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Thread: Tiers?

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    Default Re: Tiers?

    I consider myths to be lies that reveal the truth... so yeah, the tier system is a myth, and a very useful one at that.

    You're almost never going to see a gaming group sit down before the first session and say things like, "Okay, we want to have an average tier of 2, plus or minus 0.5..." And it's even rarer that you'll actually see anybody in a group playing their character to the fullest mechanical potential. Yes, there are people who don't mind playing a much weaker class, and groups who don't mind having a weaker character around.

    But if a Swashbuckler and a Rogue seem to be having major difficulties, while the Druid and Wizard seem to be mopping the floor with every encounter, the Tier system can give the players (and the DM) an idea of why that might be. That doesn't mean that it's impossible to play in that kind of a group - most people can work out some sort of compromise. (The more powerful classes can tone things down; the less powerful classes can use a bit more optimization; the DM can always houserule, or give some special items to balance things). But putting the whole thing in some kind of numeric form can really help people understand just how much of a gulf there is between what a Samurai can do, and what a Cleric can do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tebryn View Post
    That would require the person to be ignorant of that style of play to begin with. Some people just don't like certain styles of play and don't need to go into extensive play throughs to figure it out. The whole game is what you make of it. Not everyone plays the same or wants the same things out of the game and aren't somehow "missing out" on something just because they don't play the way other people think they should be playing.
    Did I not just explain that I wasn't implying any kind of 'should'? I was implying 'can'. Additionally, stating that the tier system is a myth is, as Menteith just stated, both unhelpful and inaccurate to the original poster.

    Now, we really are getting pretty seriously off-topic. Anyone care to start a new thread for this?


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    No, it's not. In any 3.5 arena, if you only care for power and power alone, there is only one possible build and we know which build that is. By it's own definition, all builds end up at tier 6, since not going for that one build is (guess what?) a flavor decision.
    The tier list you're talking about is for a heavily (heavily) houseruled fluff-less arena match. The Test of Spite had an enormous banlist, including (you guessed it) Manipulate Form.

    Pun-pun was not an option in Test of Spite. Nor were numerous other TO builds, having been killed by various bans. As a result, players were free to experiment with other builds to try and find new broken combinations. The entire thing was a way to have fun while finding those broken combinations so they could be added to the banlist.

    It makes no sense in this context to make any significant decisions for flavor reasons. Test of Spite didn't involve any role playing. It's just that it was not always obvious what the most powerful combinations were, since any particularly broken ones that came to light were quashed with a ban.

    You are taking something grossly out of context and making a straw man argument out of it. Really, I highly doubt you're fooling anyone with it, so you might as well stop.
    Last edited by Answerer; 2012-10-15 at 11:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    Now, we really are getting pretty seriously off-topic. Anyone care to start a new thread for this?
    Is it time to have another Tier thread already? I thought that they normally don't happen until midweek or so....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menteith View Post
    Is it time to have another Tier thread already? I thought that they normally don't happen until midweek or so....
    Eh, the monk threads got discontinued and ToBuesday stopped running on time. I think the Playground is going through an unscheduled phase.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    Did I not just explain that I wasn't implying any kind of 'should'? I was implying 'can'. Additionally, stating that the tier system is a myth is, as Menteith just stated, both unhelpful and inaccurate to the original poster.

    Now, we really are getting pretty seriously off-topic. Anyone care to start a new thread for this?
    I was mostly using it for dramatic effect. I would have better been served by saying "It's an optional system but not vital for the enjoyment of your game." The thing is, this isn't "Every opinion is equal." The only opinion that matters is the opinion of the group in question. Doesn't matter "Can" or anything else. Telling someone that they're somehow "missing out" is presumptuous at best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tebryn View Post
    I was mostly using it for dramatic effect. I would have better been served by saying "It's an optional system but not vital for the enjoyment of your game." The thing is, this isn't "Every opinion is equal." The only opinion that matters is the opinion of the group in question. Doesn't matter "Can" or anything else. Telling someone that they're somehow "missing out" is presumptuous at best.
    If someone's completely ignorant about it - as the OP stated - it's a bit more helpful to actually explain what it is rather than give a pithy one liner to them. Calling it a system isn't exactly right either. It's not like reading it actually alters anything in game or inherently changes a playstyle. The Tier System is a set of observations that have been compiled in a way to help facilitate a better understanding of game balance. If one is looking for a way to create homebrew or enact houserules for the sake of game balance, it can help an individual understand both what is potentially powerful and more importantly, why it's powerful. If one is looking to create a powerful BBEG, knowing that a Wizard has a great deal of potential and can be a more credible villain who requires less DM fiat than a Fighter is a good thing. The Tier System is about informing people, rather than forcing a particular style of play on a group - and in my experience, more knowledge is rarely a bad thing.

    I do disagree with the notion that greater understanding is some kind of necessity for fun, however - we agree on that wholeheartedly.
    Last edited by Menteith; 2012-10-15 at 11:58 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    Understanding the class tiers is incredibly important to gaining the maximum enjoyment out of D&D. While some people only care about telling a story or acting out a role, it's fair to say most players want their characters to at least be effective, and the only way to tell how effective your character is is to compare them to your party members.

    You see, a well played fighter will never be effective in a party with a well played cleric or wizard. It just won't happen. If the fighter is more useful in a brawl than the cleric, the fight was either a)tailor made to screw the cleric, or b)the cleric felt bad to the fighter and didn't fight well. And if the fighter had a chance to do well at all the wizard really isn't doing their job.

    Thus, if you want your character to be effective, you shouldn't play a fighter when a wizard or cleric is in the party.

    In general, I prefer if every character is within 1 or 2 tiers of eachother. If any tier 1 characters are in the party, the lowest tier in the party should be a 3, and knowing this, if you choose to play a lower tier, you don't have a right to complain when you feel useless or when the rest of the party treats you like a liability.
    This is simply not true. There are entirely too many variables for it to be. The example well played fighter can do very well next to the well played wizard if the wizard is a buffer. In fact, he'll actually be more effective for playing in the same group as a well played wizard in that case.

    More importantly, "well played" is an inherently subjective thing. It's not at all difficult to argue that while a mailman being played next to a straight monk is well optimized, it's a sorcerer being played poorly, in that playing any build in such a way as to trivialize either the rest of the party or the encounters they face is playing poorly. In this case playing poorly, means playing in a disruptive manner by making the presence of the other 3-5 people at the table rather unnecessary.

    All the tier list is intended to do is to show the order in which classes are capable of taking on the widest variety of challenges. It became a list of tiers because build choices have such a noticeable effect on how broad a variety of challenges an individual of a given class can take that an exact numeric sequence is impossible, but a general grouping is reasonably accurate.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-15 at 11:57 PM.
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    The tier list is a useful tool for ensuring maximum enjoyment of D&D. If you don't know about the tier list, then you unfortunately don't have access to a good and useful tool. If you know about the tier list and decide not to use it, you are ignoring a useful tool.

    Whenever someone explains about tools to make a D&D game better, people always use the same arguments, "There's no one way to play D&D", "Are people who aren't doing this wrong", "If you're having fun you're doing it right". These are tired arguments used to avoid a topic rather than learn.

    Fact, D&D is a complex game with lots to learn. Very few people have anything approaching a complete knowledge of D&D, and becoming knowledge of all the tricks and tools takes years. Fact, there are many tools, techniques, and pieces of knowledge you can use to make your game more enjoyable. If you are having fun without the tools, good for you. That doesn't mean you can't be having more fun with these tools, or that there won't be a situation where your enjoyment of the game will be compromised due to ignorance or a refusal to use these tools.

    So the answer those questions, people who understand and use the tier system are in fact playing D&D more right than those who are not. By learning about a quirk of the D&D system, and using it to improve your game and solve potential issues before they start you can make your game better or more enjoyable. Learning more about the game won't make it worse, only better.
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    Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. There is no right way to play D&D. There is no wrong way to play D&D. At the end of the day, the only criteria which should ever be considered in "rightness" is how much fun everyone had. If a group's running straight Fighters with Weapon Focus [Bastard Sword], and having a blast, they're playing the game right. No one has the authority to say that another person's playing the game wrong because they're not optimizing enough or playing with a certain amount of understanding of the game.

    Learning more about the game can lead to more fun for some people, but there are a plethora of reasons why an intricate, very mechanically driven, huge time sink of a game might not appeal to people (seriously, CharOp can be downright Byzantine at time). There are a lot of reasons why people might not enjoy playing in TippyVerse. Sometimes people want to run a truly epic Mundane, which really isn't possible at a certain level of play. I personally believe that a game benefits when everyone at the table is well educated about the game, but there are many reasons why that can't occur, and is certainly doesn't need to occur to run the game "right". In another note, I'm just realizing how much I hate the word "right" in an argument, when it's not defined....
    Last edited by Menteith; 2012-10-16 at 12:19 AM.
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    First freedom and then Glory - when that fails,
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    And History, with all her volumes vast,
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    {Scrubbed}
    Last edited by Roland St. Jude; 2012-10-16 at 06:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Menteith View Post
    Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. There is no right way to play D&D. There is no wrong way to play D&D. At the end of the day, the only criteria which should ever be considered in "rightness" is how much fun everyone had. If a group's running straight Fighters with Weapon Focus [Bastard Sword], and having a blast, they're playing the game right. No one has the authority to say that another person's playing the game wrong because they're not optimizing enough or playing with a certain amount of understanding of the game.
    The important point in his post is that no one ever started having less fun by learning more about the game, so if the only options are "same amount of fun," and "have more fun," then learning about the game can only be a good thing.

    Well, unless you read BoEF. That's just...no. Just no.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    The important point in his post is that no one ever started having less fun by learning more about the game, so if the only options are "same amount of fun," and "have more fun," then learning about the game can only be a good thing.
    I have seen people who've had less fun after learning more about the game. Individuals who have different mechanical know-how than the rest of the group are in a horrible state a lot of the time. If they are more knowledgable, they're either intentionally kneecapping themselves with every character (which certainly can be painful to do), or they're running a character at too high of an optimization level and are risking wrecking a campaign. If a group's learning more and someone can't keep up, there's going to be some bad blood as they're either holding everyone back, or are just getting handed a toon to play and being told how to execute.

    I'll qualify my position a bit here - If everyone in a group wants to learn more about the game, and everyone within a group is capable of learning more about the game (everyone has enough time to read a few dozen books/handbooks, everyone has access to enough material, everyone has the capacity to keep up, etc) then learning more about the game is probably a good thing. But in a general statement? No, I don't think I can agree to that.
    Last edited by Menteith; 2012-10-16 at 12:18 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menteith View Post
    There is no right way to play D&D.
    But if you read my post, I think I made it clear right there. There is a right way to play D&D. The way that makes the game fun. And learning more about the game system, and learning tools to improve your game or solve problems give you more ways to make the game fun. Period. End of Story. That is the sum total of my point. If you refuse to read and learn new things about D&D, you are intentionally denying you and your players the chance to have more fun, which is just silly.

    No where did I say you should optimize, a certain amount, or allow certain things in your game, I simply said that having more knowledge can help you make better informed choices as to what to do in your game to maximize enjoyment.

    About the only thing I will for sure tell people to do is to play a different game system if they don't like tactical fantasy combat, as that is kind of the heart of D&D(people will say otherwise, they're wrong. D&D started as a mod for chainmail, a tactical fantasy wargame, and it has never strayed too far from it's roots, if you don't want a fantasy wargame, you're doing a disservice to yourself by playing D&D as opposed to any of the hundreds of RPGs out there.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    But if you read my post, I think I made it clear right there. There is a right way to play D&D. The way that makes the game fun. And learning more about the game system, and learning tools to improve your game or solve problems give you more ways to make the game fun. Period. End of Story. That is the sum total of my point. If you refuse to read and learn new things about D&D, you are intentionally denying you and your players the chance to have more fun, which is just silly.

    No where did I say you should optimize, a certain amount, or allow certain things in your game, I simply said that having more knowledge can help you make better informed choices as to what to do in your game to maximize enjoyment.

    About the only thing I will for sure tell people to do is to play a different game system if they don't like tactical fantasy combat, as that is kind of the heart of D&D(people will say otherwise, they're wrong. D&D started as a mod for chainmail, a tactical fantasy wargame, and it has never strayed too far from it's roots, if you don't want a fantasy wargame, you're doing a disservice to yourself by playing D&D as opposed to any of the hundreds of RPGs out there.)
    Ya, lucky for us declarative and general statements without proof based solely on personal opinion doesn't make something right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    But if you read my post, I think I made it clear right there. There is a right way to play D&D. The way that makes the game fun. And learning more about the game system, and learning tools to improve your game or solve problems give you more ways to make the game fun. Period. End of Story. That is the sum total of my point. If you refuse to read and learn new things about D&D, you are intentionally denying you and your players the chance to have more fun, which is just silly.
    It doesn't make sense to phrase it as "Refusing to learn more about D&D". It's actually remarkably complicated for a person with little/no knowledge of the game to really grasp practical optimization. Even something as simple as how difficult/expensive it is to gain access to much of 3.5's content legally can be a deal breaker. (Most) people I know aren't resistant to knowledge; rather, those that plateau in knowledge typically don't have the hours and hundreds of dollars needed to jump to the next level within 3.5, and are completely fine with how they're doing already.

    And, as I talked about in the post above yours, your point really only holds true if you're referring to a group learning more, rather than an individual, as it certainly can be less fun to give all your character lobotomies so you don't wreck a campaign. If a given group wants to learn more about the game, and everyone within that group has the means to learn more about the game, you are absolutely correct. But there are situations where learning more about the game can certainly lead to less fun for people.
    Last edited by Menteith; 2012-10-16 at 12:28 AM.
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    First freedom and then Glory - when that fails,
    Wealth, vice, corruption - barbarism at last.
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    Hath but one page...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    But if you read my post, I think I made it clear right there. There is a right way to play D&D. The way that makes the game fun. And learning more about the game system, and learning tools to improve your game or solve problems give you more ways to make the game fun. Period. End of Story. That is the sum total of my point. If you refuse to read and learn new things about D&D, you are intentionally denying you and your players the chance to have more fun, which is just silly.

    No where did I say you should optimize, a certain amount, or allow certain things in your game, I simply said that having more knowledge can help you make better informed choices as to what to do in your game to maximize enjoyment.

    About the only thing I will for sure tell people to do is to play a different game system if they don't like tactical fantasy combat, as that is kind of the heart of D&D(people will say otherwise, they're wrong. D&D started as a mod for chainmail, a tactical fantasy wargame, and it has never strayed too far from it's roots, if you don't want a fantasy wargame, you're doing a disservice to yourself by playing D&D as opposed to any of the hundreds of RPGs out there.)
    You're unfamiliar with choice overload, aren't you?

    There are people for whom learning more about the game is a chore that sucks the fun out of it and, worse, actually makes it harder for them to make characters, detracting from their fun further. Knowing and understanding the tier system, which by one of your previous posts I suspect you may have issues with, -can- lead to greater enjoyment of the game. Just because it -can- doesn't mean it -will-.

    On a personal note, learning about the tier list didn't change how much fun I was having one iota. Learning how to optimize has been entertaining to me, but the 6 levels of the tier system where utterly meaningless to me by the time I discovered them because I had already come to a firm enough grasp of optimization to realize that they're too subjective to be more useful than a label for a class's mean ability.

    Bonus points: I've actually reached a point where, while I can optimize quite heavily if I choose, it will have only a marginal effect on my enjoyment of a character. I'm much more interested in the character's personality and motivations than what he can do, and I'm more than clever enough to make up for his mechanical deficiencies, if the DM doesn't place all of our combats in a sterile box with no terrain features.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-16 at 12:32 AM.
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    There is a spell called incite flamewar. It consists of a single verbal component, namely the spoken phrase "tiers don't exist."

    If your goal is to wring as much potential as possible out of the mechanical aspects of D&D, tiers are a brilliant and indispensable core concept. If you and your group have enjoyed the game up until now without knowledge of tiers and think you'll continue to enjoy the game regardless, I suggest leaving that particular can of worms unopened.

    Also, every single post related to the discussion of tiers ends with the unspoken boast, "and THAT is the last word on tiers."
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    I recently experimented with the tier system.
    Our group was going through the adventure very slowly and my PCs were a fighter and a ranger. I replaced the ranger with a shape shifting ranger.
    Presto!
    The amount of challenges that went from 'very hard' to 'trivial' was amazing!
    Combat remains similar though (the fighter still deals the bulk of the damage).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    You're unfamiliar with choice overload, aren't you?

    There are people for whom learning more about the game is a chore that sucks the fun out of it and, worse, actually makes it harder for them to make characters, detracting from their fun further. Knowing and understanding the tier system, which by one of your previous posts I suspect you may have issues with, -can- lead to greater enjoyment of the game. Just because it -can- doesn't mean it -will-.

    On a personal note, learning about the tier list didn't change how much fun I was having one iota. Learning how to optimize has been entertaining to me, but the 6 levels of the tier system where utterly meaningless to me by the time I discovered them because I had already come to a firm enough grasp of optimization to realize that they're too subjective to be more useful than a label for a class's mean ability.

    Bonus points: I've actually reached a point where, while I can optimize quite heavily if I choose, it will have only a marginal effect on my enjoyment of a character. I'm much more interested in the character's personality and motivations than what he can do, and I'm more than clever enough to make up for his mechanical deficiencies, if the DM doesn't place all of our combats in a sterile box with no terrain features.
    While I'll admit choice overload is a possibility, I think that's an unusual situation. Anyone on an Unofficial D&D board should be willing to learn about the system, otherwise why are they here, and I think choice overload is more of an overreaction to the idea of learning too much rather than an effect actually learning.

    The fact is, proper knowledge about a subject can never make a subject worse, only better.

    It's fair to say most players want their characters to feel mechanically useful and beneficial to the party. Lets say Alice is playing a Druid and Bob is playing a Fighter. Alice picks a few good feats and ends up blowing Bob out of the water, to the point where Bob doesn't feel useful in combat anymore. Even after spending hours looking through source books and optimizing his character, he still can't hold a candle to Alice. Without understanding the tier system, Bob may think that he is bad at building D&D characters, which may make him not want to play. This is bad.

    By understanding the Tier system Bob will learn that the fighter is just a plain mechanically poor class, and even a super optimized fighter is likely to be vastly inferior to even an average druid. He may next time decide to roll a warblade or a psychic warrior when someone in his party picks a Tier 1 class(he still wants to play a tough warrior type), and find himself feeling more useful and thus enjoying the game much more. By learning something new, Bob was able to have more fun, and possibly even make the game more fun for Alice who always had the lingering guilt that she was making the game un-fun for Bob.

    Roleplaying and storytelling are great parts of D&D, but very very few D&D groups are completely filled with people who care nothing about the mechanics of the game(and as I stated before, if you care nothing about the mechanics, playing a mechanically dense pseudo fantasy wargame might not be the best choice).

    Many people understand the balance of class power well before the Tier list was made, but the Tier list provides an easy way for players unfamiliar with class power balance to understand it, and helps to provide some useful tools with dealing with power imbalance(namely having vastly different Tiers in the party is typically not a great idea).

    Also, I hate it when people equate knowledge to optimization, and optimization to playing an overpowered wreck. I understand how to make a stupid overpowered character, I have literally won a D&D championship. That said, I rarely make characters who are hugely more powerful than other party members, even though I typically play arcane casters. I like to build fun and interesting characters rather than uber powerhouses, though I also make sure all of the my characters are useful to the party and fulfill some role. Making a character that is vastly overpowered for a group is typically a sign of a lack of understanding of the system, not the other way around(or just a sign you're mean).

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOOB View Post
    While I'll admit choice overload is a possibility, I think that's an unusual situation. Anyone on an Unofficial D&D board should be willing to learn about the system, otherwise why are they here, and I think choice overload is more of an overreaction to the idea of learning too much rather than an effect actually learning.

    The fact is, proper knowledge about a subject can never make a subject worse, only better.

    It's fair to say most players want their characters to feel mechanically useful and beneficial to the party. Lets say Alice is playing a Druid and Bob is playing a Fighter. Alice picks a few good feats and ends up blowing Bob out of the water, to the point where Bob doesn't feel useful in combat anymore. Even after spending hours looking through source books and optimizing his character, he still can't hold a candle to Alice. Without understanding the tier system, Bob may think that he is bad at building D&D characters, which may make him not want to play. This is bad.

    By understanding the Tier system Bob will learn that the fighter is just a plain mechanically poor class, and even a super optimized fighter is likely to be vastly inferior to even an average druid. He may next time decide to roll a warblade or a psychic warrior when someone in his party picks a Tier 1 class(he still wants to play a tough warrior type), and find himself feeling more useful and thus enjoying the game much more. By learning something new, Bob was able to have more fun, and possibly even make the game more fun for Alice who always had the lingering guilt that she was making the game un-fun for Bob.

    Roleplaying and storytelling are great parts of D&D, but very very few D&D groups are completely filled with people who care nothing about the mechanics of the game(and as I stated before, if you care nothing about the mechanics, playing a mechanically dense pseudo fantasy wargame might not be the best choice).

    Many people understand the balance of class power well before the Tier list was made, but the Tier list provides an easy way for players unfamiliar with class power balance to understand it, and helps to provide some useful tools with dealing with power imbalance(namely having vastly different Tiers in the party is typically not a great idea).

    Also, I hate it when people equate knowledge to optimization, and optimization to playing an overpowered wreck. I understand how to make a stupid overpowered character, I have literally won a D&D championship. That said, I rarely make characters who are hugely more powerful than other party members, even though I typically play arcane casters. I like to build fun and interesting characters rather than uber powerhouses, though I also make sure all of the my characters are useful to the party and fulfill some role. Making a character that is vastly overpowered for a group is typically a sign of a lack of understanding of the system, not the other way around(or just a sign you're mean).

    And know you know, and knowing is half the battle.
    You did it again. Alice's druid, with no effort at optimization is not guaranteed to outperform Bob's fighter. In fact, Bob heavily optimizing his fighter may well lead to Alice feeling useless if she doesn't understand how important spell-casting is.

    And choice overload is definitely a real thing. I think it's even an officially recognized psychological state, though I'd have to verify that. The fact of the matter is, learning how to heavily optimize requires quite a bit of time, unless you're some kind of savant. Worse, once you understand it, actually building a highly optimized character takes significantly longer than just slapping something together that sounds good, and the system was built so that the latter actually is viable most of the time.

    If you're not the kind of person who enjoys putting that level of effort into learning how to, or even just making such highly optimized characters then the tier system is a waste of your time. You'll either just wing it and hope for the best, or you'll google a handbook and blindly follow the advice there without really understanding what you're doing.

    I'll admit that going with either of those routes can end poorly if your group's average op level is somewhere in the mid-op range. You'll either end up far enough behind that your play group will have to help you, or you'll start to overshadow them as you get the hang of that build you copied. The former is only a temporary problem though. You'll eventually learn through trial and error what works in your group and the tiers will still be meaningless to you. In the latter, the tier system may very well be at fault.

    I can't deny that there are probably better systems out there for people who do like to stick to simpler characters and plot-driven games, but that doesn't really mean much if there aren't any play-groups in your area that use those systems, or if you want to play with a particular group of friends that only runs 3.5 games.

    The tiers are useful for discussion on boards like this, and they -can- be useful if your group is looking to make their characters more effective overall, but learning about the tiers can, and often does, cause issues in gaming groups, especially when its purpose and meaning are (frequently) misunderstood.

    As for deliberately building overpowered characters, that's not possible without understanding how to game the system. Deliberately creating an overpowered character may be a lack of understanding of the social moores surrounding PnP RPG's, but it can never stem from a lack of understanding the system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    You did it again. Alice's druid, with no effort at optimization is not guaranteed to outperform Bob's fighter. In fact, Bob heavily optimizing his fighter may well lead to Alice feeling useless if she doesn't understand how important spell-casting is.
    I mentioned Alice picked a few good feats, which implies a)Natural Spell, and b)She's at least semi-optimized, and I also made mention of an average druid a few times, which implies informed use of wild shape and spells. If a single classed fighter is outclassing a druid, there is a very serious gap in optimization, like incredibly large amount that it's silly.

    Once again, I'm sure Choice Overload exists, but considering the topic at hand I don't feel it's terribly relevant. Anyone worrying about it shouldn't be playing D&D in the first place, much less asking about the Tier system on an unofficial D&D forum.

    Also, seriously, when did this thread become about optimization. This thread is about how the different base classes are mechanically better or worse than once another, and how that can have an impact on your game. How well you do or don't optimize characters has nothing to do with this situation other than as something to keep in mind when you choose what tier to play in when compared to your party.

    Human beings are creatures of knowledge. We learn things, it's what we do, it's what makes us different from animals. Some of our best horror comes from the idea that learning things, one of the most natural human traits, and what makes us dominate, could endanger us(via things that should not be, unspeakable horrors, ect). Knowledge is a good thing and should be pursued, and I honestly find it odd that people are opposing this on a forum about learning more about D&D.
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    TheOOB and others seem equating knowledge and use of JaronK's Tier system with knowledge of optimization and mechanical knowledge in a general sense. I disagree with that notion. I think the premise of differentiating the classes themselves is misguided and oversimplistic, and that the values asserted in that thread do not accurately reflect a character's competence. I think echoing and unflinchingly supporting that thread every time it is mentioned presents misleading information for inexperienced optimizers.

    On its premise:
    • First, on the validity of tiering the classes, I would to a comparison of Mantled and Educated Wilders - one shoehorned into picking bad spells, and into giving up a genuinely useful class feature; the other given benefits that counterbalance the Wilder's major weakness in exchange for a nearly useless class ability. Or, if comparing class variants seems disingenuous, a Wilder who specifically learns niche unaugmenting powers with a Wilder who learns versatile and powerfully-scaling powers. JaronK handwaves these distinctions by claiming to hold optimization equal across builds, but without an objective measure of a build's degree of optimization, the definition of "degrees of optimization" of a class is tautological and does not adequately account for differences in power and versatility between builds within the same class.
    • Second, the nature of the Tier system does not allow it to account for the fluidity of a straightclassed build's power. Looking at a Good Incarnate for a moment, that class starts as an absolute powerhouse - able to fly, kill most creatures it faces with a ranged touch attack, muster higher skill and attack modifiers than most specialists, do all those all day and to rewrite its abilities on a daily basis. But at higher levels, it goes from powerhouse to a frankly mediocre combatant. It still has good utility, but probably not as much as the Shifter Wilder with Metamorphic Transfer and Time Hop.
    • Thirdly, by necessity, the Tier system cannot account for multiclassed builds. Looking at these boards, it's hard to find a build which the Tier system actually attempts to model: a Monk taking prestige classes specifically available to the Monk like Fist of Zuoken can lose the defining qualities of its Tiering; as can something like a Sorcerer entering a class specifically available to it, like the Dragon Disciple.

    On the specific values asserted by the thread, there are certain character qualities that are fetishized and I would say overprioritized. Self-sufficiency is a major one: an idealized single-classed build that's merely competent in many areas is given the same rating as an idealized single-classed build that's very good at only a handful of things (specifically looking at its T4 specifications). Given that general play is with a party, probably containing characters specializing or able to give decent showings in many fields, jacks of all trades tend to add much less new to a party than builds which can do one thing exceptionally well, whether it's locking down encounters, mastering scouting roles or just spewing enough damage to make enemies splatter. Similarly, the parameters at the high end of the tier system wind up redundant, handwavey and self-defining, when access to spells like Planar Binding or Shapechange alone are frankly enough to do "absolutely anything" a player wants.

    I believe the unwavering support of this system is misleading. First of all, I believe this is a problem because new players are given feedback like "Monk is a terrible class," which is an overly simplistic guideline, given other considerations left unaddressed by its Tier ranking (such as the value of a dip, ACFs, prestige class combinations, and so on) and are left to echo and devalue any use of the poorly-rated class. Secondly, I believe the unqualified backing of the system

    After saying this, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to say that all builds are made equal or that all of the principles involved in assessing character balance are misguided. My point is that it would be more useful to introduce and assess character balance in a per-build level and to introduce the underlying optimization principles which predate JaronK's post than it is to echo, herald and dogmatically defend that ranking system or its contents.
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-10-16 at 02:05 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    Holy smokes! How did the fighter get banned?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    You are taking something grossly out of context and making a straw man argument out of it. Really, I highly doubt you're fooling anyone with it, so you might as well stop.
    This is highly offensive and I would request you to avoid personal attacks. I'm no trying to fool anyone. I was just unfamiliar with the Test of Spite and was replying to someone who did not provide the context you mentioned.
    After knowing more about, the Test of Spite seems like a bad solution for a nonissue. That is something the creators themselves seem to have noticed, since they gave up on trying to fix a square in a round hole and just created their own system.

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    It became about optimization because there's an inherent link between optimization and the notion of tiers.

    I agree that in a more general sense, knowledge is a good thing. However, some knowledge can be detrimental if given to people that either won't use it properly, or will deliberately misuse it. It can also be harmful to give information to people that can't handle the information. I was told about germs when I was about 4 and it left permanent psychological scars. To this day I can't eat off of the same plate or drink out of the same glass as someone else until it's been thoroughly washed. That's not "I won't" mind, it's an actuall psychological block. Being forced to do so would push me to the edge of panic, and I can almost guarantee that someone would get hurt.

    Back to the tiers and optimization; lack of knowledge of the tier system isn't inherently harmful, and having the knowledge isn't inherently helpful. There's no logical argument to the contrary on either side of that which doesn't have myriad exceptions and special cases.

    Like so many other tools, the tier system isn't necessarily good or bad, it just is. Combine this with the fact that different levels of optimization can take it anywhere from moot to completely misorganized (paladin for instance has an op cieling that puts it somewhere around tier 2) and you realize that it's little more than a label, and all too often an excuse to say "class X is better than class Y" as an objective statement when it's just not objectively true (sorc V wiz for example, when which is better depends so much on playstyle that you can't really call either the objectively best choice in all cases).
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    No, it's not. In any 3.5 arena, if you only care for power and power alone,
    Except that's not what Gareth said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark View Post
    Except that's not what Gareth said.
    I didn't know much about the Test of Spite, but after being shown more about it, yeah, it's goes are all about power and power alone. The only reason it could exist (instead of being the same build over and over) was due to a banlist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    It became about optimization because there's an inherent link between optimization and the notion of tiers.

    I agree that in a more general sense, knowledge is a good thing. However, some knowledge can be detrimental if given to people that either won't use it properly, or will deliberately misuse it. It can also be harmful to give information to people that can't handle the information. I was told about germs when I was about 4 and it left permanent psychological scars. To this day I can't eat off of the same plate or drink out of the same glass as someone else until it's been thoroughly washed. That's not "I won't" mind, it's an actuall psychological block. Being forced to do so would push me to the edge of panic, and I can almost guarantee that someone would get hurt.

    Back to the tiers and optimization; lack of knowledge of the tier system isn't inherently harmful, and having the knowledge isn't inherently helpful. There's no logical argument to the contrary on either side of that which doesn't have myriad exceptions and special cases.

    Like so many other tools, the tier system isn't necessarily good or bad, it just is. Combine this with the fact that different levels of optimization can take it anywhere from moot to completely misorganized (paladin for instance has an op cieling that puts it somewhere around tier 2) and you realize that it's little more than a label, and all too often an excuse to say "class X is better than class Y" as an objective statement when it's just not objectively true (sorc V wiz for example, when which is better depends so much on playstyle that you can't really call either the objectively best choice in all cases).
    QFT.
    This is not even mentioning that even within the confines of the tier system, it is based on the opinions of one person, a person who admits a lot of bias. His willingness to receive feedback went progressively down until he gave up on it and the list remains incomplete to this day.
    Last edited by ThiagoMartell; 2012-10-16 at 02:23 AM.

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    If it's a tool, then treat it as one and don't moralize against it by attributing it functions beyond its scope. It's like attacking a screwdriver by saying that it encourages power-carpenters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnorman View Post
    If it's a tool, then treat it as one and don't moralize against it by attributing it functions beyond its scope. It's like attacking a screwdriver by saying that it encourages power-carpenters.
    Why is saying that something encourages X bad, mind you? DO you have anything against power-carpenters or optimizers?

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