D&D 5E Is D&D combat fun?

(generally speaking) Is D&D combat in 5E "fun" ?


And then there is this bit where they are invoking 'people' not liking it. So responding by saying that no, actually, people by and large do like it is a reasonable thing to do. The poster doesn't like it which is a far cry from people not liking it in general.



The point is that the game works. It isn't a mess. Most people like it. Labelling them as 'casuals' doesn't make their experiences or opinions less valid.

Does 5e make for a good tactical strategy combat game? No, but then I would argue that no TTRPG does. For people who want this experience and to not be 'casuals' (whatever that means, the only people playing it professionally would probably be labelled as 'casuals' here) I submit that a competitive dedicated strategy game is a better experience for you.

Round pegs and square holes.

tl;dr - stop disparaging people for having a different opinion than you. You don't have special insight that has allowed you to discover that no in fact the game actually does suck and it is everyone else who is wrong.
You found one example. I'm not disparaging people. Look at you, @Oofta, and other commenters in this thread, your language, and how you discuss the topic at hand. You all focus on one person, or you focus on one sentence in a essay of a post, and ignore everything else and misrepresent the arguments at hand.

Not to mention that at no point did I say I have special insight or anything else. The next time you attack my character or put words in my mouth, I will be reporting you. I am not here to play the same passive aggressive game some of you want to play. I only want to discuss the topics at hand without being told to play another game.
 

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Why is it that when people disagree and like some aspect of the game that others don't that the accusations of thinking the game is perfect start to fly? Or that just disagreeing with an opinion means they think yours is invalid?
Because on literally every single thread on this forum discussing 5E in a not entirely positive light, you are always there to tell people that they are wrong, and that they should be playing a different game or that you just don't fundamentally understand what they are saying.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
You found one example. I'm not disparaging people. Look at you, @Oofta, and other commenters in this thread, your language, and how you discuss the topic at hand. You all focus on one person, or you focus on one sentence in a essay of a post, and ignore everything else and misrepresent the arguments at hand.

Not to mention that at no point did I say I have special insight or anything else. The next time you attack my character or put words in my mouth, I will be reporting you. I am not here to play the same passive aggressive game some of you want to play. I only want to discuss the topics at hand without being told to play another game.
I just went through and picked out the poster who is arguing the most about it currently.

I'm not going to go through the whole thread looking for examples.

And this is not the only thread that has this kind of attitude. It pops up a lot.
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
And what you are failing to recognise is that they had to really conquer this brand from the ground up after the commercial disaster that was 4e. It might be true that, today, 5e is living well on its brand recognition, but it would not have gotten where it is not if it had not been an excellent game well suited to a player base the size of which no-one could ever have suspected 7 years ago.
I disagree with you. The reason it was able to flop so hard with the reception of 4E, and then come back from the dead with a good product in hand is mostly because of brand recognition. The brand recognition never went anywhere. People just didn't enjoy the product. As soon as a new offer came, people flocked back. Not all products are given the luxury of flopping like that and coming back.

You might not be part of the main target because your tastes are different, and that's absolutely fine. But not only is the product flexible enough that you can adapt it to your need and enjoy it (at least I hope, if you are debating here), but it clearly shows that there are millions of people who enjoy it as well using this flexibility, for its own intrinsic qualities in addition to its brand.
I never said anything about the product not being flexible, not having qualities or not having millions of people enjoying it. I praised 5E many times in my post. It's a good game.

Maybe, but maybe it's just simple lassitude and want to see something else ? Maybe it's lack of attention span, which is common these days, lots of people want instant satisfaction, or maybe it's just that they were dragged into it and were not really into it that much.
I don't think it is. I talked to you about five years of play, not a few sessions. From my experience, it's mostly players feeling like they explored most of the options that were interesting to them, have trouble realizing certain concepts, want to try something new. It's a normal process that's disconnected from product quality.

Who knows, there are millions of players out there, and I don't think that the view of the people around you has any significance statistically compared to the size of the player base.
I never claimed it had statistic significance. I'm saying that's what I'm seeing around me. I've got a good pulse of the tabletop community in my area. It'd be foolish to think it represents 1:1 what's happening worldwide. I'm saying that because the game is good, it managed to capture new players for years and that just now in 2021 I start seeing interests of moving on.

As far as I know, the PH sales are still going strong, for example, which means that new players are joining in, and I have personally initiated at least 10 new players in the last 2 years, despite the Covid.
I'm sure they are. And I'm sure that they can ride that wave for years to come without sales dropping too much. It's a quality product, it has brand recognition.

I still find new plots and new characters to play after all that time
I still do. But that has nothing to do with D&D and more with the hobby. I can still find new characters and plots in all TTRPGs. But yes, the hobby itself is infinitely complex.
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
You're again making assumptions here. You're assuming people are looking for an RPG to play and then play D&D b/c it's the brand they know.

Without 5e they're not looking for a game to play at all.
No, I'm saying the exact same thing. People are not walking in wanting to play RPGs, they walk in wanting to play D&D. The brand is bigger than the hobby itself. It's not the same as someone walking into a store and saying "I want to start doing kayak" and then being presented products.

Is it though? You're begging the question.
It's subjective, of course. But sure.

I think the sidekicks rules they released in Tasha's are brilliant. They filled a void I had at my table, made things easier. The rules are quick, efficient and allow to do some fun little sidekicks.

I think the advantage system is absolutely brilliant. Going back to play a Paizo product with Starfinder, I realized how much I didn't miss stacking modifiers. The advantage system is ultimately a little too simple to my taste, but I much prefer that than the opposite. It's a brilliant design.

As opposed, I think encounter building is a mess. They had something really, really good and functional with 4E but they got rid of it. And 5E is, in my opinion, one of the worst encounter building experience I've had. Almost every element you're supposed to base yourself off to judge an encounter is precise. All the encounters I design are technically deadly, but they're just the right fit for my group (who are not optimisers in any way). I have to go over deadly to push them seriously.

This one might be more a bit more contentious. But I think the action, bonus action system is really bad. In its essence it's pretty simple. But it causes much more question and incomprehension from new players (in my experience, of course) than almost any part of the system. It works. But it could be much better I think. In a game where one of the most, if not the most impactful element of balance is the amount of actions that both sides have (action economy), it's a weird concept to have a bonus action that you can't really use, except in situations where you have an ability that calls for it. And it feels really bad not to use it because you can't? Like, you really ought to take something you can cast as a bonus action.

Just to be clear, I don't want to argue these. I know some people will disagree. We can start a new thread, this is not the thread for it. But yes, I think there are some parts of 5E which are a mess, or were just better in previous editions. 4E specifically had a ton of good elements they should have kept.
 

Oofta

Legend
Because on literally every single thread on this forum discussing 5E in a not entirely positive light, you are always there to tell people that they are wrong, and that they should be playing a different game or that you just don't fundamentally understand what they are saying.

I share my opinion. I like 5E but I don't think it's perfect because nothing is ever perfect. There are certainly aspects of the game I disagree with. Whenever people complain about stuff I may try to give advice to see if there's some option they haven't thought of.

But unless it's an actual rule issue I've never told people they're wrong except when they try to tell me that my opinion is wrong. Of course I'm not perfect either and may poorly word things now and then.

At a certain point I do think people should accept that the game isn't going to change no matter how much you vent on a message board. You can either create a house rule, find a house rule on DmsGuild, accept that there's an aspect of the game you don't care for or find some other way to spend your free time. Nothing on this forum is ever going to have significant influence on what WOTC does with D&D.

Feel free to criticize. I'm not telling you your wrong if I disagree. I just disagree. 🤷‍♂️
 

And then there is this bit where they are invoking 'people' not liking it. So responding by saying that no, actually, people by and large do like it is a reasonable thing to do. The poster doesn't like it which is a far cry from people not liking it in general.
I—and others—have explicitly and repeatedly pointed out that we are critiquing parts of the game, not the whole game. Many of us who have done so have also explicitly said they like the game overall, in spite of not liking parts of it. Kindly stop putting words in our mouths.
tl;dr - stop disparaging people for having a different opinion than you. You don't have special insight that has allowed you to discover that no in fact the game actually does suck and it is everyone else who is wrong.
Again, all I can say to this is, "huh?"
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I disagree with you. The reason it was able to flop so hard with the reception of 4E, and then come back from the dead with a good product in hand is mostly because of brand recognition. The brand recognition never went anywhere. People just didn't enjoy the product. As soon as a new offer came, people flocked back. Not all products are given the luxury of flopping like that and coming back.

And it's easy to prove that this is totally false. If brand recognition was everything that the game needed, why did it not pick up with 4e? Or with 3e before that ? After all, it was already D&D. But you don't get at least 10 times more players worldwide and pull a complete hobby out of the drain just by having an average product.

The product is brilliant because it allows both experienced players like myself as well as complete beginners to start playing instantly and have great adventures. And this is where the genius is, in simplifying the game to that extent.

It's not perfect as, with all designs, there are compromises in there, sometimes a tad much simplicity for example. But as the product is extremely flexible, people can add the complexity where they want it.

I don't think it is. I talked to you about five years of play, not a few sessions. From my experience, it's mostly players feeling like they explored most of the options that were interesting to them, have trouble realizing certain concepts, want to try something new. It's a normal process that's disconnected from product quality.

From what I've seen, it's mostly optimiser claiming that they have run out of optimised options, and never wanting to play a class/race combination that is not top tier.

It's not the casual gamers who can create whatever they want from the system and enjoy it, as I defy anyone to prove to me that he has exhausted all the combinations of the game.

I'm sure they are. And I'm sure that they can ride that wave for years to come without sales dropping too much. It's a quality product, it has brand recognition.

The second one coming from the first. Because D&D was already a brand with 3e and 4e, and actually I thought that Pathfinder would take over, as they had amazing adventures.

But their product is not good, it is way too complex to appeal to the wide market of people who want a reasonably simple game with their friends and to have amazing adventures without spending hours and days reading rules and debating them.
 

I understood roughly the opposite. Some posters seem to say that the game quality is suspect (or perhaps they mean, can't be assessed) because it is so popular.
Can't speak for others, but one of my points was that 5E was designed for broader appeal (and boy did they hit that goal). It's clearly a high-quality, successful game, and also, it has parts that make combat less fun for me (dating all the way back to the original version).
 
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TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
And it's easy to prove that this is totally false. If brand recognition was everything that the game needed, why did it not pick up with 4e? Or with 3e before that ? After all, it was already D&D. But you don't get at least 10 times more players worldwide and pull a complete hobby out of the drain just by having an average product.
You're misreading most of what I'm saying. I never claimed that brand recognition was the only thing it indeed. And I already said that 5E was a quality product. I simply stated that people can't overstate how much brand recognition D&D has and how much it has helped them. We're having too different conversations here.

It did pick up with 4E. 4E was very successful commercially. But, even though it was a quality TTRPG, it strayed too far from the essence of D&D for many people. So after a few years, it stopped selling. It says absolutely nothing about the strength of the brand. What does is knowing that it crashed after 4E, and was about to pickup out of nowhere. Some random and upcoming company would have released 5E and they would not be nowhere the level of success that 5E has right now; and that has nothing to do with its quality.
it's mostly optimiser claiming that they have run out of optimised options
You've managed to slip in optimisers in every single issue that's I've discussed on these boards in the last two weeks. Optimisers are not the evil you make them to be.
 
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clearstream

(He, Him)
I simply stated that people can't overstate how much brand recognition D&D has and how much it has helped them.
To pin down the connection to the topic at hand. Did brand recognition help the D&D game designers to make combat fun? Or did brand recognition mean they didn't need to make combat fun?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The point is that the game isn't 'broken' or a 'mess'.
Well, I disagree; which is why I haven't adopted 5e as my system of choice.

5e has some good ideas. It also has some bad ones, many of them carried forward from 3e or 4e, and in the end is messy enough that to fix it such that it's something I'm willing to run would simply take more work than I'm willing to do.
 

Well, I disagree; which is why I haven't adopted 5e as my system of choice.

5e has some good ideas. It also has some bad ones, many of them carried forward from 3e or 4e, and in the end is messy enough that to fix it such that it's something I'm willing to run would simply take more work than I'm willing to do.
Thing is you can disagree with something, and be clearly wrong. It's not a mess. Millions of people play it a week. They wouldn't if it's a mess. People tweak things. But it's not a mess, otherwise people in this day and age would abandon it. It's not perfect, buts it good, and we shouldn't lose that goodness in pursuit of the perfect. If it wasn't good people wouldn't play it.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You've managed to slip in optimisers in every single issue that's I've discussed on these boards in the last two weeks. Optimisers are not the evil you make them to be.
At some tables and-or in some gaming communities they certainly can be; and if the poster you were replying to is used to such non-optimising tables/communities than IMO it's fair comment.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Thing is you can disagree with something, and be clearly wrong. It's not a mess. Millions of people play it a week. They wouldn't if it's a mess.
People considered 1e a mess back in the early 80s and millions of people played it every week notwithstanding.
People tweak things. But it's not a mess, otherwise people in this day and age would abandon it. It's not perfect, buts it good, and we shouldn't lose that goodness in pursuit of the perfect. If it wasn't good people wouldn't play it.
Thing is, each edition has had good aspects and bad aspects; and each redesign throws out some good aspects in attempts to fix the bad ones.

5e is hella popular, and I think that's great. I'm not sold, however, on the notion that its popularity is necessarily due to how good its design is.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
As opposed, I think encounter building is a mess. They had something really, really good and functional with 4E but they got rid of it. And 5E is, in my opinion, one of the worst encounter building experience I've had. Almost every element you're supposed to base yourself off to judge an encounter is precise. All the encounters I design are technically deadly, but they're just the right fit for my group (who are not optimisers in any way). I have to go over deadly to push them seriously.

And I think it's great. It's one thing to say it doesn't work for you and it's another to say it's "a mess" in general.

Most people use it just fine. Your trouble with it doesn't mean that it is bad or doesn't work for most people.

This one might be more a bit more contentious. But I think the action, bonus action system is really bad. In its essence it's pretty simple. But it causes much more question and incomprehension from new players (in my experience, of course) than almost any part of the system. It works. But it could be much better I think. In a game where one of the most, if not the most impactful element of balance is the amount of actions that both sides have (action economy), it's a weird concept to have a bonus action that you can't really use, except in situations where you have an ability that calls for it. And it feels really bad not to use it because you can't? Like, you really ought to take something you can cast as a bonus action.

I agree that I'm not huge on the action + bonus action system. Mearls has lamented that he doesn't like it either. In the end it ends up being 2 actions with fussiness added in.

What I don't think is that this is a major issue. It could be better but it isn't catastrophic. I don't think it makes the game a mess and it doesn't majorly impact my fun.
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
It depends greatly on the DM to provide challenging tactics and interesting locations. Otherwise it's extremely predictable what each player will do with any D&D edition.

That is why I prefer the random stunt system of Fantasy AGE for combat. Makes encounters less predictable.
 


So I have seen twice in as many days, folks mention how "combat isn't that fun," which reinforced an occasional claim I have seen on these boards that confuses me, that combat is "a slog" or "a waste of time" (the latter usually going along with with discussion of random encounters or combats not directly related to achieving a narrative goal of an adventure).

When D&D combat is not fun for me, it is because it is a "Everyone lines up and fights" kind of combat or a combat where one or two optimized tactics are all that is needed to succeed and it goes on too long - though in generally I do like a longish combat (well, long by standards of what I gather other people think is long).
Thing is you can disagree with something, and be clearly wrong. It's not a mess. Millions of people play it a week. They wouldn't if it's a mess. People tweak things. But it's not a mess, otherwise people in this day and age would abandon it. It's not perfect, buts it good, and we shouldn't lose that goodness in pursuit of the perfect. If it wasn't good people wouldn't play it.

This topic came in part out of the thread about how many encounters per adventuring day people have. There I suggested that one of the reasons many people don't have 6-8 medium encounters per adventuring day is because that does not make for entertaining gameplay. That is, there is a something of a gap between how designers imagined people might play when they designed the CR system and XP budgets, and how a lot of people actually play, which perhaps leans more toward what critical role does: lots of story and free form RP, a few high stakes fights per day (where, crucially, the DM has put thought into designing the encounter). I'm not sure that the random-encounter style of play, the default in early editions, is all that popular now, and part of the reason is that they take too long to resolve and don't add to the story that people want to develop, i.e., are not fun.

Critical role and other popular actual plays are really instructive when it comes to how the game is actually played. It suggests that what many people find compelling is OC character creation, helped by 5e's simple but evocative class design and streamlined resolution mechanic for most checks (roll d20, add bonus).

Similarly, I think the existence of Pathfinder 2e and the various 3rd party 5e products (Level Up, various monster books) suggests that involved, varied tactical gameplay across all levels is a niche that core 5e does not do well, hence creating markets for other games or for supplements.
 

Yeah Malmuria. Loads different and effective RPGs out there to suit all tastes. If you don't find game A to tick your boxes, try game B. I play a lot, and lots different games dependent on what I'm in the mood for.
 

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