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WoW Popular, a way to keep an eye on the Joneses


While the plural of anecdote is certainly not data, it does provide some interesting observations. WoW Popular is a site that compiles tons of data about talents, glyphs, gear, enchants, gems, and even reforges for each class and spec and ranks them all based on their "popularity."

The site's author states that the purpose behind the site is to provide a "one-stop-shop for... players who don't have the time to fully research what talents, enchants, glyphs, gems or gear to work on next," but this pill is a bit hard to swallow. As Albert Einstein once said, "What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right," meaning, in our case, that just because a majority of players use one talent or glyph does not mean that it is the right one to use in all situations, or that any of the data aligns with what theorycrafting has calculated as "optimal."

Does that mean the data the author has collected is without value? Not at all -- watching the trends of what the site claims to be "top players," a designation I assume is assigned based on their level of progression, can provide many valuable insights into the community as a whole. Blizzard collects a ton of data like this to make sure that any single talent or glyph doesn't pull ahead of the others. Similarly, if a certain trinket or other piece of gear is suddenly being used by a large group of people, there has to be a reason behind that. Is it the mechanics of the gear that is edging out competitive options, or is it just sheer availability that is making it so ubiquitous?

I encourage you to check the site out and draw your own conclusions -- just remember to take your skepticism with you!

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