[0.9] Paragon Paths

Avaran

Baron
While I understand what you're going after here, I'm not sure that a direct build equivalency can (or necessarily should) be drawn with many of the Paragon Path abilities, and everyone will value them differently (sometimes dramatically so). One person's 10 build is another person's "that's junk, why would I ever use that?"
How else should they be evaluated? Genuine question.

It's safe to say that most players will be giving up 50-build worth of Combat-related skills/abilities. to get these Paths.

If we are meant to spend that 50 build for these, and we are giving up "so much", how else are we supposed to evaluate what we're giving up (50 build, presumably spent in combat abilities)? It's easier to figure out build difference/equivalents of each Path and their relative power levels.

It's difficult not to do this since every PC-available skill/ability up to this point has a Build Cost; this method will be best when the Path one takes gives PC-available abilities, giving it a "build equivalent".

For example, if I use a skill that costs be 2 BP to buy, but allows me to use a Skill/Ability that would cost me 50 Build to acquire, that's important to know and gives an idea of that Paragon Path's relative power. It's important to the would-be user of the skill, and it's important to plot so they can know the relative power of for scaling purposes.

If I ever end up buying into one of these Paths, this is the method I will likely use unless a better one is presented; and I think it's a method that becomes even more important the higher level you are so you can - again - get a better idea of what you're getting versus what you'd be giving up. I think this will be true regardless of whichever path a player is trying to evaluate.

If path gives me a "free" eviscerate at level 45, and I have already bought all of the Eviscerates I can, I can save build by buying the Paragon Path instead of waiting for another 15 build to make sure I have the 60 build pre-req and the 5 build cost of buying the skill; this is important for high levels because build is acquired so very...very...very...very...very...very...very...slowly...
 
Interesting question and I am afraid I am not providing an answer. All I am doing is offering a perspective.

Would you be willing to spend 50 build to allow someone else to choose 75 build worth of skills for your character?

Effectively, that is what a paragon path is. Sure you can choose your specific path, but every benefit comes as part of the package. You make the choices in 10 build increments, but even those are packaged. And, since they are sequential, if the only parts of the path that you really like appear in later levels, you are stuck paying for the early levels in order to get them.

I don't know how to judge that reduced value of that complete lack of flexibility. I am certain that it is reduced value, just as I am certain that the vast majority of players will not be fond / meaningfully use some portion of the features of paragon paths they take.

While I may not be able to precisely evaluate the reduced value, I can at least describe where value is lost. For example, when a path gives you a specific spell effect x times per day, that is not equivalent to having that spell slot x times. If you had purchased the spell slot, you could fill it with at least 4 different spells (many more if it is higher than 1st level). With the paragon path ability, it will always be a specific spell. That is a clear decrease in value from a spell slot.

Given the extreme lack of flexibility in paragon paths, I can confidently say they should be judged generously in terms of benefit to cost. How generous is definitely a question that is hard to answer and honestly is what playtesting is for.

-MS
 

Muir

Fighter
Interesting question and I am afraid I am not providing an answer. All I am doing is offering a perspective.

Would you be willing to spend 50 build to allow someone else to choose 75 build worth of skills for your character?
If I get to pick from a few different lists, and can opt out if none look good? Absolutely.

That idea has nothing but upsides.
 
I think it's important to remember that the Paths are optional. If you're a player who satisfied with the normal skills and abilities already present to you, then that works just fine. Whereas if you are a player who like to have more interesting abilities and throw in some diversity, then paragon paths might just suit you. I think they are an excellent addition to the game.
 

Avaran

Baron
I think it's important to remember that the Paths are optional.
I am of the opinion that this is true, but only for Scholars. This is part of the crux of some of my assertions about Paragons.

As I've said many times in recent weeks, once a melee character hits 37th or 38th level, these are almost a must-get if only because it allows you to do other things besides getting "lesser" Fighter skills that are, to me, not worth taking (for others, perhaps, can't deny that).

Interesting question and I am afraid I am not providing an answer. All I am doing is offering a perspective.

Would you be willing to spend 50 build to allow someone else to choose 75 build worth of skills for your character?

Effectively, that is what a paragon path is. Sure you can choose your specific path, but every benefit comes as part of the package. You make the choices in 10 build increments, but even those are packaged. And, since they are sequential, if the only parts of the path that you really like appear in later levels, you are stuck paying for the early levels in order to get them.
Interesting thoughts, Mike. Thanks for this input. I'll have to mull it over.

My initial thoughts are that you've used a Caster as an example, and didn't mention melee.

And think this highlights the different ways that those two styles have been affected by the new rules.

For Scholars, I would absolutely agree that these are definitely more of a choice, and it's likely a bit more difficult to gauge value. For Fighters/Rogues, less so, I'm still not seeing the "downside" to taking a full path as a Fighter past the aforementioned build threshold. And with more chapters, more games, and "Pay no Play" and "Season Passes", it is easier than ever to gain build on a character, especially for those with more discretionary income.
 
My initial thoughts are that you've used a Caster as an example, and didn't mention melee.

And think this highlights the different ways that those two styles have been affected by the new rules.

For Scholars, I would absolutely agree that these are definitely more of a choice, and it's likely a bit more difficult to gauge value. For Fighters/Rogues, less so, I'm still not seeing the "downside" to taking a full path as a Fighter past the aforementioned build threshold. And with more chapters, more games, and "Pay no Play" and "Season Passes", it is easier than ever to gain build on a character, especially for those with more discretionary income.
Just to be clear, I wasn't using a caster as an example. In point of fact, I was thinking of scout paragon paths (because that is what I have been reading the most). Both Duelist and Skirmisher give access to x/day bind and repel effects (or roughly the equivalent). Sure, I am starting as a non-caster class, which means those effects are really hard for me to get otherwise (though a shrub isn't actually that expensive at the levels we are talking about), but that doesn't matter since every class can learn every skill in this game.

The point still stands even when using a scout. A 2nd level spell (repel) is a 2 or 3 build skill (2 for rogue, 3 for fighter... and I don't have the book in front of me right now to see which way scout lands). I know I am ignoring pre-reqs costs, but since those pre-reqs also grants benefits, it would be a poor comparison to include pre-req cost when a character isn't getting any of those benefits. So, for my example, the question is what value do I give to a 1/day repel. Scout cost for a 2nd level spell is too high. 0 cost is too low. Maybe 1?? The same analysis applies to a 1/day bind available, except that spell is 3rd level (so 4 or 6 build for the spell slot).

-MS
 
For Fighters/Rogues, less so, I'm still not seeing the "downside" to taking a full path as a Fighter past the aforementioned build threshold.
My perspective is going to be different than yours, because I have played in a different culture game than you have (HQ) and probably also because I have been playing longer (24 years). So the comments in this post might not be entirely relevant to the game you play.

That said, I see a downside for all three fighter paths.

Defender - This path basically does one thing for all five levels: effectively increase your body total (and the body total of nearby friends). It does this in lots of different ways. However, in my experience, fighters rarely ever fall due to body. Most of the time, they fall due to one-shot disabling effects and with the exception of command reduction at 2nd level, this path provides no protection from those. 50 build spent here may move my fighter from "hard to kill" by damage to "nearly impossible to kill" by damage, but doesn't really protect me against my biggest weakness. If survival was my priority, I could probably get better benefit buying a celestial shrub (for access to spell shield scrolls), a parry or two (depending on how close I was before that 50 build), or maybe more racial resists if I am the right race (dwarf, wylderkin, selunari, dryad, etc.). And even after buying those things, I'd probably still have enough build to buy Hearty a bunch of times (basically mirroring some of the benefit of this path).

Ravager - I see lots of downsides with this path. First, it offers absolutely no defensive skills other than resolute (that is not meaningless). Second, the initial benefit is basically just a conditional prof and the secondary benefit offers a benefit that is almost completely wasted against 95%+ of NPCs (NPCs rarely have armor or wear armor). In fact, with the exception of the capstone skill (binding -> slow), I don't find any of these benefits to be particularly compelling. Berserk removes skill use, making it a mostly ineffective way to fight (though this is sometimes better than falling asleep or being dominated, depending on how readily allies have removal available) and usually there are enough blade spells to go around (and even when there aren't, you are a high enough level fighter to be near the front of that line). Even the meditate trick comes with the big downside that it puts Destruction, a universally nasty effect, on an ally. The majority of this path I feel could be mimicked with a few purchases of Hearty, a few levels of Craftsman (for daily silver to buy defensive potions / elixirs), a few critical attacks, or maybe even an earth shrub. And buying that way, even if not perfectly matching the path, avoids having to subject your allies to damage or debilitating effects.

Warleader - The biggest downside I see on warleader is that 60 seconds is basically a lifetime at the start of most battles. Sure, it can be handy just before walking into a module, but when the big wave battle hits the town with no warning, you and five other folks simply don't have the time to huddle in a circle for a minute while everyone else is fighting for their life. I think the level 1 active ability is absolutely, without a doubt, amazing. In fact, it is so good I might agree with your "no reason not to take it" theory (though it clearly comes with a downside), unless you really wanted another paragon path. But pretty much everything beyond that either has the 60 second delay or is an uninspiring benefit. For example, an instant meditate isn't really great when you had to spend 60 seconds doing something else to activate it. Similarly, resist voice is not something that comes up most games, nor is resist greater command (I can't count the number of times I have been hit by a greater command on one hand in over 20 years). Effectively what warleader does is turn the fighter into a very specialized mini-healer and I will acknowledge that isn't easily reproduced with build. However, unless you want to be a specialized mini-healer, that also isn't a very useful. And if you want to be a darn good healer, you could alternatively buy earth spells (possibly shifting to templar) or just buy craftsman and become the patron of a potion maker.


I want to be clear on something. I don't think any of the above paragon paths are bad. I think they all offer cool and very thematic benefits that will really jive with some characters. However, I don't think any of them are free of downsides and I definitely don't think any (or all) of them are must-buys compared to simply spending build on traditional options. For example, a focused bow fighter would probably look at these options and see nothing that disarms or breaks shields. And, as an archer, let me assure that taking shields out of the equation is critical. I think such a fighter would either look to a celestial shrub (disarm scrolls... YAY) or simply buy more fighter disarms, shatters, and stun limbs with that 50 build (maybe max out the meditate skill, too).

The nice thing about these paths is that I don't think any are complete worthless, either. And, even more importantly, I think there are characters that each one would appeal to. I just don't think the appeal is as universal as you are claiming.

-MS
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
Berserk removes skill use...
One minor note - Berserk has changed significantly from the current 1.3 version (it's been expanded quite a bit in 2.0 from the beginning). I would encourage you to re-read it in the packet.

Don't know that it will change your evaluation of Ravager at all, but I did want to point that out :)

Overall, I think Mike gives a good summary of what ARC is thinking of with these paths. How do you put a build cost on "spend a Teacher card to give X power to several people"? You might use it on 1 person one day and 5 the next, or not at all the day after that because it doesn't come up. It doesn't have any direct build equivalency, and might be something you can't otherwise do.

Similarly, how much build is "Resist Voice" worth? Some people will say 0, because they virtually never run into it. Some people will say 4 or 5, because it's hugely useful ... when it comes up.

I think it's entirely reasonable to try and evaluate the usefulness of a particular Path for your character. Trying to come up with an equivalency chart across all characters, though, I think will be a difficult if not impossible task. One person might see Ravager as worth 100+ free build, while the next might look at it and hate the very concept, valuing it as negative build because there are so many penalties associated with it.

-Bryan
 

Avaran

Baron
I think it's entirely reasonable to try and evaluate the usefulness of a particular Path for your character.
True enough. :)

How do you put a build cost on "spend a Teacher card to give X power to several people"? You might use it on 1 person one day and 5 the next, or not at all the day after that because it doesn't come up.
A fair point, though I feel a tad disingenuous; I've also gone whole events, even multiple events in a row, where I haven't used a single skill (Slay/Eviscerate) - or I've used all my skills and not a single one has landed/resolved. I've always thought more about combat potential effectiveness versus actual combat effectiveness for this very reason. Not all spells a caster memorizes are going to be useful 100% of the time either (damage is almost always useful unless there is an immunity involved, i.e. Undead immune to Ice). And if one really wanted to be difficult, one could say that EVERY skill/ability is situational (even Profs/Backstabs if immunity or Threshold is present) and therefore impossible to evaluate outside of their character/campaign/chapter.

How do you value Life spells if nobody is ever "Dead"?
How do you value Parry if all you're hit with is Spellstrikes?
How do you value Cloak Command if you never see Command effects?
What about a +8 Ogreroid Slayer when there are no Ogres around?

I appreciate your response/input quite a lot, Bryan. I enjoy hearing your thought processes. It helps get a better handle on how to view things and/or see them from a different angle. Hopefully it helps other people as well.

However, in my experience, fighters rarely ever fall due to body. Most of the time, they fall due to one-shot disabling effects
This has definitely been my experience as well, for sure, and they are almost always a Packet or Spellstrike of some kind. I've also found that this is true of taking out BBG NPC's (and sometimes their LT's) as well - take-out effects are almost always King™. I've mentioned before that I think this problem will be exacerbated by the Flurry rule.


I was thinking of scout paragon paths
Speaking of these, I kinda like the Skirmisher path (which is relatively easy to get, especially if you consider Stun Limb counts toward Rogue skills). Using a Slay to Confine+Eviscerate? Sure! (Although...Flurry rule...so...less excite than I otherwise would be). The free Spirit Recall per day? Outta sight.

I suppose I should mention that I generally like the IDEA of these Skills/Abilities, quite a lot in some cases, I just have some major reservations about them/their general worth.

I haven't looked very seriously at the Fighter paths, though I plan on doing that Soon™
 

Tantarus

Squire
However, in my experience, fighters rarely ever fall due to body. Most of the time, they fall due to one-shot disabling effects
This has definitely been my experience as well, for sure, and they are almost always a Packet or Spellstrike of some kind. I've also found that this is true of taking out BBG NPC's (and sometimes their LT's) as well - take-out effects are almost always King™.
So with this in mind, why are we nerfing melee static damage again?

If anything paragon paths increase the amount of KO effects also changing the carrier many times to elemental or Arcane. This problem stands to get worse, not better.
 
So with this in mind, why are we nerfing melee static damage again?

If anything paragon paths increase the amount of KO effects also changing the carrier many times to elemental or Arcane. This problem stands to get worse, not better.
The problem only gets worse if you assume that the majority of combat is PvP. It isn't. PCs, in general, fight NPCs. Reducing PC damage shouldn't change the damage output of the majority of NPCs in any way. It should just change the body points of NPCs (downward, by a fair margin). When you restrain damage bloat, you make it so newer players are more able to contribute in combat, even when paired with older players. This is especially true if NPC body points are dropping (which they are) to account for the damage drop.

In real terms, right now the guys swinging 15 or 20 are forcing monster camp to put out enemies with 100+ body. A newbie swinging 2s is meaningless. With these rules, the highbies are more likely to be swinging 8 to 10 and the newbie is swinging 3s. It is still a slog for the newbie against an enemy with 40 - 50 body, but at least vaguely manageable and, more importantly, it only takes 3 hits (instead of 8 to 10) to count as one hit of the highbie.

-MS

P.S. - Yes, I know some NPCs are built using PC stats, but that isn't the majority of enemies most weekends and plot can adjust numbers any time it is best for the game.
 

Tantarus

Squire
Reducing PC damage shouldn't change the damage output of the majority of NPCs in any way.
So let me get this straight, Melee are getting the following nerfs:

1) Diminishing Returns for build.
2) Flurry rule. (Equal nerf for melee vs melee, but I would argue really hurts melee trying to fight casters.)
3) And now you are telling me that while PCs melee damage is going to half or less. NPCs will not be changing, disadvantaging them against npcs?
 

Avaran

Baron
Reducing PC damage shouldn't change the damage output of the majority of NPCs in any way. It should just change the body points of NPCs (downward, by a fair margin). When you restrain damage bloat, you make it so newer players are more able to contribute in combat, even when paired with older players. This is especially true if NPC body points are dropping (which they are) to account for the damage drop.
PC body is going up, as are armor totals. That necessitates higher damage, not lower...or more take-out effects.

And you're going to have a tighter distribution of damage for PC's, which means combat is likely going to be quite formulaic with the only real unknown being take-out effects and defenses against said take-outs.

As far as damage changes go, I can currently swing 23's with a 1h; I will be swinging 10's in the new rules as they are now. May choose to use 2h (which I am batter martially with OOG) and swing 20's.
 
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Shades

Newbie
So let me get this straight, Melee are getting the following nerfs:

1) Diminishing Returns for build.
2) Flurry rule. (Equal nerf for melee vs melee, but I would argue really hurts melee trying to fight casters.)
3) And now you are telling me that while PCs melee damage is going to half or less. NPCs will not be changing, disadvantaging them against npcs?
Also they get less Ritual Use points to use magic items with.

Fighter: 1 Ritual Use every 15 XP [20 uses at 310 total XP]
Scout: 1 Ritual Use every 13 XP [22 uses at 310 total XP]
Rogue: 1 Ritual Use every 11 XP [26 uses at 310 total XP]
Spellsword: 1 Ritual Use every 10 XP [29 uses at 310 total XP]
Adept: 1 Ritual Use every 9 XP [32 uses at 310 total XP]
Artisan: 1 Ritual Use every 8 XP [35 uses at 310 total XP]
Scholar: 1 Ritual Use every 7 XP [41 uses at 310 total XP]
 

Muir

Fighter
So let me get this straight, Melee are getting the following nerfs:

1) Diminishing Returns for build.
2) Flurry rule. (Equal nerf for melee vs melee, but I would argue really hurts melee trying to fight casters.)
3) And now you are telling me that while PCs melee damage is going to half or less. NPCs will not be changing, disadvantaging them against npcs?
I'll be honest, that doesn't sound like a game I would be enthusiastic about.

Things already don't go down to straight damage due to inflated body totals to cope with celestial magic being a thing.
 
So let me get this straight, Melee are getting the following nerfs:

1) Diminishing Returns for build.
2) Flurry rule. (Equal nerf for melee vs melee, but I would argue really hurts melee trying to fight casters.)
3) And now you are telling me that while PCs melee damage is going to half or less. NPCs will not be changing, disadvantaging them against npcs?
I didn't say NPCs would not be changing. I said NPC body points will drop, but damage should remain roughly the same. This is NOT a disadvantage for PCs. This maintains parity.

Let me present a super simple example.

Pretend you have a PC with 50 body (actually 30 body and 20 armor, but effectively the same) that swings 10 damage.
Pretend you are fighting a NPC with 100 body that swings 5 damage.
It takes you 10 swings to kill the NPC. The NPC takes 10 swings to kill you.

In the future your damage will be halved to 5. Your body is unchanged.
The NPC will have its body halved to 50. The damage of the NPC is unchanged.
It still takes you 10 swings to kill the NPC and it still takes the NPC 10 swings to kill you. Parity is maintained.

PC damage needs to scale with NPC body, not with NPC damage. If anything, as noted above, NPC damage should probably increase slightly to account for the increase in body / armor of PCs. But that change is not as drastic as the damage decrease, so NPC damage may not change at all, just to minimize the number of changes being made to the monster database.

-MS
 

Tantarus

Squire
So you are saying all npcs are likely to drop by half hp and body bloat will never happen again? I guess you are a lot more optimistic then I am.

Another side effect is this makes weakness super effective against PCs but just okay or actively bad against npcs.

I will be honest, It never occurred to me that npcs would not be effected by lowering the numbers on static damage. Just feels like another slap in the face to melee. Well PC melee, apparently.

I am not even convinced after you nerf magic items that melee damage will be that much of a problem. You are taking away a ton of fighters defenses and hopefully bringing back paper/rock/sissors of Fighter/Rogue/Caster, to some degree.
 
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Tantarus

Squire
In real terms, right now the guys swinging 15 or 20 are forcing monster camp to put out enemies with 100+ body. A newbie swinging 2s is meaningless. With these rules, the highbies are more likely to be swinging 8 to 10 and the newbie is swinging 3s. It is still a slog for the newbie against an enemy with 40 - 50 body, but at least vaguely manageable and, more importantly, it only takes 3 hits (instead of 8 to 10) to count as one hit of the highbie.

Basically you are saying a fighter swinging 3s or 4s can't hang with the level 30-40s fighter swinging 20? Of course not, they are under level 5. Can a under level 5 caster hang with the level 30-40 caster? Of course not.

Why is one getting Diminishing returns on build spending but not that other? Wouldn't lowering the number of spells the high level caster has allow you to lower the spell resists mobs have and make it better for low level casters?

Why not put in the nerfs one by one and see how it goes. Nerf magic items. If melee static damage is still a "problem" then nerf prof/bs costs. If melee is still a problem add a flurry rule. If you make all the changes at once you cant even know what fixed the issue and what didnt help. Also you risk over nerfing. Any one of these things could fix the issue.
 

Avaran

Baron
NPC damage should probably increase slightly to account for the increase in body / armor of PCs.
What about the ability for PC's to swing Weakness? Again, high levels coming into play, but a high-level character can swing for Weakness somewhere around 1.5 hours (possibly two, I can't remember for certain).

At some point, Plot is going to have to start scaling for that, aren't they? And it'd be even worse if a lower-level character put all their build/focus into doing that. Then Weakness becomes an annoyance. In the above example, that NPC is rendered ineffective with a Weakness carrier, as is anything on the field that is swinging 5 or less. This is more likely considering most NPC's do not wear/have armor as noted above.

I don't have any really good answers, but they are concerns. I'm hoping that they can be addressed at some point by someone.
 

Muir

Fighter
The answer to those concerns remains admitting that the Alliance system flatly cannot support newbies and ultra high level characters being in the same game.

Unlimited character advancement is toxic to game balance under any system, on a long enough timeline, and we are absolutely there.
 
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