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Minmaxer's Delight

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Durkon: I'll wear 'im down. I can still cast all me healin' spells, but he cannae heal 'imself while he's in the shape o' tha dire bear. Well, unless he took the Natural Spell feat.
Julia: Wait, I'm confused— There are druids who DON'T take the Natural Spell feat??

The advantage/power/feat/character option equivalent of One Stat to Rule Them All. May overlap with Game-Breaker, though the ability just might be a no-brainer to take or very good rather than broken.

Also, it may be a disadvantage whose point value far exceeds the inconvenience it causes, that is, the opposite of That One Disadvantage.

As the trope name indicates, it is a godsend to players who enjoy Min-Maxing.

These types of player abuses are most easily countered with Rule Zero — the Game Master is always right. Abuses can be completely averted with a simple "No" from the GM.

Advantage Examples:

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    4X Games 
  • In Master of Orion 2: Battle at Antares, you had the trait picks: creative (get every tech at each tech level instead of only picking one, this logarithmically makes you more powerful if you remember to stop improving planets and make ships at some point) as well as the Unification government that grants a flat 50% bonus to food and production. Klackons (who naturally have Unification) are balanced because they are uncreative and get a random tech instead of choosing one, a custom race can take both advantages for 15 points, leaving 'em 5 to get some more advantages. Theortically you could decide not to get max flaws instead, but since creative will let you fix most/all disadvantages in midgame at no extra cost you SHOULD get as many flaws as you can get for "free" advantages.
    • And let's not forget autolab. While not a "I win game over" tech by itself, it will bring you those at remarkable speed with remarkably low effort even for a tech-penalized race.
    • Telepathy can make a lot of disadvantages more or less irrelevant, particularly if you play aggressively in a crowded universe. It allows you to instantly integrate an enemy planet into society as soon as you have defeated planetary defenses if you have a sufficiently large ship in the conquering fleet. You do not need to invade or bombard, so there is no damage to the planet. If you know a bit about min-maxing, you will immediately see how this can be exploited; you can take unification (essentially a hive-mind: great bonuses to production, but it is very hard to integrate other species) as your government since integration is instant anyway. You can choose a race that sucks at ground combat since when you are invading, there is no ground combat, and you can rely on other things than ground combat when you are defending. As a matter of fact, you can choose a race that sucks at everything: ground combat, farming, working, researching, and reproduction. You are going to conquer a more useful race anyway as the first thing you do, so these disadvantages will not slow you down much anyway. Just choose things that make your society very powerful (such as: creativity, telepathy, and unification government).
    • Particularly when combined with the above, penalties to ship defense and ground combat are effectively free points. You can ignore ship defense by being aggressive. Ground combat techs tend to be the least impactful at each level, so Creative species will be the only ones improving regularly; your squishy soldiers armed with Phaser Rifles ensconced within Powered Armor with personal shields and anti-gravity harnesses will run roughshod over your opponents with a paltry +10 bonus.
  • The "Applied Research" Tech in Space Empires V. Research that makes all other research go faster? Yes please. Even more effective if acquired in the pre-game, as the player will start with the higher-level Research facilities on their homeworld(s), rather than having to rebuild them.
  • In Star Ruler, empires can be given a number of traits which can give it powerful advantages or disadvantages. For example, the popular "Bustling Homeworld" gives you a fully developed homeworld (rather than only a partially developed one) at the cost of 3 points, whereas taking "Fledgling Empire" will only have one structure (your capital) on your homeworld, but it will give you 3 points to spend on minmaxing other traits. Game Mods like Galactic Armory expand the amount of traits, such as better focusing crystals for laser weapons, or weak warheads on missiles. Regardless of other traits, everyone takes the bonuses to Research, because you don't want to be left behind in the Lensman Arms Race.
    • Star Ruler 2 introduces different flavors of Faster-Than-Light Travel with unique mechanics and benefits. You can pick one to use, and only one; Hyperdrive, Slipstream, gates, and Fling. The fifth option is for no FTL travel, period, for a massive +3 points to spend on other traits. Depending on the size of the galaxy(s), no FTL can be either a death sentence or an acceptable loss.

  • The Bottomless Appetite ability in Billy vs. SNAKEMAN, especially when combined with TACOS (ally) and TACOs (items).
  • Stamina from the Fitness pool in City of Heroes gives a permanent boost to a character's Endurance recovery rate, with the only drawback being that you have to take two other powers in the Fitness pool to unlock it. As a pool power, it can be taken by characters of any archetype, and so it came to be viewed as being a mandatory choice for any character to be viable. With the Issue 19 update, the Fitness pool has become inherent, granted to all characters automatically and freeing up the power choices that would otherwise be filled by Stamina and its prerequisites.
  • World of Warcraft
    • The game has the Talent system, which is a variant of the Alternate Advancement system from Everquest. Some of the talents were so utterly ubiquitous that every specialisation branch of a class had its ultimate, mathematically proven to be the best, distribution and everybody was using it. Cataclysm redesigned the system for talent trees to still have a base skeleton of "must take" talents with everything else being useful in some cases, but optional and chosen on personal preferences.
    • One example is playing a Priest. You have 3 specializations to choose from: Shadow (damage dealer, enemy debuffer), Holy (healer), and Discipline (a little of both, plus being a Barrier Warrior). Now, if you're going to be a Discipline Priest, it's almost guaranteed you'll take those talents that boost you "Power Word: Shield" (the "barrier" in the Discipline's Barrier Warrior). Also, if you want to do more than just cast shields on everybody, you might want to take those talents that buff the few offensive Holy spells you have. Unless your group is totally incompetent, you won't need to heal them all the time, right?
    • The talent changes in Mists of Pandaria are trying to avert this. Talent selection is down to a simple choice of pick one of three talents every fifteen levels, and the talents are balanced and varied so that no one is obviously better than the others. It still doesn't stop people from searching for optimal strategies.
  • In the early days of Asheron's Call, the Item Magic skill quickly became almost mandatory to have in order to have a viable character in the game. Item Magic allows you to buff your items, debuff enemy items, makes locks easier to pick, makes it easier to identify the stats on items, and teleport to nearly any location in the game, provided there's a portal there and you've seen said portal (though you could only be bound to one portal at a time). The game world is approximately the size of Rhode Island and one easily accessible dungeon had portals to nearly every city. It didn't take long to reach a point where even an otherwise pure melee character would find it necessary to acquire Item Magic either from character creation or as soon as possible afterward, if only for the fast travel to that dungeon.
  • It's not strictly necessary, but nearly everyone in Nexus Clash learns the Search skill eventually. It's one of the cheapest skills in the game and practically every build benefits from better Apocalyptic Logistics.

  • Watch competitive play of Game of Thrones and you'll see more players pick House Tyrell than any other house, which causes one of the point multipliers on the inlanes to always be on, rather than during certain occasions like with any other house.

  • FTL: Faster Than Light:
    • Capturing a ship (by killing its crew) is far more lucrative than destroying it outright, so buying a Teleporter early is crucial.
    • The Scrap Recovery Arm pays for itself in the long run, so there is no reason not to get it unless you find something better for the slot.
    • The Distraction Buoy augment makes the enemy fleet pursuing you do so more slowly, granting you more time to scour for resources. Unless you run into it very late in the game, it's always a good idea.
    • If you find the Burst Laser Mark II in a store somewhere, you get it. It's probably the most energy-efficient weapon in the game (three shots for two energy).
  • Night Vision is one of the more popular positive traits in Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead. It increases your vision range in total darkness by 2, making it much easier to go scavenging at night, when it is safest to explore. Without the trait, you'd only be able to see things one tile away from you, which is extremely limiting, unless you use a light and risk drawing attention to yourself.
  • Shotgun King: The Final Checkmate: In a game where the player has to pick an advantage card for Black and White at the end of a level, there are a few Black Cards that give a good advantage with minor drawbacks, or White cards with a benefit that outweighs the drawback.
    • In a game where being checkmated is an otherwise-instant Game Over, Black Mist is a Black Card that gives you an extra life per floor, and it protects you from all kills unless every single square on the board is in check. Prior to an update that made you have 1 less range while it was active, it had absolutely no drawbacks.
    • Any Black Card that increases Firepower if the player doesn't already have one. By increasing your Firepower from 4 to 5, you gain the ability to one-shot Queens and Rooks at point-blank.
    • Ruins is a White card that adds 2 Pawns and a Rook onto the board, but it makes all Rooks have 2 less health. This drops them from a beefy 5 HP to a fragile 3 HP, allowing you to kill them much more quickly and easily. It's generally considered an upside that outweighs the downside of an extra Rook and two Pawns.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Arcanum: Character backgrounds raise and increase different stats, which comes in handy depending on the kind of build/playstyle you want to use. Some backgrounds increase physical stats at the cost of mental (better for combat characters) or the inverse (so weak characters can recruit a large team of allies), others only affect how characters react to you, etc.
  • In the Baldur's Gate franchise, the charisma of the party leader influences the prices of vendors, the reaction of characters and the morale of companions. You can choose anybody as the party leader, it is not required that it is your protagonist, so you can freely reduce your charisma at character creation for other stats while someone else leads the way.
    • In the second game, early on you conveniently find a magical ring that sets your charisma to the max anyway. Not that it matters since by this time it has become a dump stat anyway.
  • Baldur's Gate III: The Paladin is a very common one level dip with the game's Character Class System for multiple reasons. One is that their Healing Hands ability scales based on overall level instead of Paladin level. Another is, that due to Bio-Augmentation seperate from the class system, you can get a guaranteed Critical Hit once per long rest, and if you combine that with the Paladin's Divine Smite, it can devastate bosses.
  • Fallout
    • Fallout and Fallout 2:
      • The Gifted Trait gave you one point towards each of your SPECIAL stats at a cost of 10 less to all skills at the start and 5 fewer per level. Not only is the actual per-level point penalty only 3 (because you gain 2 per level more from the extra point of Intelligence), but there are far more skillbook powerups throughout the game than PIP-Boy stat powerups. And since SPECIAL stats use a Point Build System, you can reassign most of those gained stat points to Intelligence to get a net increase in Skill points.
      • Fast Shot makes all weapons (1) or all ranged weapons (2) fire faster at the expense of being unable to make called shots. Since burst-fire guns can't make called shots anyway, the drawback vanishes around the second town, and at high levels can be used with a few traits to dish out six critical hits each turn (which can very easily make for six kills each turn).
      • Small Frame grants one stat point (which is keyed to Agility, but points can be manually redistributed anywhere) in exchange for reduced carrying capacity. Not so great in Fallout (followers aren't too bright and can't level up or equip better armor), but in Fallout 2 you can get an NPC/Permanent Companion/pack mule in the very first town you enter. If you do the side quest to unlock The Alleged Car, you can use the Highwayman's trunk for mobile long term storage.
      • Good Natured gives boosts to several non-combat skills while reducing all combat skills. The total amount lost and gained are equal, so it seems like a fair trade. The thing is, most players tend to specialize in one type of weapon while all of the non-combat skills are useful for any character, so in practice you're increasing several skills at the cost of lowering only one (that you care about), and can make up the difference in a level or two, which amounts to a large net gain.
    • Fallout: New Vegas:
      • Skilled gives you a +5 to all skills right off the bat, in exchange for a barely noticeable 10% penalty to XP gain. If you take the trait during initial character creation, then remake your character when given the option, you can take it again for another +5 to everything at no extra cost, or drop it and lose the XP penalty, but keep the points.
      • Built to Destroy increases critical hit chance at the cost of having your weapons degrade faster. For crit-focused builds, every increase to crit chance is valuable, and the game has many ways to render weapon durability a non-factor even at an accelerated rate, such as...
      • The Jury Rigging perk allows you to repair any weapon or armor with any other weapon or armor in the same category (for example, you can repair any one-handed gun with any other one-handed gun), rather than needing an exact copy of the item to take parts from. That means you can keep your super-expensive endgame gear in full condition using dirt cheap early game gear, instead of having to pay out the ass for exact copies or for NPC repairs (Raul evidently doesn't call you "boss" out of endearment, he does it because he's expecting a paycheck). It also means that if you happen to find any super-expensive endgame gear that you don't want to or can't use, and it's in poor condition, you can buy some cheap gear to repair it with and then sell it at full condition for a huge profit. This is why Jury Rigging is probably the best perk in the entire game.
      • Old World Blues introduces Logan's Loophole, which lets you take chems with zero chance of addiction and doubled duration (very powerful if you can find a good supply), but fixes the level cap at 30 (as you'll likely have all the DLC if you have one of them, the limit will probably be 50 otherwise). The thing is, Old World Blues also adds a one-time ability to change which traits you have, so you can just have Logan's Loophole until you reach level 30, then get rid of it.
      • Good Natured returns, functioning the same as before, making it a Minmaxer's Delight once again.
      • Heavy Handed increases damage with Melee and Unarmed weapons while decreasing their critical hit damage. Most of the best Melee and Unarmed weapons have a low chance to crit in the first place, so unless you're planning to get a lot of sneak attack crits with melee weapons for some bizarre reason instead of using something more suitable like a silenced sniper rifle, you probably won't care.
      • Hoarder grants +25 lbs to your carry capacity but has the drawback of -1 to all attributes if your carried weight drops below 160 lbs. Given the nature of the game, it's rare that you'll be carrying below 160 lbs worth of equipment unless you're going for a low strength build. The fact that there's 160 lbs worth of items conveniently laying around in the starting house allows you to offset the weight difference in mere minutes after picking the trait up, effectively giving you a free carrying capacity boost for the rest of the game.
    • Fallout 4:
      • The Idiot Savant perk randomly gives a massive EXP boost that becomes more likely the lower your Intelligence is. If you do the math, the gain from the perk is enormous with even a moderate Intelligence and always bigger than what you'd get by increasing Intelligence (which is the game's "normal" Experience Booster). And, because of the way EXP costs increase each level, even a max Int character will eventually recoup their losses from spending a level on the perk.
      • Ballistic Weave is an armor modification for clothing that gives a ballistic and energy defense boost, with higher levels available the higher your Armorer perk is. It was seemingly included to let players wear regular clothing instead of armor without being ridiculously fragile. In an apparent oversight, you can apply it to several clothes that are wearable with armor and even some hats (which grants the full boost, equal to what's provided by a low-tier power armor helmet), gifting massive defenses to any build with 3 STR for the Armorer perk. All you need to do to unlock it is a few early quests with the Railroad long before being locked into their questline.
  • Dark Souls:
    • Dark Souls:
      • Havel's Ring increases equipment load by 50%, which is equivalent to at least 20 levels of Endurance (more if your Endurance is high, which it usually will be) in a game where each level gives one stat point and most people get to the endgame at level 80. This is tremendously useful, because it lets you get better protection from armor in terms of damage and hitstun resistance without losing mobility or vice-versa. Most of the other rings not affecting magic have effects that are much more situational (like increasing a single defense by an amount heavier armor would almost cover for all types) or have significant drawbacks (like the Ring of Favor and Protection, which boosts several stats but is lost forever if you take it off). Because of this and its early availability, the majority of players not focused entirely on magic have Havel's Ring on for most of their playthrough. Future installments in the series nerfed the amount increased to 10-20% (though partially because both allow four rings instead of two), on top of making armor itself less powerful.
      • The spell Power Within gives boosted damage and stamina regeneration while taking Damage Over Time, which essentially every character build benefits from, which is pretty manageable because you can have as many as twenty Estus. It can be used by anyone for little to no cost, as its only stat requirement is taking up one Attunement slot (something every starting class either has to begin with or needs 1-2 levels to reach). After being entirely absent in the second game, it returned in the third with half the damage boost (20%), and a duration of only 30 seconds, although this was balanced out by having it only cost 30% of your HP instead of all of it).
      • Ascending a weapon down one of the elemental paths (Fire, Lightning, or Chaos) significantly increases its base damage at the cost of eliminating all stat scaling (how much bonus damage the weapon gets from your stats). This means the weapon hits just as hard whether you've maxed out your Strength and Dexterity, or whether you only have the minimum amount required to use the weapon in the first place. Sure, a normal weapon with the right stats leveled will be more powerful, but elemental weapons are still plenty strong, and you have that many more levels you can dump into Vitality and Endurance in order to tank yourself up. For proof of their effectiveness, just ask everyone's favourite meme build, the Giant Dad.
    • Dark Souls III:
      • The Prisoner's Chain is a ring that boosts your Vigor (HP), Endurance (stamina), and Vitality (equipment load) by 5 points each, while lowering all of your defenses by 4%. A pittance for what amounts to 15 free levels. It's practically mandatory if you want to optimize your character and still stay within the metagame's level range for PvP. Of course, you have to beat a superboss to get it...
      • Infusing a weapon with a Raw Gem gives it a sizable damage boost but removes all scaling. Reinforcing the weapon will continue to add damage. While this can be a disadvantage, Raw Gems are found in several places in the early game, when your weapons have a low reinforcement level (meaning that the damage they gain from your stats is much less efficient than in the late game) and your stats are the lowest they'll be all game. Raw Gems are especially important for Pyromancers, who have to dump so many points into Attunement, Inteligence, and Faith that they're looking to have the lowest possible Strength and Dexterity they can get away with.
      • Relatedly, Crystal, Blessed, Dark, Hollow, Lightning, Simple, and Chaos Gems will all decrease Strength and Dexterity Scaling but replace it with scaling in a stat that the weapon didn't previously have, making any weapon that can be infused suited to Sorcerers, Clerics, Pyromancers, and status-afflicting builds, all of whom are keeping their commitments to Strength and Dexterity minimal.
  • Elden Ring:
    • The Quickstep and Bloodhound Step skills give dashes as alternates to the usual dodge roll, which cost a small amount of FP, but have much better distance, invincibility, and recovery—enough that just spamming them lets you avoid some otherwise extremely difficult to dodge attacks. They originally worked the same regardless of your equip load. Whether you fight up close or at range, magical or physical, essentially any build benefits greatly from putting their respective Ashes of War on your weapon—if not on your primary, then a lightweight Stat Stick you can easily switch to. Bloodhound Step eventually had the recovery nerfed enough to provide a window of vulnerability and doesn't move you as far at higher equip load, but both remain uniquely valuable in a game where few of the Ashes of War serve defensive function.
    • Putting a Cerulean Hidden Tear in your Flask of Wonderous Physick reduces all FP costs to zero for fifteen seconds. If you're a mage, that's still enough time to launch a burst of magic that can take a huge chunk of life off strong enemies, especially if you use Lusat's Glintsone Staff, which is the strongest sorcery staff in the game but has the downside of making all spells cast with it cost 50% more FP. One of the earliest discovered Cheese Strategies in the game involved combining this Tear with Comet Azur, a giant magical Kamehame Hadoken that obliterates pretty much anything in seconds but chews through your FP even faster. If you aren't a mage, you only need a few seconds of the buff to summon powerful spirits that would otherwise require dozens of points in the Mind stat (because even your max FP wouldn't be enough to use them). Either one is quite a step up from the much milder Status Buffs most of the other Tears provide.
  • Certain entries of the Etrian Odyssey series allow for subclassing, where your character can take on a subclass and gain access to the skills of a different class. Frequently, there's one class that stands out as the best class to take to enhance damage, due to a unique, potent buff they provide or a good mixture of passive skills that work with any class or weapon choice.
  • In Fable, the game's Mana Shield spell also prevents hits from resetting your Combat Multiplier, which increases experience. The spell is thus so useful for absolutely any character build that it qualifies as a Self-Imposed Challenge not to use it.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind and Oblivion have a pair of birthsigns which qualify. To note:
      • Endurance is the ruling attribute of each game. Considering that it determines your starting health, as well as your health gain per level, it is a critically important attribute for all character builds. Making Endurance one of your favored attributes during character creation is highly encouraged, even for magic-oriented characters, in order to avert becoming a Squishy Wizard. This turns "The Lady" birthsign into quite the delight, as it gives a sizeable boost to Endurance right at the start of the game. As nearly every other birthsign gives powers or boosts which can be replicated or easily made up for, The Lady is one of only two (see below) birthsigns which should be seriously considered.
      • The one reason not to choose The Lady is if you're planning to play as a pure mage and have a means in mind to make up for your extreme physical squishiness (such as the use of Shield spells, using summoned creatures as meat shields, or wearing armor to become a Magic Knight). In this case, you should choose The Atronach birth sign. It gives the largest possible bonus to your max Magicka pool, but at the cost of not being able to naturally regenerate Magicka. However, it also has another effect: a permanent 50% spell absorption. This gives you a 50/50 chance to absorb any incoming hostile spell, negating the spell while restoring your own Magicka. With this in place, it is fairly easy to make up the other 50% via spells, enchantments, or potion effects of Resist Magic to make you virtually immune to enemy magic attacks (and a dangerous Mage Killer to boot).
    • Skyrim:
      • Completing the Temple of Mara quest line confers the Agent of Mara blessing, a permanent, passive, always-on magic resistance. Magic resistance is useful for any character build and relatively hard to come by, generally requiring high levels of Enchanting skill or using the Lord Stone, which requires forgoing any of several other useful Standing Stone abilities. The quest line is very easy and can be undertaken as soon as the Dragonborn reaches Riften, which can be done by cart almost immediately after starting the game, so there's never any real reason not to do it as soon as possible.
      • Chaos is, bar none, the best weapon enchantment in the game due to the way it scales cumulatively from every perk and item that increases elemental damage. This includes all three Augmented Element perks, all three Elemental Enchanter perks, wearing any of the Solstheim Dragon Priest masks, and being placed on a Stalhrim weapon (bonus effect for Frost enchantments). An optimized enchanter will typically deal hundreds, if not over a thousand points of elemental damage with every hit. And if that wasn't enough, if you have the Dual Enchanter perk, if Chaos is the first enchantment you put on a weapon, it also makes the second enchantment much stronger!
      • In place of the Atronach birthsign, the game has the Atronach Stone, which does pretty much exactly the same thing. It's almost a no-brainer for any build to use the Atronach Stone, as its drawback is once again easily negated with enchanted items (with Enchanting, any mage can craft items to bring down the cost of their main schools of magic to zero anyways). This also stacks with the Atronach perk from the Alteration school of magic, giving you 80% spell absorption on top of any resistances you may also have, making you almost inured to magic. If you have either the infamous Necromage perk or two of Miraak's items, you can become completely immune to magic (this is important because normal Resistances have a cap, disallowing full immunity, while absorption doesn't).

    Sports Games 
  • Arc Style: Baseball!! 3D:
    • Pitching is all about using Tall characters. They have the second fastest delivery speed and the most useful pitches by far in the game: slider, two-seam and forkball. Also, since a whole lot of batters in the game are left-handed, you might as well make your pitcher a lefty too, so you can exploit the slider on them.
    • The "Max power" option is the most useful in batting, and it's only available to Macho characters. Have some of them on your team, and you'll get lots of runs. Granted, they're really slow, but you can compensate that with tons of hits to the gap or over the fence.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • The original 1st Edition AD&D Unearthed Arcana sourcebook as published for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons system had a number of these:
      • Weapon Specialization allowed fighters to specialize in a melee weapon to get a +1 bonus to hit and +2 damage on the weapon in exchange for giving up one of their initial four weapon proficiency slots and gave an extra attack every other round. Single handed weapons could be double specialized in for a +3/+3 bonus to hit and damage. Combine that with a decent strength score (it was usually possible to get an 18/xx exceptional strength score giving a minimum of +1/+3 to hit/damage) and every successful hit would be at least seven points of damage, enough to kill any standard one hit dice enemy 99% of the timenote  and this option could (as written) be taken at first level - combining the increased damage with the better attack rate meant first level fighters could mow through enemies much faster than "vanilla" fighters. Bows were no better - at point blank range they got an extra +2 to hit and multiplied the arrow damage plus the specialization bonus by two - a sheaf arrow doing one to eight hit points of damage from a normal hit would do six to twenty damage at that range - enough to drop most one hit dice enemies and on a lucky roll all two, most three and some weaker four hit dice enemies with a single hit - and you got two shots every combat round. A first level character with decent dexterity and strength scores and a strength adjusted bow (that allows you to add your strength bonuses to hit and damage as well as your dexterity bonus to hit) could be absurdly overpowered as long as they weren't forced into melee combat with a theoretical maximum damage output of over 50hp/combat round, enough to drop any creature of six hit dice or below regardless of hit points and enough to take out an average eleven hit dice creature such as a fire giant in a single round. Sensible GMs would bar first level fighters from taking specialization at all, only allowing its use when they gained new proficiency slots at fourth level (and seventh level for double specialization) making it still useful but less immediately overpowered.
      • Cavaliers and their subclass paladins had the mechanic of being allowed to increase their ability scores through training - cavaliers could increase their strength, dexterity and constitution and paladins could increase charisma also. This meant that high level cavaliers and paladins were very likely to have all exceptional scores in those abilities.
    • 3.5 Edition
      • The Natural Spell feat allowed a druid to cast spells while in wild shape form, making it an easy pick. In 5th Edition, druids can still cast spells while in animal form... as long as they're level 18.
      • Speaking of Druids, the Vow of Poverty feat forces a player to forsake anything but basic, nonmagical equipment, to the point that even a Masterwork item is disallowed. In return, they gain buffs that replace the items they've forsaken. This is a pretty balanced trade for most classes, but the bonuses stick to the player even through shapeshifting. Meaning that a Vow of Poverty Druid retains all their buffs while wildshaped, stacking the Vow buffs over top of their animal form's natural abilities. Throw in Natural Spell and the single disadvantage from being wildshaped vanishes. And since you're going to be Wildshaping during every combat, why not put your best stats into Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma, since those come with you while Wildshaped, but your physical stats don't?
      • Likewise, anyone playing a Swordsage is going to pick up Adaptive Style at 1st level, as it lets you refresh (swap out) all of your maneuvers in the time it takes to recover one normally. The feat is considered good for most Martial Adepts, but key for Swordsage — and it's still not as powerful as other Adepts, to the point that this can be seen as fixing an inherent flaw in the class rather than an example of this trope.
      • "Entangling Exhalation" is a must-have for any character with a Breath Weapon (particularly dragonfire adepts, who specialize in them), which lets them inflict a potent debuff in exchange for half damage.
      • It's very rare to see a Binder who doesn't pick up Improved Binding, since it lets you count yourself as two levels higher when determining the vestiges you can bind. A level 1 Binder without the feat has the choice of five vestiges. A level 1 Binder with the feat gets to pick between nine, and the additional four are also usually more powerful. The only time to not take the feat is if you're starting the campaign as a 17th-level Binder (meaning you can bind all the vestiges already) and you don't want to multiclass.
      • Divine Metamagic (Persistent Spell) allows already-frightening Cleric spells like, say, Divine Power to last the entire day, without so much as a spell level increase. Made even worse if the Cleric carries lots of Nightsticks, which give you even more turn attempts to burn...
      • Being human falls under this in 3.5, as it grants a free feat (a rare ability normally only gained at level 1, 3, 6, etc., that has an insane number of options and can help qualify for many a Prestige Class) and extra skill points (not as useful, but very helpful for qualifying for stuff and good for classes with the class skill options to make use of it). These tend to be far more useful than the racial abilities of other species, which are usually nothing special.
      • Power Attack for melee characters. To wit, enemy HP scales quickly. Your damage output does not scale nearly so quickly. Power Attack, and the things that build off of it, end up being responsible for offsetting the bulk of this.
      • Likewise, the ability to Pounce (or something mechanically similar) is almost mandatory for higher-level melee characters. It gives the ability to make a full attack after charging, so it can mean the difference between spending your first turn getting off just one attack, or half a dozen. The most infamous source of Pounce was the "Lion Totem Barbarian," class variant from Complete Champion, gaining the ability at level 1 instead of moving 10 feet faster (an ability easily and cheaply obtainable via magic boots and rarely critical anyway). Which dovetailed perfectly with the "Whirling Frenzy" Rage variant from Unearthed Arcana, which can also be taken at level 1 one of Lion Totem Barbarian and grants an additional attack while Raging.
      • While we're on melee combat, let's talk about the two most favored weapons of Minmaxers and melee. First, we have the Greatsword. Rolls 2d6 for damage, is two-handed so it gets a Strength Bonus buff and Power Attack does more damage, has an increased Critical Threat range like all swords, is a martial weapon, and pairs well with a lot of melee builds. It's Boring, but Practical. The other is the Spiked Chain. Normally, exotic weapons are the bane of minmaxers, as very few give any worthwhile bonus in exchange for a precious Feat slot. A Spiked chain, however, is a two-handed weapon, getting the same buffs as mentioned above for Greatswords, has reach so the user can strike farther than normal, and, unlike most reach weapons, can be used against adjacent opponents. It is also a weapon granting bonuses to attempts to trip or disarm opponents, making it very well-liked for technical melee builds that focus on abusing Attacks of Opportunity, and limiting the mobility and options of foes.
      • Tomb-Tainted Soul is the mandatory first-level feat for dread necromancers, because it means that their many negative-energy attacks can be used to infinitely heal themselves.
      • Then there's the embrace the dark chaos/shun the dark chaos feat shuffle. To explain, the spell embrace the dark chaos replaces one of your feats with a Abyssal Heritor feat but can force you to be chaotic. The spell shun the dark chaos means you can swap out that Abyssal Heritor feat for a normal one. This allows you to replace all the sucky mandatory feats with any other feat. Where it really gets broken is that some races, like elves, get weapon proficiency feats instead of just weapon proficiencies like everyone else that can then be shuffled away to get much better feats (in the case of elves, that's six extra feats).
      • Leadership is such an obvious choice for any character with high Charisma, that many DMs ban it outright. You can get a cohort to loyally follow you, who will be two levels lower than your own character — but since Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards is in effect, your cohort could still easily be more powerful than other members of the party, or even more powerful than you.
      • Just about any guide to the Factotum class will recommend that you take the "Font of Inspiration" feat as many times as possible, since it increases the pool of inspiration points which fuel your abilities. Likewise, since factotums have access to every skill in the game, the Iaijutsu Focus skill from Oriental Adventures is oddly popular as a source of reliable bonus damage.
      • The best weapon for the Iaijutsu Focus skill itself is not the katana, but the gnome quickrazor: an odd folding weapon which can be drawn or sheathed instantly, allowing the wielder to perform iaijutsu strikes more often.
    • 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons
      • The release of the Weapon Expertise and Implement feats was heralded by many screams and gnashing of teeth. Being a re-institution of the forbidden Unnamed Bonus (now a feat bonus under official errata) that, for just a Heroic feat, still scales into Paragon and Epic tiers. Widely remarked by CharOp superstars as making every class "have one less feat" for any character that does any attacking. What's even worse is that when you break the system in half and look at the gooey math, you can see that the +1 bonus at around the half-way point at all tiers is pretty much expected — so in some ways, this is a Game-Breaker that is pre-broken to be necessary (if one considers a 5% shift in accuracy to be necessary)! Some suspect that this was pretty much a patch to the game system, albeit one accomplished through a feat rather than through more permanent adjustments.
      • To clarify for those who haven't played it, player modifiers only automatically scale at +1 every two levels while monster modifiers scale at +1 per level meaning that you needed to come up with +15 in modifiers over 30 levels through feats, magic items, ability score increases, and tactics just to keep up. The game comes prebuilt to require this minmaxing and tells you the basics of how to do it.
      • The Essentials supplement line added variant versions that also give specific secondary benefits based on the type of weapon (or magical implement) they're taken for, in order to add a little more consequence to weapon type as well as make the feat do more than just dully ratchet up your attack roll bonus.
      • Essentials also added a Rogue variant called a Thief, and its at-will powers Tactical Trick and Ambush Trick. To be effective in combat, thieves require combat advantage to activate their Sneak Attack power. Normally, this requires a drawn out process involving using the Stealth skill, attacking, and using Stealth again. But they also can start with up to two of a pool of Tricks, including Tactical Trick and Ambush Trick. Both are move powers, which let you move as normal, but let you gain combat advantage when attacking an enemy adjacent to another ally (for Tactical Trick), or not adjacent to anyone (for Ambush Trick). This basically means that any Thief attacking a melee-based enemy, engages in combat with a melee ally, or staying away from everything else, is an instant death dealer.
    • 5th edition:
      • The Lucky feat. 3 times per day, you can give yourself an additional chance to not fuck up. In a game where luck is a big factor and a single bad roll of the dice can really ruin your day, this is a big deal. The ability to have several free re-rolls every day would already be useful to just about everyone, but to top it off, you can use it on rolls that you have disadvantage (roll two dice and pick the lowest roll) on, allowing you to roll a third time and pick the highest, turning disadvantage into super-advantage. There is never a wrong build to pick it on. Combine this with either a Divination wizard (who rolls two dice at the start of each adventuring day and may substitute any roll with one of them) or a Chronurgy wizard (who can make an ally or an enemy reroll), and starting at level 2, you mold fate like putty in your hands up to 5 times per day.
      • You can probably count spellcasters (especially of the Magic Knight variety) who don't take War Caster on one hand. The ability to reroll Constitution saving throws to maintain concentration on a spell after taking damage is almost essential to any caster, let alone one that spends any amount of time on the frontline of the party, especially since most casters don't have proficiency in Constitution saving throws.
      • Being a variant human gives you only a small ability score increase, but also gives you an extra feat. In a system where feats are on average far more powerful and scarce than they've ever been, this is a big deal.
      • Aarakocra are infamous for having a 50 feet flying speed at all times right out of the gate. Most races have a 30 feet speed and cannot fly without either magic or items acquired much further into the game. The only drawback? You cannot fly while wearing medium or heavy armor. Most casters and any Dexterity-focused classes, who will want to wear light armor anyways, could not give less of a shit. And if you want to be truly degenerate? Aaracokra monk. Your default ability score increases boost your two most important stats, you wear no armor at all (thus not hindering your flight whatsoever), and monks get speed increases as they level up, capping off at an obscene 80 feet flying speed by level 18 (almost 3 times faster than most characters are on the ground). Combine this with all the options a monk gets for making hit and run attacks and you have a character who's almost impossible to corner and pin down outside of a tiny room.
      • Yuan-ti Purebloods are an overpowered race for just one reason: Magic Resistance, which grants them advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects. Normally, you need a Mantle of Spell Resistance - a Rare magic item that takes one of your only three precious attunement slots - to achieve a lesser version that only works on spells and not "other magical effects". Yuan-ti get it right out of the gate with no restrictions nor drawbacks.
      • A two or three level dip in Fighter gives you some incredible utility in two one-use-per-rest features; "Second Wind" gives bonus action healing, and "Action Surge" allows you to take an additional action, a borderline Game-Breaker for certain builds. Assassin Rogues and Gloom Stalker Rangers can pull off some absurd Alpha Strikes by abusing Action Surge on their first turn, and Wizards get the ability to throw out two Fireballs in one round. By bumping up to a third level dip into Champion Fighter, you get an increased critical hit range (19-20), increasing your damage output quite substantially. It's also fairly easy to justify from a story perspective - just say your character hit the gym.
      • A two levels dip in Warlock can be considered this for almost every Charisma-based caster. The first gives you Eldritch Blast and the Hex spell, which combos with Eldritch Blast. The second gives you the Agonizing Blast invocation, which adds your Charisma modifier as additional damage on Eldritch Blast. For only two levels, this is a steal, allowing any Charisma-based caster to achieve damage per round comparable to that of a Fighter without needing to expend any limited-use resources. (If you refuse to sacrifice any levels, you can achieve a similar result with two feats instead: Magic Initiate and Eldritch Adept.)
      • For Paladins and some martial-oriented Bards, just one level into a Hexblade warlock can greatly increase viability, as it immediately grants both Hexblade's Curse, which massively increases your damage potential against a single opponent, and Hex Warrior, which grants proficiency with shields, medium armor, and all martial weapons, and most importantly allows you to use Charisma instead of Strength or Dexterity for weapon attack and damage rolls. This is a huge game changer, as it allows you to cast and attack off the same stat, making it much easier to max out your might and your magic at once to end up with a Master of All instead of a Master of None. You give up your ability to use two-handed weapons unless you sink three levels into Warlock to get the Pact of the Blade, but if you simply want to go sword-and-board (paladin) or dual-wield (College of Swords bard), you're golden.
      • The Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master feats. Both give some nice abilities for their respective combat styles, but what they are infamous for is the ability to take -5 to hit for +10 damage on every attack. Nothing else in the game can boost a multiple attacks in one turn by that much, and there is no limit to how often you can use it. The accuracy loss is an issue, but it is easily mitigated by many tactics, like the Archery fighting style, the Precision Attack maneuver, a +1, +2, or +3 weapon, and the ever-present advantage mechanic.
  • d20 Modern
    • In the sourcebook Cyberscape (a sourcebook about cybernetic implants), you get that little gem: An implant called Nasal Filter. It does Exactly What It Says on the Tin, filtering any airborne harmful chemicals or bacterias, giving a +6 to Fortitude saves (i.e. good extra protection) against airborne poisons and disease (including tear gas). But Wait, There's More! Its purchase DC is a mere 18 (meaning it can be purchased by any level one character) and it doesn't count against implant limits (in the standard cybernetics rules, you can only have a limited number of implants, depending on how much constitution you have (that is to say, how physically healthy you are)). Far from a gamebreaker in a game where gas masks can be readily bought from the Internet, but still an implant you have no legitimate reason not to take, just in case.
    • In the sourcebook D20 Future, there are mutations. Mutations are point based, you gain points by choosing harmful mutations, and spend them in advantageous mutations. One advantageous mutation, fang, gives you a bite attack. The cost for this mutation is equal to the bonus points you gain blood hunger mutation (which requires you to have a bite attack), that forces you to drink blood once a day from a living creature. All you need is a person willing to give you blood, and you get a close combat weapon no one can take away from you, at no cost.
    • D20 Modern handles wealth differently than most RPGs. Rather than having a specific amount of cash to your character's name, you instead have a derived stat called Wealth, which you roll when buying gear. This is meant to simulate how most modern era gear requires upkeep that warriors and wizards wouldn't have to worry about. The thing is, roll high enough and the item you're rolling for doesn't decrease your wealth; you're wealthy enough that it represents a trivial expense. Even sticking to the core book, this will give you lots of options, but it gets really dangerous once D20 Future and especially Mecha Crusade get involved. Future features cybernetics that can do anything from enhance your stats to grant you bonus Feats. While Mecha Crusade is primarily focused on Humongous Mecha, there are stats for a Large sized Mini-Mecha (approximately nine feet tall, meaning it's able to fit inside most warehouses and institutional hallways) that is absolute hell on wheels in a normal scale fight (it adds +8 Strength, +100 Hit Points, and comes with a chaingun that deals 5d6 damage (for comparison, an AK-47 deals 2d8).
  • Medichines in Eclipse Phase. They are cheap, they have no downsides, they give powerful and extremely important bonuses and all too often they literally mean the difference between life and death (many dangers you can't even try to save against if you don't have medichines). The only reason not to buy them is if your character has some kind of ideological thing going on against nanotech, and even then...
  • GURPS.
    • Flexibility and Double-Jointed give better bonuses to Climbing, Escape, and Erotic Art than simply leveling them up normally.
    • The Health attribute costs 10 points to increase. Its main uses are increasing FP, Basic Speed, and your chances of not dying. Coincidentally, FP can be purchased or lowered at 3 points per FP, Basic Speed can be increased/decreased at 5 points per quarter-level note , and for -2 points a level, Easy To Kill reduces your death threshold by the same amount that a boost to Health increases it. In other words, you can increase your Health to the soft limit of 20 for exactly zero points so long as your FP, Basic Speed, and death threshold stay the same.
    • Combat Reflexes: A poster on claimed every player in his group took it and renamed it "Don't Suck". It costs 15 to give +1 to dodge, parry, and block, then a pile of minor effects. Enhanced Dodge alone (+1 to dodge) costs 15 points as well. Puzzle that out.Answer  By Word of Kromm, it is intentionally under-priced to help lower-point characters "not die all the time."
      • Incidentally, one of those "minor effects"? Is effective immunity to being simply gunned down by surprise while the character is still standing there uncomprehendingly — Combat Reflexes renders the character immune to "total surprise" (freezing up for 1-6 precious seconds in a game where combat time is tracked in one-second turns — and can happen to most anyone who doesn't take the advantage and gets caught by surprise badly enough) and gives a sizable bonus to rolls to quickly shake off what's left.
    • Ambidexterity: You can spend 5 points to learn Off-Hand Weapon Training for one specific weapon... or you can spend 5 points for Ambidexterity and do everything equally well with both hands.
      • Semi-patched later with a perk version of Off-Hand Weapon Training, letting you pick it up for one point... for one weapon skill, and weapon skills only.
    • Curious is a downplayed example, as hardcore min-maxers aren't likely to touch it. However since its effect is "only" to force you into actions that the average casual player would be doing anyway for fun ("Sure, I'll push that Big Red Button!") it's regarded as free points in many groups.
    • Jinxed (bad luck...for people around you, not yourself) was removed from the game in 4th edition because it got abused by munchkins who didn't care about other players having fun to gain some more free points.
    • The ability to assemble advantages by modifying pre-existing ones makes inventing these an amusement for some. M.U.N.C.H.K.I.N. is one classic (though not actually legal) example. Game Masters are expected to regulate player-designed advantages.
  • Big Eyes, Small Mouth has the same thing with Extra Actions. A single extra action essentially doubles your combat prowess (making two attacks instead of one), a second is tripling your ability, etc. Most GMs either ban the ability completely or limit it to speedster-type characters.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Anything that changed up your force organization chart can usually be used to get around pesky requirements. Most notably anything that allowed a disproportionate amount of Elites or Heavy Support Choices tend to break the game in half, as these slots usually held the most firepower or special abilties (most notably the Iron Warriors of 3.5 Edition). Normally these came with extreme restrictions on your options, but in most cases you're only taking them to spam one or two specific units, so the point becomes moot. Similarly, Formations in 7th edition comprised of a single powerful unit usually broke the game in half, as prior to that the only solace your opponent had was that you had to at least burn some points on compulsories. Riptide Wing was the most notable.
  • Earlier versions of the merit Silver Resistance in Werewolf: The Apocalypse. The original version completely negated the Kryptonite Factor for werewolves, including the minor side penalties for carrying any silver around. It was pretty much carte blanche to create an anti-Black Spiral machine. The ability was eventually nerfed so that it only allowed the character to have a chance to soak silver damage (but any damage that got through would be just as crippling as it would be on any other werewolf).
    • Similarly, Fair Glabro. Glabro Form is one of the five werewolf shapes, and while it typically boosts your Strength and Stamina, it leaves you looking like Lawrence Talbot under the full moon. That is, unless you take this two-point Merit that merely leaves you looking like a very hirsute bodybuilder.
      • The starting stats for Rage (which could be spent for extra actions), Gnosis (to fuel spiritual powers), and Willpower (all-around useful for powering a variety of effects) were based off of choice of tribe, auspice (class), and ancestry (human, wolf or werewolf-inbreeding), with some options just giving flat-out more points than any other without a direct compensation elsewhere. Tribe and auspice can't be chosen for maximum points guilt-free, because while an Ahroun (warrior werewolf) gets 5 points of Rage, this doesn't help you at all if you'd like to play a stealthy character and now can't take any supernatural powers related to that because all of those are tied to the Ragabash (trickster) auspice that receives only 1 point of Rage. However, the choice of your breed has a lesser effect: a wolf-born character can't take some human skills at character creation and has access to a different list of gifts than a human one, which isn't any worse. However, the wolfborn does get 5 points of starting gnosis rather than 1 and can always be played as a "fast learner" when it comes to human culture...
      • Then there's the most infamous build: Lupus Stargazer Ahroun. Lupus, as wolf-born werewolves close to nature, start with 5 Gnosis. Stargazers, an Eastern tribe focused on internal balance, start with 5 Willpower. Ahroun, as the righteous warriors of Gaia, start with 5 Rage. Of course, this locks the character into a very specific concept (wild-touched Zen master rage monster). More recent editions have toned it down by giving Stargazers 4 Willpower to start, taking them away from superhuman and more towards the real of other pacifistic tribes such as the Children of Gaia.
  • Though the specific rule has since been removed, the original Zelda d20 rules included the feat "Attunement", which bonded the character with any creature with intelligence of at least 3, and provided bonuses that varied based on what creature it was. Attuning a character with a fairy provided a +1 bonus to all attack rolls (which beats out weapon focus, since the latter only applies to one kind of weapon) and a +2 bonus to Reflex saves (identical to the bonus given by the feat "Lightning Reflexes"), essentially giving the character two feats for the price of one. In addition, faeries had the ability to cast Cure serious wounds once per day as a 5th level caster. There was, however, the disadvantage that the player had to be within 50ft of the attuned creature, and could thus be separated from it (or the creature could presumably be targeted and killed).
    • Not to mention the fact that Fairies are known to never shut up. "Hey, Listen!".
  • In Legend of the Five Rings, there's Elemental Blessing and Enlightenment, both of which reduce the cost of increasing your traits, making them more than pay for themselves in the long run. It's not even that long of a wait if you spend your points right.
    • Friend of the Elements is also very good because it gives you a free Raise on all rolls involving a Ring of your choice for only a few points. For those keeping track, this means that you get roughly the equivalent of a +1 to two traits for a fraction of the cost of improving one.
      • All trait rolls (where it's just the trait in question, nothing else), so it's no good for things like skills or spellcasting. This is still very useful in the case of the Earth Ring. With a grand total of zero skills innately based on either Stamina or Willpower (okay, there's a couple niche rolls that use them, but no skill has either as its listed linked trait), pretty much every roll using either of those two will be a trait roll, especially since they're the game's resistance stats. This gets a little more delightful for minmaxers in that Touch of the Void, mentioned in the disadvantages section, involves a Willpower trait roll. Moreover, Friend of the Elements and Touch of the Void break roughly even with each other in terms of costs, and in the case of Phoenix Shugenja — which aren't uncommon, given that having tons of shugenja is the Phoenix Clan's big thing, and as a player they're easily the most versatile shugenja option — it's actually a net profit in terms of available EXP. This goes a little further in that Phoenix Shugenja also get a discount on the advantage that gives them access to Void spells, which means having potentially far more resources than normal with which to put the Friend of the Elements/Touch of the Void combination to use.
  • In Los Angeles 2035, two levels of Aikido are almost mandatory for every character. With those two levels, you have enough to buy the Reaction technique, giving you one free defensive action per turn. In a game where you gain actions as a result of your initiative roll, which is remade every turn, and need to spend one of your action to dodge or parry once, one extra defense each turn is a really good ability.
  • One Exalted merit, with a name like Brutal Attack, allowed you to use Strength instead of Dexterity for attack rolls. This was a must-have for anyone who intended to engage the enemy in close combat, for a simple reason. Until the sourcebook containing merits and flaws came along, Dexterity was One Stat to Rule Them All and Strength was meh. As a result, there were a lot of cheap ways to increase your Strength, not so many for Dexterity. Especially absurd for Lunars, who could just take a tyrant lizard spirit shape and access, from character creation, Strength 14 in a system where 5 is defined as "peak human" strength.
  • Black Crusade allows players to choose (or roll) a "Motivation" from a table that affects their stats. The "Perfection" Motivation could technically be misconstrued as a disadvantage in that it lowers your stat total by 1, but its specificities (+5 to one stat, -3 to two, all chosen by the player) just amplify minmaxing because it's very easy to choose two Dump Stats.
  • Star Trek Adventures:
    • The Quick to Action talent. During the first round of combat, the players can keep initiative for zero cost to their momentum. Since STA runs on a Players-Opponents-Players turn format this quickly results in the players essentially being able to do major damage to the opponent before they even get to start. A very common houserule amongst STA GMs is to limit it to one time.
    • Anything with the Vicious Quality applies. For every effect rolled, the "effect" gained is an extra point of damage. On very high damage rolls sufficient effects can be One-Hit Kill.
    • Phasers during space combat are significantly more powerful than Torpedoes due to the "Versatile" quality, which gains momentum per effect rolled. A very well rolled Phaser shot as a result can max out the momentum pool immediately and have overflow momentum that can used immediately for extra damage.
    • Melee Combat on the ground is very powerful and frequently preferred by players over energy weapon combat. First, Melee Combat is Turn Agnostic as every melee check is an opposed task, and whomever wins the rolls is the attacker, meaning that players can frequently spend momentum for extra dice to overpower an enemy attacker and then defeat them.
      • In addition, the Talent Mean Right Hook gives melee combat the aforementioned "Vicious" quality, making it much easier to knockout an enemy despite the general lower damage output of hand-to-hand combat.
      • General Melee Weapons are also very powerful in their own right despite coming with a Threat cost, but also have Vicious 1 quality and have higher base damage than unarmed strikes, meaning that while they minimally increase the GM's potential to fight back, the players have a significantly higher chance of giving the enemies a bad day.
    • Hand Phasers "Charge" quality is also very popular though in a more Boring, but Practical way. As a minor action, a player can use a Charge to activate a stun or wide beam effect. If the player is lucky and rolls an effect as well the player can easily trigger a Wide Angle Stun Area of Effect.
    • In Non-Combat talents, the Advanced Sensors Talent for starships is almost universally taken because it reduces the difficulty of all scans done by the ship by one. This makes it unlikely the players will have Failed a Spot Check when using the ship's sensors very unlikely as when using the ship's sensors the players are rolling three dice and the odds of a what would be a Difficulty 5 or 4 task (which would be reduced to 4 or 3 with the talent) appearing are very slim for most GMs.
      • Related to this - Science Officers also get a bonus free Obtain Information anytime they do a scan with the ship's sensors, meaning that Science heavy ships frequently can acquire the required information immediately.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • In most Fire Emblem games, a mounted or flying traits is this, since being mounted translates into extra mobility, the ability to re-move after certain actions, and perform rescue dropping actions efficiently. Flying combines this with the ability to ignore terrain, at the cost of no terrain defense bonuses and being slaughtered by bows. Combined with several other factors, and lack of balancing factors between mounted and infantry units, and the tier lists for practically every Fire Emblem game is dominated by Mounted and Flying units, with some utility and exceptional combat units appearing here and there.
    • The Jugdral games have it worst. Genealogy has massive maps, which resulted in mounted units having complete dominance over the cast. Thracia is filled with obscenely broken staffs on both sides, to the point that at the late game, there are only 2 kind of units, ones with a staff rank and high magic and ones that don't have a staff rank.
    • Skill example: Galeforce from Fire Emblem: Awakening. It allows the user a full extra action after killing an enemy, which includes attacking again. This skill greatly increases both a unit's offensive power and mobility, and a full army of Galeforce users can wipe out entire maps in a single turn. It being exclusive to females (being a Pegasus Knight skill) is a big reason behind Awakening's Game Favoured Gender, but male children can inherit it from their mothers. Getting Galeforce on as many characters as possible is the biggest concern for Minmaxers when making pairings. Galeforce was such a Game-Breaker that Fire Emblem Fates not only nerfed it, they also made the class that gives it DLC-only.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics:
    • The Archer class' Support Ability, Concentration, makes physical and some magical attacks perfectly accurate when they'd otherwise have a large chance of missing.
    • The Samurai class's Blade Grasp Reaction Ability (automatically prevent all damage from an attack) ensures that your units will rarely get physically hit ever again, as long as they have a high Brave score. If that's not good enough, the Monk's Hamedo/First Strike Reaction Ability, while being much more expensive, will prevent all physical melee damage by punching the enemy first, turning it into a counterpunch. Unlike Blade Grasp, it doesn't work on ranged attacks, however.
    • The Calculator skillset lets you cast nearly any spell instantly, at infinite range, at 0 MP cost, essentially turning the character you give it to a Person of Mass Destruction. The Calculator has the shortcoming of its spell targeting being very different from any other class, with the result that the only way to hit the intended target(s) might also put some (or in extreme cases, all) of your own party members in the line of fire. Fortunately, that flaw can very easily be turned in an asset by spamming Holy (a strong spell that no enemy is immune to) and equipping your party members with items that absorb Holy. Once that's done, it's a good thing if your Calculator hits himself and/or an ally with his spell, because they'll be healed by it.
    • The Samurai's Draw Out skill is a varied and powerfull skill that has healing, buffing, and large area magic damage spells that are all instant casting and zero MP cost. It is balanced out by the Samurai's low magic skill, it being far down the fighting job class tree and the fact that every time it's used, there's a chance that it might break the katana used in the skill, and the stronger the skill, the harder the said katana is to aquire, with some of them being normally one-of-a-kind items. Give this skill to a high level black mage and it becomes ridiculously good, especially since the attack spells become one hit kills due to the damage formula's being optimized for the Samurai, and the risk of katanas breaking can be mitigated by either duplicating them or catching thrown copies of them from high level ninjas.
    • The hugely powerful Monk + Double-Strike combo (unarmed attacks + strike twice per attack). Because of the way the Monk class scales damagenote , at level 50 or so, these tend to deal ~200 damage per hit — a feat only matched by Cid.
    • Lancer/Dragoon + Time Magic: A Dragoon's biggest damage dealer is their Jump ability, but the farther they travel, the longer it takes for them to land, and their target could move before they do if you're not paying attention. Giving a Dragoon the Haste effect lets them land twice as fast, and the effect of Haste is not dependent on the Dragoon's magic stat: Haste is either on or off, no in between. If you're willing to spend the points, Dragoons can also get the Quick spell, which makes their Jump attacks unstoppable.
    • Concentrate in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance increases the accuracy of physical attacks by a flat 50% and status effects by 20% (20 and 50 of 100, not of base accuracy). This is in a game where a bunch of classes are balanced around low accuracy, and the latter includes One-Hit Kill moves whose only weakness was a low natural accuracy. A2 massively nerfed it to just a 5% increase (along with making base accuracy for physical attacks 99%).
    • Because MP in A2 starts at 0 and grows each turn. Halve MP and Blood Price are by far the best Support ability for Magick-users.
      Concerning clan abilities, AP Up can easily be this because only a few of the other in-battle abilities make much of a difference, you'll want more Ability Points to get new abilities (and thus jobs) until you've nearly got 100% Completion, the amount of AP non-story missions give without it is rather pathetic in comparison (AP Up 3 gives triple the base amount), and the other reward-increasing abilities (for Gil and Clan Point) fall firmly into Money for Nothing, .
  • The Super Robot Wars series has a number of skills that are seen as must-takes when available for purchase:
    • SP Regen:SP, the SRW series equivalent of Mana, is the most limited resource in the games and the hardest to replenish. In most games, you must equip consumable items at the expense of stat-boosting parts or use very expensive support spells. SP Regen gives 10 SP per turn and many characters get very useful spells that only cost 10-15 SP.
    • Ditto Attacker. Giving a 1.2x multiplier to damage dealt when above a certain morale threshold makes it mandatory for any boss-slayer and arguably just any unit in general. Attacker is meant to match abilities like Mazin Power or Aggressive Beast that have similar effects, but it just translates into everyone getting the skill instead of it being someone's signature trait.
    • Later SRW titles, including Alpha 3, Z, and 2nd Original Generation took the less minmax-friendly route of making SP Regen (and Attacker in 2nd OG) an inherent skill available only to a select few pilots such as Loran Cehack and Lacus Clyne. These pilots are usually top-tier just for having SP Regen alone. SP Regen can also be given temporarily to other pilots using an extremely rare part, but only two-three of these are typically made available.
    • The SRW Z2 games have Continuous Action, which allows a character with 120 Morale to take an Extra Turn after defeating an enemy, with the Morale check made after gaining 5 points for making the kill. It only activates once per turn (changing forms/pilots on Transforming Mecha with multiple pilots doesn't reset this), but it breaks the game wide open.
  • Disgaea outright encourages this with the Big Bang skill. It's a fist move that covers a 3x3 area. And rest assured, there will be a map late in the game that features powerful enemies arranged in just such a manner that a single Big Bang clears the map. Combining this with Stronger Enemies bills is the secret to having your characters reach the Absurdly High Level Cap of 9999. So no matter what your party's makeup is, and what weapons they favor, you will teach all the humanoid members Big Bang at some point. Disgaea 5 downplays this by giving every non-Staff humanoid weapon at least one 3x3 skill, allowing all humanoid classes to easily benefit from "here's a grid of enemies for you to smash for EXP" stages without having to change weapon types.
  • Age of Wonders features an option for building a custom leader at the start with access to abilities that you can't buy later. Meanwhile you can free up extra points by selling the abilities you start with that are useless or can be bought later on level up. The most notable start-only abilities are First Strike, Cold Strike, and Lightning Strike, because First Strike means that whenever someone attacks you in melee, you get a free attack at them first, while Cold and Lightning strike give you a chance of freezing or stunning them respectively, thus completely negating the attack they were about to make. At high levels you only need First Strike since you'll be doing enough damage to just kill nearly everything outright on the first attack. This combo is so overpowered that the modding community banned First Strike in competitions.

Disadvantage Examples:

    Fighting Games 
  • Some of the equipment you can find in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U have flawed abilities on them, which generally make the positive to negative stat ratio on them much more appealing, and some of them are notably not much of a problem.
    • Flaws that affect item use, like the one that lowers the damage of thrown items, or the one that lowers the health restored by food, aren't much of a concern since they're very situational; items appear randomly and many players don't play with them turned on anyway. The Risky Respawner flaw is especially useful. The stat gains from it are very high, and all it does is remove the two seconds of invincibility you get when you return to the stage after a death. Not only is it an easy sacrifice to make, but in certain game modes and matches where you only have one life anyway you lose absolutely nothing.
    • The Shield Degenerator flaw is another example. It's usually better to dodge attacks as opposed to blocking them, and the flaw itself isn't really that noticeable at all. Even more effective for characters with counterattacks, which can serve the same purpose.

  • Cataclysm lets you take disadvantages for up to 12 (or more if you modify the options) bonus points. Some of these are rather inconsequential.
    • The Ugly and Truth Teller traits only affect NPC interactions. Since NPCs are turned off by default, they're basically free points, and the effect of the traits are negligible even if you do have NPCs enabled.
    • Poor Hearing is almost advantageous to take, since you can still hear nearby monsters, which is the main use of hearing, and you are less likely to be woken up by noises while sleeping.
    • Trigger Happy gives you a small chance to randomly activate burst fire when shooting an automatic weapon. If you don't plan on using automatic weapons, it's a free point, and even if you do the chance of it activating is quite small (1/30), making it quite manageable.
    • Far-sighted prevents you from reading books and gives a penalty to melee accuracy and crafting when you're not wearing glasses. However, glasses are quite common, and you're guaranteed to start with a pair, so you should be fine as long as you carry a spare pair of glasses in case they break.
    • Thin Skin increases the cutting damage you take by 1, which is trivial.
    • Squeamish prevents you from wearing filthy clothing, AKA clothing looted directly from zombies. This might be a mild inconvenience if you picked the Very Bad Day challenge and Shower Victim profession, but if you survive long enough to find a full set of clothing it stops being an issue. Even if you do find some clothes you want on a zombie, washing them becomes easy after day 3 or so, and because wearing filthy clothing already has many disadvantages (a morale penalty, the fact that they are almost always heavily damaged, and a higher risk of getting a bite wound whenever you are hit), you wouldn't want to wear them without washing them anyways.
  • Deepwoken: The Simple Flaw reduces your EXP gain in exchange for providing 2 boons to choose for your character and being the only flaw for this character you can get at the start, discounting other flaws you get from Shrines and Yun'Shul. Considering that EXP gain is largely ineffective at max Power, this makes it the best Flaw provided one is willing to bear the additional level grind.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Arcanum has the "Beat with the Ugly Stick" background trait. Your character is extremely ugly and has a -6 to their Beauty... but Beauty is a Dump Stat which only affects initial reaction modifiers, so while most characters will dislike you when you first talk to them, nearly every dialogue has an option to ask them to tolerate you, thereby allowing the conversation to continue as normal. The trade-off for this is +2 to both Strength and Dexterity and a slight boost to all combat skills, resulting in your character being more than capable of dealing with many of the early-game combat encounters.
  • In Bloodborne, the most powerful Blood Gems (gems that you slot into your weapon to boost its stats) are "cursed" and come with a random negative effect. Some of these negative effects are far more desirable than others. For instance, your serrated fire-damage weapon you carry explicitly for killing beasts isn't going to be too terribly disadvantaged by "attack vs. the kin down" since you aren't going to be fighting kin with it anyway, and "attack vs. beasts down" is likewise a non-issue for a specialized kin-killing weapon. And neither one will matter in PvP since other players aren't beasts or kin. For general PvE, "increased stamina consumption" is typically the way to go since even stacking three of this disadvantage on the same weapon amounts to maybe one less swing before you run out of stamina, if that, and has no effect at all on guns since they cost no stamina to fire anyway. Likewise, "durability down" has no effect on guns since they never lose any durability in the first place.
  • In The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, you can set various advantages and disadvantages when making a custom class. Taking advantages makes you more powerful, but slows the rate at which you level up. Taking disadvantages does just the opposite. As such, it is possible to take disadvantages that your race or class cancels out, while still getting the boost to level up rate. One prominent example is to play as an Altmer (High Elf), who have a natural immunity to paralysis, then take "Weakness to Paralysis" as a disadvantage. The game considers it a significant disadvantage, greatly boosting the speed at which you level up, but you never actually experience the consequences. Further, taking all of the various "Weakness to Fire", "Weakness to Frost", etc. disadvantages grants you a greater boost to your level up rate than taking the "Immunity to Magic" advantage penalizes you. Immunity to Magic makes all of these weaknesses completely moot.
  • Final Fantasy XIII:
    • Stagger Lock weapons. They have higher than average stats in both Strength and Magic, but can't stagger enemies on their own. Fortunately, the other characters can stagger enemies. Plus the weapons can all synthesize the Random: Instant Chain skill. Most people usually give one to their main Commando, i.e. Fang or Snow, since they'll almost never stagger an enemy anyways and will always benefit from the damage boost.
    • Sazh's Pleiades Hi-Powers and their upgrade the Hyades Magnums. Phenomenal Strength stats, but no Magic and it drops you HP by a ton. However, Sazh has the second highest HP, so the HP drop isn't that much of an issue and if the player is using Sazh, they'll mostly be using his Blitz, which runs off of Strength. This makes him hit like a tank with very little downside.
  • Flaws in The Outer Worlds reward 1 free Perk Point in exchange to taking on a permanent, but conditional, debuff to your stats. What really makes these a delight are the conditions themselves being relatively minor if you know which ones are cost-free.
    • Acrophobia is the king of Flaws when taking the above into account, because the debuff will never activate in a relevant combat heavy area with heights in the game.
    • Enemy Phobias (There's one for every alien) only affect your critical chance and weakspot damage to a minor degree, so there's really no risk in taking these unless you have a hard time fighting one enemy type in particular.
    • Far-Sighted and Near Sighted are completely free if your character doesn't use Melee or Ranged combat, but even then the debuff is only -10 to a weapon skill.
  • In Path of Exile endgame levels are accessed through Map items, which follow the same Randomly Generated Loot system as other items. Each modifier on a map adds a complication and increases the quantity and rarity of items dropped. Depending on your build some mods will be completely irrelevant, such as a modifier that reduces critical multiplier when using a Damage Over Time build that cannot crit, turning the modifier into a free Random Drop Booster.
  • Since the third generation of Pokémon, every Pokémon has one of 25 natures, with each lowering one non-HP stat and raising another (except the five of that twenty that raise and lower the same stat, effectively doing nothing). Natures that lower an attack stat a given Pokémon will not use are easily the most popular, in particular Adamant (+Attack, -Special Attack), Modest (+Special Attack, -Attack), Jolly (+Speed, -Special Attack), and Timid (+Speed, -Attack). Natures that lower Speed are a close second. While Speed is an important stat for most Pokémon, there are some who are very unlikely to outspeed anything anyways, and actively lowering their Speed even further makes tactics such as Gyro Ball and Trick Room that much more viable.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Flaws in Dungeons & Dragons (3.5). For the low, low price of making you worse at something you're probably never going to do (for instance, taking the "Shaky" flaw for a pure melee character that doesn't plan on ever making a ranged attack), you get bonus feats, which are very, very, very precious. In extreme cases, your new feat can make you completely immune to something the flaw gave you a weakness to.
    • The splatbook Heroes of Horror introduced the similar mechanic of the Taint of Evil. Exposure to evil causes Depravity or Corruption, moving through the categories of minor, moderate, and severe, picking up a new disadvantage in each category, to a maximum of 6. The catch is that when either of your scores moves to moderate, you get a bonus Feat to represent all the foridden knowledge your exposure has granted you, and then it happens again at severe (while corruption and depravity are tracked separately, they don't award Feats separately; the limit is two bonus Feats total). Some of the Taint penalties have modest bonuses alongside the severe penalties, such as "fused bones," granting +2 STR and -4 DEX. This would already be a Minmaxer's Delight, but the Taint rules say that Evil Outsiders and undead can ignore the negative effects of Taint and keep the Feats. Making an Evil Outsider Player Character is generally not worth it; the level adjustments and racial hit dice cost a lot more than two Feats are worth, and that's assuming you could get a DM to agree to letting you play. The thing is, the unrelated splatbook Libris Mortis centered around undead, including adding the Necropolitan template to allow undead players with minimal drawbacks...which now comes with two free bonus Feats and whatever small bonuses you can scrounge off your Taint score.
  • d20 Modern:In the sourcebook D20 Future, there are mutations. Mutations are point based, you gain points by choosing harmful mutations, and spend them in advantageous mutations. One advantageous mutation, fang, gives you a bite attack. The cost for this mutation is equal to the bonus points you gain blood hunger mutation (which requires a bite attack to be taken), that forces you to drink blood once a day from a living creature. All you need is a person willing to give you blood, and you get a close combat weapon no one can take away from you, at no cost. In the same vein, Festering Sores is a mutation that covers your character's skin with festering sores. The effect is more aggravating than harmful, but it reduces an armor's max Dexterity bonus by 2 and increases armor penalties by 2. A fast hero with maxed out dexterity gains no benefits from armors anyway, so he/she might as well take this mutation. There is also "Neutrad Dependency" and "Poisonous blood". The first being a mutation that gives you 6 points and makes you roll fortitude saves or get Constitution damage unless you take a Neutrad dose every day (and taking a Neutrad dose fixes the damage), the second making your blood poison itself and requiring a daily Antitox dose or suffer the same effects, and gives you as many points. Sounds bad right? Except Neutrad and Antitox are cheap and freely available commodities (unless you play D20 Apocalypse).
    • Traits and flaws from Unearthed Arcana make a comeback in d20 Modern. So for a character whom isn't a tech guy/gal, technophobe is a real bargain. By taking penalties to technical skills, most of those cannot be used untrained, you gain a free feat.
    • For a low strength character, Skinny and Slippery are good traits. By taking penalties to strength check to avoid being bull rushed and maintaining a grapple, respectively (both areas in which you were already doomed), you gain bonuses to escape artist checks, though the latter trait only apply to escaping a grapple.
  • Meticulous from Pathfinder First Edition. For getting a -2 when making a skill check for which you are untrained (few skills are ever worth using untrained), you gain a bonus trait (traits are small buffs).
    • Another abusable flaw is Naive, which can be taken to get more traits. You receive a -2 penalty to your defense against improvised weapons and -2 CMD vs dirty tricks. These are literally the worst weapons in the game and represent things like someone smacking you with a barstool.
  • Abstinent (Tobacco) in Aces And Eights: Shattered Frontier. Free points, plus some money saved on top of it.
  • Depending on the game, a min-maxer in some Old World of Darkness games could get points for some truly pathetic flaws. Do you wear glasses and have a mild caffeine addiction? That could be leveraged into two points in a game where new characters have only 15 discretionary ones to spend. A real munchkin could go so far as to buy shatter-resistant lenses, carry a back-up pair, and then have a small supply of caffeine pills on hand just in case the StoryTeller ever tried to put the character at a disadvantage. Such lame flaws tended to get rejected by the GM, of course, but they were there in the rules as written.
  • Despite the game's nature of having deadly, deadly disadvantages, Legend of the Five Rings is unique in that many of the disadvantages can simply never come up. A Caster can take Elemental Imbalance at maximum ranks for up to 8 free points, and all they have to do is simply never cast from that element which would otherwise be available to them. A Fire Shugenja giving up the ability to cast Earth spells doesn't lose much. Doubt gives several points, at the expense of being slightly worse at a skill you never use. Ascetic is similarly a good choice for characters who don't rely on equipment.
    • Touch of the Void has a chance to daze you when you use Void Points, but improves their benefit. Once you have a high enough Willpower trait to resist being dazed, it becomes purely beneficial. What's more, the penalty from daze doesn't last as long as the bonus from using a Void Point for tasks that take multiple rounds to complete.
      • Touch of the Void goes a step further in delightfulness in the hands of an ishiken (a shugenja capable of using Void spells), largely because of two low-level (read: some builds can start with both of them using the basic chargen rules) Void spells. The first one, Drawing the Void, generates a fairly significant number of Void Points per casting, and it can go over the normal maximum (though points over the maximum fade quickly whether they're spent or not, albeit not quickly enough to prevent stacking up enormous piles of Void Points with repeated castings). The second one, Altering the Course, allows for spending more than one Void Point at a time to boost a roll. If you're spending four or more Void Points on a roll, it doesn't matter if you pass or fail the daze check from Touch of the Void, because Dazed doesn't stack and the extra boost per Void Point spent matches the Dazed penalty on the third Void Point and overwhelms it on the fourth.
    • There is a Bad Fortune disadvantage that states an NPC wants to wreck your love life to have you for his/herself. These NPCs tend to be personally or politically powerful, otherwise they would not have the means to actually affect you given the average PC is a samurai. Some players consider this free points with the guarantee a useful NPC that is interested in them will show up eventually or simply have no love life for this person to ruin by playing a ascetic monk.
  • GURPS has several "disadvantages" that compel you to kill things and take their stuff.
    • On the flip side, for anyone playing on the complete other end of the heroic scale, you have disadvantages that compel you to act heroic or tell the truth (though for the latter one, there's also the possibility that you're just very blatant when you lie).
    • The Weirdness Magnet "disadvantage." Attract all the weirdest possible events in the world? Some people call that condition "being player characters in an RPG." Handily it gives exactly the number of points needed for the Unflappability talent, which keeps you from panicking when Weirdness Magnet comes up.
    • There is nothing technically illegal about taking the "emergencies only" modifier for a discount on advantages like Hard to Kill, which are by definition emergency powers anyway. In many cases it may be a good idea for combat powers in general, assuming that combat in your setting is, in general, life threatening. A case can also be made for taking a temporary bloodlust disadvantage for emergency combat powers that will only come up in lethal-force situations anyway.
    • The bog-standard set of disadvantages for a typical 3rd edtion GURPS character is Bad Temper, Impulsive, Overconfidence, a 5-point Code of Honor (compeling you strictly to behave nicely to your allies, essentially), and a 5-point Sense of Duty (making you want to behave nicely to your allies). All of those basically make you act like a PC in an RPG, and rare indeed is the PC without at least one of those.
  • Averted for plot-related disadvantages in Mutants & Masterminds, called "Complications". They only yield their benefit (free Hero Points) when and if they disadvantage your character in some way.
    • There are, however, mechanical Flaws and Drawbacks in the second edition that offer point discounts and refunds. Some particularly effective ones include the combination of Non-Lethal and Full Power on an attack, or the Check Required flaw. The most broken Drawback is Holding Back, mean to represent potential Superpowered Evil Side. It refunds you several points, and in exchange you can occasionally exceed the power level of the campaign. Most GMs wisely ban it, or remove control from the player while it is in effect.

    Third-Person Shooter 
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising has negative weapon abilities that can used to free up more value room for better abilities, many of which are nullified with the right setup. For example lowering melee damage on ranged weapons, or lowering ranged damage on melee weapons. Certain play styles don't need speed at all and can have it lowered without missing it, and the negative Heart Boost modifier (which decreases the amount of currency you get by defeating enemies) has no effect at all in multiplayer.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten contains a scaling XP/mana (used to pay for new or upgraded abilities)/money system. Once you've gotten about half way through the game the amount of money you're earning through grinding and story missions is so large than you can scale back the money to about 5% in exchange for almost doubling the amount of xp you earn without any real impact. Add in the enemy level up tiles and harder enemies options and it's incredibly easy to fly through the levels.
  • In XCOM 2, Dark Events that appear every month are normally meant to increase the difficulty of missions unless they're countered. However, there are some whose consequences are mild to non-existent. These events are usually considered a free-card when it comes to deciding which of the few events of the month to counter:
    • A dark event has Faceless appear in every mission, which is actually beneficial to the player. Faceless are mostly harmless and are used to create Mimic Beacons, making the event a huge boon to someone in the early game or on Legendary and/or Ironman. Civilians are usually best avoided in guerilla operations anyway.
    • The Midnight Raids dark event. It simply doubles the cost of recruits, but since most people intend on preserving their starting pool of soldiers, this is a non-factor almost all the time. Even with Ironman or for players who don't save scum if an outcome is "good enough", this is a non-factor because you can just recruit more soldiers before this goes into effect if you see needing more.
    • Introduced in War of the Chosen is Lost World, enabling The Lost to appear on just about any mission even without the appropriate SitReps. The Lost themselves aren't too hectic to deal with.
    • Undying Loyalty from War of the Chosen gives ADVENT units a chance to revive as Psi Zombies on death. Considering the fact that Psi Zombies have less health than most late-game ADVENT units, this isn't that big of a deal.
    • ADVENT Sealed Armor isn't too much of a fuss, as it only affects the proper ADVENT units, rather than the tougher alien enemies. People don't usually consider ADVENT grunts to be worth wasting ice bombs on.
    • Collateral Damage and Return Fire aren't much of a factor to those who intend to kill first, let the enemy attack never.
    • Avatar Project Breakthrough is this if the aliens have at least one Avatar facility and it's within striking range: As long as an Avatar facility is present, breakthroughs will only increase progress to a facility rather than the "main" counter, and when XCOM destroys a facility all its progress is undone.

  • While the stats in This War of Mine aren't malleable, the Lack of Empathy characteristic becomes a moot point for those who don't harm innocents or commit atrocities, thus negating the need for morale boosting. Roman (a survivor who excels in combat), in particular, becomes a Game-Breaker provided he's in a good mood. Substance addictions (coffee drinkers and smokers) are also rendered redundant as long as the player does good deeds.
  • Stellaris has the Sedentary species disadvantage, which reduces the odds of populations moving from a full planet to an emptier one while also making resettlement more expensive. Ultimately this winds up not mattering to almost anybody since you generally don't want your populations moving around in the first place and in the event you do resettlement isn't that expensive, penalty or not. This disadvantage is thus rendered so meaningless some people consider it borderline cheating to take it. The immigration penalty is significant (effectively causing 15% of population growth from immigration/emigration to vanish into the cold vacuum of space due to how emigration/immigration calculation is handled, just as its counterpart Nomadic produced new pops from the aether), but population growth penalties and bonuses in general from traits became far less effective in 3.*.
    • With the changes to housing and population growth in 3.*, Solitary (increased housing requirements) has become this. Colonies require large amounts of free housing anyways to maximize growth as of 3.1, and planetary populations don't grow nearly as large. Lower absolute requirements and higher buffer requirements thus combined to make the small percentile increase the next best thing to negligible: it doesn't matter if your population occcupies 40 or 44 housing capacity if you need 60-62 to maximize growth and the most efficient way to adjust it uses increments of 8. This was even worse in the original 3.0 release when it was total housing rather than free housing that affected population growth: building more housing as a consequence of requiring it meant your species population would grow faster than more compact species that didn't need or build as much housing.