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akma
2010-09-14, 08:45 AM
I`ve seen the tier thing mentioned several times, and I wondered: how much optimization was assumed when the tiers for each class were determined?

The Big Dice
2010-09-14, 09:02 AM
From what I can tell, it's not so much based on optimisation as it is based on the potential for game breaking optimisation.

Zaydos
2010-09-14, 09:08 AM
Well looking at the reposting on Brilliant Gameologists it's supposed to assume any level of optimization as long as it is equal, and that enough optimization can make you go up one tier and if badly done you can drop one or two.

Personally I'd say a badly played wizard isn't much better than a badly played fighter, if even that. Unoptimized blasting, ignorance of buff/utility spells, etc can really leave a wizard weak, but with even moderate rule knowledge they can rise to a decent player and in the hands of an experienced player they can change the face of the game (found that out last time I played one :smallredface:). Druid on the other hand even if badly made his Animal Companion and Wild Shape or spells will put him ahead of a badly made fighter or most other classes. So how much optimization is needed for each class to really perform varies, and the tier system can only assume moderate optimization as the known and go from their.

But here's a link to the thread on Brilliant Gameologists http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1002.0.

JoshuaZ
2010-09-14, 09:10 AM
From what I can tell, it's not so much based on optimisation as it is based on the potential for game breaking optimisation.

Not quite. It is assuming a very low level of optimization. Not zero optimization, but not very high levels (no PrCs for example.) Some classes the only optimization assumed is the obvious stuff. So for example, part of why the Dread Necromancer gets to be Tier 3 is the assumption that you have taken Tomb-Tainted Soul at level 1, so you can get easy healing. If you don't have TTS then it arguably drops a Tier.

Amphetryon
2010-09-14, 09:13 AM
As Zaydos said, it's based on the notion that the players at your table are at roughly the same level of optimization. A really well-made Barbarian in a group of poorly-conceived list casters (Warmage, Dread Necromancer, Beguiler) may seem roughly on par, but if everyone has approximately the same skill in creation and tactics, the Barbarian will feel useless more often than the list casters would.

Powerfamiliar
2010-09-14, 09:53 AM
I'd say it assumes at least some optimization. Casters have the highest variance mostly due to spell selection. The less optimization the closer the tiers come together. Some classes do have a significantly higher floor than others (Druids, martial adepts, etc.)

JaronK
2010-09-14, 10:12 AM
So for example, part of why the Dread Necromancer gets to be Tier 3 is the assumption that you have taken Tomb-Tainted Soul at level 1, so you can get easy healing. If you don't have TTS then it arguably drops a Tier.

This is not true. There were no specific assumptions of optimization, and if you read the initial thread it's quite clear about this. Certainly, there's no assumption that you take TTS as a Dread Necromancer... the DN was ranked more for its ability to raise and maintain armies of the dead and its fear abilities than its self healing (though the potential to self heal was certainly considered as well).

The assumptions were only that the players understood the classes they were playing, played by the rules as written, and optimized to roughly the same degree as each other. Thus, it compares a DMM:Persistant Cleric to a Power Attack/Shock Trooper Fighter, or a healbot Cleric to a Fighter that takes Oversized Two Weapon Fighting as a main style. It doesn't deal with a Cleric whose player doesn't know anything about what spells are any effective in whatever situations they're dealing with or a Fighter who plays diplomat because his group just RPs instead of using skills.

While it doesn't go into PrCs, it makes no assumptions about whether you take them or not... it's just not talking about those levels, so you'll have to gauge things based on how much you think the PrC changes your power level. After all, a Cleric/Radiant Servant of Pelor isn't really that different from a standard Cleric... they both have the same spells, which is the main thing anyway.

All of this is explained in the post. And before anyone says it, no, it's not about comparing solo classes or about PvP duels. The overall gauge is "in a given reasonable D&D situation, how much could the class itself help deal with the situation?" Classes that are often mechanically useless or nearly so in situations are ranked lower (imagine a Barbarian trying to help when the party is dealing with diplomatic negotiations, or a Rogue when fighting plants and oozes), as are classes that just aren't that mechanically strong in any situation (hi there, CA Ninja!). Classes that have some mechanical tool that could just solve virtually every situation that can come up are ranked highest of all (Clerics, Wizards, etc).

The overall goal is to get DMs to consider the balance of their party when deciding what parties to allow and when designing encounters, as well as when designing house rules for the various classes and such. Too many times have I seen house rules that nerf Monks (they have so MANY abilities) while buffing Sorcerers (they're weaker than Wizards!) and it would be nice to make it clear to such DMs where the classes stand before the house rules start.

JaronK

Lans
2010-09-14, 03:44 PM
Going off the definition of the tiers, they are based on what you can do, and how well you can do it. If you can build a fighter that is "Capable of doing one thing quite well, while still being useful when that one thing is inappropriate," then your highly optimized fighter is tier 3 instead of tier 5. If you manage to build a Psychic Warrior that is only "Capable of doing only one thing, and not necessarily all that well" then your failure of a psychic warrior is tier 5.

Beguilers, Warmages, and Dread Necros can't really move down unless you don't put enough points into the casting stat. Say you were dependant on a stat boosting item and the DM opens up with MDJ followed by trapping you in another dimension leaving you only able to cast spells a quarter off your level.

Moving them up is basically just finding a way to expand their spell list.

Healers can move up a tier with access to exalted spells. Going from I cure you 18 hp that the enemy is going do three times over to you to I damage him and make him blind. Or making enemies miss due to you giving the monk a double mage armor effect.

A monk can move up if it figures out its MAD and uses ACFs like Hidden Fist.

Paladins can take battle caster and use the supermount that was probably just the designers putting the wrong name down, from Sandstorm to bump himself up a tier.

A Marshal or Bard in a party of tier 6&5s probably pushes them up a tier. They become good at what they were doing.


I think most optimization caps out at tier 2, but I haven't really been too focused on making tier 2 classes tier 1.

Urpriest
2010-09-14, 06:18 PM
It doesn't assume any particular level of optimization. Rather, the Tier system is about the potential for optimization. The question asked is, what can a player do with this class? For example, a Tier 2 will behave in some situations like a Tier 1 (world-breaking power) and in some like a Tier 3 or lower because of their limited ability to specialize. This varies depending on who's playing the character. The classes are Tier 2 not because an optimized Tier 2 is better than Tier 3 and worse than Tier 1, but because Tier 2s can be optimized in certain ways, and can have certain blind spots, both of which are characteristic of the Tier.

Frosty
2010-09-14, 08:33 PM
As Zaydos said, it's based on the notion that the players at your table are at roughly the same level of optimization. A really well-made Barbarian in a group of poorly-conceived list casters (Warmage, Dread Necromancer, Beguiler) may seem roughly on par, but if everyone has approximately the same skill in creation and tactics, the Barbarian will feel useless more often than the list casters would.
You should really re-word your post. "Poorly-conceived" is not a word I'd used to describe the DN or the Beguiler. And if you meant poorly-optimized, there's really not a lot of ways you can mess up a Beguiler, unless you dump Int.

Urpriest
2010-09-14, 08:43 PM
You should really re-word your post. "Poorly-conceived" is not a word I'd used to describe the DN or the Beguiler. And if you meant poorly-optimized, there's really not a lot of ways you can mess up a Beguiler, unless you dump Int.

It's very easy to mess up a beguiler. It's easier to mess up a sorceror, but it's still very easy to mess up a beguiler. You may have access to all the nice spells you could want, unlike a sorceror who could simply only know crappy spells. However, you still have to know which spells on your list are good ones to cast. A beguiler is just as easy to screw up in this way as a cleric.

Frosty
2010-09-14, 08:49 PM
It's very easy to mess up a beguiler. It's easier to mess up a sorceror, but it's still very easy to mess up a beguiler. You may have access to all the nice spells you could want, unlike a sorceror who could simply only know crappy spells. However, you still have to know which spells on your list are good ones to cast. A beguiler is just as easy to screw up in this way as a cleric.
I'm not talking about play. I'm talking about builds. Even if you screw up one battle and cast the wrong spells, the next day you're reset at neutral. Past mistakes tend not to matter as much.

A Fighter might also use Combat Expertise at the most inopportune time, for example. No class is idiot-prood when it comes to actual play, but some classes are idiot-proof when it comes to builds.

Urpriest
2010-09-14, 08:53 PM
I'm not talking about play. I'm talking about builds. Even if you screw up one battle and cast the wrong spells, the next day you're reset at neutral. Past mistakes tend not to matter as much.

A Fighter might also use Combat Expertise at the most inopportune time, for example. No class is idiot-prood when it comes to actual play, but some classes are idiot-proof when it comes to builds.

Being idiot proof in builds contributes to being idiot proof in play. It's certainly an advantage of a beguiler that it's idiot-proof in builds, and that indeed contributes to its Tier position. However, a beguiler who's poorly played can feel just as useless and "low tier" as a CW samurai. Yes, of course that's not a flaw of beguiler in particular. It's simply a fact of the game that most if not all classes can feel lower tier if played poorly. That's the point you were responding to when I quoted you.

Akal Saris
2010-09-14, 08:53 PM
This is not true. There were no specific assumptions of optimization, and if you read the initial thread it's quite clear about this. Certainly, there's no assumption that you take TTS as a Dread Necromancer... the DN was ranked more for its ability to raise and maintain armies of the dead and its fear abilities than its self healing (though the potential to self heal was certainly considered as well).

The assumptions were only that the players understood the classes they were playing, played by the rules as written, and optimized to roughly the same degree as each other. Thus, it compares a DMM:Persistant Cleric to a Power Attack/Shock Trooper Fighter, or a healbot Cleric to a Fighter that takes Oversized Two Weapon Fighting as a main style. It doesn't deal with a Cleric whose player doesn't know anything about what spells are any effective in whatever situations they're dealing with or a Fighter who plays diplomat because his group just RPs instead of using skills.

While it doesn't go into PrCs, it makes no assumptions about whether you take them or not... it's just not talking about those levels, so you'll have to gauge things based on how much you think the PrC changes your power level. After all, a Cleric/Radiant Servant of Pelor isn't really that different from a standard Cleric... they both have the same spells, which is the main thing anyway.

All of this is explained in the post. And before anyone says it, no, it's not about comparing solo classes or about PvP duels. The overall gauge is "in a given reasonable D&D situation, how much could the class itself help deal with the situation?" Classes that are often mechanically useless or nearly so in situations are ranked lower (imagine a Barbarian trying to help when the party is dealing with diplomatic negotiations, or a Rogue when fighting plants and oozes), as are classes that just aren't that mechanically strong in any situation (hi there, CA Ninja!). Classes that have some mechanical tool that could just solve virtually every situation that can come up are ranked highest of all (Clerics, Wizards, etc).

The overall goal is to get DMs to consider the balance of their party when deciding what parties to allow and when designing encounters, as well as when designing house rules for the various classes and such. Too many times have I seen house rules that nerf Monks (they have so MANY abilities) while buffing Sorcerers (they're weaker than Wizards!) and it would be nice to make it clear to such DMs where the classes stand before the house rules start.

JaronK

For those who don't realize, JaronK is the one who wrote the tier system, so this is basically the definitive answer to the question.

JoshuaZ
2010-09-14, 08:59 PM
*snip long explanation*

Thanks! That clarifies a lot.

Frosty
2010-09-14, 09:53 PM
Being idiot proof in builds contributes to being idiot proof in play. It's certainly an advantage of a beguiler that it's idiot-proof in builds, and that indeed contributes to its Tier position. However, a beguiler who's poorly played can feel just as useless and "low tier" as a CW samurai. Yes, of course that's not a flaw of beguiler in particular. It's simply a fact of the game that most if not all classes can feel lower tier if played poorly. That's the point you were responding to when I quoted you.
But the point was never in dispute. I was responding to Amphetryon's post, which said that (paraphrased) that a well-made barbarian feels on par with certain caster classes that are poorly-conceived.

My post was really a request for clarification on his point, which was about builds, not play-styles anyways. Nothing in my post ever said that a poorly-played caster wouldn't feel just as useless as a poorly-played Samurai for example.

Amphetryon
2010-09-14, 10:04 PM
You should really re-word your post. "Poorly-conceived" is not a word I'd used to describe the DN or the Beguiler. And if you meant poorly-optimized, there's really not a lot of ways you can mess up a Beguiler, unless you dump Int.

While taking under advisement your admonishment on how I should use the English language, I'll specify that 'conceived' was chosen to encompass feat choices, spells cast, and tactics used. It was a shorter phrase to include all aspects of a character as s/he actually shows up at a table and in the player's mind. I'm sorry the shorthand was offensive to you or confusing in some way, justifying such a strongly worded admonishment.

Kylarra
2010-09-14, 10:09 PM
The implication from your word choice was that the class itself was poorly-conceived, rather than the choice of customizable aspects.

Amphetryon
2010-09-14, 10:19 PM
The implication from your word choice was that the class itself was poorly-conceived, rather than the choice of customizable aspects.

Not with the qualifier of "a", indicating singular (a singular example of class and build and player combining for an iteration below typical expectation), rather than "the", indicating the class itself (stock standard expectation for an example of the class). At least, that's the way "a" and "the" are typically differentiated in sentences such as the one I constructed. :smallsmile:

JoshuaZ
2010-09-14, 10:21 PM
Not with the qualifier of "a", indicating singular (a singular example of class and build and player combining for an iteration below typical expectation), rather than "the", indicating the class itself (stock standard expectation for an example of the class). At least, that's the way "a" and "the" are typically differentiated in sentences such as the one I constructed. :smallsmile:

While I can see that as a reasonable interpretation, for what it is worth I also interpreted it on first reading a comment about the classes themselves.

gorfnab
2010-09-14, 10:56 PM
While it doesn't go into PrCs, it makes no assumptions about whether you take them or not... it's just not talking about those levels, so you'll have to gauge things based on how much you think the PrC changes your power level. After all, a Cleric/Radiant Servant of Pelor isn't really that different from a standard Cleric... they both have the same spells, which is the main thing anyway.


Tier System for PrCs (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5198.0)

Frosty
2010-09-14, 11:06 PM
While taking under advisement your admonishment on how I should use the English language, I'll specify that 'conceived' was chosen to encompass feat choices, spells cast, and tactics used. It was a shorter phrase to include all aspects of a character as s/he actually shows up at a table and in the player's mind. I'm sorry the shorthand was offensive to you or confusing in some way, justifying such a strongly worded admonishment.
Way to stuff words into my mouth, man. You win the intrawebs. My first post in this thread wasn't an admonishment (much less a strongly worded one) and there certainly wasn't any offense taken. There was certainly confusion though, and I'm not sure how you took my post as admonishment or anger.

I am *now* offended by your sarcastic tone, but hey, if your post above was not in jest or sarcasm, then just ignore this.

Besides, Your phrasing was of the sentence is indeed ambiguous.
a group of poorly-conceived list casters (Warmage, Dread Necromancer, Beguiler) You designated a group with quality X (where X in this case is poorly-conceived, whatever you mean by it). Then, you list examples of members of the group with quality X. In what way did you make clear that you only meant individual, badly-used instances of said classes? The previous posters certainly read the phrase the same way I did.

Math_Mage
2010-09-14, 11:32 PM
Besides, Your phrasing was of the sentence is indeed ambiguous. You designated a group with quality X (where X in this case is poorly-conceived, whatever you mean by it). Then, you list examples of members of the group with quality X. In what way did you make clear that you only meant individual, badly-used instances of said classes? The previous posters certainly read the phrase the same way I did.

You may have approached the issue too aggressively, is all. It sounded a bit more like a 'gotcha' post than a clarifying one, even if you only meant to clear up the ambiguity.

Killer Angel
2010-09-15, 04:46 AM
Another thing.
The tier system (the way I see it), gives more an idea of the strenght's gap between the various classes, it's not necessarly limited to what you can or cannot do.

For example, take the Rogue (T4) and the Factotum (T3).
Certain rogue's builds can reach Tier 3 or (maybe) even Tier 2, with the right feats (to sneak attack almost everything) and wise use of UMD.
You can certainly optimize a Rogue to be better at his job, thus rendering the character more useful in a wider range of situation, but, considering an equal level of optimization, he will stay behind the Factotum.

JaronK
2010-09-15, 12:56 PM
Killer Angel is correct in this. The comparison between classes was a higher priority than anything else, because it's about helping with intraparty balance more than anything else. The descriptions are loose ones based on "average" playstyle, and will usually be correct... but it's possible to optimize enough to jump from one tier to another. But with roughly equivalent optimization, the comparison between tiers will remain the same... a well optimized Ninja will always be two tiers behind a well optimized Factotum.

JaronK

WarKitty
2010-09-15, 01:02 PM
It would be an interesting endeavor to write out how widely the different classes can vary across optimization. Some classes are easier to screw up than others - if you pick lousy spells on your sorcerer there's not much saving you, while it's a lot harder to mess up a wildshape ranger.

lsfreak
2010-09-15, 01:12 PM
It would be an interesting endeavor to write out how widely the different classes can vary across optimization. Some classes are easier to screw up than others - if you pick lousy spells on your sorcerer there's not much saving you, while it's a lot harder to mess up a wildshape ranger.

This is what I'd rank as "built-in optimization." ToB classes tend to be very high in this level. Wizards and fighters are probably both roughly the same, it's just that wizards can go waaay beyond fighters. So on a scale of 1-10, ToB classes range from 5-8 while fighters from 1-6, and hence why ToB seem broken in certain groups, because no one optimizes beyond the bare minimum. Wizards range from about 3, with a poorly crafted wizard beating a poorly crafted fighter but losing to the poorly crafted ToB, but goes to 11 (breaks the system).

In this instance, I'd say both high level of innate optimization (as ToB) combined with a low spread (also ToB) makes for the best. Characters are going to be adept at the role they choose (provided the player has the barest grasp on the system, like that wizards need Int), without giving a huge margin to those who have a mastery of the system.

Milskidasith
2010-09-15, 01:42 PM
Another thing.
The tier system (the way I see it), gives more an idea of the strenght's gap between the various classes, it's not necessarly limited to what you can or cannot do.

For example, take the Rogue (T4) and the Factotum (T3).
Certain rogue's builds can reach Tier 3 or (maybe) even Tier 2, with the right feats (to sneak attack almost everything) and wise use of UMD.
You can certainly optimize a Rogue to be better at his job, thus rendering the character more useful in a wider range of situation, but, considering an equal level of optimization, he will stay behind the Factotum.

While I agree with the overall sentiment, I don't see a rogue reaching T2 by any means... sneak attack + UMD won't be as good as a sorcerer.

Soranar
2010-09-15, 02:27 PM
To me the tier system points out where the class starts

your player's optimization (or lack of) of the build usually varies from +1 to -1

in very rare cases (first time playing or using a very well optimized build) +2 or -2 but those usually end up facing DM intervention (i.e. ''you should reconsider, this is a really poor choice'' or ''don't be a munchkin'')

average players will simply retain the initial tier


as for the rogue vs sorcerer comment

a rogue is nearly always useful except if the DM refuses to let him be (no social interaction, no traps, no locks, no sneaking, all creatures are crit immune and wands and scrolls are difficult if not impossible to find, in short you should be playing a video game instead of using a DM)

while a sorcerer (with his limited skillpoints and spell selection) can often become useless (since you need CHA, CON and DEX you often dismiss INT)

sure , he'll be useful in combat, but (much like a fighter), his limited skills and abilities will make him useless outside of it (despite having a high charisma, if you don't have synergy bonuses and actual ranks in the proper skills they won't be as useful as a rogue after a few levels)

and , unlike a wizard, a sorcerer won't waste spells on utility spells

Ravens_cry
2010-09-15, 02:34 PM
The Tier system does over emphasis the differences, in my opinion. I have seen people have fun with a Monk, a Fighter and other 'low tier' classes. In fact, I have seen the Fighter been the most overpowered in the campaign. Frankly, I see little use for the Tier system except as a form of role play snobbery. If fun is had, then fun is had, and no Tier system can take that away.

Killer Angel
2010-09-15, 02:45 PM
While I agree with the overall sentiment, I don't see a rogue reaching T2 by any means... sneak attack + UMD won't be as good as a sorcerer.

Well, a rogue can be really good, if at the same time is an advanced scout with maxed skills, a sneaky damage dealer and has a good combination of magical tricks with wands and scrolls... but yeah, T2 is definitely too much a stretch. :smallsmile:

Greenish
2010-09-15, 02:45 PM
The Tier system does over emphasis the differences, in my opinion. I have seen people have fun with a Monk, a Fighter and other 'low tier' classes. In fact, I have seen the Fighter been the most overpowered in the campaign. Frankly, I see little use for the Tier system except as a form of role play snobbery. If fun is had, then fun is had, and no Tier system can take that away.Tier system is not about which class is most fun. :smallamused:

"Low tier" doesn't mean unplayable, it merely means "given equal level of optimization, higher tier characters will have better mechanical capabilities to contribute".

Oslecamo
2010-09-15, 02:45 PM
Killer Angel is correct in this. The comparison between classes was a higher priority than anything else, because it's about helping with intraparty balance more than anything else.

Really?

Group 1 (doesn't care about tiers at all)
Fighter: I picked weapon focus!
Cleric: I cast cure light wounds!

Group 2 (cares about the tier system above everything)
Wizard: I cast magic missile!
Druid:I wildshape with natural spell and order my fleshraker to pounce!
Wizard: Wait, I don't think we're exactly on the same level here...
Druid: You dare question the tier system?
Wizard: ...I'll go join group 1, see ya.

No good sir, optimization is much more important than class choice. A party of blaster wizard, healbot cleric, weapon focus fighter and dagger rogue is much more balanced than a fullcaster party where some of the players know the dirty tricks and the others don't.

Greenish
2010-09-15, 02:47 PM
No good sir, optimization is much more important than class choice.You, good sir, seem to have missed his statement that "The assumptions were only that the players [B]optimized to roughly the same degree as each other".

Killer Angel
2010-09-15, 02:52 PM
No good sir, optimization is much more important than class choice. A party of blaster wizard, healbot cleric, weapon focus fighter and dagger rogue is much more balanced than a fullcaster party where some of the players know the dirty tricks and the others don't.

But the tier system considers an equal level of optimiziation between the group. It's a theoretical representation of the power balance between the possibilities that are given to the various classes as written.

edit: bah, too slow for the ninjas...

Oslecamo
2010-09-15, 02:53 PM
You, good sir, seem to have missed his statement that "The assumptions were only that the players [B]optimized to roughly the same degree as each other".
Check out Jaronk's post. Comparison between classes above everything, including optimization. His words, not mine.

Ravens_cry
2010-09-15, 02:54 PM
Tier system is not about which class is most fun. :smallamused:

"Low tier" doesn't mean unplayable, it merely means "given equal level of optimization, higher tier characters will have better mechanical capabilities to contribute".
That may have been the intent, but the general attitude I have seen on this board is
"You want to play a <insert low tier class here/>?! *snort* *guffaw*<insert sarcastic remark on aptitude here/>", whether intentional or not.

Killer Angel
2010-09-15, 03:02 PM
That may have been the intent, but the general attitude I have seen on this board is
"You want to play a <insert low tier class here/>?! *snort* *guffaw*<insert sarcastic remark on aptitude here/>", whether intentional or not.

To me, the tier system is a tool that shows what is the relative potential of each class, in regard to other classes. It's a mere illustration of what was given by the books to each class. Some classes can be far stronger than others, and this is a fact... the fun playing 'em, is a different thing.
If someone uses this "impersonal instrument" to belittle other peoples' choices, well, it's another whole matter.

Greenish
2010-09-15, 03:06 PM
Check out Jaronk's post. Comparison between classes above everything, including optimization. His words, not mine.Comparison between classes, assuming roughly equal optimization.

The post you refer to:
The comparison between classes was a higher priority than anything else, because it's about helping with intraparty balance more than anything else. The descriptions are loose ones based on "average" playstyle, and will usually be correct... but it's possible to optimize enough to jump from one tier to another. But with roughly equivalent optimization, the comparison between tiers will remain the same... a well optimized Ninja will always be two tiers behind a well optimized Factotum.I suggest you get a MW Reading Comprehension item and try again.

[Edit]:
That may have been the intent, but the general attitude I have seen on this board is
"You want to play a <insert low tier class here/>?! *snort* *guffaw*<insert sarcastic remark on aptitude here/>", whether intentional or not.Well, personally I find many of the classes below tier 4, eh, not very fun. If someone said they're going to play a Healer (Mini), I'd ask them to reconsider. The class just has so limited options I keep imagining that the person would get bored and/or frustrated with it before long.

Of course, it might not matter for the person in question, but I can't know their tastes, so I'll try to recommend something that works better for the image they (assumedly) have in their head, but that they might have not thought of.

Math_Mage
2010-09-15, 04:54 PM
Check out Jaronk's post. Comparison between classes above everything, including optimization. His words, not mine.

Well, yes, if you are designing a class tier system, the main point of analysis should be how the classes compare once you control for independent factors. How else are you going to do it? :smallconfused:


That may have been the intent, but the general attitude I have seen on this board is
"You want to play a <insert low tier class here/>?! *snort* *guffaw*<insert sarcastic remark on aptitude here/>", whether intentional or not.

I find a tendency on this board to generalize from a few caricature posts, but maybe that's just me. And you. Hmmm.

Curmudgeon
2010-09-15, 05:19 PM
While I agree with the overall sentiment, I don't see a rogue reaching T2 by any means... sneak attack + UMD won't be as good as a sorcerer.
You're not looking at the whole picture here. It's sneak attack + UMD + a lot more wealth.

What do you think an Elf Rogue should be doing while party spellcasters are resting (8 hours) and preparing spells (1 hour) each day? After 4 hours of trance, the Rogue has 5 hours a day (35 hours a week) for "opportunistic earning".

Assume the Rogue has between 1.3x and 2.5x the value of gear as the Sorcerer, and recompute.

aje8
2010-09-15, 06:21 PM
Curmudgeon: Stealing in DnD is a pretty bad idea w/o magic. Commonershave no cash (Seriously, they make like 1 sp a day) and Nobles who are rich on a PC scale (I.e. Absurdly rich) can afford magical defenses a rogue can't get past. Plus, there has to be such a noble like an hours walk away from the campsite for the rogue to be able to dp this at all. Also, a Sorc is much better than a Rogue in and out of combat. (Oh you can hide? I turn invisible. Oh you have social skills? I cast charm person, suggestion ect.) True the rogue can replicate spells, but thats really expensive and impractical frequently.

Milskidasith
2010-09-15, 07:05 PM
You're not looking at the whole picture here. It's sneak attack + UMD + a lot more wealth.

What do you think an Elf Rogue should be doing while party spellcasters are resting (8 hours) and preparing spells (1 hour) each day? After 4 hours of trance, the Rogue has 5 hours a day (35 hours a week) for "opportunistic earning".

Assume the Rogue has between 1.3x and 2.5x the value of gear as the Sorcerer, and recompute.

So if I assume somebody has much greater WBL than normal, they can be a higher tier? That's... pretty irrelevant to actual class balance, unless you want to actually consider ways to break WBL part of the class balance, in which case wizards and sorcerers are ahead by a factor of thousands in terms of "free" cash earned.

Also, no matter what a rogue is doing, by RAW, it *probably* isn't enough to make them nearly as much cash as adventuring does.... I can see 1.1x WBL by doing mundane heists on high value targets at levels below 10, but 2.5x WBL is impossible outside of, say, optimizing hide and move silently to modifiers of +12 or more at level 1 and stealing some mundane goods from the stalls.

Curmudgeon
2010-09-16, 12:53 AM
Curmudgeon: Stealing in DnD is a pretty bad idea w/o magic.
Who says you're doing it without magic? You get to where you have enough Use Magic Device Skill to complete a couple of scrolls: Detect Magic + Permanency, and you've got most of the magic you'll need to figure out the traps/alarms/whatever you detect with the Search skill. Rogues can already operate on magical traps (Search, Disable Device) without such aids. Permanent Detect Magic is partly magical suspenders to add to your mundane skills belt, and partly a way to know about magical (= valuable) stuff anywhere within 60', if the walls are less solid than 1' thick stone without openings.

Plus stealing isn't the only approach for opportunistic earning. You could do high-end security assessments for wealthy homeowners, industrial espionage reconnoitering for business competitors, and covert surveillance. You could even figure out where the most crime occurs, hang out there in the shadows, and have a good old time sneak attacking muggers just to show them the error of their ways ─ and to collect any bounties offered on them, of course.

Any time you're in a place where there's wealth, you've got a chance to acquire some of it. Wizards need to spend days of down time to add spells to their spellbooks, scribe scrolls, and whatnot. All of this time Rogues should be earning. If there's an opposed group the Rogue scouts while out in the wild one day and which the party wants to avoid, the Rogue could spend some time that evening sneaking into the enemy camp and filching things like maps, spellbooks, and the odd +2 short sword. Just because an enemy may be too strong to tackle head on doesn't mean there's no way to attack them; you just get them indirectly, through whatever of their resources you can obtain with minimal risk. If you're doing a solo job while spellcasters are resting, you take all the risk and get all the rewards.

JaronK
2010-09-16, 03:55 AM
Really?

Group 1 (doesn't care about tiers at all)
Fighter: I picked weapon focus!
Cleric: I cast cure light wounds!

So, two people playing very weakly, with the Cleric picking pretty much the weakest choices available. No problem. A group that cared about tiers would do this exact thing... you'll notice in the original tiers thread it was suggested that more powerful casters focus their power on helping the weaker classes, so everyone can work together. If this were really a "doesn't care about tiers at all" group it would look like this:

Fighter: I picked weapon focus!
Cleric: Huh, then you're useless. I cast Animate Dead and make a zombie hydra. Now we don't need the guy with Weapon Focus!

Just because the group accidentally did exactly the right thing to make everything still be fun doesn't mean knowing about the tiers would change that. Ignoring the power differences and just going all out when you're the stronger class is called being a jerk.


Group 2 (cares about the tier system above everything)
Wizard: I cast magic missile!
Druid:I wildshape with natural spell and order my fleshraker to pounce!
Wizard: Wait, I don't think we're exactly on the same level here...
Druid: You dare question the tier system?
Wizard: ...I'll go join group 1, see ya.

Um, no. In this case, both people are playing powerful classes, but they're playing wildly different levels of optimization, and not having fun doing so. The tiers is only about ranking classes, not anything else... including not ranking what you chose to do with the classes. If you want to play a low power game that's fine. In this situation, if they actually cared about the tiers (I don't know how you'd care about it above everything, it's just a tool... that's like a carpenter caring about hammers above everything), it would look like this:

Wizard: I cast magic missile!
Druid:I wildshape with natural spell and order my fleshraker to pounce!
Wizard: Wait, I don't think we're exactly on the same level here...
Druid: Well, our classes are balanced, so it's a play style/optimization issue, not a class issue. Either you should be casting stronger spells and optimizing more, or I should be toning things down to match your level.

See? They know class balance so they realize that's not the issue, and the solve it somewhere else. As opposed to the same group if they didn't know about the tiers, in which case it looks like this:

Wizard: I cast magic missile!
Druid:I wildshape with natural spell and order my fleshraker to pounce!
Wizard: Wait, I don't think we're exactly on the same level here... obviously Druids are overpowered compared to Wizards!
DM: Good point. Druid, I'm nerfing Wild Shape and you can't have an animal companion that can fight because that's overpowered compared to a familiar, so now your fleshraker is a lizard instead. Wizard, you get all your spells for free, because the Druid does anyway. Also, you have lower HP so clearly you need a tank more, so your lizard familiar is now a fleshraker. Yay, I've solved everything.
Druid: WTF?


No good sir, optimization is much more important than class choice.

The Tier system does not rank anything other than the mechanics of the classes. Optimization can bump you up a tier or so, or drop you to the very bottom, depending on what you do. Optimization is not ranked by the tiers. Which is more important is only a matter of degree, but either way I couldn't possibly rank optimization levels. It's up to you to figure out how much optimization is going to change things. Creativity and house rules also effect balance, but again, the tiers is just a tool for measuring what the classes do. Everything else is not factored in yet... you have to do so.


A party of blaster wizard, healbot cleric, weapon focus fighter and dagger rogue is much more balanced than a fullcaster party where some of the players know the dirty tricks and the others don't.

Obviously. Have I ever said otherwise?

JaronK

JaronK
2010-09-16, 04:04 AM
Comparison between classes, assuming roughly equal optimization.

The post you refer to: I suggest you get a MW Reading Comprehension item and try again.


Originally Posted by JaronK
The comparison between classes was a higher priority than anything else, because it's about helping with intraparty balance more than anything else. The descriptions are loose ones based on "average" playstyle, and will usually be correct... but it's possible to optimize enough to jump from one tier to another. But with roughly equivalent optimization, the comparison between tiers will remain the same... a well optimized Ninja will always be two tiers behind a well optimized Factotum.

The "anything else" there was talking about "things a character can accomplish that have nothing to do with class." For example, I wasn't going into whether a Monk can UMD items of Divine Power, because that has nothing to do with class and thus isn't relevant to intraparty balance. I wasn't considering the DM just railroading the party into achieving a goal or failing something, because that's not about intraparty balance. My goal was to help with intraparty balance, so I'm saying in that quote that things unrelated to intraparty balance weren't a high priority. The descriptions of each tier are less important, then, than the comparison between tiers. You could easily optimize a Fighter to match the description given of T4, and with work get them up to the description in T3... but the same amount of work would still make a Warblade significantly more powerful, because the Warblade is up to tiers.

And for anyone else claiming that the tiers are about saying which class is "better" than others or telling people that they "shouldn't" play weaker tier classes: the actual post says the exact opposite. I actually don't like playing T1 and 2 classes, and I run an all commoners (T6) game that's been extremely fun.

JaronK

Math_Mage
2010-09-16, 04:39 AM
Wow, way to take that WAY out of context. The "anything else" there was talking about "things a character can accomplish that have nothing to do with class." For example, I wasn't going into whether a Monk can UMD items of Divine Power, because that has nothing to do with class and thus isn't relevant to intraparty balance. I wasn't considering the DM just railroading the party into achieving a goal or failing something, because that's not about intraparty balance. My goal was to help with intraparty balance, so I'm saying in that quote that things unrelated to intraparty balance weren't a high priority. The descriptions of each tier are less important, then, than the comparison between tiers. You could easily optimize a Fighter to match the description given of T4, and with work get them up to the description in T3... but the same amount of work would still make a Warblade significantly more powerful, because the Warblade is up to tiers. Please don't take words so dramatically out of context, it's disingenuous and stifles actual information. Especially if you're insulting another poster about reading comprehension.

And for anyone else claiming that the tiers are about saying which class is "better" than others or telling people that they "shouldn't" play weaker tier classes: the actual post says the exact opposite. I actually don't like playing T1 and 2 classes, and I run an all commoners (T6) game that's been extremely fun.

JaronK

I think the relevant part of your statement for Greenish's purposes was 'with roughly equivalent optimization'. Oslecamo's original comment disparaged your assessment of the importance of being able to compare classes' power, because so many other factors go into optimization. So noting that your class tiers assume equal optimization effectively contradicts Oslecamo. Greenish cited your complete paragraph to show that Oslecamo was quoting out of context, not to make a big deal out of the 'anything else' phrase. At least, that is my assessment of the discussion, with my MW Glasses of Reading Comprehension for support.

JaronK
2010-09-16, 12:58 PM
Blast. That's what I get for answering posts at 2am. My apologies Greenish. I get WAY too many people taking things out of context or making assumptions that have nothing to do with what I wrote (but then claiming it to be my argument) and it makes me a bit defensive at times.

It's horribly annoying to see how many people go off with stuff about how the Tiers are about which classes are better or how if you play with the tier system you're in some way required to do a specific thing or how using the tier system means you care about classes only and nothing else matters, or how it means you're not roleplaying or how it's about PvP only.

In the end, the system is just a tool for improving intraparty balance, just as a hammer is a tool for pounding in nails. If balance in a group's games is already established, you don't need it at all, just as you don't need to hammer to do finishing work on a chair. If balance isn't established in the group, it'll help. That's all.

JaronK

Pechvarry
2010-09-16, 03:51 PM
Probably rather impolite to point this out, but you're kinda an E-celebrity. The problem with creating a household term (the tier) is now you have to defend it from the very masses that use it. Just like any movie star getting their words twisted all around. At least you didn't somehow inject your name into it (Stormwind), constantly having your name misused in the name of elitism.

Disclaimer: I enjoy Stormwind's contributions and agree with the fallacy. But I see his name incorrectly called at least once/month on various forums.

WarKitty
2010-09-16, 03:55 PM
Probably rather impolite to point this out, but you're kinda an E-celebrity. The problem with creating a household term (the tier) is now you have to defend it from the very masses that use it. Just like any movie star getting their words twisted all around. At least you didn't somehow inject your name into it (Stormwind), constantly having your name misused in the name of elitism.

Also it's a relatively basic system created by one person. It may be quite true that at certain levels of optimization, the tiers are slightly different. They're definitely different at different character levels (I have a DM that favors low-level games where the wizard always ends up sitting back and shooting his crossbow before unleashing his single 2nd-level spell on the boss). It's not going to be a comprehensive guide, just a guideline.