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.

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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Arnwolf666

Adventurer
This is my problem with the game. I don’t even want to play under 10th level anymore. I want to play the levels 10-20. I just want to puke at playing another character that isn’t at least 5th or 6th. And the wizard doesn’t even come in to his own until around 10th level for my taste.

Disclaimer: there is absolutely nothing wrong with people that like the first 10 levels. I am only expressing my own aesthetical tastes towards playing.
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
This is my problem with the game. I don’t even want to play under 10th level anymore. I want to play the levels 10-20. I just want to puke at playing another character that isn’t at least 5th or 6th. And the wizard doesn’t even come in to his own until around 10th level for my taste.

Disclaimer: there is absolutely nothing wrong with people that like the first 10 levels. I am only expressing my own aesthetical tastes towards playing.

Absolutely. Just like there's nothing wrong with people who like to start at higher levels ;)

I've often mentioned in conversations around people who demand higher level support that the reality is that the business model doesn't really support that any more than an homage or a nod. That doesn't mean I don't have sympathy for folks like yourself, who prefer a certain range and don't see much official support for it. Thank goodness for DMs Guild. I know it's not what you want, but at least it's something to help.
 

Oofta

Legend
I think the numbers over-emphasize low level characters. I know I have several characters that I just wrote up as backups/just-in-case characters. I have far more character ideas than I have game time.

As far as high level characters, I've played in and run campaigns up to 20th level. While I have a personal fondness for low level play because of how quick and deadly low level combat can be, high level play works better in 5E than previous editions in my experience.

Then again I played in/ran home campaigns and we didn't have any issues tweaking monsters or building encounters that on paper should have been double deadly. However, there are only so many earth-shattering campaign stories out there; how many times can there be a demon invasion? How often can ancient evil dragons form cabals to take over the world? There are only so many stories that work at higher levels.

Especially if you don't really want a story campaign and just want a group of murder-hobos getting rich looting ancient tombs there's not a lot of reason to get to the higher levels.

I suspect though most of it just has to do with people keeping groups together along with (possibly) older editions not working as well at higher levels.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
I'm a little skeptical of this data for a variety of reasons including self-selecting parameters and the ability to create new characters on a whim that aren't actually used in play but as a thought exercise.

With that said, I'd say I'm not shocked by the results either as this has generally been what WoTC has claimed their data revealed.

It’s worth repeating that Beyond has ways to scrub its data to clean up test or never been used characters, as I’ve seen several posts like this one.

Beyond can see when people use the long/short rest functions, reduce hps, use spell slots and other limited use abilities, and level up by single levels over multiple weeks/months instead of all at once to separate out characters that are being played from those just being created for fun.

I’m sure group attrition is the biggest reason high level play isn’t more common, as going 1-20 takes time whether you use XP or milestone.

Which is why there is nothing wrong with starting a campaign at Tier III or Tier IV! Each Tier tells a different kind of story, and there is no reason anyone should HAVE to play the first 16 levels of a character to experience the kind of story that Tier IV has to offer. Origin stories are fun, but sometimes you just want to jump right into an Avengers plot line!
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
This is my problem with the game. I don’t even want to play under 10th level anymore. I want to play the levels 10-20. I just want to puke at playing another character that isn’t at least 5th or 6th. And the wizard doesn’t even come in to his own until around 10th level for my taste.

Disclaimer: there is absolutely nothing wrong with people that like the first 10 levels. I am only expressing my own aesthetical tastes towards playing.
If anything, we really should see more play at Tier 3 and 4, not less. 5e isn't really much more complex in the teen levels, and the numbers don't grow out of control. A 5e game at level 15 isn't really much different than a 3e game at level 8 or 9.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I have created hundreds of first level PCs and advanced them up througha few levels as I plotted various designs. I wonder if they included thse types of characters or excluded them from their statistics.
 

jgsugden

Legend
...

Beyond can see when people use the long/short rest functions, reduce hps, use spell slots and other limited use abilities, and level up by single levels over multiple weeks/months instead of all at once to separate out characters that are being played from those just being created for fun.
Except I have played in games where I made a PC in Beyond, printed it out and then never updated Beyond, and also have created a 'second' PC for another game to evaluate what I might have done in combat had I played a class I had not had a chance to play recently... a "phantom" character that experienced hp losses, rests, etc... but never hit the table.

They have no way to clearly identify what is rel and what is illusion, but they can estimate.
 

lkj

Hero
As I usually do in threads like this these days, I'll note that I'm DM'ing a tier 4 campaign (PC's closing in on 20th level and the big climax). We've played since 1st level. It did take us a long time (mostly because our play time is limited).

But man, we are having a blast.

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Sacrosanct

Legend
If anything, we really should see more play at Tier 3 and 4, not less. 5e isn't really much more complex in the teen levels, and the numbers don't grow out of control. A 5e game at level 15 isn't really much different than a 3e game at level 8 or 9.

You're absolutely right that it isn't more complex, and numbers bloat isn't nearly as bad as 3e, but I think the biggest factor (at least bigger than those two) as to why are aren't seeing much Tier 4 is because players want to play different PCs by then. It's a time thing. Not a complexity or bloat thing. Pretty much everyone I know wants to try out different characters by the end of tier 2. That, and a lot of people seem to prefer it before PCs become superhero in status or power. At least by what I've seen.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
You're absolutely right that it isn't more complex, and numbers bloat isn't nearly as bad as 3e, but I think the biggest factor (at least bigger than those two) as to why are aren't seeing much Tier 4 is because players want to play different PCs by then. It's a time thing. Not a complexity or bloat thing. Pretty much everyone I know wants to try out different characters by the end of tier 2.
Oh, I don't disagree with that, I do that all the time (remake new characters). Maybe just more campaigns that start at level 11+.
 

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