[RPG] Do Starfinder classes have different tiers of power


I know that in 3.x (including Pathfinder) it's common to talk about different tiers of classes in terms of power and versatility. Does this also apply to Starfinder, and if so, what are they? I rarely play with serious optimizers, but it would be nice to know if there are "trap" options that will leave one character feeling useless most of the time. (Yes, I do have the book but historically I'm a sucker for flavor and don't realize I've made an underpowered character until too late, and with a new game I wouldn't want that to happen to me, or to one of my players if I'm GMing.)

Best Answer

Starfinder is explicitly far more focused on balance from the ground up than pathfinder ever was. While certain gaps are inevitable, it's going to be much closer than other systems, and not what I'd call "tiered". They crunched the numbers a lot more in the development of Starfinder.

That being said, if you're talking combat damage, Starfinder did not change the Pathfinder truism of two-handed melee being king. To steal a graph from elsewhere on the site: Starfinder damage growth That is just raw weapon damage, not factoring in any special effects, but it does illustrate the point.

The issue with "linear fighters, quadratic wizards" found in 3.x and Pathfinder has been at least mitigated on a couple levels, reducing the tier-boosting that full casters used to get. A lot of utility that used to belong to full casters now belongs to technological items, and low-level spells don't scale up in power with level. So if you want to be dealing higher level damage, you need to be burning higher level spell slots.

In short, no, tiering isn't gone, but they're a bit narrower. Some classes take a bit to catch up (like Operative lagging somewhat before level 7), but while there may be some poor builds, there's not really any bad classes anymore.