Is There An “Average” Player?

by on April 18, 2013

How do you design for a massive game like WoW?

The most obvious approach would be to tailor your content toward the average player.

But who exactly is that?

Today we’ve got two posts looking at just that question. Firstly, Tobold takes on the perennial “hardcore vs casual” debate with some Real World Statistics:

“The Central Limit Theorem says that if you make for example this plot of video game skill of a large enough population, what you will get is a bell curve with a single hump in the middle. That is why this curve is called a “normal distribution”. The nature of this curve is that 68% of people are withing one standard deviation of the average. For example 68% of people have an IQ between 85 and 115, and are thus of average intelligence. Of course people are notoriously bad at estimating their own IQ or other qualities, so that if you rely on self-assessment you end up with the observation that most people are above average, which is a mathematical impossibility.”

Read the rest of Most People Are Average

And in other news – and this one’s particularly fascinating – Balkoth has taken things a stage further, and actually conducted his own statistical experiment to determine if there is an “average” value for willingness to grind, in particular. He set up polls, collected data, visualised it, then analysed the results:

“And then, of course, 13% think you’d be justified in grinding out 5000+ Mogu (at four Mogu a minute, that’s 20+ hours of grinding total).

No wonder we have so many complaints and arguments on the forums (in terms of actual complaints and not trolling) – if Blizzard puts in ring that requires you to kill 500 Mogu, half the population of those that responded to this poll thinks you’d be crazy to get the ring and half the population thinks you’d be equally crazy NOT to get the ring! The first group can’t understand why the latter group feels compelled and forced to grind out the Mogu and the latter group can’t understand why the first group thinks it’s even a valid choice whether to get the ring.”

Read the rest of I Have Discovered the Source of Forum Complaining in Mists!

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: World of Warcraft

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben Sanders April 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Maybe what is actually needed (and possibly done, even) is that some features are for one set of players, and others are for other sets of players.
What is important is that features are liked by the people that they are for; is it not so much of a problem if some people do not like some features, if every feature makes some subset of the players happy.

Designing for an average may result in just ‘meh’ features that do not actually cause strong feelings of like or dislike from anyone. I would say that these are actually far worse than features that actually make some people have fun, but are disliked by others.


Hugh Hancock April 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm

100% agreed on “meh” features. Too many of them are a pretty sure way to kill a game – or any other product.


gus April 18, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Anyone who does better has no life anyone who does worse is a noob…..


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