Thursday, February 27, 2014

[GW2] Server Populations and Achievement Scores

After observing large differences in Marionette success rates across servers, I've become interested in understanding a bit more about server populations.

So the achievement point leaderboards were of particular interest to me.

Players earn achievements by completing milestones, participating in living story events, and completing dailies. They're a great measure of player activity, since you get achievement points for just about everything. Even better, ArenaNet publicly tracks achievement points for the top 1000 players on each server.
Here, I've plotted the achievement points of the top 1000 players on each server.  The servers are organized by the average achievement point score of these players (highest top left to lowest bottom right), and colored by their WvW season 1 tier (gold / silver / bronze).

There are vast differences between servers.

As a snapshot, the leaderboards are interesting.  But tracked over time, they contain much more information. For this, I collected data from the leaderboards during the Edge of the Mists update. This gives three measures of server activity:  (1) transfers, (2) inactive players, and (3) points gained among the active players.

Server Transfers: Jumping Ship
Server transfers show up on the leaderboards in two ways. A player could appear on one server, and later on another. So I can track accounts that move between servers.

Other players disappeared from the leaderboards. So, for example, if a player on Eredon Terrace had over 4217 points at the start of the Edge of the Mists update, they should appear on that server's top 1000 list unless they transferred off the server.
Overall, 1.6% of players listed on the leaderboards transferred servers. Given the small number of transfers from each server (and the reasonable expectation that some of the 'large' moves are due to guilds) it is hard to make a general pattern from the server transfer data, but I'll look at it again in future updates.

However, of the transfers I observed, 84% are to servers with higher average achievement point scores than the starting server.

Inactive Players
Overall, 17% of players on the server top 1000 didn't earn any achievement points during the Edge of the Mists update, and therefore likely didn't play GW2 during the update. Here are the percent of inactive players by server:
Inactive players are more common in lower-tiered servers, with the Bronze tier averaging over 23% of players inactive, compared to an average 12% for the gold servers.

Points Gained by Server
During the two-week update, active players on the leaderboards gained an average of 170 points, around 12 points per day. Pretty impressive, considering that the daily requires only 5 points. (The average top 1000 player earned about one-third of the total possible points to be earned from living story / daily content.)
Across all servers, players with more achievement points earned more points than those with fewer points (rich get richer faster).

Several Thoughts
By now, it is clear that there are large differences in server populations and activity. It is simply a myth that there are 'pve servers' that just happen to do poorly in WvW. Players tend to transfer to higher-tiered servers. Those servers have fewer inactive players. And the players on higher tiered servers tend to be more active.

Time to think about a server transfer myself...

Sidenote: the results presented here don't change under more complicated statistical models (which I ran, but excluded from the presentation because this is a long post already). Though, I did have to run a nonparametric model due to the interesting structure underlying the data.

1 comment:

  1. Wow.. this is amazing! Any chance of re-running your stats and including EU as well? What about covering the recent wvw server linking? I'm sure you have nothing better to do :p