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Author Topic: Brek Fist's AEQ Class Tier List: Level 51 and Beyond  (Read 498 times)

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Brek Fist's AEQ Class Tier List: Level 51 and Beyond
« on: February 16, 2019, 08:44:25 pm »
This tier list is:

  • Intended to describe the relative power level of classes at level 51 with about 100 AA points and top-quality gear.
  • My opinion alone: I did not consult with others for my research. I have only studied information available to me and the behavior of others.
  • Subject to changes as new information becomes available to me and as items, spells, and skills change.
It is not intended to be:

  • A criticism of anyone's class selection. Please don't take it personally if I say your favorite class is not performing well compared to others.
  • A tirade against the developers of AEQ. I believe most of the issues are inherent to stock EQEmu and I don't hold anyone accountable for issues of class balance that have taken me months to fully appreciate.

S Tier
These classes are so good that they overshadow the intended strengths of multiple other classes.

Mage pet DPS is comparable to most Melee DPS characters and the Mage itself can provide some utility with resist debuffs and some extra damage with nukes. This combination of magic and physical damage output makes it very resilient to circumstances that ordinarily limit DPS output of a character (high resists or melee mitigation). Mage is low on utility but the damage output and resilience to defense is so far ahead of everything else that it is my pick as the premier DPS class.

Slow has always been hideously overpowered in all flavors of Everquest that I have experienced and AEQ is no exception. Slow single-handedly transforms large swathes of content from manageable-but-taxing to basically trivial. While Shaman is not the only class with access to slows, it is by far the best at it, slowing at an incredible rate of 75% and doing so at instant speed and no mana cost. On top of this, Shaman is a fine healer, can do some damage when the group calls for it, and can take hits nearly as well as tank classes.

A Tier
These classes are better than most but not by so much that they warp the game. You don't need to have one of these in your group but they tend to make things smoother.

True to normal EQ, this class has the best healing potential and good buffs. Not much else to say really. Pacify is also a very good mechanic.

Necromancer pet DPS is comparable to Mage pet but I haven't seen it do enough damage to warrant an S-Rating by itself. Necromancer damage is also nothing to scoff at except that the damage inherently suffers from high damage output of other characters. Damage over time is not in a good place right now due to the time it takes to kill an exp mob. Necromancer can also supply some serious utility for a group in the form of significantly buffed twitch spells but this is generally not that much of a draw thanks to the amount of mana regeneration available to other classes.

I have seen Wizards produce really good damage numbers and the factors that might hold them back from full potential aren't much of an issue in AEQ: mana regeneration is plentiful and pulling aggro with a large nuke doesn't punish the Wizard very much because of how damage mitigation seems to be working at the moment. Sadly, their damage is really dependent on the spell resistance of the target: against enemies that frequently resist their nukes they suffer a lot. If the Wizard could fight well against resistant enemies or they provided just a bit of utility to the group then they could earn a spot in S Tier along with Mages.

B Tier
These classes are fine but not spectacular. You usually aren't sad to see one in your group but usually you can make a case for improving the group by changing one out for an A- or S- tier class.

Berserker does decent damage but more importantly, generates threat at a very high rate and has good physical damage mitigation. Also, a substantial fraction of their damage is not physical, so they don't suffer as much as one might think when slowed or attacking enemies with high damage mitigation (not that we have seen this very much).

Paladin threat generation is almost as high as Berserker and their damage is a bit better than Shadowknights. A slight edge in physical damage mitigation over Shaman, Berserker, and Cleric is enough to earn a spot in B-Tier. In addition, the Paladin HP buff is always welcome. Also does pretty good damage against undead.

I have been impressed recently by Rogue DPS but similar to the Wizard, their damage is fragile in that it only comes from Melee. Lack of diversity of damage options keeps them down and they provide only minimal utility to the group.

I believe that Warrior has the best physical damage mitigation but that rarely matters. The real reason Warriors rise above C Tier is that they actually do a pretty good amount of damage while tanking. Unfortunately, they also are dependent on endurance and are totally unable to relieve this constraint at the moment due to a near-complete lack of endurance regeneration spells or items. If you are grouped with a Warrior, expect most of your "meditation" breaks to be necessitated by the Warrior's available Endurance.

C Tier
These classes are ok, but they rarely compete with the higher-tier classes.

Basically a bad Mage. If you don't have a Shaman for some reason the ability to slow might come in handy but just group with a Shaman and upgrade your Beastlords to Mages.

This is one I can be really wrong about because I have never actually observed someone put full effort behind making this class work but my impression of this class is that it really lacks enough charm targets to be close to good at DPS. Mesmerize is totally unnecessary when a Shaman is in the group and I doubt it works most of the time you would want it to. There are many Enchanter buff bots but no one actually playing it on the server, and I think that neglect is deserved. Even the improved haste spell available to Enchanters compared to Shamans barely matters due to the haste cap and easily available item haste.

Monk does ok damage but not as much as the Rogue and suffers from many of the same problems. In rare instances it is useful to split pull with Feign Death and because of this Monk escapes F Tier but these situations are not frequent enough to pull Monk out of C Tier. I for one am glad that Feign Death is usually not needed to pull because the mechanic is available to so few classes that it would create a very different but perhaps worse class diversity problem than the ones we already experience.

Ranger does enough damage to keep up with, but rarely surpass other melee DPS but at range. This presents an interesting option but the raw numbers are not high enough for me to really elevate the Ranger to the same level as a Wizard or even a Rogue. Ranger tanking could be as good as Berserker tanking but I don't see how the Ranger could maintain the damage output when the bow is not an option.

Shadowknight seems to fall short of the Paladin in both threat generation and overall damage while being equal in damage mitigation. While Shadowknight is perhaps more useful than the other classes in C Tier, being a worse version of another class makes it easy for me to put it in a lower tier.

F Tier
These classes are in a truly sad state. There is almost never a situation that calls for their specific combination of abilities over those of another class.

Considering the value of crowd control and the availability of haste spells and items in general, the Bard doesn't have much to offer other than its direct damage output (which has always been awful) and the mana regeneration song. The combination of these things is not enough to make the Bard more effective than just putting another real DPS character in the group. Bard is also in a tough spot mechanically due to the current server policy of 2-box limit and no automation. It is really hard for me to imagine a player really getting the most out of a Bard while 2-boxing.

Druid is mostly a bad Shaman. A couple of good buff spells and teleportation doesn't help their cause much: like the Enchanter they mostly just appear for a short time before the action begins and then go back to gfay to assist the next round of adventurers.

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