What is Min-Maxing?

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What is Min-Maxing?

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In video games: minimizing stats you don’t need and maximizing stats you do need…in a certain build. Depends on the game and character. I’d probably make that a little simpler for a 5 year old but I think you get it.

In video games and tabletop roleplaying games, it’s used to mean “minimizing weaknesses and maximizing effectiveness.” It’s when the player spends extra time and effort to come up with an optimal build or set of choices for the game, often used in cases where doing so can dramatically affect gameplay.

Like if you found the right choices of weapons and armor and magic spells in a game that effectively made your character unbeatable, that’d be an example of “min-maxing.”

This can be an issue in groups where one player has done this and made an unstoppable character, causing the other players to feel unnecessary.

In gaming it’s basically building your character, through stat points and gear, towards maximizing a specific attribute. For instance, a person who is playing a DPS (Damage Per Second) class and trying to do as much damage as possible would go for putting all their points into attack and strength, which means they’re *maximizing* their build for damage while *minimizing* another trait (like defense).

The danger of stuff like that in games is that you really need a good team to make it work usually, because if the DPS can only take three hits before they die then you need a Healer who is on point and can keep them alive. Or, if a person puts all their points into defense, they might not be able to do a lot of damage, which can be dangerous in some games because you might not be able to stay alive long enough to kill whatever you’re attacking.

As a general term in video games it’s playing the game in such a way that you’re achieving the best possible result in the most efficient way possible. The “goal” is something you set yourself, but once that’s set you’ll want to maximize the results for that goal. For example let’s say you’re playing a management game. Well, if your goal is to have as high of an income as possible then you will ignore anything that doesn’t directly give you income nor help you increase your income, while searching for the combination of things that will increase your income the most given the system you have.

If you’re playing a role playing game and your goal is “kill everything in one hit” then minmaxing would be setting your stats and gear so that everything is working towards increasing your damage output as high as possible while minimizing anything that doesn’t increase your damage output. You don’t need defense or health if your goal is to kill everything in a single hit, so you can safely ignore things that increase those stats: why would you need health or defense if you’ll never get hit. The other way can apply if your goal is “Become a human shield that nothing can kill”. Then you may want to up your defense and health to impossible values while ignoring anything that increases your damage output, because you won’t be fighting back anyway. Your goal is to stand there and take all the damage while your teammates kill the threat safely. And so on and so forth.

You set yourself a goal, a well defined goal, and then you maximize things that contribute to that goal while minimizing everything that doesn’t contribute to it in the most efficient manner that the game’s systems allow.

Basically it’s a game (usually video games, though not always) of maximizing a character in specific ways while making sacrifices in other areas.

It’s often frowned upon because toxic players have given it a bad reputation, which is unfortunate. This is especially true in D&D, where “min-maxer” has become synonymous with “murderhobo” (a character who ignores the plot and just murders NPCs).

That said, people often focus on the “max” and ignore the “min” part; people whine that min-maxed characters are overpowered, but the truth is they have weaknesses just like other characters, and often their weaknesses are greater.

The Talos in Eve is a good example of a min max set up. It is a battle cruiser designed to use battleship weapons. The ability to do that has stripped it of defence capabiiities. Making it a “glass cannon” like somebody mentioned. Cannon-more powerful than a gun. Glass-fragile and easily broken if struck.