Champion Aquisition and Generic Crystal Value Over Time in MCOC

Hey Everyone!

Inspiried by @DNA3000 's very insightful and data drived breakdown of difficulty scaling in Marvel Contest of Champions, I decided to try my best at breaking down another issue that has been brought up recently in MCOC quite frequently: champion aquisition.

First, some initial thoughts.

1) Given the advent of cavalier crystals it is truly difficult to objectively and appropriately quantify the true availability of any champion at any tier in the contest at this moment. Additionally given intermittent cyrstal offers with various crystals I don't think I could ever reasonably put together a true chance per month of aquiring any specific champ, particularly if you spend any amount of money and/or time to grind for units to buy crystals.

2) With that said I decided that perhaps the most objective way to try and put together data on this issue was to look only at the top meta generic crystal and secondary tier metal generic crystal at various time points in the contest. I.e. in 2015 this was the 3* generic crystal and 4* generic crystal. Currently this is the primary way that non-spenders and casual players acquire champions at the most relevant champion tiers for the meta of the game at that point in time.

3) Determining true "value" is also really difficult to do in any objective terms in this game. My approach was to look at the percentage chance of acquiring a desired outcome from an individual spin of the crystals in question. I broke down desired outcome into three tiers: Desirable Outcomes, Highly Desirable Outcomes and Specific Outcomes.

- Desirable Outcomes were champs rated as "usable/useful" or "Demi-God and Higher" on YouTube tier lists at each point in time. For time points in 2015/2016 I watched several hours of YouTube videos to try and get an understanding of the feelings of the majority of the community who made YouTube videos at that time. For 2017 and onward I exclusively used the offensive tier list generated by @Seatin (he didn't make tier lists prior to 2017). I did this because although as @Seatin frequently points out, there are many opinions and his is not the be all/end all, his is perhaps the most widely accepted and I thought most accurately reflected the opinions of the majority of the community at each point in time from 2017 onward.

- Highly Desirable were champs rated at the very top tier of each tier list at each point in time OR who had specific high-tier desirability outside of their offensive prowess (i.e. they were the top prestige champ in their class even if they weren't very desirable outside of this property)
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Comments

  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294
    - Specific outcomes are the chances of pulling a single desired champion from a particular crystal.


    With all of that said, I spent many hours generating the following graphics that lay out visually the chances over time of getting each of the outcomes listed below.

    I hope that this will lead to an objective and fruitful discussion about issues related to champion acquisition as of May 2020 and eventually actionable feedback from the community to Kabam regarding this game that we are all so passionate about.

    So without further ado, the graphs....
  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294

  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294

  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294

  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294

  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294

  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294

  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294

  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294

  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294

  • GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 28,722 ★★★★★
    As much as I appreciate the effort you put into this, I don't think Seatin's Tier List is a helpful gauge to apply to overall game statistics.
  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294
    I know that was a lot, but I wanted to get all of the info I had out there to hopefully generate a healthy discussion about this topic!
  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294
    _ASDF_ said:

    And yet somehow....no where near 10% of my pulls are highly desirable. 🤣

    Cendar333 said:


    Nice job OP. A list of the champs per category would be interesting.
    Just check out @Seatin's tier list videos for January of the year following each December time point in question. I would be happy to post the spreadsheets I used if you are really interested in the nitty gritty!
  • BigPoppaCBONEBigPoppaCBONE Posts: 1,543 ★★★★
    I think if you're looking at the latest story and bonus endgame content, the crystal picture is beyond terrible and worse than pictured. For monthly content, the charts look about right to my eyeballing.
  • danielmathdanielmath Posts: 3,546 ★★★★★
    you'd have to look at how shard rates are now. Back in the day, you'd open a 4* every month or 2, and now you can open several 5* a month. Have 1 shot at 20% is worse then having 3 shots at 10%
  • Colonaut123Colonaut123 Posts: 2,961 ★★★★★
    DNA3000 said:

    I don't want to discourage you from looking at this issue. but I think there's a problem that throws a spanner in the works. In the past the content was simpler, and our needs as players were simpler. So called "God Tier" champs were more likely to be useful in a wide range of content, because the requirements for being a God Tier champ mostly revolved around delivering a lot of damage. If you could kill quickly, it didn't matter what the defender was going to throw back at you. As the saying goes: death is the strongest debuff.

    But as the game went along, Kabam started trying to move the focus away from having one great champ be the answer to everything. And sometimes they did okay by making other abilities more valuable, for example power control. But sometimes they did it by making a small subsets of champions practically necessary for a particular fight, as that fight would be designed to require a very specific set of either counter-abilities or workarounds, which few champs possessed.

    So while a lot of players complain they aren't getting "useful" champs from crystal pulls, I see a lot of people complain about that when the champs are clearly useful. Their response is always that the champ isn't useful *to them* which is generally code for "I need champ X or Y to do a piece of content, and all 148 other champs are useless to me."

    If you're targeting one specific champ, or only a tiny number, then of course the longer the game moves on, the lower the chance becomes to pull that one specific subset of champs, since the number of champs is rising. But there's another separate problem, and that is that even if that player pulls that magic champ, they'll just be searching for the *next* "useful" champ they need to do the next thing.

    Perhaps even more important than the crystal percentages is this progression of what players need. In 2015 we needed one of eight champs and then we could wreck everything. In 2020 we need champ X, then champ Y, then champ Z, just to get past one thing. Then we need champ A and B, then we need champ C, D, and E. I think being perpetually missing something amplifies the sense that the crystals don't contain "useful" champs. If you only need one, then no matter how long it takes to get, once you get it, you're good. That's not true anymore. You need to get that champ as quickly as possible, because there's still another champ you know you're going to have to chase after next, and then another.

    I'm oversimplifying here, but I think Kabam trying to make more champs "useful" is making more champs "necessary" and that makes the crystal RNG more psychologically punishing to players. To put it another way, I think the important thing is not that the odds of getting what you need are getting lower, but rather the odds of getting everything you need is getting lower because we need a lot more than we used to, separate from how the crystal ratios change. It is one thing if it used to be 20% chance to hit the jackpot and now it is 10%. But it is much worse if it used to be 20% chance to hit the jackpot and now you have to hit the jackpot ten times in a row.

    That's a much more complicated analysis to put numbers to. But I think the general idea is relatively easy to relate to.

    I agree. I started in 2018 but even I noticed the big shift. My ranking strategy has been to focus on a core 5 team and do pretty much all content with it. Which 5 these were, is based on chance. I started with 4* Red Hulk, Iceman, Killmonger, Mephisto (later replaced by Ghost Rider), Blade, Sentinel and 5* Medusa. That team countered most if not all Kabam thrown at me. I could safely focus all my resources on those, it is way too costly to rank up every other good pull.

    Now, I need to diversify, focussing on a lot of champions to counter ever more defenders and combination of nodes. I don't need one but at least two counters, just in case my main is somehow not an option.

    While my rank-ups used to be a steep pyramid, it has flattened. I've few R4 5* but plenty R3 5* and R5 4*, all of them with unique utility. I have Medusa to shut down robots, but also Vision Aarkus in case of empowered immunity. I have Doom for power control, but Magik for Terrax. The list goes on and on. I get the feeling I'm in a rat race I can't win. I don't have the resources to rank up all the counters to an useable level. There is a point I need to stop and just use unit man if I don't have the counter.

    Regardless, the house wins. Either you pursuit champions and resources or you spend units.
  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294
    @DNA3000 Thanks for taking the time to read and give such insightful feedback. I agree with everything you said!

    Just as in your discussion difficulty scaling, attack values and health pools don't tell the whole picture. Neither do overall "tier" rating systems as it pertains to "value" in an specific generic crystal pull.

    As I mentioned above, I found it interesting that in the past 2 year the overall chance of getting a generically useful champion has stabilized after a big downturn around 2017/2018. However the psychological pressure has increased. When I looked at the picture I think the percentage chance over time to get a SPECIFIC champion is really what people are feeling, and that chance just continually gets worse.

    Furthermore I think that with the advent of act 6, instead of feeling the gradual decline showed in the graphs, we felt a sudden jolt going from about a 10% chance for a highly desirable outcome suddenly to a 0.8% chance as the meta has shifted from needing GENERICALLY useful champions to SPECIFICALLY useful ones.

    Not only that, but if you need multiple such SPECIFIC champs you have an EXPONENTIAL decline in your chances to pull all of the champs you need in any meaningful period of time without spending.
  • KDoggg2017KDoggg2017 Posts: 919 ★★★★
    ☝️So much this! @DNA3000
  • GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 28,722 ★★★★★

    DNA3000 said:

    I don't want to discourage you from looking at this issue. but I think there's a problem that throws a spanner in the works. In the past the content was simpler, and our needs as players were simpler. So called "God Tier" champs were more likely to be useful in a wide range of content, because the requirements for being a God Tier champ mostly revolved around delivering a lot of damage. If you could kill quickly, it didn't matter what the defender was going to throw back at you. As the saying goes: death is the strongest debuff.

    But as the game went along, Kabam started trying to move the focus away from having one great champ be the answer to everything. And sometimes they did okay by making other abilities more valuable, for example power control. But sometimes they did it by making a small subsets of champions practically necessary for a particular fight, as that fight would be designed to require a very specific set of either counter-abilities or workarounds, which few champs possessed.

    So while a lot of players complain they aren't getting "useful" champs from crystal pulls, I see a lot of people complain about that when the champs are clearly useful. Their response is always that the champ isn't useful *to them* which is generally code for "I need champ X or Y to do a piece of content, and all 148 other champs are useless to me."

    If you're targeting one specific champ, or only a tiny number, then of course the longer the game moves on, the lower the chance becomes to pull that one specific subset of champs, since the number of champs is rising. But there's another separate problem, and that is that even if that player pulls that magic champ, they'll just be searching for the *next* "useful" champ they need to do the next thing.

    Perhaps even more important than the crystal percentages is this progression of what players need. In 2015 we needed one of eight champs and then we could wreck everything. In 2020 we need champ X, then champ Y, then champ Z, just to get past one thing. Then we need champ A and B, then we need champ C, D, and E. I think being perpetually missing something amplifies the sense that the crystals don't contain "useful" champs. If you only need one, then no matter how long it takes to get, once you get it, you're good. That's not true anymore. You need to get that champ as quickly as possible, because there's still another champ you know you're going to have to chase after next, and then another.

    I'm oversimplifying here, but I think Kabam trying to make more champs "useful" is making more champs "necessary" and that makes the crystal RNG more psychologically punishing to players. To put it another way, I think the important thing is not that the odds of getting what you need are getting lower, but rather the odds of getting everything you need is getting lower because we need a lot more than we used to, separate from how the crystal ratios change. It is one thing if it used to be 20% chance to hit the jackpot and now it is 10%. But it is much worse if it used to be 20% chance to hit the jackpot and now you have to hit the jackpot ten times in a row.

    That's a much more complicated analysis to put numbers to. But I think the general idea is relatively easy to relate to.

    I agree. I started in 2018 but even I noticed the big shift. My ranking strategy has been to focus on a core 5 team and do pretty much all content with it. Which 5 these were, is based on chance. I started with 4* Red Hulk, Iceman, Killmonger, Mephisto (later replaced by Ghost Rider), Blade, Sentinel and 5* Medusa. That team countered most if not all Kabam thrown at me. I could safely focus all my resources on those, it is way too costly to rank up every other good pull.

    Now, I need to diversify, focussing on a lot of champions to counter ever more defenders and combination of nodes. I don't need one but at least two counters, just in case my main is somehow not an option.

    While my rank-ups used to be a steep pyramid, it has flattened. I've few R4 5* but plenty R3 5* and R5 4*, all of them with unique utility. I have Medusa to shut down robots, but also Vision Aarkus in case of empowered immunity. I have Doom for power control, but Magik for Terrax. The list goes on and on. I get the feeling I'm in a rat race I can't win. I don't have the resources to rank up all the counters to an useable level. There is a point I need to stop and just use unit man if I don't have the counter.

    Regardless, the house wins. Either you pursuit champions and resources or you spend units.
    That's really as it should be, and a fair amount of that is successful design. If the game were about acquiring 5 main Champs, there would be very little longevity, or growth and progress overall. It's important to remember that requirements were different because the game was at a different place. Now, perhaps that's become a bit too accelerated and hard to keep up with, but in general I think that is the preferred direction to go. Albeit at a different pace. It's very limiting to have just the same type of Champ 170 ways.
  • Cendar333Cendar333 Posts: 294

    you'd have to look at how shard rates are now. Back in the day, you'd open a 4* every month or 2, and now you can open several 5* a month. Have 1 shot at 20% is worse then having 3 shots at 10%

    That's why I categorized things by "meta" rather than specific star rating crystals. Back in the day you would open 1 4* a month and that was the best star rating for champ. You could open 4-5 3* crystals in the same time period. Now fast forward and you can open about 1 6* champion per month and 4-5 5* champions. The approximate rates of the champs at each meta level I think are roughly equivalent. So then you had a 20% chance each month at a desired outcome and now you have about a 10% chance for the same thing.
  • KDoggg2017KDoggg2017 Posts: 919 ★★★★
    Congrats to the OP for expressing my player experience visually. It's not an exact science but...Well done! 🤓👌
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