Am I really that bad at expressing my points?
I thought that we had already established the basics, if you insist on playing D&D you only have two options;
accept its flaws ie Roll with it, or
talk about what doesn't work for you and then let the DM fix it.
You hoping that any release will magically fix power disparity is futile, it has always been there, troughout all the releases and versions it has never been fixed, only moved around.
I'm not defending D&D, I'm not defending TSR or WoTC system design. I'm merely pointing out that if you are the GM and insist on playing D&D, then you must take the flaws into consideration, if you allow broken characters to spoil the fun then you are part of the problem. Since you insist on playing D&D you should know that on this scale money dictates that content quantity goes before testing quality and it will continue to be like that - it is not going to change.
This shouldn't be complex or hard unless you overthink it.
Characters builds are a part of the system so in essence a system is broken if it allows builds that are overpowered or imbalance the game to favor certain types builds over others. This is a flaw of the system and while a GM can do whatever to correct this, it doesn't make the system better as is. The Gandalf example is pretty flawed too at least in this case. If a system allows one character to be Gandalf and other to be, say Pippin with both being same level character the system is pretty borked. Now of course characters will have different strengths and weaknesses and a GM has to take this into consideration when running the adventure so everyone gets a little time in the spotlight. Having Gandalf's player "let" other characters shine is a pretty shitty proposition too, since it simply relies on the player to not steamroll over encounters leaving rest of the party to twiddle their thumbs or the GM has to remove Gandalf from encounters to allow other players to do something useful too which usually leads to stupid railroading by the GM. Of course the GM should have a clear idea what kind of a campaign he's going to run and rule out character types that will have nothing to do, but this has nothing to do with the system in use.
Did you read p5 & 6? We have been through this already. ie Talk about it - fix it or fuck it.
The more broken the system is the more the GM has to do to compensate for it. Because D&D is broken the GM have to do things like this if he allowed characters with a gargantuan power disparity. If you would be playing a less broken system the GM does not have to be as blunt about it. The Gandalf example is perfect in context, if you had been playing something other than D&D the wizard does not necessarily have to "let" the fighter shine, but because
you are playing D&D the wizard have to "let" the fighter shine or ruin the fun for the fighter. ie LoTR the short version where Gandalf takes the ring bearer hops on the eagle flies into mordor and dumps ring and bearer into mount doom.
Your point is completely valid, but miss the context of these people insisting on playing D&D and knowing about its flaws they still don't think that the DM is partly responsible for broken characters. Which means that they have chosen this power disparity, actively.
Well basically WoTC is enabling the 1 to 2 turn combokill decks and this again is a flaw in their game, but I think comparing a card game to a RPG is a pretty bad analogy as is, since RPGs are governed by a single person who has the power to change rules and his ruling is always final. Torchship is right saying it's not the responsibility of an individual card player to root out game breaking combos, this is what WoTC should do. Being a dick is not a measure of how a certain rule set works. When comparing game systems you are not discussing some relative concept of fun, you are discussing how well a system gives results in given situation and how it measures up to another.
Again, a completely valid point which has nothing to do with my post in context. The point of CCG's is the more potential combos, the more costly testing would be, thus we can rule out testing as profitable, thus we can rule out a 'fair' system. Cards and thus decks are not equal. The same is true for D&D. Because of the high potential of combos and choices, any testing to rule out broken character options would be costly, thus profit dictates that WoTC will not test enough and instead release more content and more stuff than test things, therefore we know that power disparity will continue in D&D, so if you play D&D the GM must take this into consideration IF it spoils the fun for the group.
I think that you are putting too much into the concept of "fixing broken characters". Its not "many, many hours of reading and editing" beyond what a DM would normally do. Instead its when the group notice that something ruins the fun, then the DM applies his "existing" knowledge of the game and tries to make amends. ... This shouldn't be complex or hard unless you overthink it.
Take Fly (and related spells) for example. If you get tired of players totally ignoring many of your challenges and just flatly ban Fly, suddenly no-one can play the massively popular archetype of a flying Wizard (or flying anyone). Might work in certain circumstances, but I doubt many people would find that acceptable.
So, instead of banning Fly, you decide to re-work it. Now you have a lot of questions to answer. What level should your new Fly come in? How do you make Fly more available to non-casting classes, so as to make them more than passengers in any situation where Fly is used to solve a problem? What counters should be available to Fly? What duration should it have, what investment of resources should it require? You're going to have to answer all these questions (and more, probably) if you wish to turn Fly into a non-gamebreaking spell... and that's a lot of work. And then, once you've done that, you get to do it again for the next gamebreaking spell, feat or class that's turned up!
You are overthinking it. Focus on what is fun.
Or take the Truenamer. If a player wants to play that archetype (which is a surprisingly common one in fantasy novels) and actually wants to contribute, then you're practically going to have to redesign the class from the ground up. What's an appropriate DC scaling for the skill check? What's an appropriate duration for certain utterances (many are contradictorily defined)? What's an appropriate range and radius for certain utterances (same)? How do you redesign many of the utterances so they aren't useless or almost useless at the levels which they are acquired? These are all questions you're going to answer, and answering them thoroughly is a significant time investment.
You are overthinking it. Focus on what is fun.
Even taking the Gandalf example; how do you reliably convince the Gandalf player not to use any of their absurdly good powers without making them feel resentful?
Remember me telling you to talk about it? "Hey guys, turns out the system is crap and spellcasters outshine non spellcasters. Is that a problem for you guys, if so , how should we fix it?" ie Talk about it - fix it or fuck it - then roll with it.
If a player feels resentful at the GM for the system being broken, then you have bigger problems than a broken system.
Additionally, how do you keep up the tension in a campaign with Gandalf in it; there is very little risk of failure because Gandalf can just step in and win the day alone if the party fails. Granting IC advantages to certain characters may work from time to time, but I doubt the majority of Fighters are going to be happy being a Baron if they still totally fail to contribute in combat.
Is the jug always half-full in your playing group? Its us old-timers who should be grumpy and mean, not the other way around. This will only be a broken record conversation.
You are asking me a direct question like "how do you keep up the tension in a campaign with Gandalf in it;" I could point out a thousand ways to make that fun and exiting, to which you will respond to each. "No, because if I do X then Y will be fucked", to which I would respond with a "but the DM can fix that too, its not difficult" to which you will respond "but its not the DMs job to fix things".
Instead lets skip that, its not me forcing you to play a broken D&D system, its you insisting on playing D&D. As long as you are insisting on playing D&D power disparity is a fact of life, the only question is how to handle it? Me I'm saying that as long as you talk about it the DM can handle it.
- do you really think LoTR books or films didn't have any tension because Gandalf was in it? They handled the power disparity, why can't you? You can, trust me. I've played and had fun playing D&D campains not only with non & casters, but also with a level disparity of 4 players being 1-3rd level, being led by two 10+ level characters. If we could do that surely you can handle a wiz and a fighter in the same party.
If you can't I'd go with my other suggestion - fuck it. Skip D&D for a less broken system.
How related are these issues to the decades of player-focus driven pressure games like this have been under? Looking at the versions of DnD I'm familiar with, there's a pretty clear trend of increasing not just the power but the emphasis on magic in all its forms throughout the game and setting. I imagine this is due to people asking reasonable questions like 'why can't a wizard fly/open a lock/etc', and the lack of perspective many developers seem to have with understanding how intended game play and actual game play may differ.
I'd say very strong, from AD&D onwards. Basic D&D was not as magic saturated. Also its no fun if the next supplement doesn't add cooler spells/items/skills than I already got, so the increase is definately in there. Usually due to demands from the fan base (yes even back in the stone age with Gygaz and Zeb).