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SweetieBelle85

There is something terribly wrong with the algorithm determining the cards you get in a pack.

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SweetieBelle85

Okay, so I've been playing this game a few months now and have bought booster boxes worth of cards in each set, aka more than 36 packs. Plus, there's the free packs you get through playing. At first I noticed a strange issue and thought maybe I was having some unusually terrible luck, but each month after buying lots of packs in bulk, the same issue continues. The issue is that very often I will get the exact same rare or uncommons way more than one should, especially the rares. I will also often get a series of multiple same uncommons and rares back to back. Just tonight I pulled the exact same 3 uncommons, foil, and rare 2 packs back to back (aka the last 5 cards), and the 3rd pack after that had 2 of the same uncommons that were in the previous 2 that had the same last 5 cards.

But that isn't the only bizarre issue. The other issue, and the one that is making me contemplate quitting the game before I waste more money is the fact that this is the first tcg/ccg I have ever played where you can get multiple booster boxes worth of packs from the same set and still be missing a single copy of multiple uncommon cards and even some commons. Usually a single booster box worth of packs (36 packs) is enough to get all commons, maybe missing 1 or 2 uncommons, and numerous rares in most other tcgs/ccgs, not counting alternate arts. And by 2 booster boxes you would usually only be missing some rares. I have around 2 booster boxes worth of cards in some sets and am still missing some commons. Using uncommons as an example, I have opened about 2 booster boxes of Sword & Shield and still have not gotten even 1 copy of Evolution Incense or Big Charm, yet I got an Eternatus Vmax in my first few packs of Darkness Ablaze. This is insane. Yet I've gotten countless copies of multiple rares. The only 2 Evolution Incense I have came from the Trainer's Toolkit.

 

This leads me to the 3rd issue I've noticed; many of the uncommons are actually more rare than even vmaxes and GX tag teams, which is incredibly absurd. The rares that are not Vs or GXs appear far more often than many of the uncommons and this is too consistent to be just bad luck.


At first I thought maybe these issues might just be inherent to digital tcgs/ccgs due to poorly designed algorithm, but then I realized I never had this issue in other digital tcgs/ccgs I've played, such as Hearthstone, Magic Arena, Hex, etc. I've been playing tcgs/ccgs since the 90s, and digital ones the past decade, and I have never had this issue before. I did some google research, and apparently other players have noticed these issues too. Here's a thread from 2013 about the same cards appearing way more often than they should, including the same series of cards appearing back to back. https://forums.pokemontcg.com/topic/17492-inquiry-booster-pack-opening-algorithm/

 

Considering it's 2020 and the issues still exist, it seems one of three possibilities is happening:
1. The Pokemon Company hasn't bothered addressing it yet due to putting it off for things they consider more important.
2. The Pokemon Company wants the algorithm like this intentionally to force players to spend more, which seems unlikely, otherwise the physical booster packs would have the same issue.
or 3. The Pokemon Company is having bad luck finding someone that can code a better functioning algorithm.

At this point I'm strongly contemplating whether to quit or not since it feels like after 3 months of spending about $300 on the game that I am getting nowhere because almost every deck I want to run is still missing key cards to run efficiently enough. What is the point of spending hundreds of dollars when you can't even get a single copy of various uncommons and even some commons? I can't even compete in the Player's Cup II because it isn't worth attempting when you're still missing numerous uncommons and other cards needed. This is counting my rogue decks and netdecks. Yes I'm aware I can trade for singles, but the trade function is flawed because when you search for cards you want, the results only show what people are wanting, rather than giving you the option to only show what you're looking for. And if I setup my own trade I have to hope people see it, otherwise trainer tokens are wasted. It's just too hit or miss, unless the cards you need are the major ones going around, which you can usually find. Otherwise it feels hopeless.

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OliverTwisting

Hi @SweetieBelle85,

 

I understand your frustration, and have at times experienced similar issues. I'll have 9-15x of some junk rare from opening dozens of tradelocked packs, and get 0-1 copies of a critical uncommon. I absolutely think the pack-building algorithm has issues.

 

That said, I'm afraid I must question your approach to accumulating cards in this game. Spending money and opening boosters is not a great way to get the cards you're looking for, even staple cards. The statistics just won't work out for you. Consider that each pack contains just three uncommons. That gives you a total of 108 uncommons guaranteed; if one third of those packs contain an additional foil uncommon (maybe 3/6 contain foil commons, 2/6 foil uncommons, 1/6 contain foil rares - I'm just making this up, no clue what the real numbers are, but this doesn't sound terribly unreasonable), then you're getting 120 uncommons out of 36 packs. Sword & Shield has 56 possible uncommon cards (27 uncommon pokemon, 28 uncommon trainers, and 1 uncommon energy). For each uncommon you flip over from a pack, you have a 1/56 chance of getting an Evolution Incense. That means that from 36 packs, you have a 1 - (55/56)^120 = 88.5% chance of getting a single Evolution Incense. Sure, that's a high probability, but 1/10 people won't be successful, which is not a small number! Furthermore, the chances of getting four Evolution Incense cards from these packs are rather lower. Given how normal distributions work, you're actually quite likely to end up with lots of a particular card and none of some other card, with other card quantities being somewhere in the middle. And if you only care about a few of those 56 uncommons, it's highly likely that the couple of cards for which you draw lots of copies  will be terrible and you will feel like the game is rigged against you. Fortunately (or unfortunately), that's just probability doing what it does in an environment where there are very few cards that you actually want.

 

So instead of opening packs in the hopes that you luck out and pull exactly what you need, switch to trading! You can read around here that the best way to get into PTCGO is to purchase a competitive Theme Deck (Soaring Storm, Relentless Flame, Towering Heights, Unseen Depths and Laser Focus are my person top picks; Rillaboom and ** have their proponents as well) play Theme Tournaments, and collect packs that you can trade for what you want. A single pack should get you 4 copies of any Standard uncommon. Note that if you mark a card as "Wanted" and search "Wanted" cards, you'll only see people offering those cards. If you mark a card "For Review," you'll see both offers of that card and offers for that card as well. The true card value is typically in between. I also recommend a search for "Realtime PTCGO" in your favorite search engine to get prices for cards that are traded for ~2-95 packs (cards trading for 1 pack or >95 packs typically don't have reliable pricing available).

 

Feel free to stick around here and ask more questions for how to pick up the cards needed for strong decks in Standard/Expanded. I and many others are happy to help.

 

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Mod_Elderberry

Thanks Trainer SweetieBelle85 for your feedback.

I have submitted your feedback and this thread to the proper channels for it to be reviewed.

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SweetieBelle85
4 hours ago, OliverTwisting said:

Hi @SweetieBelle85,

 

I understand your frustration, and have at times experienced similar issues. I'll have 9-15x of some junk rare from opening dozens of tradelocked packs, and get 0-1 copies of a critical uncommon. I absolutely think the pack-building algorithm has issues.

 

That said, I'm afraid I must question your approach to accumulating cards in this game. Spending money and opening boosters is not a great way to get the cards you're looking for, even staple cards. The statistics just won't work out for you. Consider that each pack contains just three uncommons. That gives you a total of 108 uncommons guaranteed; if one third of those packs contain an additional foil uncommon (maybe 3/6 contain foil commons, 2/6 foil uncommons, 1/6 contain foil rares - I'm just making this up, no clue what the real numbers are, but this doesn't sound terribly unreasonable), then you're getting 120 uncommons out of 36 packs. Sword & Shield has 56 possible uncommon cards (27 uncommon pokemon, 28 uncommon trainers, and 1 uncommon energy). For each uncommon you flip over from a pack, you have a 1/56 chance of getting an Evolution Incense. That means that from 36 packs, you have a 1 - (55/56)^120 = 88.5% chance of getting a single Evolution Incense. Sure, that's a high probability, but 1/10 people won't be successful, which is not a small number! Furthermore, the chances of getting four Evolution Incense cards from these packs are rather lower. Given how normal distributions work, you're actually quite likely to end up with lots of a particular card and none of some other card, with other card quantities being somewhere in the middle. And if you only care about a few of those 56 uncommons, it's highly likely that the couple of cards for which you draw lots of copies  will be terrible and you will feel like the game is rigged against you. Fortunately (or unfortunately), that's just probability doing what it does in an environment where there are very few cards that you actually want.

 

So instead of opening packs in the hopes that you luck out and pull exactly what you need, switch to trading! You can read around here that the best way to get into PTCGO is to purchase a competitive Theme Deck (Soaring Storm, Relentless Flame, Towering Heights, Unseen Depths and Laser Focus are my person top picks; Rillaboom and ** have their proponents as well) play Theme Tournaments, and collect packs that you can trade for what you want. A single pack should get you 4 copies of any Standard uncommon. Note that if you mark a card as "Wanted" and search "Wanted" cards, you'll only see people offering those cards. If you mark a card "For Review," you'll see both offers of that card and offers for that card as well. The true card value is typically in between. I also recommend a search for "Realtime PTCGO" in your favorite search engine to get prices for cards that are traded for ~2-95 packs (cards trading for 1 pack or >95 packs typically don't have reliable pricing available).

 

Feel free to stick around here and ask more questions for how to pick up the cards needed for strong decks in Standard/Expanded. I and many others are happy to help.

 

 

I appreciate the constructive reply. I was worried I would get the expected immature replies typical when someone even remotely considers quitting said game, even when their complaint is legit. About my approach; the only reason I expect to get at least 1 copy of every common and almost every uncommon within 1 booster boxes worth of cards is because this is how it has been for every tcg/ccg I have played since the late 90s, including the physical packs of Pokemon cards. Of course I would trade for missing cards I needed. I was planning to trade here as well, but the trade system is finicky, or so I thought until your reply. I never knew that marking a card as wanted would make an option show up in the trade search to show wanted cards. The game never explains this. That's amazingly helpful. ^_^ As for the Evolution Incense, or any other uncommon from the same set, remember I mentioned 2 booster boxes worth of cards, and am referring to a single copy. That's 88% twice, or a 1 in 20 chance of not getting one. I suppose it's possible, but it's very rare to be missing a single copy of an uncommon by 2 booster boxes worth of packs. I would expect it to happen rarely, not frequently as it does here for multiple different uncommons from the same set. So the Sword & Shield one is more like 1 in 40 since it was 2 different uncommons. I never expect to get 4 copies of a single card after 2 booster boxes.

As for getting into PTCGO, I'm way beyond that step. That's what I did when I started out a few months ago. I currently have going on 30 different decks. I started with Rillaboom and proceeded to get all the other good ones after it. I personally think Rillaboom is tied with Relentless Flame as the best theme deck in the game. Just my personal opinion. That's after playing with and against all the good ones, but now I'm getting sidetracked. Eventually I had enough good cards thanks to the Trainer's Toolkit and buying multiple battle arena decks, plus lots of booster packs, to move on from theme to standard. Theme is still useful for certain daily challenges like the damage and knockout ones due to theme only containing single prize Pokemon on an even playing field. For the evolution ones I play standard. I have an evolution deck I make for each type that pops up that rapidly gets out evolutions with no care of winning the game, though I have won some with them unintentionally, lol. As for unlocked packs, I'm currently level 14. At level 15 I think I start getting more unlocked packs from the game, instead of all locked, or something like that. As for the tournaments, I really should start doing those since I have around 100 tickets. I did a standard one once, but haven't touched it since as I wanted a better collection first, which I now have despite missing about 1 key card for most decks, sometimes more. I also bookmarked that Realtime PTCGO prices website.

I'm probably not going to quit since you provided me with some info I was unaware of. I will look into trading more since I now know about the wanted thing, plus I think I saw a thread in another part of these forums related to trading. I'm going to look into that as well. Thanks for your helpful reply! ^_^

 

2 hours ago, Mod_Elderberry said:

Thanks Trainer SweetieBelle85 for your feedback.

I have submitted your feedback and this thread to the proper channels for it to be reviewed.


Thanks! ^_^

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OliverTwisting
18 hours ago, SweetieBelle85 said:

 

I appreciate the constructive reply. I was worried I would get the expected immature replies typical when someone even remotely considers quitting said game, even when their complaint is legit. About my approach; the only reason I expect to get at least 1 copy of every common and almost every uncommon within 1 booster boxes worth of cards is because this is how it has been for every tcg/ccg I have played since the late 90s, including the physical packs of Pokemon cards. Of course I would trade for missing cards I needed. I was planning to trade here as well, but the trade system is finicky, or so I thought until your reply. I never knew that marking a card as wanted would make an option show up in the trade search to show wanted cards. The game never explains this. That's amazingly helpful. ^_^ As for the Evolution Incense, or any other uncommon from the same set, remember I mentioned 2 booster boxes worth of cards, and am referring to a single copy. That's 88% twice, or a 1 in 20 chance of not getting one. I suppose it's possible, but it's very rare to be missing a single copy of an uncommon by 2 booster boxes worth of packs. I would expect it to happen rarely, not frequently as it does here for multiple different uncommons from the same set. So the Sword & Shield one is more like 1 in 40 since it was 2 different uncommons. I never expect to get 4 copies of a single card after 2 booster boxes.

As for getting into PTCGO, I'm way beyond that step. That's what I did when I started out a few months ago. I currently have going on 30 different decks. I started with Rillaboom and proceeded to get all the other good ones after it. I personally think Rillaboom is tied with Relentless Flame as the best theme deck in the game. Just my personal opinion. That's after playing with and against all the good ones, but now I'm getting sidetracked. Eventually I had enough good cards thanks to the Trainer's Toolkit and buying multiple battle arena decks, plus lots of booster packs, to move on from theme to standard. Theme is still useful for certain daily challenges like the damage and knockout ones due to theme only containing single prize Pokemon on an even playing field. For the evolution ones I play standard. I have an evolution deck I make for each type that pops up that rapidly gets out evolutions with no care of winning the game, though I have won some with them unintentionally, lol. As for unlocked packs, I'm currently level 14. At level 15 I think I start getting more unlocked packs from the game, instead of all locked, or something like that. As for the tournaments, I really should start doing those since I have around 100 tickets. I did a standard one once, but haven't touched it since as I wanted a better collection first, which I now have despite missing about 1 key card for most decks, sometimes more. I also bookmarked that Realtime PTCGO prices website.

I'm probably not going to quit since you provided me with some info I was unaware of. I will look into trading more since I now know about the wanted thing, plus I think I saw a thread in another part of these forums related to trading. I'm going to look into that as well. Thanks for your helpful reply! ^_^

 


Thanks! ^_^

 

Hi SweetieBelle85,

 

Glad I could help a little bit, and thank you for all the clarification! And apologies for missing that you opened ~72 packs, not 36. Certainly while it's possible to not get a single Evolution Incense from 72 packs, it's a rather unlikely thing to have happen. I actually do suspect that uncommons trainers are actually a bit more rare than uncommon pokemon, however, I haven't recorded all my pack contents to say for sure (I might be a little crazy, but I'm not that crazy!)

 

The trade system takes a lot of getting used to. Id' say it took me ~2 months to feel like I really understood the basics, and much longer to learn how to gain value from trades and not lose value when trying to get particular cards. Starting out, it would have been helpful for me to understand that checking a card as "Wanted" doesn't automatically mark the identical holo/reverse holo cards as wanted as well. I overpaid a bunch early on for that reason.

 

I strongly recommend playing Theme Tournaments with all the tickets you amassed. As long as you are playing one of ~6-8 top-tier decks, you shouldn't be at a large disadvantage due to cards alone. This is also the fastest way to get packs when you're starting out (to be clear, it's not fast, it's just faster than any other option). Hitting level 15 doesn't help all too much. You get access to a new type of trainer challenge where you have to KO 16 of your opponent's pokemon using a particular type. That gets you one tradeable pack, but it takes forever to accomplish. The best way to complete these challenges is to play a theme deck matching that type (if possible) and play ladder/tournament games. It's slow, and at this point, I usually just go for the evolution challenges because they can be completed in a few minutes.

 

Good luck!

 

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Otakutron

Edit: Never mind, @OliverTwisting has it well covered.  Sorry for the wasted post. ^^'

Edited by Otakutron
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LightFlarion

Yeah definitely make use of the trading system in the PTCGO if you are trying to pick up uncommon/common cards. Most of the time if you offer booster packs for the cards you are looking for someone will more than likely will trade with you.

 

Also when you post up trades it is usually unnecessary to go beyond the 8 hour option unless you are looking for really rare/valuable cards, just make sure that the trade you post is a fair offer for both sides.

 

Hopefully this helps!

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Otakutron

@LightFlarion is correct.  I think it worth explaining that the default view for Public Trades shows those ending sooner before those ending later, which is why posting for longer periods (something I used to do), can easily backfire.

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