An argument for doing heists

I’ve been doing some maths lately, and I think heists are one of, if not the most efficient Epa carousel in the game.

If you use gang of hoodlums and the decoy, you can get 27 cp of casing in 8 actions, as well as a little prize, on average worth about 60p. then starting the heist and getting the inside information brings your total actions to 12. A perfect run would then take 16 actions, using both pieces of inside information on +2 cards, raising suspicion by 1 cp, and gaining 30.625E on average. Nicholas and Sons removes 5.5 cp of suspicion (on average) so you would only have to use it every 5 heists, making a perfect run take 16.2 actions. Addtionally, you can convert touching love stories to Bazaar permits, with a success of 200 cryptic clues (4E) or a rare success of a Fourth City Airag (62.5E). If you run the heist (perfectly) 100 times, you get enough love stories to convert to permits 24 times. The total prize after 100 heists, taking into account the cost of the ablution solution, is 3195.77E for 1644 actions at 1.94Epa.
Of course, you won’t always get a perfect heist, you might not draw the prize card, or you might be unlucky with other cards (higher tier lodgings help). I’ve been doing this with 3 card lodgings, and have got a lot of perfect runs, but also quite a few that take 18 or 19 actions. Let’s say that we average out to 18 actions per heist(quite conservative I would say). This then gets us an average of 1.73 Epa: still very decent, and greater than the affair of the box, similar to the fidgeting writer.
Of course, whilst on a heist, there is the possibility to snaffle documents: a highly profitable action if succesful, pretty costly if unsuccesful. It is currently at 57.35% on the spreadsheet, so that is 3.15 E each time you do it, if your luck is average. There are 18 cards (correct me if I’m wrong here) so assuming that you draw 7 cards each heist, its possibility of appearing is 38.9%. Failing here will require you to use another action to complete the heist, and will also require you to use your ablution solution sooner but maybe not seeing as it averages at 5.5 and we’re using it every 5 heists. We’ll assume it doesn’t affect that.
Thus, assuming you snaffle every time the card comes up, and assuming you never fail the heist (that would be bad) and keeping our average time to complete a heist at 18 actions, using an ablution solution every 5 heists, our epa comes to 1.78. If you could run the heist perfectly each time (maybe possible with 5 card lodgings) your epa would be 1.998.
I don’t really think any other carousel comes close to this one. The main weakness of this carousel however is the fact that you have to rely on opportunity cards, so it’s not ideal to do it in the morning like you would with many others.

I have a 5-card lodging, capped stats, and most of the BDR. I don’t even bother getting inside informations, most of the time I have at least one card available with guaranteed +1 progress, or at least +1 progress on average (some cards are 50% of +2, some are “pretty good odds” of getting +2).
Way back (last year? 2013? I don’t remember), I logged about 100 attempts, including some that bombed out, and it still worked out to almost 200 ppa. The searing enigmas really make it.
The 7-progress option is actually worse, unless you need bazaar permits and not just profit. It’s worse even if you get 7 progress before the treasure appears (it happens).

I kept notes on 50 heists a while ago and I came out with 1.93 epa, which is pretty damn good (And ~66 actions/enigma, which I think might be the most efficient enigma grind).

Further notes: They were all done with a 5 card lodging and 10+ BDR. I averaged about 14 actions per heist, and I fed Appalling Secrets to a cat 35 times.

All that said, I still don’t prefer heists since a) you need to micromanage your opportunity deck to make the most out of it, since drawing cards one at a time is way more efficient and b) you miss out on a ton of London cards, so FW + the good London cards might be better epa over all (and even if it isn’t it’s hard to get scraps while heisting.)

Having run a bunch of heists (small bunch, maybe 30 or so?) I’ve never encountered an enigma. Where would one find one while heisting?

There’s a 25% chance of getting a Searing Enigma instead of the normal 8 Touching Love Stories if you take the “cheap” success on the Baseborn & Fowlingpiece heist (the one requiring 5 Burglar’s Progress instead of 7).

Off-topic, but I’m curious – my math has the fidgeting writer at 1.34 echoes/action, assuming 2/3 and 1/2 for all the pretty good/either way rolls; are those assumptions off (or did I make some other mistake)?

Pretty good odds are either 70 or 80%, either way is 50 or 60%

Based on the many thousands of recorded attempts, it seems highly likely that the 7 gambles needed for the Fidgeting Writer have the following odds: 0.7 / 0.7 / 0.7 / 0.6 / 0.5 / 0.5 / 0.5.

As for EPA, there’s some debate, mostly when trying to take into account the cost of acquiring the needed materials (it’s obviously a different analysis if you already have everything you need). I’ve seen EPA calculations ranging from 1.7 to 2.2 EPA. I’m doing a FW run myself at the moment and collect the data to see how it works for me.

edited by dov on 6/12/2015

If you could buy the materials from the Bazaar at their sell price, or otherwise farm them at exactly one echoes worth of goods per action, FW would have an expected epa of 1.88 and change. It should be higher than this in practice, though, since grinding the early components can be done at slightly better rates in the Flit.

EDIT: &quotIf you could buy the materials from the Bazaar at their sell price, or otherwise farm them at exactly one echoes worth of goods per action&quot

These are, obviously in retrospect, wildly different things. Re-jiggering my spreadsheet to correctly value component items in actions instead of echoes tanks the expected epa down to like 1.57 which is, mildly, a pretty big drop.

(Spreadsheet provided here in case anyone wants to check my math. The calculations on top treat the FW as a state machine and are a little convoluted. Below, the epa is calculated by considering the actions and expected payout in 1,000 trials, which is far simpler and gives the same result.)

So, uh, yeah. Heists are definitely competitive with a 1.57 epa grind, especially if you have the available time and patience to optimally manage your hand.
edited by Sackville on 6/12/2015

So, uh, yeah. Heists are definitely competitive with a 1.57 epa grind, especially if you have the available time and patience to optimally manage your hand.[/quote]

Bah. Yet another apparently promising grind stomped to ground by AotB.
AotB superior.
AotBots transform and roll out!

BTW, I looked up my records, and the actual numbers are:
number of runs=92 (out of which two ended when I lost all cat thread)
number of th higher reward taken=1 (leaving 89 papers taken)
enigmas received=18 (giving 20.2% rate, not 25%)
final ppa of all those runs, including cost of removing suspicion, was 178
Even at 20%, taking the papers has expected value (28.5 echo) higher than taking the permits (27 echo).
But I feel like the enigma rate there has been stealthily nerfed. I will need to start making records again.

The revamped Shadowy content has a slightly relevant change: it’s now possible to steal paintings from a noted gallery for the Topsy King, giving 3 casing for 1 action, even at a high Shadowy level. Previously, we had to choose between spending 5 actions to start a heist with no inside information, or 10 actions (hoodlums + decoy + 2) to start with two inside infos and a small bundle of oddities. But now hoodlums + paintings opens up the possibility of 7 actions for one inside info.

I think this is usually going to be more efficient than the 10-action choice. Whether two actions for an inside information is worthwhile probably depends on your lodging size, Dreaded level, and kifer quality.

Makes sense that stealing something would be quicker than earning it legally…

I think it will pay off even for best prepared characters. Especially if lodging size stops being an advantage.

For what it’s worth, cutting hard AWAY from ppa actually results in one of the more quickly sustainable sources of Waves. Item conversion carousel? Better be prepared to burn a lot of actions for an average of 2 CPs/action, although you’ll also see a diversely distributed 50 ppa as the result of all that shuffling. Opportunity cards? Probably your best bet, but will they come along at a pace not requiring you burn Salon/Orphanage CPs? Depends how much Notability you have going on. BDR aside, you need something like 70-90 CPs a week of MW not to simply shed a point. (This leaves aside that you’ll be at a 56 level handicap gaining that 15th Point, but that might just require calling on certain parties for help in addition to having awesome BDR.)

Interestingly, MW gain from Heists scales with Burglar’s Progress. If you walk in with even a three-card lodging but packed to the gills with, say, 5 Inside Informations, strong Shadowy/Dreaded/Duchess/Kifer quality, you won’t find yourself relying on too many luck checks, and your odds of drawing a closet to restore any forced non-sneaky maneuvers is pretty strong. You should never walk away with less than 10 Burglar’s Progress (20 CPs making waves!) and could reasonably ride a string of favorable luck checks to 20 (40). This ultimately doesn’t cover even cover the maintenance costs of high Notability, but it makes reaching that third tier of professions a lot easier.

Interestingly, 50 Burglar’s progress can be met by 10-14 heists that meet even minimal treasure qualifications, as long as the player initiates two heists a day that end successfully. Provided that the player makes a point to case and re-enter relatively soon after a successful heist,they can still earn 20+ MW/day, probably only relying on stored resources when trying to increase Notability. And rather than “grind” waves in some low-efficiency method such as at Court, one can simply perform an epic heist in order to keep the Amanuensis and the Sommelier coming.

Thank you for that explanation. Someone in the past praised the MW collecting through heists method and since then I’m a big supporter on that.
Very reliable, with nice prizes at the end.
More so if you are grinding for a 4-card lodging (Bazaar permits/Love story)

Is the Inside Information important if you have a 5-card hand? Also, I understand it is most efficient to go for Baseborn & Fowlingpiece and the Progress 5 result?

It’s always helpful, but the more cards you have in your hand the longer you’re likely able to keep earning Burglar’s Progress easily by drawing favorable cards. For a MW-intensive heist, I would actually bring a handful of Inside Information regardless. If your focus is profit, then doing without is on net very profitable.

Prior to the recent update, I would grab two Inside Information even with a 5 card hand, since an action spent on II is usually an action saved during the heist, plus you don’t have to draw as many cards on average.

Now that we have more granular control over casing gain with the Topsy King thefts remaining open, I’m probably going to start going in with just one. I still need lots more Touching Love Stories to ply Mr. Pages’ favor with.

Spurred on by the looming opportunities of December, I’ve been burgling the offices of Baseborn and Fowlingpiece for over a week now, and am about to reap the fruit of my labours by moving into the Premises at the Bazaar for which I have just gained a lengthy lease.* I have also advanced from 3 points of Notability to 4, and am about to gain another point (though it ought to be the last one for a long time, unless I decide heists are that much easier with four cards in my hand).

It is a terribly effective method if you are after this sort of thing. I started out rather cautiously, but soon stopped casing for escape routes (I did end up losing all cat-like tread twice, but was lucky both times and even kept almost all my Making Waves gain in the end). My preferred method was using my Gang of Hoodlums twice to acquire 8 casing, and then spending it on a key copy and three pieces of Inside Information before embarking on my burglary. After I read the above posts and discovered that MW depends on my Burglar’s progress quality, I started trying harder to prolong my stay, which worked well in some cases (up to 17 BP, I think), though this strategy is ultimately what led to the aforementioned near misses.

  • Huh. It turns out that, even though the message tells me to “use the lease in [my] inventory to move here”, I moved in automatically. I suppose the game correctly assumes that I’ll be eager to expand my card hand and would rather not spend three actions for it, but it’s strange nonetheless. I don’t believe this has happened again since I set foot in my very first lodgings.