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    Default What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    I'm just curious, precisely what abilities should a fix give to a class like Fighter, Monk, Barbarian, etc., to bring them up to Tier 3?

    I realize that they need viable options in combat besides simply attacking their opponent, and some capacity to function out of combat, but I'm wondering if there's anything more specific that I should be considering.
    If brute force isn't working, that just means you're not using enough of it.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Its a tough goal, but some common suggestions are:

    Better skill lists (diplomacy, UMD, etc)

    Ways to break action economy.

    Ways to gain alternate movement type (fly, teleport, etc).

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Well, a way to boost all melee is to make full attack a Standard action. Better skills help, and buffing the core feature. Also, give them more flexble options.
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    In a word? Versatility is the most agreed upon option.

    Most melee can deal damage respectably, but either have to be built specifically for it, like uberchargers, or focus on some other form of attack, like lockdown builds. To be effective they have to make limited builds where other classes have flexibility. So the question becomes what kinds of flexility do we give them?

    Some good ideas are:
    -Movement and action economy (standard action full attack is very popular, as is alternate movement speeds)
    -Moar skills. Helps those desperately in need of things to do out of combat
    -Capstones and special class abilities that reward dedication to one melee class and provide both useful and flavorful benefits to do so. This is a big difference between core melee classes and classes like those in the ToB
    -The ability to have fall back options if the preferred method of combat does not work. Gambit/Shock Trooper fighter taking a bit of a beating? Good thing you can still change to your defensive fighting style that works as a backup.

    And so on.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Improving class skill lists and increasing skill points (which is generally the first change I make during a fix) seems to be a common suggestion. I'm just wondering, is that by itself enough to cover a class' ability to contribute outside of combat, or do they need noncombat class features in addition?
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    That depends on what they have already. For instance the ranger has some tracking ability, so that is a neat little out of combat ability. Give every melee class one or two abilities like that and it makes things a lot more interesting.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alabenson View Post
    Improving class skill lists and increasing skill points (which is generally the first change I make during a fix) seems to be a common suggestion. I'm just wondering, is that by itself enough to cover a class' ability to contribute outside of combat, or do they need noncombat class features in addition?
    I think it depends on the intended role of the class. But a few nice social abilities or ACFs wouldn't be a bad idea.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    It needs:
    A. Useful noncombat abilities. This usually means a better skill selection, although minor spellcasting ability (especially with spells that other classes can't get) or reflavored versions of the same (which can work well for a more mystical martial class, or in a setting where there is magical power inherent in being awesome) can do the job too.
    B. More combat capability.

    That said, I would advise (especially if you don't feel that every character has to be equal in each encounter, just equal overall) that some martial classes (most notably fighter) not be made tier 3 at all, but rather a very strong tier 4; such a class would work well in a tier 3 group despite not having the versatility to be technically tier 3. The key here is taking approach B and dialing it up to 11 (rule of thumb: If a wizard of the same level has a better than 30% chance of winning against your remade fighter, you're not doing this approach correctly.)

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Honestly, the easiest way to obtain Tier 3 status is to do what ToB did, and that's create a "list" of abilities outside of the character's class table.

    There are so many Tier 3+ classes that have these so-called "lists" that I can't even think of one class that is at least Tier 3 under the power of its table alone (I'm probably wrong, so don't quote me on that). You have spell lists, psionic powers, martial maneuvers, and other such extra powers and abilities.

    These "lists" are what give versatility in its largest quantity without making the class "look OP". For example, let's take a neophyte DnD player first cracking open a PHB; that person will look through, and see how little class features the Wizard gets vs. the Monk and say "Wow, the Monk has so much more stuff! It's totally more powerful than a Wizard . . . but the Wizard does get spells, so I guess that's balanced".

    Because the Wizard gets all of it's best stuff outside of its table, it gets a larger margin of power and versatility to choose from than the classes lacking those "lists".

    Obviously there are exceptions, Like Rangers and Paladins, but that's because of other issues (MAD and lack of synergy being some of them). Generally speaking, lists are the easiest way to make a Tier 3+ class.

    So give a class a spell list, a psionics list, a martial maneuver list, or even make one up. That would be the easiest way, IMO. (But do it right, lest ye end up with another Paladin/Ranger failure).

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    I think that is an unneccessary arms race. Why does a fighter need to be versatile in every imaginable situation? And why does a wizard?

    The Problem are not the tier 4 classes, but the tier 1 classes. Tier 1 should not exist!
    Everything that ends up in tier 1 went horribly wrong.
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I think that is an unneccessary arms race. Why does a fighter need to be versatile in every imaginable situation? And why does a wizard?

    The Problem are not the tier 4 classes, but the tier 1 classes. Tier 1 should not exist!
    Everything that ends up in tier 1 went horribly wrong.
    That's true, but the ToB classes have lists, as do psychic warriors and bards, and they're Tier 3. All one needs to do is limit what the lists entail.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Ebolanator View Post
    Honestly, the easiest way to obtain Tier 3 status is to do what ToB did, and that's create a "list" of abilities outside of the character's class table.

    There are so many Tier 3+ classes that have these so-called "lists" that I can't even think of one class that is at least Tier 3 under the power of its table alone (I'm probably wrong, so don't quote me on that). You have spell lists, psionic powers, martial maneuvers, and other such extra powers and abilities.

    These "lists" are what give versatility in its largest quantity without making the class "look OP". For example, let's take a neophyte DnD player first cracking open a PHB; that person will look through, and see how little class features the Wizard gets vs. the Monk and say "Wow, the Monk has so much more stuff! It's totally more powerful than a Wizard . . . but the Wizard does get spells, so I guess that's balanced".

    Because the Wizard gets all of it's best stuff outside of its table, it gets a larger margin of power and versatility to choose from than the classes lacking those "lists".

    Obviously there are exceptions, Like Rangers and Paladins, but that's because of other issues (MAD and lack of synergy being some of them). Generally speaking, lists are the easiest way to make a Tier 3+ class.

    So give a class a spell list, a psionics list, a martial maneuver list, or even make one up. That would be the easiest way, IMO. (But do it right, lest ye end up with another Paladin/Ranger failure).
    To be honest, I consider giving a class a spells, psionics, maneuvers, etc. as part of a fix to be taking the lazy way out.
    My goal when trying to fix a class is to find a way to bring them up to Tier-3 capability without resorting to tacking on a "list" that changes the basic identity of the class.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I think that is an unneccessary arms race. Why does a fighter need to be versatile in every imaginable situation? And why does a wizard?

    The Problem are not the tier 4 classes, but the tier 1 classes. Tier 1 should not exist!
    Everything that ends up in tier 1 went horribly wrong.
    I prefer to improve classes rather than nerf them whenever possible. Most of the problems with the Tier-1 and Tier-2 classes can be easily solved by fixing individual spells. The problems with the lower tiers, on the other hand, tend to be much more deeply ingrained, sometimes requiring the classes to be almost entirely rebuilt.
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    1. Mobility.
    2. Customizabilty: build strategies.
    3. In-combat alternatives: tactics
    4. Solid action economy edge.
    5. More class skills & skill points so you can have nice in-combat and out-of-combat stuff.
    6. Way more lasting power.

    See this as an example.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    possibly, change wha your thinking of when you say "fighter"?
    so rater than having "angry man with stick" think more in terms of a Dante style charismatic swordsman?

    as said, they could have manouvers or signature "attack" abilities that can really mess a guy up, and with the charisma they can act as a party "face"
    too

    also, and iv never seen anyone but me think that so this might be bull****:
    increaseing the functionality of, and number of, combat options beyond attack". if disarming, bull rushing, and so on are al decent options in there own right, then suddenly a melee combatant beome a lot more dangerouson the battlfield.

    maybe a few low key "leader" type buffs to the whole party (bonuses to will save, morale bonuses, etc) with scaling ones for a round when a succesful disarm or what have you is completed. my thinking is that in fiction the warrior is almost aways the leader, and d+d already draws so much from fiction that would work too.
    so like.....he's at the front of the pack, inspiring his allies with his efforts, and when he does something particularly flashy, everyone benefits (in both the "that 8 foot tall mostrous swordsman no longer has his sword"and in a straight benefits/inspirations way)
    i feel that if there was a reason to look more at the combat options tactically (with attack being the "damn, i cant use something better" choice) the playing a melee combatant would be much more interesting, unlike now when 95% of the time, its best to go for some variation on "stab the bad man"


    that particulr set-up would work best with fighter, but thats the sort of path id go down

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Hrm, seems like everyone has put a fairly big emphasis on skills, spells/manoeuvres, mobility and action economy already, so I won't go there (except to chime in with my general agreement on the issue). I feel I should point something out though...the OP title 'What does melee need...?' is answered quite simply. More.

    Melee alone is not enough to make a good T3 class, no matter how many feats and abilities you throw at it, and if you start giving them extra stuff like more skills, spells, etc you usually end up standing on the toes of other classes. Truth is, the fighter isn't a badly designed class, it's just not been designed at all. If someone told me the fighter class in 3.0/5 had been printed as a baseline layout for the other combat classes, and had only been put in the book by mistake, I'd be inclined to believe them.

    House rules to allow full attacks as standards help out everyone, and so the fighter gains little help himself. Extra skills are nice, but without class features to give them flavour/utility the fighter doesn't gain much from out-of-combat options with them, and usually what it does gain is still not as effective as a bard, ranger or rogue using the same skill at the same level.

    To make a fighter T3 would be best achieved by giving them something other classes can't/don't do. As it stands, they are the only class I can think of which doesn't have a 'schtick' which is solely (or at least mostly) theirs alone. I don't count fighter feats, since we all know the trouble with linear progressions and non-scaling bonuses by now, I'm sure! Add some mobility options to this, and give them unique action economies (like climb-fighting/extraordinary jumping abilities to deal with fliers or automatic Spring Attack/Cleave augmenting abilities without useless feat tax so movement doesn't preclude or limit combat effectiveness). You should end up with something good if you can do all this well...

    ...or you could just use nonsi's Warrior (since that does rather rock).
    Last edited by Veklim; 2012-09-05 at 06:33 AM.
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Veklim View Post
    Truth is, the fighter isn't a badly designed class, it's just not been designed at all. If someone told me the fighter class in 3.0/5 had been printed as a baseline layout for the other combat classes, and had only been put in the book by mistake, I'd be inclined to believe them.
    . . .
    As it stands, they are the only class I can think of which doesn't have a 'schtick' which is solely (or at least mostly) theirs alone.
    Indeed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veklim View Post
    Add some mobility options to this, and give them unique action economies (like climb-fighting/extraordinary jumping abilities to deal with fliers or automatic Spring Attack/Cleave augmenting abilities without useless feat tax so movement doesn't preclude or limit combat effectiveness). You should end up with something good if you can do all this well...
    All good calls, except . . .
    I'm a bit uneasy with extraordinary jumping if it means circumventing the rules for skill checks, because it conveys an unnatural feel to a class that supposes to grant the edge via superior combat understanding.
    Bonuses to Jump checks (and to some other skills maybe), OTOH, I'm all in favor of.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    I'm not suggesting he goes all silly with the jumping stuff, but allowing extra damage when dropping or leaping onto a target would be nice, along with some scaling class bonus to jump. There are a fair few skill tricks which could be referred to for funky but still (Ex) abilities which you could incorporate into the fighter table too. Also, give them tumble. If nothing else then at least that!

    Another thought is to give them Str to intimidate checks instead or Cha, and allow them to use their BAB in place of bluff ranks for feinting in combat (including meeting requirements for feats, etc). These things will help enormously.
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Well what D&D 3.5 should have done is not start at level one but start at Epic Levels for each class then go backwards.

    That way you are not working with weak to strong but strong to weak.

    Example: If the fighter started out at Epic Levels and had a ton of abilities this would show what you want the class to become.

    You will have a goal.

    So when creating a tier 3 PC start at level 21 so you have a tangible goal on paper.

    Let's say in the beginning the Wizard and Fighter was made starting at level 21 with the idea of tier 3 in mind.

    The Wizard at level 21 is Tier 1. Dang we need to scale back on the utility/power etc. Hmm if we give class features and less spells (d necro, beguiler, and warmage) the Wizard drops.


    The Fighter at level 21 is tier 5. Dang we need to boost his utility/power a bit. Say we think an epic Fighter should be able to grapple *anything* in his way? Well we give a scaling ability to give the fighter graplling ability. Let's call this "powerful build 1 - 5" which gives a bonus to more than grapple (str checks) which in turns makes you a better tripper, bull rusher, and even breaking down doors! :)

    So create what you want a class to become and make it tier 3. The let it trickle down through the levels

    Or just scratch non tier 4/3 classes.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    It really comes down to having a distinct, difficult-to-replicate or undesirable-to-replicate role. The second is always easier than the first in D&D 3.5, where you have so many ways to build whatever you want.

    What I mean by undesirable-to-replicate is, a necessary job that costs actions, such that people who have other things to do will not want to do it. Of course the problem there is that the result could easily get pigeonholed by group pressure like a heal-bot cleric.

    Another consideration is 'what do they do when out of combat'. Most classes aside from dedicated melee have at least some kind of out of combat role. Rogues are huge skill monkeys, wizards have a toolkit of things to play with, Clerics have divinations and can just make some problems like disease or death go away, Druids can wildshape to go into hostile environments or to spy, etc.

    So, a couple suggestions:

    - Give melee zone control abilities beyond what they have. Fighters can threaten reach+5 or reach+10 instead of just their reach. They can now do other things than a standard AoO when things provoke within their reach, even acting as a barrier that can only be passed by someone fighting past them. They flank a larger area. They can reactively defend others for an immediate action, giving them an AC bonus or even taking the blow for them.

    - Give melee the ability out of combat to determine someone's classes after a minute of interaction, basically sizing up an opponent, possibly using a modified level check. At higher levels, they can detect their feats and/or skill ranks.

    - Give melee the ability out of combat to guard against surprise attacks and the sudden initiation of hostilities. A melee character taking part in negotiations negates any surprise round that is initiated by an attack from a character of their level plus their Wis mod or below. Additional melee characters add 1/4 their modified level value to this threshold.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    There are dozens of melee fighter classes that accentuate some specific ability or role- Weaponmaster, Dungeon Crusher, etc.

    If, instead of having that role set in stone during level up, one could easily change it (i.e. using different set of weapons/armor, or by combining his abilities with specially chosen henchmen by occupying the same square and creating a new "unit" that fights as one entity), then said flexibility would make it a perfect Tier 3.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    I agree with alabenson because spellcasting gives the versatility that is required to deal with strange encounters but there are problem spells. So if you don't have a spellcaster you shouldn't expect to be able to fight unusual stuff (like flying enemies). However, I also think items that can allow stuff like that should be much easier to get access to and much more durable.
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by SinsI View Post
    There are dozens of melee fighter classes that accentuate some specific ability or role- Weaponmaster, Dungeon Crusher, etc.

    If, instead of having that role set in stone during level up, one could easily change it (i.e. using different set of weapons/armor, or by combining his abilities with specially chosen henchmen by occupying the same square and creating a new "unit" that fights as one entity), then said flexibility would make it a perfect Tier 3.
    Sinsi, i created a fighter that sort of worked on the idea you are talking about, but it seems that without extensive action economy breaking folks dont consider it T3:

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250002

    I still think its pretty cool, though.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Two threads that y'all should consider reading:
    This one for theory.
    The traditional fighter resource thread.
    Of course, if you want to expand on ToB there is the Age of Warriors project, but I don't think that is what you are going for (although we did some pretty good work there if I do say so myself).
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    An easy step would be to compress them to 10 level classes.

    I suspect that after doing so, with double everything per level, you'd still find that they wouldn't be massively overpowered. :)

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    An easy step would be to compress them to 10 level classes.

    I suspect that after doing so, with double everything per level, you'd still find that they wouldn't be massively overpowered. :)
    So we are back to 2nd edition are we?

    :D

    But I think if the fighter had a way to be useful outside of charger/tripper builds then that would be a good start.

    Ever try playing a caster in 2e without a meat shield? It sucked... You never could cast since your spells could be distrupted so easily. 3.5 is difficult to have a caster only party at low levels but doable.

    Take the concentration check out of 3.5 AND make the fighter/rogue/barbarian/Paladin/ranger tier 3 and you could leave the sorcerer/wizard/cleric/druid alone but still have a better game. The *need* for the other classes would make them so much better right off the bat cause no matter what, your character is important.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Alot of people are mentioning the action economy as a place where melee needs an edge, and was hoping someone could clarify:

    Are you referring to abilities that actually give extra actions, such as the celerity line of spells or white raven tactics, or are you referring to the ability to make better use of their actions, such as giving melee useful things to do with their standard and swift actions?
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alabenson View Post
    Alot of people are mentioning the action economy as a place where melee needs an edge, and was hoping someone could clarify:

    Are you referring to abilities that actually give extra actions, such as the celerity line of spells or white raven tactics, or are you referring to the ability to make better use of their actions, such as giving melee useful things to do with their standard and swift actions?
    Not extra actions but a use of all the actions someone gets.

    Most mundane melee gains: Standard, Move/5ft step, Free. As actions

    Other actions that exist are... Swift and Immediate. These two are key for some of the wizards ability. Wizards get a ACF that let's you as an immediate action teleport X feat. Immediate actions can be taken at ANY time... So if you are being swung at you can teleport away and no long be in that square thus ruining the attack. Slightly messed up actually lol.

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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    The 10 level fighter. When a mechanism is considered unacceptable (Greater than good saves, BaB > 1 per level, more than 1 HD per level), an additional mechanic is added to be roughly equivalent.

    Saves: all good.
    HD: d10
    BaB: +1/level
    Skill points: 4/level (same list)

    Features: All of these features are (Ex)
    Weapon Mastery: When making a weapon, unarmed or improvised attack, you gain a bonus to your attack roll equal to your fighter class level.

    Second Wind: You have a second wind pool of 2d10 per fighter class level. When you spend your second wind, you can roll up to 1 plus half your fighter class level and gain that many temporary HP. If you are healed while you have second wind temporary HP, you can spend those temporary HP to increase the amount you are healed, up to doubling the amount you are healed. You can spend your second wind at the end of a long rest, by taking the total defence action, whenever you crit with an attack, or whenever you are healed and did not spend temporary HP to increase the amount healed. Note that for the purpose of this ability, regeneration effects do not count as being healed.

    Paragon: You gain a bonus to your class skills equal to your fighter class level, but no more than the number of skill points you have invested in the skill.

    Quickness: At level 4, once during your turn you can make a melee or ranged attack as a free action. At level 8, you can do this twice during your turn.

    Feats: You gain 1 fighter bonus feat for every class level.

    Toughness: You gain a +1 bonus to your Fortitude save every odd Fighter level.

    ...

    Similar transformations of Paladins, Rangers and Barbarians don't end up being all that gross either. (I'd change some of the Second Wind triggers, but keep the Second Wind mechanic. Quickness and Weapon Mastery would remain.)
    Last edited by Yakk; 2012-09-07 at 01:18 PM.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by TopCheese View Post
    Not extra actions but a use of all the actions someone gets.

    Most mundane melee gains: Standard, Move/5ft step, Free. As actions

    Other actions that exist are... Swift and Immediate. These two are key for some of the wizards ability. Wizards get a ACF that let's you as an immediate action teleport X feat. Immediate actions can be taken at ANY time... So if you are being swung at you can teleport away and no long be in that square thus ruining the attack. Slightly messed up actually lol.
    Way more than slightly messed up -- this alone counts for at least 25% of why melee is considered sub-par. The thought that, in a defense based conflict resolution system, you can take an action to just not be there is utterly gamebreaking for combat based characters.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: What Does Melee Need to be Tier 3? (3.5)

    As far as melee is concerned the main trouble for action economy is this (fighter/wizard comparison is extreme, but illustrates trouble nice and clearly):

    level 1, wizard can cast a 1st level spell as a standard.
    Fighter can hit someone once as a standard.
    This is fine.
    level 6, wizard can cast a 3rd level spell as a standard, and probably has the use of a few swift spells too now, meaning 2 spells + move in a turn.
    Fighter can hit someone once as a standard. Has to give up the chance to do anything else at all in the round, including moving, to get his iterative attack.
    Troubles emerging...?
    level 11, wizard is now quickening spells, using swift spells, running about with 6th level spells as standard actions.
    Fighter can hit someone once as a standard. Has to give up the chance to do anything else at all in the round, including moving, to get either of his TWO iterative attacks, but by now can't generally hit half of what he's trying to anyway because they move too fast or fly, and he can't actually swing more than once a round anyhow because he has to move to engage, meaning he now only ever charges in combat until something gets stuck in front of him somehow.
    Now we certainly have a problem.

    This is basically everything you need to know about the action economy debate. Melee has little to do with swift or immediate actions, and honestly hardly gets to use a move for anything except moving, because otherwise they don't do ANYTHING in a round at all. They never get more than a single attack as a standard, meaning at least half the advantages of a high BAB and melee oriented abilities are lost whenever the enemy isn't conveniently within reach at the start of your turn, and doesn't have one of the myriad of evasive tricks used with those swift/immediate actions which the fighter doesn't get to use himself.

    To fix melee, you must address this.
    Last edited by Veklim; 2012-09-07 at 01:32 PM.
    All I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by.

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