Thanks to the help and input from so many here on the forums, many of the questions about refining without Dragon Orbs have been answered. The tl;dr version is as follows:
The chance of success when refining without Dragon Orbs is:
From To Mirage Tienkang Tisha Chienkun
+0 --> +1: 50% 65% 53.5% 100%
+1 --> +2: 30% 45% 33.5% 25%
+2 --> +3: 30% 45% 33.5% 10%
+3 --> +4: 30% 45% 33.5% 4%
+4 --> +5: 30% 45% 33.5% 1.67%
+5 --> +6: 30% 45% 33.5% 0.77%
+6 --> +7: 30% 45% 33.5% 0.47%
+7 --> +8: 30% 45% 33.5% 0.25%
+8 --> +9: 25% 40% 28.5% 0.13%
+9 -> +10: 20% 35% 23.5% 0.07%
+10 -> +11: 12% 27% 15.5% 0.04%
+11 -> +12: 5% 20% 8.5% 0.02%
- Generally speaking, refining armour
up to +7 costs, on average, about 1/3 the price of Dragon Orbs, provided you do it correctly are willing and able to accept the risks involved
- Refining weapons
up to +7 costs, on average, about 1/2 the price of Dragon Orbs.
- Dragon Orbs typically become the cheapest way to refine when dealing with refines of +8 or greater.
- Dragon Orb Oceans, which can refine up to +10, are usually the cheapest option for refining +8 and +9 as well.
- Sale prices obviously have a huge impact on refining costs. The best strategy is to wait for a 50%-off sale on Tienkangs and Tishas and then refine up to +7, then wait for a 65%-off sale on Dragon Orbs to refine your gear higher.
- When not on sale, Tishas/Tienkangs can also be purchased for a discount by purchasing DQ items from other players, then exchanging them for Event Gold. The exact amount of savings will vary depending upon server prices.
- Choosing which stone is the most cost effective for each level of refine can be calculated by entering the current market price for Mirages, Gold, Stones, and Orbs into this spreadsheet: Zoho Sheet - Refining Guide
- A more feature-rich, Excel-only version of the same spreadsheet, that is also capable of running simulations of thousands of refining attempts, can be downloaded here: Excel Version - Refining Guide
- Duke Blacke's rumours regarding certain times of day, certain NPCs, certain techniques, certain types of equipment, etc..., having better odds for refining success appear to all be false. For example, the rumour that the Harshlands Officer gives better +1 refining odds to players who belong to the faction that owns the land was tested with several hundred Mirages and no improvement was found.
Good luck, and happy refining! (for cheap!)
(The rest of this post is the original question and theory that I posed to the forum. Please note that my 40% theory was eventually proven false! The correct numbers are now listed above.)
- end of EDIT -
ORIGINAL FIRST POST:
Finding accurate information about refining seems to be really tricky. Other than, "Dragon Orbs give 100% of refining success," there seems to be a lot of guesswork and factually inaccurate claims out there.
Now, I don't claim to know the truth either, so I'm wondering if my theory matches what other people have experienced.
My theory, based on my (admittedly limited) experience, is that refining with just Mirages has a 40% chance of success. It doesn't seem to matter what level of refinement you already have, so whether you're going from +0 to +1, or +9 to +10, you've still got a 40% chance of success.
If that's the case, then the average number of Mirages you'll need to refine a piece of armour is as follows:
If this is true (and this is why I'm asking what others have experienced), then at current inflated Gold prices vs. deflated Mirage prices you're better off, on average, using just Mirages and skipping Dragon Orbs.
For example, at 15k per Mirage you'll average about 9million to +7 something, but if you buy Dragon Orbs at 400k Gold prices you'll spend about 48million.
Does this sound about right, or am I way off?