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4E Should I play 4e?

Well 4e didnt solve this... like 5e it lessened the impact but wizards... especially since they got ritual casting for free as well as more skills... still had much more out of the box versatility than the fighter.
You caught me, I left out 'virtually,' that time:

I gave you one example, LFQW, above. It's a fact. It makes D&D a bad game - imbalanced, problematic to play at low & high levels. 4e fixed it. 4e is reviled for fixing it, because it's one of those flaws that people came to love.
vs

(FREX: LFQW is a mathematical fact of D&D class design - it's profound in 1e or 3e, significant in 5e, virtually absent in 4e, resulting in a level-based game that actually remains playable at all levels
Next time I'll just quote myself up-front.

Yep, LFQW only /virtually/ absent in 4e. The Wizard's spells and the fighter's exploits per encounter & per day were gained at the same rate. So, in a given day, they're at neat parity at all levels. No LFQW, there, at the macro level, over 30 levels. Lightyears ahead, just in basic structure. No contest, really, but we can dig into the details:

The wizard can swap out some of his spells, the dailies and utilities, for an alternate, or one of a pair of alternates if he takes a feat. The fighter can take up to three feats to swap out /one/ exploit with one alternate, advantage: wiz. So, for the feat-happy characters from one day to the next, that's 50% greater versatility with dailies and utilities. The fighter also gains some exploits with the Reliable keyword, that can result in him using an exploit more often, and the wizard also gets some minor at-will cantrips, but, that's not over levels, that's just a first level feature, no contribution to LFQW.

So in sheer power, they're at very near parity. The wizard - as is typical for controllers vs defenders generally - has an edge in versatility, but a tiny one compared to other editions.

Now, out of combat, the wizard gets some extra skills, also at fist level, and skills all advance at 1/2 level, so no LFQW there, but not perfect equality, either. And a few free rituals at first, and every 5 levels, also linear, actually, but meaning increased versatility out of combat... Of course, the wizard can buy rituals, and must spend gp to cast them - they're comparable to items in 4e - and the fighter can spend his gold elsewhere, as buying items was no less gp-efficient than making them.

In 5e, LFQW, though not as profound as in the olden days (let alone Tier 1 vs Tier 5 in 3e) is still pretty significant: Instead of the fighter going from 1 attack at 1st level, steadily hitting with more often than other classes as he leveled, to an astounding 2 attacks at 14th. 5e has it going from 1 to 4 attacks, albeit, hitting about the same as everyone else at all levels thanks to BA. Steadily linear as always. The 1e fighter hits relatively more often as he levels, while the 5e fighter swings relatively more often, starting at 5th or 11th depending on relative to whom. The fighter also gets an Action Surge, and, eventually a /second/ Action surge. Letting him do yet moar damage, once between hour-long short rests.

The wizard, OTOH, goes from being a 1-spell, random-spells-known wonder at 1st to a multiple-9th-level spell Archmage at 20th (and keeps going) in 1e. But starts with 2 first levels spells, at-will cantrips, and can re-gain a slot with a short rest, and tops out a meager two spells of level 6 through 9 at 20th. But, that's still a /lot/ of spells, with a lot of power, versatility, and staying power gained over 20 levels, vs hitting more. The 1e MU's spells grew in spells/day, effect-per-caster level, and, in minor ways, with slot level (punching through certain defenses, mostly), but did not scale saving throws, at all, so spells of /all/ levels became more likely to be saved against vs same-level foes as the MU leveled. LFQW was unquestionably there and profound, but in some small ways, not as bad as it could have been. 3e made it as bad as it could have been, though it did put some modest caps on power-per-caster-level based on spell level, and based saves on slot level (via Empower metamagic, if nothing else), rather than caster level. 5e made spells scale with slot level, but saves scale with character (not even caster) level, so even your lowest level spells get harder to save against as you level. It also gave the wiz a higher at-will baseline than 1e darts or 3e light crossbows, with at-will cantrips. And, of course, it went from old-school Vancian, to all the versatility of 3e spontaneous & prepped, combined, so as the wizard gains more spells with level, in addition to more spells slots, of spells that are harder to save against, he's also more and more likely to have the best possible spell for the situation, a tremendous increase in versatility. And, out-of-combat rituals no longer carry a cost (neither slot nor gp), so further add to that expanding versatility.

1e/2e, 3e, & 5e LFQW are each /different/ from eachother, but they're all quite significant. 3e is certainly the most profound, though even it is not /strictly/ superior to each of the others on all points. For instance, a 1e fireball could scale to higher damage dice than a 3e fireball. A low-level 5e spell's save will scale with character level, in stead of the 3e's scaling with slot level, leaving lower-level spells dropping off in usefulness more in the otherwise uber-mage edition, but that 5e DC, while it might be 4 or 5 higher vs a save bonus that hasn't advanced at all with level, still isn't /untouchable/ like it could have been with a top-level 3e spell. The 3e wiz could supplement his versatility with scrolls via make/buy, while the 5e wiz gets spontaneous-prepped neo-Vancian caster for greater versatility.
So, yeah, different in the details. But rapidly ballooning power for the wiz, in all non-4e cases.

Yep... of course it would be easier if some posters would realize it's not 2008 and throwing inflammatory claims of superiority only helps to stoke the flames.
NO, realized we could live and let live /in 2008/. Y'know, instead of edition warring all this effing time. I mean, it'd be nice if the same talking points didn't keep popping up, and all, but it's really too late.

The good thing is that 5e, at least, isn't being warred against, even as residual warring against 4e continues.


Now, that's only one example, and it's only a mechanical improvement on a quantitative level.
That says nothing about more subjective measures.
 

Imaro

Adventurer
You caught me, I left out 'virtually,' that time:



vs

Next time I'll just quote myself up-front.

Yep, LFQW only /virtually/ absent in 4e. The Wizard's spells and the fighter's exploits per encounter & per day were gained at the same rate. So, in a given day, they're at neat parity at all levels. No LFQW, there, at the macro level, over 30 levels. Lightyears ahead, just in basic structure. No contest, really, but we can dig into the details:

The wizard can swap out some of his spells, the dailies and utilities, for an alternate, or one of a pair of alternates if he takes a feat. The fighter can take up to three feats to swap out /one/ exploit with one alternate, advantage: wiz. So, for the feat-happy characters from one day to the next, that's 50% greater versatility with dailies and utilities. The fighter also gains some exploits with the Reliable keyword, that can result in him using an exploit more often, and the wizard also gets some minor at-will cantrips, but, that's not over levels, that's just a first level feature, no contribution to LFQW.

So in sheer power, they're at very near parity. The wizard - as is typical for controllers vs defenders generally - has an edge in versatility, but a tiny one compared to other editions.

Now, out of combat, the wizard gets some extra skills, also at fist level, and skills all advance at 1/2 level, so no LFQW there, but not perfect equality, either. And a few free rituals at first, and every 5 levels, also linear, actually, but meaning increased versatility out of combat... Of course, the wizard can buy rituals, and must spend gp to cast them - they're comparable to items in 4e - and the fighter can spend his gold elsewhere, as buying items was no less gp-efficient than making them.

In 5e, LFQW, though not as profound as in the olden days (let alone Tier 1 vs Tier 5 in 3e) is still pretty significant: Instead of the fighter going from 1 attack at 1st level, steadily hitting with more often than other classes as he leveled, to an astounding 2 attacks at 14th. 5e has it going from 1 to 4 attacks, albeit, hitting about the same as everyone else at all levels thanks to BA. Steadily linear as always. The 1e fighter hits relatively more often as he levels, while the 5e fighter swings relatively more often, starting at 5th or 11th depending on relative to whom. The fighter also gets an Action Surge, and, eventually a /second/ Action surge. Letting him do yet moar damage, once between hour-long short rests.

The wizard, OTOH, goes from being a 1-spell, random-spells-known wonder at 1st to a multiple-9th-level spell Archmage at 20th (and keeps going) in 1e. But starts with 2 first levels spells, at-will cantrips, and can re-gain a slot with a short rest, and tops out a meager two spells of level 6 through 9 at 20th. But, that's still a /lot/ of spells, with a lot of power, versatility, and staying power gained over 20 levels, vs hitting more. The 1e MU's spells grew in spells/day, effect-per-caster level, and, in minor ways, with slot level (punching through certain defenses, mostly), but did not scale saving throws, at all, so spells of /all/ levels became more likely to be saved against vs same-level foes as the MU leveled. LFQW was unquestionably there and profound, but in some small ways, not as bad as it could have been. 3e made it as bad as it could have been, though it did put some modest caps on power-per-caster-level based on spell level, and based saves on slot level (via Empower metamagic, if nothing else), rather than caster level. 5e made spells scale with slot level, but saves scale with character (not even caster) level, so even your lowest level spells get harder to save against as you level. It also gave the wiz a higher at-will baseline than 1e darts or 3e light crossbows, with at-will cantrips. And, of course, it went from old-school Vancian, to all the versatility of 3e spontaneous & prepped, combined, so as the wizard gains more spells with level, in addition to more spells slots, of spells that are harder to save against, he's also more and more likely to have the best possible spell for the situation, a tremendous increase in versatility. And, out-of-combat rituals no longer carry a cost (neither slot nor gp), so further add to that expanding versatility.

1e/2e, 3e, & 5e LFQW are each /different/ from eachother, but they're all quite significant. 3e is certainly the most profound, though even it is not /strictly/ superior to each of the others on all points. For instance, a 1e fireball could scale to higher damage dice than a 3e fireball. A low-level 5e spell's save will scale with character level, in stead of the 3e's scaling with slot level, leaving lower-level spells dropping off in usefulness more in the otherwise uber-mage edition, but that 5e DC, while it might be 4 or 5 higher vs a save bonus that hasn't advanced at all with level, still isn't /untouchable/ like it could have been with a top-level 3e spell. The 3e wiz could supplement his versatility with scrolls via make/buy, while the 5e wiz gets spontaneous-prepped neo-Vancian caster for greater versatility.
So, yeah, different in the details. But rapidly ballooning power for the wiz, in all non-4e cases.

NO, realized we could live and let live /in 2008/. Y'know, instead of edition warring all this effing time. I mean, it'd be nice if the same talking points didn't keep popping up, and all, but it's really too late.

The good thing is that 5e, at least, isn't being warred against, even as residual warring against 4e continues.


Now, that's only one example, and it's only a mechanical improvement on a quantitative level.
That says nothing about more subjective measures.
I'm more of a real examples type of guy so let's actually take a look at the Utilities for the classes just in the PHB for 4e say up to level 10...

At level 2 the Wizard can...
1. Move at 2x his speed
2. Stop himself or anyone from taking damage from a fall of any distance.
3. Leap great distances
4. Create a magical shield to protect oneself

At level 6 the Wizard can...
1. Teleport himself 50ft
2. Magically disguise himself
3. Dispel Magic
4. Turn himself or another creature invisible
5. Levitate 20ft
6. Create Fog to obstruct sight and offer concealment.

At level 10 the Wizard can...
1. Create portals up to 100ft apart that anyone can use to teleport
2. Create multiple copies of himself to confuse foes
3. Blur himself to hinder foes
4. Grant himself or someone else resistances to various damage types

Now let's look at what a Fighter can do...

At level 2 the fighter can...
1. Gain regeneration when bloodied
2. Let a willing ally move 2 squares
3. Cancel the combat advantage of an enemy attacking you
4. Gain temp hit points

At level 6 the fighter can...
1. Gain +10 to Initiative
2. Gain a +2 bonus to one defense
3. Reduce damage from an attack

At level 10 the fighter can...
1. Move 3 squares as long as you end adjacent to an enemy
2. Take no damage from a hit but stunned and -2 to all defenses
3. Boost allies defenses by +1 or +2 for the encounter.

Hmm... okay these are supposed to be the non-combat/Utility powers and much like every edition of D&D 4e gives the fighter more fightery things to do wile giving the wizard more power through versatility (the main culprit of "quadratic" power) as well as powers for in combat. And this is before we even begin to touch on rituals (which become inexpensiv by mid-heroic and higher), just looking at the ones for Arcana up to level 10 we have...

Comprehend Language Arcana
Magic Mouth Arcana
Make Whole Arcana
Secret Page Arcana
Silence Arcana
Tenser’s Floating Disk Arcana
Endure Elements Arcana or Nature
Eye of Alarm Arcana
Detect Secret Doors Arcana
Arcane Lock Arcana
Enchant Magic Item Arcana
Knock Arcana
Brew Potion Arcana or Religion
Hallucinatory Item Arcana
Magic Circle Arcana
Disenchant Magic Item Arcana
Leomund’s Secret Chest Arcana
Phantom Steed Arcana
Sending Arcana
Linked Portal Arcana
Water Breathing Arcana or Nature
Wizard’s Sight Arcana
Detect Object Arcana

But yeah keep telling me how badly the wizard was nerfed and the fighter was given parity in 4e...
 

HJFudge

Villager
Wait, what?

Thats an odd restriction to put on things, looking JUST at utility abilities. What 4e fixed was that it allowed fighters to, IN COMBAT, be just as amazing as spell casting classes. Was some of the powers from a wizard due to its utility outside combat? Yes. And as you have so clearly demonstrated, they do keep that superiority by a straight reading of the PHB abilities. However, out of combat utility was a far easier fix than In combat power is.

In combat, LFQW fighters start pretty decent but are quickly outclassed by wizards (spell casters in general, really). 4E fixed that. Fighters and Wizards could do different things? But they both excelled in what they did and added similar value to the party as a whole. Many have decried this as 'all classes playing the same' but, again, as you so clearly demonstrated...there was a huge difference in how a wizard played and how a fighter played. That difference just wasnt in POWER.
 
I'm more of a real examples type of guy so let's actually take a look at the Utilities for the classes just in the PHB for 4e say up to level 10...
Yep, martial exploits and arcane spells were quite different, and the wiz retained the edge in versatility, while the fighter kept his in durability - reflections of both source and role that give the lie to all the "fighters cast spells" and "samey" talking points.


Hmm... okay these are supposed to be the non-combat/Utility powers and much like every edition of D&D 4e gives the fighter more fightery things to do wile giving the wizard more power through versatility (the main culprit of "quadratic" power)
Not nearly the main culprit, no. LFQW is a matter of hard numbers. A 1st level fighter in the classic game could hit a little better than the next guy, and at 14th he could hit significantly better. The 1st level wizard could cast 1 spell, the 3rd, 3, the 5th 6 and so on. One thing steadily getting better, vs the number of things you can do growing, and getting steadily better, and being able to do them more often.

That wasn't happening to a much greater degree from one class to another in 4e, the wiz and fighter got comparable numbers of abilities, chosen from similarly expansive (really, not expansive at all compared to other eds - a class might get 3-6 choices at a given level, PH 1e MU chose from 30 spells at 1st level) lists.

It's absolutely true though that the fighter was out in the cold out of combat: a better list than other eds but no bonus skills, utilities more focused on combat utility. The gulf between fighter & caster in D&D has generally been vast - in 4e, it was a relatively narrow gap, still undeniable - but it didn't balloon in outright power with level as it does in all other eds.

Better balance, even profoundly better, does not have to mean perfect balance.

as well as powers for in combat. And this is before we even begin to touch on rituals (which become inexpensiv by mid-heroic and higher),
Rituals price-scaled like items, so same-level were always expensive to learn and significant to cast, while much lower became cheap. The wizard heavily invested in rituals simply had less going on in the magic item department.

Ritual caster was a feat the wiz got at 1st level as a bonus. One feat, in a game that gave you 15 more over 30 levels.


But yeah keep telling me how badly the wizard was nerfed and the fighter was given parity in 4e...
The wizard wasn't /badly/ nerfed, at all, it just didn't rapidly become wildly overpowered with level. Really, a 4e wiz was probably better off than a wiz of any prior ed, at first level. By 3rd, not so much.

So, yeah, AEDU, by the numbers, was resource parity. It killed LFQW, outright, like so many sacred cows.

But, the classes weren't "samey" and some of the differences were in powers vs features. The wizard, in particular, had virtually all it's role support baked into it's powers, it's features were kinda cute, but not all that. The fighters features were potent and combat-oriented with strong role support - it's powers could be pretty cool, but were mostly vehicles for that role support.
 
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CapnZapp

Adventurer
There are many things that can be done in any game to make "time spent in combat" expand or contract to the group's desires. Few of those techniques have to do with the game's rules; most of those techniques have to do with table management, time management, and choosing a group that all has similar tastes for sexy combat.
Well, we found that the easiest solution, by far, was to use a ruleset like 3E or 5E instead of a ruleset like 4E.

That instantly solved our problems much faster and easier than any amount of managing time or tables did.

We never did consider replacing the players. Or maybe we did - yes, you can definitely say we're still playing 4E, except with a whole new group with none of it's original members!

Sorry for the snark; Good luck with your game!
 

Imaro

Adventurer
Wait, what?

Thats an odd restriction to put on things, looking JUST at utility abilities. What 4e fixed was that it allowed fighters to, IN COMBAT, be just as amazing as spell casting classes. Was some of the powers from a wizard due to its utility outside combat? Yes. And as you have so clearly demonstrated, they do keep that superiority by a straight reading of the PHB abilities. However, out of combat utility was a far easier fix than In combat power is.

In combat, LFQW fighters start pretty decent but are quickly outclassed by wizards (spell casters in general, really). 4E fixed that. Fighters and Wizards could do different things? But they both excelled in what they did and added similar value to the party as a whole. Many have decried this as 'all classes playing the same' but, again, as you so clearly demonstrated...there was a huge difference in how a wizard played and how a fighter played. That difference just wasnt in POWER.
Emphasis mine that wasn't the original claim but ok. I'm not sure how one can look at the 5e Fighter especially the Battlemaster and think the Wizard is better in combat than him but I'm willing to be convinced... Can you explain this or is this purely about having the same number of things to call out as "moves" in combat?
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
So, yeah, AEDU, by the numbers, was resource parity. It killed LFQW, outright, like so many sacred cows.

But, the classes weren't "samey" and some of the differences were in powers vs features. The wizard, in particular, had virtually all it's role support baked into it's powers, it's features were kinda cute, but not all that. The fighters features were potent and combat-oriented with strong role support - it's powers could be pretty cool, but were mostly vehicles for that role support.
So, I'm just going to say two things I have noticed, and I hope you take them in the spirit of a good-faith conversation:

The first is that I have noticed that you often state your playstyle preferences as if they were fact; which is not conducive to a good conversation! There is a difference between normative (what ought to be) and descriptive (what is). Now, you might have very strong preferences regarding what is, and isn't, good design; I know that we have previously discussed, inter alia, our differences regarding what constitutes "balance" in a game. I think that this is what @Imaro and others are mentioning when they discuss the lack of citation; it is fine to discuss preferences, but it is much harder to discuss a preference when that preference is asserted as a fact.

If someone says that they like butter pecan ice cream, and that anyone who enjoys other types of ice cream is just clinging to their sacred cows, that tends to escalate issues, instead of leading to a better understanding of actual differences w/r/t preferences.


The second is that when I review the things you write, they don't seem in accord with what I have found from independent research from more neutral sources. For example:

A. A common claim I have seen is that Essentials fixes many of the problems people had with 4e; in other words, that had Essentials been released earlier, it would have solved a lot of problems (incl. bugs, math issues, the desire for a simpler class, etc.). Now, as I wrote, this unfortunately happened after 4e was already "dead" as a product, but then you essentially assert that Essentials sucked for catering to people. So ....

B. The designers of 4e are on record regarding class issues due to the shortened timeframe of development- "The things I would have wanted to change about fourth edition mostly center on the knowledge that the class design project wasn’t entirely finished upon release. I’d never wanted to use the exact same power structure for the wizard as every other class, for example, but we ran out of time, and had to use smaller variations to express class differences than I had originally expected." Lead Designer Rob Heinsoo (Kobold Quarterly)

So it's very difficult to square the comments of the designer (smaller variations due to the timeframe that were only, later, modified) with your insistence that other people could not view the classes as "same-y." Now, I happen to think that the design framework could be expanded, and that later classes could (and did) differ using that design framework, but you should at least be able to understand where the criticism comes from- if the designers can acknowledge it, you should be able to as well.

C. Going back to the issue of preferences, and Essentials, one thing you tend to discount is people's strong desire for a simple class. Surveys of player preferences consistently show that the simplest classes rate as the highest; moreover, surveys of classes in use consistently show that the simplest classes are the most played. This isn't about "quality," but it shows that there is a strong desire in part of the player base for simplicity; something that they attempted to capture in Essentials, but lacked in the original core release. Now, I understand that you would say that simplicity can be measured in many ways (such as 'DM running the game simplicity'), and I would agree- just like "balance" can. I'm just stating that the simplicity that some players were looking for was lacking when 4e was initially released; you know, the whole, "Ima drinka beer and have a slice of pizza; tell me when it's my turn to roll a die."

D. Finally, and this is regarding the great comments of @HJFudge as well, I wanted to briefly talk about the whole "market decides" issue. So, I said I reviewed a number of different arguments, pro- and con-, and after I posted, I saw someone else post (in a different thread here) about how 4e was terrible because the "MARKET IS ALWAYS RIGHT." This isn't a real claim; it's post hoc triumphalism. It's a slightly more wordy version of the athlete's "SCOREBOARD."

That said, 4e did fail, and it failed in ways that were predictable. I described 4e as snakebitten, and, in some ways, it was, but in other ways ... look, Paizo got a lead out because Jason Buhlman went and playtested 4e, and reported back that 4e was ... well, what it was. So Paizo was able to concentrate on developing PF instead of waiting to see if a 4e license would come out.

None of this addresses the issue of quality, or enjoyment, or whether the 4e system scratches the itch that you have. But there seems to be this lingering issue that you seem to find the fault in people who enjoy things you don't for the failure of the system; this would be the same as if Disney decided to release Parasite (winner, Palme d'Or) in wide release in the US, in subtitles, and expect it to do as well as Endgame; at a certain point, the issue of quality doesn't matter as much as the fit for the proposed market.

You can't make people like what they don't like. And when you have a market leader and brand like D&D, you have to be very careful with your sacred cows. It's neither good, nor bad, it just is. :)

TLDR; there is a difference between making normative claims about the quality of systems, as opposed to descriptive claims about why something happened (rushed development, for example, and unrealistic goals).



.
 
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Things 4e did better than any edition of D&D:
* allowed any stat to be an attack stat (this alone opened up huge design space)
* codified the nascent "cooldown" model already present in the game (e.g., Daily uses of barbarian's Rage or paladin's Smite Evil)
* unified class mechanics so that picking up Class A vs. Class B wasn't like playing an entirely different game (this might not match your preferences, but it is unarguably true that less complex systems are easier to learn)
* provided advice to the most important player at the table, the DM, on (1) how to actually run the damn game, (2) how to manage a group of humans
* produced the best monster books ever produced for any D&D edition, bar none; even the in retrospect relatively lame MM1 was light years ahead of its 3e counterpart; and the Monster Vault and MV Threats to the Nentir Vale are in the top 10 of all gaming books ever -- and because monsters are the core component of what the DM needs, this was a hugely important accomplishment
* produced dungeon tiles (started in 3e, true) and poster maps which are other important components for the DM
* produced two sets (DM's Kit, Monster Vault) with high quality monster "pogs" as lower cost "minis" for the DM <-- hey 5e players, how's that going for you guys, you got any of these yet? no? hmm....
* applied typographic and design principles to the conveyance of information to players (power layout) and DMs (monster, trap, etc. layout) such that comprehending the information was much much easier than ever before
* produced a working character builder and monster builder, despite the tragic murder/suicide of two of their key developers -- we had been waiting 30 years for this holy grail of D&D and say what you want about the builders, THEY ACTUALLY F--KING DID IT
* rapidly spun up an organized play community (Living Forgotten Realms, LFR) that grew faster than any organized play before it (I have this from multiple reliable sources at the RPGA) and, despite the... widely varying quality of the adventures (to put it kindly)... was a key marketing effort for the game

That's off the top of my head. 4e may not be to your tastes, it may have been a financial failure (debatable), it may have died a premature death due to various factors -- but it was an excellently designed game.

Now go play it. :D
 

Imaro

Adventurer
4e may not be to your tastes, it may have been a financial failure (debatable), it may have died a premature death due to various factors -- but it was an excellently designed game.
Lol... who said otherwise (though many of the things you listed fall into the realm of personal preference as opposed to making an objectively better game).

See the problem arises when instead of praising your edition and how it aligns with your particular preferences you try to declare it objectively superior while at the same time playing the edition war victim when others respond to tell you why your subjective preferences do not make your game an objectively better edition than any other one.
 
4e may not be to your tastes, it may have been a financial failure (debatable), it may have died a premature death due to various factors
When your parent company gives you a 50 mil goal, with a 100 mil stretch, and development resources commensurate with those goals, and you pull down less than 50 mil, it's a financial failure - even though you were competing in a 20 mil market.

-- but it was an excellently designed game.
It was an astounding feat of design from the PoV of a long-time D&Der (this would be me) long since resigned to the many problems facing D&D being fundamentally insoluble.

But excellent? No. Even at it's best, D&D has been, as just a game, in the technical sense, relatively poorly designed. Maybe it's just that 45 years really isn't that long for a brand-new /type/ of game to evolve? Maybe the design goals have never really been adequately laid out? Maybe RPGs are intrinsically resistant to good design because they're innately open-ended or "infinite" games? IDK.


The first is that I have noticed that you often state your playstyle preferences as if they were fact
Nope. I understand how it can look that way, if you consider *your* playstyle preferences, habits, or expectations from many years of playing a certain ed a certain way with a certain group to be fact. But, since I was called out for casually tossing out known quantities without back them up, I went ahead and gave (another - Imaro had given some, too) example /how/ those classes were different.

"Samey" is a subjective complaint tossed out without foundation in fact. The facts contradict it.


There is a difference between normative (what ought to be) and descriptive (what is).
LFQW is a complaint about what is, certainly, and that 4e did away with it is also descriptive.

LFQW - among other things - contributed to most editions of D&D having a 'sweet spot' in the middle levels, depending on your preferences, the boundaries of it varied a little, but it was certainly there, with levels above and below being problematic in various ways to various degrees. 4e's 'sweet spot' was prettymuch the whole level range.

Now, like I said above, and have said many times, that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't or should feel bad about preferring a particular edition. So, no, I'm not asserting an opinion as fact or denying other's their opinions.

I do put it as loving the game in spite of it's flaws vs for it's flaws, though. I feel OK doing that, because I've been on both sides of it. I know what it feels like to really enjoy something in the game that I know is a bad, superfluous or problematic bit of design. I know what it feels like to appreciate the potential of the game or the broader hobby, in spite of the details of just how bad the 'state of the art' was at the time.

Now, you might have very strong preferences regarding what is, and isn't, good design; I know that we have previously discussed, inter alia, our differences regarding what constitutes "balance" in a game.
I'm happy to define terms, the best definition of balance I've ever seen is simply: a game is better-balanced the more meaningful, viable choices it can present the player with.

Thus a game with many choices, most of which are actively worthless, and a few of which are extremely potent, is poorly balanced - and so is a game that presents only a few choices, at all. 4e can be held up as the 'best-balanced' version of D&D, but even it has pretty seriously imbalanced areas: feats, most notably, the fighter's sad position outside of combat is another one I tend to notice, and that Imaro & I apparently agree about.

it is fine to discuss preferences, but it is much harder to discuss a preference when that preference is asserted as a fact.
It's also fine to discuss facts. But, as soon as the facts start to turn out to support one conclusion over another, it becomes very convenient to start claiming everything is subjective.

Yes, you can have very different preferences. No, they don't change the facts.

So it's very difficult to square the comments of the designer (smaller variations due to the timeframe that were only, later, modified) with your insistence that other people could not view the classes as "same-y."
There's nothing incompatible there. Whatever reason the design team had for sticking closely to the AEDU framework in the PH & PHII, then tweaking it in the PHII, and abandoning it in Essentials, AEDU still presented balanced, LFQW-erasing, clearly differentiated classes.


one thing you tend to discount is people's strong desire for a simple class. Surveys of player preferences consistently show that the simplest classes rate as the highest; moreover, surveys of classes in use consistently show that the simplest classes are the most played
Surveys of player preference consistently rate the Fighter highest & most-played: when it was the simplest class in 1e, when it was significantly more complex (especially to build) than the Barbarian in 3e, when it was, as a defender, pretty close to the middle of the pack in terms of complexity, in 4e, when it was again relegated to relative simplicity in Essentials, and when it was given a bone-simple and a couple of somewhat less simplistic options in 5e. The archetype of the fighter is familiar from heroic fantasy, it's relatable, iconic, it's always been the most popular class, no matter what D&D did to it, mechanically.

The runner-up most-popular classes, OTOH, include some the /most/ complicated.

So, yeah, I put no stock whatsoever in the "people want a simple class" rubric. The fighter was a simplest class for 25 years. It's just expectation and familiarity driving the insistence that it be relegated forever to the LF of LFQW.

That said, 4e did fail, and it failed in ways that were predictable. I described 4e as snakebitten, and, in some ways, it was, but in other ways ... look, Paizo got a lead out because Jason Buhlman went and playtested 4e, and reported back that 4e was ... well, what it was. So Paizo was able to concentrate on developing PF instead of waiting to see if a 4e license would come out.
That's a new one. The story I always heard was that lack of a license left Paizo with nothing to develop for 4e, so they had to do something. When the GSL came out, it was awful, and they went ahead with PF.

It was the business side, again, pushing the businesses in those directions, but some like to interpret it as "proof" that 4e was "bad." 4e was a terrible business decision. It was a technically superior game by many metrics that solved multiple long-standing, intractable problems with D&D - much to the horror of a certain segment of the fanbase that /loved/ what they were able to get away with thanks to those long-standing, intractable flaws.

But there seems to be this lingering issue that you seem to find the fault in people who enjoy things you don't for the failure of the system
No, I do not. I am fine with people playing what they like. I am not fine with people maligning things they don't like for reasons unrelated to that dislike, that get the facts wrong. I am not OK with people begrudging others the game they like, and setting out to destroy it.

I'm OK with people enjoying what they like, as long as they're not actively warring against what I like.

Is that in any way unreasonable?
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
You don't know the difference between subjective and objective? If not, I'm not the one to give you a lesson and if you do... well I'm sure you can figure out which fall into what category.
[MENTION=7737]Joshua Randall[/MENTION] -

Let me assist:

Objective:
"allowed any stat to be an attack stat"

Subjective:
"produced the best monster books ever produced for any D&D edition, bar none ... and the Monster Vault and MV Threats to the Nentir Vale are in the top 10 of all gaming books ever"


Nothing to do with the way that 4e is designed:*
"rapidly spun up an organized play community"



*Marketing of a game is different than being an excellently designed game. That said, while I don't know the veracity of your RPGA sources, it is refreshing, if odd, to see someone say that 4e was a great marketing success.
 
Now, we've been on this marry-go-round before, so having demanded facts and having received them, you'll retreat into the claim that it's all subjective, that the facts - that you demanded - don't matter.
Yep, called it:

(though many of the things you listed fall into the realm of personal preference as opposed to making an objectively better game).
... your subjective preferences do not make your game an objectively better edition than any other one.
It's fair to say that the objective qualities of a game don't in any way negate subjective preferences. Indeed, you can prefer something in spite of it having objectively bad qualities, or even /for those very qualities/. And it's nobody's place to stop or convert you (I mean, unless you exercising your preferences constitutes a clear & present danger to others). Humans having free will and all...

...but it's not fair to say that subjective preferences negate objective qualities.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Nope. I understand how it can look that way, if you consider *your* playstyle preferences, habits, or expectations from many years of playing a certain ed a certain way with a certain group to be fact.
I'm just going to quote this part for the "whoosh" component.

Look, I'm not asserting anything. But just labeling things and defining them doesn't mean you don't keep confusing your subjective standards for an objective standard.

Let me show you, one final time, the difference:

Objective:
4e had a design objective of doing away with so-called "LFQW," and allowing each character class an opportunity in the spotlight in the encounter.

(There are numerous accounts of this, including interviews with Heinsoo, that this was a goal to be accomplished)

Assertion:
4e accomplished this design goal (I think this is a fair assertion)

Subjective 1:
The design goal makes for a better RPG or D&D.

Subjective 2:
The way the design goal was accomplished makes for a better RPG or D&D.


You continually state Subjective 1 & 2, not just the objective statement. Just because you describe something as an LFQW, and just because you don't like it, doesn't mean that others don't enjoy the way it plays out.



"Samey" is a subjective complaint tossed out without foundation in fact. The facts contradict it.
Just to note this- not sure what to say. The lead designer stated that this was his biggest issue, due to the short development cycle. You call it "same-y," he called it "smaller variations to express class differences."

So, is it better when someone says, "I concur with the lead designer of 4e, and have found that there was a lack of variations to express class differences when 4e was released." Is that good?

(Again, I think that a good argument can be made that this issue was corrected with time, and it has a lot to do with the shortened development cycle, but to not even see it shows that you can't bother to understand valid, if opposing, points of view.)




So, yeah, I put no stock whatsoever in the "people want a simple class" rubric. The fighter was a simplest class for 25 years. It's just expectation and familiarity driving the insistence that it be relegated forever to the LF of LFQW.
I know you don't. And that's fine. But all we have are surveys (preferences) and revealed preferences (what people play), and simple classes always, always, always do well.

That's not an argument- I'm just describing what I've seen. Complex, simple, whatever people like.

That's a new one. The story I always heard was that lack of a license left Paizo with nothing to develop for 4e, so they had to do something. When the GSL came out, it was awful, and they went ahead with PF.
You're welcome.

Like I said, I tried to review as many sources as possible before making a comment. You can source that to Paizo's website. It's one of many pieces of the puzzle showing that the issues with 4e's reception were known (and disregarded) prior to the launch.

It was the business side, again, pushing the businesses in those directions, but some like to interpret it as "proof" that 4e was "bad." 4e was a terrible business decision. It was a technically superior game by many metrics that solved multiple long-standing, intractable problems with D&D - much to the horror of a certain segment of the fanbase that /loved/ what they were able to get away with thanks to those long-standing, intractable flaws.

No, I do not. I am fine with people playing what they like. I am not fine with people maligning things they don't like for reasons unrelated to that dislike, that get the facts wrong. I am not OK with people begrudging others the game they like, and setting out to destroy it.

I'm OK with people enjoying what they like, as long as they're not actively warring against what I like.

Is that in any way unreasonable?
Um ... I don't know, man. Maybe you don't see it.

Life is too short to stan for an edition, unless it's just for fun.
 
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Imaro

Adventurer
Yep, called it:
Lol... did you??? The only way this is true is if you are saying every one of Joshua Randall's assertions are purely objective facts... simple yes or no question...are you?

It's fair to say that the objective qualities of a game don't in any way negate subjective preferences. Indeed, you can prefer something in spite of it having objectively bad qualities, or even /for those very qualities/. And it's nobody's place to stop or convert you (I mean, unless you exercising your preferences constitutes a clear & present danger to others). Humans having free will and all...

...but it's not fair to say that subjective preferences negate objective qualities.
Good thing I didn't then...
 
Lol... did you??? The only way this is true is if you are saying every one of Joshua Randall's assertions are purely objective facts...
Oh, you went dark on that tangent, and now were back to the subjectivity portion of the ride.

It's not exactly an unfamiliar pattern.

Hey, when you asserted I had a pattern of not backing up my claims with facts, I went ahead and /did/.

Why don't you "prove me wrong" the same way, and instead of waving the subjective flag at someone's post, get 'descriptive' with the thing they're talking about to illustrate how the facts maybe don't align exactly with their assertion?

I'm just going to quote this part for the "whoosh" component.
Y'know what, I'm going to skip the personal stuff - it's silly, we're both old-timers who love(d) the game in it's 1e form... we have too much common ground to go there.

Subjective 1:
The design goal makes for a better RPG or D&D.
So, the design goal in question was to create a game that was functional at all phase of play, not just the middle bit. I'm not sure how we're supposed to objectively judge a game that doesn't work for ~half it's presented arc of play as no better/different from one that does.
I can certainly see holding very different opinions about it, of course.

I know you don't. And that's fine. But all we have are surveys (preferences) and revealed preferences (what people play), and simple classes always, always, always do well.
No, the /fighter/ always does well, whether it's simple or not in the edition in question. The Cleric, Wizard and Rogue also tend to always do well, even though two of them are among the most complex classes in the game, in every ed. And the Barbarian, even when the simplest class (3e & 5e, for instance, though in 5e, the Champion is the simplest sub-class), does not do as well as the "Big 4."

That's not "simplicity makes a class popular," that theory doesn't fit the results you're basing it upon, the polls of popularity don't give us results anything like popularity descending in correlation with increasing complexity.
 
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Jacob Lewis

The One with the Force
Well this is spiraling down in a hurry. I think everyone needs to remember the most important thing about this discussion:

The OP had been asked to leave the site a while ago for some shenanigans on another thread. With any luck, he is playing 4e right now and not being exposed to any of this, which is the BEST way to enjoy any edition. IMHO. :)
 

HJFudge

Villager
Emphasis mine that wasn't the original claim but ok. I'm not sure how one can look at the 5e Fighter especially the Battlemaster and think the Wizard is better in combat than him but I'm willing to be convinced... Can you explain this or is this purely about having the same number of things to call out as "moves" in combat?
Sure! I'll give you one example that comes to mind right off the top of my head.

Simulacurum - This spell allows the wizard to literally make another fighter and use that fighter in combat. There is nothing a fighter can do that is even remotely as powerful.

That said, 5e is less egregious than editions prior to 4e in terms of LFQW. But it WAS brought back, and is much more prevelant than it was in 4e.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
So, the design goal in question was to create a game that was functional at all phase of play, not just the middle bit. I'm not sure how we're supposed to objectively judge a game that doesn't work for ~half it's presented arc of play as no better/different from one that does.
I can certainly see holding very different opinions about it, of course.
This shouldn't be too hard.

"I want to design a car that works great for a lot of things. Not just driving fast, or looking good, or gas mileage, or any one thing. I want a vehicle that is functional for all things. It's pretty good at stuff, and carries stuff too. "

Voila, the minivan.

You have a design goal, and you achieve it. It's functional.

Does that mean that a person MUST prefer it to a Ferrari? A Prius? An F-150? A Tesla? A cheap stick-shift econobox?


As soon as you get into the phrasing "objectively judge," something has gone wrong (unless you are objectively describing and then comparing; e.g., "This edition has X class, that edition has Y classed; therefore X edition has more classes than Y.")
 

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