90% of D&D Games Stop By Level 10; Wizards More Popular At Higher Levels
  • 90% of D&D Games Stop By Level 10; Wizards More Popular At Higher Levels


    D&D Beyond has released some more data mined from usage of its platform. A couple of weeks ago, it published some stats on the most viewed D&D adventures, from Dragon Heist and Strahd all the way down to Rise of Tiamat. This time, it's a look at player characters by tier of play.




    Tier 1 is levels 1-4, Tier 2 is levels 5-10, Tier 3 is levels 11-16, and Tier 4 is levels 17-20.

    Tier 1 contains the most characters created on the platform (as you would expect), followed in order by Tiers 2-4. About 90% of games do not make it past the 10th level mark, as the developer notes.






    This chart shows that the fighter is the most common class at all tiers, followed by the rogue. At third place it switches up a bit - the wizard becomes more popular in Tiers 3-4 than in Tiers 1-2, while the cleric and ranger both have a strong presence at lower levels but drop off at higher levels.

    You can find the report in the latest DDB development video below.


    Comments 132 Comments
    1. lostsanityreturned's Avatar
      lostsanityreturned -
      Quote Originally Posted by lyle.spade View Post
      Well said. I wonder if part of it is time, as well - that is, the time spent playing in and running a campaign that starts at 1st level, and how a typical campaign only lasts a few months, at most, before it gasses out for some reason or another. I've started a few campaigns at Tier 2, and even a few at 3, and they almost always tend to come to an end after 5-6 months, for any variety of reasons related to the game itself or life. Long campaigns will lead to higher character levels in DnD, and so perhaps that fact is a shadow cast by the lifespan of DnD campaigns, rather than deliberate efforts to not turn into superheroes with swords.

      For me, I don't like high-level play for that very reason: the characters are not relatable and the stories, in order to challenge the characters mechanically, easily turn into 'can you top this' encounter-focused affairs that lose the story.
      That seems really depressing dude, keep trying to find a group that doesn't fizzle out. The only times my games have ended was because of a large life event last year or when a party wiped and it seemed more apt to have the story end there.
      Oh and when a player passed, that was a bit of a shock.

      But fizzling out is not a good thing to be expecting.
    1. Zardnaar's Avatar
      Zardnaar -
      Quote Originally Posted by lostsanityreturned View Post
      That seems really depressing dude, keep trying to find a group that doesn't fizzle out. The only times my games have ended was because of a large life event last year or when a party wiped and it seemed more apt to have the story end there.
      Oh and when a player passed, that was a bit of a shock.

      But fizzling out is not a good thing to be expecting.
      When I was younger a long term stable group was the default. Not 6 months with the same people is long term.

      People move, kids get sick, people get sick of each other, life/wife etc.
    1. Alcamtar's Avatar
      Alcamtar -
      If you want a BASIC BASIC D&D, you might take a look at games like Basic Fantasy RPG. It is based on the much simpler form of D&D popular in the 1980s. Basic Fantasy is similar enough to 5E that it is familiar, gives plenty of options, and is only $5 on Amazon (or free if you download the PDF). There are lots of adventures and stuff for it.

      Be aware that while it sort of resembles 5E it is not directly compatible with it, and doesn't have the same level of tactical play as 5E does. That means that running 5E adventures would require some adaptation. There are a metric ton of adventures for older D&D though -- and lots of people still creating them to this day. Those old adventures are largely the same source that inspired 5E, so you're still exploring the "D&D multiverse."

      There are lots of other old-style games like Basic Fantasy, but for a new player I think BFRPG is probably the easiest and simplest to start playing with, and has an active community supporting it.

      Low Fantasy Gaming is in a similar mold to Basic Fantasy and is inspired by the same sources, but I believe it uses 5E as it's core rules engine. I'm not sure it's completely compatible with either 5E or with the older games, so not sure how much support it has. But if you really like 5E rules and enjoy writing your own adventures, it might be in your sweet spot.
    1. Ian Cotlear1's Avatar
      Ian Cotlear1 -
      I have ran campaigns that have lasted for over a decade, with characters reaching levels in the mid-20s. But my world was full of level 10 peasants. They were still cleaning out basements at that level.
    1. 5ekyu's Avatar
      5ekyu -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zardnaar View Post
      When I was younger a long term stable group was the default. Not 6 months with the same people is long term.

      People move, kids get sick, people get sick of each other, life/wife etc.
      On the other hand, for decades and on I was "the only gm" and I never got to play.

      Now I still GM the long run group campaigns and play in other "games". One lasted 3 months from 1st thru 3rd. Another is starting this week back at first and maybe it wont last more than 3-4 months too (hope it will) but that will be more games "played" by me then I have played in the previous two decades of the four I have been GMing.
    1. Zardnaar's Avatar
      Zardnaar -
      Quote Originally Posted by 5ekyu View Post
      On the other hand, for decades and on I was "the only gm" and I never got to play.

      Now I still GM the long run group campaigns and play in other "games". One lasted 3 months from 1st thru 3rd. Another is starting this week back at first and maybe it wont last more than 3-4 months too (hope it will) but that will be more games "played" by me then I have played in the previous two decades of the four I have been GMing.
      Yeah I have barely played most editions of D&D as a player.
    1. S'mon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Alcamtar View Post
      If you want a BASIC BASIC D&D, you might take a look at games like Basic Fantasy RPG. It is based on the much simpler form of D&D popular in the 1980s. Basic Fantasy is similar enough to 5E that it is familiar, gives plenty of options, and is only $5 on Amazon (or free if you download the PDF). There are lots of adventures and stuff for it.

      Be aware that while it sort of resembles 5E it is not directly compatible with it, and doesn't have the same level of tactical play as 5E does. That means that running 5E adventures would require some adaptation. There are a metric ton of adventures for older D&D though -- and lots of people still creating them to this day. Those old adventures are largely the same source that inspired 5E, so you're still exploring the "D&D multiverse."

      There are lots of other old-style games like Basic Fantasy, but for a new player I think BFRPG is probably the easiest and simplest to start playing with, and has an active community supporting it.

      Low Fantasy Gaming is in a similar mold to Basic Fantasy and is inspired by the same sources, but I believe it uses 5E as it's core rules engine. I'm not sure it's completely compatible with either 5E or with the older games, so not sure how much support it has. But if you really like 5E rules and enjoy writing your own adventures, it might be in your sweet spot.
      Lfrpg is pretty in between 5e and osr dnd. I am using The Midlands for lfrpg in my 5e Primeval Thule game and conversion is very very easy, eg it gives me all the monster attribute numbers.
    1. S'mon -
      On campaign duration, I find groups tend to split up after about 2 years on average. My 5.5 year 1-30 4e Loudwater campaign only had one original player at the end.
    1. S'mon -
      Quote Originally Posted by S'mon View Post
      Lfrpg is pretty in between 5e and osr dnd. I am using The Midlands for lfrpg in my 5e Primeval Thule game and conversion is very very easy, eg it gives me all the monster attribute numbers.
      LFRPG says (from the free PDF at https://lowfantasygaming.com/freepdf/)

      WHAT IS LOW
      FANTASY GAMING?
      Low Fantasy Gaming (“LFG”) is a tabletop roleplaying game built for sword & sorcery
      adventures in low magic worlds.
      Rules Light
      LFG is rules light, with a heavy emphasis on
      Games Master (“GM”) rulings. It’s a hybrid of
      old school and modern game design, based on
      the 1d20 Open Game Licence.
      Fast & Engaging Combat
      Combat is designed to be fast and engaging, with
      minimal waiting between turns. Creativity is
      encouraged via martial exploits and magic.
      Dangerous & Gritty
      Battle is genuinely dangerous and every skirmish
      takes a toll. The threat of serious injury or death
      is never far away.
      A “Realistic” World
      LFG worlds tend to mimic our own classical or
      medieval periods. Humans are the default player
      race. Magic and fantastic monsters exist, but are
      very rare.
      Dark & Dangerous Magic
      Magic is not only rare, it is dark and inherently
      dangerous. Sorcery is a power not meant for
      mortals, and adventurers engage with it at their
      peril.
      Riches & Glory
      LFG is about exploring the unknown; delving
      into the lost places of the world to unearth new
      mysteries. Player characters are not epic heroes
      charged with saving the world; they are bold
      adventurers seeking riches and glory.
      Open World
      LFG is made for short, episodic adventures in an
      open world. Mechanics and random tables
      support GM improvisation, empowering the
      referee to handle any situation or side trek.

      What LFG is Not
      This book does not describe a new low magic
      fictional setting. It is a generic ruleset for use with
      published low magic worlds (some examples
      appear at page 177) or a world of your own
      creation. With some tweaking, LFG could handle
      most fantasy settings, but the system assumes low
      fantasy.
    1. ParanoydStyle's Avatar
      ParanoydStyle -
      Is this because...I'm guessing that this is because all of the published and Adventurer's League adventures are (as far as I can tell) overwhelmingly 5th level and lower, and most players playing and reporting in officially through D&D beyond are also playing published/AL adventures ? That is the explanation that makes the most sense to me. Especially because (unlike in previous editions of the game) there is precious little difference between a 10th and a 15th level character. You might get access to more powerful spells if you're a magic user or some cool class features in any class, but for the most part the bonus you're adding to your dice is one or two points higher which really does not feel like a big difference.

      (Wizard is my favorite class and I am sad they don't get no metamagics no more.)

      Anyway, if anyone knows of any high-level oriented content WotC has published, would you let me know about it?
    1. Mistwell's Avatar
      Mistwell -
      Quote Originally Posted by ParanoydStyle View Post
      Is this because...I'm guessing that this is because all of the published and Adventurer's League adventures are (as far as I can tell) overwhelmingly 5th level and lower, and most players playing and reporting in officially through D&D beyond are also playing published/AL adventures ? That is the explanation that makes the most sense to me. Especially because (unlike in previous editions of the game) there is precious little difference between a 10th and a 15th level character. You might get access to more powerful spells if you're a magic user or some cool class features in any class, but for the most part the bonus you're adding to your dice is one or two points higher which really does not feel like a big difference.

      (Wizard is my favorite class and I am sad they don't get no metamagics no more.)

      Anyway, if anyone knows of any high-level oriented content WotC has published, would you let me know about it?
      Dungeon of the Mad Mage. It's their latest adventure, it goes to level 20, and I think it's excellent.
    1. Nebulous's Avatar
      Nebulous -
      I personally as DM don't like to run campaigns much past 10th level. At lower level I can ad hoc an encounter easily and throw something together balanced and fun, but as they get higher and higher and higher I have to start tailoring individual enemies and set pieces to present a reasonable challenge, and it gets more time consuming on my prep end than I typically like to do. Of course that's just me, and I'm sure other DMs have no problem with bigger, more complex fights or they enjoy the minutiae of detailed encounter building.

      I remember when I ran Phandelver, the 6th level PCs went back a second time with about 20 NPC knights from Neverwinter, and 5e handled this massive group easily, there was no problem at all making it a challenge even with such a skewed CR setup.

    Comments Leave Comment