Dark Essences, By The Numbers – A Statistical Analysis of Rewards

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About a month after I began playing, when we were finally able to get the rare lvl 3 dark essence from tippy-top lvl 1 darknests, I started wondering how different the rewards really were at each essence level.  At times it seemed like a level 3 essence didn’t provide much more value than a level 1, and it made me question if it was worth all the trouble to fight so hard for them.

Much to my surprise, I could find no good information online.  At best the occasional person would bust out an anecdote to support a claim one way or another, but that was hardly convincing.  So I opened up Excel, and set about tracking the rewards I got from every darknest on each of my accounts over the next couple months.  What I found surprised me.

Until recently, I did not have access to essences beyond level 5, so we’ll be looking at the first five levels in this post.  However, I’m still collecting data, and my new guild is regularly pulling in level 6-10 essences, so stay tuned for another post in the future.

For those wandering: yes, I am aware that IGG posted information on drop rates.  I was looking forward to seeing this data, but disappointed when I realized how useless it was.  They provided rates for general categories (ie: speedups), but not rates for individual items (ie: 3m speedups vs 10m speedups).  Without this information, or the breakdown by level and transmute time, what they provided had little value.


I started by opening up Excel and creating a spreadsheet that listed every item I’d ever received from essences along the top, and the essence levels, broken down by transmutation time, down the side.  I have three accounts: one main and two alts.  When any account started transmuting an essence I recorded the level and time on the spreadsheet, and when it completed I came back and incremented the corresponding box.

Over time this became cumbersome, and I really couldn’t do much of anything with the data, so I setup a database on my web server that I could submit results to and began tracking data that way.  However, this is a relatively recent evolution so much of this post will be delving into the Excel data.  Unfortunately, the Excel data had no source tied to it, so we can’t differentiate between what my level 22 castle received and what my level 15 castle received to know if there’s any difference.

All data was collected via my own accounts so that I could verify accuracy.  I tried to log every single dark essence so as to avoid recording bias.  Unfortunately, the sample size for a given essence level was biased by my (and my guild’s) abilities at the time, and given the long transmutation times and only a couple months of recording we don’t have a statistically valid sample size yet (I’m at about 250 essences).  But as data continues to collect we should approach a more and more accurate picture of the distribution of rewards.

Public Querying

In addition to providing some analysis of the data, I wanted to allow visitors to query the data themselves to get an idea of what a given essence might provide, or preview essences beyond their current abilities.  As such, feel free to use this form to pull from my database:

Essence Level
Transmute Time

Transmutation Time

The first question I had was whether transmutation time made a difference in rewards.  Does an 8-hour essence contain the same items as a 3-hour, or is it a second-tier prize to be discarded in favor of the 3-hour ones.  I was surprised at the answer.

Looking at level 4 essences, for example, an 8h essence was more likely to give speedups than a 3h. In addition, the vast majority of 8h speedups were mostly 30m x4 or x6, along with a number of 60m x3 sets, while the 3h equivalents all contained 15m x3 or x4.  Overall, I recorded a 150% increase in speedup time in 8h essences over 3 hour essences

In terms of resources the 3h essences at this level provided 50k rss x13 or 15k gold x 17, while the 8h essences provided 150k rss x11 and 50k gold x13. This is an increase in total value of 153% and 155% respectively. 8h essences at this level were also much more likely to contain gems.

What this means is that the rewards were relatively equivalent per hour of transmutation time.  Or looking at it another way, a 3 hour essence can be expected to provide approximately 3/8 as much value as an 8 hour essence of the same level.

Essence Levels

From level to level, the increase in reward value is relatively lackluster.

To start, let’s look at the difference between those easy level 1 essences that almost any two level 10 castles can grab, and those level 3 essences that takes a whole guild of mid-teen castles working together to attain.

The 3h essences at both levels provided 15m speedups in groups of 3 or 4, and at 8h you see similar groupings of 30m speedups. Food, rss, gold, and gem rewards also appear to be the same items and groupings across the first three levels.  You do start to see better rewards at level 3 for other items, such as a grouping of 3 Winged Boots I instead of just 1 Winged Boots I at level 1.  But overall, rewards are roughly equivalent across the first three levels of essences.

It’s not until level 4 and 5 essences that rewards start to improve considerably, and those two levels seem roughly equivalent in value.  From level 1 to 5 you see speedups stay relatively the same for all 3h transmutes, but at 8h you move from the rare 30m x5 in the level 1-3 essences to very common 30m x4 and x6 as well as regular 60m x3 in level 4-5 essences. A minimal upgrade, but still an upgrade.

Energy rewards seem about the same across all 5 levels, but starting at level 4 you begin to see 150k x11 rss instead of 150k x9, and gold rewards for 8h essences finally start regularly showing up in 50k items instead of 15k. Gems also jump from 50 x5 to 50 x7 for 8h essences at level 4, though 3h essences don’t seem to see any improvement. These upgrades are more substantial than we saw for speedups, but I was still underwhelmed.

Levels 4 and 5 are where you start seeing far more winged boots, though, as well as 3h wall speedups, which adds some extra value to these. Winged boots can be extremely useful, but hardly worth spending 500 gems on, so getting them this way is a great boon.

Transmutation Time vs Level

So this was the most shocking revelation for me: transmutation time has a far greater impact on value than essence level.  This makes sense in hindsight, but I had intuitively expected a 3h level 3 essence to contain better rewards than an 8h level 1 essence and that wasn’t the case at all.  In other words, instead of reward effort in conquering a darknest, IGG is rewarding time spent transmuting essences.

Comparing, for instance, 8h level 2 essences vs 3h level 5s, you see:

  • The level 2s provide 30m speedups x3 or x5, vs the level 5’s 15m x3 or x4; the level 2 is 150% more valuable!
  • The level 2s provide 5k energy x2 vs the level 5’s 2k energy x2; a 150% increase in value
  • The level 2s provide the same rss and gold, but 50 gems x5 instead of 50 gems x3; almost double the value
  • You do miss out on 3h wall upgrades and winged boots at level 2, as well as attack boosts, but those are rare at level 5 until you hit 8h as well

I would value an 8h level 2 essence at double that of a 3h level 5 essence.

What we’re seeing is that dark essence rewards are roughly equivalent to the time spent transmuting with level playing a minor role in boosting reward value.  From this we can take away that if you can be online continually and keep your transmutations going even with 3h essences then you won’t see any big difference, but for those of us who need to be offline for work, family, and other responsibilities, the 8h essences are incredibly valuable, and worth throwing away 3h essences for if you have time for an extra rally, even if the 8h essence is a few levels lower.

Take Aways

There’s still a lot more data to be collected, as this sample size gives a blurry picture at best, but there are some clear takeaways from what data I’ve collected so far:

  • Unless you have the time to spend, don’t bother fighting for the highest level essence you can get; shoot for sure wins with minimal losses
  • Always keep your lab full, even if you need to go grab some level 1 essences; it’s the time spent transmuting that gives the value
  • If you don’t have time to be online a lot, trash 3h essences in favor of another chance at an 8h essence any time you can

What I find most interesting about this is that in a game where higher level players, and P2W players, are given such large advantages much of the time, darknests give rewards of relatively consistent value across the board.  Level 5 castles in fledgling guilds are reaping rewards almost as valuable (relatively) as the established guilds taking down level 3 darknests.

More To Come

I’m still collecting data, much of it on level 6-11 essences now, and will post again in a few months with more findings.

In the mean time, if you’ve enjoyed this post please take a moment to share.  It’s taken an incredible amount of time and energy to collect this data and I’d like to see as many people benefit from it as possible.

10 thoughts on “Dark Essences, By The Numbers – A Statistical Analysis of Rewards”

  1. I’ve never seen a 3 hr ess from a lvl 4 or lvl 5 DN – can you confirm that does actually happen?

    Only see 8 hr or 12 hr

    1. It does not happen he is talking about essence levels not darknest levels. Level 4 and 5 Darknests only produce 8 or 12 hour transmutations. Level 4 and 5 essences produce 3 and 8 hour transmutations.

    2. i see 3 hours from all levels. Recently got a level 15 yellow essence that was 3 hours. I about pee’d my pants i was so happy

  2. Hi Jose,

    Yes, I can confirm that does happen. I don’t have my most updated information handy36 of my 69 recorded level 4 essences were 3 hour ones. And 25 of my 62 level 5 essences have been 3 hour ones. However, all of these were collected before I reached castle level 25. So your comment has me wondering if castle level plays into essence timing (and possibly rewards).

    Unfortunately, that research will need to wait. I’m a little busy and had to take some time away from Lords Mobile for now. I’ll post back when I gather more useful data though. 🙂

  3. What determines which essence you receive (e.g. 3 hour vs. 8 hour)? It seems completely random but not sure if it is influenced by any factors such as number or tier of troops, losses, etc.

    1. That’s a good question Big Dawgg. I assumed it was random. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough data on coalition size or losses to identify a pattern.

    2. From my direct observations, if one wins the darknest easely (low casualties) the transmutation time will be shorter. If the DN is won marginally (heavy casualties), tha transmutation time will be longer.

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