Scott Betts wrote:
I think there are plenty of folks who can feel disappointed in DC's sexism without getting enraged by it. I also think there are many who offer up their criticism of DC's actions in perfectly civil discourse - plenty of them in this very thread.
Dismissing such opinions as 'nerd rage' is... well, it seems a cheap tactic. Saying that being bothered by sexism comes from a lack of perspective - that such concerns aren't valid when there are more important things to be bothered by - is equally so.
If you feel that DC's actions in this instance (and the many, many other similar situations over the last few years) are not sexist, that's a perfectly fine opinion to have and to offer up for discussion. But come on - we're on a gaming forum, filled with thousands of discussions and debates over all manner of subjects. Saying that this topic - sexism - isn't worth having, or that those who disagree with you are simply doing so out of hysteria or overreaction... that's not fair, and that's not right.
For many of us, comics are important. Maybe just as entertainment, sure. But they still brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, whether growing up with them or discovering them and enjoying them for their art, stories, shared mythology, etc. For many folks, discovering the flaws of those works is, yes, cause for disappointment and criticism.
Why bother with the criticism? With the discussion of sexism, with the 'nerd rage'? Why not just walk away? I'm sure there are many reasons. Hope that maybe enough voices will get through, and will help the worst offenders move away from such behavior - and that maybe, just maybe, that will help the comics industry as a whole avoid its ongoing obsolescence. Or maybe just out of the hope of having better stories that, as a customer, I can freely enjoy.
So, where exactly do you find the problem in that? Are those wrong outcomes to hope for? Or is it sharing such opinions in a forum like this? If this isn't the place for such topics to be discussed, where is?
Dies Irae wrote:
I dunno, it seems to fit the theme they've been building up with the first game. I mean, story doesn't necessarily get the heaviest focus overall, but the theme of sacrifice - both of your soldiers, and of your humanity as you use more and more alien tech and abilities - is there pretty much from the start. Making tough decisions is even part of the core gameplay, in needing to decide where to send squads during alien abductions - and often having to weigh whether you want to go somewhere that will get you the best reward, even if it means another county will collapse into panic and chaos.
So while I can definitely see being creeped out by some of these newest features, I suspect that on some level that is the goal. It isn't necessarily in your face about it, but it doesn't seem likely to be accidental, either.
My biggest complaint about Next, hands-down, is returning to 3rd Edition style hp. I hate how much emphasis it puts on Con and I hate how wide the gaps it allows between one character and the next. I do want there to be a tangible difference between classes, but I felt that 4E did a much better job of keeping those numbers reasonably balanced.
My biggest hope for Next is that it will manage to allow for different play styles that work alongside each other, and the current form of the fighter makes me somewhat hopeful for that. You have a couple different variants - one of which (the Gladiator) has some encounter-based maneuvers and tricks, while another (the Warrior) is just a straight-forward fighter with good static bonuses to damage.
I'm hoping that if they succeed at the modular design they are hoping for, and take advantage of offering different 'paths' for each class that allow for different styles of play, then Next can manage to bring forward the best from several different editions at once. Not an easy task, but the direction they've gone in thus far has left me hopeful.
You shouldnt take my comments to extremes. Extremes will always be there but they are hardly helpfull in discussing 99% of cases.
But that is the point - you made an absolute statement, and our point is that it isn't absolute, since we can find examples where it doesn't applies.
Now, you can argue whether those examples are extreme 1% cases or not, sure. But I think you need a lot more evidence if you want to actually claim that your examples are common and typical, while any counter-evidence is extreme and unlikely.
As for what you describe as what you want from games doesnt require balance. Besides even if you play beside smeone who was allowed to break their character, when asked what you do, it doesnt matter if they have +30 and you have +5, you still have a great chance of success, and someone elses chance doesnt change your ability.
Except in how it impacts the adventure design. Having a character that trivializes social encounters might mean the DM shies away from using social checks as an obstacle - or simply doesn't bother with making them a challenge, if they know you will bypass them automatically. And, yes, for some players it will feel pointless to try and make a check when someone else will always be so much better than them. Or, worse, has a way to bypass obstacles without rolling - if I have a skill I am good at, but it is never relevant because you can always cast Charm/Fly/etc to bypass the situation, that might prove frustrating.
Now, all that said, *YOU* might not find this to be the case. But again, you can only speak for your own preferred approach, not for others. For myself, and for many of those I game with, part of the enjoyment of the game does derive from being able to contribute to the adventure, and feeling like our concept of our character is properly realized by their capabilities. Imbalance can - and often has - detracted from the game.
If that isn't the case for you, I'm not going to insist you need a balanced game in order to enjoy yourself. But, similarly, I will find it unreasonable - and even offensive - when you insist that we are simply playing the game wrong, and should be perfectly happy with an unbalanced game as long as we played the game in your own, superior way.
Besides, a situation with multiple avenues of success means you can do what you ae good at to move on, but yet you support every character being good enough at everything that they have no weakness such that you only encouter situations with one way to succeed which isbad on the writers and GMs part, and allows you to be lazy, taking the obvious route because you dont have to worry about being weak. What you ask for is god characters.
That isn't remotely what we are asking for. I'm having trouble properly picking it apart, since your epic run-on sentence is largely incomprehensible. But from what I can gather, you seem to think we are asking for "every character" to be good at "everything" and have "no weakness".
None of which remotely resembles what we have asked for. Balance is not about making everyone great. Instead - at least for me - it is about keeping a reasonable distance between being good and being the best. It is about avoiding having one character with an ability (spellcasting) that can trump all the capabilities of the rest of the party, and not having properly designed limitations and downsides to that ability.
The only one who has talked about god characters and characters without weaknesses is you. If you feel otherwise, or feel that we have miscommunicated our desires, feel free to provide actual quotes so that we can provide clarification.
Next point, so combat magic should be free of charge, but the more commonly used magic should cost more then most nonadventurers make in several months for each use? Making certain spells usable as rituals is fine, making anything not combat focused a costly ritual is not fine and it breaks the IC continuity, what do you think most spellcasters spend their time doing? Why were thise rituals even made, copied, and sold? Adventurers are a tiny part of population, and the "action" sequences of their lives are miniscule compared to the drudgery of everyday. You think zo much work and expense goes into researching the least often used magic without researching more beneficial magic?
As I mentioned early, I prefer a magic system where magic is potent but has significant limitations. As for the ritual system, I think the cost issue is a problem, but that has to do with the 4E economy as a whole, rather than any problem with rituals themselves. I fail to see any way in which rituals break continuity.
Why would a spellcaster sell rituals? Well, presumably because someone is willing to buy them. If you have a setting in which that isn't the case, feel free to run a low-magic game and make the appropriate tweaks to the rules for doing so. I did just that - my last 4E campaign featured rituals prominently, but they were never simply for sale in town - instead, they were treasure that PCs acquired by plundering the laboratory of evil wizards, or so forth.
Yes, you can invent a setting and reasons why rituals would seem out of place. But, honestly, the same is true with magic items and consumables in many editions of the game. In 3.5, you certainly need to take some steps to handwave away the reasons why NPC item creation and PC item creation are seemingly functioning on different economic scales.
Skill challenges are neat but bland and repetative. They also dont reflect the skill very well in most cases, sometimes it works, like for diplomacy, but not for most cases.
Well, that might have been the case in your game. In mine, that wasn't so. I will definitely admit that running and designing skill challenges well can be a difficult skill. But when the system works, it provides quite a bit of value. I suggest that if you have someone who is running bland and repetitive skill challenges and is forcing skills to work in non-intuitive fashion, that they are probably trying to force the skill challenge system to work in places where simple skill checks might be more appropriate.
And at least in DnD each DC represented an actual difficulty compared to an objective standard, 4e doesnt.
You are flat-out incorrect. 4E provides direct, static DC values for many skill checks, just like in 3.5. It *also* provides a scaling DC chart for situations that are more free-form. If you want the DC to climb a rough surface like a brick wall, you can consult the static DC listing (DC 20) and use that.
If, instead, you have a more free-form situation where a PC wants to scale the back of an enormous earth elemental that is currently engaged in titanic combat with a dragon... well, that is where you might want to look up the scaling DC chart. Assuming that you feel that is a challenging situation to succeed at, you might use the Hard DC listed, and use the elemental's CR to provide the level.
That is one of the things people often miss, by the way. The scaling DC chart that is based on level? The intent isn't for you to always use the level of the PCs, and thus always have the chalenge scale exactly to them. The goal is to use whatever the appropriate level would be for the challenge / skill / stunt / etc. Now, often, the PCs will be in level-appropriate situations where the level will be close to their own. But nothing says that has to be the case.
That is becase then they can let you have all kinds of numbers without it saying anything about your skill compared to anyone else, nor can you make any juxgements about the world based on your results, basically the numbers become meaningless so they can keep adding them to give you that sense of improvement more often while ignoring the world your characters live in. Perhaps this rather lazy approach suits you, but that doesnt make it great, awesome, or the best thing since sliced bread. There is no relation between what is acheived and what is normal for the world and its inhabitants, thus any sense of balance only applies to your party, an illusion of balance.
Well, I might again take offense to you making assumptions about our gaming styles and calling them lazy. Fortunately, your claims seem routed in completely misunderstanding the 4E rules and willfully ignoring how they work and what they represent.
Giving that the scaling DC system is *explicitly* about measuring your skill compared to everyone else, and that we *also* have hard numbers available to describe what is normal for the world and its inhabitants, I'm going to find your arguments here to be pretty much completely invalid.
Now, that doesn't mean you need to like scaling DCs or enjoy your use. If you prefer static numbers all the time, that is perfectly fine. But 4E provides both static numbers and scaling DCs, and many of us find the 'page 42' DC chart to be a very useful tool in running games. But, again, you seem unwilling to accept that others might prefer different styles of gameplay to your own, or that there might be any valid reasons for them to have those preferences.
Implying tha people would play like me if they lived up to there potential was not intended, but if they lived up to their potential they would understand what Im saying and realize how system balance is nothing but an illusion that shatters under intelligent play of any sort.
Wow. "I didn't mean to imply that my approach was better than anyone else. But, that said, if people were as smart as me, they would realize that their opinions are wrong and the result of being stupid players."
I... honestly, I don't think I've ever seen such blind arrogance and willful ignorance in discussions like this before. I will give you credit - you are a civil poster, and all the insults you have offered in your discussion appear to be accidental rather than intentional.
But to claim that those who prefer a balanced system are doing so only because they aren't intelligent enough to see things on your level - to be so incapable of even considering the possibility that other opinions and approaches might be valid - is just staggering.
You know (in entirely a side discussion here), you may want to look into the approach that D&D Next is taking. Spellcasting memorization has relaxed a bit - effectively, at the start of the day, the Wizard (or Druid, or whomever) chooses what spells to 'know' for the day. And throughout the day, can cast whichever of those spells they wish, using the appropriate spell slots.
So instead of a Wizard saying, "I have three 1st level spell slots, so memorize 1 Magic Missile, 1 Shield, and 1 Charm Person spell", they would say, "I have memorized Magic Missile, Shield, and Charm Person, and then can cast 3 magic missiles, or 1 of each spell, or 1 shield and 2 charm person, or whatever combination or those spells that they so choose.
Meanwhile, the way rituals work is that rituals are simply a variant form of spellcasting. Instead of the limitation being cost, the limitation is instead time - but the benefit is that if you cast a spell in a ritual fashion, it doesn't use up a spell slot. So if you have memorized the Alarm spell for the day, you could use a spell slot to cast it normally - or you could cast it as a ritual, which doesn't use up a spell slot, but takes an extra 10 minutes to cast.
Anyway, not particularly relevant to the discussion, but it did seem like the D&D Next approach was rather in line with your thinking, so I figured I would mention it.
My comment about balance being noticed only by the lazy, is quite simply based on the fact that if you arent being lazy in your thinkingthen you would realize tnat tbe choices of the player have orders of magnitude more effect on outcomes then the system, which merely facilitates implementing random chances of failure. This is why a GM is needed because the system has such limits to what it can handle.
I will continue to find your assumptions about the rest of us to be inaccurate and condescending.
Look, I recognize that even in an imbalanced system, the choices I make as a player can overcome those imbalances and correct for them. I also recognize that a good DM can make adjustments to fix many problems inherent in a gaming system.
But that doesn't mean we should have to make those fixes on our own. Having a system that addresses those problems from the start leaves us with more time to focus on characterization and gameplay. If it is 'lazy' to prefer a system that is superior for our desired style of gaming, and that lets us focusing on enjoying the game rather than fixing the system... then sure, you win, you can call us lazy.
I blame video games because in a video game you cant allow options except for those explicitly allowed in programming, thus people get used to thinking in terms of what the system allows rather then thinking beyond that to what the GM can allow.
That's actually an interesting point, though I don't think it has anything to do with video games - I've seen this sort of behavior in gamers who have never touched a video game in their life. This is actually one of the reasons I lost interest in 3.5 - too often, it felt like the system discouraged thinking outside the box or being able to do anything other than the options directly presented to them.
4E (at least for me) took a step back and seemed to encourage this style of play (with the emphasis on stunts and free-form challenges), and provided the DM with guidelines to help resolve events that aren't written on the page. Indeed, I found that if your group embraced this, then skill challenges and the like could turn into engaging and elaborate activities that could go on for an entire session. If your group couldn't wrap your head around this, then it was very easy for them to turn into slogs in which everyone just says, "I find a way to roll diplomacy" and never bothers trying to describe their action.
So... I agree that it is a concern. I don't think it is one that has any real origin in video game exposure, though, or one that is only a flaw in certain systems. And, indeed, for some groups it might even be simply how they prefer to play, with all of the rules explicit and clear, and I can't find anything wrong in that.
The key, of course, is ensuring that everyone in a group, and the DM, are on the same page. If a group doesn't want a freeform skill challenge, the DM can just leave those elements out of their game. For myself, where such a thing can be an impetus to unexpected adventures, having a system that embraces such an approach was very welcome, and one of the biggest strengths of 4E for me.
What most dont know about 3.x is that most DCs and secondary rules are based on reality. Even carry capacity is based on reality, 3.0 jump DCs are based on reality. People often claim otherwise because they try to make elite individuals as lvl 20 when the max of human ability is lvl 5.
You are going to need to show your work here, because I don't think anything involving D&D ability scores or skill checks are remotely realistic. They are a complete abstraction, and I am going to need serious evidence to convince me otherwise. We don't even need to go beyond level 5, by the way. (Although why you would claim that the D&D rules are based on reality, and then claim that they breakdown only a fraction of of the way into the game, kinda shows the problem in your argument in the first place.)
4e does away with any pretense of even trying to compare to reality or plausability not even within the game world itself.
Once again, 4E includes static DCs are skill checks. It includes rules for carrying capacity. It includes Jump DCs based entirely on distance.
I recommended earlier that you familiarize yourself with Lord of the Rings and other classic works of fantasy in order to realize why your claims of how magic 'is realistically supposed to work' was so at odds with the portrayal of magic within the fantasy genre.
Now, I'd like to also recommend you familiarize yourself with the 4E rules system, since it sounds like a lot of your arguments against it are rooted in assumption about how it works, rather than actual fact.
Scott Betts wrote:
No one was forced to buy the Kinect to get the bundle they wanted.
I will point back to my own experience, in which almost all of the stores in my area were only stocking bundled packages, at least for a time. Now, I have no idea how much of an impact that would make, but I do imagine at least some of those Kinect sales did not come from 'desire for a Kinect' but out of 'desire for an Xbox, and not realizing they could find it cheaper elsewhere in a non-bundled package'.
Now, don't get me wrong - I don't think the Kinect is a bad piece of technology, nor do I fault Microsoft for continuing to try and make it stick. But I think that claiming it is an "insanely popular technology" is just... not really supported by the evidence or by the industry. I don't think there is a lack of interest in it either, of course. I suspect we're looking at a product that maybe 1/5 of the customer base is interested in and invested in.
Which isn't bad, and certainly makes it a worthwhile product to sell - but also does mean that there is a lack of interest in it from the majority, and that focusing on it too heavily isn't going to be met with an especially warm reception.
I look forward to these technologies continuing to improve and to the industry changing as they continue to be refined. I look forward to the eventual VR kits that will no doubt emerge from them all! :) But we are certainly not there yet, and the Kinect is still trying to break out of the 'gimmick' stage of its existence. I definitely get why Microsoft really wants to get it to evolve into its next stage by force, rather than by natural interest, but suspect it may be a flawed approach in the long term.
Both the WiiU and the PS4 have Kinect-equivalent motion control. But they are both OPTIONAL. Which means that people who care about them can get them, and those that don't care don't have a useless $100 paperweight bundled in with their console.
Yeah, this pretty much sums it up for me.
When my original XBox died (approximately a month after the warranty expired), I went shopping for a new one, and went to a local Best Buy. They didn't have a single version of the XBox for sale on its own - they only sold it bundled with the Kinect. I didn't have a need or desire for the Kinect and wasn't willing to pay the extra price, so I ended up getting my new console elsewhere.
As it was, Best Buy's decision to not sell the product I was looking for cost them a sale. When the new consoles launch, the same will be true for me - but for Microsoft as a whole, rather than just a single retailer. By making the Kinect a required component, along with the corresponding price increase, they have chosen to sell a product I'm not interested in (the bundled package) rather than one I might be (a console on its own).
And that's perfectly fine! That is a decision they made, and presumably had reasons for - making the Kinect integral to the product does ensure that games can be programmed with the assumption that the Kinect is available, and if that benefit is worth it to them, fair enough.
But it is their decision and they need to live with the consequences, and I suspect lost sales will only be a part of it. I respect that they feel invested in the Kinect product and want to really make that part of the XBox identity. But as a customer, I prefer having accessories like that optional, and as such, I don't appear to be a consumer that Microsoft is interested in having.
if you cant use a lever, get a longer lever. A long enough lever will let a one pound weight lift a two ton truck. Strength only applies if the lever is sideways or you have something to brace against. Bracing vastly increases the power output and is a result of intellect. Sure the intellect needs to be usable and preferably practical, a smart individual stays fit, which is more than enough to handle anything that can be handled by people.
So, previously you claimed that intellect always trumps strength. Your claim now appears to be that "intellect + access to infinite resources + some strength" trumps "strength without anything else".
No one has argued that intellect isn't a valuable tool and that there are many scenarios where brains triumph over brawn. The disagreement is the absolutism of your statement, especially since you seem to keep inventing qualifications to bypass specific scenarios that prove it false. And that, ironically, such backpedaling comes across as its own form of intellectual dishonesty.
a question to consider, what is your goal in playing the game? To kill every last enemy? Or to portray a character? What are these results you "need" and why do you need them? Do you somehow feel inadequate if have a 30% chance of failure rather then 5% chance of failure? Do you feel inadequate if you encounter anything at all that your are not suited or preppared to deal with? Do not people learn more and show their true mettle when dealing with obstacles that they dont know how to deal with? Is a game only fun if you never encounter failure, if you never have to backtrack, rethink your strategy, and try again?
There are many ways to enjoy a game, and at least for myself, they involve both the portrayal of my character as well as their impact in the story - an impact that is often measured by their capabilities in handling challenges.
I don't think anyone is asking for the removal of all obstacles or a guranteed lack of failure. As far as I can tell, you are the only one to propose such things in a relatively transparent straw man argument. What is being asked for, at least for myself, is a system that allows for multiple avenues of approach to success, while providing a bounded framework that does not emphasize or exaggerate any one approach too far beyond the reach of the others.
I should have included the word "reletivily" because yes they are there but they are seriously reduced down to almost nothing. Skill challanges are neat but definately rules light way of handling things, and rituals are a serious backstep which make direct support casting nonexistant, and severly discourages magic outside of combat. Casting alarm around the camp every night goes from being a regular duty of the group wizard to a an expensive thing that doesnt even require a caster at all and is prohibitivly expensive unless you actually have encounters everyday with merchants all over the place to turn loot into ritual componants. Most of the spells I used dont even exist anymore, and some non combat spells could still be used in combat for creative tactics, but not anymore. This is a severe hindrance to creative combat casters.
Well, that may have been your experience. In my games, skill challenges and rituals were a key part of the game and provided a lot of guidance in handling non-combat encounters. Indeed, in my last campaign we had several sessions that didn't feature a single encounter, which was quite a rarity compared to our experience in previous editions.
Now, it may be true that the specific strategies and spells you were used to were no longer available, and if those particular spells were a large part of how you played the game, that's perfectly fair to find it a hindrance without them. But I've seen many creative combat casters who were perfectly viable in 4E.
And for our group, the resource balance of rituals was a good thing. It added some important decision making and strategical choices - the exact sort of 'obstacles' you talked about earlier that can heighten the enjoyment of a game. For me, this is the sort of thing I mean when I talk about 'balance' - having spells that are potent and useful, but have important limitations that prevent them from just automatically overcoming certain dangers or threats.
I am 130 lbs, in the army and was the lightest person (well there one girl who weighed only 124, but was only in my unit for a short time) and in three years, I have never lost. Never. Not to the combat instructers, not to the 245 lbs fitness fanatic, I never lost. If the 7 stone guy has brains, he will win. This particular point comes from experience.
If that has been your experience, fair enough. Nonetheless, I don't think that experience is universal. And, honestly, making absolute statements about the world based solely on one's own experience is pretty much counter to anything I ever learned about rational thought and intelligent thinking.
one, I never said it was bad wrong fun, to have balanced games, and even said that playing lazily (regardless of how you define the term) was a perfectly acceptable and legitimate way of playing, and I just wished that it wasnt always the center of discussion with rules.
You claimed that the only reason someone would prefer balanced games is out of laziness. Whether you consider laziness legitimate or not, many of us feel that is an inaccurate depiction of our views, and thus your continued insistence on it has absolutely come across as insulting.
You later also said that anyone who played different from you was doing so because they had not lived up to their full potential, and implied that if they did so, they would be just like you and play just like you. Are you truly unable to see how that is the height of arrogance, and how portraying the preferences of others as inferior to your own is going to be offensive?
What you are talking about aren't discrepencies. And consider the reasons why many GMs like 4e for storytelling, they like the lack of rules for out of combat things. With fewer rules they dont feel constrained to follow them. A lack of rules isnt balance, its freedom for the GM to do something they desire without feeling like they are fixing things. A GM can legitimately make the same call in either 4e or 3.x, but appearently they feel relunctant in 3.x because there are rules already thus it feels like fixing things, but in 4e the rule doesnt exist so its not fixing something, so doing the exact same thing is somehow more acceptable to them. Took me awhile to catch on to this one.
4E isn't completely free-form, though - it presents a variety of guidelines and complementary mechanical subsystems (skill challenges, page 42, etc) that help give the DM guidance in resolving non-combat encounters, and that is an aspect that many prefer.
It is absolutely true that you can take those same elements and convert them for use in 3.5, and also true that you can run a 3.5 game and just ignore large portions of the rules in order to make things work in the fashion you prefer.
But, again, I'd rather have a system that does the work for me, rather than one hat I need to change and fix (especially since I don't want to feel like I am changing the rules on my players solely via DM fiat.)
Diplomacy: 5 RanksSynergy Bonus (Bluff): +2
Synergy Bonus (Knowledge Nobility: +2
Synergy Bonus (Sense Motive): +2
Racial Bonus: +2
Skill Focus: +3
Cha 18: +4
Items, spells, class features and other resources can quickly crank the number even higher.
For me, this is problematic - I don't object to characters being able to focus on something and be good at it, but I do object when the difference between being average and being good and being maximum optimized is so extreme. It is problematic for adventure design, for DMing, and for other players.
Now, yes, you can solve some of these issues by limiting access to certain things, by very elaborate encounter design, etc. But for myself at least, I'd rather have a system that provides greater internal balance and avoids the problem in the first place.
And I guess that is where I am somewhat confused what you are arguing on behalf of. I can certainly understand if you don't feel that these are problems for yourself, and that you don't need greater balance to fix this. But I'm not sure why you seem so opposed to the concept of balance at all, and what disadvantage you see in a system that tones down these imbalances and restricts characters to a more tightly measured scale.
just because a system works doesnt make the world plausible. Plausible comes from the world being consistant not the rules of the game. There is no way to have swinging asword be better then slinging lightning bolts. By the very nature of the two, lightning wins.
I'm sorry, but no - that is true only in your head, not in any measurable way, because "the very nature of the two" is something that *you have defined*.
You could have a world where magic requires elaborate set-up and takes time to summon the mystical energy to make it work, and thus swinging a sword triumphs because it takes several minutes to summon lightning but only a few seconds to stab a wizard.
Or you could have a world where magic happens instantly and without restriction, and wizards can cast Meteor Swarm at will, and thus always triumph over swordsman.
You can claim that you personally prefer settings where magic is free and powerful and always wins over martial skill. That's fine. But claiming that preference is grounded in some inherent laws of nature is just absurd. Unless you can actually work magic in real life, of course.
That's unfortunate! I think you've missed out on a wide range of literature that is well worth reading. I recommend starting with a series called the Lord of the Rings - it is a very popular work, and considered by many a defining work of fantasy. It focuses very promininently on the limitations and costs of magic - indeed, it features one of the most iconic wizards of all time, who nonetheless spends most combats stabbing orcs with his sword!
Pointy sticks exist, you cant really change what can be done with them, but magic doesnt, you have to change what can be done with it, but you need to be consistant or frustration builds.
When dealing with heroic characters that are operating on a scale which we *cannot* measure in the real world, why exactly are you unable to change what can be done with martial skill? Shouldn't epic heroes be capable of feats of prowess that are far beyond what we can accomplish in real life? Indeed, if you look back to mythological stories, they are filled with examples of such things, and one would think that would be a better inspiration for a fantasy game than basing some classes on real life, and others on entirely invested magic systems.
Strength is never mighter then intellect. Never. Cant break that rope? Use something sharp. Cant lift that rock? Use ropes and pulleys. Intellect created the gun, now the very idea of warrior is so far dead most soldiers dont even understand it anymore. Intellect made the gun to defeat the sword. Intellect always beats strength.
You are trying to escape a prison cell. There is a portcullis blocking your exit. You are a smart person and realize that using a lever will help you lift it - but even with the lever, you aren't strong enough to lift it. Your friend the barbarian, however, is strong enough to lift it on his own.
Look, I'm not saying strength always wins over intellect - I have quite a bit of respect for intelligence and tactical play! But generalities are very rarely absolute, and trying to insist they are is not consistent with either real life or gameplay.
Note, I wouldnt mark magic knowledge as somehow seperate from knowledge in general, no more then saying that knowledge of carpentry is seperate from knowledge of physics.
In that case, why can't a fighter with a great deal of martial knowledge and tactical intellect be able to overcome a wizard's magical knowledge? Why is it a problem if some of us prefer a system that rewards both forms of learning, rather than focusing on one over the other?
perhaps I gave a bad example. Yes I know there some optimizers who do things other than damage, I have only seen two. I dont consider that a significant number, and doubt that the ratio of those I met are *excessively* far from total population.
No offense, but a lot of your claims seem to be founded on the assumption that your experiences are universal. A wise man knows that anecdotes are not equivalent to data. :)
Trust me, there are plenty of forms of optimization that aren't about damage. Optimizing skills, or save or be disabled shut-downs, or terrain control, or minion spam, or any number of other approaches - they all exist in good measure in plenty of places. That doesn't mean they are universal by any means!
But nonetheless, I will continue to find unreasonable any claims you make that optimization is all about mindlessly doing the most damage possible.
I find your use of the term lazy to be inconsistent with its actual meaning, and to be based entirely on insulting assumptions that you are not entitled to make about other people.
A character who wants their mechanics to assist with and reward their approach to roleplaying is not avoiding the use of their intellect, nor are they seeking a shortcut to success. Wanting a character to have capabilities seperate from those of the player is not a weakness - it is part of the fundamental nature of a roleplaying game. You might prefer free-form roleplaying in which your character's abilities are meaningless. Others do not.
I don't object to you preferring one approach over another. I do object to your implication that your approach is superior and your actions are smarter, and that those who use a different method are doing so out of laziness alone.
well of course not everyone is like me, but they certainly have the potential to be, but instead they stick their heads in sands and complain about getting sand in ther eyes.
See previous comment. You preferring one style of play does not make you a better person than others. The fact that I prefer a different approach does not mean that I am failing to live up to my potential as a roleplayer - it simply means that we find different facets of the game engaging and rewarding.
I am honestly amazed that you are so unwilling or incapable of looking beyond your own perspective. I have no objections to you preferring a different style of gaming than I do. I do not look down on you for doing so. It seems the same is not true of you, at least based on these last few comments, and I think that is unfortunate... Because I don't think any sort of honest dialogue is possible if you truly believe that the only way someone could disagree with you is due to a failing on their part.
In some scenarios, strength can be mightier than intellect. In some scenarios, wisdom proves more valuable than others. In some scenarios, agility proves most useful.
This is what I, at least, mean by balance - not that all of these should be equally capable at all things, or that there should be no distinction between them.
If you prefer a system in which intellect is dominant, that is perfectly fine. If you find that is the closest mirror to reality, well... fair enough. I don't agree, and think it is silly to give any such absolute statements about knowledge always triumphing, much less to insist that magical knowledge is the only form in existence. But if that is the system you prefer, that is your choice to make.
All we are suggesting is that we prefer differently, and having a system that provides what we are looking for is not a bad thing.
I have very rarely seen people try to win in anyway other then stereotypes. Fair or not, that is the most common way people try to win. Why do you think most optimizers maximize damage output? Why not gain the ability to immobilze or disable an opponant quickly and damage them at their leisure? Or work as a team to hold an opponant unable to act, while others deal the damage? Yet somehow people always boil it down to "I punch you, you punch me"
I suggest you simply have not had enough exposure to optimizers. :)
Trust me, there are many optimized builds designed exactly around disabling enemies! Whether it involves 'Save or Die' (or 'Save or Be Disabled' more often) at absurdly high DCs, or involves maximized and empowered ability damage, or grapple checks that are through the roof, all of these are approaches taking in optimization.
And, again, many of these are also elements that I see as unbalanced. Not necessarily the existence of such things, but the potential to optimize them to a different level than most people play the game at. I'd be fine with a system in which such effects exist, but don't involve getting into a DC / Saving Throw arms race. That is at least one form of what I mean by balance.
When I say that most players I have seen are lazy, its because that is what I see.
In which case, that is unfortunate. (Or it might not be - as you pointed out, this is a game, and playing it in a lazy fashion can be perfectly fine!) But I think our objection was not that you claimed most players are lazy. It was that you said that our desire for balance was solely motivated by laziness. Those are very different claims - one referring to your own experiences, which is fine; the other making assumptions about everyone else, and I think that was why so many folks objected to it.
GMs are part of the system because the rules are incapable of accounting for the player. The performance of a character is only about 30% the mechanics, the rest is the player and the GM.
But that doesn't mean you can't have a system that reduces these discrepancies and leaves more room for the DM to focus on enhancing the game, rather than fixing it.
Additionally, you need to calibrate your expectations of DnD. Level 5 is the limit for normal humans so once you get a bonus above 10, you have basically become a demigod, so why wouldnt a demigod of persuasion have any difficulty in persuading the halfling chief?
The problem is that, in an unbalanced system, you don't need to be level 5 or level 10 to have a +30 bonus. A character could have a Diplomacy score in the +20s by level 2.
Indeed, I am all in favor of a system that does a good job of portraying the growth from heroic to epic hero, such that a heroic character is merely charming, while an epic hero can truly offer godlike persuasion!
I prefer plausable rather then realistic, however, think of it this way, swing a stick or command the the very elements of nature, which is more versatile, which has greater potential, greater scope and depth?
You can invent a thousand different worlds and make each one plausible. Your scenario is only 'plausible' because you have a system where magic is designed to be stronger than strength of arms. Nothing says it has to be that way, and indeed, in many ways it flies against many traditions of heroic fantasy and mythology!
The only time balance is noticed is when people are being lazy.
You are simply wrong here. I recommend, in the future, that you focus on speaking for yourself, rather than putting words in other players mouths. I've noticed balance issues plenty of times without any laziness involved - I've seen plenty of scenarios where tactical but non-optimized PCs are outperformed by optimized PCs running on auto-pilot.
Feel free to talk about what balance means to you, but please stop making claims about what it means for others, because all you are doing is coming off as insulting and rude.
If I can take a mechanically weaker character and out perform others with stronger characters, then obviously the performance has as much to do with the player as the mechanics.
You know, what I find funny about this, is that I view one of 4E strengths (at least at the start) as keep things close enough that this exact paradign is well-supported.
At least early in 4E, an optimized character would be a couple of points better to hit than a non-optimized character. The non-optimized character could easily make that up via tactical play - flanking, ambush, synergized abilities, etc.
Thus, you had both options available - design some optimized characters, and then operate on auto-pilot, or design some more well-rounded characters and rely on strategy to carry you through combat. Or design some optimized characters and play them strategically well, and end up with a bit of an advantage in most encounters.
For myself, at least, this wasn't the case in 3.5, and is exactly an area where I found imbalance in the game. The game really emphasized optimizing your characters from the start. If you brought a non-optimized character and non-optimized party, it was very hard for tactics and strategy to make enough of a difference, not when the optimized party was +20 better than you to hit. The exception, of course, was playing spellcasters, who *could* focus on elaborate spell-prep/tactics/etc to shut down encounters via spells alone.
But if you were a non-optimized, non-spellcasting character, and didn't have access to tons of magic items and equipment, you were going to have a rough time of it. At least, in my experience.
You might have had a different experience, and that's fine. But for me, I found 4E to be better balanced, which meant reducing the gap between optimized and non-optimized characters (in both dealing with combat, skills, obstacles, etc). And, for me, that meant it *opened up* a wide range of character options and RP.
I was trying to point out that it wasnt the only way. I did not claim that my way was better. Therefore you ironically said the same thing to me as I was trying to say to others.
No, look. The problem wasn't that you said your way was better than others. The problem is that you claimed everyone else's way was something that it wasn't!
But what if I don't want to play any of those characters? What if I want to play a soldier who is a capable combatant, but is also respectful and friendly and a decent talker?
The imbalance problem (at least for me, in 3.5) wasn't that my rude half-orc barbarian was useless in social situations. It was that my Cha 14 soldier with a few ranks of Diplomacy was meaningless alongside someone with a +30 bonus, or a wizard with the right spells.
Balance in 4E was not about making every *good* at specific tasks. It is making the difference smaller between being bad, being ok, and being the best. And, at least for me, that was exactly the sort of thing I was looking for.
I think this is the breakdown in disagreement between your point of view and some of ours. Yes, a good DM can try and fix problems in the system (like unbalanced caused via optimization) - but many of us would prefer that the system does the work for us.
We aren't arguing that all characters should excel at every task. But a system with tighter boundaries and basic competence for most characters - unless those characters choose to be incompetent at a task for RP reasons - is preferable to one where some characters are so far ahead of others that they are operating on a completely different level of play.
For example: Say I am a halfling, in 3.5, with 14 Charisma and a few ranks in Diplomacy. We need to convince a halfling chieftain that helping us resist an invading army is better than simply surrending. This feels like an area where my character should really be able to contribute, and I am getting ready to give a good speech to persuade him.
But if we have a wizard there, he might just solve the entire issue with charm/dominate/suggestion. Or instead, say we happen to have a half-elf who has optimized for Diplomacy. My +5 or so diplomacy pales in comparison to his +30, even if the DM gives me some circumstance bonuses for cultural reasons or a good speech, etc.
Indeed, the very presence of him in the party means that no other characters are really needed in social situations. And it means that the DM either doesn't bother with such social challenges - or has to artificially inflate the DC so the diplomat can't automatically pass. And, by doing so, makes the DC strictly impossible for everyone else.
Now, sure, there are ways around this if the DM gets inventive, or alters his adventure design in certain ways. And you can also make the point that why does my halfling need to be the one succeeding as long as the party succeeds and I get a chance to RP. But that misses the point of why many people are playing the game - the chance to have their characters matter, and to be able to interact and contribute to the success of the party, especially in times when it would be character-appropriate to do so. Balancing those aspects doesn't impede RP and character - it enhances it.
That's why many people prefer balance - whether it be a mitigation in the potency of magic, or it be more tightly banded numbers so that the super-diplomat might be better than his allies, but not so much better than it isn't even worth them rolling.
Besides most of your balance is completely nonsensical, why in the world would any fighter living in a world with mages and magic not learn it?
Because magic is dangerous and takes its toll on the mortal body and mind? Or because magic involves making pacts with dark powers? Or any number of other reasons one can decide since magic is not a real thing and the designers get to decide how powerful and/or dangerous it is.
Seriously, the second you try and say that it is 'realistic' for magic to be more powerful than martial prowess, you are going into a very silly place. Magic is more powerful in D&D because that is how it what designed. That doesn't make it good design, nor does it make it a good representation of fantasy, especially if one looks back at the heritage of fantasy, whether it is LotR or heroic myths or many other scenarios where magic is treated very differently than the abundant, cost-free commodity it is in D&D.
That is... kinda a mean suggestion to make, and one I don't really feel deserves me taking the time to pick apart. I suggest you very carefully examine what you said, because it is both incredibly wrong and largely insulting, and really doesn't belong in what had been a pretty rational discussion up to this point.
Honestly, I'm quite happy to see them just keep working at it until they get it right. We do continue to see big changes, but at least from my perspective, the product is getting more and more refined with every release.
Ok, well good then. Its not quite so bad, but still pretty powerful with the permanent duration and the ability to use suggestion.
Keep in mind, the permanent duration is only for a *single* creature at a time, at level 20, which is when they seem to be planning for epic powers to come into play. Combined with Charm making them helpful, but not subordinate to your will, and I don't think it is too much.
Suggestion being reliable on charmed creatures is useful, I think, but I don't imagine it will be too overwhelming. Keep in mind that in the past, you could usually compel charmed creatures to do what you want. I think Suggestion is simply taking the place of that here, with the benefit that if you have Charmed someone, you will *eventually* land the Suggestion successfully even if it takes a few tries.
You are correct an optimized Barbarian is going to make the save 2-4 times at most. The Fighter on the other hand can pretty much get up to a 90.89% chance up to 3 times per day with Lucky feat and auto-advantage on saves and a decent Con score. Then after that it drops to something like 60%+ so yeah, pretty much unkillable, throw a Cleric in the mix and you end up with the rare time the Fighter goes down it pops back up.
Yeah, the Fighter definitely needs to have that ability fixed. The DC needs to scale or something. Personally, I'd prefer if both abilities required expending a reaction or something, as that would limit it to only being usable once per round.
I would have been excited if there was any chance the Cleric feature would come into play, but you have such a small chance you might as well not use it unless you are weaponless, out of spells, near death, and captured or something. Really with those odds you are better off just attacking with your weapon...
Keep in mind, though, that running out of spells can happen pretty quickly - at level 10, when you get access to Divine Intervention, the cleric has 11 spells per day. If you use some spell slots to cast buffs (Death Ward, Aid, etc), and also make use of some of the swift cast spells, I imagine you could be out of spells within 1 or 2 encounters.
Now, at that point, you have either a 10% chance for the intervention, vs simply making some regular attacks. If you goal is just to kill the enemy, yeah, I imagine that just attacking will be the better choice. But what if an ally needs healing, or the group is trying to run away, etc? I imagine those situations will be where it will be worth at least making the divine intervention attempt - when you really need to do something that you simply can't otherwise do, and even a 1/10 chance of success is better than none at all.
I think the 'save vs death' elements do need a close look, but I'm not sure they are quite as overwhelming as you might fear. The first save (DC10) should be trivial to make. Assuming a decent Con, you are likely to make the second save (DC 15). By DC 20, the odds aren't that great, even with Advantage - unless you have a Paladin around, I suppose. Assuming you do, you can probably even have an average chance at hitting DC 25. DC 30+ is going to be next to impossible, though you could use your Guardian Spirit feature at level 17 to auto-pass (but doing so turns off several class abilities for the rest of the day, and thus is only usable once.)
So, in effect, it means you can take an extra 1 or 2 hits a fight, or potentially 3 or 4 if really optimized for it. Of course, once you've survived the first hit, you do drop to 1 - so those extra hits you are surviving could be coming from very basic enemies and still using up your few bonus chances to stay standing. And once those run out, you are potentially in real trouble.
Now the Fighter, who has to make a DC 15 save and it never goes up? That is a real problem.
It might not happen often, but I was really excited to see this in there. For years, I've wanted something along these lines - but I also wanted it to be something that only really crops up in extreme moments of desperation. So I think it is a very cool idea, even if it won't often be relevant.
Keep in mind that Charm is not nearly as absolute as it used to be. Charmed means the creature thinks of you as a friend and won't attack you. There is no guarantee it won't kill your friends if it still sees them as enemies, and no guarantee that it will simply do what you tell it to.
Some of that, as always, does come down to how the DM runs things and how they handle social interaction, and how much they let you convince charmed enemies to help you. But it doesn't seem nearly as direct a compulsion as it was in the past.
Similarly, the Mage's 'renewed Suggestion' only works if they try and cast Suggestion *on someone they have already charmed*, which definitely implies that they expect the Charm simply to calm someone down and leave them open to a well-placed Suggestion. Making Suggestion reliable for an Enchanter doesn't seem too potent for me, especially if it is only when used on someone who has already been charmed (and thus the Mage has already invested resources and actions into.)
Really, none of the Mage abilities strike me as overpowered. Same goes for most spells in general, Overchannel, etc. I suspect that a lot of these are the sort of thing that looks good on paper, especially when based on experiences in other editions, but won't be unreasonable in the actual course of play.
Overall, I like most of what I am seeing, though I still think there is plenty of room to continue making adjustments. (And, I admit, I am quite impressed that the Playtest has been running for a year and is still going strong, with significant revisions and adjustments based on feedback!)
I like making feats *significant*, and making them legitimately worth a trade-off of ability points is a good way to go about that. Being able to spend a single feat to be a skilled archer, instead of half-a-dozen feats? That's fantastic. My only concern is having the multiclassing element tied to that - or, rather, that it currently looks like you will still need a bunch of feats to feel appropriately multiclassed, and that doing so means giving up stat bumps that are especially important to multiclassed characters.
I am a big fan of what we're seeing with the Fighter, and having several different builds each with their own approach. I do think the save to not fall below 0 mechanic needs work, though, for both the Fighter and the Barbarian. I feel like just about all the classes are starting to come into their own, and I like the way they are handling the different paths within each class.
I continue to like the advantage/disadvantage concept as a whole, but I think the rules need to be a bit more sparing with handing it out.
I think spells look effective, but I'm definitely not seeing some vast superiority of them trivializing the capabilities of non-spellcasting characters. Spells definitely feel potent, but they are also quite limited in how many you get, so it is important for them to be relevant when they get cast.
I do remain sad that they've returned to the older hp system where Con is so important and hp varies so widely from one character to the next.
As for point two, I am very objective with such things, in dealing with rpgs I run the idea with what I know of reality then see how each game compares. For example sneak attack, it is rather easy to find weak spots when you know what to look for, however a less practiced individual is more likely to strike a quarter inch to left dealing greivous but not quite as bad damage as the master. However when you can see such weak points, you will strike for them at every available opportunity regardless of your actual accuracy. Thus 3.x is more realistic because you can use snk atk at every opportunity and damage depends on your skill.
But again - that comes across as a plausible justification, but I think there is a very big difference between being plausible, and actually being realistic. As soon as you examine statements like that in detail, plenty of questions arise that make it sound less reasonable - or that cause the rest of the system to start breaking down in comparison to it.
I mean, do we actually have real world combat experience that indicates a dabbler in knife-fighting can always see the best place to strike the enemy, but often misses compared to the more experienced knife-fighter?
What if the dabbler was already a skilled warrior who was even more accurate than your standard rogue - wouldn't they be likely to perfectly strike that weak spot even more often? If it is 'very easy to find weak spots', does that mean someone good at bluffing can make themselves immune to sneak attack by tricking the enemy? Should a rogue with a better spot check be better at finding weak spots than a rogue without a good spot check? Should the damage dealt by an attack fluctuate based on if you barely hit someone's AC or if you hit them by a lot? Etc, etc, etc.
This is the problem with trying to claim that one element is more or less realistic than another - it pretty much breaks down immediately, because so much of the core of the system is inherently unrealistic. The entire concept of attacks, initiative, hitpoints, etc - all of it is heavily abstracted in the interest of game play, regardless of what edition one is playing. That isn't a bad thing, by any means, but it does mean that claims of realism are usually actually rooted in favoring what is familiar or simply feels more suited to one's style of play.
Which isn't to say that those aren't, themselves, valid reasons to prefer one style over another! But claims of one approach truly being more realistic usually don't hold up to proper examination, at least in my experience.
Honestly, I'm not sure if it would take as much twisting as you think. That is actually one of the areas where I find 4E will often shine, because the shared customizability of several areas (feats / skills / backgrounds) can really let you hone in on a concept without being wedded to a specific build. If I want a Monk who happens to be a capable scout who can deal with traps, I can cover that via Background and Skills without needing to multiclass into Rogue. If I want a Sorcerer who is skilled at defending himself without wearing armor, I can take the Unarmored Agility feat. If I want a Rogue who can turn himself invisible, I can take the Master Infiltrator Paragon Path and have several ways to do so.
I'm not saying that 4E will always provide the perfect solution, but provided one is working from an overall concept rather than from a desire for specific mechanics, it can often achieve what you are looking for.
This is one reason I dislike classes of any form, but 3.x has a touch more flexibilty and feels more real, after all, if I just learned how to snk atk, why would it do as much dmg as the guy who has practicing his entire life? Good for balance yes, but it doesn't make much sense.
Again, I think this is another matter of perception, where one version seems more fitting not because it is actually more realistic, but simply because it is more familiar. Couldn't you argue just as easily that, if sneak attack represents finding a weak spot to stab, that it should do just as much damage regardless of who is stabbing the vital spot - but that it takes the more devoted rogue to be able to consistently find that weak spot and capitalize upon it?
I think trying to break down D&D into 'what makes sense' is honesty a bit of a waste - so much of the system is, at its core, far from realistic, regardless of what edition one is playing. But with the right justification, you can usually explain most rules, and that is why I think folks usually find the version they are most familiar with to be the most realistic - simply because they have had the most experience with it, and have already had a chance to internally justify its mechanics in the past. When something different comes along, however, it feels like a change, and without having yet had the chance to internally attune to it, many of those differences will feel 'wrong' on a purely emotional level, rather than a legitimately rational one.
At least, that is how it often is for me, and I've certainly noticed myself coming across mechanics in new games that I dismiss as absurd, before taking the time to really think it over and notice that they are no more or less absurd than similar approaches in systems I am more familiar with.
It is superior only in some ways, like balance, but by the very nature of it, it is also inferior in others, such as flexibility (in some ways, like character design. I can't make a true rog/sorc/monk, I am forced to pick one and dip using feats.) That's why "you can't play the same type of game". Or rather, 4e does what it does better than 3.x but 3.x does more different and flexible things then 4e.
I think they are both flexible in different ways, but it is true that 4E is generally more flexible for DM prep and during play, while 3.5 is often more flexible for character creation. Still, I've actually found it easier, in many ways, to create many character concepts in 4E, especially since they have split off many character elements into feats and skills. Being able to have a character who is good at certain skills without needing elaborate multiclassing is quite nice.
And, while I feel 4E ended up going a bit over-board with power-bloat (as did 3.5), many of those additions were actually perfectly excellent additions that definitely expanded the character building process. You couldn't build a Rogue/Sorcerer/Monk at launch, perhaps, but you can absolutely do so today.
But the exact form of what that will take will depend on how you build it - and what you are actually looking for from the character concept. You can certainly build someone who has Sneak Attack, Flurry of Blows, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge, Slow Fall, arcane spellcasting, a familiar, who runs around in robes and hits enemies with fists/staves/knives/magic, or whatever combination of those you are looking for.
Now, how you build and play that character mechanically will depend on what elements you want to focus on, and will definitely play out differently than in did in 3.5. There are positives and negatives of both styles.
The 3.5 version gain a very expansive selection of abilities - lots of low level spells, the ability to flurry and add a low-level amount of sneak attack on every hit, etc. On the other hand, it came with a cost - your BAB took a significant hit from spreading out over those classes, and you didn't get much depth in any specific class - you were unlikely to see many of the cool later monk abilities or high level spells.
The 4E version has a lot of depth, but also shies away from being able to stack things together. So your hybrid Monk/Rogue is usually going to be able to flurry into a group of enemies or go assassinate a single target with sneak attack, but isn't likely to do both at the same time. (Though there are some min/max builds that admittedly can do so.) But you do get both abilities at their full potential as you level up! And with many of the iconic class features having turned into feats or utility powers, you can pick and choose your ideal ones as you level up, rather than needing to focus on one class to gain their most unique abilities.
Similarly, if you then multiclass into sorcerer, you don't end up with a large number of spells - however, the spells you pick up from multiclassing will be at the same level and power as a full sorcerer. Or, alternatively, you could build a Monk/Sorcerer hybrid with a full selection of spells, and then pick up Sneak Attack by multiclassing rogue. But with the downside that you can only use your Sneak Attack once a combat. But when you do use them, your Sneak Attack is potentially just as effective as the full rogue standing next to you!
So both approaches have limitations, usually designed with the sensibilities of the system in mind. Splashing a level of rogue in 3.5 will give you 1d6 Sneak Attack on all your attacks. Multiclassing rogue in 4E will give you several dice of Sneak Attack on one attack each combat.
I think many of the folks that find the 4E approach limiting do so not because it is limited in the concepts they can build, but because they have those concepts too wedded to specific mechanical implementations. If your idea of a "Rogue/Sorcerer/Monk" is someone who casts Wraith-strike and the flurries an enemy with a bunch of attacks with Sneak Attack... then no, 4E isn't going to be able to build that exact character. But it can provide you with a character who runs up the side of a castle wall, stabs an enemy in the throat and tosses them off the edge, and then launches fireballs down into the soldiers clustered below.
So the question really becomes - do you want to be a Rogue/Sorcerer/Monk because you have a character concept that blends those archetypes? Or because you are used to a specific mechanical combo that you enjoyed playing in 3.5? Because adapting the character to 4E will almost always succeed at the first question, but almost always fail at the second.
First, my comment had nothing to do with 4e. As I stated earlier in the thread, 4e has a different focus and I think it does it's focus quite well. For some incomprehensible reason, people keep comparing the two like apples to apples, but really it's a case of apples and oranges. Yes you can play the game outside it's focus, but it won't play as smoothly.
In your experience, perhaps. (Though from the sounds of it, that experience is more theoretical than actual.) I've had plenty of success running 4E games with a focus on character rather than mechanics - and, indeed, I find the 4E goal of balanced characters actually makes it easier to have such a game.
Ironically,you are complaining about my statement because it would require the GM to make a custom call, yet many folks like 4e because it's more open for them to make custom calls.
I don't think there is any contradiction. If someone feels that 3.5 is a system that requires significant DM fiat in order to make workable, but does not make that DM fiat easy to do without disrupting core elements of the system, those same people are quite likely to enjoy a system that makes DM fiat easy to do in a way that doesn't break the system.
Besides, did it ever occur to you that there is a difference between being built into a system and simply being an option? A spell is neither rule nor law, and no player can learn said spell unless the GM says "Yes you learn the spell." 3.x was not made as a complete kit, it was made as a collection of options.
Do you know how many spells there are in 3.5? The answer is a lot. As the DM, needing to know in advance what spells will break the game, and which will not do so, is not a burden that I desire.
If you have found a way to successfully run the game, then more power to you! But for many other folks out there, they have not found it as easy to do so. The level of micromanagement required to make 3.5 workable at higher levels was something I found unpleasant as a DM. I love a great many elements of the system, and I agree that there are a variety of solutions to address those problems, including carefully examining and banning/allowing feats/classes/spells on a case-by-case basis. Yet, for me, that was a level of work I wasn't really a fan of, and not an ideal solution to the problem.
For me, one of the benefits of 4E was not that it was perfect in a way that 3.5 was not - but instead, that it was much easier to customize and adjust elements that I felt needed fixing. (Or that simply didn't suit a specific campaign.)
Now, that might not be true for everyone, and might not even be a concern for many people. That's fair.
All I'm saying is that for some people, it proved an easier system to run and to manage, and that having a system designed for that was seen as a feature.
Scott Betts wrote:
I've seen multiple outlets (including one or two that have been linked to in this thread) reporting that Microsoft is working on a solution for allowing service members to use their Xbox Ones without the once-a-day requirement. The fact that their reps aren't giving details out yet is probably more of an indication that they haven't finalized those plans than anything else.
"Probably" is a very important word there. The important thing is that, based on the links you have provided, there is absolutely no concrete evidence that those reports are anything more than rumor - especially given that the official statements from Microsoft since then have not even hinted at such plans existing.
Listen to yourself, Scott - you are saying that a journalist reporting the facts, asking Microsoft directly, and providing exact quotations of their response, is "amateur" because they didn't give equal service to unsourced rumors on the internet??
Scott Betts wrote:
Taking the lack of concrete details and turning it into "Xbox One is a sin against all service members" is sensationalist, and is amateur (honestly, even if it were true, that's a pretty awful headline).
It is a sensationalist headline, yes - but that doesn't make it a sensationalist article. You seem to have missed an important part of that headline - the quotation marks. "A sin against all service members" isn't something the journalist made up - they are quoting a naval aviator and his response to the current information Microsoft has revealed about the XBox One.
Scott Betts wrote:
It's reporting an inflammatory conclusion based on incomplete information on a product that won't be out for half a year.
Scott, have you actually read the article? The tone is about as even-handed as it gets. Blaming the article as inflammatory because it provides quotes of angered service members - alongside quotes of Microsoft response to these concerns - seems incredibly unjust of you.
Yes, you are correct that we do not have complete information on this product, and that it will not be out for half a year. Are you suggesting no articles should be written about it until it is released?
At this point, the information we have to go on is what Microsoft has provided. This article reports on that information and raising concerns over what those limitations will mean for service members. I'd say that now, half a year away, is an EXCELLENT time to raise those concerns - so that if Microsoft actually can respond to such issues and respond accordingly.
I have no objection to you feeling that Microsoft's decisions are reasonable from a business standpoint, or believing that the restrictions of the hardware will not prove to be an inconvenience for you (or even for the majority of gamers using the system.)
But I don't think it is fair to say that journalists should leave Microsoft alone until more information is revealed. I don't think it is fair to say that the information Microsoft has revealed thus far is somehow 'off limits' for criticism because the launch date is still half a year away.
It might be easy to dismiss the article as sensationalist, and amateur, and inflammatory. Just like it has been easy for many to dismiss the XBox One as evil, greedy spyware. I think your claims about that article are just as much an exaggeration and just as much a knee-jerk reaction as the similar hyperbole about the XBox One's flaws.
Perhaps even more so, since the mob hysteria over the XBox One at least is grounded in genuine concerns for the consumer, while the only valid complaint that might be lobbied against the article is that of using an attention-getting headline.
Scott Betts wrote:
So those reports that Microsoft will be providing a way for deployed service members to avoid the once-a-day connection requirement are just going to be ignored for the sake of amateur-hour, sensationalist reporting?
OFFduty asked Microsoft officials if that empathy might translate into practical workarounds for the military.
“I don’t have additional details to share and can’t speculate on workarounds at this time,” wrote Xbox rep Danica Stickel in an emailed response to questions, repeating the suggestion that troops could just use the 360 instead.
Amateur-hour and sensationalist, Scott? They reported based on the news we currently have of the product, and they gave Microsoft the opportunity to respond to those concerns - and devoted a good portion of the article to sharing that response. If there is any truth to the reports you are referencing, the burden is on Microsoft to share that information - and until they do, all we can go on is the information they have provided.
And, as pointed out, the comments they have offered up of late have not been exactly promising in that regard.
I get that you feel many have overreacted to the entire situation. And, honestly, I think there are plenty of cases where that is true. I don't see any of that in this article, and don't think it merits the insults or condemnation you've offered above.
Some of the main reasons I liked 4E:
-It made it far easier to run a story-driven, RP-heavy, open-world campaign.
-Players could build any characters they wanted, rather than worry about who had to play the healer.
-Everyone in the party felt able to contribute both in and out of combat.
Scott Betts wrote:
My understanding was that we have not yet heard the full details of that Xbox Live "family" sharing - specifically, Microsoft spoke about it in terms of sharing games with actual family members, not just giving access to anyone you wanted to. Do you have specifics about this feature that you can provide?
I'm not saying you are wrong, necessarily, in this case - it may well be that the service will work exactly as you state. But it doesn't seem like we have any definitive proof of that, or anything close to it. In light of that, isn't it a bit unreasonable to give a statement of 'absolutely' about a product whose specifics have not yet been fully revealed?
The strongest point of your position has been that people shouldn't be rushing to conclusions or making definitive statements about a product that isn't even out yet. But that goes both ways, and this post, at least, seems to be presenting some things as truth that may not yet qualify for such an absolute statement.
Scott Betts wrote:
Honestly, I think this is the first time Scott and I have been on opposite sides of an argument, so I certainly take no offense to Scott not wanting to dig down into my claims with the same back and forth that these discussions can sometimes descend into. (Especially since things have been busy enough this week that I've only occasionally been able to check this thread anyway!)
Scott Betts wrote:
I disagree that there are no advantages to an always-connected or always-watching system (in this case, these are advantages on the developers' side) but without any concrete examples of games in development taking advantage of those things (largely due to the fact that we haven't gotten through E3 yet), it's hard to make a compelling argument.
I definitely agree that the biggest point in your argument's favor is very much that we don't yet know enough of anything to really form a complete perspective, and that it is absolutely the right call to urge everyone to wait for more information before, say, vowing blood oaths to boycott the Xbox One.
At the same time, I think that there is still value in folks airing their concerns about the current info we do have, if only to help provide that perspective to Microsoft and let them make adjustments based on user feedback (as, it seems, is happening with the PS3 and similar debates over used game content.)
That said, the best way to do that is to air such concerns in a calm and civil fashion, rather than simply with blind rage and fury that might feel good to emote, but is unlikely to result in any genuine and substantive change.
Scott Betts wrote:
A console that requires permanent internet connection is absolutely inferior (for the customer) to a console that is capable of permanent internet connection but does not require it.
I know this firsthand - I use the internet all the time, and pay for just about the highest possible speed available in my area. I also had close to a month without functioning internet, due to errors caused by my internet provider and their own disfunctional support system that took so long to identify the problem in their own equipment and then fix it. During that time, I had plenty of console games I could still enjoy even without my internet access. I'm not particularly interested in a product that changes. Having a system that uses the internet is just fine with me - having one that requires it is, indeed, actively worse.
Same goes with the Kinect always-on 'feature'. These are elements where their presence as an option would be genuinely welcome, but having them as a requirement is potentially a burden.
Now, having such required elements does provide, I'm sure, some advantage to Microsoft and to the game companies, in the form of DRM and such. And I do understand the concern that companies have over piracy and they have the right to try and take what measures they see appropriate to address that issue.
In turn, when the measures they take result in an inferior product for the customer, I have the right both to take my business elsewhere - and to offer my criticism of their decisions, ideally in the interest of their future decisions resulting in products I will again purchase.
Scott Betts wrote:
I'm not blaming people because of where they live (they're not at fault for anything, so blame doesn't enter into it). But I am saying that if you choose to live somewhere with unreliable or non-existent access to one of the most critical pieces of modern infrastructure, you shouldn't be surprised or offended when you find yourself being unable to participate in certain aspects of modern life because of it.
Scott, you really, really are. The very fact that your follow-up sentence refers to 'choosing' where to live is a very big example of class privilege. Not everyone can simply move, especially over a matter of convenient internet access. Similarly, there are plenty of folks out there for whom a one-time purchase of a console and some games - or receiving such things as a gift - is possible, but who can't afford to also budget a significant amount each month for constant internet access.
Scott Betts wrote:
Not exactly. It is more like someone in California complaining that a surfboard company only allows them to use their surfboard at a specific beach - one that you have to pay in order to have access to.
Similarly, modern hardware taking advantage of internet access has absolutely been happening for years, but needlessly requiring it is a different story. If someone without internet access complains because they don't get the full features of a product that takes advantage of internet access, that is one thing. But in this situation, we have a product that should be fully functional without internet access, and complaining about a company intentionally crippling its functionality is entirely legitimate.
Now, I'm not saying the company has to respond to those criticisms and complaints by changing its product. It is their product and they can choose to sell it with whatever features, or lack of them, that they choose.
And, honestly, I'm sure the XBox One will be a functional gaming console for the majority of users, and while I suspect it will end up the loser of the current round of 'console wars', I don't think that will make it unprofitable as a product.
But that said, I do feel disappointment that, in the interests of DRM, a gaming company is providing consumers with an intentionally inferior product.
Scott Betts wrote:
You know, I totally do get that a company has the right to market their product at whomever they like, as well as to intentionally create an inferior product for consumers in return for benefits to themselves like DRM, etc.
But I really hate when valid points are made about not everyone having internet access, and the counterargument is, "Those people are behind the times / not worth caring about / should suck it up and move somewhere else in order to be worthy of using this product."
There are a lot of folks out there without reliable internet access for plenty of very valid reasons - whether due to money, location, profession, etc. Being poor doesn't mean your opinion shouldn't count. Not living in the US doesn't mean your opinion doesn't count. Working in the military or in a job that requires regular travel doesn't mean your opinion shouldn't count.
You are absolutely free to claim that it is a reasonable business decision for a company to disregard such people. But the last couple lines of your post come across as very dismissive of such people, and putting the blame on them for not having access to the internet. And that is very not cool.
Look, Microsoft made a business decision in making their system tied to the internet. That is their right to make. But that doesn't change the fact that it explicitly makes it an inferior product to the customer. People have the right to be upset about that. You can certainly feel the downsides aren't a problem for you, but dismissing the problem as nonexistent, and claiming that those affected by the problem have only themselves to blame, is not the way to go about it.
Scott Betts wrote:
That's true - at the same time, one certainly can object to the practice of selling licenses, rather than games, especially given that there hasn't been any sort of reduction in price in return for the purchase now providing an inferior product. (In that you can't lend it out, you may have more of a hassle with installation/verification, you may run into problems if you need to replace your console, etc.)
Now, that said, the industry has been able to get away with this shift largely because people keep buying their stuff. Still, I think it is fair for consumers to be frustrated by the change, and not to want to support a product that seems to be going even further down that road.
For myself, I imagine the new Xbox will be a fine product. I think I'd be a lot happier if the Kinect aspect was still an optional upgrade, rather than a requisite part of the system. In the end, though, what I've been hearing about the PS4 does seem more promising - they seem to be learning from many of the mistakes of the PS3, which I find promising. I've been pretty happy with my existing Xbox, but never found the need to pick up a PS3 - I wouldn't be surprise if that switches for the next generation.
Cardboard Hero wrote:
I dont see a D&D movie as ever being succesful. Movies tend to depend on a single protagonist. When you have between 2 to 2 1/2 hour to develop a character, less is more. D&D typically tells the story of a group of 4-5 working together and all being +/- equal, characters that are involved in a long story arc. When you have too many main character the story suffers, you either end up focusing too much on the cast and not enough on the storyline or you end up with characters with no substance. Few movies manage to pull this off, Princess bride comes to mind but little else.
I'd think a successful D&D movie would be along the lines of Pirates of the Caribbean - it is a good example of something where all they really took was the setting, and then built an interesting adventure story around it. Along the way, you have a handful of characters who basically get thrown together and learn to work together to triumph over the villain.
Sure, it only really has a party of 3 instead of 4, but I don't think a 4th protagonist would suddenly prove too much to tackle in a movie. But I think a similar approach is certainly workable - and, I think, a good example of the scale on which you need to operate. Don't focus on a grand epic where the focus is on armies clashing - you need a story that, sure, can have big consequences in the long run - but is focused on the characters, and on the actions they are taking.
I don't think a Drizzt tale would make for a great movie, but not really for the Drow issue - you either start with his origin, which is way too much of a solo story, or you start with him and his adventuring companions - who all have a ton of backstory, which is probably too much to fit into a movie timeframe.
Honestly, I don't think adapting a standard D&D novel or adventure would really be the way to go. I think including references and background elements is fine, but that you'll have a better chance of success with a fresh story and characters. Now, that's no guarantee of success, as the existing D&D movies show. But if you can find a good screenplay writer with some good ideas, and a decent core cast, than that will go a long way.
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.