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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    In my own usage, the importance is not so much which classes are in which tiers, but rather which attributes result in which tiers, and what that means about the class's capability.

    For example, the Tier 2 trait is access to game-breaking powers, while the Tier 1 trait is access to game-breaking powers that they can change around on a regular basis. Knowing what classes have that Tier 2 trait means I can pay extra attention to a Sorcerer's spell list to make sure he hasn't chosen one, and I can sit down with a Cleric player and have a chat about spells he's not to ask his deity for, etc.

    And it also means that I can look at a class that I'm not familiar with and judge it pretty well based on what it can and cannot do. The tiers give hallmarks to watch for that allow the judging of material pretty easily. It is a useful tool. It does not automatically tell you everything you need to know about intra-party balance, but if you understand it, it does tell you what to watch out for.
    That's a bingo!

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by NotScaryBats View Post
    No, guys, he's saying that

    "Fact #3 Because the tier system must be re-assessed with the addition of new factors, AND because player capability, GM interpretation, and prestiging are all "new factors", the tier system will always need to be re-assessed. Every single table in the world will have to re-assess the information provided in the tier system."

    So, the tool isn't very useful because you ALWAYS have to ask yourself "is this a batman wizard, or a blaster wizard?" "is this an ubercharger or a sword and board fighter"

    We can all agree that the ubercharger posted higher up this page is better at killing enemies than No Metamagic Evoker. So, without your re-assessment, the tier system is not helpful here because it would lead you to believe the Evoker is more capable than the charger.

    Since you must always do this with every character, the tool is not as elegant and simple and fantastic as people say.
    If that were what they were saying, they'd still be wrong. The tool is useful because it describes what makes a character operate at a given level of power and efficiency. The blaster wizard can go and learn new spells to make him better than the ubercharger, and the DM should know that.

    But more to the point, that's not really what they said, or not really all of what they said. They also have repeatedly attacked the system and its author as somehow being responsible for the stupidity of people who do not fully read and understand the system, and misapply it. Not in so many words, but there has been a great deal of disrespect from a few vocal posters in this thread.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by NotScaryBats View Post
    *Snip*
    Even if that were the case, how would it be any different from other Tier systems (such as Pokemon's or BlazBlue's or Street Fighter's)? Player skill determines a lot with those games, and in at least a few cases (Pokemon) it's all about how you build it and how you play it when presented with a challenge.

    I've seen people pick up CT Jin and get utterly curbstomped by a mediocre CT Hakumen. Just because CT Jin was God-Tier doesn't mean the player is capable of using him to his full potential (if he could, most CT Haku players would be hard-pressed to actually fight back). For the record, CT had 2 characters in the bottom tier: Iron Tager and Hakumen.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    I can't argue about someone maybe being mean in the past, but the post I quoted was not disparaging. The fact is:

    "Q: So what a minute, how can I use it then? My players all play differently.

    A: First, determine what you'd say is the average optimization and skill level in the group, then make adjustments for people who are noticably different from that. I can't give examples of skill level, but here's an example for optimization. Imagine for a moment that your party has a Cleric with DMM: Persistant Spell, a Fighter with Shock Trooper and Leap Attack, a Beguiler with a Mindbender dip and Mindsight, and a traditional Sword and Board Fighter. Now, the first three are pretty optimized, but the fourth is pretty weak. So in that case, what you've actually got is a Tier 1, a Tier 3, a Tier 5, and a Tier 6, with that second Fighter being Tier 6 because he's far less optimized than the rest of the group. However, if your group is instead a healbot Cleric, a Beguiler who hasn't figured out how to use illusions effectively, a Sword and Board Fighter, and a Shock Trooper/Leap Attack Fighter, then the charge based Fighter is the odd one out. Bump him up a Tier... maybe even 2. So now you've got a Tier 1, a Tier 3, a Tier 5, and maybe a Tier 4. Remember, this whole thing is about intra party balance... there's no objective balancing, because each campaign is different."


    Now, that is a lot that you have to consider when you're looking at EACH and EVERY character for EACH and EVERY game you play. This Tier system is not an easy "which tier's a wizard? One. Check. Who's next" but involves deep research into everyone's characters. As such, it is inelegant because it cannot account for differences between many members of the same class. The system is up front about this, and doesn't claim to do this, but the argument that this is a big hole in the system stands.

    Whether or not you see that as a problem is up for debate, but the fact of the matter is, this isn't an very easy tool to use, it isn't always helpful, and every single case is different.

    It isn't easy to use because you have to look deeply at every character to check for the over/under powered stuff. It doesn't tell you explicitly what those choices are, but only gives a few examples (like the part I quoted above).

    It isn't always helpful, because as lots of people have pointed out, really good players sometimes nerf themselves to play to the balance of the game. So, you could have a really optimized wizard with a wide variety of spells not memorize his "make the rogue useless" spells so that the rogue still gets to do things. In this game, it won't matter that the wizard is Tier 1 because he's nerfing himself and playing to the party.

    Every case is different because every build AND every player is different. A really clever use of The Handy Haversack guide can make a CW Samurai outshine the party, etc etc millions of potential examples.

    "The blaster wizard can go and learn new spells to make him better than the ubercharger, and the DM should know that."

    He can do this, but remember: However, if your group is instead a healbot Cleric, a Beguiler who hasn't figured out how to use illusions effectively, a Sword and Board Fighter, and a Shock Trooper/Leap Attack Fighter, then the charge based Fighter is the odd one out. Bump him up a Tier... maybe even 2. So now you've got a Tier 1, a Tier 3, a Tier 5, and maybe a Tier 4. Remember, this whole thing is about intra party balance... there's no objective balancing, because each campaign is different. You've already bumped them into their appropriate tiers. The Charger is ABOVE the wizard in this "Your game Tier," because you ADJUSTED everyone's Tier to the level of optimization.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    In my own usage, the importance is not so much which classes are in which tiers, but rather which attributes result in which tiers, and what that means about the class's capability.
    Ok, but then that isn't the Tier system, which is the dividing of the classes into Tiers based on flexibility, but rather the thinking behind the Tier system, and judgements of capability more generally. JaronK has indeed done a good job here, but judgements of capabiltiy are not unique to the Tier system. I prefer to use my own judgements, which are better tailored to the games I'm in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    For example, the Tier 2 trait is access to game-breaking powers, while the Tier 1 trait is access to game-breaking powers that they can change around on a regular basis. Knowing what classes have that Tier 2 trait means I can pay extra attention to a Sorcerer's spell list to make sure he hasn't chosen one, and I can sit down with a Cleric player and have a chat about spells he's not to ask his deity for, etc.
    Sure, but while having a generic list is useful, game-breaking is situational, specific to particular games, and not limited to class abilities. I do review PCs for game-breaking capabilities, but I don't do so based on a generic list of powers that other people have found game-breaking, and I don't do it by class or Tier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    The tiers give hallmarks to watch for that allow the judging of material pretty easily. It is a useful tool. It does not automatically tell you everything you need to know about intra-party balance, but if you understand it, it does tell you what to watch out for.
    The Tiers are a formlised set of things to look for, some of which I agree with and some of which I don't, many of which apply in some games but not others, sorted by class, including only features of base classes, assuming full access and a certain level of optimisation, etc. etc. I do understand it, but my own judgement works better than the Tier system for my games, because it is specially tailored for my games.


    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    The core of it, although they will never admit it, is that many people cannot differentiate an explanation of a problem from its creation. If a statistical problem exists, and they have either not personally run into its effects or don't consider those effects significant, then someone showing up and explaining what the problem is appears to be an attack on the entire process.

    Usually, the next stage is to assume that the explanation of the problem is in fact an endorsement of it, and thus to assume that anyone trying to discuss the problem is in fact attacking anyone who wants to just play a game.
    That's really odd. I can't tell, based on what you've written, whether you are referring to people not liking the Tier system, or people not liking people rejecting the Tier system. Certainly people who have not run into the same problems that I have in trying to use the Tier system, appear to assume that I'm somehow attacking the whole process of balancing a game.

    However, I think you're presenting a distorted picture either way.

    The game is not perfectly balanced. This is the problem that the Tier system sets out to explain, and it's a problem that a great many people are used to dealing with every time they run or play the game. The disagreement is not over whether any such imbalances exist, but rather what the best way is to resolve such imbalances. One is to use a generic systemised explanation, such as the Tier system, which is geared to game mechanics in abstract and tries to generalise to be as broadly applicable as possible. Another is to use personal judgement as to what is and isn't balanced about the particular characters within the particular game. There is considerable overlap between the two, but I find the latter works better.

    Contrary to what you said, I don't think anyone is denying that adjustments need to be made, and I'd suggest that accusing people of having secret ulterior motives is actively counter-productive.

    I suspect you are confusing being accurate with being right, as is very common within this hobby, where standards of social awareness can be low. The Tier system is an accurate explanation of some power imbalances, but that doesn't make it the right tool for every person or every game.


    Quote Originally Posted by NotScaryBats View Post
    Since you must always do this with every character, the tool is not as elegant and simple and fantastic as people say.
    Precisely so. The amount of adjustment needed is such that I have to use my own judgement anyway.


    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    But more to the point, that's not really what they said, or not really all of what they said. They also have repeatedly attacked the system and its author as somehow being responsible for the stupidity of people who do not fully read and understand the system, and misapply it. Not in so many words, but there has been a great deal of disrespect from a few vocal posters in this thread.
    I disagree. The standard on this thread has been high, people have generally kept a polite tone, and with a one or two exceptions, there have been very few posters discussing the poster rather than their position. Let's keep it that way.

    As a result we've had a great many people different chipping in on both sides. There seems to be a genuine split here, which is not at all what I expected.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Would people be satisfied if the Tier System was started with a "you must be intelligent to use this system correctly. Also you are likely to misuse it if you don't read all of it and make assumptions instead" disclaimer?

    Because all arguments against it seem to stem from examples when people who fail the above disclaimer cause problems because of this.
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    95% of martial problems can be solved by Tome of Battle...

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by NotScaryBats View Post
    No, guys, he's saying that

    "Fact #3 Because the tier system must be re-assessed with the addition of new factors, AND because player capability, GM interpretation, and prestiging are all "new factors", the tier system will always need to be re-assessed. Every single table in the world will have to re-assess the information provided in the tier system."

    So, the tool isn't very useful because you ALWAYS have to ask yourself "is this a batman wizard, or a blaster wizard?" "is this an ubercharger or a sword and board fighter"

    We can all agree that the ubercharger posted higher up this page is better at killing enemies than No Metamagic Evoker. So, without your re-assessment, the tier system is not helpful here because it would lead you to believe the Evoker is more capable than the charger.

    Since you must always do this with every character, the tool is not as elegant and simple and fantastic as people say.
    You realize that's equivalent to saying "an auto shop isn't a useful set of tools, because you have to be a mechanic to use them", right? Yes, you need to be able to figure out things like "how optimized is this character?" and "how skilled is this player?" and "is this the sort of player who has fun by being really powerful, or the sort that has fun by feeling really challenged?"

    It doesn't do everything for you. It's only a tool. And just as an auto shop won't fix your car if it doesn't have a mechanic, the tier system (and really anything that tells you how the rules tend to work) is not going to be useful to you if you don't know how to apply it.

    JaronK

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    "is this the sort of player who has fun by being really powerful, or the sort that has fun by feeling really challenged?"
    I had a real problem with one of my longest running groups when I worked out that one player basically wanted a sandbox to carry out his plans, and got frustrated by random obstacles that derailed them, while another player basically wanted to be challenged, and got frustrated if nothing went wrong. [/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    It doesn't do everything for you. It's only a tool.
    Given that I have to do most of the work myself, is it ok if I use my own tools rather than yours? I don't see that preferring to use my own tools, customised for my own use, is actually a criticism of your tool at all. It is a valid reason not to use it though.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Given that I have to do most of the work myself, is it ok if I use my own tools rather than yours? I don't see that preferring to use my own tools, customised for my own use, is actually a criticism of your tool at all. It is a valid reason not to use it though.
    Man, this'd be a great sentiment if you didn't show up in every tier thread just to complain about the system.


    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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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Given that I have to do most of the work myself, is it ok if I use my own tools rather than yours? I don't see that preferring to use my own tools, customised for my own use, is actually a criticism of your tool at all. It is a valid reason not to use it though.
    Of course. It was always designed to be customized anyway, after all, why should I complain if someone else deals with balance in their own way? That was part of the point anyhow.

    But why bother coming in to say how much it doesn't work for you when it works so well for others? I mean, I don't fill up threads about incarnum talking about how I don't use incarnum in my games. What would be the point of that?

    JaronK

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    You realize that's equivalent to saying "an auto shop isn't a useful set of tools, because you have to be a mechanic to use them", right? Yes, you need to be able to figure out things like "how optimized is this character?" and "how skilled is this player?" and "is this the sort of player who has fun by being really powerful, or the sort that has fun by feeling really challenged?"

    It doesn't do everything for you. It's only a tool. And just as an auto shop won't fix your car if it doesn't have a mechanic, the tier system (and really anything that tells you how the rules tend to work) is not going to be useful to you if you don't know how to apply it.

    JaronK
    I hope I haven't offended you. Clearly, a lot of good work has gone into your tier system <3

    Anyway, a mechanic shop is not a tool. It is where you go if you ARENT A MECHANIC. If you've created this system with the expectation that everyone who reads it is already "A mechanic" or knows all the between the lines things you're saying, then what's the point of writing it down?

    Your system fails to say how I can look at a wizard and say "Yes, this is a tier 1 wizard" or "ah this is a tier 3 wizard". It just says that I should do this.

    It is an incomplete set of tools that really doesn't solve anything unless you already know most of what is has to say already. If you included a good section about specific things that will impact characters, it would make the system more elegant, able to stand on its own, and easier for a newer person to utilize.

    As it is, the system doesn't really help me, other than as a research paper about rpg theory (which it is insightful about).
    Thanks Gigi Digi for the avatar.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by NotScaryBats View Post
    I hope I haven't offended you. Clearly, a lot of good work has gone into your tier system <3

    Anyway, a mechanic shop is not a tool. It is where you go if you ARENT A MECHANIC. If you've created this system with the expectation that everyone who reads it is already "A mechanic" or knows all the between the lines things you're saying, then what's the point of writing it down?

    Your system fails to say how I can look at a wizard and say "Yes, this is a tier 1 wizard" or "ah this is a tier 3 wizard". It just says that I should do this.

    It is an incomplete set of tools that really doesn't solve anything unless you already know most of what is has to say already. If you included a good section about specific things that will impact characters, it would make the system more elegant, able to stand on its own, and easier for a newer person to utilize.

    As it is, the system doesn't really help me, other than as a research paper about rpg theory (which it is insightful about).
    Actually, it's pretty easy to make determinations of a character's power based on the tier list. It only requires that you understand the tier list less as a listing of class power, and more as a list defining what power in this system means. For example, a wizard that only blasts isn't really being much of a wizard at all. Instead, they're fulfilling a role much like that of a fighter, and thus should be evaluated along those lines. If you play a cleric, but only prepare heal spells for some ungodly reason, then you can draw some broad equivalencies between them and the healer class. On the other side, if you build up a fighter, but give it some nifty tricks like dungeoncrasher or zhentarim then you've expanded the class' versatility to be similar to that of an intimidate barbarian or something else of that tier. When looking at the tier list, it can be thusly valuable to not only say that clerics are a tier one class, but to ask why they're in that tier. If, somehow, you manage to construct a lower tiered class such that they approximate the power of the cleric, like a rainbow warsnake, then it becomes necessary to reevaluate.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    Actually, it's pretty easy to make determinations of a character's power based on the tier list. It only requires that you understand the tier list less as a listing of class power, and more as a list defining what power in this system means. For example, a wizard that only blasts isn't really being much of a wizard at all. Instead, they're fulfilling a role much like that of a fighter, and thus should be evaluated along those lines. If you play a cleric, but only prepare heal spells for some ungodly reason, then you can draw some broad equivalencies between them and the healer class. On the other side, if you build up a fighter, but give it some nifty tricks like dungeoncrasher or zhentarim then you've expanded the class' versatility to be similar to that of an intimidate barbarian or something else of that tier. When looking at the tier list, it can be thusly valuable to not only say that clerics are a tier one class, but to ask why they're in that tier. If, somehow, you manage to construct a lower tiered class such that they approximate the power of the cleric, like a rainbow warsnake, then it becomes necessary to reevaluate.
    Agreed. The Tiers list is a power tool with an IKEA instruction manual: It takes a bit of effort to get it to work.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Of course. It was always designed to be customized anyway, after all, why should I complain if someone else deals with balance in their own way?
    I'm not sure. It just seems like a popular move.

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    But why bother coming in to say how much it doesn't work for you when it works so well for others? I mean, I don't fill up threads about incarnum talking about how I don't use incarnum in my games. What would be the point of that?
    Almost every post has been in reply to people disputing my experience or demanding explanations. It must be a topic of interest, because people keeping on asking about it. My intial posts included discussion on the bits of the Tier system I found most useful and liked best, but noone seemed to want to talk about that.

    It's not immediately obvious that you didn't want a discussion of people's experience of using the Tiers system in a thread about that system. Given how emotional some people appear to get about the topic, that should be very clearly signposted if you don't want that to happen on future threads.


    One theory I've heard discussed, is that there is a barrier about halfway down the Tiers that's very difficult to cross. Once you're a Tier 3 or Tier 4 character, it's very hard to cross upwards across that boundary.

    Does that actually chime in with your experiences and if so why do you think that is the case?

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by NotScaryBats View Post
    I hope I haven't offended you. Clearly, a lot of good work has gone into your tier system <3
    No offense taken.

    Anyway, a mechanic shop is not a tool. It is where you go if you ARENT A MECHANIC. If you've created this system with the expectation that everyone who reads it is already "A mechanic" or knows all the between the lines things you're saying, then what's the point of writing it down?
    By "shop" I was referring, of course, to the actual place with all the tools in it. The lifts, the compressed air system, and so on. A friend of mine has one such shop in his garage.

    But, you must have the basic skills to use the tool.

    With the tiers, it's similar... it's a tool, but you must be able to use that tool. An inability to gauge whether that Half Minotaur Water Orc Lion Totem Barbarian with a Valorous Awl Pike using Shock Trooper is more optimized than a Cleric who specializes in healing means you lack the skills to use the tool, just as a guy in a mechanic's shop who doesn't know a clamp from a compressor lacks the skills to use the shop.

    Your system fails to say how I can look at a wizard and say "Yes, this is a tier 1 wizard" or "ah this is a tier 3 wizard". It just says that I should do this.
    What most people would do is look at the summaries, and say "hey, that Wizard's using a lot of tools at his disposal, and thus always seems to have the solutions to encounters in his tool bag, while that other one is focused entirely on making minions with Animate Dead and not actually using his full potential. The first is actually using his class to its potential and acting like the description of Tier 1, while the latter isn't, and seems to be fitting the description of Tier 3."

    In the mean time, since you evidently have trouble with that, you can use it in other ways (even a guy who isn't a mechanic can make use of a hammer to build a nice thingy). For example, if you're playing a game and the guy playing the Monk is much more powerful than the Wizard guy (to the point where it's disrupting the game), you'll know that making a house rule that nerfs Monks and buffs Wizards in the future isn't the solution, because you can look and see that Monks are a much lower tier class. Instead, you can solve the problem by teaching the Wizard player to make better use of his abilities, or by telling the Monk that you may have made a mistake in letting him play as a Black Ethergaunt, or checking to see if all the magic items have ended up going to the Monk. Or whatever.

    It is an incomplete set of tools that really doesn't solve anything unless you already know most of what is has to say already. If you included a good section about specific things that will impact characters, it would make the system more elegant, able to stand on its own, and easier for a newer person to utilize.
    Notice how the majority of people in this thread are quite capable of using it effectively? Clearly, they have the skills, and can use it, so it can't be an incomplete set of tools (at least, not so incomplete it's useless, but you're supposed to bring something to the table too). By the way, the "specific things that will impact characters" is covered in the FAQ. This includes things like focusing items found such that the benefit the lower tier classes, adjusting challenges to match the strengths of the lower tier folks, and so on. Though I did remove the House Rules suggestions section, because I found it rather obvious and needless. It was found in the older versions, of course. I believe I suggested things like doing partial gestalt concept (T5s and 6s can gestalt together freely, T3s and 4s can gestalt with NPC classes other than the Adept only, T1s and 2s can't gestalt) or similar.

    JaronK

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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    One theory I've heard discussed, is that there is a barrier about halfway down the Tiers that's very difficult to cross. Once you're a Tier 3 or Tier 4 character, it's very hard to cross upwards across that boundary.

    Does that actually chime in with your experiences and if so why do you think that is the case?
    Sorry for answering for JaronK, but IME that is close to the case. It's trivial to drop below the proverbial glass ceiling, but going back is difficult for everyone who isn't playing a Tier 1 or Tier 2 base.

    IME, it comes in pairs: A Tier 6 can jump up to Tier 5 with the right assets, but will have an incredibly hard time breaking through Tier 4, and might not be capable of stepping foot in Tier 3 without some serious houserules.

    The same is true for Tiers 3&4, and Tiers 1&2. A Tier 2 can compete with Tier 1's, while a Tier 4 won't ever see the threshold for Tier 2 barring questionably balanced PrCs. Tier 3s have very little room for advancement, but can make a push for the low end of Tier 2 with enough system mastery.

    Conversely, every Tier is capable of dropping all the way to Tier 6 if the build is ridiculously bad. Barring retraining only the classes in Tier 2 and Tier 1 can really do anything correct this, and only if the player is careful enough to survive to the first opportunity (24 hours for Tier 1s, next couple of levels for Tier 2s). Naturally exceptions exist: It takes genuine stupidity to reduce the Bo9S classes below Tier 4, and they can "fix" most of the damage every even level. And then there is the Truenamer, which goes from "Not rated" to Tier 1 within the span of 1 level (freaking Gate utterance...).

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Of course. It was always designed to be customized anyway, after all, why should I complain if someone else deals with balance in their own way? That was part of the point anyhow.

    But why bother coming in to say how much it doesn't work for you when it works so well for others? I mean, I don't fill up threads about incarnum talking about how I don't use incarnum in my games. What would be the point of that?

    JaronK
    With exaggeration, when almost every thread someone talks about tiers, it's rather hard to avoid the topic. You get threads offering "fixes" to a class trying to raise or lower its tier, as if something is 'wrong' with the tier it's in. Other threads someone is just asking how to play his character better, what feats to take or spells to learn or what class to play and someone will specifically reference tiers saying you shouldn't play a particular class just because of the tier it's in. There will be side discussions of wizards doing everything, druids pwn the game, and/or monks suck donkey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Fau View Post
    Sorry for answering for JaronK, but IME that is close to the case. It's trivial to drop below the proverbial glass ceiling, but going back is difficult for everyone who isn't playing a Tier 1 or Tier 2 base.

    IME, it comes in pairs: A Tier 6 can jump up to Tier 5 with the right assets, but will have an incredibly hard time breaking through Tier 4, and might not be capable of stepping foot in Tier 3 without some serious houserules.

    The same is true for Tiers 3&4, and Tiers 1&2. A Tier 2 can compete with Tier 1's, while a Tier 4 won't ever see the threshold for Tier 2 barring questionably balanced PrCs. Tier 3s have very little room for advancement, but can make a push for the low end of Tier 2 with enough system mastery.

    Conversely, every Tier is capable of dropping all the way to Tier 6 if the build is ridiculously bad. Barring retraining only the classes in Tier 2 and Tier 1 can really do anything correct this, and only if the player is careful enough to survive to the first opportunity (24 hours for Tier 1s, next couple of levels for Tier 2s). Naturally exceptions exist: It takes genuine stupidity to reduce the Bo9S classes below Tier 4, and they can "fix" most of the damage every even level. And then there is the Truenamer, which goes from "Not rated" to Tier 1 within the span of 1 level (freaking Gate utterance...).
    I agree 100% on the pairing concept. I've previously described the Tiers for my gaming group as belonging roughly to three types of campaigns:

    Pressed to Serve: Tier 5-6, primarily. If the group wants to play farmhands who have to go and fight the Great Menace because they were the only ones left, this will give them roughly that experience.

    Called to Serve: Generally Tier 3-4. If the group wants to explore a game where the King is putting together a force specifically to accomplish a task, rather than via a draft or a lottery, this is the sort of group that's quite likely to come from that effort.

    Born to Serve: This is Tier 1-2. If the group is interested in having the King seek their advice or beseech them for help (rather than merely requiring it) against world-altering threats, this is where they're most likely going to want to focus their efforts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    It's not immediately obvious that you didn't want a discussion of people's experience of using the Tiers system in a thread about that system. Given how emotional some people appear to get about the topic, that should be very clearly signposted if you don't want that to happen on future threads.
    There's nothing wrong with talking about personal experiences. But when you've been posting pages and pages of critiques, it does move beyond just that, doesn't it?

    One theory I've heard discussed, is that there is a barrier about halfway down the Tiers that's very difficult to cross. Once you're a Tier 3 or Tier 4 character, it's very hard to cross upwards across that boundary.

    Does that actually chime in with your experiences and if so why do you think that is the case?
    Yes, it's there, because the barrier between 2 and 3 is "game breaking potential." It's not impossible to cross, but it's a bit binary... if there's something built into the class that just lets you break the game, you're likely to be above 3 unless that's you're one thing (which leaves you at 4, because you're only good at just one thing). For example, Sorcerers having access to spells like Genesis and Planar Binding and such, straight out the gate (whether or not they chose to use it).

    But it's by no means uncrossable. Beguiler/Shadowcraft Mage with Heighten Spell/Earth Spell is an obvious example (heck, that can send a Beguiler straight to Tier 1). Dragonwrought Kobolds can send a Warmage straight to Tier 1 with the right Sovereign Archetypes (full Cleric spellcasting, spontaneously, will do that). Heck, even the lowly Truenamer actually bounces up to T1 once he can spam Gate (level 20, optimized just enough to pass his checks). So it can be done. Obviously, because it's not being provided by the class directly (except in the case of the Healer and Truenamer at very high levels), it doesn't go into their tier ranking... but a given build using these classes can get the job done.

    JaronK

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    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    But it's by no means uncrossable. Beguiler/Shadowcraft Mage with Heighten Spell/Earth Spell is an obvious example (heck, that can send a Beguiler straight to Tier 1). Dragonwrought Kobolds can send a Warmage straight to Tier 1 with the right Sovereign Archetypes (full Cleric spellcasting, spontaneously, will do that). Heck, even the lowly Truenamer actually bounces up to T1 once he can spam Gate (level 20, optimized just enough to pass his checks). So it can be done. Obviously, because it's not being provided by the class directly (except in the case of the Healer and Truenamer at very high levels), it doesn't go into their tier ranking... but a given build using these classes can get the job done.
    Another example I've been toying with a lot lately is Bard into Sublime Chord. This simple build, even without shenanigans (i.e.: simple Bard 10/Sublime Chord 10) blows the character straight into low tier 2. But again, this has nothing to do with the base class directly (example).

    EDIT: Not to mention the aforementioned Rainbow Servant Warmage. With Warmage 10/ Rainbow Servant 10 you're already a better Cleric than a Cleric. Throw in stuff like Contemplative and it gets really silly really quick. Tier 4 -> Tier 1.
    Last edited by Larkas; 2013-01-26 at 12:52 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by cerin616 View Post
    I just like to think that Smaug's "cry of pain" was "OH GOD, MY PRETTY! YOU HIT MY RIGHT IN THE PRETTY."
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    Eberron Campaign I'm currently in has the following (ECL 7):
    Warblade (my character)
    Artificer (DM's character)
    Bard / Marshall
    Scout / Ranger
    Cleric / Paladin / Crusader
    Druid

    In combat, the utility rating looks something like this:
    Druid's pet fleshraker dino (T1 by derivation)
    The Scout / Ranger (T4)
    The Warblade (T3)
    The Druid (T1)
    The Artificer (T1)
    The C/P/C (T1? T3?)
    The Bard. One song at the start of combat, and then try to hide; lowest AC, lowest HP, and a CHR / INT / STR based character has to hope they never have to save. First time we fought vampires, my Warblade wound up pinning the poor dominated bard to the ground while the C/P/C did his thing, and the fleshraker dino did her thing.

    Out of combat the Scout, C/P/C, and Bard have most of the fun. The main contribution of my Warblade is an occasional Intimidate. But since 90% of the game is combat, overall we're all contributing more or less equally. But, note well: the Tier 4 character (Scout) is the only one that is important in combat and out. She's our search / sneak / look skill monkey, and our Striker.
    Last edited by Shining Wrath; 2013-01-26 at 05:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkas View Post
    Another example I've been toying with a lot lately is Bard into Sublime Chord. This simple build, even without shenanigans (i.e.: simple Bard 10/Sublime Chord 10) blows the character straight into low tier 2. But again, this has nothing to do with the base class directly (example).

    EDIT: Not to mention the aforementioned Rainbow Servant Warmage. With Warmage 10/ Rainbow Servant 10 you're already a better Cleric than a Cleric. Throw in stuff like Contemplative and it gets really silly really quick. Tier 4 -> Tier 1.
    That's where I think the Tier System for PrCs comes in useful. The original on MMboards is gone, but Zeal's put most of it on here. It may help explain why Beguiler/SM or Bard/SC is awesome (but Acolyte of the Skin is not).

    That may also be where Amph goes to get his ICOC classes
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockdeworld View Post
    That's where I think the Tier System for PrCs comes in useful. The original on MMboards is gone, but Zeal's put most of it on here. It may help explain why Beguiler/SM or Bard/SC is awesome (but Acolyte of the Skin is not).

    That may also be where Amph goes to get his ICOC classes
    Nah, I use the "Monkeys with dartboards" method. Next one might be Planar Shepard. But not if I'm the one picking it.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    There's nothing wrong with talking about personal experiences. But when you've been posting pages and pages of critiques, it does move beyond just that, doesn't it?
    No, it doesn't. I was writing responses to questions that were asked. Some of them quite pointed. There were a lot of responses because there were a lot of questions. That's all. I'm sorry that the thread didn't go the way you wanted it to, but you didn't say anything at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Yes, it's there, because the barrier between 2 and 3 is "game breaking potential." It's not impossible to cross, but it's a bit binary... if there's something built into the class that just lets you break the game, you're likely to be above 3 unless that's you're one thing (which leaves you at 4, because you're only good at just one thing). For example, Sorcerers having access to spells like Genesis and Planar Binding and such, straight out the gate (whether or not they chose to use it).
    'Game breaking' is an interesting concept. What breaks the game is a development the game can't accomodate. So Planar binding is game-breaking because it opens up a lot of abilities that the game isn't intended to handle. That's not to say that it's impossible to handle - it's surely possible to run a game with planar binding in it - but rather that it needs special treatment.

    On the lower Tiers though, we also have situations that need special treatment. If one character is vastly more capable than the others, then it also needs special treatment. If one character does 20-30 points of damage a round, and another does 120, the it's going to be hard to keep them both in the same party, yet that's not game breaking in the same sense, or is it? It feels very different.

    I'm wondering whether we're really talking about game-breaking so much as role-breaking. These abilities are a problem because they go beyond what you would expect a PC to be able to do, and thus change the nature of the PC's role in the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    'Game breaking' is an interesting concept. What breaks the game is a development the game can't accomodate. So Planar binding is game-breaking because it opens up a lot of abilities that the game isn't intended to handle. That's not to say that it's impossible to handle - it's surely possible to run a game with planar binding in it - but rather that it needs special treatment.
    Sure. I tend to define "game breaking" as "any ability that makes it so that the game cannot progress as intended." Usually I'd say Planar Binding does outright break any game unless house ruled, mostly due to the obvious "few games can handle endless wishes" issue (the only other option being to rush the game so fast that there's not even a few hours of downtime). Even teleport can be game breaking if the point was to have a high seas adventure while traveling from one continent to the other and you just teleport and skip the whole adventure... a good DM needs to account for such things.

    On the lower Tiers though, we also have situations that need special treatment. If one character is vastly more capable than the others, then it also needs special treatment. If one character does 20-30 points of damage a round, and another does 120, the it's going to be hard to keep them both in the same party, yet that's not game breaking in the same sense, or is it? It feels very different.
    Yes, that's something else entirely. A character doing 120 points of damage at most means he can one shot enemies, but a minor modification to the game (such as heavy use of difficult terrain to spoil charges, multiple spaced out enemies, and similar things) can account for this without actually making the game concept unworkable. Now, if that 20-30 damage guy only does combat, that could be a problem since the other guy overwhelms him so much... it's not nearly so bad if that guy has other options (this is why the Rogue and Barbarian go well together... the Barbarian's better in combat, but the Rogue has other things he can do outside combat).

    I'm wondering whether we're really talking about game-breaking so much as role-breaking. These abilities are a problem because they go beyond what you would expect a PC to be able to do, and thus change the nature of the PC's role in the game.
    Nah. I'm not a fan of "role preservation." The problems exist when one guy is just not playing the same game as the other one ("I hit that guy for 15 damage", "On my turn, I raise 10 of them from the dead to make an undead army.") or when one person completely eclipses the other ("My character can hit people for 30 damage, but that's all he does", "My character can kill everyone within 30' as a standard action at will!"). Then instead of everyone feeling like the heroes of the story, one (or more) player(s) feel(s) like just the henchman in the background. Few players like that.

    JaronK

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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post

    'Game breaking' is an interesting concept. What breaks the game is a development the game can't accomodate. So Planar binding is game-breaking because it opens up a lot of abilities that the game isn't intended to handle. That's not to say that it's impossible to handle - it's surely possible to run a game with planar binding in it - but rather that it needs special treatment.
    This seems kinda untrue. Game breaking doesn't traditionally refer to game bugs, so much as it refers to things that warp the meta of a game around them. Wizards don't just fill fighter roles, they obsolete them at some point. Wizards become game breaking when fighters become less than redundant. They become pointless. At 20th level, a party with a wizard and a fighter is virtually indistinguishable from one with just a wizard power wise, and that is game breaking. On the other hand, truenamers are just broken. That's the terminology that you seem to think is meant by gamebreaking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    This seems kinda untrue. Game breaking doesn't traditionally refer to game bugs, so much as it refers to things that warp the meta of a game around them. Wizards don't just fill fighter roles, they obsolete them at some point. Wizards become game breaking when fighters become less than redundant. They become pointless. At 20th level, a party with a wizard and a fighter is virtually indistinguishable from one with just a wizard power wise, and that is game breaking.
    Well, hang on. The capabilites we're talking about are theoretical upper limits for the classes involved. A given 20th level wizard doesn't necessarily hit those capabilities, and class abilities are one of many considerations. I've played a ranger alongside a wizard at epic, and had no trouble contributing, simply because of the nature of the game and they way each character was optimised and played.

    But yes, in a different set up that would be a problem. I still think it's worth distisguishing between sitaution of broken balance (one character eclipsed by another) and one where the capabilties of the character break the flow of the game (one character makes standard challenges irrelevent).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Well, hang on. The capabilites we're talking about are theoretical upper limits for the classes involved. A given 20th level wizard doesn't necessarily hit those capabilities, and class abilities are one of many considerations. I've played a ranger alongside a wizard at epic, and had no trouble contributing, simply because of the nature of the game and the way each character was optimized and played.

    But yes, in a different set up that would be a problem. I still think it's worth distinguishing between situation of broken balance (one character eclipsed by another) and one where the capabilities of the character break the flow of the game (one character makes standard challenges irrelevant).
    I'm not saying that all wizards break the game just by existing, they just have a high capacity to at moderate optimization levels, which is what the tier system measures. I also don't know if it's necessary to make the distinction between an unbalanced game and unbalanced players, because those situations are so similar, and game breaking ability isn't actually problematic if everyone can do it the same amount. The problem only really exists when one character has game breaking abilities, another doesn't, and it's thus impossible to put together working challenges due to that differential.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    I just want to butt in here to ask: has anyone been able to rescue or find a mirror for the "why each class is in its tier" or the PrC tier system posts? I'm particularly interested in reading through the former.
    Thanks
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    Quote Originally Posted by prufock View Post
    I just want to butt in here to ask: has anyone been able to rescue or find a mirror for the "why each class is in its tier" or the PrC tier system posts? I'm particularly interested in reading through the former.
    Thanks
    I had those archived in the Wayback Machine. Let me see if they're online...

    Nope... But see if this helps:

    Tier 1

    Tier 2

    Tier 3 (1/2)

    Tier 3 (2/2)

    Tier 4

    Tier 5

    Tier 6
    Last edited by Larkas; 2013-01-27 at 10:38 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by cerin616 View Post
    I just like to think that Smaug's "cry of pain" was "OH GOD, MY PRETTY! YOU HIT MY RIGHT IN THE PRETTY."
    Metal Perfection - a template for creatures born on Mirrodin.
    True Ferocity - a simple fix for Orcs and Half-Orcs.
    Monastic Magus - a spiritual successor to the Unarmed Swordsage.
    Pathfinder-ish Synthesist - a simple fix making Synthesist Summoners follow polymorph rules.
    Sword & Sorcery for Sneaky Scoundrels - rogue archetypes/fixes that aim to turn the rogue into a warrior/caster.

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