Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Min-maxing is NOT WAAC

I'm going to be frank here: I hate it when people relate min-maxing to Win At All Costs. Being point efficient with your army because you want to be competitive does not mean you are a WAAC player. First, let me give you my definition of min-maxing and WAAC.

The min-maxer player is a competitive gamer that maximizes his army book and his army list.  He is first and foremost; a competitive player.  Not only does he understand the game, the rules, and his army book very well, he understands other armies very well as he believes that the key to victory, is game knowledge.  He likes taking units that best suits the needs of his army, often times being molded and shaped by the ever-changing metagame. He understands that the current meta has vehicles and thus melta weapons are the key at punching through armor at close range, just as an example.  The min-maxer also recognizes that to not take the most cost effective unit is to throw a wrench into a otherwise well-oiled machine (such as his army list) and thus he does not do so.  He is essentially the player that always takes what he views, is the best bang for your buck.  I am a min-maxing, power gaming, competitive player.

Now what is a WAAC player?  He is exactly as his name suggests:  Win At All Costs.  It doesn't matter if you're having fun, it just matters if he wins or not.  He is the kind of player that moves your/his models when you're not looking to gain an advantage.  He is the kind that measures so quickly and charges before you can confirm 6".  He is the kind that throws dice behind terrain so if he rolls a "1" for a Terminator save, he'll say it's been saved.  WAAC means simply that he's a cheat.  I've seen players like these and I've played against players like these.  They're arrogant, sleezy and downright pathetic to play against.  Truth be told:  I've seen a dude measure the length of his forearm and try to guess measure with it on the table before.  I mean come on, seriously?  Do you really need me to tell you that you're trying to measure cannon shots with your arm?  Give me a fucking break!  This is a game with miniature toy soldiers.  If that isn't pathetic enough (and awesome!), how sad do you have to be to cheat.

In RTS, the WAAC player plays with Map Hacks.  In FPS, the guy uses aimbot.  In Table-top gaming, the dude will bend the rules, fake his dice or do anything to win.  I don't know about you guys.. but here's how we handle cheaters in my neck of the woods:

There is a key difference between someone whose pushing his army design skills to the test and someone who measures with his forearm is quite apparent.  You can be a WAAC player that min-maxes his lists, but a person that min-maxes his army doesn't have to be WAAC.  That goes without saying that a WAAC player that doesn't know how to min-max and just outright cheats should be purged by fire.  With that said:  Never confuse the two and never relate the two in the same sentence.  It's both insulting and downright incorrect.


Anonymous said...

Well said.

Graeme said...

My opinion differs from yours somewhat on this issue.

Your definition of a min-maxer is my definition of a Win At All Costs player.

What you call WAAC, I call cheating, plain and simple.

It all comes down to perception. For me, if you're a hardcore, min-maxing competitive tournament player, then you're a WAAC player - a "Spike", to use Wizards of the Coast parlance - because you are playing to win first and foremost, rather than for the fun of the game.

For the record, I don't condemn that in any way, it's a perfectly valid way to play, and probably necessary for major tournaments, but I wouldn't want to play against such a player nowadays - I've been there and done that, and never enjoyed those games.

I think we can both agree that cheats need to be strung up by their own intestines though. :p

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Ka, your description of WAAC is just a cheater, where as both min/maxers and WAAC players are hardcore, tending to take the rules as written rather then following the spirit of the rules.

For example the Bow of the Seafarer having to be FAQed by GW to say it indeed do magical damage is a prime figure of that. Most people who just follow the spirit of the game naturally assumed that bow already did magically damage. It was the people that follow only the rules as written that raised a huff about the bow not being magical damage.

Of course the above is simply a quick and fast example.

Nothing wrong with being hardcore in and of itself, but a hardcore and a casual player will never be able to truly play happily against each other since they don't see the rules eye to eye.

theoutsyder83 said...

I agree with HERO...


HERO said...

"It all comes down to perception. For me, if you're a hardcore, min-maxing competitive tournament player, then you're a WAAC player - a "Spike", to use Wizards of the Coast parlance - because you are playing to win first and foremost, rather than for the fun of the game."

No, I disagree. I'm a hardcore, min-maxing, competitive player and I'm exactly that. There is nothing there that screams "at all costs" to me. Winning, in a game that's based on 1 vs. 1 and has win conditions is what the game is about from a gamer's perspective. So in gamer terms, winning is what matters. This leads directly to what the other guy said.

"A hardcore and a casual player will never be able to truly play happily against each other since they don't see the rules eye to eye."

Now that, I agree with.

Anonymous said...

Back in the day a "Spike" in MTG was a player that prefered direct/simple ways of beating opponents. That was the big fireballs, huge creature, no combos, just straight forward wysiwyg card playing. A Tim was the polar opposite in using creative cobmos to hinder your opponent, improve any advantages he has, and pull of a combo that would make your head spin. Both could be competitive comparative to a min maxer.

No T1 MTG tourney is won by a spike player. With the flood of new cards, the combo slinging Tim is god who min maxes his ability to pull of his insane card combos.

I agree the WAAC player described in the article is more accurately defined as a cheat but disagree that the casual/competitive cant play a good game together. More often than not a casual will CHOOSE to put themselves into the position where they would have to face a min maxer whether it's by joining a tourney or asking for a pick up game because theres no one else to play at the LGS.

A true min maxer won't seek out a casual gamer as they have nothing to offer. The win won't be brag worthy and if he(I) loses may lose his sanity. You have no loot to lose because I took first place and I'm more likely to scratch my paint job pulling my toys out their foam which would give me a sad face.

I'm not saying that there aren't people out there like me( a min maxer) that preys on noobs and rubs their win in their opponents face. THEY ARE NOT MIN MAXERS. They're JERKS.

Anonymous said...

You may be a WAAC player if...

You have never read past page 95 in the 40K rule book.

You build your armies in Statistica because it handles cost/benefit better than Excel.

When someone posts a picture of a new GW mini, you yawn and reply, "What about the stats?"

If you ever sold an army on Ebay because a new Codex just came out...like Chaos 4th edition.

You broke a rule during a friendly game...no, wait. That would be a cheater.

Alex said...

The definition of a Win at All Costs player in my area is one that looks at this game as a competition first and a hobby second, and it starts with list building. WAAC players, again by a local definition, are the min max extreme. I'd also point out that I rarely here WAAC in reference to players but to lists. Absolute min/maxing is WAAC. What you describe as WAAC is cheating.

As someone else mentioned there's nothing wrong with WAAC players, it's just a different style of play and a different area of emphasis on the hobby.

Anonymous said...

There is actually a difefrance between the two

Min-Maxing - taking the minimum stuff for max effect is good comonsense as even though yes its hobby 1st its still a game where the GOAL is to win and if u dont try to min max your either just a fool who like to complain that some one is a beard (GW phrase) or you actually enjoy writing lists deliberatly to loose

WAAC - Win At ALL Costs name says it all win no matter the cost

ok descriptions done

a MM will write his/her list to maximise what the units in the army can do in a game before they are destrioy and as such maximising what the army can do by also selcting units to work together now while competative this type of gamer will be friendly and will take a loose on the chin move on to the next game with another plan and a better written list.

A WAAC gamer on the other hand wether they try to MM or not is niether here nor there they will basicly not give a fig about how the game goes they are not in it for fun at all they just squeeze what they can into a list and they wont even write it up clearly so that you cna check it to make sure its a legal list it will be scruffy hand writting etc they will try to rush you through your turn and make you forget stuff and then they will just hamemr away untill you either loose and they start rubbing it ur face or you win in which case they start complaining about aand making excuse like Oh i forget X and Y had this and that

Min Maxing (MM) is Just comon sense when Playing a WAR game the idea of which is to truely smush ur opeonent while taking as few casulties your self but as a game it should still be fun. So Dont just avoid a MM gamer becuase they know how to write a better army list than you do, alo Dont start calling them WAAC as im sure if u just look at their list you will find more than one or two loop holes that can smash it too pices as even The best MM gamers cant counter everything if hoever you see a WAAC just refuse to game them they will either stop coming to you LGS or CLub and then its win win for you or they will start playing properly whihc is also win win

Anonymous said...

I somewhat agree. However, for me the point of the game is to have fun.

Sometimes, when somebody min-maxes, they make an army that is both not fun to play with, and not fun to play against. An army that requires zero tactics and is so called "cheesy".

I would describe these players more as WAAC then Min-max. But in my own definition of WAAC. I think I would interpret your definition of WAAC as cheater, which to me is a different thing altogether. Nice read though!

Raka said...

You got the labels wrong. Timmy was the "This card is SOO COOL" player, Johnny was the "If my ridiculous combo goes off one game in 10, I'm happy", and Spike was the tournament netdeck type player for whom chances of winning was more important than any other consideration.

I havnt seen many "Johnny" type armies in 40k, but that might be the lack of opportunity- there ant really that many combo engines in a tabletop wargame... besides perhaps the eldar or guard. :p

don't like cheaters but ... said...

Don't like cheaters but if someone bodily picked me up and tossed my computer onto the pavement, that is assault and I'd sue the business.

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