Class Survey Analysis

Lots of great articles have been written analysing the Warhammer Alliance class survey. I wanted to look at the most popular current classes and what (if anything) the trends mean. Firstly, here’s a spreadsheet with some colours and stuff. It’s really not any more informative than the one that Snafzg did at The Greenskin but I wanted to drill in further to class popularity.

Summary

3712 readers of Warhammer Alliance voted so far. It’s not representative of the average player, all of these people have played MMORPGs before and tend to the hardcore end of the hobby. Many of them will form the kernel of hardcore guilds when the game goes live. They are likely to be influential or represent other people who are. The majority are not in beta so are basing their opinions on press releases and interviews.

As experienced MMORPG players, they are more intrigued by the classes which sound most novel or different to current archetypes. Mythic’s view of healers as non-one-trick-ponys is appealing to a lot of voters.

They preferred Destruction over Order to the tune of 59%: 41%.

Of the people who preferred Destruction, significantly more of them voted for tank and healer classes than did for dps.

Of the people who preferred Order, healers and dps were evenly split with tanks falling behind in popularity.

Greenskins are the most popular race, Dwarfs the least popular. (This does not bode well for dwarf/greenskin scenarios and starting areas, hopefully it will be easy to draft in some White Lions and Warrior Priests to help out.)

Most popular classes

Destruction: Shaman, Chosen, Black Orc, Blackguard, Zealot, Disciple

Order: White Lion, Warrior Priest, Witch Hunter, Shadow Warrior, Engineer, Runepriest

Both realms, by percentage of race: Shaman, White Lion, Warrior Priest, Chosen, Blackguard, Engineer

(ie. Black Orc got more votes in total than Blackguard, but a higher percentage of the people who picked Dark Elf went for the Blackguard than Greenskin players did for the Black Orc. These are the classes that are currently most likely to attract people to play their race/faction.)

What does a class preference mean right now?

It’s a popularity vote. People are voting based on “look and feel” of a class as well as what we know about class mechanics and gameplay.

The Destruction tanks got a lot of votes despite not really being the focus of the PR. We know very little about the Black Orc and Blackguard, but people like them better than some of the classes we do know. So those are players who like the look and feel of Destruction and want to play a heavily armoured melee tank-type. It doesn’t matter to them that Mythic haven’t released any information yet, but if it turns out that those tanks are low dps (which tanks often are) and can’t be of much use in a keep siege (which tanks often aren’t) then there may be some rethinks.

The Order side was more predictable, the classes with less information out did get fewer votes. So for that realm, more information really is converting people to Order. The popularity of the White Lion shows that very clearly.

Really, on the Order side, the coolest sounding classes got the most votes. Witch Hunter, White Lion, Warrior Priest, these are all very iconic classes with interesting sounding mechanics.

On the Destruction side, I don’t really understand the popularity of the Chosen and Black Orc. And no love for the semi-naked elf assassin chicks either. Or the squig herder, which may just be sounding a little fussy for people right now.

Biggest Surprise

For me, the surprise was the Bright Wizard being so unpopular. I had thought that the fireball casting wizard was a pretty popular archetype, and should do well in standoffs and keep sieges also.

Destruction being more popular than Order among hardcore fans doesn’t greatly surprise me. PvP nuts tend to go for the more badass looking faction and that’s what they’ve done here too. I hope that Mythic will share some ideas before the game goes live on how they plan to handle faction imbalances to keep the game fast, fun, and fair. And this is really a make or break issue for the whole game.

My Thoughts

As someone who planned to go Order anyway, I’m not concerned greatly about this. 60:40 is manageable odds and I’d rather be on the side that actually brings some dps along to PvP 🙂

I do look forwards to hearing more about tanks and how Mythic plans for them to take a role in PvP. We’ve has inklings that they’ll have some crowd control (like, snares) to bring to the table but so far the podcasts have focussed more on the dps and healers.

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9 Responses

  1. Regardless of population balance, I’m worried that Destruction is going to dominate because the bad guys traditionally attract the more experienced and dedicated PvPers.

    If you look at the Ettenmoors in LotRO, the difference in organisation on my server between the creeps and the freeps is like night and day. Admittedly, the only reason the creeps can hold their own against an equal number of freeps is through better organisation, so perhaps the dominated side in WAR will soon learn to pull their socks up.

    However the chips fall, EA Mythic need to have robust mechanisms in place to ensure that one side does not constantly dominate. A perpetually losing side is going to bleed players, not attract them, thus aggravating the imbalance. People can endure losing most of the time as long as they get to win some of the time.

    Regarding Tanks, a little bird told me that they may be getting some very nice abilities to make them more viable in PvP..

  2. Err, that should probably be “the difference in organisation on my server between the freeps and the creeps is like night and day.”

  3. I think it’ll come down to a server by server comparison, which is why it’ll be interesting to watch. There’ll be advantages and disadvantages to each side, but I share some of your concerns.

    One thing to remember though, is that all the ‘hardcore’ fans of the game who’ve ordered the CE for early access will probably fall into the same category of players as those that voted in this poll – leaving more casual converts to perhaps join other servers which open as the early access ones get full up very quickly. So I think that’s a way that might help us out a little. (did that make sense? It completely does in my mind and I can add to this later in an actual blog post).

    I do agree with Spinks that 60:40 isn’t too horrendous, and that these numbers are likely to shift as we hear more about each class, and a truer picture will be gained when the CE players get into open beta and vote again, having tested their choices.

  4. Yeah, you’re probably right.

    I’d be very surprised if Bright Wizards stayed at their current level of popularity, and Hammerers too when people start to see them in action. I also reckon that Chosen will end up being much less popular than the poll indicates because of their ‘twisting’ mechanic.

    When Warhammer Alliance do another one of these polls during open beta, to will be very interesting to see how things have changed since this poll. Indeed, someone should definitely write a blog post about it 😉

  5. […] …but Book of Grudges will certainly end it! […]

  6. The MMORPG genre has been growing for over a decade now and many player have racked up a fair bit of experience. The Bright Wizard might appeal to someone new to the scene but I think the older players have “been there, done that.” Many people have been using the argument that people will play what they’re familiar with in WAR but I don’t think it’s as black and white as that. Many people see the opportunity for a “fresh start” with a new MMORPG. They’ve invested years in their WoW tank so why would they make another one in WAR? If they try something new and hate it, they can always reroll something that’s more familiar or just simply go back to WoW.

    The squig herder is a bit of a conundrum but I think it might simply come down to “Wow, that looks complicated.” Having to deal with pets and range is definitely for the more advanced MMORPG player (if you want to do it well of course – anyone can do it poorly).

    As for Order having a poor tank ratio, it kind of makes sense to me. We know almost nothing about the KotBS and what we do know sounds pretty standard. The Swordmaster may share the Black Orc mechanic but elves just don’t seem very warrior-like from a traditional sense. I don’t even think you could be a NE/BE warrior in WoW. I don’t think you could be one in DAOC either. Finally, the Ironbreaker seems like it has potential, unforuntately, it’s in the least popular realm.

  7. Make that “unfortunately.”

    And great analysis btw! I like your spreadsheet breakdown as well!

  8. Some good points Snafzg, here and in the analysis on your own blog.

    You made the point that many players may be looking for a fresh start in WAR when it comes to classes. I wonder how many may be thinking the same thing about playing as the ‘bad guys’. For many, if not most potential WAR players, WoW will have been their formative MMO. As new players, they were more likely to be drawn to the ‘good guys’, but a few years down the line and they may have purged ‘the Legolas effect’ out of their system.

    Indeed, we can probably assume that, unlike WoW, the vast majority of new WAR players will be relatively experienced MMO players. I can’t imagine WAR attracting a whole load of new MMO players that haven’t already been tempted into the genre by WoW. I’m just not sure that there is another great untapped demographic out there beyond the one Blizzard so successfully tapped into a few years ago.

  9. I think the popularity of the Chosen-Black Orc-Witch Elf combination wasn’t too hard to predict. They look badass. Although it has been stated by beta testers that the Chosen doesn’t do as high dps as previously thought they still have HUGE swords with HUGE shoulder pads. Black Orc, same story with fangs and muscles. And the Witch Elf… Well, anatomy would be my guess. I mean who hasn’t rolled an elven chick before just to see her shakin’ it?

    The thing I don’t understand is the low popularity of the Dwars. I mean sure, even in WOW they were the least played race, but c’mon, in Warhammer they are proud, drunk, dirty, tough, drunk, and wield a huge hammer. What more could a guy of Irish/Scottish descent want?

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