Accuracy is a bad stat in MMORPGs

The other day I was fiddling around with my characters’ artifacts in Genshin Impact, pondering which ones to keep or ditch, which to upgrade further or leave as is and so forth.

Getting really good artifacts like the one seen above is quite hard as there’s a lot of RNG involved.

Firstly, the main- and sub-stats they drop with are – with a few exceptions – completely random. You can (and regularly do) even get pieces of such a set, this one is obviously meant for Hydro characters for example, with a bonus to, say, Pyro damage as its main stat. While such an item isn’t necessarily useless it certainly isn’t what you’re hoping for when farming a particular set.

Secondly, each time you raise an artifact’s level by 4 it gets an additional (random) sub-stat unless it already had four. In the latter case one of the existing sub-stats is chosen, you guessed it, randomly to get a boost.

MOAR CRITS, MOAR DAMAGE, MUCH GOOD!!

It isn’t all bad though. With perseverance and a bit of luck it’s absolutely possible to get very strong artifacts, as you can see here.

The main reason for this, I believe, is that there aren’t actually that many different stats for the RNG to choose from. Therefore you’re gonna hit the desired combination eventually.

Anyway, all this made me think about the different kinds of stats I’ve encountered over the decades in various RPGs, MMO or otherwise, which finally brings us to the point I’m trying to make today: depending on class, playstyle et cetera there are always desirable stats and undesirable stats…

…and then there’s Accuracy.

Seriously though…why?

I’m really glad that Accuracy doesn’t exist in Genshin Impact because, as far as I’m concerned, it is the most annoying, unnecessary and, above all, unfun stat of them all.

The way I see it Accuracy, sometimes called Hit Rating or somesuch instead, is a remnant of Pen & Paper RPGs that should never have made its way into RPGs played on digital devices in real time.

“But Mail, when characters in Dungeons & Dragons have a THAC0 it makes sense that characters in computer- or console-RPGs have it too, right?”

Well, no. Let me explain why.

When you play Pen & Paper a dice roll is usually the only way to determine whether or not your character succeeds at whatever it is you want them to do (unless the GM hates you or something). If you didn’t need to win those rolls your alter ego would be pretty much infallible because in order to make them do something you but need to say it.

Go ahead, try to do that in a real time video game. I’ll wait.

Didn’t work out so well, did it? That’s the thing. ‘Telling’ your character what to do is so much more complex and, at times, difficult in Action RPGs, MMORPGs and other games of their ilk nowadays that this already is the challenge. Adding an arbitrary dice roll to decide whether you succeed or not is not only unnecessary, it’s downright mean.

So you’ve positioned your character correctly, selected the right target and pushed your myriad of buttons in the optimal order and all at the right time? Well done to you, mate, but unfortunately the dice roll says that you failed to interrupt the boss’s one-shot mechanic, and now you’re dead.

Sounds like fun? Yeah, didn’t think so.

In order to minimize those frustrations you can try to maximize your Accuracy-stat of course. I see two problems with that though.

One, more than a few games that have a Chance To Hit mechanic also have a hard cap for it, so you’ll still fail a roll every so often no matter how much of the stat you stack on your gear, which makes it even more unfun.

Two, and this is what bugs me the most, it’s a must-have stat that does basically nothing for you. In The Secret World and SWTOR I stacked as much Accuracy on my tank gear as theorycrafters had figured out was necessary to practically (in SWTOR’s case literally) have a 100% chance to hit in any situation, just to be sure I’d never miss an important impair or taunt, respectively.

So what I did was, in essence, to waste a whole lot of my available stat pool to make sure I’d never realize it’s even there.

Ok, maybe I just fell off the platform this time…

But isn’t raising our characters’ stats supposed to be one of the really fun things about playing RPGs? Hitting harder, running faster, jumping higher, all that jazz…that’s fun! Notice how “Missing less often” isn’t on that list, and it feels even worse when I’m basically forced to pour stats into this instead of those other things that are actually enjoyable.

And, again, having another way to fail in video games where the difference between victory and defeat hinges as much on my skill as a player as it does on my character’s stats anyway is just not necessary. I can easily manage to screw up on my own, thank you very much.

So, yeah, I know where the Accuracy stat is coming from and why it makes sense in its original context. But can we please get rid of it in MMO- and Action-RPGs? Like, for good?

5 Replies to “Accuracy is a bad stat in MMORPGs”

  1. For as easy as it is to dunk on WoW for simplifying their stats, one thing I’ll always be glad for is that they pulled both accuracy stats. In Mists, the last expansion with them, it was such an annoying metagame of actually having to simulate every gear upgrade to determine how to juggle around precise caps for those things that often involved literally swapping gems socketed into gear and enchantments, losing tons of gold in the process.

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  2. I can’t see any difference between an “Accuracy” stat and any of the others. Unless you’re talking about a purely player-skill-based game, none of which I play or am remotely interested in, absolutely *everything* your character does is moderated by statistics either visible or unseen. What’s the material difference between a chance to hit and the chance of doing more or less damage when you hit? I can’t see any.

    And what’s the difference between stacking whatever numbers you’re able to change on one stat or another? Does it actually make any difference at all what they’re called? You can call them strawberry, cherry, lemon and lime and there are going to be combinations that are more effective and combinations that are less effective and min-maxers will work out which they are and use only those.

    As for the one-shotting bosses, that’s another issue altogether. If designers want it to be possible, it will be possible, whatever stats are in play. If they didn’t want you to get one-shotted they’d code it so you could never lose 100% of your health to a single attack, or in a set timeframe. If you’re getting one-shotted in a game someone wanted that to happen. Or at least for it to be possible that it would happen.

    I’m not saying I *like* Accuracy as a stat. I don’t have any feelings about it one way or the other. I just can’t see what’s different about it.

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  3. @Kaylriene – Yeah, I read about that at some point and was quite surprised that they’d actually done the smart thing, but I guess that’s my usual scepticism towards Blizzard talking. Good for them, and for the players.

    @pkudude99 – Thanks! 🙂

    @Bhagpuss – Well, let’s just say we disagree on that.

    The thing with one-shot machanics in specific isn’t whether they are possible or not. I’m talking about mechanics that are clearly meant to be countered by the player. If I screw that up, I die. That’s fine by me. My gripe with Accuracy in this regard is that I may well play the mechanic perfectly and still die just because a dice roll says so.

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