Class Distribution Data for Patch 5.4

Class Popularity Graph at Endgame for 5-4

World of Warcraft’s Patch 5.4 was released on September 10th, 2013. This is the latest entry in my series on population data snapshots. All data is contained in the Google Docs Spreadsheet for 5.4. The methodology is unchanged from the previous entries:

As before, the patch dates are handy labels for each snapshot, but they mark the beginning of a period, not the end.

My hands are still in a lot of pain and I haven’t played in any real capacity since before 5.3, so my commentary is mostly about interesting facts in the numbers I find. I’ll leave it to current players to propose solutions.


Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 11.36.09 PM

First tab is relative class popularity over time at the endgame of a given patch or expansion. Some changes to note:

  • Hunters are now the number one class at endgame, Paladins are now number two.
  • Death Knights surpassed Druids for the number three spot.
  • Warriors fell past Mages into seventh position. If we normalized their numbers for the addition of Monks they’d be worse off than at any point since Wrath.
  • Shamans, Warlocks, Rogues and Monks all gained ground (but maintained relative positions.)

The next tab, Mists 5.4, is a data collection sheet, just like in 5.3.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 11.44.28 PM

Rogues are probably the most interesting story here, since they continue to have more toons at all levels than at 90. Last patch Ghostcrawler confirmed that people roll Rogues, they just don’t finish leveling them, and we continue to see that here. This probably won’t change until changes are made to how the class levels, which is typically an expansion revamp.

Monks, Death Knights, Paladins, Druids, Shamans: they all get leveled to 90. That seems to be a hybrid class trait. Pure DPS struggle more. Warriors struggle as well, but we’ll talk more about them later.

The data set shrunk slightly between June and September of this year – 31.1 million toons as opposed to 31.3 million toons. I think this is the effect of characters aging off of the Armory after several months of inactivity, but it could also be a relic of the RealmPop database getting cleaned out periodically.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 11.54.32 PM

Next tab is patch-by-patch breakdown of class populations in Mists. You can see the drop in the populations between 5.3 and 5.4, which might be part of the overall drop in subs – or it might not.

I want to zoom in on my new favorite chart, the Percent of Total Class at 90:


There we go. Nice and big. Notice anything there?

Hybrids are around 22-23%. Pure DPS classes have caught up a bit at 20-21%.

And then there are Warriors and Rogues.

The reason I like this data so much is because it functions like a health check – what are people bringing all the way to endgame? In the first patch, it was primarily mains, but now we’ve had a chance for people to level up their stables of alts. Hybrids are still a little easier to get to endgame than pures, though that gap is decreasing. The low percentages for Warriors (19.4%) and Rogues (15.4%) puts them at the absolute bottom of the pack. Warriors, as hybrid tank/melee DPS, should by rights be up at around 22%. Rogues should be around 20%, though even 19% would look okay at this point.

There are problems with those two classes. Everyone else looks pretty good.


Class Representation in Heroic PvE and 1800+ PvP

The next few tabs are, as before, the data sets from World of Wargraphs, which uses a different data collection methodology than RealmPop. The general population numbers match, however, so while there might be some statistical variation it’s slight.

This class looks at the relative popularity of classes within Heroic raiding (2+ bosses) and rated PvP (1800+ rating).

Class Distribution, Heroic PvE 5-4

Priests, Pallys, Shamans, Druids, yep. I have no idea what’s gone on with raiding this tier so I’ll let other bloggers cut loose on this data set. Here’s the breakdown by specialization.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 12.08.46 AM

Ready for the PvP? Of course you are.

Class Distribution, Rated PvP 5-4

In case you were wondering, Priests are really, really overrepresented in PvP right now.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 12.09.57 AM

The Discipline Priest numbers are … way out of control. I don’t know what’s actually gone down this season, but they are probably going to get some heavy PvP nerfs. The last time we saw deltas like this was with Arms Warriors at the beginning of Mists, and they were nerfed into the ground.


  • Hunters: How’s it feel to go from one of the smallest classes in Wrath to the biggest class population in Mists?
  • Paladins: It’s okay, you’re still doing just great.
  • Rogues: Still hurting to get to 90.
  • Warriors: Having a long, slow decline throughout this expansion. Rogues have the obvious problem; Warriors have a subtle one.
  • Death Knights: No, you can’t change your name to “Way Better Than Warriors.” Be nice, former servants of Arthas. Suffer well, but suffer politely.
  • Priests: Yowza.
  • Druids: You still have instant flight.
  • Shamans: I worried about Shamans in Wrath and Cataclysm, I’m not worried about them anymore.
  • Monks: surprisingly healthy for a new class, need time to mature and catch up to other populations.
  • Mages: Wait, you want me to say something nice about Mages here? REALLY?
  • Warlocks: you should probably roll a Warlock alt, I hear they’re lots of fun.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Enjoy patch 5.4 for me!



Filed under Cynwise's Warcraft Manual

13 responses to “Class Distribution Data for Patch 5.4

  1. I keep hearing about how Warriors’ tanking has been left in the dust, and what warriors I do see in BGs tend to be non-Prot, but this pretty much confirms it. At low levels (before L50), Warriors do well in BGs, but they do get passed by other tanking classes, particularly once the DK hits the scene.

    Disco Priests are a dime a dozen in BGs, because people have discovered if they’ve got a good set of raiding gear on a Disco Priest will outduel most other classes in full Conquest gear.

    The “give everyone a baseline of PVP Resilience in BGs” experiment worked in getting more people into BGs, but they have less incentive to acquire a set of BG gear. Since iL of BG gear trails the iL of raiding gear, someone who purely runs BGs/Arenas is at a disadvantage against someone who has a decent amount of regular raiding gear. You’d expect that Conquest gear would be roughly analogous to regular raiding gear (or Honor to LFR gear, for that matter), but it’s not. It’s more along the lines of Conquest gear matching up with LFR gear, and Honor gear with, well, Heroic 5-man gearing up for LFR.

    I’m often the only Rogue in WSG or AB. If there are at least four Rogues in EoS or AB, that pretty much guarantees a loss, because the lack of survivability/DPS of Rogues would have to be made up by the other classes.

    The Demonic Gateway that Locks can put down can give a team with a Lock a huge advantage in some BGs. BoG in particular has that problem because a Lock can set up a Gateway across the stream by the WW and an entire BG team can then use that as a crossing to help defend both WW and Mines. If you get 2 Locks, you can set up a highway going both directions.

    I can’t overemphasize the self-heal capability of the Healer classes in BGs. Just this past 24 hours I saw a single Druid and a single Disco Priest effectively kite about 4 toons away from a base because they couldn’t bring the darn enemy down. Shammys are, by comparison, a lot easier to take out. And while it used to be that Blood DKs ruled BGs, I’ve seen more Unholy recently.

    And Rogues? Well, I can tell you that Rogues will continue to lag behind other classes since they are perceived as being purely a PvP class. While some specs may make themselves more available to Raiding (Assassination), but perception is reality.

    Oh, and my curse of taking up a class that gets seriously nerfed in an expac continues with Rogues. If you want Disco Priests nerfed, I’ll go roll up one now. That seems to do it.

    • dakotarick

      I dusted off my Disc Priest and did a few battlegrounds last night and was surprised how much survivability I had at level 86 wearing greens and a few blues. I was at Mage tower with a Druid and the sea of red around us just couldn’t bring us down. Not complaining but it may be a little too much.

      • Yeah, this is the sort of domination I saw in the L15-19 BGs for Disco Priests. The survivability gradually goes down until you hit around the early entry Mists gear, and then Disco Priests become really hard to drop once more.

        Put a Disco Priest and a Lock spamming Rain of Fire on the bridge leading to Vann in AV, and they can hold it for a freakishly long time.

    • It’s been a long while now since I tried tanking on a warrior, but I remember feeling like (lowbie) warrior tanking sucked, even in Cata. I wish I could remember why beyond “I just can’t keep aggro” and “why is all my crap on cooldown.”

    • That's not how ilvl works

      You have no idea what you are talking about.

      ” Since iL of BG gear trails the iL of raiding gear, someone who purely runs BGs/Arenas is at a disadvantage against someone who has a decent amount of regular raiding gear.”

      ilvl scales down in both BGs and Arenas to 496 (the conquest gear level). This means that conquest gear has the same ilvl as ANY raiding gear above 496. However, the key point is that pvp stats (particularly pvp power) does not count towards the item budget. So conquest gear is miles ahead of raiding gear in BGs and Arenas because it has the “same” stats plus an additional amount of pvp power.

      • I’m going to approve this because it’s correct, but keep it polite. Your tone needs work.

      • Yes and no, because Stamina still has a huge impact on whether you can DPS someone down. The scaling down means you won’t see 900k Health DKs around, but they’ll still be around 640k, which is what I saw last night, or the 570k health Lock I saw in Deepwind Gorge the other week. From my experience, that extra health more than offsets PVP Power because that extra health allows a toon a little more time to self heal or hold down the fort before reinforcements arrive.

  2. “Monks, Death Knights, Paladins, Druids, Shamans: they all get leveled to 90. That seems to be a hybrid class trait. Pure DPS struggle more.”

    My anecdata totally backs this up. I wound up switching my main from my hunter to my shaman because my shaman could do more for the team – I could DPS, backup heal or primary heal as needed. People point out buffs as a reason why a hunter is good for a team, but pretty much every important buff I could bring as a hunter is either replicated by another class or is already taken care of by another hunter – which is why I sometimes ran around with a monkey in a fez. Just ’cause.

    My hunter is still the best character I have for soloing crap, questing, etc., but when I’m playing with others, the shaman wins.

  3. I’m predicting a total class overhaul for warriors in the next expansion. I think a big thing that will help is the new class models, assuming we get them. New models means new animations, and warriors will probably benefit more than almost any other class in this regard. Hopefully this will help Blizzard separate Arms from Fury in design (to me they play almost exactly the same, but one uses 2 weapons).

    As far as Prot goes, that’s just a numbers issue. According to Matt Rossi, prot damage has been way down, and raid teams have needed tanks to perform closer to damage dealers this expansion as far as dps goes. Prot needs more damage and maybe a few more survival tricks. It’s hard to compete with Blood DKs, which are the ultimate soloing class in the game, when so many people enjoy soloing old content for transmong gear.

    Unrelated: I just got my hunter to 90. I HATE the feeling that I’m following the crowd. But I refuse to roll BM, so at least I have that going for me. :p

    • When you hear that Hunter’s Stampede sound in a BG, you know that everything is about to hit the fan.

    • “Unrelated: I just got my hunter to 90. I HATE the feeling that I’m following the crowd. But I refuse to roll BM, so at least I have that going for me. :p”

      Whether or not you’re following the crowd depends on when you started said hunter! If you started them back in Cata, you’re totally in the clear. In fact, you’re ahead of the masses! /yeah

  4. Suntiger

    I wonder how much it is a scaling issue for warriors?

    Protection is godly up to level 80, in both pve and pvp. It’s the best leveling spec by far, in both survival and damage until you hit Cataclysm content. Arms is decent but still kill things slower than prot, while Fury is even worse than arms until you get the lvl 70 pvp gear and have enough hit to not miss so much (it’s viable though, just slower), and then it noticably bypass Arms. Or did pre 5.4 anyway. Not sure now.

    For prot warrior critical hits with shield slam one-shots both mobs and players. And takes about 25-30% of a dungeon boss’ health. A regular shield slam will almost but not quite one-shot regular quest mobs at the same level as the warrior (shield slam and devastate = mob dead).
    (I was surprised how fragile my blood DK was compared to my warrior before the blood shield mastery kicked in at level 80. Once that happened the roles were reversed though.)

    In dungeons it’s not uncommon for tanks in general to do 40-60% of the party’s total damage up to level 77-78 or so. This dwindles noticably once you pass 80, though big trash pulls could still ramp up the dps to actualy dps player levels, up to and including at level 90.

    Still, protection warrior dps takes a nosedive once you enter Mists content. The dps of blood DK and Monk decrease too but not at all to the same level. Brewmaster does seem to have a more even dps-curve than the other tanks.

    My paladin is still level 63 but she too kill things faster as protection compared to retribution for both single target and aoe.

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