Defender mechanics: Do you prefer marks or auras?

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Which one's your favorite, why?
If you could swap something like giving a weaponmaster Fighter the knight's aura, would you?

Which one's your favorite, why? If you could swap something like giving a weaponmaster Fighter the knight's aura, would you?

I like them both for what they do and what they bring to the game. I believe that both mechanics have a place, a use and a flavor; making them both equally viable options for build design. I prefer auras for their ease of use, but I like the way that marks feel when portraying certain characters. -- It's a draw.

Danny

I like them both, but I find auras easier for me to use.
Which one's your favorite, why? If you could swap something like giving a weaponmaster Fighter the knight's aura, would you?

I like them both for what they do and what they bring to the game. I believe that both mechanics have a place, a use and a flavor; making them both equally viable options for build design. I prefer auras for their ease of use, but I like the way that marks feel when portraying certain characters. -- It's a draw.


^ This. ^
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
I prefer marks, I've seen both of them in 2 different groups I play in and in my opinion the fighter's mark is better. Might also be the general playstyle of the fighter vs. the barbarian in the other group that I prefer... Dunno, mark is better Laughing
Mark defenders have scads more support, and are less position-dependent.  Aura defenders get to punish more, buthave much more difficulty locking down mobile monsters, and are more affected by forced movement.

They each have their good and bad sides, but I think the aura defender is a more logical and understandable mechanic.
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.
I prefer marks.  It could just be though that I prefer the pre-essentials classes.
def marks bc you dont have to be adjacent for them to be affected. i love playing a tempest fighter w spiked chain, i can mark two or three on a turn and then be in a position that they cant get to me. marks are more versatile
As a DM I prefer the aura, I've seen too many defenders forget to mark people, that I either have to nag them about it, or just mark it all for them. The current warden in my group might as well have an aura.


As a player I prefer marking. I find it more active, interesting, and flavorful (especially since each class does it differently) than an aura. Also what Froth said.

I like that some class can mark enemies 2 or 3 squares away.  Let's you get a mark on more mobile enemies and to get a mark in more open areas.  2 places the the aura kinda fails.  Mechanically the aura is much simpler and flavorwise makes sense.  I think if you have 2 defenders in a party, having one with an aura and one with a mark makes sense.  I think where the mark falls down is that most times you can only mark one or two and  rest can ignore you.  In an encounter with a bunch of minions the aura is better over several rounds.  I would say overal my preference is for a persistent mark.  I think the aura is basically a different (better? maybe) version of the wardens marking ability.


I think the viability of the defenders aura depends a bit on the punishment.  Knights with the free MBA can definitely cause and enemy to respect the aura.  The cavelier, while doing auto damage, has low damage.  It doesn't hold up at higher levels.  I don't recall the beserker punishment...sorry.


I think that with one defender I want one that can mark multiple (at least once an encounter) and not only adjacent.  Paladin or Battlemind.  Can a swordmage mark non-adjecent?  If I have multiple defenders, one with a mark, any mark, and one with an aura.  I think the second would be best with a beserker to shift to the striker roll when needed.


TjD   

Marks, by a mile.

All aura defenders play fundamentally the same.  Marks allow for dramatic variety among the defender classes in how they defend, who they defend well against, and what tactics they support among the rest of the party.

A Warden and a Swordmage are vastly different, and that adds a lot of depth.  A Warden plays zone defense, and that has strong implications for how effective the tactics the party uses will be.  Stand behind the wall of impenetrability and lob ranged attacks?  Very effective.  A Swordmage, on the other hand, puts a mark on a baddie and then avoids it entirely, tying up another one preferably far away.  Now the marked enemy is mostly free to engage the ranged attackers, albeit sucking horribly while doing so.

This variety is a very good thing.  A Knight, Berserker, and Cavalier all defend in the same way, to a very large extent.  There's no way to get the depth of the five marking classes with Auras without changing what the auras do and how they work on a fundamental level.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Marks and Auras are both great and have their own class flavor.  Hopefully there will be more added options for auras as they are for marks.

This is like saying, what's better, Hunter's Quarry or Sneak Attack, each has its own define reasoning and flavor to their classes.
Oh, absolutely, the addition of aura defenders to the mark defenders is unquestionably positive.  Expanded depth and all that.

The real issue is whether if they had to do 4e from scratch, and had the choice between marks and auras, it appears that the current dev team would pick auras.  That would be a bad thing.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I prefer marks.  It could just be though that I prefer the pre-essentials classes.



Ditto.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
As a DM I prefer the aura, I've seen too many defenders forget to mark people, that I either have to nag them about it, or just mark it all for them. The current warden in my group might as well have an aura.


As a player I prefer marking. I find it more active, interesting, and flavorful (especially since each class does it differently) than an aura. Also what Froth said.



+1 to this. In general I find the concept of aura easier to visualize (a fighter is dangerous to ignore while you're adjacent) and easier to handle as DM (ever DM a group of 6 defenders, each with their own mark?) but marks are much more fun as a player and just make a lot more sense for certain classes (ex. battlemind or swordmage).

I suspect that D&D Next will use auras exclusively. No evidence, just a gut feeling based on how their comments suggest they seem to be modelling the tactics on essentials builds.
I suspect that D&D Next will use auras exclusively. No evidence, just a gut feeling based on how their comments suggest they seem to be modelling the tactics on essentials builds.


This will likely depend greatly on how much tactical combat you're going to include.  Auras are definitely more suited to a 1e-style simple combat structure, whereas if you're going for 4e-style complexity there's no reason to assume marks, or some other variation of defender-ish mechanics, wouldn't be a part of it.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I much prefer auras. They are far easier to visualize/rationalize.

 

"What is the sort of thing that I do care about is a failure to seriously evaluate what does and doesn't work in favor of a sort of cargo cult posturing. And yes, it's painful to read design notes columns that are all just "So D&D 3.5 sort of had these problems. We know people have some issues with them. What a puzzler! But we think we have a solution in the form of X", where X is sort of a half-baked version of an idea that 4e executed perfectly well and which worked fine." - Lesp

I find auras easier for me to use.

Ditto. Tracking marks is part of why 4e has gotten too complicated.

I like the variety that marks support (the mark defenders all have very distinctive playstyles), and auras are an expansion of this variety for the game overall (punishing as an OA, working better (or worse) with forced movement depending on who's doing the moving).  If I had to choose between one or the other I'd go with marks, despite the fact that I personally like auras better.  I prefer auras because it's easier to track (I don't have to place a "marked" marker on the mini/token since everyone just knows that enemies adjacent to the defender are in the aura), and forced movement is very popular in my group so they defender's allies have a say in who gets locked down (in other words, I think auras promote better teamwork). 

Erachima, we've argued the merits of auras before when the Berserker first came out and you insisted that they couldn't defend.  When shortly afterwards flail Berserkers became popular, you stopped arguing.  I'd assumed that you realized the virtues of the build, but perhaps not.  Ultimately, while each individual punishment tends to be weaker out of the box on an aura defender, the ability to punish multiple enemies is a huge boon.  Aura defenders lack the ability to keep an attack penalty on an enemy at the very least in situations where the DM goes all out to foil the defender, but this usually requires specific anti-defender monster selection and tactics.  In practice I just don't see DMs doing this (myself included), and that's not to say that they're not otherwise tactically savvy.  IME, most of the time aura defenders seem to fare better than mark defenders.  Granted my group doesn't go for extreme optimization, but specific builds for aura defenders (Hammer Knights or Flail Berserkers) ensure that they're competitive in an optimized environment, if a bit predictable.
I prefer marks for the variety and options they bring, but I like that the game has both since auras are better for some other player's styles. 

I have now played a str/wis paladin, arena fighter, wildblood warden, and hybrid swordmage/ barbarian and liked how I could defend in different ways with each one of them.  I have never found the mark mechanic that complicated or too much work.  The one possible exception was when my paladin was in the same party as a fighter since we had occasional times where we both wanted to mark the same enemy, but I think it would have been worse if we both had auras.
I prefer to have both in a party. A group of 6 PCs with two defenders, one mark-based, one aura-based, is pretty effective and hard to break through the line.

Personally I've never played aura defenders, but I've been wanting to play a Berserker for a while, so it's a draw.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

Having played both a Fighter and a Knight, I'll never go back to the Fighter.  It's true that marks have more versatility, and Fighters get more ways to position enemies, but I'm more than willing to trade all that than have to develop precognition to know when and how to use my immediate action each turn.  Do I punish this guy?  Or wait and see if someone else is going to twitch?  Should I use my defensive utility this turn?

The whole business drove me insane, especially at higher levels.  Defending with a Knight hasn't been a problem for me to date, keeping enemies from getting away is ridiculously easy with defend the line/vicious advantage/world serpent's grasp/glowering threat/hammer strike/takedown strike (yes, I commited the sin of not taking Guardian for my Knight).  If anything, my problem is that I'm too sticky for my own good.

What does surprise me, however, is how aura defenders seem to confuse and annoy DM's.  I went to a convention to play LFR a few months back, and at every table, it was the same.  The DM would constantly provoke battle guardian, and seemed quite irritated when I pointed out I had an attack, despite explaining the mechanic several times.  Finally they just attacked me with everything in an effort to kill me, even with creatures I had no way to lock down at all!

It gets really bad when I fight Skirmishers.  The DM will have the creature attack, then shift away (because, you know, if the monster gets a free shift, they apparently feel they MUST use it), only to have their beastie knocked on it's behind or immobilized (courtesy of Power Strike+Weapon Specialization) and the game grinds to a halt as I explain (again!) how I did that.

Then they'll do the same thing with another Skirmisher, I'll reply in kind, and we'll get a 20 minute tirade about how "opportunity punishment is ridiculous".          
"You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies." -The Doctor, Remembrance of the Daleks
@Metafictional

Yep, DMs who don't understand the rules to the fullest and can't accept your abilities are always annoying.

Anyways, I prefer marks. Though there's nothing wrong with auras, they just seem too 'blankety' and vanilla for my taste.

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I love my swordmage.  He would not be able to function the same way without marks.  Therefore if I had to choose one or the other, I'd choose marks.  Nothing really wrong with auras, they just all play the same way.
I loved the way my cavalier worked, defending with marks, auras, and immediates.  Very tanky.  (I hated how squishy he was, how easy it was to cheese the mount, and how ineffective I felt when those immediates are gone.)  I hated the way the aura itself was so... eh and had no feat support vs. sanctions.

I love the knight's aura and the powers that supplement it.

I liked the way my warden defended and the feat support his marks have, but in the end it's not the marks or the auras that determine whether or not I like how a class defends, since although they're a cornerstone they're only a piece of the puzzle; it's the way powers interact with them.  I love 'em both.
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I like marks more because of how they handle mobile units. Also that special flavor that makes you feel unique as said before.
auras are easier to deal with, from a character AND player perspective, but they can easily become a headache for the DM.

The knight, for example, becomes a completely inescapable defender when they take the flail feats to knock enemies prone on MBAs.  Combined with power swap feats and the human PP for multiple "come and get it" uses in an encounter, and you've got a literal black hole.

Either the knight then locks down a gigantic number of enemies (anything in a 7x7 square that he can hit with a weapon vs. will attack) or the DM makes his character useless by sliding him out of position.

basically, a defender who can ALWAYS prevent ANYTHING from geting away from him (like some knight builds)  feel like there is no middle ground for encounter balancing....either the DM effortlessly screws over the defender with scads of forced movement (which, btw, still has to hit), or the knight says "no one gets to attack anything but me"   
I still think that's not necessarily the fault of the aura, but the feat support that goes with it.  Warden builds can, conceivably, be almost as bad.  In the end it's the way the entire character is built.

That said, I think a better way to phrase the original question is "Do you prefer defender classes with aura mechanics or defender classes with marking mechanics", in which case I'd lean toward the latter, because the classes in question tend to have a lot more leniency with what you can do.
I am Red/White
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Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both chaotic and orderly. I value my own principles, and am willing to go to extreme lengths to enforce them, often trampling on the very same principles in the process. At best, I'm heroic and principled; at worst, I'm hypocritical and disorderly.
Depending on the DM, I prefer Auras since the DM may forget the aura is there and you might actually get to use your Defender stuff for once.  With a mark, most people tend to put something on the bad guy who is marked and the DM knows that creature is marked.
auras are easier to deal with, from a character AND player perspective, but they can easily become a headache for the DM.

The knight, for example, becomes a completely inescapable defender when they take the flail feats to knock enemies prone on MBAs.  Combined with power swap feats and the human PP for multiple "come and get it" uses in an encounter, and you've got a literal black hole.

Either the knight then locks down a gigantic number of enemies (anything in a 7x7 square that he can hit with a weapon vs. will attack) or the DM makes his character useless by sliding him out of position.

basically, a defender who can ALWAYS prevent ANYTHING from geting away from him (like some knight builds)  feel like there is no middle ground for encounter balancing....either the DM effortlessly screws over the defender with scads of forced movement (which, btw, still has to hit), or the knight says "no one gets to attack anything but me"   



And then the Knight gets gang-banged into unconsciousness.  Most DMs would prefer this method.    Hope your Knight as a way to boost their non-AC defenses.....
Or, the DM occasionally ignores the Knight with things like Ranged attacks, melee attacks, non-provoking movement, bursts and blasts, dazing, stunning, dominating, forced movement, reach, etc etc etc.

Inescapable vortex knights are not undefeatable, nor are the always the primary target, even though they're highly sticky.
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.
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