Welcome to the Grand Dragon Casino!

Special thanks to @fyreflie for this excellent summary:

Where everything you see is not what it seems, and the house always wins!

Step right up, and prepare to be amazed!

Gambling is fun. If it weren’t, people wouldn’t do it. The same for games–if they’re not fun, people don’t play them. So, who doesn’t love a little game of chance in their video games?

Fortunately, War Dragons is full of opportunities to spend your rubies, however you acquired them, on any number of prizes. But be warned–you’re not buying a prize with those rubies, and if you spent money (the transaction connected to the real world, and therefore, one governed by law rather than the EULA/TOS), you got what you paid for–the rubies or the chests or whatever. But what you buy with the rubies is a chance.

But you probably don’t know just how bad that chance is.

So, once we get removed from the real world, where PG has to follow rules they didn’t make and cannot change whenever they want (read the TOS–you are nothing, have nothing, and can do nothing), what are the “rules”?

My friends, things are not what they seem.

I’m going to break this into a few parts, mostly because it’s a lot to cover, and I don’t want people to lose interest.

Let’s start with one that is visually the most obvious, even though it’s not something everyone can see yet.

The Atlas Bazaar

Once a day, or more, if you like to spend, you are presented with 9 cards. You can see all 9, so you know what you can win. Tap on shuffle, and the cards are flipped over and randomly rearranged, so there’s no correlation between the initial location of the card when you could see it and where it might be now. So far, all is good, and what it seems. In life, assuming the dealer shuffled well, you would have no good way to accurately predict the location of the cards. BUT, you’d still have a 1/9 chance of getting the most valuable card. And it appears that way in WD.

There you go, 9 cards. Let’s shuffle and pick one:

Dangit! That wasn’t what I wanted. But now my odds are better, right? 1 in 8 that I’ll get the most valuable card, and shoot–a whopping 1 in 4 that I’ll get one of the top two cards. Let’s try again:

Hmm. I’m not very good at this, so it would seem. I could spend some rubies to get another card, but I decide to cut my losses with using the free keystones I’ve won during the weekly Atlas event.

What happened?! Was it just the luck of the draw? Unfortunately yes, it was the luck of the draw. But the good news is this: brother, your odds were far worse than that image on the screen indicated.

Just how bad?

I’m so glad you asked. :wink:

Visually, you’re seeing 9 cards, and it’s not unreasonable for you to assume that you have a 1 in 9 chance of getting that top card on your first draw. But that ain’t how it works. Vegas has much better odds than War Dragons.

You see those stars indicating the relative value of each card? Here’s what else they tell you–how many times that card is repeated in the deck. That set of “9” cards is actually 112 cards. Each card that has one star is repeated 20 times, each with 2 stars is repeated 13 times, 3 stars 9 times, 4 stars 5 times, 5 stars 3 times.

So, you don’t have a 1/9 shot of getting that top card on the first draw. You have a 3/112 chance (2.68% rather than 11.11%).

Here’s what happened on the draws above:

I picked the first card, the game randomly went through it’s deck of 112 cards and landed on one of the one star cards (not surprising–there was a 53.57% chance this was going to happen).

Now, that card remains displayed, and it was my free one for the day. Since I was given (I’m not going to say chose, since what I can see and what is there are not the same) a card that repeated 20 times, we can take those 20 cards out of the deck, which now has 92 cards in it. The other cards remain the same. My odds are not 1/8 or 1/4 that I’ll get the 5 star or either the 4 or 5 star card. The probability I get the 5 star card is actually 3.26% and that I’ll get either of those two is 8.69% (not quite the 25% my eyes are telling me).

No big surprise then, when I grab the second card and it’s another 1 star reward. After all, my odds were 40/92 (43.48%) that was going to be my card.

What if I had drawn another? I can tell you the odds, but I cannot accurately predict with certainty what card I would have been given. It is a game of chance, after all. It’s just not the chance you assumed.

Since I grabbed another 20 weight card, the deck now has, not 7, but 72 cards remaining. Also, since I was “unlucky,” my odds this round of getting a 2 star card are actually higher than getting a 1 star card.

1 – 27.78
2 – 36.11%
3 – 25%
4 – 6.94%
5 – 4.17%

Let’s assume I draw the most likely, just for one more level (I have drawn the most likely twice now, so why deviate?) Now my deck is down to 59 cards, and I won two one star cards and one two star card. That two star, since I didn’t have enough keystones to keep going, cost me 750 rubies. With my remaining cards, my eyes say I have 16.67% chance of any specific card, but here’s what they really are:

1 – 33.9%
2 – 22.03%
3 – 30.51%
4 – 8.47%
5 – 5.06%

I could keep going, but you get the point. What is visually presented to you is a complete lie. It’s sole purpose is to misrepresent the odds to encourage you to spend money to get the rewards.

And that first deck–the one where you got a good drop (the 5 rider shards)–it’s special. It has 2,000,020,085 cards not 9, and 2,000,000,000 of those cards are that 5-shard card. Now don’t you feel lucky?

We’ll look at chests next, but it might be a couple days. That system is actually far more complex, and, surprise, it’s not in your favor.

Gamble wisely my friends.

~Power to the Players


This is well thought out and well written but it makes my brain hurt. I didnt start playing because I’m a programmer, mathematician, rocket scientist, rich, the list goes on…I just like to fly the dragons and want to feel like things are balanced and fair. I hope PG is trying to make it that way. If things don’t change I’ll just go someplace else. Simple. For some unknown reason people keep spending money to be pissed off. Where’s the logic in that.


It is complicated, and I was not trying to confuse anyone. My intent was to show that what you see on the screen is not at all what the gane is doing behind that screen.

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TLDR version:. PG uses intentionally misleading visuals as one (of many) tools to manipulate players.

And this is news? We all knew that already. Just ask anyone who claimed Ochre at the end of last season. Game theory is literally what they do for a living. And as long as you’re having casual fun it’s all fair. But If you find yourself spending your kid’s child support check (or similar) on rubies then you need to check yourself.

Thank you for the TL;DR.

I usually include one, I just forgot.

The news isn’t the misleading itself. I think the news would be the specifics. But maybe no one finds this interesting. Knowing you’re being tricked and knowing the degree to which you are being tricked are not really the same thing. I think that was my point.


This was from a little while ago.
(They’re not all bad drops).

I too have gotten the 5-star card, but only once (outside that first deck).

But that’s the nature of a game of chance. Sometimes you win. My point wasn’t that you never win–players have to win some of the time, or they will stop playing.

My point was “your odds look like 1/9, but they are really 3/112.” If we keep picking the most likely card, it’s not until you have only 4 cards unturned that your chance of getting the 5-star card is approximately what it appeared to be when you started.

How long have you had Atlas?! I’ve gotten several. It’s less about quantity than what you actually get anyways.

Should I point out that there is no “chance” or true randomness in a computer program? There are many ways to give an illusion of randomness (using a timestamp or other “seed” value), but it is not truly random.

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I hope everyone who plays this game is generally aware of the “freemium” business model, there have been many, many articles written about the psychological tactics and conscious paralleling of methods casinos use to hook gambling addicts in games like this. PG isn’t the most coercive company out there but nor are they the least.

Have fun, know your limits and if you have a gambling problem delete this app now.


Indeed, computers cannot actually be random. But they can approximate randomness. Even your average spreadsheet application has a random function in it. It’s not truly random, but you would have a hard time finding the order if you could not see the code.

I’m fine with approximating randomness, as long as it is done fairly (no magic numbers that always generate a desirable outcome) and the same for all players (everyone is presented the exact same choices and the Pseudo-random number generator works the same for everyone).

My issue is with the appearance versus the reality. The implication of visually displaying 9 cards is very different from the reality of the programming.

If you prefer, you can read “pseudo-random(ly)” every time you see “random(ly)” in my original post. :smiley:

@Spooky – my point was not the idea itself (obviously, one everyone should already be well aware of). I was more trying to provide specifics to show just how far what you see is from what you get. We all know things are not “fair,” but does everyone know how stacked the deck really is?

Maybe knowing the specifics makes no difference, or maybe people are not interested. If that is the case, that’s fine. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time (especially not my own).

I’m not saying don’t play. I’m am saying, if you do play, you should know the rules governing the system. Example: everyone knows Runic Chests suck. But people still buy them. Knowing something sucks and knowing that is sucks this much are not the same, IMO. Maybe by providing this information, I can help people make informed decisions. Would people still spend on Runic Chests is they knew they have about a 3% chance of getting something they can’t get from a Silver chest? Some might, especially since there are a handful of items you have a 0% chance of getting from Silver.

Perhaps I am in the minority. If so, I can go back to my corner and be quiet. I don’t think that’s what you’re saying, but you’ve been around the forums (and possibly the game) longer than I have. I value my time, but I also enjoy helping others. If this kind of information is not what the community wants to know, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and I should stop.

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Intersting stuff. :+1:

Sometimes my brain goes off on these tangents that compel me to illustrate my frustration or amazement with all the supporting numbers (or at least enough to get my point across with little/no uncertainty left). Not usually, but sometimes. :laughing:

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Yeah I’ve pointed this out a few times myself. The card game is one of the worst I’ve seen from PG.

Interesting way to illustrate the weighting. The hoax is that there are 9 cards in a fixed position once you see the “shuffle”. In reality the card isn’t determined until you select it, at which point your weighted choice based on remaining cards happens.

Essentially it’s like 10 gold chests for atlas if you use the buy all.

The good news is that they do actually give you stuff from the initial set. I’ve tested with buy all as well as buying each card the expensive way. Some games lie on this aspect too.

I knew it was rigged.

You are 100% correct. The cards, if you buy all, are exactly as advertised. But the cost for buying all is hardly worth it. The same is true of you get them one at a time, with keystones or rubies. They don’t change from the 9 you were first shown.

There are 300 possible sets of 9, if we exclude the first deck (which has three stacked wins, should you happen to do more than the first card… So, it’s intentionally misleading you regarding the nature of the game). None of these 300 sets has more than. 2 cards with rider shards, which iirc, are the only items you cannot buy directly and in much larger quantities with a value pack.

Chests are much more complex. I’m working on a write up of how they work right now. They are not as visually misleading, but just like the cards, the prize is always selected from a pool, and nothing is set until the moment you see the prize. The text offering players a “chance for…” is not directly lying. But like the Bazaar, the chances are worse than most players think they are.

The thing that makes the bazaar stand out is the visual misrepresentation. PG shows you 9 cards, and we’re all familiar with card games is real life. If they visually showed you what you odds really were, you would either just always take the free card, always buy all, or wait until the buy all was, in your opinion, worth it. Very few people would buy additional cards individually hoping to get the one they wanted.

When I have time, I’ll see if there are any decks that have more than 10 rider shards. I don’t think there are, but I could be wrong. That’s really the only item that could possibly be “worth” it (again, IMO).

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I would guess most of the people playing mobile games have no idea about any of that. Maybe if they are also, or come from PC gaming. For lots of people this is their first Or second game. Very few people would ever expect to be deceived in such a manner, as most people dont operate that way in their daily lives. “What should we do today dear?”, “oh, i know, lets come up with a ponzi scheme to sell to the neighborhood”. Just not how most folks operate. I have no idea how you could even work in a job like that and not feel guilty.


Thank you for the time you spent to calculate this out and write it up. It definitely adds depth to illusion and I greatly appreciate it. Look forward to the chest break down. :+1:

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Yeah, I got a draw that had 25 total rider shards in it and just bought the whole deck. I have given up attempting to buy them one at a time as you almost never get the one you want. I usually just draw my free card only until I accumulate enough keystones to buy the entire set when I get one with scrolls or shards. Everything in this game has just become a blatant money grab by a company bleeding its customer base for as much as they can.

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Thank you. I am glad some find this interesting or helpful.

As I said though, chests are more complex. But it was definitely an enlightening discovery for me.

Thank you for the example. I will look through them to see how many “good” decks there are in the 300. I don’t recall personally seeing more than 10, but I haven’t been in atlas long enough to have encountered every deck.

The strategy you suggest here is definitely what I would suggest to everyone.