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tsp_maj

A random addiction

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This is a philosophical discussion on the impact of random, sometimes called RNG, events in a game.  In the past my ideology on the subject has been a purest approach to most things.  At face value I don't like "random" events, especially in combat.  Recently I've realized however that randomness can introduce excitement, if not an addictive element within a game. 

 

Keep in mind this is just a discussion, often times I think out loud and I often change my mind.  While I'll reference things like loot or crits the context of the discussion is not about whether or not the game should focus or introduce those things. 

 

Consider for a moment that excitement within a game is typically determined by the fluctuation of highs and lows of emotional state.  That is to say you cannot feel peaks of excitement without also having felt bitter disappointment. 

 

How does this apply the randomness?  Most of you should have already made the connection.  Similar to a slot machine at a casino random events tug at your emotion.  You pull the handle and win small, increasing excitement.  You pull it again and lose, lowering excitement.  Even if you continue to lose its building up excitement within you like potential energy as you are surely getting closer to winning big.

 

So, what kind of slot machines are there in an MMO?  You could argue that RNG in its very nature is like a slot machine.  Consider RNG in crafting for one.  Lets say quality of the item you're making is determined by RNG.  You'll make several swords with low quality and be disappointed but you know that sooner or later you'll make a high quality one.  Eventually you'll create the highest quality, relatively rare, and be filled with excitement.  You can see various moments like this on youtube when someone gets a rare drop or roll and bursts out with excitement.

 

Consider the alternative to that scenario.  If I crafted exactly the item I was expecting every time there is no change of emotional state except perhaps a bit of satisfaction.

 

Now lets consider the theory of luck.  Regardless of the perfection of a completely random system people will still apply superstition and luck to it.  Perhaps if you double click the button it'll give you a better outcome than if you single click it.  I've heard of some crazy ritual practices that people have employed to get the best out of the RNG.  This feeling of being lucky or unlucky also assists in the fluctuation of emotional state.  How many times have you "been on a roll" or how many people have you noted as "being lucky" with drops.  These feelings become very rare in a game without RNG.

 

Finally I'd like to bring up that society looks at random events as the fairest system of making a decision.  Flip a coin, draw straws, or /random 100.  Everyone has an equal chance of winning the lottery but only a few people will, and yet everyone still plays.  The thrill of possibly winning big keeps people in a state of excitement.  While I'm not sure how to tie this directly into an MMO, its worth considering.

 

Like I said, I tend to air on the side of limiting RNG within a game and I challenge both sides of the argument to try to think objectively and contribute to the discussion.  While I think I'd like no RNG, my observations have told me that no RNG within a game can lead it down a path to stagnation. 

 

 


Maj, Keeper of Da Plank - The Shipwrecked Pirates

 

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random...im generally a fan of it.

 

my favorite 'random' has always been procs...live and die by them.

 

get a good string of 'luck' and you were a god. go on a dry spell...GIMP.

 

where i'm not a fan of it, is when you're basically required to worship the random gods in order to get the piece of bling of wonder...so you have to kill some stupid critter over and over and over and over to get the gear to drop, in order to not suck.

 

so i guess i'm a fan of it in combat because it adds a level of uncertainty, but i'm not really a fan of it in non-combat gameplay, because they it just adds to the grind.

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It looks like there will be so many variations for character passive/active skills, archetypes, professions, etc that my hope is they are not created to be balanced. I think this game would benefit more from there being unbalanced players, who are good at very specific roles, than trying to rebalance everything every few months.

Tying this into RNG. I think random should be minimal because of the massive variation in players we hopefully have. I should know what to expect out of my skills, with the fluctuation of highs and lows being generated by the human factor. This game is [supposed] to be minimal mobs, with relative high player population. With mobs you can usually predict the A.I. The random should come from how people interact with the world, group up, slot their characters, and their actions.

I hope this is a game where I don't just look at someone and go "Oh, he's a [blank]-specced warrior" and know exactly what to expect, and put myself on equal footing...letting RNG determine if I will out-crit or not.

Hopefully I'm making sense.


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I've never really understood the "anti-RNG agenda", which seems to be a thing. It seems like a great deal of players* have some sort of idealistic view that harder work should always equate progress, higher skill should always be advantaged, and the two together should always equate victory.

 

I don't really agree! I like an element of randomness, imbalance, and the ability for the unskilled and the lazy to sometimes come out on top "just because". I'm oversimplifying what I really mean here, probably, but oh well. I think it's more interesting when things aren't clear-cut, especially in a MMO.

 

*(at least in the west? I've heard eastern players have far fewer gripes with it, but that's anecdotal)

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I've never really understood the "anti-RNG agenda", which seems to be a thing. It seems like a great deal of players* have some sort of idealistic view that harder work should always equate progress, higher skill should always be advantaged, and the two together should always equate victory.

 

I don't really agree! I like an element of randomness, imbalance, and the ability for the unskilled and the lazy to sometimes come out on top "just because". I'm oversimplifying what I really mean here, probably, but oh well. I think it's more interesting when things aren't clear-cut, especially in a MMO.

 

*(at least in the west? I've heard eastern players have far fewer gripes with it, but that's anecdotal)

A lot of people need an excuse for every failure.

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If there are character builds that rely on RNG and others that don't, I think that makes everyone happy. Some people loved proc builds and others wouldn't touch them. Different strokes.


Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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There is also a "pseudo-random" pattern that some games, like Dota, opt to implement. The chance of an event is steadily increased until it occurs, then the probability is reset. http://dota2.gamepedia.com/Pseudo-random_distribution

 

This makes procs and other random events appear a little more consistently. Players paying attention can "prime" a crit: they notice that the last x attacks have not critted, and thus their next attack is very likely to.

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In a competitive space there should be no random, or at the worst very little random.

This. Even with crit chance, i'd rather see 20% crit chance actually mean that you get 4 non crits and then 1 crit and the cycle repeats. I hate RNG.

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In a competitive space there should be no random, or at the worst very little random.

 

There is a lot of random in a lot of competitive things. Board games, card games, poker, even many sports. Videogames are about the only place where people are so against it and yet, videogames, especially MMORPGs have as much, or more, in common with gambling and card/board games as they do with physical sports.

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In a competitive space there should be no random, or at the worst very little random.

 

Randomness in the system does not equal randomness of outcomes. A well-designed game can include randomness while allowing for significant player skill in managing and reacting to that randomness. The better poker player wins the vast majority of the time.


Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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Randomness in the system does not equal randomness of outcomes. A well-designed game can include randomness while allowing for significant player skill in managing and reacting to that randomness. The better poker player wins the vast majority of the time.

 

DAT 2-7, THO.


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There is a lot of random in a lot of competitive things. Board games, card games, poker, even many sports. Videogames are about the only place where people are so against it and yet, videogames, especially MMORPGs have as much, or more, in common with gambling and card/board games as they do with physical sports.

 

Take darts for example, even the best players will not hit their mark every throw.  There are too many variables.  In a video game the rules are simplified immensely and a bit of randomness is introduced to simulate the lost variables.


Maj, Keeper of Da Plank - The Shipwrecked Pirates

 

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TL;DR: I believe we need some amount of randomness, but not so much that RNG dominates skill (both player and character)

 

In a competitive space there should be no random, or at the worst very little random.

 

What about tournament poker?  Lots of randomness there.  Not only is it a competitive space but they're usually playing for real world currency, sometimes at a scale where paying for a Crowfall Bloodstone backer package would be lost in a rounding error.

 

Do we want our gameplay dynamics to look more like a poker tournament or more like a chess tournament?

 

A RNG acts as a damper on skill (both player and character) disparity, pushing things closer to a 50% win/loss percentage.  This is both good and bad.

 

On the plus side, it keeps things more interesting for everyone.  If the skill disparity is large enough that the outcome of a matchup is 100% certain before things even begin, then there's very little fun to be had for either the winner or the loser.

 

On the negative side, if RNG is overdone then skill (both player and character) are meaningless and there's also very little fun to be had for either the winner or the loser.

 

The key phrase there is "if RNG is overdone".  How much is "overdone"?  That depends on many things, most of which haven't been ironed out yet for Crowfall.

 

One thing that I think would be interesting is if the amount of RNG could adjust itself dynamically based on skill discrepancies, with more RNG (but not "too much") being used when the discrepancy is larger.  It's fairly straightforward to calculate the discrepancy based on character skill disparity, but before you can calculate the disparity for player skill you have to first measure player skill.

 

I don't know if anyone has even tried to implement a system like that, but I'd be interested to see one if anyone knows of something.


soli deo gloria

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Take darts for example, even the best players will not hit their mark every throw.  There are too many variables.  In a video game the rules are simplified immensely and a bit of randomness is introduced to simulate the lost variables.

Yeah, I think some sort of RNG (Crits, Resistances, etc) will comprise a large part of character design and the combat mechanics, despite the focus on action combat.


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When you see a physical dice roll, draw a card, or flip a coin you have a clear view of the odds (whether you consciously realize it or not... and as long as you aren't being conned).  Many video games tend to hide the odds behind code and then lock that code behind a vault leading to a sense of mistrust or strong desire for more transparency.  People feel like they are being conned when they come in consistently on the low end.

 

In games where gear progression was tied to a random element (and gear tied directly into progression) I generally wasn't a fan even when I landed on the favorable side of the fence.  I still remember my friend in SWTOR getting 4 offhands in a row out of the PVP bags as a sniper at launch.  Those bags didn't last long (eventually iterated out entirely) and neither did many of us.

 

The majority of people who fully enjoy random in games are the ones that rarely lose.  When lady luck is on your side it is a good day. ;)

 

When it's tied to damage done/taken I tend to frown a bit less; however if you consistently come out on the low end and that's what you notice more it can lead to disenfranchisement.

 

I'll just have to hope I have Nocturnal's favor... and that no one has nicked her artifact (Elder Scrolls actually puts a clever spin on the deification of Lady Luck).


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Been around the MMO Block...


Sardoni

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Ameno

 

I have a problem with rng, because rngsus hates me.

 

 

On a serious note, it depends on the severity of the Rng. The more harsh it is, the more excitement is generated.

 

Take CS:GO case opening for example. They cost $2.50 for keys and gives a rare chance at $10+ gun skins or 30cent piece of junk. On top of that you have a chance to get a roll on a knife worth $50-1000 steam credit.

 

I don't want the above in Crowfall, it was just an example.

 

Anyway go on youtube and search CSGO Knife reactions and you'll see what I mean.


[TB] The Balance
Nation of Equilibrium

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Ameno

 

I have a problem with rng, because rngsus hates me.

 

 

On a serious note, it depends on the severity of the Rng. The more harsh it is, the more excitement is generated.

 

Take CS:GO case opening for example. They cost $2.50 for keys and gives a rare chance at $10+ gun skins or 30cent piece of junk. On top of that you have a chance to get a roll on a knife worth $50-1000 steam credit.

 

I don't want the above in Crowfall, it was just an example.

 

Anyway go on youtube and search CSGO Knife reactions and you'll see what I mean.

 

Whats funny is that watching those CSGO videos, and reflecting on other experiences in the past is what sparked me to start thinking about this.


Maj, Keeper of Da Plank - The Shipwrecked Pirates

 

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