Public Games number.
With this explanation, I believe that match-making to place players in existing games, rather than creating separate games is good. But, I also feel that the Public Games number that represents the remaining number of open games is not a good stat to display, and can lead to further confusion about how many (few) people are playing and how (un)popular the game is.
I don't know why D3 has this stat messaging problem, but the solution to this whole thing is already implemented in other Blizzard games, so why it's not correctly implemented also in D3 is strange. You really only need 2 stats:
1) Total number of players in public and private games in my region, or total number of public and private games in my region
2) Total number of available public games (that any player can join) in my region
And actually, you don't need #2! The matchmaking goal is to place all players in games together until they get filled with 4 players. That game is then subtracted from the available public games numbers. You now want the Public Games number to be as low as possible! Instead of high numbers that show growing and/or continued interest, you want to get to 0, showing all players are being placed in public games toward the 4-player cap.
This Public Games number is confusing as currently implemented and can be interpreted the wrong way. If you allow any amount of truth to Bashiok's concurrency comment:
07/03/2012 01:06 PM
Posted by Bashiok
Haha... oh wait, that's mean! I don't know that I'm allowed to release specific concurrency numbers, but we have hundreds upon hundreds of thousands playing every night. Comparing to just normal drop-off post release of a WoW expansion, Diablo III has been very solid, and it's not even out in China yet.
then the perception is, as many people have determined, that the game is not only suffering the usual player attrition rates, but there is also dwindling interest in playing in public games. This builds up the feeling of fewer players, disrupts the sense of community, and adds to the general malaise of the public forums.
The odd thing is, if there is any truth to Bashiok's comment, while community perception is that the game is "dying", the existing players may still be doing business in the auction house, continuing to provide revenue to Blizzard through the RMAH.
So, Blizzard, let us have some real numbers instead of a narrow, misleading subset stat. Couple this with a few policy changes to clean up the forums, and it might not feel like your community managers are hesitant to be a visible part of the community.
1) Display the total number of players in public and private games in my region, or total number of public and private games in my region.
2) Create stickied threads for specific topics for people to criticize, complain, and vent in, but strictly enforce constructive and positive discussion everywhere else.
3) Empower the community managers to be a continual, visible presence, and to police as well as manage the community. Stop coddling the community, and prevent it from running roughshod all over the forums.
4) Communicate over and over plans to improve the game play experience.
5) Get the test server up.
And now, some fun post-patch 1.0.3 numbers. Remember, with the way the Public Games number is defined, and with player attrition naturally occurring (always a concern), the goal of this stat is to drop to 0. Note the consistent decline.
# of available Public Games in The Americas on Tuesdays, 12:30am PST:
June 26 = 1592
July 3 = 1190
July 10 = 1043
July 17 = 851
July 24 = 798
# of available Public Games in The Americas on Wednesdays, 10:30am PST:
June 20 = 1725
June 27 = 1587
July 4 = 1424
July 11 = 1114
July 18 = 1025
July 25 = 893
# of available Public Games in The Americas on Thursdays, 3:30pm PST:
June 21 = 1684
June 28 = 1458
July 5 = 1350
July 12 = 1074
July 19 = 1044
July 26 = 859
# of available Public Games in The Americas on Fridays, 8:30pm PST:
June 22 = 2388
June 29 = 1846
July 6 = 1620
July 13 = 1438
July 20 = 1206
# of available Public Games in The Americas on Saturdays, 11:30pm PST:
June 23 = 2144
June 30 = 1724
July 7 = 1372
July 14 = 1375
July 21 = 1134
One bonus solution to motivating players to play in public games (if that's what Blizzard wants, I'm not 100% sure):
Each public games player contributes their Magic Find stat on a decreasing scale toward a total Magic Find amount. For example, (keeping in mind these percentages can/must be adjusted to take economics in consideration):
(Example stat scaling)
The player with the highest Magic Find contributes 100% of their stat to the group's total.
2nd highest MF contributes 50% of their MF stat.
3rd highest contributes 25%
4th highest contrubtes 10%
4 players enter a public game with +100 MF, +50 MF, +50 MF, +20 MF.
The player with +100 MF adds 100% MF to the group total.
A player with +50 MF adds 25% MF to the group total
The other player with +50% MF adds 12.5% to the group total.
The last player with 20% MF adds 2% to the group total.
The group's total MF is 139.5 (100 + 25 + 12.5 + 2).
Everyone benefits by playing in public games by having an additive effect to MF, but economics is better controlled through a non-linear (and adjustable) scale. Feel free to apply this idea to other Public Game mechanics.