To answer some replies:
Not much I can add to what you already said, since they're mostly opinions and people are bound to have different experiences.
I interpert "the game is dead/dying" to indicate that fewer and fewer people are interested in the game, to the point where the community itself is emptying out. I don't see that happening. I see people coming and going.
It's the people saying that the game IS dying that I'm disagreeing with, and what my comments were directed towards.
Most of the reasons I've heard people give for their notion that the game is dying fall into those categories (and I don't agree with them).
Bots are only so difficult. It's not that hard to learn their moves and paths. There's a certain inpredictability about human players.
True, but you've got to admit, that many players fall into predictable patterns themselves. How many times have we been in a game and had somebody who only knew one or two moves with the saber or only one weapon they used over and over? How often have you tricked somebody with the same booby trap or sniper position over and over to have them cuss you out and leave/try to get you vote-kicked?
Sure, bots aren't perfect, but once you get good at the game, it can often be tough to find people who are still better than you (I'm not saying they don't exist, I personally believe that there are always "better players" you just might not meet them every day). Bots can also be edited, I might add....
Good comments. I'm just a little jaded, because I remember hearing those comments when JK1 had been out a year and with the JK2 community almost as soon as the game had been released (I guess the warez kiddies beat the game the first day they downloaded it and then basically said the game was dead when it was finally released to the rest of the world??).
I see the mod community as a potentially limitless source of innovation to inspire people to keep playing the game. There is (believe it or not) still a Doom/2 community, and not just the people waiting for Doom3. Why? Because there's so many tools and sources available, people can do all kinds of impressive things. And the game is still being sold, inspite of it being totally obsolete in terms of graphics, sound, gameplay, etc. Now granted, most people don't consider "Doom 2" to be a viable commercial giant, but the property certainly is viable, and the game is so cheap and old, just about anybody can get it and run it. So saying a new game like JK2 is dead is short-sighted I think. In a sense, no good game ever need "die" as long as people are still willing to mod it, even if all of the major servers dry up and we only see a few private games here and there.
But if mods are still coming out, and servers are still up, I don't think the game can be called "dead" by any stretch of the imagination. "Dying" could only really be gauged by total sales I suppose. If the game is no longer being sold, then I guess its "dead" in that sense.
People need to realize (don't want to sound too much like a broken record here) that many things affect the community's size.
Realize that people buy new games at different times. The entire JK2 community was NOT born March 28, 2002. New people are joining and leaving all the time. People buy games when they go on sale, or when they get tired of their other games, or when they buy gifts for people (gift-buying seasons like Christmas dramatically increase sales of entertainment items in general). Stuff like promotions (stuff like that Gateway Challenge) and new patches and mods may help introduce people to the game or get them to come back to playing it or play it more often.
People in different parts of the world may discover the game at different rates. People in Country A didn't get the game until much later than Country B, so they are just discovering it. Somebody who hadn't heard of the game until after they saw Episode 2 in theatres and went to the store to look for SW games is going to be new to the game.
The release of an official expansion would inevitably bring some new people in. The point is that the community is a dynamic affair. I think the way some people talk, they act as if its a simple fixed number of players, and this number simply dwindles as time goes by. That may happen over the long run (we're talking years here) but look at it this way... Raven could in theory release a new expansion every year or so and if each one was popular, people could still be theoretically buying new copies of JK2 three or four years from now. Not saying that will happen, but for games like The Sims and Half Life, that's basically true.
More comments to come....