Just to complete the picture, here is a set of battleground class performance charts for each of the x9 BG levels plus level 80. The y-axis now shows average deaths per game and not the inverse, so the sweet spot of high-kills-low-deaths is in the bottom right hand corner of the chart.

The sample consists of all players at each level who have played 100 or more BGs. The data is from patch 3.0.9.

There’s a lot of interesting things to note in those charts, especially when you compare the same class at different levels. Some are effective at all levels, others appear to change roles as they level up.

If you want the executive summary, these are the points that strike me:

  • DKs are OP
  • Rogues aren’t, even though people think they are
  • Warriors are fragile, despite all that armour
  • Warlocks are still a force in PvP as long as you don’t mind dying a lot
  • Baby Paladins may be easy meat but the adult of the species sure isn’t
  • Hunters seem to be the consistent high performer, but that is probably because they just play the same role (of ranged attacker) at every level

Do exercise some caution when interpreting these results. In particular remember:

  1. Some classes have fewer attacking players and therefore a lower average kill rate just because they have a healing tree. Other classes may spend a lot of time CC-ing instead of attacking.
  2. Some BGs have objectives that conflict with straight PvP. For example in Warsong Gulch, the classes that spend most time running the flag will have a lower kill rate because of that.
  3. This is data aggregated across every BG accessible at the level. There may be specific features of individual BGs that make certain classes more effective there, despite these charts.

19

battleground-class-effectiveness-level-19

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 19

29

battleground-class-effectiveness-level-29

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 29

39

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 39

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 39

49

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 49

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 49

59

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 59

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 59

69

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 69

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 69

79

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 79

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 79

80

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 80

BG Class Effectiveness, Level 80

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If we take some of the battleground stats from the armoury and use them as “performance indicators”, we can get a measure of class performance, as well as individual performance. There are some problems with this, as we’ll see in a minute, but the results are interesting nevertheless.

The performance indicators I like best are killing blows per game and deaths per game, since these give some indication of the performance of the character or class, as opposed to the performance of the team. (Of course they are not completely independent variables. For example an effective team may try to protect the squishies and the healers who should then have a lower death rate.)

Here we take a sample of level 19 WSG players with more than 100 games played.  We can chart these two indicators to give a view of the effectiveness of each class. In this graph I use the inverse of deaths-per-game, so that the sense of each axis is the same. Basically – the further away from the origin the better, along both the x- and y-axes.

This is what we get:

class-effectiveness-level-19-warsong-gulch-100-filter

Class performance, 19 WSG.

There are a few interesting things here. The first is that there a clear grouping of classes in the top lefthand corner (around priests) whose role is not primarily individual combat. Priests heal, Druids CC, heal and do the bear flag run thing. What surprises me is to see Paladins so close to this group. Does anybody know why that might be? What do pallies do in WSG at 19?

Out along the bottom right, you see the attack classes – they die a lot more than the druid/priest/pally set, but they do a lot more damage too. The most unexpected thing here is the power of the much-maligned warlock. Although they are the squishiest class (closest to the origin on the y-axis is bad, remember) they can certainly dish it out – more than rogues. The stand-out class is the hunter – significantly more a damage dealer than the rogue, for basically the same death rate. I suspect that a lot of players don’t know that, since the rogue seems to be the most popular choice amongst the serious WSG player at level 19.

The division between attack classes and “support classes” (perhaps an unfair term since running the flag is a bit more than “support”) helps explain the observation I made in the last post – that there is not a high correlation between killing blows and deaths. Several classes are doing something other than killing.

Before we leave this subject, I want to show that these averages are interesting and informative, but they must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Averages tend to be influenced by outliers, and to abstract from the fact that the better players (or the richer twinkers perhaps…) can get a good performance from most classes. If we take three classes that are close to each other on the above chart – mages, warlocks and warriors – and plot the individual values used to form the averages, then we get a different picture:

mage-warlock-warrior-individual-effectiveness

Character performance.

You can see that a lot of players have similar performance and the averages tend to be skewed in one direction or another by smaller groups of outliers. On the other hand, the averages do provide some real insight since you can see that mages have no strong killers at all and that must reflect something about the class as well as something about the player.

twinks inc

March 18, 2009

While we’re waiting for patch 3.1, I’ve gone back to my pet project from a month or so ago – looking for ways to extract information on x9 battleground twinks from the armoury. Building BG twinks seems to be something that a lot of people have thought about doing at one time or another, but have run into difficulties finding good information on how to go about it.

There are a couple of good sites for twink guides, and a few individuals who have created guides for individual classes at specific levels (like this one for 19 warlock twinks). But there seems to me to be a lot of gaps in our knowledge of what people are doing at the various x9 levels. Let’s see if we can improve the situation.

The fundamental problem is that there is no IsTwink() function in the armoury. We have to identify twinked characters from amongst the general population. To do that, two other issues have to be addressed.

The first problem is simply one of getting enough characters into the database. Only about 15% of leveling characters do any BGs at all. The vast majority of those try only a few games. A sizeable majority of the rest are… well… suboptimal… PVPers, so it isn’t likely that they’re twinked.

In other words, the characters we are after represent a tiny fraction of the total number of toons in the armoury. There is no way that an armoury crawler is going to find all of them in any reasonable time frame. I’ve really only got a partial solution to this one. I’ve modified my armoury crawler so that it switches over to extracting just characters in the x9 levels after it has built up a reasonable sample of characters from every level.

I spent a bit of time today watching the algorithm run (via a debugging dump) and it is clear what is happening – the crawler spends a lot of time rejecting characters that are not at an x9 level, but then finds a big guild list of those who are. Clearly there are some sizeable BG PvP guilds out there, or a lot of guilds that have little BG-ing armies inside them. This keeps the fetch queues surprisingly full, on average, which means the crawler is mining characters at a not-too-bad rate.

Problem number two is to identify indicators of twinkyness so I can write some database queries to find the little buggers. Of course you might say, well, why not just use gear. After all, a twink by definition has better gear than would be expected for a toon of that level.

Yes, we might come to that. But the idea I want to try first is to use the new character achievements and statistics data to identify the most effective battleground toons. Of course the most powerful level 19 WSG player might have got there by skill alone, equipped with nothing other than normal whites and questing greens. But, somehow, I doubt it…

The hypothesis is that the most effective characters in the BGs will turn out to be the twinks.

So which character stats do we look at? For example, the armoury tells us the number of BGs that the character won – we can find out that a  toon has played, say, 80 WSG BGs and won 75. That character has won 94% of their games. Does that make them likely to be a twink?

Well maybe… That’s the point I’m up to at the moment. I’m looking at the spread of these stats across the population base. Then running various queries based on the available data to see how selective they really are. My guess is that stats like the number of BGs won are less likely to be selective for what we want than stats related to the individual performance of the character.

After all, whether you win depends on the quality of the characters around you – a cr@p team on your side or a fully twinked pre-made on t’other can make all the difference to victory or defeat. What interests me are stats like the number of killing blows landed or the number of deaths, since these are indicators of personal survivability – which is the real hallmark of the twink. If you have the health, the mana and the armour, your death rate will be lower and your time-on-target higher.

But that’s enough for one post. Stand by for some serious chart porn on battleground character stats…