Riot addresses the random elements of TFT: 'RNG is good for Teamfight Tactics long term'

Isaac McIntyre

Did you just see a game won off someone that had a three-item, level two Vayne before the second carousel had even popped in your lobby? Have you spent one too many games watching your rerolls just keep coughing up single-piece Garens and Veigars - but not enough to actually swap strategies? Did you just win a round because your opponent's Lucian just started attacking your massively tanky Warwick in the frontline and wasted too much of his time?

No matter what side of the coinflip you've landed on recently, you will have an opinion on the random number generator, or RNG, aspects of Teamfight Tactics. For years Hearthstone players have spoken about the RNG elements of the game-changing how it can be viewed as a competitive esport. Others believe it creates "cool stream moments" for those sharing the game over Twitch and other platforms. For new players, winning off a random damage burst in the card game can be the thing that makes them a HS player for life.

Buckle up - Riot Games feels the same way as Blizzard Entertainment about RNG elements in their titles: "To be upfront about this, we think RNG is good for Teamfight Tactics in the long term."

That's the views of gameplay producer Richard Henkel, as he speaks for the entire development crew. They believe the random changes that a game can bring through what comes through the carousel, what champions you can pick each round, and especially what items pop out of neutral creatures all create "moments and stories" every time you queue.

"It prevents every game from feeling the same and makes high moments and stories when you happen to get everything you want. We’ve already seen player stories of that one game where they managed to get 3 Force of Natures! This is a good thing," Henkel said of the development planning.

The design and balance team does understand that the high level of variance we're currently seeing in Teamfight Tactics may be a bit of the top, however. With some games decided by the first carousel, the developers want players to feel like they can achieve comebacks through their own skill, as well as the game-based RNG. Henkel revealed in a recent blog post addressing a number of community concerns that the game will soon see "more guaranteed drops."

"We agree that the range of variance right now is a touch too severe," he said. "Getting absolutely nothing goes against the spirit of the game, especially when the item system is really fun to interact with. Getting nothing robs you of the ability to engage with a really fun system and make cool strategic choices and finding some nutty broken combos.

"So, we’re making some changes. We’re still ironing out the exact details, but there’ll be more guaranteed drops. We’re also experimenting with dropping other things besides items, such as gold, XP, or even champs. You can expect to see these changes in 9.14. Once they are in, let us know how it feels."

As well as changing the frequency of drops, Henkel revealed Riot would be toying with the idea of adding other things into the neutral enemy reward pool, including gold, experience, and even units. Expect these changes to hit the live servers in League of Legends update 9.14.

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