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3saster

How do you feel about Doom's Randomness?

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Where a revenant can hit for 80 damage one time and 10 damage the other, or where a Mancubus sometimes takes 3 SSG blasts and sometimes 4. We all know that doom has an extremely large amount of variance in its damage for most weapons/monsters, but is this a good thing, or would you rather more consistency? Compare it to Quake, where the enemies have much less extreme damage ranges, and your own weapons have almost no variance in damage at all.

I personally like stuff like Manc's taking 3/4 SSG blasts, or Caco's 2/3, because it can lead to more dynamic combat, but some of the damage ranges from enemy attacks can be a little extreme (all the d8's in Rev's/Manc's/etc.). Still, it can make the combat very dynamic in general.

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Posted (edited)

Damage RNG rarely is a big deal imo, as skill will usually neutralize much of its relevance. Monster behavior RNG is so much more prominent, especially if you are into speedrunning and such. Cramped cyb infighting scenarios are a great example of where sometimes all monsters behave and its trivial, and sometimes you get a pretty tight scenario. Crafty mappers have ways to account for that. But that pattern can appear lots of places. 

 

I don't like the caco or manc HP that much for that reason. I find it's rarely all that relevant in fights rather than cleanup. Monsters dying in a set number of shots is neat and satisfying. Another area is 'zerk RNG, which is pretty extreme. Thankfully, it's rare that maps require you to use the BFG as a sniper weapon; so the variance of ball damage isn't important. 

Edited by rdwpa

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@Doomkid put it pretty nicely. Personally, I never paid it any mind - in some ways, it makes the game more interesting to play when there's an element of unpredictability to it.

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I never found it to be intrusive in my fun. Given my accuracy and preference for shotguns or automatics, I always prefer to chalk it up to my own sloppiness than a roll of the dice. It also takes into account the dynamics of a real conflict, I suppose. There are documented events of people taking headshots and sucking chest wounds without putting them down for good. There are also documented cases of people getting punched in a confluence of circumstances that ended with them dying.

 

That's just humans. I imagine it'd be even more wild with demons.

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I like how often a low damage projectile impact coincides with it just clipping me rather than me taking it full on in the face. It feels like the game is a little more clever than it actually is. Very rarely the RNG is visibly hitting extremes, and that is a touch immersion breaking, but I think the ranges and number of rolls are mostly such that the balance is maintained. I do prefer the ZDoom RNG to the classic Doom random number table, though, because it lets the SSG and BFG be more variable, which can produce very favourable outcomes for the player, like a very lucky 1-shot kill on a Cyberdemon (happened to me exactly once in all of these years).

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I honestly usually hate randomness in ganes, but Doom does it very well. It's never too swingy to feel random (I think we all notice it more because we're aware there is RNG). 

 

Great job again, Doom, for being a forever awesome game. 

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1. It's better that lack of randomness because when I always know I need to hit (or can take) X shots, it becomes calculated and boring, no surprises and "WHOA" situations.

 

2. It's good there are no numbers flying off enemies when they get hit or it'd become less immersive.

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I like a little bit of luck and unpredictability in Doom. I'm not saying a map should ever force a player to take two revenant rockets and hope for the best and thus depend on luck, but as you say, it's more dynamic with the somewhat extreme RNG. Sometimes you have no choice but to commit to point-blanking a commando with the shotgun - if he falls, you got lucky; if not, you may be screwed. Or you find yourself in an arena against five mancubi with 17 rockets. You might have a decision to make. Or a classic one is shotgun + demons and their roosterblocking nature. Whether they fall in two shells or three can be significant. Those situations are exciting to me.

 

All that being said, 10-80 seems a little extreme to me. It can be hard for low health maps, for example, to balance for that. Assume a shorter map with no health. One player takes a rocket at the beginning for 80. Another takes a rocket at the beginning for 10. The former player can now be killed by one instance of anything except a bullet or the weaker two damaging floor types. The latter player can still survive a full arch-vile blast. But I guess the moral of the story in such maps is don't take a rocket.

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I'm ok with it, adds a little bit more strategy so you have to be considerate of how you approach different scenarios, I rarely think it's the game's fault when something goes wrong. Doom is one of the few games I played where a bit of Randomness feels natural most of the time.

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I never minded it too much, but realized I like the game a lot more without the randomness, so I normalized everything in my own personal gameplay mod. I like knowing for a fact that X monster will always reliably take Y ssg blasts to kill, and I like having a better sense in a fight which monster projectiles are actually going to OHKO me at whatever health I'm at. I think I started feeling this way a lot more after playing other competitive shooters recently, where damage is not random, and where it's important to know how much damage each weapon/hero does

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Personally I always expect the worst (that Rev rockets will do 80 damage, that my Berserk punch won't kill a pinky, that the Commando won't go down to a shotgun blast) and if it does turn out better then I feel grateful for the RNG!

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I have mixed feelings about RNG. For one it does add to Doom's replayability, and it adds a certain sense of threat to enemies with high-roll potential, but at the same time the RNG in doom greatly impacts what can be done at the top end of difficulty in a negative way. If something has an element of randomness to it, then it can be very hard to determine just how far you can push a difficult fight before it becomes too frustrating. However, the more deterministic something is in behaviour, the more you can push encounter design towards "hyper tightness".

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I'm fine with the RNG.  Since it doesn't support thing like headshots or limb shots, I like to imagine the high rolls I'm hitting something vital, and on low rolls, I'm hitting something minor.

 

When I was a kid, though, I used to run headfirst into Revenant missiles, thinking it'd get me a lower damage roll, not realizing it was actually RNG.  I mean, it seemed like if I tried dodging, it caused more damage, so... But I mean, whatever, I was a dumb kid.

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1 hour ago, silentzorah said:

I'm fine with the RNG.  Since it doesn't support thing like headshots or limb shots, I like to imagine the high rolls I'm hitting something vital, and on low rolls, I'm hitting something minor.

 

When I was a kid, though, I used to run headfirst into Revenant missiles, thinking it'd get me a lower damage roll, not realizing it was actually RNG.  I mean, it seemed like if I tried dodging, it caused more damage, so... But I mean, whatever, I was a dumb kid.

RNG admires your courage. But it can not save you.

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Don't get hit- don't give a shit!

 

Seriously though- it's fine as is. Can it be unfair at times? Yeah- but that's all about getting through it and trying again- push through and you might be rewarded the next time!

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There's only major situation of RNG that will always bother me and it is the berserk's damage rolls (20-200) when dueling with an imp. Its tiny figure and cartoonish appearance suggests it will explode in one hit like a balloon with ketchup, or it should, but rarely does, and more often than not RNG decides each consecutive hit deals 20 damage, followed by no gib which makes it so psychologically discouraging to keep using the same tool.

 

Other than that, excluding the occasional hyper RNG dependent encounter (SF2011 map 24 cyb/HKs section is an accurate example), there's nothing else that bothers me on a level where I'd quit, intrinsic of the game itself. As mapping keeps evolving people are very aware of the kind of design patterns that may lead to no consistent results from a player regardless of their skill, this can be seen in older wads that sporadically throw you in random situations you need either a high quote of luck to survive (e.g. "Number One Kill The Next Generation" from 1997 has plenty on UV) or foreknowledge to realize that trap in particular requires only to escape in time (e.g. the chaingunners/imps corridor followed by a sudden archvile with full line of sight in Alien Vendetta map 20).

 

To be continued...

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I think the RNG of Doom is both a blessing and a curse. 

 

I’ve always found Damage RNG to be problematic. It’s something that becomes less relevant as skill/knowledge increases. However, while I do understand that the high/low roll potential leads to “excitement” in encounters, I prefer the damage range being more restrained. Something like flat damage values or a range around the higher end (like 50-80 damage for Revenant missiles). This allows the enemies to be more threatening, thereby incentivizing more interesting resource management/monster prioritization from the player. This can even lead to “strategic” hit tanking from the player.

 

Monster RNG I’m mixed on. It enables less-than-tight encounter design to not feel very samey, and even simple fights to be dynamic. You have to deal with a dynamic environment involving monster movement and firing (among other things). However, as mentioned by others before me, this puts an upper bound on the difficulty of encounters/consistency of runs. More deterministic behavior can hurt simple encounters, but would only help complex encounters. I’m undecided on this particular aspect, as it really depends on the implementation of monster behavior.

 

Another minor case of RNG in Doom is bullet spread. I’m pretty positive about this. It does its job and inculcates weapon-specific behaviors in the player.

 

I find it interesting that you mention Quake and its relative lack of RNG compared to Doom. One point to notice is that Quake uses a more complex physics system, which influences weapon/enemy design and player movement. This should enable dynamic encounter design without resorting to tons of RNG, at least in theory.

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Doom's RNG is essential for the game to work the way it does and I love it. Not EVERY single bullet or shell is going to impact the same spot or cause the same damage everytime. The RNG creates that sense of real-world randomness (to a degree). Being huge dungeons and dragons fans, which is a game based heavily on rolling large amounts of dice (like my beloved Warhammer 40,0000) I love how they implemented a similar "dice roll" method into Doom's engine with the RNG. It adds to the game's replay value because not every firefight is going to be the same as it was last time. There's a LOT of modern games that could learn a lot from Doom in terms of how to make your game playable and exciting for more than 25 years.

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17 hours ago, NuMetalManiak said:

The RNG in Doom is a necessary evil for all of us

 

Kinda sums up my thoughts as well.

 

It also adds a ton of replayability as no two playthroughs will ever be the same, even if you do the exact same things. It prevents boredom very well, even though RNG can strike at pretty annoying times (ah, all those moments when I had 60 or so health then took a Revenant rocket to the face and died, after clearing much more threatening rooms no less... Welp, time to go back to square one).

 

14 hours ago, galileo31dos01 said:

There's only major situation of RNG that will always bother me and it is the berserk's damage rolls (20-200) when dueling with an imp. Its tiny figure and cartoonish appearance suggests it will explode in one hit like a balloon with ketchup, or it should, but rarely does, and more often than not RNG decides each consecutive hit deals 20 damage, followed by no gib which makes it so psychologically discouraging to keep using the same tool.

 

Yeah, that annoys me sometimes as well, the Berserk is all over the place sometimes, most noticeable when punching Imps and Pinkies imo.

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I have mixed feelings about the RNG. I like the randomness which means that things will not always work out the same way.

 

BUT the damage variation is sometimes too absurd for my liking. Just look at the revenant. His missile deals anywhere from 10 to 80 damage (with average of 45 damage). I would have preferred if its damage was 35 to 55 (same average but less variation). Another example is berserk fist which deals anywhere from 20 to 200 damage whereas I would have preferred something like 80 to 120 damage.

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35 minutes ago, ReaperAA said:

BUT the damage variation is sometimes too absurd for my liking. Just look at the revenant. His missile deals anywhere from 10 to 80 damage (with average of 45 damage). I would have preferred if its damage was 35 to 55 (same average but less variation).


Problem mitigated by not getting hit by his missile... ;)

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I tend to favor it, a degree of uncertainty helps keeps the players honest. I tend to think of it more in terms of monster roaming or timing rather than damage factors though.

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Semi-on-topic: I've experimented around a bit with mods that have no damage randomness in player weapons (and played a shitton of the Marathon series, which as one), and one strange side effect of this is that I find myself obsessively counting shots -- like I know it takes exactly 3 of 'x' to kill 'y', and I keep a running tally in my head. I never find myself doing this with Doom, presumably 'cause the pattern isn't so heavy since the number can swing one direction or another pretty heavily.

 

Dunno if that's good or bad or what, but it's food for thought.

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