ESO by the Numbers II, Part 2 – Shifting Trends


We’ve checked all the numbers…

Once the decision was made that we were going to be running a second community survey, one thing that became apparent to @Atropos and I were that we were going to be interested in seeing if there were going to be shifts in certain segments of our data.  In this part of my ESO by the Numbers series, I will be going over several key questions that remained similar from the April Survey and the September Survey and what differences there might be.  However, to shift things up, I have invited perennial Tamriel Foundry favorite @Grimalkin on board to offer his thoughts (even if he’s decided to go full-on Khajiit mode here with how he’s doing it).

One more thing that I should notate before delving into any analysis is that the September Survey had 224 more responses than the April Survey.  For more information from the previous survey, please feel free to review it here:

Part 2 – Shifting Trends

Faction April September Difference
Aldmeri Dominion 29.98% 26.50% -3.48%
Daggerfall Covenant 28.96% 29.04% 0.08%
Ebonheart Pact 33.61% 31.90% -1.71%
Undecided 7.45% 12.56% 5.11%

Nybling: While the largest jump between April and September was in the number of people who said that they were Undecided, I think it is noteworthy that the Daggerfall Covenant had a very small gain while both Aldmeri Dominion and Ebonheart Pact saw substantial losses.  I can’t think of any specific reasons as to why the Aldmeri Dominion saw such a loss, but it is possible that the Ebonheart Pact’s losses have come as more information has become known about their racial abilities.  Perhaps these abilities didn’t mesh with what assumptions people had made regarding the Ebonheart Pact, or perhaps it is even possible that a number of people are embracing an approach of ‘wait and see’ to see what the other Alliances have to offer.

Grimalkin: This one is not surprised by the minor changes for preference of faction. Such minor fluctuations will likely continue to happen until launch. This one is sad that several formerly AD faction members have apparently defected to the DC, EP or have decided to simply not take part in the fight for the Ruby Throne.

If this one comes across any of you during the fight for the Ruby Throne, this one will be sure to show proper respect by covering your corpse with the soil of Cyrodiil. This one will be sure to remove your possessions and send them to your kin. This one promises. *wink*

Race April September Difference
Altmer 10.89% 12.90% 2.01%
Argonian 6.98% 8.04% 1.06%
Bosmer 10.06% 8.22% -1.84%
Breton 14.15% 17.23% 3.08%
Dunmer 13.97% 12.46% -1.51%
Khajiit 8.19% 8.22% 0.03%
Nord 11.73% 15.02% 3.29%
Orc 6.33% 7.07% 0.74%
Redguard 7.82% 7.69% -0.13%
Undecided 9.87% 3.185 -6.69%

Nybling: One caveat regarding these comparisons first, the Undecided numbers are slightly skewed because the April survey did not eliminate racial choices from those who were Undecided in their faction choice whereas the September survey did so, so I will not be looking at these numbers myself.  That being said, it’s interesting to me to see that one race in each faction had sizeable jumps (Altmer had 2.01% gain in the Aldmeri Dominion, Breton had a 3.08% gain in the Daggerfall Covenant, and Nord had a 3.29% gain in the Ebonheart Pact).  The number of people choosing Argonian raised a respectable amount, while Bosmer and Dunmer both saw dramatic decreases.  It’s hard to put a finger on why this might be, but regarding Dunmer it can be assumed that Ebonheart players decided to move towards Argonian or Nord as their race of choice after seeing racial abilities.

Grimalkin: This one, again, is not surprised by the minor fluctuations in the racial choices. We very well may see further movement once we know more about the racial abilities for each race.

We're not cannibals....we promise!

Looking satisfied after a hearty meal of….other Bosmer

This one wonders if the rise in the numbers of Bretons and Nords is due to the human need to frequently breed? This one believes he can explain why the Redguard have not increased in number. This one feels that, though Redguard stamina is legendary, the extreme heat of the Alik’r Desert would do them in if they were to breed during warmer months. This one thinks we may see Redguard numbers increase during the colder months.

This one believes that the Bosmer may have resorted to eating a few of their non-combatants to gain strength for the coming war. The change in Bosmer numbers indicates that very few volunteered to be eaten. The thought of the Bosmer makes this one’s fur bristle. *shivers*

Class April September Difference
Dragonknight 23.00% 20.18% -2.82%
Nightblade 34.54% 25.58% -8.96%
Sorcerer 21.32% 20.11% -1.21%
Templar 21.14% 20.49% -0.65%
Undecided n/a 13.64%

Nybling: Despite the fact that Undecided was not an option in the April Survey, the big takeaway from this data is that the choices of which class people favor are starting to balance out much more.  I think it is obvious that this is due to the whole slew of information that we have been able to consume in the last several months.  Back in April, I speculated that the reason why the Nightblade seemed so popular at the time was because we knew nothing about the class.  Now that we actually have information, the numbers of people who are leaning in that direction took a rather substantial drop while the other three classes only saw very small decreases, which can be attributed to there being an option for Undecided now.

Grimalkin: This one thinks that the steady release of class information, both leaked and official in addition to ESO being available to play at Cons throughout the past several months, may have something to do with the leveling out across the classes. This one can understand why over 13% of the respondents are undecided. Though each class will have unique abilities, each class can potentially excel in any role. Frankly, this one has been on-the-fence/off-the-fence more times than a Khajiit recovering from the Skooma addiction.

Guild Status April September Difference
In Guild 36.59% 38.75% 2.16%
Not In Guild 63.41% 61.25% -2.16%

Nybling: I wanted to include this table despite the fact that it is rather simple to deduce that there is a trend in the community of people finally joining guilds.  I think that as the weeks and months continue to pass by and we near the launch of ESO, these numbers will continue to steadily move in a direction that favors the “In Guild” option.

Grimalkin: As with this one’s other observations, this one feels that as we move closer to launch, more players may choose to join a suitable guild. Though this one believes that ESO will be a great game for the solo player, there may be some obstacles that will require the help of a faithful companion and/or guild-mates.

Do not worry, there is plenty of time to find a friend or guild that is right for you! Though you can certainly find a guild and make friends once you are in game, this one warns against approaching lone Khajiit, dressed in robes. Such a Khajiit may paralyze you with simple insight, basic logic and confounding statements.

Most Favored Weapon April September Difference
Bows 20.11% 18.41% -1.70%
Destruction Staff 12.94% 13.33% 0.39%
Dual-Wielding 24.39% 21.73% -2.66%
Restoration Staff 9.03% 7.09% -1.94%
One-hand & Shield 19.55% 22.65% 3.10%
Two-Handed 13.97% 16.80% 2.83%
Least Favored Weapon April September Difference
Bows 11.64% 12.71% 1.07%
Destruction Staff 13.87% 16.95% 3.08%
Dual-Wielding 12.01% 11.25% -0.76%
Restoration Staff 28.49% 24.58% -3.91%
One-hand & Shield 13.13% 12.25% -0.88%
Two-Handed 20.86% 22.27% 1.41%
Spider boss

A popular fighting style in Tamriel involves strapping a dinner plate to one arm.

Nybling: I think that the popularity of One-hand & Shield compared to every other form of weapon style is an interesting enough point in and of itself.  I would love to hear from people what they see in this style of gameplay over busting out the huge two-handed weapon and going to town, or even equipping two weapons and slaughtering your foes in a whirlwind of steel.  Speaking of two-handed weapons, it is nice to see the Two-Handed tree gain more traction within the community, even if it seems to come at the expense of Bows and Dual-wielding.

Grimalkin: This one wonders why the Restoration staff is not coveted by many more players. This one believes that once more information is released, players will yearn to have the Restoration staff as a secondary weapon, while others will seek to fill their groups with masters of the healing wood. This one plans on using a Restoration Staff at launch, though this one still has yet to choose a secondary weapon.

Activity April September Difference
Solo PvE 64.80% 74.42% 9.62%
Small Group PvE 70.86% 81.74% 10.88%
Large Group PvE 52.51% 57.40% 4.89%
Solo PvP 41.81% 43.84% 2.03%
Small Group PvP 58.75% 66.02% 7.27%
Large Group PvP 54.75% 61.02% 6.27%
Crafting 50.84% 65.02% 14.18%
Exploration 76.54% 81.97% 5.43%
Role-Playing 37.34% 43.14% 5.80%
Achievements 30.91% 38.06% 7.15%

Nybling: It positively warms my heart to see that Small Group PvE and PvP are gaining popularity (Small Group PvE having the second highest jump behind Crafting).  It is my hope that ESO provides us all with an interesting and unique experience with each dungeon, and I know I can’t wait to get to the Master dungeons with my fellow Entropy Rising cohorts.  Crafting having such a huge boost in interest doesn’t surprise me, as TES games have a long and storied history with crafting items and spells.  We will have to wait and see if these trends continue should we decide to do another survey sometime early next year.

Grimalkin: This one believes that the large interest in Solo PvE and Exploration may be due to a large number of respondents being fans of the Elder Scrolls games. This one has enjoyed a few of the Elder Scrolls games, so this one can understand such yearning. Crafting seems to have had a nice bump in interest as well! This one hopes to be able to craft many unique items, using well-known materials from the other Elder Scrolls games. But not the fur! This one will never understand why the fur is used as armor! This one looks forward to crafting fine Argonian scale belts, boots and gloves. Hopefully this one will find plenty of scales in Cyrodiil.

Next time we'll break the results down by alliance!

Next time we’ll break the results down by alliance!

This concludes the second out of four parts for this series of articles.  I hope that the numbers presented above along with the thoughts of both Grimalkin and I have proved thought-provoking.  I would like to hear any theories or analysis from our intrepid readers in the comments below.  Once again, let me express my appreciation for @Grimalkin for adding his rather unique thoughts and helping make this article much more interesting. Stay tuned for Part 3 in the coming week or so.  I will be doing a breakdown of the numbers by Alliance, which should prove to be most intriguing.