Fighters/Rangers/Rogues - why use them...

Heldred
Level 9
4 months ago (edited)

To begin, I love this game and will support any way possible.  After playing through 3 full runs, I wanted to share some thoughts.  The first two runs, I had balanced parties using different classes (Fighter, Rogue, Wiz, Cleric...   Paladin, Ranger, Wiz, Cleric).  On the third run, I dumped Role Play fun for Min-Max strategy and the winner is: Wiz, Cleric, Cleric, Cleric.  Melee is inferior and any weapon-based character never truly shines compared to the casters. Paladins are a hybrid (melee-caster), which is probably why they fall in the middle for me, but long term, with more powerful spells, they will fall behind as well.

Why are Fighters, Rangers, and Rogues inferior?

1) DEFENSE: A Cleric can tank as well as any Fighter/Ranger. More importantly, with the buffs and reactionary defenses, all caster parties are very safe and offer a ton of utility (more to come on this point).  In addition, the HPs on a cleric are more than adequate to cope with any challenge (should they be hit).  Let's not forget you have Clerics in Heavy or Medium Armor and Wizards in Heavy or Medium armor (Background or Feat). Sadly, with group buffs (protection from g/e, bless, etc.) and individual buffs (invisibility, blur, etc.), the Wizards and Clerics own this category.

2) OFFENSE: A Cleric or Wizard can happily contribute in weapon combat, due to access to martial weapons (Background or Feat), leveraging Dex-based weapons (finesse), or utilizing weapon-focused hybrids (Greenmage and War/Law Cleric).  On the road, random encounters are cleared in one round with a party of casters... nothing is left (due to resting and having full spells the next day).  If you want to play conservative, you can melee/bow/cantrip your way all the way to the final boss encounter of EA and unload a fireworks display.  I've stated in another thread, simple spells like Magic Missile offer auto-hit, reliable damage (when focused enmasse with 2+ people), range, and immunity to darkness. Higher level spells are even more destructive when you have 4+ people focusing the pain.  Add in CC and Debuffs, this makes the Fighters/Rangers/Rogues mediocre afterthoughts. Oh yeah, let's not forget AOE!  How many enemies can a Fighter or Rogue kill at once?  Yeah...

3) UTILITY:  This game has a ton of "vertical challenges" which means your and Fighter, Ranger, Rogue are basically useless, especially at the early levels (unless hybrids, like Spellblade, but still pure-casters always outclass due to earlier access to spells and a higher number of spell slots).  Levitate, Misty Step, Jump, Fly, Spider Climb, etc. are "mandatory" spells for this game, if you want to access over 70% of the loot in this game.  Wizards and Clerics own this category. Add in Knock spells, Light (although hybrids can receive), and Crafting/Enchanting synergy and you have a clear advantage with Clerics and Wizards.


How can you fix?

1) Nerf? - NO, this is not the answer, I think all classes should feel powerful (relative to the difficulty slider or auto-scaling).

2) Give more classes spells? - NO! Please do not create even more homogeneity by making everyone a hybrid (fighter-caster).  Presently, the game already has enabled casters to utilize heavier armor and real weapons (which is fine), but we don't need to finish the job and make everyone a caster.

3) Make melee matter? - YES!  Melee suffers from range, mobility (mobs routinely retreat, climb walls, and fly). Ranger/Fighter/Rogue should all be given bonus in damage, AOE-potential, and/or chance to hit.  Ranged-damage (bows) should improve to a lesser degree, due to its benefits of hitting enemies sooner, low impact from disengaging creatures, and reaching flying/spider-climbing creatures (fair number even in early game). 


Fighters/Rogues/Rangers need:

>> Improve baseline weapon damage output (globally), by giving a basic skill of +2 to all "melee weapon" damage for Fighters/Rangers/Rogues.

>> Offer three basic fighting styles for Fighter/Ranger skills that: a) enable hits to be AOE by hitting all adjacent squares (skill for two-handed heavy weapons), b) hit faster (two weapon gaining another attack), c) and penetrate (one-handed having meaningful increase for base damage increase and to-hit bonus).  For Rogues, I would crank sneak-attack damage by just making all hits a sustained (+1 to-hit and +1d6 damage, scaling to +3 to-hit and +3d6) on all attacks done on a target with one (1) adjacent ally (flanking bonus).

>> Make Armor Special on fighting-characters Fighters/Rogues/Rangers, by giving basic skill of +2 AC on effectiveness of any Armor (if you don't makes this change, casters have the same numerical benefit from armor and access to medium/heavy armor).

Even with these changes, a well-played group of casters, with mobility spells, coupled with CC and Debuffs, would still throttle a group of fighters/rogues/rangers.  This also doesn't address the incredible utility value of these other classes. However, by employing these upgrades, people will actually be more thankful to have these classes in a party. In short, don't nerf any class, just give melee characters (Fighters/Rangers/Rogues) a much better role.




    

Baraz
Level 13
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4 months ago (edited)

I presume when you wrote 70% of the treasures were unreachable without spells, you were being hyperbolic for effect, on purpose. Right?

If not, then objectively or in fact, only a few treasures are unreachable (one it totally bugged in the tower even with spells mind you and another buggy one has the exact same loot as another chest in the same area). 

Beyond the tower, I was able to reach all treasures using only 15 and 16 Str jump. 

I am not certain those treasures contained anything of really great importance.  Leather +1, a scroll, a potion and some ingredients.


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Riggs
Level 3
4 months ago

Some of the issues stem from the currently limited release of features and game content.

Resources in between resting becomes more important as more content and more fights are added. After 1-2 battles of blasting spells casters become much weaker very quickly without long rests.

There is a significant jump in power at level 5 with fighter types getting a second attack (along with action surge). That will jump again at the 3rd attack for sustained damage over time.


But that said, there are big weaknesses.

Rogue subclasses mostly are not powerful or useful. Possibly merge the two 'second story/thief' ones and make them better also. Then they need a melee/combat focused one that gets more damage or fighter bonuses.

A large fighter feature and power boost is through feats, which are severely lacking so far. If resources are an issue and they stay limited, then yes, a static flat boost should be added to any fighting classes and a replacement. No battlemaster is a loss of melee power. Champion is weak esp as not being able to synergize with crit focused feats for example too.

Stunning blow for example is a huge feat and cc ability that would help.

Adding in proficiently bonus to damage would be a good option too.

Another option  -applow action boosts, or maybe something similar to Rogue cunning action - to have physical boosts like a one time extra jump distance, charge with a first strike to hit and damage bonus, a knockdown feature for flyers or runners etc. - making physical type smore beefy and able to use that strength to affect things more than simply a bland to hit and damage bonus.



exsonic01
Level 10
4 months ago (edited)

Linear Fighter Quadratic Wizard is a very old problem of DnD, and 5e tried to bring some balance via limiting spell slots, concentration mechanism, and etc. But they are not enough, some balance issues are still there, and as this game accepts the 5e rule as close as possible, the same problem arises. 

Some feats for martials may reflect your idea, or you could try feat mod for yourself. 

But I think a little wider maps with more covers and more difficult terrain tiles would help to resolve martial - caster balance issue. With a lot of half and full covers, casters would not be able to spam fireballs as they do now in the wide-open terrain of EA. I wish they increase covers, a lot, it could increase the survivality of martials, even in high-level combats. 

Heldred
Level 9
4 months ago

Yeah, my sentence structure is a bit awkward when I wrote:

"...if you want to access over 70% of the loot in this game.."

The key word, which can be overlooked, is "over."  Basically, I did put some thought into and I was trying to say, outside of mob kills, about 70% of the "special" treasure you can reach without a problem.  However, 30% of the special treasure, "in EA" requires a mobility spell (or a bug fix). To be frank, because of the "vertical focus" of the environments (which I applaud), it is safe to assume the need for fly, spider climb, jump, misty step, etc. will only increase, not diminish with each level.



Heldred
Level 9
4 months ago

Imbalance "could be solved with feats," but why should melee characters use feats to be brought up to parity with casters?  I recognize, players can choose any character class (I play them all), but if the developers are looking for balance, the melee-focused classes need some help and the disparity will only become worse with more levels of experience added into the mix.  

To be clear, no class in unplayable, it is simply an observation that melee could be more effective in a system where any class can wear med/heavy armor and swing a sword.  I like the flexibility (please don't nerf), but consider making melee-centric classes (fighter/ranger/rogue) a little better at swinging a weapon, to make up for the caster's advantages.

Baraz
Level 13
Steam Link Newsletter Link Kickstarter Backer Weaponsmith (Bronze)
4 months ago (edited)

That feedback is pretty much for Wizard of the Coast really.  Still, you got me thinking and checking it out ...

It is true that Paladins and Rangers have the same core as Fighters, but with many other perks added, and so they tend to be more attractive and dish out more damage than Fighters or Rogues.  Depends, some Rogues can do a lot of damage on average.   

  • Champion (SRD and in Solasta) only gets Improved Critical (until level 7).  The level 7 perks in 5e are boring as hell (presume they kept it the same in Solasta, but I have not checked). Really bland and gains nothing relevant until level 10!  Does not even begin to compare to Paladins or Rangers.  I don't know what WotC were thinking, as the rest of their game has a very nice effort for balance.  
  • Mountaineer in Solasta  : has excellent perks. Basically a shield master.  Really good tank. 
  • Spellblade in Solasta : I won't comment that one as your point is about pure combat characters.
  • Battlemaster : though not SRD, it is a subclass that is fun, useful, and can compare to the Ranger for example in terms of perks.  Notably, the fact Battlemasters regain all their features per Short Rest makes them very reliable. 

Verticality, etc. : my Ranger had the Jump spell.  Some Rogues in Solasta jump further and can climb easily.  You only need one Arcane caster for the rare cases of treasures that are hard to reach.  Inaccessible spots are extremely rare, contrary to what some say. 

My conclusion : I have to agree with you that fighters in 5e and Solasta need some love. The SRD Champion downright sucks. I am not saying Improved Critical is bad, not at all, but that is their only feature at levels 3 to 6, and the only one worth mentioning until level 10. I am quite certain, in advance, that your own statistics will show very few chose that subclass.
   Mountaineer is very good at level 3 (have not checked what is gained later). 

Suggestions for T.A. :

  • Give the Champion some extra features and do not use the SRD for that subclass.  Heldred is right that other subclasses have many features, while the Champion has not much.  Some combat feats are not too powerful and could be a choice of one bonus feat for the Champion. 
  • Create a new Fighter subclass that is specialized in offensive and/or teamwork combat. 

__

For Rogues though, you are sincerely the first one I hear complain about them in 5e.  They have many evasive capacities, and skills, while also doing Sneak damage (1dx+Dex bonus +1d6 almost every turn! and 2d6 at level 3) which makes their overall damages comparable to Fighters and Rangers.  They tend to be a party utility too, though the Lowlife background in Solasta broke that aspect (I made a Ranger instead for example).
- I have not tested the Rogue in Solasta, but Sneak attack seems rather easy to trigger. 


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shout27
Level 7
4 months ago

Dunno, on one hand, I get what you guys are talking about, and on the other I'm against fooling around and giving bonuses 'just because.' Fighters have the potential to get three feats unlike everyone else, but because we lack things like Sentinel, that isn't enough to tip the scales in certain scenarios in order to make up for the weaknesses. 

Early on, action surge is enough to tip the scales in favor of the fighter on a turn by turn basis. But as that fades the multiple attacks have to take up the slack. You can't even argue in favor of martial weapon training for ranged weapons on most because they're dex-based and the array spread is literally designed to force a weakness on a character, while the flat AC nature of heavy armor was designed to give players a reason to dump Dex.

But I'm blathering, Best fix i can come up with for fighters is feat wise. Maybe something that increases the number of times action surge may be used or gives lingering benefits after? Could call it Adrenaline - for a number of rounds equal to their constitution score, after any action surge, the character has resistance against physical damage, +2 movement, climbing doesn't cost extra, and the numeric bonus to damage granted by strength is doubled?

Thieves have a role, understanding it can put them on par with the wizard against single targets. My only irritations? I want to be able to use versatile weapons with sneak attack, I've played so many 5e rogues at this point that I'm sick of the melee weapon selection. Other than that, at least one of them should be able to treat the wall as the floor and work as a proper spiderclimb in the same way that their cunning action can function as a permanent expeditious retreat.

Rangers, are the one I find the hardest to think about, because a lot of their specialty can be absurdly powerful in the right situation, and nowhere near as useful in thenext door.




Baraz
Level 13
Steam Link Newsletter Link Kickstarter Backer Weaponsmith (Bronze)
4 months ago (edited)

@Shout27 : have you ever seen an experienced D&D player choose the Champion Fighter subclass ? 

Would you choose to have a Champion in your party ? :P  I wish I could see how many players of 5e or in Solasta use it.

The Champion gets a single feature at level 3 : critical hit on 19 and 20. 

At level 7, it gains half Proficiency bonus (rounded up to +2 total) on any physical check but ONLY if you are not Proficient in them.  So, for example, you could have +2 with the 4 Dex/Str skills (that you presumably are not proficient in since level 1), Constitution checks and some pure checks for shoving for example.  At level 7!  You are a bland fighter from level 1 to 6, while Rangers, Paladins and other classes gain MANY features around levels 2 and 3 and kick ass. 

That said, I like your suggestions to improve them.  

Though I think a bonus Feat at low levels would be sweet (could be a limited list of possible Feats).

nb : I am not sure the other subclasses need any boost.


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exsonic01
Level 10
4 months ago

I agree the imbalance between caster and martials is the problem of 5e and WotC, not for Solasta. Solasta accepted 5e rule, so it is natural for Solasta to have a problem of 5e. So many people already pointed out in many D&D forums. 

Solasta (and user modding) would resolve this via new feats and new subclasses. I'm not sure if TA and modders can introduce contents from PHB or other expansion books or not, because Solasta is not licensed for them. If Solasta cannot bring these features, then some brilliant homebrew feats or subclasses should be introduced. 

Heldred
Level 9
4 months ago

Yeah, I agree that homebrew feats "could" fix the pure melee types.  They just need to be some super-special feats to bridge the gap.  If they go this route, you need to make the feats discreet to the classes that need it (not paladin). 

At a minimum I think they need to 1) make Armor much better for pure-fighter/melee types (since everyone can wear med/heavy armor) - perhaps at +2 AC from the start, 2) add AOE potential (cone or whirlwind), and make damage scale higher and be more consistent over time (+1 to-hit/damage every other level). 

At 10th level is +5 to hit/damage OP?  Not when the guy next to you is throwing Cone of Cold, Insect Plague, and Flame Strike...

Just some ideas, big picture, melee classes need some love.

shout27
Level 7
4 months ago

Nah, the Fighters, in particular the Champion, just really need the return of Weapon Specialization as a Fighter only type thing. not the 3e implementation that tore it to pieces. In short, at L5 the fighter chooses one weapon and thereafter has expertise in it, doubling his/her proficiency bonus and their bonus to damage that doesn't come from magical effects (stat and style). Would put the fighter back near the top as a murder-blender with swords, especially with two weapon fighting and style.

Just gotta put your foot down on power creep after that of everyone and their brother trying to get the above for their 'unique sub-classes' like what happened with BG2 and the Archer kit.

Heldred
Level 9
4 months ago (edited)

When a caster can unload 8d8 in a cone (range + aoe), there isn't much of a comparison from the melee side of the equation, especially with the current, pathetic mix of feats.  Putting aside 10th level examples, the current journey (levels 1-6) still heavily favors casters and fighter/caster hybrids.  

shout27
Level 7
4 months ago

When a caster can unload 8d8 in a cone (range + aoe), there isn't much of a comparison from the melee side of the equation, especially with the current, pathetic mix of feats.  Putting aside 10th level examples, the current journey (levels 1-6) still heavily favors casters and fighter/caster hybrids.  

Unfortunately, that's a direct result of the power creep and setting things up so that each class only needs one stat for their expected primary damage output. Add in that fighters have been pretty heavily shat on for the most part since 2nd ed? That's just going to happen. 

The designers pulled out a lot of the staying power of the casters (especially at higher levels) and replaced it with a lot of low hanging fruit to keep them from complaining. This has just dropped more bs to keep up with in the hands of the fighter who already isn't going to shine until 15th? level when he gets the third attack and 20th for the fourth attack.

Fighters are not wizards or clerics, I won't support any changes to make them wuxia cultivators and capable of that sort of crap. The benefit of a caster is spells, the benefit of a fighter is higher hp and such (even if they go the route of forcing all classes to take the high average every level, which tends to penalize anyone lucky enough to regularly roll 8+ on Max HP rolls.)


Heldred
Level 9
4 months ago (edited)

Yeah, maybe it's me, but the when "everyone" has access to med/heavy armor (as well as melee weapons), you already start with a problem. In addition, the lackluster and nonexistent melee feats only widen the divide in power. The easy fix is to create some "exclusive" feats for fighters.  The other option is to simply insert some of these feats (for free) into the core skills for (non-hybrid) fighters.  I don't think fighters should have to pay with feats (loss of attributes) to be brought up to the power/utility rating of casters & hybrids.  

shout27
Level 7
4 months ago

The only real fix is to overhaul fighters/hybrids and rearrange when some of the low hanging powers/abilities become available (giving 'pure' fighters 2nd attack at L5 while hybrids have to wait until L8-L10 would be the first step i'd take on this). Unfortunately, that will also come with a bunch of people crying foul for not staying true to 5e SRD.

Your concerns are also why I'm firmly against a greenmage getting second attack, giving them 80% of the benefits of being a ranger/fighter at no cost while they can still use full caster progression.

I'd say that the biggest problem is the return of one of the same issues from 3e, the lack of solid and reliable abilities that aren't temporary combined with a few more ability increases/feat choices over other classes. The extra increases/feats are nice, but really don't stack up against the ability have a defensive aura/fear immunity, favored enemy, sneak attack, etc.

Second Wind and Action Surge are nice, but flatly limited resources unlike the above and in a comparison to 3e would have come out of the fighters feat choices.

As i said before, though, this is really a recurrence of the fighter being knee-capped comepared to other classes. 2e fighters had access to weapon specialization, at higher levels the best saves in the game in general, and upon hitting L9 automatically drew an army.

I don't care who you are, it takes a powerful wizard to negate the advantage of having an army at your beck and call.

Yet, for 3e they decided to not only cut weapon specialization down in power, but make it several feats. Additionally they made Leadership a feat (made it worse imo) and removed it from the fighter's list of perks/abilities.

I could go on.


Unfortunately, part of the problem imo is that it's a core aspect of the simplified system they went with to make all characters/classes a bit more cookie-cutter in nature, while cutting into long-term powers available to any class.


As for weapon/armor proficiency? They're not enabling multi-classing so eh, but that in and of itself shows off how much more efficient a caster can be with access to proficiency outside the norm for their profession. While also showing that it's kind of an asshole move to not even gives fighters access to a feat to let them use spell scrolls in order to bridge the gap.

personally sellsword should just stage up a class's available armor proficiency, starting with shields. Then grants the defensive style for those that already have all that training.

while lawkeeper gives training in some 1-4 weapons of the players choice, that way if exotic weapons are ever introduced even a fighter might go lawkeeper to have access to bastard swords and the like.