Analysis of arena opponents' hats and bird levels

  • Many have noted that their opponent’s hats make no sense. You might face someone who has a gold sling, but their birds are wearing party hats or no hat at all. Why is this? Why would competitive players purposely handicap themselves when they must have a full set of higher level hats? To try and figure this out, I recorded data on my area opponents over the past two weeks. From each of the streaks 1-7, I have at data on at least 11 opponents.

    Specifically, I noted their star level, sling level, bird level, and their hat modifiers. Hat modifiers refers to x0 (no hat), x1 (party hat), x2 (crown or street cap), or x5 (cowboy hat).

    I calculated 1) mean bird level (the average level of all their birds without hats), 2) mean effective bird level (average level of birds+hats, and 3) mean hat modifier for all of my opponents at each of streak 1-7.

    My Observations
    Opponent bird level

    1. All my opponents (99 in all) have the same star level and sling as I do. There is no benefit to leveling up your sling.
    2. My opponents’ mean effective bird level increases lock step with mine. There is no benefit to leveling up your birds.
    3. You are highly likely to have an opponent weaker than you at streaks 1, 2, and 4.
    4. You are virtually guaranteed to face a stronger opponent during steaks 3 and 5-7.
    5. Opponents faced during streaks 3 and 5 are equivalent in their mean effective bird level.
    6. Streaks 6 and 7 are significantly harder than streaks 3 and 5.
    7. Streak 6 opponents have the highest mean effective bird level.

    Opponent hat usage

    1. Opponent hat usage is random — too random to be natural.
    2. Only 13% percent of my 99 opponents had a mean hat modifier that was equivalent to their sling.
    3. Opponent hat variance always benefits us. Opponents’ mean effective bird level is always less than their actual mean bird level.

    So, what does all this mean?

    My Interpretations

    I think that our opponents are playing with their best hats on, and the hats displayed to us are chosen randomly server-side to level the playing field in response to our complaints about difficulty. In the histogram below, each of these opponents had silver slings, yet their hats add up in a predictable way. If these are serious players, their mean hat modifier would never be below the red line, but it is a whopping 87% of the time. Hat are an additional modifier, added about a year after the initial release. Code wise, I think it would be fairly simple to modify the hat after the run.


    I have 99 observations of mean hat modifier that form a near-perfect bell curve (considering the small sample size). In nature, we often expect data to be distributed as such. For example, if you measured the height of all boys in the 3rd year of school, you’d find a similar distribution. We have reason to expect that.

    However, we aren’t talking about something that should vary naturally. We are talking about players choosing to handicap themselves. It’s fishy. It think that Rovio is selecting hats from a normally distributed probability density function that results in a mean hat modifier centered on about 1.5. Like I said, though, it works in our favor so whatever :)

    The figure below shows the difference between my and my opponents’ mean effective bird level (left) and mean bird level (right), with the red horizontal bars denoting the 1-standard deviation range. A positive value of 1.5 indicates that, on average, the total of my birds and hats put me at 1.5 above my opponent. For example, if he averaged 12, I averaged 13.5.


    If we consider only the mean bird level of our opponents (right), we see that there is 1) very little variance in our opponents’ relative difficulty with 2) all around lower values (i.e., higher difficulty). Adding in the hats increases the variance, meaning you will see more randomness in your opponents’ level (Rovio likes Random, right).

    Finally, the difficulty in Streaks 3 and 4 is reversed. 4 should be harder, but perhaps Rovio doesn’t want to give away chests too easily, so Streak 3 is made purposely disproportionately difficult.

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  • Djangosmum

    @ddeck- just read your post and surprised no-one had responded yet! Thanks for the painstaking analysis – like many others I’ve found the slingshot/hats issue perplexing and complained about it, but being too lazy to actually do any more than that your findings make interesting reading.



    Thanks! I glad you found this useful. I’ve grown a bit bored with AB2 but still need a good way to kill time so I though it would be more fun to kill time analyzing AB2 :) Of course all this will no longer matter as soon as Rovio makes another tweak ;)

    For all I know, it could just be a random display bug, but I think not. The score my opponents attain as we progress through the rooms feels like it matches their bird + hat level.

    I didn’t put the result in the above post, but I also looked at hat usage versus different streaks, and I did find a bit of a pattern. The hats total to a slightly lower value during streaks 1 and 7, with much less variance, meaning that you are more likely to get an opponent with weak/no hats at the beginning and end of a streak (based of course on my analysis of only 11 runs/streak 1-7…)

    This makes the first match in the streak easier and also increases your chance of winning the 500 feathers in the end.

    As far as no comments yet… shrug. It’s a bit technical and not in the main thread. The problem with the main thread is that you can’t link directly to replies because there is something broken on this forum that drops you on the first post. So I made this new post.

    Thanks for reading!


    Best answer I have found. Thanks for the work.



    You really outdid yourself, thanks so much!




    Glad you found this helpful!


    With the new update, you can see which hats the others in your league are wearing, which wasn’t possible before. Everyone in my group last week had predictable consistent hats matching their sling. There were zero birds with a silver sling and party/no hats. There are also zero birds with the newly introduced hats. It is the same this week (like others, I am already in this week’s arena).

    This is in stark contrast to my opponents in the arena and provides additional evidence supporting my assertion that rovio is manipulating the hat modifiers post run.

    Angry Beaver

    I analyzed this and my verdict is that i probably never will buy any hat because hats are only score multipliers and don’t give me what i need more – extra strikeforce.

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