One of the best aspects of the GO Battle League is the amount of useful rewards you can get. Stardust, TMs, Sinnoh Stones, Pokémon encounters and rare candies are all waiting for you if you can prove that you’re a good battler.
We are now in the Season 2 of GO Battle League. Every season brings new changes to the pool of GBL rewards, and the purpose of this article will be to do an in-depth analysis of these changes made between seasons and their consequences.
The pool of rewards is well known by everybody. Each set that you play will consist in 5 games (up to 15 if you are not able to win any of them, thanks to the “Battle until you win” mechanic). After that, the rewards will be reset and a new set will start. Before starting a set, you have to pick either the Free track of rewards or the Premium one. The order of the bundles changes for each one, more info here. For each win in a set, you will get access to a reward bundle.
The pool of Pokémon available through GBL rewards has been changed a couple of times. Let’s take a look at them in the following infographics:
First, let’s start off with the Preseason pool:
Alright, let’s begin with the analysis:
Moving the Pokémon encounter reward to the 3rd spot instead of the 4th one is nice, but with the current pool it’s not that good of a change due to the reasons detailed above.
The fact that you can get rare candies without raiding is one of the best things that happened for rural trainers that cannot raid very often. And not only for them. I consider myself lucky as I am part of a more or less active raid group and have access to rare candies if I need them. And when they added rare candies to the rewards you can get from GBL, I was more than happy with the update.
Well… one of the changes that were made when Season 2 launched is the fact that you now require 4 wins in a set if you want to unlock the rare candy bundle. On the other hand, you now have to win 3 times instead of 4 to get a Pokémon encounter. As compensation for this change, the amount of rare candies you can now get from each bundle has been increased from 2 to 3. But winning 4 times out of 5 is indeed not an easy task… and the best way to look at how the change impacts the amount of rare candies that you win is by doing an in-depth analysis, which you are about to see. Was the change good if you care about rare candies? If you want the short answer: absolutely not, it was a huge nerf.
Inspired by the analysis made by u/Jason2890 on reddit, the probability of winning a certain amount of times in a set has been calculated. In the long run, a MMR/Elo system will place you where you belong according to your skill, so the win/loss ratio will be close to 0.5 (which means a 50% win rate).
Basing the analysis on that win rate, the following calculations were done:
Let that sink in. Even after increasing the number of rare candies per bundle from 2 to 3, the fact that this bundle is now placed in the 4th spot (meaning that you need to win at least 4/5 games in a set) makes it an overall nerf of roughly 44% (!). If the most valuable reward bundle for you was the rare candy one, I’m sorry but this is the truth.
The binomial and normal (it’d be more accurate if the sample size was bigger) distributions can be seen in the following plot:
For a given period of time, legendary encounters were available in GO Battle League. If rare candies in GBL rewards was a FANTASTIC change for rural players who cannot raid, being able to get legendary Pokémon from GBL Rewards was even better! But as always, there was some controversy. Why though?
Well, legendary Pokémon are usually hard to catch due to their low base catch rate. This means that on average, you will need plenty of balls to catch them. And not only rural players but also players on lockdown did not have access to plenty of balls to catch them. And if you cannot catch the encounter, you cannot stack it and move on to the next set of battles, thus some players were a bit frustrated. A simple solution might be to raise the base catch rate of legendary encounters, but that did not happen.
Instead, legendary encounters were removed from GO Battle League, and of course that change wasn’t welcome by many either. Legendary encounters were a wonderful addition, especially now that we haven’t had a legendary Pokémon in research boxes for a very long time. Once the lockdown measures are softened and the situation improves in many countries, being able to get legendary encounters from GBL would for sure bring a lot of trainers back to GBL.
Alright, that’s it! I hope you liked the analysis, if you have anything to say feel free to comment down below or on Twitter. You will find me there too.
Let’s sum up some of the most relevant points discussed in the article:
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