Let's talk about the Wheels of Fate

    • Let's talk about the Wheels of Fate

      Yes, it's that time again. New forums means I bring my favorite pet subject up for discussion again... it's been too long anyway! :D

      I'd like to talk about spinning chests in the Wheels of Fate, and how it's not doing as good of a job at being a gold sink (and a fun experience!) as it should and could be.


      For reference, if anyone is interested in the subject as a whole, here are the previous 2 conversations we had about this:

      The original:

      And a followup when we moved to the gameforge forums:


      I've talked about this subject with many people (CZE staff included) at various times. The Wheels of Fate are a bit of a sore point for me, because I so so so want them to be amazing, and they are so very close to being that, but due to a couple of small things, I feel they have actually skewed slightly sideways into unfun territory. I've spent dozens and dozens of hours thinking about this (many of them while actively slogging through chests myself!), as economies and game theory are personal interests of mine, and I believe a few minor changes to the overall functionality of the wheels would actually make them more effective AND less painful / more fun for the players at the same time.

      Firstly, the way the wheels spin now is not exciting. Because the results for all 3 wheels are set and there are a limited number of animations, you know immediately when the 2nd wheel clicks into place what is happening 99.99% of the time, and often you know as soon as the first one clicks into place (especially true for mushrooms). Also, when the animations for the wheels were revamped so they all click into place more quickly / together, this further reduced the time a player had to build up anticipation / excitement - the original animation where they clicked into place one by one was closer to ideal, even though they were still in a set pattern.

      The way to improve this would be to restore the older "slow rolling" wheels, and make it so that the individual wheel results are not pre-set, but have a more dynamic result. Every single wheel should individually be able to show a red icon, a gold icon, or an eye, independent of the others (i.e. the 3rd slot should be able to land on an eye or a gold icon even if the previous 2 wheels didn't). This way, what feels like a "bad" roll can be redeemed at the last moment, giving at least a partial payout. This is an important psychological event, as it makes the player never give up hope until the very end. By the same token, having 2 positive results (2x gold moons, say) should not just have 2 possible outcomes - either I miss the 3rd and get just some gold, or I actually get the big prize - you should also be able to get a normal white moon here, and instead of getting the big prize, you get the "normal" prize for 3x white moons, plus the gold from the gold icons. It's important to have multiple ways to win and multiple ways to almost win, as this causes anticipation on both ends of the spectrum, as well as the thrills of unexpected partial payouts on the last spin, and the letdowns of non-jackpot but still positive results with less than 3x gold icons (I didn't win the big prize, but I got some gold back and I get to keep spinning, instead of just the gold and no more spins).

      In tandem with this, I believe that the partial payouts need to be revamped slightly as well. The way the wheels work right now is more closely associated with modern, multi-line slot machines in terms of their payouts, in that you don't get back as much as you put in when you get a minor prize. The problem with this is that the wheels are not a multi-line slot machine, they are a single line slot machine. Because of this, a partial win actually feels emotionally like a loss - not only did you lose the ability to spin the chest anymore, but you didn't even get back as much gold as you put in if you were spinning anything higher than a common. Multi-line slot machines pay out more than the cost of the single line, but less than the cost of all the lines combined, resulting in a net loss while still feeling like a win emotionally.

      The same system simply doesn't work with a single line slot machine, since the pay vs. prize equation is always all or nothing. Under the current system (especially with higher rarity chests), MOST of the "winning" spins actually feel like losing spins to the player, due to the enormous cost of attempting the spin. The current system is therefore a disincentive for the player to keep spinning their chests, especially the higher rarity ones.

      To help correct this, I believe that gold payouts need to scale with chest rarity instead of being a flat amount. A single gold icon should give you 50% of the gold you paid to spin. A double gold icon should give you double the gold you spent on the spin. A triple gold icon should reward triple the gold spent to spin, in addition to whatever other prizes those matching icons represent. And again, you should be able to get a gold icon inside of another winning spin (i.e. white spider, gold spider, white spider, rewarding 50% gold spent + rare PVP card), or even 1-2 gold icons on "mismatched" icons, rewarding gold and nothing else.

      With these 2 modifications, the player is always anxious / excited about the entire spinning process, down to the last icon, hoping to at least recoup some of their losses even if the rest of the spin is already known to be a losing spin, and landing a respin icon or a gold icon on the last wheel results in a feeling of excitement at the last second recovery, which encourages more attempts. Obviously, because this system will result in more gold being paid out for individual spin results, the percentages may need to be mucked about with a little - there's no actual need for the total gold paid out to increase if that is not desired, merely shifting it onto different results in the ways I've suggested still gives the positive emotional responses from the player instead of the harsher, more discouraging results we have now.

      I'd also like to touch briefly on chest contents, as this is another pain point for players. The developers of Destiny learned the hard way how much players *hate* getting lower level loot from their chests than the level of the chest itself. It is an extremely depressing feeling that does not encourage further attempts. This is another disincentive we have right now to continued spinning activity. Nobody remembers the time they got a rare equipment from a common chest, even though that's a pretty great result, but you better believe they remember the legendary chest they opened (after it cost them $5+ worth of gold to upgrade that high!) that had two pieces of uncommon equipment in it. Chests should never contain lower level loot than the level of the chest itself (with the exception of primals obviously), the chest level should always be the baseline level of rarity item you'll get out of it.

      Right now, there are a lot of opportunities for very bad feelings from a player when upgrading a chest and then getting lower level items out of it, especially at the rare level since they still only get 1 item from it but they can easily get the exact same item out of it as if they'd left it at uncommon. Again, drop rates can be modified slightly to deal with total numbers, but you should never have to deal with opening a chest and finding items two rarity levels lower inside.

      Finally, I'm well aware that revamping this system would be very low on the priority list at this point, with other key features of the game still to be delivered, but I hope these thoughts can be taken into account down the road when the time comes to retool it (possibly adjusting chest drops on a go-forward basis if it's unreasonable to modify the existing loot tables). I strongly believe that making these modifications to the system would result in both more total gold being spent on the wheels, as well as the players being more happy with the expenditure.

      And however unlikely it might be to actually happen, there's always the idea of that super lucky player who could actually turn a profit from getting enough gold icons in a short time - stories like that just fuel even more players to try it themselves, to live the dream. And isn't that what gambling is supposed to be all about anyway? :D

      "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."
      - Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well
    • I'm all for revamping it. It just GALLS to spin rares and legends on the wheels as it stands right now, especially for the latter when you get a non upgrade roll and another spin, as the piddly little prize and expectation that you'll spend even more feels worse than a plain loss and is a hell of a lot more patronizing. I've been spinning commons on occasion, and in fact recently did a wheel binge trying to get a primal (I got one, but no sleeves and pitifully cheap equipment), but on a whole they're less addictive and fun and more just... frustrating and, frankly, enraging. I've taken month long breaks from Hex before because of the wheels alone making me unable to stomach the idea of pissing any more money away to a game that makes me this frustrated. They NEED fixing.
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    • The issue with WoF is that it's designed to be a slot machine... it is designed to give you just enough sensation of 'winning' to mask the fact that you are ultimately going to lose. It's goal is to eat up all your gold, and it does that. The problem is so many of the things that Hex designed as a small 'win' do not feel like a win at all. Non-gold/red PvE cards and gear feel like a loss, paid spins above Common Chests feel like a loss, even getting a Rare can feel like a loss since it has a good chance to be a junk rare. The net result being you don't feel the winning that makes slots enjoyable (to some people, I know someone will chime in about how they don't like slots, thats fine...) while you're losing money. There is a stark imbalance between rewards and costs.

      The only draw of the WoF is that the 'wins' are so ridiculously disproportionately rare and therefore valuable (hello Slaughtergear's) that you justify to yourself that it's worth suffering through an unpleasant process. RAMPTANT SPECULATION ALERT: The new Chark store may end up exacerbating this - now players will have the choice to spend 30k gold on a guaranteed card, or the high probability of nothing and slim chance of a super valuable card. So now spinning a Legendary chest and 'winning' a Paid Spin is going to feel like a 30k gold loss PLUS the opportunity cost of not getting a card.
    • The biggest sore spot for me are single eyeballs.

      Single eyeball feels worse than losing. Not only did you get nothing, but now you have to pay more.

      My personal feel as to the easiest bandaid fix for the wheels is any time you get a reroll except double eyeball(which is obviously free), it costs half price, whether it's from single eyeball, three white symbols, or whatever.

      That way at least those rolls don't feel like a TOTAL loss.
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    • I agree with most of your ideas OP but I feel the gold you want the chests to drop is just too high. I can see 1 eye being 50%, 2 being 100%, and 3 being 150% but more than that is providing way to much potential I feel.

      Again though, everything else you said sounds great
    • Remember though, the percent of gold icons could be adjusted slightly if CZE finds these changes are producing too much new gold without just immediately consuming it again. I suspect that people winning more on the wheels will just turn around and use it all up immediately. So at worst, it would result in a small increase in how many chests a player is capable of spinning down for x amount of gold. The dials could always be slightly modified again as CZE tries to zero in on the exact level of performance they want. The main point is to get them to start making these adjustments (and recognize / admit that the Wheels are not working as well as they could / should).

      "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."
      - Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well
    • The absolute worst thing to see is a single eyeball. It is not a reward, and I think that's part of the problem. Chests should also never contain lower rarity equipment. Getting an uncommon out of legendary chest is very disheartening. Also, revisit stardust as a reward, it is very underwhelming.
    • BadmoonZ wrote:

      The absolute worst thing to see is a single eyeball. It is not a reward, and I think that's part of the problem. Chests should also never contain lower rarity equipment. Getting an uncommon out of legendary chest is very disheartening. Also, revisit stardust as a reward, it is very underwhelming.
      I don't share this hatred of a single eyeball you and eraia seem to have. I don't consider it a win but I do feel it is better than nothing as it is far cheaper for me than getting a new chest to spin.

      Mind you, I only spin common chests so the price to spin is low and the price to buy a new chest is considerably higher.
    • I gave up on chests sometime during S4-5 when I realized what a bad deal the wheels are. I spin all my commons and just open everything else. As a consequence I've been just stockpiling gold in anticipation of rates improving (this has been a bad call since gold has just steadily devalued). With the current 200:1 rates I might consider rolling some uncommons too or something.

      I also hate the single eyeball, and acknowledge that it is irrational to hate it. It would not be objectively better if all the single eyeball rolls were replaced with Failure, but it might actually feel better.

      My opinion on chest spins is that the higher tier chests should have a different probability table on their spins. Getting equivalent rewards for spending 1.5k and 30k is kinda crappy. Yes, you get a chest upgrade about 12-15% of the time as well, but that is not worth the price difference.

      Lastly, chests should not drop items below the chest rarity (let alone 2 levels below). I've said this a dozen times, but it's a bad user experience. Opening a Legendary chest and getting 2 UC equipment is just so shitty. If all the drop tables had to be reworked to give roughly the same average rewards as now, fine, it would still feel better.

      One thing I do disagree with about Ossuary's post though, is the idea that the wheel should spin slower. I appreciate the idea that the display could be more random, but it already takes so long to spin chests. Personally, it will not be more fun for me if it takes even longer.
    • Galliard wrote:

      Even half is incredibly punishing for Legendary chests.

      I'd rather all rerolls be a set consistent price (maybe around 3000g), even if that means increasing the cost of rerolling Commons and Primals.
      I like the idea of a flat spin fee the most; the only packs I've opened recently have been VIP & account leveling ones, and it's common chests I hope for from them - not even tempted to spin rare or legendary, which kind of nullifies the joy of drawing a rarer chest.

      Of course on launch night I'm freer with the gold ( :whistling: ), but in the cold light of day those spins just feel too rich for my blood.

      @ DraftPunk
      Yeah; it will be even harder to fire up the wheel on a legendary chest when CharkMart offers a more tangible indulgence...
      Member of The Unnamed Council - the Hex TCG PvE Guild
    • The ups of a good 3 bar slot machine in Vegas:
      • Any win, feels like win
      • Your win tables increase for any extra money you put into the spin. Not just the progressive tables.

      The problem with the Wheels of fate 3 bar slot machine:
      • Many wins, don't feel like wins
      • 1 gold icon is a loss. This should be like hitting a cherry on a 3 bar slot machine - it should pay more or equal to the spins cost, and progress in payment if you hit multiples.
      • 1 eye is a loss. At least, in feeling. IMO, 1 eye should be a progressive counter on the wheels - when you hit your 3rd single eye, you get a free spin that immediately triggers. This could be exceptional to promote rolling higher rarity chests when you are sitting at 2 eyes progressive
      • 2 eye rolls, should trigger free spin immediately.
      • 3 eye rolls, should upgrade AND give you a free spin on the upgrade.. not lock the chest...
      • Gold icon rewards should scale with the payment that goes into the spin.
      • PvE card white moons, Mercenary white stars, and PvE card equipment white chests, should all only be procced on Common Chest rolls.

      All of the above would be huge QOL updates to Wheels, that would not make them feel nearly as bad. This is going to be a much bigger issue now that there are more gold sinks. It's awesome to get rewards, but the experience has never felt very good.
    • This isn't the first time you've brought this up Oss, you say so yourself it is your pet subject. I do feel like this time around it was more on point and spoke directly to what the issues are... either that or now I was finally just more primed to hear it.

      I agree with pretty much everything you said. I'm glad you also brought up the issue of chest contents as well, which speaks to a larger issue in the game as well and something I've found myself talking about on more than one occasion recently:

      Rewards themselves and they way they are earned / presented in Hex is not rewarding.

      I don't know when the last time I felt good about what I got out of a chest. There is a LOT of chaff and particularly the more the card pool grows the less exciting equipment become. I also think eventually this is a problem that Hex is going to need to tackle.
    • Pandaemonium wrote:

      Honestly I wouldnt mind if they scrapped the wof and focused on the Chark Mart.
      Agree X 1000.

      I'd rather just buy my random crap and be done with it. WoF is filled with so much garbage it's just not worth the effort.

      Edit: I mean, let's look at it pragmatically. We have a game where three major things happen outside of the game: Waiting in queue, Trading, and Deckbuilding. If I said "Hey I have this great idea that takes away from those things and its ________________" does it matter what the rest of the sentence is?
    • schild wrote:

      Pandaemonium wrote:

      Honestly I wouldnt mind if they scrapped the wof and focused on the Chark Mart.
      Agree X 1000.
      I'd rather just buy my random crap and be done with it. WoF is filled with so much garbage it's just not worth the effort.

      Edit: I mean, let's look at it pragmatically. We have a game where three major things happen outside of the game: Waiting in queue, Trading, and Deckbuilding. If I said "Hey I have this great idea that takes away from those things and its ________________" does it matter what the rest of the sentence is?
      how does chest spinning take away from those things?