Player Preferred Pattern

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NO ITEMS! FOX ONLY! FINAL DESTINATION!
—A general description of any given Super Smash Bros. Melee match.

When players of a game gravitate en masse to one character, play style, or Weapon of Choice. Sometimes, a particular character or weapon/item always gives the best results when used properly or mastered, which then results in nearly every player using that same set up because nothing else is as effective. Especially for online play, this can lead to a situation where nearly everyone playing in the round are using the same characters or items because the set up has more benefits than cons, making it every easy to know how to counter a move or knowing what to expect from another player. A type of Complacent Gaming Syndrome.

See also Abridged Arena Array.

Examples of Player Preferred Pattern include:


  • If a fighting game has a tier list, then expect many people to automatically choose the characters that are near the top of the tier list just because of that fact.
  • Many shooter-players have their own favoured gun from the Standard FPS Guns list.
    • Many online shooters will have practically everyone running around with the same weapon or loadout. Naturally, failing to conform and using something different instead is treated as a sign of either being a noob, or cheating (depending on how well you do, of course).
      • And if the game otherwise requires your team have a certain mix of classes/weapons to ensure optimal teamwork, this trope is especially horrible to have to deal with.
      • Which brings up another point: Teamwork itself rarely ever falls under the Player Preferred Pattern. Quite a large number of people generally focus on their own personal score and nothing else, not even winning the game. This is highly cultural, though—it's almost never a problem in Tribes games, for example, even on public servers, while in Call of Duty this is pretty much guaranteed unless you go out of your way to set up a game with people who you know will actually act as a team.
  • The Plasma Cutter is the first weapon you receive in both Dead Space games, and it's all you'll ever need. There's even the "One Gun" achievement for playing through the whole first game using only it (you can still buy, equip, and upgrade other guns, just not fire them).
    • Other weapons are still useful, and some more so than the Plasma Cutter in certain situations. However, the Plasma Cutter really is a perfectly fine weapon throughout most of the game, and using only one gun allows you to focus your upgrades into that one gun, as well as your health and stasis unit. Even without the achievement, it's a pretty legitimate strategy to just focus on using the Plasma Cutter, and maybe carry a Force Gun to knock away groups of enemies that get too close.
  • Expect to see a LOT of Ken players in any Street Fighter game. Especially Ken Fighter IV: Sagat Strike. So much so, in fact, that Complacent Gaming Syndrome was originally called That Damn Ken.
  • For those you that enjoy the competitive side of Super Smash Bros. Melee, expect a lot of Fox, Falco, Jigglypuff, Sheik, Marth, Peach, and Captain Falcon.
    • Many top players use Diddy Kong and Solid Snake in Brawl, or Meta Knight if the tournament format doesn't ban him.
  • Gears of War's now rather Broken Base stems largely from this - In the first game, a number of players relied heavily or solely on the Shotgun. In the sequel, various changes were made to make said shotgun essentially foolish to rely on solely (Not that they don't keep trying).
    • Players will also get very testy about being killed by something other than another shotgun as well. Prepare to be sent angry messages for using "noob tactics", which include all other weapons and all melee attacks (especially the chainsaw). This was even worse in the first game, where even other shotguns weren't safe, and killing someone with it would result in your victim yelling at you for having host advantage, whether you were the host or not.
    • It got worse. There seems to be only two correct ways to play the game. The first is shotgun rushing on gridlock. The second is sniper dueling on fuel depot. It somehow went downhill from there. It got to the point where the only pickup weapons that spawned on the maps were sniper rifles. Then, people starting booting for doing things so trivial as beating down an opponent, or for just firing any weapon except for the shotgun.
    • A lot of hosts now will kick for usage of the chainsaw bayonet, which has its own hatedom. Do not go onto any gears of war forum and start talking about how the chainsaw requires skill to use. This is tantamount to 2-peicing, which led to the "bullets over elbows" anti-melee movement, which in turn spawned the "b-button warrior" movement.
    • In the first game, the COG team was the favourite of many players, to the point where they would wait in the middle of the lobby until a spot opened up, and the 8th person to join a match would often quit as soon as the match started because they would have to play on Locust.
  • Doom II: Super-Shotgun. Possibly the most horribly conceived weapon in FPS history, as its common availability, high damage and comparably fast rate of fire have seemingly lead to it being all anyone ever uses in competitive play. Aggravated by DOOM not having an option to pick weapons at the start of deathmatch games, so the only option was to use custom maps that leave out the Game Breaker weapons.
    • On the other hand, experienced players (especially on larger maps) generally prefer either the rocket launcher or the chaingun with its sniping capability.
  • Halo 2 and 3. Most people use the battle rifle, because it is the only weapon that isn't a niche gun, and it makes things somewhat more fair, since you don't have much of a chance with an assault rifle if your enemy has any distance on you, and has one. Do not bring the concepts of "taking cover", or "throwing grenades", as these will result in the used "the BR is the best gun at close, middle, and long range."
    • The oftentimes obsessive love for the BR will often result in using it in any situation, regardless of its viability, and any weapon other than the Battle Rifle or the Sniper Rifle is automatically deemed "noob" by the online community.
    • Funnily enough, the assault rifle is technically superior if in a range where the bullets are guaranteed to hit what you're aiming (the chance you'll be in that range is generally pretty good on most maps when you're in a building, at least) - it takes it ten rounds to kill, which it fires in one second. The battle rifle takes four trigger-pulls to kill a player at full health in one shot, and its maximum fire rate is 2.4 bursts a second.
      • The BR fandom also conveniently leaves out the fact that getting the ideal 4-shot kill is extremely rare outside of AR range, at which point, having a BR out intentionally typically results in the player being too dumb to live.
        • The entire online forum is full of rampant flanderization of everything. The Battle Rifle is a weapon which automatically grants god mode powers to anyone who is skilled enough to use it. Anyone who isn't a general is a noob. Anyone who doesn't have the BR as their main weapon is a noob. Anyone who plays as an elite is a noob. Anyone who wears Hayabusa armor is a noob. Anyone who uses a weapon other than BR or sniper is automatically a noob, regardless of the context.
      • Being fair, the BR is the second-best weapon for most situations, and is often more versatile than the "best" one. The major exceptions are total point blank, where it loses to melee and AR, and agianst anything that's armored and isn't a hunter.
    • Also, the second two games allow to play as an elite. Very few actually do this, though.
      • Except on SWAT, where only headshots count (Elites being harder to headshot from behind, thus giving the player a better chance of surviving an attack from an opponent he can't see).
    • To be fair, this attitude stems from the BR's ancestor, the legendarily Game Breaker-riffic Sniper Pistol from Combat Evolved.
    • Halo Reach has the DMR, which, now that everyone is capable of headshots due to the game's large aim-assist, is worse than the BR in many situations. Then there's the sniper rifle, which can kill banshees, falcons, warthogs, ghosts, revenants, wraiths, and even the mother of all vehicles, the scorpion, in some situations. It kills vehicles more easily than the rocket launcher. Again, due to the aim-assist, the sniper rifle is incredibly easy to use at close range for a large, bulky .50. You don't even need to "Quickscope." One can easily kill a charging shotgunner at point blank or a DMR marksman at mid-range using only the sniper rifle. The AR is also completely useless in this game, and of course, there's a commendation for using it.
  • Team Fortress 2 was specifically designed with this in mind, providing nine premade characters based on popular play styles and equipping them with only their associated Weapons Of Choice.
    • "Stop Having Fun!" Guys tend to hate the update-introduced Razorback, Chargin' Targe, Cloak and Dagger, Sandman, and Natascha. The Syringe Gun used to be seen this way as well until the Blutsauger was nerfed and the Syringe Gun was buffed. Some players will yell at you if you use the Backburner (can't put out players' fire or reflect projectiles) or the Kritzkrieg (trades ten seconds of invincibility for ten seconds of triple damage against everything but buildings).
      • Of course, now that Backburner has been given airblast, people now complain it's too strong and there's no longer any reason to use other flamethrowers. Unpleasable Fanbase indeed.
      • Before the recent Enforcer nerf, many Spy players had the "Dr. Enforcicle" weapon selection. It consisted of the Dead Ringer (a watch that allowed you to fake your own death and gave you a special invisibility that blocked 90% of all incoming damage for 6 seconds), the Enforcer (a revolver that did 20% more damage at the cost of a longer time needed to activate your cloak), and the Spy-cicle (an icicle that made the Spy immune to fire for 2 seconds, at the cost of it melting and being unable to use it for 15 seconds). These three items synergized very well together: the Dead Ringer could not cloak at-will, but cloaked you instantly if you took any damage while it was out. This instant cloak nullified the only downside to using the Enforcer. The Spy-cicle made the Spy's worst enemy, the Pyro, almost completely useless during the two seconds of fire immunity, during which time the Spy could have a free shot or two with his 20% stronger revolver.
  • In Counter-Strike, the "automatically re-buy previous equipment" option is ideal for a player who has figured out what he's comfortable with and wants to stick with it.
    • Counter-Strike and its players are inextricably associated with the AWP sniper rifle and the deagle handgun.
    • Counter-Strike has a total of 22 guns that can be chosen from (6 pistols, 2 shotguns, 5 SMGs, 4 assault rifles and 3 sniper rifles) but basically all are inferior to the 3 mainly used guns: The AWP sniper rifle (1 hit one kill), or the M4A1 or AK47 assault rifles, as these latter two are the most powerful and accurate by far of all the guns. Anyone using any of the other weapons, except possibly the pump shotgun, usually results in "noob".
    • There are dedicated "scouts 'n knives" maps, which only allow you to carry the Scout sniper rifle (AWP's weaker brother) and the knife. These often involve reduced gravity to add a new dimension to the gameplay.
  • When it comes to Nintendo's tourneys for Mario Kart Wii, if it's karts only, expect to hear many bike purists whine about how they're forced to use something so inferior as a kart.
    • Along with bikes, most people will only use certain characters due to them having slightly better bonus stat boosts compared to other characters. Expect to see no one but Daisy and Funky Kong online and in the records for Time Trials and tournaments.
    • Or people on Wi-Fi usually just play as their Miis.
      • Mario Kart DS also had a similar case where snakers would use nothing but the Dry Bomber since its mini turbos lasted the longest out of all karts and it made snaking easier.
    • When looking up time trial records for Mario Kart 7, expect to see nearly everyone using Metal Mario for the high bonus in top speed (even though Bowser gives the same bonuses). When it comes to what parts everyone uses, expect to see a lot of people using the B Dasher with the Gold Tires or other similar parts that give a lot of speed.
  • Any female/ninja in Dead or Alive.
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault players get very tetchy when you try to use something other than an SMG or sniper. Rocket, rifle grenade, or portable turret? Overpowered. Shotgun or machinegun? Causes lag.
    • People didn't like the original shotgun because they became frustrated by less experienced players besting them, due to its short range stopping power. So the hardcore mod was introduced specifically to up the power of the SMG to ridiculous levels and drop the power of the shotgun, such that you were forced to jam it right in someone's face to ever hope to kill them.
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge Of The Warlords, there are near infinite combos of stat buffs and ability boosts you can achieve by mixing and matching Runes to create different items. 90% of players will go for the following Runes every time: Rune of Swords or Rune or Axes for boosted attack strength, Rune of Poison and/or Plague for status effects, Rune of Jewels to boost attack for every full mana gauge, and Rune of Music to fill the gauges up rapidly. The really hardy players will always use the hellishly difficult to gain and use Rune Of The Gods as a modifying Rune for maximum stats.
  • In Gunz, there's K-Styling, essentially a glitch exploit that involves using swords and jumping around the maps at obscene speeds. Players attempting to legitimately use guns are sometimes chastised as "sprayers" and kicked from games.
    • It's even worse when you know the basic mechanics behind the ranged weapons as the assault rifle (the weapon most used by "sprayers") is the most accurate weapon in the game and is one of two weapons (the other being the semi-auto pistols) that can hit from a very long range. Anyone who is good at the game BECAUSE they reject k-Style and focus on the shooting part of the game are usually accused of being a cheater because they take advantage of the fact that they don't have to be up close to score a kill, nor do they have to use 4-12 key combos to attack.
  • Metroid Prime: Hunters has this in its multiplayer. Most good players only use Trace since he specializes in sniping and becoming invisible with the weapon.
    • Anyone who isn't using Trace is using Sylux, since he has the easiest gun and most damaging Morph form.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2's "God Tier": Magneto, Storm, Sentinel and Cable. Most team consist of a pairing of two of these characters and Cyclops, Captain Commando or Psylocke on third just to abuse their assist.
    • As of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Vergil and Wesker seem to be the most frequently played characters online, with Ryu and Akuma for good measure.
  • For some reason, the computer in Soul Calibur 3 doesn't seem to be able to block a retreating vertical from an Iron Sword Create-A-Soul character. It's too easy to just use that one class and attack throughout the game. This then bites you in the rear when human opponents easily dodge and clobber you while you're using what's a fairly slow and very telegraphed attack.
    • Even more ridiculous is that the computers are completely unable to block the double swing a+b attack (also of the iron sword custom character). The first swing they block just fine. The second, not so much.
    • If you think the Iron Sword has ridiculous anti-AI potential, try the Katana discipline. Forward B+K will baffle them 90% of the time, and it sets them up for your mid-air attack throw perfectly (just avoid the katana that gives you added knockback, as it throws off the timing). As long as they don't get a cheap shot on you, you are guaranteed to win against all but the most extreme AI.
  • Many people playing Nethack play only one character role until they win. Since the game is Nintendo Hard, this can take a while.
    • Given that each game differs from the last in completely unpredictable ways, this isn't a bad idea. It's bad enough having to survive such a game without also having to learn a new role.
    • Valkyrie is a heavily favored role because it's the Jack of All Stats (and in NetHack, that's a very good thing).
      • Valkyrie was deliberately designed as a "starter" role with an easy early game (especially for dwarf valkyries), though it lacks any major end-game advantages. Advanced players seem to favour the Tourist, which, being the "challenge" role has the worst starting position, but also has only one banned weapon skill (clubs) and gets possibly the most useful class-specific artifact of them all in the mid-game.
  • Despite the huge number of options in the character creator that most players in City of Heroes take advantage of, you will still see some players who have dozens of characters with each different superpowers but who all look identical and have the same name with a number after it.
    • ...read some, these people are considered either concept players or just really, really weird.
    • Some days it seems like every other Scrapper (melee-centric class) one sees has claws and regeneration - half of those are named some variation of 'Wolverine' or 'Logan'. I wonder why...
      • They only remain so for about a week, after Marvel's lawsuit.
    • A Fire/Kinetics Controller is the go-to character for all manner of farming and power-leveling as well as general gameplay, combining awesome damage potential with crowd-control ability. Rare is the player without one of these in the roster. Toning down (i.e. nerfing) either Fire or Kinetics will unfairly punish those who use one powerset without the other, so it continues to reign supreme after years. Villain-side it's a little less cut and dried, but Super Strength/Willpower Brutes come the closest.
    • Also, as a way of Player Preferred Pattern of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game players, every team allegedly needs a healer.
  • In Left 4 Dead, especially Versus mode, people seem only use Uzis and Auto Shotguns while the Assault Rifle falls down the middle. Using a Pump Shotgun or Hunting Rifle will get you scolded by many people who only care about winning.
    • Until you start sniping smokers and hunters waiting on buildings in the face. And trying to jump on you. And boomers trying to fall on you. Then they complain about how much it sucks to get killed before they can get anywhere near you. However, with the relase of The Sacrifice DLC, the Hunting Rifle in the first game now matches the accuracy of the same gun in the sequel. Time will tell if people will use this gun more often in VS.
      • Similarly in the sequel, the most used weapons are either Auto Shotguns or AK-47s with a laser slight (if one can find a laser sight), simply because of how powerful they are.
    • People would also pick one particular spot to hold out during finales because the common infected would trickle in through just one or two spots, making them easy to pick off. The sequel changes it where you either have to be on the move or how the infected can come in from many more places to discourage camping. The new special infected were also made to address the issues of camping.
    • In one Scavenge map, there is an exploit where you can throw a pipe bomb just so and it will blow several gas tanks closer to you. This map shows up in random matches a lot. And since Scavenge is just the Dead Center finale turned into a game mode, the Dead Center map is very familiar to everyone from the get-go, and is also picked often.
    • Valve acknowledged how players would always pick one gun and stick with it thanks to tons of ammo piles in the maps, so they changed it in the sequel where the ammo piles were much less and the only way to keep firing was to pick up a new gun entirely. It partly worked, partly just caused a lot more use of pistols (especially if the player has a good gun with a laser sight).
    • Survival, despite how difficult it is when zombies and specials swarm you much faster than in a regular game, has this in the form of finding the most optimal corner or similar spot to camp in, spread all the gas cans and explosive cans to keep the infected at bay, and only moving to get health packs and/or ammo or if a Tank shows up. Despite patching to nerf the exploits, players will still find a spot where zombies suddenly can't reach you or stop trying to find you because you're considered off the map.
    • And for playing VS mode itself, there's the rushing tactic, where all survivor players blaze through the level, only stopping if there's supplies in the path or if they can revive a fallen player. This makes it difficult for the zombie players to keep up since they first have to find a place to spawn where they cannot be seen, and the move in for the attack while the survivors keep running ahead. Most players rush since hordes generally spawn behind the player and rarely in the front and there is a limit to how many zombies the game can have in the field. The recent ports of the Left 4 Dead 1 maps have been adding rushing events, which magnifies this tactic.
    • The sequel has several game modes to choose from (Campaign, VS, Realism VS, Scavenge, and Mutation). Despite the several modes to choose from, people generally stick with either Campaign or VS modes, making it very difficult to find and form games in the other modes. Originally, Realism VS was a Mutation mode but had gotten enough popularity to warrant it as permament game mode. After it was added, player activity for that mode declined in favor of Campaign or VS.
  • In Star Wars Battlefront II, you can select Assault mode (normally only used for space battles) on the Mos Eisley map, which allows you to play as any of the game's hero characters. Expect to only see Aayla Secura for the Heroes' side and Darth Maul on the Villains' side, who are two of the only hero characters who use two lightsabers. And don't even dream about seeing a hero character who doesn't use a lightsaber.
    • Probably because most of the heroes that don't have a lightsaber (save for Boba Fett) tend to get cut down really fast by those who do.
    • It gets worse: that map and game mode are literally the only ones any populated server will run.
  • For Unreal Tournament's weapons, the Shock Rifle and Sniper Rifle tend to be used more often because of their capabilities. Fortunately though, most weapons do see some use since each is meant for a particular situation, and Siege finally gives players a good reason to use the otherwise-pathetic Bio Rifle (can splash-damage buildings and basecores from a distance, unlike the Minigun which is only effective at close-range).
    • Good luck find an online match in Unreal Tournament 2004 that isn't on Onslaught mode.
    • Rockets. So god-awful popular apparently they got their own game mode.
    • Most weapon mod full conversions like Arkon tend to fall into this trap. Heck, in Arkon specifically, the recharging thermal blasters you start with are obscene. Only the long recharge time keeps them from being out all the time. Similarly, the sniper version, which replaces the lightning gun...insane instant damage as long as the reticle is on the opposing player/vehicle. Makes mincemeat of flying vehicles and anything that's not a tank. Now imagine how this plays out in normal vehicle-less deathmatch.
  • Want to play Blaz Blue online? Can you dodge the Icecar?
    • Oh, you can? Well, Nu has something to say about that.
      • Well I'll be, you managed to beat that Nu player. Have some Arakune action! BEEEEEES
    • To be fair, they did nerf those three in Continuum Shift. But now there's Litchi and Bang to deal with...
      • ...who were both nerfed in the Continuum Shift 2 balance changes. But don't try to tell Bang players that—there's still a massive number of people who either can't adjust to Bang's new low-tier placement, or don't even realize they're technically playing Continuum Shift 2.
      • Or alternatively they just don't give a shit, because Bang is hilarious and the other characters aren't quite so entertainingly silly to play.
  • This trope is the reason that the OU tier exists in Pokémon competitive gaming. The Pokemon competitive community seems to actually be relatively civil about this, organizing the Character Tiers to give every Pokemon a fair shot at some level or another.
    • A more specific in-game example is the "entry hazard" (does damage to enemies' entering the battlefield) Stealth Rock, especially when compared to the other two, Toxic Spikes and Spikes. Unlike the other two, which do nothing to types immune to ground, Stealth Rock does damage to everything but the few Pokémon with Magic Guard, and how much is decided by vulnerability to Rock-type attacks. All this after just one turn setting up, meaning even if the other team got rid of Stealth Rock with Rapid Spin (which you may be prevented from doing by the opponent switching to a Ghost-type) you could put it back up just as easily. As a result, its cost/benefit ratio was ridiculous and use is nigh-omnipresent. It was so bad that many, MANY Pokémon (even freaking legendaries) got knocked down a tier or two for the sole reason of being weak to that single move.
    • Black and White indirectly nerfed Stealth Rock by giving it only to a small number of Rock and Steel-types (most of which were pretty slow).
      • More so, the Technical Machine (TM) for Stealth Rock can't be imported from older games.
      • Unfortunately this does nothing to help those who play online simulated Pokemon, since Pokemon from older games CAN still be imported, and Stealth Rock remains on the vast majority of their preferred movesets.
      • So much, that Game Freak implemented a new Pokemon ability for Black and White, Magic Bounce, that automatically sends any entry hazards, including Stealth Rock, back to the opponent when a Pokemon with that ability is switched in. No surprise that Espeon and Xatu experienced a massive surge in usage, going up the tier lists.
  • Initial D Arcade Stage Ver. 2: Everybody and their brother used the Honda Integra Type R (DC2) and selected Irohazaka for every single multiplayer match, mostly because the DC2 was a Game Breaker that wouldn't slow down nearly as much as other cars from hitting walls and guardrails, and Irohazaka was a zig-zagging series of hairpins, which gave a huge advantage to the DC2.
    • When Version 3 came out, that changed thanks to the Home Course Advantage: if you drove a car on its in-game home course (e.g. driving the AE85 Levin on Myogi, the AE86 Trueno on Akina, or the MR2 on Irohazaka), your car would be slightly faster and quicker to recover than cars that weren't from that course. Of course, a skilled opponent could overcome this, but . . .
  • All Quake games were in love with the Rocket Launcher (it was a gamebreaker in Quake/Quakeworld), but the railgun was the weapon of choice since Quake II.
  • Guilty Gear players gravitate towards Sol Badguy or Ky Kiske.
  • Online Reset Generation opponents typically consist of Plumber and Cyborg - especially the latter, for which there are two steps to easy victory: 1. Grab energy drink to charge Rocket Jump. 2. Grab enemy princess and Rocket Jump to the nearest teleporter or self-colored tile.
  • In Sim City 4 Deluxe, expect most cities to be crammed packed full of skyscrapers due to only Dense zone use, as well as to never see one railroad or elevated rail system as opposed to avenues, roads, subway and bus stations. That is of course, if somebody's trying to rebuild a real-world city. Oh yeah, almost nobody plays the game without a Game Mod.
  • Final Fantasy VI, because you can teach any character any spell. So even though you have 14 different characters, each with differing stat growths and unique special abilities, you'll almost always see people who assume that the only real way to play the game is to teach everyone Ultima and win the game with nothing but that.
    • This shows up in Final Fantasy XII. Because it's so damn easy to teach every character every spell and skill in the game thanks to the License Grid, many players have a party with identical skill-sets and equipment.
    • Final Fantasy XIII had the Bonus Boss Vercingetorix vulnerable to poison. Due to his sky high stats, the target time for him was 20min for an endgame party. Cue everyone facing him with Vanille/Fang/Snow, poisoning him and spamming Mediguard until it needs repoisoning or it dies.
  • Dwarf Fortress suffers somewhat from this, as it's fairly easy to surround your entrance with a ridiculous number of traps and reduce invading enemies to Ludicrous Gibs before they ever get near the front doors, and it's rare to find a player who'll start a fortress anywhere that doesn't have magma. On the other hand, these are just basic tactics, and beyond that, it's expected that any player will try random things that might will get their fortress killed For Science!!
    • Played with a bit in the new major version - all maps have magma, you just have to dig until you hit the mantle. Unfortunately, the lag caused by the sheer amount of magma will cripple your computer.
    • Indeed, players who aren't doing something that could get their entire fortress killed are considered to be doing it wrong. Exceptions may be made for sufficiently epic 'Megaprojects', however even most of these have a good chance of killing everyone if they go bad. For example, if you want the eyes of your colossus to be magma behind obsidian, then you're going to have to pump magma up some dozens of stories in order to get it there.
  • Most of the multiplayer community for BioShock (series) 2 use a combination of Electro Bolt and the Elephant Gun in order to pull off easy one-hit-kill headshots on stunned players.
  • Because for some reason Neversoft thought that making every mode into party mode with extra menus, playing Guitar Hero 5 online will generally result in the vast majority of online games to consist entirely of four guitarists. Occasionally, you will get a drummer and even more occasionally a vocalist, but you will almost never get a bassist, even on songs where the bass is just as hard, if not harder, than the guitar.
  • The Paper Mario games let you level up in 3 different ways: heart points, flower points, or badge points.
    • To clarify, there is an NPC who can raise one of your three stats but will lower another stat in exchange. Some people chose to lower Mario's HP down to 5 and the game considers Mario to be in the Danger status since he is at 5 HP. Several badges powers up Mario's attack and defense when he is in such a state or if he is in the Peril status, where his HP is at 1. Since badges stack, it's possible to have a crippled Mario be a walking powerhouse where he can do over 10 damage per hit and take very little due to the said badges. This is known as the Danger Mario strategy.
    • This is only made worse by the existence of badges that increase your HP or FP by the amount you'd get from a level up, which cost the exact amount of BP you'd get from a level up.
  • Final Fantasy XI players are, as a rule, never satisfied with their XP per hour. As such, they will meleeburn colibri where possible, and more recently, the controversial "astral burn" party type has emerged, although it's only controversial because unlike other party types, people will sell leech slots in these parties (they're actually slower than certain other party types, such as chigoe burns).
    • Colibri parties dominate the game from level 37 (East Ronfare [S]) to L75 (Bhaflau Thickets), and have completely bent the endgame to match—melee characters are encouraged to find accuracy gear and piercing weapons to overcome the Colibri evasion bonuses and weakness to piercing damage, and can expect to sit around bored and shunned if they don't. It's not uncommon to see a level 70+ player sync down to level 37 in order to fight Colibri birds in East Ronfaure (S).
      • With the introduction of Abyssea, however, there's finally a new, widely-accepted way to hunt a variety of targets for acceptable-to-end-game-players exp per hour. It's still only a tiny fraction of the actual number of monsters in Abyssea, but it's better than nothing.
    • There are more examples than that in FFXI, which has a very regimented endgame community. Take Ninjas, for example. Ninjas have the ability to blink, which guarantees the next three (or four) attacks against them will miss. They can also debuff, do direct damage, dual wield, and do a dozen other things—but no one cares, cause they can dodge 3 attacks by casting a spell, and recast that spell repeatedly. This is to the point that the (fake) endgame elitists will insist that everyone, healer, mage, tank, what have you -- everyone must take Ninja as a subjob cause casting blink over and over is the only "real" way to play. Real endgame elitists will consider you beneath their time if you aren't able to use a Samurai subjob (which gives overpowering offensive bonuses) effectively, as it's a very real phenomenon that once your gear gets to a certain level, setting yourself up for defense holds you back compared to overspecializing in offense.
      • There actually is a reason for that though. Ninjas are literally bad at everything else. Dual wielding theoretically puts Ninja at a point it can equal two handed weapon users for DPS. In reality, they do less because every hit gets the same defense value subtracted from it, so lots of fast hits do less damage than a few slow ones. This doesn't apply to Monks because Hand to Hand has special math for damage. Debuffing is terrible, a Red Mage (one of the classes almost every party wants in late game for reasons beyond debuffing), can debuff faster, more effectively, and with a wider range of debuffs than a Ninja can.
      • Ninja subjob is also required for some endgame content, as well, for reasons other than elitism. Some endgame mobs have AoE abilities that instant kill. Blink is the only reliable way for any class, except maybe Paladin, to survive those attacks.
    • One of the things the devs did was to increase the Paladin's ability to gain enmity and reduce the damage it takes, in quite dramatic ways. However, all they really did was make it extremely easy for Paladins to use Ninja as a subjob and use their own abilities to survive between blink casts. It should be noted that there are * some* recently-added fights that seem to have been designed with the idea of having all the front-line fighters using blinks in mind; if you don't everyone will simply take more damage than you can heal. The Shadow Lord (past version!) is hard enough just with his Doom attacks.
  • In Call of Duty 4 and World at War, everyone uses the Stopping Power perk. Failing that, the Juggernaut perk. Otherwise... you're very unique.
  • Modern Warfare 2 has a few class builds: tending to use mainly the assault rifles rather than the other weapons, with the Stopping Power perk. Marathon-Lightweight-Commando, a sub machine gun, and a pistol with the Tactical Knife attachment which halves the recovery time of your melee attack. If the class uses Danger Close, they will have an explosive launcher with either the Scavenger or One Man Army perk to replenish their explosives. Or, on very rare occasions, the Riot Shield, which cannot even be penetrated by FMJ.
    • If they're using an SMG, it is the UMP45, usually silenced. If they're using a sniper rifle, it's the Intervention. If they're using a light machine gun (rare), it's the RPD. The Assault Rifles are the only primary weapon class that isn't dominated by a single gun, but the SCAR-H, TAR-21, and ACR are fairly common. As for secondary weapons, expect nothing but dual Model 1887's.
  • Modern Warfare 3 has its own overused builds. The super-accurate ACR is the assault rifle of choice. The PP90M1 submachine gun also gets a lot of use from combining a high fire rate with high damage. Akimbo FMG-9s are heavily used, to the point of being repeatedly nerfed by Infinity Ward. The Type-95 was also common prior to a nerf.
  • Black Ops The Big 3 according to Treyarch are the FAMAS, AK74u, and Galil. The FAMAS and AK74u have been nerfed amid cries of being overpowered.
  • Despite being a rather well-balanced game overall, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 players will tend to pick very similar loadouts within each kit, comprised of the weapons considered to be OP:
    • Assault players often use the 40mm Grenade attachment exclusively, often with explosives-buffing specializations. Known as 'noob-tubing' due to the perceived lack of skill required by short-range may-as-well-be-hitscan one-hit kills with splash damage. Oh, and they also supply their own ammo.
      • The AN-94 is very popular, due to the fact that it does the highest damage out of all the assault rifles and fires an accurate 2-shot burst. Made even deadlier when paired with the 4x scope and magnum ammo.
    • Engineers use the Carl Gustav rocket launcher like a deadlier 40mm grenade.
      • With SMGs, the PP2000 since it has hardly any recoil, or the SCAR-L carbine. Both with Magnum ammo of course, like everyone else in the entire world.
    • Medics use the M60 machine gun with magnum ammo specialization. With the latest patch, medics are beginning to explore other options—although the M60 is still extremely common.
    • Everyone uses the M1911 handgun, or, post-patches, the REX revolver and tracer dart gun.
    • Pump action shotguns equipped with slug rounds are perfectly stats-matched (damage-wise) with bolt-action sniper rifles. By which we mean a one-hit kill to anyone at less than 20 metres.
    • Recon doesn't seem to have any clearly best weapon, but the sniper fans tend to gravitate towards the GOL rifle.
    • Bad Company 2's developers have been (attempting) to adjust the balance of the game's weapons. As of this writing's patches: the M60 and M1911 are no longer kings, the AN-94 rifle is up while the M16 rifle is down, the Hot Carl is still popular, and—of all things—the tracer dart gun is apparently too powerful. Like any other attempt to mess with complacent gamers, these balancing attempts result in a degree of fan backlash.
    • Pretty much just take your class's weapon with the highest damage rating and add a sight and Magnum ammo to it to make it do even more damage and be more accurate.
    • This game can be a rather blatant example of people running around with the same loadout despite how the game demands a more reasonable mix, mentioned near the top of the page. If a squad (or squads) on your team is filled with one class, it will likely be filled with Recon. That rarely ends well, especially if your team on the offensive in Rush.
  • Battlefield 3 also has some extremely common loadouts, which can be split from before the March 2012 patch and after it:
    • Assault: Pre-patch assault players used the F2000, AEK-971, or the FAMAS due to their high rates of fire. Post-patch the FAMAS's handling and ammo capacity changes nerfed it into oblivion and the F2000 is useless beyond 20 meters. The M16A3 with Heavy Barrel reigns supreme.
    • Engineers gravitate to the A-91 or the M4A1, again, due to the high rate of fire, while some go for the SCAR-H + ACOG + Heavy Barrel for long range damage. Post-patch, players that prefer a good medium-range weapon with minimal recoil will likely use the SG553 with the AKS-74U being configurable as a very good short-ranged hip fire weapon.
    • The Support class, with its variety of well-balanced guns but no superior weapon, inverts the trope. The class only contains Scrappy Weapons that aren't used like the QBB, MG36 and Type 88, which heavily suck compared to the rest.
    • Damn near every Recon use the M98B since it's the most powerful sniper rifle in the game, though after Back to Karkand the L96 is seeing some action since it shoots like a laser and it doesn't require as much grinding as the M98B.
      • Pre-patch the only semi-auto sniper rifle of any use was the M39 EMR: Very accurate, quick to fire and could be used in medium range as a 'designated marksman' style of play. Post-patch, the SKS has been buffed to the stars to the point it can compete with assault rifles.
    • Gun attachments: Pre-patch nearly everyone used the Foregrip/Suppressor combination to significantly reduce recoil to the point hardly anyone used bipods or heavy barrels. Post-patch, the Heavy Barrel is the new hotness for its very large spread reduction while aiming down sights with only a minimal vertical recoil increase. Foregrip and suppressor usage depends on the situation rather than being no-brainer attachments and they generally only get used for very close quarter combat.
    • Gun sights are a matter of preference but out of the various versions, the main ones used are the Kobra, US Red Dot Sight, ACOG 4x, US Holographic, and the 8x or 12x for sniper rifles.
    • Post-patch pistol changes mean the best players will use one of three sidearms: The G18 Suppressed fully-automatic pistol with a high rate of fire that is equivalent to the MP7 at very close range and is used for players who want a true 'backup' weapon, the 93R burst fire pistol which received a major buff in the patch for those who feel they need a more controllable gun than the G18, and finally the .44 Magnum which is a two shot kill due to a buff giving it a 1.25 damage multiplier to the chest, used by players who are extremely accurate and will pick and choose either their primary weapon or the Magnum based on the situation.
    • MP7 with Laser + Extended Mags is the hip fire weapon. Its hip fire is often more accurate than many guns when aimed down sight and it is quicker to get bullets on target because of its hip fire. Its only drawback is that the extended mags mean you only have less than a handful of reloads, so playing a support kit or having the Ammo perk is mandatory.
    • The USAS-12 with Frag rounds. It's basically a handheld IFV cannon. It's super accurate, has no "bullet" drop, kills in 2-3 direct hits, creates splash damage if it misses, and (since the USAS-12 is an automatic shotgun) extremely spammable. Anyone using it will be met with much gnashing of teeth, and it's so bad that it was severely nerfed. This video is a good demonstration.
    • Camouflage-wise, Spec Ops Black as it hides your heat signature from infra-red optics. It's also useful for hiding in buildings since the interior is usually dark.
  • In the Quake 2 mod Weapons Factory, Marines were the most common character class due to being heavily armed, and equally suited for defense and offense. Clan matches sometimes included one side fielding all Marines. As the various classes were nerfed and upgraded, other classes became more popular, but Marines remained the most popular choice.
  • In the Carmageddon games, the player can complete a regular race in three methods: take down all pedestrians, cross all checkpoints in order for some laps, or waste all opponents. Very rarely will players want to race or kill pedestrians, as fun as it is. This is also true regardless of the current vehicle's weak strength.
  • Few are the players who tackle the Bonus Boss of Persona 4, or most of the endgame for that matter, without the combo of Yoshitsune + Power Charge + Hassou Tobi. The only variation comes in how many buffs you use beforehand.
    • Of course, Shin Megami Tensei games tend to be crazy hard to begin with, and the bonus bosses are even worse. Beating them with anything but the preferred method can result in an effective Self-Imposed Challenge.
  • The randomised Tech Tree of Sword of the Stars was implemented for the purpose of preventing this. You may have a winning design and loadout in mind, but if the Random Number God doesn't like you, you'll just have to throw your best-laid plans out and work with what's available.
    • There is a tiny chance of you getting a "missing" technology from a wreck of an enemy ship, provided you are the winner and you have scavenger ships in your fleet. Even then, you have to run a special project to even determine what you'll get from the wreckage.
  • The most recent Mortal Kombat game features Kratos as a guest character. The appeal is perhaps a bit too much.
  • Spiral Knights players can be expected to have some or all of the following items if they have the money for them; Vog Cub, Divine Avenger, Gran Faust, Polaris/Biohazard, Grey Owlite Shield, and whatever krogmo trinkets boost your prefered weapon types.
    • Not to mention the insane overuse of the Wolver armour set...
      • This is because out of all weapon types swords deal the most raw damage numbers and as a result are the most popular choice. Guns deal pathetic damage per hit. However, swordies have to dodge or block enemy attacks once in a while while gunslingers can just keep pumping lead into the enemy, resulting in higher average damage over time in some cases. Bombs are good for support or inflicting Standard Status Effects... a playstyle unlikely to be a Player Preferred Pattern in Spiral Knights.
  • JRPGs in general fall victim to this. There is one party that everyone uses, no matter how many characters they have available to use.
  • The 4th Fire Emblem game is especially prone to this, despite the fact that there are literally thousands of possible pairing combinations, most of which are at least decent, 99% of "Stop Having Fun!" Guys use EdainXMidir, AyraXLex, Lachesis XFin or Beowulf (likely both), SylviaXNo-one, FuryXClaude, TiltyuXLevin and BrigetXHolyn. Lord help you if you use any other pairings, or pair Sylvia at all.