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I remember being unimpressed about playing a Seeker, and the handbook certainly regards them as a challenge,

What core mechanic is such a poor fit? Are there any standard remediations (choice of feats, items, or class features) that fix these mechanics, besides "Play a hunter?"

From a purely subjective-memory point of view, I didn't feel that they performed very well as a controller. It didn't (this was 3 years ago?) feel like they could clear minions, cause people not to go places, or move people around particularly well. Contrast invoker: fear my minion clearing and status wrath; wizard: fear the fact that I'm a wizard and can do anything I want; psion: fear my debuffs; etc. There just wasn't anything for enemies to fear about the seeker.

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Please remember good subjective bad subjective here. I am quite capable of reading the handbook, and my personal play experience was many years ago. I'm looking for concrete examples from play that illustrate the problems of a Seeker and fixes in context of their game. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 23 '13 at 5:28
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3 Answers

Anything a Seeker can do another class can do better. Much better.

Here are the trends, there are exceptions, but they are rare. I will compare Seekers to real controllers, like Wizards, Invokers and Psions. I will call them WIP for brevity. Hunters are comparable to Seekers.

Survivability

Seekers have more HP and lower AC than WIPs (Wizards and Psions will have to take a feat to achieve this). Seekers have one of the best Will in the game, and this is the most important non-AC defense.
These mostly cancel each other out, and does not even matter if the defender does his job right.

Control

Seekers create lots of difficult terrain. This is good in low heroic, but after that you meet lots of creatures with Reach, Flight, Teleport, Forced movement, or simply Shift 4. For them difficult terrain does not really matter.

Seekers mostly do soft control, like "the target takes Dex damage if it moves". First, the damage is too low to matter after low heroic. Second, even at low levels the choice is the DM's, so if you have one with a good tactical instinct, you do not achieve anything above a Ranged Basic Attack.
Compare this to the hard control of the WIP: "the target can not shift/move, or is prone, blind or dazed.

WIPs annoy lots of targets, or shut down one entirely. Seekers mildly annoy one.

Seekers attack AC, that is mostly the highest defense. In paragon you can get the Deft Blade feat, to make Basic Attacks target Reflex, but the Light Blade limitation hurts your damage.
WIPs have access to lots of nice attack powers vs Will out of the box.

If you are so inclined, you can build a better single-target controller from a Figher, Warlord, or Warlock, while staying much better at defending, leading or striking.

Damage

The only redeeming factor of the Seeker. With a Hungry Gouge you can do respectable damage.
If you go for precision, Superior Crossbow is also great, and you do not need those minors anyway.

In paragon you can get the great Primal Eye feat, to add your secondary attribute to RBAs. But this is accessible to anyone with a multiclass feat, I have seen a great sorcerer with it.

Feat Support

Aside from Primal Eye, Seekers have no feat support worth mentioning. Invokers and Psions have great class specific feats, not to mention Wizards.

Overall

A Genasi Wizard with the Elemental Empowerment feat will do more damage and better control, against twice or three times as many targets as a Seeker.

With the Seeker a heavy optimizer can achieve the level of usefulness of a vanilla Wizard. Sometimes it is a good thing, in a non-optimizing party this can be used to avoid the tension between the optimizer and others.

Because of the math of DnD4e (one monster for one player), you are only an asset to your party if you are stronger than the average monster. For this reason do not give a Seeker to a beginner.

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The same can be said about the Hunter, the Binder and more or less, the Bladesinger. However, you can make a quite competnet Striker from a half-elf Bladesinger in Paragon. –  András Apr 9 at 8:09
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I think you have to examine the powers they can choose from more so than their stat allocation which I believe is comparable to most other classes. The problem I see with the class is it does a few things which at the higher levels start to offer not as much bang for your buck.

The Seeker is good in the following ways in my eyes:

  • Most attacks focus on one target
  • Good movement around the field
  • Good at creating lots of difficult terrain

Problems start to emerge due to the following:

  • A lot of their attacks don't have a type (which can affect feat selection)
  • No AOE powers are very effective, and most zones hit both allies and enemies
  • Not very effective at point blank range
  • Not good against enemies with strong movement modes such as flight or teleportation
  • Not very good with enemies that stay at range

So their general strengths start to get overshadowed by their weaknesses, in my opinion.

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Interesting, but some examples would be useful in backing up your statements and addressing the rest of the question. Could you add "concrete examples from play that illustrate the problems of a Seeker," or "remediations (choice of feats, items, or class features) that fix these mechanics," or both? –  BESW Sep 23 '13 at 6:55
    
Also, how does focusing on one target make him a controller? Does he do anything meaningful to control that one target relative to other controllers? –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 23 '13 at 6:56
    
I it think suffers from a design-and-drop mentality (Runepriest and a few other classes also have this issue, but they are also generally stronger classes) where there just hasnt been a really any good feats or items made specifically to help boost the class. –  Joshua Aslan Smith Sep 23 '13 at 12:07
    
@JoshuaAslanSmith I've put a bounty on this question. Maybe you could use your comment as the seed of an answer? –  BESW Apr 1 at 1:19
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A Case for Tasty Garbage

There are many garbage classes in 4E from a numbers perspective. Seeker is by no means the worst example (I'd argue for Vampire as the worst, probably) but it certainly is lackluster overall when 4E is treated as a miniatures game.

But 4E is not a miniatures game. It is an RPG, even as it introduces a lot of mechanics that contradict that fact. The structure of the game is still wrapped up in what it means to play a character.

And it is here where these plainly shitty classes come into their own. Every one of them, from Avenger to Vampire, attempts to create an interesting place to start as a character. They have powers with more style than staying power. They have features which offer interesting RP opportunities even while weakening the class in battle.

Biting Swarm - Shoot bugs at your foes with your bow as a ranged basic attack. Is it an otherwise lack-luster attack? You bet. But you get to shoot a swarm of bugs out of your bow. That mustache-twirling mayor up on the bandstand enticing a crowd to kick your butt? Will that crowd still be as ready to fight after you fire a swarm of horseflies all over his face?

The Seeker's powers are all about shooting or summoning animals and spirits, often leaving them sitting around after the attack in movable zones. You end up with a battlefield covered in bats over here, arrows flying about on their own, big bulbs of fungus and ghost hands poking out all over holding people or slapping them around like the 3 Stooges.

These are a role player's goldmine if you are playing with a DM that hands out lots of +2s for creative solutions to things, and they make for really hilariously fun encounters.

None of these attacks, however, are really very good at stopping enemies from getting around or popping minions. They totally fail as a controller.

The Seeker fills what I like to call the "Area Annoyance" role for a party. Highly optimized characters in the 4 main roles tend to be pretty cut-and-dry. The Defender stands between the enemy and the party soaking up damage and keeping them away from the squishies. The Controller spends their time filling in the gaps the Defender leaves, popping minions and grouping enemies up. The Strikers come in and bash big baddies for heavy damage while the Leader buffs/heals everyone when things go pear-shaped.

All of the really fun powers that these classes have, which do hilarious things or are otherwise flavorful but not powerful get cut in favor of the meat of the role.

The Seeker has no option but to pick flavorful powers, and they all do hilarious and awesome things that trip up the enemy. They lay down fields of stupid things that get in the way of the enemy. And a good DM is going to have the enemy fear these spaces and avoid them, or enter then and be harried continually with whatever goofy thing is there. They ooze fun. They drip a glaze of silly all over the battle.

This is something that none of the power classes can really offer to a group that already has the 4 roles covered.

Other Classes

Seeker isn't the only trash-class that can fill unique roles as a 5th character. Avenger's make great suicide bombers. Vampires can be real assholes to the main villain of a plot. Runepriests overwhelm everyone everywhere with book keeping. And Swordmages.. What was my point again?

Thanks, András, for getting me arsed enough to offer a full answer.

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The question was why Seekers are mechanically bad, not why someone would play one. –  starwed Apr 17 at 16:40
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