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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Hypothetical - Artificial population increase mechanism

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27 posts found

Elite Member

Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 1988

OP  12/24/12 7:17:41 AM#1

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.


Would you stay in a game if you found out the population was inflated artificially?

Not sure, leaning toward Yes
Not sure, leaning toward No
I'll skip the question, show me results
(login to vote)

Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/11
Posts: 1845

12/24/12 7:23:15 AM#2
SWTOR should have done that. Might have made the game feel more alive

Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 20032

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

12/24/12 7:31:19 AM#3
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.

Arrogant, Condescending, Dismissive, Elitist, "Meany", you speak as if these are bad things?
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Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/24/10
Posts: 759

12/24/12 7:46:10 AM#4
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.

"There are still vast swaths of our planet's surface in which it's surprisingly easy to lose things. Even a ship the size of a large building." Richard Fisher


Elite Member

Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 1988

OP  12/24/12 7:48:25 AM#5
Originally posted by anemo
why would a F2P even need to do this when players are perfectly willing to bot themselves.

lol touche


Novice Member

Joined: 8/19/12
Posts: 312

12/24/12 8:44:29 AM#6
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.

Novice Member

Joined: 8/04/11
Posts: 220

12/24/12 8:51:36 AM#7

If i enjoyed the gameplay - yes.


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


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/12/04
Posts: 3376

Awaiting Crowfall

12/24/12 9:07:30 AM#8

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.



Novice Member

Joined: 12/24/05
Posts: 2197

12/24/12 9:15:38 AM#9

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


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."
Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse


Novice Member

Joined: 12/02/12
Posts: 157

12/24/12 11:48:43 AM#10
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. 

Express your opinion


Elite Member

Joined: 8/13/09
Posts: 6528

"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver". - Niccolo Machiavelli

12/24/12 11:59:19 AM#11

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!.




Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 14568

12/24/12 12:09:42 PM#12
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?

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/15/06
Posts: 1238

hatred is a prison, death a release.

12/24/12 12:16:39 PM#13

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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Elite Member

Joined: 11/19/12
Posts: 1988

OP  12/24/12 2:27:34 PM#14
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


Novice Member

Joined: 11/10/12
Posts: 1338

12/24/12 3:01:54 PM#15

Artificial population increase mechanism -> scam. 

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

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Novice Member

Joined: 6/18/07
Posts: 363

12/24/12 3:07:34 PM#16
Originally posted by FromHell

War Z -> scam. 

Hammerpoint -> scam. 

Fixed that for you.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/13/11
Posts: 733

12/24/12 5:12:12 PM#17
Who the hell wants to play a game full of bots?  Lol

Novice Member

Joined: 6/18/07
Posts: 363

12/24/12 5:25:35 PM#18
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


Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 4391

RIP City of Heroes!

12/24/12 5:30:01 PM#19
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!



Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/28/12
Posts: 559

12/24/12 5:30:20 PM#20
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.

To exercise power costs effort and demands courage. That is why so many fail to assert rights to which they are perfectly entitled - because a right is a kind of power but they are too lazy or too cowardly to exercise it. The virtues which cloak these faults are called patience and forbearance.

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