4E math scaling

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In another thread, somebody referred to 4E's math in the following light and it bothered me:

major, unforgivable rules oversights like the math scaling.



Major and unforgivable are strong words, and in my opinion unwaranted. What RPG has better math scaling? I can't think of any, particularly when point buy based systems have their own problems as characters don't scale with each other when one player can spend all his/her points on being pretty and another can spend every single point on "Shotgun" or its equivalent. When you look at other editions of D&D, 3E's math was a disaster and AD&D/Basic's math would best be described as arbitrary. How bad can 4E's math be when two of the three main math issues in 4E can be solved with a single feat(Expertise and Improved Defenses solve 90% of the issues with attack rolls and non-AC defenses)?

The way I see it, 4E math has three major issues. The first two are PC attack rolls vs. monster defenses(which Expertise solves) and monster attack rolls vs Fort/Ref/Will(which Improved Defenses mostly solves). The third issue is a little messy, and that is PC damage vs monster HP. It takes more than one feat to solve this, and they have put enough tricks in 4E to boost damage that you can go well beyond solving this to the point where dealing too much damage becomes a new problem. The solution is also uneven, as the "fixes" aren't applied evenly among the classes and roles, and in particular non-Strikers have issues making significant dents in monster HP after mid-Paragon. Still, 4E damage vs monster HP is a minor problem compared with 3E saving throw math, to give one example.

In addition, I'm not entirely sure the math was a mistake. Reading developer comments during 4E's launch, they had a different idea of how 4E should go than what became the reality when people started playing it in the real world. They concieved combat as being a 6-8 round affair, and at high levels the number of rounds would increase. At higher levels, PCs would get hit more and when attacking hit less, and have to rely on their ability to recover and apply powerful control effects to get through. Remembering my early experiences with high level play, it really did work that way.

The problem was, the players disagreed. 4E's major gripe from people actually playing it was grind, defined as combat that was both long and boring. 4E's math wasn't broken, it just led to grind. In addition, to a lot of players the fact that monsters had significantly better numbers for attacks and defenses than PCs didn't pass the smell test, and it has been documented that 4E players find the whiff factor(missing too often with attacks) discouraging, particularly with Encounter and Daily powers. The game was changed from its original design to accomodate player demands(many of us were already houseruling our own math fixes), removing the miss factor and making PC and monster numbers match up, and particularly removing grind. To remove grind, the basic assumption for combat was changed from 6-8 rounds which increased at higher levels to 4-5 rounds at all levels. PC attack rolls and damage were increased through feats and items to the point where reasonably optimized PCs could chew through monster HP in 4-5 rounds, while monster defenses were normalized(early monsters often had higher than normal AC/Fort/Ref/Will, particularly Elites and Solos) and monster damage was increased so monsters could threaten the PCs as much in a 5 round fight as they used to in an 8 round fight.
...whatever
Suffice it to say that I think you're 100% entirely correct. There hasn't been an edition of D&D with anything close to the quality of mechanics and finely tuned numbers that 4e has. Not even close. There are just a vast array of people out there sitting in their armchairs who think they know something about game design. What other way do they have of making themselves feel big except tearing down someone else's work? They sure as heck don't seem to have the gumption to make a game themselves! lol.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
They sure as heck don't seem to have the gumption to make a game themselves! lol.


I do, actually. Been working on it off-and-on for the last year and a half. 

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

Suffice it to say that I think you're 100% entirely correct. There hasn't been an edition of D&D with anything close to the quality of mechanics and finely tuned numbers that 4e has. Not even close. There are just a vast array of people out there sitting in their armchairs who think they know something about game design. What other way do they have of making themselves feel big except tearing down someone else's work? They sure as heck don't seem to have the gumption to make a game themselves! lol.



Its as if trying to make the math actually make sense and almost getting it perfect is a travesty, while a game fundamentally based on seriously flawed or arbitrary math is not.
...whatever
They say it's better to try and fail than to never try at all, but that's not how The Internet sees it.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

Suffice it to say that I think you're 100% entirely correct. There hasn't been an edition of D&D with anything close to the quality of mechanics and finely tuned numbers that 4e has. Not even close. There are just a vast array of people out there sitting in their armchairs who think they know something about game design. What other way do they have of making themselves feel big except tearing down someone else's work? They sure as heck don't seem to have the gumption to make a game themselves! lol.



Its as if trying to make the math actually make sense and almost getting it perfect is a travesty, while a game fundamentally based on seriously flawed or arbitrary math is not.

Honestly, I think that is exactly true. If you produce a game that is highly original for instance then people aren't going to be paying much attention to things like the math. They may in passing note that the mechanics of your game are crappy, but if it presents them with an interesting setting or whatever they'll be focused on that.

4e is in a very different position. Everyone's played genre generic fantasy RPGs for decades. There's really not a lot that is all that new in terms of setting or other 'fluff' within 4e. What is there is well written and quite polished and there are a LOT of fun story ideas that will really work well in the 4e material. But there isn't the type of material that will really capture the attention of D&Ders in an "Oh WOW" sort of way. Instead they're left with the time and energy to nitpick, and if you present some nearly flawless mechanics that one bit that they find slightly off just eats at people. It is human nature. And then you have the dynamic that I noted before, if you're going to want to post some sort of screed to pump yourself up you gotta have SOMETHING to talk about. It may be the mearest mole-hill but beggars can't be choosers.

That is not dead which may eternal lie
There is also the fact that 4E's math was changed/remedied in response to feedback, where other games for the most part were just left broken. It shines a light on the issue to do that. I would argue that 4E's design was no more broken than any other game at its launch(probably less broken, a lot less), the major difference is that 4E's flaws were later fixed.

Has any other game ever released had even 1% of the errata of 4E without an edition change?
...whatever
There is also the fact that 4E's math was changed/remedied in response to feedback, where other games for the most part were just left broken. It shines a light on the issue to do that. I would argue that 4E's design was no more broken than any other game at its launch(probably less broken, a lot less), the major difference is that 4E's flaws were later fixed.

Has any other game ever released had even 1% of the errata of 4E without an edition change?

No, I don't think so. Star Fleet Battles maybe? But it isn't an RPG and its rules are insane (well, last I checked back in the late 80's the rulebook was up to 500 pages or so, it is probably 1000 by now!).

Despite what some dev posted somewhere once about the difference in to-hits being "an oversight" I still agree with your earlier observation. It was probably just something that happened. They put the game together and there was this 4 point difference. It wasn't overlooked. It was just looked at and determined to be of no consequence. In fact it really IS of no consequence for the most part. Particularly in pre-errata and pre-MM3 epic play.

It is just one of those odd things really. It didn't need to be 'fixed', it just ate at people because it was inconsistent, and of course anyone that had a problem blamed it on the math. You can always produce "evidence" of a problem because someone will get brutally TPKed or go into endless grind somewhere and it HAS to be the fault of the game.

I think there's a real serious attitude issue with the whole fan base and WotC right now too. People are really excessively prone to being negative. I don't know exactly what the cause of that is. No one thing probably. As many have observed they could ship a gold brick in every game box and people would still be dissing them.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
well, yeah. 

a gold brick is far too heavy for our frail gamer wrists to lift in addition to the weight of a rulebook! how could WotC dare do such a horrible thing to us?

also, did you see the way it was stamped? the top right corner isn't as properly indented as the bottom left.

shoddy.

just shoddy. 

overall product review for 4th edition D&D: Gold Brick Edition
-5 / 10 
well, yeah. 

a gold brick is far too heavy for our frail gamer wrists to lift in addition to the weight of a rulebook! how could WotC dare do such a horrible thing to us?

also, did you see the way it was stamped? the top right corner isn't as properly indented as the bottom left.

shoddy.

just shoddy. 

overall product review for 4th edition D&D: Gold Brick Edition
-5 / 10 


Plus all that gold makes the chocolate taste awful.

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Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
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144543765 wrote:
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Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
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57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
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.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
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I don't say this often, but ... LOL
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You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
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I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
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Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
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...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
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57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
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This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
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HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
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heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
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On what flavor text fits me:
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Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
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First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
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You know, I actually started this thread to discuss the math situation in 4E such as it is, to try to discuss the issue as it is, not as the complainers frame it. Nobody seems to be challenging my analysis in the first post, did I get it so right nothing more needs to be said?
...whatever
honestly i haven't seen the math imbalance. it could simply be effective use of tactics on our part or that i haven't played enough of epic (which i admit, i have done very little of) to see it crop up, but i've never been in a situation where i thought to myself "gee wiz, the game could really be improved with a +~2 on all attack rolls"

my opinion would be to have newer powers (and maybe rework a few old ones) simply have "effect:" lines that occur regardless of if you hit, thus lessening the pain of a wasted power (there is still something that happens to further your goal, it's just less then if you had connected) or have the "reliable" keyword attached so you could attempt again.
You know, I actually started this thread to discuss the math situation in 4E such as it is, to start the thread, and to try to discuss the issue as it is, not as the complainers frame it. Nobody seems to be challenging my analysis in the first post, did I get it so right nothing more needs to be said?

IMHO there's nothing really to be said that you didn't say, and it has been beat to death in the past anyway. Wasn't trying to hijack the thread. I think basically the topic has passed by at this point, so you don't get much reaction. The issue of the day seems to be '5e' and all that! hehe.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Must have missed that discussion during one of my Warcraft comas.
...whatever
I haven't really noticed a problem either but it could be there.  Anyway, I think it is too late too really fix it for this edition, because of two problems feats and magic weapons.  Simply put there are two many ways to get bonuses to attacks and damage that are not tied to leveling.

In the next addition I would like to see a removal of these from feats and weapons, and have them do more interesting things (this should hopefully also cut down on feat glut). 
To me, the attack and defense math issues are trivial. The difficult one is damage vs Monster HP. Monster HP for most creatures goes up 8 per level, and assuming 4 hits kill a monster, damage needs to go up 2 per level to keep up, more if you think 2-3 hits should be the standard for killing a monster. Standard 4E without heavy optimization doesn't come close to keeping up with this, particularly when you enter Paragon and Epic tier. You have to optimize to keep up with this curve, and there are a lot of problems with this. Some classes and roles have trouble keeping up with this, and by mid-paragon aren't dealing significant damage anymore. You have to focus to have on-par damage, so your backup thrown weapon(for Melee characters) or MBA(if you're ranged) isn't going to scare anybody. In Paragon tier, you often have Strikers dealing 3x the damage of non-Strikers or more. We've also seen from CharOp land that there are enough tricks to buff damage that you can break the damage curve in the other direction, entering the world of the CharOp Striker nova that kills a Standard enemy from full HP in a single turn.

I like to think of a 4-5 round combat against an encounter between your level and your level+2 as ideal. As you gain levels, this requires more and more optimization to accomplish, and if you go full bore CharOp you can defeat what most would consider a standard encounter in 2-3 rounds and you have to add difficulty to the encounter to get any sort of challenge.

It'd be nice if damage would scale with monster HP better, balanced across roles and builds, without requiring the optimization it currently does. I don't think this can be fixed without breaking the game, though.
...whatever
I agree with your thoughts re: attacks and defenses, for what it's worth.

I think damage has always been the sticking point - particularly Monster vs. PC.  That's where I ran into the biggest problems in paragon, particularly.  Even if you limit yourself to, say, PHB+PHB2, MM1 monsters in Paragon and Epic simply don't do enough damage, by and large.

-O
I guess the first thing I would do is look at how many hits on average do I want a monster to survive based on class and type of power.  I would use encounters as my starting point.  Strikers are high end, and of course should use less hits, with controller's area powers probably on low end.  I guess I would look at something like two average hits from a striker encounter power to kill an equal level nonminion, nonbrute enemy.  In turn a striker daily should kill one on average and build from there.  For instance at wills would have to hit three times for a striker, 4 times for anyone else's s single target at will and so on.
The impression I got from reading posts from playtesters back when 4e first came out was that PC math was significantly different during playtests than the final product--something along the lines of attribute mods were (score-10) instead of (score-10)/2. So your primary and secondary attribute mods would rise 8 over your career, instead of just 4.

Supposedly, this ended up causing problems during playtesting (skill check DCs weren't scaling correctly or something?) so they divided it by 2 and adjusted baselines and whatnot (like adding in masterwork bonuses to armor) to adjust. But because it was a late change, in their rush they apparently didn't chase down all of the effects of the math change, somehow overlooking to-hit and NADs.

Again, this is just the impression I got from piecing together posts from people claiming to be playtesters years ago, and I could easily be misremembering stuff and/or reading between the lines incorrectly. So consider this just speculation/rumor. But if correct, it explains where the "deficit" comes from and it also explains why masterwork armor seems like such a kludge. 
The major problem was more a design one than a math one. Powerful solos didn't exist. They just got shut down. Eating every condition ever while outputting 10 dpr auras doesn't cut it.

So 'the Tarrasque is a joke' kicked right back in with a vengence (it's seriously harmless).
First, let's see the entire post that you so gracefully and honestly quote-mined for your own hyperbolic diatribe:


I personally find 4e to be an improvement in most categories over all previous editions, but like Tony said - WotC's very, very erratic (bordering on unprofessional) behavior makes it obvious that it's floundering to some degree.  

The main reasons why, I surmise, are:

1. Its more restrictive, board-gamey gameplay alienated many RPGers who are used to simulationism being part of the game rules rather than being handled in the abstract.  This is the main thing that split the fanbase from 3e.  My opinion is that D&D has never handled simulationism very well, and that it's better served by a ruleset more similar to 4e's.     

2. The edition came about a year or two prematurely, and felt somewhat overly-capitalistic.  The result of this was a lower-than-expected quality of early products like the original rule books, the introductory adventure and the FRCG, as well as major, unforgivable rules oversights like the math scaling.  

3. The butchering done to the FR setting, which has been for some time the flagship campaign setting for D&D, even if not the "core" one.  4th edition FR left a very, very bad taste in a lot of peoples' mouths and I'm quite sure it played a rather large role in continuting the exodus from the official D&D brand.  

4. WotC/Hasbro's diminishing reputation over typical "corporatism" - things like yearly layoffs and excessive focus on IP and anti-piracy regulations. The "change" to the OGL was somewhat misguided and did little but cause resentment and more fracturing amongst both gamers and content developers.   
 
5. The fact that PF is about the most ideal version of 3.x that will ever exist, and enough players liked 3rd edition enough that PF was a more natural upgrade for them than 4e was.   

6. Regardless of the merit of the Essentials line as independent products (I liked most of them), its execution as a mid-edition revamp was not particularly well handled - it left a lot of disorganization, bloat, and inconsistency in quality and presentation in its wake, and failed to fix some of the more egregious problems with the overall system.





I'm an analyst by occupation, and game design really isn't that difficult, particularly when you are merely tweaking an already mostly solid system, as I have specifically said 4e was on multiple occasions.  I do it all the time with the systems we use at work.  Moreover, your characterization of anyone that criticizes any aspect of 4e as insecure and stupid is quite laughable on several different levels.  

So, what was I actually referring to, as was probably obvious to most people with mediocre analytical skills?  The combination of letting the game launch with a serious math flaw that should never have made it through QA, and the decision to patch it with two disparate, asymmetrical mechanics that don't really make much sense in the context of the system at-large: radically overpowered feats and masterwork armor (the latter of which was more to patch light armor and heavy armor, but functioned for both roles).   

It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this is subpar game design, even if you're the type to not be terribly bothered by it.  Masterwork armor is clumsy and unintuitive, and oddly out of place because:
1. There are no masterwork weapons and masterwork neck gear, making it asymmetrical.
2. There is no coherent thematic distinction between masterwork armor and regular magic armor that justifies them as separate concepts, making the latter just messy and redundant and making it obvious that it only exists as a band-aid.  
3. It only plugs the hole partially, and unevenly with the feats for attacks and NADs.  

They've obviously realized the above problems, and have attempted to hand-wave masterwork armor out of the system by baking it innately into the enhancement bonus with no attempt to justify it conceptually.  Now, there is functionally no such thing as masterwork armor, just a "masterwork bonus" that goes to your base armor bonus as its enhancement bonus rises.  A slight improvement, actually, but it's still very gimpy.

However, even though it was gimpy, it would have been a better idea to keep masterwork armor and use masterwork weapons and neck gear to even the math out cohesively and evenly across all parameters.  Instead, they decided it was easier to introduce ludicrously overpowered feat "options" that players "could" take to keep up with the game's assumptions.  Of course, the problem is that the feats are so good that they are worth any 4-5 other feats and you have to take at least 2-3 of them if you don't want to underperform as you increase in level.  This not only means there is a certain subset of feats that everyone necessarily takes, which is bad, but that it also reduces the number of feats you have to work with for customizating and fleshing out your character concept, which is worse considering that most feats are designed around the concept that feats represent only minor things and it requires large numbers of them to do anything major.  It should be easy to see why it's undesirable to have such a huge range of power amongst the feats, particularly when 4e is lauded as a well-balanced system. 

As a side note, the devs have admitted on more than one occasion that it was an oversight, and that masterwork armor was patched in during late development to fix the AC discrepancy, and that expertise/defense feats were thrown in during the PHB2 to address attack/NAD scaling.  It most definitely was a mistake.  While that mistake shouldn't have happened, what's been more annoying and more egregious is the disjointed, nonsensical ways they have attempted to address it.  

Does it single-handedly make 4e a terrible system?  No, I never said that it does.  In fact, the main reason it infuriates me so much is because otherwise 4e is a very well polished system.  The fact that it's a very polished system should make it very easy to see and address these kinds of glaring flaws that are dragging down its overall quality.
The trouble is that you went a bit beyond simple criticism. Lets look at what you said:

2. The edition came about a year or two prematurely, and felt somewhat overly-capitalistic.  The result of this was a lower-than-expected quality of early products like the original rule books, the introductory adventure and the FRCG, as well as major, unforgivable rules oversights like the math scaling. 



Statements calling early 4E premature or of lower-than expected quality are opinions that can simply be disagreed with. Overly-capitalistic is a political screed, and says more about you than it does about the game. Its the bolded part where you go for ridiculous hyperbole and things just get silly. Unforgivable? How does a game with unforgivable rules oversights become as successful as 4E has done? How do these unforgivable rules oversights compare with similar rules issues in other games, and in particular previous editions of D&D? If you are going to throw a bomb like this, you really should support it better.

So, what was I actually referring to, as was probably obvious to most people with mediocre analytical skills?  The combination of letting the game launch with a serious math flaw that should never have made it through QA, and the decision to patch it with two disparate, asymmetrical mechanics that don't really make much sense in the context of the system at-large: radically overpowered feats and masterwork armor (the latter of which was more to patch light armor and heavy armor, but functioned for both roles).



We actually discussed this earlier in the thread. The flaw was not inherent to the system, but to players' expectations of the system. If you play the game using only the original PHB and Monster Manual, with no errata and no further books, there is no concrete issue. PC defenses and attack fall behind those of the monsters, but monsters at higher levels deal mediocre damage. Tactical balance is just fine in these circumstances. Higher level combat ran perfectly fine from a game balance standpoint, the math didn't cause the game to run badly, it cause the game to run long. PCs missed more, and monsters hit for less, resulting in combat that took more rounds to reolve and more real life time. If you read the developer blogs prior to and after the launch of 4E, this was somewhat intentional. This was a big part of where the 4E complaint about grind came from. This is not a system issue, it is a player issue. Players wanted things to move faster, and the game was changed to deliver faster game play the players demanded(higher PC attacks and NADs, higher monster damage), not to fix something that didn't work. The other issue is that it bothered some people that the numbers for PCs and monsters didn't match, and again this is a player issue, not a system issue.

Calling such an unforgivable rules oversight is just silly.

Changes were made not because the system was broken or badly designed, but that the system wasn't delivering what players wanted from it. Feat taxes were introduced as a band aid, because doing so was the most elegant way to do so without invalidating books people already spent money on, which would have led to a 3.5Eish PR disaster. In addition, you mention masterwork armor. Masterwork armor existed during the games launch, though only for +4 and +6 armor. AC scaling was fixed prior to launch(It was a minor issue until about mid paragon), all Adventurer's Vault did was to smooth out the curve.

It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this is subpar game design, even if you're the type to not be terribly bothered by it.  Masterwork armor is clumsy and unintuitive, and oddly out of place because:
1. There are no masterwork weapons and masterwork neck gear, making it asymmetrical.
2. There is no coherent thematic distinction between masterwork armor and regular magic armor that justifies them as separate concepts, making the latter just messy and redundant and making it obvious that it only exists as a band-aid.  
3. It only plugs the hole partially, and unevenly with the feats for attacks and NADs. 



Subpar game deisgn compared to what? Compared to itself? Compared to previous D&D editions? Compared to other RPGs? Why is symmetry necessary? One of the core conceits of 4E was "down with needless symmetry".

They've obviously realized the above problems, and have attempted to hand-wave masterwork armor out of the system by baking it innately into the enhancement bonus with no attempt to justify it conceptually.  Now, there is functionally no such thing as masterwork armor, just a "masterwork bonus" that goes to your base armor bonus as its enhancement bonus rises.  A slight improvement, actually, but it's still very gimpy.

However, even though it was gimpy, it would have been a better idea to keep masterwork armor and use masterwork weapons and neck gear to even the math out cohesively and evenly across all parameters.  Instead, they decided it was easier to introduce ludicrously overpowered feat "options" that players "could" take to keep up with the game's assumptions.  Of course, the problem is that the feats are so good that they are worth any 4-5 other feats and you have to take at least 2-3 of them if you don't want to underperform as you increase in level.  This not only means there is a certain subset of feats that everyone necessarily takes, which is bad, but that it also reduces the number of feats you have to work with for customizating and fleshing out your character concept, which is worse considering that most feats are designed around the concept that feats represent only minor things and it requires large numbers of them to do anything major.  It should be easy to see why it's undesirable to have such a huge range of power amongst the feats, particularly when 4e is lauded as a well-balanced system.



I don't see how this rises to the level of unforgivable rules oversight.

As a side note, the devs have admitted on more than one occasion that it was an oversight, and that masterwork armor was patched in during late development to fix the AC discrepancy, and that expertise/defense feats were thrown in during the PHB2 to address attack/NAD scaling.  It most definitely was a mistake.  While that mistake shouldn't have happened, what's been more annoying and more egregious is the disjointed, nonsensical ways they have attempted to address it. 



They've also stated that higher level combat taking more turns and the reality of how playing the game without the "fixes" actually works(and I did play 4E levels 17-23 prior to PHB2 so I say this from experience) was by design. It was slow and there wasn't much variety in monster selction, but there was no mathematical failure to it. I'd say it actually worked better(from a balance or tactical standpoint), as its very difficult to challenge well made PCs of that level in modern 4E, they have too much firepower and too much resilience for a 4-5 round combat. Given the amount of high impact control(stuns, dominate, ect), modern optimized nova strikers, and healing and recovery powers that PCs of high Paragon or Epic have, the only way to have a challenge is to drain those resources and make combat last beyond them having run out. Early 4E high level play was a drawn out slog where PCs succeeded against the odds, the monsters having better numbers but the PCs winning by expending the resources monsters didn't get.

Does it single-handedly make 4e a terrible system?  No, I never said that it does.  In fact, the main reason it infuriates me so much is because otherwise 4e is a very well polished system.  The fact that it's a very polished system should make it very easy to see and address these kinds of glaring flaws that are dragging down its overall quality.



I'll say it again: unforgivable rules oversights. You've explained what you consider rules oversights, I have to ask what is so unforgivable about them, particularly what is so unforgivable when you compare it to other games and earlier editions of D&D?


P.S.---You also miss the forest for the trees, as you nitpick over minor things when the biggest math issue in 4E is and continues to be damage vs HP.
...whatever
I'll say it again: unforgivable rules oversights. You've explained what you consider rules oversights, I have to ask what is so unforgivable about them, particularly what is so unforgivable when you compare it to other games and earlier editions of D&D?



I would imagine that the location of the oversight is what makes it major and unforgivable.  If it is located in the core math then you should really be fixing it before you sell it.

That they did not would suggest either being in a serious hurry to take customer's money and/or betrays an overall lack of care for the system.

If WotC were to design a moronic spell or power or feat a DM can at least veto it or WotC can errata it fairly painlessly, but at the core math level you're stuck with all the nuisance it provides.
I'll say it again: unforgivable rules oversights. You've explained what you consider rules oversights, I have to ask what is so unforgivable about them, particularly what is so unforgivable when you compare it to other games and earlier editions of D&D?



I would imagine that the location of the oversight is what makes it major and unforgivable.  If it is located in the core math then you should really be fixing it before you sell it.

That they did not would suggest either being in a serious hurry to take customer's money and/or betrays an overall lack of care for the system.

If WotC were to design a moronic spell or power or feat a DM can at least veto it or WotC can errata it fairly painlessly, but at the core math level you're stuck with all the nuisance it provides.



Or, as I think has been mentioned, the "flaw" was not a flaw at all, but intentional, that the PCs would fall behind in individual math, but have it made up for by relying on the group.  When players voiced dissent at this idea, the change was made.  That makes sense to me.

I mean, it's not like 4th ed has the design of making a single party member more important than others, that individual power is the most important thing,  It's more about making all the characters sync up in such as way that, in general terms, each character feeds the next.
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]

Or, as I think has been mentioned, the "flaw" was not a flaw at all, but intentional, that the PCs would fall behind in individual math, but have it made up for by relying on the group. 



Some groups could synergize their builds and powers in order to overcome the accuracy gap, but given a random distribution of classes (with representaives of each role in a party), most groups wouldn't. 
Given their inability to deal with the basic math issues for individual characters, how likely is it that they were able to accurately crunch the numbers for group interaction at epic levels? How likely is it that the rest of us just couldn't see the big picture? Remember that at this point they were still occasionally creating powers with scaled accuracy bonuses... powers that themselves had to land to take effect.
A few group setups worked well (sometimes too well), but there was a vast disparity in Epic-performance between a groups with different compositions: Tactical Warlord vs. Inspiring Warlord, Feylock vs Starlock, Brutal Rogue vs. Artful Dodger Rogue. Subclasses with access to scaling defense-penalty/attack-bonus powers were far more effective.





Or, as I think has been mentioned, the "flaw" was not a flaw at all, but intentional, that the PCs would fall behind in individual math, but have it made up for by relying on the group. 



Some groups could synergize their builds and powers in order to overcome the accuracy gap, but given a random distribution of classes (with representaives of each role in a party), most groups wouldn't. 
Given their inability to deal with the basic math issues for individual characters, how likely is it that they were able to accurately crunch the numbers for group interaction at epic levels? How likely is it that the rest of us just couldn't see the big picture? Remember that at this point they were still occasionally creating powers with scaled accuracy bonuses... powers that themselves had to land to take effect.
A few group setups worked well (sometimes too well), but there was a vast disparity in Epic-performance between a groups with different compositions: Tactical Warlord vs. Inspiring Warlord, Feylock vs Starlock, Brutal Rogue vs. Artful Dodger Rogue. Subclasses with access to scaling defense-penalty/attack-bonus powers were far more effective.



That is just shifting the goalposts. In those days, different things were optimized compared to today. Still, I have pretty good faith that any given party, given reasonable role distribution, can handle high levels under the original rules. Monsters from MM1 at that level hit like a wet noodle. Survival and victory aren't that difficult, its just that due to all the missing its going to take a lot longer. Its not like early 4E monsters are going to kill you anytime soon.
...whatever
#Casualoblivion: Unfortunately, that wasn't true.  If you had say, a baladin, a starlock, an inspiring warlord, and a wizard who split his stats between con and wis, you would have a party that could concievably all have a 24 or 26 in their main attack stat.. at level 30.  Give them +6 enhancements to hit, and no other special feats or items that added to hit, since they didn't happen to choose the very particular races that had those kinds of bonuses.  So now you've easily got a level 30 party who has +28 or +29 to hit (+3 for weapon = +32), but they're fighting creatures who have upwards of 46 AC and 42 on other defenses.  They need 14 (or more) to hit, and that's assuming they only fight monsters of their own level.  None of the party has particularly high DPR; and none of them have any ability to grant attack bonuses to their fellow parties.  Even assuming they were managing, say, 45 damage per hit (which might still be too high), they only hit 1 in 3 attacks; so it takes (with the entire party focus firing) 6 rounds for them to kill a single standard monster.  If there are 4 monsters (since there are 4 PCs) it could reasonably take them 24 rounds to kill all the baddies.  A single 'terrible solo' with a 10 DPR aura, would actually kill the entire party before they managed to kill it.

But a party with a taclord, a ranger, a fighter, and a strength focus cleric, would not only have +34 or so to hit, they would have multiple characters handing out as much as +10 to hit; so instead of hitting on a 14, they hit on a 2.  And they actually have multiple multi-attackers (fighter and ranger) in the party; so they would be killing monsters at LEAST twice as fast, probably more.

So now, what was a challenging fight for party a) can't even scratch party b).  And what is a challenging fight for party b) is a complete impossibility for party a). 

By normalizing the ways in which each party could get good attack bonuses and good defenses (and through massive numbers of new powers that allowed multi-attacking options to other classes), we NOW have the situation where most parties can fight a 'challenging' fight reasonably; even if optimized parties still breeze through things, at least the non optimizers have a chance.


Or, as I think has been mentioned, the "flaw" was not a flaw at all, but intentional, that the PCs would fall behind in individual math, but have it made up for by relying on the group.  When players voiced dissent at this idea, the change was made.  That makes sense to me.

I mean, it's not like 4th ed has the design of making a single party member more important than others, that individual power is the most important thing,  It's more about making all the characters sync up in such as way that, in general terms, each character feeds the next.




But the party is always there, so I don't quite get this.  Maybe my experience is limited but the best thing my parties have ever been able to do is grant combat advantage or something to help accuracy but that doesn't stack with itself so it's still a downward trend there.
Major and unforgivable are strong words, and in my opinion unwaranted.


 
  When you claim to have worked on the system for years, heavily playtested it then screw up some simple addition...  So they didn't put all that much work into it after all or they're really horrible at math.  Either way messing up something so simple is epic fail.

What RPG has better math scaling?



  All of them.  Okay, not Savage Worlds, but all the rest.

I can't think of any, particularly when point buy based systems have their own problems as characters don't scale with each other when one player can spend all his/her points on being pretty and another can spend every single point on "Shotgun" or its equivalent.


 
  Difference is those are actually RPGs.  They don't have 2 types of events in the game, combat encounters and skill-challanges.  Being pretty actually matters.  And skill-challenges don't really work in heroic and are completely unbalanced in paragon and epic.  Oh, and skill challenges... goes back to that math thing we were talking about previously.  Go go errated DM screen.  Geezus.

When you look at other editions of D&D, 3E's math was a disaster


 
  Worked fine for us from level to into epic.
 
How bad can 4E's math be when two of the three main math issues in 4E can be solved with a single feat(Expertise and Improved Defenses solve 90% of the issues with attack rolls and non-AC defenses)?


 
  You complain about putting points into beauty instead of shotgun but think it's fine you have to max out your attack stat instead of one that would actually suit your character concept or your character is utterly useless in heroic tier?

  And going back to that math thing, by mid paragon your characters are hitting on a 2, your strikers are each able to 1 round anything that isn't a solo and completely crippling any solo into uselessness.  You're exactly back into where 3E went to with powercreep of having to throw 4x the number of mobs at the party as you "should" or making them 6+ levels above the party level to see a striker miss.

Still, 4E damage vs monster HP is a minor problem compared with 3E saving throw math, to give one example.


 
  Worked fine, works fine, will continue to work fine.  3E saving throw math lives in DDO, works fine for 10s or 100s of thousands of people every day.

@mikemearls don't quite understand the difference

I don't make the rules, I just think them up and write them down. - Eric Cartman

Enough chitchat!  Time is candy! - Pinky Pie

Major and unforgivable are strong words, and in my opinion unwaranted.

 
 
When you claim to have worked on the system for years, heavily playtested it then screw up some simple addition...  So they didn't put all that much work into it after all or they're really horrible at math.  Either way messing up something so simple is epic fail.


And now the thread starts entering bizarro world...
What RPG has better math scaling?



  All of them.  Okay, not Savage Worlds, but all the rest.



This statement is so ridiculous I can't even respond to it...

I can't think of any, particularly when point buy based systems have their own problems as characters don't scale with each other when one player can spend all his/her points on being pretty and another can spend every single point on "Shotgun" or its equivalent.


 
  Difference is those are actually RPGs.  They don't have 2 types of events in the game, combat encounters and skill-challanges.  Being pretty actually matters.  And skill-challenges don't really work in heroic and are completely unbalanced in paragon and epic.  Oh, and skill challenges... goes back to that math thing we were talking about previously.  Go go errated DM screen.  Geezus.



And now we start insulting 4E fans on a 4E forum by saying it isn't a RPG....

[
When you look at other editions of D&D, 3E's math was a disaster


 
  Worked fine for us from level to into epic.


Ignorance is bliss, and completely dismisses all of us for whom 3E's math failed utterly...
 
[
How bad can 4E's math be when two of the three main math issues in 4E can be solved with a single feat(Expertise and Improved Defenses solve 90% of the issues with attack rolls and non-AC defenses)?


 
  You complain about putting points into beauty instead of shotgun but think it's fine you have to max out your attack stat instead of one that would actually suit your character concept or your character is utterly useless in heroic tier?

  And going back to that math thing, by mid paragon your characters are hitting on a 2, your strikers are each able to 1 round anything that isn't a solo and completely crippling any solo into uselessness.  You're exactly back into where 3E went to with powercreep of having to throw 4x the number of mobs at the party as you "should" or making them 6+ levels above the party level to see a striker miss.



An illustration of complete ignorance of how 4E plays at the table...

Still, 4E damage vs monster HP is a minor problem compared with 3E saving throw math, to give one example.

 
 
Worked fine, works fine, will continue to work fine.  3E saving throw math lives in DDO, works fine for 10s or 100s of thousands of people every day.



People used to think the world was flat, people are funny that way.

We now have the objective opinion of a 3E fan who claims 4E isn't a RPG on 4E's math. I for one feel illuminated.
...whatever

In addition, I'm not entirely sure the math was a mistake. Reading developer comments during 4E's launch, they had a different idea of how 4E should go than what became the reality when people started playing it in the real world. They concieved combat as being a 6-8 round affair, and at high levels the number of rounds would increase. At higher levels, PCs would get hit more and when attacking hit less, and have to rely on their ability to recover and apply powerful control effects to get through. Remembering my early experiences with high level play, it really did work that way.

The problem was, the players disagreed.



 I think your post is pretty much spot-on. There was one issue I think that got overlooked and that was the ability of initial solos to have control effects neuter them, but that's a relatively minor fix. 

The other thing I think of is the gamer mentality coming in from previous editions. There it was easy enough to build a character who "did everything". One of the great design choices drawing me to 4E was emphasis on team play. Some people really don't want to be an equal member of a team, despite what they try to tell us (or themselves). 3E was a good system to design a computer game from because of its single character focus ability. 

Something else to consider is that some people can't think as part of the team or aren't "big picture" types. Even though all roles are covered, they don't see the greater synergies. In some cases this may be because they haven't the experience in the environment. The game really has to cater to a wide group of people.


And of course there's the internet "I'm smarter than those stupid designers" phenomena when your dealing with a group that stereotypically has major self esteem issues. Tongue Out    

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Or, as I think has been mentioned, the "flaw" was not a flaw at all, but intentional, that the PCs would fall behind in individual math, but have it made up for by relying on the group.  When players voiced dissent at this idea, the change was made.  That makes sense to me.

I mean, it's not like 4th ed has the design of making a single party member more important than others, that individual power is the most important thing,  It's more about making all the characters sync up in such as way that, in general terms, each character feeds the next.




But the party is always there, so I don't quite get this.  Maybe my experience is limited but the best thing my parties have ever been able to do is grant combat advantage or something to help accuracy but that doesn't stack with itself so it's still a downward trend there.



What I'm talking about is the defender that marks a guy, then the leader that hits the guy and plants a bonus to attacking that guy, then the striker hitting that same guy and dealing a condition that delivers ongoing damage, and then the next attack keys off the guy taking ongoing damage and delivers a stun . . .

Basically group optimization being to focus fire and also to take those highly circumstantial attacks because you know your buddy has always got your back.

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby (1937- ) Vanador: OK. You ripped a gateway to Hell, killed half the town, and raised the dead as feral zombies. We're going to kill you. But it can go two ways. We want you to run as fast as you possibly can toward the south of the town to draw the Zombies to you, and right before they catch you, I'll put an arrow through your head to end it instantly. If you don't agree to do this, we'll tie you this building and let the Zombies rip you apart slowly. Dimitry: God I love being Neutral. 4th edition is dead, long live 4th edition. Salla: opinionated, but commonly right.
fun quotes
58419928 wrote:
You have to do the work first, and show you can do the work, before someone is going to pay you for it.
69216168 wrote:
If you can't understand how someone yelling at another person would make them fight harder and longer, then you need to look at the forums a bit closer.
quote author=56832398 post=519321747]Considering DnD is a game wouldn't all styles be gamist?[/quote]
For starters, not every party can do that.  None of my parties have ever done that.

For second, a party that CAN do that can do it a lot sooner than epic.  So all you get is a gradual downward trend in power for some reason which is pretty much moving away from anything that really feels epic when you get to epic tier.
Granted, but is that a flaw in the game, or gamers? I'd say the latter. That's why there's a DM.

As for your second paragraph, you would be more accurate if (and only if) the powers stayed the same. They don't. As you go up in level, daze becomes stun, for example. Status effects generally just get nastier the higher your level. Of course the DM has the power to adjust encounters/adventures to play to the party at hand. Again, that's why there is a DM, to accomodate all the different types and aptitudes of players.   
Granted, but is that a flaw in the game, or gamers? I'd say the latter. That's why there's a DM.

As for your second paragraph, you would be more accurate if (and only if) the powers stayed the same. They don't. As you go up in level, daze becomes stun, for example. Status effects generally just get nastier the higher your level. Of course the DM has the power to adjust encounters/adventures to play to the party at hand. Again, that's why there is a DM, to accomodate all the different types and aptitudes of players.   



"Its okay thats its broken thats why there's a DM" was something that should have stayed in 3rd. The game shouldn't require the party to pack expertise or a tactical warlord/cleric (and only if the cleric had picked the original righteous brand). Not every party is going to work well together, true, but there shouldn't be "you need X or Y...or DM fiat...to meet baseline assumptions". This is why the leader role was invented instead of just having the healbot cleric.


While having a DM is great for fixing fundamental design flaws, it shouldn't be why they are there.
The devs have openly stated that it was an unintentional oversight, most recently in a Rule-of-three article.  So, unsurprisingly, everyone saying that it was intentional that PCs fall behind monsters, which would be an idiotic way to balance the scaling anyway, are wrong.  

Just because 4e is your favorite game system (it is mine also, otherwise I wouldn't be wasting time on this forum) doesn't make your assessment that overpowered feats and asymmetrical, unintuitive mechanics working only as patches to the basic math aren't problems correct.  You either acknowledge they are and just don't care, which is fine, or are just lacking the analytical skills to see why so you obstinately argue about it on the forums, which isn't fine.  
The devs have openly stated that it was an unintentional oversight, most recently in a Rule-of-three article.  So, unsurprisingly, everyone saying that it was intentional that PCs fall behind monsters, which would be an idiotic way to balance the scaling anyway, are wrong.



The devs said both. You're picking the one that fits your own bias and ignoring the other.


Just because 4e is your favorite game system (it is mine also, otherwise I wouldn't be wasting time on this forum) doesn't make your assessment that overpowered feats and asymmetrical, unintuitive mechanics working only as patches to the basic math aren't problems correct.  You either acknowledge they are and just don't care, which is fine, or are just lacking the analytical skills to see why so you obstinately argue about it on the forums, which isn't fine.  



I also don't have a blind hatred of WotC and don't need to find fault with the game to indict WotC. Outside of a need for something to rant against, the issues you're complaining about don't warrant the level of negativity in which you describe them.

If its that big of an issue, you can either give the feats(Expertise and Improved Defenses) to PCs for free(as many people have done, and was just made easy using Character Builder) or you can scream at WotC. I don't see the point of screaming at WotC unless screaming at WotC IS the point.
...whatever
Granted, but is that a flaw in the game, or gamers? I'd say the latter. That's why there's a DM.

As for your second paragraph, you would be more accurate if (and only if) the powers stayed the same. They don't. As you go up in level, daze becomes stun, for example. Status effects generally just get nastier the higher your level. Of course the DM has the power to adjust encounters/adventures to play to the party at hand. Again, that's why there is a DM, to accomodate all the different types and aptitudes of players.   



"Its okay thats its broken thats why there's a DM" was something that should have stayed in 3rd. The game shouldn't require the party to pack expertise or a tactical warlord/cleric (and only if the cleric had picked the original righteous brand). Not every party is going to work well together, true, but there shouldn't be "you need X or Y...or DM fiat...to meet baseline assumptions". This is why the leader role was invented instead of just having the healbot cleric.


While having a DM is great for fixing fundamental design flaws, it shouldn't be why they are there.



LoL, it's not "broken", the game has to be able to work for a very divergent group of players.

The devs have openly stated that it was an unintentional oversight, most recently in a Rule-of-three article.  So, unsurprisingly, everyone saying that it was intentional that PCs fall behind monsters, which would be an idiotic way to balance the scaling anyway, are wrong.



The devs said both. You're picking the one that fits your own bias and ignoring the other.


Why yes, I am biased toward more recent data.  Shouldn't you be?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The devs have openly stated that it was an unintentional oversight, most recently in a Rule-of-three article.  So, unsurprisingly, everyone saying that it was intentional that PCs fall behind monsters, which would be an idiotic way to balance the scaling anyway, are wrong.



The devs said both. You're picking the one that fits your own bias and ignoring the other.


Why yes, I am biased toward more recent data.  Shouldn't you be?



Are you just going to play semantics or make an argument and support it?
...whatever
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