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.

nineteen with a bullet

March 4, 2009

My last post on class popularity at level 80 caused a bit of a stir in the WoW-blogosphere. Nibuca over at Mystic Chicanery has an excellent discussion on why Warlocks might be out of favour at the moment. Basically she’s got a mixture of PvE and PvP changes. FWIW, my impression is the PvP changes are the ones that matter, but its just an impression. On a theorycrafting basis alone it’s a bit hard to be certain of what players are reacting to.

That’s put me in mind of some more datamining. It is possible to look at the class distribution in the various endgame activities. If warlocks represented a reasonable proportion of raiders but a very low proportion of BG or arena PvPers, or vice versa, that would suggest where the various patch changes were doing the most damage. I’ve added that to my to-do list.

I also ran a query on class composition at other levels. There is a clear difference between level 80 and the others, which just reinforces my suspicion that players are deliberately taking certain of their toons straight to 80 and leaving the others as alts or leveling slowly through 71-79.

The general popularity of classes in the 10-79 levels looks more-or-less like this:

  • Hunter
  • Paladin
  • Mage and Rogue about equal
  • Warrior and Priest about equal
  • Druid and Warlock about equal
  • Shaman

with DKs in a league of their own basically because everyone has tried one.

I can’t see anything too surprising in this distribution. Shaman are always bringing up the rear end, perhaps just because some of the race types you have to pick to make one are less popular (moo to you too). Hunters have long been known to be the first choice of a lot of players including a lot of gold-selling harvesters.

But I did have a good laugh at the level 19 distribution. Ever been in a low-level BG and got the impression that everybody else was a rogue? Perhaps you weren’t imagining it after all as the figures show…

Rogue 27%
Hunter 18%
Warrior 11%
Paladin 10%
Mage 8%
Priest 8%
Warlock 8%
Druid 6%
Shaman 4%

27% rogues stands out like the proverbial dogs’ um… y’know… There’s no other level that looks anything like this. Aside from anything else, it shows that class popularity at certain levels is driven by the quirks of the game itself – people are just looking for the class that will do a certain job, whatever that job might be.

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.

rogue data

October 14, 2008

I’ve posted some data for rogues (which is not the same as ‘some rogue data’). The data is based on a reasonable sample size: just short of 50K rogues from the US and EU armouries. To start with, the following tables are up:

  • Health
  • Strength
  • Agility
  • Stamina
  • Melee Attack Power
  • Hit Chance
  • Melee Crit Chance
  • Main Hand DPS
  • Off Hand DPS
  • Effective Armour

There’s a few more I wouldn’t mind adding to that list, but I’ll move on and get a basic stats page up for every class before coming back to add more details.