When 4e first dropped, there were no Expertise feats and the feats to bump your non-AC defenses were a lot less generous than they became with Essentials. It was rapidly and loudly decried as a 'problem' with 'da math,' but it was so obvious I always wondered.I think it's pretty well known that, if the players know how to play their PCs, then an on-level challenge at epic tier will generally not be as proportionately challenging as at heroic tier.
Level +3 to level +8 is the range I tend to work in at upper epic.
At the time, my thought was that the design had originally included +2/4/6 stat-booster magic items that had been cut at the last minute. Having played Paragon & Epic with and w/o Expertise Feats and Essentials material, though, I suspect it wasn't an oversight, but by design, and that higher level parties were supposed to depend on leader bonuses, huge crit damage, and dailies to make up the difference.
Similarly, I've heard rumors that the game originally assumed a pacing like 5e's - 6-8 (or more!) encounters/day, which would have put more of a strain on healing resources, especially before things like the pacifist cleric were introduced.
OK, so you guys don't support that theory as much as I thought.EDIT: And our group doesn't use Expertise feats. A +3 to hit would obviously make the PCs even more effective.
Nod. The MM3 numbers and action-preservation for elites and solos seemed to work pretty well IMX.You could reform Epic, as WotC did to some extent, by adding a lot of damage output to monsters, making them harder to lock down, etc.
It was all very coherent if you look at Essentials as presaging the 5e direction. Martial characters were stripped of options, the CB didn't even display your PP or ED on the character sheet, Wizards were powered up at every turn, starting with 'Magic of the Feywild' in Dragon ahead of essentials and never letting up until the last couple of class-crunch-free books.They also tried to trim off the power curve of PCs with various errata and creating newer classes that were more toned down (though oddly at the same time they amped up other classes, it wasn't terribly coherent).
Even setting aside math issues, I feel like you need to amp up the crazy just to evoke the Epic tone.Anyway, the true issues with Epic are just that the basic vanilla encounter formula works OK at heroic. At Epic they're just not that fun. You need to inject a huge amount of DM creative input into the situations and really amp everything up into crazy situations.