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D&D 4th Edition... Thoughts?

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I find it interesting that a lot of the defenders keep mentioning how easily you will be able to expand on what they presented...but are missing the current marketing scheme that WotC is using this time around. This is the first set of books - they are intentionally empty. Next spring you will be able to purchase the PHB2, DMG2 and MM2...and the year after that a third set of books...and the year after that, I'll put $50 to any takers that you will be able to buy either D&D 4.5 or 5.0 (or whatever they might be selling it as). If they provided a complete set of books right away...they would miss out on those additional core rules sales in the following couple years. In the end, it isn't $70-100 for the core books - it is $200-300 for the core books.

How is releasing a basic set of "core" books and then coming up with additional "core" books over the next few years any different than D&D 2.0 or 3.X? D&D 2.0 had Unearthed Arcana, various Monstrous Compendiums, and quite a few supplemental books. D&D 3.X had an even larger number.

 

From a practical standpoint, I don't think that they could have put much more in the current books and then produced the books at a low enough cost given the need to maintain a decent margin that doesn't raise the price point beyond where it would reduce sales. Getting people to fork over $100 at once for 3 books (and then $100 a year after that) is pretty easy. $300 in one shot is much harder.

 

The books are pretty dense as it is. Tripling their size would make them rather unwieldy and would have increased their development time for initial sales.

 

WOTC/Hasbro is trying to wring as much money as they can out of their audience. Then again, most successful businesses try to make as much money as they can without going so far as to jeopardize their long term prospects (by driving away customers).

 

I firmly believe that they will release content online first, so as to drive people to subscribe to their online site. People may be driven to the online site just to make up for the lack of a decent index alone. People used to paying $15 a month for WoW probably will be happy to fork over $10 a month for the online material.

 

Ron

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/snip/

 

I firmly believe that they will release content online first, so as to drive people to subscribe to their online site. People may be driven to the online site just to make up for the lack of a decent index alone. People used to paying $15 a month for WoW probably will be happy to fork over $10 a month for the online material.

 

Ron

 

/snip/

This "forced' subscription to on-line content is one of the most disagreeable concerns voiced by my local community .

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If , these were the rules sets everyone was wanting , the'd be selling like hot cakes and they just are not here in Sydney . WOTC have really overestimated this time . <_<

A good comparison (that has been made by others) is with Microsoft Vista. Vista has been selling decently, but that's mainly because it comes standard with many PCs. Many existing Windows owners don't see a need to upgrade from XP, and the initial outcry was enough to force PC manufacturers and Microsoft to allow people to continue getting XP on new (build to order) machines for a time.

 

Ron

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If , these were the rules sets everyone was wanting , the'd be selling like hot cakes and they just are not here in Sydney . WOTC have really overestimated this time . <_<

A good comparison (that has been made by others) is with Microsoft Vista. Vista has been selling decently, but that's mainly because it comes standard with many PCs. Many existing Windows owners don't see a need to upgrade from XP, and the initial outcry was enough to force PC manufacturers and Microsoft to allow people to continue getting XP on new (build to order) machines for a time.

 

Ron

Yep , I don't have Vista and my computer does the jobs I want it to just fine , although I will probably have it on the next computer I buy but only because it will probably come with it already installed . <_< My point is I feel let down and although I have a rather large gaming budget (around $100 per week) , this is just not going to get me forking over the cash as I am still a bit savey with my spending even if I get the "shiney new object" syndrome from time to time .

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@Shakandara, While I can sympathise with your frustration, consider how much your post actually functioned as part of the topic. As a representative of Reaper through Black Lightning, ranting at another company and announcing you plan to use ripped off copies of their product on Reaper's forum is not the best of ideas.

Thank you, but my post was on-topic. My perception is that 4e is moving towards a WoW-style of play, and I am hardly the only person to express this opinion. You will also note that I did not say that I would be *using* copies of their product. I said I would peruse them; that is no different than borrowing a friend's copy of the hardcovers and reading them. I simply made the point that they would receive no money from me. If, by some miracle, a thorough read of the 4e books produces something that I find useful, then I will plunk down the cash to purchase the materials. I find it much more likely, however, that I will dispose of said pdf when I'm done flipping through it and have little to do with 4e afterwards.

 

Please don't presume to know what I do and don't do just because some other people choose to *use* ripped off copies of gaming materials. Once again, I suggest reading my post for comprehension rather than making assumptions.

 

Your points regarding the release of 3e are very much on the mark, and I happen to agree with most of it. I see 4e receiving much the same kind of backlash that 3e did upon its release. I do find it interesting that a game store owner pointed at sluggish sales of the 4e stuff. That is, however, only one report, and is hardly a scientific evaluation of the market. I do think that 4e will not do as well as WotC/Hasbro would like; 3e (and even 3.5) came into the market when the US economy was much stronger than it is now. With less disposable cash, and what seems to be an increasingly disenfranchised veteran player base, it will be difficult to reach the kind of sales figures that previous releases of the game have enjoyed, even if the new target audience for the game produces droves of new players. My feelings on this may be colored by the fact that I now find myself on the other side of the fence from my position when 3e was released, but I can only point to what WotC/Hasbro has done since that time as the reason for it, rather than a resistance to change to the game itself.

 

~v

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Not that I play D&D anymore, not having a group, but I did pick up the 4th Edition books out of curiosity and because I got a good deal ($57 for all 3 including shipping).

 

Just skimmed parts of the Player's Handbook.

 

Wow! Talk about some significant and serious changes! Stunningly different game from the 3.5 version (based on a quick skim of one book).

 

The book is a bit confusing for me and rather dense. Not enough examples.

 

Among the changes (as far as I understand them, the book is confusing enough that skimming means that I could have misunderstood):

  • Everyone now has the same chance to hit assuming weapon proficiency (1/2 level + ability modifier) barring chosen class features/feats/powers
  • Everyone has more hit points
  • much less flexibility for spell casters
  • spells divided into at will (can cast as many times as you want), encounter (once per encounter), daily, utility, and ritual
  • everyone gets "powers" at every level. Spellcasters get spells as their powers
  • no barbarians, bards, druids, or monks (at least not in the Player's Handbook)
  • no gnomes or half orcs (at least not in the Player's Handbook)
  • no multiclassing, but you can take a multiclass feat to pick up an ability or two from another class
  • alignment choices limited to good, lawful good, evil, chaotic evil, and unaligned
  • The Eladrin (super teleporting elf) can teleport up to 50 feet once per encounter
  • proficiency in a weapon grants a bonus to hit
  • recovery of 1/4 of hit points after an encounter

 

The separation of spells is quite interesting. Magic Missile is an at will spell, so you can cast it as many times as needed during the course of a day. Burning Hands is an Encounter spell, so you can cast it once per encounter. Sleep is a Daily spell, so you can only cast it once per day. So, for a low level mage (er, wizard), the spells that you can cast is quite different.

 

I think that if I were to start a game, I'd stick with 3.5 (or go to Paizo's Pathfinder).

 

Ron

 

Don't bother Ron. Just play Savage Worlds and you can do everything 4.0 is setting out to do, only better. Cheers.

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If you could get Savage Worlds that is. Although they did say that the re-print of the rulebook would be out in June. Its been out of stock with distributors (at least the ones my FLGS deals with) since at least March when one of the in-store RPG groups shifted to it and discovered that they were not available. At least they all share well.

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All you need is one electronic download. You can make copies for your group. Cake.

 

I still plan on buying the printed book when I next go to my FLGS.

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20080609.jpg

 

What is REALLY ironic is that in the version 4.0 demo adventure used at world game day you did get to fight a dragon with level one characters.

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All you need is one electronic download. You can make copies for your group. Cake.

 

I still plan on buying the printed book when I next go to my FLGS.

 

Since you seem to be the SW-meister, has there ever been any instructions on how to convert characters from D20 D&D to SW fantasy? We have some high level stuff we want to do, and at first glance 4e seems to be as much a grind as anything.

 

Damon.

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I went to Misty Mountain Games to check out the 4.0 world game day release. I LOVE AD&D; so much that after working very hard hauling stuff out of an old junk yard for 6 hours in the hot sun and mosquito infestation while almost passing out from heat exhaustion I decided to swing by the game store on my way home JUST to check out 4.0. I was a disgusting mess and probably smelled worse than anyone in there (and it does smell funny in there... you know... that typical FLGS smell =) One stranger even asked me what the heck I did before I came over. It was all worth it just to talk to an official representative there demoing the game, watch some players actually play it, and talk to some other gamers.

 

Watched a group go through the last 3 encounters of the game (including the dragon at the end). Everyone was having fun but this group seemed like a jovial group of gamers that would have fun playing anything. I talked to the rep there and asked him some questions. After that game I wandered over and talked to some other people who had played 4.0. I expressed that I had reservations about switching and that my friends were very unlikely to switch unless I drove that train hard. They both were adamant to point out that this "is the best version of D&D ever!" One guy said that his whole group that played the 4.0 demo liked it enough to start a new campaign and play weekly under the new rules. We all talked for about 20 minutes or so and they explained a lot of the new, core, features of the game. Nothing they said sparked my interest and convinced me to drop any money on the current core books.

 

I, and my current 3.5 group, won't be switching to 4.0. It was hard enough to swallow what we despise about 3.5 when we switched from 2.0 but the d20 system really won us over. There's nothing in the 4.0 ruleset that's winning us over. We'll see what 4.5 or 5.0 brings. There's PLENTY of 3.5 material out there to keep us busy untill then. Great for a very budget minded gamer like myself; now I'll pick up all of those old books and publications at second hand book stores or garage sales =^.^=

 

To those criticizing us who are commenting only based on word of mouth and first time "limited" impressions. What do you really expect us to judge it on? I certainly am not going to go out and drop that kind of cash on 3 core books for a game that I *MIGHT* like. Word of mouth and first impressions are EVERYTHING when it comes to pushing products. If the fan-boys can't sell it to misers like me then people like me simply won't buy into it. Wasn't this one of the bigger goals of this world game day? To let people come out, test it, talk about it, and win over their target markets enough to buy the products? Saying their demo was limited and not a good basis to judge the game on or make your call on purchasing is running cover for WotC. This was their BIG chance to sell it to skeptics and if the demo wasn't good enough to do that, or "limited, then it's their fault. The fan-boys were already going to run out and buy it; they didn't need a world game day to make up their mind. I totally agree with the person who essentially said 'this is the best WotC could come up with for a demo adventure?' This lame demo adventure is the epitome of what some of us are saying about these new versions of AD&D. They are all about ROLL playing and thought put into, skill choices, alignment, story, characters, persona's, choices made outside of combat, or anything that puts the ROLE into role playing is hardly even a secondary thought now; it's just completely devoid of such mass and rings hollow.

 

Can't even call it AD&D any more; there's nothing Advanced about it. I wouldn't even call it an RPG any more.

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Hmm - interesting comments.

 

While I was exposed to D&D first, Traveller was actually the first RPG I played and GMed. When I actually started playing D&D, the whole level/class system seemed "off" to me. I was introduced to WFRP by a friend many years later, and found it more to my liking. So I've never really be a D&D fan to begin with, other than the nostalgia of it being the first and most famous.

 

When I moved a few years ago, and found myself trying to form a new group to play in my Iskitaan campaign world, I was having no luck - everyone wanted to play D&D. I knew WotC had changed it, and upon taking a look at 3.0, found it more to my liking than previous versions, though I still didn't like the class/level basis, by adding feats, a better skill system and a more integral multi-class system, they made it livable, and I switched. I'm telling you all this so you can take my comments as they're intended.

 

So now I read through these various viewpoints, and even the comments I'm seeing from pro-4e people are making me dislike 4e more. While I'd seen a lot of negativity about 4e, I had heard things prior to it's release that were good. Now that it's been released, and the full story is getting out, all of the good things I had heard about it were either wrong, or wiped out by much more negative impressions.

 

- it sounds like 4e has gone way too far towards class/level based again, meaning I'll like it even less. Perhaps even less than AD&D. I'm not in WotC's target audience, so that doesn't really matter anyway. I wasn't going to switch anytime soon regardless if it was the best system ever or not.

 

- I've read several comments elsewhere that indicate the mechanics in the game play are even more visible during actual game play than in prior editions. Some people think this makes the game easier to grasp and play, others think it encourages meta-game thinking and ruins the roleplaying experience. W/O having played it, I think I'd be in the latter group.

 

- since it's gone more mini-centric, I can see that helping the growth of the LE line. I now find myself wondering how long before we see DDMs in non-blind format.

 

- Its very clear that WotC is trying to capture a new market segment by going towards the WoW style of play. I think they're going to fail. From my experience, many of that demographic they're trying to capture want more instant gratification and "flash" than a pen-and-paper role-playing game can give them. The people I know who play both play them both for different reasons. Even if WotC succeeds in their objective, I think the new D&D is going to further divide the RPG market and cause more strife than harmony.

 

- I'm gonna go out on a limb here and predict that D&D is headed towards become the "starter" RPG, and eventually WotC/Hasbro will shift the marketing and demographics of it towards the 12-20 crowd almost exclusively.

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Played it and ran it and am switching to it from 3.5. If you play it, the strengths of the system come out, not the least of which is that it's a FAST and very enjoyable combat resolution system. Additionally, the non-combat resolution has a simple mechanic and has a lot of versatility. Just read "Urban Chase" in the DMG for an outstanding example of how it can be used.

 

As for the non-combat/roleplay "soft and fiddly" stuff... that's up to the DM and Players. If they're crap, no system can save them. If they're good, no system matters.

 

I play/played Savage Worlds and prefer D&D 4, our Savage Worlds group is switching campaigns in fact.

 

However, I will NOT pay for the online service. I'll use it while it's free, then switch back to OpenRPG. The price gouge there is one aspect of the "4e package" that's utter drek.

 

EDITED: To fix URL formatting

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As for the non-combat/roleplay "soft and fiddly" stuff... that's up to the DM and Players. If they're crap, no system can save them. If they're good, no system matters.

 

Not exactly a compeling reason to switch =)

 

We aren't talking about content here. We are talking about game mechanics that support more than combat!

 

I think 3.5 did a great job of merge Skills into a level based progression rule set. Your choices in where you put Skill points reflected upon who your character was; not just what he could do. The versitility of the multiclassing system gave enormouse depth to characters. Players could easily break free of the classic, meat shield, fighter or the token, heal bot, cleric with just the core rules. The alignment you chose was a barometer of your characters persona and it made a difference in game. Is alignment even used in 4.0 ? Even in 3.5 they started to minimize it's relivance; along with choosing ones deity. This is the direction I see 4.0 moving and I don't care for it.

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