Comments on: Wizards Watch: Skillful Rogues, Balanced Wizards, and Countdown to the Next Playtest! http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/wizards-watch-rogues-wizards-playtest A D&D 4e Blog Dedicated to Dungeonmasters & Players Sat, 15 Jun 2013 05:48:23 -0400 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 hourly 1 By: Editor-in-Chief http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/wizards-watch-rogues-wizards-playtest/comment-page-1#comment-51053 Editor-in-Chief Fri, 25 May 2012 19:12:23 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=7102#comment-51053 @TheDragonturtle - I agree, and I was using the damage spells as an example of just one facet of how the Wizard outshines melee - sheer killing power. Once you get a Wizard or Sorcerer that starts chaining effects together, and has feats to bolster his Spell Save DCs, the melee classes start looking like fumbling toddlers by comparison. In the last game before I switched to 4E, the player with Wizard had that "system mastery" edge as you call it (I called it min-maxing, personally). The character was nigh untouchable, and could drop or incapacitate piles of monsters before the melee could unsheathe their swords. Since I posted this blog, its occurred to me that the problem with 4E Wizards, and many other things which some D&D gamers found objectionable, was not one of system "crunch" but of canon "fluff". The more I think about it, 4E pushed aside far too much of the old D&D canon, changed too many monsters abilities, and altered settings far too much to suit many in the community. Which is sad, because had the designers had respected the canon more, and included it wherever they could in 4E, it would have been a true D&D revolution, instead of a <em>casus belli</em> for the community members. @TheDragonturtle – I agree, and I was using the damage spells as an example of just one facet of how the Wizard outshines melee – sheer killing power. Once you get a Wizard or Sorcerer that starts chaining effects together, and has feats to bolster his Spell Save DCs, the melee classes start looking like fumbling toddlers by comparison. In the last game before I switched to 4E, the player with Wizard had that “system mastery” edge as you call it (I called it min-maxing, personally). The character was nigh untouchable, and could drop or incapacitate piles of monsters before the melee could unsheathe their swords.

Since I posted this blog, its occurred to me that the problem with 4E Wizards, and many other things which some D&D gamers found objectionable, was not one of system “crunch” but of canon “fluff”. The more I think about it, 4E pushed aside far too much of the old D&D canon, changed too many monsters abilities, and altered settings far too much to suit many in the community. Which is sad, because had the designers had respected the canon more, and included it wherever they could in 4E, it would have been a true D&D revolution, instead of a casus belli for the community members.

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By: TheDragonturtle http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/wizards-watch-rogues-wizards-playtest/comment-page-1#comment-51048 TheDragonturtle Fri, 25 May 2012 18:17:13 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=7102#comment-51048 I feel like it wasn't the balancing of the wizard that most players who chose earlier editions over 4e objected to. In fact, you can see conversations in many places by current 3.5 or PF players who are looking to find ways of balancing wizards. I think the issue was more to do with the means employed to balance the wizard, and what 5e appears to be doing is quite different as far as that goes. One last thing: wizards, clerics, druids and other spell casting classes are capable of being ridiculously powerful, it's true, but when actually played in games they are very often played as a lower caliber than they are capable of. In fact, a wizard played as you suggest (who emphasizes lightning bolt, fireball, MM, etc) is not really the problem that a lot of people have. Sure, he's powerful, but he doesn't have the game breaking qualities that a wizard who emphasizes spells like grease, silent image, invisibility, alter self, etc, as well as those who emphasize scrolls and wands. Wizards who take damage dealing spells are easy to cope with: putting in fewer, more powerful monsters makes a wizard substantially less overwhelming compared to a fighter or rogue. The players who haven't seen a big problem are likely either groups with a very high level of system mastery like mine (we deal with the Wizard by using gameworld rules and restrictions, or on a metagame level) or a relatively low level -thus preventing the wizard from reaching the problematic heights it is capable of I feel like it wasn’t the balancing of the wizard that most players who chose earlier editions over 4e objected to. In fact, you can see conversations in many places by current 3.5 or PF players who are looking to find ways of balancing wizards.

I think the issue was more to do with the means employed to balance the wizard, and what 5e appears to be doing is quite different as far as that goes.

One last thing: wizards, clerics, druids and other spell casting classes are capable of being ridiculously powerful, it’s true, but when actually played in games they are very often played as a lower caliber than they are capable of. In fact, a wizard played as you suggest (who emphasizes lightning bolt, fireball, MM, etc) is not really the problem that a lot of people have. Sure, he’s powerful, but he doesn’t have the game breaking qualities that a wizard who emphasizes spells like grease, silent image, invisibility, alter self, etc, as well as those who emphasize scrolls and wands. Wizards who take damage dealing spells are easy to cope with: putting in fewer, more powerful monsters makes a wizard substantially less overwhelming compared to a fighter or rogue. The players who haven’t seen a big problem are likely either groups with a very high level of system mastery like mine (we deal with the Wizard by using gameworld rules and restrictions, or on a metagame level) or a relatively low level -thus preventing the wizard from reaching the problematic heights it is capable of

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By: Editor-in-Chief http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/wizards-watch-rogues-wizards-playtest/comment-page-1#comment-49077 Editor-in-Chief Tue, 15 May 2012 23:22:29 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=7102#comment-49077 @Philo - I'd agree with you with regards to Old D&D and AD&D, but by 2nd Edition onward, especially after Skills & Powers came out and Unearthed Arcana, Rogues started being more on par with Fighters, even in a stand-up fight. By 3rd Edition and 3.5, I saw Rogues created that could make a Fighter give serious thoughts about retiring rather than crossing swords with him. And 4th Edition Rogues are more than solid, and one of the top 3 all-time DPR classes, and still able to take a beating in combat. I think that the Rogue class definitely has evolved more toward the fantasy literature style character with every edition after AD&D, and I'd hate to see it devolve back to the old weaker class that has to argue with the DM every time he wants to do a sneak attack/back attack/backstab and feel like he's effective in combat. As far as your idea for ADU, I agree that a Vancian magic system can work in a 4E system, but honestly from a DM perspective I hate Daily slots and once a day spell slots. Heck I even hate X per day powers, too, because of the book work it forces on the players from session to session. If I had my druthers, I'd have just AEU, and the utilities would either be at-wills or encounter powers. Tracking Dailies in a big dungeon crawl or long cross country trek is a real pain to me, particularly if you have a campaign that plays every other week. It's not that I feel my players are cheating, but many Daily powers seem only about 20% more potent than an Encounter power, so why make all the extra work? @Philo – I’d agree with you with regards to Old D&D and AD&D, but by 2nd Edition onward, especially after Skills & Powers came out and Unearthed Arcana, Rogues started being more on par with Fighters, even in a stand-up fight. By 3rd Edition and 3.5, I saw Rogues created that could make a Fighter give serious thoughts about retiring rather than crossing swords with him. And 4th Edition Rogues are more than solid, and one of the top 3 all-time DPR classes, and still able to take a beating in combat. I think that the Rogue class definitely has evolved more toward the fantasy literature style character with every edition after AD&D, and I’d hate to see it devolve back to the old weaker class that has to argue with the DM every time he wants to do a sneak attack/back attack/backstab and feel like he’s effective in combat.

As far as your idea for ADU, I agree that a Vancian magic system can work in a 4E system, but honestly from a DM perspective I hate Daily slots and once a day spell slots. Heck I even hate X per day powers, too, because of the book work it forces on the players from session to session. If I had my druthers, I’d have just AEU, and the utilities would either be at-wills or encounter powers. Tracking Dailies in a big dungeon crawl or long cross country trek is a real pain to me, particularly if you have a campaign that plays every other week. It’s not that I feel my players are cheating, but many Daily powers seem only about 20% more potent than an Encounter power, so why make all the extra work?

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By: Philo Pharynx http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/wizards-watch-rogues-wizards-playtest/comment-page-1#comment-49063 Philo Pharynx Tue, 15 May 2012 21:31:35 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=7102#comment-49063 Look at rogues (or thieves) in most other editions of D&D. They could fight, but they are at a disadvantage if they are up against a fighter type of equal level in a straight fight. The amount varies with editions, but using tricks always helps. I wouldn't say it's a huge disadvantage, but it's there. After all the fighter write up said that they are the best at straight up fighting, which implies that the rogue has to be less good. Also, part the fun of playing a rogue is coming up with cool tricks in fights. The only issue with the revised wizard is the pressure to use their limited spell slots just for attack spells. Not all utilities should be low level at-wills. Heck, if we aren't going to have AEDU, how about ADU? By having dedicated Vancian slots for utilities will encourage wizards to get creative with them without making them combat powerhouses. Look at rogues (or thieves) in most other editions of D&D. They could fight, but they are at a disadvantage if they are up against a fighter type of equal level in a straight fight. The amount varies with editions, but using tricks always helps. I wouldn’t say it’s a huge disadvantage, but it’s there. After all the fighter write up said that they are the best at straight up fighting, which implies that the rogue has to be less good. Also, part the fun of playing a rogue is coming up with cool tricks in fights.

The only issue with the revised wizard is the pressure to use their limited spell slots just for attack spells. Not all utilities should be low level at-wills. Heck, if we aren’t going to have AEDU, how about ADU? By having dedicated Vancian slots for utilities will encourage wizards to get creative with them without making them combat powerhouses.

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By: Arbanax http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/wizards-watch-rogues-wizards-playtest/comment-page-1#comment-48949 Arbanax Tue, 15 May 2012 06:44:36 +0000 http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=7102#comment-48949 Michael I am so pleased to see you return to your comments this week as I always find your comments and analysis helpful and balanced. In this weeks article I can't help but feel I agree, (I don't always ;-) and like you I am wondering if the move from 4e to 5e will be a positive one or not, depending wholly on what is presented. I find that one of 4e huge drawbacks is that magic is so mundane being reduced as it is largely to combat. And so one of the things I loved the most, in the Wizards article, was the creative use of spells outside of combat. The Grease spell to help a Rogue escape etc! I think as regards to those who don't think the overpowered wizard is a problem, must either be happy with what they bring at lower levels to feel its worth it, or are interested more in 'winning' by any means and don't mind being reduced to spell caddies in combat - perhaps because at higher levels Role Playing and Exploration are even more important and for that the Wizard is also essential. I've never understood what the appeal of being outshone so convincingly is, so it will be interesting to know what others think. I like how they are trying to balance the characters, esp the Wizard and do hope that a) play testers realise these are a base set of rules that need to be torn down in order to be built up again and that common ground as to what is core and what isn't can be found so the goal of unification can be achieved. b) that WOTC don't shoot themselves in the foot, by promising to be open in principle but closed in practice, either by being protective of rules or concepts that play testers disagree on or appearing not to take onboard play tester feedback. It will be interesting to see how information is aggregated and then used and lets hope wise heads prevail. Ab Michael I am so pleased to see you return to your comments this week as I always find your comments and analysis helpful and balanced. In this weeks article I can’t help but feel I agree, (I don’t always ;-) and like you I am wondering if the move from 4e to 5e will be a positive one or not, depending wholly on what is presented. I find that one of 4e huge drawbacks is that magic is so mundane being reduced as it is largely to combat. And so one of the things I loved the most, in the Wizards article, was the creative use of spells outside of combat. The Grease spell to help a Rogue escape etc! I think as regards to those who don’t think the overpowered wizard is a problem, must either be happy with what they bring at lower levels to feel its worth it, or are interested more in ‘winning’ by any means and don’t mind being reduced to spell caddies in combat – perhaps because at higher levels Role Playing and Exploration are even more important and for that the Wizard is also essential. I’ve never understood what the appeal of being outshone so convincingly is, so it will be interesting to know what others think.

I like how they are trying to balance the characters, esp the Wizard and do hope that a) play testers realise these are a base set of rules that need to be torn down in order to be built up again and that common ground as to what is core and what isn’t can be found so the goal of unification can be achieved. b) that WOTC don’t shoot themselves in the foot, by promising to be open in principle but closed in practice, either by being protective of rules or concepts that play testers disagree on or appearing not to take onboard play tester feedback. It will be interesting to see how information is aggregated and then used and lets hope wise heads prevail.

Ab

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