World of Warcraft Survey

Posted by Daeity On Monday, March 14, 2011

In my earlier post about Subscription Counts ("Revisited"), one reader had asked if I included discounts for 3 month and 6 month subscription plans. I mentioned that on average, most players pay on a month-to-month basis (and those were the figures I used). It was a good question though, and I really wanted to find out what percentage of players pay month-to-month versus other payment plans.

I also was curious if there was a link between a user's subscription plan and what the player did in-game. For example, gold farmers buy accounts on a month-to-month basis because they are banned so often. I assumed that regular players (who bot or cheat) also pay month-to-month due to fear of being banned (e.g. they plan ahead).

So, I created a survey.

Unfortunately, I had to obtain the information under false pretenses (e.g. I'm a noob, this is for a school project, etc.). I did this because I wanted to obtain as many honest results as possible and like most research studies I didn't want the subjects to know what my true motives were.

I ended up getting 1,022 unique respondents - and the number is still growing.

That number is pretty good actually, especially considering that the Daedalus Project surveyed 1,019 players for their WoW demographics study.

Anyways, here were the results:

- 89% of the users were actively playing WoW, the other 11% were no longer playing.
- 85% of the players were from US-based Realms, 14% from EU-based Realms, and the remaining were from China / Multiple Realms.
- 63% of those surveyed had 1 month plans, 15% had 3 month plans, 10% had 6 month plans, 10% used Game Cards, and the other 2% were Free (e.g. Blizzard employees / billing bugs).
- 65% of those surveyed have never cheated in WoW, but 35% HAVE cheated. This was interesting, I thought it might be 25% maximum.
- 71% have never engaged in gold selling, 29% have sold/bought gold.
- 17% have been temporarily banned for some reason. 5% have been perma-banned for some reason (you really have to do something bad to get perma-banned.) =]
- Of all those surveyed, 20% are (were) afraid of being caught, 19% are fearless, and the remaining have never cheated.
- 19% of the total users have cheated in other MMORPG's.
- 91% of the respondents have cheated in single-player games. (No surprises there. I think that most users would probably cheat in WoW though, if they were completely free from repercussions.)
- 78% have witnessed another player cheating (this would have to be pretty obvious - so speed hacking or botting most likely was witnessed.)

And here's some of the more interesting data I pulled from the survey:

Average Game Time

NA/EU users averaged 3.48 hours per day, which is 24.36 hours per week. (8.6% of the total users played less than 1 hour per day which I rounded up to 1 hour per day, and 3.1% of total users played for more than 9 hours per day which I rounded down to 9 hours per day to obtain this total estimate.)

Back in 2005, the Daedalus Project estimated that on average, WoW players put in 22.7 hours per week. I suspect the number has gone up though, especially with the launch of Cataclysm still being recent.

Various studies have put the average Chinese player game time at 4 hours per day (28-35 hours per week in some cases.)

What NA/EU Users Pay Per Month

Excluding players who get their subscription for free,

74% pay $15 per month
16% pay $14 per month
10% pay $13 per month

Subscription Models

69% of the players who have cheated in World of Warcraft had 1 month subscriptions.

59% of the players who have NEVER cheated in World of Warcraft also had 1 month subscriptions.

For those who were afraid of getting caught, 73% had 1 month plans, 11.5% had 3 month plans, and 7% had 6 month plans.

Very interesting.. that's what I was looking for. =]

Players Who Have Cheated

Of all the users who cheated, 32.3% were not afraid of being caught and 67.7% WERE afraid of being caught.

59% have cheated in another MMORPG, and the remaining 41% have never cheated in another MMORPG (or don't play any others).


So, these NA/EU WoW users on average play 24 hours per week (versus China's 28 per week on average.) 74% of these players are paying the $15 per month rate, and there's a higher percentage of players who cheat that end up selecting the month-to-month payment plan.

There's a ton of other stuff that I could have asked, but I was really only interested in subscription numbers and if there was a correlation with "cheating" accounts. I wanted the survey is to be as short and quick as possible too. One day though, I might make a HUGE WoW survey that's very precise (e.g. how many people stopped playing when Cataclysm came out, what kind of cheating they engage in, how often, how much gold they make from cheating, how much they sell, precise time per week, etc.) Guess we'll see..

Keep in mind that this is just a survey from active /r/wow Redditors, some questions can be open to interpretation or confusion, and there's a margin of error.. but it's all still interesting nonetheless.