RNG & Combinations
1) RNG is fine in games. It’s also fine in this game, or at least easy to overlook.
Or it was…until Guild Wars.
Imagine playing Bejewelled to pass the time, except that Bejewelled is about 100x more random than before.
Sounds like it could be fun, right, maybe even more fun than before? RNG adds excitement and variation and unpredictability.
But now, suddenly, there are 29 other people counting on you to win your Bejewelled game and they can see whether you did win or not.
All the RNG that used to add excitement now adds frustration. RNG-Bejewelled is no longer casual, now it matters.
Since the game matters, the RNG matters.
The RNG removes our agency with respect to outcome. That’s fine for killing some time during a break or after work, but not at all fine for something competitive.
The RNG effect was masked; now it is not.
Take all possible troop combinations, call it 320 troops for an average player.
320 ^ 4 = 10 billion.
Each of the following steps reduces that number by at least an order of magnitude:
–Remove all bad troop cards, which is arguably half of cards
–Include only cards that are good independently or in combination
–Remove merely “good” cards and replace with only great cards and combos.
–To the human brain, boredom from seeing the same teams over and over is not relieved by seeing the same team in a different order. Even if those teams play differently in different orders.
Therefore, remove all permutations of the same combination (DCBA = ACBD = BACD etc) and consolidate as ABCD
–Remove all combinations that are not viable against the high-frequency defense teams which account for 95% of defenses encountered in GW [and competitive PVP]
This number is our current PVP number. It’s arguably bad enough as it is. But:
–For GW, remove all combinations that involve colors not suitable on Guild Wars color days
What remains when we look at optimal teams in GW on any given day?
Is it closer to 10 billion or is it closer to 10?
In my experience, in GW I see about 10 viable/different team combinations on any given GW day. On a good day.
In reality I’m only choosing from 2 or 3 different teams, excepting Event buffs which can push that number to 4.
[Choose your own numbers, it doesn’t matter. This exercise is about orders of magnitude. Whether our combinations are being reduced one billion times or one hundred million, the overall principle is the same. ]
We’ve gone from a theoretical possibility of over 10 billion [technically] team combinations to about 5 or 10 different viable teams [as the brain sees it].
How long is that going to be interpreted as “fun” to the brain, or how soon until it looks a lot more like boredom and repetition?
Based on our top 25 Guild attrition rate, not very long…
The combination problem which was masked in PVP [mostly], now is not.
P.S. BONUS COMPLAINING!
Currently the casual nature of the game is preserved by the awful AI.
But if the AI is improved, you can increase the problems* above dramatically and add a #3 to my list. And AI improvements are in the works.
- The problems may be one of perception, but since fun/frustration are 100% perception, perception is reality.