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

    Quote Originally Posted by Venusaur View Post
    I meant better as stronger, not "use this, use 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.
    Eeeeh... Barbarians get trivial access to Pounce, and therefore mobility. Fighters don't. It's still combat, but it is more versatile: he can contribute to more encounters than the Fighter could have.

    And then they can go ahead and grab Improved Trip without any prerequisites, beating the Fighter at his own game...
    Last edited by Answerer; 2013-01-22 at 09:13 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Venusaur View Post
    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.
    Actually, the Barbarian both hits harder, has a large number of fantastic ACF's, has more useful class features, and has more and more useful skills than the Fighter...

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Actually, the Barbarian both hits harder, has a large number of fantastic ACF's, has more useful class features, and has more and more useful skills than the Fighter...
    You mean....Fighter is poorly designed? O.o
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Actually, the Barbarian both hits harder, has a large number of fantastic ACF's, has more useful class features, and has more and more useful skills than the Fighter...
    I would argue doing something well is justification for raising a tier.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodbyeSoberDay View Post
    Togo, there's a selection problem. These people you encounter are making the same mistakes they did before, just with new reasoning.
    I knew the same people before and after exposure to the Tier system, and exposure increased the incidence of these mistakes and strengthed faulty justifications. That's why I think it does more harm than good.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoodbyeSoberDay View Post
    If people actually read the damn thing instead of just looking at the rankings, they wouldn't...
    Sure, I agree. Unfortunately, that doesn't change anything I said...


    Quote Originally Posted by Oscredwin
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo
    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.
    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"?
    No, it's being told that anyone who chooses to play a Tier 4 (it was actually a Tier 3) character isn't a skilled enough player to survive the game, even if they changed character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oscredwin
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo
    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
    Yes, I have actually seen this. Based explicitly on Tier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    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.
    I already have a knowledge of the system that obviates the need to use tiers. I find that the tier system is not sufficient to rebalance the game without that knowledge, and not necessary to rebalance the game with that knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    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.
    Different perspectives, I think. I find that in a group where everyone knows eachother well, the players are quite capable of making characters that are balanced with eachother without needing a rules change to artificially limit their choices to balanced options. Some of them need a little help, but as a group they're perfectly capable of creating a party on an even footing.

    In a group of comparative strangers, I find it much easier to change the mechanics of the game than to resolve a passionate defence of misconceptions boosted by a half-understood and poorly recalled internet article.


    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    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.
    The don't stem from the Tier system, they stem from the use of the Tier system. Or more precisely, the misuse or abuse of the system.

    Yes, these poor practices are not the fault of JaronK or his writing, but I don't see how that obviates what I said. I find that the use of the Tier system makes these poor practices more frequent and harder to get rid of. I balance that with the very limited benefit I get from it, and decide it does more than good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    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
    No, it's precisely the point. It's actually a standard criticism for using standard versus domain specific models in neuroscience, which I adapted for the purposes of this discussion. The fact that there exists a standard model is not in itself a case for abandoning specific models used in specific circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    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.
    Agreed. That's why I say it's a well-designed general model that I don't find useful for any particular game, where the ideosyncratic characteristics are far more important. This is also a point JaronK made in his original posts about the Tiers, which is why he went to the effort to explain his reasoning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    All in all, I get the impression that you don't entirely understand what the tier system is.
    That impression appears to be based on a misunderstanding.


    Quote Originally Posted by Threadnaught View Post
    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.
    Reject a player without reading their character sheet, based on the tier of the character they chose to play? I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Threadnaught View Post
    5: Intelligent NPCs are allowed to know certain things about certain Classes and Races,
    Sure, but g-cubes, animals and traps are little harder to justify.

    Quote Originally Posted by Threadnaught View Post
    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?
    If they do poorly, because they've been told how x class is high tier than Y class without understanding how the system works. The second time you come across a game where the wizard has penalty slapped onto their attack rolls "because they're a higher tier", it stops being quite so funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by Threadnaught View Post
    Actually "using" the Tier system is akin to using a Gentlemen's Agreement, surely you don't have any issues with one of those?
    If they're a formal written document taken off the internet rather than tailored to the game, then yes, I do. And for broadly the same reasons.

    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.
    Not necessarily. In a game where the DM is trying to adjust the challenge of the game to match the party's capabilities, having one or more high tier characters in the group reduces your survival chances quite sharply, because it's that much harder to challenge a high tier character without simply killing them outright.

    Similarly, if you're playing in an enviroment such as these boards, where keeping a game going is a far greater challenge than keeping your character alive within the game, then playing a high tier character in a group of low tier characters is almost certainly counterproductive to your character's chances of achieiving any long terms goals within the campaign.
    Last edited by Togo; 2013-01-22 at 10:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Yes, I have actually seen this. Based explicitly on Tier.
    Out of curiosity, did the people who played the game this way have any understanding of the rules at all, either before or after their introduction to the tier system? Because that is, quite frankly, an insane ruling, and I would question the ability to DM/play the game of anyone who made such a ruling. I also somehow suspect that said players caused problems in gameplay long before their discovery of the tier system.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    I already have a knowledge of the system that obviates the need to use tiers. I find that the tier system is not sufficient to rebalance the game without that knowledge, and not necessary to rebalance the game with that knowledge.
    I am glad that you have already grasped the knowledge necessary to effectively balance games. I wish that I had been that knowledgeable about the game before I found the tier system. Before I found the tier list, I had only a general idea about how the game was balanced (roughly, that full spellcasters were more powerful than the other classes), but I did not grasp any of the finer intricacies (i.e. the different gradations between tiers 3-6), nor did I ever really consider just how important versatility is in party balance. Reading and understanding the explanation of the tier system greatly increased my knowledge of the game.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    The don't stem from the Tier system, they stem from the use of the Tier system. Or more precisely, the misuse or abuse of the system.
    Yes, these poor practices are not the fault of JaronK or his writing, but I don't see how that obviates what I said. I find that the use of the Tier system makes these poor practices more frequent and harder to get rid of. I balance that with the very limited benefit I get from it, and decide it does more than good.
    First, people misusing knowledge, especially a positivistic explanation of how base classes in 3.5 function, is not an argument against said knowledge.

    But to your other point, again, you get very limited benefit from the tier list because, by your own admission, you already grasped the principles of the tier list before you read it. Of course introductory material isn't useful to people who have already mastered it: They have already mastered it. For those of us who don't (or, I guess, didn't) already have that kind of extensive system mastery, it is an extremely useful explanation of how classes in the game are able to function. I have a much better understanding of how base classes are able to function now than I did before I read the explanation of the tier system. Not only did it help me realize why the parties in my game group were frequently imbalanced (and not merely that they were imbalanced), but the normative analysis provided by JaronK and others really helped me to balance my party members against each other and provide appropriate challenges for them. Similarly, it helped me to provide a reference for my players as to what levels of play that they should expect, and were expected to play to.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    No, it's precisely the point. It's actually a standard criticism for using standard versus domain specific models in neuroscience, which I adapted for the purposes of this discussion. The fact that there exists a standard model is not in itself a case for abandoning specific models used in specific circumstances.
    You'll have to forgive me for not being familiar with discussions of models in neuroscience, but am I correct in concluding that (one of) your problem(s) with the tier system is that it is not all-encompassing? That is to say, you take issue with the fact that the tier system does not accurately predict the strength of a particular character (or class, or build, etc.) in a given game, because there are too many other factors?

    (If I am wrong, would you please elaborate?)
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Agreed. That's why I say it's a well-designed general model that I don't find useful for any particular game, where the ideosyncratic characteristics are far more important. This is also a point JaronK made in his original posts about the Tiers, which is why he went to the effort to explain his reasoning.
    I know that I've already said something similar in this post several times, but if in your games disparity between the characters' class tiers is much less relevant than other factors, then you have probably reached a level of system mastery that includes an intuitive understanding of class balance that obviates the need for tiers. That, or you're running a game that so deviates from standard D&D rules and gameplay assumptions that you are effectively playing a different game.

    And, again, the tier system is not intended to predict the actual power of a given character, but merely the potential abilities of the class. If someone expects the tier system to give him information about the former, then he doesn't understand the tier system properly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    That impression appears to be based on a misunderstanding.
    A misunderstanding that I am not at all embarrassed about making, given that your experience with the tier system seems to come from game groups that are apparently filled with numerous problem players with only the vaguest grasp of how the rules work, as well as what the tier list is and should be used for. I can understand why you might not like it based on your own experiences, but I'm not entirely sure that I would be comfortable allowing those players access to any form of discourse on the game, let alone something as nuanced as the tier system.
    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Not necessarily. In a game where the DM is trying to adjust the challenge of the game to match the party's capabilities, having one or more high tier characters in the group reduces your survival chances quite sharply, because it's that much harder to challenge a high tier character without simply killing them outright.

    Similarly, if you're playing in an enviroment such as these boards, where keeping a game going is a far greater challenge than keeping your character alive within the game, then playing a high tier character in a group of low tier characters is almost certainly counterproductive to your character's chances of achieiving any long terms goals within the campaign.
    This is misleading; higher-tier characters are, generally speaking, more capable of accomplishing any particular goal than lower-tier characters, and/or are able to accomplish said goal in more ways. If the DM changes the challenges, the higher-tier characters will still be more capable of dealing with said challenges, though they may be less successful at accomplishing those challenges than the previous challenges. Lower-tier characters will still be less able to deal with both challenges compared to the higher-tier characters. The changes in difficulty in this scenario do not stem from differences in tiers, but rather from DM action.
    Last edited by Karnith; 2013-01-22 at 11:51 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Reject a player without reading their character sheet, based on the tier of the character they chose to play? I think we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.
    In some cases it's perfectly justified. Let's say I want to run a lower-power game and somebody shows up with a cleric or wizard. I don't need to check anything more than the fact that he has a non-negative casting stat. Even if he's put together the worst possible spell list and sunk all his feats into Skill Focus (Craft: basket weaving), there's nothing preventing him from realizing how stuff really works, putting together a good spell list and breaking the game in half. Unless it's somebody who knows the true potential of cleric/wizard and is deliberately gimping himself, that character isn't getting in the game regardless of how weak it looks right now.




    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    If they do poorly, because they've been told how x class is high tier than Y class without understanding how the system works. The second time you come across a game where the wizard has penalty slapped onto their attack rolls "because they're a higher tier", it stops being quite so funny.
    That's completely disconnected from the tier system. People without a firm understanding of game balance will make bad balancing calls based on their distorted perception. I've seen banlists for some groups that focus 99% on non-casters.





    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Not necessarily. In a game where the DM is trying to adjust the challenge of the game to match the party's capabilities, having one or more high tier characters in the group reduces your survival chances quite sharply, because it's that much harder to challenge a high tier character without simply killing them outright.
    On the other hand, having one or more low-tier characters also decreases your survival chances if your DM relies on the CR system. Many low-tier characters lack abilities the system assumes you would have at a given level.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    Out of curiosity, did the people who played the game this way have any understanding of the rules at all, either before or after their introduction to the tier system?
    Yes of course. Not a great one, obviously. They had, however, been repeatedly told that some classes were simply better than other based on Tier, and being a consciencious DM, had duely used that principle as a check and balance on their own rules calls. If a rules interpretation somehow broke the Tiers guidelines, then it must be suspect or non-standard in some way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    First, people misusing knowledge, especially a positivistic explanation of how base classes in 3.5 function, is not an argument against said knowledge.
    So you keep on telling me. Why, I'm not sure, since I'm not arguing 'against knowledge'. I'm merely reporting that the Tier system does more harm than good in my experience. That this is the fault of individuals doesn't change that outcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    But to your other point, again, you get very limited benefit from the tier list because, by your own admission, you already grasped the principles of the tier list before you read it.
    I don't use the principles of the tier list to balance games. Yes, some characters are more effective than others, and yes flexibility is more important than power in most considerations, but it's easier to balance individual characters within a game than it is to try and balance potential for builds between classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    You'll have to forgive me for not being familiar with discussions of models in neuroscience, but am I correct in concluding that (one of) your problem(s) with the tier system is that it is not all-encompassing? That is to say, you take issue with the fact that the tier system does not accurately predict the strength of a particular character (or class, or build, etc.) in a given game, because there are too many other factors?
    Sort of. That's not 'my issue with the tier system' because I'm not claiming the tier system is mechanically flawed. My issue with the Tier system is that it does more harm than good, by inspiring misunderstandings and apparently justifying poor behaviour and practice to a greater extent than it helps the game, at least in my experience. I do think that while an abstract model is useful is some ways, modelling a particular phenomenon with which you are familiar and have accurate data - such as an individual game - is better done with the ideosyncracies of that particular phenomenon. An abstract model is what you use in the absence of better information.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    That, or you're running a game that so deviates from standard D&D rules and gameplay assumptions that you are effectively playing a different game.
    That's true of most games, depending on where exactly you draw the line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    And, again, the tier system is not intended to predict the actual power of a given character, but merely the potential abilities of the class. If someone expects the tier system to give him information about the former, then he doesn't understand the tier system properly.
    Yes, the system is frequently misunderstood, and such misunderstandings cause a lot of damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    This is misleading; higher-tier characters are, generally speaking, more capable of accomplishing any particular goal than lower-tier characters, and/or are able to accomplish said goal in more ways. If the DM changes the challenges, the higher-tier characters will still be more capable of dealing with said challenges, though they may be less successful at accomplishing those challenges than the previous challenges.
    Which means their success rate has gone down. In a game where the challenges are adjusted to meet the capabilties of the characters, group of high tier characters with a wide variety of game-breaking abilities may die more often and fail more often than a comparable low-tier group.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    Lower-tier characters will still be less able to deal with both challenges compared to the higher-tier characters.
    Missing the point. They'll be more survivable than the comparable high tier group, because they won't be facing challenges geared towards high tiers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karnith View Post
    The changes in difficulty in this scenario do not stem from differences in tiers, but rather from DM action.
    Yes, that's the entire point. In a game where the challenges are altered to suit the party, ability to achieve goals ultimately does depend on the DM, and not on Tiers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordBlades View Post
    In some cases it's perfectly justified...
    Let me parse that for you one more time. Rejecting a player, based on the tier of their character. As in "You are not skilled enough at D&D to play this game, because if you were you would not have submitted a low-tier character, everyone knows they are bad."

    I suppose I can see why, when faced with a submission for a character who is a ballarina, or a pony, or a time-travelling rainbow dragon, you might not want to look at any more characters from that particular player. But I have no hestitation in classing a player's competance based on the tier of the character he wanted to play as a misuse of the tier system.

    Quote Originally Posted by LordBlades View Post
    On the other hand, having one or more low-tier characters also decreases your survival chances if your DM relies on the CR system. Many low-tier characters lack abilities the system assumes you would have at a given level.
    Sure, if you're using CR mechanically to generate random encounters, or are using a published adventure, then the challenge level is set and won't be adapted to the party. In which case versality is king, and more powerful characters will make the adventure easier. That's because there's a cap on the mechanical difficulty so all you need to worry about is a situation where your party lacks the right capability.

    Not all games work like that though. The DMG talks about tailoring challenges to the capabilities of the party and even ensuring that each character gets the chance to shine by showcasing their individual capabilities, so it shouldn't be a surprise that some games take this approach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Let me parse that for you one more time. Rejecting a player, based on the tier of their character. As in "You are not skilled enough at D&D to play this game, because if you were you would not have submitted a low-tier character, everyone knows they are bad."

    I suppose I can see why, when faced with a submission for a character who is a ballarina, or a pony, or a time-travelling rainbow dragon, you might not want to look at any more characters from that particular player. But I have no hestitation in classing a player's competance based on the tier of the character he wanted to play as a misuse of the tier system.
    My bad, misread what you said. What I meant is that it's justified sometimes to reject a char based on what he is, without needing to look into the details. An unoptimized wizard is still a wizard, and only one spell list change away from being an optimized wizard.



    Sure, if you're using CR mechanically to generate random encounters, or are using a published adventure, then the challenge level is set and won't be adapted to the party. In which case versality is king, and more powerful characters will make the adventure easier. That's because there's a cap on the mechanical difficulty so all you need to worry about is a situation where your party lacks the right capability.

    Not all games work like that though. The DMG talks about tailoring challenges to the capabilities of the party and even ensuring that each character gets the chance to shine by showcasing their individual capabilities, so it shouldn't be a surprise that some games take this approach.
    Even if you tailor encounters to the party, a higher tier party makes for a much more entertaining game IMO. Let's say you have a typical low-tier party, with all characters being good at something, and most likely horrible at everything else (at least compared to a character that's good at that). If the first character is good at X, second one at Y, 3rd one at Z and 4th one at T, the DM probably wants to have a pretty even mix of X, Y, Z and T, to give everyone the time to shine. The problem is that while the 2nd character is doing Y, the rest of the party is relegated to the role of spectators as they most likely can't meaningfully contribute in that field since it's outside their area of expertise. Now consider the same situation with high-tier parties. The inherent versatility makes sure that everyone can contribute if they feel so inclined.

    I also think you place too much emphasis on the mortality of high-tier characters.

    Low-tier characters are subject to the RNG. The greataxe wielding orc can crit you and kill you, you can fail a saving throw and die, etc.

    High tier characters are much less so. You can pile up so many bonuses and rerolls that you can pretty much guarantee you won't die because you rolled poorly. In high tier you die because you screwed up somewhere.

    Offense is much stronger in high tier, it's true, which leads to more situations where death is likely. but death is also easier to undo. Even if stuff goes terribly wrong, if it's not a TPK, the survivor(s) of a high tier party can usually bring back the dead characters without much effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordBlades View Post
    Even if you tailor encounters to the party, a higher tier party makes for a much more entertaining game IMO. Let's say you have a typical low-tier party, with all characters being good at something, and most likely horrible at everything else (at least compared to a character that's good at that). If the first character is good at X, second one at Y, 3rd one at Z and 4th one at T, the DM probably wants to have a pretty even mix of X, Y, Z and T, to give everyone the time to shine. The problem is that while the 2nd character is doing Y, the rest of the party is relegated to the role of spectators as they most likely can't meaningfully contribute in that field since it's outside their area of expertise. Now consider the same situation with high-tier parties. The inherent versatility makes sure that everyone can contribute if they feel so inclined.
    That, right there! That is your preference, fine, but then to use that preference and justify it for the general case of all games is the misuse. To say other people will not have fun in their games because they're playing a low-tier character is the misuse, the "problem" of the Tier System. They'll be having BadWrongFun.

    Other people misusing the Tier System would say anyone playing the high tiers will automatically break the game.

    Another group claims only Tier 3 gives you a satisfactory game at all because it's the holy grail of balance.

    Then there are those who hate 3E in general and can't stop complaining about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by navar100 View Post
    That, right there! That is your preference, fine, but then to use that preference and justify it for the general case of all games is the misuse. To say other people will not have fun in their games because they're playing a low-tier character is the misuse, the "problem" of the Tier System. They'll be having BadWrongFun.

    Other people misusing the Tier System would say anyone playing the high tiers will automatically break the game.

    Another group claims only Tier 3 gives you a satisfactory game at all because it's the holy grail of balance.

    Then there are those who hate 3E in general and can't stop complaining about it.
    People who make that complaint about the Tier system are essentially complaining that a hammer doesn't cut paper well. It's a tool. If you try to make the tool do something for which it wasn't designed, you're generally unlikely to be pleased with the result.
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    You cannot account for stupidity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Togo View Post
    Then we don't need [the tier system].
    I think this is true, and I don't see a problem. Is that just me?
    Last edited by rockdeworld; 2013-01-23 at 02:20 PM.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    I weep for all the GM's and players who come here for help and instead get taught how to be prejudice towards classes. D&D is supposed to be a game that plunges you into a world of imagination and instead people around the world are standing around a table arguing over "tiers".
    May I sig this? Truer words have never been typed about D&D.
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  16. - Top - End - #166
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    See, the funny thing is, when I wrote the tiers, those arguments were already happening... they were just less informed. It was "Wizards are awesome, Fighters suck" instead of "Wizards are stronger and more versatile than Fighters." There were epic debates online (50+ pages) about how Fighters could totally be played if you role played the skills and such. That's why I wrote it in the first place... so that we could move beyond "suck" and into "there are different power levels to play D&D at."

    I didn't make class balance in D&D an issue. I just clarified it. And before, people were prejudiced about the classes... some were sure Fighters were the strongest thing out there. Now, they're informed. That's the difference.

    But I can't account for complete stupidity, or misuse of what I wrote (at least, not after I wrote the FAQ making everything perfectly clear).

    I'm just happy reading this thread and seeing that the vast majority of people use it correctly and understand how it works.

    JaronK

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

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    You mean....Fighter is poorly designed? O.o
    Seriously, the Fighter is not badly designed, save for maybe its list of class skills. The real problem is Fighter Feats, or maybe feats in general. The core selection of feats is poor, and it doesn't get much better with splatbooks - few gems are outshone by lots of clutter.

    It would be possible to fix each and every problem with Fighter by rewriting feats to do something meaningfull. As a side-effect, it would fix problems with many other low tier classes.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by killem2 View Post
    May I sig this? Truer words have never been typed about D&D.
    What about "if you're having fun and no one in the party feels either useless or overpowered, then you're doing it right."?
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Togo, you seem like a smart guy but the dudes you are describing who ban PLAYERS for picking a lower tier sound like ignorant buttholes. I don't know them, but they are probably buttholes without the tier system.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Seriously, the Fighter is not badly designed, save for maybe its list of class skills. The real problem is Fighter Feats, or maybe feats in general. The core selection of feats is poor, and it doesn't get much better with splatbooks - few gems are outshone by lots of clutter.

    It would be possible to fix each and every problem with Fighter by rewriting feats to do something meaningfull. As a side-effect, it would fix problems with many other low tier classes.
    I dunno, I think Fighters are pretty poorly designed. I mean, if you look at their fluff, they're supposed to be guards, warlords, and combat veterans. But they're one of only two classes that can't take Profession (Soldier), they have no knowledge skills and thus know nothing about any of the races they're supposed to have fought and nothing about warfare, and have no leadership abilities of any kind. Plus they lack Spot and Listen and Sense Motive and really any ability that would make them a good guard. That's a design flaw, I'd say.

    I think it's more than just the skills. They need feat abilities just for them (like, Dodge gives you +1AC, and an additional +1AC for every two Fighter levels you have... similar stuff for other static feats). They need stuff that actually makes them good at the jobs they're supposed to do.

    Meanwhile, I think Monks are well designed, just underpowered compared to a lot of the other classes. There's a reason so many players are excited about playing Monks... they're fun.

    But that's perhaps a discussion for another thread.

    JaronK

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

    Quote Originally Posted by killem2 View Post
    May I sig this? Truer words have never been typed about D&D.
    So someone's strawman argument about another person's work, which inserts words that JaronK has never spoken and embraces sentiments he has explicitly rejected, are the truest words you've ever seen typed about the game?

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

    So I am in a group that doesn't talk 'tiers' and I think we are having fun - but I am afraid we are getting into a situation where my tier 1 (and our 2 wizards and 1 cleric who are tier 1) are really starting to dominate the game.

    To use a MMORPG (is that the right letters lol) we have 2 tanks - a Dwarven Samurai and a Fighter. The problem is now that I can do large animals as a lvl 9 Druid I can out 'tank' them easily.

    So what do I do? Stop tanking? (Again sorry for the terminology). It gets crazy when I go all Dire Lion and with buffs can do some pretty amazing damage and then the come in and do a 1/5th of that (with good rolls).

    They are still having fun I think but I wonder how long that will last as I can get more powerful wild shape builds.

    Same can be said for our wizards who are really starting to flex their arcane muscles. The Cleric plays a little more subdued but is still doing way more than our Ranger, Samurai and Fighter.

    As I said we are all having fun - but should I be concerned? Should I play more subdued?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by elvengunner69 View Post
    So I am in a group that doesn't talk 'tiers' and I think we are having fun - but I am afraid we are getting into a situation where my tier 1 (and our 2 wizards and 1 cleric who are tier 1) are really starting to dominate the game.

    To use a MMORPG (is that the right letters lol) we have 2 tanks - a Dwarven Samurai and a Fighter. The problem is now that I can do large animals as a lvl 9 Druid I can out 'tank' them easily.

    So what do I do? Stop tanking? (Again sorry for the terminology). It gets crazy when I go all Dire Lion and with buffs can do some pretty amazing damage and then the come in and do a 1/5th of that (with good rolls).

    They are still having fun I think but I wonder how long that will last as I can get more powerful wild shape builds.

    Same can be said for our wizards who are really starting to flex their arcane muscles. The Cleric plays a little more subdued but is still doing way more than our Ranger, Samurai and Fighter.

    As I said we are all having fun - but should I be concerned? Should I play more subdued?

    Why don't you just say, 'hey guys, I would like to have a sitdown talk with everyone regarding some metagame issues I've noticed.' And then say that you have noticed that the imbalances inherent in the game are rearing their head -- don't even mention the word tier -- and you want to know if the variance in capability, versatility, and effectiveness between the classes is bothering anyone. Say that this game is showing a distinct pattern that many people on the internet in other gaming groups have noticed, that some classes (wizard, druid, sorcerer, cleric) are profoundly more capable and versatile than others (fighter, paladin, monk, ranger, rogue). If the imbalance isn't bothering anyone or stopping fun, should we just continue to ignore it, or should we try to address it somehow? If so, how?

  24. - Top - End - #174
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Why don't you just say, 'hey guys, I would like to have a sitdown talk with everyone regarding some metagame issues I've noticed.' And then say that you have noticed that the imbalances inherent in the game are rearing their head -- don't even mention the word tier -- and you want to know if the variance in capability, versatility, and effectiveness between the classes is bothering anyone. Say that this game is showing a distinct pattern that many people on the internet in other gaming groups have noticed, that some classes (wizard, druid, sorcerer, cleric) are profoundly more capable and versatile than others (fighter, paladin, monk, ranger, rogue). If the imbalance isn't bothering anyone or stopping fun, should we just continue to ignore it, or should we try to address it somehow? If so, how?
    Very good advice.

    I have to admit, I flinched when I read about the Dwarven Samurai. The Samurai is a particularly bad case, and the one thing it can do well (Intimidate) is taking a hit from the Dwarf's Charisma penalty (though it's a small hit and he could conceivably have over come that with ranks and such, but a new player seems unlikely to invest in a tactic that he chose to apply a racial penalty to).

  25. - Top - End - #175
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Why don't you just say, 'hey guys, I would like to have a sitdown talk with everyone regarding some metagame issues I've noticed.' And then say that you have noticed that the imbalances inherent in the game are rearing their head -- don't even mention the word tier -- and you want to know if the variance in capability, versatility, and effectiveness between the classes is bothering anyone. Say that this game is showing a distinct pattern that many people on the internet in other gaming groups have noticed, that some classes (wizard, druid, sorcerer, cleric) are profoundly more capable and versatile than others (fighter, paladin, monk, ranger, rogue). If the imbalance isn't bothering anyone or stopping fun, should we just continue to ignore it, or should we try to address it somehow? If so, how?
    Very good idea -- I think talking 'tiers' would get blank stares. I will discuss with DM first and see if he feels the need to bring it up (again I would say we are all having lots of fun atm).
    Last edited by elvengunner69; 2013-01-23 at 05:01 PM.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by elvengunner69 View Post
    So I am in a group that doesn't talk 'tiers' and I think we are having fun - but I am afraid we are getting into a situation where my tier 1 (and our 2 wizards and 1 cleric who are tier 1) are really starting to dominate the game.

    To use a MMORPG (is that the right letters lol) we have 2 tanks - a Dwarven Samurai and a Fighter. The problem is now that I can do large animals as a lvl 9 Druid I can out 'tank' them easily.

    So what do I do? Stop tanking? (Again sorry for the terminology). It gets crazy when I go all Dire Lion and with buffs can do some pretty amazing damage and then the come in and do a 1/5th of that (with good rolls).

    They are still having fun I think but I wonder how long that will last as I can get more powerful wild shape builds.

    Same can be said for our wizards who are really starting to flex their arcane muscles. The Cleric plays a little more subdued but is still doing way more than our Ranger, Samurai and Fighter.

    As I said we are all having fun - but should I be concerned? Should I play more subdued?
    Not necessarily. Don't go looking through the Monster Manuals searching for the best creatures out there to do all sorts of stuff. Pick a few regular non-obscure creatures and stay with those.

    The DM can do his part to help the non-spellcasters stay relevant. One way is to increase the number of enemies who aren't clumped together. Spellcasters cannot target them all even with area effect spells. Even when targeting many bad guys, some will make their saving throws. Meanwhile, the warriors engage enemies who are not attacked by the spellcasters.

    Not saying one must, must, must, but a spellcaster casting a buff spell on the warrior is a valid tactic. A wizard casting Haste on the party can be just as effective in the combat as one who instead had cast Stinking Cloud against the enemy. Warrior classes like fighting with buffs. A wizard giving the fighter Displacement does wonders.

  27. - Top - End - #177
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    I have to say, some of these arguments remind me of a similar situation.

    "Gosh, it's annoying in this video game to deal with all these different abilities and stats, trying to figure out how much damage/healing I'm actually doing, so I can improve my performance if I feel I'm lacking. I think I'll write a program to do the math for me and measure this stuff, so I don't need to do it manually when trying to compare different builds. It'd also be nice to see what the others in my group are putting out, so I know if I'm particularly low or something. I mean, if stuff dies, fine, but if I'm doing half what I could be, I'd like to know."

    Response: "The only reason for damage meters is so elitist jerks can make people feel bad."

    If you see a bunch of nails sticking up, so you get a hammer to use, and someone takes the hammer and brains their neighbor with it, should you have not bought the hammer? Should you have tried to just handle the nails with a handy rock?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by navar100 View Post
    Not necessarily. Don't go looking through the Monster Manuals searching for the best creatures out there to do all sorts of stuff. Pick a few regular non-obscure creatures and stay with those.
    You mean like a wolf?

    I would also hardly call Dire Lions "obscure". Fleshrakers, Dire Hawks, Dire Eagles, sure, but not a monster that's in core and is a well-known animal with the word "dire" put in front of its name and given better stats.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    My party plays low level. We are bad optimizers. For a long time we experienced linear warriors quadratic wizards. It was our belief that the spellcasters were pretty good, but only if you could get them past the gauntlet of the first 3 or 4 levels. Somehow we hadn't figured out how to use the druid's animal companion as much more than a fancy familiar. We knew straight fighter was pretty terrible, but we still relied heavily on nonmagic means to solve problems.

    By level 6 or 7 we expected the fighters and the rogues to be eclipsed, but we didn't make it that far too often so when it happened it felt like a great endcap for someone who struggled long and hard to get there rather than a balance problem.

    Since then I read JaronK's system. I learned a bit more. The party has picked up a few things. We still rely heavily on nonmagic solutions, but there is more understanding about how to bring a caster online sooner.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jade Dragon View Post
    You mean like a wolf?

    I would also hardly call Dire Lions "obscure". Fleshrakers, Dire Hawks, Dire Eagles, sure, but not a monster that's in core and is a well-known animal with the word "dire" put in front of its name and given better stats.
    Exactly. Dire animals are fine. Personally I don't know what monsters exist in Monster Manual 2, 3, 4, or whatever to give examples, but the point stands - don't hunt for the bestest mostest at everything in every book ever published. Lions and tigers and bears oh my are fine.

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