This weekend I played a good amount of D&D (3.5/Pathfinder) and I was reminded of the amount of randomisation in the game. Skill use, attacks and damage are just some of the elements of gameplay that are influenced by polyhedral dice rolls. That’s not to say of course that I mind this amount of randomness, it’s pretty core to most roleplay games that you have elements of chance spicing up the action.
But comparing RPGs to MMORPGs the randomisation seems very hidden away or minimised by the mechanics especially in combat. You may see varying damage numbers popping on screen or in a damage meter but that’s rather different from what I’m writing about here.
In the pictured game my D&D wizard character has several “ranged touch” spells that either hit or miss based on a dice roll. The spells are quite powerful but that power is mitigated by the chance of missing altogether when casting.
Imagine that same situation in a MMORPG context – in my probably somewhat limited memory of the various games I’ve played, this kind of “hit/miss” randomisation isn’t so common. I imagine MMORPG players would get frustrated if they were to miss as often as low-level D&D characters tend to! Having a specific stat on your gear to mitigate against miss chance has been a thing in various games, WoW used to have ‘hit’ as a stat at least for heroic dungeon and raid content. So if you started seeing “miss” coming up when attacking you knew your character needed a gear upgrade.
Does the visibility or lack thereof of randomisation in combat matter to your MMORPG gaming?