Is SEMC Greedy? An analysis of skin releases versus hero changes up to 2.5

Archived from the original vainglory forums - posted in May 2017 by @idmonfish archived by @idmonfish

One common accusation/insinuation from the “SEMC is greedy crowd” is that SEMC makes balance changes to intentionally buff a hero when they are getting a new skin presumably to bolster the skin sales of the newly strengthened hero. This is something that data can actually be gathered on, and be used to prove or rebuff that hypothesis - strangely no one on the SEMC is greedy crowd seems to have been willing to do the leg work on this so in a fit of helpfulness I decided to dig into the data to see if they had indeed uncovered evidence of SEMC’s greed. I will go through this in detail shortly, outlining my methodology etc however for the TL:DR crowd, the summary is that there is no real evidence of a correlation between hero buffs and skins becoming available. While heroes receiving new skins have overall received slightly more buffs than nerfs, that has to be counter balanced against several of those buffs following indirect nerfs in the previous patch (like the attack speed changes) and that in general more significant nerfs have been given to heroes with new skins than the buffs they have received. It is also worth noting that all most double the amount received no changes compared to either nerfs or buffs.

In other words - only 25% of new skins were accompanied by buffs, 22% by nerfs and the remainder by no changes at all. If SEMC are using hero balance changes to sell skins, they are doing it in an amazingly inefficient fashion.

I collated all of the skins by going from all of the patch notes since 1.4 which was the introduction date of skins. I then correlated this with the hero balance changes in each of those patch notes. (Full data is laid out in the data section below) Where there were balance changes coinciding with the release of a skin (or the rerelease in regards to the SE skins becoming available) I noted whether this was a significant or minor change and collated this data.

There are some drawbacks to this methodology - first and foremost it requires my judgement on what counts as a significant vs minor change and readers may disagree. This is why the analysis largely focuses on the raw numbers not the more fine grained distinctions even though these seem to support the case I am making further. I also decided to only look at direct hero changes and not for example other balance changes like, items, spawn times and nerfs and buffs to counter heroes. This was for two reasons, firstly that taking into consideration indirect effects would be very time consuming and secondly that it would add even more controversy to the data. Furthermore given that the aim of this analysis is to uncover whether SEMC make balance changes to sell skins it is unlikely to be helpful given that the impact of the changes may well be unobvious to the majority of the player base.

1.4 New Skins
Petal T1
Adagio T1
Koshka T1
Sawberg T1
Glaive T1
Ringo T1

1.5 New Skins
Ardan T1
Joule T1 major nerf
Krul T1
Glaive T2
Koshka T2 minor nerf
Ringo T2

1.6 New Skins
Skaarf T1 major buff, minor nerf
Catherine T1 Minor buff
Adagio T2 minor buff
Adagio T3 minor buff
Ringo T3
Koshka T3

1.7 New Skins
Shiro Kage Taka T1 Significant nerf
Paragon Catherine T2
Paragon Catherine T3
Stormlord Ardan T2
SAWborg T2 Significant buff
Killa-Joule 9000 T2

1.8 New Skins
Cloud Raider Vox T1 Minor nerf
Infinity Skaarf T2
Bug Petal T2 Minor buff
Killa-Joule 9000 T3 Minor buff

1.9 New Skins
Baewitch Celeste LE Minor nerf
Pumpkin Spice Petal LE Major buff (rework)
Shiro Kage Taka T2 Major nerf
Death Metal Krul T2

1.10 New Skins
Star Queen Celeste T1 minor nerf

1.11 New Skins
Cloud Raider Vox T2
Sawberg T3
Deathmetal Krul T3

1.12 New Skins
Giftwrapped Fortress LE minor nerf

1.13 New Skins
Prehistoric Glaive T3
Infinity Skaarf T3
Winter Warrior Cath LE

1.14 New Skins
Red Lantern Koshka LE
Fury Rona T1 minor buff

1.15 New Skins
Stormlord Ardan T3
Star Queen Celeste T2 minor buff
Night Shadow Taka LE minor buff minor nerf

1.16 New Skins
Netherworld Fortress T1 minor nerf
Netherworld Fortress T2 minor nerf
Netherworld Fortress T3 minor nerf

1.17 New Skins
Killer Bunny Rona - SE
Cloud Raider Vox T3 - Significant Nerf
Bonecruncher Phin T1
Bonecruncher Phin T2
Bonecruncher Phin T3

1.18 New Skins
Super sonic Skye T1
Super sonic Skye T2
Super sonic Skye T3
Star Queen Celeste T3 Minor buff
Dynasties Blackfeather T1 Minor nerf

1.19 New Skins
Summer Krul - minor buff
Sylvan Kestrel T1
Northwind Reim t1
Fury Rona t2

1.20 New Skins
Summer Party Saw
Broken Doll Alpha t1
Fury Rona T3 - minor buff
Northwind Reim T2 minor nerf/minor buff

1.21 New Skins
Summer Kestrel
Broken doll Alpha t2
North Wind Reim t3
Summer Party Phinn
No changes

1.22 New Skins
Moon Princess Celeste - minor buff
Dear Diary Lyra T3 - significant nerf
Netherknight Lance T2 - minor buff

1.23 New Skins
Apprentice Samuel T1 - significant nerf
Seraphim Adagio T2 - minor buff
Love Bites Blackfeather SE - minor buff
Pumpkin Spice Petal - SE
Baewitched Celeste - SE

1.24 New Skins
Shirokage Taka T3 - minor nerf
Bakuto Ringo SE - minor buff
Sorrowblade Glaive T2 - minor buff
Red Lantern Koshka - SE
Killer Bunny Rona - SE
Summer Party Krul - opals - minor buff
Summer Party Kestrel - opals - minor nerf
Summer Party Saw - opals

2.0 New Skins
Winter Warrior Kestrel T1 - significant nerf
Gladiator Ardan T3
Gift wrapped Fortress - SE
Winter War Catherine - SE

2.1 New Skins
Wuxia Ozo T1
Gladiator Lance T2 - minor nerf

2.2 New skins
School Days Lyra T1
School Days Taka T3 - minor buff
School Days Vox T2 - minor nerf
Gladiator Catherine T2 - minor buffs (following minor nerfs last patch)

2.3 New skins
Gangster Gwen
Elite force Idris
Elite force Baron

2.4 New Skins
Elite Force Saw T1 - minor buff to compensate for attack speed changes in 2.3
Red Lantern Flicker T1 - significant buff to perk & ult
Champion’s fate Blackfeather T3 - minor buff to compensate for attack speed changes in 2.3
NS Taka - SE

2.5 New Skins
Spider Queen Kestrel - minor nerf
Netherknight Lance T3
Grumpjaw T1 - minor bug fix
Alpha T3

Summary of data:
4 significant buffs
24 minor buffs (3 directly following nerfs in previous patches)

7 significant nerfs
17 minor nerfs

57 with zero changes.

Of the skins that have been introduced only 25% have been introduced at the same time as buffs. They are almost as likely to receive nerfs, and twice as likely to receive no change at all. If SEMC was using balance changes to sell skins one would expect to see a much higher correlation between skin introductions and buffs, particularly significant buffs. Instead, especially given the number of hero balance changes made in a patch, it would seem there is no strong positive correlation between positive balance changes and receiving new skins.

Hence it would seem that the claim that SEMC makes balance changes to sell new hero skins is false and (at least in this way) SEMC is not greedy.

@teajcof helpfully did the maths on the above:

There is no significant difference in buffs/nerfs in heroes that were receiving skins

To calculate this I conducted a 1 Proportion Z Test and used a Po=.5= that half of the balance changes to heroes will be buffs and the other balance changes will be nerfs (for this test the absence of balance changes was ignored because that would artificially raise sample size and grant certainty than is actually present.
Successfully buffed=X=28
Test >Po

For there to be significant evidence that semc is buffing heroes reciving skins P would have to be lower than .05 so there is not we can reject that they are intentionally buffing heroes receiving skins

Tl;Dr p>.05= semc is not intentionally buffing heroes reciving skins.

Sorry for the heavy stats… if you don’t care about the stats just know it is confirming what @idmonfish is saying using math

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