"Everything is core" - What it actually meant, for perspective, and what that means for 5e

A common pro/con (depending on who you talk to) of 4e is "everything is core".  People go back and forth about it, why it was good or bad, but I've noticed some have a severe misunderstanding of what it actually meant, leading to disagreements and poor argumentation, from both sides.

So, what is "Everything is Core"?  A lot of people assume that because "everything is core" it means that everything, from the actual core books to supplements and splatbooks, is on the table and available in a campaign.

This is only partly true.

What it actually means is that everything is designed according to a universal standard, and that anything can be used by the DM without fear of upsetting the game experience (balance, mechanical structure, etc).  As many older players will attest, supplements weren't always held to a clear standard.  For good or for ill, many supplements didn't follow any specific design paradigms.  In 1e and especially 2e, most supplements added new rules and sub-systems, many of which made characters significantly more powerful than characters that didn't use these rules.  Certainly, these additional rules made the game significantly more complex.  A great number of DMs would ban or restrict these supplements, out of a variety of concerns.  This is not a condemnation of these early editions, just a statement of fact.  A lot of these new rules and whatnot were great fun.  Generally, you can think of them as high-risk, high reward.

In 3e, the core system was greatly simplified.  Roll high, good.  Roll low, bad.  D20+mods, and beat the DC.  Everything spread from that.  There were a great number of sub-systems, but they all came down to that core mechanical truth.  Supplements added new sub-systems and details, and they largely kept this truth.  As a result, less supplements were outright banned because of concerns over complexity.  However, not all supplements were created equal, and some supplements gave vastly more effective power than others, and as a result some DMs banned them out of concerns for character balance and table management.  In many cases, the obscene power boost offered by some supplements turned DMs off of all supplements, out of some sense of "preventative care".

4e sought to remove that fear.  If for no other reason, that fear impacted potential sales, because who would buy what they wouldn't ever use.

So, in 4e, every supplement is designed according to some core assumptions about the game.  Not only was 4e free of a huge number of sub-systems (again, for good or for ill, depending on who you ask), every supplement was designed under these strict paradigms.  It wasn't until very late in 4e's lifespan that design branched out from the core mechanics (Psionic Augmentation, Runes, Essentials in general), and even then, they didn't stretch very far.  In theory (if not always in practice), everything was designed around a clear concept of relative power level, and a DM could add any supplement to their game without upsetting the balance at the table, or vastly changing the experience of the game and its mechanics.

So it's not that "everything is automatically allowed, as if it was printed in the core rulebook", but "everything is designed according to the standards of the core rulebook, and thus can be added by the DM without needing to be carefully watched".

"Everything is Core" didn't mean you had to include Warforged in your campaign setting, so much as including Warforged (and other Living Constructs) wouldn't mess up your game if you didn't keep a close eye on them.

So what does this mean for 5e?  Well, we know that 5e is designed around a solid core, with alternate rules and sub-systems to be added in via modules that can be plugged in and out as needed or desired by the DM (and the group).

The big (rhetorical) question I have is whether those modules will be designed in the spirit of 4e, in that a DM would be able to add them without having to excessively worry about upsetting balance or the core play experience.  And the followup question, should DMs even worry about it at all, even if the modules did "upset balance"?
Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" class="mceContentBody " contenteditable="true" />You're right, why not is not a bad question.  It is fine.  But, let me put it into context. 

DM: All right, we recapped the last 6 sessions where you guys have been walking through the mountain pass to rach the dwarven kingdowm of Frostcliff.  Along the way, you've encountered a small village being ransacked by a yeti, and a cult of northmen that prays to the werewolf, Silvermane.  You leveled, so tell me what your group of elves learned.

Player 1: I learned Samauri Movement.  
DM: Huh?
Player 1: Yea, I took the feat out of "place title of Dragon Article here."
DM: May I see it?
Player 1: Sure.  (hands the character sheet over.)
DM: No.  This doesn't fit.
Player 1: Why not?

This is a real example.  We had just as silly an example when treking through the Underdark for months.   

Not to be obtuse, but why not?

The Feat Samurai Movement may have some fluff attached to it, but in the end it is just a number of mechanical advantages. The idea that those advantages could only have been taight to the character by a Samurai is ridiculously stupid. Rename it Elven Step and refluff it, and let it go.

I was not DM, as that's how I would have handled it.  But, I also show courtesy to the DM's judgement as well.  If it would have been my campaign, I would have probably refluffed it.  But, it wasn't.  It was his.  And since he said "it doesn't fit," then I assume the player should take that as it doesn't fit for him, and pick something else. 

Your description makes it sound like you had a problem with your DM, not with "everything is core."

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

I thought it was jsut a big marketing spin until they shoehorned 4th ed races into the 4th ed updates of pre 4th ed campaign settings. The less said about FR the better and Eberron was always presented as a place for any race you liked.

 In Darksun they refluffed the Goliath as a half giant (meh) and the 2nd ed race was completely different. Dragonborn were refluffed as Dray evne though the Dray were a very rare race, unknown to the Sorcerer Kings and they actually had 2 races of Dray and they had no breath weapons.

 Athasian elves also had no subraces so that kind of excludes the Eladrin and IIRC I think 4th ed clerics didn not exist either despite 2nd ed actually having clerics. I suppose designing a cleric with pacts and chaning the power source to elemental was to much work.

 PoL should have been where you can fit all of that stuff in, FR should have been the old FR don't like it don't play there and DS could have been a place where you can have a large half giant with a +4 strength and power up the other races. Just label them as Darksun races  and they are not supposed to be used in a normal 4th ed game. Hate FR? play PoL or Eberron. Want a high powered game on a post apocalyptic world play Darksun. Thats more or less what things like camapign setting are for- try somehitng different form the default assumptions.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

I thought it was jsut a big marketing spin until they shoehorned 4th ed races into the 4th ed updates of pre 4th ed campaign settings. The less said about FR the better and Eberron was always presented as a place for any race you liked.

 In Darksun they refluffed the Goliath as a half giant (meh) and the 2nd ed race was completely different. Dragonborn were refluffed as Dray evne though the Dray were a very rare race, unknown to the Sorcerer Kings and they actually had 2 races of Dray and they had no breath weapons.

 Athasian elves also had no subraces so that kind of excludes the Eladrin and IIRC I think 4th ed clerics didn not exist either despite 2nd ed actually having clerics. I suppose designing a cleric with pacts and chaning the power source to elemental was to much work.

 PoL should have been where you can fit all of that stuff in, FR should have been the old FR don't like it don't play there and DS could have been a place where you can have a large half giant with a +4 strength and power up the other races. Just label them as Darksun races  and they are not supposed to be used in a normal 4th ed game. Hate FR? play PoL or Eberron. Want a high powered game on a post apocalyptic world play Darksun. Thats more or less what things like camapign setting are for- try somehitng different form the default assumptions.



With that, here's to the new approach of "everything is modular".  Save the weird retcons/contradictions and whatnot for extra (Magazine, side panel, fandom) or perhaps a setting variation splatbook (similar to my idea on a Modular Forgotten Realms!  Save the seperate eras and whatnot for specific books to expand upon)

Crazed undead horror posing as a noble and heroic forum poster!

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
I would like a "Everything is balanced" design goal.

they tried that with 4th Ed. Not only did they fail abysmally at it (as witnessed by the copious amounts of errata produced), it sucked out the flavor and fun many people had with D&D.

That's a misunderstanding of the situation. It's true that 4e had a lot of errata - a lot more than previous editions - but it's not because they failed abysmally at balance, but because they got relatively close - so close that it actually made sense to make the effort to hammer out the dents and shine out the scratches. (Also, the majority of the errata is not power-level errata to begin with.) Errataing 4e for balance (and releasing the unfortunate patch feats) is like shining the scratches out of a car that got dinged up a little bit. Errataing 3.5 for balance would be like trying to polish the scraches out of a car that was smashed to bits and lit on fire. With a lot of effort you could maybe make some small improvements, but it doesn't really make much sense to try to polish up little parts when you're not making much of a difference compared to the systematic issues.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
I would like a "Everything is balanced" design goal.

they tried that with 4th Ed. Not only did they fail abysmally at it (as witnessed by the copious amounts of errata produced), it sucked out the flavor and fun many people had with D&D.

That's a misunderstanding of the situation. It's true that 4e had a lot of errata - a lot more than previous editions - but it's not because they failed abysmally at balance, but because they got relatively close - so close that it actually made sense to make the effort to hammer out the dents and shine out the scratches. (Also, the majority of the errata is not power-level errata to begin with.) Errataing 4e for balance (and releasing the unfortunate patch feats) is like shining the scratches out of a car that got dinged up a little bit. Errataing 3.5 for balance would be like trying to polish the scraches out of a car that was smashed to bits and lit on fire. With a lot of effort you could maybe make some small improvements, but it doesn't really make much sense to try to polish up little parts when you're not making much of a difference compared to the systematic issues.



 I could balance 3.5 with a similar level of errata the 4th ed PHB got. Rewrite some of  the classes, some feats and espicially spells and have a crack at the DMG and I could fix it. How many pages did the 4th ed PHB end up with in the end 60, 80, 100?

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

 I could balance 3.5 with a similar level of errata the 4th ed PHB got. Rewrite some of  the classes, some feats and espicially spells and have a crack at the DMG and I could fix it. How many pages did the 4th ed PHB end up with in the end 60, 80, 100?


27.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
Thought it was more than that. 27 pages, rewrite a few feats, get rid of natural spell feat, and rewirte and remove from the game most of the broken and overpowered spells and do a D&DN concentration mechanic on alot of cleric spells. Also buff saving throws to half level across the board and stop stacking save bonuses bia multiclassing.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

I would like a "Everything is balanced" design goal.

they tried that with 4th Ed. Not only did they fail abysmally at it (as witnessed by the copious amounts of errata produced), it sucked out the flavor and fun many people had with D&D.


Sounds like a personal problem.
 
27.



How many were we changed the phrasing of one sentence and reprinted the entire section... for context.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

I would like a "Everything is balanced" design goal.

they tried that with 4th Ed. Not only did they fail abysmally at it (as witnessed by the copious amounts of errata produced), it sucked out the flavor and fun many people had with D&D.


Sounds like a personal problem.



 Not really. 4th ed being that differnet more or less created Pathfinder, split the fanbase, created an ediiton war and in the end Pathfinder "won". FOr the 1st time ever D&D was beaten by a clone (PF wasn't the 1st one) and alot of players form both sides of the fence have lost there generational loyalty toTSR/WoTC.

 THey canb and will buy form other gaming companies. There may even be a large desire forTSR era D&D style as the grognard sites seem to be increasing in size as people fed up with rapid edition cycles (3 in 8 years) think screw it les stick with 2n ed or whatever and houserule it into something we like.

 Scary thing is its not just Pathfinder that is a problem. A huge chunk of the 3pp rallyed around Paizo and some of them are making quality product. That could be a problem further down the road should Paizo ever decide to do a Pathfinder 2 or a properly fixed version of 3.5 under the OGL. PF is popular if they actually fixed 3.5 or built a d20 fantasy game from the ground up I think I would be concerned at WoTC.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Cool thread, Foxface! I have to admit, I am one of those people that misinterpreted "everything is core". However, I had been aware of the fact that everything followed one basic system, and tt it made optional content easy to add or ignore. Thanks for clarifying!
Not really. 4th ed being that differnet more or less created Pathfinder, split the fanbase, created an ediiton war and in the end Pathfinder "won".



You know, I'm sick and tired of people repeating an unproven claim.  One which was actually pretty lame to begin with. (The statement "Pathfinder has surpassed D&D in most of the markets that I check," has so many logical holes in it that it could be factually true even if its actual sales were 1 one-millionth that of D&Ds.)  If there's actual accounting reports to back up this statement, I'll believe it.  I might give it credence in that WotC/Hasbro has been piss-poor on the electronic publishing front.  The only evidence that I personally have is anecdotal — and thus, not properly valid, but tend to counter both the sales statement and the preference statement.

• I can walk into any bookstore and comic book store in the east metro Atlanta area — sadly, not that big of a number anymore, once you get past Barnes&Noble — and find D&D books.  A couple (though way too far for me to drive on Wednesday nights) even run Encounters games.  I've only found PF stuff once.  Maybe PF is outselling D&D in that one comic book shop?  But it's not outselling it anywhere else here.  Hard to outsell something when you're not available.

• I've read and played more game systems than I can remember.  4 of 5 D&D editions (not including Next; I played Basic, but not 3rd),  Shadowrun, In Nomine, Pendragon, old World of Darkness (both TT & LARP), Falkenstein, GURPs, Traveler, and at least a half dozen others that I can vaguely remember the gist of but not their names.  I was able to teach my wife — a woman who can't figure out how to add contacts to her cell phone or email program — how to play 4e in under an hour.  It took me a week to figure out how to make a character in PF.

So, anecdotally, I don't believe your statement that PF is "better" than 4e.  Anecodotally, I don't believe PF is outperforming 4e.  I will grant you, I may be wrong in at least one of those statements.  But 4e did something that PF never did: got me to spend money on their game.  And that, to me, is what counts. 
 
27.



How many were we changed the phrasing of one sentence and reprinted the entire section... for context.


Some, but not as many in the PHB as in the other books.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
I think "everything is core" happened because too many people were getting too split and focused into specific game worlds. Warforged in FR mentioned above for example, were an easy import "back in the day", but I think WotC saw that people would stubbornly keep everything "not core" out of their games.

I don't think it was an issue of balance. I think it was an issue of not being creative enough to pick up a book and import it to your regular game. Many books in 3e have "How to use this book if you're not playing in this world". paragraphs in the front. D&D books were often used to mine ideas and I think non-creative/inspired people were not doing that.

I myself never played Dark Sun, but I loved the idea of canibal halflings.

I'll point to Races of Eberron. The book's trade dress is that of the core books. It doesn't look like an Eberron book. This was done to show that warforged could fit other settings and not be just stuck on Eberron.
Show
Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game school. AD&D is assuredly an adherent of the latter school. It does not stress any realism (in the author's opinon an absurd effort at best considering the topic!). It does little to attempt to simulate anything either. (AD&D) is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek the use of imagination and creativity.... In all cases, however, the reader should understand that AD&D is designed to be an amusing and diverting pastime, something which an fill a few hours or consume endless days, as the participants desire, but in no case something to be taken too seriously. For fun, excitement and captivating fantasy, AD&D is unsurpassed.As a realistic simulation of things from the realm of make-believe or even as a reflection of midieval or ancient warfare or culture or society, it can be deemed only a dismal failure. Readers who seek the later must search elsewhere. - Gary Gygax. 1e DMG.
Not really. 4th ed being that differnet more or less created Pathfinder, split the fanbase, created an ediiton war and in the end Pathfinder "won".



You know, I'm sick and tired of people repeating an unproven claim.  One which was actually pretty lame to begin with. (The statement "Pathfinder has surpassed D&D in most of the markets that I check," has so many logical holes in it that it could be factually true even if its actual sales were 1 one-millionth that of D&Ds.)  If there's actual accounting reports to back up this statement, I'll believe it.  I might give it credence in that WotC/Hasbro has been piss-poor on the electronic publishing front.  The only evidence that I personally have is anecdotal — and thus, not properly valid, but tend to counter both the sales statement and the preference statement.

• I can walk into any bookstore and comic book store in the east metro Atlanta area — sadly, not that big of a number anymore, once you get past Barnes&Noble — and find D&D books.  A couple (though way too far for me to drive on Wednesday nights) even run Encounters games.  I've only found PF stuff once.  Maybe PF is outselling D&D in that one comic book shop?  But it's not outselling it anywhere else here.  Hard to outsell something when you're not available.

• I've read and played more game systems than I can remember.  4 of 5 D&D editions (not including Next; I played Basic, but not 3rd),  Shadowrun, In Nomine, Pendragon, old World of Darkness (both TT & LARP), Falkenstein, GURPs, Traveler, and at least a half dozen others that I can vaguely remember the gist of but not their names.  I was able to teach my wife — a woman who can't figure out how to add contacts to her cell phone or email program — how to play 4e in under an hour.  It took me a week to figure out how to make a character in PF.

So, anecdotally, I don't believe your statement that PF is "better" than 4e.  Anecodotally, I don't believe PF is outperforming 4e.  I will grant you, I may be wrong in at least one of those statements.  But 4e did something that PF never did: got me to spend money on their game.  And that, to me, is what counts. 



 Never claimed PF was better than 4th ed as thats subjective. I like it better true and I like SWSE better than Pathfinder. Pathfinder "won" the war in the sense that PF is a viable commercial product. 4th ed has no new books coming out, PF has monthly releases, a minis line and a computer game coming out for it. Thats things D&D used to have. The release of 4th ed split the fanbase and thats not subjective. It was rejected by a large chunk of the 3.5 crowd who voted with their feet. One is still going and seems to be getting bigger or at least more products behind it and 3pp support, the other is dead and here we are testing D&DN. Thats the reality of it feel free to dress it up how you want.

 I have over twice as many SWSE books than PF books, and I have around 15 times the amount of 3rd ed material than PF material and about 10 times the amount of 2nd ed material. Not exactly a raging PF fanboy. Its better than 3.5 for the most part and its not 4th ed are its main selling points for me. Still waiting for a fixed 3.5 or maybe a d20 verison of 2nd ed. 4.5 may also do it if they dump AEDU and role structure. I'll see how D&DN turns out and worry about it once its on the book shelf.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

While I was one DM who did often question the quality of Dungeon and/or Dragon material (only allowing selected material), the "everything is core" concept was an excellent one as a base.

It didn't stop be having standards for my own home games and campaigns (banning all fae races as PCs for example, as they are evil in my setting) nor for Wizards (the 4th Edition Dark Sun banned large amounts of material) but it did help with overall quality and the POTENTIAL (even if not always used) for crossability. 



See that's what house ruling should be for. You changed the flavor of your world by house ruling out specific races for flavor reasons. Not because they were overpowered or broke the game...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I understand where they were coming from with the policy, but it was a truly poor idea as implimented.

It hurt the notion that a DM can exclude things without any big issue, since the whole idea of "core" had prior to this point been the baseline game, without all of the splat books and add-ons. It also assumed that everything printed was going to receive the same level of playtesting, editing, and careful integration into what had prior to "everything is core" been a relatively small "core" game. Arguably this wasn't the case.

The worst thing in my mind that it created was the notion that anything that was "core" was by default automatically allowed into and found in all of the various campaign settings, with very slender exception. This resulted in races, monsters, and concepts utterly alien to some campaign settings being hamfistedly forced into them, at the expense of their preexistant lore and continuity. FR in particular suffered from this, and in the end barely resembles the setting it was prior to 4e (though the 'everything is core' isn't the only reason it was worked over such as it was).



You can't blame FR on 'everything is core' sorry, that was a pure fluff error on the developers part.

I have no problem with DMs excluding things for flavor reasons, I do have a problem with them having to exclude things to keep the game playable or to fix problems. That's the developers jobs, not the DMs...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
Not really. 4th ed being that differnet more or less created Pathfinder, split the fanbase, created an ediiton war and in the end Pathfinder "won".



You know, I'm sick and tired of people repeating an unproven claim.  One which was actually pretty lame to begin with. (The statement "Pathfinder has surpassed D&D in most of the markets that I check," has so many logical holes in it that it could be factually true even if its actual sales were 1 one-millionth that of D&Ds.)  If there's actual accounting reports to back up this statement, I'll believe it.  I might give it credence in that WotC/Hasbro has been piss-poor on the electronic publishing front.  The only evidence that I personally have is anecdotal — and thus, not properly valid, but tend to counter both the sales statement and the preference statement.

• I can walk into any bookstore and comic book store in the east metro Atlanta area — sadly, not that big of a number anymore, once you get past Barnes&Noble — and find D&D books.  A couple (though way too far for me to drive on Wednesday nights) even run Encounters games.  I've only found PF stuff once.  Maybe PF is outselling D&D in that one comic book shop?  But it's not outselling it anywhere else here.  Hard to outsell something when you're not available.

• I've read and played more game systems than I can remember.  4 of 5 D&D editions (not including Next; I played Basic, but not 3rd),  Shadowrun, In Nomine, Pendragon, old World of Darkness (both TT & LARP), Falkenstein, GURPs, Traveler, and at least a half dozen others that I can vaguely remember the gist of but not their names.  I was able to teach my wife — a woman who can't figure out how to add contacts to her cell phone or email program — how to play 4e in under an hour.  It took me a week to figure out how to make a character in PF.

So, anecdotally, I don't believe your statement that PF is "better" than 4e.  Anecodotally, I don't believe PF is outperforming 4e.  I will grant you, I may be wrong in at least one of those statements.  But 4e did something that PF never did: got me to spend money on their game.  And that, to me, is what counts. 



 Never claimed PF was better than 4th ed as thats subjective. I like it better true and I like SWSE better than Pathfinder. Pathfinder "won" the war in the sense that PF is a viable commercial product. 4th ed has no new books coming out, PF has monthly releases, a minis line and a computer game coming out for it. Thats things D&D used to have. The release of 4th ed split the fanbase and thats not subjective. It was rejected by a large chunk of the 3.5 crowd who voted with their feet. One is still going and seems to be getting bigger or at least more products behind it and 3pp support, the other is dead and here we are testing D&DN. Thats the reality of it feel free to dress it up how you want.

 I have over twice as many SWSE books than PF books, and I have around 15 times the amount of 3rd ed material than PF material and about 10 times the amount of 2nd ed material. Not exactly a raging PF fanboy. Its better than 3.5 for the most part and its not 4th ed are its main selling points for me. Still waiting for a fixed 3.5 or maybe a d20 verison of 2nd ed. 4.5 may also do it if they dump AEDU and role structure. I'll see how D&DN turns out and worry about it once its on the book shelf.



You keep misunderstanding how businesses work. A small business would have been absolutely extatic with the sales of 4E and would have kept it going for years also. However if WotC had Paizo, they would have dropped it just as fast as 4E because it wouldn't have met their sales goals. The only time an edition hits the sales goals of WotC and Hasbro is on the release of a new edition when many people rush out and buy the core books. Its the same reason you see factories being shut down in the U.S., its not that they aren't profitable, its that they can be 5% more profitable in a different country. That is the corporate mentality that is in the process of destroying D&D...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I don't buy into that Lokiare. Some money is better than no money and 3.5 was printed up to the end more or less, same thing with 2nd ed and 1st ed prinitng overlapped with 2nd ed.

 4th ed is the first ediiton to go oop 2 years befroe the next ediiton hits the shelves. I don't think that is a good sign no matter how you cut it. DDI is still up so I would assume thats still making money. I'm not disputing 4th ed sold well to start with but it seems clear it did not retain the people who tried it.

 I more or less expected PF to be a bit more successful than the other D&D clones but when they are supporting minis, a PC game is in the works and alot of 3pp has joined them thats not a great sign either.

 Put simply the "yay 4th ed failed part" is vastly outweighed by "doh I'm not getting a fixed 3.5 anytime soon" and the "doh D&DN in its current form is boring" followed by "doh I would prefer d20 2nd ed or maybe 4.5 over D&DN".

 Pathfinder won I suppose but its a own goal and a pyric victory IMHO.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Not to cause more division or start a flame war but, Pathfinder is currently outselling Dungeons and Dragons 4e. on Amazon .com. Pathfinder is #6 and 4th edition is #10 on the Fantasy gaming best sellers list. There are obviously multiple reasons for that, one being that 4e. support is ending with no new products for this year currently at least. To give insight as to the number of Pathfinder releases for 2013 let me sum up my observstions by saying Paizo is hawking some major numbers including, supplements, Campaign settings, miniatures, exet. it is a valid observation IMO that Pathdfinder has won over the 3.5 crowd and is gaining Major ground in the Fantasy gaming market. The game is fully supported online at no cost to the consumer and even expanded rules are a mouse click away and available. An online store is of course included for the Paper and pdf copies of the game. This info can be researched @D20pfpfsd.com/home the best sellers list can easily be seen @ Amazon.com, under the heading Fantasy Gaming best sellers. As a side note let me say that P.F. dominates much of the top 20 of the Best sellers list.
Not to cause more division or start a flame war but, Pathfinder is currently outselling Dungeons and Dragons 4e. on Amazon .com. Pathfinder is #6 and 4th edition is #10 on the Fantasy gaming best sellers list. There are obviously multiple reasons for that, one being that 4e. support is ending with no new products for this year currently at least. To give insight as to the number of Pathfinder releases for 2013 let me sum up my observstions by saying Paizo is hawking some major numbers including, supplements, Campaign settings, miniatures, exet. it is a valid observation IMO that Pathdfinder has won over the 3.5 crowd and is gaining Major ground in the Fantasy gaming market. The game is fully supported online at no cost to the consumer and even expanded rules are a mouse click away and available. An online store is of course included for the Paper and pdf copies of the game. This info can be researched @D20pfpfsd.com/home the best sellers list can easily be seen @ Amazon.com, under the heading Fantasy Gaming best sellers. As a side note let me say that P.F. dominates much of the top 20 of the Best sellers list.



Yup, it's pretty easy to win a race against someone not running.

Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.

Jan 9, 2013 -- 3:48AM, Brightmantle wrote:

Not to cause more division or start a flame war but, Pathfinder is currently outselling Dungeons and Dragons 4e. on Amazon .com. Pathfinder is #6 and 4th edition is #10 on the Fantasy gaming best sellers list. There are obviously multiple reasons for that, one being that 4e. support is ending with no new products for this year currently at least. To give insight as to the number of Pathfinder releases for 2013 let me sum up my observstions by saying Paizo is hawking some major numbers including, supplements, Campaign settings, miniatures, exet. it is a valid observation IMO that Pathdfinder has won over the 3.5 crowd and is gaining Major ground in the Fantasy gaming market. The game is fully supported online at no cost to the consumer and even expanded rules are a mouse click away and available. An online store is of course included for the Paper and pdf copies of the game. This info can be researched @D20pfpfsd.com/home the best sellers list can easily be seen @ Amazon.com, under the heading Fantasy Gaming best sellers. As a side note let me say that P.F. dominates much of the top 20 of the Best sellers list.




Yup, it's pretty easy to win a race against someone not running.



Actually, according to the rumors, Pathfinder surpassed D&D in end 2010 or 2011, when Essentials get released, and all products would be produced with his design. Design that was heavily criticized by 4e fans.
So, what is "Everything is Core"?  

Maybe I'm cynical (OK, no 'maybe' at all, I'm cynical), but it seemed to me that the 'everything is core' maxim was a direct and transparent marketing ploy in response to the tendency of DMs, frustrated with the complexity and endemic power-gaming of 3.x, to run 'core only' games, to try to narrow players' options enough that they could run a game with a hint of balance and playabitity to it.  Not that it worked: the most broken things in 3.5 were right there in the PH, CoDzilla, most obviously, for instance.  4e was meant to be less manifestly broken and exploitable, and the 'everything is core' marketing spin could, perhaps, most charitably, be construed as trying to get people to give 4e a chance to prove that it wasn't another optimizer's wet-dream full of fiddly traps and rewards for system mastery.  Of course, that overlooked the fact that a large segment of the fan base /wanted/ a manifestly broken and exloitable optimizer's wet-dream full of fiddly trap options and blatant over-rewards for system mastery...



The big (rhetorical) question I have is whether those modules will be designed in the spirit of 4e, in that a DM would be able to add them without having to excessively worry about upsetting balance or the core play experience.

Little about the playtest nor the attitude of WotC articles about 5e suggests that 4e even existed, so I'd expect the opposite: that what balance there may be in 'core' 5e can be expected to go out the window the moment you apply a module.   (And, it's starting to sound like the 'core' might be stripped down so far as to not even have classes, perhaps little more than the d20 core mechanic of "roll d20 + bonuses vs DC.")

 And the followup question, should DMs even worry about it at all, even if the modules did "upset balance"?

Balance does not seem to be a meaningful consideration, WotC commentary dismisses balance as impossible, and promises 'guidelines' for those who want to take a stab at it.

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

Balance does not seem to be a meaningful consideration, WotC commentary dismisses balance as impossible, and promises 'guidelines' for those who want to take a stab at it.


Well that's just flatly wrong, in all regards.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Balance does not seem to be a meaningful consideration, WotC commentary dismisses balance as impossible, and promises 'guidelines' for those who want to take a stab at it.


Well that's just flatly wrong, in all regards.



Balance is impossible (and undesirable):

"On the other hand, perfect balance is a complete myth. If people want to build broken characters, they are going to find ways to bend the system and options to completely outdo everyone else....

Building everything in perfect balance would lead to a boring game."

Legends & Lore RPG Design Philosophy





DM's who want balance can have some guidelines:

" DMs will have a crystal clear guideline on how many rounds of combat a group should tackle before resting. If the group spends less time in fights, casters grow stronger. If the characters spend more rounds fighting, the fighter and rogue grow stronger. The solution to the problem rests in the DM's hands, who can use the tools and guidelines that we provide, plus keep track of how long fights take and adjust adventures accordingly."

Legends & Lore The five-minute Workday 


 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!




Jan 9, 2013 -- 3:48AM, Brightmantle wrote:

Not to cause more division or start a flame war but, Pathfinder is currently outselling Dungeons and Dragons 4e. on Amazon .com. Pathfinder is #6 and 4th edition is #10 on the Fantasy gaming best sellers list. There are obviously multiple reasons for that, one being that 4e. support is ending with no new products for this year currently at least. To give insight as to the number of Pathfinder releases for 2013 let me sum up my observstions by saying Paizo is hawking some major numbers including, supplements, Campaign settings, miniatures, exet. it is a valid observation IMO that Pathdfinder has won over the 3.5 crowd and is gaining Major ground in the Fantasy gaming market. The game is fully supported online at no cost to the consumer and even expanded rules are a mouse click away and available. An online store is of course included for the Paper and pdf copies of the game. This info can be researched @D20pfpfsd.com/home the best sellers list can easily be seen @ Amazon.com, under the heading Fantasy Gaming best sellers. As a side note let me say that P.F. dominates much of the top 20 of the Best sellers list.






Yup, it's pretty easy to win a race against someone not running.


Actually, according to the rumors, Pathfinder surpassed D&D in end 2010 or 2011, when Essentials get released, and all products would be produced with his design. Design that was heavily criticized by 4e fans.


They are just that, however. Rumors :P Neither company releases their sales figures to the public so it would be really hard to prove either way.
My two copper.
Not to cause more division or start a flame war but, Pathfinder is currently outselling Dungeons and Dragons 4e. on Amazon .com. Pathfinder is #6 and 4th edition is #10 on the Fantasy gaming best sellers list. There are obviously multiple reasons for that, one being that 4e. support is ending with no new products for this year currently at least. To give insight as to the number of Pathfinder releases for 2013 let me sum up my observstions by saying Paizo is hawking some major numbers including, supplements, Campaign settings, miniatures, exet. it is a valid observation IMO that Pathdfinder has won over the 3.5 crowd and is gaining Major ground in the Fantasy gaming market. The game is fully supported online at no cost to the consumer and even expanded rules are a mouse click away and available. An online store is of course included for the Paper and pdf copies of the game. This info can be researched @D20pfpfsd.com/home the best sellers list can easily be seen @ Amazon.com, under the heading Fantasy Gaming best sellers. As a side note let me say that P.F. dominates much of the top 20 of the Best sellers list.



Yup, it's pretty easy to win a race against someone not running.




 Kind of the point. 4th ed was more or less the 1st ediiton of D&D to exit the race that early in its edition cycle. In less than 2 years of being released PF "won" and that was while 4th ed was still in print and it may have been within 1 year/15 months.

 When did the 4th ed printing cycle get cut in half? The haters were caling doom and gloom then but they also canceled the minis line and sure enough PF starts runing minis.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Balance does not seem to be a meaningful consideration, WotC commentary dismisses balance as impossible, and promises 'guidelines' for those who want to take a stab at it.


Well that's just flatly wrong, in all regards.



Balance is impossible (and undesirable):

"On the other hand, perfect balance is a complete myth. If people want to build broken characters, they are going to find ways to bend the system and options to completely outdo everyone else....

Building everything in perfect balance would lead to a boring game."

Legends & Lore RPG Design Philosophy





DM's who want balance can have some guidelines:

" DMs will have a crystal clear guideline on how many rounds of combat a group should tackle before resting. If the group spends less time in fights, casters grow stronger. If the characters spend more rounds fighting, the fighter and rogue grow stronger. The solution to the problem rests in the DM's hands, who can use the tools and guidelines that we provide, plus keep track of how long fights take and adjust adventures accordingly."

Legends & Lore The five-minute Workday 



What you said, and what he said, are not the same thing.  Perfect balance is impossible: balance is not.

D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
What you said, and what he said, are not the same thing.  Perfect balance is impossible: balance is not.



How exactly are you defining balance? Because "balanced" has a pretty concrete definition.
My two copper.
Not to cause more division or start a flame war but, Pathfinder is currently outselling Dungeons and Dragons 4e. on Amazon .com. Pathfinder is #6 and 4th edition is #10 on the Fantasy gaming best sellers list. There are obviously multiple reasons for that, one being that 4e. support is ending with no new products for this year currently at least. To give insight as to the number of Pathfinder releases for 2013 let me sum up my observstions by saying Paizo is hawking some major numbers including, supplements, Campaign settings, miniatures, exet. it is a valid observation IMO that Pathdfinder has won over the 3.5 crowd and is gaining Major ground in the Fantasy gaming market. The game is fully supported online at no cost to the consumer and even expanded rules are a mouse click away and available. An online store is of course included for the Paper and pdf copies of the game. This info can be researched @D20pfpfsd.com/home the best sellers list can easily be seen @ Amazon.com, under the heading Fantasy Gaming best sellers. As a side note let me say that P.F. dominates much of the top 20 of the Best sellers list.

Yup, it's pretty easy to win a race against someone not running.

Kind of the point. 4th ed was more or less the 1st ediiton of D&D to exit the race that early in its edition cycle. In less than 2 years of being released PF "won" and that was while 4th ed was still in print and it may have been within 1 year/15 months.

When did the 4th ed printing cycle get cut in half? The haters were caling doom and gloom then but they also canceled the minis line and sure enough PF starts runing minis.

Read my post. It was in the Essentials release. Here:







Jan 9, 2013 -- 3:48AM, Brightmantle wrote:
Not to cause more division or start a flame war but, Pathfinder is currently outselling Dungeons and Dragons 4e. on Amazon .com. Pathfinder is #6 and 4th edition is #10 on the Fantasy gaming best sellers list. There are obviously multiple reasons for that, one being that 4e. support is ending with no new products for this year currently at least. To give insight as to the number of Pathfinder releases for 2013 let me sum up my observstions by saying Paizo is hawking some major numbers including, supplements, Campaign settings, miniatures, exet. it is a valid observation IMO that Pathdfinder has won over the 3.5 crowd and is gaining Major ground in the Fantasy gaming market. The game is fully supported online at no cost to the consumer and even expanded rules are a mouse click away and available. An online store is of course included for the Paper and pdf copies of the game. This info can be researched @D20pfpfsd.com/home the best sellers list can easily be seen @ Amazon.com, under the heading Fantasy Gaming best sellers. As a side note let me say that P.F. dominates much of the top 20 of the Best sellers list.




Yup, it's pretty easy to win a race against someone not running.

Actually, according to the rumors, Pathfinder surpassed D&D in end 2010 or 2011, when Essentials get released, and all products would be produced with his design. Design that was heavily criticized by 4e fans.

But also reads Jenks post.
 It became "official" late 2010 or early 2011 IDK which. The rumour is it was 6 months ealrier which would be mid 2010 roughly.

 I'm not sure when it was announced 4th ed was going on a reduced production run, I'm guessig early 2011. Whatever the exact date was its only around two and a half years into 4th eds cycle. Thats not a good sign t he optimists took the marketing line "we are going to focus on quality".

 Same thing more or less happened in the 3.5 days. The first year or two had the good books come out (assuming you like 3.5 of course), the later half quality tended to plummet.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Thing is, for many 4e fans, Essentials was not 4e.
Thing is, for many 4e fans, Essentials was not 4e.



I'll agree to this :P
My two copper.
How exactly are you defining balance? Because "balanced" has a pretty concrete definition.



No it doesn't.  Just look at any one of the multi-hundred post threads on the subject.

Perfect balance means no deviation from the balanced state.  This is enforced balance, and it is bad.  It makes the game boring, and the devs have it exactly right in this regard.  Everybody sits in their little box, and nobody can go outside of it for fear that someone's feelings might be hurt.  Perfect balance is tic-tac-toe.  And it's utterly pointless.

Now, once you dispense with the idea of perfect balance, then you get to the situation where imbalance can exist, but balance is still maintained.  At first this appears to not make any sense at all:  isn't it not balanced, if it's imbalanced?  And the answer is "not really."

There are many different kinds of imbalance.  Some are bad, some are good.  Some are necessary, even.  To illustrate, let's look at some of the good ones. 

Fighters and Wizards don't have the same AC.  This is an imbalance.  But this is an imbalance that generates good gameplay, as the tactics of each reflect this imbalance, and variability is created.  Of course, the meaning of this imbalance can vary widely.  If nobody is attacking them, then the AC difference doesn't matter.  If they're surrounded by big ogres, then the AC difference matters quite a lot.

These sorts of effects are transient imbalances, and they are the core of gameplay.  In all genres.  A situation presents itself, two entities don't have the same conditions, therefore an imbalance is generated.  Entity one has to do something in order to capitalize on the imbalance or mitigate it, as does entity two.  This is present in everything from chess to football.  The important part is that it is, in fact, transient:  change the conditions, and the imbalance can be meaningless or even reversed in value.  The agency of the player is maintained - what the player does determines how the imbalance affects the outcome.

Structural imbalance, on the other hand, is usually what people mean when they say they want the game to be balanced.  They want a level playing field, they don't want the end result dicated by one initial choice.  A caster compared to a noncaster at high level in 3.5 is a good example of this.  Structural imbalance is bad for gameplay, in all forms.  Furthermore, structural imbalance that varies over time does not cancel itself out.  It is not 'balanced' that a wizard is crap at low levels but godly at high levels in 3.5.  It just means that there are two different structural imbalances.  They each ruin the gameplay, but in different ways.  With structural imbalance, the agency of the player is removed - it doesn't matter what you do, the result is always going to be skewed in one direction.

The important part is to figure out whether an imbalance you've found is transient or structural.  And that's not a strictly objective consideration.  The severity and prevalence of an imbalance go into this determination, and those are both variable and subjective.  Severity can be mathematically determined, yes, but how much people care is subjective.  Prevalence can be sampled and an expectation value determined, but each individual table is going to have its own campaign style with its own frequency, and the population behavior won't matter to it.

But to paint broad generalizations like "they don't care about balance" is flatly wrong, shortsighted, and ignorant.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Thing is, for many 4e fans, Essentials was not 4e.



 I just don't get this attitude at all. I can understand people not liking essentials. Theres alot of 3.5 splats I don't like but I do not claim that the minatures handbook, or the Complete Psion or the legacy weapon book is not 3.5.

 I think the hardcore 4th ed players got an ideal in their head about the perfect version of 4th ed (whatever that is) and anyhting that deviated from this ideal was bad and not 4th ed. Even if essentials was a blatant grab at the old school crowd (which I don't see as essentials is still 4th ed to me). Maybe it was the everything is core mentality that was pushed in 4th ed IDK. In 2nd ed and 3rd ed if you didn't like something you basically ignored it. Players Option books in 2nd ed I don't think were that popular or at least on the grognard sites they are not but you don't really see people claiming they are not second ad and they do not get blamed for TSR tanking and 2nd ed trundled on for another 4-5 years after them.

Thats probably why I am sceptical of the blame essentials mentality and to me they ither indicate 4th ed bloated to fast as there is really only so much you can do with XYZ damage and 20 odd status effects form a design point of view or 4th ed was in trouble in 2009 and essentials was a rush job to appeal to the 3.5 crowd which I doubt as the 3.5 crowd doesn't really like them either because its still 4th ed at the end of the day. I liked parts of essentials but I only dealt with it via DDI and I have never seen a dead tree format essentials book.

 Maybe it was the essentials length as a rubbish 3rd ed book was a stand alone product. THe next one might be better just wait and see.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

The design goals of Essentials were different from the original 4e design goals. Remember that every product that came after was released under Essentials design. One of the ones who disliked Essentials could give you a better view on the subject. I can talk about my preferences another time, but people really didn't liked.
How exactly are you defining balance? Because "balanced" has a pretty concrete definition.



No it doesn't.  Just look at any one of the multi-hundred post threads on the subject.

Perfect balance means no deviation from the balanced state.  This is enforced balance, and it is bad.  It makes the game boring, and the devs have it exactly right in this regard.

Perfect balance is, indeed, impossible.  Thus, the idea that it might theoretically be 'bad' or 'boring' is irrelevant - no matter how hard you try for balance, it won't be /perfectly/ balanced.  At the imperfect levels of balance we have to work with, complex, better-balanced games give more viable/meaningful options than equally complex but poorly balanced ones, because they have fewer 'trap' options and no (or few & swiftly errata'd) overwhelmingly superior ones.

While the impossibility of perfect balance is fine, as far as it goes, what really matters is what you take from that truism.  Do you acknowledge that perfect balance is impossible, and affirm that you should always strive for the best balance possible?  Or do you use the truism to CYA, and dismiss any balance problems?  The L&L articles that so much as acknowledge that balance might be a design consideration seem to come down on the side of dismissing it.  The game can't be perfectly balanced, so don't complain when it's not balanced, at all.

If that sounds cynical, BTW, that's because I'm self-admittedly very cynical.  ;(

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

Thing is, for many 4e fans, Essentials was not 4e.



 I just don't get this attitude at all. I can understand people not liking essentials. Theres alot of 3.5 splats I don't like but I do not claim that the minatures handbook, or the Complete Psion or the legacy weapon book is not 3.5.

It's similar to the attitude that 4e "wasn't D&D."  You have a substantive change in direction, and that can feel like a completely different thing, rather than just a different take on the same thing.

To the extent that 4e could be put in the same set as other eds of D&D, putting Essentials in the same sub-set as 4e isn't unreasonable.  Though 4e pre-Essentials and 4e post-Essentials do have some important, fundamental differences in design & design phillosophy - and in marketing.  And, the 'failure' of 4e and ascendency of Pathfinder (in terms of sales) does coincide with the torch being passed from core 4e to Essentials.  FWLIW, commercial success not being a strong indicator of quality for RPGs...

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

The design goals of Essentials were different from the original 4e design goals. Remember that every product that came after was released under Essentials design. One of the ones who disliked Essentials could give you a better view on the subject. I can talk about my preferences another time, but people really didn't liked.



 I think thats what I don't understand. not sure if they stated wht 4th eds design goals were or if people kind of projected there own thoughts onto it. Essnetials seems balanced if a little boring and from what I have heard essentials characters won't create massive problems balance wise in a 4th ed game. Balance being a key goal of 4th ed I suppose.

 All sorts of weird stuff go tried out  in 2nd and 3rd ed in splats and alot of it doesn't match up with the usual D&D clices and tropes. Did 4th ed fans become very reactionary due to the edition wars? Anything that was different was bad? Thats what I don't get. Maybe Players Option was better recieved in the 2nd ed days, and 3.5 trundled on for another 5 years after 3.0 and essentials was more compatable with 4th ed than the 3.0 books were with 3.5.

 Thats why I think there were other factors at work with essentials. Crap D&D books are nothing new.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Do you acknowledge that perfect balance is impossible, and affirm that you should always strive for the best balance possible?  Or do you use the truism to CYA, and dismiss any balance problems?


What you quoted, is both actually:


"On the other hand, perfect balance is a complete myth. If people want to build broken characters, they are going to find ways to bend the system and options to completely outdo everyone else....


Building everything in perfect balance would lead to a boring game."

The CYA is the first two sentences.  But that last sentence, about it leading to a boring game, is indeed about striving for the best balance possible.  With "best" meaning something other than "perfect."  This is a crucial point, and I don't care how cynical you think you are, it's worth attempting to understand.  Whether it's bad or boring is most certainly not irrelevant, because the goal is to design a game that isn't bad or boring.  In fact, I'd argue that whether it's boring is way more relevant than just about any other criteria you could use.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition