Author Topic: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered  (Read 1925 times)

Offline Endarire

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Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Topic Start: September 09, 2016, 04:56:26 PM »
Greetings, all!

Consider when people in 3.5 get feats:  Level 1, 3, 6, 9, and every 3 levels thereafter.  Some races, templates, spells, items, flaws, and classes also grant bonus feats, chosen or preset.

Also consider that, starting at level 6, each feat comes after the equivalent of 1.5 spell levels from a full caster.  At level 3, you as a full caster (sorry, Sors and delayed casters!) are casting level 2 spells.  Your previous feat was when you could cast level 1 spells.  Your next feat is when you can cast level 3 spells and are 1 character level away from casting level 4s.  Your fourth feat is when you can cast cast level 5 spells and the situation only accentuates from here!

In the 3.5 system, there are fewer general feats granted to a character over 20 character levels than there are spell levels.

Pathfinder gave everyone more general feats, but also changed the power level of many feats, resulting in about the same situation as 3.5, or sometimes worse, or, for casters, sometimes better.

I'm posting this to make an observation, not to say the very popular systems should change.  I'm not advocating house rules (though your group still can and should if it suits y'all).  I just found this interesting enough to share.

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #1: September 09, 2016, 06:54:33 PM »
Well I guess.

Are you sure it's not because a 3rd level Spell is worth two 2nds or a CR4 is considered to be twice as hard as a CR2 but a Feat is simply a Feat. On it's own it can often be equally taken at the 1st level as the 18th and thus was never given anything other than linear progression in a game that uses exponential growth?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2016, 07:02:49 PM by SorO_Lost »
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Offline snakeman830

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #2: September 09, 2016, 09:20:03 PM »
Well I guess.

Are you sure it's not because a 3rd level Spell is worth two 2nds or a CR4 is considered to be twice as hard as a CR2 but a Feat is simply a Feat. On it's own it can often be equally taken at the 1st level as the 18th and thus was never given anything other than linear progression in a game that uses exponential growth?
Pretty sure this is the reason.  It's just because most feats don't scale at all, and most of those that do don't scale well.

Take Weapon Focus, for example.  At level 1, it's actually a decent pick.  At level 9, it's rarely making a difference and at level 18, it's completely negligible and you are hating yourself for wasting a slot on it.
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Offline Sinfire Titan

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #3: September 09, 2016, 10:06:42 PM »
Well I guess.

Are you sure it's not because a 3rd level Spell is worth two 2nds or a CR4 is considered to be twice as hard as a CR2 but a Feat is simply a Feat. On it's own it can often be equally taken at the 1st level as the 18th and thus was never given anything other than linear progression in a game that uses exponential growth?
Pretty sure this is the reason.  It's just because most feats don't scale at all, and most of those that do don't scale well.

Take Weapon Focus, for example.  At level 1, it's actually a decent pick.  At level 9, it's rarely making a difference and at level 18, it's completely negligible and you are hating yourself for wasting a slot on it.

Eww. Weapon Focus is only useful if you literally have no other methods of boosting your attack rolls. Almost every build has better options than WF (close-range Archers have PBS, Shape Soulmeld can provide several different attack bonuses, even Devotion feats are better due to sheer versatility).

I saw someone on GitP say that "Any feat that provides less value than a +2 bonus to a stat is worthless". A good sentiment IMO.
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Offline oslecamo

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #4: September 09, 2016, 10:24:54 PM »
Quote from: Frank Trollman
I literally wrote the book on "big feats" and it was a bad idea. The only thing I can say is that it seemed like a good idea at the time. But it really really wasn't. Yes, it is true that people want big feats. But like many things people want that aren't actually good ideas, the fact that it isn't a good idea should weigh much more heavily with you than the fact that people think they want it.

Big feats even have obvious utility. Having a single feat for three levels that has a large impact lets you tell the other players "I have Shock Trooper" or "I have Purple Dragon Baron Ascension" or whatever the fuck, and have that convey real information about what your character's capabilities are without taking up a lot of table time. It's appealing for the same reason that having a character class be "Necromancer" rather than making everyone a Wizard with twenty five meaningfully distinct spell selections is appealing. But that is in fact wrong. And the reason it is wrong is because Feats (or "talents" or "perks" or whatever the fuck you elect to call them) are personalized developments of your character acquired during play.

Whatever options you allow the player, there will be better and worse configurations. That is simply a fact. Anyone who claims all options are equally viable is blowing smoke up your ass. Feat selection is a personal choice that reflects personal preferences, and therefore you want whatever fucking choices are made to still be in the penumbra of "playable builds." You won't ever be able to make them all equal, but you could plausibly hope to make them all playable. But the only way you're ever going to be able to do that is if the feats are individually kind of small. If feats are big, then making the "wrong" choice is making a big wrong choice.

Further, you're going to have "feat taxes." You can (and should!) fight against this tendency, but it's fucking going to happen. Some character concepts or strategies or builds or whatever you wanna call it are going to require certain selections to do their thing. Basilisk riding ain't gonna work without blindfighting. Dread Necromancers are required by law to take Tomb Tainted Soul. That Griffin riding in your own example isn't going to last long without the mount resiliency granted by the Mounted Combat feat in your example. You can tell yourself that you won't have feat taxes, but that's bullshit. There are going to be things that go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and those things are going to be expected of player characters. All you can do is choose to have those "mandatory" selections be a larger or smaller amount of the player's total selections to be made.

Small numbers of big feats is something people think they want. But the reality is that they do not want to live in a world where you have to wait three more levels before you get to pick a new feat, and they don't want to live in a world where picking a feat because it sounded cool permanently gimps their character. The only real question is whether getting one feat every level is often enough. And I would submit that it is not.

-Frank

Source.

Offline snakeman830

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #5: September 09, 2016, 10:44:57 PM »
Well I guess.

Are you sure it's not because a 3rd level Spell is worth two 2nds or a CR4 is considered to be twice as hard as a CR2 but a Feat is simply a Feat. On it's own it can often be equally taken at the 1st level as the 18th and thus was never given anything other than linear progression in a game that uses exponential growth?
Pretty sure this is the reason.  It's just because most feats don't scale at all, and most of those that do don't scale well.

Take Weapon Focus, for example.  At level 1, it's actually a decent pick.  At level 9, it's rarely making a difference and at level 18, it's completely negligible and you are hating yourself for wasting a slot on it.

Eww. Weapon Focus is only useful if you literally have no other methods of boosting your attack rolls. Almost every build has better options than WF (close-range Archers have PBS, Shape Soulmeld can provide several different attack bonuses, even Devotion feats are better due to sheer versatility).

I saw someone on GitP say that "Any feat that provides less value than a +2 bonus to a stat is worthless". A good sentiment IMO.
I did say "at level 1," where I would rate it as "acceptable."  Not "good" or "great," just "decent."  Come level 3, it's already falling off hard.

Now, the concept of Weapon Focus is feat-worthy.  It's just that the implementation was terrible.
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Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #6: September 09, 2016, 11:54:07 PM »
I feel like I used a meme correctly since everyone keeps quoting it.

Anyway,
Eww. Weapon Focus is only useful if you literally have no other methods of boosting your attack rolls.
Well a couple PrCs require it and as far as Feat Tax goes at least it provides something helpful rather than denerfing something (eg natural spell).

And honestly, if you're a Warblade Melee Weapon Mastery is pretty nice. the +3 attack & +4 damage tap into the multiplicative effects of Critical Hits and extra attacks. Going by your GitP comment, they are worth an average of +7 to Str or +2.33 per Feat once completed. And it opens the way to Slashing Furry which is a very nice addition to Strike damage.
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Offline ketaro

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #7: September 10, 2016, 12:26:29 AM »
Let's just give everybody Spell Progression and kick Feats out of the game then. Clearly that's the only way to solve this problem that nobody can just get over since the game first began  :rolleyes

Offline Samwise

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #8: September 10, 2016, 03:38:46 PM »
Let's just give everybody Spell Progression

Tome of Battle?
4E?

Quote
and kick Feats out of the game then.

5E?

Quote
Clearly that's the only way to solve this problem that nobody can just get over since the game first began  :rolleyes

It seems rather obvious that is what they think at WotC R&D.

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #9: September 10, 2016, 04:00:46 PM »
And on that note, look how well 4th did. so maybe everyone having Spells is a bad idea :p

5th honestly seems like it's quickly turning into a flop too. It's numbers are tightly kept under wraps and it's been a year since the hype that D&D is returning to 3rd's roots. On the one hand you has the skewed numbers from Amazon's ranking where most 3rd/3.5 PHBs were picked up at book stores vs the almost entirely ordered online 5th edition but on the other the DM cheat sheet screen anyone can print out and starter set has out sold almost every subsequent supplement WotC has released for 5th. I don't really see much sustainability out of the program, but with 5th huge initial buy in I can't help but think they are already planning a D&D 6th edition just to capitalize on their MMORPG update. /tangent.
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Offline Endarire

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #10: September 10, 2016, 05:03:53 PM »
D&D 5E MMORPG?  Hmm?

Offline Samwise

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #11: September 10, 2016, 08:58:57 PM »
And on that note, look how well 4th did. so maybe everyone having Spells is a bad idea :p

While I fully agree, I was just noting that those were pretty much the direct "physical" expression of ketaro's comment.

"Everyone" liked Tome of Battle.
So "obviously" expanding that to every class would be totally awesome.

Then 5e was the "ultimate resolution" of the "feat problem".

Quote
5th honestly seems like it's quickly turning into a flop too. It's numbers are tightly kept under wraps and it's been a year since the hype that D&D is returning to 3rd's roots. On the one hand you has the skewed numbers from Amazon's ranking where most 3rd/3.5 PHBs were picked up at book stores vs the almost entirely ordered online 5th edition but on the other the DM cheat sheet screen anyone can print out and starter set has out sold almost every subsequent supplement WotC has released for 5th. I don't really see much sustainability out of the program, but with 5th huge initial buy in I can't help but think they are already planning a D&D 6th edition just to capitalize on their MMORPG update. /tangent.

From other stuff I've seen I don't think it is so much as flop as Hasbro has simply given up on it.
They never liked the sales numbers, even from the height of 3.5, and after 4e turned into a dire dog (of doom) they seem to have figured on paying for the reboot, but focusing on the licensed products.
Mind you, I was completely expecting 4E to just be an MMORPG product, but apparently Hasbro insists on keeping the print edition alive, so I'm expecting them to release maybe 2-3 print products per year, and have everything else but e-games and toys.
5e won't "fail", but it will be dead as a TTRPG.

Offline snakeman830

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #12: September 10, 2016, 11:59:50 PM »
I think 5E is having issues with the fact it's a whopping $50 a book!  I'd love to give it a go, but justifying the $150 price tag for the core books is difficult when I have such a large library of 3.5.  If the price were $30 per book, like 3.5 was, I would have no issues shelling out for the new system.
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Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #13: September 11, 2016, 11:03:05 AM »
D&D 5E MMORPG?  Hmm?
Sort of. It's mostly about how their newest release is a preprogrammed sandbox and what problems that inherently brings.

(click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 11:06:29 AM by SorO_Lost »
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Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #14: September 14, 2016, 03:25:55 PM »
I think 5E is having issues with the fact it's a whopping $50 a book!  I'd love to give it a go, but justifying the $150 price tag for the core books is difficult when I have such a large library of 3.5.  If the price were $30 per book, like 3.5 was, I would have no issues shelling out for the new system.

You only need the PHB and MM to run a game though.  The DMG is mostly suggestions for people who have never DMed before.  The only part I reference frequently is the magic item section to be sure I'm balancing made-up magic items against 5e's power curve.  3.5 books are pretty easy to use for conversion material too, and the conversion guidelines are free.

and kick Feats out of the game then.

5E?


It kinda works considering how jam-packed class levels are with abilities.  Far more customization comes out of multiclassing than feats in 5e, and the actual feats are mostly minor customization feats outside of 4 outliers that heavily benefit martials (Polearm Master, Great Weapon Master, Sharpshooter, and Crossbow Expert).  The failure in this regard is several classes have level 20 abilities that don't stack up to level 2 abilities from a multiclass.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 03:42:03 PM by TenaciousJ »
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Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #15: September 25, 2016, 12:45:29 PM »
OP, I just had a thread illustrating (literally) the static feat vs exponential spell progression thing...

I think 5E is having issues with the fact it's a whopping $50 a book!  I'd love to give it a go, but justifying the $150 price tag for the core books is difficult when I have such a large library of 3.5.  If the price were $30 per book, like 3.5 was, I would have no issues shelling out for the new system.
So why don't they convert all of 3.5 to 5e? That's clearly the most blindingly obvious way to do it. It's the solution to edition inertia. A book a time, is it too much? If so, then they can't expect anyone else to do it...

Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #16: September 25, 2016, 10:44:08 PM »
OP, I just had a thread illustrating (literally) the static feat vs exponential spell progression thing...

I think 5E is having issues with the fact it's a whopping $50 a book!  I'd love to give it a go, but justifying the $150 price tag for the core books is difficult when I have such a large library of 3.5.  If the price were $30 per book, like 3.5 was, I would have no issues shelling out for the new system.
So why don't they convert all of 3.5 to 5e? That's clearly the most blindingly obvious way to do it. It's the solution to edition inertia. A book a time, is it too much? If so, then they can't expect anyone else to do it...

My guess is they want to avoid edition bloat that a lot of people who moved on from 3.5 complain about.  By leaving the stuff to conversion guides, the conversion material doesn't become official for AL and DMs don't have to be the bad guy to players by disallowing something that the player paid for but the DM doesn't want to use.

I wouldn't want all of 3.5 converted anyway.  I loved it for a long time and the good parts were good, but there's a lot of garbage that saw print because they were printing books so often.  A "best of 3.5" conversion book would be pretty cool but I honestly think it would disappoint because a lot of the staples of high-power 3.5 wouldn't translate over to anywhere near their functionality in 5e.  Tier 3 and below is largely doable in 5e as-is.

The more I run 5e, the more I appreciate what it aims to do.  It's not really a great forum-discussion system because there's not nearly as much to work with, but on the other hand my players aren't anywhere near finished playing all the concepts they can think of with just what's in the PHB at this point.

As for feats, the UA material for feats already shows that's the area most likely to introduce power creep to the system.  They are fine on their own, but anytime 5e introduces a feat that could benefit a weapon type that already has support, the more those feats become mandatory to play optimally.
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Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #17: October 07, 2016, 02:00:15 PM »
they want to avoid edition bloat that a lot of people who moved on from 3.5 complain about.  By leaving the stuff to conversion guides, the conversion material doesn't become official for AL and DMs don't have to be the bad guy to players by disallowing something that the player paid for but the DM doesn't want to use.
By bloat, do you mean all that fluff? The campaign books were pretty notorious for that.

Also you seem to be implying that 5e won't print something that a DM will ever say no to... Otherwise the DM is 'the bad guy to players by disallowing something that the player paid for but the DM doesn't want to use". If you are saying what I think you are, that's laughable. If not, please clarify.

there's a lot of garbage that saw print because they were printing books so often.
The MIC sneak peak admitted this. Monte Cook basically said "we do it purposely" but I think that he was just covering up for his mistakes. Thus the solution is to update everything except the crap. The bar should be whether a player would be wise to use it. Here are some random examples from the SRD:

Bracelet of friends makes it because it explicitly allows buying partially charged versions. 4kish for 'gather the party' panic button is decent.
Cursed items don't count.
Ring of spell storing is in
Rod of splendor is out: spending 9k to look wealthy and occasionally have a lame party isn't enough. Maybe if it was 24hr...
Robe of bones is a crap charged item.
Eyes of petrification is laughably priced with a crap DC.
etc

Offline TenaciousJ

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #18: October 07, 2016, 03:04:00 PM »
they want to avoid edition bloat that a lot of people who moved on from 3.5 complain about.  By leaving the stuff to conversion guides, the conversion material doesn't become official for AL and DMs don't have to be the bad guy to players by disallowing something that the player paid for but the DM doesn't want to use.
By bloat, do you mean all that fluff? The campaign books were pretty notorious for that.

Also you seem to be applying that 5e won't print something that a DM will ever say no to... Otherwise the DM is 'the bad guy to players by disallowing something that the player paid for but the DM doesn't want to use". If you are saying what I think you are, that's laughable. If not, please clarify.

No, you're reading too much into what I'm saying.  What I said is what I meant literally.  For clarification, I mean that a DM choosing to allow something a player doesn't 100% expect to be allowed is a better player/DM relationship than the player 100% expecting to use something and the DM saying no.  I'm discussing player/DM dynamics and not system dynamics.  The purchase, especially of something new, creates the expectation from the player that his money won't be wasted.

Based on the responses to the Elemental Evil Player's Companion and the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, there will always be DMs that will ban relatively tame content.  EEPC only has the racial feat for Deep Gnomes that combines well with Abjurer Wizard and there are DMs that hate it as "munchkin crap."  SCAG has "OP munchkin" cantrips, even though someone who can do encounter math beyond DPR can easily prove that optimizing cantrips is underpowered compared to being a single-classed caster.  However the general consensus is that nothing has been printed in 5e that warps the way people build characters like the various prestige classes that subverted the costs of metamagic, the various ways to gain very high caster level boosts, or the various feats that made charging damage reach 1-shot range on anything.

I did not suggest nothing from 3.5 can or should be converted to 5e.  I explained why the trickle is incredibly slow and why a large amount of the content is not likely to ever be converted.

I would dispute the notion that campaign books being full of fluff is bloat too.  A campaign book should have fluff to introduce the setting and mine for roleplay ideas.  Unfortunately those kinds of books need mechanical bloat too to entice players to buy them instead of just DMs making the purchase most of the time.

To relate this to the original point of the thread, how would you narrow down the list of good 3.5 feats to what should be converted, keeping in mind the general power level of 5e feats (weak but broad with 4 outliers) and not obsolete anything already printed?  Having not played 3.5 in a few years now, I'm having trouble remembering the good feats besides uber-charger kits and metamagic shenanigans.  I don't think many 5e fans want uber-charging back and metamagic is now a staple feature of sorcerers instead of a group of feats.  I'm enjoying feats that are largely not a balance concern outside the few outliers.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 03:05:56 PM by TenaciousJ »
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Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Another Reason Feats Seem Underpowered
« Reply #19: October 15, 2016, 02:17:04 PM »
how would you narrow down the list of good 3.5 feats to what should be converted, keeping in mind the general power level of 5e feats (weak but broad with 4 outliers) and not obsolete anything already printed?  Having not played 3.5 in a few years now, I'm having trouble remembering the good feats besides uber-charger kits and metamagic shenanigans.  I don't think many 5e fans want uber-charging back and metamagic is now a staple feature of sorcerers instead of a group of feats.  I'm enjoying feats that are largely not a balance concern outside the few outliers.
You seem to want feats to have no mechanical impact on the game. If so, take Weapon Focus(x weapon that you'll never use). Or take toughness at level 18. You get to feel "tough", right? You have a feat that says so!

5e's balance problems aside (I mean its general power level), the bar for any further iteration of a game (D&D or no) or anything else (think Office or Windows) which wants to "upgrade" has to manage 2 things: A) not leave behind good things and B) make enough good things that it's worth the upgrade pains.

If you're using Windows 10 x32 and you hear that the next build of Windows 10 will be x64 only, then you'll probably not switch because you'll lose easy access to your windows-only 16 bit programs. This is an example of A). Now imagine Microsoft actually built in an on-the-fly 32bit emulator into that x64 build. Now you'll upgrade. This is why WotC should convert their 3e material.

If you know it's going to cause your boot problems and you don't want to spend 4 hours restoring your rig, you won't go from Windows 7 to Windows 10 unless you care about the .vhdx mounting capability. This is an example of B).This is why WotC should release their 3e material for a low/free price.

So what is the bar for what feats should be imported (by WotC, of course)? The same as the above: if it's useful. Does an optimizing player want that feat? If so, it's in. Would we laugh at said feat? Then don't import it. Here are some SRD examples:

Skill focus is in (if truenaming is)
Lightning reflexes isn't worth a feat slot (use an x to y feat instead)
Self-Sufficient is out (the heal and survival skills never need to be pumped)
Widen spell is in (thanks to MM reducers, +3SL for +100%spell area. I understand MM is different in 5e, I'm just comparing based of 3e)
Extra Turning is out (even with a load of turning pools, it's a subpar feat. And that's with extreme optimization!)
Improved Counterspell is out (there are better ways to counterspell than to blow slots of higher level than your enemy)
Greater Spell Penetration is only in if your DM has fixed SR
Leadership is obviously worth it, so much so that it's in need of nerfs
etc

tl;dr 5e doesn't have enough good new toys and it leaves behind too many old ones.