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    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    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".

    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.

    Team Composition:

    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.
    I have been discussing the tier system with a whole lot of people in a whole lot of groups for years now. I've never seen these discussions cause an argument, or disharmony, or anything like that. On the contrary, I've seen them help people understand why they were feeling frustrated (dude, you were comparing your Ranger to a Druid! Of course he was overshadowing you!), thereby providing them with ways of improving the situation. I've seen them provide GMs with better points of reference for how to balance the monsters against the party, and for how to balance the party against each other (for example, lower-tier classes are given more leeway with dicey rules interpretations, more freedom of choice in items, greater access to flaws, greater access to relaxed prereqs, and so on, and since the group knows that this is the case, we're all cool with it). I've seen it help GMs understand how to balance encounters in the absence of the party, letting them realize what having different class levels does to different baddies and what that means for the game.

    I have never, ever seen anyone say "I don't want to play a T4 class because they're too weak." I have never, ever seen anyone say "You're bringing a T5 class to the game? You're worthless." I have seen people say "Dude, that's a pretty big tier difference we're looking at. Are you sure you're going to be cool with that?" And if they're not cool with that, we work together to make the party harmonize without hurting anyone's character concept. (If they are cool with it, they aren't surprised when other people sometimes get the spotlight, because they knew going in that a Crusader does a Knight's job better.) I have seen people say "wait, my Psion's going to be the only T2 in a bunch of T4/T5s? You know, maybe I'd have more fun bringing in that Rogue build I've had in my head for a while." And then they do.

    The plural of anecdote is not data, as the saying goes. But my experiences are just as valuable as yours, and I think that what you're saying here is, at best, a highly skewed representation of how it goes for many, many people. In fact, in my experience, lack of understanding of the tier system is a far, FAR greater source of GM stress, player stress, and group disharmony than ANY discussion of how the tier system actually works. I'd also argue that you're missing a lot of the point of what JaronK's actually saying, but I'll let someone else handle that.
    Last edited by Zaq; 2013-01-20 at 11:52 AM.
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