Edition Fatigue

BryonD

Hero
Do remember, we are talking about a game whose original design is contemporaneous with the home version of Pong.

...

How many people today would you expect to play much of a video game based on the same engine as Pong? How much wold they pay for that these days?
Tabletop RPGs of the late 1970s did not share the technological limitations of computer games.

Pen, paper, dice, and imagination are all quite identical to what they were in the 1970s.

I would say that changing the appeal (dragonborn) is the kind of thing that needs to happen.

And, also, as much as I admire old school D&D, that admiration is based on leading the way. More current games have certainly had the benefit of seeing the good and the bad in the early games.

But comparing it to changes in computer processing is pretty meaningless.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Do remember, we are talking about a game whose original design is contemporaneous with the home version of Pong.

Just had a sudden image of all those celebrity WoW commercials- Mr. T, Ozzy, etc.- closing with the words, "Screen images created using the acclaimed Pong (tm) engine!"
:)
 

shadzar

Banned
Banned
Tabletop RPGs of the late 1970s did not share the technological limitations of computer games.

Pen, paper, dice, and imagination are all quite identical to what they were in the 1970s.

This would then suggest not edition fatigue, but environment fatigue. Changing the appeal will do nothing if people are not willing to join in the environment and would prefer something with quicker gratification.

"Video killed the radio star"

CCGs killed sports cards.

Video games killed tabletop games.

You will either have to get people to return to the environment and dragonborn wont do it, or you will have to follow another cliche:

"If you can't beat em, join em."

And the next edition will be a video game as will all others after that.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I see what you are trying to get across here. I have to disagree on the pong reference simply because video games have enjoyed advances brought about by an intensely competetive venue. (Electronics)

P&P tabletop games have not experienced this sort of growth and competition.

Tabletop RPGs of the late 1970s did not share the technological limitations of computer games.

Pen, paper, dice, and imagination are all quite identical to what they were in the 1970s.

But, you're both quite wrong. The arts and sciences of game design, and their application to RPGs, did not exist in 1974. Gary and his people had only the smallest set of folks to use as playtesters, they knew little of formal testing and evaluation procedures, and they had little or nothing to compare and contrast their works to. By today's standards they had incredibly slow and inadequate feedback. Really, the original design of D&D was kind of pulled out of their collective butts. They had very intelligent butts, so it basically worked.

But let us not kid ourselves - we've learned a great deal about RPGs since then. There has been a significant amount of competition, using substantially different designs than the engine that original D&D uses. We've gone from play by tens of people, to play by tens and hundreds of thousands. We know a whole lot more about what makes an RPG work, and how to bend it to work for various sorts of players, than Gary did.

So, I think the comparison is fairly apt. The information available to designers (of board, video, and RPGs) has changed - and application of those sciences to the games over time has led to different expectations in gamers.

Layer on top of that cultural changes that have little or nothing to do with RPGs, and it seems pretty obvious to me that you cannot assume the same game would make the cut in the mass market today.
 

Chainsaw Mage

First Post
How many people today would you expect to play much of a video game based on the same engine as Pong? How much wold they pay for that these days?

So, that gets us the 2e to 3e difference.

(Blink)

Are you actually suggesting that the difference between 2e and 3e is comparable to the difference between Pong and contemporary video games?

Man, I just . . . man. :eek:
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Are you actually suggesting that the difference between 2e and 3e is comparable to the difference between Pong and contemporary video games?

It is called an analogy. You know, drawing information and meaning from one subject to another. I am saying the two should, and do, follow similar logics.
 

shadzar

Banned
Banned
So, I think the comparison is fairly apt. The information available to designers (of board, video, and RPGs) has changed - and application of those sciences to the games over time has led to different expectations in gamers.

OK I have come to this thread 6 times since you posted this, and cannot for the life of me figure out what that entire post has to do with what BryonD said in what you quoted.

So that I may understand your full point, did you mean to quote someone else, or missed a connection in your post to what BryonD was saying?
 

Canor Morum

First Post
It explains what WOTC is aiming for. But has it been successful? Has WOTC successfully traded in the old timers for the next generation? Doesn't look like it. It seems moderately successful, but WOTC is still selling 4E to the same old crowd of gamers. I don't see the young video game crowd as yet being the "most important section of the market."

Long term, young gamers are the most important demographic. The hobby simply can't continue without them. I would assume that many of the old-timers stop playing when marriage, kids, and careers get in the way. Why would WotC keep catering to a slowly diminishing audience? Especially when a lot of them have been very vocal about not continuing to buy products and sticking with older editions?


As I've said elsewhere, the problem I have with 4E isn't the new mechanics---it's the total disregard for the longview of playing out a story, the non-combat elements of the game. Virtually everything that is non-combat parts of the story is skipped over. That's not roleplaying, that's MageKnight without the leveling up.

Then you and I have been playing very different versions of 4e. My last session consisted mostly of non-combat encounters. Not a single mini was touched for more than half the game. If you are running 4e sessions that consist of nothing but combat you are doing it wrong.


Every character has the same combat abilities except for armor class. Everybody does (roughly) a d8+ability modifier (probably with a shift or some other feature) every single round. Just because it's called "magic" or "psionics" doesn't make it different; they're all doing the same basic things. Everybody has combat powers (even characters traditionally not trained for combat such as thieves). No diversity of character, no role limitations that matter--because the only thing that matters is combat. It's no wonder that 4E has so many character classes...they're all just slight revisions of the fighter class.

A defender wades into battle and keeps the enemies off the rest of the party, soaking up damage. A striker moves swiftly around the battlefield taking down targets with burst damage while avoiding aggro. Controllers debuff targets and AOE from a distance. Leaders heal and buff the rest of the party. These roles are immediately familiar to anyone who has played an MMORPG. In other words, the target audience.

I think 4e's emphasis on giving each class a role and the ability to do something in combat other than "i hit with sword" is a strength, not a weakness. You disagree and I respect your opinion.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Apologies I've just spotted this thread, and I visit ENWorld two or three times every day without fail, so I've not read all of the 8 or so previous pages. I have read the OP and a few others on the first page.

I've played D&D in all its PnP editions, I'm an old-ish git.

I didn't know Settlers was a board game, I seem to remember an electronic game of the same name, I think I played it on an Amiga 500 many moons ago.

So Settlers is a board game then... I don't play board games, I can't remember the last time I played a board game, I own absolutely zero board games. I have, to the best of my knowledge never been around somebodies house (since I was in short trousers) to play a board game. I have never heard any one say, an RPG person or anyone, 'I played this really good board game the other day...' Actually... somebody did say that once but it was about a racing game and I was 12 or so- Totopoly?

My point is D&D is a game that evolves alongside other media- it's played via VT, PBP, it's available (in other formats) as a MMORPG, various stand-alone PC & or console games and as a... board game. And probably in many other formats that I can't think of.

Settlers isn't, I don't think.

D&D over the years has staked a claim to all manner of niche and/or (supposedly) mainstream markets, and yet it remains (in the PnP format we're so in love with here) a niche game/hobby- not the films, cartoons, merchandising, cards, minis or t-shirts have changed that. Well certainly not in my world over here in the UK.

To conclude D&D can't be Settlers (or compared to a board game like Settlers), if the single edition format generated (like Settlers, apparently) market domination, or at least enough kudos/sales to keep happy the shareholders et al then... Well they'd have probably done that by now, or at least called a hiatus for x years while the owners basked in the glory and the gold. But that would probably not stand them in good stead as D&Ds competitors would just steam ahead (see Pathfinder and the myriad other games that compete/d for the same market- many of which come in multiple editions).

D&D is bound to evolve because Fantasy Fiction Media (and games in general) evolve all the time- I played board games when I was a kid because there were no computer games, I started playing D&D as a 12 year old becuase it was the most fantastical world (it still is by the way) and different than board games- which my parents played. I played Atari Console/Spectrum/Amiga & finally PC/PS/XBox games (mostly RPGs) because they came along and continued to explore a world that mirrored the one in my imagination (thanks to Tolkien and D&D), but mostly just because they came along, and were different/available.

I now play D&D in the trad. format (around a table) once a week, and via Skype & Maptools with people I have never met and who are based all over the globe (see sig). WOTC, it seems, have at last figured this out.

Do people do this with board games? I don't know actually but I can't think of any.

The rules for D&D get reinvented for all the reasons offered above, and also to mirror the wants/needs/desires of the market- remember all the stuff about 4e being a PnP MMORPG et al, perhaps WOTC had an eye on that market. I play D&D (edition-neutral, as in whatever edition) because it explores that world, new media reinvents and rejuvinates Fantasy Fiction (in new formats), D&D repositions/reinvents itself to sell stuff and stay on the front page, pretty much like everything else.

Except Settlers...

I appreciate the analogy but... it doesn't work for me.
 

fumetti

First Post
I would like to see a splatbook on that topic but to suggest that 4e does not support out of combat stuf and long term campaign continuity is insulting and denigrating those DMs of 4th edition who are doing just that.

You can choose to be offended if it makes you happy. I'm talking about the focus of the product, not what *you* are doing in your game.

The empirical evidence (particularly when comparing 4E with early editions, esp 1E/2E/BECM) is overwhelming. When you read the books being made, 4E skips over non-combat events. It would be ridiculous to claim that 4E treats out-of-combat the same as it treats in-combat. If 1E had a ratio of 2-to-1 (in to out), then 4E has a ratio of 100-to-1, if not more than that.

Show me the mechanics dealing with out-of-combat activity in 4E. Then compare it to 1E/2E/BECM. No comparison.

WOTC has shifted almost entirely towards combat. Simple fact.


************************

Comments
postnotes_pos.gif

giant.robot:
fumetti needs to realize an in-game encounter and the Encounters program are indeed different things

Not for what I'm talking about. The Encounters program is clearly a "pick-up" combat session and almost nothing more.

The rules written in the 4E rule books are equally focused on combat, combat, combat. There is a smidge of rules for non-combat (skills), but not much. Look at the structure of spells. They're devoid of real time -- everything measured in-combat and by the encounter. The non-combat spells were shifted to rituals (good idea) but then dropped from the update Essentials books (only a mention of their existence).

I haven't read all the 4E published adventures, but the ones I have just go from one combat encounter to another. They read very differently from 1E/2E/BECM published adventures which focused far more on the non-combat events.

The 4E books and Encounters program are basically made the same. If DMs are roleplaying the inbetween story, they are doing it without any mechanical structure within the 4E system. Far different from earlier editions.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top