Guild Wars 2 - Precursor Research

Welcome to my precursor research in Guild Wars 2. This document has been generated on 06. December 2013, based on data collected over several weeks.

The current calculated probability is...

0.79 % to get a precursor

... from an attempt with four exotic weapons in the mystic forge - based on 23 forged precursors in over 2901 forges. Which means I bought over 8703 exotics.

On the left you can see the table of contents which you can use to jump to specific sections.

Please read the full article before you dump all your money into the Mystic Forge and blame me for loosing all your gold.

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About this research

Public Service Announcement!
I didn't buy 8703 for 2000 gold and got 23 Precursors from that. I immediately had to sell precursors again in order to continue.
Sorry for the confusion.

I wanted to have data on attempts with exotics. Rares are just too much work :D
The tools I have developed for myself help me to identify the exotic weapons I want to buy. So I always try to buy the cheapest one. In order to be able to continue buying more exotics, I sold the precursors immediately.

You will see I often have much more attempts with specific weapon types. That's because more exotics have been in the price range in relation to the precursor price for this specific weapon type. This way I payed 0.9-1.3 per exotic on average through buy orders. If you buy exotics directly, you will probably end up with around 1.5-2.5 per exotic.

don't you dare throw your hard earned gold way! If you have less than 1500 gold you are f*ckn stupid when you start to gamble!

please read this article properly, in oder to understand the odds on (not) getting a precursor through the forge. I just had 334 failed tries since my last precursor ;)


You may have seen my video how I accidentally threw the rifle precursor The Hunter into the forge, but for those who haven't seen it yet, have fun.

The Research in numbers

The table on the right shows the overall number of attempts in the mystic forge and how many precursors I got from them.

When you compare the percentages and the absolute numbers between different weapon types, you can see how extreme the numbers vary.

Of course this variance has nothing to do with the different weapon type. This just shows how random numbers work ;)

Before you dump the few hundred gold you have into the forge, please remember that each listed attempt here destroys four exotics.
On how much gold this can cost, see the section on the number of forges between precursors.

The difference between 0.50% to 2.00% means that precursors would occur 4 times more often. And that is a very significant change. So I think the amount of data I have collected is by far not enough to make a good prediction about the actual programmed probability.

Some more data
Number of bought exotics8703
Failed attempts since last precursor334
Attemps per precursor∅ 111
Exotics per precursor∅ 333
The number of attempts per weapon type
Type # Attempts # Precursor Probability
Greatsword7511.33 %
Staff20210.50 %
Sword41281.94 %
Scepter900.00 %
Axe58440.68 %
Rifle37151.35 %
Short Bow57140.70 %
Hammer17500.00 %
Longbow39000.00 %
Dagger10900.00 %
Random300.00 %
∑ 2901 ∑ 23 0.79 %

Number of forges between Precursors

The following graph shows the number of failed forges between two precursors. As you can see it varies extremly from getting two precursors in a row, up to 506 forges without any success.

Each attempt consists of four exotics. Which means the worst case of 506 failed forges wasted 1518 bought exotics. Let's assume ~1g per exotic (which is very conservative), then those failed forges have wasted over 1518 !

Oh well...

sometimes you waste 1518 exotic weapons in the mystic forge without getting a precursor, and sometimes you have extreme luck and get 3 Zaps in a row.

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Interval of successful forges

The following chart shows a blue dot for each successful precursor forge. I have also overlayed the difference between precursor chart to visualize how much it varies.

The chart also includes the current calculated median and mean. But as you can see, the successful forges can be far off.


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I have started my research with 2000 . The precursors I got I sold immediately again on the TP. On my peak I had a theoretic wealth of ~4500 . Though I continued dumping my money into the forge and I am now back down, with a minus, at around ~1000 .

Precursor prices are tied to the value of exotics and the research has shown to me, that the current value of precursor reflect exactly that. This claim is supported by the fact, that most precursor prices have been fairly stable for many months now - the global market balances itself.
See the example of Dusk below - Source:

My suggestion for the average player is, to farm the gold and buy a precursor from the TP and not to gamble. As I said, the prices are very stable for most of the precursor and I believe they will stay like that. The odds to have a successful forge are okay-ish when you do it in large quantities, but it will be frustrating for most of the players with a few dozen attempts.

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As you have seen in the difference between precursor chart, you can easily throw away 1518 exotics without getting any precursor.
So if you have less than 1500 , don't even think about planing on a precursor.

If you happen to have more than 1500 and you are as curious as I am, you can start conducting your own research. But please share the data with me/us :)

So can you make profit with forging precursor?

It depends on the price of exotics you can buy. My current calculations show, that you need on average 333 exotics per precursor. For example if you want to get a Tooth of Frostfang, which you can sell for for 360-400 (TP tax included). This basically means you have to order exotics for ~1.00 in order to be even - and there are not many axe exotics in this price range.

Based on that, you can even argue, that many precursor prices are way too low to cover the uncertainty of RNG.

My prediction for the upcoming precursor crafting

We are still working on this, but our goal is to not hurt the current precursor market, as it’s a great market for keeping the value of materials in check.

John Smith - source
Based on John Smiths quote I think we can assume, that crafting a precursor will still cost 500-700 and is heavily time gated. Or it will be much more, like 800-1000 , to not economically beat the probability of the mystic forge.


Say thank you with a small donations in bitcoins :)

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by - 2013