Back in the good old days of Third Edition, suggesting a class for a new player was easy. You just opened the PHB at Fighter. With no funky magicks and only a handful of skill points, all this character had to do was stand over there and hit anything which came close. If they had a good time after that all important first session you could suggest other classes and let his (or her) imagination go wild. But the mantra was there, if unspoken: always start with the Fighter.
Now we’re in 4e territory, and it’s not such a simple suggestion to make. All of the classes have a fair degree of complexity, and each one brings just a touch of something different to the table. Whether it’s the Fighter’s Combat Challenge ability or the Rogue’s Sneak Attack, each class brings something special and potentially befuddling to the table. And that’s even before we look at the Power choices. 4e has no “easy option” when it comes to classes.
In many ways that’s a Good Thing. It means every class is as strong as each other, and it becomes more a matter of personal choice and style that dictates which class any player selects. But it does mean that when the newbie asks “What class is best for a new player?” there’s no easy answer.
To an extent it largely depends on your existing party composition, but that’s the same across all editions. Some classes are well suited to doubling up and having more than one on a team. You can never have too many Fighters, for example.
My own gut feeling is that the Cleric is pretty newbie-friendly. It’s no longer the third leg class, has easy to understand mechanics and a pretty good selection of both melee and ranged attacks. Add in solid crunchy usability out of combat in the form of Healing and the knowledge-based Skills, and it’s a great showcase for the system as a whole.
But that’s just me, and what do I know.
Over to you, dear readers.
What do you think is the simplest 4e character class, and why?
Ladies and gentlemen, the mike is yours.