Friday, March 2, 2012

I just ran 1400 slicing missions

I was curious about the use of slicing as a source of extra income.

Printing money. What could possibly go wrong?

So I leveled slicing to max on 6 alts, running just over 1400 missions in the process. All these missions were run after the Great Slicing Apocalypse. Because I love data, I kept track of the results and plotted the earnings (reward from box - cost of mission) against the skill level of the character running the mission.
Aside from making a beautiful plot, with data like this people get really curious to know which missions earn the 'best' reward.

So between the Class (1-6) and Type (Moderate, Abundant, Bountiful, Rich) of mission, which is best?
[Note: for presentation, I excluded mission failures and truncated results with profits > 2000]

The problem with those kinds of questions is immediately apparent: whatever small differences exist across types, those differences are dwarfed by the huge range in earnings from each box.

For example, while the class 6 'Abundant' missions earn an average of 60 credits more than their 'Moderate' counterparts, this difference is entirely due to the increased chance for high-yield green boxes on Abundant missions. Those higher credit returns more than offset the additional cost for the abundant missions.

But because the returns from green boxes are so variable, even after running ~400 rank 6 missions, that difference isn't statistically significant.  (For the stats nerds: two-sample t-test, p=.19).

So while I feel that abundant missions are good returns, I don't have enough data to justify that claim. And I can say even less about the categories where I've run a total of 70 missions.

But what about mission discoveries?

Every slicing mission has a chance to return a discovery on a crit - either a cybertech crafting pattern or a blue/epic mission for another profession. Those discoveries are exceptionally lucrative - the blue Treasure Hunting 340s go for at least 20k on my server's GTN. Thing is, not much increases discovery chance. As far as I can tell, the chance for discoveries is equal across all yields of slicing missions: about 12-17%. (More on this later in a followup post.)

So what to do?

I view crafting systems as a game in themselves, so I typically have between 5-15 companions out on slicing missions. I use them to find mission discoveries, which I send to other companions to run to for materials to finance my little crafting empire (evil laugh here).

But even as a pure moneymaking system, slicing excels. I made an alt on another server, and continually send companions out on slicing missions, selling the discoveries on the AH.  At lvl 22, my alt has 30k from missions lockbox profits, and about 200k from selling mission discoveries.

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