Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
D&D isn't a computer game. Hard here is entirely subjective, you have the power to make the game as easy or hard as the players enjoy.

Your players are not optimizers or particularly tactical, and complain about the difficulty. That means you are making it too hard for them. Some players on here play in ways that would be insufficiently challenges by your games, and they would be too easy for them.

Appeal to charts doesn't help here, the reason to play D&D is that it is flexible.
Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
WotC is bad at estimating balance on both sides of the screen. I'm not sure pointing to their charts on how tough an adventuring day "should" be is a great argument to be making. The default assumptions of the game (tank, rogue, healbot, blaster) probably hold up well enough against the typical beatstick monsters, but if either side starts building/playing a bit more optimally, or even just a bit weirder, things get thrown off.
Note that it is the outcome I am questioning.

I am not having problems with "4 orcs should be an appropriate challenge for a level 1 party" but rather with the expectations that a standard fight should consume about 20% of the party's resources and a standard adventuring day should consume about 80% of the party's recourses. This is independent of player skill or optimization level.