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4E is for casuals, D&D is d0med


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Brennin Magalus

First Post
hong said:
Peter Seebach says it better than me:

4E and the Wii

Hey, I know that guy. (From another venue.)

Anyway, I am disappointed we lost you to 4e. Maybe the rest of us can take up a collection to have you deprogrammed. (Try not to take notice of any unadorned white vans in your neighborhood.)
 

hong

WotC's bitch
Too late, mang. I drank the kool-aid.

Or rather, since 4E reads like WotC stole my house rules and wishlist folder, perhaps it was they who drank the kool-aid.
 

Brennin Magalus

First Post
I considered the possibility they mind-seeded you. I had not considered the possibility you mind-seeded them. I'll have to check their blogs for signs of prurience.

In any event, where am I supposed to find another statistician that plays D&D (and is not switching to 4e)? I guess I could ask Gani but he is so advanced in years that it really would be a 15 minute adventuring day with him.
 
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d10

First Post
I agree with the sentiments contained in the OP's link completely. 4E, IMHO, is a fantastic game. I commend WotC for what they've achieved.

My feelings on 3e VS.4e are thus; In 3e your imagination was limited only by the ruleset, in 4e the ruleset is limited only by your imagination. Just because something isn't printed in the one of the three core rulebooks dosen't mean it isn't possible. The ruleset is simple, yet comprehensive, enough to become intuitive. Which in turn opens the game up to limitless possibilities gameplay wise. Which I think is the true genious driving 4E D&D.

As a DM who more often than not ended up "winging" large portions of his campaigns, mostly because my players would often do things I could never have expected, I welcome 4E with open arms. For when that situation occurs now, I'll no longer have to stop the game and look for some obscure rule. I can simply keep the game going and in doing so keep myself and group entertained.
 


WhatGravitas

Explorer
That is an interesting take on it and compares to well to the aims that 4E has: Bringing in more beginners, more fresh blood, and that is a good strategy, due to today's realities:

1) D&D, in any incarnation, cannot hold a candle to the White Wolf games if we get to immersive role-playing, these games often fit highly character-driven games better.
2) D&D is a pre-Forge game - love'em or hate'em, but Forge games have interesting concepts and hence also draw more specialised role-players to them.
3) A part of its niche, tactical group-gaming, is partially shared with traditional wargames and newer online games.
4) D&D is a brand and has high brand-loyalty and keeps gamers that way.
5) People have less and less time for casual activities nowadays, seriously.

So, by making the game more casual, D&D admits that it isn't one of the more specialised games - instead it utilizes the latter two aspect - keeping players via brand loyalty and making it more appealing to a casual role-playing crowd.

Because, at least I see it that way, D&D started out as very casual game - heck, it was basically Gygax and Arneson's pamphlet of modded wargaming rules!

By embracing it's casualness and cribbing intuitive concepts from other RPGs (a dash of narrative sprinkling), they made a very good entry-level game - and that's the point:

Not everybody wants to leave entry-level and entry stuff is also often associated with good memories - hence 4E could do for later editions what the original D&D sets (casual, fun games) did for modern editions: Nostalgia.

Sounds like a viable strategy and I suspect that similar considerations were behind it, considering that:

1) WotC tried to launch Gleemax.
2) WotC restructures MtG ight now.

Which both show that WotC tries to tap into that market of latent gamers that don't have the time for more invested gaming, hence also the layout of the 4E books: Non-textbook like, more like a "guide to gaming".

Cheers, LT.
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
I think that there is a fairly large portion of D&D players who played the game to have fun with their friends killing monsters, taking their stuff, and saving the princess.

Simple, down to earth, beer and pretzel sort of affairs. They had some laughs while sitting in their basement. 3e brought a bunch of new players to the game, that's for sure. But, in the process(and over the years) it has alienated a lot of more casual players.

People who were very involved in the game(and I include myself in that list) were very well versed in the rules and the "secrets" contained therein. I was the first one to say: Your character is a 3 fighter/3 bard/2 cleric/3 rogue? Umm..you know that's a really bad character right?

I've seen people pick up the 3rd Ed rulebook and start reading only to become really intimidated at how complicated everything was.

4e seems to be an attempt to find a happy medium between 2e(full of holes in the rules and rather boring to run combats in but very easy to run and understand) and 3e(lots of interesting options, but there is a rule for EVERYTHING and you needed to know them all to be good at the game)
 

Mallus

Hero
Nice Usenet post.

One thing though, rules complexity != campaign complexity, as demonstrated by the number of people who played deep, involved campaign using OD&D or beer-and-pretzels dungeon crawls under 3.5 can attest to. I'm sure my group wi have no trouble playing deep, involved, immersive campaigns --of we choose to-- using 4e.

Put another way, unlike the Wii, there really isn't a limit to how complex an app 4e can run.
 


Imaro

Hero
You know one of my biggest worries with 4e is that it isn't as casual friendly as some might think. I have taken the time to read trough numerous posts, here and elsewhere, concerning gameplay with KotS, the gameday adventure, etc. and there has been quite a large disparity in how groups fare versus the challenges. I am starting to think that while the rules may be simpler, the more tactical nature of the combat might be more complex than 3e. I compare it to the article in this manner...

The author comments on the numerous buttons on more advanced systems controllers, but I think it's more apt to look at 3e as having various controllers from the classic 2 button (barbarian) to the 6 or 7 button controller (wizards and clerics). The player was able to choose which controller they felt like dealing with dependent upon their playstyle.

4e strikes me as having the 3 button controller, but having alot of combos and codes you have to produce using those three buttons, and these maneuvers have to be pulled of in coordination with others that know the right sequences.

This is all a long way of asking what others think as far as 4e being more tactical and geared towards those who are better at that type of thing. Does this make it more accessible to new players or like chess and checkers will it still not attract the casual gamer so much as the tactical gamer and thus still cater to a particular niche? Thoughts?
 


BryonD

Hero
linked article said:
Is 4E as richly detailed a game as 3E? Well, no.
Quick someone silence him, the truth is leaking out.

FWIW, I think he is on exactly the right track. As I've predicted before, people will pick up this simple game and run with it. And many of them will then move on to the next fad in a matter of months. And many of the ones who stay will be less inclined to buy more books because the simple is better approach will not fit with the more and more add-ons approach. Does that mean no one will play? Hell no. But give it time.

For the first time ever, a new version of D&D is not on the the cutting edge of "richly detailed". 2E was there at first. But late in 2E it was overtaken by other games that did more and better, and the only thing had going for it was the name. And it was slowly but steadily dying. The new and shiny doesn't last long and and even the new players who really like it will start wondering just what this "role playing" thing can really offer once you get past the entry level.

oh and I love this paragraph:
If I had a group of experienced gamers, all of whom were mildly autistic like me, we would all play 3.5 or 3.75 and love the details and special cases we're so familiar with. If I wanna play with my roommate who gets frustrated and upset and gives up because skill points are too complicated and the spell preparation system is confusing and how was I supposed to know I had to pick spells... 4E is an excellent choice.
Not exactly complimentary of 4E fans.

And yeah, by lowering the bar for the target audience, you can get a hell of a lot more people in your potential customer base. But the problem is, his roommate buddy (49 times out of 50) isn't going to be a "new gamer". He might have fun playing for a few hours once or twice a month... for a few months. But them he will move on to the next thing.

Give it two years. Wait and see.
 


I have not read the article, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

I have DM'd three sessions of KotS, so I actually have some experience playing this game.

I find that 4e combat is far more complex than 3.x at low levels. The tactical options available to ALL PCs and the monsters makes things a bit chaotic. On more than one occassion I have had to tell a player to hurry up and make a decision as he sits there and looks over his character sheet looking for the "best" current option. At 1st and 2nd level in 3.x this NEVER happened. You either swung your sword or charged or cast your one of three spells for the day or whatever. Every round every player usually has an impactful tactical decision.

Add to this marking abilities, debuffs that last for one turn or until a save, recharging encounter powers for monsters, action points, daily powers, encounter powers, etc. and things get fairly complex fairly quickly.

This is NOT a simple game that plays easier than 3.x. Again, this is based on low level play. I remember with a shudder the nightmare of running level 9+ combats in 3.x with tons of dispel magic and other crap going off, and I hope desparately that 4e will never approach this level of complexity. My gut feeling is that we START with a higher level of complexity at 1st level, but that it doesn't increase signficantly as we level up because the things that are going on (see list above) doesn't really change.
 

Imperialus

Explorer
BryonD said:
For the first time ever, a new version of D&D is not on the the cutting edge of "richly detailed". 2E was there at first. But late in 2E it was overtaken by other games that did more and better, and the only thing had going for it was the name. And it was slowly but steadily dying. The new and shiny doesn't last long and and even the new players who really like it will start wondering just what this "role playing" thing can really offer once you get past the entry level.

But what it is jumping the bandwagon on is 'rules lite'. It's coming a little late to the party but lets face it. Rules light games are pretty popular and 4E is pretty 'cutting edge' in that respect.

To sum up my take on it, he suggests that while there is a segment of gamers who enjoy deeply complex rule systems that there has been a trend in recent years towards 'simpler' games. As games evolved through the 90's there was a trend towards trying to find a rule for everything. This brought us the Skills and Powers books of 2nd ed, Shadowrun 3, Gurps, the infamous Palladium (god knows what edition) and yes, Third Edition. Since the release of 3.5 however the trend has reversed across the gamer community. The two best examples of this in my mind are "Castles and Crusades" and "True20". While the two systems appeal to widely different audiences, C&C is seen as 'old school' while T20 is the indy rock band both are very simple, intuitive, straight forward systems. I think 4E hopes to appeal to both, with the core mechanic of "Roll a D20 and seen what happens" staying the same but with a more progressive framework built around it.


Personally I've been entranced by the simpler systems and I'm a wargamer, chits on hexes style. I enjoy wargaming because it is very intense, detail oriented mental gymnastics where you need to understand the workings of the system to do well. I know exactly one other person who I have this in common with. I need more than that for a D&D game. Besides I never got into the D&D system since the actual 'rules' of most wargames are fairly simple too, just implementing them is tough. I game with my sister who after 8 years still needs help doing characters, along side a father of 4. Simpler systems let us focus on what our characters are doing, not how they are doing it.
 
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ReillyMcShane

First Post
I haven't gotten my books yet - on order - but from what I've read, I'm excited about 4E based upon many of the aspects that the article - and some users - stated.

First, I have played for about 30 years and, to be honest, I don't have time like I used to. I have a family to do stuff with, house to take care of, job to attend, bills to pay, etc. My old circle of D&D friends are in the same boat. We get together once every 3-4 months for a day of gaming - drink beer, eat pretzels, catch up with each other. We like to kill stuff, get treasure - typical dungeon dive. Travel times to my house (where we play) are from 1-2.5 hours - so it's not easy to get us all together. We want to maximize the time we have together. D&D is the catalyst that gets us to re-connect, and we want to enjoy the time.

With that in mind, I hope 4E is a simpler, more streamlined game. I found 3E to be great on one level (lots of detail), but then it got caught up in so many rules, it could get frustrating. As the (usually) DM, preparing for a session was a lot of work. Trying to understand what the heck each monster actually did, feats, etc. - was quite time consuming - especially for high levels. And when you don't play that often, it really can bog down a game.

I'm a little worried that combat is going to be more confusing, but I haven't tried it yet to know for sure. But I don't mind a long fight, as long as people are doing stuff, making decisions, etc. It's when you sit there waiting for the cleric to review his 100+ spell options (my slowest player has a 16th level cleric in 3E - he can really make things go slow, but in his defense, he doesn't know the spells that well since we don't play that often) that it gets frustrating. Also, we had one player who played with us for a while when 3E came out, and he knew things far better than the rest of us. It was really frustrating to me as the DM - and the other players - as he'd pull rules out of his butt that none of us knew (of course, he never helped me out much when there were rules that might have helped me as the DM!). It was the nature of things since he played so much, but it wasn't that fun to the rest of us.

All in all, 3E is difficult because we didn't play that often together. Knowing spells, skills, feats, etc. - was a new experience every time. I rarely wrote my own adventures (which I used to do all the time) because I didn't know the rules as well as I did in 2.0 - when we played a lot more and things weren't as complex.

No doubt there will be things we miss - races, spells, whatever. But that happens every edition. But there will probably be additions we love. If streamlining the gaming system means more 'casual', it will likely be a winner in our group. Some people will prefer the deep complexity of 3E, and that's great for them. What's 'better' will simply be what fits a person's situation.

For my friends and I it's about getting together and enjoying each other's company. Drink beer, talk about the kids, jobs, old times, whatever. It's a social experience and we have a blast.

Time will tell, but I'm optimistic about 4E.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
Imaro said:
The author comments on the numerous buttons on more advanced systems controllers, but I think it's more apt to look at 3e as having various controllers from the classic 2 button (barbarian) to the 6 or 7 button controller (wizards and clerics). The player was able to choose which controller they felt like dealing with dependent upon their playstyle.
Not necessarily. I've got a player who achieved functional mastery of the cleric pretty quickly -- even starting with an 8-10th level character for an ongoing game -- but she was quickly frustrated with the barbarian's rage and trying to figure out when to use that one shot and what the trickle-down impacts of the stat modifiers were.

The barbarian isn't necessarily "easier" than the cleric. It's just different.

4e strikes me as having the 3 button controller, but having alot of combos and codes you have to produce using those three buttons, and these maneuvers have to be pulled of in coordination with others that know the right sequences.
I don't know that anyone (outside play-testers) has played enough 4e to say that with any confidence. Contrary to your first take, I've thought 4e just looks like you only have to manage the decent combos and all the "trick" codes are phased out.

I still think there will be differences in ease of play, depending on the player and how well a given class matches their mentality. I do well with personal and/or group tactics, so I'll play a rogue, warlord, or one that dips into the other (how's that for an odd mix?) -- I suspect I'd flummox things up as a defender or, especially, controller. Another player is good at playing meat-shield or artillery while helping others with tactics -- looks like either warlock or fighter would be easiest for him, or wizard if he wanted to step things up. Another is wonderful at identifying where people need support, but heaven help us if he starts with tactics, so he's going to be best suited for a support-focused leader. And the player above (cleric) would do well with something in the heat of things and powers that are either at-will or reliable, so fighter it is, though she might appreciate a TWF ranger -- controller and leader types are right out.
 

Andor

First Post
d10 said:
I agree with the sentiments contained in the OP's link completely. 4E, IMHO, is a fantastic game. I commend WotC for what they've achieved.

My feelings on 3e VS.4e are thus; In 3e your imagination was limited only by the ruleset, in 4e the ruleset is limited only by your imagination. Just because something isn't printed in the one of the three core rulebooks dosen't mean it isn't possible. The ruleset is simple, yet comprehensive, enough to become intuitive. Which in turn opens the game up to limitless possibilities gameplay wise. Which I think is the true genious driving 4E D&D.

As a DM who more often than not ended up "winging" large portions of his campaigns, mostly because my players would often do things I could never have expected, I welcome 4E with open arms. For when that situation occurs now, I'll no longer have to stop the game and look for some obscure rule. I can simply keep the game going and in doing so keep myself and group entertained.

In all seriousness, if all you want from a game system is a skeleton of a conflict resolution system on which to hang the unlimited worlds of the imagination. (No bad thing) What does 4e offer you that, for example, FUDGE does not?

System light gaming is a wonderful thing, but there are plenty of excellent ones out there already. What does 4e have over them?
 


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