Randomness and Skill are not linked

| Sunday, February 15, 2009
Be Mine.
This is a part of the meta achievement for the Love is in the Air season event. The general concept is that one an hour (no more often, but due to sleep, very likely less often) you can get a gift from a NPC. This gift has a chance to contain a Bag of Candies. Draw from this bag and you will get 10 chances at 8 different candies. Pull all 8 and you get the achievement.

While writing this I received my second bag. Second, as in a total of two bags. That's over the entire event. I'd guess that I've received at least 10 boxes of chocolate. The RNG is not being nice to me.

There's a lot of complaining on the forums. Normally I'm the sort that looks at the forums and weeps for the future of humanity, but this time, it was different. The meta is part of a meta-meta for one of the proto-drakes. This means that the drake is RNG-based.

According to a Blue on the General forums (I've lost the thread or I'd have linked it), this is their way of keeping it rare. In general I think WoW is a great game and has amazing developers, but that is just plain stupid. Rare means randomly screwing people over, people who have put in the same, or perhaps more, time than others? Perhaps you need better priorities when rare starts to mean "Ha ha, better LUCK next year."

To get back to the title, to go with the complaints are a lot of arrogant jackasses. They are the ones who say things like "learn2play" or "it's supposed to be an achievement." The first is, well does the stupidity need explaining? The second is also stupid, but of a different sort. Achievements, at least as I know them in real life, and would expect in game, are based on some sort of effort. Sometimes it's a very small effort, sometimes it's a large effort. It's not about luck. I cannot imagine an interview with someone that won the lottery: "We're all quite amazed by your perseverance, this is truly an amazing achievement." Wouldn't the interviewer sound pretty dumb?

The Lunar Festival was well done. It required a decent bit of effort and exploration. It took time and sometimes a bit of ingenuity*. I felt like that was an achievement. This though, it's all very easy. Oh but right, random is hard, so if a season is too easy, you add randomness to balance it out. Random is not hard, it's random. Make the season harder for all I care. Require a drop off KT. But random? That's just stupid. That's not an achievement.

* I wasn't doing well finding a PUG for Gundrak. I either found no groups or I ended up with awe-inspiring noobs. Finally I ended up jumping into an already cleared instance and using my cloaking device and an invisibility potion to get to the elder. That was the last one I needed and it felt very good to get it.

As of finishing this post, I have finished opening my second bag and am still in need of "You're the best!" Maybe there's a hidden meaning here. I guess WoW does think randomness and skill are linked, so my lack of luck means a lack of skill, which is why I am not the best. But clearly I am lovely and romantic, judging from the all the dresses and picnic baskets. And I really like chocolate.

I can only pray that next year when I attempt to graduate that I roll high enough to get a diploma.

[edit] Not to bash the entire holiday, sorry. I do like how the arrow won't fire at someone who has a pet out; though this is me assuming that if you could it wouldn't give credit. That saves a lot of wasted arrows. The heartbroken-bracelet thing is kinda cool. I like things which draw people together. Farming the flowers was fun too. It's nice to get a group and a goal and get it done and at the end everyone walks out happy because they got what they came for rather than leaving going "oh well, maybe tomorrow, stupid RNG." Sound familiar?


Kiryn said...

Whereas here I am, haven't gotten so much as a single bag of candy hearts, and am resorting to making another gift collection in hopes the next box of chocolate will contain the one chocolate I need.

I've gotten three picnic baskets, two minipets, and one dress, and still not a single bag of candies or box of chocolates past the very first one. If I get any more love fools I think I'm gonna scream. I've got almost two stacks of them by now.

Green Armadillo said...

Personally, I spent almost all of Friday night playing EQ2 on my gaming machine, and firing up WoW on my laptop once an hour to trick or treat (or whatever we're calling it). That's great design right there.

I hadn't made the connection between random achievement being random and random loot tables in time-locked instances being random. There are some distinctions. Once a day/week - at almost any time during each day - is very different from once an hour with the click ticking each second that your cooldown is available and you're not around to click. Also, this thing was extremely time-limited and fell on a weekend that includes two holidays here in the States. Still, it's an interesting point - your effort is sort of wasted if you're running a dungeon for one drop, you're the only one who would use that drop, and it doesn't happen.

LarĂ­sa said...

Oh I agree. I think the randomness and time restriction on this one is kind of cruel.
People with girl friends and families aren't supposed to go for the holiday achivements? Restricted only to 24/7-playing no-lifers? Come on!

Klepsacovic said...

I've complained about the randomness of loot from instances, but those aren't so bad, for multiple reasons. 1-7 day resets are less painful than one year. There are alternatives, such as badge gear or crafted to fill some slots, along the a few decent PvP pieces, or even simply going to the higher tier of content and therefore gear. Instances also aren't so fixed to require 24/7 farming. I've been carefully recording my time to ensure that I am online every hour (though I did sleep). When I realized I was doing that, I realized exactly how ridiculous this achievement is.

This morning, on my second attempt of the day, I received my third bag of candy. The second piece finished the achievement. Now I am a Love Fool.

What I wish I could say is "look, I got it, you just have to be persistent. You'll get it eventually and it meant more because it took a while." I can't say that though. Persistence helped, but so did obsessive logging every hour within 15 seconds, and that's just stupid. I also can't pretend that it was anything except luck. I could have just as easily not gotten it this time, or in an hour, or even next year.

Something is wrong when I get an achievement and my e-peen doesn't change. If it had simply been easy I'd have gotten a small boost. But it was purely random, not even directly based on putting in time like the elders. Stupid.

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