How to stop worrying and love the RNG

EAntinsParisJudgement

Ah, loot. Where would we be without these small objects of desire? These pointless, insignificant, virtual items which have the power to make us so happy, or so furious?

Obsessing over loot is one of gaming’s simple pleasures. My partner still gets excited about every single piece of loot he acquires, even if it’s just a random green item to disenchant. I’m not quite at the point of being able to list every epic I’ve ever got with a whole backstory … but I could come close. The trinket I only won because both the other main spec tanks were away that week. The sword that we all thought was never going to drop, which finally came into the grasp of my cold, dead hands long after I no longer needed it. The drama! The excitement! The tears! The stories! The shinies!

You have to care about the game – if you don’t care then why play? – but it doesn’t have to take over your life. But it’s so easy to cross the line and care just a bit too much. No-one needs to stress like crazy over a game. You can have fun, obsess to a reasonable amount, not freak out any time someone in the game does something with which you disagree, and learn to play nice with others. It doesn’t have to be a fraught, stressful experience. There is another way.

(And by the way, it’s a constant struggle to keep a balance between caring too much and not at all. It just happens to be a very very useful balance to learn and will help in other aspects of life as well as gaming.)

My loot philosophy was driven by PUG raids

I first came into contact with loot drama while playing DaoC, which not coincidentally was my first MMO. Nothing there was BoP, but people had got into the habit of only rolling for things that they needed.

I’d been to a few public raids and noticed that the raid leaders spent a lot of time distributing loot. This was because most raid leaders at the time were very keen to be fair, and to make sure loot went to deserving players who were going to use it. ie. as opposed to people who would give it to their alts. So there was always a lengthy interrogation about what gear people had, what alts they had, and what they intended to do with loot before it was passed out.

I was nervous of leading a public raid, but wanted to try anyway. But the horror of loot distribution kept looming before me. (These raids often had upwards of 100 people turning up.) I realised quite early on that I really could care less who got what loot – my main concern as RL was that we had a successful raid. Anything after that was gravy.

So when I set my first raid up, I decided that my goals for loot distribution would be:

  • As little stress as possible for the raid leader (this was the main criteria :) ).
  • Should be fair to all raiders, or at least equally unfair to everyone.
  • Should be simple, quick, and easy to understand.

I informed raiders at the beginning that anyone could roll for anything they could use. I didn’t care if it was for a main or an alt. There would be a limit of one item per person. I noted that I would prefer that people did not roll on stuff if they just wanted to sell it.

This was a very different tack to other raid leaders on the server. But there wasn’t a revolution. There were a few murmurings of discontent, but people shrugged and got on with it. After the first successful raid, I never heard any complaints about the loot system. I like to think that people understood that whether or not they liked the ‘system,’ it was equally fair to everyone who turned up, and was a lot faster (and with less drama.)

Not only that, but they weren’t bound by the raid leader’s notions about who was most deserving of loot.

Plus even the guys who were most outspoken about only letting people roll for their mains enjoyed being able to get stuff for their alts after their mains were geared up. Or bringing their alts who needed master level raid quests, and rolling on items for their mains. (From my point of view, the loot system encouraged experienced raiders to keep turning up and helping, which was a bonus for me and my raids.)

I still think those loot criteria are pretty smart.

You can’t fight in here! This is the war room!

dr-strangelove-3-copy

One of the great things about the random number generator (RNG) is that it can settle all disputes uncontroversially, if players will only allow it to do its job. You can’t argue with “whoever rolls the highest wins.” It’s fair. Everyone who rolls has the same chance to win. It’s very silly to complain that someone else stole your loot when you had an equal chance to win it and they were just luckier on the roll.

Or in other words, the RNG is not your enemy. It may not be your friend either, but it is neutral. The more you use it, the more that the lucky vs the unlucky rolls will tend to even out. Perhaps today you’re not lucky, but maybe tomorrow will be that day. So when you lose a roll, shrug and move on and accept that you DID have a fair chance to win, you were just unlucky.

People also tend to convince themselves that a drop is more significant than it really is. Especially when you have been unlucky and not seen it for awhile, or feel that you have put in a lot of work (i.e. lots and lots of dungeon runs) and never seen it at all. On the first run, you’ll be chilled out and uninclined to care if someone else wins because you know that it will drop again. On the 40th run, you just want to never have to go there again ever and things get a little more heated.

Just remember, the RNG doesn’t care about that. Be like the RNG. Let things wash over you. You’ll have another chance to roll some other day. Move on. Think zen thoughts. Don’t stress unduly, it’s not that important.

The only time when it really gets my back up is people rolling ignorantly, on items that aren’t actually upgrades for them. And in a WoW world in which items can be traded whilst inside an instance, it’s easy enough to explain this to someone and ask for a trade. And if they refuse? Enh, shrug and move on. That’s the price of random groups.

Kallisti! For the Fairest!

ERIS_by_istarwyn

There are two types of loot distribution system: the ones where you have to all pretend that you care about who most deserves the loot, and the ones where you don’t. The ones where you don’t are much less prone to implode under stress.

This is not to say that a loot council can’t work, it’s just more work and more stress for the loot council officers. And there will be times when you ask yourself how much it really matters whether some loot item goes to the feral druid who will use it 33% of the time, or the rogue who only turns up once every three weeks anyway. (The answer is – it matters a lot to the players. Which is why it’s so stressful for the staff.)

My personal philosophy is that I really don’t want to waste brain cycles on caring about who deserves what loot. And especially not in a 5 man instance which people can run five times an hour if they so wish. Just roll, stop whining, and let the RNG sort it out. Random rolls ARE fair.

Some people will always feel that they are most deserving for everything that ever drops. Every single piece of loot, however minimal the upgrade, is a matter of life or death to them. Whereas others are more chilled out, or shy of speaking up, even though the loot itself might be just as big an upgrade. Just roll, stop whining, and let the RNG sort it out. The RNG does not care who whined most loudly. It knows that quiet, shy people might want loot too.

There will be cases where that isn’t the best way to go. In a regular raid, the loot system needs to encourage regular attendance and RNG doesn’t do that as effectively as DKP.

But even there, every DKP system, for example, uses some fairly mechanical method to reward players with points. The more complex the DKP system, the more work for the poor officers who are tasked with maintaining it. And frankly, simpler systems work just as well for getting the loot distributed with the least possible fuss. Trying too hard to be ‘fair’ to everyone is a doomed enterprise, because people won’t agree on what that means. Is it fair to reward people who show up more frequently? Is it fair to reward people who play better? Is it fair to give an extra reward to the raid leader? Or to reward people for providing raid consumables?

The answer is: the fairest thing for a raid is to reward whatever will most benefit the raid in the long run. So that means incentives for new players to improve, experienced players to keep coming along, everyone to work together happily and with minimal drama and no one to feel that this is unfair. And it also means explaining patiently to people that yes, the guys who attend most frequently will gear up faster and that no amount of DKP is going to force the item you want to actually drop (*coff* warrior tier tokens *coff).

There is no Off-Spec, there is only Dual-Spec

I have heard an argument that people should always queue as the role on which they wish to roll for loot. I don’t see any good reason to do this, the global benefits of encouraging more people to queue as multiple roles are just too high.

Or in other words, why should I pretend that my character has half of it’s actual potential just to make you feel better? I realise that you don’t want to share, but I’m happy to come tank or heal or dps your run and all I ask is a fair shot at the loot I want. Which I intend to use. If I don’t win, I’ll congratulate you. (It’s particularly silly when dps do this, because they should be used to sharing by now. Tanks/ Healers are more cosseted by the system because there’s usually only one per group.)

If I really do want or need some item then I’ll aim to run with a guild group and agree the loot beforehand. But jumping into a random group and making grand demands just makes you look like an arse. Trying to bully or abuse people into not using the RNG is even worse.

The best and fairest loot distribution you can possibly hope for in a random group is a fair shot at any loot via RNG. So don’t complain if that’s what you get. And don’t pretend that common loot won’t drop again, everyone knows that it’s histrionics and it will make you look stupid and whiny. People in your random group probably don’t care if you have to run the instance again every day for a week. And nor should they have to.

Dealing with Loot Doldrums

The last thing about loot is that it is always miserable to lose a roll on something that you really wanted. Especially when you feel that you deserved to win, or that the winner didn’t. It’s only human. And it’s because we care about the game and are emotionally engaged in it.

But. Sometimes you have to just suck it up. If this is the only thing you ever learn from playing MMOs, then they’re worth all the time and effort poured into them.

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33 thoughts on “How to stop worrying and love the RNG

  1. I like your take on loot distribution. I am also a fan of the random roll.

    “DKP” was invented to reward attendance and to prevent people from leaving, moving on and all that once they got lucky.
    But it also leads to guild officers and raid leaders usually having DKP leftover dating back to the time before the servers were opened and all that. I like “SK” better, but it is also only a crutch. Embrace the dice. Fortuna loves you, too. :)

    I liked the random raids on Frostwolf. We still used Master Loot, but everyone had a chance, everyone was motivated to show up. In fact so far that some prefered to raid random than with their guild, finding excuses for not having time at this date and so on, which caused some trouble.

    BTW: The “CHEST” is one of the best ideas to distribute raid loot, I dunno if Guild Wars was the first game to feature it, but one of the more well known games for sure.

    This is how it works. The boss is dead and a chest appears. Everyone can open the chest and for everyone there is one guaranteed item like an obsidian shard in the chest and one random item.

    No need for loot distribution and fights between people. If you are lucky the whole raid gets the 5% chance drop, or nobody, or only one lucky guy.

    And yeah, it is based on dice – and that everyone has a chance to get the loot without taking away from other players.

    • That chest system seems great, and seems to also help take the decision off the raid leader’s shoulders, making the bitching target game mechanics and freeing myself up from having to listen to more whining. I hate whiners, I can’t stand complaining, griping…I mean there’s a place and a time for it sure, but not about imaginary items in a video game, give me a break.

      • DDO uses the Chest System where every player can loot something (or multiple somethings, like Pots AND armor/weapons, etc) but each player can also make one, some, or all of their ‘own’ items lootable by other players of their choosing.

        Say I found a Wand of Greater Heals in my Chest and Dread is on his Healer, I can assign my Wand to his character and he can now re-loot the Chest and get ‘my’ Wand.

  2. I think the SoL sidi loot rules were the best of all. And whatever you say I KNOW I have the worst rolls ever, but I’d still raid/group with rolling for loot, and do

  3. The only bugbear to this is the ‘unlucky guy’. I’m an Erisian myself so no worries there but for example I had a very good friend who was perhaps one of the cleverist and creative players I’ve ever known. But his luck sucked. Consistantly. In 3 years he never, once, won a dice roll against me or indeed any game that involved chance. Even when I stopped cheating. yet in anything with the random element removed he’d either thrash me or at the very least give me a very hard time.

    However luck is indeed part of the game. As Nelson once said ‘I dont care if he’s good, is he lucky?’

    Of course I will continue to bitch about warrior, hunter _SHAMMY_ tier tokens not dropping all the same. :)

    • The nice thing about MMOs is that you can help the unlucky guy. I don’t think a random group is the place to do it is all. But I know I’ve done runs with friends who were keen for a specific drop. Or helped them by crafting stuff on the cheap to fill a slot that they weren’t able to get a drop for.

      In a game like WoW, there are alternatives for every slot. Sure, some are harder than others (hello, Darkmoon Card: Greatness) but with the advent of badges, the RNG is rarely your only option. Although I do feel for the guy who is really unlucky, but c’est la vie.

  4. This gets a win in my book just for the Dr Strangelove reference.

    The RNG may be fair for loot distribution, but as a Crit-dependent moonkin, the RNG can really hurt my DPS.

    DAMNIT. PROC ECLIPSE! PROC DAMN YOU, PROC!

  5. No, no, no and again no.

    Your post promotes a completely vicious loot distribution system which only perpetuates and encourages all the bad things we despise in pugs or guild runs (like morons and slackers)…

    /roll is probably the worst loot distribution system which is generally accepted simply because of its simplicity. However it is completely flawed.

    Let me explain why. Entrusting loot distribution to a random number generator which makes no discrimination in function of the players current gear, performance, loyalty to the group, overall contribution to the success of the raid and to the reward of others is a primary incentive for people to ‘slack’, ‘guild-hop’ and under perform altogether.

    The simplest example is the random pug with anonymous people. In this case the sole demand of the group towards its individuals is their best performance. /roll simply implies that as long as the group is successful all individuals performed equally well. Placing two players of completely different performance to the same level in respect to the rewards will simply motivate the lesser-performer to dwell into his slacking, while demoralizing the one who is actually putting effort into the kill (further increasing the gap).

    (Lets imagine two rogues in the same pug. One gemmed, enchanted, buffed with flask on top of the dps list, and another one in random blues and ungemmed epics dead 30 seconds into the fight. Who should get the dagger that drops as a reward? Mind you, if the bad player wins the roll and is given the dagger he will continue in his behaviour. If he is penalized by his poor performance, he might improve. Similarly, its in the group’s best interest to reward its meritorious members. )

    Guild runs. DKP is not only a means to keep players from leaving the guild and to enforce raid attendance. It is essentially the best way to force players to spend their limited currency on the most important upgrades. In this case /roll does not discriminate between the actual utility players put in a certain drop.

    To exemplify, lets take 2 players of the same guild, one wearing a ilevel200 ring, the other a ilvl245 ring. Imagine that a level 251 ring drops. Given equal DKP standings the guy with the 200 ring will overbid and win the item he really needs, whereas the one with ilvl245 will value it less and save his points for the more essential upgrades. With /roll people can easily roll for and win side-grades in despite of those who could actually benefit more from the dropped items, overall hurting the potential performance of the group.

    GDKP. Another simple system superior to /roll. Simply put, the player who rewards the rest of the group with gold gets the item. win-win… not just win-0.

    Cutting this short, I do agree that a hassling loot council can be a headacke. However when the boss is downed and the loot is to be distributed, and good raid leader should have a general idea about who actually supported this victory of the group and who hindered it. Loot should be prioritized to those who helped the group.

    In practice, easy. In in a pug, if a dps item drops, take a loot at recount and prioritize non-fail dps. Healer items, prioritize the healers who did not lose their assigned target. Tank? well just dont give it to the tank who wiped the group 3 times before because of failing to taunt or some shit.

    In my opinion, one of the things that make a good leader is the capacity to identify the players that are beneficial to the group and reward them in light of their performance.

    • Random rolls for PUGs, like democracy, happens to be the least bad of all possible other systems.

      “/roll simply implies that as long as the group is successful all individuals performed equally well. ”

      Yup. The sole purpose of a random group is to complete a successful run. If that happens, everyone wins (and gets their badges). The loot is distributed based on the idea that people helped by being there.

      As soon as you move away from that, you’re asking the software to judge who contributed most. This is something which software is notoriously bad at doing. It’s actually easier to stop caring whether some random rogue you’ll never see again gets a dagger you don’t care about.

      I did also mention that I thought DKP was better for regular raids with the same raid group. And even then, it won’t force people to bid optimally. In vanilla WoW, it was really common for dps classes to hoard all their DKP to spend on weapons (which were rare), and leave us to shard the rest of their gear which would still have been an upgrade.

      GDKP works, but it a) encourages gold buying and b) doesn’t help or incentivise the new player who doesn’t have either a well geared alt or scads of gold. Random roll does.

      Which is not to say that anything is stopping you from organising private DKP or gold DKP 5 man runs if that is what you prefer. Just anything you do will be more work than a random roll. Is it really worth the effort for a 5 man heroic run?

      Also, I don’t particularly despise morons or slackers in 5 mans unless they do something to specifically annoy me or are really affecting the success of the run. The ungemmed rogue who does 1k? I can live with that, if he’s not pulling every mob in sight or being a dick and there’s enough dps in the group to make up for his lack.

  6. What is wrong with being considerate of other people? Why does everything in this game have to be “Me, Me, Me”? You’ve gone and used up I don’t know how many words just to justify your own ability to take what ever you want, when ever you want it.

    I see more and more of this in running Pugs now that we have the dungeon finder. Before, if you ninja’d something, everyone was on your server and you and your GM were going to get an ear full. Now people use the scenario of lack of communication between servers to act like total selfish, twelve year old asshats.

    Today I will run heroic FOS for literally the 44th time. I’m still looking for the 232 tanking boots to drop. I’m already suffering from RNG, I don’t need some selfish idjit adding to my RNG by rolling on it for off spec without me ever knowing and having input as to whether I wanted to be in that scenario.

    I understand people need items for off spec. Be fair to the people you are running with and at the beginning of the run, type in chat that the only reason you are there is so you can roll on X item. If other people need that item for main spec, they or you, can decide to drop group and run with different people. This is where everyone finds out if you are just a selfish twelve year old. If you say this would be inconvenient for you and you’re not going to do it, it’s clear that all you care about is your self. You didn’t complete that instance alone. There were other people there and they deserve consideration.

    • Consider raising some cash and getting crafted boots made (there are recipes from Ulduar and ICC, just ask around a raid guild to find a crafter). See, I personally would not run an instance that many times for an item without getting bored and looking at alternatives.

      I’ve no idea if the boots have not dropped for you, or you have lost them on every roll. In either case, you’ve had a run of bad luck. But in a MMO, there is always an alternative.

      • I know of every alternative I have for my boots, it’s just that I’ve decided to let the RNG gods have their laugh at me and see how long this can last.

        That said, the fact that I have alternatives does not imply that anyone other than I should be rolling on them when ever they do drop. To mention alternatives, whether someone’s play was top notch, or debate whether another person needed the item more than I are all nothing but smoke screen for selfish behavior.

        While my current boots are ilevel 200, let’s say for arguments sake that they were 219. If some main spec ret pally only has ilevel 200 boots on his off spec tanking gear set, is he more deserving than I for the drop? The answer is it doesn’t matter. I would be tanking main spec, and he would be there as main spec ret and I would deserve the boots. If the ret pally said at the beginning of the run that he was there to roll on the boots, I could then make an informed and fair decision whether I wanted additional RNG to play into my search for the boots.

        Whether you agree with it or not, the standard in WoW is that needing is for main spec, and the polite thing to do is ask if it’s ok to need for off spec. Everyone knows this. If you choose something else, you’re just choosing to be impolite and selfish.

    • “What is wrong with being considerate of other people? Why does everything in this game have to be “Me, Me, Me”? You’ve gone and used up I don’t know how many words just to justify your own ability to take what ever you want, when ever you want it.”

      And then you went on to show how you “deserve” a set of boots more than other players in the group. That Ret Paladin killed the boss you tanked, he “deserves” the boots just as much as you do. It doesn’t matter that you have killed that boss 40 or 400 times – ANYONE who is there when the loots drops “deserves” the loot.

      • Thank you, you are entirely correct, “deserve” was the wrong way to state that. Everyone is part of the run and downing the bosses, so everyone is equally “deserving”.

        Since everyone is equally deserving, it comes back to being considerate of other people. Here is how you can tell if you are being selfish. The litmus test is whether you are acting in any way different during a PUG then when you are in an all guild run. If you are about to need on an item against a main spec character when it is off spec for you, would you still do it if that person was a guild memeber?

        In my guild, people bend over backwards to help each other, regardless of whether it’s leveling, gearing up, or whatever. From everything I’ve read and experienced in this game, most other guilds seem to be fairly helpful to each other also.

        So the question comes down to, why would you say and act differently in a PUG, than you would in a guild run?

      • My question to you is whether you’d act differently if you were in an instance as a dps spec and one of the other dps players said that they really wanted an item and had run that instance 40 times and not yet got it. But it was also something that you needed.

        Would you roll against them? Is that less inconsiderate?

      • Also, I think the topic of ‘why would you say and act differently in a PUG from a guild run’ is probably deserving of a separate blog post.

        I would act differently, but I don’t think that being more considerate to the guildies automatically means you’re inconsiderate to the PUG guys … unless of course they were expecting to be treated like guildies, which is probably not a correct expectation.

  7. Random is not fair. Random is only random. We will never ever roll on enough items over our WoW career to make random fair. Having an equal chance is not fair. Fair is if people get equal shares.

    There is a big difference to your raid example of DaoC and LFD. If someone is LFM for a raid I will consider the loot rool and base it on that if I join or not. In the LFD you are thrown together randomly. The person with the most greedy personal loot rules is forcing his rules onto the other members. There is no consens. That’s why they added the armor class restriction. They just forgot to add the function restriction.

    > Don’t stress unduly, it’s not that important.

    If it wouldn’t be, I wouldn’t be there.

    • “Having an equal chance is not fair.”

      Having an equal opportunity is as fair as we can hope to get in this life. Games are one of the few environments where we can make that true.

  8. Spinks, I just want I’ve read what you’ve been writing about loot distribution with interest (as always) and I respect your views… I’m not sure whether I agree with them or not but that’s largely irrelevant, actually, because nailing down what is “fair” and what is “just” is impossible. Also there’s nothing like talk about loot to cause a blog storm :)

    • The main reason I wanted to write this is not because I need to persuade people (although I think everyone would feel less stressed about 5 man loot if they went into randoms with this mindset) but because I was piqued that someone thought I didn’t have a philosophy on loot. I do! It might not be a good one but it is there. Also an excuse for a cool picture of Eris.

  9. There is an offspec, and a dual spec.
    My offspec is holy, my shaman’s is resto, my druid’s is resto, my priest’s is holy (she’s disc/shadow). The last three I can’t really tell the difference, but that’s beside the point: there are the two specs that people play (and offer to play) and the spec that they don’t. I’ll roll on whatever I queued for unless it’s not wanted by the person who fills that role.

  10. “The sole purpose of a random group is to complete a successful run. ”

    Since when?:o The fact that 80% of people do it for badges does not mean not one single person will want a drop.

    “It’s fair. Everyone who rolls has the same chance to win. ”

    Addendum: If they have a right to roll. You tank, you have right to roll on stam trinket but not the SP trinket. You are caster? vice versa.

    “the global benefits of encouraging more people to queue as multiple roles are just too high.”

    Try telling about global benefit to the guy who lost the roll on his drop for the Nth time. Getting guild runs for old instances doesnt always work. There is no ‘big picture’ in PUGS, no ‘global benefit’ or ‘common good’…

    “why should I pretend that my character has half of it’s actual potential just to make you feel better?”

    It’s not pretending, it’s the hard truth, and you take full responsibility for the good and the bad part of it, just like everyone else. Go as your “overpowered self” and just accept the good, blame it on RNG, everyone else be damned.

    “Consider raising some cash and getting crafted boots made”

    Telling people what to do is tyranny. Making assumptions does not justify anything. What you ‘personally’ would do has no bearing whatsoever on what someone else should do. Least of all justify rolling for OS before MS. This does very little to help new lvl80′s and much more harm.
    Was this your loot philosophy when you hit 80? Or is this only in effect since you don’t need anything from 5mans (only for offspec)?

    RNG does not equal common sense or courtesy. Overall I am very disturbed by this loot philosphy, you are basicly saying
    “loot is 100% FFA in PUGs, no matter the role you play”
    “5man loot can either be aquired reliably via guild runs, or not aquired at all”

    • “Telling people what to do is tyranny.”

      It was meant as friendly advice actually.

      And yes, this was my loot philosophy from before I started playing WoW. Just with friends or guildies we do pass for main specs and main characters.

      • Get a grip :P Lets just say that main spec is the one you gear up first, and at the beginning of an expansion, friends and guildies are keen to go raid asap and the fastest way to do that is to give gear to raid spec first.

  11. When I worked at 3DO, the tools programmers created a random number library for games. This was used in titles like Vegas Games. The programmers had a nickname for the library: clumpy. Let’s just say that if you ever play 3DO’s roulette in Vegas Games, your best bet is to play the number that just came up.

    In theory, a truly random system might be fair all other things being equal. But, the reality is that its not. Of course, all things aren’t equal. Not to mention that all other things are not equal and that “fair” is a highly subjective term.

    Anyway, just throwing out my thoughts a day or two late. :)

    • There’s always got to be a balance between perfect platonic fairness and quick, cheap, easy, and fair enough. (This is me coming in as an engineer ;) ). And sometimes, quick, cheap, easy and ‘good enough’ is a better solution.

      Having said that, the maths of pseudo-RNG are fairly well understood, and I’m surprised that your coders didn’t seed their algorithm off the system clock or something.

      • …fair enough.

        I think this is the sticking point of your argument, though. Some people don’t believe this is fair enough. As pointed out above, we know someone who seems to have shit luck with random rolls.

        …I’m surprised that your coders didn’t seed their algorithm off the system clock or something.

        Changing the seed doesn’t matter if the algorithm spits out strings of numbers anyway. I suspect the algorithm was flawed, even though it probably was implemented from a well-known theory; the programmers gave quite a few talks about random numbers prior to releasing the libarary, so they knew their theory at least. I’m just pointing out that game RNGs aren’t always fair.

        Another example is the other night in LotRO. I won three items from one loot chest with the roll of 94. Even assuming that LotRO’s RNG is completely fair, patterns like that still get people griping.

        Ultimately, I think the most “fair” system I’ve seen used was the Ni Karma system. It uses accumulated points like DKP with a random element to keep it interesting. It requires some history (like a raid group) and bookkeeping, but if you really want something you can save up for it and pretty much be guaranteed the item eventually.

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