The End of 4th edition?
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Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:23 pm 
 

RangerFlecha wrote:I just had a look to this interview with Mike Mearls and Rich Baker:

http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/essentia ... rich-baker

The people of WotC at the interview put tons of boring uninteresting verbiage to justify themselves... a sign that even they don't know what this new product is useful for, or worse, they know is useful for nothing, besides redundant. So yes, maybe this is just another marketing campaign to sell people what they already have, twice.

Besides, the boxed set comes with something additional: power cards. So they're using it to introduce another redundant element to the game that will be sold, I predict, in random packs, like those of the new Gamma World. Another crappy unnecesary thingy for the game, so they can get more unwinned money. Seems they learned a lesson after Fantasy Flight did it in advance with the new edition of Warhammer Fantasy rpg.


Wow. That interview was something. One word kept popping into my head: Floundering.  Rich Baker and Mike Mearls are intelligent guys.  In this case I may be wrong but it sounds like they are just throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks. They are so completely away from the concepts they say they are following it doesn't even make sense.

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:51 pm 
 

Mike Mearls wrote:Mike:  So you look at the Fighter… and if you want to play a Fighter, you can play a Knight or a Slayer.  And you could say to a beginner: ‘do you want to be a tough warrior, who wears heavy armor and protects your friends, or do you want to play a warrior with a huge axe or a sword, and can cleave through dozens of kobolds at a time?'  And for a beginning player that doesn't know anything about the game, they can tell you which one appeals to them.


Wow. So the default fighter is either an incredibly tough hulking armored brute or an incredibly strong mook-reaping machine. The number of options boggle the f'ing mind...  :roll: Just for the record, this is why I never tried 4th in the first place, and quit playing 3rd edition. Character "builds".

What if I want to play an effete aristocratic dandy who has more money than martial prowess, full of bluster but secretly afraid of engaging in combat, and see where that takes me over the course of a level or two...? No, thought not :).

EDITed to increase sarcasm.


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Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:55 pm 
 

And there was one last thing which I did take away from this meeting with the Essentials Design Team, and that is a little "peace of mind". Knowing that this new product line will not foment another "edition war" like we had in the move from version 3.5 to 4th edition is definitely "sigh-of relief" worthy.  And if the Design Team members are correct, the "Red Box" has a great chance of increasing the number of D&D Players everywhere, and help keep our favorite hobby going on strong!

I thought this was the most telling statement in the interview...and it was said by the moderator, not the WOTC design team.

Knowing that this new product line will not foment another "edition war" like we had in the move from version 3.5 to 4th edition

How do you know that?  This is not an introductory boxed set.  This is an entirely new product line.  The designers admit that the rules are different from the already-published rules.  A neutral observer would have to conclude that a new edition war seems to be implied.

And if the Design Team members are correct

Yes, let's hope that.  But what has this team been right about since they started planning 4th Edition?

this new product line

How is a long-time gamer (the very core of the D&D market) supposed to buy into an introductory product that is part of a product line?  We are the ones who know this tactic best.  Am I so stupid that I do not know that a product line means I will have to purchase half a dozen new products just to get the core rules?

increasing the number of D&D Players everywhere, and help keep our favorite hobby going on strong

Yes.  That would be nice.  Was there anything said in the interview that made this seem likely?

What the Hell?  :?:  :shaking2:  :scratch:


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Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:06 pm 
 

I had to admit that I had already witnessed the charm of the "Red Box" hard at work at this year's GenCon.  On Thursday, I had spent a few hours in the Sagamore Ballroom, where all the D&D events were being played, and watched a whole family of four playing D&D Essentials at the "Learn to Play D&D" tables, and having a great time.


A family of four playing D&D, in 2010?  
Are they saying Essentials is on the verge of being a mainstream game?

I cannot find anybody in middle or high school who plays D&D.  
I have asked parents at soccer games, and at cocktail parties.
The question is met with blank stares or sneers.
College students never mention it, yet talk about Force Unleashed with abandon.  
In the presence of women.
Good looking women.

Maybe my area of the country is an outlier.  
Maybe D&D has caught on again in the NE,  Midwest, out on the West Coast...?

I hope so, but I'm very skeptical.

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Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 11:28 pm 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:What if I want to play an effete aristocratic dandy who has more money than martial prowess, full of bluster but secretly afraid of engaging in combat, and see where that takes me over the course of a level or two...? No, thought not :).

Where in the rules does it say you're allowed to play "real" characters like that, rather than stereotypes? ;)

(Comments made back when the original "official" Barbarian class came out come to mind now...).

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:EDITed to increase sarcasm.

:lol:


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:21 am 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:
A family of four playing D&D, in 2010?  
Are they saying Essentials is on the verge of being a mainstream game?


Yes, that's what they're saying, or trying to say. After all, it WAS a mainstream game back in '83 when the old red box came out.

However, undoubtedly the family of four was hired just to be seen by this mercenary (or at least very easily swayed) blogger.

I cannot find anybody in middle or high school who plays D&D.  
I have asked parents at soccer games, and at cocktail parties.
The question is met with blank stares or sneers.


I've never taken an informal poll like this, but occasionally I'll get daring and wear my old "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" t-shirt to a son's soccer game or a summer barbecue, and invariably I get the reaction from someone: "Oh, I didn't know there was an ADVANCED Dungeons and Dragons.. When did that come out?" So people know about D&D, even if they and their kids don't play.

College students never mention it, yet talk about Force Unleashed with abandon.  
In the presence of women.
Good looking women.


Yeah, see, this is a bad move. I quite reasonably swore off D&D for the... well, too many.. years I was at university, for just this reason. The kind of chicks who dig roleplayers were the sort I wanted most avidly to avoid, at least in a romantic capacity. What the heck is Force Unleashed? Oh, I get it, some kind of Star Wars thing?

Maybe my area of the country is an outlier.  
Maybe D&D has caught on again in the NE,  Midwest, out on the West Coast...?

I hope so, but I'm very skeptical.


I was at my FLGS (or rather my not-so-local hour away from here store) about a year ago to drop off some canned goods for a drive being sponsored by the shop. The clerk in the front told me to take them around back to the old game club, which I had literally not entered for about 20 years. There were two tables of the grungiest, most nerdified 15 - 22 year-olds I had seen since the eighties playing the latest, slickest version of D&D (IIRC it was 4e, I think it had just come out). So at least in the Northeast there's still a presence, but maybe not among middle-schoolers so much anymore.


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:36 am 
 

D&D 4th edition was designed to be exception based. It had a simple set of core rules to adjudicate actions along with a set of standard terms to describe powers.

The setup means you can have all the rules needed to play a character on the character sheet. It also have great flexibility as in theory you can change the tone of the game by changing the bag of powers and to a lesser extant classes without forcing you to learn a new game.

The problem Wizards has had is one of presentation. The classes, feats, and powers overwhelmingly focus on combat. Not just any combat but high fantasy 24/7, in your face, bright lights flashing, style combat.

You could argue that OD&D and other older editions of D&D were likewise hyper focused on combat but D&D 4th is specific and OD&D was abstract which meant for OD&D the tone of the game was largely set by how the referee ran it. Sure you could do something with D&D 4th core but it is harder as the tone is baked into the rules.

It seems that the High Fantasy 24/7 approach has been a turn off and effected sales to a point that they need to try something different.  So they took the core system of 4e and made a new bag of classes and power. Of couse they have the same names and some of the same powers as the original core classes which make things confusing.

But unlike the change from 3.0 to 3.5, both the original core classes and the new esstential can be played side by side. With 3.5e there were a lot of minor changes (and some major) which meant that your fighter in 3.5e was not exactly the same as the fighter 3.0. In contrast in Essential you could bring in your core Fighter and play them with their power as is along side the Essential Fighter.

It is no different then somebody pulling out a 1997 era Magic the Gathering deck and playing against a 2010 era Magic the Gathering deck. despite the intervening 13 years the core game is still the same.

The problem with Esstentials is one of presentation. Instead naming something like Warrior or a least Esstential Fighter they kept the same name as the core classes. However like MtG when two different cards have the same name you play what written on the card on in this case what on the character sheet.

Finally all of this doesn't mean that this audience will like 4e any better. It may be that Essential feels more like older editions  but like Castles & Crusades, and Hackmaster it still won't be the original game regardless of how fun of a game it turns out to be.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:54 am 
 

Mobile has plenty of younger gamers.  Almost all the bookstore clerks at Books a Million and Barnes and Noble, for instance.  And, many of the kids at the Math Science magnet school.  Quite a few dad's are running groups, etc.  I think one local high school teacher or principle did a thesis or dissertation on the positive effects of role playing on social development of talented and gifted children.  At the flea market last month, I bought a stack of 3.5 edition stuff from a 60+ man who said he got into fantasy about ten years ago because he could play EQ, DDO and related games with his grandkids online.  He then started buying d&d fiction and rpg's, etc.  

Nothing is dying off, as best I can tell.  It's simply just as marginalized by mainstream pursuits as ever.  D&D had a mainstream point in time, long ago, but clearly has more staying power than pet rocks or some of the other phenomenal items of the era.  

The edition wars seem silly.  Even with the tactical combat nature of 4e a decent dm should be able to move things along and create interest for the players.  If the players (and dm) are getting bored with tactical combat, the dm can speed things along.  There is nothing like giving the players the ability to intimidate a foe into submission or to use diplomacy successfully to keep a dm on their toes and force enhanced story line.

Maybe, they erred in trying to provide a die rolled answer for every possibility.  But, the dm has to make the story work.


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:37 am 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:Yes, that's what they're saying, or trying to say. After all, it WAS a mainstream game back in '83 when the old red box came out.

However, undoubtedly the family of four was hired just to be seen by this mercenary (or at least very easily swayed) blogger.


And even in '82, while I was in college, we still kept playing a secret.
This was easy since I was in a frat.
We could use some silly frat ritual as an excuse to play a D&D session.

I've since asked some of our former "Little Sisters" and Sweethearts if they knew, and what they would've thought.
Turns out we kept the secret pretty well.  
None of these girls -- women with kids now, mostly soccer moms -- have said they were surprised, but each one has caveated that it was one of those dysfunctional things that guys do that they simply ignored.

Force Unleashed is a Star Wars video game.  My son plays it on PS3. It's popular enough that these same soccer moms know all about it.  Probably more than they knew about D&D in '82.

I don't see D&D catching on with this crowd.

Maybe I just hang with snobs :-/

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Post Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:44 am 
 

Pipswich wrote:Mobile has plenty of younger gamers.  Almost all the bookstore clerks at Books a Million and Barnes and Noble, for instance.  And, many of the kids at the Math Science magnet school.  Quite a few dad's are running groups, etc.  I think one local high school teacher or principle did a thesis or dissertation on the positive effects of role playing on social development of talented and gifted children.  At the flea market last month, I bought a stack of 3.5 edition stuff from a 60+ man who said he got into fantasy about ten years ago because he could play EQ, DDO and related games with his grandkids online.  He then started buying d&d fiction and rpg's, etc.  

Nothing is dying off, as best I can tell.  It's simply just as marginalized by mainstream pursuits as ever.  D&D had a mainstream point in time, long ago, but clearly has more staying power than pet rocks or some of the other phenomenal items of the era.  

Maybe, they erred in trying to provide a die rolled answer for every possibility.  But, the dm has to make the story work.


I have been hoping for years that  the game's old
stigma could be cast aside and it could gain mainstream popularity.
But, hey, I like fantasy after all. :-)  

It really is good for you.
Like being in Drama Club.
And look how all those folks turned out <sarcasm>
Much more so than lurking behind a monitor (like I'm doing now).

But it's good to hear the game is not undead in Mobile.

akp


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:58 am 
 

(Cloning a comment I made on Piazza...)

I don't care for 4e. To me it's like the difference between a yummy heavy-set woman (3.5) and those last few pounds that turn her into a distasteful fatty with too much makeup.


And I'm afraid I'm starting to like RS Conley.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:16 am 
 

Pipswich wrote:Maybe, they erred in trying to provide a die rolled answer for every possibility.  But, the dm has to make the story work.


I'm actually not that big into "role" playing as such (I've always preferred puzzle-based dungeon delving sprinkled with hack-n-slash for emphasis), but for me at least this is exactly the problem with 3x-onward D&D--there's way too much reliance on mechanical resolution. In my humble unstudied opinion, and I gather this coincides roughly with the OSR attitude, anything that can be adjudicated without resort to dice ought to be. This most definitely includes diplomacy, fast-talking, intimidation, "social" skills in general. The Assignment of a "skill" to every possible action, in effect operationalizing everything that a character can try to do, moves the game toward something that might as well be played on a computer, with a computer as the referee.

EDIT: As for, "the dm has to make the story work," there are so many wrongheaded notions behind that statement that I'll have to ruminate on a response designed to disabuse you of that opinion :).

ExTSR wrote:(Cloning a comment I made on Piazza...)

I don't care for 4e. To me it's like the difference between a yummy heavy-set woman (3.5) and those last few pounds that turn her into a distasteful fatty with too much makeup.


And I'm afraid I'm starting to like RS Conley.


Ouch.

And me too. This is the best explanation of where 4e is coming from that I've read. I haven't actually given the rulebooks a chance, which if I had I suppose would have made understanding easier. This is not to say that it appeals to me any more now that I have a better grasp of its basic principles. My problem is with the flavor of the game.. If my fighter ("Essential" or otherwise) can only partake of one or two predetermined archetypes I ain't interested. If he can still heal himself in combat without the aid of a cleric (or what have you), then I'm really not interested.


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Post Posted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 9:53 pm 
 

MetamorphosisSigma wrote:I'm actually not that big into "role" playing as such (I've always preferred puzzle-based dungeon delving sprinkled with hack-n-slash for emphasis), but for me at least this is exactly the problem with 3x-onward D&D--there's way too much reliance on mechanical resolution. In my humble unstudied opinion, and I gather this coincides roughly with the OSR attitude, anything that can be adjudicated without resort to dice ought to be. This most definitely includes diplomacy, fast-talking, intimidation, "social" skills in general. The Assignment of a "skill" to every possible action, in effect operationalizing everything that a character can try to do, moves the game toward something that might as well be played on a computer, with a computer as the referee.


My sentiments exactly.  That reads like something I would've written.

My players do not "role play".  They are themselves.  In fact, I don't even bother with alignment.  At least for PCs.  And for monsters I use the old law, neutrality, chaos ethics.

Neither D&D 3.5E nor 4E have captured my imagination, but Pathfinder has.

In fact, what I'm trying to do right now is take some Pathfinder scenarios/modules, which are exceptionally well-written, and modify them for old school use.

So, I appreciate the quality from Paizo's products while preferring the flexibility and open-ended-ness of old school games.

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:16 pm 
 

ExTSR wrote:(Cloning a comment I made on Piazza...)

I don't care for 4e. To me it's like the difference between a yummy heavy-set woman (3.5) and those last few pounds that turn her into a distasteful fatty with too much makeup.



I just look at it as more cushin' for the pushin', Frank!

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:21 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
I just look at it as more cushin' for the pushin', Frank!

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Post Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:42 am 
 

Monday's Penny Arcade ... so dead-on, it's scary.

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Post Posted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:53 am 
 

Sting looks like he's reading the comic with sci-fi gay approval!


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 2:59 pm 
 

Chiming in late on this, but my group still plays 3.5
We tried 4.0 when that came out and really disliked it.  

Went back to 3.5 and stuck with it, but we began to get a little dismayed about our edition not being supported any more.

Then we discovered Pathfinder, and the happy is back!!   :D
I've heard the same thing from other gamers I've  spoken to at the FLGS and the local con.  

I don't pay nearly as much attention to Ebay as alot of you guys do, but even I notice how well 3.5 books are holding value compared to 4.0, since I still pick up a 3.5 book here and there to use in my game.  And geez, you'd think an OOP edition would be cheaper, it's not like any of this stuff is rare.  WOTC printed a gazillion copies of everything.

This leads me to believe more than a few gamers are still hanging in with 3.5.


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:07 pm 
 

I made this observation elseboard:  frequently, when people discover that I don't care for 4e, they accuse me of just "being afraid of change/progress."

The thing is, I started with the Holmes blue boxed basic set.  I then switched to first edition, and liked it.  When second edition came along, I tried that and liked it.  When third edition came along, I tried THAT and liked it.  It was different, but I was ready to try something new.  When 3.5 came along, I wasn't exactly thrilled at buying slightly-modified versions of the same rulebooks, but I tried it and liked it.

Then 4e came along.  I playtested it.  I didn't like it.  I hoped they would make some changes based on playtester recommendations.  When it was released, I tried it again.  Again, I didn't like it.

So I question the whole "You just don't like change" mantra.  I liked change just fine for three and a half editions; I just don't like THIS change.

  

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:07 pm 
 

It might have been a good idea (and I didn't think of it either) if WOTC had started 4th Edition with the red box basic set.

It would have created an entry-level game, easy to pay for, easy to try.  It would have been attractive to established gamers.  It would have made the game easier for young gamers to acquire.

How many here started with the Holmes Basic Set or earlier?  Remember the anticipation as each of the AD&D hardbacks appeared, one by one?

The three-volume hardback probably gave WOTC a huge money hit, but it is kind of inaccessible for an entire gaming group to buy.

And then...discovering that core elements of the rules had been deliberately omitted so they could appear in future hardbacks..... :evil: .....that was not the way to win my loyalty.


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