Gelsamel wrote:But when it comes down to it the, say, Ranger plays by saying "I move here" and then saying "I attack X with at-will power Y", right? Whereas spell based classes do the exact same thing. Sure they all have their own little gimmick like marking, forced movement, etc which makes them feel different, but at most this is an extra number on the mathematical database. When you boil it down to the basics they all used standard action powers just like any other mage does or like a wizard would do in 3.5e. When you strip away all the flavour from the powers there are only minor differences in the mechanics behind the classes, which could at any point really just be explained with some flavour if you were to export powers to other classes.
When you boil it all away, you are sitting at the table describing what some imaginary being is doing while rolling multi-sided platonic solids with markings on them.
The kind of things that the Ranger is going to be doing will be different than the kind of things that the Wizards are going to do. They have different incentives to position (the Ranger wants to position themselves to be closer to their target than anyone else, and have their target be the closest enemy, to get full benefits) (the Wizard position game is sometimes about "close" powers, but more often it is about keeping herself protected while playing a positioning game with area-effect powers that can hit both allies and enemies. The wizard, in a hard fight, is going to be tempted to do a double-sustain situation: if they can get into a position where movement isn't required anymore, they can do this safely.)
So sure -- they are both moving, and then both doing an attack action, and often a utility action. The kind of attacks they have vary massively. The kind of movement they are worried about is different. The kind of utility actions they do is different.
And they are both playing pretend while rolling multi-sided bits of plastic with numbers on them...
Fighters play like Mages/Wizards. You choose a movement action, or not, then you choose a "Power", or not. This pattern and mechanic is the same for, afaik, every non-essentials class.
No, fighters don't play like mages/wizards. If you made the same movement choices with a mage/wizard as a fighter, you'd be hopeless at one of them.
Weaponmaster fighters play far more like Knights than they do Wizards.
Now, the class/power structure of a Weaponmaster (PHB1) fighter is more like a Wizard than like a Knight -- but that isn't how they play
With the Knight, Slayer and Thief though even when you strip all the flavour they're inherently different to wizards/mages mechanic wise.[
I wasn't talking a tiny bit about flavour above. Not one iota.
A class whose flavour was "spellcaster" but whose mechanics was "ranger" would play like a ranger, not a spellcaster. Flavour doesn't change how a class plays.
If all you have done is read the rules, then the flavour and class structure looks dominant. And apparently you imagine they play similarly. They ... do not play similarly in actual play.
There are whole new mechanics added to move and minor actions that you cannot compare to standard actions. You can't get Thief Trick, strip of flavour and then somehow make those "movements augmenting basic attacks" mechanic jive with the flavour and mechanics of a mage/wizard.
Honestly, the difference between Essentials mechanics and PHB1 mechanics is mechanical fluff.
A move action that grants a bonus to the next basic attack is different mainly in fluff
from a move action, followed by a standard action attack that is a basic attack with a bonus.
Stances that give a bonus to a basic attack differ in mechanical fluff from at-will powers that modify basic attacks.
There are a few corner cases where they differ, but these are mainly corner cases.
If you took a weaponmaster fighter (PHB1 fighter), and changed all of their at-will powers to Essentials style stances, the difference in how a weaponmaster (PHB1) fighter plays would be very small. If you swapped their at-will powers for warlock at-will powers, the difference in how the fighter plays would be huge
Knights, Slayers and Thiefs DON'T play like Mages/Wizards. Essential Fighters choose to take a stance skill, then you can choose to move and/or attack (in vast contrast to using a "power"). Essential Rogues choose to use a movement skill, a flip, a misdirection, a jump off of a wall, and/or attack (in vast contrast to using a "power"). Mages/Wizards choose to move and/or use a Power, as they should.
Everything you describe in this paragraph reads like "they differ in fluff". They do differ -- Wizards don't play like Fighters. But that difference in how they play has very little to do with the stuff in this paragraph.
And "as they should"? Um, you mean "as they do in 3e"? Because that is what you seem to be talking about.
BTW, you do know that "basic attack" is a "power" in 4e parlance, right? You cannot attack in 4e without using a "power". Because every attack is called a "power".
Martial powers are also called "exploits". Arcane powers are also called "spells".
And even then you can still
add in all the forced movement and marking stuff to make these classes even more differentiated from the other classes (like, for instance, the Knight's Defender Aura).The 4e PHB melee classes had all of the "forced movement and marking stuff". That does make them play differently.
Stances and Movement Augementing attacks also just make a lot more sense flavour wise for these classes, as I explained in my last post.
So, you like the essentials rules fluff? Sure. The fluff of the essentials classes is a tad more polished. And people who get caught up in mechanical fluff consider that important.
but it made fighters not feel like fighters. At least to me.
Yes. Essentials built martial classes that where more similar to previous edition melee characters.
And people imprint on game rules. When the mechanics change, they get nerdrage and confusion, and get upset.
Having a class that feels more familiar is comforting. And that is why essentials was a good marketing move.
It also gave them an excuse to rebuild a lot of stuff that was overly crufty and simplify it.
The "Mage" wizard has a better spellbook method.
The Knight "defender aura" strips out a bunch of state and replaces it with positioning state. They get rid of reliance on understanding immediate actions to run a defender fighter, sticking to opportunity actions. Sadly, they also got rid of interesting per-encounter/daily options, and left in a poor damage boost ability (the power attack feature of knights is pretty meh).
They screwed up with the melee striker Ranger, but that is a mechanical corner case that any DM worth their salt will ignore (and those who aren't won't spot the problem, as it is pretty subtle). (the 1/turn free action attack rule ends up meaning that the melee Ranger's features don't work together by the rules...)
Thief tricks are a bit dissappointing, honestly. Probably because of simplification. Ideally, I'd have wanted the thief to have "higher level" tricks that got more complex. These higher level tricks could have involved skill checks (like skill powers from pre-essentials) or, less abusable, ability checks to determine the effect, which could provide a neat source of unpredictability. (delay that until higher levels, so first level characters remain simple)
The lack of an essentials warlord mades me sad -- but I understand that it would have been hard.
And, as noted, the essentials mage was better done than the original wizard. I just wish they had a rituals replacement for essentials, instead of just dropping it.