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(ALMOST) EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT ISO IS PROBABLY WRONG: PART TWO: I need how much ISO?

DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,937 Guardian
edited March 2023 in Strategy and Tips
This is part two of my multipart series on ISO, which will continue until I have run out of stuff to say or everyone gets tired of what I have to say. In this article I answer one question: how much ISO do you need to level up champions?

There's actually some decent information out there in charts I'm sure everyone has Googled several hundred times by now. But is it accurate? Time to find out. I decided to level up every champion rarity from level one rank one to their highest rank. That's every single rarity that is currently available, from 1* to 6*. So how did Google do?

Well, here's the bottom line:



These numbers agree with the numbers I've seen floating around for 2* through 4*. The only difference is with 4* rank 5. The number I see floating around is 266570. I get 266571. Basically the same. However, my 5* rank 4 costs are somewhat higher than what I've seen floating around: I get 452073, while the number I've seen reported was 444616. Still not too far off. Both of my 6* numbers are also a few thousand off of the numbers I've seen, and I haven't seen any numbers publicly reported for rank 3 through 5. It kind of makes sense that the higher you go, the more likely someone could have made a small error, codified that into a chart, and then no one else ever bothered to check, because why would anyone do that (ahem)?

How do I know my numbers are that right ones? Well, as I said, I didn't just measure the ISO costs to level up to max. I recorded them for every single level.

Every. Single. Level.



If anyone wants to check my work, or just wants to know what the individual numbers are, here's a spreadsheet with all of them:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bToRtGQiSQsLJBt8A8mmgeTPGtnf6S6Lh1irxEQ_gNk/edit?usp=sharing

If you're just here for the ISO costs, feel free to skip the rest. For those that want to stick around for the after party, here's some interesting observations. ISO costs have progressed in an organic fashion. Which is what designers say in polite company when they mean "made this &*$! up." Here's what ISO level up costs looked like when the only rarities that existed were 1* through 4*, which is more or less the original design of the game:



You can kind of see what's happening here. 1* costs are way at the bottom, then 2* gets a bit higher, then 3* even higher, then 4* higher still. And if you look close, you can see there was a deliberate attempt to make rank 1 and rank 2 level up costs relatively low, and then higher ranks jump up substantially. The general principle was "start low, get higher, accelerate upward." So lower rarities cost low, higher ones cost more, and the increase itself increases. Individual ranks within a rarity also follow this accelerating upward curve. So what happened when 5* champs entered the game?



Interestingly, the rank "acceleration" mostly disappears. Each rank gets higher, in a (very roughly) even amount upward. 5* level up costs start high, and each rank higher they just keep jumping upward, kinda sorta roughly evenly. In other words, the 5* designer looked at the older stuff and went "nope" and just made it simpler. And a lot more expensive. Did that happen with 6* champs? Well...



This is just the same chart from above, but now that we look at it in context, holy cow. The 6* designer looked at the 5* designer and said "hold my beer." Actually, it looks like three separate designers worked on 6* ISO level up costs. The first one worked on rank 1 and 2 and said "screw all these weird cost curves, I'm just going to make one curve for rank 1 and then add a little bit to it for the rank 2 curve. The second one said whoa, this is getting a bit out of hand, I need to lower the costs a bit (rank deceleration for rank 3+ may have had something to do with this) and then the third guy came in and tried to continue the rank 3 and 4 curves but seems to have forgotten to carry a two somewhere.

All of them seemed to think we had too much ISO burning a hole in our pockets, because 6* rank up costs do not follow the original 1* to 4* inflation curve, and they don't even follow the much more aggressive 5* progression. They just jump immediately to Pluto. One way to see this is to look at the costs on a logarithmic scale. A log scale will make accelerating costs seem more linear. Where you see straight lines that's accelerating upward. Where you see evenly spaced data (in the vertical scale) you're seeing exponentially increasing costs.



This is the history of ISO cost acceleration. We can see that costs rise, but on the log scale each curve tends to jump upward initially and then level off. That's not costs leveling off, that's cost inflation leveling off to some small inflationary rise. And you can see each cost curve starting and ending higher and higher in a remarkably even fashion. That reflects the fact that each rank and each rarity is getting more expensive, and the costs themselves are increasing, and the *increase* is itself increasing, which is what you'd expect to see in an inflationary environment.

And then 6* rarity ( the black curves) jump up dramatically. And on a log scale, jumping upward dramatically is not just inflation, and it is not just inflationary acceleration. Its just a sudden dramatic discontinuous leap upward that no progression in costs could account for.

I always knew 6* champs were much more expensive to level up, and I've always simply adjusted to that cost increase without thinking about it too much. But actually analyzing the numbers carefully, I can see that 6* champs are in fact too expensive. Not in the sense that players don't like the cost, and not in the sense that the costs can't be absorbed in theory. Rather, this degree of cost increase is something that cannot possibly be reflected in the game economy. To put it another way, the developers might have been trying to respond to some temporary perceived requirement to drain ISO from the game economy, but there's no way that 7* champs could possibly continue this trend from 5* to 6*. 6* champs are not just more expensive, they are not even exponentially more expensive. They are more than exponentially more expensive. Now, that doesn't mean they are impossible to level up. Obviously. "More than exponentially more expensive" does not mean "astronomically more expensive." Rather, it means the rate of cost increase is expanding at a faster rate than any economic forces could possibly account for in a finite game. Which means at some point when we look back on the 5* vs 6* vs 7* costs, we will almost certainly see 6* costs as an anomaly. Which, in design terms, will mean it was set wrong in the first place.

Now, we can't really change the costs of 6* rarity, the rarity has been around too long and there's been too much level up activity. It would trigger a big discussion involving the C-word. But it suggests that the ISO economy is not really in the place it "should" be. This is a very sticky subject, because ISO bottlenecks mostly revolve around subjective things: how fast should players expect to be able to level up champions. That's an impossible thing to really argue. But maybe there's an objective way to look at ISO costs, within the context of what the 6* ISO cost curve is doing relative to prior precedent. If 5* ISO costs were reasonable for their time and 4* ISO costs were reasonable for their time (if 4* costs were too low they would have tried to compensate for that *with* the 5* costs) then can we say what the 6* cost discontinuity is doing relative to those costs?

When I figure that out, you'll all see Part Three.


For those that didn't see it, here's a link to Part One (Gold costs to use ISO)
Post edited by Kabam Ahab on

Comments

  • Options
    IamnikeIamnike Posts: 245 ★★
    Wow..... this is is an insane amount of work lol
  • Options
    Just_Frank2022Just_Frank2022 Posts: 139
    And this is why I've posted in the suggestions thread several times to update the damn daily iso quests that is still the same as 2017!! Nice work btw.
  • Options
    shut_up_heathershut_up_heather Posts: 285 ★★
    This must've been excruciating, but thank you for making us more well-informed
  • Options
    GrandOldKaiGrandOldKai Posts: 788 ★★★★
    IIRC there are some champions that naturally take more ISO to level up (Ultron was one?) – how do they compare?
  • Options
    legalactionlegalaction Posts: 182 ★★
    edited March 2023
    I've been on an iso shortage bad this month. Last month had tons of it, this month idk why I got less, play time is the same
  • Options
    SirGamesBondSirGamesBond Posts: 4,405 ★★★★★

    IIRC there are some champions that naturally take more ISO to level up (Ultron was one?) – how do they compare?

    Also Sentinel.

    Iso curve is messed up Exponentially
  • Options
    legalactionlegalaction Posts: 182 ★★
    DNA3000 said:

    This is part two of my multipart series on ISO, which will continue until I have run out of stuff to say or everyone gets tired of what I have to say. In this article I answer one question: how much ISO do you need to level up champions?

    There's actually some decent information out there in charts I'm sure everyone has Googled several hundred times by now. But is it accurate? Time to find out. I decided to level up every champion rarity from level one rank one to their highest rank. That's every single rarity that is currently available, from 1* to 6*. So how did Google do?

    Well, here's the bottom line:



    These numbers agree with the numbers I've seen floating around for 2* through 4*. The only difference is with 4* rank 5. The number I see floating around is 266570. I get 266571. Basically the same. However, my 5* rank 4 costs are somewhat higher than what I've seen floating around: I get 452073, while the number I've seen reported was 444616. Still not too far off. Both of my 6* numbers are also a few thousand off of the numbers I've seen, and I haven't seen any numbers publicly reported for rank 3 through 5. It kind of makes sense that the higher you go, the more likely someone could have made a small error, codified that into a chart, and then no one else ever bothered to check, because why would anyone do that (ahem)?

    How do I know my numbers are that right ones? Well, as I said, I didn't just measure the ISO costs to level up to max. I recorded them for every single level.

    Every. Single. Level.



    If anyone wants to check my work, or just wants to know what the individual numbers are, here's a spreadsheet with all of them:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bToRtGQiSQsLJBt8A8mmgeTPGtnf6S6Lh1irxEQ_gNk/edit?usp=sharing

    If you're just here for the ISO costs, feel free to skip the rest. For those that want to stick around for the after party, here's some interesting observations. ISO costs have progressed in an organic fashion. Which is what designers say in polite company when they mean "made this &*$! up." Here's what ISO level up costs looked like when the only rarities that existed were 1* through 4*, which is more or less the original design of the game:



    You can kind of see what's happening here. 1* costs are way at the bottom, then 2* gets a bit higher, then 3* even higher, then 4* higher still. And if you look close, you can see there was a deliberate attempt to make rank 1 and rank 2 level up costs relatively low, and then higher ranks jump up substantially. The general principle was "start low, get higher, accelerate upward." So lower rarities cost low, higher ones cost more, and the increase itself increases. Individual ranks within a rarity also follow this accelerating upward curve. So what happened when 5* champs entered the game?



    Interestingly, the rank "acceleration" mostly disappears. Each rank gets higher, in a (very roughly) even amount upward. 5* level up costs start high, and each rank higher they just keep jumping upward, kinda sorta roughly evenly. In other words, the 5* designer looked at the older stuff and went "nope" and just made it simpler. And a lot more expensive. Did that happen with 6* champs? Well...



    This is just the same chart from above, but now that we look at it in context, holy cow. The 6* designer looked at the 5* designer and said "hold my beer." Actually, it looks like three separate designers worked on 6* ISO level up costs. The first one worked on rank 1 and 2 and said "screw all these weird cost curves, I'm just going to make one curve for rank 1 and then add a little bit to it for the rank 2 curve. The second one said whoa, this is getting a bit out of hand, I need to lower the costs a bit (rank deceleration for rank 3+ may have had something to do with this) and then the third guy came in and tried to continue the rank 3 and 4 curves but seems to have forgotten to carry a two somewhere.

    All of them seemed to think we had too much ISO burning a hole in our pockets, because 6* rank up costs do not follow the original 1* to 4* inflation curve, and they don't even follow the much more aggressive 5* progression. They just jump immediately to Pluto. One way to see this is to look at the costs on a logarithmic scale. A log scale will make accelerating costs seem more linear. Where you see straight lines that's accelerating upward. Where you see evenly spaced data (in the vertical scale) you're seeing exponentially increasing costs.



    This is the history of ISO cost acceleration. We can see that costs rise, but on the log scale each curve tends to jump upward initially and then level off. That's not costs leveling off, that's cost inflation leveling off to some small inflationary rise. And you can see each cost curve starting and ending higher and higher in a remarkably even fashion. That reflects the fact that each rank and each rarity is getting more expensive, and the costs themselves are increasing, and the *increase* is itself increasing, which is what you'd expect to see in an inflationary environment.

    And then 6* rarity ( the black curves) jump up dramatically. And on a log scale, jumping upward dramatically is not just inflation, and it is not just inflationary acceleration. Its just a sudden dramatic discontinuous leap upward that no progression in costs could account for.

    I always knew 6* champs were much more expensive to level up, and I've always simply adjusted to that cost increase without thinking about it too much. But actually analyzing the numbers carefully, I can see that 6* champs are in fact too expensive. Not in the sense that players don't like the cost, and not in the sense that the costs can't be absorbed in theory. Rather, this degree of cost increase is something that cannot possibly be reflected in the game economy. To put it another way, the developers might have been trying to respond to some temporary perceived requirement to drain ISO from the game economy, but there's no way that 7* champs could possibly continue this trend from 5* to 6*. 6* champs are not just more expensive, they are not even exponentially more expensive. They are more than exponentially more expensive. Now, that doesn't mean they are impossible to level up. Obviously. "More than exponentially more expensive" does not mean "astronomically more expensive." Rather, it means the rate of cost increase is expanding at a faster rate than any economic forces could possibly account for in a finite game. Which means at some point when we look back on the 5* vs 6* vs 7* costs, we will almost certainly see 6* costs as an anomaly. Which, in design terms, will mean it was set wrong in the first place.

    Now, we can't really change the costs of 6* rarity, the rarity has been around too long and there's been too much level up activity. It would trigger a big discussion involving the C-word. But it suggests that the ISO economy is not really in the place it "should" be. This is a very sticky subject, because ISO bottlenecks mostly revolve around subjective things: how fast should players expect to be able to level up champions. That's an impossible thing to really argue. But maybe there's an objective way to look at ISO costs, within the context of what the 6* ISO cost curve is doing relative to prior precedent. If 5* ISO costs were reasonable for their time and 4* ISO costs were reasonable for their time (if 4* costs were too low they would have tried to compensate for that *with* the 5* costs) then can we say what the 6* cost discontinuity is doing relative to those costs?

    When I figure that out, you'll all see Part Three.


    For those that didn't see it, here's a link to Part One (Gold costs to use ISO)

    Love seeing raw data!

    Good job!
  • Options
    DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,937 Guardian

    IIRC there are some champions that naturally take more ISO to level up (Ultron was one?) – how do they compare?

    IIRC there are some champions that naturally take more ISO to level up (Ultron was one?) – how do they compare?

    Also Sentinel.
    I have a vague recollection of this sort of thing, but I do not know if this persists to this day. I will try to investigate further.

    No, I'm not going to level up every single champion individually next. Well, hopefully not. But if anyone has a list of the ones that are supposedly or suspected to do so, I will see what I can find out.

  • Options
    DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,937 Guardian
    Update: after doing some spot checks on Ultron and Sentinel, it appears that they do take slightly more ISO to level up. However, this only seems to be true for 2* through 4* rarity. This cost increase does not appear to be the case for 5* or 6* rarity. So it seems this was a thing originally, but for whatever reason this was not carried forward to the newer rarities when they were added.
  • Options
    DNA, you are awesome.
  • Options
    Texas_11Texas_11 Posts: 2,638 ★★★★★
    Yo…. Yo…..Yo…..

    Where is the TLDR!

    TLDR: ?
  • Options
    DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,937 Guardian

    DNA this is amazing. high-quality content as always

    I am always appreciative when an economy designer has enjoyed reading me point out that a part of the game economy is a little bit goofy-looking.
  • Options
    Texas_11Texas_11 Posts: 2,638 ★★★★★
    DNA3000 said:

    Texas_11 said:

    Yo…. Yo…..Yo…..

    Where is the TLDR!

    TLDR: ?


    Yep… checks out…


  • Options
    Ackbar67Ackbar67 Posts: 413 ★★★
    DNA3000 said:

    Ultron and Sentinel's ISO costs (which are higher, but not really a lot higher) is a design fossil of those experimental ideas that never got beyond those two champions (I think).

    When 5* rarity was introduced this idea was long since dead and so those champions reverted to costing the same amount as everyone else, so this difference doesn't exists past 4* rarity.

    I don't see how this can be true. Sentinel was released in March 2018, shortly after the introduction of 6* champions, and very long after the introduction of 5*s. How is he part of this experimentation?
  • Options
    Ackbar67 said:

    DNA3000 said:

    Ultron and Sentinel's ISO costs (which are higher, but not really a lot higher) is a design fossil of those experimental ideas that never got beyond those two champions (I think).

    When 5* rarity was introduced this idea was long since dead and so those champions reverted to costing the same amount as everyone else, so this difference doesn't exists past 4* rarity.

    I don't see how this can be true. Sentinel was released in March 2018, shortly after the introduction of 6* champions, and very long after the introduction of 5*s. How is he part of this experimentation?
    It was always Ultron and UC from very early on.
    I still got a Level-up Cost Guide from 2015 with that notation at the bottom, when 4* was max rarity.
    Don’t know if it was Trucos who made the chart, since it didn’t have Trucos logo on it, but it was from way back then.
  • Options
    DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,937 Guardian
    Ackbar67 said:

    DNA3000 said:

    Ultron and Sentinel's ISO costs (which are higher, but not really a lot higher) is a design fossil of those experimental ideas that never got beyond those two champions (I think).

    When 5* rarity was introduced this idea was long since dead and so those champions reverted to costing the same amount as everyone else, so this difference doesn't exists past 4* rarity.

    I don't see how this can be true. Sentinel was released in March 2018, shortly after the introduction of 6* champions, and very long after the introduction of 5*s. How is he part of this experimentation?
    I don’t know that he is. I said he was a design fossil of those experimental days. It is possible that someone thought that design idea was still alive when Sentinel was first designed (when he’s released and when work starts on him can be a long time apart) or his ISO costs are an inadvertent mistake due to copying him from another champion that had those costs built in, like Ultron.

    Design fossils can persist long past the point when the idea behind them is technically dead. That’s why they are called fossils.

    I doubt there was a day when someone stood up and said “we’re not doing this anymore.” Rather, someone thought it was a good idea and tried it out, but it didn’t catch on. A year or two later a designer could have started work on Sentinel, pulled up Ultron as a starting point, and just copied what they thought would be the same and overwrote what they thought should be different. Or they might have seen Ultron and said “oh that’s a cool idea” and built it into Sentinel, before they learned MCOC had moved past the idea.

    I don’t know the details, but I do know such things happen in game development studios. Sentinel might be a fossil, or he might be an echo of the past. Either way, they are not doing that any more.
  • Options
    Dude17Dude17 Posts: 133 ★★

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    DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 18,937 Guardian
    Update: 7* rank up costs



    Interestingly, the ISO costs to level 7* champions from 1/1 to 1/25 and from 2/1 to 2/35 are almost identical to the ISO costs to level up 6* champs from 4/1 to 4/55 (1215196) and 5/1 to 5/65 (1404845). This is probably not coincidental. We could try to use the 6* ISO costs to project what the 7* ISO costs will be for future ranks, except:



    Yeah, it doesn't follow a consistent curve. But actually, the last three ranks almost follow a nice quadratic curve, so we can attempt to project using just those three points, and ignore the other two (damn interns). If we do, we get this:



    The costs above the line are observed, the costs below the line are projected. We'll see how close I am in 2025.
  • Options
    SUPREME77SUPREME77 Posts: 144
    edited May 2023
    The madlads done it again boys 🗿
  • Options
    ahmynutsahmynuts Posts: 6,446 ★★★★★




    Love seeing raw data!

    Good job!

    My brother in the battle realm quoting his entire thesis essay was not necessary
  • Options
    AnlyAnly Posts: 615 ★★
    DNA3000 said:

    Texas_11 said:

    Yo…. Yo…..Yo…..

    Where is the TLDR!

    TLDR: ?


    You're the reason we got all that iso last month? 😂
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