I didn't engage with the specifics of the DnD player's argument ( the mathematics of the 5e system ), because I don't play TT and, therefore, really don't care. From the viewpoint of a video game player ( which is what I am ) the core design of BG3 is the environmental design, the controls and actions available, and how the game plays, regardless of how these are realised.
The game, as advertised, includes a strong vertical emphasis, gaining obvious benefit/drawbacks from difference in height, and similarly gaining obvious benefit from attacking from behind - which is possible , seemingly, because 5e is turn-based, but has no facing, ZOC or positioning rules.
Okay, but this makes no argument for ADVANTAGE due to high ground. Why isn't the height itself, and thus larger ranged attack range a sufficient bonus? You're also harder to hit when you have the high ground because enemies on the low ground have reduced range. You can also sometimes destroy ladders behind you, making you unreachable by melee combatants.
Obtaining these height/backstab benefits is not cost-free, as you have to move into position, and movement is also a resource. The positioning benefits also apply equally to all actors, and the benefits can be lost/negated by opponent movement, so considering your movement becomes, relatively, more important.
This is incorrect. There is basically no cost to moving to high ground: you simply walk up some stairs/a ladder. This is even more true for backstabbing, simply circle around an enemy. I would agree with this point IF you could choose between taking 2 actions or a move and an action. Then you'd be choosing between gaining height OR getting 2 attacks.
But currently, it's often cost-free to move to high ground/circle behind an opponent, since you wouldn't use that movement for anything else. The only scenario that has costs is when you're running away from an opponent and could provoke an AoO or use your bonus action to jump.
This is unlike the dozens of feats/abilities/spells mentioned that presumably will continue to pertain regardless of how actors position themselves, and are therefore tactically superior to gaining positioning benefits. As the resources used are trivially restored between encounters, at the press of a button, those other mechanisms are effectively unlimited in use.
Again, no. Many feats/spells/abilities are invalidated by height/backstab advantage. And you have it backwards: many of these abilities COST AN ACTION, and thus are almost always tactically inferior
to the (again, often cost-free) decision to walk up a hill. You say that height/backstab involves cost benefit while spells/abilities/feats do not: this is the exact opposite of the current state of the game.
Larian ( with this and the universal bonus actions ) are clearly of a mind that when you actually get a turn, all characters should have variety things they can do, not just attempt to hit the nearest opponent, and in all likelihood miss. You may like playing 5e TT, but it has been so over-simplified that RAW would make an exceedingly dull video game by the standards of the bulk of videogamers.
I literally suggested to replace height/backstab with a +4 bonus instead of advantage. This would COMPLICATE the game, by adding lots of little bonuses that could stack. The game would be much improved to its current state if backstabbing and height gave numerical bonuses instead of advantage/disadvantage.
Honestly, I think you read the first line of my post, where I disagreed with you, and nothing else...
I think we are just talking past each other because we care about different things. I'll try to explain what I mean again with the benefit of your further thoughts.
1 ... Justify advantage ... Yes, you are right I didn't do so, because I don't know exactly ( or particularly care ) what the numerical benefits of height and positioning are in BG3; only that it modifies hit chances for everyone ( which I consider a good thing ) and possibly slightly modifies range.
As a player of the game, I find the current experience works OK. If gaining height ( particularly in a game where this is advertised as important ) or hitting a target from an unseen position do not matter, then the value of the game play experience, from my point of view, will be reduced.
If you tell me that currently its ~+/-5 but doesn't stack, and are suggesting taking it to +/-4 but stacking with other benefits ( which may also increase the hit chance ) then I certainly would not object, as it is likely to speed up combat and may add options; but I don't see it as necessary.
As to why height/unsighted should have benefits at all, you could find that from just about any military manual since the dawn of time, where both are primary tactical objectives:
- Flank or rear attacks are generally undefended, greatly increasing the likelihood of landing a blow.
- Melee attacking uphill is at severe disadvantage in terms of both weapon inertia and tiredness.
- For missile attacks, not only is range modified, but also the defensive benefits of cover and visibility.
- Range benefits might only apply to some magic ( difficult to tell really, since it is rather abstract ),
- Both flank attacks and high ground also deliver significant morale benefits.
2 ... Movement isn't a resource ... Yes, it is. It is a finite resource that is renewed each round, just as an action is a finite resource renewed every round, spell slots are finite resources renewed every long rest, etc. You simply have not thought of it that way.
More to the point, in normal DnD play you can move where you want without much risk. I suspect that this leads to melee characters re-enacting "the charge of the light brigade" in every encounter, while ranged characters attempt to kite.
Including height/position benefits means that when you move, you also must consider where other actors are now, and where they will be able to move to. For example, you cannot be flanked ( this turn ) if you take a position where no enemy can move behind you in their turn.
I would also note that changing your movement rate using dash now becomes a more interesting tactical choice, as is using feats/spells such as Misty Step.
The rules surrounding movement in 5e are ( as far as I can see ) extremely weak, just as they have been in most versions of DnD. The BG3 approach may not be a perfect solution to that, but at least they are giving meaning and purpose to movement, which is important in a video game, where you have to actually show-and-tell, not just hand-wave everything as you can in TT games.
3 ... Feats/spells/abilities and stuff ... I said 2 things here, but obviously not clearly as you seem to think I said something else.
First, I said that I was assuming the 56+ other ( non-movement ) ways of getting advantage/giving disadvantage have no specific negation mechanism, and will apply to the target for a fixed duration, regardless of what other actors do; I was contrasting this with height/backstab advantage, where you can negate the condition through your own tactical movement.
Second, I said that these 56+ forms of advantage were not long-term resource limited in BG3, because you can always take a short or long rest to replenish resources after every single encounter. This statement is, I admit, an assumption, because I am not actually sure what these 56+ things are, having found very few myself, despite playing most of the classes available.
4 ... Didn't read my post ... Sorry if it seemed that way, I felt I was replying fairly directly to it. Again, probably talking past each other. As I note above, I wouldn't care about switching the benefit to a different mechanism, since I am not of the opinion it makes much difference. My point was that the design of the game does revolve around what you, and the other actors, can do, in the environments provided. This includ all sorts of additions and changes that are not in the official 5e literature at this point. Maybe some will be added; DnD is always changing.
For these above reasons, I'm unclear that the rules angst justified. If you want to give situational examples that show how Larian's choices destroy some of the character classes abilities, I would be happy to try to understand.