Well, personally I don’t have that much issue with this “feature” of Photon Swarm, but based on your and several other user’s replies I decided to include this aspect in my post. It seems to be a common thing that draws players away from this gun, so it has to be fixed. You can read the new section of my post, in which i talk about this, and decide if you like it or not.
Finally I have enough time to get into this RNG topic. I designed the statistics for the proposed changes with the RNG aspect in mind. Originally i was going to include the “RNG talk” in the original post, but I decided not to do so, because it would take a lot of time to explain and because the RNG is a difficult topic in general. But apparently, it became the most controversial part of this post, so I have to explain it anyways.
Let’s start with the RNG itself, because most people think that RNG in games is simply a bad thing. This may be caused by the fact that propability in general is a very counter-intuitive concept that may be hard or tricky to fully understand, and by the fact, that from time to time in games there are bad RNG implementations that are very visible and ruin the player’s experience. This is often the case in competetive PVP games for obvious reasons.
Main example of such bad RNG implementation is situation in which your success depends only, or mostly on your luck. This includes random miss chance, random one-shot chance and random crit-chance in case of slow firing weapons/weapons with small amount of projectiles, where you depend on a small number of hits to accomplish your goal and RNG can mess you up.
I haven’t ever played Pokemon, but i have played other games in more or less competetive environment such as “World of Tanks” where missing a crucial shot due to terrible luck is infuriating. Or getting wrecked in “League of Legends” because of getting “1% crit” by an enemy early on. Both those cases (and many other) follow the slow fire rate requirement. As I said, I have never played Pokemon in any way or form, but I am pretty sure that the Pokemon situation you meant didn’t have anything to do with rapid-fire weapons or damage-over-time mechanics. (Correct me if I am wrong, I can’t be 100% sure.)
The fact that RNG can be badly inplemented, doesn’t mean that RNG is bad as a concept. In many cases it is almost neccesary, in other it can simply make things better. Right now CIU has a lot of random things such as velocity of an egg, moment when egg spawns etc. Yolk-Star™ has randomized attack pattern, which arguably makes it much more difficult and interesting than other bosses. Without RNG, those features couldn’t be as interesting as they are.
So with all those things said, it’s time to talk about my Photon Swarm RNG implementation, and why I am pretty sure that it wouldn’t cause any negative impact on the gameplay and it shouldn’t be called “RNG based weapon”. Of course this weapon doesn’t have any miss/hit chance mechanic, but it indeed features something that could be called “crit chance” mechanic. But there is a very important aspect, which is the fact that Photon Swarm is a rapid fire gun with huge rate of fire and projectile count.(especially on the higher power levels, where gun depends mostly on orange photons)
Because of how the probability works, the more instances there are in which something is calculated. (The more projectiles with crit chance there are), the final outcome is closer to the average value. (dps is more constant). Proposed lvl 10 of the weapon would rely on orange photons (crit hits), so someone could think, that RNG could mess the gamaplay up. But it also has 19 shots/s fire rate with 4 projectiles fired each shot, which gives us 76 projectiles/s. Let’s do some calculations: Let’s say that getting 2 only-blue volleys in a row is a serious problem.
Now if we look at the probabilites, it doesn’t seem problematic whatsoever. Probability for a volley to be blue-only is 0,25^4=0,39% Probabilty for 2 volleys in a row to be blue-only is 0,25^8=0,0038% .Two blue volleys have only 600 dmg difference from the average value, but their chance for appearing is already incredibly low. The chance to get a “low dmg streak” that would actually negatively affect the gameplay is so low, that it is negligible. To test things out I messed around with some RNG generators in internet and made 100 instances of 25% experiment many times. Average and expected result is 25 of course (25%*100=25). Vast majority of my results was in range of 23-27, with only few 22’s and 28-29’s. So I don’t think that there is anything to worry about. If Photon Swarm fired one projectile per second, there would be a problem, but with rapid-fire nature of the weapon, chance to get your run ruined by the RNG is impossibly low.
So to answer this question: Not always, but effectively close enough to make sustained and reliable DPS.
But someone could ask: What about low power levels? The fire rate is much lower there.
Well, as I said, I designed the changes with RNG in mind. Lower power levels rely on the blue photons more than on the probability of having orange ones. The main source of DPS increase on lower levels is from the rate of fire increase, not from the increase of crit chance. The more important the orange photons are, the fire rate of the weapon is higher. This way low power levels that have low fire rate, do NOT depend on the orange photons, but higher power levels, that do depend on orange photons, have fire rate high enough to make sure, no sudden drops in DPS happen. This is kind of complicated to explain. Basically : the more weapon depends on orange projectiles, the more rapid-fire it is, so the dps is more reliable.
Of course there is one argument left, which is “why not a pre-made pattern?”. From my experience I think that things with repeating pattern tend to look a lot worse and to be less enjoyable in situations like this. Pre-made pattern wouldn’t add anything to the high power levels, because the DPS would be stable anyways even with RNG, but would take away the element of straight fun and surprise from encountering unusually strong shots on low power levels.
Of course, all this is based on my calculations and experiences. I cannot be 100% sure that during playtesting some problems emerge, but I think that’s unlikely. In that scenario, pre-made pattern would be a go-to solution. As much as I don’t like this concept, I think it would still be much, much better than what we have right now. So yea, if this post doesn’t convince @Stardrone and others, that RNG in this case wouldn’t be that bad, pre-made pattern is good option. If most ppl wanted it instead of RNG…why not.