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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    My argument is not Non-sequitur. You can't take one aspect of a multi-faceted argument, reduce that aspect to absurdity, and then argue your absurd version of my argument. Since you like rhetorical fallacies, that one is called a "Strawman".

    Yes, part of my argument speaks out to the misuse of the tier system, but it does not stop there.

    The tier system fails by trying to analyze data in a clinical environment. That data is inaccurate when carried over to a real world game where the factors are varied and uncontrolled. This makes the data derived from the system highly misleading to a large group of people. The data must be translated.
    You know what also analyzes data in a clinical environment, and then attempts to extrapolate results into a real world where factors are varied and uncontrolled?

    Every branch of science ever.

    Regardless, your argument remains a non sequitur because the Tiers provide clinical information, and it is the fault of those who have not actually read and understood if they misapply it, not the fault of the system as a whole. The entire line of criticism that you are applying makes no sense. Might as well say we should never bother with any experiment ever, because if we do some people will expect real life to match the experiment in every particularity.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    Let me preface my response by apologizing. I have a very gruff writing style that is often misconstrued as aggressive or angry. I apologize for this and assure you it is not my intention to be arbitrarily confrontational. I am not angry, at best i am annoyed at the tier system and what i beleieve to be its negative impact on the community (by community I mean a few of my personal games, the climate of my local gaming store, and the climate of several D&D forum based sites.). I genuinely believe this system causes problems and my goal was to inform the community of these problems.
    Thank you for the apology. Thank you so much for immediately taking back the apology and refusing to read both posts in their entirety. The problem, if one exists, is people who don't read the whole thing, it comes into existence after someone skims over pages to see what stands out, then make assumptions. These people probably shouldn't be playing with such a rules heavy system in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    JaronK
    There's nothing in this post I can omit (besides maybe the only part I included) without missing something important. So go read his post, it's rather enlightening.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    Interesting post but *snip* rather verbose.
    Again, you have to read this guy's comment.

    EDIT: Threadnaught, I'm quoting you because you were the most recent person commenting on this conversation thread; I'm not really directly replying to you.
    Would've made very little difference to your post if you were.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordBlades View Post
    Ever since Abrupt Jaunt got introduced theres very few low level things more survivable than a wizard.
    Obviously you havnt played Dark Sun. Undead sand sharks, brain eating seeds, and mind bullet cacti oh my.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pandoras Folly View Post
    Obviously you havnt played Dark Sun. Undead sand sharks, brain eating seeds, and mind bullet cacti oh my.
    In Dark Sun, ANYONE surviving to 5 can be impressive. The wizard is not special that way.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Pandoras Folly View Post
    Obviously you havnt played Dark Sun. Undead sand sharks, brain eating seeds, and mind bullet cacti oh my.
    What does that have to do with abrupt jaunt making wizards more survivable?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pandoras Folly View Post
    Obviously you havnt played Dark Sun. Undead sand sharks, brain eating seeds, and mind bullet cacti oh my.
    Being able to say "no" to attacks a number of times per day equal to your Int modifier seems pretty relevant in most any setting, honestly. It may not be enough to make them survive guaranteed, but what is? I'm not seeing how wizards with abrupt jaunt are particularly worse off than anyone else in Dark Sun.
    Last edited by Karnith; 2013-01-22 at 10:04 AM.

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

    Also, it's kind of weird to bring up Dark Sun in the 3e/3.5e/d20 section of the board when there has been no official release of it for any of those systems, and the official release of it for the most-closely-related system (4e) involved significant changes both to that system and to the way survival gear and supplies were handled (i.e. you basically just got a stat that was "the number of days you can survive on your own in the desert"). Wizards has largely repudiated the survival/supplies-accounting aspects of Dungeons & Dragons to begin with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    I think this is probably the best way to see the tier system. (Surprised that no-one else commented on this post, to be honest.)

    I generally find that the more experienced the DM, the more likely they'll ban said 'outliers', which goes a long way towards restricting the power of the tier 1 and tier 2s. If the really obviously busted stuff like Polymorph/Shivering Touch/Celerity is off the table, a Wizard and a Cleric can play in the same party as a Barbarian and a Rogue fairly comfortably.
    Completely agree with the first part of your post and completely disagree with the latter.
    It's not the outliers that make tier 1 classes so strong in actual play. Most play groups don't even touch them either due to DM banning them or the simple mutual agreement they make the game less fun. Putting Polymorph in the same bucket with Celerity and ShiveringTouch is again wrong IMO but I won't dwell on that.

    What makes tier 1 so strong in actual play is number of options. Each class has a list of class features (aka spells) that uses up more space that all the class features for all non spellcasters combined. And unlike a non-spellcaster, who has access to a relatively small and hard to change sybset of features, a spellcaster has potential access to every spell ever printed for the respective class.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by LordBlades View Post
    What makes tier 1 so strong in actual play is number of options.
    It's their strength, yes, but taking out the outliers makes a HUGE difference. Just take a look at the string of posts above arguing about Abrupt Jaunt.

    If you have lots of options, of which the top 5% are brokenly powerful, and that 5% get banned, then that's a major hit to your power. You're still not going to be weak, since you can just select from the 91st to 95th percentile instead, but it makes a big difference.
    I'm the author of the Alex Verus series of urban fantasy novels. Fated is the first, and Book #8 in the series, Bound, is out as of April 2017. For updates, check my blog!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    It's their strength, yes, but taking out the outliers makes a HUGE difference. Just take a look at the string of posts above arguing about Abrupt Jaunt.

    If you have lots of options, of which the top 5% are brokenly powerful, and that 5% get banned, then that's a major hit to your power. You're still not going to be weak, since you can just select from the 91st to 95th percentile instead, but it makes a big difference.
    It does, but not nearly enough to bring them on par with lower tiers.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by LordBlades View Post
    It does, but not nearly enough to bring them on par with lower tiers.
    It depends on player skill. If you have access to the 'sledgehammer' style caster tricks (24-hour Polymorph, taking multiple turns to your opponent's one, 1-hit KO Arcane Thesis damage spells) then it's pretty easy to beat normal encounters. You just spam your win button.

    If the sledgehammers are banned, though, then to make effective use of spells you have to think. (Out of the 50 spells you've got access to, 1 will end the encounter but which one?) It's still possible to outperform the rest of the party, but it requires much more effort on the part of the player.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    It depends on player skill. If you have access to the 'sledgehammer' style caster tricks (24-hour Polymorph, taking multiple turns to your opponent's one, 1-hit KO Arcane Thesis damage spells) then it's pretty easy to beat normal encounters. You just spam your win button.

    If the sledgehammers are banned, though, then to make effective use of spells you have to think. (Out of the 50 spells you've got access to, 1 will end the encounter but which one?) It's still possible to outperform the rest of the party, but it requires much more effort on the part of the player.
    Again i disagree. Loading up with save-or-suck (aoe if possible) targeting each save and fill the rest of the list with long term buffs and escape spells requires no great skill and is still enougn to outdo any non-caster with ease.

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

    I haven't seen a lot of DMs ban, or people talk about on par with contingency or gate, stuff like grease, glitterdust, haste, solid fog, etc. All of which are singular actions of disproportionate effectiveness compared to any of the options available to Tier 4-ish classes.

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

    Hm.. popular thread.

    I'm very impressed with the level of analysis that goes into the Tier system. I'm greatly impressed with the thought and care that's gone into it, and I agree with most of what JaronK says about it.

    I also think it does more harm than good, for exactly the reasons Gotterdammerung supplies. It's horribly prone to misuse, and the problems caused by said misuse are both more serious and more common than the problems it solves.

    Obviously that's just my experience, and your experience may vary. Like any additional rule, guideline or peice of additional advice, you need to consider whether it's useful and relevent for the kind of game you want to run/play. The overwhelming majority of the community in which I play recommend against using it.

    It makes a great talking point though.

    I'd also agree with Saph's point that much of the additional utility of the higher tiers come from a very small proportion of abilities. A certain amount of judicious limiting of the available options that have the biggest impact on your style of game goes a very long way towards deleveraging the highest tiers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Answerer View Post
    I haven't seen a lot of DMs ban, or people talk about on par with contingency or gate, stuff like grease, glitterdust, haste, solid fog, etc. All of which are singular actions of disproportionate effectiveness compared to any of the options available to Tier 4-ish classes.
    I, of course, have, and it was an immense task to try to rein in even the core selection available to wizards, sorcerers, clerics and druids. "Disproportionate" is a vicious understatement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by afroakuma View Post
    I, of course, have, and it was an immense task to try to rein in even the core selection available to wizards, sorcerers, clerics and druids. "Disproportionate" is a vicious understatement.
    Calling it an understatement is inappropriate. It's simply not comparable. The ability to do anything cannot be compared to the ability to only do certain things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    I also think it does more harm than good, for exactly the reasons Gotterdammerung supplies. It's horribly prone to misuse, and the problems caused by said misuse are both more serious and more common than the problems it solves.
    I have to question the last assertion. D&D 3.5 is extremely unbalanced, and it takes a great deal of work to either homebrew effective fixes for it, or to come up with and adjudicate bans to keep power level down; Answerer's post farther up points out that it's not just chain-gating Solars or multiple crafted contingent spells that make tier 1 classes so good. It takes a lot of work to solve the problems that the tier system documents without actually using it. In fact, it especially takes a lot of work to fix 3.5's issues without using knowledge gleaned from the tier system, because understanding the problems of game balance in 3.5 is the same as understanding the tier system. Resolving not to use the tier system, and knowledge thereof, is essentially just hoping that the numerous, game-breaking class imbalance issues aren't going to come up when you play. And, quite frankly, that's not solving a problem, it's ignoring it.

    Problems caused by people misusing knowledge gained from the tier system, however, can be resolved on an interpersonal level, and generally stem from either a misunderstanding of the tier system, or applying value judgements to the system.

    In fact, maybe you (or anyone, for that matter) can help me here. What exactly are the problems that misusing the tier system cause? I have never experienced any, and the examples that I see on this forum are generally bizarre and symptoms of other problems.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Obviously that's just my experience, and your experience may vary. Like any additional rule, guideline or peice of additional advice, you need to consider whether it's useful and relevent for the kind of game you want to run/play. The overwhelming majority of the community in which I play recommend against using it.
    I would also like to again point out that tier system is descriptive, not prescriptive; it is not a "solution" to 3.5's many, many problems, nor is it "optional" or "a guideline." It is an empirical reality. The tier system simply describes how the game works. Understanding the tier system does not necessitate any change in gameplay. At all.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    I have to question the last assertion. D&D 3.5 is extremely unbalanced, and it takes a great deal of work to either homebrew effective fixes for it, or to come up with and adjudicate bans to keep power level down; Answerer's post farther up points out that it's not just chain-gating Solars or multiple crafted contingent spells that make tier 1 classes so good. It takes a lot of work to solve the problems that the tier system documents without actually using it. In fact, it especially takes a lot of work to fix 3.5's issues without using knowledge gleaned from the tier system, because understanding the problems of game balance in 3.5 is the same as understanding the tier system.
    No, it isn't. It's using your own appreciation of balance based upon the players and practices at your table, rather than based upon an article written by someone else citing a different set of practices and assumptions. If I want to rebalance my game, I do so in the knowledge of what players I will be dealing with, what the game itself will feature in terms of resources and challenges, and what sources are going to be allowed. There's no obvious reason to use a system, no matter how well refined, based around a set of generic assumptions that aren't going to feature in my game. Balancing an entire ruleset is extremely difficult and challenging. Balancing an individual game is much much easier.


    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    Problems caused by people misusing knowledge gained from the tier system, however, can be resolved on an interpersonal level, and generally stem from either a misunderstanding of the tier system, or applying value judgements to the system.
    In theory sure. In practice, noone here is capable of resolving all the interpersonal problems that crop up around this topic on these boards. To quote your own phrase back at you, you appear to be hoping that the problem will simply go away.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    In fact, maybe you (or anyone, for that matter) can help me here. What exactly are the problems that misusing the tier system cause? I have never experienced any, and the examples that I see on this forum are generally bizarre and symptoms of other problems.
    Hm.. problems involving misusing tiers? Just off the top of my head..
    1) Not being allowed to play games because your character is 'the wrong tier', without any consideration of the character actually being submitted.
    2) Interpretations of the rules based on the Tier system. 'That class ability can't possibly save you from the wizard's spell, because the wizard is a Tier 1 character and this is only a Tier 4 class.
    3) Games where attempts at balance have been abanonded because Clerics are Tier 1 and fighters are tier 5 and there's nothing anyone can do about it.
    4) People who actively taunt or tease other players about the uselessness of their 'low tier' characters irrespective of whether the character is useful or not.
    5) People who play characters or run games where the tier system is a fact of life that colours everything they do. From "I'm sorry, I can't let you in to see the king, you're a tier 1 character and we can't protect him from you." to monsters who attack party members in strict tier order, based on their mode of dress.
    6) Games where vast penalties have been levelled at high tier characters, and vast bonuses heaped upon low tier characters, distorting the game beyond all recognition.
    7) Poorly balanced homebrew, justified through appeals to the Tier system. "Yes I know he has full psion ability progression and full BAB and more feats than a fighter and more special abilities than a monk and extra abilities on top and rogue skills, but that's because I wanted a melee character who was Tier 3!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    It is an empirical reality. tier system simply describes how the game works.
    No, it isn't. It's an abstraction, based on a number of assumptions that don't hold true for most games. That's not a criticism, any set of assumptions woudn't hold true for most games, and JaronK is very open about the assumptions he makes.

    I'm even less sure what you mean by 'emperical'. As far as I know it's never been tested, and even if it were emperical testing would involve testing predictions or hypotheses generated by the Tier system, rather than the description itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    Understanding the tier system does not necessitate any change in gameplay. At all.
    Then we don't need it. At all. I'm very impressed with the Tier system as a peice of scholarship. But 'using' the Tier system involves changing your game in some way, or else it's not been 'used'. If you want to argue that not changing your game has no negative effects, I doubt anyone will argue with you. All I'm saying is that of the changes inspired by the Tier system, most have been negative. Obviously that's my own experience, and someone else might disagree.
    Last edited by Togo; 2013-01-22 at 02:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo;14574070
    Hm.. problems involving misusing tiers? Just off the top of my head..
    1) Not being allowed to play games because your character is 'the wrong tier', without any consideration of the character actually being submitted.

    [B
    Is this me being turned away from a play-by-post because I show up with a druid when they say "Tier 3-4 game"? That's me not reading the guidlines. In person this would involve the DM suggesting I take a wild shape ranger or savage bard or something to get the same concept.[/B]

    2) Interpretations of the rules based on the Tier system. 'That class ability can't possibly save you from the wizard's spell, because the wizard is a Tier 1 character and this is only a Tier 4 class.

    People flat out ignore the rules for all sorts of reasons, but have you ever actually seen this? Based on wizards being tier 1 and not magic vs mundane

    3) Games where attempts at balance have been abanonded because Clerics are Tier 1 and fighters are tier 5 and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

    So games that are played without heavy house rules are both bad and the fault of the tier system?

    4) People who actively taunt or tease other players about the uselessness of their 'low tier' characters irrespective of whether the character is useful or not.

    I see more people on this board asking about help for being taunte and teased for being a god wizard by players who don't know how important buffs are.

    5) People who play characters or run games where the tier system is a fact of life that colours everything they do. From "I'm sorry, I can't let you in to see the king, you're a tier 1 character and we can't protect him from you." to monsters who attack party members in strict tier order, based on their mode of dress.

    This happens in Rohan in The Two Towers, Grima wants to keep the tier 1 character away from the king. I'm pretty sure that predates the tier system.

    6) Games where vast penalties have been levelled at high tier characters, and vast bonuses heaped upon low tier characters, distorting the game beyond all recognition.

    So in addition to a lack of house rules being bad and the fault of the tier system, having bad house rules is the fault of the tier system.

    7) Poorly balanced homebrew, justified through appeals to the Tier system. "Yes I know he has full psion ability progression and full BAB and more feats than a fighter and more special abilities than a monk and extra abilities on top and rogue skills, but that's because I wanted a melee character who was Tier 3!"

    Poorly balanced homebrew also predates the tier system.
    Most of your complaints are people making mistakes that RPG players have always made and justifying it with a new thing.

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

    Togo, there's a selection problem. These people you encounter are making the same mistakes they did before, just with new reasoning. If people actually read the damn thing instead of just looking at the rankings, they wouldn't...

    1. Ban people due to a low tier choice; instead they'd give them fair warning, or maybe a minor boost and more lenient rules interpretations.

    2. Interpret the rules in a way that always favors T1s. If anything they'd favor harsher interpretations for T1s.

    3. Abandon balance. JaronK even puts out suggested alterations to the game to help balance.

    4. Taunt players for picking characters perceived as being weak. Or rather, before tiers they would have just taunted you for picking a bard instead of a monk, if they're the type to taunt.

    5. Pull a metagame/fiat asspull that excludes or unduly harasses particular players. That said, in Shadowrun they know well enough to geek the mage first. Why not D&D?

    7. Create a class with T2 spellcasting and a high T3 chassis and call it T3. This is the most obvious, and probably the least realistic example.

    (Need more info to talk about 6)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    No, it isn't. It's using your own appreciation of balance based upon the players and practices at your table, rather than based upon an article written by someone else citing a different set of practices and assumptions. If I want to rebalance my game, I do so in the knowledge of what players I will be dealing with, what the game itself will feature in terms of resources and challenges, and what sources are going to be allowed. There's no obvious reason to use a system, no matter how well refined, based around a set of generic assumptions that aren't going to feature in my game. Balancing an entire ruleset is extremely difficult and challenging. Balancing an individual game is much much easier.
    Well, the obvious reason behind considering the tier system when (re-)balancing your game is that it describes how the base classes work. That is its purpose, it is what it was intended to do, and in fact that is what it does. And how on Earth you can rebalance a game without taking into account the mechanical capabilities of the character classes is beyond me; if you're at the point where you can mechanically balance the classes without referencing the tier system, then you already have knowledge of the system that obviates the need to use the tier system.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    In theory sure. In practice, noone here is capable of resolving all the interpersonal problems that crop up around this topic on these boards. To quote your own phrase back at you, you appear to be hoping that the problem will simply go away.
    I consider interpersonal problems, especially in gaming groups where I am friends with the people that I play with, to be much easier and more solvable than problems with game balance. In my experience, the former usually involves asking "Hey, would you mind not doing X? It's causing some problems in the game." At worst, it may involve banning someone from your gaming group or finding a new group. Based on your examples below, people who misunderstand the tier system and cause problems with their misunderstandings seem to be people who would cause problems regardless. Fixing game balance issues mechanically, however, requires a fairly deep understanding of the rules and how the game plays. Maybe I'm just an extraordinarily personable person (and I'm fairly certain that I'm not), but unless I need to leave the game group that I'm currently in, I would consider dealing with the group problems or problem players to be much easier than trying to mechanically balance a game as broken as 3.5.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    *Snip*
    In order:
    1) That is a fault of the people running the game for being lazy, which has nothing to do with the tier system.
    2) I have never heard of anyone doing this this, but it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the tier system and what it is meant to describe. In addition, it involves unreasonable houseruling, when the tier list is dependent on actually printed rules.
    3) Abandoning balance isn't a problem in an of itself, firstly, as long as people are enjoying the game. However, those class imbalances will be present whether or not you accept the tier system; the imbalance between a fighter and a cleric is a function of D&D's design.
    4) How is this any different from teasing a player for playing any class, regardless of tier? In my experience, people playing monks take a lot of crap because monks aren't a Western fantasy concept, but I don't blame that on the monk's design. I see no reason that the players who would tease another player because of his character's tier (especially regardless of his character's usefulness) wouldn't find something else to tease him about if they didn't know about the tier system. This is a player problem, not a problem with the tier system.
    5) Because of how the game works, wizards (and other tier 1 classes) tend to be extremely powerful. NPCs in-game ought to recognize and respect this. I honestly don't see a problem here, and I especially don't see why the tier system is the cause of this.
    6) The tier system does not advocate altering the game to nerf powerful characters and buff weak characters. Bad houseruling to neuter characters who exceed their DM's expectations has been a staple of tabletop gaming since its inception.
    7) People who make poorly-balanced homebrew will make poorly-balanced homebrew regardless of the justification. However, a proper understanding of the tier system will increase a person's understanding of game balance, and decrease the probability that they will create poorly-balance homebrew. In your (admittedly farcical) example, if the homebrewer understood the tier system, she would understand that putting tier 2 abilities (psion casting) on a better chassis with more abilities would not make a tier 3 class.

    In sum, the problems that you say stem from the tier system stem, in fact, from poor gaming practices that are independent of the tier system. Practices that, in some form or another, people have been doing long before the tier system was proposed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    No, it isn't. It's an abstraction, based on a number of assumptions that don't hold true for most games. That's not a criticism, any set of assumptions woudn't hold true for most games, and JaronK is very open about the assumptions he makes.
    Again, modeling behavior is useful, and using models is how science works. While the tier system is dependent on several assumptions, criticizing it because it does not take into account changes in outcome for every possible variable is absurd, and missing the point. Furthermore, the assumption that the tier system is based on is ceteris paribus - that all other factors are held constant. It does this because all that it is meant to do is measure the potential power levels and flexibility of the base classes in D&D 3.5. And it does this. It does not measure how powerful a particular character will be in a particular campaign. It does not measure how powerful particular classes are when houserules that affect game balance are introduced. It does not measure how well particular classes can adapt to being deprived of WBL. It doesn't do any of those things because it isn't meant to do any of those things.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    I'm even less sure what you mean by 'emperical'. As far as I know it's never been tested, and even if it were emperical testing would involve testing predictions or hypotheses generated by the Tier system, rather than the description itself.
    "Empirical" in the sense that it is derived from observation or experience. Tier system rankings are not just based on theoretical observations and reasoning about the system, but also reflect experience from playing the game.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Then we don't need it. At all. I'm very impressed with the Tier system as a peice of scholarship. But 'using' the Tier system involves changing your game in some way, or else it's not been 'used'. If you want to argue that not changing your game has no negative effects, I doubt anyone will argue with you. All I'm saying is that of the changes inspired by the Tier system, most have been negative. Obviously that's my own experience, and someone else might disagree.
    Again: The tier system is a system of classification. It describes the phenomenon that a wizard is capable of more than a warmage in terms of contributing to an adventuring party. All it does is describe how the game works. It changes nothing, literally nothing, about the game. Wizards have more options, and more powerful options, than warmages, regardless of whether or not you like or accept the tier system. The tier system is positive, not normative. People use the knowledge gained by understanding the tier system to argue for playing the game in a certain way, but the tier system itself is neutral. If someone reads the tier system and enacts a bunch of changes that make the game worse, then that is their fault. It is not the fault of the tier system, it is the fault of the person making the changes for not understanding what the tier system is, and in all likelihood they would make bad changes to the game regardless of their knowledge of the tier system.

    All in all, I get the impression that you don't entirely understand what the tier system is. Your post has indicated in a number of different places that you believe that using the tier system causes the game to behave differently. It doesn't. The tier system describes how D&D 3.5 plays. The rules of the game do not suddenly change if you understand the tier system unless you change them. You also seem to think that not accepting the tier system means that the problems that it documents are no longer present. This is also not true. The tier system is not an optional rule. It is not an expansion of D&D 3.5. It is not a guideline. It describes how the game functions.
    Last edited by Karnith; 2013-01-22 at 05:07 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #142
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Though I defend the system, I also believe that in-game play comes with a lot of variance in things that the Tier system has to hold constant in order to remain coherent. The tier system isn't supposed to be an end-all judge of the strength of a character; all it's supposed to do is provide information on the general capabilities of each class, and you're supposed to fill in the gaps. (That some people suck at that last part isn't a failure of the system; it's their own failure.)

    I'm lucky enough to be in a group with a similar playstyle and optimization level currently, but I've had a basic core-only barbarian considered OP in a group of mainly T1 casters. That means no whirlpounce, no shock trooper, no leap attack, no battle jump, no valorous. Just high strength, a reach weapon, combat reflexes and power attack. Overpowered. It didn't matter that he could only do one thing, and not even good enough to do it on his own. My character produced bigger numbers than the other party members; therefore it was overpowered.

    This in no way invalidates the tier system, but I think it shows that the primary question of party balance is "what is the skill set and intent of each player?" Only after you've answered this question do you move onto class choices. If the noob is playing a sorcerer, you don't worry about him taking Wings of Cover and Shivering Touch and owning everything. You worry about him taking Detect Undead and Death Throes and being terrible at everything. If the optimizer decides to play a fighter, you don't worry about him not being able to contribute; he'll find at least one way to shine, be it damage, battlefield control or intimidation.

    When the optimizer takes the high tier classes, and/or the noob takes the low tier classes... THEN you start to worry.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Hm.. problems involving misusing tiers? Just off the top of my head..
    1) Not being allowed to play games because your character is 'the wrong tier', without any consideration of the character actually being submitted.
    2) Interpretations of the rules based on the Tier system. 'That class ability can't possibly save you from the wizard's spell, because the wizard is a Tier 1 character and this is only a Tier 4 class.
    3) Games where attempts at balance have been abanonded because Clerics are Tier 1 and fighters are tier 5 and there's nothing anyone can do about it.
    4) People who actively taunt or tease other players about the uselessness of their 'low tier' characters irrespective of whether the character is useful or not.
    5) People who play characters or run games where the tier system is a fact of life that colours everything they do. From "I'm sorry, I can't let you in to see the king, you're a tier 1 character and we can't protect him from you." to monsters who attack party members in strict tier order, based on their mode of dress.
    6) Games where vast penalties have been levelled at high tier characters, and vast bonuses heaped upon low tier characters, distorting the game beyond all recognition.
    7) Poorly balanced homebrew, justified through appeals to the Tier system. "Yes I know he has full psion ability progression and full BAB and more feats than a fighter and more special abilities than a monk and extra abilities on top and rogue skills, but that's because I wanted a melee character who was Tier 3!"
    I'm going to go over these one by one kay?
    1: This is a reasonable thing for some DMs to do if they're worried about one player overshadowing the entire party, or being so useless, the entire party has to waste time protecting them and doing stuff for them.
    2: This is more about players misunderstanding the rules, due to poor analysis on their part.
    3: Wait, 3.5 has imbalances? Screw it, let's use only broken stuff and ignore all balance. Of course this wouldn't be much of an enjoyable group for, I'm guessing most of us here, I'm guessing most players get a laid back game with any mention of Pun Pun earning a punch to the face and any cheese is quickly prevented.
    4: If it's only a bit of teasing, then it's okay. As long as it doesn't turn into arguments about how much more everyone else does with complete and total ignorance of the specific player's contributions.
    5: Intelligent NPCs are allowed to know certain things about certain Classes and Races, of course the smarter ones would gank the chanting people in robes first, then take on the guy in full plate. As for Tier 1s not being allowed to see certain important NPCs, said NPC may hate Nature (no Druids), be of a certain Religion (Cleric) and hate Magic (Wizard), in these cases Paladins, Rangers, Sorcerers and Warlocks are unable to get in.
    This problem you have, is not a problem with the Tiers, it is a problem with the DM creating intelligent NPCs. Question: Why shouldn't the DM be allowed to create intelligent NPCs and challenging encounters?
    6: So, you have a problem with DMs who try to make sure every member of the party is able to contribute as equally as possible? JaronK suggests in the post below the Tiers, how to handle the higher and lower Tiers so the gap isn't as obvious. The suggested actions are, nerf the Tier 1-2s and boost Tier 5-6s.
    7: Poorly balanced homebrew isn't an issue specific to the Tiers, it is an issue with the homebrewed content. The Tiers aren't to blame for someone making an unbalanced Class, the homebrewer is to blame and should accept any and all criticism for his/her creation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Then we don't need it. At all. I'm very impressed with the Tier system as a peice of scholarship. But 'using' the Tier system involves changing your game in some way, or else it's not been 'used'. If you want to argue that not changing your game has no negative effects, I doubt anyone will argue with you. All I'm saying is that of the changes inspired by the Tier system, most have been negative. Obviously that's my own experience, and someone else might disagree.
    Actually "using" the Tier system is akin to using a Gentlemen's Agreement, surely you don't have any issues with one of those?
    DMs can build their game around a certain Tier, players can choose characters from specific Tiers to be within 1-2 Tiers of the rest of the team. With a decent understanding of the Tiers, someone playing as a high Tier character would know to hold back and hand the spotlight to their lower Tier team mates. Unless they're a douche and chose the Class with the intention of hogging the limelight.
    This game is very rarely PvP, as such the "problem" the Tiers highlight rarely comes up in actual play. How often do you see someone asking how their Commoner can kill another player's Wizard?
    Last edited by Threadnaught; 2013-01-22 at 07:41 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #144
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Any arguments about its contents aside, how many years of posts and reposts on how many boards does this thread really need?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatBigTeeth View Post
    Any arguments about its contents aside, how many years of posts and reposts on how many boards does this thread really need?
    This is a pretty commonly cited thread among the optimizer crowd to explain why some classes are better than others. It was important to repost because the original forum exploded, and since this thread has important historical context, it needed to be kept.
    Quote Originally Posted by eggs View Post
    I thought we were arguing whether Magic Missile could crank out Riemann sums...

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Venusaur View Post
    This is a pretty commonly cited thread among the optimizer crowd to explain why some classes are better than others. It was important to repost because the original forum exploded, and since this thread has important historical context, it needed to be kept.
    That is not at all what this system is for or how it is used. You may do well to check my post on the first page.

  27. - Top - End - #147
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    It really depends on how you're using the word "better". The tier system is non-evaluative in terms of which classes are better in the generic sense, but it would be correct to say that a higher tier class is better at accomplishing goals and surviving. Thus, while a wizard isn't better than a commoner, a wizard is better at fighting dragons than a commoner.

  28. - Top - End - #148
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    It really depends on how you're using the word "better". The tier system is non-evaluative in terms of which classes are better in the generic sense, but it would be correct to say that a higher tier class is better at accomplishing goals and surviving. Thus, while a wizard isn't better than a commoner, a wizard is better at fighting dragons than a commoner.
    I'm pretty sure being able to rewrite reality to suit your whimsical desires at the drop of a hat makes the Wizard better than the Commoner, chicken infested or otherwise.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Fau View Post
    I'm pretty sure being able to rewrite reality to suit your whimsical desires at the drop of a hat makes the Wizard better than the Commoner, chicken infested or otherwise.
    Not really. Being able to alter reality isn't objectively better than not being able to alter reality. On a more fundamental level, being able to alter reality can potentially lead to a less fun game. Altering reality definitely makes wizards better at stuff though.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Arundel View Post
    That is not at all what this system is for or how it is used. You may do well to check my post on the first page.
    I meant better as stronger in context of sheer potential to defeat an encounter, not "use this, not that". I also don't like your analogy. A Barbarian is just as versatile as a fighter, and has the same amount of options. However, it just hits harder, and is a higher tier as a result.
    Last edited by Venusaur; 2013-01-22 at 09:12 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by eggs View Post
    I thought we were arguing whether Magic Missile could crank out Riemann sums...

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