Is a 16 really that bad?

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Another thread just asked when it's worth is to start off with a 20 in a primary stat, or in other words when it's worth spending the points to get an 18. I have another related question, though I thought it'd be best to start a new thread to address it:

Is starting with a 16 in your primary stat really all that bad?

I have actually played a character or two that started with a 16, and I have to say that I didn't really feel it very much. The reason that I ask is that it seems so common an idea that you should always start with at least a post-racial 18 in your primary score, but I just don't see it as that big of a deal. Is it really that important?

The biggest consequence of this question is that of hybrid classes with primary ability score that don't match up and playing races that don't grant a bonus to your primary ability score. It seems a shame that people so often write off an interesting race-class combination just because it doesn't grant a primary ability score bonus, and I want to know how valid this board really thinks that is, not necessarily just from an optimization perspective but also from a practical perspective.

I know that the immediate reaction to this question will probably be that, yeah, starting with a 16 sucks, but having actually played characters with starting 16s and thinking about how the difference really is only a measly +1 bonus, I want to hear some actually strong reasoning for opinions on this matter.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I'd say it isn't bad, just not optimised, which is kind of the point of this board. ;)
I'd say it isn't bad, just not optimised, which is kind of the point of this board. ;)

Yes, but because this is the optimization board, I don't think it's a stretch to assume that its frequent posters have great insight into the difference between bad in terms of optimization and bad in terms of normal practicality. I'm well aware that a 16 is bad in terms of optimization. I think that everybody's aware of that. But my issues is that, while most people realize that a character doesn't have to be optimal in order to survive and even thrive in practical scenarios, a lot of people still take certain principles of optimization and feel the need to apply them to such practical scenarios. What I want to know is how warranted that is in this case.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
In terms of optimization, a +2 to your primary stat is simply worth much more than a +2 to some other stat. For example, if a fighter has 16 str, then +2 str will boost his attack, and damage, and a NAD, and his best skill; whereas getting (say) +2 dex will boost a NAD, and initiative, and some skills the fighter probably isn't using in the first place.

It's pretty obvious that +2 str is significantly better, so mechanically there really is no reason not to get a 16 pre-racial in your primary stat. Boosting it by +2 more up to 7 points in other stats stats, and even that is worth it for many builds.
Well, for weapon users, a 16 primary with a +3 prof weapon has the same accuracy as an 18 primary and +2 prof weapon.  Though you lose 1 damage.  Yea, it's doable, but not optimized.

However, implement users will want their accuracy as high as possible.  With NADs varying as much as they do, every bit of accuracy is needed to ensure you don't shoot yourself in the foot when you fight that high Fort/Reflex/Will enemy (though you'll have some flexibility in what you target)
I played with a paladin and a ranger last night that did 16 preracial (and the bow ranger was a half-elf). Neither could hit. the -1 to hit hurts a little, but when you get pinged a lot, you end up with a defender at level 6 with a +8 to hit vs. AC in a blind zone, forcing him to crit in order to hit. Made everyone elses job more difficult.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
I've also been a little confused at what sometime seems to be an attitude that +1 to hit/damage/riders is the difference between a PC that's a blazing death machine and a PC that's a complete shambles, dead weight, the inevitable ruin of his or her party. Don't get me wrong - I recognize that those things are huge benefits, and that from an optimization perspective you'd need to be getting something just massive in return for your trouble, but I've DMed for players all over the optimization spectrum (as well as a healthy number of optimizers who want to try really offbeat stuff that's not particularly powerful but is a different sort of challenge), and I've seen a handful of 16-starters. (The wisdom that you should always have at least an 18 has permeated pretty deep.) A pre-essentials Dwarf fighter than wanted enough specific feats to not want to buy an 18 in strength. A similar Dragonborn battlemind. (Same guy, actually - essentials really would have done those characters a lot of good.) Were those characters the single most effective fighter or battlemind ever created? Nope. Did they occassionally miss by 1? Sure, one in twenty times. (Or about once a day.) Did a monster ever live another round because their damage was a little lower with their attacks? Probably. But they held their own for sure in fairly optimized parties, and I don't recall ever feeling like I had to nerf the toughish encounters I threw at the party because the defender was a big pile of ineptitude or something. I don't think anyone actually playing the game would even notice.

Now, I do have some portion of my heart that's an optimizer's heart, and I recognize that the benefits of +1 hit/damage/riders is incredibly valuable and is one of the best things you can do to make a character more effective, and from an optimization standpoint you really need to be getting something amazing (generally enabling a specific gruesome interaction with feats and the like) in order for it to be "worth it", but experientially it's not like there's some sharp, glowing line between 16 and 18 where having an 16 suddenly makes a character that would be an immacculate treasure into a festering heap of garbage that the party should off themselves for their own protection. (I personally would be very unlikely to ever take a 16 as a non-Avenger because I really enjoy hitting things, but that's a personal preference.)
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
+1+1+1+1+1+1+1=7
Thats the difference between myself hitting and someone else hitting, at the same level. I had optimized, he hadn't.
I was blinded and hitting on 12s, he was blinded and hitting on 19s. 5% doesn't matter, until it adds up and turns into 20%. Its the same thing with damage. +2 is minor, but enough +2s and they DO matter 
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
In LFR, every +1 matters if you always play high. Half of my characters life, he is seeing monsters 3-4 levels higher than him which just means that they have +3-4 points of defenses higher. That means that each +1 to hit becomes huge. 
It's typical in charop to overemphaize the magnitude differences.  18 is better than 16.  How much?  That depends on your specific priorities for the character.  But the major point is that the point buy investment to go from 16 to 18 in a primary-boosed race does not come at a very high cost.  What you get for your 18 easily outweighs what you sacrifice to get it, therefore it bcecomes a good choice no matter how effective on an absolute scale the 16 or 18 is.  I can think of absolutely zero situations where I'd take a 16 post-racial over 18.  Now, without a boost to the primary, you're in a situation of being either 18/16/crap or 16/18/useful/crap.  Tertiary scores are almost never that valuable to go with the higher secondary and tertiary over the higher primary.  And if you're playing something without bonus to either primary or secondary, then you've already accepted being weaker.  And a 16/16/15/crap build is, indeed, significantly weaker.

The absolute value doesn't matter:  the relative value is where the choice comes from, and how we evaluate it.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
+1+1+1+1+1+1+1=7
Thats the difference between myself hitting and someone else hitting, at the same level. I had optimized, he hadn't.
I was blinded and hitting on 12s, he was blinded and hitting on 19s. 5% doesn't matter, until it adds up and turns into 20%. Its the same thing with damage. +2 is minor, but enough +2s and they DO matter 

My problem with this sort of thinking, though, is that it gives the impression that a person playing an unoptimized character is doing so in multiple ways rather than just a few. Just because my Fighter is a Githzerai doesn't mean that it doesn't have optimized feats and powers and weapons and so on. So why is it then that nobody really cares that much in a normal game if you pick an unoptimized weapon but everybody looks at you like you're crazy if you don't pick an optimized race and/or start with a 16 in your primary?

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I've also been a little confused at what sometime seems to be an attitude that +1 to hit/damage/riders is the difference between a PC that's a blazing death machine and a PC that's a complete shambles, dead weight, the inevitable ruin of his or her party.


Yeah, that's a clear exaggeration. Certainly a PC with a 16 post-racial primary is playable. However, if you come to the optimization forums and ask if this is good, then the answer is a resounding "no".

Is starting with a 16 in your primary stat really all that bad?


16 stat characters can be effective if your character gets some other significant benefit from putting the points in another stat. Cutting your primary attack stat to add it to dexterity for the AC/Init boost is almost always a bad trade off, shifting them into Con just for HP or Wis/Cha just for Will defense is even worse. But if you need to qualify for certain feats for your build to work, or you have two primary attack stats and need to balance the points a bit, or some other character design related situation, it can work.

These characters are not going to be optimal in terms of raw DPR. However, in actual parties sometimes flexibility can be valuable and covering holes in the party's abilities can be vital. A hybrid Striker/Defender isn't going to be the best defender or best striker, but if he can switch back and forth based on which role the party needs at the moment, he can increase the party's overall effectiveness just as much as a dedicated defender or striker could.

Jay

+1+1+1+1+1+1+1=7
Thats the difference between myself hitting and someone else hitting, at the same level. I had optimized, he hadn't.
I was blinded and hitting on 12s, he was blinded and hitting on 19s. 5% doesn't matter, until it adds up and turns into 20%. Its the same thing with damage. +2 is minor, but enough +2s and they DO matter 

Yeah, but we're not discussing the difference between a fully optimized character and a wildly unoptimized character (for there to be a full +6 between you two on top of the difference in starting stats, there must have been absolutely wild differences in the level of optimization.) We're discussing the difference between a starting 18 (generally considered pretty essential in CharOp) and a starting 16 (generally considered to be a major error.) If he had started with an 18 instead of a 16, he'd be hitting on 18s. A difference of +7 is larger than the difference between starting with a 20 and starting with an 8, which I'm pretty sure all of CharOp (and everyone else) would agree is, in fact, a discrepancy sufficiently large that you'd never choose to start with an 8 instead of a 20. 8 vs. 20 isn't the discussion; 16 vs. 18 is, and that's +1, not +7.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
+1+1+1+1+1+1+1=7
Thats the difference between myself hitting and someone else hitting, at the same level. I had optimized, he hadn't.
I was blinded and hitting on 12s, he was blinded and hitting on 19s. 5% doesn't matter, until it adds up and turns into 20%. Its the same thing with damage. +2 is minor, but enough +2s and they DO matter 

My problem with this sort of thinking, though, is that it gives the impression that a person playing an unoptimized character is doing so in multiple ways rather than just a few. Just because my Fighter is a Githzerai doesn't mean that it doesn't have optimized feats and powers and weapons and so on. So why is it then that nobody really cares that much in a normal game if you pick an unoptimized weapon but everybody looks at you like you're crazy if you don't pick an optimized race and/or start with a 16 in your primary?



This is fair. If you take a 16 primary and optimize everything else youre fine. I find for a lot of people its a slippery slope and when they allow themselves a hit here and there, it adds up to a rather unoptimized character.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
There are few times its ok.  Dwarf warden before they got a boost to strength was not a bad idea, but that was because of specific synergy with a class feature.  A mostly lazy eagle or animist shamans can get away with it.

I have a halfing cleric zealot/tactical warpriest build with a starting 16 con/dex/wis in my handbook that is designed around getting as high defenses as possible while taking mostly powers that have effect lines so it is not a big deal if he misses.  In a real game I would probably give him a starting 18 wisdom 15 con/15 dex and mention that in the build.
It really depends on why you have a 16 in the first place. The reason why 16 is in general a problem is that the people who are likely to take 16s in a stat are also likely to not optimize around it.

If you optimize around hitting at the same(or greater frequency) that someone with a 20 does, you likely won't really notice that much difference overall. Take a +3 weapon choice over a +2 weapon choice. Get Expertise earlier than Weapon Focus. Go for weapon/power choices that can grant additional bonuses to hit or ways of ensuring CA.

I've got a couple of characters in play with a 16 in one of their two primary stats in my in-play link in my sig:
The Battlemind|Swordmage has a 16 Con/18 Int as a base. He's using 18 Int for melee basics via Intelligent Blademaster. He's often Invisible to his Lightning Rush target due to paragon path(+2 for CA) or does attacks vs. Will that use Weapons(+2-+3 to hit). And of course, he has a +3 weapon. The Battlemind options are usually much more interesting than the Swordmage ones.

The Ranger|Cleric has an 18 Str/16 Dex as a base. He's primarily a Throw&Stab/Righteous Brand as MBA character, but a lot of times, it is nice to be a Striker. But that doesn't work out so well in terms of throwing weapons. So I took Twin Strike with a +3 Greatspear. He'll never be top-tier, but +3/1d10 with a 16 Dex isn't that far behind what a +2/1d12 with a 20 Dex gets. And as Twin Strike ignores stat to damage, they're reasonably close.

They both got expertise as early as I could in-play, usually 2nd level. 
Well said, Lesp.

The reason why 16 is in general a problem is that the people who are likely to take 16s in a stat are also likely to not optimize around it.

Is this the real problem then? Is the real problem that people assume that a character that starts with a 16 primary will also be unoptimized in other areas? Because I think that people need to realize that this is a really bad assumption.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
The effect of having a lower to-hit is more than just mechanical, it's psychological. If you keep missing, you have less fun - especially if your attacks have tactical effects. 
the 16 in and of itself is not an end all to optimization. It is not all that different than a 18 stat who does not take a ED with a stat bump. It is however the first opportunity a character gets to make hitting a little harder. The overall effect will be determined by whether the choices that follow this one balance the character or continue in a similar theme. 
Well said, Lesp.

The reason why 16 is in general a problem is that the people who are likely to take 16s in a stat are also likely to not optimize around it.

Is this the real problem then? Is the real problem that people assume that a character that starts with a 16 primary will also be unoptimized in other areas? Because I think that people need to realize that this is a really bad assumption.



While I agree with you, looking at my players ... you would think it was a valid assumption.  The main thing you need to do if you have a 16 is realize, well, you have a 16 in your attack stat.  You need to account for that.  Expertise feats.  Flanking.  Leader bonuses.

You also need to hope your DM accounts for it and doesn't throw crazily over-levelled encounters and monsters at you ...
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I do hope people mean a 16 pre-racial.
I do hope people mean a 16 pre-racial.


No, they mean a net score of 16.
No, they mean a net score of 16.


Well, personally I would never do that. If you have a race that doesn't boost your primary, then it will boost sufficient other things that you can afford to spend the points on an 18 anyway.
I'd say a starting net 16 is playable in an average group, but you still have to account for it with seeking out combat advantage, waiting for Leader boosts, getting Expertise as early as possible, etc. I'd certainly never start with a net of 16, myself, though.
I do hope people mean a 16 pre-racial.

No, the entire point of this thread is 16 post-racial.

If you have a race that doesn't boost your primary, then it will boost sufficient other things that you can afford to spend the points on an 18 anyway.

I don't think that's necessarily true. It might be true for a race that still gets a bonus to a secondary stat, but that won't always be the case.

I'd certainly never start with a net of 16, myself, though.

What I'm still wondering, though, is why there's such a strong stigma associated with that. I mean, you'd take a +2 proficiency weapon instead of a +3 proficiency weapon, wouldn't you?

The irony of this whole thing is that the developers had said at the outset of 4E exactly that part of the reason that races didn't have ability score penalties anymore is that they wanted all races to function competently as members of any class, and yet not playing a race with a primary ability score bonus has become more stigmatized in 4E than it was back in 3.5, so much so that they felt the need to extend the Changeling ability score bonus setup to all of the other races to get people to play different things.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
not playing a race with a primary ability score bonus has become more stigmatized in 4E than it was back in 3.5, so much so that they felt the need to extend the Changeling ability score bonus setup to all of the other races to get people to play different things.



That's not exactly true. A race with bonuses to a secondary and a tertiary can do quite well at a class, because that way you can buy a pre-racial 18 for your primary, and let the secondary/tertiary bonuses still give you decent starting scores there. Dwarves, for example, were always considered top-tier Fighters even before they got their STR option. And some races have feat support so good for a particular class that they can overcome even having only one relevant secondary stat bonus. (Eladrin Taclord, anyone?)
Dwarves, for example, were always considered top-tier Fighters even before they got their STR option. And some races have feat support so good for a particular class that they can overcome even having only one relevant secondary stat bonus. (Eladrin Taclord, anyone?)

It's just a shame to me that those examples are so few and far between. I get why those exception are called out on this board in terms of optimization, but the part that I don't get is why the idea that those are exceptional examples seems to have spilled over into standard play for so many people. =/

Anyway, this thread has pretty much satisfied my original thought. Post-racial 16 primaries just aren't as bad as people seem to think. Now I can continue telling that to people without feeling like I'm alone and crazy.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!

I'd certainly never start with a net of 16, myself, though.

What I'm still wondering, though, is why there's such a strong stigma associated with that. I mean, you'd take a +2 proficiency weapon instead of a +3 proficiency weapon, wouldn't you?


Because of the opportunity cost.

If you take a +2 prof weapon instead of +3, you get something else in return (or at least, you should). For example, getting reach is a pretty good tradeoff for certain builds; but doing 1d8 damage instead of 1d6 probably isn't.

If you start with 16 post-racial instead of 18, what are you getting as a tradeoff? I assert that this tradeoff is never worth it, but I'm willing to consider counterexamples if there are any. Generally when I see people with a 16 post-racial, they give such reasons as "I want all my defenses to be equal", or "my striker doesn't want to make a lot of attack rolls", or "I do not want to roleplay a character with less than 12 cha" - none of which is mechanically sound.
And some races have feat support so good for a particular class that they can overcome even having only one relevant secondary stat bonus. (Eladrin Taclord, anyone?)



Eladrin Tactical Warlord was my first 4E PC.  Maximized Intelligence worked really great in a band with three strikers!

-DS


The cases in which a build takes a +2 proficiency weapon over a +3 are due entirely to feat support strongly backing up choice of said +2 weapon.

If you start with 16 post-racial instead of 18, what are you getting as a tradeoff? I assert that this tradeoff is never worth it, but I'm willing to consider counterexamples if there are any. Generally when I see people with a 16 post-racial, they give such reasons as "I want all my defenses to be equal", or "my striker doesn't want to make a lot of attack rolls", or "I do not want to roleplay a character with less than 12 cha" - none of which is mechanically sound.

I'm not much of an optimizer, but let me see if I can think of an example. How about a Dragonborn Avenger? The Dragonborn gets no ability score bonuses that would benefit an Avenger, as the class is WIS // DEX / INT and the Dragonborn is CHA // STR / CON, but because of Oath of Enmity, squeezing out every little +1 bonus to hit isn't as important to an Avenger as it is to other characters. What this character would like, however, is to still have a decent CON to take advantage of the improved survivability that Dragonborn offer through Draconic Heritage. With wanting to keep up WIS, CON, and also a decent secondary of DEX or INT for class features and AC (probably DEX so it can still use its racial power effectively), I could easily see such a character deciding to simply take a post-racial 16 in WIS. Might not be the best example, as again I am not an optimizer, and I'm sure that it's not optimal, but I don't think that the decisions made here are mechanically unsound, are they? There's clearly been a mechanical trade-off between a +1 to hit and damage and the benefits that comes from having both a decent DEX and a decent CON.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Avengers are about the only class which can really get away with a startuing score of 16 in a less-than-optimised environment.  The double rolling is just that good.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Avengers are about the only class which can really get away with a startuing score of 16 in a less-than-optimised environment.  The double rolling is just that good.


 
How about a Ranger? (too un-impressive secondaries?) 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Further worth considering are multi-class and hybrid-class characters with primary scores that don't match up combined with a race that doesn't grant a bonus to one or both primary scores. That's how I ended up with my last character, a Bardtificer, and I thought that it did just fine (race was a homebrew, but for the sake of argument, let's just pretend that it was a Dwarf or Githzerai or something).

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
A fair set of Warlord powers are not dependenit on rolling an attack.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

A fair set of Warlord powers are not dependenit on rolling an attack.

That sort of defeats the purpose of the question, though.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I'm not much of an optimizer, but let me see if I can think of an example. How about a Dragonborn Avenger?


Okay, I suppose avengers are a notable exception because of their double-roll power. Obviously, lazylords are another exception (and any other class that doesn't use to-hit rolls). Other than that, I still believe that an 18 post-racial is always worth it because you don't lose much for taking it.

Avengers are about the only class which can really get away with a startuing score of 16 in a less-than-optimised environment.  The double rolling is just that good.


 
How about a Ranger? (too un-impressive secondaries?) 


Balanced Ranger works, but relies a lot on accuracy, so I wouldn't want to do it without post-racial 18s in both stats.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
A fair set of Warlord powers are not dependenit on rolling an attack.

That sort of defeats the purpose of the question, though.



Does it? Guess I am not getting the question, to me it defines conditions where a goodly set of a characters potency can be disjoint from the stat value... ie even if you dont go full LazyLord with it... it tilts things towards acceptability of more ahem balanced stat design.

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Balanced Ranger works, but relies a lot on accuracy, so I wouldn't want to do it without post-racial 18s in both stats.

Hmm... Well, only one in twenty rolls is really going to be affected by the loss of an additional +1 to hit, so what about races that get a power or feature that improve such attack rolls in another way. For example, if I wanted to play a balanced Deva Ranger, would Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes not at the very least partially mitigate the loss of the bonus to hit? I guess maybe this isn't as true for the Ranger as it is for other classes because the Ranger makes more attacks than other classes do and so each individual attack becomes less significant, but I think that might apply well to some other classes that the Deva doesn't have primary ability score bonuses for.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!