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Bad Luck Mitigation Mechanic

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"The game feels really sad for you.... The game's like, 'Okay, you've done enough. You've suffered enough. You'll get it in the next one, for sure.'"
ZealsAmbitions, speaking of Genshin Impact's pity system

Gods are capricious, and none more so than the Random Number God. This stubborn deity is at the core of one of the Classic Video Game "Screw You"s: when the Random Number Generator just outright refuses to produce the numbers you actually need. This can manifest in a variety of ways; one of the more common ones is the Rare Random Drop that simply won't, well, drop. This can be particularly obnoxious for games with Loot Boxes, where even shelling out cold, hard cash does not guarantee that you'll get something good. It's downright rage-inducing if the drop is required to accomplish your objective, or if it's optional but you aren't skilled enough to proceed without it.

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Game developers who sympathize with players' frustration with a merciless Random Number God may include a mechanic which eventually guarantees (or at least increases the odds of) a certain result with enough persistence. For example, say that killing particular Mooks has a 5% chance of dropping a rare item. On average, you could expect the item to drop once with every 20 kills. However, there's no guarantee that it will drop, no matter how many mooks you kill. It's entirely possible to go quite a long time without it dropping at all. To combat this, a mechanic could be put in place so that if you kill a certain number of mooks without the rare item dropping, it will guarantee the drop for the next one.

Subtrope of Anti-Frustration Features. Random Drops and loot boxes in role-playing games are the most straightforward applications of this, but any instance in which the developers override the RNG in the player's favor as a reward for persistence counts; otherwise, it's not this trope. If a game unlocks a new, easier game mode in response to repeated player failure, that's Mercy Mode. If the game has a mechanic that allows you to directly influence the RNG at will rather than in response to it being stingy, that's Luck Manipulation Mechanic. Compare Do Well, But Not Perfect, where a player deliberately performs at less than their best to get a desired outcome. This trope is an aversion of the Gambler's Fallacy: the odds really do get better if you keep playing.

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Examples:

  • City of Heroes: The "Streak Breaker" mechanic forces an attack to be a hit after a long enough streak of misses. The higher your hit chance, the shorter the allowed streak of misses.
  • Cookie Run Kingdom:
    • The standard cookie gacha guarantees two cookies every 10 draws — one Epic, one Epic-or-less.
    • The featured cookie gacha guarantees one cookie (10% Epic, 90% Rare) every 10 draws, and one Epic cookie every 100 draws.
    • The Disney event gacha guarantees a cookie every 20 draws.
  • Dragalia Lost:
    • For every ten summons without a 5-star in a showcase, the chances of one appearing increases by one percent. If a 5-star doesn't appear by 100 summons in the showcase, the hundredth is guaranteed a 5-star.
    • Starting from the version 2.0 update, every time a summon is performed, one Wyrmsigil is awarded (or two if the summon was performed using Diamantium, which can only be bought with real money). You can trade 300 Wyrmsigils from the same summon showcase for one of the highlighted characters or dragons.
  • Fire Emblem:
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    • Fire Emblem Heroes:
      • For every five heroes where a 5-star hero is not summoned, the chances of summoning one increases by 0.5%.
      • Some summoning events let players summon a featured unit of their choice after forty summons.
    • Since the stat points gained on levelling up are random, most games have some mechanism to prevent your entire army repeatedly getting levels with no increases at all. The GBA games (Binding Blade, Blazing Blade, Sacred Stones) will re-roll empty levels twice. Path of Radiance has no actual luck control, but has noticeably higher growths overall than previous games. Radiant Dawn has no guarantee on organic level-ups, but levels gained with Bonus Experience will always boost exactly three stats. Awakening and Fates both re-roll empty levels until at least one stat is gained, unless most stats are capped. Three Houses flat-out guarantees at least two stats per level for Byleth and all students (including Ashen Wolves and Cyril).
    • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and Fire Emblem: Three Houses have an additional buffer built into their promotion systems. Every class has certain minimum base stats, so as a unit promotes, they'll get caught up in any area they've been completely stat-screwed in.
  • Genshin Impact
    • The "Wish" gacha system consists of "banners" in which you can pay primogems to get random items, or occasionally characters. Some banners feature increased odds of receiving certain pulls, but five-star pulls are still pretty rare. However, the game tracks how long you've gone without a four- or five-star pull. If you've done nine pulls without getting at least a four-star, the tenth is guaranteed to be at least four-star. If you go 89 pulls (or 79, depending on the banner) without getting a five-star, the next is guaranteed to be five-star. The game also increases the odds of getting a five-star pull when you're within 15 pulls of the hard mercy limit. This is referred to in the game community as the "pity system." Players often treat pity as a resource, and try to manage it so that max pity will coincide with a banner featuring a desired 5-star character or weapon. Sometimes, the RNG will mess up their plans by being generous before the desired banner arrives, resulting in the player getting a 5-star, but not the one they were gunning for.
    • Each character banner has a featured five-star character. When you pull a five-star character, it has a 50% chance of being the featured character. If it's not, the next time you pull a five-star character is guaranteed to be the featured one. The weapon banner behaves similarly.
    • Version 2.0 adds the "Epitomized Path" mechanic to the weapons banner, which allows players to select a desired five-star weapon. When a player pulls a five-star weapon that isn't the one they want, they receive a "Fate Point." Receiving enough Fate Points guarantees their desired weapon on the next five-star pull.
  • Going Under: The "Bloodsucker" skill initially has a 5% chance to heal Jackie for every kill after the first 10 after a heal, but automatically triggers if it's been 35 kills after a heal.
  • Granblue Fantasy gives players a Cerulean Spark for each summon they perform. Once 300 are accumulated, they're traded in for one specific weapon or summon.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft: The developers have stated that on average they expect a player to receive one legendary card for every 20 card packs they open. However, a mechanic exists where every pack opened without a legendary card increases the odds of the next pack of the same type having one, and if the player opens 39 packs without finding a legendary, the 40th will be guaranteed to contain one. Additionally, when a new expansion is released, there is a guaranteed legendary somewhere in the first 10 packs the player opens.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: Banners have a guaranteed pull of a featured Valkyrie or equipment after certain number of pulls. On average, the ones featuring Valkyries is 100 pulls. As a bonus, the numbers for the Valkyries carry over to the next banner with no resets.
  • League of Legends's Critical Hits on attacks (or, as it specifically calls it, critical strikes) occur based on the chance of it occurring but pseudorandomly so that failing to critical strike dynamically improves the chance of the next attack being a critical strike (and inversely, landing critical strikes reduces the chance of them happening for the next attack).
  • Monster Hunter: World has no luck control for drops as they happen (which is common to the series, leading to fandom jokes about a desire sensor messing with the player). However, World has the melding pot, which can be used to create a number of Rare Random Drops directly. The resources needed for this are rare but drop with much more certainty than the items themselves, making unsuccessful hunts still give meaningful progress.
  • Overwatch: The loot boxes that offer random cosmetic rewards are guaranteed to provide one Legendary item for every 13 boxes or so. Additionally, during holiday events a second box cycle is added on top of the first, guaranteeing an event-exclusive Legendary, meaning a player will likely get two Legendaries within 13 boxes during special events.
  • Princess Connect! Re:Dive gives one Character Exchange Point each time you pull from the gacha. When you get 300 points, you can trade them in for one of the featured characters.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: Animals randomly spawn in different "qualities" from one-star ("poor") to three-star ("perfect"). Perfect hides are naturally worth the most and are also the only ones that can be used in crafting. To make matters worse, certain animals like the panther and moose only spawn in a select few areas, are rare spawns at that, and even if they do spawn, may not be "perfect" quality. Enter the Buck Antler Trinket, acquired after hunting the Legendary Deer and crafted at a fence, which automatically allows some two-star animal pelts to upgrade to three-star "perfect" pelts upon skinning the animal. It's still not a guarantee, but the odds increase enough that most players swear by it, making sure to pick it up before seriously engaging in pelt hunting.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: At one point you're required to win three coin tosses in a row to obtain a plot-required item. The third attempt is rigged so you always win all three tosses.
  • Tetris: Newer revisions are tweaked so it randomly picks one piece from the set and drops them, and only "resets" once one of each piece has fallen. It's still possible to get two in a row if the same piece was at the end of one set and the start of another, but now it's impossible to get three of the same piece in a row or get long "droughts" without a line piece.
  • World of Warcraft: Some drops, particularly rare dragon whelp pets or drops required for completion of a quest, will be forced after enough unsuccessful attempts.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: On normal or lower difficulties, the game applies a +10% hit chance for each missed shot by a soldier until they hit. The reverse is applied to alien shots, applying a -10% chance for a hit for each successful hit until they miss.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has a pity system for opening core crystals. The tier of core crystal opened adds points to a counter, which resets if a rare Blade is found. If the counter gets to a certain value, the next core is guaranteed to be a rare Blade. Which Blades can be handed out as pity Blades is very limited, so tracking this early on can let the player know which rarity table their save file has picked.
  • Zero Time Dilemma has a few points where the path forward is determined by random chance. One such point involves rolling three dice to determine one of two paths to continue down. One path is taken if all three dice show a one, the other is taken otherwise. Despite the ridiculously low chance of this specific outcome (1/216), both paths are required to finish the game. While it is possible to roll all ones by chance, the third attempt is rigged to always give this outcome, and a later discussion alludes to the third chance being successful. However, you actually have to let the full scene play out if you don't roll all ones for the game to count it as an attempt. If you just quit to the menu and restart as soon as you see the dice results to try and speed things up, you'll be stuck rolling on 1/216 odds until you actually get lucky.
  • Many modern slot machines will occasionally force a small payout in order to keep the player from rage quitting. Of course, the house still wins overall. Slots are also rigged so the odds of a jackpot go up along with how much money is in the machine, both to be this so every machine will eventually be a winner no matter how poorly people did on it prior, but also so people won't get jackpots on machines that only contain tiny amounts and quit in disgust.
  • Slay the Spire has just a 3% chance of a non-boss card reward offering being rare, but for every common card offered, this chance goes up by 1%, resetting back to 3% once a rare card is offerednote . This makes the Busted Crown's drawback more severe that it would be otherwise; because it limits card rewards to one choice instead of three, the rare card chance climbs up only a third as quickly.
  • Magic: The Gathering Arena's shuffler is, in theory, designed to minimize the chance you'll lose due to bad luck. In practice, players are not entirely convinced the shuffler is not forcing losses on them. Jury is still out on whether this is due to genuine concerns, player ineptitude, or a mix of both. To note:
    • The shuffler will deal your starting hand twice, and settle on the best of the two, land-to-spell ratio wise. This is made to make hands that you would be forced to mulligan (either for having no lands, or seven lands), nigh impossible to get. No promises on whether you would actually be able to cast anything in your hand given your mana base, or at all. Especially if your deck uses more than 3 colors, a good amount of expensive spells, or both.
    • The shuffler also forgoes true random shuffles in lieu of "land smoothing", which was implemented to avoid the dreaded "mana floods" (drawing only lands for several turns) and "mana droughts" (drawing absolutely no lands for several turns). Again, no promises on the actual type of lands you draw, so it's still up to you to have a good mana base to begin with.
    • The physical card game also has text on each type of booster pack which explains point-blank exactly what number of which rarities of card are inside, with the only variable being whether one "Rare" card is replaced with a "Mythic Rare", which has its percent chance disclosed. Also, every card within that set's rarity tier has an equal chance of appearing. This is all so the game can be distributed worldwide without falling afoul of any gambling laws: while the exact content are a surprise, you can be sure of the minimum value you'll receive, and the chance of something good is equalized. The game caters to the secondary collector market by creating ultra-scarce and valuable cards despite this equal distribution policy via some benign Loophole Abuse, printing much less common cosmetically different (but mechanically identical) versions of desirable cards.
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