Analyzing the Gladiators
Tyveris from ArenaJunkies.com recently posted a gladiator breakdown by class for arena seasons 1-3. The numbers are limited and only represent players registered on AJ forums, but it’s still a great sample and most likely not far from the true numbers.
It’s interesting to see a historical breakdown of all classes and their success in high end arenas. I thought it would be worth going into a further analysis and figure out the reasons behind class representation. I’m not going to post the patch notes for each season here because that would be a mess, but if you’re interested you can always check it here.
The graph shows the number of gladiators for each class, but numbers can only tell one side of the story.
In season 1, warlocks are clearly overpowered the winners with 17,96% of total gladiators, closely followed by priests and warriors. Back then, warlocks and (shadow) priests were dominating the 2v2 bracket, and it wasn’t unusual for warriors to team up with paladins. Druids, shaman and hunters have the lowest number of gladiators; all three classes combined have only 2% more gladiators more than warlocks.
At the end of season two, we can see a rise in the number of druids and rogues, close to 4% for each class. Priests and shaman are holding steady, and the decrease of paladins is most likely caused by changes to druids which made them the preferred choice for small bracket arena. Despite the near death of lock + priest combo, these classes are still holding the first two places, which is incredible considering how much warlocks were nerfed (dot coefficients, resilience affecting dots, drain life nerf, shadow embrace nerf, CCs down to ten seconds, …).
Season 3 ended clearly in favor of rogues and warriors, with druids as the best choice for a healer (and the trend still continues now in S4). Warriors haven’t received many changes during Burning Crusade, but this clearly shows it wasn’t necesarry: a smooth rise in their numbers goes well with gear scaling. Introduction of armor penetration was clearly not a significant buff for them as it was for rogues, who continue to rock the charts. After the welcomed nerf of HARP spec, subtlety was buffed to oblivion and rogue numbers skyrocket to the point where there’s more vengeful rogues than gladiator warlocks (0,04% but it’s still more!). Druids rised by 6% despite the nerfs to Cyclone and 4/5 set bonus. Paladins continue to tumble down the rabbit hole, and despite the tons of buffs to hunters they are still far from the wonderland. Nerfs to warlocks continue even during S2, to the point where we’re the 5th most represented class with a huge drop. RMP is a strong combo to this day, but mages still continue to drop.
Since it’s highly unlikely there will be any more class balancing till Wrath of the Lich King, things are bound to stay almost exact as at the end of S3. Warrior + Druid and Warrior + Rogue are currently the top two comps in 2v2 bracket, and it’s unlikely it will change - the two melee classes can only get stronger with more Brutal gear. In 3v3, RMP is still the winner, followed not so closely by WLD. Although I think Warr + Retribution + Rshaman is a seriously strong comp, their numbers are quite low for now. Warlocks will probably see a small increase in the number of gladiators, and undispellable armor helped. Rogues are and will continue to dominate regardless of the Cheat Death nerf - that should be obvious to anyone. Priests will continue to fall in numbers just as they did before S4, and I doubt we’ll see any significant surprises concerning other classes.
And another graph if you’re curious: this one shows how many players obtained gladiator ranks all three seasons. Remind me to make a post again at the end of S4 so we can laugh how there’s twice as many rogues as there are locks.