Friday, February 24, 2012

WoW Survey Results: Age Differences

We've already covered the topic of how the different gender's pick their characters, but what about people of different ages? The differences are more pronounced than I thought they would be. To do this part of the study, I split the male respondent base into three groups, each as close to one-third of the total as I could. The groups were those 18 and younger, those from 19 to 24, and those 25 and older. I took the young group and the older group and then I summarized and compared them. Each group consisted of over 400 respondents, with approximately the same number of respondents in each group.

Since there was a correlation between the age and gender of respondents, I separated the male and female respondents so I could analyze each independently. Unfortunately, I did not have enough female respondents to split them into groups for a similar age analysis. I really wish I did. I intend on doing another survey in the future and I relly hope that I can not only have a more robust form, but that it will get a much better spread through the community.

Average Class Representation
ClassDeath KnightDruidHunterMagePaladinPriestRogueShamanWarlockWarrior

The classes that increased in representation as you go from the younger respondents to the older respondents were the mage, paladin, and priest primarily with the shaman, warlock and warrior receiving minor increases. The classes that decreased in representation were the Death Knight, druid, hunter, and rogue. I personally don't see any particular trend in the data. There is a decrease in the leather and mail wearers and an increase in the cloth and plate wearers as you go from the younger to the older respondents. When I tracked the preferences of the two age groups by role, the changes were incredibly small. Then I looked at things with respect to the class's location when fighting.

Average Representation by Location


Here we see a decrease in melee-only classes and an increase in ranged-only classes, with the classes that do both remaining about the same. Is it possible that young men just feel a stronger need to hit things with weapons, and that drives them towards warriors, Death Knights, and rogues? I feel that's distinctly the case. Now, the difference we're talking about here is still somewhat small, but it is there. It likely reflects an overall trend for male players that if I had enough data and could make a category for each age, would pan out.

Average Race Representation
Blood ElfDraeneiDwarfGnomeGoblinHumanNight ElfOrc TaurenTroll UndeadWorgen

From this (crammed) chart, we can see that the blood elves, draenei, dwarves, gnomes, goblins, humans, tauren, and wrogen all increased in representation while the night elves, orcs, trolls, and undead decreased in representation.

Races Representation by Faction

And from this we can definitely confirm something the previous table hints at, which is that the Alliance is more popular among older players than younger players. Oddly, the Blood Elves had the most significant gain when going from younger to older respondents (tied w/ gnomes). This is very interesting given the Horde's overall decrease in popularity. Similarly, the Night Elves saw a dramatic loss in representation despite the Alliance's overall increase in popularity. Frankly, I find this odd and I'm somewhat at a loss as to why this may be. Are young men afraid of playing the less muscular blood elf? Does the night elf suddenly become "not cool" as men age? I certainly welcome guesses/perspective in the comments.

From the results presented above we can see that the age of a player (at least for male players) has an influence on how they pick and choose their characters. I unfortunately did not have enough data to do a similar study comparing different age groups of female respondents, but I hope to be able to do so in the future.

I plan on coming back to this sort of age comparison in a later post, when I talk about for which races and classes men like to play female characters. Men play far more female characters than women do male characters and we'll be looking at where they tend to do so the most.

          - Σ Δ