D&D 5th Edition How much should 5e aim at balance? - Page 7





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  1. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by KaiiLurker View Post
    I beg to differ, if I can choose between two good but boring classes and three "bad" but quirky and interesting ones, I'd rather have the interesting ones regardless of if they are "balanced" or not. (If everybody is special then nobody really is)
    Why don't we just have five quirky, interesting, and balanced classes? That seems like the ideal state to me.

    You really are presuming a correlation between balanced and boring that simply isn't true. Plenty of games have pulled off both balanced and interesting at the same time. Heck, even 3.5E has plenty of classes that fit both criteria. Most of my favorite classes from that edition also tended to be the well-balanced ones. It is the boring classes that tend to be the broken ones (either too weak or too strong).

    An ideal game is full of options that are both fun and well-balanced. In fact, I think that fun and interesting requires an balance in order to exist. The elements necessary to create a balanced class tend to make the class more fun and quirky.

 

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    ° Ignore Tony Vargas
    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    Or to put it another way, why should game design reward stupidity?
    To put it another way: why should you try to win an argument by calling the other side stupid?

    Balance discussions get troublesome quickly because there's that underlying current that anyone who might want a balanced game is some kind of wuss who can't handle any hint of a challenge, while, conversely, anyone that might argue against balance is just trying to get a game that he can abuse to get an advantage. Elitism vs self-righteousness. Not very constructive, and missing the point of balance, which is neither to protect players from themselves, nor from eachother.

    Ultimately, balance isn't about how good or bad, smart or stupid, honest or conniving the players are - it's about how the game is designed, and that's all. A well-balanced game will simply have more usable content than a badly balanced one, whether that's because the badly-balanced game has a lot of mostly-worthless content (trap choices), or because it's just lacking in much content at all (lack of meaningful choices).

    (I suppose I shouldn't go out on a limb and declare more meaningful/viable choices 'better' lest someone come back with some kind of 'less is more' thing...)

  • #63
    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    Ability scores are one of the most clearly simulationist aspects of the rules; there are charts telling you how much weight your strength lets you carry. They connect your character to the world. They offer beginners a way of seeing things, a simple number that says something that can be easily understood in common language: how strong or smart you are. If anything, 5e is taking the right approach in emphasizing ability scores more.
    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.

    Also, I don't consider simulation to be a laudable goal for an RPG. 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. They also artificially limit the number of viable character archetypes (where are the smart and suave fighters?).

    If you're saying that not enough was done to make them all useful, that's true. Dump stats are too prevalent. The 5e six saves policy is a decent step; there's more that could be done there.
    They need a complete overhaul from the ground up. Their entire place in D&D, from how you calculate them, to what they do, and what stats are even represented, need to be called into question. At a very fundamental level, ability scores are anathema to a class-based RPG like D&D. You need to heavily sacrifice one or the other to get them to work.

    Well, yes, but if you're talking about viability, and not equivalency, that's very different. For example, the 3.X NPC classes (expert, warrior, commoner, artistocrat, adept) are not even close to being equal to the PC classes, but in most games, they're probably viable. The post I've been quoting talks about every choice been equal, not viable. Big difference
    It would be the best if all classes had equal overall power. Merely being viable would be an acceptable, but inferior, alternative. 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.

  • #64
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    I'd like the game to be tight enough to work and loose enough that it doesn't feel like I'm wearing a straight jacket.

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    ° Ignore Tony Vargas
    Quote Originally Posted by tlantl View Post
    I'd like the game to be tight enough to work and loose enough that it doesn't feel like I'm wearing a straight jacket.
    how 'bout a leotard?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Choice View Post
    You do realize you're quoting a (ficticious) freaking sociopath to bolster your "argument", right?

    It's also a terrible "argument" to make about a collaborative game: YES, every player around the table deserves a chance to be bloody special, it's everybody's freaking game.
    Well, the quote is wrong. What it should read is "if the fighter is special, my mage isn't"

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinBahamut View Post
    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.
    Please don't calling other people stupid. Thanks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    A well-balanced game will simply have more usable content than a badly balanced one, whether that's because the badly-balanced game has a lot of mostly-worthless content (trap choices), or because it's just lacking in much content at all (lack of meaningful choices).
    This is a great point.

    Both 3rd and 4th had too much worthless content in regards to feats, for instance. 3rd had too many silly spells and 4th had way too many classes (which I think drifted towards the lack of real choice towards the end).

    For me "balance" is about creating rules which enable a transparent and equal starting point for different classes - which then can be altered by the choices made by the DM and players with regards to what sort of adventures and campaigns they undertake. But I dont think that purposefully large imbalances with respect to classes is a good starting point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raith5 View Post
    This is a great point.

    3rd had too many silly spells
    Like? We always found good uses for all of the spells and keep creating new ones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSomething View Post
    The thing with 3.X was that it was balanced on the assumption that you played it as AD&D with cleaner presentation. If you developed system mastery, it became easier and easier to break the game as you leveled.

    Just because people use broken things in non-broken ways, that doesn't mean it's not breakable.
    That actually makes sense. It always seemed to me that stuff like the Christmas Tree or the Cure Light Wound full hp recovery were simply never accounted for. Sure, they had their "wealth by level" table, but they didn't really consider how it could be maximized for best potential - they probably assumed people would grab stuff like a Ring of Shooting Stars or Helm of Brilliance instead of the true optimum choices, say 2 Wands of Cure Light Wounds, Gloves of Dexterity +4 and a Belt of Giant Strength.

    4E basically assumed that people were playing optimized 3E, and so ditched Wands of Cure Light Wounds and instead introduced healing surges - to retain the ability to start every combat at full health, but also make it impossible to run like the energizer bunny. It removed the mandatory items "for math" to the weapon, armor and defense items and gave every other type of item minor (and, to be frank, often boring) powers.
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