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Thread: Tiers?

  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Do anyone actually played a Tier 4 character in a party of Tier 1/2 where mechanics are indeed used?
    If you did you should understand that it is not an empty problem.

    About my previous comment, I was talking about the rules. Not the characters.

    About the ur-priest I am confused. Lower caster level (without strange mixes), half spells per day, half rebuke undead... how can it be overpowered compared the simple cleric?

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    Quote Originally Posted by etrpgb View Post
    Do anyone actually played a Tier 4 character in a party of Tier 1/2 where mechanics are indeed used?
    I have. Or actually have seen it happen as a tier 1 caster (druid): ninja brought in a party where the least optimized character was a spellthief/wizard. At best he was comic relief. At worst, keeping the ninja alive was more of a pain in the rear than winning the encounter.

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    I have the feeling that most ``fluff over mechanics'' and ``not a problem arguments'' is made from masters or players who used powerful classes...

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    Quote Originally Posted by etrpgb View Post
    About the ur-priest I am confused. Lower caster level (without strange mixes), half spells per day, half rebuke undead... how can it be overpowered compared the simple cleric?
    Steal spell-like ability, 9s by ECL 15, allows you to use tons of levels to cherry pick abilities while keeping full casting... Ur-Priest is pure optimization gold.

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    Quote Originally Posted by etrpgb View Post
    Do anyone actually played a Tier 4 character in a party of Tier 1/2 where mechanics are indeed used?
    If you did you should understand that it is not an empty problem.

    About my previous comment, I was talking about the rules. Not the characters.

    About the ur-priest I am confused. Lower caster level (without strange mixes), half spells per day, half rebuke undead... how can it be overpowered compared the simple cleric?
    Well, the first and most important part is that the Ur-Priest gets all of its spells (including 9th) earlier than Cleric, and the second bit is that since the Ur-Priest doesn't exist in a vacuum and more importantly is a PrC, you definitely have to take strange mixes into account.


    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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    A little earlier, true. But half of them, and half caster level. Sure there is space from some game breakage pushing the caster level over the top. But I still see nothing that make it so much better than the Cleric or the Artificer...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post

    The idea that there are unplayable classes in print is the single biggest fallacy that gets tossed around on the internet, in regards to 3.5.
    Truenamers, sir, would like a word with you about this statement.


    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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    It might be true that nothing is unplayable by itself, but the difference is the problem.


    With friends I am trying a Tier 3 Classes (and 0, +1 PrC) only game and it works fairly well; because there is no much space to transform a fellow player in a waste of space.

    Time ago we played a Tier 4 only (a part of a bard) it is was not a deliberate decision... it just happened and same thing. No big problems.

    Instead, put capable players in the same table with classes with great Tier difference (e.g. a cleric, a wizard, a fighter and a rogue) and the weaker character will make the problem evident.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    Truenamers, sir, would like a word with you about this statement.
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    My two cents on the topic:

    The tier system is a system of relative theoretical maximum power. One which casters blow the top off of, simply by virtue of having so many 'win' buttons at their fingertips.

    A low tier class is not 'unplayable', because I've done it. However, I had to exert my optimization skills *FAR* more, even invented a couple of tricks no one else had come up with before, just to make it able to not be completely ineffective.

    For example, the build Takahashi no Onisan (seen in sig) was a Test of Spite build using exclusively CW Samurai levels (the updated version had one level of Rogue, one level in Exemplar, and one level in Ronin, but still had 10 levels in CW Samurai). Was he effective? Sure was. I completely locked my opponent down.

    However, it's a fragile build, because anything immune to Fear is immune to the character, because his overall damage-per-turn output is pathetic.

    Even at the highest levels of optimization, inventing brand new tactics and finding previously undiscovered synergies... he's still not a powerful character, particularly not if opponents are either immune to fear or stay away from him.

    When I applied the same level of optimization to a Warblade, I got a build which could deliver an arbitrary amount of damage to every opponent within line of sight. Because he received between two and three bonus attacks for every opponent he killed (Boomerang Ricochet + Snap Kick + Great Cleave, an Aptitude Weapon, and four levels in Bloodstorm Blade), and he would only miss on a natural 1 (Blood In The Water) and his damage kept increasing the more he hit (again, Blood In The Water), he simply used the Bag O' Puppies/Rats trick to start himself off with something like thirty or fourty bonus attacks to provide him with a buffer to ensure the combo would not end prematurely.

    Do you see the difference here? CW Samurai can, at the HIGHEST levels of optimization, lockdown opponents not immune to fear within 30' of him. Warblade can deal an arbitrary amount of damage to every opponent within line of sight.

    Now let's look at another paradigm shift...

    At level 9, a Wizard is functionally immortal by using Lesser Planar Binding on a Nightmare to Astral Projection himself, meaning he's not even able to be targeted in combat!

    By level 20, using Spell Matrix, Spellsurge, the spell Celerity, Arcane Thesis, and several other Mailman-esque Metamagic Optimization tricks, he has effectively an arbitrary number of turns available to him.

    Think about that. He has every turn in the game before you have a chance to react. Yes, even in a Surprise round (which isn't surprising to him, either through Foresight or Contingency).

    Can you not see the power level disparity here?

    Tier 6, at the highest level of optimization, can be built to be a one-trick pony. A Tier 3 character, at the highest levels of optimization, have the potential to break a game. A Tier 1 character, however, can not only break the game, but be invincible while doing it, and can break the game in multiple independent ways.

    It's not saying you *HAVE* to. It's saying these are the theoretical limits of what the chassis is capable of.
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    The tier system, in short, is not a way of defining the playability of a given class. It is a way for you as a player to balance the power level of your party, and for you as a DM to balance the campaign to the party's general capabilities. If you have a party that likes playing fighters and the like, you making a wizard will blow them all out of the water and spoil the campaign for them. Conversely, playing a monk, for example, in a party of top- or high-tier classes will result in you holding the rest back or not contributing as heavily while still taking a share of the treasure and experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by only1doug View Post
    True namers are playable. You'll just wish you hadn't.
    Yeah, basically this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    Truenamers, sir, would like a word with you about this statement.
    You haven't actually crunched the numbers, he tells me.

    Truenamer is perfectly capable of auto-hitting his target truename DC's at all but a couple levels around 17-19 with no cheese even by following the designers' assumption of building on the elite array. Even then he's hitting them fairly reliably, and at 20 he can produce several gates per day with no cost, before he even has to start making a check.

    Since he -can- produce the effects he's supposed to, several times per day each, with no checks, he's perfectly useable. He's certainly not overwhelmingly poweful, but he belongs somewhere around T4.

    @shneeky: The tier system doesn't assume highest level optimization. If it did it would be completely misorganized. Paladin should be somewhere around the low end of T2 just for example, and none of the martial adepts would belong in T3. Though honestly, I'm not entirely convinced that warblade and crusader belong in T3 even as the system stands, though that's a completely different discussion.

    Noone's denying that the tier system can have some use. Well, most of us aren't anyway. What we are arguing is that its usefulness is far more limited than it's generally given credit for.

    @ whoever said it: I have played a god wizard in a party with a druid a fighter and a monk. I let the druid take care of himself and I boosted the fighter and to a surprisingly (to most of the folks here it'd be surprising) lesser extent the monk. Everybody had a blast and noone felt useless. The key was in the DM talking over our characters with us and giving each of us a chance to shine. The fact that we were at opposite ends of the tier spectrum and my character was a bit more optimized than the others had zero impact on the game.

    No amount of mechanical mastery can ever substitute for good communication and cooperation within the group.
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  14. - Top - End - #104
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    as I said, I agree. If you are the god wizard and the monk is another player you might see no problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post

    No amount of mechanical mastery can ever substitute for good communication and cooperation within the group.
    Technically with enough system mastery you can have around a couple of semi-permanent fully obedient minions that are more competent than any other party member. So enough mechanical mastery can substitute for communication and cooperation.

    Seriously now you're right. In the end everything that matters if everybody is happy with how the things are going. If the wizard player is happy dragging up the monk, and the monk player is happy with being only as good as the amount of spell slots the wizard invests into him, then nobody should have a problem with that (apart from purely theoretical discussions regardign wizard vs. monk ofc).

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    Quote Originally Posted by etrpgb View Post
    Do anyone actually played a Tier 4 character in a party of Tier 1/2 where mechanics are indeed used?
    If you did you should understand that it is not an empty problem.

    About my previous comment, I was talking about the rules. Not the characters.

    About the ur-priest I am confused. Lower caster level (without strange mixes), half spells per day, half rebuke undead... how can it be overpowered compared the simple cleric?
    Kinda. In actuality, I was playing the Divine Metamagic Persistent Spell cleric way back when Persistent Spell was only +4 levels. The rogue was having a blast with his two-weapon style sneak attack. We called him "Fireball on a stick." There was also a single class fighter happy enough hacking away at his foes. The barbarian multiclassed with psionic warrior to become a War Mind. There was also a wizard in the party. No one had any issues whatsover with my character. They were happy enough I did what I did. They loved my Extended Heroes' Feast breakfast of champions every game day. We worked together as a team like a party should. I knew when it was time to go womping on the bad guys. I knew when it was time to go full heal-bot let everyone else do the womping and do my darndest just keeping them alive. I had great versatility, true, and the party loved me for it.
    Last edited by navar100; 2012-10-16 at 12:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by navar100 View Post
    Kinda. In actuality, I was playing the Divine Metamagic Persistent Spell cleric way back when Persistent Spell was only +4 levels. The rogue was having a blast with his two-weapon style sneak attack. We called him "Fireball on a stick." There was also a single class fighter happy enough hacking away at his foes. The barbarian multiclassed with psionic warrior to become a War Mind. There was also a wizard in the party. No one had any issues whatsover with my character. They were happy enough I did what I did. They loved my Extended Heroes' Feast breakfast of champions every game day. We worked together as a team like a party should. I knew when it was time to go womping on the bad guys. I knew when it was time to go full heal-bot let everyone else do the womping and do my darndest just keeping them alive. I had great versatility, true, and the party loved me for it.
    I would have hated you for it. You were heavily metagaming, using OOC information to create a result that pleases other players OOC but which would be highly unlikely to actually please anyone IC. If you think this does not break suspension of disbelief into tiny little pieces, can you imagine a special operations team in a war actually saying to one of its members "Hey, thanks for giving me a chance to charge in and get shot by the enemy when you could have trivially ended the fight. I really appreciate you giving me a chance to shine, even though it involved me getting shot 3 times. I was really looking to get a purple heart out of this encounter."

    And of course, the fact that a T1 and T5s can coexist nicely in a certain game does not disprove the tier system. In your example, for it to work, it called for the high tier character to metagame and intentionally hold his character back, and for the other players to be ok with the fact that their characters were really only there because that guy chose to stroke their egos.
    Last edited by Gnaeus; 2012-10-16 at 01:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    You haven't actually crunched the numbers, he tells me.

    Truenamer is perfectly capable of auto-hitting his target truename DC's at all but a couple levels around 17-19 with no cheese even by following the designers' assumption of building on the elite array. Even then he's hitting them fairly reliably, and at 20 he can produce several gates per day with no cost, before he even has to start making a check.

    Since he -can- produce the effects he's supposed to, several times per day each, with no checks, he's perfectly useable. He's certainly not overwhelmingly poweful, but he belongs somewhere around T4.
    You're ignoring some important details here.

    First, there's the fact that a lot of the utterances in Tome of Magic are really weak. Especially at higher levels, even though you can use your utterances doesn't mean much, because you don't really have any good utterances to use.

    Second, and more important for this argument, the Truenamer takes a lot of optimization to hit those DCs. A low-optimization Truenamer (nothing more than max ranks, 16 starting Int, +6 Int item, +5 Int from levels) is not going to hit a lot of them. You can optimize the Truenamer into playability. But no other class, not even NPC classes, has that requirement. That's why the Truenamer cannot be a part of the Tier list. It simply cannot fit in what is supposed to be an optimization-agnostic list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    I would have hated you for it. You were heavily metagaming, using OOC information to create a result that pleases other players OOC but which would be highly unlikely to actually please anyone IC. If you think this does not break suspension of disbelief into tiny little pieces, can you imagine a special operations team in a war actually saying to one of its members "Hey, thanks for giving me a chance to charge in and get shot by the enemy when you could have trivially ended the fight. I really appreciate you giving me a chance to shine, even though it involved me getting shot 3 times. I was really looking to get a purple heart out of this encounter."

    And of course, the fact that a T1 and T5s can coexist nicely in a certain game does not disprove the tier system. In your example, for it to work, it called for the high tier character to metagame and intentionally hold his character back, and for the other players to be ok with the fact that their characters were really only there because that guy chose to stroke their egos.
    None of the people I play with actually roleplay. I tend to roll with overbuilt monstrosities and hold back until I need to save the party from their poor decision making, bad tactics, terrible builds, and fundamental failure to understand the system.

    I mean it's great that all your parties are analogous to real life special forces teams of all humans with no more than three or four hit dice and no magic and masterwork gear and a complex gritty armor-as-DR wounds system, but there are often characters in my party that regrow lost body parts, shoot spells, worship a deific embodiment of pain and misery, revel in slaughter and bloodshed, summon things from other worlds, leap off flying ships, fall a mile and walk away, cut their way out of the stomach of a fire breathing monster because, hey, we haven't done that before, and, well, just have damage so damn abstracted from actually getting hurt that everyone wants to run in and roll crits until they're losing to many precious bodily fluids.

    So yeah, it's more like airborne jumping from a burning plane, missing the DLZ, humping through hostile territory, rationing every grenade and M249 round, keeping their predator drone and SARH safe until they get to the target, then unleashing hellfire. Militaries have multimillion dollar planes and tanks with extremely sophisticated ordinance delivery systems, but they still put boots and rifles all over the place. You don't use a $16 million payload to solve something that only requires $100 in 5.56mm rounds and diesel.

    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    You're ignoring some important details here.

    First, there's the fact that a lot of the utterances in Tome of Magic are really weak. Especially at higher levels, even though you can use your utterances doesn't mean much, because you don't really have any good utterances to use.

    Second, and more important for this argument, the Truenamer takes a lot of optimization to hit those DCs. A low-optimization Truenamer (nothing more than max ranks, 16 starting Int, +6 Int item, +5 Int from levels) is not going to hit a lot of them. You can optimize the Truenamer into playability. But no other class, not even NPC classes, has that requirement. That's why the Truenamer cannot be a part of the Tier list. It simply cannot fit in what is supposed to be an optimization-agnostic list.
    By the same argument, casters should not fit into the tier system, because it requires system mastery and optimization to pick out the good spells and know when to target which saves, and when. You can't just pick planar binding and cast it and expect it to work. You have to read like 2 pages of stuff, optimize your cha, make magic circles backwards, cast geas' on confined monsters.

    I think people too frequently overlook the amount of optimization that is inherent in even knowing what spells to use. I know when I first picked up 3.5, it was all shocking grasp (5d6!!!) and omg I want to use meteor storm! Knowing what spells are force multipliers or battlefield controllers requires optimization. Do you remember when TLN came out with his treatise on going after saves, divination use, and some generic party buffs? That stuff was revolutionary, and really no less different than the kit optimization that Truenamers require.

    I play with people that don't optimize their characters. In my experience, druids are almost universally played by people that don't know how to optimize- they have terrible spell selection, they don't know or use wildshape right (d8 HD on a half elf and the AC of a leopard sucks), their animal companion is a goat sans barding, they spend a bunch of their gold on a +3 scimitar. These are real life examples, from playing in 3 different groups and seeing 4 different druids played. Just because it has a rank 1 tier doesn't mean it plays well without optimization. A guy throwing +2 sling stones at hill giants is terrible. What good are class features if they aren't used well?
    Last edited by Spuddles; 2012-10-16 at 03:41 PM.

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    I think the military analogy has done its due by now. It only goes so far.

    I understand Gnaeus; in fact, I think along similar lines, though not even so roleplay-centric. But it ruins my game if I realize that all my character ever does is just pointless, because the Mighty CoDzilla could have done the same thing, possibly even better, without breaking a sweat.

    It kind of reminds me of a scene of a small child trying to reach a high shelf, reaching and hopping and groaning, when all the time a grownup stands right next to it and watches with a grin before he finally gets the cookie jar from the shelf with one easy grab. That's exactly the same as a T1 char "holding back" while the T4-5s get their asses handed to them.

    Note that I'm not saying the T1 char should do everything himself and take along lower tier fellows just as water-carriers who get to watch a show. Instead, all characters should be of a similar power level to begin with.
    So you know, university Physics D&D 3.5 Optimization is essentially three seven years of this discussion among like-minded enthusiasts. Done with supercomputers, access to the textsplatbook collections of five continents and thirty languages with thousands of classes, prestige classes, feats and spells.
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    Quote Originally Posted by etrpgb View Post
    Do anyone actually played a Tier 4 character in a party of Tier 1/2 where mechanics are indeed used?
    If you did you should understand that it is not an empty problem.
    Yes. Which is why I say class is not the problem that needs a tool to address.

    One of the games when I was still figuring stuff out for the Divine Mind handbook, the rest of the party consisted of a Wilder, a control wizard and an Unseen Seer. The Divine Mind's astral constructs, debuffs, enchantments, tactical teleports and eventual metamorphic transferred abilities were plenty for it to keep up. If anyone was out of place, it was the Wilder, who was too miserly with his PP to ever make a major impact.

    That's not to say character build-based imbalance isn't a problem, but this notion that balance problems will occur if tiers are mixed is just untrue.

    I think the Tier system did sprout out one useful idea, despite my objections to its initial premise: gauging performance with a set gauntlet of challenges, such as the ones Frank&K referred to in their class design discussions (ie. Directly examining how well a character would perform in a social scenario, a stealth scenario, a trap scenario, mass combat, single-opponent combat, overcoming mobility obstacles, etc.). But those gauntlets are much more informative when applied to specific character builds than they are to classes as a whole.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firechanter View Post
    I think the military analogy has done its due by now. It only goes so far.

    I understand Gnaeus; in fact, I think along similar lines, though not even so roleplay-centric. But it ruins my game if I realize that all my character ever does is just pointless, because the Mighty CoDzilla could have done the same thing, possibly even better, without breaking a sweat.

    It kind of reminds me of a scene of a small child trying to reach a high shelf, reaching and hopping and groaning, when all the time a grownup stands right next to it and watches with a grin before he finally gets the cookie jar from the shelf with one easy grab. That's exactly the same as a T1 char "holding back" while the T4-5s get their asses handed to them.

    Note that I'm not saying the T1 char should do everything himself and take along lower tier fellows just as water-carriers who get to watch a show. Instead, all characters should be of a similar power level to begin with.
    Id still rather be the guy with all the power, and never use it. The argument works if you aren't telling a story... Say I want to be a wizard, my decision as a player should be just as important as the DM's ability to say no, but I will reassure that I will make it an epic experience for everyone.

    If Gandalf had merely played the clearly Tier 1 character to full potential, it would have made The Lord of The Rings into a short comic strip in the paper.

    Not everyone has to be balanced power wise for a good game. If people are that upset about being weaker than others, then they need to grow up.

    The other side is not without flaw. The power hungry that do everything as efficiently as possible and step on others toes because they can are just as childish.

    If we get back to the brass tacks of roleplaying, the fact that you are telling a story together should be enough...

    If it isn't, then yes, everyone should be balanced and power should be evenly divided. If we are roleplaying like a videogame, with over the top action, it is a perfectly good reason to ensure everyone is optimizing to an equal tier.

    This is the choice you have, both very reasonable. IF you prefer roleplaying and story elements, then the tier system is COMPLETELY worthless. If you prefer over the top action, where battle is the main focus, then the Tier system is somewhat useful for party balance. It is however, still not as amazingly biblical as some people are pointing it out to be.

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    Gandalf was a level 5 or so Paladin with lots of racial abilities that he couldn't access under most circumstances.
    Last edited by Gavinfoxx; 2012-10-16 at 04:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spuddles View Post
    By the same argument, casters should not fit into the tier system, because it requires system mastery and optimization to pick out the good spells and know when to target which saves, and when. You can't just pick planar binding and cast it and expect it to work. You have to read like 2 pages of stuff, optimize your cha, make magic circles backwards, cast geas' on confined monsters.

    I think people too frequently overlook the amount of optimization that is inherent in even knowing what spells to use. I know when I first picked up 3.5, it was all shocking grasp (5d6!!!) and omg I want to use meteor storm! Knowing what spells are force multipliers or battlefield controllers requires optimization. Do you remember when TLN came out with his treatise on going after saves, divination use, and some generic party buffs? That stuff was revolutionary, and really no less different than the kit optimization that Truenamers require.
    There is such a massive difference in quantity here that it becomes its own quality.

    A poorly-optimized wizard will be a sub-par damage-dealer with very limited resources.

    A poorly-optimized, or even moderately-optimized, Truenamer, will be able to do little-to-nothing at all.

    You have to optimize a Truenamer to a certain degree just to use its class features. No other class has that serious a problem. A Monk running his full move speed every other turn, Flurrying on the others, may not be a particularly effective combatant, but at least his class features are getting used.

    A truenamer who didn't know that he really needed to absolutely maximize his Int (i.e. a 16 is not good enough), and needed to pick up every single bonus to Truenaming he could find, and that he really had to go digging to find them? His utterances are failing more often than not, and it's only getting worse as he levels.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firechanter View Post
    I think the military analogy has done its due by now. It only goes so far.

    I understand Gnaeus; in fact, I think along similar lines, though not even so roleplay-centric. But it ruins my game if I realize that all my character ever does is just pointless, because the Mighty CoDzilla could have done the same thing, possibly even better, without breaking a sweat.

    It kind of reminds me of a scene of a small child trying to reach a high shelf, reaching and hopping and groaning, when all the time a grownup stands right next to it and watches with a grin before he finally gets the cookie jar from the shelf with one easy grab. That's exactly the same as a T1 char "holding back" while the T4-5s get their asses handed to them.

    Note that I'm not saying the T1 char should do everything himself and take along lower tier fellows just as water-carriers who get to watch a show. Instead, all characters should be of a similar power level to begin with.
    It really depends on the group. I like having characters that can do more than hit things with a stick. I happen to play with a bunch of people who want to do nothing more than hit stuff with a stick. Their builds are basically me putting something together that they can't mess up, giving them two options (attack and full attack), and then trying to coax them into a dungeon. Their entire enjoyment in the game is rolling criticals and getting to use great cleave.

    I show up with T1 characters because rerolling every other session just doesn't appeal to me. I end up carrying the group because the group is colossally incompetent.

    Hmm, makes my group sound dysfunctional. It kind of is, I guess.

    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    There is such a massive difference in quantity here that it becomes its own quality.

    A poorly-optimized wizard will be a sub-par damage-dealer with very limited resources.

    A poorly-optimized, or even moderately-optimized, Truenamer, will be able to do little-to-nothing at all.

    You have to optimize a Truenamer to a certain degree just to use its class features. No other class has that serious a problem. A Monk running his full move speed every other turn, Flurrying on the others, may not be a particularly effective combatant, but at least his class features are getting used.

    A truenamer who didn't know that he really needed to absolutely maximize his Int (i.e. a 16 is not good enough), and needed to pick up every single bonus to Truenaming he could find, and that he really had to go digging to find them? His utterances are failing more often than not, and it's only getting worse as he levels.
    But I've seen monks with multiple 18s and no stats below a 14, with poor feat selection and combat choice, run around, flurry of misses, get chewed up, then flee. They essentially contribute nothing to the combat, other than maybe a flanking bonus and a distraction for a couple rounds, then suck down healing resources and xp. I mean, fighters pick up weapon focus and chunky armor, and need a constant stream of magic gear to stay competitive just in the to hit and not to get hit realm. I don't see what's so different about a Truenamer needing similar gear and avoiding the Toughness traps in utterance & feat selection. Besides, the lower level stuff is actually easier than the higher level stuff. Making a check to cast a spell is actually pretty similar to, say, how everyone who isn't a caster works. That you have the law of sequence and a generally bad selection of things to work with makes Truenamers worse than their spellcasting relatives, certainly. But a Level 1 fighter swinging at AC 16 is going to have trouble unless they went with a race that gives them some +hit, weapon focus, and put 16 or 18 in str.

    I think it's also common to forget how hard it can be to pick the number of appropriate spells on a prepared caster. In my experience, I find T2 and sometimes T3 more practically powerful than T1 as the global optima is almost impossible to reach without resorting to foul cheese. A wizard may have a tool to use on every situation, but having a larger array of hammers tends to work better in D&D, especially if there are constraints on taking the 9 hours to reshuffle spells. I am not entirely sure where I am going with this line of reasoning, other than saying in my experience, prepared casters often end the day with spells they don't cast because they couldn't find a use for them. Spontaneously turning them into nature's allies is totally OP, of course, but then I've played for years with a druid who cast a couple goodberries and maybe cure light wounds. Maybe. Never once did anything memorable with spells. I'm not sure if that falls into some special terrible player category, but I think I'd definitely put it on the optimization spectrum.

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    I think people too frequently overlook the amount of optimization that is inherent in even knowing what spells to use. I know when I first picked up 3.5, it was all shocking grasp (5d6!!!) and omg I want to use meteor storm! Knowing what spells are force multipliers or battlefield controllers requires optimization. Do you remember when TLN came out with his treatise on going after saves, divination use, and some generic party buffs? That stuff was revolutionary, and really no less different than the kit optimization that Truenamers require.
    I think you're overstating the difficulty here. It doesn't take much system mastery to realize that Sleep is better than Magic Missile. A chance to take multiple foes out of the fight entirely vs. 1d6+1 damage to one of them? That should be obvious to even new players. It does require a basic framework of mathematics and probability, but then so does any other class.

    It's really not hard to optimize a wizard. Many people do it accidentally.

    A wizard has a demonstrably higher number of choices for dealing with problems. Even a straight-up blaster is liable to take spells that attack Reflex saves and spells that attack armor class (without even perhaps considering the rational behind them), whereas the fighter is restricted to the one.

    I think it's also common to forget how hard it can be to pick the number of appropriate spells on a prepared caster. In my experience, I find T2 and sometimes T3 more practically powerful than T1 as the global optima is almost impossible to reach without resorting to foul cheese. A wizard may have a tool to use on every situation, but having a larger array of hammers tends to work better in D&D, especially if there are constraints on taking the 9 hours to reshuffle spells. I am not entirely sure where I am going with this line of reasoning, other than saying in my experience, prepared casters often end the day with spells they don't cast because they couldn't find a use for them. Spontaneously turning them into nature's allies is totally OP, of course, but then I've played for years with a druid who cast a couple goodberries and maybe cure light wounds. Maybe. Never once did anything memorable with spells. I'm not sure if that falls into some special terrible player category, but I think I'd definitely put it on the optimization spectrum.
    Just because you didn't play the class according to its intended function (spontaneous nature's ally, in this case, being that intended function, which is supported by the ability existing in the first place) doesn't mean that doing so is overpowered. It may be for different reasons.

    Seriously, we need to stop putting a value judgment on "optimization", just like we should not put a value judgment on "roleplaying." Everybody optimizes. Picking Power Attack instead of Spell Focus on a fighter is "optimizing."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnorman View Post
    It's really not hard to optimize a wizard. Many people do it accidentally.
    I've never seen it happen.

    You'd be surprised how much blaster wizard baggage is out there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnorman View Post
    I think you're overstating the difficulty here. It doesn't take much system mastery to realize that Sleep is better than Magic Missile. A chance to take multiple foes out of the fight entirely vs. 1d6+1 damage to one of them? That should be obvious to even new players. It does require a basic framework of mathematics and probability, but then so does any other class.

    It's really not hard to optimize a wizard. Many people do it accidentally.

    A wizard has a demonstrably higher number of choices for dealing with problems. Even a straight-up blaster is liable to take spells that attack Reflex saves and spells that attack armor class (without even perhaps considering the rational behind them), whereas the fighter is restricted to the one.



    Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal. Just because you didn't play the class according to its intended function (spontaneous nature's ally, in this case, being that intended function, which is supported by the ability existing in the first place) doesn't mean that doing so is overpowered. It may be for different reasons.
    I'm not debating the veracity of ranking wizard above fighter. I have a fairly large contention with the "no optimization" rule of tier ranking, with a surprisingly arbitrary and poorly defined set of what counts as optimization. Cherry picking the best spells across nearly 10 years of books? Somehow not optimization. The player magically knows all those rules and that average damage from haste is better than a fireball, or that forcing ability checks (web, grease) is often way meaner than saves. Or memorizing which monsters have good/bad saves, or high HD. That's all apparently a class feature of a wizard- automatically know good spells.

    But using a MW item, making int your highest stat, skill focus: truespeak, and an utterance that makes you better at truespeak? Way too much optimization. Using Core + Tome of Magic, truespeak of level+3(ranks)+3(skill focus) + 3 (16 int) + 5 (utterance) + 10/20/30 (competence) + 5 (libram of the thing) + 2 (circumstance) is level + 29 to + 49. You need a check of 15 + (2xlevel). That's plenty competent, and with smart utterance choices, probably puts you in T4, maybe approaching T3. Probably more useful than most ToB classes, if lacking stamina. But of course, knowing items relevant to your class, that's optimization. A fighter wanting a better a sword or a truenamer wanting a boost to truespeak, that's different than a wizard getting every good spell.


    Oh yeah, do you happen to have ANY evidence to support your assertions that playing Batman or GOD or Cindy or the Wish & the Word is self evident?
    Last edited by Spuddles; 2012-10-16 at 06:37 PM.

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    Just because blasting isn't as good as the wizard's other options doesn't mean that it isn't good.
    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Frankly, a Wizard can suck even more than a Fighter could ever dream of sucking. A Fighter can stab himself to death, but only a Wizard could Plane Shift to some horrible far realm to be tortured for an eternity of insanity.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Just because blasting isn't as good as the wizard's other options doesn't mean that it isn't good.
    Amen.

    The wizard is tier 1 because he is theoretically capable of "breaking" the game (taken here to mean: solve an inordinately large comparison of challenges compared to what other classes are capable of solving, and/or drastically shift what kind of challenges he can solve on a day-to-day basis). Just because he chooses not to (or does not realize that he is capable of it) does not mean that the class itself is diminished.

    Just because your wizard doesn't "break" the game doesn't mean that the wizard class isn't itself "broken."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Just because blasting isn't as good as the wizard's other options doesn't mean that it isn't good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gnorman View Post
    Amen.

    The wizard is tier 1 because he is theoretically capable of "breaking" the game (taken here to mean: solve an inordinately large comparison of challenges compared to what other classes are capable of solving, and/or drastically shift what kind of challenges he can solve on a day-to-day basis). Just because he chooses not to (or does not realize that he is capable of it) does not mean that the class itself is diminished.

    Just because your wizard doesn't "break" the game doesn't mean that the wizard class isn't itself "broken."
    See my edit.
    I'm in favor of moving classes up tiers, because hey, internet + discussion = more from less.

    Nowhere have I claimed wizards aren't broken, but to break them, like any other class, requires a certain level of system mastery and optimization.

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