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The D&D Designers Answer Your Questions

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the all-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder dept.

211

In January we had the chance to ask the designers of Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition a few questions about the new version of the classic tabletop game. The Wizards of the Coast Community Manager, Mike "Gamer_Zer0" Lescault put our questions to members of the development team, including: Andrew Collins, Chris Perkins, Scott Rouse, and Sara Girard. Some of the questions weren't quite answered in as much detail as I would have liked. That said, they've given us a great opportunity to follow up on their responses. If you have a follow-up question, put it in a comment below (one question per comment please). We'll pass on five of the best, and the designers will answer your question on-camera at the Dungeons and Dragons Experience at the end of this month. We'll post the video to the site early in March. This is a great chance to put a face to some legendary designer names, and get your unanswered issues resolved. Get asking.Why 4th Edition? by DrMrLordX:
3.5E had so many non-core sourcebooks that you could have easily respun and/or rebalanced the material into a new set of books if you had any need to sell more material (which you presumably do, as would anyone else in the same business). Based on what has been released and what I've read, 4E will be a radical departure of standards set back in 3E which were, in turn, meant to improve the game drastically. Don't you think more work could have, and should have, been done to improve 3.5E? It seems like you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Wizards of the Coast:
The design team had play-tested Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 extensively and it was clear that the game needed to evolve. Since there were things we wanted to do digitally, like the Digital Game Table and the Character builder, it became clear that we should create a new, fully integrated system, with rules that would support our online applications. There were so many system improvements that the team really felt that the time had come to revamp the game. I don't imagine that our customers would have been satisfied with a version 3.75.

How long will this edition last? by Erwos:
It upset quite a few folks when D&D 3.0E transitioned to 3.5E relatively soon after release, and made some people's investments in D&D become basically worthless overnight. While I appreciate that it's sometimes time to spawn a new edition that's incompatible with the old, it felt like 3.5E should have been an errata to 3.0E, rather than a totally new set of books. I understand that WotC can't commit itself to any firm "we will not release another edition for X years" guarantee, but it would be nice to hear some sort of assurance that we won't see a repeat of the 3.0E->3.5E debacle. What's the plan? What lessons have you learned?

WotC:
I don't think it would be unreasonable to argue that the transition from 3.0 to 3.5 happened a little too soon. Would Wizards of the Coast have released 3.5 if we knew at the time that 4th Edition was coming? My guess is probably not. We would like to have 4th Edition last 8 to 10 years just like previous editions.

Player's Online Component? by Zonk
I know this component is still 'in the works', but I have to ask: what are you planning for the online pricing for players vs. DMs? You've said that accessing D&D Insider and the 'online tabletop' will cost between $10 and $15, but is that for everyone? I just can't see telling my players they *each* need to pay $12/month to play online, let alone shelling out $30/month for myself and my wife. Also, will I need to have a paid subscription in order to access PDFs of the 4th edition books that I buy?

WotC:
We will be announcing pricing and subscription details at the D&D Experience convention in two weeks.

Open Gaming License by egg_green:
With D&D 3rd Edition, we were introduced to the D20 System and the Open Gaming License, which allowed third party publishers to produce supplements for the game. Will there be something akin to this for 4th Edition? What form will it take, and will it be more or less restrictive?

WotC:
The initial 4th Edition plans for allowing third-party publication of compatible supplements have been announced, and we're currently working with a number of independent publishers to iron out the details and get them started. Our goal is to allow 3rd party publishers, both large and small, the opportunity to publish products compatible with Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition.

Will combat be more streamlined? by DeafDumbBlind:
At higher levels in D&D 3.5, a fight between the party and a group of enemies can easily last a couple of hours. How has combat been streamlined?

WotC:
Two significant changes to gameplay that accelerate and streamline high-level combat are the reduction in the number of dice rolls required on each turn, and the drastic simplification of monsters. No more "full attack actions" requiring handfuls of d20s. No more monster powers hiding in feats, or that require you to look somewhere else to understand what they do--monster powers are self-contained, specialized abilities appropriate to that monster's role, its tactics in a battle, and its identity in the world.

Magic Item Requirement by Blackeagle_Falcon:
One of the things I dislike about 3rd edition is that at medium and high levels magic items are such a big part of a character's power. A PC has to be decorated like a Christmas tree with various magical doodads in order to be effective. Running a campaign in a world where magic items are rare or nonexistant required a lot of house rules and adjustment on the part of the DM. Will it be easier to run a low or no magic item campaign in 4e?

WotC:
We're definitely reducing the number of magic items that a typical character will carry around. Magic items aren't going away--they're a great way for characters to specialize their tactics, shore up weaknesses, and otherwise differentiate themselves from other characters--but they'll be a smaller overall portion of a character's array of special abilities. In addition, we're being clearer to the players and DM what mechanical benefits we expect all characters to derive from their array of items, which makes it easier for a DM running a "low-magic" campaign to know what his characters are missing (so that he can either take that into account by reducing monster stats, or provide the missing benefits via other methods).

D&D and WOW by halivar:
It appears (to me, at least), that many of the new rules-changes mirror popular MMO's like WOW. How much influence do the designers derive from video games; and, to the extent that D&D 4th resembles WOW, is this a conscious effort to reach the MMO-generation of gamers with table-top role-play?

WotC:
Just as the design teams of most computer games draw on their experiences with Dungeons & Dragons and other tabletop games, we look to other games for inspiration and innovation. Many of us in RPG R&D play or have played MMOs and other computer games. Some of the lessons we learned about gameplay on those platforms have helped us craft a better tabletop RPG, both for current D&D players and for potential new players who either haven't yet tried D&D or haven't found previous iterations of the game to their liking.

The balance between easy and good by Mongoose Disciple:
How do you feel you've struck a balance between a desire to simplify/streamline rules to speed play and make the game more accessible, and a desire to preserve the strategy and general goodness of the game as it exists today? Details about proposed changes that were a tough call either way would be interesting.

WotC:
The struggle between playability and tactical depth is a constant one for any game designer, and D&D is no different. We're always wrestling with the right balance between providing streamlined, intuitive play and giving players all the options they want. For example, by giving more characters customizable options for their actions in combat, we've added a dramatic level of depth (both strategic, in building your character, and tactical, in employing those options during a fight), but at the cost of increasing complexity for some characters. We think that's a net positive effect, because the lack of tactical and strategic options for fighters, rogues, and many other characters had become a glaring weakness in the game. The key is to ensure that players of different sensibilities can still find a rewarding play experience within the game's framework. A player who prefers simple options can select those and still feel like he's creating an effective character, while his buddy who thrives on complexity can load up on interesting combos without grinding the game to a halt.

New content for old Settings? by andphi:
I know that some of the old settings (Ravenloft, Spelljammers, Dark Sun, Planescape) have been transitioned to other companies or have been quietly kept alive by their fans with knowledge bases and efforts at rules translations between old rulesets and 3.5. Will any of these old, orphaned settings being making a comeback in 4.0? (Planescape. Please, Planescape!) If not, are the 4.0 rules being written to make these on-going translation efforts easier?

WotC:
We appreciate the devoted fans who have continued to run campaigns in our older campaign settings. For a variety of reasons, we can't give every setting an equal amount of support, but we certainly expect to revisit older settings from time to time on D&D Insider. We constantly re-evaluate the role of older settings in our business plans and product schedules, and it's entirely possible that some of those settings may well stage a full-fledged return at some point in the future. For now, though, we're focusing on relaunching the Forgotten Realms campaign setting in August of 2008, with the Eberron campaign setting following in 2009. When we firm up any other plans, we'll certainly share those.

Negative Press by eldavojohn:
Short intro, I read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi. Play a lot of computer games. Enjoy reading up on lore and the like. But I never got into D&D. I had friends that played it but I was never into it. I tried playing it a few times and had some fun experiences. But there's always been a sort of negative stigma associated with it among ... well, the general populace. What are you doing to break free of this? Or do you embrace it? What are your thoughts & opinions on this strange negative publicity that popular movies push onto D&D players? Do you ever try to break free of that?

WotC:
(Note from Gamer_Zer0: Sorry Zonk, I tried my best to get this question answered for you, but apparently the Sci-Fi channel was having an original Battlestar Galactica marathon and the entire D&D team was no where to be found!)

Complexity vs. other gaming systems by Mechagodzilla:
Has there been any thoughts or discussions on reducing the amount of books needed to play? Donating a bookshelf to every new edition is getting a little ridiculous for the casual gamer. I have 40+ books from first and second edition. I bought the Player's Handbook from the third edition, read the first thirty pages and went "bleh". I know it goes against the business model, but can you actually make a game that can be played with less than four books?

WotC:
The only book any player needs to play the game is the Player's Handbook. In addition, the DM will want a copy of the Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual (to help him craft encounters, build adventures, and run an entertaining game). Players won't need the Dungeon Master's Guide to equip their higher-level characters, because the PH will have plenty of magic items for all levels. Players won't need the Monster Manual to adjudicate shapechanging or summoning effects, because those effects will be self-contained within the classes or powers that grant them. That said, a large number of D&D players want more options than the core rulebooks provide--so we publish additional supplements and sourcebooks to meet that desire--but the game's fully functional without them. Of course, with the new online tools provided by D&D Insider (including a full rules database), it'll be easier than ever to carry around even your whole collection of D&D books wherever you play--just log on and there they are!

DRM? by MykeBNY:
Many people are acting as if a new edition will not only obsolete their old books, it will actually prevent them from accessing the ruleset at all. Level-headed people of course regard that as silly, nobody's going to sneak into your house and burn your old books! However, with more and more importance being placed on digital content (not specifically Wizards of the Coast, but in general) ... Is the issue of whether to DRM or not, and why and how being treated very seriously within the company?

WotC:
There is still a fair amount of non-rules content in the 3.x books that is still usable with 4th Edition. The rules themselves are changing and the old rules content will be obsolete. We plan to sell digital versions of our books for use online. Our DRM philosophy is to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Character sheets like by coppro:
We know that you are providing a tool for editing character sheets on your computer, although you have not specified anything else. An editable PDF sheet seems likely. However, there have been many popular tools (e.g. PCGen) that can update many aspects of data automatically based on game events, rather than numbers. Will the suite of digital tools released with 4th Edition include a tool that can maintain a character sheet that can be updated based on effects and modifications, rather than simple numeric input? If so, will it be extensible with published supplements/user-provided data?

WotC:
Our character builder application let's you build characters of any 4E class and level. It will also let you populate the sheets with content from the D&D database, and to update your characters as they grow.

Arcane/Divine Balance? by Rydia:
In 3.5 and even basic 3d ed, Priests were far and away more useful than wizards and sorcers. They had damage spells, could use better weapons out of the box and had a serious of buffs, combined with their armor, that made them powerful and extremely difficult to kill. At very high levels, a powerful wizard can deal great damage with delayed blast fireball and whatnot, but at that point a good cleric can throw down greater aspect of the diety, divine power and a load of other spells and turn themselves into a combat machine, plus the ability to heal and a few good damage spells. How are you going to balance the two main spellcasting types in 4th ed? Or are you going to leave things generally as they are?

WotC:
One of the most significant design goals of 4th Edition was to clarify the roles filled by each of the character classes in the game. Not only does this help prevent one class from being good at too many things--such as the cleric--but it also prevents classes from being unable to accomplish any role effectively (such as the bard or monk). For example, clerics in 4th Edition occupy the "leader" role (sometimes also known as the "healer" or "party buffer" role). Their damage output is decent, but far behind that of the wizard or rogue, and they don't have the defenses or melee-control abilities of the fighter.

Who are you trying to please? by HikingStick:
I started playing D&D (the basic boxed set) and AD&D ages ago--first on 1st Ed. rules and eventually ponying up for 2nd Ed. My friends and I liked the game because it was easy and simple (regarding game mechanics) in the first edition, and we did enjoy some of the changes going into 2nd E. With the arrival of the 3rd Ed. rules, you lost me as a regular player, along with many of my peers. I had no desire to relearn a gaming system that, for the most part, had its rules embedded in my head. My question is this: who are you trying to please? Are you attracting any younger gamers to the fold? If not, what's the point in publishing release after release after release? The question I'm asking beneath the surface is, "Why should I care at all?"

WotC:
The "beneath the surface" answer is, "Because this edition is the most exciting and playable version of D&D that has ever been published." In order for Dungeons & Dragons to continue to thrive, it needs to retain current players while also attracting new players to the fold. Third Edition D&D succeeded wildly on both counts, and also brought thousands of lapsed D&D players back into the game (in some cases after years away from the tabletop). We have every expectation that Fourth Edition will repeat that success.

The fact that the Player's Handbook continues to be a strong-selling book years after its publication tells us that new players still enter the game every month. We also know from our RPGA programs that the game environment is full of diehard veterans from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, as well as new players trying out their first characters. But in order for us to continue to please existing players (whose preferences in gaming continue to evolve) and also attract new players (whose needs may be quite different from veteran gamers), the game must keep pace with an enormously volatile and variable marketplace.

D&D has always been a tabletop-based game, and Fourth Edition won't change that. However, we recognize that people think about games, information storage, and even social gatherings differently now than they did in 1974, and we want the new D&D to recognize and embrace those differences rather than risk becoming obsolete. So now you'll be able to access your rulebooks online via the Rules Database, craft the perfect look for your PC with the Character Visualizer, and even game with players across town or across the globe on the Digital Game Table.

At the end of the day however, we really just want to please the fantasy gamer inside all of us and feed that insatiable desire to keep the adventure fresh and exciting!

cancel ×

211 comments

Not impressed (0)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475082)

The bold on video as if youtube hasn't been around for years..

Re:Not impressed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475242)

Uh oh, looks like someone needs a grapple check :)

Ahhh D&D (5, Funny)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475126)

The reason geeks haven't been able to get girls in like... hold on, it's my turn...

Re:Ahhh D&D (5, Funny)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475180)

The reason geeks haven't been able to get girls in like...
*rolls dice* [wikipedia.org] ... ever.

Oh, that "negative stigma" question? (1)

MoodyLoner (76734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475310)

Look, I'm beginning to see the answer.

Re:Ahhh D&D (3, Funny)

JimTheta (115513) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475498)

Put the dice away before I take them away.

Re:Ahhh D&D (4, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475254)

The reason geeks haven't been able to get girls
No, lack of social skills would be the reason, there. D&D is actually the only reason geeks tend to have *any* social skills (no, learning to type "pwnd!" with one hand while strafing is not a social skill).

Re:Ahhh D&D (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475398)

No, lack of social skills would be the reason, there. D&D is actually the only reason geeks tend to have *any* social skills (no, learning to type "pwnd!" with one hand while strafing is not a social skill).
Correct. The last time I did tabletop gaming was back a long time ago, but at that time there were definitely girls playing, and there were like 3 of them in my particular gaming party that were unattached. One of whom -- who was VERY hot -- tried to get me in bed with her. Unfortunately, that would have made my then-girlfriend extremely jealous. :) If I knew then what I know now -- man, she was hot!

Re:Ahhh D&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475486)

Dude, try poly*--I'm GMing for both my wife AND my girlfriend (and both of their boyfriends).

*Polyamory, not polyhedral dice.

The hot gamer girl (3, Insightful)

MoodyLoner (76734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475916)

in our group and I have been married for fifteen years.

We have a six year old daughter that plays a halfling rogue.

I find the inevitable "D&D players never get laid" responses to RPG stories bitterly amusing, but getting old.

Re:The hot gamer girl (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477140)

Well I am willing to bet you still get less action than the average football jock...

There's (2, Insightful)

MoodyLoner (76734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477378)

a lot less difference between "some" and "more" than "some" and "none".

Re:There's (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477560)

Yeah I was just busting your chops dude. More power to ya.

Re:The hot gamer girl (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477186)

That, or you just fit a slightly more amusing definition of Outlier.

For a while (1)

MoodyLoner (76734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477278)

until we had to move, we had a couples game going.

Re:The hot gamer girl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22478318)

Bitterly? Well, I'm married as well---guess I know what you are talking about.

Re:Ahhh D&D (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476104)

Look, I've told you this before: you have got to stop referring to in-game events in the first person.

MOD PARENT INSIGHTFUL (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476366)

Most insightful and funny post I've seen for some time ;)

Re:Ahhh D&D (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477528)

http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=963 [questionablecontent.net] The anomaly is explained.

Re:Ahhh D&D (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477654)

Yeah, but the real $64K question is this: Does that explain the D&D girl that wanted to bed me or the girlfriend?

Re:Ahhh D&D (1)

Shinmizu (725298) | more than 6 years ago | (#22478178)

So, you couldn't get the D&D girl that wanted to bed you AND the girlfriend? In an either/or situation they usually go for your girlfriend, so that's not really a good situation.

Social skills and looks and money (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475668)

Bah, who needs relatiohships?

Unless you are inclined to breed, in the modern world, you are better off single.

How do you self-actualize? Do you like investing time in the cultivation of that powerful geek brain of yours? What about the cultivation of physical skills? Such things bring great fulfillment, make you a better person, and require time.

If you spend that time prioritizing someone else's desires over your own, just so you can get laid now and then, are you not cheating yourself?

What is so wonderful about a relationship that it is worth allowing your higher potentials go unexpressed?

Granted, it *is* possible to have a relationship with someone who will actually augment your efforts, which would be ideal. In my experience, not many relationships are like that. Most relationships, it seems, are a matter of doing what you have to do to manipulate the other person into fulfilling your desires. Like any addiction, it brings some joy (and not much else) and comes at great cost.

Let it go. In the modern world, solitude is a luxury that we can not only afford, but is actually cheaper than the alternative. Don't let outdated value systems rob you of your free will. Disobey!

(I am not a misogynist. All of this applies equally well to either gender.)

"One must tether the heart to free the spirit." -- Nietzsche.

"The demand to be loved is the most arrogant of presumptions." -- Nietzsche.

"Suffering is caused by desire" -- The Buddha

"Everything is meaningless" -- King Solomon

"Girls don't like boys, girls like cars and money." -- Good Charlotte

Re:Social skills and looks and money (4, Insightful)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476508)

Most relationships, it seems, are a matter of doing what you have to do to manipulate the other person into fulfilling your desires.
You're doing it wrong.

Re:Social skills and looks and money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22477002)

Get the fuck out of the road, virgin!

A question they can't answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475518)

Where is the clitoris?

Re:Ahhh D&D (1)

skinfaxi (212627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476180)

From the WoTC responses to the questions, you'd think that females just didn't exist. All players and DMs are male. Feh.

Re:Ahhh D&D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22478138)

The reason geeks haven't been able to get girls in like... hold on, it's my turn...
Well at least we geeks used to be able to drool over the hot demon chicks, but now it looks like they are cutting back [burrowowl.net] on those as well. :-(

The 8 to 10 years myth (5, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475172)

WotC likes to tout the 8 to 10 years number for the longevity of a release of D&D. They do some interesting accounting to get there.

What they do is ignore the period of time that Wizards of the Coast has owned the D&D brand. *TSR* was certainly capable of producing a radical revision to the rules only every 8 to 10 years. Thus far, Wizards of the Coast (Hasbro) has NEVER managed to meet that standard.

GURPS, BTW, has published their most recent edition. They *do* keep to such long periods between publications, and there's a rather large amount of compatibility between their 3rd and 4th (most recent) editions, allowing those who invested in 3rd edition's many supplements to maintain the value of their investments....

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475266)

I asked the question, and, yeah, I was not terribly impressed with the answer. It was nice to hear them acknowledge 3.5E as a mistake - that alone might get me to consider 4E.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (3, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476060)

I agree. If we just love them enough, then they'll change.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (5, Insightful)

Forseti (192792) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476958)

3.5E Wasn't a mistake, 3E was. They released it too early, it needed more playtesting.

When 3.5E came out, my play group was pissed off and decided not to buy it. Then a friend took a look at the new rules and uttered the words that rattle me to this day: "The new rules are WAY better; more balanced, etc..." We switched and rebought all of the damn books. I learned my lesson though. We'll skip 4E until we're sure they won't come out with 4.5E to tweak it.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (2, Funny)

ultranova (717540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22478126)

It was nice to hear them acknowledge 3.5E as a mistake - that alone might get me to consider 4E.

Hypothethically speaking, if I admitted that selling you the Golden Gate bridge was a mistake, would you be interested in some beachfront property in Tibet ?

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475526)

GURPS, BTW, has published their most recent edition. They *do* keep to such long periods between publications, and there's a rather large amount of compatibility between their 3rd and 4th (most recent) editions, allowing those who invested in 3rd edition's many supplements to maintain the value of their investments.


While I do realize that material things (books, computer, cars) have value, the term "investment" as applied to D&D is a joke. That's like talking about a sizable investment in Magic: The Gathering cards. They are a hobby. People spend money in hobbies because they enjoy the hobby. It's not about investment, other than an investment of time in an activity for personal enrichment or fulfillment.

As has been said before, nobody will sneak into your house and burn your current books and collection. If you don't want to spend money on the new version, if you want to protect your "investment", then don't upgrade. The old books aren't going to suddenly stop working, and if you're currently playing with a group of friends or are in the middle of a campaign, then it makes sense to stick with what is already working. Being on the cutting edge of anything (computers, home electronics, art, ham radio) costs money and old things give way to new things. That is the nature of life. If you derive pleasure, geek cred, or a sense of security from playing the latest version of D&D, that's your business, but others may play as a way to explore and enjoy with friends. The rules might be secondary to the social interaction for us.

The return on "investment" here is the good times you have, the friends you make, and the worlds you explore. Not monetary.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (3, Funny)

ildon (413912) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476072)

I assume you're posting anonymously because the user name CaptainObvious [slashdot.org] was already taken.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (2, Interesting)

morcego (260031) | more than 6 years ago | (#22478142)

That's like talking about a sizable investment in Magic: The Gathering cards.


Humm. Considering the ROI I've got for those cards was 4 years, and netted a 80% profit, I could say you are wrong in there.

But, as with any other investments, you have to know when to buy, when to sell and all that.

I have have some investments on comic magazines I plan on cashing next year for something like 900% profit. However, the ROI was longer (10 years).

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (4, Informative)

Utoxin (26011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475562)

You act like they've 'violated' this over and over again... there's only been one major revision since 3.0 (Which was over 10 years after AD&D 2E, by the way), and if you discount 3.5, they're now 8 years from the release of 3rd edition.

So basically, one violation that they say they regret. I completely ignored 3.5 when it came out. I don't own a single 3.5 rulebook, and none of the people I play with do either. But I'm curious about 4th edition, and I'm certainly going to give it a good look, and possibly update my rulebooks.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (2, Insightful)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475746)

What they do is ignore the period of time that Wizards of the Coast has owned the D&D brand. *TSR* was certainly capable of producing a radical revision to the rules only every 8 to 10 years. Thus far, Wizards of the Coast (Hasbro) has NEVER managed to meet that standard.

If it wasn't for WotC, it would be infinity years before TSR's next release.

I'm not sure why you're concentrating on the time between releases. 3.5 has been out a few years, and nobody is forcing anyone to change. There's a plethora of material out for 3.5, so if you don't want to change your rules... don't.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (2, Interesting)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475860)

I'm not sure why you're concentrating on the time between releases. 3.5 has been out a few years, and nobody is forcing anyone to change. There's a plethora of material out for 3.5, so if you don't want to change your rules... don't.

That's certainly true to an extent; I just started a campaign with the basic & expert box sets.

The problem is the network effect. It's the same way people feel compelled to upgrade to a new version of MS Word. It's not because they care about the new features; it's because they want to be compatible with everybody else's documents. So while it generates short-term revenue for the company, the upgrades don't really create any new value for the customers.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476192)

The "No one is forcing you to change" comment appears often in discussing 4E, and it's valid up to a point.

However, if you're a person who does tournament/convention gaming at all, you're updating or you're giving up that kind of gaming.

A campaign like Living Greyhawk is a lot different from a home game, simultaneously bringing out some of the best and worst of D&D. It's not for everyone, but it's not something you can really replace by any alternative that doesn't move on to 4E rules.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (3, Insightful)

camazotz (1242344) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476488)

Not only would a D&D gamer have trouble getting in to a RPGA style torunament, but they'll have to accept that while they are playing 3.5 or what-not, their buddies may all be buying in to 4E, and thus he'll need to upgrade if he wants to keep playing with his friends. Unless he gets friends who are all sympatico with their choice of edition, this is another roadblock to staying retro. Finally, people seem to think it's all about playing whatever edition you like....people sometimes forget this is a consumer-oriented market, and the simple fact is, many people like buying the books; no more 3.5 books means no more outlet for that consumer habit, unless the gamer/purchaser decides to buy in to the new books, which, of course, is what WotC is most hopeful for.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (1, Informative)

Brownstar (139242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476546)

What Interesting Accounting?

1974 - D&D is released
1979 - AD&D is released (1st Edition)
      1985 - Unearthed Arcana (Major Optional core rule update for 1E)
1989 - 2nd Edition AD&D is released
      1995 - Player's Options Books Released (Major Optional core rule update for 2E)
2000 - 3rd Edition D&D is released
      2003 3.5 Edition D&D is released (Major core rule update for 3rd edition)
2008 - 4th Edition will be released.

Each Edition release (starting in 79) was around for 8 to 10 years. Each Edition had a major rule update approximately in the middle of the life cycle.

Now the 8-10 year cycle is a bit misleading, because 1E and 2E were each about 10 years, and 3E was 8 years. But when 3E was initially published the 8 to 10 years was touted as how long it would be around as well so this shouldn't be a huge suprise.

Also, 3.5 did come slightly before the mid point of 3E. And was much less optional than the major revisions to the previous ones. But the changes were actually much more minor to the edition than the changes in UA or the Player's Option line of books.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (3, Insightful)

podperson (592944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477044)

GURPS achieves outstanding backwards compatibility by never fixing major bugs. E.g. impaling weapons are supposed to do less damage but be better at penetrating armor, but the rules have the exact opposite effect, and this has been the case from GURPS 1 to GURPS 4, despite numerous complaints and the fact that this could be fixed without breaking anything else.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (1)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 6 years ago | (#22478046)

In our group of us who played RPG games, we had one guy who was always like "I should run a GURPS game!" So, one day, he did. We went through all the rules, etc so everybody was square on how to play and we decided to do 4 sessions (we played every Saturday night).

After a month, we decided to switch back to AD&D. While GURPS was okay, we found the mechanics of the game hard to get our heads around. Maybe it was that we'd just played too much D&D and that was where our heads were.

With that all said, I ran a HOL campaign for a good 3 months which everybody enjoyed. HOL being the antithesis of D&D... i.e. complete and utter lack of rules.

Re:The 8 to 10 years myth (1)

Snowgen (586732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22478394)

GURPS, BTW, has published their most recent edition. They *do* keep to such long periods between publications

Maybe you're a new comer to GURPS, or you just have a short memory.

GURPS First Edition was published in 1986.

GURPS Second Edition was at the printer by April of 1987.

GURPS Third Edition was the 1988 Game of the Year at Origin.

Three editions in three years.

Of course, one might say that the third edition spent a whopping 16 years in print, but that ignores the fact that it was changed to be GURPS, Third Edition, Revised in 1994. And then in 1996 things were shook up with the release of Compedium I and Compendium II and their status as "core books".

Meh (5, Insightful)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475226)

I'm looking forward to 4th Ed, but damn that was sanitized. Straight from a marketer's mouth. I'd actually hoped for something more frank.

Re:Meh (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475268)

No kidding. There wasn't an actual informative answer in the lot.

My group is watching all of this with interest, looking to see whether or not we need to invent some sort of 3.5/4.0 chimera... and there's no information in there. None.

Re:Meh (3, Insightful)

Abreu (173023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476688)

Well, I have been following the 4th edition information in the WotC website and ENWorld, and the new information provided here is:

* Magic Items will be moved to the Players Handbook
* A Rogue will be able to consistently deal more damage than a Cleric
* a reference to "melee control" abilities by the Fighter

Plus, this is the first time WotC has admitted that 3.5 came too soon. That is not worthless to me. Also, the way they ignored the trollish "what are you doing to make this game less nerdish?" question made me laugh.

Re:Meh (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477798)

So in other words, they buffed the DPS of the rogue and aggro control of the fighter?

C'mon, you KNOW they are looking at that market.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22478146)

It'd be more accurate to say that they nerfed the DPS of the cleric.

Re:Meh (3, Interesting)

sckeener (137243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476198)

About the only information I got was this...
We will be announcing pricing and subscription details at the D&D Experience convention in two weeks.

So far I've been unimpressed with their stewardship of Dragon and Dungeon...but they are free now, so I can't complain too much....except that I was getting more gaming material when Dragon and Dungeon were produced by Paizo.....heck the WotC site was publishing more material when Paizo was running Dragon & Dungeon...

Of course I'm willing to bet their pricing for D&D Insider will be nice at first....and then like Comcast, WotC will raise their rates....or maybe we can expect WotC to make D&D more CCG...and we'll be addicted to paying them more...

whatever...color me underwhelmed by their response too...

Re:Meh (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477166)

Paizo is crap. They ruined 3e Dark Sun. Thank god for Athas.org.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22477478)

It is becoming apparent that WotC has finally learned the lesson of printer manufacturers -- you don't make your money from selling printers, you make your money from selling ink or toner. As they've seen from the rollout of successive editions, there's a built-in limiter to how often they can get their customer base to throw away their old material and buy new books, but if they can get them to subscribe to a service, then they can keep raking in money month after month, so they're not stuck with actually having to produce new content for players to buy. The more they can make dependent on their subscription services, the harder a lock they have on their player base, and once they have the player base locked into using their services, then they can adopt the Microsoft model and force upgrades according to their schedule (i.e., "Our bottom line projections show that our income is going to flatten out in a year or so; we should push out an 'upgrade' to get a fresh wave of license payments.").

Re:Meh (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 6 years ago | (#22478006)

This is exactly correct, except it isn't WOTC doing this.

Hasbro was facing an all to typical problem. The vast array of third party works and so on, while making their product have a larger amount of people using it, wasn't entirely under their control.

So the suits at Hasbro essentially yanked WOTC's chain and decided to re-release the game in a manner that would cut off third party source material, much like what happened when 3rd Edition came out. Except this time it is for economic and I.P. reasons and not because it's a major overhaul of the system that's needed.

This is the same sort of ill-fated move that Apple made in the 80s when it decided to retain tight control over their products. I'm positive that WOTC is trying to make the best out of this mess, but really, they don't control anything in the decision making process. WOTC is a tiny blip in the overall ledger for Hasbro and they just don't understand that doing this will kill interest in AD&D at a time when it's already hard enough to entice new players to do anything other than waste braincells on WoW or other online games.

It's unfortunately not WOTC wanting us to buy all new material again. Hasbro thinks that by doing this, they will retain complete control and get all the money from AD&D in the future. What will happen is that nobody will be able to release third party material for it without paying fees (note - this is similar to Sony and licensing official titles for Playstation) and it will slowly die off, because the vast array of third party material is what has always made AD&D one of the best games out there despite its age.

Re:Meh (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476458)

I'm looking forward to 4th Ed, but damn that was sanitized. Straight from a marketer's mouth. I'd actually hoped for something more frank.

Ah. So I'm not the only one to notice that.

I'm looking forward to 4th Edition as well — if nothing else, because it will get me to play again.
I'd left the last campaign due to free time and other personal issues at the time, and the new game will be the perfect excuse to return ;)

Have you ever slept with a woman? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475244)

That's my question. Designing THE game of choice for smelly, maladjusted guys to play in their garage is quite a feat.

Too many new versions! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475258)

How long was 2nd Edition good for? Then they buy the company and you constantly need new books. Plus the books are too expensive.

Legendary designers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475368)

Legendary? The 4e design team is like a who's who list of the B and C team designers left over from 3e.

Open-source gaming (5, Informative)

itsownreward (688406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475422)

Do you want to get off the Wizards of the Coast treadmill? Do you miss the old editions, but like the simplified, unified mechanics? Want to play a game that's essentially "open source?" Check out Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game (BFRPG) [basicfantasy.org] . It's very similar to taking some d20 mechanics and retrofitting them to the old Basic and Expert sets that many of us started with as kids.

At first I didn't think I'd go that way, but it's really grown on me. It's a complete game in a few pages and has streamlined mechanics (except for the thief skills, but that suits me, actually). There are many add-ins to adjust it for flavor, and you can use much of your old B/X, 1e and 2e material with some minimal changes. You should really check it out. It's even a supported, living system and the creator is quite friendly and approachable, and many folks discuss it regularly [dragonsfoot.org] .

Oh, yeah, if anybody would like to join up with an old-school (ie, dungeon crawling/swords & sorcery) BFRPG game in the Sugar Land, Texas area...

Re:Open-source gaming (1)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476970)

Tri-Stat dX, best known as the core rules for the Anime RPG Big Eyes, Small Mouth, is still a lot more manageable than that. My absolute favorite system is the original Traveller rules, but since Traveller^5 seems to be held up indefinitely that's no longer viable. At least with Tri-Stat dX you can still find the core rules in downloadable form, even though White Wolf technically owns it and doesn't seem to want to do anything with it.

Game play mechanics should NEVER get in the way of interactive storytelling. BFRPG has the same flaws AD&D had back in the day, and D20 has now. And don't talk to me about GURPS, that's an even worse offender.

GURPS 4th Edition (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475456)

Check out the core rules for free: GURPS Lite [sjgames.com]

The Basic Set books are only available in print, but you can pick up cheaply on Amazon.com:
GURPS Basic Set: Characters [amazon.com]
GURPS Basic Set: Campaigns [amazon.com]

The rest you can buy DRM-free PDFs from Warehouse 23: GURPS 4th Edition [sjgames.com]

The rules are easy to learn, and you'll get amazing value out of each book. (I've got plenty of old GURPS 2nd and 3rd edition books that are *still* valuable references to this day!)

------

Oh wait, this article was about D&D? What's D&D?

WotC is still owned Hasbro (2, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475488)

as much as we WANT hard answers like "yes, you can convert you epic duskblade/bard character to 4.0" and "No, we are not going to screw all your players with the online section" we are more likely to get marketing answers. They want... NEED to sell more editions/books/modules and there are only so many new monsters and classes you can throw into the mix while keeping the game fun/balanced.

Then again, that's up to the DM to say "No, we only use THESE books. You're only allowed 4 magic items at a time from the MIC and no draconian ones... etc" not the publisher...

Re:WotC is still owned Hasbro (2, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475972)

"Then again, that's up to the DM to say "No, we only use THESE books. You're only allowed 4 magic items at a time from the MIC and no draconian ones... etc" not the publisher..."

People don't seem to get that. Just because a book is out there, does not mean you have to allow it in your game. And it's a good hint to the DM that if a player wont play because he cannot play broken combo X, that you don't want him in your group anyways.

Re:WotC is still owned Hasbro (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477846)

> They want... NEED to sell more editions/books/modules

Actually, I suspect they're making more licensing the property to CRPG's now than they are from selling books. That would explain a whole lot of the rule changes.

Get back at them! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475506)

Start your own TSR and create stuff for nerd by nerds. No marketing bullshit, and mostly you'll be making your own rules. Why bother waiting for some gay ass company to recreate the same core books and rape the settings you had by making changes they think are good and then make you pay for it. Dnd is about imagination, and most of you have bought a whole collection of rulebooks, so why not take the DM'ing to a higher step and not just create the setting,stories,quests,etc... but also the rules. 95% of dnd is made by you so why not fill in that remaining 5% with a mix of old lore(previous editions/rules you like) and creativity(stuff YOU'd like see added on). And don't forget to have fun.

On a somewhat related note... (0, Offtopic)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475520)

I rented the first dragonlance animated movie this weekend. What a pile of crap! I was expecting it to be somewhat bad, but it was horrible!

At least they haven't ruined the darksword trilogy or the deathgate books yet.

Re:On a somewhat related note... (3, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475650)

was expecting it to be somewhat bad, but it was horrible!
Ya know, everyone says how BAD the live action Dungeons and Dragons Movie [imdb.com] made in 2000 was... When you stop and watch it as if it where the live action of what REALLY happens in a game, with Ridley (Freeborn) and Snails as the PCs and everyone else as NPCs? Horrible names for the PCs btw adding more to the gaming factor. All that was missing was one of the PC tryin' to get it on with the hot elf chick... wait:

Norda: How old are you?
Snails: Twenty-three. Yeah, I know I'm a little young for you, but what if I get my hands on an aging potion, huh? I'll sacrifice a couple of years for you.
Norda: I'm two hundred and thirty-four.
Never mind...

Character Builder Application (5, Insightful)

Deathdonut (604275) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475648)

I am extremely concerned regarding the response to the question on Character Builder customizations. One of the most compelling reasons to play a Pen and Paper game over another media is largely one of customizations and options. I have played D&D in every edition since I first colored in my dice with a white crayon in 1981 and I cannot recall a single campaign that stuck to "content from the D&D database". The canned response to Coppro's question either failed to answer his question or implied a complete lack of interest in meeting the customized needs of the playerbase. Either is disheartening.

Sounds about right. (1)

jonnydigital (132160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475664)

I'm seeing a lot of this anti-4e sentiment, but what's interesting to note is that a lot of this is coming from the same people who swore they wouldn't upgrade to 3.5, and now they're defending it.

The issue here is that 3.5 was rushed, unnecessary and disappointing, leaving players doubting the next edition. In reality, 4e is making all the changes they were afraid to make in 3.5. This edition is literally the version that the 3.5e revision failed to live up to. Rather than saying "4e will suck because 3.5e sucked", we should rather be saying, "Because 3.5e sucked, 4e will be awesome."

I don't know about you, but I'm going to at least give it the benefit of the doubt until release day. http://d20.jonnydigital.com/ [jonnydigital.com]

Re:Sounds about right. (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476936)

The problem isn't that 3.5e sucked, it didn't. It just wasn't great. What it was was a callous money grab on the part of WotC.

The complaint against 4e is the same.

Player's Online Component? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475794)

Has anyone have more info on this? Will there be online web based maps with chat based tools and possibly VoIP?

Re:Player's Online Component? (1)

Seule (128009) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475936)

Essentially, yes. You have pretty much summarized it. :)
The goal, as I understand it, is to enable people to play over the internet the same way they do around the table, or as close as possible.

    --Seule

Re:Player's Online Component? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477508)

There are actually already a number of programs that can do that (and there are numerous voice chat/VoIP apps out there). The real question is the one that WotC didn't answer here, namely, what's their pricing structure look like, and will they be charging a monthly fee for access as opposed to the flat fees that the existing software packages charge for?

The other question (unasked) is whether 4th edition would be licensable for third-party virtual tabletop (VTT) software. When the d20/OGL license was instituted, WotC wasn't all that interested in VTT, though they did include provisions for VTT software (such as banning functionality for autocalculation of things like "did my attack roll result in a hit"). Now that they foresee that being a not insignificant part of their business model, they hold all the, er, cards in terms of preventing third-party VTT vendors from playing in the 4th edition arena.

Of course, given the openness of the previous OGL [d20srd.org] , my group is sticking with 3.5th edition and our already-paid-for VTT software.

Lies, damn lies, and things worse than lies. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22475840)

The only book any player needs to play the game is the Player's Handbook. In addition, the DM will want a copy of the Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual (to help him craft encounters, build adventures, and run an entertaining game). Players won't need the Dungeon Master's Guide to equip their higher-level characters, because the PH will have plenty of magic items for all levels. Players won't need the Monster Manual to adjudicate shapechanging or summoning effects, because those effects will be self-contained within the classes or powers that grant them.
Okay... so the Monster Manual will be unnecessary for all shapechanging and summoning powers...

This is either a damn lie, or they're making powers far more limited and less interesting.

My favorite part is where they don't want you to own books any more. They just want you to pay $15/month forever for the privilege of accessing them from your $1000 laptop with the small, low-res, low-contrast screen, and having it on the kitchen table where a bunch of dorks are eating messy snacks, spilling drinks, and flailing their arms spasmatically.

Re:Lies, damn lies, and things worse than lies. (3, Informative)

Abreu (173023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476542)

Shapechanging and summoning were the number one issues with third edition... Polymorph basically had to be banned after a certain number of Monster Manuals had come out. And I had to ask my players who used summoning spells to give me printed statblocks of every creature they planned on summoning during the adventure, otherwise the game would grind to a halt everytime a summoning happened.

So yes, the game needed to limit those powers... Its up to the DM and the Players to keep them interesting, though.

Now, about the online tools, this is a strawman argument... No one is forcing you to subscribe to the DDI if you'd rather play with your physical books, in your kitchen table, with coffee-stained character sheets.
However, some of us would like to play with our old childhood friends (who used to play AD&D with us), even though some of them live in different cities or even countries.

Re:Lies, damn lies, and things worse than lies. (1)

tRANIS (195360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476754)

I can say being a 22+ year veteran of D&D, that I won't be getting into the 4th edition. 3.0-3.5 was just fine. Yes fights took a while, and there are issues but there will always be issues that have to be resolved in house. It seems to me that this edition will be a serious dumbing down of the game we know,love, and occasionally hate.
I can't see myself paying for access to the material online either. I was always a fan of epic campaigns with high level characters, since it turned the game into a more metaphorical and philosophical game instead of how much can I min/max. I still feel cheated by the uber broken epic level handbook. They have gotten enough of my money and spending more isn't warranted since I only play once a week anymore.

Computer Gaming (3, Interesting)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475852)

How does the Open Gaming License affect WotC's view on computer programs? Does Wizards consider the actual rules, the type of map, the genre, the number of d20's, etc to be their IP?

In other words, if some enterprising hotshot programmer wrote a program that might somehow compete with Wizards or silently incorporated some of the D&D rules, should he expect retaliation and C&D letters, or would Wizards consider it free marketing for them?

Re:Computer Gaming (1)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476286)

Depends on how lawyered up that hotshot programmer is; game rules aren't subject to copyright, much like recipes. So long as said programmer was clever enough to avoid copying expressive elements, like mind flayers for example, WotC would have a lot of trouble getting a judgment against him.

Legends (1)

L7_ (645377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22475954)

Do you still take design commentary from D&D legends like Gary Gygax? Or are all of these design decisions based on modern gaming sessions?

Mr "Designer" your MOM just called. (0, Offtopic)

GlobalColding (1239712) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476002)

She wants your crap out of her basement by Friday.

How long before 4.5? (1)

TooMad (967091) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476088)

Here's to hoping they get it right this time. I played plenty of 2nd and when 3rd came out like many of us I bought that. Then a few years later 3.5 comes out and all that money is wasted. This is especially important now that I play at the FLGS and not with a bunch of friends in someone's kitchen/basement and play in the living campaigns. To continue playing in one of these campaigns you techinically have to own the current rule book or you can't play. After the 3.5 revision I only bought books I absolutely needed and is the only edition I don't own a DMG for and were it not for the short lifespan of 3.0 would also be the edition I owned the fewest books for. With 2nd I would buy books without a second thought so I believe change editions so often and obsoleting previous books does more harm than good.

What's the concern? (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476090)

What's the concern with all these new releases? Why would anyone bother with them?

I played AD&D off and on for years, and just last week played 3rd edition for the first time (never played 2nd). It felt pretty much the same. It's still a dungeon crawl simulator focused on battle mechanics, some of the rules have been streamlined, though there seemed to be more of them.

3rd ed. is a ploy to sell source books. The marketing drone's bullshit answer about why 4th ed. is needed tells me that things aren't going to change.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476100)

Sounds like I'll continue to stick with 2e. It ain't (significantly) broke, they should never have tried to fix it.

nigGa (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22476224)

Jesus Up The and enjoy aal the HAGVE AN IRC CLIENT

Trying to Fix what's broken by design (1)

Kirth (183) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476534)

D&D is, and has been, tedious to play, the rules are incoherent and gameplay in combat is slow.

These are NOT just bugs, this is brokenness by design. Some concepts like "levels" or "character classes" or the dichotomy of monsters vs. characters are just not fit for coherent rules and fast gameplay.

For contrast, compare this to RuneQuest (1977):
- Monsters, animals, characters, whatever, are all the same, follow all the same rules.
- events which have similar effect all use the same rule: there is one rule for hits by falling debris, dragons and falling off towers. There is one rule for chocking, suffocating, drowning and getting chocked.
- there are no levels. there are just skills you can get better in. You can get more hitpoints by increasing attributes like strength, but there is some definive cap on that, which is about 18 for humans; for comparison, the average is about 13. And even a new character can start with 18 hitpoints.
- A sword will do 1d8+1 damage, plus damage bonus. Even the strongest and best human fighter can be slain in one lucky hit. Which makes combat very deadly and fast. And fun ;)

The game isn't much newer than D&D, but the mechanics are of a complete other generation, way more modern.

If I wasn't so much into Live-Action Roleplaying, I'd play RuneQuest (or its derivates Call of Cthulhu, Nephilim, Ringworld or ElfQuest) or Hârnmaster (which is similar to RuneQuest).

Re:Trying to Fix what's broken by design (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476726)

What you're describing amounts to a different kind of game. It's not inherently better.

I like D&D for what it is, and I like a game like Call of Cthulhu for what it is. Combat in the Runequest-and-variant systems is simple and fast, but the flipside of that is that combat isn't especially tactical or interesting. (Note: this is specifically combat that's uninteresting, not the game in general.) Equally, a design choice like high character mortality rates can be a good or bad one, depending on the game. They're good in a game like Cthulhu and they're be bad in a game like D&D.

That being said, it's more than possible that 4E D&D will also fall into that latter fast-but-uninteresting mold.

Re:Trying to Fix what's broken by design (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476738)

The problem with Runequest was that as a fatasy RPG system, it never had an "epic" feel to it, it was far more "nitty gritty" than D&D ever was and I personally found the subject matter of Runequest very plain and ordinary.

However, with that said, I most of the games that were based on the same system because the mechanics of the system were far superior to D&D - Stormbringer and Hawkmoon captured the Michael Moorcock universe very well, the source material for Pendragon was absolutely top rate and Call Of Cthulhu IS simply the best RPG ever made.

Re:Trying to Fix what's broken by design (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477500)

I disagree. Classes and levels can, and do, work very well for coherent and fast gameplay. They have their limitations, but D&D does epic fantasy well.

By contrast, GURPS "epic fantasy" tends to be a long battle of blocks until someone scores a single instant-incapacitate critical. Sort of tedious, IMHO.

Question: Why the reduction of classes? (1)

Amilianna (1015267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476654)

So, I've been playing D&D since 2nd Ed. I moved over to 3rd when it came out, and then 3.5 even though many people chose to stay behind. I did this because each new edition seemed to only add to the game, not subtract from it. I could play a fighter/mage/thief in 3 and 3.5 - only they called them "bards" now. This, to me, meant that you never felt like you lost anything by "upgrading" to the latest edition - only gained new stuff with new rules to better game play.

Now enter 4th ed. It seems to me that there is a distinct deviation from the feeling that I'm not losing anything by changing over (except my old rule system). Why the hatred for the bard? Admittedly, this question is spawned because this is my favorite class, and I am a little offended to hear the bard called a useless class. They were the natural diplomats and party leaders in most of my games - and I'm annoyed that the cleric is now taking over that function. I guess my question in essence is this: Why take away aspects of the game that - although you might not have seen the intrinsic value - other players dearly loved? It seems like you are just trying to alienate people who have played D&D for a long time while attempting to appeal to the new "MMO" set of players. Couldn't you have accommodated us both?

Who they're trying to please... (2, Insightful)

bughunter (10093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476800)

When asked "I'm a 1E grognard who you couldn't sell on 3E - why should I buy this edition," the reply was:

The "beneath the surface" answer is, "Because this edition is the most exciting and playable version of D&D that has ever been published." In order for Dungeons & Dragons to continue to thrive, it needs to retain current players while also attracting new players to the fold. Third Edition D&D succeeded wildly on both counts, and also brought thousands of lapsed D&D players back into the game (in some cases after years away from the tabletop). We have every expectation that Fourth Edition will repeat that success.

Translation: You're not even on our radar. In fact, we didn't even comprehend your question. Honestly, the only people who are pleased with this edition are us marketing droids.

And the last sentance should tell us that this edition is yet another turd in a can [slashdot.org] .

Frankly, I'd rather play Rolemaster [wikipedia.org] .

Pretty nonresponsive, and no more OGL. (1)

yar (170650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22476932)

All of this information is available on other sites, and these answers aren't as informative as the information available at enworld.org.

To answer one of the questions :P, the Open Gaming License is no longer Open, so it's going to be more restrictive. They are probably not going to be calling it the open gaming license anymore- it's going to be the Game System License, and you very likely won't be able to create things like the d20 SRD with rules information.

http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=218511 [enworld.org]

Chain shirts and monks (1)

Lac (135355) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477152)

Hello,

(First question!)

It seems that almost 3.0/3.5 party is basically a bunch of people walking around in chain shirts, with one or two of them with no armor, and many one wearing a full plate. The problem is that the better protection provided by heavier armor than the chain shirt is constantly negated by its lower max dex bonus, point for point. Additionally, wearing armor that is heavier than light has considerable disadvantages for no other gain. Has there been any effort made to correct this? Has armor been re-thought to be more than just an AC gain with a max dex cap?

Thanks for your time. I very much look forward to the 4th edition.

And WotC destroys *another* classic... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477154)

it became clear that we should create a new, fully integrated system, with rules that would support our online applications

Translation - You used to have the ability to buy the core book and then nothing else. Not anymore, suckers!

Seriously, these guys have made a lot of money by finding ways to turn ordinary RPGs into "value added" schemes requiring constant upgrades and boosters and the like.


Would Wizards of the Coast have released 3.5 if we knew at the time that 4th Edition was coming?

Uhhh... What? If they don't know, who does?


The struggle between playability and tactical depth is a constant one for any game designer [...] A player who prefers simple options can select those and still feel like he's creating an effective character

D&D started as a game by a company called "Tactical Studies Rules" for a reason. Can't hack the depth? Don't play. Go buy a deck of booster cards for one of WotC's many RPGs-of-chance and stay out of the world of "real" RPGs.


We constantly re-evaluate the role of older settings in our business plans and product schedules

Notice that doesn't mention "player interest" or "fun". Business plans. Product Schedules. Profit.



Overall, I would like to see "Who are you trying to please" re-asked. 15 years ago, you could go back and forth between vanilla D&D to AD&D 2nd E, and not get confused about the rules. Now, except for the name you can barely even recognize it as the same game.

This sad excuse for a Q&A response boils down to them doing their best not to come out and say "we need you to buy new books and value-added content". And I don't say that merely as an old-school gamer who doesn't want to learn a new set of rules (I've learned so many at this point, I can't even count them without a checklist) - I say it as a gamer that, at this point in life actually has money to spend on such content, and will not do so to support change-for-its-own-sake (or for boosting profit).


Fail, WotC.

Chain shirts and monks, part 2 (1)

Lac (135355) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477234)

Hello again,

(Second question! See? I respect the rules.)

I know the Monk will not be part of the next Player's Handbook. First, thanks for taking the time to think through this class, because it was very problematic at best. I know you wanted to make it into a "Striker" (a damage dealer like the rogue) and have basically a request. Everyone in my gaming group fondly remembers the monk class from RoleMaster, way back when, that had tons of crazy movement abilities like you see today in movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He didn't jump a little bit further: he could jump 100 feet even at fairly low levels. My request is this: would you please consider doing something like that with the monk? I mean like making it the striker that would be the undisputed king of mobility on the battlefield, or something like that. I have seen so many people choose a monk and just hope they would be able to do something cool and martial arts-y with it, I do not want ten more years of that.

Thanks very much. I am still very much looking forward to the 4th edition.

setting elements (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477392)

Pardon me as I hijack this story a bit.

I'm looking for a resource for generic setting information. When the characters show up at $town, I'd like to have a map of it and some NPCs living there. They aren't really part of our story, but I don't want them to be completely flat, either. Any suggestions?

Re:setting elements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22478062)

reference material is EVERYWHERE... I used to game a bit back in high school and college (God, I'm showing my age, I graduated from college in December, 1999). I used to be both a Game Master and a Player of several games. I mostly GMed Palldium Book's SDC system, (Heroes Unlimited, Ninjas and Superspies, TMNT, Beyond the Supernatural, Nightbane), and eventually got in to World of Darkness (the old world of darkness where the name Cain actually had a meaning to it). I also played D&D a bit as a player. I origianlly started with Palladium, and still love it since it's generic enough to literally be any setting. D&D used to be more fantasy based. I never got much in to D&D since the rules were too confusing... What the heck is a ThaC0??? In palladium, you just have an Armor Rating, if a d20 strike roll rolls over the armor rating you take damage... and what the heck is an Attack of Opportunity? Based on the few times that it came in to play, I got the idea that it was more or less an opportunity for bad guys to get one last punch in as their opponent ran away... sounds a bit unfair to me.

Anyways... reference material... look anywhere and everywhere. Your local newspaper has tons of stories that can help you. Need a fantasy setting, look to some fantasy maps online or in libraries. There used to be a great fantasy map book (sorry can't remember the name of it) that had maps of Oz, Wonderland, and lots of other Utopia lands from fictional settings... Wikipedia fills that roll mostly today. Pick up books from other game companies too... there is always lots of ideas in there... I have one old Indiana Jones artifact book that I used for ideas sometimes. In the same games I would use city maps from real cities... go grab an atlas from wal-mart that has city maps in it.

As for having NPCs... I used to make up imaginary connections and stuff between some major npcs ahead of gametime, and usually set up a definite timeline for most major npcs... they were going to do X, then an hour later do Y, and then the next day to Z. That way things that most npcs did were going to happen regardless of whether or not the PCs had any hand in it... Of course, plans could change, for instance, if PCs killed an NPC that just did Y before he got Z done... and then there was mostly cause and effect that happened after that... You kill someone, the cops are likely to come after you, maybe eventually the fbi if you do it enough... You ask some supernatural being from another dimension to give you some powers - don't expect that being to eventually possess you, taking you as the player out of the picture for a while as it does something heineous that would never be in character for your pc, and then that possession ends and you are stuck with the consequences of it's actions, etc.

World of Darkness city games like Chicago focus a lot on npc development and interactions with one another etc. go read some of that sort of stuff and study how you can apply that sort of stuff in to your own games.

Follow up to my question: (3, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22477850)

My original question as seen above:
How do you feel you've struck a balance between a desire to simplify/streamline rules to speed play and make the game more accessible, and a desire to preserve the strategy and general goodness of the game as it exists today? Details about proposed changes that were a tough call either way would be interesting.

WotC's response:
The struggle between playability and tactical depth is a constant one for any game designer, and D&D is no different. We're always wrestling with the right balance between providing streamlined, intuitive play and giving players all the options they want. For example, by giving more characters customizable options for their actions in combat, we've added a dramatic level of depth (both strategic, in building your character, and tactical, in employing those options during a fight), but at the cost of increasing complexity for some characters. We think that's a net positive effect, because the lack of tactical and strategic options for fighters, rogues, and many other characters had become a glaring weakness in the game. The key is to ensure that players of different sensibilities can still find a rewarding play experience within the game's framework. A player who prefers simple options can select those and still feel like he's creating an effective character, while his buddy who thrives on complexity can load up on interesting combos without grinding the game to a halt.

Follow-up Question:

Is there any concern that you've eliminated the most tactically interesting/complex characters from the game?

Further explanation/clarification:

As 3.5E D&D stands, I agree that the lack of tactical options for many kinds of characters is a weakness in the game. I'm glad to know that it will be possible to play a tactically interesting fighter without having to comb 10 books for esoteric feats and prestige classes to somehow combine together into a mutt build that ends up tactically interesting.

However, my fear and what my original question was alluding to, is that instead of 'helping the poor', so to speak, you've opted for 'gaming communism'.

I'll try to better clarify that by explaining it in 3.5E terms. Take these three classes for example:

Fighter:
- Moderate strategy at the character-build level.
- No strategy at the day level.
- Few tactical options at the combat level. That is, your fighter with feats picked for mounted combat CAN fire a longbow, but he's not very good at it. His best options in all fights come from a very short list.

Sorcerer:
- Moderate strategy at the character-build level. (Less feats to pick vs. fighter, but now you're picking spells, so...)
- No strategy at the day level.
- Moderate to many tactical options at the combat level. As you reach the mid-levels, you've got a long list of spells and maybe some metamagic feats to apply on the fly.

Druid:
- Moderate strategy at the character-build level. (You pick more skills than sorcerer/fighter, but few feats and a few are so good as to be default choices for many of the picks. Probably your single biggest 'build' choice is your animal companion, how you advance it, etc.)
- High strategy at the day level. You can fill a variety of roles depending on which spells you prepare. How well you anticipate which spells you need will have a huge impact on the usefulness of your character.
- High strategy at the day level. Lots of spells to choose from, an animal companion to manage, wild shape, etc.

Essentially, I'm concerned that instead of making fighter more of a complexity like sorcerer, you've instead chosen to make everyone like sorcerer and that there's no niche in the game for, say, the so-called 'Batman' style wizard; at best, a poor Batman sorcerer style controller seems possible. (See: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18500 [giantitp.com] if you're not familiar.)

Ooo! I know this one! (1)

Rastl (955935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22478100)

All question and answer summary

Tell me why I should drop a lot of money on books and even more money monthly on this new version.

Oh! We're glad you asked! Really simple - we need a way to inflate our profits. And we knew if we made a new version it would do that for us.

We're also quite envious of all the money spent on online subscriptions to games so we figured that if we made some "Online Content" you would just blithely spend money on us too.

If it's going to be digital anyway.... (1)

biffpow (1242418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22478122)

then why not offer players the ability to run their online campaigns using any of the existing rulesets? The basic game mechanics will be the same, it's mainly a matter of tweaking the stats and character/monster classes. And I would have to believe downgrading the governing software from 4.0 to 1st edition or second would not be difficult. And that is WotC doesn't do it, some enterprising young coder will....

That reads like an Everquest patch message... (4, Insightful)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22478290)

Seriously. "clerics in 4th Edition occupy the "leader" role (sometimes also known as the "healer" or "party buffer" role). Their damage output is decent, but far behind that of the wizard or rogue, and they don't have the defenses or melee-control abilities of the fighter."

I swear I had flashbacks to SOE message boards filled with whining Monks. Folks, is this really the hill you want to die on?

There are a great many (hundreds) of role playing games out there. There are many times more tabletop games than that.

My advice to you is that you set down the WotC torch and pick up another game for a while. The worst that can happen is that you'll come back to D&D with a better understanding of why you like it. The best that could happen? You may realize you're paying for an over-designed, over-priced, over-hyped, over-played soulless shell of a role playing game - one that really doesn't do anything badly, but doesn't do anything well, either.

Repeat after me: The system is part of the setting. The system is part of the charm. The system is the soul of the game. Learning new systems is fun. After learning D&D, learning new systems is a friggin' cakewalk.

Try something different. On a budget? Check out CheapAss Games. Want more role playing and less dice rolling, maybe some more flavor in a gaming system? Try out Continuum (time travel/any), Deadlands (western), Earthdawn (swords/sorcery), Unknown Armies (occult/underworld), Paranoia (psychotic and fun), Big Eyes Small Mouth (anime), Ironpaw (yes, furry has an RPG). Want miniatures and grand tabletop battles and strategy? Try Warhammer. That's just a short list of the ones I've enjoyed off the top of my head. Wikipedia has a list, RPGNet has reviews, you know what to do.

Heck, try something like Universalis if you want real innovation - they are designing the GM/DM right out. It didn't quite succeed, but the idea has a hell of a lot of merit. Enough that I think it'll shape the future of interactive storytelling in role playing games. I'll admit, I've been out of the loop for some time. There's plenty more out there I've never heard of.

If you bought 40 D&D 3.5 books, you could have spent that money instead on 50 different RPGs. WotC tends to be expensive. There's more to RPGs than D&D. If you've only ever played D&D then I suggest you really don't know what you are missing, and you should take a few others for a spin - and don't overlook card games, board games, and trivia games either. Those genres aren't standing still. They can make for a great two or three session break in between various campaigns - or a good gaming night for most of your group if too few people show up to play your current campaign.
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