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Posts with tag class-population

Encrypted Text: Are rogues truly an unpopular class?

Ruffy vs. the Day Off
Every week or two, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Scott Helfand (@sveltekumquat) will be your shadow on this treacherous journey; try not to keep your back turned for too long, and make sure your valuables are stashed somewhere safe.

It is a lament that we, the ever-beleaguered players of the ever-shunned, ever-maligned, ever-misunderstood rogue class, often turn to when we're feeling glum.

Nobody plays a rogue.

We're WoW's most-hated, least-popular class. We never get the changes we need, so the class just continues to decay, month after month, patch after patch, year after year. If Blizzard hates us so much, why don't they just remove the class entirely already? Monks and ferals already have all the stuff we want anyway.

Nobody. Plays. A rogue.

... Right?

You guys should know me well enough by now to know my answer.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Are rogues a dying class?

Warcraft population data indicates Rogue decline
If you remember, last year Cynwise launched on a study of Warcraft's class popularity that led to his producing a book, The Decline and Fall of Warlocks in Cataclysm. We talked about some of the conclusions he drew here. Now he's back looking at class population vs. popularity in Mists of Pandaria, and some of the numbers he's compiled from Worldofwargraphs and realmpop are extremely interesting. One of the most shocking pieces of information to come out of all of this is this stark graphic above, where you can see the rogue population plummet.

Rogues went from 7.67% of max level at patch 5.0.4, the pre-Mists of Pandaria patch, to 5.51% of max level as of patch 5.1, a drop of over 2%. This is at a time when most other classes either held steady (Paladins, Druids, DK's and Hunters all held at about even with their Cataclysm and patch 5.0.4 numbers), went up (Warriors saw a jump from 9.25% at max level to 10.14% between 5.0.4 and 5.1, while Warlocks went up from 6.7% to 7%) or saw slight declines (Shamans, Priests and Mages all saw slight declines). By comparison, the rogue decline becomes stark.

So, where have all the rogues gone? Monks have taken a slim 4.9% of the total playerbase, which means that they're hardly the dominant juggernauts that Death Knights became in Wrath of the Lich King, so can they explain the rogue decline?

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Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Armory Data Mining updated for patch 3.3.3

One of my favorite WoW information sites, Armory Data Mining and its related blog, has now been updated for patch 3.3.3. We've profiled the site here before, but if you're not familiar with it, it's run by a fellow named Zardoz who trawls the armory assembling statistics on race, class and spec popularity. He also gathers information on class battleground performance and professions.

From what I've seen, there haven't been any giant changes between the patch 3.3 and patch 3.3.3 data (you can find the former at the profile link above). Paladins are still the most popular class, followed by death knights, druids, priests and warriors. It's well worth a look if you're interested in seeing what WoW's statistics look like right now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Armory Data Mining updated for patch 3.3

I've pointed this out previously to people curious about WoW's in-game demographics, but Armory Data Mining is really a fantastic but underappreciated site. To be specific, there are actually two sites of interest here -- the actual Armory Data Mining and its related blog. Zardoz, the creator and maintainer of both, uses the former to collect and update statistics on class, race, and sex popularity in WoW (in addition to reports on class battleground performance and profession popularity), while the blog is often used to look at smaller issues or questions like the effort to distinguish between bear and cat specs through the Armory.

Zardoz posted his newest collection of statistics this past Wednesday, all of them updated to reflect the patch 3.3 game world. Perhaps most interesting is that paladins have knocked death knights out of the #1 spot, with retribution being the most popular spec (and, as a druid player, I think I'm seeing a bit of decline in balance popularity here as well). If you're at all interested in in-game demographics as of patch 3.3, I highly recommend a trip over to both sites.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Breakfast Topic: The effect of nerfs and buffs

A question for the readership this morning (well, two) -- is a recent nerf to a specific class a strong incentive against playing it for you? Conversely, does a buff to a class make you more likely to play it?

Blizzard's observed in the past that there's often a correlation between the perception of a class as overpowered and the number of people who choose to play it (witness the proliferation of rogues in classic WoW, for example), so it seems fair to say that at least a portion of the player base's class choice is impacted by the conclusion they reach on design decisions. Then again, my own experience in-game -- and the pattern of comment votes here on WoW.com concerning class changes -- leads me to believe that yo-yoing between classes based on which one is doing "best" at any given time is not the overwhelming trend. The Warcraft Census' numbers on class population also seem to be evening out, slowly but surely, from a little bit over 6 months ago (which was itself an improvement over very lopsided numbers in favor of death knights and paladins shortly after Wrath went live). This would seem to suggest that, over the long term, people continue to play the class they like most for reasons that survive design changes. Or is it just that each character represents such a significant time investment that most people don't think it's worth it to switch mains?

I'm sure that arena and PvP as a whole wind up driving a portion of this, but what impact do class nerfs and buffs really have? If your main was ever nerfed, did you wind up playing a different toon, or did it just not matter that much to you? If your main was buffed, was it genuinely more fun to play?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Why aren't you playing ____?

All of the recent discussion surrounding what people are planning for their Worgen and Goblin characters got me to thinking about the ingame races that just don't get that kind of love. It's no secret that certain race/class combinations are underplayed (witness, for example, the ingame hell of finding a Dwarf or Orc rogue for Turkey Lurkey), but some races are just massively underplayed, period. If Warcraft Realms is at least ballpark accurate, then Humans are roughly 5 times as popular as Gnomes, Dwarves, and Trolls at 80. Draenei are twice as popular at 80 as Gnomes and Dwarves, and Blood Elves have a chokehold on the Hordeside population. Zardoz's Armory Data Mining (fast becoming one of my favorite WoW sites) did a breakdown on class, race, and gender populations as of November 4th, and the results are pretty illuminating. In case you're wondering, Dwarves, Orcs, and Tauren are the least likely to be female, and Draenei, Blood Elves, and Night Elves the most likely (although Draenei are the only race in the game to have a female majority). The most played combination in the game is the Blood Elf paladin, and the least-played are the Dwarf rogue (I for one am shocked) and the Troll warrior.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Which class gets invited as what?


Veritable Avarice, a new blog on moneymaking in WoW, took a break from financial discussion and looked at class representation in tank, DPS, and healing roles by filtering and comparing data available from WoW Popular. Spec population was then checked against class population data available from Warcraft Realm's census and three live realms. Data differences, according to VA, weren't statistically relevant, and he/she is pretty sure that the numbers are at least a ballpark representation of which class is most likely to be filling a particular role within a group.

I play a Druid, so that's really what I feel comfortable commenting on here. While I can't speak to the ultimate accuracy of the numbers, I do a lot of pugging and have to admit that VA's data seems pretty close to what I've seen on my own server. The tank numbers are also consistent with a few things Ghostcrawler's mentioned recently concerning the overwhelming population advantage still held by Warrior tanks, although I wonder whether the Feral statistics are somewhat inflated here by the overlap between Bear and Cat specs. Feral tanks have all but vanished from 5-mans on my server, and it's not uncommon for me to get comments from healers that I'm the first Bear they've healed in months. Less surprising is the representation advantage held by Druid healers. Trees are insanely good in Ulduar, and between this, the rise of the Death Knight, and the de-suckaging of the Protection Warrior spec, that probably accounts for the gradual disappearance of the Bear. Also thought-provoking is just how few Druids hold a share of the DPS pie.

I'd love to hear from members of other classes on the data and how closely it dovetails into their own experience. There's a quick note for Warrior players (or anyone interested in the DPS graph) past the cut, as there's a small mistake on the relevant graph.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Classes

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