Probably Potter

Do you play Harry Potter: Wizards Unite?

I’m a math guy. I understand the nuance of probability and the fact it’s often counter-intuitive. And yet, when I try to explain that to friends, it gets lost in translation.

So I decided I’d do some digging and write about how we often misinterpret probabilistic possibilities (and why do it), and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is the perfect medium to discuss it in a future post. But to make it work, I need your help.

I’m conducting a probability survey and I need players to gather and submit data. The time commitment is yours to decide–you can do it for 30 minutes or a whole week.

On July 30, Wizards Unite’s next event begins: Potter’s Brilliant Calamity. New Brilliant Golden Snitches will be appearing everywhere, and this is what makes it so perfect: There is only one Foundable encounter that appears during this event, and it will have the same rarity / catch rate / recovery chance for all players. This means we can gather a large data set to more easily demonstrate how probability underlies the gameplay.

And so how probability often Confounds us when we try to understand it.

Your job, should you accept it, is simple: Play Wizards Unite and keep track of your spells cast when encountering the Brilliant Golden Snitch. Was it Fair, Good, Great, or Masterful? Did it result in success or failure? Aside from Dawdle Droughts, avoid using Exstimulo Potions–those will change the probability of success, and thereby, negatively impact the data. Once you’ve got your tallies, just submit them using the form below.

Probably Potter: Data Collection

After the event ends, I’ll compile the data, crunch some numbers, and report back with a detailed analysis about why probability sometimes seems so…improbable.


Pokemon Go: A Retrospective

One year and two days ago, Pokemon Go reinvented the mobile gaming landscape and reignited a craze that has gone on for over two decades. But in the wake of early crashes and frenzied, frustrated players, how far has the game come, and how much further must it go not only to satisfy its fans but also to survive?

In this retrospective, we will confront the major problems still blighting players and lay forth some suggestions for how Nintendo and Niantic can overcame these ails. In particular, we will focus on three themes: player engagement through playing together, the updated Gym system and the game’s multiple currencies, and the inequality perpetuated by the game mechanics themselves.

So join me on this adventure and get ready to Go.

Continue reading