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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Launches

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  • TFA isn't a review: it's an expanded press release.

    There's nothing about any of the mechanics of how the game plays, except that it's supposedly easier for newbs and balanced at all levels.

    So in summary, there are...

    1. New books!

    2. New art!

    3. Online tools!
    • by plover (150551) *

      So in summary, there are...
      1. New books!
      2. New art!
      3. Online tools!
      4. New prices!
      There, fixed that for you.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PMuse (320639)

        So in summary, there are...

              1. New books!
              2. New art!
              3. Online tools!
            4. New prices!

        There, fixed that for you.
        Whether you plan to buy these books or not, remember to patronize your local independent gaming store. End of Plug.
        • Re:Not a review (Score:5, Interesting)

          by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Friday June 06, 2008 @04:27PM (#23686973) Homepage Journal
          I want to say Mod up, but honestly I can't think of what any of the local game stores has done for me or my kids.
          I'm not trolling here, and I usually share your sentimate but honestly the last time I went into one My main goal was to get my son out as fast as possible. What a bunch of foul mouthed SOBs.

          Gaming stores aren't for people who want to run a business, they're for people who want to show off their gaming collection.
          • It depends on the store. Some suck, some don't.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Your parent poster should have said, "Support your local establishment that provides friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable service."

            "Locally-owned" does not always mean "good." Sometimes it does, but more often than not it doesn't, and that's why chains succeed. You might not think much of McDonald's, but there's a reason people went there instead of diners and hamburger stands: McD's has always had high standards for customer service and cleanliness.

            The same is true of bookstores. I remember the last t
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by geekoid (135745)
        Not really. All three for 65 buck, and considering 1st ED ADnD was 60 bucks for all three, not much of a price change.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Well hell, $60 in 1980 is the equivalent of about $170 now.

          $60 dollars now was around $21 in 1980.

          Seems like a deal to me!

        • by Creepy (93888)
          hmm... that doesn't seem right - I don't know how much they cost originally, but I'm pretty sure I only paid $12-14 for the books (Monster Manual was $14 I believe). If I still had my books, I'd check the MSRP, which is printed near the ISBN on the back, but I sold them long ago when I moved to 2nd edition. Of course, that's not counting all the other books I bought (MM2, Deities and Demigods, Fiend Folio, Unearthed Arcana, Oriental Adventures and Legends and Lore [because I lost my Deities book]).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by h4rm0ny (722443)

        Okay - funny joke, but it's not accurate. Have you checked the price of the new books? I don't know if it's just the US$ to UK£ exchange rate at the moment, but the new books bought together are actually cheaper than I paid for the same three core books years ago when 3.5 came out. WotC (Wizards of the Coast) are hoping to keep on selling further books each year, but right now, the cost to get into the game is really low.

        The online tools are $15 a month which may or may not seem a lot depending on
    • Re:Not a review (Score:5, Informative)

      by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yppupcinataS.> on Friday June 06, 2008 @04:16PM (#23686791) Journal
      They simplified a lot of things. All combat actions are basically the same now, mage, warrior, cleric, whatever. You declare your attack, be it weapon, spell, whatever, roll your check vs their resist check, and if yours is higher you do damage.

      No more memorized spells at all...you learn, "Otlukes flaming bunghole" you can cast it every round like you were swinging a sword.

      Some abilities are "per encounter" meaning you can only use it once per combat. Others are "per day", so once per day.

      I don't know. I haven't finished going through the rules yet, but I'm not pleased. A lot of things that I never thought "had to be said" are now filled in for you...like the "party role" for your class...Fighters now have "tanking" abilities that "force" the monster to attack them...What the hell is that about? Didn't everyone and their mother used to role play that? Instead of being a simple framework, D&D is more like a complete game.

      Some people may be pleased with that, but to me its like someone pre-chewed my dinner.
      • Re:Not a review (Score:4, Insightful)

        by h4rm0ny (722443) on Friday June 06, 2008 @04:33PM (#23687071) Journal

        My pre-play evaluation of 4e is that the rules are improved muchly in terms of game-play and ease of banging out encounters. There are a lot of nice ideas in it such as Minion rules to make High Level vs. Mooks a viable encounter again. Production values are fantastic. But the role-playing side seems to have been gutted both by a lack of non-combat rules and by character and monster abilities that make no sense at all except for the metagame reason of interesting combat tactics. The latter problem undermines immersion in the setting more than the designers realised, imo. But I wont say more here as I've already posted more detailed thoughts below.
      • by geekoid (135745)
        I think you need to remember that there are a lot of 8+ year olds that ahve never played the game, nor have their parents.
        When that occurred to me I found the rules easier to take. Yeah I don't need to know what the roles are, but why should it bother me that they explain it for some who does. When I pick up a programming book, I don't get twisted when it explains the basics of OO.

        ADnD was NEVER a simple framework. It was always intended to be a complete game. Many people used it as a framework, and those s
        • Used to be you had the "rules" and you had the "setting" and they were different things. Now it's like they rolled a lot of the setting into the rules, and that doesn't do it for me.

          I'm hardly a D&D purist...The best times I ever had with D&D were all in systems so hacked up the only way to tell that it was still D&D was the fact that we still used 20-sided dice.

          Still I guess D&D has always been the "Starter RPG"; there are still plenty of more complex games out there.
      • Re:Not a review (Score:4, Insightful)

        by vux984 (928602) on Friday June 06, 2008 @05:13PM (#23687595)
        Fighters now have "tanking" abilities that "force" the monster to attack them...What the hell is that about? Didn't everyone and their mother used to role play that? Instead of being a simple framework, D&D is more like a complete game.

        Why should the monster do that? It should attack whoever it wants to attack. And the smarter it is the more intelligent its selection and tactics should be.

        The whole MMO inspired 'all the monsters wail on the tank, while the rest of the group focuses on one target at a time and burns it down' is the most absurd thing going.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SatanicPuppy (611928) *
          Yea I agree...Mind you, one of the main jobs of the warrior was always TO tank, but you were supposed to haggle out how you were going to get the monsters attention, and role play it, not just use a special ability.
        • by geekoid (135745)
          The statment is incorrect.

          If a monster is target by a fighter, and it decided to attack someone else it takes some damge automatically. It's 3 pts at first level, I don't remember if they scale.
          So yes, the monster can attack whomever they like, and there are some rules around targeting. For example if the fighter doesn't attack the monster , the target goes away.

          It is in no way like an MMO.
        • The Massive Multiplayer Online RPG games usually have the 'tank' as a damage sync whose job is to keep the monsters from attacking other characters while the other characters actually kill or subdue the attackers.

          I have only seen a few Fighter abilities listed for 4th edition, but:
          A. The Fighter does a very competitive amount of damage. The Rogue and Wizard do not leave him looking like a useless meat shield.
          B. The Fighter doesn't have abilities analagous to the "hold aggro" crap in MMOs that keep oppo
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Nothing is "forcing" the opponent to only attack the tank. The starter ability, for the fighter at least, makes perfect sense:

        1) The fighter "marks" a target after attacking it (read: scary guy who really knows how to use a sword is actively engaged in slicing at you).

        2) If that target makes an attack on someone other than the fighter, the fighter gets a free attack of opportunity (read: if someone is actively engaging you in sword play, it leaves you wide open when you turn to bash someone else).

        It's dumb
      • by nuzak (959558)
        > No more memorized spells at all

        Not quite correct. As you mentioned below, there are encounter and daily spells. Those you have to "prepare" ahead of time. Still I agree it's way too much uniformity of treatment for my tastes -- every ability is basically the same thing with different descriptions.

        And for the 10000000000000000000000000th time, the "tanking" ability is not a binary "aggro" mechanic, it just creates penalties for the the target if he/she/it tries to attack someone else. This does accu
        • by h4rm0ny (722443)

          If you want to see the best implementation of "balance without balance" that I've seen, take a look at the Shadowrun [shadowrun4.com] RPG. Whilst everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, in game play character power is comparable to other ways of doing things. It plays like a super-sophisticated game of Rock, Paper Scissors (if the Rock, Paper and Scissors had a massive, complex backstory) with players always seeking those little ways of altering the circumstances to their advantage.
          • by nuzak (959558)
            I used to GM some shadowrun games, but it was back in first edition. Its game mechanics were *seriously* flawed. For example, the faster your character was, the faster a fully automatic weapon would fire.

            I understand that sort of thing was fixed, but the kinds of systems that require a brick of d6's just never appealed to me. And the backstory was always a little too cliched, though it was still a lot of fun after embracing the overall cheesiness of it.
      • No more memorized spells at all...you learn, "Otlukes flaming bunghole" you can cast it every round like you were swinging a sword.
        WOO-HOO! This alone makes the new rules worth looking at... memorized spells was nothing short of retarded!
      • by dr00g911 (531736)
        Just went over the rules today, and I like the whole package (more or less, but I'm the only guy left playing D&D that hates using minis for combat, and the treasure parcel rules are just ridiculously overpowered -- but that's what house rules are for).

        Sure, there's a lot of simplification (mostly for the better), but some of the ideas people have gotten about some things like the spell system (for instance) are just plain wrong.

        Spells (powers) are split up into at-will, per-encounter and daily use. It
    • by BarneyL (578636)

      So in summary, there are... 1. New books! 2. New art! 3. Online tools!
      4. Profit!
  • by jpatters (883) on Friday June 06, 2008 @03:59PM (#23686535)
    New alignment system: Lawful Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, Chaotic Evil.

    um, no.

    I would have respected the choice to get rid of alignment, but this is a boneheaded move. The problem with alignment (with bad role players anyway) is that it reinforces trite stereotypes. This just gives you fewer trite stereotypes to choose from.
    • Actually, it doesn't. The previously existing stereo types are gone. You would have to go out of your way to fill one.

      Having played the game, I can same that it is really fun.
      I can also say it is not the same game. It is completly focused on minis, and what you can do as far as moving other players and yourself has added an interesting level of tactics to the game.
      The Alignment systems works very well.

      from what I had heard about the game I wasn't really looking forward to it, but having actually played the mechanics and the game, I found it to be really fun.

      Normally I don't participate in the 'I've been doing it for x years' circle jerk, but since I feel it is relevant to the context of the post I am going to make an exception.
      I have been playing DnD for it's entire history, including pre-ADnD. I also have played all the other 'major' systems and I find Savage Worlds to be the superiour RP gaming system.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I can also say it is not the same game. It is completly focused on minis
        This is getting ridiculous. I don't mind a bit of commercialism in the right place and it made sense in the Italian Job but in Dungeons and Dragons???
        • by geekoid (135745)
          haha! Well played. That was funny enough for me to break my "No response to AC" rule.
      • by jpatters (883)
        The problem I see is that if you have a character who dedicates their philosophical life to anarchy, they are required to be categorized as either chaotic evil or unaligned. The former is just plain ontologically wrong most of the time, while the latter admits a failure of the system to provide a label for a particular philosophy, even if strongly held and espoused. In spite of its flaws, the two axis system from previous editions was at least broad enough to cover lots of possibilities, even it it was a li
    • I know; I lol'd when I saw that...You still have the spectrum, right, because it goes from good to evil and law to chaos, but you're forced to give yourself a number on the evil-o-meter to get an alignment that's not one of the primaries.

      Like if +100 is LG then maybe +25 is chaotic good? Then -25 would be lawful evil?

      The only thing more meaningless than a two word title (e.g. Chaotic Good) is a fricking number. (I see that thou alignment be a mere 14, I will smite thee not-quite-evil-doer!)
    • Granted, it is a botched system compared to the 3.x versions but WotC managed to eek out a little bit of respectability from me by not presenting it as if:

      Good: Even Mother Theresa would think you're a prude.

      True Neutral: You're a farking schizo.

      Evil: Hitler feels his place in history is threatened.


      It's probably one of the few things that I though were completely out of line about AD&D under TSR. But then again, I hate players who put too much value in their alignment. Unless you're a cleric or a
    • I have to disagree with the placement of Chaotic Evil on that spectrum... As neutral evil is so significantly more evil than chaotic.

      Also holding up Lawful Good as the paragon of virtue that all people should look up to is kinda whacked.
      • by griffjon (14945)
        A lot of this though is in interpretation and role-playing. Are you the (l)Awful good paladin forcing your religious views on the party, making them do things behind your back? Or a monk-style lawful good who dedicates their life to their personal tenets, but isn't hurt/shamed/goes-running-to-the-constable if you don't follow those?

        chaotic vs neutral evil is similarly one of style. Are you a fsking nuts psycho killer doing horrible demented things, or a detached, but pure-evil SOB?

        It all depends on the l
    • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Friday June 06, 2008 @05:26PM (#23687757)

      . The problem with alignment (with bad role players anyway) is that it reinforces trite stereotypes. This just gives you fewer trite stereotypes to choose from.

      The problem with alignment was it started moving towards this a while ago with LG - G - CG - LN - N - CN - LE- NE - CE becoming a single spectrum. It made it difficult to play a saintly Robin Hood type because for some reason respect for the law (which became confounding with one owns organizational qualities), became compounded with goodness.

      While it certainly could be used as a crutch by poor roleplayers, that's not a bad thing. Everyone needs time to learn to roleplay, and the CG/LE removed variants provided nice dilemmas. And, if not that crutch, bad roleplayers will fall into character/race archeotypes anyway.

      Personally, I would rather have seen the alignments expand so that you could be Goodish/Evilish/Lawfulish/Chaoticish. Not enough to get affected by spells/effects that target people with that alignment, but enough to give people a clue as to how you lean.

      • The wonderful thing about D&D, for me, is that you can adjust the rules to match your needs. Everybody I know has house rules on how to handle special cases, or what to ignore in order to make things run a bit smoother or how the group expects. Every group has a few "house rules" that make their particular games special.

        Personally, I would rather have seen the alignments expand so that you could be Goodish/Evilish/Lawfulish/Chaoticish.

        In our D&D games, we already have "goodish", etc. We just said
      • There's a cultural anthropology dissertation in there somewhere, to the effect that the past ten years of the War on Terrorism and government expansionism have equated "government rules" with "good" and "no rules/breaking the rules" with "bad". The longing for the sort of freedom that Kerouac wrote about is now gone. Everything is Law and Order vs Evil, Bad, and Wrong. In that respect it's kind of reminiscent of early D&D, where Law was equated with Good and Chaos with Evil.

        I predict the game will al
    • It kept things interesting, and made it difficult to play a character at times.

      Eg, trying to be lawful when you need to bend the rules, or trying to balance things when true neutral.

      But then again, within my group as we progressed from junior high to high school, we did less mindless hacking and slashing, and more role-playing.
    • New alignment system: Lawful Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, Chaotic Evil.
      Sounds like all those cameras and metal-detectors in high-school have been having the intended effect.
      Or maybe its just all that Ritalin.
  • by El Gigante de Justic (994299) on Friday June 06, 2008 @04:08PM (#23686673)
    I got a chance to view the books early, thanks to some leaked scans, and so far I like what I see; however, many changes may tick off long time players, especially changes to the standard races.

        From what I've read so far, the main good things about 4th edition that I've seen so far are:
    • A lot less book keeping is necessary, especially for high level spell casters. DMs also have less book keeping for high level enemies, as they don't have dozens of spells or spell like abilities and minion creatures do static damage and only 1 hp). If you've ever run a high level battles against a half dozen clerics or wizards, you can see an immediate advantage.
    • Even at first level, characters and monsters are generally tougher, so 1st level characters are living in constant fear of being killed by 1 hit. Some might complain this is lame ("why not just start at 5th-8th level?"), but really, it makes sense, and actually sets 1st level heroes apart from your average commoner.
    • The Cleric is no longer a required party member, as everyone can self heal.

      The main complaints I have so far is that they haven't released rules in the Monster Manual for creating your own monsters from scratch and figuring out appopriate levels, and the death penalty is really almost too minor. Raise dead still takes 10 minutes to cast, and the cost does go up as your level goes up, but the penalty is only -1 to all rolls until you rest for 6 hours. I appreciate that they were trying to lessen death effects and other affects that take your character effectively out of game (Medusa gaze, Illithid mind blast, etc), but by having such a minimal penalty for death, you'd have to wonder why any fears death.
            Some will certainly complain that 4th edition is too MMO like (especially like WOW), but the new character building rules do admittedly enforce character balance quite well through all levels.
    • The Cleric is no longer a required party member, as everyone can self heal.

      If you looked for a cleric only because he can heal it's no wonder you've seen the those that play the class as a burden instead of a party member. You're treating clerics like most corporations treat their IT departments and you know how most IT employees feel about their companies...

      Oh well, just another reason for me to dismiss WotC as the destroyers of D&D.
      • by El Gigante de Justic (994299) on Friday June 06, 2008 @06:04PM (#23688247)
        I don't look at the cleric only because it can heal, but the reality is that in most 3.0-3.5 campaigns, the Cleric likely spends 50% or more of his spells on various forms of healing (either HP or ability damage/drain) because players are loath to use their healing potions outside of combat, even if they barely ever use them in combat because it provokes AoO.
              The Cleric PC in the campaign I'm running even has the Touch of Healing feat (can basically heal PCs up to half HP for free) and still probably spends half or more of his spells on healing. In almost any campaign I've been in, the decision to rest is usually made because the Cleric is out of healing magic, or the wizard is >90% empty.
      • In editions before 3/3.5 the Cleric's biggest value was as a healer. If you had several of them in the party, they could play different roles but if you only had one, he was mister medic and that's basically it.

        3/3.5 replaced that problem with a different one. The designers were so desperate to make the class attractive, it became the most powerful class in the game with good combat skills and hit points, healing magic, and the ability to cast a whole host of effective combat spells and "buffs".

        And "destroyers of D&D"? Give me a break. Ever play any of the following RPGs: Warhammer RPG, HERO, GURPS, Rifts, Rolemaster, Vampire: the Masquerade, Middle Earth RPG, or the (original) Star Wars RPG? I believe they all came out well before Wizards of the Coast produced 3rd edition Dungeons and Dragons. Each has plenty of flaws, but if you've played a few of them it will give you enough perspective to see that all versions of Dungeons and Dragons have some ridiculous inconsistencies and poor design choices that interfere with or downright euthanize fun gameplay.

        Wizards of the Coast didn't destroy Dungeons and Dragons. They just rearranged the problems, and I bet you're mostly angry because you have nostalgia for the particular set of problems you enjoyed when you first played some previous edition.
        • I bet you're mostly angry because you have nostalgia for the particular set of problems you enjoyed when you first played some previous edition.

          Uh, thanks for telling me what I think but you're wrong.

          I have a problem with WotC business model and what it's done to DnD. If you don't see it you must be blind because I found tons of others who've seen it and openly posted about it on this very article. Did you go around telling them what they think too?

          Aside from the ability to change up any spell slot to a
    • I think the book keeping is different, not less overall. There a lot of things to keep track of. Who is targeted? Who is moving back and forth, Has this person been push, pulled or slid?

      The hit points level off as you get higher, and contrary to your statement, then CAN be killed in one shot. A lot less likely, but it is there.
      My Rogue could do d6+8+2d8

      I've read those rules, and the monster creation is pretty easy to do. Bear in mind, a monster is a Monster, not another character type.

      It is clearly focused
      • by geekoid (135745)
        Thats a first level Rogue, BTW.
        • by El Gigante de Justic (994299) on Friday June 06, 2008 @06:13PM (#23688367)
          True, but a first level character really no longer as to worry every kobold or dire rat killing them in one hit (especially the minion types), or at least, being able to take off 75% of your HP in one hit since you only started with 6. The extra HP are a plus without adding the complication of a system like SDC from the Palladium systems, although that is a good system as well.

          The main things I noticed book keeping wise are as follows:
            1) Effects are no longer a number of rounds, its either a) until end of next turn, b) until you save at the end of your turn or c) until end of encounter, up to 5 minutes, which are essentially the same thing.
            2) You'll no longer waste 30 minutes as the spellcasters pick their new spells for the day. True wizards still pick their daily powers, but that should go quickly.
            3) Thanks to minions, you have to track HP for less monsters at a time.

          I think the effect tracking will be the most immediate increase in game speed. I just ran a 3.5 encounter last night with the following effects:
          1) Players cast Haste and several invisibilities before combat started, as well as several buffing spells with durations in rounds.
          2) BBEG had several defensive spells with duration in rounds.
          3) Other monsters had an ability that caused slow, which would tempoarily negate haste for characters afflicted by it for a random number of rounds
          4) BBEG was also a mind flayer, so there were mind blasts used at various times which caused stun for random number of rounds to each target.

                Now, if the combat is quick, this usually isn't a problem; but this fight went for 10-13 rounds, so various effects started wearing off at various times, and with 6 PCs and 3 monsters, and people using delay actions, its really easy to lose track of which round you're actually in and what round and when in each round a given effect ends.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Last night bought the books and played RPGA with pregen'd characters, it was fun.

      If (?) you like to whine, whine about this: Druids and Barbarians are GONE. Spell scrolls are gone. Grey elves are now the whipping boys of the racial soup IMHO.

      The statement about clerics being nonessential is misleading. Everyone gets 6-9 healing surges. Once per encounter everyone can get back 1/4th their max HP using a standard action. But once per encounter didn't go far in our adventure. We depended heavily on our c
    • The Cleric is no longer a required party member, as everyone can self heal.

      Lets rephrase that: "They completely gutted the cleric to the point where one asks why play one?" Paladins are better healers now. In my campaigns, because of house rules, I had to keep parties from being 100% clerics. In a group of seven players I once had 4 clerics. It was easy to make them that interesting to play and I never understood the hate players (and DMs) had for the class. 3rd ed was way too influenced by Magic the Ga

  • No, I didn't RTFA but...

    WotC fumbled the ball with software AGAIN? Who woulda thunk it? After their very sophomoric attempt at software with the 3.0 PHG and that shame for sale that they passed off as DM Tools I can only wait to (not) sink my teeth into their next software offering.

    I've personally written better software for the game on a TRS-80.
  • by Samy Merchi (1297447) on Friday June 06, 2008 @04:37PM (#23687125) Homepage
    I'm probably going to pass. A lot of the changes make it "not D&D" for me. It's like learning a completely new game system, like moving on to GURPS or Rolemaster or what have you. Everybody can heal themselves? That's not D&D, you're *supposed* to have a cleric (or a druid, or a bard, or a paladin, or potions) for healing. That's the whole point of the D&D flavor. You can cast magic missile infinite times per day? That's not D&D, you're *supposed* to have a limited number of zots for blasting. That's the whole point of the D&D flavor. Now, I'm not saying these are *bad* changes. I'm fully open to the idea that they may make the game flow better and so on. I'm just saying it's like moving on to a completely different game system. And I haven't been convinced why I should do that when I'm enjoying my 3.5 games highly.
    • That's not D&D, you're *supposed* to have a limited number of zots for blasting.

      One of the nifty rules added in 3.5 was that you could take a feat to get an infinte number of "zots", but only until you used up higher level spell slots. So, in other words, you can have a lot of power for a short time or a short amount of power for a long time. In reality, this made fighting minions more fun, because you didn't have to stop and rest before you hit the boss.

  • by The Insane One (25793) on Friday June 06, 2008 @04:54PM (#23687345)
    As amazing as it sounds, our gaming group, who has been meeting for about 20 years now, still use the AD&D 2.0 edition with the Skills & Powers expansion. Some of the same customization without the lethality and long battles of RoleMaster. Since we all have extensive libraries of these older 2nd edition books, the odds are not good that we'll migrate to YAEODD (Yet Another Edition Of Dungeons & Dragons).

    I remember the WotC Slashdot questions regarding the release of the 4th edition. One of the questions was why we should bother to upgrade our libraries since D&D edition 5 is probably just around the corner? The answer was, and I'll paraphrase since I'm getting old, "Because it's just better." Great logic. I read that as "We need more money."

    Of course, a lot of our group play World of Warcraft between games and from all indications, 4th edition is tabletop WoW.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DuckDodgers (541817)
      Naturally, a tabletop game can't be as complex as a massive multiplayer online roleplaying game like World of Warcraft.

      But further, you are incorrect in several major ways:
      1. In 3/3.5 DnD, a medium to high level character is defined more by his gear than by his skills. That fits an MMO. 4e reduces the gear characters can use and reduces "buff" gear ("buff" is an item or magical event that makes a character stronger, faster, or otherwise more capable).
      2. In 3/3.5 DnD, medium to high level characters
      • I don't really agree with your observations about 3.5. Disclaimer: much of my experience with 3.5 comes from playing at conventions and in living campaigns -- which I find means I usually have seen the crunchy parts of the game refined more than most people. For example, where here I often read people complain about 'having' to play the cleric, I've seen enough clerics in the hands of really good players to realize that it doesn't have to play that role and easily rank among the top offensive classes in
        • The cleric class was necessary but often boring for Dungeons and Dragons before third edition. For third edition, it was extremely powerful and just as importantly, versatile, making it very fun to play. It was no longer solely a walking hospital.

          For the complete dependence upon magical items, I'm thinking of Fighters, Barbarians, Rangers, and such. Strip their magical weapons, belts of strength, and gear to enhance movement at higher levels, and the damage they deal is cut by at least a third and some
    • by pokerdad (1124121)

      I remember the WotC Slashdot questions regarding the release of the 4th edition. One of the questions was why we should bother to upgrade our libraries since D&D edition 5 is probably just around the corner? The answer was, and I'll paraphrase since I'm getting old, "Because it's just better." Great logic. I read that as "We need more money."

      I'm curious as to what you think a good answer to that question would be.

      Yes they think its better that previous editions, they wouldn't have released it if they didn't think so because sales of the core books are vital to their survival. If 4E proves really unpopular, WotC isn't just going to weather the storm and release a better game for 5th; they aren't MS, WotC would get out of the RPG business before making a follow up edition to a failed product.

      So you don't have a reason to buy it, then don't.

      • Don't buy it if you don't like it, but why get upset that it exists?

        Meh, I guess I will try to explain, and in Slashdot fashion I will use a car analogy.

        Imagine you are a grease monkey. You know, you are the person that loves to get under the hood and really tinker around. You own 20+ cars and even an engine block or two extra. You are sitting around one day thinking about picking up that old '69 Ford F-100 with three on the tree when a buddy stops by and tells you the news. Detroit is going all metric

  • Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik of Penny-Arcade fame [penny-arcade.com] got together with Scott Kurtz of PvP [pvponline.com] and played D&D 4th Edition. The escapades were recorded and are being posted as Podcasts. You can subscribe to the podcasts at http://www.wizards.com/dnd/rsspodcast.xml [wizards.com] or download the First [wizards.com] and Second [wizards.com] files directly.
  • by pluther (647209) <pluther@nOSpam.usa.net> on Friday June 06, 2008 @07:30PM (#23689133) Homepage
    Something about the new edition's been bothering me for a while, and I think I finally figured out what it was.

    I've only looked briefly at the rules, so maybe I'm wrong in some of this.

    The alignment system isn't as "broken" as it looks. The original frankly wasn't that great, and the new one isn't so very different. It looks silly at first, but only if you're used to the old one, which has been there since 1st edition. Neither one was a hard and fast stricture on how you can role-play your character, despite some people trying to make it that.

    The new races actually look kind of cool. And all classes having "powers" which are about the same. For instance, some have pointed out that there's now no functional difference between a ranger firing his bow every round and a wizard firing off a magic missile every round. OK, but there's still a big difference in flavor. Although I'm going to miss them each having their own separate advantages, disadvantages, and different defenses for each.

    Out of combat skills have been scaled way back, which is kind of a shame. In 3.5, you could give more information, or make the NPCs a little friendlier based on knowledge or gather information or diplomacy checks, letting a character be a diplomat or master of social situations even if the player wasn't. In 4th ed, it seems like things like this rely purely on the players skill at convincing the DM. Which eliminates all those characters whose builds were focused on their ability to resolve encounters through other than violent means.

    The biggest problem, though, is the online component. Maybe if I was playing regularly again I could justify it. But I'm between groups now and will probably be that way for a while. Normally, I'd be getting Dragon magazine during times like these, but they canceled that. But it's not just extra content it looks like. Significant parts of the rules - most of the classes, powers, monsters, etc. - will be online only. Having to pay an extra $15/month to make the core rulebooks complete makes me want to not buy the core rulebooks rather than make me want to pay extra for the online content.

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