D&D 5th Edition With Respect to the Door and Expectations....The REAL Reason 5e Can't Unite the Base - Page 150





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  1. #1491
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratskinner View Post
    I agree, but I think that one of the keys of D&D design is that you also don't want to obsess overmuch on balance. In part, I think, because D&D seems to cover so much ground and get played in so many different ways.
    All the more reason to obsess over robust balance. A game that might be played in many different ways can't count on always having 4-encounter days, or characters that start at 1st and proceed through 20th, or campaigns that emphasize combat, exploration, and interaction in a certain proportion to eachother, or the like. 5e is currently being designed with two those assumptions: that days will contain a prescribed amount of challenge and attrition, and that campaigns will spend the right proportion of time in each pillar to balance combat-only fighter with exploration-heavy rogues and interaction-specialized bards. And, classic D&D was balanced 'across levels,' with magic-users starting out weak and fragile and growing into mighty arch-mages while fighters started strong and plateaued early and non-humans started out loaded with the advantages of multi-classing, then ran up on level limits.

    Or, maybe that's what you mean about 'obsessing over-much on balance?' Painting the game into a corner with 'balancing' mechanism that restrict the range of play?

    I feel that some of the complaints and problems 4e are the result of going a little too far in the "balance" direction. What I don't know, is whether that's a result of the balance itself, or just a side-effect of the manner in which 4e was balanced.
    One nice way of saying 'imbalance' is 'rewards for system mastery,' and 4e did reduce the intentional rewards for system mastery that 3e designed in (according to Monte Cook, in reference to the 3.0 he worked on, in Ivory Tower Game Design). So, sure, there are those who resent that change in emphasis.

    But, as far as accommodating a breadth of campaigns and styles, well-balanced games do so better than fragilely-balanced ones. At worst, I suppose you could say that a balanced game, in allowing many styles, doesn't "support" specific styles to the degree that imbalanced ones favoring (over-rewarding) a style, or delicately balanced ones that only retain balance under a specific style, may do.

 

  • #1492
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratskinner View Post

    WotC has got to be in bit of a panic over losing that market dominator status (or at least its inviolability). I'm fairly certain that D&D losing its status as THE rpg would doom it as a Hasbro product line. 5e doesn't have to absolutely seduce the PF/3e players, but it has to get them back in line long enough to try it out. (This holds true for all the cultures in the petri dish.) If enough groups of all editions are playing Next, at least temporarily to try it out, then maybe it will get enough momentum going to become "the" game again.
    I will say this. The D&D name brand is enough to get people to at least "try it", after that it's anybody's guess.

    I don't think Wizards needs to try and pull anyone away from their favored game, I think they need to work on making a game that's good enough where people will want to play Next and their favored game. If Next becomes their favored game then all the better but trying to get people to leave their preferred game all together is a losing battle.

  • #1493
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    Or, maybe that's what you mean about 'obsessing over-much on balance?' Painting the game into a corner with 'balancing' mechanism that restrict the range of play?
    This.

    To be clear, this is only a problem with game systems that engage in a lot of Complexity and particularly Simulationism. One of my favorite games, Capes, has characters that are all objectively equal in their ability to affect the story. However, the game is structured very lightly and relies on the players to narrate the events to match the underlying dice play.

    Some people would call this game completely "dissassociated". In Capes, one character's "Novice Swordsman: 5" trait would be more important than another character's "Master Swordsman: 2" trait. Its up to the players to illustrate how that happens as play progresses. None of the rules are actually trying to emulate any features of an imagined reality. Thus, you can't really paint yourself into a corner. Two groups running Capes at neighboring tables could be playing very different imagined realities.

    To some extent or another D&D has always tried to have the character sheet reflect something about the imagined reality of its world. More importantly, it usually tries to have its mechanics reflect the operation of that world as well. Thus, when you pile enough mechanics on, you define the way the imagined world works. At the level of complexity and detail which the later editions operate, its very hard not to closely define the nature of the imagined reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    But, as far as accommodating a breadth of campaigns and styles, well-balanced games do so better than fragilely-balanced ones. At worst, I suppose you could say that a balanced game, in allowing many styles, doesn't "support" specific styles to the degree that imbalanced ones favoring (over-rewarding) a style, or delicately balanced ones that only retain balance under a specific style, may do.
    I don't think that's true at all. Having a balanced game is a generally good thing, that's not the problem. The method of balancing the game, and the specifics of how its done can have much more impact on the breadth of campaign styles supported than the fact that the game is balanced or not. In the process of balancing the game, designers need to decide how and in what arenas the game will be balanced. Those decisions can create a drastic reduction in the types of playstyles, campaigns, and stories the game supports, especially in a simulation-style game.

  • #1494
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverSlayer View Post
    I will say this. The D&D name brand is enough to get people to at least "try it", after that it's anybody's guess.

    I don't think Wizards needs to try and pull anyone away from their favored game, I think they need to work on making a game that's good enough where people will want to play Next and their favored game. .
    I'm not sure thats necessarily true. Most of us dont have time to play 2 games at once.

    I like the stuff I've seen from 5e so far and if it came out tomorrow I still couldnt reasonably try it for at least 4 months without totally killing a campaign I've been running for a long time. And even that would require me to drop a planned sci-fi true20 game I have planned for after the one I'm currently in. So probably more a year until I could try it.

    I think they absolutely need to be able to pull some people OUT of their current game in order to get good numbers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by timASW View Post
    I'm not sure thats necessarily true. Most of us dont have time to play 2 games at once.

    I like the stuff I've seen from 5e so far and if it came out tomorrow I still couldnt reasonably try it for at least 4 months without totally killing a campaign I've been running for a long time. And even that would require me to drop a planned sci-fi true20 game I have planned for after the one I'm currently in. So probably more a year until I could try it.

    I think they absolutely need to be able to pull some people OUT of their current game in order to get good numbers.
    Right now, 5e is not something that can pull me away from my current game (Mutant and Masterminds) which should come to a conclusion next week after 5 years or my upcoming game using the Cortex rules (which I think may last until December when two players move out of state).
    It also isn't something that can pull me away other games for fantasy including Savage Worlds (my favorite rpg), True20 (my favorite class/level rpg), or my home brewed 3e (which still has things I want to change including rewriting races to remove the non-biological aspects and making them feats). It is not even a game I would to sit in an play let run, but this could change as development continues an new modules are released.
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  • #1496
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratskinner View Post
    I don't think that's true at all. Having a balanced game is a generally good thing, that's not the problem. The method of balancing the game, and the specifics of how its done can have much more impact on the breadth of campaign styles supported than the fact that the game is balanced or not. In the process of balancing the game, designers need to decide how and in what arenas the game will be balanced. Those decisions can create a drastic reduction in the types of playstyles, campaigns, and stories the game supports, especially in a simulation-style game.
    Maybe I'm just being judgmental, but I have to consider a game that's balanced on a knife's-edge, ready to topple like a house of cards at the slightest deviation from the one-true-way-to-play to be 'badly' balanced. But, I suppose it's technically valid to draw a distinction between 'imbalanced' (which the knife-edge game /is/ when played in any proscribed way) and delicately-balanced (which the knife-edge game /is/ when played in the one prescribed way).

  • #1497
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    Maybe I'm just being judgmental, but I have to consider a game that's balanced on a knife's-edge, ready to topple like a house of cards at the slightest deviation from the one-true-way-to-play to be 'badly' balanced. But, I suppose it's technically valid to draw a distinction between 'imbalanced' (which the knife-edge game /is/ when played in any proscribed way) and delicately-balanced (which the knife-edge game /is/ when played in the one prescribed way).
    I also think that's taking the "balance" metaphor as intended in RPG design off track.

    Balanced as in equally weighted. As in smooth running of a car with four wheels.

    The term "balanced" when referenced to its benefits is not referring to systems one push away from dramatic collapse.

    Generally speaking in terms of physical systems, it is possible to build things such that you get a lot of the former without requiring the latter.

    Similarly a game can of course be designed (or accidentally built in the case of latter) into either or both states. Obviously if you pick up on the way balance has been achieved and deliberately tweak that bit of the game you can remove the balanced state.

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