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Confused about class Tiers.


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So, i played and finished pillars of eternity shortly after release on PoTD with a melee death godlike cipher (using mainly two-handed swords and estocs). I also managed to kill the Adra Dragon without too many problems.

I recently started several playthroughs trying out patch 3.02 and the recent changes and i read quite a bit of things about ciphers. Some say that they've been nerfed, other say that they've been buffed.

 

I also read several "class tear" list and everybody puts ciphers, especially ranged ones, on top. Thing is, i've been trying both a ranged cipher and a melee two-handed warrior (full armor+greatsword), and by level 7 the warrior did almost double the total damage of my ranged cipher (41k warrior/ 21k cipher). I know that i have CCs and other utility tools with a cipher but talking about raw damage the warrior is a monster, hitting almost always for at least 50 damage, up to 120 with the flaming sword granted by the forgemaster's gauntlets.

 

Am i using the new cipher in the wrong way?

 

Ranged cipher stats 18/6/18/13/18/3 (with gear and racial bonus 18/9/20/15/19/4)

Talents: Biting Whip, Draining Whip, Outlander's Frenzy
Abilities:

Weapon: Fine War Bow + burning lash / Exceptional Blunderbuss + burning lash
Powers
1-Soulshock / Whispers / Antipathetic Field
2-Psychovampiric Shield / Recall Agony / Amplified Thrust / Mental Binding
3-Ectoplasmic Echo / Puppetmaster
4-Pain Block / Silent Scream

 

Melee warrior stats 18/7/17//17/10/6 (with gear and racial bonus 20/9/17/23/12/9)

Talents: Two-Handed Style, Savage Attack, Weapon Specialization: Soldier
Abilities: Armored Grace, Confident Aim, Disciplined Barrage, Knock Down

Weapon: Fine Greatsword + fire lash + damage against kith or Firebrand's Gauntlets Greatsword
 

They are both humans

 

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So, i played and finished pillars of eternity shortly after release on PoTD with a melee death godlike cipher (using mainly two-handed swords and estocs). I also managed to kill the Adra Dragon without too many problems.

I recently started several playthroughs trying out patch 3.02 and the recent changes and i read quite a bit of things about ciphers. Some say that they've been nerfed, other say that they've been buffed.

 

I also read several "class tear" list and everybody puts ciphers, especially ranged ones, on top. Thing is, i've been trying both a ranged cipher and a melee two-handed warrior (full armor+greatsword), and by level 7 the warrior did almost double the total damage of my ranged cipher (41k warrior/ 21k cipher). I know that i have CCs and other utility tools with a cipher but talking about raw damage the warrior is a monster, hitting almost always for at least 50 damage, up to 120 with the flaming sword granted by the forgemaster's gauntlets.

 

Am i using the new cipher in the wrong way?

 

Ranged cipher stats 18/6/18/13/18/3 (with gear and racial bonus 18/9/20/15/19/4)

Talents: Biting Whip, Draining Whip, Outlander's Frenzy

Abilities:

Weapon: Fine War Bow + burning lash / Exceptional Blunderbuss + burning lash

Powers

1-Soulshock / Whispers / Antipathetic Field

2-Psychovampiric Shield / Recall Agony / Amplified Thrust / Mental Binding

3-Ectoplasmic Echo / Puppetmaster

4-Pain Block / Silent Scream

 

Melee warrior stats 18/7/17//17/10/6 (with gear and racial bonus 20/9/17/23/12/9)

Talents: Two-Handed Style, Savage Attack, Weapon Specialization: Soldier

Abilities: Armored Grace, Confident Aim, Disciplined Barrage, Knock Down

Weapon: Fine Greatsword + fire lash + damage against kith or Firebrand's Gauntlets Greatsword

 

They are both humans

 

 

Honestly, who cares about Tiers? This is a problem of Obsidian's way of thinking:

 

Classes in a cRPG need to be FUNCTIONAL and PLAYABLE. ( Once they are that, they should be buffed up to ELEGANT and FUN states. )

difference between functional and elegant: Gamorrean Axe vs Lightsabre.

 

Obsidian doesn't understand the part in brackets. They are content with a rudimentary "just functional". This is the reason why they spent so much time nerfing instead of buffing others up to release Cipher status. Cipher was a really fun and elegant class, which they decided to gut in the name of "equality / balance". This is a fine line of thinking in COMPETITIVE games so everyone is on an equal playing field. But in a full singleplayer game? Rather make classes fun and viable for further replays of a game.

 

Just play what you find fun and effective. (Unless it's broken like Chanter + Anc.Mem, but that's whole another ball game!)

Edited by hrwd
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@hrwd:

 

But ciphers are still fun. And if you buffvthimgs too much the game gets too easy. It is easier to nerf a few outliers than to buff everything else.

 

@Blablaologist:

 

You shouldn't pay too much heed to "class tier" lists, as many are outdated or exagerated, and the classes have more balance and flexibility than in most other games.

 

It is also hard to know what you are doing "wrong" with your cipher without more details on your playstyle. But from your gear it seems you are still on the early mid-game, so Firebrand can explain part of the power difference. Melee characters are also better at dealing damage, because their weapons either hit harder or hit faster (a bit of relevant trivia: a "slow" melee weapon actually has the same speed as a single "medium" speed one).

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Probably the major reason the Fighter feels so much more powerful than the Cipher (or anything else), is that he has has Confident Aim. This is unfortunately bugged at the moment, in a way that vastly increases the damage the fighter does. I would strongly suggest not taken that talent until it has been fixed.

 

 

Obsidian doesn't understand the part in brackets. They are content with a rudimentary "just functional". This is the reason why they spent so much time nerfing instead of buffing others up to release Cipher status. Cipher was a really fun and elegant class, which they decided to gut in the name of "equality / balance". This is a fine line of thinking in COMPETITIVE games so everyone is on an equal playing field. But in a full singleplayer game? Rather make classes fun and viable for further replays of a game.

 

Which still requires classes to be more or less balanced. Different classes are more or less powerful, more or less viable, compared to each other. Thus, as DreamWayfarer pointed out as well, if one class stands out in terms of power it makes much more sense to remove some of that power than to start buffing all the rest. The overall result in terms of viability is essentially the same, but by making every other class stronger rather than making one of them weaker you're just reducing the difficulty of the game. And that's provided all goes well; the more changes you make, the greater the risk of creating a new imbalance somewhere else. Thankfully, Obsidian does not agree with *your view* of what constitutes elegant and fun, the game would have been much the worse for it.

Edited by Loren Tyr
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I can see some possible areas where you might be having problems.  One is that your cipher has far worse gear than your fighter.  Are your Cipher's shots hitting with the same frequency as the fighter's?  They changed perception so that it now affects to hit chances.  8 points of perception is a big difference, and 2 points of might is noticeable.  So your cipher is probably hitting significantly less frequently and for less or even damage with the fighter.  Two things you can do to make your Cipher better are: get to Dyrford and get the almighty Leadspitter, it might not be a bad idea to buy Borresaine either; also, it might not be a bad idea to take the Apprentice's sneak attack talent, that'll boost your damage especially since both the fighter and cipher can apply statuses that grant that 15%.  If you're not hitting as often as you would like, Marksman could help too (or a paladin or priests buffs).

 

 

On a separate note, class tier lists are overrated, especially since the game has changed a lot mechanically since it started.  More importantly, even classes that are particularly useful don't do everything themselves.  One very powerful character can still get his teeth kicked in on PotD, and different classes and builds fulfill different roles.  While one character does the most damage, that certainly doesn't mean the others are useless.

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Check on Character build forum section. There was a thread about class tier in 3.03 maybe one month ago.

 

Most people didn't put Cipher on top tier. Wizard, Priest and Druid were on top tier. The rest was argued.

 

Cipher had a coupled of broken spells in 1.0. Most have been fixed now. Even then, they hardly compared to the other casters named above. But Ciphers were (and still are) incredibly convenient and handy in trash fights, that's why they were seen as powerful.

Edited by Elric Galad
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I want to thank everyone for the feedback and your insight. I think i'll fiddle a bit with gear and stats and maybe restart again. To be honest fighter sounded cool and all, but just as in the BG series, after a while is a bit dull (also, i didn't know about the confident aim bug and i really dislike using bugs, even non intentionally). Plus i really can't bring myself to like a ranged cipher, even if it's better than a melee one, i really can't bring myself to like the "psion with a bow". Maybe i'll finally try to roleplay a decent priest, maybe Skaen or Berath.

The more i play this game the more i feel like i have to learn more and, as a D&D  veteran, it's really refreshing.

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I'd say, just go with what appeals to you. The nice thing is that you can make pretty much any kind of build work reasonably well. Some are obviously more effective than others, but with some work and the right items almost anything is viable (certainly below Path of the Damned difficulty). So I think you can certainly feel free to make decisions based on what appeals to you from a roleplaying perspective or simply what looks coolest (Dandy Hat of the Diseased Yak, obviously), without it gimping your character.

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i personally think i kinda like mind blades better than soul shock cause its more versatile regarding positioning... i dunno, amplified thrust im also a bit undecided cause for single target spells i always simply used a paralayze or the silent scream which i think is quite nice for big baddies surrounded by smaller adds

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I've played both melee and ranged ciphers, and I found melee ones to be more efficient, more fun and more in line with my playstyle.

 

Melee weapons does more damages. That's the basis.

You may loose time due to positionning, you may loose DPS because your stats are a bit less min-maxed, but in the end of the day, ranged weapons do something like 60% of melee ones.

More damages, more focus. More focus, more fun.

 

The only exception are firearms. They don't do more damages, but they allow a big spike at the beginning of each battle, especially if you use quickswitch (which I find annoying). Big spike damages means big spike focus, which can be incredibly handy.

But noone would stop your melee cipher from opening with (a few) alpha strikes with firearms. 

 

Ranged damages are a great tactical advantage, ranged cipher are great but I just prefer melee ones.

You don't like "psion with a bow" ? So why not "psion with a two-handed sword" ?

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I've played both melee and ranged ciphers, and I found melee ones to be more efficient, more fun and more in line with my playstyle.

 

Melee weapons does more damages. That's the basis.

You may loose time due to positionning, you may loose DPS because your stats are a bit less min-maxed, but in the end of the day, ranged weapons do something like 60% of melee ones.

More damages, more focus. More focus, more fun.

 

The only exception are firearms. They don't do more damages, but they allow a big spike at the beginning of each battle, especially if you use quickswitch (which I find annoying). Big spike damages means big spike focus, which can be incredibly handy.

But noone would stop your melee cipher from opening with (a few) alpha strikes with firearms. 

 

Ranged damages are a great tactical advantage, ranged cipher are great but I just prefer melee ones.

You don't like "psion with a bow" ? So why not "psion with a two-handed sword" ?

 

Or a psion with a pistol...or even better with three-four pistols. The trick is to get creative. Pillars really allows it.

 

I mean, will a Wizard be more effective if you play him as a AoE CC machine than if you play him as a battlemage / spellsword / nightblade etc? Yes, he will. But that's just efficacy. Other things are perhaps less effective, but more involving / fun? After all, Druid does have that flaming sword as a level 2 spell. If you take 2H fighting style and, most likely, weapon focus - Soldier, it will make it very deadly indeed.

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the notion o' min-maxed class tiers is amusing to us... particular in a single-player game. 

 

is the class too weak to be fun?

 

is the class too powerful to be fun?

 

answer should be "no" to both queries. if we don't get a "no" from near all players, then developers need make balance changes, but concern over relative power of classes is only relevant when it makes classes unplayable.

 

as to original question 'bout playing cipher correct, see above. is the cipher fun? then you is playing correct.  make sure you have squeezed every possible dps outta a class is a waste as your success will depend, in part, on your individual play-style and party composition and any number o' other factors.  there is also gonna be level shadows-- two to three levels, before a particular ability or whatnot is available that a worldbeater class feels positive mortal. 

 

regardless, is not a question worth much consideration.  fun or not?  is only thing that should matter. 

 

HA! Good Fun! 

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"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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Everybody kept arguing every patch about who should be 'tiered' where, you had people saying wizards were way too powerful then the next post someone would say wizards are garbage, etc, etc.

 

And anyway measuring how much weapon damage a cipher does versus a warrior seems a weird way to compare how good a class is.

 

Most classes at this point are pretty powerful, just roll with what you want and if you start feeling one of your characters is useless shake it up. I think all this tiers and numbers and builds can do a disservice when it encourages people to wonder what they're missing instead of focusing on their own game and having fun.

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Class tiers aside (cipher is not #1 by any means)....  the best way to do lots of damage with a cipher early game, melee or ranged, is to make best use of ectopsychic echo.  What you'll need is a spare melee party member who is somewhat durable and fast, Sagani's wolf for example.  Once you have enough focus cast ectopsychic echo on the wolf (or party member of choice) and have him run behind your enemies, that's about all you have to do, it's strong and will take care of your enemies quickly while you hit stuff to get more focus.  A monk with long stride makes a great target for ectopsychic echo too.

Edited by Climhazzard
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