(The Wait for) 4th Edition is the Best Thing to Happen to Gamers in a Long While

[IMG=alignLeft]http://www.epictable.com/images/blog/hourglass.png[/IMG]Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition was announced last GenCon, and since then, both game vendors and purchasers have been reluctant to put money into a to-be-obsolete game system. The role... [View original post]


  • I'm curious how much of 4E will be derived from indie rpgs. I'm already seeing Star Wars Saga Edition taking things from True20, which in turn borrowed from either FATE or AGON.

    I feel that Story Games are much better suited to Virtual Tabletop play than tactical games. In fact, I found the indie-gaming scene as a result of my search for a better system to run my campaign. Better, in this case, meaning that I got sick of combat taking 3 hours and having the story grind to a halt. I got sick of running a game for 4 hours and not having fun.

    I'd suggest that anyone who enjoys roleplaying, developing characters and advancing plot, look into these games. They might find that the very things that frustrate them in d20 (or other tactics-centric games) have been remedied.
  • So far from what I've read about 4E, there's nothing extremely compelling. Especially nothing that's going to have me running out to replace my 20-plus 3/3.5E book collection. It feels to me like its coming too soon, I'm just not ready for a change. I love 3.5, how are they going to convince me to upgrade?!

    John's right though, now's a good time to see what else is out there, although I think in the long run, d20 is going to be on top where it deserves to be.
  • I agree that d20 is likely to land on top. I'm less sure about the "deserves" part.

    Personally, I hope that D&D 4th Edition makes good on its promises of making higher levels more playable. I'm running a 3.5 game in which the characters are 14th level, and I find myself borrowing ideas from other game systems in an effort to counteract the drag imposed by all those rules.

    However, I'm skeptical about 4th Edition's ability to really deal with that. I'm equally skeptical about Savage Worlds, Castles & Crusades, etc., etc...which is not to say I'm uninterested in seeing what they have to offer. More and more, though, I suspect that there's something inherently flawed about the advancement mechanism and the enumeration of powers and abilities that's common to all games of the D&D lineage.

    Thankfully, we're not compelled to play just one game. My bookshelf full of d20 material isn't wasted by my playing a non-d20 game. For me, it's always been about the fluff, not to the crunch, and fluff is systemless.
  • I think 4th edition is going to be the best yet. Personally speaking, I hated high level 3rd edition. All it did was stop the game every round with someone opening their books to discuss and debate rules. It totally drives me crazy. All I want is for the group to make progress, get through more than one battle a night, unravel the story that I have for them, and KEEP THE BOOKS CLOSED.

    From what I have read, 4th edition already addressed the issues related to diplomacy and other negotiating skill checks. That alone keeps me optimistic that the future of D&D is going to be a bright one. *fingers crossed*

    Let's face it, the gaming world has changed. The gamers of today are all about making progress, leveling, getting cool abilities, and feeling a sense of accomplishment. I think Wotc had no choice but to look at this morphing audience and they too came to the realization that they had to morph with them, not only to satisfy the current audience but to attract new gamers to the world of D&D. Smart move if you ask me. Change is a good thing. Heck, if there wasn't change, we would still be playing Pac-Man instead of World of Warcraft. Who would have thought they there would have been a day where we would be paying monthly to play a video game? And yet Blizzard has over 2 million subscribers who eagerly stuff over ten dollars a month into their pockets.

    Again, change is good and I am extremely excited about 4th edition. Bring it on!
  • I think you're absolutely right--4th Edition will make some real improvements, and I share your frustration with high-level 3rd edition. I think your comments about the gaming world changing are true, at least for a segment of newer gamers, and I do wonder if WotC will make D&D more and more like WoW and other MMORPGs. I suspect it's the "right" thing to do from a business perspective. Maybe even it's the "right" thing in some broader philosophical way. I mean, if it's what people want.... I personally love WoW, but I don't want my RPG to become more like it. I'm not going to rant at WotC for "changing my game", though. I'll pick up 4E, at least out of curiosity, and maybe it'll be just what I'm after. If not, there are plenty of RPGs springing up, and in the age of VTs, I don't have to worry as much about finding players for a less well-known game. I suspect that those who want WoW a little roleplaying are net adds to the pen-and-paper RPG community, so the current player base isn't going to be decimated. A MMORPG-like pen-and-paper RPG may even bring in a wider audience and help boost all RPGs, as some subset of the new players delve deeper into roleplaying.
  • I just don't think Wizards and Hasbro have visionary people running the show. It's 2008 and I can't purchase an online subscription and have computer-based searchable access to all their content? Or even a package like Rule Books and Forgotten Realms setting? Their fear of the Internet and computers is absolutely ridiculous. Worst of all, they are leaving recurring revenues that require minimal adverstising for renewals on the table.

    The reason I find frustration with traditional D&D is that we live in a computing age. When I was a kid and wanted to find a rule and it took 5 minutes to look up, it was no big deal; I was young and had all kinds of time, but today, I don't have that much free time and I live in a world where almost anything is at my fingertips in seconds. Do they honestly think they are going to win the Google generation over with a rules update? Long time customers are frustrated and new generation players don't have the time for rifling through pages and pages of rules.

    An online, indexed, searchable subscription to go along with an integrated VT would catapult the D&D line back into something enjoyable, exciting and popular. RPGs have inherent advantage over video games; imagination. No video game will ever have as much FREE downloadable content as a great GMs mind. It baffles me that they fail to recognize this.
  • I don't know what to think about WotC. I think they have some genuinely talented people, and they've had several generations to hone some of the game mechanics. By and large, I think they do a reasonable, if somewhat inconsistent, job with the actual content and mechanics. And they've got the money to pay for art and production value--although Paizo's stuff is stunning, and I don't know who's backing them.

    In terms of their forays into the internet side of things, though, I agree with you--they've not done a stellar job there, and they have seem to have more than their share of abandoned digital initiatives.

    I do like that as a subscriber of...wait...that's Paizo.:o Okay, so I like the way as a subscriber of Dungeon, and now Pathfinder, I have access to the stuff in electronic form. That was, in fact, a major early motivator of EpicTable--I wanted to play on maps that looked like Christopher West's maps.
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