Arena Doesn't Pay For Itself: The Math

Posts: 2,427
09/02/2013 09:27 AMPosted by Values
Didn't say it was supposed to. Said it doesn't, and so people should stop claiming it does.


Except that I find arena really fun, and I get a pack out of doing it, so to me, what I get out of what I pay, is worth it.
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Posts: 571
09/02/2013 09:35 PMPosted by Mand
How long do you think bads will sit there and throw away money just so you can farm them?

I don't know if I'm a bad, but I do know that 2-3 or 3-3 is pretty typical for me in the arena. I'm spending all my coin on it, however, and intend to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The gold and dust, even at low wins, mean that it's only very slightly less efficient for collection purposes than purchasing packs outright, and I can justify that extra expense on the basis of enjoying the randomized deckbuilding.
09/03/2013 03:15 AMPosted by Jerkies
He said 50g worth of dust. The average pack contains 40 dust worth of cards (4 experts 1 rare). All you need to get from the arena rewards is 20 dust to effectively break even with the cost of buying the pack normally.

The typical pack contains 40 dust worth of cards, but the average is closer to 90. The high dust value of epics and legendaries makes them contribute significantly to the average, despite their infrequent appearance.

That makes 1-for-1 a reasonable "back of the napkin" estimate for gold to dust value ratios. If your gold+dust from the arena is 50, you've broken even. This seems to usually happen somewhere between 3 and 4 wins.
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Posts: 652
09/03/2013 03:08 AMPosted by Dobby
This is wrong. Arena gives you a pack (100g) and on average about 50gold worth of gold, dust etc (if you go 3-3 or about that). You also get fun for free.


Wrong again, jeeze when you people stop posting terrible wrong facts. I've gotten 0 gold going 3-3 in Arena before, and i've seen players like Kripp get 0 gold going 3-3 as well. That's like saying on average you get a deathwing every pack, you people defending this gold intact are just a bunch of people who don't know math and spewing lies which is why this is still the most talked about topic on forums


I went 2-5 last night and got 1 card pack + 80 gold. All 4 of my boxes were gold 50g, 15,g 10g, 5g. I really dont understand why you people have your panties in a wad over maybe losing $.50. Heres some math, $.50x30days=$15 dollars which is exactly what you pay for a sub of WoW. If you play arena more then once a day, then thats you problem not blizzards.
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Posts: 234
09/02/2013 09:30 PMPosted by ManOnMan
ts amazing how with these numbers laid out, people still wont understand that 80% of the people that enter arena, dont make their money back.


What a hypocrite... it's amazing how you won't read any of the other posts that show going 3/3 still breaks even. Not 7/3
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Posts: 46
I don't really see the point of this post. What it seems to be saying with all the math is basically that total arena entry cost across all games is greater than the arena reward across all games... ie there is no way arena can pay for itself across the whole population.

Well, what a shocker! Blizzard has designed a system that is not self-sustaining and requires people to pay into it to play. Isnt that the whole point? They would have failed epicly if the arena did not get people paying money.

For gifted/lucky players, arena CAN pay for itself. It just comes at the losses of other people. I really didnt need to see the math to figure that one out.
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Posts: 2,035
09/03/2013 03:27 AMPosted by Alveia
Except that I find arena really fun, and I get a pack out of doing it, so to me, what I get out of what I pay, is worth it.

Not what I said.

I think a movie is an enjoyable experience and worth the ~$15 I spend to go there. I don't regret it. I had more fun than green paper bills labeled $10 and $5 were going to give me. It was "worth it."

But the movie didn't pay for itself, and neither does arena.

I went 2-5 last night and got 1 card pack + 80 gold. All 4 of my boxes were gold 50g, 15,g 10g, 5g. I really dont understand why you people have your panties in a wad over maybe losing $.50. Heres some math, $.50x30days=$15 dollars which is exactly what you pay for a sub of WoW. If you play arena more then once a day, then thats you problem not blizzards.


Even assuming your math were true, $15 for a WoW sub buys you FAR MORE content in 1 month than one arena per day.

You can't have it both ways. You can't equate 1 arena per day to WoW's cost.

I don't really see the point of this post. What it seems to be saying with all the math is basically that total arena entry cost across all games is greater than the arena reward across all games... ie there is no way arena can pay for itself across the whole population.

Well, what a shocker! Blizzard has designed a system that is not self-sustaining and requires people to pay into it to play. Isnt that the whole point? They would have failed epicly if the arena did not get people paying money.

For gifted/lucky players, arena CAN pay for itself. It just comes at the losses of other people. I really didnt need to see the math to figure that one out.

It might seem obvious to you that your !@# and hand are two different things, as well. From what I've seen some people claim on the forums, however, they seem confused between the two.

Similarly, some people on these forums have claimed that "everybody" can get to a position where enough practice will allow them to perpetually arena while breaking even or better forever.

List of what I'm not saying:

-Arena pays for itself.
-Arena should pay for itself.
-Arena can't pay for itself for anybody.
-Arena shouldn't pay for itself for anybody.
-Anything related to how the game "should" or "shouldn't" be.
-Arena is not worth the cost.
-Arena does not reward players with fun.
-Anything pertaining to a player's personal enjoyment of an arena.
-Anything regarding whether or not Arena's prices should change at all.
-Etc

List of what I am saying:

-If there is an Arena MMR system, then only 1 player is statistically likely to break even or better with an arena once their MMR settles (=the best player in the world, and only if they are such by a wide margin).
-If there is not an Arena MMR system, then only 9% of the population will break even or better in the arena, and no amount of practice anyone can do will increase that from 9%. If 30% of the population practiced their hearts out, only ~30% of those who practiced (9 out of 30) would break even as the result of their practicing.

I'm sure this might come as a shock to some of you gentlemen, but my post is purely informational. Unlike much of the dribble that have worked its way into in the forums, this is not me giving my opinion on an issue; this is me simply showing the math of the situation so people can stop spreading misinformation.
Edited by Values on 9/3/2013 6:51 AM PDT
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09/03/2013 06:41 AMPosted by Values
But the movie didn't pay for itself, and neither does arena.


Depends on where you place your value? I guess I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here.
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Posts: 2,035
09/03/2013 06:50 AMPosted by Alveia
Depends on where you place your value? I guess I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here.

I'm not making some sort of existential claim. My statements are entirely monetary.

If every person spends 150g to enter the arena, statistically, the material prizes that they receive for doing so will not be equal to or exceed their 150g investment. This is the only claim I'm making.

As I said before, maybe it's a complete shocker to you that the purpose of my post was not to "make a point" regarding an opinion, but, rather, to correct the untruths that others have claimed (namely that arena will pay for itself pretty easily if you just put a modicum of practice into it, or that that should be "the goal").

I think what has confused you so greatly is that I choose to post on facts -- namely, the fact that the arena does not pay for itself -- rather than opinions.

You should be grateful, since I'm sure you don't actually care about my opinion.

To make an analogy -- people who are asking me what my "point" is or "can't see the reason of the post" are akin to people calling up Kelloggs and asking them why they put their nutritional information on their food packaging.

This information is yours to keep as a fact. If you don't care, then don't worry about it -- there are plenty of facts in the universe that are uninteresting to me as well. The facts here are yours to do as you please -- to ignore, to use to argue on your behalf, or to change your views.
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Posts: 3,834
Depends on where you place your value? I guess I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here.

I'm not making some sort of existential claim. My statements are entirely monetary.

If every person spends 150g to enter the arena, statistically, the material prizes that they receive for doing so will not be equal to or exceed their 150g investment. This is the only claim I'm making.

As I said before, maybe it's a complete shocker to you that the purpose of my post was not to "make a point" regarding an opinion, but, rather, to correct the untruths that others have claimed (namely that arena will pay for itself pretty easily if you just put a modicum of practice into it, or that that should be "the goal").

I think what has confused you so greatly is that I choose to post on facts -- namely, the fact that the arena does not pay for itself -- rather than opinions.

You should be grateful, since I'm sure you don't actually care about my opinion.

To make an analogy -- people who are asking me what my "point" is or "can't see the reason of the post" are akin to people calling up Kelloggs and asking them why they put their nutritional information on their food packaging.

This information is yours to keep as a fact. If you don't care, then don't worry about it -- there are plenty of facts in the universe that are uninteresting to me as well. The facts here are yours to do as you please -- to ignore, to use to argue on your behalf, or to change your views.

Yes. You are completely correct: Every win is another's loss, and even if there's a good enough MMR system players cannot consistently win more than they lose no matter how good they are. The math shows arena doesn't pay for itself.

But I have no doubt that people will still pull out this completely debunked argument as if they were mathematically illiterate.

I would also add that arena cannot be self-financing unless you always have a 100% win rate. By the infinite monkey theorem, just as a monkey given a typewriter and sufficient amount of time will produce the works of William Shakespeare, a Hearthstone player given sufficient time will produce a long enough strings of win/losses that reduces his gold to 0.
Edited by Eigenscape on 9/3/2013 7:21 AM PDT
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Posts: 2,427
I didn't know anyone was trying to argue that anything in this game paid for itself. It's a video game, you are never going to get return on investment. The only game that more than paid for itself that I've played is Diablo 3. Since there is no way to convert anything in Hearthstone into cash, obviously nothing in the game pays for itself in a literal sense.
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Posts: 530
09/02/2013 09:49 PMPosted by Dogf
Are there any stats on average gold and dust returns for each number of victories? At what point does it become less cost effective to enter the arena than to just buy your packs straight up, taking into account gold and dust as peripheral rewards?


Yes, there is:
http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/forum/topic/9792719412

09/03/2013 03:08 AMPosted by Dobby
Wrong again, jeeze when you people stop posting terrible wrong facts. I've gotten 0 gold going 3-3 in Arena before, and i've seen players like Kripp get 0 gold going 3-3 as well. That's like saying on average you get a deathwing every pack, you people defending this gold intact are just a bunch of people who don't know math and spewing lies which is why this is still the most talked about topic on forums


He just said a number more or less at random. He is way off, but his reasoning is sound. You, on the other hand, doesn't seem to understand the concept of average. Even if 50% of the time you get 0 gold and 50% you get 50 gold the average would still be 25 gold.

09/03/2013 06:41 AMPosted by Values
I'm sure this might come as a shock to some of you gentlemen, but my post is purely informational. Unlike much of the dribble that have worked its way into in the forums, this is not me giving my opinion on an issue; this is me simply showing the math of the situation so people can stop spreading misinformation.


No it is not. Your "facts" are based on your conception of "break even". What means to "break even" has been discussed for 5 pages already and while I don't expect you to agree with another interpretation you still assume your interpretation in the only one correct, everyone else's is wrong and your "facts" are true to everyone.
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Posts: 830
Arenas 100% definitely do not break even if you consider *only* the gold return. However, if you treat the pack as being worth 100 gold, then it will roughly (with an admittedly large margin of error due to not having a large sample to work with) break even in terms of gold on average. If you value dust as well as the pack, then the arena will give better returns for your gold spent than spending it on packs would.

The short answer is, the arena *IS* worth it compared to buying packs, but it will still be unrealistic for the majority of players to be capable of going infinite in the arena.
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Posts: 195
Arenas 100% definitely do not break even if you consider *only* the gold return. However, if you treat the pack as being worth 100 gold, then it will roughly (with an admittedly large margin of error due to not having a large sample to work with) break even in terms of gold on average. If you value dust as well as the pack, then the arena will give better returns for your gold spent than spending it on packs would.

The short answer is, the arena *IS* worth it compared to buying packs, but it will still be unrealistic for the majority of players to be capable of going infinite in the arena.
/thread

Pretty much what I wanted to say.
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Posts: 1,793
Arenas 100% definitely do not break even if you consider *only* the gold return. However, if you treat the pack as being worth 100 gold, then it will roughly (with an admittedly large margin of error due to not having a large sample to work with) break even in terms of gold on average. If you value dust as well as the pack, then the arena will give better returns for your gold spent than spending it on packs would.

The short answer is, the arena *IS* worth it compared to buying packs, but it will still be unrealistic for the majority of players to be capable of going infinite in the arena.


For Arena to = it's worth you need a pack + enough dust/gold to equal half a pack (50g or 90 dust). The 90 dust figure comes from 2 commons (20 each) + 1/2 Rare (100 each). I doubt you're getting any combination of dust/gold to equal that until 4 or 5 wins.
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Posts: 530
09/03/2013 08:17 AMPosted by Malscent
The 90 dust figure comes from 2 commons (20 each) + 1/2 Rare (100 each). I doubt you're getting any combination of dust/gold to equal that until 4 or 5 wins.


And this calculation is completely unrealistic.
Your idea of how much dust equals a pack is the amount of dust you need to build 4 commons and 1 rare card. The fact cards from packs are random and with dust you craft the exact card you want means nothing to you?! Considering as you get closer to completing your collection almost all cards from packs will be copies and you will still be able to use dust to craft the exact cards you need?

What I've seen more frequently is people valuing a pack at 40 dust (disenchanting 4 commons and a rare) or 50 to account for epics and legendaries.

I agree none of those methods are precise and the size of one's collection does count. But it is reasonable to assume you will take longer to get you last 50 cards than to get your first 50 cards (not counting doubles).
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Posts: 25
This thread is amazing. Values, thanks for the significant contribution. Whether people still choose to buy into Arena or not honestly should be dependant on the fun they foresee having.

I think you've convinced me to stop playing Arena as it's been a sort of crapshoot for me, based on what's drafted.
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Posts: 185
Arena - 150g = 1 booster pack (100g) + 4 random prizes

Random Prizes - Arcane Dust, Gold, Cards

150g (arena) - 100g (pack) = 50g for arena

50g = 4 prizes, if u get 0-3 u can still get 40g on the random prizes, making u pay actually 10g to enter the arena....

if u get 9-2 u can get 350g if lucky

50g = 4 prizes. 350g -50g, u get 300g + pack.

and the game isnt only arena mode XD.

its like any other game u want some diferent things to do in the game, not only the same thing.
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Posts: 1,793
The 90 dust figure comes from 2 commons (20 each) + 1/2 Rare (100 each). I doubt you're getting any combination of dust/gold to equal that until 4 or 5 wins.


And this calculation is completely unrealistic.
Your idea of how much dust equals a pack is the amount of dust you need to build 4 commons and 1 rare card. The fact cards from packs are random and with dust you craft the exact card you want means nothing to you?! Considering as you get closer to completing your collection almost all cards from packs will be copies and you will still be able to use dust to craft the exact cards you need?

What I've seen more frequently is people valuing a pack at 40 dust (disenchanting 4 commons and a rare) or 50 to account for epics and legendaries.

I agree none of those methods are precise and the size of one's collection does count. But it is reasonable to assume you will take longer to get you last 50 cards than to get your first 50 cards (not counting doubles).


So I took a minimum of 90 dust (To create 2 commons and half a rare) and somehow that is unrealistic? The ability to choose what you create is worth a bit more, but considering how expensive it is to create a card vs how much dust you get from each card. I don't think it is worth THAT much more. I do not believe that stating that you need 1 pack + 90 dust to break even on arena to be unrealistic.

As an example, if you need a legendary card, the dust cost is so extreme that your hope is that you can either A) Open one, or B) Open another legendary to dust to create your legendary.

Just gaining dust from arena does not assist in these two options.
Edited by Malscent on 9/3/2013 9:45 AM PDT
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Posts: 72

Drafts are a little bit different in Magic though. In Magic, draft is a day-long event, so people view dropping $15 or whatever on packs as being fine. It's the same as going to the movies.

Arena is not an "event", it's a game. It would be like asking people if they want to go play WOW for $10 a day; almost everyone would say no.

It's comparable to the difference between going to the movies and renting a movie. People will spend more money for the event of going to the movies than watching a movie at home.


I would agree with this if on MTGO drafting wasnt BY FAR the most common format played.
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Posts: 8
From Kirthos:
If you multiply these values by the probability of getting each number of wins above, the total amount of gold on average will be approximately 51. If you consider the pack to be worth 100 gold, then arenas will roughly break even in terms of gold spent (compared to spending the gold directly on packs), but also give you some amount of extra dust.


There ya go. That seems legit. So the arena does pay for itself on average by 1g and some dust! That's actually kinda cool.
If you counter the time it takes with the fun you get from playing the arena, I'd say it's already a good balance.

Now if only regular play could be a bit more rewarding to be able to play the arena a bit more often...
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