D&D 5E You Cant Fix The Class Imbalances IMHO

Tony Vargas

Legend
Those are two separate things. You're arguing that removing the high level play experience is the same as rebalancing the game at high levels.
High level play being less functional isn't quite the same as removing it, but, yes, point taken...
This is the same "4e was balanced, therefore balance equals 4e" argument I was pushing against earlier, but formed from the opposite side. It's reductive to summarize dislike of 4e down to an opposition to a balanced game, exactly in the same way it's reductive to argue that balance is inimical to D&D because 4e set it as a design goal.
Nod. My experiences through the edition war do contribute to my perception that way. It might be that a different, but still effective form of balance could have appealed, or at least, not inspired such profound rejection - I never saw one identified, however hypothetically, FWIW.

It's important to note that I'm not evaluating 5e for balance because I've defended 4e, just like I'm not finding fault with the 5e fighter because I've talked up the design of the 3.0 fighter or finding fault with 5e neo-Vancian because I liked playing magic-users and druids under traditional Vancian back in the day.
Rather, I found that, while several editions of D&D have tried to deliver class balance in a variety of ways, 4e has come closest. There are many other ways to achieve balance, other games that do so, but they'd likely be even less 'really D&D' than 4e was.
One possible alternative that occurred to me back in late 3.5 days, would have been to design all classes as single-level building blocks, like the 3e fighter, but more so. At the time, I thought "make everyone a fighter in the next D&D" was a non-starter, and that it wasn't really possible to balance classes in D&D, nor encounters except by DM talent/experience/illusionism. 4e proved me wrong. So I'm quite open seeing a very different form of balance than the one 4e tried working, presumably in some other game, since balance does not seem to be an option in D&D going forward.
It's bad because it consumes to many resources and game design space..
Unplayable or/and unbalanced level ranges still consume resources and design space, just for little if any utility.
If you're willing to burn down level 1-20 expectations whynot 10 or 15 levels?
It often seems like D&D is aiming to work only in its sweet spot, because 'people don't play to high level,' which, if I'm following, leads you to conclude "why not just have a 1-10 game?"

That doesn't sound unreasonable.
 
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Oofta

Legend
I mean, it was called the sweet spot because it was the range of levels where the game worked best, or, really, worked at all.

There's no way functionality is a bad thing to design in.

But, markets are funny, and human nature is even funnier. If for whatever reason, your customers would feelzbad if high level play actually worked or classes were actually balanced, well, you have to cater to it... You're a business, businesses cater to customers to make profits, within the limits of the law. If catering to one set of customers makes more money than catering to another, and catering to both is not an option, you pick the more lucrative market.
...it'd be interesting to dig into why (some) D&Ders hate balance, tho... is it just being accustomed to it's absence for so many years of the game's history? Is it the prospect of losing hard-won system mastery? Is it the 'revenge of the nerds' theory that gamers identify with bookish wizards and nurse school-days grudges against the 'jock' fighter?

.... :unsure:

The "balance" you seek is not "hated". It's just a nebulous meaningless term. If people point out that in their games it's not an issue you claim they "hate balance" instead of just accepting that other people don't see a major issue. Yes, the wizard is flashier. Yes, the wizard can do things a fighter can't. So? A fighter can do things the wizard can't as well.

I see as many balance issues caused by people who know how to build and play a specific class being more effective at a particular class as any perceived issue of class balance.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Those are two separate things. You're arguing that removing the high level play experience is the same as rebalancing the game at high levels.


This is the same "4e was balanced, therefore balance equals 4e" argument I was pushing against earlier, but formed from the opposite side. It's reductive to summarize dislike of 4e down to an opposition to a balanced game, exactly in the same way it's reductive to argue that balance is inimical to D&D because 4e set it as a design goal.
Yup. There are plenty of reasons for a person not to like 4e, especially if they're a fan of prior editions.
 

Pedantic

Legend
It often seems like D&D is aiming to work only in its sweet spot, because 'people don't play to high level,' which, if I'm following, leads you to conclude "why not just have a 1-10 game?"

That doesn't sound unreasonable.
It does seem like a certain subset of players (and especially DMs) view the high levels primarily as a worldbuilding exercise, mostly there to provide flavor to the parts of the game the actually intend to use.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
High level play being less functional isn't quite the same as removing it, but, yes, point taken...

Nod. My experiences through the edition war do contribute to my perception that way. It might be that a different, but still effective form of balance could have appealed, or at least, not inspired such profound rejection - I never saw one identified, however hypothetically, FWIW.

Unplayable or/and unbalanced level ranges still consume resources and design space, just for little if any utility.

It often seems like D&D is aiming to work only in its sweet spot, because 'people don't play to high level,' which, if I'm following, leads you to conclude "why not just have a 1-10 game?"

That doesn't sound unreasonable.
Worth noting here that unplayable and unbalanced are two very different things.
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
Worth noting here that unplayable and unbalanced are two very different things.
thus "or/and" - I thought that was clear that the two were different and you could have imbalanced but still playable (... :unsure:... I suppose balance is moot in an unplayable game) ...
It does seem like a certain subset of players (and especially DMs) view the high levels primarily as a worldbuilding exercise, mostly there to provide flavor to the parts of the game the actually intend to use.
Like, the players will never have characters who rise to these levels, but I can use NPCs of that level to establish and maintain a world order that works as a backdrop for the stories I want to tell? :unsure:

I could see that. Official settings often feature that sort of thing. Doesn't necessarily call for player facing rules for those levels, but under the rubric that everyone uses the same rules, NPC/DM-facing rules also become player facing rules, at least in structure/presentation, even if the intent is players will never use them...

But, for instance, the same sort of thing is definitively accomplished by the never-to-be-statted Lady of Pain in Planescape....
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
thus "or/and" - I thought that was clear that the two were different and you could have imbalanced but still playable (... :unsure:... I suppose balance is moot in an unplayable game) ...

Like, the players will never have characters who rise to these levels, but I can use NPCs of that level to establish and maintain a world order that works as a backdrop for the stories I want to tell? :unsure:

I could see that. Official settings often feature that sort of thing. Doesn't necessarily call for player facing rules for those levels, but under the rubric that everyone uses the same rules, NPC/DM-facing rules also become player facing rules, at least in structure/presentation, even if the intent is players will never use them...

But, for instance, the same sort of thing is definitively accomplished by the never-to-be-statted Lady of Pain in Planescape....
That was what high level spells were originally meant for in TSR editions: to provide great magical powers to high level (usually antagonistic) NPCs.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Still seems to be about tropes.

I mean all the main heroic and villainous NOCs are wizards

Because outside of wizards, no one agrees on what anything above level 8 or so looks like
 

mamba

Legend
But, markets are funny, and human nature is even funnier. If for whatever reason, your customers would feelzbad if high level play actually worked or classes were actually balanced, well, you have to cater to it... You're a business, businesses cater to customers to make profits
do we have any indication that people want broken high level gameplay?

Not even sure they want imbalance, it’s more that they can tolerate the level of imbalance that exists
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
do we have any indication that people want broken high level gameplay?
What we usually hear is like "higher levels werent playtested as much beause they dont see much play."

TBH, there's every indication that the fan base isn't a base, at all, but is fragmented.
So any 'people want' assertion is prolly a stretch.
Not even sure they want imbalance, it’s more that they can tolerate the level of imbalance that exists
Sure, the silent majority might be. If all you're doing is tolerating something you don't care for or don't care about, you probably don't feel the need to defend it, tho, so one of the loud minorities, not so much...?

That was what high level spells were originally meant for in TSR editions: to provide great magical powers to high level (usually antagonistic) NPCs.
I have heard that, at least about the pre-publication would-become-D&D EGG was actually running, and, the higher level spells go the easier it is to see some of them as something you'd throw down to delay/challenge a party up against some evil wizard...
...then there was the EHP... ;) ... the villain so common it needed an acronym
 
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