Balance is Subjective.

This is not going to end well.



Anyway balance in RPG's (not just D&D) is subjective and it is shaped by the genres and individuals expectations. It also varies by the game world the DM has created and the amount of combat and non combat expected. Perfect balance is a waste of time IMHO due to these factors and even then there are other ways to deal with it.



Recently on the forums there has been a few arguments over stat generation ability, basically point buy vs stat array vs rolled. I generally let my players use whatever one they like but I warn them don't bother overly min maxing point buy as it will bite you in the ass (7/7/7/14/16/18 etc). Most of my group picks stat array or point buy one of my players prefers to roll and so do I. If we roll up a weak character we just min max harder or take a more powerful race or class. A pre 4th ed Drow for example with full NPC drow racial abilities isn't such a huge problem if a PC rolled a 12 as their highest score.



Not that we actually play Drow (well ok we done a Drow campaign once) but its easier to identify something like that than one of my home brew races. Put simply we balance things out ourselves if we want a high powered game everyone can be Drow and use 10,12, 13, 14,14,16 stat array. Our gaming style will not suit everyone of course. I actually switch it up. One game will be anything goes, another game will be a lot more restrictive. Currently in my 3.XYZ mish mash game one cannot even take levels in a spell caster class until level 3 due to a systematic purge of magic over 1000 years.



However balance can also be genre related. In the old WEG D6 system if your opposed strength roll was exceeded by 16 your character was killed. 3D was a reasonable strength score, a sniper rifle dealt 7D damage but a head shot added +2D damage and character points could add another 2D and bring that to 11D6 which was opposed by a 3d6 strength roll. An average damage roll from a sniper rifle will kill your PC with no saving throw allowed. That may be unbalanced from a D&D point of view but what if you are doing a gritty game set in real life and your PC is a soldier charging up Omaha beach? Change the genre again to a James Bond themed game and you can use the same mechanics and add some sort of destiny/fate/action/force/luck point resource that can mitigate that instant kill shot (bad guys can't aim in movies anyway and that's why).



An orc fighter with a great axe can be a scary thought for a level 1 PC. A 3.5 raging orc level 1 barbarian can one shot a level 1 PC maybe even to negative 10 hit points. I am fine with that if that's what people like. Personally I would very rarely use an Orc Barbarian like that and if I did I would probably tell my players “this is a gritty and deadly campaign” or words to that effect. 3.5 and 4th ed had there various problems but once again balance is subjective. Some 3.5 gamers probably liked that others may not have but still liked the system overall. Same thing with 4th ed players they may not like certain aspects of it but they will still like the system overall. You cannot really balance what people want or what they will be happy with.



In core rules it is usually easier to add something than to put something in and take it out later. Anything that is drastically different is better off in a splat book or campaign setting. Races like Warforged and Eladrin can cause problems by their very existence depending on the tone of the DMs world. Inherently magical/monstrous/supernatural races will not work in some worlds. A Warforged fighter is a no go if the DM has a plot hook involving a long lost parent/sibling/claim to the throne event for one of the PCs. An Eladrin cannot be imprisoned in a conventional Earth prison/tower, a Dragonborn bar fight could easily kill the mundane races despite being balanced in combat mechanically with other heroes. Some DMs could ban them for that reason. Some of the historical themed source books from TSR went as far as banning all non human races and the wizard class and nerfing the cleric. Once again that's fine but it is better off in a source book. If you don't like it don't play that setting or buy that book. An Elf let alone a Warforged does not belong in a Rome themed game. A fantasy Rome however could have the huns be an Orc horde, the Pope could have a half elf child.



I don't think Mearls and co are sitting around in an office cackling about how they can screw you over personally but it is impossible to cater to everyone tastes on the release of D&DN despite it being inclusive as a design goal. I'm not going to get to upset if they include a Dragonborn and exclude a Warforged (vice versa maybe). This is where I think the module part is going to come into play. It just depends on what people expect on release. It was unfair to 4th ed to expect it to match the splat book bloat of 3.5 on release and it is unfair to expect everything from D&DN on release. If you have impossible expectations of course D&DN will suck. I'm still waiting for my Spelljammer update dammit;) Some things are just going to be fundamentally incompatible with your expectations at least on release.



 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

In short: the Balance Brigade needs to understand that no amount of artificial cross-class balancing will ever accomplish what they wish, since all in-game actions are subject to negotiation. The only way to even approximately avoid it would be to make classes mathematically identical...the road to boredom.

This is not going to end well.



That's because you're completely wrong.
In short: the Balance Brigade needs to understand that no amount of artificial cross-class balancing will ever accomplish what they wish, since all in-game actions are subject to negotiation. The only way to even approximately avoid it would be to make classes mathematically identical...the road to boredom.



That's not what balance is, and you know it.
Aren't Warforged a really Eberron-specific race anyhow?  I'd be completely happy if they were left out as a character option from core, same with the Thri-keen or Shardminds.  Their mere existence makes large geographical, historical, or cosmological assumptions about a setting they appear in.  Fish out of water is a very fine and dandy thing for starting a plot once in a while but its overuse looks boring and Gary Stu-ish

Dragonborn were added to the core in 4th, and lost the lore baggage they had in 3.X. They look pretty neat, and it's really not that much different than a Lizardman race.  The core D&D sourcebooks need to focus on general fantasy tropes with additional things like the Dragonborn thrown in.

Aren't Warforged a really Eberron-specific race anyhow?




Considering that the first Monster Manual for 4e had Warforged in them, not really, no.  And, again, presence in the initial outlay of books in no way mandates its inclusion in any game.

And the presence of any race does not make particular assumptions about cosmology, history, or geography.  Nothing says a race must be plentiful or a 'mover-and-shaker'.  Furthermore, one can easily refluff a race; the thri-kreen PC may be the only one on the planet, a transformed human as the result of some arcane experiment or anything else the player can think of.
Aren't Warforged a really Eberron-specific race anyhow?  I'd be completely happy if they were left out as a character option from core, same with the Thri-keen or Shardminds.  Their mere existence makes large geographical, historical, or cosmological assumptions about a setting they appear in.  Fish out of water is a very fine and dandy thing for starting a plot once in a while but its overuse looks boring and Gary Stu-ish

Dragonborn were added to the core in 4th, and lost the lore baggage they had in 3.X. They look pretty neat, and it's really not that much different than a Lizardman race.  The core D&D sourcebooks need to focus on general fantasy tropes with additional things like the Dragonborn thrown in.




 I like the DB and they are fine in core. Problem is the D&DN races are alot less powerful than 4th ed one s and 3.5. A D&DN Dragonborn could annoy the traditioanlists and the 4th ed players who will think its a gimped Dragonborn from 4th ed. I wish the designers luck on that one.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

balance is done through math, and math is one of the most universally objective things in the universe.
[Balance is subjective]

No it's not.

/topic
balance is done through math, and math is one of the most universally objective things in the universe.

This is honestly why we as a playtest group are here.  Our preferences are subjective and our playstyles should all be permitted.  Bringing DDN to a place of reason based balance is our task.  Once that is done, we as players are free to play what we want, wherever want, however we want to do it.
I ran into that problem in 2E, 3E, 3.5, and 4E. I think it's more about player preperation/experience than it is about what particular edition you are playing.
Indecisive players playing a vancian spellcaster or a fighter in past edition. We all noticed the difference Wink

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

True. I just didn't want to bring up how indecisive my table got with each of them having a big list of powers in 4th...
balance is done through math, and math is one of the most universally objective things in the universe.



You're not wrong,  but I think this is a little more complicated than that.

You can't just balance the game where the damage output is relative across all classes,  this requires interpretative math.

For example,  the balance between a Fighter and a Mage is based in part on the Mage being fragile and the Fighter being resilient.  So comparing pure damage output,  or hit points in vacuum isn't going to achieve the intended goal.

Same thing with monsters,  some are glass cannons,  some are siege weapons.  This requires alot of careful tweaking as well as math analysis to try and catch things like the Druid of Death in 3rd edition.

Now I'm wondering if I could write a program that would read in an xml or spreadsheet of character data,  spells,  weapons,  and monsters,  run all of the variations,  and output the results.  That'll be stuck in my head for a few days now...   
Zaardnar, perhaps it would be better if you could stick to one definition of balance per post. You mention balance as if it might mean "perfect balance", "balance between all character choices", "deadliness of a campaign" and "balance between character capabilities". It makes it hard to understand the flow of your argument.

From what I can get, your group will actively take steps to balance the character capabilities, including min-maxing or using generally overpowered options to make up for poor roles. Which implies that you and your group see the value in balance.

You argue perfect balance is impossible in a rpg, and I don't disagree, but there's a huge gulf between arguing that perfect balance is impossible and arguing balance is bad. I mean, perfect peace of mind is impossible, but you won't begrudge me my attempts to get closer, would you? Infinite money, perfect happiness, perfect love - these are all impossible goals, but worth striving for. So, sure, perfect balance is impossible (since dice are involved, that's a truism), but, that doesn't mean balance is bad.
And, professor, I know I won't change your mind, but remember this - no amount of you arguing that balance is bad will stop me from seeking out, playing, and buying balanced games. If that means playing games that are not d&d, fine.

And, I think you've convinced yourself of an impossibility in the name of a preference. I get that you like radically unbalanced classes, and therefore have nicknames (and perhaps cool shirts) for people you don't agree with. But, I don't think that your statement "no amount of cross class balancing" is true - my friends show a preference for balanced games, and so, there _is_ a level that makes us happy. Maybe it's not "perfect" but it's enough to make us happy.
Just because perfection cannot be acheived does not mean one shouldn't strive for perfection.  Aiming for a low bar only succeeds or fails in hitting a low bar.
[Balance is subjective]

No it's not.

/topic



aka

CoDzilla.... /topic.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Zaardnar, perhaps it would be better if you could stick to one definition of balance per post. You mention balance as if it might mean "perfect balance", "balance between all character choices", "deadliness of a campaign" and "balance between character capabilities". It makes it hard to understand the flow of your argument.



Yeah, I was pretty much lost as far as what point he was trying to make.

It sounded less that he was talking about balance and more that it was just about gritty versus heroic style campaigns, which isn't balance, it's gamestyle preference. You can have balanced grittiness and balanced heroic-style games.
And, professor, I know I won't change your mind, but remember this - no amount of you arguing that balance is bad will stop me from seeking out, playing, and buying balanced games. If that means playing games that are not d&d, fine. And, I think you've convinced yourself of an impossibility in the name of a preference. I get that you like radically unbalanced classes, and therefore have nicknames (and perhaps cool shirts) for people you don't agree with. But, I don't think that your statement "no amount of cross class balancing" is true - my friends show a preference for balanced games, and so, there _is_ a level that makes us happy. Maybe it's not "perfect" but it's enough to make us happy.



 I don't like radically unbalaneced classes a'la 3.5. I still like 3.5 becuase i like the other aspects of it- modularity, opitions, class design (for the most part CoDzilla). I guess some people actually like CodZilla (I do not) that was the main point I was trying to make. Not all play styles want balance or even desire it.

 I htink I want a fixed 3.5 he most if that makes any sense. 4th ed fixed it but not in a way I liked and even 4th ed did not get the balance right although they made a good effort and it was good at what it was designed to do. I fixed 3.5 for me would probably involve stelaing 4th ed and replacing the classes chapters with 3.5 style classes and nerfed spellcasters.Of course the classes would be revamped by 3.5 style classes I mean not having things locked into defined roles and universal power structure. I would probably settle for a d20 2nd ed, a fixed 3.5 or a 4th ed that was more modular and freeform (universal power list of power source, no locked in roles, 3.5 influenced multiclassing).

 I am not good at explaining myself at times although I am trying to improve. D&DN is more or less as broken as 3.5 in alot of ways but doesn't have the things fomr 3.5 I liked or the things form 4th ed I liked. My players are fine with most of 4th ed for example except the class/role structure which is very fundmental to the game. They liked 4th eds wepaon system for example and did not really care about racial powers.

 A concern raised today after running D&DN is that tere isn;'t really alot of time left in the playtest and they seem to have locked in design goals like MDD for fighers, BA, a skill system that is awful etc. 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

A concern raised today after running D&DN is that tere isn;'t really alot of time left in the playtest and they seem to have locked in design goals like MDD for fighers, BA, a skill system that is awful etc. 

I think this is an unfounded concern.  What we have seen with the playtest very conclusively is that unpopular things are changed (sometimes drastically) or even tossed out.

Primary example: sorcerer and warlock.
Other examples: Rogue class (going from very combat light to combat heavy), Skills (the entire way skills are handled was changed to something entirely new with the skill die), number of spells/day, how cantrips work, channel divinity/turn undead, maneuvers, and many more.

In the latest Google Hangout video, they even talked about even more changes to come (such as potentially renaming Skills altogether).

Nothing is set in stone; that is the entire point of the playtest.  If there is a lot of negative feedback about martial damage dice, bounded accuracy, or the new skill system, we will see changes.

A concern raised today after running D&DN is that tere isn;'t really alot of time left in the playtest and they seem to have locked in design goals like MDD for fighers, BA, a skill system that is awful etc. 

I think this is an unfounded concern.  What we have seen with the playtest very conclusively is that unpopular things are changed (sometimes drastically) or even tossed out.

Primary example: sorcerer and warlock.
Other examples: Rogue class (going from very combat light to combat heavy), Skills (the entire way skills are handled was changed to something entirely new with the skill die), number of spells/day, how cantrips work, channel divinity/turn undead, maneuvers, and many more.

In the latest Google Hangout video, they even talked about even more changes to come (such as potentially renaming Skills altogether).

Nothing is set in stone; that is the entire point of the playtest.  If there is a lot of negative feedback about martial damage dice, bounded accuracy, or the new skill system, we will see changes.





Please understand I am using the general sentiment of the statement as an example and am not arguing whether or not the examples used are valid issues for change.

Sadly this quite frankly and eloquently highlights my concerns. "If there is a lot of negative feedback about martial damage dice, bounded accuracy, or the new skill system, we will see changes."

But the most edition warring personalities tend to squeak the loudest and I can't help but to wonder if they are designing a game based off of it's merits or if they are trying to make the most people happy at the expense of a quality game. I am not an alrtuist, I undertand that you have to have a potential client base and in that they have to cater some, but I would like to see them rationalize their choices if they think they are onto something good, instead of rolling over and saying "Sorry you didn't like our idea so we are going to flush it".
 They are running out of time though. Unless somehting drastic clicks all of a sudden and fast I have some doubts. D&DN right now is horribly horribly broken. Broken as in not fun and alot of the games systems do not actually function (except at level 1-3). Why can't they recycle parts from 3.5 and 4th ed that actually worked?

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Why can't they recycle parts from 3.5 and 4th ed that actually worked?


People have been asking that since the first playtest, and it was especially prominent when they gave us HD instead of surges.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

And, professor, I know I won't change your mind, but remember this - no amount of you arguing that balance is bad will stop me from seeking out, playing, and buying balanced games. If that means playing games that are not d&d, fine. And, I think you've convinced yourself of an impossibility in the name of a preference. I get that you like radically unbalanced classes, and therefore have nicknames (and perhaps cool shirts) for people you don't agree with. But, I don't think that your statement "no amount of cross class balancing" is true - my friends show a preference for balanced games, and so, there _is_ a level that makes us happy. Maybe it's not "perfect" but it's enough to make us happy.

The point being made is: balance is subjective. You've just proven the point. You call what the professor likes "radically unbalanced", while he sees it as balanced well enough.

As far as your friends are concerned, that is their subjective opinion; I don't think the classes were unbalanced in AD&D (1st or 2nd Editions). I also never saw a problem with spellcasters being overpowered. Essentially, the quadratic fighter/wizard problem didn't exist in any game I've ever played or DMed. I know that doesn't mean it doesn't exist for others; just that it is only a problem in their games, not a problem with the game itself.

Just because perfection cannot be acheived does not mean one shouldn't strive for perfection.  Aiming for a low bar only succeeds or fails in hitting a low bar.

No one is suggesting the bar be set low; only that what is considered perfection is radically different across the player base. So, setting too specific a criteria for that will only alienate and displease people.

What everyone has to remember is that their own opinions about anything will not always line up with everyone elses; and no one's is the objectively correct opinion. So, the game should not even try to define what is balanced or right/wrong; it should only supply guidelines and suggestions.

"No one is suggesting the bar be set low; only that what is considered perfection is radically different across the player base. So, setting too specific a criteria for that will only alienate and displease people.

What everyone has to remember is that their own opinions about anything will not always line up with everyone elses; and no one's is the objectively correct opinion. So, the game should not even try to define what is balanced or right/wrong; it should only supply guidelines and suggestions."



^ This.
And, professor, I know I won't change your mind, but remember this - no amount of you arguing that balance is bad will stop me from seeking out, playing, and buying balanced games. If that means playing games that are not d&d, fine. And, I think you've convinced yourself of an impossibility in the name of a preference. I get that you like radically unbalanced classes, and therefore have nicknames (and perhaps cool shirts) for people you don't agree with. But, I don't think that your statement "no amount of cross class balancing" is true - my friends show a preference for balanced games, and so, there _is_ a level that makes us happy. Maybe it's not "perfect" but it's enough to make us happy.

The point being made is: balance is subjective. You've just proven the point. You call what the professor likes "radically unbalanced", while he sees it as balanced well enough.

As far as your friends are concerned, that is their subjective opinion; I don't think the classes were unbalanced in AD&D (1st or 2nd Editions). I also never saw a problem with spellcasters being overpowered. Essentially, the quadratic fighter/wizard problem didn't exist in any game I've ever played or DMed. I know that doesn't mean it doesn't exist for others; just that it is only a problem in their games, not a problem with the game itself.

Just because perfection cannot be acheived does not mean one shouldn't strive for perfection.  Aiming for a low bar only succeeds or fails in hitting a low bar.

No one is suggesting the bar be set low; only that what is considered perfection is radically different across the player base. So, setting too specific a criteria for that will only alienate and displease people.

What everyone has to remember is that their own opinions about anything will not always line up with everyone elses; and no one's is the objectively correct opinion. So, the game should not even try to define what is balanced or right/wrong; it should only supply guidelines and suggestions.

I get that.  It is still possible to put aside what one wants and focus on what they think would make the best game, or barring that, what would make the most commercially viable product.  One can try to remove their subjectivity in favor of reason and logic.  They will fail, because they are only human.  But in trying, we get closer to the heart of making a more objective game.
And, professor, I know I won't change your mind, but remember this - no amount of you arguing that balance is bad will stop me from seeking out, playing, and buying balanced games. If that means playing games that are not d&d, fine. And, I think you've convinced yourself of an impossibility in the name of a preference. I get that you like radically unbalanced classes, and therefore have nicknames (and perhaps cool shirts) for people you don't agree with. But, I don't think that your statement "no amount of cross class balancing" is true - my friends show a preference for balanced games, and so, there _is_ a level that makes us happy. Maybe it's not "perfect" but it's enough to make us happy.

The point being made is: balance is subjective. You've just proven the point. You call what the professor likes "radically unbalanced", while he sees it as balanced well enough.

As far as your friends are concerned, that is their subjective opinion; I don't think the classes were unbalanced in AD&D (1st or 2nd Editions). I also never saw a problem with spellcasters being overpowered. Essentially, the quadratic fighter/wizard problem didn't exist in any game I've ever played or DMed. I know that doesn't mean it doesn't exist for others; just that it is only a problem in their games, not a problem with the game itself.

Just because perfection cannot be acheived does not mean one shouldn't strive for perfection.  Aiming for a low bar only succeeds or fails in hitting a low bar.

No one is suggesting the bar be set low; only that what is considered perfection is radically different across the player base. So, setting too specific a criteria for that will only alienate and displease people.

What everyone has to remember is that their own opinions about anything will not always line up with everyone elses; and no one's is the objectively correct opinion. So, the game should not even try to define what is balanced or right/wrong; it should only supply guidelines and suggestions.

I get that.  It is still possible to put aside what one wants and focus on what they think would make the best game, or barring that, what would make the most commercially viable product.  One can try to remove their subjectivity in favor of reason and logic.  They will fail, because they are only human.  But in trying, we get closer to the heart of making a more objective game.

Role-playing games are, by their very nature, not objective. Everyone plays a role in a subjective manner; trying to limit that with objective rules will only cause problems not resolve them.

The "rules" of a TTRPG are only suggestions and guidelines; to be used, or not, at each group's discretion.

And, professor, I know I won't change your mind, but remember this - no amount of you arguing that balance is bad will stop me from seeking out, playing, and buying balanced games. If that means playing games that are not d&d, fine. And, I think you've convinced yourself of an impossibility in the name of a preference. I get that you like radically unbalanced classes, and therefore have nicknames (and perhaps cool shirts) for people you don't agree with. But, I don't think that your statement "no amount of cross class balancing" is true - my friends show a preference for balanced games, and so, there _is_ a level that makes us happy. Maybe it's not "perfect" but it's enough to make us happy.

The point being made is: balance is subjective. You've just proven the point. You call what the professor likes "radically unbalanced", while he sees it as balanced well enough.

As far as your friends are concerned, that is their subjective opinion; I don't think the classes were unbalanced in AD&D (1st or 2nd Editions). I also never saw a problem with spellcasters being overpowered. Essentially, the quadratic fighter/wizard problem didn't exist in any game I've ever played or DMed. I know that doesn't mean it doesn't exist for others; just that it is only a problem in their games, not a problem with the game itself.

Just because perfection cannot be acheived does not mean one shouldn't strive for perfection.  Aiming for a low bar only succeeds or fails in hitting a low bar.

No one is suggesting the bar be set low; only that what is considered perfection is radically different across the player base. So, setting too specific a criteria for that will only alienate and displease people.

What everyone has to remember is that their own opinions about anything will not always line up with everyone elses; and no one's is the objectively correct opinion. So, the game should not even try to define what is balanced or right/wrong; it should only supply guidelines and suggestions.

I get that.  It is still possible to put aside what one wants and focus on what they think would make the best game, or barring that, what would make the most commercially viable product.  One can try to remove their subjectivity in favor of reason and logic.  They will fail, because they are only human.  But in trying, we get closer to the heart of making a more objective game.

Role-playing games are, by their very nature, not objective. Everyone plays a role in a subjective manner; trying to limit that with objective rules will only cause problems not resolve them.

The "rules" of a TTRPG are only suggestions and guidelines; to be used, or not, at each group's discretion.

People play a subjective role.  They can play a subjective role in an objective manner.  In fact, I would argue (and have in other threads) that objective rules solve problems rather than cause them.  It allows the mechanics to not get in the way of or inhibit roleplaying.  Roleplaying can be done without rules or mechanics.  It can't be done with just any rules or mechanics.  Bad rules can utterly choke roleplaying in a heartbeat.  Fighting mechanics just to do what you want to is a hassle that will cause many to find a different game.
Why can't they recycle parts from 3.5 and 4th ed that actually worked?


People have been asking that since the first playtest, and it was especially prominent when they gave us HD instead of surges.



Healing surges are very polarizing.  Using myself as an example,  that one could easily be a deal-breaker.  I'm sure there's someone out there who feels not having them is a deal-breaker.  I would argue that the current system is a good comprimise.
I would argue that the current system is a good comprimise.

A good comprimise in that everybody is unhappy? I've never seen the problem in healing surges, and I've never had anybody explain to me why they don't like them very well.

That aside, the taste of fruit is subjective. If fruit is good for you is objective. How comfortable you are in a car is subjective. What percentage of people are comfortable in that car is objective.

In short; yes, "balance is subjective" in that you can always have a group that feels a game is balanced or unbalanced based upon perception. However, a game should still be designed to be balanced from an objective, top-down rules point of view.

You can piece together, mechanically, why a game is unbalanced or balanced - this is an objective view. You can also say "but no, I don't feel that way" which is subjective, and should not be used as a basis for game design (short of "a larger majority of people feel this way").

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

Healing surges feel gamey and it takes to long to grid through PCs hit points. A level 1 PC with 30 hit points and an extra 90+ to grid through doesn't feel right and I don' mind if a level 1 PC gets killed with a battle axe.

 I've used healing surges in SWSE but you only got one of them and you could get 1 more off a feat and one more via a talent. Saga weapons dealt alot more damage as well so you could get one shot at level 1.

I do not like the 4th ed implementation of HS, the idea by itself may not be a bad one but it may be better in games that are not D&D. 

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 


This is not going to end well.



That's because you're completely wrong.



I guess you are Little Ms.Correct are you?
Please tell us what you think is the correct answer in a subjective topic. ^.^



balance is done through math, and math is one of the most universally objective things in the universe.



Wrong and wrong, and particularly wrong in relation to this game.
Balance is not "done through math," some aspects of it (and only some) are accomplished through the *application* of that math, and the decision of when, or even whether, to apply that math is (ta daa!) subjective.  But beyond that, you'll find that in higher mathematics, practitioners can't even agree on which symbolic system to use to best represent mathematical abstracts.  

The point being, you can artificially "balance" the classes, races, and whatnot to your heart's content, and you'll still be dealing with the fact that at any particular table, the subjective negotiations of the players will overrule your carefully constructed house of cards every single time.  So it's a mug's game to sacrifice the actual point of the game - spurs and tools for collaborative storytelling - in pursuit of an empty ideal.

I would argue that the current system is a good comprimise.

A good comprimise in that everybody is unhappy? I've never seen the problem in healing surges, and I've never had anybody explain to me why they don't like them very well.

That aside, the taste of fruit is subjective. If fruit is good for you is objective. How comfortable you are in a car is subjective. What percentage of people are comfortable in that car is objective.

In short; yes, "balance is subjective" in that you can always have a group that feels a game is balanced or unbalanced based upon perception. However, a game should still be designed to be balanced from an objective, top-down rules point of view.

How can this be done, when the criteria is all subjective? You can only go with a "the majority rules" scenario.

You can piece together, mechanically, why a game is unbalanced or balanced -

Only in a subjective manner; because, again, the criteria is all subjective.

this is an objective view.

No, it is not.

You can also say "but no, I don't feel that way" which is subjective, and should not be used as a basis for game design (short of "a larger majority of people feel this way").

This is the only way to justify a subjective rules system. It is why they are using a playtest model for their development process; they want to please as many people as they can (to gain/keep as many customers as possible).

And, professor, I know I won't change your mind, but remember this - no amount of you arguing that balance is bad will stop me from seeking out, playing, and buying balanced games. If that means playing games that are not d&d, fine. And, I think you've convinced yourself of an impossibility in the name of a preference. I get that you like radically unbalanced classes, and therefore have nicknames (and perhaps cool shirts) for people you don't agree with. But, I don't think that your statement "no amount of cross class balancing" is true - my friends show a preference for balanced games, and so, there _is_ a level that makes us happy. Maybe it's not "perfect" but it's enough to make us happy.

The point being made is: balance is subjective. You've just proven the point. You call what the professor likes "radically unbalanced", while he sees it as balanced well enough.

As far as your friends are concerned, that is their subjective opinion; I don't think the classes were unbalanced in AD&D (1st or 2nd Editions). I also never saw a problem with spellcasters being overpowered. Essentially, the quadratic fighter/wizard problem didn't exist in any game I've ever played or DMed. I know that doesn't mean it doesn't exist for others; just that it is only a problem in their games, not a problem with the game itself.

Just because perfection cannot be acheived does not mean one shouldn't strive for perfection.  Aiming for a low bar only succeeds or fails in hitting a low bar.

No one is suggesting the bar be set low; only that what is considered perfection is radically different across the player base. So, setting too specific a criteria for that will only alienate and displease people.

What everyone has to remember is that their own opinions about anything will not always line up with everyone elses; and no one's is the objectively correct opinion. So, the game should not even try to define what is balanced or right/wrong; it should only supply guidelines and suggestions.

I get that.  It is still possible to put aside what one wants and focus on what they think would make the best game, or barring that, what would make the most commercially viable product.  One can try to remove their subjectivity in favor of reason and logic.  They will fail, because they are only human.  But in trying, we get closer to the heart of making a more objective game.

Role-playing games are, by their very nature, not objective. Everyone plays a role in a subjective manner; trying to limit that with objective rules will only cause problems not resolve them.

The "rules" of a TTRPG are only suggestions and guidelines; to be used, or not, at each group's discretion.

People play a subjective role.  They can play a subjective role in an objective manner.  In fact, I would argue (and have in other threads) that objective rules solve problems rather than cause them.  It allows the mechanics to not get in the way of or inhibit roleplaying.  Roleplaying can be done without rules or mechanics.  It can't be done with just any rules or mechanics.  Bad rules can utterly choke roleplaying in a heartbeat.

Yes, and many objective rules are bad rules, because they don't allow subjective use as RAW.

Fighting mechanics just to do what you want to is a hassle that will cause many to find a different game.

This is why too many objective rules is bad thing.

balance is done through math, and math is one of the most universally objective things in the universe.



Wrong and wrong, and particularly wrong in relation to this game.
Balance is not "done through math," some aspects of it (and only some) are accomplished through the *application* of that math, and the decision of when, or even whether, to apply that math is (ta daa!) subjective.  But beyond that, you'll find that in higher mathematics, practitioners can't even agree on which symbolic system to use to best represent mathematical abstracts.  

The point being, you can artificially "balance" the classes, races, and whatnot to your heart's content, and you'll still be dealing with the fact that at any particular table, the subjective negotiations of the players will overrule your carefully constructed house of cards every single time.  So it's a mug's game to sacrifice the actual point of the game - spurs and tools for collaborative storytelling - in pursuit of an empty ideal.


+1

But the most edition warring personalities tend to squeak the loudest and I can't help but to wonder if they are designing a game based off of it's merits or if they are trying to make the most people happy at the expense of a quality game. I am not an alrtuist, I undertand that you have to have a potential client base and in that they have to cater some, but I would like to see them rationalize their choices if they think they are onto something good, instead of rolling over and saying "Sorry you didn't like our idea so we are going to flush it".

I think this worry is unfounded as well.  The forums are not the place to go if you want to get an idea of what fans think overall.  WotC has that data in the form of the compiled feedback surveys and polls, which is what gives them the best sense of what players as a whole like or dislike.

If they have an idea that they think is very good, and the majority of feedback is positive, they won't change it just because a few people on the forums hate it very loudly.  But just because they like something, if feedback is nearly all negative, they need to implement a change (and I think they do).  Not everyone will agree with the changes, because most likely not everyone disliked the previous incarnation.  For example, I liked the version of the Sorcerer they made, and I was sorry to see it removed.

I also don't think things are completely eliminated when people don't like them.  Using the example of the sorcerer, they have said that it most likely will be retained under a new name, perhaps used for a fighter/mage type class.

 They are running out of time though. Unless somehting drastic clicks all of a sudden and fast I have some doubts.

What sort of time limit are you giving them here?

I'm sorry that you don't like the direction the game is headed.  I hope that you end up liking the final version.

The point being made is: balance is subjective. You've just proven the point. You call what the professor likes "radically unbalanced", while he sees it as balanced well enough.


Balance is not as "subjective" as you are making it out to be. A person's preference for balance (or tolerance for it) may be subjective, but the actual decision of whether something or not is balanced is not especially subjective. For example, I can't say that a 10' ladder and a 5' ladder are balanced against each other and claim that balance is subjective if people disagree. Now, if I say that an apple pie and an ice cream sundae are balanced, you could say that I am wrong, but I still don't think that that makes it subjective since you can see the ramifications of that decision in other parts of the system (like say knocking someone prone is worth ~5 damage points, you can disagree, but you can also see where I don't meet that standard in an objective way).
  A person's preference for balance (or tolerance for it) may be subjective, but the actual decision of whether something or not is balanced is not especially subjective. 



This... balance is not subjective just gamers comfort zone on it probably is.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 


Balance is not as "subjective" as you are making it out to be. A person's preference for balance (or tolerance for it) may be subjective, but the actual decision of whether something or not is balanced is not especially subjective.



Yes it is.  

For some people, seeing a warrior excel at fighting and a thief excel at picking locked chests is balanced.  for other people, those two aren't balanced unless the thief and warrior are dealing the same damage per combat, overall (if at different rates) and have the same chance of getting at the chest's contents.  The very fact that we have debates about whether things are balanced or not indicates that the term is subjective.
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