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# are powergaming and roleplaying mutually exclusive?

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Glak    315
Most people seem to think they are yet in my own experience it simply isn''t true. Is there anything in the definition of one that says you can''t be the other? I happen to like both roleplaying and rollplaying, both are interesting.

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Freakshow    122
Theoretically, you''d be right. I wish you were, since I happen to like both myself. But unfortunately in a mass medium such as MMORPGs, you are forced to cater to the lowest common denominator.

Most systems that allow powergaming at all tend to encourage it. Roleplaying takes time. Leveling takes time, also. Roleplaying will not make you more powerful/less likely to die. Powergaming will. There is no contest. If just one person spends ALL his time leveling, a serious problem is created for the "roleplayers". Guilds are a contrived solution to this.

As a result I would say that powergaming and any meaningful role-play are mutually exclusive on a large scale. Most of the time. A good designer could find a way around this... but nobody has.

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Dogfood    122

I don''t think they''re mutually exclusive, perhaps would take some effort to accomplish it. My guess is not to discourage powergaming, but give tangible rewards to the player who engages in other avenues of advancment. For instance, leveling should not be faster for powergamers. Oh well, back to coding, just my $0.02 worth. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites DarkMage139 294 Well, aren''t superpowerful individuals part of the fun? I mean, read "The Hobbit". The Necromancer was more powerful than all the dwarves in the world put together. So having these powerful characters makes for an interesting history, where an entire force would band together to fight an individual. So I guess THAT would be roleplaying. - DarkMage139 ++++++++++++++++ I can do things, things you never knew, I can change your world if you only knew. I can do miracles if you want me to. Anything is possible, I'll prove it to you. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Well powermaxing has been a part of games almost since the dawn of time so it makes sence to me that as role playing makes it''s way over to the computer meduim that it will encounter powermaxing game designs. Not to mention that powermaxing was a problem with table-top role playing as well. I don''t beleive that powermaxing need be seperate from role-playing, i mean you could roleplay a power mad wizard which if done wisely you would end up with a roleplayer with a powerful character. So really, if your roleplaying and you''re not doing so well with power advancement then either you''re not role-playing the character very well or you should have realised from the word go of making this role for your character that this would be the consequences there in (and be happy with it). I love Game Design and it loves me back. Our Goal is "Fun"! #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites tebriel 904 I think it depends on your definition of "powergaming". I define powergaming as: Performing actions that are OUT OF CHARACTER purely for the reason of gaining skill/levels. That by definition MUST be mutually exclusive, because if you go out of character, you''re not roleplaying anymore. And you''re not entirely correct about roleplaying not helping you to gain any strength/skill/etc... You can find things to do that help your skill level quite easily (in the game I''m thinking of) that will enable you to stay in character while doing so. Trust me, I''ve done it... I will admit that it won''t take you to a "god" level or anything like that, unless you''re really really determined and play for hours on end or something. Of course this is all just based on my definitions of the topic, so it''s all a moot point anyway. =========================================== As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality. -Albert Einstein #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Glak 315 Yes leveling does seem to be a problem, in that roleplayers tend to not engage in XP (or treasure) generating activities as much. Giving out XP for roleplaying is impossible to do without human oversight, even then it is impossible because roleplaying is completely subjective. I''ve been working on the design doc (but programming a different game) of a sort of RPGish game with no leveling, no money, and no magical items, no NPCs that can talk either (just a slave race of apes), so far I think it''s working out well. Leveling is more of a thing for smaller groups where you just give out the XP when you want the players to have new skills. I think poor design is the main reason people all end of with the same characters. If they want power they have to make the right choices, and there are certainly wrong choices. Eliminating the wrong choices and putting in more right choices would be great. Once things are balanced people don''t have to worry about having a weak character, at that point it isn''t the choice between good and bad but between focus and flexibility or some other kind of fun choice. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Freakshow 122 quote: Original post by Paul Cunningham I don''t beleive that powermaxing need be seperate from role-playing, i mean you could roleplay a power mad wizard which if done wisely you would end up with a roleplayer with a powerful character. IMO, roleplaying the power-mad wizard would very likely lead you into situations where you would take unreasonable risks just to gain power. Things like selling your soul, becoming addicted to certain power foci, trying to seize power from those people who have a lot more than you do. These actions are NOT powermaxing, since they actually require the sacrifice of something other than time to advance. So there. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites quote: Original post by Freakshow IMO, roleplaying the power-mad wizard would very likely lead you into situations where you would take unreasonable risks just to gain power. Things like selling your soul, becoming addicted to certain power foci, trying to seize power from those people who have a lot more than you do. These actions are NOT powermaxing, since they actually require the sacrifice of something other than time to advance. So there. I''ve got a cold (coff coff) so i can''t laugh, but i can still giggle hehe coff coff hehe. Yeah, Ok I love Game Design and it loves me back. Our Goal is "Fun"! #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Ketchaval 186 Powergaming vs. Roleplaying ? Personally I believe that roleplaying "games" can / should? transcend the everyday view of Games. Whatever... Ie. Games are goal oriented > Where you bash the ball into the net, or shoot the enemies to survive + for fun, or build a civilisation to produce more money. Or defeat the evil overlord, just because that is all the game is about, and it is an arbitrary way of having fun in the preconceived CRPG universe, as created by the designers. Thus games encourage you to take the better strategy and opportunities available in order to achieve that goal. Digital toy sets, like Sim City > have no predetermined goal, and allow you to experiment with their properties. You may choose to build a huge city, but you don''t have to. Whereas in its purest form, playing a role is about embodying that (a fictional Being) and being that person reacting to the events in their lives etc. It is not about defeating evil overlords because you are a powerful superhuman hero. Whilst people add in all the evil overlord stuff, and the exciting dice rolling combat, this is for their own enjoyment. IMO There are at least two ways of defeating powergaming. 1. The extreme form of roleplaying= a simulation of a proper world where the society is balanced to protect the weak ie. Killers get thrown into jail. There are no XP or levelling, and only hidden "simulated" stats. 2. Design single player games so that they allow players a good chance of survival, WITH only middling (weak?) armour etc. OR, "cheat" by having the game rule system act like a DM and adjust the difficulty to the ability of the players. This will allow for a "fantasy" based roleplaying experience. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites 3. Permanent Character Death - X amount of saves and/or time based life expectancy I love Game Design and it loves me back. Our Goal is "Fun"! Edited by - Paul Cunningham on September 15, 2000 12:26:53 PM #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Guest Anonymous Poster There''s a relevant article at: www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/Ruleslawyer_Sergio_9_1.html It takes a little patience to slog through, but there are some good conclusions. It breaks games into 3 sections: 1) Where you level up quickly and increase your skills rapidly 2) Where you have a fairly static set of skills that you work to apply in more effective ways, and 3) Where the skills are slowly declining and you must rely more on strategy and planning than brawn. Most CRPGs focus on the first - it''s constant levelling up to then pursue the next higher level. The third type would be more like chess, where you are slowly losing pieces and have to make up for the loss with better strategy. The article argues that for an RPG to be successful, it should allow for all three kinds of play. Doing that well in a CRPG is difficult because the game rarely lasts long enough to cover all three phases. But it would require some better game mechanics to begin with. Remember Planescape? Good game, but towards the end you were getting obscene experience for mundane tasks. It was victim of trying to fit a more mature game using a set of rules that were designed for character improvement only. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Falden 122 Stupid question: what''s powergaming? I applogise for my newbieness... Falden #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Nazrix 307 quote: Original post by Falden Stupid question: what''s powergaming? I applogise for my newbieness... Falden It''s basically when people play a game only to excel in every possible way. All they care about is exploiting every possiblity for their advantage. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Guest Anonymous Poster You could also say it''s throwing out any immersion to try and play the game as a set of numbers - enjoyment from finding the optimum path through the game, or maxing out the numbers in the game, rather than playing the game as an experience or role-playing through the story. #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Have you played Gauntlet Legends lately? This game is the definition of Powermaxing. Note: Gauntlet Legends has nothing to do with the original Gauntlet-classic. I love Game Design and it loves me back. Our Goal is "Fun"! #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Dak Lozar 122 I think the worst case of powergaming that I have seen is in UO. While I was out in the woods killing 3 grizzleys at a time a lot of my guildmates were going to a dungeon. In that dungeon, there was a spot where many characters would go to gain skills. Basically there was a spawn of bad a** skeleton''s and everyone was raking in on it. Everyone but me. A few weeks later when we had our first combat contest... I got my a$\$ kicked. I couldn''t figure out how... I had become quite successful with my weapon of choice, the kryss and still I was losing to characters that had started playing the game well after I did.
Was I roleplaying or powergaming? Where my friends roleplaying or powergaming?

Another case is the group hunt. We would gather about 10-12 of us and go out for group hunts. Some people were healing and others were killing baddies. Was this roleplaying or powergaming?

I suppose the real question is: If there is an exploit in the game, how do we fix it? Or should we fix it?

Personally I think your trying to solve the problem from the wrong end... you can''t controll how a player behaves in the game, but you can controll how levels/skills are achieved.

The VenuSoft team has a novel approach to this in the works... I''m sure it will not stop players from "trying" to powermax, because that''s what they will try to do... but, it will elliminate the "maxed" player.

Dave "Dak Lozar" Loeser

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