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Posts with tag mathcraft

Some remarks on drop rates

I'm going to keep this relatively short, because a full discussion of probability could fill several college semesters. However, there is one misconception that some WoW players have that has been bugging me lately.

Let's say you read that Shattered Sun Supplies have a 10% chance to contain a Badge of Justice, and, excited, you go out and do enough dailies get 10 Shattered Sun Supplies. You open them all and find not a single Badge, or you find five badges. Do either of these outcomes mean the 10% drop rate is wrong? No! They do not! All a 10% drop rate means is that for each Supplies, there is a 10% chance that it contains a Badge. Random events have no memory, so no matter how many badges you get in the first nine Supplies, your chance to get a Badge in the tenth Supplies is still 10%. The traditional analogy is that if you flip a coin nine times and get heads each time, the chance of getting heads on the next flip is still 50%.

Now it is true that you will probably get a Badge in ten Supplies if the drop rate is 10%. If you're interested in how likely it is, here's the calculation to do. The chance of not getting a Badge in one Supplies is (100% - 10%) = 90%, or 0.9. Raise that to the tenth power, for your ten independent Supplies-opening events, and you get the chance of, ten times out of ten, not getting a Badge: 0.9^10 = 0.349, about 35%. So in fact, out of ten Supplies, you will get a badge (100% - 35%) = 65% of the time, about two thirds.

TL;DR version: A drop rate is a probability, not a guarantee.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Attack tables and you

Hello! Math time again. Some of you may know how attack tables work, but many of you, I'm sure, don't. This post in the European official forums contains the clearest explanation of attack tables I've seen, and I'd advise anybody interested in the mathier side of the game to go check it out. Some parts of it are copied into this post, because they are excellent and not everyone can access the official forums. I am also indebted to the ever-excellent WoWWiki.

"What is an attack table," you ask? Why, it's the method by which WoW decides what's going to happen when a mob or player attacks another mob or player. Is the attack going to miss, be parried, crit, or what? As it turns out, there are seven possible outcomes of a melee attack (six if there are no mobs involved). They are:

Glancing Blow (players against mobs only)
Critical Hit
Crushing Blow (mobs only)
Regular Hit

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features

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