Dragon 380 - Player's Handbook 3: The Seeker

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The seeker reads like a ranger.  But that's not necessarily a bad thing.  I see this class as being more of an 'archer ranger variant'.  And I'm surprised to see another ranged class.


I wonder, does it play like a ranger?  W/o any melee weapon powers, the seeker will have to hang back, circle the battle and strike from range.  That would make it very much like the archer ranger.


I like it -- it looks like a good class.


 


The seeker reads like a ranger.  But that's not necessarily a bad thing.  I see this class as being more of an 'archer ranger variant'.  And I'm surprised to see another ranged class.


I wonder, does it play like a ranger?  W/o any melee weapon powers, the seeker will have to hang back, circle the battle and strike from range.  That would make it very much like the archer ranger.


I like it -- it looks like a good class.


 




In my experience, it does not play like a ranger.


As a Seeker, you are always looking for grouped enemies- most of yor powers give a debuff to the target and any enemy adjacent to the target. You also arn't much worried about missing- even if you do miss, you can use a class power to turn it into the Patriot Arrow from the Mel Brooks Robin Hood, streakong off to the same or a different target. (1/enconter, but it recharges on an Action point)


The close burst push can be used to break out of melee, but generally it's better to se your "I'm a kobold" shift ability instead- the psh is better sed FORCING enemies into groups, to be shot at. So while it has skirmish elements, they are completely different from the Ranger's Prime Shot mechanics, and play a LOT differently.

A little surprised no one has mentioned this yet.


I know we're not supposed to balance individual powers from different classes, but this is rather striking.


Stinging Swarm - Seeker Attack 1
At-Will   ✦    Primal, Weapon
Standard Action  -  Ranged weapon
Target: One creature
Attack: Wisdom vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Wisdom modifier damage, and the target and each
enemy adjacent to it take a –2 penalty to attack rolls until
the start of your next turn.
Level 21: 2[W] + Wisdom modifier damage.
Special: You can use this power as a ranged basic attack.


Compare that to Illusory Ambush (Wizard at-will):


Illusory Ambush
At-Will    ✦    Arcane, Illusion, Implement, Psychic
Standard Action - Ranged 10
Target: One creature
Attack: Intelligence vs. Will
Hit: 1d6 + Intelligence modifier psychic damage, and the target takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of your next turn.
Increase damage to 2d6 + Intelligence modifier at 21st level.


Stinging Swarm has better range, does more damage, affects more people, and doesn't have an elemental type that can be resisted.  It can also be used as a basic attack, and as a seeker you get a couple of riders due to that.


At least the accruracy is, arguably, roughly even.  Sure, Illusory Ambush is versus Will, but Stinging Swarm allows you to use a superior crossbow (a +3 proficiency weapon).


It's not hard to see that people will claim "power creep", and in this case I think that's pretty justifiable.

Anyone else notice that the best weapon for a Seeker is not a bow?  This is despite the text on page 6 that states they wanted the iconic longbow to feature more prominently.


Controllers are most interested in accuracy.  A Superior Crossbow gives you a +3 proficiency bonus.  A Greatbow only gives you a +2. 


Strikers will also want to use a Superior Crossbow.  Partly due to feats like Steady Shooter.  But look at the Seeker powers.  Even the high-level ones have low [W] damage.  Instead, they tend to have additional dice damage (like an extra 1d6 or 1d8 damage).  So if you want to do the most damage, you'll use a weapon that you'll hit more often with: the extra number of hits will far out-damage the slightly less damage you do per-hit (and that's without feats like Steady Shooter).


Ironically, a superior crossbow doesn't seem very "primal".

Given that they consider Longbow to be the iconic weapon, I don't think they count superior weapons for flavor. With that understood, the longbow is a better weapon than the regular crossbow, correct?

Given that they consider Longbow to be the iconic weapon, I don't think they count superior weapons for flavor. With that understood, the longbow is a better weapon than the regular crossbow, correct?


They do consider the superior/greater versions.


Quote: "The seeker expands utility for the longbow (and associated weapons)"


I don't know of any Archer Ranger that uses an actual longbow and it would be foolish of me to believe that WotC doesn't know this either.


If you're seeking to build an Archer Ranger today, you use a Superior Crossbow.  As far as I know, the only hold-outs (and I'm considering being one of them for my elven ranger) are the people that dislike using a crossbow for flavor/lore reasons.  It doesn't feel very "elven" to use a crossbow, for example.  But if you look through class guides, there's an agreement that the crossbow is better.  You're just shooting yourself in the foot (pun intended) if you choose not to, for the most part.


Which brings us back to this topic.  It's not a failing of the Seeker class that the crossbow is currently better than the bow due to feats and proficiency bonus.  It's too bad, since a crossbow doesn't feel very "primal", but that's how it is.


But it's a failing that the authors of this article don't acknowledge for some reason.  They for some reason believe that this Seeker class helps to make the longbow (and its ilk) more prominent.  That just won't happen, unfortunately.  It's the superior crossbow, in a completely different weapon category than the bow, that they have just re-inforced as the new iconic 4E ranged weapon of choice. 


Better accuracy is even more important for a controller than it is for a striker (for the reasons mentioned before).

I don't know. First of all, I don't see the superior crossbow as a better weapon to the greatbow. It deals d10 damage instead of d12 damage. It also has less range. The range is situational. You need environments in which range is beneficial. But if you play in games in which encounters are designed in a manner that makes range an advantage, thats a major benefit for the greatbow. You can also load the bow with a free action instead of a minor action. That means that a ranger with a greatbow doesn't need to give up moving in order to both load his weapon, query a target, and fire, in the same round. If you are building a character with an 18 as their starting stat in their primary attack stat, and who plans to put all 8 points they possibly can into that stat as they level, personally, I would rather gain the benefits of a greatbow then a superior crossbow on a ranger.


As for a seeker, I haven't looked at them super carefully. I don't know which weapon would be better for them as of yet. But, looking through them briefly, it seems like a lot of their controller benefits are effects. They happen whether you hit or not. Honestly, with that in mind, as long as you can build with a starting stat of 18 in your primary attack stat, and end up with a 26 in your primary attack stat (or higher), I think I would still rather use the greatbow. I'm not a huge fan of having to spend a minor action and loosing out on extra damage every time I fire my bow. I'm willing to give up 1 point of an attack bonus to avoid having to do that.


I think the superior crossbow and the greatbow are better balanced against each other then you are giving them credit fore.

I pretty much agree with Cyber-Dave and I'd also like to comment that taking a mathematically less optimal option doesn't make your character unviable, unplayable, nor does it mean you're shooting yourself in the foot (plus you save on two feats if you use the longbow or one feat if you use the greatbow, assuming you don't want to use a minor action to load your crossbow every round).  Another way that WotC is likely going to reinforce the bow as the iconic seeker weapon is by tailor-making magic weapons to them and restricting them to that category.


Also, you're comparison of illusory ambush and stinging swarm missed one key difference; the former power lasts until the end of your next turn while the latter lasts until the beginning of your next turn.  Stinging swarm may be situationally a bit better than illusory ambush (the range advantage is easily nullified by most encounter designs, typed damage can be resisted but there are also vulnerabilities, the illusion keyword has effects we haven't considered), its hardly reason for a cry of "power creep!"

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I pretty much agree with Cyber-Dave and I'd also like to comment that taking a mathematically less optimal option doesn't make your character unviable, unplayable, nor does it mean you're shooting yourself in the foot (plus you save on two feats if you use the longbow or one feat if you use the greatbow, assuming you don't want to use a minor action to load your crossbow every round).


I agree, but it's sub-optimal.  And the only reason to do so is essentially for flavor/lore reasons.  As mentioned, I might actually use a bow for my elven archer ranger, but I do so knowing it's inferior.  Check the class guides or talk to your own buddies if you don't believe me.


@Cyber-Dave, the load time isn't significant since there's a crossbow feat to eliminate it.  And the range of both the crossbow and greatbow are both so big that they tend to include the entire gaming table.  For small-scale combats, which should be almost all your combats, the range difference doesn't matter.


Also, you're comparison of illusory ambush and stinging swarm missed one key difference; the former power lasts until the end of your next turn while the latter lasts until the beginning of your next turn.  Stinging swarm may be situationally a bit better than illusory ambush (the range advantage is easily nullified by most encounter designs, typed damage can be resisted but there are also vulnerabilities, the illusion keyword has effects we haven't considered), its hardly reason for a cry of "power creep!"


That's a really minor difference.  Keep in mind this power imposes a -2 penalty on the target's attack rolls.  The target's turn should always come before both the "start of your turn" and the "end of your turn".  Therefore the only difference is due to OAs you might trigger on your own next turn.


There's really no comparison between the two powers.


Compare:


  • Affects multiple targets with a -2 penalty to hit during their turn.  It ends right before my next turn, so the penalty won't be active if I provoke on OA on my next turn.

  • Affect only one target with a -2 penalty to hit during their turn.  If I provoke an OA on my next turn it will still be active, but ends after that.

One is hands down better then the other for a controller. 


 


@Cyber-Dave, the load time isn't significant since there's a crossbow feat to eliminate it.  And the range of both the crossbow and greatbow are both so big that they tend to include the entire gaming table.  For small-scale combats, which should be almost all your combats, the range difference doesn't matter.




1) Of course its significant. It doesn't matter if there is a feat to eliminate it. Feats are often tight. The feat you spent eliminating the minor load action could have been spent on something else. For example, maybe that extra feat got you the ability to gain combat advantage from range (often gaining you a +2 bonus to hit). Maybe that extra feat got you weapon expertise with the bow, gaining you a +1/2/3 bonus to hit. Between a 1d12 damage, a little extra range, and one extra feat, or a 1d10, and a +1 bonus to hit, I choose the 1d12, little extra range, and an extra feat. Its not sub-optimal. They are better balanced then you are giving them credit fore.


2) Sorry, why "should" it be "almost all of your combats?" Whether it is, or is not, all of your combats really depends on the DM. Personally, I really like to design combats with long range factors to them. Against the sort of encounters I like to design, a greatbow would be a benefit. I understand that some DMs don't design encounters that way. Thats why the extra range is a situational benefit. It is still, however, a benefit.

Stinging Swarm has better range, does more damage, affects more people, and doesn't have an elemental type that can be resisted.  It can also be used as a basic attack, and as a seeker you get a couple of riders due to that.


I dont count the -2 to adjacent enemies as that big a deal.  It's situational.  As a matter of fact, a lot fo the Seeker effects deal with adjacent enemies.  It's rare that all enemies bunch up in a nice tight group.  It's real bonus is being a RBA.

Sorry WOTC, you lost me with Essentials. So where I used to buy every book that came out, now I will be very choosy about what I buy. Can we just get back to real 4e? Check out the 4e Conversion Wiki. 1. Wizards fight dirty. They hit their enemies in the NADs. -- Dragon9 2. A barbarian hits people with his axe. A warlord hits people with his barbarian. 3. Boo-freakin'-hoo, ya light-slingin' finger-wigglers. -- MrCelcius in response to the Cleric's Healer's Lore nerf

so any use in all of being small size seeker? =p since the highest damage dice we can get with ranged/thrown weapons is a d8?


so any use in all of being small size seeker? =p since the highest damage dice we can get with ranged/thrown weapons is a d8?




You can move throgh the space of a large creature, like any other small creature. :p



so any use in all of being small size seeker? =p since the highest damage dice we can get with ranged/thrown weapons is a d8?




You can move throgh the space of a large creature, like any other small creature. :p



you can!  three shifts a turn!

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

Stinging Swarm has better range, does more damage, affects more people, and doesn't have an elemental type that can be resisted.  It can also be used as a basic attack, and as a seeker you get a couple of riders due to that.


I dont count the -2 to adjacent enemies as that big a deal.  It's situational.  As a matter of fact, a lot of the Seeker effects deal with adjacent enemies.  It's rare that all enemies bunch up in a nice tight group.  It's real bonus is being a RBA.



I've noticed it happens a lot when you get to higher levels.


It's usually the Fighter's Come and Get It.  But there are other powers as well.


There's really no comparison between the two powers.


Compare:


  • Affects multiple targets with a -2 penalty to hit during their turn.  If I provoke an OA on my next turn it will still be active, but ends after that.

  • Affect only one target with a -2 penalty to hit during their turn.  It ends right before my next turn, so the penalty won't be active if I provoke on OA on my next turn.

One is hands down better then the other for a controller. 





I think you have the durations reversed.
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Between a 1d12 damage, a little extra range, and one extra feat, or a 1d10, and a +1 bonus to hit, I choose the 1d12, little extra range, and an extra feat. Its not sub-optimal. They are better balanced then you are giving them credit fore.


Please just read the class guides, or speak with your friends that play Archer Rangers.  Btw, I'm assuming you play more than just low heroic, and that you play at least some high heroic (or even better, Paragon).


Then realize that for a controller a +1 to hit is even more valuable for them.  Then look at the Seeker powers that don't have any controller effect on a miss.  Such as the afore-mentioned Stinging Swarm, a great at-will power for Seekers.


Even if only half the Seeker powers only do their effects on a hit, it would still be worthwhile to get a +1 to hit.



There's really no comparison between the two powers.


Compare:


  • Affects multiple targets with a -2 penalty to hit during their turn.  If I provoke an OA on my next turn it will still be active, but ends after that.

  • Affect only one target with a -2 penalty to hit during their turn.  It ends right before my next turn, so the penalty won't be active if I provoke on OA on my next turn.

One is hands down better then the other for a controller. 





I think you have the durations reversed.



D'oh!  I do, thanks for noticing.  I'll fix it. 


The comparison still stands though.  The key thing is the penalty on their turn, not whether they -2 penalty is still there if you provoke an OA on your turn.


Between a 1d12 damage, a little extra range, and one extra feat, or a 1d10, and a +1 bonus to hit, I choose the 1d12, little extra range, and an extra feat. Its not sub-optimal. They are better balanced then you are giving them credit fore.


Please just read the class guides, or speak with your friends that play Archer Rangers.  Btw, I'm assuming you play more than just low heroic, and that you play at least some high heroic (or even better, Paragon).


Then realize that for a controller a +1 to hit is even more valuable for them.  Then look at the Seeker powers that don't have any controller effect on a miss.  Such as the afore-mentioned Stinging Swarm, a great at-will power for Seekers.


Even if only half the Seeker powers only do their effects on a hit, it would still be worthwhile to get a +1 to hit.




I don't need to "read the guides." I am quite capable of looking at things, and deciding for myself. Especially as I often see information in the guides that I don't agree with. Those guides are nothing more than the subjective opinions of a forum poster.


What is more, while I AM currently playing a ranger myself, it should be noted that someone doesn't HAVE to play to judge these issues. All someone needs to do is build a couple of different builds, at various heroic, paragon, and epic levels, and do the math against the ACs of creatures of that level. I have done that. I don't agree with you. I think you are not giving the balancing job done on those two weapons enough credit.


You can agree to disagree with me if you like. But I don't agree with your statements.

This discussion is the old +1 to-hit vs. higher average damage. If you run the numbers you'll see that whether or not +1 to hit or (average) +1 to damage results in a higher average damage per attack is in fact dependant on the required target number to hit. Need a roll of 10+ to hit the target with greatbow, +9 with superior crossbow? Use the greatbow. Need a 14 to hit with the greatbow, 13 with the superior crossbow? Use the crossbow. Neither one is better all the time.


Now the decisive point for me in this matter is the load time. You need to take the feat to get load free with the superior crossbow. This is a feat that a greatbow user can spend on something to make up for the lower accuracy against hard-to-hit targets.

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