Dungeons and Dragons Wiki talk:Article Balance

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This page gets long, and old discussions have been moved here to keep it a bit more legible.

Other Balancing Type[edit]

Hey, I was wondering if anyone here had used the Shadowcraft Studios Class Pont system and their thoughts on its usefulness for testing class balance? -- 14:50, 22 April 2011 (UTC)

It looks to me that this system you are referring to says that the Monk is more powerful than the Wizard. I don't think it's very useful. --Foxwarrior 15:16, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
The system is terrible. It's absolute faffing nonsense. Its costs are outright wrong, its class ranking is obviously wrong, and its ability prices are stupid. You can get KI Strike and Comprehend Languages... or Sneak Attack +10d6, for the same cost. HMMM. Karrius 19:48, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
You know, I was going to let this go. I really was. But two days after the fact, looking at it from a variety of angles, all I have to say to the above statement is this: the stupid... it burns!
Don't get me wrong, I love the rogue. Give me a rogue and put him up against an equivilent monk and I'll skewer the bastage 101 different ways. But only one of those ways was a fair fight, and that fair fight took a very specialized build/prestige class combo to pull off. Toe to toe, monks beat the shit out of most of the crap they come across. Monks are very good at what they do, and what they do is punch through adamantine with their bare hands while understanding everything that is going on around them... while dropping from orbit. I ran a campaign for a guy who used to train a swat team before he quit his job, as apparently the stupid of his higher ups was burning as well. He was able to take a fighter and some craft skills and earn the average character wealth of a 20th level character... by level 6. By simply planning and making use of every advantage (like selling a live wyvern he captured to the highest bidder, or trading devil parts for gunpowders raw ingredients) he made a team of characters that was able to take down my grand campaign villain, a great red wyrm Ravagwer of Tiamat level 10, by 12th level in one round. Class is a skill set; a box of tools as it were: trying to use tools were they don't work will suck balls, but using the right tools for the right task will always work.
The preposed point buy system works, and it works well. As the local pariah, I probably doomed any hope it had of being advocated by anyone else, but frankly I don't care. I like it.--Change=Chaos. Period. SC 03:31, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
And here I thought Karrius's comment was redundant, because the point system was so obviously unbalanced. Did you notice that if you replace the Bard's casting with Cleric casting, its point cost will go down? You are correct, Spazalicious Chaos, the stupid... it burns! Also, your anecdote is mostly irrelevant to this discussion. --Foxwarrior 05:03, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Monks are not good at doing much of anything past low levels, and they're only ok there because the bar is so low and people are so close together in terms of bonuses. Their stats pull them in too many different ways to be effectively kept up (and simplifying that with feats is often a trap), they have extremely obnoxious hoops to jump through to maintain functional weapon bonuses and damage values with their unarmed strikes (and using other weapons to avoid those issues makes several of their class features worthless), and their high level special abilities are either counter productive (dimension door), extremely limited in use, too low in DC to be functional, or some combination of all three. They're not all bad, but they lack significant good.
Unless you're ignoring wealth by level and giving them artifact weapons or whatever I guess, like you're doing in your irrelevant example above. In that case, yes, if you let people become super rich and buy power well above their level they will perform above their level. Well done with that point, which doesn't actually say anything about the power of a class at a particular level and more about the power of high level gear at a low level. What a completely useless thing to add to a conversation on balancing class features by charging point costs for them. You might as well hate the point cost system referenced because it doesn't matter what your class features are, you're just going to buy extremely powerful items other people your level can't afford and then walk over stuff. Why you choose to like it when it's pricing things that are obviously irrelevant based on your example is beyond me. - Tarkisflux 06:33, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Spaz, the reason you are a pariah is because you insist on making senseless, inane comments likely intended to illicit an argumentative response that proves your obviously flawed theory totally wrong and then muddling the issue with examples that have nothing to do with the issue(s) at hand. Stop doing so, and you will look less like either a pariah or a blithering idiot. Until then, you will just continue to get canned for supporting something that you only appear to be arguing for for the sake of argument itself. - TG Cid 20:33, 25 April 2011 (UTC)
Nah, I like this beacuse it obviously a watered down version of besm that roll-players can wrap their heads around. Obviously.
However, I find it disturbing that annecdotal evidence is discreditied on this wiki. We are talking about a table-top RPG, people! A rule only works if a group of people says it does. That same group of people can only say it does if they have actually played it and are left with good and/or fun memories. Thus, it seems very odd that the one form of validation that can proove or disproove a rules effectiveness is not a valid argument. It almost makes me wonder if some of the people on here are just creepers masterbating in the dark over a game they heard about. I know that is what WotC does nowadays, but I'm hoping I'm right when I say that this probably only makes up 2% of our posters.
In short: I like the idea, I don't give a rats ass if anyone else does, and we all need to remeber that this game is an anecdote factory that runs purely on people talking with eachother.--Change=Chaos. Period. SC 04:29, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Potato. -- Jota 04:40, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Potato. --Undead Knave 04:47, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Potato. -MisterSinister 05:05, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Potato. --Foxwarrior 05:12, 26 April 2011 (UTC)
Anecdotes are basically self-quotations. While they make okay evidence, they have to be supported, just like a quote. As such, you first need to frame your anecdote. Explaining why you are giving an anecdote briefly and what to look at is most important. Then you post the anecdote. It is usually best to keep the anecdote separated from this description, and to keep this description separated from the content before it, That means you need multiple paragraphs to use an anecdote, and it cannot come out of the blue. Both parts of these were missed. Finally, you need to explain how the anecdote is indeed supporting evidence to your main argument. You actually do this a bit, and it seems your anecdote supports your argument. Given this small lecture on prose, I will explain why your anecdote doesn't work in game terms.
In the framework in which these balance points were built, and all balance on the wiki is built around is that there is a specific wealth by level. Why? Because it is in the core rules. If you give 720,000 gold pieces to a character that the rules say should have 15,000, then of course balance is going to get screwy. Gold gives extra features. Not only that, but the features can be tailored. If there is one battle left, and you have 720,000gp, you are going to spend it preparing for the final battle and not save any of it. Well, unless you roleplay that you shouldn't because your character wouldn't do that. Of course you are probably going to win. If you can attribute most of the characters success to wealth instead of class (which you can test by replacing the class levels with Commoner), then you are showing the balance of equipment instead of the balance of classes. As such, your anecdote is useless on the grounds that is misses the point.
--Havvy 05:24, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

Idea for inconsistencies[edit]

Alright, sometimes, a class does not fit into a single balance point. Not because its abilities are highly variable depending on factors outside the class itself (which is simply Unquantifiable), but because it is different balance points at different levels. GW and I were discussing this in chat, and he used as an example a hypothetical class that gets nothing at all until level 15, at which point they get Wish at will as an SLA. He argued that it would be wizard-level, because you need to look at its highest point. My view was that you have to consider the class as a whole. But really, neither of those work -- it is quite distinctly wizard-level at level 15, but monk-level below that. It's inaccurate to call it one or the other, and also inaccurate to call it anything in between. So...why don't we label classes by spans of levels? The Wishful Commoner would be "Monk [1-14], Wizard [15+]", and would have both balance points in its metadata. There's really no reason to restrict everything to the four power curves we have defined. Thoughts? --DanielDraco 04:04, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Approval of mine you have, yeeees. --Ghostwheel 04:07, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I would label it bad homebrew and slap a delete template on it.
Less dismissively, I can't actually think of a reason why that design paradigm would be at all useful in game. At one level it's playing one perfectly legitimate game, and at another it's playing a completely different one. That's not a consistently designed class, nor one whose inconsistencies add to the game in any way I can fathom, so I can't see any reason to support it or anything like it.
On a more technical level, doing this would basically ruin the attempt we have made to have material searchable by balance point. You would have to specify a character level and balance point to do any searching, and you would then probably want to confirm that it didn't change at a higher level than your game. I don't even know if we can code that, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to because of the other reasons that supporting those sorts of things doesn't appear useful. - Tarkisflux Talk 04:17, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
Why is an alternate power curve automatically bad? If they could be quantified, I'd guess Wizard to be roughly exponential, Rogue to be roughly linear, and Monk and Fighter to be different kinds of logarithmic. Why can't you have, say...a linear progression of higher slope? Or an exponential curve with a lower base? If someone feels like Fighter is a good place to set power until level 6, and Rogue is best after that, that's a perfectly legitimate viewpoint. Or if they're trying, as designers often do, to capture the feel of a character struggling, starting from nothing, and gradually gaining power and prestige until they're formidable forces of the universe, why can't they have a class slide from Monk all the way up through to Wizard over its progression? If the four curves we have are legitimate, others can be too.
As for coding it, it might work to make each of the four balance points (plus Unquantifiable) into separate properties and assign their value to the set of levels that falls into that balance. It might require making a search page specifically for this to facilitate people who don't know how to work semantic search, though. --DanielDraco 04:24, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I was specifically disagreeing with your example as valid, though I guess that could have been more clear. Alternate curves are not automatically bad, but I would argue that curves with severe jumps in the slope rate of change at any point are poor design and actually bad (like your original example). If you wanted to have a linear progression with a higher slope, you could do that. Go ahead and plot it out if you like, it's somewhere between two of our existing curves and you could just pick the one it was closer to and call it that without losing too much. If it's stronger or weaker than the reference classes in a balance point for a couple of levels, that's hardly an issue. The reference classes themselves suffer these problems. Making an exponential curve with a lower base is pretty difficult to do though. Generally speaking, classes can and do start near monk (even wizard level ones) by virtue of every curve largely overlapping at the start of the game, with monk leaving the group around 4 or 5, fighter around 8 or 9, and rogue falling behind wizard sometime after that. Trying to start an exponential progression with a lower base than anything else is like starting with an NPC class, if that, and working your way up. It's not invalid, but we don't have anything else on the wiki that could even be played with it at low levels, which is problematic for the class in general.
If someone wants to make a class that bends a curve slightly more or less than the reference cases they are welcome to do that and I won't call foul. It happens all of the time already since no one who writes something new actually maps it exactly to our reference cases (which don't even map exactly to each other). Claiming that the balance points we have don't support that sort of thing takes them to be more rigid and narrow than I believe them to be. It's one of the reasons Surgo (rightly IMO) fought against people trying to put exhaustive lists of abilities on the various balance points to facilitate assignments. As soon as you rigidly define the curves, you tell people that their work has to exactly fit into them or you have to start making weird exemptions and additional categories. As it stands, their somewhat broad definition allows authors to pick a best fit for their work and have it work reasonably well with others in the same category. More granularity might make it more obvious which levels you expect a class to under or over perform at, but that just makes matching material together more difficult in general.
That coding is an option, but the actual format would need to look something like |monk=1,2,3,4,5 |fighter=6,7,8,9 |etc to have the numbers be actually searchable. We can't do ranges, since SMW isn't smart enough for them and only looks for discrete values. And values on the low end aren't going to mean as much as values on the high end because of divergent progressions and low level clustering. But it would probably work, which addresses my technical objections. And if there's sufficient support for it or something substantially similar I'd be willing to put it in. I don't see any actual benefit in it though, and think it's probably a step backwards even, but I'd put it in if I got outvoted on it. - Tarkisflux Talk 06:58, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I'll note that I am against this idea. Partially due to the clunky implementation (which would make adding a new class a pain for authors and require a project to change all existing content). It also just doesn't jive with what we have for feats (which don't have a variable balance range). And, really, I see balance ranges as broad strokes, not fine ones. Making them any more granular seems like a step backwards, as Tarkis noted above. --Aarnott 18:37, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Ranger = Monk?[edit]

Weird, I just noticed ranger was listed as monk level. That's surprising, really? I always saw ranger equal to, or slightly better, than straight Fighter. That is, a ranger is basically a fighter who is forced into a limited specialization, but I've found rangers, in general, make better TWFers than fighters due to the lack of Dex requirement and overall rangers end up more useful outside of battle than a fighter. That's why I'm puzzled, a ranger is just a more versitile fighter, so I would imagine it would be fighter level. -- Eiji-kun 03:23, 8 November 2011 (UTC)

Ghost added it the other day, and I haven't gotten around to asking him about it yet. I'm curious as to his justifications as well though. - Tarkisflux Talk 03:37, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd imagine that it's in part because they are so specialized -- they get so-so damage against a narrow range of foes, or piddling damage against a moderate range of foes, depending on how thinly they spread their favored enemy increases. I wouldn't consider them more versatile than fighters at all.
Also, it may be true that they're better two-weapon fighters than Fighters are, but Fighters aren't very good two-weapon fighters to begin with. And for that matter, I'm honestly not sure Rangers are better at it anyway. The requirements for TWF aren't that prohibitive, and a Fighter can get more reliable bonus damage with each of those hits with Weapon Specialization than a Ranger can with favored enemy.
Also also, the Fighter balance point is generally considered around the more optimal Power Attack tactic, I believe, which would make the argument that Rangers are better at TWF than Fighters irrelevant anyway.
Also additionally also, regarding the utility outside battle, unless I'm mistaken, GW considers power outside battle to be no power at all. Which is...questionable, but understandable, and would further explain the placement in Monk-level. --DanielDraco 04:32, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Damn, edit conflict. Will post what I had, and will read above change after.
My rationale is as follows: Classes that have class abilities that when used make them worse (samurai, ranger) are monk-level. A fighter has full BAB going for it, as well as feats. That means that at least he can be built for the most viable build in a core-only game--that is, power attacking when you have full BAB, perhaps into spirited charge or something similar.
The ranger, on the other hand, becomes weaker when using his class abilities; twf is crap without a secondary source of damage, and the ranger who uses it will be mediocre compared to a fighter using a two-hander and power attack. And ranged combat is just crap in core-only, producing little damage that's not at all viable.
That's what I figured, at any rate. --Ghostwheel 04:36, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
EDIT: Incidentally, in a core + CW-only game, a samurai who didn't use their class abilities would be low fighter-level if he just got a 2-hander and used power attack like a "regular" fighter does. It's using their class abilities that makes them monk-level. --Ghostwheel 04:39, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't be too sure about the requirements for TWF being taxing. When you have Str and Con to handle, getting a third important stat really takes a chunk out of your point buy. I fully know that TWF is suboptimal in general, though I wouldn't call it BAD, just uninspiring. On bonus damage, both ranger and fighter struggle to obtain it through items rather than class features which grant a minor boon (weaspon specilization and favored enemy respectively), so I would really consider them even on that.
The other thing that bugs me about that arguement is that it ignores the other features ranger has. None of these features are amazing, no sir, but I wouldn't say any of them hurt. They have a flankbuddy, they have spellcasting which however humble does have a few gems and, more importantly, the ability to use magic items with said spells without UMD or shinanigans, and the skills. I don't know if DD's assesstment is correct, but I very much thing out of combat powers ARE important in the scheme of things. Not all campaigns will be an endless stream of melee fights. Sometimes they need to track something. Sometimes they need a competant scout or stealth. The fighter can't supply in these situations, he literally doesn't have any class features besides swinging his sword better.
That's what gets me there. The ranger is a pile of mediocre powers (various class features) and so is the fighter (feats up the wazoo). The options to have an optimal attack method (two handing power attack) are available to both, but I don't see how the fighter pulls ahead just because its a 'class feature' for him.
....actually, on further thought, one could argue the fighter doesn't really HAVE class features, being nothing but feats. The only thing unique he gets is the weapon specailization chain, and that's not worth anything.
That basically is what I'm seeing this on. The fighter's benefits are "the weapon spec chain" and "feats are cheap" due to their number, while ranger is "utility" and "better TWF". Neither of those are nessicarly dependant if it's taking power attack or not, I'm considering that as something they both have. And with that, the utility aspect is prevallent enough that it has a (small) advantage over the fighter on average. There aren't any good feat chains which are so feat intensive that fighter is the only logical choice. All the good fighter feats usually can be done in with 2 or 3 feats.
Incidentally, the ideal ranger probably IS two-handed power attacking with the archery style (or TWF if you can't afford the Dex). Yeah, I'm not using one of its class features, but that's less important than the fact that I'm doing the same thing the fighter us, but with more utility. Not employing a class feature doesn't decrease their power, it just doesn't add any additional power to the grand total, and I'd say the rest of the features make up for "more feats than you really need". -- Eiji-kun 06:47, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
So the question here would be, "What is the Fighter doing with his feats to make himself Fighter-level?" They gain a lot from the first few feats, but the returns from each feat decrease as they run out of useful options. I think this is close enough and open-ended enough that it's going to have to come down to the math. I agree that it's irrelevant the extent to which they are using their class ability -- BAB is just as much a class feature as any unique ability. --DanielDraco 14:53, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
So Eiji, are you saying that just full BAB is enough to make a character fighter-level? If so, then the Warrior NPC class and the Samurai from CW should probably be bumped up to fighter level along with the ranger. That said, I'm not sure I agree, and if we're looking at the straight math, I think the ranger using either fighting style (rather than just two-handing a single weapon with power attack) will fall *way* behind an equivalent fighter just using power attack and maybe even spirited charge. --Ghostwheel 16:13, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
A Ranger is fully capable of using a two-handed weapon with Power Attack, though. If that's the best way to play one within the bounds of reason, then that's how it should be considered. If that makes it so that Samurai and Warriors are only very slightly inferior to Fighters, than either they should be upgraded to Fighter-level, or our low balance points should be reconsidered and redefined to have a clearer dividing line. --DanielDraco 20:36, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Its not about the BAB (though it helps). The question should be, "this class has full BAB... and what else". Warrior has nothing else, so it's still monk. Samurai has barely anything (gimped TWF and intimidation) so its still monk. Monk has the "what else" but most of it isn't useful, it doesn't has full BAB, and suffers from MAD so its still monk. Fighter has something, excessive feats. Ranger also has something, oodles of moderate utility and all the stuff that makes up ranger.
I'm saying its rank should be a sum of its whole parts, and the usefulness or use of one particular feature should never be a deciding factor. -- Eiji-kun 22:13, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
-Curse you edit conflicing Eiji!-
The monk balance point applied to classes is for those that are falling behind by level 4 or so, because beneath that point life is really cheap and even the weakest guys can still contribute. The fighter balance point can be extended out to level 8ish before higher balance classes really start to leave them behind. Getting hung up on damage at these levels seems pretty silly, since a tripstar build is a fighter level option and isn't dealing impressive damage. Fighters get to do that or some other useful one-trick-pony thing with their bonus feats and are respectable in combat because of it. In contrast, all of the monk's abilities are combat related and they still suck at it by level 4. They don't keep up with Fighters in combat, don't gain enough skill points to contribute substantially to other areas, and basically don't have anything else to fall back on to justify their inclusion in the party. Warriors are in a similar boat since they don't have the same feat ability as fighters and aren't contributing much after level 4ish, so they're fine where they are. I have never cared enough about the samurai to have an opinion.
That baseline stuff out of the way so people know where I'm coming from, I can talk about the ranger. The ranger does not fall behind in combat like the monk does, largely by virtue of getting to use real weapons, having full bab, sources of minor bonus attack/damage, and slightly better bonus feats, but they do still fall behind the fighter. Regarding their specific options, TWF is not the best option for them but it's also not required that they take it. And the bow isn't amazing but carries a significantly smaller risk of engagement (and thus death) and is a better option for full-attacking for most of those levels. Behind the fighter is still behind the fighter though, and since they're not keeping up with the "do well in combat" guy they need to do well somewhere else to justify their inclusion. Their animal companion doesn't really do it, as it's generally a minor combat boost (though it could actually be a significant one if the bow ranger went horse archer) and doesn't add plot utility because of their limited understanding. The delayed growth it gets does not help it here. They get more skill points than the fighter and monk though, have good class skills, and since skills matter at these levels still that's something going for them that increases their utility over both of the reference classes. They also get spells, but their spellcasting is largely not combat relevant (late acquisition = low DCs; few combat relevant spells in the first place). It is fairly utility oriented though, with several useful defensive, healing, or plot related effects available to them at he level they first show up. The ability to wand/scroll that stuff without UMD is also useful, as it allows them access to useful effects when they show up in item form (often before they spell is available to the ranger).
I think all this adds up to is a class that is neither a star nor a pauper in combat, and somewhat useful out of combat. Which is substantially more than a monk level class. It's a shit load weaker than I thought it was, but it could justify its presence in a fighter level group after level 6 pretty easily. - Tarkisflux Talk 22:32, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
Huh, that was eloquent. While I can debate you the usefulness of an animal companion (even a gimped weak one), I agree with your analysis. +1 to that.
(EDIT: In related news, a good idea has been brought to me. What do you think of having examples of the upper and lower bounds of each of the tiers in question? Yes, balance points are always going to be fuzzy but it may be easier to figure out what tier fence-sitters are in if you can say "generic barbarian is about as strong as fighter gets" or "tripstar fighter is about as weak as rogue gets". What do you think about the idea?)-- Eiji-kun 00:14, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I, for one, think that complete lists of SRD classes (and feats/spells/etc) by balance point would lead to more useful discusstion, and be more useful themselves.--Ideasmith 16:37, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
Before new stuff, I messed up a bit. While I stand by my assessment, I put a higher emphasis on utility than the current balance points really specify at those levels. While that looks like an oversight that I'd prefer just be written into them, I'm not going to do that yet in case someone has a reason not to. Reasons for doing that include making it easier to justify effective support/moderate combat classes as rogue level even when they can't really hold their own in combat against equal CR creatures for the majority of the game. That would imply that monk level options lack both support and combat utility in general as well.
Even without that mattering in the current balance points, I think the ranger probably maintains fighter level when played with a bow. They are quite competent with the bow past low levels, especially if built for them, and can target foes already engaged by their party members. It's also a valid counter for early flight based monsters, which begin to show up after monk level classes have become largely irrelevant. So even with my previous focus on things that don't actually matter in balance points as written, I think there's sufficient reason to move them up.
New stuff - There are already some sketchy boundaries for the balance points based on builds Eiji, and I don't think anything more than that is helpful or even useful (for reference, current writeup has Spirited Charger with proper gear in as low as rogue goes, while Tripstar is just highish fighter due to being useless against flyers). That's before we get into trying to get a consensus out of people for the actual build placements and the role of gear in the builds. As normal, if there's strong wiki support for it we can do it over my objections, but someone else gets to head up that discussion.
The idea of putting balance points on all the classes, feats, and spells/powers in the SRD was floated around a couple of years ago Ideasmith, but Surgo shot it down. I'm not actually sure why that was the case though. I don't have any real objections to it, but am worried that the attempt would be messy. - Tarkisflux Talk 17:51, 9 November 2011 (UTC)
I believe the specific suggestion was shot down because it involved messing with SRD pages. Since my suggestion would not involve doing more than linking to the pages (if that) it might well fly. Assuming I remember/interpreret Surgo correctly.--Ideasmith 18:15, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

Naming Conventions[edit]

Anyone have a problem with changing "rogue level" to "warblade level"? With the optimization you need to go through in order to make the rogue class what we right now define as rogue-level, it seems to make more sense to newcomers (and to me) to rename it that for the sake of clarity.

Edit: While we're at it, we may also want to change from "points" to "ranges", since "points" seems to imply that there's a single point, while "range" inherently implies that there's a range to fall in. --Ghostwheel 19:42, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

As it stands, rogue level really does mean "Balanced against ToB" for this wiki. I completely agree. Warblade is really a better frame of reference, I think. --Aarnott 19:45, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I've already pointed out on IRC that the rogue is partially useful because it's easily available as an SRD reference on this wiki as opposed to having to go to a sourcebook for ToB, but I also have no disagreements with the claim that the warblade is in all a better measuring stick for that balance level. - TG Cid 22:17, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm not opposed. - Tarkisflux Talk 02:05, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Sounds like we have 4 people who are fine with it... I'll start making the changes on this page, could someone run a bot to replace "rogue" with "warblade" everywhere on the wiki where it appears in an author box? Thanks. --Ghostwheel 03:04, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Unless I had something like 20 people sign on already, I wouldn't want to change it same day. It's a wiki, people aren't here all the time, and we wait to institute changes like this until after they've had a reasonable period of time to check it out. So we give this at least a week, and then change things over if it still looks good.
As for the technical bits, we've been having issues with ReplaceText lately. I'll probably just edit the author template to accept both and display Warblade. But not yet. This gets some discussion time first, even if it's unlikely to actually change the outcome. - Tarkisflux Talk 03:44, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Whelp, at least when the decision goes through, we can just revert the page back to my edit :-P --Ghostwheel 05:17, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
I like 'Rogue Range' much better than 'Warblade Range'. I played 3.5e for only two years, but I never ran into any Warblades? Heck, I'm going to have to go and research what the heck a Warblade is, right now. Haha. Besides, simply being introduced to 'Balanced Points' on this wiki was enough for me to get the idea of what you guys are trying to accomplish. Using the Rogue Class really did help me to understand the power differences already found in the SRD Classes. But that is just me. --Jay Freedman 05:59, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Both Bard and Psychic Warrior are, according to the archive, at Rogue balance point. Both are accessible without purchasing an out-of-print book. would either of these be a better choice than rogue?--Ideasmith 12:37, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Both bard and psychic warrior need that extra "oomph" of optimization in order to actually reach the kind of damage we're talking about--in fact, the bard is all over the place, since on one hand it be wizard-level with its various spells and abilities, or fighter-level if it isn't used very smartly, so that's a bad example all-in-all, I think. The psychic warrior starts at fighter-level, and remains there if you choose poor feats and powers, but can become rogue-level with the right selection. Unlike either of them though, the warblade is rogue-level out of the box without much need for optimization at all. --Ghostwheel 16:58, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
On the same vein, I suggest that we rename Fighter-level to Barbarian-level. Fighters require a lot of good feats and a solid build to be what we consider "Fighter-level". Barbarians just need Power Attack and they can perform as well as the optimized fighters of this level of play. So, for clarity, naming it "Barbarian" will be helpful, I think. --Aarnott 23:59, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Makes sense, I can get behind that. --Ghostwheel 00:09, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Another thought was to go back to the old suggestion from before--instead of using class levels which could easily raise hackles (MONKS ARE THE MOST POWERFUL CLASS EVAR!!), perhaps we might consider non-specific names. So for example, instead of Monk, Barbarian, Warblade, Wizard, it could become something like Mortal, Daring, Heroic, Legendary/Mythic, or something like that. I think that would make people want to understand what we mean by that more even, rather than assuming things based on the class they see before they understand the system we have in place. --Ghostwheel 00:47, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I second Ghost’s proposal, for it adds much greater lucidity and mitigates predisposition; with the succession: Mortal, Heroic, Legendary, Mythic--Franken Kesey 00:57, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

→Reverted indentation to one colon

I'd definitely prefer Mortal, Daring, Heroic, Mythic. Calling our "3rd" tier Legendary is a stretch, I think. And I definitely support it that way :). --Aarnott 01:07, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
What Aarnott said. --Ghostwheel 01:07, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
TIL that Mortals can teleport more than 400 feet once per day. --Foxwarrior 01:24, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
How about Weak, Competent, Solid, Powerful? --Ideasmith 01:35, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Nah, MDHM is better as far as conveying power levels. I support that naming convention in particular because it lines up with things I have pointed out earlier.Change=Chaos. Period. SC 02:15, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Weak also implies "bad", which we'd like to avoid, especially when the next level up is "competent". Monk-level, as we call it now, is a perfectly acceptable balance level to play at. I don't want to be telling people that like playing monk-level games that their characters are incompetent. --Aarnott 16:15, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I have previously argued for a similar naming convention, and prefer it to the class based naming convention we presently have. Surgo's primary objection to such a scheme at the time was that it couldn't be used easily in a sentence. As he has indicated he doesn't really care what direction we take this discussion (and I think his objection was overstated anyway), I don't think that's relevant anymore.
In short, I'm for it and don't see any bureacrat vetoes of it. I would suggest one change though. I'd prefer Legendary to Mythic, so that the progression was MDHL instead of MDHM and we don't reuse the letter M. - Tarkisflux Talk 17:30, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
While we're changing these, I think it should be balance ranges or tiers instead of points, since each tier/range can contain a wildly divergent array of classes, each one more or less power than the last. I'm not even sure "balance levels" fit, since they're not really levels... tiers then? "This class is mortal tier," or somesuch? And yeah, Legendary is fine in my mind. --Ghostwheel 18:07, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

→Reverted indentation to one colon

"Balance Tiers" is bad for term confusion reasons, and I oppose it. I'd take ranges though. - Tarkisflux Talk 22:49, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm somewhat opposed to calling Monks "Mortal Tier". A level 20 Monk is an outsider who doesn't appear to age, is immune to diseases and poisons, turns into a wispy ghost thing, teleports about a sixth of a mile every day, kills people 20 days after he's last been on the same plane as them, and (barely) survives skydiving into lava without a parachute. I'd suggest a name like "Wimpy Tier", but apparently that's bad form. "Modest" or "Moderate" tier, maybe. "Simple"? --Foxwarrior 02:06, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Using terms that do not actually denote a degree of power (e.g., "Mythic," "Heroic") is problematic because it does not form an obvious scale. A new user will not be able to distinguish between them without having to research our system. And even then, they have to memorize the sequence. It's not casual-user-friendly -- and our chief problem here on the wiki is appealing to casual users who happen to stumble upon us. On top of that, it carries implications even more than terms like "weak" do. "Legendary," "Mythic," "Heroic," and the like carry a very profound meaning, and their scope extends far beyond a simple metric of power.
On the other hand, terms that directly describe a degree of power in a scale of superlatives and comparatives has the issue of making people shy away from the ones labelled "Weak." So what we need is a system with terms that form an obvious scale, but carry no connotations. Basically, we can't use words, because it's impossible to accomplish both of those with verbal descriptions.
So I'd suggest abstracting it to letters or numbers. I'd suggest letters, since with numbers there is the ambiguity of whether we are scaling top to bottom or bottom to top; with letters, people generally understand A to denote the highest category. So I'd suggest something along the lines of A-Class, B-Class, C-Class, and D-Class. Sure, it's boring, but it's about as clear as possible, and it minimizes prejudice about as much as we can while still actually providing information. --DanielDraco 02:32, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Any obvious letter scale is going to include negative connotations. Aside from standard references to letter grades, similar classifications schemes are used in all sorts of regulatory structures to denote product quality. The information provided by such a scheme to a casual observer who is not aware of what we are doing with it is that "this material is better or worse than some other material". It's not even clear that we're referring to playstyle concerns instead of quality. As such, I remain firmly against such a scheme.
Attempting to come up with a balance indicator that doesn't require someone to look at the page is a fools errand. I would rather get people to say "Huh? What does this mean?" and follow the link to an explanation than assume that they understood it because it was overly simple and 'obvious'. If we want to increase casual user accessibility, we should make the balance page more casual friendly by including playstyle examples, hiding the detailed balance stuff in a spoiler block, or whatever. We should make it easier to learn what we mean with our terminology, rather than make our terminology so easy that it invites confusion from those who aren't confused enough to look it over.
I think there is an actual progression in the MDHL setup, but it's a vague progression. Which I think is an actual good thing, in that it pushes people to read what we're actually talking about. But if you want something with more meaning than that, then it needs to be meaning within the game, and we should stick with class labels for the ranges. Letter and number ranges carry too much baggage, both in denotation and assumptions. - Tarkisflux Talk 04:28, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Letter scales are also familiar in regulatory structures for tournaments in all sorts of games (mostly video games) where multiple classes/characters are available. They indicate power, and nothing else. Yes, there can be connotations pulled from analogy to letter grades, but far stronger connotations are intrinsic in the MDHL thing.
And the terms used for MDHL don't even make sense. Mortal means you are capable of death. Daring means you're brave. Heroic means you save people. Legendary means a lot of people think highly of you. None of those have anything whatsoever to do with power levels, and I'm baffled by any of them being suggested to indicate power.
Making people go elsewhere for information is good? If we can provide a gloss of info at a glance, and require further reading only for further information, I think that's ideal. If there's a field that says, "Power level: A-Class", people will think, "Oh, it's in the highest tier of power." If they see "Power level: B-Class", they'll think, "Oh, it's in the second-highest tier of power." They won't need to read anything to know that. If they want the finer points of how we determine that, then they can read up on it. There's no reason to require detailed information in order to understand a vague categorization. --DanielDraco 04:45, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
So, are those rankings there to limit people into a particular overall grade, or to keep people from making poor decisions, or what? I'm not a part of that culture, and I have no idea how they'd be used, or which character I'd want in such a situation. Is your contention that because a (likely small) subset of people use letters in a way that doesn't do the things we don't want, we should going to make the assumption that most people in our casual group do as well? That's a pretty big leap DD. I'd say it's a bigger leap than my MDHL leap, but I figure that's because of "it doesn't apply to me and it does to you" bias. So I figure I'll go on hating letter schemes with obvious rankings, and you'll go on loving them because you are familiar with how they work from other contexts, and we'll just agree to disagree on that and move on.
And yes, within reason making people look elsewhere for information is good. It's what gets them on the same page (when that page isn't the first thing they read). It's what will keep them from saying "This overpowered shit is A-Class material? Fuck this site." It's what will let them know "Oh, I want C material" if they don't happen to land on it and not get confused by the seemingly low ranking. By selecting something that is easy to understand and conveys the information that you recognize, you are actively asking everyone who doesn't see things that way to get hung up on preconceptions and make a poor decision. Confuse and reframe is a real sales technique because people do actually get hung up on their preconceptions, and breaking them out of those by not giving them what they expect is a good way to get through to them, as long as they can easily learn what is meant by it.
As for MDHL, I mostly agree with your definitions. And even with them, I think that there is a clear progression in terms of story scope based on those terms, whether it's in good or evil form. You're welcome to disagree, and I think it's clear that you do. You haven't commented about retaining the present class names (or I missed it), but let's try something else. Would a combined scheme, like Mortal (D-Class) or D-Class (Mortal) be less offensive? - Tarkisflux Talk 06:06, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Having slept on it, I think I've found an order based classification scheme I could live with. Type-A, Type-B, and so on (or order reversed, whatever) indicate a grouping without ranking more strongly than a scheme involving Class or Tier IMO. I still don't like it as much, but eh. - Tarkisflux Talk 17:21, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
UK suggested using Power Level instead of Balance Point/Range. How about that? Ranges becomes Very Low Power, Low Power, Medium Power, and High Power (OVER 9000!!) for what we have now, referring to Monk, Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard respectively. --Ghostwheel 19:28, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I support UK's suggestion. Really, the issue I, personally, have with some of the above suggestions is that they are actively trying to avoid calling the categories what they are. The fact is, the top tier is more powerful than the bottom tier. I don't think we should sugar-coat that. I think it confuses the matter if we do. An ordered list like letters or a clearly-delineated sequence like very low power to high power is ideal, in my view, because it's blunt. So, seconded on UK's "Power" scale, if that's more palatable to everyone else. --DanielDraco 02:07, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Plenty of people still think that the monk is a powerhouse, and telling them up front that they're not without explanation (or with an explanation that they have to track down) does not endear people to you. Sugar coated things are more casual user friendly, and they are less likely to trigger knee-jerk reactions that discourage repeat visits.
I think we've got a lot of options in here, including some that people feel rather strongly about. But all the top level discussion in the world won't get us any closer to a resolution, and I think we should probably start to narrow things down. I don't want to deal with hunting through this mess for preferences, especially since some of the preferences predate discussed options. So I'll put together a subpage for them all shortly, and we can start voting and whatnot. - Tarkisflux Talk 03:45, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

→Reverted indentation to one colon

Voting page is live. Here's a link. - Tarkisflux Talk 04:27, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Ghost asked on the voting page what some of the objections to the VL/L/M/H scheme are, and I figured I'd answer here to keep the page free for other stuff. In case it's not obvious from my previous comments, I think there's some value in not being overly obvious and simple. Simplify the page describing the balance ranges, sure, but simple names don't get people to read what we actually mean with them and push people into finding out. They really don't work like people think they do. This probably has fewer bad than a straight grade classification scheme, but I don't think it's more useful. So part of my objection to it is that while it might be more obvious, it is less casual friendly than actually less obvious things. And since casual friendly seems to be a goal for people in other discussions, it might as well be here as well.
My other complaint is with the ordering. In my experience, most games played by people who don't spend lots of time on internet message boards or wikis are Fighter, or Low, power games. Most of the groups that I have played with ran, or still run, those types of games. And when they rarely break level 10, the "Low" powerness of it isn't particularly obvious. Heavy game site users probably angle towards the Moderate or High power, but they're not the casual users that we seem to suddenly care about. I think Low / Moderate / High / Very High better captures things, and is less likely to tell people that they've been playing below the curve all this time. Yes, it's a bit of sugar coating, but it should be obvious that I think we should do some of that if we care about the casual visitor. - Tarkisflux Talk 17:00, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't think I mind too much going Low -> Moderate -> High -> Very High or something similar if it'll throw the casual user off less, though I do think it's less precise, since we probably have a greater range within wizard-level than we do at any other range. That said, that downside might be worth it if it brings us more traffic and creates less knee-jerk reactions. Consider this a possibility, and we should have another voting session on exactly how to do the one chosen. For example, if power levels are chosen, we should have another vote on whether to have VL-L-M-H, or to have it L-M-H-VH. Another example, is if we choose the updated class scheme, is whether to use those specific classes--maybe Soulknife would be a better example than Monk. Or if we chose the story scheme, whether to remain on those names or choose others. So just because it's up there, doesn't mean that that'll be its final form. The only one that we don't have much room to change is the "Current Scheme" option... --Ghostwheel 21:05, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
TF: Well just because someone is a casual wiki user, that doesn't mean they're a casual player of the game. The people whose discussions we looked at are on GitP -- they're casual users of the wiki, yes, but they are quite familiar with the power levels in the game. I imagine that's typical of most of the traffic we could be getting.
That said, ranging it from low to very high is fine by me. I don't particularly care. I like the basic idea because it very clearly says that X is stronger than Y, and it does that regardless of which end gets the superlative. --DanielDraco 00:59, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Ditching the SGT[edit]

This topic has been moved to Categorical Balance Ranges and Categorical Balance Ranges (talk).

Omitted Classes[edit]

Why are the Wilder and Paladin classes not on this page? --Franken Kesey 19:22, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Because this isn't a comprehensive list of all Wizards of the Coast base classes and their balance points? --Dr Platypus 10:07, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
And why is not a complete list? --Franken Kesey 21:30, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
For one, many classes are edge cases with only a single class feature or two pushing them over the line, or having something specific out of line. For another, many are badly designed, their power fluctuating all over the place. For a third, we don't need to list all the classes out there, just enough so that people understand what power level we indicate for each range. --Ghostwheel 21:33, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I hear you, they are both very hard to put a range on. And I find many classes on this wiki with only one or two features (all of which have a balance point); therefore all 1st edition classes should be placed in some range so that others can compare with their own classes.

Balance Points, or Something Else[edit]

Since a fair portion of this needs to be rewritten anyway after the vote, I thought we should toss out some names for the page and concept itself and see what stuck. I don't really want another formal vote, since this is a smaller thing, but some ideas would be nice.

Balance points works fine for me, but I know others would prefer something that sounded a bit broader. Balance Range has been suggested, and Balance Level. Other options would be Balance Rating, Content Balance, and so on. So who has a good idea for this, or a reason to shoot down a different one? - Tarkisflux Talk 06:55, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I still stand behind 'Power Level'. It's simple, it's clear, and contrary to what DD seems to think, does indicate a range of capabilities based on everyone I have ever spoken to about gaming except for himself. - MisterSinister 08:00, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
At least one other person shares my view about the implications of the word "level".
I wouldn't be hugely opposed to "Power Level" in the way that I was opposed to the Story Scope naming, but I think there are probably better options. It would certainly be a step up from anything with the word "point", since that carries an even stronger implication of specificity. I like "Power Category". It doesn't imply a single power like "level" and "point" might. It also lacks an issue I see with "range", namely that it can imply that the power of the class spans the range, rather than occupying a single point within it. --DanielDraco 08:53, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
As mentioned, DD repeats my gripes with "power level". It's not as bad as "points", but I think both category and range imply a wider number of points within a scale rather than a single "point" of power. --Ghostwheel 09:14, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't care what it's called that much, but +1 on range. --Havvy 23:09, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

Bard & Warlock[edit]

Anyone mind if I move these to VH? Between their abilities, I feel they fit much better there than in H. --Ghostwheel 02:28, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I do. - Tarkisflux Talk 04:44, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I also mind significantly. If I hear another word about how Hellfire Warlocks render warlocks VH, I'm probably going to start killing kittens. - MisterSinister 06:10, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
I was thinking more about the whole "limiting multiple people to only move actions for 10 rounds at a time" deal. That, and the fact that they focus more on debuffs than damage. I think one aspect of the article balance changes revolves not only around how powerful a class is, but also a little on what they focus on. --Ghostwheel 06:58, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you do like to bring that example out a lot. And I will repeat my standard response to it - 1 VH level power does not a VH class make. It looks like your desire to place them there is based on outlier powers or particular builds... which is not what we use to place classes in balance categories. We have notes that some builds can exceed balance ranges, but we don't place based on serious optimization, just adequate. If we did otherwise, we'd put Fighter up in High because you can make a spirited charger or an ubercharger, and other such silliness.
Now, if you wanted to make an argument that the average Bard or Warlock was so much stronger than a TWF Rogue or a Warblade that they were closer to an optimized wizard than the others, go ahead and do that. But with a substantially smaller bag of tricks and a delayed casting and DC progression (for the Bard anyway), I think you have a lot of work ahead of you to make that point. If your argument is that they're up with Flask Rogues abusing UMD, then I would be inclined to agree with you. The ability for the Bard and Warlock to reach similar heights with additional optimization seems pretty obvious. But it's not enough to move the classes up. The Rogue build gets a special mention in the High section as a build that is enough better than the moderately optimized rogue as to be in the VH level, which is all that those builds deserve IMO (and which I don't want to do for space saving and value of information reasons).
And I have no idea what you're on about with your article balance changes. We changed the names, not the qualifications. - Tarkisflux Talk 07:06, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
The argument can be made that they're VH, because the strongest of their abilities lands there. The argument can also be made that they're H, because the majority of their abilities land there, or because their signature abilities land there. The current standards are ill-defined and do not adequately clarify what the benchmarks are, nor how exactly we compare an article against those benchmarks. Shuttling classes around is mostly meaningless right now, because the standards are mostly meaningless.
This is why there was an effort to retool how we fit articles in categories, using a system of general guidelines instead of hard numbers. Whatever happened to that? Seems to have fallen quiet when the voting on terminology started. --DanielDraco 17:58, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
It's still out there (see accompanied talk page), I think we're in the middle of changing how rating works, and after that we'll get to talking about changing balance ranges (or we can do that now). Regardless, it's still on the agenda as far as I'm concerned (albeit "eventually" :-P). --Ghostwheel 18:47, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
[Edit Conflicted] - The standards not being very rigorous is not the same thing as them being mostly meaningless. They are loose groupings with poorly defined beginning and end points, but I don't think that's problematic except when people want to force it to fit their preconceptions. Given the impacts of different playstyles and varying campaign foci at the actual table, I don't think that more detail here would even be helpful because it is more likely to be less relevant to games with different expectations.
That looseness is also a result of the categories being based on SGT style "moderate optimization, minimal gear" style thought experiments that we originally used to get a sense of balance. So going with high optimization specific build nonsense as the placement of a class is pretty clearly not intended. It's true that the SGT is depreciated because people can't agree on what is too much or not enough build specificity and gear, but until there is a replacement for it that isn't just someone fapping to their own idea of balance these categories will remain based on it, however loosely. Arguing about how the test doesn't work is a waste of time at this point. The attempt at a more rigorous balance setup was Aarnott's. You can find it here. Feel free to start discussion on it back up, but either write up a replacement that we can talk about migrating to or GTFO. It comes up every 2 years, with the same people, and I'm as sick of this shit as Surgo was when he posted similar comments 2 years ago.
This honestly looks to me like Ghost just doesn't want some things in his games and wants them put up into the category that contains everything else he hates, despite the actual wide gulf in power between those things. Frankly, I think he just need to come to terms with the fact that what he likes is a low H or high M style game based on these guidelines and move the fuck on instead of trying to get his own personal H codified. Alternately, he can go build his own wiki (there are free options out there) and I'll purge his work if that's what he wants. But the end result of pushing like this is either a category that doesn't mean what the others mean or additional granularity in the balance categories, because it would otherwise contain a wider array of competencies and there is a difference between the power of a very optimized Bard and the power of a moderately optimized Wizard. Since the first one is basically useless and the second one is basically the Tier system (doubly so if we actually place based on potential instead of moderate and "more likely in an actual game" optimization) and too granular to be useful for any but the small subset of games with the same expectations, I don't think either is actually helpful to anyone who is trying to run a real game instead of just bitch on the internet. - Tarkisflux Talk 19:00, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
"They are loose groupings with poorly defined beginning and end points, but I don't think that's problematic except when people want to force it to fit their preconceptions."
Well, I think it's highly problematic. The very fact that there are disagreements here and now about where Bard and Warlock go demonstrates that problem. Your implication is that GW has the preconception that Warlock is VH, right? Well on the same token, you have the preconception that it isn't. Neither of you is more correct than the other. And that's a problem, because it means we can't reach a definitive answer.
"That looseness is also a result of the categories being based on SGT style "moderate optimization, minimal gear" style thought experiments that we originally used to get a sense of balance. So going with high optimization specific build nonsense as the placement of a class is pretty clearly not intended."
Not exactly. That's their basis for some people. But that can't be said to be the consensus. I've spoken to several people who think that the former Rogue balance point was based on a cheesy blurred flask-flinger, and several people who think it was based on a more conventional mid-optimization TWF build. I've spoken to yet others who say it isn't based on a build at all, and instead say that it is based on the SGT ideal. There's too much disagreement to say that there is a consensus, and there isn't any written rule to subsitute for a consensus. It's fuzzy and idiosyncratic and is in desperate need of some standards.
One last thing. Dear god man, you are an administrator. Please try to act like one and don't get so openly hostile. Yes, GW is rather presumptuous sometimes. But at least he's friendly about it. When he's arguing with someone, he doesn't descend to telling them to "GTFO", complaining that he's "sick of this shit", and accusing them of being mostly concerned with "bitch[ing] on the internet". --DanielDraco 19:22, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
While my first thought to the administrator jab is "haha, have you met Surgo?", you're right. This isn't a hug box wiki and there's nothing in the job of being an Admin that indicates they should be friendly or nice, but I generally try to do so and I slipped a lot here. I wasn't trying to be openly hostile, and I apologize if it was taken that way. The "GTFO" comment was actually directed at you in an attempt to avoid the tired SGT complaints and focus instead on the option of writing a replacement. It was not intended to be taken to mean that I actually want anyone to leave the wiki. The "bitching on the internet" comment was intended as a dig at the Tier system, not ay any individual, as I do not think it useful in actual games whatsoever. It is a measure of potential, and bills itself as such, but it is not a measure of the performance that an average player would see. It is useless to casual players and readers as far as I can tell, and somewhat misleading for most everyone else. If anyone took those comments personally or in unintended ways, I'm sorry that I wrote unclearly enough to leave that interpretation.
As to the Rogue stuff, there are guidelines in the text, fuzzy though they may be. Two of your interpretations are not incompatible with each other, the moderate TWF and the SGT ideal, and the Flask Rogue has been explicitly written upwards. So two of those people would be right, and the third would need to be directed to the text to revise their understanding. Ghost's intended change is not supported by those guidelines, which allow for specific optimized builds to play above the level of the class's actual listing, and is wrong according to those guidelines. Now, the Flask Rogue was explicitly written upwards after community input (as was the Warlock actually, which used to be a moderate class), so those guidelines are subject to change, but until that change comes the Bard and Warlock fit nicely where they are.
That said, I'm done with this conversation. I do not consider it productive, and it is entirely too frustrating to be useful as a diversion. I will oppose any class or character option balance change that does not reference text on the article page, and I will do it without further comment, unless it we have an alternate system in place. If anyone wishes to carry this conversation on, they are of course welcome to do so without me and my difficult to contain frustration about it. - Tarkisflux Talk 20:13, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Scaling Feat Balance[edit]

Really? I guess I should tell Surgo that World-Shaker is too weak except for the last ability. --Foxwarrior 17:15, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure where you get that notion. It seems to me that its 3 and 9 abilities are solidly Very High, and its 1 and 6 abilities are High. Which would make it overpowered by these new standards, if there were such a thing in Very High. But none of this elucidates what exactly you're objecting to about the balance policy TF published for scaling feats. --DanielDraco 20:24, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
You're putting the 3 ability at Very High, even though there are several High feats that do it? You have some Disliking to do, sir. --Foxwarrior 20:42, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I do not understand how these standards would make it overpowered -- it would be if people commonly played Very High without scaling feats, I suppose. I object a bit to that language (though I understand what it is trying to say) -- there are a lot of non-scaling feats that are usable and desired in Very High even when scaling feats are available. Pretty much anything from Tome of Necromancy or Tome of Fiends comes to mind, there. As to the specifics of the World Shaker feat, I did ask many times for assistance in developing a 9th-level ability :-) Surgo 20:44, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
[Edit conflicted :-( ] Let's back up a second. I put that in after a discussion with Ghost and Leziad in chat last night, and it's probably worth discussing in general before we decide to stick with it and worry about it. It will be much easier to revert than it was to do if it comes down to it.
Here's the problem with scaling feats and balance tags as I see it. Since they're designed to replace feat chains, they regularly contain individual abilities that are as good as some reference traditional feat, if not just being the same ability. Since the reference traditional feat has its own balance, and the scaling feat has 4+ of them, it is straightforwardly more powerful than the traditional feats. Placing that in a balance category causes arguments about what level it falls at, because it is a feat (which is probably an unfortunate naming choice) and it is compared against other traditional feats at the same balance point. So does that make it higher balance than their traditional counterparts because they give more stuff, even if they give out the same abilities? It is certainly stronger than a traditional feat by virtue of giving more, but does that make it a higher balance category when the abilities themselves aren't higher balance abilities?
It's an annoying question that I don't think has a 'right' answer, but it also makes things difficult for casual users who find a scaling feat and want to use them ingames with traditional feast. So I stripped them out, gave them their own category and nav space, and wrote a new guideline for them that I think works. Sanity checking it would be appreciated though, since it was late at night and I was getting annoyed at the end. And if anyone is interested in renaming them "Kits" (like old 1e and 2e class kits) or something else to avoid naming confusion we can discuss that as well. - Tarkisflux Talk 21:28, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I think renaming them would be a very bad idea, as they are feats. Anyway, do we have any actual examples of feats that replace whole-cloth previous feats while still being the same balance point (which is what this change is supposed to address)? Pretty much everyone I can think of, from like Races of War, ended up at a higher balance point. Surgo 21:47, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I think the policy of considering each bit under the balance given rather than considering it as a whole is the most reasonable way to go about it — just as we should not expect a High class and a High feat to give the same amount of power, we should not hold scaling feats to the same standard as static feats. The only thing I might doubt is the notion that, considered as a whole, it's generally going to be 1 level higher. That bit should perhaps be removed. I might note that that bit was the reason for the confusion leading to my inaccurate statement about World-Shaker being overpowered -- giving one way to relate power level to balance range is perfectly sufficient. And renaming them would, I think, be a bad move. As Surgo said, they are feats. --DanielDraco 21:49, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
A big part of why Tome feats got a boost is because they gave things that mattered at higher levels. A bunch of the M traditional feats are totally fine in a 1-5 game, but they drop off after that. You could take an M feat, like Weapon Specialization, roll it into a scaling feat with a bunch of "level appropriate" (no, I do not want to argue about what this means) abilities and have a higher balance feat like Combat School because it gave you abilities that mattered at higher levels. The higher balance point for those is a result of their being pushed up with useful later abilities in my opinion, not because they just ate a whole feat chain. Elusive Target gets pretty close to eating a whole chain though.
But if you want to look at some other examples, here's three - Leziad's new Unarmed Fighting Style (3.5e Feat) and Ghostwheel's Purple Dragon Knight (3.5e Feat) are trying to turn boring class themes into scaling feats, while Aarnott's Stealthy, Aarnott (3.5e Feat) is just a fairly weak scaling skill feat. These things need criteria by which to balance so that the tag remains meaningful, and it's either "sum of abilities" or "average/best of abilities" compared against feats as far as I can tell. Since the sum version means that you can't easily differentiate scaling feats made out of VH abilities from scaling feats made out of H abilities, I dislike it lots.
As to the rename, I would argue that, semantically, each ability in a scaling thingy is a feat and the whole is something else. But it's not really important. I was just throwing it out there, and if we don't want to mess with it, I'm fine with that. - Tarkisflux Talk 22:22, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Are there any scaling feats made out of VH abilities? And if you really get away with your balance change, Tarkisflux, I agree with you that the name should be changed; if they're no longer supposed to be balanced against other feats, then the name is misleading. It would be like calling classes "feat sets" or something, hmm? --Foxwarrior 00:52, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Plenty, see Races of War for example. In any case, they are feats. They act like feats, they are obtained like feats. Even some WotC feats have multiple abilities (tactical feats). The only thing that makes them different from normal feats is that they scale. That is it. Anyway, as for my opinion on the matter, I think they should be rated as sum of their parts. Not "added together" -- that would be ridiculous, we'd have "higher than very high", but sometimes an individual ability isn't Very High but the whole package is. Like Blitz. Surgo 01:00, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Fox - "Get away with this"? Heh. I woke up this morning thinking this was a terrible idea and I'd wasted a couple of hours last night, but I really don't know what else to do with it. I'm not even sure I want to get away with this. The fact that DD is sort of on board and Surgo is giving it a hearing doesn't convince me otherwise. So if you think it's crap, make that argument. Please come up with something better.
Surgo - Scaling on its own is enough to make them not behave like traditional feats. You don't expect to get 6+ new powers with a traditional feat at level 15. Traditional feats do not give you more power later on. They do not give you bunches of retroactive powers at once when you take them late in life. Tactical feats are a decent comparison, but they tend to be appropriate for when they could be acquired and they don't really keep up after that. These do that. They behave more like mini-gestalt classes than traditional feats do. That they happen to be named feats and be acquired in the same way looks more like design laziness or a move to hook into than anything else to me.
And you'll have to explain what you mean "by rated as sum of their parts. Not "added together" ", it's hard to parse. Are you saying rate for best individual abilities + internal synergies? - Tarkisflux Talk 02:06, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

→Reverted indentation to one colon

Again, they're acquired like feats and otherwise behave like feats -- so they really should still be called feats. We can go ahead and put scaling feats in their own category and I'm okay with that, but at their heart they are still feats. As far as your second paragraph -- yeah, something like that. It's a tough construct to describe. Surgo 02:29, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Feats have widely diverse effects and functionalities, and this is just a way of grouping some of them. WotC has created at least one scaling feat: Vow of Poverty. It's shit, but the fact remains that it's an official scaling feat, not considered any different from any other feat. Feats do not need to all behave the same way. Compare the effects of Power Attack with the effects of Otherworldly. They're not remotely similar. It is, in fact, difficult to come up with a definition of what feats should do that's broad enough to encompass both of them without also including Tome-styled scaling feats. There's no justification for declaring them "not feats".
It occurs to me that how we consider their power should probably boil down to the question of whether we consider their inclusion a variant rule whereby they replace standard feats. If they're meant to replace standard feats, then they can be considered in terms of individual abilities, because such a variant can inherently increase the overall power expectations of the game. That, so far as I can see, is the only reason we could consider them as a progression. Since they originate in the Tome corpus, and since that corpus includes plenty of static feats, it's probably fair to say they're meant to be used alongside static feats, so they should be considered in their whole and compared against standard feats. So I'm going to withdraw my support from this balance policy. While it would be easier to consider each individual ability, it would not be consistent to do so. --DanielDraco 02:51, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
That's Ghost's position Surgo, and I don't agree with it at all. A game mechanic name is pretty meaningless as far as I'm concerned. But that horse seems pretty well beaten at this point, and I don't see much point in beating it some more. My position is not the majority one. With respect to balance, people would rather treat scaling feats in exactly the same way as they treat traditional feats. So I'll pull the balance note and prepare myself for "multiple X balance abilities with no internal self-synergy do not a Y balance feat make" discussions.
But if we're going to treat them the same, I don't see a reason to keep a different category or nav page for them. If they're supposed to be interchangeable with a traditional feat at the same balance category then we might as well keep them all in the same pile. I won't revert this one yet, because if someone has a good reason for keeping them separate it would suck to split them again, but I want to soon without a good reason to not. - Tarkisflux Talk 05:01, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Well, some people do come here and go like: scaling feats, what the...? It does make sense to me to have a way to quickly inform these people what the deal is. Surgo 13:47, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Isn't that what balance tags are for? So when they go "what the...?" they can look at that and decide if it's appropriate or not for their game? - Tarkisflux Talk 17:23, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I think in this case, the "what the...?" being referred to is more "why on earth would somebody make feats massively more complicated", not "is this balanced?" --Foxwarrior 17:41, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Tarkis asked me to chime in on earlier-linked feats to help re-calibrate expectations. I think Unarmed is Very High. I think Purple Dragon Knight is moderate -- actually, it even looks like a Tactical feat to me. I think Stealthy is moderate too -- looks a bit less like a Tactical feat, but still not so far away. Surgo 03:32, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Balance of Spells[edit]

Ok. At least two people have now said that they don't want balance points on spells, and that's enough for me to start a discussion on it. I thought that the idea that some spells were underpowered for an optimized wizard, but not for a sandbagging wizard and were therefore lower balance options in themselves was pretty well accepted, but I guess not so much. So for those of you who don't think spells should have balance tags on them - why not? Getting on the same page here would be nice. - Tarkisflux Talk 00:32, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

As far as I'm concerned, spells should have a balance range just like most other things for the above reasons. --Ghostwheel 00:35, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Spells should totally have power ranges on them. If it's an appropriate ability for a character at that level in a given power range, then it falls within that power range. So ghost sound is decidedly VH, whereas polar ray is merely H, even though both are spells meant for a VH class. --DanielDraco 01:04, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
I think polar ray would be M...I guess I'm in the minority here. Carry on with balance range spells, I guess. Surgo 01:58, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, if there is a strong reason not to do so I'd like to hear it. - Tarkisflux Talk 02:25, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I agree with Surgo's assessment on the balance range of Polar Ray :-P
Fireball and the like would be more H --Ghostwheel 02:31, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Polar Ray is made from penis. M balance level at the highest. Seriously, why would you use this? --TK-Squared 12:41, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Seems my understanding of H is flawed (which really makes me wish we had proper definitions). But in any case, since everyone can see so clearly where a given spell lands, I think that in itself is adequate reason to conclude that it is valid spell information. And if the information exists, and we already have a place to show it, there is no reason not to display it. I fail to see how any counterarguments can exist besides, "I don't wanna!" --DanielDraco 20:34, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

One major aspect of this is that all spells on this wiki would need balance points added. That's... a lotta work, and it's gonna mean a lot of incomplete articles. Given how reluctant folks were to even update legacy ratings for a while (and that was much less to do), I don't see this going anywhere fast. But at the same time, if people agree that spells need BPs, I'm happy to lead the way. - MisterSinister 20:58, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Well, they don't need balance points added unless they're a higher balance than the balance points of the classes they're for. Otherwise, they're just helpful advice. --Foxwarrior 21:58, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
The same spell could be contained in classes of very different balance points, for one thing. For another thing, a spell could be considered VH at level X, H at level X+Y, M at level X+Y+Z, etc. For yet another, having to look up the class every time you wanna check the spell for balance (or rate it) is super annoying. - MisterSinister 22:39, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
The varied balance depending on acquisition level is something I completely agree with actually, and is an admitted thorn in the side of spell balance that I had not considered. I'm not actually sure how to deal with that other than to use WotC caster acquisition level as a reference. If a class then consistently got M spells a couple of levels earlier than, H spells at the same level as, and VH spells after the reference full caster that would be a good sign that the class was H even if they were a full caster themselves. But if that's a bit of a stretch for some people here to accept, I'm not sure it's worth doing.
As for adding balance to spells, that's relatively easy in most cases. If a user writes theirs for a particular balance range in general, I can bot edit that in. I did it with yours already MS (they're all VH now) and could do it with Cid's in about a minute. Otherwise we could do manual, and it's not like we didn't go through and put a bunch of balance tags on articles that didn't have them back in the beginning anyway. We would just have to accept non-author placement of the tags like we did for a lot of feats in the beginning, and support any author's changes over the initial tag (even if it led to discussions about why it doesn't fit in that balance). - Tarkisflux Talk 00:32, 4 August 2012 (UTC)
I'd be OK with doing it by comparison to WotC standards (poor and inconsistent though they are). Also, thanks for doing that bot edit for me.
My main concern is that we simply need to apply this standard to everything as rapidly as possible, since because of this, we have a metric asstonne of non-compliant articles. And you know how I like compliance. - MisterSinister 06:01, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Balancing Prestige Classes[edit]

Balancing of canon prestige classes must be done. Yet it may be best on a separate page. In fact this could also be said of the example canon classes.--Franken Kesey (talk) 18:43, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Very High Balancing Link[edit]

The Link to the Very High Balancing list has some kind of failure. I am unsure how to correct it and I really don't want to screw something up that you may or may not be able to correct. (Though I think you can normally reverse anything with a button click. Still, I think it is better to inform someone that knows something.) The link goes to the correct place, but inputs Very_High instead of Very High into the search button, which gets no results. PS: I have no account, sorry.

Narrowing VH[edit]

Rather than break VH into two categories, this is more a proposal to narrow it. Some very ridiculous characters are already excluded from the category, and I'm proposing that we exclude a few more. Not because there's anything wrong with wanting to play those things, but because they're often the results of specific optimizations or odd rules interactions that don't make a good fit for the top end of the balance range. Planar shepherd, cheater of mystara, incantatrix optimizations, and similar optimized builds are what I have in mind for excluding specifically. Rather than fall into a new category, they would simply be examples of unsupported balance character options that you could optimize up to but that we don't support unoptimized classes or options reaching by default. Thoughts? - Tarkisflux Talk 19:27, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

I approve, and am willing to debate where the line is drawn. If you wish, the Minmax Boards have optimization (in MinMax) and theoretical optimization (in You Break It You Buy It), which I suggest may be a good starting template. It would at least recognize Pun Pun and it's ilk as the TO that it is.
My own example that I use, Planar Shepard, isn't so much a case of me accepting it. No, I'd never allow it. But it does strike me as "the strongest thing Wizards has created" and thus is an example of a line never to be crossed. At the very least it seems a bad idea to be worse than Wizards when we're trying to be better than them. Probably also in this realm, nightstick abuse, thought bottles, and chain binding solars (though again, I'd really like it if things were less than that). Things that break most games but, in theory, someone might be able to play as some kind of super high level DBZ/Exalted/dominate the world and destroy the Abyss itself kind of game. This is opposed to something like Pun Pun where there IS no game, the player simply goes "I win." And it is so.
Actually when you think of it, the ultimate line I draw for wizard is optimized core (specifically core druid, YMMV) since it's easier as a baseline. Everyone uses core. Not everyone brings a Faerun class to Eberron and allows them to channel Xorait as their plane. -- Eiji-kun (talk) 21:23, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
The thing is, just as there are people who play games at VH-level, there are also games where people play theoretical builds. It's as though we're saying that we disapprove of them doing so because we're excluding such things from balance ratings. If we want to exclude people, we'd better have a damned good reason, and "because they're too strong" doesn't seem like a good reason, much less a very good one. --Ghostwheel (talk)
The thing is, one does not "play" theoretical builds. This isn't a style choice, it's a mechanical one. While I'm working on a succinct definition of theoretical builds, the thing about them is that they cannot be reasonably challenged and thus there isn't a game to be had. Take Pun Pun, who can literally be like "Pun Pun always wins." and there it is. Or the omnificier, who dabbles with infinite loops and thus remains unchallenged. This is why they are theory, rather than stupidly strong.
Mind you I'm perfectly ok with a new Planar Shepard level to handle some strange game where the PCs are expected to sunder planets with their eyebrows as par for course, but I think the demand for that is A) not great enough and B) it already is present in the form of the Immortal's Handbook. If there's actual interest to make homebrew suitable for the Immortal's Handbook, sure, maybe, whatever, but even they have some sense of balance, no matter how many 0s they tack on the end of their numbers. In short, even if Planar Shepard+ existed, it wouldn't include TO.
That, and I believe the entire point of the balance levels IS exclusion, exclusion for the sake of clarity to tell people what they are expecting. You want Low, you should be expecting small damage numbers and high deaths. You want High? You should be expecting a lot of victories but nothing campaign setting changing. You want Very High? You should expect campaign changing and high victories, but that's not the same as being unchallengable or being anything goes. Very High isn't an exception to the bounds of the other balance points. The line is fuzzy, but there is a beginning and an end to all of these.
A counterpoint. You see it rarely, but what about things that are so low they fall off even the Low balance point. Things that are so useless or even actively harmful that you may as well be leveling in reverse? I would say also that these things don't belong in Low just as much as I'd say Pun Pun does not belong in Very High. In doing so, I'll exclude those who want to play Cripples & Crying 3.5e, but I'm willing to do that. -- Eiji-kun (talk) 23:10, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
As a VH material author I am in 100% agreement with Eiji here. I would like to add that if VH become too broad we can end up with a character vastly weaker than another even if they all use VH material and have a similar level of optimization, which kind of defeat the purpose of balance range. --Leziad (talk) 23:18, 6 September 2014 (UTC)
Playing TO builds is not the same as playing TO material, in exactly the same way as playing H builds is not the same as playing H material. There may be overlap, but it is possible to rules chain M material into an H build. The question seems to me not whether we're not going to support TO builds, but whether we're going to support material that is on par with TO builds without the actual optimization part. And I think the answer to that can be a firm "Nope" without substantially changing the sorts of things that we support.
And to reiterate, we already exclude some TO from VH. Pun-pun, the wish, and the word are already specifically excluded. Not because we don't support their existence in general or because we don't think people should play those things (well, I don't anyway), but because they're not a useful metric to balance against. Dropping the bar farther does exclude things from the categories, but only in so far as it says that they're not a useful bar to measure against. I don't see why that's a problem in itself. - Tarkisflux Talk 04:40, 7 September 2014 (UTC)

5e Classes[edit]

Do we want a section for 5e classes? They range from pretty "meh" (Ranger) to dealing lots of damage per round (Fighter, Barbarian), to Save or Dies at higher levels of the wizard (Feeblemind, Dominate Monster, Prismatic Wall), though save-or-dies target at most one creature. --Ghostwheel (talk) 22:13, 11 October 2015 (UTC)

5th Edition[edit]

Should we add a blurb for that? --Ghostwheel (talk) 07:50, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

Sure. Despite playing 5e I don't really know much about it. I noticed the save-or-dies are all pretty meh though, since they're all single target and can make a save every round. The only spells that are worth a damn on that front are the illusions (as usual) and creation (you can still create tons of poison under your enemies). Surgo (talk) 12:39, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't have a good balance idea on 5e yet, but I may yet soon be able to start making homebrew... -- Eiji-kun (talk) 07:37, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

link of list of articles doesn't work[edit]

The link of the lists of articles based on balance points doesn't work. They came up with 0 result for me. --cofvee

Missing WOTC Classes[edit]

Just noticed that the paladin and wilder are not mentioned on this list. Why?--Franken Kesey 13:11, 5 May 2019 (MDT)

Because these are examples. Not every single class ever needs to be used as an example. --Ghostwheel (talk) 14:06, 5 May 2019 (MDT)
It is just odd that they are the only two missing. Paladin is moderate and wilder very high, correct?--Franken Kesey 14:26, 5 May 2019 (MDT)
Sure. --Ghostwheel (talk) 14:30, 5 May 2019 (MDT)
Can the two missing be added, since they are the only ones missing?--Franken Kesey 08:36, 6 May 2019 (MDT)