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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    I've been unable to sleep, and that tends to help my mind think around itself. In this case wading through the arguments over the new edition of D&D, I think I've hit upon what really bugged me about 3rd edition. I'll state it, then analyze why I might see it that way, so don't jump on me off the bat.

    3rd edition felt like it took the focus away from the team and towards the solo achievements. My memories of 2nd Edition are a bit dated, but I remember team abilities being key. It wasn't the prettiest system, but different classes had different strengths (though "levels faster" was the main strength of non-casters). 4th Edition seems to be heavily emphasizing the team dynamic, with each class being identified with how they affect the party. For example, there's a lot more focus on movement than in previous editions, where a full attack limited you to five feet. On a battlefield, movement matters with respect to >each other<; powers such as the Rogue's tendency to shift guys around don't help nearly as much alone, since the enemy can just walk back.

    As for why I think that, I believe a major factor is my exposure to the systems. 2nd Edition was handled solely with my friends in actual games, before I got access to the internet in any real amount. My first 4th edition exposure was with my current friends putting a group together. In contrast to that, I didn't play many 3rd edition games. Most of my exposure to that system was following discussions on this board and others, which tend to focus on zero-flexibility rules-lawyering optimization. As a result that's how I remember 3rd edition: all the ways to break it (like full access to splatbooks without any regard for actual play with other people and a DM).

    So it's fairly clear that my experiences with the systems have colored how I think of them. What I'm curious about is whether there's a grain of truth in there? Were communities of people on BBSes for first and second edition breaking the game just as badly, or does something about 3rd edition promote that train of thought?

    Given the nature of this post, I'd like to emphasize that responses are unlikely to be more than other opinions. One man's distaste is another's favorite part.
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Interesting subject. I think that the sorts of people who really enjoy the 'character building' aspect of D20 are the same sorts of people who felt constrained by the difficulty of doing so in AD&D. I think the same applies to the demographic for 'breaking the game' [i.e. it's the same sort of people attempting to break D20 as were attempting to break AD&D]].

    Does the system actively encourage or discourage this? Well, I would go so far as to say that D20 encourages 'character building', simply by its extreme feasibility. In that regard, it is a sort of 'game within the game' and encourages people to play the 'meta game' more than previous incarnations, where your character building options (and thus game breaking options) were more limited.

    D20 also has a very 'set in stone' and complex set of RAW, whilst AD&D had a very simple default set of the rules and a huge number of optional rules that could unbalance the game in various ways if the game master allowed them in any old combination. On the other hand, many of the D20 rules are in fact optional, but are treated as though they are not because (I suspect) the majority of them are intended to all work together.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2008-06-19 at 02:58 PM.
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it sounds to me like your main problem with 3E is that you didn't play it.

    Yes, one could merely skim through the forums & get an impression of the game being horrendously broken & insanely flawed in favor of min-maxxing munchkins. But that's an incomplete picture, at best. Third Edition does a tremendous job at emulating reality, while still providing a relatively simple game interface (at least at lower levels). It flaws are mainly found in the eyes of those rules-lawyers who look to exploit any weakness to their advantage, & are willing to combine any & all resources (no matter how incongruous) to do so.

    Much of the forum talk is phrased in the form of thought exercises, not actual gameplay advice. Pun-Pun & its ilk are non-designed for real games, & most optimization discussions take it as an assumption that your DM would have to be braindead to let you get away with the numerical shenanigans required to break the game in any significant way. And most rule-lawyers ignore the most important rule of all: Rule 0. Rule 0 says, succintly, "What the DM says, goes." This is the best tool that DM's have for settling munchkinism, & is likely the best 3E rule evar.

    Don't judge 3E until you've played it. My judgment on 4E is largely pending more game-time.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by The New Bruceski View Post
    Most of my exposure to that system was following discussions on this board and others, which tend to focus on zero-flexibility rules-lawyering optimization. As a result that's how I remember 3rd edition: all the ways to break it (like full access to splatbooks without any regard for actual play with other people and a DM).
    If you look around a bit, you'll also find some threads here and over at WotC detailing ways to 'break' 4e, too. Such as the rogue who deals 3700+ damage in a round and the fighter who out-damages rogues (admittedly, this isn't so much breaking the game as it is a design flaw in the Class Role concept of 4e).

    As the hubbub about the new illusion spells demonstrates, the splat/power creep that contributed the breaking of 3e is going to be a part of 4e as well.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    I agree with the initial post. In my experience 3.x does lead to a significantly higher proportion of people trying to "break the game" simply becouse they can in character creation. Just from games I've played and what I've observed.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    To give the OP his due, he isn't actually talking overmuch about people "breaking" 3.X, just about its having less emphasis on the "team". I think he's got a point.

    Look at it this way. 3.X made things way more flexible, because people figured there was no reason that you shouldn't be able to be a cleric who fights, or a wizard who steals, or whatever, but that effectively abolished the concept of niche protection. Instead of building a party, you built four individual characters. In some ways that was excellent, because it meant you weren't stuck in the tired old Fighter/Thief/Mage roles. In other ways it was problematic.

    Personally, I like my niches protected.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan_Hemmens View Post
    Personally, I like my niches protected.
    Thats not what I've heard, Ooo err... sorry couldn't resist.

    I do agree however about the more individualistic nature of 3e, which I must admit does appeal to me in some ways. Myy main beef is with running 3e, the combat encounters tend to swing between walk in the park and multiple character death with the success or failure of a few saving throws, and don't get me started on glibness in social encounters...

    Anyway this is bound to stir up some venom and bile, and I've promised myself I'd steer clear of all this pointless bile, so feel free to call into question my DMing prowess or whatever, I just call it how I see it.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity View Post
    Anyway this is bound to stir up some venom and bile, and I've promised myself I'd steer clear of all this pointless bile, so feel free to call into question my DMing prowess or whatever, I just call it how I see it.
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    I'm a little offended at someone telling me that I didn't have problems with Third Edition (or in this case, insinuating that if I'm complaining that clearly I never played it).

    The problems were real, and I literally had them written down (with plans to work around them) when Fourth Edition was announced. Lo and behold, the two were quite similar.

    I had problems with players running fighters, who sighed and said "I attack again" because that's all their class was designed to do.

    I had problems with players running clerics and wizards, who slowed down the game (to an extent neither they nor the other players were happy with) just managing the list of spells they'd picked, completely disregarding the times they attempted to select a new set of spells from the gargantuan list of "every spell ever published."

    I had problems with players who were disappointed to find out their character buffed and healed in combat and did little else.

    These are a piece of one facet of an example of a singular problem among the many complications and frustrations that Third Edition presented to me. (I simultaneously recognize and defend that I had both fun and frustration.) In all these cases, I considered "so play a different class" a horribly rude suggestion, and "so homebrew it" to be a suggestion that unhealthily embraced what I considered sunk costs. (Some design aspects of 3e are so entrenched as to introduce negative momentum towards their correction; I'd be better off starting from scratch, or selecting a more appropriate system... as I ultimately did.) I wanted the game to help my players realize their character's abilities and make them easy and fun to use during play. To that end, 4e is a better realization of my goals.

    I'm in complete acceptance that some people have identified a specific set of goals and needs for their roleplaying experience, and feel that 3e meets those needs better than 4e. That's fine. Hell, that's probably the best way to explain one's thoughts on this whole sordid affair. But the banner-waving that one way of playing is better is both ridiculous and fruitless. Moreover, telling others that disagree with you that they clearly don't know what they're talking about is a little offensive for something that is, and shall remain, a difference of opinion and personal preferences.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Charity View Post
    I do agree however about the more individualistic nature of 3e, which I must admit does appeal to me in some ways. My main beef is with running 3e, the combat encounters tend to swing between walk in the park and multiple character death with the success or failure of a few saving throws, and don't get me started on glibness in social encounters...
    3E save-or-die 'rocket launcher tag'. Not my favourite part of the system either. Such a hassle to fix though...

    4E? I've seen it typified as 'padded sumo' to 3E's 'rocket launcher tag'. You spend hours sawing away at huge lumps of hit points with your 50' range n[W] + status effect attacks, and bounce about the place like a rubber ball when struck.

    As to the OPs original comments: of course you're going to gain a different impression of 3E from reading about it than you are from playing 4E. Whatever floats yer boat though.
    Last edited by bosssmiley; 2008-06-20 at 08:19 AM.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    What third edition did, and what I see 4th trying very hard to "repair," is the concept of the individual is greater than the team.

    Third was so focused on the individual character build, the drive to realize your "character concept" that there was absolutely no motivation to build "a team player." The focus was always on the individual and how awesome they can be and how you can realize any dream for a character you had (unless you didn't want to play a full caster, then you were SOL).

    Niche protection, as somebody noted above, was virtually abolished, and so just about anybody could do just about anything as well as somebody else with a few exceptions.

    The result? A bunch of individuals that just happened to be walking into a dungeon together.

    With the niche protection from older editions, and to a lesser extent 4th edition, characters are forced to rely on each other to a greater extent to fill in the "missing ability gap" that the others have. It forced you to build teamwork skills beyond "hey can you help me flank this guy?" and build strategies around each others capabilities rather than around your own.
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    I think how you were exposed would have an influence on perceptions of teamwork in D&D 3e. I haven't played 4e so my perceptions are based on what people on the boards say (ex. it's good, but limited). But that's alright, people agreeing on a system is kinda like having a group of people agree to a set of pizza toppings on one pizza. =^_^= So yeah, it's all a matter of opinion like you said.

    My personal opinion is that teamwork is more largely based on how the players interact rather then the system itself.
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by DigoDragon View Post
    I think how you were exposed would have an influence on perceptions of teamwork in D&D 3e. I haven't played 4e so my perceptions are based on what people on the boards say (ex. it's good, but limited). But that's alright, people agreeing on a system is kinda like having a group of people agree to a set of pizza toppings on one pizza. =^_^= So yeah, it's all a matter of opinion like you said.

    My personal opinion is that teamwork is more largely based on how the players interact rather then the system itself.
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    Yes, teamwork is often a function of the players more than the system. My point, though, was that they system of 3.x rewards "lone wolf" highly individualist modes of character creation and play with no reward for teamwork (except a few minor bonuses) while AD&D and OD&D systems virtually enforced the teamwork aspect by making each PC reliant on his comrades for success.

    It's a function of different mentalities and zeitgeists. Back when D&D was first loosed upon an unsuspecting world, people were, simply put, more social, more group oriented. Now, people are far more individual, less concerned with the group as they are with themselves. They don't call it "the Me Generation" for nothing you know.
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by The New Bruceski View Post
    My memories of 2nd Edition are a bit dated, but I remember team abilities being key. It wasn't the prettiest system, but different classes had different strengths (though "levels faster" was the main strength of non-casters).
    It's been a while since I played AD&D, too, but I don't remember any particular team-orientation - at least, aside from trying to help the Rogue in position to Backstab.

    It's more that AD&D had no particular team or individual aspects - most classes didn't have much tactical variation (even casters were more comparable to 4'th edition casters than to 3'rd edition casters), and individual customizability was limited - so each group would just do whatever with their own game.

    As for 3.x, I could tell you something that would have made teamwork much more important in combat: Make buffing and assisting into minor actions. Even Aid Another would see more use with that little houserule.

    This is because combat in 3.x was extremely time-sensitive - action economy was extremely powerful because combat ended relatively quickly.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    I think you've got your terminology a bit mixed up. 4e doesn't actually reward teamwork. What it rewards is weight of numbers; since all classes are now of very similar power, the way to win is to have as many as possible of your guys against as few as possible of their guys.

    Sure, you can use teamwork and interwoven tactics if you feel like it, but you'll get pretty much the same result by just having every party member line up and hit one enemy, then move on to the next. With fewer party members, you have fewer hitting. With more party members, you have more hitting. That's all there is to it.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    It does seem to be rewarding teamwork, thought. Your accomplishing the parties goals by working together as opposed to a single character that is dishing out all of the damage.
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Saph - I think you're underestimating the impact of attack-buffs towards promoting teamwork in combat.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Indon View Post
    Saph - I think you're underestimating the impact of attack-buffs towards promoting teamwork in combat.
    But 4e's attack-buffs are many times weaker than 3.5's. I don't think there's a single 4e attack-buff - even at very high levels - that comes anywhere near matching 3.5's Haste as a melee-damage booster. And haste is a level 3 spell. The same applies for non-magical tricks - tripping and surrounding an enemy is much less effective in 4e than it was in 3.5.

    I think what might be happening here is that lots of people who never really tried teamwork in 3.5 are getting into it in 4e and being surprised at how effective it is - without realising that they could have done pretty much the same before.

    - Saph
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    But 4e's attack-buffs are many times weaker than 3.5's. I don't think there's a single 4e attack-buff - even at very high levels - that comes anywhere near matching 3.5's Haste as a melee-damage booster. And haste is a level 3 spell. The same applies for non-magical tricks - tripping and surrounding an enemy is much less effective in 4e than it was in 3.5.

    I think what might be happening here is that lots of people who never really tried teamwork in 3.5 are getting into it in 4e and being surprised at how effective it is - without realising that they could have done pretty much the same before.

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    3'rd editions buffs have to be more powerful - they took actions, which is an extremely valuable commodity in 3'rd edition. Even as powerful as 3'rd edition buffs are, they were still expensive, because you generally could not buff and do something else simultaneously.

    4'th edition buffs might not do much, but they're essentially free, part of the Damage+Effect formula. So even with a small effect, at more or less no cost, who wouldn't use them?

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Indon View Post
    It's been a while since I played AD&D, too, but I don't remember any particular team-orientation - at least, aside from trying to help the Rogue in position to Backstab.

    It's more that AD&D had no particular team or individual aspects - most classes didn't have much tactical variation (even casters were more comparable to 4'th edition casters than to 3'rd edition casters), and individual customizability was limited - so each group would just do whatever with their own game.
    .
    Not at all true.

    There is PLENTY of tactical variation even within two virtually identical characters. It's all in how you use what you've got.

    For instance, a cleric in AD&D (specifically 2nd edition) is one of the most powerful classes in some situations because his spells can incapacitate multiple enemies at once. Or he can concentrate on buff and heal spells. Or he can use combat spells.

    Fighters have plenty of options including charging, shield bashing, tanking, archery, shield wall, etc.

    The point was that each class, while strong in what it can do best, is weak in other areas and so must rely on their compatriots to fill the ability gap. A mage, for instance, can rain down unholly death on the entire battlefield, but he's especially vulnerable if an enemy gets in close unopposed. A fighter can't cast spells and, at range, is pretty much limited to bows or slings or crossbows, but when the mage runs out of spells and is forced to rely on "sub-optimal" tactics, the fighter is still going strong. Thieves are great at positioning themselves out of the way for a backstab, but in toe-to-toe combat are much more vulnerable, so they rely on the rest of the party to distract the enemy while they move into better position.

    It all hinges on recognizing what you're capable of, and what you need the rest of the party to do to pull the rest of the slack up. Working as a team in AD&D is FAR more crucial than in 3.x which amounts to "let the wizard do it."
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Not a double post.

    Go away.
    Last edited by hamlet; 2008-06-20 at 12:37 PM.
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by hamlet View Post
    The point was that each class, while strong in what it can do best, is weak in other areas and so must rely on their compatriots to fill the ability gap. A mage, for instance, can rain down unholly death on the entire battlefield, but he's especially vulnerable if an enemy gets in close unopposed. A fighter can't cast spells and, at range, is pretty much limited to bows or slings or crossbows, but when the mage runs out of spells and is forced to rely on "sub-optimal" tactics, the fighter is still going strong. Thieves are great at positioning themselves out of the way for a backstab, but in toe-to-toe combat are much more vulnerable, so they rely on the rest of the party to distract the enemy while they move into better position.

    It all hinges on recognizing what you're capable of, and what you need the rest of the party to do to pull the rest of the slack up. Working as a team in AD&D is FAR more crucial than in 3.x which amounts to "let the wizard do it."
    How did this change in 3rd edition? What made wizards no longer dead if the enemy got in close unopposed, for example?
    Last edited by The New Bruceski; 2008-06-20 at 03:36 PM.
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by The New Bruceski View Post
    How did this change in 4th edition? What made wizards no longer dead if the enemy got in close unopposed, for example?
    Not quite sure what you're saying here, but 4e wizards are actually fine against enemies up close.

    Compare a level 21 (start of Epic) fighter with a level 21 wizard. Both start off with 18s in their main stats and so have boosted their main stat to 24 each. Let's say the wizard has leather armour (and the proficiency feat) and the fighter has scale (and the scale specialisation feat).

    Wizard AC (before magic items): 29
    Fighter AC (before magic items): 28
    Wizard HP: 90 + Con
    Fighter HP: 135 + Con

    The fighter has a worse AC than the wizard, but a bit under 50% more hit points. He'll have a better Fort save, but worse Reflex and Will. The fighter's tougher, but there's not much in it; it's no big deal if the wizard gets forced into melee.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by The New Bruceski View Post
    So it's fairly clear that my experiences with the systems have colored how I think of them. What I'm curious about is whether there's a grain of truth in there? Were communities of people on BBSes for first and second edition breaking the game just as badly, or does something about 3rd edition promote that train of thought?
    Short version: Yes. I was on FidoNet and Usenet during 2nd Edition. For many classes there were few (if any) character building options, but that just meant that those looking to optimize/break the system focused their attention on kits and casters (where that type of optimization was possible).

    There were also the equipment optimizers, although these were harder to actually implement in play (since there were no item creation rules).

    And if you think the optimizers are going to disappear with 4th Edition, I've got a bridge to sell you. :)

    I have not seen any appreciable difference in the amount of teamwork displayed in 3rd Edition compared to previous editions. I've only done a few 4th Edition playtests, but I haven't seen much of a shift there, either.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    Not quite sure what you're saying here, but 4e wizards are actually fine against enemies up close.



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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by bosssmiley View Post
    4E? I've seen it typified as 'padded sumo' to 3E's 'rocket launcher tag'. You spend hours sawing away at huge lumps of hit points with your 50' range n[W] + status effect attacks, and bounce about the place like a rubber ball when struck.
    The very first 4th Edition session I ran, the party fighter bit it in the second encounter. From positive hit points straight down to negative bloodied in an avalanche of swarming rodent death. Combat certainly has more safety gear than it did in 3.X, but you can still die. Oh, believe me, you can still die.

    (On a related note, sending three rat swarms against a party without a wizard is a very mean thing to do.)
    Last edited by Dausuul; 2008-06-20 at 03:52 PM.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by The New Bruceski View Post
    How did this change in 3rd edition? What made wizards no longer dead if the enemy got in close unopposed, for example?
    Because, "played properly," a wizard can solve all problems anywhere within 2 rounds in 3rd edition and then do it all again within 8.5 hours.

    Meanwhile, 3rd edition fighters are all but useless past level 7 and are there to properly "ooooh and awwww" at the wizard's rank awesomeness.

    That's not teamwork, that's complete uselessness paired with demi-deity-hood.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by The New Bruceski View Post
    I've been unable to sleep, and that tends to help my mind think around itself. In this case wading through the arguments over the new edition of D&D, I think I've hit upon what really bugged me about 3rd edition. I'll state it, then analyze why I might see it that way, so don't jump on me off the bat.

    3rd edition felt like it took the focus away from the team and towards the solo achievements. My memories of 2nd Edition are a bit dated, but I remember team abilities being key. It wasn't the prettiest system, but different classes had different strengths (though "levels faster" was the main strength of non-casters). 4th Edition seems to be heavily emphasizing the team dynamic, with each class being identified with how they affect the party. For example, there's a lot more focus on movement than in previous editions, where a full attack limited you to five feet. On a battlefield, movement matters with respect to >each other<; powers such as the Rogue's tendency to shift guys around don't help nearly as much alone, since the enemy can just walk back.

    As for why I think that, I believe a major factor is my exposure to the systems. 2nd Edition was handled solely with my friends in actual games, before I got access to the internet in any real amount. My first 4th edition exposure was with my current friends putting a group together. In contrast to that, I didn't play many 3rd edition games. Most of my exposure to that system was following discussions on this board and others, which tend to focus on zero-flexibility rules-lawyering optimization. As a result that's how I remember 3rd edition: all the ways to break it (like full access to splatbooks without any regard for actual play with other people and a DM).

    So it's fairly clear that my experiences with the systems have colored how I think of them. What I'm curious about is whether there's a grain of truth in there? Were communities of people on BBSes for first and second edition breaking the game just as badly, or does something about 3rd edition promote that train of thought?

    Given the nature of this post, I'd like to emphasize that responses are unlikely to be more than other opinions. One man's distaste is another's favorite part.
    Maybe they should make a new edition or something.

    But I think people have been powergaming far before games had anything to do with it. Industry, society, politics, tech, etc..
    Last edited by Maerok; 2008-06-20 at 04:18 PM.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    Quote Originally Posted by The New Bruceski View Post
    How did this change in 3rd edition? What made wizards no longer dead if the enemy got in close unopposed, for example?
    Concentration checks. Casting defensively. Five-foot-steps. Elimination of casting times. Metamagics, particularly Quicken. Larger Con bonuses to HP. Easier access to non-armor sources of AC plus nerfing of actual armor. Save-or-die spells plus save DC boosters plus opponents that almost all have at least one save that they just cannot make.
    Play your character, not your alignment.

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    Default Re: My beef with 3rd Ed (pure opinion)

    I agree 100% with everything RukiTanuki said in their post. Good job there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saph View Post
    I think you've got your terminology a bit mixed up. 4e doesn't actually reward teamwork. What it rewards is weight of numbers; since all classes are now of very similar power, the way to win is to have as many as possible of your guys against as few as possible of their guys.

    Sure, you can use teamwork and interwoven tactics if you feel like it, but you'll get pretty much the same result by just having every party member line up and hit one enemy, then move on to the next. With fewer party members, you have fewer hitting. With more party members, you have more hitting. That's all there is to it.

    - Saph
    Ganging up on enemies is basic combat strategy. Every combat system should reward it. If it didn't, it would be useless as a combat system.

    Also, do you have any evidence for your supposition that using teamwork doesn't improve combat outcome?
    You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist. - Friedrich Nietzsche

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