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Thread: A theory

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    Default A theory

    Ok I was thinking, People keep saying that 4E is to simple compared to 3.5. BUT so is 2E and 1E. So if 3E and 3.5 never existed, 4E would be more popular. Comments?

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    I really don't think that simplicity is that much of a negative criterium. I would even say, that a complex system necessarily require a simple and streamlined core mechanism, or else it becomes mostly convoluted. The problem I have with D&D 4 is not that it is simple. The problem I have is that it treats the potential players like morons who need to be taken by the hand and treated as if they were unable to cope with things like options and an interconnection between crunch and fluff. But that's just me, and certainly not a majority position.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satyr View Post
    I really don't think that simplicity is that much of a negative criterium. I would even say, that a complex system necessarily require a simple and streamlined core mechanism, or else it becomes mostly convoluted. The problem I have with D&D 4 is not that it is simple. The problem I have is that it treats the potential players like morons who need to be taken by the hand and treated as if they were unable to cope with things like options and an interconnection between crunch and fluff. But that's just me, and certainly not a majority position.
    I like games that respect my intelligence.
    I think they're on board with the current generation of video game consoles. They're aiming at the casual gamers that may not be as nerdy intelligent as some of us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satyr View Post
    I really don't think that simplicity is that much of a negative criterium. I would even say, that a complex system necessarily require a simple and streamlined core mechanism, or else it becomes mostly convoluted. The problem I have with D&D 4 is not that it is simple. The problem I have is that it treats the potential players like morons who need to be taken by the hand and treated as if they were unable to cope with things like options and an interconnection between crunch and fluff. But that's just me, and certainly not a majority position.
    I like games that respect my intelligence.
    For what it's worth, I agree.
    And I don't really know what do you mean by saying that 4ed would be "more popular". It's already popular. That, and I'm not exactly an expert on older D&D editions, but I think they were simpler than 3.5 in a different way than 4ed is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by M0rt View Post
    And I don't really know what do you mean by saying that 4ed would be "more popular".
    That it would be more popular than it is. That many more 3.5 players would be switching over if that were the case. Chances are, 3.5 would be becoming the edition of choice for small fringe groups, much like what happened to AD&D 2nd Edition over the few years after 3.0's release.

    Instead, masses are preferring 3.5 over 4.0. Both have their players, but 3.5 players clearly didn't convert as wholly as they could have, and as the systems are so different, 4.0 isn't really replacing 3.5 as much as being used side-by-side with it.
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    3E's complexity is because there are rules provided for virtually everything in one sourcebook or another. 2E's complexity is because the mechanics weren't very internally consistent ("Wait, do I want to roll high or low on this? Why do all the stats give different modifiers for different values, and why does Strength have more possible values then the others?")
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    From a non-crunch standpoint, 4E also largely negated - I use "negated" here in place of "raped" - the continuity and evolution of story material, campaign settings, traditional monsters, spells and characters. I, for one, found it extremely discomfiting.

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    3.X "rewards rules mastery", meaning that if you spend hours upon hours pouring over sourcebooks, you can potentially make an imaginary dude way more awesome than your friend's imaginary dude. Essentially, Dungeons & Dragons: The Gathering. 4E seems less geared towards powergamers.

    Of course, 4E has less options for cheese and for everything else because it hasn't been around as long as 3E, and thus hasn't produced as copious an amount of splatbooks. We can certainly expect to see both power creep and a broader array of fantasy archetypes as the product line grows.

    And, yeah, they went and nuked a bunch of fluff, thereby aliening a bunch of people who had come to like existing settings as they were. A lot of concepts have been significantly tweaked, which is to say that they've piled on yet more retcons.

    They seem to be targeting players dissatisfied with older material rather than players who liked it, probably on the theory that a bunch of players who liked older editions will stick with them no matter what they put out.
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    As much as I hate edition wars (I like both systems, I just happen to be playing 4e exclusively at the moment), I have to weigh in on this one.

    I disagree with people's characterization of 4th edition as overly simplified and video-game like. It's a game rich with options and decisions, especially with all the supplemental material that's been published at this point, and it's definitely not "easier" than 3rd edition by any means. Combat is actually much more difficult for the players, as tactics matter considerably more than they did in 3rd, where characters could be cheesed to the point of auto-winning any encounter. It definitely requires very smart players and DMs. The fact that the rules are more unified and specific than 3rd ed's isn't an insult to the players' intelligence; it's a response to the many, many balance complaints and rules snafus (Pun-Pun, infinite damage punch Crusaders, etc) that can be leveled against 3rd.

    Yes, it doesn't have the broad range of character classes and multi-classing options of 3rd, and it lacks all of the simulationist elements, but that hardly makes it inferior as a role-playing game. We RP quite heavily in one of my games, not so much in the other, but that's more of a playstyle thing than a rules thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by afroakuma View Post
    From a non-crunch standpoint, 4E also largely negated - I use "negated" here in place of "raped" - the continuity and evolution of story material, campaign settings, traditional monsters, spells and characters. I, for one, found it extremely discomfiting.
    ... they managed to screw forgotten realms up, even more than what it was already.

    That's gotta be some kind of achievement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dixieboy View Post
    ... they managed to screw forgotten realms up, even more than what it was already.

    That's gotta be some kind of achievement.
    I would add that complaints about changes to meta-plot and story material for the 4th ed books have little to do with the system itself. I think Wizards had noticed that most groups change the meta-plot or completely homebrew settings anyways, so they were less concerned with those elements in 4th.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dixieboy View Post
    ... they managed to screw forgotten realms up, even more than what it was already.

    That's gotta be some kind of achievement.
    No, they made FR actually bearable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satyr View Post
    I really don't think that simplicity is that much of a negative criterium. I would even say, that a complex system necessarily require a simple and streamlined core mechanism, or else it becomes mostly convoluted. The problem I have with D&D 4 is not that it is simple. The problem I have is that it treats the potential players like morons who need to be taken by the hand and treated as if they were unable to cope with things like options and an interconnection between crunch and fluff. But that's just me, and certainly not a majority position.
    I like games that respect my intelligence.
    I can certainly see how you'd feel that way from reading up on 4e. There aren't as many options for building characters. What I like better about 4e is that you get back those options in game play. 3rd ed fighter types always bored me because the tactical choices were limited to charge vs full attack and possibly trying to flank. A 1st level 4e melee character gets more options than that, so I'd rather play one.

    At any rate, I'm glad that 4e is an entirely different system instead of an upgrade. As an entirely different system, it needs to be, well, different. And people are gonna have their preferences as to which they like better. I don't think its a matter of the new system being easier or harder, but a matter of the new system not being the old system. I'm playing a lot of 4e right now, but I have no plans to sell off my 3.5 books either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Froogleyboy View Post
    Ok I was thinking, People keep saying that 4E is to simple compared to 3.5. BUT so is 2E and 1E. So if 3E and 3.5 never existed, 4E would be more popular. Comments?
    From what I've seen over the months, complexity has nothing to do with it. Yes, people do complain about 4e being simpler or gamelike, but almost every conversation I've heard has gone through the same complaints.

    3e, as different as it was, was supposed to be a conversion of 2e. BAB, saving throws, caster level, etc. were supposed to replicate the 2e system and simplify it into a d20 + bonus style. The success in doing so is best left to another thread (unless you want a 2e-3e discussion here ) but that was the basic idea behind the change.

    4e is not supposed to be a conversion of 3e. 4e is intented as an entirely new system, with the material from earlier editions then translated into the new system. Most of the "anti-4e" crowd doesn't like this conversion, either because they dislike the changes in mechanics ("to WoW-like!") or the changes in official storylines ("I don't like what they did to Forgotten Realms.") or the changes preventing older, previously playable creations (no more CoDZilla).

    Now, don't think that a new system is a bad thing; other game systems have gone through a similar process and survived. I know that Star Wars, at least, has gone from a d6 die pool to a d20 system. Also, I wouln't think of the anti-4e crowd as whining - they do have their reasons for disliking the change. I'd personally prefer hearing less whining everywhere, but I'm as likely to get that as free 4e sourcebooks delivered to my house.

    Back to your question: No, I don't think 4e would be more popular if it appeared directly after 2e. Heck, have you seen the anti-3e commentary from back in 2000? I'm going to give the 4e system a few years before deciding on how "popular" the system ultamitely becomes, so I can't really give you an opinion right now. There's really far more factors than just "4e is simple" to look at, after all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Homeslice View Post
    No, they made FR actually bearable.
    No, no they did not, and it would be good if you did not suggest such a thing.

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    What's so bad about the new Forgotten Realms edition? (No sarcasm intended, I have just heard so many complaints about it without knowing what the actual issues are)

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    It doesn't matter what previous edition was, it doesn't matter what the new edition is.
    People will always complain about change. This is natural.

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    That is not helpful perspective. There are changes to the better, and there are changes for the worse. Yes, it is impossible to make changes everyone is happy with, but that doesn't mean that every change is equally well thought of and equally well implemented. Or plainly said: There are changes which make harsh critique completely worthy - or even necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Froogleyboy View Post
    Ok I was thinking, People keep saying that 4E is to simple compared to 3.5. BUT so is 2E and 1E.
    0E-2E are mechanically simple because they are a series of snap-on parts added to a basic mechanical chassis. 3E & 4E both hunt the snark of mechanical universality and end up embroiled in their own contradictions and inadequacies.

    So if 3E and 3.5 never existed, 4E would be more popular. Comments?
    Mu.

    Without 3E there would be no 4E. 4E is the end result of being given a "think the unthinkable" mandate to try and fix perceived problems with 3E.

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    Unfortunately the designers were a) subject to executive meddling, b) divided over what this elephant thing actually was, and c) all really high at the time.

    Hence in the place of the simplicity and elegance many of the previews promised (I believed 4E had potential, once upon a time) we were given:

    • skill challenge fail
    • illusion of player choice
    • reward entitlement
    • the "Everything is Core!" mantra
    • pay-per-view preview material(!)
    • the idea that adventure = encounters,
    • and a heaping helping of "This is Year 0! Hail the new flesh!" disregard of 30+ years of system experimentation and accumulated gamer culture.


    Good going WOTC. Way to break a loyal fanbase into fissiparous shrapnel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satyr View Post
    What's so bad about the new Forgotten Realms edition? (No sarcasm intended, I have just heard so many complaints about it without knowing what the actual issues are)
    Not that I know much about it, as I haven't been following it closely, but people's beef with 4ed FR is mainly that it's not FR anymore. WoTC has killed half of the rich pantheon and generally turned the setting inside-out either to hammer it into 4ed mechanics and fluff or just for kicks. It's Forgotten Realms for those who don't like Forgotten Realms. That, and FR Wikipedia is a mess right now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by M0rt View Post
    Not that I know much about it, as I haven't been following it closely, but people's beef with 4ed FR is mainly that it's not FR anymore. WoTC has killed half of the rich pantheon and generally turned the setting inside-out either to hammer it into 4ed mechanics and fluff or just for kicks. It's Forgotten Realms for those who don't like Forgotten Realms. That, and FR Wikipedia is a mess right now.
    The bolded is the impression I've gotten, as someone who doesn't like Forgotten Realms.
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    People are saying 4e is too simple? Maybe I'm completely out of touch with the "gaming community," and granted I haven't switched to 4e yet, but simplicity in gaming is, to me, a good thing. Frankly, one of the things about 3.5 that bothers me is that it isn't simple enough. I think that's part of why I like M&M so much.
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    My qualms with 4E have to do with the non-combat parts of the game, namely the lack of non-combat parts of the game. The entire game's fixation on Combat & Balance, to the exclusion of all else, is what keeps me from enjoying the game in any meaningful way. The fights & tactics are great, but there's no in-game context, because there are almost no non-fight-related abilities, skills, feats, fluff, monsters, spells, etc. If it's not about killing the enemy &/or taking their stuff, it's just not there. The designers of 4E are one record for removing these elements deliberately & categorically, changing the game's dynamic in a radical way that hasn't been seen since the early 1970's. Before 4E, a player could suggest any course of action that you could imagine, & it could be accomplished in some way, through some application of the rules. With 4E, I've seen several DMs simply unable to say anything to a player other than "the rules say you can't do that" or "there's no rule for that".

    Don't get me wrong, I think 4E's combat options are balanced & tactically interesting. But so were the rules for Chainmail & other wargames. That doesn't make for a complete/flexible roleplaying experience. And 3E & other editions are very combat-centric, but you could do other stuff, too. This isn't the case in 4E; if you aren't fighting, you're literally not playing the game the right way.

    I don't dislike people who, for whatever reason, enjoy 4E. But ultimately it is undeniable that it is a radically different experience from what we have been playing for the last 30 years or so, & it's not an experience that I am interested in the having to the exclusion of all else. It may be the best tactical combat game in the history of the genre, but that doesn't make it a roleplaying game, & that doesn't make it a game that I want to play.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    The fights & tactics are great, but there's no in-game context, because there are almost no non-fight-related abilities, skills, feats, fluff, monsters, spells, etc. If it's not about killing the enemy &/or taking their stuff, it's just not there. The designers of 4E are one record for removing these elements deliberately & categorically, changing the game's dynamic in a radical way that hasn't been seen since the early 1970's. Before 4E, a player could suggest any course of action that you could imagine, & it could be accomplished in some way, through some application of the rules. With 4E, I've seen several DMs simply unable to say anything to a player other than "the rules say you can't do that" or "there's no rule for that".
    Those sound like really bad game masters, handicapped by their D20 experience and unable to function without the shackles of a rules heavy game. Well, that is how I would look at it anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    Don't get me wrong, I think 4E's combat options are balanced & tactically interesting. But so were the rules for Chainmail & other wargames. That doesn't make for a complete/flexible roleplaying experience. And 3E & other editions are very combat-centric, but you could do other stuff, too. This isn't the case in 4E; if you aren't fighting, you're literally not playing the game the right way.

    I don't dislike people who, for whatever reason, enjoy 4E. But ultimately it is undeniable that it is a radically different experience from what we have been playing for the last 30 years or so, & it's not an experience that I am interested in the having to the exclusion of all else. It may be the best tactical combat game in the history of the genre, but that doesn't make it a roleplaying game, & that doesn't make it a game that I want to play.
    I do not agree with this assessment at all. The real change for D&D came in 2000. Prior to that the game was by no means as rules bound as it became, and D20/4e has put a lot more of the responsibility for task resolution back into the hands of the game master. It is totally inaccurate to see D20/4e as a more significant departure from the post 1979 AD&D/D&D continuum than D20/3e. They simply depart in different ways.

    Where D20/3e keeps much of the basic mechanics of TSR D&D, it overcomplicates, misunderstands and corrupts them beyond superficial similarity. D20/4e chucks away a great many of the basic mechanics, but also a lot of the complicated stuff. It shows a much greater interest in reducing the degree to which the rules control the game experience. D20/4e is further away mechanically from TSR D&D than D20/3e, but closer in its design ethic.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2009-06-01 at 08:37 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Froogleyboy View Post
    Ok I was thinking, People keep saying that 4E is to simple compared to 3.5. BUT so is 2E and 1E. So if 3E and 3.5 never existed, 4E would be more popular. Comments?
    I think the general critique of 4e isn't so much that it is simpler, but most things (within a given party role) play out nearly the same way. Slide, fullround or move, standard power, minor power (or mark) and so on. With powers pretty much centered on HP damage with different modifiers/defense rolls. To be honest, I never really understood how much I enjoyed having psionics and magic as different mechanics from being a regular warrior, until playing 4e. The mechanics wheren't specifically that much different, abilities per day with varying strengths based on the abilities level and your level VS abilities that are used by spending points (that recharge per day) with more points being spent to generally make stronger abilities. Sure its all in the flavor of the game that makes it fun, and 4e is on a path to include nearly every power source 3.X had. However the textual feel of the various classes seem to be lackluster by comparison.

    Also, 1st, 2nd edition, and Advanced DnD aren't specifically simpler, just that the rules are far more open ended, while 4e is much more thought out. Some people enjoy more open ended rules, but a general critique is that it hurts game balance. One thing that can be said to 4Es credit is it is a more balanced version of DnD then any before it. Again, though, the balance comes at a price of everything plays out in a similar fashion than before.

    On the topic of popularity, I don't have the specifics in front of me, but from my experience with the game it seems newer editions are generally more popular than there previous. Its hard to find people who know of the small booklets of 1st edition to play a game, or players who want to play 2nd, adnd (thac0 VS bab) over 3rd. 4E seems to be progressing along with trends as normal, granted it is very new, so time will tell its popularity.

    I for one, think that the major stumbling block of DnD isn't so much people who play Table Top, its the stereotype created by Chick Hurn and others who categorized the game as a tool to worship Satan or other Demonic forces. Oddly enough, I would have expected people who were into that kind of stuff to be playing it. But as time goes on people start to try the game out, and either enjoy it or slowly disregard the idea it is evil instruments. This is a chief reason why DnD has become more popular, imho.

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    The way that I think of it is comparing it to smash:
    3.X is Melee and 4e is Brawl.
    Although Brawl seems to be getting more popular...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dhavaer View Post
    The bolded is the impression I've gotten, as someone who doesn't like Forgotten Realms.
    And I've got that impression as someone who does like Forgotten Realms. So it's most likely true.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: A theory

    What's so bad about the new Forgotten Realms edition? (No sarcasm intended, I have just heard so many complaints about it without knowing what the actual issues are)
    In spoilers so as to try to not derail the thread.

    Spoiler
    Show
    The primary reasons stem from the massive changes to just about every level of the FR. They've moved the setting up long enough for most characters of average human lifespan to die off (either naturally or through disappearing after battles/disasters/pie bake offs/etc).

    They've also shifted the setting itself more from a high-fantasy amalgamation of a million things, to a points-of-light in darkness. This was achieved by killing off characters in some places or destroying cities or parts of cities in others and generally rewriting history.

    The death of pantheons of gods is a sore point for me, particularly. I liked having a hundred different gods. I thought each god had character unto themselves. (Another issue I have is the way that most of the gods were killed)

    A major problem for me was the complete absense of certain locations in the Players Guide. I realize that some locations may fall through the cracks, but I believe it was done so they could garner more subscriptions for their Insider service, as I'm certain that's where they will be unveiled.

    There are more reasons, but those are the ones that jump out at me. In all, it feels like the Players Guide, Campaign Setting and Grand History of the Realsms (and I mean these as combined, not separate books) seem like poor children compared to the 3.0 Campaign Setting or even the 3.5 Players Guide to Faerun. No subraces (except in feats), less actual history, larger print, less geographic information and less detailed focus all-around. As it was said before, it feels like the FR after someone who didn't like the FR toyed around with it instead of making a different setting.
    Last edited by CheshireCatAW; 2009-06-01 at 09:28 AM.
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