Twinking in RP MU*

  • Admin

    Please remember this is a mildly constructive zone so when you flame me, flame me mildly. :)

    So I had this question, it might be a controversial topic, but I wanted some opinions on it: How do you view twinking in your MU*? I'm referring to the process of maximizing a character's efficiency through picking mechanically optimal stats, items, etc for them.

    See, I am an unapologetic twink. When I make my characters I've no issues admitting I'm one of those people who carefully pick mechanics for their +sheet; I plan out my XP well in advance in a spreadsheet, I make sure to prioritize each spend, etc. It's just how I was used to playing RPGs. When I don't know a system well enough I find someone like HelloRaptor (he knows ALL systems) who does and pick their brains dry.

    Now, I am not shameless about it, there are lines I won't cross. For example if I play someone who's good at lying I'll buy the manipulation and subterfuge attributes up even if I never +roll social dice. However if I know the quarterstaff-fighting style (or whatever) in the book is crap I'll simply not make quarterstaves part of my PC's combat routine in the first place. Or I won't buy a line of powers which doesn't get used since it's filed in a box labeled 'wasted XP' in my head. My characters tend to have very little fluff in their +sheets.

    I fully realize not everyone does things that way - some people even dislike the idea of respecs in general or who'd never consider planning their spends in advance and I can see where they are coming from.

    So what's your opinion on twinking? Assume we're discussing RP MU* here obviously, if you're playing Skyrim or whatever twinking is pretty much expected. :)

  • Pitcrew

    I have learned to accept and even engage in it myself, with the following caveats:

    I fucking hate when people effectively min-max into cheating. If you are a glowery combat monster by +sheet, with presence 1, your only social skill being intimidation, and you RP as the life of the party?

    Then I get upset.

    Also, I am fond of seeing people, myself or others, fuck up.

  • Pitcrew


    I'm fine with it in the way that you are describing it. There are other definitions I'm less okay with. I also find that I'm more okay with it and prone to doing it in a culture where everyone does it, and much more willing to spend experience on fluff stuff in a culture where it's not so.

    GMC has at least gotten rid of tiered spending costs, so that's a plus.

  • "Twink" is one of those words that's gotten down to having no real definition other than "Guy who does stuff I don't like." I hate these words, and I've gotten away from using the term except in tongue-and-cheek ways because of it. So I guess I don't care about 'twinking' in RP MU*.

    The term I prefer, that an RP buddy of mine applied to another player awhile ago, is "stat bully." It was specific to this player, but I realized it's what I think of when I want to default to calling someone a "twink." The character was in a role that didn't generally hone a person into having sky-high combat stats, but had them anyway, to the point where they were more skilled than experienced PCs who in theory spent all their on- and off-screen time doing soldier-y things. This by itself is, whatever. People buy combat dots for no reason because these are RPGs and that's what you do. But this character also spent all their time getting into situations where they could throw their bloated dice around and "win" minor contests against other characters. Not even life-or-death stuff, because that wasn't the nature of the game. Just dick-measuring.

    This isn't a twink, but it's the thing that aggravates me, and I feel like it's more often than not what's actually be criticized when the term is used.

  • @Coin

    Tiered-spending costs reflect the measurable social phenomena of diminishing returns. This is the part of GMC that I don't like.

    That said, I think twinking, as defined, is tolerable. Most of my PCs are not maximized in one direction, and have other "outs."

  • I'm okay with it in the form of having a concept and maximizing the idea of that concept. I think it goes both ways, I once played a big and strong boxer who was not very bright. I made sure his mental stats were below average and took some disadvantages that actually came into play through RP. What I hate are the people who take, say, Strength 5 (in a system where 5 is max human) and describe their character as being thin and possibly even "frail".

  • Admin

    I dislike non-scaling costs because they don't follow the real life paradigm.

    It's easy enough in real life to learn some basic first aid (Medicine 1). It's not too hard to become a little more capable at it by learning CPR or how to clean and dress a wound (Medicine 2). However learning how to perform surgery takes way longer ((Medicine 3), and becoming a renown or world-class doctor (Medicine 4-5) is hard as fuck.

    That's not reflected in spending the same amount of XP per dot.

  • Pitcrew

    My issue with that is that a single dot of a Skill does not adequately represent that difference mechanically. It's a preference thing, I guess.

  • Pitcrew

    I become frustrated when minmaxing players are automatically presumed to be dicks, bad RPers, terrible folks, and so on.

    I become more frustrated when minmaxing, you are approved, and then a game actively engages in a house rule overhaul to manipulate their internal systems into either flat-out removing the benefits of your minmaxing, or making what you decided to minmax into an actual method of cheating.

    I become even more frustrated when the staff refuses to let you start all over in light of their manipulative house ruling immediately after your trip thru CG.

    There is nothing more obnoxious to me than sitting on a character that has been effectively neutered, actually liking the character you made, story-wise, and having little reason to play the character because it's sheet is now either effectively a mess, or completely useless, or worst case, completely inappropriate to the game.

    But the worst is when players automatically treat you badly when it gets around that you minmax characters. I've seen players engage in everything from rumors - "Don't play with them, they're just out to PK you, ruddy minmaxers!" - to outright complaints to staff that you should be sanctioned, punished, or even removed from the game because you 'ruin it for others'.

    We all log in to have fun, and to be entertained. Sometimes players don't think that minmaxers have feelings too.

  • Pitcrew

    I actually don't care. Sometimes I wish I had the attention span to do it too. Sadly, that's just too much work and too much of that evil math stuff. I don't care about combat so much as social stuff annoys me. Like don't spend the scene insulting me and then roll 20 dice to make my char be your best friend.

  • Admin

    I think it's important to note that mere good knowledge of mechanics can defeats mere dots. I knew several people on Mage@TR who had a pretty decent +sheet after spending enough XP but they didn't know how to stack their skill/attribute boosts and generate bags of dice like someone from a theoretically less powerful sphere would throw at them.

  • My only issue is the minmaxers are the 21 year old heart surgeons with Medicine 5.

    My only gripe would be to at least match the PC up to some level of reality based upon skill/attributes.

    As for combat monsters I just take Carl's advice

  • @Bennie

    Traditionally, minmaxers have been dicks. Tremendous ones. I hold no ire to folks who, mistakenly or not, judge minmaxers harshly.

    To reduce the chance of frustration after a rule change, staff should permit players to re-spec their +sheets in light of a rule change.

  • @Ganymede said:

    To reduce the chance of frustration after a rule change, staff should permit players to re-spec their +sheets in light of a rule change.

    Staff should do this with regards to any game change. Not a full Respec, but try to make the change easy to take, whether it's rules or grid or game lines. Whatnot.

  • Pitcrew

    In MMOs, I do equate minmaxers as twinks, at least in low-levels. However, in MUs, I tend to just call minmaxers as minmaxers.

    Twinks in a MU environment, IMHO, are almost always those who do something so completely OOC, like singlehandedly try to take over a space station or other things that ICly aren't plausible without some heavy skill usage and/or social engineering. They don't play by the established rules simply because they don't feel they need to, and want to prove they're badass.

    But I may just have picked up that style of the terminology from a few admin I knew from my first MUs, and held it, even if it's not a 100% valid definition. :)

  • Pitcrew

    Okay, one small annoyance with min/maxers: Going into TPs with them.

    As I don't min/max when I go with one, I feel like I'm just wasting my time. The 'monster' is too strong because it has to be a challenge for them. They do all the things because they are maxed out while the rest of us just sit around. That one annoys me a bit.

  • Creator

    @Catsmeow said:

    Okay, one small annoyance with min/maxers: Going into TPs with them.

    As I don't min/max when I go with one, I feel like I'm just wasting my time. The 'monster' is too strong because it has to be a challenge for them. They do all the things because they are maxed out while the rest of us just sit around. That one annoys me a bit.

    This. I ran into an issue with a PrP that I was running where someone was able to throw 23-25 dice at something (not using specifics because I don't want to out anyone or anything). The other player involved in the PrP paged me and said something along the lines of "I don't even know what I can do at this point that can't be done by X." I felt really bad and tried to adjust, but the min/max player just walked through all of the challenges. It's frustrating from an ST perspective (in my opinion anyway), since if one person isn't having fun in the group regardless of how large the group is, you've failed.

  • Admin

    Not to play devil's advocate but how is that different than walking into any kind of situation with a group consisted of PCs at different power levels for any reason?

    • Sphere mechanics. Mages are simply that much better than other spheres at most things.
    • XP. Some people are oldbies, some are not.
    • Knowledge. You have a multiple attacks fighting style (in non-GMC nWoD) and I don't.

    Isn't that the same thing?

  • Pitcrew

    @somasatori This is why where minmaxing originated had a system - or tried to anyway - of difficulty. In other words, you knew that it was a Level 4 challenge so you needed Level 4 characters to meet that challenge. If you brought a level 1 along, chances are, they would not survive the challenge.

    Now days in gaming we have a different sentimentality, we want all the things for all the peoples, and so you sometimes have Joe Nobody next to Jane Awesome. And Jane Awesome is going to rock the shit out of that content, if it is scaled for Joe Nobody to survive.

    i've always separated characters myself. If you have Captain Amazo and your partners are Sidekick Kennys then I go to the effort of having Sidekick Kennys doing things that are challenging for them, like cracking the electronic lock to the warehouse and hijacking the security cameras inside, and I separate Captain Amazo out to take on the army in the parking lot alone.

  • Pitcrew

    So we've sort of decided to apply 'twinking' as the ability to stat your character to maximize their potential in a certain direction, usually pretty focused. What is wrong with that? To be honest, I would rather have that than everyone be a jack of all trades. I like the new GMC XP syste (similar to oWoD) in that the difference between 3 dots in a skill and 4, is not a hell of a lot, but now, 3 and 6? Now we're getting somewhere. With the current system, everyone can have 3 dots in everything, specialize for 4 dice base skill and still have tons of XP left over. Specializing actually costs you a boat load of XP.

    But think of all the games you've played, old D&D etc, there were classes, each class did something well. Other classes could find ways to do what another class did, but it was usually a challenge. It is one of the reasons I love Werewolf. You have a pack of wolves (a team) and why would you not want to have every member specialized in a various area so that as a whole you were much stronger than the sum of your parts? This is where I think what you've defined as 'twinking' should absolutely come into play. You find a problem, AKA you need to sneak in a steal a painting, you send in your thief. Got issues with spirits, you send in your Spiritmaster, rituals? Ritemaster, etc etc etc.

    So to me, I'd rather see people good in one area and meh in others, so that it facilitates everyone getting a moment to shine.

    That ties me into that comment that Somasatori posted about 23-25 dice, well that's fairly easy, my werewolf can drop 47 at 9-again and rote, but that's ridiculous and also because he's 'twinked' in that specific area. That being said, I make it abundantly clear to any new, or existing ST, what my character is capable of, and then I work with them to deal with things, and if there are new players, I really encourage them to express and expand upon their limits to see what they can do. I honestly don't want to hog a scene unless it's specifically for me (Aka sojourning through deep Shadow to go steal something from a rank 5 spirit) then you better believe I will play to all my character's strengths. But little combats, there's no need to show off, let the new guys have a crack, save their asses so they survive another day if things get out of hand, but don't steal the limelight when it isn't your turn. It's all about being respectful to other people and players.

    So, hopefully that helps a little? I realize I've hit several nails with this post

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