Concerning the Barbarian: a player in my game was using the Fighter playbook for a very barbarian-ish character, and last session we switched over to make him a proper Barbarian. The player had a few concerns that we decided to play as written for now, but I’d be curious to hear the design rationale:
1. The Barbarian has two less hit points than the Fighter. My player was disappointed, thinking the Barbarian is supposed to be especially hale and hearty.
2. The Barbarian’s Load is 4 less than the Fighter and Paladin and 3 less than the Ranger. I’m not sure how these are figured, but it seems like an unexpectedly large difference, especially since the Barbarian has the option of wearing heavy armour.
3. “I hadn’t realized that everyone hadn’t leveled up the same time as I had, which brought me to an interesting conundrum with the Barbarian Class as written. I believe I earned 7XP in one session, far more than anyone else, and I’m right in line to hit 3rd level next session. Some of them were from stuff that everyone gets, like the session bonus, the notable enemy, boons, etc. But I had at least two extra avenues for earning XP above anyone else: the Outsider-history-of-my-homeland thing, and the first Advanced Move I chose (What Is Best In Life, if I recall). I’ve GM’ed enough to recognize an unbalanced, and potentially game-breaking character when I see one. I love powergaming as much as the next guy, but I’m playing Dungeon World for the story, not for min-maxing. I’m getting a real kick out of playing Armok, and I like where his story is going, and especially as regards interparty conversations. But I really don’t want him to completely derail the game, either by simply being overpowering in combat or eating through levels like tic-tacs.”
I suspect the advancement is not quite as game-breaking as he’s afraid, since characters don’t gain as much power on advancement in DW as in D&D, but almost a whole level in one 3-hour session feels like a lot.
The fact that we play relatively short sessions (2-3 hr) might be part of it, as it changes the balance between how many xp you expect to get from the dice vs the end-of-session move.