smarter than the average bear

November 23, 2009

Well only just… I’ve got some results from my attempt to divide up the feral druid population into cats and bears. We started from the fact that there is no “form” tag in the armoury XML – no direct way to count the thing we want to count. The only way to get an insight into this is to find a proxy for each of the forms – something that is in the data which can be used to separate the sheep from the goats, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor.

Talents seem to be the obvious choice, so long as there is one talent that bears will take and cats not and another talent that is vice versa. Glyphs are the other possibility. Whatever we choose just has to be i) something that players are highly likely to take  and ii) something that is orthogonal; something that definitely points in one direction for bears and another for cats.

But the basic problem is that there are a lot of um… how to put this politely… there are a lot of left-of-centre specs out there. Talents and glyphs are both less orthogonal than I was hoping for – many specs look a bit bearish and a bit cattish at the same time. And there is a big group that takes none of the talents or glyphs that we want to use.

That’s why I decided not to make the queries very complex – adding more talents or glyphs into the selection criteria¬† just increases the number of toons that fall into the grey area. Also I’ve counted specs and not toons since the original question was related to the number of druids specced for tanking.

Thanks to the commenters who made suggestions on possible talents and glyphs that might fit these criteria. I’ve run two queries against the data.

The first query counts feral druids who have Natural Reaction versus those who have Predatory Instincts. A druid with some points in Natural Reaction and none at all in Predatory Instincts might be a bear; t’other way round for cats. Those with points in neither are marked as “unknown”; those with some points in both are the “could be either” group.

The second query counts druids who have a Glyph of Maul versus those who have either a Glyph of Shred and/or a Glyph of Rip. Equipping Maul but not Shred or Rip indicates bear; Shred or Rip but no Maul indicates cat. Again we have groups with a mix of these glyphs, and, unfortunately, a huge group with none of them.

Anyway this is what we’ve got:

(Patch 3.2.2 data; sample size 16327 level 80 feral druids with 28970 specs).

Talent-based spec count:

  • Bear: 30%
  • Cat : 33%
  • Could be either: 5%
  • Unknown: 31%

Glyph-based spec count:

  • Bear: 18%
  • Cat: 9%
  • Could be either: 15%
  • Unknown: 58%

Frankly I’m still not sure how valid these numbers are, but I hope they provide a bit of insight. The talent-based count may at least provide a low-water-mark indication of the number of bearish specs in there.