Less than 5% of the players go to raid, I wish

From Nick Yee (and from a reasearch on WoW):

3.6% of all observed characters spent more than an hour in raid content over the month of January.

“I want to believe”. I REALLY wanted to believe.

I was ready to close an eye and use that piece as a wonderful occasion to rant again against a utterly stupid model of development that just goes nowhere. But what Nick Yee writes is largely bullshit and this time the bullshit is even too easy to detect.

His previous research was also completely off, isolating cases from the context when it was instead the context to be the most important element and the one that was interesting to observe. Extrapolating theories from aseptic environments is just an excellent way to see what you want to see. You can prove everything and nothing and along the years there will be an endless cycles of researches that just contradict each other. Rigged points of view.

This time what that test seems to say is also completely wrong. Of course is not the test itself to be wrong, but its interpretation. What they did was to track unique characters. The problem is that a character doesn’t represent in any way a player or an unique account. It’s kind of obvious that there is a majority of alts that aren’t ALL involved in raid content even if the player is actually a raid player. The equivalence that 3.6% of all observed characters represents a 3.6% of unique accounts is just plain wrong. Of course this isn’t what Nick Yee wrote but it is what everyone else would assume by reading what he wrote.

The point is that the test just says nothing useful and nothing that could be used on a concrete discussion (typical bullshit of academic discussions). We already knew that there’s a disproportion between raid players and those who don’t raid, but we still don’t know exactly how significant this disproportion is and the test throws just more smoke in the eyes. I could have five characters, one of them being my main with which I raid most of the time, while the other four are used to dick around, play at the auction house or characters that I logged in once and then forget. This test would still say that 1/5 of the characters raid, we assume that 1/5 of the players raid, but this is wrong because in this example I am still a raid player that raids for most of the time.

Nick Yee can track the characters, but he cannot track the behaviour of a single account. So these tests are bullshit, they don’t say anything useful or more reliable than the assumptions we already made without running tests. Things we already know.

The truth is different. The truth is that WoW transitioned many players to the hardcore group. Players that weren’t like that and that finished to adapt to the game, dragging their friends in as well. WoW has the “merit” to have made the raid content much, much more accessible and widespread compared to other games. This is why the debate between casuals and hardcore is so strong today. WoW exposed this problem because before the “casual group” didn’t even exist. We were ALL hardcore. Only the catasses used to play mmorpg. This genre was closed and specialized.

WoW brough the revolution, it broke the mold. It took the genre and demonstrated how narrow it was, how many limits it had. But at the same time it exposed a bigger problem that before was only latent. To that problem Blizzard wasn’t able to answer. But there’s a merit there, the merit to have gone past everyone else and having encountered a problem that noone else had to solve.

This cannot be denied and it’s part of that “intellectual honesty” that doesn’t allow me to just jump on the badwagon and attack Blizzard using bullshit data as a proof. I just cannot do that, despite there are huge flaws in how these games are developed and despite this could have been a perfect occasion for another stab.

We already knew there’s a pyramid, we already knew that the current mmorpg development is retarded and narrow sighted, we already knew that Blizzard’s development is now clueless. But the data in that test isn’t significative and only confuses some more the situation, hiding what really matters.

I thought it was a good idea to point this out before everyone else and their sister start to wave that test as a proof of I don’t know what. I had a post open on Q23, with the title written, before I discovered that it was just bullshit. So this is for all you bloggers. Just think a second before going on a crusade on this. I stopped right in time.

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