How Your Mind Screws with You in Games Like Diablo

How Your Mind Screws with You in Games Like Diablo

Your mind tricks you into drawing illogical conclusions all the time. Here are 14 game-related examples.

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I really enjoyed this article and its interestin how you were able to tie them into complaints about D3. I dig it.

This could be done for any blizzard game of the last decade really. Even starcraft relies on rng, to a lesser degree.

Rhykker:
How Your Mind Screws with You in Games Like Diablo

Your mind tricks you into drawing illogical conclusions all the time. Here are 14 game-related examples.

Read Full Article

This article also applies to WoW for me, having seen a lot of similarities in thought. Of course the article can be applied to pretty much anything that relies on chance aka the-RNG-boss (who is unkillable and an asshole). Like the Headless Horseman's mount in the Halloween event. People are still absolutely convinced that there are server times involved in the drop rate chances, the most prominent is the 7am/7pm myth that it will drop most at that specific time. (although I can't find the discussions about the myth anymore, it was prevalent for a long long time)
It also works with the collective beliefs that spawn up from time to time about various things like upcoming raids that haven't ever been announced (Emerald Dream has been thought to be a raid due to a map from vanilla that wasn't removed post-beta, also thought to be the subject of every damn expansion since Burning Crusade prior to the actual expansion announcements), to speculation on NPC dialogue and "the future of WoW".
Crazy shit. It reminds me of those gambling addicts who think their lucky charms and ritual bets can somehow alter the chance laws and that batshit insane belief that hotstreaks can be extended indefinitely (which ultimately is proven wrong by the House winning in the end, always).
Wow, that is a striking parallel. Thankfully we don't gamble with our money in these games, just time.

The Gambler's fallacy isn't a real thing. If I haven't gotten a legendary drop in 20 minutes, that means this next elite kill will give it to me, or the next chest I open....

I loves me some thought fallacies! This applies most commonly to religion and superstition. We are only human. Weak. Scared. Human. Anyhoo, Derren Brown's book, Tricks of the mind, goes fairly deep into this realm. A highly recommended read. :)

A thoroughly enjoyable article. And one I am acutely aware of when I am doing research on the internet.
*bookmarks*

AS people have pointed out already: These elements are intentional aspects of Blizzard's design philosophy. Which really says a lot about Blizzard as a company. I suppose there is some skill in knowing how to manipulate people, but forgive me if I want to play games that treat me with at least a modicum of respect.

Nice article,

starts of a bit weak but gets better with every page.

and these mind failures are not only related to games. There is a big portion in it on how social and religious phenomena work, too.

Calling some of those things "fallacies" makes the assumption that computer RNGs are completely random. In reality, they aren't...because computers can't be random. What is happening is a seed is selected in a large list of numbers, and the output is predictable if you know the seed (see also: Minecraft terrain generation).

So, there actually can be such thing as a "hot hand" if the seed just happens to line up with right numbers that you're looking for. Of course, not being able to see the calculations going on behind the scenes, it would be basically impossible to take advantage of that. But given enough observation, someone could theoretically "crack the code" for when good or bad "random" things will happen in a computer game.

The forums are always full of people desperate to confirm a total non-existent fallacy too - the notion that certain loot is geared to drop in specific areas, or from specific enemies. It's a complete load - the RNG is king. But people are still determined to find it. Clustering illusion, maybe?

Of course, that's ignoring the number of people who want things changed so that that is the case, because they don't know what randomness means.

Avaholic03:
Calling some of those things "fallacies" makes the assumption that computer RNGs are completely random. In reality, they aren't...because computers can't be random. What is happening is a seed is selected in a large list of numbers, and the output is predictable if you know the seed (see also: Minecraft terrain generation).

So, there actually can be such thing as a "hot hand" if the seed just happens to line up with right numbers that you're looking for. Of course, not being able to see the calculations going on behind the scenes, it would be basically impossible to take advantage of that. But given enough observation, someone could theoretically "crack the code" for when good or bad "random" things will happen in a computer game.

You're kinda underestimating what a "large" list means, though. The most used computer RNG these days is the Mersenne Twister, which in its most common interpretation has some 10^6000 terms. Yes, it's crackable if you can get 624 straight observations, but there's far too much randomness in D3 to find that number of seeds.

I still maintain that the "Unfair Universe Law" is valid - "The probability of an event is inversely proportional to its desirability."

Captcha - what rhymes with crow

Avaholic03:
Calling some of those things "fallacies" makes the assumption that computer RNGs are completely random. In reality, they aren't...because computers can't be random. What is happening is a seed is selected in a large list of numbers, and the output is predictable if you know the seed (see also: Minecraft terrain generation).

Literally true; practically absolutely infeasible. Note that in on-line multiplayer games, there isn't ever only one pseudo-random number generator sequence in existence at any given time, and the number picked to represent the result of any given action will depend not only upon who is doing the picking, but where the picking is done, why the picking is done, and the number of other people picking numbers simultaneously.

Minecraft terrain generation is done by one process, using a simplistic algorithm (java.util.Random embodies a linear congruential sequence using a single 32-bit integer as a seed), whereas there could be hundreds or thousands of player avatars in one WoW region, each of whom is represented by a group of processes on the server, each of which may have its own pseudo-random number sequence---or perhaps the processes are in a work queue, and each processor serving that queue has its own pseudo-random number sequence. (I do not know how WoW servers are coded; if you do ... feel free to tell us.)

Also, in large real-time simulations (such as Diablo or WoW) it is expected that pseudo-random number sequences will be re-seeded with true random numbers every so often. True random numbers aren't actually hard to come by; a hard drive is a good source of them, for example. The idea is like so: hard disks are kept inside electrically and chemically neutral atmospheres, but those atmospheres still have mass and friction. Consequently, they affect the speed of the disk and of the read/write head as it moves around the disk, in turbulently chaotic (if minuscule) ways. So, while the disk is spinning, time how long it takes the read/write head to move from point A to relatively distant point B on the disk, and use the low-order bits of that timing as your random value. On Linux, that's exactly how /dev/random works. It's slow, but you don't need many true random bits to make a good pseudo-random sequence seem more random.

Not having played D3, the game this article most reminded me of was Civ4. Losing a 99.9% battle hurt pretty bad. Losing 2 in 10 battles felt like the world was trying to destroy your game. Saw a lot of people complaining about a cheating AI when they got these sort of streaks.

Avaholic03:
Calling some of those things "fallacies" makes the assumption that computer RNGs are completely random. In reality, they aren't...because computers can't be random. What is happening is a seed is selected in a large list of numbers, and the output is predictable if you know the seed (see also: Minecraft terrain generation).

So, there actually can be such thing as a "hot hand" if the seed just happens to line up with right numbers that you're looking for. Of course, not being able to see the calculations going on behind the scenes, it would be basically impossible to take advantage of that. But given enough observation, someone could theoretically "crack the code" for when good or bad "random" things will happen in a computer game.

...Except if you can do that, you can just go for the something else that uses PRNG - oh I don't know - Every automated encrypted information on the internet or something?

I just think that obtaining a rare item is a waste of resources compared to obtaining all the world's online bank account information.

P.s- Escapist, if you make the survey as the part of the capcha, I will intentionally press opposite of my answer every time.

I had to make a new account just to comment on this after it was linked on Diablofans (with a short cutoff from the part about the Von Restorff effect) - in the early times of Diablo 3, double drops *did* happen - as in, exact clones of items that you had just received. It happened ONCE to me in the span of a summer of playing (It was an andariels helm, which dropped twice from a single charger-bull thing in the caverns of ice. Curious, as white mobs are not supposed to be able to drop more than 1x item at a time - exact same stats on it, down to the same amount of armor).

You may have heard of this and believed it to be the Von Restorff effect (which very much is a thing - people get 3x ramaladnis in a day now and assume they're common as fuck, while others go houndreds of levels without), while in reality, it was a very real bug in the game that did happen on very rare occasions. After more than 650 paragon levels in RoS it has never happened again, and none of my friends have reported it for more than a year, so I believe the bug has since been fixed.

Imperioratorex Caprae:
People are still absolutely convinced that there are server times involved in the drop rate chances, the most prominent is the 7am/7pm myth that it will drop most at that specific time.

Part of the problem with computer games is that things like this at least sound plausible. While there are various superstitions surrounding dice, for example, most of them aren't actually taken particularly seriously and are just seen as a bit of fun. Someone might have a "lucky" die, but they're not going to spend hours arguing that the laws of physics genuinely don't apply to it. But with computer RNGs, things like the time actually can be used and therefore have an effect. As Tamayo says it's essentially impossible for anyone to actually notice that effect, but the mere fact that it's not physically impossible as it is in other cases lends some extra plausibility that can lead people to believe they've seen an effect even if they wouldn't believe it in a non-computer game.

Gibbatron:
Not having played D3, the game this article most reminded me of was Civ4. Losing a 99.9% battle hurt pretty bad. Losing 2 in 10 battles felt like the world was trying to destroy your game. Saw a lot of people complaining about a cheating AI when they got these sort of streaks.

And the problem here is that in some games, the AI actually does cheat. It probably doesn't in Civ, but the fact that we know it does in many games, often extremely blatantly, again lends plausibility to the idea in cases where it's actually just our biases fooling us.

Then there are other games where what is thought to be a random process actually isn't. For example, many games have a "critical chance" where you have a percentage chance to do extra damage or whatever. But while in some games the chance is calculated each time and can cause sequences of consecutive critical or long periods without, other games will simply have every 5th hit be a critical precisely to avoid the randomness. Someone who doesn't know the details of how a particular game deals with that sort of thing can easily be led to believe there's something funny going on just because their expectations are wrong.

Flutterguy:
This could be done for any blizzard game of the last decade really. Even starcraft relies on rng, to a lesser degree.

Starcraft is a heck of a stretch, there's not much random in it, failing to think of any way of applying any of this article to it.

Obviously Hearthstone has enough randomness for some of this, but Heroes of the Storm isn't really relevant either. There's also no reason to restrict it to Blizzard, he showed Borderlands and D&D at the beginning, and as he said, almost every game with elements of randomness could be used.

Dracodraco:
I had to make a new account just to comment on this after it was linked on Diablofans (with a short cutoff from the part about the Von Restorff effect) - in the early times of Diablo 3, double drops *did* happen - as in, exact clones of items that you had just received. It happened ONCE to me in the span of a summer of playing (It was an andariels helm, which dropped twice from a single charger-bull thing in the caverns of ice. Curious, as white mobs are not supposed to be able to drop more than 1x item at a time - exact same stats on it, down to the same amount of armor).

You may have heard of this and believed it to be the Von Restorff effect (which very much is a thing - people get 3x ramaladnis in a day now and assume they're common as fuck, while others go houndreds of levels without), while in reality, it was a very real bug in the game that did happen on very rare occasions. After more than 650 paragon levels in RoS it has never happened again, and none of my friends have reported it for more than a year, so I believe the bug has since been fixed.

He didn't say they didn't happen. He said they weren't remotely as frequently as people believed. That's what the fallacy is, that we think the unusual happens more often than it does because we remember the unusual more than the mundane.

Rhykker:

14. Rosy Retrospection

Everyone is familiar with this one: our tendency to remember the past as being better than it really was. Time has a way of smoothing over memories, making us forget the mediocre and glorifying the good. Diablo 2 was an amazing game, but we're remembering it better than it really was.

I've been thinking about this one for a long time and I've found that it's not just a trick of the mind or nostalgic rose lenses.

There have been several examples of why games used to be better, but the biggest reason to why we percieve them as better is not only because they were in many aspects, but because the new games we get are legitimately "worse".

Take the skill systems between Diablo 2 and 3.
In 2, you had a skill tree that you could not reset (throughout most of its lifetime anyway) and in 3 you could almost freely switch the abilities you wanted to use.

While there's not an objective way to say which is better, as this comes mostly down to preference, the fact is that you had to invest more time and apply experience or investigation into figuring out what was best in Diablo 2.
This gives the game more worth, because the consequence of picking the wrong skill means you've wasted a significant amount of time playing the game.

I'm not ignoring the fact that some classes were shoe-horned into one specific spec or that some classes were not viable in the extreme end game (such as the Amazon, for a long while), but those were also consequences of not picking "correctly".

-

World of Warcraft

In less than a month we'll hit the 10 year anniversary and this game could lend its history to thousands of study papers in game design, player behaviour, economy and other aspects.

For my purpose, it is possible the best example of how games went from having worth to being nearly worthless.

During the beginning, not all classes were viable for raiding and certainly not all specs. Top guilds reluctantly brought along a single hunter for example, only to distribute the otherwise completely useless loot.
Wanted to play a feral druid tank? You had to farm obscure and low-level cloth gear with fire resistance to do Molten Core, while still being a barely effective tank.
Shadow priests? Useless.
Non-holy Paladins? Forget it. Your only use was actually to buff and ressurect other players out of combat while the rest of the raid was fighting.

While it was frustrating, it also gave the gameplay a sense of worth. You either chose wisely or poorly.
Blizzard fixed this mostly, during The Burning Crusade expansion pack where almost all specs were viable in raiding, if only barely so.

Then Wrath of the Lich King came out and just halfway past its lifetime, Blizzard started mainstreaming class abilities so that you never had to bring a certain class to a raid.
While this made it much more effective and far easier to raid, it also lost a lot of worth as players suddenly found themselves expendable.
You no longer had to bring Druids to rez during combat as Warlocks and Death Knights had the same ability, but then why would you bring a druid if you could have other flavor of the month classes that dealt 1,5 times more damage?

This is pretty specific to end-game raiders and top guilds, but it also applied to simple dungeon crawling, where crowd control was inter-changable and not having one of at least four or five classes meant that you had to do them differently.

-

This all applies more to the "feel" to the game, rather than objectively saying what's better or worse.
So while I can't say that Diablo 2 was an objectively better game, I can definitely say that I enjoyed the experience far more without it being tainted by nostalgia.

I'd go so far as to say that it has become a poor excuse and a point of belittlement towards gamers, as if we don't know what we like or don't like.

Games need good and bad choices for us to make and more importantly, they need consequences along the way to make us feel something as we play them. Even frustration is valuable and it's a hell of a lot better than the passive skinner-box gameplay that leaves us without any feelings at all.

Just like you can't have a shadow without light, you can't have fun unless you've done something worthwhile.

-

Edit:
I'd actually say that Hearthstone and Heroes of The Storm are the newest examples of Blizzards ineptitude to make "good" games.

Hearthstone is one of the worst CCG's I've ever played as the meta changes completely based on the correction/hotfixing of cards.
The problem here is that there are simply too few cards in the game and players very quickly reach the limit of clever deckbuilding.

You can play barely a dozen games before it becomes obvious what the meta is and as you hit Legendary you basically repeat the same 3-4 games over and over again.

HoTS suffers from oversimplified gameplay as well as the only viable tactic seems to be, to go for objectives.
I find myself to be somewhat of a hypocrit when it comes to MOBA's, because I severely detest creep/tower/hero denials in gameplay (which is why I favored League of Legends for so long), but the removal of creep last-hits altogether along with individual levels is too mainstream for me.

Kahani:

Imperioratorex Caprae:
People are still absolutely convinced that there are server times involved in the drop rate chances, the most prominent is the 7am/7pm myth that it will drop most at that specific time.

Part of the problem with computer games is that things like this at least sound plausible. While there are various superstitions surrounding dice, for example, most of them aren't actually taken particularly seriously and are just seen as a bit of fun. Someone might have a "lucky" die, but they're not going to spend hours arguing that the laws of physics genuinely don't apply to it. But with computer RNGs, things like the time actually can be used and therefore have an effect. As Tamayo says it's essentially impossible for anyone to actually notice that effect, but the mere fact that it's not physically impossible as it is in other cases lends some extra plausibility that can lead people to believe they've seen an effect even if they wouldn't believe it in a non-computer game.

I suppose that ultimately this is the one fallacy to rule them all; the misguided belief that all these things that are based on random (or pseudorandom) events are actually controllable. Hence the search for patterns, for double drops and timestamping and loot servers and specific enemies dropping specific loot and anything to maybe hint that the player is in control of the system rather than the other way round.

But newsflash; this ain't Bubble Bobble. That was a game where almost all the apparently random things actually were controllable, by a series of hidden timers and counters and such (about the only thing that was legitimately honest-to-god actually random was the fireball bubble). Diablo 3 is - so far as anybody can tell - not that game. There's a reason they call it the Random Number God.

I've seen a lot of these pop up when I played WoW, and I have one short anecdote in particular about this. During Wrath of the Lich King I used to raid a bit and was making jokes before the raid about influencing your chances at a drop. I suggested sacrificing a gnome to the RNG gods and our gnome warrior was promptly chosen to be chucked in the nearest volcano. That night almost everyone in the raid got what they wanted and not a single item was wasted or disenchanted on almost a dozen boss kills. We all knew this was a complete coincidence, but just to be sure (and because he's a gnome) we threw that same gnome in the same volcano every single raid twice a week for months.

bassie302:
I've seen a lot of these pop up when I played WoW, and I have one short anecdote in particular about this. During Wrath of the Lich King I used to raid a bit and was making jokes before the raid about influencing your chances at a drop. I suggested sacrificing a gnome to the RNG gods and our gnome warrior was promptly chosen to be chucked in the nearest volcano. That night almost everyone in the raid got what they wanted and not a single item was wasted or disenchanted on almost a dozen boss kills. We all knew this was a complete coincidence, but just to be sure (and because he's a gnome) we threw that same gnome in the same volcano every single raid twice a week for months.

You... you did what to the poor little gnome? You are bad people and you should feel bad about yourselves. Ah, who am I kidding, that's hilarious. I just hope you all pitched in for his repair bill. This also brings up an interesting idea linked with superstitions. There's a chance that your group DID do better when following this ritual, as the simple mindset of feeling connected as a group and the 'invincible' feeling of having appeased the RNG gods most likely helped you out during the raids. So many social studies have shown that simply believing you will success has an effect on if you will succeed in the end or not. Experience more so, but any small bit can help. I'm just glad I wasn't in your guild. I would have sacrificial flashbacks every time I had to visit Un'goro Crater.

There's actually a bit more to "fast gambling" in confirmation bias examples than that, and it all has to do with random seeds. A computer, if asked to roll a D20 3 times in a row will roll 3 1's in a row less often than a human, because it basically already has a cheat sheet of numbers that it chooses, and is unaffected by previous position of the die and method of rolling faults that often come. Even more so, the random seed does often scatter, but it covers most of a spectrum. If one person was to ask for 40 numbers between 1 and 20 from a dice program that had one basic random seed, it would bring up the number 20 between 1 and 3 times almost without fail. If you were to ask for a number, then do something else that called for the next few numbers in that pool (such as fighting a skeleton, watch the wind blow through a palm tree,) then ask for a number, and so on until you exhausted 40 numbers, and you did that a hundred times on each and compared the results, they'd be the same as those that did "fast gambling," but with much less consistency from set to set.

With the Diablo 3, however, there's much more of the game influencing when you'll get certain quality drops than just a random chance, so "fast gambling" as a successful tactic is a myth, but not one without some grounds.

Your first example on the Gambler's fallacy is true, but only because poor methods of rolling a D20 result in repeat numbers (such as, for example, the drop.) If a coin is flipped and caught at the same height it will have turned an odd number of times, and will be the opposite of what it was most of the time. Pure random cannot be created with these devices, just like it can't be created with a random number generator. This originally comes from slot machines, and is more the product of confirmation and expectation bias where a 7-7-7 showing machine is more likely to put out because they believed through the same other tricks that it was likely to pay off again because others wouldn't. (Rigged gambling machines actually work the opposite way, each machine will only pay out of so many pulls, not that some machines will pay and others won't.)

All in all, this seems like a day of a wikipedia binge summed up into a moderate length article. 20/10 would consider the nature of RNG as anything less than a programmed method to keep players hooked again. Next month can we get all those fun logical paradoxes, like Barber's Paradox and the like?

I found the article to be a fascinating read.

Also, I don't anyways, but nonetheless remind me to never play poker with you sir.

Great article. Seeing people us it to unironically rag on Blizzard is almost as good.

Groverfield:
A computer, if asked to roll a D20 3 times in a row will roll 3 1's in a row less often than a human, because it basically already has a cheat sheet of numbers that it chooses, and is unaffected by previous position of the die and method of rolling faults that often come. Even more so, the random seed does often scatter, but it covers most of a spectrum. If one person was to ask for 40 numbers between 1 and 20 from a dice program that had one basic random seed, it would bring up the number 20 between 1 and 3 times almost without fail.

Um.

Let me state initially that the quest for better (for many ways of measuring "better") PRNGs will never cease, but it has certainly come up with some really excellent ones. Linear congruential PRNGs---such as those that come with the standard Unix C library, or any version of BASIC from Microsoft, or (sigh) java.util.Random---are now all properly considered horrible and dangerous, for three reasons:

(1) All pseudo-random sequences repeat themselves eventually, but linear congruental sequences repeat themselves typically after less than 2^W elements, where W is the computer's word size. Usually, therefore, W=32. (That's a period of about four billion numbers.) If your simulation requires trillions of numbers, you'll begin to see patterns in the data if you're using such a short pseudo-random sequence.

(2) Related to the first item, there are only 2^W different possible linear congruential sequences from any given generator, because the seed for the sequence is exactly one word in size. If you try your experiment many times, using true random bits to seed the generator, it will be uncomfortably soon when you get identical results on two different experiments.

(3) LCPRNGs aren't very random, as it happens, especially in the low-order bits. Badly-written dice-rolling programs that depend on those low-order bits produce very bad sequences of dice rolls. Testing for the goodness of a sequence isn't easy, either, and highly-paid programmers usually have better and more interesting things to do than experimental statistics.

So yes, your computer's random sequence may be at fault, but more likely (!) it's working correctly and you're not making the right kind of observations. Your suggested experiment, to ask for the number of 20s amongst 40 random values chosen from a uniform distribution of integers between 1 and 20 inclusive, has expected value of 2. Indeed, the chance of a truly random sequence of 40 such dice rolls not producing any 20s is about 12.85% and the chance of it producing more than 3 is about 13.81%. In aggregate, that's a 73.33% chance of rolling between 1 and 3 20s (inclusive) on 40d20.

If you still think your pseudo-random number generator is at fault, replace it with a good one. The Mersenne Twister has become the most common non-cryptographic sequence, and it is a very good sequence indeed. It has been adopted as standard in C++11 and in many other languages. The period of the MT is 2^19937 elements long. That's a number, when expressed in decimal, that has 6002 digits.

Not only does it have a ridiculously long period, it also satisfies some very stringent statistical tests on the goodness of its randomness. Programmers can be almost as lazy as they want to be when they use the MT for simulations.

Kinitawowi:
I suppose that ultimately this is the one fallacy to rule them all; the misguided belief that all these things that are based on random (or pseudorandom) events are actually controllable. Hence the search for patterns

Potentially, but I think it's more likely to actually be the other way around. The human brain is essentially just an over-active pattern matching machine. As the cliched example goes, it's better for your survival to get a hundred false positives than to miss just one tiger hidden in the grass. The problem isn't that people think they can control a random process, it's that their brain fools them into thinking it's not actually random in the first place. So it's really two fallacies to rule them all. First, people are fooled into thinking that random events aren't random, and secondly they are fooled into believing that just because events aren't random they must be able to exert some control over them.

That second point doesn't come up much since these discussion tend to focus on whether things are actually random or not, but it's really just as important. Just because an event isn't random doesn't mean you can actually do anything about it. If Diablo is programmed to drop a particular item every 10th time he's killed, without some way to coordinate every single player in the world to ensure you are that 10th player, you have no more control over the event than if it were entirely random. Merely knowing the rules governing an event doesn't automatically give you control over it.

Tamayo:

Um.

Let me state initially that the quest for better (for many ways of measuring "better") PRNGs will never cease, but it has certainly come up with some really excellent ones. Linear congruential PRNGs---such as those that come with the standard Unix C library, or any version of BASIC from Microsoft, or (sigh) java.util.Random---are now all properly considered horrible and dangerous, for three reasons:

(1) All pseudo-random sequences repeat themselves eventually, but linear congruental sequences repeat themselves typically after less than 2^W elements, where W is the computer's word size. Usually, therefore, W=32. (That's a period of about four billion numbers.) If your simulation requires trillions of numbers, you'll begin to see patterns in the data if you're using such a short pseudo-random sequence.

(2) Related to the first item, there are only 2^W different possible linear congruential sequences from any given generator, because the seed for the sequence is exactly one word in size. If you try your experiment many times, using true random bits to seed the generator, it will be uncomfortably soon when you get identical results on two different experiments.

(3) LCPRNGs aren't very random, as it happens, especially in the low-order bits. Badly-written dice-rolling programs that depend on those low-order bits produce very bad sequences of dice rolls. Testing for the goodness of a sequence isn't easy, either, and highly-paid programmers usually have better and more interesting things to do than experimental statistics.

So yes, your computer's random sequence may be at fault, but more likely (!) it's working correctly and you're not making the right kind of observations. Your suggested experiment, to ask for the number of 20s amongst 40 random values chosen from a uniform distribution of integers between 1 and 20 inclusive, has expected value of 2. Indeed, the chance of a truly random sequence of 40 such dice rolls not producing any 20s is about 12.85% and the chance of it producing more than 3 is about 13.81%. In aggregate, that's a 73.33% chance of rolling between 1 and 3 20s (inclusive) on 40d20.

If you still think your pseudo-random number generator is at fault, replace it with a good one. The Mersenne Twister has become the most common non-cryptographic sequence, and it is a very good sequence indeed. It has been adopted as standard in C++11 and in many other languages. The period of the MT is 2^19937 elements long. That's a number, when expressed in decimal, that has 6002 digits.

Not only does it have a ridiculously long period, it also satisfies some very stringent statistical tests on the goodness of its randomness. Programmers can be almost as lazy as they want to be when they use the MT for simulations.

My point basically, human error prevents die rolls from ending up as random as they should be, and with that idea, I'm thinking of running a myth-busters like experiment on dice and rolling methods... but my point is that something with smaller odds has an apparently larger chance to be spotted taking a larger sample size than several smaller sample sizes due to chart scatter.

Cool, learned some new ones! Thanks!!!

Alfador_VII:

Flutterguy:
This could be done for any blizzard game of the last decade really. Even starcraft relies on rng, to a lesser degree.

Starcraft is a heck of a stretch, there's not much random in it, failing to think of any way of applying any of this article to it.

Obviously Hearthstone has enough randomness for some of this, but Heroes of the Storm isn't really relevant either. There's also no reason to restrict it to Blizzard, he showed Borderlands and D&D at the beginning, and as he said, almost every game with elements of randomness could be used.

The map, base placement, and races are random in online play. The storyline and many features are stable and unchanging, just like D3 and WoW's story and leveling (for the most part). It's not a stretch to say SC and HotS are RNG reliant.

 

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