Jump to content

Welcome to Obsidian Forum Community
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

A Different Viewpoint about 'Balanced Classes'

class balance classic crpg

  • Please log in to reply
39 replies to this topic

#1
constantine

constantine

    (5) Thaumaturgist

  • Members
  • 514 posts
  • Location:Athens, Greece
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer
Being a 2nd ed. AD&D player and fan of old-school crpgs I have to say that Classes weren't balanced, but also that this was not a bad thing.

Most Classes were unique in their abilities and were able to act in a seperate ways. Why have balanced Classes in PoE ? The effort to do that may result in a quite similar 11. People who have tried the beta can share their exp & opinions about this.

#2
Sensuki

Sensuki

    Subway Apathist of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 9965 posts
  • Location:Australia
  • Steam:STEAM_0:1:1229809
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
Classes in PE have worse balance than a party of optimally made AD&D 2E characters at the moment.

#3
Tamerlane

Tamerlane

    (8) Warlock

  • Members
  • 1125 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer

Balance is cool.


  • Bill Gates' Son and Doppelschwert like this

#4
archangel979

archangel979

    (11) Wizard

  • Members
  • 1617 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
I agree with you OP. Classes not being balanced does not matter as long they got their useful strengths and the game is balanced around fighting whole group.
Also classes being balanced might destroy solo plays that were also a lot of fun in IE games.

#5
AlekzanderZ

AlekzanderZ

    (1) Prestidigitator

  • Members
  • 44 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Gold Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer

Balance ( in term of viability) make sens in a 1 character game like diablo but in a CRPG like baldur's gate the balance is as a whole from the 6 party member, where each classes have different, distinct abililies, strengh and weakness but each being efficient in their roles. I don't care if they are viable by themselve the moment they bring something special and unique to the group.


  • Seari and gkathellar like this

#6
gkathellar

gkathellar

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 2007 posts
  • Location:Region of Erroneous Complaint
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

OP, I think you've misunderstood the kind of balance that I think the designers (and a lot of us here on the boards) are referring to when we yammer on about balance. See, to my mind, there are two kinds of balance - competitive, and cooperative.

 

Competitive balance requires that all classes adhere to certain norms, and demands that they all strive to have a similar level of overall power. This is ... not an undesirable goal, but only really an essential one in multiplayer games. TF2, Starcraft, and League of Legend, for instance, all try to have competitive balance. The issue with competitive balance is the one you raise - homogeneity. Variety requires that balance be asymmetric, and asymmetric balance is really ****ing difficult to achieve. Homogeneity is a solution, or at least a stopgap, to this difficulty.

 

Unfortunately, when we talk about balance, people advocating both for and against it often adopt the position that all balance is competitive balance, and therefore assert either that (a) games should not be balanced, or (b) options in games should be mostly homogenous in the interests of balance. There are problems with both of these two positions, especially when it comes to games like PoE, where cooperative balance is of crucial importance.

 

Cooperative balance is about allowing every option (classes, in the case of PoE) to fill a distinctive role, having unique things that they do best. Ideally, those unique things should be no more or less valuable than those of other classes, but that's less important. What's very important is avoiding traps in character creation and customization, such that one option is simply like another, but worse. Balanced design is about creating a variety of distinctive choices, none of which are wrong by virtue of not treading on one another's toes.

 

This is a place where the IE games were really a mixed bag, actually, if you were playing in an optimized way. For example: In BG2, unkitted, Stalker, and Beastmaster rangers in are flat-out worse than Fighter/Thieves (or Fighter/Mage/Thieves, if you really want to insist that ranger spellcasting is significant, which it isn't). There is nothing that any of those rangers can do that an F/T (or F/M/T) can't do better, and many things an F/T (F/M/T) can do that the Ranger is incapable of. One class is strictly superior to the other - such that if I want to play a vanilla ranger in BG2, I'm better off playing an F/T and just calling it a ranger. There are lots of similar issues - by mid-levels, for instance, a buffed-up cleric is better at fighting than a fighter; Berserkers are largely just barbarians with better equipment options; Cleric/Rangers are druids with better THAC0, more and better spells, and no worthless shapeshifting abilities; so on and so forth; etc (who, me, bitter?).

 

PoE, in trying to be conscious of balance, has presented us with classes that actually are very different from one another. Ciphers, Rangers, and Chanters are weird and interesting. Priests and Druids show tremendous promise. Paladins and Fighters feel like different classes 90% of the time, instead of the 10% common to the IE games. These are just a couple of examples - for all of my concerns about PoE's beta, class diversity is absolutely not among them. And I'm confident that it will be maintained, and probably even advanced, as development goes forward.

 

tl;dr Balance is good, and PoE's take on it does not restrict class diversity, but rather produces it.

 

Also classes being balanced might destroy solo plays that were also a lot of fun in IE games.

 

... why? How? Soloing was doable with any class in the IE games. It was dramatically harder with some than with others, but that wasn't a good thing.


  • curryinahurry, Bill Gates' Son, morhilane and 9 others like this

#7
archangel979

archangel979

    (11) Wizard

  • Members
  • 1617 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer

Also classes being balanced might destroy solo plays that were also a lot of fun in IE games.

 
... why? How? Soloing was doable with any class in the IE games. It was dramatically harder with some than with others, but that wasn't a good thing.

Maybe it was doable but wasn't much fun. Some classes let you beat encounters in first try if you knew what was coming and didn't get really unlucky.
Others you had to cheese through the game like crazy and abuse AI and game limitations.

I am afraid with PoE solo plays will always come down to abusing AI and game limitations.

#8
AlekzanderZ

AlekzanderZ

    (1) Prestidigitator

  • Members
  • 44 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Gold Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
Hey Gkathellar, why do you compare multi-classes to single classes unit? Necessarily, a multi classe character, who take 2-3 times more xp to level up, will be better than a single class character.

#9
gkathellar

gkathellar

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 2007 posts
  • Location:Region of Erroneous Complaint
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

Hey Gkathellar, why do you compare multi-classes to single classes unit? Necessarily, a multi classe character, who take 2-3 times more xp to level up, will be better than a single class character.

 

Because, at least in the several specific cases I mention above, a particular multiclass is better than a particular single class at the same total experience points. A C/R with 89,000 xp is strictly better than a druid with 89,000 xp, for instance. That has a lot to do with the way the xp scale worked in 2nd edition AD&D, but it's not the sole cause.



#10
anameforobsidian

anameforobsidian

    (8) Warlock

  • Members
  • 1176 posts
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

Being a 2nd ed. AD&D player and fan of old-school crpgs I have to say that Classes weren't balanced, but also that this was not a bad thing.

Most Classes were unique in their abilities and were able to act in a seperate ways. Why have balanced Classes in PoE ? The effort to do that may result in a quite similar 11. People who have tried the beta can share their exp & opinions about this.

 

That's totally a different viewpoint.  No one has ever said something similar on this forum or any others.


Edited by anameforobsidian, 04 October 2014 - 08:42 AM.


#11
Gromnir

Gromnir

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 7773 posts
  • Location:Sleeping in my office.
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer
  • Black Isle Bastard!

Classes in PE have worse balance than a party of optimally made AD&D 2E characters at the moment.

...

 

1868967-1862309_notsureifserious.jpg

 

am suspecting that anybody who had to dm 2e and deal with 2e kits is having a similar reaction. is amazing just how many priests o' mystra and red knight sudden show up in 2e campaigns contemporaneous with splat books, and the proliferation o' bladesingers were amusing. hell, the base 2e stuff were not only woeful unbalanced, but leveling complete changed the balance dynamic for classes. 2e ad&d included such wonderful nonsense as psionic wild talents and pretty much everything in skills and powers, but even the core phb classes were balance broken from the start.

 

PoE does have some notable fails for class balance, but using 2e d&d to contrast? yeah, am not certain if you is serious. sadly, am guessing that you are.

 

HA! Good Fun!


  • Cantousent, Bill Gates' Son and ManifestedISO like this

#12
Sensuki

Sensuki

    Subway Apathist of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 9965 posts
  • Location:Australia
  • Steam:STEAM_0:1:1229809
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
You haven't even really played the latest patch, have you gromnir ;)

#13
gkathellar

gkathellar

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 2007 posts
  • Location:Region of Erroneous Complaint
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

You haven't even really played the latest patch, have you gromnir ;)

 

... I get the vaguest impression that you're not all that familiar with 2E beyond the IE games. Would that be accurate?



#14
Sensuki

Sensuki

    Subway Apathist of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 9965 posts
  • Location:Australia
  • Steam:STEAM_0:1:1229809
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
Wrong. Played 2E P&P in the late 90s. However we did not have any splat books.

Rogues and other classes in PE are sooo fkn broken at the moment it's not funny. Nothing in AD&D 2E is that strong, even the OP wizard spells have a per day limit, whereas some PE classes can lollerskates through every encounter due to replenishing per encounter abilities.

Edited by Sensuki, 04 October 2014 - 12:00 PM.


#15
Gromnir

Gromnir

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 7773 posts
  • Location:Sleeping in my office.
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer
  • Black Isle Bastard!

 

You haven't even really played the latest patch, have you gromnir ;)

 

... I get the vaguest impression that you're not all that familiar with 2E beyond the IE games. Would that be accurate?

 

that would be our guess. then again, sensuki is kinda schizophrenic with emoticon usage, so perhaps this time he ain't serious.

 

*shrug*

 

we loaded the new build up last night and this am. sure, is not enough time to discover all balance issues in PoE, but compared to a "party of optimally made AD&D 2E characters" there is such a vast gulf in balance concerns that we have a hard time being other than complete dismissive o' sensuki on this matter.

 

HA! Good Fun! 



#16
Sensuki

Sensuki

    Subway Apathist of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 9965 posts
  • Location:Australia
  • Steam:STEAM_0:1:1229809
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
A whooping 20 minutes of good testing right there buddy.

#17
Gromnir

Gromnir

    Arch-Mage

  • Members
  • 7773 posts
  • Location:Sleeping in my office.
  • Pillars of Eternity Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Silver Backer
  • Fig Backer
  • Black Isle Bastard!

closer to 8 hours as it were a weekend... but we did note earlier that we hadn't been exhaustive in our exploration o' balance. played ranger, cipher and barbarian in addition to the bb staples. 'course, we have considerable hours played with the previous builds o' PoE and nothing has jumped out at us that would even make us remote consider an optimized 2e AD&D party to be more balanced.

 

we do note you said you played in the 90s, but you don't say how much? 20 minutes? *shrug* playing is also different than dming. a decent dm in a pnp setting can balance gameplay even if the rules ain't particular balanced. Gromnir frequent had to make adjustments to keep vanilla bards and thieves happy once combat began in a 2e session. perhaps your limited experience as a player of 2e, sans all the rules that could optimize, gives you a less clear picture o' ad&d than those folks with more experience... much as you believe our 8 hours o' gameplay is insufficient.

 

*insert emoticon of your choice here*

 

HA! Good Fun!



#18
Sensuki

Sensuki

    Subway Apathist of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 9965 posts
  • Location:Australia
  • Steam:STEAM_0:1:1229809
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
I haven't DM'd 2E no, only 3E and 4E. I was a player in a few campaigns. My favourite one was the Dark Sun one one of my friends ran.

2E does have some underpowered classes, but nothing is as OP in the 5-8 level range as the stuff in PE at the moment.

Edited by Sensuki, 04 October 2014 - 12:29 PM.


#19
Elerond

Elerond

    One of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 2649 posts
  • Location:Finland
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
  • Deadfire Backer
  • Fig Backer

I would say that fighter is most OP class in current build, here see for yourself

 

opfighter.png?psid=1

 

:grin:



#20
Lephys

Lephys

    Punsmith of the Obsidian Order

  • Members
  • 7245 posts
  • Location:The Punforge
  • Pillars of Eternity Silver Backer
  • Kickstarter Backer
Are they really that out of whack right now, Sensuki? It seems to me like the majority of the imbalance rests on the fulcrum of little, easily tweaked things like the Rogue's stacking multiplier, etc.

Not to say that there's not still room for actual core class balance, those little tweaks aside, but they don't seem to really be that far from one another, inherently.

Besides, the type of balance we're after here isn't really class-vs-class balance, per se. It's more class-vs-some-mean. The mean is "I'm effectively doing stuff in combat, and when I level up and/or gain points and talents, that feels significant." So, even if one class one-shotted everything in the game, that would make all the other classes imbalanced with that class, but it wouldn't mean that you "sucked," relative to the mean of actually being effective and progressing through the game, if you chose any other class.

That OP class would obviously need to be reigned in, but that would be a pretty minor thing, considering (make him do less damage, etc.). If one class doesn't even have anything numbers-tweakable to bring it into check (or up to par), and another class has nothing but easily tweakable things, then that would be a much larger concern to me. Like "All the Priest does is heal!" That would be bad, because to fix that, you couldn't just make his healing do more damage. You'd have to create all new abilities and such to get him to be able to do more than just heal, and/or completely change existing abilities, etc.

Tweaking is expected in a beta, for many an iteration. Inherent design failure is not.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: class, balance, classic crpg

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users