Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition- The Vista of the RPG World


When I first heard that a fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons was coming out I was psyched. I thought, maybe they will streamline the system and fix some of the minor flaws that still existed in 3.5. I got my hands on a pre-release edition a couple months before its actual release, and I was mortified by what I saw. I knew I should never have trusted Wizards of the Coast. They turned D&D into nothing more than a miniature table-top war game.

Gone are the days of TSR, when background and plot trumped the rules, when a battle grid and 500 miniatures weren't part of the requirement to play the game. When WotC made D&D 3.0 I was angered by the start of their merchandising trend. When 3.5 came out I began to feel a little better, at least the rules made sense, but 4th Ed. come on! It's just 300 pages on how to play a combat game.

Granted, I understand the business reasons behind why WotC did what they did. The more products you make necessary to play the game, the more profit you will make. It started in 3.0 with all of the supplemental material, most of which is useless. But why push even harder with miniatures, didn't they learn their lesson with the Chainmail line of miniatures. This move will backfire on them.

What really pisses me off is their move to give everyone tons of special abilities. There is no explanation why some of these classes even have powers. I can understand why a cleric can heal someone; they have divine healing power, but explain why can a warlord do the same thing? Leave the special abilities to the magic classes and just leave the fighter as the hack 'n slash class, please!

In all, I think that Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition is a step backward in the evolution of RPGs. WotC has produced a table-top product that aims to mimic the action of computer role playing games, such as World of Warcraft, at the expense of the true nature of pen & paper RPGs. In my opinion D&D 4th Ed. is the Vista of the RPG world.

6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I couldn't agree with you less on this one Noah. While I do think that 3.5 does have it's charms I think 4th edition is actually a better game. First of all, character creation doesn't take a session and a half, in fact, you can roll a character in 4th in like a half an hour, which leaves more time to play the game. Let me address a few points that you have made in your post:

    1.) "Gone are the days of TSR, when background and plot trumped the rules, when a battle grid and 500 miniatures weren't part of the requirement to play the game."

    Also gone are rules that don't make any sense...like THACO, I don't care what any rper says, THACO was stupid. Also, you do not need 500 minatures to play 4th, in fact if you are playing the game you only need one minature, your character. If you are a GM you probably need some more, but not 500, that's just crazy, I know, I know, you were probably just making a point, but in our games I think maybe 10 minatures to 20 minatures total is really all you need. Also I find that a battlegrid, and minatures help organize the game better personally, but that may just be my taste.

    2.) "Granted, I understand the business reasons behind why WotC did what they did. The more products you make necessary to play the game, the more profit you will make. It started in 3.0 with all of the supplemental material, most of which is useless. But why push even harder with miniatures, didn't they learn their lesson with the Chainmail line of miniatures. This move will backfire on them."

    -Okay, here I actually kinda agree with you to an extent. D&D minatures look like shit. They are some of the worst mini's I have ever seen, and yet they toute them on their website like they are some artistic acomplishment. Blah, if you wanna see some kick ass minatures check out the Rackham metal line. (Not plastic)


    3.) "What really pisses me off is their move to give everyone tons of special abilities. There is no explanation why some of these classes even have powers. I can understand why a cleric can heal someone; they have divine healing power, but explain why can a warlord do the same thing? Leave the special abilities to the magic classes and just leave the fighter as the hack 'n slash class, please!"

    -Every class in the game has the ability to spend a healing surge to heal themsevlves a bit during a combat, but what is so bad about this? It makes sense kinda anyway, it's like shaking off a bad punch and letting your adreline kick in. Healer's actually help a ton because they let you spend additional surges a round, since I believe you can only spend one a round if you are a non healer. Also, you do not start out with a TON of abilities, you start out with a set of abilities, and build on that, how is that any different than any other roleplaying game? In 3.5 instead of building up abilities you gain what skill points, and a stat boost every few levels? New abilities are more exciting, it's actually fun to level 4th, not a damn chore! ALso 4th gives a fighter so many more options than just 'I attack, I hit, okay I roll my damage' now you can use different abilities for different situations which really spices up combat in general.

    Anyway it sounds to be like you have yet to play a session of it, so give it a try. At first I wasn't into it, but truth be told, if I never play 3.5 again that would be just fine by me.

    -Josh

    P.S. I like the tatical minature part of the game, but like I have said before, I am partial to minature war gaming anyway.

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  3. Oh Noah,

    I should probably just say I wasn't trying to be snotty or anything, just throwing some counterpoints out there. There are a ton of D&D players who want nothing to do with 4th and prefer 3.5 and that's cool. I am sure there are crazy people out there still playing 1st edition, just think about that :)

    -Josh

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  4. Healing surges for everyone "kinda makes sense" but THAC0 is stupid? You do realize that THAC0 (i.e. To Hit Armour Class 0) was just a simple maths formula?
    While D&D may have evolved from a set of miniatures wargaming rules, there are plenty of wargaming rules already available (and far superior to what 4th edition tries to do), so there was never any requirement by people who like to role play the game for it to devolve back to a set of miniatures rules

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  5. I know what Thaco means. Here is why Thaco is silly: First of all it is confusing that armor class actually has to be lower in 2nd edition to be good. Are we playing golf or something, the lower the score the better? I think it works better, and is generally more rewarding when you have to reach higher numbers in order to succeed. I am not saying Thaco wasn't easy, it just seemed a bit unnecessary to me.

    Also if you want to play pen and paper, then play pen and paper. If you do not like 4th edition, then play 3rd edition, or 2nd, or 1st, or write your own game. That's the real thing I do not understand about people who do not like 4th edition. Did you burn your 3rd edition books?

    Anyway, that is just my two cents, but like I said before, I think tatical rpgs are better, and do not take away from the story at all. I think it just makes combat easier to manage.

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  6. Yeah, THAC0 was pretty stupid, but it was a start. Personally, I don't feel that armor should have an impact on whether someone can hit you with a sword. Armor should be for damage reduction, and because it is so heavy and bulky, may actually make you get hit more. It is you weapon or shield skill that allows you to parry or block attacks. This is the concept that Epic Fantasy will be using.

    Yes, there should be a use of tactical combat, but I believe it needs to be streamlined and be strongly tied to character class and not entirely power based. I feel that D&D 4th Ed. is the pen & paper clone of WoW. I hate that they over-simplified their skill system, i.e. "Thievery" skill, yeah that makes a lot of sense?!? Yes, I don't like 4th Ed., and yes I will make a better system.

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