gimme some skin

July 23, 2009

Thanks to everybody over at Mania’s who said nice things about my hunter pets report. One thing that I got from that discussion is that hunters care a lot about the look of their pets as well as their DPS.  To help with that, I can now present a report on the skins used on the various types of pets and how rare or not each skin is.

So, for example, we have this for bats:

Skin Popularity
batskinwhite01 39.6%
batskinbrown01 31.9%
batskinviolet01 16.7%
batskin01 11.1%
Unknown 0.7%

You can jump from each skin name over to Petopia, where you can see the art, and find the creatures that you need to tame to get the look.

Special thanks go to Wayne, who not only gave me a bit of a prod to Just Do It, but gathered up all the pets-to-skins data that makes the report possible.

tenacious p

July 21, 2009

Or not… Ferocious, more than tenacious, it would seem. The next report in my series on hunter pets is up here. This one covers pet talents.

The most interesting numbers come from ignoring pet types and just consolidating the talent data across the three trees. For example, if we just get a count of each of tree we have this:

Ferocity 68%
Tenacity 22%
Cunning 9%

Of course this is a reflection of the popularity of the different creature types, but it is a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem – if hunters wanted the talents in the other trees they would just get different pets.

The thing I’m having a bit of trouble with is reporting on popular builds. For example, the most popular ferocity-based build is this one, which goes with cats, wolves and other non-flying ferocity-based pets. Part of its popularity comes from the fact that it can be applied to both cats and wolves – the two most common pet types.

But to link that build to either the Blizz or Wowhead calculators, I need to provide a specific pet family (I’ve set that link up for cats) even though I want to show consolidated build stats and not builds by each pet family.

My question to you is this: if I just set up all the links using just one pet type (one ground and one flying type, for each tree), would it be clear that this was consolidated data ?

the menagerie

July 13, 2009

Allrighty then… hunter pets. I’ve built a little test database with about 10K level 80 hunters – just big enough to test the reports that I want to develop. Let’s have a poke around in there and see what we can see.

Most hunters have three or four pets:

Number of Pets Count
5 1507
4 2582
3 2853
2 1746
1 676

As to the popularity of the available pet families, we have this:

Family Count
Cat 9507
Wolf 5014
Gorilla 2178
Devilsaur 2037
Core Hound 1897
Bear 1625
Raptor 1011
Spirit Beast 980
Bird of Prey 909
Ravager 784
Boar 709
Rhino 696
Crab 691
Scorpid 678
Wasp 593
Worm 572
Spider 549
Chimaera 503
Wind Serpent 475
Warp Stalker 418
Crocolisk 360
Turtle 303
Dragonhawk 285
Serpent 234
Silithid 188
Carrion Bird 183
Hyena 160
Moth 127
Bat 108
Tallstrider 98
Nether Ray 70
Sporebat 43

Hunters do like their cats. The final report will have an analysis of the most popular creatures in each category, along with links out to Wowhead.

Next, I’ll be looking at pet talents. What surprised me greatly is that just under half of all the pets in the sample have no talent points assigned at all. This seems to be a problem caused by combining pet talents with dual specs. There are a couple of threads on the official forums complaining about this, along with a discussion over at Mania’s. A dual specced hunter will have all their pets’ talents reset every time they switch out of a BM spec – that’s my understanding of the issue.

That might become a tad annoying, to say the least. Talent respec shell shock seems to be setting in all over the place at the moment.

pet sounds

July 3, 2009

Here’s news for Hunters:  Blizz has added your pets and their talents to your character talent page in the armoury.

That will give us a lot of new insight into the types of creatures that make the most popular pets, and how players spend pet talent points. The XML is straightforward and contains no quirks and so I’m cranking up the SQL editor as we speak.

I’ll try and have the new reports ready before the next refresh of my data. As to when that will be, well, about a week after Patch 3.2 drops. As to when that will be… well…

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 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:


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.

hunters now the hunted?

December 11, 2008

At the moment I’m busy updating the class reports based on my new WotLK scan data. So I haven’t had a great deal of time to poke around inside the data itself.

Still, some differences stand out so clearly that they are hard to ignore. One thing that struck me is the change in class composition between level 70 and level 80.  Here are the numbers:

Level 80

Level 70






































Death Knight




I’m assuming that what these figures tell us is that players are making particular choices about which of their toons to take to 80 first. Otherwise the class distribution would be much the same at both levels (leaving aside death knights, where there is no pre-existing pool of toons at 70).

To me it looks like hunters and rogues have lost out in the nerf game and the good ol’ pally has become the class du jour in Northrend.

More class stats

October 23, 2008

Gradually getting them up, one class at a time unfortunately… At least the reports will be much faster to update than they have been to create. There is now data for the 3 Shaman trees, Hunters and Holy Paladins. More to come…