Alliance raiding is dead
Or is it?
What is this all about?
World of Warcraft is one of the most popular MMO games ever made, and main concept is focused around confrontation of two factions: Alliance and Horde. Ingame restrictions allow to do almost all PvE content only with the members of same faction. And inside wow community there are a lot of rumors about Horde being better and more popular faction. As an Alliance player, I always wanted to know if the rumors are true, and how faction balance has changed through last years. To find this out I searched for data on mythic raiding. Mythic raids appeared first in Warlord of Draenor expansion and since then became a vital part of the game for people interested in hardcore PvE.
Raid tiers and kills
I gathered data from warcraftlogs about all guilds that managed to clear whole raid on Mythic difficulty before the release of next one, and also progression speed for last three tiers. The most generic question is: how many guilds clear Mythic raid tiers, and what’s the faction ratio.
Most of raid tiers fit into 1–2k interval, with Tomb of Sargeras and Blackrock foundry considerably behind and Emerald Nightmare far ahead. It might indicate that first two were overtuned and last one was too easy.
Now let’s have a look at how many kills did each faction get, and if this ratio has changed through the expansions:
As you can see, ratio of Alliance vs Horde has not changed a lot through last two expansions. It is around 60 / 40 in favor of the Horde, and that is correct for both EU and US segments. Sadly, there’s not a lot of data about other segments, but here’s how Korean (KR), Chinese (CN) and Taiwanese (TW) kill counts look like:
At the moment, Uldir doesn’t fit general 60/40 ratio, and moves significantly towards Horde. Does it mean that some of Alliance guilds transferred to Horde? Or maybe Horde is just faster at the start of the tier and Alliance acts as a catch-up.
Warcraft logs provides progression data starting with Tomb of Sargeras, so it’s not a lot of data to work with, there is still some data. Let’s see how ratio changes throughout the tier:
Looks like our initial thoughts were correct, Horde is progressing faster than Alliance. but Alliance is catching up closer to the end. But even then, Uldir ratio is skewed towards Horde by extra 10% in comparison with Antorus.
As a little bonus, let’s have a look at how stable is guilds performance across the raid tiers.
Most guilds (66%) have only one full Mythic clear, and it’s not hard to guess which one. And only 70 guilds(0.5%) cleared all existing Mythic raids!
Let’s exclude EN from the mix:
Now it’s a little better, but still 53% of only guilds managed to fully clear one raid tier. What about factions? Here is same data split by faction:
We can still notice same 60/40 or close to it, favoring Horde. During data processing I found 182 guilds that changed faction, and 123 (67%) of those were transferring from Alliance to Horde. One of the transfer spikes happened between Antorus and Uldir. On the plot raid tier means first closed raid after faction change. So for example 26 Alliance guilds transferred to Horde and completed Uldir as Horde players.
What if those 26 guilds have never transferred? Current Uldir ratio would change to 129 A/ 295 H, and that would mean 69.5% for Horde instead of current 75.5%. Assuming that Alliance will catch up closer to the raid tier end and ratio will improve, these transfers haven’t made that big of a difference yet, but might contribute to already existing trend towards Horde.
So the answer to initial question: “Is Alliance raiding dead?” is certainly “No”. During last two expansions there were plenty of Alliance guilds beating all available content, and though there are more Horde guilds, the ratio is not that bad. Also Blizzard seems to be trying to improve the faction ratio, and maybe we’ll see some results in next raid tiers.
Edit(21.11): As a lot of people mentioned, the fact that Uldir has the highest Horde to Alliance ratio in the whole history of mythic raiding can’t be ignored. We can expect it to be significantly higher than average even at the end of the tier. And transfer of at least 26 active mythic raiding guilds can’t be ignored as well. This can mean a fundamental change in the fraction balance, and that balance was quite stable so far, at least from the point of mythic raiding. But still, we can’t say for sure what exactly will happen to the ratio in future raid tiers, beacuse progress data is unsufficient and there is a large number of factors affecting raiding ecosystem.
Big thanks to https://www.warcraftlogs.com/, it wouldn’t be possible to gather all this data from anywhere else.