Expertise justification?

I'm having a bit of trouble following your english. Let me paraphrase you, and you let me know if I've gotten it right:
you want to hear something funny...sometimes when I type even I can't read what I ment...

You claim that the central debate in this thread is "Are the expertise feats required at paragon and epic tiers of play?"
close enough
 

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Nail

First Post
"Are the expertise feats required at paragon and epic tiers of play?"
To answer this, we're going to have to come to an understanding about what "required" (or "playable" or "fun" or whatever) means. And I have a sneaking suspicion that we'll not be able to agree on this, as much depends on prefered play style.

For my part, I'd say "required" means that "the game isn't very fun". It does NOT mean (to me) that "the game simply doesn't work". I think it's self-evident that the game does work. It's only a question of hitting the right balance-point, and hitting less than 55% of the time is (IMO) "not right".

So: "Do PCs hit at least 55% of the time at paragon and epic tiers?"

....and the answer is: "Nope, unless you allow the Expertise line of feats."
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
"Are the expertise feats required at paragon and epic tiers of play?"
To answer this, we're going to have to come to an understanding about what "required" (or "playable" or "fun" or whatever) means. And I have a sneaking suspicion that we'll not be able to agree on this, as much depends on prefered play style.

For my part, I'd say "required" means that "the game isn't very fun". It does NOT mean (to me) that "the game simply doesn't work". I think it's self-evident that the game does work. It's only a question of hitting the right balance-point, and hitting less than 55% of the time is (IMO) "not right".

So: "Do PCs hit at least 55% of the time at paragon and epic tiers?"

....and the answer is: "Nope, unless you allow the Expertise line of feats."

Agreed. The Epic game works. It's not as much fun without the bonuses (regardless of whether it is a DM handed out math bug fix, or a DM allowing the feats). But it works.

since the crux of the argument is weather or not you need to have these or not to be able to play at effective levels, and I have been told time and again how grindy and unplayble this game gets, but noone has answerf this...

and I am still waiting for the un playble encounter...

Nail said it better here.

It's not that it is unplayable.

It's not that is is required.


It's just not as much fun when encounters are grindy. If one group of PCs all have +3 to hit at Epic levels and another group of PCs do not, the exact same encounter will (on average) take several rounds longer with the group that does not have +3 to hit.

It's about balance and fun.

Can it be played? Yup.

Will the encounter last longer than similar difficulty heroic encounters? Yup, but for the lesser chance to hit and for the increased number of relative monster hit points.

Are longer encounters more fun than shorter ones? Not for me and not generally for anyone I play with.


And, the same applies to the defensive side of the coin. When PCs do not have the NAD feats or a DM supplied NAD fix house rule, they will be affected by conditions more often and will take damage more often which in turn will extend the duration of the encounter.
 

Bayuer

First Post
@GMforPowergamers

What will happen if there isn't a Warlord in my party? What if we have cleric on WIS and CHA instead Are you saying that we need some powers that give us to hit bonuses or the game will be not fun-good-playable? Shouldn't the game be balanced for such a simple things like average to hit chances? All options should be just options, not reasonable choices options should make your character above average, not on average level when you take them.

You understand that many of powers that gives bonuses to hit are for basic or melee attacks only? (there are few that give better options, but as I said, only few powers can do that and still they are very limited)

All the players that use attacks vs. NADs have hard time. They can't take benefits of combat advantage and many powers that give to hit bonuses.

When you designing encounter, you make many of them hard for players, so to achive this you use higher level monsters. Now when you saw math (here you can see mine - Wizards Community - View Single Post - Another math crunch and how fix 4E) the to hit chance will be lower than on given level (from 35% it will drop to 15% if you will use n+4 monster). And again, what with characters that hit vs. NADs? They don't have many options to achive to hit bonuses.

For example. Orcus have AC 48. With basic +31 to hit that doesne looks so good. FOR 51 REF 46 WILL 49. To hit on that level is around 29. Of course there will be some (but still few) powers that will make numbers better, but who are we kidding, it's still not good enoungh to say, that it's ok.
 

DrSpunj

Explorer
Just curious; what do the numbers look like if you do a +1 at 5th, +2 at 15th, and +3 at 25th?

Sorry I didn't see this earlier today, OG, busy day at work. :(

I must be using slightly different assumptions about what magic item enhancement bonuses PCs will have at what levels compared to the original poster, but I get averages by tier of (assuming level 1 starts with a 60% chance to hit):

+1 at 5/15/25:
Heroic: 60%
Paragon: 57%
Epic: 55%

+1 at Paragon/Epic:
Heroic: 57%
Paragon: 54%
Epic: 52%

Default game rules, no expertise feats:
Heroic: 57%
Paragon: 49%
Epic: 42%

I think that's probably it. I didn't adjust what Goodfellow put in his sheet and he picks up a +1 item at 2nd level, then +2 at 6th, +3 at 11th, etc. I think previously in this thread there was discussion that while it's possible a single party member might have a +2 item as early as level 2 according to the DMG parcel system, it's not a given the "average" party member (which would be 3 out of the assumed party of 5) would likely have a +2 weapon until 7th. Or am I remembering that wrong? Please correct me if so because I really don't want to reread this whole thread! :lol:

Regardless, to keep my numbers consistent and to answer Old Gumphrey's question, if we continue with the magic item distribution Goodfellow used and go with 5/15/25 giving +1/+2/+3 I get:

+1 at 5/15/25:
Heroic: 61.5%
Paragon: 59%
Epic: 57%

If you are giving out an eventual +2 to hit, that means to-hit scales by 2 worse than monster defenses over 29 levels. At the moment, the average FRW defenses scales by 5 worse than monster to-hit over 29 levels (see the math/assumptions, here). So if you give a +1 to each FRW at level 5/15/25, the average FRW defenses will scale by -2, the same as to-hit with your change and the same as AC scales in the default system.

Thanks for the thread link. I had read part of that awhile ago but decided to focus on the attack bonus & Expertise feats first. Now I don't have to go looking for the thread (though I hoped it was still on the first page of the 4e HR forum, I don't get over there much ;) ).
 

@GMforPowergamers

What will happen if there isn't a Warlord in my party?
the you eaither have a diffrent leader (other bonuses...or you are argueing the leaders are not balanced with each other???)
What if we have cleric on WIS and CHA instead Are you saying that we need some powers that give us to hit bonuses or the game will be not fun-good-playable?
no, but the fights will take longer, lucky for you your cleric is better at healing then that warlod, meaning you can stay int he fight longer.

Shouldn't the game be balanced for such a simple things like average to hit chances? All options should be just options, not reasonable choices options should make your character above average, not on average level when you take them.
that is a great idea, but it is not entirely how the system was designed (please lets not get derailed again) It assumes you have 3 magic items per party member (Neck, armor, weap/imp), and a leader. If you would like to discuse that please fork the thread...

You understand that many of powers that gives bonuses to hit are for basic or melee attacks only? (there are few that give better options, but as I said, only few powers can do that and still they are very limited)
You do realise that more then half of the classes are melee only right...in fact that is a complaint I hear regularly...

All the players that use attacks vs. NADs have hard time. They can't take benefits of combat advantage and many powers that give to hit bonuses.
but they also (normaly inless a rouge) get powers that target multi, so they can 'shop around' for a weakspot...

When you designing encounter, you make many of them hard for players, so to achive this you use higher level monsters. Now when you saw math (here you can see mine - Wizards Community - View Single Post - Another math crunch and how fix 4E) the to hit chance will be lower than on given level (from 35% it will drop to 15% if you will use n+4 monster). And again, what with characters that hit vs. NADs? They don't have many options to achive to hit bonuses.
yes if you design harder encounters it becomes harder encounter...maybe I just don't get the problem...

For example. Orcus have AC 48. With basic +31 to hit that doesne looks so good. FOR 51 REF 46 WILL 49. To hit on that level is around 29. Of course there will be some (but still few) powers that will make numbers better, but who are we kidding, it's still not good enoungh to say, that it's ok.

avrage fighter 16 att stat +1 weapon talent, and +6 weapon...
+7 str +15 level, +6 magic, +1 talent, +3 prof...+32 Vs AC 48 needs a 16 to hit the god killing abomanation...

avrage rouge same but Vs Ref 46, Will 49, and AC 48 needs 14, 17, and 16...

that is no feats, no powers, no paragon paths, no epic destiny, no Combat Advantage, and still hitBLE

so now we come back to what is fair for "Hardest encounter you will ever face?"... should the PCs at level 30 see orcus as no more of a threat to them (God killing primordal demon lord of undead) then the Orc was 27 levels ago???

needs a 16 to hit... what is a good analogy...

well fighter and/or rouge level 1 w/ 16 att stat
+3 stat, +3 prof, +1 class...+7 on a 16 they hit AC 23...Hobgoblin commander Level 5 (normal) Soldier. MM I pg 140.

so is orcus supose to be more or less thretning then that hobgoblin???

Don't forget at level 1 you have 1 daily, and 1 encounter...so you quicky fall back on at wills...orcus on the other hand at level 30 (Where you stand back up if killed 60+% of the time) you could have infinite encounter, or any number of other ungodly things...

by the way Orcus plays right into my hand, since I know more then 1 group that beat him...with no expertise...
 

Jhaelen

First Post
"Are the expertise feats required at paragon and epic tiers of play?"
To answer this, we're going to have to come to an understanding about what "required" (or "playable" or "fun" or whatever) means.
[...]
So: "Do PCs hit at least 55% of the time at paragon and epic tiers?"
I'm glad you rephrased the question in this way.
Because if people agree that the answer to the second question will also be the answer the first question, I don't have to be worried about the expertise feats.

Because I don't think pcs SHOULD hit 55% of the time at paragon and epic tiers (out of the box).
 

@GMforPowergamers

What will happen if there isn't a Warlord in my party? What if we have cleric on WIS and CHA instead Are you saying that we need some powers that give us to hit bonuses or the game will be not fun-good-playable? Shouldn't the game be balanced for such a simple things like average to hit chances? All options should be just options, not reasonable choices options should make your character above average, not on average level when you take them.

You understand that many of powers that gives bonuses to hit are for basic or melee attacks only? (there are few that give better options, but as I said, only few powers can do that and still they are very limited)

All the players that use attacks vs. NADs have hard time. They can't take benefits of combat advantage and many powers that give to hit bonuses.

When you designing encounter, you make many of them hard for players, so to achive this you use higher level monsters. Now when you saw math (here you can see mine - Wizards Community - View Single Post - Another math crunch and how fix 4E) the to hit chance will be lower than on given level (from 35% it will drop to 15% if you will use n+4 monster). And again, what with characters that hit vs. NADs? They don't have many options to achive to hit bonuses.

For example. Orcus have AC 48. With basic +31 to hit that doesne looks so good. FOR 51 REF 46 WILL 49. To hit on that level is around 29. Of course there will be some (but still few) powers that will make numbers better, but who are we kidding, it's still not good enoungh to say, that it's ok.
The math should work really good with a balanced party. this means a controller, two striker, one defender and one leader... which will result in bonuses for party and penalties for your enemies will eventually make combats balanced.

If your party is differently balanced, you may have more need for to hit and defense bonuses.

The fact is: you have to make a basic assumption. Perhaps wotc playtesters found many good combinations and played better than average parties and they made higher level play a bit harder than what t should be. Maybe some last minute nerfs affected higer level play more drastically than expected.

Result: the average party (usually consisting of more strikers or defenders than expected) hits too good at the beginning levels and because of lacking synergies they fall behind later.

My usual reaction would be: lower monster levels to fit the parties needs...

But wotc chose to add feats which don´t fix math right away, but for those insisting to play unbalanced partys (unbalanced, not imba). Which is generally a good thing.

For balanced parties it can be a bit too good.

But remember expertise on a whole is more relevant for parties who have a lower hit chance... (chance to shorten the combat increases the longer the combat lasts) so if all party members take it, the less offensive party will profit more from it.

If you are still not convinced, use following houserule

Convert expertise to a power bonus. So this will help a: leaderless parties, can all take it and profit. In a party with a leader the leader can take it to hit with powers that grant better bonuses.

If you don´t like a feat which gives a power bonus, convert expertise to:

feat: expertise.
gain weapon expertise power. Chose a weapon type/impelement.

minor action, at will, close burst 10
you examine your enemies how to make best use of your weapon against their defenses.
effect: get a power +1 power bonus to hit against all enemies with a weapon of the chosen weapon type/implement within burst, that you can see. This bonus increaes to +2 at level 15 and to +3 at level 25.
 
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And, the same applies to the defensive side of the coin. When PCs do not have the NAD feats or a DM supplied NAD fix house rule, they will be affected by conditions more often and will take damage more often which in turn will extend the duration of the encounter.

here I agree: The two +1 bonuses every few levels are no increase in skill. it decides which defense you allow to fall behind. :(

Also, because the attack stat is so obviously important, you will not not increase it. Defenses should really scale a bit better. If monsters are harder to hit, players should also become harder to hit. Because of conditions. But Monsters should then do more damage!
 


KarinsDad

Adventurer
Because I don't think pcs SHOULD hit 55% of the time at paragon and epic tiers (out of the box).

Just curious, but why not?

If 60% to hit is fun at level one, why is 40% to hit fun at level 29?

I would think the opposite should be the case. With fewer options at low level, the chance to hit can be somewhat less because the actual game play time is not slowed up as much by players deciding on their actions. With more options at high level, the chance to hit should be somewhat greater because the actual game play time is slowed up by players deciding on their actions.

It would seem that high level would be slower by definition everything else (including to hit) being the same. The DM and players both have more conditions to keep track of, more options to decide upon, more game interactions to take into account.

Player: "Can I move here and not get OAed?"
DM: "Well, remember that we have already seen that creature #3 has both reach and can OA with it."
Player: "Oh yeah. Forgot about that. What if I slide over here?"
DM: "You can do that, but you will enter the aura of creature #2 by doing that."
Player: "Shoot. What about...?"

Now, this is a bit of an exageration to get the point across (and some DMs might not be this helpful), but high level play is a LOT more complex and time consuming for many people than low level play.

So, why make the encounter drag out even more from say 10 rounds to 14 rounds (as an example) by decreasing the chance to hit?

From the "fun perspective", is it fun for an n+2 encounter to last 45 minutes of real time at level 1 and still fun for it to last 120 minutes (or more) of real time at level 30? Is it actually fun to miss 3 times out of 5 when the PC used to hit 3 times out of 5?

I'm not seeing the same level of fun here.
 

AllisterH

First Post
Isn't it considered good game design that the game gets progressively harder the longer you play?

You master the character/object/whatever but the tracks get narrower, the monster gets tougher, conditions don't work as well, it takes longer to kill off bosses etc?
 

kilpatds

Explorer
However, PC death in 4th edition from what I've seen in our current campaign and the 8th level Dungeon Delve we did a few weeks ago (so admittedly limited to Heroic Tier) is NOT even likely in very Hard combats with poor party tactics and skewed die rolling like we had last night!

As an LFR DM who's had two TPKs out of 20 or so sessions, I'd like to say that while the difference between a moderate battle and a hard battle is much THICKER than it looks, the difference between a hard battle and a TPK is much THINNER than it looks.

I think you were closer to a TPK than you think you were. That the difference between 2 PCs at death's door and a TPK is a very small one.

I'd suggest running a "it was just a dream" scenario. Stat out a hard encounter for the group, and then run it really trying to kill them instead of doing the normal DM thing of slightly pulling punches. Drop the leaders first. Try to set things up so you can drop all of them on the same turn. Then just focus fire on every one else, leaving the battlerager for last. I expect you'll be able to put down the with much less effort than you think.

Once the leaders are down, the other players really just stop bouncing up. And then the fight's just over except for the rolling. Once the monster side can eliminate the source of the PCs buffer (the leader's ability to trigger surges), PCs tend to stay down and hard fights (or even medium fights) turn into TPKs.
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
Isn't it considered good game design that the game gets progressively harder the longer you play?

You master the character/object/whatever but the tracks get narrower, the monster gets tougher, conditions don't work as well, it takes longer to kill off bosses etc?

There is nothing wrong with this concept.

The problem is one of:

Round one: "I miss"
Round two: "I miss"
Round three: "I miss"
Round four: "Oh joy, I finally hit"

Making the encounters more challenging is a good idea. For example, it taking 6 successful hits to down a monster instead of 5; or immobilizing the monster does not help, but daze does. Doing it by decreasing the chances to hit is just begging to introduce boredom at the table.

I see boredom at the table if a PC is caught in a trap for many rounds and cannot contribute. There's not much difference between that and a player who gets to roll the dice, but the result often fails.
 

Nail

First Post
Because I don't think pcs SHOULD hit 55% of the time at paragon and epic tiers (out of the box).
Okey-dokey.

As should be obvious, I think 55% (at all levels) is a minimum. I also think that with help from multiple party members and optimal positioning, it should never be over ~80% (at all levels). As a game designer, you have a very narrow path to walk...and you should be *very* cognizant of that as you add things to the system.
 

Nail

First Post
I think you were closer to a TPK than you think you were. That the difference between 2 PCs at death's door and a TPK is a very small one.
Exactly, kilpatds. We really were right there at the edge of TPK-land. We were just able to pull it back from the brink with a little luck and all of our resources.
 

DrSpunj

Explorer
Thanks for the comment, kilpatds. But I want to ask you & anyone else like Nail who agrees with you:

Should there be a middle option at the end of a tough battle between "Short Rest and we're probably good to go if nothing really mean is around the next corner" and TPK?

In tough battles with bad luck or tactics (or especially both!) on the PCs part I think one PC death is an acceptable part of the game.

Maybe we should fork this out if there's a lot of opinions here?
 

Nail

First Post
Thanks for the comment, kilpatds. But I want to ask you & anyone else like Nail who agrees with you:

Should there be a middle option at the end of a tough battle between "Short Rest and we're probably good to go if nothing really mean is around the next corner" and TPK?

In tough battles with bad luck or tactics (or especially both!) on the PCs part I think one PC death is an acceptable part of the game.

Maybe we should fork this out if there's a lot of opinions here?
I agree: This is a (good) separate topic. Fork it.
 

Akaiku

First Post
Thanks for the comment, kilpatds. But I want to ask you & anyone else like Nail who agrees with you:

Should there be a middle option at the end of a tough battle between "Short Rest and we're probably good to go if nothing really mean is around the next corner" and TPK?

In tough battles with bad luck or tactics (or especially both!) on the PCs part I think one PC death is an acceptable part of the game.

Maybe we should fork this out if there's a lot of opinions here?

In my experiance, there is really little area between tpk and everyone is ok. Generally speaking, unless something contrived and/or targeted to a specific player comes up, everyone is fine or everyone is dead. I have only had players actually die-die when a leader isn't present or a tpk is immenent. The GM did a fiat-kindess after 2 people died in the latter that stopped a tpk. The non-leader present one was someone getting downed then ongoing damage auraing dead.

Leaders are effective. Players tend to not die till the leader drops, then they ALL die.
 

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