Why is RNG so despised?

Frogboy

I'm not weak to fire
Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Messages
1,685
Reaction score
2,182
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
It seems that just about everyone is in agreement on one thing: RNG is bad. Random battles? You should never use those. Anything less than a guaranteed hit when you choose the Attack command is unacceptable. Everything in your game should be determined by the choices your players make and random chance should be eradicated completely.

While I'm exaggerating somewhat, this does seem to be an accepted truth for most devs around here to a large degree. Can anyone explain where this sentiment comes from and why it's so pervasive?

Thanks!
 

trouble time

Victorious
Veteran
Joined
Jan 2, 2014
Messages
789
Reaction score
601
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Because theres good RNG and bad RNG and expressing the nuance is hard to do. (especially when typing on my phone.)

Id go as far as to say some people dont really lnow the nuance because a lot of people dont express it well or at all so they get the idea RNG is always bad and roll with it.
 

shockra

Slightly Crazy Programmer
Veteran
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
444
Reaction score
208
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
It's human psychology. We hate it when things are completely random. We want complete control of everything around us, even though that's an impossibility.

Think of it this way: let's say you're playing a game against another person. If you had to lose, which would you prefer? Would you rather lose through your opponent outmaneuvering you? Or would you prefer that they "luck out" with a fortunate dice roll at the last second? I don't know about you, but I'd prefer the first option.
 

Poryg

Dark Lord of the Castle of Javascreeps
Veteran
Joined
Mar 23, 2017
Messages
4,123
Reaction score
10,618
First Language
Czech
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I wouldn't say people say RNG is bad. But they say Minimize the effects as much as possible. If I push it to RPG maker games, there is a difference between having a boss battle that involves skill and boss battle where the boss can easily kill you if he attacks 2x in the row with an ultimate AOE attack that has a 15% chance of attacking. Once I played such a game and that game, as a bonus, had that boss quite beefy, with a very strong healing spell as well... So essentially you were going to lose sooner or later. And nothing like that feeling when you push the boss down to last 10% hp, he then casts heal 2x in 3 turns, getting back up... And then as you push him down again, heals himself up from 50% health, and so you continue, continue... And suddenly boom, boom, just like that, you're dead after fighting him for like 30 minutes. I have to say, this is no fun.
 

Andar

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
30,754
Reaction score
7,387
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
RMMV
the reason people are against randomness is because there have been too many cases of bad randomness. They aren't against randomness if it is done in a good way, but that requires a lot more thinking and planning from the developer.

Example:
An extremely bad use of randomness would be if you need a special sword to finish the game, and to get that sword you'll need a special drop that has only a chance of happening 0.01% of the kills on a specific enemy...
 

Amarok

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Dec 15, 2016
Messages
294
Reaction score
723
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMMV
i agree with the others, it depends on how its done. As an example, in x-com you can have a 99% chance of hitting an enemy and still fail, wich leads to many players ragequitting or restarting. Fire emblem on the other hand uses a hidden modifier that increases or decreases the chance of hitting or failing the closer you are to 0 or to 100 with 50% being an honest unmodified 50% chance.
 

Failivrin

Final Frontiersman
Veteran
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
248
Reaction score
236
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
An extremely bad use of randomness would be if you need a special sword to finish the game, and to get that sword you'll need a special drop that has only a chance of happening 0.01% of the kills on a specific enemy...
*cough* Crimson Shroud *cough*

I will note that there's a difference between what players want and what they think they want in terms of randomness. Gambling your money at a casino is a terrible idea from a statistical perspective, but still they rack up enormous revenues, and some people even get addicted to gambling. Intermittent reinforcement through randomized rewards for the same behavior is a powerful tool for manipulating human psychology. Pull the slots enough times, eventually you win. Attack enough times eventually you score critical. One trick to gambling is slot machines provide lots of visual stimulation even when the player loses. This is different from attack failure in most games, which is visually disappointing as well as practically disappointing.
The best exploitation of randomness is Pokemon. In Pokemon breeding for example, you have one chance in several thousand to breed the ideal Pokemon--a "shiny" Pokemon or one with perfect stats. Seems like it would be really frustrating to players but the games ameliorate this situation in several ways:
1. Players can work to increase their success rate (albeit not by much)
2. There is always a small, visually stimulating reward when a Pokemon is born, even if it's not the Pokemon you wanted
3. Online trading allows players to benefit from each other's rare successes.
 
Last edited:

Milennin

"With a bang and a boom!"
Veteran
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Messages
2,471
Reaction score
1,610
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Bad RNG is something you can't plan around and breaks the experience, such as losing a fight because your attacks happen to miss several times in a row. Or never getting the item you want/need, despite farming it for hours.

Good RNG is something that has a random outcome, but one that can be easily adapted to. Such as, a skill inflicting random effects that all do something good, but in different, unique ways. Or attacks having a certain range of damage so you don't always hit the exact same number (like, hits between 20-25 damage)

Basically, it's all about the range of RNG. The larger the range, the more likely you get into bad RNG territory. Use small ranges to play it safe and avoid frustration.
 

Tehprince

Someone
Veteran
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
Messages
58
Reaction score
6
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMXP
Because in Shin Megami Tensei games, the percentage chance of an instant death spell is 30% for level 1 and 60% for level 2. Get ambushed, enemy multi-targets instant death, party gets wiped, game over. Also missing is especially bad in SMT because you lose your party's turn.
 

bgillisp

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
13,367
Reaction score
14,074
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
It's because people do not perceive randomness correctly. There have been studies done on this and what has been found is if you ask people to move to a random location in a room, they will from non-random groups.

Even Apple had problem with this. The initial ipods played a random song on shuffle, but random means it could repeat the same song again. But, people didn't understand that and due to all the complains Apple got about the random shuffle being supposedly broken they finally 'fixed' it so that it wouldn't pick the same song in a row. But, that is not random by definition anymore either.
 

D.L. Yomegami

Sanely Insane
Veteran
Joined
Jan 22, 2017
Messages
182
Reaction score
234
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
RNG can really rob a player of that feeling of accomplishment.

Say, for example, a game has a boss with a Mega Laser of Doom that's guaranteed to wipe the player's party out in two hits without unreasonable grinding. Let's also assume that the game in general doesn't give its enemies attack patterns, so the boss can whip out Mega Laser of Doom at any time. Whether the player actually beats the boss depends on how many times the boss decides to fire Mega Laser of Doom over using another attack.

If the player wipes out several times because the boss used Mega Laser of Doom multiple times in a row, then beats the boss after it used Mega Laser of Doom only once (or not at all), chances are they're not going to feel proud of themselves. Chances are they're going to feel like they only won because the game let them win.

Another example: say the Ultimate Sword of Awesomeness only has a 0.01% drop rate from an enemy that only has a 0.01% chance of appearing. The process of getting that sword probably isn't going to feel like a satisfying quest. It's probably going to feel more like a tedious grind that reeks of padding. It gets even worse if the player wants to do everything in the game and there are some bosses that cannot be beaten without that sword.

There's something to be said for making a player's victories feel earned. Badly implemented, RNG does anything but that.
 

Frogboy

I'm not weak to fire
Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Messages
1,685
Reaction score
2,182
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I totally get how terribly implemented RNG can really ruin a game. I wouldn't want to spend a month grinding for a super rare drop or have bosses TPK my party on a random chance. An RPG is a game of strategy, not a slot machine.

But why are so many people against the stuff I listed in the initial post? Why are random battles so frowned upon? Why is a game immediately criticized if characters miss attacks (especially if they're primarily magic users)?
 

Andar

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
30,754
Reaction score
7,387
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Those other points are not general, that's why they have been ignored.

Random battles are NOT generally despised - some players like them, others do not. And that is a personal preference, so nothing to argue about.
Same goes about missing - it depends on how the combat is structured. There is only a great cry about missing if the result of the combat depends on every action. Some games hide the miss by instead giving a bad attack a very low (but not zero) damage.
 

Tuomo L

Oldbie
Veteran
Joined
Aug 6, 2012
Messages
2,314
Reaction score
1,282
First Language
Finnish
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Because it is luck, not skill.

Visually you need to show the attack literally miss or else it makes no sense how it's miss. It's not like in Super Mario, if I miss my fireball I can see that the arc went over the enemy, in RPG's, it's like direct hit but the opponent had a spider sense or just somehow took the blast to the face and still it missed somehow.


Random encounters are really annoying too unless they're like every 500 step or something barely noticeable. It's like I'm walking down the street and suddenly the screen explodes and fancy music starts playing and enemies appear out of thin air. It's super annoying and tedious and if I don't want to fight the enemy, I have to start selecting run and hope RNG decides I somehow escaped from enemy that wasn't there two seconds ago and who I couldn't avoid in any way.
 

Kes

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Aug 3, 2012
Messages
22,279
Reaction score
11,681
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
As was said, random battles are a matter of personal preference, and then we get a post which proves exactly that. Not everyone finds them "really annoying", to the extent that in my games I give the player the choice of random or evented battles (visible/invisible).

Also, they are not really 'random' in the same sense of the other things that have been discussed, which is possibly another reason why that part of the opening post has been ignored until now.

In addition to the other points that have been made already, and which I therefore will not repeat, I dislike excessive RNG because all too often it effectively destroys any real strategy. I like some RNG because I should not expect my enemy to do everything that I anticipate in a clockwork like fashion. Similarly, my skill might not be quite as skillful as I hoped. But take the default variation of 20%. As that is 20% up and down, you have a total variation of 40% from the bottom of the range to the top. If my party goes down because they had several hits in a row at the bottom end of the range, I will be more than just a little bit peeved.
 

TheoAllen

Self-proclaimed jack of all trades
Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Messages
5,573
Reaction score
6,497
First Language
Indonesian
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
Why are random battles so frowned upon? Why is a game immediately criticized if characters miss attacks (especially if they're primarily magic users)?
While it's true that random battle is not generally despised, but as someone coming from the who despise the random battle, it feels like the pressure is on me. Alright, so I want to walk and enjoy your map, but instead I can't tell when the next encounter is. Also the most annoying part is when you're a few step away from the door, switch, or whatever, you got an encounter that you entered a battle not in a right timing. At least, in evented battle, there won't a case like that.

As for miss attack, it just unnecessarily prolonging the battle if it happens quite often. Rather than making an artificial difficulty through RNG, imo, it's better to make the enemy more durable or hits harder. So the battle would be consistent and the player can plan stuff
 

Frogboy

I'm not weak to fire
Veteran
Joined
Apr 19, 2016
Messages
1,685
Reaction score
2,182
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Thanks for all of your positions and opinions on this topic. Just to clarify, I'm not attacking anyone and certainly have no issue with anyone who just prefers less RNG to more RNG. Everyone has a right to their own opinions or line of thinking.

The reason that this topic has been in the back of my mind for a long time is because I often see devs here say these kinds of things as if it's simply a staple of good game design, not as personal preference. It's spoken in the same connotation as "big boxy maps", if you know what I mean. I was mostly just curious how public opinion arrived at this belief.

Personally, I'm not sweatin' it. I do what I do and make what I make more for myself than for anyone else. I know I'll play my games more times than everyone else combined which is why I tend to use a lot of RNG. But I'm getting a good feel for where everyone is coming from. I do appreciate the feedback on the subject. Keep it coming.
 

Wavelength

MSD Strong
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
5,492
Reaction score
4,967
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
The reason that this topic has been in the back of my mind for a long time is because I often see devs here say these kinds of things as if it's simply a staple of good game design, not as personal preference.
You're not misinterpreting what you read at all. Avoiding randomness of outcome is a staple of good game design!

Gamers like having agency (influence over the results) when they play games. Gamers want their choices and skills to matter. A game without agency is not a good game - and the argument could even be made it's not a game at all. If you tried jumping from platform to platform in a Mario game, and right before you landed the game decided to place you in a random spot (which might be on the platform you're aiming for, might be on another platform somewhere else, or might be in the water where you die), would you enjoy this game? Of course not. You would feel robbed of your agency and your control.

The same is true for RPGs and concepts like 'Missing' attacks. If you've done everything right and the game just arbitrarily decides "nope, you missed" and there's nothing you can do about it, that's going to feel bad to nearly all players. If that happens a lot of times in a row and the player loses a battle because of it (especially if that means the player then has to go back to the last save point and do everything over again without seeing anything new or interesting), it's going to be infuriating.

That's not to say that there's no place for randomness or variability in gaming. Randomness of situation (input) rather than randomness of outcome (output) is usually welcome in gaming. Random generation of maps and resources in a strategy game, or random generation of dungeons and encounters in an RPG, or even the random draw of cards in a CCG or Hold-'Em Poker, makes the game more interesting and more fun when it's done well. This is because the player has the ability to react to the randomness and theoretically make something good out of any situation. The fact that you started near 3 Banana resources rather than 2 Gold resources in Civiliziation means that you'll be playing the game a little differently - but it doesn't mean that you straight-up lost something that can't be regained like a Miss in a turn-based RPG does.

There's also a place for risk-reward in gaming (randomness of outcome where the chances are greatly influenced by the player(s) - e.g. in a CCG where a card's effect will affect a random enemy creature each turn, or a simulation game where there's some variability in the number of new customers a marketing campaign will produce), but it needs to be used very carefully. It's best implemented where the player won't have to repeat any gameplay or permanently lose anything they've earned if they're dealt a bad hand by the RNG - this is why the RPG genre tends to be a poor choice for randomness of outcome.

The golden rule when it comes to randomness in games: Allow the player to play the game. Don't allow the game to play the player.
 
Last edited:

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Rocket League - Streaming once more! - 30 Followers Goal

30 Followers and I'll stream a game while using a voicechanger
Was liking Genshin Impact ok.... then T.T .... *sniffle* then..... TWWWT MICRO-TRANSACTIONS!!!! BWAAAAAAAAAHAAAAHAAAAAAAA!


Would you be brave enough to explore an ancient dungeon filled with treasures?
Uh, and skulls; don't forget the skulls.
I can't believe that there are streamers playing my game! This is so amazing!


New starting map, hope it's better than the first.
new evolutions coming soon:ewink:

Forum statistics

Threads
103,416
Messages
999,146
Members
134,947
Latest member
thecooked1
Top