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D&D 4E What's Wrong With 4e Simply Put

GVDammerung

First Post
If someone else has already said this, I missed it and apologize for being repetitive. Otherwise -

It hit me tonight what's wrong with Wotc's 4e rollout.

Wotc is correct that 3.5 has problems and that those problems need to be addressed. For example, 3.5 plays too slow, preps too slow, and has some rules that are just unfun (grappling etc.) and so forth.

The problem is that 4E is not just fixing what's _not working_ well, it is also "fixing" what _is working_ well. It is making needless fixes to what is not broken. So to speak, 4e fixes what's broken but also fixes what's _not_ broken. Whether this is out of a "change for change sake," an "in for a penny, in for a pound mentality," or that the designers just don't know when to quit, I can't say.

I'm not passing judgment until I see the final product, but from what I know at this point, 4e is leaving me cold for this reason. If it ain't broke, 4e should not be trying to fix it.
 

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pawsplay

First Post
Indeed. 4e is not only bigger, better, faster, and more, it's the choice of a new generation and not our father's Oldsmobile.
 

FireLance

Legend
GVDammerung said:
The problem is that 4E is not just fixing what's _not working_ well, it is also "fixing" what _is working_ well. It is making needless fixes to what is not broken. So to speak, 4e fixes what's broken but also fixes what's _not_ broken. Whether this is out of a "change for change sake," an "in for a penny, in for a pound mentality," or that the designers just don't know when to quit, I can't say.
Examples? Apart from the flavor changes, which are mostly a matter of taste.

If I've learned one thing from the Internet, it's that something that works for me might not work for someone else, and vice-versa.

In addition, I wouldn't rule out the possibility of improving even something that is working well.
 

pawsplay

First Post
Changes I already resent:
- Reshuffling demons and devils
- At will magics for wizards
- Eladrin
- Virtually anything related to the Book of Nine Swords
- Stripping hit dice/type information out of monsters (why not just simplify it?)
- Stripping iconic monsters from the MM
- Eladrin
- And the whole elf retcon that resulted in the appearance of the eladrin
- Retcons in general
- Tieflings as a core race, rather than a rare monster
- Invalidating the Fiendish Codeces
- Changing the damage of fireball. Why?
 

WhatGravitas

Explorer
pawsplay said:
- Changing the damage of fireball. Why?
Why? Because the game system changed! Honestly, that something, that bothers me the least. Why? Because this was the reason why damage spells sucked. Hard. Because monsters received more hp than ever, still the spells were in the same league as before. Fireball wasn't that much affected, considering you get it early. But look at Cone of Cold!

And for the rest: I also get that vibe, at least partially, but I honestly don't know enough to differentiate between COOLNESS changes, new flavour sprinkling, and marketing. Therefore, I wait until I'm in a better position to judge that aspect.

Cheers, LT.
 

Cadfan

First Post
Huh. I like almost every single one of those things. Some I absolutely love.

Maybe 4e really isn't your father's oldsmobile.
 

Vigilance

Explorer
The whole notion that "if it aint broke don't fix it" leads to changing almost nothing.

Why? Because how many things can the majority of D&D players agree are broken?

Not a whole heck of a lot.

No edition of D&D was "broken".

Yet every edition of D&D has, taken as a whole, been better than its predecessors (imo).

Not *every aspect* of every edition was better than the previous edition. Some things will be tried but won't work.

They will fix the old bugs, and in the process, create some brilliance, while also creating some all new bugs.

Taking three steps forward, so they can take two back.

That might not be pretty, but it's still progress.
 

WarlockLord

First Post
The static saves worry me. I don't know why, but they do. I think it kinda removes a player's control over their own fate...or the illusion they have of control...and removes a lot of dramatic tension.
 

Lonely Tylenol

First Post
pawsplay said:
- And the whole elf retcon that resulted in the appearance of the eladrin
- Retcons in general
Retcon is a misnomer. It's more like a diffcon. If the implied setting were Greyhawk, it would be a retcon.
 

Marnak

First Post
My suspicion is that Wizards were in a tough spot in the runup to 4e. They wanted to tweak the rules of 3.5e, and they also needed to release a new edition for the sake of their company's fiscal health. The latter factor also required that whatever was produced be called "Fourth Edition." In other words, something like 3.75e sounded too terrible to be profitable. Now, they could have released something with only a few minor rules improvements and called it "Fourth Edition" but the howls of protest from the boards about the company trying to milk the fans would have been ubiquitous (and even worse in the opinions of the Wizards staffers) spot on. A 4E that didn't change many of the rules would instantly be compared to the other edition changes (except for 3e to 3.5e of course) and found wanting as a true "edition change." Thus, Wizards was backed into a corner where they had to make MAJOR changes to the rules in order to justify the money they would be asking fans to spend and the title "Fourth Edition" as well. Now, this does not necessarily mean that 4e will suck. I think the folks working at Wizards are some of the brightest people in the business, and I detect genuine enthusiasm for 4e among them. I think they got a kick out of the challenge of Fourth Edition. I would not be surprised if they produce a very good game, but I think the process that led to fourth edition was a very different one than those which led to the other editions.
 
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Hairfoot

First Post
I think it's more of a pendulum thing. With 3E, the designers went to the opposite end of the spectrum from OD&D, which required extensive house-ruling and compliance with DM fiat. Instead, they gave in to the urge to create a rule for everything, which resulted in a dense, often slow-playing game in which rules-based, mathematical character-building trumped roleplaying and fluidity.

I''m hoping that 4E will pull back to more of a balance.
 

Marnak

First Post
I can see what Hairfoot is saying, and I think that 3e was that kind of change. However, what I was speaking about was the process behind 4e. I think the reason for 3e was not the DM fiat problem but rather the decade long buildup of handbooks, supplements, and other rules for 2e which broke the game to the point where people like me simply stopped playing the game or at least stopped buying the products for the game. So, I think 3e could have gone in a number of directions and been successful, even if it had stayed within the DM fiat framework. I think Hairfoot may well be right about the direction of 4e, but I don't think that it was the need to go back in that direction (toward the DM fiat) which was driving the creation of 4e. I think 3.5e was doing fine as a whole and minor tweaks could have solved the game play problems if the market would have allowed it.
 

Testament

First Post
pawsplay said:
Changes I already resent:
- Reshuffling demons and devils
Ah, worried about the WOTC gestapo bashing down your door if you don't use this one are we?

- At will magics for wizards
Why's that? Seems to me that 'at will' is more in line with fantasy source material than the abomination of Vancian slots.

- Virtually anything related to the Book of Nine Swords
If it resembles the swordsage disciplines like Shadow Hand and Desert Wind, then I can buy that complaint, since they're the overtly magical ones. If its like virtually anything else from that book, especially the Iron Heart and Tiger's Claw styles, I have to ask why? Why can't people who've trained most of their lives to wield weapons and fight do funky things that make lesser mortals go "whoah"?

- Stripping hit dice/type information out of monsters (why not just simplify it?)
As a new system, this one may not be needed any more.

- Stripping iconic monsters from the MM
I'm holding judgement for now, Frost Giant may not need to be a seperate listing any more, just requiring a subtype switch from fire.

- And the whole elf retcon that resulted in the appearance of the eladrin
See demon/devil

- Retcons in general
How can you have retcon when there's no con?

- Tieflings as a core race, rather than a rare monster
- Invalidating the Fiendish Codeces
See demon/devil

- Changing the damage of fireball. Why?
As has been said, new system
 

ivocaliban

First Post
Marnak said:
My suspicion is that Wizards were in a tough spot in the runup to 4e. They wanted to tweak the rules of 3.5e, and they also needed to release a new edition for the sake of their company's fiscal health. The latter factor also required that whatever was produced be called "Fourth Edition." In other words, something like 3.75e sounded too terrible to be profitable.
You're right on the money on this one. Pun intended.

Marnak said:
Now, they could have released something with only a few minor rules improvements and called it "Fourth Edition" but the howls of protest from the boards about the company trying to milk the fans would have been ubiquitous (and even worse in the opinions of the Wizards staffers) spot on. A 4E that didn't change many of the rules would instantly be compared to the other edition changes (except for 3e to 3.5e of course) and found wanting as a true "edition change." Thus, Wizards was backed into a corner where they had to make MAJOR changes to the rules in order to justify the money they would be asking fans to spend and the title "Fourth Edition" as well.
Pretty much. They made the choice that would a) lose the fewest customers and b) intice new players to buy their stuff. Can't blame them for taking the more profitable path.

Marnak said:
Now, this does not necessarily mean that 4e will suck. I think the folks working at Wizards are some of the brightest people in the business, and I detect genuine enthusiasm for 4e among them. I think they got a kick out of the challenge of Fourth Edition. I would not be surprised if they produce a very good game, but I think the process that led to fourth edition was a very different one than those which led to the other editions.
Right on. I don't care for what I've seen so far for a core system. Many of the new concepts seem more like what I would expect from different settings, not from a core ruleset. That said, I've never really believed that 4e itself will be "wrong" or "bad"...it's just what I'm looking for. (So far.)
 


Sir Brennen

Adventurer
One thing you have to consider with a "only fix what's broken" approach is, what if the root of what's broken is so fundamental, that to fix it, you'll have to change several other things to fall in line with your fix? I think this is the case for alot of what's going to come out for 4E. All the different parts don't live in isolation from one another. D&D 3E, with it's core mechanic, is very interconnected.
 

Correct!

Sir Brennen said:
One thing you have to consider with a "only fix what's broken" approach is, what if the root of what's broken is so fundamental, that to fix it, you'll have to change several other things to fall in line with your fix? I think this is the case for alot of what's going to come out for 4E. All the different parts don't live in isolation from one another. D&D 3E, with it's core mechanic, is very interconnected.

I think this is the root of the matter.

I saw somewhere (mearls blog?, not sure) that "the math" of the 3.5 system was found to be the root of many problems.

And when you have to make a change so fundamental, you might as well try to restart from scratch.

Something very similar happened with Mozilla a few years ago... Netscape open sourced its product, drawing lots of developers to it... However, as I understand the story, the code base was sooo old, crufty and tangled, that they realized that it would be best to restart from scratch. Now Mozilla Firefox has little stuff left over from the old Navigator, but its all in all a better product.

[waits for someone with a better grasp of Netscape/Mozilla history to yell at me]
 
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Anthtriel

First Post
I'm more afraid they are not making enough changes.

We all have 3.5 materials. We don't need anymore of those (otherwise we would keep buying them, and Wizards wouldn't need 4th edition).

The rules are all written up from scratch. If there is something that works, but will probably work better in the longer run otherwise, then there is no real reason not to implement it. And frankly, most of us won't know if it's actually better or worse until we have some experience with it.

They are keeping all sorts of legacy baggage around to keep the grognards happy as is (like those seven different dice, just because they couldn't get any others back in the day), if they keep too much the same, then we might as well not have bothered.

3.5 is in many ways the prime example of a failed new version. We don't need 3.75.
 


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