101 Reasons why 4e DOESN'T suck


4th Edition

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So there have been a countless number of zingers thrown at 4e (myself included), but this thread is not designed to spark an edition war. I'm just curious as to why people think 4e is the bees knees since I've never "gotten it" myself.

Give your reasons of why 4e is better than 3.x/PF

1. The artwork on the PHB1 cover was cool?

Dark Archive

Much better balance in combat.

Dark Archive

Epic level play, sweet spot is larger.

Silver Crusade

For those who can keep track of everything, it's a tactics DREAM.

Scarab Sages

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The character generator


I wrote a pretty lengthy blog post to answer just this question, so check it out!

On a more personal note, one big advantage that I feel 4e has over all other editions is the lack of core-only campaigns. One of D&D's biggest draws for me is that it has a little something for everyone, if you throw in a lot of splats. I love kitchen sink games, where players can play whatever particular character they want. From my experience as a DM and a player, it's not about power gaming -- more options are just more fun for most players.

Sadly, kitchen sink campaigns are hard to come by outside of 4e. For various reasons DMs feel the need to restrict player options -- all too often with the dreaded cry of "Core only!" But in 4e, everything is core.

Yeah, 'Everything is core' is a dopey marketing line, but combined with 4e's high standards for game balance, it seems to have finally given most DMs the confidence to let players play what they want to play. The only 4e DM who I ever knew to impose a restriction was running a Dark Sun game; he asked us not to play divine characters for obvious fluff reasons, and we were happy to comply.

And that's one of the many reasons I love 4e. :)


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It made Pathfinder big.

Lantern Lodge

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I actually hate 4e for roleplay, but I love the mechanics as a tactics game in fact if they had simply named it "Dungeons and Dragons: Tactics" or similar instead of calling the next edition, then I would have few complaints, particularly cause then they could have kept selling 3.5 stuff for actual roleplay. (It seems to me that 4e is tactics with elements of roleplay while 3.5 is roleplay with elements of tactics. Big difference there and that is probably the source of the distaste, wotc flipped the focus of the game)

Actually I think 4e would be awesome for arena and war games where each player can have a group of PCs all fighting each other, similar to heroclix battles or something.

The streamlining of powers into at wills, encounters, and dailies is nice for that quick building of characters and for tracking each characters abilities.


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It's quick and easy for casual gamers.

It's hard to accidentally build an ineffective character.

The online material via the DDI subscription is fantastic value (although not quite as close to my tastes as PF flavour material and being PDF only was a negative, it was an undoubted bargain).

The character builder and monster builder are excellent.

It is substantially different from previous editions - increased choice is better in this context, IMO. Those who like a simulationist style have PF, those who prefer a gamist approach have 4E.

My biggest reason for liking 4E is that it returned to embracing DM-fiat (monsters do what the story requires rather than what the rules dictate). That's very dependant on group though.

Silver Crusade

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It made paladins less stick-in the butt

Grand Lodge

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4E gave us balance. The classes are balanced in a way they never have been before, and most likely will never be again. While 4E didn't deliver perfectly in that regard, there really isn't the caster vs martial divide we've had talk about in every version of D20, including Pathfinder.

Fighters have awesome wuxia powers, and Wizards are VERY limited in the "change worlds at the snap of a finger" quotient. Because many of the powers and spells you take as a given in d20 are either not there, vastly limited, or require expensive rituals to enact. (Teleport magic in particular incorporates the latter two).

What the market seems to have proven, despite all the screams and complaints to the contrary, balance isn't as big a priority as many would have thought.


It allows players to make a viable group that doesn't have a healer. That's about all I like.

Shadow Lodge

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It causes endless forum arguments.

Liberty's Edge

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If you want to play a table top version of world of warcraft, don't use the D20 world of warcraft books.

4e is much better for world of warcraft tabletop.

Grand Lodge

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CapeCodRPGer wrote:

If you want to play a table top version of world of warcraft, don't use the D20 world of warcraft books.

4e is much better for world of warcraft tabletop.

As someone who GMed WOW D20, I'd highly disagree.


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I think it's problematic to say "better", but I love the fact that it exists, because it gives gamers one more option for how they want to tell their stories, and offers another way for creative people to share their ideas.

Also? More Monster Manuals means more pictures of monsters.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
It is substantially different from previous editions - increased choice is better in this context, IMO. Those who like a simulationist style have PF, those who prefer a gamist approach have 4E.

Despite its rep as 'the gamist edition,' and the strong simulationist streak that I have, I love 4e. And I think that's because 4e isn't actually any more absurd than any other edition -- they all have magic, hit points, monsters that defy physics, and a variety of edition-specific absurdities that render any claim to simulation laughable.

I think the difference with 4e is that the silliness isn't hidden behind a magician's curtain -- the devs put D&D's assumptions and gaminess on display for all to see.

Silver Crusade

It helped me do cool stunts in combat.


I personally think it's much more... Cinematic? I'm not going to say unrealistic as I sit here slaying giant fire breathing dinosaurs and summoning beings made of ice. And I'm not even saying it in a bad way.

It allows for more, shall we say, video-game-esque characters.


lucky7 wrote:
It made paladins less stick-in the butt

Oh gods, yes! I love the lack of alignment restrictions in 4e, although sometimes I miss all the nerdragey 3.x threads filled with variations of "Paladins must be LG because tradition!"

Another reason to love 4e: It took a few of 3e's innovations and improved them even more. The vague WBL table became a more helpful guideline for handing out which types and how much magical bling to hand out -- and the addition of inherent bonuses makes low-wealth campaigns a synch for DMs!

4e took a bunch of vague CRs, added a set of simple guidelines for DMs and designers alike, added explicit monster castes (minion, solo, ect), and voila -- 4e monsters were born! Monster level is a more accurate gauge of challenge than CRs are, and 4e's monster guidelines make the creation process fun and full of variety!

Shadow Lodge

To me, the one really great thing that 4E is great at is short or one-shot games. It's pretty easy to whip up a character and jump in, shorter games don't really it many of the complaints people have for it, (boring/too balanced/everything feels the same). The shorter game really plays into the fog of war that the base game is built on, (I can't remember what it's called, points of light, I think).

Personally, I like some of the flavor concepts they went with, leaving things more vague and up to the players like with Divine characters and their faiths, and how Paladins act in regards to Alignment. I also like how they handled monsters in general, sort of making them feel new, but at the same time I didn't like how common it is to upgrade monsters to be appropriate threats no matter your level.


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Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
It is substantially different from previous editions - increased choice is better in this context, IMO. Those who like a simulationist style have PF, those who prefer a gamist approach have 4E.

Despite its rep as 'the gamist edition,' and the strong simulationist streak that I have, I love 4e. And I think that's because 4e isn't actually any more absurd than any other edition -- they all have magic, hit points, monsters that defy physics, and a variety of edition-specific absurdities that render any claim to simulation laughable.

I think the difference with 4e is that the silliness isn't hidden behind a magician's curtain -- the devs put D&D's assumptions and gaminess on display for all to see.

Yeah, I agree. But I think that's why it appeals to gamists.

Monsters following different rules to PCs is the kind of thing I'm referring to.


I liked the idea behind paragon and epic destiny paths, in that they you advanced with them in addition to leveling with your actually class, rather than a prestige that you would level in instead of your base class. I like the idea behind prestige, but when they don't advance your class features they become hard to get into or weaker. It feels much less punishing than pathfinder. I never got to play a game to see how well it worked out however.


Some of the things said are just repetition of what others have said.

I'd agree that it lends itself to one-shots. I've done one or two 4e oneshots and those were ok and very simple for people to pick up the mechanics without having to learn a whole new complex system. You had the cards and powers and new people caught on to it quickly. I can't imagine doing a whole campaign on it though, honestly.

Liberty's Edge

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DarkLightHitomi wrote:
I actually hate 4e for roleplay...

I think the opposite 4e doesn't restrict your RP ability in any way it's all up to the players and the DM. Your powers are easily changed to reflect any type of character you wish to play. With no profession or craft or perform skills it allows players who want to do these things but don't want to spend prescious skill points (Example: Clerics - Perform Oratory) still can.

I can't think of any RP aspect 3.x/PF can do that 4e can not.

It's the very best of both.

Lantern Lodge

I just don't compare it to 3.x.

I really like it for quick tactics games, but I'd shoot myself before trying to use 4e for an in depth roleplaying campaign. Just the class restrictions and setup alone would render that reaction from me, though I do admit to a couple minor points that would be nice to bring back to 3.x.

So for quick fantasy combat games, 4e definately.

Roleplay, never.

Dark Archive

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The best I can say for 4e, is it created the Adventure paths and cool paizo products.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
It is substantially different from previous editions - increased choice is better in this context, IMO. Those who like a simulationist style have PF, those who prefer a gamist approach have 4E.

Despite its rep as 'the gamist edition,' and the strong simulationist streak that I have, I love 4e. And I think that's because 4e isn't actually any more absurd than any other edition -- they all have magic, hit points, monsters that defy physics, and a variety of edition-specific absurdities that render any claim to simulation laughable.

I think the difference with 4e is that the silliness isn't hidden behind a magician's curtain -- the devs put D&D's assumptions and gaminess on display for all to see.

Yeah, I agree. But I think that's why it appeals to gamists.

Monsters following different rules to PCs is the kind of thing I'm referring to.

Fair enough. I think 4e simply appeals to gamers who like to see behind the curtain. :)

Sovereign Court

Only good thing about the 4e is that it made Pathfinder happen and be still going strong after 4 years.


I haven't done the math..but honestly..How many dice would you be throwing for damage at say 15 to 18th level?


Flashohol wrote:
DarkLightHitomi wrote:
I actually hate 4e for roleplay...

I think the opposite 4e doesn't restrict your RP ability in any way it's all up to the players and the DM. Your powers are easily changed to reflect any type of character you wish to play. With no profession or craft or perform skills it allows players who want to do these things but don't want to spend prescious skill points (Example: Clerics - Perform Oratory) still can.

I can't think of any RP aspect 3.x/PF can do that 4e can not.

It's the very best of both.

QFT!

Some gamers just don't jive with 4e's presentation, its particular conceits, or whatever, and that's okay. But the idea that 4e is less of a rpg than other editions is ridiculous.

Every time a new edition emerges, some gamers have a kneejerk reaction about how it's THE DEATH OF ROLE PLAYING! Critics of 3e and its descendants say "Clearly, this is WotC's Diablo edition -- it's all about leveling up to get the next feat or kewl class gimmick. None of that role-play bother, just kill and loot dungeons all the way to 20th. WotC should stop pretending it's a rpg; just call it Diablo: the Tabletop Game!"

It's BS about 3.0, 3.5, and PF, and it's BS about 4e.

Lantern Lodge

@Tequila,

It isn't the death of rpg but it isn't focused on rp either, the skill selection is junk and while they may be balanced, 3.x actually had it's skills come pretty close to reality, 4e doesn't, additionally the creative options in 4e are absolutly pathetic, you are shoehorned into one class and have to spend feats to get stuff minor things from another class (or two classes but that has severe drawbacks), the entire concept of roles is just as restrictive and adds nothing to rp (though I never understood the desire to fill roles in any capacity either), you are basically forced to follow their stereotypes, they act like merely calling a class arcane somehow grants the magical powers desired when it doesn't spell selection is 75% the direction of a caster) the drive to make things balanced seriously reduces options for out-of-the-box thinking, I used minor creation to kill plenty of foes in 3.5 but the option for anything like it is completely unavailable in 4e.

And I could probably go on for many more posts.

So yeah, 4e isn't acceptable as an rpg, heck 3.5 was more restrictive then I liked, but at least I could get close to what I wanted, even if meant picking up extra undesired abilities. I don't want cookie cutter characters for my RP sessions.

So I'll leave 4e in the battle tactics games group where it can actually shine as a decent game.

Shadow Lodge

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DarkLightHitomi wrote:
So I'll leave 4e in the battle tactics games group where it can actually shine as a decent game.

Meanwhile, other people will play it as a roleplaying game just fine.

Lantern Lodge

Toz, I have no problem with that, it's a perfectly good way to play, it's simplistic and restrictive on the RP front bit some leople don't mind, or even like that. I was simply responding to the comment that somehow 4e is a legimate successor to 3.5 in spirit. They are both valid games but they are more then different enough to be considered completely unrelated games of different genres.

Shadow Lodge

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Role play restriction and simplification is far more the fault of the group than the system.


I have my issues with 4e and its focus, but I don't see how it restricts roleplaying other than requiring a battlemat.


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People(not me personaly) enjoy it...that is enough of a reason why it does not 'suck'.


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The lack of iterative attacks was another thing I liked. At high levels battles took a little longer than at low levels, but not substantially so. Epic tier characters have many more options than heroic tier, but once chosen they don't take much longer to resolve.


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TOZ wrote:
Role play restriction and simplification is far more the fault of the group than the system.

I think it's a combination, really.

Many cant get into 4E as an RPG because there's very few explicit mechanics for out of combat (or because of fire cubes, or monsters aren't built with the same rules as PCs or...whatever). I struggle to role play with PF since it seems there's a rule for everything and if I didn't "build" my character properly a few levels ago, I can't do the stuff I decide he should be able to do. I end up thinking of my characters as just a "bag of modifiers and special abilities".

Despite that experience, I wouldn't say PF restricts role playing, it just doesn't suit doing it the way I do it.

Lantern Lodge

It's restrictive because of the set of choices I have available compared to the choices I desire.

My desired options don't follow stereotypes, so very often I'll want a couple abilities from one class, a couple from another, one from a third class and half a dozen from still more classes, but I can't have that combonation of abilities becauses there isn't a class with them. Granted I have the same issue with 3.x but at least in 3.x I can freely multiclass and get a build close to what I want.

For example, what if I want to play a caster fighter, who uses protective and utility magic to augment her fighting but not generally using the magic as a direct attack? This is just a simplified example. Now I haven't been looking at 4e new stuff in a while so maybe they made this class, but I doubt it. Besides the mere fact that I need an option built into the game to play it is the restrictiveness I was talking about.


Quote:
Toz, I have no problem with that, it's a perfectly good way to play, it's simplistic and restrictive on the RP front
Quote:


It's restrictive because of the set of choices I have available compared to the choices I desire.

My desired options don't follow stereotypes, so very often I'll want a couple abilities from one class, a couple from another, one from a third class and half a dozen from still more classes, but I can't have that combonation of abilities becauses there isn't a class with them. Granted I have the same issue with 3.x but at least in 3.x I can freely multiclass and get a build close to what I want.

For example, what if I want to play a caster fighter, who uses protective and utility magic to augment her fighting but not generally using the magic as a direct attack? This is just a simplified example. Now I haven't been looking at 4e new stuff in a while so maybe they made this class, but I doubt it. Besides the mere fact that I need an option built into the game to play it is the restrictiveness I was talking about.

How is any of that RP restrictive and not just mechanically restrictive to the builds you want to make?

I would consider 4e more "RP restrictive" (or I guess RP discouraging) in that I have yet to see any 4e adventure I've played (or looked at in a store) not revolve around the typical dungeon crawl or monster slash fest.


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The adventures available in print are quite poor, in my opinion. :(

Some of the PDF only ones are better, but they're not widely known, of course. The printed ones got better towards the end of the game's life, but still not up to paizo's level, IMO.


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In my opinion, I liked 4E because...

● Easier to GM, IMO. XP budget made more sense than Encounter Level/Ratings of 3.x. Re-skinning and/or creating new monsters were a whole lot easier. Adventure building was easier for me.

● Casters, especially wizards, didn’t feel useless in low-level combats. No more “one-spell and I am spent” classes.

● Rituals freed up a caster’s allotment of powers/spells for things they commonly used.

● Fighters weren’t outshined by casters at higher levels.

● Parties without clerics were viable. Clerics could go in different directions without feeling like they were the party’s sole source of healing.

● Converting adventures from prior editions was fairly easy (though sometimes you had to get creative; Return to the Tomb of Horrors comes to mind).

● Monsters followed their own rules rather than be PC-in-monster’s-clothing.

● I prefer defenses (i.e. Reflex, Will, Fortitude) to saves.

● I loved the Essentials line more than the “original” 4E. Classes seemed less homogenized but still played in a similar manner. I really liked how fighters got “stances” and rogues got “tricks” instead of the usual At-Will/Encounter/Daily power suite. I also really liked the Slayer, a Striker Fighter class.

● The variety of classes and builds allowed for a lot of options for characters.

● I did not experience a lack of role-play in my 4E games. We ran several small campaigns, including part of Curse of the Crimson Throne, and there was plenty of RP to be had. Role-playing (i.e. pretending to be other people) doesn't even require a rules set; children and actors have been doing this for millenia.

It wasn’t a perfect system, but I certainly liked it a lot more than not. I like other systems as well, each for their own reasons.


DarkLightHitomi wrote:

It's restrictive because of the set of choices I have available compared to the choices I desire.

My desired options don't follow stereotypes, so very often I'll want a couple abilities from one class, a couple from another, one from a third class and half a dozen from still more classes, but I can't have that combonation of abilities becauses there isn't a class with them. Granted I have the same issue with 3.x but at least in 3.x I can freely multiclass and get a build close to what I want.

I wasn't a huge fan of how they did multiclassing in 4E, but what you describe can be done.

DarkLightHitomi wrote:
For example, what if I want to play a caster fighter, who uses protective and utility magic to augment her fighting but not generally using the magic as a direct attack? This is just a simplified example. Now I haven't been looking at 4e new stuff in a while so maybe they made this class, but I doubt it. Besides the mere fact that I need an option built into the game to play it is the restrictiveness I was talking about.

A couple of options:

1. Fighter, multiclassing into wizard. It will look like a fighter, but you will have a handful of wizard powers.

2. Swordmage from Forgotten Realms is basically what you described.

3. Talk to DM, take an existing class, and reskin.


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Some of the main reasons I liked 4E:

-It made it far easier to run a story-driven, RP-heavy, open-world campaign.

-Players could build any characters they wanted, rather than worry about who had to play the healer.

-Everyone in the party felt able to contribute both in and out of combat.


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4E had the best presented Bestiary/Monster Manual of any game I have ever seen. Open up the page to the monster, and every, single thing you need to run it is on that page. You don't need to crack open the PHB to look up what the spells do, you don't need to crack open the DMG to read up on poisons, it's all right there in the monster entry.

It's such a good presentation that even the self-admitted anti-4E grognards I know admit it's the best Monster Manual they have ever seen.


it's better that some people are playing 4e rather than not playing roleplaying games at all


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Couldn't say... never played it!

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