Thursday, September 6, 2012

5%, 15% and 80%: The Random Player Breakdown

I came up with this numbers about the types of players in randoms using no scientific method, just observation without notes and a complete guess.  I came up with them in a response in one of my posts to something someone else said about bad players.

I would like to see how you see the player breakdown.  Admittedly there are many more types of players but I decided to break them down into three groups.  The good (5%), the capable (15%) and everyone else (80%).

These assessments are for the players we see in randoms and how I would break them down.

The 5%:

These are the people that are either exceptional players or players that try their best to get better.  They do not need to be exceptional but they will at the very least try the absolute best they can to become as good as they can be.  They read, they study, they know.  They use the tools available to them to try and get the most out of their game play and do as good as they can do. 

They are the type of players that had the right spec and not just the cookie cutter spec because the sites said it was best.  They knew why that cookie cutter spec was the best and they knew when they needed to change it for just one fight.  They knew what to remove and what to take, even if it was for only one fight. 

They are the people that have addons that are just for their class or spec to help the perform better at what they do.  They don't just have the standard addons that might be considered normal for most.  They have other things that help.  They spend time working on their craft. 

Tanks that do not just tank the mob but use all their utility as well, they tank the mob and they try to get maximum DPS while doing everything else that is required of a tank.  They take pride in interrupting anything that can be cast.  They take pride in the little things like moving just enough to avoid a melee hit to help the healers, they use their cooldowns even if they don't need to because the more damage you can avoid the better the tank you are.

They are the healer that not only heals, they use the other tools healers have.  Interrupts, purges, and the such.  They are masters at positioning and even masters at aggro.  A good healer knows when healer aggro is generated and will make sure they do not grab stray mobs with it.  They also know that if something is running for them to run to the tank, or behind the hunter knowing that a good hunter can take care of any stray mob.  A good healer will not only know how to heal but how everyone in the group works and how they can use that to their advantage.  They will know which people are going to take what damage before the fight even begins based on the class and the fight mechanics and they have their healing priority set up before it is needed and not in panic mode when everyone starts to take damage because they knew it was coming.

A good damage dealer knows that it is not all about the DPS.  There is a lot more to be done.  A good damage dealer does not blame the tank if they get aggro, they blame themselves because they know they can throttle damage until the tank gets a full hold.  They know that they too have many tools at their disposal and can use them on the fly, they don't need to spend 5 minutes trying to find a rarely used ability when needed because they can tell you without even thinking that their tranquilizing shot is alt-6.  They know that mechanics mean more than DPS.  They will spend time on the dummies for hours on end working on how to get the most out of their class for those times when the DPS does matter more because there are no mechanics that will hinder you from doing everything you can.  They know that sometimes you save those cooldowns for a increased damage phase.

Those people are the 5%, those people are the rare ones.  They don't need to be the best players in the game, they might even appear to be extremely average on the surface but they are part of the 5%.  They are the rare few in the game.  The 5% could be people that are heroic world/server first type players or they could be part time players that never raid.  Your progress in game does not mean you are a 5% or not.  It is your approach to the game, your knowledge of the game and how hard you try to maximize your ability at it that makes you part of the 5%.

The 15%:

These people can span a large range just like the 5% can.  These are the people that might read a little.  They know their best spec because a site they trust said it was best even if they do not understand why it is best.  Or they might even just wing it with whatever they think is best but the key is that they seem to do decently.  They might not always be great but they will always appear as if they are doing the best they can even if they could do better.

You will rarely see one of the 15% and say they suck but you might say they can do better.  That is a key to most 15% players, they do well enough to get most stuff done as well as they could.

These people will often enter a dungeon or raid and have no idea what to expect but they are fast learners and if they wipe once or twice they can pick up on what went wrong and make sure not to do it again.  They also have a fairly good memory and can easily pick out thing that look familiar and adapt from their past experiences with the same mechanics.

Sometimes this can make the 15% player appear to actually be a much better player because they can see something for the first time and do well at it.  It is not so much a skill issue, they are just not idiots and know the basic mechanics.

The average player will fall into this category usually.  They do not read the forums and surely do not read blogs like this one.  They might, at the most, have checked out some top spec sites from google and ended up somewhere like elitist jerks or noxxic and they will have it bookmarked for reference but that is about as far as their research usually goes.

They will be gemmed and enchanted correctly and might even be reforged but they will not be what you would call the ideal example.  Where a 5%er might put a +50 intellect gem in a blue slot the 15% will be more likely to put a +25 intellect / +25 hit because it matches the slot.  They show they know what they are doing, but they do not do it to the same high level someone else might.

These are usually good players, and they might even be heroic raiders and do well at at, but they are not great players.  They might have their moments but they do not sweat the little things like a 5%er would.

They have the basic addons that everyone should have but they will most likely never have the small name ones.  Big name ones they will find with the limited research or just from hearing the names mentioned all the time but a 15% mage will not have combustion helper, a 15% rogue would not have slice admiral, you get the idea.  Those addons are for people that put in the extra effort because even if they do not use them they at least put in the effort to find them to see if they would help.  That is not really a trait of most 15%ers.

When you see someone in a random that seems to have an idea what they are doing but they have crappy gear or weird enchants, but do well, it is most likely a 15%er or a 5%er on an alt.  Most 5%ers would appear to be 15%ers when on alts.  It is hard to tell however, because like I said, the 15%er are what most people would consider the average player.

You can easily do random content with the 15%ers, they are competent players they are just not as well versed as the 5%ers.  Hence the reason we call them average players but looking at the numbers, the fact they are the 15%ers, they are not actually average, they are well above average.  The concept of them being average comes for them being average competent players, not actually average players.

The 80%:

This is where everyone else fits.  This is the majority of the player base.  The 80% includes a wide variety of players.  It includes all the PvPers.  They might be the 5% of the PvPers, they could be amazing at what they do, but they are not PvEers.  They might even do well in some cases in randoms but they are still part of the 80%.  Remember the numbers we heard from blizzard said that nearly 30% of the player base is PvPers mainly, if we can believe that number, which I do.

The other 50% of the 80% can range from decent players to horrible players.  It could include people that used to be good but just don't care any more.  It could include people that play to annoy others, that is how they have their fun.  A wide range of people exist in the 80% and while you can do randoms with them most of the time you would rather not.

Many of the 80% will never enter a fight knowing what to expect.  They figure everything is tank and spank, the idea of mechanics is completely foreign to them even if they noticed that every fight seems to have them they just ignore them.  You see this a lot in LFR from people that think they are good.  5%er and 15%ers know which mechanics you can ignore in random content, 80% think you can ignore them all.

Many of the 80% will not even have the most basic of basic addons like deadly boss mods but it is quite possible they have recount and will spam it after every single fight.  Sometimes even during a fight if they had some high burst at the start and want to show how incredible they are.

Many of the 80% have never read the forums and never will.  They would have no idea where to even find them.  They never once thought to google a question, if the people in the guild do not answer them when they ask in guild chat they just figure no one knows and forget about it.

These people, that 80%, are the reason we no longer have spec choices like we used to.  There were too many of them running around with sub optional specs that blizzard decided to take the option away and give everyone the perfect spec.  Doesn't mean it will help most of them.  You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

It could include people that think they are good and everyone else is bad and it usually does.  If the tank dies because they are wearing PvP gear with no avoidance and has no idea what a cooldown is and then blames the healer, the tank is part of the 80%.  If a damage dealer with a 400 item level goes off on a mob when the tank is barely capable of being in the dungeon with a 330 item level and gets aggro and then blames the tank, the damage dealer is part of the 80%.  Usually anyone that blames someone else for something they could have fixed themselves is part of the 80%.  It is a safe bet to say if anyone ever complains about someone else in a way like the above examples that they are a sure part of the 80%, yes, even if they have heroic kills, they can still be part of the 80% because as I said before progress does not dictate which percentage someone fits in.

Many of the people in the 80% are just there to have fun.  They want to go in, hit a few buttons, kill some internet dragons and go about their day doing whatever else they have planned.  They do not look for challenge, they do not look for achievements or accolades, they just want to play and have some fun and I see absolutely nothing wrong with that even if I view fun a different way because I can understand that.  It is all fine and dandy to want to play just for tun except for one thing, blizzard did not design randoms to be just for fun, they designed them for people to work as a group and if you get to many 80%ers in one group it could make the random impossible. 

That is why they are the 80%.  Because randoms were not designed for them, but they should have been.  Blizzard designed the random content for the 5%ers and somewhat for the 15%ers.  Some could still give 15%ers problems, even more so at gear level.

Not saying you can not do random content with 80%ers, you can.  It is just not always fun and rarely smooth.  You can do the content with them but would you really want to?

In the end, in randoms, I would say that 80% of the players are the bad players, the just for fun players, the player vs player players and the assorted grief as their fun player types.

With that said I have three questions.

What break down would you have for the randoms using the concepts I outlined?
5% = The Good, 15% = The Capable, 80% = Everyone Else

Being the 80% are the majority, shouldn't the content be designed for them instead of us?

Don't you think that the new talent systems seem more like they were designed for the 5% and 15% instead of the 80% like they said they were being designed for?


  1. I disagree with lumping all pvp players in the 80% as I think they split among similar lines as pve. However, when pvp players come into pve content then yes we've all had those tanks who are completely pvp geared and don't care that that's bad. Although I've had at least one fully pvp geared tank that was brilliant, though they were a dk. I was healing and I didn't have to do very much. On the whole yeah when looking at it from the pve side pvpers would be in that 80%.

    Anyway, I'm split with your question about who the content should be designed for. If everything was designed for the 80% then they wouldn't like it either. It would be too faceroll. The HoT's to me are faceroll and I'm not a hardcore player, I just pay attention. However, I have been in groups that have struggled to manage them. If designing for the 80% those dungeons would be even easier and then would the 5% or the 15% want to play?

    I mean the 80% are playing the game how it is. I think that there's a good balance now. I mean if you listen to the community the new talents are simultaneously easy mode and too hard.

    For those that say it's easy mode it's because there's only 6 choices, one every 15 levels. That less means it's less complicated. There are some reasonable people who point out that 99% of people googled, and used the optimum cookie cutter spec. Yes for those who pushed the envelope they might change a talent or two but 99% used cookie cutter. So far these new talents don't have a consensus on all of them as to what's best, a lot of them have situational written after them. To me the new talents are better as there is a choice. It shows that you know what you're doing if you have to explain why you picked one over another. I like the new talent system. When you described your 5% the only thing that I couldn't apply to me was moving a point. I'm not the best player in the world but I do try my best.

    The complaints about it being too hard are from those 80% who don't want to choose, who want to be told what's best, so they can plug it in and forget about it. Yes the new system is more unfriendly to them than the old one. However, there aren't any true dealbreakers on the new system. You could pick anything and it doesn't drastically affect performance. What it does do is separate those that know what they're doing from those that don't. I don't see that as a bad thing as those that don't aren't losing anything. Those that do are gaining something.

    I think my breakdown would be very similar to yours only rather than lumping pvp into the 80% I'd just remove them entirely. Pretend for the purposes of this pve analysis that they don't exist. Those pvp who would get into the 80% would be those that try to pve but in pvp gear without any clue as to what they're doing. I might split the top 5% a little more so you'd have the stand out 1%. Then the next 5% are the ones that try their best, although the performance might not be the best. Then the next 15% who could be in the 5% if they wanted, who might be more skilled than some in the 5% but who are willing to coast along most of the time. This 15% are probably the people that moan on the forum all the time about how elite they are, and how they want a return to TBC. Then there's the next 75% or the rest of the world, who just want to chill out, chat with friends and kill internet dragons. Then there's the bottom 5%, the scum, the people who abuse others and troll for their kicks.

    On the whole though I think we share the same pessimism as to the warcraft community. Your breakdown is pretty much what I think as I said above. A very insightful post.

    1. The PvPers are split the same way, in their venue. I am talking random dungeon. So it is not their venue. Hence the reason I put them in the 80%. Just like I would be in the 80% in their venue. Sure I know a little here and there and I might be able to hold my own against another lesser skilled player but I am not a PvPer, I am a 80%er in the PvP world just as they would be an 80%er in the PvE one. As I see it at least.

      Changing things from being for the 20% to being for the 80% does not need to be dramatic. Take Azshara for instance. For the 20% it is easy but I have been in groups that could wipe over and over and over on it and never get it. Three small changes and it would be for the 80%. No interrupt needed. Half life on the hand. And last but not least, that one move the mage does that really hurts everyone, lower the damage. That is how you turn 20% content into 80% content.

      Lets face it, once we do something and learn it and beat the challenge it is done, we do not feel challenged a second time we do it once we know it. Randoms are just repetitive things we do to get valor or gear up alts later on. There is no reason for them to be for the 20%. It would not hurt the game in any way, shape or form to design random content you do with random player for the 80% of the players that will be in them.

      As for the changes I am one that dislikes them but that does not mean I am part of the 80%, it just means I do not like them. Let me have a moment to explain if you will.

      They added (by 90) 4, or 5 for the non MM hunter, new abilities to a rotation that was already all about timing thus throwing off the timing. Okay, perhaps that is no big deal. I ran a few randoms, played on the dummies for a few hours, changed a few key binds and did an LFR and guess what, I can now do it near perfectly, but I still hate it.

      The reason I hate it is because it is a bunch of clutter for a class that already has at least sixteen things they can use on a regular basis and at least nine they would use on every fight. There was no need to add more.

      Worse then that is the fact that our signature shots, chimera for MM and explosive shot for SV, have been basically dismantled. They went from being our #1 damage dealing shot to our number four, at best, all because they had to nerf the hell out of it to make the new abilities worth using. So they stripped the individuality of the spec to nothing just so we could have more buttons to do the same DPS. It was nothing but clutter.

      Survival is so bad now that our signature shot is no longer useful unless it is on proc. Something you always needed to hit on cooldown because it was your big spell is now useless.

      That would be the same as telling an arcane mage that blast was now useless, or a prot warrior that shield slam generates no aggro, or a restoration shaman that riptide no longer heals but it still looks pretty damn awesome.

      They stripped the specs of their identity just to make the other abilities attractive to us as options but how it turned out is they are not options, we have to use them or do badly. So they cluttered up hunters, stripped them of their identity and let them sim as three of the four worst specs in the game for DPS.

      That is why I dislike it. I adjusted, sure, any good hunter would, but that does not mean I have to like it. The changes were horrible for hunters. At the very least our signature shots should still be our signature shots and not something that does less damage over a fight than arcane, steady/cobra and even auto shot. It is just wrong.

      Rant over. Thanks for letting me vent. :)

    2. Right I hadn't really thought that maybe other classes had got shafted. I have a hunter but it's not my main or even my main alt. I haven't really played it much since 5.0.4, just a couple of sunwell trips where my pet died to trash aoe, I swear it didn't do that before. Anyway I like it a lot but I'd be in the 80% with it probably as I haven't dedicated any time to properly understanding it. I follow a few guides, got an addon to watch my focus regeneration (including what I was adding with steady shot) so I wouldn't miss being able to hit explosive shot on cd (I was survival). I was amazed actually at how high the dps could get so early. As an 82-83 I could pull 12k on boss fights.

      Anyway I'm sorry as I was looking at the new talent system through the eyes of my main, a paladin. Our talents are pretty good, though there's some clear winners depending on role, as I guess with hybrid there's going to be some you obviously would never pick for one role, that would be the no brainer for another.

      I actually hadn't thought about what you said about it becoming routine. Yes that's true so yeah you've properly converted me to thinking that dungeons should be for the 80%. Before I was thinking the HoT's were enough but then Azshara can be a real pain. Whatever role I am I do the interrupting as unless I'm with a guildmate I can't trust anyone else. As a tank it's usually a blow everything boss. Anyway yeah I'm with you on that now. I was hesitant but I said that the challenge and the gear reward should perhaps be separated, so the challenge could remain for those that want it, and not impede those that don't. Yup I completely agree.

    3. I've tanked a few dungeons with my paladin since 5.0.4 and I must say I like it. I miss some of the abilities they lost, a lot, but over all it is not so bad.

      From a button feel I think it was the least disrupted with my paladin and my shaman healer. They seem, for the most part, to be basically the same with close to the same amount of buttons I needed before. So the transition with them was easy.

      Shaman healer was #1 in the ease of adjustment department. Quite honestly I could have just went about doing things just like I did before and not even looked at the changes and done just fine. I liked that.

      While I have adjusted to the hunter changes and have actually gotten to the point I am seeing things even out numbers wise and in some cases be better. I still hate the changes as they were not needed, make clutter and remove identity in my opinion.

      You are like most people as I am in the minority that seems to think of random dungeons as part of a redundant grind. Glad to see I have turned someone to the dark side. lol

  2. I would consider myself a 15 per center, capable but not great. Good enough to clear Firelands on Normal before 4.3 but not good enough to get far in the Heroic version.
    The point is this: when 4.3 first hit, I was geared enough to start LFR straight away. And it was a PLEASURE! But as soon as the 80 % caught up? Well, I don't run LFR anymore. It's not fun and it has nothing to do with the content and everything to do with the lolling, trolling filth that have ruined it.

    1. I would put myself in the same category. Might be on the lower end of the 5% but only because I read a lot so sometimes know things others might not. On my non-hunters I am a 15%er for sure and feel the same.

      That first day of LFR it was fantastic. I had the worst fears it would be horrible, bad players, bad attitudes, people that didn't follow mechanics, didn't understand mechanics, played to grief others, would not have a real leadership, would have loot grief, people rolling on things to trade or sell or just keep from others. I expected so much bad stuff from it and I was wrong on every single count.

      Then the 80% caught up and it seemed I was dead on accurate and in fact it was 100 times worse than I had guessed it would be.

      Content is not designed for the 80% and as much of a supporter I am that everyone should be able to do everything, I really do believe that, the 80% are not capable of it and should not be allowed in. At all.