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D&D 4E Outstanding later 4e products +

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I don't disagree. A lot of the essential classes don't have as much of a "little brother" feel if they don't have the "big brother" PHB classes to compare them to.

I never got any “big brother/little brother” feeling from any combination of essentials and phb classes. I don’t really get that idea, tbh.
 

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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
I never got any “big brother/little brother” feeling from any combination of essentials and phb classes. I don’t really get that idea, tbh.
It's certainly a "feel" thing, and difficult to define, but comparing Slayer and Knight to PHB fighter, or Binder to PHB warlock, always gave me that feel.
 

Joshua Randall

Adventurer
You're obviously not an intra-4e edition warrior, then. *rolleyes*

I'm not a huge fan of the Essential-ized versions of certain classes (Fighter, *cough*), but that's OK. Not every single thing Wizards makes need to be for me personally.

Essentials may have been a failure as a business product, but it was great in terms of design and value for money. The Monster Vault boxed set was crazy good value, as was the DM's Kit.
 


MoutonRustique

Explorer
What does it mean "big brother/little brother feel"?
Some of the Essential classes can feel [simple] or [lesser] when compared to their PHB counterpart.

This is a matter of perspective and taste - as such, if it's not something you've noticed, it's not a thing to you. For myself, I find the Hexblade to be feel a bit like a "lesser" version of Swordmage with regards to implementing the Fighter/Mage archetype. In some ways, in MMO-speak, it's comparing a (let's say Wrath of the Lich King) Warrior tank with a Pally tank. One can feel a bit like "easy-mode".

It's not about knocking the class - it's really more a question of preference. Hexblade was an awesome addition to the game, and I would not prefer that it did not exist.
 

sfedi

First Post
I thought the whole point of the essentials was to give the option to play 4e classes that are as powerful as the previous ones, but much simpler to handle.

That's what I would do if a 10 year old would join us, adults.
Or any other player that wasn't ready or unwilling to handle the complexity of a 4e class.
 

darkbard

Hero
I thought the whole point of the essentials was to give the option to play 4e classes that are as powerful as the previous ones, but much simpler to handle.

That's what I would do if a 10 year old would join us, adults.
Or any other player that wasn't ready or unwilling to handle the complexity of a 4e class.

That was the design intent. Delivering, on that promise, however.... (Most Essentials classes are vastly underpowered compared to their counterparts, and, quite frankly, some are virtually unplayable, or close to it, beyond Heroic tier, e.g. Binder, Bladesinger, etc.).

Furthermore, the lack of flexibility of build choice (compared to their counterparts) was galling to players who found this element of 4E's design a selling point.
 

sfedi

First Post
I wasn´t aware of that.

I only DM'd for a Knight on the Heroic Tier and it felt more powerful than de fighter, although more dull.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It's certainly a "feel" thing, and difficult to define, but comparing Slayer and Knight to PHB fighter, or Binder to PHB warlock, always gave me that feel.
Fair enough! The Trapper Keeper was pretty poorly made, sadly. There was a lot that was excellent conceptually, but the math just didn’t reach the basic numbers for the role.

Still, I think there was more good than bad, overall. The only real duds, IMO, were the Binder, Bladesinger (mostly after heroic, and mostly in that it only had at wills contributing to its concept), vampire, and arguably the Berserker?

The Fighters, Rangers, thief rogue; Mage, Executioner, Cavalier, Blackguard, and Skald, were all within pre-essentials power levels, and quite fun to play, for us at least.

That was the design intent. Delivering, on that promise, however.... (Most Essentials classes are vastly underpowered compared to their counterparts, and, quite frankly, some are virtually unplayable, or close to it, beyond Heroic tier, e.g. Binder, Bladesinger, etc.).

Furthermore, the lack of flexibility of build choice (compared to their counterparts) was galling to players who found this element of 4E's design a selling point.

Nah, none of them, except maybe the vampire, were close to unplayable at any level. They were “viable” for a CharOp game, but that isn’t important at all. They played fine in actual games, so long as your goal wasn’t to win dnd through superior system mastery (or you weren’t playing with people who were into that, obv). Except the vampire. It just...doesn’t work.

But the Binder was totally playable. It just didn’t have a clear mechanical identity, and tried to be a worse swordmage, both conceptually and mechanically, by not having significant power that blended magic and fighting. It just has cool at wills. What a waste.

But “vastly overpowered” is one of those phrases that only makes sense on a CharOp forum, tbh.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
Essentials classes struck me as better than the 4E phb equivalents but not as good as the phb classes with the 4E splat.

If I didn't have the online cb or a decent library of 4E books and decided to play 4E for whatever reasons essentials would be fine.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Nah, none of them, except maybe the vampire, were close to unplayable at any level. They were “viable” for a CharOp game, but that isn’t important at all. They played fine in actual games, so long as your goal wasn’t to win dnd through superior system mastery (or you weren’t playing with people who were into that, obv). Except the vampire. It just...doesn’t work.
I'd even argue in favor of the vampire. My wife played one for a few levels, and she really liked it. Even from level 1, its powers made it "feel" like a vampire. It was pretty obvious it would have scaling problems going into Paragon, but I think it did a good job of expressing its theme.
 

darkbard

Hero
I'd even argue in favor of the vampire. My wife played one for a few levels, and she really liked it. Even from level 1, its powers made it "feel" like a vampire. It was pretty obvious it would have scaling problems going into Paragon, but I think it did a good job of expressing its theme.

Were those levels early Heroic? The general consensus among the Char Op community was that many of the Essentials classes worked fine in Heroic tier but began breaking down in Paragon tier and beyond. This was demonstrated mathematically over and over again, that the system math just broke down for many of these classes--that some (not all) of these classes not only didn't maintain "expected Char Op standards" for their role but that they became a drain on a party's resources (i.e., their capacities did not offset the additional XP budget increased by their presence in the party) in a typical, non-optimized home game.

Now, I'm sure a GM working with a group of likeminded players could work together to ameliorate some or even most of this in their individual games, but the system itself worked against some E classes in the way I outline above because (1) they lack leveled encounter attack powers, (2) have bad or lacking support (relative to classes with more longevity in the system), (3) have acces only to a single at-will attack, and so on.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Were those levels early Heroic? The general consensus among the Char Op community was that many of the Essentials classes worked fine in Heroic tier but began breaking down in Paragon tier and beyond. This was demonstrated mathematically over and over again, that the system math just broke down for many of these classes--that some (not all) of these classes not only didn't maintain "expected Char Op standards" for their role but that they became a drain on a party's resources (i.e., their capacities did not offset the additional XP budget increased by their presence in the party) in a typical, non-optimized home game.
It was, yes, but I'm generally an advocate for Heroic play over Paragon or Epic anyway...it's one reason I like the Neverwinter book so much.
 

darkbard

Hero
It was, yes, but I'm generally an advocate for Heroic play over Paragon or Epic anyway...it's one reason I like the Neverwinter book so much.

My preference too. Though it's also where I have the vast majority of my play experience. I need to read through the Neverwinter book thoroughly; to this point, I've just skimmed some sections.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I'd even argue in favor of the vampire. My wife played one for a few levels, and she really liked it. Even from level 1, its powers made it "feel" like a vampire. It was pretty obvious it would have scaling problems going into Paragon, but I think it did a good job of expressing its theme.

Yeah, for sure! It just needed a math fix.
 

MoutonRustique

Explorer
My preference too. Though it's also where I have the vast majority of my play experience. I need to read through the Neverwinter book thoroughly; to this point, I've just skimmed some sections.

I would be very surprised if you were anything other than very impressed - it is an excellent product.

Right this second, if you were to ask me : Top 3 products ? MV:TtNV, HotFW, NWCS (or is it just NCS?) And, keep in mind, I find the [Bladesigner] to be a mess...:-S
 
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Marshall

First Post
Fair enough! The Trapper Keeper was pretty poorly made, sadly. There was a lot that was excellent conceptually, but the math just didn’t reach the basic numbers for the role.

Still, I think there was more good than bad, overall. The only real duds, IMO, were the Binder, Bladesinger (mostly after heroic, and mostly in that it only had at wills contributing to its concept), vampire, and arguably the Berserker?
Sentinel Druid was awful and flat out could not perform its supposed role, Scout was a weaker version of the Seeker and couldnt perform its supposed role, Binder was unplayable mechanically, its primary shtick just didnt work. Skald was useless post heroic. Bladesinger required ridiculous amounts of optimization. Hexblade was a Swordmage knockoff that was attached to Warlock for ??? Mage was just, well, overpowered. Its well off the top end of the charts, it will be the spotlight in every situation.
The Fighters, Rangers, thief rogue; Mage, Executioner, Cavalier, Blackguard, and Skald, were all within pre-essentials power levels, and quite fun to play, for us at least.

Slayers are workable, but boring. Knights are at the low end of useable, Thieves are solid, Clerics are basically unchanged from PHB, everything else has MAJOR issues.
 

Were those levels early Heroic? The general consensus among the Char Op community was that many of the Essentials classes worked fine in Heroic tier but began breaking down in Paragon tier and beyond. This was demonstrated mathematically over and over again, that the system math just broke down for many of these classes--that some (not all) of these classes not only didn't maintain "expected Char Op standards" for their role but that they became a drain on a party's resources (i.e., their capacities did not offset the additional XP budget increased by their presence in the party) in a typical, non-optimized home game.

Now, I'm sure a GM working with a group of likeminded players could work together to ameliorate some or even most of this in their individual games, but the system itself worked against some E classes in the way I outline above because (1) they lack leveled encounter attack powers, (2) have bad or lacking support (relative to classes with more longevity in the system), (3) have acces only to a single at-will attack, and so on.

I would argue that the Vampire is not an 'Essentials' class... It appears in HotSF, a book which is not an Essentials product, though it does present a bunch of material that relates to Essentials material. The Vampire however is not one of those bits, it is merely a stand-alone AEDU class. In fact the Vampire has SO FEW POWERS provided, that it is effectively stuck with 1 or 2 options for each slot, but technically it has all the normal power slots and works like a PHB class, not an E-Class like Knight, or even Warpriest.

So it is quite fair to say that Vampire is a very undersupported class, and that shows! It is also formatted in a 'post Essentials' format which assumes you will play the built in PP/ED, but doesn't require that.

While the class struggles at higher levels, you CAN optimize it to be a reasonable power level. You shouldn't HAVE to, and again that points out its poor support is an issue, but had WotC chosen to put out a Vampire supplement with a bunch of added powers it would have probably been a perfectly fine class. The core mechanics are fairly cool and they DO work. Clearly it could have also used some more better class oriented feats.
 

I would be very surprised if you were anything other than very impressed - it is an excellent product.

Right this second, if you were to ask me : Top 3 products ? MV:TtNV, HotFW, NWCS (or is it just NCS?) And, keep in mind, I find the [Bladesigner] to be a mess...:-S

I liked ALL the later products, though the DSG was clearly 'running out of steam' and fell a bit flat (but still, it was a fun read and had some perfectly usable content). The Plane Above/Below, the Demonomicon, HotFW, HotEC, these are all great books. I'd argue that even HotSF is a great book in terms of what it presents and its color, there are just some issues with the power levels and focus of the class implementations (but far far less serious than EVERY 3.x book ever had).
 

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