->''"As Thomas you can shoot more accurately, throw lassos, and climb ledges; and as Ray you can open the pause menu, restart the mission, and choose Thomas instead, you fucking idiot! Ray takes less damage, [[RegeneratingHealth but health regenerates so it hardly matters anyway]], and he can dual wield pistols, which means twice as many weapons you have to stop and reload every fifteen nanoseconds."''
-->-- ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'' on ''VideoGame/CallOfJuarezBoundInBlood''

Fake Balance is what happens when a game or an aspect of a game seems balanced on paper, but actual playing reveals major problems that were not anticipated by the designers. This is a reason why a game can have CharacterTiers despite being balanced in theory.

For clarification, Fake Balance is caused when the game designer ''intends'' to balance the game, but fails to do so. Intentionally putting in GameBreaker or joke characters does not count, since the designer has no intention of balancing the game anyway.

There are several different cases of Fake Balance:
* '''An underestimated[=/=]overestimated ability''': A major cause of Fake Balance in {{fighting games}} is when the game designers inaccurately guage an ability's usefulness relative to the rest of the game. Underestimation may cause a character's weakness to be ignored; for example, a 99% evasion rate could make a FragileSpeedster functionally just as NighInvulnerable as a StoneWall, but also faster to get into an attack position and without the penalty to offense. Overestimating an ability may cause a character to become an unintentional JokeCharacter, like when an attack move is only noticed for the high amount of damage it can do in one hit, while ignoring that it can be easily dodged.
* '''[[DifficultButAwesome Skill-based advantage]]''': Something that becomes unbalanced only in the hands of a skilled player. Other players, especially those with a physical disability, can effectively be prevented from winning in a competitive environment; being limited to SkillGateCharacters or by inferior equipment that lies behind a skill-based {{minigame}}. Worse yet, some linear games can become {{unwinnable}} or limited to a [[MultipleEndings bad ending]], due to the skill requirement being set too high.
* '''Unbalanced move-set''': [[GamblersFallacy If a character has a move set with a few overly powerful moves, the counterbalance to this may be to have several moves be near-useless.]] But the existence of bad moves does nothing to reduce the effectiveness of the good ones. A skilled player is likely to [[GameplayDerailment exploit the good moves while ignoring the useless ones]], often taking away from the variety of the game.
* '''Luck-based balance''': Luck-based gameplay easily falls into Fake Balance because of issues with the RandomNumberGod, such that a match between two skilled players is decided by luck, rather than skill, so an unskilled player can beat a skilled one (except in movies where TheMagicPokerEquation applies). This can often apply to {{Trading Card Game}}s, where the randomness of draws theoretically balances the match, but skilled players can stack their decks to limit this factor.
* '''[[PowerEqualsRarity Rarity based balance]]''': Found in certain {{Trading Card Game}}s formats, where rare cards are often much more powerful than common cards. This form of balance is based on the notion that everyone has an equal chance of getting the game-winning cards, and thus an equal chance of winning. However, this can result in having matches decided by who was luckier rather than who was more skilled, so it can be considered a form of luck-based balance in certain game formats.
** Note: In most TCG formats, where you can build your own deck, the luck doesn't appear to as much of an extent, as [[BribingYourWayToVictory you can buy all the cards you need, regardless of rarity.]] [[CrackIsCheaper Expect to shell out a lot for the rare cards, though, especially if they're really good.]] And this still negates the "balancing" aspect.
* '''Situational advantage''': When a character/deck (A) has an almost unwinnable advantage over certain type of character/deck (B), but is too weak against other characters/decks (C). On the statistic sheet, A might have a balanced winrate, B might have a below average winrate and C might have an above average winrate. But Deck A isn't balanced and C might not be better than B. This results in a practice known as "counter-picking", where a player makes their choice based on the other player's choice. This naturally leads to all players hiding their choices and making the game feel like an elaborate version of RockPaperScissors played before instead of whatever actual gameplay was intended, determining the outcome of the game before it starts.
* '''[[UnstableEquilibrium Fragile advantage]]''': These characters have over-the-top strengths when they're going strong, but if they're knocked off balance or prevented from gaining an advantage to begin with, their weaknesses come into play big time. The reason why some of these characters can be considered "balanced" is because humans inevitably make mistakes. This is most common in {{racing game}}s, where players or AI can make a mistake that causes them to lose, no matter how fast their vehicle.
* '''Balance-wrecking items''': Here, a good job is done of balancing characters, but this work is then undone by having items that negate some weaknesses but not others. For example, a character might be physically weak but have a special talent; if every shop on the planet sells strength-boosting trinkets, that weakness isn't going to be much of a handicap for long. This is especially common as a result of PowerCreep, when the original game's items were balanced, but the new ones aren't.
* '''[[TacticalRockPaperScissors Counterplay-based balance]]''': An item or character is ridiculously overpowering, but falls apart if you use a certain item, character, or strategy, but this can be undone with another item/character/strategy, and so on and on until you end up with a multiplicity of layers of counterplay. The rationale here is that these powerful characters can be negated by skilled people capable of exploiting their weaknesses. This also has the side effect of creating {{Skill Gate Character}}s that are very strong against unskilled players, but weak against skilled players.
* '''Perfect imbalance''': A gameplay "balancing" technique that can be best described as having a tiny but ''intentional'' imbalance carefully calculated so that the community will favor one particular strategy, but not too extreme so as to negate everything else. Then, on the next patch, the developer tilts the balance towards another different kind of strategy. The result is an always-changing {{metagame}} that prevents the game from getting old and also prevents the formation of ComplacentGamingSyndrome. More info in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e31OSVZF77w this video]] from ''WebVideo/ExtraCredits''.
* '''Balance through imbalance''': If everything is either ridiculously broken or woefully underpowered, there may not be any real power difference, but the gameplay suffers. If everything is overpowered, [[RocketTagGameplay it becomes a twitch-fest and landslide victories are the norm]]; the only real counterplay is getting in the first hit. If everything is underpowered, it becomes a [[PaddedSumoGameplay boring and frustrating experience with no sense of reward]].

'''STOP!''' Before proceeding, please remember that TropesAreNotBad. Games are designed to reward those who take the time and effort to study them. A player who has more expertise at a game ''should'' win more, because he or she knows the game's loopholes and how to exploit them. This trope only comes into play when a particular strategy, skillset, or loophole becomes [[GameBreaker dominant]] over a game which, purportedly, contains nothing so ultra-powerful. One surefire sign of an extreme Fake Balance failure is therefore when only a tiny fraction of a game's strategies or options are considered viable in competitive play.

Consider also that skill levels of players vary, and simply adding an example because you feel it is “cheap” is missing the point, not to mention a great way to start an Administrivia/EditWar. For the types of players likely to do this, see {{Scrub}}, {{Munchkin}}, ComplacentGamingSyndrome, and StopHavingFunGuys. May be caused by a PowerCreep. [[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused with]] [[FoxNewsLiberal fake balance]] in news coverage.


!!Video-Game Examples:
[[folder:[=4X=] Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion 2'', every spaceship had a finite amount of room for weapons and other systems, and every race was limited to -10 "picks" in negative attributes and 20 "picks" worth of positive attributes. Naturally, nothing whatsoever cost anywhere near what it should, so everyone played with Unification/Tolerant/Repulsive races and crammed as many Plasma Cannons onto their ships as possible.
* A fan wrote [[http://apricotmappingservice.com/unbalanced.html an entire essay/rant on this trope]] in regards to ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X3: Reunion]]''. In theory the ships in the game have two axes of balance (FactionCalculus and ship classes) and are pretty well designed. In practice, ArtificialStupidity, the SchizophrenicDifficulty of in-sector versus out-of-sector combat, and the lack of a good fleet command interface put the balance into a blender.
** In the sequel, ''Terran Conflict'', in addition to the above Terran, ATF, and OTAS ships are balanced by being more expensive than other ships. By the time you're buying ships in large quantities you'll likely have [[MoneyForNothing more money coming in from your investments than you know what to do with]].

[[folder:Fighting Games]]
* ''VideoGame/BlazBlueCalamityTrigger'' suffers slightly from this. [[GlassCannon Nu-13 is meant to be balanced by low health.]] But her projectile combos and teleport moves made it nigh-impossible for some characters to land even a single hit, making her health irrelevant. Come the sequel, her projectiles can't combo, and her teleport is gone.
* Many ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' games have balance issues where certain matchups are unfairly difficult. In the earliest games certain characters lacked an effective method for dealing with projectiles, so they'd end up pinned down by fireball traps. Combo-oriented games like ''VideoGame/XMenVsStreetFighter'' or ''VideoGame/MarvelVsCapcom'' had infinite combos for every character.
* ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' took a fairly simple approach to balance. In general, most characters can fit into one of three groups: [[FragileSpeedster Fast, but light]] and weak; [[MightyGlacier strong and heavy, but slow]]; and [[JackOfAllStats "balanced" characters who are somewhere in between]]. This sounds good in theory - slower characters don't have to hit as much to KO you, and are more resistant to being KO'd themselves - the problem is that fast characters generally have a much higher combo ability, allowing them to easily turn one weak hit into several, ultimately dealing more damage than the few, powerful hits that heavyweights dish out. Additionally, heavyweights themselves are extremely susceptible to combos, as their weight works against them by keeping them in range of their attacker, and they are usually large in stature as well, making them that much easier to hit. The heavyweights have effective {{Herd Hitting Attack}}s that can be unleashed while other players are distracted with each other, but this is no help in 1v1 matches, which are the standard for competitive play. This has ultimately led to complex CharacterTiers appearing (despite [[MemeticMutation claims that "tires don exits"]]) and the MetaGame being stormed by fast characters like Fox and Falco, though with a few exceptions such as Jigglypuff and Peach.
** In the fourth game, [[VideoGame/PunchOut Little Mac]] seems to fall under "unbalanced skillset". Mac is a brutal LightningBruiser on the ground, with several of his attacks making him ImmuneToFlinching and he even has an instant-KO attack. To balance this, he's absolutley abysmal in the air. The problem is air game isn't all that relevant on the Final Destination forms of stages, and a single long platform is the perfect setup for his ground game, resulting in him being by far the most used character in For Glory mode online.
*** And then when the meta developed and the air game became much more important, followed by players realizing how awful Mac's recovery was, he immediately became somewhat of a joke character, as players in FG would regularly just throw him off and use a single follow-up attack to take his first stock. Similarly, picking Little Mac in any sort of 4 stock competitive setting results in a quick loss amidst a stream of tears. Especially now that [[VideoGame/StreetFighter Ryu]] is out, who is widely considered 'better Mac with air game'.

[[folder:First-Person Shooters]]
* Many FPS games such as ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'' have the problem of [[StandardFPSGuns similar but grossly unbalanced weapon sets]]. At a medium range, nothing beats assault rifles and marksman weapons; likewise, extremely short-ranged weapons like submachine guns and [[ShortRangeShotgun shotguns]] are next to useless outside of room to room fighting. This has the added effect of making some weapon types (and, occasionally, some specific weapons within that type) shift between being {{Game Breaker}}s and [[JokeWeapon completely useless]] depending on whether the maps that ship with the game favor close-range or long-range combat.
** Additionally, in ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'', the imbalance grows as a player's multiplayer level increases, since levels grant better attachments and perks to already powerful weapons - at least in theory. In practice, weapons legitimately meant to be end-game superguns are often beaten by early- to mid-game weapons that weren't properly playtested. Not at all helped that the last gun unlocked is always the AK-47 or its equivalent in the game, solely from its real-world infamy and a deliberate effort to curtail overuse of it, rather than any advantages over other weapons - it was the first assault rifle in [=CoD4=], after all.
*** The ''Modern Warfare'' games largely have this problem with automatic weapons, which are ostensibly balanced due to increased recoil. However, since most maps are rather small, such guns are mostly capable of killing any player before the recoil becomes severe, and a few don't even have enough recoil to screw with the player's aim, skilled players can dominate most maps with their automatic weapons alone. If ammo is a concern, they can simply pick up another one or use the Bandolier/Scavenger perk to start with or grab more.
*** Not to mention the grenade launchers, which are supposed to be balanced due to limited ammunition (the player spawns with two grenades, which cannot be replenished normally). However, each grenade is essentially worth at least one free kill, and when you run out of grenade ammunition, you can simply switch back to your assault rifle. To make matters worse, in ''Modern Warfare 2'' there were methods to get more than two rifle grenades.
*** This ''was'' fixed for the Black Ops series by adding the flak jacket perk making grenades next to useless.
*** The perks have this problem too. The ones that specifically enhanced your ability for direct shootouts were much more usable than the others since... that's what the multiplayer consists of in general. While specific combinations of them could be more useful than the direct ones alone, it didn't stop those ones being the perks most chosen.
*** The Double Tap perk. The Stopping Power perk increased the damage of bullet by 40%, generally making bullets take one bullet less to kill. Double Tap made weapons fire faster. On slow-firing weapons, Double Tap allows you to fire again much quicker. On semi-automatic weapons that are only limited by a fire-rate cap that's usually ''already'' higher than the automatic rates of full-auto weapons, Double Tap pretty much does nothing. For automatic weapons that do 30 damage on average, they are equal in killing speed. On automatic weapons that do more, Stopping Power kills a bit faster. However, increasing the fire rate allows increases recoil and the chance of wasting shots on automatic weapons. Needless to say, with the popularity of fast-firing automatics, Double Tap was rarely used. Like the issue with explosives above, this was fixed in later games, in part by removing Stopping Power entirely, and in part by replacing the Double Tap perk with an attachment that had the same effect.
** Also, the killstreak/scorestreak system often times gives the winning team a much bigger advantage. Once one team starts getting more kills, they get more killstreaks, which help them get more kills, which help them get more killstreaks, and it just snowballs from there. There are games where entire teams are simply shut down because they're overwhelmed by the opposing team's killstreak support. And let's not get started with the Nuclear Strike killstreak in ''Modern Warfare 2''. Most games since ''[=MW2=]'' switched the system so kills made with killstreak rewards either didn't count towards the next killstreak, or only gave a fourth of the points and did not have a game-breaking super-streak like the Nuke, to help make things more fair.
** ''Call of Duty 2'' and ''World at War'' both suffer from brutal gaps in weapon effectiveness, since they're set during the second World War. Each country's weapon set includes bolt-action rifles, semi-automatic carbines, and fully automatic submachine guns. Both games end up favoring one weapon type completely - in ''2'' the bolt-actions reign supreme because they are always a one-shot kill, while in ''World at War'' the full-auto submachine guns are by far the most used and useful. The semi-autos just do not have the fire rate or the firepower to compete.
*** This is intentionally used in many servers that implement anti-spamming measures. The end result is that a maximum quota for how many players can spawn with each weapon is in place, meaning that there's mostly bolt-action, some semi-auto and automatic, and just a few rockets and flamethrowers.
*** The MP-40 of ''World at War'' was widely considered the deadliest weapon in the game, which a developer from Treyarch admitted and apologized for [[http://www.callofduty.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=237415&p=2753427&sid=45183683136faca8daa3631da2e5a017#p2753427 here]]. The imbalance was on account of the weapon being balanced mathematically so that its direct time to kill a player, if all the bullets hit, was equal to the killing speed of the other submachine guns within their respective effective ranges. Problem was, seemingly, the gun itself was not properly playtested and the MP-40 was able to slip into the released game completely overpowered.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' had the Sandman, a good example of an unbalanced skillset. The Sandman's baseball attack could knock out a player temporarily, but the actual melee attack was weaker to make up for it. But nobody used the Sandman for its melee attack, since the Scattergun was stronger at melee range anyway; the Sandman amounted to a certain kill, provided you could hit with the ball (which wasn't as hard as some players liked to claim). Even worse, the Sandman could stun players under the effect of an Ubercharge (temporary invincibility), which meant either a few wasted seconds of the Uber (if you hit the charge target) or, worse, an ''entirely'' wasted Uber (if you hit the Medic). All of this made it ''the'' single most hated unlockable, with [[StopHavingFunGuys CEVO]] actually banning it from competitive play.
** Valve went around a lot with the issue, mostly implementing damage reduction on stunned players (which sorta worked, but didn't really make a whole lot of sense). The Soldier/Demoman update seems to have finally resolved the issue: getting hit with the ball now puts you into a "fleeing" state, which means you can still run away, but completely removes the damage reduction. You can still get the "stun" effect with a long-range hit, but that's not always practical, i.e. not every map even has a space long enough to do it in. The other downside of the Sandman was that it removed the Scout's double-jump. Scouts were eventually given back the double-jump, but were given a health downgrade.
** On a more general note, the classes themselves. Pyro is a good example. On paper, the Pyro is a LightningBruiser with a passive damage ability, balanced by a lack of effective range. In practice, the Pyro is weaker than most offensive classes even in that range, and the Pyro's passive damage is very easily countered. [[note]]Fire used to be a reliable way to kill someone, but it seems like every update another counter to fire is introduced. At first, only medkits, water (which not every map has), Medics, and the Engineer's Dispensers could put out fire. Now take that, and add on the Sniper's Jarate; the Pyro's own airblast; the Scout's Bonk! Atomic Punch (temporarily negates the fire's effect) and Mad Milk; the Demo's immunity to fire and 50% resistance to direct fire damage from the Chargin' Targe; and the Spy's Spycicle, which puts out fire and gives several seconds of complete fire immunity.[[/note]]
** A less noticeable example would be some of the unlockable melee weapons compared to their default counterparts, specifically for the Pyro's Fire Axe, Heavy's Fist, and Soldier's Shovel. The unlockable weapons generally are better in specific circumstances and worse in others (Axtinguisher does huge damage against burning enemies and less against others, [[DesperationAttack the Equalizer does less damage at high health and more at low health]]), or grant special abilities at the cost of making them less effective as weapons (the G.R.U. deals less damage and makes the Heavy take more damage, but lets him run faster). The catch is that default weapons for those classes are almost ''entirely useless'' in the first place, even as {{Emergency Weapon}}s (the Rocket Launcher reloads as fast as a melee weapon can be swung, while the Minigun and Flamethrower only need to reload when entirely out of ammo, which rarely happens), so there's nowhere to go but up most of the time.
*** The Medic's Bonesaw and Pyro's Fire Axe were and are in the uniquely awful position of being obsoleted by direct upgrades (the Solemn Vow and Third Degree, which respectively let you see enemy health and damage whoever your target is healing or being healed by). However, the Solemn Vow has since been nerfed (given a slightly slower swing-speed with the Gun Mettle update) and the Third Degree is only a minor upgrade to the Fire Axe.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRenegade'' was balanced in that GDI and Nod each had an approximately equal chance of winning a given match. Other than that, you had infantry which were only worth a damn fighting other infantry, matches that devolved into neverending reverse tug-of-war tank battles due to the repair mechanics, {{hitscan}} snipers who could kill with 1-3 bodyshots, and so on. This balance failure ironically makes it possibly the most faithful FPS conversion of an RTS game ever, as ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' has always been about tank rushes.
* ''VideoGame/CounterStrike'' gives us the AWP. It's theoretically balanced because it's a bolt action sniper rifle (thus fairly slow-firing) that fires a big bullet. It isn't balanced ''at all'' because a shot to anywhere but the legs can and ''will'' kill the target, so the reload doesn't matter unless you're outnumbered, and switching to another weapon then back to the AWP increases the reload animation rate in every game prior to ''Global Offensive''; as a result, the primary disadvantages are its poor field of view and its poor movement speed. The automatic sniper rifles - the [[AKA47 D3 and Kreig 550]] - do considerably less damage, but fire fast enough to be fairly usable as assault rifles, and generally kill in two hits; most people's reaction to getting killed with one will be to buy one of their own, quickly resulting in the entire server using nothing but them.
** In reality, the net effect of this is that the map that is being played on heavily influences the balance of the game; on maps with excellent sniping opportunities, such as Aztec, the AWP and the automatic sniper rifles are hilariously effective and it is not uncommon to see literally everyone on a winning team wielding them, particularly when they're playing on the defensive. On maps which are close in, where the limited field of view is more of a problem, constant movement is necessary, or flanking is really easy, the AWP and other sniper rifles are strong but balanced weapons which leave you vulnerable in many cases and cost two rounds' worth of money to buy. This is also a somewhat annoying case of where getting better at the game makes the problem worse - most poor to mid-level players do not use smoke grenades and flashbangs very well, and consequently as their opponents with [=AWPs=] get better at aiming, [=AWPs=] become increasingly more "broken". Extremely high-skilled players may be very likely to hit with the AWP, but high-skilled players are also more likely to use flashbangs and smoke grenades properly, which makes [=AWPing=] less useful as your field of view is much more likely to get ruined.
** The Tec-9 in ''Global Offensive''. After months of the fanbase calling for a {{nerf}}, Valve decreased the magazine size and reduced the range. This did nothing to curb its popularity as 24 bullets is still plenty and the lowered range is still enough to clear out at least one bombsite on each map (especially if you know how to SmokeOut long range positions). The weapon still has next to no recoil, even when running at full speed and can [[OneHitKill headshot helmeted players]] at short range.
** [=M4A4=] and [=M4A1-S=]. In theory, the A4's lower price and 120 bullets total (as opposed to 60 on the A1) makes it an even choice. In practice, the A1 has lower recoil, more damage, longer range and a silencer (an example of this trope in itself since lower noise should be balanced by weapon length making it visible through corners, but it only matters in certain camping spots), and all for simply $100 more than the A4. As a result, most of the pros have been playing with the [=M4A1-S=], even after its price was upped to be identical to and then higher than the [=M4A4=]'s (previously it was $200 lower, which was even worse for the A4); that or they just pick up an AK from a terrorist.
* In the same vein as the page quote, ''VideoGame/CallOfJuarezTheCartel'' has this in regards to its three player characters' special abilities. All three characters have one type of weapon they specialize in and can use far better than the other two can, but each of those types consists of exactly two weapons. Ben also gets secondary bonuses for shotguns, which are very useful in the close-quarters of the early gang-fighting, and the pistols and revolvers, which make up a good 70% of the game's arsenal and can be [[GunsAkimbo paired up]]. Kim likewise gets a secondary bonus for the assault rifles and two-handed [=SMGs=], the only other weapon type with more than three guns in it. Eddie just gets the ability to use one-handed [=SMGs=] in the place of pistols - an ability that is largely A) useless, due to them having no advantages over the pistols save a slightly-higher capacity (which some of the best pistols match) and full-auto fire rate (which, again, every handgun save for the higher-powered revolvers match in semi-auto), and B) redundant, due to a ''very'' easy to activate glitch that lets the other two characters use an SMG as a pistol as well.
* As far as most of the classic ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' modding community is concerned, "spawn a million more Revenants" is the answer to all problems, from populating the map to setting up an ambush when the player grabs an important item. This basically turns any given mod into ''Mercenaries 2'', with explosives constantly flying at you from all directions. Taking this further are the maps that spawn Cyberdemons in every corner of the map. Usually these are "joke" levels that are meant to be played in co-op and expect you to die multiple times chipping away at the Cyberdemons - but "usually" is the key word here, and sometimes they are completely serious. The key is to note how many are spawned at a time, how much space you're given to dodge their attacks, and how much ammo you have available to burn through, as when Cyberdemons are on their own it ''is'' possible to kill them even with the starting shotguns - it just takes forever. This also has an odd effect where some maps that deliberately go overboard with Cyberdemon spawns will often be easier than "serious" maps by forgetting how big they really are and end up spawning them in areas where they can't do anything to you, spawning them stuck partway in a wall and clipping into two or three other Cyberdemons so as to prevent any of them from doing much more than angrily stomping in place, unable to fire at you until you clear the area a bit.

[[folder:Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game]]
* The ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' expansion "Wrath of the Lich King" did this accidentally. Due to the combination of a number of issues, healers found that they could quickly grow to the point where they would never run out of mana to cast spells. This allowed non-stop casting (read: spamming) the strongest and quickest heals in the game, which were supposed to be balanced by their higher mana cost. With the infinite stream of powerful heals available, the only way to challenge a raid of 10 or 25 men was by creating bosses that could kill your tank in seconds and raid encounters that made every single raid member take unavoidable damage just to give the raid healers something to do. This in turn led to Paladins (with the ability to cast one strong fast heal non stop) being the only class capable of healing the primary tank and changed all the raid healers to using one or two type of heals that they cast on every raid member as quickly as possible. Meanwhile Player vs Player combat was all about burst damage, at the peak players could die in one to two GCD (minimum length of time between abilities). If that wasn't bad enough the easier AOE tanking combined with a faster progression of gear quality then originally intended led to all non-raid encounters being a tank running headlong into packs of 10 or 20 monsters at a time, keeping them all distracted and allowing the damage dealers to use their one best area effect spell to do damage on all foes. The Cataclysm expansion has changed all of this. There is now limited mana for healers, who have to use every one of their healing spells. Wars have been fought deciding whether the easy AOE fest or (currently) insanely difficult heroics are preferable.
** In classic, [=PvP=] had a rule of thumb that casters would beat warriors (whose armour didn't help with resistance and could easily be kited), warriors would beat rogues (Who could shrug off their fast attacks with their armour and attack their low defenses), and rogues would beat casters (by shredding through their nonexistent armour). The problem was that warriors could easily close the gap caused by kiting and could DPS just as bad as rogues if they were specced for [=PvP=] - since all intellect did was give casters more mana and didn't increase the damage their spells did. This meant that casters tended to be a [=PvE=] class for the most part, and paladins became more effective healers in [=PvP=] because they could take hits and throw immunity buffs. There was also no collision detection, casters had to ''see'' their targets (as in, the ''character'' has to see them) and hold still - melee attackers could attack while moving.
* ''VideoGame/PuzzlePirates'' implemented possibly the most bizarre piece of "balancing" in the history of computer games. Apparently players used an [[strike:obvious and ubiquitous strategy of armed convoys for transport]] unfair "double floating" exploit all the time, so it was fixed. Enter the GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere to catch all giant fleas from nowhere: [[http://yppedia.puzzlepirates.com/Monkey_boat monkey boat]]. It also broke [=PvP=] since these wonder monkeys shoved a ship aside every time its opponent has as much as ''one pineapple'' on board (see the link). Of course.
* While ''VideoGame/LaTale'' tries to avert from this with its [=PvP=], it fails often usually because the creators ''just dont care''.At first, gunslingers were just your ''fragile speedsters'' the use of super puzzles quickly made them able to outdo pretty much every class except Guardians. but since every class can do this if the have the time and money to do so, its really a case of ''everybody's cheap''
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' had a lot of trouble balancing melee defense sets. Invulnerability and Regeneration are prime examples of Unbalanced Skillset and Unfair/Situational Advantages.
** Invulnerability offers superior protection against the most common damage types, smashing and lethal while offering no protection against psionic damage. The thing is, the number of psionic foes at launch could be counted on one hand. So there was no problem, just quickly squish the one foe in the StandardPsychicStance and continue snoring through mobs. This was "balanced" by weakening all of the resistance powers in the set. But that made the passive resistance powers worthless, so min/maxers simply ignored them. To "balance" the NoSell power Tough Skin, they added a defense penalty to one of Invulnerability's core powers that Tough Skin perfectly negates. So for 18 - 19 levels Invulnerability users were actually MORE likely to get hit than SquishyWizard blasters!
** Regeneration applies a massive HealingFactor with little defense, so it's a GoodThingYouCanHeal. The regeneration was so easy to maximize at launch foes had less than a second to take out heroes before they completely recovered. The developers struggled with nerfing the redundant regeneration and self-healing powers in the set without rendering them useless, to the point where players joked that every update included a nerf to Regen, just for good measure. The final power in the set served as a PowerUpLetDown, because it reduced your health to 25% max with great resistances and defenses, but [[ViolationOfCommonSense shut off your regeneration]], making you even more vulnerable than blasters.
** The final power in a sets tried to be a SuperMode, but they were usually a PowerUpLetDown. Some required you die first and simply revived you ("balanced" by hurting enemies nearby you.) Some gave you incredible resistances for a few minutes, ending with a massive crash (players noted the duration and the crash lasted too long to make them reliable.)
** Later in the game's lifespan, Willpower was added, addressing many problems with other sets. It seemed to take the best ideas from Invulnerability and Regeneration, granting heroes decent resistance with a generous HealingFactor without any weaknesses. In theory a Willpower hero could be quickly defeated in an opening salvo, but like Regeneration this rarely happened. Even the SuperMode was "balanced" with a smaller defensive boost, short duration and minor crash, which is exactly what the player base had been asking for! Unsurprisingly Willpower became a fan favorite in short order.

* ''VideoGame/LeagueOfLegends'' is often credited as the game that codified perfect imbalance, with every patch slightly favoring one particular type of champion over others through base statistic manipulation and updated ability kits every now and then.
** There are [[AnAdventurerIsYou tank, assassin and fighter]] type junglers. Halfway through Season 3, tanks were the only viable choice because gold income for junglers is so low that expensive offensive builds cannot get off the ground against skilled opponents. Season 4, however, saw a surge in assassin-type junglers due to increases on the gold income the player can get from the jungle. Also, junglers with very long ranged dashes, jumps or speed boosts are always better than other junglers because they can sail past wards and jump the laners before they have time to react, enabling them to score kills even against hard turtling opponents.
** The jungler role entered a state of almost complete flux after season 4 finished. Pre-season 5 rolled in with a complete update of the Summoner's Rift, including, of course, the jungle monsters. The update initially introduced two little crabs that are rather hard to kill but deal no damage and give line of sight of the river when you kill them. The Dragon, instead of just giving its killer a big gold bonus, now gave a permanent, team-wide buff depending on how much Dragon kills your team had, peaking at a massive temporary buff after killing the Dragon five times. Baron Nashor was likewise reworked to grant a team buff that grants a shorter recall and causes any minions near a buffed champion to gain a lot of health, toughness and damage. Season 6 then introduced a Rift Herald that is basically a mini-Baron Nashor that grants a similar bonus to the individual champions who killed it. Then the Smite summoner spell was split into three (initially ''five'', but two were axed): the base spell that just hurts CPU-controlled units, the now defunct White Smite for plundering the enemy jungle, Red and Blue Smite for hurting and slowing enemy champions, the now defunct Purple Smite for extra fast jungle clearing, plus a jungler item introduced on season 6 that doesn't change your Smite but gives you instead refillable sight wards. And every time you Smite a jungle monster, you gain a special buff depending on the one you smote, such as being able to see enemy wards if you smite the Razorbeak. The result was a ''much'' greater protagonism for the jungler, who could now be as decisive as the mid-laner or the ADC on early and mid-game regarding the team's entire performance. Season 5 started out with fighter-tanky junglers back in vogue thanks to a jungler item enchantment that grants 25% extra health instead of just a fixed number, then moved on to mage junglers gaining an upper hand with an enchantment that granted a lot of ability power.
** The bottom lane meta. Certain carries have an escape ability and/or utility, others are all about damage. These two types have never been balanced. During the early sustain meta, it didn't matter because no one died in bottom lane anyway. As sustain and poke supports were gradually nerfed into oblivion and new junglers and supports with powerful gap closers and lockdown abilities were released, escape abilities became mandatory for survival, resulting in the "holy trinity" of Corki-Graves-Ezreal plus Tristana being the only viable carries at the end of Season 2. The ongoing kill potential creep eventually overwhelmed most escape abilities except Ezreal's [[GameBreaker instant blink]], making safety largely irrelevant and again favouring carries with raw damage over everything else.
** Early Season 3 mid lane. Physical assassins (Talon/Kha'Zix) were a direct counter to the typical mid lane mages, rendering pretty much the entire selection of mid lane mages irrelevant. Before that, there was a time during Season 2 when mid lane was essentially Talon countering Morgana and Morgana/Kassadin countering everyone else.
** Top lane is currently Jayce/Elise/Kennen/Teemo using their range advantage to obliterate the entire huge pool of top lane fighters. While fighters have many advantages (tons of damage, free stats, an actual ultimate unlike two of the above, cheap builds) and are in fact designed to be statistically better than anything else on the field, their range disadvantage is virtually impossible to make up for unless the opponent is unskilled.
** Pre-season 6 started out with a Graves rework that turned him into the shortest-ranged, most damaging marksman of the entire roster, along with extra mechanics on four widely-used bot lane marksmen champions: Corki, Caitlyn and Miss Fortune. Then season 6 kicked off with a new champion: Jhin, who converts critical damage and attack speed into pure basic attack damage and is therefore capable of ending up with ''over 1000 attack damage'', plus a Graves-like passive that gives you ''one free critical hit every 4 shots regardless of item build''. And as if the bottom lane wasn't already powerful enough, on top of all that Shen also got a rework that made him one of the best bot lane support champions of the entire game.
** Counterplay-based balance also plays a huge role in LOL's metagame. AD assassins, for example, are capable of delivering enough damage to single-handedly slaughter the entire enemy team and many people think they're broken beyond redemption. To counterplay an AD assassin, you just need to stun them and leave their paper-thin defenses at the mercy of your team. To counterplay a stun, you just need a Quicksilver Sash. To counterplay a QSS, on ranked games you have your team pick a champion that has knock-up stun (Cho'gath, Blitzcrank, Janna) if you see the enemy using an AD assassin, or you bait the enemy assassin into using it before initiating the fight. To counterplay QSS baiting, you use the Dispel summoner spell or you tell your support to purchase a Mikael's Crucible that can erase hard CC on friendly champions. Going through another counterplay route, there is also the fact that AD assassins often need ridiculously large amounts of gold to reach their full potential, so bullying them as hard as possible should result in them staying weak and frail for the entire duration of the game.

* Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog
** Multiplayer in Sonic has always been rather tricky when it comes to balance issues, but by far the worst example of this is [[LethalJokeCharacter Amy Rose]] in ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2 Battle''. Amy's balancing in that game was that [[WeakButSkilled her raw athletic abilities were weaker than the others, but she was able to obtain and cast power-ups with every ten rings instead of twenty.]] While this is good on paper, the object placement in stages were based around racers using twenty rings. What this meant was that if Amy was able to launch even one attack, [[GameBreaker then she'll probably be able to stunlock her opponent into oblivion]] by being able to spam [[HeartBeatDown Storming Heart]] and [[InterfaceScrew Amy Flash]] at an alarming rate while removing her weak speed by spamming [[NitroBoost Speed Up.]] This is especially bad because Amy Flash, rather than being a TimeStandsStill power like Chaos Control and Time Stop, instead locks the player out of their controls, usually resulting in the poor victim being sent hurtling into a pit or being picked off by a robot, [[CycleOfHurting sent back to the previous checkpoint to wait out the rest of the the Amy Flash, all the while being repeatedly killed by Storming Hearts and getting trapped by another Amy Flash before they can even take another step if they're unlucky.]] The only racer with any kind of defense against this is Metal Sonic with his special attack deflecting Black Shield, but even that is rendered moot because he can't maintain a Black Shield while Amy Flash is in effect. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and to top it all off]] all of this is accompanied by [[MostAnnoyingSound her endlessly shouting "Yeah!" in her overly-perky voice.]]
** The mobile game ''Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom'' has fake balance between the characters whose specials involve collecting rings. Sonic's power is to magnetize rings towards him when boost is activated, which may pick up around ten to twenty rings you wouldn't normally reach. Amy's power is to get five rings for every obstacle she smashes when boost is activated, which will conservatively earn twice as much even if you miss some obstacles, and she can be unlocked very early. Moreover, Sonic's power can be completely negated if you happen to run into a Magnet power-up, which does the same thing, while there is no equivalent power-up to Amy's power.
* In ''VideoGame/ToejamAndEarl'', [=ToeJam=] is slightly faster, and Earl has slightly more HP. Earl's extra hit points aren't worth much (especially after gaining a few ranks), when [=ToeJam=] can avoid being hit entirely much easier. Later stages only exacerbate the difference. Certain enemies are faster than Earl, meaning if he's caught in an open area, he's pretty much guaranteed to lose a life, while [=ToeJam=] could escape with only a few hits.

* ''VideoGame/TwistedMetal'' games, ''2'' in particular, messed up ''hard''. Some vehicles/characters were slow, tough and had powerful short ranged special weapons and did a lot of ramming damage, usually enough to instantly kill an opponent with a melee combo. Others were weak, fast and usually long ranged. The obvious problem was that the faster vehicles could simply keep running away and either do hit and run attacks or use their long distance weapons while the slower ones were unable to catch up. The worst example was Spectre, the second fastest vehicle in the game with a special that ''goes through walls''.
** ''VideoGame/{{Vigilante 8}}'' and its sequel averted this issue for the most part by introducing weapons with mapwide range and giving the heavy vehicles ''long'' ranged special weapons instead of short ranged ones, thereby ensuring that if the weak fast vehicle keeps running away endlessly he'll lose due to [[CherryTapping attrition damage]]. Also, one of the [[LimitBreak secondary fire modes]] of said mapwide weapon disables the target, giving even the slowest vehicle a chance to close the gap. The exceptions are the [[JokeCharacter bus]] and the sequel's garbage truck, both with short ranged weapons and agonisingly slow, both completely useless.
* Early ''VideoGame/WipeOut'' games had ships that excelled in either handling, acceleration, shield or top speed. But air brakes made it so you wouldn't lose speed if you took corners properly, making acceleration moot, and also making handling irrelevant provided you're good enough to not crash (which was harder in a ship with low handling, but [[DifficultButAwesome hard didn't mean slow]]). And if you didn't crash, shield was also unimportant. As a result, the best ship in the game was invariably the fastest ship regardless of its other stats, to the point where a ship with 10% extra speed and zero in all other stats was the best ship. This was averted in later titles where you do slow down while cornering and the enemies [[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy sometimes actually hit you]] with their weapons.
* ''VideoGame/MarioKart Wii'' had a pretty bad balancing issue between karts and bikes. In theory, karts had more powerful mini-turbos than bikes, but bikes could pop a wheelie for a speed boost in exchange for worse steering and slowing down to a crawl should they bump into anything while doing a wheelie, which would also come into play with the game's constant bombardment of items. However, players that used bikes quickly realized that they could use wheelies at any time and would do so at every chance they got, which gave them a huge advantage on tracks that had many straight roads. Because of this, karts simply could never keep up with a wheelie spamming biker and this boiled over quickly into online play and time trial records.
** Mario Kart has other examples of this too. For example, in Mario Kart Double Dash and Wii, the two types of karts (high acceleration/low speed and high speed/low acceleration) were meant to be roughly balanced, the former could recover from item hits and quickly reach top speed, but couldn't keep up with the latter if it was in front. Unfortunately, high acceleration was also tied into mini turbo stats, so people found they could mini turbo/drift non stop ('snaking'/PRB) and in effect have a permanent Mushroom boost speed, making speed based karts entirely pointless.
** Then Mario Kart Wii added the aforementioned bikes and a standstill mini turbo technique, which made both karts and acceleration based bikes useless.
** And Mario Kart 7, due to having the power slide system from the last game plus no bikes has swung the balance back again, with items making acceleration based kart setups the only practical ones.

[[folder:Real-Time Strategy]]
* When ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert3'''s expansion was released, the game creators specifically left out any programming to let it be multiplayer, knowing full well that some of the units could be used in truly epic overpowering moves. At the top of the list was the Harbinger Gunship (pretty much a flying heavy tank with either a heavy gun or machine gun), the desolator (could kill anything on the ground) and the Giga Fortress, a floating island with 6 main weapons that could transform into a flying head with a ridiculously powerful WaveMotionGun.
** ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert2'' purposefully used something close to "Everything's Cheap". Like almost all ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' games, you still have to pump out tanks. But rather than making a bunch of rock-paper-scissors effects with units that can stop tanks, and other units which can stop the tank-stoppers but lose to tanks, they made many units which can be countered by almost anything at all, but if you use them quickly and effectively before they were countered, they could achieve a decisive result. Some games would work out with two equally powerful tank forces facing off while each player tried to be the first one to sneak a spy, hero, commando, etc, into the enemy base, secretly build up some airplanes or ships to attack his enemy's construction yard, etc.
*** Sandbagged Allied GI troops. They may be immobile, but they easily overcome this when they settle down near an enemy base, pulling out their [[GameBreaker absurdly powerful machine guns]] that can destroy tanks in good numbers. A bunch of them trained well and deployed in an enemy's base can stop any assault, because any unit constructed or trained will be destroyed before that player can even tell it to do anything. Gets even worse in the expansion pack with the new Guardian [=GIs=], who might not be much for killing infantry, but when deployed there's simply no way to force them out of their holes because, while the massive firepower of massed [=GIs=] could be offset by suicide-rushing tanks at them in order to crush the immobile soldiers, deployed Guardian [=GIs=] are ''uncrushable and have anti-tank weapons''. Combining the two means certain death to the enemy.
** In the original ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'', while at first you get the impression that the sides are balanced but with different play styles, it's quickly apparent in multiplayer just how much more powerful the Soviets are. They have the best tanks, the best ''anti''-tanks, and the best artillery. The only truly effective units on the Allied sides are the cruiser (emblematic of one way to get this trope -- the game tries to balance out some of the Soviets' advantages with tanks by giving the Allies a better navy, the problem being that you can always find a use for tanks, while ships require a sufficiently large body of water to even be ''deployed'', let alone used as more than a floating, unrepairable base defence) and the mechanic.
* ''VideoGame/WarCraft III: The Frozen Throne'' has a unique case in regards to its single-player only Naga race. Since the Naga are singleplayer only, it's understandable that Blizzard would overlook balancing this race. The Naga aren't even close to having the same amount of gameplay units and structures as the main orc, human, undead and night elf factions, but once you get your chance to play as the Naga, the unbalance towards how much more powerful their units are in regards to the main races mentioned above becomes apparent. The most obvious unbalance is in regards to the Naga's flying unit, the Couatl. They're about as powerful as the orc Wyverns without their poison spears, but the main difference is that building Wyverns take four food while the Couatls only need two (plus, they have the ability Abolish Magic). Couatl are forces to be reckoned with, but to give these beasts the same amount of food cost as normal footmen just wasn't good balancing. Massing an army of Couatl just spells game-over to the opponent. Thankfully, you only get a shot to build these things in one total mission of the ''Frozen Throne'' campaign and the enemy Naga opponents in the game barely ever send more than 4 to 6 of them at a time on Hard difficulty to truly see how unbalanced they are.

[[folder:Role-Playing Game]]
* In ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'', Wobbuffet (and its baby form, Wynaut) has very low stats aside from massive HP, and learns just seven moves (with no direct attacks). But its moves are ''very'' well-chosen to exploit its ability, Shadow Tag, which traps the enemy. Since it breaks one of Pokemon's key concepts, switching to another Pokémon, Wobbuffet is highly treasured in competitions that allow trainers to use the GameBreaker OlympusMons.
** In a more general note, ''Pokémon'' is balanced by luck, as there are quite a number of moves with their additional effects chance of occurring is determined by the RandomNumberGod.
** The whole type chart in the first ''Pokémon'' trilogy suffered from fake balance. The designers greatly underrated the Psychic type; not only were both its counters inconvenient (Bug had no strong moves, the only offensive Ghost-type move worth using was horribly weak) and a programming error made Psychics ''completely immune'' to Ghost instead of the opposite, but it was strong against Poison, a type the designers had spread around the Pokéworld like it was going out of style (especially among Grass, Bugs and Ghosts, where only the former type gets any noticeable amount of mons that ''aren't'' dual-typed as Poison). The apparent balance between "physical" and "special" types was an illusion; physical Attack and Defense were separate stats, but the Special stat governed both offense and defense, making strong Specialists automatically tanks. Needless to say, Psychic is one of the special types. Meanwhile, the Dragon type basically failed to ''exist'' offensively -- its only move was Dragon Rage, which always does 40 damage. The second generation addressed these flaws, and each succeeding generation has fine-tuned the system further.
** In addition, the Fire-type was rendered completely redundant by Ice, of all types, in Generation I, because except for Ice itself (which was practically moot as all but two Ice-types were part Water, and these two had other, physical, weaknesses) and the never-used Bug, every type that Fire was strong against was also weak to Ice, Ice attacks were strong against some types that Fire was not, including one (Ground) that is strong against Fire, and another (Dragon) which resists its attacks. (The Steel-type had yet to exist.) The Fire-type itself did not resist Ice-type attacks until the following generation, and Ice-type moves were much more common than their Fire-type counterparts anyway, because Ice Beam and Blizzard were both [=TMs=] that could be learned by practically any Special-based attacker, while Flamethrower[[note]]which wasn't even a TM[[/note]] and Fire Blast could only be learned by Pokémon of their own type, with very rare exceptions. If that were not enough, the Freeze [[StandardStatusEffects status ailment]] was [[GameBreaker completely broken]] in Generation I, as it prevented all attacks, and would ''never'' heal in-battle unless the opponent was [[WhoWouldBeStupidEnough stupid enough]] to attack the frozen Pokémon with a Fire-type move, or use [[UselessUsefulSpell Haze]]. Burn, on the other hand, did nothing but take off 1/16 of the enemy's health each turn, which is negligible. (Later generations would at least fix this by halving the Attack of a burned Pokémon, and giving all frozen Pokémon a chance to thaw each turn.) This meant that using a Fire-type would do nothing but take up a valuable party slot. The changes from Generation II onwards, despite being intended to balance the Psychic-type, actually did more to {{Nerf}} the Ice-type than any other. (See below.)
** Note that there is a slight balance in Special and Physical in the first generation. Special still did not give you protection against Physical. And the Physical side happens to have the Normal type. In the first generation, it was typing that had 1 resistor (Rock) and 1 immunity (Ghost), but nothing weak to it. Defensively, it is immune to the underdeveloped Ghost Type, and weak to Fighting Type. The catch is, in Gen I, the resistor in question is weak (or, in the case of Omastar and Kabutops, at least neutrally-affected) to the ever-common Water, and those that are immune are extremely fragile and weak to the ever-common Ground, and Fighting types are taken down without question by Psychic-types and the fact that good Fighting-type moves are are ridiculously rare. In return, Normal has the crit-fest Slash, the extremely powerful Hyper Beam (with no recharge if it defeats the other Pokemon), and Body Slam, which has the power, wide distribution, and chance to paralyze to make it an extremely game changing move. There is a reason why many Gen I competitive analysis for Normal type on Website/{{Smogon}} go around "This thing is good but is not [[ALoadOfBull Tauros]]" or "This thing is really good, but has no Water moves". Like Psychic type above, Normal types were severely nerfed in second gen onwards.
*** However, there is still the consistent problem caused by an unbalance in what moves outside your type most Pokemon can use. Just taking the core "Grass->Water->Fire->Grass" triangle, it is unbalanced by the fact that nearly ''every'' Water-type Pokemon can learn Ice-type attacks against Grass-types, while few Fire types can learn moves effective against Water-types (this was somewhat fixed by letting many of them learn Solar Beam and/or Energy Ball) and even fewer Grass-types can learn Rock-type moves to take out Fire-types.
** Two typings stand out the most in ''Pokémon'' other than Gen I Psychic and Normal, which were Gen IV Dragon and Water. Dragon only has two weakness: Ice and itself, but it has ridiculously strong moves (something that it lacked in previous gens) that are only resisted by Steel types. Water has two weakness, Grass and Electric, both of which are easily covered by 2 relatively widespread moves and offensively is super effective against Fire, Ground, and Rock while only resisted by Water, Dragon, and Grass (the last two, of course, are no problem). The issue comes from the fact that Dragon is only resisted by Steel, coupled with its absurdly and easily covered powerful moves, and Water is such a well rounded type among the typing it can do almost every role.
** Another issue with those two typings are the fact that they have ridiculously well spread moves on both offensive side. ''Every'' Dragon-type can learn Outrage, Dragon Pulse, and Draco Meteor, and Kingdra and Dragalge are the only fully-evolved Dragon-types that can't learn Dragon Claw. As for Water types, Hydro Pump is extremely common, and Surf, Waterfall, Aqua Tail, and Scald are spread amongst every Water-type in existence (and to add insult to injury, Scald has a higher burn chance than ''most Fire moves''). While other types have more powerful and specialized moves on one side of the offense, no other types have the combined balance of typing coverage and movepool that these two has, so much that there's only one Dragon type that is not OU on Website/{{Smogon}} Tier List for Gen IV (Altaria), which is considered as really underpowered stats-wise, and Water has the most number of OU Pokémon and even many of those not considered OU are perfectly usable in that tier. Even in Ubers, Dragon is considered the most dangerous offensive typing of the tier while the so called "[[FanNickname King of]] [[GameBreaker Ubers]]" is Kyogre, a Water-type.
*** Partially addressed in Generation VI, which introduced the Fairy-type to balance out the Dragons. Not only do Dragons take super-effective damage from Fairies, but Fairy-types are ''immune'' to Dragon-type moves. However, the trend of Fairy types having low physical defense and mediocre speed makes them generally ill-suited as proper counters to the majority of Dragon types, who tend to be speedy, physical powerhouses that are more than capable of dispatching them with their non-Dragon type attacks. They did, though, manage to curb the usage of Outrage, which was previously considered the most threatening Dragon-type attack, but now carries a serious risk due to Fairy types being able to switch into it freely.
** Ice-type Pokémon are the most useless type in the series thanks to this. Most of the types they have an advantage to (Grass, Rock, Flying and Ground) have other, easier to find weaknesses available earlier than you will have access to Ice and Ice-type weaknesses (Fire, Fighting and Rock) are easy to find too. This means [[CripplingOverspecialisation the only advantage they had prior to Gen VI was been the only type that is strong against Dragon-types apart from Dragon itself.]] However, most Dragon Pokémon can learn a Fire move and most Water types can lean an Ice move too making this redundant. Then Fairy-Type in Gen VI gave every other type viewed as useless a reason to be used while removing the only reason to use Ice.
** Generation V has one with the weathers. Sun, Sandstorm and Rain. They are supposed to balance each other (Sun weakens Water/boosts Fire, Rain weakens Fire/boosts Water, Sandstorm hurts everybody not Steel, Ground, or Rock-type and boosts the Special Defense of Rock-types) and the metagame is supposed to be who can defend their summoner (Groudon/Ninetales, Tyranitar/Hippowdon, and Kyogre/Politoed) and win the game. It worked well, until players realized that Water is such an amazing and well rounded offensive typing that is far easier to spam than Fire, Grass, Steel, Rock and Ground. As a bonus, Swift Swim Pokemon have boosted speed ''and'' turbocharged Same-Type Attack Bonus. Chlorophyll Pokemon only got boosted speed, an instant-use Solar Beam, which is risky in a case of Weather-summoning switch-ins, and Fire type moves get the boost that Grass-types lack. With Sand Rush, Sand Veil, and Sand Force, they only get to choose from Doubled speed, 30% attack boost to Ground/Steel/Rock attacks, or boosted evasion (Rain gives 50% powerboost to Water ''without'' a need of ability) but not both at once. Rain is the only one that boosts both speed and offensive powers. You can see how well the "weather wars" worked out.
*** Another issue comes from the summoner itself. Both Sandstorm summoners are also considered OU - Hippowdon (powerful tank) and Tyranitar (an OU standard). The other two non-legendary summoners are former NU Pokémon. While Ninetales is a one-trick pony both statswise and movepool wise, ridiculously frail by the weather summoner's standard and is weak to Stealth Rock AND vulnerable to Spikes, for a Pokémon that's supposed to switch repeatedly, Politoed gets by with the typical good movepool of Water-types as well as decent defenses. Hence the Weather metagame at the time become Rain dominating with its so-called "Broken Trio" (a collective term for Kingdra, Kabutops and Ludicolo) and a bunch of other Rain abusers; Sand behind it with Excadrill, Landorus and sometime Terrakion; and Sun relatively obscure with Venusaur, Volcarona, and Heatran as their usual core. [[note]]Hail, on the other hand, is practically non-existient, as the only Pokemon who can take advantage of it are Ice-types, which are very seldom used. Their only summoner, Abomasnow (Aurorus also has it, but it's impossible to get one normally), has far too many weaknesses and doesn't have the defenses or offenses to stand a chance in the advanced ''Pokémon'' metagame.[[/note]]
*** Seemingly fixed in Generation VI, with weather-summoning abilities being nerfed to only last five turns [[note]]eight turns if holding a specific item[[/note]], so weather is not nearly as common.
** Stealth Rock is a perfect example of "Everybody's Cheap". In single battles it's absurdly powerful (one use damages ''every'' opponent that comes out as much as 50% health, since, unlike the other entry hazards, it factors [[ElementalRockPaperScissors weakness and resistance into its damage]], and removing it is harder than setting up because that takes a turn and can be blocked by switching to a ghost type), but an enormous number of Pokémon in 4th gen can learn it. As a result, every team uses it and every Pokémon's value is tremendously affected by how much they're affected by Stealth Rock -- [[TierInducedScrappy Charizard]] is notoriously affected, to name one. The developers attempted to [[{{Nerf}} rein this behavior in]] in the fifth generation by making it only available to monsters who learn it normally by level up or through breeding, which still fails as everyone just ported over their Gen IV Pokemon that knew Stealth Rock over -- it even came back as a tutor move in Black 2 and White 2, presumably because they didn't want people to give people who do so such a huge advantage.
*** Fixed in Generation VI, when Defog, which is also obtainable by a lot of Pokémon in Generation IV, has been changed to remove entry hazards from both sides. And unlike Rapid Spin, no Pokémon is completely immune to it, so you have no worries about the opponent trying to switch to counter your Defog. [[note]]Defog's status as an HM in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum does stop it from being transferred from those games to Generation V, but you can still trade the Pokémon in question to [=HeartGold/SoulSilver=], where Defog isn't an HM, and transfer it to Generation V from there.[[/note]]
*** Well not entirely fixed: most Pokemon that learn Defog are Flying-types... and are therefore also weak to Stealth Rock, making it harder for them to use the move without dying first.
** Regigigas falls under "Skill Overestimated". It has extremely high stats in nearly every category, but is hindered by its "Slow Start" ability, which halves its attack and speed until it stays in battle for five straight turns. Unfortunately for the trainer, five turns is more than enough time for your opponent to take advantage of, and switching out resets the timer, so once Regigigas is sent out in battle you have to keep it there, which takes away a big part of battle strategy. To make matters worse, to try and make it even more "balanced", it is the only Pokémon who can learn [=TMs=] that is unable to learn Protect or Rest, two moves that could normally help it try and stall for time. In the end, the game designers went way too far in trying to balance Regigigas's power, and it ended up becoming useless instead.
** Gen VI brought certain Mega Evolutions and abilities which indirectly gave a power boost to moves with priority, which falls under "Skill Underestimated". Mega Lucario can use particularly powerful Bullet Punches. Talonflame has priority Brave Birds (an attack 3 times stronger than the typical priority move). Azumarill has now one of the best typings in the game and can use Aqua Jet with a hefty Attack Power. Mega Kangaskhan and Mega Mawile can OHKO the vast majority of attackers with Sucker Punch. Mega Pinsir can use its ability to boost Quick Attacks to insanely high power levels. Pokemon who would be viable sweepers now suffer if they don't carry any type of priority attack.
** Gen VII has Pheromosa, who falls under "Unbalanced Skillset." Its movepool is ''incredibly'' barren, with it having only five or six viable moves, making it effectively a one-trick pony. It's also atrocious in terms of bulk, with its HP and defensive stats being around the level of the biggest GlassCannon in the series. However, its tiny movepool also gives it just enough room to not be 100% predictable, and its offensive stats are ''massive'', allowing it to easily outspeed and OHKO anything that isn't boosted, and even some things that are! Game Freak also cut down on the effectiveness of priority, so something that would "only" allow it to be very threatening doesn't do much to it. Lastly, its ability is designed to snowball after it gets [=KOs=], meaning that depending on the set, things that could've taken an attack before will no longer be able to, or things that would've been able to revenge kill it are no longer fast enough.
* ''VideoGame/Disgaea3AbsenceOfJustice'' and ''VideoGame/Disgaea4APromiseUnforgotten'' introduced a new mechanic that allowed the player to boost the damage dealt by his skills by using Mana. Problem is, while the starting damage potential takes into account the enemy defenses, the boosts do not. This quickly escalates to a level where both you and the computer units will be killing each other with one or two attacks since both of you effectively have 0 Defense. Needless to say, tank-like classes became outright useless.
** The two games also heavily nerfed magic-oriented classes while giving a huge boost on physical-based units. In the end, physical oriented GlassCannon characters outranked everyone else.
** Also, Monster classes. Being limited by a small movepool and being unable to lift and throw enemies, there was little to no point on using them while there was always a humanoid class that could do whatever a monster could do, just better.
*** In the first game most of the monster classes exist for the sole purpose of to be used by the enemies, as they tend to have low stats and their skills are usually pretty weak, but the enemies will have artificially boosted stats in order to make them effective.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', increasing the difficulty level strengthened enemies. Putting it on Hardcore or Insanity, however, just gave every enemy an additional layer of protection (kinetic shields, biotic barriers, or armor). Unfortunately, the vast majority of enemies gained kinetic shields. This resulting in [[SquishyWizard Adepts]] (and [[MagicKnight Vanguards]], to a lesser extent) being severely gimped on higher difficulties, since biotic powers are incapable of damaging kinetic shields and many are ineffective on enemies with additional layers of protection. Powers like Shockwave and Throw became AwesomeButImpractical finishing moves, as opposed to the room-clearers they were on lower difficulties.
** Mostly true, but actually shifts Adept into being DifficultButAwesome rather than useless. Clearing rooms takes for them is almost as fast on Insanity as any other difficulty level, but most players never develop the tactics needed to get the first biotic explosion off.
* The lack of collision detection in ''{{Dragonica}}'' means that the only way for the Knight classes to keep big bad bosses off squishies is to CrowdControl them indefinitely. This has obvious implications in PVP.
* The three OriginalGeneration HumongousMecha of ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsJudgment'' are supposed to be balanced, with {{Real Robot}}s "Bellzelute" as a light, dodgy sniper and "Coustwell" the somewhat heavier, melee counterpart. "Granteed", the SuperRobot, is supposed to be the tanker with balanced weapons on both ends. However, thanks to the AI's tendency to attack units with lower evasion rates, the Granteed and its overwhelming armor rating makes it better than the other two. As a bonus, because it is an L-sized unit, attack and defense bonuses are increased, with weapons so powerful its second strongest is greater than the final attack of the other originals, not to mention good weapon reach that makes it the best sniper, tanker, and melee attacker out of all three.
** The ''actual'' balance comes in with how the protagonist receives a different set of "Spirit Commands", depending on whether they're piloting the Granteed or not. On a first playthrough, if the male pilot uses the Granteed, he receives the "Accelerate" Spirit Command, which doesn't quite compensate for the unit's base movement of five. When it finally arrives on the frontlines (or within range of it), it's the best of the three and solidifies its position as the top-tier super, but not before.
* ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam'' is usually a very balanced game combat/stats wise... except the designers clearly underestimated the effects of the badge system. Indeed, many of the more powerful badges would be really fair if only the opponents had about ten times the amount of health and could actually recover from their effects before the battle ends. Cue things like time freezing effects that let you end the final boss battle in under three minutes, or an instant on call reset button that breaks everything. They also presumably failed to take the existence of badge slots into account, since it completely makes the speed at which powerful badges charge (outside the Battle Ring) completely irrelevant (since you can just grind them on weaker enemies before the battle you want to use them in, coming in with an InfinityPlusOneSword from the go).
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' tried to organize itself around the RPG trinity, with escorts and tactical powers as the damage dealers, cruisers and engineering powers as the tanks, and science vessels as the healers/drainers. Unfortunately {{metagame}}rs rapidly discovered that the frankly ludicrous level of CharacterCustomization available blew the balance out of space.
** In PVE, even a cruiser fully specced into threat generation often has a hard time keeping fire off of DPS escorts. This was partially fixed by the late 2013 addition of "cruiser command" auras, which include the "Attract Fire" aura for boosting threat gen. Unfortunately only conventional cruisers get "Attract Fire"[[note]]meaning anything that says "battle cruiser" or "flight-deck cruiser" in the name, such as Starfleet's ''Avenger''-class and anything in the KDF, is out of luck[[/note]], and the game mechanics encourage focusing on damage output rather than holding fire off of your compatriots anyway.
** Many of the offensive science powers [[UselessUsefulSpell aren't very useful for PVE]] for various reasons, and most ships have enough science officer slots to heal less serious damage themselves. Later mitigated, but not fully fixed, by the addition of PVE queues such as "Crystalline Entity" where science crowd-control and debuff powers are extremely helpful.
** Many escorts can be nearly indestructible if built well, and since blasting things to death is the only route to victory maximizing your damage is the most efficient use of your skill points. Even outside escorts, ships with high numbers of tactical officer slots are highly sought after, with iconic but engineering-heavy vessels like the ''Galaxy''-class left to sulk in the corner.
** In the leadup to, and launch of, season 8, however, Cryptic made several improvements. The new PVE events are set up to give tacscorts[[note]]'''Tac'''tical captains in e'''scorts'''[[/note]] a hard time and give other classes a chance to shine. The Voth have a tendency to do heavy damage straight through your shields, which can be deadly to GlassCannon escorts but just annoying to cruisers. "The Breach" highly favors beam arrays over dual cannons, and "Storming the Spire" is best done with a mixed team because of its complexity.
* ''VideoGame/SDGundamCapsuleFighter'' has this problem. At one time, the game used to run on a TacticalRockPaperScissors layout: melee were rock-based, long ranged were paper-based and everyone in-between were scissor-based. For example, [[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam God Gundam]], a rock-based, could beat the [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny Strike Freedom]], a scissor-based, who could beat the [[Anime/MobileSuitVictoryGundam Victory 2 Buster]], a paper-based, who could beat God Gundam. This was dropped in favor of a parts system with Generation Six, leading to people favoring MCA[[note]]Motion Cancelling Action, quickly swapping between melee and ranged modes to allow players to continuously slash players[[/note]], machine gunners, spray missile launchers and anyone with the skill N-Jammer Canceller[[note]]machine gun-using units and spray missile launcher-using units could be outfitted with parts that can cause ''lag'' while a special part combined with the N-Jammer Canceller skill allows units to continuously hover (or "kite") across the battlefield.[[/note]]

* 32X shooter ''Shadow Squadron'' has two ships to choose from: Feather 1, with rapid-fire but weak lasers, a special shield that does diddly squat to protect your ship, and homing missiles that are pitifully weak. Feather 2, on the other hand, has a powerful laser that can fire as fast as you can push the fire button (which theoretically means ''even faster'' than Feather 1,) a massive rocket more suited for using against the giant battleships that are your primary target for the game, and the ability to shoot down enemy missiles (the primary projectile you have to deal with, and an ability that Feather 1 sorely lacks), allowing Feather 2 to chew through anything almost effortlessly. Simply put, Feather 1 is inferior to Feather 2 in every single way but one: Feather 1 gets its energy and normal shields replenished after every mission, while Feather 2 has a massive stockpile of energy that has to carry it through the whole game, and burns energy at the end of every mission to replenish its shields. And even then, you shouldn't be taking too many hits since you can shoot down enemy missiles, and Feather 2's energy stockpile is more than enough to carry it through the game, especially since using a continue ''replenishes it completely.''
* A textbook example of fake balance was present in the old ''VideoGame/{{Asteroids}}''-like Mac game ''Asterax''. The player can choose one of three ships: [[JackOfAllStats the Manta]], which had mediocre everything; [[MightyGlacier the Crab]], which had good guns and shields but tiny engines; and [[FragileSpeedster the Mantis]], which had good engines but tiny guns and shields. The problem with this arrangement came in the form of the game's item shop selling guns, engines and shields, which meant that a Crab pilot could upgrade away their ship's sole deficiency with a single purchase, while Manta and Mantis pilots would need to buy two or three upgrades to reach the same level of effectiveness. Not to mention, as you might expect in an Asteroids game, "better" (i.e. faster) engines can make the game [[NonIndicativeDifficulty harder instead of easier]] anyway.
* The Thraddash in ''VideoGame/StarControlII''. This ship is designed to be a JokeCharacter: it has very few crew, and its weapon does a measly one damage. However, said weapon also has an unusually long range, and the ship is one of the fastest in the game when its afterburner is used. This allows a skilled Thraddash player to stay out of range from the other ship's guns while [[DeathOfAThousandCuts slowly wearing it down]]. Thraddash is the only ship which is routinely banned from competitive play, for this reason.
** The price the Androsynth is so much lower than the actual value of the ship that it's considered a must-have.
** As a side effect of the Androsynth being considered a must-have because of its price, the Orz, which is otherwise reasonably priced, is made far less effective; the Androsynth is the natural counter to the Orz, so you're pretty much guaranteed to only be able to use it effectively for one battle. This hurts especially hard because the Orz is a very powerful ship, and typically only cost-effective if it can win multiple battles.
** The Ur-Quan Dreadnought is supposed to be one of the most powerful ships in the game, equipped with a very powerful, rapid-fire fusion blaster and able to launch large waves of smaller fighters. Unfortunately, the fusion blaster travels slowly, making it difficult to aim at fast-moving targets, and the fighters, which cost a crew each to launch, are incredibly stupid and fragile. These factors added together make the Ur-Quan so ineffective compared to its great cost that it has been called the "Banana Boat" by some fans.
** The Spathi Eluder manages to achieve this in ''both directions''. Against the A.I., the Spathi is massively overpowering; the A.I. stupidly chases a fleeing player around, and the Spathi shoots homing missiles from behind, so many A.I. controlled ships can be easily decimated by the Spathi. Against humans who know better than to blindly chase around the other ship, however, the Spathi's rear-facing missile is pretty much useless because of its slow speed.
* ''VideoGame/BlazingStar'' has the Peplos classified as a [[DifficultButAwesome "Difficult"]] ship, never being able to power up but in turn getting big Secret bonuses just for clearing stages with the ship and abusing the excess power-up bonus to jack up the DynamicDifficulty for lots of high-scoring opportunities. In practice, the [[SimpleYetAwesome "Simple"]]-classed Windina is by and far regarded as the best score-chasing ship that can use the AreaOfEffect explosions of its ChargedAttack to easily obliterate most enemies on the screen wih multiplier bonuses.

* In ''VideoGame/MaddenNFL'' and its sister series ''NCAA'', the developers seem unable to properly balance special teams play. Given that any method of blocking kicks or returning them can rather quickly be determined and exploited, they have opted to take it completely in the opposite direction. Whereas in ''Madden 10'', it was possible to see 1-2 kickoffs returned for touchdowns every game, in ''11'' you might not see one at all in a year.
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/SpaceJam'' where all the Mon Stars have much worse stats compared to the Toons (who have Michael Jordon, a MasterOfAll, and Bugs Bunny who comes pretty close). However the Mon Stars are all ''huge'', meaning they make up for it purely for having much larger hitboxes and thus a much easier time getting their hands on the ball. Anyone going in with a team of Michael, Bugs, and Lola will find they're actually pretty evenly matched against any combination of Mon Stars since while the Toons are much better at shooting the ball, they won't get as many shots as the Mon Stars.

[[folder:Survival Horror]]
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil1'' you can pick between Chris and Jill. Jill can pick locks, carry 8 items, can get the Grenade Launcher right at the beginning of the game (which is a DiskOneNuke), and has Barry at her back who on several occasions gives her extra ammo and even gives her earlier access to the shotgun by breaking her out of the trap Chris has to circumvent himself. Chris gets the useless [[VideoGameFlameThrowersSuck flamethrower]] ''late'' in the game, carries only 6 items, must find keys to open doors, and has to babysit the rookie Rebecca, but takes about twice as many hits to kill to balance it out. However, since Jill can pick locks and carry more items, it means far less backtracking and far less encountering enemies, and her handy dandy grenade launcher can take out the tough ones. This was justified in the Japanese version of the original, where the character select screen was also the difficulty selection screen, with Chris's story being "Hard mode".
** Subverted in the Remake, though. Chris now handles weapons much better (he shoots faster and has a far higher chance of a [[OneHitKill headshot]], which saves ammo), and has a flash grenade for a secondary weapon which explodes heads. That durability also comes into much better effect as the enemies do hit harder (or Jill got that much weaker). The Grenade Launcher has been considerably nerfed (unless you count the infinite ammo glitch for it), and the immolation mechanic to keep zombies from coming back as more dangerous Crimson Heads takes away Jill's two other item slots anyway (Chris can do it with just his previously-useless lighter, which gets its own slot as his personal item).
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' flipped the genders, with Claire being near ''useless'' compared to Leon. On top of taking far less damage, Leon gets a ''vastly'' superior load-out: his starting handgun is better than Claire's, he gets access to a magnum and a shotgun, and all three of those weapons can be upgraded. Claire can pick locks, but there are only three locks in the entire game that can be opened this way (two in the police station and one in the sewers on the B scenario), and although she gets the superior grenade launcher and the LethalJokeWeapon Spark Shot, she is still outclassed in pretty much every aspect. At least it's justified, with Leon being a prodigy cop and Claire simply being a university student, but despite this most players pick Claire for the first playthrough anyway simply because [[WrongGenreSavvy they remember the last game]]. In fact, so many fans insist on playing Claire's story first that [[AscendedFanon the official canon events of the game are Claire A Leon B]].

[[folder:Turn-Based Strategy]]
* In the ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'' series, archers are hit hard by this. Archers are units who use bows, which allow them to attack from 2 spaces away (with some bows allowing them to attack from even further away). However, in most games they can't fight in melee combat, meaning they usually only get to act once a turn, which greatly limits how much experience they earn in combat. Typically, they're pretty weak statwise, usually having all-around poor stats in everything except Skill and ''occasionally'' Speed, which further limits their combat ability. Worse still, they don't have exclusive access to ranged attacks; magic using units are able to attack from range ''and'' melee (in addition to the powerful "siege" tomes that let mages attack from up to ''ten'' spaces away), and there are ranged versions of spears and axes that ''also'' have melee and ranged abilities. They aren't even the only bow users, as nomads and hunters also use bows while ''also'' having better balanced stats and better movement. The one niche they could be said to have, which is bonus damage against flying units, isn't even always unique to them, as there's been more than one game where mages have flyer-slaying weapons as well. All this adds up to create a mongrel of a class that can't do much of anything that other units can't do better, with only a handful of archers in the entire series having anything noteworthy about them to make them worth using.
** The cavalier class had this tilted in its favor, especially in games where cavaliers aren't segregated by weapon type. They combine high movement with high base stats in almost every area, and in some games they even have access to two-thirds of the weapon triangle before promotion. There are usually a huge number of them per game (particularly in games where there are multiple types of cavaliers), whereas most other classes only have a handful of characters. When they promote, they typically receive large boosts to both stats they are strong in ''and'' stats they are weak in, and sometimes even gain access to all three weapon types in the weapon triangle. The few weaknesses they could be said to have are difficulty traversing certain types of terrain (only occasionally a problem, and most of that terrain is extremely difficult to traverse for infantry units anyway), a weakness to certain types of weapons (hardly even a weakness, as horseslaying weapons are preposterously rare), and in some games the need to dismount to enter buildings (a legitimate disadvantage that is used in only ''two'' games in the entire series). These classes are so strong that some players use cavaliers almost exclusively for their combat needs.
* The ''VideoGame/AdvanceWars'' series tried it's hardest to balance characters, but certain [=COs=] are just undeniably superior. Max and Eagle both have some powerful units at the cost of other weak units[[note]]Max has strong direct attack but weak indirect attack while Eagle has strong air units but weak naval units[[/note]], but the fact of the matter is you simply don't need to ''use'' the weak units (You'll rarely ever use naval units to begin with). Other [=COs=] like Kanbei and Colin[[note]]The former has strong units at the cost of high deployment expenses, while the other has weak units at the cost of low deployment expense[[/note]] are thoroughly broken because their strengths are easily exploited to far outweigh their weaknesses. On the other end of the tier, [=COs=] like Andy[[note]]JackOfAllStats[[/note]] and Sonja[[note]]Has increased vision on FogOfWar maps, which isn't all that useful even ''on'' such maps, at the cost of often doing less damage than she should[[/note]] are just not worth using. As the series went on attempts were made to balance them out better[[note]]Andy was given one ''hell'' of a Super [=CO=] power, Sonja was given a counter-attack bonus, GameBreaker Lash was nerfed considerably[[/note]] but it wasn't quite enough to fully even the odds.

[[folder:Wide Open Sandbox]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Mercenaries}} 2'', you can regenerate health. The developers decided that to balance this out, '''everyone in the goddamn world gets a rocket launcher.''' Vehicles have tissue paper for armor, too, so it's not as if you'll find much sanctuary from all that rocket and tank fire. [[strike:Nine]] Ten times out of ten, when explosives are flying, they're flying at ''you.'' Not even freakin' Wolverine could survive this crap!
** This is a problem in ''VideoGame/RedFaction: Guerilla'' and ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', too, but it's not as bad in the former and [[GodzillaThreshold makes sense]] in the later.
** ''Call of Duty'', again, has this problem as well. ''United Offensive'' decided to up the challenge present in the base game - by lessening how often dead enemies will drop medkits when you're injured and giving the Germans that didn't already have the [=MP40=] to shred you in close range a new, incredibly powerful semi-auto rifle that lets them shred you at ''any'' distance. Your only chance of survival is letting your AI teammates do all the fighting, because if you try to do anything, you will lose half your health in one shot and most likely will not be able to replenish a single bit of it afterwards. ''Call of Duty 2'' switched to RegeneratingHealth - and now you're forced to [[TooDumbToLive run right up towards enemy tanks and stand up in front of enemy machine-gunners]] (things real soldiers in real wars ''very quickly learn '''not''' to do'' if they want to live more than fifteen seconds) every fifteen seconds to balance it out.
*** Regenerating health has caused a lot of this in modern games, where developers design the game around the idea that the player has effectively infinite health, often without taking into account the fact that the player needs time where they're ''not'' getting injured for that regeneration to kick in. ''VideoGame/BattlefieldBadCompany'' is another good example, since its draw is destructible cover, combined with everyone getting explosives or the game straight-up making you suicide rush heavy vehicles at times - if you're injured enough that you have to hide and heal in this game, you're basically already dead.
* In ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV Online'', the player is given the ability to carry additional armor vests and snacks to eat in firefights to help keep them going. So, of course, the armor is [[ArmorIsUseless about as sturdy as wet cardboard]], and ConservationOfNinjitsu is drop-kicked out the window as [[TheComputerIsACheatingBastard enemy NPCs have tank plating for armor]].
** The Heists Update added Adversary modes, in which a team of Hunters or Attackers with infinite lives hunt down Runners or Defenders with only one life each. Three of these modes give the alleged prey gross advantages.
*** In [[TheChase Come Out to Play]], the Hunters are put onto motorcycles which they must be on at all times, wielding only the sawed-off shotgun. Meanwhile, the Runners get highly-accurate assault rifles and machine guns which can automatically lock on to the Hunters, whose [[ShortRangeShotgun shotguns]] don't get the same pleasure, not to mention that it's impossible to aim ''any'' gun in a vehicle, unless you stop, which just makes you a sitting duck.
*** [[HoldTheLine Siege Mentality]], in which the Attackers are once again restricted to sawed-off shotguns, but the Defenders are given heavy weapons. The Defenders are restricted to a certain area, but the area is typically rich in cover, giving the Defenders a place to shoot the Attackers dead over and over with impunity.
*** In Hasta la Vista, [[NoItemUseForYou no one has weapons]]. The runners are on bicycles, running from hunters driving semi trucks. The runners have a head start, but that doesn't matter, because the trucks are actually faster, and the advanced mobility of the bikes barely makes a difference in that the hunters can simply steer to compensate.

[[folder:Other videogame genres]]
* Aircraft types in ''VideoGame/AceCombatInfinity''. Fighters deal increased damage against and acquire locks faster on air targets but suffer penalties to damage and lock-on speed for ground and sea targets, Attackers are the other way around (Bombers going even further, so much that they don't ''get'' air-to-air weapons), and Multiroles have neither a bonus nor a penalty. So far so good, but Multiroles also have a noticeably higher amount of slots for performance-enhancing parts, allowing players to specialize them for either role while keeping respectable performance in the other role, or even simply upgrade their effectiveness at ''both'' roles. Combined with the mostly unpredictable variations in enemy targets in the missions and the fact that upgrading one Multirole is far cheaper than dumping cash on both a Fighter and an Attacker, it's no surprise that they're the most used aircraft type. Later updates have done something to alleviate this, however. Later-added maps have been more biased towards one type of target rather than a near-perfect mix that gives Multiroles the advantage, such as Area [=B7R=] being entirely fighter-based, or Adriatic Sea offering primarily ground targets with only a small handful of fighters and helicopters. Regular Team Deathmatch gives the advantage to Fighters, since obviously everyone is flying aircraft of some variety, with Multiroles' only advantage being a niche role of protecting allies with the ECM, and Attackers being useless (even with a part only they can use in TDM modes that interferes with missile homing upgrades applied to anyone that fires at them - being untouchable doesn't help much when you invariably can't touch the enemy either). Naval Fleet Assault, meanwhile, lets any type shine. Fighters still obviously have the advantage against the opposing players, and while the KillStreak system allows that to go quite a ways towards victory (with every possible bonus for making kills allowing up to half of the enemy fleet's total health to be taken away), that alone won't win the battle. Attackers and Bombers, as expected, are likewise near-useless against enemy planes, but their hard-hitting air-to-ground weapons do a lot of damage to the enemy fleet (so much so that a Bomber that gets shot down after a single pass on the enemy fleet every time can ''still'' end up as MVP simply because it hits hard enough that those single shots counted for a lot). Multiroles still don't have any specific advantages, but they don't have any disadvantages - one with a good pilot who's poured a lot of money into upgrading and tuning it can switch roles on the fly to pick up the slack and still accomplish just as much overall as a single-role craft.
* ''VideoGame/AliensVsPredatorExtinction'' only has single player campaign, but that doesn't mean it's not susceptible to balance problems. Difficulty in order goes from Aliens (Pathetically easy), Marines (Somewhat easy), and Predators (NintendoHard), and for several reasons.
** Aliens are ridiculously powerful. They only have to spend points to create units once (assuming the Queen never needs to fight), and their unit cap is incredibly large (As expected from a race of zerg rushers). The fact that every unit only costs one supply only allows then to get even more numbers.
** The Aliens' weaknesses are two things. One, they lack ranged units. However, most of their units can easily close the gaps between units, and their only ranged unit is one of the most useful aliens in the game, the worker alien, solely because anyone they hit after upgraded will create more powerful aliens. Their second weakness is that if they don't win battles early on, they'll be pretty weak. This doesn't necessarily mean battles against the other factions. If they have easy access to scientists or, worse, respawnable critters, they will have no problems with creating a stupidly large army.
* In ''VideoGame/GuardiansOfMiddleEarth'', Agandaûr would fit the unbalanced skillset category. His ultimate ability is an enormous shockwave that can kill most enemy guardians in one hit in a game where most characters are meant to be able to throw all their skills at each other and still survive. This is supposed to be balanced by the fact that his other skills are weaker, his ultimate can be interrupted by crowd control effects, and Agandaûr has a poor health pool. However, if you can kill everyone near you extremely fast, it doesn't matter how poor your health is if everyone else is dead, and the fact that his other skills are weaker is offset by the fact that the shockwave has a cooldown of less than 30 seconds, making it regenerate faster than the respawn time.
* Ludia's video game adaptation of the GameShow ''Series/PressYourLuck'' often has the AI opponents answer even the most basic of questions (e.g. "How much is 6 times 4?") wrong so that they rarely have more spins than the actual player.
* In the UsefulNotes/BBCMicro game ''Ravenskull'', you can play as one of four characters, but there is no difference in gameplay. The PC remake gives each of the four a different power. However, the warrior's power (ravenbees drain health instead of killing you instantly) is very poorly balanced; you lose health for every ten squares travelled, and the levels are long enough that you never have much to spare. One hit from a ravenbee and you're probably doomed anyway.
* In ''Manga/SaintSeiya: Sanctuary Battle'', literally the only thing that defines how good or bad a character is is his projectile attack. During the stages with waves of soldiers, projectiles deal huge amounts of damage, hit enemies multiple times due to pushing them forward as the projectile moves on, and go through almost everything, destroying breakable objects and revealing items, killing entire squads with a single button press while the player is safe, so the player can clear missions and stages lightning fast taking low damage and dealing tons of punishment, making getting high ranks trivial. Bosses, in the other hand, have hyperguard active 90% of the time and more often than not their deadliest skills are the short-range ones or create minefields around themselves. Melee characters have to approach with caution while looking at the scarce moments they have their guard open, while anyone with a good projectile can keep away, wait for a opening, activate 7th Sense and fire off their energy beams for safe and powerful blows.
* ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'' features a few examples, but none so extreme as the Tonkor. At release, the Tonkor was advertised as a weapon designed for grenade-jumping, a la the Demoman from ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2''; previous explosive weapons had been tempered by the potential for users to kill themselves via splash damage, but in order to facilitate this unique mechanic, the developers capped the Tonkor's self-damage at a fixed 50 points (low enough to be negligible most of the time). In exchange, it came with low ammo reserves and a tiny magazine, even among its fellow launchers, and a relatively low reload speed punished missed shots; compared to its direct competitor, the Penta, it also suffered a small penalty to base damage and lost the ability to manually detonate its grenades. Unfortunately, the developers made two fatal miscalculations: the negligible self-damage made the weapon much safer in close quarters, which are vastly over-represented in the game's tilesets, and it featured very high crit stats, which let it deal 5.5 times its normal damage seven shots out of eight if properly modded. The end result? A devastating crowd-clearer with little-to-no skill required for use.

!!Other Examples:
[[folder:Card Games]]
* An example of a failed attempt of balance by rarity can be found in ''MagicTheGathering''. When the game was first released, it was known that cards such as Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Timetwister and the Moxes were game-breakingly powerful if present in sufficient quantities. However, they believed that since most players would only buy a starter deck and a couple of boosters, their power would never become an issue. This is especially evident when you look at the initial deck construction rules: 40-card minimum for decks, and no maximum for any individual cards. The deck of nothing but Black Lotus/Channel/Fireball was 100% legal, and that's not even the most powerful deck you could build. Constructed tournament later evolved to have a 60 card minimum limit and a maximum of 4 individual non-land cards, thus effectively removing the fake balance.
** Modern ''Magic The Gathering'' still has balance by rarity as a rarity level above rare, called mythic rare, was added in the Shards of Alara expansion. It should be noted that rarity balance exists in limited formats, such as booster draft and sealed deck, where certain powerful cards could easily help the player to win but they may well not get one of these cards, let alone multiple copies, but does not exist in constructed play where people will [[SeriousBusiness spend whatever it takes to win]].
*** In ''Magic'' limited formats, there is the ''BREAD'' principle, which describe what card to draft - Bombs, Removal, Evasion, Advantage and Dregs. While Removal, Evasion, Advantage and Dregs cards are available in every rarity, Bombs are usually in the rare slot. A deck with a good amount of bomb and removal cards usually has a considerable upper hand. Whether a player obtained those cards by luck or by skills is something that is often discussed in [=MTG=] boards. Large amounts of removal can make up for a lack of bombs by ensuring you can always get rid of whatever overpowering creature is thrown out by your opponent. The greatest of bombs tend to be cards which are immune to removal, either non-creatures which thus naturally evade anti-creature removal spells, creatures which are somehow immune to removal due to protection, shroud, regeneration, or similar effects, or bombs which act as removal themselves.
*** On occasion, some uncommons can be bombs as well, the most common example being spells which deal X damage to target creature or player, making them both removal and potentially capable of finishing off an opponent in the late game out of nowhere; Fireball is perhaps the most infamous such example, due to its ability to split up its damage, allowing it to act as mass removal as well.
** A cause of Situational Advantage also frequently arises. As cards "rotate" (new ones are printed, older made illegal in most common formats) for a good portion of environments, there will arise one or two "tier 1" decks that prompt development of counter-decks aimed to specifically hurt those dominants. Said rogue decks are less powerful overall, so any (semicompetent) deck but the dominant actually has a good chance against it - but will likely fall to the tier 1. The resulting rock-paper-scissors deck choice process is known as metagaming.
** The luck-based balance gets a bit worse when one considers cards like Enlightened Tutor, which lets you reshuffle your deck, with the artifact or enchantment of your choice on top. When you consider that many of the big game breakers are artifacts or enchantments, and Enlightened Tutor costs one white mana and can be played just before you draw, yeah. Enlightened Tutor, by the way, is legal in Legacy.
** Early [=MtG=] was characterized by overestimating the power of creatures. Because, naturally, you had to kill people with creatures, it was assumed they would be the dominant force in the card game. Because of this, creatures were relatively overcosted, meaning that in the earliest "fair" tournaments (that is, cards printed with "organized card game" as opposed to "limited product experiment" in mind), "control" decks, which featured heavy counter-spells and removal, all of which cost much less mana than the creatures they destroyed, dominated the game.
* The ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'' card game is also famous for the same reason as ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' at game balance. Many of the most powerful cards were not only GameBreaker cards, they were considered "rare", with some others being “Secret rares” that would never ever be encountered by the average player. Now here's what creates the fake balance… after awhile, you could buy tins with most of those secret rare cards in there.
** Even later still, many of those cards will probably be found as Commons in preconstructed decks or compilation sets, thus devaluing the originals by several degrees. ''Anime/YuGiOh'' is not kind to the secondary market...
** Some of the original cards have been banned from tournaments such as Monster Reborn (which alternates being banned with Call of the Haunted for some bizarre reason), Witch of the Black Forest, Pot of Greed and Change of Heart because they lack a 'cost' for using them and can potentially help you get powerful monsters early on, making it seem like they are just creating a balance. However, most of the new powerful monsters have effects that either: prevent destruction; allow them to be brought back; or simply prevent them being targeted by spells, traps or effects while also having 2000 or higher ATTACK, making most stronger than the original strong monsters. Plus they are also easy to summon usually and very few of these monsters have damaging effects for the owner of the card. Also, if you do not have the specific type of deck with just the right countermeasures against the one you are facing, then you can be screwed from the very beginning of the duel.
** This trope might be one of the reasons why Apoqliphort Towers were banned. On paper, it's a card that requires three tributes and Qli monsters at that. Unfortunately, the Qli monsters prided themselves on swarming to get out the towers; and then when it came out, it was immune to everything and couldn't be destroyed by ANYTHING without a LEVEL OR RANK lower than it's level. The towers are level 10. There are hardly any level 10 or rank 10 monsters in the meta as is. There are hardly any level 10 boss monsters or rank 10 monsters that exist out of a deck specifically made to get them out. Basically, whenever this card came out; many decks were stuck in a deadlock and there was no answer made against it without a deck made to specifically counter it; so it was banned.
* In the ''StarWarsCustomizableCardGame'', (almost) all cards have a "Destiny" value in the top right corner. During just about any type of confrontation (aiming a weapon, resolving a battle, holding a lightsaber duel, attacking the Death Star's exhaust port), one or both players were allowed to draw the top card of their deck and add its Destiny value to whatever total they had previously. The rationale was to allow TheForce (read: luck) to affect the outcome, and since the Force is always with the underdog, common / weak cards always came with high Destiny values. Unfortunately, the strong cards were often ''so'' powerful that they were essentially immune to the effects ''of'' Destiny, so, in the end, it didn't work.
* ''VideoGame/{{Hearthstone}}'' isn't generally considered a "serious competitive" CCG, with the massive number of [[RandomNumberGod RNG]]-based effects making it clearly more of a "for fun" game, so people are generally more easy-going on its balance deficiencies. Additionally, the game is much younger than its aforementioned competitors, so it at least makes sense for the creators to screw up every now and then. Not that it's gonna stop us from listing notable screw-ups:
** The reason why ''Blackrock Mountain'' and ''The Grand Tournament'' were so hated is partially because of this trope. Blizzard massively overestimated the power level of most of the cards from these sets due to the sheer power of the sets that came before them, and in the end a total of maybe ''20 cards'' between the two ended up being used - and even then, only Emperor Thaurissan, Grim Patron, Tuskarr Totemic, and Mysterious Challenger were good enough to be listed on the game's GameBreaker page. Even with the introduction of rotations, the number wasn't bumped up by ''that'' much.
** A major complaint about the game is how randomness is used as a balancing factor. While the idea is that it opens up design space for some cool new cards, in practice it leads to some frustrating coin-flip scenarios that leave at least one player flustered. In particular, Yogg-Saron was meant to be an incredibly goofy showstopper who's competitive viability was limited, but in a serious environment he ended up being outrageously overpowered because his randomness rarely actually ''hurt'' the person using him. A surprisingly swift nerf ended up turning him into the card he was ''supposed'' to be. There was also Barnes, a card of limited competitive use who was nonetheless despised because, despite his effect requiring the deck be built around him, he could slapped into just about anything in the hopes he cheesed out a win.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' had LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards from the get go, resulting in exactly what would be expected - wizards being really tough to get up to a decent level, but if they survived (and in a party, they would survive, especially in later iterations like 3rd edition) they were just broken. This was not specific to wizards; all full casters tended to be because they had abilities which simply didn't care about how many hit points enemies had, and which enemies had no defenses against - indeed, some even worked against enemies immune to magic because they did not directly affect them, and such difficulties could often be circumvented anyway by simply focusing on buffing yourself to godlike capabilities. This was fixed in 4th edition by greatly restricting what magic users were capable of as well as expanding what other characters could do, resulting in complaints by players who completely missed the point - that if a character can do everything there's no need for an adventuring party, or other classes.
** 3.5 had this problem when they introduced a MagicKnight class, the Hexblade, and overestimated the usefulness of being able to cast spells in armor (there were already low-level spells which acted as superior substitutes to armor). As a result, the hexblade couldn't cast ''or'' fight [[MasterOfNone very well]]. The designers basically admitted that they'd messed up, and their next attempt at the archetype (the duskblade) was much more balanced ([[CharacterTiers A low tier 3]] with tier 1 and 2 belonging to classes considered to have GameBreaker stats). The opposite problem was the full caster classes, all of which completely shattered the game - most could turn themselves into better melee combatants than the actual melee combatant classes, and even worse, oftentimes that was pointless anyway because they could do even STRONGER things. High level full casters make the game utterly unplayable because they simply cannot be threatened effectively by anything which does not use similar tactics. This criticism of the game was termed as [[RocketTagGameplay "rocket tag", as in, whoever hit with their rocket first won]].
** D&D is absolutely FULL of these. Physical defense, Base Attack Bonus, Hit Point damage from any source being aimed at an enemy, feats, mundane skills and many others were also grossly overvalued by the developers, leading to the characters that rely on these things being [[LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards unable to contribute.]] [[http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285984 One essay]] satirized the concept, postulating that, since classes with great but irrelevant chassis and lots of useless class features were generally pathetic, the [[JokeCharacter Commoner]], which has the worst chassis imaginable and no class features whatsoever, was the most powerful class in the game.
** This is not helped by D&D's spell list being filled with options that an experienced player will notice work well, as opposed to things which sound awesome but really aren't that great in practice. At level 1, there's things like Color Spray and Entangle, spells which will remove groups of enemies from being able to contribute unless the enemy can succeed a difficult (for the level they're at) die roll. At level 5, you get such staples as Fireball and Lightning bolt. The problem is, Fireball is a much more effective spell than Lightning Bolt, because Fireball affects a 40-foot sphere and Lightning Bolt happens to go on a four-hundred foot straight line--cool, but enemies are more likely to take some sort of spread formation than single-file themselves. And this is just at the low levels. At high levels, you have Polar Ray (You get Fireball at level 5, it does damage to multiple targets. You get Polar Ray at level 15, it does ''slightly more'' damage to one target in less range and you have to hit the enemy to succeed) vs stuff like Plane Shift (normally used to move the party to one plane or another, including the various afterlives. A sub-use is to send an enemy to a plane of your choice. So you can literally ''send someone to Hell'' to remove them from combat). Ironically, the game works ''better' using the stronger effects, because monsters/other encounters tend to have them and if you tone down the casting classes, you'd better remember to tone down all many hundred of pages of monsters, too.
*** It's 3.0 trend to simplify everything, even when this is missing the point. To go with the same example, AD&D2 has Lightning Bolt slightly shaped and ''ricocheting'' from the walls while chipping them -- more useful than a Fireball unless in the open field, but tricky. In simplifying it to a straight line, it loses most of its utility, and is no longer as useful as Fireball.
*** Fake Balance exists in many cases because game designers could not predict the reliance on HouseRules, since so few people play D&D strictly by the rules-as-written. Things that are balanced for level 1-5 characters using the elite array of stats suddenly stop being balanced when you jump right to level 10 with much higher stats. Player characters are much more powerful when they can spend vast starting wealth on any magic item in the books than if they have to get by with whatever random junk they find.
** Wu Jens basically get free metamagic feats if their narrator plays them a certain way. (eg, unable to touch a dead body, cannot cut hair, cannot bathe...) However, some players often pick the taboos and set them to stuff the player or Wu Jen wouldn't even do in the ''first'' place!
*** This is basically a role-playing problem. The GM should step in and make it so that their taboos are more than free metamagic feats.
*** It also wasn't always understood that no, roleplaying constraints ''aren't'' automatically a good balancing factor for mechanical benefits. One example was AD&D 2nd Edition's Swashbuckler kit -- in order to compensate for some bonuses when fighting in light armor and extra access to nonweapon proficiencies, the DM was basically told to simply throw ''more trouble'' than their usual share the swashbuckler's way. So, not only would the character receive the kit benefits, they'd also get more time in the ''spotlight'' to help "balance" that...and chances were excellent that any "extra" trouble the swashbuckler ended up in would affect the rest of the party as well soon enough anyway.
** One of the early flubs was rarity based balance as a counter to the LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards phenomenon. Certainly a high level wizard is much more powerful than a similarly-leveled fighter, but wizards are easily killed at low levels. Consequently, many more fighters survive to reach high levels than wizards. This makes a certain amount of sense in terms of ''world'' balance, but for an adventuring party likely to contain ''one'' wizard and ''one'' fighter, it doesn't help very much.
*** Another, related, form of Fake Balance was race based class level limits. Only humans could advance any class to any level; all demihuman races were not only limited in what classes they could choose, but every class had a level cap. In many cases, a very low one, lower than level 10. In theory, this was meant to balance the racial abilities of the demihumans, who received extra powers like nightvision and bonuses to saving throws; in turn, humans received unlimited growth potential. The problem was that level caps are only a limit if anybody reaches the cap. If the campaign [[AbsurdlyHighLevelCap never gets high enough level for caps to matter]], then the caps don't balance anything. If a campaign does get that high of level, however, [[AbsurdlyLowLevelCap then the cap is crippling]]. Either way, nothing is balanced. And many [=DMs=] houseruled out level caps anyway, rendering the point moot.
*** And even within that, the designers vastly overvalued demihuman special abilities. Are they useful? Yes, every now and then, though in many cases (Detect Sloping Passages?) the DM has to deliberately construct the campaign to make them so. Are they worth being unable to advance past 9th level in a campaign that ''is'' going to reach that cap? Uh, NO!
** Another odd form of overestimating the skill of players is overestimating the skills of the GM. A good GM will vary his combat encounters enough that some "gamebreaking" builds will realize they're really just suffering CripplingOverspecialization and haven't been forced outside of the player's comfort zone. He'll also test the player characters out of combat, forcing them to rely on skills and knowledge. Varying encounters greatly is one of the best ways to fight spammed attacks and minmaxed builds by exploiting their lack of versatility. As long as the GameMaster is not a KillerGameMaster who makes their players suffer, it's a good cure for ComplacentGamingSyndrome. However, some [=GMs=] just aren't that good at it, resulting in greatly unbalanced games because the players have no incentive to find new tricks and just reuse the same builds and powers.
*** The other problem lies in the fact that someone who is cripplingly overspecialized may be completely worthless outside of said specialization, meaning that the player gets bored as they are unable to contribute when the one thing they can do stupidly well becomes useless. Indeed, monsters like this are a great example of fake balance, with the idea that making some characters useless periodically somehow makes things balanced being an obviously flawed one.
** There are many creatures which are designed to mess up non-casters, and there are some creatures (such as golems) which are designed to mess up casters. Unfortunately, casters are inherently better than non-casters, and flying creatures (which are quite common, and most casters can make themselves fly anyway) are very powerful against anyone without ranged attacks, which includes most non-casters (bows don't cut it, generally, unless you are a specialized bow user - in which case you have the weakness of "flying creatures can bypass my comrades and sit on top of me, rendering my bow useless"). The idea of many creatures with high spell resistance or outright immunity is to force casters to rely on their non-spell using compatriots. In reality, there are dozens of spells which allow them to bypass their foe's spell resistance and high saving throws entirely, such as spells that create barriers around them without actually affecting them directly (wall of stone gets bonus points for creating a permanent, nonmagical wall of stone, but wall of force and forcecage can create similar effects), a caster can polymorph themselves into some sort of dangerous monster to go eat their face or buff themselves to fight better than a fighter (and many such effects work better or exclusively on the caster themselves), they can collapse the ceiling or knock the floor out from under them, or fly into the air and shoot them from long range or simply bypass them entirely (many golems lack ranged attacks, can't fly, and have slow movement speeds), and do similar things. This is ignoring the fact that most of them take feats to better bypass spell resistance and to make it harder to save against their spells.
** EmptyLevels are a problem in basically every edition (except 4th, which gives everyone the same advancement for everything). LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards was in effect even in 1st Edition, where Fighters gained nothing from leveling besides incremental bonuses. One very common reaction to this in the 3.5 era was to give the character utility class features whenever it seemed like they wouldn't get anything from their core abilities. In theory, this meant that the character would always have something to look forward to. In practice, this left some classes laden with disparate and near-useless class features that were so minor and situational that they frequently forgot them. The Monk was the worst offender by far; sure, you get something every level, but when that something is a once-per-day fourth-level spell or a once-per-''week'' OneHitKill attack that [[UselessUsefulSpell usually misses,]] why bother? (Exemplified by one {{Narm}}-tastic [[http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/cwc/20061013a article]] on the Wizards of the Coast website, which claimed that "[[BlatantLies players always have something to look forward to with the Monk]]." On the other end of the power scale, the Sorcerer and Cleric get nothing for leveling up but advancement of their spells and familiar (for Sorcerer) and domains and TurnUndead (for Cleric). Since TurnUndead was [[GuideDangIt needlessly complex]], familiars were liabilities, and many domains didn't advance by levels, players would simply jump into a PrestigeClass that advanced casting and lose basically jack in the process. Some even used alternate class features that swapped out their familiar or Turn Undead, giving them literally no reason to ''not'' take a PrestigeClass. ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' did its level best to rectify this by nerfing spellcasting some, cutting down on full-casting prestige classes, buffing many formerly-useless abilities, and redesigning many classes so their abilities ''always'' advanced by level. Sadly, as the problem is built into the game, it didn't work, though it did boost the power of the weaker classes... though they were still useless compared to casters.
** Some {{Prestige Class}}es were PurposelyOverpowered, to accommodate for extremely difficult requirements. The intent would be to make these classes DifficultButAwesome, or limit them to NPC use. For the former, if your player has [[MagikarpPower jumped through all the hoops]] to qualify for Fochlucan Lyrist, they need the absurdly good bonuses just to catch up to everyone else; for the latter, it's not like any player would ''want'' to use a pus-spewing disease-ridden degenerate, right? Of course, a wily player could easily end up qualifying for these classes by simply thinking outside the box. For instance, the Hulking Hurler may be reserved for Large-sized characters, and Large races are typically too strong for players to use (the example build is a Stone Giant), but Half-Ogres are Large and have a Level Adjustment equal to Drow. By a similar token, the [[FlatEarthAtheist Ur-Priest]] requires an [[BadPowersBadPeople Evil]] [[CharacterAlignment alignment]], but there's nothing stopping players from simply being a TokenEvilTeammate, a NobleDemon, the caster of an all-Evil adventuring party, or even, arguably, taking just a few levels, going through CharacterDevelopment and [[HeelFaceTurn changing alignment]], and advancing their Ur-Priest casting through another class. Consequently, both the Hulking Hurler and the Ur-Priest are considered to be among the game's biggest {{Game Breaker}}s.
** For a perfect microcosm of FakeBalance in 2e, we have the Bladesinger. A MagicKnight kit [[OurElvesAreBetter exclusive to elves,]] it gave a number of bonuses while using a longsword, as well as a number of other abilities, at the price of not being able to use any other weapons or any armor heavier than elven chain. The problem was that you were already using a longsword due to the elven natural bonuses and it being an extremely common weapon and therefore easy to replace if you got disarmed, not being able to use a bow was a minor setback at worst when you could toss around fireballs, and as a caster, you shouldn't be wearing anything heavier than elven chain anyway. The class also had the roleplay requirement of a code requiring you to rescue elves whenever possible... which had the swashbuckler problem above of actually being an entirely voluntary plot hook (and one that, unlike the paladin code, didn't impact you if you broke it). To cap it off, it had very high stat requirements... but this just meant that players who rolled well, on top of having better stats than their comrades, also got access to stronger abilities. And that's not even getting into the players who "rolled at home", and showed up to the table with a bladesinger whose lowest stat was 13...
* Despite being designed with an eye for better balance, 4th Edition D&D hasn't entirely avoided this. Initially, many players did not understand how to play controller characters properly, and there were a large number of what amounted to fake choices in the original power set for the wizard, the first controller class. Controllers do exactly that, control the battlefield and debuff enemies, but many players picked area damage spells instead, which were terrible because the Wizard is not a damage-dealing class (and never really was, though many players played them as such - and the fact that they seemed powerful even then says something about how useful the casters truly were). [[strike:Bad]] Players used to the previous editions, where wizards were often played as ''damage-dealers'' rather than controllers, constantly [[strike:whined]] complained about wizards [[strike:being underpowered]] not being able to do what they ''used'' to be able to do in previous editions, while, ironically, they were actually one of the strongest classes, and acquired some game breaking abilities at higher levels which required errata. They later released the Sorcerer, who was a more conventional blaster-wizard designed to deal damage similar to the "throwing fireballs and lightning bolts" evoker that many players played previously.
** And that is why you should not play a wizard as a Nuker, but as a [[AnAdventurerIsYou Debuffer or Mezzer]]. Even from the first book, the wizard has huge area effects that cause a group of enemies to lose half their actions, or fling them halfway across the battlefield. In the hands of a beginner, the wizard is a sub-par damage dealer. In the [[DifficultButAwesome hands of a skilled player]], it will give your DM nightmares. Unfortunately, this is bad design; later controllers ditched most of the bad damage dealing spells to simply make sure you cannot accidentally make a useless character, instead replacing them with more control options.
** Other balance items that look good on paper but really don't work: Weapons with a higher accuracy are much, much better than weapons that lose accuracy for special properties, due to the way the game math works at higher levels. Because most powers only have an effect if they connect, hitting is much more important than some incidental rider ability on the strike, and yet weapons got balanced between those that had extra accuracy and those that didn't but had other effects. This is less of an issue for fighters, who have powers which make some of the less accurate weapons much stronger (hammers are amongst the best fighter weapons, despite their slightly lower accuracy, for this very reason), but for every other class...
** On the DM's side come Solo monsters. Solo Monsters are supposed to represent the same challenge to a group of adventurers that 5 normal monsters do, usually by having higher defenses and four times the normal monster hit points. This didn't work. Solo monsters were derided as boring grindfests. The problems boiled down to the fact that Solo monsters had too many hit points and too few actions - a solo monster could easily be locked down by status effects and didn't have the number of actions a full crew of monsters did, but they were too tough to be taken down in a reasonable amount of time. New versions of solo monsters have more actions (up to and including extra whole turns), more resistances to status effects, slower defenses and hit points (still high, but lower than before) and more "state-changing" abilities. Still, the best use of a "[[ArtifactTitle Solo]]" monster is [[FlunkyBoss paired with a few other normal monsters]].
** For those non-players: Orbizards (or Orb Wizards) are Wizards that get a special ability as long as they wield an orb as an implement - as opposed to those who wield a staff, a wand and so on. These also get special abilities, but they weren't nearly as powerful. Orbizards could once per encounter debuff a monster's saving throw against an effect the wizard cast. To succeed on a saving throw, you have to get a 10 or higher on a d20 roll. Solo monsters get a +5 to saving throws, which means they can succeed on a 5 or higher. But the orbizard could - if he took the right items, skills and feats - debuff a monster's save by -17! So you cast "Sleep" or any spell that makes the monster unconscious and needs a save to be ended onto the enemy, couple that with your -17 to saves, and even the highest level monster in the game would need to roll a 22 to succeed. [[ImpossibleTask On a d20.]] This could trivialize entire encounters, and was too powerful. They errataed it out, along with most other saving throw penalties which lasted longer than a round.
* TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} and TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} both suffer from this disease due to all of the reasons above, but also because some codices or army books aren't updated in years. In theory, powerful units are balanced by costing more points than weaker CannonFodder, but due to a gradual PowerCreepPowerSeep, armies that don't have recent updates tend to find themselves simply out-classed by competitors which have new rules written. It can be downright maddening, such as when an army finds itself losing a special advantage because it is incompatible with the current rules. Armies also have had "legacy" rules which interact with the game's current rules to create an {{Unwinnable}} situation. The solution seems to be to give everyone occasional moments in the sun. It just may take twelve to thirteen years for some armies.
** Sometimes provoked intentionally in order to boost the sales of a flagging army. "HA! Imperial Guardsmen have flashbulb guns and die when breathed on!". Cue new codex. "Guardsmen are cheaper, can shoot rapidfire in ranks if they're under half range and don't move and they have better AP? Which way to the Cadia box?"
** This is the current problem with the Daemonhunters, specifically the Grey Knights. Even the book itself acknowledges that the Knights are not meant to be used as a stand-alone army, however with the GW policy of "no allies" (reversed as of 2012), that was the only way to field the Knights. In addition, since the change in rules of how to play Daemons (they no longer suffered instability, reversed as of 2013) the Grey Knights are effectively paying extra points for abilities that can never be used (to balance out this advantage in previous editions, Daemons gain Sustained Attack, meaning that any destroyed daemons automatically return back onto the table free of charge. However that rule ''is'' still in use).
*** Then the Grey Knights got a new Codex, and became an army of MarySue {{Game Breaker}}s. Cue BrokenBase.
* In addition to the above, ''[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Warhammer 40k]]'' has done pretty much every example on this list.
** Skill Underestimated: 5th edition Outflanking. Essentially, this allows you to deploy a unit by walking on from a board edge, usually allowing a brutal assault onto anything near that edge. Since you have a 2/3 shot of deploying along the side you want (1/3 of getting the flank you want, 1/3 of getting the flank you don't want, 1/3 of being able to choose which flank you want to deploy on), it's not exactly unreliable. What's more: any unit with the incredibly-common Scouts or Infiltrate special rules can use Outflank deployment. Cue the demise of any army with a CripplingOverspecialization in shooting. (So long as said army doesn't deploy vehicles en masse, which are far less vulnerable to close combat so long as they move at least 6" every turn.) Lash of Submission also deserves honorable mention, as [[WordOfGod Games Workshop themselves]] reportedly remarked how they didn't think anybody would use it in great ways when they wrote and tested it.
** Skill Overestimated: Tyranid Pyrovores. Aside from their [[CanonDefilement perversion of the Tyranid fluff]] [[note]]Tyranids, being Extreme Omnivores, literally strip entire worlds of their biomatter. It's why they are a threat. The problem is they can't eat something that gets incinerated. So, of course, Pyrovores have flamethrowers, something that suggests poor evolution, but also a design that could not be called "intelligent" by any means, either[[/note]], the Pyrovore has so many caveats on its not-that-good ability that the unit itself becomes veritably worthless. Essentially, a Pyrovore must suffer [[OneHitKill Instant Death]], roll a 4+ on a six-sided die, and then it will radiate a Strength 3 hit to all models, friend or foe, within about 2.5".
** Unbalanced Army List: Though they possess a number of average units (Havocs, Raptors, Chaos Lords), nothing compels a Chaos Space Marines player to use these mediocre units any more than absolutely necessary, instead of just taking the best stuff possible (Berserkers, Plague Marines, Daemon Princes). The Warp Talons and Mutilators are incredibly inefficient at what they're designed for (units can't assault after Deep Striking), while Heldrakes are the Flying Chaos Turkeys of Flaming Death (until the Seventh Edition FAQ changed its weapon from a turret to a fixed firing arc).
** Luck-Based Balance: Chaos Daemons, whose [[PlanetOfHats racial hat]] is ConfusionFu. Every model has a fairly bad invulnerable save that is generally inferior to most other armor types, but they tend to not have many good saves at all. Roll well and you will shrug off tons of firepower. Roll poorly (and more often than not, you ''will'' roll poorly), and you'll take a ton of casualties every time an enemy unit shoots at one of yours, and you have next to no shooting of your own, meaning you're pretty much helpless in the shooting phase. And believe it or not, this is just the tip of the iceberg. You literally cannot guarantee that any particular unit will start the game on the table, assuming nobody dies in a Deep Strike mishap. Chaos Daemons were designed to be super-powerful yet balanced by their ability to fail at unpredictable intervals. In practice, they're basically a catastrophic failure waiting to happen.
*** Luck-Based Balance used to be the shtick of the Orcs in earlier editions, where many of their most powerful weapons had random range, strength, or effect radius.
*** Sixth Edition removed some randomness for Daemons (they no longer deploy randomly and have ways to increase their saves if you study the book properly) and threw more randomness into the mix for ''everyone'': warlord traits, psychic powers, and mysterious terrain effects are rolled from tables.
** Rarity based balance: More representative as a price-based balance. If you can't afford Forge World's "An'ggrath the Unbound," you're not going to field one, simple as that. Also represented by 0-1 units (now called Unique Units), which can only be used a maximum of once, no matter the size of your force. These limits are usually relegated to special characters, who have various abilities that occasionally [[GameBreaker toe the lines of game balance]].
** Unfair / Situational Advantage: Jaws of the World Wolf is possibly the most UselessUsefulSpell in the game. It requires purchasing a very expensive yet easily-killable model. It can't target vehicles. It can be blocked or made more difficult to cast. It's incredibly unlikely to kill any individual model. A clever opponent can minimize its effect by spacing out. And it can ''instantly kill any model that fails an Initiative test''. It also lets you effectively pick which model(s) you want to target, something usually not permitted barring exceptionally rare special abilities. And to make it worse, no saving throws are allowed to any model that is consumed, trumping armor saves, invulnerable saves, cover saves, and even special rules that prevent the model from being instantly killed, which makes Jaws (potentially) into 40k's InfinityPlusOneSword. Because Jaws is less useful against higher-initiative models, there's almost a sense in which every unit in the game is judged by whether or not it can easily be killed by Jaws. Woe betide any unit / army if it's a MightyGlacier with no anti-psyker support (like Ork HQ units).
*** Grey Knights are a hard counter to Chaos Daemons. If you play Daemons and your opponent shows up with Grey Knights, concede right away.
** Relies on Stalemating / Winning: It is incredibly easy to play for a draw. One of the most blatant offenders is the [[FunWithAcronyms DAVU]] setup for the Eldar. DAVU essentially takes the least expensive Troops unit purchasable (5 '''D'''ire '''A'''vengers) and puts them inside a fast transport vehicle (like a '''V'''ehicle '''U'''pgrade) to allow the vehicle to capture objectives quickly at the end of the game. The way to beat that is to basically outclass these expensive and not terribly numerous vehicles.