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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wizard101's New Pack Structure


Just yesterday, Wizard101 released a new card pack: the Winterland Pack. It contains Ice Skate mounts, new gear, a Maple Moose pet, crystal wands, new furniture including Yuletide fish tanks, and more. But even more interesting than these winter wonderland items is what they tell us about the changing structure of packs in Wizard101.


New Packs Show the Way

Using one pack to determine trends isn't very easy, especially given how packs have changed on an individual basis each time. From having only new mounts, weapons, and gear, to including spells, gear with different stats, new furniture, new pets, and more, packs are almost never the same. However, if you take two, it's a little easier to make the comparison.

The Harrowing Hoard Pack

This Halloween, Wizard101 did something new. Instead of re-releasing the Nightmare Pack with new items, they decided it was too overcrowded, and instead created a new pack with new Halloween items. It included many of the things from the old pack and many recycled items, plus a number of exclusive new Halloween gear pieces, mounts, and more. This was just the beginning.

The Winterland Pack

This is the newest of seasonal goodies. Accompanying the Yuletide Pack, it will now come and go with winter and Christmas in July each year. Its contents probably make a few purchases worthwhile, but, as I mentioned above, what's most important now is what this pack seems to solidify about future packs.


The New Trends

There are a couple of important new trends to observe that we can reasonably say would be in future packs from this point forward based on this and the last new pack.

Second-Spot Unique Items

It's clear that there are second-spot unique items. That means that when you pay for seven items, you're going to most likely get six existing items or items from the Yuletide Pack, and one from the loot roll of the Winterland Pack. So it might be gear, the permanent Ice Skates mount, a Maple Moose, new housing item, or whatever else.

What this means is that instead of seven rolls on a VERY large list of items, you get one roll on a VERY small list of items. But this doesn't mean you've been cheated. For example, say you want the Queen's Color Guard Jacket in the Yuletide Pack. There are 173 items listed on the Wizard101 Wiki so far for that pack. Assuming all items have the same chance of being rolled, you essentially get a 7/173 chance each pack for that jacket, or about a 4.1% chance of getting it.


Now let's say you want the Winter Solstice Augury wand from the Winterland Pack. There are approximately 22 new items that show up in that spot, meaning you have a 1/22 chance of getting that roll, or about 4.5% chance. It's not a lesser chance of getting what you want, therefore, it's just a new way of doing things.

It's important to note that all epic items (usually mounts, but also includes spells) still appear in the first slot. I wonder if you have a 1/173 roll for those items? Hmm.

One-Day Mounts

One way to balance out the increase in chances of you getting items was to add 1-day and 7-day versions of the permanent mounts in the packs to the unique loot roll in the second spot. We saw this with the Harrowing Pack wings and now with the Ice Skates. Instead of a permanent mount or piece of gear, you get a timed mount. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of a permanent mount, but only for a small amount of time. While the increase in these items can seem annoying, remember that it's not replacing your odds of getting better items, it's just another filler with a little more benefit than a pet snack.

Second Packs

The latest trend, and perhaps an appropriately-timed one, is the addition of a second pack. Last year, KingsIsle simply added on to the holiday packs with new items (Mainly the Halloween and Christmas. Those are our only two seasonal packs, correct?), so you had a chance to get the old items or the new ones. A separate pack works well if you're going for a specific set or item instead, as it divides up the loot rolls instead of combining them all.

I don't imagine we'll be getting a second Keeper's Lore or Dragon's Hoard, as they can simply make a new pack there. The seasonal ones, though, were a great addition, and in a few years, I could see more new ones.

Recycling of Old Items

With the second-spot-only unique items, it means there have to be some older things, too. In the case of the Winterland Pack, it means you get extra rolls at some of the old Yuletide items like the Santa Set, but can also mean new, common items. The Winterland Pack has a few new food items and rugs which can be won from the pack in these other six spots.

Uncertainty Involved

Of course, nothing's ever for sure, especially not in Wizard101 or with packs. The two we've seen so far have simply been new versions of old concepts. In the future, when we get our next non-holiday pack, I'll be interested to know if it'll follow some of these same ideas. I'd also be curious to see if we get an update to the Harrowing Pack and the Winterland Pack next year. That'd be my guess.



Recommendations

While absorbing these changes, let me share a few of my views on the new packs and their structures.

Second Pack Thoughts

Having a second pack over simply adding to the first one is either a positive or negative thing for you based on what you currently have. If you've never been one to buy packs or haven't gotten everything you want from past seasonal ones, simply adding to old packs is what you want. It's an all-in-one chance to get everything you need, with slightly elevated drop rates because of the additional items.

If, however, you only need specific items or have all of the items you want from past packs, this is a good option for you. It's a clean chance at the new stuff, instead of a mixture. (Remember, it IS a mixture of old and new, but the old items do not affect or replace your drop chances for the new items, which are isolated in the second slot.)

One-Day Mounts

This is one of the things I'm not as crazy about. I am usually one to trash all limited-time mounts just because they take up a lot of backpack, bank, or shared bank space that I don't have. It's cool to have the new mount for a short time, sure, but I could almost get more use out of a new furniture item or even something I can sell for gold than a cosmetic item that lasts only for a few days.

Beyond that, I'm a big fan of this new pack structure, which will at least be used for these second seasonal packs. I'm hoping to see it used on future packs as well.

What do you think of this pack structure? Would you want to see it in future packs?

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

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1 comment:

  1. I am very happy with the new pack. I like the sound of "guaranteed 1/22 chance." I've got all the items I want from it for less than 15,000 crowns.

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