Is there a scaling issue?

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My party and I are looking at 4E and trying to see if we'll willing to migrate our 3.5 Campaign to 4E but one of my players has concerns with regard to scaling in 4E. He brought up the concern that Characters don't seem to scale with Monsters at higher levels (20-30) and that Monsters, especially Soldiers, eventually can't be hit by most Characters in those ranges, yet monsters, seem to be capable of hitting Characters easily due to the differences in level to hit bonuses.

My question is, "is there a scaling issue"?
My party and I are looking at 4E and trying to see if we'll willing to migrate our 3.5 Campaign to 4E but one of my players has concerns with regard to scaling in 4E. He brought up the concern that Characters don't seem to scale with Monsters at higher levels (20-30) and that Monsters, especially Soldiers, eventually can't be hit by most Characters in those ranges, yet monsters, seem to be capable of hitting Characters easily due to the differences in level to hit bonuses.

My question is, "is there a scaling issue"?

No, remember magic items, stats go up as you level more often than 3rd edition. Add in feats, etc.

Try making sample characters of level 20: they should be able to hit if built for it. Rogues can aim for reflex also.
"If you can't believe in yourself, believe in me who believes in you." and "Go beyond the impossible, and kick reason to the curb" Kamina, from Gurren Lagann
I had the same concerns until it was pointed out to me the sum of all the bonuses you receive. For example you get +1 to 2 stats at 4th, 8th, 14th, 18th, 24th, and 28th level and +1 to all stats at 11th and 21st level. Thats a decent chunk of increase by itself.

Also you get one half your level to defenses, initiative, and attacks. You are also supposed to have at least one magical item of your level +1, one of your level, and one of your level -1 once you get past 1st level. Assuming your DM is kind and lets you have weapons at your level or slightly higher that is also a decent chunk of bonus.

There are also some feats you can take to help with to hit as well. Weapon focus leaps to mind, sure its only a +1 but it all adds up. Also most classes get powers that will give you a bonus to hit or allow you to strike at an another defense rather than AC. One of the key things it mentions in the DMG about monsters is that there will always be one defense that is not as good as the others.

I hope this was helpful to you. Enjoy fourth edition.
I had the same concerns until it was pointed out to me the sum of all the bonuses you receive. For example you get +1 to 2 stats at 4th, 8th, 14th, 18th, 24th, and 28th level and +1 to all stats at 11th and 21st level. Thats a decent chunk of increase by itself.

Also you get one half your level to defenses, initiative, and attacks. You are also supposed to have at least one magical item of your level +1, one of your level, and one of your level -1 once you get past 1st level. Assuming your DM is kind and lets you have weapons at your level or slightly higher that is also a decent chunk of bonus.

There are also some feats you can take to help with to hit as well. Weapon focus leaps to mind, sure its only a +1 but it all adds up. Also most classes get powers that will give you a bonus to hit or allow you to strike at an another defense rather than AC. One of the key things it mentions in the DMG about monsters is that there will always be one defense that is not as good as the others.

I hope this was helpful to you. Enjoy fourth edition.

If you do the math I think the issue will present itself...

Let's take a 21th Level Fighter who states the game at first level with an 18 Strength. Let's also assume to takes a bump in Strength at every opportunity (4th, 8th, 14th, 18th level and +1 to all stats at 11th and 21st level) so that his Strength is an 24 for a To Hit and Damage Bonus of +7 plus one-half his levels raises his total to +17 and the plus +1 for Fighter Weapon Talent... +18. Let's now assume he has a Bastard Sword +5 (remember the Weapon Prof Bonus of +3) which raises his To Hit to +26.

Okay we now have a completely optimized To Hit. Let's compare this to the 21st Level Soldier template which suggests an AC of [Monster Level +16]. That would produce an AC of 37. It does appear that our example mini-maxed fighter could hit that AC about 45% of the time.

Let's now look at a 30th Level Fighter whom we continue to mini-max and see if Monster AC isn't out pacing our development. At 30th Level our Fight will only gain another +2 to his strength for a grand total of 26 with a +8 To Hit and Damage. Adding half his levels raises his total to +23 and an additional +1 for Fighter Weapon Talent takes this to +24. Let's now assume he has a Bastard Sword +6 (Weapon Prof Bonus of +3) for a Grand Total of +33.

Now let's take another look at the Soldier Template at 30th level. 30 + 16 equals an AC of 46. With an optimized To Hit of +33 our intrepid Fighter could still achieve a hit but only 35% of the time. With To Hit's calculated by one-half Characters Levels and Monster's AC's calculated by the Full Monster Level even mini-maxed Fighter's are going to see real challenges in scoring a hit as the game scales to higher and higher levels. If we bring into the equation other Characters the issue is far more pronounced. So that question needs to be asked, who's suppose to be hitting these monsters at high levels?

Are we to assume that every character is forced to mini-max in this way to maintain par with Monster AC? If you scan the MM for examples of Monster AC for 21st and higher characters I think you'll see the issue my players are concerned with. Maybe there is something we're missing...
Basically, no, there isn't a scaling issue. You're pretty likely to hit. Combats do last somewhat longer at higher levels due to higher monster and player HP, but it works out pretty well.

Soldiers are hard to hit. That is their schtick. Moreover, you're forgetting that there are tons of other bonuses - if the Fighter is a Demigod, he's got +1 more to hit. If the fighter is a Kensei, he's got +1 more to hit (and if he's a pit fighter, instead he has a very large + to damage which helps compensate).

There are lots of other ways of raising your to-hit as well; buffs, debuffs on the foes, and combat advantage are all likely suspects.

In the end your odds of hitting a soldier at level 30, attacking their AC, is on the order of 30-45% static, and will often be around 50% in practice. The real deal, though, is that you're comparing the highest AC monster and saying "This is bad", when you're looking at it all wrong. Soldiers are supposed to be hard to kill by pounding their AC; you're supposed to target their other defenses.
Basically, no, there isn't a scaling issue. You're pretty likely to hit. Combats do last somewhat longer at higher levels due to higher monster and player HP, but it works out pretty well.

Soldiers are hard to hit. That is their schtick. Moreover, you're forgetting that there are tons of other bonuses - if the Fighter is a Demigod, he's got +1 more to hit. If the fighter is a Kensei, he's got +1 more to hit (and if he's a pit fighter, instead he has a very large + to damage which helps compensate).

There are lots of other ways of raising your to-hit as well; buffs, debuffs on the foes, and combat advantage are all likely suspects.

In the end your odds of hitting a soldier at level 30, attacking their AC, is on the order of 30-45% static, and will often be around 50% in practice. The real deal, though, is that you're comparing the highest AC monster and saying "This is bad", when you're looking at it all wrong. Soldiers are supposed to be hard to kill by pounding their AC; you're supposed to target their other defenses.

I appreciate your argument but we're talking about mini-maxed Fighters here... what about the 'rest' of the party or players who aren't munchkin enough to throw 'everything' into their ability to hit?

What about Monsters chance to hit? With AC scaling on a one-for-one with Level for Monsters and Characters AC on a one-for-two scaling we're having a hard time seeing parity...

Monsters appear to have a very easy time hitting as we scale the game but Character to hits declining from Level 1 up as the one-for-one one-for-two gains momentum. Have you looked at a 21st, 31st or 41st level Ranger or Rogue or Paladin and compared them Monsters of equal Level? It's a bit scary to see how the system scales. Maybe magic weapons and powers and feats do overcome this but it does appear that characters basic chance to hit gradually falls over as monsters AC's advance.
I appreciate your argument but we're talking about mini-maxed Fighters here... what about the 'rest' of the party or players who aren't munchkin enough to throw 'everything' into their ability to hit?

That's actually your problem... they're Fighters. You're forgetting the Class Roles. Fighters are Defenders, not Strikers. They're not meant to hit a lot and do tons of dammage, that's the Striker's role. It took my party just a few hours to really fall into their roles, but in 4th ed if you really try to stray from your appointed role you will pay.

Redo your numbers with a Ranger, Warlock or Rogue and you should see much better numbers.
That's actually your problem... they're Fighters. You're forgetting the Class Roles. Fighters are Defenders, not Strikers. They're not meant to hit a lot and do tons of dammage, that's the Striker's role. It took my party just a few hours to really fall into their roles, but in 4th ed if you really try to stray from your appointed role you will pay.

Redo your numbers with a Ranger, Warlock or Rogue and you should see much better numbers.

Outside of One-Half your Level, Stat Bonuses and Weapon Bonuses what other 'non-power' bonuses are there?

I don't see Strikers having an 'inherently' higher attack chances than Defenders.
The game assumes you have appropriate level magic armor, weapon, and neck slot items. They make the stipulation that if you don't want to use magic items then you should give the characters the appropriate bonuses to attack and defenses at the appropriate level. Also, it assumes you will be using powers most of the time.

So there is a basic scaling discrepancy to compensate for the use of magic armor and weapons.
You seem to be ignoring the fact that attacks don't only target AC anymore. There are plenty of ways to target a different (and hopefully lower) defense.
Also dont forget your a party of heroes for a reason, cheak out some of the leader powers, clerics get a at will that boosts attack rolls and pleanty of other effects that help out as well.

this game isent about one lone superman type hero defeating all he comes across but rather its about a group of heroic individuals working together to fight the good fight.
I appreciate your argument but we're talking about mini-maxed Fighters here... what about the 'rest' of the party or players who aren't munchkin enough to throw 'everything' into their ability to hit?

Starting Attack Attribute of 18, raising it when you can, level appropriate items, ignoring Paragon & Epic Path, ignoring Feats, ignoring teamplay (flanking?), ignoring your and your Teammates Powers is hardly min-maxing...

Looks ok so far...

PS:
Lead the Attack (Warlord Daily Level 1)
Hit: 3[W] + Strength modifier damage. Until the end of the encounter, you and each ally within 5 squares of you gain a power bonus to attack rolls against the target equal to 1 + your Intelligence modifier.

This can be easily +4 on level 1, for the whole party... i am sure there are similar/better Powers on higher levels.
AC is only one defense. Different classes have different powers that will also be targeting Fort, Ref, and Will defenses. Also don't forget the impact of buffs, debuffs, and modifiers such as combat advantage.
Remember that your chances of hitting the monster can be improved with powers that grant bonuses to hit, grant you combat advantage or otherwise don't target AC (which is a soldier's primary advantage). And really, hitting on a 13 doesn't seem like a huge scaling problem to me. Nothing like 3.5 epic levels where you had save DCs that were nearly impossible to make for some characters, yet easy saves for others.

So honestly, I'm not sure why a 3.5 player is complaining to you about problems with scaling. 3.5's scaling was horrible. Like how it's pretty much impossible to get AC high enough to prevent dragons or something lke the Tarrasque from ever hitting you.

4E's scaling is a huge improvement. Huge.
I don't see Strikers having an 'inherently' higher attack chances than Defenders.

Suppose you're a rogue. Your dexterity could reasonably be 24 (+7) without even stretching. You're level 30 (+15), and you have a +6 dagger, which also gives you +3 proficiency and an additional +1 for your class ability, for an attack bonus of +32.

So, you're fighting a level 30 soldier with AC 46 and other defenses are 42.

A basic attack, sure, hits on a 14, which isn't awesome, but by 30th level I'm only doing THAT when I get an OA.

I can reasonably expect my high end rogue to be mister slippery, so it's not wrong to suppose I can get combat advantage pretty much whenever I want it -- at the very least, I can probably get in flanking position. That'll be a bonus +2, and I probably have the Nimble Blade feat for an extra +1 when I have combat advantage.

Now I'm hitting on 11.

Using my Rogue at-wills, I can attack Reflex, so I'd hit on a 7 or so. A number of daily and encounter powers also let me do that.

And when you get down to it, I can probably get an extra +2 or +3 out of circumstantial effects like Back To The Wall, Light Blade Precision, or a power bonus from the team Leader, but I'm not even taking those into account here.

No, there's no issue there.
I was somewhat worried about this myself, at first - a quick glance indicated the numbers might balanced against optimized parties, which severely hurts non-optimized characters!

But checking the math, I discovered this wasn't the case.

Let's look at an average fighter, at levels 1,5,10,20,30.

Assume he starts with Str 16, and decides to use a +2 proficiency weapon. At level one he has +6 to hit (+3 str, +1 fighter weapon talent, +2 proficiency). A level 1 monster generally has 15 AC, so the fighter will hit on a 9.

At level 5, his Strength is now 17, and he has a +1 enhancement bonus weapon, so he is at +9 to hit (+3 str, +1 fighter weapon talent, +2 proficiency, +1 enhancement, +2 level). Average AC is 19, so he needs a 10 to hit.

At level 10, his Strength is now 18, and he has a +2 enhancement bonus weapon, so he is at +12 to hit (+4 str, +1 fighter weapon talent, +2 proficiency, +2 enhancement, +5 level). Average AC is 24, so he needs a 12 to hit.

At level 20, his Strength is now 21, and he has a +4 enhancement bonus weapon, so he is at +22 to hit (+5 str, +1 fighter weapon talent, +2 proficiency, +4 enhancement, +10 level). Average AC is 34, so he needs a 12 to hit.

At level 30, his Strength is now 24, and he has a +6 enhancement bonus from his weapon, so he is at +31 to hit (+7 str, +1 fighter weapon talent, +2 proficiency, +6 enhancement, +15 level). Average AC is 44, so he needs a 13 to hit.

So, things do slightly scale - though not by much. You start out much better at hitting than is normal (largely due to getting proficiency bonus and weapon talent bonus right up front.) Then, from a few levels on, you generally need a 12 to hit.

Which seems just fine - we are looking at about as non-optimized a fighter as you are going to see. A 45% chance to hit is plenty solid - especially since, as you get higher level, you will have more means of gaining temporary bonuses, more opportunities to gain combat advantage, and so forth.

Some enemies will be harder to hit - you'll need a 14 to hit an average soldier. Just over a 1 in 3 chance... low, but reasonable when considering you are up against an enemy designed to be hard to hit.

Just to compare, a fully optimized level 30 fighter - with maxed out strength, kensai paragon path, demigod epic destiny, and a +3 proficiency weapon - is looking at +36 to hit (+10 str, +1 fighter weapon talent, +3 proficiency, +6 enhancement, +15 level, +1 kensai). Average AC is 44, so he is hitting on an 8 - a 65% chance to hit. Against a soldier, he hits on a 10 - a 55% chance to hit.

Compare this to 3rd Edition - a non-optimized level 20 fighter-type probably had around a +30 to hit (+6 str, +1 weapon focus, +3 enhancement, +20 level). An optimized fighter-type, on the other hand, might be an orc fighter/barbarian with +41 to hit (+14 str, +1 weapon focus, +1 greater weapon focus, +5 enhancement, +20 level).

That means anything that is 'hard to hit' - such as a soldier type with 50 AC, which he only has a 55% chance of hitting... can only be hit on a natural 20 by the non-optimized fighter.

And this doesn't even compare to the uber-optimized characters, which might use polymorphing effects and spells and buffs and strange races and prestige classes to get their bonuses far beyond that. Anything that could threaten them would be untouchable by both the optimized fighter and the average fighter. Anything the average fighter could hit would be automatically destroyed by them.

In 4E, the balance between the two is much shorter. Your average non-optimized fighter is perfectly able to contribute in the same fight where the optimized min/maxer, while doing better than him, isn't automatically winning the day.

The one big exception that comes to mind is rogues, who are probably the most accurate attackers in the game - but using their more accurate attacks (daggers, Piercing Strike) generally comes at the cost of damage (bigger weapons, Sly Flourish.)

It seems a decent balance.

You also mentioned monster's attacks. Let's compare those numbers as well.

Level 1 AC, average attack +6 vs AC:
Paladin in Plate with Heavy Shield: AC 20, hit 35% of the time.
Average Fighter in Scale: AC 17, hit 50% of the time.
Average Ranger in Hide: AC 16, hit 55% of the time.
Average Wizard in Cloth: AC 13, hit 70% of the time.
Average Warlock in Leather: AC 13, hit 70% of the time.

Level 5 AC, average attack +10 vs AC:
Paladin in Plate with Heavy Shield: AC 23, hit 40% of the time.
Average Fighter in Scale: AC 20, hit 55% of the time.
Average Ranger in Hide: AC 19, hit 60% of the time.
Average Wizard in Cloth: AC 16, hit 75% of the time.
Average Warlock in Leather: AC 16, hit 75% of the time.

Level 10 AC, average attack +15 vs AC:
Paladin in Plate with Heavy Shield: AC 27, hit 45% of the time.
Average Fighter in Scale: AC 24, hit 60% of the time.
Average Ranger in Hide: AC 24, hit 60% of the time.
Average Wizard in Cloth: AC 21, hit 75% of the time.
Average Warlock in Leather: AC 21, hit 75% of the time.

Level 20 AC, average attack +25 vs AC:
Paladin in Plate with Specialization and a Heavy Shield: AC 38, hit 40% of the time.
Average Fighter in Scale: AC 34, hit 55% of the time.
Average Ranger in Hide: AC 33, hit 60% of the time.
Average Wizard in Cloth: AC 30, hit 80% of the time.
Average Warlock in Leather: AC 30, hit 80% of the time.

Level 30 AC, average attack +35 vs AC:
Paladin in Plate with Specialization and a Heavy Shield: AC 48, hit 40% of the time.
Average Fighter in Scale: AC 44, hit 55% of the time.
Average Ranger in Hide: AC 43, hit 60% of the time.
Average Wizard in Cloth: AC 40, hit 80% of the time.
Average Warlock in Leather: AC 40, hit 80% of the time.

So, again... there is a bit of scaling, but that doesn't really seem to be the issue. The expectation simply seems to be that well-armored types get hit around 1/3 of the time, and poorly-armored types get 3/4 of the time, and the rest fall in between.

And, again, this is without entirely non-optimized characters. If they made it so that monsters were having trouble hitting these guys, optimized types would just be able to ignore all enemies!

Now, you may feel that these guys are getting hit too much, even so - but keep in mind your defender is generally the one that will be drawing most attacks. He's the one that needs to be well-defended... but not impervious to attacks, or that would make the game boring. So he gets hit 30-40% of the time, assuming no buffs to protect him (of which the leaders have a lot.)

So, in conclusion... I can see your concern, but I don't think it is something to really worry about. Wait and see how things actually play out - they seem to have done a good job of keeping everything within one pretty reasonable range, such that both the optimized and the non-optimized operate within the system without things breaking on one end or the other. See how it does in practice, and I suspect it won't be nearly as big a deal as it might look at an initial glance.
Does anyone else think its kind of strange that the Fighter might not be the best base class at .. well you know...Fighting?

I mean I guess calling it "Punching bag" or "Bullseye" or some such lack poetry and Fighter continues an iconic class name from past edition, but Defender is really not the Offensive kind of Role that past edition fighters really filled.

Mind you I am still struggling to get my mind wrapped around the symantics of all the word choices and the tactical roles vs power sources vs classes stuff going on in the new system because i think WAY to much about that kind of stuff.

But I am just weird like that. :D

Cheers!
Fighters are good at fighting, they may not be the best at Killing enemys but they are good at fighting.

they do mid-hight single target damage, can push around and control enemys near them and have high HP and Defenses to survive the enemy attacks.

a rogue on the other hand may do better damage but wont have the AC or HP the fighter may have and thus will get squished easier.

4e is a game about working together against your enemys 3.x was a game about useing your overpowered combo of spells, feats and prestige classes gathered from a dozen diffrent splat books so that you could single handedly obliterate a encounter.

also 4e fights are suppose to go on for longer than 3.x. as a good example, running the D&D day event some 3.x players relized there where two enemys in the first room of the adventure so thinking like 3.x players and seeing what there powers could do they decided that wizard and the warlock would sneak downt he stairs each choose one of the enemys and kill them.

they snuck down, attacked one even did 21 damage. they had this confused look when the enemys didnt die. they then had a exciting running battle 6 pc's against two Npc's and some traps that weakened the party and nearly droped one pc. they learned really fast that they have to work together and use all there resorces to succeed.
Thanks everyone for sharing your comments on this concern of our group. I would like to especially thank MrMyth for the detailed and very kind analysis of scaling in the game. Wonderful job and my group and I will be going over your post to study it and hopeful alleviate any more concerns on this matter.

Thanks again!
Average Wizard in Cloth: AC 13, hit 70% of the time.
Average Warlock in Leather: AC 13, hit 70% of the time.

Leather provides the same AC boost as Cloth now?
Most Warlocks prioritize Int as their second stat. On the default Method I array, that gives them a 14/+2 Intelligence. Combined with the innate +2 of Leather armor, and you've got AC 14.

Should the race have a racial bonus to intelligence (and I daresay the vast majority of Warlocks will opt to play one that does), we're looking at AC 15.

The only time your assumption of a +1 ability modifier would be true is in the case of a "balanced" Star Pact Warlock who prioritized Intelligence after both Constitution AND Charisma. And I hardly call that the "average" warlock. Splitting your focus between two primary attack stats and neglecting your effect stat isn't really a common player decision.

I know, I know, I'm picking at nits here, but Warlock is one of the classes I've built extensively, and on average, their AC comes out a few points ahead of a Wizard of the same level. Just a personal gripe with some of the assumptions behind your calculations, feel free to ignore me now that I have it out of my system.
Average Wizard in Cloth: AC 13, hit 70% of the time.
Average Warlock in Leather: AC 13, hit 70% of the time.

Leather provides the same AC boost as Cloth now?
Most Warlocks prioritize Int as their second stat. On the default Method I array, that gives them a 14/+2 Intelligence. Combined with the innate +2 of Leather armor, and you've got AC 14.

Should the race have a racial bonus to intelligence (and I daresay the vast majority of Warlocks will opt to play one that does), we're looking at AC 15.

The only time your assumption of a +1 ability modifier would be true is in the case of a "balanced" Star Pact Warlock who prioritized Intelligence after both Constitution AND Charisma. And I hardly call that the "average" warlock. Splitting your focus between two primary attack stats and neglecting your effect stat isn't really a common player decision.

I know, I know, I'm picking at nits here, but Warlock is one of the classes I've built extensively, and on average, their AC comes out a few points ahead of a Wizard of the same level. Just a personal gripe with some of the assumptions behind your calculations, feel free to ignore me now that I have it out of my system.

No, that's fair enough - I was mainly assuming the warlock was treating Int as a secondary stat, and not starting higher than 13. The numbers I ran were intentionally non-optimized.