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Optimization Requirements Edit

So, the big question; should a build that's in the Optimized Builds section (and thus should be optimized) that uses material of a certain level be of a lower level and still be worthy of being placed in the optimized builds section?
For example, let's say a build uses Tome material. Could it be of Fighter or Rogue level and still be kept in the Optimized Builds section?
Or, if a class is mostly a druid or cleric, should it be considered optimized if it's at the Fighter or Rogue level and kept on the Optimized Builds section?
Discuss. --Ghostwheel 23:39, October 12, 2009 (UTC)

Well, I thought the balance levels were set up to not take into account super optimized builds utilizing their member classes and options, so the spirited charger fighter was actually a rogue level class built using mostly fighter level options that happen to be stackable in a way to generate something useful at later levels. If that is how they were setup, and I could just be wrong on that, then it doesn't make sense to have any optimized builds in the monk level at all and fighter level builds would only exist if they were built with monk level stuff. They'd be allowed though, because they did serious work with crap and made it less stinky.
Even if I'm wrong about that, I'd say that your tome material to fighter optimized build should pretty much never happen. Anything that is a lower balance level than its component pieces would seem to be anti-optimized and actively avoiding any boosts to the strengths of the classes, and certainly should not be considered an 'optimized' build in the standard sense. Is there a build up right now that you think actually backtracks in this way? - TarkisFlux 01:03, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
This one specifically--it uses Tome material, but comes out to around the rogue-level of balance. --Ghostwheel 01:07, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
Well, it's only using tome feats, and it's not using tome feats that are especially compatible / stackable with the rest of the class build. Two of the three prestige classes it uses are fighter level, the base class it uses to get into Forsaker early is fighter level... It certainly is using Tome material, but I'm not sure that it's using enough to really be concerned about it not meeting a Tome level of optimization. It is better than the Fighter level that half of the build is based on, but there's a lot of ability redundancy and missed opportunities to really consolidate the build. I don't think the balance level is really the problem with it; I don't think it's focused enough anymore. While I don't think the old build was a particularly good one, it was more focused on a goal (which it better attained) and was in that sense more optimized, even if it was optimizing something that would only be relevant in lower balance level games. If we are balance tagging builds, I'd have tagged the old build Fighter and pulled the balance assist and let it be. This one needs more editing and cutting back before I'd consider it optimized for any balance level. - TarkisFlux 01:27, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
I'll admit right off the bat that I barely skimmed the above conversation, but I've got something to add anyway. Perhaps we should move away from "optimized builds" and simply "interesting builds". A build needn't be optimized overall to excel in a single area, nor need to excel at all to be an interesting article to read. --DanielDraco 14:50, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
So let's have builds of level 20 monks--after all, kung fu fighting warriors are "interesting", right? Or characters who are basically Monk 3 / Sorc 3 / Wizard 2 / Ranger 2 / Rogue 4 / etc. Or maybe Samurai (CW) 20--after all, samurais can be very interesting, right? Articles that are interesting to read are nice... but they require no builds. That's flavor, and flavor is pretty mutable. If you'd like, I could see a "stories of characters" section or something similar, but there's not much point in keeping any build if it's just "a good read".
My point is, once we allow in "interesting" builds, we're right back to where the sucky wiki was. Inviting in lots of trash.
Back to the topic at hand, I don't think builds that are less powerful than material they use should be considered optimized and kept either--after all, you can make a fairly rogue-level build with fighter-level stuff--the whole point of optimization is to do something well, improve on things, and showcase awesome tricks or strong builds. Unless it's completely theoretical (trying to break the world record at Str score or a diplomancer, or something along LP's dirty tricks) it should be viable in a game. Things that are subpar end up just filling the WoS role--and we had enough WoS builds on the sucky wiki. --Ghostwheel 15:08, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
The idea of optimized builds has never really sat well with me, and after giving it a bit of thought, I figured I that expressing those concerns here was valid to the topic at hand. Well, first, there is no definition of optimized builds, its kinda the opinion of each viewer what constitutes an optimized build and what doesn't. If we're going to pursue clarity, we really should have a page that explains and defines what optimized builds are and what they aren't (and allow people to comment on said definition to hone in on that).
Now, another problem I have with optimized builds stems from, well, this will take some explaining, so hold on. If a build takes material from any given level, fighter for example, as a majority of its content and then functions mechanically in a way to remove it from that level of game, boosting it up to rogue or wizard level or whatever, does that mean that the build needs to function from the very beginning as able to compete at that level of gameplay? Certainly, a build designed to go above and beyond the level of play for a game breaks the cohesiveness of the game itself (which gets into Gentleman's Agreement area) and turns the build into more of a theoretical build anyhow. So, where does this leave builds designed to make highly competitive characters but stay within a given level of power from 1st to 20th level (or whatever the range of the build)? Well, it sounds like that sort of thing, an "effective character build", would be more useful to players and the direction this wiki seems to be going in rather than the idea of "optimized character builds". Does any of that make sense? --Ganteka Future 18:08, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
I think I get what you're saying--and you'll notice that many of the builds that are up are viable and effective from level 1-20. Those that aren't usually have a note in the "special" column that notes when they do become viable. However, to be viable, a build can't have just AC (since turtling doesn't work in D&D, yet so many people think that because they can't be hit easily, they've got an awesome build). Furthermore, you can easily play in monk- and fighter-level games without optimization of any sort--optimization usually puts you at least the rogue level of balance. Many optimized builds using fighter-level material come out around the mid-point of the rogue level of balance, while many optimized builds that use rogue-level material usually come out at the higher ends of the rogue tier--but usually they don't tread into the wizard level of balance. (That is, they still usually do the same thing at level 20 that they did at around level 5, don't play rocket-tag, and don't bone reality.) I hope I understood what you meant? --Ghostwheel 18:42, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
I disagree on optimizing AC not being useful at any level of play. Monk and Fighter level is as much about the style of play as anything else, and plenty of DMs will have the big bad melee guy square off against the party's thug just because it's cinematic or what they think is supposed to happen, regardless of whether that's the most effective use of the enemies attacks. Turtling only doesn't work when you assume intelligent monster tactics, and that assumption doesn't necessarily hold true at the lower balance levels.
Now, we could just say that an optimized build has to be useful over the course of it's life and has to generally be rogue level or above, but that isn't specified anywhere yet and excludes things that would otherwise count under a different definition of optimized. We should probably better nail down what we want out of the 'optimized build' section before we go any further with things though. I'm with Gan, we need to nail down what we want out of that section before we continue complaining that some people aren't meeting it. While I'd be perfectly happy with removing the section entirely, I think that defining an optimized build as "one that uses a mix of classes and options to achieve a higher balance level than the individual pieces otherwise would, and remains viable from levels 1-20. Viability in this case means that the build is no longer monk level beyond level 4 and no longer fighter level beyond level 7 (as those are the levels where disparities start creeping in, and beneath which it's really hard to discern)". - TarkisFlux 20:00, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
Why do you disagree that focusing completely on AC and turtling is a bad tactic? If anyone--even an ooze--isn't hitting something round after round, it's going to do something different. Go after someone else, engulf, grapple, whatever. Anything with even slightly higher intelligence is going to start going after other monsters. Virtually no monster is going to stay on someone who it can't hit and at the same time represents no real threat.
For the most part I agree with you that builds should be at least rogue level (and higher if they use material that's normally considered of higher level), but not exactly on the number breakdowns. Some builds need to reach a higher level before they're optimized. That said, just the three of us can't really say what optimized builds "should" be or w/e... :-\ --Ghostwheel 20:47, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
I didn't say is wasn't a bad tactic, I just said that it wasn't a non-useful tactic for all levels of play. Which isn't the same thing at all. In some groups and playstyles they won't go and hit something else, or they won't do it soon enough that the AC wasn't actually helpful for the group by way of distracting the enemy. I did specifically say that you had to discount intelligent tactics. I didn't say it made sense or that it was a workable plan in the majority of games (because it isn't, it is a terrible plan in general due to the mechanics of the game), but it isn't a universally bad idea in low balance level games either. In the definition of optimized and viable that I used an AC build wouldn't be allowed without substantial offense (because turtling isn't a rogue level strategy on its own), but that doesn't mean that they don't have a place in some game somewhere. So it was really an academic disagreement, not a substantial one with respect to the current topic. - TarkisFlux 21:07, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
For interesting builds, just place it in the NPC category. Optimized builds are for making powerful creatures. --Havvy 18:49, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
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