Friday, September 28, 2012

[GW2] Opening Bags: the Anti-Bot Code and MF

The Guild Wars 2 subreddit has been invaded by science, and I love it.

Recording the results of 500 rag salvages, Lord Signis found that salvaging items isn't affected by the anti-bot code. Marko did a similar setup, and found that salvaging isn't influenced by magic find.

This got me thinking: what about loot bags?

TL;DR: The loot obtained from opening bags isn't influenced by either magic find or the anti-bot farming code.

In order to obtain a desirable sample size, I grabbed 1000 Bags of Pinched Goods from the Trading Post.

Doing this has one significant drawback. I'm essentially assuming that loot is determined at the time I open the bag, not at the time the bag is generated. I'm really hopeful that ANet decided to save on storage space. [Further testing required... its something I'm working on.]

On the upside, It felt like Asuran Christmas. With fewer explosions.

  • The first set of 500 bags was opened with 0% MF after a day of opening no bags.
  • The second set of 500 bags was opened with 111% MF 24 hours later. (MF sources: 30 on jewelry, 53 on runes, 18 on gear, 10 from guild bonus)
  • I stood in the same place without moving on each run.
  • The bags were opened at 7pm EST 9/26 and 7pm EST 9/27.

Raw data can be accessed on this spreadsheet.

Each bag has a chance to contain a gathering tool (ex: axes, mining picks), a cooking item (butter, blueberries, blue meats), white crafting components (cloth/leather), or blue crafting components (claws, totems, etc).  In what follows, I'll break those categories down into gathering tools, white crafting materials, and blue crafting materials. I'll note whether the items are cooking components or not.

The Anti-bot Code.

The number of items contained within each bag does not decrease as more bags are opened.

For example, taking a look at the blue line in the center panel, across all 500 bags, if the bag contained butter, it averaged just under 4 butter.  This was as true for the first 100 bags as it was the last 500 bags. The order the bag was opened didn't change the amount of loot inside. [For the more stats-minded, the order the bags were opened was not statistically significant across several specifications of negative binomial regressions.]

The chance a bag contains a white vs blue item does not change as more bags are opened. Here, following Lord Signis, I'm taking a look at the change in the probability that an item contains a blue crafting material as the number of bags opens increases. While I had a run of good luck at the beginning, and a spot of rough luck around 250 bags, its fairly clear that the probability of a blue item hovers around 50%.

[Again for the more stats-minded, I confirmed this with a few specifications of probits of blue vs white on order with various controls.]

Based on the the first set of 500 bags, I didn't find any evidence that the anti-bot code changes the rewards from bag opening.

Magic find results. Here, I'm comparing the results of the first 500 bags (discussed above) to a second set of 500 bags I opened under identical conditions, 24 hours later, this time with 111% magic find.

Cooking Materials 0% Magic Find 111% Magic Find
Butter 317 324
Blue 16 18
White 24 23
Non-Cooking Materials 0% Magic Find 111% Magic Find
Blue 224 231
White 259 254

Not only is the difference between the two runs absurdly small, the difference isn't statistically significant. I only obtained seven additional non-crafting blues with 111% magic find - a 3% difference between the two samples, which is well within the margin of error (approximately +/- 4%).

Again, the punchline: the quality and amount of loot from bags isn't affected by either magic find or the anti-bot farming code.

Update: dev post - MF only works on kills.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

[GW2] The Culminating Point of Defeat

I've realized one very important thing in my never-dying challenge. My subconscious gamer is better at staying alive than I am.

In the back of my mind, I keep thinking that after setting myself a goal of hitting level 80 without dying (or crafting), it'd only be sensible to play defensively and cautiously.

I promptly ignore this voice.

Instead, I'm running around with a greatsword, offensive traits, mostly offensive utilities. No survivability on my gear. And a big helping of stupid.

This has led to some rather predictable results.

Clawswitz Sr. At level 10 I encountered a 5-pack of level 14 mobs (two ogres and their pets). Charging in, I remember thinking that "this is probably a bad idea". It was. They were being leashed, and so their health was increasing. I fled... straight into a destroyer. One poison bolt later, I was back to character creation. And I take forever at the character creation screen.

Clawswitz II died in Hoelbrak. At a vista. Just after getting there, I thought "maybe I should go down the safe way". And then, I jumped... to his death. Not the brightest idea.

Clawswitz III died doing the dolak capture quest in Wayfarer Foothills. Yes, the one where all you do is shoot nets. I hadn't seen skelk there before. When 6 popped up on a calf, I charged into attack. They roflstomped me.

After Clawswitz III, I finally decided to to be sensible about things.

Clawswitz IV is a defensive powerhouse. Traits, utilities, even gear. All defensive. Its amazing. Veterans can't even dent the health bar. Regen keeps him topped.

It is amazing to me that just changing traits and gear - while keeping the same weapon - makes for a completely different playstyle. My level 20 signet-build warrior has 95% crit. Touch a mob, it explodes. Pull several... I explode. Swap to defensive. The greatsword is now a glorified whittling knife.  But it doesn't matter. I'm virtually invincible.

And I love that about GW2.

I'm finally making real choices about survival vs offense. I can go defensive... but that makes any fight so much longer. Trait and utility choices can cover some weaknesses, but my character always has vulnerabilities. And nearly everyone makes different decisions about these tradeoffs... so there are a much wider range of gameplay choices / specs than I've experienced in any MMO.

But don't worry, I'll find something hilarious to die to any minute now...

Friday, September 21, 2012

[GW2] Clawswitz the Cautious Cowering Charr

I've become vaguely obsessed with death in GW2.

It all started with the the Experience Survivor achievement for the monthly. 100k experience without dying.

I kept looking at the bar. But it wouldn't move! I wasn't dying, but it wasn't moving, either. So I started tracking things. Experience since my last downed state. Experience since my last overflow. Moving zones.

I realized that moving zones / logging reset the counter. Silly bugs. Started a fresh zone, got my 100k. Phew.

But the lifetime survivor achievement... it isn't moving either. Could it be that I need 500k experience on a character that has never died? Only one way to find out...

This actually struck me as a fun way to play. Remember Cautious, the warrior who leveled to the cap in WoW without dying?  Or Neverdied, the frost mage with a snazzy video? Sounds excellent.

Enter Clawswitz (the Cautious Cowering Charr).

Normally, he'd be running into the fire. Sword in hand, he'd scream out his warcry and charge right into the mayhem.

Instead, I'm trying to get Clawswitz to 80 without dying. Ever.

Ground rules:
  • No deaths. Downed ok. Vengeancing from downed to come back to life, awesome.
  • No escort services. I could cheese this thing by getting my 80 friends in a group and tagging what they kill. That'd be lame.
  • No crafting. Stockpiling mats to just zap from 1-80 isn't quite the spirit of the challenge.
  • Anytime I run from a challenge, I need to fess up to it. So that fire elemental in Metrica Province? Admitting it right now: I didn't go near it.
Some stuff I've realized.
Going with melee wasn't exactly my wisest decision. Soloing a skill challenge with a greatsword is suicidal. Soloing it with my rifle is cake. This might be different if I stacked vitality instead of power... but nobody said charr had to think things through. I'm a bit unsure how warrior will work out - I'm jealous of thieves and the ability to flee combat right about now.

I'm not rushing with this. More of a fun side project for when I want a break from crushing opponents in WvW.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Starter 80 Gearing in GW2

At last, I hit 80 in GW2!

Of course, my gear was utterly terrible. My last ring upgrade was in the mid 50s (and I'm a jeweler!) and my weapons were from the early 70s (and I'm a huntsman!). I had several lvl 60 blues on.

After getting roflstomped by a few dungeons, I realized that this simply wouldn't do.

Gear Basics:
Armor comes in five different rarities: Fine (blue), Masterwork (green), Rare (yellow), Exotic (orange), and Legendary (purple). While exotics and legendaries have the same stats, each of the other tiers gives a stat boost.

But how big of an improvement? I used gw2db to build a set of medium armor with toughness, vitality, and power*:
Moving from fine to exotic gear is a 35% increase in stats on gear.

But characters come with 916 base stat points. This makes moving from fine to exotic gear only a 11% increase in total stats not accounting for traits. Accounting for traits (another 300 of a chosen stat) drops that to about a 9% increase.

In Guild Wars, gear matters, but not for much.

So where to get starter 80 gear?
Trading Post:  I've had a fair bit of luck getting a full set of Mastercraft (green) gear from the Trading Post for mere coppers above its vendor price. I grabbed a full set of gear with power/toughness/vitality for about 40 silver. [EDIT: if shopping for rares, the difference between lvl 79 and lvl 80 gear is only a couple defense, which is another way to save a bit at the TP.]

Crafters: I'm guessing crafters are the source of all that trading post gear. Once I got my huntsman to 400, I found out that I can craft green gear pretty cheaply. And rare/yellow gear isn't much more expensive to craft. I've been equipping guildmates with some pretty excellent weaponry since then.

I only just realized how important runes are on gear! For example, getting a set of six Superior Runes of the Undead is worth about 165 condition damage and 50 toughness. Tailors, leatherworkers, and armorsmiths can craft runes with other desired stats.

Where not to get starter gear
Prestige Gear: Early on, prestige gear was pretty cheap (bug!), so there are a some lingering threads on the internet about them. Nowadays, the cultural and prestige gear are comically expensive. Like over 1g per piece.

Karma/Dungeon Vendors: These are great pieces of gear to work towards, but it takes plenty of time for one upgrade. Karma gear runs 42k karma apiece. It'll take 4-5 exploreable runs for a single piece of dungeon armor. Getting a starter set first made that grind much easier.

*Some pieces with these 3 stats didn't exist, so I extrapolated their values based on comparable gear for ease of explanation. Adding that complexity doesn't alter the basic point that going from blue to exotic gear doesn't add much in the way of stats.