Anyway, at some point in the middle of a conversation with a mage friend, I said, "At a rate of three quests per night that I actually log in, I should be 85 in two years."
"It really gives you some perspective on how much you have to play this game, doesn't it?" he responded.
I hadn't been serious about the statement I made, but it made me think about the hours I had to play to get to 85 on my main. It occurred to me that if you only play WoW for an hour or so every few days, it would probably take a couple months to get to level 85 from 80, and that's only if you're completely focused each time you log in.
This got me wondering how far into Cataclysm everyone else is.
Of course, as a pretentious and self-absorbed raider, my first instinct was to hit up WoW Progress to check out their stats on completed raid content. This is what I found. (Note: there is no distinction between 10- or 25-man kills.)
Right off, I wasn't too surprised about the proportions between heroic and normal mode progression. The first tier of content in an expansion always progresses more slowly than the proceeding ones, since getting enough level 85 characters can sometimes hold back normally active progression guilds, and it is still early, even if the top guilds have been done with the content for weeks now.
What surprised me most was the drop-off for Nefarian, since I'd consider it a much easier boss compared than Al'Akir, for example. I would say Nefarian is lot less forgiving when individual players "stand in fire" than Al'Akir is, but maybe more guilds have had the opportunity to put several nights of attempts in on one but not the other. (Alternatively, maybe the 10-man version of Nefarian is not tuned properly and that's blocking a lot of 10-man guilds?)
After looking at WoW Progress, I wondered what other bits of data I could dig up. Raiding is still its own beast after all, and not everyone does it. What about data on the levels of characters? I hopped over to Armory Data Mining but quickly found that it hasn't yet been updated for the new armory, so I had to settle with WoW Census. (WoW Census isn't as accurate since it gathers information in game through an addon, which requires participation from players to collect data. Information on certain servers isn't as complete as it is on others.)
WoW Census reported that there are some 2.5 million level 85 characters out of a total of 5.8 million characters. That means about 40% of the characters out there have the potential to take part in end-game content. Not bad.
But, seriously, are 14% of them really paladins?
Next I wondered about PvPers. How do you track them? I poked around Arena Junkies for a few moments to see if their ranking pages would give me any information about the number of players participating in rated battlegrounds or arena, but there didn't seem to be any sort of available tool or filter to access that kind of information. I guess I was out of luck.
So what about you, WoW Insider readers? You might have noticed the poll before the break, but let us know where you are in the game right now. Are you a dungeon crawling champ? An alt addict? Are you doing something other than PvP and raiding? Achievements? Rock collecting, maybe?