Greedy Goblin

Friday, January 2, 2015

Progression of the "average WoW player"

There is lot of discussion mentioning what "the players" need, usually centered around the speaker as model player. So I was very happy to see the data published on MMO Champion. They crawled the Armory of 2.4M accounts, holding 3.5M characters. They post the item level distribution for both the 3.5M characters and the 2.4M mains, I analyzed the second. Their post source contain all the data of their chart, I imported them to Excel and fitted a the sum of four normal distributions on it, to reach near-perfect fit:
  • The green line has about 1/5 weight. This probably represent the players who just did solo leveling content and then stopped playing or started an alt.
  • The orange and red has the same mean, so I assume they are the same group, just normal distribution doesn't describe them perfectly due to welfare gear making the average of them overrepresented. This is a 4/5 group with 639 average ilvl.
  • The small peak has 0.5% weight, and stands on the 660 PvP gear point, so I guess they are the gladiators.
  • There is an unfittably smally bump around ilvl 677. They are the mythic raiders.
What is notable from this data is the lack of distinct "dungeoneering" group. Those who started to gear their character are gearing it for/in raids. So the "he doesn't care about raiding" mantra is not true. Besides PvP-ers and solo-only players, everyone is a raider of some sort, even if that just doing LFR. It's also important that LFR, normal and HC raiders doesn't have different groups but are members of the same "casual raider" group.

The conclusion is that in WoW everyone who does group PvE is a raider and trying to progress. There is no distinct "having fun with friends" group. Anyone claiming that is likely a liar saying "I didn't want those epics anyway".

Finally, using the data (not the fits) you can see how high ilvl is needed to get into top geared percentiles:


Anonymous said...

Hi, I am your statistical anomaly that does not exist.

I raided in Vanilla, and led a raid guild, and then raided up to WotLK, but now, if I dungeon run, it is with 1-2 RL friends + randoms, and with no intention of gearing up for raids, nor setting foot in one.
I have some ilvl 665 gear, which I got without ever setting foot in a dungeon. In this expac, there is no reason for even someone who just stands in their garrison to not have raid level gear.

The rest of my guild pug dungeons, without any intention of doing raids.

Whether it is a small % of players or not is irrelevant, because your statement claims they don't exist, so you are doing a black swans, and just one needs to be found to disprove your claim ;)

maxim said...

I am another myth - someone who "doesn't want these epics anyway".

I just like wiping on bosses and min-maxing the performance of gear i currently happen to wear. If something drops that nobody but me needs - i'll take it. If i get nothing - no big deal. If we don't kill the boss - more fun for me :D

Guild leftovers were enough to put me over 660

Anonymous said...

While I mostly agree with your interpretations, it's worth pointing out that the fit at the low point between the red and green curves is quite bad.

The reason for this is probably that the main curve has skew - it has more of a "fat tail" to the left than to the right. In order to fit this skew with normal curves, the fitting program has given the green curve a much larger weight, and also a larger variance than it really should have.

There are also spikes at 620, 625 and 628. The 620 spike could be honor gear, but I don't know what the 625 and 628 spikes could be.

Samus said...

Right now, LFR is even easier than normal dungeons, and rewards 640 gear. People are just showing up for the easy gear, I don't think you can drawn conclusions about their desire to raid. This is just like at the end of Burning Crusade when everyone was spamming battlegrounds because Honor gear was so much better than PvE gear.

You need to compare this to the number of players doing normal raids (i.e., normal Kargath kills). This potentially proves the opposite of your point. Clearly most people have the gear to do (real) raiding, how many actually are?

Gevlon said...

@Samus: this case there should be cliff at 645. But there isn't, meaning that they continue to raid and get further, according to the bell curve.

Anonymous said...

@Gevlon: "The conclusion is that in WoW everyone who does group PvE is a raider and trying to progress. There is no distinct "having fun with friends" group. Anyone claiming that is likely a liar saying "I didn't want those epics anyway"."

This is a false dichotomy: being a raider and trying to progress doesn't exclude being an "having fun with friends" group. By the same rationale a soccer team of friends playing just for fun would not attempt to win the game since they are "for fun". This is obviously not the case.

The correct dichotomy is between "for fun" groups and "hardcore" groups. Even a "for fun" team will try to progress, of course, but not with the same effort and dedication of an hardcore team: they have different reasons to band together and different priorities. Still both will try to progress, of course with likely different results.

Anonymous said...

People don't plan to kill end boss and then quit. They keep raiding. Imperator Mythic is the end point even tho not everyone will achieve it. Even if you do kill it, then you keep killing it to gear up for next tier or sell boosts. Raiders who quit unsub, and won't show up anymore in the statistics.

Samus said...


Are we looking at the same graph? I see a sharp peak around 640 and a massive drop-off after that. The legendary ring is 680, follower missions routinely give 645 gear on top of the rare Highmaul mission, and you know casuals believe if they make their own crafted upgrades they "farmed it for free." You can get your item level well past 645 without any actual raiding.

I am not saying I know what people are doing either, but the only way to tell is looking at normal Kargath kills. If you have any desire to raid, you have killed at least normal Kargath. The other players are casuals with no interest in raiding.

Anonymous said...

this is interesting data, with interesting analysis. What jumps out at me is - if there are 10 million subscribers, 2.4 million have a level 100 character (only 1 million with any kind of raiding focused ilev) 2 months after release, what are 7.6 million people doing when they subscribe to WOW? 3/4 people do not do end level content of any type? 9/10 people do not gear for raiding in any meaningful way? maybe i'm interpreting the mmo champion figures wrong?