Class Distribution Redux – Who Raids?

A couple of weeks ago, I took a lot at level 80 class distribution via armoury datamining.

On the official boards, Venom has another take on this. He’s looked at the first 100 25-man kills on Professor Putricide (one of the tougher ICC bosses) and broken down the numbers of classes/ specs who were taken along in those raids.

Note: Yes, the fight may not be typical and top 100 guilds may not be typical, but it’s close enough to draw a few conclusions.

% first 100 PP Kills Class
14 Paladin
13 Druid
12 Priest
11 Shaman
9 Rogue
9 Warrior
9 Mage
8 Death Knight
8 Hunter
8 Warlock

Let’s start with some elementary maths. In a 25 man raid, each raider represents 4% of the total raid force. There are 10 classes in World of Warcraft. So in a perfectly class balanced 25 man raid, you’d take 2 of each class, and an extra member for five of the classes.

Looking at the numbers above, Ghostcrawler must be thrilled. Because that is exactly the split we’re seeing here. Even the lowest represented classes still account for 8% of the raid force.

In fact, the top four most represented classes are also hybrids, which is exactly what you would expect in a perfectly balanced position. If a class has three roles which are all viable for raiding, then a balanced raid is more likely to take one of each than to stack several members of the same class/ spec. Not only that, but paladins are also the most played characters at level 80 (see previous post as linked above) so if they are also more represented in raids that just reflects the number of available characters.

Perfect Balance? Shamans, Priests, Warriors

Shamans have the distinction of being the class where all three specs are almost equally represented. At first sight that looks astounding as a feat of balance. We’re a long way from TBC days when raids used to stack 5 resto shamans.

But actually resto shamans are currently the least represented of all the healers. When you think that resto is also the most popular of the shaman specs among the player base, that implies that a lot of people aren’t able to raid as their favourite spec. Fortunately, the other specs are also popular with raid leaders. (Note: Based on these numbers, I’m starting to be tempted to roll a Goblin Shaman myself next expansion, I never was good at picking a spec and sticking to it.)

Priest representation in these 100 raids is impressive because it almost exactly matches the spec distribution among the player base. Really priests in this expansion have been very well balanced, and this is the proof of it.

Warrior representation between roles is also close to the general population; at least if you assume most DPS warriors switch to Fury for raiding. Devs stopped citing the number of warrior tanks in  more recent comments on tanking as a reason to nerf, instead saying that warriors presented a larger sample size to compare. I think they realise that it just happens to be most players’ favourite spec, rather than anything to do with class balance.

Once a Death Knight is Enough

Ah, Death Knights. Second most popular class at level 80, but way down at 8% in raid representation.

What happened? Two things: their tanking could use a boost, and also most people who have level 80 Death Knights also have another alt which they may currently prefer. The class hasn’t dropped off the scale, and is still filling it’s share of slots. But as a hybrid, you’d expect to see them showing higher than the 8% seen here.

One Spec to Rule them All

For some classes, one spec is so superior for high end raiding that there is almost no comparison.

Arcane Mages are the single most represented spec in the whole survey, for example. Closely followed by Marksmanship Hunters, Unholy Death Knights, Assassination Rogues, and Holy Paladins.

Other specs just aren’t played at all: Frost Mage, Beastmastery Hunter, and one lone Subtlety Rogue flying the flag.

Still, in these days of Dual Spec, there’s no reason for a dps class not to go with their highest dps option unless a fight specifically requires more utility.