Exalted: Ghost of a Chance
Thesis: Removing Essence from the DMDV calculation makes DMDV and PMDV more balanced, though DMDV is still more XP efficient in the long run.
For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll be focusing solely on Solar characters, since that’s what I’m currently GMing for. I am also not focusing on the effects of Charms or stunts, which is why I’m comfortable using Solar-only calculations. I should also note that, in my games, all static values except for soak are rounded up. Assume the starting stats of a Solar who does not particularly intend to focus on social combat (which I would argue is normal for most players) are thus:
Attribute 2, Ability 1, Willpower 5, Essence 2
With the rules as written, this PC will have a DMDV of 4 (Willpower 5 + Essence 2 + Integrity 1) and a PMDV of 2 (Charisma or Manipulation 2 + Performance or Presence or Investigation 1) without agressively focusing on either. With the houserule, the PC would have DMDV of 3 and PMDV of 2. Note that, even with the change, DMDV still starts out higher without any effort involved on the part of the player.
To consider the long term implications, the PC would need to raise xer Essence to 9 to accomodate Ability and Attribute scores of 10. This cost is 245 XP and will not be included in this hypothetical because it applies to both DMDV and PMDV. The maximum scores for the MDVs is 12, [(Willpower 10 + Integrity 10 + 3 Specialties)/2] and [(Attribute 10 + Ability 10 + Specialty 3)/2]. To increase these to maximum without Charms or stunting, it would take 169(160 if Integrity is favored) XP for DMDV and 275 (266) XP for just one PMDV. This would still leave gaping holes in one’s PMDV catalogue. Increasing DMDV and PMDV to their maximum possible value with an Essence lower than 5 is 99(95) XP for DMDV and 65(61) XP for one PMDV, 159(147) XP for all of them, and the DMDV would be 9 while the PMDV would be 7.
Consider also that, while Dodge can only be used for dodging and thus truly does need the extra boost of the Essence rating to DDV to compete with the utility and advantage of the Defense stat that PDV has, Integrity does not have this problem. Social combat also does not have an equivalent to the Defense stat of a weapon to give PMDV that extra advantage over DMDV, so I argue that adding the Essence rating into the DMDV calculation is not necessary. While raising DMDV is not cheaper in the short run when compared to raising one PMDV, it makes up for this by doing the same job better due to greater versatility; only one DMDV exists, vs. 6 PMDVs.