D&D Next: The (Almost) Final Packet

Whelp, looks like this is it. Well, except for the part where they mention a packet update for the druid and a paladin oath.

Spoilers: I felt that 4th Edition was a major step forward for Dungeons & Dragons. Aside from a few legacy mechanics like per-day resources they were not afraid to change whatever they wanted to make the game better. With Next Wizards of the Coast is well on their way to making a very...adequate game. Nothing about it seems fresh or innovative, much less even interesting. It looks like a 3rd Edition cloneflaws and cluttered language and allwith some 4th Edition mechanics tacked on, just without actively referring to it whenever possible.

A lot of Next looks like they are sticking with past editions just for the sake of sticking to a past edition. Who knows, maybe down the road they will write some rules modules that will make it easy to work around these issues (or better yet just fix the core game). As I said before I am still going to keep tabs on how the game develops, and hope that they do not take the easy way out and just rehash an older edition. The silver lining is that even if they do I still have 4th Edition (and to a point 13th Age), and I fully expect 4th Edition hacks to crop up that might be improvements over it.

With that here is my breakdown of the actual packet. Really the only thing I do not talk about are spells, partially because as I have said a million times the magic system makes no sense and is boring, partially because I already played 2nd and 3rd Edition, and partially because there are a lot of them. It sucks, and there are plenty of games out there with better magic systems to choose from.

(NOTE: After reading through so many packets it is very possible that I will overlook or confuse something with material from a previous packet. Actually, given the similarities to 3rd Edition it is possible that I might even confuse something in here with that.)

I hate how things are formatted, namely features and powers. The number of times something can be used in an encounter or per day is buried in one or more paragraphs, making it easier to overlook. This was one strength of 4th Edition, where it was incredibly easy to at a glance determine the frequency, action required, and any other relevant keywords in a power, feature, or what have you. Why go with something so clunky and difficult to sort through (which is a similar issue I have with 13th Age)?

Also if you want to go "mind's eye" with the game, then why not get rid of explicit speed and range? It would be a lot better to use distances with a slight variation to their range, like in Numenera where an Immediate speed means anywhere within 10 feet, and a Short distance is between 10 and 50 feet. You could also use 13th Age's rules for being engaged. All of this has the added benefit that players can still use minis as visual aids.

I dislike that races only get +1 to an ability score, as it means that about half the time the bonus will not do anything, and depending on your class you might never see a benefit from it. Go with 4th Edition and 13th Age's +2 bonus so that you are guaranteed to get something out of it. Also, increase the ability score cap at certain levels (like, I do not know, 24 at 10th-level).

Rock gnomes can still for some reason only create up to three clockwork devices that always work for an absolute amount of time. I would think that they would just gain proficiency with a craft skill and/or tools, or have some racial knack that lets them fiddle with devices or fix them, but since this is more restrictive and makes zero sense I guess we are going with it.

Not only are humans, half-elves and half-orcs still boring, but tieflings and warforged join their ranks with their pointless and contradictory uniformity. So much for various infernal heritages and construction materials.

Not only am I very disappointed that certain races are unnecessarily categorized as universally unusual (including to my surprise gnomes, half-elves, and half-orcs), but that the designers are very careful to make sure thatlikely certain groups of peopleare very aware warforged come from Eberron, and dragonborn have a ridiculous background: they come from un-blessed dragon eggs.

Yep, I am serious. As a consolation to 4th Edition they put in a sentence about how in some worlds they interbreed so much that they take on a uniform appearance. As a member of the 4th Edition crowd I want to say that I prefer the unique look of them, and have said so many times. Also it is not that I want 4th Edition mechanics and flavor for its own sake, but that in a lot of cases I think that both were just plain better.

The major change to classes is the addition of proficiency bonuses for attacks, saving throws, tools, and skills. This idea sounds good in theory, but it is just a uniform bonus across the board. You do not actually get to choose what to increase, it just goes up when it says it does, even if you pick up a new proficiency down the line. A pretty big missed opportunity for giving characters some variety and choice, as well as attaching benefits for having a proficiency at a certain level.

Classes saw many features adjusted or removed but are still, as I expected, boring and rigidly defined: with few exceptions when you gain a level you just write down what the game says you get based on an arbitrary depiction of a handful of concepts, and at 3rd level you lock in the rest of the features you get.

This means that, for example, every barbarian gets Thick Hide and proficiency in Tools: Mounts (land) at 1st-level. Why do all barbarians automatically know how to ride animals regardless where they came from or what your background is? No idea. Normally I would blame a previous edition, but I do not think that was even the case in 1st Edition, so...huh.

I want to point out, again, that there are very simple games out there that let you make meaningful decisions about your character. Not even just at 1st-level, but at other levels, too. Just saying it is kind of cool to be able to actually customize things and make choices. As someone who has played a lot of 4th Edition, some Dungeon World, and read plenty of 13th Age these seem like the kind of classes you would throw together over the weekend just to have something to show.

Backgrounds & Skills
While it is nice to see skills make a comeback, unfortunately they rely on the universal proficiency bonus I mentioned above in classes. Again this misses out an a major opportunity to let players actually make choices about what skills they want to increase, as well as link special features to skill ranks, and like classes this comes across as a bit lazy.

Feats can still grant spontaneous mastery in weapons and armor regardless of your prior skill or experience, which contrasts strangely with how magical feats provide incremental benefits over the course of several feats.

Athlete and Loremaster are the only two feats that grant bonuses to Strength and Intelligence respectively. I wonder why it is just those two; it should pretty easy to whip up a feat for each ability score.

Everything is still in gold pieces, which I guess I should not be surprised about since there has been no mention of a silver standard in a long time.

Heavy armor is now only nearly pointless since medium armor caps out at 17 with a Dexterity bonus (heavy armor can get you an 18). Still, it would be nice if heavy armor did something more to make it clearly worth your while.

The most interesting thing I noticed, aside from the lifestyle expense (which was in the previous packet) was that the orb focus lets you use your spellcasting proficiency bonus when using magic. A nice 4th Edition ideaamong manythat I have missed in Next.

Magic Items
Not all magic items are bad. The +x stuff is pretty boring and I dislike charged items, but a good number have interesting capabilities; efreeti chain lets you walk in molten rock like it was solid ground. That is a lot more interesting than just a list of combat-oriented bonuses.

I think that the tables for magic item details could and should be applied to some mundane stuff; for example a "normal" sword crafted by genies might weigh half as much, while a spear could also be thrown twice as far. Barring an interesting flavor reason ould stand to see per-day powers go away, though.

With few exceptions most of the monsters seem basically like bags of hit points that try to hit you. The lack of an elite/solo status makes it hard to have the players deal with only one or two monsters; in my home campaign the characters were easily able to swarm and take down a "boss" within a few rounds. No tension, no dynamics, just hit him while he stands there and falls over.

Many have per-day spell-like abilities, which does not make any sense and at this point just seems lazy, as if the designers could not come up with anything new. Even Dungeon World sounds better, and it basically just tells you to use whatever, whenever.

This seems pretty decent this time around. Your proficiency bonus is based on your overall character level, so you do not have to worry about falling behind as in 3rd Edition. Extra attacks seems kind of clunky, and I am not a fan of gaining all the proficiencies of the new class. There is also the issue that if you multiclass too much it can take along time to actually pick up a feat.


  1. It's almost shocking that this packet represents a year and a half of WotC's design and playtesting. How the mighty have fallen. I like how elegant the proficiency system seems but it has major issues due it its automatic scaling.

    The problem is that players generally develop their heuristics during the first several levels of gameplay, which is when proficiency offers only a marginal benefit. Obviously, the difference between losing a bonus and adding a penalty is one of semantics, so what's really going on is that your proficiency bonus just a positive spin for your non-proficiency penalty. That means that players who improvise and acts outside of the proficiencies of their character only take a penalty of 5-10% early in the game but are later penalized 30% near the end.

    Unfortunately, this problem gets compounded by the total mess that is class balance in Next. Thanks to Expertise and various "reliable" class features, Bards and Rogues have many skills they cannot roll less than a 25! That means to challenge these characters a DM must put the DC at a range that is beyond the reach for almost any other characters. The rest of the playtest remains the same slapdash nonsense it's been since the beginning. But now with A'la Carte multiclassing from 3e, you have a perfect storm of trap choices and game breaking synergies!

  2. I am also surprised at the results thus far. Numenera was complete after only a year, and Monte Cook did not have a R&D team at his disposal. I am not sure how long 13th Age, but again they also lacked a R&D team.

    I feel like a big part of the issue is that WotC feels that they have to appeal to the 3rd Edition camp, which is unfortunate because they are removing choice and interesting mechanics in the process.

    1. News Flash... They do have to appeal to us. I'd like to see some new mechanics as much as anyone, but if you can't acknowledge the fact that the entire 3e camp went to PFRPG (Pathfinder RPG) then you are being nothing short of an annoying fanboy. The real problem is that WOTC can't compete with open-source alternatives and classics. Look at the sales of traditional D&D games lately and tell me I'm lying. Is it old? Sure. Can it be modified with 4e elements? Absolutely! Perhaps your DM just sucked at open source-style d20, which in essence is what NEXT will be. BTW, what you are so fond of is a product of corporate takeover for profit by HASBRO. Nothing more. Truth is, D&D has a pretty shady history of that, but that is another story...

    2. As an old BECMI player then AD&D2nd for almost a decade, i can say i despised 3.0 / 3.5 and 4e. Back in the days, rules where for hack&slash / dungeons looting part of the game, and combat where fast. Role-play was, you know, role play. You didn't need a skill to do everything, when you wanted to craft something, your DM made an adventure out of it. You didn't have a shit load of special skills that gives you a little +1 to this and that, you built your power with magic items. And most of all, you didn't have to spend 1000$ in books to play (well, until the late AD&D2nd that is).
      You see, it all depends where you come from.

    3. Skipping over the mention of role-play (because that is all you do, mention it, no idea why), you do not "need a skill to do everything". Skills are a very, VERY simple mechanical way to convey that your character is better at something than someone without the skill. Without it, the check just defaults to an ability score.

      I would also argue against the necessity of magic items. An excess of magic items, especially boring +x stuff, is "video-gamey" to me, in a bad way. It reduces them to numerical modifiers (the same reason you seem to dislike skills, despite them not operating that way), and does not really evoke any fiction that D&D is purportedly inspired by.

      Finally, you do not have to spend "1000$" (the dollar sign goes in the front) to play any edition of D&D. No matter how much you despite 3rd or 4th, at most you need to drop less than $90 to get the necessities.

    4. I am not a fan of magic items defining your character's power either. I always finds it detracts from your character being actually, you know, an exceptional individual. A hero rather than a collection of bling that rotates every few levels.

      4E was a really nice departure, an attempt to try something new and dynamic and in my opinion something incredibly successful at that. As a player since AD&D, and having been in the Next 'beta', 4E will still remain my go-to system for dungeon crawl games.

    5. $th ed. was an attempt to bring in "new" players...specifically those who enkoy computer games, in order to keep Hasbro happy. The fact that the apparently lost more players to Pathfinder than they brought in, and the fact that they have created this new system is a pretty good indicator that 4e was/is a failed experiment. Certainly there are those who will enjoy it...and more power to them, but 4e is at worst a board game and a best a realy poor example of a role playing game.

    6. Yeah, 4E fanboys have to face one inescapable fact: 4E failed disastrously. It failed so horribly, so badly, that Wizards took new DnD content of the market entirely for more than a year while they playtested a rewrite that went back to the 2nd and 3rd Edition. You really have to let that sink in for a little while before you can appreciate the enormity: letting the biggest brand in RPGs languish for over 12 months, because the edition they were stuck with marketing was such a colossal turkey that they preferred selling nothing to producing more 4E. Those of us who went to Pathfinder truly saw this coming.

    7. I always like hearing how h4ters like yourself are so insecure that you equate financial success with quality, as opposed to even trying to discuss the either of the actual games.

      I was just talking with an Anon on another post about how he must think that Transformers 4 is an objective example of a cinema masterpiece. I mean, after all it made sooo much money, right?

  3. Design by commitee. Fails all the time.
    It seems to me that WotC is unable to understand what hapened with the move from 3 to 4th ed: some people expect a new edition to be a fix to their edition, while other embrace change, thus there is a split between players.
    With some time, completely new players embrace the new edition.

    D&D next will undoubtly fraction the player base once more, but this time around, those who expect something new and innovative will migrate to things like 13th age, because there is no innovation in D&D next.

  4. You know what? I would be fine if there was nothing new or innovative about it, settling for interesting and fun. It is neither of those.

    Building and leveling a character is boring, planning an adventure is a chore, fights lack tension, magic makes no sense, magical healing is mandatory, and there are too many legacy mechanics that exist just because they were there before.

    1. Magical healing is mandatory? What do you call a Healing Surge is not magic? People do not simply heal in an instant.

    2. @Anon: First, did you know that in 5th Edition you recover all of your hit points after a long rest? Did you know that a fighter can regain hit points with Second Wind. Did you know that at 18th-level a fighter can get, by your definition, regeneration?

      Hit points not only do not universally represent physical trauma, they CANNOT. Otherwise, how do players survive getting hit by a rock thrown by a giant, or the teeth and claws of a dragon?

      So, no, healing surges are not magic. Though, if they were, it would just serve to point out how inherently magical everyone is in 5th Edition.

  5. What about interesting, fun and innovative?
    There are already many people that are very conservative and only swear by their game for no logical reason, why anyone would change if there is no innovation? After all, if people love their RPG hobby, it's because they already have a system they find interesting and fun otherwise they would do something else, so why anybody would change if there is no innovation?

    I think you are being too lenient out of desperation over D&D next ;)

    A desperation that is entirely justified of course. That whole idea of public testing and caving in when the most vocal internet whiners make a fuss about something because it does not fit with their idea of the "One True D&D" (whatever it might be) was doomed to fail from the start, as was the objective of being more successful than 4e.

    1. Not "caving in when the most vocal internet whiners make a fuss" but seeing your sales go to Pathfinder and your long standing fan base dry up is pretty good motovation. If 4e had been a success, do you really think they would have come out with Next?

  6. What I mean is that I enjoy 4th Edition, Dresden Files, and Dungeon World, and others enjoy 3rd Edition and 4th Edition, too. So it would not necessarily be about changing so much as having another game on my shelf to vie for my time.

    At this point Next would be like a last resort game. Like if I was on an island and had no other games to play. I am not settling on it, because like I said it is not even interesting or fun for me.

    Although I would have assumed that after a year and a half with the design roster they have that there would be some kind of innovation.

  7. Anyone else notice that they recycled the character sheet with the space for Lore (which don't exist anymore) and left off anything for Skills?

  8. I just really, REALLY hate that character sheet.

  9. And yes....all this playtest has been a huge disapointment, i was really excited when D&DNext was announced, because even thought anything, every edition of D&D has been an objective/pragmatic improvement over the later, mechanics are easier to understand and make more sense, it's easier to run, it's more balanced, etc... but i don't feel like 5e it's an actualy improvement.

    I don't care if things get changed, infact, i was excited when next was announced because i was expecting alot of new mechanics, change in paradigm and design, take it to the next level... but instead wotc was too afraid and decided to return things that shouldn't return and instead of making things new and fresh, they decided to make things old and dull for the sake of nostalgia

    1. To stay in business you have to make a profit. Pathfinder is doing great...D&D 4e not so much. Why take a chance on some "new" system when it is clear that your old fan base (that you drove away with New inovation) is still happy to support a system that is "nostalgia". New does not always equal good.

  10. Yeah I got excited during the announcement of 4th Edition because of all the changes they were talking about. This time around it has been a string of confusion and disappointments.

  11. What stuns me is that even after two or more years of design, development and playtesting, they still do not have a basic skeleton on which to hang the rest of the game. That's a criminal waste of WotC's time. And now they need a second team to come in and build the maths-side of that skeleton: hopeless.

    What we presently have is Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition. Turn back your calendars because it's 1999 again... but the team isn nowhere near as talented this time.

    1. D&D 3rd edition revitilized the industry and made bank. Not to bad huh? Pathfinder, essentually D&D 3.75 is flourishing. Face it, 4e, for all its board game like mechanics and appeal to computer nerds failed. Sorry.

  12. I have been really impressed with the efforts of a handful of individuals over the span of about a year or so. It is confusing and a bit disappointing that after all this time, with such a large team, that it still looks so much like 3rd Edition, flaws and all. It reminds me of Pathfinder all over again.

  13. I agree with most of your comments, but I think the boring character classes can be squarely put on the shoulders of 4e essentials.

  14. I disagree. The essentials wizard is one of the best classes I've seen, same for the Skald and the Berserker. The Thief (and others) is a great change, since some of my players don't like the resource management of normal classes.

    I blame WotC's current idiocy; I don't care what they do in the future, since 4e will always be superior in my mind, and if you hate it so much, do what I'm doing: INVENT YOUR OWN GAME!!!!!

    1. 4e characters are interchangable. Take away the names and color and they are all pretty much the same. Action x=this. Action Y=that. Heck, in 4e you can not even grapple a person and prevent them from taking actions...you can onmly hold them in place. When a group sits down to play 4e they should expect to put a quarter in the table when the voice says "Warrior needs health badly".

  15. I also have to disagree. If you ignore feats, ability score increases, paragon path, and epic destiny, the slayer subclass still lets you make seven decisions, none of which lock in you a preset path from then on out.

    The blame for boring classes is due to 3rd Edition and the ones that came before; Essentials classes were designed to be more inline with them despite still granting you some flexibility.

  16. The problem with game designers, these days, is they're constantly trying to design the perfect game. Meanwhile, what players want is a fun, enjoyable game that they can play over and over again. The game perfection squad enamors business minded types with their endless reams of splat books, rules revisions, and general fluff. But, in this endless reinvention, the core aspect of the game (adventure) is entirely neglected.

    This all brings us to why Pathfinder is eating WoTC's lunch: adventures...

    With 4th edition, WoTC created a marvelously (initially) balanced game with a rich world, races, characters and classes. What it failed to design were excellent adventures to lure people in and play. Pathfinder, on the other hand, while producing a few splat books, produced reams of adventures and, guess what, people are still playing.

    Game designers are fixed on system when they should be fixed on game. In this case, they should be fixed on adventure. Real, fun, talented, flavorful adventure. Not this cookie cutter crap that WoTC keeps putting out. And game designers shouldn't expect the gaming populace to be happy about a new rules revision being rammed down their throats every 2-4 odd years (with the added cost of hundreds of dollars in books and materials).

    I don't want to know how many different ways to invent the mage, or the fighter, or the cleric. I don't give a half crap if Pathfinder favors spell casters somewhat (as the gripe tends to be lately). What I do care about is fun. And, lately, this endless reproduction of rules hasn't been fun at all. Meanwhile, I'm having a load of enjoyment playing 3.75 (Pathfinder) and 4e with both pre-created and homebrew adventures. I buy the Pathfinder APs because they are fantastically produced. And I enjoy the 4e system because it is pretty well done (aside from the revenant, which is stupid broken and the way the system generally favors strikers or that magic items kinda lost their magic ... but those are other gripes).

    Lastly, if there's an edition that 5e/Next reminds me of, it's 2.0. In that edition everything got cookie cuttered, but at least it was new for the time. In this one, the designers have simply gone backward in what appears to be a flailing effort to sell more books.

    My suggestion, ditch next and spend another five years writing some great adventures for 4e and even for 3.5 core. Have fun competing with Pathfinder on a level playing field and, heck, see if you can get some writers who actually can come up with an original idea or two. Focus on the adventure aspect of the game, not on the 1,000th way to make a character or a rules system for a while. Write good fantasy novels to support the game. And, finally, after 5 or six or seven years or so, the new ideas for a new system that everyone actually is ready for might be there.

    But, I'm telling you, it's not there now. And with this edition, WoTC is about to walk the plank into gaming mediocrity.

  17. The problem is that the designers endlessly focus on game rules creation when they should be focusing on adventure creation. The game is about getting into an adventure not about the 1000th way to make a fighter.

  18. @robert: Yeah a lot of 4th Edition adventures were pretty abyssmal. I think I was able to take Keep on the Shadowfell and make it into something actually entertaining, which begs that question that if someone could do that, why could they just not do it themselves in the first place?

    I also agree that adventures really are the way to go, as one thing I hear a lot from gaming groups is a lack of free time (which is why I have been focusing on those as products to sell on DTRPG).

    They could make a lot of great adventures using 4th Edition's system (the latter few encounters seasons, like Elder Elemental Eye seemed like a major improvement), but if they want to make something fresh and fun they should look at new games for inspiration: FATE, 13th Age, Dresden Files (at least for magic), Dungeon World, and Numenera all play loose and fast, yet seem way more interesting and refined than Next (and Cook cooked up Numenera in about a year).

    Finally while I do like options, I am more for cobbling a character together myself out of those options (kind of like Exalted), not so much when all those options are just a myriad of cookie-cutter classes.

  19. The abundance of meaningful options in 4e is illusory. In most instances, for most classes there is a single best selection of skills and abilities, and all others are suboptimal to a lesser or greater degree. At best, a class may be divided into two or three archetypes (i.e. an archer ranger and a melee ranger).

    For example, in theory, at first level the 4e ranger can choose from five melee (strength), four ranged (dexterity), and two mixed (strength or dexterity) at-will powers. In practice, however, Twin Strike outclasses all other alternatives, outside of certain narrow circumstances.

    While players may always make sub-optimal choices for the sake of 'flavor,' that is atrocious game design practice -- a player must either burden the party with a less-effective character, or must make selections not fitting with the desired character concept. Or else they are ignorant of the game's underlying mechanics. Good game design offers the player meaningful tradeoffs; neither 3e nor 4e do so for the most part. So Next is not really all that different; its lack of meaningful choices is simply more apparent.

    I suspect that WotC designers do not understand the numbers behind the game mechanics they publish, and do not properly model their mechanics before publication.

    1. You are very correct on this. Worse yet, the game practically forces those choices on you. I played for a couple of years as a Warlock and pissed off the other players by wearing plate armor. The defense bonus far outweighed the penality (when I failed it seldom if ever fell within the penality range so the armor made no diffrence). I also liked to use a sword in combat and use magic to aid my combat. The other players always pissed and moaned that my character was not fullfilling his role in t he party and not taking effecting action (min/maxing) etc. etc. I tried to explain that in a ROLE (not roll) playing game an individual is a complex being that has thoughts and desires beyond the game stats (the meta-game) etc. But of course in 4e the idea is to create the optimal drone that uses the correct set of magical abilities (lets face it, the only explination is that these powers must be magic) in the correct situations while moving around a very limited game world broken up into 5' squares. Quaite sad actually.

  20. I completely disagree.

    Even if you are treating what the CharOp forum says as gospel, many classes have one or more "best" powers for a level, along side with other excellent and perfectly acceptable powers. How wide the gulf between them varies within the class, sometimes within the powers by level, and often by circumstance.

    Having played 4th Edition for years, despite my players very rarely bothering to reference CharOp (usually for magic items, if at all), the game seems to play just fine. If anything it is monster hit points that seems to bog the game down, not anything that the players are doing "wrong". No one is "burdening" the rest of the party and everyone has fun.

  21. It's not a matter of blindly following the CharOp forum. Any player who understands the basic mechanics of the 4e system can intuit which of the available powers are better than others. Even if a player does not so intuit, that does not make her choice any better. Obviously the difference will vary based on situation. However, in a general campaign, a large number of available powers for any class at any level are either sub-par relative to other options, or are too circumstantial to commit a power slot to. A choice between even two good options is better than no choice at all, but it is nonetheless inferior to a choice between a half-dozen good options.

    Now, none of this has to matter to a player, for any number of perfectly good reasons. Ultimately, the important thing is that everyone at a table is having fun. But if we say that something is a problem only if everyone finds it to be a problem, then we might as well stop critiquing Next and do something more productive, since plenty of folk will find no problem with the lack of options in Next.

    All that being said, I do like that 4e at least attempts to provide players with good choices and allows them to customize their characters. To me, the much more linear progression of Next is a substantial step backwards in terms of game design. At the least, players who have a hand in shaping their characters tend to be more invested into those characters, which is always a good thing.

    I agree that high enemy hitpoints can bog down gameplay in 4e. The extent depends on the makeup of the party, and the DM's ability and willingness to scale things to character capabilities. But I suspect that this issue is ultimately inherent to the d20 system.

    First, 4e revolves around the d20. The d20 roll is very unpredictable; it might average 10 across many rolls, but any given roll has an equal chance of resulting in any number from 1 to 20. Only where a character has relatively high bonuses does the outcome of a given roll become somewhat predictable.

    Second, once an attack hits, the damage usually goes through unmitigated, unless the target has magical resistances or somesuch.

    As a result, if character and monster HP are reduced past a certain point, then combat will tend to come down to whoever has more luck with the dice, at least until higher levels where the static bonuses begin to outweigh the results of the dice. The high hitpoint buffers allow characters and monsters to take at least a few hits, so that the law of averages can work its magic and things don't go suddenly pear-shaped because some monster rolled well one time.

  22. Even a half-dozen good options is still better than Next’s model of no choices, or make one choice to lock in every other decision point down the road. :-P

    I am not trying to say that there is not a disparity between powers of a given class and level. What I am disagreeing with is that my claim of meaningful choices in 4th Edition is illusory. Certainly you think so, I am sure many on the CharOp forum agree, and to a point I might even agree (particularly on the highly situational choices). I just have not personally witnessed it, and only one of my players could be considered any kind of optimizer; the rest just pick whatever sounds interesting/neat/appropriate.

    Your example of the ranger is a good one, as player choice can result in a ranged, melee, or mix. You can also have a beast companion, though the efficacy I am told is subpar. The point is that the character still gets to make those choices and they can result in very different characters. The added bonus is that a character is not locked in with an archery ranger early on, forced to start over or houserule a fighting-style change if she wants to.

    I do agree that the more choices a player can make, the more they become invested in a character. I have no idea why they would strip down customization and choices, except for tradition’s sake.

    I also agree that the d20 can provide some very swingy results. I do reduce defenses so that they have decent odds to hit, and hit points because I think that the average kobold should die in 1-2 hits, not 2-4 depending on who is doing the hitting. Ultimately I think the better solution is to reduce attack bonuses and defenses around the board, more so for the latter so that attacks hit more often. Armor should mitigate damage (giving tanky types more staying power).

    It would also be nice to give characters a kind of resource that they could use to hedge the odds in their favor, like Numenera’s stat pools. Like giving a warrior expertise points, and allow wizards to gather and channel more magic into their spells. They do not have to be uniform in results, as I am not a fan of uniformity for its own sake, but just something for them to think about.

  23. Honestly... I think it's safe to say the commenters here are in the minority. Having played 3rd edition for years, I watched as my friends excitedly bought up 4th edition books, and then quit playing completely! They saw it as an end of an era... sorely disappointed that a completely new game bore the Dungeons and Dragons title. Dungeons and dragons was practically unrecognizable! Some found a familiar home in the arms of Pathfinder, but most simply found something else to do with their time.

    When I played through the Caves of Chaos with some new friends, we were all pleasantly surprised to be enjoying the adventure, and not really caring so much about the rules!! The rules were there, and they helped us move along, but we didn't struggle once to figure out what to do. The new rules allowed us to just PLAY. We rolled LOTS of dice, and it was fun to roll the dice. Skill dice, advantage & disadvantage dice, saving throws.... dmg.... it was magical. We didn't need minis most of the time, we used our imagination, they way the game was originally meant to be played.

    It felt like Dungeons and Dragons again, sans ungainly rules. Don't get me wrong, I loved third edition, but 3rd edition was just like.... ok how do I get to the next combat? (Then the combat would last an hour and a half.) 4th edition was just as ungainly and linear as third, but with some "cool" innovations and more superhero-y-ness. It just didn't feel right, combat took even longer... too many options.

    D&D Next should be titled D&D Classic. Because that's what it feel like, pure D&D goodness. I hope they make it, and never make another new version again. They need to publish campaign worlds, adventures, and thats it!!

  24. I'll see your anecdotal evidence and raise you this:

    I played 3rd Edition since it came out, even back when the only book was the Player's Handbook and you had to use monsters and magic items out of the back. I bought and owned every 3rd Edition book except for most of the Forgotten Realms ones, because seriously even back then fuck Forgotten Realms.

    When 4th Edition previews came out I was surprised to see, among many other things, "mundane" characters getting nice things and monsters with actually interesting mechanics, and the game did not disappoint. Keep on the Shadowfell did, and it has its share of flaws, but the actual game did not: it was so, SO much easier to plan and play. Everyone in my group preferred it over 3rd and prior editions, and I actually started finding local players for once.

    5th Edition...not so much. Everyone in my group hates it. Characters are more rigid and cookie cutter, magic makes no sense, the rules are clunky and difficult, planning is so much harder. I want to say I am surprised, but I guess traditionalists clamoring for pointless traditions outweigh the desire for innovation and evolution. I do not really mind: I can still play 4th Edition and other games besides (like Dungeon World, FATE, and 13th Age).

    You think it is pure D&D goodness, I think its crap. At this point I am positive that the only reason I played 3rd Edition for so long was because there were less choices (both in terms of groups and games) and money was tighter. Nowadays I have too many games to play thanks to Kickstarter and digital publishing and no shortage of players. WotC is going to have to work a LOT harder than a Paizo-esque nostalgic-fueled rehash.

    1. "I'll see your anecdotal evidence and raise you this" I do not think I have ever seen a more childish and foolish statement. Wow let me up you with this. Your beloved 4e is complete shiet...it failed. The company that created it has as much as acknowledged that fact by dumping it and going back to what is desired by the majority of players. Is that hard to comprehend? If the majority of paying players liked 4e, they would keep going with it. Do you understand that? It failed! Game over, done, gone, so-long 4e!

  25. Allow me to come at this from a different angle. Most of my exposure to D&D these days comes from fiction. You say fuck Forgotten Realms, but Elminster Aumar and Drizzt Do'Urden have been friends of mine for ten years. Fourth Edition almost destroyed D&D for me. WOTC mandated that the story line of Forgotten Realms be pushed forward one hundred years for the coming of Fourth and as a result every character that didn't have a century worth of lifespan died or was changed in some major way or another. With next coming out the authors seem to have been allowed to do what they can to fix their stories so after a year of not reading D&D fiction I'm beginning to dip my toes back in. Frankly I don't care if the go back to First Edition AD&D so long as the narrative direction of the stories go back to something like what they used to be. Is this an unreasonable and almost maniacal amount of nostalgia on my part? Maybe, but I'll take it over allowing innovation for innovations sake destroy thirty years worth of story telling.

  26. Innovations did not destroy thirty years of stories, and neither did their decision to shake up the realms so that people could more easily get into it without having to muck around in decades of history. They could have kept Forgotten Realms as-is and just rolled with it, maybe just killing off the magic god AGAIN in order to rationalize at-will and encounter magic, but it does not undo what happened before.

    Really though I think the best thing for them is to just shelve Forgotten Realms and create something new.

    1. Then myself and alot of other readers are glad you don't make decisions at Wizards. If people don't want a campaign setting with a rich history they are more than welcome to use another and leave the Realms be. What I can't abide is people trying to make the Realms into another cookie cutter setting with no personality so they can more easily profit off of the well known names contained within. Innovation may not have almost destroyed the stories, but trying to make a new business model which attempted to erase everything that came before it in an attempt to allow less skilled writers to churn out stories not worth the paper they are printed on almost did. This is what fourth will always represent to me, and I suspect alot of other readers of Forgotten Realms fiction as well. A setting should not have to cater to a game system. A story should not suffer because the marketing department wants to sell more hard bound gaming books, and long time, loyal readers shouldn't be made to suffer because marketing arbitrarily wants to "shake things up". I might also add that authors shouldn't have to watch thirty years of building story lines get flushed away by some number crunched that's probably more concerned with his stock portfolio than making fans happy.

  27. They did not attempt to erase everything that came before, and they did not. You are acting like that because they skipped ahead to a new time period that you are unable to continue playing in the past (people running Old Republic Star Wars games would disagree with you).

    They wanted to make the setting more accessible to players that did not want to do hours of "homework" trying to suss through all of that history. It was not cookie cutter. Well, I would argue that it was pretty cookie cutter before, they just made it more dangerous and got rid of all the epic-level NPCs that could solve anything meaningful going on.

    You are acting like 4th Edition is what caused the explosion, when really they could have blown it up in 3rd Edition. The mechanics had nothing to do with it. You are also acting like that what they did rendered past content obsolete, when it did not. You can still run FR in pre-Spellplague. if you want, and I am sure people do that with 4th Edition.

    You are also acting like they did it out of malice. A lot of people complain that FR was too saturated with history to be accessible. Maybe, just maybe they thought they were doing something that would make the majority of D&D fans happy.

    Nah, it is easier to feel like they intentionally hurt you so that your dislike of them and the "less-skilled authors" is justified. Do not worry, FR is going back to the status quo so everyone afraid of change can take comfort in the fact that R.A Salvatore can keep cranking out yet more Drizz't novels like Nintendo and Mario games.

    1. This. I have no idea what Joshua's comments have anything to do with anything.

    2. "...more accessible to players that did not want to do hours of "homework" trying to suss through all of that history" Yup...and they failed while Pathfinder flourishes. Now they will try to fix that failure and the limited number of short attention span, non-homework doing, computer game geeks who stoped by to check it out can just return to WoWC or Evercrack. They will not be missed. By the way...do you know how you can tell 4e failed? Because they are scrapping it.

  28. 3.5 had many many many more options than 4th ever had. Sorry it was just a better game. Way more customization. But both are good in my opinion and in a pool with everyone I played with they are about split even on which they prefer. Yes I will admit 3.5 takes more work. But that is because you have to deeply invest in your character, and that makes you more attached to them. More proud when they succeed. And more hurt when they fail. Getting into the game, the roleplaying aspects.I agree with the fact that they should just print more adventures worlds and supplements for 3.5 and 4e so both sides of the spectrum can be pleased and no new system needs to come out.

    1. Did you get 4E and 3.5 mixed up? I could literally just swap editions around in what you just said and suddenly it makes sense.

    2. That is because 3.5 is a role playing game and 4e is a ROLL playing board game...little more. A failed one at that.

  29. 3rd Edition objectively had fewer options AND less customization than 4th Edition. I have no idea how you would arrive at the conclusion you did when 3rd Edition often did not even allow you to make any choices at a level up. I also disagree that you would be more attached to a 3rd Edition character over a 4th Edition one; if you are basing it on how much work goes into creation 4th Edition eats up ore creation time.

  30. I've made it about 5 comments in and have come to the conclusion that the younger generation of "tabletop gamers" have no clue what they want and no flippin idea what they are talking about. Seems to me like if you don't have every specific rule in front of your face then the game comes to a screeching halt. The real argument here is probably best defined as open-source gamers that can adopt/implement/refine/create rules to enrich the overall gaming experience vs. the new WOW/XBLIVE generation that has to slam down a 50$ rule book, often to find that in their noobiness, they have entirely misinterpreted some of the most basic rules imaginable.

    1. I would ask you to cite specifics or elaborate, but I am assuming you are the same Anon as above and would prefer to engage in random personal attacks. I always loved how people like you blindly throw around combinations of young people, MMOs, and gaming consoles (why did you omit board games and attention disorders?).

      You sound like a stereotypical curmudgeonly old man who is so deathly afraid of any change. I guess some things never change. Like you. :-)

    2. Sadly, David, you keep attempting to defend and crow the merits of a game system that has proven to be a failure. Nothing you can say, no argument you can make will hcange that fact. 4e failed.

  31. @Anon: Let us see...not addressing my points...personal attacks...is that you, Roderic?

    Anyway, news flash: the entire 3rd Edition camp did in fact NOT go to Pathfinder. If you honestly believe that then you are both an ignorant AND annoying fanboy.

    Also, if 3rd Edition was so profitable and all they cared about was profit, then why bother going through all that work and making such a drastic change? It would have been much easier for them to just pull a Paizo, slightly tweak the rules, and sell you pretty much same game (while claiming it was compatible!).

    Finally, have YOU seen the sales of "traditional" D&D games? Again if WotC was interested in money and the best cash grab are old editions, then why not just reprint older editions? The work is done for them, after all.

    1. 4e was an attempt to expand the brand by bringing in the WoWC and Exercrack gamers. Cut down the rules, make it more like a video game etc. They simply did not expect the mass exodus with such an extreme rule change. And, as noted before, 4e failed. that is why they are scrapping it.

  32. I read the article and a lot of the comments to date (not all). There are some good points and some real vitriol.

    I've played every edition of D&D from the original boxed set to 4e. I've played Pathfinder, TORG, Amber, WFRP, and a hundred other games in my day. I'm an "old-timer" with many decades of RPGs both as a player, DM, and CON-GM. This is not to trumpet myself, but to provide context to the reader.

    D&D 4.0 does not FEEL like D&D at all. If it was not called "Dungeons & Dragons" I likely would not have even tried it. Role-playing is right out the window in favor of "WoW" mechanics and CCG elements. I mean come-on, it's a combat board game. It's the very thing that Gygax was trying to get away from (coming from the Chainmail system). D&D tried to evolve into an Adventure game and even TSRs moniker "Products of your imagination" was telling for the time.

    D&D Next is trying to reconfigure itself - to reinvent and stay relevant. Hasbro didn't listen to the players when they designed 4e (they admitted it) and it shows! It's cost them every player who plays Pathfinder now or those that have moved away from RPGs. I'll admit that they are going very slow. I'll admit that the game has not progressed exactly as I would have designed it. I'll admit that it has elements I dislike. Hopefully these things will get hammered out before launch. One of the reasons they are taking their time is because if they fail - if they don't get this right - they are out of the game. The D&D brand is dying and if they get it wrong, it's dead.

    I feel that 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 (even PFRPG) has really upped the power level exponentially. Characters are no longer adventurers who are good at their jobs (or even gifted prodigies), they are demi-gods with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. It's one thing to have a knack, gift, talent or trick that you learned - quite another to be a martial warrior master of death. The games have moved towards always bigger - feeding the need to be cooler and more powerful. YES, level up should have some perks, but there should not be a world of difference between level 4 and 5, or 5 and 6, or 1 and 3. The addition of encounter powers, daily powers, etc only serves to strengthen that you're playing a game that is a port-over of a video game. Which I don't want in my P&P RPGs.

    What I *DO* want:
    1. to have simple, streamlined rules. Simple, but not dumbed-down. The CORE system should be very simple and easy to run.
    2. to have OPTIONAL rules that can be added on. These rules can add lots of rules, even rules that change the core rules. I can choose to not add them to my game.
    3. a balanced game - character classes, races, levels, powers, spell, and magic items.
    4. for role-playing to be what the game is really about. Not combat being the primary focus of the game.
    5. to be able to turn to my gaming group and KNOW that I'm playing DUNGEONS AND FUCKING DRAGONS and we're all loving it!

    Also, as a reminder... old "dead' game systems are still valid. Just because Hasbro moves on doesn't mean that we as players must move with them. I will still play AD&D, 2e, 3.5, or 4e if I want to. Don't get all butthurt that they are not making your favorite version of the game anymore. You can still play 4e - they are not burning your books (or PDF files).

    My opinions only. You're still entitled to yours :)


    1. WoW mechanics and CCG elements? Oh look, you even threw in “combat board game”. Every time someone rolls out those bullshitt statements I can only conclude that you have either never played World of WarCraft, collectible card games, and/or 4th Edition.

      How is 5th Edition “staying relevant”? They are using antiquated and restrictive mechanics when they do not have to in order to achieve the feel and goals that they have established. There are games with simple-yet-flexible characters, fast and easy play, and still maintain the feel of Dungeons & Dragons. This is not staying relevant, this is pandering to the traditionalists.

      They admitted not listening to the players? I would be interested in reading where they said that.

      As I mentioned previously, it did in fact not cost them “everyone that plays Pathfinder”, because there are people that, no matter how much you want to disbelieve it, play Pathfinder AND 4th Edition. There are also people that play 3rd Edition and 4th Edition, and yes, even people that play 4th Edition and 5th Edition.

      3rd to 4th Edition characters are demigods? Are...you are serious? I was not aware that being able to smack someone in the face with a shield and knock them back a bit was so “far beyond” the capabilities of mortals. Also, 3rd Edition characters are marginally better than 2nd Edition ones, unless you count fighters starting with a minor bonus and a couple of skills somehow mythic.

      There is not a “world of difference” between levels 1 and 3 in either 3rd or 4th Edition. In 3rd Edition you end up with +1 or +2 to various things and get some more hit points, while in 4th Edition you get 5% better at your stuff, and get a new feat, and have one more thing you can do. Although, given that you perceive 3rd and 4th Edition characters as demigods, maybe a minor increase is the world to you.

      Also, you do realize that 5th Edition has both encounter powers and daily powers, right? I even recall something in Rules Cyclopedia where a fighter could try to amaze people or frighten them once per battle or day or somesuch, so by your own entirely arbitrary criteria RC, 3rd Edition, and 5th Edition is...a VIDEO GAME? *gasp*

      Also if you kept up to speed with this blog (even just the 5th Edition stuff) instead of randomly making a trollish post about video games and demigods, you would know that while I prefer 4th Edition over the rest, I by no means consider it perfect, do not want them to recreate it, and am well aware that I “can” still play it.

    2. Every time someone pulls the '4e is an MMO running on a rig made with Gygax's bones' argument I can't help but just roll my eyes.

      And honestly, combat HAS to be the primary focus of a system.

      When did any D&D edition put the bulk of the rules on how to role play? Would that be something you'd want, anyway? A system to tell you how you should role play? Did 4E at some point have a rule that restricted role play? Which one?

    3. Every time someone says "Did 4E at some point have a rule that restricted role play? " I have to roll my eyes. The answer is yes. Skill challanges.

  33. I was not trying to make you defensive. I also enjoy that simply because I have a differing view of the game, I'm offhandedly dismissed as a Troll. Despite your combative attitude, I'll address your points:

    > How is 5th Edition “staying relevant”?
    They are trying to create the D&D game for all time. A classic game system that does not need to be constantly updated. With a simple CORE system and a system of optional add-on that players and DMs can choose to use. The CORE game is about imagination and role-playing. The core system will be added to - you're not seeing it yet because it has not been written. They want to move away from developing systems and focus on content; settings, adventures, boxed sets.

    > They admitted not listening to the players?
    I find it rather amazing that you can even talk about this subject without even haven watched the Keynote speech from GenCon 2012. In the speech, Mike Mearls actually sets the entire tone for the redesign - explaining the plan from a high level. Here is a handy link for you: http://tinyurl.com/c26jsgm

    Skip all the fluff at the start.
    ~ 15:00 they start to talk about the redesign mindset. "D&D is your game, not ours"
    ~ 16:30 Rules are Secondary - Roleplaying is the thing the game is about, which has nothing to do with the rules. "The RULES put the design team at the forefront" which was not intended.
    ~ 18:15 "Players were unhappy" R&D was in charge of the game and that was a mistake.
    ~ 20:00 "We lost track of that" - meaning that they took the game in a direction that players didn't like.

    > Didn't loss players
    I'll admit to being overly general here. Yes there are players that enjoy all likes of games, I'm one of them. Given a choice between 3e, 3.5e, or 4e I would rather play Pathfinder. Will I still play those other editions? Yes, as long as my gaming group wants to do that. Would I play them with a random group at a Con? Maybe.

    > 3rd to 4th Edition characters are demigods?
    > World of difference...
    >Encounter Powers...
    I was trying to draw a comparison between earlier editions and later editions. Not all additional options were a good addition to the system. That's my opinion. I can number-crunch and min-max like a pro, but that's just all about more more more more!

    Where is the role-playing? We can't fit it into the game because it slows down the miniatures combat!

    > 5e also has encounter powers...
    Yes, I'm aware. It's what the players and designers wanted. Cool encounter powers are nice sometimes.

    > Video game...
    I don't really want some of the elements I find in video games to seep into my RPGs. Some of it is fine, but when the elements transform the very feeling and mood of the game from one of role-playing with some combat, to a combat board game devoid of any meaningful role-play - that's too much. I do play video games, including WoW and many others. I also play many of the modern board games. There is nothing "random" about my comments, even though they differ from your views. Your preference for 4e colors the rest of your views on game play and balance.

    Look, we all have games we love. We, as gamers, are impassioned by our beliefs. We also hate to see the things we think are "done right" get changed. Unfortunately your opinion of 4e is simply not shared by the majority of the D&D community. If it were, Hasbro would be enhancing 4e rather than scraping it. The fact is that 4e did okay sales-wise, but underperformed. It's been touted as the worst selling product they have produced (adjusted over time). http://tinyurl.com/md28h3b

    Where they are really failing is in the speed to market. I will agree with you. They are not really throwing enough resources in the form of man-hours to finalize the system. There are still a lot of noticeable holes. Delays are nothing new to games or gamers though. It will be out when it's out and we'll see what they ultimately finalize in the system.

    1. Good god, man. How does 4e get in the way of roleplay more or less than any other system? This argument is so insanely hollow yet spouted so much that I have literally no idea how it gained purchase.

  34. @Mal

    Funny thing, I got an email alert about this comment, but when I went to publish it I could not find it because for some reason it ended up in the Spam category.

    *I* enjoy that you claim I off-handedly dismiss you as a troll, despite my assertion that staying relevant does not mean using antiquated mechanics when they are not necessary to achieve the goals they want, that not everyone went to Pathfinder, that a minor boost to some stats does not make you a demigod/a world of difference, and that older editions had encounter/daily powers. I did not even mention trolling until the very end.

    Anyway, I did not call you a troll “simply because you have a differing view of the game”. I called your comment trollish because you follow up your role-playing credentials with the statement that role-playing is “right out the window in favor of WoW mechanics and CCG elements”. I mean, you do not even try to establish why that is bad, you just throw it out there as if--assuming it were true--that in of itself is somehow objectively bad, or even detracts from role-playing in any capacity.

    Basically, you are flinging the same shit that was flung--and refuted--back in 2008.

    You really find it amazing that I can talk about this subject without having watched the keynote speech? Do you mean the subject of 5th Edition and its shortcomings in general, or...what? In any case I did watch the keynote speech; I find it amazing that you would assume I could remember it about a year and a half later.

    If you have a problem with some additions to the system, just come out and say it. Declaring 3rd and 4th Edition characters as demigods compared to previous editions is not only hyperbole, but does not at all explain why you even think it is bad. Aside from encounter powers I guess, I still do not know what you consider to be bad, or even why you think it is (especially since older editions of D&D have daily non-magical powers).

    And, again, you bring up no role-playing because of miniatures combat, video game elements, and combat board game. I have no idea why your group stopped social role-playing. Mine did not, and in fact many sessions had maybe one fight, and off the grid at that so...yeah. Dunno what to tell you.

    Ignoring your apparent in-depth understanding of the majority of the D&D community, I want to point out that I wrapped up my previous reply to you with the statement that while I prefer 4th Edition to the rest, I by no means consider it perfect (or anywhere close). In fact, my last few 4th Edition campaigns featured a number of houserules and no minis (period). I have no problem with them changing the game again (which I have said numerous times). I think that this time they are changing it for the worse.

  35. Where do begin... I think I got a unique/honest/fresh perspective to add to this great debate...Well about 6 months ago...after a nearly 30 year hiatus from D&D, after re-connecting with my 11 y/o son, we stumbled into a comic/game store. Of course he wanted to play Magic, so I bought some packs and we started to learn the rules and began to play. After only a few visits to the store my son spotted some Pathfinder and D&D books and asked "what the heck is that?" So I explained and he instantly wanted to play...not knowing one thing about what Pathfinder even was (the selection of books was 5 to 1 in favor of Pathfinder) I bought the 4e players handbook and DM Guide. Now the last time I played was AD&D (I was about my sons age) and I had never been a DM before. I do remember seeing 3 or 3.5 everywhere in the 90's...from what I noticed the books seemed easier to read, more colorful/artistic and very popular...(remember going into a Denny's in Columbus, GA in 1996 or something and 20 people were playing in the middle of the night...I thought D&D had already died out in by 1990 so I thought it was cool it had made a comeback...Vampire seemed another one everyone liked then too) Anyway...we started to play, with a few of his friends and now his cousin (a girl...unheard of in my day) has also joined. We love it...but of course as I/we got more serious, I have been reading as much as I can on all aspects of the game/competition/advice/comments I can to keep the fun going...so I now have heard all the pro and cons of 3...3.5...Pathfinder...Next... (I did sign up for Next Playtest and got the info...we have only dabbled with it...too busy enjoying 4 and it appears I'm too late for any game test advice giving)...Here's what I take away from all this...I do remember AD&D being a lot more fun and fast paced...but will admit we were kids and "rules" were made to be broken so from what I can remember we made up stuff (even our older DM...14y/o..."got it") if we didn't understand it or liked it we just broke the rules and kept going...yes, yes, yes...the stats/rules/die all made for great game...very fun knowing most kids couldn't even understand it and we were part of the elite group who could and did...but the best part was the getting together every Friday night and playing and hanging out...completely not what it seems like today. Everyone is so involved with arguing it out on rules/what the best game is/ etc, etc...it seems so divided no wonder (agreeing with someone above) it may or has begun to die. But I think it can be saved...here's my advice.

  36. 1. Stop the bickering...each system appears to have it's pro and cons. I'm going to keep playing 4e but I will buy (slowly...I'm not rich) some Next books, some pathfinder books...maybe combine some stuff, maybe run some side campaigns with only Next/Pathfinder, in other words...I'm keeping it fun for myself and the kids, not go crazy trying to figure out every minuet detail about every last bit of info for a game that was meant to be imaginative. Remember the crappy DM or the weird PC? You know the DM who killed off your characters too soon, the PC who always made some sort of stupid sex reference every time you found a female NPC? This stuff gets old (some of the reasons by seventeen I stopped playing) and that's what this "arguing" is doing. Stopping the fun of it all.
    2. At first I was skeptical, when my son wanted to play, knowing he is a video game junkie and Magic is much more fast paced, I figured he would be dis-interested in no time...well I was wrong...however we/WOC/Pathfinder would be fools to think that the game may ever return to it's great popularity w/o some serious marketing and a little more modernization. Boy I can "hear" you now..."Is he suggesting a video game?" HMMM...yes and no...Ok in 30 years or so I will be dead or drooling on myself, so for any hope for my grandson to enjoy this game...I'm sorry it needs to be modernized...I was shocked to find no video game that could incorporate your "pen and paper" character into the virtual world...completely!! WOW and D&D online are kind of "clunky" compared to todays video games like Assassins Creed. No bona fide online forum/live/ web site game play with strangers from across the globe...(if there
    I cant find it...it's not marketed right) I can play scrabble via my phone live with strangers, even use a camera to use real board. Sure a group of friends can easily set something up but like to see something along this line for D&D or Pen and Paper games...I know its harder than a scrabble board and not sure host could make money from providing such a service (you would still have to purchase the books/etc) I don't have any perfect solution but think the game can be modernized in some manner...lets face it...and don't be such an old grumpy man...the younger generation needs more visual stimulation...do I like that? No. Am I realistic? Yep...and even though my son and his friends are doing well w/o it...it's a tough sell w/o it. (we have had some of his friends come over and they don't last 5 minutes with out asking where the video games are at) You can deny it all you want and you can go the way of Radio Shack, Alta Vista, and CompuServe.
    3. Make Next the last one!!!....Again...someone above said this and I say its true...It does seem 4e Campaigns are a little weak and do notice Pathfinder seems to crank them out at a good level and good quality too...so WOC...Come out with Next...then focus on printed campaigns, maps, accessories, online income (maybe that bitchin compatible video game I talked about above) good novels, etc, to make money...perfect Next...fix the problems and stick with it...market it better, market GenCom better...(look at the Comic Cons now?)...Too many choices already, too many books to buy...people don't have the money like they used too...so be careful...no one will be able to afford/tolerate Next 1.5...especially if Next does not modernize and attract a younger audience who help unite the pen and paper game community, since it is so divided now

    1. @Anon: I think that D&D could benefit from a quality video game, but instead we get a lukewarm MMO that hits all the typical MMO notes, meaning that like 5th Edition is brings nothing compelling to the table.

      Oh, and they also released Baldur's Gate II thirteen years later. I complain about Nintendo recycling the same three properties over and over again, but at least they tend to improve the graphics and change things up a bit.

      Everything about what WotC has been doing for the past few years smacks of desperation and laziness.

    2. I agree...I like my 4e...we make it work....Open Grave and a few other books are just great; but well said...13 years later for Baldurs Gate 2??? Fortune Cards??? Some of these idea's are just plain weird, money oriented, and needless...again focus on quality core products and marketing to the new generation. We shall see...maybe with Next they can get it right.

  37. Here's my take on this. I loved 3.5. When 4th came out, I bought tons of books and the pieces to go with it. There were some really cool things I like in it, but after playing a few months of the game, it felt like there was no personality to it. It truly felt like mmorpg. I left gaming altogether after that. I'm not bashing 4th, they got some things really right. When Next was annouced, they sounded like they were going to use the best of both worlds, which is what I was hoping for. The monsters in 4th seemed more alive and interesting. I liked paragon paths over prestige classes, but I loved the way the world and characters seemed to organically interact in 3.5. I was hoping they would remove the bad stuff from both and find a good mix of the good stuff from both. It sounds like that hasn't happened and I may never come back to gaming.

    One thing I have hated, nobody ever plays a core race anymore. It used to be something of a novelty to have a half-orc or even more exotic race. Now, everyone is playing a goliath or drow or whatever as though they're everywhere. Completely lost a really good level of role play there.

    1. What do you mean the world and characters organically interacted in 3.5? I have no idea what that means, or how it doesn't apply to 4e in contrast.

      Also I don't know about the core race thing either. Half-elf is a core race and it is present even in many optimization builds. Also what does that have to do with anything? How does that loses a level of RP? How is that even a fault of the system? People choose whatever they want to play...

  38. No matter which edition I preference, the issue WotC has is they are trying to bring back the older players who moved on when 4e was released, though that clientele has already moved on to Pathfinder or other systems. Unless they produce something phenomenal that appeals to 3e player (or any other prior edition), they on't be getting those players back.

    WotC should be trying to progress, rather than revert to prior rule-systems. All they will likely find is they will also lose those people that enjoyed 4e.


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