Where The Hell Are My Drops?!: Understanding The Gambler’s Fallacy

If you’ve played an MMO or a MOBA or frankly anything involving chance, you have likely fallen into the Gambler’s Fallacy. You have suffered from a grave misconception of statistics and are now passing over into your next hour looking for that loot or frothing at the mouth after not getting a single stun in an engagement at a 40% chance. Relax and discover where you are going wrong with this little post.

The Gambler’s Fallacy is the belief that with every new roll of the numbers the previous result becomes less likely, that you are certain to get 40 hits and 60 misses out of a 100 tries at 40% success. What you perceive is that this act is a reiteration, changing upon each attempt to update with new statistics, when in fact that chance is simply a loop. Every time you try, there is a 40% chance, 4 in 10 possibility of success and 6 in 10 of failure, every time this process never changes, running the exact same chance every time. This means that even though it may be somewhat unlikely, even a 90% chance could fail a thousand times, it is not required to succeed in a set number of times, it simply runs calculation individually for each attempt.

Far too many people do not realize how these systems work and believe that they are somehow getting screwed when the numbers don’t add up, but they always do. It is you who fail to understand how the numbers actually function. While many developers choose to let this system fly, some in fact design the system to accommodate for this error, making the chance for the next more likely after a failure, if only to alleviate the time wasting rolling dice and crossing fingers. I personally believe this is a very necessary feature to keep game pacing at a decent speed, taking possibly either 5 seconds or 5 days to get an item in an MMO is infuriating. I personally spent who knows how long in Monster Hunter Tri killing one particular monster 30 times to get one item, at around 30-40 minutes a kill that is a lot of time spent not enjoying myself. Then again I also came across two items throughout my 100 hours in the single player that were 1% chances to drop, which filled me with unparalleled joy as I understood the gravity of that acquisition.

What have your experiences been with the Gambler’s Fallacy? Do you think having it so that the system reflects our incorrect view of statistics can be beneficial, or do you think the joy in getting those incredible rare drops is worth the potential hours or even days grinding? Thanks for the read as usual!

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