What Is RNG in Video Games, and Why Do People Criticize It?

Last Updated: Feb 7, 2024 by

If you’ve ever played a video game, chances are you’ve encountered the term “RNG” or “random number generator”. But what exactly does it mean, and why do some people criticize it?

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of RNG in video games, exploring its definition, how it works, and why it has become a controversial topic in the gaming community.

What Is RNG in Video Games?

Definition and Function

RNG, or random number generator, is a computer algorithm used in video games to generate random events or outcomes. It is used to add an element of unpredictability and chance to the game, making it more exciting and challenging for players.

RNG can be found in various aspects of video games, such as loot drops, critical hits, and enemy behavior. It is also commonly used in games with a gambling element, such as slot machines or loot boxes.

How Does RNG Work?

RNG works by using a complex mathematical formula to generate a sequence of numbers that appear random. These numbers are then used to determine the outcome of a specific event in the game.

For example, in a game where players can find loot in chests scattered throughout the game world, the RNG algorithm will determine what items are inside each chest. This means that each time a player opens a chest, the items inside will be different, adding an element of surprise and chance to the game.

Why Do People Criticize RNG in Video Games?

While RNG is a common and widely used element in video games, it has also faced criticism from players and critics. Here are some of the main reasons why RNG has become a controversial topic in the gaming community.

Lack of Control and Fairness

One of the main criticisms of RNG in video games is that it takes away control from the player and can make the game feel unfair. In games where RNG is heavily relied upon, players may feel like their success or failure is based more on luck than skill.

For example, in a game where players must defeat a boss to progress, the boss may have a random chance to use a powerful attack that can instantly defeat the player. This can be frustrating for players who have put in a lot of effort to reach that point in the game, only to be defeated by a random event.

Pay-to-Win Mechanics

Another criticism of RNG in video games is its use in pay-to-win mechanics. In some games, players can purchase loot boxes or other in-game items that have a random chance of containing powerful weapons or items. This means that players who spend more money on these items have a higher chance of obtaining rare and powerful items, giving them an advantage over players who do not spend money.

This can create an unfair playing field and lead to frustration and resentment among players who cannot afford to spend money on these items.

Lack of Transparency

In some cases, game developers may not disclose the exact odds or mechanics of the RNG algorithm in their game. This lack of transparency can lead to speculation and mistrust among players, especially when it comes to pay-to-win mechanics.

Players may feel like they are being misled or taken advantage of if they do not know the exact chances of obtaining certain items or outcomes in the game.

Examples of RNG in Video Games

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft, one of the most popular massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), uses RNG in various aspects of gameplay. Loot drops, critical hits, and enemy behavior are all determined by RNG, adding an element of unpredictability to the game.

However, RNG in World of Warcraft has faced criticism from players who feel like their success in the game is based more on luck than skill. This has led to the development of add-ons and mods that allow players to see the exact odds of obtaining certain items or outcomes in the game.

Overwatch

Overwatch, a popular first-person shooter game, also uses RNG in its loot box system. Players can purchase loot boxes with real money or earn them through gameplay, with a random chance of obtaining cosmetic items for their characters.

While this system has faced criticism for its pay-to-win mechanics, Overwatch has also faced backlash for its lack of transparency regarding the odds of obtaining rare items in loot boxes.

The Future of RNG in Gaming

As video games continue to evolve and become more complex, the use of RNG is likely to become even more prevalent. However, game developers may need to address the criticisms and concerns surrounding RNG in order to maintain a positive relationship with their players.

Some possible solutions could include providing more transparency about the odds and mechanics of RNG in games, implementing alternative systems that give players more control over outcomes, or finding a balance between RNG and skill-based gameplay.

Conclusion

RNG, or random number generator, is a computer algorithm used in video games to generate random events or outcomes. While it adds an element of unpredictability and excitement to games, it has also faced criticism for its lack of control and fairness, pay-to-win mechanics, and lack of transparency.

As video games continue to evolve, it will be interesting to see how game developers address these concerns and find a balance between RNG and skill-based gameplay.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.