I’ve dropped a bit of extra money on Guild Wars 2 for character slots and bank slots. I haven’t really needed any of that yet, but I also felt like ArenaNet earned more support from me. I was having a grand ol’ time. When gems were much cheaper on the exchange, or when I had some extra gems left over, I bought mini packs from the gem store. I wanted to collect a complete set, which was one of my accomplished goals in Guild Wars 1. I set out to do so at the cost of having worse gear, worse crafting, etc. and only now do I finally understand the minipet collection game. In the spirit of a unique college friend, boy, do I feel salty.
Mini packs give three miniatures, which are small tagalong models to further adorn player’s characters. Most Guild Wars 1 players that worked on their Hall of Monuments will have at least one in Guild Wars 2, and the Guild Wars 2 miniatures are cheap enough on the trading post to pick up the toy on a whim. The mini packs in the gem store give 2 common miniatures and 1 uncommon+ miniature.
I have probably purchased 10 mini packs. Some with in-game gold exchanged for gems, and some with straight up gem purchases. I have received 2 rare miniatures. This is statistically close enough to the ~30% chance of a rare miniature. It appears that getting an exotic from a mini pack is closer to 1% (or less).
Here’s the kicker. Evidence suggests that forging minis in the Mystic Forge gives around a 1/3 chance of a rarity upgrade. NonTrivialPursuit’s data with 200 rare minipets forged together yielded a 36% upgrade rate. What this tells me is buying mini packs is for chumps. I can spend 1 gold to get a rare minipet I want on the trading post, or I can spend about 3 gold to statistically get a random rare minipet from a mini pack. I can spend 8-12 gold to statistically forge a random exotic minipet, 10-20 gold to buy one straight from the market, or 100+ gold to get one from mini packs.
Common and uncommon minipets are going for around 10-15 silver each on the trading post. Even assuming 15 silver each, a mini pack is mostly going to be worth around 45 silver, which is only a fraction of the cost of gems used to buy the mini pack. Rare minipets are worth about the cost of one mini pack (~1 gold). Exotic minipets are going for 10-20 gold. The market severely undervalues mini pets based on a mini pack’s set value.
What I believe happened is a lot of people got excited about having new minipets. It is even more exciting to get a chance for a very rare minipet right off the bat. Given how mini packs statistically work the market became flooded with unwanted minipets. The description is pretty accurate on the gem store “2 common and 1 uncommon”, but it is the lure of winning a rare that drives. Slowly, slowly I think that the market will begin to eat up this surplus as people get less excited to buy mini packs.
So what is the best way to collect the series? Do not buy mini packs. Buy singles from the trading post, and when you are ready to chase exotics minipets either forge them or play to the market. If I had understood this earlier, I would likely be much closer to a full set. Instead I only have 2/13 rares and no exotics since I was buying mini packs straight from ArenaNet.
I am mostly disappointed at myself for not realizing this sooner and having wasted 10 gold worth of gems. I play Magic the Gathering, and of course every semi-intelligent player knows “buy singles”. There is still the fun gamble in opening a booster. Yet in Magic the Gathering boosters there will always be a rare card and a good chance at a mythic rare. So it feels like progress towards collecting or tradability comes with every booster. With mini packs mostly I just have had disappointment opening them. Players look for the rares, and I don’t feel mini packs deliver on this excitement.