Learning to Love Random

I’m not a fighting man. I have never thrown a punch or broken a nose, never exchanged blows with a worthy adversary or survived an all-out brawl-out, and I’ve certainly never baited a fight.

So why am I about to enter an arena that musters more rage than any I know?

RNG – random number generator – or the system Bungie uses to determine Legendary, Exotic, and just about every drop in Destiny, is hated across the globe. More vitriol and venomous spittle flies at the mere mention of the name than all the chasms of the Hellmouth could contain, and mine has flown along with it.

But I’ve learned to love RNG. That’s right: I think it’s sort of great, and this is how I’ve come to that conclusion.

A Tale of Two Systems

Destiny is a compartmentalized experience, meaning the game is very different depending on your character level. This is even more noticeable if you’ve ever trudged through the endgame material with your level 30+ character, only to start another character and face levels 1-20 again.

What once was an enjoyable shooter, suddenly feels like flinging foam darts at monstrous foes with weapons constructed of plastic and bubblegum.

We trudge back to the Tower, open the vault and stare at that Legendary’s warning: “This requires level 20” – it flashes like a neon knife in our hearts. Believe me, I weep with you.

level 20 guide

But so does Bungie. They have implemented systems to ease our pain and make the trudge decently enjoyable. How many of us, starting Destiny for the first time, completely missed how painful those first levels are? We can thank Bungie for that. We hadn’t yet tasted the glory of Fatebringer and Gjallarhorn. The Gunsmith and Vanguard kept us regularly stocked with weapons just good enough.

That’s the linear progression system Bungie intended for early levels. Complete story missions, bounties, and get what you need.

But everything changes at 20. The world flushes with color too wonderful to process, or it blackens and flings us into a darkness we can feel. What we are experiencing is the changing of the guard.

That old system of progress takes a bow and leaves us to the new system: RNG. That cruel witch with a velvet glove – one minute slapping, the next drawing us in like sons and daughters.

While we love to hate her, let us at least ponder what purpose she serves.

What is RNG’s Grand Scheme?

You may be saying, “Wait, RNG is random. How can something random have a purpose?”

But that’s misleading. RNG is random in the sense that drops in Destiny don’t follow a definite pattern, sure, but that isn’t to say they don’t drop with some predetermined consistency.

Those of us who have done raids know for a fact that opening the first chest on Crota’s End will net Radiant materials. That is decided from the dawn of time. You won’t get raid gear. You won’t get baskets of candy Engrams. You get exactly what Bungie intended.

destiny random number analysis

If we take that and extrapolate it, we can say that whenever we complete a Nightfall or weekly strike, there are predetermined items we may get. Now, it might be Ascendant shards, as this poor soul discovered – and believe me, we feel for you brother – but it isn’t something outside the realm of what Bungie intended.

Random isn’t senseless; every event we partake in is designed by Bungie to get us closer to something, and often that something is level 32 (depending on which strike or raid you’re doing).

As for the Crucible, well… most bets are off with the Crucible. Who knows how the hell that thing works, but it will spit out something decent eventually. Bungie recently confirmed that Crucible rewards will be improved in future:

Crucible rewards are on the low side for sure, and issue we intend to address in a future update. The rewards are random to encourage everyone in the game to play it to completion, rather than only the “winners” staying.

Furthermore, Bungie is aware of the mistakes they made with The Dark Below, and plans on fixing them with the House of Wolves.

Our philosophy about rewards and loot will continue to evolve as we see how players play and react. […] the mistakes we made with the DLC1 reward economy will not be repeated.

Will we usually get what we want? Probably not. The odds are stacked against it, but that leads to a deeper question, and the one that changed my mind about RNG.

Broken System… or Expectations?

I had a conversation once with a managing director at Crytek (the video game developer) about bonuses. It was a simple conversation that boiled down to one core issue: It’s exceedingly difficult to create a bonus system.

Why? Because the very idea of a bonus – a free gift – becomes something we try desperately to earn. What was meant as an added, “Hey, thanks for your effort,” becomes the goal itself.

I see a lot of that in my approach to random drops. And if we’re honest, random drops are probably the only reason some of us play, especially if we’ve got level 32’s trouncing about.

It seems to me that Bungie’s system works as expected. Some things are guarantees, and everything else is handed to RNG as a bonus for our labors. Are we guaranteed those raid gauntlets after the lamps on Crota’s End? I’ve done that section plenty of times without getting them, so no, certainly not. But we are guaranteed the chance to get them.

That chance is the heart of RNG – the bonus on top of our expected wage. But was RNG ever meant as anything other than a bonus for our work? I don’t think so, and here are a few reasons why:

destiny loot random analysis

Give Me What I’m Owed

I’ve been thinking long and hard about the day I bought Destiny. I popped in the disc, completed the first mission, and immediately jumped into a party with friends.

Let me tell you, it was like a breath of fresh air.

I said, “I haven’t had this much fun since Halo co-op.” And it was true. Every moment was pure childish fun again.

So I’ve been pondering the idea of what Bungie owed me as a consumer. Destiny was, without a doubt, worth every penny I paid. Bungie has delivered to me more value for money than any game has in a long time. And no matter how much I may hate RNG for all the frustrations it’s put me through, I can’t honestly say Bungie has cheated me. Am I owed more? Am I somehow credited a Thunderlord before Bungie has fulfilled its obligation to me as a consumer?

Try as I might, I just can’t say that. And even if we could somehow earn these bonuses, would it make things better?

destiny random number analysis

Joy to the Newb

Random adds an element of surprise, and everyone loves a surprise. I’ll never forget the moment I got Gjallarhorn. There were no expectations, no understanding of the possibilities. I opened a chest, saw some ascended shards, and said, “Of course – so it is and so it must always be.”

But then the gold. Oh that glorious gold. And the G-J-A-L-L…

Oh how I squealed (quite literally) with delight. My whole world turned upside down. I was a man made new.

And if I’m honest, I find that beautiful. Earning that rocket launcher through an exotic bounty wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable.

Which comes full circle to RNG as a bonus system. When you work at a company you love, bonuses are just that – icing on the cake. But when your job becomes the means to an end, namely earning that bonus, it’s even more crushing when your Christmas bonus is a gift basket of nuts and cheeses.

Has the bonus changed? Not necessarily. But the expectations certainly have, which means we also must look at our own personal nature.

destiny rng analysis

The Man in the Mirror

In my early days of Destiny, before RNG became bitter to me, I lived for the next mission with friends. We would laugh and throw grenades, screaming, “We’re invincible!” as thrall erupted in bursts of flame. I would sit with bated breath as rewards twisted into Engrams and Motes of Light, gasping as I saw that Legendary pop into view. Never did I regret a second of those days.

But now I have regrets. I regret grinding Vanguard strikes and cursing when I don’t get a Legendary Engram. I regret bragging about my Gjallarhorn when a friend gets Thunderlord just so I can maintain some flimsy semblance of superiority. I regret hating players who get full raid gear sets their first time through Crota’s End while I’m still waiting on that breastplate. And I regret making ancillary things like random drops the heart of why I enjoy Destiny.

The point is, emotions can run high in this game. And when emotions run high, we tend to lose objectivity. So ultimately, I think RNG is right and my expectations are wrong because I know myself. Sometimes I look in the mirror and have to face facts: I’ve misplaced my desires somewhere. What I once loved has twisted into something unrecognizable, and things that were free gifts have become expectations.

Is the system Bungie created perfect? Hardly. But I can tell you one thing: it’s closer to perfect than I am. Which leaves me with only one conclusion: RNG isn’t so bad after all. It is a system designed for those who still love what Destiny is really about: time with friends. I fear RNG never will satisfy the rest of us. Not because it is broken, but because we are.

What RNG and Casinos Share

Some community members have drawn a comparison between RNG and casino incentives. My parents love gambling, so I’ve skated along casino lines the last few years, and I find the comparison interesting. I believe it valid in one way, and insufficient in another.

RNG does have a great deal in common with the rewards casinos use (referred to as “comps” for “complementary”) to keep customers returning. Call it a dangling carrot if you will, but Bungie does want players to come back. Sometimes an expansion is enough, but all MMO models need something more basic between those expansions, and loot is the simplest way to keep players coming back.

Loot and bounties trigger something in our brain, often a sort of panic. If you’ve ever thought, “I should at least pick up today’s bounties,” or “I should at least play that daily story,” so you don’t miss out on loot or experience, then you’ve bitten the hook. I should know, as I’ve bitten that hook enough to be peppered with holes in the mouth.

destiny loot cave casino

But on the other hand, if RNG is Bungie’s equivalent of casino comps, then Bungie is really blowing it. Casinos have designed comps to be incremental, and you can be sure that regular gamblers understand when certain comps will be offered and what they must do to obtain them. It’s a far more dangerous system, as it locks players in a constant leveling-up mentality. “If I just spend this much more, even though I’m losing, I’ll win,” is the name of the game.

Destiny isn’t so kind. We lose all the time without significant wins in this game. And I believe that’s because, as my original premise states, RNG is not intended to be more than a bonus. If it were meant as a comp-esque system, then it would work better at minimizing player turnover. But we all know that burnout tends to set in and set in quickly.

I for one am grateful; I’d rather not spend the next few months working diligently for rewards that might be shiny, but end up robbing me of better experiences.

What It Means for Us

If this is true, and our problems with RNG lie more in us than in the system, what does it require?

First, it requires we change our desires or take a break until Destiny can fulfill them. Bungie is unlikely to completely alter the way drops are handled, which means we must do one or the other if our enjoyment of Destiny’s RNG-heavy-core is to survive. Sure, we could continue to grind through content – begrudging everything – in hopes of that Exotic drop. But why bother when we once found enjoyment elsewhere?

Second, it requires we treasure the things we have been afforded. Not everyone gets just the weapons you’ve gotten, and I bet there are many out there who would love to have them. Believe what you will, but no one behind Bungie’s curtain is wringing his fingers and saying, “Ah yes, let’s deny them Vision of Confluence once more!” And there are enough wonderful weapons out there that if you get any drops whatsoever, you’re bound to have something special on your hands. We owe it to ourselves to remember that.

Fan art by Dark-Fenrir

And finally, it requires we approach life with a bit more perspective. I don’t step back often enough and question the heart behind my actions, but RNG has forced me to do just that. Mostly because it makes me so irrationally angry.

I confess, I never set out on this article thinking about such lofty things, but that is the beauty of random – it comes when you least expect it.

So here’s to life being a little more random.

But let’s not kid ourselves, a Gjallarhorn would be nice too!

Renovating Crucible Rewards

We’ve all seen that Guardian with the 2 kills and 10 deaths acquire the best reward. Is that fair? Due to the randomness of it, yes. As much as we’d like to complain about it, the rewards are given out randomly, not based on performance.

The reason they’re not based on performance is to incentivize players to stay in the game, and it adds a bit of mystery to each match.

Should a skill-focused reward system be introduced – maybe just in the Iron Banner? How would it work?

Perhaps give players who do well a higher chance at receiving an item, while still keeping the same RNG system that’s currently in place. This way, players who don’t do well will still have the same opportunity to earn rewards as they do now, but exceptional players will have a slightly higher chance.

We discussed this more on our latest podcast as well, throwing out some ideas about better cosmetic rewards for the highest scorers.

PvE > PvP

When it comes to the amount of rewards, the Crucible loses every time. Destiny’s drop dilemma in the Crucible can’t be understated.

You must spend much more time in the Crucible to earn the same amount of Engrams that you could earn from a few ROC Strikes.

As mentioned above, Bungie is going to take a hard look at Crucible rewards.

Taylor Bair
I write about the intersection between the games we love and the lives we live. When I'm not working on websites and marketing projects, I'm writing with a hot cup of chai tea in one hand and a computer in the other. Makes typing exceedingly difficult, let me tell you.
  • Jimi Marklund

    What a great article on the dreaded and hated RNG.

    No we are not “entitled” to anything, we should stop reacting like spoiled brats who get everything we point at and look inwards.

    As you say, what the game has given us is tons of hours of fun. But if you play just for the sake of getting these coveted items then you will have a horrible experience. You wont be happy a minute of gaming.

    I enjoy this game completely, I have of course cursed Crota for not giving my titan the last piece of raidgear I want so bad, but I dont play it simply to get that. I do nightfalls, heroics and dailys. Bounties are fun and a good time to past the time and especially the best times is with the clan. The community and the social aspect of Destiny is great.

    So I do love and hate RNG; but I dont play the game because of it. If I would, I would stop and play something else.

    • Derp

      Destiny’s social aspect? You mean dancing, waving, pointing or sitting at people? Because that is all there is and don’t pretend for a second that the “Opt in” voice chat counts, because in its current iteration it does not in the slightest.

      Destiny’s “community” resides everywhere BUT within the game itself and that is an issue, not necessarily something to be proud of and/or praise.

      The last bone I have to pick with this article is the complacency towards terrible game design (ala full RNG). We as gamers should be criticizing and berating companies like Activision and Bungie that successfully fool the masses into changes their ideals to the point where it seems to be “okay” to actually praise Bungie on their work.

      For the millions of dollars, time and feedback that we have given them it is fucking disgusting that they shat out a game whos only redeeming quality is the very solid gameplay. Past that Destiny does not Innovate in the slightest, Destiny does not run better than its competition (30fps/thank you last gen ports and Activision/Bungie for making that a thing), Destiny also does not have daily new content that was promised before launch.

      What Destiny DOES have is 3 total multiplayer maps with vehicles on them and 2 of these maps are off limits due to their “revolving/timed playlist”. Destiny currently and will ONLY EVER play it safe in combination to Call of Duty’s development so that both games compliment each other while simultaneously catering to different crowds (casuals mainly).

      Lastly Destiny has DLC locked on the disc so they can piece it out to you over months at a time. For example take the “Siege of The Warmind” earth mission. That entire new area was found DURING THE ALPHA, ffs people why do we let them get away with this? (On a side note, seriously 3-5 months in between new content? Why does it take so long given the size of your studio and the millions upon millions of dollars at your disposal???)

      • Oscar Enrique Miranda

        destiny doenst have social aspect? i think you are playing it wrong… i’ve met tons of friends which i have a lot of fun everyday!! destiny is about joining another ppl and having fun…. dancing and pointing are just complements….

      • Shawn Adams

        ;You my friend are missing the point, just last night we were running around doing missions and what do we see, a group trying to do VOG with 4, we weren’t in their group but we jumped in and helped em out anyways just for S&G! Next thing you know we get a group invite followed by a chat party invite and ended up running for two hours and beating the whole thing! THAT is what you are supposed to do, and now i have another 4 ppl to play with. Rinse and repeat for an awesome time. As far as them rolling out content, I am fine with it. I have three different toons that i level and gear at different paces. I do agree they need to fix Crucible soon, it is annoyingly slow to max out your marks per week.

  • A tired hamster

    Destiny is nothing more than a bland repetitive grindfest after you play the game for a while… It’s a hamster wheel…run as fast as you want…you’re not going anywhere. Have three level 32s!?!? Great! Wait until they increase level cap…now get back to runnning…Hit max level again…level cap increase…run more. You will either always be behind the eight ball or waiting at the top to be pushed back again.

    Destiny works the exact same way a casino does. It preys on the incentive and reward part of your brain. It strings you along and gives you just enough to make you foolishly think you can get everything (or most of) what you want (aka make money gambling in a casino)…but you can’t. You never will. The house wins. Always. That’s why casinos make money hand over fist. Dumb people can’t see that and never stop rolling the dice or playing Destiny hoping RNGesus drops what they want…

    I have three level 32s (warlock, titan, hunter) and I loved this game up until the grind became so apparent (pretty much when the Dark Below hit) and so purposefully implemented by Bungle…now I fucking hate this game with a passion and will never play or pay for anything Destiny or Bungle related ever again. This game was lesson. Once some decent games come out this month- I’m done forever.

    • FatherOfMordred

      Yes, a casino. I’ve thought this many times. It’s exactly like that from the sad souls mechanically grinding the slots, to the desperate roulette players staying up all night in the hope of a big win. Scary thing is it’s designed that way. To be addictive.

      • Calavero

        The whole article can be broken down into one simple point: RNG largely determines what we are able to get in Destiny, but there are so few actual items to attain, it NEEDS to be punishing or everyone will have everything too quickly… as far as Bungie is concerned. There are what, about 20 exotic guns in the game?

        The risk vs. reward ratio is incredibly screwed up. The TIME vs. reward ratio even more so. Drops are calculated to fall so infrequently that most players are still striving to get them long after the fun of trying to has left. They’re no longer playing a fun game and hoping for a reward, they’re doing something they no longer enjoy, hoping for a reward.

        The dumb thing is, why? There isn’t even a subscription incentive to string players along. I have over 16 days invested in this game. Is there any reason why, after 61 Nightfall runs, countless strikes, and enough raiding to have 2 32s and 1 character 1 armor piece away (with more than enough shards in the bank to fill it, if it eventually ever drops), that yesterday I got my first and only exotic weapon drop in all the time I’ve played Destiny?

        Bungie has created a game that eventually forces its players to hate it. The more dedicated a player you are, the deeper the hatred once you see how punishing the wheel you’re on actually is.

        Though I bought the season pass with the game, I highly doubt I’ll return for HoW. That content is supposed to keep us grinding for another 6 months, and they are adding I think 2 new exotic weapons and a handful of sub par armor items? Noooooo thanks.

        Since they can’t possibly fix this mess, short of adding a metric ton of new items and content, here’s to hoping in Destiny 2 they set things up so we can play the game a lot, get our loot, and finish our accomplishments in a reasonable enough time frame that we leave the game with a good feeling, instead of hating ourselves and Bungie for feeling like we wasted too much time and got played for a sucker.

        Maybe if they do that, it’ll be a game I repeatedly return to, rather than being pissed off I ever played in the first place.

    • Taylor Bair

      Nice comparison with the casino! I’ve thought about that a lot recently, and I think it merits an amendment in this article. I’ll get to work on something right away!

  • kabuki

    look my 8º universal remote. random? sure….

  • braylien

    i pretty much agree with everything you wrote, but i dont think the RNG is always a ‘free gift’ – when you complete a nightfall what you get is your reward, and some of those rewards can feel underwhelming, but i dont mind that too much, it can be frustrating but funny also. I dont mind the RNG at all, i think its what makes the game so sticky, but i do really want a gjallahorn. been running since beta, with 3 characters at 32, and still no gjallahorn. this week is the week 😉

  • Christian

    Honestly. Destiny needs RNG. However, only to an extent. It is perfectly reasonable to see why it was a good idea, but a more advanced system is needed. A bit of guidance would be nice when you desire certain rewards.

    A player should be able to see an Exotic like Gjallarhorn and say “I would like to get that” and then be presented a clear path to it. Nightfalls, perhaps, should drop Exotics much more frequently, but from a Pool of 3 Exotics that are clearly shown. This week, players can get “Gjallarhorn”, “Universal Remote” or “No Land Beyond”.

    Raids should do the same. DLC raids could do with having a pool of all of the DLC exotics and no other exotics.

    I know this is being attended to now but completing hard-mode on VoG 6 times and not have the Vex or Vision of Confluence or Fatebringer is a bit of a kick in the nuts. Dupes of the same helmet and Atheon’s Epilogue 3 times is a bit much.

    I also like a lot of the rare weapons. It’s pretty tricky trying to get exactly the right ones. So it would be nice to earn Roc/Tiger marks to buy these weapons from more vendors. Even if it mean 10 Roc Points per game and each Red Roc Weapon cost 100, I honestly wouldn’t mind. A new Vendor for each Strike type would be cool

    • Edwin

      Would be nice if they could increase the drop chance more depending on the times you lost a roll.

      Something like this, the % of it dropping;
      Random ( (0+timesMissed) , 100)

      That way you wouldn’t always get it in 100 runs. (100 might not be the best value but is easier in this example 😉 )

    • WSquared88

      This is an interesting idea, it would definitely need to be playtested. Being able to see what exotics people could get without changing the chance of getting it would keep the elusiveness of exotics, show people what they need to do, and not have everyone get everything whenever they want. The only problem is that it would be hard to show this with Destiny’s current UI system. Maybe they could have a gossiper or something that would tell you about what he saw on the nightfall this week. I would also like to have a few more exotics or strong legendaries from completing really hard content. This would also cause the need to add more hard content though.

  • Topside 21

    I kinda agree and disagree with this article.

    You see ive played video games since I was six years old. I played everything from FPS, RPG, RTS, sports, and even puzzle games and there is only one thing I always look for in these games: Immersion. I want to be immersed in this world, I want to care about what I am doing and enjoy it so much that time just seems to fly by.

    But RNG and the lack of content ruin that. Running the same missions, strikes, and Raids over and over again to the point that you memorize all of the dialogue spoken in cutscenes, just to get the items I want completely breaks the Immersion. I am not playing a game anymore, Im doing a job, a chore, and thats all this game wants me to do.

    Elders Scrolls Oblivion is the game I most immersed myself in and that had RNG, but it was done in a way that was rewarding and was very well hidden. All of the gear you found in caves and dungeons were random, but they were always useful to your level, the gear getting better as you level up. But all of the unique weapons and armor (a.k.a Legendary and Exotics) were gained by quests or visiting a specific area. It was rich in content and lore and exploring was a blast.

    I think Destiny can be my next ESO, but only if they stop relying on grinding and RNG and start relying on giving a rewarding and enjoyable experience,

  • Co

    Allright, time to be mad. I got Gjallarhorn on a legendary engram. You read that correct, “legendary”. I would consider myself lucky if i didn’t always get shards, or worse, blue items with legendary engrams. I guess it’s just karma xD

    • Green Arrow

      lol! I got Gjallarhorn last Friday in Crucible! So there’s two lucky guys over here

      • Co

        I saw a guy on the other team get it last night in control. I was like “OMG people are going to be jelly”.
        He just stood dancing whenever he spawned for the whole next map. Hilarious.

      • Decdog2

        I got my first Gjallarhorn from the Vault of Glass Exotic Chest before TDB and before Bungie patched the templar glitch where you push him off of the edge. Man were those the days… when for most exotics were a rarity and for the lucky few, such as myself, were fortunate to grab one from a tiny cylindrical box with a glowing green dot in the middle of an empty room… i miss those days.

    • Keith Christmas

      This literally happened to me ten minutes ago. I just came in here to post about it.

      I mean, it’s the third one I’ve had (one from Xur, one from Atheon that I sharded cos I only had one character at the time, and then this one just now, which I am DEFINITELY KEEPING), but still… Wow.

      My greatest get ever, though? My first ever exotic was Hard Light from a legendary engram… Back before the first patch when you were lucky if you even got a legendary from a legendary engram. Man, was I ever happy with that.

      • Co

        I have been playing since christmas only and just assumed – until about 2 weeks ago – the chance of actually having a legendary item when decrypted to be really low based on personal experience. Now they suddenly started to roll in like it’s just daily business.

        • Keith Christmas

          Oh, it’s still annoying now when they spit out a couple of shards or energies rather than gear, but back in the early days they were just as, if not more (it felt like more) likely to give you a blue grade item. It was horrible.

  • chris

    The thing about Destiny’s RNG is that you also have a chance of getting nothing…that should NEVER happen in a game where the goal is to get loot by completing tasks its comparable to doing a coin toss and instead of heads or tails the coin just disappears it is something that they need to fix and should be more leaning to WoW’s RNG system where there is % of getting certain items but you are GUARANTEED an item nonetheless which would make people come back and do tasks more and more with the idea in their head of “I will actually get something hopefully it is what I want” vs “I pray to the cryptarch that I actually get something….and I don’t so fuck this game” because that seems to the majority consensus.

    P.S- I have every exotic in the game and have 3 lvl 32s that are each different class but have only a third of the hours most people have due to school/work which to me should never happen

    • WSquared88

      If this was implemented then that would increase the chance of getting green engrams or stuff you don’t want. Not a bad idea, but this is Bungie’s first try after all.

      • chris

        But they also partnered with Blizzard’s activistion so they have inside people from WoW’s team so it really is surprising they never at least tried it. But as the saying goes “Fool me once shame on me fool me twice shame on you and fool me three times I am going back to playing DragonBall XV”

        • WSquared88

          Blizzard Activision is actually only the publisher and would be unlikely to offer help other than financially, but I see what you are saying.

  • TDUNN79

    Ice Breaker AND Helm of Saint 14. If that’s actually going to be sold some people are gonna luck out.

    • Grymwulf

      I got Helm of Saint 14 this week from the Xur helm engram, and loving it. I got a very high intellect roll on it, and minion of darkness kills charge my super. 90% intellect, minion kills, and Bad Juju all come together to make for an almost 100% bubble up-time (depending on how many enemies are around). It’s crazy good.

      • WSquared88

        Helm of Saint-14 is one of my favorite helms. Even though I don’t have it I can understand the theory of how it works and I just love the idea of it.

      • TDUNN79

        I envy you.

  • babybluedj

    900 h spent, last week I received my 10th Truth (and I have ZERO Gjallarhorn) = RNG????

    • Edwin


      Sadly, even that can be random.
      The human view of random isn’t really random.
      The chance of rolling (let’s say) 2,5,6 with 3 dices is the same as rolling 1,1,1. Even though most would not call that random 😉

      There is bound to be someone who compensates your bad luck by getting a Gjallerhorn on his first roll 🙁

      Good luck, hope you get it next week!

  • insanetrasher

    The use of RNG is fine by me, but it should have a loot tracker making you less likely to loot items you already have.

    And the reward system should be reworked a bit, you mentioned a great example with nightfall rewarding in ascendant materials which are 100% useless past a certain point. If at least you could sell them for glimmer or use them to reroll perks or something like that.

  • Dennis Popken

    Here’s something: by now I have 76 VoG completions, 60 of them were on hard. I have never gotten the Corrective Measures, Found Verdict or Praetorian Foil while I have received all other weapons (including the Vex) at least 10 times each. The Corrective Measures or Found Verdict are pretty common weapons which makes it highly unlikely that if it was true RNG I never received one of those.
    There are other forces at work here.

    • Co

      You can have 2% chance of X item and 10% of Y item, and it’d still be RNG. You just have a higher chance of item Y.

  • Brinyleech30

    This is an article that I needed to read, great job! I have been thinking about this for some time now and you really hit it on the head. This is random (no pun intended) but episode 2 of the third season of House of Cards addresses the subject of entitlement, and how we are not entitled to anything. Like you, I became bitter at not getting better RNG drops. The more I thought about it, the more I understood that the rewards ARE the icing on the cake. The quicker you re-focus on more of what Bungie intended on when creating Destiny, having fun with friends, old AND new, the quicker you will enjoy the game all over again.

  • inquisitor314

    while your article is thought provoking, I can not say i agree with your answers or discussion of this so called random number generator. especially when nothing in pve rewards is random. To beat the RNG you have to out think it from raids to strikes. You have to force the machine to give you an item of choice. Further more bungie does not make the system random. Bungie changes the variables and thus the computer does not pick but they do. decreasing values increasing values. There is a number in there though that commits to us. As the player RNG in bungie style does not gear towarsd cooperation and friendly playing. example a person does a nightfall and someone they might now jumps in right before the end without saying anything and bam they get a reward of high caliber and you do not. ive seen this happen planety of times as well as have had it happen to me. lucky enough i like those people enough to not be to mad. In short your article does not pay attention to the broken RNG system. You should dissect it more and understand or at least try and get an idea of what this bungie RNG is about

  • Will Chin

    I really enjoyed this post. I once had someone tell that compared to an exotic I had gotten from a raid chest, they had ‘earned’ theirs by doing Nightfall. I just laughed at them as the best and worst thing of RNG is you can’t really earn anything.

    I’ve had a team carry a level 23 through his first vog before so towards the end the mobs were immune to him and Atheon dropped him a Gjallahorn. Another member had clocked over 1000 hours without getting one and quit in disgust, but hey it’s not the guys fault.

    It’s also worth remembering the saying ‘may all your dreams but one come true’. The Gjallahorn was my final exotic I wanted in terms of actual use….and obtaining it leaves you thinking what now? I keep pushing my goals further out to try and draw out Destiny until HOW comes out, finally got Necrochasm then Xur sold Universal Remote so I now have all the exotic weapons. At this point the only thing in the game I want is the helm of saint 14, but rather than criticizing the content of the game. I probably need to reevaluate my own playing style and get back to basics.

    • Bok Choy

      “Earned.” Ha!

      People will say just about anything to justify their efforts and entitlement over others. It’s like they are trying to bring order to RNG.

      • Thomas Harrison

        whose trying to bring order, orders boring now chaos and insanity that’s where things get interesting.
        (Insert Crazed Laughing Here)

    • MSUMC25

      So you hate the game, but take the time to come to Planet Destiny, read an article about the game and then spew 5 paragraphs of hate lol.

      • Will Chin

        Not sure how you took from my response that I hate the game? I love it. I have just reached the point where I’ve overplayed it and don’t have much left to do.

      • ItsJustinTheGame

        Hate would be saying “I probably need to quit now” He still loves the game, but doesn’t have much to do now. So he just said “I probably need to reevaluate my own playing style”

  • Kari Goebel

    My experience with Destiny works best when ignoring RNG. I always approach it with objectives. Finish the Nightfall, get the XP bonus. That’s the objective. The RNG gift is a perk. Raids will drop raid armour eventually so the objective is to complete the raid. I focus on ranking up my faction rep or crucible rank. I focus on a vendor item and make the objective getting marks to purchase it. Finish and exotic bounty. If I work at what I can control, then inevitably the RNG loot becomes a bonus and is actually a boon rather than a frustration. I echo the sentiment that if obtaining RNG loot is the goal, the game will be a frustrating endeavor. Still, the crucible needs to be updated. In fact, all I would like is the ability to earn marks a little faster. Maxing out the vanguard marks is no problem, but to max out the crucible marks one has to win 67 matches or complete 100 matches. A match can take anywhere from 6 – 12 minutes of game time, not counting reward screens and loading. That’s almost 7 hours minimum in the crucible if you are dominating. That’s a little extreme. At the high threshold it is 20 hours of in game time.

    • Chaz Choy

      I like you approach to the game.

    • Shawn Adams

      Good approach, we pretty much do the same. Make it about the missions and objectives more so than the loot you may or may not get. Congratulations abound when someone gets a legendary or above, but no one is upset at blues or leveling mats either. Trust me it only takes one good night of drops to take out what you though you had too much of trying to level that new gear up!!

  • Barry Hopcroft

    It’s not so much I hate RNG, I just hate how stingey it is outside of the raids, raid gear is the best legendary gear AND raids are the best place to get exotics, it’s just not fair on those of us who can’t get in a raid!.

    • ed

      destinylfg.com. Nobody has an excuse to not get raids done.

      • WSquared88

        That is not true. Forcing people to use outside sources for stuff like this raises a pretty significant barrier to entry. If they want people to do the raids they should put destinylfg into the game

  • Aaron

    Just release Xur’s loot table and be done with it. Seeing that he’s gonna sell the Icebreaker(again!) and the Universal Crapmote now, instead of getting my hopes up, and then finding out that he is selling the same crap then is better in my opinion. Knowing I have nothing to look forward to in print is always better than there being a small chance(“So you’re sayin there’s a chance!”) that I might get that exotic I have been wanting.

    • WSquared88

      This is how Bungie keeps you playing the game

  • Gjallahorn

    This article needs way more people complaining that they haven’t gotten the Gjallahorn.

    • Taylor Bair

      Can’t that be said for every article ever? Gjallarhorn makes everything better – FACT.

    • Donnie Stuart

      i havent gotten one yet and i want one

    • Kenshiro Genjuro

      I might be the first person to say this, but as it occurred to me recently, in terms of absolute utility G-horn is over-rated.

      Don’t get me wrong because I still want one too. Oh absolutely! Who can’t love the bling that comes with watching those Wolfpack rounds orbit their target before dealing their death and destruction. You can’t debate what a wonderful strut weapon it is, and I’ll certainly use it more than Plan C, Pocket Infinity, Hard Light, or if I ever get Suros Regime (because I basically don’t touch PvP).

      But when you consider just how seldom you get to actually USE heavy weapons courtesy of how seldom heavy weapon ammo drops anyway, adding Gallahorn to the inventory actually isn’t going to do anywhere near as much for me as when I got B-Line Trauma with firefly, and B-Line is a pretty mediocre scout rifle for PvE.

      You can expend all your heavy weapon ammo with a Gallahorn against any given ROC strike’s final boss and still have a long way to go. OR…you can whip out Ice Breaker or Black Hammer and completely wipe them out without picking a dang thing up. I’ll be surprised if unleashing Gallahorn matches the awesomeness of reeling off a completely uninterrupted torrent of Black Hammer shots ALL the way through a major boss’s health.

      I can honestly say I will be less excited about Gallahorn than at least two of the three exotic pistols I’ve gotten, (Last Word is nifty and all but again I just don’t bother with PvP).

      Even better than that, I got a random drop for The Devil You Don’t, the undisputed Worst Legendary Hand Cannon In Existance. But the RNG gods rolled it with Outlaw and Field Scout…and what was once lowly scum has been reincarnated as ascendant beast of a weapon. I almost dismantled it not realizing what a titanic gem I had stumbled upon, AND I get to equip Ice Breaker with it. I could detail a half-dozen more examples but let’s save the bandwidth.

      This is the nicer side of Bungie’s implementation of RNG. There are ways and times when you get something unexpected that exceeds what most exotics offer without taking up an exotic slot. Some areas Bungie has been a little too stingy, more often than they have been too generous.

  • Truth

    Destiny is a Skinner Box, pure and simple. RNG is THE mechanism to psychologically addict us to “the next drop” and reduce us to rats frantically pounding the lever for the next kibble of food…

    Google “Skinner Box” for more info…

    • WSquared88

      This may be true, but so are a lot of other games. This is just a fact of life that we have to accept. Maybe they will come up with a better method in the next game. Only time will tell.

  • ProfessionalCitizen

    Great article, great ideas. I personally love this game because the gameplay is excellent, and the goodies are a great extra. Besides, if people really want guaranteed legendaries, that they can earn without any RNG, they can always buy vendor gear.

  • Donnie Stuart


  • J.T

    Meh. RNG wasn’t even really a thing till I got to like Level 27 or 28. I did Strike Playlists, Bounties, and Patrols to earn Vanguard Reputation and Marks to purchase the gear I needed to continue the climb, with a secondary focus on the Crucible and what it’s vendors had to offer. Then I started running the Nightfalls and Raids, and it unfolded from there. Right now, I’m at Level 31, and I’m just waiting for two specific pieces of raid gear, or another round of the Iron Banner, whichever comes first. Frankly, if you depended entirely on RNG to level up after Level 20, you were playing the game wrong. Which a lot of people were. I can’t remember how many topics I saw in comment sections and forums with people complaining that they had been ‘stuck’ at Level 24 or Level 26 for ‘weeks’ because they never got anything good from drops.

  • Lee Juriet

    um, I am going to say, the RNG is broken. My evidence? It took me 34 GODDAMN tries to get Mythoclast. And never ONCE in those 34 tries did I get any of the VoG primaries other than Confluence and Epilogue. Not. Once. I only NOW got Fatebringer because I was helping a friend out.

    Also, if the RNG wasn’t broken, explain to me why the FUCK I KEEP getting Plan C and random Legendary weapons I rarely, if ever, care enough to actually keep? I got Plan C THREE TIMES IN A ROW one week doing Nightfalls for fucks sakes! I ALREADY had a Plan C.

    And don’t even get me started on Rahool, that PoS… Its not a case of “What will I get from the Legendary Engrams for leveling rank up”, its “Will this blue bastard ACTUALLY GIVE ME A LEGENDARY?!” Hell, I got MOST of my Exotic weapons and a fair amount of exotic gear from Legendaries when the game just launched. Now? I haven’t gotten a Exotic from a Engram in over a month.

    “Love the RNG”? Never. I will curse the broken PoS until Bungie fixes it so that doing well rewards you…. I LOATH coming in first place and finding I get…. shit all.

    In short, the RNG is broken on many, many levels.

    • WSquared88

      RNG runs on a bell curve, which means that on average it will take X number of tries to get an item, but there are always outliers and people two or more standard deviations from the mean. You just got really unlucky.

      • Lee Juriet

        Hahahahahahahaha…. I’d believe that IF I didn’t keep getting the same shit for nightfalls, strikes, and Raids! I mentioned the 30+ tries to get mythoclast, but I DIDN’T mention that every time Atheon dropped dead, I got the EXACT SAME THING, with TWO exceptions; each time I got fucking Timebreaker, Confluence, and Ascendant Shards. The “exceptions” were when Confluence was replaced with Epilogue.

        the RNG isn’t broken? The fuck out of here with that!

        • Christian

          Here’s the thing. Imagine there are 20 exotics in the game. You have exactly the same chance of getting each exotic once than you do getting Universal Remote 20 times. If you get one exotic, that doesn’t rule out the chance you’ll get it again at a later date (Which does really need to be incorporated into the current system).

          RNG just means random. It means you can get anything any number of times. If you put your name in a hat with 19 other people, you might draw “Jim” 10,000,000 times before you draw your own. It’s not likely , but it is 100% possible. It is 100% possible as it is the roll a dice and get “1” a thousand times in a row.

          The issue with Destiny is that it is 100% RNG. Once they incorporate a system that makes things more coordinated there shouldn’t be such an issue as you wont end up getting the same stuff over and over and should be guaranteed to get the good loot you want.

          A great system for getting the Vex should be that on your first run you have a 50% chance of getting it. Each time you complete the raid it should make it 10% more likely to get it each time you play it. So you first game will be 50% of drop. Second time 60%, 3rd 70%, 4th 80% etc. And by your 6th attempt there is a 100% chance guaranteed drop. Each time you get it it should reset the percentage back to 50%.

          • Googlebright

            This reminds me of the changes that Apple made to the iPod shuffle mode after people complained that it wasn’t “random” enough. The same artist would play multiple times in a row, etc. The fact was they had to make changes to the system that actually made it less random in order to feel more random.

            People’s understanding of random is very flawed and I believe that leads to a lot of the frustration we see on message boards and comment sections. Getting Plan C three times in a row is not a sign of a flawed loot system. That is random. But Bungie clearly has heard the feedback. The CE raid reportedly had a tracking system that was supposed to account for what you had already received so that you would have a better chance at getting the items you hadn’t the next time. I know I had enough gear to get all three of my characters to 32 before Hard Mode had released. We’ll see if they continue with this in HoW.

          • Choose-Your-Own

            Yea…. I got the warlock gauntlets 7 times in a row and I got Song of Ir Yut 7 times in a row as well… that was kind of annoying. But dismantling the gauntlets got me enough shards to get to level 32 so not too bad!

    • Dan

      I’ve had similar experiences. I have run VOG Hard since I got to level 30 and was able to do it with 3 characters. I just finally got a Mythoclast last week. A friend of mine just got one on his 2ND hard run later the same week. I was bitter at first, real bitter. I won’t lie. I have put 900 hours in compared to his couple hundred. He has also gotten Gjallarhorn to drop 3 times, a Fatebringer, Suros, and several other exotics and 2 almost full sets of Crota Raid gear in about 3 weeks. But that’s the nature of the game and I have come to accept it. I didn’t do anything wrong and he didn’t do anything more right. And in the end that’s why I can’t judge someone in that situation. The only thing I hate is when someone gets carried through Raids and gets those rewards. A lot of people expect that to happen too and I can’t stomach that. I can even respect the guy that tries really hard in Crucible but just struggles mightily and ends up with an Exotic, because they’re trying

      • Lee Juriet

        You’re a LOT more accepting than I; When I kick ass, and I often do, I want something to merit the effort. Like in strikes and shit; I get very, very angry when I see that my kill count is in the 125-150 range, and my “Teammate” are around the 45 range, if fucking that.

        And I am WELL aware of the idiots trying raids who either have no fucking clue what to do, are lazy, are wrong level, or who don’t pull their weight; thats part of the reason why I don’t do Crota very often anymore, asides from the fact that killing him is fucking difficult at times even WITH a team that knows what the fuck they are doing.

        • LegendaryTorch

          Playing the game must be really frustrating to you.

          What is the point in getting angry because someone doesn’t have the skill you claim to have (no offense) or just wants to sit back and play the game without trying to be the killing machine.

          Getting angry at this point is just wasted energy and won’t help anyone. If they haden’t had killed 45 enemies you would have to kill them and have you ever looked at the assists? Sometimes you will wonder how many they have.
          And there is a difference between playing with a hand cannon and an auto rifle. Due to the higher impact you can kill minions of darkness a lot faster than them.

          Like you I’m almost every time the best player in regards of kills or K/D, even in the crucible, but I can’t see why I should get mad because someone else didn’t compete as well as I did. For me it is satisfaction to have a high kill count, have a high score in the crucible or carry my team trough a strike or raid. I did well and that is what I like.
          Every player has another skill level. I met people that had a hard time getting through the daily mission or during the Templar fight no one (all lvl 31+) was paying attention to the oracles. I was running around the area with my Found Verdict and did nothing else than slaying oracles. First after I told them more than once that they please should take care of the oracles they started killing them and suddenly the fight became easier.

          Or once there has been a raid group and no one wanted to take the relic. It was my first time hard mode and I tried it. I found out that it was very easy to be the relic holder but not everyone has the confidence to be responsible for the raid to be succesfull or the skill or knowledge to adapt to different situations.

          I rarely get mad and the only time is when I play bad in the crucible. I know I can do it better but still at some day I try to shotgun a guy too far away or run around corners while I know that there likely will be a sniper waiting for me. Or when I Nova Bomb the doorway instead of shooting trough it.

          I don’t have a solution to your problem in getting angry because the rest of your fireteam didn’t compete as well as you did. Maybe it is your character, maybe you have too high expectations but maybe you should re-evaluate what you want from this game. If you havn’t already look a the article “Casuals: The Hardcore’s Burden?” I just wanted to try to give you another perspective than only yours. There is always more than the obvious.

          You want a highly skilled team? Then a randomized team isn’t quite what you are looking for.

          • Lee Juriet

            You have it wrong; whilst I am annoyed my teammates suck, I was talking about being angry that people who do far WORSE than I consistently get better drops. Meritocracy, the loot system is most certainly NOT.

          • LegendaryTorch

            Well then I misunderstood your statement. Thank you for clearing it up.

    • Matt Dunnigan

      I feel your pain and heavily agree with you. The world can tell me to just deal with Bungie’s RNG system and I will still say its f***in terrible. I did like 15 Nightfalls and 10 out of them I got f***in Ascendant Shards. I’m really tired of this and I would greatly appreciate it if they upgrade it to like keeping track of the stuff it has already given you.

  • Victor

    All in this article is sooo true… yesterday i did vault of glass in hard with my 3 characters (except for my titan i only did the atheon checkpoint) and of all the 3 atemps I got 3 ASPECT OF GLASS… i cursed the game for death and i said I wasn’t playing destiny never again.. but in the next day my friends wanted to do it in hard again, they convince me to play 1 more raid, and when we got to the templar part and kill him i got the FATEBRINGER I got crazy and that maked my hate disappear. At least for this week… we will see what i will get for the nightfall tomorrow. Lol

  • GreenLego

    RNG is flawed. There is a chance that I will never get the Gjallarhorn. I’ve hit 1100 hours and no Gjallarhorn. There is no guarantee that I will get it if I play another 1100 hours, probably a good chance that I won’t.

    Bungie did put in a backdoor to get around this RNG issue, and he’s called Xur. But rumour has it, that Xur won’t be selling Gjallarhorn in the foreseeable future. Which breaks the whole point of having Xur in the first place.

    There should be other systems in place to compensate for the holes left by RNG. Maybe after you hit a particular milestone (e.g. 100 Commendations) then you could choose a single Exotic of your choice or some other item you want. This would be a one time offer though. Having something that you can work towards, is far more fulfilling than waiting for dumb luck. RNG encourages behaviours like AFK in Roc strikes and Crucible.

    Bungie is correct in having low rewards in PvP though, I think it should be removed altogether. Because PvP is peer-to-peer, it’s open to huge abuse. Until they move to dedicated servers, PvP is unbalanced and unfair.

  • Romster7

    I have been playing this game since day 1 of release. I run VOG/CE HM raids, nightfalls, weekly’s, countless ROC strikes, countless pvp matches all in hopes of a Hawkmoon drop. I complete all of these every single week without fail.

    Statistically speaking with the amount of completions of these events it should have happened once by now. I see it drop for everyone, everybody has it in my clan, but I still cant seem to be lucky enough. I am starting to wonder if my account is bugged and doesn’t allow that drop for some reason.

    I help the community learn the raids, I run the sword, I run the relics, I am patient with these people. Despite that RNJesus still frowns upon me gives me the same stuff I already had.

    I am sure a lot of community members feel the same about one weapon or another. The statistics just don’t make sense to me.

  • Ryan Ingram

    If Megaman is correct, and we get Icebreaker followed by Universal Remote; the statistical odds of those two weapons coming up again is insane. That’s my primary problem with “random”.
    I get that, essentially, that even further solidifies the “random” point, but it’s almost a statistical anomaly.
    If anything, I’d like to see Xur’s weapon be random, but be part of a group so everything gets sold. Once every gun has been made available, they all go back into the table. It would take away some of the guesswork/suspense; but we’ll still be playing.

  • Ghost-AW

    Great article. I mostly agree with the “RNG” system within Destiny, but I have one (major) issue with it – you are solely reliant on random drops to fully level up your character.
    In other MMO or RPG games I’ve played you rely on random drops, to a point, but as soon as you hit the max level cap you have other options of obtaining the premium items. Either through purchasing (via vendors or other players in MMO’s), crafting or upgrading lower spec items.
    I’ve been playing Destiny for about six months now and managed to get my Warlock to level 31 using legendary Vanguard items & a few exotic items. Most of these I’ve purchased. In the last four months (since I hit level 20) I’ve got around 10 legendary drops (mostly armor & three weapons) & one exotic helmet. I must admit when I got my exotic helmet (one week ago) it felt like my birthday.
    Anyway I still love playing Destiny so I’ll keep playing, I just won’t hold by breath in anticipation of reaching level 32, or ever getting the allusive Gjallathorn.

  • Drakan

    After over 1,000 hours playing since the beta came out still no Gjallarhorn.

  • Drakan

    I think drops may be influenced by the weapon you have been using over the previous hours. For example, on CE hard mode cp I only played with VoC and was always rewarded with Fang of Ir Yut every time. I switched over to Fatebringer (because of the heavy ammo glitch at the start) and was rewarded for the first time with Word of Crota hand cannon. I played the two following times with Fatebringer and was also rewarded with WoC (three times in total). Coincidence?

    Another example; on CE cp on normal mode I was never rewarded with Song of Ir Yut HMG no matter what. So I switched over from HoC to Corrective Measure and was awarded it it (finally!) last week for the first time. Coincidence?

    Another example: I didn’t like scout rifles at all; never used them. But I really wanted Vision of Confluence – which never dropped after over 25 completions on hard. It was a vicious circle. So I started using my Midas Multitool for everything. On the ensuing three weeks was rewarded with three VoC. Coincidence?

    Another example. I have now completed VoG on hard over fourty times. I had never received Praedyth’s Timepiece pulse rifle. But then I had never used a pulse rifle at the Gatekeeper’s cp. So I pulled out my Oversoul Edict and guess what I got as a drop from that cp? Yes, Praedyth’s Timepiece. Coincidence? With fourty vault clears I don’t think so. It’s the only time it’s dropped and it’s the only time I have used a pulse rifle in VoG.

    Maybe I don’t get Gjallarhorn because I’m always using heavy machine guns instead of rocket launchers. I wonder.

  • Spenser Buenzli

    I think a possible system for the crucible would be similar to the iron banner medallions for losing a match. If your team loses or you play poorly, you build up items that are somehow redeemed for a better chance at a good reward, if you have a great game or your team wins. Even a poor player will have a good game eventually. There could also be some sort of currency that is automatically obtained from being a top scorer, or playing very objectively or something like that. I’m not saying worse players should not get a reward, but maybe players who do exceedingly well should have a different set of rewards available, on top of RNG rewards. What do you guys think?

  • Jason Subers

    I don’t think that being able to see a few weeks ahead on Xur’s timetable means he’s any less random. It just means that Bungie has pre-rolled him. Now, if his inventory is *slightly different* than the predictions, that’s another story…

  • furria

    Great article. I have over 36 days of consecutive gameplay on Destiny since september, which I’m not proud of, and as of last week, I am only missing two exotics, the Hawkmoon and the Gjallarhorn.

    Do I want them? Of course. I’ve played over 400 strikes in the last three weeks just to get a chance for those guns to drop. I’ve gotten four exotics: 4th horseman, NLB, Last Word, Plan C. Already had them all. I’ve decided that I had enough and has since stop doing strikes, I still come back to do the raids and nightfalls but never again for a strike grind.

    Now, do I get upset when players I’m playing with get the guns that I don’t have and feel that I deserve them more? No, I’m happy for them. My problems with RNG are:

    -When I get rewards that are not even for my class? What am I to do with this? I’m effectivly getting nothing, except maybe a shard.
    -The greed that has arisen in this game caused by RNG. I’ve seen post like “we carry you though Crota Hard for $,” “5$ on paypal for the exotic chest on gorgons.”
    -AFK players. Players who ruin, at least in my opinion the hole experience in either crucible or vanguard for everyone else on the team just so they may get a chance of getting rewards for doing nothing. In my 400+ strikes grind I had to leave and rejoin countless strikes due to that.
    -Finally, and most of all, the elitism that has arisen in regards to certain guns cause again by RNG. I’ve seen post on forums like: “Must have gally/jelly/etc.” “Must have 331 BH.” “Don’t kick me, kick him, I have gjallarhorn.” “Must be 32+ to play VOG.” Like somehow having those guns/armor makes you more skilled or worthy to play with and, as a byproduct, efectivly shutting out players who are even less fortunate than me with drops.

    Burnout ocurs, at least to me, not because I get upset when others get the rewards I covet, but because I keep asking myself “what are those people doing that I’m doing differently and they get those rewards and I’m getting coins? What is it that I need to do to get something I want?” I realized that there is a chance to get it, but there is also a chance I will never get it. Sadly Destiny’s content is not big and enticing enough to keep me indefinetly interested in this game. People get fedup with disapointment and let’s face it, boring repetitive content when playing alone. It’s fun when interacting with others. It’s boring alone.

    Some might say that once you get every exotic you won’t play anymore. That might be the case for some, I cannot say for certain but as of now, when I log into Destiny to do a bounty or whatever, and see people online asking me if I want to raid with them/cruicible/help them compleate a mission/level up, I always say yes, for no rewards. Even with strangers. When I got tired with strikes, I go on the LFG to do quick raid with them. I case in point my 50+ crota kills so far. So my rebutal to that would be: “No, instead of not playing, I would play, but play without expecting anything. Play just to play.”

    One last thing, as I want to propse an alternative. They clearly won’t give out things by Xûr, (let’s face it. No matter what Deej or anyone may say, he is not random. It’s just computer code) or increase the weight of certain weapons/gear. (Why do I have five NLB and zero Gjallarhorns?) Can we make it like a “tampering” for drops. Let’s say spend 30 or 50 or any number motes/coins/glimmer/ascendant materials and increase the chance of getting a weapon/armor of our choosing for a given week on the nightfall, and if it fails, tamepring becomes stronger next week?

    It’s still random, but instead of having 1/100 chance of getting the drop every week, you have 10/100 the first week, and then 20/100, and then 35/100 and so on. I believe that if there were a way, not a free way, still work/grind but a guaranteed or quasi guaranteed way to get a drop people will be more enthusiastic because now they’re working for a goal, a personal goal whichever that may be.

    Enough rant.

    Have an awesome day. Enjoy your Destiny experience and may you get the experience and loot you desire.

    PSN: furria


    I thank you Planet Destiny, I haven’t read such a well written article since I graduated school.

  • Frostweasel

    I am that poor soul! I just wanted to clarify that I don’t actually hate RNG. I just feel that ascendant shards shouldn’t be a nightfall reward, they are too predictably available elsewhere. I too squealed with delight when I got Gjallahorn, I even get pretty excited when my clan mates get it, this is one of the joys of RNG. I still want some sort of duplicate modifier though reducing your chance of getting truth 5 times.

  • Gandalf77

    This is so true. i’ve never reached the “I did x so I deserve a guaranteed exotic or raid y” but I can see how some do. I just enjoy the randomness, the excitement of what I ‘might’ get drives me – because you know what, you do get those awesome drops. I waited 5-6 months and never got a Suros…a week ago, I get two in the same Crota rade. RNGezus.

    Yes I get sharded, but you never know what Bungie will do with those. They likely will have a trade in for the future. Consider it as fixing mistakes.

    In MMOs you aren’t ever guaranteed the best gear. I think that is something that people who are used to standard shooters are starting to learn. In your typical RPG MMOs, this is the norm that we are used to. Run the raid, hope for the best, try again after the reset.

    Bungie did a brave thing to merge the shooter archtype in with the RPG MMO mechanic regarding loot. By merging them together, they’ve started a new archtype that gamers must accept or disapprove of. Because it’s new there will be bumps in the road, they are learning and their community is as well.

    I expect that after a year into the game and two DLCs to learn from, the full expansion at the end of the year will get us considerably closer to the final shooter/MMO archtype Bungie dreamt when planning Destiny. Possible more RPG mechanics while keeping the gameplay shooter centric. RNG loot drops maybe tweaked but not overhauled. There is nothing worse than seeing everyone running around like a god. Players must have that sense of individuality with their gear and loadouts.

    It’s coming along, it’s fun, and I’ll still eagerly await the next RNG drop in the hopes that I can get my alternate characters geared up with rad gear. That’s right, I said rad gear.

    Love the game!

  • inquisitor314

    While ignoring the RNG could be cool and nice in words. It is apart of our system the XP goes towards your gear/guns so it does not really count/ glimmer caps at 25k so again that night fall you did really is only to get some gear/weapons. Ive notice the gear secondary numbers have changed. going high and lower. The power boost numbers. RNG is apart of the game in a big no huge way. all aspects of the raid and side mission relate to RNG. If it was a limited system or if we had better function in its application.

    The problem is no growth. gear stops growing and we have to put on new items(xp them up and start over again). while this can be cool bungie thought that we would trash our old gear to gain the new gear. not realizing that people keep old gear, due to bungie being so quiet on DLC as well as doing raids over and over again to gain the ultimate weapons. While that old gear lowers your def value it still have perks aim at the raid. So you keep it just in case. Honestly i think bungie has to much space on the player hub screen and while it looks cleaner then most mmo/rpg game screens it shows lack luster of thinking out the box. The new dlc will test bungies ability to change their mind set. If they dont. it wont be pretty come september when they want to sell another dlc. People wont trust them. some will but you have to admit a 1 perhaps 2 month worth dlc was not a good idea. The glitches in the raid made it harder to beat then the raid objectives. It can be a huge problem this RNG when this is your only system of reward or extra perk.

  • Ornt_la_Okro

    I agree to most of The arguments! A bigger problem is, in my opinion, people that say:” No you can’t go Crota HM with us without Gjallahorn!” Who said that that is the only way to beat Crota? And yes, I’m playing for more then 1000 hrs without getting Gjallahorn and I don’t getting mad about

  • _SirVic

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. RNG is the reason why Destiny will ultimately fail. When The Dark Below came out, there were 2 types of players: Level 30 players, and “Forever29” players. I was one of those forever 29 players. Every week I was doing the raid, and NEVER had gear dropped to be able to get to level 30, until my 13th try. Bungie had a decision to make: Do we want to invalidate gear for players who completed the raid numerous times by having the Vanguard sell higher Light level armor, so “forever29” players can stand a chance in Crota’s End? Or do we want “forever29” (the number of forever29’s is far greater than level 30 players) players to continue doing VoG however long it takes until they finally get good enough gear to do Crota’s End, successfully locking out of Crota’s End the majority of our playerbase? Keep in mind that I finally got all the VoG gear 3 weeks into the Dark Below expansion, and the gear wasn’t leveled up. I tried the raid as a 29 and I keep getting murdered. The main problem is this:

    You perform more damage to an enemy when your light level is higher. The problem is NOT having Light level tied to raid gear, the problem is having raid gear tied to RNG.

  • Drakan

    Well, I’ll be damned. Maimonguy’s predictions on Xur’s inventory were spot on.

    I wonder if he also does the lotto?

  • MurdiusMaximus

    Terrific article. The only thing that I would say is that you have a Gjallarhorn. I have 300+ hours and not gotten one. I play with a friend with only 70 hours and he has EVERY SINGLE EXOTIC WEAPON in the game. That is frustrating for a veteran player, no matter what. I really enjoy Destiny, and I am FAR from burned out, but I am pretty frustrated with it. I have decent weapons sure, but is dropping me FIVE FANG OF IR YUTS really that fair? Bungie claims that the CE raid actually takes your stock into account, but I think that is BS. RNG is a decent practice, but given that Xur is useless to me these days (repeated repeats) and the fact that the Cryptarch will more often than not decrypt a legendary engram into mats, or that my nightfall rewards for the last two months have been mats, I can’t honestly say this system is working at all. If anything it has become more demoralizing to my experience.

    Have you had to carry two level 29’s through a nightfall, just to see one get a Hard Light, and the other a Gjallarhorn while you get 10 Ascendant Shards? That is overly infuriating.

    The fact is that RNG is what is destroying Destiny more than anything. Players lose hope and move onto something else because they feel like they will never get the item they want. Consider this: I don’t have a Gjallarhorn or Hawkmoon. Two guns I really, really want. I truly do not believe they will ever drop for me, so I’ve given up hope that they will drop. After 300+ hours of no showing for them, why even hope they will anymore? Now, when House of Wolves drops, there will be additional exotics added to the table, which makes my chances of getting these weapons EVEN LOWER based on the RNG system.

    Certain things need to change. RNG can be fine as it is, but there are too many other things gumming up the works on what your chances of getting something are. Materials as Decryptable items and Nightfall or Weekly rewards has to go. Motes have to go. I don’t mind Strange coins however, but I believe that they should be upped significantly if they are to be Nightfall rewards. I should get to decide if a weapon or armor gets sharded, not the Cryptarch. That isn’t asking so much is it? I understand that Bungie has to find a way to keep people on the hook and playing, but they are approaching madness with how they do it.

  • This game sucks. Nothing more needs to be said.
    Bungie failed…. HARD

  • Chaz Choy

    maimonguy was dead on with this week’s prediction…

  • Alex Yan

    When I open an exotic chest or complete a nightfall, I do hold out hope for a certain weapon or piece of gear. Naturally, due to RNG, I don’t receive it and I feel frustrated. But for me that is what makes the game fun to play, a game which can make you FEEL emotions. And then when the time comes that the item I want actually drops, I feel so much more happy than if I’d received it as soon as I’d wanted it.

  • Kenshiro Genjuro

    There are ways that the RNG could be much less-stingy in late-game content without giving everything away too quickly. Legendary gear should drop a *little* more often. They usually drop with relatively mediocre perks anyway so most people with very many will auto-shard/energy the extras anyway. But there is a lot of joy in discovering how perks change your play dynamic and recognizing that even between two pieces of gear that may both be similar-looking legendarys there can be vast contrasts in utility, and learning what to equip and when can completely change your playstyle dynamics.

    Lately legendary gear has become more interesting to me than exotics, because with exotics there is almost no variability. And frankly for the most part there shouldn’t be, because their exotic character and utility is very concretely defined by their perks. But it’s not quite as fun as when you happen to get a random drop for a legendary who’s perks line up magically with the weapon’s virtues while hiding its weaknesses, or even better turns an already stout piece of artillery into an absolute giant-killer.

    Most recently I discovered one of my legendary sniper rifles, with ARC damage, hit a lot harder than some of my others. It easily two-shotted the hive knight majors in this week’s nightfall. After leveling it up I realized it also had field scout AND outlaw. On top of the higher forgiveness factor of a deeper clip, it holds more total ammo without needing any help from legendary armor perks, gets more bullets per ammo drop, and reloads are so blisteringly fast you almost don’t notice any disruption in gameplay. This almost completely negates the need to use ammo synths or swapping Icebreaker in and out to get ammo, dramatically smoothing out the gameplay and a total Godsend for arc nightfalls and weeklies. Suddenly this sniper rifle is more valuable to me than most of my exotics, and not by any small margin. I felt much more empowered with this in this week’s arc heroic strike than the guy whipping out his Gjallahorn.

    Same time, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I were the first to say it, but sometimes I wonder if the early leveling up is too easy. Because there actually IS a lot of nuance available between differing equipment in lower-level gear that most players never get to experience. I started to notice when I finally deleted my Xbox’s Awoken female Hunter to rebuild, as that comedic slanted pink Mohawk had long since become a nauseating eye-sore everytime I walked her around the tower. For the record I think we should be allowed to change our character’s hair style whenever we want without having to delete and start over, thank you.

    Anyhoo, to make her plight easier I hung on to some lower-level rare armor and weapons. Can I just say how different the game feels when you have the luxury of rare armor and weapons as a lowly level 7 running through the campaign? Or how about outperforming level 32s in public events? Even contributing in meaningful ways against that Urzoc jerk. Most people will never know this joy, because frankly we blow through it all too quickly and there’s no particularly worthwhile mechanism to make anyone stop and bother earning any of it before leveling far past. You can easily hit level 20 in a day without earning any rare items. It’s a little bit of a missed experience.

  • dreay

    The biggest issue I have with the RNG is that I can spend HOURS doing lvl 24+ strike playlists and almost always get something that is like lvl 18 if not lower. To be honest the whole thing seems to me like it is nothing but one great big flaw in the system

  • Narcidius

    Your article is well-received, and I appreciate it a lot. I also don’t want to “miss the point” in my comment, but I do have some lingering reservations to accepting the idea that RNG is actually a good thing:

    First, I’m not sure that your analogy of RNG as a bonus holds up well, in the sense that the bonus we’re seeking is actually a tool that we use to do our “job”. There’s SOMETHING fishy about saying “this year for Christmas bonus at the work site, we’re giving everybody but Bob a power drill… Bob, you keep using that screw driver.” Even if this happens “randomly”, I can’t help but think that the nature of the gift itself constitutes a blameable oversight. I’m the only member of my clan that doesn’t have a Gjallarhorn, and it makes the experience of “working” comparitively less enjoyable and more arduous for me (and harder for my team, who has to cover for my lack).

    Secondly, I’m not sure that it’s entirely true that we play the game just to be with people, so I’m not sure that this counts as the “job” of the game. The medium of togetherness matters quite a bit. I’d rather be playing paintball with friends than painting fences with friends. Both are better with friends, but the activity is a huge factor as far as enjoyment goes. There is not a lot to do in Destiny… so the quality of the experience depends quite heavily on being able to use that cool gear you want. I’m fine with putting in the time (and boy, have I put in a lot of time)… but if I NEVER get that gear I want, there’s only so long the texture of the experience itself can stay enjoyable.

  • Jeff

    The one time random drives me crazy is when everyone on my crucible team gets something… except me.

  • DiamondDNice

    Fuck RNG and destiny’s broken ass shit. It’s not random. It’s massively weighted to give you crap like timebreakers, give you an item you already have, and waste your time.

  • ShavedBarracuda

    I got a legendary engram on patrol for my hunter yesterday. It was for an arm piece and I was elated because I already had legendary chest and boot pieces and the achlyophage symbiote (or however its spelled). When I decrypted it I got cra- I mean ASCENDANT energy. I cried for an hour or so.

    • ShavedBarracuda

      but I got my first icebreaker from the nightfall yesterday too, so I’m happy.

  • Kbarg16

    My girlfriend got the Gjallarhorn last night from a legendary engram given for completing the daily story. Now that’s random.