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Is it wrong to power game?


Zarthose
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Staying away from the current tangent on skills, that's a dead horse we have beaten many a time. 😃

 

Personally on the subject of power gaming (I think it's the same as what used to be called min-maxing?) it is the same as most things. Some of it makes sense, some of it goes too far and some characters could use a bit more application of it. Which are which, like the skills argument, is entirely dependent on the particular GM.

 

- E

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In my opinion, to powergame means to do everything a player can do to make his character as tough as possible, as powerful as possible, to be at maximum ability for any situation. I've heard from many forums here, as well as elsewhere that when talking about powergaming, it's very commonly in the negative sense. For the most part, I agree.

 

It depends on the campaign and the GM whether or not it's overwhelming, or it fits right in. Quite frankly, I think it'd be almost necessary for the Justice League but I think the majority of us don't have those kind of campaigns.

 

Having said that, for the campaign I'm in (and also GM as one of the 4 GMs), we work with character concept for any character, not powergaming. If someone wants to build a mentalist, martial artist alien, give us the concept and we'll work to see if it'll work. We are quite open-minded but we have our limits: someone once wanted to use a character from a different campaign who had a CV of 7 with 10 lvls, massive PD, ED and damage, etc etc. We said 'no'. I'm glad we said no; many of his other characters were broken builds according to the rules, such as hitting yourself to absorb the damage using that very power but I digress.

 

As I said, and others have too, it depends on the campaign and GM. Some campaigns will almost require it, other campaigns powergaming will break it and likely lead to hard feelings between players. For our campaign, it's carefully looked at.

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On 12/30/2020 at 3:41 AM, IndianaJoe3 said:

The distinction between, "efficient character building" and, "powergaming" can be pretty fine. I consider powergaming to be exploiting the rules to create a character more combat-effective than the campaign guidelines would normally allow.

Actually they are miles apart.

 

"Efficient Character Building" is when a player tries to build their character the best they can within the boundaries set by the GM.

 

"Powergaming" is when the player fully understands the parameters and intent for the game, and yet deliberately circumvents them in a planned and deliberate manner intended to undermine or break that game.

 

Powergaming has such a bad meaning for so many people because there is no good to it. 

 

 

Coming up with a more efficient build for your 1 1/2d6 KA blackpowder six shooter for a 1830s historical western game is being "efficient".

 

Showing up with the 6d6 AP KA gatling gun because "I had the points and they existed!" followed by the standard "I'm being railroaded" whining is not. That is pure "powergaming".

 

Big, no HUGE difference.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is one of those topics, having GM’d almost weekly for the better part of 30 years, that I could go on about and still not have established my thesis. So instead of doing that, I’ll answer the question posed. Bear in mind, this is my answer, and I’m not poisoning the well by reading other people’s responses, which are no doubt many and varied.

 

To a certain level, I expect it, and certainly I’m all for optimization. When optimization turns to cheese, I get annoyed. And when I offer a compromise and get an argument, I get flustered. And when the point gets pressed — and pressed. And pressed, I just start lashing out. 

 

Make a build. Make a case. Present your case. Accept the outcome and let the GM do their thing.

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On 1/6/2021 at 3:39 PM, Spence said:

Actually they are miles apart.

 

"Efficient Character Building" is when a player tries to build their character the best they can within the boundaries set by the GM.

 

"Powergaming" is when the player fully understands the parameters and intent for the game, and yet deliberately circumvents them in a planned and deliberate manner intended to undermine or break that game.

 

 

That isn't necessarily true.  Powergaming also encompasses

 

--no weaknesses.  OK, defenses remain within bounds, but the defenses are particularly complete.

--has a very effective attack against almost any opponent

--combine high combat value with max attack AND good SPD 

 

Sure, to a degree this might look like being efficient, but if the goal is to achieve high efficiency about *everything* that's probably powergaming.

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Just now, unclevlad said:

 

That isn't necessarily true.  Powergaming also encompasses

 

--no weaknesses.  OK, defenses remain within bounds, but the defenses are particularly complete.

--has a very effective attack against almost any opponent

--combine high combat value with max attack AND good SPD 

 

Sure, to a degree this might look like being efficient, but if the goal is to achieve high efficiency about *everything* that's probably powergaming.

 

I was answering the within the topic.  Not the entirety of what a Powergamer is.

 

I can though. 

 

Min/Maxers and every other type of player are usually just trying to make the best PC they can within the bounds of the game the agreed to play.  They are not trying to get over on the GM or other players just to be p*icks.  They are just having fun.  Min/Maxers can be problematic if there is only one of them in a geme, not because they are bad, but because they can put all the other players at disadvantage and even get them killed off if the GM doesn't handle the difference in character ability well.

 

Powergamers are entirely different.  They are the people that go out of their way to break games and screw with the other players.  They agree to a game and then purposely misunderstand and constantly try to inject things that may appear in a rulebook, but goes against the theme or world build.

They also constantly cry about how they are "only being efficient" or how they are "being railroaded" when neither even apply.  They are called powergamers because they only care about controlling the entire game.  To force the game from what it is to one that they want.   As players they are the toxic entity we call Powergamers and as GM's they are the actual types that really do railroad their players.  Though they usually don't actually like to GM.  Sadly, like most scumbags they have gotten many people associate Powergamer with Min/Maxer and as few other terms as well.  Some people even call themselves powergamers with out realizing why they suddenly can't find a game.

 

Fortunately, most people do not encounter them.  If you play at a FLGS they can be recognized as the people that hang out but can never actually get into a game because none of the GM will run for them.   They only play when there is a "open" store game.   My FLGS actually had one of their League tables set up specifically for them so they wouldn't ruin other tables, especially those with new players trying out D&D.

 

 

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Yeah to me powergaming is an attitude and approach more than gritty numbers and definitions.  They're out to break the system and dominate, not to have fun or build an efficient character.  I know a guy who without meaning to always found the most efficient and best way to build something in a game.  He just had the knack for it even with games he just learned about.  It wasn't an attempt to pwn the game, he just managed to do well building characters.  If he played Skyrim, he'd build a stealth bow sniper.  He's not a powergamer, because he doesn't build to dominate or break the game, or "win" he just likes to build characters well.

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On 1/17/2021 at 5:13 PM, Christopher R Taylor said:

Yeah to me powergaming is an attitude and approach more than gritty numbers and definitions.  They're out to break the system and dominate, not to have fun or build an efficient character.  I know a guy who without meaning to always found the most efficient and best way to build something in a game.  He just had the knack for it even with games he just learned about.  It wasn't an attempt to pwn the game, he just managed to do well building characters.  If he played Skyrim, he'd build a stealth bow sniper.  He's not a powergamer, because he doesn't build to dominate or break the game, or "win" he just likes to build characters well.

 

Exactly

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We had a game way back when where the majority of the group was made of power gamers. The GM knew it. He worked around this "flaw". ;)

So one session he had the group make the best, most powerful characters they could within the parameters that were given. At the end of the night of character creation, he picked up those characters. (I'm not a power game, so my character was just so so)

He announced. "These characters are your enemies for the next session. Please come to that game with your characters."  Needless to say it was a slaughter.  It was fun, but it was a slaughter.

 

So Power gamers are good and bad. If you are not one of them you sometimes look at them with envy. I always wondered how they created so much with so little. I just created my characters.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/22/2020 at 9:26 AM, Hugh Neilson said:

That would put slow Bricks at 8 - 11, 3 OCV/DCV and 2 SPD.  Typical Supers would be 14 - 17 DEX, 3-4 SPD, 5-6 CV.  Really fast/agile characters would be 20-26 DEX, 6-7 SPD, 7 - 9 CV.

 

This is pretty close to what I've been seeing and playing in the group I've been playing with for the past year and a half or so.  Maybe a little higher at the low end.  It's pretty refreshing to play at that level.  

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1 hour ago, massey said:

I just want to make it clear that every time you build an inefficient character, Santa kills a puppy.

On a more semi-serious note though. If you build a “normal” martial artist in Champions and give him say 20 STR because it efficient is ok. Giving the same character 50 STR because it’s efficient (and he’s suppose to be normal) is Powergaming.  I do see a distinction between powergaming and being efficienct.

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1 hour ago, massey said:

I just want to make it clear that every time you build an inefficient character, Santa kills a puppy.

 

38 minutes ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Well then there’s a lot of dead puppies cause of me! 😱

Plot Twist - it's the same puppy

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20 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

On a more semi-serious note though. If you build a “normal” martial artist in Champions and give him say 20 STR because it efficient is ok. Giving the same character 50 STR because it’s efficient (and he’s suppose to be normal) is Powergaming.  I do see a distinction between powergaming and being efficienct.

 

Goku not allowed huh?

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I'm glad I was able to make a post that engaged people. Many of you brought some great ideas to the discuession, others I felt brought some assumptions. That does not mean thier opinions lacked value. I do feel it is an assumption to think everyone uses, or MUST use your definitions. Since there have been almost as many answers as posts, I feel I can conclusively say there is no solid defination of what is a power gamer, minmaxer or efficient builder. Though I do feel the "efficient" builder probably falls on ther weaker side vs "min/maxer or power gamer". 
 

I feel it might be more accurate to state how YOU define these terms for yourself, as opposed to stating these terms must apply for everyone. There is clearly a fluid dynamic here since if you pulled out a module and presented it at 2 different tables I strongly suspect any given character might fall on weak, sweet spot and  overpowered based more on the table then any arbatery set of numbers. If your character is two powerful for the table, then its bad, if he's too weak, IT's bad. If there are 5 characters all with an average defense of 25-35, then rolling in with a 10 is gonna be a problem just as much as rolling in with a 60. Since tyhe nature of the game rewards efficiency, and everybody likes to win, people will naturally buy powers, skills and stats a good break points, and like others have pointed out there are other ways that can be unbalancing...the guy with no flaws, and perfectly well rounded for example. 
 

  I started the discussion hoping to find some outside metric that might help me decide if I was power gaming, min maxing or just being efficient. The clear answer now is those labels are meaningless...since there is no universal agreement on their meaning, and their is also not outside metric as to what is "to much" or "just right" or " not enough"...People will judge that based on how well your character plays in game...yet a skilled player can frequently wring far more from a character then someone will less experience or imagination...thus further mudding the waters on whats powerful or not. 
 

I do feel better after reading all the answers, and I hope others will keep in mind that the character they find overpowering will be a wimp at someone eleses table. This requires more oversite from the DM, and open communication between the players then just flat numbers.

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On 2/7/2021 at 3:53 AM, Zarthose said:

, I feel I can conclusively say there is no solid defination of what is a power gamer, minmaxer or efficient builder.

Not really.

MinMaxer and Efficient Builder are pretty self-evident and don't really draw any big reactions from players

PowerGamer on the other hand will cause many, if not most gamers to walk away from the table.

 

People that are splitting hairs or playing semantics have never actually had one at the table (most people) or are PowerGamers trying to con their way back on to a table (a tiny number of gamers out there).

 

One day you will meet an actual PowerGamer and at that time you will have no doubt.  

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/8/2021 at 4:56 PM, Spence said:

Not really.

MinMaxer and Efficient Builder are pretty self-evident and don't really draw any big reactions from players

PowerGamer on the other hand will cause many, if not most gamers to walk away from the table.

 

People that are splitting hairs or playing semantics have never actually had one at the table (most people) or are PowerGamers trying to con their way back on to a table (a tiny number of gamers out there).

 

One day you will meet an actual PowerGamer and at that time you will have no doubt.  

 

  You seam to have completely missed my point, I'll try again. You cite the 3 different names, each one clearly defined in your mind. The REST of this thread is filled with people who have their OWN ideas what those mean, some of whom agree with you, many who do not. Thus no consensus. The consensus part means that if you don't have a clear majority, and have no position of power ( like you designed the game for example)  Then you are just pushing your own definitions on others, with no basis. 
If you read the OP, then you would know some call me a power gamer...So clearly that guy has different standards then you do. 

If you have no agreement on what terms mean, then you cannot have any meaningful conversation about said topic. 
Example Guy X says "Power gamers are bad", meaning the people who soend one point to have a planet killing power
               Guy Y says "Power Gamers can be fine" meaning the guy who buys Dex at 18 is not broken, hes just using his points efficiently>

Nether is talking about the same thing, though both are useing the same labels

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