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Conclusions from the faction transfer survey

Mike Schramm

Last week I posted a poll to try and figure out some of the numbers behind the newly implemented faction transfers, and now that we've got quite a few votes in there, it's probably a time to look at what we got and see if we can make any sense of it. The most conclusive data there is the answer above: about 18.6% of our reader polled said that yes, they had made a faction transfer already. That sounds high to me -- maybe it's because readers know about the faction transfer service that more of them may have taken advantage of it. But if it's true that 19% of players did take advantage of the transfer service, then 570,000 of the around 3 million US players have switched factions, making Blizzard $17.1 million in gross revenue alone, just in the last week since it's opened.

The other questions were a little hairier -- I tried to ask people not to answer if they didn't fit the criteria for each question, and there's no way to tell for sure that's what happened. Also, lots of people wanted to see the answers without voting, and unfortunately, our voting system doesn't allow a clear way to do that (I have since checked with our tech guys, who say that the solution we came up with, voting without choosing an answer, did not affect the poll). But after the break, we can try to suss some conclusions out of the data anyway.

The second question appears to show that the vast majority of transfers went from Alliance to Horde, which fits what we've heard anecdotally so far. Unfortunately, the answer isn't necessarily to be trusted, as clearly there are more people who answered than have actually made the faction transfer -- 1831 people said they transferred factions, and 4086 actually answered the second question. That means that 2255 people who answered that question may not have transferred, which is enough to rule this poll inconclusive. I wouldn't be surprised if the ratios were about right here, with about 60/40 going to Horde over Alliance, but the numbers don't add up.

Similarly, this question's answers don't add up -- 3210 people answered the first question, and 2735 answered the second, and clearly both of those numbers are higher than the amount of people who said they transferred factions at the beginning, not to mention higher than the number of people who said they transferred to each corresponding side (though it is interesting to note that the two numbers of total answers in these two questions show a similar ratio to the question above -- the ratio here is about 54/46, still in favor of Horde).

But there is still something interesting going on here: Blood Elves and Humans are the highest choice, and from what we've heard anecdotally, those are in fact the two classes that the majority of people have transferred to in both factions. Even if people were just voting for the faction they liked the best, the results here are pretty interesting. We can't call these conclusive numbers at all, obviously, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Blood Elves and Humans were really the most popular races being transferred to on either side.

Finally, this question is a little more legit -- the total answers of 7027 lines up much closer (relatively, of course -- I wouldn't trust my life on it) to the 7993 people above who said that they hadn't transferred yet. And perhaps most interesting, the number here is actually higher than the percentage of people who have transferred. It's probably a fair conclusion, keeping in mind that this is a completely unofficial and unscientific poll, to say that we'll see another, even larger round of transfers when players are allowed to transfer to the new Cataclysm races. It still won't be a majority of the player base by any means, but from these numbers, we can expect it to be slightly larger than the transfer totals we saw last week.

Then again, people are projecting into the future here -- by the time Cataclysm actually comes around, people will probably want to roll the new classes anyway, and if they've leveled a Worgen or Goblin up before Blizzard lets them transfer, they'll probably be less likely to actually transfer another character. So many people who say now that they will transfer probably won't anyway.

At any rate, no matter what the numbers, we can make a few solid conclusions:
  • Blizzard made a truckload of money off of the faction transfer service last week, and the service has definitely justified its existence.
  • While the majority of players isn't interested in using the service, there is a nice chunk of the playerbase that's already jumped ship, and I think we can reasonably put that percentage at over 10%, if not higher.
  • As for where players are transferring, the exact numbers are still unclear, but it's pretty reasonable to assume that Alliance to Horde is winning out, even if it's just by a few percentage points.
  • And we haven't heard the last of this faction transfer service -- Blizzard can expect another burst of transfers, possibly bigger than the last, when they open up the new races after the expansion.

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