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4E Favorite and Least Favorite 4th Edition Elements


It hasn't even been three full months since it was announced, but almost every gamer and publisher in the world has an opinion on it. The first "preview" book is just a couple of months away. There have been several teaser blog posts hinting at new monsters, classes, and races. The whispers of changes to popular game elements, from grappling rules to the fireball spell, has incited both praise and rebuke. People have spoken out on everything from warlords and gnomes, to Internet memes and Chuck Norris.

So think it over...from all of the rumors and blogs and webcasts and such that we have heard so far,

1. what is the one thing that you like most about 4E? and

2. what is the one thing that you like least about 4E?

(Serious answers only, please. I know it is tempting to say something clever like "people who ask lame questions in these forums," but that doesn't do much for generating discussion.)
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My answers...

Favorite: My absolute favorite thing so far is the addition of talent trees...I like the idea of being able to choose a career path for my character ala Diablo II. If I wanted to play a divine archer, for example, all I would have to do is take the "Archery" talent tree and the "Anti-Undead" talent tree. I think that with a little bit of polish, talent trees could be worked to replace multiclassing altogether.

Least Favorite: The thing I really, really do not like about 4th Edition is the overwhelming emphasis on demons. We have demon-flavored races, demon-flavored classes, demon-powered spells and abilities...and we haven't even got to the Monster Manual yet. What if my game world doesn't have demons in it?

I'm pretty miffed about the omission of the great and mighty Frost Giant, but this demon-thing takes the cake.


For me, the biggest thing I'm working forward to is the magic system. Vancian magic has been ran its course for too long. As for the least favorite, so far I have yet to be impressed with the D&D insider, but I'm still hoping WOTC will deliver what it promises.


Favorite: The promise that magic will finally not screw up the game.
Least Favorite: Either action points or mook rules. I'll have to see them before I can judge, but historically neither have appealed to me.

Action points distributed by session annoy the hell out of me (my character's more of a badass if I play lots of short game sessions?), and action points distributed by level do the same (I've got almost enough EXP to level up, better go crazy with these action points!). Action points which are too powerful break realism, and action points which are too weak aren't interesting enough for the amount of promise they seem to have.

As for mook rules, I'm not sure if we're even getting these. Has this been confirmed? Some people seem to think they're coming. I don't like them because I don't think they're necessary. Damage per single attack looks to be increasing in 4e in order to compensate for the loss of iterative attacks. Rather than have mook rules, why not just proclaim that a "mook" is anyone who is automatically killed when you hit them because their hit points are lower than your fighter's minimum damage? If my level 6 fighter deals 1d8+9 per hit (1d8 longsword +4 str +2 feat +3 level bonus, I made these numbers up), a "mook" is anyone with 10 hit points.

Mr Jack

My favourite: The way they're talking about design. Not any specific detail, but the way they talk about everything seems focused on designing for better play with clear goals as to what that means. This pleases me.

My least favourite: The selection of classes. Warlock, Warlord - two class names that don't differ until the sixth letter? Come on, guys, couldn't you make them a little more distinct. Add in Wizard and you have 3 of 8(?) classes starting with W. Plus it looks like Monk, Barbarian, Bard and Druid are toddling off.



I agree that the discussions in advance of "Dungeons & Dragons" Fourth Edition, as well as the options provided in talent trees, potentially streamlined combat, and non-Vancian spellcasting are all good things. Flattening out the "sweet spot" in terms of levels and challenges could also be a helpful refinement.

I'm not thrilled about swapping Tieflings for Gnomes in the Player's Handbook, a greater emphasis on collectible miniatures and videogame-style tactics and party roles, and the uncertainty around the Warlock and Warlord classes. But I'm willing to wait and see for more details.


Favorite: A rebalanced series of character classes where everyone has options and cool stuff they can do regardless of class or how many encounters they've faced that day.

Least Favorite: Eladrin, Elf, Half-Elf, and the looming possibility of Drow as the last race. Way to much elf. Half-races AND sub-races should've been handled by some sort of template system in the DMG or as monster manual entries with play options. Give me unique races as core choices and leave the 31 flavors of any given race as options via the DMG or MM.


Favorite: talent trees, streamlined grapple rules, goodbye Gnome - nobody I know ever played you on purpose, action points

Not So Favorite: warlord (the class itself and the name), still not sold on per encounter abilities for every class, underwhelmed by Gleemax/Insider


Favorite: Racial benefits incorporated into class benefits. Being a fan of substitution levels, I think this simply amounts to standardizing them and making them an assumed part of the system.

Least Favorite: Fighters having abilities that are limited either by encounter or per day. This really breaks down one of the fundamental assumptions of D&D (Casters wear out but Fighters go on like the Energizer Bunny). And not in a good way.


Favorite: I guess that would be shift to the per/encounter balance paradigm. :)

Least Favorite: Classes I loved and I liked will not make it into the first Core rulebooks. :(


Favorite: Points of Light. I've long been a fan of Citystate of the Invincible Overlord and Wilderlands of High Fantasy. I very much like the direction the flavor seems to be going.

Least Favorite: Hard to say. There are a lot of little things which bug me. And other things that I have yet to make a decision about. I guess if I had to pick one at this point, I'd say the appearant over use of at will/ per encounter/ per day abilities.


CleverNickName said:
1. what is the one thing that you like most about 4E? and
The de-emphasis on Vancian casting.
CleverNickName said:
2. what is the one thing that you like least about 4E?
I haven't heard enough about certain things to know if I truly dislike anything. I was quite concerned over monster design, so I'll probably put that down. I liked 3E's idea that there was no different between building a monster and a PC, but I'm starting to change my mind on that in some respects.

I'm sure there will be something I'll dislike on a conceptual level but can live with in game play. Vancian casting is in a similar boat. I detest the very concept but it's not a deal killer for me over-all. In other words, I still play D&D. I'd have more fun if it were totally eliminated, though.


Like Most:
Streamlined, faster system.

Like Least:
Revised Wizards Implements - bad case of fluff-rules entanglement.

Cheers, LT.


Fav: streamlining extra combat bits (AoO, grappling, disarm, etc) and making the game fun for all levels- so called sweet spot.
Least: Not going far enough to drop some sacred cows: HP: why not wound and HP; AC: why not defense and DR; Abilities et al: CHA and WIS= 2 attributes that can be used for mental strength, WIS= being used for perception (I am wise therefore have good eyesight!), STR for attack bonus, INT for a PC reasoning (rather than just the characters ability to learn skills and remember things)....A complete overhaul of a lot of sacred cows would be great