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Role Playing (Games)

D&D's Story Manager Answers Your Questions on Camera 112

Chris Perkins, story manager for the upcoming Fourth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, took some time out this past weekend at the D&D Experience event to talk back to us. He answered the concerns of five readers who had commented on their responses to our earlier questions from January. With a large amount of information about Fourth Edition now out in the open and the NDA for playtesters lowered, there's been a floodgate of new concerns over the latest change to this tabletop icon. You might also be interested in the other videos from Gamer Radio Zero filmed at the D&D Experience event, which covers everything from DMG design to D&D Insider pricing. Chris's responses can be seen in the YouTube videos included below. Thanks both to Mr. Perkins and Michael Lescault for making this interaction possible.
Mongoose Disciple asks "Is there any concern that you've eliminated the most tactically interesting/complex characters from the game?"

Anonymous Coward asks "halivar asked what influence computer games might have had on the design of 4th ed, but what about computer games that are going to use the D&D rule set having an influence on the design of 4th ed? None of the games based on 3/3.5ed appealed to me because of the over-complexity of the rules, I preferred the older titles such as Baldur's Gate that used 2nd ed. That's obviously a personal opinion, but I know it's not an uncommon one. So, were there any design choices made based on the fact that computer games will also use the system?"

skinfaxi asks "Does WotC think all players and DMs are male?"

BobMcD asks "I'm looking at the back of that specific Tiefling Wizard's sheet, and it seems to me that conversion is going right out the window. This 1st level character seems pretty beefy to me, in terms of sheer spell face-meltage. Does 'At-Will' really mean 'as much as you want, just so long as it is your turn'?"

bugnuts asks "How does the Open Gaming License affect WotC's view on computer programs? Does Wizards consider the actual rules, the type of map, the genre, the number of d20's, etc to be their IP?"

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D&D's Story Manager Answers Your Questions on Camera

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  • by slaker ( 53818 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @10:38AM (#22649130)
    Honestly, if I want to see video, I'll fire up some porn. Would it have been too much to ask to get some transcripts and/or replies in the standard, text only format that I expect from every single other post on Slashdot, or would all that typing be too much of a hassle?
  • by SQLGuru ( 980662 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @10:44AM (#22649200) Journal
    I concur, many offices now block streaming media (video or audio) due to bandwidth concerns. So, I can read the questions and see the blank space where there would be video, but I'd like to get a transcript, please.

  • by Lilith's Heart-shape ( 1224784 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @11:01AM (#22649424) Homepage
    Hey, Zonk, did it occur to you that some of us are at work, and thus don't have time to watch a bunch of YouTube clips? It's a lot easier to skim a text interview while waiting for the compiler than it is to sit and watch the guy talk slower than I can read.
  • zwhu? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lotekppc ( 795609 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @11:04AM (#22649488)
    Transcripts would be appreciated. I read about an order of magnitude faster than people talk, so it drives me up the fucking wall to click on a link to find videos. Bah. No time, no time.
  • by Gutboy ( 587531 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @11:23AM (#22649814)
    The response, paraphrased: We realize that all of the characters in the new base game are middle of the road complexity-wise, none of them as complex as 3E wizard and none of them as simple as 3E fighter. Later material will introduce some more complex choices.

    See, I heard him say (paraphrased): We are giving you the boring classes, so you'll spend more money on our products later to get the interesting classes.
  • by Rydia ( 556444 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @12:02PM (#22650414)
    Like how AD&D created the dichotomy between classes and races? That wasn't D&D.
    Or how 2d Ed threw in proficiencies and different movement rules? That wasn't D&D.
    How about 3d Ed, which created feats and skills and standardized exp? That certainly wasn't D&D.

    Dungeons and Dragons is a brand, a bundle of concepts and mechanics upon which a concrete game is built, and a franchise which provides consumers with an indicator of a) a level of quality and b) a general "feel" that differs from other games (such as Legend of the Five Rings). If we go by your ridiculously restrictive definition, then everything from AD&D on was "a new product cashing in on the D&D name.
  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @12:36PM (#22650924)

    Honestly, if I want to see video, I'll fire up some porn. Would it have been too much to ask to get some transcripts and/or replies in the standard, text only format that I expect from every single other post on Slashdot, or would all that typing be too much of a hassle?

    Not to mention that reading is way faster than speaking, and doubly so when there's enough background noise to make inaudible the speech (futzing with rewind buttons and progress thumbs is quite slow, especially in crappy players that insist on only letting you go back/forth to markers every N seconds rather than anywhere). That, and if you only care about one small part of a video, having to sit there through the entire thing is a pain rather than simple scanning.

    Video is great for some things, but other times, it should be used to augment, rather than replace. (E.g., video is great for demos and such, but poor if you're looking at a talking head unless it's used to clarify or illustrate a particularly difficult concept in the text).
  • Kind of sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brkello ( 642429 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:14PM (#22652570)
    Slashdot is a news site about technology for nerds. It is sad to see when they slightly stray from the norm, everyone freaks out. Yeah, it is a good idea to have a text transcript. But I thought this was a site full of people who like the cutting edge...the early adopters...the intelligent. But oh no! Streaming video is presented in front of you and this site becomes a bunch of old curmudgeon, get off my lawn types. I can't see this stuff at work either, but if I am truly interested, I will go watch it at home. It's a games article after all...your next meeting won't rely on the fact that you watched these videos. Just wish people would lighten up on here instead of threatening to move to Canada when something changes slightly.
  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @06:44PM (#22656418) Journal

    I'm with you as regards dumbing down, but I think we know too little yet to say if this is the case. For example, I don't think that a wizard running out of spells is exactly gone, so much as supplemented with some basic magic abilities to be used when they run out instead of being forced to shoot their friends in the back of the head with a crossbow.

    Don't get me wrong - my two main concerns with 4th ed. are that it turns out to be dumbed down and that it focuses too much on being a defining everything in terms of combat. For example the Pit Fiend entry we have seen details "Tactics: The Pit Fiend acts as follows..." which rings alarm bells. However, there are some very talented people working on this game and they are long time players. These include Mike Mearls who wrote the incomparable Iron Heroes alternative player's handbook.My ideal scenario would almost to have seen them just revamp the core ideas of that game for 4th Edition with a few of the weaknesses filled in, but failing that I'm optimistic that he'll bring across some of the expertise he showed there to the new game.

    4th Edition might be the dumbed down money extractor that we fear, but there are positive signs with a lot of this, so please reserve judgement. You can be sure I'll be as loud as anyone in complaining if I feel it's damaging the game I care about.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton