D&D Next (5E) How much should 5e aim at balance? - Page 10




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  1. #91
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    If it has to be fun or balance then I choose fun.

    If they can get both then I will be happy.

 

  • #92
    If I were writing a game here's some ways I'd balance things...

    1. The fighter does the most damage by far. I mean by far far far. Martial classes in general are the damage dealers.

    2. Casters in general are not skilled. It takes all their training time to just master magic. Magic is hard (it's magic so it can be hard if we say it is). They are the kinds of utility. That is their shtick. But most spells just buff skill checks instead of doing it automatically. The knock spell for example would give you the ability to pick a lock as if you were a rogue of your level OR add +5 to another's skill check. Thus it becomes wise mostly to cast this spell on the rogue.

    3. Skills include some "spell-like" options. I don't want teleport though. But I would be ok with a "Befriend" ability that goes off charisma/diplomacy. Now anyone could in theory try this but the skilled person would do it far more easily and far more often. It's a way of creating contacts in a city or area etc... And I would be fine with weapons of quality (magical) being a craft thing.

  • #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mustrum_Ridcully View Post
    It isn't really about competition for people that are after balance either, at least not usually so.
    I am not so sure about that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mustrum_Ridcully View Post
    If it was just competition, then it would be okay, we'd just all play Wizards and CoDzillas and try ot make the most uber character we can.
    ...and this is why I am not so sure.

    Why do a lot of people play uber? Why do a lot of (other) people don't play uber or see anyone else play uber at their table but still complain that the possibility exists in the game? Because they have competition in mind all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mustrum_Ridcully View Post
    I would classify it more as "contribution". We do not want that the choice of a particular character class automatically means that character has less to contribute.

    If it comes to, say Travelling, you have a Fighter. In 3E, he could train Climb, Jump and Swim, which is pretty useful for traveling. But the Wizard could fly and teleport - possibly the entire group. That means the Wizard is better than the Fighter alone for traveling, and if group abilities are used, the Fighter's ability is even superflous.
    This is definitely reasonable.

    From a RPG-immersive point of view is not necessarily a problem. A Fighter that can Climb a mountain but can get a magical lift to the top, what would he choose? It depends on the purpose! If he's climbing for sports, the magical lift would defeat the purpose, but when the purpose is simply getting there, then the majority of characters would take it.

    But of course in gaming terms it's certainly frustrating when someone in the group too often has a trick to skip a challenge, because the player's purpose is in the challenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mustrum_Ridcully View Post
    Take Combat. A Fighter has the best attack bonus, the best armor and the best defense. A Druid has his animal companio nwhose stats equal that of the Fighter or exceed it, and he can still cast spell or wild-shape.
    Chosing the Druid allows you to contribute as two Fighters. Chosing the Fighter allows you contribute as... one Fighter, not surprisingy.
    Aha... but this sounds like competition again to me. "Your PC is twice as good as mine in combat".

    It's more complex IMHO... if the Druid can fight as well as 2 Fighters then the game is still fine IF the combat is arranged so that while the Druid fights his 2orcs then my Fighter fights her own orc, and both players are challenged enough. If that's so, I don't see why I should be worried about playing the Fighter, except of the worry that in a fight me and the Druid make the mistake of engaging the wrong opponents, in case e.g. there's an orc and an ogre and the weaker PC takes on the ogre while the stronger PC mops the floor with the orc in a round.

    Thus it is a problem instead, if the Druid dominates to the point that he dispatches his enemies and then starts attacking my orc taking the fun away from me.

    (the fact that a Druid is better than a Fighter in a fight is a separate issue, that I definitely dislike)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mustrum_Ridcully View Post
    Now, there are other reasons other than mechanical balance why one player contributes less and one player contributes more. Someone may be shy and rather hold back, rarely adding. Another player may have no sense of tactics and make the worst mistakes. And yet another player is sleeping with the DM and gets everything he wants anyway, or whatever. Those reasons are their own "problems", but not one that the game mechanics can fix.
    Well, what I wanted to say is that some group may actually use unbalanced options exactly to balance the best players against the beginners.

    If I am confident that I have mastered the rules and I have beginner players in the group, maybe it is better to take some subpar choices while suggesting the beginners which are the best choices.

    If all choices were equal, the only way to balance the players to contribute equally would be to purposefully downplay my character which is much much less fun.
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  • #94
    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I'm also confused. Do you think that choices in PC build should make a difference to PC effectiveness, or not? If so, but if the game is not in some sense competitive, than why? Conversely, if the game is in some sense competitive, than the comparison to chess isn't so inapt, is it?
    Competition is not the only situation where quality is relevant.

    For D&D to be a truly competitive game, there would have to be a defined goal outcome, and someone would have to achieve or fail at it. This is not the case; not one "wins" or "loses" D&D.

    However, while the game does not define goal outcomes, individual participants might. Creating a character that fulfills whatever goal you set gives people the "gamist" satisfaction in playing rpgs.

    I hope that everyone tries to be the best they can in real life without habitually competing against others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    To put it another way: why should you try to win an argument by calling the other side stupid?
    To be clear, this isn't directed as a person. It's a phlilosophical statement that a game in which all meaningful choices are functionally equivalent does not require skill. Since D&D does require a significant amount of system mastery, a game that truly "accomplished" the above would lose this element (which is a significant part of the game). Relative to a game that had any sort of mechanical dynamics, simulation, or narrative utility, this "balanced" game would effectively reward suboptimal choices and punish players with vision, experience, and intelligence.

    Quote Originally Posted by SKyOdin View Post
    First off, ability scores are a pretty awful form of simulation. They are so heavily abstracted that no two people can agree on what a 13 in Charisma actually means in-universe. The quantities they are representing are too abstract to clearly correlate with anything someone can recognize. Dexterity covers so many completely unrelated things that it ends up not correlating to anything at all, for example.
    Ability scores are abstract, yes. Just like the rest of D&D.

    Also, I don't consider simulation to be a laudable goal for an RPG.
    A game that's about creating a reality doesn't need to simulate anything? Hard to take any of your posts seriously if you don't acknowledge the value of simulation (and implicitly put balance ahead of it).

    I don't see how it is supposed to help beginners either when the main effect of ability scores is to screw over players who aren't masters of the rules.
    It helps beginners because they understand what ability scores are. They can articulate that they want a strong but unwise character who jumps into things headfirst, even if they cannot understand classes/levels/etc.

    They also artificially limit the number of viable character archetypes (where are the smart and suave fighters?).
    Nothing artificial about it. You've also mischaracterized the issue. It's not that smart and suave fighters are limited, it's that weak and clumsy ones are. The game doesn't always do enough to reward good ability scores, but what really matters is whether you have low values in your important ones. But there's nothing artificial about saying that a half-orc with 6 Int is too stupid to learn wizardry.

    In a zero-sum point buy system, playing off-type is discouraged because of this; that simply makes the case for classic random ability score generation.

    At a very fundamental level, ability scores are anathema to a class-based RPG like D&D.
    You I have a hard time seeing how such a fundamental mechanic is "anathema". The six ability scores and their basic functions are really inherent to D&D.

    It would be the best if all classes had equal overall power. Merely being viable would be an acceptable, but inferior, alternative.
    So a commoner and a cleric should be equal in power? Or you weren't referring to NPC classes or don't think that's relevant?

    Even amongst PC classes, are you saying that a sorcerer and a ranger should be verifiably equal, despite the fact that they are completely disparate concepts? Hard to see that as being an achievable goal.

    If the designers aren't trying to make all D&D classes equal in strength to each other, they are doing something very, very, very wrong. Falling short of that goal of class equality would be a legitimate source of complaints against an RPG that uses a class-based system.
    So the existing versions of D&D are very, very wrong?

    I think it's more accurate to characterize the role of game designers as preventing imbalance than creating balance. Balance is the default state. If you eschew rules and simply do some free-form rping, everything is balanced. Introducing defined rules inherently creates imbalance, which the designers should try to compensate for, enough to get to the point where everyone can be involved and enjoy themselves. If that isn't happening, changes need to be made.
    Last edited by Ahnehnois; Monday, 6th August, 2012 at 02:11 PM.
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  • #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Li Shenron View Post
    It's more complex IMHO... if the Druid can fight as well as 2 Fighters then the game is still fine IF the combat is arranged so that while the Druid fights his 2orcs then my Fighter fights her own orc, and both players are challenged enough. If that's so, I don't see why I should be worried about playing the Fighter, except of the worry that in a fight me and the Druid make the mistake of engaging the wrong opponents, in case e.g. there's an orc and an ogre and the weaker PC takes on the ogre while the stronger PC mops the floor with the orc in a round.

    ..........

    Well, what I wanted to say is that some group may actually use unbalanced options exactly to balance the best players against the beginners.

    If I am confident that I have mastered the rules and I have beginner players in the group, maybe it is better to take some subpar choices while suggesting the beginners which are the best choices.

    If all choices were equal, the only way to balance the players to contribute equally would be to purposefully downplay my character which is much much less fun.
    It is about participation rather than challenge & effectiveness. If the druid is fighting twice as many bad guys he has twice as much stage time & some of us like a fair share of spotlight. & I mean fair share (well a bit more rather than a lot ).
    We playeds on Saturday & I am playing a factotum who is second best at most skills but since noone else has put any effort into social skills my moderate ones are by far the best. Rather than glorying in this opportunity I felt very self conscious & rushed through this part as fast as possible. Obviously it's the other players fault fault but it's uncomfortable if only one player can participate in an extended part of the game (Good RPers could deal better than the rabble I associate with)

    The second part about strong player taking weaker roles is a hypothetical as you admirably note. That is the sort of thing I do when playing miniatures games with new players. With D&D I have done the opposite - played a very powerful buff based caster who makes all of the other PCs better so they are patently not overshadowed. Class niches can prevent this being an issue as long as the new player can shine in their role.

  • #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
    NoobDragon....

    I think you need to identify if something is for adventuring power or for flavor enrichment.

    It's a rare case that craft or profession skills add much to the adventure. They do on occasion I'm not arguing but it's rare. None of them are as good though as stealth.

    So if you say that a skill or feat or power needs to be of value to someone in some game (dishwasher wouldn't be but blacksmith would) then I'm for it. If though you say that it has to be equally value to every other skill when on the adventuring trail then I think you are taking a lot of fun elements out of the game. Your approach results in the 4e skill list. A list so short and so abstract that it's basically worthless for a lot of us.
    You could "silo" this stuff. People can pick the "power-relevant" skills that are always important, like Stealth or Diplomacy, and they have to make choices between them. And in addition, yo uget the "flavor" skills, that are their own pool and you can select Craft (Basketweaving) and Profession (Farmer) or Perform (Interpretative Dance) - they will rarely come up, but they are there for you to take and define your character with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverSlayer View Post
    If it has to be fun or balance then I choose fun.

    If they can get both then I will be happy.
    I cannot have fun without some degree of balance.

  • #98
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    What's really interesting, to me, is that what I'd describe as "transparency" is often being described as "balance" or "what's important" to "balance". These are two completely different things in my mind.

    What makes this so intriguing to me, personally, is that the big pro-balance posters (mostly pro-4e posters) are the ones describing things this way, while the posters who aren't focused on balance (or are specifically against aiming for it as a top priority... usually the pro-pre-4e crowd) seem to think of balance more along the terms that I do: equal in output (or effectiveness), to some degree.

    What strikes me, really, is that I'm actually very big on balance. It was one of the three big things that was considered every time I instituted a new rule, modified one, etc. (the big three were realism, fantasy, and balance). When it comes to designing 5e, I'm very pro-balance, and I think it should be aimed for from the beginning. Yet, even with this view (pro-balance) seemingly aligned with pro-4e posters (of which I am not one... not that I play pre-4e, either), I'm coming to realize that I may not actually be on the same page with them, as our definitions differ pretty substantially.

    It's just a striking, interesting development in this conversation. But, don't mind me; carry on! As always, play what you like
    In this case you're focussing on half the conversation. The pro-4e posters are as far as I can tell all in favour of balance in pretty much the way you are. What is being dealt with with the pro-transparency is a side issue - that there are specific times under which you can decide that balance isn't important. And one of the necessary conditions for this (note: necessary but not sufficient) is that you must be transparent about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Li Shenron View Post
    Why do a lot of people play uber? Why do a lot of (other) people don't play uber or see anyone else play uber at their table but still complain that the possibility exists in the game? Because they have competition in mind all the time.
    My wizards play uber because they are in a fight for their lives against the monsters trying to kill them. That is one form of competition. It is also roleplaying. The goals of my character are not necessarily aligned with my goals as a player - and not dying is pretty much at the top of my character's list for most characters.

    It's the jerk test. If I'm using the uber strategies out of character I'm being a jerk to those of classes who can't use them. If I'm not using them in character, I'm recklessly risking the lives of my companions and the fate of the world and I'm therefore being a jerk.

    It's more complex IMHO... if the Druid can fight as well as 2 Fighters then the game is still fine IF the combat is arranged so that while the Druid fights his 2orcs then my Fighter fights her own orc, and both players are challenged enough.
    But it's a team game. As DM I arrange combats so that the party is fighting X orcs. The PCs work out how.

    It's also a game with a character called a fighter. Fighting is his thing. If it's arranged so the fighter fights four orcs and the wizard fights one, as the wizard I'm not unhappy - I'll get my time to shine. On the other hand the fighter's time to shine is in combat (the druid is also a skill monkey and a caster) and if the fighter isn't shining in combat he's a benchwarmer.

    Well, what I wanted to say is that some group may actually use unbalanced options exactly to balance the best players against the beginners.
    And why can't they do this by just giving a level handicap? Or a stats handicap? Comes to the same effect but doesn't leave traps for the new players to fall into.

  • #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Li Shenron View Post
    Aha... but this sounds like competition again to me. "Your PC is twice as good as mine in combat".
    The difference between competititon and contribution can be this:
    Competition: "Haha, I dealt more damage this round then you did in the last 3!"
    Contribution: "Man, if it wasn't for your Fighters ability to hold the line, that Troll would have surely taken down my Wizard way before he could have finished casting Fireball!" In this fictional example, both characters are contributing and needed -the Wizards Fireball may be needed (or at least is the chosen strategy to deal with the regenerating Troll), but he cannot cast the spell in time without someone holding the line.

    It's more complex IMHO... if the Druid can fight as well as 2 Fighters then the game is still fine IF the combat is arranged so that while the Druid fights his 2orcs then my Fighter fights her own orc, and both players are challenged enough. If that's so, I don't see why I should be worried about playing the Fighter, except of the worry that in a fight me and the Druid make the mistake of engaging the wrong opponents, in case e.g. there's an orc and an ogre and the weaker PC takes on the ogre while the stronger PC mops the floor with the orc in a round.
    Or you need to worry that you always present the Fighter with some weak opponent he can tackle while the real classes deal with the real foes. The Fighter player could still contribute more if he played a Druid instead of his subpar Fighter.


    Well, what I wanted to say is that some group may actually use unbalanced options exactly to balance the best players against the beginners.
    It so far did never really achieve that. The Fighter is the simplest to play so shy or new players tend often to gravitate to it - but it's also the least effective to play.

    And a player with a bad sense of tactics and strategy cannot realy contribute well with either a Wizard or a Fighter. As Wizard, he will use the wrong spells, a sa Fighter, he will likel ycharge in, move into the Wizard's way as he tries to use his best spell, and what not.

    If I am confident that I have mastered the rules and I have beginner players in the group, maybe it is better to take some subpar choices while suggesting the beginners which are the best choices.

    If all choices were equal, the only way to balance the players to contribute equally would be to purposefully downplay my character which is much much less fun.
    But how much fun is it for a player if you constantly suggest his course of action? Doesn't this just make it worse for him, constantly reminding him of his short-comings?

    In the end, it's a social issue at your game table. If you encounter it, you will have to find a way to deal with it. That said - the shy player may not have such a big problem with being mostly i nthe background and contributing less - he probably enjoys other portions of the game. The problm is when a "normal" player wants to play a class and finds that is subpar in most situations and other classes are clearly better. He will be the one dissatisfied.

    And so, your best guess is to have balanced classes. If you need mechanical aids to help one player in his contributions, it's easier to houserule something for him (or fudge the dice, or whatever else you like to do), then try creating balance in a system that's already unbalanced.
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    Why does this issue get so entrenched? I see balance as a good thing to aim for. Perfect balance is never going to be achieved especially if we have significant mechanical diversity between classes. Is it so bad that the some classses are better some of the time?

    Mearls comment that the game is going to be baalanced around a certain length of day is surely just warning us. If we know that we will need to help mages in longer days & fighters in shorter ones. (The fact that it is a dumb period of time to balance around is another issue).

    Similarly noone wants all characters to be exactly the same regardless of class so why does this straw man keep popping up? 4e characters share a power structure but work really differently.
    In a related area Summoner Wars is very balanced game where you play preconstructed dacks against one another each deck has 3 heroes 12 events & 18 Minion cards. They manage to play very very differently from one another - identical structure does not determine identical play. (Summoner Wars is very well designed being extremely simple, balanced & characterful. Shame about the name & the presentation.)

    Noone surely would object to being 80% as effective as another player character 50% of the time & 125% the rest (or even 150% for a quarter of the time) It is when we get out of this sort of broad equivalency that balance becomes an issue.

    At the limits overbalance & under balance both reduce diversity as if the balance is too heavy handedly symetrical then the choices do not feel like differences. At the other extreme with no balance only the best choices are true choices.

    (This is restating what has cropped up before in this thread. It reminds me of my teen Moorcock inspired disucussions about absolute Law & absolute Chaos. Our conclusion was that they appear indistunguishable as one is permanently homogenous & the other changes so rapidly it appears the same)



    Ayway I would like the game to be as balanced as possible while retaining a strong sense of diversity.




    If it's not I will just netdeck & play the OP crap anyhow.

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