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We all know players who'll just look sadly at their newly-dead dwarf, Snorri Goblinkiller III, cross out the name, and start playing with Snorri Goblinkiller IV. These types of gamers can only do one thing: a Scottish accent.
Alan Lenczycki

In a variety of multiplayer games, there are many modes, characters, and stages that people can use at their disposal. Plenty of options, tools, and the like.

But when it comes to familiarity, all of that wouldn't matter.

Nine times out of ten, gamers will become attached to one mode/stage/ruleset/character choice, such that they may lose sight of the other options available. Complacent Gaming Syndrome occurs when the player is not able to break out of their comfort zone of control and continues to use the same exact settings for every match onward. This could be because they have found a supposedly unbeatable strategy, or because they feel the need to sacrifice other features for Competitive Balance, or because they simply love those settings and feel that other settings are really un-enjoyable at best.

In Board Game circles, if a gaming group wind up doing this for a particular strategy, it's known as Group Think, and seems to occur when a group collectively decides on a 'best' strategy for a game, however balanced that strategy is against other strategies - The best remedy to it is simply to introduce new blood into the gaming group, or at least for some members of the group to play the game with another group and pick up some new tricks to introduce back into the gaming group suffering from it. Alternatively it could simply be a Game Breaker that wasn't discovered in play testing.

Compare Just Here for Godzilla. When players try to enforce their specific playstyle onto others, they become Scrubs or "Stop Having Fun!" Guys.

The trope for limited player use of characters/weapons/techniques in Video Games is at Player Preferred Pattern. The trope for limited locales is at Abridged Arena Array.

The exact opposite condition, most often induced by a stringently balanced game, is Alt-Itis. Contrast with Self-Imposed Challenge.

Games with evolving Metagame tend to avert this, because as new strategies are learned, characters fall in and out of popularity.

Examples of Complacent Gaming Syndrome include:


Comic Books

  • Every tabletop gamer in Knights of the Dinner Table except for the DMs and possibly Sara. It gets to a point where they abuse the offscreen training rules so that when their character dies they can literally Send in the Clones at a minor loss in level. When forced to break out of this trope, Dave showed signs of secretly being The Smart Guy, and poor Munchkin Brian was so paralyzed by this that he could hardly play a competent character. Even Sara is most often seen playing a barbarian or a cleric: some variation of the "fighter with benefits" niche. As for Brian, after literally a decade-plus of playing nothing but high-level mages, he was so used to the high firepower and versatility that when forced to play as a fighter, he loaded him down with proficiencies for ballistas, catapults, and other siege weapons, along with a high number of leadership traits. The problem is, that most of his leadership skills won't kick in for several levels, he won't have access to siege weapons until he's in a position to lead armies, and he's completely neglected to be proficient in so much as a regular sword or any other melee weapon, making him all but useless on a typical dungeon crawl.
  • Often happens to Matt's sessions in Dork Tower; even when they try to change games/genres/systems for variety, the gang inevitably falls back to their usual Warhamster fantasy standby.


Tabletop Games

  • In Tabletop Games, most gamers tend to have a favorite race/class combination that they stick to. One example is that even though the 3rd and later editions of Dungeons and Dragons allows for any race to be a Paladin, most players still stick to the Human/Paladin combo (or less commonly, Aasimar/Paladin if the option is given).
    • Furthermore, in 3.5 and earlier, many people (beginners especially) will demand to re-roll their character if there is even a hint of it being best suited to be a primary spellcaster. Who wants to read another two chapters of 8-point text just to be able to make a simple attack? Give me a Barbarian called Gnar or Blarg anyday.
    • The fourth edition has released two books containing literally hundreds of magical items each; if the game's forums are any judge, only a handful of those items are actually "worth" playing with: a handful of those items are generally useful for a range of characters, a substantial amount of them are useful only to certain specific builds, and a disappointingly high number are nearly useless.
    • Strongly encouraged in traditional high-level games when one of a party is dead beyond recovery, in which case, the slot open is for a specific set of skills, and all the (suddenly available) magic items that no-one else can use are specific to that particular class. Ergo: Sorry 'bout Alcor the Illusionist, Chuck...You should create a new character. We need another wizard.
    • Most of the criticism of 3.5 centers on how AC and Hit Points are meaningless, while spellcasters run rampant. These are only really problems at high level (level 9 or so, when clerics gain their Slay Living spell), which is where many players seem to be complacent.
  • Some rules systems take steps to prevent this. Whether or not they created something worse as a result depends on what gets randomized and how much you like the Random Number God in general:
    • According to Word of God the Keeper, the ridiculous dependence on the Random Number God, the obsession with insane numbers of poorly thought out stats, and the general head-up-arseness of FATAL were intended to prevent this, because about the only thing you get to choose is gender. Proof that Tropes Are Not Bad, if the alternative is FATAL. The rulebook does state that the Aodile can let players choose their own races and classes (not stats, though), but implies that random determination is the preferred method.
    • Another terrible RPG, deadEarth, tried the same thing except that everything was decided randomly. Up to and including if the character starts the game alive or dead (not zombified or something, dead).
    • In Maid RPG, everything is randomly generated, but only the stats have an in-game effect, and you can wind up with something ludicrous and fun. The amount of randomness in Maid RPG is such that you can have an albino with brown skin, or someone with both elf ears and cat ears. Of course, the sourcebook for Maid RPG also states that if you want, you can just choose character attributes.
  • Munchkin hangs a lampshade on this - when you die, you keep your race, class and level, but you lose all your items (only because the other players stole them).
  • Exalted has Paranoia Combat. Sure, PC's have amazingly powerful and fun tricks to deal massive damage, but most artifact weapons have a reasonable expectation [1] of being able to kill any character in a hit or two if they hit. This, of course, completely ignores the phenomenal cosmic powers of an elder Exalt, or the reality-warping powers of the Yozis. However, nearly any Exalt type has access to Perfect Defenses, usually cheaply and without requiring a great deal of investment on behalf of the character. As a result, it's far more efficient to use normal attacks on a character and force him to perfectly defend, while he does the same. Some people dislike this as rendering most of the combat powers of the Exalted needlessly flashy, others because it leads to long, drawn out slogfests while characters stunt back motes and try to break even, and then some people just adjust their paradigm.
  • Paranoia, being a system in which death is frequent and expected, embraces an institutionalized form of this. Player characters come in six-packs of clones, and if you run out, you can buy another six-pack. Don't make a new character, just increment the number at the end of your name and keep playing.
    • Unless the DM tells you no and hands you a randomly made character, yes this is a suggested way to play. Also a new six-pack cost a lot and adds new mutations (unless you pay more) making it only useful for Blue-class up.
  • Tournament-level Magic: The Gathering usually gravitates towards the four or five best decks in the format at hand, each deck beating another good deck and being weak against another good deck in a sort of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors form. Sometimes, a "rogue" deck can enter and completely wreck strategies (this is more likely to happen in low-level competitive Magic, though); usually, though, they're "rogue" decks for a reason (i.e. they're not good enough to hang with the best decks). However, the DCI is always vigilant about a format becoming too complacent (if the number of best decks whittles from four or five to two, with one of them more dominant; aka a "play this deck" or "play to beat this deck" scenario); when that happens, card bannings usually ensue.
  • The GM is just as vulnerable to Complacent Gaming Syndrome, and this can both kill game balance and fun. The GM may simply not know how to build a wide variety of encounters, may over-use his favorite monsters/clan/faction/powers while completely ignoring or even putting down his least favorites, may have too few personalities for the NPCs, may refuse to tailor the general thrust of his plots to the players' interests, may fail to take into account player experience when building encounters (either wiping out new players or leaving vets bored), may ignore the possibility for players to try diplomatic or sneaky solutions and just demand they fight his villain, or may just limit the scope of the setting to some corner of it he likes. This can occur in any game.
  • The cost of buying new miniatures can mandate this in wargames, especially if "what you see is what you get" is in effect. Some players, however, will just insist on using their favorite side or always use the same builds even if they have the opportunity to do something new.


Video Games

Sports Games

  • By default, every single sports game aspiring to be realistic and featuring a large number of playable teams/athletes will suffer from this. Justified, too, since it reflects Real Life. Unless the player has an attachment to a team of lesser-than-God tier, or is Cherry Tapping, or the selection is made at random, inevitably only a select number of elites you can count on one hand will be played most of the times.
    • Can be fixed through the use of tiers (like many other games). Sports games, unlike many other games which strive for balance, will usually have a fairly easy way of tiering via in-game ratings of teams (either out of 100 or out of 5 stars or whatever). Only problem of course is there still is no TRUE balance, since usually one team will still be slightly better.

Fighting Games

  • As illustrated above, around 50% of all Street Fighter IV players use Ken and 40% use Sagat. This has earned the game the nickname "Ken Fighter IV: Sagat Strike". This has been mocked numerous times.
    • Even worse in Street Fighter III which only carried over Ryu and Ken from the previous games. 75% of all Street Fighter III players used Ken (Shinryuken super, natch), 20% used Ryu, and 5% used someone else. It got a little better in Second Impact and Third Strike once players realized the new characters had a lot of potential.
      • Even so, high-level Tournament Play almost always consists of the top-tier fighters (Chun-Li, Ken, and Yun) with the occasional Akuma in the mix. There's a reason 3rd Strike has its own nickname (Chun Fighter III: Ken Strike - Yun for the Future).
    • Found a tally of Super Street Fighter IV character usage of over 4,000 matches, which you can see here. Ryu and Ken make up over 1,000 of them. Apparently, the stranglehold of these two is weakening...
    • Apparently this effect can even be preemptive: a good number of Super Street Fighter IV players say that Evil Ryu and Oni Akuma will be heavily overused in online battles should the Arcade Edition of the game ever come to consoles and thus should not for the sake of keeping the online playable.
    • Although recent discussion suggests that with Yun being top tier AND a braindead mixup character to boot (easy way to get in, divekick, instant reversal AND command throw? Why yes please.), SSFIV AE tournament preparation will either be about training your Yun, or figuring out how your character can deal with Yun. There even exists a Photoshopped picture of the roster poking fun at this, similar to the page image above. All of the character icons, barring Yang and Fei Long (who share top-tier status with Yun), have been replaced with Yun's.
      • And when AE came to consoles... it didn't happen. If anything, the online community has diversified.
    • SSFIV 3D Edition on the 3DS introduces a control mode in which you can set special moves, Ultras, and Supers to single buttons. You can also make it so unless you're pushing a button or being thrown, you autoblock. This does wonders for charge characters, who no longer have to contend with pesky charge times before they can do any of their moves. Needless to say, unless you do a particular search for players who DON'T use this control method, at least half your fights in SSF4 3D online are going to be against Guiles doing walk-forward Sonic Booms and Flash Kicks. The other 49 percent are going to be against Ryu.
  • In theSoulcalibur IV, a lot of people use either Maxi, Kilik or Cervantes.
    • Don't forget the use of Nightmares, Kilik and Siegfried style custom characters. Kilik's style being the most common.
    • Playing online, nearly every one of the high ranked players plays as Sophitia. She looks like a pushover... but frequently annihilates you before you have the chance to get a move in.
    • This becomes so commonplace, a "counter-intuitive" strategy is forming: pick someone else. Even if you're absolutely horrible with them, there's at least a 1-in-3 chance that the person you're fighting is ONLY used to "top-tier" characters and suddenly gets waylaid by Astaroth.
    • As of Soul Calibur V, a very large chunk of the online population uses Natsu.
      • Or Siegfried, or Nightmare, or custom characters of any of these three.
      • Though ironically, Siegfried is generally considered to be the worst character.
  • From Tekken 3 onwards, Eddy/Christie has been this trope due to their easy combos, to the point where they are banned in tournaments. Earlier in the series it was usually Jack or Kazuya and in recent years it has increasingly been Mokujin due to the fact people want to show they can beat you with any character. Most people playing Tekken 3 for the first time either went for Jin (he's on the box) or Yoshimitsu (he has a sword).
    • Actually, Eddy/Christie are widely considered Skill Gate Characters and have been consistently mid-tier since 3. Only Jinpachi has even been banned, due to being an SNK Boss. However, Alisa applies to this trope.
      • The Eddy/Christie thing was mostly applicable at Tekken 3's release, but they do have their flaws. Eddy telegraphs his attacks, follows the same pattern for 80% of his moveset and has some massively glaring weaknesses in his combos that are sometimes overlooked if you're aren't careful.
    • In terms of modes, Time Attack has been around since Tekken 2 but hardly anyone uses it.
      • Survival and Team modes are also much under used, but not to the extent of Time Attack.
    • Tekken 5 fanatics would prove mathematically that playing with anyone but Nina, Steve, or Bryan Fury was a waste of time.
  • Guilty Gear gives us Sol Badguy and Chipp Zanuff.
  • Go to Supercade and watch some of the replays. You will see players spend literal hours using the same character (or in the case of KOF the same team).
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Every team will include Cable and take advantage of his BFG.
    • And lest we forget about the remaining members of the Four Gods, Magneto, Storm, and Sentinel. Or Psylocke. Or Strider Hiryu. Or Doctor Doom. Or Cyclops. Or Iron Man. Or Tron. Or Captain Commando... Long story short, if you're not upper/high/god-tier and/or don't have a good assist, no one will want to play as you (which, quite frankly, applies to most of the 56 playable characters, many of whom, unfortunately, hail from the Capcom side of things).
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Every team has Dante and/or Wolverine in it. EVERY. Team. Dante is particularly used by new players, as is X-23 due to button bashing as she's so quick. Wolverine is more likely to be used by more advanced players who can pull out ridiculous combos with him.
    • You can also expect the ridiculously powerful Akuma, the ridiculously fast and strong Wesker, and the ridiculously funny Deadpool to frequent a large number of teams as well.
    • There're quite a few Phoenixes in high level play.
    • As well as a decent amount of Zero and Sentinel players. However, the number of Sentinel players did drop when a patch nerfed his health (formerly the highest in the game at 1.3 million; for reference, most of the other characters rank in somewhere between 1 mil and 850K) down to 910K.
  • The Blaz Blue series has Ragna and Jin, the two main rival characters. They aren't particularly overpowered -- in Calamity Trigger, Nu-13 is far superior to both of them, and in Continuum Shift the whole cast is pretty well balanced. Still, players go through the tutorial for the first time with Ragna, and they both have plenty of easily spammable moves with few drawbacks.
  • Street Fighter X Tekken is not safe from this. Play online, and enjoy fighting some of these six characters again and again: Ryu, Ken, Kazuya, Jin, Rolento, Raven.
  • UFC Undisputed 3 purports to have over 40 different fighters, good luck trying to find a match which is not against the top 4: Jose Aldo, Georges St. Pierre, Jon 'Bones' Jones or Cain Velasquez.

Mascot Fighter

  • In the Super Smash Bros. games, the community analyses the hell out of every character, game mode, stage and glitch, developing the fabled 'tier lists' for each game to show which character is considered the 'best'. Thus with each new tier list, expect at least 50% of your opponents to play one of the top 3 in the tier list (Meta Knight in Brawl, anyone)?
    • Stock seems to be the go-to game mode. No one even considers Coin Mode, everybody assumes you accidentally forgot to change the default with Time Mode and in Brawl Bonus Mode was simply removed from the game.
    • Players also tend to have an irrational fear of items (lampooned when the official site sneaked in the message that "Real men use items!"), leading to the Memetic Mutation "NO ITEMS! FOX ONLY! FINAL DESTINATION!" If you're lucky, you'll have a friend who occasionally likes to mix things up (99 stock super sudden death with high items). Mostly its complacency in the above pattern, rarely its someone who refuses to not play by personal rules.

First-Person Shooter

  • Team Fortress 2 eventually buckled to the competitive audience and added server options to disable absolutely every random factor in the game, including ones that are factored in to balancing weapons against their alternatives. Most servers with a large enough community will have these turned on.
    • Additionally, every single update to the game gets the They Changed It, Now It Sucks treatment thanks to more variety in maps and weapons being added, causing a lot of grief for players who are tired of changing their play styles.
    • The originally-informal, now-official Highlander game mode averts this a bit, because as we all know, There Can Only Be One of each class on every team, where players have to split their duties accordingly and work together efficiently. You know -- be a team, like the game's title suggests. It was originally an out-of-game ruleset, but Valve eventually made it an official game mode in a patch.
    • Eventually, when the game went free-to-play, the log-in interface was changed to feature a "Find Me a Game" option in addition to the traditional server list. Since the system was impartial to map, many veteran players joked the mechanic was installed to put new players on solid footing with experienced ones because "New or old, no one plays Turbine".
  • For Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast/Jedi Academy, there's the no-Force, saber-only game setting. There's ranged weapons and Force powers[2] in the game? Apparently not, judging by the multiplayer community.
  • Any FPS for which you will find single-map 24/7 servers. Contributes heavily to the map becoming That One Level. See Abridged Arena Array. Examples include:
    • Tribes 2 has Katabatic. It even made its way into Tribes Ascend!
    • Go into the server list for Battlefield 2 and find a section without any "Strike at Karkand 24/7 Infantry Only" servers. Good luck!
      • Or Wake Island for the vehicle whores. This also extends to that map's debut game, Battlefield 1942, and every version of it included in later games as well.
    • For Battlefield 2142 it's Camp Gibraltar.
      • Try to find a team that isn't mostly made up of players armed with rifle rockets and the Voss.
    • Bad Company 2 has 3 major configurations like this: "24/7 Atacama only" for tank lovers, "24/7 Arica Conquest" as it's the closest thing to 24/7 Karkand BC2 has and "24/7 Rush Isla only". Which is weird since Isla on rush is one of the worst maps in the game because 90% of the attacking team will be snipers.
      • Atacama has mostly been replaced by "24/7 1000 Ticket Heavy Metal". There's also quite a bit of 24/7 Harvest Day.
    • Unreal Tournament has Facing Worlds (CTF-Face) and Deck16. Unreal Tournament 2004 has Rankin and Torlan. Unreal Tournament III has Sentinel.
    • Team Fortress 2 has 2Fort.
      • And Dustbowl. Certain players will complain that 2fort is only populated by Noobs, while they themselves can only be found on Dustbowl.
        • Worse yet are the servers that only play one part of Dustbowl.
    • Counter-Strike has de_dust and de_dust2.
      • It also has the Magnum Sniper Rifle, disaffectionately known as the AWP to every poor victim who's been instantly killed by it. It's the most overpowered sniper rifle in the game, capable of one-hit killing a character on almost any area of his body, including his toes. The 'increased accuracy' of the zoom is merely down to it becoming easier to see your opponent.
    • Call of Duty 2 has Toujane, Tunisia. Also notable that almost everyone used bolt-action rifles and nothing else because of how much better they were.
    • Call of Duty 4 has Killhouse, Broadcast, Crash... there's bound to be at least one 24/7 one-map-only server for every map in the game, but those three are the most popular. Weapon variety, on the other hand, is pretty much exclusively either the final-unlocked weapons of a class (Desert Eagle, P90, etc.) or the bolt-action snipers.
      • Specifically, players who use sniper rifles prefer the M40A3. Attaching an ACOG scope to it raises its base power slightly; combine with the Stopping Power perk, and you've basically got a shorter-ranged version of Counter-Strike's AWP: One-Hit Kill on anyone.
    • Call of Duty Black Ops has Nuketown and Array, to the point that there's an actual game mode based around playing solely on the former.
    • Modern Warfare 2 in spades. The only two guns used online are the UMP and the ACR, both because they shoot straighter than an arrow and make better snipers than the sniper rifles. As for Perks, expect to see the tele-knifing Commando on almost every class.
      • While the UMP is a Game Breaker, the ACR is simply not. It may have zero recoil, but it deals less damage and fires slower than most other assault rifles.
      • Now the goto setup is the "God Kit": an underbarrel grenade launcher for an assault rifle, which is so predictably accurate that the fan nickname of "Noobtube" is more recognizable to the fanbase than "grenade launcher", Claymores for a cheap lazy kill, One Man Army so the Noobtube keeps firing and you can double up claymores to guarantee a kill regardless of player health or protection, and Danger Close, just to double the radius of the insta-gib explosives being spammed all over the map. This isn't even the worst part as this kit is intended to get lots of kills so the player can spam Apache helicopters or AC-130 gunships, which get even more kills... The game is nearly unplayable if you don't have this gear equipped, or some kind of pathetic game breaking hack simply due to the large number of players using it.
    • Modern Warfare 3, a ton of people (especially those who are new or have recently prestiged) use the G36C with M320 and Red Dot Sight, since it's a late-unlocked weapon available from the beginning through a default class. Barring that, the PP90M1 is the most popular weapon, along with the Type 95. As for maps, ones that pit Delta Force vs. Spetsnaz (Dome, Hardhat, etc.) seem to be the most popular.
      • Infected mode does a lot like Left 4 Dead - since the only win conditions for the survivors are to, well, survive until time runs out, survivors will often pick one specific hard-to-reach area to hold out from and stay there until the infected manage to swarm it and kill everyone. The downside is that most survivor-preferred areas are very cramped - one good Semtex or Bouncing Betty from the initial infected could potentially kill half the team, and later infected that manage to get in can easily stab multiple people in a row before anybody really notices.
    • Maps from the Quake series are remade in almost any other FPS, the most notorious example is Q2DM1: The Edge.
    • Halo for the PC has lots of "Blood Gulch 24/7" servers; most of them either only Capture the Flag or (Team) Slayer.
      • Note that this is mainly because the trial version of Halo allows online play for the Blood Gulch map only, so it may have been done by/for players who only have the trial.
    • Hell, Doom - specifically while ZDoom was still popular - had MAP01 and MAP07 (both the classic and DWANGO5 versions) on the vast majority of 24/7 servers, with very little deviation from this rule.
    • Halo 3. If you don't use BR you are considered a 'noob'. Quite possibly the most overpowered default gun ever in a game, and then a bunch of MLG guys cried because it wasn't in the sequel (a variation called DMR was but was much less overpowered). You were laughed at for using Assault Rifle and apparently, because of lag it was literally impossible to get 5 straight headshots if you didn't live in America with sub-400ms ping, and as a result the game become Nintendo Hard. Notice a lot of the players that are bad? Grenade jumping is also huge, if you so much as de-scope someone and can continually body-neck shot them whilst they panic that they don't have zoom they WILL run backwards grenade jumping.
      • The Pistol in Halo:CE is more powerful than the Halo 2/3 Battle Rifle. The Battle Rifle is a 4 shot kill, the CE pistol is a 3 shot kill. Also: You are a "Noob" if you do not use the Battle Rifle instead of the Assault Rifle, the Assault Rifle was inferior in every way possible to the Battle Rifle.
      • Not really. A quarter of a AR clip is enough to drain half of someone's sheilds. A melee is enough to deplete it. If you time it right you can insta-kill someone with one melee hit if the timing's right. It was mostly seen as a bug.
      • Halo: Reach fixes this meaning a melee hit, no matter how much sheild is left, it only drains it (unless it's already drained), but there the AR can atleast kick someone's ass. A good example is a video on Youtube by Bungie Favorites which displays a player taking out a warthog, from afar with a AR.
        • And the Noob Combo (Plasma Pistol charged shot to remove shields, quickly switch to your other weapon and make the kill). Granted, it's almost required to complete the second game on Legendary difficulty.
  • Multiplayer-only game Shattered Horizon originally enforced this by including only one weapon to focus the game more around player skill. Shortly after release a patch increased it to five due to complaints.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 introduced Realism mode (campaign with tweaked settings for a better challenge) and Scavenge mode (a different flavor of VS mode), but most people ignore them in favor of campaign and VS. Realism VS mode was one of the first mutations introduced in The Passing DLC and was made a permanent game mode due to popular demand, but now no one ever plays it, going back to normal VS and campaign.
    • Same for the campaigns, in both the first and second game. While the Coop-Players play pretty much anything, trying to find anything else than No Mercy, Blood Harvest or The Sacrifice in Left 4 Dead is not that easy. In the sequel, Dead Center is added to the mix and at least the other originally released campaigns are played more commonly, but still not as bad.
    • When Left 4 Dead got released, you even got kicked out of the game for not picking the Auto-Shotgun in Versus. That has thankfully changed since and the other weapons are also more commonly taken now. In the sequel, it was similar with secondaries - you were called a Noob for using dual pistols.

Mecha Games

  • In Chrome Hounds, you'll find there's always player matches at South Cemo Oil Fields (and hardly anywhere else), everyone uses funky stick mechs, and may god have mercy on your soul if you use Heavy Gunning to drop a base.
  • Starsiege is all about this trope these days, stubborn little game that it is for still being around. There are about half a dozen "standard" vehicle configurations that have been in use for about the last ten years and deviations are pretty uncommon. What's popular is popular for good reason, but some otherwise very skilled players have been known to Rage Quit when the status quo is challenged enough to render their favorite ride ineffective. These setups and the tactics they are built for have simply been standard issue for so long that many of those who still play haven't bothered to keep up the skills to deal with anything outside the norm.

MMORPGs

  • While World of Warcraft battlegrounds provide more variety than usual, there is only one tactic used for each. Even if it sucks. Case in point: Warsong Gulch. Both sides run to the opposing flag (usually completely ignoring each other), take it, run back and either clash in the middle (often with both flags getting returned) or both flags end up in the opposing fortress, heavily defended for most of the battle. There is a good reason a 25 minute time limit was added to this battleground.
    • Alterac Valley suffers from a similar case, turning into a rush to kill the opposing general as soon as possible. The fact that this got much harder in a recent patch didn't deter players from this procedure much.
    • This also happened in "Vanilla" World of Warcraft wherein most classes had one maybe two talent trees if they were lucky. That's because the other one or two was completely broken. This was most prevalent in druids, who didn't really have Balance and Feral considered viable until Burning Crusade and Wrath. It didn't help that they and warriors were the most gear-dependent classes in the game and the gear was mostly made for healing or tanking if they were warriors. As a result, feral and balance druids were scoffed at by guilds because there was no gear and they were needed to heal since a good 70% of people are DPS-classes anyways. This has thankfully gotten much better after Burning Crusade where specs were made more viable and gear made available for PvP classes, also to stop the issue of how DPS classes got their PvP Gear. (By running Blackwing Lair.) Not to mention, other trees were made more feasible too. While there are a few that are still Overshadowed by Awesome (Enhancement shamans late-game) it's nice to have a wider variety of classes available to fit certain roles.
    • Likewise, this happens whenever an expansion pack is released: ignore all of the plot, then go on the boards and complain that there's no content. Or deliberately underplay your usefulness so your class gets a buff in the next patch.
  • Diablo 2's multiplayer was pretty much this: Log onto multiplayer. Pay people in-game loot to run you through the game, sitting by and absorbing all the experience so you can level up as fast as possible. You look up a stat sheet on the internet and follow it to the tee, with no room for deviation (unless you want to be laughed at by all the Munchkins, unless you're doing something like a "Crazy run") Then when you hit level 80, you run the final act again and again, get nothing but junk 98% of the time in hopes of finding that "perfect loot", until a player bribes you with something that isn't junk and you run them through the game.
  • Warhammer Online has very vocal complaints about "bomb squads" - namely parties that guard and buff up a single (long range) DPS character who then solely runs through enemies spamming a short range area of effect ability that happened to have no cooldown or cast time. After 16 months of complaints about the inability to defend against it, suggestions to change the mechanics of the ability or noting that players were using a long range character to do more damage than a dedicated melée character, the game developers actually played some games and immediately issued a notification that they would nerf the mechanic in the upcoming patch. Although the mechanic has changed slightly, it is still feasible (and hated) and rumours persist of entire guilds who only accept one of the few classes who make this technique possible to avoid using any other tactics.
  • This trope goes skipping hand-in-hand with elitism in Guild Wars. Don't have the skillsets or professions to match the popular cookie-cutter team builds everyone else is running? You do, but want to play your own way? Good luck finding a pick-up team for FoW, UW, Slavers, or DoA. Your Lightbringer and Sunspear titles aren't maxxed out? Forget D.O.A. altogether unless you run your own guild. Lacking levels in other alliance titles will also get you viewed as a liability, depending on the attached skills, the mission, and the group build in question.
  • Dungeon Fighter Online's PvP has this. most matches will be on the Tavern stage, Elimination mode, no Mages or Gunners (Especially Summoners or Mechs, respectively) allowed. If you try to switch the mode or stage to anything else, or try to use a Mage or Gunner, 99% of the time somebody's going to complain that it's "unfair".
  • Phantasy Star Online players tend to gravitate towards the Boss Rush quest "Towards the Future", since it's the fastest way to Level Grind. You will rarely find anyone playing anything else.

MOBA

  • League of Legends has this in scores. However, the game is updated and tweaked so often its players are likely to have to change their preferences or find another game if they are displeased with changes as the developers do not hold back on the matter. While the specific strategies and characters change, common patterns that stick include players refusing to consider ever playing certain roles (jungling and support roles most commonly), certain characters (the "champions") getting jumps in popularity for a specific strategy with them being discovered, a currently dominant team-strategy that many players will use as a baseline with which to choose their champions... and just FlameWars when anything or anyone gets Nerfed or buffed, which is all the time.

Platformer

Racing Games

  • Expect to see a lot of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions in Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune, especially the eighth and ninth iteration. Mazda RX-8 is also quite common.
  • Mario Kart Wii: Certain players will only play as Funky Kong + Flame Runner because is the best combination statistically. Pretty everyone else plays as their Miis.
    • Mario Kart 7 has nearly everyone using the B Dasher because of its extremely high top speed and how cool it looks, along with the Mushroom Wheels since it gives a good boost in speed and handling.
  • Initial D Arcade Stage Ver. 2: Honda Integra DC2 on Irohazaka was basically the only combination anybody ever played in multiplayer.

Real-Time Strategy

  • The Supreme Commander equivalent is "Seton's Clutch" for 4v4 games and "Fields of Isis" for 2v2 games. Despite a large number of 3v3 maps to choose from, 3v3 games are always on Seton's Clutch again with 2 of the player positions left empty. A large proportion of the player base also insists on playing "20min no rush" (which is built into the game) and with nukes and heavy artillery disabled.
  • In the old days, when playing Age of Empires online, any game that didn't start off in "Post-Imperial Age" (highest level of technology, every inch of the map known to every player, etc.) was doomed to languish in solitude until the game leader caved -- god help you if you liked building a civilization.
  • Command and Conquer Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge. Almost all 3v3 games were played on Tour of Egypt.
    • Red Alert 3 players tend to pick a side (Allies, Soviets, or Japanese) and completely forget about the other two. Even worse, players will then develop a strategy that works well for them and stick to it (Allie air-power, Soviet armor, Japanese mobility) and fail to remember their other possible strategies (Allies stealth/sabotage, Soviet glass cannon/zerg rush, Japanese heavy bombardment [should be noted that their Wave Force Artillery and Shogun Battleship are two of the best because they don't yell "I'm over here" like the Athena Cannon and Aircraft Carrier or give the enemy a chance to run like the V4 rocket-launcher and Dreadnaught.])
    • For that matter, the older Tiberian Sun: Custom-made maps with large walls and completely flat ground, teams build bases behind the wall. No air or underground units until you pass the "gate" (the entrance in the large wall). Et cetera. Jeez.
  • The vast majority of casual Starcraft games are played on "Fastest Possible" or "BGH-style" maps with lots and lots of money. Additionally, all players are now expected to choose a race - no random! Of course even the "serious" gamers fall into the rut: over the years the "most popular map" has changed: Lost Temple -> user-created Lost Temple editions -> Gaia/Azelea -> Python -> Destination. The one currently gaining popularity (possibly because it's the most balanced map made in years for almost all levels of play) is called Fighting Spirit. (Incidentally, translating the Korean name better would have called it "elan", which is way cooler.)
  • Star Craft 2 has a few, the most blatant is any 1v1 game between two Terran players. Expect only Marines, Siege tanks, Vikings and Medievacs. That is unless one of them knows how to use IEchoic's 2Fac2Port build which is specifically tailored to take the standard TvT build by the balls and make it that player's bitch. Protoss vs Terran has similar issues, as the Protoss player will always go Robotics Facility for Colossi and lots of Stalkers to deal with Terran bio-balls comprised of Marines and Marauders with escorting Vikings to counter the Colossi and allow the Marines to wipe out the Immortals. Zerg vs Zerg matches are usually decided by who can get a fast spawning pool and still maintain enough of an economy to outproduce the other in terms of zerglings. Innovative players have created builds that have broken the monotony of these scenarios but trying to use them outside of a tournament or higher league play will result in being harassed for cheating, or even being formally reported to Blizzard simply because most middle-to-bottom tier players, once happy with a build for any kind of match up, will tell you that not even God himself can play the game any other way.
    • The major issue with the second game is the presence of far more 'hard' counters (units and tactics which can decisively shut down certain aspects of play unless massively outnumbered or behind on upgrades) than in the original game allowing the outcomes of matches to be set in stone rather early unless both sides scout well. This results in a more methodical and technical Metagame with a heavy emphasis on timing and memorization.

Rhythm Games

  • Don't play Audition Online unless you know how to do 3-6key chance and enjoy high BPM songs. Basically the usually symptoms of Rhythm games you should be familiar with. It is basically useless to find players who are willing to do a no-chance game. and since chance adds a point multiplier, expect to lose, A LOT.
  • DJMAX Technika 2's Crew Race mode. In Crew Race, you create a course consisting of 3 songs, each with your best score on it, and people who challenge your course must complete it and optionally beat your combined scores for the 3 songs. As soon as it was fully implemented, it became every noob's worst nightmare come true: The majority of courses so far have high-end difficulty songs like Fermion (Hard), D2 (Hard), and Son of Sun (Maximum).
  • If you just like to play the Guitar Hero or Rock Band games for fun, stay the hell away from the public Xbox Live matchups. 50% of the time you'll be forced into playing the hardest song on that particular disc, and if so help you god you pick any other song when it's your turn to choose, prepare to hear a lot of groans and insults from the other players. Ditto if everyone else has a particular DLC song (usually balls-hard as well) and you don't. And ditto if you play on anything but Expert, and ditto if you play Expert but suck at it, and so on...

Role-Playing Games

  • Justified in "Champions of Krynn" where you have to choose at least one Knight of Solamnia in your party if you want to be able to finish the game.
  • Ivalice Alliance games tend to toy with this:
    • In Vagrant Story, it is vital to have more than one weapon type. (For example: an edged smallsword with Light affinity against Evil enemies, a blunt two-handed mace with three gem slots against Beasts, a piercing crossbow to get down the Goddamn Bats...) It's entirely left up to the player which ones to use, but you'll be spending at least a third of the game honing your weapons. You're also pretty much forced to use status effects and buff spells. In short, Vagrant Story does everything it can to prevent this trope.
    • In Final Fantasy XII, the gamer once again has a large array of weapon types and armor types to choose from and status effects are incredibly important. Contrary to Vagrant Story though, you probably will spend most of the endgame simply hitting things with large swords.
      • Holds true for most RPGs. Once your party reaches a high enough level, it is generally faster to smack everything with swords than to waste time casting spells or using abilities to watch the animations kick in and do nearly the same amount of damage.
  • One problem with many RPGsis that you are given a huge array of attacks but most are either flat-out useless, only work on specific enemies, or have a high failure rate. Attacking with weapons might not always cause the most damage, but this approach almost always does cause damage, and usually in the most time- and resource-efficient manner.
  • In the Pokémon games lots of people keep their starter throughout the game, even though there is the option to not use it.
    • Semi-justified, as many of the starters have a solid movepool and set of stats. The idea is to assemble a strong team and most players have no reason to just ditch what is probably their strongest to begin with.
    • The competitive tiers, as well. As of Black and White, the Standard or "OU" (OverUsed) tier, has just around 50 Pokémon in it, out of a total of 646. And up to the top 5 Pokémon in a tier are on more than 20% of teams, which means you'll be seeing the same Pokémon a lot. Pokemon is probably the only game on this page that regularly has tournaments only for mid-tier or low-tier Pokemon, due to the fact that the creators didn't even try to balance it. Generally, underused (one step below OU) also has the same few Pokemon being used over and over though.
    • Most Pokémon players stick exclusively to single battling, or 1vs1. This is not because of any sense of superiority, but that the thought about other battling types never occurs. They need to be reminded of double battling (2vs2) to even recall its existence. Even with triple battling (3vs3) and rotation battling (3vs3, but with only 1 attacker or target at a time) showing up. This is most definitely due to single battling being the only mode until Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, when double battling showed up and was treated as a Scrappy Mechanic. In addition, every main series Pokémon game deals in single battling almost all the time, so it's natural for people to think about that mode and no others. The focus on single battling is so strong that despite official tournaments all being in double battles, the aforementioned competitive players are unique among video games in that most do not attend them as they are outside of their comfort zones. Japan is the exception to Complacent Gaming, whose players welcome all battling modes and are equally proficient in them.
  • Many builds for Fallout: New Vegas are basically copies of builds that worked in Fallout 3. This fits the trope because changes to NV actually neutralized several basic aspects behind making an effective build in FO3.
    • Many people drop Charisma to 1 because in FO3 it was useless. In FNV, it adds a massive boost to combat effectiveness of followers, which makes it the most important stat to increasing the sheer quantity of damage you can do (assuming you have at least one follower).
    • In FO3 you could max out every skill with mediocre Intelligence because of the sheer quantity of skill books. Even with max Intelligence, this is not possible in FNV.
      • Unless you have at least 3 of the DLC (Any of them but Gun Runner's Arsenal). Each of them increases your level cap by 5, up to a staggering 50, where you will eventually get enough skill points to max everything out.
    • Agility is still a highly prized stat, despite the fact VATS went from being invincibility mode that you could almost permanently be in with the right perks to slightly less powerful than real time playing.
    • Perception is now regarded as the most useless stat, and many people will drop it to 1 unless they want Better Criticals, in which case they leave it at 5 and get the implant. Charisma is still generally regarded as useless because most people use Boone, meaning everything still dies before you can even see it.
      • The "most people use Boone" argument is still an example of the trope. People are building a character around the assumption you are going to use the most effective combat companion. Boone cannot be used for a very large chunk of the game because he attacks one faction on sight and is outright banned from being used in numerous areas, and many quests are easier with or require you use a different companion.
    • Melee and Unarmed are now very overpowered, so don't be surprised if practically everyone you talk to about the game is running around with Oh Baby! or a Ballistic Fist and complaining about how they can 2-shot Lanius.
      • Melee and Unarmed are quite well balanced for the higher difficulties - they're cheap, easy and reliable, but you're never going to be a badder mofo in close combat than an alpha deathclaw, much less Lanius or the Legendary Deathclaw.
  • Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories gave access early on to the sleight "Sonic Blade." With enough Hi-Potions (and insane levels of AP), players could set themselves up to be near-invincible. 90% of all bosses could be beaten within 5 minutes just by spamming the △ button, and making sure to use a Hi-Potion once you ran out. It was a bit of a Game Breaker. Sure, it was rather dull to watch, but it got things done quickly and effectively. Why try out other methods when you could kill everything in a matter of seconds?
  • Pick any game based on the Dungeons and Dragons. At some point, the developer had to make compromises to make the game playable and often adds extra features to make the game more unique. Most builds are going to be based off what is effective in the pen and paper game and most unique features are going to be ignored.
  • The first first Disgaea game, due to the theory behind it being thoroughly mapped by the nerdy playerbase. Any player who is grinding to take on the Bonus Boss knows that there is one true strategy: make a Divine Majin and Level Grind the "Beauty of Evil" stage for literally hours on end, simply because there is no quicker way to gain levels.

Simulation Games

  • Oddly enough, the language barrier is not a major issue for Americans (and others that don't know Japanese) playing the Galaxy Angel games. This is because the first option in a given dialogue almost always raises at least one of the girl's affection level, which makes them better in combat. The only times you don't choose option 1 is when you know ahead of time it will actually decrease the affection level of the girl you're after. Some of the levels, on the other hand, can be headache-inducing, moreso if you've been mean to the girls (which makes them worse in combat).

Third-Person Shooter

  • Did you know that Star Wars Battlefront II has a Capture the Flag mode? Probably not, because it almost never appears on most servers and the few ones that feature it usually have a rule of "no CTF", meaning that players don't capture flags and just kill each other the whole match until the time limit runs out or the server admin feels like changing the map. They do this because CTF has two advantages: no total kill limit and you cannot capture command posts (which are used as spawn points, and are not very fun to have captured by the other team.) Some other servers don't use CTF but instead have a "no CP" (CP = command posts) rule for the normal game mode.
    • For that matter, there's Assault mode in Mos Eisley, which pits every hero in the game against one another, Republic/Rebel versus Separatist/Imperial. It's nearly impossible to find a server above 25% its maximum player count that isn't in this setting. The Xbox version of the game doesn't help, considering its Downloadable Content almost solely consisted of adding the mode to even more maps.
  • A big problem in the Gears of War series. In the first game, most players would tend to use the shotgun exclusively. When it was nerfed for the second game, a lot of these people got mad and refused to play the game, saying it sucked and took less skill than its predecessor just because they didn't know how to use any other weapon. Hell, in the first game, the shotgun had a chance to instantly kill within a certain close range, which led some battles between shotgunners just ending with the other one being luckier with their shot.
    • Gears Of War 2 later replaced the shotgun only complacency with another one that's even worse: attachable grenades and one-hit kill weapons. Many matches ended with people getting blown up way more often than gunned down, which got really annoying in some maps that had a never-ending supply of explosive weapons. Mortar, Boomshot, Torque Bow, Hammer Of Dawn, two spawn points for Frag Grenades, etc. Hell, one map had ALL of them, and those matches were ultimately determined by who grabbed Boomshot first. At one point, even the original Gears of War looked better balanced with the sequel's overpowered guns.
      • Thankfully, both of these issues are averted in Gears Of War 3. All of the weapons are well balanced enough to make using one of them exclusively a bad idea, which encourages variety. The Sawed-Off Shotgun is as powerful as the first game's shotgun, but has enough restrictions (i.e., one shot clip, long reload, only works in very close range) to prevent abuse. Special explosive weapons are spawned fewer times, the attachable grenades come with a slight delay to avoid cheap kills, and the additional Team Deathmatch mode (with its lives based respawn) doesn't make these deaths as aggravating like it would in Warzone or Execution. Epic really went out of their way to prevent this trope from happening again, and it shows.
        • Lots of people still use the shotgun exclusively because it has great power and more range than a videogame shotgun should. In a medium range fight between a lancer and a shotgun, the shotgun can still win.
  • Red Faction Guerrilla has this to some extent. Quite a few games are exclusively enforcer (a slightly nerfed assault rifle with homing bullets or rocket-whoring contests (making certain maps with unequal power-weapon distribution hideously broken), often revolving on how many people on your team have jetpacks, heal packs or firepower packs. However, it averts this trope more often than not by only giving players a choice of two maps at a time and providing lots of clever counters to everything.

Turn-Based Strategy

Puzzle Games

  • For full credit in Scribblenauts, the player must complete each level three times with three sets of mutually exclusive items. However, this can be bypassed by entering a nonsense word plus the thing you want (eg "gxdfl jetpack").

Wide Open Sandbox

  • Minecraft is game where you can literally do anything you want in the world and build anything you want. However, most players, when they start to build a home, they tend to make a basic square house with one or two floors since it's simple and suits the basic needs such as having a place to sleep, store items, smelt stuff, and craft new items. Other players will make more elaborate homes with more complex mechanisms, such as using pistons to make hidden doors or using certain blocks and items to make a makeshift chair, though these methods are more for show than for practicality.
    • Iron tools and iron armor will be the most common items used by the majority of the players since iron based items last quite a while and iron swords are pretty strong. Diamond items are better in durability and power, but their rarity and the high probability of losing your items in lava make diamond items more of a trophy than a tool. Leather armor and golden tools and armor are too weak to be of any use as well. Since iron is quite common in caves, players will be using iron for everything.
    • Many multiplayer servers offer different types of play, but the majority of the servers are usually either clan wars, survival with griefing allowed, or servers in creative mode where players build large structures or pixel art.
  • Dwarf Fortress sometimes falls prey to this with "optimal" fortress builds abounding for everything from production to defense, although the frequent updates sometimes nerf an existing concept.


Game Shows

  • Match Game had a final round where contestants had to pick one celebrity to match their answers with in order to win the big prize money. Almost every episode that had Richard Dawson had him as the one contestants turned to in the final round, because he rarely mismatched his answers with contestants.
    • In mid-1978 they introduced the "Star Wheel", which the contestant would spin to determine who they would attempt to match. The first person it landed on? Richard Dawson. The panel performed a mock walk-out in disbelief -- including Dawson.
  • The original format of the Wheel of Fortune Bonus Round gave the remaining player the choice of five consonants and one vowel. Before long, most people were choosing R, S, T, L, N, and E (the five most common consonants, and the most common vowel, in the English language). After 15 years of this, the rules were changed to give players these letters and the choice of three more consonants and a vowel. Even then, a very large number of contestants pick C, D, M, and A, because those are among the next most-common.
    • Similarly, many people were calling D and N, then buying an A, whenever the category was Same Name because those puzzles always had "And" in them. This was later avoided by using an ampersand, although sometimes the puzzle writers forget.
    • Also similarly, many contestants will go for G, N, and I if the category is Event or What Are You Doing?, since those puzzles almost always include at least one gerund.
    • And, of course, if a T leads off a three letter word, the next spin gives an H, and then comes the buying of E.
    • In the German version of the game show "Glücksrad" this was so widespread they simply called it "ERNSTL" which is an often used callname for someone named Ernst (a common german male name), without naming the invidual letters anymore.
  • Pyramid had the "Mystery 7," a category in which the subject is not revealed until after the fact; getting all seven words in the category won a mystery prize. Initially, the box just said "Mystery 7" instead of a category name, and as a result, almost every team went for it first. Later on, the show changed it so that all six categories fit into the show's Hurricane of Puns theme, with the Mystery 7 hidden behind one of the six.
    • And its sister, the 7-11, offered either $50 per word or $1,100 for getting all 7 right. Almost no one ever took the former, so the latter quickly became the only option.
    • In addition, players had the option of either giving or receiving clues for the Winner's Circle. Most of them opted to receive, mainly because that was the predominant convention at the time (in Password, for example, the celebrity always gave clues in whatever bonus round they played), and the round was difficult enough without putting someone who's much more comfortable in the giver's chair in the receiving position.
  • Sometimes present in the Art Fleming era of Jeopardy!, which paid full winnings to all contestants, winning or losing. Some contestants would intentionally stop ringing in if they felt that they had earned enough money, or if another contestant picked up a significant lead. The Trebek era gave this an Obvious Rule Patch by offering the full winnings only to the winner, to create more of an incentive to compete. The losing contestants initially got parting gifts, but starting in the early 2000s, second and third place respectively won a flat $2,000 and $1,000.
  • During the trivia sections on Double Dare, a team could "Dare" and pass the question onto their opponents if stumped, though that team could "Double Dare" and pass it back, earning the other team twice the cash if they answered it correctly. However, they could go for the "Physical Challenge", where they would play a game to earn the cash. Only one family managed to exploit the Double Dare strategy.
  • In High Rollers, it was very rare to see a contestant roll the dice if there was so much as a 25% chance of rolling a bad number. Even if there were tens of thousands of dollars in prizes available on the board, players immediately started passing the dice to their opponent as soon as there was a semi-decent chance that they could roll a bad number and hence lose the game.
  • This was lampshaded after a 2010 Retool of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. The whole show was predictable, and the hot seat just wasn't scary anymore. Two of the lifelines have been replaced with the opportunity to skip the question at hand, and the first ten categories and dollar amounts are random. That's not even all of the changes.
  • During the Big Sweep in Supermarket Sweep, most contestants were Genre Savvy enough to grab the expensive stuff — Farmer John hams, gallon-sized jugs of Bertolli olive oil, diapers, macadamia nuts, giant steaks, cheese wedges, frozen turkeys, medicine, etc.
  • A couple of recurring techniques have cropped up on The Price Is Right when four contestants are required to bid on an item to determine which of them will play the next pricing game. One typical action is for a contestant to bid one dollar, in the hopes that most of the other contestants will go over the actual retail price and they'll win by default. Another trick sometimes employed by the last contestant to place a bid is to give a figure one dollar higher than what they think is the best bid, with the intent of begin just one dollar closer than their opponents.
    • Sometimes, the 3rd contestant will make a one dollar bid or bid one dollar higher than the previous player if they have no idea what they are doing or just want to look like a smartass, causing the last contestant in the queue to bid one dollar higher than them, making the infamous two dollars bid.
    • The one-dollar-more strategy was parodied in Family Guy:

 Bob Barker: What do you bid?

Contestant #2: $780.

Bob Barker: And what do you bid?

Contestant #3: What was the last bid?

Bob Barker: $780

Contestant #3: Uh...$781!

Contestant #2: FUCK YOU!

    • On the bright side, if you manage to get the price exactly right, you not only can't be beaten, but you get a $500 bonus as well. Due to the rounding rule, this is the only way to win the round if somebody bids $1 more than you.
  • Family Feud players who buzz in and answer a higher valued answer than their opponent have the option to either continue answering the question with their family (play) or let the other family answer (pass). Most players will choose "play", which led to a 7-year retirement of the option before being brought back.
  • Survivor always has the weaker or less loyal players voted out first; and then at or near the merge, the people who carried the tribe through the first half of the game are evicted because they're a threat. Everybody also starts to make an alliance of about three to five during the tribal game, trying to get others to vote with them as dummy votes just to get a majority at tribal council. There's always at least one time where someone who's stronger is voted out over a weaker person because they're less loyal.
    • And after Samoa, there's at least one or two people who hit the beach and start hunting for the idol. Especially since people generally tend to find it buried under a log or rock or hidden in a tree, sometimes in rather obvious places. And expect people casting dummy votes to flush out the idol.
    • A more justified example is how every season starts off with the tribes building a shelter, looking for water, looking for edible vegetation, etc.


Other

  • In Ender's Game, most (if not all) of the Battle School commanders use the same formations that have been in place for years, due to fear of launching a failing strategy and tanking their army's standings. Ender's success is mostly due to him realizing this and coming up with new ways to innovate in every battle.
  • In American Football, there are two ways to try a field goal: the place kick and the drop kick. Thanks to the current shape of the ball (more pointed than a rugby ball to facilitate the forward pass, making their bounces more wild), all field goals are attempted via place kick. The most recent successful drop kick attempt was on New Year's Day, 2006, made by a retiring quarterback for the novelty value; prior to that, you'd have to go all the way back to 1941.
  • In game theory, a Nash Equilibrium is a state in which all players know each others' strategies and have nothing to gain by changing their own strategy. A true Nash equilibrium is very rare in the world of tabletop and video gaming, though players often think they're in one until some new blood is introduced.
  • While not a gaming-related example, a significant amount of people will reach a point in their lives in which they seldom if ever seek out unfamiliar music, and be perfectly content relistening to their old favorites the overwhelming majority of the time.

Notes

  1. Somewhat, anyway. Damage is highly randomized in Exalted, so it is entirely possible and not terribly unlikely to have a really powerful attack do barely any damage at all
  2. Jump, and more rarely Speed, are occasionally allowed to make navigating a bit easier, but even then they'll be limited to the lowest level
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