Author Topic: Base Class Reference & Tier Information  (Read 1110 times)

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Topic Start: February 16, 2013, 10:19:21 PM »
http://www.minmaxboards.com/index.php?topic=8914.0

I've had this in the back of my mind since I first made it. Now's the time, I guess. Yes, I'm aware much of it is incomplete. You can PM, but don't poke me to get parts done here.

If you want, do a class's skills (quote me for the format). They are a pain.

Offline Iainuki

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #1: April 12, 2013, 04:15:03 PM »
I ran through this tier list and I mostly agree but have questions about the placement of one class: rogue.  In my past experiences and discussion, rogue ends up a step behind the prep-caster core classes, cleric, druid, and wizard and ahead of most of the rest of the core classes.  I'd put it on a par with sorcerer in general capabilities, and certainly ahead of bard and factotum.  What do I know or not know, or what am I assuming, that makes my evaluation of the class so different from the people who compiled this tier list?  Some possibilities:

1) Different assumptions about what's available?  Generally my experience is more with core-centric campaigns where not every sourcebook, especially not every setting-specific sourcebook or obscure stuff, is allowed.  In general, more books means more options for casters so they get a lot stronger.  Also, I assume options like polymorph and similar broken spells are off the table.

2) Different levels of optimization?

3) Different interpretations of critical rules?

I have to admit, I'm confused.  I'm curious why rogue is rated so low.

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #2: April 12, 2013, 06:36:34 PM »
I ran through this tier list and I mostly agree but have questions about the placement of one class: rogue.  In my past experiences and discussion, rogue ends up a step behind the prep-caster core classes, cleric, druid, and wizard and ahead of most of the rest of the core classes.  I'd put it on a par with sorcerer in general capabilities, and certainly ahead of bard and factotum.  What do I know or not know, or what am I assuming, that makes my evaluation of the class so different from the people who compiled this tier list?  Some possibilities:

1) Different assumptions about what's available?  Generally my experience is more with core-centric campaigns where not every sourcebook, especially not every setting-specific sourcebook or obscure stuff, is allowed.  In general, more books means more options for casters so they get a lot stronger.  Also, I assume options like polymorph and similar broken spells are off the table.

2) Different levels of optimization?

3) Different interpretations of critical rules?

I have to admit, I'm confused.  I'm curious why rogue is rated so low.

This would be a major part of it.  The tiers assume nothing is explicitly restricted whether it is splat books or spell options.
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Offline Iainuki

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #3: April 13, 2013, 12:50:06 PM »
So basically the assumption is that a sorcerer is abusing polymorph with every monster from every book, planar binding, simulacrum, etc.?  Everyone freely combines Eberron and Faerun material?  What does bard do to justify its placement?  I'm trying to figure out how you make a tier list of classes if all the game-breaking tricks are in.  I'm not even sure what tiers of classes mean if the rules allow Pun-Pun, the Cheater of Mystra, etc., because then it becomes about ranking different broken tricks rather than classes themselves.  I guess I'd say, then, that any tier list is simply going to be relative to background assumptions about RAW, RAI, and what the DM will and won't allow, so you have to spell out your assumptions.

Anyway, digging back into the other threads that this list is supposedly based on, I think some of this analysis is just wrong.  The biggest problem is there's no real discussion of how well a class performs against equal-EL encounters at various levels: you measure D&D classes against the monsters.  (There are some very weird campaigns I've seen that involve more characters with class levels and the like than monsters, but I've rarely seen the DM who has time to prepare optimized class-leveled characters for every session.  Most DMs use monsters in most encounters.)  Depending on whether you do it Playing-the-Same-Game style and match characters solo against encounters of EL equal to their level and see how many they win, lose, or stalemate or assume they're part of a party and analyze what tactics they could use and how effective those tactics would be, you'll get somewhat different answers but generally not so different as to move a class across tiers.  If game-breaking tricks are allowed, any class with access to one of them will win any encounter of any non-epic EL solo.  On the whole, as I said, I'd assign things to mostly some of the same tiers, but some classes are far from where my analysis would put them.

Anyway, I understand what's going on now.  Thanks!

Offline Nanshork

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #4: April 13, 2013, 01:44:38 PM »
The assumption is not that classes are abusing things but that classes have the option of abusing things.  Also that classes have the option of picking things out of different books and aren't restricted to core.  A lot of the tier placements are about options (both in and out of combat, against monsters and not) not about who can punpun the best.

And not everyone agrees with the analysis, that's why multiple tier threads have popped up over the years.  PlzBreakMyCampaign's isn't even the most well known/ referenced.

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Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #5: December 26, 2016, 01:13:35 PM »
So uh, I never noticed the discussion in here. At all. A PM is always okay if I forget to answer something. For instance, I thought that I posted in here that my metacompendium had the chassis in an excel formated version (not mine). Ah well, I just used it to add some columns and paste it in. I started to correct some mistakes on it. Let me know if you find any others.

I'm trying to figure out how you make a tier list of classes if all the game-breaking tricks are in. I'm not even sure what tiers of classes mean if the rules allow Pun-Pun, the Cheater of Mystra, etc.
They aren't. I specifically say "Any balance concerns are considered after the dirty handbook fixes." Also the tiers are considered an average of play. So while 9th level spells are assumed to be available, it doesn't mean that the healer class suddenly becomes tier 2, just because of one 9th level spell. Lastly, just because you allow mechanical options from a campaign setting, doesn't mean that it is inherently a conflict or unbalancing.

Quote
you measure D&D classes against the monsters.
That' s not necessarily true. For example, it is possible to run campaigns without monsters. The tiers will still stack up as I have outlined, even in this weird scenario because the tier's aren't a fight club ranking. They are a general measure or versatility and power. Wizards are going to be better at social interaction (after casting some spells) than a Truenamer. A Sorcerer can be built to be a better trap-overcomer than a rogue. The tiers are more useful than you are assuming.

Anyways, you're welcome to post your statistical analysis of equally optimized class builds and show how, in a dozen common combat situations, why one entry is off of its tier. My guess is that you haven't done this because you understandably don't want to put the work in. If you can't be bothered to do it, then I certainly can't be either.

And not everyone agrees with the analysis, that's why multiple tier threads have popped up over the years.  PlzBreakMyCampaign's isn't even the most well known/ referenced.
But it is the most thorough and it has reasonings attached. It is not really mine, but a summary of the board's opinions as demonstrated by the "why x class is in it's tier" threads.

This discussion page is absolutely the place to say that I'm off about a tier placement. The exact ranking within tiers is, however, not something that can be easily argued. So it's basically my (hefty) opinion. I'm still open to listening to why when you optimize your favorite class, its better than all the other classes in its tier ... just don't expect to change my mind on something I don't consider as important as what its tier is.

Offline nijineko

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #6: December 30, 2016, 03:23:23 PM »
so... selected options changes what tier a given class could be in?

shouldn't all classes be rated as a range of tiers then?
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Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #7: December 31, 2016, 11:41:12 AM »
I'm trying to figure out how you make a tier list of classes if all the game-breaking tricks are in.
See mine.

As long as the nerfs are in logical application it doesn't actually matter either way through. For example, if you ban high damage combos like Twinned Greater Arcane Fusion then equally fitting you ban charge multipliers and you still end up with Lightning Lance dealing 39d6 off a mere 4th level Slot. If you only ban Dominate Monster you've unfairly banned one element which admits to one side being better than another and that side simply chooses a new broken spell. This forces you into an endless series of patching but considerations that you're not playing D&D when finished aside. The fact is the removal doesn't actually change the Fighter's tier rank, it just empties the categories above him.

Think of it like the popularity vote favored Hillery but the Electoral System and FPTP-voting arrangement couldn't give a flying f. Nothing will ever change his percentage in the polls, nothing will ever change the fact that he won with a minority vote, and nothing will ever change that there are more people hate him than like him. And giving him a "winning" title will never change that and only serves to highlight systemic flaws.
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Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #8: December 31, 2016, 03:05:26 PM »
I ran through this tier list and I mostly agree but have questions about the placement of one class: rogue.  In my past experiences and discussion, rogue ends up a step behind the prep-caster core classes, cleric, druid, and wizard and ahead of most of the rest of the core classes.  I'd put it on a par with sorcerer in general capabilities, and certainly ahead of bard and factotum.  What do I know or not know, or what am I assuming, that makes my evaluation of the class so different from the people who compiled this tier list?  Some possibilities:

1) Different assumptions about what's available?  Generally my experience is more with core-centric campaigns where not every sourcebook, especially not every setting-specific sourcebook or obscure stuff, is allowed.  In general, more books means more options for casters so they get a lot stronger.  Also, I assume options like polymorph and similar broken spells are off the table.

2) Different levels of optimization?

3) Different interpretations of critical rules?

I have to admit, I'm confused.  I'm curious why rogue is rated so low.

This would be a major part of it.  The tiers assume nothing is explicitly restricted whether it is splat books or spell options.

Rogue was relatively uncontroversial around here, but there were (are) some strong dissentors on that.
Trapfinding is necessary early, Skills are better than not-Skills early.
But both of these can be replaced by 2 or 3 spells.  Now what?  Tier 1s laugh, Rogue reaches for UMD.
gamingden will tell you Rogue's damage output keeps up at all levels, and contributes to at CR challenges just fine.
And in confidence they might point out epic feats early, and flask rogue trickery (idk , not privy to this).

Rogue is noticeably better than Expert, Bard gives you almost as much skills and 6s, Beguiler also gives trapfinding and 9s.
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Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #9: December 31, 2016, 03:47:19 PM »
so... selected options changes what tier a given class could be in?

shouldn't all classes be rated as a range of tiers then?
In this respect, I'm not an innovator. I'm just an imitator. I remember participating in the original thread and basically saying: "Okay if you allow them to stretch, who's to say for far is too much optimization." At which point I was shut down pretty heavily for not understanding relative optimization. JaronK's answer was the most reasoned: "In general, we only care about the variants that increase a tier all by themselves." Players where expected to avoid options that could bring a class down a tier.

You're welcome to mention some tier-altering ACFs, if I've missed some. Things like feats are assumed (natural spell), and most of the other "class boosters" (see Soro's thread) are counted in the red/black/blue optimization stretchiness.

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #10: December 31, 2016, 04:20:58 PM »
I'm just an imitator.
Oh yeah, speaking of.

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Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Base Class Reference & Tier Information
« Reply #11: January 02, 2017, 06:19:13 PM »
You are right that I'm not doing a good job of restating assumptions. You're more than welcome to help illustrate what you think they should be. I'm often guilty of expecting others to give the benefit of the doubt / follow reasonable interpretations.

I agree with nanshork (although it doesn't conflict with JK's "weighting" of more common sources). And you're welcome to post an analysis on the dungeon crasher ACF. A simple one will do. I've not played a fighter past level 2, although I have built wildshaping rangers/mundanes before.