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Removing RNG From Crafting

Every experience in a game being novel or meaningful is not a reasonable goal.

No one is being compelled to do anything. A person who cannot say, “I am not having fun playing this game anymore” and then solve that problem by walking away from the game is a person with an unhealthy mental/emotional relationship with games, and that dysfunction is not a valid basis for an argument.


Right, and I wouldn’t saying every experience could be. That’s why I propose this calculation of novel / meaningful experiences over time. If you could assess how many of those you have an hour, that would be an interesting way to measure how much fun a game actually is. This is something I’m actually surprised psychologists aren’t already studying.

Well, what I mean when I say compelled is, the psychological compulsion of random chance. This is called a “schedule of reinforcement.” There are people who can’t stop themselves in a casino, for example. Do you have the choice to stop? Sure. Whether or not you will is kind of a different matter. And this is not the same level of motivation for everyone, but everyone is motivated in this way. It’s the same mechanism that would compel us to keep looking for food or shelter in nature, even when some of those attempts fail. That’s why we are how we are.

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Right, I don’t think I would argue to use RNG not at all in games. But if you could use RNG in ways that are lower stakes or in ways that can be compesated for, so that the player can still achieve the same end goal in a reasonable not-indefinite amount of time, that would allow you to provide some of those RNG-based surprises while not creating as many of these feedback loops that schedules of reinforcement create, where you’re compelled to keep grinding even after you’ve exhausted the rest of the content in the game.

I personally don’t hate the crafting system in LE so much as that players aren’t encouraged to make a value assessemnt about how fun they’re having continuing to grind the same games for hours on end. That’s really what I wanted to challenge here.

Yes, I know what you mean, and as I said I don’t consider it valid.

Hunting for food and shelter to survive is nowhere in the ballpark of hunting for a made up item in a made up game. You cannot walk away from the former because you die. Literally nothing happens to you if you walk away from the latter. They are not the same in any fashion, and people with healthy emotional relationships to games can make the distinction. Put another way, I will never feel compelled to do anything in any game, because I understand that games have nothing to do with my survival and never will.

People with unhealthy mental and emotional relationships to games should not be a basis for game design.

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I dunno. Crafting, in rgps/argps is normally an complete blind-dick thrusting in the darkness, just hoping to hit pay dirt. Meaning, the player really has 0 control over the outcome. Sure, they’ve given us some runes that allow us to modify the success rates (potential degrade in LE’s case), but those just become the new baseline. Who crafts without using ANY modifier runes – not to mention many of them are mutually exclusive, so not all outcomes can be “controlled”?

I think a big issue with how LE does crafting, is it sometimes discourages its use. I have, on many occasions, not crafted with an affix I really wanted because of the rarity of the affix, combined with the shitiness of the crafting potential system, combined with the RNG of getting the right base, with the right potential, with the right existing affixes. To me, that screams design flaw… I should be encouraged to improve my gear, not have to hoard mats until the perfect storm of item base + crafting potential + existing affixes (not to mention exalted status and/or affix range rolls) just happens to fall into my lap… without having any control over it, whatsoever.

It can be better. But how? I don’t really have the answer for that… I am always fond of incremental improvements that the player has control over. Either through breaking down items for components that can be used to upgrade stats or quality/rarity, or having the ability to merge “like” items and result in an upgraded outcome (combining 2 Legendary Boots of the same kind, and the result keeps the higher stats from the 2).

There are many indi games out there, that are really hitting the crafting well with me – Chronicon and Slormancer are 2 that come to mind.

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Well I mean, you can tell how motivated someone is to do something by the amount of time and effort they put into it. Your body fundamentally treats these as similar matters. If you’re grinding 100 hours a week on LE, you may not feel anything in particular, but you can tell you’re compelled to do it through the amount of time you’re putting into it.

I think at least some consideration has to be given to this fact, considering people who are more sensitive to this are affected negatively. Just pointing it out where they can tell it’s happening has a positive impact on how people are affected. (I’ve experienced this myself.) That’s part of the headfake I’m doing in bringing it up. But beyond that, it also just has to do with assessing the quality of the content, which will (hopefully) lead to better content.

And yet, certain developers/publishers are quite happy to do just that…


Thanks for your thoughts DirePenguin. I agree with a lot of this. As far as solutions go, I’m not sure either. I proposed a few ideas that wouldn’t involve RNG, but it will really take some creativity to come up with better ways of doing this that I probably don’t have.

Awesome! I will have to check these out. I haven’t played either of those yet. Luckily they’re probably on sale for summer right now.

Well I mean, they certainly are aren’t they? So is Las Vegas. The use of the phrase “should not be the basis” can be taken ironically here to mean that developers out there actually focus on hooking those specific kinds of people.

To just me personally, the top-tier experiences in any action or roleplaying game would be open exploration and dungeon content. I like fighting bosses more than anything. I’ve always seen RNG in loot or crafting as padding to slow the player down from consuming that content. This is most evident in subscription based games like MMO’s. It’s made more apparent by the time gating on certain activities. What’s frustrating to me is that people, whether they’re being tricked or knowingly acknowledge it, don’t view RNG in loot and crafting like in ARPG’s as being a similar intentional time-gate to keep you from experiencing certain aspects of the game too soon. Several people here have rightly pointed out that it feels like it justifies their effort because the reward they get at the end is a surprise. But we could find other aspects of the game and other rewards equally surprising if they were doled out at unexpected or opportune times. Just getting to see a really cool boss is a reward in and of itself. I always love seeing the new raid boss towering over me. It’s an aventure; It’s like I’m there! That is the joy of videogames to me, and what I want out of them. Not a glorified treadmill that dangles things in front of me.

Incidentally, yes I’ve played GW2 and in this regard it’s kind of a mixed bag. I like the more linear progress, especially with dungeon tokens. But it also has severely rare random loot that is optional. They split the difference on this fairly well, but the meta being rigid and there being less creativity you can have if you want to do certain challenges like raids or end-game fractals means you know way way in advance what items you need and why. Hiding the ball on those things and trying to let people be creative are things that all games that eventually develop a meta struggle with though. That’s an ongoing problem in RPG’s in general.

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You can take it in both directions, and I would agree with both of these statements:

  • Game developers should not design games deliberately to abuse/take advantage of dysfunctional people for profit
  • Game developers should not remove or change their designs based solely on the existence of dysfunctional people who are not being harmed by them
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Do you frequently ask for pay rises? :wink:


I don’t. Not until the “affected negatively” starts to enter actual, real consequence territory, such as “tricked into spending thousands of dollars”. But “affected negatively” here doesn’t rise past things like “I felt sad” or “I punched my chair arm in frustration”. Somebody who spends 100 hours a week playing a game is probably extremely dysfunctional. They should get help and support in treating that dysfunction, absolutely, but that’s way out of the realm of responsibility for game design.

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Well I mean, they should probably consider it if for no other reason than just wanting people to have a good experience playing their game. I would hate to own a casino or a dog track, just for the fact that it would be low quality entertainment that I was providing. I’m a little bit of a creative person myself; I want to be known for the genuine joy and interest my work creates for people. Not by how many people just can’t put it down for some mechanical psychological reason. That’s not really fulfilling their need for entertainment, and a lot of the gacha and lootbox based games that get big and go away quickly show that’s not really a sustainable model for a longterm franchise either. Just by the principle of reciprocation, giving the customer the best experience possible is good because hopefully the other services we go out and use will do the same back to us. If that’s the cultural expectation, the maybe we’ll try to treat each other just a little better than we feel we have to. That’d be nice, y’know?

After playing Grim Dawn from beta until I accumulated several thousand hours, I can tell you that one of the greatest moves Crate Entertainment made (and they made a lot of great moves) is that they introduced affix “pairing” into the game, meaning if an item rolled Fire based affix there was a greater chance that remaining affixes would roll something fire related. This way they mitigated RNG somewhat but didn’t decrease its value as a game mechanic. I believe PoE did something similar (not knowledgeable enough about this game so feel free to correct me.). Maybe EHG could try experimenting on this in the (not so distant) future.

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PoE did implement something called “smart loot”. But only for very specific rewards mechanics, its not a baseline mechanics that affects all loot.

I could something similar in LE in the future for specific rewards mechanics as well.

But the RNG in LE is already far less relevant, since LE does not have that many affixes and affixes generally speaking are seperated in offensive(prefixes) and defense(suffixes).

Regardless of what EHG would do in the future (if anything), they definitely need to come up with something tailored towards LE’s loot, sicne both GD and PoE’s systems doesn’t make a lot of sense in LE.

But it is also very important to look at loot and crafting slightly seperate.
At the end they are interlinked in some capacity (since you will often times craft on loot, that you randomly dropped).

LE’s crafting system is already almost purely determinsitic, the only random things are Rune Of Removal, Rune Of Discovery and Glyph Of Chaos, all other things have a deterministic outcome. (And all of those options are just high risk- high rewards crafts that are optional)

Only the amount of crafts you can do on one individual item will vary.

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Apart from the amount of forging potential that’s consumed when you craft, and that’s not a small thing.

This one is weird since for the most part on something like say an exalted I almost never run out of FP so my “rng” comes down to actually hitting despairs, removals or some other hard rng factors.

Where as on rares you can have a rare that is almost perfect for crafting but spawned with a low end of fp making it really hard to actually finish the craft because one botched “bad” rng that takes like 15 fp booms the item.

I think FP needs a pass value wise for items under exalted cause right now even on a solo character starting with no shards or gear, a decent strat is to just go farm exalted nodes and ignore everything sub exalted, even an exalted with a stat you dont need at t6 can generally be crafted into a 3 prop item way easier then a rare :confused:

As for the topic of “Rng in crafting” I actually like the current level of rng other then FP, I think if they just removed fp and focused on the hard choices like removal, chaoses and despairs then it would be perfect.

As I said 2 lines lower, from where you quoted…

Yes, but you just can’t say “this thing is almost entirely purely deterministic … apart from the bits that aren’t & they’re a fairly big part of said thing”! It’s like it’s an advert & you need to read the fine print/Ts & Cs (terms & conditions)…