Posted 18 February 2014 - 06:49 PM
Fascinating. Various observations, in no particular order:
1. The sample size is quite large (~6500), but, as the report noted, not necessarily representative of the whole GW2 population.
2. I think the report would be best used by ArenaNet to understand their core, dedicated players. This needs to be distinct from those who "generally" play the game, and so should not be used to infer about the entire GW2 population. Several factors support this:
a) Given the nature of the communities that visit the sites where the survey was administered and given the nature of people who respond to surveys in general, it is reasonable to infer that this survey represents players who are strongly interested in the game, either negatively or positively, and (I would argue) mostly the latter.
b) A large percentage of respondents plan on playing the game for "years to come," and almost 70% of the respondents purchased the game pre-order.
c) Furthermore, it seems difficult to survey people who have already quit (and so gather their reasons for quitting), since former players are unlikely to visit sites dedicated to games they no longer play.
d) Apropos (a) - ©, it is possible, maybe probable, that the small number of dissatisfied responses represent those dedicated players who are reaching a critical level of dissatisfaction with the game's direction. This survey should not be interpreted as representative of past and future satisfaction. That could be a fatal assumption. Rather, additional surveys--at least the kind I would find valuable if I were on staff at a game company--should attempt to establish whether this dissatisfaction translates into declining population and reduced gem store purchases.
3. I found the comparisons between 2012 and 2013 difficult to accept, mostly because the 2012 survey was a French-only population.
4. Page 22f showed frequency of cash-shop purchases, assuming respondents correctly interpreted the terminology ("through the game shop" was potentially ambiguous, although not ultimately relevant given the following). Unfortunately, the purchase information is limited to French players only, so it is difficult to infer from this population to the larger population of dedicated players. Given the importance of the gem store to the survival of GW2, the lack of information here is the weakest part of the survey.
If (and this is a significant assumption) we are able to generalize from the French population, and given (1) and (2) above, these data suggest that 25% of committed Guild Wars 2 players have never purchased anything from the gem shop with real money. More important, the results suggest that around half of committed Guild Wars 2 players don't regularly purchase anything at all (although this could be subject to seasonal variability not captured in the survey). There is also a strong correlation between daily playtime and frequency of purchases.
5. Committed players seem to enjoy the living story. That's not surprising. If you were playing the game during the period the survey was given, you likely already decided if you enjoyed the model (and so continued playing) or didn't (and so reduced playtime or stopped altogether). This also tracks with the high number of respondents who spend most of their time (or a "frequent" amount of time) in PvE (made distinct from WvW in the survey).
6. Even players who regularly compete in sPvP seem to dislike it. No surprise there!
Interesting report, although not as helpful as a survey sent to all GW2 account owners, since its results were somewhat predictable: players who are still dedicated to the game are likely to enjoy its current direction, and players who didn't have likely already left.
It would have been particularly interesting to see more detailed gem store purchases information, especially data not isolated to French respondents.