Unfortunately, the original topic largely covering this issue is locked.
Quote from GM Wyrom: http://forums.play.net/forums/GemStone%20IV/Discussions%20with%20Simutronics/The%20Bad,%20and%20the%20Ugly%20(general%20complaints)/view/15945
[As an aside, I hope you guys look at growth in terms of new subscriptions or independent IP addresses and not new F2P accounts - too many people have F2P armies that overinflate the number of active players IMO)
That makes me very happy - I am one of those people who would love to see >1000 players online again.
The numbers I speak about are only our paid subscriptions. We actually closed August up 3% from July. That puts us up 17% in the last 12 months and 28% since the beginning of 2015. We have more accounts today than we did in January of 2011. We're about neck and neck with numbers 10 years ago.
F2P accounts are tracked separately, and yes I know who's generally tied to whom.
When I mentioned we were at 700 the other night, I know some chatter was saying most of them were F2P. This isn't accurate. The raffle caused a surge in logins, but it blocked F2P users, and the F2P users on at that time were about the same as they are all the time (about 10% of online users). Without raffles and such going on, we been hitting low to mid 600s every week lately. This is up from 350 just 3 years ago.
Keep in mind, the average user only plays about 80 minutes a day. It's likely a lot less than that, because I'm not tracking median and all the 24/7 accounts screw that number up. That 80 minutes does exclude people in less than 5 minutes a day though (since I wanted to isolate LOGIN REWARDS and people just checking quick things).
I know I'm being quoted about silver production a lot, with figures of about 2 billion a month. The actual number is about 18 billion a year, and that's including heavy farming sessions. The number does go up every year though, because more people are more efficient at gathering silvers. We have heavier months (usually months that don't contain a pay event), so at a glance and without combing the numbers, it looked like about 2 billion a month, when the reality is closer to 1.5 billion a month (still a lot).
I also mentioned that if we look at December 2016 when the auctions were launched, we've drained more silver than produced. This means I'm looking at December 16th as a day where silver production is considered 0. This was using the first batch of booklets for sale for silver. The second batch wiped out, collectively, another billion. Most people aren't insanely wealthy, and the insanely wealthy aren't the ones buying the booklets. This means we removed a collective amount of wealth in game.
Another facet in all this is a lot of silvers are removed on a daily basis. People use silver-based services like the NPC locksmith or town merchants. You might go, Wyrom, it can't be THAT much. Well in the last weeks, town merchants (like the armory or the grocer) drained 67101622 silver.
You also have to recognize that more people can make silver these days than 10 years ago. More people can buy the things they want directly instead of through the secondary market. We offer more services and items in larger quantities these days as well. Rarer services are also more available. So In the past, Player A might have been a supplier to Player X, Y, and Z. But now Players X, Y, and Z do things on their own, because they either got more efficient at self-sustaining their needs or decided being wealthy is a new core competency for their gaming. There is also the fact that they might have most the items they want now. Some people at the top of the food chain will say something like, "I only look for interesting/utility items now."
This doesn't mean we aren't listening. Just painting a picture of some of the other areas you might not be thinking about. The weighting/padding update was something in the works for years. I know someone mentioned that they felt that was a response to this thread. That's not the case for this at least.
I think a lot of this tailspin started with Ebon Gate announcements, which now that Duskruin is technically over, I can announce some of that information. I'll do that in the next day or so.