I’ve railed against RNG before, and it remains my hugest complaint about WoW.
RNG is a necessary component of an RPG, or so I’m told by my past self and others. Which I can definitely see, I mean Hot Streak would be less fun it was simply a button you pushed every six seconds, and I think we’ll always fondly remember the T8 machine gun*.
I get all grumpy when RNG crosses the line from fun, mix-it-up mechanic to game breaking, why the bleeding hell did that just happen territory.
Killing Pokemon the Fire Watcher (or whatever his name is), and he drops warlock pants when warlock is the only class not present in the raid is frustrating. Getting feared and watching as the fear path takes you around a pillar then directly into a wall, ending only once you are out of LOS and fifty yards away from your partner is the pinnacle of frustration.
How many people, honestly, really liked random mace stun procs? How many people saw some poor priest get randomly stunned, and exclaimed “OH MAN LOOK AT THAT SKILL!” or “Well played!”
Me, March 23, 2009.
My opinion has not changed. Game breaking RNG is not healthy. A weapon like the ROFLHERALD adds nothing but arbitrary stupid to PvP. (If science can be a verb, then stupid can be a noun.)
Losing because of RNG is not fun, it’s frustrating, if not utterly disheartening and demoralizing.
Winning because of RNG isn’t really fun either, not for me anyways. It feels hollow, arbitrary.
I played a D&D campaign once where I, the token orc barbarian (yes, full orc, none of this half-orc business), one shot the final boss. To save tedious explanations, essentially I rolled three twenties in a row and instantly killed a boss monster easily ten levels higher than I was.
It was funny, it was fun. But it wasn’t a victory. The evil bad dude lay dead, her loot resplendent in its mighty stat allocation. But the boss was not defeated, it was merely killed.
There’s a very clear distinction between a victory that is legitimate, and a victory due entirely to luck. By the same token, there’s a very clear distinction to losing legitimately, and simply being screwed over by random dice rolls.
Maybe this is another instance where I diverge drastically from the general WoW populace, but I don’t mind losing in the slightest. What I mind is losing because of RNG. What I mind is when success and failure are hinged completely on the almighty gods of the d20.
Being defeated by superior strategy, being crushed due to tactical mistakes, these are legitimate losses, and I am not saddened or frustrated by them.
A pair of arena matches (losses, both of them, for the exact same reason), illustrate this point so precisely I might as well have scripted them.
Me, pally healer, me partner, death knight goofball (face pulling thorim trash since 2009), in Nagrand arena.
First match, it’s me desperately queuing a Holy Light on me partner. I get smacked with a full duration fear, with no way out. All cooldowns have been used. The RNG fear path takes me directly to the nearest pillar, around said pillar, then directly at the wall.
Me partner, of course, being tagged with roots, can’t get anywhere. Me being out of range of healing him, can’t anyway due to the pillar in the way. He dies before I can even get back in range, let alone LOS.
Second match, it’s me desperately queuing a Holy Light on me partner. It’s a paladin/DK team, perfect mirror match, me partner being nearly dead, but their pally in dire straits as well. Their DK runs around a pillar, away from us, and we let him go unharassed, staying on the paladin.
This is, what we in the hindsight industry call a BIG MISTAKE.
A mere .2 seconds before my HL finished, and the DK, which we let go, death grips me out into the middle of nowhere, out of LOS of me partner. Where the pally then kills him.
The difference? The first instance was due to RNG, the second due to being outfought.
Well, the paladin was in full relentless gear and a 258 weapon/shield, but meh.
And here’s the rub. The first match, we lost directly because of RNG. Would we have lost anyway? If a situation is dire enough where a single failed HL results in defeat, is it even possible to recover from that?
We’ll never know, because RNG screwed us over before we even had the chance to lose legitimately.
The second match was a legitimate loss. A team with a MMR rating over 100 higher than ours that vastly outgeared us, but we didn’t lose because of that. We lost due to superior tactics on their side. Which is exactly how it should be.
Sure, I did release a cry of “Nooooo!” as I was being yanked through the air, but there were no lamentations of “damn it blizz this game is retarded”. DG is a tool, and if it’s used to yoink a healer out of LOS with their partner, that’s a legitimate strategy.
Perhaps most importantly, strategy and tactics can be countered. RNG cannot. You can’t effectively fight that which is random and completely unpredictable. All you can do is react and hope you don’t get screwed too hard.
There’s a reason why random stun procs died a swift death, and why Seal of Justice needs to get the same treatment.
The primary purpose of losing is to become better. That’s why you lost, you weren’t good enough, so you have to become better in order to secure victory.
What do you learn from a random mace proc? What strategies do you come up with to counter completely random events utterly beyond your control?
In short, you don’t, really. You come up with a few damage control ideas, then hope it doesn’t happen again.
Losing legitimately, to superior tactics/strategy, teaches you things. You lost to things you can control, you lost because of things you are capable of adapting to and defeating. In other words, you learn, and become better.
You learn nothing from losing to RNG, you do not become better, only more frustrated and angry.
Losing properly has the opposite effect. You learn, you become better, you come up with new ideas that inevitably lead to success.
* As you know, the T8 set bonus allows for your specs random proc to not get consumed when using it. Worthless for arcane, say, but absolute gold for fire mages. My best record was five pyroblasts in a row.