"D&D Essentials ... It's Not 4.5!" - Reposted from EN World


4th Edition

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Whimsy Chris wrote:

Right now the errata for the PHB is 22 pages, the DMG errata is 7 pages, and the MM is 5 pages, all ranging from minor language clarification issues to revamped systems (such as the Stealth skill description). I'm not sure how much of this errata has been corrected in subsequent printings.

If you compare this amount to, say, the Pathfinder Core Rulebook with only 3 pages of errata, then it seems like a substantial amount. When you look over the details, you can see why they made the changes. A lot of it, I believe, is based on feedback from the gaming community.

It is worth noting that the errata files are very padded. For example, if they change one line of a power they have a short paragraph telling you to change "Hit" on Power "X" on Page "Y" to "Text." Then they reprint the entire power in the corrected form for ease of use.


So, what I am getting from those that insist that Essentials is 4.5 is that if I were a new player and wanted to learn D&D, I should pick up 4.5. If I find I really like the system and want to try more advanced rules, I should then buy 4.0?


Raevhen wrote:
So, what I am getting from those that insist that Essentials is 4.5 is that if I were a new player and wanted to learn D&D, I should pick up 4.5. If I find I really like the system and want to try more advanced rules, I should then buy 4.0?

Nope. Essentials products (beyond the red box) have nothing to do with new players specifically. There are NOT a subset or simplified version of the rules. Instead, they are the most up-to-date, complete version of the rules in print. If you want to find certain character options in print, you'd have to go back to 4E books, but you'd be much better off going to the CB/Compendium.


I find it interesting how the gap between the two sides here really breaks down to those who mostly use the books and those who mostly rely on the internet and DDI. I have to wonder how many on the internet side would see all these changes as 4.5 if all the changes had to be collected into a single new core book and rebought by all of the players. That to me seems to be the defining thing here, since a lot of little changes released slowly through a constantly updated subscription program, like DDI, or any mmo, are a lot less likely to be seen as major than if all they had was errata until they decided to print an updated core book, which is what they did with 3.5. I don't say this to antagonize people, just to see point out that in many ways both sides are right here. From all the changes I've seen people list on this thread, while each one is small, all together I could see how it would be difficult for someone who only has the original core books to play at the same table with someone who uses DDI. I have to wonder if this is a lot of the reason they still have a lot of the core books sitting in inventory. I know that if I were to try to play 4th edition again, especially in organized play, I wouldn't even bother pulling the books out that I got when it was first released.


Raevhen wrote:
So, what I am getting from those that insist that Essentials is 4.5 is that if I were a new player and wanted to learn D&D, I should pick up 4.5. If I find I really like the system and want to try more advanced rules, I should then buy 4.0?

The way WotC is explaining it is as such (and, of course, you can come to your own conclusions):

A new roleplayer should pick up the Red Box. In that box, it gives you a simplified game that goes up to 3rd level. It tells you what you should purchase next if you want to continue to advance past the Red Box. For a player, you should buy the Rules Compendium and Player's Essentials books. For a DM, you should have the Compendium, DM Kit, Monster's Vault, and some dungeon tiles. After all that, you basically have the same game as those with the core books. (Again, that's the way they're selling it.)

Thus a new roleplayer would do well to use the Essentials line to learn the game. Experienced roleplayers new to 4e could go with either the Essentials line or the original line. Players who already play 4e can pick up whatever Essential books they choose. Either way, whether you have the original line or the new one, you are essentially playing the same game.

Of course, that last sentence has been an area of some contention. They are introducing some rule variants, and some feel they are significant enough to call it 4.5. Some feel they are minor enough that it's basically the same game.


sunshadow21 wrote:
I could see how it would be difficult for someone who only has the original core books to play at the same table with someone who uses DDI.

Except that you can't use the DDI alone. For example, I don't believe (and I could be wrong) a person can find a description of the conditions in combat or the various meaning of specific keywords for monsters just using the DDI. I still refer to the core books for general rules references, but DDI for things like powers, magic items, and other character building materials.

So right now, someone essentially still needs the core books, but can use the DDI to get the latest changes to any given character options or other specifics like traps and monsters.


I must admit that makes me even more unlikely to play 4th ed again any time soon. Having to buy both the books and the DDI subscription would be more than my budget could afford. It will be interesting to see how long WOTC can pull off this hybrid form of distribution, and what they end up doing for their eventual 5th edition.


sunshadow21 wrote:
I must admit that makes me even more unlikely to play 4th ed again any time soon.

I think a lot of people feel the same way. However, you can still get away with just using the core books with the errata. You won't have access to the same number of options, but you'll still be playing the same game.

WotC has said that they want the Essentials line to be as errata free as possible. If they succeed, then you'll never have to worry about whether your Essential books are in line with the DDI. Of course, you may still want the DDI for the hundreds, if not thousands, of extra options available to players.

I was pessimistic about the DDI when 4e first came out. Now I consider it a wonderful tool that has really advanced what a roleplaying game can be and well worth the relatively small price.


Whimsy Chris wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
I could see how it would be difficult for someone who only has the original core books to play at the same table with someone who uses DDI.
Except that you can't use the DDI alone. For example, I don't believe (and I could be wrong) a person can find a description of the conditions in combat or the various meaning of specific keywords for monsters just using the DDI.

Actually, you can totally get all of that off the online Compendium. A few months back they updated it to include a glossary tab. Now you can search for keywords, actions, conditions, and tons of other core rules items, beyond simply player options and monsters.


Scott Betts wrote:
Whimsy Chris wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
I could see how it would be difficult for someone who only has the original core books to play at the same table with someone who uses DDI.
Except that you can't use the DDI alone. For example, I don't believe (and I could be wrong) a person can find a description of the conditions in combat or the various meaning of specific keywords for monsters just using the DDI.
Actually, you can totally get all of that off the online Compendium. A few months back they updated it to include a glossary tab. Now you can search for keywords, actions, conditions, and tons of other core rules items, beyond simply player options and monsters.

Awesome! Thank you for pointing that out. That comes in very handy.

So, to update what I was saying, for the price of a couple rulebooks (around $70) per year, you have access to every rule, option, and monster created in every 4e rulebook. The only thing you're missing is some of the fluff, but in my mind, that's still a great deal.

I guess, for someone new to 4e who wants something more than the Red Box, I would recommend the upcoming Rules Compendium (about $20) for easy reference at the table and a DDI description for the options. You don't really need the core books anymore unless you fancy the pictures.


Scott Betts wrote:
Actually, you can totally get all of that off the online Compendium. A few months back they updated it to include a glossary tab. Now you can search for keywords, actions, conditions, and tons of other core rules items, beyond simply player options and monsters.

Is it now possible to play completely off the Compendium (is there a complete set of combat rules, etc.)? If so, then my earlier statements about still needing the rules in print were incorrect. That must have changed since I let my subscription lapse.


That ability to play completely without books is exactly the point I was trying to make earlier. It makes a HUGE difference if you are relying on a book that once its printed might have a few pages of errata released(eventually) that you still have to compare with the original book or an internet website that can be updated in 5 seconds. The former person is likely going to notice ANY change to the core rules or character creation very quickly, while the latter may not even realize a change was ever made. This gap is largely what's causing the disagreements on this thread, and is a large part of the ongoing differences between those who still play 4th edition and those who don't. I for one like the feel of actual books in my hand, and don't have the luxury of being near an internet connection or wireless network everywhere I play; the same holds true for a lot of people. For these people, the rules compendium, and probably most of the essentials line, is going to very much look like 4.5.


sunshadow21 wrote:
I for one like the feel of actual books in my hand, and don't have the luxury of being near an internet connection or wireless network everywhere I play; the same holds true for a lot of people.

I do understand what you are saying. For someone who has not accessed the internet tools and has relied solely on the printed books, the Essentials line's changes may look significant enough to be considered 4.5. I'm still not sure I agree, but I'll try to stray from that line of argument.

The fact still remains that I don't use the internet when I play - I rely solely on the printed out character sheets and powers (these gathered from the DDI) and the core rulebooks. I don't feel any divergence from any updated powers and what I consider to be the core of the rules system. If they did something like merged opportunity actions and immediate actions into one type of action (which I kind of feel would make for a better system but would contradict so much already published), then I would agree that there is a significant divergence in systems. But power tweaks, such as making magic missile an autohit, doesn't contradict the core of the system in what is already considered an "exceptions based" game.

While I'm not sure I want to continue the debate over whether Essentials is 4.5, my personal experience has been that there are little to no challenges with intermixing the DDI and the original core books.


sunshadow21 wrote:
I find it interesting how the gap between the two sides here really breaks down to those who mostly use the books and those who mostly rely on the internet and DDI. I have to wonder how many on the internet side would see all these changes as 4.5 if all the changes had to be collected into a single new core book and rebought by all of the players. That to me seems to be the defining thing here, since a lot of little changes released slowly through a constantly updated subscription program, like DDI, or any mmo, are a lot less likely to be seen as major than if all they had was errata until they decided to print an updated core book, which is what they did with 3.5. I don't say this to antagonize people, just to see point out that in many ways both sides are right here. From all the changes I've seen people list on this thread, while each one is small, all together I could see how it would be difficult for someone who only has the original core books to play at the same table with someone who uses DDI. I have to wonder if this is a lot of the reason they still have a lot of the core books sitting in inventory. I know that if I were to try to play 4th edition again, especially in organized play, I wouldn't even bother pulling the books out that I got when it was first released.

Except that there is not much of a break between those that use the books and those that don't. If your doing 4E you almost certainly have access to the DDI in some manner. Its far to useful in DM prep to really ignore and its got such a good character generator that nearly all players use it to make their characters and level up.


bugleyman wrote:


Is it now possible to play completely off the Compendium (is there a complete set of combat rules, etc.)? If so, then my earlier statements about still needing the rules in print were incorrect. That must have changed since I let my subscription lapse.

Yes - but the layout's not there. If you know how to play this gives you pretty much everything you might need to look up, keywords, conditions, what happens when you exceed your altitude limit, the effects of being behind full cover etc.

However you can't learn from this thing. Its organized alphabetically and you'd litterly get...

Primordial Monsters Keyword Dragon Magazine 370
Prone Rules Rules Condition Multiple Sources
Psychic Monsters Keyword Multiple Sources
Psychic Powers Damage Type Multiple Sources
Pull Rules Rules Combat Multiple Sources
Push Rules Rules Combat Multiple Sources

Clicking them in order would just confuse anyone and they are not hot linked. I think you need a rule book to actually learn. I fiddled with this and used filters to get things down to just the rules and then just the rules for combat but I still doubt it.

You don't learn what a hp is until you get to 'H' and don't get a round defined until you get to 'R'. This is a resource not a replacement.


I'm glad to see that the books aren't becoming completely obsolete, but the fact remains that it is very easy to for someone not overly familiar with the game to see the different methods of getting information and wonder just how effectively they mesh. To me that is the important question, even if I don't play 4th edition, since the success or failure of WOTC's current distribution model will shape future gaming systems. The effect that the Essentials line will also be interesting to watch, since it will have an impact of some kind.


For any game that offers the complexity of D&D, I see no way around the need for a computer utility to manage it all. With DDI, that standard has been set. It will be the basis for my decision to buy future games of equal complexity.

With the rules compendium, and a one month subscription to DDI, you have the basics to play the game. Or you can buy the red box and rules compendium. You may add other material, or update your DDI subscription as necessary.

You don't need a computer to run the game, but you need it to print items from DDI or the character generator.

Liberty's Edge

Uchawi wrote:

For any game that offers the complexity of D&D, I see no way around the need for a computer utility to manage it all. With DDI, that standard has been set. It will be the basis for my decision to buy future games of equal complexity.

With the rules compendium, and a one month subscription to DDI, you have the basics to play the game. Or you can buy the red box and rules compendium. You may add other material, or update your DDI subscription as necessary.

You don't need a computer to run the game, but you need it to print items from DDI or the character generator.

DDI is your standard? So your standard is big promises and failure to deliver? ;P

Seriously, The character Generator is well done. I've seen a few minor customization issues with it but overall I was pleased with it. The rest of DDI is an utter failure to live up to promises. Where is the Virtual tabletop, and all the other features that were promised to roll out within a year of 4th edition hitting the shelves? More or less nowhere to be seen. What did WotC do when they failed to meet their original projections? Fire all but one of the staff members responsible for completing the task... IIRC. Working with computers and programming for a living I never expected them to complete all the listed projects on time, once I realized where they were at 6 months into their schedule. Still their failure to properly plan and execute in this case is ridiculous.

Graywulfe


It honestly doesn't matter that WotC didn't bring out the VT, because the rest of DDI is so incredibly useful that it's easily worth the money.


graywulfe wrote:

DDI is your standard? So your standard is big promises and failure to deliver? ;P

Seriously, The character Generator is well done. I've seen a few minor customization issues with it but overall I was pleased with it. The rest of DDI is an utter failure to live up to promises. Where is the Virtual tabletop, and all the other features that were promised to roll out within a year of 4th edition hitting the shelves? More or less nowhere to be seen. What did WotC do when they failed to meet their original projections? Fire all but one of the staff members responsible for completing the task... IIRC. Working with computers and programming for a living I never expected them to complete all the listed projects on time, once I realized where they were at 6 months into their schedule. Still their failure to properly plan and execute in this case is ridiculous.

Graywulfe

No.

Judge DDI (and any product, for that matter) on its utility, its cost, and how it compares to the competition. Failure to meet expectations shouldn't factor into your decision, beyond considerations of whether continued support will be up to snuff (it has been very consistently solid in this regard), or when what it did achieve falls below the industry standard. In this case, DDI sets that standard. For years to come, when any industry leading game develops a digital tools suite, DDI will be what it is compared to.


Okay so I just read the article and...this is really weird...but not only does this relieve me tremendously (I love the idea that not every Wizard/Ranger/Whatever is not like every other one) such that I'm definitely going to add the new Red Box classes to my game, but they've actually inspired me to go out and finally buy 3.5!

Seriously, I hate 3.5 like acid in the face, but you sell it to me as variant classes that exist alongside the old ones and suddenly that really sounds like a fun way to boost the options in the game.

Don't really get the problem with variant classes by the way...I mean isn't that the whole point of the Power series? To create variant classes? If there was a Paladin in my group he'd be a Paladin. If someone asks what kind, I'd say "Red Box" or "Core" or "X Divine Power". No biggie. I just like the variety.

Liberty's Edge

Scott Betts wrote:
graywulfe wrote:

DDI is your standard? So your standard is big promises and failure to deliver? ;P

Seriously, The character Generator is well done. I've seen a few minor customization issues with it but overall I was pleased with it. The rest of DDI is an utter failure to live up to promises. Where is the Virtual tabletop, and all the other features that were promised to roll out within a year of 4th edition hitting the shelves? More or less nowhere to be seen. What did WotC do when they failed to meet their original projections? Fire all but one of the staff members responsible for completing the task... IIRC. Working with computers and programming for a living I never expected them to complete all the listed projects on time, once I realized where they were at 6 months into their schedule. Still their failure to properly plan and execute in this case is ridiculous.

Graywulfe

No.

Judge DDI (and any product, for that matter) on its utility, its cost, and how it compares to the competition. Failure to meet expectations shouldn't factor into your decision, beyond considerations of whether continued support will be up to snuff (it has been very consistently solid in this regard), or when what it did achieve falls below the industry standard. In this case, DDI sets that standard. For years to come, when any industry leading game develops a digital tools suite, DDI will be what it is compared to.

NO.

I will judge anything by the standards I deem appropriate and no one else. I feel that failure to live up to your own hype is damning to your own product.

Graywulfe


ProfessorCirno wrote:
It honestly doesn't matter that WotC didn't bring out the VT, because the rest of DDI is so incredibly useful that it's easily worth the money.

...to you. But saying that it "doesn't matter" in general when a company fails to deliver on it's promises is simply mistaken.

But we're getting rather far off the topic, which was: How can anyone still buy that revising the rules for flying, mounted combat, or magic item daily power uses are legitimately in scope for anything except a revision?


Actually I would disagree that talking about DDI is getting off topic. Much of what people are using to qualify something as a revision or not is how much it effects them. To that extent, the role that DDI and related internet material fills for a person is going to have an effect on how big of an impact any given change, or set of changes, is going to have on someone.


bugleyman wrote:
ProfessorCirno wrote:
It honestly doesn't matter that WotC didn't bring out the VT, because the rest of DDI is so incredibly useful that it's easily worth the money.

...to you. But saying that it "doesn't matter" in general when a company fails to deliver on it's promises is simply mistaken.

But we're getting rather far off the topic, which was: How can anyone still buy that revising the rules for flying, mounted combat, or magic item daily power uses are legitimately in scope for anything except a revision?

My feeling is these changes are far less significant then changes to the stealth rules, the skill challenge rules and monster damage output.


Grimcleaver wrote:

Okay so I just read the article and...this is really weird...but not only does this relieve me tremendously (I love the idea that not every Wizard/Ranger/Whatever is not like every other one) such that I'm definitely going to add the new Red Box classes to my game, but they've actually inspired me to go out and finally buy 3.5!

Seriously, I hate 3.5 like acid in the face, but you sell it to me as variant classes that exist alongside the old ones and suddenly that really sounds like a fun way to boost the options in the game.

Don't really get the problem with variant classes by the way...I mean isn't that the whole point of the Power series? To create variant classes? If there was a Paladin in my group he'd be a Paladin. If someone asks what kind, I'd say "Red Box" or "Core" or "X Divine Power". No biggie. I just like the variety.

Umm...if I'm reading this correctly then you seem to be saying that you hated the 3.5 upgrade from 3.0 so much that you never upgraded. But now WotCs marketing for 4E Essentials has been so good that you have decided to forgive them for ever having put out 3.5 and now your going to go and find yourself the 3.5 books.

I mean I must be wrong in my understanding because the very concept strikes me as really deeply improbable...but that is what I seem to be getting when I try and parse these sentences.


graywulfe wrote:

NO.

I will judge anything by the standards I deem appropriate and no one else. I feel that failure to live up to your own hype is damning to your own product.

Graywulfe

Okay, your loss. The product's current usefulness and value is not impacted in any way by their failure to release all the features they originally intended to.

If McDonald's made the best fast food hamburger out there - lean, high-quality sirloin, organic vegetables, artisan bun, and a creative assortment of toppings - and sold it for $2, the fact that they may have fallen through on their promise to wrap it in 22-karat gold leaf and include a free pony wouldn't in any way dissuade me from buying the best burger out there, and that burger would still set the industry standard from that moment forth.

Quite simply, you can judge a product however you want. That said, having extraneous standards will only cause you to needlessly deprive yourself of otherwise excellent products.


Scott Betts wrote:

Okay, your loss. The product's current usefulness and value is not impacted in any way by their failure to release all the features they originally intended to.

If McDonald's made the best fast food hamburger out there - lean, high-quality sirloin, organic vegetables, artisan bun, and a creative assortment of toppings - and sold it for $2, the fact that they may have fallen through on their promise to wrap it in 22-karat gold leaf and include a free pony wouldn't in any way dissuade me from buying the best burger out there, and that burger would still set the industry standard from that moment forth.

Quite simply, you can judge a product however you want. That said, having extraneous standards will only cause you to needlessly deprive yourself of otherwise excellent products.

Since we're going down this road:

Expecting a company to do what it says it is going to isn't "extraneous," nor is it comparable to a expecting a $2 hamburger to wrapped in gold. Hyperbole weakens your position rather than strengthening it.

While I agree what WotC did manage to deliver should be judged on its own merits, they said they were going to do much more, which they then screwed up. People aren't unreasonable to be disappointed by that.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
My feeling is these changes are far less significant then changes to the stealth rules, the skill challenge rules and monster damage output.

Agreed. Further, since according to Merriam Webster, an edition is "the form or version in which a text is published," AND we apparently agree that there have been substantive changes in the rules since 4E was first published, we now have a revised edition in the form of Essentials. Whether they call in 4.5 or not doesn't really matter (personally, I'd prefer 4th edition revised, or 4ER).


bugleyman wrote:
Agreed. Further, since according to Merriam Webster, an edition is "the form or version in which a text is published," AND we apparently agree that there have been substantive changes in the rules since 4E was first published, we now have a revised edition in the form of Essentials. Whether they call in 4.5 or not doesn't really matter (personally, I'd prefer 4th edition revised, or 4ER).

Well, I think the 'there have been substantive changes in the rules' is the sticking point for some of us. This isn't to say there haven't been changes - the question is whether they are significant enough to consider it a new edition. (If you accept that any change qualifies, than the very first piece of errata was a new edition, as was Martial Power, etc, etc.)

Of course, "Are these changes significant enough to consider a new edition?" That's a question that is pretty much entirely based on personal opinion, so there is no real 'right' or 'wrong' there. For you, the answer is yes, and we've got "4E Revised". For others, it is still just 4E - but that doesn't begrudge you the right to your viewpoint.

The main reason this discussion has been more involved is that a more objective claim was made - that the changes were comparable to the transition to 3.5. And that is the argument I've been objecting to, since when I put the two alongside each other, the changes in 3.5 seem far more fundamental, extensive, and far-reaching than all the changes in 4E thus far. Which is why I'll continue to hold that the "4.5" moniker doesn't really fit.

But the argument that this is a different game than when 4E was released? Well, yes, that's absolutely true. Every supplement and every update has evolved the game in some fashion, which is true of every edition - and 4E has had a pretty robust schedule of releases. If those are enough for some to consider it far enough removed to be a 'new edition' for them, that's a personal enough judgement that I certainly can't deny them that claim.


bugleyman wrote:
While I agree what WotC did manage to deliver should be judged on its own merits, they said they were going to do much more, which they then screwed up. People aren't unreasonable to be disappointed by that.

However, that's more a reflection on the company than the product. When people say that DDI is a failure, I strongly disagree as they've produced the best character and monster building software I've ever seen. These products are a high standard. The fact that they promised so much more really only shows bad business practices. Their marketing and business practices are not a good standard to follow, at least from my perspective. I think the disconnect I have with people who criticize the DDI is that their criticism has more to do with the failure to produce what was promised, rather than the actual product that has been produced. The product is stellar; the inability to fulfill promises is just bad business.


Matthew Koelbl wrote:
The main reason this discussion has been more involved is that a more objective claim was made - that the changes were comparable to the transition to 3.5. And that is the argument I've been objecting to, since when I put the two alongside each other, the changes in 3.5 seem far more fundamental, extensive, and far-reaching than all the changes in 4E thus far. Which is why I'll continue to hold that the "4.5" moniker doesn't really fit.

+1. I agree that the type of change seen thus far isn't as significant.

The only change I've seen so far that really makes a considerable changes is how magic items are distributed. Having read the magic item rarity article today, I now agree with bugleyman that this is a more far reaching kind of change than I originally thought. How often one receives certain kinds of magic items and how often they may be used changes fundamentally how magic items work in the game. This makes me wonder how magic items from previous publications fit into this system. This makes me feel I have to tweak previous 4e characters by changing how many and what kind of magic items they have. This kind of change makes me think of 3.5.

Other things, such as minor changes to flying rules or stealth rules, don't really make me think of 3.5.

If they had similar kinds of changes, like the changes made to magic items, in other systems in 4e, then, yes, I would consider this to be a 4.5 and probably be upset. So far, it doesn't feel significant enough, but the magic item changes do make me wary.


Whimsy Chris wrote:
The only change I've seen so far that really makes a considerable changes is how magic items are distributed. Having read the magic item rarity article today, I now agree with bugleyman that this is a more far reaching kind of change than I originally thought. How often one receives certain kinds of magic items and how often they may be used changes fundamentally how magic items work in the game. This makes me wonder how magic items from previous publications fit into this system.

Well, actually handling the distribution from here on out isn't too tricky - any existing items that are just a basic numerical bonus (+1 Magic Weapon, Gloves of Thievery that give +2, etc) are common magic items that PCs can make, buy, etc. Any items with activated powers (which is most) are uncommon items that the DM distributes... and that PCs might be able to get via specific questing for them, etc.

The bigger issue is just making sure that existing gear isn't a concern with the new rules. That's more my worry. Still, I don't think too many people would already just happen to be wandering around with a dozen Staves of Resilience or whatever.

I admit, this is one of the more significant changes in the philosophy of the game. I think it will be a great one in the long run, but require more adjusting to in the short term. On the other hand, I don't think it will have too much impact on existing characters - current items don't become 'illegal' or 'wrong' or anything, they just get to use some items a little earlier in the day.


Whimsy Chris wrote:


The only change I've seen so far that really makes a considerable changes is how magic items are distributed. Having read the magic item rarity article today, I now agree with bugleyman that this is a more far reaching kind of change than I originally thought. How often one receives certain kinds of magic items and how often they may be used changes fundamentally how magic items work in the game. This makes me wonder how magic items from previous publications fit into this system. This makes me feel I have to tweak previous 4e characters by changing how many and what kind of magic items they have. This kind of change makes me think of 3.5.

Other things, such as minor changes to flying rules or stealth rules, don't really make me think of 3.5.

If they had similar kinds of changes, like the changes made to magic items, in other systems in 4e, then, yes, I would consider this to be a 4.5 and probably be upset. So far, it doesn't feel significant enough, but the magic item changes do make me wary.

I don't see any indication that the actual number of items in the game are changing. Just that they will be assigned a rarity value. I don't think my group is likely to have to do much of anything to conform to this - if your group was following the rules that said that you could only use one magic item power per mile stone then the players should be stocked up on static boosters with only a handful of items with powers simply because items with powers face diminishing returns.

Now I think it may be a little more noticeable then that because I bet that around half the groups out there don't follow the rule that says that magic item powers are limited by mile stones - 'cause accounting sucks - and groups that don't follow that rule are going to be more inclined to have more magic items with powers.

Grand Lodge

Whimsy Chris wrote:
When people say that DDI is a failure, I strongly disagree as they've produced the best character and monster building software I've ever seen. These products are a high standard.

For the amount they charge for DDI, it had better be. That's the issue with non-delivery of what they promised. Over $100 a year for character building software every year and you still have to buy all the game material if you want to use it.

That's a pretty sweet deal and it's only possible because people refuse to hold their feet to the fire on the missing pieces.


sieylianna wrote:
Whimsy Chris wrote:
When people say that DDI is a failure, I strongly disagree as they've produced the best character and monster building software I've ever seen. These products are a high standard.

For the amount they charge for DDI, it had better be. That's the issue with non-delivery of what they promised. Over $100 a year for character building software every year and you still have to buy all the game material if you want to use it.

That's a pretty sweet deal and it's only possible because people refuse to hold their feet to the fire on the missing pieces.

Wait - are you under the impression they are charging the same price as was intended for the full suite including the game table, etc? That isn't the case - they lowered the price to have a package specifically for what they were offering, the character builder, compendium, and online magazines.

Now, whether you consider it a good deal or not - that's a personal call. But most seem to find it very good for the price (I certainly do), and many find it saves them money compared to buying the books. I don't think anyone actually pays over $100 a year for it - for a yearly subscriber it comes to ~$70 (at $6/month), and while it is $10 for one month subscription, that is mainly used by those who buy a subscription every few months to bring things up to date.


sieylianna wrote:
For the amount they charge for DDI, it had better be. That's the issue with non-delivery of what they promised. Over $100 a year for character building software every year and you still have to buy all the game material if you want to use it.

I'm not sure where you're getting your information.

With $70/year, you get an incredible amount of online content and software: Dungeon, Dragon, the Compendium, the Character Builder, and the Monster Builder. The Compendium and builders have every character option and monster build from every publication, including the magazines and RPGA adventures. You get regular monthly updates that add every rule, option, or build from every publication. Nor do I need to buy "all" the game material to use it. With just the PHB, the DMG, and DDI, I could play the game indefinitely with every option out there. I can also share the DDI with my players, thus giving them every character option out there (or at least every option published by WotC).

It actually is a pretty sweet deal...for me.

Nor have they promised you more than what you're getting with your purchase. The "promise" of online play on a virtual table was part of their early branding campaign, but they've never deceived you into thinking that you were getting the virtual table while you were purchasing your subscription. They've always listed out very clearly what you are paying for.

Liberty's Edge

Scott Betts wrote:
graywulfe wrote:

NO.

I will judge anything by the standards I deem appropriate and no one else. I feel that failure to live up to your own hype is damning to your own product.

Graywulfe

Okay, your loss. The product's current usefulness and value is not impacted in any way by their failure to release all the features they originally intended to.

If McDonald's made the best fast food hamburger out there - lean, high-quality sirloin, organic vegetables, artisan bun, and a creative assortment of toppings - and sold it for $2, the fact that they may have fallen through on their promise to wrap it in 22-karat gold leaf and include a free pony wouldn't in any way dissuade me from buying the best burger out there, and that burger would still set the industry standard from that moment forth.

Quite simply, you can judge a product however you want. That said, having extraneous standards will only cause you to needlessly deprive yourself of otherwise excellent products.

The funniest thing about this whole situation is that you clearly did not read my entire post. For instance the part where I said, to paraphrase myself, I liked the character generator.

The initial comment I replied to was that DDI had set the standard. WoTC's failure to provide the tools they promised is part of what DDI is, like it or not. I consider that some pretty low standards. I never said I would not buy into the character generator. I just intend to hold my standards higher than what WoTC has offered so far.

Graywulfe


graywulfe wrote:
The initial comment I replied to was that DDI had set the standard. WoTC's failure to provide the tools they promised is part of what DDI is, like it or not. I consider that some pretty low standards.

Does that mean every time Paizo doesn't get a product out on time, that lessens the worthiness of the product? I mean, they promised the product earlier but didn't deliver, so...

I do think there is a difference between the product itself and business practices. WotC might not have good business practices, but the DDI is stellar compared to any other online RPG tools for tabletops, at least in my mind.


Gabe of Penny-Arcade, who started playing tabletop RPGs with 4E two years ago, has this to say about the early copy of the Essentials Red Box he received:

Once we had characters it was time to play and honestly I don’t think there is much difference between 4e and Essentials. I’d say the biggest change is an overall simplification of the character classes. In my regular game the players are level 20 now and each of them has pages of power cards, items and feats. Even the fighter has a hundred different ways to hit someone with a sword. For the most part Essentials gets rid of a lot of this stuff. Sure the wizard had half a dozen powers but the fighter just hit things with his sword all night.
I guess the idea is to help get new players into the game without confusing them with a binder full of powers as well as get older players to come back. From what I’ve been told this is a return to the roots of D&D where fighters hit stuff and wizards were the ones with all the cool spells. Essentials attempts to solve two problems that I don’t actually have, so it’s hard for me to really comment on it. It does a great job of doing something I’m not interested in doing.

So, basically, Essentials isn't 4.5; it's a step back to older versions of D&D. I've seen many 4E fans complain that Essentials is "dumbed down", which I personally find amusing both because many 4E critics claimed that it was "dumbed down" from 3.5, and because Essentials discards some of 4E's new innovations in favor of a retro approach.

"Dumbed down" has truly come full circle.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Joshua White wrote:


"Dumb" has truly come full circle.

Fixed. :)


Dumb.

Dumb never changes.


sieylianna wrote:


For the amount they charge for DDI, it had better be. That's the issue with non-delivery of what they promised. Over $100 a year for character building software every year and you still have to buy all the game material if you want to use it.

That's a pretty sweet deal and it's only possible because people refuse to hold their feet to the fire on the missing pieces.

Its $70/year and you never have to buy a book outside of the PHB (for Xp tables and things like that).

Or were you just trolling the 4E boards like so many do here?


PsychoticWarrior wrote:
Its $70/year and you never have to buy a book outside of the PHB (for Xp tables and things like that).

Actually, it's less. One could easily just sign up for a single month a few times a year and be just fine.


ProfessorCirno wrote:

Dumb.

Dumb never changes.

Now I've got the intro to Fall Out 2 stuck in my head.


bugleyman wrote:
PsychoticWarrior wrote:
Its $70/year and you never have to buy a book outside of the PHB (for Xp tables and things like that).

Actually, it's less. One could easily just sign up for a single month a few times a year and be just fine.

Yup - you're right. It is actually how I'll be doing it in the future if there are no more add-ons for the Adventure Tools program when I'm up for renewal next Feb. Hell I might be involved in a Rules Cyclopedia campaign at that point and not need DDI.

Liberty's Edge

Not that I have played using Essentials - but for me Essentials is 4e done right. 4e as we know it to me seemed like a test-bed of new ideas. Some plainly were not well recieved but once in print WotC had to roll with them and use DDI/errata to fix/change. The "retro" that Mr White mentioned is what D&D IS to many, and I think that if the 4e-nay-sayers give Essentials a try perhaps they will enjoy "4e" as much as they did previous D&D's? Was 4e as is was a little too radical of a change for D&D players at this time? Perhaps if Essentials had come out first and then what we call 4e came out as 5e then it would have been seen as a natural progression of some good rules? For me Essentials seems to be a back-track on the part of WotC, almose like admittng that the D&D community wasn't ready for 4e D&D being so different from 3e D&D.

From what I have read Essentials will suit me as a DM far more than 4e. Some may say lack of crunch options in Essentials isn't good, to that I say the need for more crunch is only required in face of lack of imagination... :p

S.

Liberty's Edge

Quote from WotC website;

"As you can see, an items’ rarity has a big effect on how it interacts with the game. Characters can easily stock up on common items, but rare and uncommon items only enter the game at the Dungeon Master’s discretion. This approach seeks a middle ground between empowering characters to buy and sell items while giving the DM a useful tool for keeping the game manageable and exciting."

On the money! I'm sure WotC are reading my mind via satellite!

:)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Maybe I'll pick up some used copies.

Liberty's Edge

ProfessorCirno wrote:

Dumb.

Dumb never changes.

Bethesda called, they want their IP back. :P

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Community / Forums / Gamer Life / Gaming / D&D / 4th Edition / "D&D Essentials ... It's Not 4.5!" - Reposted from EN World All Messageboards

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