Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What numbers do you want to see?

I've been posting about the kinds of numbers I want to run against the data, but the bigger question is, what sort of information do you want to find out about the particular builds of the US WoW population? Llew's run some numbers on the most popular talents, acrost builds specializing (spending 31 or more talent points) in a given tree. It might be worth looking at talent popularity regardless of specialization. Also, what about levelling builds? No one really seems to want to talk about those much, but running a comparison of builds at 20,30,40,50 and 60 could be enlightening. And just how many 60s are there still, anyway? (Roughly 45,000 out of the 900,000ish characters I have so far, roughly 5%. I know of at least 4 of them though that are waiting in the wings while I get my first character to 70... :P) Is it possible there are people who didn't buy the expansion? If you look at the shelves of my local Fry's, you would think no one at all stood in line hundreds deep to get The Burning Crusade. There are at least a hundred Collector's Editions alone, and untold more regular editions. But I digress. What is it you want to know?

Waiting for 1 Million

Sorry for the lack of posting, but I'm waiting for the system to get 1 million characters imported then I'll run a bunch of numbers for the various classes, with spec and build breakdowns, and some comparisons I haven't really seen run anywhere before, like build popularity on PvE/RP servers versus PvP/RPPvP servers.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Interim Snapshot - Hunters

So far I've imported data for 347,000 characters. Only 2.6 million more to go :P I did a quick scan of the top hunter builds so far and from a spec point of view, the data isn't so far out of whack from what Llew posted awhile back.

The columns of the table are as follows: (sorry for using a link, I can't seem to get the DHTML popups working on Blogger)

  1. Build/Spec - The text is the spec, the link and popup shows the build.
  2. Number with Build - The number of hunters using this exact build.
  3. Number with Spec - The number of hunters that have this spec (X/Y/Z)
  4. Build %age - The percentage of hunters that have this exact build (for this snapshot, that's out of 14000)
  5. Spec %age - The percentage of hunters that have this exact spec.

Later I'll post some snapshots for the other classes. Leave a comment if there's other small bits of information you might be interested in

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Build Diversity

I'm running some queries against the data as it's being updated, and I have to say the thing that surprises me most (even though it shouldn't) is the sheer diversity that's represented once you drill down past "A/B/C". People throw around "cookie-cutter" specs but realistically there's no such thing due to the sheer number of possible builds within a given spec. For example, right this second I've got 283 "41/20/0"-specced Hunters. But of those 283 Hunters, there are 236 unique builds. The most popular build is shared by only 7 characters. I'm trying to come up with a way to calculate the number of possible builds given a particular spec and it makes my head hurt.

New Build Shop up - Druid 0/47/14

WoW Insider has a new Build Shop entry up, this time it's a Feral Druid build - 0/47/14. Check it out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pre 2.1: Most Popular Builds - Warrior

Ok, here we go, last one. "Warrior, come out and play-ay!"..... 2,430 warriors, the largest number of 70s in this pre 2.1 sample. Let's get it on:

  1. 11 characters: 5/5/51 - Clearly a tanking build. Deflection from Arms, Cruelty from Fury, and everything from Protection except Tactical Mastery, Improved Revenge, Improved Disarm, and Improved Shield Bash.
  2. 9 characters: 8/5/48 - crawl up to Improved Thunderclap in Arms, and ditch Improved Bloodrage, Improved Taunt and Improved Shield Wall for Tactical Mastery.
  3. 8 characters: 5/0/56 - Give up on Fury and grab everything from Protection except Tactical Mastery.
  4. 7 characters: 35/23/3 - Enough up Arms for Mortal Strike, but I don't know enough about warriors to comment beyond that. Regardless, seems like an odd distribution, numerically.
  5. 6 characters: 11/0/50 - Another Protection build, it adds Improved Heroic Strike to Arms, and all over Protection except Improved [Bloodrage, Revenge, Disarm, Taunt, Shield Bash]. Warriors have GOT to be sick of saying the word improved....

41/2,430 warriors, and only 1.6% represented in the top 5 builds. Now that 2.1 is live, I'll be crunching data on the 2.5 million characters I have queued up. I suspect it'll be a while. :)

Pre 2.1: Most Popular Builds - Warlock

1,712 Warlocks. Another class with high diversity in builds:

  1. 11 characters: 7/43/11 - Heavy Demonology with enough Destruction to get Shadowburn and Affliction to get 2/2 Improved Lifetap.
  2. 8 characters: 7/7/47 - Same smattering of Affliction, 2/2 Improved Healthstone and 5/5 Demonic Embrace from Demonology, then all the way up Destruction (thanks Ino) to get Shadowfury.
  3. 8 characters: 6/44/11 - Variant on 1. Drop Improved Lifetap to 1/2 in order to get 1/3 Mana Feed from Demonology.
  4. 8 characters: 5/41/15 - Ditch Improved Lifetap, strip Demonology to just enough to get your Felguard, Then throw the rest in Devastation for critical goodness.
  5. 8 characters: 0/40/21 - Sacrifice the Felguard in order to get up to Ruin.

43/1,712 for 2.5% representation. One more class, coming up!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pre 2.1: Most Popular Builds - Shaman

852 Shamans, the lowest represented class in the small Pre-2.1 sample. Let's take a look.

  1. 24 characters: 0/5/56 - Restoration with a smidge of Enhancement for a bit of extra mana.
  2. 14 characters: 0/5/56 - A minor variant of 1, swapping in Totemic Focus for Nature's Guardian.
  3. 8 characters: 0/0/61 - Gives up the Enhancement to keep both Totemic Focus and Nature's Guardian.
  4. 6 characters: 0/5/56 - Another variant of 1, only 1/3 Focused Mind in order to get 2/2 Improved Reincarnation.
  5. 4 characters: 0/42/19 - Our last build is Enhancement-oriented instead.

56/852 Shamans, that's 6.5%. A healthy percentage compared to other classes.

Pre 2.1: Most Popular Builds - Rogue

1,913 capped Rogues. And I thought Hunters couldn't make up their minds. Here's the top 5 Rogue builds:

  1. 4 characters: 17/44/0 -Assassination/Combat. I have a level 2 Rogue. 'Nuff said.
  2. 4 characters: 17/44/0 - Assassination/Combat. 3/5 Lightning Reflexes instead of 3/3 Improved Gouge, above.
  3. 4 characters: 15/41/5 - Everyone gets love, sorta. Subtlety gets a 5/5 Opportunity at Assassination and Combat's expense.
  4. 3 characters: 41/20/0 - Assassination/Combat. Just enough to get 5/5 Dual Wield Specialization.
  5. 3 characters: 19/42/0 - Again, Assassination/Combat, but Sword Specialization gets the full 5/5 love here to bump it to 42.

18/1,913 Rogues accounted for in the top 5. Not even 1%. The sign of a class that can't make up its mind, or a well-designed tree with significant flexibility?

Pre 2.1: Most Popular Builds - Priest

You know the drill: 1,849 level 70 priests. And the top 5 builds are:

  1. 25 characters: 0/0/61 - Over the Discipline, past the Holy, nothing but Shadow. Everything in the tree except Shadow Resilience.
  2. 10 characters: 0/0/61 - Second verse, same as the first. Skips Improved Fade instead.
  3. 9 characters: 7/0/54 - Ditches both of the above and Spirit Tap in favor of Unbreakable Will and everybody's favorite talent, Improved Power Word: Fortitude.
  4. 8 characters: 23/38/0 - Discipline/Holy. It looks like Discipline is just to get Improved Divine Spirit, which makes it impossible to climb up all the way to Circle of Healing Holywise.
  5. 7 characters: 0/2/59 - 2/2 Healing Focus, then all over Shadow. This one kind of confuses me since going almost entirely Shadow implies to me that the character would be in Shadowform almost always but it's been awhile since I pulled out my priest so I could be wrong.

59/1,849 represented in the top 5 priest builds. Just under 3.2%. What do you think about these builds?

Pre 2.1: Most Popular Builds - Paladin

Next up, Paladins. 1,457 level 70s. Here's the breakdown:

  1. 18 characters: 41/20/0 - Holy/Protection. I'm guessing this is a Healadin build. The focus seems to be on bumping up healing as much as possible, and using Protection talents to build up auras and overall buff utility.
  2. 13 characters: 0/49/12 - Protection/Retribution. Tank build, since the Retribution talents focus on mana efficiency, Parry and pumping out Judgements.
  3. 10 characters: 41/20/0 - A variant on 1. Ditches Aura Mastery and 1/3 Blessed Life in favor of filling out 2/2 Improved Blessing of Wisdom. Also switches from 5/5 Improved Devotion Aura to 5/5 Redoubt.
  4. 7 characters: 50/11/0 - Holy with just enough Protection to get BoK. Pretty much every heal/buff oriented talent has been taken.
  5. 7 characters: 41/20/0 - Yet another Holy/Prot build. The Holy spec from 1, and the Prot spec from 3.

55/1,457 Paladins represented, just under 3.8%. Pallies, what say you?

Pre 2.1: Most Popular Builds - Mage

As the world finishes up downloading 2.1 (hopefully you got everything except maybe the last 7MB) I'll bust out a few more class comparisons. Without further ado, the top 5 Mage builds from a sample size of 2,216:

  1. 39 characters: 10/48/3 - From Arcane, Tier 1 provides some target resistance reduction in the form of 2/2 Arcane Subtlety and 3/5 Arcane Focus. For Tier 2, 5/5 Arcane Concentration helps with mana efficency. From Frost, 3/3 Elemental Precision, which is the only useful talent for Fire mages in the Frost tree. With so much in Fire, it's easier to talk about what's not there. 0/5 Impact, 0/3 Improved Fire Blast, 0/3 Improved Flamestrike and 0/2 Improved Fire Ward. Of those four, Improved Fire Ward seems the most useless.
  2. 36 characters: 10/48/3 - Same essential build, but takes a point from Blazing Speed and puts it in Improved Fireblast instead. Neither of these talents really seem all that, so I'm not surprised by the similarity to the previous build.
  3. 24 characters: 0/0/61 - Full on Frostiness. What's missing? 0/2 Frost Warding and 0/3 Frozen Core. Both minor damage mitigators at best.
  4. 20 characters: 0/0/61 - Frostiness of a different flavor. Frost Warding and Frozen Core are filled up at the expense of 0/5 Arctic Winds, which when full would have reduced your chance to be hit by physical attacks by 5%.
  5. 12 characters: 40/0/21 - An actual hybrid build, Arcane/Frost. It's clear the decision to go Frost is to get Ice Block, and Arcane choices seem focused on improving overall damage.
131/2,216 represented in the top 5, just under 6%. How do these choices compare with yours? Clearly I'm not qualified to discuss these builds. :)

Pre 2.1: Most Popular Builds - Hunter

Just to get it out of the way, Here are the top 5 hunter builds:

  1. 6 characters: 7/45/9 - A Marks build, but steals 5/5 Improved Aspect of the Hawk from BM, and 3/3 from each of Monster Slaying/Humanoid Slaying/Hawk Eye. The Marks talents are pretty much what you'd expect, except the omission of Rapid Killing.
  2. 5 characters: 5/47/9 - Swaps out BM's Focused Fire for Rapid Killing. 'Cause you know, MM Hunters don't need pets. :P
  3. 4 characters: 7/45/9 - Minor adjustments from Build 1. 5/5 Improved Concussive Shot, so these characters are probably on PvP realms.
  4. 4 characters: 7/45/9 - This one's even weirder. 1/5 in Improved Hunter's Mark? 2/2 Go For The Throat, even though there's almost no other talents chosen to improve pet DPS? You got me on this one.
  5. 4 characters: You guessed it, 7/45/9 - 3/5 Improved Arcane Shot? I give up.
So the top 5 builds are shared amongst 16 players out of a total of 2,084. Less than 1% of Hunters represented in this sample. I can only hope this is an anomaly and the full data will show different results. Anyone want to argue in favor of these builds, because I sure can't.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pre 2.1: Most Popular Builds - Druid

Extended maintenance tonight, when it should be rolling. Hmmm...guess BRK was right.

Anyway, since I want to wait for any potential respec fallout from the patch before I start collating build data, I'm going to post the most popular class builds for what data I have (about 16,000 level 70s).

First up is Druids. I have data on 1,653 level 70 druids. While there are less druids than hunters in my small sample, interestingly enough there is a lot more consitency in the druid builds. With the disclaimer that I have never played a druid, I present the top 5 druid builds (with noobish commentary):

  1. 41 characters: 0/0/61 - Full on Restoration. Not a single point in either Feral or Balance. Since it's easier to talk about what wasn't taken instead of what was, here you go. 0/5 in Furor and 1/3 in Natural Shapeshifter. Generally speaking these seem like the least healing oriented talents in the tree, so I'm not surprised.
  2. 27 characters: 0/0/61 - Again, full on Resto, but the placement is ever so slightly different. Furor is still 0/5 (combat forms ftl) but instead Improved Tranquility is ignored (0/2).
  3. 22 characters: 1/0/60 - What Balance talent could possibly be important enough to completely toss Natural Shapeshifter aside? Nature's Grasp!
  4. 21 characters: 1/49/11 - A Feral build takes the number 4 spot. Balance's only contribution is again Nature's Grasp, and Restoration this time close to an inverse of the top builds, taking 5/5 Furor, 5/5 Naturalist, and 1/1 Omen of Clarity. Feral is almost completely full except for Feral Aggression 0/5 and Nurturing Instinct 0/2.
  5. 21 characters: 1/46/14 - A minor variant on the previous build. 3 points are taken to wipe out Primal Tenacity and fill in Natural Shapeshifter. Presumably the thought here is that Feral druids need to shift a lot so that helps them catch a break.
The top 5 druid builds represent 142 out of 1,653 characters. At close to 8.6%, that's not too shabby. If you're not too busy patching up when you read this, all you druids represent.

Welcome to the Build Mine!

Like the title says, welcome to the Build Mine. In this blog, I'll be talking about World of Warcraft character builds (initially talents, then getting into gear builds as well) and applying statistical information gleaned from the Armory. I'm in the process of crunching the data, and I currently have 2.0 build information for 81,000 characters of which 16,000 are level 70, and I have about 2.5 million characters to process data for once 2.1 goes live. That's for the US alone. After that I'll be analyzing the European and Asian regions.

Until the Armory came along, everyone discussed talent builds in terms of trees: 41/20/0, 31/20/10, what have you. Now with the ability to see exactly what everyone has selected, we can drill down to the individual talent level, where there is an extreme amount of diversity. For example, I did a quick comparison of the approximately 2,000 (out of 16,000) level 70 hunters in my pre-2.1 data gathering, and out of all those hunters, The most popular build is shared by 6 characters. *6*! And I know BigRedKitty will freak out when he sees that build, since it's 6th on Llew's pass at crunching his data. However, with my sample size only being 0.3% of all the character information I'll have soon, I don't expect that to be the most popular build once all the data is crunched. That crunch will probably happen this weekend, as I suspect a fair number of players will be respeccing after 2.1 goes in, which is expected for tomorrow.

Who am I? a 41/10/0 level 60 hunter with 3 level 60 and a level 64 alt. I haven't had nearly as much time to play in the past year as the year before, as my son was born just over a year ago. That has pretty much precluded me from raiding or pretty much running any instance at all. I'm not casual by any stretch of the word, but I'm far from hardcore. I'm interested in game mechanics and social design, not only in the game itself but in the choices players make with respect to the game. In the end, I want this blog (and the forthcoming website) to be a discussion area for character builds and the rationale behind them. I'm not an expert, but I want to encourage this discussion, across all aspects of the game, be it class, intended goal or anything else that comes to mind. Again, welcome to the mine. We'll be digging deep.