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

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    So how long before you noticed that you can cast that on other people? Definitely helps with the "making the melees sad" issue, not so much the "making the DM cry" issue.
    I did eventually start buffing the party a bit too, although again, this was my first time ever playing with the then-new rules and the campaign only ended up going to around level 10. (And most of the players didn't really like their PCs to be turned into beasts - they had dedicated quite a lot of resources into their own fighting styles, be it falchion, bow or fist.)

    But the problem still stood - a single 4th-level spell completely redefined class roles and the game itself. There was no real system mastery involved, just a cool-looking spell in the PHB and a few cool-looking monsters that happened to be pretty tough for their HD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chess435 View Post
    Out of curiosity, how big of a "spells known" list do you think a spontaneous caster would need to have the sort of versatility commonly exhibited by T1 characters?
    Personally, I think that the gap is closed not so much by any particular number of spells, but by the ability to have the perfect spell when necessary. A cleric has hundreds and hundreds of spells to choose from; chances are at least one of them is going to be pretty good in any given situation.

    That said, I think that there are some spells that are versatile enough to be worth tier 1 status on their own. That's why I personally believe the tiers start to break down at the very highest levels (17-18+). I think that a sorcerer with Shapechange or a favored soul with Miracle is functionally a tier 1 caster.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    So how long before you noticed that you can cast that on other people? Definitely helps with the "making the melees sad" issue, not so much the "making the DM cry" issue.
    The fighter and sorcerer have physical strength of "good" and "terrible" respectively. Polymorph sets your physical strength to "very good", regardless of what it was before. Having good + very good is better than having terrible + very good, and someone who goes into life-or-death situations regularly is going to choose the option most likely to keep his team alive.

    Also alter self + shapechange are self-only, as is wild shape.
    Last edited by Prime32; 2013-01-20 at 09:20 PM.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chess435 View Post
    Out of curiosity, how big of a "spells known" list do you think a spontaneous caster would need to have the sort of versatility commonly exhibited by T1 characters?
    At least 4 per spell level, maybe more like 5.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Does anyone know if the "why" part of the tier list was saved? I liked reading the rationale behind all the choices made.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    In closing, this system is a blight. It does nothing good. It accomplishes no goals. It is seeped in misunderstanding and flawed logic. It causes class bigotry, gm to player friction, gm stress, and player stress. And I personally wish it would die in a fire.
    I'd like to point out, first, that I agree with this statement. I'm of the opinion that "ignorance is bliss;" without knowledge of a tier list, my group could happily play 3.X with no complaints save perhaps the DM's workload, which is, yes, still greater regardless of what classes the PC's are using.

    However, unlike you, I freely accept that it exists and take it as the guideline - guideline, not straitjacket! - that it is intended to be. I can still play 3.X just as happily as a fighter (hypothetically speaking; they're still boring as hell) as a wizard, or anything in-between, the only difference from the above being that I'm more conscious of where and when I can contribute my best. Provided, of course, that I can find a game that doesn't die as soon as I take interest in it!

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Threadnaught View Post
    Edit: I'm wondering if/when the PrC version will be rescued. If it actually exists that is.
    It exists, and people at RoC already made a backup.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Thanks for rescuing this, JaronK. I think it's one of the most important pieces of work to come out of 3.5 charop.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by The LOBster View Post
    So, what about PF's tier list?
    Other people have summarized the tiers for PF classes that aren't new. The other PF classes breakdown as follows: Witch- low end of T1, Magus-T3, Summoner- T3 (although I've heard a claim that it is T2), Alchemist- T3, Cavalier- T4, Gunslinger- I haven't seen in play but seems to be T4 based on mechanics, Inquisitor- T4, Oracle- T2, Summoner- not sure it seems to be all over the place.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Barring Archetypes (with which I am unfamiliar), Pathfinder changed nothing about the Tier of the Core classes, other than probably bumping Paladin solidly into Tier 4 (which he was pretty close to anyway, more than likely).
    Last edited by Answerer; 2013-01-20 at 10:37 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Tier 1: Capable of doing absolutely everything, often better than classes that specialize in that thing. Often capable of solving encounters with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player. Has world changing powers at high levels. These guys, if played well, can break a campaign and can be very hard to challenge without extreme DM fiat, especially if Tier 3s and below are in the party.

    Examples: Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Archivist, Artificer, Erudite
    I keep hearing about this erudite class, but I can't remember ever seeing it printed. Is it a homebrew?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by HalfGrammarGeek View Post
    I keep hearing about this erudite class, but I can't remember ever seeing it printed. Is it a homebrew?
    It is in Complete Psion.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jade Dragon View Post
    Fighter, ranger, and rogue are largely unchanged (fighter gets some bigger numbers, but I'm not sure if that's enough to make him even a 4. Ranger is now solidly tier 4, rather than on the edge between 4 and 5. Rogue is still 4). Paladin is tier 4. Lord_Gareth thinks paladins still aren't good enough (I agree, they still don't really have ways of dealing with the large amount of outsiders with flight and/or teleportation), Toapat thinks they're worse because of lack of splat support (3.5 had SpC and some good feats).
    ...I find it odd that I've become famous for this. For all future reference, my precise feeling is that PF bumped paladin's NUMBERS without altering its TIER.


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

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    ...I find it odd that I've become famous for this.
    I just tend to reference you a lot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    At least 4 per spell level, maybe more like 5.
    If T1 is always defined as "has schrodinger's access to all spells", then t2 will never get to be t1.

    For t2 in play to move to t1 as it currently stands, I agree with your assessment of 4 to 5 spells per level.

    There are enough spells out there to always be good in enough situations that shark repellant typically ends up being a waste of a memorized slot.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Fortunately you have scrolls/Spontaneous Divination/Alacritous Cogitation for that.

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

    +1 to the usefulness of the tier system.

    Before the tier system existed and my group knew much about optimization, we've had people break the game by mistake due to not understanding how much their classes can actually do(I for example tried to run a half-orc cleric with a greatsword as a secondary melee to a human sword&board fighter once; everyone can guess how that turned out) and also we've stopped blaming people for system flaws(before realizing how big the differences between various 3.5 classes were we used to think that if somebody built something game breaking it was because he was a munchkin, even if that dude was doing nothing more than running a druid in a ranger, monk, paladin rogue group).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Story View Post
    Fortunately you have scrolls/Spontaneous Divination/Alacritous Cogitation for that.
    Does that sort of optimization count towards tier ranking? ACFs & feats included?

    Regardless, that just means you're mimicing the sorcerer's schtick. They can play wizard with versatile spellcaster and magical training.

    I think shark repellent tends to be overrated. The spells that end up on every wizard list fit fairly well onto the sorcerer's spells known. Command undead, web, glitterdust, ray of stupid. You have exactly enough spells to deal with virtually any level 4 to 8 encounter. A wizard (vanilla) won't have enough of one sort of spell prepared to dominate every encounter. That is a very real limitation to wizards in games, which is why wizards prep such generally useful spells.

    When shark repellent becomes useful is when you're in town and can switch out haste for tongues and magic missile for disguise self.

    Sorcerers eventually get to do that (trade out sleep for disguise self, etc), but not until like 2x the wizard's level. Later access to spells really hurts, too.

    I think in actual play, and JaronK mentions this in OP, that T1 and T2 are really close in breaking the game. The only real difference per jaronk's assessment is that t1 gets all the ways, t2 gets about 3 new ways every 2 levels.

    So per that definition of tiers, spontaneous casters never hit t1 unless there are warsnakes or you get 80 spells known and literally know every spell worth knowing for a level.

    But in the way that t1 gets thrown around in more general use, t2 is pretty darn close, if you have a clear idea of what spells to pick and what roles you want to fill at any time for a given level. Prepared casters end up severely limited in their ability to repeat a trick. In my experience, the cost of breadth of shark repellent vs number of sharks to repel isn't ignorable.

    Note this is at low to mid levels. When you get to 9ths, the game sort of falls apart. Planar binding and simulacra breaks the game, and at that point, I think a lot of houserules and gentleman's agreements appear. So for actual experience, we drift farther away from a sensible RAW-based discussion, and I am not sure a useful discussion can be had without really working a lot of stuff out. Shapechange all day ery day pretty much negates everything bad about prepared casters I said above, for instance. Then you get to prepare the sharkiest of repellents knowing that there is always something in the fiend folio that will solve your problems.
    Last edited by Spuddles; 2013-01-21 at 02:38 AM.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaZ View Post
    I'm curious. Have you personally experienced either of these happenings?
    Yes, I have experienced both and have talked with others who have also had these things happen to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by vasharanpaladin View Post
    However, unlike you, I freely accept that it exists and take it as the guideline - guideline, not straitjacket! - that it is intended to be. I can still play 3.X just as happily as a fighter (hypothetically speaking; they're still boring as hell) as a wizard, or anything in-between, the only difference from the above being that I'm more conscious of where and when I can contribute my best. Provided, of course, that I can find a game that doesn't die as soon as I take interest in it!
    I know it exists. I also do not wear it as a straight jacket. I also play characters without the tier list affecting my enjoyment from a personal standpoint (assuming someone else isn't imposing restrictions on what I can play as a direct result of the tier list). I am no more or less conscious of where and when i can contribute because i didn't need a list to tell me the theoretical parameters of my character, and how that character relates to the rest of the group in the first place.

    And that is part of the problem. The tier system inspects classes in a scientific and clinical environment which is not an accurate representation of a real live game. As a result, all data gained from the study of the tier system is useless until it is translated into a format that matches your specific gaming table. Many players lack the capability and understanding of the game to properly translate this information from its clinical format into an organic format of their personal gaming table. As a result, they use the list as a shortcut and apply it directly to their game. I understand that this is not the correct way or the intended way to use the tier list. My complaint was never about the "intentions of" or "proper uses for" the tier list. My complaint was about the negative consequences caused by the tier list, as I have witnessed it, and my general disdain for those consequences.


    If you wanted to truly balance a table, the most accurate way of doing so would be to rate the players on a tier and then use that list in conjunction with the class tier list to restrict a higher tier player to only low tier classes. And vice versa, suggest low tier players play higher tier classes. And this is indeed a capability of the tier list as it exists in this post. Nothing must be changed to achieve this final affect. But even with this perfect scenario, I find the concept of playing the Marxist edition of D&D appalling and unnecessary and would much prefer a light discussion with my table about party roles and intentions.
    Last edited by Gotterdammerung; 2013-01-21 at 02:39 AM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    And that is part of the problem. The tier system inspects classes in a scientific and clinical environment which is not an accurate representation of a real live game. As a result, all data gained from the study of the tier system is useless until it is translated into a format that matches your specific gaming table. Many players lack the capability and understanding of the game to properly translate this information from its clinical format into an organic format of their personal gaming table. As a result, they use the list as a shortcut and apply it directly to their game. I understand that this is not the correct way or the intended way to use the tier list. My complaint was never about the "intentions of" or "proper uses for" the tier list. My complaint was about the negative consequences caused by the tier list, as I have witnessed it, and my general disdain for those consequences.
    Given that you seem to be complaining largely about the consequences of inadequate understanding of both the tier system itself, and 3.x in general, perhaps it would be better to focus on increasing understanding, rather than tearing down what attempts have been made, no?

    Unless, that is, you don't consider it possible to make useful generalizations about the game's balance even in principle, which I find hard to swallow.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    perhaps it would be better to focus on increasing understanding, rather than tearing down what attempts have been made, no?
    Why can't I do both? In a way, by strongly attacking the tier system, I am more strongly highlighting the pitfalls it might create, thereby decreasing the number of future abuses.

    In my own personal games I now try to increase understanding discussing builds in a pre-campaign meeting. But we analyze the classes in the context of the intended campaign thereby removing the need for the clinical data provided by the tier system.

    Quote Originally Posted by tuggyne View Post
    Unless, that is, you don't consider it possible to make useful generalizations about the game's balance even in principle, which I find hard to swallow.
    Yes, I question the value of generalizations. People too often make decisions based on the generalization without properly adjusting the information to the relevant situation.

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

    I mean, if you're really having problems with the Tier system actually causing internal problems in your group, seems to me that might be an issue with the people in your group and not the system in and of itself.

    Personally, I've had significantly more fun with the game since I discovered the Tier system a year or so ago. It explained a lot of the issues I had been having with the game and as a DM it has helped me to tailor my games towards my players much better.

    As far as some of the classes JaronK isn't as familiar with, where would the Ardent or the Incarnum classes wind up?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MeiLeTeng View Post
    seems to me that might be an issue with the people in your group and not the system in and of itself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post

    Yes, I question the value of generalizations. People too often make decisions based on the generalization without properly adjusting the information to the relevant situation.
    Not everyone has seen enough particular situations to be able to draw conclusions by analogy or from experience. To such people generalizations are useful.

    If a DM is trying to run a game where he wants characters capable of doing one thing quite well, while still being useful when that one thing is inappropriate, or capable of doing all things, but not as well as classes that specialize in that area and has a group of inexperienced players (who most likely can't gauge what that description really means) he could have to veto character concepts on a case by case basis, or he could show his players the tier system as a guideline for what's roughly expected of them.

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    I have not experienced the party having difficulty with the tier system. On occasion we make sure that we create characters that are within range of each other, but we don't stress it. Since it isn't a pvp game we don't really get too upset if someone is more powerful. The worst I've had is someone displaying annoyance I chose to use a ToB class and they went with a ranger.*Thats from someone who has only the most basic grasp of the tier system. I generally do my best to stay tier 3. It gives me enough options to be happy, and I fit in pretty much everywhere. The party sticks mostly to tiers 3 and 4. When a less experienced player comes along they often get started in tier 1 or 2. The system has done our group a small amount of good.

    On the boards however I have seen endless arguments over the tier system. We have a situation where:
    #1 Monkday is a thing.
    #2 'Can a Wizard outperform a Fighter at level 1?' arguments waste space.
    #3 'What the tier system again?' threads come along.
    #4 'The tier system is evil,' is stated repeatedly as if it murdered someone's babies.
    #5 'The DM lets them get away with too much,' is said, implying that DM fiat should keep tier 1 in check. - For example one guy suggested dropping wizards into hellpits if they try to teleport around.
    #6 'Why not only play a tier 1?' is used as an attack on the system.
    #7 'How can a fighter be made to kill a wizard beyond about level 7?' is asked over and over and over again.

    Posts about build help sometimes only get a few replies. Arguments about the tier system go many pages long. There are some definite negative side effects the forum is suffering related to the system. Some people are ignorant of the system. Some people don't believe the system. I'm sure some trolls manage to disguise themselves as people trying to discuss the system. The tier system is the most likely place to find someone angry at someone else on these boards.

    So its a tool we sit around and argue about more than most of the other tools combined. Its good to have the tool. The argument gets tiring after you've seen it loop once or twice.

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

    As it has been said the Tier System can spook people out.

    I already saw this, but this is mostly when they don't grasp it and counter it with: "But my Monk can kill a wizard quite easily."

    In the beginnings of our group of people we played a Low-powered-high-power game. How that is possible? Well, we started on level 6 and in the beginning it was quite low powered. We battled Skelettons as an Archery Focused Fighter, a Dwarven Druid and an elven Rogue. We had fun, nearly no magic items and got them while playing. No magic mart or such stuff. Later on when we were level 10 a Wizard and a "Paladin" joined us and well suddenly we encountered hard enemies that my rogue could only pling against, the fighter died because the DM only gave melee loot for him and the Paladin dealt 150 dmg every round. A sudden shift in-game and we never touched the campaign again after reaching level 11.

    Afterwards we always played one-shots or short-sessions without ever really resolving any plot. In such an environment the Tier system can't be used anyway. Everything was considered fine since no one had genuine defenses and we were limited in source material. Core + Completes (- Mage, Psionic, Champion and Scoundrel) + the Races of (-Destiny) + Faerun/ later Eberron.
    I tried to introduce Psionics and Tome of Battle or the BoED (as the BoVD was already used by one of us). Everything was considered WAAAAAAY too powerful. We had a break due some shifts and well I still was called a "Powergamer" without being one. The strongest character I played was either a Duskblade with under Elite Array stats or a Psion with Skate, Animate Object and Mindblast (the 1d10 dmg one).

    Now with our new group we have another problem.
    We have one newbie who plays a Rogue/Ranger (I sort of nudged him to it as I wanted him to choose his feats and such himself) He has Weapon Finesse, Skill Focus and Improved Initiative and is more or less a skill monkey.
    A Favoured Soul that messes up nearly every encounter now we reached level 5 (level 1 to 3 he was doing ok, the last two levels he lacked a bit) but a good roleplayer.
    A Druid that is played on Tier 4 or 5, ignoring her Animal Companion except for one Instance, uses Flamesphere while knowing that is was never "that effective" and finally has call lightning.
    An "ineffective" build as it hasn't reached it's sweet spot yet (Warlock1/Bard1/Warlock+3).
    And me as a Warblade/Fighter utilizing Improved Trip, Spiked Chain (although I would still use it if we nerfed it) and Powerattack + Maneuvers. The DM understands that I'm ok and that the others lack but my fiance (the Bardlock) is a bit annoyed because we already gave the druid advice on what spells are good (SNA instead of Produce Flame and Flaming Sphere). But so far she still uses them. Next meeting there will probably some InTime comments from the BardLock about her spell selection as... well she can't understand why anyone would choose such ineffective spells.
    Bringing the Tier System into that group would probably be again too much. I tried it a bit and directly said that it isn't about power but about how many options you have and well that's as far as I would go in this situation as I like the game as it is now. I know the Tier System and either use it to play a Tier3/4 char or I don't try to overshadow everyone when I play a Cleric or similar. (In another group I play a Buffing focused Sorcerer that has been told to switch to blasting as we already have a Controller/Buffer combination).
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    I like the tier system for increasing understanding of what makes a character powerful. My group doesn't have any rules regarding tiers or anything though.

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

    Are you seriously suggesting that using the Tier system to interpret game balance is somehow akin to Marxist theory and Communism? That is absurd.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    Yes, I question the value of generalizations. People too often make decisions based on the generalization without properly adjusting the information to the relevant situation.
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    Good point. I will remember it next time I have a discussion about communism with my Russian friend.
    I'm just going to leave these two statements here, next to each other.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    I'm just going to leave these two statements here, next to each other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    Are you seriously suggesting that using the Tier system to interpret game balance is somehow akin to Marxist theory and Communism? That is absurd.
    I think he meant it in the sense of "making the game too rules-heavy". Which is kind of an oxymoron, since 3.5 is anything but a rules-light system. He might also have meant it in the sense of "the DM is choosing what I can or can't play". Which is also a little absurd, games where the DM allows "only Core +X books" are the rule, not the exception, and banning by tier is no different from that. Scratch that, it is different in the sense that it's less arbitrary, banning by tier at least tries to accomplish something, banning by book only accomplishes not using subsystems the DM is not familiar with/has no access to, since some of the worst classes (balance-wise) are all present in the PHB, and I've never seen a DM banning that.
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