4e - why should characters use simple melee attacks at all?

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Hi,

We are making some tests with the new 4e rules, and it's a little bit more complex than expected.

Why should any class use a simple melee attack instead of making at-will power attacks?
I can't see any reason why PCs should use a normal attack if they're able to use a power to attack with.

Can anyone confirm this?
Hi,

We are making some tests with the new 4e rules, and it's a little bit more complex than expected.

Why should any class use a simple melee attack instead of making at-will power attacks?
I can't see any reason why PCs should use a normal attack if they're able to use a power to attack with.

Can anyone confirm this?



1a) That's the point. At-will attack powers are generally better than Basic Attacks. This was intentional, and you should be using your at-will powers whenever possible.

1b) There are at least a few situations where you can only use a Basic Attack. Warlords, for instance, grant Basic Attacks. The Opportunity Attack (OA) is a Basic Attack. When you Charge, you make a Basic Attack. These are, I think, the three most common scenarios, but there are some others.

2) Some classes are actually designed to use the Basic Attack. These are classes released during the Essentials product line. Classes such as the Knight, Slayer, Thief, Scout, Hunter, Executioner, and Skald are all built to primarily use Basic Attacks. 

"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

There's rarely a reason - on their turn, except when you consider that most Charges use the MBA.

The reason to have a good MBA and use it, is because of out-of turn attacks (opportunity attacks, warlord-granted attacks, defender punishments etc).  Or, because you've boosted it enough via feats etc that it's better than your at-wills, which is easy to do.

Or, you're using an Essentials martial class, which does nothing but use the MBA.

At-will powers are meant to be better than the MBAs - you use the MBA on fewer occasions, and usually only because the effect (charge, OA, whatever) says you must.
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 am playtesting with a friend (he controls the 4 PCs and I control the monsters). This is the first time we're playing, so obviously, there's gonna be some down time for rules, re-reading them, etc - but does this change, once you're more familiar with the different powers? We used two powers that needed some time to figure out, the paladin's Divine Challenge and the avenger's Oath of EmnIty (all PCs were lvl 5 - this made it more complex, naturally).

I hope it will get simpler with lvl 1 characters and each player controlling their own character and powers; but all in all, is combat slower and more cumbersome in 4e than in 3.5?
Generally yes.  When your combat options extend to larger than "I swing my sword" then it takes longer to resolve.  What you get for that, however, is greater tactical depth.

It will be much faster with one PC per player, though.  Players tend to learn their PCs better, and soon using an at-will becomes just as fast as a basic attack from a prior edition.  Encounter and daily powers will take longer, but it's not as if things like spells in 3.5 were quick and easy to resolve.
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Yeah if you're learning the game you should start at the beginning. It should not surprise you at all that one person controlling four PCs, each of which is already halfway through the first tier of play, is going to be cumbersome and time-consuming.

One of the things I've found that helps players speed up their turn is to take large index cards (I prefer the 5x7 ones) and write down all the powers in notation format, a way that's easy and intuitive for the player to read and understand how the power works. You need to read the power thoroughly though, so that you write it down correctly.

Really if you're just starting out you need to start at the beginning, and the first level or so can got a bit slowly, just as people figure out their character and come to understand the tactical portion of the game. Once you hit mid Heroic things tend to speed up a bit, until you close to Paragon, then things slow back down a little.

Generally, though, if combat is taking longer than an hour and a half by mid-heroic, you need to re-evaluate how you're doing it, and look for some ways to speed up combat. Generally, though, you shouldn't worry about that until level 3 or so. Before then just roll with it as it takes time for the PCs to figoure themselves, and each other, out. 

"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

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