Druids vs. Wizards... WTF

So I'm reading through the new packet, expecting to see drastically different spells between the druid, cleric, and wizards list and instead I find that the druid has half the cleric spells, half the wizards spells, and shape shift and a ton of other neat class features. Why the heck would anyone play a Wizard at this point?


Let see...

Same number of spells per day, and if your a spell casting druid you pretty much get the same number of spells as a "Scholarly Wizard".

Arcane Recovery (which is cool) is exactly the same thing as "Nature's Prescience".

And 50% of the exact same spells and a few better damage spells and Heals.

And that's where the simularities end, from there on out the druid kicks the wizards butt in everything else.

Wizard has a D6 hp - Druids have a D8

Wizards wear cloth armor - Druids wear leather and carry shields

Druids get Woodland Stride, Weapon Attack Bonus, Nature's Endurance, Nature's Ward, Healing Trance, Thousand Faces, and Evergreen.         

Oh and did I mention that they can also shape shift into a great cat at lvl 3 that can get three attacks and knock you prone? 
 
Seriously guys? Did you not even think about how unbalanced this class was before you gave it to us?

This is even more broken than 3.5 at this point, you totally should have given him a animal companion and called it the 3.5 druid on sterioids.

While I understand that you've been releasing some classes that are too powerful the first iteration like the Monk was, but this is just stupid broken. At this point as a DM I will hold the same rules as I did for 3.5, no one is allowed to play druids at my table, they are just broke.
  
Glad to see I am not the only one who felt this was a super class.  I actually guessed it from the description Mearls gave.  I'll need to try it against the other classes to see how badly it is imbalanced in gameplay.

Bear in mind, balance is not the priority at this stage, per Mearls on twitter.  Vote on the concepts, not the balance (or lack thereof).
Glad to see I am not the only one who felt this was a super class.  I actually guessed it from the description Mearls gave.  I'll need to try it against the other classes to see how badly it is imbalanced in gameplay.

Bear in mind, balance is not the priority at this stage, per Mearls on twitter.  Vote on the concepts, not the balance (or lack thereof).

Unfortunately, balance-minded players sometimes find kludgy work like this so obstructive and annoying that we can't rightfully address "concept", because to our view how a class compares against others is part of its concept. 

This is something the design team needs to address. It's very difficult to playtest a system that doesn't work in the first place, which is exactly what we've all been doing for the last year and a half. Far too much of the indecisive waffling about that's ended up in the playtest packets so far is because have apparently ignored designing a functional ruleset in favor of pursuing the snipe hunt that is attempting to locate some imaginary nexus where the game "feels right" to the entire communty. 



Well conceptually? The Wizard's concept sticks when compaired to the Druid. I'm not worried about the armor, it's always been that way. But matching the Wizard for spells/day (maybe down 3), with same spell bonus progression, more HP, attack bonus (Wizards can use it in actuallity), and a suit of class abilities beyond first level is appaling. They couldn't even throw them free feats? It's not about balance, it's about even class design. The Fighter even managed to pick up more features this packet.
"Appalling", maybe, but realize that's not what we're supposed to be testing. We're supposed to be testing the Druid's "feel", whatever that means.
Admittedly, when they run out of spell slots, their cantrips are pretty bad for damage compared to a Wiz/Cleric's. And you can't always be Wild Shaped for decent physical damage. That being said, I haven't completely balance tested them.
I also noticed druids get some of the best wizard spells now, like charm person, hold person, web, dimension door, dominate person, feeblemind, dominate monster (at 8th level!!) and wish. They never had any of these spells before, and they're some of the most potent ones in the wizard's arsenal.

I also just noticed, wizards don't have Dominate Monster in their list anymore. So not only was the spell taken away from wizards, it was reduced a level and given to druids. Not cool.
Actually, I like the druid vs. wizard balance.  I mocked up some characters at first, fifth, and tenth level.  Druids do not have the same compliment of damaging spells the wizard has.  The wizards cantrips are superior to the druids in a number of ways.

Where the druid shines is the sheer dynamic range of the class.  There are a number of builds that spark the imagination.  By comparison I think the wizard is a bit unimaginative.  Yes, the wizard does more spell damage.  The druid has some healing to compensate, and can charge into combat as well (again, not as good as the fighter).  Seems that the druid is more a swiss army knife of all the other classes.  A mix of fighter, cleric, and wizard all in one.  The down side is that it is not as good as any of the other classes where they shine.

I have not actually playtested them yet, so I am in a "let's see" phase.  As a DM, I do not think they are overpowered.  Instead, their inherent range of options makes them a superior choice.  What they really need is to bring up wizards and clerics to the same level as the druid as far as build options.  Give the wizards a few more feats, give clerics a bit more range as well...

Before you judge, I would test it out.  If you design a character and pick spells for both classes, I think the differences and advantages of each class become more apparent.

I DO wish that wizards and clerics used attack rolls more than requiring saving throws.  A critical hit should be possible with spells as well!

 
Don't forget the Druid's spell list, they cherrypicked the best out of the cleric's and wizards list.  Flaming Sphere should be Wiz spell - now 2nd lvl spell druid only, and crazy more powerful than anything the wiz has access to as a 3rd level character:

 2d8 auto-damage, if end turn adjacent, dex save 1/2 damage + 2d8 attack, moves 30 feet a round, for 10 rounds!

XXX
XOX
XXX

VS.

At 1 target: 3d8 attack, dex save 1/2 damage + if fail save, 2d8 next round  (Melf's Acid Arrow)


JYK

Flaming Sphere should be Wiz spell



What the hell? Flaming Sphere was removed from the wizard list too? Please tell me these are editing errors!
well at least they're very easily fixed.
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Yeah, the Druid got some pretty bangin spells going for it.

 Though they both get Sunbeam which is 10 rounds of a 60ft line of 6d8 + blind each round.
 

The other thing I think is pretty hilarious is Shillelagh.  Druid with 20 wisdom at level 20 makes a melee attack (not in wildshape).
He has a +10 to hit and deals 5d8 damage.

Fighter with a 20 strength at level 20 with a longsword gets +10 to hit and deals 5d8 + Str damage.

That is a bit wierd to me all on its own. 


As for the flaming sphere thing.... go take another look at the Wizard list...  they get Flaming Sphere at 1st level now!
As for the flaming sphere thing.... go take another look at the Wizard list...  they get Flaming Sphere at 1st level now!



You're right. Flaming sphere says it's a 2nd level conjuration, though, so it's probably just a typo.
I also noticed druids get some of the best wizard spells now, like charm person, hold person, web, dimension door, dominate person, feeblemind, dominate monster (at 8th level!!)


Dominate Monster is an 8th level spell. Druids don't get an 8th level spell slot until Druid level 15.
I also noticed druids get some of the best wizard spells now, like charm person, hold person, web, dimension door, dominate person, feeblemind, dominate monster (at 8th level!!)



Dominate Monster is an 8th level spell. Druids don't get an 8th level spell slot until Druid level 15.



I mentioned its level (8th) because it used to be a 9th level spell. I was referring to spell level, not class level.
Unfortunately, balance-minded players sometimes find kludgy work like this so obstructive and annoying that we can't rightfully address "concept", because to our view how a class compares against others is part of its concept. 

This is something the design team needs to address. It's very difficult to playtest a system that doesn't work in the first place, which is exactly what we've all been doing for the last year and a half.



AMEN.  How can you properly test something when the math is wrong, and the balance is barely attempted.  Some of this stuff jumps off the page as ill-conceived, why give your company and future product the black eye of seeming so inattentive to fundamentals? 

While this packet doesn't elicit the same brain-breaking rage the others did for me, it's still got serious balance issues, which make it very hard to evaluate the concepts therein as "fun".  Moreover, the messaging to the community of HOW we should view the material and the goals of each packet has been quite poor (due to its absence), in my opinion.

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Flaming Sphere (2), Flame Blade (3), Sunbeam (6), and Call Lightning (3), arguably the 4 best spells in the game from a spell-slinger's persepective are all on the Druid's spell list. Flame Blade and Call Lightning are both Druid specific. What makes them so good? They are mulit-use spells that can be effectively recast over the course of an encounter with contentration. Call Lightning uses one spell slot and every round after will summon a 4d10 bolt of lightning with a 5ft radius. 

Also, Shillelagh, why can't my Wizard beat someone with his staff or my cleric with his club? 
I just read the druid material my self and I did find the druid to have a lot of cool features. Admittidmly I did not play alot of dnd before 4th,  but even in fourth the druid seemed all over the place, was it a martial or arcane stricker, and it seems that question is still in the air. I guess the problem is that the druid is flavor wise a spelll caster, but how do you differentiate that from everyone else you casts a spell. I wonder has the answer always been that they can shape shift or was that a 4th eddition creation? Maybe the druid should have to make a hard choice between being a shapeshifter or a caster. If you choose a caster then you have very limited use and ability to be a beast fighter, if you choose to be a shifter then your spell casting abilty is limited, and by this games design you should have different attack and spell bonus progression for the two choices, but by that time you have just made two different calsses.

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Arcane Recovery (which is cool) is exactly the same thing as "Nature's Prescience".
      
...

Oh and did I mention that they can also shape shift into a great cat at lvl 3 that can get three attacks and knock you prone? 
 




Druids can't get both of those at the same time.


I do agree that the Druid needs to have it's base spellcasting toned down so that a caster focused druid only becomes as good as a non-specialized Wizard with all the other Druid features making up the difference.

I'm also not satisfied with Wild Shape's limitations as far as times/day and duration go.  I'd rather it be unlimited with just the opportunity cost of not being able to cast spells/talk/activate magic items/do anything that requires hands.
I don't see it.  Shillelagh is nice for a melee attack, but it's not comparable to Ray of Frost.  In fact, druids have nothing comparable to Ray of Frost.  So they get the same base spells, but once the spells run out, they're not as effective.  In general, the cantrips give wizards a big edge.

In addition, I think you're discounting the advantage given by magical school.  In particular, if people are going to wax poetic about the glory of Flame Sphere, than an evocation school wizard is necessarily better than comparable magical classes.
Remember what they told us when the barbarian and monk came out: they don't mind overshooting on their first release of something, because that encourages people to test the new stuff and see how it feels in play. If the caster-Druid was way worse than the wizard, it wouldn't get much testing. They can tone it down (or buff the wizard) later.
I would add some Magic Feats to the Wizard Traditions, much like the Fighter and Rogue gets.
Lets not exclude the versatility of the Wizards Spellbook. The Wizard will end up with a far larger selection of spells to choose from. 
Fairie Fire, IMO, is an amazing cantrip. Talk about support. Granted, the druid doesn't have as powerful damaging spells in the cantrip list, but a simple spell that grants Advantage on attacks, automatically, is very very nice.
Yeah, faerie fire is pretty good, but it uses the whole action and lasts for only one round. Way better than some of the cleric's cantrips, so either it needs to be toned down or they need to be boosted.

Call Lightning is amazing. More damage than lightning bolt or fireball (lacks in area but makes up for in precision) and repeatable. Take out the concentration repeatability and I'd be fine with it. Otherwise that damage needs to come down significantly.

Flaming sphere is now a SL1 spell for wizards and SL2 for druids, so wizards win there.

Shillelagh is good because of its reach, and the base damage is comparable to a fighter, sure, but it's only d8s. There is no bonus damage of any sort, whether from attributes, class features, or whatever. Druids still can't tank outside of a wildshape.

Flame Blade's 3d6 damage (10.5 avg) is nice, but a level 3 fighter is already doing at least as well (1d8 longsword + 3 str + 1d6 death dealer = 11 avg) with similar attack bonuses. Not to mention, they can't stand in a toe-to-toe fight as long as the fighter. After level 5, that flame blade will start trailing off in effectiveness compared to fighters with deadly strike and more expertise dice.

Druids are extremely versatile and can fill many different roles. Call lightning is clearly overboard, but everything is mostly fine, possibly after some reasonable adjustments.
I want my wizard to be buffed up to the Druid level.

I really want 3-4 class features each one that has a choice
Flaming sphere is now a SL1 spell for wizards and SL2 for druids, so wizards win there.

Shillelagh is good because of its reach, and the base damage is comparable to a fighter, sure, but it's only d8s. There is no bonus damage of any sort, whether from attributes, class features, or whatever. Druids still can't tank outside of a wildshape.

Flame Blade's 3d6 damage (10.5 avg) is nice, but a level 3 fighter is already doing at least as well (1d8 longsword + 3 str + 1d6 death dealer = 11 avg) with similar attack bonuses. Not to mention, they can't stand in a toe-to-toe fight as long as the fighter. After level 5, that flame blade will start trailing off in effectiveness compared to fighters with deadly strike and more expertise dice.



I think Flaming Shpere's Wizard level is a typo. The spell's description is a level 2 conjuration. 

It might just be me but the Wizard needs access to a cantrip that does non-elemental damage, it targeting AC means magical resistence isn't an issue if something gets close. 
Eh, this is probably just a symptom of the limited number of Wizardry Traditions, as well as a rather shallow Arcane Spell list.

Spell Level 4 could especially use some love, considering a Wizard gains all three slots during Levels 7-9 and there are only 7 on the list...

The Specialty School Traditions could also probably use a few bonus Spells as well.

Druids could possibly loose a Spell Slot or two, just to open up the gap between the Circles and maybe leave room for another Casting Circle...
I'm not convinced the number of spells tables are correct for most of the classes. Most say "2 + 1/2 class level" (Ranger/Pally) or "1 + class level" (Cleric/Druid) but the Cleric is the only chart that somewhat follows the formula listed, at least until level 12. 
I'm not convinced the number of spells tables are correct for most of the classes. Most say "2 + 1/2 class level" (Ranger/Pally) or "1 + class level" (Cleric/Druid) but the Cleric is the only chart that somewhat follows the formula listed, at least until level 12. 

Are you talking about Prepared Spells per day, or Spell Slots per day? They don't match evenly, and aren't intended to.
I'm not convinced the number of spells tables are correct for most of the classes. Most say "2 + 1/2 class level" (Ranger/Pally) or "1 + class level" (Cleric/Druid) but the Cleric is the only chart that somewhat follows the formula listed, at least until level 12. 

Are you talking about Prepared Spells per day, or Spell Slots per day? They don't match evenly, and aren't intended to.

Doh. NM. Wasn't fully comprehending difference in Slots versus Spell Preparation.

And that's why I play the fighter. Sealed

Ok. Comparing slots per day between Wiz & Druid, I would agree that the Druid has too many slots. In my head, Druids should be closer to Clerics than Wizards and even then, this Druid is pretty big.
Do druids gain their other features while in wild shape form? Racial features, druid feature, feats, and so forth? I would think that would be the key to a certain build, but in the Enhanced Form there is a Nimble quality you can take that negates all Diff Terrain. I recognize Woodland Stride negates Diff Terr from non-magical undergrowth, but the overlap has me wondering if all other features you have are "turned off" while in wild shape form.
Do druids gain their other features while in wild shape form?



That's a good question. The rules text that I think would be relevant reads "Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the creature," which is a bit ambiguous but I guess it includes things like special qualities.

Do druids gain their other features while in wild shape form?



That's a good question. The rules text that I think would be relevant reads "Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the creature," which is a bit ambiguous but I guess it includes things like special qualities.


Does that mean dwarves and elves lose their X-light vision while shapeshifted?
Do druids gain their other features while in wild shape form?



That's a good question. The rules text that I think would be relevant reads "Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the creature," which is a bit ambiguous but I guess it includes things like special qualities.


Does that mean dwarves and elves lose their X-light vision while shapeshifted?



Also a good question! While it's a bit outside the scope of 5e discussion, Wild Shape seems pretty heavily influenced by 3.5's Wild Shape, so it stands to reason it pretty much works the same. The 3.5 SRD tells us that Wild Shape is based on Alternate Form, and tells us thespecific rules on what does and doesn't carry over. Among them is "The creature retains the special qualities of its original form. It does not gain any special qualities of its new form." I guess I'd assume it works like 3.5 wild shape until further clarification. Which means... nimble enhanced form is useless.
In my opinion, there's really no 'power imbalance', because everything comes down to how the Dungeon Master does something. First of all, staying specifically with the Druid vs. Wizard, then it's the DM's job to make sure certain classes have time to shine. Prime example, Arcane knowledge will always be the wizard's 'thing'. Could you make a druid that could do the same thing? Probably, but there are better options out there, so that which is arcane is still almost solely the wizard's domain, not considering the other 'arcane classes to be'. Secondly, which also ties in with the 'DM's job' idea. Role playing! A wizard and druid should never, in my opinion, role play is an identical way. Wizard are, typically, more scholarly and reserved, basically academics, who do better in interactions with nobles, arch-wizards (obviously) and those also otherwise high up in the classical fantasy hierarchy. Meanwhile, druid do much better roaming in the wild, saving animals, dealing with hunters, loggers, etc. and small, basic village leaders. So I'd so long as each class has it's niche, and there's nothing ridiculously over powered like a druid ability that let's them become a green dragon starting at level 3, then everything should be ok, and it's really up to the DM to keep the power balanced.

Just my opinions anyway. 
Yeah, I don't think we should use rules from 3.5 for druids just because that's a general foundation for the Next packet.

re: senses in wild shape, the forms you can take do have their own senses, and for some they are very important. More precisely, the Shape of the Hound has low-light vision and Keen Senses. I can only presume this to be a "statistic" and therefore replace what the druid has in normal form. Great for humans and halflings, no change for elves, and kinda bad for dwarves.

But the question remains: if something like senses are replaced, are other racial qualities then replaced? What about fearless? What about Lucky? Those seem innate to a creature that happens to be a halfling, but has your physiology changed so much that it's inaccessible while in another form?

Magic items with constant benefits are engaged while in another form though, and those don't even really "exist". You can concentrate on spells cast previous to shape shifting, can you not use your Read Lips feat? Speaking of feats, can you use something like Tumbling Movement and the Trample attack of the Behemoth?
I don't think this is a druid problem:  it's a wizard problem.  The druid is about where I'd like the classes to be.  The wizard fell face down in the mud about 3 playtests ago and is currently bleeding out.

For the most part I think the caster druid plays fine at lower levels (and certainly feels like its own class - which for version 1 is all you can really ask for).  The only issue I have is that the druid spell progression is better than Clerics.  The progression would be fine if the druid spells were less powerful than Clerics/Wizards, but the issue is that they are using too many of the same spells.

Edit: On the subject of wildshape I think the rules in this packet are that you lose all of your race abilites.  They may tweak this in future packets, but the idea right now seems to be that you are the animal you shape change into.   I base this on that the drow (elf) stat block includes darkvison and that the hound statblock includes keen senses.

I'm just concerned how far this ability replacement goes…
What about skills? Can you not spot as well as an eagle if you're trained? What's the point of training in listen, shaping into a mouse, and eavesdropping in on the shopkeeper if you don't get that skill die? What about skills that require manipulation with your hands? Do you lose Stonecunning as a dwarf when in an altered form? Do you lose the ability to understand Dwarven?
Not being able to understand languages does seem like something that needs to be fixed, but languages are on the stat block, so in this version I would say they are gone.

Now taking a step back and trying to fix the class it is not much of a reach to say that you keep all languages (based on int) and all skills based on the stats that carry over would carry over: Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.

I am sure all will be made clear in the next packet. Wink
Wizard will be underpowered in Next; the LFQW crowd has an adherent in Mearls, based on my interpretation of stuff he's said. Too bad Monte left as they were a good balance (Mearls as a martials fan and Monte as an arcane fan).

I suspect they will err to keeping the Wiz nerfed with the idea they can always pump Wiz up with later releases a year or two after Next comes out. JMHO