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D&D Stats: What The Typical 5E Party *Actually* Looks Like

Hussar

Legend
There's no way in heck that "most" characters are multi-classed. Their data is biased in favor of characters that require an online tool to build, and away from the normal characters that we write down by hand.
I dunno, it certainly dovetails with my experience.

Of our five now 5e campaigns, so, about 30 characters (or so), there have been vanishingly small numbers of single classed characters and by far the second class has been fighter. To the point where I've only seen one or two single classed fighters out of about ten or fifteen characters with fighter levels.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
I dunno, it certainly dovetails with my experience.

Of our five now 5e campaigns, so, about 30 characters (or so), there have been vanishingly small numbers of single classed characters and by far the second class has been fighter. To the point where I've only seen one or two single classed fighters out of about ten or fifteen characters with fighter levels.
OTOH, I have yet to see a single MC character.

That'w why anecdotes /= data. The MC data is weird to me; but the race data is why I am skeptical.
 

Hussar

Legend
OTOH, I have yet to see a single MC character.

That'w why anecdotes /= data. The MC data is weird to me; but the race data is why I am skeptical.
Well, fair enough. But, I'd point out that my anecdote dovetails with the analysis. So, it's not like the analysis doesn't actually reflect reality in some cases. Now, the question remains, how often does the analysis reflect reality?

I remember years ago asking on these boards about multiclass fighters and about a third of respondents said that they were seeing multiclass fighters. Now, that was lower than I expected, but, it's still very high.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Well, fair enough. But, I'd point out that my anecdote dovetails with the analysis. So, it's not like the analysis doesn't actually reflect reality in some cases. Now, the question remains, how often does the analysis reflect reality?

I remember years ago asking on these boards about multiclass fighters and about a third of respondents said that they were seeing multiclass fighters. Now, that was lower than I expected, but, it's still very high.
Fair enough, but are elves so uncommon that you see them as often as centaurs?

If so.the data set may be accurate. If not ... there may be issues.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
Well, fair enough. But, I'd point out that my anecdote dovetails with the analysis. So, it's not like the analysis doesn't actually reflect reality in some cases. Now, the question remains, how often does the analysis reflect reality?

I remember years ago asking on these boards about multiclass fighters and about a third of respondents said that they were seeing multiclass fighters. Now, that was lower than I expected, but, it's still very high.
It reflects reality among active players who bought either the $500 Legendary Bundle or the $270 "Everything Not an Adventure" bundle for D&D Beyond. Power users, whose behavior D&DB is invested in examining closely.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
Just to be absolutely clear what the data presented entails: these are numbers for players who bought digital copies of the PHB, the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide, Volo's Guide to Monsters, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, the Wayfinders Guide to Eberron, AND the Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica (at least all player content from all the books, which is more expensive a la carte anyways). That is, anybody who didn't want Magic: the Gathering material, doesn't like Eberron or didn't have any interest in monstrous races (because, for example, they only play Elves) is excluded from these particular reports, even if they use D&DB all the time.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Just to be absolutely clear what the data presented entails: these are numbers for players who bought digital copies of the PHB, the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide, Volo's Guide to Monsters, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, the Wayfinders Guide to Eberron, AND the Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica (at least all player content from all the books, which is more expensive a la carte anyways). That is, anybody who didn't want Magic: the Gathering material, doesn't like Eberron or didn't have any interest in monstrous races (because, for example, they only play Elves) is excluded from these particular reports, even if they use D&DB all the time.
Anyone who bought SCAG should not only be ignored, but should be actively shunned, akin to a gnome paladin wielding a rapier.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
Anyone who bought SCAG should not only be ignored, but should be actively shunned, akin to a gnome paladin wielding a rapier.
I've really enjoyed the book myself over the years (more for the setting fluff text than the player options), but perhaps that's an accurate diagnosis. o_O

But seriously, yes, this is data on people who felt it was important to pay for Ghostwise Halfling and Arcana Cleric material in case they needed it.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
I do data analysis and quality assessment as a day job and we have a saying: “garbage in, garbage out.” That is, if you start with flawed methodology or flawed data, no matter how good your analysis, you’ll end up with garbage. That’s what this article looks like to me. There seems to be some glaring assumptions on the methodology of how that data was collected.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
I don't think popularity and power are a linear correspondence. For example, many Bard subclasses are even more support than Clerics until higher levels (7+), and even if powerful that's only going to interest a subset of players who like to play that style.

It's like back in 4e where the average party would have 2+ strikers but only one defender and one leader. It's a popular style.
I just kept thinking of all the x is OP posts over the years. IME people paying for all the bells and whistles (ie all the books) tend to powergame and what isn't on the list is telling. OC, that's anecdotal and based on my own assumptions.

I also knew people who bought everything just to keep a complete collection so I can't really say for sure, lol.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Given the elf data, which flies in the face of everything I know (really.... one of the least popular races ... less than Bugbear, or shifter, or Gith, or Orc, or Kalashtar ...which I think was just made up?) ... I can't take this seriously.

Dude. elves are the same popularity as centaurs. Something Is wrong with data.
Tell me about it.
I'm so tired of everyone making Elves that for the current campaign, wich is not set in a predominantly elven area, I had to ban them as a PC race. If I hadn't at least 3*/5 players would have happily made another Elf something or other - despite having read the setting notes.

The party consists of a: Human Paladin*, 1/2elf Cleric*, Tiefling Warlock*, a Halfling/Gnome Fighter (he got cursed with "Form of a Gnome"), & a white Dragonborn Ranger/Sorceror (now there's a mix you don't see everyday....)

And the last 5e campaign I played in? (our Dungeon of the Mad Mage game doesn't count. No real "story" & just random PCs seeing how far we can make it) Consisted of 3 elves, 1 1/2elf, & my Halfling.
The DM actually altered the setting where the module series (Desert of Desolation) took place by making the default NPC race Elf!

So it was an Elven Pharaoh who's pyramid we had to raid, it was an Elven princess we had to rescue, Martek was a long dead Elven wizard....

God I'm so sick of Elves.
 

Paul Farquhar

Explorer
When your interpretation of the data leads you to conclude that the typical 5E party has every single character taking levels in fighter, it's time to step back and rethink whether you understand statistics well enough to write an article like this. (I'll give you a hint: You don't.)
Yup. When you get results that fly in the face of experience the only thing you are learning is that your analytical methods are deeply flawed.

If this article had been peer-reviewed they would have been sent back to the drawing board.
 

Hussar

Legend
Yup. When you get results that fly in the face of experience the only thing you are learning is that your analytical methods are deeply flawed.

If this article had been peer-reviewed they would have been sent back to the drawing board.
But, again, what about me here? The results he's getting line up pretty well with my experience. Why does your anecdotal evidence trump mine?
 

Paul Farquhar

Explorer
But, again, what about me here? The results he's getting line up pretty well with my experience. Why does your anecdotal evidence trump mine?
Quite apart from the weight of the comments in this thread suggesting your experience is the anomaly (and do you really see 95% of clerics multiclassed?!), it's quite clear that the research methodology is flawed.

1) In my experience, the vast majority of player characters used in actual play are not created or levelled on D&D Beyond. That's anecdotal, but in order for the research to be valid it's the responsibility of the researcher to demonstrate that at least a significantly large sample of player characters used in actual play are created on D&D Beyond for the results to be valid. They are also only considering people who have unlocked all options. If you take a small sample size and make it even smaller you are going to get all sorts of weird anomalies.

2) We have very good reason to suppose that the vast majority of characters that are created on D&D Beyond are never used in actual play. The authors' claim to have accounted for that, but they have not demonstrated that their selection process actually works. In order to do so you would need to take a sample of the characters your method has produced and survey their creators to find out if they are actually played.

3) It assumes independence: i.e. what character someone chooses to play in a party is not influenced by what the other players choose. This is quite clearly an invalid assumption. If a party already contains two of any character type it is unlikely anyone will choose to play as a third.
 
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TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
The X factor is that those are the stats for people who bought literally all of the books in D&D Beyond: the true hardcore. Their other numbers from all users shows Elves way up the list. It is interesting that Humans, Half-Elves, Dwarves, and Dragonborn remain popular even with the option-loving hardcore players, though.
The Venn diagram between "Players who like D&D and are willing to drop money on D&D Beyond" and "Players who are no good at actually powergaming" has quite a bit of overlap, and like 90% play them Dragonborn, in my experience. :)
 

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