JaronK's Tier System for Classes is widely accepted. However, every explanation that I've seen for why each class is in its tier makes no mention of Epic levels. I have little doubt that this is due to the unpopularity of Epic level play, but has any research been done in to how the tiers change at Epic level? In particular, I expect the buffs given to magical classes (e.g. Epic Spellcasting and the many excellent Epic Feats for casters) to move a lot of casters up and move Psions and martials down. Indeed, it seems like there may be something interesting going on with half-casters.
Epic Spellcasting and Epic Manifesting basically add another tier—anyone who has Epic Spellcasting or Epic Manifesting is literally playing a different game from everyone else.
Notably, the only tier-1 class who cannot take Epic Spellcasting is the artificer. Several tier-2 classes (ardent, favored soul, psion, sorcerer, spirit shaman, wilder), tier-3 classes (beguiler,1 dread necromancer, war mage), and even a tier-4 class (healer) qualify for Epic Spellcasting or Epic Manifesting at 21st, so they move up—whatever limitations on their spellcasting or manifesting existed before, those are a thing of the past once Epic Spellcasting or Epic Manifesting is taken. Other spellcasting classes can qualify for Epic Spellcasting eventually by taking Improved Spell Capacity until they reach 9th-level spells, though for my money that’s not much to do with the “class” per se.
Other than that, no, epic levels only exacerbate existing imbalances.
- The beguiler really doesn’t fit in tier 3 very well. While their spell list is fixed, it is extremely strong, and quite flexible thanks to the way illusions work. It is extremely plausible for a sorcerer to pick spells known very similar to the beguiler’s, for example.