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Posts with tag population

Searching for the most popular server


Kris over on the WoW LJ has an interesting question: what's the most popular server in the game? Blizzard never has (and likely never will) singled out one server as the most popular in the game, as the QQ that would ensue might bring the forums down (not to mention that it must change pretty often, as people transfer and reroll on other realms. It seems that everyone on a high population server thinks they must be top dog when they see queues during prime time, but the most widespread concrete numbers we have are probably from the unofficial Warcraft Realms census: they claim that, with over 35,000 characters on it, Whisperwind is number one.

Of course, even that can't be trusted -- those numbers are picked up from the site's addon, all within the last 30 days, and it could just be that WR has more info about more people on that server. But at the same time, I'd guess that Warcraft Realms' numbers are in the ballpark, as long as you're talking about Yankee Stadium. Whisperwind, Cenarion Circle, Stormrage, Moon Guard, and Proudmoore are all big servers, I can promise you anecdotally, while Laughing Skull, Blood Furnace, and Malorne are definitely at the other end of the spectrum. As for a most popular realm, there probably isn't one specifically (it changes periodically, if not even at different times of the day). But if your realm is near the top of Warcraft Realms' list, it's probably busier than the others.

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Instances

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

Survey: Figuring out the faction transfer numbers


I've been thinking about this ever since the faction changes went live: obviously, Blizzard will never actually release the numbers on how many server transfers or faction changes they do, just because they are notoriously guarded about the information they release, not least because riots are pretty easy to incite on the forums (imagine the reaction if Blizzard officially said that Alliance was the more popular faction). But I wonder nevertheless: how many players have transferred their characters over from one faction to another already? And lots of people seem to think that the vast majority of transfers are Alliance to Horde (not to mention I've heard many anecdotal stories of people flooding back to the Horde), but is that true?

Obviously, we don't have access to all of Blizzard's audience, and our polls are definitely much less scientific than the data Blizzard gets to look at (you better believe they're tracking transfers and faction and race choices with a close eye, just as they're tracking server populations 24/7), but just for the heck of it, we'll ask. After the break, we've got a few polls designed to give us a very general look at how transfers are playing out so far. There's a lot of anecdotal experiences flying around since transfers went live, but I'd like to know, a little more objectively, just how things are panning out.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Blizzard, Factions, Cataclysm

An official server for South Africa

Here's an interesting post from what looks like a site in Zaire wondering if Blizzard will ever bring World of Warcraft to South Africa. It's true -- we all take it for granted that here in North America and Europe, the game is available, but in many parts of the world, it's not. And apparently there's a market in a place like South Africa -- Blizzard says they have about five to seven thousand players down there already (we'd assume they're playing on EU or US servers), and that probably doesn't count any of the players on private servers, which could be as many as 20,000.

iGame is a division of an ISP called iBurst down there, and they say they're prepared to run an official server (within 24 hours' notice!) if Blizzard gives the OK, but Blizzard has told them that they need at least 40,000 players in the area to make it worth running an official server.

There's another option called a "peering" server, which apparently does hook up to Blizzard's servers, but uses local connections and networks to make things a little faster. But again, Blizzard needs to assent to that, and it seems like they're hesitant at the moment.

Oceanic realms have had issues for a long time, but at least the players there do have a chunk of servers dedicated to them. Are there any other major places in the world that don't have official WoW support yet? South America? India?

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

WoW Ladies in the spotlight


Just a quick word of congrats tonight to our friends the moderators of the WoW Ladies Livejournal group -- their community has been spotlighted over on the Livejournal front page. Definitely some well-deserved recognition for one of the best sub-communities in World of Warcraft.

The mods over there are ready to deal with the exposure, too -- though you can see over in this thread that they're a little "dazzled" by all of the new traffic, they've (as usual) got things well in hand. They've created a series of "Master Posts" to keep overflow on the channel to a minimum, and as you can see from their main page, they're taking the growth right in stride, still showing all kinds of interesting viewpoints on the game from their various posters.

The WoW community is a gigantic one, but it's all of the little interrelated communities within it (from us here at WoW Insider to the theorycrafters on Elitist Jerks to all of the hundreds of WoW player blogs, each with their own little voice and insight) that really make it such a diverse and creative group. Good to see one of the best WoW communities out there spotlighted on a major mainstream site.

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

The Queue: I like fire


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.

Yesterday we had a question about the little fiery looking thumbnail I use at the end of almost every edition of The Queue. What the heck is it? Well, it's pretty hard to make out the details as a little thumbnail, but it's a picture of Volkhan from Halls of Lightning. The big red flare is a fireburst that comes up when he wangs his anvil with his hammer. I thought the bigger version looked pretty cool, so I kept using the thumbnail.

alpha5099 asked...

I keep seeing references to EU-Magtheridon, and I'm absolutely fascinated by a server with such a ridiculously unbalanced player ratio. Does anyone know how that happened? Is there some reason an insane number of Horde players are there? Did the Horde just start getting the edge and the Alliance players left for less ganky pastures, and it's gone out of control since then?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Add-Ons, Expansions, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King, The Queue

The Queue: Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.
Ah, another Sunday afternoon! Well, technically this was posted precisely at noon, which isn't the afternoon. But you're probably not reading it at the exact second It was posted, so you are reading it in the afternoon. Right? Right. Now, with that settled...

Vinicius O. E. asked...

What happened to the dance studios?

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Filed under: Alliance, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Expansions, The Queue

More free EU character migrations

Aren't you EU players just lucky lately? Here's some more free character moves for you to make -- apparently the population situation on the EU realms must be bad, because I think this is the third (at least) round of moves Blizzard has made in that region. Here are the latest ones, to be in effect now through the ninth:

Drak'thul, Grim Batol, Sylvanas --> Bladefist
Al'Akir, Neptulon, Ravencrest --> Deathwing
Burning Legion, Crushridge, Twilight's Hammer --> Dentarg
Magtheridon (Horde only) --> Zenedar, Haomarush


A lot of these are the same transfers offered previously -- in fact, all of the realms Blizzard is transferring from have been offered transfers before, though the realms people are being transferred to are switched up a bit. Anyone out there who didn't transfer in the first go-round but is willing to transfer now?

If the issues continue, Blizzard might have to come up with a new way to control the realm populations -- there's always the option of splitting up a big realm, though neither Blizz or players will probably enjoy going through that. But they've got to get rid of the queues somehow, right?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions

Ask WoW Insider: Nodes and ninjas

This week's question for you, our readers, comes from an anonymous asker. He wants to know what the best option is for a widespread problem in this time of high realm populations and camped quests aplenty:

There's been a lot of talk on your blog about people ninjaing spawns but I'm not entirely sure that it's as cut and dried as that. Consider this: I was in the Borean Tundra and had to kill the mob on the island that's up the top of the steps. when I arrived there were around 10 other 'toons all waiting around. I had no idea who was there first, who might be grouped, or anything else about them. The first thing I did was /s 'group?', at which point someone invited me, and I grouped with them. Second time it spawned one of us tagged it, I looted, disbanded the group and left. Did I ninja it? If so, how was I supposed to have acted? With new people coming all the time, no knowledge of who had been there longest and no visible queueing system I'm not sure how else to behave. Thoughts?

A little more analysis after the break, and don't forget to post your own answer in the comments below. If you've got a question for our readers, send it to ask@wow.com, and we'll ask it for you.

Previously on Ask WoW Insider...

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Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Virtual selves, Quests, Ask WoW Insider, Forums

Analyst: Wrath will sell five million copies

Here's our first analysis of Wrath sales (actually second, if you count Mike Morhaime's take on the subject): someone thinks it's going to sell big. Gamasutra reports that Mike Hickey of Janco Partners is predicting sales of five million copies for Wrath's first month in stores, which would basically make it the most popular expansion pack of all time. Burning Crusade, a pack that just barely beat out The Sims, sold 2.4 million copies in the first 24 hours, and 3.5 million within the first month, and so Hickey is looking at a little less than double that for the Northrend expansion.

Huge numbers indeed, and yet they don't seem that surprising -- WoW's population has grown since Burning Crusade was released for sure, and while pretty much everyone agrees that not all players will be buying the expansion right away (our own informal poll has about 13% of our readers waiting, not to mention all of the players in other markets around the world), but if even 1/4 of WoW's 11 million players decide to pick up the game on launch, we're still looking at 2.75 million copies, more than BC.

No matter what, Blizzard will make a lot of money, and very likely break all records anyway next week. Wrath of the Lich King will be huge.

[via BigDownload]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Free high pop to low pop server transfers incoming

Thundgot over on the EU forums says there's a pretty drastic solution incoming to the busy servers incoming: Blizzard is going to offer free server transfers from high pop servers to low pop, so if you've really been driven nuts by all the queues and lag lately, this might be just what you need. On the other hand, don't jump into anything too quickly -- traffic problems are pretty common, especially when big patches (and, you know, expansions) come down, and odds are that once the expansion actually releases, things will die back down after a little while.

Of course, if you just don't want to wait, and don't have any particular ties to the server you happen to be on, then by all means, keep an eye out for the transfers. We're not quite sure which servers will be affected yet, but We Hate PUGs saw Quel'thelas on the list already along with a long list of high pop realms, so while we'll probably see more servers added to the low pop side, the high pop side there now is probably a fairly good indicator of the realms Blizzard sees as trouble. If you're on one of those realms and ready to transfer, sit tight and wait for the announcement today, help is on the way.

Filed under: Realm News, Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Realm Status, Blizzard, Instances, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Hardware

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

Analyst: WoW to add a million players in a year

At least one person who claims to be in the know believes that WoW ain't done yet: Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, believes that by the end of 2009, World of Warcraft will have picked up at least another million players around the world, in addition to the 10.9 million he says are already in the game. The launch of Wrath of the Lich King and the surge in popularity of the game in China will bring the game up to as much as 12 million players before the end of 2009.

There's no question that WoW's population has slowed down lately -- the last time we heard an official update from Blizzard was way back in January, and while this analyst claims there are more nowadays, there's no question that things have plateaued for the moment. But maybe there are some more folks out there who haven't played yet, and maybe Wrath of the Lich King will bring them into the fold.

He also mentions Warhammer Online, as you might expect (isn't that pretty much a requirement anytime you talk about MMO populations these days?), but he's landed on the same conclusion both Blizzard, Mythic, and all of their players have already ended up at: WAR isn't really going to affect what WoW does, and vice versa. "Core WoW users," apparently, have "limited interest" in the other big MMO out there at the moment.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Blizzard and the hidden population of disabled players

A Dwarf Priest has a nice long post up about the relationship between Blizzard and one of the more hidden (and yet surprisingly large) groups within their population: disabled gamers. It's no secret to anyone who's played WoW for a while that a lot of disabled gamers have found a lot of solace in a social game where you can be almost completely anonymous and play a character at whatever pace you want to play. Even if you go with the lowest of estimations, there are about 525,000 people playing the game with some kind of disability in real life. That's a much bigger number than I expected, and it's a significant number of people paying Blizzard every month.

Fortunately, Dwarf Priest found that accessibility is relatively good in Blizzard's game -- most of the work is actually done with third-party addons, but the UI and display is so customizable that even with the default interface, many people without a full range of controls or movement can figure out how to play the game. For their part, Blizzard has agreed that a customizable UI is the best way to make a game accessible -- J. Allen Brack says that's a priority in this interview with Able Gamers.

Dwarf Priest has lots more, including a quick comparison with accessibility in Warhammer Online, and even a weird wrinkle in the Glider lawsuit (the botting program's creators are apparently claiming it helps disabled players play their characters). It's a very well-written post about a subject that doesn't get covered much, and there's lots of extra reading to dig into at the bottom as well.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items, Add-Ons

A(nother) return to Azeroth, and all that grinding

Clive Thompson is probably my favorite technology writer -- I really enjoy everything he writes (lots of his stuff appears regularly in Wired), and he's got a real talent for not only tracking technological trends, but then explaining them in a way that's interesting and easy to understand. So I was pretty excited to see that he's back playing WoW, and just like a few of us here at WI, he enjoys the regular grind of it all.

I don't know whether it's a result of all the Wrath beta news coming out lately, but it seems to me that we're already experiencing a resurgence of players around the expansion. Burning Crusade brought a lot of players back to the game, and it seems like things have started early for the next expansion -- people are returning to level their alts, get their epic mount dailies done, level up their professions, and just generally get back into the mix of things.

And Thompson's piece is really about grinding -- like "obedient workers in a Soviet collective," he says, we return to mindlessly killing boars, or ravagers, or Ethereals, or whatever else it is we need to hit that next level of experience or reputation or profession. Why? Because we're rewarded for it. Increasingly, we live in a world where time invested doesn't always equal reward returned. But while grinding in a game like WoW, it always, always does, and that's why we love it so much.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, News items, Leveling, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

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