There are going to be a lot of people disappointed.
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  1. #1
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    There are going to be a lot of people disappointed.

    When the DDXP playtest occurs, there will be a lot of people disappointed.

    When the open playtest occurs, there will be a lot of people disappointed.

    When the next iteration of D&D is released, there will be a lot of people disappointed.

    And Wizards of the Coast won't be to blame.




    Looking around at the topics being discussed in this forum about what should and should not be included is the underlying premise that D&D should be all things to all people.

    Here's a list of what should be in the "core", according to the threads - and if not expressly said, we all know there are people who espouse some of these:

    (yes, I am simplifying to make a point, please bear with me)

    Variant XP based on class.
    Uniform XP for all classes.
    We should eliminate the concept of XP.
    A race should act like a class.
    Races and classes should be distinct things.
    Let's eliminate the concept of classes.
    Attacks of Opportunity.
    Simplified attacks of opportunity.
    No attacks of opportunity.
    Random rolls for abilities.
    Point buy system for abilities.
    There should be no abilities.
    A robust skill system.
    A basic skill system.
    No skill system.
    Starting at 1st level.
    Not starting at 1st level.
    No levels at all.
    A default setting which is x, which was created in a prior edition.
    A default setting which is new to this iteration.
    No default setting.
    It should most resemble OD&D.
    It should most resemble 1e.
    It should most resemble 2e.
    It should most resemble 3.xe
    It should most resemble 4e.
    It should most resemble Game System X.
    It should have magic item creation.
    It should not have magic item creation.
    It should have kits.
    It should have prestige classes.
    It should have archetypes/alternate levels.
    It should have race x.
    It should have class x.
    A.
    B.
    C.
    Not A.
    Not B.
    Not C.

    Yes, I'm exaggerating things, but only to a point. The vast majority of posts about things that should be "in" D&D are taken from a genuine desire to discuss things and perhaps advocate a given viewpoint, with the understanding that ideally there should be advocates of the opposing viewpoint espousing that viewpoint so the end result is a stronger idea.

    And as long as it's theoretical, then I personally think it's healthy, fun, and brings us together as a community.

    However, when the various releases are made and systems/rules/etc. are missing, the absolute worst thing that can happen is for those advocates of the missing systems to be affronted by it.

    Here's the thing, and I hope I'm not revealing any trade secrets here. When one of your favorite items from a prior edition are not present in the next iteration, it is not because the designers personally hate you.

    And we all know that everyone will have something missing.

    And so that's why expectations are important to understand. We will all have things to complain about; it's the nature of the beast. It doesn't matter the specifics, the key is realizing that a decision that made you unhappy likely made someone else happy. And the same goes the other way.

    So when these playtests are revealed, I ask that you look at them with an understanding that they are attempting the impossible (as certified by 39 state lottery boards) - to make everyone equally happy. Yeah, after this, they should all be thrown in the funny farm, but in the meantime don't look at it with what's there and what isn't.

    Look to understand what the designer's design goal is. If you don't agree with it, then stop now and go back to your game of choice. It'll be better for all concerned in the long run.

    If, on the other hand, you agree with the design goals, see how well the designers met those goals. If you feel they did, then see how much they gave you the "core" to work with - remember, there will be hot-button things for you that are missing, but the question is if the stuff that is there will give you a starting foundation to play the game you want to play. After all, if the designers accomplish what they want to, then items you want that are missing will be provided - if not by WotC, then by someone else.

    Sure, the designers have their responsibilities and they can certainly cause the game to fail. However, so can the players if they don't like it.

    If the game fails because of the latter, I'd like to be able to say that for me, I gave it a fair and honest chance.

    And knowing the folks I see posting on ENWorld, I know I'll be in the majority.


    TLR

    A "core" is a compromise. A compromise means all sides are equally unhappy.
    Last edited by enrious; Tuesday, 24th January, 2012 at 07:40 AM.

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    Can't posrep you currently. Stop being so smart.

    But, yeah, we're all going to have to live with disappointment. I've been rereading the Design and Dev articles from last year and the one that sticks out in my mind is what Mearls called the Gnome Effect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Mearls
    The idea behind the gnome effect is simple. Let’s say you’re planning on releasing a hypothetical edition of D&D. You want to determine which races are important to the game, so you conduct a poll and find that only 10% of gamers play gnomes. That might make it seem obvious that you can safely cut the gnome without much trouble.

    The problem with that line of reasoning is that we don’t play D&D by ourselves. We play with a group, and when looking at rules changes or any other alteration to the game you have to consider its effect on the group. Let’s look back at our gnome example. One out of ten gamers plays a gnome. However, let’s say your data shows that the average group consists of five players (not counting the DM). That means, roughly speaking, half the gaming groups have one player with a gnome character. That number is likely lower, since some groups might have more than one gnome, but it’s a rough approximation that serves to illustrate the larger principle. You cannot measure change and its effects on the individual level. You must look at it on the gaming group level. Delete the gnome from the game, or change it in a way that gnome fans dislike, and you’ve given about half the gaming groups out there a good reason to tune you out.
    I think this is the thing that's really going to bite WOTC in the ass in the near future with trying to be so inclusive. There is a danger that the squeaky wheel is the only one that is going to get the kick. (props to anyone who recognizes the reference)

  3. #3
    It will still likely be better than the new Van Halen album...


    But really, I think the big hangup is 4e. As C&C showed, you can make a 3e game pretty old school. But I don't see how they can reconcile 4e with past editions.

  4. #4
    We're all adult here. Well, most of us are. I have some strong personal preferences, but the first time I crack open a 5E PHB, I expect to say, "I had never thought of doing things this way. This is so much better than my currently preferred edition. Maybe I would've done things differently, but this is a step up and it sure would be a damn lot of work to create my own perfect system. I can't wait to actually try this."

    The question isn't what is or isn't in the books, but if you feel it is better than what you're playing now. Even if you feel it is only minimally better, or even minimally worse, you will probably buy it eventually because other people will be playing it and it's better than not playing at all.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by trancejeremy View Post
    But really, I think the big hangup is 4e. As C&C showed, you can make a 3e game pretty old school. But I don't see how they can reconcile 4e with past editions.
    But really, I think the big hangup is Old School. As Tome of Battle showed, there is a fluent transition between 3E and 4E. But I don't see how they can reconcile with editions that are not based on the d20 + modifier mechanic.

    </snark>

    There is only one solution - gamers need to stop rooting for editions as if they are some stupid soccer team. This is not about "your team" winning the "5E cup". It's about writing an RPG based on the best ideas of the past.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mkill View Post
    There is only one solution - gamers need to stop rooting for editions as if they are some stupid soccer team. This is not about "your team" winning the "5E cup". It's about writing an RPG based on the best ideas of the past.
    Including new ideas and old ideas viewed in a new light, hopefully.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trancejeremy View Post
    But really, I think the big hangup is 4e. As C&C showed, you can make a 3e game pretty old school. But I don't see how they can reconcile 4e with past editions.
    Quote Originally Posted by mkill View Post
    But really, I think the big hangup is Old School. As Tome of Battle showed, there is a fluent transition between 3E and 4E. But I don't see how they can reconcile with editions that are not based on the d20 + modifier mechanic.

    Yep, the big hangup is 4e.

    Yep, the big hangup is also OD&D.

    And, I hasten to add, the big hangup is also 2e.

    And let's not forget the big hangup, 3e.

    Each one is the single greatest threat to 5e.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Number48 View Post
    We're all adult here. Well, most of us are. I have some strong personal preferences, but the first time I crack open a 5E PHB, I expect to say, "I had never thought of doing things this way. This is so much better than my currently preferred edition. Maybe I would've done things differently, but this is a step up and it sure would be a damn lot of work to create my own perfect system. I can't wait to actually try this."
    This was my response to 3e, and is what I hope for with 5e.

    I've expressed more than a few opinions on what I think 5e should do. They are, broadly speaking, what I would do if I were running the show, because I think they're the best way forward. But I'm prepared to be proven wrong on any of those things.

    Ultimately, I just want 5e to do D&D significantly better than 3e (which I view as the best so far, but will readily admit has some serious flaws). If it includes X, Y, and Z that I don't like, or doesn't include A, B, or C that I desperately want, I'm sure I can learn to cope.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkill View Post
    But really, I think the big hangup is Old School. As Tome of Battle showed, there is a fluent transition between 3E and 4E. But I don't see how they can reconcile with editions that are not based on the d20 + modifier mechanic.[...]
    The d20 + modifier mechanic is not a problem except for the most obtuse old schoolers. A simpler game with few layers of complexity (feats, attacks of opportunities, and, perhaps, skills) is what a game should be designed to attract the OSR people. However, I doubt WotC is really trying to get these people back but rather make a game that would appeal new customers with similar tastes that are not currently playing D&D because they think the game is too complex.

    Wizards have significantly increased the complexity of the game with third edition. It is true that a large number of fans actually asked for more PC's customization and rules. However, by serving this public, WotC restricted itself to a niche as D&D became a poor choice to introduce new players. Considering that it was always have been the main gate to the hobby, I'm not surprised the market shrunk to the current size.

    Lapsed players active in the Internet might be very vocal but are not important. They are already being served by Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, or Pathfinder and only a fraction will move back to D&D. What WotC should aim is to increase the market by attracting new players or former players that aren't interested by their current offerings.

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    Hopefully everything will be solved by making modules which fit perfectly together. If the Starter Box is short and simple and Old School, and the Players' Handbook is huge with the same clear basis but with numerous chapters full of options, all of which can be played simultaneously if we want, then what could be the problem.

    A friend of mine mentioned a blog which he had read a whole ago, in which the dungeon master ran BEMCI behind the screen and the players played 3.5 from their character sheets; and reportedly it worked for that group. (My friend also would really like to know how to find the information about that blog or posting again.) This is what I truly hope for, because I do not care about the market, I care about the divisions within my groups about what to play.

    Now obviously some things are contradictory. Those need to be agreed upon by each group. But I do not see why they cannot for the most part be included in the Fifth Edition. Pathfinder sells thousands of its 600 page core rules: so could the Wizards.

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