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The World of Warcraft in numbers

Business Management has a really interesting graphic up (that they say came partly from Eurogamer.net, but I didn't see it over there) that breaks down WoW "by the numbers." It features an interesting series of stats about the game, in what I call an Oatmeal-style format, everything from number of players and items (30,000) to number of locations (1400) and the most commonly looted item every day (Frostweave). I think these stats all came from a few different places -- from a talk given at Austin GDC last year, to the toplist over on the official WoW site (of course, that chart is constantly updated, so Onyxia wasn't always the deadliest mob, and Frostweave wasn't always the most looted.

But it is cool to see all of the numbers stacked up in a row in such a stylish way. And 3.6 million pieces of Saronite Ore turned into 3 million Saronite bars? If that's true, why am I paying so much for it at the AH? 192 quests completed per second is pretty wild, too. That's like three entire Oracles reputation grinds (give or take a few dailies), all completed in this second. And this one. And this one.

Filed under: Items, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests, Bosses

Is WoW's audience still increasing?


I'm not sure how much of this is legit, but stick with us for the information first, and then stay for the debunking. Edward Hunter over at Gamasutra decided to do some poking around in comScore's MediaMetrix application (which can track, based on a survey of a few million users, access to various applications on a computer -- which programs are run when), and he found something that surprised him: despite the economic downturn and the emergence of a few other popular MMOs recently, World of Warcraft's audience is estimated globally at 13.1 million. In other words, it's still growing from the last official numbers (11.5 million players worldwide) we heard.

Now, the first issue we'd have with these numbers is the situation in China -- Hunter doesn't mention it at all, and in fact his graph (from comScore) doesn't have any dips at all in it, even though the game, and presumably its millions of players, went offline over there earlier this year. That right there throws a wrench into all of these estimations -- it's very likely comScore's information is just plain wrong.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Rumors

Conclusions from the WoW.com faction transfer survey


Last week I posted a poll to try and figure out some of the numbers behind the newly implemented faction transfers, and now that we've got quite a few votes in there, it's probably a time to look at what we got and see if we can make any sense of it. The most conclusive data there is the answer above: about 18.6% of our reader polled said that yes, they had made a faction transfer already. That sounds high to me -- maybe it's because WoW.com readers know about the faction transfer service that more of them may have taken advantage of it. But if it's true that 19% of players did take advantage of the transfer service, then 570,000 of the around 3 million US players have switched factions, making Blizzard $17.1 million in gross revenue alone, just in the last week since it's opened.

The other questions were a little hairier -- I tried to ask people not to answer if they didn't fit the criteria for each question, and there's no way to tell for sure that's what happened. Also, lots of people wanted to see the answers without voting, and unfortunately, our voting system doesn't allow a clear way to do that (I have since checked with our tech guys, who say that the solution we came up with, voting without choosing an answer, did not affect the poll). But after the break, we can try to suss some conclusions out of the data anyway.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Polls, Realm Status, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Cataclysm

Solving the mathmatical tangles of ArPen

Armor penetration is probably one of the most misunderstood stats in the game, for a number of reasons. First of all, it's only become popular lately -- while it's been in the game since 1.10, it's only started showing up regularly on items in Wrath. And even then it's really only a meta-meta stat: the core abilities like Strength and Agility are easy to understand, the next level of abilities are things like hit rating and crit rating, and then armor penetration, you could argue, goes another level after that: it's a stat that affects a stat affected by a stat. It's for that reason, then, that Xanthan argues we need a more elegant solution.

Armor penetration basically allows you to hit an opponent as if they're wearing less armor than they really are. That's not to hard to understand -- if you have a certain amount of armor penetration, then the opponent armor number in the equation that determines damage done is lower (edit: by a percentage, not a number) than it would usually be. But the confusion comes in when you see how armor penetration scales. It actually scales exponentially, not linearly -- if you have no ArP and you increase it by a little bit, you only get a little extra damage increase. But if you have a lot, and you add a little more onto that, then you'll get a bigger damage increase, due to the way the math works (I'm bad at math, but Xanthan has an excellent, clear description of the calculations in the forum thread, and we've posted some explanations before as well). Blizzard recently capped ArP at 100% (so you could never get into a place where you're reducing armor below the amount of armor that's there), but it's still possible to have the amount of armor reduced equal the amount of armor on a target, causing the equation of armor vs. armor penetration to divide by 0, and at that point, things get wacky, and terms like "infinite damage" come into play.

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Buffs

Nielsen: WoW is most played core game by 25-54 females


Here's an interesting bit of info from the Nielsen folks: over 400,000 women are playing World of Warcraft in the US, which means it's the most-played "core" game for that gender. And even more interesting, females 25 years or older make up the largest block of PC game players overall, and they account for 54.6% of all gameplay minutes in December of last year. Girls don't just play WoW -- they're quickly becoming one of it's main demographics.

You can read the report in PDF form over here -- the chart above might be the most interesting piece of information, as it shows that though males still make up a huge part of the PC gaming audience, many of them have now moved on to consoles, and women (especially older women, over 25), during the last month of last year, are making up a huge audience for PC games. Later in the report, you can see what kinds of games women are really playing: Solitare, Freecell, Minesweeper, and all of those other little attention grabbers on every PC. But among those widespread casual games is our own World of Warcraft. And while the 25-52 male audience of 675, 713 for that game still remains larger than the female audience in the same demo, the ladies aren't far behind.

Neilsen also calculated some base stats for WoW, including the fact that 1.8 million unique people played the game, and the average time of gameplay per week was 744 minutes, just over 12 hours (slightly up from last year's average). Additionally, of those who play World of Warcraft, their second most-played game was Solitaire, followed by Warcraft III. Fascinating stuff. Remember that these are statistics, so they are more general trends than anything else, but it's definitely true World of Warcraft and PC gaming in general is no longer only the domain of the male demographic.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items

Poll: How many Achievement points have you earned?

Sure, it's only been a few days, but achievements are all for nothing if you can't brag about them, right? We're curious -- how are you doing with achievement pointage so far? Have you not bothered yet, or have you been working tirelessly to earn a bunch of meaningless points?

As of last night, I still had under 1000, but a few people online had up above 2000, so I'd expect the average to be in between those two. We aren't quite sure how many points there are total to be earned (you'd think that would be part of the UI, so you could compare yourself to the total), but from our calculations, it seems like there are probably around eight to nine thousand points or so to pick up.

How many do you have so far?

How many Achievement points have you earned so far?
Under 100. What are achievements?1031 (5.3%)
100-5001760 (9.1%)
500-10004825 (24.8%)
1000-15004999 (25.7%)
1500-20002641 (13.6%)
2000-25001249 (6.4%)
2500-3000530 (2.7%)
3000-4000452 (2.3%)
4000-5000307 (1.6%)
5000-6000206 (1.1%)
6000-8000252 (1.3%)
Over nine, er... 8000!1190 (6.1%)

Filed under: Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Leveling, Achievements

Warcrafter does the heavy math on your character's stats


Amanna is the latest blogger to bring up Warcrafter, a nifty little online application that is basically the Armory on speed. It'll not only pull up your character, your gear, and your talents, but it'll use all of that information to calculate everything you'd ever want to know about your stats, including DPS, crit percentage, spellpower, and even where all of those things come from. It'll even go into your spells, and calculate the average heal or average damage of your most-used spells and abilities. Warcrafter tells you everything it can calculate about your character, directly from the numbers pulled out of the Armory. Fascinating to see.

There is also a sandbox page, which is everything an aspiring theorycrafter would ever need to make up the character of their dreams. Punch in a class, race, and gear, and then go to town shifting around buffs, weapons, talents, and anything else you'd want to check. Cerberus is an attentive creator, too-- if there's a calculation off or a piece of gear missing, he seems more than happy to add it in. I only hope that we don't crush the site with our exposure.

The sandbox page mentions something about "locking" the character, and it would be cool to have a quick permalink setup for created characters (we could have someone show off all the buffs/gear needed to get the Ghost Wolf taming cast time down, or show off the highest possible spellpower available in the game so far). But other than that, Warcrafter is a great piece of web-based software. Very cool way to inspect every single aspect of your character out of game.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Buffs

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