Portal Drop Rates - the Why, the How, and the Solution

Recently, our community brought to light an issue with the chaos portal drop rates.

I’ve done my best to succinctly outline the problem, and why no other chests are affected.
There was an optimization added into the code from years ago which would pre-calculate the troops you can get from a chest. Unfortunately, this was not taking into account if a chest had multiple “troop pools” to pick from, such as the case of the Chaos Portals. This means that when the game rolls for a troop of a specific rarity, it was picking from a pool of the treasure troop AND the faction troop, so the odds ended up being different from what is displayed.

Side Note: No other chest in the game offers different pools of troops to give away. Guild Guardians in the Guild chest are not affected by this.

This issue will be fixed by us updating the drop rates in-game to reflect the current numbers. As such, as will be leaving the drop rates as they currently are, but changing the numbers that are incorrect in game.

We cannot promise that an issue like this will never happen again, but we will do our best to ensure it doesn’t. Bugs and mistakes are a reality of game development, and we cannot promise to never have an issue in the future. We wish we could. The best we can do is improve our processes and do our best moving forward.

In the future, the way to raise these issues with us is to use the bug report template with the information you have gathered. I understand that it isn’t the most elegant solution at this point in time, but until we either find a different way to air these concerns or build more in-game tools to help us, this is the best way to inform us of any perceived discrepancies.

I hope that this had shed light on the situation.

(On another side note, We won’t be implementing a guardian style troop drop for factions. I am sorry that this isn’t what you were hoping for.)

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@Mithran
Special thanks for championing this issue.
You are the QA that we deserve, and the QA that we want.
Maybe we can do a go fund me so that your time is compensated for. :grinning:

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So uh… is “fix the code that doesn’t do what we want” something that got slipped somewhere onto a whiteboard somewhere, or is it “this is just how it is, you can’t change code, we’ll just not design any more chests like this”?

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Sounds like:
1- let’s open a pizza place!
2- (after countless customers did the QA work for them) turns out we can’t figure out the pizza recipe, we keep pulling pancakes
3- no problem, let’s change the signboard to ‘pancake place’!

:thinking::sweat_smile::vulcan_salute:

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In this analogy we’d rather keep making pancakes than return to making pizzas. Because in this analogy, pancakes are more valuable to players, and we don’t want to nerf them and offer pizzas instead.

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When life gives you pancakes, make lemonade.

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What is lemonade in this analogy? Help!

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This bears repeating. The forums user base was pretty resoundingly in favor of keeping the current drop rates, unless portals went to guild-guardian style. So while both would have been great, retaining the status quo is not a loss for players.

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I feel like a king of bad analogies so I’d like to rework it to be a slightly better analogy for the players. The trick is sometimes, trying to bullet-point things just isn’t the way, you have to capture the Tragedy of Technical Debt with a lot of history.

The devs opened up a brand new pizza shop. You could buy one kind of pizza: pepperoni and cheese. They listed on the menu exactly how many pepperoni and how much cheese you should expect on your pizza.

But the machine they were using to make the pizza was designed for cheese pizza. They just sort of figured out if they mixed pepperoni in with the cheese it worked. Don’t think about it too hard. It’s a bad analogy and they didn’t think about it very hard either.

So eventually some players noticed the pepperoni count seemed a little off, and the cheese was a little weird. So players started taking pictures of their pizzas, comparing them, and prepared a case for the devs that they were not getting the quality of pizza they paid for.

The devs were confused, so they went to the back and thought about it. They stood in front of a sign on the machine that said “CHEESE ONLY” for a few hours, then decided to call the manufacturer for help. The manufacturer doesn’t speak English, so it took a while to sort out that apparently the machine was not designed to make pepperoni pizzas, and if you put unsupported ingredients in the bin it sometimes gets clogged and you don’t get good results.

So the devs had a problem. They could:

  • Buy a kit that converts the machine to support pepperoni. They’d have to put off installing the soda machine to do this gargantuan 2-hour task that represents a small challenge for a high school student.
  • Pretend nothing’s wrong.
  • Change the promise on the menu to reflect the observed results of the clandestine pizza machine, and assure the customers that if the pizza tastes funny it’s Probably Safe.

So the devs have chosen the third option and updated the menu. They’ve also indicated that putting more than one toppings on pizza is Very Hard and Takes Too Long, so there will be no new pizzas with more toppings than cheese in the future, with the ultimatum, "If you want to complain about the topping selection, nobody’s going to get sodas ever. So be happy with what you have. All pepperoni pizzas work like this. "

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Translator’s Note:

We found the bug.

But, fixing the bug that would cause the loot tables to work as designed/intended would result in worse drop rates (a nerf) to rates that players already vent about on the delve threads as being very poor. As such, to avoid a PR nightmare on this subject (such as gems removal from LTs), canonizing the incorrect rates that players are already accustomed from chaos shard portals is the best solution for all parties involved (no nerfs to player-observed drop rates and the incorrect rates are acceptable/tolerable to the devs to maintain the status quo).

EDIT 2: @AMT The posted drop rates will be updated in-game to match the current incorrect rates, making these the new “correct” drop rates. The devs have run over a million internal tests to verify the the corrected posted drop rates actually match drop rates occurring in-game.

EDIT: Reading between the lines, the response in combination with the statement about a guild guardian-like system answers a lot of questions I’ve had about the intended design direction of delves for quite awhile. Can’t say I’m thrilled with the conclusion reached, but internally I had quietly reached those answers awhile ago and the indirect confirmation puts the issue to rest for me.

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Ugh you know what I feel grouchy enough to just not make this post, at some point I don’t care anymore. The gist of it was, “As a 20+ year software developer this explanation looks like a lie targeting a non-technical customer to wiggle out of some work you don’t want to do, I wouldn’t take this path with my customers.”

It either says bad things about the devs or worse things about the code. But then if the things about the code are true, it says really vulgar things about the devs who let it get that way. And it says very scary things about what kind of quality trends we can expect going forwards.

I think I’m just going to go to bed and assume I’m looking at a non-technical hand-wavy explanation that isn’t even the point of the post and making a big deal out of it by trying to predict the technical explanation it’s trying to avoid making, and I’m doing THAT because it’s later than I should be in bed, but I don’t feel sleepy so I’m looking for anything to do that isn’t flopping in the bed wishing I was asleep.

Insomnia, like Catra, is a bad friend.

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Don’t LT’s have multiple drop pools they draw from?

I want to clarify some points before they continue further.

EDIT: I spoke too soon! One of our team has been cleaning this up in the background and let me know that we are doing the following:

• Fixing the bug in the server code
• Changing the displayed drop rates
• We have already run over 1,000,000 automated tests on this to make sure the drop rates now match what is displayed for portals
• All of this will find its way out to the servers in the next couple of days

Hope this information helps.

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@Lyrian , I could use an updated translation :pray:

This. So Much This.
:roll_eyes::vulcan_salute:

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I am confused, so are you fixing droprates, or are you calling bug a feature and leaving droprates as it is?
You can’t have both.

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Could you please tell the clear answer to the question will you change actual drop rates of treasures or not? I will be extremely angry if you will stealthily nerf actual drop rates of treasures and devalue all my chaos shards. If you intend to do so please give us a warning so we will have time to open our stocks of chaos shards at least.

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What is increasingly clear is the Devs’ level of dedication to the game/players through their actions & inactions:

1- Wait until after new Faction is released to mention that they finally checked something after countless efforts from the community to bring it to their attention
2- Tell the community to wait until Monday for details ( TGIF! )
3- Don’t even bother to get the story straight on Monday when sharing details, thus further confusing and frustrating their customers

:thinking::sweat_smile::vulcan_salute:

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A bug caused the drop rates to be different than advertised, granting far better loot for the past year than originally intended. They are fixing the bug, which would result in the drop rates matching the advertised drop rate, effectively making loot worse. Since players have become accustomed to the better drop rates, the advertised drop rates will be adjusted to what match the drop rates players have been receiving all along.

TL;DR: Effective drop rates when using chaos shards will remain the same, documented drop rates will be updated.

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See what happens when I go to sleep?

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@AMT

@Fourdottwoone is correct. The posted drop rates will be updated in-game to match the current incorrect rates, making these the new “correct” drop rates. The devs have run over a million internal tests to verify the the corrected posted drop rates actually match drop rates occurring in-game.

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