One Stat to Rule Them All
"I put all my skill points into 'Knowledge - Game Master'."
Game Balance is a tricky thing. The more variety you have, the harder it is to be sure that something isn't broken. Combinations of powers and abilities tend to have an Exponential Potential
effect as more powers and equipment are published, making it all the more likely that something game-breaking
will slip in. Once players find that game breaker, they will naturally want their characters to take advantage of it, and choose stats accordingly. As a result, almost every game has one stat that winds up being vastly more valuable than all the others, often called a "god-stat" in gaming circles. Expect minmaxers
to put as many points into this as they are allowed to.
In many tabletop RPGs, dexterity or speed is disproportionately powerful compared to the other attributes. These stats usually allow characters to dodge most attacks, give them extra actions or turns, and many useful skills in the game are governed by dexterity.
Many video games with an encumbrance system
have Strength (or some similar stat) as this, mostly due to the amount of weight you can carry being strictly based on it, strength being required to use a lot of gear and still increasing combat capability otherwise. Some games don't even bother to split endurance/constitution from it and give it the ability to raise your hp.
The mirror opposite of a Dump Stat
. Closely related to Minmaxer's Delight
. Subtrope of Whoring
in that there are oftentimes perfectly playable games in there even if you don't worry about these kinds of things. See also Changing Gameplay Priorities
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- Dungeons & Dragons: almost all of the standard classes in the game have a single ability score that will pretty much define how good the character is at their class's specialization, barring some kind of atypical build. For example, Fighters have Strength, Wizards have Intelligence, Rogues have Dexterity and Clerics have Wisdom. However, some of the hybrid classes, such as Bards, Paladins and Monks, have class abilities that are based on multiple stats, though there's still one obvious stat that is most vital. Some variations on the standard include:
- Constitution is the only stat that isn't required by any standard class, however it is always one of the most important for any character because it affects hit points and Fortitude saves. In short, Constitution helps your character not die.
- The Factotum class is intended to function as the Closest Thing We Got to anything else, and described in-universe as Weak, but Skilled masters of faking their way though things like spellcasting, divine invocations, and hand-to-hand combat by having Read A Book About It and Indy Ploys. As such, they gain abilities allowing them to replace or augment every other stat in the game with their intelligence score. The factotum also inverts this trope, however, when it comes to skill training. In addition to having a massive pool of skill points, a factotum can gain bonuses equal to their level to a skill check once per day, per trained skill, and gets all skills as class skills. This allows absurdly high skill checks to be easily passed, and also means that the more a factotum spreads out their points, the more options they have. In the hands of a quick thinking or ...creative... factotum, even ordinarily absurd skills like Craft:Basketweaving are worth throwing a point or two into, because it will inevitably be used to construct a dragon slaying deathtrap in a pinch.
- In Shadowrun 3rd Edition the Quickness attribute directly or indirectly governs how well you sneak around the guards, how well you shoot firearms when they spot you anyway, how fast you run when the enemy turns out to have bulletproof vests, and how well you drive your escape car when they turn out to outnumber you 15 to one. Every character who isn't a Decker (Computer Hacker) usually maxes out quickness. Quickness even adds a big bonus to the all-powerful combat pool. Even many characters in wheelchairs are commonly seen with maxed out quickness. 4th edition partially toned this down by splitting quickness off from reaction speed, but it's still important there.
- 4th Edition, Shadowrun has Agility. To make it clear, Agility is the base attribute for EVERY combat skill, with one exception (Dodge, which, to be fair, is pretty important). What this means is that having a high Agility makes you equally capable with melee weapons, guns, grenades, heavy weapons, vehicle-mounted weapons, your fists... You get the idea. Since it's much easier to increase your skill ratings than to increase your attributes, a combat character can just start with a high Agility (Augmented by one of the exceedingly cheap Agility-boosting implants) and spend a few skills points and - voila! Instant combat master.
- In Mekton Zeta, players commonly refer to Ref(lexes) as the God Stat. All combat actions - attack, defence, initiative - were determined off this one stat. Since all the stats were assigned an equal value, however, it became stupidly easy to min-max. Min-maxers would put two points in everything (as required by the rulebook) and then dump the remaining points to the following stats in order: Ref(lexes), Int(elligence) [Skill Points, Electronic Warfare skill in Z+, and Awareness/Notice, used in some tracking rolls], Education [Skill points]. This only requires 44 points to have a max-reflex character with 30 skill points to start with, a decent amount of which will, obviously, go into reflex combat skills.
- In d20 Modern:
- The game is ruled by Dexterity. Everybody who wants to be at all effective at combat needs it, because it rules ranged attacks. It being set in the modern world, guns exist and are highly effective. It's pretty hard to be effective in melee combat unless you specalize in it, and even then a good shot will be able to take you apart. On top of that, armor is rare because of the feat requirements, so it's vital to increasing your rate of survival, especially if you are playing a class that does not get armor bonuses. In addition to that, many skills which might be useful in combat in the modern world, such as Drive, Tumble, and many others, use Dex.
- In the Urban Arcana setting, Knowledge (Arcane Lore) is king. No party without it can dream of doing the ridiculously heavy duty stuff Incantations make possible. Furthermore, reasonably high Knowledge (Arcane Lore) checks can easily layer on months- or even years-long buffs that allow you crush any non-buffed opponent into the ground - including, without much interpretation, buffs to Knowledge (Arcane Lore).
- In GURPS 3e, both Dexterity and Intelligence gave more bang for the buck than Strength and Health. Come 4e, they're both still more useful, but now they cost twice as much as well... and people still think they're overpowered.
- Witchcraft had all the good physical skills use Dexterity. And nearly all the supernatural powers run on Willpower.
- In the Old World of Darkness
- Rhe Celerity discipline (which boosts a vampire's speed and lets him take extra actions in a turn) can approach Game Breaker levels on a combat-oriented character. This isn't as much of a concern in a less combat-oriented campaign, though. The Obvious Rule Patch introduced in Vampire: The Dark Ages has each dot of Celerity cost a blood point to use.
- The Generation background. Five dots at character creation will put you at 8th generation, with a higher blood pool and the ability to use more blood points per round, which will help out with healing and almost anything else you can think of. By and large, the gamebook discourages players from beginning with more than three dots of Generation, and encourages Storytellers to do the same, partially for this reason and partially because eighth-generation characters are typically old and powerful enough to actually get respect in Camarilla culture, where the players aren't supposed to.
- In Mage: The Ascension, Arete determines how powerful all your magical abilities are.
- In Genius The Transgression, Intelligence rules normal application, all of Wonder creation, most Wonder use note and most Genius-specific rolls. Also, don't treat mental skills as a Dump Stat unless you are Too Dumb to Livenote . It is about Mad Scientists, after all.
- In Exalted
- Dexterity is the absolute key to both avoiding getting hit and hitting enemies. You can make up for a low level of strength with a better weapon and augment your poor stamina with better armor, but if your dexterity is low you're not going to be doing much in combat except bleeding. There is a merit that lets you use Strength for attack rolls, which is a notorious Game Breaker. The issue is that Exalted as a system is aware of how important Dexterity is, and prices it accordingly. Anything which increases Attributes will charge extra for Dexterity, with lower limits on how much it can be increased. Strength is comparatively trivial to raise, so the Merit which lets you use it for attack rolls is basically a free pass to game-breakingly large attack pools.
- Socially, appearance has the same issue. The "pretty kitty" effect means that high appearance compensates for low Charisma or Manipulation much better than the other way around.
- Scion: While Dexterity is almost always a very useful stat, improving your attack, defense, ability to do damage, and initiative as well as a lot of useful skills, this disparity reaches ridiculous proportions in Scion, as Epic Attributes provide much greater benefits than normal ones.
- While in Aberrant, Mega-Charisma was ungodly powerful. Legend has it that in an early con-demo, one player took every combat trait he could find, but lost instantly to a mega-charisma build in a fight after the latter player said, "Go home." The combat monster had to do exactly that. Given a bullhorn, a mega-charismatic nova could sway armies, even nations, with only a single speech. This doesn't even take into account that Charisma, and Mega-Charisma, affect a bunch of non-combat skills, and the astoundingly abusable ability to create things. Given some creative players, armies of miniature guns quickly emerge and demolish the opposition's boss/team/base/city/continent.
- In the Hero System, Dexterity affects your ability to hit, your ability to avoid being hit, is the base stat for Speed (which is how often you act) and affects a large array of adventure-useful skills. So it costs three Character Points per point, while Intelligence is only one Character Point per point.
- In Sixth Edition, 'figured' characteristics as such no longer exist (the stats are still there, but are bought up or down separately from fixed base values). Dexterity is still good — it determines initiative, after all, especially in that all-important first phase where everybody who isn't caught flat-footed gets to act once before taking a free recovery, and it still has a number of important skills riding on it. But it's no longer the god stat, and its cost has correspondingly dropped to two character points per +1.
- In superheroic campaigns at least Strength can also have aspects of this. It gives you the ability to inflict damage in hand-to-hand combat or (via suitable thrown objects) at range, adds to the damage of any actual hand-to-hand attack powers your character may have, has the obvious benefits high strength implies for such purposes as lifting heavy objects or wrestling...all for the same basic five character points per die of damage as the attack-only, no-free-adds (if ranged by default) Blast power. The "brick" archetype is one long-standing favorite in this system for a reason.
- Feng Shui's Reflexes stat is the main combat stat, and though the main combat archetypes have a fixed combat skill AV (meaning that you could leave Reflexes at 5 if you wanted with them), the stat also governs Initiative, meaning if you didn't pump it up, you're not going to be doing much during a fight until the other guys, who have high Reflexes, have acted, unless you've got the Tiger fu schticks, which allow you to counterattack those who think they've got a free shot on you no matter what your Reflex score, or the Fast Draw gun shtick, which allows you to jump ahead a number of shots equal to the amount of schticks you've spent on it and get right into the action with a Guns attack.
- Extra actions in Big Eyes, Small Mouth are easily the most useful thing you can get; whatever you can do, it's always better if you can do it faster or more often.
- In the realm of attributes, Soul is the most important to pump up. Body & Soul determine health, Mind & Soul determine energy, and all three determine combat value. Since checks based only on a single attribute are extremely rare (and the most common is Soul for defense against Soul attacks), min-maxers will always have high Soul.
- Likewise in the Serenity RPG the character with more Agility wins in combat, the character with more Willpower wins in social settings.
- In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader, Willpower (WP) is the stat of choice, as it defends you against fear effects (distressingly common), insanity points (also distressingly common) and other negative mental effects. Almost every stat in the game can be partially compensated for with the right equipment or traits, but while a poor toughness or wounds statistic means you're more likely to die after two hits instead of three, and poor weapon skill will mean it will take you an extra round to kill that goblin, a single bad willpower roll can put your character not only out of the fight but out of the campaign in ways that Fate Points can't save you from.
- Wild Talents is... different about this trope. Those who win the Super Power Lottery are very mean indeed, but given the flexibility of superpowers, it's very likely someone can develop a counter to even complete invulnerability (the text suggests teleporting such an upstart to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, which is more than possible at that power level). The real world-changers, as repeatedly pointed out in the text itself, are Hypermind, Hypercharm, and Hypercommand, as every WT setting so far averts Reed Richards Is Useless with a vengeance. To quote Greg Stolze, the guy with 10 hard dice in Disintegrate is a tough customer, but he's nowhere near as bad as the Hypercommanding politician who can persuade millions to vote for him by speaking three words.
- The D6 version of the Star Wars roleplaying game had six stats: Dexterity, Knowledge, Mechanical, Perception, Strength, and Technical. While you should have at least one character specializing in each stat, all your characters must have an average or better Dexterity, since it is what you use to block any attacks, dodge any attacks and use any weapons!
- Cinematic Unisystem, the core engine of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Army of Darkness RPGs.
- Dexterity is king for nonmagic characters. It's used for several useful skills, initiative, attack rolls and defence rolls, as usual, but the real Game Breaker is that it sets the number of combat actions you get per round.
- Of course, that's only true for non-magical characters. (Which is, admittedly, almost every character in Angel or Army Of Darkness.) In Buffy, magic wielding characters will do better with two points in Intelligence, then dropping as many points into Will as possible. This lets them cast more spells, more easily, with less chance of something going wrong - in the "summoned a demon" sense. If you can cast spells with impunity, then you can simply buff your other stats with weekly spells.
- Durability in the Marvel Universe RPG. It's your Hit Points, of course, but it also provides energy, which is the fuel for all your skills and powers. Being a diceless game, having more energy is required to succeed at anything. Characters have the option of using Intelligence for energy instead, which is even better as it serves you as a mental defence and a base stat for any mental powers.
- Realm and Spirit in the first two editions of Nobilis are usually seen as the poor cousins to Aspect and Domain. Domain is your ability to work miracles, according to what you're god of, so it's the stat that a thunder-god uses to throw lightning bolts or a nightmare-demon uses to manipulate fear. Aspect is basically the stat of being James Bond or Batman; it governs doing anything a mortal can theoretically do, but better. While the other two stats are useful, Spirit is largely defensive and Realm only works in your home locale.
- Third Edition replaces Realm and Spirit with new stats, Treasure and Persona. Treasure is basically the stat that governs all the cool artifacts, gadgets and servants gods have, things that don't really fit under Domain. Persona governs the definition of the concept you're god of; if, for example, you're a love goddess, and one of your properties is 'Love hurts', you can make anything hurt like love - or make love stop hurting.
- Several RPGs, usually light or humorous ones, literally have a single stat for everything your character does. These include Strength in TWERPS, Number in TrollBabe, and Power in StickGuy.
- Similarly to the above, the Matrix RPG There Is No Spoon has a Matrix stat which is rolled pretty much constantly, and trumps mundane skill. There are other things to spend character points on, but the game admits flat-out that Matrix is the god stat.
- Parodied in Bad Attitudes, an Action Movie RPG. The only stat is Attitude, which is initiative, Hit Points, and points to spend on the important skills (shooting, hand-to-hand, driving, not falling, and picking up girls/guys). The only other skill, despite being an all-encompassing knowledge skill, is called Basically Worthless Stuff. There are three 'classes', Regular Folk, Sidekicks, and Action Heroes, with progressively-higher Attitude scores. Action Heroes can only buy the five action skills; Regular Folk can only buy Basically Worthless Stuff. Damage is also class-based. Essentially, everyone should be playing a brainless Action Hero.
- The Call of Cthulhu RPG inspired a cartoon praising the benefits of movement speed... a stereotypical Two-Fisted Tales burly hero is trying (and failing) to escape from a cloud of tentacles whilst a little old lady on a wheelchair is vanishing into the distance at high speed. There's a lesson to be learned there somewhere.
- In game, of course, there's POW of which you need an awful lot if you're going to be a hard core wizard. Unfortunately, garnering anything more than the tiniest amounts of POW tends to result in total brain melting insanity, so its a bit tricky to min-max this one, in practise.
- In Bushido — a D&D-like game set in feudal Japan — all skills are determined by adding stats together. For example, leaping and climbing ("Karumijutsu") is Deftness plus Will; strategy ("Senjo-Jutsu") is Wit plus Will; most fighting skills are Strength plus Deftness plus Will; overland speed ("Hayagakejutsu") is Health plus Will; horsemanship ("Bajutsu") is Will plus Will... starting to see a pattern?
- Early editions of Dungeons The Dragoning had Dexterity as the God Stat — it controlled to-hit, ranged damage, static defense, and move speed. It's still one of the more important stats, but not as much as it used to be.
- In Apocalypse World Cool and Sharp both have this reputation. The other three stats apply to fairly specific situations (Hard is for hurting or threatening people, Hot is for persuading people, and Weird is for going on bizarre psychic dream-quests), while Sharp gives you bonuses to any other roll as long as you do as the MC tells you, and Cool is for almost everything else. Given the broad applications that implies, a decent Cool stat can be VERY important.
- To a lesser extent, one can build one's character to make this the case for whichever stat they prefer, so that they (for example) roll against Weird whenever they would normally roll Cool.
- In games based on the Fate system (Spirit Of The Century, The Dresden Files et al.), whatever a character's peak skill happens to be can be turned into this to an extent. This is because one available standard function of stunts is to allow a character to use an alternate skill instead of the usual one for some specific task (say, using Deceit instead of Empathy to figure out whether somebody is lying, Intimidation instead of Resolve to resist hostile intimidation attempts, Guns instead of Weapons to throw suitable weapons and projectiles...) and players and GMs are always free to add new stunts at their discretion. So in principle at least it's entirely possible to build a character, player or non-, who uses his or her highest skill rating, if not all the time, then at least for most of the things he or she actually cares about.
- For the longest time in the BattleTech RPG spinoff Mechwarrior, Intuition, and to a lesser extent Reflexes controlled a lot of skill rolls. It didn't help that players who wanted to play Mechwarriors (and this was most players, naturally) needed both of their INT and REF rating scoring at least 4 or better to qualify as a Mechwarrior, in a game where having a 6 in a stat was considered an exceptionally high rating. This lasted up through 2nd Edition supplemental, and echoes of it still appear in 3rd edition and beyond.
- Star Wars: Saga Edition is fairly balanced on the stats front, but Dexterity is often viewed as disproportionally important. It determines how accurate you are with ranged weapons (which is most of them, unless you have a melee-specific build) and how good you are at avoiding both melee and ranged attacks. In addition, dexterity is the governing stat for more skills than any other, including some of the most useful ones (namely Initiative, Pilot, and Stealth). It's not impossible to build a character without focussing on dexterity (certain Jedi and Noble builds can get away with it), but a character with a low DEX stat has some significant built-in pitfalls that need to be dealt with or worked around.
- Though it's more balanced now, the original Pokémon games had the Special stat affecting both the attack power of AND defense from Special moves, which, in that generation, had some of the most powerful attacks, including all of the Psychic moves (which was particularly important given that in Gen 1, the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors was poorly balanced and thus Psychic had no meaningful weaknesses either offensively or defensively). The second generation of games split this into Special Attack and Defense, and, in fourth generation, Physical and Special moves are no longer determined along rigid type lines (Hyper Beam is now a special move, for instance).
- And for non-Special types, Speed covered this, as it didn't only influence turn order, but also Critical hit rate. Meaning that moves such as Slash used by a high-Speed Pokémon would always score a powerful, defenses-ignoring critical hit.
- In competitive Pokémon, Speed is considered the most important stat, as it's advantageous to be able to KO the opposing Pokémon before it can make a move. Generally, the only thing players don't make as fast as possible are walls; in only a couple generations was Speed really end-all, but players tend to max it out more than other stats anyway. A few craftier veteran players will defy this.
- Possibly even more than Speed, in competitive battles, evasion can be seen as such a Game Breaker, or something that increases the luck factor, that moves specifically raising that stat, such as Double Team, are banned.note
- For defensive Pokémon the stat to rule them all is HP, moreso than Defense and Special Defense. Having a low HP stat and two high defense stats will in practice be as good as a Pokémon with high HP and lower defenses, making having high HP better for a Pokémon in terms of base stat distribution.
- Similarly in Monster Rancher, there were six stats: Life, Power, Speed, Skill, Defense, and Intelligence. Of those, Speed referred to a monster's ability to dodge, while Skill referred to its ability to land a blow. In Monster Rancher 3, Speed and Skill were merged into a single Speed, making it vital to both dodging and hitting - breaking the balance the prior games had and making it overly important.
- Devil Survivor does the same thing as well: magic attack, magic defense, and MP are all decided by the exact same stat, while all increasing strength affects is physical attacks. To make this even worse, physical attack has far less of a variety of attacks and most of the enemies later in the game have an ability that make them immune to them entirely. Fortunately, physical attacks have a lot more utility in the Updated Re-release and its sequel, although it can take quite some time to accumulate enough skills to where you can have more than one physical bruiser roaming the field.
- In Digimon World 3, speed drastically increases evasion against physical moves - which are the most common type of moves used by enemies - and, if your speed is considerably higher than the enemy's, you get to have two turns for each turn the enemy has.
- In the first two Fallout games (and Fallout Tactics), Agility is one of the most useful stats because it gives you more action points, which let you attack more often, and helps with small guns, the weapons you will use for most of the game. Intelligence is of lesser but still significant importance, governing how many skill points you get per level up and giving you more conversation options.
- In Fallout 3, intelligence is often considered the best stat in the game due to it determining how many skillpoints you get every level. Agility is much less important, since the action point system is now only an optional way to fight.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, intelligence is still insanely more useful than most other stats, but luck follows as a close second due to it being a big decider in how well you win at the gambling tables. A high luck skill will allow you to clean out every casino in the game and be richer than Croesus. Luck also enhances your skills. Maximum luck grants a +1 boost to every skill for every two points invested.
- Endurance is also an extremely useful stat, though not for its primary purpose (base hit points, poison, and radiation resistance; the latter two can be maxed out with clothing, perks, or chems) — Endurance determines how many implants your character can receive at the New Vegas Medical Clinic. Each point of Endurance allows for one implant, which include SPECIAL-raising implants. An Endurance stat of 7 lets you get +1 to every SPECIAL attribute, while 9 Endurance gives you all of the SPECIAL implants, +4 Damage Threshold, and minor health regeneration.
- In Wasteland 2, high Intelligence gives you extra Skill points at every level, and you will need high Skill Scores to accomplish most things that aren't combat in this game. Speaking of combat, there is no single stat essential to it, since both Action Initiative and the Action Point pool are derived from at least three basic stats.
- Planescape: Torment 's Wisdom stat is pretty much god, due to it providing the most dialogue along with experience boosts. Amusing considering that the Cleric class (the only one that can actually benefits from high wisdom) is not available to your character. Contrary to popular belief, wizards do not benefit from a high wisdom, only from intelligence.
- The higher your wisdom, the more experience you'll get. Investing in Wisdom early on can net you enough bonus experience through this and extra dialogue options to be stronger and tougher by the end of the game than if you had invested in them from the start. Planescape: Torment is one of the more balanced games though — there are noticeable differences, but no stat is a designated Dump Stat unless the player chooses it to be.
- In the original Exile games, Strength was the One Stat to Rule Them All because it heavily affected physical damage and Hit Points — and, in later games, carrying capacity to boot.
- In Final Fantasy II Agility/Evasion (the two stats are tied together) are basically the godstat duo. Agility determines the obvious things, namely who goes in what order during battles, but also influences:
- Whether or not you can successfully run from Random Encounters, in a game full of Demonic Spiders, Goddamned Bats, and Beef Gates with a very high encounter rate.
- Influences how often you get a pre-emptive strike (basically, you get a free turn; high agility means you get more of these)
- Influences how often you get ambushed (the enemy gets a free turn; high agility means this happens much less often)
- Influences evasion. It is possible for evasion to reach 99% in this game, and with a high enough agility rating, that can happen halfway through. Yeah, the Stat Grinding system is a pain, but with luck and/or diligence, it can be exploited. All you need is at least one character in the front row with 90+ evasion, and you are basically immortal, evading all attack directed at you while getting free turns near-constantly and capable of running from pretty much everything that's not a boss.
- Ironically, the best way to exploit this stat is to go commando the whole game.
- And perhaps the most overpowered thing about them is that having high evasion (EVA%) makes it more likely that you'll get an agility bonus after a battle, while you get 1% EVA from each point of your agility. So raising your evasion causes your agility to rise faster, making your evasion rise even more and your agility go up more to match. Get agility high enough that you don't need shields to max your eva, raise your INT & SOUL and level up your magic, and you'll have a spell-slinging magical maven that dodges EVERYTHING, pretty much shattering the game (note that most weapons, especially bows & shields, cripple your magic power; if you go this route, you'll want to dual-wield masamune and a knife or staff).
- Final Fantasy III has a minor version. Each job has fixed stats per level for everything except HP, which is determined by your Vitality at the time you level up, making Vit a god stat until you hit max HP.
- Final Fantasy VI has a bug that means evade is useless and Magic block (essentially magic evasion) worked as both stats. Which means that if you load a character with magic block boosting items they become borderline-invincible. This was fixed in the GBA version of the game.
- With a magic block of 128, all attacks that can miss, will miss, period. 128 is actually fairly easy to pull off, at least on one character.
- On the offensive side, Magic Power is far more important then Vigor/Strength. Not just spells, but most of the worthwhile special attacks, such as Sabin's most powerful Blitzes, use Magic Power.
- In Final Fantasy IX, Spirit is by far the most useful stat, as it affects many different aspects of combat — including speeding up both your Trance gauge and the rate of Auto-Regen.
- In Final Fantasy X there are separate stats for Evasion and Accuracy, both of which are increased in the same manner as all the other stats (by filling in nodes on the Sphere Grid), and both max out at 255 - but the separate Luck stat grants a bonus to both Evasion and Accuracy, with Luck effectively maxing both stats out separately, as well as being the determining stat for critical hit rates. However, Luck is mostly relegated to post-endgame Min-Maxing due to how tedious it is to increase.
- In Final Fantasy XI, Haste impacts weapon-swinging time and spell recast timers.
- The entire game seems designed around core stats being useless, with the exception of STR for its role as a component in weapon skill and certain blue magic spells' damage. As far as auto-attack, equipment that reinforces haste, accuracy and raw ATK will always win. For casters, gains to individual magic skills and specific passive gains such as those present on elemental staves typically provide a greater raw boost than any amount of INT-pumping.
- Final Fantasy XIII gives your characters only THREE stats: Hit Points, strength, and magic power. Low strength and magic can be made up for with special abilities, staggering, and customizing weapons and equipment, but low HP means everything can kill you in two hits because you take full damage from every attack in the game. This essentially means that until near the end of the game, you'll want to keep a few HP boosters on your characters, or something that makes them take X% less HP damage per attack. The developers also locked the best HP boosts at the end of the Crystarium so they weren't available until the very end of the game.
- Final Fantasy XIV exemplifies the trope in several ways. Your base stats (strength, vitality, dexterity, mind, intelligence, and piety_ grow as you level up and each level up grants you a bonus point to use on a stat to boost it further. Tanks will go for strength, melee DPS will go for strength or dexterity, healers will go for mind and piety, while DPS casters will pour points into intelligence. Because every class takes advantage of only specific stats, you're actually encouraged to min-max since stats not used by your class are pointless to invest in (casters wouldn't invest in strength for example). Gear also encourages this type of behavior since they're made specifically for classes who can take advantage of their most used stats. You're likely be yelled at by other players if you're using gear that isn't suited for your class.
- In Tactical RPGs that rely on clockticks rather than alternating between teams (Final Fantasy Tactics in the former, Fire Emblem in the latter), speed is the most important stat in the game, because more speed = more turns. By the same measure, mobility related stats can be tremendously important; if you combine speed, move, and jump, the other stats don't matter: You've got someone who can strike and then retreat safely out of range before the enemy can attack.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Speed was not merely the best stat, it was the ONLY stat that mattered for most character builds. Thanks to entirely useful Useless Useful Spell being so dominant, all that really mattered was getting off your Game Breaker mass debilitator/instant kill attack before the enemy could launch their attacks.
- Tactics Ogre is almost certainly the poster boy for this version of the trope. Through abuse of a certain ability, you can create characters with 1 speed. If you're unfamiliar with the speed system; there's 1,000 ticks per turn and you get a number of turns = 1,000/your speed. Note that without abusing the aforementioned ability, even a super-well-made Ninja ends up with speed in the 300's or so. Meaning a character with 1 speed gets about 300 turns before a *Ninja* acts. So yeah...
- In Phantom Brave, the discrepancy between high-speed and low-speed units is very noticeable. The high-speed units may even clear the board before the low-speed units get a turn. And did we mention there are some attacks that use the speed stat to calculate damage?
- In Nethack, like pretty much all Roguelikes with highly deterministic turn orders, speed is extremely important. Sure, Nethack's speed isn't as important as the Roguelikes with just three speeds [half speed, normal speed, double speed], but an advantage in speed means that you can run away while occasionally using ranged attacks, and equal speed enables circling round areas recovering while monsters chase you with no hope of ever landing a blow.
- Playing Hearts of Iron 2 as the Russians makes infantry and artillery techs into this. You'll never need a navy unless you're going for a full world conquest, and an air force has nothing on a pure human-wave strategy. The stronger the grunts, the more decisive the victory as a general rule.
- Even in the purely turn-based Fire Emblem, most players agree Speed is the most important stat. It determines evasion (Luck does too, but to a much smaller degree) which, in a game with Final Death, is VERY important. It also determines double attacks (a unit hit twice if their speed is more than a certain amount above their opponent's) which can be the difference between finishing the enemy in one move or having to waste a second charater's move to deal the final blow. Furthermore, doubling works for the enemy too, meaning slow characters tend to get hit twice. (almost instantly fatal for magic users) It gets so bad that on the higher difficulty levels of the latest games, Mighty Glacier characters with high Defence are actually less durable than someone with worse Defence, but enough speed to avoid being doubled. (Getting hit twice for 15 damage each is worse than getting hit once for 25)
- Defence became much more important in Radiant Dawn, when speed became much more averaged-out between classes.
- The Dex equivalent in Kingdom of Loathing, Moxie, is pretty similar.
- However, enemies that scale to your stats can 1-hit you if your Muscle(determines your HP) is too low. In practice, this rarely happens, as many foes will link their attack to your Moxie (defensive), whereas their defense will match your Muscle (attack) stat, give or take a few points.
- As of 2013, it's started to depend more on player goals, as both challenge paths and the noncombat portions of quests shake it up a bit. There are more cases where you'll want to soak up physical or elemental damage or fight monsters which scale beyond your physical stats (by default or your own preference), and more reasons why you might be without your normal skills.
- Super Robot Wars has two (or three) of these:
- For the pilots, it's Dodge. After all, it doesn't matter if you can take a hit or not if nothing ever hits you. If a mecha has an "Automatic Dodge" skill (like ECS or Open Get), then Maneuverability, which determines how often it comes out, will share time with it.
- For the Mecha, it's Mobility, which also determines not only dodging but hitting as well, for the same reasons.
- Though in some of the games (which ones larger depends on what damage formula is used) you can go the other way if you take a Super Robot+pilot and pour so much into the robot's armor and the pilot's defense that nothing but bosses even make them flinch.
- Taken to ridiculous extremes in Super Robot Wars K, where stat bonuses to a pilot were fixed. Focus everything on one pilot and his/her mecha, and you will be yawning your way through the final boss because, at best on even a critical hit, he'll only do 10 points of damage to your mech (which always has at least a few thousand hit points to chew through).
- Hit is also extremely important. However, theres not much you can do outside of Strike/Focus spirit and Hit increasing parts, in most games. Recently however Hit has been upgradable in a mech. In games with the pilot point system on the other hand you can ramp up your pilot's Hit and Evade to make them much more powerful. (Or if you're talking about a tanking mecha, Defense)
- Skill in the Z Series. Skill not only determines critical hit chance but also governs the activation many other abilities such as Counter note , Attack Again note , Sword Cut, and Shield Defense.
- In X-COM: UFO Defense, psionic attacks are a Game Breaker. The Psi Strength stat determines how good a particular soldier is at psionic attacks and how well he resists them. It is also the only stat that cannot be trained and almost all trainable stats (Throwing and Shooting accuracy and Bravery being the major exceptions) can be trained by attempting psionic attacks. I think you can see where I'm going with this.
- Terror From The Deep was similar, although the enemies were so much nastier it slightly ameliorated this. In both cases, there was a lot of work involved in getting a squad of soldiers with high Psi Strength and good combat skills. Getting a squadful of Psionic commandos generally required hiring and firing dozens of soldiers every month, and was critical to victory at higher difficulty levels.
- The 2012 Remake continues the trend, with Will being key to psionic troopers. A soldier's likelihood of being psionic is dependent on their Will stat, which also determines the chance of psionic attacks (such as Mindfray and Mind Control) actually working whilst also rendering the soldier more resistant to said attacks. Will is increased by ranking up but can be boosted with items, and can be permanently reduced if a soldier is critically wounded during a mission. With sufficiently high Will, a soldier can reliably Mind Control Muton Berzerkers and Ethereals.
- BP (badge points) is by far the most useful statistic in the Paper Mario series, and due to certain combos of badges being nearly certain Game Breakers (The Danger and Peril Mario badge set ups for example), you could have it set up so it pretty much took the place of the other stats, or made them completely redundant as all your basic attacks, due to the certain badge combos massively boosting attack power would do like 90 odd damage per hit and one hit pretty much everything. So yeah, BP was probably this kind of stat in that series.
- Adding to this, you gain 3 BP per level up. If you wanted 5 HP instead, there are badges that will give you the same amount of HP for... 3 BP. So long as you had a spare HP or FP badge, you could NEVER go wrong picking BP.
- If you wanted to break the game even further, you could visit an NPC that lets you raise a stat while lowering another. Naturally, by lowering your HP to be at only 5 points while raising your BP, Mario would be in the Danger status in the start of every battle and get super powered up from every badge that gives him a boost while his HP is low (including some that reduce or randomly negate damage). The aforementioned Danger/Peril Mario builds rely on this trick.
- Strength in Knights of the Old Republic affects damage and accuracy. Contrast the others. Dex is very easy to build with items. Con affects Hit Points and save DCs, the first is useless because you should be dodging most attacks, and the second is useless because the The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard. Int affects skill points and skill use (aside from persuade skills) are mostly useless and the little use they have can be given to party members note . Wisdom affects save DCs, again, the enemy cheats and wins anyway. Charisma affects persuade, but all the checks of it are low enough to make with a maxed skill alone.
- Dex moves up to God Stat in the sequel, which gives you access to Finesse feats letting you use whichever is higher out of Dexterity and Strength to affect accuracy, or better, lets you make good use of blasters, a Game Breaker when crafted well.
- An alternative build in the sequel involves playing a male character to get the Handmaiden to join you, and learning Battle Precognition- which adds your Wisdom to your AC. At this point, start spamming Force powers- Wisdom is now governing save DCs, difficulty to hit you and your stock of Force points, meaning you're unlikely to ever need to do anything as crass as fire a blaster.
- In Madden NFL, Speed has long been the most important stat. In the game, speedy but otherwise mediocre players in real life would become game breakers thanks to this attribute. The reason for this is a combination of Muscles Are Meaningless, meaning these players do not suffer drawbacks to their blocking, tackling, and tackle-breaking abilities as much as their real life counterparts, and because the design of the game makes it difficult to pull of some common real life tactics involving bigger, slower players. (For example, passes are programmed to be aimed at the receivers chest, making it extremely difficult to throw jump balls to possession receivers.) A few particular examples come to mind:
- Michael Bennett, a extremely fast but otherwise rather limited running back who played most notably for the Minnesota Vikings in the early 2000s, was the epitome of this trope in the game. In real life, he'd struggle to shed tackles or pick up blocks, and his small stature meant that he was injured frequently. In the game, however, it wasn't unheard of for players abusing this trope to rack up game and season rushing records using Bennett.
- Michael Vick, particularly in Madden 04 where he was the cover athlete. When not throwing unerringly accurate deep passes. he could run the ball exceptionally well, usually blowing past much slower linemen and linebackers for huge gains. A committed player could usually end up leading the league in both passing and rushing with Vick in that game.
- In Puzzle Quest, a high Battle stat will allow you to mow through most enemies with ease. The game itself tries to offset this by giving the magic user classes (Wizard and Druid) much higher point costs to raise their Battle levels. (3pts per level, and you only get 4pts per level up). THAT is offset by a point-buy system that allows you to purchase permanent stat boosts.
- A specific mana color counts as a class's One Stat, such as red mana for a warrior riding a spider-dragon.
- All Nippon Ichi games so far have suffered from this on the higher levels. Early in the game (The first couple of hundred levels), all stats are important. But at the end of the game, all that matters is whatever stat you attack with. Playing defense becomes futile, since any attack that hits you WILL kill you, and unless you're using specific abilities to boost dodge, no amount of Speed will give you any kind of decent chance to dodge. ATK, SPD, HIT, INT, and RES are the stats that matter depending on your weapon/class, and it is rare for more than one to matter for a given character.
- Disgaea 3 revels in this trope - your attack stats, and maybe your dodge stats are the only things that matter. At the high levels, every attack is a one-hit kill, unless it is dodged. This is thanks to the fact that you can stack massive bonuses to your damage (all of your special attacks having something like +1200% damage just from their base effects, not counting additional bonuses) which apply before defense rendering defense completely pointless.
- Hell, Gun users will ever only need but one stat: Hit. That lets them do insane, critical damage that always hits on any enemy, bar ones with huge Speed or Defense, from a distance.
- Phantom Brave also heavily rewards high Speed. The movement stats are also very important, but can be difficult to increase.
- In Phantom Brave, Speed is a damage stat, although only for a limited number of relatively unusual abilities, which mostly revolve around the "trolly" and "weed" (the plant, not the drug) weapons. The same goes for every stat: INT and ATK (which are only for attack) certainly have the most attacks that use them, but every stat has some attacks whose damage is based on it. Including HP, which can be slightly problematic without the right skills on the character (mainly because the damage is calculated on current HP rather than max HP, making skills that use it almost useless if you're getting battered).
- Speed was so important that some weapons were actively unusable (e.g. crystals, signs, and rocks) because they gave huge speed penalties. In the early game, you can get by thanks to the defense bonuses, but by higher levels, the penalties become crippling.
- Disgaea weapon damage is based off a given stat based on the form of attack, and each weapon is based in one of a given number of setups. Character base stats don't do too much compared to equipment stats and aptitudes, however.
- Swords, Spears, and Axes are pure ATK. It's not uncommon to see a character stack Gladiators in one of these and cap off attributes for a Yoshitsuna, Baal Sword, or whatev' and then apply an augmenting dual-stat specialist to optimize the performance once it's mastered. The same applies to Monster weapons with a physical lean.
- Fists were pure ATK in Hour of Darkness, but changed to ATK/SPD hybrid in Cursed Memories. So not only are fist users hitting for profane amounts of damage even by Disgaea standards, they are insanely difficult to kill due to SPD serving as the evade stat. As if Adell and Champloo weren't Game Breakers on their own...
- Bows are ATK/HIT hybrids, but tend to be treated as inferior to guns, which were pure HIT until Absence of Justice made them HIT/SPD hybrids. Further explanation is unnecessary; just look above.
- Staves and magic Monster weapons use ATK to determine damage when you swing them; the typical player will not max ATK, and instead pour everything into INT, which determines damage from spells and the magic abilities the monsters using these weapons utilize anyway. Clerics will focus on RES development, but that is for using their Heal spells on Reverse Damage panels; as stated before, everything end- and post-game is dodge or die.
- Weapons that use two stats are considered inferior to weapons that use one stat because of the system for using specialists to maximize an item. 8 specialists boosting one stat or 8 specialists getting averaged (halved) between two stats and coming out equivalent to 4 specialists? You decide.
- It didn't show in normal gameplay, but Agility was by far the best stat in Warcraft III. It raised attack speed and armor (plus attack power as the primary stat) while strength only affected health and intellect only affected mana and mana regeneration... which was pretty useless since spells still had cooldowns and didn't scale with anything.
- Whoring onto Agility generally happened in Warcraft III inside custom maps where it was possible to raise any of a hero's stats significantly.
- Some custom maps tried to balance this by making agility boosts much more expensive and intelligence cheaper. The very complex ones use spells that actually scale with stats instead of fixed damage.
- World of Warcraft goes through iterations of stat balance with each major patch, resulting in a very active metagame as players use complex spreadsheets and simulators to determine optimal stats even before the changes hit live realms. An effect of this is that most classes and specs have one or two absolutely optimal stats, with others needed only enough to balance things out. Examples: In 3.3.3, Assassination Rogues valued Attack Power over everything else, while Combat Rogues used Armor Penetration and Subtlety Rogues used Agility. One of Blizzard's objectives in Cataclysm was to once again rebalance stat desirability, but even they admit that achieving a perfect balance is likely impossible.
- Patch 4.0.1, a.k.a. Cataclysm, came with a more sweeping revision of the stat system that arguably averts this trope. Every class now has One Stat to Rule Them All, and regardless of spec it is their primary stat that matches their damage type (strength for some physical damage-dealers, agility for others, intellect for casters). However, the amount of those stats on items is (nearly) constant at a given item level, so maximizing your primary stat is now a no-brainer. The challenge, and customization option, comes from secondary stats: critical strike, dodge, expertise, haste, hit, mastery, parry and spirit. Everyone needs some of several of those and don't care about others. While most classes and specs have one or two secondary stats that are technically optimal, no one can completely ignore the rest due to caps, diminishing returns and similar effects.
- Slightly interesting as many classes and specs deal with limitations that change the metagame when reached. For instance, hit rating is far and away the best secondary stat for spellcasters until they reach 17% hit chance increase (up to 8% are covered by talents and debuffs), at which point it becomes worthless to increase further.
- The notable aversions to this trend are healers and tanks, where it's much less clear what the best stat is. Tanks have to balance stacking Stamina (to improve their maximum health and thus their resistance to spike damage) with avoidance/mitigation (to decrease the average amount of damage they take) and threat (to help keep enemies from running off and killing the damage-dealers). Healers, on the other hand, have to balance throughput (given by Intelligence and most secondary stats) with regeneration (given by Spirit, and a bit by Int as well, which increases how long they can last in a fight). However, the notable exception to these aversions is the druid class. Druid tanks are advised to simply stack Agility on any fight that doesn't specifically call for a big health pool (Agility gives all of avoidance, mitigation, and threat, making it a no-brainer). And due to a quirk of their mechanics, druid healers care about Intelligence more than anything, as not only is it far and away the best throughput stat, but it also increases their longevity better than anything else.
- The second Geneforge game has Parry, and it acts as an additional dodge chance coming before the standard one. Boost it to 20 (the max being 30), and against most monsters you are almost unhittable.
- For anyone who Shapes, Intelligence is a god stat, because it allows you to keep more and stronger creations in your party. In the first game, it costs the same to increase a stat no matter how many times you do, so there's almost no reason to put any points in anything other than this (and Mechanics and Leadership). In the sequels, it costs more to increase a stat the more you do, so once you get up into the range of being able to increase Intelligence by one every three levels, it's not so worth it anymore.
- This is the fate of Vitality in Diablo II. Nearly every single character build follows this stat format:
- Strength: as little as possible to meet equipment requirements
- Dexterity: as above, or exactly enough for maximum block.
- Vitality: PUT EVERYTHING YOU HAVE HERE!
- Energy: never put anything into this. (Even when playing a sorceress!)
- Strength is outdone by skill- and equipment-based damage boosts. The attack rating (accuracy) from Dexterity can easily be found elsewhere or is simply irrelevant. The same can be said for the mana gained from Energy. Thus, with enemies having high damage, Vitality is the only thing really worth investing in.
- This is why Diablo III has automatic stat point assignment. Many fans ironically consider this to reduce the importance of player skill because in Diablo II if you are a newbie you will put your stat points in wrong and end up with a useless character.
- They're probably fixing some Unstable Equilibrium with this. One of Diablo II's newest patches, 1.13c, added in the ability to "respec" and reset attribute and skill points once per difficulty level to encourage non-Min-Maxing.
- Ironically Diablo III got "Damage" stat, which is a mix of weapon damage, attack speed, crit rate, crit damage and damage stat (varies per class). Every offensive skill use Damage stat as base multiplier so everyone stacks +damage or +main stat items on themselves. Closely followed by vitality which provides health.
- Dexterity (again) in Ragnarok Online. Melee fighters need Dex to hit enemies. Ranged fighters need Dex to hit enemies and do damage. Casters need high Dex to reduce the game's long, interruptable cast times.
- Vitality arguably is a more important stat in "War of Emperium", the game's version of Guild vs Guild PVP. Since the majority of damage dealt by players is "healable" with the liberal use of health pots of some form, the only danger to well-equipped (serious) WOE PVP players are one hit KO skills, which are naturally easier to survive with more health (governed by Vitality). Dexterity isn't quite so useful in WOE, as the ability for players to dodge attacks is highly nerfed in that mode, and casting classes can generally team up with Bards/Clowns who have a buff that reduces cast time.
- In Kingdom Hearts II (and, to a lesser extent, the original) your stats can be whatever you want... except for your AP. By the end game, it doesn't matter how high your strength or magic are. What matters is if you can equip all of your devastating finishing blows and boost the duration of your godlike alternate forms.
- And again in the Final Mix of Kingdom Hearts II, the godstat changes, as by the time you're grinding to get ready for Organization Data and Terra, given how that game throws AP Up at you, you have the potential to have more AP than you will ever, EVER need. The new godstat of your three—Attack, Defense, Magic—depends slightly on your strategy but tends to be magic, because of Reflect. Reflect creates a Beehive Barrier around Sora that reflects pretty much EVERY move onto the attacker—damage based on the strength of the original move and Sora's magic stat. Being that it is SO much easier to Reflect the bonus boss crowd to death than fight without Reflect...
- In Kingdom Hearts AP wasn't quite so important, as there were no godlike alternate forms and only one devastating finishing blow. The real god stat in the game was MP, because more MP = more magical healing. Even better, the strength of your spells was determined by your maximum MP, so now you have better spells in addition to being able to cast them more often.
- And it powered your special combat moves such as the Arcanum multi-attack.
- For 358/2 Days, exploiting critical hits (the final blow in a combo) are the key to soloing the mission mode. Take a character with high critical stats like Saix, equip him with the Zero Gear and the Critical Sun ring and you'll be taking off entire bars of HP per combo!
- Progress Quest has strength, which affects your carrying capacity, and thus how often your character has to go back to town. As progress quest is a 'zero player RPG,' this is the only effect any stat has on the so-called 'gameplay.'
- Batting in Backyard Baseball. Even the fastest runners can still easily get out if they have bad batting stats.
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion can well play out this way, depending on your character class. However, in later levels Strength became all-important, even for pure magic or stealth builds, because of all the great-selling but insanely heavy swag you'd start to find. Custom Feather potions can be use as an alternative however. Also, you can drop the heaviest item on the ground and abuse the physics engine by simply dragging it to the door, picking it up to rezone, then dropping the other side if necessary. But then, that would be cheating!
- You'll pretty much use your 5-a-level training slots to raise skill that use Endurance as its base, even if you don't actually use them, since Endurance determines how many HP you get per level-up. If you're a magi-based character and don't take an effort to raise Endurance, you'll end up with a VERY squishy wizard.
- For quick character optimisation it is best to pick a custom class with Endurance and Luck as the class attributes (much as it was in Morrowind too). Endurance because it translates into HP per level as previously noted, and Luck because it is the only attribute with no assigned skills and is thus much slower to raise (yet contributes to pretty much all gameplay). Optimising levelling with this involves getting two 5x multipliers per level (one should be Endurance until maxed) and putting the 3rd point into Luck. HOWEVER, this is a bad idea if one hopes to abuse the Drain Skill effect to get extra levels out of skill-trainers for Major Skills, as it becomes impossible to level up further once all attributes are maxed out (thus making it optimal to avoid multipliers for the epic-level builds).
- Alchemy. Conquers. All. With 100 Alchemy, you can churn out healing and mana potions like noone's business, making you nigh-invincible and able to kill anything through sheer atrittion. Not that you'd need to, because you can buff all your other stats easily with more potions, and make hideously powerful poisons that can do a lot of the damage for you.
- “I like to call this a 'Morrowind Singularity.'". A Game Breaker that went unchecked, a character with high Alchemy score could create potions of boosted intelligence, quaff them, create greater quality potions of boosted intelligence because of the intelligence boost, and continue recursively until you have such an insane INT score you can craft universe-warping weapons and items.
- In Arcanum the number of attacks (influenced by dex) is more important than damage, part of what makes balanced swords so broken. Dex also affects a very large number of skills, making it even more important.
- Wizards could somewhat bypass this, since they could stack Dex-boosting magic provided their mental stats were high enough. Because there is a magical dagger that has a special feature of only taking 1 AP per swing, and hitting 20 points in Dex gave you a bonus 5 AP (on top of the 1 AP per 1 Dex you already gained), it allowed you to enter turn-based mode as soon as you got close to an enemy, and proceed to hit the enemy 25+ times in a row before the enemy would have a chance to counter you. This is in comparison to a normal character getting 2-3 hits in a turn (although said hits would probably be 2 or 3 times as powerful). Almost no single enemy would be able to survive that kind of beating.
- Shin Megami Tensei: This topic is the source of well-mannered debate. Depending on the game, your preferred character build (magic vs. strength), and to what degree you can control stat distribution, which stat is the One Stat to Rule Them All is a your mileage may vary issue. To prevent flame wars, Shin Megami Tensei IV players created a guide calculating exactly how many points of damage would be added for each point spent in the relevant stats.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Persona features this in a ridiculous format. By far the most useful stats in the game are Agility and Dexterity. Luck is you final point dump stat but Strength and Vitality borderline useless. The reason is simple. Maxing out Agility early on allows the Main character to move first nearly every time as well as raising his evasion and hit rate. Dexterity raises his attack defense and his hit rate as well. Luck raises those stats too but it mainly is useful for the critical hits. Strength and Vitality on the other hand only raise Attack and Defense respectively and they don't do it at regular intervals either. Nothing a good persona can't fix.
- Cunning for certain Rogue builds in Dragon Age: Origins. It is one of the slower builds, but by end game you will reach the maximum support and offensive potential of the Rogue class. This is because Cunning can be added multiple times to your weapon damage with the right talents, which Strength and Dexterity can't no matter what weapons you use. In addition, all the support abilities are Cunning based and focusing on the stat will cause you to be able to unlock or disarm anything in the game without getting the matching skills or talents like other Rogue builds would. You still require a minimal amount of Strength and Dexterity due to prerequisites for equipment and talents, but end game, the Cunning score will be about equal to all of your other stats combined.
- The most durable build is the Arcane Warrior class, which invokes this trope as one of its class features: your Magic score is used to determine what armor you can wear and (indirectly) how much melee damage you deal, instead of your Strength. This effectively renders Strength and Dexterity redundant for your build - leaving only Willpower (for normal spells) or Constitution (as a Blood Mage dual classer). Even if you don't use the melee aspect of the Arcane Warrior class, the Magic score still affects the raw power of your spells, letting you layer on a couple of sustained defensive buffs and become a Stone Wall or Mighty Glacier that can tank attacks that would take out a warrior.
- Trickster Online gives us the four types. Each of the four types has one stat that you're expected to put all your points into for non-PVP play.
- Power types: AP (Attack Power). Straight up damage dealing. Mostly because this is the only way to get past most monster's Damage Reduction.
- Magic types: MA (Magic Attack). Damage dealt from Spell skills. Seriously, this is the only stat that makes a difference in a Magic Type's lethality.
- Sense types: Okay, there's a bit of a split here:
- Pure Lions: AC (Accuracy, which is a Power-type stat) really boosts the damage from Guns.
- All other Sense Type players: DA (Detect Ability) not only improves the chances of a guaranteed Hit/Miss from Drilling (A guaranteed Miss means that's one more use of your drill), but also improves the damage dealt from Thrown Items.
- Charm Types: HV (Dodging Ability, or Nimbleness or Flexibility or whatever). Increases chances of avoiding damage altogether, and improves damage dealt by skills.
- In Demons Souls Endurance gives a boost to stamina for every level put into it up until it reaches forty (at which point only characters with incredibly heavy equipment need to go higher). Stamina allows for longer sprints, more attacks in a row and better blocking (and less chance of being guard-broken), making putting at least thirty points into Endurance something almost every build does at some point. All other stats can be very helpful too, but depend heavily on build and playstyle, whereas decent Endurance is helpful to everyone.
- The same applies to Dark Souls. Perhaps even moreso, as in both games Endurance increases equipment load and the addition of the Poise stat makes medium and heavy armor far more useful than they were in Demon's Souls.
- It's significantly weaker in Dark Souls II, because equipment load is determined by a different stat, and diminishing returns applies to it more like other stats (every point after 20 only gives half as much as a point before 20).
- In Gearhead, a Roguelike mecha-RPG, the Reflexes ability determines almost all your mecha piloting capabilities. This is, let's reiterate, in a game based around being a mecha pilot. Oh, and it helps with most of your hand-to-hand combat abilities when you're forced to fight on foot, too. Among skills, the — what else — Mecha Piloting skill also qualifies.
- For La Tale, give gloves critical damage, shoes movement speed (unless you're stacking evasion, then you get both), and your weapon min/max damage. Then put stamina and/or luck on everything else. The first three are the only places you can put those enchantments on, while the extra criticals you'll deal with luck will deal far more damage than the extra damage you'll deal with strength/magic, and stamina is the only base stat to increase your survivability.
- In Fly FF, most 1v1 classes work best with full STR, if you have enough funds. You can get DEX (for attack speed, crit rate & hit rate) from awakenings or gear bonuses, more hit rate from upgrading your gear, and you don't need much STA to take a hit. It's easier to get crit rate from awakenings (1% crit rate is 10 DEX), and you can get ICD/ADoCHnote (crit damage, the OSTRTA awakening for 1v1) from sets, weapons, and of course awakenings. For Area of Effect classes, it's either STA (for tanking) or DEX (for block rate) depending on the class (or INT for a specific elementor build); most put about 100 or so points in their AoE's damage stat then pump their STA (or vice versa), but rangersnote & blades get their Area of Effect damage from their DEX, so they use high block rate to compensate for low STA builds.
- Durability in WWE Day Of Reckoning 2. Did not apply in the first game and while no stats are useless in 2, durability needs the most investment before it stops being a visible weakness. Injury resistance, resistance to tapping out and stamina loss are tied to durability.
- In MapleStory, every job has use for only two stats, one being more important than the other. For example, Warriors only use STR and DEX, and STR is really all they need. It raises pretty much everything, EXCEPT accuracy and requirements to use some equipments. This is why the other stat is important. Some people however choose to forgo the second stat and raise the primary one, while using scrolls to give equipment the secondary stat, therefore allowing them to wield higher-leveled equipment. Eventually, the secondary stat requirement for most classes was removed entirely; the one exception to the rule is Xenon, which actually requires putting points into three different stats (STR, DEX, and LUK).
- For goalkeepers in Inazuma Eleven, the Guard stat (or in Inazuma Eleven GO and Inazuma Eleven Strikers, the Catch stat) and max TP are essentially all that matters. This one actually makes perfect sense (and was likely intentional) since goalkeeper is by far the most specialized position in soccer.
- Tales of Maj'Eyal has a variation: One Secondary Stat to Rule Them All. Every class has different primary stats that deal with their specialities and for raising their talent points, but everyone needs Con. Everyone. Since later on enemies can do a lot of damage, especially with spike damage, HP and resistance (which Con gives small bonus to) becomes massively important for your character to survive.
- Mario Kart:
- In Mario Kart DS, acceleration was the sole defining stat for the snaking technique. The higher it was, the longer your mini-turbos lasted, which made snaking easier. This also held true for Double Dash!! since everyone went around the same speed at the max, making karts with high speed pointless and those with high acceleration better.
- Mario Kart Wii and 7 had swung the stat the other way by making speed the most vital stat.
- In Mazes of Fate for the Game Boy Advance Strength was far more useful than the other stats. By maxing Strength and 2-handed weapon skill you could easily clear the first half of the game even without your party members. By the second half of the game, you would have plenty of skill points to spend on magic skills to buff yourself and completely dominate with your high Strength and BFS.
- The X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance series made by Raven have the focus stat. Particularly the first, focus increases the special gauge and the rate it regenerates. This means more damage reducing buffs and specials that already do more damage than punching enemies.
- In the Mario Golf series, characters with long drives tend to win out over everyone else simply because they hit the ball farther. Characters with a long drive tend to have lousy control, meaning your ball will go way off course if your timing for your swings are even slightly off, but after some practice, the weakness becomes trivial.
- Mount & Blade has this to an extent when it comes to the player character. Since you can get several companions with various specialties, and there is no magic, and there are 3 skills which only matter for your leader (2 of which are charisma linked), Charisma becomes the most vital attribute, and the only one that needs to be above 15 late game, since its the only attribute that affects your maximum party size. Not the case for your companions, since they do not need any CHA skills at all.
- Attack in the flash game The Enchanted Cave. Since you want to survive as long as possible, you need to take as little damage as possible - and if your Attack stat is high enough, you can kill the enemies before they ever hit you. While Defense is helpful for this reason, the best defense is a good offense - you don't need Defense if you're never hit. Speed is helpful early on, but it's fairly easy later to make up for any deficit in Speed with equipment and there's no point in boosting Speed faster than the fastest enemies. Magic is just useless, since the healing spells - which are the only spells actually worth spending MP on - don't scale with it.
- The first console RPG, a sort of Spiritual Successor to Adventure on the Atari 2600 called Dragonstomper, has literally one stat called dexterity which is a massive catch-all Luck Stat. Attack strength is determined by the Life Meter, so it probably doesn't qualify as a true stat (although if it did qualify it would handily be the dominant stat, for obvious reasons).
- Appropriately enough, The Lord of the Rings Online features One Stat To Rule Them All, with the twist that the one stat is different depending on character class. Broadly speaking, Might is important to melee fighters, Agility to ranged fighters, and Will to support classes. Remarkably, a class's ruling stat isn't set in stone; during the last major update the Warden (a light Tank class) was switched from Might to Agility with (relatively) little outcry from the players.
- Crystal Story II has speed as its god stat, as it determines how often you can make a move. It can reach a point where your characters can act two or three times before your enemies can even make their first attack.
- Warframe: Before Update 11 brought Damage 2.0's revamps, Armor Piercing was the damage type you had to boost if you wanted to be relevant against higher-level enemies.
- Dokapon Kingdom has the Magic (MG) stat. Much like Special in the first generation of Pokemon games, it doubles as magical power and defense. Furthermore, it controls the accuracy of field magic, and battle magic always hits (unlike physical attacks). The only thing that balances this out is that battle magic is difficult to get in the early game. Once you get Scorch or better, though, a Magic-based character is the best in pure combat.
- Solatorobo: the truly important ones are Attack (how much damage an enemy takes when thrown/gets something thrown at them) and Hydraulics (how fast you can lift and toss an enemy). And even then Hydraulics is slightly better, since thrown enemies are helpless for long periods of time.
- In Dragon Nest, the much-coveted Final Damage stat is an additional modifier used for your overall damage. Its power increases exponentially the more of it you stack, making it extremely powerful when amassed. Naturally, it is very difficult to come across. Entire fortunes can be made if you're lucky enough to obtain Final Damage plates and other items to sell.
- In the Super Smash Bros. series, the speedier, quick-attacking characters rule the competitive scene, as they have the ability to output damage more efficiently than every other character does. It's taken Up to Eleven with Meta Knight in Brawl, who has the distinction of being the only character who can combo with the minimal hitstun, making him formally banned at many tournaments.
- The Mind stat, and its substats, in Pre-Combat Upgrade Star Wars: Galaxies. These were the only stats that could not be healed by medics or buffed by doctors and, as a result, were the target of choice in PVP. As a result, most minmaxers dropped their other stats down to their bare minimums (which made the character completely worthless if unbuffed - although, at that point in the game, no one ever willingly entered combat unbuffed) and threw every point they could into their mental stats.
- In the online games Caravaneer and Caravaneer 2 agility is the only stat you really have to look for in new hires, since it determines how many actions they can take in one turn(similar to the first two Fallout games) as well as their move speed on the world map. It even replaces accuracy, since taking twice as many shots at half the hit chance is better than a few super-accurate shots.
- In Lufia: The Legend Returns, each character has a Spiritual Force stat of a specific color which flows into other members in their row and column, providing stat boosts and affecting IP attack usage. While all S.F. colors are necessary to unlock IP attacks, only Yellow S.F. is worth raising any higher than needed. Yellow S.F. boosts Speed (as well as max MP), which determines battle order and scales much more slowly than other stats (especially Attack Power or Defense Power). It's invaluable to outspeeding enemy encounters, or turning Randolph into a viable Lightning Bruiser.
- Yamara explored this concept in the context of Dungeons & Dragons:
Blag: Cause ya see, girlie, nobody cares if ya got an 18 Intelligence. Nobody'd care if you were one o' th' lucky broads with a 18 Wisdom! All that counts is a nice, round 18—
- The Order of the Stick has this shown in Elan, of all people. His 18 Charisma is the best for his Bardic abilities, even more after getting a level in the Prestige Class Dashing Swordsman, which allows him to use Charisma throws in combat. Ironically, this means that he has the best build of the entire Order.
- Parodied in a pair of comics in Kawaiikochan!! Gaming No Korner. Majide's idea of a victory or death strategy is spending all her points into being kawaii, so nobody will want to hurt her. This is followed by Masaka wondering what would it be like to put everything into HP instead. She is told that "The number of your HP is so great that nobody can imagine it. You're like a dekai tree".
Masaka: Gao. I'll crush everything.
Masaka: She is...! Though it doesn't make sense, I'm surely defeated...
- In the later levels of Forum Warz, Offense is all that really matters.
- This is not to say that you can't get through the game without putting a single point into Offense, even with a naturally Offense-poor class. But late-game forums come in two types. The kind that can be very annoying if you can't take down their threads quickly, and the Marathon Boss kind. In those, enough consumables will replace the need to avoid getting hurt, and the faster you can do damage, the less time the fight will take.