2013-01-20, 09:46 AM (ISO 8601)
Bugbear in the Playground
Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)
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".
I can see the idea behind creating a system of measurement in the hopes of having more compatible power levels in adventuring groups. But in reality this list does not achieve that goal, and instead just causes conflict between GM's and players. Even among amicable players it still does not achieve its goal, because the "tier" shouldn't be on the classes. The "tier" system should define players. You can take a tier 1 player and give him anything, and he will always shine in the group. He will always spend the time and effort to make sure his character is efficient and competent. And vice versa you can give a tier 4 player the best build in the world and he will still be jealous and incompetent.
Here are some other flaws with the tier system for classes.
The tier system completely ignores this ever present factor in D&D. Team composition is as important to D&D, as it is to E-sport competitive online games. Take League of Legends for instance, You see teams try to win by picking an entire group of mechanically strong characters. But they always lose to teams who pick characters designed to compliment a team strategy. The first team may have definably more raw power, but the synergy of the second group wins out in the end. It is the same in D&D. The tier system ends up functionally limiting the characters available to a player thus limiting the final possible team combos.
Prestige, Multiclassing, and the Bigger Picture:
The tier system examines the class as it is 1-20. It doesn't factor in the merging of 2 or 3 classes or the enrichment available through prestige classes. It doesn't look at the final build. You now run into campaigns where you lose a key component to a build because it is on a restricted list because some DM read this guide and is now on red alert for tier 1 classes. Or you get some pompous blowhard telling you about how your tier 5 will drag the group down and get everyone killed. ect, ect...
In closing, this system is a blight. It does nothing good. It accomplishes no goals. It is seeped in misunderstanding and flawed logic. It causes class bigotry, gm to player friction, gm stress, and player stress. And I personally wish it would die in a fire.