Get the Fuck Up!: How RNG Creates Compelling Human Drama

So I plan to have skillset building in my game, and one of the skills I intend to steal borrow from PAYDAY is, Inspire. But not as it is today. No, I want Inspire the way it used to be.

Aced Inspire in its original form allowed for a 75% chance an incapped teammate would immediately get back up if you yelled at them. I forget what update, but it was later changed to its present terms, where you can yell at a teammate and, provided you are not currently in the 20 second cooldown that disables the skill after use, they will always get up.

I hypothesize that part of the reason for this change, aside from 75% being pretty good odds for a skill this powerful, is that Overkill tends to simplify any advice or criticism they get and their use of the Random Number Generator is a subject upon which they receive a lot (and rightly so). So removing the RNG element from an apparently overpowered skill seemed like a good idea.

Here is why it’s not.

The fun and replayability of PAYDAY lies in the fact that the tide can turn for you and your crewmates on a fkn dime. Even if you know a map like the back of your hand and literally everything is going swimmingly, one wrong move or one unlucky roll of the RNG dice, and you go from sitting pretty to up shit creek without a paddle. But this possibility for change isn’t what makes the game fun; it’s the Compelling Human Drama these sudden changes create.

Allow me to illustrate. Things aren’t going well. One of your crewmates is incapped and there’s too much angry shit flying around for you to run out and pick him up because you’ll only get incapped too. But he is within your shout distance so you can yell at him and hope he gets up in time and run for cover. So you do, and he doesn’t get up. You yell again, nothin’. His bleedout timer is ticking; he’s only got seconds to get up if he’s gonna. You yell again, and still he does not get up. He’s got two seconds left. One. You yell again, and add an actual verbal command to “Ohmygod, do what I fkn tell you!”

Now imagine this scenario again, except this time, whether he gets up or not isn’t random, it’s merely determined by whether or not you yelled someone else back up less than twenty seconds ago. If you did, then there’s no hope at all. That fucker’s a lost cause. RNG in this case gave the player hope, and hope creates tension and anticipation, and those things make the game fun. To contrast, resignation to your crewmate’s imminent arrest is not fun.

But I do agree that 75% was pretty good odds on the whole. I only ever had a few instances where I yelled at a guy over and over the entire time he was bleeding out and RNGesus looked down and whispered, “No.” The solution, I feel, is not to remove RNG entirely, but to make the odds smaller. 60% or even 50% would make it so it was unlikely you would get someone back up in one shout, but that still makes trying again worth it. Worth it, but not the numbers game that Aced Inspire was before where provided you had enough time, you could fit enough attempts in to get a “getTheFuckUp = true” result.

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