Raid Base Profit
Why did I not profit from this raid?
The short answer is luck and efficiency. We hand craft our Raids with specific boom costs in mind. We take the most direct and efficient route and then take a not so efficient route and we take the boom cost of both and find the median between those numbers. The loot tables and boom costs are configured to provide a 1/3 chance of profit, breaking even, or non-profit. Nightmare bases are not included in this and are meant to be punishing.
The Long Answer:
Many players complain in global chat when they do not profit and say things that can be misleading to others, especially newer people. We have taken tons of player feedback throughout our 5 years as well as player feedback during the development we are about to explain.
Here we will explain to you how this used to work, why it was changed, how it was changed, and feel confident saying that those of us who reworked this system would be the absolute subject matter experts on the matter.
Once upon a time, we used to have easy, medium, and hard raids. What was an easy would be maybe stone/wood. What was a medium would be stone/metal. What was a hard would be metal/hqm. No factoring to the base design, size, layout, doors. We had one hard base that was 2 sheet metals to tc and main loot. We had another hard base that had 16 garage doors and 3 hqm doors. It got to the point where our veterans kept notes on how to raid each base as well as which bases to just ignore all together. This left those "not worth my time" bases to our new folks and really just spoiled an already difficult experience. Now in some ways it was awesome because you could get MASS profit if you were lucky enough to get a cheap base. But if not, there would be toxic hards up just waiting to despawn for 45 minutes and no one would raid them and then complain that no new bases were spawning.
So we went about categorizing every single base we had. We were planning to bring out expert difficulty and nightmare difficulty. The methodology behind it was that you should spend relatively the same for any base within that tier. But in a range since no base can be exact. So for example, an easy base should be prim raidable. That's easy enough to accomplish by making sure there are either wood doors or soft-sided wood, or wood bars. Medium should cost X-Y. This means for every base in medium, we determined the optimal path that an experienced player would do and a suboptimal path that a novice player would do. Would an experienced player shoot a sheet metal door with a rocket if they had explo ammo? Would an experienced raider use a c4 on 2 garage doors adjacent? Those costs were averaged out to result in Z boom cost. The Z boom cost for all bases categorized needs to fall within a range. That same mentality exists up through hard into expert. Nightmare is the only base that does not have that factor because those builds are too monstrous and are meant to be end game content to waste boom on before the server wipes.
It is, however, a swinging scale. Not all bases can be created equal. If they were all boxes with just doors, sure. This is how some servers do it as well as how the basic level of bases come standard. We choose instead to see a wonderful variation of themes and difficulties. We hand build and decorate all of our bases so it is a matter of pride. There is no way to perfect a system with that much variation. It keeps things fresh but it's why our boom cost is a X-Y ratio. Low end we expect players to to spend X, high end Y. The median is Z.
This is how the bases were redesigned. And there are hundreds of them. Once that was done we had the absolutely cumbersome and arduous task of building loot tables. Here is how that process went. First, you must define how many things will drop. Then you must define which things will drop. Then you must define the quantity range of those things that will drop. And you also have to define the rarity (scale of 1-100) causing some items to be more common than others. So lets say you have a raid and you want to drop rockets, medsticks, and bandages. Let's say that raid is configured that 6 things will drop. That means 6 times it will roll the dice on a table that contains rockets, medsticks, and bandages. You might get super lucky and get 6 rolls of rockets. You might get super unlucky and get 6 rolls of bandages. Or you might just see a median roll of 2 rolls of each. Each time that hits there's a range. So let's pretend we set it up so that anywhere from 6-50 rockets can drop. If you get 6 rolls of rockets you could get quantities like 6, 12, 14, 25, 10. Or you could get quantities like 40, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46. It's all RNG.
There are roughly 800 items in game. We haven't counted in a bit but a recent count a few years ago was in the high 600s. We want our raids to have the chance to give most of those things. This is a daunting task because that means we have to set these parameters up for each thing. We also have to define which type of bases do they spawn in. Should an easy base, a prim raidable base that could cost an experienced player no boom at all drop c4? No, it shouldn't. But do novice players who don't know about prim raiding raid those or does a player trying to save time use a bit of boom to make it easier? Yes. So you might get beancans and satchels. T1 for T1. An easy base drops 30 pieces of loot. Which of those 800 items should be included in an easy base? T1 stuff right? If you were raiding on a pvp server and found a prim raidable base, they wouldn't be storing massive amounts of boom and sulfur in there (if they are smart anyway). From there it just goes up. It's a stepping stone. Do enough easies, you can get the mats and bps to get what you need to raid a medium. Should it be a natural progression? Ok I've done my easy, got 100% of the boom I needed to do medium, got 100% of the boom I needed to do hard, and so on? Absolutely not. Raids are content, not farm. They are something for you to sink your farm into. We still want them to be rewarding but the whole "I didn't get any profit" gets to be a really tired discussion here. Something is better than nothing and it's something to occupy your time as entertainment. Maybe you run a monument or maybe a raid, or maybe one of the other options that exist on ZL. But ultimately, it is content.
Now we won't deny that the jump from easy to medium versus the jump from medium to hard is a hard one. It's kind of unfortunate but you have to understand you're going from wood to metal doors. We cannot just say ok, here are bases with 2 metal doors. Have fun! Because ultimately you can honestly just blow a hole in the side of them and then if we're using our boom scales, the rewards just aren't there at all. So it is a bit harder for sure. Mediums can be costly. The jump is pretty high because honestly getting boom on our server is very easy. You can get numerous supply signals daily, no one can contest your monument runs, nodes are all over and you have skills to make the farming even that much more productive and make the raiding easier. We have to balance out that content to last a wipe cycle or people will just live in raid bases and it will queue up.
So, back to the original logic of it. We have our Z total of boom. We have our max # of items that drop in a raid. To factor in RNG we first configure more items than the max number which can drop. Now you have RNG, will rockets even roll in this raid? Or maybe an AK? Or maybe 5 berries? Once that first value locks in, it then rolls the 2nd value. We are using letters instead of numbers in these examples because we do not share our boom costs. Specifically because someone who is under-informed will come at us sideways when things don't go exactly how they think they should go. So for example, and these aren't real numbers, let's say we think an easy base costs 5 satchels to raid. This means when we do our boom cost, we will try to have it drop anywhere from 1-8 satchels. This way, first you have the RNG for if satchels roll. Then you have the rng for how many satchels roll if they hit.
While designing this system, we brought players into our process. They were on the same page. Once they went live, we sought out feedback from players. We ran through base after base checking and calculating all the loot. Generally, 1/3 of the time there is not boom profit, 1/3 of the time it hits within the mark of what we think that tier of bases costs, and 1/3 of the time it surpasses that. There's still additional profit to be gained of course in the breakdown of bases. The overall RNG squeezes the higher in base tier you get. We do not want someone who spends what an expert costs to be consistently walking away with the worst RNG where boom does not roll at all. This could give the apparent effect that they are more profitable. But the flipside of that reality is if the RNG is too harsh they would be hands down the most non profitable because of how much they can cost to raid.
We will not sit here and say its a perfect system. But we do hold true that it is heavily factored by RNG. We've made small tweaks upon putting this live a little over two years ago but we haven't made any balancing changes in probably a year or more. The feedback we got was raids feel rewarding, sometimes you get bad luck, but we like where it is at. And this was such a refreshing thing because prior to that, most of the feedback we got was bad.
We are combating our figures against 2 different RNG tables. The ramp up for this system spanned about 6 months of very hard work by the admin team.
We hope that makes sense. At the end of the day none of us are devs. But we have poured our hearts into these thing and unless we see a massive amount of feedback, we do not have any intentions of making changes. This system has been in place for years and has worked well.