the first rule of fight club

January 21, 2010

Thanks to Epicsnakehips who left a comment on my last post (about class popularity) to the effect that the less popular classes like rogues and hunters don’t seem so unpopular in PvP. No, indeed they don’t; your basic rogue may be passé in PvE, but spend just a bit of time in a level 19 battleground and you’ll have rogues up to your armpits.

That comment has inspired me to improve my reports on class distribution. You can find two new tables over at my Google App Engine site, which show the class breakdown across PvE and PvP realms. As well, I’m working on a table that shows the same data for x9 BG twinks (where you’ll find that rogues, warlocks and hunters are all popular choices at many of the x9 levels).

Here’s the breakdown on PvP and RPPvP realms:

Class Popularity Tree One Tree Two Tree Three
Paladin 15.7% Holy:






Death Knight 13.6% Blood:






Druid 11.5% Balance:


Feral Combat:




Priest 9.7% Discipline:






Warrior 9.2% Arms:






Mage 8.6% Arcane:






Shaman 8.5% Elemental:






Rogue 8.5% Assassination:






Hunter 7.4% Beast Mastery:






Warlock 7.4% Affliction:






It is interesting that the basic popularity of the classes doesn’t change all that much between PvE and PvP realms. I was expecting rogues and hunters especially to move way up in ranking.

The basic issue seems clear enough – classes like rogues and warlocks are near the bottom because they have only one tree that PvPers want to use. The destruction warlock at 4.1% and the assassination rogue at 5.2% seem competitive with DK and paladin builds, but DKs and paladins have all three trees as competitive in world PvP.

What surprises me is that the hunter is not more popular on PvP realms. They certainly are popular and effective in battleground PvP.


8 Responses to “the first rule of fight club”

  1. Saunder Says:

    My question is how Dual speccing changes the stats? eg: I play a Holy/Prot Pally, with Holy as the main spec. However at the moment I’m often doing random instances as Prot and may well log out in my Prot gear. Unless you feed a toons specs through, say, WoW-Heroes or heaven forbid, Gearscore, how do you know whether to count me as Holy, or Prot? 😀

    I do understand the complexity level that may be involved in finding that info out, just wondering 🙂

  2. zardoz Says:

    Unfortunately I am cheating a bit by just using the active spec that the toon currently has. I’m hoping that, over a sample of a million or so characters, that tells us the general level of interest that players have in each tree. But it is just a snapshot in time and another snapshot would find lots of people playing with their other build. My assumption is that, statistically speaking, all those spec changes would cancel each other out and you’d get the same basic distribution. But that is just an assumption.

  3. Alti Says:

    I think that reasoning is sound. Regardless of that, the numbers on hunters are really bizarre. I wonder what could cause such a mass exodus from a class with such a reputation for battle ground domination. I know beast mastery took a hit, but still, it used to be one of the most popular specs for one of the most popular classes out there, am I right?

    I’m fairly new to the game, but that seems to be the common knowledge / perception people have.

  4. Warwench Says:

    What I would love to see is data on the following :

    % representation of each of the 4 tank classes that have tanked each encounter, from Naxx all the way to ICC.

    I’m prepared to help out with this effort if need be.

    I would love to see say how many Tanks of each type have tanked say Festergut 25.

    Not sure how viable it is to get this data though.

  5. Sorce Says:

    I think that if you looked at the same data over time from before 3.3 to now you would see a shift in the active spec distribution towards more preferable specs for those classes who can heal or tank. That would reflect the common switching to do the random dungeons and would correlate with the obvious changes made to the game in 3.3.

    What is interesting to note is that the data *does* reinforce the anecdotal observations that way too many people play ret pallies or dks. It’s been a running joke for a while that they are facerollers, but looking at the popularity of said classes should be a big “aha!” to the developers that you’ve got some improvements to make. Or at least look into it.

  6. zardoz Says:


    The armoury data tells us the raiding history of each toon. I don’t collect all the data at the moment, but could easily do so next time I do an armoury scan. The problem is being sure that the toon is running as a tank. Especially where DKs are concerned, it seems to me you have to drill down into their exact spec to be reasonably certain that they’re tanking and not just along for the dps ride.

  7. Warwench Says:

    yeah.. i know it’s a tall order.

    I think for DK’s, you’d need to identify certain talents that only a tank would sanely take.

    same for Feral Cats/Bears I guess.

    It would be very interesting to know, by Tank spec, who has killed which bosses.

    Only real problem i see is there is no way of knowing if they were actually tank spec when it was killed, ie Ret and Prot Pally, perhaps he was Ret for the kill. No way around that without external data.

    I’m thinking about trying to put together a set of repeatable data specifically around tanks. Still kinda fleshing out details in my mind but it’dpull data from multiple locations. Perhaps even be an addon tanks ran to collect some data. Not sure yet.

  8. zardoz Says:

    Let me know how you get on with that – I’d love to have an IsTank() function somewhere, but I’ve become a bit pessimistic about the possibility of working one out. Blizz have done a great job in making it possible to have subtle variations in specs and gear that produce tanks in “shades of grey”. It is possible to identify a lot of them but that isn’t much use since it isn’t possible to work out how many we have missed – we might be off by 20% easily.

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