Which server is the most active? Which time is the best to search for 1on1 or 4on4 games on Battle.net? Is it easier to find games in 2on2 or 4on4? These are some of the questions that people often ask in Wc3 forums.
Bearand did some amazing research on the Wc3 games played on Bnet and uploaded the results on his website https://arranged.team. Thanks to his results, we can finally get a better idea of activity on Battle.net and find optimal hours to play our favorite game.
Let's check out some of his interesting findings and have a brief talk with bearand himself!
Firstly, I will talk about some of the numbers for Northrend since this is where most of the Western community plays. I encourage you to check out the original website and look for some additional information yourself. If you have already read the stats, make sure to read the short interview with bearand himself at the bottom!
From January to March, there were usually somewhere between 6.000 and 8.500 solo, random team or arranged team games played each day.
There was a huge drop at the beginning of April which according to bearand was caused by the introduction of Patch 1.28. I knew the patches were causing issues but I had no idea about the extent. We're talking about a drop of roughly 50% in activity! Luckily, is seems that the scene is recovering as the trend goes up again. Nowadays, we are moving towards 5.000 daily games which is still less than before 1.28 though.
An interesting observation is that neither Kalimdor, Azeroth or Lordaeron were affected in the same extent. Maybe Northrend was affected more due to the issue with foreign characters in the file path but this is just speculation.
Let's talk about which gametype is being played most. During the time that bearand has observed Battle.net ladder, around 750.000 TFT games were played. Here are the shares of each gametype:
In terms of games played, 1on1 is by far the most played gametype followed by 4on4 RT with a close 3rd in 2on2 RT. However, if we take into account the amount of players involved in each gametype (example: there are 8 players in a 4on4 game but just 2 in a 1on1), the pie chart would look differently:
In terms of people involved in a game, 4on4 RT is played significantly more than 1on1 on Northrend. (I think it was Parasect who pointed this out on Reddit first.)
All these numbers can differ greatly when compared to other servers. For instance, 4on4 is not popular at all on Lordaeron. People play 3on3 instead. And you can forget about playing any AT formats or FFa there. You should definitely check out the differences about these servers on bearand's website.
So when it actually the best time to play on Battle.net? Bearand included heat maps to see which hours are the most promising to find games on each server. You can check them out here.
Now let's have a quick chat with the guy who is giving us these great statistics:
Hey Bearand, thanks for your amazing work. Could you tell us who you are and what led you to do research on this matter?
Bearand: My name's Tyler Kerr, my handle is bearand, and I'm a network security engineer from Toronto. I've been playing war3 with the same group of friends since 2006, and we almost exclusively play 3v3 and 4v4 arranged team. I started on the project a few weeks ago when my friends and I noticed we were basically unable to find any arranged team games anymore - it's been tough to find 4v4 AT for years now, but up until earlier this year we were able to find at least 3v3 AT games on Northrend at least a couple times a week.
Last summer one of the devs in our group (iggyfisk) created a tool that monitors 3v3 and 4v4 AT games on Northrend and messages us on Slack when a real-looking 3s or 4s game has been played. This let us know when teams were currently playing so we could scramble to put a team together, but also what times of day people generally played our favorite gametypes. We had talked about expanding the functionality and making it public, but since we were finding games reasonably regularly at the time we didn't go any further.
What do you think are the most interesting findings from the analysis?
Bearand: The most interesting thing I found from 2017's data was the huge loss of players related to the issues with patch 1.28. I saw complaints on the Battle.net forums at the time, but it seemed to be mostly players on MacOS and Windows XP, which I assumed was not a large group, but evidently that wasn't true - 3 and a half months later and we're still not back to pre-1.28 levels. It looks like the upward trend intensified quite a bit with 1.28.3 and the latency reduction...hopefully that continues!
I also didn't realize there were still so many RoC players! There have been over a quarter million ladder RoC games played in 2017. Did you know there's no 4v4RT in RoC? 3v3RT is the big gametype over there.
Will you continue to work on this or other wc3-related things in the future?
Bearand: It's been great seeing Warcraft III's renewed interest lately, and I figured expanding on our internal tool and making something public that the general community would find interesting and/or useful might slightly help continue the game's renaissance. My friends and I definitely have plans to add features - first up is expanding the dataset back to 2016 so we can see some broader trends, and I'm also going to see if I can get in touch with the folks behind w3arena about tracking games from there as well.
Thanks a lot for the short interview!
If you are interested in the research methods, check out the "About"-section on his website. You can get in touch with bearand on his Twitter. Make sure to leave him some nice words for his amazing work!