The MAYA Design Principle, or Why D&D's Future is Probably Going to Look Mostly Like Its Past - Page 5
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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannyalcatraz View Post
    Similarly, my take on 4Ed was that it would have been even better- a stronger, more flexible product- with its own unique identity as a FRPG, without all the baggage/sacred cows* of the prior editors. For example, a classless version of 4Ed where you just picked powers that matched your concept would have no need for the inconsistently designed multiclass Feats.





    * many of which I like, FWIW, and feel are integral to the D&D experience.
    Like a bolder 13th Age.....yeah, I'd buy that!

  2. #42
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    I got nuthin.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistwell View Post
    I got nuthin.
    You had a 4e-related prophecy named after you -- that's something!

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Futurity View Post
    you assume a more balanced mechanical implementation meant the game was better at catering to all styles and ranges of play, but I don't think what you mean when you type that is what I mean when I consider the narrow range of play styles 4E worked with.
    They are very different things, yes. Better balanced games, by definition, offer more options that are both meaningful and viable in play, of course - objectively, more options mean more opportunities to express different play styles.

    Your claim about about 4e forcing a narrow range of play styles is deeply mistaken, but, like your earlier posts, on-topic in the sense of being an example of what the article the OP linked was talking about, though it requires taking it to another level.

    Condescension of implying I'm somehow unable to adapt to the / unfamiliar / aside,
    "Familiarity" was a callback to the OP, not an attack on you:
    Quote Originally Posted by innerdude View Post
    In terms of product design, MAYA stands for the "Most Advanced Yet Acceptable" version of a given product, with one of the primary keys being familiarity.

    ... the very first consumer product that came to mind when I read the MAYA principle was Dungeons and Dragons.
    The MAYA idea is nice as far as it goes, with the /familiar/ helping make something 'Acceptable'. But, human nature takes familiarity further than that, using it as a perceptual filter. If something is sufficiently unfamiliar, we may not even be able to place it in a category with familiar things to which it is similar. Thus the common misperception that 4e was a board or tactical game rather than an RPG. Similarly, your perception of it as supporting only a narrow playstyle seems the result of judging only a very small sub-set of the entire game - the portions of the combat system that most evoked D&D's roots as a wargame. Much of the rest of the system wasn't even familiar enough to be perceived as such, thus saying that it 'lacked' certain things that it, in fact, had, just in a novel implementation.

    But, enough about you, let's talk about me, and my MAYA...

    • I feel like maybe you were a player a lot more than a DM?
    • it suggests to me you've never played D&D with a strong narrative TotM focus before.
    • I really don't think you have played in a narrative style with an effort toward a cohesive descriptive process in which combat is meant to be visual and interesting from the story side, with the mechanics hidden in the background.
    • you do not care about any sense that you are doing other than playing a game (as opposed to telling a collaborative story).
    • I think the way you play(ed) D&D and the way I have played it over the decades veered off significantly along the way.
    So, in order:
    • It varied with the edition - 1e & 4e I both played and ran, 2e & 5e I almost exclusively ran. 3e I mainly played, though I did run a short but interesting little campaign. It also depended on the game - Champions! played as much as possible but also ran quite a bit, while the broader Hero I more often ran than played; Traveler, RuneQuest, GURPS, only ever played, etc...
    • TotM as a buzzword is of recent coinage and "orthogonal" to whether a game has a narrative focus, but I've used the technique (without the mystique) - back in the day, often of necessity, for want of a decent play surface - since the beginning. I've even run Champions! in that mode, and it's a more grid (hex!) dependent system than any ed of D&D ever dreamed of being.
    • I have certainly run D&D - and Storyteller and Hero and others - with a /very/ strong narrative focus. I mean, there's really not a lot else to do with Storyteller (as the name implies), and it's combat system, such as it is, was best avoided.
    • Again, the Storyteller of an oWoD campaign, from the release of M:tA through the freak'n end times. And, I've been in groups where Storyteller /wasn't/ "real ROLE playing" enough, and we delved into indie games (and, to be fair, groups that'd've just as soon played board games).
    • Obviously. For one thing, I veered off from D&D fairly early (w/in a couple years of getting into D&D, I was quite enamored of Gamma World, which was very D&D-like, and RuneQuest, which definitely wasn't, a few years after that, Champions!), though I kept coming back to it. On-topic, it means that what meets the MAYA threshold of acceptable familiarity was quite different for each of us.


    So, given all that, why did both 4e & 5e (and, for that matter, 3e, in it's day) meet my MAYA threshold? It's clearly not that I'm liberal, open minded or uncluttered by experience. I'm a cynical, bitter old man - I was cynical and bitter when I was young, too.

    Rather, it's that the XOMG-too-new things in 3e and 4e were already familiar to me from my experiences in the 80s and 90s. In fact, I can probably mostly blame Champions!/Hero System for it.

    If you were a long-time D&Der who didn't like 3.0, it was probably because all the system-mastery optimized-build shenanigans put you off. That was the big, unacceptably unfamiliar thing in 3e. The grousing about 'grid dependence' was really secondary, and unjustified - D&D had /always/ had those wargame elements, 3e's grid mechanics were mostly cribbed from 2e C&T, anyway. Champions!, back in '81, had come up with the most elaborate, masterable, versatile, build system prettymuch ever, AFAICT, by 89, it and other Hero games had been merged into a Universal RPG, Hero System. Not only could you build any character in any genre using Hero, you could build in the system artifacts of characters from other games. ChampionsII or III (not 2nd or 3rd edition, but supplements to the 2nd edition) even had side-bars, "the Goodman School of point-effectiveness" or something like that, lampshading all the rewards for system mastery there were to be had.
    So 3e, not shocking, not unfamiliar. Perfectly acceptable.

    (Oh, as an aside, another aspect of 3e that ended up more familiar/acceptable than it might've seemed: Multi-classes. 3e MCing was a radical departure from TSR-era MCing - but, it was more than a little like the human-only 'character with two classes' 1e rule, and the Bard progression, in fact, the Bard was very like a 3e PrC. So bit of stealth familiarity, there. Oh, another example of that from 5e: HD. HD work a bit like 4e's horrifyingly unfamiliar surges, but, well, /they're Hit Dice!/, what could be more familiar?)

    4e, of course, was even less MAYA-acceptable/familiar to longtime D&Ders, but, again, past Familiarity with Hero gave it an in with me. One of the many crazy unacceptable things in 4e was this weird idea of mechanics pulling multiple-duty. A fighter and a wizard could both have an "at will power" that 'pushed' an enemy, for instance (Tide of Iron & Thunderwave) - UN-be-LIEVE-able! Hero, for all that it's a complicated system-master's dream, had one heck of a 'narrativist' little non-mechanic: "Special Effects." You could just straight-up re-define or re-imagine what a given power (yep, also made the generic jargon for 'character special ability' familiar) to appear in the narrative however you wanted. So your wizard's lightning bolt and your space-man's ray gun were both "energy blasts" just described differently. In could get a lot more over the top than that, too: your super-skilled escape artist could have fantastic skills, but might, have a heavily-limited Teleport for "impossible escapes" with the special effect that he escaped through unfathomable skill & cleverness (exactly how? A good magician never reveals his tricks!).

    Finally, 5e. Yeah, it's hit the RDA of MAYA for the fanbase pretty broadly - and, most importantly, was acceptable to that elite segment of the fanbase willing to 'war' against an edition - but it missed a few folks here and there... and I wasn't one of 'em, so it bears mentioning. 5e really disappoints some of the few fans it does disappoint on the grounds that it's just too easy. It's prettymuch challenge-calibrated for newbs who never get magic items. C'mon. So that's a whole 'nuther narrative from the traditional skilled-play, gotchya-death lurking invisibly on the /near/ side of every corner, because you'd be expecting it /around/ the corner, and that's not really challenging enough if you /expect/ it. Again, I blame Champions! It was when I finally started getting to play it regularly that I started to encounter GMs and players with different base expectations about PC survival and 'challenge' from the old-school D&D. They were much more, well 'narratively' oriented. Not, "your character is going to die if you're not sufficiently paranoid at every moment," but "your character is not going to die until it reaches the dramatically appropriate point in it's story arc to die an heroic or tragic or other meaningful death." Shocking, at the time. Long since familiar now - and far beyond the level of 'too easy' you see in 5e. Seriously, 5e's got some teeth... at least some dentures... OK, at 1st level, anyway.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Tuesday, 4th June, 2019 at 07:40 PM.
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  5. #45
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    Indeed. 4e only fails the MAYA test if you *never* played anything other than D&D.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall View Post
    Indeed. 4e only fails the MAYA test if you *never* played anything other than D&D.
    Why would you have to play anything besides D&D for 4e to fail the MAYA test for D&D?? Or did you mean it only fails the MAYA test for an rpg in general?

    EDIT: Actually if that is what you mean I still don't think this statement makes any sense.

    EDIT 2: Also were you ever going to post anything supporting your claim about Mike Mearls actively sabotaging 4e??
    Last edited by Imaro; Tuesday, 4th June, 2019 at 08:36 PM.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imaro View Post
    Why would you have to play anything besides D&D
    Why indeed?

    Also were you ever going to post anything supporting your claim about Mike Mearls actively sabotaging 4e??
    Not in this thread. Maybe in another thread if I can figure out a way to do it without getting banned.

    But to whet your appetite: Magic Missile was when I knew for sure that mearls was actively working to destroy 4e.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall View Post
    Why indeed?
    This still doesn't really clarify what you meant...

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall View Post
    Not in this thread. Maybe in another thread if I can figure out a way to do it without getting banned

    But to whet your appetite: Magic Missile was when I knew for sure that mearls was actively working to destroy 4e.
    Uhm... ok... I guess I can't wait for the rest...uhm...yeah ok.

  9. #49
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    I'm not gonna lie, I kinda wanna hear the story of sabotage and betrayal!
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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imaro View Post
    Why would you have to play anything besides D&D for 4e to fail the MAYA test for D&D?? Or did you mean it only fails the MAYA test for an rpg in general?
    Try parsing the sentence again, factoring out the nots: /if/ you ONLY every played D&D, 4e might fail the MAYA test for you. Or, alternately, if you had played a lotta different games, 4e likely passed the MAYA test for you.

    Point being, 4e did a lot of radical, "new," 'narrativist'/'gamist'/'dissociative'/etc things that, in fact, lots of games other than D&D had been doing for decades. D&D is an industry laggard when it comes to innovation, in other words.

    Also were you ever going to post anything supporting your claim about Mike Mearls actively sabotaging 4e??
    One hopes not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall View Post
    You had a 4e-related prophecy named after you -- that's something!
    Mistwell Predicts?


    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Randall View Post
    Not in this thread. Maybe in another thread if I can figure out a way to do it without getting banned.
    Good choice.

    But to whet your appetite: Magic Missile was when I knew for sure that mearls was actively working to destroy 4e.
    Oh, please. It was just a little retro-fun modification to one spell...

    that forced him to rewrite like 40 things, and never did all get sorted out, since there were /so many/ things that triggered on 'hits' and he'd moved the attack to an effect line.

    Personally, I think he focused on the wrong cool thing about old-school MM. It wasn't that it had always always hit (in 0e, for instance, it had a hit %), it was that it produced more missiles as you leveled up and you could direct them at different targets if you wanted. That'd also have better-supported the wizard's role as Controller (the blasting/minion sweeping duties thereof).

    But that's not sabotage, just Mike being a somewhat inconsistent designer who works better in natural language than in jargon.

    Quote Originally Posted by HJFudge View Post
    I'm not gonna lie, I kinda wanna hear the story of sabotage and betrayal!
    Only if there are actual, literal, wooden shoes involved. That might make it funny enough to be bearable.


    ...

    But, whatever you come up with, Josh, I feel pretty confident I can mount a credible defense for poor Mike. (I mean, he's been through enough, really.)
    Remember: burden of proof is on the Prosecutor!
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Tuesday, 4th June, 2019 at 10:25 PM.

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