Fair RNG or Rigged RNG? A rational discussion on RNG of Elder Scrolls Online

The RNG system in ESO has drawn a lot of criticism from frustrated players. The most frustrating aspect of RNG is Vet Maelstrom Arena, since it is difficult solo content that can yield you nothing usable after many runs. As a result, many players have come to believe the RNG system is rigged.

I would like to start off by saying none of us has access to the codes at ZOS, so from a certainty perspective, we can not say whether the system is fair or not. However, I would like to point out how extreme results can arise even in a perfectly fair RNG system.

The two major complaints people have is:
1) A usable weapon did not drop after hundreds of runs
2) Useless traits dominate the drop table

Let me address these 2 topics separately.

1) You could not get an sharpen VMA dagger after 300 runs:
Let’s examine the odd of this. The chance of getting any particular weapon type with a particular trait is about 1%. In other words, the chance of NOT getting that desired weapon per run is 99%.

Let’s see the odds of Not getting your desired weapon after 50 to 500 runs.

50 runs: 0.99^50*100 = 60.5%
100 runs: 0.99^100*100 = 36.6%
200 runs: 0.99^200*100 = 13.39%
300 runs: 0.99^300*100 = 4.90%
400 runs: 0.99^400*100 = 1.80%
500 runs: 0.99^500*100 = 0.65%

So even after 500 runs, there’s a 0.65% chance that you never get that sharpen VMA dagger. That seems like a small number, but consider the tens of thousands of players (or millions, if you trust ZOS’s numbers), who will run VMA at some point, there bound to be quite a few that hit the unlucky 0.65%. Therefore it is not surprising that you will see more than a few instances of such misfortune on the forum.

Fair RNG or Rigged RNG? A rational discussion on RNG of Elder Scrolls Online

2) You get more prosperous and training traits than divines and inpem
This idea has been reinforced by Deltia, who opened 200 undaunted chests to find mostly junk traits. 200 keys, from a farming perspective, is not a small number. It’s more than a month of doing all 3 pledges on hard mode every single day. However, from a statistical perspective, it is not a large number.

Patterns can arise from small sample sizes, as most of you already know. If you flip a coin twice and get heads both times, you probably will not conclude that the coin is rigged, although you just got heads 100% of the time. But here’s a good example to show that even in medium sized samples, very skewed patterns can exist.

I would like to point you to the UK lottery statistics, at https://www.lottery.co.uk/lotto/statistics. (A fellow forum member brought this link up in another post)
You probably will agree that there’s no point in rigging the lottery to make certain numbers appear more often, because any obvious patterns only help the ticket buyers to win more.

When you look at Draw period Oct 2015 to present, which includes 110 draws, you will see that number 45 was only drawn four times. In contracts, the number 2 was drawn 16 times.
That’s a 400% difference, over 110 draws. In ESO terms, if the number 45 represented divine trait, and the number 2 represented training trait, the player would have a lot of headache.

However, if you change the drop down to Nov 1994 to Oct 2015, which includes 2065 draws, such large discrepancies no longer exist. Even then, you can still see that the number 37 was only drawn 230 times, while the number 38 was drawn 275 times. Over a 10 year period, the outcome was not exactly evenly distributed.

In short, when we look a non-ESO RNG process that’s probably fair, we see that very extreme skews can still occur over a medium sized sample.
Also, Rich Lambert pulled the macro data for all players drop in undaunted, and showed over that massive sample, drops were NOT skewed.

Tl;DR In conclusion, from a statistical perspective, not getting the wanted weapon and traits over hundreds of hours of farming is a normal part of fair RNG. Like I said in the preface, no one has access to the ZOS codes, so we can only make statistical inferences here.

Now as someone who is looking to do VMA, I certainly hate the possibility of getting my desired weapon after 500 runs. I’ll probably rage-quit before that, TBH. Therefore I strongly agree with a token system to complement the current RNG system. Turn 100 unwanted weapons in for your sharpen VMA dagger. If you are lucky and get your stuff sooner, superb. If not, there’s a safety net that prevents otherwise skillful players from rage quitting.

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