Poll

On average, how often will you min-max characters while playing?

Always
38 (47.5%)
A lot
31 (38.8%)
Sometimes
7 (8.8%)
Rarely
4 (5%)
Never! (Included for completeness sake)
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 80

Author Topic: How often do you min-max?  (Read 4721 times)

Offline Kajhera

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #40: February 12, 2012, 12:08:31 PM »
I loved kobolds before I knew you could do anything useful with them, so for me, all the bonuses are 'perks for kobolds' and not 'things funneling you into a race you'd be otherwise uninterested in'.

I minmax consistently when playing characters. I enjoy having asymmetric abilities, traits and flaws and lots of feats. It tends to steer me away from MAD classes, I'll admit, though I've been getting back into paladins.

Offline Bloody Initiate

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #41: February 12, 2012, 04:21:04 PM »
If you actually like kobolds that's fine, but for me kobolds were always the pathetic ratty dog people who I would annihilate idly (kinda like drumming your fingers on a table or desk). At their peak they might be a punchline. I believe WotC actually shares my view, and thus laughed their asses off when they tricked optimizers into loving kobolds. I have not fallen for their trick.

I remember awhile back I either arrived late to a campaign or my character died, I don't remember which. Either way it resulted in me having to make a new character mid-game. My first encounter was with kobolds who had a lot of elevation on the party and were raining crossbow bolts on us. I realized I'd failed to put a ranged weapon on my character, so I picked up a garden stone (we were in a courtyard of some kind) and threw it, killing one of the kobolds. We used appropriate rules for improvised weapons and cover and all that, kobolds are just that bad. I recall I had to roll well, but I don't think it was a nat 20 or anything, just about what you'd expect.
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Offline SneeR

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #42: February 13, 2012, 11:31:50 AM »
If you actually like kobolds that's fine, but for me kobolds were always the pathetic ratty dog people who I would annihilate idly (kinda like drumming your fingers on a table or desk). At their peak they might be a punchline. I believe WotC actually shares my view, and thus laughed their asses off when they tricked optimizers into loving kobolds. I have not fallen for their trick.
This.
This is the reason Tucker's kobolds is funny.

I must admit, Kajhera, you are the first person I have ever encountered who actually liked kobolds for reasons not related to mechanics.
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Offline Kajhera

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #43: February 13, 2012, 06:30:48 PM »
Praise Tiamat! Praise the Dark Queen! Gold, blood, and glory for the queen of dragons! Strike the earth! Delve deep, convoluted, and trap it ALL!

.... They're adorable little swarms of yapping evil bloodthirsty cowardly servile fragile paranoid xenophobic communistfeudal magic dragon-dog-thing zealots. What's not to love?  :plotting

Offline InnaBinder

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #44: February 14, 2012, 04:20:52 AM »

They're . . . little swarms of yapping evil bloodthirsty cowardly servile fragile paranoid xenophobic communistfeudal magic dragon-dog-thing zealots. What's not to love?  :plotting
Methinks you just answered your own question.   :P
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Offline Kajhera

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #45: February 14, 2012, 07:16:42 AM »

They're . . . little swarms of yapping evil bloodthirsty cowardly servile fragile paranoid xenophobic communistfeudal magic dragon-dog-thing zealots. What's not to love?  :plotting
Methinks you just answered your own question.   :P
C'mon, they're frickin' adorable, especially while torturing and sacrificing innocents to their dark god.  :p

Offline zugschef

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #46: February 14, 2012, 07:53:26 PM »
i like kobolds :)

Offline M16AMachinegun

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #47: February 17, 2012, 11:41:44 AM »
I min-max for the sole reason that if you're going to do something, you'd best be doing it well, else you're deadweight for yourself, deadweight for your squa-I mean group, and you're likely the first to be DEAD ingame.

Now I don't expect a COMPLETELY min-maxed group, that's boring. But I shake my head when someone says they're going Monk 20 "because of the higher level special abilities".

Offline Bloody Initiate

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #48: February 17, 2012, 03:40:25 PM »
For the record, according to the 3.5 MM Kobolds worship a god who isn't a dragon and whose only power appears to be misanthropy. I know that specific beats core or whatever, but when the specific sources suck I tend to fall back on core fluff. The idea of kobolds becoming badass because they're actually dragons is ridiculous, thus I fall back on the story that they're dog people who resent everyone specifically because everyone is better than them. Dragon are impressive, the idea of them needing to pick their chosen people from the most pathetic things on any planet is LOL-worthy. I know that's not the official word, but like I said the official word is dumb.

As I said above though, if you just like kobolds, that's just fine. I just reject all suggestion that they have a mechanical or fluff advantage. For me that part of that book is just graffiti.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2012, 04:07:59 PM by Bloody Initiate »
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Offline Balmas

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #49: February 23, 2012, 10:32:04 PM »
I always try to make my characters as best as possible.  At the same time, I've never abused the knowledge that I have;  I've never played the Hood or Pun-Pun, sheerly out of respect for the DM and what those characters could do to a well-thought out campaign.
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Offline Drammor

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #50: March 11, 2012, 10:34:15 PM »
Back when I was still playing MtG, I developed a reputation for playing games a certain way.

I played three or more games a day, every day, for three months or so. I lost every game. Every. Single. Game. And then I read absolutely all of the rules, went back and lost every game I played for another month, and then took apart all of my decks, and reassembled the cards into decks which used all of the strategies and tactics of the decks that frustrated me when they beat me. I learned every card I could, until I developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of every set in type 2, and the four sets that came before it.

From then on, 17 out of 20 games were an easy, calculated win. Another 2 were calculated, but not easy. I lost only when I drew no usable cards for at least four turns.

When my friends were making decks that abused certain combinations, I was making similar decks that did the same thing, but faster. Eventually, I started piecing together a decent all-around useful strategy: punish my opponent(s) for owning a library and using it. (It's UBR.)

People could immediately identify when I had helped someone else build a deck. There was just something about the "feel" of decks that I had helped put together.

When I picked up D&D, the same sort of progression happened. I'm still trying to learn all of the rules and materials, but my friends can still tell when I've helped someone build a character. But the best part about this game, to me, is that most of you are still better at it than I am. :)

So, whereas I'm sure that I have a character somewhere that I haven't min-maxed, the act of building one would probably be hard for me, now. That doesn't mean I'm an always-optimal kind of guy. I put together lots of sub-optimal builds. I prefer them, in fact. I know how far from that top they are, but most other gamers I've talked to still look at me like a crazy power gamer, should I ever describe one of them.

Case in point, I'm going to be starting a gestalt game at ECL 11 soon. The DM is the younger brother of the guy I usually play under, but his table will be new to me. I don't know how much he and his brother talk, but the guy who set up this game told the DM to make the campaign as difficult as he pleases. When I started helping another player build their character, I asked him what he wanted to play.

He said, "I've always liked the idea of playing a sorcerer or a wizard, but I'll probably end up being a rogue/fighter." I asked him why that was, and he told me, "Well, wizards are an okay concept, but this is going to be a tough campaign, and compared to fighters, wizards just suck in combat. A fighter can attack three or four times in a round, but a wizard can only cast one spell."

I just about had an apoplexy. This is definitely why I like to play sub-optimal characters.
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Offline Tempest

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #51: March 20, 2012, 01:54:02 AM »
He said, "I've always liked the idea of playing a sorcerer or a wizard, but I'll probably end up being a rogue/fighter." I asked him why that was, and he told me, "Well, wizards are an okay concept, but this is going to be a tough campaign, and compared to fighters, wizards just suck in combat. A fighter can attack three or four times in a round, but a wizard can only cast one spell."

I miss this sweet newbie innocence =(

On another note, comparing MtG (a competitive game) to DnD (which should be a cooperative game) actually irks me quite a bit, I'll get back to that in a bit.

I'll be frank, I actually dislike min-maxers *gasp!* in all but hack-and-slash campaigns with little to no roleplaying/plot, I've always been an ardent follower of the belief that the Roleplaying part of RPG comes before the Game part (Hey, it even got two letters opposed to the one G). Therefore, the most optimizing I, and indeed most of my group, usually do is a simple leveling plan in order to enter Prestige Classes fitting to the idea I have of my character, this is of course subject to change during play and will often change quite a bit compared to the initial plan.

What I believe is that DnD is supposed to be a cooperative roleplaying game, and that min-maxing in itself ruins the roleplaying and cooperative parts of it by promoting a very basic human nature, namely the Alpha role.
By having just one person create a very strong character, he or she will inadvertently create a competitive atmosphere and cause the other players to either; A: Become jealous of the character's success and strenght, B: Feel incompetent and unimportant or C: Have their current character killed off in order to make a stronger one.
This can't end in any better situation than the ones described above and will ind the end lead to the death of story-telling and character focused roleplaying, instead prompting players to create the stats first and the character itself later.
Before a witch-hunt is started on me let me just say this: I've personally seen this happen much too often and I've lost no less than half a dusin players to this. All of what I've said is based on personal experience, it hasn't happened to you? Then great, you've managed to find a group of human paragons capable of conquering their competitive nature.

tl;dr: I rarely do.

Offline X-Codes

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #52: March 20, 2012, 09:09:41 AM »
^ I thought we had a thread devoted to the fallacy formerly known as the Stormwind Fallacy, but I can't find it.  Another one you might to reference, however, would be the Munchkinmaxer Fallacy.  There is such a thing as cooperative min/maxing, and one of my previous characters was actually focused on getting the entire party to never fail a saving throw ever.

Offline SneeR

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #53: March 20, 2012, 09:47:33 AM »
I'll be frank, I actually dislike min-maxers *gasp!* in all but hack-and-slash campaigns with little to no roleplaying/plot, I've always been an ardent follower of the belief that the Roleplaying part of RPG comes before the Game part (Hey, it even got two letters opposed to the one G). Therefore, the most optimizing I, and indeed most of my group, usually do is a simple leveling plan in order to enter Prestige Classes fitting to the idea I have of my character, this is of course subject to change during play and will often change quite a bit compared to the initial plan.
"Min/max" merely means minimizing losses to maximize the concept. One concept that you could maximize is a highly social character that is geared towards solving mysteries. That concept would minimize losses to its concept by cutting out combat prowess.

I feel you are mistakenly equating "min/maxer" to "powergamer." A powergamer is truly the bane of roleplaying: everything is about getting to the next combat, getting to the next treasure, getting the next XP, and being as powerful as possible in what they feel is important: combat, combat, combat.

To maximize that character concept, many powergamers are also min/maxers, but just as many min/maxers are not powergamers. Where the line grows hazy is when someone optimizes a character so well that they maximize their character concept (such as the social character above), yet need not minimize their combat prowess to that end; as such, they end up using excess resources (such as unused feats and spell slots) to also maximize combat as best they can. Without knowing that optimizer's train of thought, one could call them a powergamer if they saw that the charcacter was highly efficient at combat and social situations, when social roleplay was always the main goal.
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Offline Tempest

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #54: March 20, 2012, 01:05:42 PM »
I stand corrected, powergamer was the word I was looking for, but which escaped me at the moment of my post ^^

Online veekie

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #55: March 20, 2012, 03:26:31 PM »
Practically everyone here is a min-maxer to some degree, of course, you'd see a reaction if you use the wrong terminology. :)
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Offline Drammor

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #56: March 20, 2012, 07:27:43 PM »
On another note, comparing MtG (a competitive game) to DnD (which should be a cooperative game) actually irks me quite a bit, I'll get back to that in a bit.

Is it comparing a MtG to D&D that bothers you, or comparing a competitive game to a cooperative game that bothers you?

As other people have already stated, you probably had the wrong idea about me. I have the capacity to be a powergamer, but I specifically decline it (unless the table calls for it). I do not play D&D competitively, but it's just easy for me to see the many rules, features and options of each game working in symphony with one another, and how individual notes and dynamics (to extend the metaphor) in their various forms can modify the feel of any given composition.

Really... games, languages and music have quite a bit of conceptual content in common. Unless you're using my bardsong magic system... then it's a little less conceptual. But that's a totally different tangent.

My point is that it's easy to compare MtG to D&D, because they're both games, and they both have numerous elements within them that have the capacity to work together. And that fact makes me really curious to know why the comparison "irks" you.
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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #57: March 21, 2012, 12:20:08 AM »
That is, competitive and collaborative games do have significant differences in component power. In competitive games, how well one module performs against another, head to head, is the measure of balance. Collaborative games instead contrasts how modules work together to combat an external force, they're harder to balance because you are throwing two items together and exploiting the synergy against a third force.
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Offline Tempest

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #58: March 21, 2012, 02:31:09 AM »
@Drammor: The comment about MtG and DnD wasn't really directed at you, I think you made it quite clear from the rest of the post how you feel about the game, which is a lot like how I feel about it as well. It's very hard to not look at DnD like a mathematical system once you've dug deeper into it and understood the different parts of it, and one of the most prominent aspects of human nature has always been our curiousity, our need to discover and solve all the 'problems' around us.

I believe that min-maxing/optimizing is an extremely natural thing to start doing once one really 'discovers' DnD as more than a roleplaying system, we start to look at our character sheets as one big mathematical equation, a collection of variables urging us to optimize them. This in itself is not a problem, as simply giving players access to a creative system shouldn't hamper the roleplaying part of it.
In fact I'm a firm believer that it's important to optimize your character to some degree, nobody wants to play an underperforming character even in a non-optimized group after all. The problem appears when the desire to be Alpha rears its head, as it often does when playing any sort of game which can be 'solved' or optimized.
This is the source of my comment about MtG, namely that, as a competitive game, MtG promotes the improvement of your deck through the use of new and better cards as well as the mathematical calculation of the mana curve/balance, all in order to win against other players.
Once DnD turns into the above mentioned mathematical game, it also allows people the freedom to create as powerful a character as they possible can, something which many people will find hard to resist, simply because they know that they can, or are just curious to see how strong a character they can make. All it takes is one person in a player group before an unseen 'arms race' begins, each of the other players trying to optimize their characters to the other person's level, and the other person responding by optimizing even more in order to not get "outmatched", one might think this a preposterous thought, if I hadn't seen it happen myself several times.
Most of the time it'll end with the person putting too much of their effort into 'solving' the math of their character, instead of using their time on the actual roleplaying part of the game.
There are those other people though, the ones who have seen the depths of the system and emerged, not as true min-maxers or even powergamers, but as people who see the possibilities to create truly interesting character concepts and use the system in order to make them come to life, both on paper as well as in-game. This is personally the kind of optimizer I want to be, and I'm happy to say that I've got at least another person in my current player group who belongs to this group as well.
Those other people who were consumed by the math and became powergamers? We don't play with those anymore, and we all agree that it's better that way.

Long story short about what irked me with the MtG - DnD comparison: MtG is a competitive game, we can all probably agree on this, even if it does have some cooperative elements (Two-headed, Emperor, etc.). As such it promotes competition against others and the improvement of your deck in order to win effectively.
But DnD is in a rather awkward position. On one hand we want it to be a cooperative game, in fact that's how it was originally intended to be. But not very many of us can deny that we want to 'beat the system', to create the most powerful character that we can and simply 'win' against the DM and whatever monsters and challenges he throws at us, to be a great and powerful hero in a fantasy world. What we often forget however, is that it's the DM and his story which makes us heroes of that world, not because we managed to do 90 damage on a crit at first lvl, or because we're an omnipotent and omniscient batman-esque wizard capable of solving any problem or challenge presented to us. 

I lost my train of thought there for a moment, so I'll wrap this up with what I was planning on saying since I started writing this post: That the comparison between MtG and DnD brought to mind the entire thing I've been writing about above, that they're both in their own ways mathematical systems capable of being broken, the only difference is that one of them is competitive in nature, while the other is cooperative. That DnD is supposed to be cooperative rarely stops people from powergaming if given the chance however.

@veekie: I agree on all counts, it's just that DnD isn't 100% cooperative, in fact there's a lot of its parts which enables a person to become a god-like being and entirely abandon the idea of working together with others, and as long as that's an option, some people will want to do it. Once again, I'll use the Alpha word =)


tl;dr: Ranting about the influence of a competitive mindset in DnD
 

Offline Drammor

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Re: How often do you min-max?
« Reply #59: March 21, 2012, 02:45:27 AM »
@veekie: I agree on all counts, it's just that DnD isn't 100% cooperative, in fact there's a lot of its parts which enables a person to become a god-like being and entirely abandon the idea of working together with others, and as long as that's an option, some people will want to do it. Once again, I'll use the Alpha word =)

It's a little "meta," and it can almost certainly only happen after a person has gotten a fair grasp of how the game works, but I think this is actually part of the challenge the game presents: how not to do this, and also to keep having fun at the same time. To understand that every 4 levels, you've essentially become a god to what you were 4 levels ago, but to keep finding ways to challenge the party and yourself.

Thanks to help from this forum about the invinci-troll, I helped a friend make a warforged character with many more immunities than vulnerabilities. As a group, we all know that as soon as the campaign starts, the DM will have to be on the ball about us, or money will never be a problem again. Our group will hunt down and kill dragons with CRs much higher than our ECL, because our tank is nigh invulnerable.

I was also tasked with finding ways to keep hurting him, though, and lemme tell you, I did find a few. Some are practically hilarious in their contrivancy. Coincidentally, jovocs (such as the ones I've been working on for another thread) can still hurt him, because their aura of retribution ignores his immunity to damage.

Now that most combat is no longer a real issue, we're all free to be challenged by a diversified campaign. Or, to be challenged by combat that isn't under the umbrella of "most." I'm really looking forward to it...
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 02:48:11 AM by Drammor »
[20:32] <DonQuixote> A POX UPON YOU ALL!
[20:32] <DonQuixote> YOU, J, FOR STEALING THE PURITY OF NORNS.
[20:32] <DonQuixote> YOU, DRAMMOR, FOR ENSNARING ME IN THIS FIENDISH PRISON.