Impact of radical change to holiday monsters

There’s been further discussion by Blizzard regarding the new way of handling holiday boss monsters.

What new system? The short form, as explained by Blizzard:

the summoning of holiday bosses is going away. Players can queue for these bosses via the Dungeon Finder or special holiday NPCs found in the world. Once the party is finalized, the group will be ported directly to the area where the holiday boss resides. Players can kill the holiday bosses as often as they want for standard loot (epic rings, trinkets, etc.), however, they will only drop one holiday-themed loot trove per player per day. These loot troves will have a chance of containing rare holiday items such as The Horseman’s Reins.

Why the change? Blizzard again:

The way players were grandfathering in alt characters, scamming others by not having a summon available, and continually soft-resetting dungeons — creating a major load on instance capacity — was never intended.

Of course my first reaction was that pets and mounts are effectively gone from the game.

Here’s how: If you only get one chance per day regardless of how many times per day you’re exposed to the boss, then a rare drop rate dwindles to effectively 0%. At least with the old system you had five chances at a 1% drop rate, right?

Actually no.

A few pages past that Blizzard post someone crunched some numbers and came to this conclusion:

Your chances of getting a rare drop under the new system will not be much worse than they would have been under the old system assuming a group of 5 players, each of whom summoned the boss once.

The poster assumes, I assume for ease of calculation, that a rare drop has a 10% chance to drop. So using 10% as a baseline…

let’s assume a guild runs the same holiday boss every day, with the same 5 people, for each of the 14 days for an event. In such a case, they would need at least 5 pets to drop over the course of 70 summons in order for each person to get one. The odds of getting less than 5 pets over the course of 70 summons are as follows (rounded to 5 decimals):
0 pets: 0.06266%
1 pet: 0.48734%
2 pets: 1.86813%
3 pets: 4.70492%
4 pets: 8.75639%
Total chance to get less than 5 pets over 70 summons: 15.87944%
Therefore, total chance to get each person at least one pet over 70 summons: 84.12056%

Conversely, if you only get the bag once per day and it has a 10% drop rate on the pet, that means over the course of 14 days you’ll get 14 bags. The odds of you getting at least one pet are equal to (100% – odds you don’t get any pets), and the percentage chance of not getting even one pet is simply (0.9^14), which is 22.877% (again, rounded to five decimals). Thus, under the new system, regardless of who you run with and regardless of who does and does not already have the pet, you now have a 77.123% chance to get the pet over the course of the holiday

So assuming a 10% drop rate, you’re 7% less likely to get the drop under the new system, if I’m reading that math correctly (the difference between 77% and 84%).

But there’s a wild card…

The new system will actually lead to an overall greater number of rare drops present in the game.

Here’s how: My spousal unit uttered a truism that applies to virtually everything in the cosmos:

If it’s simple people will do it—no matter what it is.

Word. The idea of being able to teleport to the monster directly, beat ‘im down, then come away with a bag of goodies is compelling enough that a greater number of people will do it. The single biggest factor in my reluctance for helping people go after the apothecaries for the Pink Love Rocket was the distance I’d have to travel to get to Shadowfang Keep. Note that my soul had long been crushed out of the thought of actually getting one myself, but what the hell, I’ll fuel someone else’s dream so we can all do something together. 😉

This new system will encourage more people to try and that alone will lead to more rare objects in the world—which itself will encourage more people to try.

An example of this would be motorcycles. You can buy all the parts for something like 12,000 gold pieces the last I looked (which was awhile ago). Time was that was a fantastic sum that only a very few could be expected to get—effectively out of reach. But with the inclusion of daily quests and other means of securing reasonable wealth such as an increase in the number of uncommon materials like Frost Orbs and Crusader Orbs that aren’t tough to obtain yet sell well, 12K isn’t so utterly out of reach, it has been adjusted to “very difficult.”

And now there are more motorcycles around. In fact, I see one every time I’m in Dalaran. It’s still difficult—I still don’t have one—and it’s still special, and I still see people giving other people a ride in the sidecar because that’s all kinds of fun for both the driver and pride for having it and the rider for “wheee!” 🙂

How many more people will attempt the holiday bosses because of the greater ease of doing so is difficult to calculate, and what influence seeing rare drops will encourage others to try is even more nebulous. But the new system will mean more people get rare drops, mark my words!


The math says that there’s technically a decreased chance of getting a rare drop—but the math doesn’t apply to me. The current system has resulted in my reluctance to even try. This new system will make it so I’d be embarrassed not to try every day.

At the least my chances of getting a rare drop have doubled with the new system, so I declare this a good change.


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Geek. (But so are you!)

Posted on February 23, 2010, in World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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