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D&D 4E 4e - Too much change?

Erekose

Eternal Champion
Doug McCrae said:
It's only a lot of change if you've not been using the late 3e books, particularly Tome of Battle . . .

I think this sums up exactly why I don't think 4E will be for me.

Reynard said:
I guess the only thing that concerns me is how alone am I in this . . .

Not alone! I couldn't agree more.
 

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Geron Raveneye

Explorer
mxyzplk said:
So a lot of what we're hearing about 4e isn't necessarily "bad" per se, but it is very different than previous D&D versions. There was some change from 1e to 2e, and some from 2e to 3e, and a very little from 3e to 3.5e, but this seems to be more "a RPG inspired by some aspects of historical D&D" than a rev of D&D itself.
...
Comments?

Yep, and I'm not happy about it either, but that only means WotC (and other 4E publishers) won't see any of my money from that point on.

Of course, it probably also means I can kiss the hopes of finding new D&D players pretty much good-bye here. :\ Remains to be seen, though.
 

Lurks-no-More

First Post
It seems like too much change now, because 2e, and to a lesser extent, 3e weren't quite enough change. The game stagnated when RPGs went on.

As for the worries about the wizard ceasing to be a generalist... well, I think wizard has been, especially at the high levels, too much of a "do anything that other classes can do (except heal), and likely better" guy.

The Races & Classes info from our Hungarian source says wizards will be focusing on evocation and illusion, with necromancy and enchantment nerfed. Some transmutations are gone, others remain; and a lot of what was previously ordinary spells will become rituals. Also, given that the wizard role is going to be a battlefield controller, I'm expecting them to have a lot of conjuration effects, to deny areas, block movement or sight, and so on.

Although that doesn't sound like a "do anything" guy anymore, it does sound like a generalist to me.
 


Wanderer20

First Post
I agree that this is no more D&D as we knew it in 1st, 2nd, 3.x.

This is a pseudo-mmorpg with mechanics of a strongly-affected miniature game, the ties to the old edition are just, as many said, inspiration.

Furthermore, I don't see less bookkeeping (sp?) or less complexity than before, and too many sacred cow were sacrified for the sake of change.

I'm sad, but it's true this will be remembered as "New Coke 2".
 

Simia Saturnalia

First Post
Well, I slept on it.

I'm still down for 4e, but in the way I'm down for Arcana Evolved - it's a cool and flavorful d20 game, but it's not general-purpose. And I'm okay with that. I've got an ongoing hack of the L5R system into a grim urban fantasy game and a 'best of d20' E6 variant coming together for any campaigns that need a more broad and versatile rules offering.

Just means I can stop pretending to myself 3.5 is a generic fantasy rules set.
 

Garnfellow

First Post
I think this last round of news really challenges my status as a card-carrying 4e Agnostic.

Although Umbran is right to note that we are trying to evaluate things without proper context -- and, as with 3e, we should be taking every bit of news with a heaping sack of salt -- on the other hand, we really aren't in the same situation as we were back when 3e was coming.

2e, at the end of its reign, was broken and bloated, hauling around the weight of hundreds of supplements. In 1999 there were several competing game engines on the market that were mechanically stronger than 2e. TSR had gone dark for months. The situation was dire.

Right now, people have begun to see the limitations of 3e. I certainly think it's high time for a revision. Most of the problems with the system that have been pointed out by WotC designers and good citizens on this board -- excessive prep time, too much complexity for DMs, high level play, monster design -- are real issues. And there are a ton of supplements that have brought important new ideas to the system that should be incorporated into the core.

But the current situation could not in any way be described as dire. The need for a 4e right now isn't anywhere near as great as was the need for 3e in 1999. Yeah, those problems with 3e that I mentioned above are real, but they are not pervasive and they don't cripple the game. Many of them are corner cases that a DM would only run into if they, like MerricB, ran three sessions every week or only ran high level games or if they were a professional game designer.

For most people, 3e works just fine, most of the time. It's a fundamentally strong game engine. A revision that pulled the best ideas from the supplements into the core and cleaned up some of the worst problems would probably be welcomed with open arms by the vast majority of people on this board. I'd be in the front row throwing flowers.

But my problem is that, other than the broad, high level goals described by the design team, I am finding myself hating almost every single specific change I am hearing about, from the risible names to the total revision of the magic system into something probably very neat but also unrecognizable. When news of 3e was leaking out, there were plenty of things that sounded terrible along with things that sounded brilliant. I was probably 60% positive and 40% negative when they launched, and ended up loving 3e. Right now I am probably 80% negative and 20% positive, and that positive rank seems to be dropping lower every day.

(Topic for another thread: Is WotC Running a Disastrously Bad Marketing Campaign for 4e? Maybe we can't evaluate the system yet, but we sure as heck can talk about how the information has and hasn't been disseminated.)

To me, the changes that are being described sound way too severe for my taste. I feel like 3e needs a tune-up, not the major overhaul that is being described. I appreciate that the designers want to be bold and make deep changes to the engine. But I suspect they will fix some stuff but will also create many new problems that do not currently exist. So the game will go three steps forward and two steps back. It's not my lack of faith in their ability as designers; it's just the nature of something so complex. It took years of widespread play for many of 3e's weaknesses to be exposed and understood; I'm not sure that WotC's limited playtest pool is going to flush out those sorts of issues.

Whereas at this point, we have an unprecedented understanding of the 3e engine. Probably no RPG system has had more development and discussion than 3e. The 4e designers could have built on that knowledge base and done a spectacular tune-up. Instead, they are shooting for the moon with a radically new engine. While I certainly hope that this gamble pays off, the more radical the changes, the chances for a sweeping success diminish.

Finally, while I don't really give a crap about in-game canon, I do like that there has been a certain amount of continuity between editions. I did a revision last year of a WD module from 1980 (http://home.gwi.net/~rdorman/frilond/rul/dm/Tizun_Thane.html). And while there was plenty of stuff that didn't translate (and no worries, thought I), I was very pleased to find that the end product very much felt like the original. Based on what I'm reading, I don't think I could perform a similar feat for 4e. :(
 
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Garnfellow said:
To me, the changes that are being described sound way too severe for my taste. I feel like 3e needs a tune-up, not the major overhaul that is being described. I appreciate that the designers want to be bold and make deep changes to the engine. But I suspect they will fix some stuff but will also create many new problems that do not currently exist. So the game will go three steps forward and two steps back. It's not my lack of faith in their ability as designers; it's just the nature of something so complex. It took years of widespread play for many of 3e's weaknesses to be exposed and understood; I'm not sure that WotC's limited playtest pool is going to flush out those sorts of issues.

Whereas at this point, we have an unprecedented understanding of the 3e engine. Probably no RPG system has had more development and discussion than 3e. The 4e designers could have built on that knowledge base and done a spectacular tune-up. Instead, they are shooting for the moon with a radically new engine. While I certainly hope that this gamble pays off, the more radical the changes, the chances for a sweeping success diminish.

That sums up my current opinion quite nicely.

I was down on the edition change when announced, improved my opinion as I accepted the inevitability and saw that the designers were interested in tuning up things that really could stand for improvement, and have subsequently had my perceptions become increasingly negative as I perceive changes that appear to be "change for change sake" or affect some of the flavor, continuity, or canon that make D&D D&D.

Obviously, we have much less than a full picture so many of the changes may make sense in context, but right now I'm not encouraged.
 

Mr Jack

First Post
My only worry about 4th Ed is some of the races & classes it looks like they are dropping. Other than that I'm loving it. The combat changes - toptastic - the magic changes - toptastic - stopping the wizard being I-do-it-all - toptastic - dropping the rather lame and overwhelmed school system - toptastic.

Mostly though I'm digging the way they talk about the design decisions - it's all about the play. I was deeply "meh" when they announced 4th; expecting another lame stumble forward like 3.5 but everything they're saying about it has me stoked.

My prediction: 4th ed will be a roaring success. There will also be naysayers, but the majority of players will move over to the new edition and like it.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
A'koss said:
Funny, it seems to me WotC is actually addressing the many complaints about 3e I've seen on this board.

Christmas Tree Characters
Save or Die/Nerf & Campaign-problematic Magic
Weak Low Level Characters
Unbalanced & Unwieldy High Level Play
Stat Abominations
Useless Skills
Speed of Play
AoO
Grappling
Boring Fighter Classes
The Much Maligned Vancian Magic System
Dependency on "Per Day" Effects for Game Balance
Poor Multiclassing Rules
Etc...

Some* of these problems are edition accidents, such as the multiclassing rules. I would never say the new multiclassing rules, whatever they may be, are "not D&D enough". But other things like vancian magic, spell slots, clerical healing spells and daily-based resource management are what D&D is all about, in all editions. People who dislike the basic ideas of a game, simply dislike that particular game. I don't like the fact that WotC is going after people who liked other games at the expense of people who already liked those basic rules. I think it would be possible to make things optional and save both groups of people: the 3e sorcerer was a great idea for those who don't lke preparing spells!.

*actually ALL except save-or-die, weak low level pc, vancian and per-day
 

Keefe the Thief

Adventurer
I, personally, wouldn´t buy 4e if there were not AT LEAST as many changes as those advertised. I already have the other versions of D&D, I want something new. And i like watching designers design things. :D
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
WyzardWhately said:
The complaints about the Wizard being narrowed into an artillery-piece are exactly what I've been concerned about the whole time. Playing spellcasters is sort of my niche, and the reason I enjoy it is the flexibility. If that goes away, the game has become sharply less fun for me in one fell swoop.

Well, here's a really big question, then:

Are you worried about the class called "wizard" being a generalist, or about being able to make a spellcaster who does generalist spellcasting? I submit that the news we have at this point has not precluded the latter.

This is the sort of thing I mean - we don't know what is possible in the system, through feat choices, multiclassing, and such. Getting up in arms about what the current focus of the wizard class rather misses the point that we don't know if the same function is available through some other avenue.
 

scruffygrognard

Adventurer
A'koss said:
In the long run most people are going to come around (so long as the game isn't borked in actual play). For all the changes 4e brings it is still nowhere near as big a transition as it was moving from 2e to 3e.
I don't find that to be the case at all. The flavor changes from 3rd to 4th edition are far broader in scope than those from AD&D to 3rd edition, as are the mechanical changes.

Yes, 3rd edition moved to a unified system (d20) rather than using lots of different subsystems to resolve checks BUT the types of classes, the way classes operated and the way spells/magic items worked were similar.
 

thundershot

Explorer
3E to 4E is a bigger change than 1E to 2E, but it's not by any means a bigger change from 2E to 3E... I'll enjoy it regardless.



Chris
 

ivocaliban

First Post
I agree with the general premise of the original post.

This idea of merging a system and a setting (an idea that 4e seems to be promoting) may be a successful one, however. At least from a marketing point of view. When you provide this much setting with the rules, they inevitably become one and the same. It makes selling the sourcebooks that follow that much easier. It has certainly worked for White Wolf.

Say what you will about 3e, but apart from the names of the deities and a handful of spells, they were not setting specific. They provided the basic tools for creating, running and playing in a fantasy world. They didn't tell you that that this world was going to focus on "points of light," although that style of play was (is) certainly possible with the core 3e books. They left this sort of thing up to the individual settings, which, in my opinion, is how it should be.

With 4e we appear to be losing the foundation upon which so many of us have built our worlds. It's not that "points of light" or dragonborn or what have you are intrinsically bad. It's that they're being presented to us as the norm, not as an option. We're not being given the tools to build our own settings, instead we're presented with a setting that appears to have a very specific tone--a "World of Darkness" if you will.

The big point I'm trying to make is that I prefer a little room between my system and my setting when it comes to D&D. I prefer a toolbox approach to the core books, so that I'm given what I need to make the world I want. If I want a setting that feels a certain way, then I'll either create it myself or buy a setting that reflects the themes I want for my game. It appears that the 4e core books are going to be rather thematically specific, which may make using those books to create other kinds of worlds more difficult.

While many have said not to worry about all the changes, they do add up. And what they add up to is a system that is married to a distinct theme. My complaint is not with the system, nor with the theme itself, but with the fact that they're both being served together. This is not what I want from D&D.
 

3catcircus

Adventurer
TwinBahamut said:
First, I'll disagree that THAC0 and BAB are identical, simply because they are reversed. If they didn't change anything, then they would still be usig THAC0. Also, my main point is that what they did keep the same, the fact that different classes get different progressions, is actually a source of severe problems, since then classes get more and more unbalanced the farther they climb in level. Changing the mechanic to a unified progression is a change, and is an improvement.

Disagree all you want, but subtracting a positive and adding a negative are the same thing...



I don't play in the Realms, so I won't comment on the changes they are making to it.

My justification for using new flavor, even if it is bad flavor, is that newness is always good. New ideas are inherently better than old ideas, simply because they offer a new opportunity for inspiring someone. Also, it is impossible to see if new flavor works well or not unless it gets developed and tried, and I think the potential benefit of getting a good new idea outweighs the potential harm of getting stuck with bad flavor.

That is the dumbest reasoning for change I've ever read. By that reasoning, New Coke must be better than original Coke even though they had to go back to making the old formula to regain the sales they lost when they introduced "new, improved, better, what people really want and you can't get the original formula Coke anymore" new formula Coke, huh?

New ideas aren't inherently better than old ideas - every idea has to prove itself on its own merits.
 

Garnfellow said:
(Topic for another thread: Is WotC Running a Disastrously Bad Marketing Campaign for 4e?


I've been saying that since I saw those video clips on the WotC website after Gencon. My first impression of 4E was two guys whose "skill" at public speaking was almost intolerable. They should have hired someone with a marketing/communications background to do the public speaking, with knowledgeable "gurus" on hand to answer specific questions. Those videos made my first impression of 4E:

"Bush League."
 

zoroaster100

First Post
Ivocaliban, you have summed up exactly my concerns about the flavor in the 4e core rules glimpses so far. I too am concerned that I'm being presented with rules that are married to a particular flavor so that it will take more work and time than I have to separate them in order to have the setting I want. I'm generally excited about the possibilities of the new rules that are being hinted at, but concerned that using those rules will be a headache if I don't like the specific flavor or setting tied to those rules.
 

delericho

Legend
Ogrork the Mighty said:
I predict that D&D is going to go the route of many heavy metal bands: it will come out with a new edition, alienate a large chunk of its fanbase, suffer a less than anticipated "success", reevaluate as the market continues to shrink, and eventually release a 5E version that takes D&D "back to its roots."

Yeah, that's the sort of feeling I'm starting to get. I just hope it doesn't get cancelled entirely in the meantime.
 

scruffygrognard

Adventurer
Mr Jack said:
My prediction: 4th ed will be a roaring success. There will also be naysayers, but the majority of players will move over to the new edition and like it.
If you're right, and I REALLY hope you're not (no offense meant), then I'd bet that a lot of oldtimers (people who've played D&D for the last 10 years or more) will not be on-board.

It's a strange feeling to be left behind by a hobby that you've supporting for 27+ years but that's life. C'e st la vie.
 

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