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Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, Latest News 350

Posted by kdawson
from the eye-of-the-beholder dept.
Lord Aramil of Dreadwood writes "Blogger and Dragon magazine writer Jonathan Drain is tracking the latest developments on the new D&D edition. Highlights include: Thirty levels instead of twenty, no more XP costs for magic items creation, flexible talent trees replacing feats and prestige classes, a new racial bonuses system that obsoletes ECL, and an end to rubbish skills like Forgery and Use Rope. A quote from the blog: 'Unlike 3.5, all the changes this time around sound like they're definitely for the better... If nothing else, at least they have the opportunity to get rid of Mialee.'"
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Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, Latest News

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  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:02AM (#20284249)
    News for Nerds.
  • by tehSpork (1000190) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:08AM (#20284273)
    Will it be a DX10/Vista only title?

    (Said in jest, not out of ignorance)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      (Said in jest, not out of ignorance)

      If you have to tell people in writing you're making a joke, it's often not a very funny one.

      • by OECD (639690)

        If you have to tell people in writing you're making a joke, it's often not a very funny one.

        You must be new here...

    • by Jesterthe3rd (960830) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:41AM (#20284841)
      Breaking news: New dice required to play D&D4! The old ones don't comply to GHS 2.0.4 (Gaming Hardware Standard) and can't understand the new IDRTP (Improved Dice Result Transfer Protocol) needed to confirm critical hits on good looking waitresses. Read: They don't bear the required symbols and don't have the right number of sides ;)
    • Will it be a DX10/Vista only title?

      Nah, its incompatible with both. I tried but there weren't any cables in the box ;)
    • by Miseph (979059) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @10:30AM (#20285593) Journal
      Actually, I believe they were planning on DX20...
    • by dcollins (135727) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @10:41AM (#20285663) Homepage
      Actually, you're more correct than you may realize. A major part of 4E is that it's tied into a "Digital Initiative", with Dragon & Dungeon magazines online-only, and character generation, mapping, and campaign utilities all online, for a monthly $10 subscription fee (think WOW).

      There's even an online gaming table -- the demo is a native Wiondows desktop application, and it does indeed rely on DirectX: http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=204368&pag e=1&pp=40 [enworld.org]

      • WOTC Death Throes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @11:32AM (#20286007) Journal
        mod parent interesting

        The AD&D 3.5 manuals are just too damned complicated. Hundreds of pages and table after table after table. It's more like a software spec than game instructions. No one new is going to get onto this. If you're going to make it that complex, let a computer handle all that messing around.

        Enter WoW. It's the AD&D online that AD&D never had. Must irk them to see all that money going to someone else. Their own DDO Stormreach bombed. This is a desperate ploy to cling some of their market back. If they can find people who'll pay $$$ for all new AD&D 4.0 books. In this day and age of the net does it have to be WOTC that rewrite the rules a few solitary voices claim so badly need repairs. Nope. Fans could do this by themselves. WOTC, like the RIAA, are on an outdated business model.

        If someone went to a VC with this as a business plan, they'd get laughed out of the office. WOTC on their way out.
        • by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoi&gmail,com> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @12:47PM (#20286455)
          I just brought in several more players to my gaming group just the other day. If you really think that WoW is competition for D&D, you've never really played the game. D&D engages the imagination and uses this thing called 'roleplaying' that WoW severely lacks. Computer games, no matter how hard they try, simply cannot capture the imagination and cooperative element that pen-and-paper in-person role-playing games provide.

          However, if the only D&D you played was "by the book" or "hack and slash", then yes, you would probably be better off with WoW, or even Diablo.

          I seriously doubt WotC is dying. The D&D franchise is still extremely large. It may take years for people to switch over, but they'll be making their money, one way or another.
          • by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoi&gmail,com> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @12:52PM (#20286491)
            I hate to reply to myself, but there's no "edit" button on slashdot, so here I go:

            Yes, it does have to be WotC that rewrites the rules. Trust me. Fan-based rule rewrites have happened, many a time, and they have never caught on. They don't have that "Wizards" seal-of-approval. They're not often play-tested, nor made by developers with years of experience. Go around on the Wizards boards sometime and try and find me a serious fan retooling that is used by more than a small handful of people. You won't. Like it or not, the people that play D&D shell out their money for a book of rules. They could go to the fans, but for some reason they feel that what Wizards provides is worth spending money on, while what the fans provide is to be swept under the rug. Much like how you pay money for the Harry Potter books (to give an example) but throw fanfics into the bit bucket.
            • Economist Levit wrote a book called "Freakonomics". He talks about how people are willing to pay so-called Experts on the assumption that their advice is worth gold. Trouble is these experts have their own agendas: WOTCs is to sell you a whole new collection of books. At least that's how they figure it. Experts use tricks like information hoarding to convince you only their word can be trusted.

              WOTC, despite the names, aren't Gods. They don't have a divine touch. Fans could rewrite the rules. There's no reas
          • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:43PM (#20287107)

            Nonsense. I fondly remember many middle school afternoons playing D&D going into the forest and grinding against gradually larger and larger boars until I eventually hit level 20 and fought dragons.

            Isn't that how everyone else played?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dcollins (135727)

            Check out Ryan Dancey's blog from this week. He's a major game industry consultant, former CEO of Wizards when they bought D&D and then sold to Hasbro. He's dumped a major 6-part blog or so on how D&D needs to change to compete with WOW.

            Even if you think the game experiences are different, all of the business people involved are almost maniacally obsessed with how to get a slice of those millions of monthly WOW subscriptions. Everything they're doing right now has that as an objective.

            http://web [mac.com]

        • Re:WOTC Death Throes (Score:5, Informative)

          by Macgrrl (762836) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:34PM (#20288661)

          You obviously never saw the 2nd Ed rules books and suppliments. Or the rules for systems such as Rolemaster or GURPs.

          D20 is actually quite straight forward rules wise. Many table top games rely on probability matricies, d20 simplified the matricies compared with the old THAC0 (to hit armor class zero) rules and the like.

  • Half-assed fixes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:25AM (#20284341)
    Bring back Dark Sun and Planescape you sons of bitches and then your game won't suck anymore. Heck, they even watered down Forgotten Realms for the 3rd edition. Once they stop being pussies and stop whining about their RPGs being too hard they will get the hard core gamers to come back.
    • by mqduck (232646) <mqduck@@@mqduck...net> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:32AM (#20284369)

      Bring back Dark Sun and Planescape you sons of bitches and then your game won't suck anymore. Heck, they even watered down Forgotten Realms for the 3rd edition. Once they stop being pussies and stop whining about their RPGs being too hard they will get the hard core gamers to come back.
      Does being "hard core" consist of calling people bitches and pussies?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by walnutmon (988223)
        While I don't and never will play D&D, I am going to agree with GP... You don't water down a game that will only be played by the hard core... You aren't going to get your average joe, or even your pretty god damn nerdy joe, to show up and hang out with a bunch of people who think they are vampires and roll dice as they stroll the game store looking for some XP.

        I don't have any clue what I am talking about.
    • by FinchWorld (845331) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @06:52AM (#20284679) Homepage
      When last I checked, nothing is stopping "hardcore" roleplayers using the older rules for there games.
    • by vux984 (928602) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:57AM (#20284895)
      they will get the hard core gamers to come back.

      Real hard core gamers make up their own game systems and game worlds.

      Only slightly less hard core people rape, pillage, and convert their vast piles of source materials from a diverse set of game systems and versions thereof. The good ones can do most of it on the fly.

      That's half the point of p&p rpgs and why their translations to the computer have been relatively weak and unsatisfying, at best capturing the numbers game of equipment design and basic combat.

      Seriously if your problem with D&D is that a setting is 'missing' or 'wrong', the problem is you.
      • Re:Half-assed fixes (Score:5, Informative)

        by Wellspring (111524) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @08:48AM (#20285107)
        Agreed.

        I'm chuckling at people who think any change to simplify the system is a change for the worse. The Hackmaster crowd can always play Shadowrun if they want an evershifting catalog of contradictory rules and exceptions.

        Obviously, the proof is in the pudding, but for now what I'm hearing about D&D 4.0 is very positive. There are lots of rules like grappling that bear no relation to the other game rules and which grind the game to a halt when you try to use them. There are skills like Use Rope which are clearly inferior to other uses of your skill points, like Spot or Use Magic Device. Other skills and abilities quickly become obsolete: e.g. Climb, Heal and Jump (both are replaced by spells). Gear, especially flat +stats items, has become the end-all and be-all of advancement. And the endless prep work and bookkeeping, especially for the GM, is a waste of time and detracts from the fun of the game.

        Plus, a game needs a reboot from time to time. AD&D became bloated with endless supplements, kits and spells that eventually made play completely impenetrable. 3.5 is heading in the same direction. YOu can't stop that, but you can occassionally reboot, reproducing and refining the stuff that works and dumping or rewriting the stuff that doesn't.

        None of this is specific to newbies, either. Hard-core players would love to have a simplier but still thematically and tactically rich game, because then you can have five fights a night instead of three. Or your GM can afford to make the same three fights much more interesting, unique and challenging. Or you can free up some time for, G-d forbid, actually RP your character.

        There are tons of games out there with clunky rules if you want difficulty and tedium for its own sake. I'm cheering for D&D because while I love 3.5, I can see the game becoming much more fun.

    • by jcr (53032)
      Dark Sun and Planescape

      WTF are you talking about? D&D had everything we needed 1982.

      -jcr

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Can't they be adapted with a few house rules? There are even v3.5 spelljammer rules ou there on the net.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RSKennan (835119)
      As a former d20 writer who might be coming out of retirement, I've been looking for any news I can find about 4e. It seems that they are planning to release the old settings as standalone books at the rate of one per year. You may just see Dark Sun and Planescape again.

      http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v294/Eostre_7/vl csnap-203072.png [photobucket.com] Check this image out for some flimsy proof.
  • by JosefAssad (1138611) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:26AM (#20284349) Homepage
    Contributing to the prevention of teen pregnancy since 1974! (and not through any fault of the girls either)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nschubach (922175)
      While I realize you were trying to be funny (smartass?)... why is it not the fault of the girls? Has society actually reached so low that a girl cannot talk or hang out with people because they enjoy a game? ... that parents teach their kids that "nerdiness" is a bad thing? You realize that this notion is keeping the US in a union labor job rut, right? It's cool to work in a factory, but it's sooo uncool to be a scientist or a programmer? I don't know if you are in the US or another country, but keep th
  • by SamP2 (1097897)
    The first time you hear "got rid of useless feature X", that's a sure sign the game sold out to the mainstream.

    To the true gamer, there is no such thing as "useless feature".
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ryvar (122400)
      Speaking as a diehard gamer still smoldering over the entire 3.x debacle . . . No. All of these, especially the ECL garbage, were really good revisions.
    • by R-2-RO (766)
      lol
  • Ok... (Score:5, Funny)

    by feepness (543479) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:33AM (#20284385) Homepage
    None of the following makes any sense to me:

    "Blogger and Dragon magazine writer Jonathan Drain is tracking the latest developments on the new D&D edition. Highlights include: Thirty levels instead of twenty, no more XP costs for magic items creation, flexible talent trees replacing feats and prestige classes, a new racial bonuses system that obsoletes ECL, and an end to rubbish skills like Forgery and Use Rope. A quote from the blog: 'Unlike 3.5, all the changes this time around sound like they're definitely for the better... If nothing else, at least they have the opportunity to get rid of Mialee.'

    Unfortunately I don't know whether to feel old or cool.
    • Re:Ok... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ryvar (122400) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @06:04AM (#20284527) Homepage
      I suppose somebody should explain it for the newbs who are passingly curious:

      Thirty levels instead of twenty basically means there's more headroom for higher-level adventuring before normal players have to worry about abtruse and convoluted 'epic character' rulesets/feats/whatever that often feel very non-canon.

      No more XP costs for magic items creation means that you no longer lose experience points (gained by running quests, killing monsters) whenever you create a magic item. This is a Really Good Thing(tm) because it would invariably mean that the one person in each group who got saddled with building a character capable of crafting specialized magic weapons for everyone got shafted good and hard when the time came to start whipping up custom +5 swords of Destroy All Life that cast Karsus Avatar three times a day (injoke, sorry).

      Feats were basically very generalized character bonus property snapons that you would add (on average) every three levels. This could be anything from improving your character's skill at the short sword (Weapon Focus: Short Sword), to them gaining the general ability to to double the duration of beneficial spells (although doing so made them harder to cast). Prestige classes were basically specialized variants of the normal basic classes (or occupations, examples of classes would be fighter, mage, thief, etc.) that had special properties: examples include the "Frenzied Berserker" spinoff of the Barbarian, the "Assassin" spinoff of the Rogue, and so forth. Canon prestige classes were *in general* slightly weaker than the base classes they were derived from, but if used very very carefully in moderate proportions could be game-breakingly powerful (Fighter/Bard/Red Dragon Disciple/Frenzied Berserker players will know exactly what I am talking about). Both of those systems apparently got folded in to class-specific development trees, which is very similar to how (surprise!) World of Warcraft handles this basic concept.

      Racial Bonus system shedding ECL: ECL stands for Effective Character Level. With so many different races/sub-races in D&D it was impossible to keep them all balanced, so certain 'uber' races like Aasimar, Tieflings, Drow, and Deep Gnomes were assigned Effective Character Levels. What this basically meant was that they got pushed back one to three levels on the experience tree so that at the point where a human character was level 5, a drow party member of theirs was likely to be 3. Given the degree to which levels are the beginning and end of a character in D&D (particularly spell-casting classes, double-particularly sorcerers) this could make things very un-fun, especially in the upper game where levels are few and far inbetween. Getting rid of this comes as a massive relief to me, as it's always struck me as the single least pleasant 3.x convention.

      The final bit is just cleaning up some of the more ridiculous skills out there which nobody uses.

      In general, all of this is *hugely* positive news for D&D fans. I hope to God clerics got toned back a bit as well, but that might be asking for too much.

      --Ryv

      • by JanneM (7445)
        Thirty levels instead of twenty basically means there's more headroom for higher-level adventuring before normal players have to worry about abtruse and convoluted 'epic character' rulesets/feats/whatever that often feel very non-canon.

        Overall good changes, I agree, and defining thirty levels is no negative, of course. I just want to point out that level caps are not actually a problem of a system; it's a matter of the gamemaster pacing their campaign story arc so that it can be finished without people hitt
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Alsee (515537)
          I just want to point out that level caps are not actually a problem of a system; it's a matter of the gamemaster pacing their campaign story arc so that it can be finished without people hitting the cap.

          Buahahahahaah! Cry. Scream. Cry. Aieeee! I can't believe you just said that.
          LOOK AT YOUR SIG: Trust the Computer. The Computer is your friend.

          For those who don't get it, he's referring to a game system with a level 8 cap and "story arcs pacing" that keeps 6 or 7 levels of completely unused headroom clear of
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mccalli (323026)
        I suppose somebody should explain it for the newbs who are passingly curious:...

        I could be wrong on this, but the thing is I don't think the grand-parent poster was a newb. I think he's just lost track of all of the rule changes, and to be honest so have I.

        It is now literally decades since I played my last game of D&D. Even then however, the rules were just so silly be basically ignored them when playing. The world then was split into D&D and AD&D, with AD&D just having a ludicrous num
        • Dice rolls were used and character stats noted, but often I'd just ignore the dice-rolls and get on with the narrative (to the advantage of the players, not because I felt like being a git).
          Not a story.

           
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            And rule-hounds like you are why I and my core group of friends migrated from D&D to the Storyteller system (White Wolf games like Vampire: The Masquerade and such). We actually wanted to (gasp!) have fun instead of drowning in the mountains of rules. In Storyteller, the GM develops a basic story outline, often with much input from the players, and then starts the improv act. It's liberating, being that much in control of your character while still having a skeleton of a backstory to keep you within sen
        • by jcr (53032)
          And eventually....you just forgot about the rules and told a story, the way role-playing really ought to be.

          Ugh. I'm glad I never played with a wannabe fantasy author for a DM. My friends and I made it up as we went along, with the players contributing as much if not more than the DM.

          -jcr

        • I haven't played D&D for about a decade. I started playing with the Dungeons and Dragons boxed set my parents had (1977 edition, no D&D Vs AD&D divide; the original, and only the first boxed set, which only covered rules up to level 3). These rules were simple, and provided a good framework for some exciting rôle playing. After a little while, I tried to get the next set, and discovered that I had a choice between AD&D second edition, and D&D third (I think) edition. I assumed D
      • by feepness (543479)
        Ummmm, holy shit?

        I mean, last time I played I had a fighter and my buddy had a mage and we were killing kobolds and goblins. Our Dungeon Master's Guide had a big poorly drawn demon on it with a hot chick in his hand.

        Wow.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by justinlee37 (993373)

        The final bit is just cleaning up some of the more ridiculous skills out there which nobody uses.

        I use the 'use rope' skill all the time, it's useful. You never know when you'll have to tie knots on a ship, tie up a bounty, climb out of a well, rappel down the side of a castle wall ... if you don't carry around 50 ft. of silk rope all the time, you're just asking for trouble.

      • by raynet (51803)
        I don't know much about D&D, played it 15 years ago. Why would 'forgery' and 'use rope' be rubbish skills? Both skills in RealLife(tm) do require some proficiency to be used effectively.
        • by Mprx (82435)
          D&D is a game that focuses on killing things and taking their treasure. By specializing in skills that don't help with this you'll end up much less powerful than your fellow party members, and very few people enjoy this. A better solution for "useless" skills is to hire a NPC to use them, and let the PCs concentrate on the killing and looting. If you want to play a game that does focus on non-combat abilities, then D&D is the wrong system for you.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jcr (53032)
            D&D is a game that focuses on killing things and taking their treasure.

            D&D is what you make of it. Sounds like you didn't have a very good DM.

            -jcr

            • Re:Ok... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Mprx (82435) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @08:46AM (#20285093)
              The vast majority of the rules are about killing and looting. Sure, you *can* play a different style, but why would you want to? The non-combat rules are poorly thought out and not at all detailed, you'd be much better off using one of the many systems actually designed for non-combat play. I however happen to enjoy the traditional dungeon crawl, and a great many other D&D players do too.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by crossmr (957846)
                Because combat and looting are the systems that really need the rules the most. I'd rather the DM make subjective calls in diplomacy than combat. Looting isn't so much rules as it is tables to generate loot on. That doesn't mean D&D should focus heavily on combat and really its up to how creative your DM is. It is a roleplaying game after all, the roleplaying is up to you. Its nice that they didn't make excessive rules for non-combat situations because it gives players more freedom and incentive to be c
        • Values (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Eevee (535658) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @08:36AM (#20285041)

          It's more a matter of the value you can get out those skills. You might have an actual need for 'use rope' once every five sessions, while other skills such as 'spot' or 'diplomacy' would be used repeatedly during a session. So you have the choice of spending your limited number of points gaining ranks in a skill that might eventually be useful versus one you know will be used over and over.

          The other side of this is that the people writing the adventures know that most players don't take those skills. So they don't add events that require the skills, or provide alternative ways of solving the problem. So it spirals down fast.

          • Correct me if I'm wrong (I haven't played [A]D&D for a little over a decade), but isn't the DM allowed to award an XP bonus for use of skills? Wouldn't it be simpler to just recommend that they award a bigger bonus for less common skills? If you use a skill that everyone has, you don't get much experience from it, but if you use something more uncommon then you get more.
      • Thirty levels instead of twenty basically means there's more headroom for higher-level adventuring before normal players have to worry about abtruse and convoluted 'epic character' rulesets/feats/whatever that often feel very non-canon.
        Is simply fiddling with a dumb rule. The very concept of levels is dumb.

         
      • by Bohnanza (523456)
        I guess this means that all the other WoC D20 systems, such as the recently-released Star Wars "Saga" edition, are now obsolete. Star Wars RPG is loaded with "Feats" and "Prestige Classes".
      • by Azghoul (25786)
        Can you explain why Use Rope or Forgery would ever be considered "useless" skills or why D&D players would never use them? I haven't played any long-term D&D game in forever, so it seems strange to me that there are abilities listed that players and GMs can't figure out how to use....

        Is it just the video-game mentality that pervades D&D today?
      • Brilliant joke, sir.

        "I hope to God clerics got toned back a bit..."

        Whose God are you hoping to? The overpowered Cleric's, or yours?

  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Clockwork Troll (655321) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:43AM (#20284439) Journal
    When I first saw the headline, I said to myself, "are they kidding?"

    In this age of MMORPG's, where issues with game balance can be tweaked monthly, the game universe can be expanded just as often (if not on the fly), and campaigns can involve real-time cooperation among dozens of players, could there really be a thriving market for a pastime as "last-gen" as D&D?

    Then it occurred to me, at least with D&D you're actually interacting with real, identifiable people. No griefing, no gold farming, no bots, no avatars with tearing polygons, no server lag to contend with.

    Then I could see the market.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NightRain (144349)
      There is also the chance for genuine "role playing" which is something you don't see in most MMORPG's, even on their RP servers
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        MMOs aren't really RPGs. How on earth are you supposed to roleplay killing the same raid bosses week after week? The only thing that changes in the game is that you may get better loot so you can move on to a new loot pinata.

        Maybe someday there will be a commercial MMO that isn't based on a licensed world and isn't based on expensive to produce content.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, by people who enjoy the social interaction of pen-and-paper RPGs. By people who enjoy a good story more that buying and selling virtual MMORPG items.
    • by sgant (178166) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:26AM (#20284787) Homepage Journal
      Then it occurred to me, at least with D&D you're actually interacting with real, identifiable people. No griefing, no gold farming, no bots,

      You've never played with my group of friends.

      When we started out, it was cool...but gradually we introduced new people into our group and now all that's left when I play are a bunch of asian people who barely speak English who just want to stand in one spot in a dungeon I'm running and farm for gold. Some have even just resorted to sending a laptop with canned responses in their stead....so the last time I hosted a D&D group, it was me DMing and 5 laptops sitting around a table.

      I think I'm going to give this up soon. But the laptops ARE pretty polite.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Jugalator (259273)
        I think I'm going to give this up soon. But the laptops ARE pretty polite.

        Buy a couple of Realdolls to sit by the laptops and you'll be gaming with the hottest gang of D&D players in no time!
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wellspring (111524) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @08:06AM (#20284915)
      Tabletop still has a niche.

      First, there's physical proximity. It's an excuse to sit down with a bunch of friends, pop open a beer and enjoy yourself. You can't quite match that in a MMORPG, even with Teamspeak.

      Second, there's creativity. My experience in MMORPGs is that there's endless grinding of trash mobs, highly scripted raid encounters that you fight every week the same way, and PVP battles that are exciting but still pretty much scripted. A good DM designs all kinds of weird and interesting encounters, including conversational RP encounters.

      Finally, there's the "greatest hero ever" effect. In a MMORPG, you can't ALL be the great hero of the world. Ultimately, everyone has to be roughly balanced with one another. Even the top-end raiders and PVPers on the server, while great and well geared, aren't going to change the game world any. And everyone else doesn't even have a name for themselves. In a pen-and-paper setting you and your friends really can do world-shaking events. You can down Illidan and he STAYS DEAD. (mostly)

      OK so let me wrap it all together. In my weekly D&D game, I get together with friends who live up to an hour away in every direction. We meet up, grab some drinks, talk about how things are going face to face, and then get down to the game. One of us is a ruthless mercenary ranger, another is a minotaur who just completed his plot to be crowned Emperor of the Minotaur Empire, another is a warlock who is finally realizing his goal of revenge against the red dragons, and another is a mystic who attained godhood. We've been playing for five years, from level one to our current (epic) game. We now run two side games in the same world-- one game we play our own lowbie minions, and the other we are actually starting to play mid-level antagonists. When we do world-shaking things, the world actually shakes and stays shaken. Our actions have permanent consequences, our enemies and allies react to us (and try to pre-empt us), and we have to consider the economic, political, social and religious consequences of our actions.

      None of this is possible, even remotely, in a MMORPG. I love WoW, I play avidly. I've got a 70 and am working on two more. I PvP avidly, and am in an end-game raiding guild. To some extent, WoW and D&D do scratch the same itch, but neither is a good substitute for the other.
    • Yes, I still play pen and paper games but over IRC. Sure we don't buy most the books (yay for torrents!) but we buy the core ones and any expansions we find useful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Macgrrl (762836)

      Obviously you have never encountered the philosophy behind Munchkin [sjgames.com]!

  • Dammit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rkoot (557181)
    just as I was getting comfortable playing 3.5 !!
    really, this D&D thing starts to smell like software with every now and then a shiny new release with fresh bugs and annoyances.
    and then after a while, surprise surprise! bugfixes!
    and then finally when you think things start to settle, tada, yet another 'upgrade' or whatever.
    it starts to piss me off.
  • by mlts (1038732) * on Sunday August 19, 2007 @06:37AM (#20284649)
    I know that having more levels is the "in" thing to do.

    Originally, in AD&D First Ed, you hit level 20, there was a high chance that your DM would suck up your char sheet because your character was so powerful that it was a god, and not a minor one.

    The first MUDs were somewhat based around that, when you hit the topmost level, you became an immortal. The level limit for "ascension" ended up being between 20-30.

    As time went on, this limit climbed to 40, 50, then on some MUDs, even was as high as level 100.

    Around 1999, MMOs came into the picture. UO didn't use a level based system, but EQ did. To keep players going, and the game interesting for people at the level cap, the original level 50 limit was raised to 60, 65, 70, now 75, and in the next major expansion 80. EQ2 similar, except the game is structured by tiers, starting at 50, then 60, now 70, and will be 80 come the next expansion. WoW too. Next expansion, level 80.

    There is something lost in this climb for levels, to the detriment of everything else. In WoW, level pretty much is the gauge of your character's abilities, so a character that is level 70, that has crappy equipment is more often asked for groups/raids than a level 65 with excellent stuff.

    I used to DM, and have been since First Edition AD&D. In campaigns, levels were there, but they were mainly a gauge of progress, of what difficulty I needed to make encounters. Characters had a lot more ways to progress and gain in power. They could gain reputation by pushing back orc scout parties, learn spells (In First Ed., magic items were VERY rare, and a +1 sword would be something that would be a 3-4 session campaign, but worth obtaining.), and perhaps travel, guarding trade caravans (or waiting until the caravan was alone, then sacking the people on it.) As the party grew, they became impressed into a local ruler's service as a scout group for taking care of enemies and seeking relics, then the party eventually was able to start their own kingdom after a number of fights, and having to not just go head off places, but make sure the kingdom was in good order while they were gone.

    I like levels at a low number. For a lot of intents and purposes, 20 is enough. Epic levels in third edition and up never really played a part, because at that level of character power, I'd have to move the party off of the usual medieval fantasy world into either different spheres (Spelljammer), or do like everyone and their brother does, and start plane hopping, which meant that it wasn't really my campaign world, but just using the Planescape sourcebooks pretty much verbatim.

    Maybe I am an old timer, but I try to get player characters to grow "horizontally", and focus on getting reputation, gear, and status with their class guilds, rather than climb the numbers with regards to level. When getting status and doing missions, the XP comes in its due time.
    • by JonnyCalcutta (524825) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:05AM (#20284725)
      I've not got much to add, except to say that you pretty much summed up my opinions and experience. The only time I ever played D&D (not even the advanced version :)), was my very first game. After that I discovered all the other games out there - games that weren't stuck in some anachronistic wargaming time warp - and I never looked back. I read 3rd edition when it came out, because I worked in the industry and there was a lot of excitement over OGL, but still levels, and (A)D&D in particular, still feel quaintly old fashioned to me. Its good for characters to grow in terms of skills and experience, albeit slowly, but as you say, growth mostly happens in terms of the experiences, reputation - horizontally. Meeting old friends, revisiting old places or having a familiar base - to me that is growth as much as any gain in skills or THAC0.
      • They do not favor much the "Roleplay" part in RPG. Just like their counter part of MMOG, a lot of player tend to fall in the calculator-rpg. See the post above with fighter-barb-red dragon disciple-frenzied berserker. As a master I tend to try to concentrate on the roleplay only (remmember "Amber", the RpG without dice ?). But usually you get a mix of all. Some who are there for the roleplay and some which are there for the munchkin. More than often, the munchkin in my campaign end up more or less the guard
    • In First Ed., magic items were VERY rare, and a +1 sword would be something that would be a 3-4 session campaign, but worth obtaining
      I can understand your other points, but I fail to see how a rulebook determines the amount of magic in your own fantasy world.
    • by abbamouse (469716)
      About the rarity of magic items. This MUST have been a DM choice, because if you actually USED the treasure types in the MM and the tables in the DMG the results were incredibly Monty Haul-ish. (I made this mistake as a beginning DM in the mid-80s). And when it comes to DM choice, ANY edition can be magic-poor.
    • by Dr. Evil (3501)

      When the party starts hitting level 20ish, I'd shelve the characters and we'd all roll up new characters.

      We'd occasionally take the high level characters off the shelves when I'd dream up some major event for the realm, then we'd play them out in battles which affected the political landscape. The high level party would never personally meet the low level party though.

      Some of the best high level games I've played have been with nemesis-parties... groups of NPCs which are nearly as detailed as PCs and h

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by not_anne (203907)

      In WoW, level pretty much is the gauge of your character's abilities, so a character that is level 70, that has crappy equipment is more often asked for groups/raids than a level 65 with excellent stuff.

      WoW also has an extra (non gear related) reason why a lvl 65 and a lvl 70 may not be able to go into a dungeon together: at top level, a whole host of new raid encounters and dungeons become available to you, that can only be entered at level 70.

      You wouldn't bring a lvl 5 Cleric with your party into a dungeon the GM made for level 10 for the same reason you wouldn't bring a level 65 Priest to help with the level 72+ boss Doomwalker: the level 5 and level 65 wouldn't survive for more than one minute.

  • Some useful links (Score:5, Informative)

    by blixel (158224) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:45AM (#20284851)
    Video 1 [youtube.com]
    Video 2 [youtube.com]
    Video 3 [youtube.com]
    Video 4 [youtube.com]
    Video 5 [youtube.com]

    There are more ... check the Related Videos on the right side of any video you look at.
  • No one talked about this subject yet.But I wonder whether Dungeons & Dragons Online [ddo.com] would be converted to 4th and how hard programmers and other stuff should work.Please enlighten me.
  • Whew? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slacknhash (1094977) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:50AM (#20284877) Homepage

    While I'm still not sure if I'll drop a bunch of money on getting this new edition when it comes out I'm slightly more optimistic about this edition of the game. The designers seem to have a few good ideas in their heads; not least of which is getting rid of those bloody prestige classes. I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen that feature abused!

    Still, is it enough to get me to spend money? I dunno. And the sting of needing to update the material I've written hasn't quite worn off yet. It'd be nice, though, if they could cut down to one core rulebook, or failing that have a basic rulebook handling the first few levels -- sort of a digest version of the core rules

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:53AM (#20284887)
    As a player of D&D since third edition (maybe four or five years going, now), I have to say that my group of friends is not particularly interested in investing the time and money of purchasing/learning the new 4.0 source books, when they're finally released. We just don't have a need for them.

    As of right now, most of our gaming sessions (which last between 4 and 6 hours) involve at most, a dozen die rolls that mean anything, and I'd say more often than not, a session ends without a single combat. I guess our campaigns have evolved into what could be considered drama. And to be honest, it's a much more enriching experience than a traditional hack & slash game that I so often see with newer/younger players.

    This isn't to say we won't do a bit of research into the new system, but if all it does is revise the combat and levelling system, then we won't be adopting 4.0.
    • As of right now, most of our gaming sessions (which last between 4 and 6 hours) involve at most, a dozen die rolls that mean anything, and I'd say more often than not, a session ends without a single combat

      The first edition of the D&D rules I read made it clear that the XP bonus for defeating a monster was not contingent on killing the monster, and should be awarded if they use diplomacy (often with an extra rôle playing bonus) to achieve their objective. I often wondered how many DMs actually followed this advice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ahsile (187881)
      Amen, sir. Our group of players is the same way. We made this call when 3rd Edition came out and we were all playing 2nd Edition. All of the other RPG groups I knew all jumped on the bandwagon and spent hundreds (thousands?) on the new 3e stuff. For us it didn't really matter. Our GMs are telling interactive stories, and the rules are only there to govern special situations. The only die-rolling we do most of the time is combat oriented, and even then we try to avoid it.

      We've actually switched over to playi
    • by deniable (76198)
      Every time a new version comes out, there are groups that stay on the old rules. I even know of people who will now start buying 3.5 because it's 'complete.'

      One of the odd things I've noticed about gamers is that the longer they've been playing, the less rules they want or need.
  • It would be interesting to see the effect the new D&D Edition will have on other D20-based Games and third-party Sourcebooks.

    According to TFA, the designers already took some clues from other D20 Games to incorporate into the new edition (the skill trees have been implemented into the new Star Wars D20, for example), but all changes into the D&D core books will in one way or another affect all the other D20 publications, especially (of course) alternative D&D settings and similar fantasy sourc
    • by deniable (76198)
      The way I hear it, the new Star Wars was the prototype for a lot of what's being done to D&D 4. A lot of the other games designers were worried about rumors that WotC would not be providing 4 under the OGL. Now they can sell all new D&D 4 versions of all the books.
  • by MoodyLoner (76734) <moodyloner...ca@@@gmail...com> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @08:41AM (#20285077) Homepage Journal
    my scout/assassin, Ropeman the Forger, is going to need a little work.
  • In honor of 4 editions, the new rules are based on d4 gameplay, using the following results table (fig. 2b):

    evens: success
    odds: failure

    Everything else translates well into the d4 system as well. For instance, percentage rolls are now 25d4 (yeah, like you used those bottom three percents). A Quasar Dragon's breath attack does (3.6x10^7)d4 damage to whichever planet it's aimed at. And so forth.
    • by Legion303 (97901)
      "bottom three percents"

      See what happens when you get your math degree from a cheap college?
  • by Saracenus (1144705) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @10:41AM (#20285655)
    I am surprise someone from this list hasn't talked about the possible forking between the 3.0/3.5 Open Gaming License (OLG) and the proposed new 4e OGL. Unlike a new version of Linux, the new D&D rules do not have to be under the old OGL, they are in effect a completely new operating system for D&D. It has been confirmed there will be a version of the OGL/D20 license, but with some added restrictions: 1) Professional game companies will need to pay a license. 2) Fan/Non-Pro offerings will have to be through their site www.gleemax.com (unconfirmed). Here is a list of known stuff about the new edition on the ENWorld forums: http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=204119 [enworld.org] Gleemax.com has stirred some controversy already because of the Terms of Service. The most blatant is that anything you post their grants Wizard's of the Coast limited rights to republish your material and limits your ability to publish anything that uses their IP, e.g. Greyhawk, Planscape, Forgotten Realms, etc. So, what does this all mean? Well, if the use restrictions on the 4e OGL/D20 license are, well too restrictive (and kinda takes the O out of OGL) that will mean a fork in the D&D development path. Some publishers will want the latest and greatest and put up with it, others will not and use the 3e OGL which has no licensing fees and cannot be terminated. There are already some development forks in 3e, Green Ronin's True 20 and Mutants and Masterminds rules, Iron Heroes and Arcana Evolved from Malhavoc Press (Monte Cooke) which take the core mechanics in new and different directions. Anyway, my two coppers on the subject, Saracenus
  • by bytor4232 (304582) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @12:57PM (#20286521) Homepage Journal
    I'm a big D&D guy, its my main hobby away from computers and Linux. Part time player, full time Dungeon Master. Been playing since junior high, I'm 34 now. As a Linux user, I feel WOTC is the best thing to happen to D&D, and gaming in general. The Dungeon Master is the only person who really needs the core set, and even then I'm not sure even he needs the books, but it helps. Players don't need anything, 3E, 3.5E, and soon 4E are all released under the OGL, which is an open source style license. Player information is released in a System Refrence Document, commonly known as the SRD. The core set (Players Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual) are for the most part made available for free. There are certain things that are left out, like character creation rules, but they are pretty easy to figure out. There is hundreds, if not thousands, of players on Myth Weavers [myth-weavers.com], DNDOG [dndonlinegames.com], ENWorld [enworld.org], and other sites who don't own the core set.

    Of course, if your on board with the D&D Insider your probably going to need to buy the core set. The Insider is actually the Dungeon and Dragon magazines which WOTC brought back in house, combined with a ton of digital tools such as an online game table, dungeon master tools, character creator and visualizer, and other features. That would probably be the only reason to buy the core set, unless of course you have some reason to want to see WOTC succeed, which I do. Of course that doesn't mean I'm going to buy supplements I'll never use. I'm pretty far from the completist.

    This really isn't a money grab, at least not on some levels. Yeah, I'm sure Hasbro is happy about the core set, but Third Edition being tapped dry. There is nowhere else to go. I don't want to see WOTC die. If they don't release a new edition, its over. Look at whats been released lately, compendium after compendium, splatbook sequels, worthless environment books, adventures I have no interest in playing. Nobody is buying these books, nobody but completists, and there isn't enough of those to keep a company afloat. Besides, there is plenty of rules that need to be tweaked, plenty of skills that need to go, plenty of classes that need revision. Third edition was broken the day they released it, ask Monte Cook, who wrote third edition.

    Its time to take what everyone learned playing third edition for the last eight years, and make the game better. WOTC deserves their coin for what they do. Of course, I'm a WOTC fanboy, what do I know.

  • Mialee? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:10PM (#20286957) Homepage

    If nothing else, at least they have the opportunity to get rid of Mialee
    Ok, who's Mialee? I assume that this [wizards.com] is her, but what's so bad about her that she needs to be gotten rid of? I don't care for the artwork on this page, but that's all up to the artist anyway ...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Monkey (16966) *
      I agree, out of all the D&D iconic characters, why pick on Mialee? Personally, I get a kick out of the picture on page 85 of the PHB of Lidda holding what looks like a massive joint in her hand looking like she just took a toke off the thing that completely blew her mind.

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