Monday, May 25, 2009

The Hybrid Experience, part 2

Finally got our group together for some D&D on the weekend so my hybrid Fighter/Wizard got to see some action. One fight with some hobgoblins but... so far so good.

Can't really comment on any balance issues yet. Nothing that seemed overpowered or felt wrong popped up during that one combat. He certainly didn't feel like an unstoppable killing machine but he did finish off one hobbie, finishing tied for second place in kills. (The ranger notched two, but only because he cowers in the back and picks off the ones everyone else has already softened up. That's right Hune. You're a kill thief. We all know it.)

Anyways, as far as playability goes, he was certainly more fun than my vanilla wizard ever was. It could be just the novelty but the fighter powers are quite fun. In fact it was thanks to the Reaping Strike that gives STR damage even on a miss that finished off the last hobgoblin. Pretty cool doing damage even when I roll a 2.

At the same time, the wizard powers still came in handy. I used a pair of Thunderwaves, one of which successfully moved a pair of enemies out of the way. I also used Shield to negate a hit.

So I can safely say that the Hybrid rules are definitely a step in the right direction. They've given me some of the versatility and freedom that I love but sorely miss in 4E.

This might be a little premature, but I've yet to notice anything in terms of a trade off for being a Hybrid. In 3.5 multiclassing was all about weighing the gains against the losses. One had to plan far ahead and decide whether losing access to those upper level spell slots was worth a few levels of fighter and all those "free" feats. It was a dangerous balancing act of compromise but oh so satisfying when it worked. Of course the whole min/max issue is highly subjective. While I loved it, I'm sure others are glad to see it gone from 4E.

I will say that the sheer simplicity of the Hybrid is nice. Not having to total up levels from each class, apply a possible ECL penalty, and whatnot is a welcome relief for the math challenged. Even with a multiclass feat my character is level 4. Couldn't be simpler.

Now for the downside.

I was really struck by how the "combat classes" are much more fun to play than the "caster classes".

My Wizard would just stand a safe distance and blast away ad nauseum. The closest I came to having to think was counting "squares" to make sure he was within range. Otherwise it was a simple matter of "one target = Shock Sphere", "two or more up close = Thunderwave", "two or more far away = Scorching blast". Fairly blase and a far cry from the 3.5 spellcasting experience.

While the Fighter powers made combat a lot more satisfying I think that's more of a testament to just how badly WotC brutalized the spellcasting system.

Granted, I only played a pure Wizard through 3 levels. If I had stayed with it, it might have turned out to have a very interesting mix of powers at it's disposal. It's not like 3.5 edition Wizards and Sorcerers were a ton of fun before 4th level.

Still, it's somewhat damning that adding two fighter powers is enough to make the game (or, more accurately, the combat aspect) fun again.

As long as I don't end up using "Reaping Strike" round after round.

1 comment:

Francis Bousho said...

Wait till your hyrbrid wizard gets access to Bigby's Icy Grasp, it is invariably one of the best attacks in the game during heroic tier.