Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Random Factor

     Well, well, well. Look who's back! I know I have been dead since march. Yugioh has been uninteresting to me as of late but I have of course been keeping up with it all. Today I wanted to talk to all of you about something that has been discussed many times before: the sackiness or random factor in a game that no matter to what degree you plan to there is always that one random factor that you in no way figured, or maybe you thought all hope was lost until that one random event happened.

      That one random event can take the form of many things. I will give a few examples. For all of you Civilization 5 players out there(myself included) El Dorado(the world wonder) gives the player who found it first 500 gold immediately. Now in the early game that heavily sways the balance factor. Normally 500 gold would take many turns to accumulate because it takes a while to get a strong economy up and running. But if you have that 500 gold right away you don't have to wast preciuos early game turns to produce a worker, warrior, etc. You can now buy one instantly giving you a bonus that will give you the lead right away and if you play smart you will never lose it. That oen discovery has now influenced the entire game. Another civilization 5 example would be the ruins. When one person discovers a ruin they might find a map of the surrounding area and its advantages are quickly lost as that area would be discovered eventually anyway. Another person might discover a ruin that gives them a free technology which in most cases puts that person ahead by about 5-10 turns which is huge in a civ 5 game. There is no way you can change the outcome of the ruins, or who finds el dorado first or if it even spawns at all.

      Another example would be the random factor in Pokemon(I hope this example reaches a broader audience than the last!) In online battles people try to out predict their opponent while trying not to over predict the opponent so they still get the super effective hit on them.  These are a sereis of judgment calls that player decides to make that will ultimately determine the outcome of the battle. However critical hits can occur which in most cases completely nullifies the decision and doesn't care what judgment call you made as it will still do a ton of damage potentially even knocking out the Pokemon. Also when moves miss that is also a random factor though to a lesser extent because that can be characterized as risk vs. reward(which is for another day).

     So why am I bringing all of this up, what does this have to do with yugioh? This all comes from a certain realization that I had today and it told me why I hate the random factor so much. Please keep reading as I will make it worth your time.

      Today Grant and I went to locals. Grant is now off of yugioh mode and is riding the cardfight vanguard train. He implored me to try the game(I had heard of it but ignored it for the most part up until now). I agreed and we set up and were ready to play. He gave me a choice of a few decks and I choose oracle think tank because he said it required "skill" and had the highest learning curve. Its in my nature to always start with something difficult as I learn best that way. Grant played kagero. I won game 1. I won again in game 2. I won yet again in game 3. We switched decks. I won again this time with kagero. We waited awhile and Grant was able to complete his narukami deck. I played oracle think tank and lost game 1 and 2, won game 3. Then I played kagero and won game 1, and Grant won game 2, after that we decided to stop. How was able to win so many times against him? I have been playing for mere hours and Grant has dedicated months to practicing his technique with all 3 of his decks. The one that took the most "skill" oracle think tank, I won with the most and still won a number of games with his other decks. I looked for answers wondering why i won. By all means I should have lost, there is no way that I could have won against a player that has dedicated much of his time to that game. Then it came to me it was the triggers.

     The person that won each game was the one who pulled the most triggers. A crit trigger when I had 4 damage, a heal trigger when I had 5 damage, a draw trigger to be able to block that last attack with the monster I drew. Triggers are a random factor. Quite possibly one of the most annoying random factors in any game i have ever played because of the sheer volume that they are produced at. I am not bashing the game of vanguard. I think it is quite fun, but I have read on many forums, watched many videos, and heard many former yugioh players extol the virtues of vanguard and shove off yugioh. When infact both games have their respective problems. One game is not significantly better than the other. Both are struggling on how much the skill/random factor should weigh in on games.

     Many people call what I call the random factor the luck factor. I don't like this name because it is not statistically possible to be more lucky than the other person. Just because one person tosses a coin and gets heads 3 out of 4 times, and another person tosses a coin and gets heads only once out of 4 times does not mean that the first person has a 75% chance at heads and the second person only has a 25% chance at heads.

     The point of this post is my realization. All things have a random factor there is no game that  doesn't have just a little random factor in it. We cannot control this random factor and unfortunately to my dismay there is no way to curb it either. This realization has made me like yugioh more for what it is. I still do not like many of konmai's policies and the way they run their business but yuigioh and many other games at their core they are skillful it is just the outside influences and in yugiohs case the outside influence is konmai. These outside influences sway the game to what it is. I am not saying that we should put up with konmai's policies but don't extol the virtues of any game until the random factor is truly deduced.

    Btw on a unrelated note, i know I have been gone for a few months but hopefully I can post at least twice a week. I have taken a hiatus from yugioh for a while, but I am back now and will start in full force once the september banlist is put into effect(hopefully it is decent). I also would like to thank to all my loyal followers and readers for putting up with my negligence of the blog, I truly don't deserve this generosity.

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