RNG, player agency, and Destiny 2

Personally, I have played a lot of destiny 2, and I see similar ideas or gameplay elements to the actual meta-gameplay i.e. all of the stuff that isn’t the actual gameplay of shooting, stabbing, and running.

Darktide is presenting ways to grind for loot, modify your loot, chase after your perfect god roll, make a build, and theorycraft builds. But, the apparent way to extend the meta-gameplay of loot and builds is introducing heavy RNG, timers, and little way to mitigate it. This extension method is a massive issue and actually hindering the loot metagame. The lack of ways to mitigate RNG hinders gameplay and creates frustration.

Let’s first consider the store. There is a selection of loot of various rolls including perks, tiers, and stats. But, the selection is limited, and I cannot look for anything I want, and I’m not guaranteed ALL of the available weapon types. These issues hinders building making since the theory outpaces acquisition speed and creates frustration since there is no way to mitigate bad RNG besides waiting for more RNG. The lack of actual player input and agency again creates frustration. Potential solutions for this includes creating more loot sources, guaranteeing all items, adding a shop reroll button, or adding a way to buy the type of item you want directly. Even if there are higher ordo costs for all of these, it gives more player agency and creates more MMO-like grind akin to destiny 2 where there are ways to mitigate bad RNG for your loot by more playtime.

Another massive issue is Melk. The sources of RNG are contracts and the limited supply of actual items to buy. Contracts are limited in count, and the main focus is trying to complete the weekly contract count, but again, there exists a limitation that reduces player agency. Thankfully, you can reroll poor contracts (looking at you: complete X secondary objects on certain map), but the fact that there exists a timer to get more contracts or a weekly bonus severely limits this system. The fact that contracts aren’t repeatable reduces grind and gameplay which is counterproductive to the metagame of loot. Destiny solved this by adding the ability to buy more bounties with currency as well as adding in bounties on a shorter time i.e. the weekly, repeatable, and daily bounties. The currency is artificially limited and reduces player agency and playtime. The simplest solution is to simply give players a new contract once a contract is done to keep allowing players to actually play the game and play the loot metagame.

Melk also has a store and shop with the addition of the ability to repeatably buying loot. However, player agency is reduced by the above issue, the fact that there are timers for the store (which can be mitigated with the repeatable), so frustration and less gameplay is the natural result of the store. The repeatable weapons can actually be a solution to poor store RNG for either store if there was more agency, reduced prices, a way to buy specific weapons at elevated prices, or the ability to spend ordos (which fails to have a good sink in the endgame since there are inhibitions to grinding in place).

The newest announcement featured the second crafting mechanic being added in, rerolling perks. This is again pointlessly limited and gives reduced agency to builds and loot. The above loot acquisition issues creates an issue with weapons and especially curios where agency is reduced because I can’t fully control my weapon’s properties which creates frustration. The artificial limitation combining with issues of acquiring loot just creates pointless frustration.

The mission generation system again has pointless RNG and little ways to mitigate it. Missions are randomly generated and limited in selection. There is no way to reroll it, and I’m at the mercy of a timer which limits the loot metagame (since it is a source of contract completions, grims, tomes, and materials). This is a reduction of player agency with little mitigation, and this affects all gameplay elements especially contracts. It also reduces replayability since replayability is limited in a timeframe. It’s an interesting idea to offer missions that are randomly generated with known parameters, but the fact that there are contracts and penaces that rely on tomes, grims, and certain maps creates frustration since I’m again relying on timers and RNG. It would much better if you could custom create missions, and potentially still have some RNG modifiers like the environmental changes eg high intensity zones. The fact that tomes/grims are a contract requires a way for player agency to allow the selection of these missions directly. This can be done as an option to look for a mission with grims or tomes which will generate one if there are none. Quickplay/level select can also still be relevant by offering increased ordos for selecting a certain “hot zone” missions and more for quickplay since quickplay is the ultimate choice for complete RNG.

Tl;Dr: RNG isn’t inherently bad, but the lack of player agency creates frustration and inhibits gameplay/playtime.


And one major issue is that all of these systems are connected, so compounding RNG on top of RNG with little mitigation on all levels just exponentiates frustration.


Completely in agreement. The way these systems are designed seems like absolute madness. If twenty layers of RNG is supposed to make me want to play the game more then I’m not the target audience I guess because it’s getting to the frustrating point of wanting to drop the game entirely.

The great gameplay loop is there but then practically everything else in the game is working to prevent you from enjoying it. Try a new weapon? Sorry the shop said no. Improve a weapon you like? Sorry crafting said no and you still can’t do anything about those pesky modifier bars if you don’t get something good randomly. Want to play a particular mission on your preferred difficulty? Sorry, nothing available right now.

Why make it this way? Who benefits?


It seemed to me to be an incredibly obtuse method to increase playtime. Darktide and Vermintide are inherently founded in RNG (random crits, horde spawn timers, spawn locations etc), so it appears they wanted to use RNG as an artificial means to increase playtime. It was just done poorly since other RNG elements like specials spawning at the wrong time has player agency and able to still succeed by skill. RNG is fun, but only if you have the ability to control it or easily try again.

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It’s all same tactics like in asian Mobile Games who love grind, FOMO and gambling.

Funny that Tencent owns them and Fatshark admited they had to rip off mid-development crafting system they had and make new one from scratch, eh?

You wonder why.

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Yeah, i am getting Destiny 2 ptsd flashbacks from some of the core mechanics in Darktide, just a lot of artificial grind implemented to drum up game time statistics.

Destiny 2 got a lot better though with crafting and enabling farming in raids. Those things can be implemented in this game. The looting metagame isn’t really as hardcore as destiny.