Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn
dachte

Randomness in Games

One trend I'm having trouble understanding in online games is that of eliminating randomness. I rather like randomness in games; the idea that every so often something on the edges of probability might save (or toast) my tuchas because I got a critical hit or failure. Even in the normal range, it's fun to have randomness as a thing to manage; it gives depth to mastering some problem domain (and it's a boost for those of us who understand statistics and take the trouble to use it formally or informally).

Perhaps it's the idea of reproducibility, or fairness, or some attempt to recreate chess? It does feel unfair when our luck is terrible in games that depend on it; the person playing Chutes and Lattes who's always rolling snake eyes will probably get some sympathy from fellow players, but that's a rare occurence. Games like chess arn't like that; anything that feels like luck in chess is simply the effective randomness of one or both players being beyond their ability to map out the future-statespace of the board (or not even trying to think about it that way).

I imagine attitudes towards randomness differ by statistical sophistication; I'm very philosophically comfortable with it, having done science in a field that depends heavily on statistics, and having thought a fair bit about the philosophy of statistics and science. Even still, semi-random elements do tend to move a closed form problem space towards being an open one, and there's room for an educated preference for closed-form problems.

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