Community

 Dungeons & Dra.. 4e Character Optim.. Theoretical Optimization Manifesto
Page 1 of 3  •
Switch to Forum Live View Theoretical Optimization Manifesto
2 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2011 - 11:39AM #1
AlphatheGreat
Date Joined: Mar 22, 2008
Posts: 1,547
This comes up from time to time, and it's really annoying, so I'm making this thread to point people to, instead of having to retype it every time.

The situation:
1.  COer posts a theoretical build or concept.  It may be useful, it may be utterly ambiguous rules interpretation, doesn't matter.  It's theoretical, and it's not houserules or homebrew.
2.  Several posters come in and complain "that doesn't apply to CharOp!" or "what's the point of a theoretical build if you can't use it?"
3.  Other people see it and think "oh, theoretical stuff is not welcome anywhere."
4.  I get mad.

So, here's my defense of TO in the form of

The Theoretical Optimization Manifesto

1.  Theoretical Optimization is fun.

Many of us here in the CO optimize for the sake of optimizing.  We revel in the rules, in configuring powerful characters, in being creative and in manipulating the system.  Long before I played in a practical D&D game, I had built many characters for the sake of building them.  Theoretical builds, using rules loopholes or ambiguous interpretations, overly powerful combinations, and clever creative uses of resources, are cool.  Many people don't like them, and that's okay.  The builds aren't for them.  They are for those of us who appreciate and admire the theory.
Pun-pun was not designed to play, but to enjoy the idea that the 3.5e rules allow the creation of a character with unlimited power.  At level 1.
Nanobots exist within the structure of the 3.5e rules.
4e has its own twisted possibilities.
These are cool concepts, cool characters.  They are fun to create, fun to read about for many of us here in the CO.

2.  Theoretical Optimization is a useful resource.

You can divide science into two categories: applied and theoretical.  Theoretical science may have obvious applications, or it may not.  Even when it does not, one day it may...and the theory will be there when it is needed.
Theoretical optimization pushes at the boundaries of the ruleset, exploring territory that may one day be used, or may never be.
Long before I developed the Arcane Slasher, other TOers produced Infinite Minion Bamfing and The Apocalypse Twins.  Both were theoretical, because the concepts weren't really the sort of thing you wanted to pull on a DM (banhammers being what they are).  Eventually I was able to turn the concept into something more practical (and yes, I also pushed some theoretical bounds at the same time).  Without those previous posters, I might never have seen the potential that lay hidden in the Feytouched and Long Night Scion PPs.
Furthermore, many DMs use TO ideas for their NPCs or recurring villains with good success.
Theory is a resource with many dead-ends, and many hidden gems.  It is good for the CO to have that resource available.

3.  Theoretical Optimization highlights rules problems.

One of the objectives of game design, especially in 4e, is a tight ruleset that presents a balanced game.  Balance is generally good for fun.  If there's a problem with the rules, you can either pretend it's not there, or fix it.  DMs and game designers alike have an incentive to know what needs fixing and what could happen if it doesn't get fixed.  Furthermore, DMs have many different ways of dealing with balance issues, and it's good for those DMs to have more information so that their methods can be better.  Information is good.

4.  Theoretical Optimization encourages good rules understanding.

Theoretical exploration of the rules encourages people to learn the rules so they can know what is valid and what is not.  I'm sure we can all agree that it is a good thing for people to know the rules of the game they play.

5.  Theoretical Optimization is still Character Optimization.

Even if you ignore the positive qualities of TO, it is still optimization.  For a time in 3.5e, there was a separate board for TO.  That is no longer the case.  As such, theoretical builds have no proper place outside the CO.  TOers have a right to post here as much as any of us have a right to post on these forums.  TO has a place here even if the only reason you will accept is that this is the only place that it COULD belong.

Theoretical Optimization belongs in the CO.
When someone posts a theoretical build or idea, ensure that people know it's theoretical, then judge it on its own merits.  The fact that it is theoretical is useful only to tell you what kind of discussion to have, not whether the discussion should take place at all.
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2011 - 11:59AM #2
awaken_D_M_golem
Date Joined: Dec 22, 2006
Posts: 2,660
Hey, Pun-pun might have survived the Spellplague.
Just take a look at the Sarrukh rituals in FRCG ... (strong hint smiley face)

There's an errata to skill checks, that had only one "loop-hole".
IN combat the PHB aid another, could go higher than the +2 times 4.
So crank up those weird Monster skill checks in-combat Swarm/Mob thingy.
Completely useless.
Completely bonkers in a good way.
(sigh) ... A nerf with my name on it.
my kitty avatar's Royale Lineage ---> http://static.neatorama.com/images/2009-09/original-keyboard-cats.jpg

new helpful bg/mmx refugee locale ---> http://www.ruleofcool.com/smf/index.php/topic,632.0.html
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2011 - 12:44PM #3
AirPower25
Date Joined: Sep 15, 2009
Posts: 543
Alpha, I agree 100%.  Another application, especially in 4th, is that these theoretical builds make excellent NPCs and Villains.  I actually used a NPC version of the early Arcane Slashers as a recurring villain.  Would I ever let one of my players run the slasher, no.  That said, it made a fun, difficult, and rewarding bad guy with a powerset that was cool and still "mostly" within the rules.
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2011 - 1:13AM #4
ShakaUVM
Date Joined: Feb 3, 2003
Posts: 3,825
Any sane DM would nerf this Manifesto.
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2011 - 7:21AM #5
Elwyndas
Date Joined: Jul 7, 2008
Posts: 1,749
what's the point of a theoretical build if you can't use it?
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2011 - 7:39AM #6
WEContact
Date Joined: Jun 10, 2008
Posts: 1,947
Define 'use', Elwyndas.
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2011 - 7:54AM #7
GelatinousOctahedron
Date Joined: Jun 30, 2008
Posts: 5,740
@ elwyndas: they are fun to come up with.  All the builds I post should be allowable and are useful and playable, but it is fun to see just how much you can optimize turn undead for instance, even though I would never actually play that character.

Right now in another thread people are figuring out how to max their initiative bonus at level 30 and are getting numbers into the 70s and 80s (even higher if you have party support) and even though those characters are not actually that useful, some of the combinations they come up with to get there will be.
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2011 - 7:59AM #8
Mengu74
Date Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 3,247
This reminds me of the age long argument, is art for the people, or for the artist? I guess this makes char-op an art?

I think on theoretical build threads (or maybe any thread), next to the "reply" weapon, we need an "ignore" button. Just the ability to click "ignore" will probably have people feel like they took an action they can be pleased with (maybe even a thumb up thumb down feature), without cluttering the thread with their philosophical musings.
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2011 - 9:02AM #9
Seeten
Date Joined: Jul 31, 2005
Posts: 526
OMG Word Wrap, people, use it!
Cancel
2 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2011 - 9:12AM #10
MC-DrowBane
Date Joined: Aug 10, 2010
Posts: 1,260

Jan 14, 2011 -- 9:02AM, Seeten wrote:

OMG Word Wrap, people, use it!

lol.

As a shameless TO...good stuff Alpha.