D&D 5th Edition How much should 5e aim at balance? - Page 3


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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    I think if you aim for depth, fun, and believability you tend to fall into balance by accident.

    Sadly, the reverse is not true.
    I think it would be cool to get some accomplished game designers in here to evaluate how true this is. I expect that very few of them would agree that they don't bother aiming for balance and instead somehow reach it by accident. Also, aiming for "fun" in a game almost invariably involves aiming for balance as part of that end goal.

 

  • #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    I find it rather insulting when some game designer presumes they know my DMing style and my group (i.e. the things that have to be balanced) better than I do.
    I keep trying to XP you again.

    I don't really seem to need to post to this thread.

  • #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    I find it rather insulting when some game designer presumes they know my DMing style and my group (i.e. the things that have to be balanced) better than I do.
    Are we not supposed to find this pretentious? Do you really believe your game so unique, and such a special snowflake, that mechanics established by a group of design professionals - mechanics playtested to function well for the vast majority of groups - are wholly useless to you?

    By the way, one of the points of balance is to ensure that the game plays smoothly, from a mechanical standpoint, no matter who sits down to play it.

    If I were one of the game designers you refer to, I would have absolutely no problem ignoring any of your concerns about my game as a result of what you just said. It's one of the most bafflingly condescending things I've ever read.
    Last edited by Dannager; Monday, 6th August, 2012 at 02:18 AM.

  • #24
    Quote Originally Posted by howandwhy99 View Post
    Balance should be about enabling and supporting DM balancing, not a thing that limits the malleability of the game.

    If groups don't want balance at all, they can just skip it. For those who do, provide an understanding of why the rules have been designed such as they have. Then lend assistance in supporting balance in many the many different ways people may want the game balanced.

    Some want the game balanced by the combat encounter. Adventure length balancing has been brought up. We could even have 30 second turns as an option for a type of spotlight balance.

    With such support then DMs and groups could pick and choose what kind they want or even if they want purposefully unbalanced play (for harder combats for example).
    The big issue is that this whole "balanced around X" thing is a farce. It's an illusion. If game balance is built on certain fragile assumptions, then that just means the game is actually imbalanced for every single way of playing that doesn't fit those assumptions. This is why many of Mr. Mearls' discussions of adventuring day balance is so deeply flawed and have been rightly criticized.

    In order to achieve genuine balance, rather than a fragile illusion of balance, then the game needs to be balanced for every way it is played. A game is balanced if and only if it doesn't break down and stop being fun for someone when something unexpected happens. People shouldn't need to rebuild the balance for themselves because it should be balanced regardless of how they play the game. Balance created by restricting the actions of the people at the table isn't real balance.

    The big problem for D&D is that it is pretty hard to pin down "the way people play the game," which makes it harder to balance all of them. That said, this isn't a unique problem for D&D. The WotC designers working on Magic the Gathering need to balance the game for a pile of different styles and formats every time they release a card set. They need to worry about the Standard format, the Limited format, Extended and Legacy formats, and several more minor official formats that use notably different core rules. If any of these break, then the set will be considered a failure. Despite all of this, they've managed to keep the game balanced and this has greatly contributed to the massive appeal and success of the game. I see no reason WotC's RPG products shouldn't have the same level of expected quality that its CCG products do.

  • #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinBahamut View Post
    Then why don't you let the game be balanced for people who want that kind of balance, and gleefully houserule in your imbalance?
    Because balance isn't a property of the game; it's a property of the DM and the group (and the game, to a lesser extent). Because your particular opinions about which game is the most balanced are not dogma and don't reflect anything but one person's opinion? Because starting the game from a perspective of calculating a DPS value for all characters and building the fantasy world around it doesn't create a believable ror engaging oleplaying game?

    Wait, you actually think it's okay to want to dictate how other people play their game even for a product you don't purchase yourself? Seriously?
    I think, as an experienced DM and player, it's okay for me to offer my expertise (not dictate) on something that will hopefully recruit new players, some of whom may join my game. What else is this forum for but for ENW members to post their opinions?

    Anyways, a lack of balance, pretty much by defintion, means that the game has less depth.
    No, it doesn't. I have no idea where this statement comes from, so we're left at the freely assert/freely deny stage.

    Who said I disliked D&D?
    Editions prior to 4E, and 3E in particular, are some of the least-balanced games of all time. Acknowledging that problem...
    Unless I missed a memo that mentioned how ENWorld was formally transformed into a forum for core-only 3E fans with no 4E discussion allowed, then I think I'm fine here.
    I don't think there's any worries of that happening.
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  • #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    I think if you aim for depth, fun, and believability you tend to fall into balance by accident.

    Sadly, the reverse is not true.
    This is complete nonsense. If you do not try for balance you never go anywhere near balance. The few vestiges of balance 3.X had were a legacy of Gygax having explicitely tried for balance and done a lot of polishing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbrrd View Post
    Personally I think wizards should be able to be just as sneaky as rogues or clerics just as beefy and up-front as fighters. At the same time I want them to have sacrificed enough to no longer be a spell-slinger or healer.
    Fine. But there is one thing you need to do to allow this. Feed Vancian Magic through the woodchipper. Then take the chips, burn them, and scatter the ashes to the four winds.

    There is absolutely no problem with a wizard-rogue being as good as a rogue. Or a wizard-fighter being as beefy as a fighter. Where it becomes a problem is if on day 1 the wizard is a wizard-rogue, and on day 2 the wizard is a wizard-fighter. If the wizard has any foreknowledge of what is coming he can guess right and be as useful as the best class for that day. So everyone might as well be a wizard.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattcolville View Post
    I think balance is really overrated, but you need something.

    Back in AD&D and AD&D2, the classes were not balanced in combat as they are in 4th ed, but none of us noticed. The Wizard could do a lot but he needed to be able to cover an extremely wide variety of situations.

    In other words, if the Wizard took nothing but direct damage spells, he'd be considered a pretty poor wizard. You needed all sorts of stuff to make it through an adventure, stuff like Comprehend Languages, etc....

    The fighter didn't have the same burst-damage the Wizard did, but he was *always* useful. Yes, he could only swing his sword, but there was always something in combat that needed a sword swung at it.

    Every edition of D&D appeals to me, for different reasons, but I think it's possible to focus too much on Balance.
    The above is blatant double standards for an obvious reason. The fighter's abilities are only useful in combat. But if the wizard picks abilities to only be useful in combat he's a poor wizard. I agree with the assessment on both. Because the fighter is incredibly limited.

    On the other hand the 2e fighter (or post UA fighter) is a killing machine. He really shines in combat in a way that an attempt at balance fails at.

  • #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    Because balance isn't a property of the game; it's a property of the DM and the group (and the game, to a lesser extent). Because your particular opinions about which game is the most balanced are not dogma and don't reflect anything but one person's opinion? Because starting the game from a perspective of calculating a DPS value for all characters and building the fantasy world around it doesn't create a believable ror engaging oleplaying game?
    First, balance is a property of the game's rules. If you think otherwise, then you don't understand what balance is.

    Second, if you think the claim that 4E is more balanced than 3E is an "opinion," then you don't understand what balance is.

    Third, if you think balance is about calculating an expected DPS value for its own sake (ignoring for a moment that the term DPS is ridiculous when talking about D&D), then you don't know what balance is.

    I think, as an experienced DM and player, it's okay for me to offer my expertise (not dictate) on something that will hopefully recruit new players, some of whom may join my game. What else is this forum for but for ENW members to post their opinions?
    Offer your expertise? Isn't that a bit pretentious? You seem so eager to put your own opinions on a pedestal and dismiss everyone else's as "just an opinion"...

    No, it doesn't. I have no idea where this statement comes from, so we're left at the freely assert/freely deny stage.
    Again, if you don't understand where that statement come from, then you don't understand what balance is. I'm beginning to think you should stop plugging your ears to other people's "opinions" and start educating yourself a little.

    Also, I don't even know what to say to your strawman reading of how I "disliked D&D". I indeed said that older editions were imbalanced and that was a problem. It doesn't logically follow that I disliked them, let alone D&D as a whole, unless you for some reason believe that a person is incapable of criticizing something they've liked and enjoyed.

    I like D&D. 4E is my favorite edition of D&D. I could write essays on what I absolutely hate about 4E. That last statement doesn't contradict the previous two sentences of this paragraph.
    Last edited by TwinBahamut; Monday, 6th August, 2012 at 02:32 AM.

  • #28
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    First let me preface my statements with this caveat. I am specifically talking about a segment of the playerbase and not everyone.

    There are people out there who think that all versions prior to 4e were imbalanced to the point of being unfun. I might agree or disagree depending on the specific aspects of balance they want to discuss but thats a sidenote. I do though consider what they did to make 4e "more" balanced for this group pretty much completely ruined the game for me.

    So while in the abstract, I like balance. But I've yet to see a fun game that these pro-4e people consider balanced. I only have 4e as my example and for me it definitely isn't fun. So I am open to a new game that plays differently that is balanced. But I have to be skeptical that the level of balanced desired by this group is possible while simultaneously making a game that is also fun.

  • #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannager View Post
    I think it would be cool to get some accomplished game designers in here to evaluate how true this is. I expect that very few of them would agree that they don't bother aiming for balance and instead somehow reach it by accident. Also, aiming for "fun" in a game almost invariably involves aiming for balance as part of that end goal.
    That it would.

    And yes, balance is part of the goal. But creating a ruleset that simulates a functioning world inherently provides a great deal of balance, as does incorporating revisions empirical observations from playtesting; balance isn't the starting point. You really can't even begin to balance a system until you have a functioning system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercule View Post
    I keep trying to XP you again.
    You'll get your chance. Thanks though.

    [quote=Dannager;5983965]Are we not supposed to find this pretentious? Do you really believe your game so unique, and such a special snowflake, that mechanics established by a group of design professionals - mechanics playtested to function well for the vast majority of groups - are wholly useless to you?[QUOTE]Who said they were useless? I find them a useful starting point. They're just not the end-all. And, for the record. I think you are just as special, as is any competent DM (I assume the average ENWorlder is a competent DM). Every DM has a style and knows his players, and uses the rules to create a game that reflects his style and engages his players. D&D is an open-ended roleplaying game. It's not chess, Warhammer, or WoW. There are no winners and losers, and everything is open to interpretation. Most designers understand that. And embrace it.

    If I were one of the game designers you refer to, I would have absolutely no problem ignoring any of your concerns about my game as a result of what you just said. It's one of the most bafflingly condescending things I've ever read.
    I doubt the actual game designers would agree. It's not condescending to suggest that you use houserules or that the DM interprets the rules as he pleases. Do you think Lipton gets mad if you buy a packaged rice and beans mix and add some peppers to it you got from the farmer's market? The rules are intended to be used to create a game. It's not the designers' job to play the game for you, and they would be quite pretentious to think otherwise.
    "Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose"

  • #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    Because balance isn't a property of the game; it's a property of the DM and the group (and the game, to a lesser extent).
    The same could be said of anything.

    "Fun isn't a property of the game. It's a propery of the DM and the group."

    "Believability isn't a property of the game. It's a property of the DM and the group."

    "Depth isn't a propery of the game. It's a property of the DM and the group."

    Those are all three of the things you said designers should focus on instead of balance. This is paper-thin rationalization. I could just as easily put forth the argument of, "Fun is something that must be arrived at on case-by-case basis for each individual DM and group, and I am insulted by any designer trying to dictate to my group what is and isn't fun," even after you just got through telling us they should focus on fun.

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