Yeah, I want to like the character of Laurel, and I certainly don't have the hate for her that some folks seem to, but her character really suffers in comparison to many of the other characters on the show - and I don't know if that is due to acting, or writing, or some combination of the two.
But anyway. That finale. Damn. I was amazed by how much they were able to pack into a single episode of television. So intense! They managed to avoid all the pitfalls I was worried about, and definitely surprised me with how it all ended. I'm very eager to see what comes next season.
I've been completely surprised by how much I like this show. It isn't perfect by any means - I was similarly disappointed that Huntress went so quickly from a slightly grimmer vigilante to a cop-killing psycho. Actually, while I do love seeing references to the comics, I think the shows greatest strength is in its more original characters, or more original interpretations of characters, such as with Diggle, Felicity, or the Queen family.
Last nights episode certainly set the stakes high, and I'm eager to see what comes next!
My big worries are:
-I'm not a fan of the Ollie/Laurel/Tommy love triangle. I mean, I like the characters themselves, and thought they were actually doing a good job with having Tommy and Laurel get involved in a mature relationship, rather than just dive down the cliche of a love triangle / betrayal / etc. And then they did just that, which largely involved every single one of them acting irrationally, and an especially contrived moment in which Tommy wanders up to Laurel's apartment at precisely the right moment to see the two of them wandering past a window while making out. The series has done such a good job of defying convention and expectations about so many of the usual tropes, so this was quite the disappointment.
-It also leaves me worried about what they have planned for Tommy. I'm afraid that we're going to end up seeing Ollie kill Malcolm, and that Tommy will just happen to witness it, and end up abruptly going evil and taking up his father's place. It is the trope that fits with the situation they've set up (feeling betrayed by his best friends, losing a father, etc) - and yet, it would feel so very out of character for him, and so immature as a plot development, so I really hope they have something else creative planned. If this ends with Malcolm exposed and having to flee, for example - setting him up as a possible recurring villain - I think that would offer a lot more promise to the series in the long run.
Scott Betts wrote:
The last ten minutes of the game disregarded some things. But the ending didn't, because the entire third game was the ending, and it touched on damn near everything you did from the start. I'm sort of astonished that you would go through the trouble to mention that you played the series for 300 hours, only to try and drive home the idea that the only part of that 300 hour timespan that counts as the "ending" is the last ten minutes.
I think, perhaps, it would be more accurate not to say that the ending disregarded all the events that came before it, and instead to say that it rendered them meaningless.
I absolutely enjoyed most of my time playing Mass Effect 3 - and yes, it did provide some powerful and intense resolutions to the plot lines that had been building over the course of the series - the Genophage, the Geth/Quarian story, and so forth.
I found it unfortunate that the ending not only had little to do with such things, but largely rendered moot those plotlines, along with just about every other decision you've made over the course of the three games.
The complaint isn't that the last 0.05% of Mass Effect was simply bad - it is was that it was unpleasant itself, and actively undid all the accomplishments you had spent the other 99.95% of the game working towards.
Now, I do think it is perfectly fair to say that having a bad ending does not - or should not - cancel out all of the enjoyment folks have experienced over the rest of the series. And I also am certain that for many folks, the ending did work just fine - and for others, the revised ending may have done the trick.
But at least for me, it was as disappointing a conclusion to the series as I can even conceive of, in large part because the static design of that outcome (of any of the ourcomes) was so at-odds with the dynamic approach of the series up to that point, which had made you truly feel like you were making choices that mattered.
"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Both the "Disarm Traps" feat and the "Open Locks" feats give proficiency with Thieves Tools as part of their benefits, so anyone who invests in those feats can use them. Now, I suppose if you aren't using an open feat system, then only Rogues will be effective at that - but that is generally going to be the trade-off between more customization vs quicker character generation, I imagine.
As far as I can tell, other classes can invest in the Disarm Traps and Open Locks skills, without any rogue being required. Rogues are nice, because they typically get a bunch of those skills for free, but I don't see any forced limitation preventing others from having that capability.
I'm liking this version most of the various iterations just far. I like that Expertise dice are back to being Fighter only. I like the use of Deadly Strike to improve damage at higher levels, rather than giving extra attacks or having numbers continually inflate. I like the prepared/spontaneous spellcasting system. I like the ritual system. I'm a fan of the skill system. I like what I've seen of magic items. I like how they are handling sneak attack - lots of damage, but difficult to land that perfect shot. I definitely like how elegant it is to tie everything to ability checks rather than basically inventing new systems for skills/saves/etc. And I really like stepping away from number-bloat as characters level up.
Elements I'd still like to see adjusted:
Overall, though, I'm pretty pleased by the direction things are going in. It has taken a lot of good elements from different editions and managed to find a way for them to fit together. And, most importantly to me, it seems to be really, really striving to avoid the potential pitfalls of previous editions - limiting the potential for number bloat, keeping most classes capable in and out of combat, keeping solid balance between characters, etc.
I finished my reread of the series on Tuesday, and finished Memory of Light yesterday. Overall, my feelings are very much in line with the review linked above - Sanderson managed to provide a largely satisfying ending, which in-and-of-itself was a monumental task. It was not a perfect ending, and there are a handful of things I wish were resolved differently - and, more significantly, a lot of scenes I wish I had the chance to see firsthand.
Admittedly, there is only so much room in a book, but I could easily have handled another few hundred pages to give room for many moments that took place off-camera or not at all. The ultimate finale, in what is often one of Sanderson's weaknesses, was a bit more abrupt than it needed to be, and I would have relished a more expansive epilogue. But at the same time, the book is already enormous, so I can somewhat understand that there just wasn't room for everything.
And through it all, there is of course the feeling of absence that Jordan wasn't there to see it through. Sanderson has done admirably with the series, and with preserving the spirit without simply trying to mimic Jordan's style. But one can't help but wonder what the conclusion would have looked like in Jordan's hands. There are many elements that do tie off long-lingering plot threads with satisfaction. But there are also elements that simply seem to fade away, without nearly the resolution one might hope for.
Yet for all that, I still found it to be a success. The book was an exhausting read, in terms of intensity and emotional mayhem. There are plenty of powerful scenes, truly epic in nature - though as the book itself points out, the word 'epic' itself begins to pale in light of the sheer scope of what is at stake. It isn't a perfect ending, but I don't know that one was possible. The fact that they managed to reach this point, despite all the obstacles in the way, is, ultimately, a triumph.
I'm still going to give Peter Jackson the benefit of the doubt, but I expect there to be a lot of padding to stretch The Hobbit into a trilogy.
I very much got the sense that they ended up with enough content for about 2 1/2 movies, and decided it would be easier to fluff out to 3 movies rather than trim it down to 2.
I suspect the 2nd and 3rd movies will feel more complete, if my guesses are correct about where they will draw the line between the two of them.
As it was, I certainly enjoyed the Hobbit. There was definitely more filler than in LotR, but there was also many good moments as well. Martin Freeman was excellent as Bilbo, and they seem to have decided to go with that as the 'theme' of the movie - showing his progression from reluctant adventurer to a proper member of the company of Thorin Oakenshield. Most of the scenes that were changed from the book had to do with emphasizing that transition.
In some ways, I think that is a shame, since most of those changes otherwise felt unnecessary - and if they weren't as concerned with filling out the length of this movie, they may have been able to leave them intact.
Still, it was a three hour movie that kept me engaged enough that I barely noticed the passage of time. It has left me eagerly awaiting the remaining movies. And I think, when all three are complete, it will stand as a solid counterpart to Lord of the Rings.
I am a bit worried by magic items. Bounded accuracy is the one thing I have hope for with 5E. It seems that magic items have the potential to throw the game completely out of whack. The popular sentiment seems to be "well you are the GM, don't give out cool items and the game stays balanced" somehow i'm not convinced.
It does sound like they are trying to keep the bonuses from magic gear from getting too out-of-hand... +1 being the standard bonus, with +3 for really epic gear, from what I saw. Which I like - I'm also in the camp that is very much hoping for a tighter range of numbers between PCs.
I think the main issue with the Spellplague is that... they skipped it. Rather than have an adventure or any other ways for the PCs to actually experience the cataclysm, they jumped 100 years down the line, with all the interesting stuff already over and done with. They didn't even fully flesh out what had happened until a few years later in the novels series.
I mean, I actually enjoyed the post-spellplague setting itself, but it felt like they really dropped the ball on how they handled the entire event overall.
I'm not sure about that - different mechanics can definitely allow a class to have a different feel to it. Sorcerers being able to cast from a more limited list, but do so spontaneously - that feels different from memorizing fewer spells from a broader selection. D&DNext takes that even further, with sorcerers now having the option to cast lots of low level spells or a few big ones, depending how they spend their Willpower - as well as, with the Dragonic bloodline, also having more melee capability, and specifically, physical capability that grows as they expend more of their magical capability.
Which means that Wizard and Sorcerer certainly look very different to me, even if both are drawing from the same spell list.
TL;DR - I don't think people (myself included) want a Class for every option. Instead, they want different options for every class. I don't think WotC is ever going to allow themselves to understand this.
I suspect WotC understands it, but is wary of going that route due to a desire to return each class to being very distinct in terms of mechanics. I can definitely understand where you are coming from - on the other hand, in order to gain the benefit, you'd be looking at either an overhaul of the entire system in order to allow for swappable casting mechanics (which, again, undermines class individuality) or putting in about triple the design work to allow each class to pursue different casting mechanics while remaining distinct.
Now, I don't think it would be impossible. And it may well be that we see something along those lines - or I could see them releasing optional rules farther down the lines that allow for mixing and matching systems. Until then, I suspect many groups will just go with palette-swapping the classes as needed to fit their desired character and mechanics, which is relatively doable.
Two Weapon Fighting: As it stands, it's plain old bad. The feat stats that you can attack with two (finessable) weapons in 1 turn. All damage deal is halved. So, to me, your requiring a finite resource (feats) for the ability to attack with crappy damage that someone who doesn't spend a feat on can do the same thing with a two-handed weapon. Basically your putting penalties on flavor and that's just bad game design. And it's not like the Rogue can add his full Sneak Attack die (1/round) as icing on the cake as that's halved two as is the same with Fighter's Combat Superority die.
The real advantage I see for TWF or Rapid Shot is it lets you take out multiple weak enemies, which is a legitimate benefit. I do think a good solution would be to let bonus damage (like Sneak Attack, etc) deal full, as that means it also offers the benefit of more reliably hitting.
Opportuinity Attacks/Disengagement: The first part is pretty solid, allowing a creature a Reaction attack against anyone who moves into or through a threatened square. But the Disengagement rules are silly, allowing you to spend your action to not provoke an OA (opportuinity attack). What this does is allow the infamous Shift + Move of 4e. Basically you spend your action moving away from the Fighter and then move into the wizard's (or someone a Fighter might be trying to protect) threatened area, thus negating any reason for having OA's. Instead, removing the disengaging rules would pretty much solve the problem all together. OR, require the Disengagment rules to effectively reduce your speed to 10' and the monster still gets his action (which could be used to make a ranged attack for example).
I do think that make OAs a Reaction is a good balance between not having them at all, and having them so omnipresent that they bog down combat. Disengagement doesn't seem like a problem to me - giving up your action is a serious cost. Especially since if a monster does that, the wizard can then spend his turn disengaging while the rest of the group again surrounds the enemy.
My only real concern is for the Guardian Fighter, who has a ton of ways to interfere with enemies... and all of them require his (1) Reaction. If he takes an OA, he can't use Protect, or Defender or Hold the Line. Now, there won't typically be a turn where he'll need to use all 4... but only being able to use 1 will very much mitigate how much protecting he can do.
Perhaps allow an expertise die to be spent to gain an extra reaction? Or something along those lines.
1) I am liking the fighter mechanic. Adds interesting options in an elegant format. I think I'd like a bit more customization though - starting with 2 automatic choices of your three tricks is a bit limiting. Still, a good core concept, in my mind. I am especially a fan of Snap Shot and Jab, which allow you to do other stuff while getting in a quick attack - I think this will go far to encourage improvising and clever ideas.
1b) Glancing Blow seems like it needs fixing. It lets you do some damage on a miss, provided you rolled at least a 10 on the die. But a fighter will almost always hit on a 10 or 11. I'm wondering if making it a broader range might be more reasonable.
2) Meanwhile, the rogue looks potentially very dull. The huge sneak attack damage seems to be built around the concept that the rogue will spend every other round setting up advantage in some fashion (Hiding, Sniping, etc). But I could easily see them getting it every round with a well built party (like a fighter who knocks enemies prone) or with the Thug scheme. Toning down the Thug scheme in general seems wise, as I also don't like the idea of rogue's being able to immobilize an enemy every single round as long as they can deal sneak attack.
2b) They definitely are emphasizing the rogue's role as the master of skills. Perhaps almost too much - the rogue will auto-pass even hard DCs without much trouble, which maybe seems a bit too much. Maybe even just make it so that they can't do their 'take 10' if they roll a 1, so rolling the die has some tension to it, rather than none at all.
3) I am not a fan of returning to dx+Con hp per level. It makes Con way too necessary to survival. We're also back to having such frail wizards at level 1 that they will regularly get dropped in 1 hit. I'd prefer 4E's approach of giving Con Score hp at level 1, and then having it just scale via Hit Dice from there. Wizards will still be significantly more fragile than Fighters.... but not to such an extreme that the game breaks down.
4) The xp definitely seems high, but I'm guessing that is just a way to make sure the playtest covers more levels at a faster pace. So I'm not too worried there.
5) What is a bit worrisome is... how inaccurate monsters are. Almost every monster is rolling at around +2 to hit. With ACs around 16-17, that just seems a bit low.
Here is one possible solution for those bothered by these elements for reasons of believability: Just declare that attacks that deal damage on a miss can't drop the enemy below 1 hp.
So it can still represent overwhelming the opponent, but avoids having to justify inflicting lethal damage with a miss, for those who find that immersion-breaking. And from a game-mechanic perspective, it means that you can still benefit from powers with such 'fail-safes', but actually need to land at least one solid blow to win a fight.
Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
I'm not necessarily sure whether the intent of that example was to suggest that if a player rolls something you don't like, that you should just ignore it. Rather, I think it was giving an example where the outcome of a roll did not match the intensity of the RP, and saying, "Here is a scene where you could have simply skipped that roll and resolved it according to the RP."
Honestly, though, this isn't a suggestion new to 5E. I've seen the same thing in pretty much every edition of the game. And I've seen some groups that are fans of that approach, while others hate it. Each group tends to find its own balance as far as player skill vs character skill, and I don't think the rules here are changing that - just pointing out the different options that a DM has.
Thus far, I'm liking it in theory - we'll see how it works out in actual play. I like the extra roll rather than just getting a +2 bonus - while theoretically more powerful in most cases, it makes it more difficult to simply pile on bonuses from different sources to end up nearly auto-hitting.
For what it's worth, my own dismissal of your post was not based on your writing and grammar, but rather than logical breakdown between your initial premise and the evidence you put forward to support it.
Specifically, you first claimed that 4E was not designed for RP, and was explicitly designed as an MMO/Card/Computer/Boardgame. (Which is, I think, a great many things to merge into one - I'm not sure what that would look like! Maybe you are thinking of CuldCept, the multiplayer video game that combines Magic the Gathering and Monopoly? It is the only game the really comes to mind that blends all those elements into one.)
(Apologies for the tangent.)
Anyway, you claim the designers explicitly said such things. Now, I know of a number of quotes where they discussed the influence of these genres, sure. But I know of no place where they indicated that was their goal. Nor have I seen any quotes indicating their intent was to remove RP, and that doing so with 4E is "circumventing" their design.
When multiple people asked you to provide quotes along these lines, you did not do so. Instead, you offered a response which instead seemed to rely on your own perspective, and declared that RP along didn't make 4E D&D. And that is probably true. But is, certainly, a very different position from your original one.
Finally, following all that up, you offer your actual point - that 4E is not a game you are a fan of, and you give a number of specific reasons why. And that's fair - I can respect that, and if those elements are things you would not want to see in 4E, that is a perfectly valid opinion to have.
But, again, is very different from your initial claims, which have still gone unsupported. Which, you know, is not the end of the world - but when combined with lines like "pls run through this logical thinking n u will know what i mean", that bothered me. Not due to the writing or grammar or punctuation you used, but because you were insisting on your position as absolute truth, and implying a defect in anyone who disagreed with you, while simultaneously failing to actually support the position you gave.
But as you have mentioned, it was late at night when you wrote such things, so that may have had something to do with it. I just figured I'd point out that, at least from my perspective, this hurt your credibility much more than the writing itself.
4e Backgrounds and themes are a big, big joke. I bet if DMs knew about Paul Jaquays' Central Casting books they'd probably throw everything 4e offered for backgrounds and themes out of the window and use this. Antiquated, yes! But any DM should be inventive enough to really generate a character's background using this book and ingenuity (1st Edition is cool, Second Edition of the book is watered down.)
It's interesting, because I find basically zero truth in your actual example, but I think I do agree with the underlying point. (And your modularity ideal has a lot of good concepts in it.)
Look, if someone encapsulates their entire concept in their background and what skills it gives them, that isn't a property of the system - it is a property of the player. The same player, in 3rd Edition, when grizzled about who he was and why he is here, would say, "I'm a Fighter. It says it right here. I'm here to fight, right?"
You can develop as complex or as simple a backstory as you want, in 4E or any other edition. 4E offers some mechanical ways to let your backstory affect what your character is capable of, which tends to make for a mixed bag.
Good thing: "Hey! I don't have to spend feats or multiclassing to show how my fighter is good at Sleight of Hand due to his time as a magician's apprentice!"
Bad thing: "...but you know, what would be really nice is if I had a bigger bonus on Endurance. I guess I was... raised by wild orcs, cause that background gives the right bonus. Sure, I'll come up with a reason for that to make sense."
Basically, like any other area of the game where players have options, it is subject to min/maxing. If players make all their choices solely on that basis... yeah, they can end up with feats/backgrounds/themes/paragon paths that don't really merge into a sensible whole. But at the same time, without it, you have fewer options for engaging in mechanical representation of your character and backstory.
Which, yes, you can absolutely build that backstory and RP appropriately without such things - but at the same time, isn't that one of the fake critiques that most offer against 4E, that it doesn't have enough mechanical encouragement of RP?
Again, I think it is a situation where WotC loses either way - it's hard to make both sides happy.
Indeed, WotC actively offers exactly what you seem to be looking for - in the background sections of the books (and even more in the most recent books), it throws a whole host of questions and ideas at the player to encourage them to consider their past and figure out who they are and where they come from and what experiences they've had. Pretty much precisely what you accuse them of lacking...
...and yet, I don't know many folks who really use that. It is one of the areas that I respect them highly for having, but probably use less than any other content in these books.
So, what is the solution? Can we actively encourage more RP-driven choices? Or do we need to continue just putting the options out there and seeing what people go with? If a player has no imagination (or just doesn't care about their background), do we blame the system? The player? Or just accept it and see if we can make our game just as welcoming to them, regardless of whether we feel they 'measure up' to an acceptable level of character development?
Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
I'm referring to the way certain powers affect opponents according to square placement, rather than distances.
Agreed - this is the same reason why you can't bull rush opponents in 3rd Edition or earlier editions, or use any other effects that involve movement.
squares = distance. A power that pushes 2 squares knocks someone back 10 feet. That is, in fact, precisely how I describe it when running my 4E game, in which most of the combats take place without a battle map.
Without, thus far, having the system collapse around me.
Big important fights get battlemaps and minis and all that. I treat most other combats - random encounters, dealing with lackeys, etc - as skirmishes, and don't bother with a map.
Yes, it involves the players often asking questions about positioning, who they can reach, whether they can use certain attacks, etc - just like it did in every other edition.
4E certainly is designed with the battlemap in mind. But it can definitely be played without one. And what issues there are with doing so tend to be more related to Opportunity Attacks and the like, rather than forced movement. (And, I admit, I often handwave such OAs in skirmishes. But I imagine it would be exactly the same when running 3.5 without a battlemap, as well.)
Like I said - you can feel that their solutions didn't succeed. But claiming that making a solution wasn't their goal, and that explaining why they wanted to fix grappling wasn't discussing a known problem of 3rd Edition, but instead was needless mockery of the prior edition... I think that is reading stuff into it that simply isn't there.
And, similarly... I think anything aimed at accusing people of being 'nerds' was likely aimed as much at themselves as anyone else. But I'm not sure what specifically you are referencing, so I could be wrong.
Well, I wasn't around for the onset of 2nd Ed, so can't comment there. 2nd to 3rd was not really an issue, since 2nd wasn't as much actively being worked on when 3rd came into being.
However, while I'm sure they were hopeful that most players would see 4E as the next step, I really don't see your scenario as in any way logical. By your reasonining, they set out to intentionally make an inferior product with the plans of drawing in players by bashing their own audience.
As opposed to, say, making what they felt was a better product, and giving their reasons for the changes they made.
I still haven't, even years later, seen any vast array of evidence that they rolled out tons of adds accusing 3rd Edition players of being 'tools'. I'm sure, yes, there was some underlying current of promoting the new edition as a better game - they genuinely believed it was, and I don't see anything wrong with that. But that is very different from the accusations of attacks on the existing player base - an accusation that still has yet to produce any real evidence of statements along those lines.
I would also claim that 4ed isn't actually D&D at all- it's a name for a similar game with vastly different goals, and they knew that. Convert something or someone from a 198X Dragon magazine into Pathfinder. Now try it to 4ed. Which required a lot more work, in almost cases? You know the answer.
I do indeed, and it would absolutely be 4E for me. Since I've done just that. :)
Though I admit, that is due more to the tools available, rather than the internal similarities, sure. But that 1980 dragon adventure or class or whatever will, in my experience, have plenty of differences with 3.5/PF, and require plenty of work to convert as well - work that (again, in my experience) takes a lot more time and effort.
Either way, it is perfectly fine to feel that 4E isn't to your taste, and not the version of D&D that you want to play. But my friends and I are still playing D&D with it, so any claims about it not being D&D are, in every way that matters, just flat-out wrong.
I did feel taken aback by 4ed's marketing campaign. Essentially, a lot of the videos told me my games were absurd. That struck me as a damned crazy way to sell a product. Not "this new product rules because" but instead "here's why the old product sucks". It reeked of them realizing that 3.X (which you can transplant anything from 1ed and 2ed directly into, as it's really a revised version of old school stuff- WotC not supporting it isn't important, because a +3 Sword from 1988 still makes sense today) was an actual product of the community, and so they decided to poop on the community to sell you their new closed source product by trying to convince you that the version you are playing has issues.
Or, alternatively, they discussed actual issues that many groups had with the game! If those weren't an issue for you, it is perfectly valid to not be interested in a product that tries to address them, since it is a product that is fixing something you don't think is broken. That's fair enough.
But saying they can't offer honest explanation for why they made the changes they did - that the problems others had with the game simply did not exist, and WotC attempting to address the concerns of those gamers was actually them "pooping on the community"... that is absurd.
You have a far simpler reason in the possibility that they actually felt these issues were indeed flaws, and felt that they were ones the community wanted them to address. Maybe they were correct, maybe not. Maybe their solutions added their own problems.
But it seems basically self-evident, to me, that their motivations were to make improvements to the game, and then to explain the reasonining they used to do so. You can certainly feel that they failed at this. But this persistent idea that they somehow... deliberately set out to cripple the game, and then sell a flawed product by insulting their fanbase... is just sound and nonsense, and nothing more.
Chuck Wright wrote:
4E combat plays like a strategic wargame. I never said 4E was a strategic wargame. Don't add things that aren't being said. You're better than that.
Here is the actual truth of the matter:
4E can be played like a strategic wargame, and some groups enjoy that style of play.
3rd Edition/3.5/Pathfinder can be played like a strategic wargame, and some groups enjoy that style of play.
Both of these games can also be played without as much emphasis on those aspects, in or out of combat, and some groups enjoy that approach, as well.
I mean, I can't comment as much on the earlier editions (as the groups I play with these days are not the same groups I played with then). But one of my groups plays 4E very much with a heavy focus on the wargame aspect - and did the same exact thing when we played in 3rd Edition. Another group plays with less concern over such matters, just as they did in 3rd.
The idea that the system is somehow enforcing these styles on players, rather than it being something determined by the players themselves, is just silly.
Yes, there are specific differences in terms of mechanics, and each game might lend itself a bit more to one style of play or another. But neither to the extreme that most folks feel.
Possibly because, with 4E, they did a good chunk of development and then announced it 10 months before release, and many fans criticized them for giving them 'no warning', etc.
So now, in order to address those concerns, they are announcing it much earlier in the design process, with plans to incorporate a great deal of feedback along the way... and now, apparently, they are being criticized for announcing it 'before it is ready'.
WotC really just can't win, can they?
Stefan Hill wrote:
So 3e's wow factor was the d20 system, 4e's wow factor was the power mechanics, 5e's wow factor ???
I think you are mistaking a symptom for the cause. The power mechanics weren't the 'wow' factor of 4E - the wow factor was the balancing of classes, the simplification of prep for the DM, and the focus on narrative action. Powers and stat-blocks and action points were all specific mechanics that fed into such things, but were never really the end-all and be-all themselves.
For myself, what can 5E bring to the table?
1) The balance the 4E originally aimed for, potentially coupled with a scaling back of overall numerical bloat, which in turn will also return us to a swifter style of play.
I think many of these things are elements that they managed to improve upon over the course of 4E, but only by building them in from the start will they be able to get them right. We'll see how much compatibility with previous editions they can actually build into it - that seems a nigh-impossible task, but an amazing one if they can pull it off.
For myself, I'll settle for a game that incorporates the lessons learned from 4E, just as I enjoyed 4E as a game that addressed issues I had with 3.5. There are certainly things I miss from 3.5, and I am eager to see if they can bring them back while avoiding the original difficulties with such things.
In a sense, I suppose I am agreeing with you that what I am hopeful is a further refiniment of 4E. But at the same time, I think they can make a game that is just that, while also including new innovations as well as recapturing old-school elements.
At least, I can see it as possible, albeit not easy. Whether they'll succeed or fail will certainly be interested to see.
As much as I personally came to hate 4th Ed (after playing), I also recall all the bashing that WotC did to 3E when they wanted to push 4E. I'm just not sure if I buy they "self critiques" coming out now about how WotC conciders (at least part of) 4E a failure.
I really still don't get how reluctant some folks are to accept any sort of honest criticism or review of a system they play.
Every single criticism offered when WotC 'bashed' 3rd Edition was an existent complaint that numerous gamers had offered about the system. And WotC clearly said, "Yeah, we feel these are areas where we can do better."
Now, you might have personally felt that those areas didn't need to be changed, or that their solutions caused other problems worse than the original one. That's fair enough. But the idea that they were just degrading their current game to sell the new one - rather than offering an honest explanation for why they made the changes they did - strikes me as rather silly.
Same thing here. I am certainly a fan of 4E - but I don't think it is without its flaws. The issues with any system will become more apparent when hundreds of thousands of people are playing it and posting about their experiences, and I am certain that over the course of 4E, WotC has identified plenty of things in need of fixing - or plenty of areas where they can try and appeal to multiple types of gamers, rather than focus on just one at a time.
I may not always agree with the decisions they make or the solutions they provide. But attacking them for offering explanations - insisting that the best solution is for them to not communicate with us, not explain their design process, not offer honest thoughts to us - does not, in my opinion, send the right message.
On the other hand, by the time the new edition is actually out, it may well be at the 5 year mark. 4E was announced about 10 months before release, and many seemed to feel this was 'deceptive' and 'not giving the fans enough time' and such.
Given they may be trying to be more open in terms of communication and seem to be announcing this much earlier in the development cycle, and plan on incorporating a lot of feedback and playtesting, I can easily see it still being a solid 18 months before release, which will put it right around the 5 year mark that I would feel comfortable with. The question is, will we still see 4E products released during that time?
Quite possibly, given they have already slowed their 4E release schedule. So they have some room to spend their time developing 5E, release a few more 4E products along the way, and hopefully have something fully ready to go right around when everyone is ready for it.
Why should I even trust WOTC? Why should I believe that 5E isn't just another money grab? Mike Mearls needs to answer these questions before I'll have any enthusiasm for 5E.
All RPGs are designed to make money. Given that WotC is composed of a bunch of gamers, I'm confident it is also designed to be the best game they think they can make.
Now, that doesn't mean it will be a game you will like, sure. But I'm not sure where those questions ever really come into it. You should have enthusiasm for 5E if and when you see previews of it that look exciting and fun to play. Judge the product on its own merits - or, if you already are happy with other games, don't worry about it.
If the product looks fun, check it out. If not, don't. I remain confounded by how many people want to make it so much more complicated than that.
To me, it's more than that -- they keep talking about one system to rule them all... er, a single gaming system where we can all be playing the same game -- except that, to me, the very modularity they're talking about means that isn't true (or, rather, true In Name Only). Imagine the fun of trying to find and explain things to other gaming groups -- I mean, right now, if I tell people I'm running a Pathfinder campaign, then they know what to expect (in the same way that if I tell people I'm running a Mechwarrior 2ed, SR 4ed, Classic ED, whatever...) -- and if they don't like the feat-tree, Vancian, etc, etc, -- then they know not to play. But what will it mean that you're running a "D&D-5e" game?
I dunno. I already see so many differences from game to game, and always have - whether due to setting, house rules, DM style, etc - that I can't imagine this will be any more problematic than before.
I don't think D&D has ever been a single unified entity - but almost every game, no matter the house rules, still had a solid and similar core. I suspect the same to be true here.
What I'm hoping for, personally, is a product line like the following:
1) A cheap, softcover intro book, ala the Gamma World rulebook, that is short and concise and lets you sit down and dive right into playing. <$10
One of the few things they've said thus far is that they are pretty committed to ensuring that D&D remains, first and foremost, a tabletop RPG. I'm hopeful they will have plenty of digital support and options, but it does not sound like you will need any e-access to acquire books or play the game.
Here is my 'ideal' world, or at least general ideas that have been percolating in the back of my mind:
1: I would like the core of the game to be a small, concise and easy softcover book that covers the basic rules, provides a number of starting characters and monsters with limited customizability, along with some basic tools for the DM to make their own monsters and adventures. It would cover levels 1-10, only have the truly 'classic' races and classes and be very cheap - basically, I'm looking for the Gamma World rulebook, which was better than the Red Box as an intro package in every possible way. Call it "D&D Basic" or whatever.
2: Have a 'Players' book as a standard hardcover. This covers levels 1-20 or 1-30, and offers a ton more options in terms of races and classes, as well as customizability within each class. Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Warlord, Wizard = 10 classes. Human, Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Half-Elf, Half-orc; Gnome, Eladrin, Deva, Tiefling, Dragonborn = 11 races.
3: In terms of mechanics, there is room to play a simple fighter or a complicated one. Even with options, there should be much less in the way of 'fiddly bits' - take the original 4E approach (of allowing a very limited range of attack/damage/defense optimization) and stick to it, rather than flooding the market with feats that grant small numerical bonuses. Avoid anything resembling the expertise feats like the plague. Tone down the racial ability score benefits so they don't drive char-gen quite as much - play up unique special abilities and the like. Finally, establish some guidelines for different thematic elements and stick with them, so that playing a swordsman feels very different from an axeman, and playing a fire mage feels very different from a wind mage. Finally, has a bunch of common and basic magic items for general use, though even these should be slightly more interesting than "+1 sword".
4: A DM book in hardcover. Contains lots of advice, but also contains many premade challenges, traps, monsters and other obstacles, along with the tools for creating your own. Monster selection is concise and not worried about ecologies, background, etc. Also contains more in the way of uncommon and rare items and artifacts.
5: A Monster Book, with tons of monsters, and a heavy focus on background, RP, story, etc.
6: DDI, built in from the ground floor, with all of its flaws and hiccups ironed out, with regular support and reliable access. Basically, the original game plan for 4E, only this time, they get it right.
Those are the big ones, in terms of general approach. Some other random thoughts:
7: Tone down the numbers in general. Scale back on hp, scaling bonuses, etc, which will both keep it easier to keep the math under control, and hopefully address issues about grind. This does risk more in the way of swinginess, which does need to be watch for, admittedly.
8: Return saving throws to player's hands. Keep the math the same, in terms of the balance we have now in non-AC defenses. But while this is something that I very much like in theory, players can definitely feel the lack of agency, even if there is no numerical difference between making the save or being targeted by an attack.
9: Keep rules for minions, elites, solos, etc.
10: Where powers and spells still show up, make them more consistent, and more scaleable. You don't need to have three different spells at level 5, level 15, and level 25, that all involve "big fiery explosion" when you can just make one that gets better at later levels.
11: So, with having all this stuff at launch, what products to release from there? Setting books, sure (I do like the self-contained release, though I don't think it needs to stop at 2 or 3 forever. But we also don't need 20 or 30 books per setting, either.)
12: Many of the standard specialist books "Complete Warrior/Martial Power", etc. Find ways to keep them filled with content but low on bloat. Probably a hopeless task, but... worth striving for.
Anyway, these are just ideas bouncing around in my head. I'm still not sure, in terms of the goal of modularity, if the better approach is to try and contain it all within 1 book, or have multiple books with different approaches.
I do think, at its core, that the biggest things I'd like to see are a cheap intro book and proper DDI support. Those would be a big, big deal.
I think the more customizable approach is a very good direction to go in, and one that they clearly hope will solve some of the problems of a divisive fan base. I'm sure, as always, their goals are to create the best game they can, and one that many people will enjoy playing - and, thus, also gladly purchase. Those seem perfectly acceptable reasons to me.
The big question, though, is whether they will succeed. The design approach they've mentioned thus far will be fantastic if it works, but will be very tricky to get just right.
I think the goal of 4E was to present a game that promises a shared experience and an assurance of certain expectations about balance and fair play - one that they thought, yes, that many folks would want to run and play.
From that quote above - specifically the part about it "becoming your D&D", it sounds like the new edition may have goals that are instead focused on customizability, and making it work for many different playstyles and approaches.
Which sounds difficult to pull off, but certainly a worthy goal. But also a different one than that of 4E.
Anyway, as far as whether this is too soon... 3 years later is too soon for me. 5 years later is not. So the question is, how long do they plan their playtest and development time? Between gathering player input, development and testing, I could see the release not hitting until later 2013/early 2014, which is about the timeframe most folks seem to have expected at the start.
On the other hand, if we see it released before the end of the year... that would probably feel a bit too rushed to me.
Either way, I plan to judge the final product based on its own merits. I enjoyed 3rd Edition, and I have enjoyed 4E. There are plenty of things I would change about both. Maybe the new game will address that and provide what I'm looking for, or maybe it will go in a different direction entirely.
Or maybe it will move towards making it customizable enough for me to assemble exactly what I am looking for - that would be excellent. That has really been 4E's biggest strength, in my book - that it was easier to start with 4E as a base, and add what I felt was missing, than go in any other direction. Ease of use for the DM was a big focus of 4E and one of its biggest successes, and if the next edition can capitalize on that even more, I'll certainly be a fan.
As worded, I don't believe it would make them incapable of going below 50% (they just wouldn't count as bloodied despite having reached that point). (Also, as noted, the game doesn't really treat bloodied as a condition so much as a state, which is why your wording runs into a bit of weirdness).
For purposes of clarity, I think a better way to phrase it might be as "You do not count as being bloodied when your hit points have been reduced to your bloodied value or below."
Or, alternatively, keep the original wording if it is important, and just use that line as clarification for what "immune to the bloodied condition" actually means.
In terms of actual game balance, I don't think it would be too problematic. We already have items that can let someone count as bloodied even when above their bloodied value (or force enemies to count as bloodied in the same way), and we have at least one race (Revenant) that can let someone not count as immediately dying even when they've dropped below 0 (not to mention a handful of powers and items like Diehard that can do the same thing).
Now, admittedly, in most of those cases, the effect is limited use - never counting as bloodied is a step up. On the other hand, it is also a lot harder to directly take advantage of - counting as bloodied when not bloodied is often much more powerful. So I think leaving it always on is fine, as long as you count it as a rare enough item (as you seem to be doing), and watch out for abuses.
But honestly, I can think of very few ways to really abuse it. A few combos come to mind, but nothing too extreme, so I think it should be safe enough to introduce as designed.
Goblins Eighty-Five wrote:
Rule Zero is a valuable tool, but also one with great potential for abuse. For many players who have been burned by it before (and I think we've all heard the sort of horror stories out there of bad calls by DMs), its easy to blame it as the sole culprit.
The truth is, a good DM can do great things with the ability to adjust the rules on the fly, or by running things totally by the book. A bad DM will be a nightmare regardless of whether he is making stuff up or just finding the worst way within the rules to screw over the players.
In the end, what really matters is that the players and the DM have a shared understanding, going into a game, of what expectations are in play. Operating as by the book as possible is a perfectly valid approach, as is a more free-form style with many DM rulings made on the fly. The key is to discuss it beforehand, and if there is disagreement over what approach is best, try to come to some sort of compromise.
That isn't always possible, of course. But I think anyone who is saying that one way or the other is the 'only true way to DM' is missing the point. It isn't about one approach or another being better - it is about having the right approach for your group as a whole. In this case, compromise might not have been an option, especially if this was a random group of players at a game store or similar situation.
Even so, I don't think that simply tossing the player out was the best solution. Instead, a better approach might have been saying something like, "Hey, I believe that Rule Zero is an important part of the game, and as the DM, I reserve the right to call upon it when I feel it is necessary, and if you don't think you can play in light of that, you may wish to leave."
Anyway, them's my thoughts on the matter.
Question for those of you using companions: does everyone just use Lydia from Whiterun? I ask b/c I did until recently, thinking all companions are created equally (at least of the same skill set). But after using a 2-h specialist (Mjoll the Lioness from Riften), I can't help but think she's tougher than Lydia, who got the crap beat out of her far too often--and she even had a shield for better protection.
From what I've heard, the level of your allies is set based on your level when you first encounter them - so Lydia, who most people encounter earlier in the game, tends to end up weaker than most other possible companions.
And I could do it in the same time in 3E. I don't see the problem.
I think, though, there is a notable difference between what a good DM can do with a system and what the default for that system is. Yes, in the latest years of 3.5, I had figured out that rigid stat-blocks weren't as necessary, and that saved a lot of time in the long run. But it didn't change that doing things 'by the book' could be a long and time-consuming endeavor, and 4E actively moved to address that in the core rules themselves.
One can like the changes 4E made or not, sure, but I think it hard to deny that they were the product of a modern design sensibility, and an attempt to actively answer many issues and dilemmas that players had with the game. You can feel that they didn't do so successfully, or that they gave up too much in other areas in order to fix those problems... but trying to insist that the standard of being 'modern' was whether you, personally, liked it... seems to miss the point.
(And just to be clear, TOZ, the last paragraph there isn't aimed specifically at you, but just at the general sentiment that has cropped up from some posters in the thread.)
Yeah, sounds like EA just totally screwed up.
And, honestly, the screw-up itself? I tend to be willing to accept that such thinks happen, and the best-laid plans can end in disaster. It's really the response - the knee-jerk ban and the insistence on you playing by their timetable in waiting for it to be fixed - where you can really see the failure of the company and their attitude towards their customers.
If that's the "short straw" option for some people, maybe they didn't have enough imagination, or enough team spirit, for the old game.
You know, I am all in favor of different folks enjoying different styles of play, and there is totally room for challenging, gritty games with high-tension and the ever-present threat of death.
But here is a hint - when folks object to your characterization of their style of play, or offer up reasons why they don't prefer your approach? Saying that the problem is that they "don't have enough imagination or enough time spirit" is really poor form.
Seriously, you are free to prefer one style over another. But coming up with personal attacks or inventing imaginary flaws for those who might disagree with your or have legitimate reasons for enjoying a different approach to the game? Not cool, and not doing your argument any favors.
Question... are you absolutely certain that the "email from EA" asking you to change your password was actually from them, and not some sort of phishing scheme? If you ran afoul of someone who then tried to hijack your account, that might explain the log-in issues and possibility of a ban.
I just found out that Nirnroots don't grow back while taking on a quest to bring someone twenty of them. After downing a bunch of potions I made with Nirnroots...
I don't know about in the wild, but I have seen Nirnroots in indoor locations (such as amongst the various alchemical reagents scattered about the Mage's College) respawn after a long enough time.
(I also carelessly tossed my first few Nirnroots into random potions, before finding out about the quest, so I've been in a similar situation).
Dorje Sylas wrote:
I should stop buggering aborting in ruins cause I'm picking up all kinds of random quest items that I can't drop. I've got two of them now, a bow and a dagger.
I was worried about this as well, but someone told me that quest items - despite having a listed weight - don't actually weigh anything. I haven't been able to confirm it for sure, yet, but that makes me a lot less worried about having to get rid of all the random quest-based items that have accumulated in my inventory.
Another problem w/ Destruction spells--especially area-of-effect like Fireball--is that you can end up killing your follower. So keep that in mind. I'd be curious how many others have had this worry to deal w/.
It was probably the biggest thing hindering me... until I had a 'Doh!' moment and realized I could gear up my companion with Shock Resistance so that Chain Lightning (usually) just bounces off of her. And suddenly I could spam death at hordes of enemies once again!
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I think Josh M.'s post was aimed more at Gendo's comments (about 4E as a whole being "an MMO adapted for tabletop play"), rather than at Aardvark Barbarian.
As always, when these sort of comments come up with, my response is generally... I feel bad that this person had a bad experience with the game. I'm not quite sure how it felt like an MMO (I've never seen that description ever adequately justified), but I'll take it to mean he felt like there was little room for story or character, that it was too easy and/or death was trivial, or that encounters felt like 'grinding' cardboard enemies rather than battling fearsome monsters.
And if was any or all of those things - again, I think it unfortunate he had that experience! I've seen that sort of thing happen on several occasions. But, inevitably, it was the result of the DM and/or the players (or, potentially, the adventure) - and not the result of the game system itself.
Still, similarly, each edition can offer a vast array of styles of play - again, depending on DM, adventure, etc. The Lair Assault is clearly in the same vein as classic D&D 'dungeoncrawl tournaments', Living Greyhawk Battles Interactives, and the like, and I'm glad that Gendo found it an enjoyable approach.
While note this exact dilemma, I've come across a similar one when running Dark Heresy (the Warhammer 40k RPG about working for the Inquisition).
The problem in this case is that, since the group is part of this vastly powerful organization, we early on ran into a lot of situations where the group's most logical move is just to hand off important findings to superiors and expect them to take care of it.
As the game has progressed, I've developed more reasons why this isn't an option (their own group being under suspicion by others, potential heretic cults having secretly suborned existing Inquisitors, their own allied Inquisitors being injured, etc). But even then, it remains a tough question, and we still occasionally have people wondering why, when they are going about such important work, they can't just have the Inquisition give them tons of money and equipment to achieve their goals. (Which obviously isn't really a viable option from a game balance perspective.)
I imagine the FR situation is similar. It isn't that every campaign will feature Elminster popping in and dealing with the villains. But if a group is in Shadowdale, what happens if they say, "Hey, Elminster, check out this plot we uncovered - think you can help?"
Does he just say no? Does the DM invent reasons he doesn't want to get involved? Does the DM just make sure he is never at home?
And if he does all that, doesn't it defeat part of the point of the setting that every time the PCs show up in an important town or locale where important NPCs are supposed to hang out... those NPCs never seem to actually be there.
I don't think it is an issue for every campaign, nor is it one that a DM can't find ways to address. But the potential is certainly there for questions to be raised, one way or another.
And that's one of the reasons I don't play PFS or any other living campaigns either.
In no place did I attribute the cause to the format, only that the format has those issues. Someone said that the kind of digital tools I was speaking of in the original post were akin to playing MMOs, and I was refuting that, on the basis that those digital tools do not restrict storytelling or roleplaying, nor do they create a shared world with respawning quests or continuity issues.
Also fair, and I do regret bogging down the thread in yet more of this tangent, which I think does distract from the much more interesting ideas engaged in at the start of the thread.
Now, what assumptions am I making that aren't true?
My comment there was mainly in light of the original comment, which seemed to make some assumptions about the current feel of things without, clearly, having any actual experience with those games:
"Sounds to me like that makes it even more true than before. Now, not only do you "save" the town only to have the next person come through find it in the exact same predicament that you just saved it from, but while you're running around buying stuff and talking to townsfolk after rescuing it, there's someone else running around the same town at the same time, trying to save it from flames and Horde that don't exist to you. Major disconnect there. Coherent story = gone."
As noted, you don't have another person running around town at the same time after you saved it. Many MMOs, these days, have a system that works quite a bit harder to preserve that coherency and help you feel the impact of your actions on the setting.
Additionally, you later blamed this on the limitations of the system, and that you couldn't get around this shared-universe issue without substantially more robust economies/ecologies/AI/quest systems. But, as I was trying to point out, many of those elements aren't really what causes the breakdown in experiences, and it is just as capable of occuring in a tabletop RPG as an MMO.
Anyway, it is certainly fair to find that element disruptive and prefer to avoid games that allow for it. I just wanted to clarify what I felt the best comparison actually was.
I wouldn't agree. Complaining that other players on OTHER servers are doing the same instance is like complaining the group at the next table is running the same module. The next table metaphorically is a different server. The other players at the table with you are the players that are metaphorically on the same server with you.
Here is what it actually corresponds to: Playing the same adventure as another table in any living campaign. LFR, LG, whatever - there will be times when you sit down at a table with some characters, ask them about their former adventures, and find out that you both helped save the Crimson Widget of Questing - only when you did it, you saved the town of Innocentville and defeated the Evil Overlord, while they teamed up with the Overlord to burn the town and then stole the Widget away from him when his back was turned.
This isn't a problem that has arisen due to the 'evil interwebs', it is a problem intrinsic to any shared-world game system with a massive number of players. Yes, some discrepancies arise, but typically the coherency of the story for any individual character remains intact.
Now, there are genuine limits to story impact and interaction that are imposed, both by the MMO format and by CRPGs in general. That's absolutely true. But several of your comments here seem to making some assumptions that aren't actually true, as well as attributing causes to the format (video game) rather than other elements that can be just as much an issue when sitting around a game table.