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Slashdot's Rob Rozeboom Interviews D&D Designer Mike Mearls (video) 139

Posted by Roblimo
from the my-imaginary-friend-is-a-giant-lizard-that-breathes-fire dept.
Mike Mearls is the Senior Manager for the Dungeons and Dragons Design Team. He's been with D&D publishers Wizards of the Coast (a subsidiary of Hasbro) since 2005, Before that he was a free-lance game writer and designer. In this conversation with Slashdot editor Rob "samzenpus" Rozeboom, he talks about changes in the latest version of D&D and how the company interacts with players. (We'll have some more chat with Mike next week, different wizard time, same wizard channel, so stay tuned.)


Slashdot welcomes reader video submissions. Email robin AT roblimo dot COM for info.

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Slashdot's Rob Rozeboom Interviews D&D Designer Mike Mearls (video)

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  • by coldsalmon (946941) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:32AM (#40686551)

    First of all, thank you for doing this interview and releasing it for free for my enjoyment. However, I don't have audio on the computer I'm using right now, so I can't hear it. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I hate watching videos of things that can be communicated faster and more efficiently via text (like interviews). A transcription would be appreciated.

  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:42AM (#40686711)

    Transcripts are also more fun for cut-n-paste his answers and provide commentary. I look forward to being able to read the transcript, or at least a summary.

    Pathfinder is widely seen as 3.75 or "what 4 should have been" or however you wanna phrase it. I happen to like Pathfinder and despite my noted ability to complain about almost anything, I find nothing to complain about WRT Pathfinder. Any comments about that in the video? It would be pretty cool if the newly released 5.0 or whatever it'll be called would just be "eh F-it we'll just license Paizo's core rulebook, slap on some new cover art, and call it a day". Kind of like if MS Windows 2013 turned out to be a Ubuntu boot disk.

  • by KermodeBear (738243) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @10:52AM (#40686853) Homepage

    Yes, because games are something that only children do. Especially games that use a significant amount of math and copious amounts of (admittedly often too) complicated rules. Games that encourage out of the box thinking. Games where you can include complex scenarios - and be able to handle them in any way you choose, assuming you are alright with the consequences. Not limited to combat, games with older players often include politics, economics, religion, and other social issues.

    I know you're just trolling, but there's far more to pen and paper RPGs than many people think.

    I'd take a half-assed PnP RPG game over an incredible computer RPG any day. Why? Because the computer gives me a very limited set of choices and makes a lot of assumptions. If I want to do X, and it isn't coded into the game, then I can't even attempt to do X. Not so in PnP games.

  • by KermodeBear (738243) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @11:02AM (#40687003) Homepage

    Does the introduction of 4th edition and 5th edition in any way stop you from using older source books?

    I'm still using 3.5, my books didn't suddenly disappear overnight when 4th was released.

  • License for 5e? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @12:00PM (#40687757)

    I liked the Open Game License [wikipedia.org] of D&D 3.5e.

    I did not like the Game System License [wikipedia.org] of D&D 4e.

    If D&D 5e goes back to the OGL, I'll check it out.
    If it does not, then I'll stick with my Pathfinder subscriptions.

  • Re:No thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @12:30PM (#40688047)

    This is why you have a real live DM to correct for those times in which it is broken.

    Is it possible to, by the letter of the rules, break 3.5? Sure it is. But in my group we have players who're more interested in having fun than in rules-lawyering, and a DM to ensure that that things stay balanced.

    A good RPG system doesn't have to be balanced; it just has to be balanced to first order.

  • by twoallbeefpatties (615632) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:19PM (#40688611)
    Ah, 4th edition. You tried so hard, and you largely succeeded. You gave healers something to do other than cast heal spells every turn, and a day of dungeoneering was able to continue past the first battle instead of everyone going, "The cleric's used up his spells - we're going back to base!"

    You gave defensive builds a place in the world without making them boring. You took away a wizard's level 1 crossbow and gave him all the fireballs he wanted. You gave every class something to do other than basic melee attacks. You made characters interesting right from level 1 instead of forcing people to pray for an interesting character 10 levels down the road.

    You took away multiclassing, and there was a gnashing of munchkin teeth, but you gave us arcane swordsmen and holy assassins and psychic healers. You broke up the age-old racial tradition of just elves, humans, and dwarves by sticking tieflings, dragonborn, goliaths, and devas into the main books. You got rid of prestige classes, those wonky things that forced people into specific build types, and instead gave us multiple builds for the base of a class and paragon paths for later on. Your flavor was more focused on the character than on the class min/maxing.

    But, in your certain rush to fix everything that was wrong with D&D, you forgot the feel. You felt that you could discard the very makeup of the game and craft something new from scratch. Despite the interesting things that happened to a new character, your demand for balance forced you to keep everyone the same beyond level 1. While many people rallied behind you, you split the community as the players who had been in the game for years threw up their hands in disgust and went to a fork of your previous system, preferring an imperfect system that felt more like something from their youth and less like those infernal MMORPGs.

    I've seen the playtest, and at first glance it looks like something that tries to bring the two groups together. But the PnP RPG faces a diminished audience from the outset, what with kids all distracted by their new-fangled machine, and the audience that you drove away has come to call you a heretic and isn't bound to return even if you pander to them again. Godspeed to you, Wizards, but I fear there's not much more you can do.

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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