D&D 4th Edition Playtest Update





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    Playtest Update

    Let??s check in with Mike to see where things are and where things are going with the playtest.

    Read Playtest Update on D&D Insider here!

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    When he says he wants to address healing, it worries me--it almost sounds like he says that players have too much healing, and that's making combat less dangerous. No, the reason combat isn't dangerous is simply because monsters cannot reliably hit a player. It should take multiple hits to bring a player down, there aren't very many people who want to see their character hit the floor with a single die roll, I think. It's just monsters aren't very likely to get multiple hits because of low accuracy. More importantly, the tension I like to see in combat is often created by HP totals going up and down mid-fight, which is only possible if there is enough healing to go around. There's that tension in the moment where someone drops, but the cleric just barely manages to get them back on their feet before they die. I think both higher HP and higher monster damage/accuracy would help me regain this feel.

    There are still a lot of issues with the Hit Die mechanic, cleric healing, and death and dying. Id like to create a simple, easy, scalable mechanic that tackles these issues.
    Remember healing surges?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magil View Post
    When he says he wants to address healing, it worries me--it almost sounds like he says that players have too much healing, and that's making combat less dangerous. No, the reason combat isn't dangerous is simply because monsters cannot reliably hit a player. It should take multiple hits to bring a player down, there aren't very many people who want to see their character hit the floor with a single die roll, I think. It's just monsters aren't very likely to get multiple hits because of low accuracy. More importantly, the tension I like to see in combat is often created by HP totals going up and down mid-fight, which is only possible if there is enough healing to go around. There's that tension in the moment where someone drops, but the cleric just barely manages to get them back on their feet before they die. I think both higher HP and higher monster damage/accuracy would help me regain this feel.

    Remember healing surges?
    Great points, Cant xp etc etc.

    I agree that never getting hit or getting knocked down in one shot are not fun. Those hp are there to get used!

    I also liked the way that healing surges made hp a strategic resource rather than just a number that went up and down in 4th; where second wind was a real strategic option (except for Dwarves!). But how can healing surges or some alternative be made more acceptable by the broader D&D players?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raith5 View Post
    But how can healing surges or some alternative be made more acceptable by the broader D&D players?
    I think it's relatively easy to accept healing surges as a strategic resource that represent how far you can push yourself without taking a long rest. Second wind was also a mechanic that fit with this theme. The problem I think for many old-school D&D players is that magical healing doesn't do anything special. Where it used to be truly miraculous, giving you vigour you didn't otherwise have, with healing surges it just makes you more tired. Yes, it prolongs your ability to stay in a fight, but it also pushes you closer to having to rest, and there's not very much magical about that.
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    My overall reaction is *sigh*.

    I honestly think that the designers need to spend periods of contemplation in which they don't read any feedback. So many of the comments aren't constructive, but rather 'change this to how it is in this edition, I like that more'. We'll never find any compromises, any novel solutions, if we just flip back and forth between 3E and 4E.

    On Wizard hitpoints he suggests they might get some more, when the real problem is the balance of HP/damage across the whole system right now. So many people don't want strict daily spellcasting, so they're throwing out the tradition to encompass every possible casting method into one class - what a mess that is going to be. On the flip side, there's the blind acceptance of expertise dice as *the* solution for the Fighter - no sign of a unified mechanic for physical combat, no caution that maybe people would have been excited by *any* system that wasn't just hit and repeat.

    And that last section? Good god that's terrible analysis. Is there a correlation between those that think there are too few HP and those who think monsters are too weak? They seem like consistent desires to me, getting hit a bit more often but not going down in one hit. That sort of tension sucks. Losing half your HP in one hit, that seems about right to me.

    I'd love to have the survey numbers to play with. WotC have shown consistently poor mathematical ability, and they should really be accounting for the types of players answering the surveys. For instance, if 90% of respondents prefer 4E over any other edition, and 60% of respondents want healing surges, you've got to be wary of bias - that is, if you truly want to recapture some of the old player base.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Nightwing View Post
    My overall reaction is *sigh*.

    I honestly think that the designers need to spend periods of contemplation in which they don't read any feedback. So many of the comments aren't constructive, but rather 'change this to how it is in this edition, I like that more'. We'll never find any compromises, any novel solutions, if we just flip back and forth between 3E and 4E.

    On Wizard hitpoints he suggests they might get some more, when the real problem is the balance of HP/damage across the whole system right now. So many people don't want strict daily spellcasting, so they're throwing out the tradition to encompass every possible casting method into one class - what a mess that is going to be. On the flip side, there's the blind acceptance of expertise dice as *the* solution for the Fighter - no sign of a unified mechanic for physical combat, no caution that maybe people would have been excited by *any* system that wasn't just hit and repeat.

    And that last section? Good god that's terrible analysis. Is there a correlation between those that think there are too few HP and those who think monsters are too weak? They seem like consistent desires to me, getting hit a bit more often but not going down in one hit. That sort of tension sucks. Losing half your HP in one hit, that seems about right to me.

    I'd love to have the survey numbers to play with. WotC have shown consistently poor mathematical ability, and they should really be accounting for the types of players answering the surveys. For instance, if 90% of respondents prefer 4E over any other edition, and 60% of respondents want healing surges, you've got to be wary of bias - that is, if you truly want to recapture some of the old player base.
    Hmm, I dont know, if your analysis is any better.

    Where I agree is, that they should do their thing... but all in all, they are doing it. The flipping between 3e and 4e and 2e or whatever seems to be more or less intentional to see, where the preferences lie.

    For me, the current hp system is not so bad. I however agree, that damage is generally a bit to high. Mostly, because everyone has a high static modifier to damage, because of the way to-hit and damage are linked (finesse weapons do a lot of damage if they are wielded by tiny dextrous but weak creatures)

    So, whatever they do with healing and hp. Neither 3e nor 4e system, nor the current 5e system is perfect, but all of them work more or less for me. I however felt the hp in the first playtest not threatening enough for a first level experience.

    But IF we get the first level divided into sublevels for multiclass, I could accept a higher starting hp for those "1st" level characters, as there would be an option to start lower, if you really want...

  7. #7
    I am a bit underwhelmed from the article. I will present some thoughts about the issues that Mike writes about.

    Great part of my concerns has to do with the arcane casters. Sorcerer (as the Warlock) was a big hit imho. Actually was the best part of the new playtest. Seeing him more detached from the flavor that the designers gave him would be a disappointment.

    Wizard traditions is s subject that was overanalyzed in previous threads and really concerns me. Although i don't have any objections to see at-will, or encounter spells, it is important to see how this rule is going to be implemented. I would prefer to see a distinct, "clear" vancian wizard and any module with the alternatives magic systems. However i am wondering how practical will be to see scalable or augmented spells...
    Also it would be a mistake to see the traditions only as a way to implement the new magic system. What will happen to the old school feeling enchanters, necromancers, etc. Should they evoke the desired feeling to the people who love 1-3rd editions?

    If they want a simple core (4 simple classes) the wizard with the two or three different magic systems won't help. As a matter of fact neither the fighter (as it is now) and the rogue as they want to make him. I don't have any problem with the number of choices but i think this was an aim they had back in spring.

    The rogue.
    "A smooth-talking con artist might distract enemies, evade danger, and confuse foes rather than stab them to death from behind."
    I support the rogue to have more options than sneak attack, however i am very sceptical about having the social (role playing - like smooth talking) skills to implemented in combat in a believable way.

    Healing. I agree there is a problem here. The mechanism of healing has to do with the rhythm in the game. As a DM and as a player the thing that i want is to have the ability to play the game in my own pace. I want not only to set the pace of my games but i also demand my gaming style to be fully supported. For example if i like the dirty gritty kind of play, i want to have the rules to play such game and i want the future products to support it. Otherwise why should i change edition if my style is not supported?

    In a general sense the article left me more sceptical than before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Nightwing View Post
    I'd love to have the survey numbers to play with. WotC have shown consistently poor mathematical ability, and they should really be accounting for the types of players answering the surveys. For instance, if 90% of respondents prefer 4E over any other edition, and 60% of respondents want healing surges, you've got to be wary of bias - that is, if you truly want to recapture some of the old player base.
    So, if the majority of respondents prefer 4E, it must be bias, and there is this phantom fanbase that is apparently too good to participate in the playtest and tell WotC their opinion, but should be pursued ahead of the 4E crowd? They can only cater to the people that tell them what they want. Everyone else either doesn't understand the purpose of a playtest, or doesn't care enough to participate in it.

    If they just give the finger to 90% of otheir respondents in hopes of capturing this phantom fanbase that may or may not be accessible, they would be making one hell of a gamble. If it pays off, good for them, but if it doesn't, they probably should freshen up their resumes.

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    I don't much care for surge mechanics. HD healing is as close as I want to get to it. Since Mearls didn't specify what the problem is I think we should wait and see what the real issue is.

    As far as I can see in my few sessions with the rules there isn't any problem with healing. Hit points are fine and if I had a couple of near deaths I could speak to the dying rules too, but alas my group is quite capable of avoiding death especially since the monsters can't actually fight their way out of a wet paper bag.

    Other than this I agree pretty much with the summary of the playtest so far. There's a problem when your players are yawning during a fight. Adjusting attack bonuses helped a lot. I went with adding one to the monsters and subtracting one point from the players. It helped, but if I could have gotten rid of the arbitrary +2 entirely I would have been much happier.

    I'm also happy to hear that damage from attacks is getting the knife so to speak. I am also happy to learn that the sneak attack is being rethought as well as skill mastery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magil View Post
    When he says he wants to address healing, it worries me--it almost sounds like he says that players have too much healing, and that's making combat less dangerous. No, the reason combat isn't dangerous is simply because monsters cannot reliably hit a player. It should take multiple hits to bring a player down, there aren't very many people who want to see their character hit the floor with a single die roll, I think. It's just monsters aren't very likely to get multiple hits because of low accuracy. More importantly, the tension I like to see in combat is often created by HP totals going up and down mid-fight, which is only possible if there is enough healing to go around. There's that tension in the moment where someone drops, but the cleric just barely manages to get them back on their feet before they die. I think both higher HP and higher monster damage/accuracy would help me regain this feel.

    Remember healing surges?
    I think those two things were separate. The healing focus relates to hit points- but monster attacks were also mentioned as being too low.

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