Should Magic Missile auctomatically scale up wih level when other at-wills don't?

I'm sure this has come up in random places in random threads but it seemed worthy of its own thread. The DDN Magic Missile is the only at-will spell that automatically scales up with experience level. It goes from one missile at first level to two missiles at 3rd level and then three missiles at 6th level and four missiles at 9th level. None of the other minor spells like Radiant Lance or Shocking Grasp scale up, they have a flat effect no matter what level the caster is.

It seems strange to me that Magic Missile is the odd one out. Maybe it's just me but it seems like all the minor spells should scale the same way, meaning they either all should scale up automatically at about the same rate or none of them should scale up automatically at all.

Mind you, I'm only talking about the minor spells here. I know that the higher level spells will typically scale based on which spell slot you use to cast them.  The question though is, since minor spells are at-will and don't use up spell slots to cast, should they scale automatically with experience level and if so how fast and shouldn't all of them scale at roughly the same rate?

Just thinking out loud about magic missile scaling, feel free to debate. Smile

I'm sure all those orisons and cantrips will scale with level (or none of them will).


I'm sure all those orisons and cantrips will scale with level (or none of them will).




Yeah, maybe. It's just kind of weird that the playtest rules didn't include that kind of scaling in the spell descriptions except for magic missile. That's why it's a playtest and not the final version, though. Smile
A guess? Magic Missile increases at level 3 and Shocking Grasp at level 4?
Yes at-will powers should scale with level, a fighters sword swing gets better has he gains items/stat increases, A rogue's sneak attack hits harder as he levels,  so too should a wizards arcane might with all of his spells. Smile
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Magic Missiles don't scale with your primary stats like all other at wills, instead has a level-based scaling system. And if magic missiles didn't had more missiles with more levels, this would not have been D&D.
I think, from the little we've seen so far, that magic missile ought not to scale, as such. The flattened advancement makes such scaling a little out of place, it seems to me. On the other hand, if a wizard could opt to prepare magic missile in one of his slots for greater effect, then scale away! Of course, we've not yet seen how higher levels work/scale for other classes or for monsters, so I'm willing to wait and see.
I am not even halfway through reading the playtest packet and this is just another addition to a swiftly growing list of loaded issues. At face value compared to everything else I've read so far it seems slightly OP for an auto-hitting at-will spell to scale at all. I mean, who in their right mind is going to want to pick up a sword when they can learn how to throw magical balls of force around all day that get progressively more powerful? Give me something to hide behind and I could pick you apart before you ever touch me!

My short answer is all at-wills should scale at a comparable rate. If the other damaging at-wills scale at intervals of 4 instead of 3 because they do more damage (even though they are targeted instead of auto-hit) then so be it. That would be a fair compromise (although it would swiftly reintroduce the controversy of casters always being superior to non-casters). If the others don't scale, though, neither should magic missile.
Magic Missiles don't scale with your primary stats like all other at wills, instead has a level-based scaling system. And if magic missiles didn't had more missiles with more levels, this would not have been D&D.



Which brings up another point, maybe a better way to do it for Magic Missile is to have it do a flat Int mod damage instead of 1d4+1 with no connection to Int. That way the damage of Magic Missile is tied to your spell casting ability just like most other spells.

Regarding getting more magic missiles at later levels I don't have a problem with that assuming that other minor spells likewise scale up in damage as you level.
Yes at-will powers should scale with level, a fighters sword swing gets better has he gains items/stat increases, A rogue's sneak attack hits harder as he levels,  so too should a wizards arcane might with all of his spells. Smile



To play devil's advocate, though, the wizard is getting more spell slots and higher level spell slots as he levels, both of which can increase his effectiveness in combat much like the fighter and rogue doing extra damage increase their effectiveness. So for example while the higher level fighter and rogue are doing more damage per hit the higher level wizard is getting more powerful daily spells in his arsenal. With the extra high level spell slots combined with getting more total spell slots the wizard's at-will minor spells don't necessarily need to scale up in level in order for the wizard's overall combat effectiveness to keep pace with the fighter and rogue.
.... On the other hand, if a wizard could opt to prepare magic missile in one of his slots for greater effect, then scale away! Of course, we've not yet seen how higher levels work/scale for other classes or for monsters, so I'm willing to wait and see.



Personally I really like the idea of being able to stick a minor spell in a spell slot to increase its damage. So you can cast the normal, weaker version at-will but then cast a more powerful version as one of your spells.
My impression is that orisons should generally not scale except through magic items or abilities.
However, magic missile is itself not very powerful damage wise. Even at level 9 4d4+4  is not really that high.
Now, as an example, a cleric's lance (at 1d8+ability modifier) falls behind by then, but possibly the cleric would have some better stuff to fling around at that point anyway (and the wizzie as well).

Note though that the goal of the playutests is as yet explictly not to judge the balance of powers, so this is quite likely something that will be looked into at a later date. 

Gomez 
My impression is that orisons should generally not scale except through magic items or abilities.
However, magic missile is itself not very powerful damage wise. Even at level 9 4d4+4  is not really that high.



Remember that it's an automatic damage though, no attack roll or saving throw. That alone makes it worth almost double its listed damage value since most spells and attacks miss about half the time (give or take).  So that 4d4+4 that never misses is equivalent to almost 8d4+8 damage if it required an attack roll.
All minor spells should scale, or represent an effect that doesn't need to scale.  Otherwise they are useless (read: no longer a class feature) after about 3rd level, and if they're going to be useless after 3rd level anyway you might as well just make them 1st-level spells.


A class feature that serves only as training wheels until the "real" class features kick in is bad design. If scaling makes them too powerful, then they should be rebalanced so that they lag slightly behind max spell level power.
My thought about magic missle as it is right now with the scaling is that it has become one of the things i hate most about the older editions.

It is clearly the best choice.

That should never happen in a well balanced game. If you play a wizard and you don't have magic missle people will look at you like there is something wrong in your head. Now if the are saying that it scales by putting it in a higher level slot as a memorized spell that might balance it again, but I'm still not certain.
All minor spells should scale, or represent an effect that doesn't need to scale.  Otherwise they are useless (read: no longer a class feature) after about 3rd level



Considering how a lot of things do not scale with level any more (i.e. AC, to hit etc), that is doubtful.
Orisons and cantrips are not intended to be powerful, they are intended to arm the PC with magic they can always use. They do not need to scale, that's where slotted spells come in.

I don't think MM schould scale automatically, though I like the idea to use slots to scale them.  However, I do think that up to level 3 they are not all that powerful damage wise. After level 6 they become too good for a cantrip, but as I wrote most PCs will have better stuff to fling.
Still I do hope they will remove scaling for cantrip MMs.

Gomez 
It's my understanding that damage is the one thing that does still scale (I mean, something has to, right?).
It's my understanding that damage is the one thing that does still scale (I mean, something has to, right?).



That's true, although in the wizard's and cleric's case as they level up they are automatically getting access to higher level spells and more spells per day. Thus even if their minor spells didn't automatically increase with level their overall damage output and combat effectiveness still does simply through their daily spells improving.

So part of the question of whether or not the minor spells should automatically scale with level is linked to whether or not the automatic scaling of their daily spell slots is enough to keep them in balance with the other classes. If the daily spell slot improvements and higher level spells are good enough then you don't need minor spells to also improve.
The magic missile spell reads almost the same as in some of the previous editions and those proved to be pretty ballanced thus they kept the scaling even though it is now at will.
I also believe that every spellcasting class should have at least one progressing at-will spell available for slinging. simply because the wizard has some major restrictions and the cleric will spend most of his daily mana healing the party.
I think Magic Missile may scale better, but I really do hope the other minor spells scale at some level. Searing Light is pretty good, and might continue to be good for awhile. You should almost always want to use major spells, but when you can't, your minor spells should not feel like wasted actions.

So should Magic Missle scale?
Yes

Should other minor spells scale?
Yes
Should minor spells scale?
No!  To scale a spell, any spell, you should have to prepare it in a higher level slot... including burning slots on cantrips if you want to scale them.  At-will magic is frankly best as either a) Utility not worth a 1st level slot to access (detect magic) or b) A reskin of ye olde darts/crossbows (non-scaling damage).

Should Magic Missile Scale?
Magic Missile's scaling is iconic... but should be regulated the same way as every other spell's scaling.  If you want more missiles, you should have to prepare a higher level MM.

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Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

At-will magic is frankly best as ... b) A reskin of ye olde darts/crossbows (non-scaling damage).



A character using a "ye olde" weapon still has the opportunity to scale their damage through class elements like the fighter getting multiple actions per round.  If a high-level "martial" character is still doing 1d4 points of damage with a dagger at high level in a system with scaling damage values, something is wrong.

I recognize that spellcasters' overall damage output will scale as they gain access to higher-level spells, but I don't think that is the point of this discussion.

My argument is that if minor spells do /not/ scale, they quickly become a "non-feature."  "Training wheels" class features are bad design.  Maybe the answer is that minor spells shouldn't cause damage -- that would be a possible, if not outright acceptable, solution.  But you can't just have damaging minor spells that become useless at 3rd level.  Might as well just make them 1st-level spells.  It's silly.

Speaking specifically about Magic Missile, a lot of its "iconic" features are hold-overs from a time when spell design adhered to the "rule of cool" and virtually never required a to-hit roll.  Magic Missile is and has always been better than a thrown dagger; its only limitation used to be that it could only be cast a few times a day, and now that limitation is gone.  I am one grognard who would not be upset to see the spell turned into a modern touch-attack ray that scales like any other 1st-level spell -- when you spend a higher-level slot on it.  It would /still/ be better than a thrown dagger.

But despite the title of the thread, I don't feel like that's the important question being asked here.  Minor spells /must/ scale (or represent effects that do not require scaling), and if scaling them in the current iteration of the rules results in breakage, they need to be fixed so that it doesn't.
At-will magic is frankly best as ... b) A reskin of ye olde darts/crossbows (non-scaling damage).



A character using a "ye olde" weapon still has the opportunity to scale their damage through class elements like the fighter getting multiple actions per round.  If a high-level "martial" character is still doing 1d4 points of damage with a dagger at high level in a system with scaling damage values, something is wrong.



The problem here is that there are different "costs" to this scaling, at least how the playtest seems to suggest the system will work. A Fighter's damage will scale as he levels. However, that scaling comes from class features, as implied by the Fighter's +1 damage at level 3 in the playtest. Getting damage as a class feature means that he is getting that scaling instead of something else. For example, the playtest Wizard could be seen as getting 3 new spells in the same way that teh Fighter got +1 damage.

So then we come to the problem with scaling Magic Missle or other attack cantrips for free. That it is for free. The Fighter got +1 damage as AN ENTIRE CLASS FEATURE. The Wizard gets class features (new spells) AND more missles from Magic Missle which, by the way, causes 3.5 average damage that can not miss, as compared to tacking on +1 damage to an attack that CAN miss. The Wizard gained more damage just by existing at level 3 than a Fighter got from their entire level 3 class feature. The Fighter didn't get any more damage just for BEING level 3, they needed to "use" their class feature for the level on it. Essentially, if the At-Wills of the Wizard are going to automaticlly scale with level, then the "At-Will" of the Fighter/Other non-casters needs to scale AUTOMATICLLY with level, not as a class feature.

I think you are correct in saying that Magic Missle will become less effective as levels increase, but the Wizard will either have to 1) Live with that and just use it on weak enemies, as it has been implied that Orcs and such are still supposed to be "a credible threat" in later levels, 2) The Fighter will need more rapid damage scaling, or 3) If the Fighter doesn't get damage scaling without a cost, then the Wizard should not be given it on a silver platter. Make them give up feats or some other valuable character resource to gain that scaling. Want another missle? That'll be a feat. What, STILL want more missles? More feats, please. Or as has been suggested, only give more missles if Magic Missle is prepared in an actual spell slot.


Edit: Removed that math part. I'm probably totally wrong on that, so it's best to leave it out.  
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At-will magic is frankly best as ... b) A reskin of ye olde darts/crossbows (non-scaling damage).



A character using a "ye olde" weapon still has the opportunity to scale their damage through class elements like the fighter getting multiple actions per round.  If a high-level "martial" character is still doing 1d4 points of damage with a dagger at high level in a system with scaling damage values, something is wrong.


Except the wizard did not get that.  A wizard who was out of spells was generally forced to a crossbow in 3e or darts in 2e and before, the damage of which would either not scale at all or at least scale in a pitiful, token sort of way, like second attack at level 10 for 3e wizards (which you didn't get with a crossbow thanks to reloading.) 

Of course, by level 10 a real wizard is starting to dominate -- but a Shadowcaster* could still be sent into crossbow mode by a good day's adventuring, though somewhere around there they got their minor, non-scaling Fundamentals as at-will, precisley 0 of which did real damage (one did nonlethal, which was worthless against constructs and undead, so I hope you've got a crossbow for that.)

Magic Missile's new role is the replacement for "Crossbow Mode" -- what a wizard does when out of spells or when your remaining spells are too valuable to blow in this circumstance.  To fulfill that role, it ought to not scale.


* For the record, I think the Shadowcaster is an amazingly well designed class.  Resource managment is vital despite eventually getting at-wills, there are a lot of good decision points at character creation, and despite being thematically and mechanically a full caster, it plays well with others.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

If the magic missile is intended to be the wizard's equivalent of an unaugmented RBA by a non-caster, the question of whether it should scale or not seems like it should depend on what RBAs look like at the respective levels. Since weapons are not finalized and the playtest does very little to illuminate what an RBA for any non-caster would look like beyond level 3, it doesn't seem like we have sufficient information to talk about whether or not magic missile should scale based on mechanical balance.

Aesthetically you could argue that it shouldn't scale, but then other RBAs should be balanced based on that. 
At-will attacks should scale.  Not all at-will spells have to.  An at-will spell that provides an AC boost, for example, shouldn't scale.  Depends completely on what the spell itself does.
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The moment one character ceases to make a useful contribution to the adventure, the desire to recover resources so that they can continue to contribute increases.  It does not matter if you are talking about hit points, spells or similar daily abilities like the fighters surge.


Scaling minor abilities are important for every class as a meaningful fallback option.  Otherwise you end up being dead weight that has to be carried through every encounter, once your major abilities have been expended.  That is not fun for anyone.
           
Assuming the dwarf and his battleaxe hit only HALF the time at level 1, then magic missile's 1d4+1 autohit [average 3.5 damage] is HALF of what the dwarf would be putting out, and that's IF he didn't have that reaper ability.

At level 3, the Dwarf is half a point ahead, since his damage went up by one half the time.

At level 6, the Mage is [again, assuming mr battleaxe only ever hits half the time] dealing slightly more. We'll start counting Reaper now, so its 10.5 to 9.

If the dwarf hits instead 3/4 of the time, then with reaper the average is 12 [11.25 + .75] at level 3, which needs four missiles to beat, again, assuming there's no other boosts to the fighter such as an increased strength bonus [which would alter reaper and the main attacks], or extra specialization or whatnot.

A level 9 mage would deal two more damage per round than the dwarf's single attack, but with a lot of assumptions there that probably don't at all favor reality. Also, its a level 9 character versus a level THREE.
One important element that's not really being entered into the equation is that back at the first public interview for DDN at, I think they just called it Dungeon-con or Dragon-con or something, the directors stated that as far as their approach to enemy power levels this time they intend for the same enemies to be a threat for a longer period of time and that there wouldn't be as many "tiers" of enemies anymore.  They don't want the players to go "oh, we're level 2 now so we can just ignore the Kobolds".  They wanted the same kobold to be something you still have to deal with for many more levels than in 4e, where the DM basically HAD to switch to more powerful enemies quickly every time someone got a new weapon or leveled because the math behind the monster blocks was so differently scaled that it was requisite for the monster to even be a threat.

That all being said, if they've worked on the balance of the monsters so that even at say, level 5 you're still fighting basic kobolds and they are still a legimite threat, albeit to a minorly reduced degree, then it makes perfect sense for there to be select few powers that actually automatically scale, as Magic Missile does now.

As well, with Magic Missile auto-scaling to 4 separate SHOTS of 1d4 + 1  and not a SINGLE shot of 4d4 + 4, it seems like the Wizard is currently the only class that appears to have the ability to do wide-scale direct blasting, perhaps indicating that as he levels, his class function in the party starts to include "Sweeping Blaster" for taking out the hordes of little guys quickly so the Fighter (who by level 9 is probably doing fantastic damage every round) and the Rogue (who at level 9 is dropping 9d6 in Sneak Attack any time he has Advantage) can focus on the hardier critters while the Cleric(s) work on support and backup damage.

Now, the question does come to mind that if MM scales at level, why wouldn't the other cantrips?  Honestly I think its exactly because of the above idea of the Wizard adding an extra function to his role in combat.  Shocking Grasp is, I believe, a Wizard's "failsafe" spell when something gets too close, so to a degree you could equate it to their melee attack.  The fighter's weapon itself doesn't get any stronger over time, but his Str mod (or Dex if he Finesses) would presumably be increasing, but so would the Wizard's Int, which would be increasing the base damage.

So in truth, I really feel like that while Magic Missile is a "damage spell" at low level, and really EVERYTHING is a damage ability at that low of level just by nature of the scale of the math, as it levels, it upgrades in order to give the Wizard more party support capability.

Consider the possibility for a moment and wonder how it might change the feel of a wizard if it was possible to take a feat or class feature that allowed the Wizard to apply status effects through their Magic Missiles?
.... On the other hand, if a wizard could opt to prepare magic missile in one of his slots for greater effect, then scale away! Of course, we've not yet seen how higher levels work/scale for other classes or for monsters, so I'm willing to wait and see.



Personally I really like the idea of being able to stick a minor spell in a spell slot to increase its damage. So you can cast the normal, weaker version at-will but then cast a more powerful version as one of your spells.

I don't think they will go for it, but i think this is your best option.

You have 5 level 1 spell slots.

You can put in sleep, which you cast 1/day.
or
You can put in magic missile, which while it takes up your slot, isn't forgotten when cast.

Then later, when you get a level 2 slot.

You can put in sleep, which you cast 1/day (against 20 HP creatures).
or
You can put in magic missile, which takes up the level 2 slot (2 missiles), but isn't forgotten.

So you could have...

Lvl 1 slots:
Slot 1: Magic Missle (at-will)
Slot 2: Burning hands (1/day)
Slot 3: Burning hands (1/day)
Slot 4: Light (at-will)
Slot 5: Greese (1/day)

Lvl 2 slots:
Slot 1: Mage hand (+20 lbs capacity, +20' range, +2 hight)
Slot 2: Arch Lightning

You could even have encounter power spells.

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F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

The other factor in class balancing that people are missing here is melee vs. ranged.  Yes, the fighter, when already standing still, next to the enemy, assuming a 50% miss rate, is outperforming Magic Missile (the at-will power).  But, the fighter is not guaranteed to have a target every round.  He may have to move and position in lieu of the attack for a round.  The fighter is also the one who is at risk for taking the most damage being a front-line melee type.  Fighters earn the extra damage in exchange for these limits.

The wizard, on the other hand, never misses.  Can always attack every round with magic missile if any enemy is in sight.  Gets to stay to the back in relative safety.  Is usually back far enough to easily make a safe retreat.  On top of this, the wizard is given many spells that are supposed to be even better!!!

There is no reason magic missile should be anywhere close to the same average damage a fighter dishes out in melee.  If it is, then the wizard is broken.

I'm just going to make one point.  Apologies if it has already been said, I didn't feel like reading all 3 previos pages of posts. 

All at wills need to remain useful at whatever level they are used at.  Exactly how this is achieved depends on the spell effects and how the game scales in general.  At the moment it looks like the only thing that scales is damage... so damaging spells should scale.  This scaling may come from the spellcasting class itself rather than from the spell.  Most at wills don't inflict damage so don't need to scale.  Ray of frost, for instance, remains useful without needing to improve.  Same for most utility effects.  

Magic missile is odd in that it doesn't have an attack roll and isn't affected by casting attribute.  I think the real question here should be: should it follow seperate rules from other offensive spells?  I think that magic missile always hitting is a very minor sacred cow (if it even qualifies as one at all) and can't imagine too much gnashing of teeth if it were to go away.  I could be wrong.  I don't have a lot of history with this particular spell so don't have the attachment to it or any specific mechanics regarding it.
I keep reading that Magic missile never misses... but thats not entierly true, any one with acess to the Shield spell can ignore magic missile....
I really don't know why everyone is getting so worked up when we have so little info.

We have the scaling on Magic Missile through level 9.  We have the scaling on everything else through level 3.

Is it balanced for the data we have?  I think so; 2d4+2 auto-damage seems about on par with the other classes, given that the clerics have long-duration buffs (which don't help MM), Sneak Attack scales rapidly, and Cleave plus the fighter's already-high damage is sick.

What will damage progression for weapon attacks, and therefore probably weapon-like spells such as Radiant Lance and Shocking Grasp, be like?  Who knows?  Well, WotC does, but we don't.  Given the HP bloat we can see from the rules we're given, damage output, whether directly or indirectly, will skyrocket as a function of level.

I have a feeling that 5d4+5 auto-damage, at will, will be a perfectly appropriate attack at level 9, compared to other classes' at-wills.  It probably won't see much use even then, depending on how many spell slots the wizard has and how long the workday is.

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I really don't know why everyone is getting so worked up when we have so little info.

We have the scaling on Magic Missile through level 9.  We have the scaling on everything else through level 3.

Is it balanced for the data we have?  I think so; 2d4+2 auto-damage seems about on par with the other classes, given that the clerics have long-duration buffs (which don't help MM), Sneak Attack scales rapidly, and Cleave plus the fighter's already-high damage is sick.

What will damage progression for weapon attacks, and therefore probably weapon-like spells such as Radiant Lance and Shocking Grasp, be like?  Who knows?  Well, WotC does, but we don't.  Given the HP bloat we can see from the rules we're given, damage output, whether directly or indirectly, will skyrocket as a function of level.

I have a feeling that 5d4+5 auto-damage, at will, will be a perfectly appropriate attack at level 9, compared to other classes' at-wills.  It probably won't see much use even then, depending on how many spell slots the wizard has and how long the workday is.


Because Auto Hit At wills aren't a good idea when they scale at all.

Remember this isn't and shouldn't be compared to a fighters single attack without considering the full power of both classes.

Both in this case have an auto hit.  One does the average damage, the other does a roll to see how much and has a minimum 1 less but scales over time.

Both are a bad idea.

One strictly based on the mechanical implications, the other based on how much the class has outside the at will.

The mage can detect magic (no biggie here), do a shocking grasp that is even better against metal armor, magic missles everywhere, deliver healing potions at range to downed allies via magehand, cast sleep, cast burning hands, cast ray of frost, shield, mage armor.

The slayer can hit stuff and wear armor. He doesn't miss Ever.  Sometimes he can hit stuff twice.  Or if he kills something 3 times. 

Hmm... what is wrong with comparing the DPS of magic missle with the fighter attack I wonder?


Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

I really don't know why everyone is getting so worked up when we have so little info.

We have the scaling on Magic Missile through level 9.  We have the scaling on everything else through level 3.

Is it balanced for the data we have?  I think so; 2d4+2 auto-damage seems about on par with the other classes, given that the clerics have long-duration buffs (which don't help MM), Sneak Attack scales rapidly, and Cleave plus the fighter's already-high damage is sick.

What will damage progression for weapon attacks, and therefore probably weapon-like spells such as Radiant Lance and Shocking Grasp, be like?  Who knows?  Well, WotC does, but we don't.  Given the HP bloat we can see from the rules we're given, damage output, whether directly or indirectly, will skyrocket as a function of level.

I have a feeling that 5d4+5 auto-damage, at will, will be a perfectly appropriate attack at level 9, compared to other classes' at-wills.  It probably won't see much use even then, depending on how many spell slots the wizard has and how long the workday is.


Because Auto Hit At wills aren't a good idea when they scale at all.

Remember this isn't and shouldn't be compared to a fighters single attack without considering the full power of both classes.

Both in this case have an auto hit.  One does the average damage, the other does a roll to see how much and has a minimum 1 less but scales over time.

Both are a bad idea.

One strictly based on the mechanical implications, the other based on how much the class has outside the at will.

The mage can detect magic (no biggie here), do a shocking grasp that is even better against metal armor, magic missles everywhere, deliver healing potions at range to downed allies via magehand, cast sleep, cast burning hands, cast ray of frost, shield, mage armor.

The slayer can hit stuff and wear armor. He doesn't miss Ever.  Sometimes he can hit stuff twice.  Or if he kills something 3 times. 

Hmm... what is wrong with comparing the DPS of magic missle with the fighter attack I wonder?





I agree with you here. They need to make it where they take the damage if the reaper misses by 5 or less or something like that which would be more realistic.

A better way to do magic missile would be to make them roll for it, but if the die is less than 10 have it automatically count as 10 (then add bonuses and penalties) so that it would feel more reliable, but could still have a small chance of missing on high AC targets...
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1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
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The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
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The other factor in class balancing that people are missing here is melee vs. ranged.  Yes, the fighter, when already standing still, next to the enemy, assuming a 50% miss rate, is outperforming Magic Missile (the at-will power).  But, the fighter is not guaranteed to have a target every round.  He may have to move and position in lieu of the attack for a round.  The fighter is also the one who is at risk for taking the most damage being a front-line melee type.  Fighters earn the extra damage in exchange for these limits.

The wizard, on the other hand, never misses.  Can always attack every round with magic missile if any enemy is in sight.  Gets to stay to the back in relative safety.  Is usually back far enough to easily make a safe retreat.  On top of this, the wizard is given many spells that are supposed to be even better!!!

There is no reason magic missile should be anywhere close to the same average damage a fighter dishes out in melee.  If it is, then the wizard is broken.


Boy that argument takes me back...

First, that's already covered. A 50% miss chance on one attack is being horribly generous towards the mage here. At 50%, level 1 against level 1, we're looking at double the damage. 1d4+1 is 3.5 average. That's half the example dwarven fighter's BONUS STATIC damage, before his 2d6.

 Until you've got a second missile, you're at a quarter of his damage if he's hitting every round. ONE. QUARTER. On rounds where the fighter misses, he's dealing 0.5 average damage less than the mage.

The fighter gets these:
-Roughly double the damage over the mage from what we're looking at right now. The wizard can pull out his lightning arc, the fighter can pull out his second attack. I'd say that compensates for the rather occasional "no targets here", especially if he's at least got a ranged weapon instead of just an axe.

-d12hp, which on average is 2.5~3 times the mage d4
-Heavy Armor

Those last two certainly compensate for being in melee I would say. Magic Missile ain't all that great, but even it needs to be upgraded to an improvable "weapon" in order to become a valid ranged weapon.
The wizard should be doing less damage than the fighter with his at-wills. The fighter, in this case, has taken the slayer theme ... which is basically a 'striker' theme. The wizard has taken a theme which is basically a 'controller' theme (it gives him extra at-wills). The wizard has elected to be more versatile, the fighter has elected to deal more damage. Removing those elements, you still have that the wizards should do more damage (or better effects) through their daily powers than the wizard, while their at-wills should be weaker. The magic missle for the wizard should be comparable to say ... the rogue attacking without advantage, or the fighter using their backup weapon. It should probably be better than those 'fall backs', since the fighter/rogue should be able to use their 'best' more often than the wizard uses their spells, but if the wizards at-wills are as good as the at-wills for classes that don't really have much aside from at-wills ... either the wizards spells aren't better than at-wills, or the wizard is better than martial classes. And, fighter should, in raw numbers, be very good at something if it's the only thing they are good at, while a wizard should, by virtue of being able to do many different things, not have to be as powerful. There is power in versatility, which is the wizards bread and butter. 

  Certain powers auto-scale by virtue of not needing to, like Ray of Frost. Since magic implements, like wands, improve attacks vs. AC and save DCs, perhaps they could have some kind of wand bonus that also scales up Magic Missle. Hell, why not use a theme/feat to improve the cantrips/orisons if someone wants them to. That way you are investing 'something' to improve your at-will power. [Perhaps there are even inate class features of trading spell slots to improve at-wills, as a way of reducing your number of spells per day, but having better 'back-ups' as a result, etc].
 The big thing I see here is, everyone is compareing MM to the fighters attack as if thats all the Wizard can do. Yes, the fighter hitting thigs does more damage per round than a MM, but MM is not the wizard's only spell, and no mater which he choses, all the fighter can do is hit things. No amount of hitting one or 2 targets at 5th lv, will ever equal a fireball in damage output.
MM is a function of Class. The Fighter's auto-damage is a function of theme so it shouldn't come into play for these calculations.

Our example Fighter is using a two handed weapon that he has a racial bonus for, so it's not exactly the best comparison. 

But using the basic spell and weapon provided (but not Themes) and assuming the spells/classes are balanced at level 1, the Mage does 2-5 (1d4+1) damage with an autohit and the Fighter does 9-19 (2d6+7) damage but requires an attack roll.

At level 9 the Mage will be doing 8-20 (4d4+4) with an auto hit versus the extrapolated Fighter's 12-22 (2d6+10) again, still requiring an attack roll.

If it was balanced at Lvl 1, it sure as heck isn't at 9.  

Ranged weapons in general are on or below par with the main one handed weapons, so by extension a ranged at will should do 1d6 or 1d8 + modifier like the priest's version. 

Assuming a +1 damage every three levels like the fighter, Radiant lance does 5-12 (1d8+4) at first level with an attack roll, and 8-15 (1d8+7) with an attack roll at level 9. That appears to be much more like what WotC is looking for with their 'flatter progression.'

My suggestion: Make MM a 1st level spell and let it scale when it's placed into higher level spell slots. Replace it with a damage at-will called Arcane Bolt or Eldritch Blast or whatever that works like Radiant Lance. This would also balance out any ability score gains that may happen during progression.

One of the main reasons for the "Quardratic Wizard" was that not only did they get new and more powerful spells, but also their old, low level spells got more powerful.
All cantrip and orison attacks that deal damage should have that damage scale.  I agree with those who don't want to see "training wheel" class features.  Besides, running out of meaningful spells on a long adventuring day isn't fun or good for class design.

Personally, I like having magic missile auto-hit and using d4s.  Those have been its schticks throughout the editions.  It doesn't need to add another 1d4+1 missile every odd level, but it should scale throughout the full level range instead of capping at level 9.  Once the playtest tackles the full level range, we can worry about how the math on at-wills spells and fighter hits to the face scale.