You're Doing it Wrong...Or Not.

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A major point of contention seems to be when one person suggests (or outright states) that someone else is playing D&D "wrong". "I want to ignore X rule". "You're doing that wrong". I think X should be changed to Y". "You can't because (long explanation that boils down to 'you're doing it wrong')". It's a sure-fire way to spark debates and get people nettled.

In a game in which the rules specifically state that you can change the rules, is it really possible to play it wrong? If you change enough of the game to a point where the rules are only a shell of what they used to be, are you still within the "doing it right" arena? Can you go so far in your changes that you actually reach a point where you are doing it wrong? Is ignoring a rule wrong? What about forgetting a rule? Is that "doing it wrong"? Is changing the D&D rules into a clone of Vampire: the Requiem doing it wrong? Is there a limit? Is there a finite point where you actually can be told that you're doing it wrong?

My own thought on it:

It's your game. You paid for it. You're going to be using it. You're going to be deriving pleasure from it. I think you can change whatever you want about it to make it so that it is as enjoyable as you want it to be.

That being said....

When you finally make your D&D into the perfect game for you and your group, please don't expext anyone else to think that your ideas are somehow better than their's, or better than the people who play the game as-is, straight from the books. Keep in mind that "doing it wrong" and "doing it differently than I do" are two totally different things and, most often, are mutually exclusive.   

What do you all think?
Is there a point where someone actually can do it wrong? Is the sky the limit, and there is absolutely no way to do it wrong?  
In my opinion, if the game goes to a point where the players are burning down the DMs house while shooting rocket-propelled grenades at passing cars, the game has probably taken a turn towards the "wrong."


That being said, I have always seen some level of home-rules in every campaign I've played in for every edition. In the end, if the players in the campaign are having fun, then it's being done the way it should be. Certainly, these players may end up confused if they don't know the current rules because of this and try to get into sanctioned events, but I would imagine that most of us know the rules pretty well, even if we homerule the baljookas out of it.

A very interesting topic you bring here! Cool
I prefer 2nd Edition AD&D. But I have played basic, 1E, 2E, 3.5, & 4E, and found all to be fun. IF IT'S D&D, I'LL PLAY IT, NO MATTER THE EDITION. Just roll some dice.
I agree on all points!

My thoughts on playing D&D wrong:


  • Undermining collaboration

  • Inhibiting the ability to share

  • Compromising the integrity of fun 

Danny

For what it is worth, I have been playing D&D wrong for 35 years now.  I don't intend to stop. Cool 
I agree on all points!

My thoughts on playing D&D wrong:


  • Undermining collaboration

  • Inhibiting the ability to share

  • Compromising the integrity of fun 




Out of curiosity, what would be some things that could undermine collaboration or inhibit the ability to share?
Is there a point where someone actually can do it wrong? Is the sky the limit, and there is absolutely no way to do it wrong?  

There's ways to do it wrong, but even those ways are subjective -- if you or your fellows are not liking what you're playing, you're doing it wrong. D&D should, first and foremost, be an overall amusing experience. I'm choosing the word "amusing" because D&D doesn't have to be an overall joyous experience -- people could play the game for any number of genres and types of amusement, the same way that people watch (and make) all kinds of movies of different varieties.
I don't use emoticons, and I'm also pretty pleasant. So if I say something that's rude or insulting, it's probably a joke.
Out of curiosity, what would be some things that could undermine collaboration or inhibit the ability to share?

Anything that challenges the ability of a group to work together in order to achieve their goals of storytelling and entertainment is undermining to collaboration.

Anything that challenges the ability for an individual member of a group to contribute in terms of tactics or tale is inhibiting to their ability to share.

Danny

To mrpopstar, I agree with your sentiment that if the group doesn't work together to achieve goals and story is a form of "wrong" (per se). Upon further reflection, yeah, if the changes disturb the very essence of what D&D is (a collaborative, cooperative game that develops a story amongst players) the system is no longer D&D anymore, really.
I prefer 2nd Edition AD&D. But I have played basic, 1E, 2E, 3.5, & 4E, and found all to be fun. IF IT'S D&D, I'LL PLAY IT, NO MATTER THE EDITION. Just roll some dice.
I'm sure we've all seen the debates. Alignment. AEDU vs Spell Points. Major fluff vs limited fluff. Great Wheel vs World Axis. Psionics. Some are quick to proclaim that something someone else did violates the "true spirit" of D&D and, basically, tells them they're doing it wrong. Is there any merit to these claims?
I would say there is a very easy way to play wrong - not follow the rules.

The problem seems to stem from people posting and then you find out they run a home campaign, have built their worlds, adjusted the rules to match it, and then state: "The rules are meant to be changed.  It says it right there in the PH!"  Then they take their viewpoint and never see beyond that.

Now, walk into a gaming store, that is community based.  Go to a convention and play at a community table, not with your friends.  This is how almost all the people I know of play.  (And I feel like I know quite a bit.)  All of these people must follow the rules - as written!  Why?  Try walking up to a group of strangers and playing chess, but let them know you've incorporated your own rule on what a pawn can do, or that there are no queens in the game.  Try going to your church's boardgame night and letting everyone know that in your game of Stratego the spy can revive.  Try entering a fantasy football league and letting everyone know that you have extra points to spend because you represent a wealthy team.  All of these things are ridiculous, just as playing D&D in a community setting and house-ruling is. 

There needs to be codified rules, ones that the players follow, this way new people and veterans can meet one another and share a given experience. 

This of course leads me to think how absurd modules will be unless they're campaign specific.
There is definitely a wrong way to play DnD.

I have seen dozens of ways on the furums where DnD is being played wrong.

However, this must be considered to be a feature, rather then a flaw.

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I think there is a HUGE difference between:


You're playiing D&D wrong.

and

You're playtesting D&D wrong.

I think that the integrity of the test is best maintained by playing the rules as written - at least at first. For example - it was obvious to me at first glance that the monster hit points and attack bonuses were too low in the current packet.  But I sucked it up and played the game as written for two entire sessions.

Having done that - and watched the looks of boredom on the players faces as soon as they realized just how easy the fights were (and being able to compare that to previous session) I have had enough of that - and will be increasing monster hit ponts and attack bonuses back to what they were in the last packet.

So - am I house-ruling?  Absolutely.  But at least I tried it their way first so I could give accurate feedback.

Now -when we are talking about the actual game (not the playtest) - that is something else entirely.  There totally, absolutely and literally is no such thing as "you're doing it wrong".  Ok - as long as your players keep coming back and everyone is usually having a good time there is no 'you're doing it wrong'.  If your players are meeting behind your back to lynch you - or at least dump you as a DM, you might be doing it wrong....

And, of course, you are all free to ignore the demands of the plalytest and start treating it as 'the game' rather than 'the test.'  Just don't confuse that with playtesting the materials themselves.

Minor caveat:  How moddable the game is is an important part of the game.  So playing with the game to see how it bends and breaks is also part of the playtest.  But probably not a part they are really focused on right now. 

Carl
There is definitely a wrong way to play DnD.

I have seen dozens of ways on the furums where DnD is being played wrong.

However, this must be considered to be a feature, rather then a flaw.



I would like to think that "wrong" carries a negative connotation. As such, I can't think that "wrong" would be anything other than a flaw.

I see tons of people playing differently, but none that are necessarily playing wrong. What are you referring to as wrong, yet a feature?
There's playing differently, and then there's playing so bizarrely differently that I hope the developers don't take your feedback seriously.
There is definitely a wrong way to play DnD.

I have seen dozens of ways on the furums where DnD is being played wrong.

However, this must be considered to be a feature, rather then a flaw.



I would like to think that "wrong" carries a negative connotation. As such, I can't think that "wrong" would be anything other than a flaw.

I see tons of people playing differently, but none that are necessarily playing wrong. What are you referring to as wrong, yet a feature?



If you expect everyone to play the same way, marching in lock step, then yes playing wrong would be a flaw.

Maybe there is a better term to use then "playing wrong"? 

But I know, for me, there are definitely games where I would have to say, "Yeah nah, I don't play that way"

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But I know, for me, there are definitely games where I would have to say, "Yeah nah, I don't play that way"


That's someone else playing differently, not wrong.
If the DM and the players are not having fun...then it's "wrong."  Other than that let the die and creative spirit roll on.

A Brave Knight of WTF

The only time I would state: "You are doing it wrong." 

Is if a table is not molding the game into what they envision.

If you are sitting there saying: "I must follow these rules and cannot alter them to fit my table's roleplaying style."

Then yes - I actually believe you are: "Doing it wrong."  

But that's the only time. 
I think there is a HUGE difference between:


You're playiing D&D wrong.

and

You're playtesting D&D wrong.

I think that the integrity of the test is best maintained by playing the rules as written - at least at first. For example - it was obvious to me at first glance that the monster hit points and attack bonuses were too low in the current packet.  But I sucked it up and played the game as written for two entire sessions.

Having done that - and watched the looks of boredom on the players faces as soon as they realized just how easy the fights were (and being able to compare that to previous session) I have had enough of that - and will be increasing monster hit ponts and attack bonuses back to what they were in the last packet.

So - am I house-ruling?  Absolutely.  But at least I tried it their way first so I could give accurate feedback.

Documentation is the key, there.  Jurry-rigging a proto-type until it works, and reporting it as a success of the original design is just bad methodology.  

There's something else about playing D&D "wrong" that I can't quite put my finger on.  If you follow the rules, play the game the way you want to, and it doesn't work, are you "doing it wrong" or is the game, itself, failing?  It's easy to say you're using a product wrong in extreme cases, like using a leaf-blower to dry your hair.  I don't think we're talking about such extremes in this case, though.  D&D Next is trying to be everybody's D&D.  So, shouldn't it try to work for the widest possible range of uses?


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I'd say there's absolutely a way to play it wrong, and that's to play it in a way that makes it not fun, for you or for your group.

I've seen quite a few times over the years times where people have made their own houserules or unfounded assumptions about how the game works, then they get mad at the system when their houserule doesn't work.  That's playing it wrong.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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Can you play D&D wrong? If I play contrary to the guidlines set forth I can play it nuemerically incorrect. If I am happy doing that and it works for me I am still not playing it wrong. I can enhance  the system or take away from it until it no longer is viable as a platform. Customization can be a double edged sword you see. I can break any system if I so choose. I can choose a playstyle that causes an obvious breaking of the rules or an inflation or deflation of the rules to the point that they are no longer scaled to present a challenge or present to much of a challenge. It's a tricky premise to ask "is this wrong to do x"?. The game was made to be changed, every system has had it's share of house rules- Experience dictates whether or not those rules work for a given person. Is my answer a cop out? Or do you share my experiences?
Example-What you choose and works for you could be and in many cases is disfunctional for me. Hence the idea that for some the five min. work day is a problem and for others they have never experienced this sort of issue themselves.  Both sides will and have argued strongly and effectively for their view based on their experiences. No, I don't want to start a debate based on that for the 5th time it's an example that illistrates what I mean. Does your style work for you and are you happy? Then you aren't playing wrong.

I've seen quite a few times over the years times where people have made their own houserules or unfounded assumptions about how the game works, then they get mad at the system when their houserule doesn't work.  That's playing it wrong.



I can get behind this 100%.

I've seen quite a few times over the years times where people have made their own houserules or unfounded assumptions about how the game works, then they get mad at the system when their houserule doesn't work.  That's playing it wrong.



I can get behind this 100%.



Nah - they aren't playing D&D wrong.  They're getting mad wrong.


Carl
Example-What you choose and works for you could be and in many cases is disfunctional for me. Hence the idea that for some the five min. work day is a problem and for others they have never experienced this sort of issue themselves.  Both sides will and have argued strongly and effectively for their view based on their experiences. No, I don't want to start a debate based on that for the 5th time it's an example that illistrates what I mean. Does your style work for you and are you happy? Then you aren't playing wrong.



Yep, thats a good example of someone playing DnD wrong.

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Example-What you choose and works for you could be and in many cases is disfunctional for me. Hence the idea that for some the five min. work day is a problem and for others they have never experienced this sort of issue themselves.  Both sides will and have argued strongly and effectively for their view based on their experiences. No, I don't want to start a debate based on that for the 5th time it's an example that illistrates what I mean. Does your style work for you and are you happy? Then you aren't playing wrong.



Yep, thats a good example of someone playing it wrong.



And by "it" you mean the game of 'lets argue about D&D on the forums", right?


Carl
Example-What you choose and works for you could be and in many cases is disfunctional for me. Hence the idea that for some the five min. work day is a problem and for others they have never experienced this sort of issue themselves.  Both sides will and have argued strongly and effectively for their view based on their experiences. No, I don't want to start a debate based on that for the 5th time it's an example that illistrates what I mean. Does your style work for you and are you happy? Then you aren't playing wrong.



Yep, thats a good example of someone playing it wrong.



And by "it" you mean the game of 'lets argue about D&D on the forums", right?


Carl



Thanks, I'll edit that to make it more clear.

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Right or wrong in a game concept?

Imo, playing dnd or any game wrong means not following the rules.

It means you feel the need to houserule something because its more fun for your group and your playing experience. Something you basically altered or added as it was not covered adueqately in the rules. If it works for you better than raw, thats great and a pure win.

Its a difficult thing to playtest something and lets be honest something we, dnd players, are not accustomed to it yet.

So many different concepts, so many different ideas and so many different houserules people write here on this forum thinking that perhaps others would find them good or bad and perhaps something our next edition could handle instead of ignore.

In short, "you play dnd wrong" belongs to established edition forums.
It has no place in playtests and ideas.
Is there a point where someone actually can do it wrong? Is the sky the limit, and there is absolutely no way to do it wrong?  



I always use the 5-minute work day as an example of playing D&D wrong.  What it boils down to mainly is intent.  How was the game intended to be played?  There are numerous examples throughout the history of the game that the designers intended Vancian casting to be a resource management mechanic.  The adventuring day was always intended to be several encounters long with longer periods of exploring in between and casters hoarding spell resources to be used when absolutely necessary, or dramatically appropriate.  The 5-minute work day violates that intent and destroys a balancing element of the game.  This is primarily why it bothers me that people insist on rules to address the 5MWD issue.  We already know it is wrong to do, because it violates the intent of the designers.  For me that's all I need.  I don't need extra systems or mechanics to "force" me to comply, I simply do because it makes the game play as intended.

Now having said all that, I don't think it is playing wrong if a group understands everything I said above and still plays with a 5MWD because they want to.  This is your game, play it the way you want to.  I just don't think it is right to intentionally play the game wrong and then insist on rules to force you (and all of us) to play it as it is clearly intended to be played without the addition of new rules.

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Even though I know that the 5MWD is supposed to be "BAD"... I've always considered it realistic.  The only time it seems like you'd soldier on is when you actually had to... but usually there is just an expectation that the party should go on. 

If I'm tapped out after killing something (or someone), why wouldn't I call it a day?  ... doesn't it seem worse to go back out looking for something else to kill before the blood even dries on your sword?

Even though I know that the 5MWD is supposed to be "BAD"... I've always considered it realistic.  The only time it seems like you'd soldier on is when you actually had to... but usually there is just an expectation that the party should go on. 

If I'm tapped out after killing something (or someone), why wouldn't I call it a day?  ... doesn't it seem worse to go back out looking for something else to kill before the blood even dries on your sword?





  1. If it doesn't cause a problem in your group, more power to you.  See my second paragraph.

  2. If it does cause problems then consider the intent of the designers, and realize that regardless of how realistic you think it is it isn't how the game is designed to be played.  Your individual perception/experience isn't particularly relevant in the face of the game designers' intent.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

For Space
Even though I know that the 5MWD is supposed to be "BAD"... I've always considered it realistic.  The only time it seems like you'd soldier on is when you actually had to... but usually there is just an expectation that the party should go on. 

If I'm tapped out after killing something (or someone), why wouldn't I call it a day?  ... doesn't it seem worse to go back out looking for something else to kill before the blood even dries on your sword?





  1. If it doesn't cause a problem in your group, more power to you.  See my second paragraph.

  2. If it does cause problems then consider the intent of the designers, and realize that regardless of how realistic you think it is it isn't how the game is designed to be played.  Your individual perception/experience isn't particularly relevant in the face of the game designers' intent.



... but if the designers intended to include a resource management mechanic
... and resource management seems to default into a 5MWD
... then couldn't you also interpret that their intent was to default to a 5MWD? 

Therefore, you could argue that the 5MWD isn't against the designers' intent
... and if it isn't against their intent, then it isn't "wrong".
... but if the designers intended to include a resource management mechanic
... and resource management seems to default into a 5MWD
... then couldn't you also interpret that their intent was to default to a 5MWD? 

Therefore, you could argue that the 5MWD isn't against the designers' intent
... and if it isn't against their intent, then it isn't "wrong".



Your logic is faulty.  5MWD isn't resource management it is the antithesis of resource management.  It is resource mismanagement.  Besides the rule books pretty clearly outline the "intent" of the designers, and there have even been rules that make it more clear; like the rule that states that spells cannot be recovered more than once in a 24 hour period, or the action point aquistion rule.  These were attempts to design rules to address the 5MWD, and more than just rules to address it (however successful) they also clearly communicate the designers' intent that a 5MWD is not playing the game correctly.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

What I am saying is that the 5MWD occurs as a result of efforts to enforce resource management... and since the developers seemed to be using the same methods to try to enforce resource management, then they should have  expected those methods to still result in a 5MWD... therefore, even if they said that they didn't want people taking a break after each fight, they kept reusing the mechanics that resulted in people taking breaks after each fight.

I tend to fall more on the side of "mod to your heart's content." It's wrong when the fun stops, really.


My particular group is so fractous and argumentative that even amongst ourselves, the rules change depending on who's the DM that week.


The strongest argument for a unified ruleset that nobody deviates from is that a community doesn't have time to hammer out a concensus, but I seem to remember when I started playing in the early 90's that folks would go to conventions and discuss the house rules they used. You'd approach a table and the presiding DM would sort of hit you with a disclaimer and fly in the face of some things, next table over they'd let those things ride and other things were unwelcome.


The variety exists within the community and has for a long time. One of the things that turned me off of public games later on was I noticed a growing sentiment that everyone had to play the same rule set no matter what, and that's culminated into a split that, frankly, just strikes me as totally bizarre. I've read archived blog posts about how good friends stopped talking to each other because they didn't want to play whatever edition... where's the sense in that? It was just a blog post so who knows how true it is, but if it is true then those people are playing the game wrong.


It's just kinda tragic that these sorts of petty acts that were belittled in the core books from AD&D and 2e AD&D are somehow held up as good examples now. Like they're somehow "holding the game together." Sorry folks but I don't buy it.


The onus is on the presiding DM to find a way to effectively communicate changes from the outset and the players must then decide if it's their bag. If it's not their bag and they walk away, then the DM must respect that player's decision.



Really, the game is being played wrong when changes are not made clear and/or people get angry about it. Everyone at the table has an obligation to make sure neither of those things happen.

What I am saying is that the 5MWD occurs as a result of efforts to enforce resource management... and since the developers seemed to be using the same methods to try to enforce resource management, then they should have  expected those methods to still result in a 5MWD... therefore, even if they said that they didn't want people taking a break after each fight, they kept reusing the mechanics that resulted in people taking breaks after each fight.




Not quite:  The 5MWD occurs as a result of efforts to enfore resource management - on players who have no interest in managing their resources.

It is the result of players saying:  "Ok - I have this many spells to last the entire day.  So.... I"ll just blow them all in the first encounter and force everyone else to rest while I get them back."


True resource management would result in asking whether they really need to use that spell for that encounter or should just hold back and use some lesser spells or even let the fighters handle it.



But many people don't want to do that - either because it doesn't fit their image of a blasty wizard or they just want the glory for themselves - or even because they are afraid that the fighters can't handle the encounter if they don't nova.

And the desire to rest comes from players being afraid that if they aren't at tip top condition, bad stuff might happen.  Even if the tension comes from being forced to push on past the point where you feel safe.  

But ultimately, safe is boring. 


Carl                       
"Palm slaps forhead" I said I didn't want to start this frigging debate over again you guys. Not "Cry havoc and slip the dogs of war"! I guess this was bound to happen. Puts on hat and heads toward the door tripping over the kiddies legos along the way. lol
Guys, do we really need another 5MWD debate?  
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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So, I've been observing another "ur doin it rong" complaint, which has to do with the "munchkin" label being thrown around.

Can we agree that "powergamers" to use a less hostile term aren't doing it wrong?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
So, I've been observing another "ur doin it rong" complaint, which has to do with the "munchkin" label being thrown around.

Can we agree that "powergamers" to use a less hostile term aren't doing it wrong?





Powergamers do get into a separate area.



If everyone at the table is a powergamer they are not doing it wrong.


However, I've been in the situation (most noteably in 3.5) as a DM where one or two players are serious powergamers (Ok, technically one was a real powergamer and the other a wannabe powergamer who copied builds from CharOp) who came to the table with powerful optimized characters  - and others were players who had no interest in powergaming and chose their feats and classes according to what sounded fun and interesting.


Both of these are valid approaches and I'm fine with DMing for either approach.


But put these both at the same table and it screws up the game balance.  If the creatures can hit the optimized characther, they shred the unoptimized ones; if the creatures are tought for the optimized character, the unoptimized characters can't touch them.  It is equivalent to having characters many levels apart in power.


So yes - I'll say that if you are the only one powergaming at your table you're doing it wrong (and likewise if you are the only one not powergaming at your table, you're doing it wrong).  Part of 'doing it right' is to work within the group to determine what is expected of the players and the characters (and the GM).

Munchkins, on the other hand, are always doing it wrong.  But that's because munchkins, by definition, are only concerned with their own character and never care about anyone or anything else. 

Carl                  

If everyone at the table is a powergamer they are not doing it wrong.


But they are doing it wrong if there's a mix?  Why aren't the non-powergamers doing it wrong?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
If everyone at the table is a powergamer they are not doing it wrong.


But they are doing it wrong if there's a mix?  Why aren't the non-powergamers doing it wrong?



Majority rules. 

To insist on doing it your way when it degrades the game for the other players is to be a jerk.

The number one rule of gaming (The Wheaton Rule) is don't be a [jerk] (edited for content).
   

Carl