Why is RNG so despised?

bgillisp

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I think some of the problem is also that in the default RPGMaker system, the player cannot do much to influence hit rates, so misses feel arbitrary as well. It's going to be 95% to hit, 5% EVA (if you use the default), and there is not a thing you can do about it. However in most other games, if you don't like the to hit rate, you can do things like get closer or flank the enemy. In those cases because those options exist, the player feels more in control over the randomness, and doesn't hate it as much as they would in our default system where there is nothing you can do about it, just attack and hope for the best.

Incidentally, I went back and played the old Gold Box D and D games, where hit rates were around 50% or worse in most battles, and I found myself screaming at the computer "Just HIT that stupid Goblin already." And, that was because in those old D and D games, there is little you can do to affect that to hit rate short of level up or get better gear. Some of those old battles when everyone is level 1 is literally miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, miss...
 

kaukusaki

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I remember those gold box games lol and I hated you started with 35% chance to hit at level 1. Realistic combat my eye lol

In general, don't design your games like that or rely on total randomness (like the d20 engine).
If you do for some reason make it that gear offsets those numbers .
 

bgillisp

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Or let the player influence it by tactics. I think one of the reasons Jagged Alliance was so good was even though you started with junk mercenaries with low marksmanship skills, if you got them to point blank range, they hit like 99% of the time regardless. The marksmanship only really became a factor if you were in a firefight on opposite sides of a field.

In fact, I recall that my first time beating Jagged Alliance, I kept a couple of mercenaries that I got on day 1 the entire game. Sure, at the end they only had like 77 marksmanship, but it only really mattered on a very long range (like say 15 tiles away) shot as otherwise a good weapon + sniper scope and even they couldn't miss.

So, sure, there was RNG, but you could influence it. You could take that long distance shot that had a 35% chance to hit, or you could get closer and leave your cover, but raise that to a 92% chance to hit. And that is why I think you don't hear people complaining about RNG in that type of game.
 

Touchfuzzy

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I think another issue is that people just don't play correctly. Handling randomness is in its own right a skill.

Take the game Blood Bowl for instance (a board game, though it does have a video game port that faithfully follows the rules). A lot of people will say it is completely random. I say if you put me against someone who thinks its all luck, I'll win 99% of the time. And hell, I'll even do it with an Elf team, the teams that is probably the riskiest in the game.

The key to randomness is making sure that there are ways to work around it. There is good RNG and bad RNG.

And I'll be honest, if your entire strategy revolved around that hit you just missed: Your strategy was probably bad.

(And now I want to play XCOM 2 again :|)
 
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Windows i7

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It can be very satisfying to see RNG blow up in your enemies face though like an attack backfiring such that enemy only hurts itself.
 

Frozen_Phoenix

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It can make the player feel cheated, actually it can be complete bullshit if used incorrectly.

RNG should be used to decide equivalent outcomes or the outcomes should even out in the current scope.

Examples:

In a battle, the foe has 1000 HP, your attacks deal 100 damage, if you have a 25% crit chance for double damage it's ok. Now if your crits are for 5x damage with lets say 10% chance, it becomes bad as the outcomes are drastically different and unlikely to even out. You could get lucky and end the fight with two crits, or never crit and finish it in 10 hits.

You have a monster that you will kill only once in the game, making its drops based on rng is bad as the outcomes will never even out, will either lead to save scumming or the player not even knowing about the other drops. Now if you can kill this same monster as many times you like, it's ok for the opposite reason.

In Dota (moba game) you have a character called phantom assassin. She throws a dagger at you and there is a 15% that you will be one shotted... Bullshit? Maybe not because it may even out over the course of the match, but it can decide a key fight purely on rng.

Edit: Bull... is abbreviated by the forum lol.
 

Zemtax

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It really depends in which area the RNG does it's work. I like random drops, small chances for rare items, everything that's powerful should be somewhat rare, for me. Although it depends on how, let's say a very rare sword, can be obtained. It has a drop chance of 2%, but it may be crafted with rare materials too, which can be obtained easier. So you could either choose to grind a zone for the sword, or obtain the materials needed. One could calculate the average time needed to get the sword to drop, and the average time to obtain all the materials needed to craft it. They should at least be similar in time. Now, given the nature of randomness, you could obtain the sword on the very first monster that can drop it. It could also take way longer than that. If the player knows about his options, he can decide wether he wants to go about it the deterministic way and farm materials, or gamble with the drop chance, which imo, is more exciting than just plain gambling without options.

As for random battles, making the player feel as if he has control over when they happen, even just a little bit, can reduce the annoyance. Let's say you give the player an item that makes it so in zones that are 10 levels below his character level, the encounters will be disabled for that map, as long as he has it equipped.

I think it largely depends on the person who's playing. One of my most played games is basically a giant gamble, with deterministic alternatives (Path of Exile).
It also depends on the type of game. Turn-based games tend to be way less forgiving if you miss an attack, whereas ARPGs like Diablo and Path of Exile are constantly spitting out new results. One attack in a turn-based game vs. one attack in an action battle system. That's why strategy is so important in turn-based games, the value of one turn is massive compared to one action in an ARPG for example. Which is also why I'd be very careful with status effects that remove the player's control. And if your game has, let's say a freeze state that lasts 2-3 turns, give options to the player to counter it. It doesn't have to be an easy counter, but it's all about reasonable options.
 
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Seacliff

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This is my general philosophy, something I started to believe when I started finishing up my first big project.

Personally, I think RNG's strength is to limit repetitive playstyles and create new situations out of old ones for the player to adapt. For example, in a Golfing game, RNG is often used to randomize wind speed and direction between holes. This keeps the player from guaranteeing a lowest possible score each using the same exact shots each time they play but is an element the player could adapt to.

Relating this to a turn-based RPG. Imagine a game taking notes from DND and each actor and enemy in battle have a randomized turn order. As long as the enemy isn't able to one-shot the party if they are given the advantage, it could be considered a fair mechanic. The player has to learn not to rely on the turn orders of their party members, but can still exploit them in the correct situations.

RNG is better used to present outcomes than it used to decide them. No one wants their strategy ruined because a skill with a 5% failure rate misses, likewise, fun is diminished when the same exact actions can be used to solve every challenge presented.
 
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GeraldTyler

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I dont know if this is considered necro posting but the thread is still open so here it goes.

I think part of the "Miss" attack thing is it needs to be believable. Suspension of belief only takes you so far. In the Final Fantasy series it doesn't bother me at all when I miss against Cactuar enemies. They're super jittery hyper small enemies. I still have magic attacks as an option, as well as a few ways of doing a guaranteed weak physical attack.

What grinds my gears are when you miss an attack against some Snorlax type enemy. Like, no...it's a freaking giant blob it's completely inconceivable that I didn't manage to hit the broad side of that barn.

If I shoot a skeleton enemy with an arrow I can see how it would miss a good amount of attacks.

If I'm using a lightning spell >>>Lightning<<< the attack should not be dodged ever.

If it's an Earthquake, it shouldn't miss unless the enemy is flying.

If a giant meteor falls from the sky and lands directly on top of the enemy, or a giant explosion goes off covering the entirety of the screen, that shouldn't "Miss."

Make sure the player has options. I've been exploring balancing my games by having basic attacks guaranteed static damage. Then there are skills which have the 20% variance, chance to critical hit, and of course chance to miss.

Now I stack this, maybe the boss used his super attack and now becomes staggered as a result. During the stagger they cannot dodge at all, so it becomes the ideal time to launch those riskier attacks.

I suppose you could (Not too good with the programming aspect yet but I'm sure its possible) include a passive ability where if an attack misses an enemy the player gets a +20% accuracy bonus for 3 turns...or even say a temporary damage bonus so that the player may even deliberately seek to cause attacks to miss in certain situations. I mean, imagine the player exclaiming "YES!!!" when they see that their attack actually missed?

Put in some hidden code to work in the players favor...say if an attack from a boss was going to kill your healer anyway...may as well make that attack a critical hit. Or the boss will dodge attacks from the weakest physical hitter, but won't dodge them from your main physical hitter. This the boss still appears to have the Miss/Critical elements of the player, but it's done in a controlled way that doesn't leave the player feeling cheated when the boss unleashed their strongest attack twice in a row and wipes the party.

Bit of a rant I suppose, cheers.
 

Poryg

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Missing a lightning can be easy. Trees are conductive. Stones are not. You can therefore avoid a lightning bolt if you are close to a forest.
 

Redeye

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RNG is always a bad thing if failing the dice roll results in negative consequences. There's a fine line between getting something you weren't looking for vs getting screwed over by RNGesus. Take ES3: Morrowind for example. I had to install mods before I even got a chance to make it partway through the main storyline because the miss rate was so atrocious. You could line up a shot with a bow almost perfectly and still miss even though you CLEARLY saw that arrow burrow itself into the enemy's skull. Literally everything you do in Morrowind relies on you getting lucky rather than using your skills and clever thinking in order to succeed.

This is why I completely do away with Missing and Evasion in my games. The only RNG that you experience in my games are Critical Hits, because failing the dice roll on a crit yields no negative consequences whatsoever. You either get lucky or get nothing. Attacks that inflict Poison should be a guarantee, because the entire point of that attack is to inflict a status ailment, but if you really don't want the player to Poison their foes every time, then add some sort of pre-condition where the enemy must be below 50% of their Max HP, else the Poison won't work. No longer would the player have to leave it up to Lady Luck to inflict Poison, but rather have to cleverly shake their opponent down to half HP in order to finish them off with a Poison attack. Guaranteed.
 

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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!
As someone who heavily sits in the "RNG is cancer" side of the argument, here's what I think about these things:

Random Battles: This actually isn't too bad as long as it's done reasonably. If the random battles happen so often that I'm starting to lose track of where I'm going in a dungeon, then we've got a problem. See "Breath of Fire 2" for details. I'm actually thinking about using random battles for my overworld, but that's only because I'm also going to give players ways to either avoid them (mounts) or jack them up (enemy lures) should they want to farm. I'm no fan of farming so I won't force it, but having the option there for players is good I think.

Randomness IN Battles: Okay, this is a different story. The more RNG you throw in, the less life-or-death strategy you can add to your battles. Here's what I mean:

Let's say you've got a boss that hits really hard. You absolutely need to buff your defenses and debuff his attack if you want to even hope for survival.

1) Total RNGfest: The boss surprise attacks you. He instantly kills your healer. The guy with Power Break uses it, but misses so the effect fails. Another party member revives the healer. The boss stomps angrily, critically hitting 1 out of the 4 party members, instantly killing them. The healer gets ready to heal in case another stomp happens while Power Break fails to lower the boss's attack again. Unfortunately, the boss acts before the healer can heal with another stomp. The party is dead. Thanks RNGsus!

2) Better: The boss never gets a surprise attack. Power Break Guy can guaranteed lower the attack power every time he attacks, but the duration is short so he has to keep an eye on and maintain it, just like the healer will need to keep an eye on and maintain the party-wide resistance buff. The player is able to figure out that the stomp happens once every 4 rounds. Due to the lack of RNG, this can be made even stronger than it was in the previous example, so the player quickly realizes that he needs to guard on stomp rounds to avoid death by critical hit even with buffs on the party and debuffs on the boss.

While #2 may not seem like much of a fight because everything is 100%, the lack of fatal RNG factors means you're free to make the fight even more complicated in a strategic sense instead of raining the Dice of Doom down upon your players.
 

Jhale M.

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I think I said this before elsewhere, but random battles are part of realistic, rewarding and immersive game design if used properly. You shouldn't be able to go through a world of monsters without fighting many at all unless they are meant to be a rarity. You shouldn't be able to fight a powerful boss based on equipment alone unless your party is filled with experienced adventurers, which is rare, or the stakes aren't too high, which is also rare.

And with RPG Maker, at least based on RPG Maker 2003, you set random encounters by an exact number of steps so they aren't really random. Good design would make it hard to travel through certain maps where it makes sense and the path is straightforward and more peaceful to travel other maps where exploration and branching paths are more key. While maybe the big areas could realistically have a ton of enemies in it, you should practically never make a high enemy rate if you are purely using random encounters because you can't expect the PLAYER TO REALISTICALLY happily deal with something like that, even if they are a total otaku in RPGs.

Now that I think of it, there may not even be circumstances where a high encounter rate is warranted, unless you make a supernatural event for it to happen in. If you want to make an area feel heavily guarded/inhabitated, there should be a good mix of somewhat sparse random encounters and then visible enemy sprites that produce waves of battles or something like that. I think most people enjoy the challenge of a multi-part battle more than random encounters.
 
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Countyoungblood

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I think another issue is that people just don't play correctly. Handling randomness is in its own right a skill.

Take the game Blood Bowl for instance (a board game, though it does have a video game port that faithfully follows the rules). A lot of people will say it is completely random. I say if you put me against someone who thinks its all luck, I'll win 99% of the time. And hell, I'll even do it with an Elf team, the teams that is probably the riskiest in the game.

The key to randomness is making sure that there are ways to work around it. There is good RNG and bad RNG.

And I'll be honest, if your entire strategy revolved around that hit you just missed: Your strategy was probably bad.

(And now I want to play XCOM 2 again :|)
Youd probably enjoy machi koro. You spend coins to buy land that pays you on different dice rolls. 1-12 different odds and payouts for different number sets but they are limited. You win buy buying 4 expensive upgrades one of which lets you roll two dice rather than one.

All in all a wonderfully simple yet complex board game.
 

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