Monte Cook back at wizards
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  1. #1

    Monte Cook back at wizards

    Looks like Wizards has rehired Monte Cook. I think this is a great idea: Monte is a thoughtful game developer, who obviously has respect for the good ideas of past editions, and it'll do Wizards good to have him in R&D.

    That is, if he is in R&D? It's possible that I misread it and he's just writing freelance Legends and Lore articles, but a full-time job sounds more likely.

  2. #2

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    Color me mildly dreadful. Besides the fact that 3.5 and all of its attendant problems were his baby, he also apparently thought punishing noobs was good game design. He phrases it as awarding system mastery, admits now it was a mistake, but it really is just noob punishment, and that strikes me as something kind of and dumb to deliberately keep in a system. It also misses the point of the way Magic was designed. Magic has different tiers of balance not to reward the smart people for being better at the game, but to make the game fun for many different people. The difference between 3.5 Toughness and you Ten-Mana Green Fatty, is that the Ten-Mana Green Fatty rewards the player psychologically by appealing to visceral fun centers of the brain, while Toughness just leaves a lingering malaise when you realize you might have permanently crippled your character. Yeah, the Ten-Mana Green Fatty is crap compared to two-mana counter-spells and one mana goblins combined with cheap buffs and burn, but that's not the point. You'd never run a ten-mana fatty deck at a tournament against people with finely honed ass-kicking machines, you run it when you want to B.S. at the kitchen table. Having a run and smash class (i.e., the Slayer), being balanced against the complex cerebral class (the mage, or, say, a well made Ranger to keep it in role), is an example of what Magic does with its Timmy and Spike distinction. Hell, its an example of one upping that distinction by allowing both to coexist in the same meta-game. So not only was it a bad idea, but a bad idea based around a painful misunderstanding of its inspiration.

    If this is what consists of the mans resume, yeah, call me anxious if he's doing more than writing a weekly article.

  3. #3

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    He had nothing to do with 3.5. He had already been gone from wizards for awhile before that came out. 3.0 is his baby though.

  4. #4

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    I am cautiously optimistic that Monte Cook's return to WotC and D&D won't suck. I was a big fan of his post-WotC work, in particular, the Books of Experimental Might. It was a very forward-looking book, and contained a lot of the good ideas that made it to 4th edition.

    I think though, that many people in the gaming community see the writing on the wall, and it indicates that things will be moving in a more backward direction come Next Edition, whenever that is. For better or worse, that seems to be the way the wind is blowing. I think they really felt the hurt when half the 3.x crowd bailed for PF, and they would go to great lengths to get some of that audience back. This, despite the fact that 4e earned them many fans who were glad to see the last nail in 3rd edition's coffin.

    That said, there are some elements of his game design that I'm not anxious to see a return to. From the tone of the article linked above, he seems to have learned a valuable lesson with respect to the whole concept of "system mastery," so we'll just have to wait and see how this develops.

  5. #5

    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemesis Destiny View Post
    0
    I think though, that many people in the gaming community see the writing on the wall, and it indicates that things will be moving in a more backward direction come Next Edition, whenever that is. For better or worse, that seems to be the way the wind is blowing. I think they really felt the hurt when half the 3.x crowd bailed for PF, and they would go to great lengths to get some of that audience back.
    Which raises the question that even if WotC went back to something 3e-like with 5e, that the PF/3.5 crowd would be willing to come along.

    It would be pretty easy to anger the PF/3e crowd and the 4e fans.

    Whatever goes, I hope WotC takes its time. I'm pretty sure a lot of upset would come if they turned over to 5e with only 4-5 years in 4e. Especially with all the effort they're putting into getting new people to play, only to switch.

  6. #6

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    I've spent the past several months talking about D&D's past and how that relates to its future. It's now time to focus much more on the future of the game. Monte has an unmatched design pedigree in the RPG field, and for that reason we've brought him on board to work with R&D in making D&D the greatest RPG the world has seen.
    It really does sound like Development of 5th edition is now underway. Three years into the 4th Edition.

    I'm sure it could be read another way, but I think most people will read it as 5E development.

    I wondering exactly what they plan to keep from 4e. The fixed math is a likely candidate. I can't see them requiring Minis again though. That kinda bit them in the butt when the minis market became unprofitable.

    I'm sure there will be some powers other then spells, but again, there's no way it will be like 4e is right now. There's simply too much work involved in creating new classes.

    I mentioned in another thread I think a powers list would be the way to go, much like the spell lists of 1st-3rd edition. It'll be interesting to see where D&D is headed, that's for sure.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rechan View Post
    Which raises the question that even if WotC went back to something 3e-like with 5e, that the PF/3.5 crowd would be willing to come along.

    It would be pretty easy to anger the PF/3e crowd and the 4e fans.

    Whatever goes, I hope WotC takes its time. I'm pretty sure a lot of upset would come if they turned over to 5e with only 4-5 years in 4e. Especially with all the effort they're putting into getting new people to play, only to switch.
    I think more than anything, by the time 5e comes around in a few years, if the next edition is more like older editions and has a decent license for third parties, that Paizo would likely support it.

    I don't think either Wizards nor Paizo see the splintering of the D&D audience as something to hold on to, and that they would both be stronger with the largest audience possible.

  8. #8

    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    Quote Originally Posted by Nyronus View Post
    Color me mildly dreadful. Besides the fact that 3.5 and all of its attendant problems were his baby, he also apparently thought punishing noobs was good game design. He phrases it as awarding system mastery, admits now it was a mistake, but it really is just noob punishment, and that strikes me as something kind of and dumb to deliberately keep in a system. It also misses the point of the way Magic was designed. Magic has different tiers of balance not to reward the smart people for being better at the game, but to make the game fun for many different people. The difference between 3.5 Toughness and you Ten-Mana Green Fatty, is that the Ten-Mana Green Fatty rewards the player psychologically by appealing to visceral fun centers of the brain, while Toughness just leaves a lingering malaise when you realize you might have permanently crippled your character. Yeah, the Ten-Mana Green Fatty is crap compared to two-mana counter-spells and one mana goblins combined with cheap buffs and burn, but that's not the point. You'd never run a ten-mana fatty deck at a tournament against people with finely honed ass-kicking machines, you run it when you want to B.S. at the kitchen table. Having a run and smash class (i.e., the Slayer), being balanced against the complex cerebral class (the mage, or, say, a well made Ranger to keep it in role), is an example of what Magic does with its Timmy and Spike distinction. Hell, its an example of one upping that distinction by allowing both to coexist in the same meta-game. So not only was it a bad idea, but a bad idea based around a painful misunderstanding of its inspiration.

    If this is what consists of the mans resume, yeah, call me anxious if he's doing more than writing a weekly article.
    Sorry, but if you read the article, you quoted, you would have noticed, that he believes that approaching the game this way was not the best idea, and that they rather did it because D&D has always been that way...

  9. #9

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    I'd be pretty happy with a 5E built around something like Ptolus.


    Keep most of the 4e cosmology fluff though; I've come to enjoy the new planar fluff. Though I'd still like a few tweaks.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonny View Post
    He had nothing to do with 3.5. He had already been gone from wizards for awhile before that came out. 3.0 is his baby though.
    Sorry. Brainfart. I knew he was one of the big-wigs behind Third Edition, and in my head I user "3.5" as a shorthand for "3rd Edition" in general, even if there is a big distinction between third edition's two halves. Whoops.

    Of course, that's even slightly more incriminating since 3.5, for all of its problems, still improved the game compared to 3.0. It's his problems 3.5 was meant to fix!

    -

    I'll give the guy a fair shake (if we aren't all just misinterpreting what "help R&D out" means), but I'm wary. This may not be the writing on the wall, but when your trying to send a message to your fans that your dedicated to a product, hiring the guy who made what many of your fans consider an outdated, inferior, or just incompatible product directly competing with yours, and then telling them he's going to be the voice of the game's future, is not a way to do so.

    Edit: @UngeheuerLich Sorry, but if you actually read my post you'd notice how I said, in the second sentence, that I realize he's now against the idea, but my whole point was that it was an asinine concept to begin with, only made worse by the fact that he didn't understand the ideas he was trying to emulate and that this doesn't boast well for his competence. Also, he said that it was something that had always been there, and that they deliberately made sure it stayed for the reasons he outlined, even if he thinks its a bad idea now.
    Last edited by Nyronus; Tuesday, 20th September, 2011 at 07:59 AM.

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