How Many of Us Are Left? - The Egg Token Census

A while ago during one of the various UI updates, they added a feature to the “About” page of event screen which shows your exact global rank. Before this update you could only know your exact rank if you were in the global top 1000. It occurred to me that this allows an interesting “census” to see approximately how many people still play this game.

Its no secret that as games go WD is getting long in the tooth. We all know our numbers have dwindled. We can feel it when we try to recruit. And I think that likely has a lot to do with the dramatic change in attitude towards the players which has resulted in many positive changes this year. No doubt PG has also run the numbers and wants to milk this cow as long as they can. But specifically how many of us are left?

Method: I had an alt that I don’t care about or play anymore. That alt happened to have about 200k egg tokens available. I waited until the final hour of breeding event, so that everyone else pretty much had finished breeding, and then I burned those tokens stopping to record the global rank at every prize level. The resulting data paints an interesting picture of the remaining player base. A few things to note - this method will not count players who earned no individual points during this breeding event. Although I expect that very few active players have zero score, there are a few reasons someone who is an active player might have zero score

  • Its end of season so they may have reached their season goal and didn’t give a damn about helping the team earn team prizes.
  • They may have lost eligibility by switching teams before doing any breeding
  • They may have been unable to login during this event due to temporary circumstances like vacation, illness, broken device, etc.

So there will be a small amount of under counting, but the under counting should be quite minimal.

Another thing to note is that this method counts active accounts, not active people. Alts will be counted if they earned any score at all. So people who actively maintain multiple accounts will have all of those active accounts counted. Place holder alts who are kept just barely active so that they dont get kicked but otherwise nothing is done with them, they generally will not be counted since they probably have zero score.

In short, this is quite accurate way of telling exactly how many active players there are left in the game, with only a maybe 5% margin of error.

Here is the actual data

Points Rank
10 38696
290 38014
300 38014
450 37847
600 37753
900 37612
1200 37484
1800 37272
2600 37123
3600 36951
4400 36825
5900 36646
7200 36506
10500 36092
14700 35643
21300 34736
28300 33699
38200 31971
50000 29659
62000 27225
80400 23229
100000 19668
116000 17729
133000 16322
164000 13786
208600 10531

Interpreting that data, at a score of 10 points (the lowest possible non-zero score in Breeding event) the rank was 38,696. Just shy of 39,000 accounts did any amount of breeding at all this event. If we hypothetically sort players into teams based on their score, then we have enough players to fill D1 down to P2 completely, and have a few teams in P3. Then we run out of players. The remainder of P3, all of P4, and the entirety of Gold, Silver and Bronze leagues would be empty.

Further down we see that at the 2nd prize level, 600 points, we are now down to 37,753 players. That’s almost a 1000 players who barely bred anything. That behavior doesnt make sense for players who have met their season goal or are unable to breed due to ineligibility or absence. So I think its safe to say that those 1000 players are all very low activity alts whose owners just blew a few eggs.

Even with the progression rate improvements, very few dragons cost less than 20k eggs, even back breeds are typically that much. Looking at the 175 sigil prize level (21k points) which is the lowest level that could be considered non-trivial amounts of breeding. This level had 34736 players. This can be considered the number of people who truly participated in the event.

The slope of the curve reaches an inflection point at the 225 sigil level (80k points). More people quit at this level than any other level. This is probably an average for a typical forward breed of a lineage dragon, or an average of how many tokens people had to spend. At this level there were 23229 players. These can be considered the “significant” players. Significant players are serious enough about the game that they are unlikely to miss a war. Note that in the hypothetical arrangement of players into leagues by score, there is barely enough significant players to fill P1. P2 has only a few teams with significant players on it.

The median player score is 99k points (minor prize before the 250 sigil level). At this level there are 19668 players and P1 can no longer be filled completely in the hypothetical arrangement.

180K points is the cut off for the 1200 sigil team prize. This is the level that serious players can usually be expected to achieve. I don’t have a data point for exactly this level, but thanks to the beauty of curve fitting, we can say it was approximately 11699 players at that level, representing less than 1/3 of the overall player base. There are enough serious players to fill down to S2, and a part of S3.

A lot of interesting data, but to me the most interesting was the first number. 38696. That’s all of us that are left, give or take a few thousand. To put that in perspective, D1 down to P4 has 58750 slots. That means that there are more than 20,000 spots empty or occupied by a non-active place holder. More than that really when you figure that there are some number of active players in gold league. The number of empty spots approaches the number of filled ones down in the lower parts of platinum.
I saw one P4 team the other week that had 28 alts, which they had bothered to carefully number 1-28. And that is why those spots are so damn hard to fill.

PG has effectively banned the creation of new teams. Technically you can still make a new team but the new teams cant get Atlas unless they fight their way up to S3 without atlas which is a moon shot, so for all intents and purposes that’s a ban. I think its time to consider re-balancing the leagues. I suggest eliminating the bronze, silver, and gold leagues and P4 also, so that P3 is the lowest league. That would help with filling out recruitment, for a while anyway.

The end is only a couple years off my friends. I wonder how many players is the minimum to sustain PG employee salaries and server hosting expenses? 10,000? 20,000? Who knows.

54 Likes

Thank you for the analysis, that was a fascinating read.

This in particular interests me- I’ve never thought about it that way, but you’re right, actually. The game is basically just a bunch of gating mechanisms that favours preexisting players.

Also, being locked out of a team for an event doesn’t prevent you from scoring and thus being ranked globally, unlike PvP :slight_smile:

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Nice work! Dedication!!!
There were 2 in my p2 team, leader L289 and me (officer) L260 didn’t breed 1 point this event as we were either done for the season or I cannot breed (forwards) until i get to L300… maybe many more in similar situations but your 5% error margin probably accounts for that.
Interesting reading though!!!
As an aside ill probably have close to 1m eggs by the time I get to 300 as E2p which will get me through harbinger tier. Timers timers timers please…

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I hope you do this for fort too

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Gonna need a lot of wood quickly for a similar fort table :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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A very interesting read, great job!

I have to wonder what the next steps are, though. Not for you, but for PG.

If they keep favoring pre-existing players, as you and Kate pointed out, new player recruitment and retention will continue to dwindle, and the old guard will fade away until the game is dead. We’re already seeing this, with most teams below mid-Sapphire constantly looking for new actives.

If they start doing things to actually favor new players - removing barriers to Atlas, prevent established players from running roughshod over the new ones in wars/events/Atlas, adding more catch-up mechanisms, etc. - they’ll lose some of their pre-existing players. After all, many of those are the players that scream bloody murder or scoff “git gud” every time someone suggests such fixes.

The first is a guaranteed death, just waiting for the steady flow of those who give up fighting imbalanced battles, and for the slow trickle of disappearing whales.

The second is a risk. It could save the game, and keep it going long-term, but it could drive away some of those established players in the short term.

I wonder which way PG will go.

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I remember about a year ago, way back when I was in a Gold team. Back then, when the sapphire wall loomed large, there were many warning posts from players who are no longer here. New players would hit sapphire and just…stop. The game would get too grindy and progression would slow to a halt. Combine that with anti-newbie practices and the game can be outright hostile to new players. The old guard warned that we would see a falling away…no more new players and an erosion from the bottom up. Many in Diamond scoffed. Who cared what happened down in Gold? Back then, gold1 was actually somewhat competitive for people in the level 100 range. Making it up into plat took a 50 player team and if you stepped one toe into plat4, you would instantly be declared on by four or five teams.

Now, one short year later, plat teams are merging - mine is about to disband, in fact - because we simply can’t get enough players to stay competitive. We’re plat2 with 8 atlas castles and we can’t stay at 50 players without multiple alts to plug the holes. Gold and below are tumbleweeds. The boat is sinking.

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I’m not going to deny that the game is slowly decaying, but wanted to add a few data points I have to cast some doubt on the validity of the data.

First of all, if I look at my current ranking in Troops Owned, I see myself as 22nd. However, if I look at the top 25 leaderboard above my personal ranking, I’m nowhere close to having the troop count of the 25th ranked player.

Secondly, in Fort events that I’ve pushed in, I slowly climb until I hit 1,011. I then pretty much stop. I’m nowhere near the score of player number 1,000, and I highly doubt that there are exactly 10 ppl between me and the leaderboard for days on end.

My point is simply that from other examples of leaderboards in the game… I have great confidence that they aren’t precise. If I had to guess, for the fort event at least, there’s some algorithm that estimates your current rank as long as you aren’t legitimately in the top 1,000. And once you can see that they clearly fudge numbers some of the time, it makes me question whether they’re doing it all of the time.

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I would like to see this redone for Fort. There might be some reasons folks didn’t breed much this round.

I’d be surprised if PG is fudging numbers for the sole reason of obscuring player count.

The anti noob mentality will kill this game for sure. The whales won’t sustain this churn and burn model for much longer.

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You have no idea how often I am always in 1011th place eh?

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At least it’s not 1013rd :rofl::rofl:

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as a general rule in app games, 10% of players make up for 90% of the income.

I didn’t think i was going to read the entire post, but I did. Never thought about estimating the number of active players like this. I would encourage to track this over a month or so and see if there are any big changes to the active player numbers.

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I went Elite only recently. No Atlas elite hurts my Atlas progression with lower troops and shards but so what. I dont think anyone should spent a penny on this game when they are willing to leave player chat broke for over a week.

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The end is only a couple years off my friends.

To say so, you need to see the dynamics - how the values that you obtain are changing over time. Also, this event was the last in season, so it shoud have less activity than usual.

Interesting reading, thanks for analysis!

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That’s what I and my team have been saying since that Sapphire+ lock to atlas. It’s nigh impossible to recruit and get to sapphire in order to get atlas access. Without atlas, teams are dying. This is a fact.

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End of the season though, and people do skip breeding events sometimes, when they don’t have anything ready.

It would be interesting to take the same measurements for pvp during the discount week, I suspect the 10-points tier will be more representative then.

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You read that on “The Blaze”? :rofl:

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I think we had 3-5 people skip out on this event entirely.

I suspect that first week of the season TG would be better for this analysis

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You can’t judge the last event of the season as many players are done with their goals and have no incentive and are saving to do better the following. While some of the points are valid, I would say it’s very flawed based on 1 event and the last event of the season.

As far as new teams, there are already way to many new teams. Just stop making them. That’s the issue, atlas is not for little players. Grow and move up.

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I find this very intresting yet alarming, but doesnt come as a complete shock. I find matchmaking attacks intresting in that you can clearly see from a D1 level the number of players who are not on a team or they are inactive. So if theres several and ive noticed more & more lately…what is it like in Sapphire & below. Are there several at those levels too? Recruiting is at an all time high as opposed to previous years. Many now are likely comfortable or stay where they are on teams with the occasional replacement of 2-5 players after events figuritively. Maybe lots of new players but how many actually are sticking it out for the long term that are F2P?