How I feel about Essentials! (I invite all of you to share)

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So yeah...::grabs can::..."Can o' worms", huh?  We'll just see about that...::grabs can opener::

Of course, none of us have the printed book in front of us, so all of our opinions are suppositions and speculations based on incomplete knowledge.  This is a given.  So if you're gonna argue (and I know we will), don't bother trying to point out "You can't say that, you don't know for sure, you're operating on assumptions, blah blah blah".  We know.  We also all withold the right to say "We were totally wrong" once the final product is on the shelves.

Assume everyone who posts in this thread has the caveat "Based on how I interpret what I've read of what's been released..."

This is a thread for sharing your feelings, your gut reactions.  Positive and negative, hopes and fears.  Maybe all at the same time.

::Begin Rant::

I really wanted to like Essentials.  The idea of stripping down the game to it's nitty-gritty core appealed to me.  I game with a lot of experienced folk, and a lot of relative newbies.  I loved the idea of a rules cyclopedia that incorporated 2 years worth of errata.  And Dungeon Tiles that won't go out of print?  Rejoice!

Packaging the whole thing in a starter kit/Red Box?  Collectible for older gamers, and friendly to newer gamers.  Clever and appropriate.  More new players = more players at my table.

What I was really hoping for was simplified versions of the classic "it ain't D&D without 'em" classes.  The Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, and Wizard.  And at first glance, it appeared that would be the case.

Oh, how my hopes have been dashed.

When I said I wanted simplified versions of the classes, I didn't mean what it appears we have gotten.  I wanted a reprint of the classes more or less as they are in the PHB, with perhaps better wording on confusing features ::cough::combatsuperiorityandcombatchallenge::cough:: and maybe a few less options than originally presented.

For example, instead of choosing which of 3 (now 5?) implement masteries he wanted, the Essentials Wizard would have said mastery chosen for him (in the form of only 1 option).  To make it attractive to old players, the Essential Option would be "new" and never before seen.  And something similar could be done with the other classes.

But no.  Instead we get a series of basically new classes, that are half identical to an existing class (from which they can take powers) and half all new mechanics.

Whether or not you call it a new edition, you certainly have a split.  PHB Wizard is different from Essential Wizard.  They both can take the same powers and feats, but they are mechanically distinct.  PHB Wizards have implement masteries, and Essential Wizards have schools.

This isn't really a new build.  It's a whole new version of the class.  Which one is going to continue to be supported?  When new Wizard powers and feats come out (in future books or in Dragon updates) which "Wizard" is going to benefit?

The preview article on the Essentials Wizard talks about the different schools of magic, and how wizard powers are grouped into schools.  It also states that schools other than the three presented exist.  Will we see these other schools eventually?  If so, then the Essential Wizard/Mage will need future support in the form of new Apprentice/Expert/Master Mage school benefits.  Not only would these be un-choosable (is that a word?) for PHB wizards (as they don't get the Mage features) but it flies in the face of WotC's assertion that Essentials would be 10 books and 10 books only.  If we won't see more schools in the future, then why mention them at all?

I have similar concerns with the Warpriest.  Like the Mage, the Warpriest is a new version of the Cleric that is mechanically distinct from the PHB version.  It has new class features in place of missing class features.  Like the Mage's Schools, the Warpriest has Domains, something the original cleric cannot use in any way, shape, or form.  Two are called out, Sun and Storm.  Will there be more?  If so, then wouldn't that mean future cleric supplements will have to focus on domains that are of no real use to existing clerics?

And the Knight.  Hoo boy, that's a real change.  At least the Wizard and Cler...uh, I mean Mage and Warpriest can take powers from the parent class.  This new "Fighter" is as divorced from its parent class as much as possible, mechanically.  It cannot take anything other than feats and utilities that weren't designed specifically for it.

More so than anything else, the Knight is what scares me.  What happens with future Fighter supplements?  New PHB Fighter powers are incompatible with the Knight.  New Knight features, like potential alternates to Power Strike, are incompatible with the PHB Fighter.  If the Warpriest and Mage looked like a divide in the classes, the Knight looks like a veritable chasm.  And a boring chasm at that.

And then there are the comments from Bill about Essentials in general, and not tied to specific classes.

Find ways to give the classes different levels of complexity. One of the genius strokes of the original Dungeons & Dragons game design was that it allowed players to find their own level of mastery. Playing a wizard presented different challenges and required more rules mastery than playing a fighter. We wanted to preserve and return to that aspect of the Dungeons & Dragons game in the Essentials products.



AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!  The whole point of 4th Edition was to move away from differing levels of rules mastery.  The fighter wasn't just for newbies, and the Wizard wasn't just for experts.  I know that the "complex" PHB fighter is still around (it's not getting deleted or anything), but the presence of a radically different sub-class incites suspicion that "PHB Fighter support" will whither in favor of support of the new kid on the block.

Quite frankly, one of the "genius strokes" of 4e was that everyone got powers.  Everyone got to choose something and grow as a character.  Essentials is quite clearly changing that focus, with class features that come automatically, and locked in design that doesn't really play nice with existing classes.

The classes provided in the Essentials products consist of new builds of old favorites, designed to provide great starting points, more variety, and to give us more creative space for future design. The warpriest, the new cleric build that I showed off last week, for example, can use powers and feats and magic items from any product published earlier in the edition, and clerics created with the Player's Handbook or with Divine Power (also just for example) can utilize material right out of the Essentials products. This isn’t all that different from us releasing Player's Handbook 2 or Player's Handbook 3. We just have a more specific set of goals in mind here than simply adding more material to the game.



Yeah, that's great and all, but it doesn't address the concern of future support for PHB classes.  Of course the warpriest can use older material, and PHB clerics can use material from Essentials (but not all of it, because they don't have domains, remember).  But what Bill doesn't say is whether new material will be printed with the Wapriest in mind, or the PHB cleric in mind.

The spin we’re putting on them is what makes these new products “Essentials.” We’re delegating these 10 products as “must-have” products for every retail outlet that carries the Dungeons & Dragons game. They form the foundation of the game moving forward and are designed to be the perfect way for new people to get into the game—thanks to the format, the price, and the approach to the class builds.



So new product will assume you have Essentials and not the PHB, then?  Cuz new material designed assuming ownership of PHB1-3 harms the very intention of the Essentials being the perfect starting point.  But if everything is designed with Essentials going forward, then whats the use of the older material?  It may not be a new edition, but it sure sounds like the older material is being transformed into a compatible but ultimately static batch of options.

To further demonstrate the interchangeability of the classes, we’re going to include Player's Handbook classes alongside Heroes of the Fallen Lands classes in the special celebrity game event we’re running at Gen Con this year.



Again, this says nothing about future support for existing mechanics.  It will clearly demonstrate how PHB classes and Essentials classes can work together in the same party, but that does nothing to assuage the fears that those who like and prefer the PHB versions of the classes will get new toys to play with.

::End Rant::

So that's how I feel.  How about you?
Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
Meh.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I am neutral.  I probably wont buy it, but i am not up in arms about it.

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

*A wild scylis appears!*

*Foxface uses WALL OF TEXT.*

*It's SUPER EFFECTIVE!*

*Wild scylis fainted.*
Knowing is Half the Battle. The Other Half is VIOLENCE. Imagine a lightsaber duel between Optimus Prime and Batman. You're welcome.
If they end up publishing content based solely on the existence of the Essentials books, then all comments that connect Essentials and 4E will be moot, because we'll be staring down the barrel of 4.5.
To your actual question, though...

The Essentials are a series of products and books for D&D 4E which I may or may not buy depending on whether or not they actually have content I find interesting.
Knowing is Half the Battle. The Other Half is VIOLENCE. Imagine a lightsaber duel between Optimus Prime and Batman. You're welcome.
To your actual question, though...

The Essentials are a series of products and books for D&D 4E which I may or may not buy depending on whether or not they actually have content I find interesting.



The main thing that worries me is essentials being the basis for all other products. WHY would they do that?  I like all classes being on equal footing.  I like a central mechanic for all classes.  I hate the idea of different levels of mastery for different classes.  If they try making 4e more like older edditions they will lose me as a customer becuase if I wanted that I would PLAY the older edditions and not 4e. 

I really hope it is not true that essentials is the basis for all future products, please tell me that was a lie.  Because some classes dont even appear in essentials. 
Based on your caveat, I can only assume you've been reading entirely different things than I have.

As one random example: every time they add a new domain to Warpriests, they have to populate it with enough encounter powers to take it to level 30. These are the encounter powers that are recommended for that domain, but they are Cleric powers that any Cleric can use. It's functionally no different than when a new build appears, or when a Dragon magazine appears about "Students of the School Of Fluff" which details a fictional school of wizards/druids/fighters/whatever and lists a bunch of powers and feats for them.

That information isn't useless for existing w/d/f/ws who don't belong to the school. That's just a unified theme behind their presentation.

This is what Mage schools and Warpriest domains are, in terms of powers.

We know this. This isn't my opinion based on what I've read. This is what I read. 
...and that's the news from Lake 4th Edition, where the Gnomes are strong, the Half-Orcs are good-looking, and all the PCs are above average.
Based on your caveat, I can only assume you've been reading entirely different things than I have.

As one random example: every time they add a new domain to Warpriests, they have to populate it with enough encounter powers to take it to level 30. These are the encounter powers that are recommended for that domain, but they are Cleric powers that any Cleric can use. It's functionally no different than when a new build appears, or when a Dragon magazine appears about "Students of the School Of Fluff" which details a fictional school of wizards/druids/fighters/whatever and lists a bunch of powers and feats for them.

That information isn't useless for existing w/d/f/ws who don't belong to the school. That's just a unified theme behind their presentation.

This is what Mage schools and Warpriest domains are, in terms of powers.

We know this. This isn't my opinion based on what I've read. This is what I read. 



What if I dont like the mage schools?  I really really dont what if I want to see more future powers based on the old implement mastery system because I find it far more elegant and interesting.  As for warpriest what if I play a cleric with different domains but see a warpriest power I like but I dont have the right domain, or its rider effect is uselss.  And the fighter gets nothing from the horrible horrible idea that is the knight.
william, I think they've already lost you. It seems like it doesn't matter what they put out, you've already made up your mind that if a build like the Knight exists then it's all over. And we know the Knight exists. So what are you still holding out for? What would make you happy at this point?
...and that's the news from Lake 4th Edition, where the Gnomes are strong, the Half-Orcs are good-looking, and all the PCs are above average.
william, I think they've already lost you. It seems like it doesn't matter what they put out, you've already made up your mind that if a build like the Knight exists then it's all over. And we know the Knight exists. So what are you still holding out for? What would make you happy at this point?



Honestly something saying that they will continue to support the other classes and something printed this year thad does not look like it belongs in the 1980s.  More support for classes like Artificer swordmage, warden, seeker and the other non traditional classes that look interesting but lack support.
I haven't been keeping up with all the latest previews or info.    Essentials is apparently an all-in-one package for newcomers, not so much an introductory game in itself.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to uh, essentially ignore D&D Essentials when it arrives.  

I just hope it doesn't become the new standard D&D.  I know they're not calling it 4.5 but I really think Essentials will significantly change D&D as I know it.  I worry that there will be no more hardcovers (only softcovers), no more PHs.

D&D is my favorite game, I like it fine the way it is.  Essentials is change for the sake of change I think.  I'd keep it as an introductory game.  I wouldn't try to appeal to everyone (no essential version of classes, no new builds).  I already have the game I like, thanks.

At most, I enjoy the idea of a 'red box'; nostalgia is a kick in the butt.  If it gets too bad, I scour the internet for Elmore art, maybe even pull out my Basic stuff ;).  Newcomers will never have the same connection to that artwork or box design that some of us do, so why bother?  Again, D&D Essentials is not the game for me.

Okay, got that outta my system ;).

/\ Art
/\ Art
At this point all essentials means is that no one in my group will be purchasing fourth quarter products from WotC. 
william:

You seem to be going with the assumption that "the basis for the game" means "IF IT'S NOT IN ESSENTIALS, FORGET ABOUT IT."

But we know for a fact this isn't true.

The very first post-Essentials book, using the Essentials book as the new foundation going forward into the great unknown et cetera, is going to cover three character types and a power source not found in the Essentials stuff at all.

No, it's not the Swordmage or the Artificer or the Warden. But since we know for a fact the Post-Essentials future is not going to consist of only Essentials stuff, then there's no more reason to believe/fear there will be no more Swordmage or Artificer content than there was before you knew about Essentials.

They just introduced a new Primal and Divine character in the PHB3. These classes are currently (taking into account that Psionic Power is already on its way) the least supported classes in the game. Would they have dropped these horrible dead ends on us--one that makes use of an intriguing new feature in the rune keywords and feats--if there was any intention of never updating pre-Essentials content?
...and that's the news from Lake 4th Edition, where the Gnomes are strong, the Half-Orcs are good-looking, and all the PCs are above average.
william:

You seem to be going with the assumption that "the basis for the game" means "IF IT'S NOT IN ESSENTIALS, FORGET ABOUT IT."

But we know for a fact this isn't true.

The very first post-Essentials book, using the Essentials book as the new foundation going forward into the great unknown et cetera, is going to cover three character types and a power source not found in the Essentials stuff at all.

No, it's not the Swordmage or the Artificer or the Warden. But since we know for a fact the Post-Essentials future is not going to consist of only Essentials stuff, then there's no more reason to believe/fear there will be no more Swordmage or Artificer content than there was before you knew about Essentials.

They just introduced a new Primal and Divine character in the PHB3. These classes are currently (taking into account that Psionic Power is already on its way) the least supported classes in the game. Would they have dropped these horrible dead ends on us--one that makes use of an intriguing new feature in the rune keywords and feats--if there was any intention of never updating pre-Essentials content?



I honestly have no idea.  I dont know why they would print essentials in the first place rather than giving us divine and arcane power 2.  Im honestly baffled by the backsliding Im seeing with fewer character choices and such in essentials.  SO I have no clue what the heck they are going to do.  I am honestly afraid that they wont support those things.  Heck we already wont see support for those classes till essentials is done.  For something like artificer thats a long time to go without any really new support.
You know what, william, I used to disagree with you but then I was looking through the compendium and I found a feat that I have no interest in taking and that I don't think belongs in the game at all. I can't believe they took the time to work on something I wouldn't use when they could have been working on something I would use. I feel betrayed, and shan't be giving WotC another thin dime.
...and that's the news from Lake 4th Edition, where the Gnomes are strong, the Half-Orcs are good-looking, and all the PCs are above average.
Based on your caveat, I can only assume you've been reading entirely different things than I have.

As one random example: every time they add a new domain to Warpriests, they have to populate it with enough encounter powers to take it to level 30. These are the encounter powers that are recommended for that domain, but they are Cleric powers that any Cleric can use. It's functionally no different than when a new build appears, or when a Dragon magazine appears about "Students of the School Of Fluff" which details a fictional school of wizards/druids/fighters/whatever and lists a bunch of powers and feats for them.

That information isn't useless for existing w/d/f/ws who don't belong to the school. That's just a unified theme behind their presentation.

This is what Mage schools and Warpriest domains are, in terms of powers.

We know this. This isn't my opinion based on what I've read. This is what I read. 



What I'm most concerned about is support for existing builds.  When they added Shielding Clerics, it didn't mean Devoted and Battle Clerics wouldn't get new powers.

When they added Battleragers and Tempests, it didn't mean Sword n Boards didn't get new powers.

But with the new builds, especially the Knight, I can't be sure, because the underlying frame is different.  And they've clearly stated these are the designs moving forward.  The PHB classes are old designs.  Will the old designs get support?

Will the PHB fighter, with his dailies and encounters, see more new dailies and encounters, even though the Knight cannot ever use them?  Will we see new feats that require Combat Challenge even though the Knight cannot ever select them?

Or will we see a whole bunch of stances and encounter level powers for some "Fluffies of Fluff" knightly order that can be chosen instead of what the Knight automatically gets at certain levels?  Things that are useless to current Fighters due to them not having "Power Strike" and "Improved Power Strike" (and any other unrevealed features).

That's my concern.  There are two versions of the same class...
This arrangement forced us to take a path that allowed us to add new design to the game without replacing existing classes. We decided that introducing new variations of existing character classes was the best way to meet that goal.


...and there are only so many updates and articles.  I fear they are going to select only one to support (either leaving one left behind or leaving the other dead in the water), or they're gonna support both half-heartedly.
Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
But with the new builds, especially the Knight, I can't be sure, because the underlying frame is different.  And they've clearly stated these are the designs moving forward.  The PHB classes are old designs.  Will the old designs get support?

Re: The bolded part. No. No, they haven't.

Re: The rest. Yes, it's going to split development on each class further, but no more so than a new build would for many classes. Not all classes/builds, of course, but there are classes whose builds are so very different... well, a new Beastmaster Ranger power does nothing for anybody else, ever. A weapon-based Ranger powery may or may not work for both melee and ranged builds. It's always been a mixed bag.

A new Warpriest or Mage build is going to have powers that can be pillaged. A new Knight build... well, I've said this before in two other threads, but the Knight is a build like the Warpriest domains or a Mage school. It isn't modular to begin with. That's fact, and from that fact, I speculate  we're not going to see much further support for it at all. It's like an Apple product: closed box, not meant to be modded. 
...and that's the news from Lake 4th Edition, where the Gnomes are strong, the Half-Orcs are good-looking, and all the PCs are above average.
Re: The Actual Topic

I'm thoroughly meh, and get more meh as more information is revealed.  I don't like some of the design choices, I don't like the format, and I don't find the stuff provided thus far really indicative of anything necessary for new people.

I'll likely buy the tile sets (I [heart] tiles), and I might consider the other products that include tiles and tokens, maybe.  But the rest I'm just planning on skipping.


My only long term concern with the essentials stuff is as to what level of influence it's going to have on future products.  To use the universal analogy (pastries!*)...

The restaurant (D&D) currently serves predominantly cake (game-as-is) - which I like.
The restaurant plans on introducing pie (essentials) as a seasonal item - which is fine, but not for me.
The restaurant has said that pie is a "new direction" with their pastry designs, and that it's influencing their products going forward.
My concern is then that pie will influence the restaurant's current menu to such a degree that I will no longer want to purchase their products.


*(Works better with something else - like a style of cuisine.  Say Italian food and Indian food.)


Which is a long way of saying: I have a threshold with books - an amount of "stuff I like" that needs to be there for me to consider buying them.  I'm not a fan of essentials stuff thus far, so if essentials-based stuff occupies a chunk of a future book, it's going to be less likely to meet my threshold.


Also: Predominant Softcovers  Though I'm glad to see that at least Adventurers' Vault 3 (Now With Classis-Wizard-Name Attached!) will be a hardbound book - that alleviates my concerns about the covers a bit.

EDIT:Classic Wizard, not Class Wizard.  Pah, I can't type anymore.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
I like the pastries analogy --tasty ;).

They have actually said that Essentials will influence designs and products going forward?  I was hoping Essentials would be a (mostly) self-contained product line.  So now we're stuck with yet another take on D&D?  *groan*  It may not be Basic vs Advanced but its not good I think.

/\ Art
But with the new builds, especially the Knight, I can't be sure, because the underlying frame is different.  And they've clearly stated these are the designs moving forward.  The PHB classes are old designs.  Will the old designs get support?

Re: The bolded part. No. No, they haven't.



Uh, yes they did...
We’ve charted a new direction in class design with the Essentials products. It’s a direction we intend to use from here on out.

and
They form the foundation of the game moving forward and are designed to be the perfect way for new people to get into the game


...unless you're reading that completely differently than I.

Re: The rest. Yes, it's going to split development on each class further, but no more so than a new build would for many classes. Not all classes/builds, of course, but there are classes whose builds are so very different... well, a new Beastmaster Ranger power does nothing for anybody else, ever. A weapon-based Ranger powery may or may not work for both melee and ranged builds. It's always been a mixed bag.

A new Warpriest or Mage build is going to have powers that can be pillaged. A new Knight build... well, I've said this before in two other threads, but the Knight is a build like the Warpriest domains or a Mage school. It isn't modular to begin with. That's fact, and from that fact, I speculate  we're not going to see much further support for it at all. It's like an Apple product: closed box, not meant to be modded. 



Eh, fair enough.  I certainly hope the existence of new mechanics doesn't impinge on the development of existing mechanics.  Beastmaster didn't stop new Two-Blade powers.  I just can't get past how different these sub-classes are.  A Beastmaster had the same framework as Archers.  A knight does not have the same framework as a any other Fighter.

Although, as an aside, there is something else that's bothering me.  Currently, it goes Class-->Build.  Fighter-->Tempest.  Rogue-->Artful Dodger.  But with the new cleric, Warpriest is a build of a cleric, and each domain is a build of the Warpriest.  Cleric-->Warpriest-->Storm Warpriest.

Are these new builds even "builds" or are they new classes that are tagged as existing classes so they don't have to publish 500 feats?  Just a thought...

EDIT: Added additional quote from the Essentials preview
Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
Really, we're not going to know how it all unfolds until we see the 2011 catalog.  If 2011 comes around, and all the new books are offering new options to Essentials classes, creating Essentialized versions of the Warlord and PHB2 classes, and re-publishing items and feats from old books tweaked to fit the new Essentials style, then the 4.5e camp will be able to say that it is indeed 4.5e, though of course many in the non-4.5e camp will hold out that it's not, because technically the old stuff is still supported and the revised versions of everything can play alongside the original versions.  If 2011 comes around and the new books still have Fighter daily powers and Str cleric powers, and they don't bother revising the Warlord or PHB2 classes, the non-4.5e camp can say that indeed it's not 4.5e, though of course many in the 4.5e camp will say it is because the Essentials support outweighs or is more powerful than the non-Essentials support.

We'll see.  Either way there will be five billion "I told you so" posts and a whole lot of derision from all sides.
I don't really give a rats patootie about Essentials per se. I do worry about what it means when they say that essentials will represent the state of the game 'going forward' (yes I am paraphrasing, I don't recall how exactly they phrased it).  If it means only the essentials version of the races and classes are going to see new feats/powers/etc, then I am NOT happy.  IF it doesn't mean that, then I don't care.
I don't really give a rats patootie about Essentials per se. I do worry about what it means when they say that essentials will represent the state of the game 'going forward' (yes I am paraphrasing, I don't recall how exactly they phrased it).  If it means only the essentials version of the races and classes are going to see new feats/powers/etc, then I am NOT happy.  IF it doesn't mean that, then I don't care.



Yeah, it's really all about that "going forward" stuff. 

The implication that Essentials stuff will influence design on future pre-Essentials stuff (future pre-? What does that mean?Tongue out) is what makes me nervous.  If Essentials had been merely a starter set with with simplified version of classes with NO NEW FEATURES (domains, schools etc), but instead new versions of existing features (new implement masteries), then everything would be nice and dandy.  Supporting A would equal Supporting B, because A and B are the same.

Right now, it looks like A=/=B.  Not better or worse, just more different then I'm comfortable with.

It should be noted, that if Essentials was marketed as 5e, I would be happy (in general.  I don't like the Knight).  Nothing in the Mage School design or Cleric Domain design is inherently bad or flawed.  It's genuinely interesting design.  If it was presented as such, thus implying that 4th edition was no effectively closed and unchanging, I'd be fine.  I'd accept 4th becoming static (as previous players have accepted their older editions as being static), and would try a 5th edition to see if I liked it, as I did with 3rd (no I didn't like it) and 4th (why yes I did).

I guess we'll see...
Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
I will definetly buy the Essentials line... everything new is good in my eyes... I'm currently creating my own campaign and I spy with my eyes that this is material I can use...

aside from that... I never ever ever ever listen to what other people tell me when it comes to movies, computer games and role-playing games/boardgames... I will buy it if I find it interesting... I have alot of rpg's on my shelves and in boxes here and there that I don't play... but I use ideas from those said games when I'm writing content for those games I do play and DM... I consider them my inspiration in a box... 
And yet another Essentials thread gets bogged down as the same handful of doomsayers make the same claims as they are in nearly every other thread while for the most part ignoring the counterpoints to their street corner philosophising in this and other threads. In the mean time, posters with positive hopes and others with reasonable concerns waiting for more info with a little trepedation before making snap judgements are drowned out or see the thread as no place to make their voices heard.

Yay.
Knowing is Half the Battle. The Other Half is VIOLENCE. Imagine a lightsaber duel between Optimus Prime and Batman. You're welcome.
Here's my take on the whole thing.

If you already have a character, it won't mean much.



It's the rough equivalent of ten updates to DDI, Dragon articles and all. You can largely rip out the parts you don't care about and just look at the shiny new powers, errata, and feats. Then you grab what you like, figure out how to adjust to the errata, and move on. Your character won't change, and your life goes on. 

If there's new characters in your future, it might matter.



Let's face it: if you're looking to make a Wizard, this newfangled 'mage' stuff may be worth checking out. It might give you options you didn't already have. It's closer to a Paragon Path than a class, so far, but oh well. If you like it, use it. If not, use what you already got.

Other than this? Well if your character can allow allies to take extra actions, you might want to know how these new potential comrades work, just to better use your own abilities.

If you aren't going to wail and gnash your teeth and never buy anything ever again...



Well, who knows? Apparently we're getting the PHB3 design philosophy with PHB1 races and classes. So we'll likely see Elves, Dwarves, and so on all get alternative stat bonuses tacked on.

I expect that existing options will be the 'freeform' ones. You take your basic Fighter as exists now if you want the most freedom. If you want something more structured or more resembling the 'traditional' classes, use the new stuff. You should still be able to cherry-pick things, but I don't know that the existing classes will maintain their current rate of expansion. They don't need to- you can already do a heck of a lot that will work with a thematic character without needing extra bits, even beyond the options in the book.

For instance, there's no Wizard class options or implements that encourage you to do nothing but throw cold spells. But you could very easily create a character whose powers, feats, path, and equipment all make cold your big signature thing.  

That's not even tapping into Hybrids.  
From a different thread, but my opinion hasn't changed....

The people who love new options will have new options, the people who love the old classes will still have them, and the people who just love being ticked off every time WotC does anything will have something new to be ticked off about.  Everybody wins!



Edited to add: I'm in the first category, by the way.
Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht anders. Das Fliegende Spaghettimonster helfe mir. RAmen.
I think I should start my very own Essentials thread.  Because we just don't have enough of them.

I will be snagging the box when it comes out.  Because I like the direction and like the added options. 
@Foxface:

Your eyes are better than mine. Please separate out for me, in those two designer quotes you posted, where it says that these new class designs are what will be used going forward. I'm having a hard time finding that in either quote, and that interpretation doesn't jibe with anything else that's been said (like Essentials being a "10 and done" set.)

You might want to go back to the source to double-check the antecedent that pronouns like "They" (at the start of the second one) are referring to, because I'm pretty sure the "They" in question aren't "these new classes".

@silent_stone:

Well said.  
...and that's the news from Lake 4th Edition, where the Gnomes are strong, the Half-Orcs are good-looking, and all the PCs are above average.
Well, since all have been encouraged to say something.

Frankly I'm over reading page after page of nerd rage. Especially over a product you don't have, and one that you don't have to use.

What makes me shake my head the most, is when the nerd rage takes the form of "I know better then people who do this for a living, and I question all the choices they have made."

Having an opinion is one thing, everyone does. How you express your opinion is the difference. It's like people who first tell me they can't draw, and the offer advice on what I should do in my comics. My response is always polite and I end that conversation quickly.

But I'm always left thinking, if you are so awesome at knowing what to do, why aren't you doing it?

It's very easy to criticize someone else's work, more so if you can't even begin to try and do the same thing yourself. To quote from Ratatouille:

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."
Ummm it is over a half an hour now icedcrow and I am still waiting for your thread on Essentials...when are  you gonna post it...sheesh get a guy all excited for it and leave him hanging...
See how versitile 4e is?












Nerd rageNerd 1 - at will
ESSENTIALS ARE THE NEW 4.5 !!!!!
At least one too many times Nerd, Forum
Immediate reaction - Ranged forum
Trigger: Something seriously happened
Target:one or more creatures who disagree
Attack:Charisma - 8 vs will
Hit: the target sees valitity in your points and agrees with you
Miss: the target is annoyed
Effect: none what so ever

Qube's block builder: if you want to create blocks for powers, items and monsters for this forum, but don't know html
Signature in a box
For years, I've lived a double life. In the day, I do my job - I ride the bus, roll up my sleeves with the hoi-polloi. But at night, I live a life of exhilaration, of missed heartbeats and adrenalin. And, if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue. I won't deny it - I've been engaged in violence, even indulged in it. I've maimed and killed adversaries, and not merely in self-defence. I've exhibited disregard for life, limb and property, and savoured every moment. You may not think it, to look of me but I have commanded armies, and conquered worlds. And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside, I have no regrets. For though I've led a double life, at least I can say - I've lived.

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Scipio: And Chihuahuas have definitely improved in the "attacking ankles, yapping, and being generally annoying" environment. Me: OK, am I the only who sees an analogy between forum trolls & Chihuahuas?
Some of my work:
XDMC 19 (silver): A full fledged assassins guild (with stats, skill challenges, ...)link XDMC 14 (Bronze): a one shot campaign for beginning DMs/players. link XDMC 16: Paragon path: the Epitome: being better then all then any one else. link (note: this is balanced) XDMC 25: The Gelatinous Cube mount Guide To Disreality: a collection of houserules - Introduction & table of content
My ego in a box
who am I kidding? my ego would never fit in a box
See how versitile 4e is?












Nerd rageNerd 1 - at will
ESSENTIALS ARE THE NEW 4.5 !!!!!
At least one too many times Nerd, Forum
Immediate reaction - Ranged forum
Trigger: Something seriously happened
Target:one or more creatures who disagree
Attack:Charisma - 8 vs will
Hit: the target sees valitity in your points and agrees with you
Miss: the target is annoyed
Effect: none what so ever




And this is why I love nerds, all the rage aside.
I am looking forward to the Essential line, and what I have read until now is very promising.
 
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Nerd rage (Essentials 4.5 version)Nerd 1 - basic
Anger;Wrath;CAPS LOCK
At least one too many times diamond.gifNerd, Forum
Immediate reaction - Ranged forum
Trigger: Something happens that causes you to be ill-tempered
Target:all enemies in burst
Attack:  Cha vs WIL
Hit: the target is stunned by your rage and can take no action until they either A) see that they were wrong or B) make a saving throw with a -10 penalty
Miss: the target is dazed by your intellectually superior logic
Effect: High Blood Pressure

NERD-RAGE is a powerful condition that only the true masters of D&D can hope to achieve.  As a basic first level ESSENTIALS power, it is granted to any class that has the ability to do the following:

Get red in the face when someone assets an opinion different from theirs

Scream in rage when WoTC changes rules or keywords around to something displeasing

When their superior intellect is challenged by opposing logic, type in ALL CAPS to prove a point

Able to flip tables to show their true masterful power

Able to invent logic and misread quotes and explanations to further their cause

Able to see into the future and predict the downfall of society and gaming as we know it


Those choosing the NERD RAGE power are able to pick the NERD-MASTER-SCHOLAR paragon path at level 11.  The NERD-MASTER-SCHOLAR is an Essentials class and can only be taken by someone who seriously hates Essentials.  We mean it.  Seriously. 

A sneak peek at NERD-MASTER-SCHOLAR (for those of you who have the INSIDER knowledge):

Nerd Master Scholar is a neat paragon path that will define how all classes are going to be made from now on.  We just inked a deal with Blackwater to go to each D&D gamer's house and personally shred their old rule books because they are no longer to be used in the game.

Those not running Essentials will be pimp slapped. 

The Nerd-Master-Scholar (NMS) as a class has a powerful feature that lets them know what's going to happen ahead of time flawlessly.  To represent this, the player running the NMS may ask the DM to see his / her notes at any time, as well as maps, DM keys, etc...

This is because the NMS as a character can always predict the future.  Failure to adhere to these rules allows the NMS to go into Advanced Nerd Rage, which we cannot describe here, but it's a safe bet that your DM will not want to experience this.




Are any non-Nerds raging at the moment?

There'd be a lot less of these essential threads if either
A) People stopped reacting to the smallest pieces of information
B) WOTC would put out concrete rules information on how essential classes work in relation to core classes.

Having said that, I already want to make a knight and i've only seen a small preview.
I have read the essentials atricles, and as far as the knight is concerned, I expect to see alot of half-orc knights running, er charging, around a battlefield.
I have signed my son and myself up for a Intro D&D session at Gencon next week.  I really hope that they will be using Essentials classes for these sessions.  It would be nice to test drive the Essentials products.

 Any Edition

I really hope that they will be using Essentials classes for these sessions.  It would be nice to test drive the Essentials products.



Indeed; I don't think anybody is really going to know how good or bad or whatever the Essentials material is going to be until it actually gets put into play.



Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht anders. Das Fliegende Spaghettimonster helfe mir. RAmen.
I'm typically not one to nerd rage.  I have, but not recently.  The 3.5 revision didn't bother me in the least ;).  The cancellation of the print Dragon/Dungeon was one time I really did get worked up (I was a longtime reader of the mags).  This, Essentials, has me kinda worried.  Got to get it off my chest one last time, so I apologize in advance.

I'm gonna try to ignore Essentials if possible.  If the game works as well (even to the point of interchangeably) with standard D&D as they say, it won't be a problem.  I don't care for the apparent impetus behind the game.  Its not so much an introduction to D&D as it is an all-in-one package for newcomers.  I'll ignore it if I can.

I really don't want yet another take on D&D, especially if that take is gonna influence the game going forward.  That's my biggest concern, right there, something that won't be so easy to overlook.  I like D&D the way it is.  My biggest hope is that D&D as I know it will continue to see support, not eventually be supplanted by Essential versions of stuff.  I say keep the product lines separate.  Support Essentials in its own way and standard D&D in its own way; try not to merge the two if at all possible.

Believe it or not, it helps when I'm really concerned to just get the words out as best I can ;).  I know I'm rambling but sometimes I just can't help it.  I'll save a copy of  this post to help remind myself exactly were I stand on Essentials.  Better that, than endless thread hopping I think.  I am thankful though for those people who have helped me to understand better what kind of game Essentials might be and what might be in store.

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