View Full Version : rethinking the design of PrE to be more programmer friendly

03-08-2010, 04:28 PM
i made a post a few weeks ago on the rogue forums about adding more variety to the 3 rogue PrEs. while i was thinking through the post, i realized that the current design of PrEs is not only not programmer friendly, it is also content unfriendly.

here are some of the points that i thought of:

1. Being true to PnP with regard to prestige classes just doesn't make sense when you think about the publication methods.

in PnP, someone can spend 8-12 hours mocking up a prestige class, a week or two putting together some background material, then send it off to be published in Dragon or on the WotC site.
in DDO, eladrin can spend 8-12 hours mocking up a PrE, then a couple of weeks hashing out the design specs of the class, and then submitting it into the development stream (6-9 months). this is a TON of work for something that could be rather soundly rejected by the player base (pale master, etc).

suggestion - don't pigeon hole yourself to 1 ability per tier, make 3 to 4 abilities so that one PrE ends up with 64 combinations (4*4*4). yeah, half the combos might be junk, a couple you'll have to nerf, but for very little incremental increase in dev time, you have a years worth of builds out there for the player base


Assassin Tier 1 (choose 1)

Option 1 - Poisons
Option 2 - Extra 1d6 of Backstab Die
Option 3 - True Strike (use of damage boost for +10 to hit for 1 minute)
Option 4 - Poison Immunity

Assassin Tier 2 (choose 1)

Option 1 - Assassinate
Option 2 - Stealth (+10 to Hide/MS)
Option 3 - Extra 1d6 of Backstab Die
Option 4 - Overwhelming Backstab - Grants the ability to expend a use of Damage Boost to gain a 25% chance to add Sneak Attack Damage as bonus damage on critical hits (before multipliers)

Assassin Tier 3 (choose 1)
Option 1 - Vorpal Strike (sneak attacks with a 20 count as a vorpal)
Option 2 - Brutal Backstab (sneak attacks get a +1 critical modifier)
Option 3 - Hide in Plain Sight
Option 4 - Freedom of Movement (use 1 expenditure of rogue damage boost for FoM spell for 1min/rogue level) [assassins get this spell btw]

so with a little extra effort, we just gave 64 level 18 assassin builds and untold cross class builds.

2. a level 20 without any PrE's shouldn't be an order of magnitude worse than a level 20 with a PrE.

in PnP, prestige classes don't necessarily get the full advantages of the base class (this varies by PC). for example, an assassin doesn't get crippling strike or improved evasion unless he is 10 rogue/10 assassin. this leads to a balance between true/PC even though the PC tends to be more powerful in most cases.

in ddo, there is no balance between someone who chooses not to take a PrE and someone who does.

level 20 assassin vs level 20 no PrE rogue
level 20 kensai vs level 20 no PrE fighter
level 20 frenzied berzerker vs level 20 no PrE barbarian

yes, i know its the player not the build, but the same player using the build on the left will smoke the build on the right 99 out of 100 times.


we need to add abilities that you can only get if you DON'T have a PrE. humorously, this has the effect of making another PrE called True Class. the thinking to this point has always been you need X/Y/Z to qualify for ability A. to this, we need to add more X and A are mutually exclusive to help make more builds viable.

what i would not do is make the class capstone be only allowed if you don't have a PrE. that serves a different purpose to balance out M/C.

3. a 17/3 mix shouldn't be an order of magnitude worse than an 18/2 mix.

by forcing everyone into 18/X builds, you've lowered the amount of viable builds in the game, thus lowering the possible content. one of the best features of DDO is the multiclassing aspect, by having this mechanic you are neutering that feature.

level 17 assassin vs level 18 assassin (vorpal strike)
level 17 kensai vs level 18 kensai (+1 crit range)
level 17 FB vs level 18 FB (+2 crit modifier)

suggestion 1 - make it so that level 16/17 characters can qualify for a level 18 PrE

for example

Assassin 3

Cost: 2 action points
Spent: 66 action points
Requires All of: Rogue Level 18, Rogue Sneak Attack Training IV, Rogue Sneak Attack Accuracy IV, Rogue Assassin II

would become

Assassin 3
Cost: 2 action points
Spent: 66 action points
Requires One of: Rogue Level 18, Rogue MS IV AND Rogue Hide IV
Requires All of: Rogue level 16, Rogue Sneak Attack Training IV, Rogue Sneak Attack Accuracy IV, Rogue Assassin II

original post -> http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=233516