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Forenkazan

Why do most RPG games uses range values for attack/defence?

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Also, without Random numbers in the calculation things become very easy to calculate for the player...

 

Which, in case of an RPG (where the skill difference in PvP matches is not the deciding factor for including RNG), can lead to boring battles getting even more boring...

 

"Oh look, another slime, two hits and its gone... done" vs. "Oh look, another slime, two hits and its... MISS? wtf? How can my character miss... well, second character should do the job, and the third one will finish it off... woot? Only 5 damage? Common, third character, I need a high damage roll, else I will TAKE DAMAGE FROM A SLIME! Oh noes!"

 

 

Or, on the other hand:

 

"Oh great, all my character have less than 100 HP left, and the endboss always does 100HP damage per round to each character... yeah, lets restart from the last save" vs. "Oh great, all my characters have less than 100 HP left... well, maybe the endboss does low damage this round and I can heal up again.... YES, thank you RNGJesus! Lets get that potion out... what, only 20HP healed on the character with the lowest current HP.... ouch, he might get finished the next round... common, RNGJesus, don't fail me now" <and so on>

 

 

RNG often are causing lots of player rage, but without it, games become easy to min-max and calculate. Ever seen a chess game where a newbie was able to get any ground on a world champion?... or a very good player on a world champion, for that matter?

Now, lets make chess much simpler (because an RPG without RNG is just selecting between chipping off 5, or 7, or 10 damage off the 100 HP bar of an enemy, depending on the skills chosen to attack), and lets see if anyone still feels this "chess for dummies" provides any kind of challenge to them.

 

Its like playing tic-tac-toe... no sane, adult person would say this an interesting game to play. Its just "waiting for the other to not pay attention", thats all. Until they get it, kids might find it entertaining.

This is what an RPG without RNG would feel like... just with shiny graphics to hide the simple mechanics.

 

 

RNG might turn most of our games into glorified gambling machines on the other hand (or maybe rather poker, because some tactical skill might still be needed).... but there is a reason why gambling is so addicting. For most people, a healthy dose of Random Numbers make a game better on average :)

Edited by Gian-Reto

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A range of defense? The only thing I can think of with a range on defense would be shields in Diablo, which makes sense as an active defense attempting to block, as opposed to a passive defense of simply wearing armor. But I guess it happens.

 

Gian-Reto explained very well why you would want a variable amount of damage in your game. Having this makes the stats a bit less readable as you try to do the math on two or more numbers instead of just seeing one number for what it is, but that's why games started adding the damage per second stat onto the weapon. If you want the quickest simplest overview of the weapons ability, just check the DPS. If you want to know more about the speed of it's attack, and the range between it's lowest and highest damage, that info is there for you too.

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It might come from pen and paper RPGs. It's most prevalent in hack and slashes and games that use D&D-like mechanics. But it's not an absolute requirement for an RPG game or a magic cure to min maxing and planning. Games like Deus Ex, Gothic 2 and Dark Souls worked well without it and are considered good RPGs too.

Edited by FRex

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I'm not convinced that RNG is required for an RPG.

 

Consider action RPGs where HP tend to be depicted more often as hearts. I believe in general you find that an enemy does a consistent amount of damage with each hit and your weapon will tend to be consistent as well.

And I know it's not an RPG but playing numerous hours of Civ4 I noticed that it's pretty rare that battles were decided on randomness. More often than not battles are decided on any terrain & unit tech bonuses and the number of units involved. In general, there was a logic to the outcomes of the battles and "fun" was in your ability to prepare for what's coming.

 


Which, in case of an RPG, can lead to boring battles getting even more boring.

 

If battles are already boring then shift away from their prevalence and focus more on preparing the player and his character(s) for other challenges or providing other elements of gameplay where the player can have fun.

 


 

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The reason is simple: they model good strikes and 'lucky' hits. Also see: critical hits.

If you have 1d6 damage and roll 1, your character just scratched the enemy. With 6, they have hurt them considerably. At critical the whole blade has gone in.

In my experience the incidence of variable damages becomes secondary at a certain point, it's mostly relevant at low levels.

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I'm not convinced that RNG is required for an RPG.

 

Consider action RPGs where HP tend to be depicted more often as hearts. I believe in general you find that an enemy does a consistent amount of damage with each hit and your weapon will tend to be consistent as well.

And I know it's not an RPG but playing numerous hours of Civ4 I noticed that it's pretty rare that battles were decided on randomness. More often than not battles are decided on any terrain & unit tech bonuses and the number of units involved. In general, there was a logic to the outcomes of the battles and "fun" was in your ability to prepare for what's coming.

 

 

 


Which, in case of an RPG, can lead to boring battles getting even more boring.

 

If battles are already boring then shift away from their prevalence and focus more on preparing the player and his character(s) for other challenges or providing other elements of gameplay where the player can have fun.

 

 

 

Well, I am not saying "An RPG without RNG is boring!"... but just what I perceive as to why many games today choose to include some form of RNG somewhere (which can come in the form of a Physics engine, which in the end is just a fancy RNG that should LOOK like it models physical behaviour, for example)...

 

 

Now, I am in no way saying "Chess is boring", or "Game X is boring"... I am saying that missing an element of randomness improves the ability of the player to number crunch the outcome of battles. Which, if we are talking round based RPGs, leads to boring battles (as the only randomness comes now from the abilities the player, and maybe, depending on how good the AI is, the AI picks).

 

In Action Adventures, like Zelda for example, there is way more randomness included as well as a skill element, as the player now has to move around during battle, can evade getting hit this way or also make a mistake. An additional RNG is much less needed now and, given the "skill" aspect of the game should take the front seat, might actually be detrimental to the expierience, as the RNG might screw the player even though he/she plays very well, or might reduce the amount of skill needed as a lucky RNG result might make up for a mistake of the player.

 

 

I guess the Problem here is, what kind of RPGs are we talking about? Old JRPG systems with turn based static combat? Modern western RPGs which are more like FPS with RPG Elements and a Hack'n'slash system? Tactical round based RPGs? Action Adventures?

 

Generally, in single player games RNGs are used to spice up the system, and to spark the gambler gene in the player. That doesn't make it a good fit for all games, and certainly games can work without it.

 

 

Many RPGs though, especially the older ones, have pretty "simplistic" systems. There is a reason why many JRPGs had "auto battle" buttons so you didn't had to mash the attack button 20 times for every damned random encounter, which happened to pop up once every minute. These become pretty annoying when you are overleveled and these are just timesinks, not giving back sensible amount of exp or ingame currency, nor providing any challenge or novelty. The RNG alone will not change much in this situation... but it does spice up the battles that are more challenging. Which could also become pretty boring once you figured out the system. Have a skill that lets you analyze the enemies health, in a game without RNG? Great, now you can number crunch exactly how long you have to attack to bring the enemy down. All you need now is the attack pattern (which, completly without RNG, will also be extremly predictable), and you can pretty much write a bot that beats the enemy 100% of times, without any conditional logic or sensors needed. Just mashing the buttons in the right sequence.

 

There are also the odd bunch were the RNG actually worked against the game, because it had too much influence. I recently digged up my old SNES Breath of Fire II cartridge. I had completly forgotten how unbalanced the RNG was in this game. A single dodge or critical hit could really mess up your day or turn a close fight into an assured victory. High damage enemies, very high crit chance for both enemies and your own character and a lot of dodges really make every random encounter something of a gamble...

I think it is positive, mindless attack button mashing doesn't work all the time anymore, but on the other hand I  had to redo one or two battles because the RNG screwed me over hard. It certainly made a difference to how you play compared to other games.

 

 

Personally, I'd say RNG is a good idea if a) you want to spice up a simple system to make it more interesting, b) you have a simple system that should model reality (in reality, everything is one huge RNG unless you understand how everything works down to the atom), or c) you want to reduce the skill factor (RNG usually levels the skill needed, as good player might be held back by the RNG).

Its a bad idea when a) you have a very complex system which simulates reality (though there are always things you cannot simulate, where an additional RNG might make sense to make things "more realistic"), b) you have a system that SHOULD be predictable and number crunching should be part of the game, or c) you want to make sure skill will be the main influence on the result of a player.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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RNG range contributes to the near-miss and the near-win which are two very important concepts common to both video games AND gambling.

Put simply, the near-miss, is when facing marginal odds of winning but manage to pull it off, and the near-win is when facing marginal odds of losing but manage to screw it up.

The two live together and contribute to interesting moments.

Obviously, the near-win creates rage, and is not desirable per se, but encountering the near-win, or the mere knowledge that the near-win CAN HAPPEN is what makes the near-miss so damn sweet. 

When a player manages to "beat the system" (without actually doing anything mind you) and that the odds were stacked against them, they feel like they've achieved something, or rather, that they've been blessed with an invisible force. This creates a positive tension that cannot be found in most other gaming moments including hidden information games played versus an opponent.

 

So yeah, essentially, "beating the odds" is something we're wired to like as human beings apparently. Must be somewhere in our genome or something.

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the range is randomness to allow some variety.  It evokes the feeling of lucky winning that the lottery does.  Sometimes you get critical hits and do your highest possible damage over and over and go on a high-performance streak!  Very exciting that that possibility always lurks in the background.

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