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Degenerate Strategy

Definition - What does Degenerate Strategy mean?

A degenerate strategy is a way of playing a video game that exploits an oversight in gameplay mechanics or design. Degenerate strategies apply to player-versus-player (PvP) as well as player versus environment (PvE) games. Degenerate strategies do not break the rules of a game like a code or a cheat, but they do prevent the game from being experienced in the manner intended by the game designer.

Techopedia explains Degenerate Strategy

Nearly every game has degenerate strategies that a gamer can exploit for the easy win, kill or level-up.

Common degenerate strategies include:

  • Finding the most powerful and difficult special attack to block in a fighting game and then using only that move in every round
  • Finding the spawn points for items and enemies in a roleplaying game and camping there for easy kills, experience points and cash
  • Leveling up a character beyond its natural progression by constantly refighting battles
  • Finding the range at which the enemy's artificial intelligence operates and using long-range attacks from the edge of that range
  • Memorizing repetitive game elements, such as layouts or attack patterns, and exploiting their weaknesses

A degenerate strategy is not a gaming principle violation because no such principle exists. Degenerate strategies are merely alternative gameplay approaches that appeal to two types of gamers: those who want to play as efficiently as possible and those looking for shortcuts to beat the game.

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