In this article I explain how to calculate out all of the values I am using in my various articles for assigning real world values to all of Arena's virtual in game items.
You may think this is frivolous and silly, but this can be useful for determining if you want to buy certain items in game with real money or not. It helps us determine if you want use wild cards or just buy a package from the store with gems. It helps us figure out how much value we're getting for the money we spend, or how much value we are receiving for those of us who play for free.
Assigning real world value does have a purpose.
I will go through each different in-game item and explain how I came up with it's value.
Everything that has a value has been directly calculated back to gems or gold, and then to dollars. If there is no path back to gems or gold, then it has a value of $0.
The Quick Values List
This is the Google Sheet I used to calculate all of these values.
MTG Arena Calculated Values Google Sheet
All calculations are my own. Thank you to a few folks in Reddit as well as my family for helping me figure the WIld Card values out.
Lets start with the easiest value to calculate, and the base of every other calculation.
There are a few ways to purchase gems directly. There is the Welcome bundle, Explorer bundle and regular store pricing in 5 different quantities. There have been several different rates available at some point in time. For these calculations, I am using the regularly priced store rates only.
To get the average regular priced gem rate, I added up each of the 5 regularly priced bundles in the store, and averaged their rates together.
1 Gem = $.0058
The only method of obtaining gold is through playing the game. Since you can't directly buy gold using gems, we need to look at other comparisons to figure this value out.
Avatars, Sleeves, Booster Packs, Pets and Ranked Draft entry fees can all be purchased using either gems or gold. Using these items, we are able to compare each gem to gold rate, and then averaged them all together.
All of this averages out to 5.53 gold per gem
Once we know this, we can then calculate the dollar value with the gold to gem conversion:
(1 Gem / Avg Gold per Gem) x (Avg $ Per Gem) = $ per gold
1 Gold = $.0011
The value of the 8-card Arena booster pack is relatively easy to calculate.
Booster packs are worth either 200 Gems, or 1000 Gold. We can then add the average dollar amounts of Gems and Gold together to find the average booster pack cost. This does not include one time purchase or other special store bundles. This is calculated using the regular store pricing.
1 Booster Pack w/ Gems = $1.17
1 Booster Pack w/ Gold = $1.06
1 Booster Pack = $1.11
There are two ways to purchase card styles, either with Gems or Gold. With new packages coming out with each major Arena update, this will need to be recalculated with each change in the store to determine the values.
At the time of these calculations (Nov 2019), we could buy card styles for 500 gems. Recently some 600 gem styles have been added to the store. There are also now style bundles with various gem rates (3 for 600, 5 for 1400, 4 for 1800) and now even some with gold rates that were not available before (5 for 3000).
Using the Gold and Gem values, we averaged all fo the different costs together.
1 Card Style = $2.08
Mastery Tree Orbs
Since these are equal to one Card Style, we can safely say their value is equal to the Card Style value.
1 Orb = $2.08
Avatars can be purchased using either gems or gold, each one having it's own dollar rate.
1 Avatar w/gems = $2.92
1 Avatar w/gold = $3.17
1 Avatar = $3.04
Pets used to be $0, since the only way they were obtained were through the mastery pass. While they may have had some value if you broke everything down, there was no direct path back to gems/gold or in the end, actual money. Until now.
With the late Nov 2019 update, we have our first purchasable pet, Dragon Whelp. He is able to be purchased with either gems or gold.
1 Pet w/gems = $17.53
1 Pet w/gold = $21.12
1 Pet = $19.32
Sleeves are another item that can be purchase with either gems or gold. Each has it's own rate.
1 Sleeve w/gems = $7.01
1 Sleeve w/gold = $4.22
1 Sleeve = $5.62
This one is a bit harder to calculate. It is the only item in the game that you can not purchase directly. The only way to obtain wild cards is through opening booster packs.
Since we know the cost of 1 booster pack, and we know the drop rates for each wild card rarity level, we can use these to figure out what a Wild Card is worth.
There are a few drop rates used, one is for the random pack drop rate, and one is for the guaranteed wild card track.
I am using the published rates with the Pity Timer included, as found here: https://mtgazone.com/wildcards/. I feel that if this was important enough to note for more real world numbers in this article, then I should use these numbers in order to calculate a more relevant real world value.
There is also some discrepancy in using the drop rate because you really don't know the true rate that a random wild card may drop. But over time, this should all average out to the published rates. Since creating some kind of formula would be too complicated for this need, I am settling with just using the published rates. If you get more wild cards over time, great, then they are worth less, If you get fewer over time, they are worth more. Lets just stick with the average published rates.
*A note about the rare value: The rare wild card rate and value will be a bit off because every 4th rare will be a mythic. I am not sure how to calculate this every 4th rare not being a rare, so if someone figures this out, please let me know.
Because these rarities have 2 different rates that occur at the same time, we need to add the rates together.
Let's use uncommon as an example. 1 in 5 packs should give you a wild card, but at the same time, you receive a wild card for every 6 packs that you open, regardless of chance. So, for every 6 packs you open, you will get 2 uncommon wild cards. Because of this we will be adding the two rates together to find our values.
1 Common Wild Card = $5.56
1 Uncommon Wild Card = $3.03
1 Rare Wild Card = $4.77*
1 Mythic Wild Card = $14.83
Daily Win Bonus
This one is a simple calculation. Just note how much gold you won for the daily win bonuses and multiply with the average gold rate. If you want to add in the ICR's value in too, then go ahead.
4 Wins = (550 gold x $.0011) + (1 ICR x ?) = $.61 in free value
15 Daily Wins = (750 gold x $.0011) + (6 ICR x ?) = $.83 in free value
Daily Quest Reward
Again, this is easy to calculate. Just multiply the reward amount with the average gold rate.
500 gold Daily Quest reward x $.0011 = $.55 in free value
750 gold Daily Quest reward x $.0011 = $.83 in free value
Using the known amount of items we will receive from the Mastery Tree, we can easily calculate it's total value. The rewards stop at Level 92. If you were able to reach Level 92, you will have received 46 booster packs and 5 orbs.
(46 Booster Packs x $1.11) + (5 Orbs x $2.08) = $51.06 + $10.40 = $61.51
Mastery Tree = $61.51 in free value
For calculating the Mastery Pass, we just add up all the reward, multipy them each with their own values, then add it all together.
Why is this important? It can easily show how much value you get for the gems, and thus money, that you spend obtaining the Mastery Pass. If you purchased the Mastery Pass with free gems, then this shows you how much free value you received in return for your time.
Lets see what all we got for the Throne of Eldraine Mastery Pass:
Throne of Edraine Mastery Pass = $182.40 in value
Individual Cards and ICRs?
I give no credence to anthing in the Individual Card values. These are just ideas I had to calculate their individual values. It would be nice to figure this out so we can figure out what an ICR is worth.
Cards themselves have no value except what you paid for them. Since you can only obtain them via booster packs, you can just add up all the various ways you can obtain booster packs. 14 card Traditional, ranked and limited packs and regular 8 card packs from the store. You get 42 cards via the draft methods, and 8 cards in a regular Arena booster pack. Average all the gems and gold out, and you get $.14 per individual card.
Mythics are going to throw this off since the drop rate for an 8 card booster pack is 1:30, and who knows what it is in the 14 card packs.
Also with Draft and Limited, some sets in the past have 15 card boosters, some of the newer ones have 14 card boosters.
With the addition of a new speciality set, Historic Anthologies 1, this brings the first of actually being able to buy cards. Buying this entire set nets you 80 cards, costing $.17/ea.
So, I am not even going to bother evaluating these at the moment. I will have to figure this out another time.
For now, I will just stick a $.14 per individal card price on them. Mythics be forgotton.
Experience points? Levels?
u/ACWhammy on reddit had an interesting idea: https://www.reddit.com/r/MagicArena/comments/e29ty9/is_buying_mastery_levels_more_time_efficient_than/
Basically take an hourly rate and apply that to how much time it took you to grind out levels. Then compare that against just buying levels.
Purchasing levels will always be more efficient, since there will be zero time spent to skip ahead in time. It's obviously more costly.
While I see this having merit, you need to figure that everyone's time is worth something different, and it's also free time.
I believe the only use this would have is if you played profesionally and were able to put a dollar per hour rate to it. Even if you played professionally, this rate would only apply to each individual since everyone makes different amounts per hour.
You may not feel that anything in Arena has value, but it actually does. Even though you virtual collection is worth $0, this does not mean that there is a cost to obtain all of those $0 items. Keep this in mind as you spend money. The only thing you are getting in return is fun and entertainment.
For some of us without a local game store, this cost allows us to play with our friends remotely, meet new people online and form a community to play with from many places around the world. For others it's a cheap entry into competitive play for a chance to win large prizes at the national and world levels.
These costs and values are many things to many people. It's all worth something.
I hope you found this article helpful and useful. You can use these nubers to help figure out various costs of packages, new events and other items in game.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me.