Class (un) balance

Here you will find information about each Mass Effect class and their conversion to the d20 system

Class (un) balance

Joined: June 26th, 2018, 7:21 am

June 26th, 2018, 7:54 am #1

Hello!

I just discovered this RPG adaptation, and firsr I want to say that it is amazing and really well done!

Although as my topic suggest I do have some concern about the class balance!

I haven't had the chance to play yet so it's purely based on reading the book and doing some character creation testing, so I'd love to hear from people who actually played their thought on the below.

(These are purely mechanical, I would have no problem playing any class/race for RP on some investigation/social campaign, but the below points would be a concern if the GM would say "let's get you attack the Collectors base)

1) there seem to be some bias from DnD that pure power user (adept/engineer/sentinel) should have a low BAB, as they are less trained in fighting
IMO all the base classes are meant to be military trained, and should have a BAB of 15 (except for soldier who are good with 20)
The difference is coming from weapon & armor training,class bonus (ie infiltrator bonus to aim down), easier access to ammo power & access to weapon based combat power

2) Biotics also seem to be treated harshly, they need 2 stats to use their power efficiently, vs 1 for Technos, and in addition, there main equipment (Biotic Amps) is the only one with a stat requirements (also limited on total improvement that can be done on each amp, but that does seem reasonable)

3) racial variants seem to be straight up upgrade than vanilla class.
Haven't check all of them in details yet, but asari huntress & krogan battlemaster make classic vanguard seem pointless, quarian machinist does same with engineer etc.
(Asari scientist does look balanced though as having no weapon proficiency is a huge loss)

4) Engineer/Adept don't seem to bring enough compared to infiltrator/vanguard in 90% of cases
A couple more power maxed in their specialty vs 3 max combat powwr,only interesting if you really want lot of biotic/tech powers.
10 more power point doeantake a difference with how power point are calculated, especially as they can use combat power & will just be more efficient with weapons, making them less reliant on power.

5) Sentinel is really underwhelming
Biotic & tech have no synergies (I understand why biotic/tech don't make eache other detonate, and agree with it)
They have less skill point though have lots of requirements for powers
They are lacking some key skills for Tech powers (dampening/hacking)
They are extremely MAD (multi ability dependency)
(A couple of fix I thought was allowing the rest option to recover WIS mod point on both tech & biotic with one action, and maybe a feat that would allow a DC boost on tech power after using a biotic power & vice versa)
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Isair
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Isair
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Joined: December 26th, 2011, 3:56 am

June 26th, 2018, 9:23 am #2

Hello, welcome and thanks for the input! :)
Let's see each point one by one
1) Personally, I disagree. In fact, in the campaigns I've ran, most players weren't part of the military or had any military background. They simply 'trained' in the path of that class. Using D&D as a comparison, it is like saying that a 'you are a fighter so you trained in the military or with some drill sergeant'. Not necessarily, it can simply be an adventurer that trained on his/her own to be a fighter.
And even if you are trained by the military, some receive greater combat training than others. A good example of this is those who ingress in the military academy and immediately manage to get themselves into the officer's course. You will be trained in strategy and many other things but receive far less 'hands-on combat training' which is what the BAB represents (don't know if that happens in other countries, but here in Portugal, for example, you are not required to have a specific number of years in combat to advance in rank, only a specific number of service years even if it was far from the battlelines and you never got to fight or use a weapon). Those who do face battle, who are trained to be sent into battle, they have a greater combat training.
So, to sum up, the name of the class is merely a representation of the path they take, not a military codename for their position in said military. Also, in ME you have Liara who received 0 military training. Should she have BAB +15? The way I see BAB is how focused you are on active combat using weapons. If you have to divert some of your training to other fields, such as stealth, then your BAB will be only +15. If, however, you had to spend A LOT of time developing other skills such as controlling Biotic powers, then your combat ability will not be as developed, thus you have a max +10 BAB.

2) The Biotics are treated harshly because of their ability to control the battlefield and significantly turn the tide. I found no other option but to do that to achieve game balance. What happens in the ME saga is that biotics are absurdly powerful but to compensate you have TONS of enemies to face. In a tabletop RPG, if you have tons of enemies, you will take hours and hours to finish a single combat and instead of a roleplaying game you merely have a 'combat game'.
Tech powers require only one stat and are easier to use because they aren't as game changing as biotic powers. Even things like Sabotage simply means the enemy has to drop a weapon (free action) and draw another (one action), leaving him/her able to continue to fire (one action). If you are sent flying, however, you can't do anything, for example. Plus, biotics have the combos that have been improved in the last couple updates.

3) Yes, racial classes are variants from the vanilla but all have significant differences. The Asari Pure Biotic and Asari Scientist have the difference you mentioned. The Asari Huntress lacks Shield Boost and Medium Armor Proficiency. The Batarian Brawler, Drell Assassin and Human Explorer are completely unique classes that allow you some freedom when building them but if you try to focus them as much as their counterparts (Soldier, Vanguard, Infiltrator) you won't receive as many power specializations or other powers like Shield Boost. The Elcor Living Tank gives fewer specializations for greater durability. The Krogan Battlemaster gains more Combat Specializations and fewer Biotic Specializations when compared to the Vanguard. The Salarian Scientist loses the Shield Boost. The Turian Agent swaps Submachine Guns for Assault Rifles and lack cryo ammo proficiency.
The Quarian Machinist is indeed better than the Engineer but that is because the race is by far the weakest of all races. Also, the computer games do mention quarians as being experts in tech so the Quarian Machinist needed to be better.
The Volus Protector has slower progression of Shield Boost and fewer specializations to gain Shield Dome and Tactical Cloak, but while it does seem stronger than the Vanguard alternative, that is because the Volus is also a weaker race.
The Vorcha Hunter lacks sniper proficiency, time slow and shield boost and gains better melee combat. But the Vorcha are a weak race in terms of roleplay.

4) Engineer/Adept are meant to be classes more focused on powers, they cannot be compared side by side with the Infiltrator/Vanguard that are meant to be a mixed. Gameplayer of all those classes is significantly different and access to a lot of powers can mean a huge advantage depending on the rest of the build as well as what the rest of the team does. I believe this point is something that can only be seen by playing the game.

5) The Sentinel does have MAD but that's the essence of the class. It does lack certain skills but being able to combine biotic battlefield control powers and tech damage dealing powers is significant. Not to mention it can have a much easier access to other powers without the need to spend feats to get biotic/tech points. And it does have the Tech Armor power. If you want both types of power and not use big weapons, it is the class for you.

And I do like the idea of allowing points to be recovered simultaneously instead of recovering biotic points or tech points with 2 actions (it is 2 actions, not just one). Think I'll include this idea :)
"This is all Joker's fault! What a tool he was! Now I spend all day computing pi because he plugged in the Overlord."
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Joined: June 26th, 2018, 7:21 am

June 26th, 2018, 10:03 am #3

Yay, already an answer!
So to continue the conversation:

1) good points!
Though in that case I'd say it would make sense for the power specialist to gain for free the feat "improved touch range focus" due to their intense training (and otherwise it's kind of a feat tax, unless you play fully support or drones)

2) I do agree on most restrictions on the biotics, I'm just not sure about the CHA requirements on Bio amps.
It forces all biotic to focus heavily on that stat, instead of having for example a build with medium Cha (and thus less damage potential as most damaging power benefit from that starts, and also less points), and high wisdom (to focus on CC powers)
The GM can always limit access to the best amps depending on the the story/power lvl of the team
(Also did a quick math, all biotic bonus adds to 127 pts of function, so you have to make choice compare to a Tech who can have them all)
(Although Tech powers also have good CC with cryo blast and neural shock, plus some form of detonation from cryo/incinerate which also combo with the phase Canon combat power)

3) It does feel sometimes that what's taken out doesn't equal what's added, maybe  some of them should have an additional cost in unique specialisation? (Like 1 or 2 less than the vanilla's)

4) ha ha fair enough, just have to find a GM, though I doubt there is one in Dublin!

5) great if you like the suggestion for dual recovery! That would already give a good synergy to the Sentinel!

Although I still think they could also use a tweak in their class skill to give easier access to their tech power without having to take the "skilled" feat
(They also don't have access to some key powers, though they can use unique specialisation, and they have such a great choice of combo mode available!!!)
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Isair
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Isair
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Joined: December 26th, 2011, 3:56 am

June 26th, 2018, 10:44 am #4

kendaan wrote: Yay, already an answer!
So to continue the conversation:

1) good points!
Though in that case I'd say it would make sense for the power specialist to gain for free the feat "improved touch range focus" due to their intense training (and otherwise it's kind of a feat tax, unless you play fully support or drones)

2) I do agree on most restrictions on the biotics, I'm just not sure about the CHA requirements on Bio amps.
It forces all biotic to focus heavily on that stat, instead of having for example a build with medium Cha (and thus less damage potential as most damaging power benefit from that starts, and also less points), and high wisdom (to focus on CC powers)
The GM can always limit access to the best amps depending on the the story/power lvl of the team
(Also did a quick math, all biotic bonus adds to 127 pts of function, so you have to make choice compare to a Tech who can have them all)
(Although Tech powers also have good CC with cryo blast and neural shock, plus some form of detonation from cryo/incinerate which also combo with the phase Canon combat power)

3) It does feel sometimes that what's taken out doesn't equal what's added, maybe  some of them should have an additional cost in unique specialisation? (Like 1 or 2 less than the vanilla's)

4) ha ha fair enough, just have to find a GM, though I doubt there is one in Dublin!

5) great if you like the suggestion for dual recovery! That would already give a good synergy to the Sentinel!

Although I still think they could also use a tweak in their class skill to give easier access to their tech power without having to take the "skilled" feat
(They also don't have access to some key powers, though they can use unique specialisation, and they have such a great choice of combo mode available!!!)
1) Not all powers require a ranged attack, so I don't agree with the free feat. The player can select it or the GM may give it for free if he or she agrees ;)

2) Hmm sure I can remove the Cha requirement of biotic amps. Their cost is more than enough balance.

3) Hmm personally I don't agree. The race-specific classes were created in mind as a serious alternative to the vanilla races, with the idea that in general they are better. Like a race being specialized in that path. What you lose can be significant, and may well limit your builds. But what you gain should at least feel equal or somewhat better. But believe me, the changes, especially the loss of abilities like Shield Boost, can have a huge impact. The Shield Boost improves your battle endurance tremendously ;)

4) You can always try online campaigns. But I'm sure if you find a GM that likes Mass Effect, he or she wouldn't mind running one. Do let me know if you do, I'm always looking for campaign inputs
"This is all Joker's fault! What a tool he was! Now I spend all day computing pi because he plugged in the Overlord."
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Isair
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Isair
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Joined: December 26th, 2011, 3:56 am

July 2nd, 2018, 1:43 am #5

Made an update regarding the sentinel and the bio-amps

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=522&p=10483#p10483
"This is all Joker's fault! What a tool he was! Now I spend all day computing pi because he plugged in the Overlord."
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