There was a discussion in the Discord general chat about point-buy vs stat arrays and I ranted a little. Here is what I said all copy-pasted for your reading pleasure.
so I prefer having a set stat range for several reasons over using a point-buy system
1. It levels the playing field. There are already so many ways in D&D 5e (and other systems moreso) to increase or alter stats, like race/magic items/etc that if someone has already bumped their stats high enough they can make something that can literally make another character irrelevant
Example: Why have a rogue when the fighter can Streetwise and Lockpick with the same bonuses?
Class abilities can do a lot, but if someone has the exact same stats as you when you are specialized in your skill, it makes it feel less special
2. It defends against min-maxing. It's not always a bad thing to make a character that is overly good at one thing, but so many people look at D&D as a game to be won as soon as they see numbers they want to have higher ones
How important is it that you always find and disarm traps. Is your GM going to kill you for missing one? Can you not trust your GM/other players to make up for deficiencies?
will the story always hinge on your ability to effortlessly do the thing?
(side note, if your GM requires you to minmax or specialize then do it, that's what they are designing their game around so it makes sense)
the vast majority of pre-made content, and thus the huge amount of rules in the books (average CR for level, DCs for things) are based off average stats. If you always have above average in everything then your GM will always have to treat you as a higher level for some things and it makes it more difficult to make decent challenges. If a trap has a high enough DC to be difficult to disarm for a min-maxed character, the damage is probably so high that it ends up being an instant death trap
and thus perpetuates having to min-max to survive what the GM throws at you
3. Variation in character story/narrative should always trump variation in stats.
I can build two characters with the same stat line and they will be entirely different in every other way. your stat line does not make your character. They are the mechanism in which you interact with the world, but how many people do you know only do things they are good at?
2 fighters, side by side, with the same stat block and skills chosen, can (and should) have wildly different attitudes and personalities that set them apart.
4. Limitations in choice breeds creativity.
By limiting what a player has access to means they will inevitably make more informed choices and will think harder about what they are doing.
If a player has access to everything all the time they will drown in choice. Every source book, every online addition or beta-test rule will add more to the game and can really throw players, new or old, into a spiral of indecision
There is more than enough variation in the classes/races/etc that exist in the system to keep you busy, and they are all balanced against each other using a standard array rather than "Always put highest stat in preffered stat for your class"
5. Everyone should be bad at something.
Heroic stats have their place and if that's what your game is about then do it, but for characters to feel real they should be bad at something.
a lower stat that everyone has to take (put that 8 somewhere and roll with it) forces people to have a flaw that they have to work around, usually by roleplaying their way through their shortcomings
other systems do it, Perk and Flaw systems are everywhere these days, and the easiest way to include them in D&D is to make sure that everyone has to deal with at least 1 bad statistic.
6. Ease of use for new players.
lower that barrier to entry just a little bit more and get to playing sooner
Tl;dr it's all good whichever way you choose, but those are the main reasons I have my players do the standard array
Mark Boutet is more or less three quarters of the hosts of The Digital and Dice Podcast. He is most decidedly NOT a goat or a robot. He acquired his skin fair and square as all other humans do.