Thursday, August 12, 2010


Okay, so I read a comment on another blog about how WAAC (Win At All Costs) players are people who are hardcore competitive gamers. I disagree, and I think the opinions of folks like me are under-represented online because people like me don't fully fall on either side of the issue.

Personally, I'm not a hardcore competitive player for two reasons:

  • because I don't have the time or money to compete with the better competitive players out there. 
  • because I'm too anti-copycat to run with a xeroxed netlist. Admittedly, I might incorporate elements from one... but something would have to make it "mine."

But I do appreciate hardcore gamers and what they bring to the table. Back in the day, when I considered myself a competitive Magic: The Gathering player, I still had the "make it mine" tendency, and that almost always resulted in me running decks that were less than optimal. However... I took the time to play against opponents who did run optimal decks, and who were better players than me in general, so that when tournament time came I would have the best chance of winning given my self-imposed restrictions. Was it irritating to lose to netdecks? Of course it was! But I valued the netdecks and the guys who played the netdecks because they helped me improve my skills.

I think we need to redefine what WAAC really means. "All costs" implies that anything is acceptable as long as it results in a win. Are the penalties of cheating a potential cost? Why, yes they are. Thus, if you're willing to win at all costs, you're also willing to cheat... and therein lies the difference between min/max players and WAAC players. Min/max players are not necessarily willing to cheat to win. Some people see optimizing an army list as cheating. But is it cheating to pick the most powerful and cost effective units? I think not. Unfortunately, many (if not most) cheaters look like your run of the mill min/max players until you catch them in the act... thus the confusion.

Perhaps the pure min/max players, who will milk every advantage from their chosen codex but keep the moral high ground at the table, need a new acronym to differentiate them from the true WAAC players. I suggest WAACWASN. What does it stand for? Simple! Win At All Costs Within Acceptable Social Norms! Yes, it's a mouthful, but is isn't that much more difficult to wrap your tongue around than WYSIWYG, right?

To the whiners:
True min/max players, WAACWASN players if you will, don't need to cheat. If your tactics suck, your knowledge of the game is sub-par, and you picked units because they looked pretty, a min/max player will table you and stay entirely within the game rules. Tell your friends whatever makes you feel better, but if you can't beat the leafblower with your same old units and same old tactics, maybe "same old" needs to adapt to the new trends... or you could at least quit complaining about it.

And if you find that he is a cheat, then you've discovered one of two things: either he isn't a true min/max player, or you're competent enough to be a credible challenge to a min/max player. In the first case, he wasn't a true min/max player at all, so you shouldn't lump him in with the min/max guys anymore. In the second case, you should feel good about yourself. In either case, you should kick him in the balls and never play him again.

Okay, okay... kicking him in the balls is taking things a little too far... but you get the point.
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