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Dungeons & Dragons Next Playtest Released 213

Posted by Soulskill
from the roll-3d20-to-see-if-you-are-invited dept.
New submitter thuf1rhawat writes "For a certain type of geek, nothing is more important than Dungeons & Dragons. In January, Wizards of the Coast announced that the next iteration of the game (referred to as D&D Next) was under development, and now they've released an open playtest. They hope to gather as much player feedback as possible to help refine the new rules."
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Dungeons & Dragons Next Playtest Released

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  • Uh....May Fools Day? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RobinEggs (1453925) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:17PM (#40125645)
    Are they kidding here? Fourth edition is will turn 4 years old next month, and they're already actively developing the next set?

    It takes at least four years just to fully develop a new edition of a major tabletop game, with all the adventures and campaign settings and stuff that come out. And forget how long it takes the publishing to catch up, what about the players? All the rule and supplement books are at least $20; the most basic set of stuff for running a campaign is $70+, and that doesn't include any "toys" like campaign manuals or power-gaming goofy shit like epic-level character rulebooks / setting-based weapons and spell guides, etc. That shit's expensive, and it takes time to get used to.

    Releasing a new edition of D&D every five years is just as much a slutty cash grab as releasing a new Call of Duty annually. They're not even letting the new version settle in before they prepare to shove it out the door.
  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @11:34PM (#40125747)

    It's simplified? That's good. D&D has been going way down hill since 2nd edition when they added complexity. AD&D was best one I think.

  • by ageoffri (723674) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @12:43AM (#40126137)
    My biggest complaint with the fourth edition of D&D is that it has become a miniature game. If I want to play with miniatures I'll pull out Warhammer 40,000. Even the published material really just encouraged people to buy various miniatures to use on the supplied maps. Before the GM became a total ass, half the group I was playing with had not played role playing games and just don't understand what a game is. I tried suggesting other systems and the questions were always how do the maps work, how do the miniatures compare. D&D 4E is not a role playing game and I hope WoTC goes back to a role playing game.
  • Re:Quick Summary (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:09AM (#40126261)

    Say what you will, 4e makes a great tactical combat game. WotC was working on a digital thing for it, except the head developer committed a murder-suicide.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008085333_murdersuicide01m.html
    http://www.examiner.com/article/the-murder-suicide-that-derailed-4th-edition-dungeons-dragons-online

  • Gaming Evolution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Saxerman (253676) * on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:44AM (#40126391) Homepage

    For the first few levels of Gamer, the game system matters quite a bit. Be it so you can collect 'em, min/max them, abuse them, or complain and contrast them. These levels tend to be an adrenaline filled ride, and quite a rush.

    After Gamer level four, you start to get access to the skills which suggest the rules themselves aren't as important as you thought. And maybe you start to doctor up your own set of house rules errata, or start to blend aspects from various systems you like, or just start writing up your own.

    Around Gamer level seven, the social and creative aspects of gaming can come into sharper focus. This also tends be around the time of the realization that the raw supplies for gaming aren't just coming from RPG and office supply companies... but rather from life itself. Creative inspiration can suddenly be found almost anywhere, not just from books, movies, and songs, but every cultural medium... every thought or emotion.

    By level eleven (or sooner, from certain types of cross-class synergy) you tend to have open access to the skills that let you liberally apply your gaming experience to manipulate many of the rules found in life itself.

    And since I'm here, I'd like to give a big shout out to those who gamers who breeched the teen levels. Your secrets remain safe with us.

  • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @02:45AM (#40126609)

    My playgroup's biggest problem was the amount of "system mastery" required to play the game in a timely manner. When every character has 10+ abilities which are all useful in slightly different situations using keywords like push, pull, slide, daze, stun, mark, etc., it can take an incredibly steep learning curve. Add to that all the bookkeeping you must do round-to-round for 5-6 PCs plus 5-10 monsters with abilities that have durations, cause damage each round, refresh and can be re-used, trigger off actions or events, have moving or variable areas of effect, and so on. Combat took forever. We run a session once a week for about 6 hours, and found that we struggled to run two combat encounters each night. Sure, we could structure the night better so that we had everything optimized to keep gameplay as smooth and quickly paced as possible, but that's not a fun way to play a game. D&D is about sitting around a table laughing and bullshitting with friends. I don't want to organize my game session like a business meeting. I get enough of that at work!

    The other issue is that such a strong mechanical focus in the rulebooks for 4E overtakes even the storytelling and roleplaying aspects of the game. Ideas like Skill Challenges work great for things like navigating the wilderness or disarming complex traps, but the designers tried to force this mechanic into any encounter that wasn't a combat encounter. Including those better resolved with talking and roleplaying (which really doesn't need rules). Additionally, often in the published encounters we found that the author assumed the players would succeed at skill challenges or that the DM should allow unlimited retries even when you're doing things like... trying to be diplomatic or search for information in a hostile town. So it became "roll dice until I say you can continue with the story" and then "oh, you failed again? what happens... it looks like you can't continue and have no hope of picking up the trail. that's lame and defeats the purpose of running a module, so let's assume you succeeded or it's game over".

    Those of us in the group that loved mechanics loved the game. Mechanically combat was fantastic. It was complex and interesting. It was never just "roll a d20 and roll for damage" over and over. Problem was... those beautiful mechanics completely got in the way of the rest of the game. 4E was a tabletop war game shoved into an RPG box. It was a really good and fun tabletop war game, but it wasn't D&D.

    The only mechanical issue I had with the game is that the mechanics were too delicately balanced. It was obvious that even a +1 or -1 to a die roll was immensely important. The mechanics were so tight that it was obvious while playing it. That's... too tight. The fudge factor needs to be higher.

  • by Selanit (192811) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @03:13AM (#40126685)

    The big problem with Wizards of the Coast is that it's being run by marketing specialists who don't game. They're hugely out of touch with their target market, and the result has been a crappy product that few people want to buy.

    Meanwhile, Paizo -- the company that makes Pathfinder -- has taken the pulse of the d20 gaming community. The company is run by gaming geeks. Virtually everyone there plays for fun, even the CEO. Paizo makes most of its money off adventures, not rules -- their subscription-based monthly adventure modules are their primary revenue stream. All of the actual rule mechanics are available free online under an open license [paizo.com], and if you want pretty illustrations to go with them, the PDFs are reasonably cheap.

    At Paizo, the adventure comes first, and the rules are just a framework. WotC puts the rules first, and the adventure second. Even this WotC play test strikes me mostly as the WotC marketing droids aping Paizo. Which just demonstrates their cluelessness even further.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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