When you spend some time perusing the Ludia forums, you tend to notice a few trends. People tend to vent about a lot of the same things.

Some are natural parts of Augmented Reality games, like complaints about not enough spawns, not enough supply drops, not enough parks or park drops, etc. No matter what a company like Ludia does, there will always be some complaints about these items, so Ludia cannot be blamed for this. And frankly, as a former avid Pokémon Go player, Ludia did a much better job at keeping rural drops involved in my experience. Pretty much any rural road I’ve driven on wayyyy outside my closest metro area has had a supply drop every 50 meters.

Other complaints are valid concerns, like what to do about spoofers and cheaters and how they ruin the internal economy of Jurassic World Alive (more to come on this). Or how certain glitches need fixing, or certain dinosaurs might need a little tweaking or rebalancing.

And then there’s the deluge of complaints that tend to amount to losing in the arena against better teams (that aren’t spoofing/cheating teams), and how a player was stunned 3 times in a row or how they were critically hit when they should’ve won. This is when the big bad terrible “RNG” (Random Number Generator) word gets tossed around next to words like “fairness” and “improbable” and “unlikely” and “impossible” and “the world is against me.”

Bad Luck

Don’t get me wrong. I feel your pain. I’ve been on the receiving end of it more than once. I’ve dropped a few hundred trophies. I’ve lost 10… even 20 games in a row. It hurts. It’s frustrating. I’ve nearly thrown my cell phone across the room amidst a flurry of expletives. But that’s just me. I’m passionate and competitive, a rough combination.

But what you NEVER hear on the forums, what is completely absent to the point where you’d think it didn’t exist, is how this element of randomness went well for you. Better than expected. How you managed to string together 2 or 3 or 5 unlikely stuns in a row. How you landed a critical hit at the last second to win a game when you knew you were going to lose. How you hit an Indominus Rex or an Indoraptor right through that cloak two or three times in a row. When that happens, you don’t go to the forums to celebrate. You smile, you feel good, and you dive back in.

Funny, but true.

A friend of mine works as a financial advisor, and he always tells me about this exact phenomenon. When the market is down, his phone blows up with clients tearing their hair out, worried that they’re going to lose money. But when the market is up, when things go well, silence. He doesn’t get calls on those days. He doesn’t get happy text messages saying “HEY! Wonderful job on your choices in the market today!” Because somehow, in our heads, we expect good stuff to happen and take it for granted when good stuff happens.

What does this have to do with terrible RNG?

You see, random number generators provide a SMALL chance that an unlikely outcome will occur. The point of RNG is unpredictability. Without RNG, you get this –

Your level 15 T-Rex versus an opponents level 16 T-Rex. Your opponent wins every time without question. Every time. Without question.

In fact, you might as well not even play out what takes place when trading moves. It’d be like playing a card game with all your cards face up. The only way the outcome isn’t a forgone conclusion is if someone plays a dumb move — like in our T-Rex versus T-Rex example, the higher level T-Rex uses the weakest move twice instead of the strongest moves.

Actually, you might as well just pick a dino, have the computer tell you who won, pick another dino, have it tell you again, and pick a third. It’d be like flipping up cards and seeing who had the higher card.

In fact, without that small 5% chance of a critical hit,  without those stun moves that have a 33% chance and a 75% chance of success, the arena would be bland, boring, and completely uncompetitive. It would simply be measuring whether you’d memorized the right order of moves that ALWAYS wins versus the opponents dinosaur. And all our strategy articles would be this –

Use nullifying strike, thagomizer, armor piercing impact against the following list of 20 dinosaurs. Use Thagomizer, ready to crush, armor piercing impact, against the following 17 dinosaurs. If you are a level lower than the following 32 dinosaurs, you will lose unless your opponent is an idiot and just keeps striking you.

So What, Brian? RNG Is Still Annoying!

You’re right. When it goes against you, it is a little annoying.

But I guarantee you that it doesn’t go against you all the time.

  • When you win a 75% chance of stunning your opponent, that’s winning RNG. That was not a guarantee. A guarantee is 100%. Just because you have better than a coin-flip chance to win, doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee.
  • When you hit through a cloak – that’s winning RNG. That’s calling a coin flip correctly. That changed the outcome of the game.
  • When you critically hit an opponent, that’s an INCREDIBLY improbable thing that benefited you and likely changed the outcome of the match.

In Closing

A friend and I went to a fast food place and bought some food. The total came out to $12.00 even and he thought it was the coolest thing ever. “What are the chances! Twelve dollars even!”

I replied, “The same as the chance of it having been $12.01, or $12.37 or any other non-even number.”

Because we see something like 75% chance to stun and think 100% chance to stun. And we see something like 50% chance to dodge and we assume it means we will only get hit every other turn. But that’s not how it works.

Because when you have a 75% chance to stun and you miss, that doesn’t mean your chance of getting a stun next time goes up to 80% or 85%. Next time, you have the exact same chance (75%). Because sure, if you flip a coin 100 times, you probably won’t come up heads 100 times in a row, but you absolutely could. And that wouldn’t be “wildly improbable” or “nearly impossible” or “unfair” or even “unlikely” — because every individual coin flip had a 50/50 shot of being heads, and the coin doesn’t remember what happened last time.

So maybe you feel like you keep getting “bad rolls” — but that tiny chance is the only thing keeping you in a game that you SHOULD lose. Because random numbers and random chance are a part of every video game in existence, and generally the only reason we get so salty about it is because we are only focusing on the times we lose, not the times we win.

Probability is an estimation of the expected outcome, not a guarantee.

So next time you find yourself frustrated when you lost a game you should’ve won, think back on the times you’ve won when you should’ve lost. Take a deep breath, take a step back, and try to figure out if you made any missteps that would’ve helped you. The best players don’t hate RNG. They try to win despite it.

25 COMMENTS

  1. I am sorry, but I don’t agree with RNG logic for team selection at all. I DO agree with having things like Critical Chance stats that do utilize RNG. The thing I am most irritated with is my team selection RNG. 90% of the time I lose against teams that are stacked with counters to my randomly selected team.

    My line-up looks no different than most (legit) Top 500 players, yet I always get the worst possible combinations. I get my 20 Indominus? They get their Monostego.I get my 20 Stegodueos? They get Shield/Armor breakers. They have shield/invulnerability? I get my counter dinosaurs.

    If you want fair RNG, have an A Team and a B Team. Then the RNG can have a 50/50 chance at A or B team that you know and designed to work well together. Not a mix and match of random crap thrown into a mix. It’s called synergy. Right now, JW:A has none. That way, at least if I am matched up against a total counter team, then oh well. That’s bad luck. It’ll sure as hell stop the Tank META, because people will start using full teams of Shield/Armor breakers to counter.

    • See, honestly I see the RNG on the team selection as a GOOD variable. Without it, everyone would overlevel 4 dinos and call it a day. Because the economy of the game makes that extremely difficult, it gives me a chance to beat some of the top 10 teams or spoofing teams when facing them due to their bad rolls on team selection. To me, it causes a greater variance in matches I can win and matches I can lose, and forces me to focus on a balanced team and constantly tweak dinos that are holding me back in certain mixes.

      • Normally, yes I would agree. That would work to balance the game’s casual element. But the game is currently in a tournament. I am letting RNG dictate my position in the tournament, not the time and money spent on the game to get where I am. That is what irritates me the the most.

        Imagine going into a card game tournament, like Pokemon TCG for example, and then having your 8 decks you brought to the tournament mishmashed into a single random deck each game during that tournament. You can imagine how furious players would be right? Careful planning, strategic acquisition of cards (or DNA in our case) to build a great deck/team is destroyed by the low chance of getting to actually use it the way I wanted. That’s all I am saying.

        • I’m not opposed to this concept. I do like the spice it adds to the game, but i too suffer from the consequences often. If I were able to choose my deck, I’d be much higher ranked I think. Often when I get my ideal roll, only a poorly played move on my part tends to stand between me and winning. Or when I’m totally on tilt due to a loss or two. 😉

  2. While RNG does play an important part in games that rely on it, I don’t think JPA should be considered overly dependent on it. ESPECIALLY the meta. Everyone being negative just doesn’t seem to understand that skill is about 80% of the competitive scene. Look at Pokémon. Turn-based, speed tiers, crit chance, counters. Play well, and the win is yours. I’m not a JPA veteran (only on badlands; 2345), but I’ve gotten critted many times in matches where the opponent didn’t know what they were doing. I’ve seen Irri Gen 2 up here, and it pains me to see them land every crit against something like Nodopat and still lose. Now take an RNG heavy dino; Stegocera. Honestly a real powerhouse, but easily countered where I’m at by Postimetrodon. It all comes down to what you have and how you use it. RNG will always be the luck of the draw. Makes the game fun and surprising at times. Well written, MNB.

  3. 100% agree with “better job at keeping rural drops” argument. That’s why I switched from PoGo to JWA. Love this! BUT when you wake up and see that 90% of event drops in your neighborhood is gone, you can feel badly (so badly that I quit VIP same day). Can’t drive 20km to get those “must have” event dinos…

  4. The thing I would personally enjoy would be for the base crit chance to be 10%, simply because it allows for more frequent match upsets and as such less linearity. Rest is what it is – if the gods of RNG are not pleased with your latest sacrifices, you get a bad streak, but it is invariably preferable to a dull, linear and inescapable arena landscape.

  5. My wife and I both play this game, and we’ve discussed numerous times how the RNG has helped us win or lose. When the RNG goes your way, it’s awesome, and while I don’t go on a forum to discuss it, I do tell my wife, who also gets excited. However, when it goes against you, it gets REALLY frustrating, especially after several lost matches and all I’m trying to get is a 15 min incubator. I agree with the comment that wants a baseline 10% crit rather than 5% because it could/would lead to more upsets. There are dinos that I use regularly that I think I’ve gotten a crit with maybe once or twice (i.e. postimetrodon). It would be nice to have a little better odds of getting a crit with these dinosaurs.

  6. I have a question about status ailments, though. If, say, my raptor gets hit with slowing and I switch it out to use later (like, 4 or 5 rounds later), when I go to select it, it still indicates that it is not faster than my current opponent. And the opponent didn’t increase speed and isn’t a higher level raptor. Is this normal? Do status ailments stick around even after switching out the dino?

  7. My biggest gripe has more to do with early week battles. I routinely get matched against someone who is four levels higher than me with a team an average of six levels higher than mine. The RNG is my only chance in these situations, but it’s still not enough. Perhaps it would be worth suggesting a solution to these tournament fallouts, but as I haven’t really thought of a decent solution, I’m still only griping rather than making a productive suggestion.

      • Funny, I haven’t been able to get to the tournaments. I’ve been stuck at 2400-2600 for the past 3 weeks. Every Sunday/Monday, over-leveled players knock me down about 200 trophies. I assume these people drop to the lower-level arenas for easy wins to get DNA for the next tournament.

  8. I’d like to see the RNG in the speed calculation too instead of “fixed” speed effects. For example:

    – 129 spd vs 101 spd: 95% chance of the fastest moving first.
    – 120 spd vs 119 spd: 55% chance of the fastest moving first.

    PS: Think about that 5% chance being the raptor jumping into T-Rex and Mr. T getting it in-flight with its jaws 🙂

  9. Normally, I’m a reader of metahub. I never comment on any articles.
    But This article is good, and hit the exact point of how people feel on RNG and how benefit it is.

    Without RNG, low level dino will never win higher dino.
    Even you use counter dino against meta dino. For example, Monostegotop Level 16 cannot win Indominus Rex Level 20 without critical chance, even you got nullify move.
    It’s gonna make this game more ” PAY to win”. Casual player will not have a chance to stand against hard(cash) player.

    RNG is annoying, but that’s how ” GAME ” work,

  10. As a long time Hearthstone player i’m well used to rng and wouldn’t normally complain about it. But here there appear to be serious issues, like lower level stegoceratops stunning higher level ones despite going second a large majority of time (counted it for a while, some 70% of times i stun first if stego’s lower level, or about 70% of times they stun first if they’re lower level). This i think is wrong and can be exploited.

  11. The complaint isn’t RNG in general but how the percentage numbers aren’t matching with what is actually going on.

    For example. A 5% chance should only rarely get a critical hit since it’s such a low chance. A 40% chance dino should be getting it more often than a 5% chance one even though it’s not exactly 50-50 (although it will fail more than succeed since it’s not an even split).

    But it seems the 5% dinos are able to get the critical hits often and in streaks than the higher percentage numbers (20%, 33%, 40% etc.) without a buff.

    So when people say it’s statistically impossible, there’s a reason why.

    If this complaint is being posted that often by many people and not just a rare occurrence of some bad luck then it does come off that something isn’t quite right with the RNG.

  12. What you described with the level 15 T-rex vs level 16 T-rex is what is known as a “discrete game”, ie games without any form of probability involved. The best example of that would be chess. And theoretically speaking, if anyone can memorise all the possible combinations of the pieces on the chess boards, and all the pathways to get there, you can win the game, always. Discrete games are what we call as “solvable”, ie we can theoretically always find the best pathway towards a certain outcome.

    However, that obviously has NEVER happened in real life because it is estimated the number of possible legal chess piece combinations is 10^120. The number of sensible combinations resulting from sensible moves is around 10^40. That’s a crap-ton of combinations and that’s what is giving computer scientists who are developing AI for chess a hard time because there is no way that we can have enough storage for that (the number of atoms in the observable universe is around 10^80 by comparison). No one in their lives will ever be able to memorise all the board combinations, let alone all the pathways that can lead to them. Hence why chess grandmasters play by experience, and why Deep Blue was such a big thing back then because Deep Blue did NOT just hard solve chess. It was impossible in practice.

    I just did a brief number crunch with JWA. With 112 dinos and 4 used per team in matches there are a possible 112C4 teams = 6,210,820 teams. And let’s say that there are 15 possibles levels for each dino on average (because commons will have 30 possible levels because they start at level 1, rares will have 25 because they start at level 5, epics will have 20 because they start at level 10, legendaries 15 because start at level 15, etc. I can crunch the real average but I’ll need to count the number of commons / rares / epics / legendaries / uniques and I’m not bother to do that now), that would make it 6,210,820 x 15^4 = around 3.144227625×10^11 possible teams. Which means that there are (3.144227625×10^11)^2 = 9.886167359×10^22 possible matches with 2 teams per match. Which means that there are around 10^23 different combinations to memorise alone, let alone the best winning strategy to win for each of them. For a computer AI maybe doable but that’s nothing to sneeze that. For a human brain, that’s impossible.

    I know that you mentioned something about grouping them into something like “you can defeat these 20 dinos with dino X with this move series” but that does not take into account of the levels difference and, most importantly, the fact that you’re not playing 1 dino vs 1 dino but a team of 4 dinos vs another team of 4 dinos, ie situations like “I use my level 15 T-rex to weed down the HP of the level 16 T-rex, and then use Superior Strike with my Stegod so that now I have a Stegod vs the other three of their dinos”.

    tl;dr version: If JWA doesn’t have RNG, ie becomes a discrete game, it would still way too complex to be able to be hard-solved.

  13. I’m not too sure about your points about what happens if JWA is an entirely discrete game (ie without RNG). For one thing, it’s a 4 dino vs 4 dino match up, so me losing a level 15 T-rex to a level 16 T-rex doesn’t mean that I’ve lost the match since I still got my other 3 dinos to make up for it. And that does not take into account of swapping dinos which can change everything.

    So the only real way to hard solve a discrete JWA would be to do 4 dino vs 4 dino match ups. My maths isn’t perfect but with 112 dinos, there would be 112C4 = 6210820 possible teams already. That does not take into account of levels that each dinos can have. Say that there are 15 possible levels for each dinos on average (I don’t have the numbers of commons / rares / epics / legendaries / uniques to crunch the actual average) that means that there are around 6210820 x (15)^4 = 3.144227625×10^11 possible teams, which means that there are a total of (3.144227625×10^11)^2 = 9.886167358×10^22 possible matches. You might be able to weed this down a bit with “Dino X can kill these 20 dinos with this move sequence” but like mentioned before, that does not take into account of swapping so you would still have to look at whether or not swapping into another dino would change anything.

    In short, I think the game is just way too complex already even without RNG to be able to be hard solved properly (for a computer AI, maybe. For a human effort to list out all the possible move sequence and best play? No way). There’re just way too many variables at play here.