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Primary Topic Links:
-> https://forums.larian.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=713497&page=1
-> https://forums.larian.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=716036&page=1
-> Primary feedback thread, multiple times

Summary: In the 5e ruleset, Advantage/Disadvantage is the most powerful impact on gameplay. This is true both from a mathematical standpoint and from a player/DM perspective. Because it is so powerful, all sources of Adv/Dis in 5e come at either a cost of resources or a potentially penalty to the user, to balance out the sheer power of the mechanic. Currently, BG 3 subverts this balance by providing always available sources of Adv/Dis in the form of Height and Backstab, both of which require nothing more than having your character in the correct location on the map (note: this is exacerbated by the Jump/Disengage/Stealth problem discussed elsewhere, but exists even if that is fixed). This makes the 5e sources of Adv/Dis nearly useless as they are all more costly or penalizing, thus invaliding literally dozens and dozens of class features and spells, completely ruining the balance of entire classes. Removing Height and Backstab based Adv/Dis will go a long way towards making the game far more balanced and play like a D&D game.

Main Discussion:

The Maths: - In 5e, in general, having Advantage is roughly equivalent of having +5 to your roll. Disadvantage is roughly equal to having -5 to your roll. This means if one character is rolling with Advantage, and the other character is rolling with Disadvantage, then there is the rough equivalent of +-10 between their rolls. Additionally, Advantage doubles the chance of rolling a critical hit, and makes critical failures much less likely (5% normally vs 0.25% with Advantage), vice versa for Disadvantage.

Next, one of the core theories for game balance in 5e is called "Bounded Accuracy". This term means that players and NPCs generally have limits to how high they can boost their static modifiers to rolls. There is a 'bound' on just how 'accurate' a player can become. This was a huge shift in D&D when it was introduced. In prior editions of D&D, players could achieve truly insane modifiers to their to-hit, to the point where attack rolls were reaching into the 1d20+100 range, which just creates stupid arms races between monsters and players. By reducing how much a player can add to their to-hit, WotC (the publishers the D&D rules) made smaller bonuses much, MUCH more important. For example, Bless requires both a spell slot, concentration, and is limited to three targets, and only provides an average of +2.5, half of Advantage.

Bounded Accuracy is why Adv/Dis is so impactful on gameplay. There are a few class abilities that can add a higher static modifier (such as a War Cleric's Channel Divinity that can add +10 to one single attack roll) but those are rare and always limited in amount. It is a large reason why 5e is generally much more balanced that prior editions of D&D with far less ways to truly 'break' the game. It also makes the gameplay much smoother because enemies to-hit and AC do not need to increase as much as you get higher level. On page 274 of the DMG, there is even a chart for rough AC numbers based on a creature's CR (Challenge Rating. The higher the CR, the more 'powerful' the creature):

CR 0-3: 13 AC
CR 4: 14 AC
CR 5-7: 15 AC
CR 8-9: 16 AC
CR 10-12: 17 AC
CR 13-16: 18 AC
CR 17+: 19 AC

Look at those numbers. Over the course of 17 'levels' of CR, the enemies AC only increases by an average of +6. Just having Advantage almost cancels that growth out entirely. Here is an analysis of the actual monsters made available from WoTC and their respective change in AC -> https://i.stack.imgur.com/a6rlg.png

Lastly, if you take a level 1 character and a level 17+ character, give them the same stats and the same weapon, the total difference in their to-hit roll will be....+4. That's it. A level 1 character has a proficiency bonus of +2 and a level 17+ character has one of +6. The difference between these otherwise the same characters is less than the difference from Adv/Dis. That is how strong Adv/Dis is mathematically.

Hopefully by now, you can see why getting Adv/Dis is such a huge deal in 5e rules, and why being able to have them should be considered such a huge impact on the mathematics at play.

The Gameplay: - Here is a non-exhaustive list of class features and spells that grant Adv or impose Dis for characters between levels 1-4:

General Actions:
1. Dodge/Help
2. Dropping Prone against Ranged Attacks

Spells:
3. True Strike
4. Vicious Mockery
5. Cause Fear
6. Command (certain instructions)
7. Compelled Duel
8. Ensnaring Strike
9. Entangle
10. Faerie Fire
11. Find Familiar (Help Action)
12. Fog Cloud (Depending on types of sight)
13. Grease
14. Guiding Bolt
15. Protection from Evil/Good (Against certain enemy types)
16. Sleep
17. Snare
18. Tasha's Hideous Laughter
19. Zephyr Strike
20. Blindness/Deafness
21. Blur
22. Darkness (Depending on types of sight)
23. Heat Metal
24. Hold Person
25. Invisibility
26. Maximilian's Earthen Grasp
27. Shadow Blade (Depending on lighting)
28. Web

Class Features:

29. Barbarian - Reckless Attack
30. Barbarian - Wolf Totem
31. Barbarian - Ancestral Protectors
32. Bard - Words of Terror
33. Cleric - Warding Flare
34. Cleric - Invoke Duplicity
35. Druid - Multiple Wildshape forms that grants Pack Tactics (Wolf, etc)
36. Fighter - Distracting Strike
37. Fighter - Feinting Attack
38. Fighter - Goading Attack
39. Fighter - Menacing Attack
40. Fighter - Trip Attack
41. Fighter - Fighting Spirit
42. Monk - Patient Defense
43. Monk - Open Hand Technique (knocked Prone)
44. Paladin - Conquering Presence
45. Paladin - Nature's Wrath
46. Paladin - Abjure Enemy
47. Paladin - Vow of Emnity
48. Paladin - Dreadful Aspect
49. Ranger - Umbral Sight
50. Rogue - Assassinate
51. Rogue - Master of Tactics
52. Rogue - Cunning Action (Stealth)
53. Sorcerer - Eyes of the Dark
54. Sorcerer - Tides of Chaos
55. Warlock - Hexblade's Curse
56. Warlock - Pact of the Chain (Help from Familiar)


56 different spells, actions, and class features (I'm sure I missed some as well). Every single one of these costs a resource or imposes a penalty for using. For example, the Dodge Action takes your characters Action for that turn. The Barbarian's Reckless Attack makes the Barbarian grant Advantage to anyone attacking it for a turn, making it significantly more likely that they will take damage for that turn. The Open Palm Monk's tripping attack takes Ki to attempt and still provides an enemy with a Save first. And this list is ONLY for levels 1-4. It grows massively once you start getting higher levels characters.

Each and every one of these has the same benefit as Adv/Dis from Height and Backstab, which means each of those class features and spells are essentially pointless given how much easier it is to just get higher or to walk around a target. This is terrible, TERRIBLE for balance. You are throwing out 6+ years of playtesting the rules and balance of 5e.

Finally, Rogue's deserve special mention due to how their primary class feature (Sneak Attack) interacts with Advantage/Disadvantage. Ignoring the cheapening of the Rogue in general due to every class now having Stealth as a bonus action, Rogue's are not able to use Sneak Attack if they have Disadvantage on a roll. This makes it extremely difficult for a Rogue to use their primary function against any target that is above them. This is terrible for the balance of the class.

Not in the Rules: The rules of 5e to not provide Advantage/Disadvantage due to different in Height. There is an *optional* rule in the DM regarding Facing and what might be called 'backstab' but 90% of the rule (including the ability to use your Reaction to face the target and deny them Backstab) is not implemented, meaning that rule was not used. Anecdotally, I have never, ever heard of any DM using the Facing system because of how much it throws a wrench in the gameplay process.

Possible Solutions: First, remove granting Advantage/Disadvantage for Height and Backstab. As you can see from the list, there are enough ways to get Adv/Dis, BUT they are all balanced by having a cost/penalty associated with using them.

Next, if Larian still wants to incorporate having a benefit for having higher elevation than a target and/or maneuvering near a target, please incorporate the Cover and Flanking mechanics as described in the first linked Primary Topics Link. Cover provides a potential benefit for being higher than your target because your target will not have Cover from your attack. Additionally, you will possibly have some Cover from attacks from below due to the surface providing elevation. Flanking also requires at least 2 allies in melee combat, increasing the risk to those characters for the reward of potentially having a greater chance to hit.

Alternatively, if Cover/Flanking is deemed to difficult or impossible due to the limitations of the DoS engine being used, then replace Adv/Dis with a flat +2/-2 bonus (which is the bonus provided from Cover and Flanking respectively). This makes players still want to seek out sources of Adv/Dis due to their higher mathematical benefit, while also not invaliding all of the listed spells, actions, and class features.

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I agree that backsatb shouldn't grant advantage. However, I like that you can get advantage from height, and imo the rules don't have to be followed precisely if the changes that are implemented make sense and are fun to play. Which, I think, applies to height advantage.

In addition, the fights we see in the EA so far all have some degree of verticality, and Larian has stated before that this is on purpose to allow both players and enemies to gain advantage in a battle and therefore make it more tactically interesting.

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The rules do not need to be followed precisely, if it is not possible within the game engine (see the point I made about Cover) or the addition or removal adds to the overall spirit of a D&D game.

Providing Advantage, for free, with no cost and always on, simply for being above your target breaks *over 56 other features*. 56. 56 balanced implementations of Advantage or Disadvantage, rendered useless because of that change.

That does not make sense nor is it fun to play, because the game turns into a repetition of King of the Hill each and every single fight with any verticality, at all. Having one tactic be the overwhelming "best option" in ever single scenario is not, to me, tactically interesting. It is downright boring and repetitive.

But I digress. Because it invalidates *at least* 56 other class features, actions, and spells. That is unacceptable for game balance.

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So you backstab someone that is you attack from the shadows an enmy on their back and you don't have a vantage? Seriously. Lets stay a bit away from the meticoluous argumentation based on rules (but more on personal perspective than objective reasoning), same goes for someone hitting from an higher place (that means they have an obvious advantage both because the bigger area covered by eyesight and difficulty for the attacker).

I get it, D&D, rulkes, book and so on. But the game is designed for a bigger audience, who maybe don't care about a niche set of rules loved by old players.

Also to become king of the hill can be bothersome and noe so easy to accomplish, and the balance of advantage/disadvantage is granted by the fact that as I said is not as easy as it seems to seasoned or skilled players or lucky players to stealth or find an elevation from wich attack (in my own playthrough most of the times my party started battles far from any height or with enemies placed in such way that stealth was impossible).

Again what I think Larian should do is to create different difficulty levels so that seasoned, skilled and lucky (yes luck, I can roll an interminable line of misses and critical misses that sometimes make frustrating playing), can enjoy the effort, and at the same time the other players can enjoy their playthrough.

Also, please a little bit more of flexibility and adaptability?

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Originally Posted by Bufotenina
So you backstab someone that is you attack from the shadows an enmy on their back and you don't have a vantage? Seriously. Lets stay a bit away from the meticoluous argumentation based on rules (but more on personal perspective than objective reasoning), same goes for someone hitting from an higher place (that means they have an obvious advantage both because the bigger area covered by eyesight and difficulty for the attacker).

*snip*


I'm going to break down what you wrote, and hopefully you'll understand why having faith in the rules of 5e is superior to Larian trying to force DoS mechanics where they don't belong.

1. If you attack "from the shadows", you are an "Unseen Attacker" in the rules of 5e. This is why someone who successfully uses Stealth gets Advantage on their attack. This is also why Rogues are allowed to attempt to Stealth as a Bonus Action in the rules of 5e, and every other class requires the use of a full Action. Advantage is *very* powerful, as I showed above, so this is why Rogue's are the only class that can attempt to stealth as a BA (in addition to other requirements within the rules that Larian has sort of implemented).

2. Hitting someone from a higher place can be more difficult as well because they can present a smaller profile (compare the human frame from level ground compared to directly above them). What you really mean to say, is that attacking someone from above means you get to ignore any potential Cover between you and your target...such as say another character between you and your target.

Did you actually read the post? I mean that, because if you did you will see that I provided answers to your questions as well as solutions you should agree with. Implementing Cover, or taking the easier route and offering the flat +2/-2 bonus to-hit, still provides you with a better chance to hit your target from Height and also for using tactical positioning.

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i like height advantage for ranged weapons. Makes sence and fun to play in game.

DnD5e is balanced around tabletop gameplay. Most of its sharp corners are smoothed by game master. Here we have computer game.
Imho even dice roll are absurd for pc game, since computer can caluculate propability way better then human and extreemly fast.

I prefer fun gameplay over "dnd purism"

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Height advantage for ranged is ok. Flanking is also a thing so ok. On some maps it is difficult to get into an exact flanking position.
Any change can be used by the player.. and used against a player.
There will be an impact, particularly for some classes/ builds. If needed (and only if required) there may be ways to "rebalance" eg +2 to attack if reckless attacking whilst flanking. Perhaps with various changes we need to playtest all the classes to really see how they work in BG3, consider what changes would be best etc.

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Wow, a beautiful, well thought out and insightful post. Followed by a bunch of poor responses that didn't seem to read the whole thing.

I would be happy if they removed the height / backstab completely as truer words were never spoken: "because the game turns into a repetition of King of the Hill each and every single fight with any verticality, at all."
Replacing it with +2/-2 would also be a good way to balance it while keeping a height mechanic.

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On the advice of Stabbey, I'm reposting something I wrote earlier as well as a link that Stabbey provided:

Originally Posted by Isaac Springsong
For a sense of how game breaking that (Adv/Dis from Height and Backstab) is, and how much it throws the rest of the game out of balance, here is a great example:

The most powerful resource in all of 5e, and generally in all of D&D across 40+ years of balancing and development, is a *9th Level Spell*. That is the highest magic a player can cast, reserved for the strongest spells. You can literally wipe out an entire city with a single spell. You can alter the fabric of reality. You can *stop time* with it. It is the pinnacle of player power. What is one of the most popular uses of a 9th Level Spell?

Foresight. A spell that does nothing more than give you Advantage on everything for a day, and Enemies Disadvantage against you. That's it. That's all it does. That is how strong Advantage and Disadvantage are in 5e with its Bounding Accuracy system.


Here is a link to statistical modelling of Advantage/Disadvantage.

As you read this, please ask yourself....which option will require phenomenally less work and time: to rebalance 56+ spells and class abilities, or changing literally two mechanics to instead be static modifiers?

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OP gives a well stated argument and reasonable suggestions. +1

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Well presented argument by the OP and I wholeheartedly agree. The current implementation is badly unbalanced and will be detrimental for the game.

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I agree with the OP. Rogues are getting (relatively) nerfed because of changes like this (e.g., everyone gets a bonus action disengage and hide).

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I agree completely with the OP on this one. If they want to encourage going for the high ground, just providing a small, static bonus (like a +1 or +2) would be worth it. High ground also seems to grant an increase in the range of attacks, and can be difficult for enemies to reach. Having it grant advantage is just too much, and will absolutely ripple negatively through the entire game for the reasons stated. Backstab is also a problem - implementing flanking instead would be an improvement, but just making it a small static bonus of +1 or +2 would be better (if they want to encourage a backstab).

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I agree with the OP.

I feel like Larian seem to have a few main options with ways to go with these two (High ground advantage and backstab advantage)

1) Leave it as is and diminish/invalidate 56+ spells/abilities, some of which are core parts of a class/subclass/spell list
- Terrible idea as then they have to look at adjusting all these other abilities to compensate or just make them feel almost worthless.
- This isn't counting even higher level spells abilities, just the ones the OP mentioned, it's an insane development resource cost to try to fix the balancing problems introduced from keeping it this way.

2) Modify it so they don't give advantage but still give some benefit. A +2 bonus from high ground and -2 malus from low ground emulates 5e half-cover decently well and a +2 Backstab bonus seems to be a common homebrew instead of advantage for flanking.
- Not a bad idea, still gives people a feeling that using verticality/backstabbing has a tactical impact
- Still allows for all the 56+ advantage/disadvantage granting abilities/spells/features to have proper impact and not feel like wasted resources

3) Remove it completely
- Unfortunately makes the emphasis of verticality in game not feel as impactful
- Most in line with how 5e Tabletop works

Personally I would like them to implement both 2 and 3 and have it as an option but I would settle for option 2.

If both 2/3 were options people could choose from, then people that want a more pure 5e implementation can have their way, and those that don't care about 5e specifics still get the option to make backstab/highground impactful.

Last edited by Acehigh; 28/10/20 11:44 PM.
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It should not be a full advantage/disadvantage just for how easy it is as it stands to backstab. The AI just lets any melee character do this at-will, which means it's a huge buff to any melee character.

Make it +2 or -2 or a 1d4 roll.

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100% agree op.

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I feel like I say this in a lot of posts ..but this is normal difficulty meant for the average player of the game and the average player does not like to miss multiple hits in a roll. Even someone whose never read the first thing about DnD can tell from the first few encounters and 'tooltips' (modifier notifications on the bottom left), how to position your characters for the highest hit chance. Yes this reduces the usefulness of 56+ spells and abilities, but instead of spending a limited spell slot/round to setup each and every combat, you can preplan positions and pre-sneak towards critical enemies. This is as much about misses as it is keeping the player engaged and having something to do with multiple avenues to approach each and every combat encounter. I mentioned the difficulty because for all we know there could be a 'core' mode or simply hard/insane for people who do not mind combat taking an hour or more, this would be a hard no for the vast majority of people they expect to buy this game though. RTwP could work the core rules a lot easier since there isn't such a huge slow down but that of course would limit so many other things 5e has to offer. I imagine bonuses will be tweaked to some extent, but 75%+ with advantage will remain with the skills you listed maybe providing guaranteed hits at some point or lasting longer rounds. I'm sure there will be combat encounters where these skills will matter a lot more than what we've seen, after all this is the easiest beginner friendly portion of the game. Every new level 1 tabletop session has a unknown handicap not based on the player character's level, but the actual player's knowledge of the game, it's ruleset and experience in whatever setting they are presented. Larian has to make the game with the assumption that a level 1 character doesn't even know what a d20 is, much less has memorized which spells to take for a better hit chance. Yep, this screws with CR, means hits land more often, and balance has to be shifted towards number of mobs, available terrain, their HP, enemy items and AI. They chose the hard road on this one, not to just copy paste existing balance.

I hope they give the rogue something special, but even as is he's still the highest damage dealer due to the multiple offhand attacks and ease of melee sneak bonus. BG2 had class specific items and I think that would be one way to add artificial boosts and bring back rogueiness to the rogues....guaranteed backstabs on start of combat, static poison or bleeds on weapons, short rest aoe silences from stealth, I think there's a lot they could do here to help out.

Last edited by macadami; 29/10/20 08:15 AM.
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indeed this game is more like

Dungeon and Dragon : Divinity Original Sin 1st Edition. then anything else.

I do hope they listen to you and all the good feedback.

100% agree with you


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"Misses feel bad" is not an excuse to mess up the balance of 56 spells and class abilities, especially because 1) they have not eliminated misses, but increased the chances of misses from being on the low ground, and 2) the HP inflation they gave enemies has made the problem into "hits feel bad too", and that has messed up an ADDITIONAL number of other spells and class features.

Adding even more artificial boosts in an effort to fix the problems is going to be a hell of a lot more work than undoing their previous well-meaning,but misguided attempts to spice up the combat.

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OP is correct. I could argue why but he and others have made enough points as to why.


Originally Posted by Stabbey
"Misses feel bad" is not an excuse

Agreed. I hear this alot and it irks me. Make an easy mode for these people to placate them and leave that i say.


Originally Posted by Isaac Springsong

Did you actually read the post?


I feels like it with some of these replies. I hear alot that "it feels better to be stronger" which could indication that they really don't understand what your saying. Since if they implemented your suggests (+2/-2) and then gave them the 56+ other skills to get advantage, that's technically stronger and more engaging if you strategize right and get both advantage and +2 together. Since advantage wont stack.

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