‘Dad Builds’ Are Making Lazy Gaming OK, And I Love That

By Joshua Rivera on at

It has come to my attention that some of you have introduced a new term into the video game lexicon, one that describes a phenomenon of great interest to me and the public at large. I am talking, of course, of Dad Builds.

What is a Dad Build? Why, it is any character that uses the Dad Loadout when selecting what weapons and armour to equip in Destiny 2, a video game where players soar through space and time to fight some great menace called “RNG”. As defined by PC Gamer, the Dad Loadout is defined by 3 criteria. It must:

  1. Be easy to obtain with good perks
  2. Hold its own in competitive play
  3. Be easy to use in pretty much all circumstances.

You can find all manner of guides and self-deprecating videos on YouTube about Dad Loadouts in Destiny 2. The implication is that dads, blessed with all manner of obligations from the joy of child-rearing, marriage, and work, cannot play involved games for terribly long stretches but would still love to. (I can relate on the last part). It also suggests that mothers would not be interested in this – which isn’t true – but dads have become a culturally acceptable target for gentle mockery and loving parody and, while I am not a dad, I am personally fine with that.

While the Dad Build emerged in the Destiny 2 community, there is no reason that, as PC Gamer notes, it should be limited to that game. In fact, I’d argue that we should have Dad Build guides for every game. What’s the laziest, most efficient way to spec my character out for The Division 2? Final Fantasy XIV? Bloodborne?

Tell me, please, so I can get through these games and think about all the time I’d have to also be a baller parent, crushing raids and parent-teacher meetings. Let me be the subject of quiet middle-aged admiration, the way we gazed upon men in 2015 and declared 'dad bods' a worthy goal. Of course, the Dad Build has the opportunity to become even more egalitarian since it’s not based in gendered ideas of attractiveness, but cold, hard maths.

But here’s the real reason why I like the concept of Dad Builds: it’s another, better way of articulating what otherwise would be a contempt for the 'casual' player. I look at Dad Builds and I think of the 'noob combo' in Halo 2, or Hanzo mains in Overwatch – people who found an accessible way to play a game that let them feel competitive but not cheap, a way that then became so popular that hardcore fans started to be annoyed by it.

What if they didn’t get annoyed, though? What if they saw someone with a popular, optimised build and thought, ah yes, a dad/mam build. I respect your dedication to this game and your family. Video games truly are a diverse hobby enjoyed by people from all walks of life.

It doesn’t have to be a dream, people. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Start a Dad Build today, and then tell me about it.