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D&D 4E David Noonan on 4E "Cloudwatching" (Added Dave's newest comment from his blog)

Glyfair

First Post
In his latest blog entry, David Noonan makes some interesting points on watching 4E's arrival. I was going to put it in my blog thread, but as it doesn't actually tell us anything about 4E, I thought it would be more appropriate separately.

David Noonan said:
Why 4th Edition Is Like Clouds In The Sky: If you're really excited about 4th edition, it comes out next May. If you're still sitting on the fence, it comes out next May. And if you hate it with fire of a thousand suns, well, it comes out next May.

I'm flattered that some people are going to reinterpret their 3rd edition games for 4th edition, and I'm disappointed that other people are going to stick with 3.5 no matter what. You've got months and months to make what is a pretty important purchasing decision--at least it's important in terms of your hobby game of choice.

(As a side note, I'd sound completely ridiculous if I said something like, "You shouldn't use all those 3.5 books I worked really hard to write." They're good books. Seriously. We just learned a lot while writing them and playing with them, that's all.)

So you've got time. We're going to reveal more and more of the game as time goes on, both here on the wizards site, in the preview books, and at D&D Experience (Feb. 28 to March 3 in DC). But all those individual "reveals" are clouds in the sky. You can admire the clouds' beauty or shake your fists at them, but they're just going to keep moving across the sky anyway.

There's nothing wrong with cloud-watching. If you're a farmer, you need to watch the clouds at least a little. (Maybe DMs are like farmers, but that might be straining the metaphor.) But farmers know that no amount of cloudwatching will bring the rain. (And don't mention cloud-seeding; it messes up the metaphor.)

You can shake your fists at the sky. You can do a rain dance. You can ignore the clouds completely. Given the circumstance you're in as a D&D player right now, those responses are all valid. But none of them move the clouds.

You'll be playing D&D with clouds in the sky until May, so just do that. Watch the clouds if you like, but don't let the threat/promise of rain mess with your ongoing games.

The weird thing is that playing D&D is something that might move the clouds. In fact, it's the thing that got the clouds moving in the first place. In other words, play your D&D game with a critical eye--what's working and what isn't? We've seen a lot more of this already in message board traffic since the 4e announcement; an impending new edition makes everyone think a little more deeply about the game they're already playing.

In a way, you've been playtesting 4e all along by playing 3e and sharing your experiences with us and with others. The more you tell us about your game, the more we understand what's going on. And the game is moving along, but it ain't done yet. We can--and will--make it better before May.
 
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DaveMage

Slumbering in Tsar
He left out one option: stay with 3.5 while incorporating some of 4.0's changes in my game.

I'm makin' 3.75, baby! :D
 

Celebrim

Legend
Ahh, you mere customers. Shaking your puny little hands at the clouds. You amuse me with your concern for our little storms and your shamanistic dancing, but such matters are truly above you little ones and we aren't going to pay the slightest attention. So deal with it.
 

Sir Brennen

Adventurer
Celebrim said:
Ahh, you mere customers. Shaking your puny little hands at the clouds. You amuse me with your concern for our little storms and your shamanistic dancing, but such matters are truly above you little ones and we aren't going to pay the slightest attention. So deal with it.
Did you miss the part where he mentions that playing the game (and providing feedback) the past 7 years and on into the coming months caused/influences those clouds? They're paying attention.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Sir Brennen said:
Did you miss the part where he mentions that playing the game (and providing feedback) the past 7 years and on into the coming months caused/influences those clouds? They're paying attention.

Perhaps he just didn't miss

You can shake your fists at the sky. You can do a rain dance. You can ignore the clouds completely. Given the circumstance you're in as a D&D player right now, those responses are all valid. But none of them move the clouds.​

RC
 

Glyfair

First Post
Raven Crowking said:
Perhaps he just didn't miss...

Yup. Those statements say 4E is coming, no matter what. The next statements imply that while 4E is coming, you might be able to have some say in it by commenting on your play experiences with a critical eye.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Glyfair said:
Yup. Those statements say 4E is coming, no matter what.

Exactly. Or, as paraphrased by Celebrim,

Ahh, you mere customers. Shaking your puny little hands at the clouds. You amuse me with your concern for our little storms and your shamanistic dancing, but such matters are truly above you little ones and we aren't going to pay the slightest attention. So deal with it.​

I also note that the following

I'm disappointed that other people are going to stick with 3.5 no matter what. You've got months and months to make what is a pretty important purchasing decision--at least it's important in terms of your hobby game of choice.​

makes me wonder if the preceding is really true. If, for example, everyone said No to 4e, I doubt 4e would be coming "no matter what". Saying "no matter what" is a way of saying that, in effect, "We don't care whether you want it or not. We don't care whether it will sell or not. We're doing this regardless of those, or any other, factors." To a certain type of customer, oddly enough, this is enough to ensure a sale. :confused:

The next statements imply that while 4E is coming, you might be able to have some say in it by commenting on your play experiences with a critical eye.

It would make more sense to give us some actual changes to examine and try, and look at them with a critical eye, wouldn't it?


RC
 

Glyfair

First Post
Raven Crowking said:
If, for example, everyone said No to 4e, I doubt 4e would be coming "no matter what".

And if the world ended tomorrow 4E wouldn't be coming out.

As stated here, they have been listening. The changes are based on what they have been hearing. The chances of "everyone" saying no to 4E is much smaller than the world ending tomorrow.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
Glyfair said:
As stated here, they have been listening.

It does seem that way to me, although that may well mean "design taking into account the most vocal" rather than "design taking into account the best". As an example, the apparent return to flat XP for monsters was championed by myself. More vocal, or better idea?

Also, when WotC said that 4e wasn't coming out soon, while planning to announce the release, credibility on the basis of simply stating something went a bit downhill for me. YMMV.

The chances of "everyone" saying no to 4E is much smaller than the world ending tomorrow.

How about the chances of enough people saying No that is noticeably cuts into their projected sales?


RC
 

Delta

First Post
Celebrim said:
Ahh, you mere customers. Shaking your puny little hands at the clouds. You amuse me with your concern for our little storms and your shamanistic dancing, but such matters are truly above you little ones and we aren't going to pay the slightest attention. So deal with it.

I was going to comment similarly. So much for Ryan Dancey's concept of OGL.
 

D.Shaffer

First Post
...What part of that blog (or the comments attached in this thread) has anything at all to do with the OGL? You'll have to hilight that bit for me because I dont see it. :confused:
 

mmu1

First Post
Do you actually believe that the playtesting and/or message board comments will have any impact on the game, at this late date?

They're in the process of putting multiple books and several pieces of software together for release in 8 months, and they haven't even gotten around to announcing how to apply to be a playtester yet. At this rate, there'll be 5-6 months left to shipping date before the "playtesting" even starts, and there's no way to implement anything but cosmetic changes in that amount of time.

IIRC, this is less time from announcement to publication than with 3.5, and that really was a more-or-less new edition, not re-writing the game from the ground up.

As for the rest of it... Every time a WotC designer tells me they're putting out a new edition to make things even better than before, I don't know whether to laugh or to want to slug them. In 9 years, we'll have seen 3 editions of D&D (by a conservative estimate - the more recent supplements, with reserve feats, Bo9s mechanics, swift and immediate actions, etc. have changed the game far more than the pseudo-edition change from 3E to 3.5) and 3 editions of SW - if every one of those was a significant improvement over what came before, then they either hadn't been trying too hard at the outset, or the edition coming out in May should be one small step down from the version you get to play in paradise after you die. ;)
 

Shade

Monster Junkie
I hope if we seed the clouds enough we can make it rain before it's too late to prepare for the coming flood.
 

Enkhidu

Explorer
mmu1 said:
...As for the rest of it... Every time a WotC designer tells me they're putting out a new edition to make things even better than before, I don't know whether to laugh or to want to slug them. In 9 years, we'll have seen 3 editions of D&D (by a conservative estimate - the more recent supplements, with reserve feats, Bo9s mechanics, swift and immediate actions, etc. have changed the game far more than the pseudo-edition change from 3E to 3.5)...

I'm curious as to how many editions of D&D you saw during the 2e era.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
D.Shaffer said:
...What part of that blog (or the comments attached in this thread) has anything at all to do with the OGL? You'll have to hilight that bit for me because I dont see it. :confused:


Actually, I missed it too. :uhoh:

OTOH, I fully endorse mmu1's last post!

RC
 

Lurks-no-More

First Post
Celebrim said:
Ahh, you mere customers. Shaking your puny little hands at the clouds. You amuse me with your concern for our little storms and your shamanistic dancing, but such matters are truly above you little ones and we aren't going to pay the slightest attention. So deal with it.

I think you are assuming the worst about the 4th edition, and that tinges your interpretation of what Dave Noonan is saying, here.

To me, the sense was more like this: "We're doing the 4th edition, and it's coming out in May. In the mean time, you can check out the previews we're putting up, and either ignore the whole thing, get enthusiastic about it, or get pessimistic. It's all just cloudwatching at this point, though; wait for the actual game. Oh, and we're interested in your opinions on the 3rd edition, and have been using your feedback as one basis for designing the new edition."
 

HeapThaumaturgist

First Post
I'm not a doomgloom naysayer and hater of the 4E.

In general I'm pretty excited. But I try to keep an open and objective view of it.

For instance, I think that we're almost a week into September and still no word on playtesting is worrisome.

And this blog post I think is way too easily taken badly. Even looking with a generally favorable eye, the whole bit on fist-shaking and rain dancing (I'm of native American heritage, so, thanks for the sensitivity in portraying my people) just comes off generally like A) This particular person at WotC doesn't care and B) he is, instead, amused by the antics of the little people.

Which is to say, this isn't too hard to see as being really patronizing. I think I get what he's trying to say, but his choice of metaphor to hang it off of and use of characterizations was ... less than favorable. To me, anyway.

--fje
 

AllisterH

First Post
Enkhidu said:
I'm curious as to how many editions of D&D you saw during the 2e era.

I consider there to be "Three" editions of 2E IMHO.

The base edition found in the rulebooks.

The base edition found in the rulebooks + the introduction of Kits in splatbooks. (Kits significantly changed the power of starting characters, moreso IMO than how BoNS or Tome of Magic changed the game)

The Skill & Powers/Spells & Magic/Combat & Tactics era which makes the change from 3.0 to 3.5 look like peanuts. One can get away with a marker and the 3.0 PHB in a 3.5 game but the S&P series is nowhere as lenient. Hell freaking no.
 

Glyfair

First Post
HeapThaumaturgist said:
And this blog post I think is way too easily taken badly. Even looking with a generally favorable eye, the whole bit on fist-shaking and rain dancing (I'm of native American heritage, so, thanks for the sensitivity in portraying my people) just comes off generally like A) This particular person at WotC doesn't care and B) he is, instead, amused by the antics of the little people.

I don't know. I think he's just amused by the antics of those taking a very extreme position. I know that I am.
 


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