Stress testing or breaking the entire game?

Ok, I'll come right out and say that I can't stand how the developers have been handling the playtests.

It's pointless to use magic in this game since you have so limited a number of spells and do no better damage with a "consumable" spell than a warrior does with his normal attack (which he has infinite use of).  In fact, spellcaster's at-will magical attacks are literally only half the strength of a warrior's attack, meaning that they are far outclassed in power that way.  You can cast a spell, maybe, if you saved up your one or two options a day, to do moderate damage to a group, but that's the best you've got.  And without dick for spell slots you can't use your slots for anything strategic, like web, if you EVER plan on doing any decent damage.  Add in the fact that they have incredibly low armor class and health you can see that they have absolutely no advantage in combat.  Outside of combat they get one or two cantrips to use (you're going to have one cantrip stop taken up as an attack or you won't be doing ANY damage in combat), generally lower strength and dex, and only intelligence being their notable modifier.  So basically, casters only serve a purpose of saying, "I recognize that ancient text," and that's it.

Monks, period, are broken.  They get every good thing in the books, including perfect stats.  Want immunity to everything?  You've got it by low levels.  Want to be able to bet the crap out of a god?  Well, just wait until LEVEL 2 and you can bypass every resistance in the game.  Those pesky mages getting you down by casting 1 spell in combat?  Well you've now got advantage over everything that they can do.  Feel like sitting Ghadi style for your entire life?  You can just teleport everywhere now.  Upset that you don't have perfect stats, and that you actually took some damage at some point in your life?  Just wait until level 20.  You're covered there too.  Broken beyond measure.

The rogue is finally useful in combat again with sneak attack, which is nice.  SEVERLY out trumps everything that a wizard can do, including it's level 9 spell (which either hits an area for moderate damage, or is instant death of 50hp or lower), but at least they don't completely suck and you have to stealth to be able to get the sneak attack.  And it gets no advantage.  So, hurray for that.  Oh, and the fact that they don't get + (a **** load) on practically every skill role in the entire game.  So, they aren't too horrible any more.

From a DM's perspective, getting a new ruleset (and having to print it because you KNOW that not everyone read all the rules) every month is completely ridiculous.  Every 3 months, maybe, but  not every month.  I know that they want to test new ideas, but this is getting to be a pain in the ass to deal with.  The fact that the players have to redesign their characters ever month is also a hassle on them.

Basically, it seems like the developers, instead of trying to create a balanced playtest, are trying to see how much they can stress test the game.  They seem to me to be intentionally breaking certain classes, for better or worse, to see just how far they can take this system and when things are completely unbalanced.  While this may be great for their data purposes, it ****ing sucks for the rest of us who are trying to play the game, test out the rules, and have fun.  When half the party are gods and the other half can't do dick, it's not fun for me, the DM, and it's not fun for the other half of the group that look at things and say, "I'll just let the warrior handle everything.  Again..."

I think that in their effort to test out new ideas Wizards is stressing things WAY too far and is breaking the game, making it worthless to play and test for people who want to have fun.
While I agree with some of your points I think others fall short.The monk yes,its pretty clear to everyone that the monk is quite a bit off from the other classes,why it was presented to us like this I have no idea.But we can only work with the information that they've givin us.I dont think that the monk will be the same for the next playtest (or if it is we will see a improvement to other classes to bring them up to snuff with the monk) which we will see a new playtest by the end of the month.

Now as far as the playtest information needing tons of copies.....I dont see that (I personally use a laptop when I game,having all of the playtest information right there with me) but I do understand that not everyone has a labtop....even though you can get one for less then $200.So all you need is the original playtest,and then make sure you read "READ THIS FIRST" section that lets you know of the changes.As a Dm you are there to know the rules,the players are there to play the game,sure it helps to have players that know the game and its rules but if you find it frustrating that your players dont know the rules well enough then I think maybe you should step back from being a DM.



Wizards are going to be a hard class as are the rangling of spells.As a company im sure WoC doesnt want this to end like 3.x where spellcasters became apex preditors around levels 12+ and meele fell so far behind they served as nothing more then damage sponges until the spell casters got around to finishing off whatever they were fighting.


    
I would be inclined to think that a "stress test" is exactly what they want.After all the game will play host to millions of players across the world.And they know that if a product is released and its not ready.....well it would be the end of D&D for sure,so they need to get it right this time.All the while they are going against some of the most fickle fans in the world,most seperated by 10/20/30 years and many editions.


Hang in there,keep giving input (wether positive or negitive) and do your part in making sure that this eddtion of D&D is going to be everything you would like it to be (not that we always get what we want)   
From a DM's perspective, getting a new ruleset (and having to print it because you KNOW that not everyone read all the rules) every month is completely ridiculous.  Every 3 months, maybe, but  not every month.  I know that they want to test new ideas, but this is getting to be a pain in the ass to deal with.  The fact that the players have to redesign their characters ever month is also a hassle on them.



Then just use every 3rd playtest.

Basically, it seems like the developers, instead of trying to create a balanced playtest, are trying to see how much they can stress test the game.  They seem to me to be intentionally breaking certain classes, for better or worse, to see just how far they can take this system and when things are completely unbalanced.



To some extent, this is what they're doing.  Of course, they want every playtest to be playable, but they are trying new/weird things out on us to see whether we hate them.

While this may be great for their data purposes, it ****ing sucks for the rest of us who are trying to play the game, test out the rules, and have fun.  When half the party are gods and the other half can't do dick, it's not fun for me, the DM, and it's not fun for the other half of the group that look at things and say, "I'll just let the warrior handle everything.  Again..."



It's a playtest.  It's not going to be perfect.  You're getting a free RPG system in exchange for helping them find out what's wrong with the system.  I mean this in the nicest way possible: if you want to play a finished game, you should play a finished game.  This game is flagged as unfinished, and will play as such.
I do realize that this is a playtest, and hence not a perfectly balanced game that caters to everyone.  That being said, however, it isn't too hard to see when you've got some glaring issues.

It took all of 3 min. of reading to see that the monk was broken beyond all belief.  I literally don't see how anyone with knowledge and experience with D&D could have possibly thought that it wasn't horribly broken.

It took only a bit of simple math (averages and summations) to find out that the caster classes are literally doing HALF the damage that everyone else is doing, unless if they cast one of there very, very few spells to hit a whole mob of people.  Then they do good damage once or twice a battle... and that's it.  Considering the fact that they also have less health and (for the wizard) less armor, it's plain to see right off the bat that casters are garbage.  The fact that they seem to be getting worse every playtest, and that physical combat seems to be getting better and better with each playtest seems to indicate that Wizards has very little intent of fixing them.

And while it's great to say, "Everyone should have read the packets and been prepared," when you play in a public setting that anyone can join, it's rather difficult to punish the regulars for not doing their homework.  I have no problem teaching new people, but when others haven't read the 14th iteration of the rules that came out this month, it's frustrating to deal with.  And A LOT does change every time that they repost things.  Classes, backgrounds, and specialties all change dramatically with each playtest.  And that's over 40 pages of junk to print out.  Over and over and over again in so little of a time period.  The thought of, "Just play every 3rd iteration," is also a flawed thought because it means that none of us would be able to give constructive critisism on the current playtest.  So, once again, it's annoying as hell for a DM to deal with.

It's not that I'm expecting a perfect game, but it's obvious that the changes made have for some things have MASSIVE issues.  And that's my biggest issue with these playtests.  It's good to stress test, it lets you try knew ideas (like the advantage system and skill dice) and see how they work.  But when you've scewed things so far out of balance, made some classes so superior and others so inferior, you're not getting any useful data because you already know that they are broken.  On top of that, it's just NOT FUN anymore for the poeple playing because there is absolutely no semblence of balance at all.
GH, I can tell you're on a bit of a rant and I'm not saying that you haven't got that right. D&D is a game of the heart, after all.

I feel that you are not giving the game the true benefit of the doubt however. A lot of folks have said that the monk seems unbalanced upon reading, but playing one has a different feeling. I think that "broken beyond belief" is a bit strong. You get no armor, d6 damage with your fists, a few extra skills and one cool semi-magic thing you can do once per day at first level. Sure, your AC is based upon Wis+Dex (so high), but you're a melee fighter without armor still. You say your hands now overcome all resistances? well whoopity doo. Guess how many creatures in the current playtest have those resistances? Demons/devils, elementals, both golems, rakshaka, wights, gargoyles, and werewolves. That's all. So, if your party is going up against a ton of demons, then yeah, the monk might be a bit more useful than intended. Immunity to disease.... hmm, there are 2 creatures that can do that. Clear mind... Charm or fear effects don't work? Yawn. Immunity to poison - wait, we're at level 11 already? Well okay, there are 7 creatures that can poison you, unless you're fighting a drow campaign. Abundant step and diamond soul... well, that I can get behind are a bit too powerful, but only at the levels gained. Swap those with Empty body and Tongue of sun and moon and I'm happier though. Quivering palm is fine as written, and Timeless body is way too overpowered if you're doing an all desert campaign, but otherwise seems fine. I don't see how you can complain about perfect self though - you don't get it until 20th level. What does that really "get" you by that point?

Here is what I'm getting out of the playtest. I play a free game, and then I get to bitch about it AND  someone reads those words and probably does something because there are hundreds of others taking the same survey saying things need to change. Heck, I do the same thing with regular D&D, except no one cares when I complain! Of course the difference is that I'm trying to only play with how the rules are written and not Rule Zero them to my liking.

Printing out new rules and making new PC's each time sucks, but that's the current game. You get to be a part of that! 
Have to agree with Celric here, this is unfinished, there are aspects of the game they are intentionally pushing to the extreme.  They already broke rogue (imo since I'm playing it) with some comboes, me and my DM had a hard time finding when I CAN'T hide and when I don't start hidden in an encounter.  Our cleric's running beside our fighter and maul stuff while our monk only managed to whack something once with a stick.  We are planning on swapping out my bow rogue with another type of rogue or a wizard (since we lack one) until later level.  Why?  Because we are playtesting it, it isn't a full campaign, just a light novel-ish feel.  We will do a campaign when the game is done.  If you are hating it so much, play one of the many other editions until 5e is done, others will playtest it.  Cry about it when 5e goes gold.

As for monk being OP, reading it and playing it can be completely different.  So I won't commit myself to a view until I see it in action in our play sessions.  Made that mistake once and felt like a fool.   
I take issue with calling the Wizard garbage because they do roughly half-damage as the fighter and rogue.

One problem past editions have had with Wizards and Clerics is that they ended up being good at everything, including damage dealing. Can't open that lock? No matter, teleport through it. Not dealing enough damage? Polymorph into a titan and cast enlarge on yourself. About to get splatted? Time-stop, teleport to a different plane, summon a unicorn to heal you, rest, and come back with Angels. Rogues and Fighters looked pretty cheesy in comparison.

Now, 4.0 took a lot of the relative physics-breaking out-of-combat stuff away from wizards, which fact caused no small amount of vociferous complaining (including from me, citing the lack of a Charm spell in 4.0 as a major pain-point).

Since the Wizard's and Cleric's abilities to counter the laws of physics have been restored (Thanks!), I don't see too much of a problem with leaving fighters and rogues in their primary role as in-combat damage dealers. 
I kind of agree with GuyeFaux on this one. I do think the Wizard is underpowered, but it isn't useless. At low levels a lot of the enemies have very little HP, like 1d4 or 1d6, and come in swarms. Those AOE spells like Thunderwave and Burning Hands can massacre a group of cave rats or imps or kobolds or goblins, while the Fighter and Monk have to kill them one, at best two at a time. Most spells also have additional effects like reducing speed or pushing the target away. I definitely say the casters need more spell slots, though, that is one of the biggest problems with the game. As for their defenses, they're not half bad. If they have a good Dex and cast Mage Armor, that's an AC of 14 or 15, which is pretty good in this game, as good as some heavy armor. And Shield adds half-cover for an additional +2. If the Wizards you've seen have used Dex as a dump stat, it's their own fault they get hit a lot.

As for the playtesting process overall, I don't know what you expect. You volunteered to test an experimental system, are you expecting them to get it perfect the first try? Why would they even need us to do this if they already knew which ideas would work and which wouldn't? They can test it on their own, but opening it up to a large sample of players and throwing us all of their crazy ideas that may or may not work will make this a much better game in the end.
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