February 25, 2015

So what causes best in slot mentality?

One thing I've taken note of lately, since I've been expanding my outlook of games more, though I still tend to stick to the super hero genre (I rather enjoy the setting) there is one thing that does crop up. It even cropped up in City of Heroes, much to the disbelief of its player base. What is this thing I am talking about? It’s a rather old belief but it falls under a new term called Best in Slot or BiS.

Of course, this idea has existed for a while, even in the pen and paper days munchkins use to toil over what gear or item would be the best suited for their munchkin build and what stats would give them the most optimal set up. It’s nothing new really, but the question that has to be asked, is those said items really best in slot?

Here’s the basic problem with BiS mentality; they only usually aim at pushing a few stats on a character, and it pushes so hard on those stats that, in most modern games and MMOs in particular, you are sinking heavily into diminishing returns. Furthermore, the BiS mentality is only given that regard because it might have a few points over similar items that offer similar stat choices. So is an item that only gives you less than even half a percent of an actual increase really doing you any favors? Short answer is no, and long answer is, you could have probably found something as good or even superior to this BiS pick due to the fact that BiS picks tend to be narrow viewed and not really offer the best for the character as a whole.

So why is this mentality so prevalent now in the gaming space that all the other items developers toil to create end up being looked down upon? Well it’s a fairly simple factor that gamers are sheep, as much as they like to believe they are leaders. Gamers will ride on the opinion of others until mathematical or video evidence proves to them otherwise that something else is better. And they don’t care about how minute the difference is. If random chance that one time proves that you can kill a boss 2 seconds faster even though that 2 seconds faster happened 1 out of 5 tests, and the 2 were equal and the other 2 were slower.

So why is this phenomenon so common place in gamers? Because gamers look to be the best and look for short cuts to get there no matter the cost, and no matter how fake pretend humble they are. No gamer, none anywhere that claims themselves a gamer, actually practices what they preach of them just only being there to just enjoy the game. They want to be there to dominate the game and to be equal if not superior than others. Many will try to deny this facet, but it is true. So when it comes to being the best, BiS, no matter how hard it pushes against diminishing returns, sounds awesome to have.

It’s one of those issues of gamer mindset that won’t be going away soon, and with collective sheep mentality, it only takes a handful of people proclaiming how awesome an item is before the blinders go on and no one points out how hard a build with gear X is pushing against that diminishing returns wall and actually costing more effectiveness than helping it. It is amusing to watch these events though when people do believe in it, and the reason for that is because you get the people doing their damndest to try and prove that the 1% increase (if that) is far more helpful than the several percent you might lose somewhere else, of course.

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