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Return on investment for the Celebration Shard Arenas

DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 12,077 Guardian
edited December 2020 in General Discussion
With all the ... discussion surrounding the celebration shard arenas, I was prompted to ask the objective question of what the return on time investment actually is, in quantitative terms, and to compare that return to the game in general. In other words, how good or bad are the rewards relative to the time spent, and what are the comparable activities that generate similar rewards.

I've greatly abbreviated the calculations so this doesn't get too long, but I'll summarize what I did. I estimated how many points per round a player could expect to get, assuming they were using maxed out 2* champs and won every fight (no deaths). I included the ramp up for the first five fights at lower multipliers. I looked at all of the battlechip, gold, shard, and unit rewards in all of the milestones for all three arenas (I ignored the collector crystals for this analysis), and factored in the gold and BC you get for just winning the rounds, and came up with this table of your *cumulative* rewards for X rounds of grinding (meaning, that's the total you get for doing that many rounds in that arena, including all milestones and all rewards for individual fights and rounds).



By the way, unless you're a completist, don't do the 4* arena. Do either the 5* or 6*. The 4* has no units, and honestly it is hard to make the case that a full 4* is worth as much as half a 5*.

As far as I can tell, you get the same amount of points per round in all three arenas, so we can compare apples to apples when it come to time and effort. If you know how fast you grind 2* champs in an arena (those fights tend to be a bit easier and faster than in other arenas), you can estimate how much rewards you'd get for how much time.

Most players I believe grind somewhere between 20 and 30 rounds per hour. So the 5* arena can be completed in something between two and three hours across seven (now six) days. Half an hour a day twice a day gets you there. The question is, should you do that, or do the 6* arena instead? Well, according to my calculations, the same level of effort gets you to about 1500 6* shards. So it depends on whether you think 10000 5* shards is worth more, or 1500 6* shards is worth more.

Total time to complete the 6* arena is going to be between seven and a half and eleven and a half hours, with the median time of about nine hours. That would take about 1.5 hours per day across six days. If you're not an arena grinder, that's a lot of grinding time. However, if you are an arena grinder, that's a normal amount of time. Should you switch from whatever you're grinding now to the 6* arena?

Probably. You're definitely getting more shards. You might be getting slightly less units, it depends on what you're grinding normally. But I think the difference is small enough that the shards more than make up for it. Here's a table that shows the approximate rewards per hour for the 6* arena, depending on how many rounds you do, based on an average time per round:



The return per hour fluctuates, because milestones aren't continuous. Interestingly, the overall return per hour diminishes a bit for gold and battlechips, but it holds relatively steady for shards:





If you grind out the 6* shard arena, you'll average about 430 6* shards per hour. But actually you'll probably average about that much no matter how much effort you put into it, so even if you can't complete the arena, you're still getting about the same amount of shards per hour of effort regardless of how many hours you spend. So there's no "penalty" for doing less than the full amount, the rewards aren't backloaded.

How fast is ~450 6* shards/hour in relative terms? Well, it is certainly way faster than anything else in the arena. But I also compared this to places I thought had any potential to be in the same ballpark. Incursions, for example, award 125 6* shards (and 600 5* shards) per zone in Sector 8. If you can grind out Sector 8, depending on how fast you are you could be doing a zone every five to ten minutes. That equates to between 750 and 1500 shards per hour. But it tops out at zone 15, or 1875 6* shards. The 6* shard arena is about half the return of Sector 8, but of course vastly easier for most players.

You could also get 6* shards in alliance war. 380 6* shards for a tier 1 victory. You can't win them all (well, most can't) but that's the theoretical limit. I'd say that this earning rate is lower than the arena per unit time for most players at much higher difficulty. But there's also season rewards. 30k 6* shards for finishing in the master bracket. Let's say the average player spends about one hour total on alliance war per match up. For some people it is less and for others it is a lot more, but let's just call that the average here. The max return is then 380*12+30000 = 34560 over 12 hours, or a whopping 2880 6* shards per hour spent. But this is for a master bracket alliance that almost never loses and spends very little time on war besides hopping in and fighting. Realistically speaking, the actual return is going to be lower. And only the very highest tier war alliances can get this kind of return. Once you get below Platinum 3, your 6* shard return drops below the 6* arena . Of course, war generates other rewards: this doesn't say that the shard arena generates more rewards than war, this just attempts to place the 6* rewards in the context of high earning rates elsewhere in the game.

I think overall the return on time investment in the 6* arena is pretty good, relative to the game in general. It is way faster than most ways of earning 6* shards, and in the ballpark (or at least the parking lot of the ballpark) of some of the highest, which aren't even open to most players.

The bottom line for the shard arenas in general is that the 5* shard arena offers pretty good return on investment for relatively little time. Certainly, it is roughly in line with other 5* shard opportunities that have come up in the past. A few hours of grinding gets you 10k 5* shards, plus units gold and battle chips. I think everyone with at least a little time to burn should do this one, even if they don't reach the final milestones.

Whether you should do the 6* instead of 5* comes down to personal preference and situational concerns. If you're in a point in the game where you're focusing on 6* champs, do the 6* arena. Don't let the large number of rounds scare or frustrate you. Just do what you can. It is basically over 400 6* shards per hour, whether you do one hour or four hours or ten hours.

Whatever you do, don't do the 4* arena unless you are a completist (which I am) or you're sure you can complete both the 6* and 5* arena with time to spare. In my opinion it isn't worth doing unless both the 6* and 5* arenas are done. One exception. You've done the 5*. You're grinding through the 6*. You just made it to milestone 8 (2.6 million) and you know you aren't going to get to milestone 9 (3.4 million). If you find yourself in a huge milestone gap like that, then and only then switch to the 4* arena and pick off the easier rewards.
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Comments

  • Big_eggyBig_eggy Posts: 117
    God dang man. That’s some nice stuff, very insightful.
    Can we get a word count on this?
  • CrcrcrcCrcrcrc Posts: 6,751 ★★★★★
    Excellent as always, DNA3000. Super helpful! What would be the average return compared to something like Cav EQ?
  • XdSpoodermanxDXdSpoodermanxD Posts: 528 ★★★
    I always enjoy reading your posts, keep up the good work!
  • GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 26,879 ★★★★★
    Thank you for the breakdown. :)
  • Crcrcrc said:

    Excellent as always, DNA3000. Super helpful! What would be the average return compared to something like Cav EQ?

    Cav EQ gets you 5k 6* shards for full exploration, and it probably takes most people more than ten hours to fully explore Cav. But Cav has more rewards than that: if I literally only had enough time to explore Cav or do the arena, I would explore Cav. But strictly in terms of 6* rewards, the arena spits them out a bit faster than Cav EQ does.

    Another really fast path to 6* shards, sort of, that I didn't mention is Chapter 2 of Mulaney's challenge. That generates a full 6* crystal for 31 fights. If you can do it, you'll probably do it in maybe an hour and a half, maybe a bit more. That's the fastest way to get to a 6* crystal that I can think of, but it has a very high skill and roster prerequisite.

    I think the biggest takeaway from the data is that these arenas should be looked at as additional opportunities for rewards, over and above what you're normally doing (although arena grinders should shift their effort to these, since they have better returns in general). Unlike things like Monthly quests where the rewards are backloaded, and you have to reach completion and/or exploration to get the bulk of the rewards, these arenas hand out their rewards relatively smoothly. If you invest an hour, you'll get an hour of rewards. If you invest five hours, you'll get five hours of rewards. So even if you think the time to get everything is too high, I would recommend do what you can, and grab what's in reach, and let the rest go. Consider this: every hour you put into the 6* shard arena generates more 6* shards than what the 1-5% rank rewards deliver to the players who grind for hours in the normal 5* featured. You're getting that tier of reward for a tiny fraction of the time, and without the roster requirements.
  • Aziz5253Aziz5253 Posts: 483 ★★★
    Absolutely beautiful work!
  • Thicco_ModeThicco_Mode Posts: 8,784 ★★★★★
    DNA3000 said:

    DrZola said:

    I’d like it boiled down to 2-3 killer slides next time. You can do better. B)

    Dr. Zola


    how did you make that?


    but very nice explanation of it. I really need a life if I'm ok with an hour and a half of arena lol
  • CrcrcrcCrcrcrc Posts: 6,751 ★★★★★

    DNA3000 said:

    DrZola said:

    I’d like it boiled down to 2-3 killer slides next time. You can do better. B)

    Dr. Zola


    how did you make that?


    but very nice explanation of it. I really need a life if I'm ok with an hour and a half of arena lol
    I believe it is made through a Powerpoint program.
  • FiiNCHFiiNCH Posts: 775 ★★★★
    Your the god of data/insightful posts @DNA3000. Much appreciated
  • FiiNCHFiiNCH Posts: 775 ★★★★
    edited December 2020
    Crcrcrc said:

    DNA3000 said:

    DrZola said:

    I’d like it boiled down to 2-3 killer slides next time. You can do better. B)

    Dr. Zola


    how did you make that?


    but very nice explanation of it. I really need a life if I'm ok with an hour and a half of arena lol
    I believe it is made through a Powerpoint program.
    The data is likely collected and sorted via Microsoft excel
  • Tiger360Tiger360 Posts: 1,691 ★★★★
    Useful but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that arena is boring and it takes way too long to get a considerable amount of shards. That’s 10+ hours for less than half a 6 star
  • Thicco_ModeThicco_Mode Posts: 8,784 ★★★★★
    Tiger360 said:

    Useful but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that arena is boring and it takes way too long to get a considerable amount of shards. That’s 10+ hours for less than half a 6 star

    of course, but they are valuable, and there's not many other places you can get them quicker. but yes very boring
  • Realm_Of_RahRealm_Of_Rah Posts: 417 ★★★
    DNA3000 said:

    DrZola said:

    I’d like it boiled down to 2-3 killer slides next time. You can do better. B)

    Dr. Zola


    Start with the relatable infographics next time then the boring data lol
  • Hazzalec1Hazzalec1 Posts: 509 ★★★
    Great post!
  • Tiger360Tiger360 Posts: 1,691 ★★★★

    Tiger360 said:

    Useful but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that arena is boring and it takes way too long to get a considerable amount of shards. That’s 10+ hours for less than half a 6 star

    of course, but they are valuable, and there's not many other places you can get them quicker. but yes very boring
    Yes I agree they are very valuable and would love to get them but arena is just so boring, would be cool if they implemented some sort of nodes to spice things up although people would complain it makes it more difficult probably
  • PastorAmericaPastorAmerica Posts: 267 ★★
    Very thorough. Note please do an ROI analysis on the time you spent writing this post!
    JK, thanks for doing this for the community. I found it quite helpful.
  • magnus_xixmagnus_xix Posts: 661 ★★★
    I made a discussion similar to this but nowhere near as extensive yesterday and people weren't happy with it to say the least. My downfall probably being heavily overestimating the time for 1 round.

    Nice to see someone knocking some sense into people high off all the free stuff we've gotten lately.
  • DontsellthemDontsellthem Posts: 265
    Nice work- but did we really need a break down to know that the special arena sucks?

    I would do 1-3 fights in arenas depending on the event for that day. Otherwise I don’t do arenas. I’m at 1.3 in the 6* arenas and this just makes me hate arenas that much more.

    “You don’t have to do it”....don’t be silly
  • Tiger360 said:

    Tiger360 said:

    Useful but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that arena is boring and it takes way too long to get a considerable amount of shards. That’s 10+ hours for less than half a 6 star

    of course, but they are valuable, and there's not many other places you can get them quicker. but yes very boring
    Yes I agree they are very valuable and would love to get them but arena is just so boring, would be cool if they implemented some sort of nodes to spice things up although people would complain it makes it more difficult probably
    The arena is a lower engagement past-time activity, and at this point that's the overwhelming expectation of the people who participate in that mode. So I don't think jazzing it up makes sense when the very people who are attracted to the game mode are opposed to it. We saw that when the devs experimented with difficulty in an attempt to moderate so-called death matches a while back. And it isn't a question purely of difficulty: I had no problem with the higher difficulty that the 2x PI matches were generating in terms of winning the fights, but even for me, a dedicated arena grinder, the increase in engagement and focus necessary was very unappealing over long periods of time.

    And given the kinds of rewards in the arena, especially the ability to farm units from it, there's probably never going to be a way to get those rewards super fast. It has to be grindy, because they can't let players regardless of their skill level or roster strength just scoop up unlimited unit currency super fast.

    The devs have hinted at exploring options for a completely different solo game mode that had rewards similar to the arena but with a different engagement profile, maybe something in between the arena and incursions. But new game modes take a long time to design, and I have no idea how far along the developers have explored that idea. But for people who want similar rewards but find the arena unappealing, that might be something coming one day.
  • NapaHeroNapaHero Posts: 29
    Get going @GroundedWisdom . Maybe you’ll make up your ‘losses’ in the SQ. Lol
  • LmaoLmao Posts: 806 ★★★
    I'm legit curious now, are you a statistician or a mathematician in your day job or something?
  • Lmao said:

    I'm legit curious now, are you a statistician or a mathematician in your day job or something?

    Nope. Well, not really. I literally just got off the phone with someone after reviewing a disk space analysis which took historical data and an upgrade plan to determine how we should distribute the SAN load for a customer. That kind of thing is not all that dissimilar from the stuff in the OP. A lot of my work uses math, but isn't actually math per se. Something that is true for a lot of people. I know someone whose professional career is human resources management, and they do more spreadsheet work than I do most of the time. They have zero academic background in math, but they ended up doing a lot of number crunching by necessity. They'd never in a million years call themselves a statistician or mathematician.
  • Haji_SaabHaji_Saab Posts: 5,231 ★★★★★
    Were arena grinders really in doubt? This is the best arena at the moment.

    I thought all the complaints were from non arena grinders who want an engaging game instead of slave labour
  • DrZolaDrZola Posts: 4,516 ★★★★★
    DNA3000 said:

    DrZola said:

    I’d like it boiled down to 2-3 killer slides next time. You can do better. B)

    Dr. Zola


    That is perfect—precisely what I was looking for!!!

    Dr. Zola
  • Thicco_ModeThicco_Mode Posts: 8,784 ★★★★★
    Tiger360 said:

    Tiger360 said:

    Useful but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that arena is boring and it takes way too long to get a considerable amount of shards. That’s 10+ hours for less than half a 6 star

    of course, but they are valuable, and there's not many other places you can get them quicker. but yes very boring
    Yes I agree they are very valuable and would love to get them but arena is just so boring, would be cool if they implemented some sort of nodes to spice things up although people would complain it makes it more difficult probably
    oh yeah for sure
  • GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 26,879 ★★★★★
    Haji_Saab said:

    Were arena grinders really in doubt? This is the best arena at the moment.

    I thought all the complaints were from non arena grinders who want an engaging game instead of slave labour

    That's where I'm a bit of a fundamentalist. Some people don't have time, which I understand. Outside of that, Grinding is part of the game. People should be playing Arenas in some capacity, more than "I hate Arenas.".
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