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    Default Retiering the Classes: A new home

    This is a project started by eggynack a long time ago, in a forum far far away (i.e., last year on this forum before it was down a for a while). I won't change much, if anything regarding how eggy did things, this is simply a continuation of eggy's work, though I'll likely take a less active position in the actual discussions mostly due to a time factor (i.e., I haven't been having time). Anything I do change/add will be marked in this indigo colour. Without further ado...

    THE PROJECT: RETIERING THE CLASSES


    JaronK's tier system for classes is pretty neat. Least I think so. A hierarchical arrangement of game objects is tricky to design in the best of times, but it's perhaps at its trickiest in a system as complex as 3.5, and cooperative for that matter. The original system has prevailed throughout the years, sticking around while more complex variations pop up and often fade away. It's a great thing, but also a somewhat problematic one, as various classes in the game were mistiered, or, if they're sufficiently obscure, they weren't tiered at all. Moreover, some of the underlying rules for tiers are a bit on the wonky side. Our goal here is to retier the classes over a long period of time, knocking them out approximately three at a time in a variety of subthreads, and create as perfect a tier list as is plausible. Our other goal is to discuss classes, cause doing that is neat.

    This thread, then, has the basic purpose of discussing stuff like procedure, and what classes we should tier, along with any other essential functioning stuff. It will also be a nexus for all the child threads that are devoted to class sets, linking to them and having useful information and such. So, with that out of the way, let's get to the important stuff.

    What are the tiers?

    The simple answer here is that tier one is the best, the home of things on the approximate problem solving scale of wizards, and tier six is the worst, land of commoners. And problem solving capacity is what's being measured here. Considering the massive range of challenges a character is liable to be presented with across the levels, how much and how often does that character's class contribute to the defeat of those challenges? This value should be considered as a rough averaging across all levels, the center of the level range somewhat more than really low and really high level characters, and across all optimization levels (considering DM restrictiveness as a plausible downward acting factor on how optimized a character is), prioritizing moderate optimization somewhat more than low or high.

    A big issue with the original tier system is that, if anything, it was too specific, generating inflexible definitions for allowance into a tier which did not cover the broad spectrum of ways a class can operate. When an increase in versatility would seem to represent a decrease in tier, because tier two is supposed to be low versatility, it's obvious that we've become mired in something that'd be pointless to anyone trying to glean information from the tier system. Thus, I will be uncharacteristically word light here. The original tier system's tier descriptions are still good guidelines here, but they shouldn't be assumed to be the end all and be all for how classes get ranked.

    Consistent throughout these tiers is the notion of problems and the solving thereof. For the purposes of this tier system, the problem space can be said to be inclusive of combat, social interaction, and exploration, with the heaviest emphasis placed on combat. A problem could theoretically fall outside of that space, but things inside that space are definitely problems. Another way to view the idea of problem solving is through the lens of the niche ranking system. A niche filled tends to imply the capacity to solve a type of problem, whether it's a status condition in the case of healing, or an enemy that just has too many hit points in the case of melee combat. It's not a perfect measure, both because some niches have a lot of overlap in the kinds of problems they can solve and because, again, the niches aren't necessarily all inclusive, but they can act as a good tool for class evaluation.

    Tier one: Incredibly good at solving nearly all problems. This is the realm of clerics, druids, and wizards, classes that open up with strong combat spells backed up by utility, and then get massively stronger from there. If you're not keeping up with that core trio of tier one casters, then you probably don't belong here.

    Tier two: We're just a step below tier one here, in the land of classes around the sorcerer level of power. Generally speaking, this means relaxing one of the two tier one assumptions, either getting us to very good at solving nearly all problems, or incredibly good at solving most problems. But, as will continue to be the case as these tiers go on, there aren't necessarily these two simple categories for this tier. You gotta lose something compared to the tier one casters, but what you lose doesn't have to be in some really specific proportions.

    Tier three: Again, we gotta sacrifice something compared to tier two, here taking us to around the level of a swordsage. The usual outcome is that you are very good at solving a couple of problems and competent at solving a few more. Of course, there are other possibilities, for example that you might instead be competent at solving nearly all problems.

    Tier four: Here we're in ranger/barbarian territory (though the ranger should be considered largely absent of ACF's and stuff to hit this tier, as will be talked about later). Starting from that standard tier three position, the usual sweet spots here are very good at solving a few problems, or alright at solving many problems.

    Tier five
    : We're heading close to the dregs here. Tier five is the tier of monks, classes that are as bad as you can be without being an aristocrat or a commoner. Classes here are sometimes very good at solving nearly no problems, or alright at solving a few, or some other function thereof. It's weak, is the point.

    Tier six: And here we have commoner tier. Or, the bottom is commoner. The top is approximately aristocrat. You don't necessarily have nothing in this tier, but you have close enough to it.


    If you have any suggestions for modifications to this setup, go ahead, but I think the general format of, "Each tier is worse than the one above, and can be that in a large number of ways," is solid. It's a structure that can plausibly handle the addition of random new classes and systems without breaking down.

    Important notes, procedural and otherwise

    Tier Voting Procedure:The basic procedure here will be to vote on classes in the suitable thread. Threads will stay open for an indefinite quantity of time, though I could get bored in like a year and someone else could take up the thread altering game (I, heavyfuel, reserve the same right). I'll be checking and altering the numbers reasonably often to match changes in vote, and you can alter your vote whenever you want. I expect each thread to handle roughly three classes, though I could see some going up to five or six. We probably don't need to spend two entire threads covering classes that are obviously tier one, for example. Votes don't necessarily have to take on integer values, though I'm gonna say you should stick to rationals, cause supporting the alternative seems too hard and not worth it. I don't really have much I can do with, "Tier three sometimes, tier four other times," and, "High tier two," is just going to be a two, so make sure that whatever you do can be reasonably put into a fancy spreadsheet.

    One really important thing here is that you can't just toss a vote out into the void with no information and then just leave. You need some solid justification for your vote, and preferably some interaction with the discussion. If you don't, it's not that big a deal, cause you can always add justification, but your vote may not be counted until then, and you'll may be notified if you've been left out. Our goal here is accuracy in tiering, and if you think a class is tiered in a certain way premised on incorrect knowledge, then that should be plainly visible from what you're saying about the class. A few sentences is reasonable, a paragraph or two is quite good, and a few posts on the topic is great. Generally speaking, the more controversial a class is, the more explanation you're going to want to give, and the same is the case for individually weird votes. Just giving a wizard a 1 and saying, "Jeez, you called this a one explicitly in your initial post. How much detail do you really want me to give?" is likely sufficient. Doing the same about a class that's had ten pages of individual attention is probably not.

    On ACF's, feats, items, dips, prestige classes, and so on:The default here will be to consider everything that isn't a class or prestige class, and nothing that is a class or prestige class. A general assumption is that the more obscure something is, the less likely it is to be on any particular character, and thus the less it should factor in. What matters most are things that a class has access to or makes good use of by dint of their class features. If a commoner can do it just as well, it's not a major class consideration. One major exception to this is individual game objects that merit a tier adjustment in and of themselves, and that largely lack for substitutes. The same may sometimes be the case for two object interactions, but that's more of an edge case and should be looked at on a case by case basis. When these things happen, we'll split off the ACF or feat (or item, but that's rarer) altered class and call it its own entry.

    In all cases, use your best judgement and discretion. I think we'll get some good results here.

    The Threads

    The Icarnum Classes: Incarnate, Soulborn, Totemist

    The Expanded Psionics: Psion, Psychic Warrior, Soulknife, Wilder

    The Auraists (Re-Done): Divine Mind, Dragon Shaman, Marshal

    Completing the Psionics: Ardent, Erudite, Lurk, Psychic Rogue

    The Stray Dogs: Knight, Noble, Swashbuckler

    The Dragon Magaziners: Mystic Ranger, Trickster, Wild Monk

    The Generic Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    The Rankings


    These are the classes from most higher to lower tier. All numbers are integers, but the decimals were taken into account when ordering (see spreadsheet at the bottom of post for detail). As for rounding up/down, the system was: a class that ranked at X.50 or better was put in Tier X, classes that ranked X.51 or worse were put into Tier X+1.

    Tier 1
    Cleric: Tier 1
    Druid: Tier 1
    Sha'ir: Tier 1
    Shaman: Tier 1
    Archivist: Tier 1
    Wizard: Tier 1
    Artificer: Tier 1
    Wu Jen: Tier 1
    Spontaneous Druid: Tier 1

    Tier 2
    Death Master: Tier 2
    Spontaneous Cleric: Tier 2
    Erudite: Tier 2
    Psion: Tier 2
    Sorcerer: Tier 2
    Evangelist: Tier 2
    Spirit Shaman: Tier 2
    Urban Druid: Tier 2
    Mystic: Tier 2
    Ardent: Tier 2
    Dread Necromancer: Tier 2
    Beguiler: Tier 2
    Favored Soul: Tier 2
    Mystic Ranger: Tier 2

    Tier 3
    Wilder: Tier 3
    Shugenja: Tier 3
    Trickster Spellthief: Tier 3
    Bard: Tier 3
    Jester: Tier 3
    Totemist: Tier 3
    Swordsage: Tier 3
    Warlock: Tier 3
    Crusader: Tier 3
    Binder: Tier 3
    Psychic Warrior: Tier 3
    Warmage: Tier 3
    Warblade: Tier 3
    Dragonfire Adept: Tier 3
    Healer: Tier 3
    Wild Shape Ranger: Tier 3
    Duskblade: Tier 3
    Factotum: Tier 3
    Lurk: Tier 4
    Psychic Rogue: Tier 3

    Tier 4
    Wild Monk: Tier 4
    Incarnate: Tier 4
    Shadowcaster: Tier 4
    Rogue: Tier 4
    Barbarian: Tier 4
    Scout: Tier 4
    Adept: Tier 4
    Spellthief: Tier 4
    Paladin: Tier 4
    Ranger: Tier 4
    Ninja: Tier 4
    Savant: Tier 4
    Fighter: Tier 4

    Tier 5
    Marshal: Tier 5
    Truenamer: Tier 5
    Sohei: Tier 5
    Hexblade: Tier 5
    Monk: Tier 5
    Battle Dancer: Tier 5
    Divine Mind: Tier 5
    Mountebank: Tier 5
    Samurai (OA): Tier 5
    Dragon Shaman: Tier 5
    Magewright: Tier 5
    Swashbuckler: Tier 5
    Soulborn: Tier 5
    Noble: Tier 5
    Knight: Tier 5
    Soulknife: Tier 5
    Expert: Tier 5
    Samurai (CW): Tier 5

    Tier 6
    Aristocrat: Tier 6
    Warrior: Tier 6
    Commoner: Tier 6


    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing. This is the updated spreadsheet. Big thanks to Troacctid for getting it up and running.
    Last edited by heavyfuel; 2019-12-21 at 04:56 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Last edited by heavyfuel; 2018-09-10 at 12:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Reserved because you never know.

    There should be a thread for the Magic of Incarnum classes up in a few minutes.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    What happened to Psionics?
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by PhantasyPen View Post
    What happened to Psionics?
    It's the next post

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    In regards to this part of your post, I have a question:

    Tier one: Incredibly good at solving nearly all problems. This is the realm of clerics, druids, and wizards, classes that open up with strong combat spells backed up by utility, and then get massively stronger from there. If you're not keeping up with that core trio of tier one casters, then you probably don't belong here.
    Are you considering that on average, wizard builds will be more Tier 4 than Tier 1? Since you include eggynack's votings and implicitly his way of rankings, I would say no.
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by EldritchWeaver View Post
    In regards to this part of your post, I have a question:

    Are you considering that on average, wizard builds will be more Tier 4 than Tier 1? Since you include eggynack's votings and implicitly his way of rankings, I would say no.
    Simply because most players won't play a Wizard to its full potential doesn't mean the class is Tier 4. It still has tier 1 potential.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Oh sweet this is back. I was disappointed when it dropped off, a comprehensive tier list would be great.
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by EldritchWeaver View Post
    In regards to this part of your post, I have a question:

    Are you considering that on average, wizard builds will be more Tier 4 than Tier 1? Since you include eggynack's votings and implicitly his way of rankings, I would say no.
    I don't think it is correct that more wizard builds are tier 4 than tier 1, first of all. What even is a wizard build? Hand even the worst possible "normal" wizard (meaning a wizard with at least some intelligence, and with either gold or the items that were purchased with that gold) to a good optimizer, and that terrible wizard will be excellent within a week at the outside. Second, if a wizard is supposedly at tier 4, and the other classes are being played at the optimization level that would get you there, then where is, say, the bard? Or the sorcerer? Or, hell, the fighter or monk? If the wizard sucks, I'd contend that the other classes will typically suck worse. Not universally true, of course. Some classes have intensely high floors. But the wizard's high ceiling makes up for some of that.

    The ultimate rule of thumb for tiering, in my opinion, is that a class should be ranked higher than worse classes and lower than the better classes. I have a bit of definition in there about what the tier kinda looks like, but I consider that a largely secondary concern. Sure, your crap wizard may be incapable, at the moment, of doing literally everything, but they still quite likely have decent combat stuff with a smattering of utility, and that counts for a lot in such an environment. I think it fair to claim that the wizard, even accounting for the wide range of optimization levels, is more powerful than anything of lower tier, and reasonably comparable to everything of the same tier. There are advantages and disadvantages compared to the other tier ones, but it evens out reasonably well.

    All that said, I think the wizard faced arguably the most controversy of any class in the "obvious tier one" thread. They ranked higher than artificer, but lower than everything else, and the fact that everyone knows the class made it a bit of a lightning rod. As a result, I'd recommend you check out the thread in question, because I suspect it has all the objections you're pointing out now, as well as rebuttals to those objections, and general discussion of how the wizard properly fits into the tier system framework.

    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    Oh sweet this is back. I was disappointed when it dropped off, a comprehensive tier list would be great.
    Agreed, with all the vague hypocrisy that entails. It was a sweet project, that produced the approximate results I'd expect (which I see as a good thing, given that the place you generally want a tier system to land is that it approximates the expectations of people that know the system well), and had some good arguments for those results.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Oh, BTW, the Auraists thread, as you may have noticed, never actually got tallied all the way. Are you going to redo that thread or just take the general consensus? And will you be using a spreadsheet to measure how close to other tiers each class gets?
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    @heavyfuel, I just wanted to point out that the results of the linked Aura-ists thread are not included in your list of rankings here. The old spreadsheet gives an average of T5 for each.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    Oh, BTW, the Auraists thread, as you may have noticed, never actually got tallied all the way. Are you going to redo that thread or just take the general consensus? And will you be using a spreadsheet to measure how close to other tiers each class gets?
    Quote Originally Posted by PunBlake View Post
    @heavyfuel, I just wanted to point out that the results of the linked Aura-ists thread are not included in your list of rankings here. The old spreadsheet gives an average of T5 for each.
    I think the forum went down mid auraists thread and then it was forgotten. I'll probably redo the thread, but since we already have a start on the forum's opinion it's not really a priority.
    Last edited by heavyfuel; 2018-09-11 at 01:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    I was getting pretty lazy about upkeep at that point, probably owing partially to that server breakdown, but apparently not that lazy, cause everyone but Deanno was already on the sheet. There was a decent number of votes too, given the topic, with marshal getting 13 votes.

    Anyway, the results were that everyone got tier five, with marshal at the top with 4.57, then divine mind with 4.69, and then dragon shaman with 4.92. I edited the aura thread and the home base thread with those results. Still don't have most of the sub-threads linked to the aura thread, but the home base one is for some reason. Not sure it matters overmuch at this point. That was always probably the second most aggravating part of maintaining the threads, after occasions where the spreadsheet broke down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    I don't think it is correct that more wizard builds are tier 4 than tier 1, first of all. What even is a wizard build? Hand even the worst possible "normal" wizard (meaning a wizard with at least some intelligence, and with either gold or the items that were purchased with that gold) to a good optimizer, and that terrible wizard will be excellent within a week at the outside. Second, if a wizard is supposedly at tier 4, and the other classes are being played at the optimization level that would get you there, then where is, say, the bard? Or the sorcerer? Or, hell, the fighter or monk? If the wizard sucks, I'd contend that the other classes will typically suck worse. Not universally true, of course. Some classes have intensely high floors. But the wizard's high ceiling makes up for some of that.
    A "wizard build" is simply a single-classed character with wizard levels. Why is that important? Because your tiering said, you should average all possible builds. But since there are far more non-Tier 1 choices than Tier 1 choices, most wizard builds will be not Tier 1. It would be an understatement to say that there is one Tier 1 for one million non-Tier 1 builds. To arrive still a Tier 1 for a wizard with employing an averaging algorithm requires that you weight Tier 1 builds more than a million other builds. I wouldn't have a problem, if you had said, you are looking for the ceiling.

    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    The ultimate rule of thumb for tiering, in my opinion, is that a class should be ranked higher than worse classes and lower than the better classes. I have a bit of definition in there about what the tier kinda looks like, but I consider that a largely secondary concern. Sure, your crap wizard may be incapable, at the moment, of doing literally everything, but they still quite likely have decent combat stuff with a smattering of utility, and that counts for a lot in such an environment. I think it fair to claim that the wizard, even accounting for the wide range of optimization levels, is more powerful than anything of lower tier, and reasonably comparable to everything of the same tier. There are advantages and disadvantages compared to the other tier ones, but it evens out reasonably well.
    Of course such a wizard is better than a fighter. That wizard is still somewhat optimized. If we use a magic missile wizard, then we have the same niche as the fighter. And is worse, since as soon you run out of spells you need to use the crossbow of shame. The fighter being better at hitting people is achievable with the same amount of optimization.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EldritchWeaver View Post
    A "wizard build" is simply a single-classed character with wizard levels. Why is that important? Because your tiering said, you should average all possible builds.
    I think you're missing the point of my question as regards the term "wizard build". When evaluating build, is it under the assumption that current choices will be future choices, or does the fact that the build is flexible matter? Consider a more obvious example. What is a cleric build? Well, feats, race, skills, and so forth are really difficult to change, so that I'd call definitely part of the build. But for a cleric to be bad, their spells must be bad. So, is a cleric that prepares cure light wounds in every slot a "bad cleric build"? I'd assert that the answer is no. Within a single day, I could change all those cure light wounds into good spells, and it would cost nothing. This spell list is not intrinsic to the build, and the most intelligent spell list in the world could be modified in the opposite way.

    Wizards are more static than clerics, but they're more flexible than the vast majority of classes in the game. As such, it's hard to pin down how you'd wind up with a bad wizard build. You could drop intelligence, pick terrible spells, and waste as much money as is possible (maybe even using VoP), but that's an unusual setup. I'd more likely expect a bad wizard to have decent intelligence, enough that all accessible levels of spell are castable, along with some reasonably liquid resources with which to buy spells, and such a build could be easily turned good trivially.


    But since there are far more non-Tier 1 choices than Tier 1 choices, most wizard builds will be not Tier 1. It would be an understatement to say that there is one Tier 1 for one million non-Tier 1 builds. To arrive still a Tier 1 for a wizard with employing an averaging algorithm requires that you weight Tier 1 builds more than a million other builds. I wouldn't have a problem, if you had said, you are looking for the ceiling.
    Your terminology here is a bit imprecise, if perhaps necessarily so. Tier is a measure of class, not of character, so the notion of a tier 4 or whatever wizard build is a bit problematic. What I meant before was that this supposedly tier 4 wizard might not actually be tier 4. The way you'd want to actually measure the tier of a particular character, for the purposes of tiering the class, is by setting that optimization level constant among all classes and seeing where the wizard ranks.

    With that in mind, how precisely do we arrive at a tier 4 wizard? I'm not saying it's impossible, but I'd suspect it's fewer situations than you'd think. Consider the example of the magic missile wizard below. Okay, sure, a wizard that does nothing but blast isn't gonna be the best. However, access to AoE's (I can't imagine this crap wizard won't pick up fireball when available) and such means the fighter isn't going to be significantly stronger than the wizard. Clerics and maybe druids won't necessarily be doing better either. Fixed list casters and ToB classes have a real advantage here, but I'd expect an environment this low power to be pretty narrow in terms of tiering. A plausible theoretical tiering, then, could be ToB/fixed list as tier one, most other classes including wizard as floating randomly in the middle three or four tiers, and commoner and such hanging out at 6.
    Of course such a wizard is better than a fighter. That wizard is still somewhat optimized. If we use a magic missile wizard, then we have the same niche as the fighter. And is worse, since as soon you run out of spells you need to use the crossbow of shame. The fighter being better at hitting people is achievable with the same amount of optimization.
    You said the majority of wizards are these supposed tier 4 wizards. If "tier 4 wizard" means magic missile wizard, then I'd dispute this assertion. Wizards simply have way too much list, very nearly forced on them, for everything to converge around this magic missile wizard, especially as level increases. Keep in mind also, along the same lines as the flexibility comment I made above, a weak player can plausibly start playing their wizard stronger if so inclined. They have no such option for a fighter.

    When you combine all these factors, what you wind up with is wizards near the very top at higher levels of optimization, wizards also near the top at moderate optimization, if lower than a lot of other tier ones, wizards pretty decent at low optimization, and wizards kinda hanging out in the mediocre class soup at the absolute floor. It's better than what most classes get, and adds up, in my opinion, to tier one.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by EldritchWeaver View Post
    But since there are far more non-Tier 1 choices than Tier 1 choices, most wizard builds will be not Tier 1.
    Not all choices are equally likely to be made, and not all choices have the same impact. The kind of choices that make a set of wizard builds tier 4--such as not having sufficient Intelligence to cast your highest-level spells, or not having the anatomy to complete components--are very, very unlikely to be made, and in fact run so counter to the general theme and purpose of the class, that they can't be considered anything but outliers. And even then, an equally unoptimized class of a lower tier is probably no stronger.

    In other words: Optimizer or no, people just don't play deaf-mute-no-armed-illiterate-zombie wizards. And if they do, such a character wouldn't be appreciably worse than a deaf-mute-no-armed-illiterate-zombie bard, while all the sensible wizard builds still contribute to its higher tier.
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    I think there's some validity to the idea that you ought to account for the low floor of Wizards. Yes, if you handed a good player a bad Wizard, they could turn it around. But if most players aren't good, that doesn't seem super relevant. That said, the distinction doesn't seem super important, as even a poorly optimized caster will still be fairly effective, because all you really have to do to be good as a Wizard is pick good spells and cast them. I had one game with a new player playing a Sorcerer whose effectiveness was determined almost entirely by whether he thought the blasting spells or the BFC spells at a given level were cooler. At 1st level he picked sleep and won a lot of encounters single-handed. At 6th level he picked fireball and was less effective.

    However, I do think that this project made a mistake in how it was structured. I don't think enough work was put into figuring out how people were going to expect these rankings to work, and as a result people are going to look at these ranking and expect them to be something they aren't (just as they did with JaronK's tiers). You can shout until you're blue in the face about what you're trying to do, but the reality is that people will look at "Tiers" and read "Power Rankings", then get confused because you put weak generalists over strong specialists.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    It...might be worth sorting the list of tiered classes? Either by name or by ranked tier.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    However, I do think that this project made a mistake in how it was structured. I don't think enough work was put into figuring out how people were going to expect these rankings to work, and as a result people are going to look at these ranking and expect them to be something they aren't (just as they did with JaronK's tiers). You can shout until you're blue in the face about what you're trying to do, but the reality is that people will look at "Tiers" and read "Power Rankings", then get confused because you put weak generalists over strong specialists.
    They ARE power rankings though. And it's generally strong generalists outranking strong specialists, and weak generalists outranking weak specialists.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    They ARE power rankings though. And it's generally strong generalists outranking strong specialists, and weak generalists outranking weak specialists.
    I think the rankings of the Factotum and the Rogue are enough to refute that. The Rogue has access to all the best skills, can do enough damage to shred most enemies with Sneak Attack, and bypasses immunities with a couple of items. The Factotum is a dysfunctional class that depends on splat material from a different campaign setting, a specific interpretation of a web enhancement feat, and favorable rulings on its own dysfunctional abilities. Yet the Factotum ranks above the Rogue because people see "it can do anything" and forget to check if it's actually good at doing those things.

    The "generalist" niche is just not a reasonable one. If the enemy has AC 30, having three different attack options at +7 is no different from having no attacks at all.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    I think the rankings of the Factotum and the Rogue are enough to refute that. The Rogue has access to all the best skills, can do enough damage to shred most enemies with Sneak Attack, and bypasses immunities with a couple of items. The Factotum is a dysfunctional class that depends on splat material from a different campaign setting, a specific interpretation of a web enhancement feat, and favorable rulings on its own dysfunctional abilities. Yet the Factotum ranks above the Rogue because people see "it can do anything" and forget to check if it's actually good at doing those things.

    The "generalist" niche is just not a reasonable one. If the enemy has AC 30, having three different attack options at +7 is no different from having no attacks at all.
    It can be true that Factotum is poorly designed and overrated while simultaneously being true that it's more powerful than Rogue. I guess you can correct me if I'm wrong but I don't remember the argument for Factotum > Rogue being that Factotums are better because they have less power but more versatility. I'm pretty sure it was because the people voting that way considered slow-progression spellcasting to be more powerful than sneak attack.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    They ARE power rankings though. And it's generally strong generalists outranking strong specialists, and weak generalists outranking weak specialists.
    Regardless if they are power rankings or versatility rankings or a mixture, fact is that they ignore the effort to get to that supposed rank. A badly optimized wizard won't be to different from a class which provides Tier 4 builds consistently. The naive expectation is "wizard = power" by merely choosing the class.
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by EldritchWeaver View Post
    Regardless if they are power rankings or versatility rankings or a mixture, fact is that they ignore the effort to get to that supposed rank. A badly optimized wizard won't be to different from a class which provides Tier 4 builds consistently. The naive expectation is "wizard = power" by merely choosing the class.
    Exactly. It's naive to assume that all classes require no actual work to build well. In fact, not a single PHB class works like that, so it'd probably be a fairly inexperienced player who thought playing a mage simply auto-pressed the I Win button. That being said, a Wizard's ceiling is high, very high. Even an inexperienced player can easily get them to tier 4 or 3, because Wizard options that sound powerful usually are powerful. Whereas options for, say, a Fighter that sound powerful are quite often not.

    It's also worth noting most High Tier classes that require some build knowledge to function at their tier are actually easier to build. Wizards really only need a good spell selection to reach Tier 1, because it's their spells that make it possible to be there in the first place. Fighters need good feat (and possibly ACF) selection to even try to push on T4/T3 border, and I'm not sure they can even cross it. As you move to the lower tiers, good builds require more investment. Sure, a few almost do it for you: The fixed-list casters reach their tiers with no effort at all (but are also mostly stuck in those tier for not having enough build options). But then you have the Bard: no way to change your bad spells between levels and a partial reliance on skills makes it far easier to screw-up than a Wizard. As you move further down the list, you not only lose some power and versatility, you lose a significant ability to change your poor choices.
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    Exactly. It's naive to assume that all classes require no actual work to build well. In fact, not a single PHB class works like that, so it'd probably be a fairly inexperienced player who thought playing a mage simply auto-pressed the I Win button. That being said, a Wizard's ceiling is high, very high. Even an inexperienced player can easily get them to tier 4 or 3, because Wizard options that sound powerful usually are powerful. Whereas options for, say, a Fighter that sound powerful are quite often not.
    From starting at no knowledge at the low end to emperor tippy at the high end spans a large continuum. I don't claim that everyone stays at the low end, but climbing to the top is a very involved process. Most will not manage. Choosing very powerful options isn't enough, if you don't use them well. 3.5 polymorph isn't without reason considered being broken. But you actually need to read all the monsters and know which ones are particular useful given a certain situation. If you don't, you nerf one of the most powerful features by yourself.
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by EldritchWeaver View Post
    Regardless if they are power rankings or versatility rankings or a mixture, fact is that they ignore the effort to get to that supposed rank. A badly optimized wizard won't be to different from a class which provides Tier 4 builds consistently. The naive expectation is "wizard = power" by merely choosing the class.
    I think you really underestimate the rhetoric surrounding the tiers. Is there bias towards higher optimization somewhat baked in? Sure. But all the stuff you're talking about has been talked about a billion times, and we've tried our damnedest to account for the broad range of optimization levels. This is in no way new to this set of threads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eggynack View Post
    I think you really underestimate the rhetoric surrounding the tiers. Is there bias towards higher optimization somewhat baked in? Sure. But all the stuff you're talking about has been talked about a billion times, and we've tried our damnedest to account for the broad range of optimization levels. This is in no way new to this set of threads.
    Why is that not not mentioned in the OP? My complaint is that someone who doesn't follow the threads, does not know how the evaluation is done, and that tier x refers to the potential, not to the automatic success, when simply taking that class.
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Quote Originally Posted by EldritchWeaver View Post
    Why is that not not mentioned in the OP? My complaint is that someone who doesn't follow the threads, does not know how the evaluation is done, and that tier x refers to the potential, not to the automatic success, when simply taking that class.
    It is, as far as I can tell. Explicitly stated is that tier is calculated across an averaging of both level and optimization level. So, third level poorly optimized wizards are counted, and so are 17th level Tippy wizards. Tier x refers to neither potential nor to automatic success. It refers to this broad averaging notion.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    Yeah, it's been a point of discussion in quite a few threads. I know I've personally ranked classes like Monk, Rogue, Paladin, and Truenamer lower because of it.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    AFAICT this is also why daily re-spec flexibility is so highly regarded.

    Players are expected to be making mistakes and learning from them, so the ability to respond to the knowledge you gain from the events of the previous day or session (by swapping spells / soulmelds / vestiges / animal shape / etc.) is valuable.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: A new home

    When classes like Barbarian and Fighter are in the same tier as classes like the Adept, Sohei, Ranger, and Paladin, it's clear there is a lack of understanding the role spellcasting (even partial) plays in increasing power and versatility. I don't see any reason for Hexblades being in a lower tier than Fighters. I'm sure we all agree the designers undershot their power goal, but it's still better than straight fighter by a long shot.

    The tier list (presumably) takes into account ACFs and class specific feats, yet Monk is in a lower tier than Fighter and Barbarian? It trounces both in role versatility and damage. I mean, all mundanes belong in the same tier more or less... but, please, the monk hate on this forum has gone beyond the point of ridiculousness.

    Artificer does the same thing that other tier 1s can already do, but does it worse in almost every way, yet is still tier 1? If WBL abuse is available to Artificers, it's available to everyone else, except real casters can do it better, because--you know--everyone forgets how much more it costs artificers to craft items:
    [/QUOTE="Eberron Campaign Setting"]Costs are always determined using the item's minimum caster level or the artificer's actual level (if it is higher).[/QUOTE]
    and spellcasters have far superior class features.

    Alas, I suspect my opinion is so far from the contents of this thread that it's likely appropriate for me to be here. So, uh, carry on.
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