Luck of the Irish, Punctuality of the Ecuadorians…

Posted: March 23, 2014 in Sponsor Posts
Tags: , , , , ,

Monday was St. Patrick’s Day.  Notice my use of the past tense ‘was’, indicating that St. Patrick’s day has passed, is finished, couldn’t voom if you put five million volts through it.  I meant to visit the Luck of the Irish gatcha fair for St. Patrick’s Day.  I meant to, but I ran a little late.  Er, a lot late.

Follow the rainbow, my lucky omen// There ain't no pot of gold, only copper tokens...

Follow the rainbow, my lucky omen// There ain’t no pot of gold, only copper tokens…

Fortunately, the Gatcha fair actually runs until the end of March, so I can still review it and pass on my take of the event.  I do feel like I should confess three quick disclaimers before I get to the actual review.

One: I have no biases against Ecuadorians.  I’m sure they are nice people, and that if I ever met one we would become fast friends and I would willingly hang around waiting for them to show up so that we could do things together.  I’m not going to claim I have no biases: I wait tables for a living, which means the ability to form snap rule-of-thumb judgments is both a potential vice and an important job skill.  However, I was unaware of any race or culture that had a special reputation for lateness, so I actually google searched to find out who to pick on in my blog’s title.  Ecuador was the winner.  Here is a passage from eDiplomat’s cultural advice for people doing business in Ecuador: “Ecuadorians are generally not punctual. Arriving 15 to 20 minutes late is considered ‘on time.’ However, all foreigners should be punctual for business meetings.” In contrast, I found that the rest of the world tends to view American attitudes about schedules to be obsessive, irritating, and symptomatic of a desire to control people around us.  For the record, I have my hands full trying to control me, and as long as the rest of world doesn’t interfere with that, I’m happy to let it go about its business.

Two: I’m actually not a Gacha fan.  The premise, buy items at a reduced price because you are accepting an uncertainty risk, is cool and makes sense in terms of economic theory.  It’s a cross between gambling and shopping, both of which are addictive pleasures, so the vast hordes of Gacha addicts are no surprise.  For folks with a bigger social network, the swapping and trading aspect to get elusive rare prizes or to complete a collection are probably a lot of fun.  With limited funds and an awareness that I’m addictive personality- It’s part and parcel of my ADD which means I have poor impulse control and the tendency to lock into hyper focus on specific goals, often goals I perceive as neither important nor urgent- I’ve tended to avoid individual gachas, much less gacha fairs.  I only put money in a gacha if I believe it is sound bet in game theory terms, that is to say if the expected value of my return, in probabilistic terms, is greater than the price of the gacha.

If math scares you, just skip down to disclaimer Three:...

If math scares you, just skip down to disclaimer Three:…

I’m going to go all math nerd and explain that, using one of Grumble’s Gachas.  As you can see in the picture, the Princess Crown gatcha costs 25L to play, and offers the crown in 10 different color patterns.  Since none of them are labeled as common or rare, I’ll go ahead and assume they all have an even 10% chance of being the result.  For non-gacha shopping, the value of return is easy.  If item X costs 25L, and you value item X as being worth 50L, you buy it and think great deal.  If item X costs 25L and you only value it at 5L, you don’t buy it because it isn’t worth it.  Likewise, if I don’t care what color crown I get, and I feel 25L is a fair price for the crown, I should buy one.  Now let’s get a little more complicated.  The crown isn’t the sort of accessory I would normally wear, but it is cute, so I agree 25L is a fair price for the crown.  I really like the colors red, hot pink, and purple, those are the ones I would pick if I got to choose, so I think they are worth more… we’ll say they are each worth 35L to me.  Also, I already have the black and white crown (see, I’m wearing it!) so another one is worthless to me.  So when I play the gacha, I have a 30% chance of getting a crown I value at 35L, a 10% chance of getting a crown I value at 0L, and a 60% chance of getting a crown I value at 25L.  My expected value of return is (.3 x 35) + (.6 x 25) + (.1 x 0) = 10.5 + 15 + 0 = 25.5 L.  If I spend 25L, I expect to get 25.5L back (even though there is no probability I will get something I value at exactly 25.5 L) so it makes sense for me to play the gacha.  Notice the catch, however- each time you play, you have to refigure the return.  The first time I played, I got the gold crown.  I obsess easily, so we’ll say I increase how I value the three crowns I like, because they have added value to me if I ‘worked’ for them.  Now I value them at 50L.  There are now two crowns I already have, so they are worthless to me.  The remaining 5 crowns, they have some diminishing returns going on.  I’ve already got two crowns, I’ll only use them so often, I’m starting to get a little bored of crowns…. now they are only worth 20L to me.  My expected value of return is now (.3 x 50) + (.5 x 20) + (.2 x 0) = 15 + 10 + 0 = 25L .  This is take it or leave it territory, my expected value of return is exactly what I’m spending.  In a mathematical sense, it still makes sense to play a second round of gacha.  Unfortunately, I get the gold crown again.  The gacha machine is beating me, and I’m over competitive, so now I value the three crowns I want even more, I now value them at 75L.  I’m also irritated by the whole process, so I’m over any other crowns and consider them all worthless.  Expected value of return (.3 x 75) + (.7 x 0) = 22.5L.  I no longer expect what I get back be more valuable than what I spend, so it would be foolish for me to play again.

Worse yet, there are two aspects of hindsight that hinder my appreciation of gachas.  My decision of whether a gacha is good idea or not depends on my evaluation of how much I value the prize, a subjective evaluation that may change.  Buyer’s remorse is bad enough for ordinary shopping (“Why did I spend 2000L on NewSuperGargantuanPrimBoobsPlus Version 3.0, when there is only one vendor who has clothing support for it?”) but if I change my mind on any of the gacha prizes, it changes the expected value and thus whether I shopped wisely or poorly.  Then too, even if each individual round is a good decision when you make it, things may be different in aggregate and hind sight.  Both of my hypothetical rounds of Princess Crown gacha were ‘good’ decisions from a game theory stand point, but I still in my example spent a total of 50L for products I valued with a total of 25L, so I was a bad shopper.  In addition, a proper evaluation of whether the gacha is a good purchase or not depends on knowing the probabilities as well.  Most gachas will indicate some prizes are rare and the rest are common, but not what that means… Imagine two 25L gachas with eight commons you find OK and a single rare that you really want, a rare that you would pay up to 1000L to get on market place or in an auction.  Imagine that on machine A each of the commons has a 12% chance and the rare has the remaining 4% chance.  In comparison, on machine B two of the commons are actually “extra-commons” with a 25% chance each, the other six commons each have 8.33% chances of showing up, and the rare has the remaining .02% likelihood and is only given out once every 5000 times someone plays.  The expected value of return, especially for multiple plays, is very different from Machine A to Machine B… and you will never know which one you are playing.  Even if you play 50, 100, even a 1000 times and count your results, you can determine a probability that Machine A gave you the results you got, you can determine a probability that you are playing on Machine B instead of Machine A, you can estimate a likely set of probabilities that govern a Machine C that you are actually playing on, but you cannot go back and know the probabilities just from the events.  Since I can’t know the probabilities of getting various prizes and don’t trust my moment to moment valuations of what the prizes are worth to me, I just don’t do gachas.  If I like how the prizes look, I’ll do one, or on rare occasions two, plays and then I walk away.  I also only play if there are at least some prizes that I see as steals if I win them and if the majority of prizes are at least “break-even” prizes.  If there are even just one or two prizes I absolutely don’t want, I will pessimistically assume my luck sucks and not even try, even if I would be willing to sacrifice my friends’ bodily parts for all of the rest of the prizes.

Three: I’m not an unbiased reviewer.  Grumble, Grumble is one of my sponsors and I didn’t come to the Luck of the Irish gacha fair to do hard-hitting, objective fashion journalism.  I’m here to cheer on my team and to blatantly soft sell Grumble merchandise.  (Nitpickers and language hawks among you may point out that blatantly soft selling is at best an oxymoron and at worst an impossibility.  Fortunately, I’m a free spirit and refuse to be constrained by such trifling details as reality…) 

School's out, and I refuse to do any homework...

School’s out, and I refuse to do any homework…

So what do I think of the Luck of the Irish Gacha fair?  Over all, I liked it.  I saw merchandise I liked.  I spent some Lindens.  I feel like the prices were reasonable– not great, not much to bring the bargain hunters out, but also not horrible, no pounds of flesh taken and no morning after “Why did I buy that?” hangover.  I was pleased to see that Grumble’s gachas were among the better bargains.  After all, I said I was here to cheer on my team, so I’m happy to see good solid play.  I particularly think the St Paddy’s day sport tops for 15L are a nice bargain.  I played the sport top Gacha twice, but didn’t get the “Sex & Drugs & Leprechauns” common or the “Everyone loves an Irish girl” rare I was hoping for.  (Sidebar: I’m willing to trade the “I (shamrock) Irish boys” or the “Got Lucky?” top for either of those if you have an extra.  Just saying.)  I also bought a few poses from Nantra, some boobie shirts from Blink2Wink, some tattoos from Grunge Ink, and a handful of other odds and sods.

On the other hand, I did find plenty of minor nits to pick.  The look of the fair is kind of simplistic and cartoony.  I’ve visited lots of cartoony places, but the fair looks like it was quickly thrown together, not slick like I’ve come to expect from big multi designer events.  The lay out is a little confusing.  It’s a structure kind of like a wedding cake: three concentric circles getting larger as you move downward.  Maybe I’m just a dumb blonde, (even when I’m not wearing blond hair!) but I circled the top two circles getting frustrated that I couldn’t find the Grumble, Grumble gachas that I knew damn well were here somewhere before I realized there was a third circle.  Yes, it was partly my lag and partly my settings, but I have to wonder if there were fair visitors who left without making it to the bottom layer because they never realized there was something to keep looking for.  And I never did figure out how things were organized.  Many vendors had gachas that weren’t all in one place.  I’m not sure why.  Obviously those sponsors who ponied up the time and money to make the event happen got the best spots near the rez platform in the top circle.  But it just seemed like the event would have made more sense, been easier to shop, and more fun if there was some sort of organization: either by vendor, by play price, or (ideally) by type of product.  For example, I noticed that there were several gachas for crowns and headbands.  If they were all in one spot, then it would be easy to see which gacha was the best one to put your money in.  (The one from Grumble, of course!)  There seemed to be random loud conversations by the other shoppers, enough that I wanted to twitch a little bit and offer tutorials on how to chat discretely.  Obviously not the fault of the event hosts, but still a reason why I didn’t stick around as long as I could have.

That's the review and I am out of here!

That’s the review and I am out of here!

And just to finish up, here’s what I’m wearing this post…

  • Shape: Standard Sizing Small from Virtual Attire
  • Skin: Lou Chocolate Skin from TuTy’s
  • Hair: Gina (color changing) from Adored
  • Luck of the Irish Items from Grumble: ‘Fuck You I’m Irish’ sport top and Black Zigzag head crown
  • Other Really Cool Stuff from Grumble: Red Colorado boots, Dangle beaded earrings, Designer Snake Bracelet
  • Non-Grumble Stuff: Pink rust capris from Pretty N Punk, Forked Tongue tattoo from Rachel Swallows Creations, black choker and  nose piercing both source unknown

 

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Comments
  1. […] Luck of the Irish Back 04 Tattoo (GrungeInk) (A gacha tattoo from the Luck of the Irish event.  Which I was also sent to cover.  Have I mentioned I love my job?);  Bolly Makeup 1C (Errant) (Some bollywood-style makeup […]

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