Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Playing with numbers thanks to Tim Howgego

A few days ago I asked myself in a post how many times a night Yogg-Saron is killed.
I still don't know the answer to that question, but at least I've got an idea about the opposite - how many characters that are killed by him every night.

On August 12 his guardians were responsible for 98 602 deaths on the European realms. If you divide this between approximately 100 European realms and suppose that the average raid has 17 players and does 7 wiping attempts at him, I would come to the conclusion that there are around 8 raids during a mid-week raiding night at each realm that manages to go as far as to Yogg-Saron. How many of those raids that will succeed is another issue. One or two perhaps?

So where did I get this figure about 98 602 deaths? Did I secretly "mine" some hidden files? Have I found myself an anonymous source leaking information to me? No. I got it from a dark and forgotten corner of the official website of Blizzard. (You'll find the US equivalence here.)

At the same site I can also see that the most created item in the game is a saronite bar, with about 2 millions of them made every night. That is probably needed though, since it's the second most sold item at AH, after infinite dust.

We've all got the feeling that emblems are raining over us these days and we're absolutely right; Emblems of Conquest is the most looted item together with frostweave cloth!

And even though many bloggers have testified about their complete lack of interest in jousting, and how completely out of place it is from a lore/RP perspective, it remains popular; the top list over the most popular quests is completely dominated by the Argent Tournament dailies.

This database managed to spellbind me for quite a while and I'm convinced that other bloggers can find input to blogposts if they check it out. The only thing I regret is that it's limited to six categories. I'm convinced that Blizzard has many other figures available; the question is only what they bother to share with us.

Tim Howgego
Now, I didn't find this well of statistics at the WoW website all by myself. Someone did it for me: Tim Howgego. Tim is something as unusual as a blogger who presents himself with his full name and a picture of himself. He looks like a schoolboy, but his innocent looks is just an illusion. He's got a brilliant mind. He presents himself, not so humble, as an "independent analyst, consultant, writer and thinker". And that is exactly what he is. He's far more than an ordinary blogger.

You say you've never heard of the guy? Well, actually you probably have. Tim is more known as the man behind the best source of information ever about fishing in WoW, El's Extreme Anglin'. Are you with me now?

In my opinion Tim Howgego has written some of the most interesting blogposts ever done about MMO-gaming. His analysis are very well thought out and always supported with notes about what sources and methods he has used. Still you won't find him in the blogroll of PPI for the simple reason that he is completely unreliable. He can write a brilliant post or two quickly after each other and then suddenly disappear, not posting a word for seven months. This makes a poor ground for a solid audience for his blog and he will inevitably fall for the two-months-without-an-upgrade limit I have put on my roll.

If it wasn't for the fact that Tim Howgego commented on my post yesterday I wouldn't have found out that he's currently actively blogging again and that he has written a few very interesting pieces this summer, which I sincerely advice you to read. So thank you for commenting Tim, not only that your comment was very well put, but also for letting me know that you're still around blogging.

It was in Tim's latest post, Where we fish, that I found the link to the Blizzard statistics. In this article he shows how much you can do with this kind of statistics if you combine it with creativity, game knowledge and an analytical mind. Read the post and you'll get the complete picture about the habits and thinking of the fishing people in Azeroth. I bet you'll be as charmed and intrigued as I was by this reading.


Klepsacovic said...

I found his blog after noticing you responding to his comment, it does look very interesting.

Svenn said...

Thanks for sharing the stats link. I have been looking for something like this for awhile. I will be checking out Tim's blog too.

Anonymous said...

nice stat link Larisa :)

Heres another one: http://www.warcraftrealms.com/index.php

Tells you all you need to know about realms and the ppl in them. For char info just type in top right hand corner search box :P

Cacknoob (Aion player)

Fitz said...

Tim is my hero for the insightful work on fishing alone, but fishing in Azeroth is kind of a small niche or clique for those of us who enjoy it.

Considering August 12 is a raid reset day for European realms, I'm guessing the numbers go up for Yogg as the week goes on. Maybe something else to look at, as it's pretty amazing if 8 raids per server make it to Yoggy on night 1 of the raiding week (discounting extended lockouts).

Also thanks for the inspiration on the guild anniversary event. We ran our own version last weekend and it was stellar!

Tesh said...

Aye, Tim has some great articles posted. I do wish he would post more often, but it's hard to be too cranky about it, considering my own somewhat sporadic schedule.

Those lists from Blizzard are definitely interesting. I wish they would give us more; what is there is tantalizingly interesting, but I'd love to see more of the puzzle.

Tim Howgego said...

There are 260 EU realms. I assume all languages are counted within the data. If not, EU realms are 2 or 3 times busier than US realms, which is unlikely. I did try to gauge the importance of raiding by looking at the number of token drops, but it wasn't clear where tokens were coming from.

I'd love to form a "big picture" of what WoW players actually do, and how that probably doesn't relate to where Blizzard put all their development effort. When those official statistics were introduced (after TBC, before dailies), the most popular quests in the game were in the starter area of Elwyn Forest. That's hardcore 10-boar-killing territory. You no take candle!

The official "statistics" are terribly hard to use, because they are not accurately defined. Auctions is the best example: Is that number of auctions, or total number of items auctioned? I *think* it is number of auctions, which means that to make use of the data, one also has to know the average number of items within each auction. The deaths figures is similarly tricky. If your fighting a boss that spawns additional mobs, and the adds kill you, that was really the boss killing you, not the additional mobs.

A few years ago Jessica Mulligan was in Edinburgh talking about how MMOG companies didn't do any serious analysis of their customers, in spite of already generating huge amounts of data. About a year ago Blizzard tried to hire a data producer - someone to bring this type of analysis into the business operations/design process. No idea if they found anyone, but there is a logical evolution apparent.

One wonders if Shattrath/Silvermoon/Exodar would have been devoid of fish if a TBC designers had noticed how popular fishing (presumably) was in the original cities? And if that same pattern doesn't also explain why so much detail is found in Dalaran's fishing?

The quote, "he is completely unreliable. He can write a brilliant post or two quickly after each other and then suddenly disappear," is a pretty good summary of me as a person. El is a demanding gnome, and forces "me" to write to a certain standard, almost immediately. In contrast, my own 'blog is a dumping ground for random thoughts that I feel I can take forever to write/research. And consequently nothing ever gets done!

Oddly, if one applies Maslow-logic to this motivational crisis, the weakest link is at the bottom of the tree - this type of writing doesn't pay the bills. Of course that's not why I think I'm writing under my on name - quite the opposite - I'm writing out of curiosity, maybe also for influence.

Larísa said...

@Cacknoob: oh yeah, that one is nice too! When I look at them it never ceases to surprise me that gnomes are so unpopular, especially compared to NE. It makes me feel rare and special.

@Fitz: oh, my estimations were really not well calculated like the ones of Tim. I bet you're right.
Glad to hear that the guild anniversary thing was inspiring! Counting the days until our next one :)

@Tesh: yeah, I don't know what's stopping Blizzard from giving us more. Laziness, other priorities or maybe some sort of "protecting our business intrests".

@Tim: thank you for the clarifications! Hm... I'm obviously crap at extrapolating numbers. I should have checked the number of realms for one thing. I just lazily looked at how many EU realm forums there are, but either my eyes tricked me, or they haven't made a forum for every realm... However, the intention of this post wasn't to make a brilliant analysis from statistics, only to point out that this resource existed (with its limitations, which I agree about) and - above all - that you had written some new, highly readworthy stuff. I have no idea about how many readers you have, but it's quite rare that I see links to you from other blogs, which is a shame. I wanted to gove some linklove to someone who really, really deserve it.

I just wish I was as passionate about fishing as you are... :)

Tim Howgego said...

Linklove is always appreciated :-) .

Since you asked: My personal 'blog attracts about 2,000 individual people per month. El gets 200,000-300,000. But isn't really a numbers game. These things have different audiences, with different aims.