Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements.
Well, I've procrastinated enough this morning, and my extra hour for writing has frittered down to less than half. Unlike Belghast, I don't suffer from insomnia (normally a good thing), so I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I was up and dressed and when down to the dining area to get breakfast fairly early. Amusingly, I even saw a coworker who had clearly just tumbled out of bed to grab some coffee. Unfortunately, none of that has really brought me any closer to a topic.

Bad Luck Tokens

Belghast brought up a topic near to my gamer's heart this morning: the vagaries of RNG as a method for getting gear. He and a friend came up with the idea for "Bad Luck Tokens" that players might receive if they don't get any drops in a dungeon or raid. Accumulating several of these tokens would enable the player to buy gear from a special vendor, maybe not Best-in-Slot, but certainly noteworthy. I immediately thought of the various tiers of tokens folks get for heroics every day in WoW (or at least they did during WotLK).

Balkoth and I had a lively discussion a few months ago about this very topic, and ended up basically agreeing to disagree. You may guess what side of the argument I was on. While RNG has its place, the laws of probability will always leave a certain number of players out in the cold, so to speak. But too many people fail to realize it, because many more players eventually get the desired item—or something better that comes out in the next patch.

Anyway, gotta run. There are computer networks to put together today. I hope everyone has a good one.


  1. I'll admit that my bad luck played a part in me quitting WOW. I was tired of raiding the same places over and over again, and never getting the gear. This was of course WOW before the tokens were added. It wasn't the only factor, but it definitely didn't help.

    1. Yup. I left for about the same thing, Eric. I stopped raiding and trying to get the best pieces all the way back in Vanilla when I ran Scholo about 50 times and didn't once get the first tier's set piece I needed.

  2. WoW is the only game I have ever played where being handed a sack of gold... feels like so much failure :) I feel like the ultimate answer is a blending of RNG and token based purchases. During Lich King and Cataclysm you could purchase a tier set of gear with valor, it was costly but you could do so and it gave players who simply did not have the luck to get the right drops an avenue to still progress. So often you end up in a quagmire of not being able to get the drop you need when you need it, and I believe anything to ease that hump is a good thing.

  3. I've had super bad luck in WoW over the years. I raided and 5 manned even soloed Strat for 9 Years and I haven't gotten Deathcharger rains. On the other hand, I was 1 of 6 (in vanilla before BC) people to ever get Teeboo's Longsword (the flaming sword on the original packaging of WoW).

    Through the years in any MMO I've went through spirts of good and bad luck. My worst luck isn't a drop or money in a game. My worst luck is guilds and returning to WoW over the years. I've spent about $200 just in transferring characters around in WoW to be with friends. Usually after I pull the trigger the guild becomes a ghost town.

  4. To be clear, I don't disagree with the idea of bad luck protection in concept. But it needs to be very carefully done.

    For example, imagine a system (I think you proposed something like this) where after 10 kills of a boss you could pick one item from its loot table. In a 14 boss raid like Siege of Orgrimmar this guarantees you'll be Best in Slot in 2.5 months or less. Not only that, but any loot acquired prior to that 10 kill mark will likely be less meaningful because you know you have a windfall coming at that point.

    And if you have a system without RNG, you get stuff like this:

    Everyone buys their weapon first.
    Everyone then buys their best trinket.
    Then their second best trinket.
    Then their Helm/Chest/Legs.
    Then Shoulders/Belt/Boots/Gloves.
    Then Neck/Bracer/Rings.

    That, arguably, could be fine in a single player game, but it's incredibly boring as a group.

    If anything I'd be fine with something like "Every five times you run a raid instance and fully clear it, you get to pick one item from the entire instance" coupled with requiring like 10 clears for trinkets and 15 clears for weapons or something. Like I said, it has to be done very carefully.

  5. The "If you are reading this post through RSS..." msg is all I see of the post in my RSS feed now. I would normally click through anyway if the post seemed interesting from the excerpt I saw, because that is how my reader is set up. But now I don't see enough of the actual post to tell whether it is relevant to me or not, which means I'm very unlikely to visit.

    I think the msg is probably counterproductive for you.

    1. I see what you mean. I'll put the message at the bottom in the future.

  6. As Balkoth mentions above, getting something randomly gives you a bit of excitement you can't get with just tokens. The flipside is that you can get really frustrated when the randoms never seem to go your way, either with low drop rates or crappy need rolls.

    Tokens are one solution, but then you get situations where maybe nobody wants a drop because they'd rather have the token, for example. Or, people go farm "unlucky tokens" before a new expansion so they have a bunch; or, if developers work against this, then you get a glut of unlucky tokens from different expansions, just like all the various tokens and items that we already have in games.

    But, here's an idea for tokens: use them like DKP. You earn token(s) for doing dungeons, and then you can use them to get drops. In order to avoid too much cheesing of storing up tokens, make it so that if you have to bid all your tokens on an item if you want it. Tokens modify a random roll, so if you have more tokens you have a better chance, but it's rarely guaranteed; a bit of randomness also gives that excitement of getting a random item.

    This feels like a good compromise between the fickle RNG and the tedium of collecting tokens merely to spend them at a vendor.

    1. That method sounds like a decent compromise, since straight RNG resets with every roll. If the probability increases for lost roll then at some point you will win. How does that flow with systems like LFR, where you don't have a regular group? Or would it be something like +5 for each lost roll on each character? Also, how would it affect the loot table itself?

    2. Yep, eventually you get an item you roll on. It also reduces the, "Eh, I probably won't use that, but might as well roll on it just in case I might." You have to pick and choose what you want to roll on.

      Basically, I'd see it as integrated into the rolls, and in an LFR you'd just bring your balance with you when loot was rolled on. +5 for each failed roll might work. Of course, there's still a lot of caveats and issues to work out. For example, you want to make sure someone can't just build up a bunch of losing rolls somehow.

    3. Yeah if you're using "RNG+" I'm not sure how you could arrange to lose rolls intentionally, unless you have friends with guaranteed wins. And that wouldn't really any different than a group agreeing to pass on rolls so an individual could get the loot, which is not cheating.

      We're still only talking about competition for loot between players. One of Belghast's original points was that the RNG loot table itself is part of the problem. The group can't agree to pass on that trinket of glory if it doesn't drop in the first place.