That might be your experience, but it's very peculiar if so, and reeks of victim-blaming. I've seen 33 years of D&D at this point, and it's certainly not my experience.
I don't think it is victim blaming. It is not usually the fault of the players being overshadowed, it is usually the fault of a overly dominant player personality who "does everything" and usually it has nothing to do with how good his character is. He might have an 8 charisma and no proficiency yet he is always the guy doing the talking and even interjects over other players.
That is how most players get overshadowed and have a bad time IME.
The other way, which is less prevalent, is a difference in playstyles. Not every game is the same, if the game is very combat focused and you built a skill monkey or conversely if you have 1 combat every 3 sessions and you built a maxed out GWM Fighter with max strength and con and a 2-level hexblade dip for shield and hexblades curse.
I play with one combat heavy group quite a bit, the first time I played with this group I built a 14 dex, 16 charisma, 16 wisdom Fey Wanderer-Rogue. This character was built for a balanced campaign but was definitely slanted towards social and exploration and she did both very well with fey wanderer and expertise she had a higher intimidation and deception than any other class combination could achieve at her level, while also having expertise in athletics, and regular proficiency in 7 other skills (2 half elf, 2 background, 4 rogue, 1 ranger, 1 fey wanderer). At 5th level she had a +12 deception and intimidation and a +9 persuasion while also having guidance. The original intent was to pick up scout for expertise in survival and nature. After a few sessions I realized the play style of this group did not suit what I originally wanted to do. Luckily because Ranger is so flexible I just stayed Rogue level 1 and pushed Ranger to get beguiling twist and summon Fey while picking up cause fear on shadow touched and bought a wand of fear. With beguiling twist this made the character a rock star in combat in a very unique and fun way. With a different, less felxible class I might not have been able to switch gears like that, but this would have been lacking due to the way the group plays, not the character I built.
I will say that in 5E, I haven't seen there be serious power-level issues in combat that don't relate to player skill/system mastery, but outside combat? Given equal levels of system mastery, Full casters tend to dominate over Martials and Half casters by a noticeable amount.
I don't see this. I think casters can do this, but I don't think they do in play for many reasons, one is limited spells known or prepared. The second reason is often the players don't choose who completes a challenge, they don't have the opportunity to powergame like this.
If we are trying to negotiate with Gnolls, only the player who thought to take gnoll as a language is going to be able to do it, and maybe if one of the Gnolls is an assassin then the Rogue could do it with thieves cant if no one knows Gnoll. Sure the wizard could
have tongues prepared so he could cast it and follow it with friends and dominate the game regardless of language, but how many wizards have tongues prepared instead of counterspell, fear or the old faithful fireball. Not many in my experience unless they planned for this eventuality ahead of time.
Another example from play - my Arcane Trickster had a 14 charisma, expertise in deception and persuasion along with minor illusion (through race), friends and a raven familiar. She was designed to be a high social skill character. She spoke Sylvan, Infernal and Thieves cant. We ended up playing in a campaign where 80% of the of the social encounters were with giants (mostly hill giants). So she was not dominating the social play, our Rune Knight fighter with a low charisma an no proficiency handled almost all social encounters. She helped a lot with minor illusion, mimicry and doing things with her mage hand, but she was mostly giving advantage to his rolls.
The game still works, but the idea that it's a good thing or intentional in the "well-designed and carefully considered" sense seems laughable to me. Rather it's semi-intentional in that 5E is an "apology edition", and that apology wouldn't have worked if a certain kind of grog couldn't get an advantage through system mastery and picking Wizard.
I don't think so. I am a "grog" and I play more Rogues than any other class. I don't think that is unique either, wizards are not even close to being the most common classes in games I play (which include many experienced players) and they are not in the top based on metrics collected by DNDB either. I personally see Fighter, Rogue, Paladin, Warlock and Sorcerer more often than wizards.
Wizard is basically a class that exists to allow people to exploit system mastery at this point. That's like, it's whole deal. It also attracts system masters like flies. So you get this "force multiplier" effect, where you have the person most system mastery consistently playing full casters, often Wizards, and full casters are the ones where system mastery has the most impact outside combat.
Very few people have mastery of the rules and even moreso the statistics behind the mechanics then I do and I play more Rogues than Wizards. Wizards are my 2nd favorite class, but Ranger is a close third. Wizards are the only full caster I play regularly at all (excepting multiclass dips in sorcerer or Warlock).
Most of the time I am playing a wizard though I am not building the most powerful character I can, I am building around a cool and fun idea and usually I am multiclassing to make that idea fit and I think that is true for most players of both Wizards and other classes
But some people get to contribute tons more than others.
Yes but in my experience this is NEVER because of the class they are playing. One of the current Scout Rogues I am playing contributes more than anyone else at the table, including a divination wizard with expert knowledge of the rules and a Paladin and Warlock with all the social skills locked down. The reason is the 3 players other than me are all very introverted, and I am not.
I have tried to back away from this and be quiet but literally if I don't say what "we are ....."
or if I don't say "I walk up and ..."
then they will sit around the table and literally look at each other and look at me until I do say something. They won't even table talk about it or discuss options. If I lead and start an encounter they sometimes take over after I have kind of defined the path we are taking, but I overshadow them a lot because of player personality and those players do not like the spotlight to be on them when making decisions. They are fine using their character skills once we are on a path and it is obvious "I am going to use my portent on that"
or the Paladin or Warlock jumps in and saves me from screwing up a negotiation because I was the only one who would start talking.
I am not only contributing the most with a weak subclass of a weak noncasting class, I am doing it with a 16 dexterity at 10th level too!
I think these kind of things are why there are play imbalances.