After responding to Rognar's post (which was eaten by Blogger) I got to thinking about the rankings of character classes. I am going to do something that I am sure not everyone will agree with put them in order of greatness. I guess what I'm really ranking here is there ability to do everything(or anything) and excel at it.
1. Summoner. I have to put the summoner first because its almost 2 characters in one class. The Eidolon is basically a tripped out killing machine. It can unleash almost as much damage as the dedicated fighters while having much better AC, HP, and other abilities. The summoner himself is no slouch either. When the Eidolon is not the right tool for the job, he cast Summon Monster as a standard action and pull from the vast selection of critters available. His spell list is awesome gaining early access to lots of great spells including tons of buffs and utility spells. As Cha is the primary spell casting stat she can act as the party face or use UMD to cast just about anything. A summoner's versatility is unmatched.
2. Wizard. With foreknowledge and prep time the wizard can do it all. The wizard works best when complimenting the party and messing with the enemy.
3. Sorcerer. The Sorcerer has been improved to the point where it may now be better then the wizard especially if using the Human favored class ability to get more spells known which is the Sorcerers main drawback. With Cha as the primary casting stat, Sorc make great party faces. If only they had more skills.
4. Druid. While these guys along with clerics were kings in 3.5, the nerfs to polymorph hit them hardest. Druids still have tons of versatility but no longer can be awesome at everything. They have to choose whether they are combat kings or great spell casters. The other side suffers. They can still summon things as back-up.
5. Clerics. While clerics have lost all of the splatty 3.5 goodness and their best spells have been nerfed, clerics can still do a lot. Clerics are still really scary at high levels. The problem is that I find clerics to be boring to play until you get to high levels. At low levels they are poor fighters without rounds of prep time and most of their spells suck. They are the best healer but generally you are better off trying to kill the enemy than spending your actions doing low amounts of healing. Cleric Domains are nice and can really add some power to the class but not enough to make me want to play one.
6. Oracle. Haven't played one so its hard to judge for sure. 9th level casting goes a long way. Most divine spells are not really the type of thing you want to spam cast. Would have to see a min-maxed one in action to really be able to judge.
7. Witch. Witches are awesome or awful depending on what you are doing. Their limited spell selection hurts but its partially made up with Hexes. Witches are near useless against anything that is immune to mind affecting effects which includes many high end monsters. In anycase, they get a bit boring since you tend to cast the same hexes in same order fight after fight.
8. Alchemist. There are several different Alchemist builds and I think most can work quite well. The class looks fun to play with a wide variety of skills and abilities. The alchemist is a class that can do lots of things reasonably well.
The next three are all very similar but with a different focus. Their ranking are almost interchangeable.
9. Magus. Not having seen one in action I am guessing a bit here. I've built a couple test PCs and they seem quite effective at all levels. Their biggest problem is that they seem to need to be in melee for their best skills to work. They can cast from range of course but then they are just a poor wizard. Getting into the thick of things means requiring decent scores in dex, con and str. Str can be dropped if you are will be to pay the massive feat costs for the Dex to Damage feat chain. Magii can do scary damage at high levels - imagine delivering a critical disintegrate one out of three casts/swings. Of course you need a high enough DC for your opponent to fail the save.
10. Inquisitor. Useful both in and out of combat. Many of its abilities are free or swift actions. I think it would a scary good archer as long as the bane ability holds out. Has great spells but has limited spells known and gets them a bit late.
11. Bard. Yes, the Bard. In the right party, the bard is a game changer. A clever bard can make combat easy for everyone else but it's hard for the bard to shine alone. Lots of skills and probably the best party face in the game.
12. Ranger. While not the damage dealer the fighter is, the ranger brings much more to the game. A few spells and lots of spells give the ranger something to do when not making the enemy a pin cushion. The rangers ability to ignore prerequisites to certain feats is very powerful.
13. Fighter. The King of Damage. No one can unload more hurt then the fighter. Sure there isn't anything he can really do but at least what he does, he excels at.
14. Paladin. In certain campaigns the paladin will really shine. BBEGs quiver in fear at the sight of a paladin charging towards them (or scarier still shooting arrows). Paladins have unmatched defenses with high Saves and likely high AC. When they are not Smiting evil they can still act as the party face and have a few spells to play with. The paladin code is a real downer.
15. Barbarian. Trades damage for a bit of versatility. Rage powers don't really make up for the loss. I'd go fighter over barbarian any day.
16. Cavalier. The biggest problem with this class is the focus on a horse. In a campaign where you could take a horse with you everywhere, this class would scoot up the list but as it is it's down near the bottom. It has some interesting flavor but I can't see myself ever playing it.
17. Rogue. The poor rogue. Terrible saves. No dependable way to inflict sneak attack damage from range. Other classes get almost as many skills and bring so much more to the table.
18. Monk. While I am still digesting the magical oriented monk in UM, the only decent build of monk currently existing is the Zen Archer. Any other monk is likely going to be underpowered. The base monk is highly mobile and can annoy spell casters, but that's all. The monk has some neat tricks but that's all they are and the monk is quickly out shined by other party members.
Keep in mind just because I ranked something lower doesn't mean I would not play it. I really like rangers but they lack the versatility of other classes and one of their big powers hinges on the whims of the DM (Favored Enemy).
I've updated this post here.
Another awesome Guardians poster design
4 days ago