WoWmate.io is a log aggregation and analysis SaaS for World of Warcraft. Think Datadog for WoW.
The main service is a client, that reads the combatlog.txt and looks for certain events (e.g. end of a boss fight) and then automatically uploads a part of the log file to my backend, which processes it and makes it accessible to the player.
The motivation for the player is that they can further analyze how the boss fight went. There are in-game addons that offer a similar service, but the functionality is limited compared to what the players can do online. That makes the speed of the processing of the file pretty important, for a single boss fight, it should take less than 30 seconds.
Also, you can compare yourself to another player and find out what they did differently.
There is only 1 product on the market, the name is warcraftlogs.com. It has been around since Mists of Pandaria (2012), which means it is rather mature and has plenty of features.
I never liked the website mostly because thy UI/UX is horrible, also the performance isn’t that good, but that improved over time. At it’s worst it actually froze the whole browser for 10+ seconds, but that was a couple of years ago.
It is important to note that the website is not a profit-oriented product, rather a hobby project, that tries to cover it’s AWS cost (5k$), through ads and a premium subscription. The only benefit for premium users is that they are on dedicated servers, for improved performance.
Warcraftlogs also provides an API (afaik also for free), that allows other projects to access its data. This led to awesome opensource tools like WoWAnalyzer.
Outstanding features are that you can create you’re own query to analyze the data. The other one is that you can view a primitive replay of the boss fight, that show the position of the players on a map and all combat log related data at that time of the boss fight. This is a pretty impressive feature and helps a lot if you try to “debug” the boss fight. I’m also not quite sure how I could implement such a feature myself.
How is my product different?
The main advantages I hope to achieve are:
- a way better usability
- better performance
If I could achieve that and feature parity it would probably be enough to absorb the market, but wowmate.io will be different in several other ways too.
NO ADS EVEN FOR FREE USERS.
There will be an in-game addon that will display a summary of past logs for certain types of content and difficulty (similar to raider.io plugin)
People can opt to not show there logs public on the website and in the addon, even if they didn’t upload the log.
There will be a slight change to damage leaderboards, there won’t be a % behind every log. Instead, there will be badges, think SC2 or Dota2 ranks. Also, I want to introduce a comparison like that for damage taken. Overall I want to but an emphasis on playing cleanly instead of maximizing for damage and ignoring everything else.
You won’t need an account to log, just download the slim client and you are good to go. You can also upload it via the website if you don’t want to install a client.
How might wowmate.io be worse?
Free users will be limited compared to warcraftlogs.com because it is ad-free and a profit-oriented business.
Problems I’m facing
The main problem, in general, is my motivation and the ability to stick with it for longer than two months. I hope that the ball keeps rolling once I put the product out there.
Specifically, I’m very confused and annoyed by all the bureaucracy involved in founding a company in Germany. I’ve tried to get into it but without a lot of success.
Problems with the business idea
The problems I see with the product are that World of Warcraft is a pretty old game and the player base continues to shrink. People are pretty unhappy with the current expansion. That might get mitigated by the popularity of Classic, but we have to see how that pends out after the hype is over.
The next problem is that it is a B2C business, which is not optimal for a bootstrapped business.
WoW, a valid platform after all?
Over the years there were plenty of 3rd party solutions built around World of Warcraft.
A couple of years a competitor for wowprogress.com took the wow community by storm, raider.io. They allow for a simple and intuitive way to check the progress of other players. Their premium rewards don’t offer any real benefit yet they managed to have over 4.000 (at least 1$ per)patreons, let’s say they have 5k MRR.
To optimize their damage output an open source project emerged that allows users to specify a rotation (Action Priority List - APL) and compare it to others, thus allowing them to find the theoretically perfect rotation. It’s written in C++ and setting up and using the client was always a huge pain, e.g. you had to look up some id for an item. Entering the stage is raidbots, it is running simulationcraft in the cloud with a convenient UI. It had 30k $ MMR in the past and is now at 5.7k patreons with 3$ for the smallest tier.
I have my AWS infrastructure figured out and already had a proof of concept at the beginning of the year. I want to build a very minimal MVP (only damage summary and a client to upload the log). Afterward, I want to engage the WoW community and gather feedback early on. Something that I wanted to push back, but will force myself to do as early as possible.
I want to release my MVP as soon as possible, get feedback early on and by the time the next expansion is coming around I want to have a competitive offering.