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Hypothetical - Artificial population increase mechanism

greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon

There's something that sits in the back of my mind with F2P games. The makers of the game have proven that they know how to write computer code. They have proven that they know how to network. They have proven that they know we watch population numbers because they offer the product free to get you in the door and some will let you stay quite awhile without paying.

What if you played a game and found out 6 months into it that 90% of the population was generated by the company. All the people logged in all the time that rarely talked was because they were scripted "players" made by the company that made the game.

Would you stay in a game if you found out the population was inflated artificially? Otherwise, you actually enjoy the gameplay itself.

Would you complain or just chalk it up to smart business. What other things would run through your mind. Would you feel the need to expose this information to other players.

My answer is a flat no.

 

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Comments

  • StonesDKStonesDK SomewherePosts: 1,805Member
    SWTOR should have done that. Might have made the game feel more alive
  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 20,008Member Uncommon
    I'm not sure I get what you mean sounds like NPCs with a more advanced scripting, which is no big improvement. It would be hard to make them random enough that players would not notice they weren't "real". For one thing, I don't play MMOs to have other people around me, I play them to socially interact with other people, and even if you fooled me into thinking they were just anti-social other players, I wouldn't be playing the game for long.

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
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  • anemoanemo Posts: 762Member Uncommon
    why would a F2P even need to do this when players are perfectly willing to bot themselves.

    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

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  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by anemo
    why would a F2P even need to do this when players are perfectly willing to bot themselves.

    lol touche

  • MyTabbycatMyTabbycat SP, MOPosts: 312Member
    I wouldn't think that would be viable for the company. You'd need resources to create, run and maintain 90% artificial player population. If they only had 10% playerbase to generate revenue, my guess is they would quickly go out of business.
  • davestr1zldavestr1zl MelbPosts: 218Member

    If i enjoyed the gameplay - yes.

     

    Dont see why it would affect me if it hadnt negatively impacted me for the previous 6 months.

  • RhoklawRhoklaw Ft. Bliss, TXPosts: 3,498Member Uncommon

    Every MMO I've ever played has always had people standing around in a central HUB... whether it was F2P, B2P or a SUB... EVERY MMO. Whether it's scripted players or scripted NPC's, doesn't matter. A game isn't dead unless the population in the game world is low which is what is slowly happening with Planetside 2. Probably why it's turned into a constant rotation of base capping. PS2 isn't designed properly when it comes to PvP cause the incentives are not there to defend facilities.

     

    image

  • aspekxaspekx Brandon, FLPosts: 2,167Member

    it would depend:

    IF i were thoroughly engrossed in the game and

    IF i could and did in fact enjoy, soloing most of the game then

    Yes.

    however, if either of those statements returned FALSE, then i would most certainly leave the game.

    "There are at least two kinds of games.
    One could be called finite, the other infinite.
    A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
    an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
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  • AxehandleAxehandle Florida, FLPosts: 147Member
    If the game was a wasteland with 1 player every 4-5 zones I'd be pretty pissed because it's a deceptive practice and if the company is willing to lie to customers they don't care about their customers. 
  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,783Member Uncommon

    I feel the OP hates F2P games and failed to hide it behind that OP post. Why cant P2P developers do that instead? they are the ones claimed to have all the experience and money from subscriptions to be the best games. If artificial players were actually created to fill game worlds with people then that would happen on P2P mmos and not F2P. 

    Random Dev 1: hey gamers dont want to pay monthly for our poorly made mmos, they suck...

    Random Dev 2: i know right... lets make it F2P....

    Random Dev 1: Hell no... there must be a way for them sillys to keep paying.

    Random Dev 3: i got an idea, lets fill the world with artificial players so people think our game is popular and start subscribing.

    Random Dev 1 & 2: wooooooooooah! brilliant!.

     

    image
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon
    If you could make NPCs clever enough that it took you six months to figure out that they were NPCs and not players, then that would be quite a nifty game feature, don't you think?
  • IchmenIchmen Winnipeg, MBPosts: 1,228Member

    it would be easy to do with autopathing. all you do is set the "bot" to run from the healing npc to the quest node npc spending a few minutes at each, then it moves to the bank/storage npc and gear npcs then it teleports (logs out or whatever) put it on a delay so it waits a few minutes or an hour then logs in and repleats it. BAM you can claim the starter town or whatever is uber populated by having 5-10 bots running around doing nothing... most players wouldnt even notice  lololol as well devs can rename the toons so every week they throw in a new name and people wont know lol

     

    but its not just f2p games that can do this. any p2p/b2p whatever can do it. its a simple autopathing script lolol hell WoW could do it and claim it has gained another 10million users.. no one would even notice

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  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by rojo6934

    I feel the OP hates F2P games and failed to hide it behind that OP post. Why cant P2P developers do that instead? they are the ones claimed to have all the experience and money from subscriptions to be the best games. If artificial players were actually created to fill game worlds with people then that would happen on P2P mmos and not F2P. 

    Random Dev 1: hey gamers dont want to pay monthly for our poorly made mmos, they suck...

    Random Dev 2: i know right... lets make it F2P....

    Random Dev 1: Hell no... there must be a way for them sillys to keep paying.

    Random Dev 3: i got an idea, lets fill the world with artificial players so people think our game is popular and start subscribing.

    Random Dev 1 & 2: wooooooooooah! brilliant!.

     

    True, I do dislike F2P, I think you would only have to go back a few posts in my history to see me rant about them but the post was not meant to beat up on them. Notice, it's hypothetical, no accusations are made here.

     

    It wasn't meant to bash F2P as if they were the only ones that could. It just made sense to use them since they were willing to give away spots already for nothing, at least a scripted bot could be local and cost less than a real player in terms of bandwidth was how I viewed it if the intent is just to make the place look busy (which people that often won't pay F2P games ever say they contribute, warm bodies). I didn't make that up, I've seen people say that's why they don't pay, they consider themselves helping the game in that way.

     

    To be clear, I am aware that any business model of pay could pull something like this off, I just think F2P works best to want it.

    Thanks for all the responses on the poll, I expected all No so it's interesting to me. The heart of it was, if a company was known to lie to you once, would you trust them again and would it matter if the lie was just population - we always see population is important as an excuse that people don't play games - then the addition that you liked the game would be more important than both. That's what I was doing with the sub- thoughts section but I guess that doesn't hit everyone the same way. Only one poster so far outright mentioned that it would cross their mind to be trust broken. Another mentioned that they don't play for population so with all things in place I learn that company integrity might not be as important to some if they enjoy the game. This is why it was all interesting to me in my head and wanted to throw it out there :P

  • FromHellFromHell NY, NYPosts: 1,311Member

    Artificial population increase mechanism -> scam. 

    Servers showing "full" and no one around -> scam. 

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  • ZyzraZyzra Madison, WIPosts: 354Member
    Originally posted by FromHell

    War Z -> scam. 

    Hammerpoint -> scam. 

    Fixed that for you.

  • redcappredcapp brook, NYPosts: 722Member
    Who the hell wants to play a game full of bots?  Lol
  • ZyzraZyzra Madison, WIPosts: 354Member
    Originally posted by redcapp
    Who the hell wants to play a game full of bots?  Lol

    Yeah!  Computer controlled characters in MY MMO?!?!  No way man, I'll stick to my NPCs.... wait a minute

  • waynejr2waynejr2 West Toluca Lake, CAPosts: 4,481Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    If you could make NPCs clever enough that it took you six months to figure out that they were NPCs and not players, then that would be quite a nifty game feature, don't you think?

     Couldn't you just use the NPCs to do customer support? 

    Then sell those services out to other companies!

    $$$$$

  • jimdandy26jimdandy26 salem, ORPosts: 527Member
    General population is meaningless aslong as it maintains a healthy enough population to do whatever content you want to do.

    I did battle with ignorance today, and ignorance won.

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  • redcappredcapp brook, NYPosts: 722Member
    Originally posted by Zyzra
    Originally posted by redcapp
    Who the hell wants to play a game full of bots?  Lol

    Yeah!  Computer controlled characters in MY MMO?!?!  No way man, I'll stick to my NPCs.... wait a minute

    You think I play MMOs for the NPCs?  Haha.

  • ZyzraZyzra Madison, WIPosts: 354Member
    Originally posted by redcapp
    Originally posted by Zyzra
    Originally posted by redcapp
    Who the hell wants to play a game full of bots?  Lol

    Yeah!  Computer controlled characters in MY MMO?!?!  No way man, I'll stick to my NPCs.... wait a minute

    You think I play MMOs for the NPCs?  Haha.

    You think when I saw you had written "Who the hell" I assumed YOU were everyone who plays MMOs?  Haha.

  • HeroEvermoreHeroEvermore salem, ORPosts: 672Member
    Originally posted by Starpower
    SWTOR should have done that. Might have made the game feel more alive

    Didn't the players feel like AI anyway? I mean that game has some real poor animations and the environment itself....lulz...can you say 1980s movie green-screen :P

    Hero Evermore
    Guild Master of Dragonspine since 1982.
    Playing Path of Exile and deeply in love with it.

  • itgrowlsitgrowls newport news, VAPosts: 2,951Member

    depends on whether they made the appropriate changes needed to keep the players they had coming back.

    if no then no I wouldn't stay. having fake players is the same thing to me as giving the PR number of 1.7 million active subs over and over again or 10.1 million active subs for that matter.

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    I think you're onto something O.P. Brilliant. How hard could it be to code the current crop of players, including:

    Beggars,
    Noobs,
    Power Gamers

    Beggars and noobs would be easy to script, and are a potential coin sink.
    For Power Gamers, just park a group of them at some camp. No need to respond to tells.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Kyleran
    I'm not sure I get what you mean sounds like NPCs with a more advanced scripting, which is no big improvement. It would be hard to make them random enough that players would not notice they weren't "real". For one thing, I don't play MMOs to have other people around me, I play them to socially interact with other people, and even if you fooled me into thinking they were just anti-social other players, I wouldn't be playing the game for long.

    Why would that make a difference? You won't have the time to talk to 99% of the players anyway.

    In my few years of playing WOW, i may have met, and talked to at most a hundred or two of players. That is less than a single digit percentage of a WOW server population.

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