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Pezzle
02-19-2015, 10:12 AM
I know there is plenty of room for variety and challenge in NPC design. On my attempts to play I was struck by the large amount of RNG involved in some opposing champions powers. 25%(more like 100) chance of whatever it is happening. While this is fine enough in small doses, but I was already feeling overwhelmed not by the quality of the scenario or the choices, but by the coinflip nature of the encounter being a challenge.

Playing your own highly random deck may provide amusement, and that is certainly fine. I just hope the RNG NPC mechanic does not become more frequently used, it is not the kind of PvE I am hoping for.

Zophie
02-19-2015, 10:21 AM
Just to clarify, do you mean the randomness of which opponent you end up facing, or the randomness of what the opponent plays during the match?

Pezzle
02-19-2015, 10:24 AM
I suppose that is fair. I mean specifically the random 'powers' that they have. Hence the 25% of whatever happening. If I had done this sooner I could tell you specific champions. One had to do with gaining an additional resource when you gained one and the other had to do with creatures leaving play. There may have been others.

Yoss
02-19-2015, 12:01 PM
OP is referring, essentially, to a "crit chance" in some of the enemy powers, where if the NPC gets lucky, then the encounter becomes very hard, but otherwise it's easy. OP is saying he does not prefer that design style.

Kilo24
02-19-2015, 12:32 PM
I concur with the OP. I mind it less in places like Princess Cory, where randomness is her whole schtick and her powers still always have an effect; but in places like IIRC the Nelebrin Scout (whatever the champion with the 25% chance to gain 1/1 when playing a resource was) it's a low chance to gain a major permanent boost and can easily skew the game one way or the other depending on how often it procs. I'd much rather have it be something like "On every even turn for the Nelebrin Scout, each champion gets 1/1."

When you tie big effects like that to low-chance die rolls, it means that that power can easily be of no consequence to the game or utterly dominate it independently of what the player does. I'd much rather see champions be able to perform their schtick reliably at a moderate power level rather than just flip coins to decide how powerful their powers will be this game. Especially in Arena, where you can fight only once against each (nonboss) opponent.

Gwaer
02-19-2015, 12:52 PM
I expect a lot more RNG in pve. Theres a type of player that really likes it and they can't be properly served in Pvp so pve will be it's home.

Pezzle
02-19-2015, 12:54 PM
Pretty much. I do not feel engaged or interested when the game is decided by how many turns in a row the enemy champ gets lucky with a power. What lesson are you supposed to learn exactly? You are getting bad information, so how can you adjust your deck for encounters? Again, in small doses? Sure. Multiple times across multiple champions at this stage? No thank you.

If I want to flip a coin I can do that without looking at a computer screen.

Kilo24
02-19-2015, 01:05 PM
I expect a lot more RNG in pve. Theres a type of player that really likes it and they can't be properly served in Pvp so pve will be it's home.

As do I. Unfortunately.

My hope is that if people want to opt into it via equipment/champion choice they can, but people who are hoping to avoid it being so massively influential will be able to mitigate most of it. Judging from Arena, it's... okay in that respect currently. Could be a lot better, could be a lot worse.

Zophie
02-19-2015, 01:18 PM
I concur with the OP. I mind it less in places like Princess Cory, where randomness is her whole schtick and her powers still always have an effect; but in places like IIRC the Nelebrin Scout (whatever the champion with the 25% chance to gain 1/1 when playing a resource was) it's a low chance to gain a major permanent boost and can easily skew the game one way or the other depending on how often it procs. I'd much rather have it be something like "On every even turn for the Nelebrin Scout, each champion gets 1/1."

When you tie big effects like that to low-chance die rolls, it means that that power can easily be of no consequence to the game or utterly dominate it independently of what the player does. I'd much rather see champions be able to perform their schtick reliably at a moderate power level rather than just flip coins to decide how powerful their powers will be this game. Especially in Arena, where you can fight only once against each (nonboss) opponent.

Concerns like this can easily be mitigated behind the scenes with stop gaps for excessive results. In your example, if every single turn they are hitting the 25% then maybe after a few turns of that the game automatically makes it fail for a turn to give you a breather from your awful luck. WoW does some similar tricks with some of their RNG, like the "procs per minute" forumlas they use, and the small boosts they give to drop rates for farmed mounts and things when you are extremely unlucky for crazy long periods of time. They don't have to advertise what the exact formulas or thresholds are, but just put a little bit of a stop gap in the code to help alleviate some of those rare edge cases.

Or they could just leave it as it is, cuz RNG does what RNG wants, and it's just PVE so you can always dust yourself off and try again and just cross your fingers you have better luck next time around :)

If it fits the theme of the encounter then I don't mind RNG at all, I look at it as a way of getting fresh and exciting content every time I play and I never quite know what to expect, keep me on my toes!

EntropyBall
02-19-2015, 01:37 PM
I agree with the OP on this one. Those were my least favorite abilities, even though I actually had very good luck with the proc rates. In general, I found the global effects to be my favorite, as it just felt very "fair". The AI's deck was tuned to take maximum advantage of whatever the weird buff was, but at least I got the weird buff too. I thought those abilities also added to the theme of the encounter.

Gwaer
02-19-2015, 01:47 PM
Weren't most of the high variance abilities a % chance for both you an hour opponent? I honestly didn't mind them. Anything to make it more difficult is okay by me. I wish I could toggle those things to 100% chance for my opponent and 0 for me. You should be running a deck that can deal with the absolute worst case anyway. If not just take the loss. You can continue.

noragar
02-19-2015, 01:55 PM
I thought those encounters were fine. Random variance is random variance, no different than the random variance in drawing cards.

For the OP, if instead of the Nelebrin encounter providing an extra resource 25% of the time a shard was played, would it have felt any better if both players were allowed to include 6 special basic shards in their deck that provided 2/2 resources instead of 1/1?

Pezzle
02-19-2015, 01:55 PM
That is not engaging game play. Losing (or even winning, honestly) after an hour of play strictly because of an absurd % power does not inspire me to try again. It is not tuning your deck to be better or even your poor draws. Do we really need ANOTHER layer of RNG? I know this is PvE. I want it to be better than that.

Zophie
02-19-2015, 02:17 PM
How is that any different than the % chance of a specific card being drawn by the opponent on any given turn? Or yourself for that matter? Gwaer's right you should be building your deck to beat the worst possible outcomes, not just your ideal draws. The % chances are part of the overall challenge you need to overcome.

Kilo24
02-19-2015, 02:36 PM
I thought those encounters were fine. Random variance is random variance, no different than the random variance in drawing cards.

For the OP, if instead of the Nelebrin encounter providing an extra resource 25% of the time a shard was played, would it have felt any better if both players were allowed to include 6 special basic shards in their deck that provided 2/2 resources instead of 1/1?

Actually, it is different from the variance in drawing cards. Most card effects are deterministic in nature (outside of a few things like card draw, Inferno and Darkspire troops) and knowing what will happen when player X plays card Y is a very large part of what the strategy of Hex is founded upon. Attaching random effects onto card effects changes that.

And a very big part of the variance of card draw is that it tends towards the mean much more than independent dice rolls will. When you draw a card, then one of the copies of those cards is gone and you know that chances of drawing another card of that same type is lowered. You literally cannot draw more than 4 copies of a card (well, outside of a few cards and basic resources).

If instead of the 25% chance upon playing a resource the Nelebrin encounter had "At the start of the game, 25% of the resources in each champion's deck grant an additional 1/1" (which bypasses the deck reconstruction that your suggestion offered), then, yes, it would have been better. It would not have merely "felt" better, because instead of relying on an independent roll for each resource the probability of getting a better resource would automatically be weighted towards that 25% figure simply by virtue of the cards that you have in hand and have played. In a 24-shard deck, it would be impossible to get more than 6 procs of the ability, and every time you drew a non-buffed shard your chances of getting a buffed one on later draws would go up. That effect weights probability well without resorting to the hidden mechanics that Zophie suggested. Moreover, it lets the player plan their resource curve since they're able to prejudge which resource will and will not give them an extra 1/1.

Pezzle
02-19-2015, 02:45 PM
The game design already has enough randomness. That is built in as part of the challenge. Steamrolling your opponent unless they have 8 resources on turn 2 is not a well designed encounter. I do not want the extra layer of difficulty randomness to become a prominent feature of PvE because it feels like a crutch. The more random factors there are, the less my decisions matter.

Also what Kilo said.

Zophie
02-19-2015, 02:55 PM
Well, luckily not all of the encounters have this same level of RNG involved, and I'm sure for the ones that do they took into consideration what level of difficulty they wanted the encounters to sit at, and applied that to the balance of whatever RNG elements might be present. The dungeons will have a much wider variety of unique encounters available, and different paths to take and special mechanics in different places. I'm sure you'll see some more RNG there, but you'll also get other kinds of puzzles to challenge you to think outside of the box with your strategy. I don't think RNG is a crutch at all, just one type of flavor they have available, and when the dungeons come out you'll get the whole box of crayons to eat (the blue ones taste the best, just sayin).

noragar
02-19-2015, 02:58 PM
Very true about the specifics of remaining deck composition after drawing cards. I wasn't aiming at that level of detail. I was looking more at the broader picture.

To me, there's little to no difference in the following RNG scenarios
- I lost because Nelebrin hit his 25% chance three times in a row and had 6/6 on turn 3
- I lost because Nelebrin drew 3 of his 2/2 resources in his opening hand and had 6/6 on turn 3
- I lost because my opponent drew his replicated troop the turn after he put in into the deck
- I lost because I was flooded drawing shards 7 turns in a row
- I lost because my opponent drew and played 5 Crash of Beasts by turn 8
- I lost because in the last 3 turns, I couldn't draw any of my 4 Burns, 3 Boulder Tosses, 2 Snipers of Gawaine or 1 Burn to the Ground to push through the last 1 point of damage before my opponents flyers killed me.
or in short,
- I lost because I was unlucky
- I lost because my opponent was lucky

Gwaer
02-19-2015, 02:59 PM
Ultimately not every encounter will be for everyone. Some people really like the high RNG encounters, some people really don't. The ones that don't can go play PVP, the ones that do can only play PVE for more, so likely there will be more high RNG encounters than non. But there will still be both.

Kilo24
02-19-2015, 03:58 PM
Very true about the specifics of remaining deck composition after drawing cards. I wasn't aiming at that level of detail. I was looking more at the broader picture.

To me, there's little to no difference in the following RNG scenarios
- I lost because Nelebrin hit his 25% chance three times in a row and had 6/6 on turn 3
- I lost because Nelebrin drew 3 of his 2/2 resources in his opening hand and had 6/6 on turn 3
- I lost because my opponent drew his replicated troop the turn after he put in into the deck
- I lost because I was flooded drawing shards 7 turns in a row
- I lost because my opponent drew and played 5 Crash of Beasts by turn 8
- I lost because in the last 3 turns, I couldn't draw any of my 4 Burns, 3 Boulder Tosses, 2 Snipers of Gawaine or 1 Burn to the Ground to push through the last 1 point of damage before my opponents flyers killed me.
or in short,
- I lost because I was unlucky
- I lost because my opponent was lucky
To me, there's a world of difference between each. In Hex, there's always the fact the element of luck that can cause you to win or lose. No matter your deck, you can always get either shard screwed or flooded. To play well means to weight the luck in your favor. Deck construction is a large part of that. So is smart play. And so is understanding where the random elements are and how they are weighted.

(Yes, I know that Tetzot deck exists that can't get flooded, and that it's possible to make a deck that can't win. Those are contrived situations.)

The way I see it is that if your broad view cuts out the influence that player actions have upon the game. And any view of a game that disregards the player's actions is unlikely to be a useful one.

Let me clarify how I see the issue here: the issue is not that RNG exists within the game. The issue is the distance between the game's outcome and RNG. If RNG gives an unbeatable advantage for one player, then playing the game will be dull. Nothing special against RNG here, it's the same issue for any overwhelming advantage regardless of source. RNG, like all other mechanics, should be designed so to minimize the chances of turning the game degenerate; usually, that means reducing the frequency and/or impact of extreme situations. (Note that minimizing the chances of degenerate games is often the very reason RNG is included in the first place - so I'm definitely not arguing it's an inherently bad thing.)

Is Hex bad in this regard? No. Definitely not, even with the resource system and the Arena mode issues that have been brought up in the thread. I wouldn't be talking about it if somebody else hadn't brought it up first. Indeed, the very reason I backed it was that I expected provide a wide variety of intriguing and entertaining gameplay that wasn't degenerate, moreso than the vast majority of other games do.

But I do think that it can be improved.