For those of you not yet aware, The Elder Scrolls: Legends (TES:L) has had some very exciting news lately. While everyone in the TES:L community is no doubt thrilled for new content in the coming month to shake up the meta, the end of fall also means the end of a stagnant game state for some fans. As the Reddit threads piled up and the Twitch streams grew more and more detached, I felt this was the most appropriate time to begin the Monthly Survey series.
The goal of this series is to chart opinions and attitudes toward various aspects of TES:L much like I have in the past; however, the difference here is that the survey I created can be retaken once every month. By doing this, I hope to longitudinally track the ebb and flow of TES:L, both providing the community at large with a cross-sectional snapshot of the game’s state while simultaneously supporting the game’s stakeholders, Direwolf Digital and Bethesda Softworks, with some supplementary data that they can utilize at their leisure for decision-making.
That all being said, grab your sweetrolls and iron helmets – we’re going on a magical statistical adventure!
Before we dive into the classes and game modes, let’s talk about you – the players who bring life to the game. At the conclusion of the survey, which I closed for analysis on October 30th (one day before the Return to Clockwork City announcement was made – nailed it.), 407 people had completed it. Of those 407 people, 94% identified as male, 3% identified as female, 2% preferred not to answer, and 1% identified as neither male nor female. The average age was 27 years old with a range of 12 to 65 years old. Thanks to some new tools I employed this time around, there were no duplicate entries that needed to be deleted, so the final sample size remained at 407.
When asked to report their time spent with TES:L in terms of months, the largest category of players responded as having spent about 3 months playing TES:L (n = 50), while the average was around 7 months. A large portion of the respondents on the survey (n = 121) had only started playing in the last 3 months, which may be a positive indicator of the impact of the Heroes of Skyrim expansion. On a smaller scale, most players reported playing around 6-10 hours per week (n = 123).
The simplest place to start digging into the game itself is with the Arena game modes. I asked participants to describe how difficult or easy it is to gain ranks in both solo and versus arena using a 7-point Likert scale, where 1 represented extremely difficult and 7 represented extremely easy. Responses tended toward the difficult end of the spectrum, with averages of 2.59 and 2.62 for solo and versus arena, respectively. You can see this visually represented in the two charts below.
These results are largely consistent with findings I reported on back in August. While there is still a tendency toward finding the progression in arena a difficult task, it seems to have stabilized compared to when Heroes of Skyrim was a fresh set. Further in line with previous findings, it seems as though more and more players are starting to reach the Grand Champion rank in each of the arena modes, as illustrated by the next two charts.
That’s quite the skew! While we could try to infer what this overwhelming majority means, a more meaningful comparison can be drawn in future months if the game’s stakeholders opt to perform another “soft reset” of arena ranks, similar to what occurred at the start of the Heroes of Skyrim expansion. Differing data then can tell us more about the appeal of ranking up in the arena, whereas the current results may just be the product of hitting a ranking ceiling (in other words, there’s nowhere else to go after rank 1). A more meaningful gauge of arena gameplay that I may incorporate in future renditions is how often players play arena on a weekly basis.
The ladder (aside from being chaos) has been the venue for a wild array of deck types in the last few months. Let’s first take a look at what is surely a dire, arduous struggle to get to the top of –
Well, that’s interesting. More than a third of the respondents reported having reached Legend rank before. Of those people who have achieved that golden glory, the average rank most end up finishing the season at is around #331. In the visual above, you can also see what I call pressure points along the ladder – specifically, ranks 4, 5, and 9. This makes sense given the context of the ranking structure, as ranks 5 and 9 feature more “levels” within them than adjacent ranks, making travel time a bit slower through them. If so many have hit ranked before, how do they feel about the process?
With an average of 2.5 on the same 1-7 scale I used for describing arena difficulty, it seems most players feel the process is just a bit difficult on average. It sure doesn’t seem that way given the context of all the players hitting Legend, but that could also be a function of the potential sampling bias involved in this survey.
Colors, Classes, and Highlights
Now that we have a baseline for what’s happening on the ladder, let’s zoom in a bit to see what cards and classes are making the magic happen.
In my first Warlock Analytics report, you might have noticed an astonishing difference between the perceived power of the color blue versus the other five colors. Well, just like Jarl Ulfric defeated King Torygg (too soon?), blue has been dethroned. Sort of.
Before we can discuss this result, we should also consider the same comparison, but with the ten classes instead. Take a look:
In a stunning turn of events, Crusader has bolted almost to the top of the list in recent months. Granted, it’s still second fiddle to the terrifying Scout class, but Crusader’s popularity surge may very well explain the sudden rise of red as a major power in the game. Similarly, the emergence of Ramp Scout over the summer likely gave both green and purple the kick they needed to compete, giving us this surprisingly even split between the major colors (sorry, gray). The classes themselves aren’t too far off either, and these results somewhat corroborate with results shared in the October Dev Diary with Direwolf Digital – the classes are hitting their targets, while Scout seems to be over-performing. If you haven’t yet read the Dev Diary and what this means for future development cycles, I highly encourage you to do so for refreshing insights into the back end of the game.
If you thought this section was going to be about Pete Hines and how much he likes Fighters Guild Recruit, I’m sorry to disappoint (although, it is a pretty rad card). I included a series of items in the survey about overall sentiments towards Bethesda Softworks (the publisher) and Direwolf Digital (the developers) as a way to gauge both successes and areas that may require some attention over the game’s future. These items are meant to serve as a general pulse check and are neither meant to incite panic nor induce elation. For starters, let’s talk about quality.
And there’s apparently quite a bit of it. Most respondents reported feeling satisfied with the overall quality of the game’s content and subsequent content releases. However…
Players aren’t so thrilled with the gaps between content releases. While the gap between Fall of the Dark Brotherhood and Heroes of Skyrim was only between March and July, the gap between Heroes of Skyrim and Return to Clockwork City has been a noticeable one. Whatever the reason may be for this slightly delayed release cycle, it certainly put diehard TES:L fans on edge.
Other items regarding the performance of the game’s stakeholders were much less disparate. When asked to rate their satisfaction on the frequency and quality of balance changes in the game, most players responded in the neutral to satisfied range. While there have been some balance changes that raised a few eyebrows initially (I’ll miss you, Echo of Akatosh, even if others won’t!), it seems the rate at which Direwolf Digital dishes out content changes and bug fixes is appreciated.
While I had also asked about the level of communication each company has with the player base, I’ve opted to not include those results in this initial report. As I later discovered in talking with respondents, there was some confusion as to what role each company performed in the game’s development and management. Rather than risk the propagation of potentially incorrect data, the items will be restructured and revisited next month.
Conclusion & Closing Thoughts
The initiation of this series has not come without difficulty. As both a fan of this game and a researcher, it’s both riveting and tiring to immerse myself so fully in analyses such as these. While these initial averages and highlights may not seem like much at first, they provide crucial baselines for future comparisons that can track the impact of new sets, design decisions, and marketing strategies for the game. Particularly if you feel there were items not reported this time around that were in the survey, fret not – they’ll appear further down the pipeline.
It is my hope that the continuation of this series serves the goals I had described before: a lens through which players can observe deeper insights into a wonderfully innovative game, and a tool with which stakeholders can continue to shape and mold this game in new and fascinating ways.