Praise Be to RNG

Gamers come from many creeds and faiths, but at the end of the day, we all bow down to RNG-esus.

There used to a time, in the halcyon days of yesteryear, where game developers strived to create games that would last player ages: either through insane difficulty spikes or sheer volumes of content – the intent was to give players an absolute bang for their buck.

Now, we are far from saying that these types of games don’t exist anymore – it’s just that major publishers have seemed to move away from this practice, and instead taken up the mantle of giving players as many avenues for amassing collections of virtual goods, all dangled above your head via some lovely carrots on sticks.

At the end of the day, we’re sinking our free time into systems that are designed to keep us entertained and engaged.

The problem is, there has been a shift in the thinking of many major-budget studios wherein they wish to exploit the psychology of their players to maximize profits in the shortest amount of time. It doesn’t take a genius to see how this could become catastrophic.

We’re at a crossroads where more and more titles dropping annually are beginning to mimic a highly exploitative gambling system, and it stands to become even worse. No longer can we rest on expectations on the laurels of a developer when it’s clear that anti-consumer practices have taken the industry by storm and wormed their insidious roots to the very core of the market.

We live in an era where developers who do right by their audience and provide countless hours of entertainment are lauded to the highest heavens by their followers.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that – what’s problematic is how rare of an occurrence that has become. Look at what’s out on offer right now and the majority of what you’ll find are gambling machines and skinner boxes with skins that equate to uninspired attempts to drain the audience down to their last penny.

But let’s not forget about our most favoured player in the game of chance: RNG.

RNG – or Random Number Generators – are numerical systems that do exactly as their name espouses them to: generate random numbers.

Since the astronomical spike in their usage over the last decade, nearly every online game place them front and centre. Developers love them since they act as a perfect scapegoat for whenever players don’t receive what they want – either out of a loot box, boss drop, or any other mechanism that has the potential to give the player their highly sought-after reward.

Spoiler alert: these random numbers just so happen to be paired with abysmal drop rates more often than not.

So where does that leave us? Stuck within labyrinthine paths that lead nowhere.

Carrots on sticks paraded in front of us in endless succession, with amorphous, ever-shifting numbers whose intent is to entice us to stick around just a little bit longer after being shafted time and time again.

Colour us jaded, but this is starting to look like an abusive relationship.

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