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

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2007 @04:25AM (#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.
  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Clockwork Troll (655321) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @04:43AM (#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.
  • by walnutmon (988223) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @04:49AM (#20284467)
    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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2007 @04:56AM (#20284495)
    (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.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NightRain (144349) <ray AT cyron DOT id DOT au> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:09AM (#20284551)
    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:Ok... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mccalli (323026) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:19AM (#20284593) Homepage
    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 numbers of tables and rules. D&D was the better bet even then, but you ended up buying the AD&D stuff and translating them on-the-fly to more simple D&D rules. And eventually....you just forgot about the rules and told a story, the way role-playing really ought to be. 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).

    The paragraph being referred to does nothing to convince me that the rules have improved over the years. OK, so this iteration might be an improvement over the last iteration, but anyone who remembers the rules in a thinish paperback with the blue & white cover and a dragon on the front (errr....1980'ish? Slightly before?) will still probably think they've descended into stats-based hell and forgotten the idea of story.

    It's up to the DM to fix that of course, but it doesn't sound like the rules are helping.

    Cheers,
    Ian
  • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vonFinkelstien (687265) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:24AM (#20284613)
    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.
  • Dammit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rkoot (557181) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:37AM (#20284647)
    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 @05:37AM (#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 FinchWorld (845331) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @05:52AM (#20284679) Homepage
    When last I checked, nothing is stopping "hardcore" roleplayers using the older rules for there games.
  • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2007 @06:05AM (#20284721)
    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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2007 @06:53AM (#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.
  • by vux984 (928602) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @06:57AM (#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:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wellspring (111524) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:06AM (#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.
  • by nschubach (922175) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:30AM (#20285013) Journal
    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 thinking this and keep damning your kids to underpaid/overworked manual labor jobs.
  • Re:Ok... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:37AM (#20285053) Journal
    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

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:56AM (#20285163)
    Well, I hope you make it clear to your players that their actions are irrelevant and you are the one directing the play and not them.

     
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2007 @09:35AM (#20285621)

    If you have to tell people in writing you're making a joke, it's often not a very funny one.
    This is an excellent rule for real life situations, but it breaks down on Slashdot, where the funnier a joke is, the more idiots will miss it.
  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @10:23AM (#20285951)
    The problem with MMORPGs is that a lot of the fun in a P&P RPG copmes from the dynamic between the players and GM, in an MMORPGs there's no GM, only rules that the players sooner or later try to bend their way and exploit in every way possible.
  • WOTC Death Throes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @10:32AM (#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@nosPam.gmail.com> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @11:47AM (#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@nosPam.gmail.com> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @11:52AM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:07PM (#20286941)
    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.

    Hey, that's me! :-)

    Seriously, how stupid does Wizards think we are anyway? First they come out with v3 and make gamers buy all new books. Then they get bought out by Hasbro (who then needs a big influx of ready cash) and v3.5 is born (which requires you gamers to buy all new books). Now things have progressed a couple of year, profits are down and gee v4 is now coming out, requiring you gamers to buy all new books.

    Can anyone spot the pattern here?

    AND THEN they have the nerve to cancel DRAGON magazine (a $40 yearly subscription) and implement some lame $10 A MONTH on-line resource.

    I call this money grubbing in the extreme.

  • by Koiu Lpoi (632570) <koiulpoi@nosPam.gmail.com> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @02:21PM (#20287347)
    Just because it's possible doesn't mean it's the norm, nor does it mean it's right. I'm sure you enjoy roleplaying getting 30 pieces of Boar Meat or Skeleton Bones for the local "quest giver". Yeah. Seems like a realistic and engaging world to me. Griding to level 70 really makes me create characters that are engaging and unique and create moral dilemmas by themselves. Everytime I hear something about going on raids and running instances really gets me into character and makes me think that I'm somehow not just another generic Human Mage. The fact of the matter is, D&D is designed as a game that engages your imagination and encourages roleplaying, while WoW is a game designed to get you to keep grinding and collecting widgets so you'll buy the next month of the subscription. While you may not play it that way, it's still how it was designed and intended to be played. It sounds like you've never played D&D under a good DM.
  • by not_anne (203907) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @03:05PM (#20287609)

    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.
  • by foeclan (47088) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:12PM (#20288887) Homepage
    but defending my people from those who wish to use and exploit them certainly captures my mind and heart.
    Later on, you fight demons who are trying to destroy the entire world you know and love

    What WoW lacks, compared to pen-and-paper role-playing, is state and consequences. If you devote your time to destroying the Defias, go through the Deadmines, kill the guy, nothing changes. 15 minutes later, all those Defias you killed are back. You've defended no one. Letting them run rampant in the countryside doesn't impact life in the town in any way. If nobody hung out in Outland fighting demons, the demons would never take advantage of it to destroy the world. The only thing making it more compelling than a regular computer RPG is the other players.

    I like the lore and many of the storylines in WoW, and I do play it. It's hardly an 'either/or' proposition. But I'd never ditch my tabletop Supers game to play WoW; it will, after all, be there when I'm done. But if I skipped a run of a tabletop game, my team might fail to stop the villain and boom, no more city, and I'd have to deal with the consequences of that next time I play. And that's one of the biggest differences.
  • by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @07:35PM (#20289007) Journal
    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 reason a competent group of fans couldn't do their own rewrite. WOTC would of course do everything in their power to thwart that, and propagate the myth that they're so much better at this than anyone else.

    I look at the vast hardbound spaghetti code tomes that is "Got to Collect them all!" AD&D 3.5, and disagree. Don't think for a moment that the D&D 4.0 effort is the work of divine artists struggling for perfection. It's suits with sales targets. If AD&D 4 turns out to be only 16 pages long, I'll retract that. What are the chances of that? ;-)

  • Paranoia rules (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 19, 2007 @11:32PM (#20290237)
    God I wish they made a video game of Paranoia.
    Of course, they would have to make 5 different adventures in the games as all 6 of your clones would be dead within 4 hours of play ... regardless of what you did.
  • by macduffman (1087955) on Monday August 20, 2007 @11:54AM (#20294223)

    If WotC wants me to buy more books they should lower the price to something realistic.

    The price of their core books is entirely realistic. I work for a major textbook publisher. Anytime somebody complains about buying a $100 textbook when it only costs $3.79 to print one reveals a true ignorance of how business works. There are so many people behind that book.The rest of that $96.21 goes to the authors, the writers (it's a terribly annoying difference), the editors, the marketers, the advertisers, the printers, and scores of other people.

    The price is not the problem. The problem is that instead of coming out with a new edition every six months or so, they would do better to spend longer crafting this book and listening to their market... or, if you want terms you can understand, WotC has been consistently taking 10 when they should be taking 20.

  • Re:Ok... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crossmr (957846) on Monday August 20, 2007 @01:14PM (#20295163) Journal
    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 creative than forcing them to be tied down to a few rules.

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