What Does Game Balance Mean To You (For DnD Next)?

So what constitutes the goals of game balance for you in DnD Next?

These are some of the questions I ask myself as I go through the different releases.

1. Does every character feel like it contributes a noticeable part in the party's success?

2. Is the game fun to play even with everyone at the table being completely new to DnD, including the DM?

3. How simple can characters be to play and how complicated can they be to play? What's the minimum amount of effort needed to understand how a character works? The maximum?

4.  How much does it matter for certain challenges to be easy or others to be near impossible?

5. Do we really need this rule included or is it simply a "sacred cow" that one may feel obligated by tradition to include?

6. What would happen if we tossed out certain rules that seem too "sacred" to toss out? How would the game change?

7.  What do other players define as "fun" as it pertains to DnD? How many players would share the same ideas of "fun" concerning certain aspects of the game?

If anyone has stories or insight to share, please do.

Game balance, to me, isn't about any of that.

Game balance is about trade-offs that make players really think hard about the choices they make.
Since players always choose weapon proficiencies over other feats, that is a big problem.
That makes me want to award weapon proficiencies automatically.

Game balance is about not letting casters wear heavy armor and swing big weapons because all that time studying spells has weakened them.
Game balance is all about not letting people who cast spells and swing weapons to be the strongest in either, but it is about giving these mixed classes skills and powers that no other class can have.

Game balance is about not allowing the Knock Spell so that nobody chooses to be a rouge.

Game balance is about not letting ability modifiers have the most weight anymore because we have seen level modifiers, feat modifiers, magic modifiers be just as needed. In order to make player characters seek all these modifiers out, we must make all the modifiers have equal weight.

Game balance is about not escallating modifiers, hit points, damage, or any other numbers. It is about making the math of the game conform to 1d4, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10 and 1d12. It is about rolling all of these dice. In many situations.

Game balance is about making STR vs AC not the only attack roll there is. There could be CON vs AC when repeatingly bludgeoning something. Or it could be about CHA vs WIS when using a Feint Maneuver.

Balance is about giving martial classes maneuvers so that they are just as attractive to want to play as any caster.

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I'll start with what game balance is not (to me):

1. It is not about all classes and races being able to do the same damage in combat

2. It is not about all classes and races being able to contribute equally in every possible situation that comes up in combat and exploration

3. It is not about making every class clones of each other, but just happen to call them different names and give them some token "ability" to justify it.

What game balance is (to me):

1. Every race and class has unique abilities allowing them to be powerful contributers in different situations

2. Some characters are able to do things in specific situations that others can't necessarily do to help the party. The other characters have equally important abilities that they can use in other specific situations to help the party when others can't. Everyone has an equally important role to play, but each character's role is unique.

3. This (number 2) does not mean that there are situations where a character cannot contribute at all, it just means that characters contributions will be greater than others depending on which situation they are in, but all will have situations where their contribution is powerful.
I basically agree with alienux. I would add a few things -

- A player should not generally feel like over large swaths of the game that his character's contributions aren't really making much of a difference.
- A player should not generally feel like they're choosing between a character concept and the mechanically correct decision.
- The maximum number of presented character options are actually appealing, because there's not simply dominant choices.
- Character options presented as parallel should be reasonably comparable in their level of impact.
- This isn't exactly the same as balance per se, but taking character options that look like they have a certain sort of impact should be the best (or around the best) way to actually get that sort of impact.

Finally, as sort of para-balance things, I prefer:

- "Teamwork" style approaches to balance, where possible, rather than "take turns fixing it, specialists" approaches. A mix of both is ideal, but I feel like it's much easier to tip into "The game will have obstacle X. Class Y will be the guy who fixes obstacle X" than to tip into a realm where there's too much darn working together.
- A relatively small grain size in terms of "who's excelling here?" It's sometimes suggested that an acceptable balance paradigm is "you are weak and mostly irrelevant at low levels, you are mostly irrelevant at high levels". Maybe I just advance characters too slow, but that doesn't sound good to me at all, because multiple-level spans last months. I don't really want characters to routinely feel overshadowed for even a big chunk of a session, much less for a big chunk of a real-world year. Where people are taking turns being the guy who's shining, I want those turns to be relatively short.
- When it comes to very common, relatively time-consuming challenges - I'm thinking here mostly of combat - the gap between "best at this" and "not best at this" should be relatively small (unless the guy on the low end goes out of his way to be especially awful at it). It's fine for only one guy to have much in the way of knocking out traps, because that's fast and relatively rare (generally).
- I think that "You can handle the obstacle this way, he can handle it that way, and she can handle it that way, and those options have different pros and cons, such that we might legitimately decide to do it different ways depending on the circumstances" is more interesting than "I can handle the obstacle. They have no way whatsoever to interact with the obstacle that ever makes any sense. Therefore, it is always just correct to defer to me to handle the obstacle."
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
To sort of para-phrase the above: balance is when all options have their own merits, but none is always (or even frequently) superior to any other; an option which is clearly inferior to others is not a real option.

The metagame is not the game.

I basically agree with alienux. I would add a few things -

- A player should not generally feel like over large swaths of the game that his character's contributions aren't really making much of a difference.
- A player should not generally feel like they're choosing between a character concept and the mechanically correct decision.
- The maximum number of presented character options are actually appealing, because there's not simply dominant choices.
- Character options presented as parallel should be reasonably comparable in their level of impact.
- This isn't exactly the same as balance per se, but taking character options that look like they have a certain sort of impact should be the best (or around the best) way to actually get that sort of impact.

Finally, as sort of para-balance things, I prefer:

- "Teamwork" style approaches to balance, where possible, rather than "take turns fixing it, specialists" approaches. A mix of both is ideal, but I feel like it's much easier to tip into "The game will have obstacle X. Class Y will be the guy who fixes obstacle X" than to tip into a realm where there's too much darn working together.
- A relatively small grain size in terms of "who's excelling here?" It's sometimes suggested that an acceptable balance paradigm is "you are weak and mostly irrelevant at low levels, you are mostly irrelevant at high levels". Maybe I just advance characters too slow, but that doesn't sound good to me at all, because multiple-level spans last months. I don't really want characters to routinely feel overshadowed for even a big chunk of a session, much less for a big chunk of a real-world year. Where people are taking turns being the guy who's shining, I want those turns to be relatively short.
- When it comes to very common, relatively time-consuming challenges - I'm thinking here mostly of combat - the gap between "best at this" and "not best at this" should be relatively small (unless the guy on the low end goes out of his way to be especially awful at it). It's fine for only one guy to have much in the way of knocking out traps, because that's fast and relatively rare (generally).
- I think that "You can handle the obstacle this way, he can handle it that way, and she can handle it that way, and those options have different pros and cons, such that we might legitimately decide to do it different ways depending on the circumstances" is more interesting than "I can handle the obstacle. They have no way whatsoever to interact with the obstacle that ever makes any sense. Therefore, it is always just correct to defer to me to handle the obstacle."



I agree. The paragraphs I highlighted in red above are thoughts I meant to incorporate into my answer but accidentally left out. After I re-read my post, I may have made it sound like I don't want what you suggested in the last highlighted paragraph, but my intent was that this idea would be included.

I believe a game like pathfinder have a good balance because
I am able to spend lots and lots of time considering different races, classes and character builds when considering a new character
A game requiring less time for character creations indicates (in my eyes) a lack of interesting character choices
To sort of para-phrase the above: balance is when all options have their own merits, but none is always (or even frequently) superior to any other; an option which is clearly inferior to others is not a real option.



That reminds me of the debacle surrounding the "expertise" feat tax in 4e, where everyone seems (to me anyway) to feel pressured to take an expertise feat for the bonus to attack rolls it carries. The multi-tier separation of feats was supposed to address the problem of certain feats being clearly superior to other feats but that wasn't executed as well as seemingly hoped.


One of the reasons i did not like 4e was the multitier feat separation when it was combined with the retraining rules
Basically, you were forced to retrain feats at certain points in your character progression or have to live with inefficient choices but

I like playing characters were the choices i make in the early part of my adventuring career affects the high level part of the adventuring career and i like to roleplay my feats. That is, it is a big turnoff if the system basically force me to retrain feats at certain level tiers.
My verion of balance is everyone can be awesome in their own unique way. 
For me, balance is when no class obviously is better than the other. If anyone in your gaming group feels that his character sucks, then  you have a balance issue.
To me balance is everyone bringing something to the story.  not the individual encounter but to the campaign as a whole.
I agree with much of what has been said.

The trick to balance is to make sure that each class is unique and has different ways to interact within the game world.   But, at the same time, no player should feel as if his or her PC is not making a contribution throughout any game session.

For example, I'm currenlty playing in a 4e game with a Cleric of Pelor.   Although my PC cannot deal as much damage to foes as the rogue or the avenger, I feel valuable to the group.  I can do 8-11 points of damage on a good hit with my mace (which hits often enough), and I can use abiliities that grant other benefits to the group (i.e., granting very limited DR for a turn, granting a save, granting temporary hit points to the group, giving AC bonus to the group).   At 2nd level, I feel like a member of a team, and I don't feel the urge or need to "do better" than others.

I feel as if D&DNext is forming so that this type of balance will be achieved when all is said and done.


        

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For me balance is in the hands of the DM.   


I agree with much of what has been said.

The trick to balance is to make sure that each class is unique and has different ways to interact within the game world.   But, at the same time, no player should feel as if his or her PC is not making a contribution throughout any game session.

For example, I'm currenlty playing in a 4e game with a Cleric of Pelor.   Although my PC cannot deal as much damage to foes as the rogue or the avenger, I feel valuable to the group.  I can do 8-11 points of damage on a good hit with my mace (which hits often enough), and I can use abiliities that grant other benefits to the group (i.e., granting very limited DR for a turn, granting a save, granting temporary hit points to the group, giving AC bonus to the group).   At 2nd level, I feel like a member of a team, and I don't feel the urge or need to "do better" than others.

I feel as if D&DNext is forming so that this type of balance will be achieved when all is said and done.



I do not like games were every session have to be balanced for equal contribution abilities for every players
I look at the entire campaign. It is fine with me, if I can not do much in one session and really shines in the next
I do of course try to figure out how i can make flexible builds there will allow me to contribute in many different types of scenarios.
That character building procedure is part of the fun with roleplaying.

To sort of para-phrase the above: balance is when all options have their own merits, but none is always (or even frequently) superior to any other; an option which is clearly inferior to others is not a real option.



I disagree.
In pathfinder do i for instance frequently make characters having some skill ranks in craft, perform and profession skills

Example:
Craft drawing or craft painting is a good skill for many reasons even though many roleplayers consider it a worthless skill
1) It is a valid coverstory for getting access to noble or merchant buildings
2) It helps with diplomatic events (flattering nobles or ladies by asking them to stand model)
3) It helps documenting crime scenes, archaeological excavations and so forth and that helps future information gathering
4) It is important for certain types of spells (scrying, magical sendings)
and so forth

Basically, i had a lot of fun identifying good strategies for craft drawing and it has managed to come on my need to have skill list (as long as i only have to invest one of many skill ranks) even though lots of people consider it "clearly inferior"
So what constitutes the goals of game balance for you in DnD Next?

Game balance is not a goal in 5e.  Rather, in recognition of the probability that balance may be a goal some DMs might be interested in, there will be some discussion of how 5e might be balanced (for instance, using a consistent degree of challenge - as measured by encounters or exp - between extended rests, to avoid imbalancing daily powers with the "5MWD").


 

 

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Personal opinion...

My definition of balance is "Everyone at the table is having fun on a regular basis."  Game rules and numbers contribute to that...sometimes, but other times they are largely irrelevant.   

All around helpful simian

Basically, i had a lot of fun identifying good strategies for craft drawing and it has managed to come on my need to have skill list (as long as i only have to invest one of many skill ranks) even though lots of people consider it "clearly inferior"

If you've found a lot of uses for it, where other skills could not have helped you (or where no other single skill could help in as many situations), then it is not "clearly inferior".

The metagame is not the game.

I believe a game like pathfinder have a good balance because
I am able to spend lots and lots of time considering different races, classes and character builds when considering a new character
A game requiring less time for character creations indicates (in my eyes) a lack of interesting character choices


Spending lots of time on character creation might be a stronger indicator of imbalance.  You are forced to consider all the choices in order to avoid creating a character that is less optimized.

A balanced character creation process would be faster because you could just pick the choices that you wanted and trust that the final character would be fun and useful.
Personal opinion...

My definition of balance is "Everyone at the table is having fun on a regular basis."  Game rules and numbers contribute to that...sometimes, but other times they are largely irrelevant.   



Fluff can actually help in having fun alot.  Of course if the game mechanics don't support the fluff, the fluff becomes less fun.

Example: Our party, particularly the dwarves, were involved in a drinking contest.  Their advantage on poison led to them outlasting the humans.  That was fun.  Although we had some terrible hangovers the next day.

Fluff: Dwarves like to drink
Supporting mechanic: Advantage on poison saves, higher constitution scores
Honestly, I could give a list of what Balance means to me, but I like abstract ideals to govern what I want out of a game.

This simple statement is where I feel balance comes into play. When someone at your table watches someone else and goes: 

"Geeze, I wish I was having that much fun!"

That sums up the problem to me.

Now two ways this tends to show from new players for me is the following.

Stealing the Show

Balance isn't numbers on the table, what feats I choose, and all of that. That sort of thing is maximization. Let the munchkin be the munchkin. You find a way to get 120 damage hits out of your fighter? More power to you. But when that same fighter is picking locks, pointing out lore, drawing on spells and more, you just made everyone else in your group sit back and watch. Who wants to watch other people play when you have dice and are ready to shine?

Not to mention when people pull out all these maneuvers and incredible actions in the game, taking lots of time on their actions and someone else who planned their move shows up and it like "I cast a spell!" "Sorry, you failed, next turn". Wow, what a let down. It's like going to a baseball field with great anticipation as you're up to bat and striking out, and even worse is, you did it in mere seconds and have to wait for everyone to make their moves again, worried you're going to strike out once more.

Roles

What I think also makes Balance a problem is when people can't be what they want to be or do what they want to do. It's safe to say everyone in this forum has played D&D, and I think we're a little poisoned on that. You start thinking in terms of your knowledge when you make a character and options, then start picking. But when I think of balance, the inexperienced are the best source of wisdom on it.

I'm going to use 3E. 3.X had this big problem where you'd bring a new person to the table and they'd say something like "I want to be this XYZ" because they saw XYZ in a movie or something and has no clue how D&D works. So you look at the rules, looking for a way they could pull it off, and you end up telling them "Sorry, you can't. You have to shoe horn yourself into this until level 10 when you can KIND OF be that with a prestige class."

I tend to think Pathfinder has found a niche with that in their class variations, and I thought they did a wonderful job.

"Yeah, I saw this Kung-fu movie with this drunken master, can I be that?"

"Oh sure, there's a drunken master variant monk!"

People like to play ideas, after all, it's "Role" play. Rules telling you a bunch of reasons why you can't is not.

"You can't be a monk who kicks and punches with fire abilities, despite having seen  in Avatar the Last Air bender."

Sometimes I think D&D is too generic and could do with a lot of variance on the base classes in extended books that could help tell campaign themes instead of campaign worlds.


So what constitutes the goals of game balance for you in DnD Next?

Game balance is not a goal in 5e.  




That is not what the game’s designers are saying.


In any case: to me, balance is making sure that every class is given some equally valuable area of the game where that class reigns supreme and making sure that all classes can contribute in some meaningful way to all areas of the game. It is also about making sure that the feats and skills are roughly equally valuable, depending on personal taste and the type of character you are trying to build. 

So what constitutes the goals of game balance for you in DnD Next?

'game balance' is usually just someone explaining why a class you like shoud suck. Why was the druid drawn and quartered in 4e? Balance. Why did your 1e wizard ony get one spell, and it was Push? Balance. Why cant' you compbine cleave and whirlind attack in 3e? Balance.

Next is starting with class concepts and designing to be true to teh class, not to make people who hate the class happy. 

Except for teh warlord, obviously.


wheile we're on the topic of people hating a class and wanting it to suck, their other favorite thing is 'verismilitude.' 
 No class obsoletes another. It is ok for classes to be situationally better (Druids in forests, Rangers favoured enemy, Rogues in cities) as long as that situation is not to incredably broad or narrow.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

So what constitutes the goals of game balance for you in DnD Next?

Game balance is not a goal in 5e.  

That is not what the game’s designers are saying.

They have said that making classes true to concept will take precedence over balance, and that balancing long-standing issues like the 5MWD is going to be up to the DM.  

In any case: to me, balance is making sure that every class is given some equally valuable area of the game where that class reigns supreme...

Such 'niche protection' is a poor substitute for balance.

 

 

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Game balance is not a goal in 5e.  Rather, in recognition of the probability that balance may be a goal some DMs might be interested in, there will be some discussion of how 5e might be balanced (for instance, using a consistent degree of challenge - as measured by encounters or exp - between extended rests, to avoid imbalancing daily powers with the "5MWD").



tl;dr: this is a bad idea that's going to cost them.

Warning: somewhat kludgy logic follows.

 This smacks of overly-timid design, frankly: it's the designer's job to build a system that works, and it's the DM's job to build a narrative and use that system to facilitate it. If the DM has to do the designer's job in addition to his own, then (a) both jobs are going to suffer because of the DM's divided attention and time, and (b) what the hell were we paying the designer for in the first place? I can't help but feel that the designers are being so overcautious in avoiding doing anything that might offend a player by daring to imply that there's a certain way something should be done that they're failing to fulfil their primary function in the process (or to paraphrase a line from The American President, they're so busy trying to keep their jobs, that they're forgetting to do their jobs).

This is going to come back to haunt them. Choosing not to emphasise a balanced game as a core design goal and instead providing tools for the DM to do it himself if he wants to only solves the problem in one direction, due to a mis-categorization of player opinions regarding the issue.

For the purposes of making my point, let us define "balance" as the state in which, in ideal circumstances, all players are able to make meaningful contributions and meaningful choices in all circumstances, without marginalizing or obviating the contributions and choices made by any other player.

The assumption is that, if one were to arbitrarily divide the player population into two groups based on their opinion of game balance as a design issue, the two groups could be defined as "Wants balanced" and "Wants not-balanced". This is incorrect, and no significant data to support it exists.

The proper categorization of these two arbitrary groups should be "Wants balanced" and "Doesn't care if balanced or not". 

The distinction between "Wants not-balanced" and "Doesn't care if balanced or not" is subtle and easily missed in the emotionally-charged haze that is the D&D community right now, but it's also very important.

Since we're making arbitrary binary categorizations anyway, let us assume two more pairs: first that the game is either "balanced" (which fulfils the definition above) or "not balanced" (which does not), and second that, based on any player's opinion of balance and the balance state of the game, that player will either be "happy" or "not happy". A player whose opinion does not directly disagree with the game's balance state will be happy; a happy player will play the game, a not happy player will not play the game. 

Here's how this looks assembled:

1. If a player "Wants balanced", and the game is "balanced", then the player is "happy" and will play.
2. If a player "Wants balanced", and the game is "not balanced", then the player is "not happy" and will not play.

3. If a player "Wants not-balanced", and the game is "balanced", then the player is "not happy" and will not play.
4. If a player "Wants not-balanced", and the game is "not balanced", then the player is "happy" and will play. 

5. If a player "Doesn't care if balanced or not", and the game is "balanced", then the player is "happy" and will play.
6. If a player "Doesn't care if balanced or not", and the game is "not-balanced", then the player is "happy" and will play.

The categorization of ("Wants balanced" or "Wants not-balanced") creates a contradiction that makes it impossible to make both groups happy at the same time (lines 1 and 3, or 2 and 4). This is dangerous because it leads the designer into believing that, no matter which course of action he takes, he's going to lose half of his player population. Because he believes that which course he chooses is functionally irrelevant (he's losing half his audience either way), he is drastically more likely to choose "not balanced" because it frankly requires less effort.

On the other hand, the categorization of ("Wants balanced" or "Doesn't care if balanced or not") has no such contradiction. In fact, it gives us a circumstance where both groups are happy (lines 1 and 5).

If the designer believes that the incorrect set of opinion categorizations is true and chooses to make the game "not balanced" for the sake of not wasting effort for no gain, he is actually choosing the circumstance (lines 2 and 6) that will hurt him, where the alternative would have kept the entire population happy and playing.

Mind you, Tony, I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just pointing out why the route the design team has chosen is a really bad idea in the hopes that someone with a "wotc_" in front of their name and a basic familiarity with propositional logic will see it and point it out to the design team.

This is all grossly oversimplified, of course, but it makes my point.
It's probably safer to say that balance is a goal, but it is not quite the overwhelming primary goal that it was for 4E. I'm sure they'll run some numbers and get things closer than they were in 3E, because they do listen, but they won't sacrifice as much in the name of balance as they did last time.

The metagame is not the game.

Probably the right idea Saelorn.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Game balance is not a goal in 5e.  Rather, in recognition of the probability that balance may be a goal some DMs might be interested in, there will be some discussion of how 5e might be balanced (for instance, using a consistent degree of challenge - as measured by encounters or exp - between extended rests, to avoid imbalancing daily powers with the "5MWD").



tl;dr: this is a bad idea that's going to cost them.

Warning: somewhat kludgy logic follows.

 This smacks of overly-timid design, frankly: it's the designer's job to build a system that works, and it's the DM's job to build a narrative and use that system to facilitate it. If the DM has to do the designer's job in addition to his own, then (a) both jobs are going to suffer because of the DM's divided attention and time, and (b) what the hell were we paying the designer for in the first place? I can't help but feel that the designers are being so overcautious in avoiding doing anything that might offend a player by daring to imply that there's a certain way something should be done that they're failing to fulfil their primary function in the process (or to paraphrase a line from The American President, they're so busy trying to keep their jobs, that they're forgetting to do their jobs).

This is going to come back to haunt them. Choosing not to emphasise a balanced game as a core design goal and instead providing tools for the DM to do it himself if he wants to only solves the problem in one direction, due to a mis-categorization of player opinions regarding the issue.

For the purposes of making my point, let us define "balance" as the state in which, in ideal circumstances, all players are able to make meaningful contributions and meaningful choices in all circumstances, without marginalizing or obviating the contributions and choices made by any other player.

The assumption is that, if one were to arbitrarily divide the player population into two groups based on their opinion of game balance as a design issue, the two groups could be defined as "Wants balanced" and "Wants not-balanced". This is incorrect, and no significant data to support it exists.

The proper categorization of these two arbitrary groups should be "Wants balanced" and "Doesn't care if balanced or not". 

The distinction between "Wants not-balanced" and "Doesn't care if balanced or not" is subtle and easily missed in the emotionally-charged haze that is the D&D community right now, but it's also very important.

Since we're making arbitrary binary categorizations anyway, let us assume two more pairs: first that the game is either "balanced" (which fulfils the definition above) or "not balanced" (which does not), and second that, based on any player's opinion of balance and the balance state of the game, that player will either be "happy" or "not happy". A player whose opinion does not directly disagree with the game's balance state will be happy; a happy player will play the game, a not happy player will not play the game. 

Here's how this looks assembled:

1. If a player "Wants balanced", and the game is "balanced", then the player is "happy" and will play.
2. If a player "Wants balanced", and the game is "not balanced", then the player is "not happy" and will not play.

3. If a player "Wants not-balanced", and the game is "balanced", then the player is "not happy" and will not play.
4. If a player "Wants not-balanced", and the game is "not balanced", then the player is "happy" and will play. 

5. If a player "Doesn't care if balanced or not", and the game is "balanced", then the player is "happy" and will play.
6. If a player "Doesn't care if balanced or not", and the game is "not-balanced", then the player is "happy" and will play.

The categorization of ("Wants balanced" or "Wants not-balanced") creates a contradiction that makes it impossible to make both groups happy at the same time (lines 1 and 3, or 2 and 4). This is dangerous because it leads the designer into believing that, no matter which course of action he takes, he's going to lose half of his player population. Because he believes that which course he chooses is functionally irrelevant (he's losing half his audience either way), he is drastically more likely to choose "not balanced" because it frankly requires less effort.

On the other hand, the categorization of ("Wants balanced" or "Doesn't care if balanced or not") has no such contradiction. In fact, it gives us a circumstance where both groups are happy (lines 1 and 5).

If the designer believes that the incorrect set of opinion categorizations is true and chooses to make the game "not balanced" for the sake of not wasting effort for no gain, he is actually choosing the circumstance (lines 2 and 6) that will hurt him, where the alternative would have kept the entire population happy and playing.

Mind you, Tony, I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just pointing out why the route the design team has chosen is a really bad idea in the hopes that someone with a "wotc_" in front of their name and a basic familiarity with propositional logic will see it and point it out to the design team.

This is all grossly oversimplified, of course, but it makes my point.



To me there is a range of opinions regarding balance ranging from some wanting it as you've described, some not caring if it exists or not so long as the characters are interesting, to some folks thinking it's only dnd if it is unbalanced (because MAGIC and "fighters can't have nice things").  The people who fall in the first 2 groups can and should be supported while the third group should be ignored.


They have said that making classes true to concept will take precedence over balance, and that balancing long-standing issues like the 5MWD is going to be up to the DM.



Yea, you are performing a fair degree of mischaracterization. The way you read their statements and the way I read their statements is not one and the same. But yes, identity is a little more important in the design process of DDN. And, considering the reaction many players had to 4e, that is probably a good thing. That does not mean, however, that balance is going out the window. The designers have stated over and over again that the important lesson they learned from 4e is balancing the math of the game, and they are putting a very serious effort into doing that for DDN. And when playtesters respond negativly to some imbalance, the designers have been putting forward a real effort to fixing that imbalance. Point in case: the rogue. 


Such 'niche protection' is a poor substitute for balance.


We will have to agree to disagree. Such "niche protection" is one of the symptoms of a well balanced game. Homogeneity is a poor system of game balance. Niche protection allows you to create a game where every character is useful and fun but the characters do not feel the same.  

I just want the same degree of balance / "not balance" as there is in pathfinder.
That kind of system works well for me.

a) Nostalgia
b) Lots of interesting options, character builds and strategies
c) Supports a large amount of playstyles
d) I know the system
I just want the same degree of balance / "not balance" as there is in pathfinder.
That kind of system works well for me.

a) Nostalgia
b) Lots of interesting options, character builds and strategies
c) Supports a large amount of playstyles
d) I know the system

Ummm...why not just stick to pathfinder? It sounds like it is a game you already enjoy that covers everything you want from next. Then next will have a chance to become its own game instead of a pale imitation of PF.

I have actually repeatedly stated that I am planning to stick to pathfinder and that it would be a losing strategy for WOTC to attempt winning me back as a customer since that would require a significantly superior product (in my eyes) compared to pathfinder
I just want the same degree of balance / "not balance" as there is in pathfinder.



In other words, no balance at all? No thanks. Pathfinder's lack of balance is why I don't own any Pathfinder products. I have no intrest in playing imbalanced games. 
As far as i know are pathfinder outselling 4e and has done so for a good amount of time
It is an indication that a large share of the tabletop roleplaying fanbase like the pathfinder slider-position on the balance / "non balance" slider
In other words, no balance at all? No thanks. Pathfinder's lack of balance is why I don't own any Pathfinder products.

The balance of Pathfinder, or even in 3E for that matter, isn't that bad. Far more egregious examples exist within the medium.

The metagame is not the game.

As far as i know are pathfinder outselling 4e and has done so for a good amount of time
It is an indication that a large share of the tabletop roleplaying fanbase like the pathfinder slider-position on the balance / "non balance" slider



Um, no, sorry, but that is what we call a logical non-sequitur. The fact that Pathfinder ended up outselling 4e does not indicate that a large share of the tabletop roleplaying fanbase like Pathfinder's balance. It only indicates that a large share of the roleplaying fanbase like something about Pathfinder enough to like the game more than 4e. That something might have nothing to do with balance. In fact, the majority of Pathfinder players might like Pathfinder more than 4e but still be unhappy with its balance. The lone fact that Pathfinder sold better than 4e, near the end of 4e’s lifespan, does not prove your conclusion. You need more data to prove that claim.  

Moreover, your statement is somewhat off topic. Who said anything about 4e? I am not sure why you even brought it up. I never said anything about 4e one way or the other. I said that I want D&DN to be more balanced than Pathfinder, because as far as I can tell Pathfinder has no balance at all. The spellcasters in that game are hands down superior to the other classes; they can do everything the other classes can do but better, and they can do more besides. I have not bought any Pathfinder products as a result. And I, for one, won't buy into D&DN if it shows that level of imbalance. 
In other words, no balance at all? No thanks. Pathfinder's lack of balance is why I don't own any Pathfinder products.

The balance of Pathfinder, or even in 3E for that matter, isn't that bad. Far more egregious examples exist within the medium.




Like? There is no point to play anything but a wizard, cleric, druid or their derivatives in 3e/Pathfinder. That is a pretty egregious example of imbalance. By the time 3.5 came out I stopped purchasing 3e D&D books as a result. Despite having very attractive trade dress, I have avoided purchasing any Pathfinder products for the same reason. I don't like RPGs with that level of imbalance. 
I do not see the problem with spellcasters
I am at the moment working on a character concept; ranger + rogue or maybe a ranger + rogue +2 level bard concept (for more skills)

Well. I doubt that 3.x and it is followup in pathfinder would have sold so well unless people really liked the options they have in that system including the relative balance between options.
I do not see the problem with spellcasters
I am at the moment working on a character concept; ranger + rogue or maybe a ranger + rogue +2 level bard concept (for more skills)

Well. I doubt that 3.x and it is followup in pathfinder would have sold so well unless people really liked the options they have in that system including the relative balance between options.




And, your doubt is both irrelevant and illogical. We have been over this. Did a large group of people like something about Pathfinder enough to like more than 4e overall? Yes. Did they like everything about Pathfinder? No. They liked it more overall, but that doesn't mean they liked everything about the game. That conclusion is a logical non sequitur. I like 4e, for example. I liked it enough to buy almost every book that belongs to that game. But, I have many problems with 4e, and even like some elements of Pathfinder more, even though I really dislike Pathfinder overall. Hell, 4e isn’t even my favorite fantasy PnP RPG. I like WFRPG 3e far more than I like 4e D&D. So, stop trying to pretend that just because people out there like a product they like everything about that product. That might be true of you. It is not true of the community at large.


And, let’s try and remember, the community’s complaints about 3e’s imbalance is what led to 4e in the first place. Did 4e manage to make the game less appealing to a large fraction of the community in the process? Yes. But that does not change the fact that the imbalance of 3e eventually led to the same problem 4e ran into. Balance must still be one of the major considerations of D&DN. 

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