Experiences of a Fighter in 2.0

Graham Wolsey

Scholar
Denver Staff
Marshal
After having devoted significant time play testing the new proposed rules I wanted to write about my experiences, not about a specific rule, but about my experience holistically with the rule set. Specifically, I wanted to talk about being a Fighter.

To be clear, I don't mean a Templar or a Scout. I don't mean a Fighter with some ranks of magic. I mean taking Fighting skills.

Please read this with an open mind. It took a long time to write this and an even longer time to playtest through all of these new rules and give them a fair shake. This isn't about any one particular rule, but rather how the rules as a group effect the class that I play. About how this new rule set directly effects a customer's experience. Please... please... please I'm begging you, don't get defensive, instead please help me find fun playing this class. What can we do with these rules to make playing a Fighter an enjoyable experience again? While this thread and its focus is on Fighters, (which is what I have focused my play testing on) most of it applies to Rogues and their situation as well. Finally, I don't address Paragon Paths here. I actually found a lot really enjoyable about playing a Warleader, but each class in Alliance gets really cool Paragon Paths. Unless we plan to scrap them for Scholars, I don't see how having a mandatory path makes Fighters fun. This thread doesn't even address what is a problem under the current rules: Casters get High Magic and Formal Casting to "cap" their build progression with something really cool and flavorful. What do Fighters get? Where is their endgame? What pulls a person to play a *Fighter* rather than a Templar? Is the game all homogenization at the top end?

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My play test experience as a Fighter has been miserable. I went from feeling like a contributing member of battle to a walking pillar without the ability to interact with the fight except when spending 10 critical attacks. This experience has been compounded with each new version of the rules. Each one seems to stack on additional penalties for engaging in melee combat while taking away carrots that were given to the class to make it "playable". Without hyperbole, I am unclear what role Fighters are supposed to play in the new system that is not accomplished almost as well by another class. Even being a hit point sponge (unfun), is no longer accomplished in [0.9]. Monsters can literally walk past many of our Fighters who "Flurry" for 6 (2, 2, 2) in fights without Critical Attacks to get to the targets of value and contribution in the fight.

One of our Rogues actually chuckled, "Now you know whats its like to be a Rogue fighting from the Front".

Some examples:

1. A powerful Scholar was going around the battlefield wrecking havoc. While he is distracted I sneak up behind him and attack him. He has no idea I am there until I am tagging him with weapon blows. Having purchased more Weapon Proficiency abilities than anyone else play testing I swing for the highest base damage in the play test with one-handed weapons: 6 normal. Being the last fight of the day I have used my Critical Strikes so I cannot augment this number.

I deal my 18 points and then "reset" my stance while he turns around chuckles and kills me with some 1st and 3rd level spells (Stone Bolt, Bind (Arms), Bind (Legs).

This is an incredibly frustrating experience that could have been replicated by my 160 build character fighting a brand new player with armor. There isn't really a more ideally situation for me engaging on the caster as a fighter aside from "have more Eviscerates" which was the advice I was given.

2. Another player is moving around the battlefield with a sword and shield. They are normal colored and not red in any way. I approach and use two disarms and an eviscerate. The call returned to me is "no effect, no effect, no effect". Why? Through the Totemic Paragon Path shields can be "claws" now and no where in the rules does it say there needs to be any indication of if they are a "claw shield" or a normal shield that can be disarmed. Due to the new rules my Disarms are "expended" and my Eviscerate is gone until I can meditate it back later. Given players can wait 2 whole seconds before calling any defenses (or that your blow doesn't effect them) there is no way for me to know if the player is just slow to drop their shield, immune to the effect, or just didn't hear me the first time until I have wasted the abilities.

Given the new flurry rule its really a poor tactical decision to follow up the disarm with regular damage because they can pick up their shield while I'm "resetting my stance".

3. During a wave fight several "trash" monsters are attacking. This is when a Fighter is supposed to shine! No one is going to want to use their big things on this engagement! Unfortunately, all the scholars just got out their wands and starting throwing 5 damages at them. Most were dead before they even reached the group and the heartier ones that did reach the group weren't phased by a fully landed set of 18 damage, instead they were finished off by the casters throwing wand charges for almost the same amount.

Throughout the play test incoming damage against the PCs was largely irrelevant, while takeout effects were the main source of PCs being eliminated from the fight for any amount of time. The other fighters, especially ones that built for "hearty" and "armor" felt largely pointless and unable to engage with the fight in a meaningful way. Watching the guy with 60 points of armor have it all removed by a 1st level spell (stone bolt) to pop his Spellshield and a 3rd level spell (Shatter) was incredibly disheartening for him. He had spent 25 build to wear a hard to get (and expensive) tag only to have it negated in an instant with a single 3rd level spell.

4. A group of 3 Fighters went to approach a caster to kill him. Knowing we were going to try to kill a caster we made sure that we all had spellshields. On the approach one was stone bolted and Slept, another was Disarmed and Confined. Thankfully the third person got there and was able to land a full flurry on the caster! The set delivered was "12 normal (x10 critical attacks spent), 30 normal (slay), Eviscerate". The response? Weapon Guard (Magic Armor), got it, dodge. Due to some sideburns, the fighter then had to "reset his stance" and get blown up by point blank takeout effects. This same scenario would have played out with a Wylderkin or High Ogre (Resolute) as well, or even a racial skill store item.

5. I watched the following happen to fighters over the course of the play test: Damage Reduced to 1 (after having spent 83 Build to have 4 Weapon Proficiency) by a 3rd level spell, armor reduced from 60 to 0 by a third level spell, all limbs removed by a single spell, confined, slept, killed and turned into greater undead, deathed, paralyzed, blown up by an elemental pool before they could engage, gased down, had their weapons shattered (by both spell and melee), and downed by elementals throwing packets.

Aside from Eviscerates, I didn't see any Fighter kill anything (aside from some skeletons, zombies, mud golems, and shardlings).

Do these abilities I describe above effect all characters? Sure, most of them do. But my point is Fighters are NOT significantly harder to remove from combat than scholars or rogues in the majority of situations. Most of the time, the ability of Rogues to dodge and scholars to spell shield themselves provides *greater* livability than Fighters. If Fighters are going to move from an active role of being able to actually kill things in combat to a role where they are "tanking" then they need huge numbers of defenses to take outs to be added or they just can't do their jobs. Tanking in a LARP works roughly as well as it does in a PvP situation in an MMORPG as well because bad guys with any intelligence can just avoid the guy that doesn't present a threat and go for the slightly lower and significantly more effective targets in the back.

Without significant magical backup, fighters can't function in this version of the rules. The same cannot be said for scholars (especially if they pick up the shield skill).

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List of problems for Fighters with the new version:

1. Making Shatter (a 3rd level spell) do the same thing as a 7th level spell (Destroy) is incredibly problematic for people that rely on weapons and armor to actually have an impact on fights. It also hurts melee combatants much worse than casters because it cannot be used to negate spell casting. This spell does more damage than Dragon's Breath to fighters that chose to stack armor.

2. Big Shields. Big Shields make fighting in melee an exercise in futility especially when combined with abilities that make shields unable to be disarmed like the Totemic Paragon Path or Construct's Natural Weaponry. At the same time, these shields make Fighters that choose to use them an even easier target for casters who now can literally hit the "broad side of a barn" and effect someone with their spells.

3. Flurry Rule. The Flurry rule, especially when combined with nerfs to overall damage make fighting casters impossible without using one of a fighter's extremely limited per day skills (and to be clear that's only Slay and Eviscerate because Disarm and Shatter have no effect against most casters). It is impossible to "press the advantage" against a mage and make casting difficult for them because you have to reset your stance before they are dead. Mages are allowed to take significant amounts of armor and now can even purchase Hearty for almost the same cost as Fighters. Meanwhile Fighters have almost no answer to spells outside of Stalwart Shield and even that is only against a single spell.

4. Meditation. This is a huge buff to offensive casters (who miss spells all the time), and a huge nerf to Fighters who used to be able to swing with their skills until they hit. The ability to claim that a blow "didn't connect" or "was mostly blocked" even when it clearly did is magnified by that blow not being used again against the same target immediately.

5. Prepare to Die. The removal of this makes combat less fun. While its a "buff" to fighters because they can "surprise Eviscerate" someone with no warning this makes combat less tactical, less teamwork based, and less about using a shield to block a sword and more about what kind of word salad you can throw at someone's shield to see if they die.

6. Slay Nerf. The reduction of Slay damage makes them very expensive to take if you want a comparable effect to the old rules. Meanwhile while Fighter damage has gone down, Celestial Damage has stayed the same and Necromancy damage has increased.

7. Hearty Changes. The one "saving grace" to being a fighter under the old 2.0 system was that you were really tough to kill. With the removal of Hearty as a Fighter skill and the changes to costs, it is just as expensive for an Elven Fighter to buy Hearty as it is an Ogre Earth Scholar. While fighters get more base hit points as a result of gaining build this advantage is pretty much the only upside to being a Fighter in the new system.

8. Critical Attacks. Critical Attacks give Fighters the ability to do an acceptable amount of damage in a single fight for 10 minutes. If you don't purchase enough of them after you have engaged in two fights its time to sit in the tavern for the rest of the event. The problem with critical attacks is that they take one of the two strengths that fighters have (good sustained damage) and make Fighters into bad Scholars. Now instead of being reasonable in every fight throughout the weekend, you are a little better in 2 fighters and totally worthless in the others. Scholars spending the same build will get dozens of spells and dozens of wand charges to be effective and those spells will often end the fight in a single throw rather than having to slog through a huge pile of hit points.

To put things into perspective, Celestial Scholars get bonus wand damage for FREE just for purchasing more spells and abilities (which they were going to do anyway). They get more uses of their wand per day FOR FREE just by spending build. There is no cap to wand damage and at high levels I expect all wands will do more damage than all one-handed weapons. At incredibly high build totals this will be true even with critical strikes added to the mix because the number of crit attacks that can be added caps while wand damage never does.

To be able to swing my longsword for 6 normal it cost me 83 build. It costs a scholar nothing to be able to shoot 6s 83 times from a wand, they just need to have spent 250 in Celestial Scholarly Skills.

9. NO SCALING. This is the biggest problem for fighters under the new system. Once you have purchases a few weapon proficiency skills, what is there left to purchase? Resolute is a reasonable choice now that its costed better, but it doesn't really help against what actually eliminates Fighters from combat: takeouts. Intercept is horribly expensive for the minimal effect that it does. Intercept is a really weak ability unless paired with Paragon shenanigans. But even if you purchase all the bad slays, weak intercepts, and your standard fighter skills of parry, riposte, and eviscerate you don't have enough spent build to keep the train rolling. Eventually you have to purchase more ridiculously expensive weapon proficiency to keep buying Fighter skills.

Additionally, the changes to the way Ritual Magic works massively disadvantage Fighters compared to casters. Most of the scrolls that benefit fighters only benefit them against other fighters:

Defensive Burst (Reduces Melee Damage)
Magic Strike (Allows participation, when Caster's automatically have it)
Raging Blow (Good against weapons and shields not mages)
Warrior's Incantation (Only good if you are a Templar or Scholar with a Weapon Prof)

As far as I can tell Stalwart Shield is the single Ritual that benefits Fighters against Scholars in the new rules. Thankfully, Spell Parry remains, but relying simply on Ritual Magic to make Fighters not immediately fall over from damage is really unfortunate.

Even though Stalwart Shield was added, Cloak and Bane were removed which leaves things about the same. Damage Aura, Expanded Enchantment (Spellshield), Channel and a number of other very powerful options for fighters have simply been removed from the game with no interesting replacements. Most of the new formal magic rituals require a knowledge of magic to even use, the ones that remain only change melee combat against other melee combat.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I can't help but point out that your 83 build into Proficiency seems less than optimal. That last 24 Build, had it been spent differently would have let you

1) Purchase a Stun Limb, which would have let you take out that Scholar's primary throwing hand. (This is assuming you did not already have your maximum amount already purchased.)

2) Purchase additional Crit Attacks (1 Prof or 8 Crits?)

3) Put an Eviscerate into the Scholar.

4) Put a couple of slightly improved Slays into the Scholar.

You engaged a Scholar with less damage than it would have taken to drop him and you weren't happy with the outcome. 83 Build in the current rules would net you 5 Proficiencies and some change, and the outcome wouldn't have been any different whatsoever. Even without the Flurry rule? That Scholar would have still destroyed you with existing spells. If anything, the fact PTD isn't a call anymore means that the Scholar wouldn't have had time to react to burst attacks you could have had.
 
I don't think arguing that he should have built his character differently or "more optimally" is helpful. The rules, if written well, are supposed to be balanced so that mildly suboptimal builds are still fun to play (and this build is really only mildly suboptimal, if even that). The player describes how he made a character with no glaring poor decisions (it isn't like he made a fighter and then spent all his points on alchemy and spells) and yet had a very little pleasure playing the character during playtests.

He could be an outlier, but assuming he isn't, this points to one of two possible conclusions (or some combination of the two conclusions).

1) The rules make the game less enjoyable for fighters.

2) The scenarios where he playtested specifically put the new rules (in relation to fighters) in the worst possible light.

I am actually going to write off his second scenario (the one with the claw shield) because I believe that was a situation where the rules were played incorrectly and he should have been aware the shield was a claw before engaging.

Of the remaining scenarios he presents, the flurry rule seems to be the real problem here. The purpose of the flurry rule, as clearly explained in the playtest document, is to allow a player to call defenses without being overwhelmed in such a way that they can't act offensively. However, in multiple of the above examples, the letter of the rule dominates the spirit of the rule. The letter of the rule forced him to stop attacking after 18 damage was absorbed, even though the target had no need to call defenses. In effect, the rule created a defense (1 second delay) where no in-game defense existed. Do I still think he might have been spelled down? Maybe, but that depends on whether the caster could absorb continuing damage while trying to get a spell off.

I appreciate his details, though I too disagree with some of his conclusions. For example, I don't think that wand damage is a meaningful problem inherently, though I do think it might be aggravating problems with the flurry rule. Similarly, I consider the changes to slay to be mostly meaningless for any character that wants to focus on slays. They will be pretty much just as effective in the current rules as they were in the old rules. If you focus on them, they work well. If you don't they are middling. That is how they are now and how I expect them to be in the future. His only slay example shows he was playing a character that didn't focus on slays.

I also think, from his description, that the playtesting focused too hard on fighters using shields. I see no suggestion of a two-handed weapon fighter or a two weapon fighter or a bow fighter (all viable fighter options). This particularly stood out to me in his swarm the caster description where none of the fighters managed to dodge a spell physically (when not encumbered by a shield), you pretty much have to assume that at least one will dodge a packet. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am and I think that narrow test made some of these examples look worse than they were.

That said, he makes strong points based on actual game play experience. The flurry rule did not improve the game for him in any way AND it provided a benefit for his opponent that was beyond the spirit of the rule. The shatter effect, an effect that I have considered unbalanced for years now, seems to be particularly overpowered in the 2.0 rules. He is absolutely correct when he states that it effectively deals 20 - 60 on most PCs (I suspect it will average around 30 with the new armor rules), which is as much as 4x as powerful as the equivalent damage spell*.

Those are the two points that stand out the most in my mind and they aren't negligible. I think his 1st, 3rd, and 4th examples would all have been much more enjoyable examples with some changes to those two rules (remembering that I am ignoring the 2nd example because I think it was misplayed). Do I know exactly how the rules should be changed? Nope. Off the top of my head, I'd conservatively try increasing the flurry rule to a flurry 4 or 5 to start and see if that solves most of the problems (it just might). I do not, however, think that the appropriate answer is "you should have built your character a different way." That answer pretty much says that there is only one way to play a class and that people who don't min-max don't get to have fun.

-MS

*While I believe he is correct, I also think this problem can be solved without actually changing the rule. Adding a fighter defensive ability that mimics strengthening (times per day, obviously) is a simple RPS way of making the effect less brutal and more fair. That still doesn't solve the other problem with shatter (destroying resources of low level characters is really, REALLY unfun), but that solution just requires shatter making something unusable until repaired (by a blacksmith), rather than completely destroyed.
 

Thorgrim

Artisan
Fighters should not be required to use per day abilities in order to be successful in an offensive encounter. If that's going to be the new standard, then fighters need access to a whole lot more per day abilities than just a handful of slays, eviscerates, stun limbs, and crit attacks. The one advantage of playing a fighter over a scholar in the current system is that you can do sustained meaningful damage in all encounters throughout an event without having to hold back or conserve your offensive abilities like a scholar. Scholars attack from range, scholar attacks cannot be blocked, scholar attacks are more difficult to defend against with spells (requiring spell shield instead of magic armor), scholars have more take out abilities. In the current system in a single encounter, scholars are so much better than fighters it's laughable, but at least they will eventually run out of spells which is the only saving grace that makes them anywhere near balanced. In the proposed rules, the fact that fighters must now rely on per day abilities in order to kill pretty much anything means they get the worst of both worlds, they will exhaust their limited offensive capabilities like scholars but much faster, and those per day fighter abilities are inferior to scholars in nearly every way. I can't for the life of me see a single reason that anyone would want play a straight fighter.

The only powerful fighters in the new rules are going to be NPCs who can afford to blow all of their per day abilities in a single pop. For the rest of us who require per day abilities to provide any meaningful offensive contribution and have to conserve those abilities to last for an entire logistics period, we are reduced to being useful for a couple encounters per period. The rest of the time we might as well go NPC or sit in the tavern because we cannot provide any meaningful contribution after our per day abilities are exhausted.
 

Kasuni

Squire
Do you feel that Flurry was the primary new rule that had a negative impact on the experience, with Shatter being secondary?

What do you feel would have made it more fun? I.e. if Flurry and Shatter were replaced with the current ruleset versions, or "something else"?

One thing it's really helpful to know along with playtest feedback is "I didn't like A, *and* would prefer B". Even if B is just "maintains as to the current rules" that is helpful so ARC doesn't find themselves trying to go another direction to come up with a new creative solution :)
 

Muir

Fighter
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that, in my estimation, the flurry rule isn't the problem.

Hear me out. The scholar should have, per the rules, been stuck with the same '3 then reset'. The issue isn't the flurry, it's that the Scholar's attacks are vastly more efficient than the fighter's. Design wise, that was previously not as much of a problem as the counterbalance was that fighter (and rogue) damage was all-day repeatable, and casters needed to be at least a little cautious as missed spells were lost for good.

The issue of ever-increasing combat speed that flurries are meant to address is going to be, as I see it, actually compounded and made worse by the huge reductions in the utility of actually fighting that Graham is describing.
 
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Thorgrim

Artisan
The exponentially increasing cost of profs makes sustained damage impossible for a fighter which is their bread and butter in the current system. They have been given nothing to compensate for the fact that they are losing this sustained damage except for stacked crit attacks, which are expensive, situational, and gone once used. Our per day offensive abilities for the most part have gotten worse because now they can only be used as a single swing with the only exception being disarm which is now powerful on the point of being broken. There is one effective offensive ability which fighters now possess in the new rules which is a disarm + slay/eviscerate combo. Otherwise our play tests have found that fighters are completely ineffective. It is much harder to land a slay/eviscerate/stun limb when you can only swing it once unless you've disarmed your opponent first. We can inflate our armor and body totals to ridiculous numbers through hearty and additional wear extra armor, but we are still just as susceptible to take outs, actually more so because cloak and bane have been removed. Fighters have the fewest activations for magic items of any class. We no longer can supplement our damage with rituals such as DA, MS, and RR. We are walking piles of hit points and armor who do negligible damage 90% of the time and are easily dispatched by low level spells. Our only real purpose anymore is to save our disarm/eviscerate combo for a fight against a big bad who doesn't rely on their own natural weapons, and to stand in the way so the casters behind us can kill everything.

Edit: I also failed to mention earlier but the reliance on per day abilities to provide any offensive potency hurts new players especially. One of the goals of the new rules was to make the game friendlier to new players but almost every system change we've seen rewards high level characters while hurting new players.
 
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Mechtofd

Artisan
As a fighter I'll repeat the problems I've seen with both the current and the new system if your wondering why more voices aren't echoing this stuff wonder why so few play or stay as warriors:

1) no equivalent to high magic i've been playing for 4 years warriors who have been playing for 2 have almost the same load out of abilities I do since warriors hit their cap fast. this is even worse in 2.0 from my experience of playtesting as others have said you spend your cit attacks to activate anything of meaning and they are gone in a flash. To have enough crit attacks for the weekend you have to neglect most of the other warrior skills to the point your utility is down. I'm not as good with the exact numbers as some but when my chapter did a weekend long playtest I felt constantly weak as a warrior even with battle meditation getting back only one crit attack wasn't enough to pick me back up.

2) warriors V spells in other words we have no defense against them every other class has a defense even rouges have dodges but a warrior? we have to rely on spellcasters and in 2.0 thats even more so since now with no cloaks or banes we have to hope friendly spell casters will keep us topped up. now i've had it said to me that this promotes team work but I ask how? yes if your spellcasters around you are nice people maybe they'll keep your protectives topped up but more often they either keep their spells for themselves since they can do more damage magically or you as a warrior get taken out so fast by the enemy magic that there was no point to keeping you in spell shields. its best said in a phrase coined by a fellow in my chapter "warriors need spell casters casters don't need warriors" especially since casters can take weapon skills and with marshall experience be just as effective in close combat as a fighter who's run out of their crit attacks.

with no warrior born ability to fight spells all anyone needs is a simple sleep spell to kill me.
 

Thorgrim

Artisan
This also touches on a larger topic which I might make another thread on which is class balance. From what I have been told in the new rules the idea behind class balance was to create a paper rock scissors game where scholars kill fighters, fighters kill rogues, and rogues kill scholars. Our play testing has demonstrated that this has not been successful in the least. Fighters can kill rogues only if the rogue is foolish to engage in a slug fest with a walking pile of body and armor, it's easier to just avoid them. Rogues can only kill scholars when they have their full complement of per day abilities and magic items for avoiding spells and doing lots of damage. These per days are quickly exhausted after a few encounters at which point rogues become completely useless, even more useless than fighters. Scholars benefit from having far more per days abilities and take outs, access to hearty, improved armor that doesn't require a phys rep from high magic, and the most activations for magic items. There is no balance; scholars win the vast majority of the time whether they are facing fighters or rogues.

This doesn't even take into account paragon paths. From what I can tell, balance wasn't even a consideration for the design of paragon paths. In our one play test with paragon paths we have just begun to scratch the surface of how powerful or broken the various paths can be, but even a cursory glance will show you that some paths are clearly superior to others, and almost all are preferable to a base class, at least for fighters and rogues.
 

Mechtofd

Artisan
I have also encountered people responding to the 'fighters don't have a high magic' equivalent annoyance by pointing to paragon paths. that would only be sort of acceptable if casters didn't have paragon paths at all or if casters had high magic removed.
 

Muir

Fighter
To paraphrase a concept from the hell that is TV Tropes, I worry we may be risking entering the land of 'Linear Fighter, Quadratic Scholar' where the Build to Utility chart starts to look something like this :



With the intersection being the point at which a scholar has sufficient spells to last a couple mods.

I think that as Thorgrim mentions the present playtest has gone too far in nerfing fighters from multiple angles in comparison to Scholars. The new Proficiency costs are prohibitive, the removal of most magic items that are in any way useful to a fighter seriously cuts down their survive-ability and ability to engage with one of the 'cool things' a fantasy larp offers. Both meditate and enhanced wands add a ton of utility and sustainability to scholars in fights. Even rogues fare better, because Alchemy has not lost its takeouts.

If the monster manual rewrite is vastly reducing body and armor values across the board it might be more balanced in PVE, although even then it just means even lower level spells and wand charges will be effectively takeouts.
 
Um, as I play an Artisan and very rarely wade into combat, my ideas may not be particularly good, but I'll present them for feedback and a small amount of discussion (even that discussion amounts to "shut up and go away"). :p

From what I'm gathering in this thread and from the Seattle playtest notes I read last night, there seems to be general agreement that Fighters suffer in two major ways: 1, Weapon Proficiencies get prohibitively expensive after purchasing 4 of them, inhibiting a Fighter's ability to deal consistent damage that is also meaningfully high unless they use a two handed weapon, and 2, they lack defensive abilities that are able to effectively keep them in a fight for an extended period of time against takeout effects without relying on Magic Items, which neither Rogues or Scholars seem to suffer with to quite the same extreme.

With this in mind, I have two suggestions that might make Fighters a little more viable:

The first suggestion is to lower the cap on Critical Attacks needed for Weapon Proficiencies from 14 to 8 (the current number needed for a 5th Weapon Proficiency; the arguement could be made that the cap could go as low as 7, but 8 "feels" right to me, being double the 4 required for your 1st), which should allow players who want to go high consistent damage to feel comfortable getting a few more Profs at the cost of other skills, while still being steep enough in cost (27 total build/XP for a Fighter) that if pure damage isn't your focus it's not really worth sinking the build into for a 5th or 6th. Someone who goes for a 5th or 6th Proficiency is making the choice to be great in wave or "popcorn" battles against a lot of weaker creatures and should help keep more versatile Fighters from having to blow their big per day skills on mods, and someone opting to stop at 3 or 4 and then focus on other skills (as seems to be the vast majority of cases under the current scaling from what I've read) should feel significantly more comfortable saving their per days for big fights by teaming up with a consistent heavy hitter for mods throughout the day. [NOTE: This change would benefit Rogues in a similar way if applied to Back Attacks, although that is slightly off-topic and I don't think it should be discussed here.]

The second is to change Resolute so that it functions like a weaker version of Dodge, in that it can only be used against Spell and Poison qualifier attacks but negates the effect completely. Fighters will have to divide their defensive skill choices between Weapon qualifier attacks (Parry and Riposte) and Spell/Poison qualifier attacks (Resolute), but it gives them a much more meaningful choice which one they choose; if they find they're going up against lots of magic and poison, the stacking Resolute keeps them in the fight without relying on a Scholar to "backpack" for them, but if they find themselves mostly getting beaten down with weapons and claws then Parry/Riposte is the better option.

As previously stated, I play an Artisan and haven't playtested a Fighter in any capacity, but these seem like fairly reasonable changes that could vastly improve the experience of playing a Fighter. If anyone wants to rip them to shreds, though, feel free. ;)

[ETA: Because I forgot to make it clear: I chose Resolute for the change because I heard several Fighters in my chapter say that "stay at 1 Body" felt kind of underwhelming as a defensive ability after our last playtest; whether that was just minor griping in the moment and they felt better about it after thinking on it I'm not sure, but it played a large factor in my suggestion to change Resolute and I feel I need to be up front about that.]
 
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Graham Wolsey

Scholar
Denver Staff
Marshal
Do you feel that Flurry was the primary new rule that had a negative impact on the experience, with Shatter being secondary?

What do you feel would have made it more fun? I.e. if Flurry and Shatter were replaced with the current ruleset versions, or "something else"?

One thing it's really helpful to know along with playtest feedback is "I didn't like A, *and* would prefer B". Even if B is just "maintains as to the current rules" that is helpful so ARC doesn't find themselves trying to go another direction to come up with a new creative solution :)
The rules have gotten to a point where I'm not sure what single thing could change my play experience. I suppose the three biggest problems are:

1. Fighters aren't successful at being defensive. There are too many effects that instantly remove us from combat for hit points and armor to matter.

2. Fighters don't have a good sustained damage option which made us different from Rogues and Scholars in the old edition. The changes to weapon proficiency and critical attack along with the addition of Flurry disproportionately hurt Fighter scaling without actually solving the problem of damage. Against some fighters Fighters were swinging the same damage, but against other fights Fighters weren't really allowed to participate.

In terms of "burst" damage Fighters get significantly less uses than Scholar or Rogues (alchemy), so by nerfing sustained damage and leaving defenses against takeout the worst of the classes Fighters don't have a niche or reason for being played.

3. There isn't a capstone for Fighters. We need something like Formal/High Magic that really rewards someone for spending build on a lot of Fighter skills.

Eviscerate is routinely changed by Local Chapter effects to be a small chunk of damage rather than actually killing the target and is comparable to 9th level spells like Prison or Death.
 

Graham Wolsey

Scholar
Denver Staff
Marshal
The second is to change Resolute so that it functions like a weaker version of Dodge, in that it can only be used against Spell and Poison qualifier attacks but negates the effect completely. Fighters will have to divide their defensive skill choices between Weapon qualifier attacks (Parry and Riposte) and Spell/Poison qualifier attacks (Resolute), but it gives them a much more meaningful choice which one they choose; if they find they're going up against lots of magic and poison, the stacking Resolute keeps them in the fight without relying on a Scholar to "backpack" for them, but if they find themselves mostly getting beaten down with weapons and claws then Parry/Riposte is the better option.
I love this suggestion, though I'd prefer just the creation of a new ability, say "Fortitude" or something. The inclusion of an ability like this at 4 Build would solve almost all of my defensive concerns (shatter is still peoblematic).
 

Saephis

Squire
A lot of this thread captures what I've seen even the last few cycles as a Fighter. The move for Fighters to move into burst/takeout damage as the only consistently viable aspects to combat will, as others have said and seen, very likely result in an even sharper increase of the "Celestial Scholar Master Class", as their damage has either remained relatively the same or gone up. This is furthered with lower damage in melee across the board, making every physical-weapon build incredibly prone to Weakness -- all third level that it is.

While I can understand the desire to decrease damage, it has not been done in a universal method, with the existing problems around high-end/high-damage characters solidifying more and more under the Celestial aegis of play. This has resulted in very few high-level fighters on the West Coast, at least, which also results in newer players looking for "viable" builds eschewing the melee and even archery builds in lieu of "Big Damage Number" generators provided through Celestial.

As noted above, as well, as Scholars have High Magic, provided through Formal Magic, the lack of an equivalent for Melee/Archery classes and builds further widens that disparity, more so with this edition of rules.
 

Kasuni

Squire
What are the general opinions in this thread RE: the adjustments to weapon prof & wand damage? I see those changes as being hand in hand.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the changes. I don't think that decreasing the damage numbers will actually make it any easier for NPCs to keep track of their body (it will all be rounded to the nearest 5 anyhow, but with the changes, rounding will mean more).
 

Saephis

Squire
If "Base" damage was related to how much build a Fighter/Rogue(/Hybrids) was a representation of how much build went into supporting abilities, it would make sense to function and even be relatable to Wand damage. However, as Weapon proficiencys are purchased -- and at an increasing cost as you go -- melee/archers are effectively "costed out" at a certain point, even on high build characters.

Not to intentionally open a can of worms, but there's a few avenues to keep these in line from what I see:
-Remove the "increased cost" aspect of weapon profs and backstabs
-Have weapon damage tied to how much build one has in that school, the same as Wands
-Add costs to Wands, the same as Weapon profs/backstabs

Currently, they're treated wildly different, but are relatively balanced.

Since you can't block Wand damage, outside of spells, that explains the limited charges "well enough."
Weapon Proficiencies and Backstabs have been a holdover in system for time immemorial. Could they change? Sure. Do they really need to? Not necessarily.
 

mythic

Knight
Owner
Calgary Staff
@Graham Wolsey

I have just a couple questions on how the playtest was run for clarification.
1. Was it mostly PVP? Or was it PVE with PVP thrown in?
1a-Was there a "ratio" that you can point out (like 80% PVE and 20% PVP)?
2. If there was PVE, was there a variety of monsters to fight?
3. Were there scenarios like you would find in a weekend event? (like a "dungeon" to explore or "traps/puzzles"or "go kill the necromancer")
4- Were the playtesters given any provisions to scale Magic Items and/or production? (as in, were you allowed MIs, if so how many? If you were allowed production, how much PP were you allowed to spend)?

Just to point out, for a Scholar to throw 5s from a wand means they have had to spend (at minimum) 203 BP on scholar skills to get that. A scholar with 85 build would only be throwing 2s (and only 27 packets total). They would have a 4-4-4-4-3-2 pyramid at that point. Again that is if they spent nothing else on weapons, crafting etc.

Thanks!
 

Graham Wolsey

Scholar
Denver Staff
Marshal
What are the general opinions in this thread RE: the adjustments to weapon prof & wand damage? I see those changes as being hand in hand.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the changes. I don't think that decreasing the damage numbers will actually make it any easier for NPCs to keep track of their body (it will all be rounded to the nearest 5 anyhow, but with the changes, rounding will mean more).
I think you nailed it.

The changes to weapon proficiency and critical attack are the single biggest change to Fighters. In theory they could be ok if Fighters receive a complete rework, but as it stands right now [2.0] is all downside and very little upside for Fighters.
 
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