Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
I ran a simple survey of the World in Flames forum members asking which mode(s) of play they expected to use, as a percentage of the time they spend playing MWIF. This was motivated by my conversation with Dave about how important the AI Opponent would be. My guess prior to this survey was that the break down would be 50% NetPlay, 30% AIO, 20% PBEM. I was completely wrong.
The scrren shots are taken of spreadsheet that Patrice created for summarizing the responses from this survey. As I write this we have had 86 players respond; that is a healthy simple size, though perhaps biased, since the survey is of active forum members. Patrice used the word 'votes', which is imprecise. I think of them as 'responses' - since no one is getting elected.
The dominant mode of play is going to be AIO (52%) with PBEM second (23%), NetPlay third (17%), with Solitaire and Head-to-head making up the rest. You can see these numbers in the first page of the spreadsheet.
From the comments players made when completing the survey, Solitaire, and to a lesser extent AIO, will be used to gain experience with the game so they can play against human opponents using PBEM and NetPlay. But there are over 60% of the customers who expect to play against the AI most of the time. If you look at the bar chart, you’ll see that AIO overwhelms the other modes of play for use Predominantly (75% or more of playing time). It is also equal to the sum of all the other modes of play for use Most-of-the-time (50% to 74% of playing time).
Overall, PBEM beats out NetPlay slightly, and almost 90% of the respondents had zero interest in Head-to-head play. Solitaire use is apparently expected to be a learning/planning tool rather than a means of playing the entire game from start to finish.
My conclusion is that I now agree with Dave: the AIO is crucial for sales. Indeed, I see this as a personal challenge, with players saying they can play MWIF better than any AIO I can create.
Perfection is an elusive goal.