Invincible PC's

Elric

First Post
No, because this very assumption that you WILL win invalidates the rest of your logic. You won't always win. In any realistic sense offense is primary over defense.

This isn't true either. There's no "general superiority of offense over defense." If you want use a different metric, like "chance to win a 1-1 fight", the calculations just become more difficult. That's why I don't do it. It's still easy to think of situations where bonuses to defensive abilities are more important than bonuses to offensive abilities.

However, I encourage you to prove me wrong: come up with a mathematical model of the chance to win a 1-1 fight (simplifications are fine!), and show that increases in offense (to hit or damage) outweigh increases in defensive abilities (hit points or defenses) unless your offense is exceptionally strong (e.g., you usually kill the monster in the first round).
 

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Turtlejay

First Post
I think I see a trend here....

Wanting to increase PC FRW? Also increasing monster and PC damage dealt? Decrease monster HP? All of those things are going to contribute to swingier fights.

Fights where hits occur less often, but mean more when they happen. I don't really see this as a "wotc's math sucks" problem as much as a "I like swingy, more unpredictable encounters" problem.

Jay
 

Elric

First Post
I think I see a trend here....

Wanting to increase PC FRW? Also increasing monster and PC damage dealt? Decrease monster HP? All of those things are going to contribute to swingier fights.

Fights where hits occur less often, but mean more when they happen. I don't really see this as a "wotc's math sucks" problem as much as a "I like swingy, more unpredictable encounters" problem.

Jay

You forgot "increase PC to-hit" (relative to the baseline without the Expertise feats). Under this framework, that's leading to less swingy fights.
 

keterys

First Post
And I'd actually like to see monsters both miss more often and deal more damage on misses, so I'm pretty sure that doesn't paint me in a swingier corner necessarily.
 

The other thing that ticks me off is that player health increases by 4-7 per level, and monster health by 6-10...but damage, for both monsters and players, increases by maybe 1-2 per level. The number of hits it takes to down a monster increases over time, which makes combat at higher levels take longer, even discounting the increased options. I've started decreasing monster health a bit, and I'm toying with giving +1/2 level to damage.

While I don't have a problem in theory at least with the concept of eliminating ability score boosts I disagree about damage progression. By the most basic numbers you may be correct, but realistic characters increase their damage a LOT more than this. There are tons of ways PCs can increase their static damage bonus and they also use powers at higher levels that generally produce somewhat higher damage output. They also have a considerable number more encounter and daily powers to deploy, which also leads to an increase in damage output.

Depending on how much effort the player puts into dishing out more damage its quite likely that a low paragon tier character will be putting a solid 40 points per turn. At mid to high epic these numbers can climb to much larger totals and even reasonably moderate builds will regularly top 100 points and with even a modicum of optimization can pump out 200-300 point hits if they want. Some really damage optimized characters can nova for many multiples of that (there are quite feasible ranger builds that on a lucky hit can dish out around 1000 points of damage and can hit 300 with an at-will every round). Expect DPRs in the low 100's at epic.
 

This isn't true either. There's no "general superiority of offense over defense." If you want use a different metric, like "chance to win a 1-1 fight", the calculations just become more difficult. That's why I don't do it. It's still easy to think of situations where bonuses to defensive abilities are more important than bonuses to offensive abilities.

However, I encourage you to prove me wrong: come up with a mathematical model of the chance to win a 1-1 fight (simplifications are fine!), and show that increases in offense (to hit or damage) outweigh increases in defensive abilities (hit points or defenses) unless your offense is exceptionally strong (e.g., you usually kill the monster in the first round).

I really don't know what to say to people who make statements that are just so patently in error. All I can really do is point you to CB and say go for it. Show us. I know for a fact you can't do that. Defense is inferior to offense, pure and simple. Anyone who's spent any amount of time with the numbers will clearly come to that conclusion if they use any amount of logic whatsoever.

And as I said, the numbers are the tip of the iceberg. Generally tactical principles in a combat system like 4e's puts a premium on offense. Defense is far from worthless, but it is far over cost for the amount of practical benefit it provides. Beyond that the absolute cap on defenses you can achieve in 4e is low enough that it simply can't be a decisive advantage. If the costs were at par it would at least be rational to bring up your defenses as much as possible (though probably still not the best idea tactically) but as it stands no way. Look at any of a multitude of threads that have discussed this in the last year here or on the WotC forums and you'll find virtually total agreement on that point both from the number crunchers and the experienced players.
 

Elric

First Post
I really don't know what to say to people who make statements that are just so patently in error. All I can really do is point you to CB and say go for it. Show us. I know for a fact you can't do that.

I said that defensive abilities often aren't that good and gave the example of the Great Fortitude feats: http://www.enworld.org/forum/d-d-4th-edition-rules/267220-invincible-pcs-2.html#post4982412. Clearly I'm not going to make a character with Great Fortitude, Lightning Reflexes, and Iron Will to show how much better those feats are than optimizing offense.

Generally tactical principles in a combat system like 4e's puts a premium on offense.

It's not "general tactical principles" that's responsible for turbo-charged offense. A bunch of the most powerful abilities add to offense and these abilities often combine really well. There's are few equivalents to Reckless, Bloodclaw, Iron Armbands, combined with multi-attack powers (e.g., Storm of Blows, or the Follow-Up Blow stance).

However, there are some extremely powerful defensive abilities: e.g., Demigod's Divine Regeneration, Dwarf Battlerager Vigor fighters, pre-errata. Most status effects are "defensive" in the sense that their main effect is to prevent an enemy from attacking effectively, rather than letting you kill that enemy faster. Edit: I'll give you the last word.
 
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KarinsDad

Adventurer
Most status effects are "defensive" in the sense that their main effect is to prevent an enemy from attacking effectively, rather than letting you kill that enemy faster.

I think this is a point that AbdulAlhazred was not considering. He appears to be discussing individual offense/defense whereas there is also group offense/defense.


Many of the Controller and Defender powers are defensive in nature. There's a reason that those roles are in the game.

Many of the Striker powers are offensive in nature. There's a reason that role is in the game.

Leaders are in a middle ground of both buffing and debuffing with regards to offense and defense.

To say that a Striker is more important to a team than a Controller or a Defender is naive. They are all important, but if I had to choose 3 roles out of 4 and had to drop one of these three, it would be Striker.

The Defender is required to prevent foes from getting quickly to the other two. And although defense is not necessarily better for a Defender, one that locks down a lot of foes should probably work on defense instead of offense due to the fact that he might have 3 or more foes attacking him compared to only a few foes that he is typically attacking back.

The Controller is required to slow up foes and can average more overall damage than a Striker.

The Striker only starts shining in the latter half of the encounter when he starts dropping foes. He can hit 3 rounds in a row and still not drop a foe, hence, although he is contributing, he is not affecting action economy. And due to damage feats and items, even Defenders are often not that far behind Strikers in damage dealing.

It just depends on what one means by offense and defense.
 

Fedifensor

Explorer
More and more, I've moved to the opinion that the best defenses against NAD attacks aren't Fortitude, Reflex, and Will. Resistances and bonuses to saves are the way to go.

You see, even if you get your defenses high enough that it takes a 13+ on the d20 to hit you, you will still be hit, and hit often enough that one bad streak of luck can sink you. But if you invest in resistances, the damage you take will be less when you do get hit. If you invest in save bonuses, then you can get out of status effects quicker. Combine the two, keep your magic item bonuses current so you're not too far behind the curve on your defenses, and you have a more survivable character than one that spikes defenses but ignores other methods of survivability.

Also, don't play a pure melee character. Always have a range attack you can fall back on, preferably something that you can do as a single action when you're dazed.

Finally, you should always have a method held in reserve to escape foes. Eladrin teleport, Watersoul Genasi swiftcurrent, etc. The worst times I've ever had with a character were when I got pinned down. With the more dynamic combat environments of 4E, mobility is very important.
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
Also, don't play a pure melee character. Always have a range attack you can fall back on, preferably something that you can do as a single action when you're dazed.

There are few ways to do this without either a spell, or a Throwing Shield.

It takes more than one action to pull out and use a ranged or melee thrown weapon.
 

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