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Silph Study: #049

Published:
07.27.2021

Gift Item Drop Rates: Sticker Update

We’re celebrating Christmas in July by revealing everything you wanted to know about Gifts! Our previous study thoroughly explored the drop rates of items from friendship Gifts. But the surprise introduction of decorative stickers to the Gift pool prompted questions about possible changes to Gift mechanics. In addition, the increased in-game events spurred rumors of certain items being boosted or nerfed during particular time periods. Luckily, Silph Road Researchers were prepared to take on the challenge. Our most festive Researchers opened 37,493 Gifts to help us investigate these rumors. Let’s see what our recipients unwrapped!

Key Findings

    1. Each Gift contains three distinct item bundles with identifiable drop rates.
    2. Each Gift includes one sticker design selected from a mostly uniform distribution pool.
    3. Item drop rates appear consistent across events unless an event specifically features Gifts.

Background and Methodology

Each Gift is composed of three item bundles, determined independently at the moment the Gift is opened. The term “bundle” refers to a single grouping of each item, as described in our previous study. Pinap Berries and Great Balls are bundled in pairs of two, Poké Balls in quantities of five, and Stardust in units of 100. All other items are bundled individually, including Eggs. Gifts have the chance to drop an Egg as one of the three bundles only when a Traveler has an open Egg storage spot (see our previous study for more information). The bonus Egg storage space cannot be filled by Eggs from Gifts.

Stickers debuted on June 11, 2020, and initially could replace one or more item bundles. After August 21, 2020, stickers shifted to a guaranteed “bonus” bundle (given open sticker inventory) instead of replacing other item bundles. Due to this major shift in the mechanics of stickers, the current article only analyzes data gathered after the change.

Researchers recorded sticker and Egg inventories before opening Gifts and then reported the item contents for each beribboned Gift they opened. The date of opening was also noted in order to identify event periods for closer analysis.

Item Drop Rates

The table below shows the observed drop rate for each bundle per Gift, along with a 95% confidence interval. These numbers remained constant across non-event periods during the time frame of our study. The “Suspected Weight” column of this table reflects the relative rarity of each item to another. These numbers are slightly different from our last set of published rates, suggesting tweaks to the drop rates since the previous article.

Bundle Proportion with
Full Egg Inventory
Proportion with
Open Egg Inventory
Suspected Weight
100 Stardust 30.4 ± 0.3% 23.8 ± 0.9% 25
12.0 ± 0.2% 9.4 ± 0.6% 10
2 Great Balls 9.9 ± 0.2% 7.4 ± 0.5% 8
9.6 ± 0.2% 8.0 ± 0.6% 8
7.3 ± 0.2% 5.9 ± 0.5% 6
Max Revive 6.2 ± 0.2% 4.6 ± 0.4% 5
Max Potion 6.2 ± 0.2% 5.0 ± 0.4% 5
Potion 6.1 ± 0.1% 4.7 ± 0.4% 5
Super Potion 6.1 ± 0.2% 4.9 ± 0.4% 5
Hyper Potion 3.6 ± 0.1% 2.9 ± 0.3% 3
Revive 2.4 ± 0.1% 2.1 ± 0.3% 2
King's Rock 0.06 ± 0.02% 0.02 ± 0.03%
Metal Coat 0.06 ± 0.02% 0.05 ± 0.05%

Of special note here is the 7 km Gift Egg. If the main Egg inventory is full, Gifts will not drop an Egg (Gift Eggs cannot fill the bonus Egg storage). But if one or more of the nine available Egg inventory slots are empty, a 7 km Egg will replace a regular item bundle in roughly two-thirds of Gifts (64.0 ± 1.7%). Because the high likelihood of receiving an Egg reduces the chances for a different item bundle, the second column of the chart above reflects the reduced item drop rates when an Egg slot is open.

Stickers

Stickers were introduced in June 2020 as decorations to personalize Gifts sent to friends. They can be obtained through spinning PokéStops and Gym Photo Discs, opening buddy presents, purchasing from the Shop, battling Team GO Rocket Leaders, and — most relevant to this article — through opening Gifts. Each Gift contains a sticker as a bonus bundle, in addition to the three guaranteed item bundles. The maximum storage for any sticker design is 25, and a Gift will fail to include a sticker if the inventory is at full capacity. Aside from events featuring exclusive stickers, Gifts can include one of 11 original sticker designs.

Many Pokémon GO events now feature limited edition sticker designs, some of which are available through Gifts.¹ During these events, special stickers are added to the existing pool of original stickers. We chose to exclude event periods featuring special stickers from our study of drop rates, due to the limited availability of the event designs and the short-term nature of the event periods.

The chart below shows the drop rates of the 11 original sticker designs using data from August 21 onward (the date from which sticker drops were guaranteed worldwide). The drop rate of stickers is nearly uniform across 9 of the original designs. Slowbro and Meowth stickers fall into a separate, rarer tier.

Sticker Observed Drop Rate Suspected Weight
11.0 ± 0.5% 10
11.0 ± 0.5% 10
11.0 ± 0.5% 10
11.0 ± 0.5% 10
10.5 ± 0.5% 10
10.4 ± 0.5% 10
11.2 ± 0.5% 10
11.1 ± 0.5% 10
10.7 ± 0.5% 10
1.2 ± 0.2% 1
1.0 ± 0.2% 1

The Role of Events

A common question asked on the Road is if the frequency of Poké Ball drops changes before and during Community Days, when balls from Gifts are the most in demand. To evaluate this question, we grouped our Gift item data into time periods representing Community Days and other event periods.

The bundle distribution across various event periods. All represented gifts were opened with a full Egg Inventory to prevent 7 km eggs. Evolution items are excluded from the bar plot.

In the bar plot above, the first column demonstrates the standard item drop rates observed in our study. The second and third columns show the item distribution for five day periods prior to a Community Day and then Community Days themselves, with no significant changes in the item distributions. Although individual travelers might perceive drop rates of particular items to be boosted or nerfed during Community Days, the consistent overall numbers suggest that this perception is simply RNG at work. In contrast, the last two columns highlight special event periods where we did observe changes in the item drop rates.

The event announcement for the Lunar New Year celebration on February 9-14, 2021, shared that Gifts would contain more Poké Balls than normal. Our data showed that all balls were boosted by roughly 4/3 of their normal rate, resulting in new drop rates of Poké Balls at 16.9%, Great Balls at 12.4%, and Ultra Balls at 12.2%. All other item drops decreased at roughly even rates, suggesting that the ball weights were increased without changing the underlying weights of other items.

The Kanto Tour announcement failed to mention changes to Gift contents, but Travelers experienced measurable changes nonetheless. On the event day of February 20, 2021, Poké Balls were boosted and (rarely) multiple stickers could be unwrapped from a single Gift. Great and Ultra Balls showed no adjustment in rates, but Poké Balls increased from their standard 12.0% drop rate to a massive 30.6%!

Both the Valentine’s Day and Charge Up events introduced new items such as Razz Berries and rare evolution items to the Gift pool. Because of the short-term availability of these items and the resulting limited amount of potential data, we chose to suspend data collection during these time periods.²

Parting Words

Gifts will always be an important way to acquire more resources, and we have a better idea than ever what those bowed boxes will drop for the Travelers opening them. Stickers have become a fun and artful way of adding a touch of personality to the routine of sending Gifts to a lengthy Friends list. The detailed and often adorable designs are a joy to discover and add another element to Pokémon GO’s special brand of “gotta catch ‘em all” engagement. With all the love and attention being shown to Gift mechanics, what exciting new updates might we see in the future? Whether you prefer to give or to receive, go share the Gift love with your fellow Travelers. Until next time!


Acknowledgements

Authors: Lead Researcher DeeDillyDawn
Analysis: Scientist Pancake, Lead Researcher Gustavobc, and Senior Researcher Lauracb
Project Leaders: Scientists skyeofthetyger and Mihryazd
Graphics: Scientists WoodWoseWulf and CaroKann
Editing: Scientists skyeofthetyger and Cham1nade and Senior Researcher JinianD
Data collection: 133 researchers gifted data to this study. These 12 were our most active openers:

  • AlertedFancy
  • amazingaileen
  • Brush are Best
  • jennwebb09
  • Lauracb18
  • NeroXP
  • Pancake2001
  • Rachies
  • silvietta23
  • Sinkalingsveis
  • ThatOneZebra
  • topseeser

Footnotes

¹ Several events featured limited edition stickers available exclusively from gifts. Due to the short nature of the event periods, we did not track the distribution or drop rates of stickers during these events.

Event Exclusive Stickers Event Period
Halloween 2020
October 24, 2020 – November 4, 2020
Holidays 2020
December 22, 2020 – December 31, 2020
New Year’s 2021
December 31, 2020 – January 4, 2021
Valentine’s Day 2021
February 14, 2021 – February 18, 2021
Spring Into Spring 2021
April 4, 2021 – April 8, 2021

² Several events temporarily introduced new items to the Gift pool. We did not track Gifts during these events.

Event Exclusive Items Event Period
Valentine’s Day 2021
February 14, 2021 – February 18, 2021
 
Charge Up Event
March 16, 2021 – March 22, 2021