[Update 14.02.2021: seems that my (very) old post is getting a lot of views! I think it is still relevant although the data is from 2013. Was looking to update it with new data but it seems it is not available — if anyone finds something more up to date, please let me know!]
I really love PC games. I’ve been playing them since childhood and I hope I’ll keep up till I’m old and grumpy ☺ One of the games I’m currently playing is Starcraft 2. It is a Real Time Strategy where you play one of 3 different races, manage your economy and command wast armies. Some people call it a modern day chess and they are in some sense right. The game requires a lot of strategy, fast-thinking, quick hands and training. Since the release of the first version of the game there are being hold tournaments where professional players are fighting for glory and sizeable money prizes. For example in latest tournament Intel Extreme Masters Katowice the winner took a staggering 100 000 $ . Esports is becoming a big industry with large teams, managers, sponsors and famous players. Many young people want to become gaming athletes and compete with the best. I would like to explore some of the fascinating data concerning Starcraft 2. If you already play Starcraft 2 you might find the second part of my post interesting.
The most important part are the players. Below we can see a little infographic showing the earings of the very best progamers. The data is available here.
Not bad isn’t it? I hope that I’ve encouraged you that this a profitable endeavour☺If you are good enough!
When you play Starcraft 2 you can participate in a League system. Ranked from the lowest to the highest, the Leagues are: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Master and Grandmaster. As you get better and better you can advance up the ladder untill you reach Grandmaster which is a place for the very best 200 players from each server. You can check even more stats here.
As you can see most people land in 3 lower leagues: Gold, Silver and Bronze. Platinium is 8.7 and Diamond is 9.5%. Two top leagues are Master (1.8%) and Grandmaster (0.6%). Notice that we’ve included Grandmasters from all available 5 realms so the number is larger than 200 players.
I found a very interesting data set collected by Mark Blair, Joe Thompson, Andrew Henrey and Bill Chen on September 2013. It contains data on 3395 players of various skill levels. Each player is described by a number of variables such as League, Age or APM. If you want to explore it by yourself it is available here. I decided to do a bit of research on one particular variable — APM. APM stands for Actions Per Minute. It shows how often a player presses a key on his keyboard, clicks a mouse button and performs some meaningful action with it — selects a unit, orders a building to be built or commands an attack. On this video you can see what I mean. The higher APM the better. Even though it is not indicative of skill it is required to get really good at the game.
Below we can see a histogram displaying the distribution of APM in our sample.
The distribution is right-skewed. Most players have APM between 81 and 100. There are very few players with extremely high APM, as to be expected.
The next chart shows us the Average APM in different Leagues. This information can be useful as a benchmark if you want to know how does your APM compare to other players. I’ve also added data for players participating in tournaments.
The Average APM is gradually increasing as expected. There is a sizable jump in APM between Grandmaster and Tournament players. The reason is that tournaments are event more demanding than the already extremely difficult Grandmaster League.
I hope some of you found this data and visualizations interesting. If you have some questions feel free to contact me.☺