Raiding Research Online

Exploring and mapping the MMO raiding culture

Archive for October, 2011

Red and blue: Does that impact our raiding race?

October 11, 2011 By: Ladan Category: competition, rankings

I don’t think this will surprise anyone, but actual research has been done into whether the colour a team wears has an impact on success in competitions. And the winning colour is red! Yes, a whole slew of researchers have noted the ways in which red is an “indicator of dominance” (Feltman and Elliot, 2011) among many species, including humans. This perception of red appears to carry over into sport, where researchers have found that teams wearing red have a higher rate of success. (Hill and Barton, 2005; Atrill et al, 2008; Hackney, 2006, for example) Elliot and Feltman (2011) also noted that the wearing of red has a bidirectional affect on both sides of a competition. So… the team wearing red feels dominant and that dominance is perceived and, apparently, reacted to by the other team. Behold a good example of this, in football at least:

I believe Welbeck is showing off his jazz hands…

But back to WoW… Now I know there are many reasons to explain why Horde-side raiding teams appear to perform better at the top of the raiding race, but could colour be part of it too? In our top 40 world rankings (10 and 25-man combined) only 25% of the guilds are Alliance (blue), while the remaining 30 guilds are Horde (red).

Of course this may mean nothing in terms of the competition between raiding teams, but it’s interesting… particularly in light of what researchers have noted about the impact of the colour red in team sports competitions. I wonder…. if Alliance was the “red” side, would things be different?


  • Attrill, M.J., Gresty, K., Hill, R.A., & Barton, R.A. (2008) Red shirt colour is associated with long-term team success in English football. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26, 577–582.
  • Feltman R. and Elliot A.J. (2011)  The influence of red on perceptions of relative dominance and threat in a competitive context.
    Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 33, 308-314.
  • Hackney, A.C. (2006). Testosterone and human performance: Influence of the color red. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 96, 330–333.
  • Hill R.A. and Barton R.A. (2005) Psychology: Red enhances human performance in contests. Nature, 435, 293.