The Pre-4.3 Numbers

As I did back in June – has it really only been five months? – for posterity’s sake here is a screenshot of WoWProgress’s Firelands numbers as they stood on Tuesday, November 29th, at around 2am:

Since there is no 100% boss (but Shannox gets close), a little reverse-engineering results in a total of 45,839 guilds having killed at least 1 boss this tier. I would do a further breakdown as I did last time, but what’s the point? About 71% of every guild that started Firelands in some fashion finished it. Unlike last time around, Blizzard rolled out the content nerf before the patch hit, which obviously influences the completion rates in this bizarre way.

Speaking of last time, there were 62,405 guilds that downed at least one 1 boss in T11 content. Compared with today, that is a drop in activity of 26.55%, or 16,566 guilds that fell off the grid.

As always, the numbers get a little fuzzy if you want to look at the number of players instead of guilds. If we assume a generous 18 raiders per guild, 825,102 players have killed 1 boss in Firelands, down from 1,123,290 killing 1 boss in T11. Back in June I had what I assumed was a reasonably accurate count of all non-Chinese subs (i.e. all guilds WoWProgress tracks) at 6.5 million, but obviously that has changed in the midterm. Back then, it meant only 17.28% of players raided. Today that would be just 12.69%, but only if the overall population had not decreased as well.

To understand exactly how generous I am being vis-a-vis the 18 people per guild estimate, WoWProgress says that only 4934 guilds killed Shannox on 25m, compared with 39,861 10m kills. In other words, there are over eight (8) times as many 10m kills of Shannox than 25m of the same. That 8x figure is fairly consistent across all bosses until you hit Ragnaros, interestingly enough. In fact:

Boss 10m guilds 25m guilds Difference
Beth’tilac 39,165 4,821 8.12x
Lord Rhyolith 38,122 4,704 8.10x
Alysrazor 37,086 4,467 8.30x
Shannox 39,861 4,934 8.07x
Baleroc 38,320 4,574 8.37x
Majordomo 37,619 4,516 8.33x
Ragnaros 27,595 3,991 6.91x

If those 25m numbers don’t seem jarring to you, perhaps this will illustrate it better:

Boss 10m guilds 25m guilds Difference
The Siege of Ulduar ??? 31,993 n/a
Beasts of Northrend 86,187 58,801 1.46x
Anub’arak 84,044 52,903 1.58x
Lord Marrowgar 84,136 59,356 1.41x
Lich King 48,523 11,567 4.19x
Magmaw 60,390 4,395 13.74x
Nefarion 39,390 4,580 8.60x

I was not actually aware of the Magmaw discrepancy until just now, but… wow. Assuming that Blizzard making it difficult to differentiate between 10m and 25m kills achievement-wise doesn’t impact the accuracy of WoWProgress, this seems an armor-piercing argument that the merging of lock-outs (and possibly of gear) is not just killing 25m raiding, but driving it before us, while we hear the lamentation of its women.

While I understand the LFR system may address the casual PuG content gap, these numbers cannot bode well for the future of 25m raiding. Less than 5k guilds running normal 25m content means all that content is being made/balanced/tuned for the entertainment of less than 90,000 150,000 people. There will likely be three two times that number of players engaging in Pet Battles at any given time of day, let alone overall.

Hmm, perhaps the decision to include that as a major feature is not so incongruous after all.

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Posted on November 30, 2011, in WoW and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Pet battles aren’t going to hurt raiding.

    But I think the LFR will have some massive impact on MoP raiding.

    Post-Uldamar heroic encounters were normal encounters plus some additional stuff. I would assume that with MoP all encounters will be designed for LFR first and then some additional difficulty layers will be added to it for normal and some more layers for heroic. That, of course, limits the design of an encounter and would make normal mode just more difficult, but not more interesting.

    • Kring, as far as I know the encounters are not designed like that but vice versa – i. e. the most difficult one (heroic) first and the mechanics are nerfed/removed for the normal and LFR ones. This also seems easier to do than the other direction but I don’t have experience with game design so it might be that the simple first direction might be easier to design.

      • But still, it’s easy to make a heroic difficulty patchwerk. Just increase it’s damage output and dps requirement.

        On the other side it’s nearly impossible to make an easy Omnitron Defense System. I wouldn’t expect any fights as complex as ODS with MoP, neither for LfR nor for heroic mode.

  2. Its really tragic what they’ve done to raiding in this game. Coming from someone who did 40 mans back in Vanilla this feeling is like going back to your pleasant childhood neighborhood and finding it full of crime and run-down crack houses.

    Things have just fallen so far…

    I wonder what game will bring big raids back one day?

  3. 5000 25m guilds would be a minimum of 125000 people, and likely more, since their rosters are not limited to 25 people. 175,000 is probably a fairer estimate. While that still pales in comparison to the roughly 500k 10m raiders, it’s not quite as bad as your initial numbers make it appear.

    That said, I agree with what you’re saying. 25m is a logistics nightmare, and the decline in 25m guilds is the logical result, which most 25m raiders were predicting since the announcement of 10m and 25m “equality” was first given.

  4. I think it’s possible that a lot of those 25 person guild kills that killed the entry bosses were large guilds that didn’t necessarily run 25 person raids, but had enough members pug them to get the credit. The drop-off between 25 Marrowgar kills and 25 LK kills is a lot more substantial than from 10 Marrow to 10 LK (though 25 LK was a bit harder than 10 LK.)

    Thanks for these posts, btw. Your first one was really eye-opening to me, as is this one. It’s great to have a place where you can see where progression was at the end of the life-cycle of the tiers.

    What’s really crazy is that if you look back at the T11 post, the number of guilds that quit raiding during T11 was more than the number of guilds that did any heroic content beyond Halfus. It definitely explains the great Firelands nerf, but it makes you wonder how the developers were so out of touch with the difficulty level that they didn’t tone it down earlier. A plurality of raiders got stuck at 5/6 BWD normal, did they expect those players to be eager to continue raiding?

    • If the devs hadn’t been so out of touch, the raids (and heroic 5 mans, for that matter) would never have been that difficult to start with.

      I think the devs had the notion that people would be willing to do the content much later, after heavy nerfs. The great lack of interest in nerfed T11 after 4.2 must have been yet another rude reality check for them.

      While Hanlon’s Razor would argue against it, I sometimes think Cataclysm’s design is best understood if you imagine key devs were secretly working for Blizzard’s competitors. :)

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