Was Cataclysm the Worst Expansion EVER? – Part 1

I guess I could say this post is the evil spawn of another post in a family of posts, not unsimilar to the Kardashians. In that original Kris Jenner post, I needed one number. That is right, a harmless need for a number metamorphosed into a desire for more and the result is this post, which we can call Chloe.

So, this number that was needed is the number of raid bosses that have existed in all of WoW. The sum of bosses in 18 tiers of raiding. It isn’t a big part of the parent post  being mentioned in passing, but it is a number I wanted to be accurate. I started jotting this down on a notepad but soon gave up in favor of the ultimate data tool, a spreadsheet.

Thought Process:

Left Brain: I need the total number of raid bosses in WoW. Simple. Spreadsheet. GO.

Right Brain: Great Idea!!! Lets not overcomplicate it.

Left Brain: Molten Core….1…2, 3….10. 10 bosses.

Right Brain: Oooooo, what if we divided it into expansions?

Left Brain: Easy, Vanilla, Molten Core – 10.

Left Brain: Blackwing Lair…

Right Brain: Ooooo, Was or wasn’t BWL Tier 3.

Left Brain: No, it was still Tier 2.

Right Brain: Ooooo, we could break the expansion down by tier.

Left Brain: Add row, T2. Molten Core – 10, Blackwing Lair – 8.

Right Brain: This is awesome!!! We will be done in no time.

Left Brain: We need to put the values in a separate cell to sum them up easily.

Right Brain: For each Tier and then the Expansion, right?

Left Brain: Add Column, 10….8

Left Brain: Done, we can sum the bosses.

Right Brain: Ooooo, and add colors.

Left Brain: Colors, done.

Right Brain: What the fuck? Only 30 bosses in Cataclysm?

Left Brain: It doesn’t matter we got our total boss number.

Right Brain: Ooooo…you know we could compare the value of each expansion based on the number of bosses…and levels to.

Left Brain: DAMNT IT. Add Row, Levels…

The Result, or part of the result:

And thus we have this kick ass spreadsheet. It has grown much bigger than below, but for now we can just use this iteration.

Speadsheet 1
* Click to embiggen.

What this tells us:

It has always been hard to quantify how good an expansion was/is. Most people emphasise the “feeling” as what they don’t like. That is not a bad thing. Hell, I quit in Cataclysm twice because of the feel. However, what occurred to me as a good metric, because we need to measure shit to quantify shit, after building this spreadsheet was the “Price per Tier Boss”.

Given the costs of the original game and the expansions, price per level and price per all bosses are easily enough to calculate and tell a story. However, they only tell a small part of the story.

Tier content can be a direct measurement of the effort put into an expansion. Even if you aren’t a raider, this still has direct impact on you. Tier’s are planned, continued content that furthers 1) the story of the game and 2) keeps us engaged with the game by providing us with shit to do. If we compare this against the price of the expansion or original game, we start to derive a metric to compare each expansion against one another, Price per Tier Boss.

Three things stand out when looking at this data item:

  1. The Burning Crusade gave us our best value followed by Wrath. These happen to be the most touted of expansions for WoW.
  2. Wrath did have some rehashed content. When taking those fights out of the equation, the Wrath drops to 4th in value.
  3. Ignoring Warlords right now, Cataclysm had the worst value and is also considered the worst expansion.
  4. If we end Warlords as T18 being the final tier, Warlords will have a worse value than Cata. Oh. My. Damn.

Now, you know Right Brain isn’t going to stop there. We are taking this spreadsheet to the next level. We are going to bring in subscription costs, inflation, expansion length, and with the magic of math will bring you the Awesome Sauce Factor (ASF). This metric will attempt to quantify the quality of an expansion. Then we are going to evaluate this number in relation to  what people feel about the expansions.We will also compare the ASF and subscription numbers to tell the story of why people stop playing the game and make a bold prediction for Warlords!

Dramatic Cliff Hanger.