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 Post subject: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:03 am 
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I've often wondered why we need random numbers in games, especially MMOs.

Why do we need the ability to do crit damage x% of the time? Sure, it eventually normalizes so that you crit roughly x% of the time but sometimes player A beats player B simply because they "got lucky" and spiked several crits in a row. Then later player A gets rolled by player C because A gets no crits at all. Instead, why not have close battles each time by removing the possibility of "lucky" crits?

In that same train of thought, I dislike chances to miss, dodge, block, parry, etc. I enjoy GW2's system where you actively block and in order for someone to miss you either have to blind them, be using some "blocking" type skill, have aegis, or use line-of-sight. If it hits you it's because you did nothing to prevent it. If the attack misses, it's because you did something.

What are your thoughts on whether or not random numbers are needed in games, particularly MMOs.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:09 am 
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If there is no randomness then things boil down to simple linear sequence of decisions and each encounter will play out the exact same way every time.

Without randomness, the level of AI you would have to program into each situation would be astronomical.

Can you imagine playing football if you knew exactly what was going to happen every play?
Can you imagine playing chess if you knew exactly what each move was going to be?

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Naval Action: Arsilon - Spain (PVP1), France (PVP2)
EQII: Arsilon - Wizard, Thalena - Fury, Ulrok - Berserker, Valience - Dirge, Ashlyn - Ranger
Elder Scrolls Online: Thalena - Templar, Arsilon - Dragonknight
GW2: Thalena - Elementalist
Rift: Arsilonne - Warrior, Arathon - Mage, Valience - Cleric, Arrienne - Rogue
Aion: Thalena, Arsilon
APB: Arsilon - Enforcer, Thalena - Criminal
EVE: Arsilon
Global Agenda: Thalena
POTBS: [British] Arsilon Gunn, Thalena Biggs, Amazing Mumford
Star Trek Online: Ar'silon - Klingon, Thalena - Federation
WAR: Arsilon, Valience, Thalena
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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:23 am 
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you need random numbers because the outcome of specific actions can't be known in advance. there are lots of games where probability applies, even games with no random numbers at all.

consider chess. there are no random numbers in chess (except that your opponent may choose to make a 'random' move), but chess rankings are based on probability. when two opponents have the same ranking, it doesn't mean they will always draw, it means that they are each expected to win about as often as the other does. but the outcome of any particular game can't be known until the game is actually played.

consider target shooting or archery. even a novice has some probability of hitting the bull's eye on any given shot. whether they do or don't can't be known until they shoot.

role playing games have always tried to reproduce this effect, and the most straightforward method has been to use random numbers.

-ken

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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:59 pm 
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There are no random numbers... just the appearance of random numbers. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:05 pm 
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I'm unconvinced ... especially since you brought up chess.

Chess is a decently complicated game with no randomness in its gameplay. Despite this lack of randomness, games do not always play out the same and much fun can be had playing several different games.

Arimaa is another example; actually arguably more complicated than chess. There is no randomness in its gameplay yet games can pan out in a multitude of ways. So many, in fact, that this game is exceedingly difficult for AI to handle (hence the argument for it being "more complicated" than chess).

I do not see how having 3 abilities each do 100% of their normal damage (which is itself randomized as well, but we'll go with the average) or all 3 abilities each doing over 200% of their normal damage makes the gameplay "more fun". In my opinion, it takes some of the control over the outcome away from player skill and more into luck. Player skill is still obviously a large factor, but less so when a player can get a lucky string of crits/procs/etc.

Instead of luck, you can add more options for players. The skill(s) you start a fight with or who starts a fight, alone, can change how a fight plays out. Whether or not specific abilities get LOS'd, interrupted, etc. can change how a fight plays out. We already have these mechanics in games. Why must we make it so that when ability A hits it can do anywhere from 5% to 20% of your opponent's health? There are other ways to make the game more dynamic than randomness.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

edit:
Strife wrote:
There are no random numbers... just the appearance of random numbers. :)

Ha, true enough. I guess we should be discussing pseudorandom numbers, eh?

----------------------------------------------------------------------

edit:
I can't believe I forgot to mention the game, Go. It, too, has no random chance as part of the gameplay but there are several ways for matches to go. It is a game that's been studied for centuries and is still this way.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:29 pm 
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The random element in games such as chess, etc is the human factor.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:45 pm 
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Zirak wrote:
The random element in games such as chess, etc is the human factor.

Exactly!

This is why I think we really don't need the pseudorandom numbers for calculating base damage, critical hits, etc.

By taking out the pseudorandom numbers, you are removing luck (aside from that associated with latency) and placing the outcome more in the hands of the player(s).

Additionally, by not having to generate pseudorandom numbers for every ability, you save server-side resources.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

edit:
The only thing I think pseudorandom numbers are "good for" is obscuring the lack of depth in a combat system.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Yes, but if you leave the randomness solely to the "human factor" then you need to in turn build a lot more complexity into the game itself, ie what skills a person has access to etc. This again points to the level of effort needed to achieve the level of unpredictability and replayability. You can get there a lot more simply by using something artificial like randomness into the mix instead.

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Naval Action: Arsilon - Spain (PVP1), France (PVP2)
EQII: Arsilon - Wizard, Thalena - Fury, Ulrok - Berserker, Valience - Dirge, Ashlyn - Ranger
Elder Scrolls Online: Thalena - Templar, Arsilon - Dragonknight
GW2: Thalena - Elementalist
Rift: Arsilonne - Warrior, Arathon - Mage, Valience - Cleric, Arrienne - Rogue
Aion: Thalena, Arsilon
APB: Arsilon - Enforcer, Thalena - Criminal
EVE: Arsilon
Global Agenda: Thalena
POTBS: [British] Arsilon Gunn, Thalena Biggs, Amazing Mumford
Star Trek Online: Ar'silon - Klingon, Thalena - Federation
WAR: Arsilon, Valience, Thalena
WW2OL: Arsilon


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:25 pm 
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Sebrent wrote:
This is why I think we really don't need the pseudorandom numbers for calculating base damage, critical hits, etc.

Except we do in order to account for differing skill levels. Take Snowreap's example of target shooting/archery. Someone who picks up a recurve bow for the first time has a chance, however small, of hitting the bullseye when they draw and release on the bow. As their skill improves that chance to hit the bullseye goes up until they reach the point where with each shot there is a chance, however small, that they won't hit the bullseye. The easiest way to model this is through a random number generator.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:48 pm 
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I don't think the pseudorandomness covers it that well. I also think it's a crap way to provide "variety" to fights as "luck" can sometimes largely dominate a fight; taking the control out of the hands of the player(s). Heck, no one enjoyed it in MMOs when a boss could get a lucky crit and one-shot the tank so MMO designers changed the mechanics so that the damage would be "less spiky", "more predictable" ... "less random". This shifted those fights from "pray we're lucky" to "learn the mechanics".

I think an ideal system would be where when player A fights player B and uses skill X you have skills that fall into something like the following categories:
  • skill Y used by A
    • Y is enhanced by X
    • Y is disabled by X
    • Y enhances X
  • skill Z used by B
    • Z counters X
    • Z enhances X
    • Z diminishes X
    • Z is diminished by X
    • Z is enhanced by X
    • Z is disabled by X
    • Z is unaffected by X

It seems like many games don't fully leverage this as much as it could be but instead stop at generic CC and then pad this lack of depth with crappy pseudorandom numbers.

GW2 has done a good job with adding active mitigations like dodge rolls, blocks, blinds, etc. as well as various types of abilities that react differently based on various criteria, but I think the connections between abilities could be stronger as these are broken down into primarily "cooldown wars" and the boon and condition metas that we've seen in several MMOs. I think there are still too many abilities that fall into "X is unaffected by Z" and "Z is unaffected by X" ... especially with some classes (I think Ranger is quite guilty of this).

I think a combat system that does not make use of "random" numbers and resembles something like playing Magic The Gathering where you both have the same deck, your deck is your entire hand, and you are somehow playing in real-time instead of turn-based is what I'm looking for. You have moves that you can do that help/hinder yourself and/or help/hinder your opponent based on their moves. When your opponent uses X, you can use Y which is optimal now or use Z is which isn't optimal now but sets you up for another skill in a sec or so that could be better than just using Y.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

We already account for characters differing skill levels with X weapon(s) or Y skill(s) with actual player character levels and stats in games.

I'm fine with your damage being calculated based on your level and stats and my level and stats.

I'm fine with my 100 damage attack only doing 66 damage to you because you have some damage mitigation buff/skill/etc.

I'm not okay with my attack doing anywhere from 50 to 200 damage to you when there isn't anything different between the attacks other than pseudorandomly generated numbers.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:00 pm 
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But even Magic the Gathering introduces randomness in two ways.
1) Each player has a different skill level
2) Each player has a "random" deck whether its in the overall make up of the deck plus the fact that it is shuffled.

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Naval Action: Arsilon - Spain (PVP1), France (PVP2)
EQII: Arsilon - Wizard, Thalena - Fury, Ulrok - Berserker, Valience - Dirge, Ashlyn - Ranger
Elder Scrolls Online: Thalena - Templar, Arsilon - Dragonknight
GW2: Thalena - Elementalist
Rift: Arsilonne - Warrior, Arathon - Mage, Valience - Cleric, Arrienne - Rogue
Aion: Thalena, Arsilon
APB: Arsilon - Enforcer, Thalena - Criminal
EVE: Arsilon
Global Agenda: Thalena
POTBS: [British] Arsilon Gunn, Thalena Biggs, Amazing Mumford
Star Trek Online: Ar'silon - Klingon, Thalena - Federation
WAR: Arsilon, Valience, Thalena
WW2OL: Arsilon


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:06 pm 
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Arsilon wrote:
But even Magic the Gathering introduces randomness in two ways.
1) Each player has a different skill level
2) Each player has a "random" deck whether its in the overall make up of the deck plus the fact that it is shuffled.


(1) The different skill levels of players is fine. A "better" player is supposed to win

(2) Please re-read my post ... particularly the following part
Sebrent wrote:
... something like playing Magic The Gathering where you both have the same deck, your deck is your entire hand ...

Notice, I took out the randomness by having your deck be your entire hand. The randomness from drawing cards has been removed.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:11 pm 
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Randomness is part of a fantasy roleplaying system. Your warrior doesn't always hit with his sword, so you roll dice to see if he hits (and for how much). He COULD always hit for "100 minus the armor of the target" but for a fantasy roleplaying game, that doesn't really capture the essence of the battle.

When developing a pure combat system without regard for roleplaying (or any simulation of reality), you can skip the randomness. Your sword always hits and it always does POWER minus ARMOR damage unless your opponent does a specific countermove, etc. No more randomness.

I think the argument is that randomness helps keep things "interesting". Even a pro player can have a bad string of luck. The pro player probably hates this but it might also actually help keep him interested -- an encounter he would normally always win suddenly becomes difficult and takes him outside of his comfort zone purely because of bad luck. Similarly, an encounter that may have been mathematically impossible may become possible thanks to randomness.

That is, without randomness, combat (especially RPG style) may become just a bit too...computational. Like tic-tac-toe, a computer can foresee all possible moves and knows all possible paths the game can take. The next move is obvious and therefore boring. Pro players, I think, can get like that with RPGs as well, and the game, like tic-tac-toe, simply stops being interesting. You either need to up the complexity beyond our ability to foresee all possibilities (like chess) or you need to add some randomness.

(Somewhat as an aside, this is why I hate "curse/cure" mechanics in RPGs. The goal is to increase complexity but, like tic-tac-toe, it's usually too obvious. You curse me and generally speaking my best move is to immediately cure it. I had a complex script for WOW that was better at the game than I was by virtue of "always do the obvious thing" -- always launch the best attack that wasn't on cooldown; always look for the biggest negative effect to cure; always land the best negative effect for the target's particular class. I was left with a handful of options that required intelligence and a whole lot of things that were better off automated in a simple script.)


I think randomness is less necessary in FPS games where the "randomness" is your ability to aim. It may also be unnecessary in strategy games where the "randomness" is how we buy, place and move troops. In a real-time RPG, though, where you control 1 character with a fairly narrow selection of abilities, randomness may be necessary to keep encounters from being too predictable (or too rock-paper-scissors).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:01 am 
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I believe I understand what you're saying Slamz, but wouldn't that go back to the whole concept of "the randomness is there to obscure the shallowness of the combat system?".

Currently in games we have:
  • Direct Damage versus Damage Mitigation
  • Curse vs Cure
  • Generic Crowd Control (snare, root, interrupt, stun)

While there isn't anything "wrong" with these, it's quite lacking in what you can do as far as interactions of abilities with one another.

I like to think back to various movies where you have spellcasters fighting and they do more than simply shoot a beam at each other trying to overpower the other. Instead they are summon various constructs (for lack of a better word) which are then strengthened further by their next spell(s), weakened by their opponent(s) spells, or counter by another construct ... heck, in some the construct is strengthened by a mistake by that wizard's adversary.

To give an example of what my crazy brain has always desired, let's take two spellcasters, Bob and Eve, and say both are something like an Elementalist (use fire, water, wind, and earth spells).

  • Bob starts the fight by summoning a Wall of Earth that blocks X projectile hits (not spells, but hits).
  • Eve now has a few options:
    1. Eve can somewhat ignore the Wall of Earth and adjust her options based on its existence in the fight ... lob attacks over (if able), hit Bob when he's briefly in LoS, etc.
    2. Eve can try to outmaneuver Bob to get the Wall of Earth out from in between them ... using basic movement, teleporting, and/or enhancing her movement speed
    3. Eve can destroy the wall using various projectiles ... the faster the rate of fire the better (since need X hits to destroy it).
      • Fire projectiles will set the wall on fire, dry it if it is "wet", and thaw it if it is "frozen".
      • Water projectiles will make the wall "wet"
      • Air projectiles will freeze the wall if it is "wet" ... setting it up for a single earth projectile to shatter it.
      • Earth projectiles will simply hit it ... rock hits rock ... but if it "shatters" a frozen earth wall, then it will create a sort of "ice shards" attack that hits enemies on the opposite side of the wall from Eve (who shattered the wall) or if it was on fire then perhaps a sort of AOE burning applied for anyone close to the wall.
    4. Eve can try to move Bob to get the Wall of Earth out from between them.
  • Let's say Eve decides to destroy the Wall of Earth by freezing it and (water + air) and then shattering it with earth projectiles. Bob can ignore these efforts, work with them, or work against them.
    • Ignore: Bob simply weaves in/out of LoS of Eve, throwing his own projectiles and dodging back behind the wall before Eve's can hit him
    • Work With: Bob can "wait" until Eve has frozen the wall and gotten it weak enough to shatter but then Bob shatters it at Eve before Eve can shatter it towards Bob.
    • Work Against: Bob can attempt to strengthen the wall, repairing some damage by Eve
  • Let's assume Bob just learned of how he can "Work With" and is too focused on "waiting" to do anything else ... but he is successful at shattering the wall at Eve
    • Eve can put up a "wall" of her own to block the shards
      • A wall of fire would destroy the projectiles since they are "ice" ... removing them from play but itself staying in play
      • A wall of air would push the projectiles back at Bob
      • A wall of water (ice) would block the projectiles but be broken in the process ... removing both from play
      • A wall of earth would block the projectiles ... removing them from play but making the wall of earth "wet" ... possibly setting it up for a quick freeze and shatter.
    • Eve can use an air projectile to reflect the projectiles ... keeping the projectiles in play.

Obviously, you'd need to apply some resource system here such as mana, cooldowns, etc. but here you have several more options, in my opinion.

One thought for resources I think could be interesting is have a separate "resource" for each of the elements.

If anyone has played Magicka before, the idea of weaving together different types of magic probably seems a bit more familiar, but I think something much deeper than that system could be accomplished and I think once it's mapped out it actually wouldn't require much cpu power to implement the code for it ... the initial mapping would be the most difficult.

Furthermore, without the "random" numbers, while developing/tweaking/etc. the system, a nice QA program could be made that goes through the options players have and could even be tweaked to see how things differ when you have a difference in APM between players.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:47 am 
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In my opinion you are moving into the territory of the needlessly complex and removing any interest from casual gamers. Folks who, for instance, don't want to have to learn how to actually fly a real plane in order to play a game that involves flying planes.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:55 am 
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Perhaps, Zirak.

Though I'm really just wanting people to have some of the same spells/skills we already seen in games today ... just for there to be more possible interactions/combinations of those skills.

I don't expect someone to need to cast 3 spells just to send a fireball at their enemy's head. I do expect there to be a difference between someone who knows the differences in casting 3 spells [A,B,C], [A,C,B], [B,A,C], [B,C,A], [C,A,B], [C,B,A]. If players want to memorize the differences (where applicable ... some of those might have little to no difference) they can; same as some of us know how to make use of the combo system in GW2. Others can simply continue to fling spells willy nilly and be surprised when someone chains something together ... then look it up and maybe remember it next time.

Right now, in games, if someone does direct damage to me I can either
(1) Take it
(2) Interrupt it
(3) Be buffed to take less damage
(4) Be channeling a block/etc. to completely mitigate the damage

And many classes don't have access to 2, 3, and 4 ... usually only one or two of those.

If someone applies a condition to me I can either
(1) Take it
(2) Remove it


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:32 pm 
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Random numbers are necessary for shallow games that do not go into the detail necessary to take all environmental factors into account. It is far quicker/easier to code a random number than to write up an engine to factor physics. The randomness is a quick-and-dirty way to replace those other systems so that the game is not reduced to nothing more than Paper-Rock-Scissors or Tic-Tac-Toe (As Slamz put it).

There are many other games, some of them MMOs, that do not have randomness. They go into enough detail within their various game engines that it isn't necessary. Two examples off the top of my head:

World War II Online (aka Battleground Europe).
There is (almost*) no randomness in WWIIO. When you shoot a Churchill mk.VII tank dead-on with a Pak-38, there is no "25% chance to hit, 10% chance to crit, 18% chance to start a fire in the ammo magazine" or the like. What there is are many complex systems built into the game engine to measure all of the physics.

o The velocity of a Pak-38 anti-tank gun AP shell is 835m/s at the muzzle, the weight of the projectile is 2.06kg, and the person manning the ATG has control over barrel elevation and slew. With these factors all known, you then also know where the shot is going to go - and if it goes where the target is, it hits. There is no need to roll dice to determine a hit. WWIIO replaces the randomness with actual real-life ballistics calculations.
o The target tank is intricately rendered and all component parts have been specified, from the armor to the fuel tank. At 1000m range, the velocity of the Pak-38's cannon shell has dropped to a point that it will only penetrate 48mm of armor. Since a Churchill mk.VII tank has 152mm of armor on its front facing, there is no penetration. You can shoot at it all day (which many n00bies will do) and never accomplish a damn thing. Your only choice if you want to score a kill is to lie in wait until it moves and you can take a shot at its more vulnerable rear/side facings, or get closer so that you can increase the effective penetration power due to the higher velocity of the shell at the impact point. During all of this you also need to be mindful of the angle of impact that your shot is going to have when it hits. A hit at a high-deflection angle will simply "bounce off" with the explosive force being redirected somewhere other than Directly Into The Armor. You need to hit perpendicular to the armor facing to apply the full amount of penetrating power.
o Assuming you get a shot to penetrate armor, there is no random roll to determine what you hit. If you struck the vehicle on the left side near the rear, where the engine exhaust vent is, then you will take out the engine. The tank may still technically be "alive", but now it's a sitting duck for you to take more precise aim at the fuel tank or a weak facing of the turret.

WWIIO is often referred to as a simulator due to taking so many real-world systems into account. But it's because of this level of detail that random die rolls are not needed.

(*) If you change absolutely nothing, and fire 10 shots, there WILL BE a small amount of variance between each shot. This is because WWIIO does not render air currents. They choose instead to replace wind with some randomness. (Their weather system is purely for visibilty - reducing effectiveness of aircraft and long range weapons because you can't see your target well).


Mount and Blade
Mount and Blade isn't often referred to as a MMO, but it is a popular multiplayer game, and some mods have added a certain amount of persistence to it, so I feel it qualifies to be used as an example for this topic.

Mount and Blade is much closer to a "fantasy RPG" than WWIIO, although there are no wizards or spells or dragons. It is a medieval combat game of trying to hit your target with an axe or arrow. Firing an arrow from a bow requires much of the same attention to detail as firing a cannon in WWIIO - again with random to-hit rolls being replaced by elevating your aim and leading your target to account for your target's distance and movement. The melee combat, also, is not random:

o Like WOW, GW2, etc, M&B weapons have stats like Damage, Delay, and Weight. However, other MMOs only consider weight of a weapon for determining how many of them you can fit in your backpack before your character walks slower. M&B uses Weight, as well as other weapon stats such as swing speed and weapon length to determine a weapons effectiveness in combat.
o Consider a two-handed greatsword. We'll assume for this example that its blade length is 44", and your arms lend an additional 18" of reach. We will also assume, for this example, that your target is a training dummy and is not going to block/parry your attack. When you swing your weapon, you will hit unless your target is 62.1" or further away from you. No need for dice-rolling here.
o When you hit with your weapon, you tend to not always do the same amount of damage. But it isn't random - it's due to many other factors. The game uses information such as how fast the weapon is moving when it hits and the weight of the weapon (f=m*a) together with a base damage rating to get a final damage amount. When you start your swing, the weapon isn't immediately moving at full speed. It takes a short time to "put your weight into it" and get the weapon up to your fastest swing speed. If, because of where you're standing and where your target is, you hit them at the start of your swing, then you wont be delivering as much force as if you had hit them at the apex of your swing. If your target is moving away from you when you hit, then the relative velocity of the weapon will be reduced. OTOH, if your target is moving into your swing, then the relative velocity is increased and you end up doing more damage.
o Critical Chance rolls are replaced by giving control of the weapon attack to the player. If you want to hit them in the head, then aim there. It's probably easier to hit them in the body, but head armor tends to be lighter, and, well, it's The Head so landing a blow there will do significantly more damage.


These examples are extreme to a point. Some people just want to shoot at something until its Hit Points are gone. That's fine, I like DiabloII too. For these games Random Numbers are necessary. Carefully Aiming At The Exhaust Port is replaced by a dumbed-down random die roll to determine if you hit.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:34 pm 
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Veraphim wrote:
World War II Online (aka Battleground Europe).
There is (almost*) no randomness in WWIIO. When you shoot a Churchill mk.VII tank dead-on with a Pak-38, there is no "25% chance to hit, 10% chance to crit, 18% chance to start a fire in the ammo magazine" or the like. What there is are many complex systems built into the game engine to measure all of the physics.


Hah! and then there are those times where you'll get one shotted by a sherman after plinking 88 Tiger shells off its armor. Sometimes I wondered if there was some sort of "fairness %" bonus in that calculation.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:49 pm 
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Their are games that remove random factors like Vera listed above. The problem with non random games is they aren't exactly popular. The more complex the game gets the less popular the game gets. For an MMO being complex is not a good thing.

Your request are doable but the combat will be more boring and the community smaller. Mind you I was a big fan of WWII on-line and enjoy far more complicated games. Your general public does not.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:29 am 
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Vlad, how will the combat be "more boring" if you have more options for how to react to what skills your opponent uses and have more options for synergies/combinations between your own skills?

I do not see how random numbers make combat "less boring".

If you think it's because they allow us to see "big numbers" such as when we crit ... you can still get "big numbers" without random numbers ... use skills that set up your opponent to take increased damage (i.e. vuln stacking) and then hit them with a high damage skill ... possibly some combination that hits them with several high damage skills in a burst.

It's possible without random numbers. I believe the random numbers are simply wool over people's eyes to hide the shallowness of a combat system.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:11 am 
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Sebrent wrote:
Vlad, how will the combat be "more boring"



Non random engines turn players into more calculated players. Non random engines are NEVER balanced so the people who play them typically play them at a much slower pace in order to achieve success. Take WWII on-line, you would sit in the bushes for 20 to 30 minutes waiting for a target to run in front of you before you took a shot. If that shot was not optimal you may not even take a shot. It was not unheard of to wait an hour before engaging in PVP.

Now compare that to the mayhem in GW2. Most people would call WWII on-line more boring in comparison. Mind you I think WWII on-line was a better game than GW2 but I doubt the majority of the playing public would agree.

Even WWII on-line was flawed in this way. It wasn't random at all which is why it wasn't a better game than it was. WWII on-line combat was very predictable. Only the human element changed the outcome.

Combat in real life has completely random elements which WWII on-line never really captured. If you want to sim real combat you need elements of randomness.

Most importantly MMO's and other multi player games need mechanics to balance the difference in players. Not every player is equal and if you want large team based competition you can't have players that are far superior to others. MMO's are not a single player competition. Typically they are a team competition (hence the term MMO). You simply can't achieve that if some players are way out in front of other players. The team concept will fail without balancing components. Just look at "APB" for an example of what happens when the random elements are removed from the game.

Now playing a single player competition is totally different. If you want to eliminate all random factors and just have a game where players test their skills vs. other players that is totally different. Those games are out there but their player base is very, very small. Only the best players invest time to play them. None of them are in the MMO chaundra for a reason.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:25 pm 
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Vllad wrote:
Sebrent wrote:
Vlad, how will the combat be "more boring"

Non random engines turn players into more calculated players.

Why? Have you not taken a look at all the calculations people (myself included) are doing for all our current MMOs and their stupid random number generators? The calculations are still possible, the randomness does not stop that. The randomness takes some power over the outcome away from the player (how much is dictated by the abundance/lack of randomly generated values).
Vllad wrote:
Non random engines are NEVER balanced

Again, why are they "NEVER balanced"? I discussed earlier how removing the randomization would make it possible for the QA team for that game to create an engine to iterate through the possible permutations in a 1v1, etc. fight ... even enable them to code it to try different levels of skill such as actions per minute, mistakes made (such as cast the spell but too late, so missed the chance at a "success" and wasted some "resource").
Vllad wrote:
so the people who play them typically play them at a much slower pace in order to achieve success. Take WWII on-line, you would sit in the bushes for 20 to 30 minutes waiting for a target to run in front of you before you took a shot. If that shot was not optimal you may not even take a shot. It was not unheard of to wait an hour before engaging in PVP.

I don't believe this is a product of non-randomness. This appears to be more of a product of being able to one-shot people (I'm assuming this is possible from what I've read from earlier posts talking about it) or too much advantage being given to the person who initiates the fight.
Vllad wrote:
Even WWII on-line was flawed in this way. It wasn't random at all which is why it wasn't a better game than it was. WWII on-line combat was very predictable. Only the human element changed the outcome.

I never played WWII online. What was the gameplay like. It sounds like it was simply a non-random game with a shallow combat system.

Vllad wrote:
Combat in real life has completely random elements which WWII on-line never really captured. If you want to sim real combat you need elements of randomness.


Vllad wrote:
Most importantly MMO's and other multi player games need mechanics to balance the difference in players. Not every player is equal and if you want large team based competition you can't have players that are far superior to others. MMO's are not a single player competition. Typically they are a team competition (hence the term MMO). You simply can't achieve that if some players are way out in front of other players. The team concept will fail without balancing components. Just look at "APB" for an example of what happens when the random elements are removed from the game.

Why is a difference in player skill a bad thing? I don't think it is. Also, what keeps the design of the combat system from placing a ceiling on the capabilities of the "best" players? There isn't much any game can do about vast differences in actions per minute between players except restrict how quickly players can activate skills, change their movement, etc. You can however largely reduce the likelihood of the one of the "best" players killing a whole group of people through use of the resource system. If it takes a minimum of 30 "resources" being expended to kill a player who stands still, never heals, and never mitigates damage and a player as a maximum of 100 "resources" at any time and regens 1 "resource" every 2 seconds, then they can "immediately" (no factoring 'cast time' of skills) kill 3 players and then must wait 40 seconds before they have enough to kill a 4th ... and this example is assuming that the "best" player is not expending any resources to protect their self and their opponents are doing nothing to heal/mitigate damage.

Why can't you have a system of large teams where one team has some better players than the other? We already have this, even in random games.

Vllad wrote:
Now playing a single player competition is totally different. If you want to eliminate all random factors and just have a game where players test their skills vs. other players that is totally different. Those games are out there but their player base is very, very small. Only the best players invest time to play them. None of them are in the MMO chaundra for a reason.

I do not see how making it so that when I cast Illusionary Berserker + Mirror Blade on a guy and instantly kill him the first time and then the next time I do it and he's only at 60% health makes the game any better. What exactly was added by this randomness? The fight went differently? Yep. But it went differently not because of things we did, it went differently because of random numbers. If a fight is going to be different is should be because of the movement, skill use, etc. of the players. This keeps the power over the outcome in the hands of the players.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:58 pm 
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Consider the role play aspect where you via your avatar are really casting ball of ipwnyou on your enemy. Are you so perfect that it works exactly the same way every time? Are you such a good swordsman that when you swing for the kill shot you never miss?

In any game people play does the better player always win? Chess?
Does the person with better gear always win? Auto racing?
Does the faster person always win the race? Track?

Does the person with better buffs always win? Cycling (ok so there is one where it holds true perhaps)

There is no way to fully model every factor that could impact an outcome. Did the person get a good night sleep? Did a bug fly in their eye. Are they distracted by some hot chick nearby.

Nothing is ever 100% for certain.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:44 am 
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No one is perfect and "never misses", but the random numbers don't exactly do a great job of "making it realistic". They simply take some control over the outcome away from the players. In real life, the randomness in a fight comes from the individuals fighting (and sometimes their environment). When two guys enter the hexagon, there isn't some device in their gloves/skin that increases/decreases the damage/pain inflicted by various hits or the pain from a submission hold. Who wins is completely in the hands of the two competing.

I do not see how the random number generators make for "better gameplay" than could be accomplished by having gameplay with suitable depth.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Numbers
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Sebrent wrote:
Why? Have you not taken a look at all the calculations people (myself included) are doing for all our current MMOs and their stupid random number generators? The calculations are still possible, the randomness does not stop that. The randomness takes some power over the outcome away from the player (how much is dictated by the abundance/lack of randomly generated values).


I am not talking about being more calcuted while NOT playing. I am talking about being more calculated WHEN playing. Non random games don't leave room for mistakes so players start playing the game in a more calculated fashion. The action slows down and the mayhem factors dissapear. I am not saying this is good or bad but the fact is less random games are certainly more dry than your standard MMO.


Sebrent wrote:
Again, why are they "NEVER balanced"?


This is an entirely different topic. However if we can agree that MMO's are never truly balanced then we expand. Non random factors make the differences in inbalance even larger and are more likely to turn off players and not add to the experience.


Sebrent wrote:
Vllad wrote:
Even WWII on-line was flawed in this way. It wasn't random at all which is why it wasn't a better game than it was. WWII on-line combat was very predictable. Only the human element changed the outcome.


I never played WWII online. What was the gameplay like. It sounds like it was simply a non-random game with a shallow combat system.



The non random games are anything but shallow. I highly recommend you read up on the game. Non random games are very complicated and difficult to build so players will enjoy them.


Sebrent wrote:
Vllad wrote:
Most importantly MMO's and other multi player games need mechanics to balance the difference in players. Not every player is equal and if you want large team based competition you can't have players that are far superior to others. MMO's are not a single player competition. Typically they are a team competition (hence the term MMO). You simply can't achieve that if some players are way out in front of other players. The team concept will fail without balancing components. Just look at "APB" for an example of what happens when the random elements are removed from the game.


Why is a difference in player skill a bad thing? I don't think it is. Also, what keeps the design of the combat system from placing a ceiling on the capabilities of the "best" players? There isn't much any game can do about vast differences in actions per minute between players except restrict how quickly players can activate skills, change their movement, etc.


I am not saying it is bad. I am saying players in general don't like to play games where 1 guy just lays waste to a party of 10. You are always going to have better players skill wise. That isn't the point of the MMO. The point is so everyone can participate and contribute and not feel like they are in over their head. That is why designers keep putting out class games.

The simple fact is if you want to design a game with large player participation you have to even the playing field. Otherwise the only people that will play your game is the top 10% of the players.

The items used to limit player skills are:

*Class based system
*Auto targeting
*No friendly fire
*Combat Activation Skills (push a button to activate a spell or attack)
*Crits
*Passive skills of any kind
*Adding or subtracting movement factors
*Any kind of CC (fears, snares, knockdowns etc)
*Imaginary combat limitations (Mana pools, Energy Pools etc)

See CPRG for a great combat system that eliminates random factors.


Sebrent wrote:
Why can't you have a system of large teams where one team has some better players than the other? We already have this, even in random games.


You can. You just have to limit it. If players don't feel they can compete they don't play. The irony is gamers are not competitors they are people looking to have fun. Maybe it isn't enough dodge ball in school or what ever other reason you can think of. The fact is if you want large player participation you have to limit the difference in players.

CPRG is a better combat system then GW2 but people aren't flocking to CPRG. Their is a reason in CPRG people have to log in just to practice. The majority of players don't play games that require practice!

The random factors play a large role in player participation.


Sebrent wrote:
If a fight is going to be different is should be because of the movement, skill use, etc. of the players. This keeps the power over the outcome in the hands of the players.


You can still have this and still keep random factors in the engine.


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