D&D 5E D&D Next playtest post mortem by Mike Mearls and Rodney Thompson. From seven years ago.

Oofta

Legend
I AM talking about the video... in the video they say that an overwhelming majority wanted no rules for social and very different rules for explorations... but instead of taking that to the entire game, they excluded spell casters.
They did discuss it and based on feedback chose not to change anything. Maybe they will for the next release.

What else is there to say?
 

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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
the cop out is they DIDN"T listen when it came to spells just non magic characters... they (and you) cherry picked "no social rules" to mean social spells Aokay
Again, I mentioned this to someone else above, this part changed in the next video and they explain why. They found in actual practice, due to time pressures of combat which were removed in non-combat situations, people liked MORE options during non-combat (which I assume includes more spells even for social situations) than they wanted for combat. They were less satisfied as options increased for combat, and more satisfied as options increased for non-combat. They did listen - it's just that it seems what people stated at first they wanted for non-combat ended up not being what they were satisfied with when it came to actual stuff they put out in the playtest.

I suspect for non-combat, while a spellcaster might spend the resources to do something, the actual play experience concerning the result of that spell was shared by all at the table and not really a spotlight issue on the spellcaster.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
If that's true then why do they have SO many non combat spells if they are not used?
You have not read it yet but my response above is the answer to this - they found very clearly and consistently over a huge swath of playtesters that game satisfaction went way up as options for non-combat increased. Which was a shock to the creators.
 


Again, I mentioned this to someone else above, this part changed in the next video and they explain why. They found in actual practice, due to time pressures of combat which were removed in non-combat situations, people liked MORE options during non-combat

the thing is again, I would agree with that assesement and it lines up with what I saw in 20014 AND still see today, but for some reason we take all those abilities from fighter and some/to most from rogue and monk but keep them with casters... it's odd
They were less satisfied as options increased for combat, and more satisfied as options increased for non-combat. They did listen - it's just that it seems what people stated at first they wanted for non-combat ended up not being what they were satisfied with when it came to actual stuff they put out in the playtest.
except again they some how still made some classes only have combat features (or at least mostly)
I suspect for non-combat, while a spellcaster might spend the resources to do something, the actual play experience concerning the result of that spell was shared by all at the table and not really a spotlight issue on the spellcaster.
this is an interesting bit and lines up with what I see at a micro level but not the MACRO level.
 

You have not read it yet but my response above is the answer to this - they found very clearly and consistently over a huge swath of playtesters that game satisfaction went way up as options for non-combat increased. Which was a shock to the creators.
again as I said in my last responce... that finding lines up perfectly with what I have found. HOWEVER I also see that most to all of those options for non combat things are hidden behind spells
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
the thing is again, I would agree with that assesement and it lines up with what I saw in 20014 AND still see today, but for some reason we take all those abilities from fighter and some/to most from rogue and monk but keep them with casters... it's odd

except again they some how still made some classes only have combat features (or at least mostly)

this is an interesting bit and lines up with what I see at a micro level but not the MACRO level.
I am not sure players care who initiates the ability to alter the situation out of combat. Mearls focuses on how in out of combat situation the players all talk among themselves about a plan on how to deal with the challenge. I imagine, in the context of spells which influence social interaction, that means the players include as part of the plan, "The Wizard casts charm person" and then once the charm happens all the players participate in what comes next. The fact the wizard is the one who expended the resources isn't particularly relevant to the spotlight that comes as a result of the spell. The fighter player might tell the wizard player, "Ask him where the secret entrance to the palace is at" and that's as much interaction as the Wizard player is having as well.

My audio is screwy but I think the part of the video in question starts here?

 

The point is that there are many, many options.
Don't like a basic fighter? Sweet. Try someone who grapples, uses "exotic" weapons (nets, polearms, etc.).
Don't want to do that? Cool. Try a subclass like Eldritch Knight or Battle Master.
Don't like any of those options? Well, that's okay. Build your own flavor by multiclassing.
Want a few more options? Maybe check with your DM about adding some of the tactical options from the DMG (or various 3rd party sources). Or maybe some flavorful magic items would be a good way to liven things up.
Maybe you'd rather play a monk, ranger, barbarian, paladin, etc.?
Oh, none of those ideas will work for you? Maybe D&D 5e isn't the game for you. Try looking at 3.x/4e/PF1/PF2 or something else to see if it's something you like.
Or you could just have a Fighter that, as a baseline, was a little more mechanical and worked a bit better, and there could be a special dumbed-down version for the increasingly few people (mostly grogs) who actually wanted that, rather than the default being so featureless and Feat-reliant.

Also you accidentally bring up another issue with 5E - weapons. They're incredibly boring. They're just complicated enough to be mildly annoying (unlike, say, OD&D), but they're not complicated enough to be engaging or interesting (unlike 3E/4E, even 2E, arguably).

You also bring up another issue - the "tactical options", most of which rely entirely on you using your Reaction. And that just doesn't work well in 5E, because you get one Reaction, and only one, per turn, ever. Which I get the design behind, but the "tactical options" are pathetic, because they're pretty much all balanced as if you had multiple Reactions, like 2E/3E/4E, i.e. they're typically very poor bang for your buck, whatever the cost is.

Really, what you're doing here is illustrating my point. 5E is an upgrade from 3E for martials, in terms of relative power, but not a huge one (it did more to squash down full casters than bring up martials, but a downgrade in terms of interesting-ness from 3E, and a massive downgrade in both from 4E. It's perfectly reasonable and right to feel that that is not a good thing, and was a serious mistake, and should be address. You've put no real counter-arguments, just workarounds which as I've said, don't really work.

And not a single thing you've suggested addresses one of the most fundamental issues with Fighters - doing anything at all successfully outside of combat, except Athletics checks, and even then the Paladin is likely just as good, and the Barbarian is likely considerably better. That's just outright bad design. That's not something you can fix in a reasonable way with existing rules. It requires a redesign, and hope 1D&D will achieve that. Fighters just got underdesigned for both outside-combat pillars.

The only light at the end of the tunnel here, and hopefully it's not Mirage Arcana or something, is that 1D&D changing how Feats work hopefully means they won't design the 1D&D Fighter to rely on "I got more Feats than other people" in the same way (because level-locking Feats will make the Fighter "Feat advantage" potentially significantly less useful), which will also potentially open things up design-wise on the Fighter subclasses. I'm fine with there still being a "Fighter for buzzed grogs*", but like, make the same thing for the other classes if you're going to do that, and if you can't do it for the other classes, just don't do it. Don't penalize an entire class for a tiny subset of people who play it.

* = I mean it's not like I'm never a buzzed grog, but you get my point I think.
 
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I am not sure players care who initiates the ability to alter the situation out of combat. Mearls focuses on how in out of combat situation the players all talk among themselves about a plan on how to deal with the challenge.
that matches my experience both at experienced and newb games. Everyone pools a 'what can we do' list and then decide on a plan...sometimes it happens at the moment with out of game talk but over time people get used to what others have and can do. "The warlock can talk with animals at will" or "The warlock knows all languages" or "The ranger has a spell to help us all stealth better" becomes just a known thing.
I imagine, in the context of spells which influence social interaction, that means the players include as part of the plan, "The Wizard casts charm person" and then once the charm happens all the players participate in what comes next. The fact the wizard is the one who expended the resources isn't particularly relevant to the spotlight that comes as a result of the spell. The fighter player might tell the wizard player, "Ask him where the secret entrance to the palace is at" and that's as much interaction as the Wizard player is having as well.
again, but thing is that I don't understand why all of (okay it's most not all of them) are located in the spells not other subsystems.
My audio is screwy but I think the part of the video in question starts here?

thank you
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mod Note:
Folks are getting a little testy in here.

When folks get testy, there's red text and someone ends up unhappy. You don't want to be the unhappy one, right? So, if you're feeling testy, maybe find another discussion for a while.
 

I'm of the opinion that 4E and 5E have unnecessarily high HP counts. I think that if every PC had hit points within a range of like 20 to 35 for the entirety of their careers it would make creating balanced challenges easier. Granted, this would need to be coupled with reworked rules for hitting 0 HP and dying... but I'd rather that then trying to grind down PCs that have 100 HP or more every fight. But that's just my feeling on the matter and I know is not close to being a widespread opinion.
So, no growth in HP, no growth in damage, no growth in AC, no growth in features, no growth in skills...

It sounds like you want people to play 1st level characters from the word "go" until the campaign ends. What's the point of that?

But my real point is that you can't please everyone. There will always be compromises, there is no one size fits all and there is no such thing as a perfect game.
Come on now. There's a vast gulf between "don't bother giving extra options, you can't make one size fit all" and, y'know, actually offering a spectrum of options.

I think we have a lot of threads about it because a few folks who frequent these boards are aghast that a simpler build is available to appeal to players who want/need that style of play.
If someone wants a warrior class with more flexibility or different flavor, they can choose a monk, ranger, paladin, barbarian, or a subclass like Eldritch Knight. And if that still doesn't work, take a look at a more tactical, crunchy d20 system like Level Up, Pathfinder 1e or 2e, etc.
And for someone who wants "a warrior class with more flexibility or different flavor" and doesn't want to use magic, what are we supposed to do?

It's unfortunate design that they chose to make this be Fighter and only Fighter.
Exactly.

Because of the basic concept.

That's it.

Just like people want a magical warrior type, but don't have it, a lot of other people want a character whose primary deal is that they're a skilled warrior, in armour, probably with a sword of some kind. I will say it seems to rather less popular with younger players than older, in my experience anyway. Whereas say, Rogue is as popular as it ever was.
Yep. Just like how human is almost always the most popular race, whether it's awesome or terrible. Standard human in 5e is weak; not as weak as PHB dragonborn, but it's definitely on the weaker side. And yet IIRC it was always the #1 choice in every data set collected from D&D Beyond and the like. It has literally nothing to do with whether the feature is good or bad, well-made or weak, and everything to do with "human is just broadly appealing, no matter how it's implemented." The aesthetic vastly outweighs the implementation.

Same reason why Blood Elves are one of the most popular Horde races in WoW. They're pretty, but still get to be part of the "savage" Horde.

Spells arnt broken if you forget you have them eighty percent of the time!
Hey, there's a brilliant idea. Just make sure it's far too onerous to actually use any of a class's abilities, and then it's perfectly balanced with the class that doesn't get any abilities to start with! </sarcasm>

Yeah. It's...really frustrating that that seems to have been--and still be--an intentional design choice in D&D.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Sure, and times change. I just don't expect overall dramatic modifications to the core systems. Even things like making orcs a core race is more of a cosmetic than structural difference. Even if I never allow them as a playable race in my home campaign.
Absolutely, I expect the same.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
this is an odd thing to say when we know races in general and backgrounds in general (linked to this is the feat at 1st level and feats not being optional) and that is just the first test
That's the big test, per Crawford in the video discussing the first packer. Future packets are going to be smaller and more focused, so this one was the big wad. And much of what they putnout here is on the line to be rolled back to 2014, anyways, if that's what feedback says.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Again, I mentioned this to someone else above, this part changed in the next video and they explain why. They found in actual practice, due to time pressures of combat which were removed in non-combat situations, people liked MORE options during non-combat (which I assume includes more spells even for social situations) than they wanted for combat. They were less satisfied as options increased for combat, and more satisfied as options increased for non-combat. They did listen - it's just that it seems what people stated at first they wanted for non-combat ended up not being what they were satisfied with when it came to actual stuff they put out in the playtest.

I suspect for non-combat, while a spellcaster might spend the resources to do something, the actual play experience concerning the result of that spell was shared by all at the table and not really a spotlight issue on the spellcaster.
I think the last part is the key.

Their data showed that the Wizard's spells were seen as a party resource in nonombat situations.

However once the game was published, many non-spellcaster players realized that the group was always point to the caster's character sheet for resources and options in noncombat situations but never theirs.

And I think that more or less lines up with another thing they mentioned: Playtesters had to constantly relearn the system dueto the big changes. So it is likely that the 100% combat 0% Noncombat classes like fighter and barbarian got playtested long enough in any single form to realize how little they brought in noncombat. There is the other point that every class had noncombat features in the August playtest but didn't in the September one. Which matches to something they also said, the packets were so big that paytesters were zoomed in on the actual changes because it was so big.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I think the last part is the key.

Their data showed that the Wizard's spells were seen as a party resource in nonombat situations.

However once the game was published, many non-spellcaster players realized that the group was always point to the caster's character sheet for resources and options in noncombat situations but never theirs.

And I think that more or less lines up with another thing they mentioned: Playtesters had to constantly relearn the system dueto the big changes. So it is likely that the 100% combat 0% Noncombat classes like fighter and barbarian got playtested long enough in any single form to realize how little they brought in noncombat. There is the other point that every class had noncombat features in the August playtest but didn't in the September one. Which matches to something they also said, the packets were so big that paytesters were zoomed in on the actual changes because it was so big.
They collected data on each class separately, for non-combat and for combat, over multiple playtests. It was hard to tell but it looked like Rogue was scoring high on both.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
They collected data on each class separately, for non-combat and for combat, over multiple playtests. It was hard to tell but it looked like Rogue was scoring high on both.

I know. My point is that they felt it was fine that the low complexity classes had low noncombat satisfaction because the Fighter player could point to the Wizard's player's or Rogue player's character sheet however because the playtest packets were so big that the playtesters had to relearn rules constantly, they didn't realize that the Wizard and Rogue player never pointed to the Fighter Player's character sheet..

A lot of what Mearls and Thomspon said in this post-mortem hints that a large percentage of playtesters had to constantly retrain themselves to get system mastery over and over with each packet and that many did not. So it is likely they didn't get a lot of feedback from people with high system mastery. They mentioned that they gave out too much information without enough communication a few times.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I know. My point is that they felt it was fine that the low complexity classes had low noncombat satisfaction because the Fighter player could point to the Wizard's player's or Rogue player's character sheet however because the playtest packets were so big that the playtesters had to relearn rules constantly, they didn't realize that the Wizard and Rogue player never pointed to the Fighter Player's character sheet..

A lot of what Mearls and Thomspon said in this post-mortem hints that a large percentage of playtesters had to constantly retrain themselves to get system mastery over and over with each packet and that many did not. So it is likely they didn't get a lot of feedback from people with high system mastery. They mentioned that they gave out too much information without enough communication a few times.
In practice, players with Fighters can improve solutions in social situations just fine, even without Spells.
 


Same reason why Blood Elves are one of the most popular Horde races in WoW. They're pretty, but still get to be part of the "savage" Horde.
WoW is pretty great at disproving the common canard of "Well, it's somewhat popular so it necessarily must be mechanically good/well-designed!". Even when a lot of classes/races have been right at the bottom, even expansion-on-expansion, if they have a popular aesthetic, they keep getting made as new characters, or played as old ones. Whereas if they're mechanically great, whilst it clearly improves their representation by a some percentage, it's not going to make an unpopular race or class, popular. Blood Elves particularly have been mechanically trash for what, six years? Longer? And they're still growing in popularity because of the aesthetic. Which isn't even that great an aesthetic, just a really mainstream one.

It's actually quite similar to 5E in a lot of ways, balance-wise, particularly in that the least-effective classes/specs are about 70% as effective as the most-effective ones, when all is said and done (in combat).
 

Smackpixi

Adventurer
WoW is pretty great at disproving the common canard of "Well, it's somewhat popular so it necessarily must be mechanically good/well-designed!". Even when a lot of classes/races have been right at the bottom, even expansion-on-expansion, if they have a popular aesthetic, they keep getting made as new characters, or played as old ones. Whereas if they're mechanically great, whilst it clearly improves their representation by a some percentage, it's not going to make an unpopular race or class, popular. Blood Elves particularly have been mechanically trash for what, six years? Longer? And they're still growing in popularity because of the aesthetic. Which isn't even that great an aesthetic, just a really mainstream one.

It's actually quite similar to 5E in a lot of ways, balance-wise, particularly in that the least-effective classes/specs are about 70% as effective as the most-effective ones, when all is said and done (in combat).
Is it a problem if a race/class is popular, with a high degree of satisfaction, but mechanically weaker than less popular options? Making the cool race/class more mechanically equal will result in it being even more popular and over-represented.
 

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