Mearls pleading for unity


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sunshadow21 wrote:

They are definitely working on 5e at this point when they start asking questions like that. It's not a matter of if, but when, they formally announce it. Regardless of whether its sooner or later, the announcement is definitely coming.

I read the opposite. Why ask us what we want more of if they plan to put out a new edition soon? Any new edition will keep them busy for years providing the basics - the rules and then all the stuff we simply expect with D&D like familiars and such.

Most of the questions look to me more like they are trying to settle in for the long haul and figure out how the hell they are going to still make money if everyone is not buying up all the low hanging fruit that they already released.

I'll say that I am shocked that more character options won that pool (admittedly by a slim margin and still less then 25%) because we are friggen drowning in options. Presuming my cleric does not die I'll be playing the same character for the next 18 months at least before I finally get to really look at a new build. There is no conceivable way I'll ever be able to explore more then a tenth of what is already out. How the heck they are supposed to excite me with even more being piled on is beyond me.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I'll say that I am shocked that more character options won that pool (admittedly by a slim margin and still less then 25%) because we are friggen drowning in options. Presuming my cleric does not die I'll be playing the same character for the next 18 months at least before I finally get to really look at a new build. There is no conceivable way I'll ever be able to explore more then a tenth of what is already out. How the heck they are supposed to excite me with even more being piled on is beyond me.

+1. The sheer amount of options available is daunting as it is.

I suspect character options won the vote simply because there are more players than DMs, and ALL the other options were essentially "for DMs". DMs are the ones who want adventures, settings, and optional rules. So, the poll actually says "24.8% character options, 75.2% DM options".


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


I read the opposite. Why ask us what we want more of if they plan to put out a new edition soon? Any new edition will keep them busy for years providing the basics - the rules and then all the stuff we simply expect with D&D like familiars and such.

Some of the questions are definitely trying to cover the short term, but the fighter question makes it very clear that altering the fundamentals of the classes is on their mind at least a little, which suggests they are starting to think about a new edition. The tone of the question is generic enough that it is clear that such a thing is still well off in the future, and that support for 4E will still be required for some time, but all of the questions thus far suggest that they are starting to look down that path.


sunshadow21 wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


I read the opposite. Why ask us what we want more of if they plan to put out a new edition soon? Any new edition will keep them busy for years providing the basics - the rules and then all the stuff we simply expect with D&D like familiars and such.
Some of the questions are definitely trying to cover the short term, but the fighter question makes it very clear that altering the fundamentals of the classes is on their mind at least a little, which suggests they are starting to think about a new edition. The tone of the question is generic enough that it is clear that such a thing is still well off in the future, and that support for 4E will still be required for some time, but all of the questions thus far suggest that they are starting to look down that path.

Thing is they need to figure out if Essentials style characters is the way they should proceed or if they should go back to the more complex style classes that where prevalent pre-Essentials. The answer to that will effect what they put out in the future because, currently, 4E supports both styles...but which one do we want to pay for? That's what WotC needs to find out.

I don't see a new edition any time soon - there is no money in it. If anything they must have learned from the 3.5 and then Pathfinder that if you keep pumping out new editions too quickly you loose your customers. This does not even bring up the problems they would face by a mass exodus from the DDI if they announced a new edition.

Ultimately WotC has proven that its basically possible to flood the market for even a complex RPG with all the major things people want to see in that RPG in about three years. However that does not mean that people are willing to completely replace their library every three years. Now they are a little stuck and trying to figure out how to go forward.

Personally I'm pretty sure the DDI itself is the answer to that question and the things on this poll are best used for coming up with content for the DDI. That said I'd like them to get back to developing DDI tools. The Games Table thing they are working on is a good idea (though it interests me not at all) but getting back to providing us with a library of tools would be a good place to go forward. They also need to figure out some way of splitting the subscriber base up some more - currently to many people can get by with just one subscription (really a whole game group can survive on one subscription). At a minimum they should see if they can break that down into a DM and Players subscription so that they at least get two subscriptions per group.

If they did a better job of giving us more up to date online tools (the Monster Builder remains in beta for example - and where is my adventure builder? or campaign builder? Where is my NPC tracker? How come I can't add my own personal Gods to the DDI? Where are my options to personalize it for my homebrew?) they could justify that.

I guess what I'm saying is I think Mr. Mearls is barking up the wrong tree. The game is fantastic - it needed a bunch of fixes from the original release but they made those fixes. I'm totally psyched for Wednesday Evening because that's game night and damn if its not a lot of fun. They have the model in place to keep getting money from me (The DDI) and all they need to do is keep giving me some new content there and keep increasing the tools available and they'll keep getting that money every month. They should focus on that.


Moro wrote:
I am not so sure that the complexity really did trend upwards in the move from 3.5 to 4e though. Sure, if you just look at his chart there it appears so, but off the top of my head planning out your feat selection and ensuring that you can reach the ability prerequisites alone makes a 3.5e build more complex than a 4e, where such planning is unnecessary (correct me if I'm wrong on this one.)

Sorry, I should have made it clear that I agreed with you, but was adding that even if the 3e-to-4e jump didn't increase fighter build complexity, it still maintains an upward trend line if you made a linear regression plot of fighter build complexity versus editions.

Contributor

Scott Betts wrote:
Moro wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
James Martin wrote:
Ah, the derision of the current edition begins... Too many steps in 4e, so of course you'll want the next edition we're not working on (wink, wink) currently.
What derision? He didn't say 4e had too many steps. He was just wondering at why the number of steps had increased so much since the game's early days. I think it's worth examining that, and I think the answer will probably have something to do with the fact that game designer's quickly learned that many/most people have an appetite for a certain amount of complexity and customization.

No, but he did go out of his way to reach a bit on a few items for 4e and to simplify the creation process for 3.5e in order to make it seem as if the 4th edition character creation was more complex and customizable than its predecessor.

Now I would like to see him compare the creation of, say a 10th level Wizard for each edition and then still try to paint the same picture.

Ooh, that would be interesting. But I think here he's specifically trying to see how the fighter (often considered a fairly straightforward, easy-to-play class) has evolved in complexity over time.

Regardless, though, it's clear that complexity has trended upwards since 1e. It looks like it may be leveling off, and that probably has a lot to do with the fact that we're narrowing in on that happy level of complexity that people seem to be okay with.

Yeah, but if you look at his chart, the 1st ed vs. 3rd ed inflation of ten (10! Count them!) steps is simply choosing 2 feats and allocating 8 skill points. If you max ranks in a few skills, that's far less in the way of decision making than it might seem.


John Kretzer wrote:


Personaly...I thought the OGL and the GNL(?) was a good idea on paper and helped WotC alot out in certain ways....but the RPG industry took a big hit in innovation and creativity...everything was d20...

In the short run, but in the long run I think it was a much more positive thing. The RPG industry expanded and time cleansed it of most of the bad seeds. Eventually companies started coming out with their own systems that were definitely innovative and creative. Game of Thrones is produced by a company that started out d20. The Dragon Age RPG is as well. Some stuck with the OGL and continue producing quality products like Castles and Crusades which I like to run should I get a hankering to play with any of my old 2nd or 1st edition material. Fantasy Flight Games had a few d20 products and did a good job with them though don't really touch it anymore (though to be fair they had significant business with board games before they broke into RPG's if I recall).

I do admit there was a time I hated the fact that everything was d20 from Legend of Five Rings to Deadlands but the OGL gave a lot of companies the start they needed to do what they're doing today. Was it the sole reason? No. But it definitely helped I'm sure.


Honestly I don't think they're making a new edition. If the Essentials line is their 3.5 then 4e players have a few years yet before a new edition comes out. Strikes me as a little odd. I do kind of think they pumped out too many products too fast but this is an outsider looking in perspective more than anything. At most they might be toying with the design that'll begin playtesting in 2014 or something, provided we aren't annihilated by an asteroid or something.

Though if they are interested in unity amongst the gaming community perhaps they should reach out a helping hand to 3pp. Not sure about Digital Initiative support but perhaps an ad here, an article or blog post there kind of like what Paizo does. I personally thought Scarrport and Amethyst were interesting products and more entertaining to read about than pretty much any 4e product I've looked at (but that's a fluff vs. crunch thing right there so *shrug* that and I stopped skimming through 4e stuff about a year ago).

There is also a small detail. Wizards is a game company, Paizo is both a game company and an online game retailer. They sell the products of other companies on their website so it behooves them to advertise for those companies. Sure it helps that this meshes with their personal philosophy regarding the OGL and the like but it gives them far more fiscal incentive than Wizards has to do this.


DM Doom wrote:
Honestly I don't think they're making a new edition. If the Essentials line is their 3.5 then 4e players have a few years yet before a new edition comes out. Strikes me as a little odd. I do kind of think they pumped out too many products too fast but this is an outsider looking in perspective more than anything. At most they might be toying with the design that'll begin playtesting in 2014 or something, provided we aren't annihilated by an asteroid or something.

Very much agreed. This is what it looks like to an "insider" (both in the figurative and literal I-have-an-Insider-subscription sense), but it's nice to know that at least some people on the outside are getting that impression as well. 4e still has a number of good years left in it. And, heck, 5e will probably be pretty rad when it does hit.

DM Doom wrote:

Though if they are interested in unity amongst the gaming community perhaps they should reach out a helping hand to 3pp. Not sure about Digital Initiative support but perhaps an ad here, an article or blog post there kind of like what Paizo does. I personally thought Scarrport and Amethyst were interesting products and more entertaining to read about than pretty much any 4e product I've looked at (but that's a fluff vs. crunch thing right there so *shrug* that and I stopped skimming through 4e stuff about a year ago).

There is also a small detail. Wizards is a game company, Paizo is both a game company and an online game retailer. They sell the products of other companies on their website so it behooves them to advertise for those companies. Sure it helps that this meshes with their personal philosophy regarding the OGL and the like but it gives them far more fiscal incentive than Wizards has to do this.

There's some discussion going on surrounding this, with some smaller, less successful 4e 3pps complaining about WotC not providing them with publicity, and a lot of the more successful 4e 3pps responding with "If you made 4e products that a) didn't compete directly with WotC official materials and b) were of decent quality, you'd be doing fine." I agree with that sentiment. I don't buy 4e 3pp materials, but if I did it would be from places like EN Publishing who are known for putting out above average quality material in areas that WotC does not focus heavily on (adventures, for instance).


It's been my experience/opinion that WotC's main weakness ever since 3.0 days, was adventure design. Going through their modules Red Hand of Doom was the only one worth playing for a long time. Some of the expedition series were alright. The Expedition like Forgotten Realms Super Modules had great concepts but their execution was filled with bad design (enemies that really provided poor rewards for players, punishing any player who decided to focus on magic, etc) with stat block errors, typos and other flaws. I loved the stories behind them but damn were they frustrating.

Also: Lizard men, I now hate them because whenever my PC's encounter them (they've fought them in AP's and the aforementioned super modules) they pretty much never have worthwhile rewards for the trouble. In that first one "Cormyr, Tearing of the Weave" (I think that's the title) the PC's went up against cultists (alright treasure), followed by Lizard folk (junk) and those masochistic shadowplane elves (excessive ammounts of +1 spiked chains, great for a cenobites convention, not so good for PC's who don't care to take the proficiency to use spiked chains). *shakes head*

What little I've seen of 4e strikes me as a lot of 'meh' modules that appear to be just combat encounter after combat encounter. I only had access to digital Dungeon and Dragon during the free period and it seemed if you wanted anything with good plot you had to go there and even that was very very hit and miss. 3pp seem to be the way to go with 4e modules, Atomic Array has featured a few that just sounded downright spiffy on both a mechanical and plot level.

Chances are even if I had gone 4e I'd have kept up my Pathfinder AP subscription, you'd never see WotC publishing something like "The Skinsaw Murders" or "Hook Mountain Massacre" or "The Stolen Lands".

EDIT: Unless they did when I wasn't looking possible but I have little faith in their adventure design to find it likely.


DM Doom wrote:

Honestly I don't think they're making a new edition. If the Essentials line is their 3.5 then 4e players have a few years yet before a new edition comes out. Strikes me as a little odd. I do kind of think they pumped out too many products too fast but this is an outsider looking in perspective more than anything. At most they might be toying with the design that'll begin playtesting in 2014 or something, provided we aren't annihilated by an asteroid or something.

I don't know...they are doing alot of thing that they did leading up to 4th ed all over again...

3.5: Hidden play tests for 4th ed in ala Tome of Battle and Book of Magic sndthe Warlock that goes against most design ideas and fit the system meh. Before you say no it was not...yes it was the designers admitted as much...

4th ed: possible hidden play test in material: Psionic with no daily powers...those new collectable cards...even some ideas from the Essentials. Though not proven as of yet...has it is hidden.

3.5: Test out some new ideas in a different genre game: Star Wars Saga

4th ed: Test out new ideas in a different genre game: Gamma World

3.5: Cancel products...focus on non-RPG but related products..those books mostly...

4th ed: canceled products...focus on non-RPG but related products..those board games.

3.5: Post alot of nostaglia

4th ed: Post alot of nostaglia

I don't know I just see history repeating itself here...adding on all the other signs...and the fact that Perkins commented on the fact that they were working 5th ed when they released 4th ed....he never said he was joking after all...or if he did it was after alot of hate and flaming from 4th ed fans...

I think 4th ed has played itself out...and we'll be seeing 5th ed. What 5th ed will be I have no idea...rather if it is a return to 3.5...a evolution of 4th ed or something entirely new...I really have no idea...


John Kretzer wrote:
I think 4th ed has played itself out...and we'll be seeing 5th ed. What 5th ed will be I have no idea...rather if it is a return to 3.5...a evolution of 4th ed or something entirely new...I really have no idea...

I don't think that 4E has entirely played itself out quite yet, but I do think that WoTC understands that they need to have a replacement ready when it does. That is why I think that their new edition is in development, but for now is the long term goal which will take several years to mature properly rather than the short term objective. They still have much to learn from 4E, and will want to bleed that completely dry before turning to something else. Everything I have seen in the poll questions thus far suggests they are looking at both their immediate needs and their down the road future at the same time.


KaeYoss wrote:
H. T. J. Munchkineater wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:
H. T. J. Munchkineater wrote:
Mr. Betts wrote:
One of these things used sarcasm to make a point.
Ah, sarcasm on the internet. It works so well. I'm surprised it was taken out of context here, actually, I've never seen that happen before. Bizarre, really. In most cases it is well delivered, and well received, often disfusing otherwise tense situations. Never have I seen it misused, poorly applied, or used as a justification retroactively for a statement that may have been unreasonable but furiously typed in the heat of the moment. I am sadden by its unique and unprecedent situation here.
You're right, but why does my tension increase when I read your words?

A mystery indeed.

Hmm.

Hmmmm.

Probably because I'm a jerk.

That must be it, then. Plus, your name is wrong. Shouldn't it be Munchkineticist? Or whoever you call someone engaging in in munchkineatography.

There's a subtle difference between a munchkineater and a munchkineticist. Like a optician and an optometrist. The latter studies the complex science of munchkineatography, the former eats munchkins. It's subtle, but it's there.


DM Doom wrote:
It's been my experience/opinion that WotC's main weakness ever since 3.0 days, was adventure design. Going through their modules Red Hand of Doom was the only one worth playing for a long time.

Q: And why is that?

A: Look who wrote it. :D


H. T. J. Munchkineater wrote:
optometrist.

Aaah, that's a site for sore eyes!


The best thing about declaring 5e is just around the corner is that you can do it for three years and counting and, some day, you'll eventually be right!

And you'll never bring up that you've been doing this since the day the edition came out!


ProfessorCirno wrote:

The best thing about declaring 5e is just around the corner is that you can do it for three years and counting and, some day, you'll eventually be right!

And you'll never bring up that you've been doing this since the day the edition came out!

This is the first sign I've seen that points to it, so this is the first time I've said it. I'm not going to say that the new edition is immediately around the corner, but to deny that they have at least laid the groundwork for it's development at this point is just as unrealistic as saying it's coming tomorrow. 4E may still have several years left in it, but WOTC's history shows that it's probably on the back half of it's life cycle, and it takes a while to develop these things.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Nah, the best thing about it is how up in arms people get over it.


ProfessorCirno wrote:

The best thing about declaring 5e is just around the corner is that you can do it for three years and counting and, some day, you'll eventually be right!

And you'll never bring up that you've been doing this since the day the edition came out!

I don't know about other people, but this is the first time I've said anything about it other than the occasional joke. Of course now that WotC has created 4.5Essentials anything is possible. I am with TOZ though, the reactions of some people will make it worth declaring that 5E is coming out soon about once a week or so.


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Yeah, but if you look at his chart, the 1st ed vs. 3rd ed inflation of ten (10! Count them!) steps is simply choosing 2 feats and allocating 8 skill points. If you max ranks in a few skills, that's far less in the way of decision making than it might seem.

I actually agree with Mearls' assessment of this process insofar as 3.5 is concerned. I'm basing this on introducing several new players to the game over the last year or two. For people accustomed to playing console or computer RPGs, that may seem like just two steps, but for someone who doesn't have any sort of gaming background, choosing feats and skills is an ordeal.

As an example, Pathfinder's feat list is long enough to encompass 3 or 4 pages just in the abbreviated form - and to understand exactly how those feats work, you often have to delve into the full description to explain to a newbie just what it is they're contemplating choosing. I don't remember how long the abbreviated feat chart in 3.5's PHB was, but I'm guessing about two pages - still pretty daunting when someone says, "Hey, pick two of these".

And I know I beat this horse every time it's mentioned, but Jesus on a pogo stick, were skills a pain in the ass in 3.5. Class or cross-class, whole or half ranks, no carrying extra points to your next level, take your level plus 3 or half your level plus 3, what's the difference between search and spot again? - it was just too much for new players to comprehend, and one of the best things about Pathfinder and 4E is that this mechanic was simplified under both systems.

For novice players, these really do seem like separate steps in the process, and Mearls is right to label them as such in his breakdown.


I hear that pathfinder is going to have a 2nd edition. Everyone should quit buying paizo's current stuff, since they don't plan on supporting it long-term*.

*:
Of course what we mean by long-term could mean, they don't plan on supporting it 30 years from now.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

disclaimer: I really don't have a dog in the 4e/5e fight.

Anyone who doesn't think that a 5e is eventually going to arrive is crazy.*

While discussing the bitterness of the OGL/GSL split, I was reminded why I had no initial interest in 4.x... I'm an adult with a mortgage and (at the time) a partner with health issues.** I had no interest in getting/learning a new game system. Heck, as those of you have seen in my photos, my hairstyle is 1990's.

I was one of those who was offended at the marketing campaign of 4e. But again, it didn't worry me. I get offended at other comercials (though they don't call me out like I felt 4e did.) I vote with my wallet.

What kept me loyal to Paizo (besides that I'd essentially already paid for APs with my left over Dragon/Dungeon subscriptions) was that they were making adventures for my game system. This was a no brainer. I don't crusade against Apple because they don't make programs that work on my Windows box, or Microsfot for not putting Halo out for the PS3. I didn't state 'Wizards hate' for coming out with 4e, anymore than I stated AT&T hate for them carrying the iPhone.

What I think Wizards handled wrong from a PR PoV:***

Spoiler:

  • Pulling in all the licenses with little or no warning to the public. I used PCGen and bought all the data packs, I collected Dragon Lance since, for all the flaws of the world, the books were well written. Time of the Twins was one of the better 'time travel' books I'd read, and Holy orders of Krynn is almost as good as Faiths and Powers for the Realms. I understand that WotC gave at least Paizo (and I assume, the other license holders) warning to be able to prepare for the end.****
  • Doing nothing with those licenses. I loved the 25th anniversary celebration of Dragonlanc- Oh wait. Well it's nice to see Ravenloft going stro- oh, wait. And the new Greyhawk stuff has been- well, nonexistant. I was so hoping for a Taladas revised book.
  • Nuke the Whales, er, Realms. Amusingly this was one of the issues with MWDA as well. "We're going to blow everything up, shift it forward 100 years and change everything! The fans will love it!" Not so much. It's taken a good chuck of backstory developing by Catalyst to get me interested in the Dark Age.
  • The PDFs. Don't get me started on the PDFs. While the reasoning was suspect, the execution was a nightmare.
  • Pathfinder pulled me in with the APs, and the Open Alpha/Beta. While I disagreed with some changes (concentration mechanic), others were ones I cheered. More importantly... I felt my concerns were *listened to*, something I didn't get from WotC.

    Paizo has learned a great deal from WotC's 'wrong steps' (yes I went there). Keeping the OGL alive was a good marketing move, as has been their outreach. While there are some things I call mistakes (alternate classes vs 'advanced archtypes') others I cheer. I can have some confidence that Paizo wouldn't tell Lone Wolf (for example) to stop providing updates for their add ons for Hero Lab if they went in house with a designer, for example.

    *

    Spoiler:
    I'll say the same thing about Pathfinder 2e. I just hope it's several years off, and that we get as much input on it as we have with Pathfinder.

    **

    Spoiler:
    Now I'm an old man with a mortgage and a Professional Grief Chihuahua

    ***

    Spoiler:
    Like I know the best course for certain. I'm no marketing guru

    ****

    Spoiler:
    And let's give Paizo credit for keeping up an incredible product even when they were getting ready for refunds/credits, subscription models, *and* putting out a new line, all the time while whistling "nope, nothing going on here."


    Matthew Morris wrote:

    disclaimer: I really don't have a dog in the 4e/5e fight.

    Anyone who doesn't think that a 5e is eventually going to arrive is crazy.*

    While discussing the bitterness of the OGL/GSL split, I was reminded why I had no initial interest in 4.x... I'm an adult with a mortgage and (at the time) a partner with health issues.** I had no interest in getting/learning a new game system. Heck, as those of you have seen in my photos, my hairstyle is 1990's.

    I was one of those who was offended at the marketing campaign of 4e. But again, it didn't worry me. I get offended at other comercials (though they don't call me out like I felt 4e did.) I vote with my wallet.

    What kept me loyal to Paizo (besides that I'd essentially already paid for APs with my left over Dragon/Dungeon subscriptions) was that they were making adventures for my game system. This was a no brainer. I don't crusade against Apple because they don't make programs that work on my Windows box, or Microsfot for not putting Halo out for the PS3. I didn't state 'Wizards hate' for coming out with 4e, anymore than I stated AT&T hate for them carrying the iPhone.

    What I think Wizards handled wrong from a PR PoV:***
    ** spoiler omitted **...

    [threadjack]MECHWARRIOR DARK AGES AND TALADAS FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!![/threadjack]


    pres man wrote:

    I hear that pathfinder is going to have a 2nd edition. Everyone should quit buying paizo's current stuff, since they don't plan on supporting it long-term*.

    ** spoiler omitted **

    I don't think anyone is saying stop supporting 4E; we are simply saying that the long development cycle for a new edition has probably started. The columns actually encourage me in how that will end up looking, as they seem to be willing to use 4E as a platform to explore new ideas instead of praying that every new system will work as anticipated when it goes live at release. In the mean time, 4E supporters should still get the support that system needs. People hit the panic button and stop reading every time they hear "new edition," and it's kind of silly.

    Also comparing a possible Pathfinder 2nd edition to a possible 5th edition is difficult as they are made by different companies. It is possible to make educated guesses about 4E's life cycle and when we can expect to start hearing about its successor because WOTC has a history people can look back at. Paizo does not that level of history, so educated guesses are much more difficult or not impossible, except perhaps in hindsight after an official announcement is made, since no one knows what clues to look for.

    The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

    Mr. Mearles neglects to mention not only weapon speed factors, but also the 1st Edition weapons-versus-armor-type modifications. That was certainly a big step in preparing your fighter for play. Ignoring how many "steps" it takes to make a 1st-level Fighter, the complexity of the task really blossomd from 2nd Edition AD&D to 3rd Edition. I think it's more important to count choices rather than steps. Calculating touch AC doesn't take much time. Selecting feats does.

    I think the reason for the greater complexity in 3rd Edition is obvious: in OD&D, your PC's mechanics has about as much personalization as a chess piece. in AD&D, your PC is primarily a tool with which you participate in stories, and the mechanics aren't as important.

    With 3rd Edition, the language of character design changed: you no longer "rolled up" a fighter, you "built" one, like a Magic deck. And I'm pretty sure that's because Wizards of the Coast had brought a "design and development" perspective to D&D.

    I don't think there's any way to make the process simpler, unless you're including steps that involve nothing more than looking up some value, and have some way to make some of those steps automated by a computer interface.


    Chris Mortika wrote:
    I think it's more important to count choices rather than steps. Calculating touch AC doesn't take much time. Selecting feats does.

    I agree. Some of those "steps" are so simplistic that they are not worth counting. For example, in 4e one calculates skills and then adds ten to Perception and Insight to get the passive numbers for those two skills. This takes all of 2 seconds and nothing at all if you are using the character builder. Yet Mearls counts them as two additional steps.

    The things that take the most time and add the most complexity are choices: feats, powers or spells, skills, ability scores, equipment, and so on.

    Plus, complexity with creating a 1st level character does not equate to complexity of the entire game system. If Mearls' overall point is that the game is more complex today, he needs to look at the entire system, not just beginning character creation.

    I believe that, for better or for worse, the most complex system is 3e. It's also the one that seems to offer the most variety and options. One could make an argument for 4e's options and complexities, especially now, but because the game systems are quite different, it's hard to really make a comparison. They are complex in different ways and offer options in very different ways.

    I see Mearls' overall point, but I think he's stretching a little to make his point, which I think weakens what he's trying to say.


    Chris Mortika wrote:
    Mr. Mearles neglects to mention not only weapon speed factors, but also the 1st Edition weapons-versus-armor-type modifications.

    Surely nobody actually bothered with either of those rules?

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
    pres man wrote:

    I hear that pathfinder is going to have a 2nd edition. Everyone should quit buying paizo's current stuff, since they don't plan on supporting it long-term*.

    ** spoiler omitted **

    Man, I sure hope so! PF1E is such garbage, they really need to actually fix the problems with 3.5.

    The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

    Pual wrote:
    Surely nobody actually bothered with either of those rules?

    Oh, we surely did. If you don't, then a greatsword (where space allows) and a bastard sword are always the right answer. It makes weapon selection trivial. But when you want a fast weapon to attack the evil high priest before he can get his spell off, or a weapon good against a nimble character in light armor, then weapon choices are more of a trade-off.


    Pual wrote:
    Chris Mortika wrote:
    Mr. Mearles neglects to mention not only weapon speed factors, but also the 1st Edition weapons-versus-armor-type modifications.
    Surely nobody actually bothered with either of those rules?

    I most certainly did. I actually miss weapon speed very much, it made up for weapons of varying damages.


    ProfessorCirno wrote:

    The best thing about declaring 5e is just around the corner is that you can do it for three years and counting and, some day, you'll eventually be right!

    And you'll never bring up that you've been doing this since the day the edition came out!

    Actually.....I have been predicting that within 5 years of release 5th ed will be announced(and it seems to be right on schedule). 4th ed has about twice the bloat as 3.5 in just a short time. The system...despite what people may think is a not a great system. Can it be fun? Sure...is it easy to use? Sure...but the way it is set up is a system that would burn itself out very fast.

    Also...if I am wrong I'll admitt it. As looking at this kinda stuff is just fun for me and interesting. I have played over 30+ RPG systems...and have a handful of others that I owned and never played. It is a hobby of mine to study the development of RPGs.

    When I say 5th ed is coming soon it is not with malice...or even joy. It is just based on years of study. And if I am wrong I'll freely admitt it. I have been wrong before.

    I am wondering though why it upsets you so much? I mean even if they announce 5th ed tomorrow....why would it effect you? I mean it is not like they will send people out to get your 4th ed books and stuff. At worst all they will do is not support it though DDI tools.

    Contributor

    Nobody bothered with a lot of the rules.

    For example, the 3.0 and 3.5 cross-class skill costs were such a royal PITA to deal with they put out the "Able Learner" feat in Races of Destiny. What did the feat do? It made it so that you could take all skills as class skills--a classic example of an "I don't have to deal with this lame mechanic" feat.

    Current 3.5 game I'm playing in? The DM instituted a house rule that every character gets this feat for free, even if they're not human. Basically, the lame mechanic is dead.

    Pathfinder's revisions basically instituted the same fix with a few small tweaks to make it easier to deal with.

    Similar thing went on with MAGE in the transition from 2nd edition to Revised. Part of the world backstory was that the Guantlet suddenly turned into a shred-o-matic for mages stepping into the spirit world. That is unless they bought the "Storm Warden" merit that let them ignore the new mechanic. A lot of storytellers were passing this out for free, or just ignoring the mechanic for their home games.

    As a rule of thumb, if most GMs are ignoring a particular rule, that's a good thing to change in a new edition.

    As for D&D 5e? Obviously yes it's coming. I'd predict it will come out in a few years but not tomorrow, though there will likely be books testing the new mechanics within 4e the same way that the Book of Swords and the warlock class previewed what 4e would be like.


    Matthew Morris wrote:
    Microsfot for not putting Halo out for the PS3.

    That's tame compared to what is available for PS3 and xBox360, but not PC.

    I can't mention Red Dead Redemption to some people without risking getting seriously injured.... :D


    sunshadow21 wrote:


    Also comparing a possible Pathfinder 2nd edition to a possible 5th edition is difficult as they are made by different companies. It is possible to make educated guesses about 4E's life cycle and when we can expect to start hearing about its successor because WOTC has a history people can look back at. Paizo does not that level of history, so educated guesses are much more difficult or not impossible, except perhaps in hindsight after an official announcement is made, since no one knows what clues to look for.

    They're actually quite easy: PF1e will have about 10 years before 2e will come.

    That's what Paizo has said. And they're not liars. I trust them, as do many others. Paizo has earned that trust, and keeps earning it.

    And I'm quite sure they'll keep the open playtesting the way it was, or make it even better.

    That's what Paizo is doing now, what a lot of people love, and I don't see them stopping.

    And with the open playtest and everything, I think we'll have ample advance warning.


    Chris Mortika wrote:


    With 3rd Edition, the language of character design changed: you no longer "rolled up" a fighter, you "built" one, like a Magic deck.

    No, I don't. I create a fighter.

    "Build" sounds dirty, especially if abused as a noun.


    Freehold DM wrote:
    Pual wrote:
    Chris Mortika wrote:
    Mr. Mearles neglects to mention not only weapon speed factors, but also the 1st Edition weapons-versus-armor-type modifications.
    Surely nobody actually bothered with either of those rules?
    I most certainly did. I actually miss weapon speed very much, it made up for weapons of varying damages.

    I actually always liked what Everquests D20 game did with weapon speed determining when you recieved your iterative attacks rather than it being a flat subtract 5 if positive smack again. Becasue it harkened back to old school weapon speed stuff. Not the same to be sure.


    Freehold DM wrote:
    Pual wrote:
    Chris Mortika wrote:
    Mr. Mearles neglects to mention not only weapon speed factors, but also the 1st Edition weapons-versus-armor-type modifications.
    Surely nobody actually bothered with either of those rules?
    I most certainly did. I actually miss weapon speed very much, it made up for weapons of varying damages.

    Yeah I miss weapon speeds too...sigh...though really nothing keeping you from using them...

    But I think that and weapons-versus-armor-type modifications had not that much effect on character generation as you might think...atleast I never let it effect my concept...IE if I wanted a battle axe fighter...I would build one chart be damned.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

    I think SKR did an article on how weapon speeds don't work in 3.X. Nice idea, but I think it would be too much of a headache for my group.


    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    I think SKR did an article on how weapon speeds don't work in 3.X. Nice idea, but I think it would be too much of a headache for my group.

    I'm working on some rough weapon speed rules for my 3.x based homebrew. Right now it's more that you get bonuses to initiative when using certain weapons you enjoy using, I might include bonuses based on a weapon's size in the future. I'm trying to avoid penalties in order to keep my stuff more positive-sounding, but I've just seen waaaaaaay too much Bastard/Great Sword and Scythe abuse in the games I've been in to not at least consider the notion.

    Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    Dragonsong wrote:
    I actually always liked what Everquests D20 game did with weapon speed determining when you recieved your iterative attacks rather than it being a flat subtract 5 if positive smack again. Becasue it harkened back to old school weapon speed stuff. Not the same to be sure.

    I think they had that rule in the Scarred Lands too.

    I miss the Scarred Lands


    Just what fighter types need in 3.x, more gimping. Oh you decided to use a weapon that might actually be effective, sorry it takes you 5 rounds to make one attack.


    pres man wrote:
    Just what fighter types need in 3.x, more gimping. Oh you decided to use a weapon that might actually be effective, sorry it takes you 5 rounds to make one attack.

    I think this might be exaggerated/oversimplified a bit. Can anyone post some of the rules referenced to in terms of weapon speed esque stuff in 3.x? I would like to take a look.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

    SKR on weapon speeds.

    Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

    Freehold DM wrote:
    pres man wrote:
    Just what fighter types need in 3.x, more gimping. Oh you decided to use a weapon that might actually be effective, sorry it takes you 5 rounds to make one attack.
    I think this might be exaggerated/oversimplified a bit. Can anyone post some of the rules referenced to in terms of weapon speed esque stuff in 3.x? I would like to take a look.

    I'll dig out the book when I get home, but, IIRC, it was along these lines.

    Spoiler:

    Weapons had speeds from 3-6, the speed of the weapon was when you got your iterative attack. So a dagger with a speed of 3 would get 4 attacks at 10+ BAB (+10/+7/+4/+1) while the great sword would actually not get the 4th attack until BAB 19+ (+19/+13/+7/+1)

    I don't remember if it capped at 4 attacks or not, which would make my hypothetical knife fighter as +20/+17/+14/+11/+8/+5/+2 (Sure the last two or three are going to miss)

    Again, I'm running on memory. It doesn't 'gimp' big weapon damage as much as it boosts the knife fighters, giving them more chances to hit with lower damage weapons.

    Edit: and it's touched on in Sean's rant.


    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    SKR on weapon speeds.

    Looking at the article briefly(I'm at work and I really can't give it a whole lot of time), I have to say that it's rather skewed. I get that he doesn't like weapon speeds from the first sentence, and I don't think the concept is being given a fair trial so to speak in the examples he gives. That said, I could indeed see it being a headache in many groups, especially when you bring up the idea of switching weapons- something even my own rough rules have yet to address.


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    I would agree that weapon speeds don't make much sense in 3e combat. They worked much better in 2e where initiative wasn't cyclical and iterative attacks alternated between characters able to take them rather than occurred all at once.

    Interesting to note: There was an article in Dragon #71 that incorporated different initiative modifiers when closing and when already in close. We gave it a try under one DM for a short campaign and it worked OK.


    Matthew Morris wrote:
    Freehold DM wrote:
    pres man wrote:
    Just what fighter types need in 3.x, more gimping. Oh you decided to use a weapon that might actually be effective, sorry it takes you 5 rounds to make one attack.
    I think this might be exaggerated/oversimplified a bit. Can anyone post some of the rules referenced to in terms of weapon speed esque stuff in 3.x? I would like to take a look.

    I'll dig out the book when I get home, but, IIRC, it was along these lines.

    ** spoiler omitted **

    I don't remember if it capped at 4 attacks or not, which would make my hypothetical knife fighter as +20/+17/+14/+11/+8/+5/+2 (Sure the last two or three are going to miss)

    Again, I'm running on memory. It doesn't 'gimp' big weapon damage as much as it boosts the knife fighters, giving them more chances to hit with lower damage weapons.

    Edit: and it's touched on in Sean's rant.

    Intriguing. This is indeed more what I have in mind(i.e. non-gimping), but its applied to attacks per round as opposed to when someone goes in initiative order. In my experience(and I must stress, mine alone) I would rather have something improve my initiative order as opposed to the number of attacks per round, but then again, this may be because I always seem to be in/run lower-level games where people don't necessarily have several attacks per round.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
    Freehold DM wrote:


    Looking at the article briefly(I'm at work and I really can't give it a whole lot of time), I have to say that it's rather skewed. I get that he doesn't like weapon speeds from the first sentence, and I don't think the concept is being given a fair trial so to speak in the examples he gives. That said, I could indeed see it being a headache in many groups, especially when you bring up the idea of switching weapons- something even my own rough rules have yet to address.

    Sean covers most of the problems. The initiative bonus thing is mostly handled if you go from cyclical initiative to contiguous initiative. But the iterative attacks thing is a very valid point. The knife fighter only gets an extra attack over the longsword fighter half the time. The rest of the levels, they're at exactly the same number of attacks.


    sunshadow21 wrote:


    This is the first sign I've seen that points to it, so this is the first time I've said it. I'm not going to say that the new edition is immediately around the corner, but to deny that they have at least laid the groundwork for it's development at this point is just as unrealistic as saying it's coming tomorrow. 4E may still have several years left in it, but WOTC's history shows that it's probably on the back half of it's life cycle, and it takes a while to develop these things.

    This though depends on them following a historical trend but not actually learning anything from their history and WotC, for all its faults, pays a lot of attention to their sales history to inform their further moves. For example they released a game that was very different from 3.5 in part because of the backlash they took when they released 3.5. They had no belief that they could release 3.75. Designer interviews indicate that what became 4E was the third game they built and that at least one of the attempts was canned because it was considered 3.75.

    Another example is from Monte Cook who stated in one of his blog entry's that they kept a lot of sacred cows alive in 3.0 because they believed that they could not get away with changing them - but after the success of 3.0 and the relatively muted complaints about the sacred cows that where killed the consensus was that they could have gone a lot further in 3.0 then they did. Considering the backlash in this regard to 4E he and the rest of WotCs design and development where probably wrong...but the point is that belief influenced what came next - they believed they could kill sacred cows with near impunity. After the fiasco of the Forgotten Realms WotC has been very careful not to do much damage to the core setting ideas of subsequent campaign worlds. Both Ebberon and Darksun are very true to the original spirit of those settings, for example.

    Meanwhile it seems clear that 4E was, if anything, released far to soon people where not ready to abandon their books and they lost a very big chunk of their market share during that fiasco. Compare and contrast to how well their release of 3.0 did after waiting far longer for an edition change. Essentially it seems that there is a willingness to buy up a new library but only after a fairly prolonged life of the edition - that is what the history seems to be showing.

    At this point WotCs canceling books, presumably because there just does not seem to be much appetite for new supplements - I don't see how they could then come to the conclusion that a full on new release would suddenly result in their spread sheets coming back with different figures. The evidence points against it. Maybe if Essentials had sold like hot cakes then just possibly they could come to that conclusion but there is evidence that this is not what happened sicne the Essentials book that was basically a reprint of PHB1 (Essentialized) got canned (its material that is actually different from PHB1 will likely become Dragon articles).

    Seeing them testing the waters as an indicator that a new edition is right around the corner makes no sense in view of the fall out that took place when they tried this with 4E. A huge number of people abandoned their game (and eventually became PF players) in large part because their library remained intact. That library is now increasingly being replaced by PF books but at a slow enough rate that it does not seem to be bothering the 3.X/PF player base.

    Furthermore such evidence of new directions can be explained via a need for WotC to figure out what they can add to 4E that will sell. Add to this that it actually looks like the slow replacement model being used by PF works and I'd expect WotC to copy it. Wipe out our entire library in one go and they loose customers - if past experience is any indication then huge numbers of customers.

    Very slowly replace a book here or a book there - especially with actually improved books appears to create sales and gets gushing customers. We see this with Monster Vault - that book basically replaces MM1 - to the point where Dragons in MM1 don't even exist in the monster builder or Compendium, only the new Monster Vault Dragons are considered official (good thing too as MM1 Dragons blew chunks). So is the fan base up in arms over the nullifying of much of MM1s content? No - the fan base thinks Monster Vault is the cats pajama's. I expect this model to continue - it works for Paizo, its worked in one case for WotC and it appears to have low risk of getting half their player base to break off and stay with 4E (or abandon WotC for Paizo).

    In the end what your expecting them to do makes no financial sense based on the same past history your using to evaluate their current direction. Beyond that I think it ignores an important present reality in the DDI - a basket that they seem to be increasingly putting all their eggs into. They are canceling print books but the Games Table is something they are apparently working on night and day. When it comes out I expect that they'll be fiddling with their subscription model. Maybe just a general rise in price though I actually expect that what we'll see is a specific new innovation with that subscription model - probably they lay the ground work here for forcing the subscriber base to have something akin to individual accounts (as opposed to a single account for an entire game group as is currently possible).

    As they put more eggs in the DDI basket they also restrict their own ability to simply start a new edition fresh because any such move threatens the Goose that lays the Golden Eggs (The DDI itself). Hence, in the same way that WOW never really ends I would expect that 4E never really stops, evolves yes, but there is never a break point where one might as well cancel ones DDI subscription.


    Power Word Unzip wrote:
    I actually agree with Mearls' assessment of this process insofar as 3.5 is concerned. I'm basing this on introducing several new players to the game over the last year or two. For people accustomed to playing console or computer RPGs, that may seem like just two steps, but for someone who doesn't have any sort of gaming background, choosing feats and skills is an ordeal.

    One of the things I've been noticing is that as complexity has increased over time, our efficiency in dealing with that complexity has increased accordingly. Yes, there are more decisions to be made now than there used to be, but new tools like the Character Builder make it easier to create a 4e character than it would be to create even a 1e or 2e character by hand, and without the concerns over whether you missed anything or miscalculated a stat along the way. We live more complex lives than we did twenty years ago, but we have come up with new ways of processing that complexity to allow us to deal with it without going crazy.

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