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Edited 1 year, 10 months ago

Poll: Do you spec for convenience or power first? (165 votes)

I usually spec for convenience first. 56%
I usually spec for power first. 25%
It depends, and I will explain what it depends on in the comments below! 7%
I don't assign ability points because I am a hardcore acve gamer and games are just too EASY for me with abilities so I just play everything with the base abilities and games are STILL too easy for me because I am just so good at video games. 5%
I just wanna see some answers without logging out of my account, man. That's all I want. That's all 7%

This poll about Zelda, and my time with Horizon Zero Dawn have made me think about speccing choices recently. When I start playing through a game with an ability tree or crafting system I almost always go for quality of life or convenience abilities before sheer power. In Horizon, for example, I went straight for the tree that gave me more items when I collected stuff and when I crafted and then only later went back to get the ability that lets you notch multiple arrows (SUPER useful) or increases your melee damage.

There is a logic to this. I want abilities that will minimize the boring parts of a game (collecting resources) more than I want abilities that will make the fun parts easier. I don't mind if a fight is more difficult, but I really do not want to spend huge amounts of time collecting stuff and crafting (For the first 10 hours of HZD I had a serious wire shortage, for example, which forced me to hunt rando machines for parts and was not fun.)

Is this a common view? Are other people willing to grit their teeth and deal with the inconvenient stuff in order to be a little more powerful in the early game? I just hate stuff like inventory limits and encumbrance so I'd much rather focus on dealing with those issues first than getting some new power, especially early on in a game when I am generally grappling with the controls and how to play and don't need any more complexity.

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#1 Edited by BoOzak (2573 posts) -

It depends on the difficulty of the game but of the two you mentioned I definitely went with convenience first. This doesnt have anything to do with inventory limits but I used to spec my characters in souls like games as a turtle build but ever since Bloodborne i've gone with glass cannon characters. Which I suppose is power over convenience.

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#2 Edited by GundamGuru (786 posts) -

@bigsocrates: I usually go for power first and then start to diversify. It does depend heavily on the game's systems, though. The way I look at it, characters need to do their one thing well most of all, and then anything extra is gravy.

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#3 Posted by BoccKob (471 posts) -

It depends on how the game works. I always choose versatility over min-maxing, so if I can get a new power or something I'll take that over increased damage or armor. Otherwise I go for stuff that reduces cooldowns because I hate those.

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#4 Edited by ajamafalous (13816 posts) -

I always min-max

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#5 Posted by ripelivejam (13161 posts) -

AI companions/summoning if possible and loads of health, usually.

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#6 Edited by TobbRobb (6582 posts) -

The vast majority of the time I will go for convenience first. It's only in very hardcore games where it demands me to go for power that I will do it. So I tend to pick up the things that will get exponentially more useful over time (permanent exp gain increase or skill point increases) first, and then stuff that'll let me explore more or just convenience features like a magnet range to absorb items.

I kind of can't think of a game right now where I felt forced to min/max my power level. That usually mostly ends up being a thing in turn based games, where I can't outmaneuver opponets to make up for the power deficit. I played a bit of Stranger in Sword City and that made me want to min/max. Old classic rpgs like Icewind Dale I definitely tried to make a solid party first and foremost.

I did min/max and worry about my power the first time I played Dark Souls, and that's maybe the worst build I've ever made, but hey I had the urge to be strong because game was scary. After that first run though I've just done whatever I wanted and played fashion souls for the most part. You can play around the games with good positioning to the extent that your power becomes less relevant.

EDIT: Just to extrapolate on why I go for convenience first. It's actually quite simple. I believe in molding the game to play like you want it to with the extent of power you are given and any obnoxious or tedious stuff that can be mitigated, should be mitigated. And in a lot of games as they are designed right now, playing a gimped character on Normal ends up being a pretty fun level of challenge for me. Where the tradeoff otherwise would be a really easy normal mode or a tedious healthspongy hard mode.

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#7 Posted by WynnDuffy (1289 posts) -

I always get stuff that gives you X over time, or a percentage increase of X as early as possible

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#8 Posted by geirr (3759 posts) -

When I recently started playing Zelda BotW Master Mode my priorities were stamina, which I guess is convenience? Basically I got 2 stamina wheels then put the rest into hearts.
Zelda allows this though since deaths aren't punishing and most obstacles can easily be climbed/ran away from or just dodge/strike.

In general it comes down to how punishing deaths are in games. Am I struggling to reach the next "checkpoint" and if so would more power (strength, crit etc) and/or support (stamina, life etc.) get me there.
In Dead Cells I went all power all the time since the last boss must die, fast.

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#9 Posted by Giant_Gamer (754 posts) -

My decision always relies on the Power/Price. I always find myself going for the best performance the i could get for every buck i pay

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#11 Posted by Sinusoidal (3608 posts) -

If a game is hard, I'll spec towards whatever seems might make it easier. If I'm not having too much trouble, I'll spec for fun.

I think Saints' Row the Third has my favorite skill trees of any game ever. The abilities start out practical and necessary and eventually just become completely ridiculous and fun.

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#12 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

I spec towards fun. I pick abilities that sound like they would be fun to use. I generally focus on offensive abilities but it depends on the game. In BotW I focused on stamina because it let me do more of the things I enjoyed.

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#13 Posted by SgtSphynx (2617 posts) -

I kinda do a mixture of both. I try to keep power and convenience even. I'll go convenience one time and then next time power. But if there is an upgrade that makes me able to upgrade faster, say an increase in experience or whatever, that is first priority.

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#14 Posted by BigSocrates (1966 posts) -

I spec towards fun. I pick abilities that sound like they would be fun to use. I generally focus on offensive abilities but it depends on the game. In BotW I focused on stamina because it let me do more of the things I enjoyed.

That's interesting because it's sort of two sides of the same coin in terms of speccing to try to have fun.

I spec to avoid the boring stuff and focus on the fun parts, you spec to make the fun parts even MORE fun and are willing to tolerate the boring parts.

There's some kind of observation about human psychology in there.

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#15 Posted by burncoat (558 posts) -

I usually spec for mobility, skills, and convenience and then I start putting points in power or health. Games like Deus Ex are way more fun if you have the ability to go wherever you want. Generally my logic is "By taking my time to whittle down enemies without getting hurt or hit too much, I learn the basic gameplay and it'll be great once I start hitting for massive damage."

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#16 Edited by militantfreudian (681 posts) -

I tend to think it's bad gameplay design when a game cripples your character for no reason or locks quality-of-life features behind progression systems. I generally pick abilities that sound fun to use or make me more versatile, which tend to be offensive abilities. Also, interesting topic.

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#17 Posted by Rejizzle (1103 posts) -

I always pick skills that let me do more things. New movesets, extra stamina, and opening locked doors are my go to, and I rarely put points into health or defence. Not sure if you'd call that power or convenience.

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#18 Posted by Nodima (2602 posts) -

Always health first. I'm mediocre at games.

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#19 Posted by TheHT (15836 posts) -

slow-mo (if available), power, stamina, then convenience occasionally along the way.

stuff like health-increases are typically a later investment when i got points to burn.

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#20 Edited by FlashFlood_29 (4414 posts) -

I always get stuff that gives you X over time, or a percentage increase of X as early as possible

Wouldn't it make more sense to get "percentage of x," later when it actually makes a difference?

I opt for more abilities that give me more tactical variety or open up the game, such as getting through certain gates. Otherwise, I'll look at convenience. Beyond that, I finally go for power/stats.

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#21 Posted by WynnDuffy (1289 posts) -

@wynnduffy said:

I always get stuff that gives you X over time, or a percentage increase of X as early as possible

Wouldn't it make more sense to get "percentage of x," later when it actually makes a difference?

I'm talking about getting resources or something like that, which is more beneficial the earlier you get it

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#22 Edited by katpottz (511 posts) -

I usually just put points into whatever I think would compliment my current play style. like if the combat is too easy then I would hold off on putting points into "power" and put points in to convenience/cool stuff. It's really just whatever points pushes my game to stay fun and fresh.

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#23 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4414 posts) -

@wynnduffy: Ahh, I see. Non-retroactive things. I was thinking along the lines of instant effects like on stats.

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#24 Posted by Lazyimperial (486 posts) -

It depends on the kind of game. With Horizon: Zero Dawn and games like Far Cry, I tend to get the first health upgrade or two before zero'ing on resource upgrades. Since your power depends on having a lot of pelts / skins / robo pieces to upgrade your gear with, I tend to beeline towards making it more convenient to acquire all those materials. Then I go for the weirder, more combat-oriented stuff (triple shot bows... the unbounded joy). Get the boring out of the way first, so to speak.

With Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I went with more stamina because Link starts off with as much lung capacity as a chain smoking asthmatic. I don't know if that counts of convenience or necessity. :-P

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#25 Edited by Hayt (1671 posts) -

I know you put it in as a joke but a little bit of the 4th option. For example some skills in Deus Ex MD trivialise the game so I don't end up taking many skills at all.

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#26 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

@bigsocrates: I’m pretty hard to bore so that’s a big part of why I just go for the fun stuff. I usually find other ways to make what others see as “boring” more interesting for my tastes, or just stop playing a game that needs upgrades to be fun. For me convenience isn’t usually fun. I modded MGS to remove the marking and a few other “convenient” things, ignore fast travel in open world games, etc. inconvenience usually helps me immerse myself in an experience so if anything I seek that stuff out.

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#27 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

I try to go for what I feel lets me complete what I want to do in the game the quickest.

In Zelda:Botw that was stamina, I wasn't having trouble with the combat that persistence couldn't solve. However Stamina was necessary to allow me to scale mountaintops when I discovered them. I'd rather have more challenging fights than have have to backtrack a lot to explore mountains I couldn't summit when I wanted to.

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#28 Posted by vikingdeath1 (1297 posts) -

The first upgrades i got in Horizon were the "Get more loot from bodies/boxes" perk, for sure.

and anything that gives "Gain more XP/Money" I'd always go for those first in games.

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#29 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15697 posts) -

Unless it's the kind of game that demands a certain amount of min-maxery (i.e. difficult RPGs), I'll usually try and spec towards utility over raw power. Being able to do all of the stuff is usually more important than being able to do some of the stuff well.

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#30 Posted by Pezen (2374 posts) -

I tend to go power because there are few games I find combat to be an interesting challenge. The only games I go convenience are games like Deus Ex or Dishonored where stealth tools are so useful it makes combat obsolete at times.

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#31 Edited by EthanielRain (1563 posts) -
  1. Movement
  2. More EXP
  3. Power/whatever else
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#32 Posted by stordoff (1361 posts) -

Generally speaking, Long Term Gains (more money/more XP/something like Invig.2 from Persona) -> Convenience (lots of cross over with the first) -> Power

Though if I'm feeling like I'm sorely lacking in one area (e.g. approaching a boss and struggling with random encounters) or something just sounds fun I'll go in that direction instead.

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#33 Posted by Zeik (5192 posts) -

It really depends on the game. In Yakuza new heat moves are almost always my number 1 priority, not because of power or convenience, but simply because I want to do more cool stuff in fights. I'd say that's probably my generally my priority overall. It's not really about power or convenience usually, it's what can I do to expand the gameplay to make it more fun.

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#34 Edited by JohnTunoku (418 posts) -

Convenience> power

To be more specific:

Convenience-->Stuff that might change story--->Damage-->Whatever Else--->Health

Health is no fun. I love zelda but I've always thought the piece of heart was the lamest collectible there is. I also HATE HATE HATE any stat that increases exp generation or loot rate, the game should be balanced so I don't need that junk! I never want to have to have a gear collecting set or some other lame nonsense, I want to be wearing my coolest stuff that gives me the biggest numbers 24/7.

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#35 Posted by rethla (3725 posts) -

Always glass cannon builds.

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#36 Posted by Shadow (5356 posts) -

I always min/max for whatever will be the most powerful build in the long run, no matter how hard that makes the early game. Right now in the FFXII remaster, I just started by making the main dude a black mage. I KNOW that's a bad choice right now. But by the end of the game, that choice will let me make the best party I can while still not repeating any jobs between characters

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#37 Edited by FacelessVixen (2577 posts) -

In SoulsBorne, I try to balance dealing with health and endurance since I feel like I can hit a brick wall very easily if my build is too unbalanced, but I usually hit 40 in dexterity before anything else. In Fallout and Skyrim, I usually go for the convenience perks the deal with looting and crafting. And in other games I go for extra health, defense/damage reduction, inventory slots and extra ammo.

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#38 Posted by kcin (1003 posts) -

It's sobering to see how much of spec development is hinged on hobbling the player with several inconveniences from the start, rather than strictly starting with a capable character and strengthening them. So often, I will spec in whatever makes me run faster, jump higher, or (God forbid it exists) loot faster, so I can just get where I'm going more quickly.