My view on RNG

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OmnisScio
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My view on RNG

Post by OmnisScio » December 1st, 2014, 5:17 am

I'm under the impression that the RNG is a somewhat controversial topic around here. I thought I would express my point of view on the matter.

I have a love/hate relationship with this game. Somehow, the music and themes and all of the other stuff create an amazing sense of immersion. I really like the world of Wesnoth. It's what keeps me coming back. Why am I gone in the first place? The RNG. Nobody in the industry seems to be able to do it properly. The main problem is they almost always go too far. For example, I feel like fire emblem does randomization perfectly. Certain units hit 100% of the time, that's their thing, while others are an all-or-nothing unit, low accuracy, but big damage. The game even uses two numbers and gets the average, so low odds tend lower, and high odds tend higher. But the game goes too far and randomizes level ups as
well. That was an incorrect decision. I significant part of that game is the characters. I should be able to choose what characters to use, but the RNG often renders those characters unusable, with only the characters I hate getting good level-ups.

The way I see it, the point of a game is to be fun. Because of this, probability behaving in reality is irrelevant. The fact remains that the players warped view on the events is making them frustrated, and thus the game is failing. This is what fire emblems two number system addresses. A player expects an 80% to hit, and in fire emblem, it will hit more than 90% of the time.

Whenever there is a debate like this in a game, I feel like the best solution is to add an option in the options menu to toggle between two different systems. That way everyone is happy. I know that that won't happen though. I'm under the impression that work on the game is winding down. Fire emblem did something like this with perma-death.

I am aware that different people derive fun in different ways, and that there are probably many people who find the current system fun. I do not find it fun, I find it extremely frustrating. I hate that I can't do anything about the chance to hit. There's no accuracy stat I can improve. I don't like that the chance to hit has nothing to do with the attacker at all. It's unreasonable for me to be locked out, or prevented from realizing the full enjoyment potential of the game because of these mechanics. I really like everything else about the game, I just can't stand RNG.

It's this sort of stuff that I use to justify cheating in games. For example in fire emblem, I hack the game and make everyone's growth rate 100%, it's the only way I can get rid of the RNG. I admit that the game becomes too easy at that point, but it's better than not playing at all (the RNG level-ups just make me leave in disgust). I mod Wesnoth a bit as well, I like the openness about this game, but annoyingly I cannot modify those core mechanics.

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beetlenaut
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by beetlenaut » December 1st, 2014, 6:02 am

You can modify the core mechanics--it just takes more than average skill. Look for "Deterministic Offence" and "No Randomness Mod" on the 1.12 server. They each give you the kind of system toggle you were talking about.

That said, I have come to the conclusion that getting really good at standard Wesnoth is all about preemptively managing bad luck. But, since luck is average most of the time, you can't see what really good players were going to do if they got bad luck on any particular turn. That gives you the impression that they are just lucky all the time, and the loser only lost because of the RNG.
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OmnisScio
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by OmnisScio » December 1st, 2014, 8:06 am

I understand that Wesnoth is about managing luck and adapting when it turns against you, it's why units often have three or more attacks, as opposed to other games where they only get one or two. What I don't like is how this bad lack can result in lost characters. In a game like starcraft, I don't mind losing units, it's inevitable and a part of the game, but they are nobodies. Wesnoth has RPG elements, and I want certain units to survive.

I'm the kind of player who will reset continuously at the start of a campaign to get a set of units with the traits that I want, then run the whole campaign with only them and the main characters. I may add new units if new unit types become available, as well as loyal units, but I don't do the pawn thing where I recruit new units just to sponge for the vets.

I want to play it like an RPG, not an RTS.

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max_torch
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by max_torch » December 1st, 2014, 2:56 pm

I think you would prefer Disciples http://www.gamespot.com/disciples-ii-gold-edition/

Jabie
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Jabie » December 1st, 2014, 5:05 pm

OmnisScio wrote:Wesnoth has RPG elements, and I want certain units to survive.

I'm the kind of player who will reset continuously at the start of a campaign to get a set of units with the traits that I want, then run the whole campaign with only them and the main characters. I may add new units if new unit types become available, as well as loyal units, but I don't do the pawn thing where I recruit new units just to sponge for the vets.

I want to play it like an RPG, not an RTS.
Some scenarios play more like RPGs, some play more like RTS. The most RPG-like mainline campaign is Under The Burning Suns. In the fan add-ons try Strange Legacy, or, if you enjoyed UtBS, The Soujournings of Grog.

The pawn thing is a perfectly valid tactic. It's not uncommon to summon fodder on the first turn and loyals on the second. That way the first enemy wave usually crashes against a bunch of units you don't care about, and your loyals get to mop up wounded units for XP. Survivors can go back for healing, plug in gaps or finish off enemy units that need to be killed.

Cheating the RNG means different things to different (See http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 2&start=45 ) Used sparingly it can save a lot of frustration - the AI by its very nature will not always play in the spirit of an RPG, whereas any GM worth their screen would - however used aggressively it can draw all the challenge out of the game. This may, of course, be an indication that the challenge level has been set too high for the average player in the first place, which is why it is important to make such comments in the dev forums.

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nuorc
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by nuorc » December 1st, 2014, 6:06 pm

OmnisScio wrote:Wesnoth has RPG elements, and I want certain units to survive.
Well, then keep those certain units a bit back. ;)

I usually want every unit to stay alive and I don't like sacrificing units; but I can't have everything all the time...

Jabie wrote:It's not uncommon to summon fodder on the first turn and loyals on the second. That way the first enemy wave usually crashes against a bunch of units you don't care about, and your loyals get to mop up wounded units for XP.
I tend to recruit vets, sturdy and slow units first. Ideally I can form a line to survive the first onslaught and take it from there.
I have a cunning plan.

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Re: My view on RNG

Post by johndh » December 1st, 2014, 8:49 pm

Without the randomness, I would enjoy Wesnoth far less. Without randomness, there's none of the tension and release cycle that comes with every risky attack. Uncertainty is fun, as is adapting to the consequences of it. "I wasn't expecting that to happen -- what now?" Is it frustrating sometimes? You bet it is! Is it worth it? I'd say so. A strategy game without randomness is no longer a strategy game so much as it is an abstract and complicated puzzle game. Strategy forces you to have contingency plans and to make tough decisions about what is a worthwhile risk and what isn't.
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.

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iceiceice
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by iceiceice » December 1st, 2014, 8:58 pm

OmnisScio wrote:The game even uses two numbers and gets the average, so low odds tend lower, and high odds tend higher.
I think it's an important strength of wesnoth that the way probabilities work in the attack system is extremely simple, so that you can understand it and know what range of outcomes to expect in advance. For many games, like Civilization IV for instance, it's actually extremely complicated to figure out what the outcome will be for any particular engagement, and the game makes all the details opaque. I may have some vague idea that this army will beat that army, but for any particular pair of units that I mouseover to make an attack, the exact "chance of success" % toolbar number is generally a surprise.

Simplicity is definitely your friend. If wesnoth were complicated and a player can't easily say exactly what range of probabilities to expect, it would seriously detract from multiplayer for instance. Clicking around with no real idea of the outcomes can be fun, but it makes it very hard if you are interested in trying to figure out how to play at a high strategic level.

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Dugi
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Dugi » December 1st, 2014, 9:30 pm

I want to play it like an RPG, not an RTS.
Sorry for advertising, but you might like my campaign (see my signature), it's like wesnoth with more RPG features (still keeping the randomness, though).

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OmnisScio
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by OmnisScio » December 1st, 2014, 9:53 pm

Yes I've played Legend of the Invincibles, it's definitely the best UMC. I could only beat the first half though. In the second half you loose all the units you spent ages developing, and the difficulty spikes.

Are there any plans on making another campaign?

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Dugi
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Dugi » December 1st, 2014, 10:00 pm

I made another one recently, named The Beautiful Child. It may be still a bit buggy and unbalanced, but it doesn't lack any important parts. Its storyline is partially based on the second part of Legend of the Invincibles, though.

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Crow_T
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Crow_T » December 1st, 2014, 10:06 pm

Try the addon in my sig, IMO it makes the game more fun, less frustrating, while still keeping the balance (more or less). It makes the damage number random, but weighted towards the chance to hit %. If that makes sense. :lol:

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OmnisScio
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by OmnisScio » December 2nd, 2014, 5:58 am

I have another question relating to RNG: are there any mods that allow you to choose the gender and traits of unit when recruiting, instead of it being random?
I'm guessing (whether or not it currently exists) that it would involve catching the recruitment event, deleting the recruited unit, then creating a dialogue where the player makes their choices.
I don't know how one could make it active in any and all of BfW, but it must be possible because Dugi's no randomness thing works like that.

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Dugi
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Dugi » December 2nd, 2014, 6:13 am

It's possible, but as far as I know, nobody has done it.

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tekelili
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by tekelili » December 2nd, 2014, 11:24 am

OmnisScio wrote:The way I see it, the point of a game is to be fun. Because of this, probability behaving in reality is irrelevant. The fact remains that the players warped view on the events is making them frustrated, and thus the game is failing. This is what fire emblems two number system addresses. A player expects an 80% to hit, and in fire emblem, it will hit more than 90% of the time.
Frustation is only one way of a game become boring, there is also the oppposite way: Triviality. Diffirent people enjoy different grades of frustaion/triviality and is wordly tested that games with low grade of frustation and high grade of triviality are more succesfull, or appeal to more people (look Angry Birds succes). However that doesnt mean a game with a high level of frustation is bad designed, it means is designed to appeal a more reduced group of people that doest enjoy games with high level of triviality.

Btw, it doesnt matter how many numbers you use to calculate a chance, it can always be mathematically reduced to a single chance value.
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
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