Meh, I'm not seeing the part where wizards are under-powered. Sure, their starting DC is 8 + Intelligence modifier + proficiency but that's pretty decent. If, for example, the Wizard has an Intelligence 18 (+4) and uses a wand, his DC 13, which is rather difficult when most monsters at that level only have a Wisdom modifier of -1 to +2 and puts their chances for saving against the spell, at best, 45%. To me, that's pretty decent.
I think the "Warrior" sub-class of Fighter is pretty straight forward. There's little complexity for that class besides the choice of Weapon Style. The Weaponmaster (something I feel is mis-named) does offer a bit more of a choice in complexity in the terms of round-to-round combat.
Hm, lets see:
• Combat is quick, but also dangerous. 4 Kobolds can be a challenge even for a 4 person party.
• The math doesn't run away with itself. You can expect to stay within the 'teens (numbers wise) when you hit high levels.
• The game really does emphasize teamwork and strategy, but not necessarily on what's written down on your character sheet. Althought I've never had a problem thinking outside the box or looking at the terrain or other ways to do interesteing stuff, it seems to be a staple-point in 4E-dislike that everyone looks to their sheets first to do stuff instead of critical thinking. Since there isn't much on your character sheet and things are done primarily with Ability Challenges, it sort of forces you to think about how you can manipulate the area around you.
• Ease of DM'ing is still sort of there since the monsters are broken down into XP pools and it gives advice on what's an easy, moderate, and difficult encounter. Also, there's not a whole lot of tracking that has to be doen (ie. Marking, End-of-next-turn effects, ongoing damage, poison tracks, minor bonuses/penalties, tons of conditions, etc).
• Portability. This game is pretty easy to convert or 'port over elements from v3.5 (and some 4E) like the Wound/Vitality healing system, Second Wind, and even whole classes. Currently, I'm in the middle of crafting the Tome of Battle classes to D&D:next to give it a more 4E-Feel. Also, when homebrewing it's far easier to spot brokeness in design (meaning it's WAY overpowered or not powerful enough) than we've seen in other editions.
• It's iconic enough to be still recognizable as "D&D", which is another complaint I've heard (yet still don't fully understand?) of 4E. Your back to Vancian-only wizards, healing via Spellcasting only, Attack progressions/Spell DC progressions, and thingsl like Martial Feats :rolleyes: .
• It's free to play and download
Other than that, I think the biggest problem facing D&D:Next is that they're not clear who their target audience is. It shouts and screams "MODULAR" but we still haven't seen it yet. They shout that if you like D&D in any incarnation then you'll like D&D:Next. THey say that they're making up rules for people who enjoy tactical combat akin to 4E (like facing rules.....hahahahahah seriously) but it also emphasizes Theater of the Mind style by reverting it back to feet and units of real time (yay for 5MWD problems).
I can't say that I'll buy this, but I'm at least giving them my 2-cents where I think they need to take the editions in terms of mechanics and gameplay.
Well, a similar topic was brought up some place else and I figured I might as well repost here what I said there,
"To be honest, in my opinion 4E "failed" (if only by the merit that it didn't last longer than the previous edition) because:
The system was just too great to be called Dungeons and Dragons. Based on my readings of people who've hated on 4E since '08 I can only summarize that when people imagine D&D, a LOT of iconic elements come into play that older players expect. It's not just the class, level, and 6 stats that are paramount, but the ton of expectations that have been formed since D&D's earliest existance. Some of these expectations are:
• low-level = gritty and always near death.
This list scratches the surface on what a LOT of people (many old-school players I talk to, anyways) find appealing about playing D&D (well, pre-3E). Yet most of them, if not all, have been scrapped or molded or broken with 4E's mechanics. It gave players non-standard options that broke Tolkien-esque molds. It gave them fantastic character abilities. It gave them a chance to survive past the first 2 rounds of combat and actually contribute to the encounter. It gave them a window to create new and interesting roleplaying elements without any problems regarding balance. It allowed them to excell in more than just one pillar of the game. It broke alignment molds that have held certain classes hostage to one narrow roleplaying aspect.
To me, these are all great changes that give me, a player of over 15 years, a fresh breath of relief. Yet others believe that the listed things above are what make D&D...well D&D. They're features of the game people like, for reasons I cannot comprehend, and their removal angerd a lot of the fan-base. Espically because it [4E] was called Dungeons and Dragons. I really beleive that had your called 4th Edition Dungons and Dragons another name, say Mythic Heroes and Monsters or Ultimate Fantasy RPG then it would've been received far better by the majority of gamers out there."
Um, why do you believe this? While as a fan of RPGs I like getting and using free stuff.........from a company standpoint I can't see WotC going this direction again. I think the adage "Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you." could be applied. What works for Paizo isn't guaranteed to work for WotC. For example, I play Pathfinder every once in a while but I've never bought the books. I don't plan on buying the books either because they're all free to look at via the SRD. And the same thing goes for WotC as I'd rather just have a program to use (ie. Compendium, CB, Monster creator) than buy $250.00 worth of books. The difference is WotC still gets some money as my DDI subscription costs about $70 a year where as Paizo receives $0.
How good and popular D&D:Next will be depend greatly on their system design, production value, production usage, and scope of game. So far I feel System Design has been.......wishy-washy right now. They take a few good steps forward (wizard traditions, HD as healing, Expertise Die for the Fighter) then huge leaps backwards (emphasis on Vancian casting and limited spells, Alignment requirements, class-based attack progression, the Rogue). Production value remains to be seen, as it hasn't come out but I think the end of 4E's products were fairly well received for their value about book/page/writing/ink quality. The scope of the game has been.......well, not good. I for one don't like ANY of the advanced system elements they've discussed so far.
Ya know, I don't think I ever responded to the original post:
David Witanowski wrote:
It's been (literally) years since I checked on this thread- is there a 4th edition moratorium thread in existence? Is it safe to say that 4th edition did not capture the "younger audience" or "new players" or whatever you care to call them? Seriously, I've been out of the loop for awhile, is 4th edition D&D even still something that people play?
I think that it's safe to say that perhaps the "younger audience" might not have been enough to maintain a longer edition than WotC initially thought. I've played D&D for the last 15 or so years, spanning 3 and 1/2 editions and 1 spin-off and I can say that I enjoy 4E the most out of all of them. My group seemed to enjoy 4E a great deal as well (except my wife, though I think that's more of a 'hate learning new editions' than specific issues with 4E) and while we switch it up every now and then, we generally go back to 4E. I should also note that the few local areas that I know of also play 4E as well, but whether this is because it's "current" or because people prefer it over other editions I'm not sure.
What gets me frustrated the most is that we all know D&D:Next is a LONG way off (I'm thinking spring '14) and yet we see relatively little as far as publishing goes for 4E material. I remember the switch from 3E to 4E and that was when we got a LOT of really interesting products which were fun (if perhaps a bit "broken"). I'd like to see a lot of support for 4E in these twilight days, perhaps a sourcebook on Returned Abeir (since it'll be leaving us apparently :rollseyes: ) and some additional support for the lesser liked classes such as the Runepriest, Seeker, Original Assassin, Vampire to try and shore up some things that aren't designed well and need perhaps a facelift. They have to produce stuff to get people to buy it, not just DDI articles.
Well I'll be the one and say that I thought the article was pretty good. I still play v3.5 (and Pathfinder) pretty regularly and at high levels when Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics, and Druids all have wands and staffs and rods and magical items X/day then they rarely rely on their actual spell slots (and no, that's not a Monty Haul type game either). The wizard might have a bit harder time of full filling most of the roles at once, but a smart player knows what feats to pick up and what spells to cast in order to create pretty strong combos that rarely need other party members.
Need someone to scout the corridor for traps? Don't use a Rogue, he might mess it up. Instead, i'll cast Unseen Servant and have him drag this 50 lb rock down the corridor to set off any pressure plates.
We don't need the Fighter to climb the rope to get to the top of this 40 ft. ledge. Here, let me use this scroll I prepared 10 days ago called Darkway. No problem.
Wait, there's a dragon about to eat us all? Well it's our lucky day because I rememberd my Explosive Rune-Bomb paper with 10 castings on it (dealing a minimal 60d6 force damage). That dragon won't know what him him.
Need to be sneaky? Sure, here's some invisibility I scrolled up the other day. Better let me do it, I have tenser's floating disk so I won't even need to touch the ground, just float right on top.
What do you mean our fighter got dropped? Here, I'll just summon 5 more "meat shields" as they're tougher (via feats) than the fighter is and we won't care when they die anyways.
No we don't need to set a watch. I'll just cast Rope Trick (or any other conveinent camp-site fixer upper) and we can sleep in peace. Sorry if you wasted your skill ranks, backgrounds, themes on being able to see at night and set up a camp.
The list goes on.....
I'd like to see the playtest before we start judging how good (or bad) a class is. I felt that the best possibly apsect of a Wizard isn't how much damage he deals (damage dealing spells usually were bad in 3E, v3.5, and Pathfinder anyways) but how equipped he was for the mission or adventure at hand. Scrolls as spells-in-waiting really add to a Wizard's repertoire without giving them the ability to cast spells ALL day long. Additionally, low-level spell slots we're still being used as Go-Tos for combat well into the mid-levels of adventuring. Can the fighter just blast 5d4+5 damage with no save, no attack, and from 50 ft. away?
I'm glad you enjoy multiple ediitons of the game and this has pretty much been my stance since 4E's launch. I hope with D&D:Next, we'll get something different and exciting yet keeping all the elements that I feel are aligned with D&D. I think that would be a big selling point with me, by NOT keeping things hugely similiar to 4E and definitly not similiar to 3E besides the d20 mechanic, level-based progression, iconic classes and races AND incorporate things that don't necessarily fit the tradition aspects of D&D (basically, things un-Tolkien like Warforged).
I guess because of this stance, it's been hard for me to understand why people got so mad at the Edition change, espically since the OGL/SRD will never go away and it's still being produced via Paizo. I like trying new things and new systems and new aspects of D&D (specifically) and if they end up supplanting what I'm currently playing, then more power to them. We're all going to have our favorite edition (mine has shifted multiple times in the last 4 years) and no one can really stop people from playing their favorite one except in organized play but no ones is going to take your books away (a common phrase throughout the Edition Wars).
So hopefully we can find some good times with the D&D:next system and add that to our repertoire of games that scratch a certain itch. I'm hoping this game can allow me a very quick immersion factor, speedy character generation, and fast play for those sessions that perhaps we only have an hour or two to kill in-between weeks where we're getting a new v3.5 or 4E campaign together. E6 was going to be my answer for this but I don't think my group is all too keen on the idea. I'm one for gritty realism in terms of Character Power and like the idea of monsters thought to be "common" (like trolls or manticores) to be serious threats at all levels (without the arbitrary motion of adding HD/Class levels), my group however......not soo much. Espically with the knowledge they have of the system and the expecation of "leveling" and gaining more powerful items to take on Gods and Titans. So perhaps this will be something we can both agree on?
Taken from Memorax's link:
Monte Cook wrote:
During the design of 3.0, one of the things that we realized was a huge strength of D&D is a concept we called "mastery." Mastery, in this context, is the idea that an avid fan of the game is going to really delve into the rules to understand how they work. We actually designed 3.0 with mastery in mind. For example, we created subsystems that worked like other systems, so that if you knew how one worked, you'd find the other one easier to understand. But I digress.
And there you have a very definitive reason why a LOT of people shrug their shoulders about his departure. From my own experience, system mastery, or more precisely the added gains of system mastery is a horrid step in the design process. Now he just stats that it's beneficial to people for the uses of going from one sub-sytem to another, yet it's much more than that as he stated in anothe article about feats that weren't very good (for example, Toughness). Frankly there are some people who, for whatever reason, can't put THAT much time into a system. And because of that, they get hosed because they don't know that X, Y, and Z combo does 1,000 damage on a Charge attack or that Such-and-Such spell can be used continuously throught a character's career, or that in combination with obscure item from BLah-Supplement makes a Dwarven Fighter immune to all acid damage and gives him DR 10/—.
Hopefully Monte realized how unpopular this method of design was since he did the "Ivory Tower" and "Looking at 3.5" articles and understands that D&D isn't just for people who live and breath it; it's for your average gamer, a gamer's spouse or partner, a gamer's friend who's never played before in their life, or even something to pass the time in Study Hall or Detention. Point being is that System Mastery, while great for those who spend countless hours pouring over the game, shouldn't "break" the game for those who don't know all the little nuiances or rule-lawyering. If anything, mechanics should be easy and simple yet immersive to a point so a player can pick a few options to get his ideal character in 10-20 minutes at character creation time.
And I really hope that's the way it is with the next iteration of Dungeons and Dragons.
Brian E. Harris wrote:
I highly doubt his leaving was, in any way, connected to the rules of the game. They're close to the Playtest aspect of D&D:Next, which tells me that they're fairly close to finalizing the CORE rules. Rules Monte has been helping develope over the last serveral months. So his leaving will probably have little impact on that part of the next iteration of D&D. Based on that, I think any displeasure due to Montes leaving should be on the people or on the company, but not necessarily the game.
And since we don't know the particulars of why he left, I think it's better to have an objectionable, yet optimistic, position on something we don't know or haven't seen. This is also based on the loads of Legens and Lore articles they've been producing, much of it I wasn't all that impressed with I might add. Yet I still have a hope that this game will be fun. It might not replace my 4E game and it might not scratch the 3E/PF itch I have every once in a while, but it might be a fun game in it's own right.
My bet is that Monte wanted a older-style OGL and Wizards didn't want to re-open that can of worms. Monte seems to me like he's very much pro 3PP and Wizards seems like they don't like the idea of their hard-earned product used against them as competition. Just a guess, mind you.
I'm very glad he's being classy about it, but I'm really not that sorry he's leaving. From his L&L articles, he wasn't saying things that I was happy to hear and if that means (in some way or aspect) that those design choices weren't with the companies vision, I can understand boths sids parting. Lets hope that, despite this (unfortunate?) turn of evens, D&D:Next will still be a great game.
So the topic of codifying rules and how they make things easier (or more difficult) for the game started me thinking on powers in general. And the one thing that has bothered me the most about 4E's mechanics is the lack of any viable Two-Weapon fighting style thats NOT in direct correlation to one of the 4 classes (or 2 races) that can instantly select that option. For those unaware of how it works, 4E's power structer is pretty narrow in it's focus, espically when it comes to weapon-based powers. In the case of two-weapon fighting, if you don't specifically have a power that allows you to attack with each weapon, you simply can't do it. Period. Now, this doens't prevent you for wielding two weapon, you can do that without penalty so long as your off-hand weapon has the Off-hand property. What you can't do, it use them both in 1 attack.
For barbarians, fighters, rangers, and scouts this isn't a problem becaus they have at-will abilities that allow them to obtain two-weapon attacks. The Half-Elf and Revenant (half-elf) can also obtain one of these classes powers to be used 1/encounter (and then later as a true at-will attack). But what about the elven Paladin who sacrifices his shield for a second blade OR the Rogue who likes to stab with a poisoned dagger whilst engaged in a duel or even the Bladesinger/Swordmage who uses that off-hand attack with a firey fist or blade-boot? These options are not viable at all, even with the Two-Weapon Fighting feat. All the TWF feat does is give you a nice little bonus to damage rolls while your wielding two-melee weapons and 1 must be a off-hand weapon or you start take penalties.
So how can we allow people who aren't specifically trained to fight with two weapons the ability to use them AND still maintain that 'special' aspect for the aformentioned classes? Is this even possible and remain in the vacinity of balance? I'd hope so and here's my first take:
The balance points are:
Ok, so what do you think for a rough draft?
I thought the Tier idea brought a great way for DMs to indicate the style of the campaign they wanted to run. It easily shows players the scope of the adventure and there-abouts what levels they'll probably be going through. It also helps separate feats that are good and powerful AND gives PCs an idea of the next 'level', something I felt Prestige Classes should've done but didn't with the varying levels of PrC entries.
As to MMO backgrounds, mine is mostly from Diablo, Diablo II, WoW, Guild Wars, and Neverwinter Nights. But perhaps the Tier effects is held only with EQ2, a game I've never played. What I don't understand is how the tier effect really adversly effects the mechanics of the game or how one might play the game? Basically it's just a background indicator of what a PC might expect in that broad level.
If your taking about "Encounter" powers, I might see where your going as they refresh after a battle, but I've never felt there was a mini-clock timer slowly recharging the power to be used again. Like in ANY game, there's going to be resource management but 4E felt that it's better to have some aspects that are held over througout the day instead of going all out and done in 1 battle. It's deliberatley done to counter the "15-Min. work day" effect 3E and other editons of the game greatly suffered from. As for the gaining of abilities at each level....looking at the SRD.....Druid, Monk, Barbarian, Dread Necromancer ALL gain some ability or effect at every level. Do they perpetuate an MMO feel?
I'd figure you mention this, as this is the one aspect I feel 4E directly stole from MMOs, and frankly, it was something that's been needed for quite some time. Lets take a look at the Challenge Rating or Encounter Rating system 3E and PF goes by: it doesn't quite do the job as intended. The CR is based off of things like Hit Die, Special Abilities, Spells, Class levels, and numerical values. But what it doesn't count for is the BIGGEST part of the game, Action Economy. It doesn't matter if the HUGE Barbarian 5/Fighter 4 Half-Orc is a CR 9, he'll still only get 1 turn to the parties 4 (assuming 4 players). He'll never really be a difficult challenge unless his attacks are so damaging, they're dropping PCs hit points by half per attack. And the PCs will always have the advantage against solo monsters due to focused-fire and because monsters are build exactly as PCs are.
I've played several over the past decade, and I've come to the conclusion that video games are in their own world when it comes to how they play and the interaction gained through them in a shared environment. The same will never be expressed as it is on Paper with D&D or any other table-top RPG. I see things in 4E that might be linked, via terminology, with MMOs but can never fill a role it does, nor does it try to. What they did was say "lets make most of the rules for combat, because that's something that effects everyone at the table. It's something that should be measured and balanced. And lets leave the rules pretty light for other aspects because people generally do better with free-form apsects instead of still putting in round blocks into cube holes." Apparently they miscalculated how much people love being led by the hand.
Maybe these things were in previous editions... I started on 2nd and didn't see them then, didn't see them in 3 or 3X, but in 4E they were very much prevalent to me and those in my gaming circles. I never played it after I returned from Iraq, so I have no idea what the game looks like now. When 4E came out the vibe I got was PNPMMO.
Of course they were. Every Extraordinary (EX) power in 3E/PF that has a day limitation is practically a 4E power in all but name. People don't bat an eye to that stuff, but because 4E is more colorful and more streamlined, it appears to be taken from an MMO. But you can't tell me Stunning Fist's daily application isn't exactly like a 4E daily non-magical power or the Samurai's Kiai Smite or the Cavalier's Deadly Charge feature or the barbarian's Rage ability? What, can the barbarian only get really mad once in an 8-hour period?
What 4E suffered from was visual synonymy with MMOs. The art looked similiar. The powe blocks and streamlined aspect as to how it was presented looked similiar. Classes and their features used similiar terminology to MMOs so obviously they're attempting to make an MMO. Well....not really.
Many people have claimed that a good portion of 4E is very similiar to 3E. Stats, classes, races, the d20 mechanic, ascending AC, 3 defenses and saving throws, familiar spells, a smattering of Vancian spellcasting (Wizard being required to prepare spells from their spell book and all), Rogues using Sneak Attack against ill-defened opponents. What changed was their application to the game, but not the flavor of those aspects. Well, to me at least.
Sorry, if I used too many "buzz-words" for you but for me the analogies aren't obtuse at all. Its personal preference based off of gaming experiences. So as far as reasoning goes... I played DND and I played MMOs. This version of DND felt like an MMO to me. I see MMOs as inferior to DND for the simple fact that no computer can replicate one's imagination. The MMOs I play are discendents of DND. Its like inbreeding on a grandparental level and that is reason enough for me.
Of course, YMMV pretty much applies whenever someone brings up these issues and I appreciate your time in detailing responses as to why. As someone who's been hearing it for 5 years with 90% of the people NOT giving reasons, just because it's the popular thing to say....well it gets a bit aggrivating.
Last time I checked, 3E and it's subsequent 1/2 edition created over 5 video games with the rules taking center stage as their focal points. Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor was pretty hard-core 3.0. Neverwinter Nights and it's 2 (or was it 3?) expansions were all 3.0. Icewind Dale 2 was exclusively 3.5 and went so far as to add Drow, Aasimar, and Tiefling options WITH their level adjustments. Then there was Neverwinter Nights 2 yet another v3.5 product. I mean, if 3E (and by it's extention, Pathfinder) didn't play like a video game as you say, quite a few game developers and players sure thought it would work well as a video game and did it pretty whole-hog for almost a decade.
Games for 4E........we've got a Facebook App called Hereos of Neverwinter, which is pretty poor and doesn't even explore how strong the 4E mechanics are. If 4E DID lend itself to great MMO heights, why was nothing doen for it? Why didn't we see great CRPGs for it because it's sooooo MMO like? Probably because it looks like an MMO in print but doesn't come close to actual play-style.
I looked at his review and I got a big ol bowl of "meh". One, I doubt any of this will actually even reach playtesters who've signed up. Second, I doubt any of this will get past playtesters and into actual print. There are some.....OK ideas here, but I'm not a fan of class 'rarity' being factored into either their history, fluff, or mechanics.
I understand the modular part, and I like the options of going more Tactical/War-game if I choose to do so and there should be stuff in there for people who enjoy that. There should also be a more skeletal aspect to character design/creation for people who aren't impressed with Martial Maneuvers, Battle-Stances, Tactical Feats, Wizard Spell-Feats, etc... and just want to roll up a 1st level Fighter with a sword/board and Roleplay the rest. But D&D SHOULD (actually, they must) be able to provide both in meaningful ways or they'll fail...hard.
But as I go through his list of rants and other musings......I'm just not sure at this time that I'm ready for even touch 5E playtest. But we'll see.
I can understand character death being a bummer, something that you've worked hard on just *poof* gone isn't a fun feeling. Hence why I hate one roll life-or-death effects. I can understand if it took 2 or 3 rolls (like Death Saving Throw in 4E) or Effects that build over a few rounds (like the Medusa in 4E). But not instantly and/or without provocation. When a DM sets this precident, I instantly go to "Broken-Combo, Char_Op munchkinism" and it's becomes a game of 'How bad can I screw this guy's encounters over while remaining within Rules as Written?' mentality.
HP caps are an "OPTION" I'd like to have rules for, but have it 1.) Not be Default and 2.) Not be horrendious if I choose to use it. The gaming system can and should be able to adapt enough to allow both styles of play for a campaign (not individually). It shouldn't force someone to go to another system. Nor force people to stick to a certain level (like E6, which I think is fantastic BTW). If I want to play a 20th level Fighter, I should be able to making one that's like an armored Tank (literally, with firey explosions) or a supreme warrior that, while strong and powerful, isn't above the rules and laws of nature like surviving a swim in lava (hell, even Anakin couldn't do that).
As for the speed of gaining levels, it's not about instant gratification as I'm fairly certain no one's gained 20th level in a month or two with regular 1-week gaming times averaging a few hours with XP values what they are. But honestly, why does the game have 1 set speed for this? What if I'm running a weekend end game 1-month at a time and I wish my players to advance pretty quickly? Or a 1-shot adventure where they start out exploring a farm as 4th level characters and end up at the end of the game as 20th level heroes that take on Demons? I'm not saying this should be the way all the time, or even within Core rules, but something added on or (da-ta-da-DA! Modular!) be used in conjunction with the ruleset? Seems perfectly viable option to me.
SAGA was a pretty good middle-ground between 3E mechanics and 4E mechanics. Force powers derived off your Force skill and the higher the ranks, the better effects your force powers had. And of course, force powers had limits and the like. But it also had a lot of 3E stuff in there like BAB, Hit Die, level-by-level advancement, and so on.
And I do hope that with D&D:Next, magic item creation isn't as hard as they say, or at least keeping some resemblance of the Common, Uncommon, Rare uniqueness of Magical Gear. Of course, those tags come off "game-y" like some coughed up version of Magic: The Gathering but it's usage was a lot more simpler and I could look at a town or village and say "ok, they probably sell just Common items and a few common magical items here. Possibly 1 unique itmes (roll on random % table) and volià. In 3E, there was this huge economy section in the DMG about how much money a specific size city would have, and based on this, it would have X amount of items of Y amount of gold, and Z amount of magical item and it.....well just seemed far more complicated than it needed to be.
Holy sh!t your cousin said so?! Well, had I known that I would've changed my opinion right then and there. Obviously your cousin is the end-all and be-all of everyone's idea as to how 4E plays. I mean, he's your cousin so why dispute it? I guess I missed the memo at our weekly "Super Pro-4E Awesomesauce" meeting. I'll be sure to re-read the minutes next time.
First, no one is disputing you about the time-table of 4E. We all know it'll finish up sometime this year or the next. Why you feel to keep bringing it up is beyond me except for perhaps to infuriate 4E supporters (which is pretty funny if it weren't so pathetic).
Second, and this is also pretty funny, it's hard for me to accept a fallacy. Espically as one so close-minded and shallow as some peoples OPINION'S about how they feel 4th Edition plays. Perhaps for them, it does play like WoW? And I'd argue that it's as much as they're play style and DM'ing as it was the rules. Clearly not everyone feels the same as you (God, what a world THAT would be *rolls-eyes*) but they're probably as tired of arguing with ignorance as I am. And really, you didn't find the "stanadard attack. Full-Attack. Full-Attack. Move and Attack" sequence that's so prevalient in v3.5/PF repetitious? Man, how much did those rose-colored glasses cost you?
Whatever though, play what makes you happy.
Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
I'm basing that on things both of them have written in the "Legends and Lore" column. Mearls especially has stated flatly that the rules need to be second to the DM, and Cook has said things that suggest he agrees, though he hasn't actually come out with it.
And this is the stuff that pisses me off about D&D:Next. These very same outlooks aren't indicative to D&D:Next. I've been doing this in my D&D games for years, over 3 different editions. The DM has always been the rules arbiter, the storyteller, the NPC voice, the facilitator of the story/game/quest, and the person you resepect most at the table. It's nothing new, it's nothing innovative, and it (the idea itself) isn't worth paying for because it's in print. Theses comments by Mearls and Monte aren't going to be factors for me purchasing this version because I already do this.
But perhaps it's becasue I game with close friends and don't do a heavy amount of Conventions or seek out a lot of Living campaigns. But it's always been what the DM says...goes. If it's a rules problem, the DM makes a decision and you deal with it until you break or get some cheetoes from the store or talk about it after the fact. THEN the DM might say "yea, we'll do it that way from now on." or he'll say "no, I like my way better." and as a player you deal with it or leave. Where people get off thinking the rules are first and foremost and override ANY and EVERY thing the DM says is a bit preposterous. But that doesn't mean that the DM shouldn't be at least a little understanding and think things through. For an example, were I DM'ing in Dark Sun I wouldn't let someone make a Warforged. For one, metal is rare and any such creature would be ripped apart for scraps. For another, it's just not in tune with the setting's feel. BUT I would compromise if he wanted to change the flavor, description, and feel of the creature to something like a Boneforged, a sentient life given to a golem of bones made by a Sorcerer-King pact Warlock......then I'd probably say "Yea! Cool!". This compromise allows him to play a warfoged while allowing me to keep my feel for the setting.
I just feel frustration because people's perception (mainly the Devs) are so far from how I actually play 4E that it doesn't make sense to me. I think they take too much from organized play and the fights that insue from them.
You know, I think it could be done as they say because they're distilling the game to its roots. What I take from this is that they are keeping the 4 core elements of the game and exanding from there. These core elements are: d20 engine, 6 stat ability scores, the simple action economy (standard, minor, move), and a class-based system. Each and every edition of D&D has had these elements w/ extreamly small changes. So it stands to reason they will remain the core concept of the game and add-on later aspects. No need for OA's unless u want them. No need for quickened spell unless you want them, no need for tactical movement (push, pull, slde) unless you want them.
There are probably going to be options for things you take or don't such as static bonuses feats if you opt-out of skill ranks, class features if you don't want feats, etc. Its plausable.
Well it is, because it has the name and everything. The problem is many people think D&D is about the rules, the sacred cows, the number of classes in the PHB or the Races or auto-hit Magic Missile or some perverse notion that wizards need to be able to bend time and space and Fighters should sit in their castle and retire after 11th level or blah-blah-blah. It's not, it's about roleplaying a character with your friends. It's about rolling dice and imagining your fighting a huge dragon. It's about falling down a spike pit trap because you failed your Perception check even though the corridor looked fine. THAT's what D&D is. It transcends rules. It transcends editions. 4E did everything other editons of D&D were capable of doing. People just didn't like the way it was done. Just because I despite the very existance of AD&D/2E and think it's a pile of garbage mechanics doesn't mean I don't think it's D&D, because it is.
It didn't sell for a multitude of reasons, which I feel a fraction of it was due to it's rules. I wish they had put more thought into the Marketing aspect, understanding that many people are WAAAY too passionate about this than they were and could not accept critical options of the, then, current system. Fuel that fire with the sweeping changes to the Forgotten Realms and it's not looking pretty right from the get-go.
But what's done is done. They're a company that makes stuff I like and there's nothing really to say after that. They'll either produce things that I like or they won't. Heck, I doubt I've given Pathfinder more than a few bucks because everything is free online, so why would I? Pathfinder practically fueled my desire to give WotC money because I HAD to pay for that, and Pathfinder doesn't. It's been a pretty sweet world, IMO.
Yet there really aren't that many design flaws, such as gaping holes in the math (I'm looking at you BAB) or horribly underpowered classes (the monk, the rogue, the sorcerer of v3.5) or instant-character death (7th level and up wizard spells, diseases, negative levels, ability score drain/damage, paralyzing poisons) that are rampant in older edtions and in PF. These are Flaws of the game. What 4E did was create options that disagreed with people. They didn't like the AEDU mechanic, they didn't like Fighters and Rogues and Monks having nice things, they didn't like Wizards not pwning encounters by 11th level, they didn't like a more focused account of combat and less mechanics to hold your hand for non-combative applications. These aren't flaws in the mechanical sense, just different tastes that don't suit people.
I'm perfectly fine with them supportind other editions, always have been. It might bite them on the butt as I believe they just can't support multiple editions of their own game with new and updated support. But re-releasing older material in PDFs is a great way to boost sales.
As for improvements on the game, that's all based on opinion. But I don't know too many players that are happy with failing a Fort save and falling victim to a paralyzing poison and then being Coup de Grace for instant-death or doing nothing but sit there while eveyone else plays 'cuz your character can't make additional Fort saves to get up. I don't know too many players that are happy to see their character turned to Stone, Baleful Poloymorphed, or Disintegrated. Or have to spend $10,000 on a diamond just to be brought back to life with an automatic level drop. Or have to consistantly change their character sheets to reflect Enlarge Person/Shink Person, Ray of Enfeeblement, Enervation, etc. Those are just a few aspects that I shy away from at the table based on ease of the game for myself as a DM or player and everyone else. Also, summoning. PF did a nice thing by allowing you to print the sheets of summon monsters but before, the player had to do all the adjustments and changes and what a crap-shoot that was. None of those things appeal to a good portion of players and I find their removal nothing short of wonderful.
Because were he to do as you say and place the blame soley on 4E, it would mean that a co-designer of 4E claims it's a failure (which I frankly don't believe). And not only is that insulting to everyone who currently plays the edition and supports it, but alienates everyone else into buying said edition. It would also further impede future sales, because "who wants to play a game even the designer said is a failure??"
Also, it's much more than that I believe. It seems to me that pro-Paizo people like to forget that prior to the 4E shift, 3E was the only version of D&D supported in any way, shape, or form. No one was really making new 2E/AD&D products. No one was advancing BASIC D&D/OSR D&D and the 3PP were super small niché markets. Then out comes 4E, a major design/mechanical shift that leaves half the fan-base saying "What?!! Ew!!" and the other "Ohhh, Ahhh!". Then what you have is another company pandering to those who've 1). don't like the ruleset, 2). not like their campaign changes (ex. Forgotten Realms), 3). disliked they way 4E was released in timing (we were told in Apirl no new edition was coming!!) or in presentation (3E had SOO many problems, play 4E because it's better!), or 4). All of the above.
IT's quite clear that I'd say a good portion of the fanbase was already fractured even before June of 08' and 4E debut. The FR fans already received their book of Grand History of the Realms and the info about Mystra's death, the Spellplague, and 100 year time jump. That right there killed it for most people.
So really, one can't completly base these fractures on 4E mechanics and design philosophies alone. Paizo took a golden opportuinity to take a P.O'd fanbase and make something of it. It's pretty simple.
I accept that mistakes were made with their marketing and the way in which they handled 4E's debut. I accept that denying the possibility of a new edtion (4e at the time) a few months prior to announcing the edition was bad judgement. I also accept that with more options that are currently supported, people are going to segregate to those that support them more.
From a game mechanical stand point, I feel 95% of 4E's design changes were indeed positive and influencial. Even as a player of Pathfinder and v3.5 (still!) I see the mistakes therein and will always perfer 4E ove them both. BAB, Magic over Muscle, Bat-man Wizards and Instant-Win buttons, Rogue still sucking, Monks.....still heavily underpowered (to say the least), nothing stopping double moves against "Tanks", heavily debated RAW vs. RAI that I find 3-times as much in 3E/PF than I do in 4E, and CR/EL swaying too far out of wack are all problems I've seen IN play and want no part of.
I'm actually GLAD there is such a difference between the two because it can appease BOTH styles that people want. Ever try making a wholly non-magical party with PF/3E and NOT have to amend the rules to go easier on them? Ever try playing a "balanced drow" who isn't totally shafted by Level Adjustments (or a Minotaur or a Githyanki)? How about an Evil Paladin with no rule-adjustments? All of these are, for my knowledge of the systems, not feesable without house ruling in some way. That isn't fun to me. A game where only one or two characters are useful at specific times is un-fun to me. A game where I have to look up 3 pages of rules just for grappling is un-fun to me. These are all aspects I've found in PF/v3.5 and I find it dreadful that D&D might go back to this.
Others may find these rules perfectly fine, and that's great. I cope with them because I like RPGs and I just hide my contemp as best I can when I come across it. But if this is how it's going to be, with having to go through 150 loops just so I can play a were-bear berserker that mechanically stinks because the rules don't play into that concept is NOT a D&D I want to play. It's just another side of the coin.
2 things eh?
Couple of other things...
I'm going to be starting a new campaign soon for which I'll be creating a 3rd level wizard for. I'm going to specialize in Conjuration and summoning (don't like the Summoner class) but I'm not seeing many items that specifically help the Conjurer. I'm pretty sure we'll be allowed to obtain items from the Magic Item Compendium and possibly other sources per DM approval. So is there anything really useful or interesting for this speciality or Wizards in general (aside from the normal +2 Headband of Int, Rings of prot., amulet of nat. prot.) since I've never actually played a wizard-class before?
The general consensus is that Rogues are often un-optimal choices in many areas but that's OK because as a player, you should know that going in. But suggestions that improve the class, even minimally, are rejected because thats not within the spirit of the game or class? I think that's a load of crap personally. I don't know where the idea came from that Rogues aren't supposed to be big leaders in the damage area but I figured that was a given since most adaptations from multiple genres says differently. In all honestly, I wish they had some sort of Assassin-like "Death Attack" where they don't worry about wearing a target out over the course of 5 to 6 rounds and instead deal one terrifying, lethal shot that just ends the target.
But since we'll never seee that outside the culturally and mechanically restricting Assassin PrC, I think a BAB-like bonus when the Rogue performs Sneak Attacks could be a nice parting gift. What has to be put in place is that this doesn't constitute more attacks or the ability to select feats any earlier since they really don't have that BAB, just a feature that temporarly give them a bonus while this action is being performed.
SO an 11th level rogue normally has a +8 BAB, granting him two attacks in a full-round action. This feature would give him an additional +3 bonus to attack rolls when making a Sneak Attack, but not increase the amount of attacks he gets nor does it allow him the ability to obtain feats with BAB prerequisites of this new and improved BAB.
I'll see what I can do. I try to post as much as I can from work, but sometimes they do make me work there so if I haven't gotten to a part of your homebrew stuff, it's because I haven't had the time to respond yet. Like now, I have to be brief. When I get my books, I'll do some comparisons on numbers, damage, effect, and targets to give you a down-low on balance issues.
Well they did some Errata on the Arcanist (PHB 1 Wizard class) with all the spells from the PHB gaining school keywords found HERE. It's a free download with pretty much the whole Wizard class from the PHB. They did not put in powers from Arcane Power, just so your aware.
I'll help when I get some free time. For the time being, I feel a +1, +2, +3 benefit is a bit more balanced than +2, +3, +5 (and to saves too). Also, schools came about with the Heroes of the Fallen Lands book (something I'd highly recommend as it's really cool and a bit different from Arcanists (PHB wizards).
Keep in mind that Action Points were designed to be situation changers, gaining an extra action at a vital time. Most Paragon Paths have some sort or re-charge mechanic, swap out spell for something else mechanic, or temporary buff mechanic. I like to keep things simple, but that's me.
What I mean by that is you retain your Encounter power at 11th level throughout your entire career in 4E. Meaning at 29th level, your lowest level encounter power is going to be your 11th level Paragon Path power. In addition to that, you also have your 20th level Paragon Path power, which is a beefed up version of your Encounter (giving you two uses of them per day). I like the encounter power, and I'll try to make up a Daily one for ya.
I haven't read the Hathran yet, work was actually pretty busy today and I can only be on the internet so long without getting into trouble. When I get more time, I'll give it a good read-through.
Ok, I read through the Circle Magic and Red Wizard prestige class you've typed up. Firstly, I'm glad to see more homebrewing stuff here. It shows creativity and I hope to help make your ideas better.
Firstly, the Circle Magic feats are pretty interesting. Not mechanically powerful, so unless your doing to be doing Circle Magic a lot I don't know how often it'll come up. Still, I can see it as a boon if you go that route.
Secondly, Tattoo Focus: It's interesting but a bit strange. Sometimes spells in 4E have the same school and it can be a bit confusing when you have to add then subtract the benefits and so forth. Instead of incorporating both benefits and penalities, why not just have a cancellation of effects? It's a bit more streamlined and won't cause as much confusion. Just a thought.
Additionally, while I'm not opposed to a severe penality imposed of casting Prohibited Schools, maybe a -5 is a bit too much? Additionally, the penalty monsters make to Saves is pretty overpowered. Even Arcanists who use the Orb can only impede monster's saving throws for the 1st round (and that's powerful). Maybe go along with those line and impose the penality for the 1st Save?
Lastly, the defense against spells with your chosen School will never come up because 95% of monsters don't have a "power source" in their abilities description. If you check the Monster Manual, you'll probably never find the Arcane keyword in their stat-block. You can houserule it, of course, but to be utilized by the general public, it's not going to come up in other people's games. Might I suggest a save againt a target hit by one of your spells with an associated school for 1 round? That's more in-line with effects and abilities currently out there.
Ok, the Red Wizard:
The prerequisites are ok, might be a bit much considering the shift from previous editions to a less restrictive entry. Still, it makes sense espically Tattoo Focus. Possibly remove Master Crafter?
The 11th level feature: Pretty solid, and it plays of a major feat for the Paragon Path. The benefits are a bit powerful with 3 different abilities tied into it. First you get a free feat (which is situational, so it's ok). Then you get a major buff to your Arcane spells in the way of attacks, damage, save penalites, and defenses while lessening the Cons of using prohibited schools. Instead, leave the penalties of your prohibited school at a static -2. Thirdly, you gain a free Utiliy Power. I'd axe that last part right away.
The 1th level Action-Point feature: Is too situational to be of any geneal use. The free feat, again is a given considering how greatly it'll come up. But the Action Point might come up only every few adventures (if the PC is lucky). Might I suggest a more versatile application: "When you spend an action point to make an attack, you can sacrifice the selected spell in place of another spell of it's level or lower from your class. You may ignore any penalties incurred if this is a prohibited school."
the 16th level feature: I think the bonuses to your Tattoo Focus are a little too powerful. I'd think it could be lowered to a +1 (feat Tattoo Bonus), +2 (11th level feature), +3 (16th level feature) instead of +5. This is where I could see the extra Utiliy power coming into play.
Now the Spells:
(11th level encounter) Spell of the Marked: First, the action is an out-of-turn attack, which makes it powerful right off the bat. Second, the target should be one enemy in burst, not all enemies which makes it broken right there. The damage is ok, comparable to other powers but with the benefits of feats, enhancement bonuses, and your Tattoo Focus, I might put it around 1d8 or 2d4 instead of 3d4.
-Conjuration: The teleportation isn't bad. The shadowy-copies should either attack or move to provide flanking, not both. I'd suggest that they stay where they're at and you can select ONE ghostly visage to make an Opportunity Attack per turn, not all of them.
-Divination: whew, ok this one is pretty much encounter breaking in power. Not only does it only effect enemies, they take ongoing damage AND they have the sleep effect with a save penality. How about just the on-going damage and possibly penalty to attack (like -2)? keep the Healing Surge. Take out the reliable keyword.
-Enchantment: Same as above, way to powerful. How about one effected creature makes a Melee Basic Attack or shifts it's speed, giving you the option of which creature you want to effect? The save mechanic is sorta weird, with a successful save still having a negative effect. I'd just have it end on the successful save. And no sleep effect, just slowed afterwards.
-Evocation: Looks fine, but a bit bland. How about an effect that each creature in burst is pushed back squares equal to your Wisdom modifier due to the blast?
-Illusion: looks a bit wonky with the saves and stuff. Plus, saves are very swingy, which can be for 1 round or the entire encounter. How about "until the end of your next turn" gaining you two definite rounds of the effect?
-Necromancy: looks fine, pretty cool
-Transmutation: I'd take it out completely. There's only 1 trasmutation spell in 4E and it's just not a school worth getting into at this time.
(12th level Utility) The Pattern of My Magic: Well it doesn't function, at all. This is due to the fact that only Wizard spells use Schools. They haven't put schools to other Arcane powers of other classes, so you only have the Wizard class to look to. What about "Once per day, you can cast one of your prepared Utility Spells with your associated school as a Minor Action instead of a Standard Action." ?
(20th level Daily) Spell of the Master: Wow, so not only do you have a Suped-up version of your Encounter power, but you have that and the regular power to cast. Honestly, I'd think of something else to put in this spot. The encounter spell is way to powerful (even with my revisions) but this one ends encounters, period. When I get a chance I'll see what I can cook up. I'm still at work, so I can't be of much help though.
I hope you don't find this criticism bad or that I'm being harsh. I'm just trying to give you a balance point of where most powers of Paragon Paths lay and where this one comes in.
Drizzt is hilarious if you learn about his actual history and how/why RA Salvatore made him. He was created literally at the last minute by RA Salvatore babbling something random out in order to sell his first book.
Haha, I remember reading that. RA said he wanted to make a nice side kick for Wulfgar, a drow named Drizzt Do'Urden from the house N'a'shezbaernon. She (being Mary Kirchoff) asked him if he could spell it, and he said "not a chance". Pretty funny if you ask me.
As for Drizzt being carried through the spellplague, he's still a best seller. He's the IN for D&D and pop-culture. He sells, so WotC would be stupid not to keep him going post-spellplague. Sorry but Mirt, Arylin Moonblade, and the Seven Sisters don't do these things, plain and simple. Not that they're not great or fun to read, they just don't sell like Drizzt does.
I'll try to fill in the blanks for you as I too am a pretty big Realms fan. All though I enjoyed a lot of the changes made, I guees my biggest peev was the 100 year time jump. I understand why they did it and it makes sense, I just don't agree with such a huge leap. I'd have more preferred 10 to 25 years instead of 107 (current year is 1479 DR.)
Also, for my 4E Realms game I freely use 3E supplements for character ideas. See HERE for my on-going conversion of Forgotten Realms Paragon Path/Epic Destinies. I hope some of these conversion will help mesh your characters with more Realms ideas and flavor. Also check out my 4E FR items conversion HERE
Drizzt's stats (or stat write-up in the Hero Battle: Drizzt article) does make him mostly Ranger with some barbarian-ish powers, which I think is much better IMO than his 3E stat-block in the FRCS, something that is ridiculously underpowerd and needs a revision to say the least.
As for other good guys being left, can't say that there are many from a century past. Mirt could've stayed alive with life extending potions and such, which isn't out of his price range. Arylin Moonblade has probably passed away from old age or from battle and the same could be said of Danilo. Could you be more specific as to which Good Guys your referring to?
Hmmm, well the Black Network has been decimated by the Shadovar, but now works more or less in the Hired Goons capacity. The elven supremicist group Eldreth Veluuthra (sp?) is still around and probably thriving. For an idea of level they're at, here's an Un-Official thread based on some conversions HERE
For the Hathrans, they could always use Divine and Arcane power, so I'm quite sure those two options are viable and Primal classes as well. Druids used to be Divine but now they're Primal, so I'm assuming those connected to nature and the spirits are just as included as sorcerers and wizards. As for their Paragon Path, check out the thread I linked above.
Red Wizards, cut off from Thay, work more or less in a Magical Distribution nature. They create Estates where they craft, practice, and teach magic. That said they do not have an Official Prestige Class though there is a specific Theme for them from the Neverwinter Campaign Guide (debut this past August) which is pretty cool. Though I belive it's only designed for the (Mage), a wizard sub-class from the Essentials line.
Harpers don't have a Paragon Path as far as I know. Though I'm very much willing to create a Un-Official one.
Phaerims, as far as I know, aren't statted up in 4E. Shar, OTOH, are statted in the FRCG, so they're still there.
Never heard of the Sarukh, what were they from? I don't know much (if any) of their history.
The Shadow Weave evaporated with Mystra's Weave. Shadow Magic works just like regular Magic, requiring no new feats or anything of the sort. Necromancers still rely on Arcane magic to complete their spells where Shadow Magic is more aligned with the Shadowfell. Assassins, Blackguards, and Vampires draw on the Shadow source where Necromancers are just schooled Wizards in that art.
The Spellplague, for the most part, has died down except in the most concentrated areas such as where Halruua was and the Vilhon Reach. There, the Spellplauge rampages the region like a wildfire, affecting creatures and landscape alike. Since it's eruption upon Faerûn, the last century has tempered the event some. Though spellplague victims happen for apparently no reason.
I wasn't even really aware of Circle Magic in 4E, unless you mean Rituals. Could you point me in the direction of Circle Magic (i'm away from books currently) so I could help out here.
Tyr, feeling tremendious guild over killing his best friend Helm, decided that he was unfit to rule as the God of Justice. He gave the mantle of the Triad to Torm (along with Ilmaster and Bahamut) and decided on a suicide run into the Nine Hells.
Tymora never married either Helm or Tyr, but I'm sure she feels saddend by both their deaths.
I think Lathander/Amaunator was in a bit of a bind when Netheril fell. He might have lost so much power due to their demise that he had to come across to other nations as another deity (Lathander). As for why he didn't reveal himself, I probably wouldn't have either due to a fracture in the religion. I mean, I know they have had the problems with the Risen Sun heresy but I think that adds a bit of Realism to the setting. As for him and Chauntea, while nothing is definitive I'm sure they still have a pretty solid relationship.
Ok, look at it like this: Gods are NOT big NPCs. Gods are much more grander than that and can take on multiple forms and identities (look at Lathande again). Angarradh was a combination of 3 different goddesses Essences. That doesn't mean their whole was suffused into one being Angarradh, just portions so to speak. The Avariel are still there (nothing says otherwise) so it would be a good assumption that their goddess is there as well.
As for the other Gods, many many of them weren't listed in the FRCG because they're smaller or have a nichè portfolio (like Lurue). Basically the thinking is "If it hasn't been mentioned in a recent change, then it hasn't changed". As far as I know, the only Gods that suffered in the last Century are some Dwarf gods, most of the Duergar Gods, Elistraee (which dind't die in my setting), 2 other Drow deities, Azuth, Velsharoon, Denier, Helm, and Tyr. Not really sure but if they haven't been mentioned to die, then it's all good.
EDIT: Forgot to mention that Gruumsh has been revered by humans and other creatures as the deity Talos, :)
Hmmm, well Waterdeep has changed little. Baldur's Gate has incrased greatly in size but other than that, it's run of the mill. The North, Western Heartlands, Tethyr have changed very little. Obould's kingdom is doing fairly well, still an uneasy peace between the nations of the North though. Sembia is a puppet-state of Returned Netheril and the Shadovar. Damara/Vaasa is slowly being conquered by the Warlock Knights. Moonsea has seen some peace with the destruction of Zhentil Keep, so less raiders from the Black Network, though pirates still sail the Moonsea.
What do you feel has drastically changed with Cormyr if I may ask?
Psionics work just as usual, nothing changed there.
And no information about the other side of Abier was discussed. Basically parts of Mulhorandi/Unther and Maztica now inhabit that world, being ruled by Primordials (which does sorta suck).
Basically I say use what you like and discard what you don't. I hate the fact that Elistraee was killed off in a novel. So, that didn't happen in my Realms. Helm, the deity, is slowly making a come-back as aspects of his faith is starting to remerge among different areas in Faerûn. I do like how Gods have pulled away their influence a bit from the world, I don't like them up in my setting's grille.
My thoughts are that if they announce 5E it won't be til at the very earliest next year and we won't see any product til the year following (which means 2014). I, however, feel that 5E is still another 3 years or so off. Couple of reasons:
1st). WotC isn't done milking 4E for all it's goodies. We've got Dual-Classes coming back, more (and hopefully better) adventures lined up, and other Planes for our heroes to visit (or come from). This means possibly the *hush-hush* elusive Elemental Source classes and Races such as the Azer.
2nd). They're not fully done with playtests for their board-games, an avenue that they're just NOW exploring with wanton ambition. I haven't bought any yet, but they do look like a lot of fun. If they're worrying and/or working on making these into great products, it leaves little room for something so expansive as a whole new Edition.
3rd). I feel WotC is in a better position than they were this time last year. I feel they've got their priorities straight and are attempting to make better quality products over the quantity of products. And I think this translates into their reduction of the product schedule.