Power Weapons: What Makes A Good One?

What makes a good power weapon?

As a gamer, we’ve all encountered the power weapons. Chainsaws, gravity hammers, and BMGs have been some of the classics. But what is it that makes a power weapon such a coveted item in any videogame?

Every competitive game demands a weapon that packs a whallop. The idea is to gain dominance and keep it. And nothing does that better than a weapon that makes your opponent want to run the other way.

Power weapons are tools that allow us to deal immense damage. Things like rocket launchers and tanks can dictate the entire flow of the match, and no multiplayer game is complete without one. And if you don’t have one, it’s in your best interest to make sure nobody else does, either.

Multiplayer games are where power weapons really shine. Sure you can dominate the AI in single player campaigns, but nothing is more satisfying than knowing your opponent actually tried to outsmart you and you handed them their ass with the push of a button.

A power weapon has to make you feel cool. You want to feel like Riddick or the Terminator holding that thing. Nobody wants to mess with you because you hold their life in your hands. Most often in shooters (which make up the majority of multiplayer competitions), you only see your hands or weapon. In that way, your weapon becomes you. If you’re holding a pea-shooter and you’re not like an expert with it, you’re probably feeling like everybody’s peon. Now if you’re holding an energy sword in Halo, you’re the one your opponent wants to be. You feel cool.

The reward must have a risk. You have to have a balance. You can’t just run around and kick ass without some kind of consequence. Sometimes it’s a severe ammo limit and sometimes the power weapon takes your health itself as ammo. Perhaps the weapon takes a while to reload or you’re a sitting duck while you aim it. Perhaps it’s really difficult to reach, or you have to unlock it by being an unstoppable badass. Without the difficulty, the accomplishment just isn’t there.

It has to be unique. Your power weapon can’t look like everything else. It has to look like a gift from the gods. If it doesn’t stay in your mind, it doesn’t qualify.

What do you think makes a power weapon?

I want a shooter where you get a ton of crap like rocket launchers and crossbows and magnum pistols and the power weapon is an assault rifle

— Julian Williams (@theMirai) March 11, 2013