The PlayOn project
has been quietly gathering data about how we play World of
for the past eight months, across five representative servers, and their findings are neatly summarised
over at Terra Nova
looking at the time spent in groups, and the social interactions embodied in guilds, they've found some interesting
- Players spend about 30% of their time grouped at lower levels, but the majority of their time in
groups after level 56.
- 62% of players are in guilds, but 17.5% of players are in one-person guilds.
- The median guild size is only 9, and very few (<10%) have over 35 members.
- Players on average only
group with 11% of their guildmates for more than 10 minutes.
So what do players do when they're playing
alone? Why spend most of your time solo in a multiplayer world? My style of play fits a lot of these averages. When
levelling, I generally solo, I rarely group with guild members (there are over 100 of us, but very few under 60) and I
do have a character in a "vanity guild".
The author of the report goes on to explain some of the
things we do that require the multiplayer aspect of the game:
- Show off in front of an audience
- Enjoy the social presence of other people; even if we don't adventure with them, we chat and trade
- Watch other people do silly things
Of course, there's the darker side of multiplayer too; having people
to scam, rip off and generally make life hard for does attract some players. However, it seems that being able to play
by yourself with other people around is surprisingly important to WoW players. Given that we've all got different
commitments and different playing schedules, it makes sense for the game to be soloable, but what these statistics
don't show is quite what
players get up to with each other. The feeling of a successful night's soloing pales
in comparison with a BG winning streak or the efficient clearing of an instance, to me, but the latter two possibly
feel better because they are so rare.