This time of year I conduct a non-scientific review of our guild membership. As an additional caveat, I have absolutely no formal training in data or statistical analysis. I review our guild data simply out of curiosity and my analysis is not complex. I use data from the Cloak guilds only because I do not have access to the data for the other guilds in the Cloak Alliance. Between July 2018 and July 2019, Spiritcloaks joined the Cloak guilds. Therefore I do not have comparative data from last year for Spiritcloak accounts so my account level comparison begins with only Greycloaks and Blackcloaks.

Account Data

Let’s take a look at accounts by the numbers:

This time last year, Greycloaks and Blackcloaks had 268 members out of 292 possible members. We always save room for returning Cloaks and never cap our guilds at the 149/150 account limit. We gained more new members (119) than those who stayed (112) to continue playing from 2018 to 2019. I can’t conclude that the slightly fewer number of accounts this year is due Neverwinter’s overhaul in Mod 16. We could easily be at 2018 guild membership levels if we did active recruiting, which we have not done. The fact that our guilds are Level 20 Strongholds, Greyhastur and Beckpetal streaming, and our web presence seems to attract a good number of interested players passively.

Now let’s include Spiritcloaks in the account analysis to generate a view of retention and new accounts based on the “Guild Join Date” included when you export your guild list from the Neverwinter server.

Why is this analysis different from the prior? The “Guild Join Date” is not a reliable measure of tenure of an account in the guild. Many guild members may leave or get trimmed due to inactivity and re-join the Cloaks later. My saved files from year to year allow me to see the farthest back an account has been with the Cloaks since I’ve been collecting data.

The graph above shows that we have three accounts still in the guild (again, they have never left or been trimmed) since 2014. Clearly we’ve had the largest number of new accounts join us in 2019, which is to be expected. What’s new is that in comparison to 2018 (see the historical chart below) the 2019 new players represent 50% of our population, up from 43% in 2018. New players to the game represent a 7% increase in population compared to this time last year.

Interestingly, the largest number of players to leave us were those who joined us in 2017. We have the lowest number of retained players in that year (excluding 2014 and 2015). Our guilds were full in 2017, which was the year of Mod 11 (The Cloaked Ascendency) and Mod 12 (Tomb of Annihilation).

Historical Cloak chart from 2018

The historical chart shows that a year ago in 2018, players who joined us in 2017 were 30% of our population. This year, they are only 9%. Maybe those 2017 players were the ones who chose to leave with Mod 16, but I don’t have departure data to draw that conclusion. With that said, our 2014, 2015 and 2016 retained player numbers have remained consistent; these are truly our veterans.

I know we had a huge influx of new accounts in 2018 (June) with Ravenloft and we’ve retained a good number of those who joined us then. These are our new veterans and do a great deal to help transfer game knowledge to our 2019 members.

Who knows what all this means? Maybe giving away a full set of gear in Ravenloft helped retain those players since they didn’t feel so big of a gap compared to long term players?

I’d have to do a separate data comparison to see if the 2017 players we lost have come back, or if they’ve left the game all together.

Class Data

Now let’s look at class data. First we’ll see what classes players chose when they joined our guilds, over time.

Going back in history, our three (3) 2014 classes are the Warlock, Cleric and Fighter (yes, I’m using the post M16 class names even though these were not the class names at the time). Tyranny of Dragons in May 2014 brought the Warlock and one of our guild members never looked back, but the Cleric and Fighter might be as old as 2013.

2015 saw the rise of the Cleric, with that class generating the largest numbers. 2016 was fairly even across the Wizard, Ranger and Cleric, but 2017 saw the Barbarian pull ahead as the most toons created. 2018 is a fairly even spread, with the poor Rogue getting sandwiched down behind even the Fighter. 2019 sees the Wizard, Barbarian and Ranger currently neck and neck. The Rogue is seeing a resurgence in popularity.

Perhaps the almost even spread in 2019 across the classes shows that class balance was successful? Or maybe everyone is creating each class to re-learn the game and find what class they want to play in the post M16 era.

I know what you’re saying: “Faze, even a first year data scientist can tell you that just because someone chooses to create a class doesn’t mean that they play the class”. With Mod 17 on the horizon, I figured everyone has had a good amount of time to level the classes they’re interested in playing (they’ve even had time to invoke to Level 80 if the class is invoked every day), so now would be a good time to look at the Cloaks by class, by level:

Wizards, while having the largest number of toons, seem to have the largest number of toons relatively stuck getting out of the gate even thought they also have the highest number of Level 80 toons across our three guilds. Specifically, Wizards have the highest level of toons still not past level 69. Yes, I know that some of them may be leveling to 80, but I didn’t do the data science to draw any conclusions on that scenario.

There might be a bunch of leveling going with those 27 Clerics between level 70 and 79, however. You’ll see that Clerics are almost tied with the Ranger for the number of toons between levels 70-79. The Ranger (especially the melee Warden) is living up to the DPS role and that’s probably a factor motivating those 26 toons moving through the level 70s on their way to Level 80. There might be an upcoming wave of Paladins as well, with 20 toons moving through the level 70 to 80 grind. More tanks or healers will benefit everyone in our Alliance.

Fighters, Rogues and Warlocks seem similar in popularity. While the Rogue is still the smallest population overall at 70 toons, the number of Level 80 Rogues beats the number of Level 80 Fighters just by a hair and ties the number of level 80 Warlocks at 48.

One special note about Rogues and Fighters: they are the only classes with more toons than immediately prior to Mod 16, despite our lower membership numbers. Here’s a chart with class count right before Mod 16 hit preview:

Historical class count from before Mod 16 hit preview.

You’ll see in the historical chart that every class has taken a hit in the total number of players save for Fighter and Rogue, who have increased 2 and 5, respectively.

The Barbarian falls behind only the Wizard in the total number of Level 80 toons, but there’s a large group (24) leveling between 70-80. I wonder if those toons are invoking to 80 while the players have fun exploring the newly revised classes (maybe they’re checking out the Rogue??) or if this is still one of the more popular classes to try for new players. If the latter, that would mean Barbarian appeal extends beyond just doing damage since the Barbarians are no longer designed as a dedicated, Cryptic-defined DPS class (e.g. Ranger, Rogue and Wizard).

I hope you’ve enjoyed the latest periodic analysis of our three Cloaks guilds, Greycloaks, Blackcloaks and Spiritcloaks. If you’re interested in trying any of the classes you’ve never played before, check out Lord Willow’s YouTube channel for great guild videos. If you’re looking to join us, we’ve got plenty of space and would love to have you! You can contact us in game or post on our wall at the Cloak website.