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Its that time again

We're just a few days from the annual Cyber Weekend sales, and like clockwork comes the question that keeps getting asked, year after year after year.

Does Kabam nerf units in the arena crystals before J4/CW?

Answer: no.

For the past few years I've been opening arena crystals in batches of one million BC worth, first UC and then TB crystals, and recording (like in a spreadsheet, not in video form) all of those crystals. Here's my stats for all openings leading up to Big Sale days.

July 3, 2020: 2850
November 15, 2020: 2625
July 2, 2021: 3000
November 2, 2021: 2250
November 20, 2021: 4125
June 14, 2022: 2625
June 25, 2022: 1500
November 13, 2022: 2250

Note: the statistical designed average for one million BC of UC crystals (100) or TB crystals (20) is the same: 1800 units. That's what the crystals will drop over the long run at the odds they are programmed with.

If anything, my openings leading up to Big Sale days are statistically higher than average, not only relative to the designed odds but also relative to my own long term overall arena crystal averages. Across all UC crystals I recorded, my average was 1926 units per hundred crystals. To date, my TB average is 2017 per hundred crystals (this is skewed upward by one gigantic October opening where I got 5250 units in 20 crystals, which is my all-time highest per million BC result).

If Kabam was nerfing these crystals, I could still get lucky. Once, twice. But if they were nerfing them as severely as some people have suspected, then the results above would be statistically almost impossible. The reason being: they cannot nerf the quantities. That would be easy to detect. So they would have to nerf the odds of dropping. But the odds per crystal are fairly low to begin with (15% overall). To nerf these odds in a noticeable way to players, the resulting statistical change across a sample size of eight million BC worth would be noticeable and difficult to escape by chance.

So: no. Units are not nerfed in the weeks before Big Sale days. It is still just luck.
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Comments

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    Mhd20034Mhd20034 Posts: 160
    Isn’t it better to open regular arena crystals than buying the uc and tb ones since you get more chances at units ?
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    ThiartcThiartc Posts: 273 ★★
    edited November 2022
    just to confirm - "To date, my TB average is 2017 per hundred crystals (this is skewed upward by one gigantic October opening where I got 5250 units in 20 crystals, which is my all-time highest per million BC result)."

    is that not per 20 crystals (or a million battle chips?)

    I'm sitting on just over 8 mil BC's and not sure if i should go UC or TB? If I understand correct, you say it doesnt matter, either or, but i have a change for a 6* champ in TB, so maybe that?
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    ShiroiharaShiroihara Posts: 1,092 ★★★★
    Let me preface this by saying that I don't believe the crystals are rigged. Having said that, the only thing you can say is that your openings have been within the expected range.
    There are many ways in which Kabam could lower the overall amount of units provided by those crystals without using something as direct as changing rates or amounts for everyone. Yes, yes, I know, tinfoil hat.
    All I'm saying is that we can't without the shadow of a doubt prove or disprove anything without access or audit of the server code.
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    G-Hun-GearG-Hun-Gear Posts: 1,447 ★★★★
    edited November 2022
    Thiartc said:

    just to confirm - "To date, my TB average is 2017 per hundred crystals (this is skewed upward by one gigantic October opening where I got 5250 units in 20 crystals, which is my all-time highest per million BC result)."

    is that not per 20 crystals (or a million battle chips?)

    I'm sitting on just over 8 mil BC's and not sure if i should go UC or TB? If I understand correct, you say it doesnt matter, either or, but i have a change for a 6* champ in TB, so maybe that?

    If you care about a 6* punisher: Yes, go for the TB-Crystals.

    But: If you don’t care about a 6* punisher, then go for the UC-Crystal. Although both have the same % chance of pulling a champ instead of units, every TB-Crystal with a champ (which will most likely be the 5* version) is 50k battle chips without units… With an UC-Crystal you only “wasted” 10k battle chips…

    Consequently: If you ONLY care about units (and not the skill iso from duping punisher), then go for the regular arena crystal… (Granted, that would be A LOT of Crystals, with your 8 million battle chips… :D)
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    the_eradicatorthe_eradicator Posts: 354 ★★★
    Obviously the mind reading thing is a joke. But nothing stops them from taking into account existing in-game numbers of your account to manipulate crystal outcomes. Such algorithms already exist in a number of games.So we cannot confirm nor deny. Classic RNG is a thing of the past, these do not always generate the expected outcomes from a business perspective , they are tweaked.
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    the_eradicatorthe_eradicator Posts: 354 ★★★

    Let me preface this by saying that I don't believe the crystals are rigged. Having said that, the only thing you can say is that your openings have been within the expected range.
    There are many ways in which Kabam could lower the overall amount of units provided by those crystals without using something as direct as changing rates or amounts for everyone. Yes, yes, I know, tinfoil hat.
    All I'm saying is that we can't without the shadow of a doubt prove or disprove anything without access or audit of the server code.

    People like you are the problem.
    There are facts in what he is saying, there is no problem in that. I guess kabam has offered you a new contract ? :D
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    _Pez__Pez_ Posts: 220 ★★★
    I'll preface with, I don't believe that they are anything different from the stated odds either and it would be a huge risk to manipulate odds in any way but do have a question.

    Just curious though who does audit these things to make sure gaming companies in general aren't lying with odds, and don't change them, other than through user collected data like presented here? When in the past there have been mistakes and the odds in crystal drops haven't matched what was expected or stated, we have seen corrections made and replacement crystals sent out. Is it just routine internal checking that has led these corrections to be initiated in the past?

    Worse are some other companies (like niantic) who don't state odds at all when they should for similar mechanics.
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    ShiroiharaShiroihara Posts: 1,092 ★★★★

    Let me preface this by saying that I don't believe the crystals are rigged. Having said that, the only thing you can say is that your openings have been within the expected range.
    There are many ways in which Kabam could lower the overall amount of units provided by those crystals without using something as direct as changing rates or amounts for everyone. Yes, yes, I know, tinfoil hat.
    All I'm saying is that we can't without the shadow of a doubt prove or disprove anything without access or audit of the server code.

    People like you are the problem.
    There are facts in what he is saying, there is no problem in that. I guess kabam has offered you a new contract ? :D
    Guess what hole the "fyre" comes out of.
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    Archdemon_Archdemon_ Posts: 620 ★★

    Why would Kabam nerf units lmao

    People believe anything. They even believe that the game somehow can read their minds and actively gives them resources they don't want.
    So I guess you havent seen the patents that Kabam own which show that chance rates can change depending on your in-game behaviour and habits?
    This one (of many) for example - https://patents.google.com/patent/US20220274025A1/en?assignee=kabam+inc&oq=kabam+inc&sort=new

    they literally have hundereds of patents, quite a few of which speak of "dynamic" or "adaptive" events and RNG
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    DemonzfyreDemonzfyre Posts: 21,273 ★★★★★
    _Pez_ said:

    I'll preface with, I don't believe that they are anything different from the stated odds either and it would be a huge risk to manipulate odds in any way but do have a question.

    Just curious though who does audit these things to make sure gaming companies in general aren't lying with odds, and don't change them, other than through user collected data like presented here? When in the past there have been mistakes and the odds in crystal drops haven't matched what was expected or stated, we have seen corrections made and replacement crystals sent out. Is it just routine internal checking that has led these corrections to be initiated in the past?

    Worse are some other companies (like niantic) who don't state odds at all when they should for similar mechanics.

    Most likely their legal team.
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    Wicket329Wicket329 Posts: 3,118 ★★★★★

    Why would Kabam nerf units lmao

    People believe anything. They even believe that the game somehow can read their minds and actively gives them resources they don't want.
    So I guess you havent seen the patents that Kabam own which show that chance rates can change depending on your in-game behaviour and habits?
    This one (of many) for example - https://patents.google.com/patent/US20220274025A1/en?assignee=kabam+inc&oq=kabam+inc&sort=new

    they literally have hundereds of patents, quite a few of which speak of "dynamic" or "adaptive" events and RNG
    If everything for which a patent exists were to actually be used or implemented, we’d be living in a very different world. People and companies patent things all the time. Simply having a patent on a thing is not in any meaningful way indicative of the actual use of such a thing.
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    KerneasKerneas Posts: 3,756 ★★★★★
    Thiartc said:

    Why would Kabam nerf units lmao

    People believe anything. They even believe that the game somehow can read their minds and actively gives them resources they don't want.
    not to derail, but just to comment - not read my mind, read my game.

    for example - i have zero tech's but 3 tech T5CC's in overflow and the game always gives me tech, i dont want tech, i dont need tech so my mind says dont gimme tech, but the algorithm "notices" that and gimme tech, thus forcing me to open more for that 0.5% science i need (yes, that is where i'm at). So did it read my mind, or did it read my game?

    the good thing about this is, maybe tomorrow i get a great tech and he will go to R4, then im all happy again, but for now i feel i'm getting screwed
    Feeling screwed is one thing. That's fine. Claiming that they are really screwing you and spreading accusations would be bad.
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    Mhd20034 said:

    Isn’t it better to open regular arena crystals than buying the uc and tb ones since you get more chances at units ?

    Well, yes and no. Consider this thought experiment. Suppose I give you a choice. You can flip a coin once, and if it comes up heads you get a thousand dollars, if it comes up tails you get nothing. Or, you can flip a coin a hundred times, and each time if it comes up heads you get ten bucks and if it comes up tails you get nothing. Which would you choose?

    I suspect most people would choose the second option (assuming they had the time to flip a coin a hundred times). In both cases the average amount you will win is exactly the same: five hundred dollars. But in the first option you have a chance to win a thousand dollars and a chance to win zero. In the second option it is highly unlikely you would get either option. You will almost certainly get something pretty close to five hundred dollars. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less. But probably not too far away. I think most people would take the (near) guarantee of five hundred bucks over the very high chance of getting nothing.

    More shots at smaller prices increases the chances that you will do about average. It decreases the chance for extremes, big wins or big losses. If you want a shot at winning, you have to take chances. But if you want to eliminate the chance of losing, you want to aim for the mediocre result.

    Over the very long term, over the amount of arena crystals I open and will likely continue to open, it doesn’t matter. The reason I do it is specifically to collect information on drop rates. I have a gigaton of data on UC crystals, and now I’m collecting long term data on TB crystals.

    Also, in the very, very, very long term the TB crystals drop slightly better rewards on average. That’s due to two main things. First, while the rewards like gold and units are more or less just scaled up, the Punisher drop isn’t. You don’t get more Punishers, you get higher ranked ones. Higher ranked ones are intrinsically worth more. And second, due to the fact that Kabam couldn’t just scale up the energy refills from UC to TB (they’d be dumping too many refills simultaneously on a player that might not be able to use them all) they increased the odds of getting energy refills instead. This meant they had to reduce the odds of gold to compensate, and that meant they had to scale up the gold drops. But they were not going to scale them up precisely (they didn’t want crystals to be dropping 87958.2 gold) so they rounded up very slightly. Which means TB crystals drop slightly more gold than UC (or normal) crystals than you’d expect them to if they were just five times bigger.

    So while the difference is too small for anyone to really measure (you'd probably need to open on the order of tens of thousands of TB crystals to measure this directly), it is there, so for me its a case of why not.
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    Thiartc said:

    just to confirm - "To date, my TB average is 2017 per hundred crystals (this is skewed upward by one gigantic October opening where I got 5250 units in 20 crystals, which is my all-time highest per million BC result)."

    is that not per 20 crystals (or a million battle chips?)

    Yep, that's a typo, due to flipping between describing UC and describing TB crystals.

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    ShadowstrikeShadowstrike Posts: 3,099 ★★★★★

    Let me preface this by saying that I don't believe the crystals are rigged. Having said that, the only thing you can say is that your openings have been within the expected range.
    There are many ways in which Kabam could lower the overall amount of units provided by those crystals without using something as direct as changing rates or amounts for everyone. Yes, yes, I know, tinfoil hat.
    All I'm saying is that we can't without the shadow of a doubt prove or disprove anything without access or audit of the server code.

    But the problem is that if you don't understand coding for video games, you can easily see one fragment of a code with the words CON and immediately jump into a tirade of how it's short for "conspiracy" or "conning customers out of crystals or units" when really it's short for the touch screen controls.

    If you're always looking for the boogeyman, you're going to always see him.
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    Let me preface this by saying that I don't believe the crystals are rigged. Having said that, the only thing you can say is that your openings have been within the expected range.
    There are many ways in which Kabam could lower the overall amount of units provided by those crystals without using something as direct as changing rates or amounts for everyone. Yes, yes, I know, tinfoil hat.
    All I'm saying is that we can't without the shadow of a doubt prove or disprove anything without access or audit of the server code.

    You cannot disprove the negative, that Kabam didn't tamper with a crystal in some unspecified way. You *can* disprove that Kabam tampered with the crystals in some specific way, if people choose to specify. For example, if someone says "Kabam messed with the arena crystals" I can't disprove that. But if someone says "Kabam always lowers the odds of units dropping from arena crystals to force players to buy units before big sale days" I can disprove that, because the only way such an assertion would make sense would be if Kabam lowered the odds to a noticeably lower level. If they lowered the odds by a tiny amount that I couldn't detect, then they would be risking a fraud to gain almost nothing. That's a ludicrous assertion that isn't worth trying to disprove.

    And people who say "we cannot prove anything without access to the server code" are also wrong. If you are of a mind to be that suspicious, you would have no way to know if you were looking at the production source code. You can audit for errors. You cannot audit for fraud without auditing the entire development process completely from end to end. The source code itself would have no value on its own.

    The cost of such an audit could conceivable run into the millions of dollars to execute. That's not a random guess either. I've seen process audits on that scale. They are enormously expensive.

    However, anyone who's actually been on the inside of game operators like this know why such assertions are ridiculous. They are ridiculous for the simple reason that they are unnecessary. If you know how these things are designed and implemented and why, you'd know that there is only one set of circumstances in which a game operator actually tweaks the odds of stuff in ways that are player-specific. And that's when they intend to manipulate the player's behavior by creating incentives and disincentives to do or buy certain things. And these manipulations only work if you tell the player you're doing them.

    Trying to steer players into spending money by adjusting the odds of things and then telling the player you aren't actually doing it is the most idiotically counter-productive strategy imaginable. Game developers literally laugh out loud at the notion, because it is so nonsensical.
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    Why would Kabam nerf units lmao

    People believe anything. They even believe that the game somehow can read their minds and actively gives them resources they don't want.
    So I guess you havent seen the patents that Kabam own which show that chance rates can change depending on your in-game behaviour and habits?
    This one (of many) for example - https://patents.google.com/patent/US20220274025A1/en?assignee=kabam+inc&oq=kabam+inc&sort=new

    they literally have hundereds of patents, quite a few of which speak of "dynamic" or "adaptive" events and RNG
    I've heard of them, because you are just another in a long line of people who brings up patents but doesn't actually read them. Because people keep circulating them around without actually reading them, they keep coming back over and over again, like an illiteracy virus.

    The patent you are linking to, US20220274025A1, describes a patent for increasing the probability of awarding rewards to a player whose engagement in the game relative to either their own statistical norms or to other players is dropping over time. In other words, boost the rewards of players who are getting bored and playing less, so they are encouraged to play more.

    Needless to say, this patent is mostly inapplicable to most MCOC rewards, specifically crystals. Crystals don't change their odds depending on player activity. We know this for three separate reasons. One, we know that different crystals with different odds or contents do not stack. Even trivial subtle differences in how the crystals are configured cause them to stack in different crystal slots - see the infamous multiple Map 5 crystals we were historically getting in the past.

    Second, crystal odds are specified in many cases. Altering the odds of crystals from that in a deliberate and purposeful way (i.e. not a bug or mistake) would be fraud. There's no reason for Kabam to risk fraud for no reason, and there's no reason to do something like this for no reason.

    And third, as I mentioned above, it cannot help the game to try to encourage players to play more by increasing the odds of them getting better rewards if you do this in so subtle a way that your target audience doesn't notice. Furthermore, it is counterproductive to the point of stupidity for Kabam to try to encourage players to play more by increasing the odds of those players getting better rewards and then lying about it and claiming they don't do that. If you want players to play more, so you try to give them more rewards, but you do it in a way that they can't possibly notice, and then you tell them that actually, you aren't doing that at all, that's nonsensical.

    Kabam is not shy about trying to get players to play the game by straight up handing them stuff directly as "return to the game" gifts. There is absolutely no reason for them to rig the game to subtly hand players extra rewards, do it in a way they can't notice, then lie about the fact they were doing it.

    And while I'm at it, here's some other patents that I've read and no one you know has, so don't bother posting about them as I've already addressed all of them in the past as being either not applicable to MCOC, doing things we know MCOC doesn't do, or would be trivial to detect if MCOC was doing them.

    Patent # 10,987,581: System and method for rotating drop rates in a mystery box
    (Not applicable to MCOC because patent describes a method for reviving interest in older lootboxes by adjusting their rewards, which only makes sense if you advertise to the players you're doing this).

    Patent # 10,080,972: Mystery boxes that adjust due to past spending behavior
    (Disprovable: cf: COWhale''s entire Youtube channel)

    Patent # 10,058,782: System and method for providing a customized user experience based on a spend frequency of a user
    (Very obviously applies to game unlike MCOC given the description of the claims, as MCOC does not really have dynamic environments or customizable interactions).
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    AverageDesiAverageDesi Posts: 5,260 ★★★★★

    Let me preface this by saying that I don't believe the crystals are rigged. Having said that, the only thing you can say is that your openings have been within the expected range.
    There are many ways in which Kabam could lower the overall amount of units provided by those crystals without using something as direct as changing rates or amounts for everyone. Yes, yes, I know, tinfoil hat.
    All I'm saying is that we can't without the shadow of a doubt prove or disprove anything without access or audit of the server code.

    People like you are the problem.
    There are facts in what he is saying, there is no problem in that. I guess kabam has offered you a new contract ? :D
    Those aren't "facts". Those are conspiracy theories.
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    _Pez_ said:

    I'll preface with, I don't believe that they are anything different from the stated odds either and it would be a huge risk to manipulate odds in any way but do have a question.

    Just curious though who does audit these things to make sure gaming companies in general aren't lying with odds, and don't change them, other than through user collected data like presented here? When in the past there have been mistakes and the odds in crystal drops haven't matched what was expected or stated, we have seen corrections made and replacement crystals sent out. Is it just routine internal checking that has led these corrections to be initiated in the past?

    Worse are some other companies (like niantic) who don't state odds at all when they should for similar mechanics.

    The short answer is no one. But also, the fact that even very subtle errors on the part of Kabam have been detected by the players implies that the manipulation they are accused of doing would have a very difficult time escaping notice.

    Kabam cannot keep the order of the crystals in the crystal vault correct from build to build. Do you believe it is remotely possible they could be manipulating the odds of crystals for years without *once* slipping up? Without *one* developer spilling the beans?

    Crystal manipulation is like Chemtrails. It isn't physically impossible for chemtrails to be a thing. You just have to assume that all aircraft design engineers, aircraft construction employees, aircraft maintenance personnel, airport operations personnel, commercial pilots, and airline ground crews are all in on the conspiracy, and have been for decades. And every time someone gets hired into any of those professions or leaves one of those professions, there is a 100% success rate in keeping them in the fold. And they never, ever make a mistake, ever, in one of the most highly regulated industries in the world.

    Kabam does not operate in one of the most highly regulated industries in the world to be sure. But they are also not staffed by people I would necessarily want maintaining my aircraft. Can they rig crystals? Sure. Can they rig crystals and get away with it for eight years without anyone making a noticeable mistake and no one ever leaving the company and leaking it? Nope. Absolutely not.
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    GroundedWisdomGroundedWisdom Posts: 36,310 ★★★★★
    Dear God, not the Patents again.
  • Options

    Obviously the mind reading thing is a joke. But nothing stops them from taking into account existing in-game numbers of your account to manipulate crystal outcomes. Such algorithms already exist in a number of games.So we cannot confirm nor deny. Classic RNG is a thing of the past, these do not always generate the expected outcomes from a business perspective , they are tweaked.

    Here's another thing we cannot confirm or deny. Companies have been known to stir up trouble on competitors discussion boards. So while I can't say you're one of them, I can't say you're not one of them either.

    Maybe that's not the best way to roll, however.

    What stops them from manipulating drop rates based on player properties? The fact that they assert they do not. If you don't believe them, then you don't believe them. But there's absolutely no reason to lie about it, because there's nothing illegal about doing so and simply stating so.

    I tend to think part of what makes these conspiracy theories flourish is that in some ways it makes people feel good to think that they are so important that even the game algorithms care about them. But actually, they don't. There are businesses that do care about you in some form. Those that try to monetize you, for example, or advertise-target you. But MCOC does neither of those things. It doesn't monetize individuals, it tends to cast offers across much wider slices of the player population than the individual player. And it doesn't do targeted advertising or sell information to those that do.

    So MCOC doesn't really care about you enough to target you individually. It only cares about averages. You just don't matter enough for the servers to track what you do that specifically.
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    DemonzfyreDemonzfyre Posts: 21,273 ★★★★★
    DNA3000 said:

    _Pez_ said:

    I'll preface with, I don't believe that they are anything different from the stated odds either and it would be a huge risk to manipulate odds in any way but do have a question.

    Just curious though who does audit these things to make sure gaming companies in general aren't lying with odds, and don't change them, other than through user collected data like presented here? When in the past there have been mistakes and the odds in crystal drops haven't matched what was expected or stated, we have seen corrections made and replacement crystals sent out. Is it just routine internal checking that has led these corrections to be initiated in the past?

    Worse are some other companies (like niantic) who don't state odds at all when they should for similar mechanics.

    Kabam cannot keep the order of the crystals in the crystal vault correct from build to build. Do you believe it is remotely possible they could be manipulating the odds of crystals for years without *once* slipping up? Without *one* developer spilling the beans?
    This is the one thing that always confused me. How can they be so good at rigging crystals for nearly 8 years perfectly but can't release a new update month to month without something going wrong... like how relics were messed up for the first 20 minutes of their existence. Kabam can't be so smart and so incompetent at the same time.
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