Is Efficiency Fun?

Mass Effect 2 made some changes to Adepts that some people feel nerfed them, because some Adept skills are less effective against shielded/armored enemies, which are more common on higher difficulties. So these people are unhappy, because the Adept’s skills are no longer the most efficient combat techniques on high difficulties.

But this raises the question of whether efficiency itself is really the whole point. Do you find that the most enjoyable way to play a game is always the quickest / deadliest way? Or do you find yourself playing with combat styles that might not get the job done as quickly, but that are more fun for you?

As always with any bi-valued poll, there are weird intermediate positions that cannot be anticipated, which is what “Other” is for. (“Sh** Bo***z” is for, well, you know who you are.)

where is the poll?

If you’d SHUT UP a minute, you’d SEE it.

Kill, kill, kill. Must kill more.

I seek optimization as a form of gameplay.

So, for example, it’s not that important that I play the most efficient class/combo in the game. However it is important to me that I have interesting choices to make my gameplay more or less efficient. Often times I will take a less efficient class exactly so that I have the opportunity to then optimize. For example one thing I enjoy a lot in MMO’s is if I have enough character customization to make controversial builds that, while not popular, may be able to perform just as well as popular builds.

I generally just Pull everyone out from cover and let my teammates gun them down. It’s ammo efficient, if nothing else.

I wish Engineers could place claymores and call in care packages.

Outnumbered/outgunned, efficiency (I like seeing the piles of bodies strewn about).

Otherwise, I like to prolong the suffering (you have to take the time to stop and admire the ragdoll effects every once in a while).

I’m a fan of any combat system where efficiency results in a quicker fight, but I like games which are forgiving when you don’t play perfectly. Games that require efficiency end up being a source of tedium. Chaos, however, is rarely unentertaining, unless the game mechanics are built in such a way that you can’t control the chaos.

I play whichever way brings me the most satisfaction of getting systems mastery.

For example on Batman: Arkham Asylum, I tried to get long, huge-bonus comboes going. Even though it’s possible to win EVERY NON-BOSS FIGHT by mashing counter, I didn’t do this, instead I played the game on Hard and got great at the free-flow combat system.

On Bayonetta I like huge combo multipliers and using all the weapons.

On Assassin’s Creed I liked making cool-looking fights with a combination of attacks and counters.

On RPGs, I tend to combo out into the best powers and use them over and over again.

It totally depends on the game, I just want to know I understand and can effectively use the game system.

I tend to get very concerned about efficiency in any multiplayer game. (Most visibly in large online games, but also in 1v1 games.)

I really don’t care much in single-player games, unless there’s some challenge or goal directly related to being efficient. (In which case it isn’t so much “efficiency” as “satisfying the necessary threshold to win.”)

This is pretty similar to how I feel. I don’t need to be playing the most powerful class/team/faction/whatever, but within the confines of that whatever it’s important to me to maximize my potential. I don’t generally care much about competition with other players in an MMO for example, in that my goal isn’t really to beat everyone else, just to improve my own performance to whatever degree possible. That’s mostly in terms of multiplayer games, though. It varies, but in single player games I might be more interested in the story, setting, or characters than how powerful my dude is.

I liked shooting legs in Crackdown. It did little damage but watching the enemy fall to the ground and get back up was entertaining.

Infiltrators were already better than adepts in me1. This is something that does not seem to have changed in the sequel.

I’m firmly in the addlebrained entertainment camp most of the time. I’ve been replaying Assassin’s Creed 2 recently, and will frequently spend most fights guarding until the moment I can disarm a guard with a spear, purely because the disarm- and counter-kills with it greatly satisfy my inner psychopath.

Likewise, one of the things the latest trailers for Just Cause 2 has me looking forward to is seeing just how many foes you can grapple and pin at once to flying propane tanks and other vehicles. I’ll be sad if the answer is “just one at a time” but expect quite a few fights to get prolonged regardless.

Usually if I’m just killing everything as fast as possible, it’s because I’m getting bored with the game and want to just power through to the end.

Style, always style. If you cant look good while doing it, you suck. Or its not worth doing it.

I’m amazed that it’s so close. Efficiency is only up by 2 votes right now. I always got the impression that most of Qt3 played efficiently for the most part. Maybe it’s more evenly split than I’d always thought.

As for myself, I’m definitely not a fan of playing the most efficient way, unless it’s a super hard game like Gothic. One example is Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. I love that game. But if you play it efficiently by only kicking people all the time or doing a couple of overpowered moves, then you’re not really playing it the most entertaining way. But I think that a lot of people can’t help themselves. I have a couple of friends who fall into that category. If there’s an easier way of doing things, they’ll take the easier, more efficient way. Always. Even if it’s to the determent of the game.

I know some people who played Final Fantasy X that way too. If you do sidequests in that game at all, or linger and don’t run away from fights, then you’re always leveled up enough that none of the boss fights in the game are all that challenging. If you try to rush through the game, however, and don’t level up Auron at all, then the game is just such a blast during the boss fights. At least, that’s me, that’s the way I am, trying to find the most fun way to play the game, sometimes inadvertently.

I do make an exception sometimes though, and go the efficient route, when I’m not that big a fan of the core gameplay. For example, in 2006 I played through ChronoTrigger for the first time (on a modded Xbox). And since I didn’t really enjoy their combat system all that much and just wanted to see the story, I kept earning money in that opening fairground until I was able to buy that awesome sword from that vendor, thereby making the game a lot easier and quicker, more efficient. Plus since it was an emulator, I always used the turbo button to get through the game quicker. God bless the turbo button on emulators. I love it.

I’ve been burned by too many games that pretend to offer the player lots of options for getting things done, but then brutally murder you for actually trying them.

Expansive spell system? Forget about it… just fireball everything to death. Dozens of weapons? Yeah, you’ll only use maybe two of them. Etc.

Generally speaking, I like to play efficiently, but I don’t get stressed out about it simply because I’m just not smart enough to be a real minmaxer. I do the best that I can in handling the game systems, and if I am doing some things the long way it’s all good.

There’s a time for efficiency, but if there’s leeway for ridiculousness then it can be fun. My two recently played games that come to mind have this type of gameplay. Sure I could take cover and shoot a room full of bad guys up piecemeal in GTA4, but it’s more fun to just chuck 10 grenades in there. In DA:O, on trash “mob” waves, I’ll throw out fireballs amidst my whole party just to take down the 5 enemies that are in the melee, instead of pausing every 3 seconds to issue exact orders that will save me health/stamina. It’s fun!