Some people complicate stuff unnecessarily. But it’s actually very simple.
After you killed a monster, in most role playing games at that very moment a random number is generated. Sometimes it’s as simple as random number from 1 to 10.
Then an IF statement follows:
If random number is 1, then loot will have wooden sword.
If random number is 5, then loot will have wooden shield, sword, and ton of gold coins.
If it’s 0, then loot is empty.
Makes sense now, right?
How Is RNG In Games Related To Casinos
As we keep killing these orcs, we realize sometimes it drops lot of gold coins and sometimes not. And sometimes they can even drop chain armor! Or so we heard.
And then we spend hours killing these orcs mindlessly over and over, hoping to either finally collect sum of gold coins big enough, or to loot this legendary rare item chain armor.
The „feel good” moment after we achieve something in this case is randomized. If it’s randomized, then you don’t know how many times will you need to kill such monster till you finally get the item you wanted.
Therefore you will keep doing it over and over till you satisfy your brain.
In other game, I’ve encountered more extreme version of RNG – crafting. Ingredients required to craft anything sensible would cost a lot of in-game money, or be extra rare, or cost real life money.
And when it comes to crafting, you’re encountering such random wheel:
Half of these options would destroy all the ingredients without crafting the item. Another 30% would craft weak item. There’ was only 20% chance to actually craft at least a little bit good weapon.
How To Use RNG To Your Advantage
You can imagine, after collecting ingredients for days, then failing the crafting and losing all ingredients, then repeating whole process for few more times could absolutely frustrate you and make your face red.
But that actually didn’t matter.
What mattered to game developers was to make the ingredients mainly obtainable through real life cash, due to their insane in-game rarity from quests and looting monsters.
If you think about it, it’s a bit different. Paying 10 USD for stone of enchantment for crafting 4 times because the crafting would always fail, is perceived by player totally differently from buying it once for 40 USD.
If stone costed 40 USD and worked 100% of the times, then people would get fed up with such insane prices and this cash grab game.
But if you make it seem like they just were unlucky, and lower the price, so they buy it again and again (so it results in 40 USD total or more), then players will think it’s their fault or that it was indeed random and there’s no one to blame.
They won’t see that they are being manipulated and will continu playing the game.
Smart RNG is one of many ways game developers can monetize their game.
In fact, some games even give you insanely high RNG when crafting bad and basic items, but when you use costly ingredients to get better item, they lower the RNG as much as they can. In this case you would for sure try many times more, because due to your previous experiences you’re confident in your 80% success rate (even though with good ingredients it could be only 5%).