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Not the Intended Use
Question: Can we use "Go Up A Level" cards on other players to make them fight a monster that would otherwise ignore them?
Answer: We want to say no, but that's just such a Munchkin thing to do that we have to allow it.
Munchkin FAQ

Not The Intended Use is subversion of the control the developers have on the players. Basically, the player finds ways to play the game that the developers and designers did not intend.

Usually a Game Breaker, it often leads to Gameplay Derailment, but not always: in some cases, it can become an Ascended Glitch, or is considered "fair" in some way (for example, the intended use is (at least) just as useful, and there exists some limit on how frequently you can use the unintended mechanic (see, for example, Time Outs in Sports, below)).

In Tabletop Games, the discovery of a Game Breaker via Not The Intended Use usually leads to the Obvious Rule Patch, especially in tournament-level play.

Often used by Speed Runners and other Challenge Gamers. When it's an actual software glitch that's exploited, it belongs under Good Bad Bugs.

Subtrope of Emergent Gameplay. Contrast Useless Useful Spell and Mundane Utility. Also contrast Fake Difficulty, caused by control or other design problems. When an element is intentionally fudged in the player's favor, it's an Anti-Frustration Feature.

Examples:

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    Card Games 
  • Dominion has the Chapel card; intended to get rid of hurtful curse cards, people realized it could be used to streamline your deck by trashing the low-value cards you start with.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! card game has more than a few instances of this too:
    • Barrel Behind the Door was initially meant to bounce back damage done to you by effects. It works just as well bouncing non-cost damage from your cards to your opponent. It was even released in the same set as Ring of Destruction, a card that does massive amounts of damage to you and your opponent; the Ring/Barrel combo swiftly became one of the most popular in the game.
    • Using Doomcaliber Knight's ability to negate your own effect, which destroys him... so you can summon a quite powerful Meklord Emperor.
    • Gate Guardian is a high-ATK monster that's incredibly hard to get out... but you don't need to get him on the field to fuse him with a card released much later, UFOroid, to form an even stronger UFOroid Fighter.
    • There are quite a few cards that operate at the cost of letting your opponent draw cards. Since you instantly lose if your deck runs dry some savvy players built decks entirely out of these cards, using their intended effects as defense while they bled their opponent of all his resources.
    • Divine Sword - Phoenix Blade is a subpar Equip Card, exclusive to Warriors, that provides a miniscule ATK boost. However, it was also a staple in one of the most popular Decks of its day, Diamond Dude Turbo, for its secondary effect of "remove two Warriors in your Graveyard from play to add this card back to your hand." Players would use Phoenix Blade's secondary effect over and over, then activate Dimension Fusion to resummon all the cards they removed.
    • Which players are the biggest users of Toon Table of Contents, a card that lets you search out any card with "Toon" in its name? If you guessed Toon players, you'd be wrong - Toon Table of Contents is used in nearly all modern Exodia Decks. This is because you can use Toon Table of Contents to search out copies of itself, and there's no limit to how often it can be used. That translates to three cards removed from your Deck, and three Spell Counters on Royal Magical Library... and you can then either search out Toon World for a fourth counter, or Blue-Eyes Toon Dragon to discard for Trade-In. Toon Table of Contents is actually straight-up better than Gather Your Mind, a card where this use is the intended use.
    • This is what got Self-Destruct Button (a card that forces the Duel to a draw if your opponent has 7000 more LP than you) banned. Instead of using it as a last-resort Taking You with Me, players would fill their decks with cards that gave your opponent LP, then activate Self-Destruct Button at the first possible opportunity.
    • Last Turn is meant to be an extreme last-resort gamble: it can only be used when your LP are 1000 or less. It picks a monster on your side of the field, then sends everything else to the Graveyard, then your opponent Summons something from their Deck and attacks, with the survivor winning the Duel. The gamble involved was the risk that your opponent could Summon something stronger. However, Last Turn ignored the possibility of cards that could stop the Special Summon in some manner (see Jowgen the Spiritualist, Vanity's Fiend, Last Warrior from Another Planet) and the existence of cards that could pay massive amounts of LP (Wall of Revealing Light, Inspection, Backs to the Wall). If the opponent couldn't Summon a monster for Last Turn, you won by default. The resulting "Last Turn OTK" sent Last Turn to the banlist.
  • Munchkin allows you to use "Go Up A Level" cards on your opponent in order to force them to fight/run away from a monster that would ignore them if they were just one level lower.
    • The creators of the game were asked if the cards could be used that way—while that hadn't been the intent, the creators responded it was such a Munchkinly thing to do, they just couldn't say no.
  • In the Pokémon Trading Card Game, Claydol's "Cosmic Power" is meant to draw cards from the deck, but its secondary effect, putting 2 cards back to the bottom of the deck, can also be used to prevent a player from running out of cards in one's deck and thus avert a loss by decking out.
    • The trainer card Gamble can be used the same way, though somewhat more risky. You shuffle your hand into your deck and flip a coin. Draw 7 for heads, 1 for tails.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, many combo decks (and subsequently, card bannings or errata) come from this sort of behavior. Although one can debate over which examples qualify as "not intended" vs simply "not obvious"; the developers do fully intend for players to come up with card combinations they didn't see themselves and simply hope that they won't miss any that break the game, while in some cases they're aware of the unorthodox use and go ahead anyway. Examples include:
    • Dark Depths and Vampire Hexmage: The Hexmage was meant to remove beneficial counters from permanents and as a way for black to deal with planeswalkers. But with Dark Depths, you can remove all the counters to get a 20/20 flying indestructible creature on turn 2.
    • Cascade cards and Hypergenesis: You're supposed to suspend Hypergenesis, but cascade lets you search it out of your deck and cast it for free. This also works with other cards with no mana cost, such as Living End.
    • Grove of the Burnwillows and Punishing Fire: The Grove is supposed to be a dual land that fights against red and green's aggressive nature, but it lets you get back Punishing Fire instead.
    • Lion's Eye Diamond: Intended to be a bad Black Lotus, instead you can toss your hand into your graveyard as a beneficial effect for Yawgmoth's Will (often used while a tutor for Yawgmoth's Will (or Yawgmoth's Will itself) is on the stack, doubly stupid because you can then recast it from the graveyard and get more mana with no drawback whatsoever), dredge cards, or madness cards. Another extremely powerful trick with it is to use it while a draw-7 spell (which generally cause you to discard your hand and draw a new one) is on the stack, so that it again has no drawback, or while a reanimation spell which does not need to declare a target is being cast, so as to put the card in question into your graveyard for ready reanimation.
      • Wizards of the Coast is infamously bad at making a "bad" Black Lotus; Lotus Petal, a Black Lotus which only produced one mana instead of three, came out shortly thereafter, and was restricted shortly thereafter. When they made Lotus Bloom later on (a black lotus which took three turns to come into play), it yet again caused problems by allowing Dragonstorm decks (itself a previous Junk Rare, reprinted because it was theoretically a bad storm card due to costing too much mana) to get a bunch of extra spells cast on the fourth turn for free. Combined with Rite of Flame and Seething Song (attempts to create "fair" Dark Rituals), along with Gigadrowse, a card intended for limited but actually useful for tapping all of your opponent's lands during their endstep to prevent them from interfering with your plans (and nearly uncounterable due to its own ability to replicate itself into multiple spells), the deck created a rather terrifyingly powerful combo deck which regularly "went off" on turn four and instantly killed the opponent via Bogardan Hellkites.
    • Illusions of Grandeur and Donate: Two quirky junk rares for casual players that combined to become one of the most famous kill conditions in the competitive Magic history.
      • It didn't help that Illusions of Grandeur has the text "gain 20 life" on it, which, with Necropotence in play, reads an awful lot like "draw 20 cards".
    • Waylay: Meant as a way to get temporary blockers, but a rules change made it into "White Lightning," a way to get hasty attackers for a turn. It was errated to only work as intended.
    • Flash: Meant as a way to play creatures at times you're normally not allowed to, it does this by letting you put a creature card from your hand into play, but you have to sacrifice it unless you pay its mana cost reduced by 2 (where 2 is the cost of Flash itself). What this actually means is that for 2 mana you can get the "when this comes into play" and/or "when this dies" effect of an arbitrarily expensive creature, some of which are powerful enough to instantly win the game with the right support. It was errata'd the first time this abuse was discovered with Academy Rector, then un-errata'd due to a policy change to minimize the use of errata, and promptly banned or restricted in all the formats it was still legal in thanks to an instant-win combo with Protean Hulk.
    • Boomerang existed for years as a cheap and fairly versatile blue bounce spell; it seemed fair enough, so printing a worse version in Eye of Nowhere seemed safe enough. At the same time, the long-time classic Howling Mine was in print, a card which historically was sometimes used with artifact tapping abilities to give card advantage, but was typically viewed as a weak combo piece. Kami of the Crescent Moon was a generally worse Howling Mine, a weak creature which could blow low-powered creatures but which was fairly easily killed. While alone, some of these cards were alright, in concert, combined with more powerful delaying cards like Remand and Exhaustion, both of which also helped to keep the opponent's hand full without letting them actually play any spells, the deck would rather quickly bounce the opponent's lands back into their hand while preventing them from casting any spells, putting various card draw spells into play which would cause the opponent to draw so many cards that they had to discard the excess cards, something which almost never happens in tournament play. Worse still, Ebony Owl Netsuke and Sudden Impact had been printed as a means of punishing decks which took advantage of the Kamigawa block mechanic which encouraged players to keep their hands full, a nearly useless mechanic due to the fact that it meant that the player wasn't casting spells, and as such, spells designed to punish cards that no one ever used were pretty useless. But in this deck, it simply punished absolutely everyone for daring to sit down at the table. A very powerful deck, it was quite good at completely destroying control decks, but had absolutely no ability to win games against aggressive decks which played lots of cheap, powerful creatures and burn spells, which the deck only gave further fuel to.
    • Another example from the same time period was the Eminent Domain deck, so-named because it used Annex, Dream Leash, and Confiscate to steal their opponent's lands, Icy Manipulator to hold creatures at bay and tap down more lands, Stone Rain to destroy what lands it couldn't steal, and finally Wildfire to destroy all of the lands the opponent had left, along with whatever creatures they'd managed to play, while leaving them with excess lands due to their own stealing and artifact mana, which was untouched by the wildfire; if the opponent DID manage to cast some good creature, then they'd just steal it with Dream Leash or Confiscate themselves. While Wildfire was known to be a very powerful card, Annex had been thought of as a means of punishing players for playing certain kinds of lands, not as a means of allowing a player to steal their opponent's lands and cast a wildfire with a two-land advantage, possibly as early as turn four. The sheer number of permanent stealing spells made the deck extremely versatile, as it could steal anything the opponent used to fight with - lands if they needed mana to cast powerful cards, creatures if they were a threat, and even valuable artifacts - and set the world on fire with a huge advantage on its side. As a result, land-stealing spells became much harder to come by afterwards.

    Film 
  • Invoked In-Universe in Wreck-It Ralph. Vanellope's glitching can be exploited to pass other racers, which quickly makes her the most popular character after Turbo is defeated and she becomes a playable character.

    Literature 
  • P.J. O'Rourke's The Bachelor Home Companion has a lengthy list of alternative uses for household utensils. (For instance, did you know that an upended steam iron can be used as a hotplate? Also, while a regular screwdriver makes a good tool for spreading putty, a Philips head screwdriver would be useless for that purpose: it should be used to punch holes in cans of beer when the pop top has broken off.)
  • In Sword Art Online, Kirito has a unique skill <<Dual Blades>> from the game Sword Art Online. When he got out of the game and started playing another game called Alfheim Online, he lost the skill but managed to use it by chaining one-handed abilities with each of his hand, controlling both of his hands separately by using muscle memory and calculating his skill use timing with the skill cooldowns. It was not supposed to happen at all, but he does have the excuse of having the best reflexes in Sword Art Online (which is why he got the aforementioned unique ability) and had to learn how to fight efficiently due to being a solo player. He used the blade his character got during its creation in Gun Gale Online (another thing that was not supposed to happen) to deflect bullets shot by other characters with help of their own targeting markers. After returning to Alfheim Online, he started using his blades to deflect spells as well.
  • In the Star Trek novel The Kobayashi Maru, a young Scotty faces the famous "unbeatable" simulation and uses a trick like this to do much better than he should. He employs a battle tacticnote  which mathematically should work, but doesn't in practice (as Scotty knows full well since he was the one who tested it). The admiral in charge of the test, not amused by this cheeky solution, boots Scotty out of the command stream... and into pure engineering, which they both know is what he really wants anyway.
  • Star Carrier:
    • Terran Confederation Space Fighters are equipped with AMSO canisters, missiles packed full of granules of degenerate matter ("sand") that are used as anti-missile countermeasures. At the end of the first book a squadron led by Lieutenant Trevor Gray accelerates to near lightspeed before releasing them and rather thoroughly fucks up an incoming Turusch battlefleet. Gray acquires the callsign "Sandy" for this and is later described as having added a footnote to the manual. By book four, twenty years later, this has actually become a standard maneuver.
    • Also in book four, Gray's Suspiciously Similar Substitute Lt. Donald Gregory brings his fighter in an extreme close-range pass against a Slan warship (the narrator the sound of his fighter scraping the hull), allowing him to insert his drive singularity inside the ship. This destroys it from the inside out.

    Live Action TV 
  • The entire premise behind MacGyver.
  • Ditto for MythBusters. To the point that during the "airplane on a conveyor belt" myth Jamie pauses for a moment when he realizes that for once they are using a commercial product (specifically a remote-control model airplane) in the way it was intended to be used.
  • In Dinosaurs, Baby likes hitting Earl over the head with a frying pan, until one breaks, and the Sinclairs try to use the frying pan's warranty to get a new one. The manufacturer denies the claim as the frying pan was meant for cooking, but the warranty didn't specify "cooking", it said the pan was guaranteed for "normal use", and in the Sinclair house, the "normal use" of a frying pan is Baby hitting Earl over the head with it.

    Music 
  • Scratching records in hip-hop.
    • In a similar vein, overdriving a guitar amp to distort the sound.
  • The Roland TB-303 was supposed to just play a preprogrammed repeating bass line. Then someone noticed what happened when you tweaked the filter knobs while it's playing, and the genre of Acid House was born.
  • Auto-Tune was originally intended to change the frequency of the singer's singing or musician's playing to the correct one. Then Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling noticed while working on Cher's "Believe" that if you set it on the most aggressive setting, it sounds unnatural, but kind of neat.
    • On a deeper level, the technology behind Auto-Tune was originally developed to help oil drillers interpret seismograph data.

    Sports 
  • Time outs in several sports:
    • For instance, Basketball and Lacrosse. Intended to allow teams to meet and plan strategy. Can be used tactically to prevent a player from losing possession and restart play in a controlled manner. Only possible in "American" basketball. Other countries (under FIBA rules) will only allow a time out when the time is already stopped.
    • American Football:
      • The most common use for a timeout is to stop the clock, and the second most common is to avoid a penalty for delay of game or too many men. It's far rarer for a timeout to be called to talk strategy on a critical play.
      • Somewhat less common is the use of a timeout to "ice the kicker". If your opponent is about to kick a field goal, calling a time out just before the play starts will often mess up a kicker's timing enough to cause him to miss the field goal when he does eventually kick it. This is only done occasionally, however, because in most circumstances time outs are much more valuable for the above-mentioned unintended uses than for this one (if it is done, it's generally done at the end of a half, since the team in question probably won't get another chance to use it). Icing the kicker at the pro level generally does not work unless it is an incredibly long distance, and if mistimed, often just serves to give a free warm-up kick to the kicker; since there is no penalty on the kicker for kicking even if the whistle is blown, the kicker is often instructed to just follow through on the kick even if the play is blown dead.
      • An interesting use for a timeout was discovered on 12/8/13 in the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions. The Lions called timeout before an extra point attempt in order to clear snow out of the kicker's way. The kick got blocked anyway.
    • Modern flat track Roller Derby, depending on whether or not the Head Referee lets you get away with it. Calling a time out when there is less than 30 seconds left on the period clock can allow you to sneak in one last final jam when the time out ends, which must then be played to its natural conclusion (up to two minutes) even if the period clock runs out.
  • Olympic fencing's flicks and whip-overs. Fencing weapons are nowhere near as stiff as swords for obvious reasons, so fencers have used these properties to deliver non-standard attacks that count in the rules of electric fencing but would make no sense if the weapons were real swords. Generally fencing can be viewed from both a traditionalist and competitive point of view, so the same fencer who flicks in a tournament might not in a casual bout. The sport's governing body, the FIE, has put a serious Nerf on flicks, but they remain viable.
  • Averted in kendo, where half-swording (grabbing the shinai on one hand on the blade and using the shinai as a short spear) is explicitly forbidden. While this is a historical technique, it is considered a Game Breaker.
  • Delay of game infractions in American football are charged on the offense when they allow the play clock to run out without snapping the ball as a way to prevent a team in the lead to just sit on the ball for huge chunks of time. The penalty is five yards. There are some occasions, though, when a team will intentionally get flagged for delay of game because they want to back up five yards to give their punter more space to punt the ball deep in the "coffin corner" (as close to the opponent's goal line as possible without crossing it - a punted ball that touches the end zone is called as a touchback and the opponent will get the ball at their own 20-yard-line). The defense is helpless in stopping this, since a delay of game penalty is a dead-ball foul and thus cannot be declined.
  • The cages used in Mixed Martial Arts were merely meant to be a structure keeping the combatants in one area (rings have been used and still are, but due to the grappling nature of the sport, these are becoming less and less popular due to people falling out of them.). Fighters soon learned they could be used to stand up from the ground, holding your opponent against it do damage, etc. This is viewed as both good and bad, depending, but has become such an integral part of the sport many fighters train specifically for using the cage effectively from different positions.
    • Blatantly grabbing the fence is illegal however. This was established as a rule fairly early, as people were doing this to stop takedowns and get up from the ground more easily. Originally, the rules said nothing about grabbing with your toes however, and many fighters exploited this. The Unified Rules of MMA recently outlawed this practice.
    • The short-lived YAMMA organization experimented with a bowl type cage, which in theory would keep action moving better. What ended up happening in the one event they did was wrestlers found it great for backing people against the raised edges and taking them down more easily for some lay and pray.

    Video Games 
  • General examples:
    • Twinking (exploiting the help of a higher-level character) in MMORPGs is the very essence of this.
    • In plenty of platform games, it's possible to gain two or more extra lives in a single level, commit suicide, restart the level, gain 2-3 more lives, commit suicide again... to gain as many lives as you want.
    • Exploiting Mercy Invincibility to use Spikes of Doom as a platform, especially if if leads to a shortcut or normally inaccessible area.
    • Scrolling enemies off the screen to make them disappear. One example is Hard Man's stage in Mega Man 3: scrolling the bees offscreen is such a time-honoured trick that the hint mode in later releasesnote  actually suggests it to you.
  • In Pikmin, if any color pikmin other than blue wanders into water, they'll flounder about for a bit before drowning. Naturally, this means that only blue pikmin can get items submerged in water. However, certain puzzles involve taking blue pikmin to an island to build a bridge or otherwise clear a path for their other colored brethren. And when pikmin fall into water, you're given a small window that you can use to lead them back to land. With careful timing, it's possible to lead non-blues into water and have them swim across short channels without dying. Throwing them halfway across before starting to lead them can practically double the distance they can swim. Utilizing this trick can help players collect certain ship parts/treasures much earlier in the game than intended and tends to be vital for minimum day runs.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Using the Swap spell to turn you into a statistical Physical God in Final Fantasy II. Its intended use was likely for emergency HP/MP refill purposes.
    • In Final Fantasy IV, in the DS version, the Adrenaline augment doubles the damage a character inflicts when he or she is at critical health. Casting Tornado on a character with Adrenaline is an easy way to satisfy this condition. This is particularly useful on Rydia who can barely take hits anyway.
    • The Excalipoor in Final Fantasy V is a Joke Weapon that only deals 1 damage per hit. However, it does have a high battle power, which can be abused in two ways: equipping it and using the Blue Magic spell Goblin Punch deals high damage, as does throwing it. It also has perfect accuracy and ignores evasion, making it useful against Skull Eaters or with certain Spellblade abilities.
    • Final Fantasy VI had Vanish, which makes you immune to physical attacks, at the cost of making you unable to avoid magical attacks. Due to a glitch, bosses which were normally immune to instant kill attacks became vulnerable to them when under the effect of Vanish, making it possible to bypass most bosses easily. There were steps to fix this in the PSX remake, but it wasn't truly fixed until Final Fantasy VI Advance.
    • Any limit break in Final Fantasy VIII could be accessed by keeping your HP low and repeatedly hitting the O button though this may have been intentional. What's clearly not intentional is abusing this with Selphie's limit break then opening up the cover of the Playstation which causes the game to go into a pause like loop where you continued to scroll through her normally random skills until you got one you wanted. Considering 'The End' even worked on bosses, including the final and the bonus boss, it made the entire game pointlessly easy.
    • The Ninja class in Final Fantasy XI was originally supposed to be a Stealth Expert Strategist attacking from the shadows. This is most evident in the effects of it's signature armor which actually lowers enemy focus on the ninja. However, using one the ninja's special moves called "Utsusemi" where the ninja gains shadows that absorb enemy attacks. Coupled with its superb evasion, the ninja is actually considered one of the best tanks in the game, right up there with the heavily-armored Paladin.
    • The Measure weapons in Final Fantasy XII are absurdly weak weapon types that randomly confer a positive status on hit. The intended use of measures was, one presumes, to be a tool for casters to buff the party without expending MP. The thing they're more useful for? Getting rid of Confusion. (A confused character will physically attack their allies and themselves until they are either cured or physically struck, since the item that cures confusion is slow enough that the confused character will still get off an attack or two against their allies or themselves, it's better to just save money and equip confused characters with measures so they can't meaningfully damage the party—very important at high levels—and will even buff them, then take it off when they're back to normal).
    • The Throw Stone ability in Final Fantasy Tactics lets you build up Job Points. Otherwise, it's just useless damage at long range; ditto with Accumulate/Build Power. The +1 to physical attack is meaningless unless you do it a lot, and most enemies really won't let you do it a lot. But leave one enemy alive, and send all your units running around the battlefield spamming the ability, and hello job points! In fact, there's a lot of abilities that might be useful, but are much better at building job points. Throw Stone also has a very high chance of knockback, leading to a situational use where you can use it to shove your own allies out of harm's way from a distance.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics has the AI's reaction to confused enemies. Basically, the AI will never attack a confused character if they cannot kill that character in one or two hits. Under normal circumstances, this is a good idea. However, in the Self Imposed Challenges allowing only one character (out of the usual five), this can be a fatal flaw. Basically a single character has no allies to accidentally attack, and if they have enough health, they will never be attacked in retaliation. And most of the hardest bosses in the game can cause confusion.
    • There is a certain boss in Final Fantasy XIV : A Realm Reborn whose normal mechanics can be avoided entirely by using a strategy the playerbase has come to call "Enrage." When the head of the development team found out about it, he stated that the boss was never meant to be killed in that manner, but that he admired the players' ingenuity. Thus, he decided not to do anything about it. When a patch unexpectedly made Enrage harder to use, the devs promptly released a hotfix that allowed it to work again.
  • A particularly well-known example in Quake and many other FPS games is provided by the rocket launcher. Its intended use is of course to make Ludicrous Gibs of groups of enemies. Many players instead choose to use it to make massive Sequence Breaking leaps. Rocket jumping became an Ascended Glitch for the FPS genre - the Soldier in Team Fortress Classic and Team Fortress 2 is designed for just that.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: The Sling Post's intended and primary use is as a key component to the Human Slingshot (hence the name). However, the players can also use it in single player mode to knock the enemy senseless. Miller even Lamp Shades the trope by calling the player when doing this and saying "That's not what its used for!"
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: When Snake is stuck in a dark area without a flashlight, Major Zero goes on a rant about how American soldiers rely too much on ready-made equipment, and don't grasp that one piece of equipment can have several different uses. This is a hint to the player that the cigar is good for something.
  • League of Legends:
    • The Innervating Locket item restored some of your mana and caused a minor self-targeted AoE heal whenever you used one of your abilities. Originally it was thought of as a powerup for healers. Then people realized you could use it on Udyr (a melee fighter who uses his abilities in quick succession). The Locket/Udyr build was so powerful that it forced Riot to remove the locket from the game.
    • The Tear of the Goddess. This item gave you a very large mana pool over time. It was originally thought of as a caster item. Then people started to use goddess tear on other characters such as Corki and Ezreal, both high physical damage characters who nonetheless had abilities worth spamming. Riot took note of this and made the Manamune, which is an item for DPS characters that builds from Tear of the Goddess.
    • While radically different uses for champions are occasionally found, the champion Gragas stands out for the alternate having massively surpassed the original. He was intended as a tanky melee fighter, using his abilities mostly for utility to debuff, disrupt, and initiate. He is basically never used this way, instead functioning as a burst damage mage who relies on his tank origins to make him tougher than most mages. For a long time the Riot Games recommended items focused on completely different attributes than most player recommended builds, until they eventually gave in and completely overhauled them.
    • Sion, a giant berserker zombie with a massive axe, was obviously intended to function as a beefy melee DPS, using his Death's Caress (an exploding shield) for protection in fights and his Cryptic Gaze (a guaranteed hitting ranged damage spell with a lengthy stun) to catch enemies for him to whale on. While he is often used like this, people noticed that both of those skills had high base damage numbers and perfect 1-1 ability power scaling ratios and he became one of the most powerful burst mages in the game. The scaling was later decreased to make this less prominent, and Sion has been confirmed to be up for a rework returning him to his Lifesteal Tank roots.
    • The Ability Power builds for melee DPS champions Master Yi and Tryndamere are considered some of the worst abuses of an alternate build by the developers themselves. Yi has an multi-targeting dash that makes him completely unhittable for a second, Tryndamere has an spin attack that scales with AP, and both have powerful heals that can bring them from almost no health back to fully healed in just a few seconds. Ability Power Tryndamere has been nerfed, Ability Power Yi was done away with entirely when Riot removed his AP ratios in his rework.
    • Quinn was intended to be a bottom lane Attack Damage Carry, but she gets more play as a top lane bruiser due to her mobility and harassment, as well as her ultimate swapping her with Valor, making her a melee bruiser herself for a bit.
    • Champions classified as supports are generally the ones with teammate-helping abilities, like aura buffs, shields, and heals, that could help the team's carry get lots of gold for their items. However, players eventually realized that there was another way to get their carry gold: get them kills. This is why you so often see champions with strong initiation and crowd-control abilities played in the support role, in what are commonly known as "kill lanes."
    • Players are intended to start a match by buying some basic items. Instead, many players simply bought around thirteen healing potions and/or a flask and/or several wards. Flasks were made more expensive, and healing potions limited to 5.
    • Blue Ezreal, a build for a lane carry featuring several items intended for jungle tanks which allowed Ezreal to kite his enemies around thanks to the items giving him on-hit slows, DoTs on all his spells and pretty much infinite mana. Despite the core item being nerfed, Blue Ezreal is still the dominant build for the character, even in competitive play.
    • Using placeable vision wards as targets for teleport skills (Katarina, Lee Sin, the teleport spell) or to draw turret fire is a perennial fan-favorite example of emergent utility and depth for these characters. Riot Games briefly flirted with the idea of removing this, but were swiftly met with enough backlash that they settled for simply temporarily unstealthing and revealing wards when they were used for such a purpose.
    • In general, champions are often used in different roles than intended. Sometimes the developers say "eh, close enough" (Diana was intended as a roaming jungler but is played in mid lane as something of an anti-mage), sometimes a nerf follows (supports Janna and Soraka mid, note  or the support Lulu as a DPSnote ).
  • In Defense Of The Ancients, there is no such thing as Not The Intended Use. If you can do it, then it is a feature. This includes:
    • Denying: Killing your own soldiers before the enemy can kill them so they miss out on gold and experience.
    • Pulling: Luring neutral creeps far enough out of their camp to trigger the respawn on them and create duplicates which can then easily be farmed with area effect damage.
    • Orb walking: Using attack modifiers such as burning arrows, not by toggling them on but by manually casting each individual arrow. This counts as a spell and therefore ignores Ghost Scepter and does not draw enemy aggro.
    • Using self damage spells to suicide and deny the enemy a kill and associated rewards.
    • Bypassing the backdoor protection.
    • Killing the fountain turret that normally prevents fountain camping. This is completely unnecessary during normal gameplay, but you can.
    • There is a spell that indicates the spot where a target currently is and yanks them back to that point after a short delay. Intended as an offensive spell, it is seeing use as a means of giving your teammates a quick ride to the base shop and back.
      • There has been at least one clear exception to the above rule: Bottle Crowing (using a courier to ferry one or more Bottles between their owners and the Fountain that refills them) has been severely nerfed by imposing a speed reduction per empty bottle carried - which is a bit backwards in terms of logic. Some exploits go beyond being features...
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind featured Alchemy, allowing you to craft potions. The intended use was to craft potions that would improve your skills in combat and dialogue... but it was discovered that by making and drinking an Intelligence potion, you could make better Intelligence potions which you could then drink. After a few iterations, you could easily make potions that made you a Physical God.
    • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim tried to fix the positive feedback loop of making potions that made you better at making potions from previous games by making you unable to craft potions that help with Alchemy or enchant gear with effects that boost Enchanting... but you can still enchant gear to help you make better potions, and also brew potions that boosts enchanting. Along with Smithing, the road to epic level is thus paved by crafting blank equipment, enchanting it with alchemy-increasing stats, crafting potions that boost Smithing and Enchanting... rinse and repeat. The bug that made Fortify Restoration (improve healing magic) potions raise all your stats even quicker was just icing, really. And after just a few loops, the numbers would go off the side of the screen.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, anything trapped under a falling drawbridge is removed from existence. Forget the obvious utility in fortress defense — 'atom smashers' are best used to delete the tonnes of waste rock that excavating your fortress produces.
  • In the online game Bearbarians, starring feuding tribes of furries, Capture the Flag probably isn't supposed to be any more time-consuming than Team Survival, Team Deathmatch or Capture and Control. However, the usual effect that limits shenanigans - your teammates completing the objectives - is bugged so that they keep walking nearly to the drop-off and then turning around, meaning that they only actually score a point when knocked into it by an opponent attacking them. Given that everyone in CTF has infinite lives, and having a time limit is optional, you can thus spend any time period you like Level Grinding in a way that missions that are actually about murdering people simply do not offer, so long as you remember to prioritise the guy who just picked up your flag. This will also make you a fat pot of money, since killing 180 opponents in a game where 50 kills is an impressive streak tends to lead to quite large payouts in addition to the level-up that will unlock new things for you to spend it on. It seems very unlikely that any of this was part of the original mission layout.
  • In Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy, one of your more basic psychic skills is levitating something you're standing on and using it to fly around. The developers originally didn't intend for this to be possible, but once they learned of it, they restructured their levels to accommodate for it.
  • Parodied in 3D Dot Game Heroes' Spelunker mode. Dashing into a wall results in a fake death... and deliberately exploitable invincibility frames.
  • In Shank, when using the dual pistols, you can block to reset the pistol firing animation, allowing you to skip the time-consuming reloading animation.
  • Street Fighter IV has Zangief's Tornado Piledriver, a powerful, high-priority move that had previously been offset by the difficulty of using it, due to its 'full circle' command - but now, easily mapped to a shoulder-button. Thus, the hard boss and harder challenges were easily overcome by continuously Piledrivering with Zangief.
  • Secret missions in Devil May Cry series are usually crafted for testing a certain skill, like jumping, precise aiming or avoiding damage. However, many of them can be easily passed by using some legitimate ability that was not intended to be used in that mission. Examples include:
    • Using a certain weapon's special ability to fly over a timed Temporary Platform path.
    • In a mission that requires you to kill a group of Puppeteer Parasites before they can take over a regular foe, you can grab the escorted creature and carry it to a place the enemies can't reach.
    • DMC3 and DMC4 have the infamous "jump-cancelling" technique which involves pulling off air and ground combos, jumping off of the enemy (therefore resetting the combo), and repeating the technique allows you to keep the Style Counter and combo going without immediately dropping.
  • "Spawn Trapping" in competitive shooters. By exploiting bad level design, one team can win by preventing the other from ever advancing out of their spawn area. This is very noticeable in places like Call of Duty: Black Ops's Demolition mode (where both teams have two fixed spawn points and is the source of the infamous 500+ kills video) and Battlfield: Bad Company 2 (which makes the area around the other team's spawn point a soft-kill zone, but there are often terrain features that allow restricted lines of fire and blind corners ripe for camping). Team Fortress 2 implemented counters to this strategy, such as Spies (who can leave the spawn unnoticed and take down the campers, unless the campers are Pyros which they usually are), Bonk! (A secondary for Scout that makes him invulnerable but unable to attack for 8 seconds) and Ubercharges (which let the "besieged" take the enemy down while invulnerable).
  • When a monster is killed by attacks from several players in Ragnarok Online, the EXP is split between the intervening players, then boosted according to the number of them. This was intended to make group play more rewarding and enjoyable. However, this boosting always occurs, even if the players were never in the same party to begin with. The next logical step is, of course, travelling with your character to popular leveling spots and beating the resident monsters within an inch of their lives, never killing them. When another unsuspecting player finished them off, you would easily receive between 2 to 6 times the normal amount of EXP the monster was worth.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools Of Destruction. Hoo, boy. Combining Jump Physics, Good Bad Bugs, and a little Dungeon Bypass know-how, the Razor Claws allow a player to not only climb walls, but essentially FLY IN MIDAIR by boost jumping with the heli-pak. The details are a bit much to explain, but the tricks are easy enough to pull off to keep this out of the Alternative Skill range, as all a player needs to do is know how a level is shaped/designed (which you probably do know, unless you plan on doing this the first time you ever play through the game), climb over a wall, and glide to the end, or walk over the entire level's ceiling.
  • Jet Set Willy had a sequence break available with a trip to the game's version of Minus World; if you travel out of a room in a way the game hadn't anticipated (e.g. right through an impassable wall, or up through an unreachable ceiling, etc), it warps you straight to Room 0 in the room table, "The Off Licence". Given the difficulty of traversing "The Bridge", "The Drive" and "At the Foot of the MegaTree", compared with the ease of reaching the ceilings in "The Watch Tower" and "Rescue Esmerelda", this is by far the easiest way to get there.
  • DJMAX Technika: The game's way of handling chain notes and tap notes is very loose:
    • Each point of a chain note is counted as a separate note, and you're only scored for how well you time each segment. As such, you can actually tap individual points of chain notes instead of dragging them. This normally qualifies as an Alternative Skill, although there are some segments where tapping can be easier (and less blister-inducing) than dragging the notes, such the zigzag chain notes in charts like Fury (Hard) and A.I. (Hard).
    • The game does not distinguish between tapping a note to trigger it and dragging your finger from some other lane onto the note to do so. As such, you can drag individual tap notes as long as they are not on the same lane, which makes charts like Voyage (Normal), Airwave (Hard), and Thor (Hard) easier.
  • Touhou:
    • Marisa B's Illusion Laser Glitch on Mountain of Faith. The only thing you had to do to pull it off is to have Marisa's Illusion Laser formation in a power level between 3 and 3.95 and play unfocused. In exchange, you could practically skip all spell cards that were not survival-oriented. Then again, Imperishable Night granted us Malice Cannon, which consisted on just tapping the focus button to alternate between Alice and Marisa, yet it dealt devastating damage to anything it touched.
    • Several patterns have safe spots where you can sit without fear of getting hit. Safe spots that are generally barely larger than your hitbox and entirely unmarked (Cirno's Memetic Dumbass image comes in part from having a glaringly huge one)
    • Forgiveness "Honest Man's Death" can be cleared in one of two different ways. The relatively simple method involving minimal movement to avoid a simple laser, or nausea inducing circle around the boss that, technically speaking, bypasses most of the difficulty.
  • Exploiting the Wreaking Havok physics in Banjo-Kazooie Nuts And Bolts to fly. To do this, find one vehicle parts crate, put it on your trolley, then pick up the trolley with your wrench. The player can lift himself up by his bootstraps and get a lot of rare parts early.
  • Using the 2 Player B mode trick in Double Dragon 2, though only to an extent. It only gives you a few extra lives and you get attacked by more enemies throughout as a result of having picked one of the two-player modes.
  • There are a number of examples in the Metroid games (some covered under Sequence Breaking). One of the best is the dash-jump in Metroid Prime; intended for dodging, it turned out to be incredibly useful for platforming. Its most dramatic use was in getting the Space Jump immediately after landing on Tallon IV, which breaks the game wide open. The rereleases made this trick harder (though not quite impossible), and the dash was Nerfed somewhat in the sequels.
  • Mario Kart:
    • Snaking in Mario Kart DS. It does give you an advantage, but most of the time, it's easier to memorize the circuit than learn to snake. Most people snaked in the game when it came to online so you had to do it as well if you wanted to have a shot at winning.
    • Mario Kart Wii: Popping a wheelie with bikes. The mechanic of the wheelie is you get more speed while being hit slows you down greatly as a trade off. The mechanic was intended to be used on long and straight roads, but people started to pop wheelies anywhere as long as they weren't turning a corner. This resulted in everyone flocking towards bikes and abusing the wheelie mechanic, which put karts in the dust since their mini turbos weren't powerful enough to keep up with bikers that popped wheelies everywhere. Bikes were not included in Mario Kart 7 and while they returned in Mario Kart 8 the ability to do wheelies was removed.
    • There's a sort of meta-strategy that's used online to avoid the dreaded Blue Shells by abusing how the mechanics of that item works. The said item always target the player in first place, so in games where you can check what items other players are carrying, players in first who see someone that has it will deliberately hit the brakes and let the player behind them pass and take the hit. If there's no one else nearby, then people will often choose to jump into a nearby pit instead, since you can at least get a quick speed boost after getting placed back on a track, but getting hit by a shell takes much longer to recover from. It's unlikely that the developers intended for the item to cause players to go to such lengths to avoid it. People who get the infamous item also began to use another trick with it by never using it at all. Since Mario Kart DS and 7 lets you see what item everyone is carrying, people will try to do everything they can to make sure they are not the target of the spiny shell. However, a player that holds onto the shell instead will have control over the race since he can use it at any time he wants and the others know of it, turning the entire pack into a game of cat and mouse.
  • Skilled DOOM and DOOM 2 players used Strafe Running and Wall Strafe Running. The former allowed for a 44% increase in speed when running diagonally, the latter allowed for an over 300% boost if done just right along a wall.
  • Using the infamous Prehistoric "Tower/Prophet" turtle in Empire Earth. For the most part, the strategy is perfectly legit, except for the fact that it exploits the finiteness of food in the prehistoric epoch and the fact that prophets start off already at pretty much full power in the prehistoric epoch, versus other units that start off weak.
  • In Mass Effect 1, the Mako's usefulness in combat decreases sharply the more levels you gain. Eventually, players will inevitably handle outdoor firefights by getting out of the heavily-armored armed vehicle and instead using it as cover. Conveniently, the Mako can't be destroyed if you're not in it. The Mako can also be used to Goomba Stomp large enemies like geth armatures, leaving them pinned to the floor and mostly unable to fight back when you get out of the Mako to shoot them to death on foot.
  • Mass Effect 2: A technique known as "checkpoint dashing" can be used to circumvent difficult sections of a level. Many checkpoints exist physically in the game, and trigger as soon as the player reaches them. As such, the player can simply rush through a section to trigger the checkpoint, die, and continue from the next scene without any enemies hounding them. In a few places, you don't even need to physically be at the checkpoint; if you manage to spawn a combat drone close enough to the checkpoint, the cutscene will still trigger.
  • The Infinity feature in some official Tetris games, which allows you to move or rotate a piece as many times as you want while it is on the stack or floor before locking it in place. Careful planning is still needed to be able to, for instance, max out the score, but Infinity gives you as much time as needed.
  • Tetrisfriends.com uses the SRS rotation system, which allows the player to pull off T-Spins, which in turn are ways of filling a row with a T block that could not be slid in under normal circumstances. Tetrisfriends also implements a back-to-back bonus system (which rewards for pulling off Tetrises or T Spins the same maneuver twice in a row), as well as a combo system for clearing several lines one after the other with each tetromino that falls down. By planning out all moves carefully, one can reach ludicrous highscores in Marathon mode by manipulating these bonuses. As a result, the top twenty or so of the All Time Top 100 are playthroughs that used very few doubles/triples... and 0 Tetrises. In a game bearing the official logo of Tetris. (Explanation: A Tetris does score more points than a 4 line clear combo, but a tetris deducts 12 lines from the maximum lines you can score before clearing a Marathon. 4 lines in quick succession do not deduct bonus lines, and T-Spin Triples have a better score/line deduction ratio)
  • Having trouble getting the right times in Left 4 Dead's Survival mode? As most of the survival maps are just portions of a campaign, it is entirely possible to get OUT of the survival area and hole up in a place where the zombies aren't coded to look for you. This can take many tries to get right, and frequently involves an understanding of how the physics engine works.
  • Mortal Kombat 9 has the teleport-spam and projectile spam methods of beating Shao Kahn. However, they aren't 100% effective and one needs to watch for his super armor to activate, at which point one needs to evade him at a moment's notice.
  • In Halo: Reach, it is possible to use the exit animation on the forklift to clip through certain walls, skipping difficult segments of the game.
  • In the Starcraft Protoss Campaign mission 5, it's possible to win in under 5 minutes by using hallucinate to make illusion clones of a transport ship, load Tassadar and the two zealots into the real one, and then fly them straight to the Zerg base-defended beacon they're supposed to be unloaded at to win the mission. Similarily, in Starcraft: Brood War, in mission 6 of the Terran campaign, it's possible to win even without landing your buildings, by simply loading the siege tanks you're provided with at the beginning and flying them up to the corner of the map and let them rain destruction on the command center you're supposed to go through a base to destroy.
  • This Warcraft III walkthrough details a very advanced strategy to win the final mission of the base game's campaign. Normally, you have to survive the onslaught of the relatively overpowered enemy for 45 minutes while they attack and destroy you and your two allies bases in succession. This is completely feasible as you have plenty of resources available, some free mercenaries, and can of course construct your own defences inside their bases to turtle the 45 minutes out. The walkthrough's strategy however, involves exploiting the fact that when the enemy razes one of the bases, it destroys its old one completely and replaces the razed base with a new one. This is done by knocking down the trees around the first base, hiding lots of siege weaponry and some flying units there, taking out the human main building thus triggering the base raze and replace, followed by knocking down the new buildings with the hidden units while using Crowd Control units to keep the overpowered enemy heroes from interfering. Once you've kept them from getting their new base up, the only way to lose is to destroy one of the remaining bases yourself.
  • In Diddy Kong Racing, the characters are balanced with high acceleration/maneuverability and low top speed on one extreme, and the polar opposite on the other. However, it turns out that tapping the accelerate button rapidly lets one ignore the top speed limitation, effectively turning the former types into masters of all three. It's a common strategy for beating the more difficult races without switching to an innately faster but harder to control character.
  • By timing repeated jumps perfectly in Half-Life games, Gordon can accelerate to ridiculous speeds and leap hundreds of feet through the air. This physics-engine oddity is, of course, constantly exploited in Speed Runs. It is also possible to use Snarks (tiny throwable bugs that chase creatures) as a ladder. This extends to games that use the same engine, such as Team Fortress Classic. The TFC Medic and Scout also have a concussion grenade which was intended to be thrown at enemies to mess up their aim, but instead evolved into a powerful mobility tool that the player can use to launch themselves across the map.
    • Painkiller has a similar deal, which is needed to get some secrets.
  • PAYDAY: The Heist:
    • Being released from police custody puts you back in the game with full health and ammo (sometimes you come back with half of your max ammo instead). On Overkill1 145+ difficulty, players who are low on health and/or ammo may deliberately go down and be captured in order to be exchanged later on and get a free health and ammo refill, which saves the use of the limited ammo and doctor bags.
      • A similar phenomenon happened in the sequel regarding Cloakers. Normally, every time you go down, it counts as one "down" and if you go down 4 times without healing in between, you get put into custody. Getting downed by a Cloaker's kick attack does not count towards one of your downs and your health is cut down to half when you're revived. However, if your health is below half, your health is then restored back to half after you get revived, which means you might be better off getting downed by a Cloaker to save the use of a doctor bag.
    • The ARG event that went on for a short time forced players to play on Overkill 145+ and wait two hours to gain access to a secret vault. Rather than fight the cops normally, players chose to hide inside small alcoves within the walls, which caused the enemy AI to get confused and/or stuck, but still allowed a few cops to trickle in and attack. Since players had to send video footage of their attempt at the vault to the developers, the developers did take notice of the exploit and stated it was fair game since the players were still at risk of being attacked by the cops.
  • In Prototype, the various Events, save the timed race ones, required you to kill a certain amount of enemies in a specific time period in order to achieve a better medal. The game advertises that you should target the ones marked on our minimap, but any member of the targeted faction (military or infected) is a valid target. As it is quite impossible to achieve gold and platinum without exploiting this, the claim is likely intentionally misleading to force the player to think outside the box. However, they probably didn't take into account that any tanks you've stolen still count as valid military targets even if no one is driving them, allowing you to park several in a row for military missions and artificially inflate your score a good fifty points, making the medals trivial to earn.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, jumping in water before getting the Zora's Flippers drops Link back where he was before he jumped in the water and gives him Mercy Invincibility... without actually damaging him. This makes wandering around in areas near water a lot easier; just jump right on in before you get hurt. Getting through Zora's River is made much easier with this exploit, though admittedly it's the last possible place you can use it (Zora's River is the very place you get the Flippers that cancel the exploit, which are themselves necessary to complete the game). Later Zelda games that require Flippers to swim either damage Link when he falls into water or drop him off at the beginning of the room (or both).
  • Half the fun of the X-Universe series is finding bizarre ways to use things that Egosoft never considered. The Truelight Seeker, a fairly mediocre corvette that can mount almost every gun in the game, seems like a goofy gimmick until you realize it can mount Gauss Cannons, capital-ship-grade weapons that rely on ammo instead of the ship's reactor. The Blastclaw Prototype heavy fighter frequently doubles as an external cargo bay for the Hyperion. And we can't forget station-bombing, making use of the game's Ridiculously Fast Construction to build cheap stations inside enemy warships.
    • Before the introduction of tractor beams in Terran Conflict, the only accepted way of moving an asteroid from one place to another was to get a huge ship and very patiently nudge it in position by repeated small collisions. A more risky alternative was to get a very fast ship and piledrive it into the asteroid; the wacky physics sometimes caused the ship to survive and the bigger object to be propelled a fair distance away. Plenty of Save Scumming was usually required before the desired effect took place.
  • The "Flee" ability in Warhammer Online is most of the time used to get from point A to point B faster.
  • The "Charge" ability — and other similar ones — are often used to get around quicker in Guild Wars.
  • In Guild Wars 2, skills that include long forward jumps or teleports can be used to circumvent the more frustrating parts of jumping puzzles provided a character has enough resources to pull it off.
  • Perfect World: The Cube of Fate, a bonus level, can be entered via any major city, but when you exit it, you end up in Archosaur, no matter which city you entered from. As such, it is most often used as a free teleport to Archosaur.
  • City of Heroes:
    • Ouroboros is an Alternate Dimension zone that lets you use Time Travel to play lower-level content you may have missed. Ouroboros can be entered from anywhere, and has exits to some of the major zones, so it's used mainly as a method for rapid travel. The portal itself could be created in mission areas, allowing characters a quick exit in missions that otherwise would require them to manually exit.
    • The invention system allowed players to turn their characters into Game Breakers, albeit taking considerable amounts of money or luck to get them there. One particularly effective path involved boosting your recharge to insane levels on a melee character with click-based defensive powers such as Regeneration, allowing them to spam high level offensive and defensive abilities that would normally take considerable time to recharge. Especially notable was Domination, the Dominator archetype's inherent power. In normal play, you would charge your Domination bar with attacks, and once full, you could activate it to enjoy certain useful bonuses, and then the bar would be emptied... unless you stacked enough recharge reduction so that Domination recharged before it expired, at which point you could use it again, since the bar was still full. End result, the bar never emptied, as long as you exploded into a colorful burst every minute and a half.
  • Ultima Online has the gate travel spell. Opens a blue portal from where the caster is standing to wherever the caster chooses via previously marked rune. So far so standard, except players figured out that since the gate didn't appear directly where the player was standing but in a random spot next to the player they could open a gate that intersected the door of a player house, allowing people from the other end of the gate to come through into the house, looting all it's contents.
  • MapleStory introduced characters with specific skills that let them warp to a special map. Presumably this was intended to make job advancement and storyline quests easier. However these special maps are always in either Victoria Island or Pantheon, and Victoria Island has a warp to Pantheon smack-dab in the middle. Pantheon has a warp to nearly every town in the game, so it's ridiculously easy for any player with one of these skills to never have need of a ship. Ever.
  • DoDonPachi Saidaioujou has the Hyper recharge technique. Normally, defeating a midboss, boss phase, or certain types of enemies turns all on-screen bullets into small star items. But during a Hyper, cancelled bullets turn into large star items, which are worth 10 times the usual small ones. However, items picked up during a Hyper don't charge up your Hyper gauge. This can be exploited by triggering a bullet cancel just as your Hyper times out, spawning a screenful of large items which do charge up your next Hyper because your previous one ended before you actually pick them up. Since this is much easier said than done (you only have a brief window to pick up a spawned star item before it falls off the screen), it became a high-level technique and turned into an Ascended Glitch: The Xbox360 port actually includes a demonstration video teaching you how to do it, and in Ver 1.5, a Level 6 or higher Hyper turns all star items spawned into large ones plus higher levels above 6 increase the number of large star items spawned, making this exploit possible in more places than before.
  • The mine-laying corvette in the first Homeworld. Intended to simply defend an area of space, it becomes a devastating fleet-killer when you know the direction the enemy is coming from. A squadron of these makes the final two Nintendo Hard levels very easy, easily destroying the asteroid with an engine shot at your mothership in the second-to-last level while the fleet takes on the asteroid's escort and blunting the simultaneous attacks of enemy squadrons in the final battle.
  • Both Trine games have as a playable character the Mage, who can summon platforms out of thin air and levitate objects. Summoned platforms can of course be levitated, but if the player is standing on one the levitation effect stops as soon as the game detects significant movement. Emphasis on significant: if the player spawns a cube or platform, jumps on it and proceeds to ever-so-gently levitate it around, the game won't register the movement as such. As a result, the only thing stopping a player from completing the entirety of the game by very slowly floating through the levels is lack of patience — but this still allows for cheating your way out of particularly tough puzzles.
  • Microsoft probably did not intend for the Kinect to be used to dock satellites in space. The Kinect is more notable for its uses outside of gaming that in gaming. Its being used in everything from robot navigation to scanning dig sites.
  • Super Smash Brothers:
    • Being a platforming fighting game where you have to avoid falling off the edge of the screen, being able to get back to the stage if you fall or get knocked off is important. Every character has a double jump, and an upwards special move that is used for attacks but mostly as a makeshift third jump. This is intended. The drawback to using the third jump is that afterwards the character is unable to perform any action besides moving until they either A: hit the ground/grab a ledge or B: get hit. Naturally, people have found ways to abuse the fact that taking damage essentially gives you a fourth or higher jump. Examples include:
      • Purposely getting hit by an attack or projectile that was happening close enough.
      • If in a team based mode, have a teammate throw an explosive item since they can still hurt teammates (though this is very risky and has a high chance of team kill), or if Friendly Fire is turned on, simply have the teammate attack you.
    • More character specific examples include:
      • Link, Young Link and Toon Link can pull out a bomb for their downwards special. They count as items and thus any normal attack will cause them to throw it instead, but the game allows you to perform special moves with an item, thus allowing them to pull the bomb out and then perform their upwards spin attack. The bomb detonates after a while even if you're holding it, and does negligible knockback and damage, so once it explodes and you take damage, you're free to perform another spin attack (or pull out another bomb, though it might take too much damage and you probably already made it back to the stage, and if you didn't it might take too long causing you to fall off)
      • Snake, to make up for the fact that his upwards special deals absolutely no damage and can't even be considered an attack, CAN perform actions after using it, just not another upwards special. Until he gets hit. At which point he can do it again. He also has a C4 charge as his downwards special, and it can very well hurt him. The trick here is to use his upwards special, wait 'til it finishes, drop a C4 charge, fast fall to catch up with it if need be, detonate it and then use another upwards special. It helps that the C4 charge may also propel you upwards. This is very powerful, and also leads to an alternate game mode using the Level Editor to create a stage that Snake can go under and infinitely use this tactic, and have two Snakes dogfight while using this.
    • The hitboxes in the game are tied to the character model. So an animation that has a character lean back or crouch slightly may cause them to just barely dodge an attack, or just barely get hit by it. This is extremely unreliable, however.
    • Lucario has a special mechanic that causes him to become more powerful the more he gets hit. Thus, many players purposely take damage in order to have insanely powerful attacks.
    • Multi-Man Brawl mode has you take on a horde of cpu-controlled Mooks with only normal moves and the inability to grab ledges so as to make killing waves of them easier. You can try to ledgehog to try to bait some of them into falling off, but they'll catch on quickly and use downwards hitting moves to get you. The game also introduced Tether recoveries, which previously existed as a way to hang onto walls for Link and Samus, now homes directly towards ledges and lets you hang on without much effort for Link, Samus, Zero Suit Samus, Toon Link and Ivysaur. If this is used in Multi-Man Brawl, the mooks will just stand at the ledge waiting for you to go up before attacking. However, there's a lot of them so you can just hang there and watch as they try to be the one closest to you and subsequently get pushed off, and then take advantage of the split-second invincibility offered by hoisting yourself up followed by the general invincibilty of ledge attacks to knock a couple more mooks off, then return to your previous position as they scramble to get back to the stage. Rinse, repeat.
    • When you have no lives and have the match on a time limit, a way to defeat enemies while playing as Kirby is to suck them up, then jump off the edge of the stage, committing suicide and taking the enemy with you.
    • Wavedashing. By literally air dodging into the ground, the character slides forward very quickly, and rapidly alternating between jump and diagonal downwards air dodging is vital in competitive play. In fact, this is seen as the only real use for Melee's air dodge, as it's not very reliable for its intended use as it puts the character in a helpless state after it's executed. It was for this reason that the air dodge was revamped in Brawl to be much more useful for its intended use (probably too useful).
    • In all games, stale-move negation acts as an anti-spamming feature, reducing the damage of spammed moves encouraging players to use a variety of moves to attack. Brawl strengthens this mechanic by having it reduce the knockback with progressive use (which wasn't present in previous installments). However, since moves with less knockback are easier to combo with, Brawl's stale-move negation is instead used to create even deadlier combos, especially when the spammed attack is a Smash Attack.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The series has the Rescue staff. As the name implies, it can be used to rescue characters in trouble. The way it does this, however, is by teleporting the unit the staff was used on to a space next to the unit. You can also use this as a simple teleportation staff by moving the staff user somewhere you want the teleporter to be and then "rescue" them from that position. This can be used with the Warp staff, which is actually used for teleportation, usually by warping a staff user somewhere and then having them rescue the next person you want in that location, thus giving you two units in that position.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening introduced the Pair-Up mechanic, which replaced the rescue mechanic, and allowed two units to occupy one spot. The intended use was to help more mobile units ferry less mobile units, have weaker or in-danger units take refuge with a safer unit as they won't count as an active unit anymore or to just plain get higher stat bonuses from teaming up. It can also be used to be able to move one extra space if needing to get somewhere real fast. This can be done with two units of the same mobility, have the one farther from where you need to go pair-up with the one closer, and have that one move, then drop the first unit off in front of him. On the next turn, have him pair-up with the first unit, have the first unit move and then drop the second guy off. Since you can switch which character is in the lead before drop-off, you can also do this to help when having a less mobile unit travel with a more mobile unit. It's the same strategy, only you switch so the less mobile unit is in the lead and have them drop the more mobile unit off so that it's the more mobile unit carrying the less mobile unit each turn.
    • Abusing the pair-up mechanic can also be used to have two characters traverse most of the map in a single turn. Both units must have the ability Galeforce, which is a Game Breaker as it is as it lets a character move again in the same turn once they kill an enemy. If two units with Galeforce pair up, the character in the lead can move and kill an enemy. Once dead, Galeforce activates letting the unit move again. But it's a paired unit, meaning there are two carriers of Galeforce, so once you move to the next enemy, you simply switch the lead character and have them kill the enemy, causing a second Galeforce to activate and thus, a third turn, letting you move even further. This is done to great effect if at least one of the characters is a flying unit, or has any of the movement enhancing skills.
    • And, of course, these can be used in conjunction with the Rescue staff to make moving even easier, though Awakening doesn't have the Warp Staff.
  • The Danger Mario set up in Paper Mario. Combine equipment that gives you attack boosts when you have low HP, and equipment that lowers your HP to the point of being low and not levelling up the HP stat, you get a Mario who's always powerful. Every attack in the game can be avoided, so low HP isn't a problem.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has a few whoppers, especially during their special events.
    • There's one datacron on Tatooine that is supposed to require a suicide run through enemy territory. The best way to get it is to sneak through the little-used free-for-all PvP area and avoid the enemy base.
    • Doing a particularly nasty Heroic (party mission) that is set in an open area? Well, the party limit is 4 people, but it doesn't mean that two four person parties (or several two person parties with companion bots) can't team up and kill the boss twice.
    • Doing the Bounty Contracts and you need the target dead while your pal needs the target alive or you're after the same target, but different levels (the bounty target spawns at the level of the highest party member)? Break party, trigger the fight twice so you both get the outcome you need (especially useful for healers, as they won't get credit for the kill, but they won't get attacked, either, leaving them to keep allies alive without being bothered).
    • The Return of the Gree event was a first-rate case of it, though; hoping to trigger more interest in open world, free for all PvP, they set up an area just for that, and placed obstacles needed for the event's daily PvE quests in there to entice people. However, the obstacles in the PvP area were half-difficulty. Queue server-wide truces, Imperial and Republic players cooperating on the obstacles, orderly lines for a drop-off puzzle, and veteran MMO players scratching their heads, saying they had never seen anything like it.
  • Moonbase Alpha was published by NASA as a realistic simulation of maintenance of a lunar outpost. But people ended up playing it just to hear the chat system's text-to-speech option say silly things like "aieou" and "John Madden", and even sing.
  • In Pokémon, leveling up increases both max HP and current HP. Result: Rare Candies, which automatically level up a Pokemon, can revive fainted Pokemon, albeit at only a few HP. This also works when evolving Pokemon using an evolution stone. However, since Rare Candies are rarer than Revives, some players prefer saving their Rare Candies for a different unintended use: leveling up with Rare Candies is one of the easiest ways to get sufficient data to determine a Pokémon's hidden stats (called IVs). Use the candies to level a freshly-caught or -hatched Pokémon a few times, plug its new stats into an online IV calculator, then reset the game afterward so you still have Rare Candies to use on the next Pokémon whose IVs you want to figure out.
  • In Battlefield 2, it's possible (though often impractically difficult) for a team's Commander to crush enemy soldier with supply crates. When a patch added airdropped cars intended for getting stranded teammates back into the fight, it didn't take long for Commanders to instead use the cars as "cartillery" to much more easily crush soldiers — or worse, dropping them on enemy planes or runways to make the planes crash. An Obvious Rule Patch made airdropped cars impossible to place on runways and randomly deviate a few meters from the target, making cartillery all but impossible.
  • Team Fortress 2 has a couple:
    • The Rocket Jumper and Sticky Jumper are ostensibly training items—they are painted bright orange and deal no damage whatsoever to the player or their foes. In theory they are used to allow novice Soldiers or Demomen how to explosive-jump without killing themselves. In practice, people have used them to turn two somewhat slow but powerful classes into high-speed terrors, usually armed with Situational Swords like the Market Gardener (deals critical damage when rocket jumping) or the Ullapool Caber (a stick-type hand grenade used as a melee weapon, itself an example of this trope)) to brutalize one or two opponents, then rocket away out of danger. They were also abused so much in Capture the Flag style game modes that they eventually had to remove the ability to carry the briefcase from players using these items. When these weapons first came out, they were also indistinguishable from their stock counterparts, meaning that in addition to the improved mobility, they could be used to fake out enemies into a retreat.
    • Cloaking and disguising are the common tools of the trade for the Spy, and are usually used to get behind enemy lines relatively undetected. Used in the Mann Vs. Machine mode, however, it can be used to directly stop the progress of the robot hordes...by standing in front of the bomb carrier. It's possible to block an entire chokepoint with disguised spies and watch the bots futilely stand and jump in place.
    • The original Equalizer. In theory, the weapon was an emergency tool to pull out when wounded that would increase the Soldier's speed and striking power as he was injured, allowing him to fight his way out of a pinch and escape. In practice, players would damage themselves with rockets, then go racing to the enemy spawn and start breaking faces, since the weapon's original damage values were enough to kill 5 out of 9 classes in a single non-critical blow (and any class in a critical swing). Even nerfing the damage did nothing to limit the tactic. Valve finally split the weapon attributes into two separate weapons, and even then they had to add a debuff to the speed-based item to prevent people from employing that same tactic.
    • Wrangler jumping. Usually, the Engineer's Wrangler item allows him to selectively pick more dangerous targets as needed while making his sentry gun more durable. Some Engineers have taken to using it to rocket jump using their sentry gun's rockets, while also grabbing one of their buildings and flying to an unusual but often remote perch to set up shop there.
    • Bonk Atomic Punch provides some six to eight seconds of invincibility for the usually fragile Scout and was made mostly to get past chokepoints full of enemy fire. Nowadays people use it to abuse the Scout's long but somewhat glitchy taunt kill, baiting people into coming up to them waiting for the temporary invincibility to wear off, only to get an instant-kill bat swing to the face.
    • Pyro rocket jumps. The compression blast ability for the Pyro allows them to reflect enemy projectiles such as rockets and grenades back at the enemy to deal increased damage. However, some highly skilled Pyros have taken to using enemy rockets to give themselves a rocket jump, flying across maps and often much, much closer to less than thrilled enemies.
    • The Short Circuit is an item that fires electrical pulses that destroy incoming projectiles but does very low damage. It's supposed to be used for protecting a nest from incoming fire. When a patch greatly increased the fire rate in addition to lowering the metal consumed per blast, Engineers were suddenly running into battle, sometimes in packs, zapping the enemy team to death. Subsequent patches nerfed the item's unintended offensive power.
  • The remake of Resident Evil gave you more ammo, but had zombies come back as the much more powerful Crimson Heads if you didn't properly dispose of their bodies by either incinerating or beheading them. There wasn't enough kerosene in the game to burn them all which normally forced you to either dodge some or deal with a more powerful zombie later, but if you purposely killed zombies so their corpses were touching, you could burn all of them with one dose of kerosene thanks to a bug in the game's flame mechanics. Since most zombies appear in at least pairs, it is actually possible to kill and burn every zombie in the game and only deal with the two mandatory crimson heads that appear.
  • Nippon Ichi games are all about exploiting the game mechanics to make incredibly powerful characters. It's necessary for taking on the optional content.
    • Phantom Brave allows you to boost an item's stats by fusing another item to it, gaining a permanent increase measured by the difference between the items' stats. It also allows you to exchange Titles on items and characters, which increase or decrease stats by certain percentages, the worst being the -80% Title "Failure". Put the Title on an item to reduce the stats, fuse it to some other stuff to bring the stats up to a reasonable level... then put the original Title back, multiplying the stats by fivefold or more.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted: the Twilight Caste were originally conceived as The Smart Guy of the group, with their caste abilities inclining them toward sorcery, teaching, dealing with spirits and demons, solving crimes and building stuff. Due to their brokenly strong anima power, they became the preferred melee fighters of the Solar Exalted until they were hit by several consecutive rounds of errata aimed at putting the Dawn Caste back at the peak of warrior skill where they were originally supposed to be.
  • Dungeons & Dragons and (to a lesser extent) Pathfinder players are notorious for exploiting these. Whole message boards are devoted to optimizing builds by using abilities in strange ways. Among the more egregious abuses include turning a spell called Locate City into a massive lethal explosion (brings new meaning to "Scry and Die"), doing infinite damage with a dagger much too small for a human to consider more than a toothpick, and turning cannon fodder monsters into lethal encounters for powerful players with devious traps. Of course, the counter is always an attentive DM who puts his/her foot down and says you can't do that.
    • During a previous incarnation of Wizards of the Coast's forums, there were two optimization forums. One (Character Optimization) was dedicated to optimizing character builds. The other (Theoretical Optimization) was dedicated to outright insane but legal per the rules as written builds (in other words, CO was the board making things most DMs would let past, TO was the board making things no sane DM would ever let be used).
    • Summon magic is, quite obviously, meant to summon a creature to fight on your behalf. In version 3.0, though, spellcasters tend to find it more useful to summon a whale directly above the enemy's head. 3.5 changed the rules to prohibit this practice.

    Real Life 
  • Under Australian consumer law, you are entitled to a refund or replacement if an item you purchased is not fit for its intended purpose. This obviously means the task it was originally designed for, but also, if you conveyed a different purpose to the person you bought it from, and it's not suitable for that purpose, you are still entitled to a refund/replacement.
  • There are entire websites dedicated to "lifehacks", which are basically creative ways to use everyday things. Ever wanted to make grilled cheese in a toaster? Put the toaster on its side! Need a makeshift icepack? Put water and rubbing alcohol in a Ziploc bag. The list goes on and on.
  • Cars have long come with a built-in cigarette lighter, intended to light cigarettes. The 12-volt socket the lighter plugs into was designed specifically for it — but inventors soon realized it could be used to power other convenient gadgets. Now, between the success of these gadgets and the decline of smoking, many cars come with several 12-volt sockets and no lighter at all!
  • Patent laws were meant to protect the creators and inventors from having their creative endeavors exploited and stolen, ensuring they would be compensated. Due to loopholes in the law, they do nothing to stop businesses from buying up patents and suing others for using it (at least in the U.S.), often under vague interpretations of use. Given that fighting lawsuits is more expensive than settling, entire companies have been set up to do just this (often called Patent Trolls).
  • Military rules and regulations are prone to this, due to the military culture of following orders to the letter, often ignoring the spirit of it. These can be exploited by the common troop to get away with things, or by commanding officers looking to punish someone.
  • Quite a few popular drugs started life as treatment for something else, but the side-effect was so interesting that it soon became almost exclusively known for the non-intended use. Heroin, for example, was originally used to treat Morphine addiction. What happened right after that is obvious. Of all drugs, Viagra began its' life this way. Sildenafil-citrate was created to treat hypertension and angina pectoris. Phase I had shown that it has little effect on either of these conditions, but due to a very interesting side effect, it was rebranded and distributed as a drug for erectile dysfunction.
  • AK-47 magazines make excellent bottle openers. So do the iron sights of several missile launchers.
  • Many products were originally sold for an entirely different purpose, only for consumers to find a much better use. One famous example are Kleenex Tissues: They were originally marketed as make-up removers until the company noticed the majority of people buying them were women and men using them to blow their noses instead.
  • USB ports, which were originally intended to allow peripherals to interface with computers, have the added feature of a 4.5V power line. There are AC adapters that completely ignore the data lines to provide power for charging or running portable devices, and they are fast becoming the standard for things like cars and airplane seats, where a low-voltage DC power supply is desired.
  • Graphics cards are designed to perform certain types of operations on lots of data very quickly. This means that if you have a problem that can be reduced to one of those operations and a lot of data to do it on, you can co-opt the graphics processor to do it. It turns out that certain kinds of physics computations fall into this category, so early "graphics workstations" were extremely popular with physics and chemistry departments for reasons the designers never expected. More recently, high-performance graphics cards have been used to allow much faster Bitcoin mining than is possible otherwise.

The Missingno.Error IndexObvious Beta
MunchkinNot the Way It Is Meant to Be PlayedOptional Stealth
No ScopeVideo Game CultureObvious Beta
No Plot? No Problem!Game TropesObvious Rule Patch
No Points for NeutralityVideo Game TropesOne-Hit Polykill
Finishing MoveRule of FunPurposely Overpowered

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