New players and optimisation

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I figured this question is far from simple enough to pose it in the go-to thread:When new players want to play an optimised build, which classes should be avoided entirely and what would you recommend?
I ask this because I know some who are afraid that they will botch their character and wont be capable of pulling their weight
(it should be noted that individualisation is not a concern here, there's enough that can be done via refluffing). 
Most recommendations are in the handbooks. Taking sky blue or gold powers/feats/items is usually recommended. While they may not help a player specialize, they will help a new player create a strong character.
The handbooks are here: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649074/The_Complete_Collection_of_Character_Build_Links. Scroll down to find the class you're interested in and click to read.
Thank you, I was aware of the handbooks. I intended to pose my question more in terms of classes (and edited the OP to reflect that).
Just building a character from the handbook likely won't do a newbie much good by itself. I'd go as far as to say a bad power or two for a newbie isn't necessarily a bad thing because they get to see in action WHY a power isn't as good and they can re-train it later, especially if they try building it themselves.

I'd also maybe steer them away from "bookwork" classes like Shaman, Runepriest and hybrids with marks/quarries/etc. Generally though I wouldn't steer them away from classes, just away from tweaked, fiddly gimmicks/builds.

It's like netdecking/netbanding, just throwing an op'd character at a newbie doesn't do them much good, nor will they get the most out of it unless they understand how/why it works.
Why are new players all that worried about playing an optimized class to begin with. Is this for a home group because if it is than as long as the character is built well, which is covered in the handbooks, then they should be fine. DM's and good cooperative play can make any class/build viable.
When playing with new players, no one should ever discourage those players from playing what they want but should be more concerned with helping them make that class be the best it can be.


I figured this question is far from simple enough to pose it in the go-to thread:When new players want to play an optimised build, which classes should be avoided entirely and what would you recommend?
I ask this because I know some who are afraid that they will botch their character and wont be capable of pulling their weight
(it should be noted that individualisation is not a concern here, there's enough that can be done via refluffing). 



In general, I'd avoid builds that heavily rely on tactical decision-making or table awareness. Basic no-nos:
Defenders with lots of interrupt capabilities or tactical positioning needs.
Leaders who grant conditional bonuses that aren't necessarily obvious. In some cases, this can be and has been as simple as a Warlord who grants +2 to initiative. There have been a couple of LFR tables where there's a Warlord at the table, I've asked if they grant a bonus to initiative, they say, "Oh, that's right. I think I do.", and then half the table ends up asking for their initiative cards back.
Controllers who apply effects that involve the player telling the DM what happens rather than the DM remembering what happens.

So as an example, a Warlord who grants an attack is often better than a Warlord who grants a +X power bonus to hit - the first involves something that ends right after the Warlord's turn and the second is something that the Warlord has to remind the other players about. A Controller who grants an effect based on the target doing something rather than administering a condition. Or handing out 3-4 conditions that synergize rather than 1 big condition.

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i.e. most classes are generally safe. I'd avoid Runepriest, Shaman, and Ardent for being generally complicated and Binder and Vampire for being problematic. Avengers can be very tricky for some new players.
Classes to avoid for new players:

1: Due to complexity:
- Anything psionic - even the monk is somewhat tough going
- Shamans
- Runepriests
- (For inexperienced builders) Warlocks, Clerics, Paladins.  Any V or X class really.  It's way too easy to follow the book advice (Paladins should be str/cha/wis(!)) and build a character that can't hit the broad side of a barn.
- Anything with a beast companion, particularly multiple beast companions.

2: Due to sucking:
- Vampires
- Binders
- Ossassins
- Sentinels
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
If they are a brand new player hopefully you are starting them out in early to mid heroic.  For a first time player they should be able to pick any class they want and contribute decently.  If they pick a class that struggles a lot in paragon like vampire, they can rebuild it later on once they understand the game better.

And a lot of time its individual builds that struggle more than classes.  Druids are fine, but sentinel and swarm builds don't work well.  Rangers are great, but beastmaster rangers are easy to make not great for a new player.

I would probably steer them away from some of the more complicated classes like monk, runepriest, shaman, or hybrids, but really that depends on the player.  If they have experience with other complicated games or if they played earlier editions then I wouldn't even worry much about it.

And some of what charop says about builds to avoid is very relative.  Charop doesn't like Witches and I agree with charop that the Witch is one of the weakest builds of wizard in paragon.  But witches still work good enough to contribute a lot to a party so I wouldn't steer a new player away from them if they really wanted to play one.
For almost any optimized build, you have to understand how it works to play it correctly. Even a charging slayer is going to require you to remember everything you're adding on a charge. Although most people here hate low level play, I'd really recommend starting low and letting them get used to the build as each piece comes online. If you do it that way, they should be okay playing just about anything.

I've seen newbs try to grasp paragon pregens, and 1) they forgot bonuses and conditional things constantly (the super-easy-to-play essentials classes are notorious for this) and 2) they took forever to do their turn. Just don't do it.
Its not just newbs.  For complex classes its hard to start off in paragon or epic and even relatively simple classes are a lot harder at late levels if you are jumping in.  

I played a sun domain warpriest for an epic one shot, which is a fairly simple build for the class I am most familiar with, and I had a ton of notes I had to keep track of everything I could do with a lot of variable conditions.

So start new players in heroic.  Even if that means doing a one shot to learn the rules for one new player.
For newbies, avoid vampires. Holy crap, does that class ever suck. Other than that, try to steer them toward simpler classes without many out-of-turn options and hopefully not too many complicated mechanics (so no shaman, runepriest, etc.). The iconic D&D classes (fighter, cleric, wizard, rogue) are a great place to start, actually.
Yet another thread that makes me want to work on the pregen project... 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
For newbies, avoid vampires. Holy crap, does that class ever suck. Other than that, try to steer them toward simpler classes without many out-of-turn options and hopefully not too many complicated mechanics (so no shaman, runepriest, etc.). The iconic D&D classes (fighter, cleric, wizard, rogue) are a great place to start, actually.

Vampire works well enough in early heroic.  Too bad they tried to make the mechanics fit the flavor instead of vice versa.  Kinda funny watching two vampires play ping-pong with a monster, though.

For newbies, avoid vampires. Holy crap, does that class ever suck. Other than that, try to steer them toward simpler classes without many out-of-turn options and hopefully not too many complicated mechanics (so no shaman, runepriest, etc.). The iconic D&D classes (fighter, cleric, wizard, rogue) are a great place to start, actually.

Vampire works well enough in early heroic.  Too bad they tried to make the mechanics fit the flavor instead of vice versa.  Kinda funny watching two vampires play ping-pong with a monster, though.




True enough, but on the off-chance that this group continues on, why put the player in a situation where he/she will have to change classes later on?
For newbies, avoid vampires. Holy crap, does that class ever suck. Other than that, try to steer them toward simpler classes without many out-of-turn options and hopefully not too many complicated mechanics (so no shaman, runepriest, etc.). The iconic D&D classes (fighter, cleric, wizard, rogue) are a great place to start, actually.

Vampire works well enough in early heroic.  Too bad they tried to make the mechanics fit the flavor instead of vice versa.  Kinda funny watching two vampires play ping-pong with a monster, though.




True enough, but on the off-chance that this group continues on, why put the player in a situation where he/she will have to change classes later on?

Never played a vampire except for encounters and a one-shot at level 8, so haven't gotten to see first-hand how badly they fall off in paragon.  The striker/controller weirdness is fun (and seems like you almost have to play it with a stronger emphasis on field control than most strikers), even if it doesn't live up to its stated role as striker later on.

Never played a vampire except for encounters and a one-shot at level 8, so haven't gotten to see first-hand how badly they fall off in paragon.  The striker/controller weirdness is fun (and seems like you almost have to play it with a stronger emphasis on field control than most strikers), even if it doesn't live up to its stated role as striker later on.



I'm currently playing late paragon in a group, the sole cleric in a party of strikers (human warlock, drow artful dodger rogue, revenant vampire). The vampire just can't keep up with the damage, and its field control is not nearly strong enough to offset the class's pathetic striking ability. To make matters worse, the character is being played by a non-optimizer; IMO non-optimizers need strong out-of-the-box characters for whatever role they're playing (striker=barb, controller=wizard, leader=warlord or bard, defender=knight or fighter). That way, they have fewer chances to mess up their own build and will never drop below a certain level of effectiveness unless they really gimp their builds badly, which is out of our hands anyway.
Somewhat tangential, I would kind of like to see a guide rate the various classes by tier as if they were characters in a fighting game. IE: 

God Tier: Ranger, Warlord 
Sh** Tier: Vampire, Sentinel, Binder, Bladesinger

We could then get into pointlessly amusing arguments over who should be upgraded in tier, whose bread and butter combos are harder to execute, and how certain characters can chain into an insta-kill combo sequence from a fatal counter, etc...
Except op characters in the hands of new/inexperienced players are just as likely to have garbage tier results. Tongue Out

Likewise, even a mediocre character in the hands of an experienced, tactical player will likely have decent results because they can get eveything out of them.
"Tiers" means something in an old C.O. context
... but I wonder about it's usefulness in 4e.


Heck, if you really wanted to simplify things for a
new player, they could play a CC instead of a PC.
Change 1 thing each level.  They learn the game.

5E mini- SRD available now in HTML here:  http://dnd.wizards.com/products/tabletop/players-basic-rules

 

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