MCs OP from the start are boring

Temple

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We can talk about literary points of an OP MC and all that, but it's not meant to be well-structured writing. It's a popular web novel trope and authors will use them so long as there's a demand because they want to sell their story. I mean we're on SH. Once a flavor of the month smut trope is established, the front page will be filled with it. For me, it's really pointless to criticize the literary nature of wish-fulfilment tropes that the masses demand.

That's like criticizing Fifty Shades of Grey because it's not good writing-wise. It's not, but it's meant to use the popular Wattpad tropes. And it has demonstrated how well it used those tropes. It didn't set out to be a literary masterpiece. That's the same scenario with web novels and tropes familiar to us. That's also like criticizing McDonalds. You can preach to the people that its unhealthy and mediocre or even bad food, but they'll still buy it because being healthy wasn't the point of going to McDonalds. Same with people demanding for OP MCs.
And to add to your original premise of imaging that RPG with maxed out characters. People cheat/hack games to reach max level. Whales spend money to be the strongest without effort. There's that guy who spent $100k to be the strongest character in Diablo Immortal and now the system can't match him with anyone.

So yeah, people want the wish-fulfilment of being OP immediately. That's also why many people fall for get rich quick scams in real life
 

Hans.Trondheim

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Lemme add to the rant: Game-like skills and settings. 'Adventurer' guilds. And letter-based level system.

Like yeah, it's easy to explain and write, but for some reason it kills the 'human' in the already OP MC.
 

ForestDweller

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I should write an OP MC for my next work.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'd probably stop writing after I finish my current work in like two more years from now.
 

vaurwyn

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Imagine the AAA+ RPG game you've been looking forward to for a long time has finally been released after years of development. You spend an hour downloading it with stars in your eyes, already anticipating this game you've waited for so long. You grab a beer, get some snacks and the moment the game starts... your character is already fully maxed out.
First off, boredom is a feeling, as such it is subjective. You may find OP MC's boring, but you cannot say "MCs OP from the start are boring", because everyone has different ideas on what is boring/interesting.
That's the same feeling I have when I enjoy reading the first chapters of a novel but the MC suddenly gets overpowered for no apparent or logical reason.
Can't the lack of reason be interesting in itself? I can totally imagine a great story where the MC is suddenly given god-like powers one morning, and he has no idea why. How will the Mc react? What should he do with these powers? Was he given them for a reason? Where do they come from? Go on a jouney of self discovery and travel the universe in an attempt to find these answers! And if in the end it was just a random fluke, he did nothing to deserve it, that in itself can be a commentary for the worldview that the current power of humanity being the result of an evolution fluke.
Of course I can see that a lot of novels don't do that, and the OP mc is simply going to mindlessly rampage his way through the world, but that is an indictment on the poor quality of these specific novels, not on the concept as a whole.
I'm not saying it's bad for the MC to have some powerful abilities or skills, but it's just boring as f when he got them from the start with no effort. Mainstream JP isekais are masters in this, sending depressive salary men or retarded high schoolers into another world and yet they somehow end up lv999 or they get op sht from a bitch who call herself a goddess. This generic recipe ruins the plot imo.
It would depend what plot. If my plot is that my mc is suddenly burdened with more power than he knows what to do with, and has to deal with the moral implications/consequences of said powers, it won't be an issue. (this is the plot of a lot of superhero movies, where the MC is the only one with powers, completely OP, but being powerful does not mean not having no problems.)
If the plot is the mc winning a competition of pure strength, then giving the mc having overwhelming strength would hurt it.
I might not be a big fan of Chinese cultivation novels, but at least their protagonists still have a learning process and they often go from weak to strong even if they have some kind of special powers like a grandpa stuck inside a ring or the soul of the Heavenly Demon Of My Ass. Same for Korean returner/ranker type of novels. I know I'm just venting, but I find the slow-progress type of stories much more interesting tbh. No matter the genre, be it a fantasy, sci-fi, or realistic novel.
So you like progression stories, that's fine. It's personal taste, and you liking some types of stories more than others is perfectly normal. That doesn't mean that the genre you dislike is worse.
In my own novel, I definitely crippled my MC during his first fight and I killed the entire human race + most of the few survivors in the first narrative arc. I know I'm not a good example to follow as I basically set up the difficulty at Hell-mode from the start lmao ; but at least it gave my MC a goal to reach, and a reason to move forward.
I generally dislike novels where the MC is weak. I prefer rambo characters that have the strength to do something about what they see in the wrong world, instead of desperately struggling to survive. My opinion doesn't make underdog stories any worse, it's just a matter of personal taste.
To take the previous comparison, it's kinda the same reasoning as why you would want to slowly improve your character through a rewarding process in a game (for an RPG it would be quests, drops, exp, etc.), instead of already starting with a maxed-out character that can os all the mobs with no effort.
But there are plenty of games where you start out maxed out. In games like subnautica, poly bridge, soma, speedrunners or slime rancher, your character never gets stronger. That is not because they are worse than other games, they have simply decided to focus on other aspects of gameplay/story.
IN Titanfall (an FPS game), you don't level up, and are much stronger than the average enemy. You are OP, and they only win by numbers, but the story and gameplay are still top notch.
In planet coasters you can build city-sized roller coasters and send people flying to the moon with a well aimed crash. Minecraft has a creative mode where you can build/destroy anything, and many players love to craft beautiful worlds with it.

You cannot criticize a story for having an OP mc. You can criticize it for resolving all its issues too easily, undermining its stakes or having no tension, but that can happen whether or not the MC is OP.

Sure, most stories with an OP protagonist are badly written, but then again most stories are badly written. There are plenty of good ones out there, like Re:write, Song of Void, One Punch Man or Overlord.
Even then you might find these stories boring, because personal taste is subjective, but that doesn't change the objective quality of these novels.
 

Hans.Trondheim

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You cannot criticize a story for having an OP mc. You can criticize it for resolving all its issues too easily, undermining its stakes or having no tension, but that can happen whether or not the MC is OP.
I agree to this. I guess this is what really makes an OP MC boring and bad.
 

Kilolo

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lol, i really like that how everyone pointing at jp novels/webnovels while the CN & KR ones are the worst offender.
 

Cipiteca396

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That's why I do not understand your example of an fps in which you can't kill another player.
I threw a bad example at a bad example. My example of an FPS where you can't kill another player is identical to the given example of an RPG where you can't level up. My 'FPS' is no longer an FPS, and your 'RPG' is no longer an RPG. It's a different genre.

A story with an OP protag from the start is a different genre than a progression fantasy, even if they have the same rules and dynamics. So when you complain about disliking an OP protagonist and liking the struggle for personal growth, you're actively comparing apples and oranges just because they're both fruits.
your comparison makes no point.
Exactly. Neither does yours.
 

Infamoushero

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the fact of the matter is, no one want to read a story where the mc has to plot armor his way through everything. Op mc are fine. You just have to make everything cool
 

Armored99

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Typically Op from start MCs go into one of three categories, comedy, self insert/wish fulfillment trash, and more drama based work where the action is secondary.

However it is still possible to have a basic story with an OP MC without falling into one of the aforementioned categories. A way to do this is with conditional powers which have requirements to use, or give the character a weakness. Of course these things might exclude a character from being OP as they are set to balance out the powers.

Not seeking to argue with your criticism of the genre, but there are definitely ways to make it enjoyable, and there are those who enjoy it, but the problem is there is a good deal of it that's poorly written.
 

NobleTalon

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Typically Op from start MCs go into one of three categories, comedy, self insert/wish fulfillment trash, and more drama based work where the action is secondary.

Of those 3 categories, only well-done comedy does not bother me tbh, cuz you know what to expect from the start and the plot doesn't revolve around the MC's strength but how he interacts with other characters.

ex: One Punch Man. Saitama interactions with other ppl and behavior is funny as f, and the fact that he is so op is what makes it so interesting. The same for Above ten thousand, it's almost ridiculous but it's what makes the charm of these kinds of comedies.

For a kind of comedy with more serious element, I would say Return of the crazy demon is probably one of my fav. The absurd humor and reactions of this insane MC are killing me every time I read a new chapter. I didn't read the novel (if there is one), but the webcomic is a treasure among the OP but funny as f MCs
 

udin-san

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I totally agree with your point. I'm getting sick of that kind of story. Be that as it may, I don't think OP MC is the problem here. I think OP MC is a valid trope as long as the writer knows how to make it work.

The problem with it is that currently so many web novel stories revolve around the protagonist's journey into being the strongest. If the protagonist is overpowered in this type of story, of course it's gonna be boring. The protagonist basically reached the finish line at the start of the story, hence your analogy.

But what if being the strongest is not the goal of the story? What if instead of a benefit, being OP is a handicap?

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite author, ONE, who is in my opinion a master of writing overpowered MC. ONE is the author of two highly rated series with overpowered MC: One Punch Man and Mob Psycho 100.

I like the way he tell the story of the two OP protagonists. In the case of One Punch Man, he told a story of a man who lived in a volatile society where monsters existed and crime happened all the time. They needed a hero. That's why he wanted to be a strong hero. He trained his body relentlessly everyday to achieve his goal. He then became strong after a few years of training. In fact, He became so strong that he defeated every villain he encountered in a single punch. But, he found out that being strong is lonely. Every fights ended instantly. He felt bored because of his power. That's one of the theme that One Punch Man explores. Being the strongest doesn't mean the end of the story.

Mob Psycho 100 has a different approach to OP MC. Instead of a volatile society, the protagonist lived in a stable one similar to our own. His life was average; he had a loving family, he went to school, he had a crush on a girl. It's everyday bro. In this kind of life, having a supernatural power is not a necessity. It'd make you different from everyone instead. It'd make you the odd one out. So what would happen when a timid protagonist in this kind of setting have a psychic power? He'd decide to bottle it up. He'd try to blend in. Unfortunately, his power is so powerful that it'll go berserk the more he repress it. That's one of the theme that Mob Psycho 100 explores. Being OP is a handicap to the protagonist instead.

Above are only two examples of interesting story with OP MC. Of course those are not the only ones. There's also Overlord where having an OP fighting power alone is not enough to achieve the protagonist's goal, because his goal was not to destroy everything. Another example is Kidnapped Dragons; what's the use of OP power if the protagonist survived alone when the world was being destroyed.

One thing I've learned from those stories is that a story with OP protagonist can still be enjoyable. There are many ways to make it works. One thing you should not do tho is to put an OP protagonist in a story where the protagonist wanna be the very best, because Pokemon wouldn't be able to air for so long if Ash already got legendary pokemons in the first episode.
 

SternenklarenRitter

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I don't have anything against overpowered protagonists myself. But when the protagonist is extremely powerful, the plot cannot have tension. Thus conflict can only really occur through character development. To me, it seems like most of the complaints here are actually about poorly written characters, and not issues exclusive to overpowered protagonists.
 

CarburetorThompson

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Nothing wrong with a strong character as long as they face proportionally strong challenges
 
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