D&D 4E Inquiry: How do 4E fans feel about 4E Essentials?

LoganRan

Explorer
My first time starting a thread...be gentle. ;)

I am currently active in the Survivor: D&D Edition thread on the forum and have observed that while there are plenty of participants in said thread who like 4E I have yet to see a single upvote for 4E Essentials. I never played either version of 4E, have only a cursory knowledge of 4E and know nothing about Essentials.

So, 4E devotees, what were the changes made in Essentials that you dislike?

If there are any fans of Essentials actually out there, what were the changes that you DID like?

NOTE: I am genuinely curious about this topic and have ZERO interest in starting any kind of intra edition flame war, so please lets try to keep things civil.
 

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Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
In general prior to Essentials as a 4e GM I did not have to pay attention to things like the length of the adventuring day if I wanted the game to be balanced. I just basically run it however I wanted. The Essentials classes changed all that.

Even more importantly for me I really appreciated the 4e lore and Essentials walked back pretty much all of the conflict rich 4e specific lore for a more conflict neutral approach to the lore that was more reminiscent of previous editions.
 


LoganRan

Explorer
In general prior to Essentials as a 4e GM I did not have to pay attention to things like the length of the adventuring day if I wanted the game to be balanced. I just basically run it however I wanted. The Essentials classes changed all that.

Even more importantly for me I really appreciated the 4e lore and Essentials walked back pretty much all of the conflict rich 4e specific lore for a more conflict neutral approach to the lore that was more reminiscent of previous editions.
If it isn't too much trouble, could you elaborate on this topic. What changed about the classes?

(as I stated in my OP, I know absolutely nothing about the Essentials line except that it exists)
 

Retreater

Legend
I do like Essentials, but there are parts I prefer about the core 4E game. I think there is much more variety and interesting combinations of characters (more races, classes, powers, etc.) and more monsters.
Essentials is more limited, but easier to play. I guess it feels sort of like "beginner box" 4E. Still a lot of fun, great for one-shots/convention play, but I don't think that I could run a satisfying campaign with only it - there's just not enough options.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Although there are some design principles of 4e that are really not in line with the types of game that we run, I really liked some additions of the 4e lore, Feywild and Shadowfell, Raven Queen, Points of Light, etc. For me, the Essentials were mostly a money-grabbing operation, the game engine was running fine if that was what you were looking for.
 

the Jester

Legend
If it isn't too much trouble, could you elaborate on this topic. What changed about the classes?

(as I stated in my OP, I know absolutely nothing about the Essentials line except that it exists)
I'd be curious as to this, too. In my experience, 4eE characters did nothing to change the adventuring day or pacing- they all had at will, encounter, and daily powers, just like original 4e pcs. They just had a different way of achieving it.

Personally, I loved Essentials, thought it did a great job of answering the (totally legit) criticism that every class felt very samey with their powers, and ran 4eE and 4eO characters side by side with no problems.
 

Randomthoughts

Adventurer
So, 4E devotees, what were the changes made in Essentials that you dislike?

If there are any fans of Essentials actually out there, what were the changes that you DID like?
I'm neutral toward Essentials. I liked the AEDU structure found pre-Essentials and Essentials included classes like the Slayer who didn't follow that structure. But I found those classes to be compatible with pre-4e so didn't see any problems.

I recall back in the day how some folks saw Essentials as a betrayal of 4e's original design. Personally, I found the whole branding campaign to be a bit muddled. Was it a new design paradigm for 4e? I didn't find that much changed (besides new player classes).

The new player handbooks came out September and November 2010. I didn't care much for them but found some players did (especially the slayer, as an "easy-to-run" fighter). The Rules Compendium also came out in September 2010, which I had used extensively as a reference book during my run with 4e. So, go figure?
 

HammerMan

Legend
I'm neutral toward Essentials. I liked the AEDU structure found pre-Essentials and Essentials included classes like the Slayer who didn't follow that structure. But I found those classes to be compatible with pre-4e so didn't see any problems.

I recall back in the day how some folks saw Essentials as a betrayal of 4e's original design. Personally, I found the whole branding campaign to be a bit muddled. Was it a new design paradigm for 4e? I didn't find that much changed (besides new player classes).

The new player handbooks came out September and November 2010. I didn't care much for them but found some players did (especially the slayer, as an "easy-to-run" fighter). The Rules Compendium also came out in September 2010, which I had used extensively as a reference book during my run with 4e. So, go figure?

I mean the slayer just had there encounter powers pre selected (The hit for more damage one) and upped there damage... as a variant Fighter I loved it. I even played one that swapped one (hit for more damage) encounter power out for a regulars fighter encounter power and it played beautifully.

Having said that the Psionic classes for PHB3 had already pushed the A/U/E/D mindset. They had more at wills and power points to boost at wills into daily/encounter range... wait maybe they still had dailies?

I honestly wish they took everything they learned from essentials and all of 4e to build 5e instead of the step back we had. 4e needed help (the addition of theme and those later non AUED classes helped show how it could grow.)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I actually love Essentials, I just haven’t been upvoting it in the Survivor thread because I know it’s less popular among 4e fans and I want some version of 4e to last as long as it can. I’m playing strategically and picking my battles.

As for what I like about Essentials, I like that classes don’t all follow the same structure. This kinda started with the PHB3, where psionic classes had a different power structure than others, but Essentials revised the other classes and gave each power source its own structural feel, which I thought was really cool. In pre-essentials 4e, your class’s role made a real gameplay difference, but unless you were a psionic class, your class’s power source was mostly just flavor. Essentials changed that. It did come at the cost of a certain level of game balance, and it made it so as a DM you had to pay a bit more attention to the structure of the adventuring day, so I can see why other 4e DMs didn’t care for it. But I actually quite liked that about it.

Another thing Essentials did that I liked was it changed a lot of at-will powers to modify your basic attacks instead of being attacks themselves. I found that a common experience with new 4e players was having to sort of teach them not to use basic attacks. I don’t know if anyone else had this experience, but I often found that new players would assume their at-will attack powers were “for” specific situations and would default to basic attacks if they didn’t know which at-will power was “best” to use in any given moment. And there would end up being a conversation about how “you might as well use one of your at-will powers instead, because it’s pretty much the same as a basic attack, but better,” and once they caught on it would be like “why do basic attacks even exist then?” Essentials “fixed” that by re-working a lot of the old at-will powers from attacks to stances or reactions that modified your basic attacks to do the thing the original version of the power did.
 

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