OT: What Players Actually Want

If you come across anyone on any forum related to WoW exclaiming that Blizzard is nerfing content “because of the (baddies/Wrath babies/etc) whining on the forum,” you can correctly call them morons. This quote from Bashiok officially dispels such nonsense for what it is.

Blizzard, you do how little people post on the forums yes? how about doing some in game polls to really see what people want, and not what the idiots on the forums want

You want them to not be nerfed, you’re on the forums…

Just saying.

By looking at actual stats, actual progression, time spent playing, where, and to what extent, we can see that most people are looking for more accessible raid content, so yes, we absolutely are able to tell without a doubt that the plan we’re enacting is actually what players playing the game want and need, and are not just listening to people on the forums.

No reading between the lines is necessary, but let me emphasize this again for posterity:

By looking at actual stats, actual progression, time spent playing, where, and to what extent, we can see that most people are looking for more accessible raid content, so yes, we absolutely are able to tell without a doubt that the plan we’re enacting is actually what players playing the game want and need, and are not just listening to people on the forums.

“Want and need.” Blizzard’s words. I sketched the writing on the walls way back in March, and nothing has changed since that time… well, other than even more players leaving for lack of content tailored to their skill level. That is why Morhaime’s investor call comments are so thinly-veiled:

As our players have become more experienced playing World of Warcraft over the many years, they have become much better and much faster at consuming content. And so I think with Cataclysm, they were able to consume the content faster than with previous expansions.

As of this writing, WoWProgress states 55,797 guilds have killed Magmaw, among the NA, EU, KR, and TW population it tracks. Looking at MMOData’s WoW sub numbers, there are ~6.5 million non-Chinese accounts. The average raiding guild probably has 15 members killing bosses (most WoWProgress kills are from 10m), but let us also be charitable and also use 30 member guilds. Plugging in those numbers results in this:


55,797 * 15 / 6,500,000 =12.87%
55,797 * 30 / 6,500.000 = 25.75%


Cataclysm has been out for 6+ months and at best ~26% of the population has downed a single raid boss. The comparison is not entirely fair since not everyone is even interested in endgame raiding. Then again, I do consider it a fair question to ask how many of the 74% would be interested in raiding if things were not being designed around catering to hardcore players and/or being difficult out of principal. Only Blizzard knows for sure, but the answer appears to be “enough to matter.”

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Posted on May 27, 2011, in WoW and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Some more interesting WoWprogess stats:
    86187 guilds killed the beasts in 10 man (Trial of Champion)
    58801 did in 25 (obviously it's not additive, practically everyone who did it in 25 did it in 10 too)

    84136 killed Lord Marrowgar in 10
    59356 in 25

    So 66% of those who were capable to kill marrowgar until the end of Wotlk killed Magmaw too. So I don't really see who are the players Blizzard aims with this nerf.

  2. I think the players that are being targeted with the nerf are those who are undergeared to participate in T12 content but want to join an existing raiding team. On the flip side, existing raiders want this nerf so that there will be a larger pool of people willing, able and desiring to raid T12 dungeons.

  3. Regarding the blue comment, I'm not sure how Blizzard could track players “looking for more accessible raid content” other than those that list their names in the little-used LFRaid tool. It's easy to see if players are raiding or not raiding (were they in a raid instance? they're probably raiding!) but distinguishing between looking for a raid and not looking for a raid is, at least to me, much less clear-cut.

    Basically, the stats that Bashiok mentions do not provide any indication of “what players […] want and need”. They might be right about what players want, but I doubt they have the data to actually *know* what players want.

  4. @Gevlon

    Assuming the raiding playerbase has not grown, the 66% still means 30,390 guilds – between 455,850 911,700 players (maybe round it off at 600k?) – have not downed the “first” raid boss of the first tier this expansion. If that is not a large enough population group to justify nerfs in your mind… where is the line? Nevermind the destructive trickle-down effect when you have former raiders giving up on raiding, thus making heroic gear grinding pointless for them, thus them not queuing in LFD (a 10m can potentially absorb 10 DPS if everyone queues separately), thus them not having interesting content to consume, thus them quitting/playing less, thus their friends/guildies having less people to hang out with, etc etc etc.

    @2nd Anon

    They obviously can track the number of players (still) wiping on Magmaw, the guilds who go 6/12 and peter out, the players who get full JP gear and then stop doing anything, and so on. I think it's a bit foolish to assume they can only look at LFRaid participation, which I imagine is basically nill. Specifically, they said:

    “By looking at actual stats, actual progression, time spent playing, where, and to what extent […]”

    Maybe it could be argued that that is “mere” extrapolation on Blizzard's part, but that is bordering on baseless second-guessing.

  5. Regarding the blue comment, I'm not sure how Blizzard could track players “looking for more accessible raid content” other than those that list their names in the little-used LFRaid tool.

    They can program (and almost certainly have programmed) the servers to keep detailed logs of everything done by every player, down to the individual spells they cast.

    If they see people who raided in the past are not raiding now, they can determine which segment of the raiding population has dropped out (and which have quit the game entirely). Their marketing teams, without a doubt, data mine these logs extensively to determine how customers are reacting to the content, and to look for warning signs from behaviors that correlate with incipient game quits.