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

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
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. :)
This brings up a related question I've often wondered about.

Is there such a thing as a bad powergamer? Not in terms of being obnoxious, or a bad person, but someone who has an actual goal of powergaming and optimizing and munchkining, but is just terrible at it?

Sort of like, "Muahahahahahaha! My Strength-build wizard will rule them all! Bow before me and my awesome True Strike!"
 

Paul Farquhar

Explorer
This brings up a related question I've often wondered about.

Is there such a thing as a bad powergamer? Not in terms of being obnoxious, or a bad person, but someone who has an actual goal of powergaming and optimizing and munchkining, but is just terrible at it?

Sort of like, "Muahahahahahaha! My Strength-build wizard will rule them all! Bow before me and my awesome True Strike!"
Sounds like me.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
This brings up a related question I've often wondered about.

Is there such a thing as a bad powergamer? Not in terms of being obnoxious, or a bad person, but someone who has an actual goal of powergaming and optimizing and munchkining, but is just terrible at it?

Sort of like, "Muahahahahahaha! My Strength-build wizard will rule them all! Bow before me and my awesome True Strike!"
When I CharOp, it is usually to minimize the mathimatical damage from a silly concept, like a Gnome Paladin.
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
This brings up a related question I've often wondered about.

Is there such a thing as a bad powergamer? Not in terms of being obnoxious, or a bad person, but someone who has an actual goal of powergaming and optimizing and munchkining, but is just terrible at it?

Sort of like, "Muahahahahahaha! My Strength-build wizard will rule them all! Bow before me and my awesome True Strike!"
There's certainly people that don't actually understand the system they are playing in but believe that they do to the point they think their build is uber-effective, and then find their builds fall apart under inspection. The only other thing I can think of is people that really push for unusual builds just to see if they can. The results are usually effective but not "optimal" builds.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
They screen out test concept characters, by using metrics about work being down in a PC sheet that indicate use in play. Not 100%, probably, but probably good enough.
True, but I level up these background characters as I level up my campaign character and even upgrade their gear, especially in the case of the Artificer. So I wonder how sophisticated their way of determining use in play is.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
True, but I level up these background characters as I level up my campaign character and even upgrade their gear, especially in the case of the Artificer. So I wonder how sophisticated their way of determining use in play is.
At that point, is there a difference from their point of view...?
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
At that point, is there a difference from their point of view...?
I can't say, but from mine they are still 5 characters I'm toying with and may never play in a real game. Some I'm likely to, and some I'm trying potentially wacky combinations.

Even on my campaign character I'm likely to randomly add a few levels/items to see how thinks might shake out, then scrap those levels and items to get back to where I was before the next session.

So by their metrics my actual play character may not factor into calculations, I just can't know without knowing how they are measuring.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
I can't say, but from mine they are still 5 characters I'm toying with and may never play in a real game. Some I'm likely to, and some I'm trying potentially wacky combinations.

Even on my campaign character I'm likely to randomly add a few levels/items to see how thinks might shake out, then scrap those levels and items to get back to where I was before the next session.

So by their metrics my actual play character may not factor into calculations, I just can't know without knowing how they are measuring.
What I meant was for Curse, from a business point of view, does your extensive testing make much difference from actual play, if you pay them and use their service?
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
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. :)
Yeah the idea that all or even most of dnd beyond completionists are powergamers is....absolutely questionable, to say the least.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
What I meant was for Curse, from a business point of view, does your extensive testing make much difference from actual play, if you pay them and use their service?
Ah probably not.

I was talking about people who use Curse's data and therefore their way of collecting their data to draw conclusions about "typical" party makeup, or typical anything for that matter.
 

Parmandur

Adventurer
Ah probably not.

I was talking about people who use Curse's data and therefore their way of collecting their data to draw conclusions about "typical" party makeup, or typical anything for that matter.
Yeah, the derivative knowledge is limited: the sample is heavily self-selected. It is interesting that their more loose, all users data does match WotC more scientific marketing information, though.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Yeah, the derivative knowledge is limited: the sample is heavily self-selected. It is interesting that their more loose, all users data does match WotC more scientific marketing information, though.
Agreed.

As I stated at the beginning, I enjoy the stats from D&D Beyond, and I like statistics that challenge what I assume to be true. That said, extraordinary claims should require additional investigation, and any claim that Hobgoblins, Shifters, Kenkus, Kalashtars, and Loxodons are more played than Elves (???), or that 95% of clerics multiclass (????), is so odd to me that I would have to know more about the sample size, and how these numbers were derived, before accepting it.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Yeah, the derivative knowledge is limited: the sample is heavily self-selected. It is interesting that their more loose, all users data does match WotC more scientific marketing information, though.
Indeed, I've find those numbers much more fascinating.

I was just looking them up recently when engaged in one of a million ranger discussions. Specifically I found their popularity falling off in higher tiers of play to be telling.
 

Ashrym

Explorer
Keep in mind the sampling they used.


"Most games tend to get to at least level 5, which gives you time to multiclass and play around with your options, so we’re going with that as our baseline. "

Source: D&D Stats: What The Typical 5E Party *Actually* Looks Like - Bell of Lost Souls

Indeed, I've find those numbers much more fascinating.

I was just looking them up recently when engaged in one of a million ranger discussions. Specifically I found their popularity falling off in higher tiers of play to be telling.
I definitely find party composition is different. Most the of the groups I 3.x'd with were full of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fans to the point owl familiars and Elf rangers dominated parties.

A lot of players are more influenced by current pop culture than mechanics. I'm curious if that could be properly compared well. People can talk about what is popular all they want (whether is good stats or not) but diving into a real root cause analysis would be far more interesting. I find too many assumption based on personal opinion come out of stats already.
 
Is there such a thing as a bad powergamer? Not in terms of being obnoxious, or a bad person, but someone who has an actual goal of powergaming and optimizing and munchkining, but is just terrible at it?
Yes. It's usually not in the form of completely bad builds like strength-based wizards, but instead builds that don't actually work that well. I've seen a lot of theorycraft builds on forums that rely on having several short (sub-day and especially sub-hour) buffs running, that then take 2-3 rounds to build to a a perfect strike. In actual games, there's a good number of times that you don't know in advance that you're about to have a boss fight (so don't know to pop your short-term buffs), and where your target dies or gets incapacitated by the time your nova strike is ready to go. There's also builds that work really well at low levels and level 20, but really suck for actual play in high end tier 2 and tier 3. Then there are people that take one piece of 'powergamer' advice and misapply it, for example they hear "Hex plus Eldritch Blast is so good" so they take magic initiate for Hex and EB on their wizard, then wonder why hex 1/day and EB using a secondary stat and no invocations is not performing like people online said it would.
 

ad_hoc

Explorer
During one of Mike Mearls' sub-class building streams he was asked why he doesn't just include some options as feats. His response was that less than half of all tables use feats.

I bet multiclassing is even less than that.

We have what, over 20 million 5e players now?

I agree with the others saying to take these stats with a high degree of skepticism.

It's easy to not be exposed to all the people who play differently.
 

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