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D&D 4E 4E/5E Transition issues

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Accepting that 5E D&D is inevitable - and ignoring the debate about when it will come about - I have a concerns about the transition period that I thought I would raise.

Previously, when transferring to a new edition, groups were at liberty to continue with their campaigns and use materials from the old edition until they felt they were ready to port over. Given that WotC conitnue releasing material for the old edition right up to the wire this seems like a reasonable expectation.

My concern is that, with 4E being very reliant on the online builder, compendium, etc, groups will find it very difficult - if not impossible - to continue with their 4E campaigns if/when WotC suddenly ceases to support them. Players may no longer have access to the characters, or be able to level them up effectively.

As someone with a lot invested in a 4E campaign, which I anticipate may run for some years, I am quite unhappy at the prospect of the latest edition being given a comparatively short 'shelf-life', unless it is appropriately supported during a transition period which I fear - for marketing reasons - Wizards will not allow.
 

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delericho

Legend
Two things:

WotC haven't announced 5e. Isn't it premature to be talking as if the transition is imminent?

WotC have never done an edition transition in a post-DDI world. There really is no way of knowing how they'll handle it - they might well draw a line until the 4e tools but otherwise leave them fully available for people to continue to use. Indeed, I for one would actually consider it an improvement if we didn't have to deal with a continual revisions creep.

Honestly, it's a little premature to think that the sky is falling. At least, until tomorrow...
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Please note my initial comment "and ignoring the debate about when it will come about".

I know wizards 'have never done an edition transition in a post-DDI world', as that is the topic of my thread.

The questions is 'how will groups cope with the transition, and do we think Wizards will provide ongoing support'?
 

Iosue

Adventurer
I was watching one of the youtube vids about the VT, and saw something very interesting. It appears that you can select what type of game you'll be playing: 4e, 3.5e, 2e, 1e, or other. Unfortunately the guy doing the video said he'd never looked at how it works for anything other than 4e. But it makes me think; with the new digital tools we may never see the total abandonment of an old edition again. Even if there's a new edition and no new material is made for 4e, they can still retain the 4e tools server and software, letting them keep old subscribers. Perhaps something like having a 4e-only sub, a 5e-only sub, and a premium 4e/5e sub.
 

Dice4Hire

First Post
A few options

1) WOTC will freeze the 4E DDI as it is at a certain point and 4E people will be free to use it forever. (While of course paying a subscription of some sort)

2) WOTC will discontinue using 4E DDI and groups are totally out of luck.

3) The group in question does not use DDI and it is all totally moot.


Basically this. The ball would totally be in WOTC's court about what they decide to do.
 

Dice4Hire

First Post
I was watching one of the youtube vids about the VT, and saw something very interesting. It appears that you can select what type of game you'll be playing: 4e, 3.5e, 2e, 1e, or other. Unfortunately the guy doing the video said he'd never looked at how it works for anything other than 4e. But it makes me think; with the new digital tools we may never see the total abandonment of an old edition again. Even if there's a new edition and no new material is made for 4e, they can still retain the 4e tools server and software, letting them keep old subscribers. Perhaps something like having a 4e-only sub, a 5e-only sub, and a premium 4e/5e sub.

I am pretty sure the 4E tools will not disappear, but will stop being updated. Taht seems the best way to have good revenue.
 

pedr

Explorer
The VT doesn't really do rules to a great extent. If you're playing 4e it will note 'bloodied' and have an easy selection of 4e conditions but you can easily use it for other editions of D&D - or even other games.

The more pressing problem is the Character Builder. Of course it is entirely possible to create 4e characters without the Builder, and Hero Lab can provide an alternative - though you probably have to enter the power details manually.

What's interesting is that despite the - often well-founded - criticisms of DDI, both Character Builders have been successful to the point that it's entirely legitimate to wonder how easy 4e would be to play if they didn't exist.

I have something of a suspicion that WotC will do something which is less abrupt than a full 5e, though - given Mike Mearls' desire that WotC is known as a company that supports D&D whatever version you're playing - so they may well be planning something in response to these concerns.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Relatively speaking, 4E has not been a success, because a large proportion people were able to continue playing the old edition. (Thanks in part to OGL and Pathfinder, but thanks also to the fact that a group could continue to play any old edition if they so chose, because nothing depended upon DDI in those days.)

But making and sustaining a character sheet in 4E is a tough job without the builder, and never before has a copy of your character sheet resided solely 'in the cloud'.

Won't Wizards be tempted to use this method (however unpopular it may be in the short term) of encouraging players to move to the new edition, and thus increase sales?
 

Dice4Hire

First Post
What's interesting is that despite the - often well-founded - criticisms of DDI, both Character Builders have been successful to the point that it's entirely legitimate to wonder how easy 4e would be to play if they didn't exist.
.

Personal experience: Easy.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Personal experience: Easy.

We began playing 4E with hand-written character sheets, and it was straightforward enough in early heroic tier. But eventually, the plethora of interelated powers, abilities and feats became too much for some of my players.

I'd be interested to hear about how you manage it, Dice4Hire. Any tips?
 

john112364

First Post
I think that 4e gamers in general (myself included :blush:) are spoiled by the character builder. It is a wonderful tool for managing your character and for having all of your options, literally, at your fingertips. However, in every previos edition of D&D and GURPS and Hero etc., we have managed to make a character by hand. 3e easily has just as many options as 4e yet somehow we managed to build and maintain characters. If 4e is your game of choice then if the CB no longer exists, then you'll figure it out. It won't be as easy, but it can easily be done.

And, as said by Dice4Hire, we'll have to wait and see what WotC decides. Hopefully they've learned from the last transition about alienating their player base. ;)
 

Randomthoughts

Explorer
I've purposely avoided participating in 5e threads to avoid the rampant (and unhelpful) speculation inherent in them. But the OP raises some good points which, if I were WotC, I'd consider as they are concerns from their customers.

It would be nice, once WotC has their ducks in a row, to be more transparent with the direction of the game. In fact, I believe Mearls is doing just that (more or less). But more direction would be nice.

Specifically, it would be nice to hear assurances from WotC of either a transition plan or plans to keep 4e running even though 5e is out. I very much doubt that they would just pull the plug - denying subscribers a chance to download their PCs for example.

Though I can see WotC keeping the 4e version of CB, MB etc, I can also see them weaning everyone away from it in time. :Shrug:

Ultimately, I'm not concerned about 5e. No one knows when if/when it'll roll out. Plus, I hope that 5e may be the "great synethesis" of all past editions (a monumental task indeed). Was it Mike or Monte who posited a system that had several levels of complexity? From that, I imagined 5e may consist of a basic tier (to appeal to say the 1e folks), a more complex tier (looking more like 4e) and then a series of optional rules (so perhaps appealing to 3e folks).

IOW, though it may be marketed as "5e", the system itself won't be too different from 4e, if that's the "level of complexity" you want to play with.
 

Randomthoughts

Explorer
I think that 4e gamers in general (myself included :blush:) are spoiled by the character builder.

<snip> If 4e is your game of choice then if the CB no longer exists, then you'll figure it out. It won't be as easy, but it can easily be done.
I do think gideonpapys has a valid point, though. I think it's reasonable to believe that 4e "users" (players and GMs) will take the presence of electronic tools (or lack thereof) into consideration when deciding whether to continue with 4e or start all together.

It certainly was true in my case. CB just blew me away (that was the time when it was free online, but only to level 3 IIRC). And MB (Classic at the time) also blew me away. It would be very difficult to go back.

More importantly, at least for me, it means that any new game system I go to, if I'm in the "market" for a new game, must also have electronic tools that save me time in prep. Time is more important to me at this stage of my life (assuming a reasonable price).
 

the Jester

Legend
We began playing 4E with hand-written character sheets, and it was straightforward enough in early heroic tier. But eventually, the plethora of interelated powers, abilities and feats became too much for some of my players.

Had they played a high-level caster before 4e? Or (god forbid) a high level 3.x druid?

MUCH more complex with no online helpers to speak of.

I just don't see how "I wrote it myself in pencil" makes it harder to run your character, honestly.

Now, is the complexity level of 4e too high at higher levels? That's another discussion entirely.
 

john112364

First Post
I do think gideonpapys has a valid point, though. I think it's reasonable to believe that 4e "users" (players and GMs) will take the presence of electronic tools (or lack thereof) into consideration when deciding whether to continue with 4e or start all together.

It certainly was true in my case. CB just blew me away (that was the time when it was free online, but only to level 3 IIRC). And MB (Classic at the time) also blew me away. It would be very difficult to go back.

More importantly, at least for me, it means that any new game system I go to, if I'm in the "market" for a new game, must also have electronic tools that save me time in prep. Time is more important to me at this stage of my life (assuming a reasonable price).

I actually agree with you and gideonpapys. I think it would be a HUGE mistake on WotC part not to support the 4e CB. I'm just saying that it can be, has been and still is done without the CB. It would be a pain in the butt for me personally, but I 've played very complex characters in the past without. Like I said, I'm spoiled. :)
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
My players are quite lazy. And indept. There, I've said it.

But the problem is that we have got used to the CB, as Randomthoughts says.

I mean, a five-hour download time for movies seemed like a huge leap forward until high-speed broadband came along, and we once loaded PC games from a tape deck.

And where less 'involved' players could, in the past, play a fighter or something relatively straightforward, now every class has a whole range of powers that would need to be written down by hand or - god forbid - looked up at the table!!! (Which is one of the horrors of previous editions that I never want to go back to.)

But on a more serious note, Randomthoughts is right to say that the manner in which WotC proceed is of the utmost importance for the future of our hobby. As a consumer I want to start a conversation that someone with his head screwed on (like Mearls) might overhear.
 

Jack99

Adventurer
The DDI doesn't cause a problem with transitions between editions, it fixes the problem.

Before, every time there has been an edition change, the owner of DND have lost customers, customers that stayed with the previous edition and thus more or less stopped giving the owner their money.

Now with the DDI, that problem is solved. All WotC needs to do, is to continue running the DDI. I imagine a majority will switch to 5e, or whatever it is called, but those who wish to stay with 4e can do that, and still contribute with gold to the coffers of WotC.

Stop worrying about the DDI shutting down because of a new edition.
 


Dice4Hire

First Post
We began playing 4E with hand-written character sheets, and it was straightforward enough in early heroic tier. But eventually, the plethora of interelated powers, abilities and feats became too much for some of my players.

I'd be interested to hear about how you manage it, Dice4Hire. Any tips?

Simply, make a sheet that will put the info you need in front of you. This does take some designing, to be honest, though. Since I started 4E, I have made multiple versions of sheets. My current version is attached.

But anyone can do it. The idea of going through list upon list upon list on DDI would turn me off like a light.

Yes, with paper going through feats is the most time consuming step. But I imagine it iswith DDI also.
 

Accepting that 5E D&D is inevitable - and ignoring the debate about when it will come about - I have a concerns about the transition period that I thought I would raise.
WotC is ultimately a unit of a large American corporation, and Corporate America has it's foibles. Though there's been a string of eds of D&D, there's no guarantee Hasbro will see fit to keep green-lighting new ones. They need to see profits, and growth, for that to happen. If the market for D&D were to become 'stable' or 'mature' and stop growing, with the existing books continuing to sell, it could just sell the same ed for decades - that's how most games (boardgames and the like) work for Hasbro. You don't have a continuing evolution, just a core product and the occassional variation. D&D could be taken to that more familiar model at some point.

It could also be shelved for a decade or so to 'let demand grow.' Lots of corporations do that with their non-core products, often to the baited delight and consternation of fans - the McDonald's McRib is an obvious example of the strategy. Movies going into and out of the 'Disney Vault' is another. D&D could be relegated to that status, just trotted out every 10 years or so for a new generation of kids.


Previously, when transferring to a new edition, groups were at liberty to continue with their campaigns and use materials from the old edition until they felt they were ready to port over. Given that WotC conitnue releasing material for the old edition right up to the wire this seems like a reasonable expectation.
That worked with D&D, AD&D, and 2e, since they were largely compatible. It worked for 3.0->3.5, technically, but still generated a lot of controversey. It didn't work for 3e->4e, though, the continued availability of 3.x support (via the OGL), allowed some hardcore fans to utterly reject 4e.

I'm guessing WotC won't want to make that mistake again.

My concern is that, with 4E being very reliant on the online builder, compendium, etc, groups will find it very difficult - if not impossible - to continue with their 4E campaigns if/when WotC suddenly ceases to support them. Players may no longer have access to the characters, or be able to level them up effectively.
Your concern may be well founded. WotC won't want 4e grognards to badmouth and cut into 5e sales the way 3.5/Pathfinder did to 4e. Before there's a 5e - maybe a decade or more before (see above) - the plug will be well and truely pulled on 4e. It'll go out of print, it will not be liscenced out to third parties to support, and the digital tools will be taken down.
 

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