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Posts with tag demographics

The WoW Factor: How much do you know about the players behind the avatars?

How much do you think you know about your fellow WoW gamers? WoW Insider brings you this exclusive quiz designed by MMORPG researcher Nick Yee, based on actual U.S. data from the PARC PlayOn 2.0 study linking player survey data with their armory data.

Think you know what players are really like? Come find out what your WoW Factor is. (Answers and conclusions following the quiz.)

1. The average age of WoW players is:

a. 18
b. 24
c. 30
d. 36

2. Which of these groups of players is most likely to be gender-bending?

a. younger women (<30)
b. older women (>30)
c. younger men (<30)
d. older men (> 30)

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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

The Queue: Dragon Slave!


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Allison Robert, erroneously described by Alex Ziebart as "universally adored" on this site (whisper the phrase "I hate Tauren cat form" in Turtlehead's direction and run) is your hostess today.

Mmmm...my favorite kind of Queue, the kind with a tank question. Actually, there were two good tank questions from the previous Queue, but the one asked by Gatorforest is something I'd like to address in a separate article. Additionally, two of the questions you'll see here wound up requiring fairly involved answers, so there are a few more questions I'd like to take a crack at sometime later this weekend if I get the time.

And because it's Friday:

Charlie asks...

How many Queue columns does it take for one to finally reach the front of the line?


The readers or the writers? I don't know about the former, but for us, it depends on the outcome of the previous day's in-staff gladiatorial match. Much like Mary Sues in the now-classic Pirate Monkey comic, THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE. Actually, I'm just using this as an excuse to quote the following:

Professor Flitwick: Wait, she said she's both Dumbledore's and Snape's daughter. How is that possible?

Dumbledore: Ehh, remember that Christmas party where we all got really drunk?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Features, Guides, The Queue

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

Observations from running a Naxx-25 PuG


I'm very "up" on PuGs. I started my career as a PuG tank and met a lot of great players that way, many of whom I still raid with today. I've always been a stout supporter of throwing caution to the wind and joining LFG for an afternoon to see where it'll take you; it's been my experience that random players on your realm can and often will surprise you.

Once you master the art of the 5-person PuG, the ultimate risk is a raid PuG. One-shot the instance, or spend the night wiping? You won't know until you try.

I used to run Hyjal PuG's in late Burning Crusade and got to be the person in charge of arranging healers on Anetheron, explaining where to die on Azgalor, and uttering a hollow laugh at suggestions on whether or not Archimonde was in the cards (answer: hell no). I wasn't around for my guild's Naxx run one of these past weeks, and a few guildies were interested in gearing up their alts, so we thought -- PuG a 25-man Naxx? Why not?

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Features, Humor, Raiding, Bosses, Classes

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

Bartle, gender, and the demographics of WoW's classes

A little while back the gamerDNA blog did a nice breakdown of how WAR classes correlate with how gamers do on the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, a widely used test that can break down exactly what type of player you are (Achiever, Explorer, Socializer, or Killer). It was such an interesting writeup that I hoped they'd do it with WoW classes, and apparently I wasn't the only one -- they've got a new post up now examining which classes in Azeroth align with which types of players.

They throw gender into the mix as well -- turns out that while the classes have generally the same percentage of players (not surprising, given that gameplay dictates the classes should be fairly balanced), things start to break up when you add gender to the mix. Priests and Warriors seem to have the biggest separation: according to their data (obtained via the profiles on their site), most Priests are played by females, and most Warriors are played by men. Paladins as well tend to be male, though not as much as Warriors, and Druids tend to be female, though not as much as Priests. Women also tend to prefer the elven races (Blood and Night), while guys apparently prefer Orcs and Dwarves (which helps my -- sexist, I admit -- theory from way back on the WoW Insider Show that the Dwarven starting area appeals to guys more than women).

The Bartle breakdown is interesting, too -- Killers prefer Rogues (duh), Warriors tend to be Achievers, and Hunters have the slight Explorer edge, but in general, the classes have a fairly even distribution across the board. All of the different roles can be filled by all the classes, which speaks to the way Blizzard has built the classes -- you can really solo, PvP, or group up with any of them. WAR's differences were distinct, but in WoW, Blizzard has done their best to make it so that whatever Bartle type you are, you can log in with any class and do what you want. gamerDNA promises more research here (including a Horde and Alliance breakdown), and we can't wait to see it.

Filed under: Night Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Hunter, Paladin, Priest, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blood Elves, Classes

Daedalus Project updated


Nick Yee's excellent MMORPG survey and data site, the Daedalus Project, has been updated with new survey results on the following topics:
  • Guild demographics: What influences players to choose certain guilds, how attached they become, the likelihood of their knowing guildies in real life, and how long they stay. What I find fascinating here is the graph displayed above -- 26% of surveyed players have been with their guild 2 years or more. Alex Ziebart mentioned the other day that his guild has been together so long across multiple games that guild chat's gone from talk of teenage dates to coaching expectant parents through morning sickness. I get the feeling that this is only going to become more common in long-haul games like Second Life and WoW.
  • Character creation: How players choose characters, the elements of character selection they consider most important, and whether classes and races tend to be researched extensively before they're picked, or chosen based on impulse. Character class seems to matter to the most people; starting area the least.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, News items, Classes

UC Irvine studies differences between Chinese and US players

Our good friends at the OC (don't call it that) Register have an article up about how the University of California at Irvine has received a grant to study the differences between US and Chinese players of World of Warcraft. And the differences are fairly interesting: apparently US players use many more UI mods and addons than Chinese players do. Additionally, more Chinese players play the "more challenging version of the game" (seems like they mean PvP servers to us, though that may change with yesterday's big news), and Chinese players, say the researcher, tend to talk more about color schemes and architecture than American players. Finally, the demographics are fairly different -- here in the states, women make up 20 percent of the playing audience, and in China that number is almost halved. And while people here may play with parents or even grandparents, in China, the older generation isn't interested in the game at all.

These observations seem more to be based on anecdotal evidence of Chinese players in cafes more than anything else, but the study is just getting started, so maybe with some more research they can come up with some more solid numbers (or even more reasons) showing why this is the case. But it's interesting that inspecting how people play this game in two different countries can reveal something about the cultural differences between each.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Widget shows character name statistics


If you've ever been fascinated by the MMORPG statistics provided at sites like the Daedalus Project, here's something right up your alley; the WoW Armory Character Distribution widget, programmed to comb both the U.S. and E.U. Armories and capture data on the popularity of character names across race, class, faction, and sex.

The project is still in the testing stage, and it's a bit finicky about how you enter character names. Make sure you're always hitting the submit button and not using your enter key, as otherwise the widget will keep searching for the last name you looked for instead of your new query. Its creator, Emilis, also wrote to warn that it uses live information from both armories and will occasionally be slow as a result. I imagine it might also be inaccurate if either Armory is having problems.

The widget is tremendously fun to play with and has yielded some rather interesting results even with the completely random names I keep trying. "John" and "Mary," as you might expect, are overwhelmingly Human toons, whereas the greater share of people playing a "Sergei" and "Yekaterina" are Draenei. 3 people with a "Brutus" are actually playing female characters, and 1 person with a "Laura" is playing a male character (Emilis notes that gender-bending names are surprisingly common, although from what I can tell so far this seems to be a lot more true of male names for female toons than the other way around). Most people with a "Killer" are playing a Hunter, Rogue, or Warrior. Characters named "Bank" are mostly Human Warriors, but "Banktoon(s)" are mostly Orcs. And, yes, most of the people playing a toon named Legolas are Night Elf Hunters. Are you really that surprised?

Thanks to Emilis for writing in!

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Night Elves, Orcs, Hunter, Rogue, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Draenei

POLL: Age-o-meter


Some of the best and worst times I've had in WoW have come from playing with people who were not anywhere near my own age. My very first WoW friend was 20 years younger than me and we had a blast. In fact, I ended up playing with her sister and her parents too. But just yesterday I was reminded that sometimes age does matter when I pugged with a bunch of, well, real doofuses (doofii?) whose every other comment was a poop joke. I have never before logged in mid-air while between flight paths, but that's how much they annoyed me. I'm sure that some of my comments that start with "Dude..." or contain the phrase "teh awesome" are just as annoying to other people. So, anyway, it got me to wondering about the game's age ranges. I think everyone assumes that most people who play the game fall into their own age group so I thought it might be fun to find out how the ranges really do break down -- at least for folks who read WoW Insider. So spill it! No one will know what you answered, but it should be interesting to see the results.

Age-o-meter: How old are you?
Kidlet40 (0.3%)
Preteen52 (0.3%)
Teen3011 (20.0%)
Twenties7525 (50.0%)
Thirties3402 (22.6%)
Forties751 (5.0%)
Older than that254 (1.7%)

Filed under: Polls, Analysis / Opinion

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