I read a lot of WoW blogs. My feed reader keeps track of somewhere between 70-80 different blogs. On many of those blogs, we get to read about the author’s efforts in Ulduar hard modes, downing Yogg-Saron, getting the Twilight Vanquisher title, or grabbing T9 gear.
Yet, I feel that these blogs, while entertaining and fascinating, do not represent the majority of players. That got me thinking – where is the average player these days?
Warcraft Census shows that there are just under three million level 80 characters in the US and EU servers. This doesn’t represent three million players because many players have multiple toons at 80. There is no way to tell how many, so its just guesswork from here. Lets say that is somewhere between 2-2.5 million players with a level 80 character, just as an estimate.
Guildprogress.com tracks just over 160,000 US and EU guilds that have at least some level of progression in WotLK raids. How many level 80 players is that? How many of those guilds are defunct? How much player overlap is there between rated guilds? I don’t know of any way to tell. If this represents a mix of 10 and 25 man raiding guilds, and every 10-man guild has 15 raiders, and every 25 man guild had 30 raiders, then 160,000+ guilds would account for well over two million raiders.
Rough estimates, I know, and I could be off by a million or so players in any direction. The implication here, though, is that the majority of players who have a level 80 character have done at least some level of raiding, even if it is just OS 10 or Naxx 10.
That is a strong testament to Blizzard’s philosophy of making raiding accessible.
But does that continue on to higher levels of raiding? Not exactly.
Guildprogress only tracks 94k guilds that have kills in Ulduar 10. That’s than 60% of the number of guilds that have progressed in OS or Naxx. We can extend that to the number of players, and assume that maybe 60% of the players have done any Ulduar raiding.
Guildprogress tracks only 36k guilds in the US and EU that have any progress in Trial of the Crusader 10-man normal. That is 22% of the number of guilds that had kills in Naxx or OS. Thus, we can say that maybe 1/4 or fewer of the players with a level 80 character have gone into ToC at any difficulty level.
So what is a typical player these days? Most players have a max-level character. The majority of those have been in either Naxxramas or Obsidian Sanctum to some extent. Somewhere between half to two-thirds of them have done Ulduar raids, and maybe a quarter have done any of ToC.
Very, very few are fully clearing Ulduar. 1600 guilds were listed with Algalon kills. That’s a tiny fraction – about 1% of the tracked guilds. Somewhere around 15-16k guilds have Yogg kills – around 10% of tracked guilds.
Conclusion (and yes, its on shaky numerical ground)… while Blizzard can proudly say that most players have had raiding available to them, there are still places that will remain unseen by the majority of the player base. Yogg-Saron, Algalon, and the ToC bosses past the Faction Champions, for example, are still elusive heights where many players will never tread.