I don't think poor multiplaayer scared them away
If the current ICO was around when the game came out, this game would probably still have a decent sized (300 ish) player pool on at all times.That's just an opinion
Here's what I think did it. I know that not everyone likes to play complete strangers, but for a lot of the guys who did, this is what was flat out pathetic:
1. If the Host left the game, the game crashed
The game was out for a total of 3 months. I had a profile with 350 games, but only finished 100 or so of them. It's not my fault if the host was the guy I killed first.
2. Random Minidumps
These were absolutely ridiculous at one point. I swear this game felt like it was still in the beta stage when it came out. This issue has gone away for the most part (still rears its head everyone once in a while, as a credit to the devs they DID get rid of most of them), but again, at one point it was just so bad.
3. It was Hard to find someone who could host
This was fixed with Alloy too. It was reeeeeally hard to get a game going sometimes just because anyone on a network (which is like 75% of gamers) couldn't host. The Monk had to make a huge guide on how to host. It was pathetic for online support. Thankfully, Alloy fixed that too.
These are worse than Minidumps. Two players are still playing but they have no idea that they disconnected, so they see two different games. I've never seen this happen in any other game. LAG? That's in any game. But god damn, this was a wierd issue.
I don't know what it is that made it so I actually waded throug all of that. I really don't know that many names online who stayed around. The two players I have the longest history with who still play are Cykur and Tyr. Actually, most of the longer playing vets are DTs (Howthe? and Sanchez) are still playing. P5yy every once in a while. I know I'm probably forgeting a few guys, but hey, the list of players who are still here from the beginning is pretty short.
To give credit where it's due, the devs fixed online play so the game became much more playable online, but the damage has already been done. Diplomacy is probably the only shot this game has at getting a decent sized multiplayer community back.