Will 4E Eberron be as bad as FR?

Zulithe

Explorer
I want to start off by stating that 4E is my current system of choice. I have one game in the works and am trying to squeeze my way into another as I write this.

With that established, I think enough time has passed since its release that I can say the 4E incarnation of The Realms has been a dismal failure, both critically and commercially, and I'd like to see WotC do something different for 4E Eberron. I believe it set a horrible precedent in terms of format and it has discouraged me from picking up any other campaign-specific material designed for 4E, even from third parties, since I have a feeling it will influence their conceptions for the worse.

The information speaks for itself: Reviews, both professional and casual, have been lackluster at best. I'd go so far as to say that, aside from the rare DM here and there, it has been panned by everyone other than the RPGA. As for sales, if we go by online sellers like amazon.com, it's always the lowest ranked 4E hardback, with the FRPG doing only marginally better due to its crunch content.

One may argue that campaign settings and other DM-centric books tend to sell less in the long term, and I'd definitely concede that. However, I would argue that with the new edition's momentum, WotC had an opportunity to retool the way settings were done and rise above, but either they didn't give it the effort it deserved, or were running out of time and rushed it out the door. It could have been the most ambitious, flavorful treatment yet, but they opted to over-simplify. To me, that just doesn't work, especially for the realms. Way, way too much has been lost in the translation and it saddens me.

We know that 4E Eberron won't see the sweeping world changes that 4E FR did, but that doesn't account for the presentation and content style which I think a lot of fans were displeased with, if not put off entirely by, when compared to the 3E way of doing things which just felt more juicy. I like that you can open up the 4E FRCS to any area and get some interesting plot hooks, but I don't believe that should exist at the expense of detailed information which a lot of DMs love to see in a CS.

Should WotC stick to its guns, and release 4E Eberron the same way despite what player feedback has shown? Or should they try something new (or dare I say, something old?) Or maybe you'd say I'm just not "getting" the 4E campaign setting style? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on that as well.
 

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Kinneus

Explorer
I think (and hope) Eberron will be well-received into the realm of 4e. The things Eberron was about: players are the stars, pulp/action feel, action points and wacky stunts... all this has been pretty much embraced in core 4e. All the Eberron books will have to do is deliver some fun crunch for the players and explain the world for DMs. The work is already done, the feel is already there... they just have to not screw up, and I think it'll be golden.
 


catsclaw227

First Post
Hmmm.. I am one of the ones that things the "new" Forgotten Realms is more to my liking as a DM.

I have all the 3.5 books for FR and Eberron, and DMing FR felt like I required a history lesson and doctorate to be able to run as well as I would like. The 3.5 Eberron was a bit easier, without all the canon and years of publications and novels.

I like the 4e FR, and I agree that the 4e Eberron should fit well, considering what Eberron was designed to be like in 3.5.
 

Felon

First Post
The information speaks for itself: Reviews, both professional and casual, have been lackluster at best. I'd go so far as to say that, aside from the rare DM here and there, it has been panned by everyone other than the RPGA. As for sales, if we go by online sellers like amazon.com, it's always the lowest ranked 4E hardback, with the FRPG doing only marginally better due to its crunch content.
Seems like a lot of generalization and subjective POV to me. I'm not in the RPGA, and I haven't panned it, so I guess I'm just the rare DM.

4e did what so many folks had been begging for for oh-so-many years: it put a lot of the sacred cows out to pasture. The Seven Sisters and Elminister no longer run around making everything all right. Drizz't is still around, but he never had the kind of world-hopping juice that made people wonder why low-level heroes were ever needed to handle a big crisis. Lots of gods got wiped too, which was less necessary, and probably did more to ruffle feathers. I, for one, am glad Mystra bit the big one. Something as important as magic doesn't need to be lorded over by one god with a good or evil agenda.

Of course, Eberron was designed not to have those kinds of high-powered pet characters. There also wasn't this enormous pantheon or a clearly-mapped-out cosmology. A lot was left up to the DM. So, less of an overhaul is needed.
 

caudor

Adventurer
For me the 4e Forgotten Realms was a refreshing update. I don't think Eberron will receive any major overhauls, but I'm sure changes will be made to bring it in line with the 4e design principles.

I never did really get into the 3e version of Eberron that much. It seemed like we were riding some kind of lightning train at every turn...zooming out to battle some kind of living spells. Some aspects just seemed to be over done.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
The most significant change will probably the adaptation of the World Axis cosmology in lieu of Ebberon's current cosmology. We know that due to fan feedback Ebberon's time line will not be moving forward as Keith Baker originally planned. Speaking of which, Keith Baker, the setting's creator, James Wyatt and Ari Marmel, who both wrote a significant portion of 3e Ebberon material, are actively involved in 4e Ebberon.
 

ProfessorCirno

Banned
Banned
There's been one or two vague hints that 4e Eberron will be destroyed in different ways then FR, but destroyed nonetheless. They are, however, vague hints, so not much - if any - stock can be put into them. While there are a lot of elements in Eberron that work well towards 4e, I think there are a lot that really do not. Time will tell.

As for 4e Forgotten Realms, I wouldn't have minded the changes as much if a) they made sense, b) we actually got some answers and fluff in the book instead of half a dozen plot hooks that I can grab from any random free website that fits any campaign, or c) didn't taunt us with the fact that, in order to learn the new fluff, we'd have to start buying the novels again, which was the biggest complaint about previous editions. They wanted to restart the setting - ok, I disagree, whatever. But when you do that, actually restart the setting. You missed the reset button and hit the power button instead.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I like the new FR, and I have not seen some preponderance of critics panning it more than praising it, at least not any more or less than 3e FR.

If you don't like 4e FR, fair enough. But speaking on behalf of most critics, players, and DMs?

I think for this kind of product, it's kinda far fetched to make those kinds of claims with out some pretty extensive proof along with links and statistical counting and direct comparison to equivalent data from 3e.

Without that level of proof, I think you would be more persuasive if you just gave your personal opinion, rather than the false appeal to authority that you made.

As for Eberron, since I liked FR, I hope Ebberon lives up to 4e FR :)
 

Glyfair

Explorer
TWe know that due to fan feedback Ebberon's time line will not be moving forward as Keith Baker originally planned.
Not Keith. These were apparently discussed at WotC before Keith was brought into the 4E project, as I recall.
Speaking of which, Keith Baker, the setting's creator, James Wyatt and Ari Marmel, who both wrote a significant portion of 3e Ebberon material, are actively involved in 4e Ebberon.
Which I find to be huge advantages. James I have mixed feelings about, and that's only because he seems to be the one ramming the 4E cosmology into Eberron (not a big issue for me, as I will take what I like, and discard what I don't). Even so, all three had strong ties to the good parts of 3E Eberron.
 

Shemeska

Adventurer
I like the new FR, and I have not seen some preponderance of critics panning it more than praising it, at least not any more or less than 3e FR.

Then you haven't been looking very hard at the reception it received.

Let's look at the Amazon reviews (by this point they've taken out the initial blind praise and on the opposite end of the spectrum the kneejerk rejection for the 4e one by now so a comparison would seem to be an honest one at this time).

4e FRCG - 65 reviews. 2.5 star avg.

3e FRCS - 70 reviews. 4.5 star avg.

That's a pretty stark comparison there to how the public reception of the book was.

Let's look at the reviews on RPG.net next - the 4e FRCG scored a 3 / 3 (3 on style and a 3 on substance - average) By comparison the 3e FRCS scored a 4 / 5, 4 / 3, and a 5 / 5 on the various reviews it received. Again, the worst review of the 3e book was better than the 4e book.

The disappointment over on the Candlekeep FR forum is palpable. There's a serious drop off in activity on the WotC FR forums, with much of the more active posting often taking the form of criticism of the 4e Realms.

So yes, I agree with the original poster. The 4e handling of the Forgotten Realms was a dismal failure. For the sake of Eberron fans (and Keith Baker too) I hope that some lessons have been learned by WotC in how not to handle an established campaign setting during the transition into a new edition of D&D. It's going to be remembered for years as an object lesson in how to mess up the value of your intellectual property.
 
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Keefe the Thief

Adventurer
Eberron doesnt need the FR treatment because it has been designed from the beginning not to be the bloated, NPC-swamped mess that FR became over time. Make a Grey Box - 3e FRCS Setting comparison: once Eberron becomes as unwieldy as that, it´ll need a major overhaul.
But as i said, in this regard Eb was designed to be the anti-FR. I think we´ll see some changes in the planes and how dragonmarks work (adding the rare possibility that everyone can have a mark) and thats it.
 

Burrito Al Pastor

First Post
I never liked Forgotten Realms enough to be able to say just how bad the 4e FR is, but I have some serious reservations about 4e Eberron. So much of the campaign setting was based on making a world that worked in the way that the 3e rules dictated it should work, and I have a hard time believing that WOTC can really keep Eberron intact without those mechanical foundations.

Having said that, they've still got Keith Baker working on it; he made Eberron, and he can remake it. If WOTC doesn't get in Baker's way, everything will be fine.
 

Vayden

First Post
Then you haven't been looking very hard at the reception it received.

Let's look at the Amazon reviews (by this point they've taken out the initial blind praise and on the opposite end of the spectrum the kneejerk rejection for the 4e one by now so a comparison would seem to be an honest one at this time).

4e FRCG - 65 reviews. 2.5 star avg.

3e FRCS - 70 reviews. 4.5 star avg.

That's a pretty stark comparison there to how the public reception of the book was.

Let's look at the reviews on RPG.net next - the 4e FRCG scored a 3 / 3 (3 on style and a 3 on substance - average) By comparison the 3e FRCS scored a 4 / 5, 4 / 3, and a 5 / 5 on the various reviews it received. Again, the worst review of the 3e book was better than the 4e book.

The disappointment over on the Candlekeep FR forum is palpable. There's a serious drop off in activity on the WotC FR forums, with much of the more active posting often taking the form of criticism of the 4e Realms.

So yes, I agree with the original poster. The 4e handling of the Forgotten Realms was a dismal failure. For the sake of Eberron fans (and Keith Baker too) I hope that some lessons have been learned by WotC in how not to handle an established campaign setting during the transition into a new edition of D&D. It's going to be remembered for years as an object lesson in how to mess up the value of your intellectual property.

I'm not going to argue with you that previous fans of FR, in general, hate it. I think most of the people who are going to post Amazon reviews are probably FR fans, which explains that for you. However, there's one other segment - those of us like me who would never touch FR with a ten foot pole before, never picked up a single FR product, and never planned to (in 3e with the presentation at that time). Now I'm running a FR game and own all 3 published FR products. I even bought a FR novel out of curiosity (the Swordmage one, I forget the exact title, it didn't exactly blow me away).

*edit* What I meant to say is, I find this to be an awfully confrontational thread, and I don't consider 4e FR to be a failure at all. I hope 4e Eberron is *exactly* as much of a "failure" as 4e FR, as I will probably start buying Eberron products for the first time ever if that's the case. :)
 

catsclaw227

First Post
I'm not going to argue with you that previous fans of FR, in general, hate it. I think most of the people who are going to post Amazon reviews are probably FR fans, which explains that for you. However, there's one other segment - those of us like me who would never touch FR with a ten foot pole before, never picked up a single FR product, and never planned to (in 3e with the presentation at that time). Now I'm running a FR game and own all 3 published FR products. I even bought a FR novel out of curiosity (the Swordmage one, I forget the exact title, it didn't exactly blow me away).
Wow.... that almost EXACTLY summed me up too. Very weird.... But my FR game won't start until next month. :( I am thinking of running it as a Fantasy Grounds online game and then migrate to GameTable if WOTC can get it done in the next 18 months.
 

darjr

I crit!
I'm a big fan of the original boxed set. Didn't have much more than that. Definitely not 3e stuff. I really do like the 4e realms.

Count me as a fan. Though I'm kinda wishing they would detail more. It's nice to get more detail in the LFR RPGA stuff, but I was looking forward to something detailing the bigger parts of the realms.

I'm also hoping that Eberron is done well. I don't have any thing Eberron so I'm not sure I count as a 3e fan of the setting.
 

Plissken

Explorer
I'm not going to argue with you that previous fans of FR, in general, hate it. I think most of the people who are going to post Amazon reviews are probably FR fans, which explains that for you. However, there's one other segment - those of us like me who would never touch FR with a ten foot pole before, never picked up a single FR product, and never planned to (in 3e with the presentation at that time). Now I'm running a FR game and own all 3 published FR products. I even bought a FR novel out of curiosity (the Swordmage one, I forget the exact title, it didn't exactly blow me away).

*edit* What I meant to say is, I find this to be an awfully confrontational thread, and I don't consider 4e FR to be a failure at all. I hope 4e Eberron is *exactly* as much of a "failure" as 4e FR, as I will probably start buying Eberron products for the first time ever if that's the case. :)

Weird...opposite for me. Huge FR fan, hate 4e version.

I think it really depends on DM style. If you like doing your own thing but just need a little boost you'll really like 4e FR.

I always thought the fun of Forgotten Realms was the cool, high-level NPCs and the deep history that has been created through novels, sourcebooks, etc and the accumulation of all those over FR's long history.

I don't understand the criticism of having high-level NPC's save the day. Well, I mean, I understand it but its not a setting problem. It's a DM problem. Just because an individual DM decides to have Drizzt or Elminster save the PCs DOESN'T MEAN that the problem lies within FR. The problem lies within the DM not focusing on the characters.

A great example of how FR games need to handle famous high-level NPCs is the CRPG Baldur's Gate. Along the course of the game, the PCs meet the high-level NPCs (Elminster, Volo, Drizzt) and have short conversations with them or short encounters with them. That made the characters mysterious, interesting.

I hate playing in a world that I know nothing about...I want it to have rich history, deep lore, etc. 4e FR just decided to burn it all in a blue flame just so WoTC could justify how At-Will spells worked.

Well, at least Ed Greenwood worked on some of it and gave this new post-apocalyptic setting some flavor. Btw, I play and enjoy 4e. Just dislike 4e FR.

Any word on a new Greyhawk? I never had a chance to play or run a Greyhawk game.
 

GAAAHHH

First Post
Hmmm.. I am one of the ones that things the "new" Forgotten Realms is more to my liking as a DM.

I have all the 3.5 books for FR and Eberron, and DMing FR felt like I required a history lesson and doctorate to be able to run as well as I would like. The 3.5 Eberron was a bit easier, without all the canon and years of publications and novels.

I like the 4e FR, and I agree that the 4e Eberron should fit well, considering what Eberron was designed to be like in 3.5.

I agree completely. 3E Forgotten Realms is especially painful to run for people who keep up with all the sourcebooks and novels. I enjoy reading the books, but I wouldn't dare run a game there. 4E Forgotten Realms reminds me a lot of the grey box, and it leaves me room to run my own games there.
 

Mercutio01

First Post
I loved FR as a setting for novels. Hated it as a place to actually play. Avoided it at all costs. Indeed, I only picked up the 3.X books because they were cheap after the 4E announcement. Eberron, however, made for an awesome place to play. So much so that it was the only setting I've ever bought every book for. The new FR books were excellent, and I like having a lot of the "history" stripped away. I'm sure I'll like the new Eberron books even more though.
 

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