January 21, 2018, 08:36:14 AM

Author Topic: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?  (Read 772 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« on: January 06, 2018, 07:14:06 PM »
So, obviously mage wars isnt actually disappearing any time soon. It seems that very recently in the past month or so a lot of old retired online mage warriors have come crawling out of the woodwork and returned to the game after a long period of inactivity. When I said that the forums had become a ghost town, a week later it was no longer a ghost town. That being said, we do seem to have difficulty growing our community, and Arcane Wonders isn't planning on selling the franchise anytime soon if ever.

The thing is, mage wars has SO MUCH potential for customization of strategies and variant formats and maps which is largely untapped right now. Domination is hardly played. Team play is hardly played. Academy perhaps is played a little more often than they are but probably not by much.

There are no publicly visible competitive metas for any variant maps or formats of mage wars, or at least not that I know of.

Let that sink in for a moment. The only format of mage wars with any serious competitive play after six years of the game's existence is just plain vanilla 1v1 3x4 zone no starting terrains Arena. And there is not enough interest to make any variant formats actually have competitive play any time soon.

This is a huge letdown for me. I love to play variant rulesets and design them for others to play, but it seems like my efforts on this front are largely wasted in the Mage Wars community. The long and short of the issue is, I suspect, that we simply dont have a large enough playerbase to support variant competitive play, and we never have.

My question is, is it possible to grow the playerbase to that point, if so how can it be accomplished, does Arcane Wonders have any plans to try to accomplish it, and if so what are those plans?

While mage wars is not dying, I do still feel like Arcane Wonders did kinda bungle their marketing for the game and impeded if not outright prevented much of the game's potential for future growth. Someone said recently in another thread that Pegasus Spiele, the german distributor for mage wars, is discontinuing their translation of the game. I think this is likely to indicate a big problem because a lot of our best players have come from germany. Over the years I've heard people online talk about mage wars like it was specifically a game for Americans and there is even less people playing it in europe or elsewhere.

Sometimes I feel really let down by this game which I love which I invested so much of my time and energy into. It is a great game, but it's greatness comes and goes, and it could have been amazing all the time instead of just sometimes great. It was so much better in 2013, when there were lots of people here, Arcane Wonders was still actually producing story material and in the process of making the first battlegrounds set, and a bunch of other mage wars things besides just pumping out new cards. The community wasnt just active, it was ALIVE.

And one of the worst things is that over time Arcane Wonders has mostly stopped communicating with its playerbase. We can talk about these problems all we want, but Arcane Wonders will not respond to tell us what they plan to do about it. They will just have their playtesters come on and say "trust me, next year will be amazing and there will be so much new awesome content etc etc etc."

We've heard this before. 2016 we were promised that 2017 would be an amazing year for mage wars. And yet for most of 2017 the online community was not very active, and the forums were a ghost town until sometime in december. Where was this amazing year for mage wars we were promised by the arcane wonders playtesters? Maybe it's in the same place as the other amazing years of mage wars we were promised before, which also didn't quite happen either?

Why isn't arcane wonders communicating with their playerbase more? I don't really see them on here at all anymore. In fact, I think responding to the "Mage wars is dead" thread was the only post they made on here for months and months if not the whole year. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong about that.

Even if I somehow do manage to create an actual local player community for this game at this point in the game's history, how big is it realistically likely to grow, and what am I supposed to tell them about all this?
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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2018, 10:25:08 PM »
I think that Mage Wars could potentially get up to 360,000 players in the USA and Canada and a total of 1.2 million players in the rest of the developed world (around 1:1,000).  A Mage Wars video game could potentially reach 3.6 million player in the USA and Canada and a total of 12 million players in the rest of the developed world (around 1:100).  I think that Arcane Wonders is leaving money on the ground by not marketing Mage Wars through developing a video game for the Nintendo Switch because the Nintendo Switch is popular among the population that Mage Wars wants to attract (it would also provide revenue to expand Arcane Wonders so that they could hire more permanent staff to allow them to bring out more expansions for Academy and Arena).

Imagine for a moment if the population of Mage Wars players was 1:1,000 for board games and 1:100 for video game.  In a medium-sized city of 100,000, you would have 100 people playing the board game and 1,000 people playing the video game.  In that scenario, you could probably have three games a day in person without difficulty and not play the same person more than once a month.  That is how big I think that Mage Wars can grow if Arcane Wonders decides to market Mage Wars through making a video game for the Nintendo Switch (or a similar level of marketing).

Sailor Vulcan

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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2018, 10:42:19 PM »
I think that Mage Wars could potentially get up to 360,000 players in the USA and Canada and a total of 1.2 million players in the rest of the developed world (around 1:1,000).  A Mage Wars video game could potentially reach 3.6 million player in the USA and Canada and a total of 12 million players in the rest of the developed world (around 1:100).  I think that Arcane Wonders is leaving money on the ground by not marketing Mage Wars through developing a video game for the Nintendo Switch because the Nintendo Switch is popular among the population that Mage Wars wants to attract (it would also provide revenue to expand Arcane Wonders so that they could hire more permanent staff to allow them to bring out more expansions for Academy and Arena).

Imagine for a moment if the population of Mage Wars players was 1:1,000 for board games and 1:100 for video game.  In a medium-sized city of 100,000, you would have 100 people playing the board game and 1,000 people playing the video game.  In that scenario, you could probably have three games a day in person without difficulty and not play the same person more than once a month.  That is how big I think that Mage Wars can grow if Arcane Wonders decides to market Mage Wars through making a video game for the Nintendo Switch (or a similar level of marketing).
Um, you do realize that Arcane Wonders is a small company right? I mean, making a game for Nintendo switch? Are you serious? They'd never get Nintendo to agree to that. Mage Wars would have to be a LOT more successful irl before anything like that could possibly happen. Remember that in the OP I asked for realistic solutions not wildly insanely idealistic ones. If mage wars was successful enough of a franchise to interest Nintendo in making a mage wars game, the problems described in the OP would have been long since solved.

Also where are you getting all these numbers from?

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« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 10:49:16 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Obsidian Soul

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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2018, 12:22:14 AM »
Nintendo is the easiest console to make game for because it is free (https://developer.nintendo.com/faq).  You or I (or anyone on the forums) could make and market an indie game for Nintendo without any difficulty (though they monitor games for copyright violations and inappropriate content).  I really doubt that Mage Wars would cost more to make than Binding of Isaac.

As for the numbers, I am basing my numbers on the proportion of population based on my belief in the potential of Mage Wars, which I think would be four times more popular than Binding of Isaac as a video game.  With the video game as marketing, the board game sales would pick up, and I think they would reach 10% of the video game sales.  It is just my opinion though.

Karadox

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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2018, 01:01:53 AM »
I really liked a version of mage wars for the PC (Steam) or game consoles (PS4) it would certainly also help the board game version to grow a lot.
If it was only for Nindento I would not like it because I will never buy something from Nindento again.
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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2018, 08:18:09 AM »
Using statistics from BoardgameGeek.com we see that Mage Wars Arena has 11,000 registered BGG members who own the game. Almost, 1,200 of these consider themselves 'Fans' of the game or roughly 10%.

Compare this with BGG stats for Magic the Gathering that has been in the marketplace since 1993. It has 27,000 owners and 1,500 Fans or roughly 6%.

I think we have two very different business models for each of these games. One requires tournaments and buzz and multiple purchases by players to drive revenue while the other relies more on word of mouth and focused advertising that can be lost in the noise of promotional activities coming through many media channels, such as local game stores, online videos, and a 'professional tournament' circuit.

We shouldn't expect an easily identified player base at a 'tournament' level as you might find with MtG or Dicemasters since these use tournaments as part of their business model.
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Sailor Vulcan

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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2018, 08:32:37 AM »
There's something you probably overlooked in that, which is that a large number of those fans of Mage Wars are probably people who used to be really into it but stopped playing after some point.

Also, this talk of having different distribution models implying that tournament play doesn't matter as much for promoting the game or that we shouldn't expect to have a visible competitive playerbase is obvious nonsense. We already do have a visible competitive playerbase, it's just tiny.

I would argue that Arcane Wonders DOES use tournaments as part of their business model, but because they are such a small company with such a small competitive player base and because of their marketing mistakes, these tournaments remain small and perhaps less effective at promoting the game than word of mouth.

What you said only demonstrates that MTG is a LOT more popular and well funded than mage wars. That isn't anything new.

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« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 08:36:28 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Karadox

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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2018, 09:30:06 AM »
It would be a good idea to have a version of Mage Wars for PC or console.

Many who do not know the game would pay attention and invest in the real cards too.
That would make more people know what Mage Wars is for a Great Game.

But we know "AW" has even with Spellbookbuilder and the app problems.
They would need to show a Games Forge the idee of Mage Wars, the video game has great potential to become a hit, and both would provitir.
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Drefan

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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2018, 12:34:03 PM »
I agree that making a game out of the card game would be the best way. I do not think it should be tied to another "board-game" platform but instead a standalone game in the steam market.

To make sure a game like this would be successful you'd need it to be at least 100 times more polished than the version of MW on Octagon. MW works on Octagon because us players already know the game well and can correct mistakes that happen.





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Kelanen

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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2018, 01:52:15 PM »
Let that sink in for a moment. The only format of mage wars with any serious competitive play after six years of the game's existence is just plain vanilla 1v1 3x4 zone no starting terrains Arena. And there is not enough interest to make any variant formats actually have competitive play any time soon.

This is a huge letdown for me. I love to play variant rulesets and design them for others to play, but it seems like my efforts on this front are largely wasted in the Mage Wars community. The long and short of the issue is, I suspect, that we simply dont have a large enough playerbase to support variant competitive play, and we never have.

My question is, is it possible to grow the playerbase to that point, if so how can it be accomplished, does Arcane Wonders have any plans to try to accomplish it, and if so what are those plans?

I have the opposite position and vision to you - I hate variants, and in my opinion releasing multiple variants of the game as actively fragmented the playerbase and made multiple smaller metas, rather than increasing anything. Domination is a fine game, and so is Arena - but only one should have been released in my view.

Certainly I wouldn't want to see anything done to promote more variation in the game in this manner.

But in answer to your title question - the playerbase is pretty close to it's maximum size I think. The game has been around for 8 years, various modes of play have been issued, a moderate number of expansions and mages are out there, it's had release hype around a few products, it's a bigger OP scene than it currently does, and so on. Given the constraints that AW is the size company it is, marketing costs what it does, and more importantly than all of this - there are the number and quality of competitor games out there that there are, some with huge budgets and release programs, others with hugely topical IP's - MW is pretty much as big as it's going to be.

If new players coming in is enough to offset old players leaving, then that would be great, and call it a win!

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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2018, 10:39:24 AM »
I really really wish AW would share the rights to Mage Wars with another bigger company if not just sell it outright. They've bungled their marketing of the game, they barely communicate with the player base anymore, they can't afford to run balanced competitive play for Arena because it requires more time and tablespace than they can afford so they instead decide to break their own game by trying to squeeze it into a universal 1.25 hour time limit for all competitive matches, they've stopped making story material, they've stopped doing anything except pumping out new sets and holding their broken tourneys in conventions, their non American distributors are dropping them...

I honestly do not understand why they don't sell the game to a bigger company. They'd probably make more money in the long run if they did. The only reasonable explanation I can think of for this is that they are  sucummbing to sunk-cost fallacy, even after I specifically warned them about sunk-cost fallacy. If I am wrong, they are welcome to correct me and explain what their actual reasoning is.

The game is not dying, but it is suffering, and I honestly do not understand why they don't seem to be doing anything to fix things.

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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2018, 12:17:35 PM »
Ok sailor. You gotta stop dude. Please stop taking to our forum, provided by AW, for us to discuss out favorite game, and take what seems like a monthly shit on the damn company. You've told us they should sell it, change its medium, reevaluate it from the ground up. You use phrases like bungled, indicating that if YOU were at the helm these silly little drawbacks wouldn't be happening on your watch! AW is like 3 people. Please let them run the game the way they see fit. Stop chicken littleing here every other month saying the sky is falling. Posts like this one are fine once in a blue moon ir if there is an actual problem to be figured out. But these doom amd gloom messages twice a month are gonna actually curtail folks who might visit these forums from joining us in our favorite game.

I very much get that you are passionate about this. But come on sailor quit shaking the damn "the game is over/ sucks/is failing monkey tree please? If only so i dont have to come reassure you and everybody that the game is fine just be patient?
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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 12:31:18 PM »
@Romeoxero

Do you have any real contrary evidence to any specific thing I've said? If you're going to accuse me of exaggerating then at least point out specifically what I've said that is inaccurate instead of just criticizing my tone.
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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2018, 05:49:23 PM »
Alright, I'm going to take this in a bit of a different direction.  In regards to the play base, does anyone know how many people actually play Mage Wars? It doesn't seem like it's going anywhere anytime soon since they are planning on expansions for 2018 (yay!) and the friends I've introduced it to really enjoy it.

I know card games always get compared to MTG, but CCGs have never been my thing since I like having money in my bank account, but what's a realistic size to say the game is currently at?

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Re: How big can we realistically grow the playerbase?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2018, 05:59:03 PM »
Alright, I'm going to take this in a bit of a different direction.  In regards to the play base, does anyone know how many people actually play Mage Wars? It doesn't seem like it's going anywhere anytime soon since they are planning on expansions for 2018 (yay!) and the friends I've introduced it to really enjoy it.

I know card games always get compared to MTG, but CCGs have never been my thing since I like having money in my bank account, but what's a realistic size to say the game is currently at?
Turns out I was wrong about pretty much everything I said. Mage Wars isn't suffering or anything, it's just not as big as ccgs. There are some good points in this thread, but for the most part you can probably disregard it. If you want to hear the evidence that convinced me of this send me a pm, since I don't want to take up forum space with more endless debate about it.

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