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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

The rise and fall of class popularity


While writing the most recent Shifting Perspectives column and browsing old records on Druid population statistics, I started to wonder about the various factors that play a role in how popular a class becomes. While Blizzard and Blizzard alone has the exact numbers on who's playing what, various fan sites have honed data collection strategies over the years and amassed a pretty impressive pile of numbers. This only got easier when the Armory launched in spring 2007, and by now I'd be surprised if players weren't at least broadly accurate about overall trends. If we can trust what we see, how we do best explain fluctuations in class popularity? Has Arena success (or the lack thereof) been as influential as we think? Is class population an accurate, albeit crude, guide to the overall "quality" of a class at any given moment -- or just a guide to the perceived "quality?" I'd be interested to hear what people think.

Having played a Druid since the beginning of Burning Crusade and observed it going from the second least-played class at 60 to the third or fourth most-played class at 80, I have my own theories about what's influenced Druid population numbers particularly, but I need to do a little more digging before I can be sure. However, I don't know whether any of it really applies to other classes, and the meteoric rise of the Death Knight is a thought-provoking (and somewhat troubling) trend.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

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