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Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
It sounds like he thinks 4th edition handled high level play the best of any of the versions.

The only other edition you could reasonably pick is the one that didn't go up to level 20.

That said Monte's latest article was extremely clueless. If I want to run an epic godslaying campaign of planar teleporting, I shouldn't have to roll 8 times the number of dice or tell my fighter types to go time out in the corner. All editions have both math problems and option bloat with the higher levels, fourth the least of them, but still enough that heroic became the only thing Wizards bothered supporting at some point. A big potential selling point for 5E would be to correct the math, but the way Monte is talking about it, it's not clear he sees the issue that needs correction.

After finding this out, hearing vague tweets from DDXP people, and the latest Legends and Lore, I think 4E is truly f****d as far as core goes. Clerics and Wizards are Vancian characters period, a few at-will magic feats does not change this significantly. Don't want Vancian? Go pick another class.

That said, two things we do know; one, they want a way to swap out low level spell slots at higher level, so the # of options gets less ridiculous as you enter high levels; and two, they want some of those crazy imbalanced 3E magics turned into expensive/time consuming rituals, which sounds to me like they aren't just going to directly reproduce the stupidly imbalanced spell list.

That said the more I found out this really sounds more like 3E rulebase simplified, polished and evolved slightly, with the simplification providing a nod to the rules-light early editions but not really duplicating their mechanics, and while they might apply some broad 4E principles, mechanics-wise 4E players are left in the cold. But hey they don't have an OGL and pay monthly for digital stuff that won't be updated anymore, so I guess Wizards will have an easier time pulling more onboard than 3E->4E.

cibet44 wrote:

So who buys this modular 5E anyway?

Speaking as a current Pathfinder player and 3.5 supporter why do I buy it? I have the game my players and I like and we play it.

When's the last time you 3.5-loving players got together with some 4E-loving players?

That's essentially what Monte is promising. Not just that you can play "any edition", but do so at the same table. You don't have playgroups needing to agree on one edition or the other, you have more opportunities to pick up new players because they aren't playing an incompatible edition. It's not "The DM picks one set of rules and everyone abides by it", it's "everyone brings their own character creation rules and we somehow mix it all together." Heck, maybe one of your existing players might like to try some 4E or 1E stuff but wasn't willing to trade groups for the privledge, maybe now he doesn't have to choose.

Again, very implausible, maybe impossible, but that is the sell.

cibet44 wrote:

I believe they will be going for a 4E+2E+1E+0E market, leaving 3E to Paizo. That should be doable rules wise and not a bad strategy marketing wise.

3E is the gaping hole in Wizard's pocketbook, not the scattered indie PDF retroclones. Knocking out PF is a big part of the new edition coming out so "early." However impossible it is to work well in practice, Monte is basically telling us that 3E and 4E characters can sit at the same table, and they will try to sell that to players as more of the system is revealed.

What I expect from DDI:

All the 4E stuff will still be there, but you will have to pay monthly for it. Meanwhile 5E content will start being delivered over DDI as the 4E updates drop off. So the 4E tools aren't quite dead, but the value proposition has changed if you don't have any use for these 5E things. Ideally you eventually capitulate with all this 5E content coming out, and the corporate overlords are pleased.

What might throw a wrench in this plan: if 5E uses OGL, much of the "crunch" may be free anyway.

Captain Marsh wrote:

I was a loyal WOTC product buyer, but their modules and series were often really abysmal, and always a big step behind Paizo.

Easiest way to fix that is a 5E OGL, and just let Paizo do it.

How they handle Magic is pretty make-or-break IMO. Every 3Eer hates high level spells ruining near every story a DM can come up with, every 3Eer also hates 4E "powers" as the dumbed-down solution. How to offer a simpler magic system to attract newcomers, retaining enough flavor for 3E grognards, AND making high levels playable... solve that and I think they will be on to something that PF lacks. Modularity may be a big part of the answer.

Kthulhu wrote:

Again, I don't really see how this would be possible, unless fifth edition was simply putting three full systems into place, and providing three sets of stats for everything. 4e, d20, and pre-d20 are just too wildly different from each other for anything to sucessfully be compatible with any two of them, much less all three.

They can compromise on the 4E end really. With the lack of OGL and the end of DDI content, the edition will die much faster regardless of what the user base wants. There will need to be some bone tossed their direction though to keep enough of them from quitting DnD altogether. Still, many 4E types seem more on the ideas of precise, undisputable rules and standards, tight balance, and tactical grid battles than much of the not-so-memorable 4E flavor (particularly since flavor is presented as a mere "skin" on rules), so a totally new advanced ruleset that maintains those same principles could work well enough.

I'm also not sure how much the 2E base really matters to them either, Pathfinder is the elephant in the room to slay. Although the "simpler" base rules may pick up some BCEMI or 1e retro types. There's likely some current Pathfinder players who would be happy with simple base rules as long as certain "sacred cows" and flavor killed in 4E return.

And yeah, the rules are described as "modular" so, you can expect multiple layers of stats for official books. Or they will just "encourage" players to add/generate their own stat layers for advanced rules.

see wrote:

If D&D 5 is highly compatible with 3.x and is actually released under the OGL, it might manage to fully displace Pathfinder the RPG, with Paizo moving its other lines to support it directly.

One interview called it "compatible with every D&D edition", while Mike Mearls made it clear he is explicitly in the OGL camp, although neither of these equal a confirmed commitment on Wizard's part. Still its looking like a strong possibility... really it's their only hope for "killing" Pathfinder, which is the entire point of 5E.

goldomark wrote:

4e was a commercial failure, but not PF.

The only major difference between the two is that Paizo is a tiny company with a tiny budget delighted with tiny profit margins, while M:TG is making Hasbro billions and D&D isn't. Pathfinder only *just* overtook 4E book sales this year after Wizards stopped caring about producing 4E books. While it's quite awesome for Paizo to be doing as well as they are, it's not like they have outsold 4E by the truckload and punched it back into Oblivion. Hasbro/WotC is just unhappy that so many "potential customers" are channeling money to a competitor that resold their own game from 5+ years ago. The real difference lies in the expectations of the corporations, not their popularity or sales.

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Re: why there aren't more 4E types pissed at this move; half of WotC's D&D General forum thread had already turned into 5E topics. I think that was to fill the space of books not really coming out anymore during the past year. Similar reason to why 3.0 wasn't a "cash grab", leave enough dead space in product and people will want to throw money your way again. Notice how well Paizo has done with 3.75 when 3.5 earned the "cash grab" moniker, both are basically rehashes, one was timed better.

In a PvP game, the people who bother to RP are either:

A) losing
B) that special breed of munchkin that can wrap workable character concepts around abuses and exploits.

I'm not a big fan of B personally.

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YawarFiesta wrote:
But, why is it Pathfinder Online when it isn´t really Pathfinder RPG and it more closely Golarion Online?

The ambiguity is to their advantage, as they will surely sucker more players to looking at something labeled "Pathfinder" than "Golarian." They might even think the OGL rules are somehow involved, or that the game focuses on adventurers vs themeparks/DMs instead of a PvP game. If they get you to take a look at the game in the first place, that is the point.

Also whoever came up with the "Pathfinder Campaign Setting = Sandbox" was either somewhat dim, or brilliantly deceptive. Yes, it's a sandbox that DMs build a themepark in. Not the adventurers splitting up, joining competing factions, each trying to build their own thing and fighting with each other. A PvP sandbox is a fundamentally different thing than Pathfinder PnP.

Lord Rahl08 wrote:

The ability for a person or group of persons to create a city that would be open to the world is very interesting. That also would open possibilities for PvP of players attacking other players cities.

This seems already practically confirmed to me.

Svevenka wrote:
Maybe I missed something. Are the initial 4,500 players beta testers, or are they the first players let into the game world at launch? The blog at leads me to believe it's the latter.

The launch is the "beta." They just don't call it that because they want money too.

Pay to Play beta? Why does this sound familiar?

Of course, businesswise, there's no reason not to exploit your userbase if they fall for it.

As an Open PvP everywhere game, this is one of the few that could pull it off. The problem becomes if you "accidently" fry someone in a safeish zone and the guards come down on you like a ton of bricks. Especially if your target intentionally walks into your spell just to see you rack up a prison fine or the like.

Steve Geddes wrote:

That didn't seem the assumption in the OP though.

Yep you're right. People can't even read the FAQ or any dev posts at all.

It's kinda Paizo's fault though, the PnP fan base is not one that will be dominated by PvPers..

Everything they've said so far to me points to player conflict as being the point of this game. That doesn't mean you personally need to be ganked anywhere as their current thinking is going, but it does mean that some competition has to go on somewhere to determine who gets the most prized resources (rare nodes, territory, rulership, etc.). There isn't an elite PvE "endgame" to aspire to as in many MMOs, PvP IS the endgame. A true PvE server is a non starter, therefore putting these types of players on different servers is not a solution.

Davor wrote:

You can have quests that don't revolve around killing X number of Y without creating a scenario in which Open PvP is a requirement.

WoW was just a specific example, but if you want to speak more broadly: I mean quests of any kind, as in scripted tasks and scenarios created by game devs, are not the real content. That doesn't mean there aren't tons of PvE things to do; it does mean however that most of them have to tie back into the broader competitive picture somehow. Whether you can be killed on the open road or not, the movers and shakers in this world are not those who can organize and grind through difficult PvE content, but instead those at the lead of player kingdoms fighting each other for glory.

So far devs talk about stratifying risk versus reward, with "risk" principly coming from other players. So you can farm some goods near a town and be relatively safe, but heading deep out into the wilderness in search of rare goods, expect to be waylaid by bandit players. Those kinds of competitions are what drive the entire system, of which the safe farmers play a proportionally small part in, due to their low generated rewards. You could make the game have more "safe zones", or make those safe zones absolute (cannot be attacked) but the entire system rests on their being some dangerous zones where resources are actively contested; i.e. not-exactly-consenting PvP.

You also have to consider that player kingdoms are presumably not permanent entities (whatever can be created and takes up space in a sandbox need also be destroyed), so there must be a way to attack them directly or indirectly and effect a change in leadership or destroying them outright. This isn't incompatible with absolute safe zones, but you need a way to transition those safe zones into unsafe ones and vice versa. Assuming you come up with an intuitive way to do that which is easily read by the players, and yet still supporting of groups conquering towns... you have to wonder if you've really met the point of absolute safe zones at all, when that zone around your player's home or store may well be gone tommorrow, and you will get occasionally ganked regardless.

I'm quite aware that most people here aren't going to like this kind of vision, and its profitability is also questionable. It seems pretty core to the goals the designer has laid out though. This is just not a player versus AI game at its core, so removing player conflict from the equation invalidates just about everything else the devs have laid out as goals. Whatever kind of limitations you want to set on it, PvP somewhere in the open world is core to PFO. Like the OP suggested, sure be uncomfortable; but I wouldn't expect it to change.

I'm not sure some people here get the point of this game. It isn't about following kill 10 X quests as you level up to raid gear for the privledge of entering 5-hour dungeons with 25 people to kill some mega dragon. It's about carving your own place in the world as a part of competing nation states. Whether you support gank-anywhere or not, competition on some level is the very point of the game. It's what drives the drama and conflict in the absence of hordes of quest content that WoW provides. Asking for PvE servers is asking for servers with no content.

There may be an argument that the full-time craftsman should be insulated from combat PvP, but such a character will constantly be haggling, i.e. hoodwinking other players into paying more for less, in order to build a profit from their activities. On a player-driven market the worth of your currency depends upon how hard it is for everyone to get it, so you try to maximize yourself getting as much as easily as possible in order to purchase desirable goods others have worked to make. Additionally many of the materials being created by the craftsman will be desired precisely for their power to aid or protect from ganking. Even if straight ganking is inappropriate, the craftsman is still very engaged in competition.

Pathfinder rules as printed are rather bad for the kind of game they are designing. It is set up to help a bunch of friends adventure together against reasonable challenges by the DM. Not player organizations banding together to fight off and undercut each other constantly in a fully simulated economy and polity. Not that most Pathfinder fans necessarily want that kind of game, but I think their intentions are clear.

I am personally interested in more details on the legal question, but I'll bet that this angle was not pushed that far in the first place because it would jeopardize the vision of the kind of MMO they want to make.

DeaconX wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
The dynamics of game design change fundamentally when you add an extra 10,000 Dovahkiin to the game.

Well, obviously that shouldn't happen ;) I'm not saying take SKYRIM's single player specific story...

But the way the game is designed overall, if it could be an MMORPG it's the one I'd want to be in.

His point has nothing to do with story, and everything to do with giving 10,000 players the Elder Scrolls experience.

Elder Scrolls games are to a large extent an open sandbox. You can do whatever you want in the world and your actions make a lasting impact. Thing is you don't have to worry about competing with 10,000 other players that want to get in the way of whatever you are doing.

Anytime you give different players power over the same virtual object or world, and they want to do different things, there will be competition. The PFO devs sound like they want to channel that competition in certain interesting directions, but it makes for a very different experience than being the Skyrim hero and automatically winning at whatever you want to do with a mild effort.

Given your limited funds and complete lack of D&D 3.x experience, I would start with just the Beginner's Box honestly. It's complete, a great value, well-formatted and clear, and is by far the best introduction. The core rulebook is byzantine and poorly cross referenced, and is a terrible introduction to 3.x if you've never touched it before, more of a reference for gamers than a guide for newbies. Plus nearly all of it is available online through the PRD or, except cross-referenced and searchable. If you guys get through several sessions on the BB and have a good time, you can then look at spending on just what you need; adventure paths if your DM doesn't want to wing it, bestiaries that go beyond the free online content, or even the core rulebook if you just want a paper reference to riffle through. But the BB is complete enough that you can make that call after you have some sessions under your belt.

If you had written even one sentence in the OP that addressing that point, it might be believable that you were doing anything but inventing a flimsy rationale to save face. I don't see how it is even remotely conceivable that investors are the one that would force this down the lawsuit-laden OGL path for instance, even if classes and levels rematerialized.

This game has zero chance of getting investors as a wow clone. There's so many other established developers to choose from after all. The entire marketing platform is "yeah we are nobodies, but fund us anyway because there's a huge gap in the market." Very questionable but there you have it.

Sean Byram wrote:

I tell players that I'll give them a dagger for every set of goblin teeth they bring me. The way I do this is likely very easy. Every 5 or 10 minutes I say it in the town chat channel or whatever. Or I make a post on the game's forums. I do this because not too far from the town I'm staying in, there's a den of goblins. I do this mainly for giggles, and because I can't offload the daggers. Or maybe I know an alchemist who'll give me mucho gold for goblin teeth. Who knows.

The only problem is no-one is going to take you up on your offer. If you can't offload daggers it's because no-one wants them. If someone managed to pick up some unwanted goblin teeth they might trade anyway for fun, but no-one will specifically head out in the wilderness to grind goblins for your offering.

In most MMOs players quest primarily for XP anyway, until you can give that out they likely won't be interested.

Now if clearing out a local goblin population (something you can't do alone) allowed you to claim that area or some other advantage, and you paid everyone that helped something worthwhile, we might be getting somewhere. Using goblin teeth as proof they were clearing out your particular locale though would require that said teeth are unique to your location.... not to mention if "quests" like this became common, we'd see people saving up these teeth over a long period of time and cashing in whenever. (i.e. I got teeth from 10 months ago, now you want the goblins cleared out and pay X for teeth, suddenly people unload a stash that benefits you zero.) In short we need some basic systems that directly or indirectly support honest transactions beyond simple item trading so your quests/services can mean anything;.

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So just curious. Has the OP read anything at all about this specific MMO? Because while there is plenty to rant about, it's not any of the OP's points. I'll sum it up for those that can't bother to read the official FAQ:

1) No OGL. This game has zero basis in the PnP mechanics. There aren't even classes and levels FFS.

2) Themepark dungeons/raids aka WoW endgame are a sideshow in this game. The "real" content comes from players building up and competing as groups across various methods, such as economic, political, and yes combat. Conflict and content are thus generated by players, with the computer's role merely to provide systems that promote interesting player conflict. (rather than generating random content)

3) Since the game is directly or indirectly about PvP, there's definitely going to be challenge somewhere. You don't win unless someone else is getting ground into the dirt.

This above isn't what you would assume from a game labeled "Pathfinder Online" and not knowing anything else, and plenty of people (including me) have gone off on that point. They however have decided it was a good idea to do a small amount of research before posting an ill-informed wall of text.

Technically OGL games are legit, that is why Paizo did actually consider it. That doesn't mean that they aren't afraid of some BS lawsuit coming down from WotC though. Even if Paizo is in the right, fighting it off could be very difficult and damaging.

D&D rules are however quite bad for a PvP sandbox. They couldn't get away with a slightly fudged emulation as has worked previously in themepark crawls. Your merchants and artisans and politicians need to have useful abilities (not just adventurers) and as a competitive game, balance between these abilities is incredibly important. Not say Wizards ruling combat and the market with their crafted goods alike.

Personally I'm not too worried for Paizo fiscally though because they don't seem to be ready to hire and carry on without some investors first. Which I'm skeptical are going to show for the listed reasons. Really strange to be announcing a product before your investors are lined up and most of your software team hired. If this product just goes to vaporware for lack of funding there probably isn't much lost.

I think the thread title (not the intent) was set up wrong, which is leading to these strange arguments. The question is not "how to punish griefing so as to discourage it", it's "how to channel griefing into interesting gameplay." As a sandbox PvPish MMO, the game ultimately is about proving your individual self or clan/group to be better than everyone else and rub it in their face. Like every other PvP game then, the goal is to make that process for doing so interesting and compelling, whether that's on the side of ganking, organized player combat, economic or political development, etc.

I also think using a D&D clone IP to build a non-D&D PvP game is very strange and will continue to confuse fans for a long time to come. Most of your existing base is frankly not interested in competitive gaming of any sort. There is a large group of players who are, but most of them aren't Paizo fans.

Simon Hayes wrote:

Instead of creating it out of the blue, what about building it over time as you play some kind of evil/outlaw character.

As times goes by you can build it larger and have to handle good characters looking for loot...

This is the direction you have to think for this kind of game. It's not NWN.

If a trapped dungeon somehow made your goods safer than other methods (for example, normally if killed you could be stripped of loot, wheras a dungeon keep safeguarded said loot.) then it could become something interesting. Or the dungeon might steal and accumulate loot from players that fail to make it to the end. On the other hand, players are only going to invest in such a thing if surviving a dungeon is rare, so the experience will be more tomb-of-horrors than any kind of modern dungeon crawl.

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It's just not this game at all.

1) This game isn't even "3.5ish". No classes? It's got nothing to do with D&D rules, just whatever generic flavor they were able to appropriate into Golarion. D&D rules would frankly get in the way of the kind of game they are trying to make anyway...

2) It's a fundamentally competitive game, whether that's direct player killing, acquiring space to build kingdoms, amassing gold as a merchant, climbing the guild hierarchy, etc. That is how the majority of content is generated in this game - the players create the conflict, rather than the game designers or DMs doing the job.

Neverwinter Online being developed by Cryptic is the closest thing to what you are looking for. Focus on 5 player parties, a tool for customers to building adventures, and a system for publishing those adventures to many players. And yeah it's 4th edition, but that's going to be closer to 3.5 than whatever Pathfinder Online is making.

I just find the acquisition of Pathfinder IP for this project baffling. They can talk all about carrying on the "spirit" of Pathfinder, but from where I'm standing, tabletop D&D is all adventurers characters growing into legends and heroes (or anti-heroes), not about some players setting up a merchant shop and others lording over them as kings, then sending knights to kill each other to expand the kingdom's territory and so forth. It takes alot more than D&D adventures to build a living (as opposed to themepark) world, and that's just going to look strange and disappointing to most of your tabletop fans.

Scott Betts wrote:

I'm sure you'll tell us why this one doesn't count, too.

I'll be shocked if this works in the market, considering all the competitors are F2P games, and this is by design barely an upgrade over the WC3 map. $60 retail on PCs is a lot to ask for something this niche. But it does prove I am wrong, some multi billion companies can still make incredibly risky business moves.

Ashiel wrote:

When I was 13, I discovered D&D and I've been hooked since. I love D&D and the d20 system because the sky is the limit, and when you hit the sky, break the limit and go further. The idea of people building their own prison of expected tropes makes me a sad panda. I think it's pity, really.

I wouldn't blame them too much. Classes themselves are confining, stereotyping tropes and an intrinsic design of D&D. That's their purpose, and multiclassing used to be awful restricted to reflect that. D20 took a very restrictive system and opened it up significantly, but you're still hamstrung by class features bundled to taking X levels of a class, needing Y or Z to qualify for prestige class, XP penalties, etc. Really classless systems (or at least, generic/modern classes + custom feats) are the ideal for giving players the freedom to build whatever character they want, D&D has never been the best at that, instead guiding players towards certain established tropes. That fact very likely still has something to do with its enduring popularity though.

This is definitely a good idea. I don't know if it's a good enough idea to spend manpower and printing stuff on, that comes down to demographics; but it would clearly help someone.

On the other hand, I don't think any rewording of the rules is really going to fix 12+. There are groups that use laptops and can flit around the srds to easily look everything up. That doesn't keep high level combat from being a bear that gets constantly whined about. A flat out revision of some systems is needed, i.e. a true new edition, or at least an "optional alternative" high-level system offered in a non-CRB.

I also don't see how pathfinder can avoid respecting the OGL? They can't start dropping d20 exclusive content in their rulebooks just because new players need to know it.

Steel_Wind wrote:
Blizzard does not put out AAA games -- they put out AAAA games. They are the exception to the rule and their titles are still stocked on the shelf NIB ten years after release. Their exceptional status goes beyond all rules which otherwise plainly apply in the industry.

I don't know whether they deserve their own ranking, but that is what I meant. They are the single, solitary exception; everyone else is following the rule. Former PC stalwarts like Bioware, iD, Bethseda, they are all about consoles now. You can't give a single example of a huge developer still putting out PC-only retail titles, because none of them can sell nearly as many as Blizzard does.

I may be wrong on the MMO angle in the long run, as more inventive ways are designed for PC games to sap large amounts of revenue. But the explosion of small-budget indie steam games is not going to ever produce a real Neverwinter Nights experience that is both accessible to as large an audience as said games, complex enough to at least pretend it is following 3.5 rules, and not be locked down with some serious copy protection like say, logging into a purchased account, as well as some other subscription or microtransaction model to keep paying as you go.

Monte Cook's last article (linked in said closed thread) that was concerned with "readability" and "conversational tone" might speak to this spectator phenomena. Cook is concerned that 4E has gone too precise and formal with its rules, that while making for great references, can be too dry for people to read cover to cover, which is what a spectator will spend more time doing than not. I don't know enough PF materials well enough to compare, but I'd bet APs have alot more imaginative things going on (even applicable to non-PF games!) than the setting and class books WotC is trying to sell. Even their classes, as inheritors of the 3E legacy, are somewhat lower on jargon and stat blocks.

And as mentioned, yes it's mainly that Wizards is not releasing 4E books. If the end of 3.5e is anything to go buy, it's because they've decided its time for yet another new edition soon. They'll take that profit hit now if they think the development invested in 5E will more than pay for itself. With the kind of money Magic is making and their move to "focus on core product lines", DnD may be having trouble justifying itself to a company that expects far bigger returns than a tiny place like Paizo is pulling off.

It's far too easy to point to "AED" as the change of 4th edition. None of the other changes matter even a fraction to most people's experience.

Sure in earlier editions, wizards had to worry about things like spell disruption, onerous material components, etc. But they always piled up their spells from a vancian system. This meant an ever balooning list of spells you could memorize, as well as the important ability to duplicate a spell as often as you want. Even as spell effects change, there was also a good deal of continuity in terms of their names and rough (over)power level.

Meanwhile martial types are fundamentally "basic attack" style. As 3E developed they got a bunch of options like trip, disarm, overrun etc., AoOs and so forth, but all of these options like basic attack, can be used every single round. There is no resource management in the decision tree of a pure martial character.

4E turned everyone into something more tome of battle-ish. The dominant playstyles of the past editions were completely wiped away by this. The strongly contrasting decision trees of martial vs caster were consolidated into this standardized compromise, with the additional new-to-DnD focus on replacing powers at some point instead of infinitely expanding upwards. Suddenly warriors had limited resources at their disposal for novaing, and wizards spell list was greatly reduced and their ability to duplicate spells in one encounter gone. It made playing a warrior or caster feel more different than anything that had come before. The main difference between the groups became fluff now that their mechanics were identical, which is unlike any other version of D&D ever.

If you told a 3.5 fan straight out "we're forcing you wizards to play swordsages" how would they react? Instead they had to spend time learning 4E to discover that's exactly what happened, even if they couldn't always put a conscious bead on what had changed that made the game feel so "un-D&D" to them.

Stories too had to change because the ridiculous power of high level casters was completely reset. Forgotten Realms didn't have to be butchered as badly as WotC did, but it did need a serious change to accomodate the famous super casters to the new rules.

The AED approach had deep repercussions leading to other contraversial decisions, such as splitting combat and utility effects, having near all powers do some kind of damage, making the vast share of powers unique to each class, rewriting multiclassing, etc. These weren't always inevitable results of AED but they were decisions made possible by its introduction, and stem from Wizard's interpretation of AED.

In retrospect 5E might not be such a hard sell if they drop pushing everyone into AED. If wizards can have bigger spell lists again while fighters can mash without daily powers, that would likely feel D&D "enough" that fans might enjoy Wizard's output again. Not enough to necessarily convert from OGL 3.5, but perhaps enough to stop them from discounting the new edition outright.

Scott Betts wrote:

That's not entirely true. By way of example, Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 are both inarguably AAA titles, and neither is an MMORPG (one is a real-time strategy game, the other is an action roleplaying game).

Blizzard are the exception because anything they produce sells millions of copies. Except they are applying MMO-like pricing schemes to their PC games too; sell full-priced SC2 expansion packs and their cut from the Diablo 3 RMT scheme. Not to mention the onerous online copy protection, D3 is practically an MMO at this point.

The whole point of MMOs success is that you can charge that small PC niche more money and do well as a "luxury" product. You make up for selling less units then consoles by making 3 or 4x per unit. Maybe there will be a few more non-MMO PC titles that develop in this direction if they can rip you off badly enough.

If you went so far as to make them alchemical crossbow users, you'd miss the point. The purpose of the class is NOT the questionable jam mechanics and somewhat better grit mechanic - the purpose of the class is that they use guns in a fantasy setting. They're about as fringe for most eurocentric fantasy games as the ninja and samurai that show up in the same book. That's what UC is about, giving options for the fringes, instead of prestige class variant 500 that's just the same as everything before.

Diffan wrote:

It would all depend on how well 5E is written and plays.

Quite obviously. I'm just observing that this "rules light" movement is not going to make many existing 4E fans happy, and they may find they have more in common with 3.5/PF than 5E. I am not speaking about an objective measure like "plays well", I am speaking to an existing fanbase that loves elaborate and definite rules. Mike trying to get past the 3e/4e divide by relaxing the rules is quite a gamble.


This idea of "Brand Loyalty" is as asinine as it is archaic. And no, I'm not saying people NEED to play, buy, or enjoy both systems but refusing to even try one due to the company publishing it seems very immature and small-minded to me.

However foolish it might be, it's a real market force that a business cannot ignore, or else you end up in WotC's current situation. Even if you can get players to buy books from another system, they are likely to favor one or the other depending on which one their playgroup actually uses.


If 4E "dies" (a term I'm not really comfortable with) with the advent of 5E then at least I know I won't have to worry about further revisions to a game I enjoy.

How the DDI subscriptions are impacted is more what I was hinting at here, which doesn't affect all 4E players but does effect many. Say that no new 4E articles are ever produced. Do you still have to pay monthly for access to the old archive and character builder? Do these resources just vanish or semi-vanish entirely? Do you keep paying a sub to access the old material and constantly have 5E pushed down your throat in the process?

It should also be noted that there seem to be few true 3.5 games left now, in favor of PF. 4E may well hang on longer if no proper successor can be produced, but new books are vital for bringing new players into the hobby, even if the old ones aren't significantly impacted.


Until then, seems like good old competition in the same market. Which, BTW, is a good thing for both companies.

When is competition EVER a good thing from a business' own perspective short of staring down anti-trust suits? I agree that the competition is a good thing for fans/customers, but it's terrible for management and salaries. The fact that Paizo is coming anywhere close in a field where WotC once held absolute dominance, putting out an extremely similar product, is likely highly disconcerting to them. I don't think they would be so obviously hinting at 5E, cancelling 4E products, and even admitting that there is in fact a divided DnD base if things were going as hoped.

Bioware has famously said that less than 10% of their NWN sales have ever connected to the multiplayer master server at all. It should not be surprising at all why Dragon Age did not follow the same path of custom multiplayer games. From a sales perspective concurrent multiplayer users that typically register well under 10,000 is peanuts. Bioware tried and did support them but ultimately their heart and market was in stronger SP campaigns.

AAA PC-only games do not really happen anymore unless they are MMOs. Cryptic's Neverwinter is the only thing on the horizon remotely close to doing this, depending on how much they can spruce their dev tool up, but it's still nowhere near the flexibility of NWN nor offering DM support. And it's even debatable if they can be considered AAA anymore. (although this is Cryptic's fault for terrible PR, no the game was never intended as an offline experience at any point. It was still "online only" but focused on small instances like Guild Wars or Diablo 3 before the PW acquisition)

So Cryptic might be tentatively leading the way in moddable MMOs, which has big potential if done right, because then it's no longer solely on the studio to churn out content fast enough to keep their players happy. Another angle would be indie teams, but I have a feeling that would end more towards a low-graphic turn-based strategy game or even bare playtable with those kind of resources if you want high fidelity to the complex rulebase. Working out a good NWN-style compromise is even more involved.

Of course if you just want a Pathfinder/Golarian game badly enough, yet another cross-platform Diablo clone is a likely sell.

Honestly the way 5E is starting to sound, Paizo may well stand to *gain* money. Alot of these 4E types are just as addicted to crunch as 3E, you can see it in the polls and forum comments. Thanks to GSL and digital content, 4E will actually die once Wizards is done with it. If Paizo has at least a cleaned up (if not revised) version of rules to go, there may well be many that convert to it, particularly those that never played another edition.

The context of the Paizo post doesn't support even 1/100th of the things being discussed here and in the OP.

If they consider "stealth rules one of those things" and "we might do something for monk, haven't decided yet" then it's clear we are looking at very minor tweaks. This is not a signal that the high level spell list is going to be ransacked, that rogues are going to get fully redesigned talents with new tiers, monks get full BaB cleric spheres, etc. They aren't going to overhaul and fix pathfinder. It's going to be a small tweak here and there.

I'd suggest that we won't see any changes at all that explicitly rewrite how characters are built. All classes will get all existing same features at the same levels with the same requirements they always have. Some aspects of those features might be changed adjusting their value and thus what is declared "optimal," but those features are still going to look pretty similar. Anything else is going to wreck backwards compatibility and require "conversions" just like the OP's 1.5 would, and that is not worth doing for the scale of minor adjustments implied.

To clarify, I complete agree with the OP that the "rules start overheating" well before 20. Some kind of alternate, slowed, linear progression (especially on magic) would be preferable to the current system. Saying that "well up to 20 is already godlike so we don't need epic levels" is missing the point, when few even get up to 20 because the rules are flawed. Players should retire their campaigns when they personally feel too godlike, not because combat math is getting out of hand.

While many of those 8th/9th level spells ought to be redescribed as god-ish powers, once you institute the necessary pre-20 scaling change, there's no reason to bound those to 20- anymore. Still I have a feeling some kind of cap will be needed with built-in ascension encouragements like 4E, barring an E6 type system where real advancement doesn't actually happen.

I am skeptical whether Paizo will actually do what "should" be done though, but that's already been addressed.

Imo 12+ was already "epic" in pre-3E. Classes had established strongholds, hit die stopped advancing, fighters attacks/round capped, thieves were hitting max on several skills. The original level range was 1-10, so 11-20 had to be tacked on after. They wisely capped martial development to keep some semblance of sanity, but inexplicably let spells continue to scale exponentially to godhood. 3E decided to "simplify" by permitting linear martial progression which predictably fixed nothing.

E12 or E15 is a great thing for players to develop, but Paizo is hamstrung by their established rules and world. They have Golarian NPCs above 20 that need to be described, and they can't get there by forgetting the old 15-20 rules that the current setting is based on.

If P5 had a point distinct from E6, it would be keeping the game simple and fast, I think. Avoiding those messy iterative attacks, AoOs and CBMs. You might not even want minor tweaks like sorcerers to exist, again for simplicity. If you want to import the full mess of 3.5/PF then you might as well E6.

Call me late to the party. After realizing Cook's latest problem made clear that he was telling us a solution rather than asking a design question, I went back through all the articles with that in mind. While Mearls tended to be more even-handed in addressing dilemmas, the overall sense is they want a simple, rules-light base that encourages DMs and players together to creatively fudge the results far more than either 3rd or 4th ed does. This isn't much of a "3E vs 4E" thing because 4E is very deterministic in terms of combat resolution, even moreso with its strict limitations on power progression and usage. Both games feature things like magimart, expected encounters per day, and other rigid balance rulings that "hamstring good DMs." These two writers are focusing in on Basic D&D approach, at least as a default base which advanced optional rules can then sit on top of.

As for potential business sense, I think it goes something like this:

1) Wizards has them researching early D&D to figure out what made those early editions take off when D&D wasn't an established thing before. When it was more focused and successful at acquiring new players, which I don't think 4E has done well enough for the corporate overlords.

2) Mearl's modularity idea is an attempt to keep the game both newbie and rules-light accessible while blocking attrition to more advanced systems. Some people have joked about 4E being the PF beginner box, that's exactly the thing they want to stem with layers of optional rules that can be turned to when gamers want more depth. It also lets them simplify down to something that can catch the occasional posts you see here about people hungering for a "Basic PF," as well as supporting roleplay-heavy groups with fast and easy combat resolution.

3) Mearl's modularity also gives them a new profit path: endless rules supplements that cover particular styles of play, rather than just hundreds of more classes and magic items for dungeon spelunkers to minmax. So one "splatbook" would expand social skills and economic modeling rules complexity, along with maybe some new classes to support that. DMs/Players that want ALL the "rules" for a deep simulation end up buying everything, other groups check it out or not based on the kind of campaigns they want to run. (But of course, they'd also release parallel to or with modules referencing the recent rule expansions.)

Beyond them maybe letting players build vancian, DAE, and basic attack characters in one grand unified character system, I'm not sure this is going to sell too many 3E players, or that it has anything to do with the 3E vs 4E war going on in this thread. They might stand to pick up alot lost to other freerform RPGs, offer an easier entry point to new players, and enough depth to retain them for a while to come, with flexibility to diversify into different playstyles; but the latter point might only be reached after much edition mastery and supplements, and not something an invested PF simulationist will pick up quickly from a core ruleset zeroed in on simplicity. If this kills off Paizo, it's going to be a very slow death.

Dorje Sylas wrote:

It feels like a 3.5er Trap. Mainly to try and tease out which percentage of the online voting block is knee jerking directly to 3.5 rules.

The 4E climb rules presented in the rules compendium are nearly as complex. I think he's trolling both players. Information like "strength check plus skill modifiers" and "potion/ring of climbing" is really extraneous. It's a charicature or strawman example for him to drive home the point that something closer to the 2nd option is better in his mind. People having to "look up what X skill does every time they use it" is exactly what he doesn't want.

Reckless wrote:
(In fact, the classes linked above are for an "BBE5" style campaign I'm working on.)

I had exactly this thought, that an E5 would be the "logical" way to extend the Paizo BB. The exact sort of thing Paizo doesn't want I'm sure, but there is definitely a niche that wants this to avoid the messier aspects of high-level PF.

sunshadow21 wrote:

It certainly does get bogged down if you insist on doing the exact same thing you did at level 1, level 5, and even level 10.

To be fair, this is more or less what 3E/PF encourages out of the box. 2E was better about guiding players away from this with built-in class assumptions like fighters would develop keeps, druids would advance to leadership positions, etc, and that their money should go into that kind of influence and capital rather than +4 swords from magimart.

It's also fair to question whether having to switch playstyle is a good thing. If people like dungeon spelunking or grand adventuring, why should they have to switch to a more political approach? Maybe if the DMG at least warned people about this kind of assumed shift in style, it wouldn't go over so badly.

I don't think opinions of people that haven't actually played up to X cap should count. For example most would probably want a limitless level system all things being equal, only those who have played up to X level and experienced difficulty would have reason to think different. (Not saying that there aren't many people who do have experience with and enjoy high-level play. But I suspect many of the poll responders don't.)

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