Since Blizzard has released Patch 1.29 and improved the conditions on Battle.net, many people have wondered about the activity on the official servers. What is the state of Warcraft on Battle.net? Which game types are popular? Are people coming back?
If you're interested in these questions, it's your lucky day! I have acquired a huge data set that enables me to shed some light on these topics. In part 1 of this series, I will give a brief overview about the data and investigate if Patch 1.29 has affected the activity on Battle.net.
A few words about the data itself: I acquired the data directly from Battle.net using pages just like this one. Every piece of data that you can see on these pages is in my database. It takes a long time to get the amount of games that I have collected. Furthermore, the bigger the data set gets, the longer it takes to analyze it.
The total sample consists of 670.000 games from Northrend in a time span of around 90 days around the release of Patch 1.29 (24.02.18-24.05.18). I chose Northrend since it is the most active server. To my knowledge, there has never been an analysis of Battle.net data of this extent. The complete data set will be released once I have finished this series. Sadly, the stats on Battle.net have not been updated since 24th of June so it will most likely take some time to get more recent data.
This is a question that often gets asked by returning players. Since I cannot tell who is smurfing, I don't know the exact number. But I know how many unique accounts have been active. There are 65.608 distinct accounts that have been active within the sample of 90 days.
During the last 45 days of Patch 1.28, we had ladder activity on 34.906 accounts. After the release of 1.29, there were 39.803. Therefore activity in terms of distinct accounts increased by 14%.
We can also calculate the amount of games per account. The distribution has not changed since the release of 1.29 so I will just show the graph for the 90 day sample:
Battle.net Northrend: Amount of accounts by games played in 90 days
50% of accounts have played 5 games or less in a time span of 90 days. 75% have played 20 or less. About 7% (4.620) of all accounts have played more than an average of one game per day. 22 accounts (0,0003%) have more than a thousand games - probably bots.
Interesting side fact: I have done a brief analysis to detect people who have used bots to generate XXX-0 accounts and it seems that at least in the 45 days after 1.29 came out nobody has done that so far.
Battle.net Northrend: Amount of games by game type
Compared to the 45 days before Patch 1.29 came out, activity has increased by about 13,6%. Solo games have increased by 15% and Random 2v2 by 17%. In addition to an increased interest in the game, this is probably also caused by people migrating from W3Arena to Battle.net. FFA players have a reason to be happy as well. Their games tripled from an average of 10 per day to 30 per day.
Arranged 3v3, 4v4 and Random 3v3 have been pretty much dead on Northrend for a while. The patch has not changed that.
By the way: If you're interested in the specific optimal hour to look for games, make sure to check out arranged.team.
Neo once asked me about the average game length. I was only able to tell him the average length of our replays. That is obviously very biased since many entertaining replays are longer than the average game. Let's check out how long the average Northrend game lasts:
Battle.net Northrend: Amount of games by game length in minutes
Almost 10% of all games don't exceed a duration of 1 minute. This is caused by join bugs and players insta-leaving. I have excluded these games from my analysis.
The average game on Battle.net lasts about 15,82 minutes. Only 0,27% of all games exceed a length of one hour. There are some rare cases where games went on for 3+ hours - I guess the players went afk.
Here are the averages by game type:
In the next part of this series, I will investigate how Patch 1.29 has changed the Battle.net Warcraft 3 meta. Let me know if you have any questions or topics you would like me to focus on as the series progresses.