D&D 4th Edition Convincing 4th Edition players to consider 5th Edition - Page 2




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  1. #11
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    ø Ignore LostSoul
    Quote Originally Posted by TrippyHippy View Post
    Balance only really matters if you view the game in purely tactical terms.
    I disagree. I think that balance means that the players have choices to make. An unbalanced game means that there are only a few choices to make; a broken game means that there's only one. (Compare Chess (balanced) to Connect 4 (broken or solved, same thing).)

    If we're looking at how the game works I think we need to consider reward systems. The reward for playing D&D is to experience the imagined world. The way that the system pushes you into this - through playing the game, makes the imagined world situation more interesting and adds depth - is its reward system.

    I would say that the game should be balanced on this level: the players should have many choices to make about how to experience the imagined world. If one choice is going to make exploration more interesting and add more depth, then it's unbalanced. All choices should add interest and depth, but they need to do so in different ways.

    This makes me think that the "martial" classes (fighter, thief, ranger) should drill-down into the grit of the world, and the "magic" classes (wizard) should expand outwards into the planes. Clerics and druids (and monks?) would occupy a space in-between, as religion and nature are important to the grit of every-day life but expand outwards into the metaphysical planes.

    If you have a party of all types, then you'd experience a game where the PCs eventually travel to different planes and get into the grit of every-day life wherever they go.

    Adventure would then be the point of the game; adventure in order to increase the interest and depth of the game.

    edit: When I say "experience the imagined world", I mean that in many ways: feeling as though you are there, setting goals in that imagined world and using your experience in that world to achieve them, getting into tactical combat with monsters who act differently based on their role/place in that imagined world, engaging with moral and ethical issues in that imagined world, etc. Pretty much "Exploration" from the Big Model - the creation of fiction.

    Since this is D&D you'd need to guide that fiction towards high-fantasy or swords & sorcery (both are D&D), and how you create the characters and how those characters interact with the reward system would be that guide.
    Last edited by LostSoul; Sunday, 1st July, 2012 at 06:47 AM.
    "If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry."
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  • #12
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    ø Ignore DogBackward
    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    In the D&D Next Playtest we can already see the fighter having problems with power balance. The Warpriest with one casting of Crusader’s Strike and equalising stats, weapons, and themes, hits about as hard as the fighter. And is within one Healing Word of the fighter’s hit points. This means to put things very simply the Fighter is not best there is at what he does. He’s merely a rival for it - and a very clear design goal for the War Domain was to be as good at fighting as the fighter.
    This is simply not true. So, yes, a Cleric who worships the God of War can, for one hour, become about as good as a Fighter in damage output. Not in accuracy, just damage, and he does so by using a once-per-day ability. And uses another once-per-day ability in order to have as much HP as the Fighter.

    The problem here isn't that the Fighter isn't the best at Fighting, it's that for some reason, people love ignoring the fact that (in any normal game) there will be more than one fight in a day. Yes, you can almost match me in damage and health (but again, not accuracy, which is huge in a flat-math system) for an hour. When that hour's up? When your spells run out, I'm still a raging badass.

    When the wizard gains spells he gains things like Charm Person, and the clerics things like Command and Silence. The fighter gains … nothing. They just gain the ability to Kill More Stuff. (The Rogue at least gains night vision which is a good start).
    First of all, again, limited uses per day. Yes, the Wizard can Charm Person... but not only can they only do it once, they can't do it without pissing off whoever they did it to; you'll note that the target of Charm Person knows they were charmed. So yeah, the Wizard could simply Charm the merchant... but if you don't want to be chased out of town, you might want to let someone with a social Background use Diplomacy instead.

    Which brings me to my second point; flexibility doesn't have to be given purely in activated class features. Everybody has flexibility, because everybody has ability scores and skills. If you're playing a Fighter, you're doing so because the main thing you want to do is hit things. Gaining the ability to "Kill More Stuff" is exactly what a Fighter wants. Beyond that, if the only thing you use to decide what your character can do is specifically written-down class features, then that's your fault, not the game's. You have skills, you have an imagination, use it. The Wizard being able to do lots of unique things is mechanically balanced against the Fighter's combat prowess. In-game, you don't need special abilities to do things other than attack. You simply say "This is what I'm doing." The flat math and ability/skill system is designed specifically to make that easy. Flat math means that anybody can try anything, and have a non-zero chance of success.

    And besides... how much "flexibility" does the 4e Fighter have? All of their powers equate to "Kill More Stuff" or "Be Hard to Kill", just like the Fighter from any other edition. How is this a new thing?

    D&D Next does not appear to have this level of clarity. Mike Mearls himself has said they are not sure what to do with the fighter - and they are working on the idea of a second theme. The Guardian theme doesn’t focus on the how at all, to the point that both the Guardian feats use the same form of action and therefore can not be used together.
    There's a big difference between "I don't know what the Fighter is supposed to be." and "I know what the Fighter's supposed to be, but I'm still working on figuring out the best way to implement it."

    As for the Guardian theme... the Fighter in 4e has dozens (maybe even hundreds by now) of abilities that use the same type of action. Why is this somehow a bad thing? It's called opportunity cost. "If I use ability A, I can't use ability B at the same time, so which one is worth more to me right now?"

    In D&D Next, there seems to be precisely one ability made explicitely to assist your allies - the Guardian’s Shield Block. Also there is one spell in the preview (Battle Psalm) that buffs the whole party. Beyond that, literally every other ability a character has is ‘selfish’. Teamwork, especially focus fire, may happen. But you aren’t encouraged to play a group of people who can bring more out of each other than they would bring to the party themselves. The fighter does his thing (bashing) as the wizard does his. And so far there’s no group skill challenge mechanic to encourage players to work together that way.
    Well, there's also the aid action. And the fact that you're not seeing all of the spells out there. For one, there are already great teamwork options; the Wizard has Invisibility, for example... but doesn't have the Stealth skill or Dexterity to make good use of it. If you read it, you'll notice that it doesn't remove the need for sneaking, it just allows you to attempt to sneak when you normally wouldn't be able to. A Wizard trying to sneak, even while invisible, would still have a horrible Stealth check, and probably get caught. So what's the best option? Make the Rogue invisible. Bam, teamwork.

    There's also the fact that, again, you don't need abilities that specifically say "Give this bonus to your teammate" in order to use teamwork. There are going to be tons upon tons of special abilities and spell in the game. Not only will many of those be teamwork oriented (Mearls has already talked about the Bard, for example), but there will be dozens of ways to combine your abilities to work as a team. You don't need an ability that says "Hey, work together." All you have to do is say "Hey guys, working together makes things go much more smoothly. Let's do that."

    And if you don't work together? You'll be less effective. That's the way it works, and trying to enforce teamwork is artificial and boring.

    In D&D Next, the fighter just hits people. The rogue just stabs them (no exploiting Acrobat’s Trick and Acrobatics to show off with ‘Death From Above’ as in my example). One cleric mostly bashes enemies, the other mostly radiant lances them. Same old, same old. This is, quite frankly, tedious after 4th edition - and given the number of enemies in the Caves of Chaos and the escalated hit points, it’s grindy.
    Okay, right... repeat after me: "Play. Test." Do you really expect a full complement of options and abilities in a very early Alpha playtest? Of course not. However, there have been very specific talks about what's to come; like special combat maneuvers for the Fighter, different abilities for the Rogue. It was states long ago that the designers specifically chose to use the low-option, simple version of the Fighter. Y'know, for the people that like playing simple characters (which you can't really do easily in 4e).

    And you know full well you won't need to worry about the options that Wizards and Clerics will have.

    Also, remember that this is level one. Level one characters in 4e are reduced to spamming their at-wills just as much, and it gets just as boring. And you wanna talk about inflated hit points?The weakest kobold in 4e has (if I'm remembering right) about 24 HP. Most normal kobolds in Next have 1. The strongest normal kobold? 10. If you're talking about the boss monsters... they're boss monsters. Even the boss of all the Kobolds only has 44 HP. The Ogre has 88... and is the equivalent of a 3rd or 4th level boss enemy. Of course it has tons of hit points, because it's meant to challenge a party of triple the party's level. Wanna take a look at the average solo in 4e and talk about hit points? Especially if you're fighting a solo of 3-4 levels higher than your party.

    D&D Next returns to a long spell list, with the spells not on the character sheet. This can, of course, be fixed for the PCs with appropriate software. But will cause a lot of trouble for the DM with short statblocks.
    Have... have you actually played the playtest? "Ease of play" is the thing that people are shouting their praise for all over the internet. I'll admit that not listing spell effects in monster stats is an issue... and so did a lot of other people. And guess what? They listened, and said that they'll work on improving that issue. As for keeping track of player spells... you don't need software, you need your book on hand. And again, we'll look at 4e... 3-4 pages of power cards for every class, even at mid-level? It's impossible to play a "simple" class in 4e, and you want to talk about "ease of play".

    D&D Next doesn’t give me quite such good generic guidelines (this can easily be fixed). The monsters are just plain dull so far - with the idea of giving all the interesting abilities to the ultra-tough leaders making taking out guards a snooze-fest, and almost every fight revolve round tactics of either “kill the leader” or “ignore the leader and defeat in detail” - neither being half as interesting as 4e. Without regular forced movement I need the interactive terrain to be active in its own right to be memorable and pivotal - a much harder proposition. Which means that the only part of interesting combats from 4e D&D Next hasn’t crippled is the narrative hook for the fight. The one that isn’t dependent on the rules.
    This is another "we're in playtest" problem. DM guidelines are not something mechanical that needs to be tested early, so they can be included once the rules themselves are hammered out.

    Oh, and for your "terrain" and no forced movement... do your players never improvise? You don't have to look at a character sheet to know that a normal person can try to push another person around. All it is is a simple contest; I used Strength vs. the higher of the target's Strength or Dexterity. Now, I'll admit, a few guidelines for adjudicating improvisation like this are warranted. But if your players really can't just look at you and say "I want to push him into the pit.", then maybe they shouldn't be playing a tabletope game. 4e trains players to look at their character sheet what they can do. We need to get away from that, because it is limiting by nature.

    As for monsters... yes, the average, run-of-the-mill mook doesn't have much special about it. They're mooks, that's the point. Now, I will admit that Caves of Chaos is not the best adventure to showcase interesting monsters; it was designed with tons of rather plain monsters. The sheer number of enemies can make this seem like a much bigger problem than it actually is. In addition to that, it's already been stated that they're going to move to having leader type monsters add special abilities to their mooks. So yes, taking out the leader usually becomes a priority. Taking out leiutenants isn't a joke, because unless you take out the boss first, they have a special ability or two in addition to being somewhat tougher than normal.

    In addition to that, the fact that just about every 4e enemy has a list of special abilities to keep track of is horrible. When you've got a good half-dozen or more enemies, each of which has two to three limited-use abilities that have to be tracked separately and one or more always-on features that have to be remembered, it becomes an nightmare to run.

    Monster statblocks in D&D Next generally appear to be ‘Small sack of hp’ (kobolds, rats), ‘Medium sack of hp’ (goblins), ‘Big sack of hp although smaller than a 1st level PC’ (orcs, hobgoblins), ‘Big beefy grunt’ (ogre), ‘Leader’. There’s almost no sense of solving the monsters strengths and making them play to their weaknesses (other than a ray of frost kite of a big monster). It’s all about powering through the enemy - you can’t neutralise the Kobolds advantage except by killing them, there’s no way to prevent Orcs from charging, or even the Hook Horror doing its thing. So D&D Next combat is a lot less interactive and just boils down to “kill them before they kill you” rather than "outsmart them to kill them more easily".
    How many ways are there to easily prevent 4e monsters from using their powers? I'll give you a hint; not many. Certainly no more than in any other edition.

    You can figure out how to exploit a monster's weakness in Next just as easily as in 4e. Lots of kobolds? They're very weak, so use lots of area attacks. Ogre? Heavy damage single target effects. Dragon? Figure out what element it resists, then hit it with the opposite. There is no more or less of this in Next than in 4e. Using tactics and cunning to overcome enemies is just as useful in either edition.

  • #13
    I've been playing mostly 4E for ~3 years, with occasional (and enjoyable) sessions of 3.5E thrown in. I am somewhat disappointed from what I have seen of 5E next, but am not feeling let down, just a but *meh* until I've seen some more.

    I think the OP's comments on balance are spot on. If the game expands into more non-combat, then I also want the non-combat to be balanced in the same ways, I don't want solutions to in-game problems to resolve as requiring the casting of specific high-level spells, i.e. mini-games just for the wizard and cleric players to play. I don't want players to have "sidekick" PCs, and I expect the rules to support that, not have to lean on player and DM creativity to work around the issue.

    So far I have not seen *anything* in 5E to make me think class/class balance is high on the agenda. The spell lists are same-old, same-old from earlier editions, and it's the availability and power of the high level spells from these editions that breaks equality between classes.

    On "ease of play" I'd have to disagree with the OP about 4E. The sheer number of options giving conditional +/-1 or 2 on a typical PC sheet, with conditions varying hugely, plus usually around 20 limited-use power cards to play, doesn't make for easy play. However, provided we've had our caffeine it does make for fun, dynamic play - just not fast.

    I do wonder if a lot of 4E fans' worry on 5E (I include myself here, and maybe only myself) is due to the expectation that the next D&D was going to be more of a continuation of 4, with rules simplified for faster combat, and other core issues in 4 "fixed". What we've got instead is something radically different, and some of the things I feel are progressive about 4E, and would like to see taken further, are instead regressing to the mean. That doesn't make 5E a bad game or bad design, just that I had switched to a different way of thinking about D&D, and not yet prepared to switch back just because of some new published material.
    Last edited by slobo777; Sunday, 1st July, 2012 at 08:23 AM.

  • #14
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    ø Ignore Grydan
    Quote Originally Posted by DogBackward View Post
    This is simply not true. So, yes, a Cleric who worships the God of War can, for one hour, become about as good as a Fighter in damage output. Not in accuracy, just damage, and he does so by using a once-per-day ability. And uses another once-per-day ability in order to have as much HP as the Fighter.

    The problem here isn't that the Fighter isn't the best at Fighting, it's that for some reason, people love ignoring the fact that (in any normal game) there will be more than one fight in a day. Yes, you can almost match me in damage and health (but again, not accuracy, which is huge in a flat-math system) for an hour. When that hour's up? When your spells run out, I'm still a raging badass.
    I am perfectly willing to grant the unsupported supposition that in any "normal" game of D&D there will be more than one fight in a day.

    However, I also take it as a given that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of D&D campaigns out there that do not fit this standard of "normal".

    Games where, due to constraints of travel times and distances between combats, or a greater weight placed on social interaction, or exploration, it's not at all uncommon for fights to happen only once or twice a day... or week... or month.

    Any time you use balance over time, you are making assumptions that everyone who uses the system uses it the same way.

    If you use the old "wizards get great power at high levels in return for sucking at low levels" approach, you're assuming that all campaigns start out at low levels and get to high levels. In campaigns that don't follow that pattern, the wizard either gets to suck for no return, or gets great power for no investment.

    If you use the "this class gets to be kickass for one fight per day, and suck for the rest, while this other class gets to be decent but not spectacular throughout" approach, then you're assuming there will be more days with multiple fights than those with singletons. In any campaign where this does not hold true, you have now relegated the "slow but steady" classes to permanent underclass status.

    Who cares that you can only be awesome once per day if you're never called upon to be awesome more often than that?

    First of all, again, limited uses per day. Yes, the Wizard can Charm Person... but not only can they only do it once, they can't do it without pissing off whoever they did it to; you'll note that the target of Charm Person knows they were charmed. So yeah, the Wizard could simply Charm the merchant... but if you don't want to be chased out of town, you might want to let someone with a social Background use Diplomacy instead.

    Which brings me to my second point; flexibility doesn't have to be given purely in activated class features. Everybody has flexibility, because everybody has ability scores and skills. If you're playing a Fighter, you're doing so because the main thing you want to do is hit things. Gaining the ability to "Kill More Stuff" is exactly what a Fighter wants. Beyond that, if the only thing you use to decide what your character can do is specifically written-down class features, then that's your fault, not the game's. You have skills, you have an imagination, use it. The Wizard being able to do lots of unique things is mechanically balanced against the Fighter's combat prowess. In-game, you don't need special abilities to do things other than attack. You simply say "This is what I'm doing." The flat math and ability/skill system is designed specifically to make that easy. Flat math means that anybody can try anything, and have a non-zero chance of success.
    I'm sorry, but no.

    I don't play fighters because the main thing I want to do is hit things.

    I play fighters for many reasons. Because I want to be a chivalrous knight, but without the mystical powers and religious trappings of a paladin. Because I want to be the poor confused farmboy who has been dragged into saving the world. Because I want to pull the sword from the stone and be King Arthur, not Merlin. Because I want to be a construct created for war trying to find a place in a world no longer at war.

    In combat, yes, I want to be good at hitting things. I want to be good at fighting. It's the name of the class, after all. But being good at fighting is more than just having a good attack bonus and decent damage. It's forcing your opponent into bad situations. It's getting yourself out of the bad situations your opponent forces you into. It's about there being choices and options, and reasons to consider what you'll be doing on your next turn, rather than just handing the DM a pre-rolled sheet of attacks, saves, and damage and walking out of the room. Because really, if all I'm going to be doing each round is saying "I attack the closest enemy", do I really need to be there to do it? Call me when we get back to the part of the game where my character's choices are relevant.

    Oh wait, because tradition dictates fighters suck outside of combat, there is no such part of the game.

    The very same flat math and "anybody can try anything" that you mention only more strongly encourages fighters to stick to the rote routine. If I have no better a chance of succeeding at an innovative scheme than the next guy, then he should probably be the one doing it while I stick to the one thing I'm allowed to be marginally better at, mechanically.

    And besides... how much "flexibility" does the 4e Fighter have? All of their powers equate to "Kill More Stuff" or "Be Hard to Kill", just like the Fighter from any other edition. How is this a new thing?
    Which of these two characters has more flexibility?

    Character A has on his turn the option to do a basic attack (damage, no other effects), or make something up.

    Character B has on his turn the option to do a basic attack, make something up, or use attack 1 which reduces his foe's speed, or attack 2 which forces his foe to move, or attack 3 which does more damage and knocks his enemy prone, or attack 4 which allows him to attack all adjacent foes.

    Character B has every option Character A has, and then more options on top of that.

    Add in utility powers, of which many are to do with exploration related activities, and others of which are to do with social activities, and it's really hard to see how anyone could reasonably say that Character B is not more flexible than character A.

    ---

    In one campaign I play in, I play a 4E PHB fighter. He's level 8. In combat, he has over half a dozen different ways to engage his enemies, impose various conditions, and generally making a nuisance of himself. If none of these are appropriate to the situation, I still have every single option that exists for the 5E fighter at my disposal.

    In another campaign, much more recently started, I play a Fighter (Knight), level 1. It's a much simpler character, with no At-Will Attacks, no Encounter Attacks, no Daily abilities whatsoever. He still has more options than the 5E playtest fighter. He has two stances he can switch between, which modify every attack he makes. He has a twice-per encounter ability to increase the damage of a successful attack. He's also a great annoyance to his foes, as he's solid in every defence (making him a bad target), yet he can attack anyone who tries to move away, or attack anyone adjacent to him who attacks someone else (while also imposing a penalty on such attacks). He's got a very good attack, and solid damage. While being significantly more straightforward to play in combat than my other character, he's still more complex and flexible than the 5E fighter. Again, he has every option that fighter does, and more.
    Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced. ​— Barry Gehm

  • #15
    Thank you, OP, for expressing your feedback so extensively, but I feel the need to state that my feelings are pretty much the exact opposite, and after playing 4e for months, the current playtest rules feel just right for me. It'll be interesting to see if they can make a game that makes us both happy. However, if 4e is already the perfect game for your playstyle, you really have no reason to play 5e.

    I also feel that many of the points you made are unfair, or simply untrue (ease of play, ease of DMing, breath of options, etc. -- it's a play test; they don't have all the rules finished yet, modules are coming), and you have already made up your mind to hate anything that's different from 4e.
    Last edited by GX.Sigma; Sunday, 1st July, 2012 at 08:24 AM.

  • #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Stormonu View Post
    While I certainly applaud the OP for voicing his criticisms of 5E, I have to counter that most of the things he listed I do not care about or they actually drove me away from being involved with 4E.

    I'll just say I dissent with the original post and leave it at that. I like about 80% of the way the 5E playtest is now, and I've already turned in my survey so WotC should have the list of what I want changed. Won't rehash that here.
    Pretty much me too. Upon reading the OP it occurred to me that these were all the things I thought were important when I started playing 4e, but have came to understand over the course of playing sorta doomed 4e for my playstyle.

    For my part, 4e had a few select mechanics I would like to see brought forward into 5e, but for the most part I'm sorta glad to see revgression from where 4e got to.

    Oh, and when posting and trying to sound impartial (as I assume he was as he wasnt trying to edition war) repeated use of the word failure directed at a beta product in no way convinces me there is any imparitality.

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    ø Ignore Zustiur
    DogBackwards already addressed most of my arguments, but here's a couple of additional points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon View Post
    WoTC’s only current customer base
    I'm not sure about that. I count as part of WotC's current customer based, yet I don't like 4E. Customer base doesn't necessarily mean 'someone who has bought the latest product'. But I will leave this point here because I knew what you mean regardless of the wording.

    Balancing flexibility essentially means that every PC should be able to contribute something to almost every scene but no PC should be able to dominate all scenes.
    Would you like me to recount the number of times (out of combat) where my character has been completely useless because I didn't have the required skills? I'm quite serious about this. I don't recall a single skill challenge that wasn't a total bore-fest for me. Why? because inevitably the skills required to complete the challenge aren't on my list of trained skills. Or, if they are on the list, someone else is better at them, and they can only be used once in the challenge.

    Aspects like roles and power sources show you clearly what a class is meant to do
    And a lot of the time, they don't do it well. Our warlock is a better controller than our wizard, but doesn't kick out a lot of damage. Just an example.

    When there’s no central theme but merely a grab bag of abilities, the class normally fails.
    Agreed, and you'll note that defining the central theme of each class is something that WotC is trying to do!

    In 4e the team is stronger than the group as individuals.
    This is true of any system, but the rest of your point stands, during combat...

    And the skill challenge rules when used narratively encourage teamwork in a way simple skill checks don’t - each member should be working out how to bring what they are best at to assist in the task.
    See my previous point. Often 'what you're best at' is not applicable in a skill challenge. "Mental genius with a flair for knowledge? no use here buddy, we need endurance and athletics to chase the baddies across the rooftops." "Dextrous athlete? Sorry, this is a social skill challenge, go play in the corner." Worse yet, some skill challenges require input from each character, even the ones who have extremely low scores in the required skills. I do not consider this a strong point of 4E. Conceptually yes, in practice, no.

    In D&D Next, there seems to be precisely one ability made explicitely to assist your allies
    As DogBackwards pointed out; EARLY ALPHA. I'd love to know how many powers had been developed at an equivalent stage of 4E.

    In 4e every character has a minimum of two at will attacks and one encounter power - and these can be fairly distinct.
    And often unhelpful. Only one bad guy left? I guess the wizard will cast magic missile then, since everything else generally relies on area effect greater than 1x1. On the flip side, in my pathfinder game, the fighter, ranger and rogue spent every available round making basic attacks, and it was intense. There wasn't a single boring moment, despite the 'boring' mechanics.

    If you don’t want options... [snip]
    TOUGH, you have options, and you'll have to spend hours picking them each level. Or, admittedly, play an essentials character; but then how long did it take for those to turn up? Remember, you're comparing a 3 year old game with many published books with a game that is over a year away from being released.

    This is compounded by 4e’s plethora of forced movement powers.
    Ah, another pet peeve. Got a move that pushes your opponent? Cool, is there anything to push him into this battle? No? So... push him anyway. Yeah, that makes sense. And seriously, what happened to open battlefields, large chambers and other normal every day places that don't involve pits, lava, patches of ice etc? I can walk around all day without seeing anything remotely like that, yet in 4E-world, they're around every corner. What's up with that?

    In D&D Next, the fighter just hits people.
    And has all the improvisation options available to him that any character has in 4E. [Insert page 42 argument here] Also, see my point above about basic attacks not equating to boring combat. Let the situation dictate the excitement, not the mechanics. (Actually, that's a key point of difference between playgroups. It sounds to me like you're firmly in the camp of 'mechanics must provide the fun')

    This is, quite frankly, tedious after 4th edition - and given the number of enemies in the Caves of Chaos and the escalated hit points, it’s grindy.
    Because 4E isn't tedious and grindy? What?? Escalated hit points? Compared with what? 4E? Are you serious?

    With the single exception of Rituals, literally everything you need to play a 4e PC is on the character sheet other than a set list of conditions.
    Which is why character sheets are 8+ pages long!!! I'm highly in favour of simple characters fitting on a single page again. Let the complex characters write out their spells/whatever on extra pages. There was never anything stopping 3E players from doing that you know...

    Other than consulting the various Monster Manuals, I don’t think my 4e group has looked up a rule in play in the past year.
    That's nice. We have to look up rules every game. I'm honestly not trying to be snarky in this post, but you're talking from a very coloured viewpoint (as am I). I like the cohesiveness of 4E's rules, but not all of them make sense. Plus we keep finding ourselves in obscure situations. Also, having played 2e, 3.0, 3.5, pathfinder and 4E, it's easy to forget which version of a rule you need in a given game. The only reason that I'm having to look up pathfinder rules more than 4E rules right now is that I hadn't played pathfinder in over 18 months.

    D&D Next returns to a long spell list, with the spells not on the character sheet.
    So write out a summary of your spells on your character sheet. Fixed for players! Didn't even need software to do it.
    But will cause a lot of trouble for the DM with short statblocks.
    Yeah, I agree with this. I was against 'monsters don't have to follow the same rules as PCs' for a long time, but I'm a convert.

    Most of the time when DMing getting a good answer now is worth much more than the right answer later. Out of combat the Skill Challenge DCs provide an excellent rule of thumb for good DCs to use that will not break immersion and allow the game to continue without interruption.
    From what I've seen, Next handles this even better. No more needing to remember the right numbers for the party's level.

    1: Interesting monsters, 2: A narrative hook for the fight 3: An interactive terrain feature or two
    That third point irritates me, as mentioned above. Having interactive terrain for every battle comes with two problems:
    1) As a DM, I'd have to come up with them for every battle (something I'm not good at)
    2) Having these features present in such quantity (as much as every room in published adventures...) contributes to my broken verisimilitude.

    The monsters are just plain dull so far
    Ok, that I can agree with, but I'm not entirely sure it's a bad thing. Interesting critters have to be survivable so that their points of interest can come to light. Try thinking of other editions as Minion-Heavy 4E and you won't be so off track. Not every creature has to have some fantastical power. A lot of creatures and NPCs should behave like fairly normal humans. Let their base stats and damage do some of the talking. Why are orcs scarey? Because they're strong so they hit hard. I'm sure the 'warriors surge' ability only exists because 'all monsters have to have a special feature'.
    Making all monsters and NPCs feature-ific takes away from the interest of the PCs themselves. "Hey guys, once per encounter I get to shift as a reaction if someone stops next to me." "Yeah, so what, kobolds do that AT WILL" "Oh, so I'm not as cool as a kobold. Bugger"

    and almost every fight revolve round tactics of either “kill the leader” or “ignore the leader and defeat in detail” - neither being half as interesting as 4e.
    Again, I find 4E to not be that interesting in this regard. All monsters having special features means that it often doesn't matter which one you take out first.

    Ok, so that was more than a couple of points... I didn't notice so many points of disagreement on the first read-through. I'm actually very impressed with your post over-all. You certainly did a good job of describing 4E, but your impressions of where 5E is going, and your feelings as to which direction is the right direction... well that's where we disagree.

  • #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Grydan View Post
    Spoiler:
    Any time you use balance over time, you are making assumptions that everyone who uses the system uses it the same way.

    If you use the old "wizards get great power at high levels in return for sucking at low levels" approach, you're assuming that all campaigns start out at low levels and get to high levels. In campaigns that don't follow that pattern, the wizard either gets to suck for no return, or gets great power for no investment.

    If you use the "this class gets to be kickass for one fight per day, and suck for the rest, while this other class gets to be decent but not spectacular throughout" approach, then you're assuming there will be more days with multiple fights than those with singletons. In any campaign where this does not hold true, you have now relegated the "slow but steady" classes to permanent underclass status.
    I really agree with this part. These are important to think about when designing balance, especially for a game where "support your play style" is important to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grydan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DogBackward
    Quote Originally Posted by Neonchameleon
    When the wizard gains spells he gains things like Charm Person, and the clerics things like Command and Silence. The fighter gains … nothing. They just gain the ability to Kill More Stuff.
    And besides... how much "flexibility" does the 4e Fighter have? All of their powers equate to "Kill More Stuff" or "Be Hard to Kill", just like the Fighter from any other edition. How is this a new thing?
    Which of these two characters has more flexibility?
    Spoiler:
    Character A has on his turn the option to do a basic attack (damage, no other effects), or make something up.

    Character B has on his turn the option to do a basic attack, make something up, or use attack 1 which reduces his foe's speed, or attack 2 which forces his foe to move, or attack 3 which does more damage and knocks his enemy prone, or attack 4 which allows him to attack all adjacent foes.

    Character B has every option Character A has, and then more options on top of that.
    [AND]
    Spoiler:
    In one campaign I play in, I play a 4E PHB fighter. He's level 8. In combat, he has over half a dozen different ways to engage his enemies, impose various conditions, and generally making a nuisance of himself. If none of these are appropriate to the situation, I still have every single option that exists for the 5E fighter at my disposal.

    In another campaign, much more recently started, I play a Fighter (Knight), level 1. It's a much simpler character, with no At-Will Attacks, no Encounter Attacks, no Daily abilities whatsoever. He still has more options than the 5E playtest fighter. He has two stances he can switch between, which modify every attack he makes. He has a twice-per encounter ability to increase the damage of a successful attack. He's also a great annoyance to his foes, as he's solid in every defence (making him a bad target), yet he can attack anyone who tries to move away, or attack anyone adjacent to him who attacks someone else (while also imposing a penalty on such attacks). He's got a very good attack, and solid damage. While being significantly more straightforward to play in combat than my other character, he's still more complex and flexible than the 5E fighter. Again, he has every option that fighter does, and more.
    I think you're missing some of the counterpoint that DogBackward made: Neonchameleon is complaining that players of 4e may not like the direction of 5e for [list of reasons], one of which is in the quote above this ("Wizard and Cleric get utility spells, Fighter gets to kill things better"). Replying with "well, Fighters in 4e can kill things better!" doesn't really counter what DogBackward said ("all of their powers equate to 'Kill More Stuff' or 'Be Hard to Kill'").

    Yes, the 4e Fighter has more options in combat. Neonchameleon was commenting on balance, and on what 4e had that 5e doesn't. DogBackward was pointing out that 4e doesn't really have it, either, so it's probably not best to include that in an argument where the logic is based on "I like these things that 4e had, and want them in 5e."
    Quote Originally Posted by Grydan View Post
    Add in utility powers, of which many are to do with exploration related activities, and others of which are to do with social activities, and it's really hard to see how anyone could reasonably say that Character B is not more flexible than character A.
    I'm unfamiliar with a lot of 4e. What utility powers will make them leaps and bounds better socially than, say, having Intimidate trained? Will it just give them better Intimidate? Basically, what utility power expands their breadth of options (into social and exploration), rather than the depth of the options they already have (combat). I'm genuinely curious, not trying to play "gotcha" (a quick look online for best Fighter utility powers came up with low level powers useful in combat, so I'm not sure on this at all). As always, play what you like
    As always, play what you like

  • #19
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesonCourage View Post
    I'm unfamiliar with a lot of 4e. What utility powers will make them leaps and bounds better socially than, say, having Intimidate trained? Will it just give them better Intimidate?
    True story: there's an Arcana utility power in 4e that lets you use your Arcana check in place of Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate. My character's Arcana check is +16.

    Not that that's relevant to fighters.

  • #20
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    That was a good OP.

    I'm a 4e fan as well who has very little intention at this stage of making a complete switch over to 5e but who is more than willing to try it out, test it and see if I like it.

    So far I don't dislike it and haven't had the chance to play it on a table top with people face to face (which I think makes a huge difference).

    There are some things I like and that reminds me of how D&D originally felt when I first begun. Principally what I like is that it seems geared towards a much faster flowing adventure which is great.

    Only, I want that speed to be on a dial. I want to slow it down at certain parts. And I want those parts to be super tactical and as exciting as the legendary battles I have played out with the 4e system.

    For example as my tabletop campaign was reaching its conclusion I mapped out the entire city square by square on a MASSIVE sheet of clear plastic and set up the game table with a game mat underneath so we only had to shift the plastic as the battle displaced itself. We had a 3 session long battle throughout the entire city which was being engulfed by the shadowfell and massive monsters would break through at certain points randomly while the entire population of the city had been turned by Strahd and came at the PCs in continual waves of crazed mobs with packs of hounds, buildings catching alight, the streets and walls and buidings themselves coming alive to attack the PCs as per the Shadowfell module golems (pure awesome those monsters!!). All of this was going on while they tried to get around the city and complete quests at certain points. And that is really glossing over the complexity and epic proportions of that battle.

    And I'm not going to play a game that I don't feel I can repeat similar experiences with as a DM. Those are the kind of games I enjoy, and part of that working includes many of the key features of 4e mentioned by the OP.

    All that said, I really do feel that while these things will not be core elements of the 5e experience, they will be built into the experience as modules. I really do. But they are trying to get the core right. And those elements will not be at the core. I believe that we will have to wait some time before they emerge, as first they have to create a solid centre to build the rest upon. the rest in this case being the many varied styles of play that each of us loves and what makes D&D awesome for each of us.
    'I am a predator...the predator improves the race...I kill but not out of hate.'
    Frank Herbert: Emperor God of Dune

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