why are retards so obsessed with game balance?
nothing in life is fair and balanced, so why the fuck would characters and situations in a roleplaying game be?
Because balance allows for better game design and more interesting options.
Most importantly, it allows people who are unfamiliar with the system make choices semi-blindly and still end up with something that is effective in what it's meant to do, which is incredibly important for having people get into and enjoy the hobby.
Ever play chess with one side missing half their pieces?
Ever race a mustang against a minivan?
Ever shoot competitively against a blind guy?
Nothing is ever balanced.
But in order for a game to be close to fair, balance must be strived for, if not achieved.
Ignoring gross imbalances because perfect balance is impossible is the hallmark of laziness, poor design, and poor character.
Striving for balance is important.
Obsessing over perfect balance is autism.
>it allows people who are unfamiliar with the system make choices semi-blindly and still end up with something that is effective
Yeah but that's fucking retarded.
If every choice you make just gets you the same result, why even bother giving the players choices in the first place?
You have to be pretty stupid not to be able to build a character semi-effectively. Even with a cursory understanding of the rules, some choices in creation would seem awful even to the neophyte.
It really doesn't take much more than a few hours of reading (skimming really) for a complete noob to familiarize themselves enough with a system of rules to avoid making boneheaded advancement choices. And at the very least, players should be rewarded for at least trying to understand the system, and how it works.
Asymmetrical balance is a thing, y'know. You can make a set of classes that are all viable options that do different things.
You sound like one of the 3.5 or PF players that defends the preponderance of trap options that only seem to be included as a cruel joke on new players as a feature rather than bad game design.
Asymmetrical balance is a thing, and classes should have the ability to all do different things. But they should gain those abilities by specializing in certain things.
What I'm talking about when I mean "poor choices" are things like making a high CHA, low CON barbarian, or a low INT high STR Wizard. Or stupid skill/feat selections that don't synergize with class skills.
Trap options are bullshit, no argument there. I'm just saying that if a player doesn't take the time to learn the system, and make normal, semi-logical choices in their advancement, they shouldn't be rewarded with a functional character.
As long as _optimal_ choices are balanced, everybody is happy.
A designed list should beat a random list, but should be asymmetrically equivalent to a designed list of any other faction.
>Let's play paintball.
>But one team has to smash the paintballs on their enemies to take them out of the game, instead of using paintball guns.
>Nothing in life is fair and balanced, so why the fuck would a paintball game be?
>Let's play civil war!
>But one side has rocks and dated firearms to use on their enemies to kill them, instead of using advanced modern artillery.
>Nothing in life is fair and balanced, so why the fuck would combat be?
When playing in a group of that guys who cannot into minmax, I find that an unbalanced system is the only way to keep others from going full PvP that easily. When my character is so optimized that I can TPK the rest of the group without much effort, it really forces them to consider if attacking each other or being a CE murderhobo is a good idea after all.
But to answer your question, balance is important when your group has a that guy that can into minmaxing. A good group can use any system to play a great game and a not-so-good group can play a decent game with the right system.
Because all players are regarded as equal participants in shared roleplay.
This is not the same as "every player must be useful". Instead, useless characters have to add to the story in some manner in their own way. Their weakness has to make them more interesting, not less interesting. If their weakness, especially weakness by comparison, makes them less interesting, then you explicitly have one character more valuable than another and the lesser character should not even be present.
RPGs aren't like your video games or anime where one character is much stronger than everyone else, and the people surrounding him amount to a supporting cast that mainly cheers him on and occasionally helps him out while he does all the heavy lifting.
RPGs are cooperative games, and for that to work, every character has to be able to contribute something to the game. This is easier when games are designed around this assumption. Otherwise you get Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit level D&D 3.5 trash garbage nonsense being defended by neckbeards who don't understand that their hanzo steel wielding snowflake isn't the main fucking character.
This. When there is an optimal choice, why would you ever pick something else? This is especially bad when the optimal choice is far and away better than anything else available and in order to contribute to the game, you have to play that optimal thing.
This happens in video games all the time -- just look at fighting game tier lists or weapon and class choices in online shooters. Eventually, people find the strongest options and pick those and get good at them. Errata is the tabletop RPG equivalent of a patch, but unfortunately, errata is optional and some people will cry and whine and stomp and throw a childish tantrum when their overpowered bullshit gets rightfully fixed.
Pretty much. Look at 3.x. Every single non-TOB melee build is either a tripper, a charger, or both. Fencers? Dual-wielding? Sword and shield? Bar ridiculous gimmick builds, nobody even bothered.
Now every barbarian ever worships the spirit of the Lion Totem and every fighter ever has trained to use a spiked chain.
The guy who wants to play a magician should be on about the same playing field as the guy who wants to play a swordsman, an archer, a monk, or a priest. Otherwise you get people who have to decide between playing what works, or playing what they like.
I don't know if they need to be on the same level, it's more important that they have their own things they can do that others can't.
It's not that Fighters and Wizards need to provide the exact same benefits in combat, it's that the fighter and the wizard need to both provide benefits in their own way.
I think it's an important distinction.
A game is a series of interesting choices. If the choices aren't interesting, then I just pick the best ones every time. Otherwise I don't have a game.
>It's not that Fighters and Wizards need to provide the exact same benefits in combat, it's that the fighter and the wizard need to both provide benefits in their own way.
Although they can be identical if they feel like it.
For example, Harry Potter in DnD5e is a Champion Fighter. He specialises in attack spells, most of which are so close range that they might as well be melee. He's athletic and decently strong. He has a narrow range of mostly-offensive tricks that he's comfortable with.
His character sheet says 'Stupefy 2d6+STR' instead of 'Greatsword 2d6+STR', that's all.
That's what being on the same level means.
>It's not that Fighters and Wizards need to provide the exact same benefits in comba
This is not what being on the same level means. This is what being the same means.
Minivans are better at picking up kids, beating mustangs.
Blind guys may have been hearing and pick up sounds that those with sight do not.
Thieves should beat fighters at being theiving, fighters should beat theives at fighting.
And other times they do stuff like 3.5 core, which somehow managed to be a more balanced game than 3.0 core - nerf the "get another standard action" Haste, buff the "Favored Enemy, TWF and three spells of levels 1-4 at level 20" Ranger, and make shit like Bear's Endurance not last the entire fucking day while scaling with CL.
And yet they still fucked it up later, and they didn't fix all that needed fixing. Seriously, just look at what a joke the Evoker is - or the Enchanter, for that matter, who gets most of his school shut down by a first-level spell.
>What I'm talking about when I mean "poor choices" are things like making a high CHA, low CON barbarian, or a low INT high STR Wizard. Or stupid skill/feat selections that don't synergize with class skills.
But those are completely playable in every non-WotC edition, you 3eaboo.
Hell, in non-WotC editions Charisma is by far the most important attribute. That Barbarian is probably a pretty good character, although you might need to go to a non-AD&D game for the Wizard to be truly effective since a low chance of knowing a very limited number of spells might be irritating.
Fuck, OD&D's first three booklets are probably the most balanced D&D that doesn't have Tom Moldvay in the credits or Warlords as a class.
And that's a game where the wandering monster list for the first dungeon level includes seventh-level Magic-Users and Gargoyles. And there's non of Mentzer's pussy-footing "Gargoyles can't be hit by nonmagical weapons so don't use them if your players don't have that" because what's the point?
And yet it all works because it makes you NOT WANT wandering monsters, which in turn makes it an effective way to keep players on the clock. Which is important, since you're expected to get out of the megadungeon before the session ends because fuck you storygaming newbies.
But then WotC gutted that alongside the rest of the game - although, really, they just did the coup de grace after 2E.
>Minivans are better at picking up kids, beating mustangs.
This would be why I specifically mentioned the event the two examples would be competing against.
You seem to be ignoring the point to simply be contrary.
In OP's post, he is referring to roleplaying characters and situations.
The analogy I was referencing was that if one rpg character is clearly better at being used as rpg character than another in that roleplaying game; two examples in one event.
Changing the event changes the scenario and proves nothing.
Taken with OP's reference in mind, your analogy is more like saying that since Ethan Frome could be, in one aspect or another, considered better than Bree Three-Hands, then he is somehow better for a Dungeons and Dragons dungeon crawl.
This. And that analogy wouldn't apply for wargames either - why play against an army that's good at capping points if you're in a game where you're supposed to annihilate the enemy?
It's possible to optimise in 4e, it just gives you a character roughly 1.5x as strong as the average, rather than 3x or more like in 3e.
And the different classes all play very different - a paladin and a fighter, both defenders, play very differently in 4e than a cleric and a wizard do in 3e.
Most 4e complaints seem to come from people that didn't actually read the full rules or play a session.
Because life is balanced and fair, problem is people don't want to do the work and have none of the attachments because people don't know what they want.
Want a shit ton of money? There's a thousand different ways and they all require a shit ton of work out no morale.
Want to be famous? Work your ass off and enjoy becoming a lie that ends with you doing bitter and alone.
Power? If you through wanted to be powerful you'd be ten flavors of unstable and corrupt and would have no difficulty getting what you want.
Most games don't reflect this however.
But RPG's aren't a fucking competitive game. If somebody is min-maxing or people are dying because the GM is being especially brutal, somebody needs to be smacked upside the head for being a fuckwit. An RPG is about forming a collective story with other people, not "LAWL KILL MAIM BURN". If your players are not mature enough to play something completely imbalanced, you shouldn't be playing with them in the first place.
>all you need to do is work harder
Having a heavily imbalanced game makes it extra hard for the GM to make encounters that challenge high-tier guys while allowing low-tiers to contribute meaningfully.
If your character can be erased from story and nothing changes because he didn't do anything meaningful after being fucked by imbalance, is it your fault or the game's?
Honestly as long as the players recognize their incompetence and find other ways outside of combat to be useful, and are happy with this reality things can continue.
In the hobbit did anyone expect bilbo to ever be able to slaughter orcs the way gandalf could? No. Was he integral to the plot, story, and success of the party? Yes.
Shit systems can be saved by good players and DMs. Balanced systems make things much easier, but still aren't as fun without good players and good DM's.
and thats why you should develope a homebrew system with realism-oriented rules
knowing why a hammer was used against plated armor and not a katana can lead you to a system where it matters WHEN you use something
some things being completely useless or only helpful in a few situations is still a thing to accept tho, but you should be playing vidya if you care less about the roleplaying than about the rollplaying
You know what OP, you're right.
So from now on, you're going to play the small starving child of some ethnic minority. You will die every session, generally early on, and you will not be able to play in any meaningful sense of the word. Your next character with be nearly identical with the exception of name and minor body features like birthmarks and scars. That character will also die at the beginning of the next session.
What's that you say? This isn't fun? You don't want to play this game?
Okay, how about we let your next character be a bit stronger?
So you don't die immediately. In fact, you don't die at all. But you're also no where near effective in any capacity outside of barely staying alive. Meanwhile everyone else is saving towns, unraveling mysterious crimes, and having a grand time.
Oh, this isn't fun either? You want to play a stronger character? Well too bad. Life isn't balanced, so neither is this game.
That's well and good for Bilbo, but Bilbo was not a PC in a fucking D&D campaign, he was a character in a carefully crafted narrative with completely different goals because The Hobbit is a non-interactive story; while the subject of this thread (and this ENTIRE FUCKING BOARD) is highly interactive GAMES.
This isn't even apples and oranges my dude, this is some apples and New York's weekend subway schedule. Some really non-sequitur shit.
You can thank WOTC's bizarre ideas about casters and martials for that shit. If they knew any fucking thing about balance then they would have nerfed casters and buffed all non-casters instead of doing the stupid shit they did.
I'm assuming you're a different Anon as your argument has changed radically from "who needs balance, it's not a competitive game" to "balanced games are easier to have fun with but a really good group can get by on a crappy system."
If you're not a different anon, I've got to point out you're basically agreeing with the guy. Then I've got to call you a faggot for still trying to continue an argument regardless.
>why are retards
you just answered your own question
When we're talking about TtG, it makes no sense for some members of the group to be vastly more powerful than the others.
These are supposed to be the elite of the top type people. If one member isn't able to pull their weight then why would the other characters keep them around?
If anything unbalanced systems are unrealistic.
You sound like an AD&D fag. This is the exact kind of shit they argue.
If you're playing a combat focused game (like say, D&D) then there is a 0% chance of this going over well unless all the players are EXTRAORDINARILY mature and story focused.
This is a bit more tenable in something like GURPS or Shadowrun, where every character is expected to have a specialty that isn't necessarily fighting.
But really your analogy is wrong. A party of Bilbo and Gandalf would actually be a good example of asymmetrical balance, because each has their specialty. In most games that have no balance the minmaxers end up being Gandalf and everyone else is one of the 12 Dwarves and don't get to do shit.
Roll players have fun with games that are balanced and play more for the gameplay mechanics than the story and character interactions.
Role players enjoy playing as the characters they invented and immersing themselves in the story over fixing up their stats and shit.
I think everyone is a little bit of the two, but when you have a player in your party who is too much of one or the other he is always That Guy and a total shithead that ruins everyone's fun.
But a GM should be catering the conflicts to be a very level experience that strains the PC's enough, but not too much anyway. It's the fault of the players and the GM if something is fucked up- not the game's.
>But RPG's aren't a fucking competitive game.
That's a fair criticism of my analogy.
I feel the analogy still works because I was illustrating how an unbalanced game does not work as well.
This guy summed it up well.
>If your players are not mature enough to play something completely imbalanced, you shouldn't be playing with them in the first place.
This, however, was a stupid point not worth making.
>Balanced systems make things much easier, but still aren't as fun without good players and good DM's
This too was a point not worth making, made with a poor example.
I'm not that anon, but I am an AD&D fag, and I agree with you.
Also, I ran a 3.5 game that ended up essentially be Gandalf and the dwarves.
One player knew the system much better than me and made a wizard that was absurdly more effective than everyone else.
It worked only because he *played* it like Gandalf.
He held back his power, guiding the others, and only really let loose when I threw the BBEG at them.
He soloed the evil necromancer while the party fought his undead lieutenants.
Everyone had fun and next time he didn't play a magic user.
I really hope threads like these are the result of one really dumb fucker with amnesia.
That sounds awesome. There was a thread up yesterday about playing a campaign where one player is essentially Saitama, and the rest of the party are skill focused, low level players trying to get him to the BBEG.
I'm pretty jealous of you btw, that sounds like a fantastic group. Would the campaign be interesting enough for a story time?
>It's the fault of the players and the GM if something is fucked up- not the game's.
Rule 0 does not excuse bad game design, period. This is something a friend of mine said every time I brought up something bad about Pathfinder, but nobody is going to say Pathfinder is a well designed system regardless of who is running it.
>I'm pretty jealous of you btw, that sounds like a fantastic group. Would the campaign be interesting enough for a story time?
It was a great group.
That campaign was largely forgettable actually.
As in, I literally can't remember most of it.
I was learning 3.5 and so I threw basic stuff at them, which they turned interesting.
The campaign that followed was more memorable, as they became a team of glorious assholes that kept fucking up everything and, thanks to the wizard player, always came out smelling like a rose.
I don't have time to storytime now, but I might piece together what I got sometime.
Same reason the GM doesn't roflstomp the players in the first encounter.