Pre-Release Review of Heroes of Shadow by Wizards of the Coast - Page 4




Poll: My preferred content in a D&D 4E campaign is:

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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neuroglyph View Post
    No, I never implied that at all.
    "I still find myself extremely disappointed over this new Player’s Option book - because of what it lacks for gamers who want to maintain their Traditional D&D 4E campaigns. For those of us – and I include myself here – who choose not to play a pure Essentials campaign, and have no interest in a “kitchen sink” campaign content philosophy, this book offers nothing but a few pages of fluff material about the Shadowfell, and very little else."

    You're right! It's not implied so much as spelled out.

    Using your logic, one could argue that because you can use feats and powers from HotF*, that it is not an Essentials book but is really a Traditional 4E book.
    I don't much care about the weird categorization thing. Call it part of the Essentials line if you want. It's a distinction without meaning to me; if you're banning books from your game, you're banning books from your game, and that's your prerogative as a DM. However, I think worrying about which "line" a feat or power is from is bizarre, if you're otherwise running an everything-goes sort of game with powers & feats from Powers books, Dragon, etc.

    The question is - in all the Heroes books - what makes feats and most of the powers "Essentials Content"? I can see "Essentials Classes" but "Essentials Feats" is a weird concept. Why would you ban feats and powers for existing Core AEDU classes from these three books and not, say, PHB3 or Martial Power 2?

    I can understand not liking the new class design, and I can understand not wanting to play one or even allow them in your game. I have much less understanding when it comes to banning otherwise-balanced and capable stuff because it's been published adjacent to those things.

    -O

 

  • #32
    Wizards has always said that Essentials is not a new edition. It isn't meant to be a separate RPG that is distinct from "traditional" 4E. It is a separate product line for 4E geared towards beginners.

    So they didn't market Heroes of Shadow as an "essentials" book because it isn't essential. It is a supplement. Wizards finished releasing "traditional" classes with PHB 2. Now they are experimenting with new things. PHB 3 classes were different. Essentials classes were different.

    I'm glad they aren't bloating the classes with too many powers. There are already plenty of powers for the basic classes. Giving a new build a smaller number of tightly themed powers seems like the right choice.

    It sounds like the biggest mistake they made in the book was making Vampire a class instead of a theme. Although I bet you could convert it to a theme with little trouble.

    Anyway, thanks for the review. You've convinced me that I should buy this book. Which is saying something because I don't actually play 4E at the moment.

  • #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neuroglyph View Post
    I thought that was obvious - the on-ramp was supposed to lead players to buy the Traditional 4E products, because the Essentials line was proclaimed to only be series of ten products.

    .....

    Is it a bad thing that WotC misinformed their customer base about the true purpose of Essentials to become the new design paradigm? Yes - honesty is always preferred - the gaming community should have been told about the impending change, rather than be misinformed and lead to believe that Essentials was designed to merely assist new players.
    Okay, I think I get it now. You're upset about the way WotC phrased things at GenCon last year. You walked away with the understanding that the Essentials books were a little side project that were designed to bring new players into the game and then get them using the PHBs.

    That's not how it turned out - the HotFL/HotFK books were more substantive and were pitched at existing players, too, and the following books are influenced by the HotFL/K books. And you don't like that, because you really like the PHBs and don't like the HotFL/K books, so you're bummed that WotC is marketing things more with an eye on the HotFL/K books.

    Me, I don't care. I think the HotFL/K books are very nice, just as I think the PHBs are very nice, and I appreciate the options they make available, even if I might not use all of them myself. I probably won't build a Hexblade, and I probably won't build a Sorcerer. I have played a PHB1 Wizard and Paladin and a PHB2 Avenger, and I have played an HotFK Hunter Ranger. <shrug>
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  • #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by deinol View Post
    Wizards has always said that Essentials is not a new edition. It isn't meant to be a separate RPG that is distinct from "traditional" 4E. It is a separate product line for 4E geared towards beginners.

    So they didn't market Heroes of Shadow as an "essentials" book because it isn't essential. It is a supplement. ...
    Yes, and as spelled out by wizards on the book itself, a supplement for the essentials books.


    It sounds like the biggest mistake they made in the book was making Vampire a class instead of a theme. Although I bet you could convert it to a theme with little trouble.

    ....
    I think this depends on the individual taste.

    Quote Originally Posted by OnlineDM View Post
    Okay, I think I get it now. You're upset about the way WotC phrased things at GenCon last year. You walked away with the understanding that the Essentials books were a little side project that were designed to bring new players into the game and then get them using the PHBs.

    That's not how it turned out - the HotFL/HotFK books were more substantive and were pitched at existing players, too, and the following books are influenced by the HotFL/K books. And you don't like that, because you really like the PHBs and don't like the HotFL/K books, so you're bummed that WotC is marketing things more with an eye on the HotFL/K books.

    Me, I don't care. I think the HotFL/K books are very nice, just as I think the PHBs are very nice, and I appreciate the options they make available, even if I might not use all of them myself. I probably won't build a Hexblade, and I probably won't build a Sorcerer. I have played a PHB1 Wizard and Paladin and a PHB2 Avenger, and I have played an HotFK Hunter Ranger. <shrug>
    Why has someone to dislike Essentials to criticize deliberate misinformation of the customers?
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  • #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Dad View Post
    Yes, and as spelled out by wizards on the book itself, a supplement for the essentials books.
    It is also a supplement for the PHB. As is obvious from what's included in there. However the Essentials line is the current on-ramp so it mentions them rather more explicitely. And Essentials classes need support rather more than PHB classes. I've seen people go so far as to call it Arcane Power 2 for Wizards and Warlocks.

    Why has someone to dislike Essentials to criticize deliberate misinformation of the customers?
    What deliberate misinformation? I never got the impression that classes and builds introduced in Essentials would be left on the shelf to moulder away with no further support. And I'm curious once it was clear that there were going to be different classes/builds (thank goodness or it would have been a complete waste of my money) who said that anything introduced in there was going to be left to rot rather than supported?

    Expecting this would be like expecting any splatbooks to not produce any support for classes not in the PHB.

  • #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Dad View Post
    Yes, and as spelled out by wizards on the book itself, a supplement for the essentials books.
    It's an advertising blurb. On the back cover. It's not a rule.

    (And, it's true, you need the two Heroes books if you want to use absolutely every option in this book, so it's not really a lie - much like you needed the FRPG if you wanted to use absolutely every option in Arcane Power.)

    But unless you completely lack the ability to think critically about advertising blurbs, this means absolutely nothing when it comes to whether or not your PHB Wizard could use the spells in this book, or whether or not your Laser Cleric could pick up some of the prayers here. (In fact, you're better off than warpriests in that respect, since before this book, they didn't have any implement powers at all.)

    -O

  • #37
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    My 4E group (1 DM, 6 players) has sworn off Essentials. So we're in the same group as the reviewer, we don't mix and mash pre- and post-Essentials material.

    Why all the people who DO mix and mash feel they have to jump on his conclusions, deliberately stated for those who are LIKE him (and us) in this respect, is beyond me.

    The review is 100% correct. Those who previously felt they didn't want to mix/mash will not want to use this book. End of story.

  • #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obryn View Post
    It's an advertising blurb. On the back cover. It's not a rule.
    It's a statement by the publisher under the section: Intended to be used with the following products. As such the statement serves informational purposes.

    You're free to make of that statement what you want.

    Personally, if WotC wanted to communicate that the product is primarily intended for Heroes of... buyers, and secondarily at PHB clients, they could have made the items in that list a wee bit longer. But they chose not to.

  • #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    ...
    What deliberate misinformation? I never got the impression that classes and builds introduced in Essentials would be left on the shelf to moulder away with no further support. And I'm curious once it was clear that there were going to be different classes/builds (thank goodness or it would have been a complete waste of my money) who said that anything introduced in there was going to be left to rot rather than supported?

    ...
    Posting this
    Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (Commencing Countdown!)
    If you’re already playing a Dungeons & Dragons game, there’s one very important thing to remember—the Essentials products matter only as much as you want them to.
    And later this
    Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (Wizard Preview)
    Products coming out after the Essentials, including such exciting titles as Player’s Option: Heroes of Shadow, work with all Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game products. Just started with the Essentials? No problem! Add shadow-based powers to your storm warpriest with no fuss or bother. Got a battle cleric built with Player's Handbook and enhanced with Divine Power and a couple of feats from Essentials? No problem! It’s all D&D, so it’s all compatible! Everything we’re producing in 2011 and beyond works with both Essentials and non-Essentials products—because they all work together! They’re all Dungeons & Dragons!
    Seems that Essentials matters a bit more in further products than they said at first.

    Taking the battle (str-based) cleric as a sample of a supported build, because he can use some of the feats is ... odd.

    ---

    And there were sopme changes some people dislike. These changes have maybe started in PHB 3, but came most blatant in the Essentials line, so they describe it at 'Essentialized' maybe not entire correct, but certainly not entirely wrong either.
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  • #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Windjammer View Post
    My 4E group (1 DM, 6 players) has sworn off Essentials. So we're in the same group as the reviewer, we don't mix and mash pre- and post-Essentials material.

    Why all the people who DO mix and mash feel they have to jump on his conclusions, deliberately stated for those who are LIKE him (and us) in this respect, is beyond me.
    Banning things for being Essentials is only one way of restricting mixing and matching. And has nothing to do with whether or not the setting is a kitchen sink setting. If anything, the less kitchen-sinky the setting the more useful Essentials material is. My settings are not kitchen sink. And I ban things. But there is nothing in the flavour of any Essentials class that makes me want to ban it. (Now if someone were to show up with a Shardmind, a Hybrid, or a few other choices...)

    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Dad View Post
    Posting this
    Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (Commencing Countdown!)
    If you’re already playing a Dungeons & Dragons game, there’s one very important thing to remember—the Essentials products matter only as much as you want them to.
    Doesn't say to me that they are going to let Essentials products rot. It just says they aren't going to abolish previous material.

    Taking the battle (str-based) cleric as a sample of a supported build, because he can use some of the feats is ... odd.
    Poor battle cleric. Agreed.

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