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Math problem: Average winning roll

Here's a question that occurred to me while I was walking home from the subway recently: What's the average winning roll in a five-man group, assuming everyone rolls? That is, if you randomly chose five numbers between one and 100, what is the expected value of the highest one?

I know a bit of statistics, but I really don't know how to begin getting at that one. However, I do know how to write a script that will calculate the answer. (Yes, these numbers are only pseudorandom, but I did some limited testing with real random numbers (from random.org) and the results were the same. Besides, I'm pretty sure Ruby's Mersenne twister pseudorandom generator is good enough for testing distributions like this.) The average winning roll out of a group of five people is 82.8 83.8 83.3 (tested over many, many repetitions). Now can any mathemagicians tell me why?

The graph above, in case it isn't clear, is average winning roll on the y-axis vs number of people rolling on the x-axis, tested over 100,000 trials for each group (the relatively small sample size is why the first point is not right at 50, and probably why the curve is a little wobbly).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances

BG Hero tracks your battleground activity


I'm really impressed with BG Hero. We take a look at these stats sites pretty often, but I have never seen a site targeted strictly at PvP data like this one, and with such a clean and interesting view. Unfortunately, it's still getting off the ground, so we're probably going to give the server a run for its money with this link, but give it a few days and head back there when they've smoothed things out.

It'll track your plays and wins in each BG, obviously, but you can also get a whole bunch of graphs and numbers about how you're doing each time you play, including HKs per BG, and killing blows per battleground that you play. The app also tracks your totals daily and weekly, so if you get your character in there and let it update over a period of time, you can see just how you're doing. Pretty amazing stuff if you've been playing a lot of battlegrounds lately (and with the extra XP in there, why wouldn't you?). We're told the site is still being worked on, so expect more updates soon (and Phood is keeping info flowing on his blog), but in the meantime, it looks like a great way to look at your BG progress in more detail.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Leveling, Battlegrounds

GamerDNA and Massively explore Death Knight demographics


Our friends at Massively and GamerDNA are at it again -- they're digging into their database of players, this time to determine some Death Knight demographics. They want to know what kinds of players are picking up the new Hero class. Unfortunately, their sample size is super small -- only 500, according to Sanya Weathers, which seems way too tiny to determine anything about the Death Knight class at large. But we'll go with it anyway, and see what we can get.

As you can see above, Blood Elves and Humans dominate the race choice in our little group, which seems about right, considering that those are the two most popular races overall. Death Knight players in this study generally tend to have reported themselves as male in real life. And GamerDNA also lays their Death Knights up against the Bartle test and while WoW players trend pretty well to the norm, Death Knights go way more towards the "Killer" and to a lesser extent the "Explorer" end of the scales.

So according to this little survey (and we'll remind you that this is 500 people, so there are plenty of exceptions out there), the average Death Knight is male, chooses whatever race is most familiar to them, and wants to go kill and do damage rather than worry about socializing or achieving. In other words, lots and lots of former Ret Paladins. It'll be interesting to see how this changes over time -- lots of these players are interested in the newest thing, obviously, since they've switched their mains to a new class at the first chance, but as things settle down and more people head back to get new alts, maybe we'll see a different crowd coming out of Acherus.

Filed under: Human, Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blood Elves, Classes, Death Knight

Massively and GamerDNA chart the MMO market in 2008


Our good friends over at Massively have teamed up with the GamerDNA site to come up with some stats of MMO playtime this year, and the results are very interesting. Unfortunately, those results are buried under some pretty confusing charts (and these are all approximations of what's happening from GamerDNA information, not actual subscription numbers), but we'll see if we can pull out the salient points for you.

In (very) short, WoW rules. Two games that most pundits thought might affect WoW playtime, Warhammer Online and Age of Conan, in fact, didn't affect WoW logons in the least, according to this data. And while guest contributor (and GamerDNA writer/analyst) Sanya Weathers says she may have spotted a short decline in WoW playtime right around the release of WAR, that was quickly overshot by the release of Wrath, as WoW's numbers jumped right back up.

But while Blizzard has weathered the competition this year, things might not be so hunky dory for them in the future: while games like Lord of the Rings Online and EVE Online are showing sharper increases, WoW's population seems to be leveling out. It's still growing, sure, but not at the rate that it has been (and perhaps at the slowest rate in the game's life). And you have to think, as we said on the podcast last week, that whatever other expansions Blizzard can come up with, none will be as interesting to their players as finishing off the story of Arthas Menethil and the Lich King. WoW is still the undisputed king of MMOs, but the stats say we're closer to the end of its reign than the beginning.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Economy, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Four of the top ten PC games are World of Warcraft

Normally, we don't concern ourselves with sales charts too much -- we really only cover the one game, so comparing it to others really isn't our thing. Unless it's the only game in town, which, according to this month's NPD PC game software sales charts, posted by WorldofWar.net, it pretty much is. Out of the top ten PC games, Blizzard is responsible for a full half, and of those five, four are World of Warcraft related.

1. WoW: Battle Chest
2. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe
3. World Of Warcraft
4. Nancy Drew: The Phantom Of Venice
5. Spore Creature Creator
6. Diablo Battle Chest
7. Warcraft III Battle Chest
8. WoW: Burning Crusade
9. The Sims 2 Ikea Home Stuff
10. Call of Duty 4


Just wild. Diablo's Battle Chest is undoubtedly there because of the Diablo III announcement, but the rest is all World of Warcraft -- people are picking up the game, its expansion, the Battle Chest (which combines both), and even the predecessor Warcraft III (in which the Wrath backstory features prominently) in droves.

PC gaming isn't dead at all. But there's no question that of the struts keeping it standing, Blizzard is definitely one of the strongest.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Forum post of the day: Heals and heels

Decent healing is often a key factor in determining victory and defeat in a battle ground. Resto and Holy specced characters have quite the job set out for them. Druids, Paladins, Priests, and Shamans regularly face a healing quandary. Is it better to spend time and man healing another player or continuing to do as much damage as possible. Zanhart of Medivh believes that any character than can heal in the battlegrounds, should heal. He finds it particularly insulting when a player heals him or herself while comrades die around them.

Some agreed with him that anyone who can heal should, but most people dissented. There were several themes to the responses:

  • Paying a subscription fee allows any player the right to play however they like.
  • DPSers in substandard gear are a waste of heals and mana.
  • Non-healing specs often have such poor healing abilities that the battleground is better off with them continuing to dps.
  • Some people just don't find healing to be fun.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Forums, Battlegrounds, Forum Post of the Day

MMO Account Statistics

Though this site isn't specific to World of Warcraft, MMOGCHART.COM provides some interesting information on the subscriber levels of various MMO's currently on the market as well as the number of people actively playing MMO's.  The site has recently gotten its first update of the year, with promises of more updates to come.  It doesn't tell us more than we already know - that World of Warcraft is immensely popular - but it does help to put it in perspective.  With the next two MMO's below WoW catering to more of the Asian market (NCSoft's Lineage and Lineage 2), it looks like North American competition in the MMO market is pretty scarce.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

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