[MUD-Dev] D&D vs. MMORPG "complexity"

Dave Rickey mahrinskel at brokentoys.org
Mon May 19 20:32:08 New Zealand Standard Time 2003


From: <Daniel.Harman at barclayscapital.com>
> From: Dave Rickey [mailto:mahrinskel at brokentoys.org]

>> I have seen evidence that strongly indicates that empowerment
>> *is* a prime mover, in Camelot at least.  Unfortunately, it's the
>> result of studying the cancellation rates vs. the highest level
>> character on the account (also vs. tradeskill advancement and
>> Realm Levels), and as a result I can't discuss it in too much
>> detail or make the data available for review.  But it was pretty
>> unequivocable.  There's a linear relationship between advancement
>> and cancellation rates, an incredibly strong correlation.

> So your are saying that people who have high level chars are more
> likely to renew their account? Surely you could draw the opposite
> conclusion that people who renew their account are more likely to
> have high level chars?

How are those two statements different?  What I found was that if I
divided the accounts by the level of the highest character on that
account, the month-to-month cancellation percentage rates were
invariant by any other subdivision (within statistical variation).
The age of the accounts was irrelevant, if that is what you were
getting at, the cancellation rate of accounts 3 months old with 50th
level characters was statistically identical to that of accounts
that were over a year old, and for all other levels.  Oddly enough,
so was the cancellation rates of 5th level mains in the same time
periods (in other words, there were an appreciable number of
year-old accounts with their highest level character at 5th level,
and they cancelled at exactly the same rate as accounts that were 3
months or less in age).

Beyond that, the proportions of 12+ month old accounts with 5th
level mains that were and were not cancelled was almost exactly what
would have been predicted if that percentage was an invariant.  And
someone who had been 5th level for 15 months had the same chance of
quitting *this* month as someone who had paid for only a second
month (first "free" month conversion rates were a different story)

I had truly reliable data for only the first quarter of 2003 and
June of 2002 when I ran my analysis, what was interesting was that
the June data *did* show some discrepencies when analyzed by class
and level, specifically a few classes with higher cancellation rates
and a big bulge in the cancellations of 41st level mains (there was
a "hell level" at 41 at that time).  After the changes made to
address those initial findings (smoothing the levelling curve to
eliminate the hell level and buffing up a few classes), all that was
left was that invariant linear relationship.  In other words, it was
exactly as if the linear relationship between cancellation and level
was some kind of universal constant, that would pop out when the
game was "close enough".

It's only data from one game, and from a fairly short period.  But
it was so unexpected and so strong of a correlation, it has to mean
*something*.

--Dave


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