Skyrim is one of the finest computer games ever made. I was curious how people played through the game, so I set up some scripts to monitor achievement completion on the Xbox and drew graphs of how people progressed through the game.
The graph above shows completion of the main story quests; as a bar chart (on Jan 17) and as a time series in days since release. Unbound is 100% because the statistics only count players who’ve completed one achievement. There’s a big falloff after “The Way of the Voice”; only 57% of players started Act II of the game. And 34% of players finished the game after two months; most players who get as far as Elder Knowledge in Act III complete the whole game.
I’ve made graphs for all 50 achievements. The bar charts show which parts of the game are popular. For instance 74% of players joined the Companions compared to only 45% joining the Dark Brotherhood. I suspect that’s mostly due to game structure; it’s hard to avoid meeting the Companions at Whiterun but the player has to actively seek out the Dark Brotherhood. Faction completion is also interesting; mages complete their faction line the most while precious few people finish the Thieves Guild. Only ⅓ of players got married; I think the option may have been too hidden. I’m impressed 12% of players got Oblivion Walker; it takes a significant commitment to get 15 Daedric Artifacts and if the player screws up they can make it impossible.
Unfortunately the time series graphs don’t give a lot of extra insight. There’s a big dip in completion percentages around Christmas, when a bunch of new players started playing. But the basic velocity of completion, the slope of these graphs, is about the same for all of the achievements. In retrospect that’s not surprising but I was hoping it would be more interesting.
Some caveats about the data. It’s Xbox only, a self-selected subset of players that True Achievements tracks. The data is daily and has a few bad days I fudged out. This graph isn’t really a finished work, but honestly the data didn’t turn out to be very interesting so I’m done with it.
Update: you can see bar charts of PC achievement completion on Steam. To compare to Xbox, normalize PC numbers to who completed Unbound (92.4%) and look at current Xbox data. Fewer people have finished the main quest on PC (31%) vs Xbox (40%). And only 2.5% of PC users have completed Oblivion Walker, compare to 15% on Xbox. Far fewer finished the thieves guild, too (7% vs 21%). Maybe PC players aren't as completionist as Xbox players? It's not just time played; 63% of people hit Level 25 on PC, 68% on Xbox, that's pretty close. Maybe it's the Xbox sample bias; TrueAchievements tends to track players who are worried about completing achievements.