Feeling nostalgic about 3.5. Who can make the case for 4e?

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For those who haven't read my other thread, I'm a former 3.5 player who's coming back to the game after a long hiatus with Warhammer Fantasy.

As I try to wrap my head around 4th edition, I find that in a lot of ways I think I'd rather just go back to 3.5.

I think I'm feeling bogged down in the new character class format.  The pages and pages of powers for every class feels convoluted to me, as well as the sheer amount of classes available.  I realise it's meant to give the players more options to customize but it feels heavy handed and I wonder if it really makes the game better. 

I long for the simplicity of multi-classing and relying on feats to customize my characters.  It seems like making multiclassing a function of feats would just water the whole thing down, since you're essentially sacrificing your feats to get multiclass abilities.  In 3.5 I could get 3 Feats out of 3 levels of fighter while in 4e I need 3 Feats just to properly function as a fighter.  It seems restrictive.

Neither am I thrilled about the devaluation of the basic attack.  whereas before with enough levels of fighter and two hand weapons, or a moderately advanced monk, you could easily produce 3 or 4 attacks with a full round action, the 4e PHB clearly says that the basic attack is only good for opportunity attacks and that you're always better using powers.  Powers that, again, seem convoluted and even a little underwhelming.

Now it's not all doom and gloom.  I love the way the books are written.  I love the approach to the roles of the characters, like Leader, Controller, Striker and Defender, and I easily think they're worth owning just for how they encourage you to see the game.  I think I'm just experiencing option overload with the general character building aspect of the game.  The fact that wizards actually have a lot less options this edition only makes the whole thing seem worse.

So, for someone who has yet to start gaming, can anyone make the case for 4e?  Am I missing something?  What experiences have you had that would help me make sense of it all?

Is 4e truly better than 3.5, or at least good enough?
Sleeping with interns on Colonial 1
why dont you play and figure it out for yourself, everyone on this forum loves 4e or would be posting in the 3e forums


honestly, some of the stuff i have no idea what you are saying. devaluing the basic attack? thats the opposite of what essentials does in my estimation
The only way I can figure that anyone would prefer 3.5 over 4th Edition is if they played nothing but spellcasters.  I am definitely not nostalgic for my Fighter being useless and dying instantly all the time as was the case back in 3.5.  At least in 4th the Martial classes hold their own against the casters, even at higher levels.

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.



honestly, some of the stuff i have no idea what you are saying. devaluing the basic attack? thats the opposite of what essentials does in my estimation



To be fair I was specifically referring to the PHB, which absolutely says out-right that the basic attack is only good for opportunity attacks and you're always better off using a power in you turn.

I'm looking for specifics to help me wrap my head around all the changes.  Why exactly are the martial classes better this edition.  Like I said, it's a matter of information overload and I'm reaching out for some kind of road map.
Sleeping with interns on Colonial 1
I would recomend Pathfinder, it plays very much like 3.5 (it is basically 3.75) and they removed many of the things people did not like about 3E

paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/

and the best part is, you can get all the rules for free, again like you could with 3.5
www.d20pfsrd.com/

with a little google-fu you can also find really good character builders as well, but i would recomend this one www.wolflair.com/index.php?context=hero_...

have fun!


EDIT:
if you want to stick with the completely free route pcgen.sourceforge.net/01_overview.php
Everything I post is an opinion, any perceptions you have to the contrary are not my problem. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog Initiative Tracker for WP7 RPG Dice Calculator for WP7
If you think there is "option overload" in 4e, I'm quite curious how you ran 3e before with the sheer amount of splatbooks released with feas & spells (and more) in every godd*mn book (in 4e, only Player books has feats and powers).

If the answer is that you had fewer/no splatbooks, then that is exactly how you can play 4e without getting bogged down.
I find people who enjoy 3.5 enjoy lone wolf tactics, building up characters that can cover a lot of areas on their own, and really like character specializing and optimization. 

I find people that enjoy 4.0 enjoy the team based role that they play and growing as a party instead of an individual character.

That's just my experience though.

I've played all versions of D&D.  4.0 is neither more complicated nor simpler than 3.5, it's just a very different game altogether.
To see my campaign world visit http://dnd.chrisnye.net My music -> www.myspace.com/Incarna My music videos -> www.youtube.com/Auticusx
I find people who enjoy 3.5 enjoy lone wolf tactics, building up characters that can cover a lot of areas on their own, and really like character specializing and optimization. 

I find people that enjoy 4.0 enjoy the team based role that they play and growing as a party instead of an individual character.

That's just my experience though.

I've played all versions of D&D.  4.0 is neither more complicated nor simpler than 3.5, it's just a very different game altogether.


I have never heard it put that way before, I completely agree
Everything I post is an opinion, any perceptions you have to the contrary are not my problem. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog Initiative Tracker for WP7 RPG Dice Calculator for WP7
A fighter that can do 3 to 4 attacks a round did nothing in damage compared to the wizard, or cleric, or druid could do for damage.

I think you may be confusing basic attack with your normal attacks.  Your normal attacks are your at wills.  These are your basic sword against face attacks.

If you really want to use your melee basic attack check out the essitenals.
The first thing you need to do is realize that 4e is a completely different game with a completely different philosophy.  The name of the game in 4e is balance.  Ignoring Essentials, all of the classes are built on the same system for that reason.  This is why the Wizard has a smaller number of powers now.  In the balanced world of 4e, he's meant to control enemy actions and aoe enemy minions, not do more damage than anyone and have a solution to every problem.

Think of powers as the new feats.  Gaining new powers is where character customization lies now, feats generally (not always) offer more minor bonuses.  As for the benefits of the power system, all characters start out feeling heroic now instead of becoming heroes at level 9 or so.  Compare a level 1 4.0 Fighter to a level 1 3.5 Fighter.  The 4e Fighter gets free attacks any time his mark ignores him, he gets encounter powers that let him attack multiple enemies in a turn, he can push enemies around with his shield while doing full damage, and more, all at level 1.  The 3.5 Fighter can... attack or power attack =p 

Which points out the other advantage of the power system, especially for martial characters, in that it gives every character lots of options in combat.  Instead of doing nothing but multiple basic attacks, martial characters now get lots of options to manipulate the battlefield or apply status effects.  Yeah, you can't do 3 basic attacks in one round anymore, but the things you can do are more interesting.  Also, the higher level powers do as many weapon dice in damage as the old basic attack system.  A two hander wielding striker class is rolling 9d12 for his high level powers =p

If you're finding the sheer volume of powers to be overwhelming, step back and just look at it from level 1.  That's two at wills, one encounter, and one daily.  Run a mock encounter or two.  The system gradually introduces more powers as you level, and it's pretty intuitive once you get used to the idea.

All that said, if you long for classes with a more "traditional" feel, you should definitely check out Essentials.  The martial classes in it use nothing but basic attacks, but gain class features as they level which augment their basic attacks with new effects.  The spellcasters still use a slightly tweaked power system as outlined in the PHB, but it still adheres to the 4e philosophy of balanced classes.
As I try to wrap my head around 4th edition, I find that in a lot of ways I think I'd rather just go back to 3.5.


I will start with a question for you: why do you feel any need to play 4E?  If it is just becaues it is the current edition, you might want to rethink things.  3.5 has a plethora (yes, a plethora!) of support, both from WotC and outside companies.

I think I'm feeling bogged down in the new character class format.  The pages and pages of powers for every class feels convoluted to me, as well as the sheer amount of classes available.  I realise it's meant to give the players more options to customize but it feels heavy handed and I wonder if it really makes the game better. 


I don't understand what you mean by "convoluted" and "heavy handed" in regards to the power system.  3.5 had quite a lot of feats and TONS of spells for the same purpose.  Also, the PHB has 8 classes, while the 3.5 PHB had 11 classes.  I personally feel that the power system makes the game better.  It gives everyone the chance to have interesting attacks, and brings a balance to the game that has never been there before.

I long for the simplicity of multi-classing and relying on feats to customize my characters.  It seems like making multiclassing a function of feats would just water the whole thing down, since you're essentially sacrificing your feats to get multiclass abilities.  In 3.5 I could get 3 Feats out of 3 levels of fighter while in 4e I need 3 Feats just to properly function as a fighter.  It seems restrictive.


It is certainly a cost, but that is because the benefit can be quite large.  Each power swap feat you take doubles your choices for that type of power.  Often you will find a power you really like from another class, while your class has nothing like it.  For example, the level 3 Wizard encounter power "Fire Shroud" is a close burst 3 that only hits enemies.  I've always thought that would be amazing for a Fighter, and well worth spending a feat to get.  Also, as you gain levels, you can keep replacing the power with a higher level one.  So in epic tier, a Fighter with the Wizard multiclass feats can have an epic level wizard spell.  I'm not saying it is better or worse, just different.  Have you looked at the hybrid rules for 4E?  They might be more your style.

Neither am I thrilled about the devaluation of the basic attack.  whereas before with enough levels of fighter and two hand weapons, or a moderately advanced monk, you could easily produce 3 or 4 attacks with a full round action, the 4e PHB clearly says that the basic attack is only good for opportunity attacks and that you're always better using powers.  Powers that, again, seem convoluted and even a little underwhelming.


Once again, I don't know why you think powers seem convoulted.  And I certainly don't know why they seem underwhelming.  While some are underpowered for their level, just as many are overpowered for their level.  Overall I think they are nicely balanced.  Take a look at some Ranger powers (as you mentioned fighting with two weapons): they often grant multiple attacks (at no penalty even) and some allow you to attack everything adjacent to you.  The attack progression is simply different.  In 3.5, as characters gained levels they would get more attacks at lower bonuses.  In 4E, most classes do not get extra attacks, but instead get attacks that do more damage or have stronger effects.  It amounts to the same thing: you do more damage at higher levels. 
You should also take a look at the newly released Essentials builds: the Fighter and Rogue now use basic attacks for every strike.

Now it's not all doom and gloom.  I love the way the books are written.  I love the approach to the roles of the characters, like Leader, Controller, Striker and Defender, and I easily think they're worth owning just for how they encourage you to see the game.  I think I'm just experiencing option overload with the general character building aspect of the game.  The fact that wizards actually have a lot less options this edition only makes the whole thing seem worse.


Here is where I feel you will actually enjoy 3.5 more.  The fact that wizards get no more or less options than anyone else is part of why I prefer 4E.  If you feel that fighters and rogues shouldn't have many options and that wizards should have the most, 3.5 is the game for you.

So, for someone who has yet to start gaming, can anyone make the case for 4e?  Am I missing something?  What experiences have you had that would help me make sense of it all?

Is 4e truly better than 3.5, or at least good enough?


Again, it is a matter of opinion.  I know many people (myself included) who prefer 4E.  We like the new approach to classes because it puts everyone on the same level.  We like the new approach to monsters because it makes every fight exciting.  We like the new approach to treasure because the focus is more on your character's powers than his magic items.  We just find that overall, 4E feels more like D&D in an intangible and indescribable way.
I also know many people (including you it seems) who prefer 3.5.  They like the way classes are designed to facilitate pick and choose multiclassing.  They like that each class has a very different level of complexity, from the simple fighter to the complex wizard.  They find that overall, 3.5 feels more like D&D in an intangible and indescribable way.

You ended with a question and so shall I.  Once again I ask: why do you feel a need for people to make the case for 4e?  Why do you feel a need to play 4e given that you really enjoy 3.5?

The only way I can figure that anyone would prefer 3.5 over 4th Edition is if they played nothing but spellcasters.  I am definitely not nostalgic for my Fighter being useless and dying instantly all the time as was the case back in 3.5.  At least in 4th the Martial classes hold their own against the casters, even at higher levels.


Untrue. I enjoy playing 3.5/PF games with my group. I rarely play spellcasters and there is one player that never plays a caster and he is not a fan of 4e. I do not get how your  fighter was useless nor how he was dying instantly?
For those who haven't read my other thread, I'm a former 3.5 player who's coming back to the game after a long hiatus with Warhammer Fantasy.

As I try to wrap my head around 4th edition, I find that in a lot of ways I think I'd rather just go back to 3.5.

I think I'm feeling bogged down in the new character class format.  The pages and pages of powers for every class feels convoluted to me



Nothing new here at all, easily compared to the pages and pages of wizard, druid, cleric et all spells and whole books dedicated to spells that was 3rd edition.

as well as the sheer amount of classes available.



Again, nothing new. 3.5 had plenty of classes you could play from level 1, all sorts of variants, source books, "complete" classes, perhaps even more than 4e has.

I realise it's meant to give the players more options to customize but it feels heavy handed and I wonder if it really makes the game better.



Heavy handed how ? how exactly does giving the player more choice equate to heavy handed ? 

I long for the simplicity of multi-classing and relying on feats to customize my characters.



Multiclasses was never as simple as you make it sound to be, and you can still easily reply on feats to customize your character, nothing has changed there.

It seems like making multiclassing a function of feats would just water the whole thing down, since you're essentially sacrificing your feats to get multiclass abilities.  In 3.5 I could get 3 Feats out of 3 levels of fighter while in 4e I need 3 Feats just to properly function as a fighter.  It seems restrictive.



Indeed, you are trading, in a very easy to understand and straightforward manner, some power, for versatility.

Neither am I thrilled about the devaluation of the basic attack.  whereas before with enough levels of fighter and two hand weapons, or a moderately advanced monk, you could easily produce 3 or 4 attacks with a full round action, the 4e PHB clearly says that the basic attack is only good for opportunity attacks and that you're always better using powers.  Powers that, again, seem convoluted and even a little underwhelming.



To heck with the basic attack, It is boring and unimaginative. In 3.5 it turned the fighter and many other melee classes into boring "I hit it again" classes. Where as powers are much more flavourful and add more strategy to previously boring classes.

Now it's not all doom and gloom.  I love the way the books are written.  I love the approach to the roles of the characters, like Leader, Controller, Striker and Defender, and I easily think they're worth owning just for how they encourage you to see the game.  I think I'm just experiencing option overload with the general character building aspect of the game.  The fact that wizards actually have a lot less options this edition only makes the whole thing seem worse.

So, for someone who has yet to start gaming, can anyone make the case for 4e?  Am I missing something?  What experiences have you had that would help me make sense of it all?

Is 4e truly better than 3.5, or at least good enough?



It's not really a question of better, it's a question of preference. You can play squidmania the reconing and have it be a fun and immersive role playing experience, but will it satisfy you mechanicaly wise ? Some people prefer the mechanics of 3.5, some of 4.

4e for me does a lot of things i have wanted D&D to do for a long time. Make classes I found boring and tedious interesting, balance classes so certain ones (I'm looking at you wizard) don't steal the spotlight for the rest fo the campaign after level 7.

I fell that 4th edition is a mechanically superior edition to 3.5 in almost every single aspect. However, that opinion may not be shared by everyone, and that is fine.

The thing is, you shouldn't really as other to justify 4th edition to you, you should play it yourself for a few months and decide if you like the way it runs.

I would still play 3.5, as i had a lot of fun playing it for many years. However, I would prefer to play 4th

Big question:  Are you a DM?  If so, then 4e is your best friend. It's the most DM friendly version of D&D so far and I have DM'ed every version there is.

For players: Spellcasters in 4e lost a lot of their big hammers while the melee classes got a big boost. The idea was to create balance. Most of the time it works.

Interesting effect: In 4e you need to have a team approach. Building a party that can cover the roles (defender, striker, leader, and less so controller) is important. You can't have one guy do it all like you could in 3.5

Best advice I can give:  Download the character builder demo from the main site and give it a try. If you feel overwhelmed by choice, you'll see that it's broken down into bite sized sections. Stay away from the char-op forums because they will suck the joy out of the game Wink

The only way I can figure that anyone would prefer 3.5 over 4th Edition is if they played nothing but spellcasters.  I am definitely not nostalgic for my Fighter being useless and dying instantly all the time as was the case back in 3.5.  At least in 4th the Martial classes hold their own against the casters, even at higher levels.


Untrue. I enjoy playing 3.5/PF games with my group. I rarely play spellcasters and there is one player that never plays a caster and he is not a fan of 4e. I do not get how your  fighter was useless nor how he was dying instantly?



I'm glad to hear someone say this, because I was sort of taken back by the insistance that fighters were useless.  In my entire 3.5 career it was generally understood by everyone that if you got close to a wizard, that wizard was dead.  True, it was tricky to get close to one, but that was a fair and balanced trade.  Fighter v. wizard had an auto-kill feel in both directions, which I thought was exciting.  Fighters invested in magic resistance, damage resistance, and of course often had wizard support of their own to draw some of the fire.  Fighters, rogues and barbarians were very popular in my group precisely because they were so powerful at close range.

Don't you think the current system of leader/defender/stricker/controller was born out of the fact that the dynamic already existed informally in the previous editions? 

@Arithezoo, Since I'm coming back to the game I'd like to play the current edition, or at least make an informed decision regarding which one I'd rather play.  I ask because I want people to explain to me what they like about 4e from a 3.5 perspective, something that all of you got to do 2 years ago when it came out, a discussion that I missed out on by coming in late.  Like I said, I'm trying to wrap my head around 4e.

Of the ~320 pages of the PHB, Chapter 3, the Classes, is 125 pages long.  That's over a third of the book.  Add to that the fact that there are 3 PHB full of classes.  That's what I mean by heavy handed and convoluted.  Character creation has shifted almost exclusively to the class-specific level.  I'm talking about the pages and pages of choices loaded onto each class.  It feels overblown and overly complex, which are admittedly just synonyms for heavy-handed and convoluted.

In 3e, if I took 3 levels of Fighter I got exactly the same thing that anyone else got from those 3 levels, and it was up to my feats, skills and other multiclass levels to synergies and make my character truly custom.  It just feels like a more even-handed approach.  In 4e, if I want to multiclass, I've got to puzzle out some modified fraction of the secondary class to incorporate into my repertoire, and in doing so I sacrifice my access to feats.  That seems overly complicated.

Now, these are just initial impressions.  If I'm wrong, I'm asking you to help me understand why I'm wrong, what I missing, which is what you guys are doing and I'm learning a lot just from these few posts.  Thanks.  But my gaming group will likely be small and it will be up to me to DM, so I want to understand the game as best I can so I can make a good decision about what we play.
Sleeping with interns on Colonial 1
No matter what, it's worth a try. You've already said you're willing to get the books, so play at least once.

Do a one-shot. As in, an adventure that is designed to span 4 sessions or so, and allow the PC's to have at least one session after they level up.  

If people love it, play for another level or so, and see where it goes. Be generous about retraining, as players are making more choices than before, and are approaching character building from a new perspective.

If, after 4 sessions or so, people are not having fun, start a 3rd ed game.

There's really no intellectual reconciliation of the differences; it's such a different game that you just have to try it.
I think 4e's better than 3e for many of the reasons you think the opposite, which really goes to show it's a matter of personal preference.

I never really enjoyed having to just attack as a fighter or monk, and only having a really customized character if I played a spellcaster (which could be very complicated and very overpowered).  I don't think of the basic attack as 'devalued', because, well, you needed to string 3 of them together in 3e to be worth anything, now it stands alone.

I will admit that 4e multiclassing is kind of a pain.  I generally prefer the new Hybrid rules (more eco-friendly!) for my split characters.

And, yeah, balance is a big thing for me.  I absolutely adore the fact that the classes are more-or-less balanced from start to finish.  There are some flukes in there, of course, but you no longer have 'linear warriors, quadratic wizards, geometric priests'.  I like that combats can't be decided in two rounds with a handful of save-or-die/save-or-lose effects, and that teamwork and tactics are rewarded.  I LOVE the fact that you don't need to be a divine character to heal!
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Gaius Baltar started this thread? Am I the only one who smells the irony?
The only way I can figure that anyone would prefer 3.5 over 4th Edition is if they played nothing but spellcasters.  I am definitely not nostalgic for my Fighter being useless and dying instantly all the time as was the case back in 3.5.  At least in 4th the Martial classes hold their own against the casters, even at higher levels.


Untrue. I enjoy playing 3.5/PF games with my group. I rarely play spellcasters and there is one player that never plays a caster and he is not a fan of 4e. I do not get how your  fighter was useless nor how he was dying instantly?



I'm glad to hear someone say this, because I was sort of taken back by the insistance that fighters were useless.  In my entire 3.5 career it was generally understood by everyone that if you got close to a wizard, that wizard was dead.  True, it was tricky to get close to one, but that was a fair and balanced trade.  Fighter v. wizard had an auto-kill feel in both directions, which I thought was exciting.  Fighters invested in magic resistance, damage resistance, and of course often had wizard support of their own to draw some of the fire.  Fighters, rogues and barbarians were very popular in my group precisely because they were so powerful at close range.

Don't you think the current system of leader/defender/stricker/controller was born out of the fact that the dynamic already existed informally in the previous editions? 

@Arithezoo, Since I'm coming back to the game I'd like to play the current edition, or at least make an informed decision regarding which one I'd rather play.  I ask because I want people to explain to me what they like about 4e from a 3.5 perspective, something that all of you got to do 2 years ago when it came out, a discussion that I missed out on by coming in late.  Like I said, I'm trying to wrap my head around 4e.

Of the ~320 pages of the PHB, Chapter 3, the Classes, is 125 pages long.  That's over a third of the book.  Add to that the fact that there are 3 PHB full of classes.  That's what I mean by heavy handed and convoluted.  Character creation has shifted almost exclusively to the class-specific level.  I'm talking about the pages and pages of choices loaded onto each class.  It feels overblown and overly complex, which are admittedly just synonyms for heavy-handed and convoluted.

In 3e, if I took 3 levels of Fighter I got exactly the same thing that anyone else got from those 3 levels, and it was up to my feats, skills and other multiclass levels to synergies and make my character truly custom.  It just feels like a more even-handed approach.  In 4e, if I want to multiclass, I've got to puzzle out some modified fraction of the secondary class to incorporate into my repertoire, and in doing so I sacrifice my access to feats.  That seems overly complicated.

Now, these are just initial impressions.  If I'm wrong, I'm asking you to help me understand why I'm wrong, what I missing, which is what you guys are doing and I'm learning a lot just from these few posts.  Thanks.  But my gaming group will likely be small and it will be up to me to DM, so I want to understand the game as best I can so I can make a good decision about what we play.



And your person with three levels of fighter would be the exact same as every other fighter baring feats.  4E allows far more diffrences within classes it allows the character to truly be more unique without the need for multi classing which in general I personally dont like Ive only ever seen players in 3e do it to gain more abilities and munchkin, as to fighter wizard after lv5 any fighter will be dropped by a wizard hands down almost without a struggle in 3.5 Ive seen it happen dozens of times.  One spell that requires a will save and the fighters just gone.

The powers are not complicated at all you start out with 2 at will, 1 encounter and 1 daily, you choose the ones most themantic for your character.  My pirate rogue right now focuses on powers that give extra movement or that can be used on a charge, because it fits the combat style that I see her using.
Tangent about 4e GMing
Big question:  Are you a DM?  If so, then 4e is your best friend. It's the most DM friendly version of D&D so far and I have DM'ed every version there is.

I have also GMed every version of D&D, and I feel 3rd, not 4th, edition was by far the best edition to run. 

Don't get me wrong, I think 4e is the most new GM friendly, but it's not so experienced GM friendly.  It works really well if you're the type that just wants to run a published adventure and/or use premade enemies from the Monster Manuals, sure, but if you want to create your own totally new stuff (rather than reskinning Monster Manual entries), it's not so great. 

The problem is subtle, but it relies on the fact that monsters and pcs don't work the same way anymore.  There's no real guideline for what abilities are acceptable for a given monster level.  Yes, you have easy reference for all the math, but hoenstly, that was the easy part as far as I was concerned.  Maybe I'm just a math guy, I don't know, but I could generate the numbers for monsters in 3.5 from memory, so the fact that all the numbers are super easy to get (remember one static number + level most of the time) isn't really helpful to me.

Before, I could say, "Hmm, when is it appropriate for this NPC to get ability X?"  And the answer was, "When a PC can get ability X."

Now I say, "When can an NPC get an aura that dazes and how large should it be?"  And the answer is, "I have no frickin' clue.  Now I need to pour through the monster manuals until I find some enemy with a similar ability and then eyeball how to adjust it for the level I want.

Anyway, enough with that tangent.


I find people who enjoy 3.5 enjoy lone wolf tactics, building up characters that can cover a lot of areas on their own, and really like character specializing and optimization. 

I find people that enjoy 4.0 enjoy the team based role that they play and growing as a party instead of an individual character.

That's just my experience though.

I don't know about that.  I like specializing, optimizing, and lone wolf tactics.  But, I despise Vancian casting with a passion and always have, not to mention I am just totally uninterested in the concepts behind most of the Vancian casting classes.

I think the greatest triumphs of 4e over 3e are that:

1) You do not need any system mastery to make a functional PC (you need some to make a great PC, but you can be functional with practically no help from someone like me and the difference between great and functional is usually 10% or so).

2) You can be great mechanically without being supernatural

The only way I can figure that anyone would prefer 3.5 over 4th Edition is if they played nothing but spellcasters.  I am definitely not nostalgic for my Fighter being useless and dying instantly all the time as was the case back in 3.5.  At least in 4th the Martial classes hold their own against the casters, even at higher levels.


Untrue. I enjoy playing 3.5/PF games with my group. I rarely play spellcasters and there is one player that never plays a caster and he is not a fan of 4e. I do not get how your  fighter was useless nor how he was dying instantly?



I'm glad to hear someone say this, because I was sort of taken back by the insistance that fighters were useless.  In my entire 3.5 career it was generally understood by everyone that if you got close to a wizard, that wizard was dead.

That would likely be due to one of the following:

1) The social contract of you and your friends did not allow for the wizard player, nor the wizard npcs, to outclass the characters just because they were able (and boy were they able)

2) Your Wizard players and the GM of your Wizard npcs had no idea what the Wizard was truly capable of and how you could completely and utterly obsolete every non-spellcaster in your party after the first 5-8 levels.

3) Your GM was the only guy at the table interested in the rules and mechanics and optimization, and he was draconian in wiping out imbalance before the players ever even knew the overpowered stuff was possible (this is what I did to make sure my players actually enjoyed D&D).

True, it was tricky to get close to one, but that was a fair and balanced trade.  Fighter v. wizard had an auto-kill feel in both directions, which I thought was exciting.

I guess your spellcasters never took Wings of Cover, then?  Or the hundreds of other amazing defensive spells?

Don't you think the current system of leader/defender/stricker/controller was born out of the fact that the dynamic already existed informally in the previous editions? 

Absolutely not.  It existed for the first couple levels of the game, and after that, it existed only if the spellcasters allowed it to by deliberately not being as powerful as they could be.

Now, these are just initial impressions.  If I'm wrong, I'm asking you to help me understand why I'm wrong, what I missing, which is what you guys are doing and I'm learning a lot just from these few posts.  Thanks.  But my gaming group will likely be small and it will be up to me to DM, so I want to understand the game as best I can so I can make a good decision about what we play.

If you never played around with the later parts of 3.5, 4e is going to look totally foreign and weird.  But the truth is, we were carefully set up to accept the changes with the innovative classes at the end of the run.  Things like Warlocks and Dragonfire Adepts created the notion of the at-will power.  All the Martial Adept classes from the Book of Nine Swords and Binders from the Tome of Magic included the precursors to the Encounter power.  If you skipped over that transitional stuff, it can feel a bit odd.

To echo some of the advice from the thread, I would seriously consider the Essentials line for you and your group.  It's very simplified, but amazingly, not underpowered or anything.  It eases you into the concept of the powers while sticking to the class chart format where you just get features that modify your basic attacks.

Heroes Don't Need Special Gear to Be Heroic - A guide to removing magic item dependency and smoothing out advancement. Reinventing the Workday: A Shift Towards Encounter-Based Resources - A guide to abandoning daily resources
I definitely agree that the Warlock class was innovative at the time and could easily be viewed as a precursor to the current system.  The truth is that I owned most of the Complete 3.5 series but had drifted well away from the game at that point, so didn't get any experience in how those new classes actually felt on the grid.

I did build a Warmage NPC for the last game that I DM'ed.  He was equal level to the party and at least 2 or 3 times I managed to isolate a PC for a 1-on-1 combat and just owned them, so I definitely see how they were building towards something.

I feel like my question has more or less been answered.  You guys have made your case for 4e, and did it in a way that really helped me visualize how it's supposed to play.

The thread could easily drift off to oblivion at this point, but before it does, as a new DM in 4e I'd appreciate any final words of advice to help me along.  I'm sure Ill come up with more questions and post more threads, but for now this can be an opportunity for any generic advice that anyone might offer.  Even about these boards or about good products to buy.
Sleeping with interns on Colonial 1
@Arithezoo, Since I'm coming back to the game I'd like to play the current edition, or at least make an informed decision regarding which one I'd rather play.  I ask because I want people to explain to me what they like about 4e from a 3.5 perspective, something that all of you got to do 2 years ago when it came out, a discussion that I missed out on by coming in late.  Like I said, I'm trying to wrap my head around 4e.



Let me start by talking a little bit about what my friends and I all like about 4E from the perspective of a player (as that seems to be your main interest).  One of the main things is that every class feels more like what they should be even at level 1.  Take a wizard for example.  In 3.5 they started with 2 spells per day, or 3 if they were a specialist mage.  That meant most of the time they would be attacking with a weapon, probably a crossbow.  They have a bad attack bonus and at best a moderate Dexterity, meaning most of the time they aren't doing much at all.  In 4E the wizard can use spells every single round.  They start with 1 daily power for a big bang, 1 enounter power so that they can do something cool each fight, and 2 at-will powers to use round after round. 
The next thing is that the classes are more balanced.  We like that everyone is effective in combat at every level.  Rogues are just as effective at stabbing with a dagger as the figher is at hacking with an axe as the wizard is at blasting with fire as the cleric is at searing undead with holy light.  Hit points start higher, so the wizard can no longer be killed with a single hit.

Of the ~320 pages of the PHB, Chapter 3, the Classes, is 125 pages long.  That's over a third of the book.  Add to that the fact that there are 3 PHB full of classes.  That's what I mean by heavy handed and convoluted.  Character creation has shifted almost exclusively to the class-specific level.  I'm talking about the pages and pages of choices loaded onto each class.  It feels overblown and overly complex, which are admittedly just synonyms for heavy-handed and convoluted.



Now for your concerns.  The 3.5 PHB contained only 40 pages of classes, but also contained over 100 pages of spells.  Spells in 3.5 are equivalent to powers in 4E.  When you read through a class in 4E, you really don't have that many decisions to make.  I'd say if you do decide to try 4E, limit yourself to the PHB, or to the new Essentials books; that will cut down on the amount of material.
Sure 4E has 3 PHBs and a bunch of other books.  But 3.5 had slightly more than just the PHB also.  A quick search on Wikipedia turned up a total of 44 3.5 classes, compared to 25 4E classes.

You say that "character creation has shifted almost exclusively to the class specific level".  I don't see how this is different from 3.5.  You still get feats in 4E; in fact, you get more.  Everyone starts with a feat at level 1 and gets another one every even level.  You get class features just like in 3.5, but now you also get powers.  Sure there are a lot of pages for them, but you don't start with all of them.  At level 1 you get 2 at-wills, 1 encounter, and 1 daily power.  Again, if you limit yourself to just the PHB at the beginning, you won't be overwhelmed with too many options.

In 3e, if I took 3 levels of Fighter I got exactly the same thing that anyone else got from those 3 levels, and it was up to my feats, skills and other multiclass levels to synergies and make my character truly custom.  It just feels like a more even-handed approach.  In 4e, if I want to multiclass, I've got to puzzle out some modified fraction of the secondary class to incorporate into my repertoire, and in doing so I sacrifice my access to feats.  That seems overly complicated.



My friends and I didn't like the multiclassing system in 3.5 once we thought about it.  It was too easy to take a little bit here and there just for extra power.  A level of barbarian for rage, ranger for two-weapon fighting, two levels of fighter for feats, etc.  But other combos were not effective, because of the way attack bonuses worked.  A bard/rogue/wizard for example will have an attack bonus of +0 at level 3. 
I really don't know what you mean by "In 4e, if I want to multiclass, I've got to puzzle out some modified fraction of the secondary class to incorporate into my repertoire".  In 4E, if you want to multiclass, you simply take 1 feat.  This feat gives you training in a skill plus a small ability from your new class.  You have begun to dabble.  You could stop there if you want.  You have used a feat to get a benefit, just like any other feat.  If you want, you could take one or more power swap feats.  The advantage of these feats is that they double the choices you have for your powers.  Say you aren't very excited about your level 6 utility powers for your fighter, but the wizard has one that would be fantastic.  You can take a feat to let you take it!  For some characters this is worth a feat, for others it isn't, even within a single class; it comes down to personal preference.  We like that better than in 3.5, where multiclassing always seemed better for some classes.  No one in our group ever played a single classed fighter.
In addition, while you have to use feats to multiclass, you don't have to give up anything else.  In 3.5, if I want to make a wizard/fighter I have to give up a lot.  I won't fight as well as a regular fighter, and I won't have spells as potent as a regular wizard.  In 4E you can also make a wizard/fighter.  You won't have as many feats as a regular wizard or fighter (because you spent 3 on power swap feats), but in melee you hit just as well as a regular fighter and your spells are every bit as potent as a regular wizard.  In addition, you have more versatility than either one.  (This is a simplification, as multiclass in 4E doesn't give you the class traits for your second class...even going full multiclassing is less than 50/50.  But that is why some people prefer to make a hyrbid character...options galore, don't know if you like or dislike that).
In the end, we like that multiclassing is less a part of the game.  In 3.5, no one really knew what their character was.  Sure, you were a fighter 2/ranger 1/barbarian 1/cleric 5/prestige class 1/other prestige class 5/ rogue 1, but that just amounts to a bunch of crazy.  Sure you might have a character concept, but how does it fit or rationalize having 8 classes?  In 4E, we find that we can make a character that fits our concept without multiclassing.  We can also make a character that does multiclass, or is a hybrid, but neither are necessary.

Now, these are just initial impressions.  If I'm wrong, I'm asking you to help me understand why I'm wrong, what I missing, which is what you guys are doing and I'm learning a lot just from these few posts.  Thanks.  But my gaming group will likely be small and it will be up to me to DM, so I want to understand the game as best I can so I can make a good decision about what we play.


Hoo hoo, you are going to DM?  From the DM's perspective (I have been a full time DM since I started in 2E) 4E is the easiest ever.  You don't have to tiptoe around the PCs at the early levels, worried that you will break the wizard if you breathe too hard.  Building encounters is easier than ever, and monsters are more fun than ever.  They all have a unique feel that makes every fight both challenging and fun.  For example, in 3.5, kobolds, goblins, orcs, gnolls, hobgoblins, etc were all pretty much identical.  In 4E, each one has unique traits that lead to very different tactics for both the monsters and the PCs.
In the end, I wouldn't take our word for it.  Give it a try.  See how you and your friends like it.  My one piece of advice: when you try it, don't compare it to 3.5.  That will just result in your not likeing it.  It is a different game, so take it on its own.






I'm still partly suspicious that these almost-no-posts profiles posting about how they wish 4e was more like Essentials are a bad marketing company hired to do damage control on the forums.  "See guys, there WAS a big concern about the melee basic attacks of fighters being devalued!  So many people were saying the one thing they didn't like about 4e was that it didn't have a two-handed fighter who only uses melee basic attacks!  It's all over the internet!"
And your person with three levels of fighter would be the exact same as every other fighter baring feats.  4E allows far more diffrences within classes it allows the character to truly be more unique without the need for multi classing which in general I personally dont like Ive only ever seen players in 3e do it to gain more abilities and munchkin, as to fighter wizard after lv5 any fighter will be dropped by a wizard hands down almost without a struggle in 3.5 Ive seen it happen dozens of times.  One spell that requires a will save and the fighters just gone.

The powers are not complicated at all you start out with 2 at will, 1 encounter and 1 daily, you choose the ones most themantic for your character.  My pirate rogue right now focuses on powers that give extra movement or that can be used on a charge, because it fits the combat style that I see her using.


sure unless you consider weapon choices like 1 hd, 2 hd, bow, crossbow, lance..... In 4E if you make a fighter...you are melee period you loose many if not all your "fighter powers" if you use a ranged weapon.  Now sure I can play a ranger...but that is the striker roll hardly the same as a fighter.

and sorry, I totally agree with the save or die fighter looses every time... [bow] + [ready action] = [spell lost] and you are assuming that the fighter misses his save every time.



To the original poster, give 4E a shot you may or may not like it.  4E is a decent game, it just is not the game for everyone.
Everything I post is an opinion, any perceptions you have to the contrary are not my problem. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog Initiative Tracker for WP7 RPG Dice Calculator for WP7
Advice for the person DM'ing 4e for the first time:  Download the "Adventure Tools" from the main site. There is only one tool, the monster builder, and it has every monster in the game. You can print and adjust levels easily. Very easily.  This is the DM's best friend.

Read the section in the DMG on encounter budgets and away you go.

Word of warning... pre MM3 monsters were hitting too weak. Up their damage dice by one size and add 50% to the fixed damage and you'll be approximating MM3 levels.  Ex. 1d6 + 6  is 1d8 + 9. This works up to level 4 or 5.

Have fun! 4e is by far the easiest version to DM.
I'm still partly suspicious that these almost-no-posts profiles posting about how they wish 4e was more like Essentials are a bad marketing company hired to do damage control on the forums.  "See guys, there WAS a big concern about the melee basic attacks of fighters being devalued!  So many people were saying the one thing they didn't like about 4e was that it didn't have a two-handed fighter who only uses melee basic attacks!  It's all over the internet!"

That is one of the most paranoid conspiracy theories I've heard in recent memory.  You can't really be serious, can you?  While I am not one of them, nor do I really understand their concern or complaints, there is in fact a real group of people who don't like the power structure of 4e.  There really are people wishing they could just say, "I hit it!" 

The trick is, they're not posting on the message boards, most especially not on the 4e boards.  Not every minority is vocal.  I mean, 3.5 does still get played, and Pathfinder is selling (sure, it's not even close to the market share 4e has, but there are people out there who liked that style of game better).  I don't see the harm in trying to win them over. 

I'd rather have Essentials material than no material.  Really, which looks better:

"Here is a new style of product designed to win back a small market share."

or

"Sorry guys, we're kind of out of ideas.  We realized the Ki power source was untenable, and ran into a lot of overlap between Shadow, Elemental, and Arcane.  It's out fault for not really defining Arcane or giving it any sort of parameters about what it did not include (probably because we rushed to release legacy classes like the Sorcerer before the proper power source was ready [Elemental], and the Warlock really ought to have had a different power source for each of it's pacts).  So, you know, have fun with our game.  It is pretty good, after all, there's just not much left to do with it besides re-invent the same stuff in a hopefully cool way.  We'll, uh, I guess release 5e in a few years or something." 
Heroes Don't Need Special Gear to Be Heroic - A guide to removing magic item dependency and smoothing out advancement. Reinventing the Workday: A Shift Towards Encounter-Based Resources - A guide to abandoning daily resources
sure unless you consider weapon choices like 1 hd, 2 hd, bow, crossbow, lance..... In 4E if you make a fighter...you are melee period you loose many if not all your "fighter powers" if you use a ranged weapon.  Now sure I can play a ranger...but that is the striker roll hardly the same as a fighter.

You do realize that archer fighters in 3rd edition weren't defenders, right?  In fact, there was no defending in 3rd edition whatsoever.  There were strikers, chump healers, and those-who-did-everything.

and sorry, I totally agree with the save or die fighter looses every time... [bow] + [ready action] = [spell lost] and you are assuming that the fighter misses his save every time.

If that fighter even had a remote chance of hitting that Wizard, the Wizard was totally doing it wrong.  His AC should be off the charts with Miss Chance and other means of defense to boot.  Not to mention Wings of F'n Cover was the most ridiculous spell ever.
Heroes Don't Need Special Gear to Be Heroic - A guide to removing magic item dependency and smoothing out advancement. Reinventing the Workday: A Shift Towards Encounter-Based Resources - A guide to abandoning daily resources
And your person with three levels of fighter would be the exact same as every other fighter baring feats.  4E allows far more diffrences within classes it allows the character to truly be more unique without the need for multi classing which in general I personally dont like Ive only ever seen players in 3e do it to gain more abilities and munchkin, as to fighter wizard after lv5 any fighter will be dropped by a wizard hands down almost without a struggle in 3.5 Ive seen it happen dozens of times.  One spell that requires a will save and the fighters just gone.

The powers are not complicated at all you start out with 2 at will, 1 encounter and 1 daily, you choose the ones most themantic for your character.  My pirate rogue right now focuses on powers that give extra movement or that can be used on a charge, because it fits the combat style that I see her using.


sure unless you consider weapon choices like 1 hd, 2 hd, bow, crossbow, lance..... In 4E if you make a fighter...you are melee period you loose many if not all your "fighter powers" if you use a ranged weapon.  Now sure I can play a ranger...but that is the striker roll hardly the same as a fighter.

and sorry, I totally agree with the save or die fighter looses every time... [bow] + [ready action] = [spell lost] and you are assuming that the fighter misses his save every time.



To the original poster, give 4E a shot you may or may not like it.  4E is a decent game, it just is not the game for everyone.


lets just agree to disagree your fighter is not going to be able to get that shot off and hit not if the wizard knows what he is doing, a ranged fighter is a ranger you cant really defend with a bow.
You do realize that archer fighters in 3rd edition weren't defenders, right?  In fact, there was no defending in 3rd edition whatsoever.  There were strikers, chump healers, and those-who-did-everything.

sure he was, he could just drop the bow...draw his sword....and bazinga...or just take up position in the hallway and their you go. There is defending in 3E it just requires you to use postioning and tactics rather than "powers" that pull unconscious people up stairs

Everything I post is an opinion, any perceptions you have to the contrary are not my problem. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog Initiative Tracker for WP7 RPG Dice Calculator for WP7
There was no defending as we now know it: there was no incentive to attacking the high-def fighter when his wizard buddy was a far greater threat.  There was no way an intelligent monster would waste time whittling down a high defense/hp frontline type when other squishier and probably way more dangerous targets were available.... Marking/punishment mechanics are a  big plus for me about 4e.  I think tactics/positioning mean more now than ever for 'tank' types.

Also in the above example with the fighter dropping the bow drawing sword w/e: if he wasnt specced for using that bow he wasnt gonna be very effective.  While there are no ranged powers for fighters in 4e, a fighter not specialized in bows in 3e would be about as effective as a 4e fighter with a bow.  So its just about the same. 
There was no defending as we now know it: there was no incentive to attacking the high-def fighter when his wizard buddy was a far greater threat.  There was no way an intelligent monster would waste time whittling down a high defense/hp frontline type when other squishier and probably way more dangerous targets were available.... Marking/punishment mechanics are a  big plus for me about 4e.  I think tactics/positioning mean more now than ever for 'tank' types.

Also in the above example with the fighter dropping the bow drawing sword w/e: if he wasnt specced for using that bow he wasnt gonna be very effective.  While there are no ranged powers for fighters in 4e, a fighter not specialized in bows in 3e would be about as effective as a 4e fighter with a bow.  So its just about the same. 


really? Wow no defending in 3E? I guess I played a different game....

At 5th level he would get a +5 to hit and could easilly afford a +5 strength bow.  That would yeild numbers as effective as his long sword at range (20 squares+), I quess it depends on your definition of effective.
Everything I post is an opinion, any perceptions you have to the contrary are not my problem. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog Initiative Tracker for WP7 RPG Dice Calculator for WP7
No, no defending.

Lets say a huge creature attacks your wizard.  What can the 3e fighter do? First he gets in its way, then the creature laughs as it brushes the fighter aside perhaps granting a OA as it goes by. Then the fighters choices are smack it till it dies, or try to get some godly rolls to trip it or, grapple it off and move it away...or bullrush it....lol-options: non-options if the creature is up to par with the group.  In truth the only option he has is to do as much dmg as he can.  Whats more to be any good at those options he had to specialize and that means only 1 or 2 options will be any good (usually just 1): he cant be a good tripper AND grappler AND damager etc.  And then those options didnt translate well to different enemies to really be reliable. In my example vs the bigger stronger beastie, the fighter specced to trip/grab/rush would be ina very sad spot.

4e fighter? He has powers that move enemies around,  he can actually stop it moving on a OA...oh and if the creature is persistant it gets punishment from mark.  All that while still doing dmg with the powers, and regardless of the opponents size.  Those options are effective...not like 3e fighter who had options, but they were just not effective.

And in the case of the bow....theyre both using dex to hit, so meh w/e
I DM'd 3/3.5 and didn't mind it too much at the time, but got pretty tired of being demolished by spellcasters.  Now after 4th, I'd never go back.

I still DM our group and it has been an absolute blast to run the monsters with their various powers.  I often feel like a player as I'm trying to execute cool tactics against the party.  Skill checks are simple and combat is amazing.  Roles are well represented in-game and it is cool seeing how they bleed between them depending upon class (e.g. the striker/controller warlock, defender/leader paladin).  The mechanics of each class (and even the build types, e.g. two weapon vs. bow ranger) are distinct and it can really alter the playstyle.  The utility powers further the distinction of the classes and paragon paths provide a "specialization" that is very flavorful.  Character customization has never been richer than 4th in my opinion, as the effects of the powers you chose allow your character to strengthen aspects of his playstyle and team role.

If you don't want combat to be tactical 4th might turn you off.  Getting rid of the save or die aspect of previous editions has made combat feel brilliant to me.  Effects generally are temporary and it is very much a team sport now.

One combat last night had the casters attacked from behind leaving the Artificer (leader aka healer) unconcious, while the Wizard (controller) was constantly in melee trouble running around the room to free up for casting, using shielding spells and interrupt push back spells/items to get the hordes of melee off him.  The Paladin (defender) grabbed the biggest baddies she could but has to expend a lot of actions healing herself and others until they could get the Artificer revived.  Meanwhile the Beast Master Ranger and his pet were rushing around trying to peel attackers off the Wizard while supporting the Paladin to help manage foes and bring them down and the Fey Warlock was blasting foes, teleporting to safe spots and trying to get the Artificer on his feet.  To me, combat in D&D has never felt this intense and team oriented before.  I absolutely love it.

While 4.0 may not be perfect and won't appeal to everyone, they did a ton of stuff to make D&D my favorite hobby.
No, no defending.

Lets say a huge creature attacks your wizard.  What can the 3e fighter do? First he gets in its way, then the creature laughs as it brushes the fighter aside perhaps granting a OA as it goes by. Then the fighters choices are smack it till it dies, or try to get some godly rolls to grapple it off and move it away...or bullrush it....lol-options: non-options if the creature is up to par with the group.  In truth the only option he has is to do as much dmg as he can.

4e fighter? He has powers that move enemies around,  he can actually stop it moving on a OA...oh and if the creature is persistant it gets punishment from mark.  All that while still doing dmg with the powers, and regardless of the opponents size.  Those options are effective...not like 3e fighter who had options, but they were just not effective.

And in the case of the bow....theyre both using dex to hit, so meh w/e



Pretty much my experience with it as well.  There was no incentive for the monsters to attack the fighter and unless all your fights happen in narrow hallways the monsters would just manouver around them to get the people that were actual threats. 

And that fighter with the bow would probably not have the dexterity to hit anytthing with it if he was primarily melee.
I'm still partly suspicious that these almost-no-posts profiles posting about how they wish 4e was more like Essentials are a bad marketing company hired to do damage control on the forums.  "See guys, there WAS a big concern about the melee basic attacks of fighters being devalued!  So many people were saying the one thing they didn't like about 4e was that it didn't have a two-handed fighter who only uses melee basic attacks!  It's all over the internet!"

That is one of the most paranoid conspiracy theories I've heard in recent memory. 



It's less paranoid then you might think.  I know a few people who've worked as forum shills before.  A lot of companies use them; there are marketing companies that specialize in it.  I don't doubt that WotC uses shills from time to time, and now seems like as good a time as any.

You can't really be serious, can you?  While I am not one of them, nor do I really understand their concern or complaints, there is in fact a real group of people who don't like the power structure of 4e.  There really are people wishing they could just say, "I hit it!" 


I'm sure there are, and there were a ton of them when 3.5 first moved to 4.0, but since then they dropped off quite a bit, as the 3.5 players moved to Pathfinder or stuck with 3.5 and stopped coming to the forums.  Now there's a big resurgence just as Essentials is coming out and addressing those complaints from five years ago.

The trick is, they're not posting on the message boards, most especially not on the 4e boards.  Not every minority is vocal.  I mean, 3.5 does still get played, and Pathfinder is selling (sure, it's not even close to the market share 4e has, but there are people out there who liked that style of game better).  I don't see the harm in trying to win them over. 


The problem with the internet is everyone thinks they have a secret non-internet-using majority on their side.  I'm of the opinion that the internet is a better barometer of customer outlook than most people give it credit for.  A lot of people think that only complainers post on forums, but if you look through these threads, you'll see most of the complainers are outnumbered by WotC defenders trying to shout them down.  I think we (the forums) are a pretty good cross-section of D&D players.

I'd rather have Essentials material than no material.  Really, which looks better:

"Here is a new style of product designed to win back a small market share."

or

"Sorry guys, we're kind of out of ideas.  



There is of course the third option, where they actually do manage to come up with new ideas.  I do think they're capable of it if they stop firing their entire design team every few years and manage to come up with a cohesive design plan that doesn't get torn down every time there's a changing of the guard.  Honestly I would rather have them take time off to work on 5e than have them spend another two years releasing .5 revisions of all the existing 4e material like they did with 3.5.

4e plays much better than it reads. To me, the whole book was the best insomnia cure I've ever encountered. But, during play 4e had it's moments and was fun. Definitely give it a try to get the full picture. You may like it. This is coming from someone who prefers 3.5 (well Pathfinder now).
-I got ran over my a squirrel the other day. -I'm going to steal my own idea. -My fruits of labor are not fruits... *sniff* they're vegetables. *sobs*

Pretty much my experience with it as well.  There was no incentive for the monsters to attack the fighter and unless all your fights happen in narrow hallways the monsters would just manouver around them to get the people that were actual threats. 

And that fighter with the bow would probably not have the dexterity to hit anytthing with it if he was primarily melee.

so this "uber" caster capable of slaying the fighter in a single round is not capable of moving to keep the fighter between him and a single huge monster?

plus there was a feat/ability you could take that worked like a taunt....seems as though it was in a splat book...be we only play core...i cannot think of the name.
Everything I post is an opinion, any perceptions you have to the contrary are not my problem. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog Initiative Tracker for WP7 RPG Dice Calculator for WP7
so this "uber" caster capable of slaying the fighter in a single round is not capable of moving to keep the fighter between him and a single huge monster?

He wouldn't even have to.  Not only could this uber caster fight pretty much any enemy face to face anyway, it would be rare that the enemy would even get near him without being disabled first.

plus there was a feat/ability you could take that worked like a taunt....seems as though it was in a splat book...be we only play core...i cannot think of the name.

Goad from Complete Adventurer.  It was terrible and did nothing.  It had a pitiful save (10 + 1/2 your level + Charisma mod) that just about every enemy will ignore.  Oh, and it restricted melee attacks and nothing else.

Look, it's cool that some factor contributed to you enjoying playing a non-spellcaster in 3rd edition.  You may not like hearing it, but your experience is quite the rare one.  Spells could do anything and everything.  They could even let you fight in melee better than Fighters.  I hated it, personally.  I hated that if I wanted to compete with spellcasters, I had to be a spellcaster of some kind myself.
Heroes Don't Need Special Gear to Be Heroic - A guide to removing magic item dependency and smoothing out advancement. Reinventing the Workday: A Shift Towards Encounter-Based Resources - A guide to abandoning daily resources
so this "uber" caster capable of slaying the fighter in a single round is not capable of moving to keep the fighter between him and a single huge monster?

He wouldn't even have to.  Not only could this uber caster fight pretty much any enemy face to face anyway, it would be rare that the enemy would even get near him without being disabled first.

plus there was a feat/ability you could take that worked like a taunt....seems as though it was in a splat book...be we only play core...i cannot think of the name.

Goad from Complete Adventurer.  It was terrible and did nothing.  It had a pitiful save (10 + 1/2 your level + Charisma mod) that just about every enemy will ignore.  Oh, and it restricted melee attacks and nothing else.

Look, it's cool that some factor contributed to you enjoying playing a non-spellcaster in 3rd edition.  You may not like hearing it, but your experience is quite the rare one.  Spells could do anything and everything.  They could even let you fight in melee better than Fighters.  I hated it, personally.  I hated that if I wanted to compete with spellcasters, I had to be a spellcaster of some kind myself.



sounds like a pretty good 3.5 version of mark to me ...

Goad
 
As a move action, you may have a creature within 30' make a Will save (DC equal to 10 + 1/2 your HD + Charisma modifier) or take a -4 penalty to all attacks and DCs that don't target you (or include you in the area in the case of abilities with an area of effect) for one round. On a successful save, the penalties are halved. Increase the penalties by two (-6 on a failed save, -3 on a successful save) if you are in melee with your target. This is a language-dependent mind-affecting effect, and can only be used once per round.
Special: At +3 BAB, this ability is no longer language-dependent. At +6 BAB, this ability may be used as a swift action. At +9 BAB, this ability is no longer mind-affecting. If another use of Goad is used upon a creature already under its effect (for example, by another character with this feat), the first iteration ends.



I am not putting 4E down in anyway (i play it), it is a good game...but I cannot believe that no one else had fun playing a fighter, pathfinder does seem to be selling quite well.   It just really bugs me when I hear this mantra that "fighters sucked in 3E" when IMO they did not and IME they could dish as well as a caster given the DM did not allow the players to get away with the 15 minute work day and crap like that.
Everything I post is an opinion, any perceptions you have to the contrary are not my problem. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog Initiative Tracker for WP7 RPG Dice Calculator for WP7
I think I'm feeling bogged down in the new character class format.  The pages and pages of powers for every class feels convoluted to me, as well as the sheer amount of classes available.  I realise it's meant to give the players more options to customize but it feels heavy handed and I wonder if it really makes the game better.

As a person that loved 3e/3.5 and loves 4e, I have to say this confuses me a little.  I do understand that it takes a while to read through all the powers of a class for all the levels (I take quite a while to peruse them when a new book comes out).  But when I first opened the 4e PHB1, with only 8 classes, I was amazed at the simplicity of the new format.  I pick 2 at-wills, 1 encounter, and 1 daily, then I go ... and there are only 8 classes in the first book.  Reviewing 12 powers at first level and picking 4 didn't feel very bogged down to me.  It felt like just the right amount of flexibility and options added to prevent 2 characters of the same class from feeling identical. 

If you're trying to look at all the classes from 3 PHBs, along with extras from the Forgotten Realms and Eberron books, and trying to absorb all the levels of powers and Paragon Paths in one go, I can see it might feel a little overwhelming.  Trying to design a 4e higher level character that has a coherent set of powers can take quite a while too ... almost as long as a massively multiclassed 3.5 character.

I long for the simplicity of multi-classing and relying on feats to customize my characters.  It seems like making multiclassing a function of feats would just water the whole thing down, since you're essentially sacrificing your feats to get multiclass abilities.  In 3.5 I could get 3 Feats out of 3 levels of fighter while in 4e I need 3 Feats just to properly function as a fighter.  It seems restrictive.

Lots of people don't like 4e multiclassing (and hybrid classes, another take on the concept).  If that was a favorite of yours from 3.5, then 4e may not be for you.  The basic concept is that you are primarily one class, with possibly (at the cost of feats) a splash of another class.  Your variation usualy comes from which class feature you focus on, powers you select, and PPs/EDs you choose at higher levels.


Don't feel forced to switch over.  3.5 is still a good system for those that like what it does well.  I was sold on 4e by the power system ... one comprehensive single system for class advancement.  It works for me, and enabled me to get past some of the bumpy parts I wasn't so fond of at first, the simplified skill system and the multiclassing system and the skill challenge system.  Of course, now I've managed to figure out how to make those aspects of 4e work for me, and have come to love them.
Assuming the caster we are talking about is of level to be uber, sure, what mp says is true...but that is another issue with 3.5.  But casters start at lv1 too ya know.  The fact remains, if ever the need arises, there is next to nothing the fighter (or defender equivalent) can do to protect his group in 3.5, besides the most basic 'get in the way/distract/lead to narrow place and hope' type of thing.  At high levels its unnecessary (talking about casters) and even if for just one situation it were necessary, there is just no reliable way of doing it at any level in 3.5.

Edit: Fighters werent 'unfun' I like fighters and my fave class in 3.5 is the scout.  But the casters can do everything eventually, and i mean EVERYTHING, so the noncasters end up having less fun than the casters at the table because their options are WAY less in comparison and their strengths become superfluous to the groups overall success.