Is powergaming bad?

A few points.

1) Past a certain point, levels are not nearly as important as people seem to believe.

Most influential Big Shots in our chapter, those who have had the most impact on the plot and IG world, are under 25 level, and we are not a low level chapter by any means. Do we have the nightmare inducing meat grinders for the 30 and even 40+ level characters? Sure thing, but we also run all sorts of encounters that require OOG dexterity, or cunning, or having a remarkable memory, or studying subtle shifts in the IG world over a period of four years, writing them down and staring at the page for hours on end, until a plan to have artificially aged pages added to a book so that some poor old bastard can be tricked into drinking from a chalice of life and blowing himself up… (Sorry, tangent).

Lots of chapters have learned how to do this tactically. The chapter at which I pc, CT, does a fantastic job of scaling mods and town battles in a way that all level characters are not just useful, but actually essential. For example, last event we had this town fight where some mixed level folks guarded a portal while a hodge podge assortment of characters had to play defense as the low-body-but-dangerous runners busted through the line to kill the we-need-to-keep-this-stationary-dude-alive thing, while the really high level folks were kept busy fighting a dragon. EVERYONE had an absolutely crucial role in that fight. A 7th level player with a keen eye and/or fast feet could have contributed more than some of the highest level folks in that fight.

You just have to get creative with the system.

That being said, yes, the disparity between high level characters (25+) and low level characters (lower than 15th) is high, and the rules could do a lot more to make it less severe. However, if the chapter you play in really focuses on funking it up a bit you'd be surprised what can be done to make thoughts about levels evaporate.

I never think about levels when I go on a mod. We have people who are under 10th level and those who are 40+, and it honestly, it doesn't matter, it never comes to mind in a fight. I can see how this is probably difficult to believe. I'd probably doubt it too, until I saw it.

Part of what makes it work is if a team splits its resources fairly evenly. My team does this. So when our fighter for the weekend is our 12th level dude, he gets the ubber stick. This effectively makes him, umm...not 12th level.

2. The gods of power gaming actually play a lot.

A lot of people get some sand in their socks about players pay-no-playing or using gobbies to max out an event, but is there really a huge difference between the player who plays every event and is now 30th level over that of the dude who hardly ever plays but gobbies out the event and is now 38th level (which by the way, takes YEARS of maxing out many events per month)? Well, yes, there is a difference. The 30th level guy is probably A LOT more powerful.

The guy/gal who actually plays gets bottled, or a pocket full of magic items, or bucket of gas globes, etc..

The guy who just buys max outs just gets levels, a little more damage or a few more spells, etc.

Years of treasure is more powerful than years of sitting on your *** buying max outs.

If we really wanted to limit the disparity between characters we would limit the number of rituals/magic items one can access at any given time.

Now imagine Journey's Don't stop Believing begin to play with a somehow epic montage of owners board voting. "Don't stop belieeeevin..." (point, click) "hold onto that feeeeeling..."
 

Gilwing

Baron
Alliance Logistics
Deadlands said:
A few points....

2. The gods of power gaming actually play a lot.

A lot of people get some sand in their socks about players pay-no-playing or using gobbies to max out an event, but is there really a huge difference between the player who plays every event and is now 30th level over that of the dude who hardly ever plays but gobbies out the event and is now 38th level (which by the way, takes YEARS of maxing out many events per month)? Well, yes, there is a difference. The 30th level guy is probably A LOT more powerful.

The guy/gal who actually plays gets bottled, or a pocket full of magic items, or bucket of gas globes, etc..

The guy who just buys max outs just gets levels, a little more damage or a few more spells, etc.

Years of treasure is more powerful than years of sitting on your *** buying max outs..."
Don't forget the actual "experience" learned when playing the game as well as all the plot and PC ties that are created when some one plays.

Give a new person a 35th level card with 5-10 magic items Vs. a person whom has been playing for 10+ years, a 20th level card w/o any MI. The, real life experienced player will come out on top most of the time.
 
Deadlands said:
A few points.


2. The gods of power gaming actually play a lot.


Years of treasure is more powerful than years of sitting on your *** buying max outs.
Very true. I have a 45th level character, but I've played over 125 events in my home chapter alone. I've NPCed at least 60% of those events, maybe more. I've played well over 200 events and maybe closer to 250 (who knows at this point).

I also attend local and national staff meetings. I have rarely if ever gotten gobbies or dragon stamps for cash. Donations yes, cash no. And I have probably $50,000 dollars "invested" in the game and our site. I have gotten few if any GS or DS for that money, as my work and donations are more than ample to meet the limits on spending.

This is obviously from an East Coast perspective, but the vast majority of people I know who come close to my character level play and work for the Alliance in insane ways that can NEVER be fairly compensated by build, magic items or DS or GS. They do it because they love the game. Most people (if not all) who "max" the DS and GS system do so through work, not through money.

Wraith, your observations are purely anecdotal and I'm sorry you feel that way. Your initial post did come off a little harsh, but hey, that's the internet. I am constantly amazed by the players of this game and how much they put into a "hobby." I think if you took some time to look at it from another perspective, you might be a little more comfortable with the system.

Scott
Alliance HQ Owner
Faire Play Money Pit Owner
 
Doh! I didn't comment on Gary's second comment I quoted.

As someone who NPCs A LOT, I can tell you from that perspective sometimes I get a little "jealous" (not really though) of people who PC all the time. They build up scrolls, comps and cats...as well as what I find much more valuable, plot and plot connections, that you just don't when you NPC. Actually playing the game may put your character at risk, but it doesn't get you the "treasure power" that PCing does.

Scott
 
Phedre wrote:
"So please don't begrudge me a monthly blanket and call me a powergamer because I worked my butt off for the benefit of the chapter. It's insulting and demeaning, I earned where my characters are. And neither of them, for the record, are over 25th level, and the only LCO items I have are from workdays that had a "pick 3 times evers" as the reward, or RP rewards."

Again its a perception issue. People label other people and this causes angst. If people concentrated more on playing their characers and less on what other people are doing I think things would be better.

If you truly covet what someone else has go get it. Earn it/ steal it/ be all you cant be......
but remmber there are consequences to ones actions for everything you do in this game........

- O
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
RE: LCO items.

I agree completely that these should not travel, and we do not allow them in Ashbury -- it kind of defeats the whole purpose of a treasure policy, which was to prevent chapters from putting out extra loot that would affect other chapters.
 

Wraith

Newbie
Sym of Moria said:
Phedre wrote:
"So please don't begrudge me a monthly blanket and call me a powergamer because I worked my butt off for the benefit of the chapter. It's insulting and demeaning, I earned where my characters are. And neither of them, for the record, are over 25th level, and the only LCO items I have are from workdays that had a "pick 3 times evers" as the reward, or RP rewards."

Again its a perception issue. People label other people and this causes angst. If people concentrated more on playing their characers and less on what other people are doing I think things would be better.

If you truly covet what someone else has go get it. Earn it/ steal it/ be all you cant be......
but remmber there are consequences to ones actions for everything you do in this game........
For the record, this is a really, really bad idea. Encouraging in-game theft for out of game motivations is bad, bad mojo, and leads down some really ugly metagame paths. And how exactly do you recommend 'earning it', if someone is already behind because they can't afford to keep up with the donation pace? Just throw more money down the hole, and hope the game gets fun enough to make up for it at some nebulous future point?

I would -love- to have been able to just concentrate on playing my character and ignore the rest, but it isn't very effective when everything not on a specifically scaled mod has enemies are scaled to the pocket full of cloaks and laundry list of activates crowd. Playing combat characters who are utterly ineffective is distinctly not fun.

When most events seem to have the big fights essentially come down to both sides throwing piles of 1-shot disables (prisons, eviscerates, deaths, etc) until one or the other runs out of dodges, cloaks, and banes, all a lower-powered or lesser geared character can be is another body to soak up effects.


Mike : I'm really glad to hear you say that, actually. The biggest part of the problem I've had with item creep is travelling LCO items, because once enough of them are around, it really devalues treasure policy's existence.
 
Fearless Leader said:
RE: LCO items.

I agree completely that these should not travel, and we do not allow them in Ashbury -- it kind of defeats the whole purpose of a treasure policy, which was to prevent chapters from putting out extra loot that would affect other chapters.
People keep saying that, but even in chapters that "don't allow LCO items to transfer," they still exist. Just because an item with a NH tag doesn't enter HQ doesn't mean that someone didn't 'spend' NH gobbies to buy an item that works in HQ. The "I'll buy your PC a magic item in my chapter if you'll buy my PC a magic item in yours" trade is exactly the same thing under a different name. If the problem really is LCO magic items, they need to be completely ham-stringed to fix the issue. Not just 'no transferability,' but spirit locked or gotten rid of entirely. I'm not especially in favor of it, but it's definitely out of hand, and we're way past the 'easy fix' point.
 
Really?

500 gobbies spent in NH, 500 in CT: one item which gets used only NH, one item which gets used only in CT. That is the same as 500 gobbies spent in chapter A that is used in chapters A, B, and C?

Looks like it's time for a hiatus!
 
Sym of Moria wrote:
Phedre wrote:
"So please don't begrudge me a monthly blanket and call me a powergamer because I worked my butt off for the benefit of the chapter. It's insulting and demeaning, I earned where my characters are. And neither of them, for the record, are over 25th level, and the only LCO items I have are from workdays that had a "pick 3 times evers" as the reward, or RP rewards."

Again its a perception issue. People label other people and this causes angst. If people concentrated more on playing their characers and less on what other people are doing I think things would be better.

If you truly covet what someone else has go get it. Earn it/ steal it/ be all you cant be......
but remmber there are consequences to ones actions for everything you do in this game........



Wraith wrote:
For the record, this is a really, really bad idea. Encouraging in-game theft for out of game motivations is bad, bad mojo, and leads down some really ugly metagame paths. And how exactly do you recommend 'earning it', if someone is already behind because they can't afford to keep up with the donation pace? Just throw more money down the hole, and hope the game gets fun enough to make up for it at some nebulous future point?
--
Actually Wraith when I say earn it.. roleplay or go kill monsters, NPC and buy with gobbies. And why dont you advocate PvP (it should be an IG motivation not an OOG motivation)? Some people take the game a bit too seriously. Why cant I go and kill someone because I want something they have IG - I dont see an issue with this (there are consequences if im am caught).. Im not saying everyone should go crazy...Its not the approach I would personally take but I dont begrudge anyone for playing on their characters motivations. Again I stress the Perception issue..is a huge culprit and players (in an oog capacity) not know when to be good sports.

My 2 cents...
- O
PS- I respect your opinion and I am offering my own.
= )
 

Wraith

Newbie
Sym of Moria said:
Wraith wrote:
For the record, this is a really, really bad idea. Encouraging in-game theft for out of game motivations is bad, bad mojo, and leads down some really ugly metagame paths. And how exactly do you recommend 'earning it', if someone is already behind because they can't afford to keep up with the donation pace? Just throw more money down the hole, and hope the game gets fun enough to make up for it at some nebulous future point?
--
Actually Wraith when I say earn it.. roleplay or go kill monsters, NPC and buy with gobbies. And why dont you advocate PvP (it should be an IG motivation not an OOG motivation)? Some people take the game a bit too seriously. Why cant I go and kill someone because I want something they have IG - I dont see an issue with this (there are consequences if im am caught).. Im not saying everyone should go crazy...Its not the approach I would personally take but I dont begrudge anyone for playing on their characters motivations. Again I stress the Perception issue..is a huge culprit and players (in an oog capacity) not know when to be good sports.

My 2 cents...
- O
PS- I respect your opinion and I am offering my own.
= )
I don't advocate PVP for OOG reasons. For in-game reasons, sure, go nuts. :) But it's a short trip from suggesting someone wanting more character progression OOG get it from other players to seeing level ~10 PCs as crunchies with better loot. And plot is generally going to be unhappy if they have to bring in a uber-scaled brute squad to deal with say, a group who can kill other PCs easily deciding they want to farm the rest of the crowd for loot. Not to mention the customer service issue.
 
Dan Nickname Beshers said:
Really?

500 gobbies spent in NH, 500 in CT: one item which gets used only NH, one item which gets used only in CT. That is the same as 500 gobbies spent in chapter A that is used in chapters A, B, and C?
It's exactly the same. You're intentionally not including the fact that your CT or NH item is usable in chapters A, B, and C, too.

I, for example, have a metric yang of Seattle gobbies. I'm sure the HoPs of CT or NH have plenty, too. If they each gobbie items and trade them, they can use their new items in every chapter except the one that they earned their gobbies in, which they don't PC in, anyways. They also can't use the item in Ashbury. If I gobbie an item, I also can use it in every chapter except the one that I earned the gobbies in, because I can't PC there. I also can't use my item in Ashbury.

Seems like pretty much the same thing. In fact, you've helped me realize a point that I don't think you anticipated; A 'traded' NH or CT item works in more chapters than my gobbied SEA item, since in addition to not being able to take mine into Ashbury (which is common to us both), I also can't take mine into either NH or CT, while the people who traded for those items can be brought into one of those chapters.


A small subset of chapters deciding not to allow in LCO items doesn't actually help the global situation of reducing the power level of the game, it makes LCO items from those chapters more powerful in the global scheme of things. Independently, it puts a throttle on what that specific chapter has to deal with, but it doesn't address the overall issue at all, it makes it worse.
 

Talen

Adept
Is powergaming bad?

Yep. The Alliance ruleset suffers as it stands from being pushed far beyond what it was intended to be. The "bigger" it gets, the more opportunity there is to powergame the system, which means that the difference between low-level and high-level gets increasingly ridiculous as people push it further.

You can't get rid of min-maxing. The rules as they stand don't generally make NOT min-maxing a flaw, but it rewards doing so, and the more build that goes into a character, the more effect powergaming can have on the game.

You want less powergaming? Deflate the system, one way or the other. That's the solution.
 

Toddo

Knight
HQ Staff
Marshal
Talen said:
Is powergaming bad?

Yep. The Alliance ruleset suffers as it stands from being pushed far beyond what it was intended to be. The "bigger" it gets, the more opportunity there is to powergame the system, which means that the difference between low-level and high-level gets increasingly ridiculous as people push it further.

You can't get rid of min-maxing. The rules as they stand don't generally make NOT min-maxing a flaw, but it rewards doing so, and the more build that goes into a character, the more effect powergaming can have on the game.

You want less powergaming? Deflate the system, one way or the other. That's the solution.
You seem to be arguing that character progression equals powergaming and that having high level characters is a bad thing. Powergaming implies that you are using the rules to gain an unfair advantage but the level/build progression and logistics DB does not allow you to spend build you don't have so people just having more build and buying more skills seems to be supported by the rules.

As for deflating the system, why? If you have players leaving because they don't feel that they matter/they aren't having fun then there's a deeper issue that can't be fixed with a rules patch. I'd love it if everybody came to game with a "how can I make sure that everyone around me is having fun?" attitude rather than trying to hamstring people who have done nothing wrong except been around long evough to be more powerful.
 

Wraith

Newbie
Toddo said:
As for deflating the system, why? If you have players leaving because they don't feel that they matter/they aren't having fun then there's a deeper issue that can't be fixed with a rules patch. I'd love it if everybody came to game with a "how can I make sure that everyone around me is having fun?" attitude rather than trying to hamstring people who have done nothing wrong except been around long evough to be more powerful.
I think that attitude requires both sides feeling like they're getting the same consideration from the other, so I can't say how common it would be. On the other hand, I see absolutely nothing wrong with, as a game, asking the long-time players who've been the stars for long enough to become uber-high level to step out of the spotlight now and then and let everyone else play too.
 

Talen

Adept
Toddo said:
You seem to be arguing that character progression equals powergaming and that having high level characters is a bad thing. Powergaming implies that you are using the rules to gain an unfair advantage but the level/build progression and logistics DB does not allow you to spend build you don't have so people just having more build and buying more skills seems to be supported by the rules.
Actually, I'm saying that powergaming will happen regardless of how much build you get- it's that those effects are magnified as build numbers and survival time in general increases. We can all powergame. It's literally defined as building a character to focus on power vs. any other consideration, like storytelling, atmosphere, or friends. What I'm saying is that as the general power level of the game has grown and the average amount of build per character has as well, the opportunities for any given character to do so (and the effects of such) have increased as well.

As for deflating the system, why? If you have players leaving because they don't feel that they matter/they aren't having fun then there's a deeper issue that can't be fixed with a rules patch. I'd love it if everybody came to game with a "how can I make sure that everyone around me is having fun?" attitude rather than trying to hamstring people who have done nothing wrong except been around long evough to be more powerful.
Why? Because right now, the history of the game is beginning to resemble Dragon Ball Z. The heroes of old wouldn't be very legendary, because the bad guys of now would stomp them faster than you can say "unscaled meatgrinder". Of course, many of those heroes are actually the same ones, just Super Saiya- er, higher power levels than they were 5, 10, 15 years ago. The challenge level as you gain levels in the game actually goes down, the odds of actually losing have dropped off precipitously as the players have gained (and can accrue) the multiple layers of defenses and "saves" to become almost cockroach-like in their survival abilities.

You'd think that as PC's fought in battles against opponents orders of magnitude in power higher, the result would be fewer survivors...not more. But that's how the rules have worked out at higher levels- and IMHO, it's wrong. People should not be casually walking away from opponents who have destroyed entire nations, can casually wipe armies off the map, or bring forth allies of such hideous power that one alone can melt most mortals into piles of ash with a few words and a gesture. But they do.

Or at least, not all of them. Most "wins" for PC's are so clean you could eat off them, and even the losses are rarely the disasters you'd assume a "Oh heck, we screwed it up there goes the neighborhood" would imply. Often, it's "hide in a Ward till they go away.

How many times can you think of lately where more than 5 people died in one go, outside of a module? Heck, how many TPK's on a mod can you think of lately at your chapter? How about 10 people? More than 10? How many events without one perm? How many with more than one perm?

It's gone from "Most of us survived- this time" to "Yay, we pimp-slapped another BBEG, go team!". And yes, I point straight at the game for that, not the players. The game tossed piles of MI's in and governs the flow of PC-made ones in generous fashion. It made it easier for a character to survive events, up to and including dying at one. I do think that's wrong.

I think it's easier to make things feel more awesome when the stats don't have to be jacked to 9000+ to let an encounter last a decent amount of time, where monsters that can wipe the floor with a party of newbies (but don't worry, there's plenty of healers and heroes nearby to pop them up) aren't so common, and a BBEG actually feels it when your brave little hobling fresh from Breakfastsville stabs him in the ankle with his dagger. Deflating the game helps bring the players together, makes them more dependent on one another and more apt to really feel like it's a team effort, not "Send in the big guys, and oh you clean up the scraps".

I don't want the high-level characters to step out of their spotlights. I want them to face Uberbad the Malicious and have the tale of how Sir Swingsalot and Squire Swordnboard carved great hunks of Uberbad down, but Swingsalot was torn in two and Mikey Mcbackstabber impaled on it's tail, leaving the heroes to dig a grave for the brave knight who fought so Uberbad could be defeated and to pray that Mikey was fortunate enough that Death didn't win a double helping of adventurer for dinner this night. I want bards singing about Sir Swingsalot, who died that the world was saved from Uberbad. I want new players to be taken to the graveyard and shown Swingsalot's Tomb by Mikey, so they know that they too can save the world- if they're brave enough to gamble their lives to preserve everyone else's.

What I don't want is high-level characters that can mark off BBEG's on a list like a bunch of WoW achievements, which is more like what it feels like to me. It's not epic. It's not "high fantasy". It feels more like pro wrestling. And that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
 

Toddo

Knight
HQ Staff
Marshal
Come play on the East coast. Both CT and HQ (Two of the chapters that have the biggest, most magically-endowed PCs) got town-wiped this season. As for the argument that new players will always be behind the long-time players, you're right. The only time this really makes a difference is PvP though, and there are ways to 1 shot even the biggest PC if you're smart. As for level differences in wave battles, the solutions to that are far too draconian to be justified on such a minor problem. There are ways to challenge the high level PCs while not automurdering lowbies and anything with a town-blaster style card should be showing the sportsmanship to give lowbies a warning swing or two into their shield or weapon blade to give them a chance to run before getting brutalized. This has been a really deadly season on the East coast, and some of our biggest players (and best equipped high level teams) have taken deaths, though to be honest the Hunt BEGGED for that circle-rez.
 

djmeser

Newbie
here is one solution to power gaming
a rules change called skill diversification.

to put it simply. the more you buy the same skill the more expensive it costs.

for example each weapon prof cost 15+(the number of profs already purchased -6) after you buy your 6th your swinging for 8s on a long sword but to get to 9s you need 16 build and then 17 for 10s so on and so fourth.
or
each spell slot purchased increases by 1 build for every 9th level spell bought -4)

this scale could be altered but the idea is simple.
up untill about mid level the cost would be the same and start to increase in later levels. this will encourage most high level characters to take a cross class instead of swinging 20s all day they might be swinging 10s plus a decent spell pyramid.
 

Morai

Scholar
This topic appears to be spinning wildly out of control, after a mod has posted asking people to try and remain civil.

As such I'm locking the topic for a few hours to give people time to calm down. I will unlock the topic once I get home from work tonight.

~Joe

PS. If anyone has any questions or would like to discuss this with me I encourage you to PM me directly.


-Update

I logged and removed all the posts that seemed to just be about 'your chapter is doing it wrong' and am now reopening the topic so if people would like to continue discussing power gaming in general they may. If you wish to discuss power disparity between high and low level players, I would suggest you discuss that here: http://alliancelarp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12547.
 

Talen

Adept
Toddo said:
Come play on the East coast. Both CT and HQ (Two of the chapters that have the biggest, most magically-endowed PCs) got town-wiped this season. As for the argument that new players will always be behind the long-time players, you're right. The only time this really makes a difference is PvP though, and there are ways to 1 shot even the biggest PC if you're smart. As for level differences in wave battles, the solutions to that are far too draconian to be justified on such a minor problem. There are ways to challenge the high level PCs while not automurdering lowbies and anything with a town-blaster style card should be showing the sportsmanship to give lowbies a warning swing or two into their shield or weapon blade to give them a chance to run before getting brutalized. This has been a really deadly season on the East coast, and some of our biggest players (and best equipped high level teams) have taken deaths, though to be honest the Hunt BEGGED for that circle-rez.
Wasn't the town-wipe at HQ the low-level event?

In any case, I look at people taking deaths being a good thing, but how many of those were perms? Any significant number?
 
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