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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Launches

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  • 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.
  • Re:Rulebook? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gaerek (1088311) on Friday June 06, 2008 @04:10PM (#23686693)
    Let's see:

    -No more wizards/clerics/etc saying, "Crap, I just blew all my spells in that one encounter, I need to rest for 8 hours!"
    -Much simplified rules for DMs creating encounters and adventures, as well as putting rewards in those encounters. (This is a complete overhaul, and hard to really give too many examples)
    -No more random hit point amounts every level, in addition, a larger hit point total at level 1. (No more fighters rolling a 1 at first level, etc)
    -New death/dying system, that scales as you level. (ie. no more -10 hp and you're dead crap)

    Honestly, if you're curious, go to http://www.enworld.com/ [enworld.com] and look around. They have put together a full preview PHB based on pre-release information. Should give you a good idea of what to expect. 4e is definately not an expansion. It's almost completely overhauled from 3.5.
  • Re:Not a review (Score:5, Informative)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> 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:3, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday June 06, 2008 @04:22PM (#23686879) Homepage Journal
    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:Not a review (Score:3, Informative)

    by h4rm0ny (722443) on Friday June 06, 2008 @04:23PM (#23686907) Journal

    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 how much use they see, but they're Windows only so I wont be using them anyway. Shame, there. I'd have probably given it a try.
  • Worst Edition, Ever (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2008 @06:05PM (#23688267)
    And suddenly, it was as if, a million geeks cried out in pain, and just as silently were silenced.
    Wow, no really WoW, or World of Warcraft, I can't imagine a pen and paper game more well-dsigned to emulate a video game than this. Don't get me wrong, I love WoW, and haven't played D&D in many years, but I sincerely doubt I will ever play this edition. Damn You WotC, I defended you 8 years ago when people said you were video-gameifying D&D, and you do this, from what I can see, this is WoW in tabletop form, WoW is a lot of things, but it is no RPG, and sadly, neither is this new 4th edition of D&D. Thankfully, Dear old Gary is not here to witness this dishonoring of his memory, surely he is rolling over in his grave.

    Who else thinks the 'unaligned' alignment is the new Chaotic Neutral, only worse ("I can do anything, I'm not bound by rules, or ethics or morals, YAY!")?
    I can only hope that this new edition does far worse than the last forcing Hasbro to shutter WotC to spare us another insipid edition that only further tarnishes the name Dungeons & Dragons.
    I never thought I would say this, but WotC, go back to making magic the addiction, and pokemon, it's all you are now, ever were, and ever will be good at.
  • Re:Not a review (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 06, 2008 @08:08PM (#23689417)
    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 to ignore the obvious threat just because someone else looks like an easy target; you can feel free to attack the easy target, but that doesn't make the obvious threat any less threatening.
  • 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.
  • by DuckDodgers (541817) <`keeper_of_the_wolf' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Friday June 06, 2008 @10:39PM (#23690405)
    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 preceded each combat encounter with buff spells and potion drinking. That fits an MMO. 4e has far fewer "buff" spells and almost all of them have a 1 round duration.
    3. In 3/3.5 DnD, medium to high level classes with melee focus (Fighters, Barbarians, Paladins) really didn't deal anywhere near as much damage in battle as spellcasters. Their primary job was to serve as a meat shield while the spellcasters took out opponents. That fits an MMO. 4e gives all classes more options, so Fighters can actually *gasp* be good at fighting and do serious damage in their own right.
    4. In 3/3.5 DnD, high AC meant an opponent was hard to hit and damage reduction (DR) meant some damage was absorbed and negated before the opponent was actually hurt. This made for tedious bookkeeping, which an MMO does for you. In 4e, damage reduction is gone, and AC stands for being both unable to hit an opponent or being unable to hit an opponent effectively.

    If you're happy with AD&D 2.0, more power to you and don't change. But the reduced emphasis on magic items and pre-combat spellcasting, the change to make Fighters actually useful and interesting and interesting at high levels, and simplifying many game mechanics moves 4e much further away from MMOs than 3e or arguably even old AD&D (which I played for a few years myself).

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie

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