System Mastery and Younger Gamers

korjik

First Post
Power Gaming and system mastery are not the same thing.

You can have a power gamer who copies all his ideas off the optimization boards and never really understands how the builds work. You can also have a system master who uses that mastery to make really odd characters.

The most common expression of system mastery is power gaming, but they arent locked together.
 

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korjik

First Post
I dont really think that kids today are really any different from 10,20, 30 years ago in desire to system master or power game.

The trick is to teach them that the important thing is not having bigger numbers on your character sheet, but how you use that character in the game.
 

Diamond Cross

Banned
Banned
Okay, that's min/maxing, not really power gaming.

Min/maxing is definitely getting the best advantage you can for your character concept. For example, having a huge strength so you can use power cleave more effectively for your fighter or barbarian. And I personally don't have a problem with that.

Power gaming is a person who says they've got to have all 18s in all Stats and must have higher stats than the entire party, can't have any kind of penalties what so ever, must have all the best and most powerful magic items given to them first...

You might want to read the book "Mongoose's Guide to Power Gamers".

Here's a wiki for you:
Powergaming (or power gaming) is a style of interacting with games or game-like systems with the aim of maximising progress towards a specific goal, to the exclusion of other considerations such as (in videogames, boardgames, and roleplaying games) storytelling, atmosphere, camaraderie, and fun. Due to its focus on the letter of the rules over the spirit of the rules, it is often seen as unsporting, un-fun, or unsociable. This behaviour is most often found in games with a wide range of game features, lengthy campaigns or prize tournaments such as role-playing, massively multiplayer or collectible games.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powergaming
 
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Imaro

Legend
I dont really think that kids today are really any different from 10,20, 30 years ago in desire to system master or power game.

The trick is to teach them that the important thing is not having bigger numbers on your character sheet, but how you use that character in the game.

I agree here... but was moreso wondering if the "Essentials" line is taking the right step with pre-selected builds... to entice new players (assuming of course they are trying to reach a much younger age bracket.)?

It just doesn't seem like this is an area that kids are lacking in or need you to pre-select for them (decks, selecting minis, etc. are all pretty much kids creating builds).
 

nedjer

Adventurer
t I also think most young boys are naturally competitive in some way with most "games"... even if it is a cooperative one. Most kills, highest damage, best items, etc. are all ways they may measure themselves... and games that require system mastery allow them to do this in a way that keeps them engaged and interested... it's one of the reasons I think CCG's were and still are so popular amongst young gamers.

Kids like imaginative play, but it's not hard to gain compliance by rewarding a win-mentality and focusing on kills, damage, builds, best. As for boys are more competitive: Girls are as competitive as boys – just more subtle - life - 25 June 2008 - New Scientist [FONT=Calibri, sans-serif]
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Ourph

First Post
I'm starting to think system mastery might be something the younger generation enjoys and maybe even craves in games.
I agree. That has been my experience as well.

Imaro said:
I know us experienced gamers have a tendency to decry system mastery as an objectively bad thing in roleplaying games... we tend to believe that we shouldn't have to sacrifice effectiveness in one area for aother or that there shouldn't be hidden traps and "not-so-obvious" choices that are objectively better or worse than others
I'm not so sure this is true. I enjoy some system mastery in a game. My main concern is that a newb player who hasn't mastered the system shouldn't have a character SO ineffective compared to a character made by an experienced player that the two can't coexist in the same game. Basic effectiveness should be accessible to completely inexperienced players (or players who don't care about system mastery) right out of the box.
 
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Imaro

Legend
Okay, that's min/maxing, not really power gaming.

Min/maxing is definitely getting the best advantage you can for your character concept. For example, having a huge strength so you can use power cleave more effectively for your fighter or barbarian. And I personally don't have a problem with that.

Power gaming is a person who says they've got to have all 18s in all Stats and must have higher stats than the entire party, can't have any kind of penalties what so ever, must have all the best and most powerful magic items given to them first...

You might want to read the book "Mongoose's Guide to Power Gamers".

Here's a wiki for you:


Powergaming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Again, this is not what I am talking about. I never mentioned excluding anything. As I said earlier if you only see this aspect of system mastery then there is nothing I can say that will convince you it encompases much more.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
but I'm starting to think system mastery might be something the younger generation enjoys and maybe even craves in games.

Oh, I think there's plenty of gamers of every generation that enjoy system mastery. The term "power gamer" was coined many years ago, not for the current younger crowd.

That's not to say you don't have a point, you jut may be a bit off on the cause. My observation (and I admit that it is just a personal observation, not a 100% truism), is that when one picks up RPGs, there a tendency for gamers to concentrate first on what the character can do, what cool actions can they perform, and how they perform in a game-rule sense. Concentration on the game world (like in-game politics) or on the emotional content of the character tend to come a little later, after you figure out how the game works.

That will lead to it always looking like it is an effect of generation, when it may be more tied to how long the person's been gaming.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
I think system mastery should count for something, but not to the degree it does in 3e and not in the same areas.

I don't think you should be able to lose (or win) the game at the char build stage. I don't think you should be able to lose the game with one simple choice, like say, picking samurai as your class. The system shouldn't play tricks on you. It shouldn't hold out a choice like it's a basic reasonable one - race or class, for example - then say, "Hah! You lose, noob!"

System mastery should come into play thru tactical choices in combat, knowing when to use your area-of-effect, your debuff, your heal, your straight damage power, and so forth.

Let the guy who wants to play a samurai, play his samurai, and not suck.
 
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Imaro

Legend
I'm not so sure this is true. I enjoy some system mastery in a game. My main concern is that a newb player who hasn't mastered the system shouldn't have a character SO much ineffective compared to a character made by an experienced player that the two can't coexist in the same game. Basic effectiveness should be accessible to completely inexperienced players (or players who don't care about system mastery) right out of the box.

But then I wonder... when does the boost of attaining system mastery become so small that it no longer entices someone wired to enjoy it. Either the payoff is so small that they don't bother (and thus actually become casual gamers), or after finally discovering that system mastery has an almost neglible effect they move on to a different game.

EDIT: And again I am not speaking in pure "power" terms but in overall system use terms.
 

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