D&D 5E Are Wizards really all that?

So, this is an issue with considering spellcasters - not accounting for spell preparation.

In theory, a wizard can switch to a weak save, but that requires a few things:
1) Knowing which is the weaker save.
2) Having an appropriate spell that targets that save in your spellbook.
3) Having the spell prepared.
4) Having an appropriate spell slot available.

Which, honestly, is a pretty big stack of assumptions.
It is, but there's at least the possibility of doing it, which martials tend not to have. Especially with the revised Grapple rules for the Playtest, which remove the last bastions of non-AC targeting (Grapple and Shove) and make them simple AC-targeting abilities.

I think you're right that it's overrated as an issue. For my money, Wizards aren't a huge problem in combat, but rather out of it.
 

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Yaarel

He Mage
Having run through a pretty good range of levels. I'd say Martials are fine even good-to great in combat. In a combat situation, they keep up with the casters just fine and even exceeded them.

But combat is 1 pillar out of 3. Once you get to exploration and social interaction, casters have a big advantage. I've seen rogues able to hang in those pillars (especially if the DM is being liberal with skills) but fighters and barbarians tend to get left behind.
I am comfortable with this perspective.

The Fighter and other martials need to − and thematically should be able to − excel in the noncombat pillars as well as the combat pillar.
 


Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
The thing with saves vs attack is you can switch to a creature's weak save. You can't toggle to their weak AC.
... wouldn't it be great if you -could-?

If some attacks attacked the enemy's "Dodge" rather than their "Resist" or their "Parry" so you could customize combat just that much further...

And also customize your character better. Choosing which of the three to prioritize and use in most situations to highlight your character's adroitness, durability, or weapon mastery...
 


1) I recognize this doesn't address the complaint that casters get to do "cool things" while martials just get to make attack rolls. This is about the supposed difference in actual power/effectiveness in combat.

Those cool things lead to effectiveness as well. "Cool things" often means that the spell can bypass the normal bounded accuracy attack / defense / hp loop, action economy, etc.

IMO, looking only at combat effectiveness lowers the bar considerably for the Wizard considering their abilities out of combat. I would expect them to be considerably weaker than Fighters to compensate for this extra utility but I haven't seen anyone arguing that.

As others have pointed out, it's mostly a higher level problem and somewhat a table norm problem as the gap narrows if you strictly enforce 6-8 encounters per long rest and a short rest every 2 encounters.
 

As is said, I’ve literally never played tier IV, and rarely III. And honestly at tier I full casters (except warlocks) have felt weak.
Tier I they are. I think that's a fair assessment and objectively true. Not enough resources to handle both out of combat and in-combat situations with full efficacy and combat is "swingy" enough for them to go down pretty quick. Mind you, they're MILES better than in 2e, AD&D, or 3/3.5 in Tier I, but still pretty objectively less powerful than a martial character in Tier I in combat specifically. I presume that by the time you hit Tier III they no longer felt weak?
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Wizards are "all that" even at very low levels, since their spells allow them much more flexibility than any other class in the game. I've played an illusionist for years, and I quite often find myself sitting on my hands so that I don't completely dominate even lower level adventures.
 




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