Let's Fight! Rate the Classes!

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Let's Fight! Rate the Classes!

Postby Sidestepper on Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:18 am

I was actually going to register just to start this thread, only to find that Darvin already did something like this in the last beta update thread. That's okay though. If Darvin already did it, that just proves that it's a great idea :D

Any rating is going to be subjective. Map choice and preparations make apples-to-apples comparisons between classes very difficult. I'm not trying to lay down some kind of absolute truth here, nor am I expecting anyone else to do so. What I am hoping to do is provoke some interesting discussion about strategy and game balance.

I'm going to use a four tier system, just like Darvin did. Top tier are the classes that you would pick if you had to play a game of Desktop Dungeons for your life. They all have powerful and reliable strategies. Bottom tier are the reject classes. They are the ones that just don't work as a character concept. The High and Low tiers are the 'average' classes. The difference between High and Low is a 'soft' difference used to separate very good from the merely good.

I found that the single most important characteristic for me was how reliably a class can confront higher level monsters. Winning out-of-depth fights is the key to efficient play and is vital for the harder dungeons.

Top Tier:
Warlord: He starts with the best glyph in the game, and gets three powers that make that glyph even better.

Berserker: +30% damage when fighting higher level monsters is an incredible power, especially since you should almost either always be either a) fighting higher level monsters or b) one-shotting low level mooks. The magic resistance and +30% damage to magic users are great powers that make it easy to power level off of halpless warlocks and dragons, but I think that the Berserker would be viable even on a magic-free map. The magic penalty is bad without being crippling. You can still pop off a fireball, and you effectively pay a lower cost for following Taurog or using the Mana-to-Health preparation.

Bloodmage: Between BloodToPower, bloodpool, and the supercharged mana potions, you effectively have a gigantic mana pool. In a pinch you can even use bloodpool to support your melee attacks.

Rogue: +50% damage along with first strike means that you can circumvent most of the game. Monsters' attacks and special powers don't mean anything if they don't ever get to use them. The Rogue has powerful synergies with BurnTheirAss, Biceps, and especially Sidestep, and even WaitWhat is pretty good because it short circuits first strikers.

High Tier

Thief: A versatile class that is rarely optimal but never poor. Hoarder means that you get extra powerups, gold, glyphs, potions and sundry items. Survivor means that you get double utility out of your potions as long as you are mixing magic with melee. You can go in blind with a Thief and always find something that will work. This is one of my favorite classes from a design standpoint. It neatly captures the essence of the classic adventure hero, an everyman with no special training or experience but who triumphs in the end due to his clever resourcefulness.

Paladin: HelpMe is a nice glyph that lets melee types efficiently use their mana and also effectively turns poison off. Regaining health for smiting undead is an awesome power that effectively turns all those low level wraiths and zombies into above-average health potions. The 25% physical resistance plays right into the other two powers. It's easy for you to gain health, and harder than normal to lose health, and the two advantages stack multiplicatively .

Sorcerer: A fun class that encourages you mix melee with magic. The +5 mana at start is a huge boost, even better than the Wizard's improved efficiency in most cases. Mana Shield should be seen as a type of melee bonus damage, and mixes nicely with the extra health from Essence Transit.

Low Tier

Priest: People always think of the Priest as an undead killer, but the real action is with his supercharged health potions. The undead damage bonus is just a nice way to gain a few opportunistic level ups. It's no coincidence that the challenge quest for priests isn't a map without undead, but a map where you can't use potions.

Wizard: The Wizard isn''t a bad class, it's just that there are other classes that do his job better. He is the only one of the three 'mage' classes to get a melee penalty (the other two actually have powers that can improve melee). He also gets the weakest of the magical powers. A starting Wizard can cast two fireballs and is 5 mana away from casting three. A Sorcerer starts out with two fireballs and is only 3 mana away from getting a third. A Bloodmage can only cast one, but has a giant pool of mana 'on the map.' The glyph sight power is nice but can be simulated by low level preparations. The extra mana on conversion is a nice power, and will be your primary way of winning the first few out-of-depth battles.

Assassin: With the recent nerfing of IFeelSick, the Assassin lacks a reliable and efficient way to pick on higher level monsters. I came close to putting him in Bottom Tier, but I feel that the Assassin isn't broken as much as not very good.

Bottom Tier

Monk: A melee class with limited physical slots. Resistance is a fantastic power but is hard to capitalize on with such a weak attack. Poison, Weakness, and Corrosion are huge problems with no easy solutions. I think that most problematic issue with the monk is that you can get nearly all of the benefits by playing another class with a Dragon Shield but without any of the crippling drawbacks.

Fighter: Finding equal level monsters isn't as good as it seemed when you were a newbie. The extra experience per fight is nice, but not as nice as consistently fighting above you level. The only power that helps in out-of-depth fights is Pit Dog, but that only works once. It turns out that Death Protection is amazing when it can be cast at will, be is usually only slightly better than having an extra health potion when it's a one-time deal.
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Re: Let's Fight! Rate the Classes!

Postby TigerKnee on Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:10 pm

I don't have any real comments because this is pretty much the accepted tier list with the accepted explanations. And what I'm going to post is kind of repeating what I posted before in the other topic but eh.

I might pull down Bloodmage a bit for those stages where you have to walk into a different area and get locked off from all your Bloodpools and any levels where you have to kill a HUGE amount of bosses like Demonic Library and the latest vicious dungeon with all bosses.

And Berserker, like I said, is once again a matter of opportunity. I'm worried about a knee-jerk nerf to Berserker of the kind that made the Monk useless, even though the Monk's design already had an inherent weakness to a lot of things.

+2 mana is crippling for most glyphs and I think you roughly break even with your +30% attack bonus unless you're using something like a 12 mana Cyddstepp. The Berserker is only "top-tier" now because of circumstances.
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Re: Let's Fight! Rate the Classes!

Postby The Avatar on Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:59 pm

I disagree with the monk. I think they should nerf the dragon shield instead.

I actually beat the dragon Isles with a human monk (Tri-Sword, Taurog) by saving half the map for the matron of flame and didn't use a single potion or unstoppable fury.

I would put him with the assassin because his regen sucks at lower levels (like APHELLSIK) but is great for the boss, and a monk with APHEELSIK is quite powerful.

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Re: Let's Fight! Rate the Classes!

Postby Darvin on Sat Oct 08, 2011 7:25 pm

Swift hands shennanigans alone bring the assassin well above the priest and wizard, IMO.

Agree with TigerKnee on the bloodmage. He has a big problem with prolonged attrition bosses where he's either separated from his bloodpools or forced to deplete them early. His ability to regen both mana and health in large quantities without incurring any exploration is very nice, but the truely difficult attrition bosses will outlast this. Bloodmage is a top-notch class for clearing hard difficulty dungeons (in fact, arguably the most reliable class in the game), but most vicious dungeons are simply no-go for him. I'd say the bloodmage belongs one notch above the paladin. Both of these classes have some great preparations available, and with good play they will have oodles of resources available for the boss fight. The only reason I'd rate bloodmage above paladin is because of his silly synergy with Dracul, gaining ludicrous amounts of piety for tapping his blood pools.

I'm worried about a knee-jerk nerf to Berserker of the kind that made the Monk useless

Agreed; he could very easy fall from this perch. Still, as of right now he's a top-level class.

I actually beat the dragon Isles with a human monk (Tri-Sword, Taurog) by saving half the map for the matron of flame and didn't use a single potion or unstoppable fury.

Human Monk with Trisword and worshipping Taurog is pretty much the only way to go. I'd agree that Dragon Shield needs nerfing, but monk still needs buffing. Orc Monk with the berserker blade would also work, I suppose. Anything that gets you a balanced combination of +base and +bonus to attack.

His synergy with Taurog needs to be removed. Taurog is royally underpowered for every class that isn't Berserker or Monk. He's a solid piety farm, but his boons are utter crap unless your class is custom-tailored for them. Taurog needs serious buffing, but this would propel berserkers and monks into the stratosphere, so that synergy needs to go.

Taurog is alright if you're playing purist, since inventory space is more forgiving in that case. However, with preparations the cost of paying an inventory slot and the -2 mana is just untenable for most classes. There are some classes that Taurog could literally offer his boons at 0 cost and they'd still turn their back on him. The inventory and mana cost just isn't a worthy trade for the benefits offered.
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Re: Let's Fight! Rate the Classes!

Postby The Avatar on Sat Oct 08, 2011 7:43 pm

I think Taurog should be revamped. My suggestion is on the new page I just made.

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Re: Let's Fight! Rate the Classes!

Postby Incompetent on Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:31 pm

I'm broadly happy with most of the classes. The 'top tier' classes are indeed strong, but not outrageous. Monk is unreliable but can be quite strong with the right preparations and careful use of exploration regen; his physical/magical slot balance is silly though, as his traits are of no use for spellcasting. The Priest is solid enough, especially as a Halfling or in an undead-heavy level. On the other hand, Wizard, Assassin and Fighter fall flat:

The Wizard's mana pool generally doesn't give him a greater ability to cast spells than the other mages, but they get serious bonuses on the side. I think he needs something to set him apart from the others in a positive way. It would be good if significantly more glyphs spawned and he could carry 2 glyphs per slot for instance, so he was the most versatile pure spellcaster (as opposed to the greater reserves of the Bloodmage and the greater melee-magic synergy of the Sorceror). I imagine the Wizard as the most 'scholarly' of the mages, lugging big tomes of magic around and studying all the time (unlike the other mages for whom magic is more intuitive).

The Fighter is just bland and doesn't really have anything to help him in melee (unless you count Pit Dog). We already have a much better generic adventurer in the form of the Thief. Maybe instead of +1XP per kill, give the Fighter a 25% discount to level-up costs (so he also gets an extra-large reward for giant-killing). The other two abilities need to be replaced with something that has broader utility.

Assassin: Swift Hands is funny but not that big a deal, Light Foot is decent but nothing special. The Assassin needs some kind of special bonus to APHEELSIK seeing as it's his signature glyph, like the Warlord has with CYDSTEPP.
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