Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Slicing Lockboxes Post 1.2

[EDIT 5/7/2012:  Patch 1.2.2 corrected this error. See the analysis here.]

Yup, it is time for another slicing post.

It looks like 1.2 had a few undocumented (maybe even unintended) changes to slicing.  Over on the forums, a few posters have been noticing some pretty dramatic losses and changes to the grade 5 and 6 missions - particularly the rich missions.

So I returned to my army of slicing alts, and collected data on 400 Grade 5 and 6 slicing lockbox missions with companions at 10k affection, and then compared those results to the data I'd collected before.
From the data, its fairly clear that patch 1.2 didn't change the earnings from Moderate missions.  They were profitable before the patch, and remain an excellent source of credits post-patch. Abundant missions had their returns reduced slightly.  The most striking change comes from the Rich Grade 5 missions - while still profitable overall, this is because a few high-earnings missions offset the losses from the majority of missions.

These curious results come from the double-RNG nature of slicing returns.

Each lockbox has two attributes that determine its average yield:  its level and color.  Grade 5 missions can return level 42, 44, 46, and 48 lockboxes.  Grade 6 missions always return level 50 lockboxes.

Before 1.2, green lockboxes returned an average of 160% of the credits of their white counterparts.  Since 1.2, green lockboxes are worth less than white ones - earning 80% of a white box on average.
Each yield of mission has a different color profile:
*Moderate missions return White lockboxes.
*Abundant missions return Green lockboxes on crits, and White otherwise.
*Rich missions return Blue lockboxes on crits, and Green otherwise.

This helps make sense of the original results. Because White lockboxes were unchanged, Moderate missions were unchanged.  Abundant missions were only slightly affected because they only return green lockboxes on crits (15-20% of the time). Meanwhile, Rich missions return green lockboxes on noncrits - now a generally a 1000 credit loss compared to the cost of the mission. They only remain profitable because blue boxes (average 6250 credit return) can offset those losses on a crit.

Overall: all slicing lockbox missions remain profitable in 1.2 (I'd definitely make and sell augments instead... but more on that later). Moderate and abundant missions now have higher earnings than rich-yield missions.

I do find it odd that they'd choose to deliberately target green lockboxes to nerf. Without understanding the reasoning, it feels more like a bug than an intentional change.

[EDIT:  caught math error and updated returns for green 42-48 lockboxes.]


  1. Wanted you to let you know I love your analysis of SWTOR mechanics and statistical approach.

    I have linked your post in the thread on SWTOR forums that discusses the issue, I hope you don't mind!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Originally posted here by KnowItALLDM

    (but i figured i'd remove the names on the ticket)

    It's not just lockboxes gained by slicing, but ALL green lockboxes, even those gained as quest rewards are nurfed. I found this out myself, gaining a mere 70 credits from lockboxes that cost me 220 credits to send a compainion on. Usually the minimum for that would be around 150, still a loss, but not a kick in the nuts. After testing nearly 1000 lockboxes, 600 white and 400 green of various levels, I found the green lockboxes ALWAYS returned lower than the white of the same level. 100% of the time. I reported it and got the standard message:

    Greetings *****,

    I am Protocol Droid W6-D0 of Human-Cyborg Relations.

    Thank you for contacting us regarding your report about green lockboxes giving less credits after patch 1.2. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and I'll be more than happy to assist.

    Your report has been forwarded to our development team, who will investigate further. Please be aware that when a ticket is escalated for such an investigation, it will no longer be visible to you through the in-game helpcenter.

    We regret that we will be unable to provide you with further updates on this issue, but recommend checking the latest patch notes at www.swtor.com/patchnotes for information on any fixes or changes related to this issue.

    Thank you again for the valuable feedback you have provided. Please do not hesitate to report any other issues you may encounter while playing.

    Galactic Support is our specialty...


    Protocol Droid
    Star Wars: The Old Republic Customer Service

    Now you can invite your friends to try out Star Wars: The Old Republic for free. Visit www.swtor.com/info/friends for more information, and help them get started today!

    We would love to hear your feedback on our Customer Service and invite you to fill out the following survey which will help us to continually improve our support!

    1. This definitely moves the change closer to the "hopefully a bug" category.

      There is something about the standard message coming from a droid that really grates on me, too.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Sorry bout the removals. I figured I could condense them in one statement.

      The Protocol droid was listed as
      Protocol Droid W6-D0 (aka Richard)
      meaning it was an actual person doing the responding.
      All my other bug reports had similer formats, but had different droid names and CS rep names.

  4. http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=403398
    It's listed in the Known Issues. Search for Lockboxes on that page.

    1. Yup. The Q&A also confirmed most of the stuff I'd done to check crafting crit rates, too.