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'Future of D&D' article


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I thought people might be interested in this article.

There are links to the 'past' and 'present' articles which were also interesting to read, imo.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Excellent read, thanks

Silver Crusade

Cool!


Good article.

I have the 2nd editon AD&D, 3rd edition books, Pathfinder system, and recently got the 4th edition of D&D for Christmas. All these are similar but different in mechanics, and feel. If they can merge the 2nd edition RPG with 4th edition it wouldn't be that bad. The game is not dead, it's just starting to get tangled up and people don't know where to go first with all the options. People that have played 2nd edtion should have no problems incorporating the RPG element into 4th edition. I just hope they learn to fix whatever problems they are, (may be that game designers have forgotton the core essence of RPGing) having before they jump into a 5th edition because it will just anger customers. The game was doing well so they need to keep the game imaginative, and we must not lose the purpose of the DM.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Funny, 2-3 years ago we would have a flamewar here, now it's just tumbleweeds and a distant feeling of sadness.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I think the hobby has long ago evolved to the point where the definition of the roleplaying game no longer points to TSR/WOTC, or Paizo, for that matter. The game will survive the passing of D&D/Pathfinder/D20.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

For what it's worth, the link to the past article is broken, so here's the direct links to the whole set:
Past
Present
Future


The tumbleweeds and distant feelings is dependent on what system you prefer in the long term, but I agree it would be great to continue to play the RPG you prefer. With OGL, that may be answered for those that like previous editions of D&D. I had the same feeling with GURPS, once it started to take to much time to manage. So maybe just a small flame remains since everything has settled down a bit.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Mearls admits 4th edition might have gone too far in creating a perfectly balanced game. "We've lost faith of what makes an RPG an RPG," he said, admitting that in trying to please gamers with a limited imagination, 4th edition might have punished those with an active one.

Ouch. Not sure that was very political.

Interesting read however, I do agree that we need to move away from the "DM as a game addon" to "DM as the creative guy" again.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think that WotC need to employ Chris Pramas - 2nd ed Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay & Dragon Age RPG, need I say more?


If I were to make a 5th edition, I would incorporate some option rules into the system. I would make it more darker and R-rated. More serious, and dangerous. More gory and violent, with detailed magic. There is so many different but similar ways to play D&D. Problem is it will anger fans if they just keep putting out new editions of D&D every few years. By the time you get all the books the next version is coming out and the last edition starts its death cycle. I think they need to reread the 1st and 2nd edtions, refine it, then start adding what is necesary from the 4th edition if they think it works.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Stefan Hill wrote:
I think that WotC need to employ Chris Pramas - 2nd ed Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay & Dragon Age RPG, need I say more?

I'm betting Chris is fairly happy where he is, managing his own company and publishing what he wants.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
deinol wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:
I think that WotC need to employ Chris Pramas - 2nd ed Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay & Dragon Age RPG, need I say more?
I'm betting Chris is fairly happy where he is, managing his own company and publishing what he wants.

He put together 2e Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay - I'll support anything he wants to do. I hear there is an opening for President coming up. I'd move to America and swear allegiance to the red, white, and blue so I could vote for him if he asked me ;)

Or perhaps a Nobel prize in Literature? Hell give Chris both Presidency and a Nobel prize.

D&D is fine and fun and easy to find players - but given a choice it's WFRP 2e for me all the way.

S.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

To me D&D seems to be on an even number curse:

0th edition: The "basic" set. Cute and fun. Good modules that deserve updating. While technically zero is an even number, it was never officially called 0th edition so it's safe from the curse.

1st edition: Awesome. A little overly-complicated but a blast to play.

2nd edition: Sucked horribly. Nearly killed not only the D&D brand name, but RPGs in general. Only Planescape and Player's Option kept it alive.

3rd edition: Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Not perfect but at least an escape from the stinking cesspool of 2nd ed.

3.5 edition: OK, you fixed most of the rough edges. Just stay the course and you'll be back at 1st ed quality.

4th edition: You maniacs! You blew it up! You just burned all the progress 3.5 just made and it sucks as hard as 2nd ed did.

Pathfinder: Rescued 3.5 and refined it down to near perfection. APG and Ultimate guides filled in the rest of the cracks. The state of the art so far and the real inheritor of 1st edition throne.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you dig around on the WotC site, the current timetable for 5th edition's realease is sometime in 2013. I'll try to find it again and post the link but it was buried pretty well; I only stumbled across it by accident.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
darth_borehd wrote:

To me D&D seems to be on an even number curse:

0th edition: The "basic" set. Cute and fun. Good modules that deserve updating. While technically zero is an even number, it was never officially called 0th edition so it's safe from the curse.

1st edition: Awesome. A little overly-complicated but a blast to play.

2nd edition: Sucked horribly. Nearly killed not only the D&D brand name, but RPGs in general. Only Planescape and Player's Option kept it alive.

3rd edition: Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Not perfect but at least an escape from the stinking cesspool of 2nd ed.

3.5 edition: OK, you fixed most of the rough edges. Just stay the course and you'll be back at 1st ed quality.

4th edition: You maniacs! You blew it up! You just burned all the progress 3.5 just made and it sucks as hard as 2nd ed did.

Pathfinder: Rescued 3.5 and refined it down to near perfection. APG and Ultimate guides filled in the rest of the cracks. The state of the art so far and the real inheritor of 1st edition throne.

Insightful. Not amazing helpful however.

I would have put:

1st edition: Awesome. A little ambiguous in the rules department but a blast to play.

2nd edition: OK, you fixed most of the rough edges. Just stay the course and you'll be back at 1st ed quality.

3rd edition: You maniacs! You blew it up! You just burned all the progress 2e just made.
.
.
.

:)

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sir Jolt wrote:
If you dig around on the WotC site, the current timetable for 5th edition's realease is sometime in 2013. I'll try to find it again and post the link but it was buried pretty well; I only stumbled across it by accident.

That would be interesting indeed. I personally believe that 'old school' with WotC's cash backing could be a winner. Pathfinder is great, but requires a PhD to play effectively and 4e has too many training wheels attached. Whoever said before, WotC should re-read 1e/2e, before writing 5e was, for me, was right on the money.

S.

Osirion

Sir Jolt wrote:
If you dig around on the WotC site, the current timetable for 5th edition's realease is sometime in 2013. I'll try to find it again and post the link but it was buried pretty well; I only stumbled across it by accident.

I wouldn't be surprised if they dropped the announcement of "5E in Summer 2013" on us at Gencon this year, in the same way that Summer 2007 announced 4E in Summer 2008. We're in the second year of very slow 4E releases, mass opinion generally indicates 4E wasn't successful, and there was just a big time changing of the guard amongs the folks that make D&D. Plus, the whole flavor of the "Legends & Lore" column has been looking back to figure out how to move forward. The stars are right.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Can't disagree with you there. Also, I keep hearing that 4E had these huge sale numbers compared to 3E (yet never verified) yet all the industry insiders I've talked to said that while initial sales were good, they were well below WotC's expectations and the subsequent PHB releases failed to generate the anticipated interest.

If the sales were below WotC's expectations, then they were certainly below Hasbro's. For good or bad, WotC is completely at Hasbro's mercy. M:tG is what made WotC the 800 lb. gorilla; not D&D.

Speaking just from personal preference, I find that as my available gaming time decreases, I'm spending more time with games that don't utilize a battlemat (whether grid or hex) for play and we seem to get an awful lot more accomplished in a given session. I'm also shying away from games that get splatbook heavy; too expensive and too many rules scattered over too many books.

Silver Crusade

I wanted to say thank you for the article. The whole past, present and future thing was good. It provided me some perspective on the whole future of rpg thing.
See I played AD&D when Krynn and Dragonlances where the rage. Geeks wanted to be Raistlin and not a Drow. Now don't get me wrong I love my Drizzt. When 2nd AD&D started I grew up and went off to the Marines. We talked about old school D&D and played what we could from memory while deployed. I eventually took up Magic and that was it for while.
I came back to DnD by buying the 4th ED, I have not played the 3 or 3.5 ed. I like 4E but WotC needs to know that DnD is not Magic. You cant get new people playing by making your fan base upset. I discovered Paizo and have a new company I believe in. I like how they product stuff and seem to support the little guy. I believe this is the future of rpg should take. Thanks community for letting me say my piece.

Ash

Osirion

Trailjava wrote:

I wanted to say thank you for the article. The whole past, present and future thing was good. It provided me some perspective on the whole future of rpg thing.

See I played AD&D when Krynn and Dragonlances where the rage. Geeks wanted to be Raistlin and not a Drow. Now don't get me wrong I love my Drizzt. When 2nd AD&D started I grew up and went off to the Marines. We talked about old school D&D and played what we could from memory while deployed. I eventually took up Magic and that was it for while.
I came back to DnD by buying the 4th ED, I have not played the 3 or 3.5 ed. I like 4E but WotC needs to know that DnD is not Magic. You cant get new people playing by making your fan base upset. I discovered Paizo and have a new company I believe in. I like how they product stuff and seem to support the little guy. I believe this is the future of rpg should take. Thanks community for letting me say my piece.

Ash

I still want to be Raistlin. : P

On another note, I feel the need to echo what has been said about Paizo. I have issues with Pathfinder occasionally (usually the flaws grandfathered in from 3.5), but I can't help but stay loyal to the company that makes it. Paizo, more than any other company I know of, really makes it clear that they remember how vital the fans and customers are to their existence.

Andoran

darth_borehd wrote:

To me D&D seems to be on an even number curse:

0th edition: The "basic" set. Cute and fun. Good modules that deserve updating. While technically zero is an even number, it was never officially called 0th edition so it's safe from the curse.

1st edition: Awesome. A little overly-complicated but a blast to play.

2nd edition: Sucked horribly. Nearly killed not only the D&D brand name, but RPGs in general. Only Planescape and Player's Option kept it alive.

3rd edition: Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Not perfect but at least an escape from the stinking cesspool of 2nd ed.

3.5 edition: OK, you fixed most of the rough edges. Just stay the course and you'll be back at 1st ed quality.

4th edition: You maniacs! You blew it up! You just burned all the progress 3.5 just made and it sucks as hard as 2nd ed did.

Pathfinder: Rescued 3.5 and refined it down to near perfection. APG and Ultimate guides filled in the rest of the cracks. The state of the art so far and the real inheritor of 1st edition throne.

Agreed for the most part except the last sentence.

Pathfinder: Rescued 3.5 and kept it as is for the most part along with most of the flaws. APG and Ultimate guides filled in the rest of the cracks and made it it's own game. Offers some new options yet nothing imo that rocks the boat.


Read through all 3 parts of the essay, and a bunch of the comments there, which have better insights than the article in some cases.

I think D&D is suffering from a similar plight as Hollywood TV/movies - lots of people still enjoy watching movies, but not as many people are paying for tickets to keep up with costs. Lots of people are playing D&D - any edition, or more likely an amalgam of editions - but not enough people are buying books/subscriptions to keep up the cost of doing business (or maybe even worse, the cost of keeping Hasbro shareholders happy).

Unlike the big-budget movies though, people can write their own new/expanded material for D&D and use it as long as they like, for free, without paying WotC a dime. If you can stay under the lawyers' radar, you can even distribute it to friends & family, much like the looseleaf-modules of old. It's a very corporate-unfriendly scenario, compounded by (illegal) availability of the entire PDF-catalog and (legal) third-party published material. The folks who cry for the end of Wizards' ownership/control of D&D would probably be happy with that scenario, and even 4e players like me could carry on without any new WotC products.

But the kick in the ass comes from the lack of mass-marketing and support for big-money investments in things like conventions, video games, and TV shows/movies that bring in totally new players. No matter how cool the hobby, you need new people (preferably kids and/or parents) to keep it going. Existing players will certainly be able to get their game on, and bring in some new people by direct persuasion. But that's not enough to keep up with normal attrition.

Having a well-known "big player" in the mix helps indies, too, in its own way - where do you think indie game devs get trained? When they were kids, just scratching together ideas for their first-ever RPG character, what game system did they play? Or even if they never played RAW-D&D, how many of them had D&D-ish ideas about how elves, dwarves and humans meet in taverns and go fight monsters?

We're in an odd hobby where on the one hand it's easier than any other to ignore the commercial products & big brands and run homebrew/indie all the way. But on the other, there's this necessary symbiosis between the major players and the minor-leaguers and fans. If D&D stopped being the big brand, maybe something else *might* take its place (highly unlikely in this media environment, vs the '80s, but stranger things...). But I don't think the hobby as a whole would have a terribly robust future if that happened.


It cured enough flaws to merit some credit. I mean 3.5 druid anyone?

Andoran

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
darth_borehd wrote:

1st edition: Awesome. A little overly-complicated but a blast to play.

2nd edition: Sucked horribly. Nearly killed not only the D&D brand name, but RPGs in general. Only Planescape and Player's Option kept it alive.

3rd edition: Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Not perfect but at least an escape from the stinking cesspool of 2nd ed.

3.5 edition: OK, you fixed most of the rough edges. Just stay the course and you'll be back at 1st ed quality.

4th edition: You maniacs! You blew it up! You just burned all the progress 3.5 just made and it sucks as hard as 2nd ed did.

Pathfinder: Rescued 3.5 and refined it down to near perfection. APG and Ultimate guides filled in the rest of the cracks. The state of the art so far and the real inheritor of 1st edition throne.

I never played much D&D before 3.5 so can't really comment other than if it was AD&D2e that I played for a couple of sessions it felt like a bolted together monstrosity :)

As for the rest here is an alternate viewpoint...

3.5 edition: A nicely crunchy ruleset for fantasy that had a few flaws and some stuff I never really liked Alignment, Vancian Casting etc. The OGL was revolutionary and really was the key to its success.

4th edition: The developers had the balls to make some major changes killing some scared cows. They moved to both a more gamist and narrativist feel than simulationist (At Will, Encounter, Daily powers is purely a narrativist pacing mechanic, Minion rules etc) which may not suit everyone but is fine for me. Some great stuff marred by some areas being too simplified (Saving Throws) and too much of an adherence to the Attack power structure (having to hit to get what seems an unrelated effect). Plus too easy to regain hit points.

But the biggest problem was the marketing and handling by WotC, and that it suffered by the customers' feeling of entitlement to an OGL ruleset that wasn't met. Plus they pulled PDFs and released constant errata that wasn't always errata.

Pathfinder: Helped hammer a few more nails into the coffin of 3.5, made some improvements on 3.5 but also made some changes that made stuff less clear and just worse IMHO. It made enough changes to make it not backwards compatible to everyone but didn't make enough big changes to make it worthwhile converting.

The APG does seem like good stuff but the best thing about Pathfinder is the organised play - it is popular and well supported with scenarios - its the only reason I play PF.

Silver Crusade

Well, I can't comment on 1e/2e, as I started to play D&D at the onset of 3.5. But I can comment on 3e/3.5/4e...

3.5, for me, was a lot of fun to play. Some of it wasn't balanced, but it was a fun edition. I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of 4e, but I gave it a try. Overall, I liked some of the stuff they did with it, it's just that it seems to me they went overboard trying to make the game balanced. But in doing so, it lost the "feel" of D&D to me.

I mainly stuck with it 'cause the group I was in played it, but I know I wasn't the only one who wasn't as happy playing 4e in that group. But, I had a lot of fun running a Star Wars Saga game, and playing in a Champions game that was being run (we'd usually take turns playing in each of these games; usually playing one game in one week and a different one in the next). I usually had more fun playing in those games than I did in 4e (barring some funny moments that'd happen in our D&D game).

Now, since either the gaming group I was in became defunct (or I was booted out and not told about it, I don't know which), I became pretty itchy to play something, and decided to pickup on Pathfinder, and start playing in Pathfinder Society (or will start, next week).

Now, as to the future of D&D - I hope that they'll think long and hard about how to move forward, and hopefully they'll be able to get that "feeling" back into the game. I just doubt they'll call it 5e - they'll just give it a new name, I think. Just like Essentials wasn't called 4.5, but in some ways, it is.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I think the article reads as the WOTC guys coming up with some pretty odd reasons for 4e's low sales over the past couple of years. (Or as a friend of mine put it; 'Moving markers for armies that no longer exist around maps in their bunker.')

As someone mentions upthread Mearls seems to say 4e was written for the unimaginative. (I can't read his words any other way.) Hardly tactful.

Ryan Dancey says tabletop rpgs are dead or dying. ...Not clear why a 'VP of rpgs' would say that, seems like publicly saying you are no longer needed to do your job?

They toss and turn with comments about 'eras of rpg decadence'(!?), and how 'perfectly balanced' 4e is, like they are priests of a dying faith. Seriously guys, if the rpg industry is dying, how come smaller rpg companies such as Paizo are booming?

Tabletop rpgs are not dying, D&D (4e) is. It's that simple. I'll let you in on a secret, you don't need to wrack your brains over roleplaying philosophies, just make genuinely good roleplaying products. I only don't buy WOTC products these days because each and every time I idly pick one up to browse in the shop they don't appeal to me - they seem shallow, lacking in colour, setting detail, and flavour, to me they seem to lack interesting stories, characters, and settings. Even the art style doesn't appeal to me.

WOTC does of course have a major problem with the inevitable 5e, if they go back they would not only have to eat major crow and backtread on almost every press statement they ever made about 4e, but they'd piss off the very vocal pro-4e lobby and possibly lose customers there ... but if they press ahead with a version of 4e upgraded a bit, then it would be unlikely to reverse the apparent downward plummet of their sales figures, as those of us who hate 4e as an rpg system would be unlikely to embrace a somewhat amended version of it. Tricky.

Personally I think their only chance to turn it around is try something rather more radical. Try to create a new system that is as good at non-combat stuff as combat, that allows the diversity of pcs that the 3e variants do, but which avoids the absurd problems and fiddly complexities inherent in 3e (3.5 etc). Also accept roleplayers like 'fluff' (if you'll forgive me the use of the word), and give it to us, like Paizo does so ably. Without fluff D&D might as well be checkers. 4e often seemed doctrinally averse to good and detailed fluff, for me to start giving WOTC money again they need to start doing some of my GM word for me - creating good fluff is essential for them to address.

It might piss off the most ardent 4vengers, but I think a genuinely new system, might win back curious players and curious 4e players too.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

The more I think about it the more I feel like the best idea for WotC is to make the following moves with D&D using 4th edition (with minimal changes to the current ruleset).

1. Keep creating D&D themed board games. Castle Ravenloft and the others are fun, fast and give you a dose of D&D without the prep.

2. Make use of your Hasbro parent and create some other products that use the D&D IP, for example a high end action figure line of major D&D characters like Drizzt, Raistlin, Mordenkainen, Bargle, etc. or Lego-compatible bricks and figures to help cross market the game and get interest in it. While at it license out to get things like school folders, beach towels, t-shirts and the like made to promote the brand.

3. Double your budget and effort on getting the DDI tools and features to be more robust. Make it very practical for people to get a real sort of D&D experience with the virtual table top. Add tools we've been craving like character and monster visualizers, dungeon builders, mapping tools, etc. While you're at it, create these kinds of apps for the iPad, Kindle Fire, etc. since tablets are well suited for tabletop play.

4. Go back to releasing a campaign setting a year with one or two hardcovers and a module or campaign in a box. Alternate between updates of a classic campaign world and a new setting or micro-setting like Nentir Vale. Keep releasing adventures adaptable to any setting. Take me back to Saltmarsh and the Isle of Dread.

5. Keep most of the Essentials products as is but release a new PHB that combines a lot of the Red Box, Heroes of books and original 4E PHB to make a single buy this book to play D&D for the non-DM.

6. Give me a good D&D Construction Set for Xbox Live so I can play D&D on Live with my friends. Let me create my own dungeons to run them through. Sell modules as downloadable content from the marketplace. Let me move virtual miniatures around the screen with my hand using the Kinect.

7. Work on a new animated D&D series of a quality level of at least the new Thundercats and ideally closer to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Advertise all things D&D on the commercial breaks.

8. For the 40th anniversary release a single, deluxe, leather cover, cleaned up, new art version of the 1991 Rules Cyclopedia for collectors and old school gamers alike.

In other words, I want campaigns and adventures, not new or changed rules.

I want options for how I play from the table to the PC to a tablet to Xbox.

I want cool D&D themed stuff to buy to wear, put on my desk or get for my kids.

I want books and boxed sets of the best quality.

L

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And doesn't require (but can use if wanted) a battle-mat when combat does happen...

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Legendarius wrote:
Good stuff

Can I add:

9. Hire Legendarius as an adviser for the D&D product line.

:)


4E killed to many sacred cows, or more importantly lost some common sense in regards to previous editions that speak of the feel of the game. Where people may accept the new class roles and power structures, it was the little things that were on edges of the rule system, that did not sit well. For example, martial powers crossing the line into the realm of magic abilities, or certain classes being too limited in comparison with the old classes, or just too simplistic. But the real problem is the third party developers having a sense of being abandoned, whether that is 100 percent true or not.

The structure overall of 4E is sound, and is headed in the right direction. But the customers were treated like ...

Osirion

Uchawi wrote:

4E killed to many sacred cows, or more importantly lost some common sense in regards to previous editions that speak of the feel of the game. Where people may accept the new class roles and power structures, it was the little things that were on edges of the rule system, that did not sit well. For example, martial powers crossing the line into the realm of magic abilities, or certain classes being too limited in comparison with the old classes, or just too simplistic. But the real problem is the third party developers having a sense of being abandoned, whether that is 100 percent true or not.

The structure overall of 4E is sound, and is headed in the right direction. But the customers were treated like ...

One major problem with 4E is that it abandoned any pretense of Simulationism. Even though 3E/3.5/PF are an optimizer's paradise, you could still simulate almost any fantasy scenario imaginable. Losing the ability to cast most non-combat spells, the loss from the skill system of all non-adventuring skills, and the shoehorning of certain abilities into specific class concepts made the possibilities of 4E less broad than 3E. That lost a lot of people, too. My decision to quit 4E did not come from the powers, or the killing of sacred cows (I've been pulling for the downfall of Vancian casting and defensive superiority of plate mail for a long time). It was finding out that if I wanted to be an archer with full mechanical support, I had to live outside and love nature. In 3E, that just wasn't true, because of the open nature of the feat system.

That, and abandoning the OGL also made me leave. I don't think a sense of entitlement is wrong. Ryan Dancey said the community makes the RPG industry run. That part I will agree with.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

And even Scott doesn't rally to defend the barricades anymore... Poor 4E.


If there is a 5th edition coming out which I do think there will be, I am going to halt spending anymore money on these other editions. It's been the same cycle since 3rd edition came out and it's getting old. You buy all the books, get a party together to play and before you know it, before you can even really get into it they release the new edition. This really ticked me off with the 3rd edition and the quick upgrade to 3.5...I quit playing for a long time after that.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

What I found interesting was the fact they don't really consider DnD to be an RPG. That's one part of it but not the whole story - the boardgames and computer games (presumably gamma world too) were seen as different ways to play DnD.

Personally, I think that's quite a profound shift in corporate attitude (granted one that's happened over several years, not in one sudden rush - I just haven't seen it explicitly stated before).


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
And even Scott doesn't rally to defend the barricades anymore... Poor 4E.

I for one don't see the need to defend it. Those "4E sucks" posts which used to dominate this section of the forums are thankfully becoming both tamer and less frequent.

Silver Crusade

Face_P0lluti0n wrote:


One major problem with 4E is that it abandoned any pretense of Simulationism. Even though 3E/3.5/PF are an optimizer's paradise, you could still simulate almost any fantasy scenario imaginable. Losing the ability to cast most non-combat spells, the loss from the skill system of all non-adventuring skills, and the shoehorning of certain abilities into specific class concepts made the possibilities of 4E less broad than 3E. That lost a lot of people, too. My decision to quit 4E did not come from the powers, or the killing of sacred cows (I've been pulling for the downfall of Vancian casting and defensive superiority of plate mail for a long time). It was finding out that if I wanted to be an archer with full mechanical support, I had to live outside and love nature. In 3E, that just wasn't true, because of the open nature of the feat system.

This. This is one of the things that I found annoying about 4E. Except in my case, I wanted to build a two-weapon fighting character that wasn't a Fighter or Ranger (say, a two-weapon fighting rogue). Unless I was a half-elf or a revenant, that wouldn't be possible. Oh sure, I could wield two weapons, I just couldn't attack with them in the same round.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Stefan Hill wrote:
darth_borehd wrote:

To me D&D seems to be on an even number curse:

0th edition: The "basic" set. Cute and fun. Good modules that deserve updating. While technically zero is an even number, it was never officially called 0th edition so it's safe from the curse.

1st edition: Awesome. A little overly-complicated but a blast to play.

2nd edition: Sucked horribly. Nearly killed not only the D&D brand name, but RPGs in general. Only Planescape and Player's Option kept it alive.

3rd edition: Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Not perfect but at least an escape from the stinking cesspool of 2nd ed.

3.5 edition: OK, you fixed most of the rough edges. Just stay the course and you'll be back at 1st ed quality.

4th edition: You maniacs! You blew it up! You just burned all the progress 3.5 just made and it sucks as hard as 2nd ed did.

Pathfinder: Rescued 3.5 and refined it down to near perfection. APG and Ultimate guides filled in the rest of the cracks. The state of the art so far and the real inheritor of 1st edition throne.

Insightful. Not amazing helpful however.

I would have put:

1st edition: Awesome. A little ambiguous in the rules department but a blast to play.

2nd edition: OK, you fixed most of the rough edges. Just stay the course and you'll be back at 1st ed quality.

3rd edition: You maniacs! You blew it up! You just burned all the progress 2e just made.
.
.
.

:)

Me?

1e: Oh, I love you, you're my first, and she's always special! You dirty little minx!

2e: Who the f*!# replaced my dirty little minx with this f~%%ing sanctimonious, g-rated garbage??? WTF is this ridiculous three ring binder for monsters that keeps falling apart? (Planescape? Oh, that's pretty cool!). Oh, God, this sucks.

3.x: Meh. Everyone's playing it, may as well adopt. Eh, it's ok. Can I get some 1e players somewhere?

4e: ????

Pathfinder: See 3x.


Mr. Mearls is a funny guy. He seems to be doing a lot of hand-wringing about the tabletop RPG industry and tabletop RPG gamers in general yet Paizo seems to have figured it all out just fine. He's got a weird psychological "Pathfinder blind-spot".

Also, whats with Mr. Dancey chiming in with the "I think the tabletop RPG market is enduring a kind of death." Hey! Holy back-stab dude! Didn't you just license the Pathfinder tabletop RPG name for an online game and get the majority of your funding from a tabletop RPG company?? Way to bite the hand.


Face_P0lluti0n wrote:

One major problem with 4E is that it abandoned any pretense of Simulationism. Even though 3E/3.5/PF are an optimizer's paradise, you could still simulate almost any fantasy scenario imaginable. Losing the ability to cast most non-combat spells, the loss from the skill system of all non-adventuring skills, and the shoehorning of certain abilities into specific class concepts made the possibilities of 4E less broad than 3E. That lost a lot of people, too. My decision to quit 4E did not come from the powers, or the killing of sacred cows (I've been pulling for the downfall of Vancian casting and defensive superiority of plate mail for a long time). It was finding out that if I wanted to be an archer with full mechanical support, I had to live outside and love nature. In 3E, that just wasn't true, because of the open nature of the feat system.

A 'pretense of simulation' is about right for 3e. It does pretend to be simulating something, though what is very hard to identify. Certainly not anything I've ever read, including D&D novels.


I think WotC's only real chance to pull this out is to continue with 4e, yet go back to supporting 3e and previous editions. Since putting pdfs of the old games on their web site costs them nothing (they aren't getting sales from people who would buy them, anyway), yet would generate income for the company, it's the only truly wise course.

No "eating crow", no losing 4e fans, no alienating 1e/2e/3e/pf fans. It's a win/win situation. Some of MM's comments suggest he might be thinking along this line, anyway.

Strange that they haven't considered it earlier.


Jerry Wright 307 wrote:

I think WotC's only real chance to pull this out is to continue with 4e, yet go back to supporting 3e and previous editions. Since putting pdfs of the old games on their web site costs them nothing (they aren't getting sales from people who would buy them, anyway), yet would generate income for the company, it's the only truly wise course.

No "eating crow", no losing 4e fans, no alienating 1e/2e/3e/pf fans. It's a win/win situation. Some of MM's comments suggest he might be thinking along this line, anyway.

Strange that they haven't considered it earlier.

I think this would be a great start, but just one step in a long journey. The fractured fanbase is a major problem. Hell, in my own gaming groups it's a problem. I've come around and accepted 4e as a legitimate game, but there are others in my group who fervently hate it, which makes social parties(birthdays, etc) really awkward when everybody starts talking about gaming(3e, PF, and 4e players all in the same place). You tend to take for granted the advantages of online anonymity and message board fodder when confronted with editions wars face to face amongst friends.

Reuniting the fans of all editions is NOT impossible. Yes, it's going to take some work. This is already a niche hobby; further splintering of such a niche crowd would be signing D&D's death warrant.

By at least making older edition PDF's available, that's some kind of olive branch to the older players. Even those of us who already own those books, it shows that they aren't sweeping us under the rug anymore. I mean, really, how are new players supposed to (legally) learn about D&D's history and compare notes with previous editions? Not everyone brand-new to a hobby knows where to look if not the official website.

Just my opinion, but it's always reeked of insecurity in their current product by not legally allowing players to compare to what came before. It's always come off like they were hiding the other rulesets so nobody would get curious and possibly "wander off."


Wow, what a crap-tastic article. One sided much?

Mike Mearls wrote:


"I think we've hit the second era of RPG decadence, and it's gone the opposite way, It's all about player power now - the DM is just the rules guy - and the DM can't contradict what the players say. [The game] is taking away from the DM, and that's where I worry because other types of games can do that better. I might as well play a board game, 'cause I'm just here enforcing the rules. Without the DM as the creative guy, what's the point?"

Wow, just.....wow. If that is seriously the way he sees the game being played with average groups or his own group then there really is little to no hope for him. Apparently he didn't read the DMG or use something those of us like to call common sense. What's worse is that sort of game-play mentality can virtually be applied to ANY EDITION of D&D or roleplaying game, no just 4E. And really, I'm going to assume that most DMs aren't automation-like beings that robotically call out the game as a rules arbiter, with little to no story involved what-so-ever.

Also, isn't the whole damn point of Skill Challenges to engage players through roleplaying scenarios that have consequences done with a few skill checks? No, he probably uses the Skill Challenges quite literally described from the DMG as a sort of noncombative mini-game where your just hoping to reach that next Milestone before your last skill check fail *rolls eyes*.

Mike Mearls wrote:


"People have no time for b#@$~!+~," he said. "People have less time than ever to do stuff that engages them. You take roleplayers, who are by nature creative and engaged, they're not just passively watching something. They have standards of what they want, they're persnickety. They want what they want, and if you don't give it to them they'll tell you very loudly and clearly, 'Screw you buddy, I don't need this!'"

Everyone complains, everyone b***hes. That is JUST THE WAY IT IS. I'd be the biggest one if they were to revert the game back to AD&D using THAC0, Level-Caps, and all that because I feel those rules suck. Others might love it, so it goes to show that you Cant. Please. Everyone. Furthermore, back in the 80's, 90's, and early 2000's you didn't have the explosion of community feedback and digital communication that you have now. People couldn't praise or complain on Facebook or Twitter back then. You could possibly send an e-mail (maybe, during 3E's era) but that was about it. So all the complaining your seeing now about D&D and all the BS about "Camps" was pretty similiar back then with just no outlet to vent it to a broader public.

Additionally, I might add how expensive D&D is (currently and prior editons) and the state of the lack-luster/crappy economy. Unemployment is still hovering around 9%.....9%!!!! You think people want to shell out $150 for some RPGs when they're having trouble paying their mortgage, their car/insurence bills, their expenses bills, medical bills?? No, they're not but I guess those factors really don't matter. It's all 4E's fault sales are dropping, can't be any outside factors. Hey, while we're at it, lets cut some really awesome designers we've been employing for quite some time. Morons.

Mike Mearls wrote:


"You don't want a situation where someone comes into a room and says 'Hey guys, I'm playing a Shardmind Seeker' and the response is 'What the hell is that?'" he said. "I know what it is because I worked on it, but it's not even in the Player's Handbook. If you [publish] too much, that shared language, it just evaporates."

So you support the idea of more digital information via DDI yet claim people won't be speaking the same language because one guy pulls info not straight from the PHB? Of course it's totally within the DM's rights to say Yes or no to a character concept (maybe Shardminds don't exist there or are too alien for the local people) but it's not like that information about the race/class isn't within 5 seconds of your finger tips. Alsp this is clearly a DM problem for not stating what is allowed and what isn't, as I've known DMs that don't allow anything from books he doesn't actually own (kinda pathetic IMO, but that's me). This information should be told to the player up front PRIOR to Char-Gen. Duh!

Mike Mearls wrote:


"Let's just play D&D, Just cut all the b$*!$*&$ that can get in the way, and say 'Look, we have all these different ways you can express yourself in the game,' and let's just give people what they want. Don't trick people into things they want or just come up with something new for the sake of it. [Let's] get back in touch with what makes role-playing games great, what makes D&D great."

Mind explaining what that actual definition is? Because, for the life of me, can't find a definitive answer....well anywhere. Perhaps it's because the general idea of D&D isn't laid down in ground rules and a minutia of mechanics but in the basic principal of role-playing a character with a bunch of your friends. About exploration and story. About Killing the bad guy and taking his treaure. About fleeing the gargantuan Red Dragon the DM threw at you because you were being cocky. About rolling some dice and using magical spells and items. THAT IS WHAT D&D IS. Not the "How" but the "Why".

Also, from my perspective, I like options. I like being able to choose from 40 different classes or hybrid/multiclass a few into something I invision for said character. Just because a lot of people stick with the basic Human, Dwarf, Elf, Hafling doesn't exclude the fact that other races such as Minotaur, Drow, Genasi, Pixies, and Shardminds don't have their niché places for people. Oh wait, I forgot. The DM might not know how to incorporate such races into his campaign or we're speaking different languages when I mention such options. Might as well just say "Na, use these extreamly limited choices or don't play. We don't need Drow in our game, espically good ones using two scimitars."


Mearls admits 4th edition might have gone too far in creating a perfectly balanced game
LOL

Now I admit they tried, and whatever they couldn't fix or adapt to their new system was just destroyed and replaced with something far from perfectly balanced and not specially fun.


Diffan wrote:

Wow, what a crap-tastic article. One sided much?

...

Yeah. I like the way he bemoans the problems with "D&D" and "D&D players" yet completely ignores the fantastic success Paizo is having with "D&D" by basically doing everything 4E did not do.

Someone should just hand him the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and say: "I think the answers you are so earnestly looking for are in here Mike. Take a look." Mearls: "What? What's this? Pathfinder? Never heard of it. This can't be working in a world with a fractured player base, RPG decadence, player power, the DM is just the rules guy, no way anyone is buying this. I must figure out how to make a successful fantasy RPG!! How can it be done? What is the answer??"

Come on dude, stop with the naval gazing and hand-wringing. Mistakes were made with 4E. Acknowledge those mistakes, learn from them, and move on. When Coca-Cola put out New Coke they didn't blame its problems on the "cola market being fractured" or "cola designers being hyper-sensitive to the sales of cola". They just pulled it and went back to the drawing board. Coca-Cola is still number 1 today.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

After reading a few more posts here, I see I missed a comment about the PDFs. I believe that WotC should make all of the adventures and campaign settings for pre-4E available again as PDFs. I bought several of the old adventures here at Paizo back when they were being sold and I find them handy, even if I run the game at the table mostly from the original print document. Now, ideally WotC would go back to the approach that lets other companies like Paizo and DriveThruRPG sell the PDFs, but even if they only sold them or made them available to DDI subscribers sold from their own website that would be a big improvement over the current state of things. In a perfect world, a print on demand option that let's you produce a close facimile to the original product would be great.

If convenient, affordable access to the past is not part of D&D's future, then I think that's a serious misstep.

L


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cibet44 wrote:
Diffan wrote:

Wow, what a crap-tastic article. One sided much?

...

Yeah. I like the way he bemoans the problems with "D&D" and "D&D players" yet completely ignores the fantastic success Paizo is having with "D&D" by basically doing everything 4E did not do.

Someone should just hand him the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and say: "I think the answers you are so earnestly looking for are in here Mike. Take a look." Mearls: "What? What's this? Pathfinder? Never heard of it. This can't be working in a world with a fractured player base, RPG decadence, player power, the DM is just the rules guy, no way anyone is buying this. I must figure out how to make a successful fantasy RPG!! How can it be done? What is the answer??"

Come on dude, stop with the naval gazing and hand-wringing. Mistakes were made with 4E. Acknowledge those mistakes, learn from them, and move on. When Coca-Cola put out New Coke they didn't blame its problems on the "cola market being fractured" or "cola designers being hyper-sensitive to the sales of cola". They just pulled it and went back to the drawing board. Coca-Cola is still number 1 today.

I accept that mistakes were made with their marketing and the way in which they handled 4E's debut. I accept that denying the possibility of a new edtion (4e at the time) a few months prior to announcing the edition was bad judgement. I also accept that with more options that are currently supported, people are going to segregate to those that support them more.

From a game mechanical stand point, I feel 95% of 4E's design changes were indeed positive and influencial. Even as a player of Pathfinder and v3.5 (still!) I see the mistakes therein and will always perfer 4E ove them both. BAB, Magic over Muscle, Bat-man Wizards and Instant-Win buttons, Rogue still sucking, Monks.....still heavily underpowered (to say the least), nothing stopping double moves against "Tanks", heavily debated RAW vs. RAI that I find 3-times as much in 3E/PF than I do in 4E, and CR/EL swaying too far out of wack are all problems I've seen IN play and want no part of.

I'm actually GLAD there is such a difference between the two because it can appease BOTH styles that people want. Ever try making a wholly non-magical party with PF/3E and NOT have to amend the rules to go easier on them? Ever try playing a "balanced drow" who isn't totally shafted by Level Adjustments (or a Minotaur or a Githyanki)? How about an Evil Paladin with no rule-adjustments? All of these are, for my knowledge of the systems, not feesable without house ruling in some way. That isn't fun to me. A game where only one or two characters are useful at specific times is un-fun to me. A game where I have to look up 3 pages of rules just for grappling is un-fun to me. These are all aspects I've found in PF/v3.5 and I find it dreadful that D&D might go back to this.

Others may find these rules perfectly fine, and that's great. I cope with them because I like RPGs and I just hide my contemp as best I can when I come across it. But if this is how it's going to be, with having to go through 150 loops just so I can play a were-bear berserker that mechanically stinks because the rules don't play into that concept is NOT a D&D I want to play. It's just another side of the coin.


Diffan wrote:
cibet44 wrote:
Diffan wrote:

Wow, what a crap-tastic article. One sided much?

...

Yeah. I like the way he bemoans the problems with "D&D" and "D&D players" yet completely ignores the fantastic success Paizo is having with "D&D" by basically doing everything 4E did not do.

Someone should just hand him the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and say: "I think the answers you are so earnestly looking for are in here Mike. Take a look." Mearls: "What? What's this? Pathfinder? Never heard of it. This can't be working in a world with a fractured player base, RPG decadence, player power, the DM is just the rules guy, no way anyone is buying this. I must figure out how to make a successful fantasy RPG!! How can it be done? What is the answer??"

Come on dude, stop with the naval gazing and hand-wringing. Mistakes were made with 4E. Acknowledge those mistakes, learn from them, and move on. When Coca-Cola put out New Coke they didn't blame its problems on the "cola market being fractured" or "cola designers being hyper-sensitive to the sales of cola". They just pulled it and went back to the drawing board. Coca-Cola is still number 1 today.

It's just another side of the coin.

Sure, everyone has opinions on what kind of game they like and don't. That's fine. What I don't get is why Mearls seems determined to find a problem in the game market, or game players, or now (bizarrely) in the game designers and how they have too much information about the game market today. He seems to look everywhere but directly in front of him (where Paizo is leading the way) and in the mirror (where 4E is staring at him). That's my point. It really shouldn't be that big of a mystery to him, yet it seems to be.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
cibet44 wrote:


Sure, everyone has opinions on what kind of game they like and don't. That's fine. What I don't get is why Mearls seems determined to find a problem in the game market, or game players, or now (bizarrely) in the game designers and how they have too much information about the game market today. He seems to look everywhere but directly in front of him (where Paizo is leading the way) and in the mirror (where 4E is staring at him). That's my point. It really shouldn't be that big of a mystery to him, yet it seems to be.

Because were he to do as you say and place the blame soley on 4E, it would mean that a co-designer of 4E claims it's a failure (which I frankly don't believe). And not only is that insulting to everyone who currently plays the edition and supports it, but alienates everyone else into buying said edition. It would also further impede future sales, because "who wants to play a game even the designer said is a failure??"

Also, it's much more than that I believe. It seems to me that pro-Paizo people like to forget that prior to the 4E shift, 3E was the only version of D&D supported in any way, shape, or form. No one was really making new 2E/AD&D products. No one was advancing BASIC D&D/OSR D&D and the 3PP were super small niché markets. Then out comes 4E, a major design/mechanical shift that leaves half the fan-base saying "What?!! Ew!!" and the other "Ohhh, Ahhh!". Then what you have is another company pandering to those who've 1). don't like the ruleset, 2). not like their campaign changes (ex. Forgotten Realms), 3). disliked they way 4E was released in timing (we were told in Apirl no new edition was coming!!) or in presentation (3E had SOO many problems, play 4E because it's better!), or 4). All of the above.

IT's quite clear that I'd say a good portion of the fanbase was already fractured even before June of 08' and 4E debut. The FR fans already received their book of Grand History of the Realms and the info about Mystra's death, the Spellplague, and 100 year time jump. That right there killed it for most people.

So really, one can't completly base these fractures on 4E mechanics and design philosophies alone. Paizo took a golden opportuinity to take a P.O'd fanbase and make something of it. It's pretty simple.

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