You are right to express your views, and have done so eloquently. There is a problem that whenever you get an 'edition war' scenario in gaming, the views get very entrenched and communication becomes impossible.
My perspective is that of someone who never bought into the 4th edition concept, that you have outlined here, but also didn't really go hell-for-leather over 3rd edition either. I guess you could call me an 'Old School' gamer, if you want a label, although I regard myself as more idiosyncratic than that!
Balance only really matters if you view the game in purely tactical terms. My first character was a fighter, and I enjoyed the simplicity of it. Other people want more options, which is fine, but I never regarded the class in terms of trying to balance it's 'powers' against Magic-Users. For me, Magic-Users are studying 'power' and so it is not controversial that they get to do things that Fighters cannot do. It is no more controversial than Fighters being allowed to use any weapon and armour, whereas Magic Users cannot.
The 'Balance' of earlier editions was largely contained in the notion that Magic Users start off weak, and take ages to level up. If a player survives the opening levels, then the pay off was power at later levels. On the otherhand, players who liked to roleplay would enjoy characterising their wizard with their own quirks and other aspects that wouldn't necessarily pertain to a tactical advantage, but was nevertheless fun to play.
The point when you say that no one character should dominate a scene relates solely to the notion that every scene is essentially a combat one, and that players cannot contribute unless their characters have powers. I refute this suggestion, as there are more things a character can do beyond special effects, and the more you define characters by powers, the less able players are of playing the game any other way.
Similarly, I don't actually want to play in a purely tactical game, where characters participate essentially in a 'team sport'. Sure, D&D evolved from wargames, but much of the D&D experience I had went way beyond that into more free form aspects of roleplaying. My feelings on later editions of D&D was that game designers wanted to regress the game back into a clearly defined tactical wargame (and largely ignore 35 Years of RPG evolution in the process). I don't roleplay in order to collect miniatures and play that type of game - not that I have moral issues against 'team work' or the like, but because I get my fun from other things.
For the game designers to say that they want to create an 'inclusive' game is not stating an unclear purpose. It's simply acknowledging that there is a bigger picture, in terms of the D&D fanbase, than the one that was apparently catered for in D&D 4th Edition.
Indeed. Using the fact that many people "hate" 3E as evidence that it's badly designed is silly. Many gamers "hate" 4E and AD&D and any other system you might care to mention. Gamers gotta hate sometimes, it seems. It's evidence of nothing.I think it very much is. That's one reason I'm having problems with TwinBahamut's post. I just didn't choose to address that aspect of it.
There is a big difference between saying that it is bad to chase after nostalgia at the expense of good game design and ignoring the entirety of a brand's value. It is fine to make nods to tradition and it is important to build upon the past, but it isn't good to completely reject the new or to preserve clear flaws of past designs simply because the past as a whole is considered sacrosanct.If you're not throwing at least a bone to tradition and nostalgia, why push a distinct brand at all? Doing so becomes pretty much meaningless.
I would argue that you're the worst sort of market to target with any sort of trademark or distinctive intellectual property. So why should they try to point D&D in your direction rather than just come up with a different game entirely? Doing so and then slapping the D&D brand on it just weakens the identity of the brand.
Huh? Well, yeah, this is absolutely true. As I said, the quality of a game's design is based almost entirely on how well the rules suit the design goals. I don't know what you're trying to get at here...A game can be quite simple, but whether or not fewer rules are better than more depends on the design goals of the game. One Page Bulge has a lot fewer rules than Advanced Squad Leader, but they have very different design goals even though both may incorporate being able to play out the Battle of the Bulge.
Again, I must say... Huh? You logic makes no sense. I'm not begging the question at all when I say that 4E's goal was to please the fans who had problems with 3E's klunkiness and lack of balance (and there were many throughout 3E's life), and that it did a great job of appealing to those fans. The rest of what you say is simply incoherent and nonsensical. I think you failed to understand my point.You may be meandering here, but I believe you're also showing a very strange standard of game design quality. 4e is better game design because its target audience (3e haters) like it better than 3e? Isn't that kind of begging the question? 4e is better than 3e because people who came to not like 3e like 4e better? Then wouldn't PF (and by extension 3e if, as you say, PF is really not much about differences in design but in marketing) most likely be better than 4e because people who like 3e like PF better than they like 4e?
Do you honestly disbelieve the idea that objective measurement can be made of subjective thoughts and feelings? You do realize this means that you disbelieve in the legitimacy of statistics, polls, market research, psychology, sociology, linguistics, and medicine, correct? It isn't like the idea of measuring "fun" or "happiness" by adding up a bunch of subjective opinions is remotely controversial outside of places like ENWorld where people refuse to believe that game design is a real thing. People accumulate data like this all of the time throughout the world. How on Earth is it suddenly a questionable act when it comes to the tiny little world of tabletop RPG enjoyment?Frankly, I think your assumption of being able to objectively assess game design based on an aggregation of subjective opinions is faulty.
See also: Why bigger critters have better saves than smaller critters.I'll ask again (as no one's replied from upthread) - what do you think the +39 natural armour bonus of a Great Red Wyrm means in the fiction? Clearly that number has been assigned not based on any conception of the fictional toughness of the dragon's hide, but rather to make its AC reach a level that is deemed appropriate for a CR 26 creature.
How is it false? The term "hater" is probably flawed, but the idea is true.4E's target market is 3E haters? Isn't that kind of a false premise?
Indeed, and that's largely the point. But although people who are not entirely happy with 3E (which it is possible to be without being a hater) would have been a part of the target market, so would people who are happy with 3E. It would have been silly to purposefully exclude those people, because when you stop supporting 3E their money will stop coming in.How is it false? The term "hater" is probably flawed, but the idea is true.
I wouldn't call it "purposely exclude" so much as "didn't realize existed". 4E didn't lose a large chunk of the audience out of deliberate intent, it simply made the mistake in believing that the entire audience had the same priorities. 4E works very, very well for anyone who has the priorities and preferences that it caters to, much better than 3E ever did. 3E was a bad game for those people, and 4E is better for them. On the other hand, there are people who played 3E in a way that 4E's designers probably didn't expect or understand, and they fell outside of 4E's design goals.Indeed, and that's largely the point. But although people who are not entirely happy with 3E (which it is possible to be without being a hater) would have been a part of the target market, so would people who are happy with 3E. It would have been silly to purposefully exclude those people, because when you stop supporting 3E their money will stop coming in.
I guess I'll just say that I'd prefer to live in a world where Paizo went on to create a much more unique spin on the D&D experience that significantly improved and innovated upon the game in a way that moved it away from either 3E or 4E and was still a success. I'll leave it at that.I am not a fan of pathfinder nor did I feel their management of dungeon matched my tastes, but i do not see what is shameless about making a game for a system that has an open license and making it a huge success. I didn't like their adventures but clearly lots of people did and they turned that goodwill into gold. Good for them. I think its refreshing. There is nothing wrong or shameless with what they are doing.
Much rather be gaming in this environment than one where T$R was filing shameless lawsuits against anyone trying to make an rpg.
Right, but are there any actual examples of systems that create monsters without any kind of flavor?
They didn't realize that people who like 3E existed? Didn't they have, like, sales figures for 3E books and stuff?
In 3E, climbing a hewn rock wall is DC 25. That doesn't change as the game is played (that is, as fiction is created, the game world is explored, and characters grow). Just because it's DC 120 to balance on a cloud doesn't mean that characters can't attempt it at 1st level; they'll just always fail. The relationship between colour and the reward system doesn't change over time: you know that, if you can score a DC 120 balance check, you can balance on clouds; a +1 to your Balance check brings you that much closer to success.
In 4E, I think the relationship between colour and the reward system changes: you don't know what it will mean, when you first start playing, to make a Hard Level 30 Acrobatics check. Which means that gaining levels doesn't have a defined relationship with what your PC can do in the fiction - just because your Acrobatics check has increased by 1, it doesn't mean you're that much closer to balancing on a cloud. I think the group needs to define that for themselves; as far as I can tell, this is supposed to arise organically through play, and go through major shifts as Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies enter the game.
I don't think we have any basis for a conclusion like that. Regardless, we're only talking about who the game was targeted at. If what you say were true, then they were targeting 4E at everyone, rather than only those people who disliked 3E altogether.I think T.B.'s belief is the designers fell into an echo chamber/projection trap. They liked some thngs and didn't like other things. They are gamers. So obviously all the other gamers that like the current D&D will have the same likes and dislikes with the system.