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Gem Hunt Explained

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Gem Hunt Facts (by Williamson_39)

Sometimes we see things that are not there in the Gem Hunt. It is easy to be misled by past successes and think that there is a specific reason you found what you did, where you did, or when you did. As a result, we are drawn to tips about which rocks to pick that are well-intentioned and seemingly logical, but unfortunately baseless. In this post, I will expose the facts.

Here's the inside scoop.

Spoiler Alert: This information contains details that will simplify your experience and interaction with the mines, and may take away some of the fun for some. All you really need to know is #1 below. If you are interested in how it works, read beyond those, otherwise stick with the first fact and go play - other tips won't hurt you in this case, and if they're fun, go for it!


Facts

  • Gems are distributed among the five mines based on their colour. The main Gem Hunt page will show you the layout, but basically each colour of gem has its "home" mine that happens to match the colour of gem. The lower level gems also appear in one or two other mines. If you do the math per mine (rather than by gem colour) you will find that this means that there are exactly 14 gems in every mine (6 of the mine's background colour gems, 2 "uncommon" gems of another colour, and 6 "common" gems of two other colours (3 each). This is the ONLY critical piece of information you need to know to get a crown of wonder.
  • Bats, spiders, sparkles, drips, and rock positioning are random and completely independent of gems and slag. Not one of these provides any clue as to where you will find a gem.
  • "Rare" gems are only rare because they are only found in their "home" mine. But in a given mine, the top gem has the same chance of being found as any of the other 13 available there.
  • Rocks are not really "hiding" places, they are just things to click. Gems are not placed and covered by rocks in the mine at all.


Each time you pick a rock (any rock!), two things happen:

  • You have a 7 in 20 chance of finding some sort of gem (something that is not slag) on your first rock, 7 in 19 on the second, and 7 in 18 on the third, regardless of how many rocks are actually visible in the mine (they vary).
  • IF you find a gem, it will be one of the 14 associated with that mine, chosen randomly based on equal probabilities.

Since you have three tries, the probability of finding nothing but slag on a given day is only:

File:w39formula1.png

or 25%. So conversly, three quarters of the time you play, you will find a gem. Those are pretty good odds for success! But exactly which gem you find is still random, so your chances of finding one particular gem are much lower. More on that later.

Equal probability among gems in a mine means that for example, in the Buried Bones Mine, you are as likely to find the Webkinz Diamond as the Booger Nugget. By contrast, over the entire map, the Booger Nugget is more common because it appears in three different mines. That's why you tend to fill your gem box with common gems first - because you find them "accidentally" in other mines and because there are 9 different common gems and only one rare in each mine. But their individual probabilities in a single mine are the same.

The clue to #4 above came from the realization that sometimes there are fewer rocks shown than there are gems available in that mine, and you still find slag in most single clicks, but the odds of success don't change. If there are fewer rocks than gems, and some are always "slag," that would mean that some gems could not be hidden! But people complete their collections relatively quickly, so I felt it was extremely unlikely that certain gems would ever be "unfindable."

Completing your collection for the Crown of Wonder

When you first get started, choosing a mine is easy. But as your collection grows, you can use the distribution of gems to your advantage, so that when you choose a mine, you are giving yourself the best possible chance to find a gem you need. WI member ennazusjsc has a great tool to optimize your daily search, HERE, by prioritizing the mines based on the distribution of gems and your current collection. Based on the new probability information above, check out her revised version later in that thread too. It also incorporates a weighting for the potential value of duplicates that you can sell to Arte.

When you get down to only a few gems remaining, you must be patient! Based on the four Facts above, there is NO WAY to improve your chances of finding that last missing gem, other than being sure to look in a mine that holds it. Particularly for a top level "rare" gem, you MUST look in its home mine to ever find it.

Your chance of finding a particular gem that you need is a little bit complicated. The overall probability on a given day is the sum of the probabilities of each turn. But those turns are not the same because you don't always have three chances at it - your day ends if you find any other gem. In your first turn, it's simple - the probability of finding a particular gem is just the probability of NOT finding slag, times the probability of getting the one gem you need out of the 14 in that mine. But in order to even have a second turn, you need to have found slag on the first try, and similarly with turn three, the first two had to have been slag. So, the probability (P) of finding one specific gem on a given day is:

You find it on your first try: (P(not slag in turn 1) AND P(one gem)) OR Second try: (P(slag in turn 1) AND P(not slag in turn 2) AND P(one gem)) OR Third try: (P(slag in turn 1) AND P(slag in turn 2) AND P(not slag in turn 3) AND P(one gem))

Whew! In probability, "AND" means multiplication, and "OR" means addition. P(one gem) is always 1/14, or about 0.07. So we can plug in the numbers for turns 1 to 3 respectively, and add them up:

File:w39formula2.png

If my math is correct (repaired, thanks jillion!), your chance of finding that last missing gem today, as long as you go into a mine that holds it, is about 1 in 20 (actually a little better than that - the answer is rounded). Incidentally, this is the same chance you have of finding the gem-of-the-day, but again, only if you look a mine that holds it. Otherwise, your chances are nil.

NB. Because the gems are equally weighted, there is a simpler way to arrive at the same answer: The probability of finding one gem on a given day is just the probability of finding any gem, 1 - P(slagDay) from the first equation above, divided by 14. This yields exactly the same answer in this case, but does not expose the different contribution of each turn, which might be useful to verify the theoretical probabilities against observed results. On the other hand, it might just be needlessly baffling.

1 in 20 (5%) seems like a slim chance, but it's actually pretty good news. It means that 50% of the time, you will find your last missing gem in two weeks or less. Nine times out of ten, you'll be stuck with one gem remaining to finish your collection for less than a month and a half.

Unfortunately, as jillion points out below, there will be times when you are that one in ten that takes longer. As you've seen me say before, HERE on the topic of trophies, there is no guarantee with random chance, and for everyone who gets their last gem in a day or two, there is someone who is stuck for months. Waiting isn't easy, but while you do, you can be earning KinzCash by selling duplicates to Arte, or doubling up on gems to get your next Crown of Wonder that much sooner!


Final Thoughts

I realize that your cognitive dissonance bias is busy trashing everything I've just said. But I'm a fan of reason and a hopeless optimist. In the end, although there are a lot of mistaken tips passed around, they don't really hurt you as long as you look in the right mine. If the well-meaning but unfounded hints are truly irrelevant, they are so whether you follow them or not. Wheeling that cart back and forth in the mine is part of its charm, so by all means take your time and explore.

The cost of superstitious tips isn't always zero in WW, or the RW (cognitive dissonance is heavily studied in the context of financial markets for example), so there's an interesting lesson in the way the mines make you see patterns that aren't there. We see the world as we are, not as it is. Our experiences, prejudices, assumptions, and even the wiring of our brains and sensory organs together create our own little personal worlds. This is why we should look twice before stepping into traffic, and it is why we should think twice before dismissing someone else's perspective. Reality is relative. If something as simple as Arte's Gem Hunt can trick us so easily, what else do we think we know?

Webkinz World can be a wonderful place to learn, even beyond the features that Ganz intends to be educational. All you need to do is pay attention to what you're seeing, understand it, and talk about the difference between what is real, and what is not.