Never tell me the odds!

[See Master Post]

Now that I’ve farmed up most of the easier mounts, I’m left with a sinking feeling that the only ones left are the long tail mounts. The ones with an insanely low drop rate.

All of the old raid content mounts have a 1% drop rate, or 1 in 100 chance. You can have some fun with probability independance theory to work out how likely a mount is going to drop after a given number of tries. Now, before anyone cries “Gambler’s Fallacy!” – this isn’t a case of “Loot X times and you’ll get it!“.

No, this is a “After this number of tries, the overall chance of the mount dropping is X%“. Its only a chance the mount will have dropped and the kicker is that the function only tends to 100%. That is, its possible the mount will never drop. Have a read over this blog post if you want to know more about the maths behind this.

As it turns out, the useful point to calculate is the median value. That is, the point where half of the trials have been successful. The graph below shows this nicely.

Chance for raid mount median

The red line is the median point – it works out to be 69 tries. That is, if you get a mount in 69 tries or less you can be considered to have been “lucky” with that mount. Over 69? Not so lucky!

Looking over the number of tries for the 1 in 100 mounts it turns out I’ve got a mean of 72 tries – fairly close to the 69 mark to be considered “lucky“. The poor showing on Onyxia’s mount which took 191 tries, or ~85% chance for mount to have dropped – didn’t help. Nor did the Blazing drake which took 162 tries, or 80% chance for the mount to have dropped.

The mounts I have left fall into one of several camps:

I’ve given up on the Time-Lost Proto-Drake completely. The use of cross-realm tech in Northrend means that every spawn point for the TLPD has at least one or two people waiting at it. I’ve also pretty much given up on Oondasta as well – the two hour (ish) spawn time is also too painful to wait around for!

The others though, that’s another matter. I’m still trying on those.

I’m randomly checking on Warbringers when I visit Nalak; however to really farm that one I should probably sit in one spot and read a book, killing the Warbringer each time it spawns. I should also look for Rukhmar groups more often in the group finder – its mount is supposed to be a 1% chance within the 25% chance for personal loot. And I keep on checking Nagrand out for naughty Nakk which keeps on hiding from me!

Most of the world bosses however have a 1 in 2,000 chance of the mount dropping; just how painful is that? Well…

Chance for World Boss mount, median

Looks very similar to the 1 in 100 graph; if it wasn’t for the scale on the tries. The median number of tries to be considered lucky with a 1 in 2,000 chance mount is 1,386 tries.

… if I ran all 11 of my alts against the world bosses each week it would take me two and a half years to reach the median point. And as previously noted, there is no guarentee that it would drop then at all.

With the fast respawn on the Sha of Anger and Nalak – around 15 minutes – running all of my alts against them each week is easily doable. However the long respawn on Oondasta means that I’d happily spend the gold cap at the BMAH instead of trying for the mount to drop.

The worst of all is the rather topical Big Love Rocket. That apparently has a 1 in 3,333 chance of dropping.

Chance for Big Love rocket

Again, the same “tending to 100%“, but just on a larger scale again. The median number of tries to be considered lucky for this is 2,310.

Each year we can only run the mount 14 times per character – 15 if you catch the end or start times. Let’s assume I do; with my 11 alts that’ll mean I’d get 165 chances. Or ~4.8% chance for the mount to have dropped this year. To get the median number of tries I’d have to run the event over 14 years.

Naturally, the best way to increase your chances is to run lots of alts. So if 11 isn’t enough, let’s go nuts. What happens if we had fifty level capped alts we could run every day? That would give us 750 tries each year, at the cost of not having any character slots free on that account. You’d just fall short of the 2,310 median over three years. Which puts it into perspective.

… of course, you could get lucky and have it drop before then!

Which brings me back to where I started – “Don’t tell me the odds!

Sometimes knowing the chance makes it feel like chasing the mount is an exercise in futility; but when it comes down to it you’ve got to be in it to win it. A mount which isn’t farm will never drop. At least by farming you’ve increased your chance to get the mount from 0%

And whilst for some the chance is still fairly close to 0%, its still higher than 0% so it may happen!

To finish off, a combined version of the graphs above; the 1 in 100 line is somewhat strange as at 1,000 tries the chance for the mount to have dropped is at 99.9956828753% which gets somewhat tricky to plot as it looks a lot like 100%! And at 10,000 tries it goes to 100% even with 20 digits of precision, even though we know that its not at 100%. But its so close we can’t actually tell!

Chance for mounts to drop

This entry was posted in Mount farming 101, Mounts, Numbers, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Never tell me the odds!

  1. Cinder says:

    I’m definitely standing by the “Don’t tell me the odds!” statement! I have to have a little bit of hope that the mounts I’m after will drop.
    Going by your data, I have been exceptionally lucky with my mounts drops. Like, very much so. And I think it’s made me selfish and impatient for those mounts that won’t drop. I don’t know how to tell how many times I’ve tried to kill particular bosses for mounts (is there a way to tell?) but I’m pretty sure that I haven’t even hit the median on any of the farmed bosses yet. So I think I have a long way to go :)

    • sivation says:

      For most of the old content raid mounts they have a 1 in 100 chance to drop; so get it in 69 tries or less and you’re lucky!

      I’ve had a few below that; but that has been balanced out by the ones which didn’t want to cooperate!

      The game does record some stats, as do AddOns like Rarity.

      One of the reasons I recommend mount hunters use Rarity is that it handles tracking of kills across all your characters & imports from what statistics it can to handle historical kills. It also does the chance calculations shown on this post for you .

  2. Dobablo says:

    Oh for some Hearthstone style pity timer on ultra rare drops.
    On second thoughts, I think you either need to have a bit of a sadistic streak or slip into a relaxing zen to do a mount circuit. Having a pity timer on drops would probably take away some of the “fun”

    • sivation says:

      I think that would depend on how it would work. I know I’ve wanted a system in place for the mounts which refused to drop!

      A progressive chance system – bit like the one introduced for quest drops in Wraith is one way. Starts off low & the chance increases over time. In this case you could still start with a 1% chance, but by the time you’ve hit 100 tries it’s a guaranteed drop.

      Would need to put the mounts on personal loot though otherwise ppl would sell having a large number of kills!

      • Dobablo says:

        All mounts/pets should be personal loot.
        My biggest worry is that, such a change would negatively impact my expectations. Currently, I go into mount farming expecting nothing and occasionally hitting the jackpot. Progressive loot risks turning that into a reluctant grind where each kill feels as though it is just fractional progress towards a distant mount and one-off attempts feel pointless. I know it’s irrational but to me it would feel like a very slow Nessingwary, kill 100 tigers quest chain.

        • sivation says:

          People have suggested an extra token dropping which would allow you to buy the mount when you had enough; personally I’d prefer the increasing chance model as whilst it could take (say) 100 tries, you know that you’d definitely get the mount at some point if you keep at it. But the increasing chance would mean you’d still have that “Will it be this week?” effect as it could still drop on any of the 99 weeks leading up to the 100.

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