Crowfall Goes In-Depth About the Pros and Cons of RNG

We guess you’ve heard of RNG by now? It’s the pesky system that haunts players all around the globe, also along the Sword Coast. According to Crowfall devs, it can even lead to players rage quitting a game, which is not exactly a plus. RNG in the MMO world is always a hot topic, first and foremost because you can never achieve true randomness and have to be careful to not make the player experience too miserable. That’s exactly why Crowfall has tweaked its crafting system lately, as shared in a lengthy blog on the game’s website.

Streak Prevention

What makes the article interesting for Neverwinter players is not crafting in Crowfall, nor the changes to it. It’s the underlying theory that the devs have used to adjust the system. The blog post goes over the reasons of their decision making, and shares many general hints on how to handle player experience in a system that uses randomness. Especially the paragraph about streak prevention is probably something we can vehemently agree on.

There are a few ways to handle this. When building DC Universe Online (and when Todd was building Wizard101), we both employed a “failsafe” mechanic where we tracked every time a player had a “failed” roll for a quest objective. For every failed roll we added an additional 10% chance for them to succeed the next time they did that same roll. In most cases this meant that when performing a roll for a quest objective, the player never had to perform the same roll more than 3-4 times before succeeding.

Raph Koster (the design lead for Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies, as well as one of our formal advisers) often proposes another solution: deck systems. In a system like this, each “roll of the dice” is not treated as an independent event. Instead, all of the potential outcomes are shuffled together, like a hand of cards, and cards (results) are removed from the deck as they are used. As each card is removed from the deck, the probability of specific cards in future draws shift along with it, thus ensuring that streaks can’t last.

It’s also a refreshing reminder how open-minded and honest you can talk such crucial topics like RNG with your players. This works way better than just a “we’ve changed how the RNG works in our crafting system to enhance player experience”. We highly suggest to read the full piece. It’s really interesting.

What’s your take on the RNG tweaks Crowfall added to enhance the player experience? Would you like to see something like the streak prevention for Neverwinter as well? Share your thoughts on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

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7 thoughts on “Crowfall Goes In-Depth About the Pros and Cons of RNG

  • February 13, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Not a doubt in my mind that the RNG for NW is player based. There are names that pop up all the time… and then there’s me. Since day one, Way too much money invested, and not one legendary drop. It’s not about the amount of keys, either. I’ve watched videos of friends who open their daily key, pop a box and get a legendary name scroll… and this is quite often. I’ve had friends leave the game for a few months, pop on and pop a legendary.

    The RNG for this game would need a complete overhaul, but people who complain get the brush off with a “it’s random’ response. I really loathe having such a negative opinion of the people involved in the game decision making. Make refinement simple, then nerf the amount you get. They can’t do anything to make the game more enjoyable and less of a painful grind.

  • February 13, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Gear drops would benefit a lot from the deck mechanic I feel.

  • February 13, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Phew. I was gonna lay it out for you but you hit so many marks it is better you see for yourself:
    RNG is definitly not player based and that has been proven experimentally plenty of times.
    And if “it’s random” doesn’t serve you there are free lectures online on Statistics.
    Neverwinter doesn’t employ terribly difficult mechanics, as it has no pity timers or any of that I know of. For random events it seems to use a fairly standard algorithm, though I cannot point to a specific one as that exceeds non-digital analysis 😛

  • February 13, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Awesome article! I am not critical by nature, because I know I have my own flaws and limitations, but the Devs for Cryptic and PWE should definitely look at this.

  • February 13, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Is it possible that Neverwinter uses a Negative Streak Enabler, such that when one has a bit of luck, they ensure you have crap luck thereafter?

    I think we should be told.

  • February 14, 2018 at 10:34 am

    Agreed. We should know how the systems work so we can make informed decisions on how we want to tackle RNG for progression and farming.

  • February 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    NWN RNG is streaky. For example resource node opening, most failures should exactly one or more 1/4, very rarely two or more 1/16 or three or more 1/64, for or more you should see once in blue moon 1/256. But in most cases it fail 2-4 times if it fails, failure one time is very rare. It is likely NWN either:

    – caches RNG result to improve performance
    – uses bad algorithm that give streaks due to close values when modulo is taken (like Knuth algorith with bad parameters)
    – And possibly uses bad seeds like current time and recreate RNG often

    Most people see problem with RNG because of this. The problem is not that rolls statistically unfair. The problem is that rolls are not independent enought. Just opening these resource nodes give quite improbable RNG value sequeces, that make hypothesis about indepent rolls improbable. So you might improve your knoledge about statistics too.

    While seeking performance is good, but NWN way is not a good one. For combat this might be ok as RNG is queried often, but for professions and lockboxes it gives bad experience.


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