My view on RNG

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OmnisScio
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by OmnisScio » December 2nd, 2014, 12:25 pm

I know that no matter how many numbers are used, it can be reduced to a single value. It does change the chance when more numbers are used, however. Normally a 99% chance would miss 1 out of 100, but by using two numbers, 99% misses only 1 in 10,000 or something. It makes the shown numbers behave closer to the unrealistic expectations of the player.

For me, triviality doesn't matter. Difficulty is not my motivation for playing a game. What motivates me is the story and most of all: the characters.

It is possible for a game to cater to all people by providing options. Those who want a challenge can choose a higher difficulty level or activate certain mechanics.

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iceiceice
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by iceiceice » December 2nd, 2014, 3:45 pm

OmnisScio wrote:What motivates me is the story and most of all: the characters.

It is possible for a game to cater to all people by providing options. Those who want a challenge can choose a higher difficulty level or activate certain mechanics.
Indeed, that is why there are many different campaigns in many different styles and genres. Some people like you will be at the UtBS end of the spectrum, and at the extreme opposite is maybe NR. And with UMC the possibilities are limitless. But it doesn't require changing the core engine to achieve this, only some WML / add-ons.

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tekelili
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by tekelili » December 2nd, 2014, 4:24 pm

OmnisScio wrote:I know that no matter how many numbers are used, it can be reduced to a single value. It does change the chance when more numbers are used, however. Normally a 99% chance would miss 1 out of 100, but by using two numbers, 99% misses only 1 in 10,000 or something. It makes the shown numbers behave closer to the unrealistic expectations of the player.
Good BfW players have no unrealistic expectations about randomess and, as iceiceice pointed, complicate chance formula is a source of "frustation" for them.

For game "flexibility" happens as for frustation: different people, different taste. In my case I dont enjoy games that allow me infinite configurations. My feel with those games is "Dear game designer: Could you have done your job and provide me the right design instead burden me with task of find right one?". Btw flexibility can works in human vs AI, but is really a lack for human vs human: Is difficult for two guys agree in a play a "game" when they must first agree in a lot of settings.
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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TheCripple
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by TheCripple » December 2nd, 2014, 5:58 pm

OmnisScio wrote:I know that no matter how many numbers are used, it can be reduced to a single value. It does change the chance when more numbers are used, however. Normally a 99% chance would miss 1 out of 100, but by using two numbers, 99% misses only 1 in 10,000 or something. It makes the shown numbers behave closer to the unrealistic expectations of the player.
What it does is makes the player do a calculation or consult a table every time they want to know the actual miss chance, as the number provided is a complete lie. It's not a particularly fast calculation with the Fire Emblem method either, as it is the average of two numbers and as such you can't just use the probability math that would apply to best of two or worst of two. Speaking as someone who likes the Fire Emblem series, I consider it obnoxious.

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Re: My view on RNG

Post by johndh » December 2nd, 2014, 8:51 pm

OmnisScio wrote:Normally a 99% chance would miss 1 out of 100, but by using two numbers, 99% misses only 1 in 10,000 or something. It makes the shown numbers behave closer to the unrealistic expectations of the player.
That just sounds like a penalty on players who can do math at even a very rudimentary level. If the player asks "Is this a worthwhile attack?", they need to know the real numbers.
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.

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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Velensk » December 3rd, 2014, 12:26 am

I think a lot of people come into Wesnoth with the expectation that it is or should be other games they view as similar. I find that it plays to my tastes near perfectly and if I were to complain about the problems I have with other games it could be interpreted as "It's not more like Wesnoth."

An important thing to remember, is that in nearly all wesnoth campaigns, if you play well and manage your xp, nearly any non-victory condition unit can become expendable after the first few scenarios. Even losing your level 3s frequently isn't really a problem. Now a player conditioned to fire emblem where each character is irreplaceable (and in many games especially the experience that you feed into them is very irreplaceable) have a hard time with this mindset. Certain lvl 3s can be harder to replace such that losing several of them in one poor run merits restarting but wesnoths dynamics tend to make it so that if that happens you've probably lost anyway. In the meanwhile, wesnoth uses a lot of odds but the odds are very strait forward and once you get a feel for them pretty intuitive. There's a lot of dice rolled in any engagement so the results tend to bell curve naturally and you know the exact risks you take. Also, the possible results being highly fixed (though with a high variability helps): for example no critical hits [for the record, I'd definitely trade not being able to get critical hits in fire emblem for the enemies not being able to get them or trigger instant death abilities]. Now you could say that getting max hits on a 4 strike attack or something similar is like a critical hit and I'd agree but at least you know the odds of it and they are a part of the natural flow of the combat.

I actually like the Fire Emblem series but it's a very different style of game than Wesnoth once you get beyond the genre. I find Fire Emblem much more frustrating to play in general though. I also find the fact that the odds they give you being incorrect to be highly annoying. It's nice that each of your warriors is a character (though I suspect I have far less fun with this than the intended audience and the creators because most of them feel artificial) but at the same time I personally find it irritating that it's frequently practical to restart a scenario because of a single loss. I find the games easy enough that if the loses weren't permanent it probably wouldn't be challenging enough to be interesting but at the same time I can't help but feel when I lose a character that I'd rather just push on and let them have their death. Unfortunately although new characters of decent power get introduced periodically it's still really hard on the highest difficulty lvl to have enough non-fodder characters if you do this (and near end game your fodder characters will simply die without doing anything). And if you do find yourself in this situation it represents a far greater loss of time/effort than a similar position would be in wesnoth so you might as well save yourself the time by keeping all of your intended final army alive at least until near the very end despite how silly it seems to halt and call a war based on a single casualty. I had that happen before and essentially had to replay the entire campaign including the 3/4 I'd already beaten.

I always feel like I have more control over my fortune in Wesnoth than I do in many similar games that it's constantly compared to (that I've tried) but this comes with a different mindset of how you view the game and your pieces. It's a more ruthless mindset but I feel that it's more appropriate to the games themes anyway. It's seriously hard to take Fire Emblem's attempts to portray the horrors of war or of personal loss in a system which not only makes it perfectly possible/doable but encourages you to keep everyone alive. I'm sure that it's frustrating to see a game that has stories and characters you think you might like but in a game system that doesn't mesh to you but know that such works both ways and we appreciate having a game whose system works to our tastes (though truth be told I'm very rarely impressed by the story or characters in any game and I wouldn't give praise to wesnoths campaigns). There's nothing that 'needs' to be changed because it fills a role that no other game does which many people enjoy.

For what it's worth I could spend quite a bit of time talking about other games of the genre as well. I only picked on Fire Emblem because it's been mentioned

In any case, this is one thing that improves the better you get at the game. There's a surprising amount of depth and you can provide yourself with an impressive buffer against bad luck even on some of the more difficult campaigns by good play.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

Andrettin
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Andrettin » December 16th, 2014, 5:30 pm

I would feel cheated if the game said that there is a chance of hitting of 80%, while actually hits would happen over 90% of the time.

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Elouin
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Elouin » December 25th, 2014, 3:24 pm

I like the RNG. Sometimes its a bit frustrating, but i think that is one of the main things that keep me playing.
Those up and downs you get caused by the RNG.

One thing i miss in BfW or havent foudn yet, is a statistic window or something like that for the RNG.

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Pentarctagon
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Pentarctagon » December 25th, 2014, 9:43 pm

The "s" key will bring up a statistics window.
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Elouin
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Elouin » December 26th, 2014, 6:00 pm

I meant something that shows me how many hits missed or hitted at wich percentage etc.

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Why the RNG really pisses players off.

Post by Krolan » January 2nd, 2015, 6:43 pm

Before you jump to conclusions. No, I'm not gonna whine about the RNG sucking, or the Game sucking because of RNG or whine in general. I play this game for so long now (Campaigns mostly), that I had my highs and lows in frustration. I now understand how this game can be played in acceptance with the RNG. BUT my experience with the issue and the fact that I turned away from wesnoth for about 2 years for those reasons lead me to believe that I can even the ground a little bit.

1. Players who complain don't want you to tell them that they probably play wrong, or that unit xyz is replacable or expendable. They get even more frustrated because nobody acknowledges that the RNG can screw you in such unlikely ways, that it doesn't seem fair and, in fact, isn't.

2. The true horror of the RNG is the following list, please understand that this is just like a player who compains probably experienced the game:

2.1 If there is an enemy land-unit in shallow water (20%), if I attack, it is unlikely that I will hit more than once in 3 attacks, very unlikely that I will hit more than twice. It is also unlikely that the one attack that connects will be the first, it will rather be the third (so even a 1/73 hp unit in shallow water will damage the attacker). If I place any unit exposed in shallow water, the enemy will most likely hit every single time, be it 3, 5 or 8 attacks.

2.2 If there is a full life lvl-1 Elven Archer on a forest tile at dawn or dusk, I will most likely need 3 lvl 3, 4 lvl 2 or 6 lvl 1 units to kill it this round. If I place my elvish (leader) Champion(lvl3) on a forest tile at full health exposed, and there are 3 lvl 2 enemy units, my leader will either die or be in 1 digit red hit-points.

2.3 If I dare to attack any unit at 1/34 with my leader, even if my probability of hitting is 70% on 4 hits, most likely, My leader will get 3 retalations before the unit goes down.

2.4 If My leader gets attacked in the castle by 3 units at worst conditions (for enemy, day-time), he will die in 2 turns, without killing a single enemy unit (or even hitting one). If I attack the enemy leader in his castle, I better have my whole army on setup, attack at best conditions (day-time) and prepare myself to loose 1 or 2 high-level units.

2.5 If I have 5 charging riders directed at different enemies on land-tiles (40%), 3 of 5 will fail to hit at all, 1 of 5 will hit twice, 1 of 5 will hit once. If my enemy has 5 charging riders and attacks my units on hill-tiles (50%), 4 of 5 will hit once, 2 of 5 will hit twice with only 1 of them missing completely.

2.6 Conclusion: These are NOT made up (but understandably unlikely in your perception), this is the experience which I had with the game (situationaly) playing for years and watching countless replays. Of course it is based on direct same-situation comparisson. But I actually think I have an explaination for that.

3. The true Problem with the RNG is that it follow a pattern which may even be calculated accurately but goes through any unit, enemy or not. What I mean by that is this:

In real-life, If someone in America flips a coin over and over trying to get as many heads as possible, and I start to do the same in germany with my coin, the american dudes probability didn't change. With RNG however it does. Basically:

If I fail to hit a unit with 4 mage-attacks (70% probability to hit), I can assume that my next mage will hit at least with his first of 4 attacks. However. If I just end my turn after my mage failed to connect 4 times in a row, the enemies mages probability of hitting any of my units with 70% is the same as if I continued my assault. I do not know if this stands true in the algorithm itself, or if there are other functions to the Wesnoth RNG, but what I feel is this: If I fail to hit 12 times in a row (yes, it happens, more often than 0.2% of the time) at 60% pth (probability to hit), I can gurantee, if I end my turn right after, that the enemy will hit at least the next 9/12 hits at 40% pth.

What I'm trying to say is, that a bad RNG moment for you, which is at some point followed by a good RNG moment, can be against your favor, if the enemy picks up the "good RNG moment". It seems to me that the RNG in this game is one string of numbers, and while the RNG may be fair and balanced, the fact that you have 2 (or more) factions feeding of the same RNG String is what makes it unbalanced for some players and leads to genuine and understandable frustration.

4. Even if you're the most talented of logical dudes or dudettes on the planet, when you are beginning to figure out this game, the RNG can screw your better approach. It leads to players being unable to know if they've done something "better" this time or even thinking the opposite because of what happened. I for example had a very, very bad RNG moment, when my leader was going forward with 2 rows of lvl 1 units as protections (he had to move for the scenario and there was no favorable terrain, except for near enemy keeps, which were to be avoided). The enemy had also alot of units, some of which were lvl 2, but no matter, we all were on Grass-tiles (40%) and the enemy lead the attack. Yes, this never happened again, but what happened is this: The enemy units hit every-single-time, while my units connected in 10 fights(!) about 2 retalation attacks. So, not only was my force depleted, my leader injured and my frustration rising, but the enemy lost close to no hit-points at all (btw. the Day-time was in my favor). This was the first time I reloaded a turn, I did all the same stuff, I didn't change a thing, and this time around the damage on both sides was pretty even and without reloading further I finished and won the Scenario. Though, I have to say, that I never had a situation quite like this in favor of mine. It's also immensly unsatisfying having to reload a turn, which initially feels like cheating.

So, in conclusion, a good move/strategy/tactic you figured out can appear as unfavorable and maybe, because of that, you won't try to do this again, even if it was the most right thing to do in the given situation.

5. And lastly, even if for 1 scenario the RNG does not screw you, it still feels unfair, but not because of the RNG. Realize this:

5.1 The (computer-)enemy does not give a flying hell if he dies. He can do the stupidest riskiest moves and succeed, which, if you would attempt them, would cost you precious high-level units you might very well need in the next scenario or would lead to you just plainly loosing the scneario. The Enemy does not care about EFB either.

5.2 The enemy usually outnumbers you, which means that the enemy just gets more RNG-Rolls and therefor an initially better chance to succeed at anything. (Ever fought an army of level-0 goblins, or zombies, and had really bad luck?)

5.3 A turn-limit is ALWAYS in favor of the enemy. He can ALWAYS play slow, you ALWAYS have to be fast(er) (except the rare "defend" maps)

There are other points to this, but you get the idea.

These all are the reasons why this game is

A) Hard to get into for someone who starts out un-lucky (When I started playing many years ago, I lost the tutorial. twice.)

B) leads players to save-abuse the hell out of the RNG

C) frustrating and unfair to those unfortunate.

D) not fun to play for the same.

Somewhere the ones who never had an issue in the beginning must admit that they were lucky, that their enjoyment of the game today might very well not be if the first 5 scenarios they ever played gave them an RNG-middle-finger.

It also seems to be very obvious that the RNG is faulty if you consider, that save-loading as a practice works and can lead to hilariously lucky replays. Just imagine that save-loaded replay stacked against the player and you'll get the Idea why some are in rage when they play and create accounts like "Ihatewesnoth" to [censored] and moan. I believe them. Every single word they say. I believe that they started the game open minded and had an experience leading them to believe, that there is no enjoyment to be had.

And I know that it has nothing to do with having played Fire Emblem, or FF-Tactics, or Tactics Ogre or even Yu-gi-oh (the GBA/NDS games), which I all played before and after. Those games also screw you on RNG time and time again, but it doesn't appear as frequent as to lead players to [censored] and moan about those games.



Ultimatively I want to note, that I, today, enjoy this game alot. But I'm also very persistent and played through other hard-to-get-into games, with and without RNG (prince of persia (not the sands of time, rather Warrior Within and the original DOS game), anyone?). Especially young people could use a more fair wesnoth, one which has a build in "fail-counter" which triggers one unit to hit with all attacks once, when the fail-counter reaches a certain number (all this hidden, of course.) Call it "Wesnoth: The childsplay version". Oh well, after all this years there is one thing I know for sure. That anybody who complains about being unlucky is "too stupid to play" and anyone who ass-kisses wesnoth (even though he save-loads all the time and is playing "for the story" (as opposed to "for the gameplay")) is a friggin hero.



Please take no offense out of this, I know how much work this game is for alot of you, and I know that there is a consistent fan-base which adapted to, understands and enjoys the game. It just pains me in my chest everytime when there is no Understanding to be found whenever someone does not enjoy it, be it because he's young or unlucky.


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Krolan
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Crushmaster
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by Crushmaster » January 8th, 2015, 12:47 am

Velensk wrote: In any case, this is one thing that improves the better you get at the game. There's a surprising amount of depth and you can provide yourself with an impressive buffer against bad luck even on some of the more difficult campaigns by good play.
Well said.
Andrettin wrote:I would feel cheated if the game said that there is a chance of hitting of 80%, while actually hits would happen over 90% of the time.
I agree - that doesn't sound too fun to me.
OmnisScio wrote: Wesnoth has RPG elements, and I want certain units to survive.
I can understand that. When I wrote a campaign years ago, all of the remotely major characters were required for winning...If I was going to have someone die, they'd probably just die in the storyline, and not be left up to chance.

I've been playing Wesnoth for a long time, and, while I have often been frustrated by the RNG, I can't find any actual fault with it. If managed properly with good tactics (such as rotating your men to let them heal, something the AI doesn't seem too hot at), it gives the game good challenge and fun. It can also be enjoyable when you get the randomness in your favor...Very enjoyable. Just don't depend too much on that. ;)

So, I'm glad it has it. Wesnoth would lack a lot of its magic without it.
Godspeed, random person!
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pauxlo
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Re: Why the RNG really pisses players off.

Post by pauxlo » January 12th, 2015, 7:31 pm

Krolan wrote: 2. The true horror of the RNG is the following list, please understand that this is just like a player who compains probably experienced the game:

2.1 If there is an enemy land-unit in shallow water (20%), if I attack, it is unlikely that I will hit more than once in 3 attacks, very unlikely that I will hit more than twice. It is also unlikely that the one attack that connects will be the first, it will rather be the third (so even a 1/73 hp unit in shallow water will damage the attacker). If I place any unit exposed in shallow water, the enemy will most likely hit every single time, be it 3, 5 or 8 attacks.
I think your "unlikely" and "most likely" are not some mathematically rigorous concepts like "more/less often than not", but more like "it feels likely/unlikely".
Krolan wrote: 2.2 If there is a full life lvl-1 Elven Archer on a forest tile at dawn or dusk, I will most likely need 3 lvl 3, 4 lvl 2 or 6 lvl 1 units to kill it this round. If I place my elvish (leader) Champion(lvl3) on a forest tile at full health exposed, and there are 3 lvl 2 enemy units, my leader will either die or be in 1 digit red hit-points.
I didn't do the math, but please note that champions have only 60% defense on forest, while archers have 70%. This means on average the champion receives 33% more damage than the archer from enemy attacks (assuming none of them are magical or marksman or similar).
Krolan wrote: [...]
2.6 Conclusion: These are NOT made up (but understandably unlikely in your perception), this is the experience which I had with the game (situationaly) playing for years and watching countless replays. Of course it is based on direct same-situation comparisson. But I actually think I have an explaination for that.
Could you post/link some of those replays here?

I think a lot of this is perception bias: humans remember events much better when they are unfortunate, and when they ruin your plans.
I guess there where just as many opposite events (i.e. where your enemy's archer was even killed by one of your level-3s, or where the enemy units didn't hit your leader at all (assuming you even let them come that near, and they tried to attack at all – sometimes enemy units simply move beside my units and then don't attack, if it seems to dangerous to them).

I don't think the Wesnoth RNG cares whether it generates "luck" for you (or your AI allies) or for your AI enemies.
Krolan wrote: 3. The true Problem with the RNG is that it follow a pattern which may even be calculated accurately but goes through any unit, enemy or not. What I mean by that is this:

In real-life, If someone in America flips a coin over and over trying to get as many heads as possible, and I start to do the same in germany with my coin, the american dudes probability didn't change. With RNG however it does. Basically:

If I fail to hit a unit with 4 mage-attacks (70% probability to hit), I can assume that my next mage will hit at least with his first of 4 attacks. However. If I just end my turn after my mage failed to connect 4 times in a row, the enemies mages probability of hitting any of my units with 70% is the same as if I continued my assault. I do not know if this stands true in the algorithm itself, or if there are other functions to the Wesnoth RNG, but what I feel is this: If I fail to hit 12 times in a row (yes, it happens, more often than 0.2% of the time) at 60% pth (probability to hit), I can gurantee, if I end my turn right after, that the enemy will hit at least the next 9/12 hits at 40% pth.
Again: Do you have some replays where this happened?

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Re: My view on RNG

Post by taptap » January 13th, 2015, 6:46 pm

There are plenty of deterministic / just a little randomness games among turn-based strategy games (Battle Isle, History Line, Panzer General and variants etc.). Most of them are pretty intransparent about their game mechanics to the point that even reviews don't bother to explain. Sure, you see tons of numbers (armor, armor piercing, bonus here, modifier there), but how the result is actually computed is hardly ever explained at all. Looking back at this kind of game, I find them very unsatisfying. Despite the more adult setting of many of these games, gameplay is way more mature in Wesnoth. Randomness is in my opinion the whole point about this kind of strategy. You need strategy because results are not certain. Without randomness representing uncertainty the game turns into a more or less complex scheduling puzzle (as many of turn based games indeed end up) at least against the AI in its current state.
They get even more frustrated because nobody acknowledges that the RNG can screw you in such unlikely ways, that it doesn't seem fair and, in fact, isn't.
I acknowledge that RNG can screw you up in unlikely ways. (I also acknowledge that some scenarios are badly constructed.) However, embrace fate. War isn't fair, overcoming that setback is what makes gameplay memorable.

And for numbers: evidence needs sufficient sample size not anecdotes, so out of 100 times your red mage missed all 4 shots, how were the results of the consecutive attack? Plenty individually unlikely things are bound to happen fairly regularly when you have multiple units at work over a whole campaign. This should be fairly easy to test, and was probably discussed before... ah yes, here: http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=37225
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Re: My view on RNG

Post by johndh » January 24th, 2015, 3:58 pm

taptap wrote:There are plenty of deterministic / just a little randomness games among turn-based strategy games (Battle Isle, History Line, Panzer General and variants etc.). Most of them are pretty intransparent about their game mechanics to the point that even reviews don't bother to explain. Sure, you see tons of numbers (armor, armor piercing, bonus here, modifier there), but how the result is actually computed is hardly ever explained at all. Looking back at this kind of game, I find them very unsatisfying.
This is a pet peeve of mine with many dungeon crawlers as well. If I pick up a Duke's Rondel of the Springbok that gives me a +4 to evasion, what does that actually mean? Does it make me less likely to get hit? If so, how much? Wesnoth does a good job of showing game mechanics in a completely transparent way. The only guesswork is what the opponent will do and what's hidden by the fog of war.
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.

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