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.

Screenshot 2019-02-07 at 10.06.23.png



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.



Screenshot 2019-02-07 at 10.09.43.png



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.


[video=youtube;4tuIrGLKSik]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tuIrGLKSik[/video]​
 
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imagineGod

Legend
A good place to stop a campaign with relatable hero characters who are not gods.

My personal target maximum is 10th level, with anything above just a buffer, that is, if characters level up very rapidly and reach 11th or 12th (cue my current Starfinder Campaign free from that 3rd edition epic level nightmare).

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition did well to cull those 30th level delusions of grandeur in players, and, instead, encourage more exciting low level play.
 

ad_hoc

(they/them)
I'm surprised by how many are playing in tier 4. 5.4% is a lot (even with DoMM out).

I'm not really sure how Beyond works, is it possible that people are creating level 20 characters as character building exercises? Maybe that plays into why classes are differently popular at different tiers.
 

lyle.spade

Adventurer
A good place to stop a campaign with relatable hero characters who are not gods.

My personal target maximum is 10th level, with anything above just a buffer, that is, if characters level up very rapidly and reach 11th or 12th (cue my current Starfinder Campaign free from that 3rd edition epic level nightmare).

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition did well to cull those 30th level delusions of grandeur in players, and, instead, encourage more exciting low level play.

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.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Not surprising, but this hardly seems unique for any particular edition. It requires much more effort and commitment (and maybe some luck) to reach those tier 3/4 levels from scratch.

I've always considered how seldom I ever used high level options in actual play and how much space could be salvaged in the core books to focus more on those tiers that are most often used. I would like to see core books that only go to level 10 for the majority of players, and then supplement books (i.e. PHB 2, MM2, DMG2) expand play for more dedicated players into tiers 3-4. Call those "Advanced" or "Expert", if you like. It might curb an implied idea that level 20 is the endgame achievement for all campaigns. Just a thought, but one I've held for a long time.
 

200orcs

First Post
It's interesting how my tables distribution is totally different. Fighters are not popular at all. Barbarians and Ranger and Warlocks are the most frequent proudly followed by Rogue and Sorcerer.
 

D

DQDesign

Guest
Not surprising, but this hardly seems unique for any particular edition.

yes, but none before 5e explicitly addressed the issue in terms of game design. bounded accuracy should address this in 5e, and according to the data it seems not to be able to.
 

It's interesting how my tables distribution is totally different. Fighters are not popular at all. Barbarians and Ranger and Warlocks are the most frequent proudly followed by Rogue and Sorcerer.

Effect of small sample sizes I guess. Rogues are the most popular amongst my groups, clerics the least.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'd put two caveats on this data.

First, there's no separation between played characters and try-a-build characters, so we don't know this is the proper breakdown for campaigns. I wonder if they can remove characters that have never been given XP.

Second, this is rather self-selecting, for those who use DDBeyond.

For that, it's still an interesting insight that matches my own observations, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be aware of possible weaknesses in the data.
 

Matt S1

Villager
There's a Kickstarter where the guy takes out all the spells that are almost never picked and converts D&D to 12 levels. Great idea on my opinion. My group of over 40 years has never gone past 12th level in our campaigns.
 

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