The MAYA Design Principle, or Why D&D's Future is Probably Going to Look Mostly Like Its Past - Page 10
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  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
    Could very well work that way, yes! I was thinking that very thing.
    For me, finding certain 4e sub-systems familiar from other game - in particular, from another game I particularly liked - was enough to slide it under the 'acceptable' line. But, if you /played/ other games, but kept expectations about D&D compartmentalized from those experiences, or, if you /tried/ other games, and didn't much care for them, any familiarity gained with their innovations would be meaningless (or, in the latter case, a negative) if D&D later copied them.
    Keeping my D&D expectations compartmentalized from my other role-playing is the only reason I play D&D. I think classes, levels, and probably a couple other fundamentals are Stone Age tech. I run 5e exclusively because it better meets my D&D positive expectations, while minimizing my negative ones, than any other edition. 4e didnt work for me as a game system on a couple of different levels, and dozens of different major points, despite enjoying some elements of it (such as at-will magic and fighters with cool abilities that let them easily push people around in battle); but where it failed for me most was in meeting the D&D expectations that I cared about.
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  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sword of Spirit View Post
    Keeping my D&D expectations compartmentalized from my other role-playing is the only reason I play D&D. I think CLASSES, LEVELS, and probably a couple other fundamentals are Stone Age tech.
    (emphasis added to quote)

    The one thing about D&D that has essentially become a deal-breaker for me is the class/level paradigm instead of point buy. The idea of rigid "adventurer roles," the fact that you're essentially forced to flat-out suck at some things with no viable recourse through character building, the baseless idea that "niche protection" somehow leads to better gameplay and sharing of "spotlight time" . . . . All of this is radically outdated thinking. And not only is it radically outdated, it's somehow become perversely acceptable to tout these things as features, not bugs.

    For all of Savage Worlds' faults (and after 8+ years of continuous play, I'm well aware of them), the thought of reverting to a class/level based system after having the freedom of unrestricted character generation feels like such a monumental step backwards that I genuinely get a tiny, small ache in my heart (I mean, it's tiny . . . but it's still there ).
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  3. #93
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    Class levels and character roles make it easy for new players or casual players. I know some of my table has no interest in digging though a bunch of options to build a PC. They just go, "Well that spider killed me so I think my new PC Frank will be a cleric, we need a new healer..." Roll stats, pick one or two options, and back in the game. On the other hand some would love it.

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by innerdude View Post
    (emphasis added to quote)

    The one thing about D&D that has essentially become a deal-breaker for me is the class/level paradigm instead of point buy. The idea of rigid "adventurer roles," the fact that you're essentially forced to flat-out suck at some things with no viable recourse through character building, the baseless idea that "niche protection" somehow leads to better gameplay and sharing of "spotlight time" . . . . All of this is radically outdated thinking. And not only is it radically outdated, it's somehow become perversely acceptable to tout these things as features, not bugs.
    I'm not entirely sure they're outdated thinking. D&D's success may derive significantly from its brand, but the class/level paradigm is easy to grasp for new players and casual players. The requirements of point buy systems are a barrier to casual interaction with the game. To put forth an anecdote, when I ran Mutants and Masterminds for my group, a group in which the least experienced player has 20+ years of playing RPGs of various types, 3 of the 5 paged through my DC Adventures books that I had brought along as models and inspiration and picked fully statted out characters, just filing off the specific identity. The other two actually dug into the points and powers - both using HeroLab to help out.

    Even with D&D's big name and mindshare, if it had a learning curve more like a point buy system, I'm sure it wouldn't have the broad level of success that it has now.
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  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by innerdude View Post
    The one thing about D&D that has essentially become a deal-breaker for me is the class/level paradigm instead of point buy.
    Alternatives to class/level appeared almost immediately. Traveller ditched level - and indeed, advancement beyond accumulating wealth - RQ was skill-based.

    Champions! was out in '81, with a fully point-buy, effects-based system.

    Yet, even games that eschew class/level have some sort of advancement, and some sort of archetypes. If you played Champions! Back in the day, you talk of Bricks, Energy Projectors, Martial Artists and Egoists as readily as fighters, clerics, thieves and MUs.

  6. #96
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    I don't believe you can credit the brand recognition with the success of D&D 5E. A strong brand name might help bring attention to your product but it won't keep customers coming if people don't like what you're creating. When 4E was released it had my attention because it was a new D&D game. But the new system wasn't to my liking so I never bought it.

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by MGibster View Post
    I don't believe you can credit the brand recognition with the success of D&D 5E.
    Every edition that has succeeded has succeeded on that basis, 5e just more so than any other since the 80s fad, mainly thanks to timing...

    ...But also because it threaded the needle between enraging vocal fragments of its fan base, and being accessible to new players. 4e erred on the side of being accessible, and touched off a spontaneous grassroots movement determined to burn the line to the ground rather than see it changed so much.

    The market researches didn't need a crystal ball to know that was a danger - it's a challenge for any nerdy/cult IP trying to grow - it's just getting it right is very hard. Marvel, for instance tried for decades.

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by innerdude View Post
    As a result, if at any point you're no longer a fan of the "D&D" core product as-is, you're probably better off looking for wholly different systems as an alternative, as the core is unlikely to radically change from within.
    I don't think so. I didn't like 4E and switched to C&C. 5E then copied much of C&C core mechanics. But, I have no interest in 5E.

  9. #99
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    Thanks for your insight.

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobble View Post
    I don't think so. I didn't like 4E and switched to C&C. 5E then copied much of C&C core mechanics. But, I have no interest in 5E.
    But on a certain level, this essentially validates my point.

    D&D 4e failed at the MAYA principle because it was too unfamiliar. You immediately reverted to something that more closely resembled "historical" D&D. I've read Castles and Crusades several times; from what I gathered it's essentially a 1e / BECMI hybrid with positively-scaling bonuses and AC.

    The fact that 5e much more closely resembles C&C is also exactly the point. Even though you personally don't care for 5e's "flavor" of D&D, 5e is vastly closer to your preferred flavor than 4e was---because it reverted back to a more recognizable "Most Advanced Yet Acceptable" version of the product.

    BUT-----the more interesting thing to me is that when D&D 4e didn't fit your bill, your immediate instinct was to find some other more acceptable version of "D&D". There's dozens of excellent systems out there that aren't D&D, but your instinct was to stay within the close confines of the AD&D "family."

    This is exactly why the actual D&D brand is probably going to be "locked in" to its current iteration for some time. There's a very specific "D&D" experience produced by the D&D product, and its core consumer base now EXPECTS the product to not wildly deviate from it.

    And it took A LOT for me to finally get to the point where I really wasn't interested in the D&D "gene pool" at all anymore. When I realized that 4e wasn't for me and found that I had no desire to continue running Pathfinder long term, I started out looking for the "perfect" D&D drop-in replacement. I picked up the Trailblazer OGL PDF that basically re-balances 3.5. I tried Arcana Evolved. I picked up Fantasy Craft.

    Until eventually I realized, the problem wasn't that I wanted to swap spell slots for spell points, or have a better enemy templating system. The problem was that I had fundamental disagreements with the entire design paradigm/philosophy with "core" D&D. I wanted something different.
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