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    Default 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    I recently decided to give 4th edition a try, to see what it is like. However, while reading the books I ran into an oddity. As you go up levels, monsters' hp seems to go up quite rapidly. However, PCs damage barely seems to increase at all. A level 1 warlock power does more damage than all the warlock level 7 daily powers, and this is only a measly 3d10 damage. In comparison, there is a level seven monster that has 332 hp. If 3d10 damage is your DAILY power damage, how can you hope to kill that in any sort of reasonable time frame? I personally don't want to spend 4 hours on a combat.

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tael View Post
    I recently decided to give 4th edition a try, to see what it is like. However, while reading the books I ran into an oddity. As you go up levels, monsters' hp seems to go up quite rapidly. However, PCs damage barely seems to increase at all. A level 1 warlock power does more damage than all the warlock level 7 daily powers, and this is only a measly 3d10 damage. In comparison, there is a level seven monster that has 332 hp. If 3d10 damage is your DAILY power damage, how can you hope to kill that in any sort of reasonable time frame? I personally don't want to spend 4 hours on a combat.
    Monster hp has since been devalued
    Teamwork
    If it has ridiculous HP at a level, it's a solo. So ideally you fight it by itself or with minimal help. Focus fire and debuffs/status conditions means itll drop fast actually.
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    You're missing the fact that Strikers, such as Warlocks, have ways of increasing their damage. Leaders can also make other characters deal more damage. Controllers can deal damage to several monsters at once.

    And, you know, it's a team game. It's not just one character dealing damage.
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki_Akuma View Post
    And, you know, it's a team game. It's not just one character dealing damage.
    Or so they are trying to make people think. They just don't have a good idea of how to make teamwork entertaining (Skill Challenges).

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tael View Post
    PCs damage barely seems to increase at all.
    This is incorrect: PC damage increases a lot over level. This is primarily because you get more feats and items that boost your damage.

    However, there are certain monsters in the game that have way too much HP so that combat becomes boring after several rounds. Of course, a good DM will declare victory for the players when this happens.
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    what level seven monster has 332 HP?

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyuubi View Post
    what level seven monster has 332 HP?
    Young red dragon. Level 7 solo soldier. And a dragon.
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tael View Post
    I recently decided to give 4th edition a try, to see what it is like. However, while reading the books I ran into an oddity. As you go up levels, monsters' hp seems to go up quite rapidly. However, PCs damage barely seems to increase at all. A level 1 warlock power does more damage than all the warlock level 7 daily powers, and this is only a measly 3d10 damage. In comparison, there is a level seven monster that has 332 hp. If 3d10 damage is your DAILY power damage, how can you hope to kill that in any sort of reasonable time frame? I personally don't want to spend 4 hours on a combat.
    As others have said, that's a solo. You're supposed to be using a party of five level 7 characters to kill it when it's all by its lonesome.

    At level 7 you have three encounters and two dailies and are likely to have an item power or two. You can use about 4-5 specials per fight prior to falling back on at-wills (and half the party can use action points for more goodness). And by that time the party will be doing 50 or so damage a round even with just at-wills and taking misses into account. The solo will likely go down in 4-6 rounds.

    4th ed battles do get noticably longer at higher level, but not nearly as much longer as you might think from comparing at-will damage to total HP. The real problem is that prior to the last errata the monsters did too little damage to seriously threaten the party much past level 4 or 5.

    The big problem I have with 4th ed combats is that if you play them out, and no one is in a possition to surender or flee, then the battle is often a long slog well after the outcome is obvious to all.

    Edit: Note that as Kurald Galain points out the GM should try to avoid this. It's not a problem if they're going to take a long rest (who cares what gets spent), it's not a problem if the monster thinks it can surrender (it does), it's not a problem if the monster can flee (it does), it's not a problem if the monster is totally incapable of hurting anyone (it dies). But if none of that holds you can be in for 30 minutes of tedium as the inevitable happens.
    Last edited by Doug Lampert; 2010-09-23 at 04:32 PM.

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaydos View Post
    Young red dragon. Level 7 solo soldier. And a dragon.
    That explains things.

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chipp Zanuff View Post
    Or so they are trying to make people think. They just don't have a good idea of how to make teamwork entertaining (Skill Challenges).
    I agree that skill challenges can be a bit lackluster, but I generally think they do a solid job of making combat a team game. The most fun groups I've played in were generally the ones with a fair role balance (2 strikers, 2 leaders, 1 defender, 1 controller, for example) because everyone seemed useful and important, and everyone contributed something different.

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    For example, a level-7 rogue using at-wills can easily do 1d8 (rapier) + 2d8 (sneak attack) + 5 (dex) + 4 (str) + 6 (various items) + 2 (some feats), for an average of 30 damage per hit. That's not counting out-of-turn attacks or Riposte Strike.

    That means he cuts through the dragon all by himself, using only at-wills, in about 12 rounds. And then he gets three or four party members that join in...
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    For example, a level-7 rogue using at-wills can easily do 1d8 (rapier) + 2d8 (sneak attack) + 5 (dex) + 4 (str) + 6 (various items) + 2 (some feats), for an average of 30 damage per hit. That's not counting out-of-turn attacks or Riposte Strike.

    That means he cuts through the dragon all by himself, using only at-wills, in about 12 rounds. And then he gets three or four party members that join in...
    Indeed. A good party should be doing somewhere between 20-30 DPR per person at lvl 7. For instance my *controller* does somewhere around 23ish DPR while throwing out AOEs and status affects. Lets assume an action or two is wasted because random problems and the average persons DPR is 20. 20x5=100DPR. That's only 4 rounds (more like 3.5). 3 rounds if someone crits or no one wastes any actions (or the party is optimized.)

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    This is incorrect: PC damage increases a lot over level. This is primarily because you get more feats and items that boost your damage.

    However, there are certain monsters in the game that have way too much HP so that combat becomes boring after several rounds. Of course, a good DM will declare victory for the players when this happens.
    Sorry for not responding sooner, but say, at level 20, how much damage would a PC do when monsters have hundreds of HP? It just seems like it all works out fine at low levels, but at higher levels I can't see many ways that PCs increase thier damage. Do fights just take longer at higher levels?

    Also, there is alot of mention of teamwork being quite substantial in 4e. Without a leader in one's party, are there any combination attacks or ways to substantially increase damage by working together instead of just blasting your encounter powers from your appropriate positions?
    Last edited by Tael; 2010-09-24 at 10:07 AM.

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Well Controllers and Defenders inevitably work with the others as a team. Controllers debuff the enemy, move them into bad possitions, and generally mess them up. They make it so the enemy can't go here, can't do this, can't do anything, and is more vulnerable.

    Defenders make it so that the enemy has to attack them or take penalties and damage (or just make it so the enemies don't do any damage to other people if you're playing a shielding swordmage). They can also knock the opponent prone, push and slide them, and set up combos with other PCs. Plus they can get some really good damage of their own going.

    Strikers deal the heavy damage. They kill the things that Controllers debuff, they finish off the monsters defenders lock-down, and tend to be the other half of a combo.
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Yeah, but that's exactly what 3.5's teamwork was. Knights/Crusaders are defenders, Duskblades are Strikers, ect. Are there any new mechanics, like say, an expanded flanking rule, or the ability to use your powers in combination with others for increased effect?

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    I am running a 4e campaign, the guys reached level 10 recently. Between level 7 and 10, one several occasions I have seen them deal well above 100 damage in one round. Granted that was 2 criticals and some nice damage rolls but it isn't hard for pc to do lots of damage.

    I personally don't get the people getting bored with combat. I've played systems, where one fight can take all night, yet it's fun. I imagine the fights come down to the classic,"I hit for x. The monster misses, I hit for y"

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Knights/Crusaders don't fill defender nearly as well as 4e defenders do. Knights can create some difficult terrain nearby, but that doesn't stop big creatures from just attacking your ally, or even penalize them on it. It allows you to protect archers but in a melee situation you're just hitting. 4e defenders actually have abilities to make attacking other people more difficult, even if you manage to move out of melee range.

    And I've seen over 100 damage from a single character due to 2 free action attacks, an action point, and a daily being used in one round. This was 13th level btw.
    Last edited by Zaydos; 2010-09-24 at 10:56 AM.
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    something slightly related. At about what level do enemy monsters start getting abilities to get concealment, total concealment, or invisibility consistently?

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tael View Post
    Sorry for not responding sooner, but say, at level 20, how much damage would a PC do when monsters have hundreds of HP? It just seems like it all works out fine at low levels, but at higher levels I can't see many ways that PCs increase thier damage. Do fights just take longer at higher levels?
    No, in my experience they get shorter. At paragon levels, a group of well-played PCs have so many abilities from powers or items that they can massacre an encounter several levels higher than them.

    How do you increase your damage? Well, attributes increase, and most items or feats that add to damage add twice as much in paragon, and thrice as much in epic.

    WOTC has done their math on this reasonably well. Regardless of your level, you should hit a monster about 65% of the time, and it drops in about four hits; whereas the monster should hit you about 40% of the time, and you'll also drop in about four hits. Of course, these numbers vary a bit with your class. (edit) Also, of course, minions take less hits to drop, and solos take more.
    Last edited by Kurald Galain; 2010-09-24 at 11:33 AM.
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyuubi View Post
    something slightly related. At about what level do enemy monsters start getting abilities to get concealment, total concealment, or invisibility consistently?
    If they're Lurkers, they get it almost right away. Level 3 Imps have a standard-action Invis (which remains until they attack or the end of its next turn, whichever comes first), and Young Blacks (L4 Lurker Solo) have Cloud of Darkness, a sustainable recharging power that effectively renders them invisible within a Close Burst 2 so long as they feel like spending their otherwise unused Minor action to sustain it. I once ran one that was a real hassle to the melee-heavy party it was up against, since it would use Cloud, then flit about in the Cloud, essentially getting in free hits. It took a burst-daze (a daily, I think) from the Invoker to finally snap the dragon out of its pattern long enough to actually do much.

    Other monster classes usually don't have stealth abilities... I think Skirmishers and Controllers might be the next group to gain such abilities, but it's mostly the domain of Lurkers.

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tael View Post
    Sorry for not responding sooner, but say, at level 20, how much damage would a PC do when monsters have hundreds of HP? It just seems like it all works out fine at low levels, but at higher levels I can't see many ways that PCs increase thier damage. Do fights just take longer at higher levels?

    Also, there is alot of mention of teamwork being quite substantial in 4e. Without a leader in one's party, are there any combination attacks or ways to substantially increase damage by working together instead of just blasting your encounter powers from your appropriate positions?
    Total damage output isn't the only thing that's important against a solo creature. As written, solo monsters at higher level also run into problems because party members tend to have so many ways of dealing status effects, immobilizations, stuns, etc. When a monster can make only a minor, standard, or a move action in any given turn, it suddenly becomes much less of a threat.

    It's been written that, contrary to the title, Solo monsters shouldn't go up against a party on their own. They are meant to take the place of 5 regular monsters, but having only one turn to do damage means they just can't deal out enough to be a real challenge against a good party. Combine this with the fact that by paragon tier, pretty much every party member will have resistance to some sort of damage (fire and necrotic almost definitely), and you'll see that the deck is really stacked in favor of the players, probably a little too heavily.

    If you're not a fan of drawn out combat, go with the house rule of halving total monster HP and doubling their damage output. Battles will be quicker and a lot more dangerous. The best thing to do is to get a feel of how your players are handling things as is. If they're breezing through stuff, don't worry, give them more of a challenge with higher monsters. If they're having trouble, consider some house rules.
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by MightyTim View Post
    It's been written that, contrary to the title, Solo monsters shouldn't go up against a party on their own. They are meant to take the place of 5 regular monsters, but having only one turn to do damage means they just can't deal out enough to be a real challenge against a good party.
    Some of the newer solos are pretty good at addressing this. The Tembo in Dark Sun, for example, acts on two initiative counts, so gets to save twice as often (with a +5, since it is a solo), and can go invisible once per encounter and generally stay out of combat. The dragon of Tyr acts on three or four initiative counts, I believe, and has lots of tricks for annoying the players as much as they annoy him. He is intended to be the strongest being in the campaign setting, though, so he's probably not a great example.

    Generally, though, I agree. Solos often lead to some really boring fights, especially at low level. Doubly so if players save their daily powers and use them together against a solo.

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaidu View Post
    Some of the newer solos are pretty good at addressing this. The Tembo in Dark Sun, for example, acts on two initiative counts, so gets to save twice as often (with a +5, since it is a solo), and can go invisible once per encounter and generally stay out of combat.
    Even some of the older ones are decent: MM1 solos (particularly Dragons) generally have double or triple attack actions, immediate action attacks, and area attacks, all with decent damage. Black Dragons are probably the most annoying, since you basically have to be immune to blind or pump up your Perception (ridiculously pump it) in order to fight them with anything other than area attacks, which generally deal less damage than their single-target counterparts (though there are some feats that boost area attack damage if there's only one target), and with a few notable exceptions (Sleep) have slightly weaker effects.

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tael View Post
    Sorry for not responding sooner, but say, at level 20, how much damage would a PC do when monsters have hundreds of HP? It just seems like it all works out fine at low levels, but at higher levels I can't see many ways that PCs increase thier damage. Do fights just take longer at higher levels?

    Also, there is alot of mention of teamwork being quite substantial in 4e. Without a leader in one's party, are there any combination attacks or ways to substantially increase damage by working together instead of just blasting your encounter powers from your appropriate positions?
    All right. For a point of reference, at level 7, I went "nova" with a level 7 rogue. Action point, Sly Flourish, Low Slash, Circling Predator. Adding in a leader bonus that granted +5 damage per attack, and the total came out to me doing ~70 damage in a single turn. Without even expending a daily.

    And my build was hardly optimized for pure damage (rangers will outpace rogues in damage-per-round anyway).

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaydos View Post
    Knights/Crusaders don't fill defender nearly as well as 4e defenders do. Knights can create some difficult terrain nearby, but that doesn't stop big creatures from just attacking your ally, or even penalize them on it. It allows you to protect archers but in a melee situation you're just hitting. 4e defenders actually have abilities to make attacking other people more difficult, even if you manage to move out of melee range.

    And I've seen over 100 damage from a single character due to 2 free action attacks, an action point, and a daily being used in one round. This was 13th level btw.
    Actually the Knight's signature thing is challenging creatures and forcing them to attack you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    No, in my experience they get shorter. At paragon levels, a group of well-played PCs have so many abilities from powers or items that they can massacre an encounter several levels higher than them.

    How do you increase your damage? Well, attributes increase, and most items or feats that add to damage add twice as much in paragon, and thrice as much in epic.

    WOTC has done their math on this reasonably well. Regardless of your level, you should hit a monster about 65% of the time, and it drops in about four hits; whereas the monster should hit you about 40% of the time, and you'll also drop in about four hits. Of course, these numbers vary a bit with your class. (edit) Also, of course, minions take less hits to drop, and solos take more.
    Well that's reassuring. I just wasn't sure since I had never played higher levels.

    Also, some monsters seem to deal really pathetic damage. Like 1d8+5 at level 9. Do you generally have to throw a lot of regular monsters at people for them to be a challenge?

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Others have mentioned this tangentially, but just to bring it forward: monsters in the Monster Manual 1 and 2 do indeed have too many hit points. They also deal too little damage. Both of these were corrected in the MM3 and forward.
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tael View Post
    Actually the Knight's signature thing is challenging creatures and forcing them to attack you.
    Yes, but the altered power curve in 4e, in addition to the Defenders' powers, mean that they do it a lot better than a 3.5 Knight (4e Essentials is introducing a "Knight" build for the Fighter, if you want it as an "official" title) would.
    Last edited by Mando Knight; 2010-09-24 at 01:13 PM.

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tael View Post
    Actually the Knight's signature thing is challenging creatures and forcing them to attack you.
    Which doesn't work well in practice. Usually either the creatures kill you or make their save, or are immune. Knights were an attempt to do what defenders do in 4e, but in a system less friendly towards it. Also knights can do it a limited number of times per day; 4e fighters do it simply by attacking (everyone else does it as a minor action).

    Also 4e emphasizes teamwork by making it more necessary. It's much harder to build the character that is solo-ing entire dungeons than it was in 3.5.
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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaydos View Post
    4e fighters do it simply by attacking (everyone else does it as a minor action).
    What?
    Last edited by RebelRogue; 2010-09-24 at 01:15 PM.

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    Default Re: 4e Combat? What am I missing?

    Mark a target thus forcing them to attack you or suffer damage and penalties. Oh oops it's a free action for most of them isn't it.
    Edit: It's a minor action for Swordmages which is the defender I played which is why I made the mistake.
    Last edited by Zaydos; 2010-09-24 at 01:21 PM.
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