Ascension math question

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  • DrClever
    DrClever Posts: 569 Critical Contributor

    Enjoying this thread. Thanks folks.

    Near impossible to include in the calculus but as well as fun and sentiment there's the consideration that some ascensions (Coulson?) might give you a character that will give you wins /times you might not get otherwise and might very well get a nerf in future.

    Does anyone have any ascended characters they feel are that valuable?

    (In other words should I ascend Gorr now or wait to maxmax? :) )

  • Bowgentle
    Bowgentle Posts: 7,858 Chairperson of the Boards

    Wait for Gorr, or possibly don't ascend at all if you are running Okoye Omega Gorr in PVE.
    You don't want him to start tanking over Okoye.

  • tiomono
    tiomono Posts: 1,647 Chairperson of the Boards

    @DrClever there is also the ascended winners and losers thread just a bit further down on page one of general discussion. People are getting into what characters are doing when ascended pretty extensively in there.

  • Borstock
    Borstock Posts: 2,458 Chairperson of the Boards

    All I would ever want to know is what nets me the most rewards. I don't care about fastest to a level or getting someone to usable at 5*. It seems like the consensus is that Max-Max gets you the most rewards. Fair?

  • JoeHandle
    JoeHandle Posts: 104 Tile Toppler

    @Borstock said:
    All I would ever want to know is what nets me the most rewards. I don't care about fastest to a level or getting someone to usable at 5*. It seems like the consensus is that Max-Max gets you the most rewards. Fair?

    If you want the most stuff of all stuff types, and are not in a hurry, ofc max-max is best.

  • Pantera236
    Pantera236 Posts: 363 Mover and Shaker

    I'd be happy to answer any specific questions, but it's pretty much all right there. I'm sure I probably didn't miss something, but without a specific question I don't know what to answer.

  • DrClever
    DrClever Posts: 569 Critical Contributor

    @Bowgentle said:
    Wait for Gorr, or possibly don't ascend at all if you are running Okoye Omega Gorr in PVE.
    You don't want him to start tanking over Okoye.

    That's a really good point - I've kept Okoye ahead of everyone else for that reason but eventually if they got to 550 he might tank black and yellow which would be unhappy.

    I'll still ascend him, but might do so early (dupe at 280 perhaps) and plan for a 4* that stays that way.

  • meadowsweet
    meadowsweet Posts: 213 Tile Toppler

    @JoeHandle said:
    For instance, I see this "max base tier, then max-min, then 5* " asserted as 'best' often, in many places, from many people. but ... uhhh ... it don't make no sense (to me?). What's the focus? What's the rationale? Most approaches are focused either on performance (increasing utility (read: level) of the character as fast as possible), or resource(s) (how can I max the return of resource(s) while ascending [characters] ? ).

    But this advice is at odds with itself if it's focused on performance or resources ... is it something else? Or a not so great attempt to split the difference?

    Option 1: Max-Min
    Pros: Your characters get to highest levels most quickly and will hit 450 & 550 as soon as possible, which may help you compete in required PVP & PVE nodes. You require the fewest roster slots for the least amount of time.
    Cons: You are not advancing half of your characters through the Champ rewards. You are paying more in Iso to upgrade characters (because of missed Champ rewards.)

    Option 2: Max-Max
    Pros: You receive every Champ reward possible at every tier.
    Cons: Your characters will reach 5★, Levels 450 - 550 more slowly (perhaps putting you at a disadvantage against someone else's boosted 550 in required nodes.) At times you will require dozens if not hundreds of roster slots just to maintain all of your Max-Max duplicates who each need hundreds of covers depending on the tiers involved.

    Option 3: Max-Max at base level, Max-Min above base level
    If the total number of covers were equivalent to get to 550, you could just ask players what they prefer: more powerful characters sooner, or more total rewards overall? But my opinion / conspiracy theory is that the devs screwed up the Ascension math, realized too late, refuse to ever explain the rationale why Max-Max takes more covers to get to Level 550 than Max-Min, and just moved on.

    The thing is, the Max-Max "cover tax / penalty" doesn't apply to the Tier that characters start out at, only the higher levels. So for example, regardless of which path you use for the base level, you'll end up at:
    26x 1★ covers = Ascended 2★, Level 94
    126x 2★ covers = Ascended 3★, Level 191
    226x 3★ covers = Ascended 4★, Level 303
    226x 4★ covers = Ascended 5★, Level 475

    But it's at the steps beyond that where the math gets more complicated - because of the "tax penalty." For instance, an Ascended 1★ character at the 3★ level now requires 2 covers per level (200 total to Max.) That's 200 covers that the Min route isn't spending. Times two because in all you'll need two primary and two secondary at the 3★ to eventually end up with an Ascended 5★. But when you Ascend from 3★ to 4★ they only credit you for 100 levels divided by 3 covers per level at the 4★ tier, or 33+1/3 levels as a 4★, when they should credit you for 200 covers / 3 covers per level = 66+2/3 levels as a 4★ (the exchange rate the Max-Min player is getting for their covers.)

    All of which is a long way of saying the compromise strategy is "Max-Max at their starting tier, where the exchange rate is the same as Max-Min. Use Max-Min at the tiers above that, where the exchange rate is better for Max-Min." Not only will your characters get to Levels 450 & 550 faster and you'll pay no "tax penalty", but you're also getting better rewards faster (albeit while giving up some lower-level rewards.) Everyone talks about the downside of the Max-Min player missing out on 100 levels of Champ rewards with their duplicates, but not as many people talk about the Max-Min players zipping through larger, higher-level Champ rewards faster, or the fact that the Max-Max player "sacrificed" 33.3 levels of 4★ Champ reward progress in "tax penalties" (as seen in the math above) while they were "investing in" 100 levels of 3★ Champ rewards, which is a genuine trade-off.

  • JoeHandle
    JoeHandle Posts: 104 Tile Toppler

    @DrClever said:
    Enjoying this thread. Thanks folks.

    Near impossible to include in the calculus but as well as fun and sentiment there's the consideration that some ascensions (Coulson?) might give you a character that will give you wins /times you might not get otherwise and might very well get a nerf in future.

    Does anyone have any ascended characters they feel are that valuable?

    (In other words should I ascend Gorr now or wait to maxmax? :) )

    When i first started thinking about how to approach ascension, and particularly about the tallest cotton, the deepest pot, the biggest bucks, the 4* tier, my first thought was to make a few "exceptions" ... to min/max a few for the sake of performance. It's expensive, but a few won't hurt (much). So I started triaging, making lists of priorities.

    ... and the list of possible "exceptions" got longer, and longer. Oh my. A set of 4* champ rewards here, a set of 4* champ rewards there, soon we're talking about real loot.

    Having been human for awhile now, I know full well that the first compromise hurts the worst, and it gets easier and easier to compromise again.

    Now I see players asking this question more and more frequently, "Which 4s is it 'OK' to skip ahead on?" They're looking for permission to make a suboptimal choice, for affirmation, absolution, they want assurance they aren't alone, that others are making this same compromise. They're trying to talk themselves into it. To talk each other into it.

    And I also see the escalation, more and more declaring they're skipping out on the whole tier. That's (in theory) 148 (and counting) sets of champ rewards ... 16.65M iso, 592K HP, 37K CP, 1480 LTs* !

    ... and if the compromise spreads to max+min'ing lower tier characters through the 4* tier, that's giving up more, more, more.

    So, I'm max+max'ing everything 4* ... 'natural' 4s and those ascended to 4*, and will always do so.

    Because in the end, here's the joke. From the start of the 4* tier to 550, Max+max takes the same number of covers as max+min! The only difference is shifting to 5* sooner and foregoing 112.5K iso, 4K HP, 250 CP, and 10 LT** per character instance so ascended.

    There are two excuses always offered. Neither worth it:

    1) Stronger character will win me more stuff! Really? If you're already in SCL 10, and already playing to progression in PvE and PvP, then how much do you expect your placements to improve? Have you studied the placement rewards? Unless you're going to make enormous leaps in placement, like going from top 500 to top 2, and realize that enormous difference over and over for many dozens of event for every character instance you max+min as a 4* ... then you're not coming out ahead.

    2) It will take forever, I'm not waiting. Presumably this is emphasized with a stamped foot and a huff or two. Yes, it takes a LONG time to max 4s the first time. For OG players it took years. But so what? Everything gets faster all the time. Doing it again takes a fraction of the time. The game economy continues to grow, resource flows grow, the productivity of your roster grows. I suggest not focusing on individual characters, but the whole roster as a flock. It takes awhile for the first one to reach a milestone, but they are all moving in t hat direction. First one, then another, then a flood!


    * This is the total of 148 sets of champ rewards for 4s that don't feed anyone. Feeders pay out less HP, CP, and LTs, in favor of 5* covers and shards, but I'm not going to subtotal up all the different schemes .... !

    ** Again, nonfeeder champ rewards, let's pretend feeder champ rewards are roughly equivalent.

  • DrClever
    DrClever Posts: 569 Critical Contributor

    Yes! This is the sort of taking it seriously that makes these forums such fun.

    100% agree that all those people taking a different approach just don't understand that the things they think they are getting from it simply don't matter.

    The fools.

  • JoeHandle
    JoeHandle Posts: 104 Tile Toppler

    @DrClever said:
    Yes! This is the sort of taking it seriously that makes these forums such fun.

    100% agree that all those people taking a different approach just don't understand that the things they think they are getting from it simply don't matter.

    The fools.

    Quite! It must be "fun" they think they're having. Can't quanti—er, identify with that at all. This MPQ stuff is serious, a full-time (as in whole-life) job. The Grind.

  • DrClever
    DrClever Posts: 569 Critical Contributor

    Well, I sold three kidneys to fund an AI to play the game for me so I'm not sure about that side of it any more.

  • bluewolf
    bluewolf Posts: 5,147 Chairperson of the Boards

    There are two excuses always offered. Neither worth it:

    1) Stronger character will win me more stuff! Really? If you're already in SCL 10, and already playing to progression in PvE and PvP, then how much do you expect your placements to improve? Have you studied the placement rewards? Unless you're going to make enormous leaps in placement, like going from top 500 to top 2, and realize that enormous difference over and over for many dozens of event for every character instance you max+min as a 4* ... then you're not coming out ahead.

    2) It will take forever, I'm not waiting. Presumably this is emphasized with a stamped foot and a huff or two. Yes, it takes a LONG time to max 4s the first time. For OG players it took years. But so what? Everything gets faster all the time. Doing it again takes a fraction of the time. The game economy continues to grow, resource flows grow, the productivity of your roster grows. I suggest not focusing on individual characters, but the whole roster as a flock. It takes awhile for the first one to reach a milestone, but they are all moving in t hat direction. First one, then another, then a flood!


    * This is the total of 148 sets of champ rewards for 4s that don't feed anyone. Feeders pay out less HP, CP, and LTs, in favor of 5* covers and shards, but I'm not going to subtotal up all the different schemes .... !

    ** Again, nonfeeder champ rewards, let's pretend feeder champ rewards are roughly equivalent.

    As a person who played heavily for years, then took an extended break for years, I can definitively say that ascending some 4s early absolutely helped me do better in PVE and PVP during a couple of boosted weeks. I am missing a lot of 5s in terms of being fully covered, so a couple 4s were worth the ascension as boosted their numbers were pretty crazy. (Medusa and Nightcrawler are my only two ascended 4s. Medusa can save health packs and Nightcrawler is fun to pull out and Bamfinite sometimes, and one of my all-time favorite Marvel characters.)

    Oops, I think I had fun instead of maximizing my eventual pulls for 5* Deadpool or Kraven or Reed Richards. Assuming any of them are more than average, a not-safe bet given recent 5s.

    The list of people I generally would unequivocally say people should ascend early is not very large, maybe 10. And yes, you should really only do it when they are boosted so that's every 28-30 weeks you make an assessment for each 4. Most 4s are not as good as natural 5s ascended even with the bumped numbers etc.

    Also: the vast, vast majority of players are not in a position to max-max everyone, early or not. And may never be given the continual release of 4s and probable need for several months of focus to max-max. Only those who played hard for years from the beginning of the game are far enough ahead of things to be in a position to get there in any reasonable timeframe. (yes, some breaks are fine and all that but if you aren't already sitting on a lot - like at least 50% of the tier - of 370 4s this is a conversation with no real relevance to you at this time).

    Finally it's worth considering that a max-max 4 turns into a 475 (?) 5, which is great but consider that many players who have champed 5s are basically using people in a range below that (a LOT have people below 460). That doesn't mean that they shouldn't try to max-max but it's certainly interesting to think about this advice making their most powerful characters ascended 4s with a possible slight bump in MMR as a result.

  • Timemachinego
    Timemachinego Posts: 424 Mover and Shaker

    At the 4* level you absolutely are missing out on better placement by not ascending a handful to 5 ASAP. You can say "We're all in CL10 anyways" but It's a sizeable bump that makes previous 4* meta teams viable again and improves the ones that are already part of established speed teams. Is that most 4s? Absolutely not but again it goes to show how subjective this whole enterprise would still be even if we could assign absolute per cover value to everything we "miss" by not max-maxing.

  • meadowsweet
    meadowsweet Posts: 213 Tile Toppler
    edited 16 February 2024, 01:42

    @JoeHandle said:
    A set of 4* champ rewards here, a set of 4* champ rewards there, soon we're talking about real loot.

    One 5★ cover and 2,500 shards for every 113 covers for a 4★ character is a very slow return. And dilution of the character pool continues to slow that process further each month

    And I also see the escalation, more and more declaring they're skipping out on the whole tier. That's (in theory) 148 (and counting) sets of champ rewards ... 16.65M iso, 592K HP, 37K CP, 1480 LTs* !

    Those rewards may take years (decades?) to earn, depending on your devotion and whether your roster is keeping up with everyone else's. Are you accounting for (subtracting) the rewards you would receive by Ascending Max-Min characters, or just adding up the Max-Max rewards by themselves?

    Because in the end, here's the joke. From the start of the 4* tier to 550, Max+max takes the same number of covers as max+min! The only difference is shifting to 5* sooner and foregoing 112.5K iso, 4K HP, 250 CP, and 10 LT** per character instance so ascended.

    Only for what you call "natural 4*". If you start off with two Ascended copies of a 1★ character - both already at 4★ level 270 - then going the Max-Min route you'll be at 5★ level 450 in 300 covers and level 550 in 700 covers. Going the Max-Max route you'll be at 450 in 600 covers and level 550 in 900 covers. So 100% slower to get to level 450, 29% slower to level 550 because of the 'Ascension Tax'

    1) Stronger character will win me more stuff! Really?

    Yes, really. I'm already routinely losing PVP matches to Ascended teams that never existed before

    2) Yes, it takes a LONG time to max 4s the first time. For OG players it took years. But so what? Everything gets faster all the time. Doing it again takes a fraction of the time.

    Do you have any data to support your claim that 4★ covers or shards are being handed out faster than characters are being added and dilution is slowing the process down? Now that there are ~150 different 4★ characters in the game, are we all earning 4★ covers at 150% the rate from when there were 100 characters? 200% of the 75 characters rate? 300% the 50 characters rate?

    I'm on Day 2,853 and just got my third 4★ character to level 370 (original, not duplicate.) I have zero expectations that I'll get any of the 4★ characters released in the last couple years to level 370 before the game shuts down. My highest 4★ released in the year 2021 is now level 310, three years later. Now, if you're the kind of player that already had dupes of most 4★ at level 350+ before Ascension was announced, I'm sure Max-Max seems very reasonable and achievable.

    But hypothetically, if you just started playing today, you'd need 292 roster slots while you Max-Maxed 146 different 4★ characters by earning 32,996 covers. You would need to earn 9.03 covers for 4★ every single day for the next 10 years to do that - just to have all 146 characters Ascended to 5★ level 475. Except not really, because at current rates (1 every 4 weeks) the devs will have also added 130 ADDITIONAL 4★ characters, so that over time the rate at which you're earning covers for the original 146 characters has gradually dropped to 53% of what it is as I write this... if they're adding 13 characters per year they need to increase the rate at which you earn 4★ covers by 8.9% this year just to keep up. And 8.2% next year, and 7.6% the year after that, and 7.0% the year after that...

    I'm not saying that anyone should or must go the Max-Min route. What I am saying is that it's not as obvious as you're claiming: that anyone who does go Max-Min is automatically an impatient, whiny, ignorant fool.

  • entrailbucket
    entrailbucket Posts: 4,648 Chairperson of the Boards

    The amount of rewards you gain or lose by either method is so insignificant in the grand scheme that I can't imagine caring about it either way.

    Personally I have no interest in waiting till tomorrow for anything, I want to play the game and I'm going to forgo future considerations to get the highest level roster I can get right now.

  • meadowsweet
    meadowsweet Posts: 213 Tile Toppler

    @entrailbucket said:
    The amount of rewards you gain or lose by either method is so insignificant in the grand scheme that I can't imagine caring about it either way.

    Personally I have no interest in waiting till tomorrow for anything, I want to play the game and I'm going to forgo future considerations to get the highest level roster I can get right now.

    I think you and I are on the same page.

    TL;DR: if you prefer to have your 1★ & 2★ characters be 80 to 180 Levels higher and into the 5★ tier than a 4★ Max Champ at Level 370 for the duration of time it takes you to collect 500 covers for that character, you should Max-Min Ascend your 1★ & 2★ characters:

    How to read this chart:

    Let's just focus on the yellow lines (actually a series of yellow dots):
    1. Starting at 126 covers, Max-Min Ascends to 4★ Level 270 while Max-Max's highest character remains at 3★ Level 266.
    2. The difference in top character Levels grows from 4 Levels at 126 covers to 37 Levels at 225 covers.
    3. At 226 covers, Max-Max Ascends, gets credit for the additional Levels, and both characters are at Level 303, or a difference of zero.
    4. But at 552 covers, Max-Min Ascends again to 5★ Level 450, an 80 Level difference from Max-Max's Level 370 character.
    5. The gap widens again, as Max-Min is Leveling up their 5★ while Max-Max is building up its 4★ Max Champ duplicate. The gap reaches its widest at 851 covers (Max-Min Level 524, Max-Max still Level 370.)
    6. At 852 covers Max-Max Ascends its two 4★ Level 370 characters to a 5★ Level 475 character, narrowing the gap to 50 Levels.
    7. The gap remains 50 Levels (both Max-Min & Max-Max earning 1 Level every 4 covers) until Max-Min reaches 5★ Max Champ Level 550 at 952 total covers.
    8. From there, Max-Max begins narrowing the gap in Levels until reaching Level 550 for themselves 200 covers later at 1,152 total covers.

  • entrailbucket
    entrailbucket Posts: 4,648 Chairperson of the Boards

    I think some folks can lose sight of the "playing the game" part of the game, in favor of "getting the most rewards."

    WHY do you want to max out rewards? Ultimately rewards = higher level characters (unless they end up equalling a pile of tokens that you never actually open ever, I guess), so which characters are you trying to level?

    A lot of these ascended 4* are REALLY REALLY strong. If you're holding off on ascending them in order to get, say, a few more LT, then the bet you're making is that those LT will get you better characters than the ascended 4s. I'm not sure that's true. Some ascended 4* absolutely wipe the floor with new 5*. Plenty of ascended 3* do as well.

  • entrailbucket
    entrailbucket Posts: 4,648 Chairperson of the Boards

    There's another thing to consider as well: essentials. PvE essentials may not matter very much, but PvP essentials can matter a lot. Most PvP is 3*-feature PvP, still.

    Getting those guys ascended will give you a MASSIVE competitive advantage over those who don't. A 450 (+ the 100lvl boost) just completely outclasses a 370 (+100lvls). It's like 100-200k difference in HP, plus match damage and powers that actually matter.

    Are you really going to leave your 3* parked at 370 (and totally useless) while you wait to level a dupe all the way up?

  • GrimSkald
    GrimSkald Posts: 2,466 Chairperson of the Boards

    @meadowsweet said:

    @JoeHandle said:
    For instance, I see this "max base tier, then max-min, then 5* " asserted as 'best' often, in many places, from many people. but ... uhhh ... it don't make no sense (to me?). What's the focus? What's the rationale? Most approaches are focused either on performance (increasing utility (read: level) of the character as fast as possible), or resource(s) (how can I max the return of resource(s) while ascending [characters] ? ).

    But this advice is at odds with itself if it's focused on performance or resources ... is it something else? Or a not so great attempt to split the difference?

    Option 1: Max-Min
    Pros: Your characters get to highest levels most quickly and will hit 450 & 550 as soon as possible, which may help you compete in required PVP & PVE nodes. You require the fewest roster slots for the least amount of time.
    Cons: You are not advancing half of your characters through the Champ rewards. You are paying more in Iso to upgrade characters (because of missed Champ rewards.)

    Option 2: Max-Max
    Pros: You receive every Champ reward possible at every tier.
    Cons: Your characters will reach 5★, Levels 450 - 550 more slowly (perhaps putting you at a disadvantage against someone else's boosted 550 in required nodes.) At times you will require dozens if not hundreds of roster slots just to maintain all of your Max-Max duplicates who each need hundreds of covers depending on the tiers involved.

    Option 3: Max-Max at base level, Max-Min above base level
    If the total number of covers were equivalent to get to 550, you could just ask players what they prefer: more powerful characters sooner, or more total rewards overall? But my opinion / conspiracy theory is that the devs screwed up the Ascension math, realized too late, refuse to ever explain the rationale why Max-Max takes more covers to get to Level 550 than Max-Min, and just moved on.

    The thing is, the Max-Max "cover tax / penalty" doesn't apply to the Tier that characters start out at, only the higher levels. So for example, regardless of which path you use for the base level, you'll end up at:
    26x 1★ covers = Ascended 2★, Level 94
    126x 2★ covers = Ascended 3★, Level 191
    226x 3★ covers = Ascended 4★, Level 303
    226x 4★ covers = Ascended 5★, Level 475

    But it's at the steps beyond that where the math gets more complicated - because of the "tax penalty." For instance, an Ascended 1★ character at the 3★ level now requires 2 covers per level (200 total to Max.) That's 200 covers that the Min route isn't spending. Times two because in all you'll need two primary and two secondary at the 3★ to eventually end up with an Ascended 5★. But when you Ascend from 3★ to 4★ they only credit you for 100 levels divided by 3 covers per level at the 4★ tier, or 33+1/3 levels as a 4★, when they should credit you for 200 covers / 3 covers per level = 66+2/3 levels as a 4★ (the exchange rate the Max-Min player is getting for their covers.)

    All of which is a long way of saying the compromise strategy is "Max-Max at their starting tier, where the exchange rate is the same as Max-Min. Use Max-Min at the tiers above that, where the exchange rate is better for Max-Min." Not only will your characters get to Levels 450 & 550 faster and you'll pay no "tax penalty", but you're also getting better rewards faster (albeit while giving up some lower-level rewards.) Everyone talks about the downside of the Max-Min player missing out on 100 levels of Champ rewards with their duplicates, but not as many people talk about the Max-Min players zipping through larger, higher-level Champ rewards faster, or the fact that the Max-Max player "sacrificed" 33.3 levels of 4★ Champ reward progress in "tax penalties" (as seen in the math above) while they were "investing in" 100 levels of 3★ Champ rewards, which is a genuine trade-off.

    Interestingly enough, you left out one of the most significant benefits to the faster methods of leveling your lower ★ characters - even at a rate of 4:1 the 5★ rewards are substantially better than anything you'll get at the lower levels. I in general don't spend more than $3 other than monthly VIP, but I did get one of the Ascended 1★s (Juggernaut, I thought about it too late for Spider- or Iron-Man,) just so I can pull a LT (or the same value in CP) for every 4 Juggernaut covers. He's at 471 and ticking up on a regular basis. When I get him to the same level as my highest 5★s, I'll probably go back to leveling his lower-level brothers.

    It's created this seriously weird aspect of the economy that lower level covers can actually be more valuable to you than higher level ones. My 1★s are, for the most part, higher level than my 2★s -- I'm actually disappointed when I pull a 2★ out of a standard token - it will be 3:1 either way and for the most part my 1★s are better. This will only get more exaggerated as I level these guys.

    Of course, higher tier characters tend to be more powerful and versatile, so that kind of balances out, but like I said, it's weird. I'm sure I'll hit a point where I'm annoyed at pulling too many 3★s from Heroic and Elite tokens...