LFR: Successful Character Types

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I've found I need less and less healing powers on my warlord as I've gone - but I certainly feel that by giving the entire group +6 to damage, giving extra attacks, saves, or whatever I happen to do in a round, that I'm more than pulling my weight.

I certainly don't think that it's all strikers all the time. I do think that people should be conscious of their ability to do damage, no matter what their role. So my two defenders and two leaders can do plenty of damage. My controller is less good at damage, but I'm very happy with his actual control all the same.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
This depends on the adventure. I think half of the recent adventures I have run (across several tiers) are extremely difficult without a leader.



I have to agree with this. Later adventure writers seem to have locked on better to how to challenge parties, and this often results in damage to PCs. Those that don't have healing will find themselves falling over a lot/too much.

SPECs and ADCPs ... I highly recommend not trying these without leaders. Again, possibly doable, but you risk TPK'edness.
Anchovy_Pizza--

I sometimes get a little sad when a newer player is introduced into this game and instead of reinforcing the concept of fun and how and to have it, they are pushed into 'balance' and you have to play XY or Z to make the party work.  

It's not true and I don't believe it.  (I'm not saying that you do or any of the previous posters here do either...just making a point.)

I think there is somethings we can agree on:

1)  The point of LFR is to have fun.
2)  Everyone's concept of fun is different.

That's not so radical.

What is radical, I suppose to some, is that balance really isn't necessary.  You'll notice in the previous 3 responses above, Mr. Revenge, Mr. AlphaStream, and Mr. Egg, all don't really mind playing with a leader or a defender.   They probably have in the past and probably will do so again in the future.  Those experienced players will tell you that balance isn't mandatory or required.   They may feel 'safer' to have a defender or leader, but I suspect that wouldn't stop them from playing most mods.   I really, really doubt it.

Trust me, I've played this game as much as anybody, I've been to DDXP and I've played with the big boys at big tables and with new players at new tables...TPKs happen at balanced tables and happen at unbalanced tables.  Player deaths happen at balanced tables and unbalanced tables.   Every individual character brings a set of skills/powers/feats/magic into each mod...sometimes they will have the necessary tools to 'win' or they won't.   Some encounters will be made easy because one character has power Y, while other tables will struggle through the same.

That's very rare though...I see very few TPKs or player deaths.

For me and the groups that I play in, the conventions I've attended, the mods are, for the most part, too easy and not challenging.   In fact, there are plenty of posts and posters that bemoan that LFR is too easy in general for players.

When you really truly become experienced at this game, you'll see that what kills players or creates TPKs isn't caused by balance or lack thereof, but random things that you really don't have control of.  You'll have bad luck or the Judge will roll hot.  You'll have a leader but people will still die.  It happens...it has nothing to do with balance.  Or the presense of a defender or striker.  Sometimes things happen.

If you want to play your elf ranger, play it.  He'll be fine.  You may take a few lumps as you learn to position and play him most effectively, but that's fine...it's part of the game.  I find it absolutely silly that you may not play the character you want because you don't have a defender in front of you.  Do your ranger thing and take down your foes quickly...that'll solve the problem.  Or wait for the controller to provide some area control to protect your flank.   Or concentrate fire with the other strikers to take down the nearest melee threat.

The only thing you can control is what you play and how you play it.   Figure out how you want to have fun and do that.   That's what you should be concentrating on.


-Pain
This depends on the adventure. I think half of the recent adventures I have run (across several tiers) are extremely difficult without a leader.



I have to agree with this. Later adventure writers seem to have locked on better to how to challenge parties, and this often results in damage to PCs. Those that don't have healing will find themselves falling over a lot/too much.

SPECs and ADCPs ... I highly recommend not trying these without leaders. Again, possibly doable, but you risk TPK'edness.



I politely agree and disagree with you, Mr. tirianmal.

Truly, especially for ADCPs and Spec, there are TPKs and player deaths at a lot of tables...I bet most of them had leaders and healers.   There is no guarantee that a leader is going to stop TPKs. 

There are some really difficult fights out there, but some parties will breeze through them when others fail.   Is it the presence of a leader or defender or striker or controller that allows for that?  Nope...it's just that sometimes one character or another will have the key that makes things easier.

For instance, the notorious stairwell from Spec1-3 P1 is a breeze if you happen to be lucky enough to have the right party for it.   Others will struggle for every step. 

I do believe that every character and every class has access to healing (a healing strike, temp HP, laying on hands, or multiclassing for a healing effect) or healing-type effects from items (potions, healer's sash, etc.).  I build my characters to have a bit of that.   I think that's wise playing.

I wonder, tirianmal, if you would really balk at playing a mod when your party wasn't balanced.  Suppose you sat down with 5 random strangers at a convention, and didn't know what they were playing.  Suppose they were all competent, intelligent players....would you find a way to win and have fun?  

I think you'd kick butt.  And it wouldn't matter what people were playing.

I'd rather go into a mod where everyone is playing the character that they want to play than people feeling like they need to play X, Y, or Z class in the name of 'balance'.   It's foolish.   

-Pain




Truly, especially for ADCPs and Spec, there are TPKs and player deaths at a lot of tables...I bet most of them had leaders and healers.   There is no guarantee that a leader is going to stop TPKs. 



Again, presence or absence of leaders is not a transitive logic. Please folks, stop applying bad logic. Just because the presence of a leader failed to prevent a TPK at one of these tables does not argue for the absense of a leader having a similar non-effect. If anything, as healing goes down, harder mods get even harder. Sometimes much harder.

There are some really difficult fights out there, but some parties will breeze through them when others fail.   Is it the presence of a leader or defender or striker or controller that allows for that?  Nope...it's just that sometimes one character or another will have the key that makes things easier.

For instance, the notorious stairwell from Spec1-3 P1 is a breeze if you happen to be lucky enough to have the right party for it.   Others will struggle for every step.



But one can say that of any module. If an all radiant party goes into one module they might cake walk it if there's a bunch of undead and radiant vulnerable enemies. But the same module with a party unable to do radiant damage might fall over dead.

However, the SPEC mods are in general tougher on the raw, measurable metric of XP budget. Plan accordingly. And that stairwell fight still gives me shudders. Now that I've played it, I'm sure I can bring a character that will deal with it better, but that's forewarning. You don't always get that.


I do believe that every character and every class has access to healing (a healing strike, temp HP, laying on hands, or multiclassing for a healing effect) or healing-type effects from items (potions, healer's sash, etc.).  I build my characters to have a bit of that.   I think that's wise playing.



First off, you're suggesting MCing ... effectively if someone is MC'd into a leader/healer class, then they are, for my purposes, a Leader. Albeit perhaps a less effective one.

So, sure, every character -might- be able to help a comrade. If your class doesn't have healing (rogues?), they can MC into classes that do, but not everyone will want to spend feats to do that, and if they haven't, and they find themselves in a party with no healing, what then? As for Potions and First Aid, etc:  potions can't possibly be in the same class of healing as Leader-healing, as it takes so many actions to apply a potion to a downed comrate as to bind up one or more PCs in a combat. Applying a First Aid check, is likewise dangerous as it means that someone has to take a standard action. And potentially draw an OA.


I wonder, tirianmal, if you would really balk at playing a mod when your party wasn't balanced.  Suppose you sat down with 5 random strangers at a convention, and didn't know what they were playing.  Suppose they were all competent, intelligent players....would you find a way to win and have fun?  

I think you'd kick butt.  And it wouldn't matter what people were playing.



Yes, yes I would balk. And have. And by balanced I mean that I would look at the PCs we have and make a decision based on what I think the challenge is. I have in fact played a mod with 6 strikers. At level 1-4.

And it sucked. We survived (if you define such as kicking butt, so be it), but we really didn't like doing it. But had it been SPEC 1-3 H1? I would have said no thank you.


I'd rather go into a mod where everyone is playing the character that they want to play than people feeling like they need to play X, Y, or Z class in the name of 'balance'.   It's foolish.



And that is -your- choice, but don't call me or mine foolish for not wanting to sit at a table for four hours and not have fun because we spend half the fights unconscious and struggling. Your fun != my fun. (edit, as you yourself have said)
You'll notice in the previous 3 responses above, Mr. Revenge, Mr. AlphaStream, and Mr. Egg, all don't really mind playing with a leader or a defender.   They probably have in the past and probably will do so again in the future.


(Please, no Mr. for me. Teos, Alphastream, several appropriate insults, but no Mr. unless we are at work!)

I'm a big fan of leaders and controllers. I play mostly leaders and I really like how they work in 4E. I like enabling and I like tactical play. I would generally prefer to play a leader in any LFR, and the BI is no exception. I have not played a defender yet, for whatever reason, but a Battlemind is on deck.

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The competence and skill of the playes plays a bigger role than well... role.  Much like Painlord (Rand?)  I've been at a bunch of weird combinations of characters - and the consistent metric for success is player skill and teamwork.

now, I'll add to that that having the DPR makes the combats go faster, especially if your DM isn't always willing to call a fight.  So a striker heavy configuration - with striker-like defenders/leaders/controllers is going to kill things FASTER, but not necessarily BETTER (or more reliably). 

I can't emphasize enough the importance of teamwork - which many times means forgoing using the "awesome" power you've really wanted to try out (i'm looking at you, every wall in the game) and instead do the tactically optimal task of assisting an ally, or setting an ally up for something.   Players that work together well are way better than individually optimized players that are simply occupying the same table -  a huge change from 3rd edition.

So in answer to the original poster:  the best thing to do is think about how (either in how you build or play your characters) they can work well TOGETHER (or at least avoid things that obviously impede each other).  Know your obvious weaknesses - and think about how to deal with them, or what kinds of allies you'll need to cover them (or what things you might need your allies to do to cover for you). 

Class does not necessarily equal role, but it's important to understand HOW you play your PC, and communicate that to the other players.  There is an assumption that if you say "i'm a cleric" that you'll heal people when they need it.  If you're NOT going to do that (you're a battle cleric, and you need those heals to keep yourself alive, or what have you) - TELL the other players that.  Similarly, if you're a defender-class that typically plays a striker-role, communicate that so that the squishies aren't surprised when you run off and leave them exposed (or drop like a glass cannon in front of them).

I love my melee defender wizard, my melee striker/bard, my controller artificer, etc.

in conclusion - the stairwell in SPEC1-3/P1?  Arcane Gate FTW baby!

I do find balance (at a strictly class role level) to be an overrated concept, but a party capable of many things is more likely to be successful than a party of more limited scope.

As a gameday coordinator, wrangling 6 tables per slot at a gameday, I do make a token effort at balancing tables.  But I definitely don't break my back to do it (and I'll override balance to accomodate the 2-3 personality mismatches in the club - I'd rather have 2 leaders/no strikers at one table and 3 strikers/no leaders at the other than have people who don't get along at the same table).  The dad can play with his two sons regardless of their PCs (luckily they play Defender/Striker/Controller, which they chose for the very purpose of playing together all the time).

Specifically for the example of two people who intend to play together with random other people, I stand by my suggestion to find ways for their characters to synergize together.  This is the option I would personally find the most fun.

It is easier for beginners to build characters that perform in the role they are expected to fill.  Of course it isn't impossible to go against expectations, it is just that success in such a case (if you measure success by the character's in-game mechanical contributions) is much less likely for someone with less experience.

The OP has one solid advantage over many other players - he has a potential team mate at every table. In a typical 'pick up group' of 6 players, you and your wife will at least know what two of the players at the table have for characters and play style (your own).

I suggest that each time you make up a new pair of characters, build them each with the other in mind. For example, as it is now you have a melee striker and a ranged striker (a good 'damage combo' to bring to a table).  Perhaps later you will want to play a defender, then a controller or a leader might be a good companion, etc. That way you will always have at least one well balanced pair at any table.

For success at an LFR table, I've found that the common trait of successful groups is that each player knows their character extremely well, and has arranged things so that they can contribute something to any situation. If everyone at the table knows their character well, and as a group they adjust their tactics, then most adventures go very well. I've played the 'all striker' and 'all leader' tables with equal enjoyment - it just took some very creative tactics, and some skilled players to make it work.
While it is understandable that people want to play together at pick-up games, especially when friends are involved who only see each other twice a year, it would be kind to the organizers not to be to adament about it. Expect that at times the characters will be sitting at a different table.
Tell me about it.  I hated mustering when you had, as an example, 5 people who insisted on sitting together and 3 other poeple.  Instead of splitting into two groups of four the 5 wouldn't budge and you end up hanging 2 out to dry.  That always ticked me off.
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
You know, there's another solution that hangs those 5 inflexible types out to dry.

In theory you had two judges (for two tables). You invite one judge to play with the 3 other people, and send the 5 "friends" home.

And you think I'm kidding.
You know, there's another solution that hangs those 5 inflexible types out to dry.

In theory you had two judges (for two tables). You invite one judge to play with the 3 other people, and send the 5 "friends" home.

And you think I'm kidding.


Wow. I should have thought about that one at DDXP 2009 when, for SPEC1-2, we had a table of SIX unwilling to have anyone split off and a table of three that couldn't find a fourth player.

In the end, we found a released judge to fill the table of three. Interestingly, the table of four - all strikers - finished the adventure; the table of six - role-balanced - quit halfway through. Even when you have a "balanced" table, playing as a team is important...
John du Bois Living Forgotten Realms Writing Director, Netheril story area Follow me on The Twitter: @JohnduBois Follow my presence on The Intertubes: johncdubois.wordpress.com
You know, there's another solution that hangs those 5 inflexible types out to dry.

In theory you had two judges (for two tables). You invite one judge to play with the 3 other people, and send the 5 "friends" home.

And you think I'm kidding.


Wow. I should have thought about that one at DDXP 2009 when, for SPEC1-2, we had a table of SIX unwilling to have anyone split off and a table of three that couldn't find a fourth player.

In the end, we found a released judge to fill the table of three. Interestingly, the table of four - all strikers - finished the adventure; the table of six - role-balanced - quit halfway through. Even when you have a "balanced" table, playing as a team is important...



To be fair John, our table of four was only able to get to the end of encounter 9, we ran out of time before we could start the final fight =) We had 2 rangers and 2 rogues; 10 rogue, 9 ranger, 8 ranger 7 rogue.  We played the game of "whoever on our team had highest initiative picks a target and we make it dead" then "whoever is next after the target dies picks a new one to make dead". 

But if through revisionist history we want to say we finished that mod, I'm ok with it =) anyone who is familiar with it may realize we could have finished if we hadn't run out of time. 
Blah blah blah
As the DM of that particular table I will state without doubt or reservation that given a little more time Ibixat and the other three striketeers could have finished the adventure..

Although I hold some reservations on Ibixat surviving the last encounter, but thats just because I am the vindictive sort ..... well ok maybe not..

Its not as if I don't understand the sentiment of wanting to play with your friends, S.O., per or neighbor's cousin once removed, but when it causes 3 other people to have to sit out. Well lets just say my understanding tends to go out the window

Reality is just a continuous stream of failed pereption checks, the dragons are real!

I've played LFR a few times now, and it's helping me learn the 4th edition rules. I haven't played D&D for about 25 years, so I didn't have any strong notions of how this edition should play. It's also got my wife playing, so that's a plus. My groups (random players from week to week) and experiences have been positive and fun overall.

I'm curious what character types you think do well in this setting.



So far in my experience in LFR:

Needed in every mod I've played:
DPS (or DPR, damage dealer, striker whatever you can to call it.)

Perception
Diplomacy

Needed in at least half the mods I've played:
Leader (Healer)
Defender

Athletics
Insight
Stealth
Thievery

Needed in less than half the mods I've played:
Leader (Tactical)
Acrobatics, Arcana, History, Nature, Religion

Roles not needed in any mod I've played:
Controller

So the most effective, or at least needed roles/skills needed in LFR would be a healer/striker with a high Perception/Diplomacy skill.  Perception is wisdom based and Diplomacy is charisma based.  Samples classes that fills these roles are ranger and cleric. 

Once those two roles are filled the rest of the party is pretty much a crap shoot of what you think the mod will need. 

I guess the next criteria just as if not more important, is what kind of character do you have fun playing?  I keep playing controllers even though about all they contribute is the odd ritual or skill challenge.  No party I have played in has ever cared about locking down foes, creating choke-points or for that matter even focusing fire so his effectiveness is reduced considerably.  But I have fun with him.  It was funny that the only time he's been complimented is when he novaed and went striker for a round. 
Interesting.  Some different experiences here, versus my own...


Needed in less than half the mods I've played:
*snip*Arcana*snip*



Really...maybe it depends on your definition of "needed", but, IME, Arcana shows up as a viable skill-challenge skill in most adventures I've played, and can be very useful (as can Nature) in IDing opponents, not to mention disarming magical traps and effects (though, admittedly, those appear in am minority of adventures).


I keep playing controllers even though about all they contribute is the odd ritual or skill challenge.  No party I have played in has ever cared about locking down foes, creating choke-points or for that matter even focusing fire so his effectiveness is reduced considerably.



Sooo different from my experience.  One of my characters is a wizard; I've focused my daily attack powers on those sort of lock-down spells (Phantom Chasm, Visions of Avarice, etc.), and my fellow players really seem to love it when those go off, as spells like those can really take "choice" out of the NPC's hands.
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I wonder what levels he has played at, because the lack of a controller is most keenly felt at paragon and up (although even at heroic a well played control can mean a big difference in a fight).
I wonder what levels he has played at, because the lack of a striker is most keenly felt at paragon and up (although even at heroic a well played striker can mean a big difference in a fight).



Fixed that for you.

(I have a 15th-level wizard whom I've not played in about six months, partly because he's been nerfed in almost every update in the last year, and partly because he's seen too many LFR mods that have been written specifically to render controllers ineffective.)

You haven't fixed anything*. It wasn't the point I wanted to make since I my personal experience (and from Kenobi's post I think I am not the only one) is that the other three roles are felt equally at all levels unlike the controller which tend to be more difficult to replace at paragon levels. A good controller can have an immense impact on how the battle goes. It is just that striking is a lot easier. A striker is also not nearly as dependend on others for their effectiveness as the controller, although a badly played striker can definitely cause a huge drain on the leader's resources.

Personally I strongly dislike multiple alpha-strike strikers at the table and that dislike is actually increasing with level. I hate it when a fight is over in two rounds (as a DM and from experience in various on-shots and the home campaign as a player), even more so when each striker takes 5 minutes to resolve their turn due to rolling multiple attacks and needing to add big numbers while the non-strikers just need 30 seconds. Controllers, and to a lesser extend leaders and defenders, need a couple of rounds to shine and I wonder whether the dislike for some of these roles is not because they roles are ineffective, but because the strikers can be too effective. The fact is that the paragon game I recently run with just one striker (who was more or less disposed in two fights due to the monsters' controll effects (no daze or stun, merely through forced movement) at that) the controller was extremely effective. Than again, I am a thinkerer, so I prefer situations that require me to plan, so I am naturally dispossed against the striker role...

* I find the habit of some posters to post these so-called fixes incredibly irritating. They are putting words in the mouths of the original posters even though a simple I disagree with explanation would suffice. It would certainly be less rude.


Personally I strongly dislike multiple alpha-strike strikers at the table and that dislike is actually increasing with level. I hate it when a fight is over in two rounds (as a DM and from experience in various on-shots and the home campaign as a player), even more so when each striker takes 5 minutes to resolve their turn due to rolling multiple attacks and needing to add big numbers while the non-strikers just need 30 seconds. Controllers, and to a lesser extend leaders and defenders, need a couple of rounds to shine and I wonder whether the dislike for some of these roles is not because they roles are ineffective, but because the strikers can be too effective. The fact is that the paragon game I recently run with just one striker (who was more or less disposed in two fights due to the monsters' controll effects (no daze or stun, merely through forced movement) at that) the controller was extremely effective. Than again, I am a thinkerer, so I prefer situations that require me to plan, so I am naturally dispossed against the striker role...



I think there's an important distinction to be made here.  In a home game, where time is not a factor, controllers can shine.  In a typical LFR mod (especially at a con), time is a factor, and controllers are not nearly as effective as strikers.  As it's too often said on these forums, "dead is the best control."  LFR is a timed miniatures event, and DPR is king.

The sole exception is the table of friends who have optimized as a team.  But this runs counter to the idea of playing with new people at a con.

I still love the wizard class, but I'm not sure I can play one in LFR...which gives me the irritation of knowing my highest-level character will never again see play.



* I find the habit of some posters to post these so-called fixes incredibly irritating. They are putting words in the mouths of the original posters even though a simple I disagree with explanation would suffice. It would certainly be less rude.




I'll admit, you're right about this.  Although it's not a habit, I just couldn't resist trying it once.

I want to play at your table, where a controller is welcome and effective...it's just that the idea runs so counter to my LFR experience that it rides the razor's edge between joke and slap in the face.
LFR is a timed miniatures event, and DPR is king.


I cannot say this is my general experience. There is more than enough RPing and the majority of people hardly have optimized characters, let alone, optimized tactics. Granted, running paragon level adventures with more then 4.5 hours is definitely more fun, but it is certainly doable in general. It requires some skill from the DM, and active participation from the players, but both combat and RP can be sped up without actually loosing much in one or the other. Mind you, it is not easy, and it requires cooperation from the players, but it is doable for most LFR adventures I have run.

LFR is a timed miniatures event, and DPR is king.



As we look at ways to transform the campaign, I expect this will become significantly less true (assuming people feel it is true right now). As story and PC choices matter more and more and we also look at more things, like say high level adventures timed for two or three rounds so you have time to finish, DPR will no longer be king; if it is right now.

LFR is a timed miniatures event, and DPR is king.



As we look at ways to transform the campaign, I expect this will become significantly less true (assuming people feel it is true right now). As story and PC choices matter more and more and we also look at more things, like say high level adventures timed for two or three rounds so you have time to finish, DPR will no longer be king; if it is right now.



I would be interested in seeing how you plan to accomplish this - I would think that you'll be at the mercy of your authors.

One way to help move toward this (but only a small piece of the puzzle), is to perhaps build more rigor into your module proposal acceptance process - require authors to not only submit the story and outline proposal, but a sample combat encounter from the proposed adventure as well, formatted in the LFR template (to demonstrate their ability to follow the template as well as their ability to craft an acceptable encounter).

Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com
The answer is quite simple Dave, you are writing all adventures starting in Q1 2011.
Be careful - all of Dave's encounters are very control heavy. (Especially if you believe that "dead" is the best control.)  ;)

Dan Anderson @EpicUthrac
Total Confusion www.totalcon.com
LFR Calimshan Writing Director
LFR Epic Writing Director

LFR Myth Drannor Writing Director

LFR is a timed miniatures event, and DPR is king.

While this is one way of doing things and will be extremely effective against many combat enounters, having balanced parties and good tactics is generally more powerful (though not necessarily as fast) and above all much more robust. Tactics do become more than just "concentrate fire" though.


I cannot say this is my general experience. There is more than enough RPing and the majority of people hardly have optimized characters, let alone, optimized tactics.



I see a good deal of character optimisation. Optimal tactics however are rare (of course that has a lot to do with the RP).

Granted, running paragon level adventures with more then 4.5 hours is definitely more fun, but it is certainly doable in general. It requires some skill from the DM, and active participation from the players, but both combat and RP can be sped up without actually loosing much in one or the other. Mind you, it is not easy, and it requires cooperation from the players, but it is doable for most LFR adventures I have run.



Indeed. When we've sat down to ta timed Special and suddenly everyone is paying attention and taking their combat turns quickly, they go by very much faster. RP.. well that takes as long as it takes except when you have to wait for the GM to check the module.

I find the habit of some posters to post these so-called fixes incredibly irritating. They are putting words in the mouths of the original posters even though a simple I disagree with explanation would suffice. It would certainly be less rude.





It works better great with strikethrough.  Preserves the original and makes clear the point of disagreement.  Maybe still rude; couldn't tell ya. 

It works better great with strikethrough.  Preserves the original and makes clear the point of disagreement.  Maybe still rude; couldn't tell ya. 


It makes a point, but it is still rude, and if others start quoting these posts it can become confusing with who said what. Mind you, as far as netettiquette goes it is minor.


I want to play at your table, where a controller is welcome and effective...it's just that the idea runs so counter to my LFR experience that it rides the razor's edge between joke and slap in the face.



Being the current controller at (one of) Madfox11's Home Campaign table(s) I can tell you that indeed a controller is welcome and can be effective. But as ImaginaryFriend can attest to: I could be a lot more effective...if I didn't include partymembers in my blasts every other attack or so. ;)

But back to LFR. I have not played as much LFR lately (and none at Paragon Tier) yet, but what I have seen so far is that "sadly" the strikers rule. Still the often mentioned balance of roles can be important. If the dice don't roll your way with a striker-team, you will miss the Leader and Defender sorely. But if they roll average or higher, you kill whatever is a threat without getting hit too often. With all the books/builds out today though, no striker has to be the same. Even a ranger, warlock, barbarian, rogue party can be diverse in skills and characters and fun to complete a module with.

I prefer different roles to be present because I like to see something more than BLAST BLAST BLAST BLAST, next round, BLAST BLAST BLAST BLAST, next round. But in the 20-odd games I have played in LFR in vastly different groups I have not seen any party with more than 3 strikers (and more than 2 of Controller/Leader/Defender-role). So even though the striker might be effective, people still choose diversity because that is the magic of this game.

That is why I love D&D so much: Having fun while completing a challenge set before you TOGETHER with a variety of people. Each game/combat/encouter is a challenge on its own. The many options and variety in characters, people, dicerolls and DM's make a game different every time (even replays).

As said before in this thread, in LFR I would also focus on being good at your role and above average in some off-skill (highest skill on my healing Cleric of Sune is Thievery). If you end up in a group...start worrying a little if there is no striker present at all...but otherwise you'll make it (might take a little longer). And imho everyone should have a few characters/roles/levels with them, which is facilitated even more by the new character creation rules for LFR (allowing building at 5th, 8th, 11th level).
I have not played as much LFR lately (and none at Paragon Tier) yet, but what I have seen so far is that "sadly" the strikers rule.



I think one of the reasons striker classes shine so much in LFR is that a lot of people play other roles as if they were strikers.  (I know, I know - this isn't universally true, but it seems fairly prevalant.)  If most players are just trying to do as much damage as possible, regardless of what role they're actually playing, of course the real strikers are going to out-do them. 

For example, I've seen plenty of fire wizards that are just designed to do a lot of damage.  Since they're not designed to do a lot of "controlling," they're not all that useful in situations that require a true controller.  And since they'll never be able to do as much damage as a true striker, they're overshadowed by any strikers at the table.  So then they end up feeling frustrated and inadequate.

Similarly, I've seen plenty of defenders that are focused on doing as much damage as often as possible and are not as good at keeping their party members safe.  For example - lots of people love the Fighter level 5 daily power Rain of Steel.  But all it does is damage.  In my opinion, having Rain of Steel up actually makes you a worse defender because it just gives enemies one more reason to want to get away from you (if they can) and go attack your friends.  But plenty of people take Rain of Steel because it does damage and doing damage is fun.  I've been at tables where someone is playing a "true defender" and other player's eyes go wide during the combats - "Wow!  They're not attacking me!  This is great!  I've guess I've never played at a table with a real defender before."

Leaders are hard in LFR.  You really need to know what type of party you're playing with to design the most effective leader.  I've played a very healing-focused leader in LFR only to discover that I was in a very optimized party that never needed healing.  So I just spent most of my turns feeling useless.  I've also seen tactical warlords that were playing in a party where no one had any good basic attacks - and the warlords were having a miserable time.  Since leaders buff and help their party members, it's hard to create a very effective one without knowing what kind of group you'll be playing with next.  Versatile leaders are probably the best for LFR.

Lori Anderson

WotC Freelancer, LFR author

@LittleLorika

 

Dragon Magazine #412: Unearthed Arcana: Ships in Your Campaign

Calimshan Adventures (LFR): CALI3-3, CALI4-1, and QUES4-1

Epic Adventures (LFR): EPIC5-1 and EPIC5-3

Other LFR Adventures: NETH4-1, ADCP5-2, and MYTH6-3

 

 

 

 

Controllers don't work at H1.
You simply can't control enough of the battlefield to feel really effective. If you add in melee strikers runing up to immobilised mellee monstersyou could very easily get the impression that they aren't worth having.

However somewhere in H2, they start to shine and by H3 a couple of them can totally dominate some of the hardest combats (well Sleep or Silent Malediction can do that at level one but it isn't terribly likely when you only have the one shot).
The answer is quite simple Dave, you are writing all adventures starting in Q1 2011.



Okay, but I want a bigger cubicle then!
Dave Kay LFR Writing Director Retiree dkay807 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Similarly, I've seen plenty of defenders that are focused on doing as much damage as often as possible and are not as good at keeping their party members safe.  For example - lots of people love the Fighter level 5 daily power Rain of Steel.  But all it does is damage.  In my opinion, having Rain of Steel up actually makes you a worse defender because it just gives enemies one more reason to want to get away from you (if they can) and go attack your friends.  But plenty of people take Rain of Steel because it does damage and doing damage is fun.  I've been at tables where someone is playing a "true defender" and other player's eyes go wide during the combats - "Wow!  They're not attacking me!  This is great!  I've guess I've never played at a table with a real defender before."



I'll have to disagree with your assessment of Rain of Steel.  Remember that it's a fighter power.  Getting away from a fighter is hard; it can be stopped if via movement, and triggers an attack when marked if via shifting.  The enemy would have to expose itself to an attack that deals more damage than the Rain of Steel, and then be just as open to being attacked by the fighter the next round.

Really?  Your fighter just did Come and Get It, pulling 3 enemies adjacent, and turned on RoS. You think they won't give up one combat challenge attack to shift away and charge your allies to avoid being bunched up for auto damage?  ;)

Dan Anderson @EpicUthrac
Total Confusion www.totalcon.com
LFR Calimshan Writing Director
LFR Epic Writing Director

LFR Myth Drannor Writing Director

Really?  Your fighter just did Come and Get It, pulling 3 enemies adjacent, and turned on RoS. You think they won't give up one combat challenge attack to shift away and charge your allies to avoid being bunched up for auto damage?  ;)



I'd call that a huge win on the part on a lot of Fighter builds...I'd kill for a DM who did that on a regular basis
I think one of the reasons striker classes shine so much in LFR is that a lot of people play other roles as if they were strikers.  (I know, I know - this isn't universally true, but it seems fairly prevalant.)

It's actually a lot like your experience with your healing focused leader... as you find things are increasingly unnecessary or other things would work better, you change focus. My initial 'build' on my fighter was building towards war priest and heavy blade opportunity, with the intention to be a lockdown defender with very strong backup heals (3/enc), but I've since gravitated towards dealing more damage (I'm often _not_ the only defender, I've found that having a very strong damage output makes my combat challenge and opportunity attack taken far more seriously), picked a paragon path that lets me defend even when I'm dazed with things like my AP immobilizes, almost every hit slowing, and multiclassed for divine challenge and sanction to provide a double incentive not to ignore me.

It might also help that I don't find 'fun' the pure control moves like Pinning Smash, Ring of Personal Gravity, Anvil of Doom, etc. For pretty much the same reason I've avoided Feyslaughter before - I actually want to see the enemy's tricks and I want the combat to move around _some_.

I like the moving around and burst attacks most. Makes your fighter _much_ better at locking down a single target, or a group if you get them clustered, but a group sanctioned, slowed, and adjacent to mine is still unlikely to go after the party.

As far as Rain of Steel goes, I'm not sure whether to blame it or blame the other powers at that level, but the comparison is pretty mean if you don't care for perma-immobilize. Especially with respect to defending your allies against minions. And it's _worse_ when you consider Unyielding Avalanche since that gives you autoslow, AC and save bonus, regen, etc. I like, say, Tempest Dance or Driving Attack at 1st, but I'm more iffy on 5th level.

Then there's the other thing that I actually don't want every single enemy attacking me all the time. Spreading the damage and status effects around a _little_ is helpful. And I'm okay having the whining little warlock take a little damage, oh noes ;)
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
By the time you move away, you've already taken the RoS damage. You think our controller is going to let you stay away?
I find that fighter marks do the job pretty well without needing to spend all my powers on control. I also like to have a variety of action types: if you don't have a stance up you're missing an opportunity.
Well, Martial Supremacy for rerolls on all my at-wills and basics will probably trump any Rain of Steel type shennanigans in a few more levels

Fighters who do like to Rain or Avalanche every fight may want to look into 'Mobile Challenge' to stop people from shifting away and charging. Doesn't work completely, but eh.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
That sounds like it lets you shift when someone triggers your attack by shifting: awesome if so.

...though RoS is likely to be the one time I don't want to do it as I don't want to be drawn away from other enemies. Definitely doesn't mean I wouldn't spend a feat on it.

Is it new or am I just slow? ;)
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