I think 4e has exhausted itself too early

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I really like 4e and I have no major problems with it. I DM two groups and everyone has a great time.

However I was reading some of the 5e speculation threads and it got me thinking - what else can 4e really offer now? I feel that all the mechanics have been used somewhere, and new monsters are just going to be similes of existing creatures. There's only so many things that powers and magic items can do before they start becoming a re-hash of some other classes power or some other item.

I think WotC have released too much content in the 3-4 years that 4e has been out and exhausted it too early. I think all that is left to release now are adventures, backgrounds and scenarios, which are nice but perhaps feel a bit lacking.

(Unless, of course, new supplemental rules are added, which opens up a different ball game and makes this post a bit moot)

I hope with 5e they "hold back" on plenty of mechanics and features so that there is plenty to release in the years afterwards. For completely random example, perhaps the "dazed" and "dominated" effects could be released later to add new fresh mechanics, this would also have the benefits of making the core rules simpler for beginners.

3 things:

1. Now that they established most of the mechanics, they can actually start using those mechanics for what was first thought as lacking in 4E: fluff.
2. They still haven't given that much support for Epic tier yet.
3. If the Unearthed Arcana series in Dragon Magazine has anything to say about the matter, it's that there's a lot of mechanics that can still be introduced into the game that's flavorful and well-developed overall

In detail:
4E allowed for some crazy phenomenon fluff-wise, when read literally: knocking gelatinous cubes prone, druids who immobilize foes with plants even when in mid-air, and even pixies who can grab onto ancient dragons and preventing them from moving.  This is because of the idea that fluff is mutable, and what matters most is the mechanics behind the fluff.  And the concept is sound: rather than having a hundred conditions that add +2 to hit, you have a single condition instead (combat advantage) -- less to track, less headache, less houseruling, and (at least theoretically) more focus on the fun of the game.

[ Hmm, maybe they should've stuck to their bonuses to hit being "target grants combat advantage", but I guess that gets boring quick... now where was I? Oh right... ]

So the question is, what do we do now that the mechanics are all there?  Well, there's the revival and development of various campaign worlds (Oriental Adventures, Dragonlance, Eberron, Dark Sun, Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, to name a few).  There's also injection of not just modules but entire campaigns (like Scales of War and Chaos Scar).  There's also the possibility of adding story to existing items.

Mechanically, there's still a lot to work on:  Epic tier in particular has a lot of weight going along with it, given the disparity between players and monsters and feat/armor taxes.  I'm thinking "masterwork" weapons might also be in order (that perhaps could grant feat type bonuses to attack rolls, that scale per tier, so that it renders Expertise unnecessary as a band-aid to the system math).  Tightening the bonus-granting stuff so that you have less bent/broken combos would be another good measure.

And that's just with patching/updating the system.  Honor system, strongholds, henchmen, companions, and maybe army-vs-army combat (that isn't necessarily skill checks only), or even optional PvP [they already have that potential with two Dragon articles*, and we already have group arena challenges, so nothing wrong with giving those sort of options, so long as they stay optional and not core, right?].

Long story short: There's still so much you can add in terms of mechanics, and moreso in terms of story/fluff, that even if 5E was in the works, WotC could certainly publish 4E material well into 2020 before they release 5E... although frankly I do hope that if they DO release 5E on or before 2020, they actually improve upon the current, as well as previous, editions, and not make 5E the WotC version of Pathfinder, or something to that degree (meaning they really ought to make 5E, 5E... rather than 3.75 or 3.8).

[ Also, it's bad enough that the Essentials direction is nicknamed "4.5", so hopefully they don't give players a reason to nickname 5E "4.2". ]

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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I'm probably being simplistic here, but I don't feel there is anyway to exhaust 4e.  Or 3.5e.  Or 3e, 2e, 1e, ad nauseum.

The version is the arena, the game is with the dm/players.

Would we like to see `this' and `that', and 'wouldn't it be great if..?"  Sure.

Do I think they have exhaused the possibilities?  No..  as gamers/DM's. WE produce that.

DO I think they have put out too much?  No.  Keep in my WotC is a company.  A company exist to make money.  By logic alone, they will do what they deem will lead them to more profit.  If that be 5e, that is their call.

But the game?..  4e (or any version)?..  inexhaustible. 

 


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Yeah, I think they blew their wad a bit.

Thought they would have learned from previous editions, but get ready for the Complete Gnome Cobblers Handbook
I would love to see them turn their focus to adventures and additional support for the released Campaign Settings.

I gave Pathfinder a thorough look (hours spent researching all things PF online) simply because I keep hearing about the high quality adventures offered by Paizo. I'd love to see that sort of thing from WotC.

I feel DDI has been very weak for a very long time. I'd love to see it beefed up with this type of content.
i completely disagree with the op, considering they have done next to nothing to support paragon and epic play. i also think there are far more campaign settings possible. adventure wise they havent even scratched the surface of the possiblities, but im excited the against the giants series is getting revamped. they havent even really supported almost any of the new classes and some old classes are just woefully undersupported. also i like having tons of classes so the fey book and the elemental book are very welcome
Hmmm, the higher level stuff has some issues with how it plays, so I don't see WotC creating more material for it.  

I would like to see them put out some adventure materials.  More on the crunchy side, I would like see them add some support for the existing classes that need it.  It's disappointing to think that they are done with the pre-essentials classes all together.  


What's the deal with all of the 5E speculation lately?   It's not just on these forums that I have seen this either.  
"Do androids dream?" Rick asked himself.
What's the deal with all of the 5E speculation lately?   It's not just on these forums that I have seen this either.  

Everyone likes to think they have inside information when they don't.  The probably less than 100 people in the world who do aren't talking, nor should they.

Just wait until Pathfinder 2e arrives.  That'll put the cat amongst the birds.  For a whole variety of reasons, heads are gonna explode.  In a good way.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

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Just wait until Pathfinder 2e arrives.  That'll put the cat amongst the birds.  For a whole variety of reasons, heads are gonna explode.  In a good way.





Pathfinder 2 will be coming out a few months after D&D 5E comes out, to scoop all the people that are throughly  offended that 4E isn't going to be supported anymore... and they'll do 4e "right!"
Preferences... Not where they should be. Asking someone if they're Trolling you is in violation of section 3 of the Code of Conduct.


Just wait until Pathfinder 2e arrives.  That'll put the cat amongst the birds.  For a whole variety of reasons, heads are gonna explode.  In a good way.





Pathfinder 2 will be coming out a few months after D&D 5E comes out, to scoop all the people that are throughly  offended that 4E isn't going to be supported anymore... and they'll do 4e "right!"

The biggest news I heard is that yes, it will be similar to 4e in many respects.  One great idea they had was to keep the concept of power sources but eliminate the Martial power source to make magic special again.  Also, PCs won't have "powers" as such anymore but they're going to expand the spell selection list for caster classes greatly.  Another thing I read was that they want to give the "martial" characters more maneuvers they can perform, but with bigger penalties to keep them from getting more powerful than an equal level spellcaster.  I think these are all great ideas that will restore what used to be the beating heart of D&D and finally unite the fanbase under the banner of a company that actually cares enough about their customers to voluntarily give away their product for free.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

And to be more on topic, I too don't see what new mechanics they could introduce at this point that would really stand out, but that's why I'm not a game designer.  I think though that if they focus on quality adventures that will go a long way toward keep the game exciting.  How cool would it be to be able to sit back in 20 years and discuss the CLASSIC 4E ADVENTURES that everyone knew and loved, just like some of us do with the old 1e or Basic adventures?  Or perhaps that's more just rose colored glasses ... some of them didn't make a lot of sense but we love them anyway.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

There is a TON of stuff they could add mechanically if they were willing to poach concepts from the MtG team a bit. Not that D&D needs more crunchy design space filling or expansion.

What they could do a lot of that would be nice is more high quality adventures. Even old edition remakes. Make them two tiered.

I.e. make an old Ravenloft module the base difficulty would be in the normal format, for optimized power gamers have a shaded box with additional encounter elements. 
Bull.

We didn't see the really good stuff in 3.5 (Eberron, Incarnum, Tome of Magic, Tome of Battle, the Factotum) until they had exhausted every other option.
Yeah, 4e is far from tapped out. It might have gotten a little bit disorganized and threw a lot of mechanics out there that were more experimental than really thoroughly supported, but it hasn't destroyed the possibilities for what you can do with the game. In fact there's a lot of basis there for providing extended support for certain things that support specific types of play, specific types of setting, etc. You can see this already with the Kara-Tur stuff where they're leveraging the Runepriest class, themes, etc to support 4e OA.

And as other people have said repeatedly, there's an almost inexhaustible set of possibilities for more adventures, higher level adventures, etc. Even assuming WotC decides that the system is mostly tapped out in terms of new types of crunch after Heroes of the Elemental Chaos they'll have plenty of stuff they can do. I can easily see 4e supporting another 5 solid years of products without any problem.

Beyond that is there REALLY a super compelling reason for a mechanical rehash of the system that isn't compatible enough with 4e to remain part of 4e? Sure, it might be labeled '4.5' or something by the peanut gallery, but who cares? They could release a whole new set of core books in a couple years with slightly different power progressions, a somewhat different take on feats, etc. As long as it uses basically the same core rules it will remain compatible with existing material or stand on its own. They already pretty much demonstrated this capability with Essentials. Even if it DID change things enough that you didn't want to mix player-side material from existing 4e sources with it there's no reason it would be more different from 4e than Essentials is from 4e, 3.5 was from 3e, or 2e was different from 1e (not to even mention the whole alternate track of versions of OD&D -> Basic and its successor rewrites). In all 4 of those cases the game was close enough to the same that you didn't really need to throw anything out and you could easily carry existing characters forward with as few or as many changes as you wanted.

Honestly, while you could imagine a fairly 4e incompatible 5e that reimagined the basic 4e concepts, there's not a really overwhelmingly compelling reason for it. I'm not even really convinced that from a game system standpoint version rolls really ever did a vast amount for sales. Books get dated and go out of print, so even if you just print up a new book that makes a few modest incremental updates most of the core audience is going to eventually buy that book, and people coming into the game over time will need books anyway. It is all just a matter of timing and being market-savvy enough to make sure whatever changes does so in the direction the market is going in.
That is not dead which may eternal lie

I agree with the posters that 4e is far from tapped out when it comes to adventures, campaign settings and fluff. The problem lies in the fact that historically these aspects of the game don't sell a lot of product. Products oriented towards players always sell more than those for DM's, and by a significant amount. TSR (and 2e) died when all that was left  to do was material for DM's. WotC learned that lesson and pulled the plug on 3e when it obvious they had maxed out player content. I suspect that 4e is soon reaching the point where new player content is incremental as opposed to ground breaking. A lot of players don't want to pay for incremental increases. This is why I think 4e has peaked and is entering its decent phase. WotC is obviously doing the basic design work on 5e (ahem... Monte Cook) so I'm guessing they feel the same way.

However, compared to previous editions, 4e does have the advantage of DDI. The combination of online CB, compendium and VT means that WotC has the basis for a system where players as well as DM's will continue to pay to support 4e even if there isn't a lot of new material for players. This assumes of course that the VT becomes something people are willing to use and the CB matures enough to keep people happy. If people are willing to pay to play, WotC will probably continue to keep 4e DDI alive and it might be possible that WotC continues to support 4e even after 5e is released.

I don't really care if 4E is tapped out or not, or when 5E comes around. What I do care about is that when 5E does show up, the system has been thoroughly playtested and designed this time around - with a clear, concise development goal and strategy in mind. I have nothing against Essentials, in fact I enjoy it, but that doesn't stop Essentials from being the wedge design that threw 4E on it's back, kicking and screaming. Although, to be fair, PH3 and MM3 were some of the early starters of that same wedge with the V-Races and updated monster stats...

Is it too much to ask these days for proper design and testing before releasing a product?


There is a vast amount that could yet be done with 4th edition. There are entire classes that could still be done that haven't even been considered, not to mention all the potential builds and specific powers and little tweaks here and there and all the races that could be made to fill the suits of those classes. And paragon paths. And epic destinies. And oh the monsters they have yet to stat.
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I would love to see them turn their focus to adventures and additional support for the released Campaign Settings... I feel DDI has been very weak for a very long time. I'd love to see it beefed up with this type of content.



This ^. One thousand times this.

"What is the sort of thing that I do care about is a failure to seriously evaluate what does and doesn't work in favor of a sort of cargo cult posturing. And yes, it's painful to read design notes columns that are all just "So D&D 3.5 sort of had these problems. We know people have some issues with them. What a puzzler! But we think we have a solution in the form of X", where X is sort of a half-baked version of an idea that 4e executed perfectly well and which worked fine." - Lesp

I think WotC have released too much content in the 3-4 years that 4e has been out and exhausted it too early. I think all that is left to release now are adventures, backgrounds and scenarios, which are nice but perhaps feel a bit lacking.

Adventure and setting materials are actually very nice to have - for the DM - there just aren't as many DMs as players.  I agree that WotC overextended itself or oversold it's audience or whatever the marketing speak for just putting out too much to fast may be.  4e started out as a very good, balanced, system that could be played 1-30.  If WotC had concentrated on settings, adventures, monsters and other DM materials for the first year or two, particularly giving strong support for paragon, then epic, so that campaigns could actually go the full level range with original core classes, I think the ed could have had greater longevity. 

As it stands, the glut of player options has both exhausted the workable design space (leaving only imbalanced, lower-quality options to be developed), and reduced the apeal of the game to casual players and beginners (while still not making it complex and system-mastery-rewarding enough to tempt back those who rejected it initially).

It's too bad that such a marked improvement in a classic game is being overshadowed by the mis-handling of the property. 

:shrug:

There are lots of other games...



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I agree that Hasbro and/or WOTC exhausted 4E before it even had a chance to breath, and changing to the online character builder and Essentials, threw the train off the tracks. There are plenty of things to do with 4E, but not enough faith in the product to stop messing with it. Any  future edition of Pathfinder will just be a modified version of 3.5 and 4E, as it already went that direction with the current version.
WOTC hasn't come close to exhausting 4ed yet. Id love to see more Epic level stuff, more expanded Race books, similair to the ones we got last year e.g Tiefling and Dragonborn but with perhaps more races in them and hard backed. They could release many and all of the old settings (please be Spelljammer). Lets consider the fact they have almost 40 years worth of stuff to mine for ideas - i say belay those thoughts of 5e and give us more 4e !
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WOTC hasn't come close to exhausting 4ed yet. Id love to see more Epic level stuff, more expanded Race books, similair to the ones we got last year e.g Tiefling and Dragonborn but with perhaps more races in them and hard backed. They could release many and all of the old settings (please be Spelljammer). Lets consider the fact they have almost 40 years worth of stuff to mine for ideas - i say belay those thoughts of 5e and give us more 4e !

The issue is that all this stuff that you mention has not been released yet because these are traditionally the poor sellers compared to Core and Splatbooks. Since WotC has run out of top sellers to release they can either be content with making due with the poorer sellers (race books, environment books, settings, adventures), find a way to re-start the Core-Splat-Circle with a .5/essentials "updgrade" or release a new edition.

WOTC hasn't come close to exhausting 4ed yet. Id love to see more Epic level stuff, more expanded Race books, similair to the ones we got last year e.g Tiefling and Dragonborn but with perhaps more races in them and hard backed. They could release many and all of the old settings (please be Spelljammer). Lets consider the fact they have almost 40 years worth of stuff to mine for ideas - i say belay those thoughts of 5e and give us more 4e !

The issue is that all this stuff that you mention has not been released yet because these are traditionally the poor sellers compared to Core and Splatbooks. Since WotC has run out of top sellers to release they can either be content with making due with the poorer sellers (race books, environment books, settings, adventures), find a way to re-start the Core-Splat-Circle with a .5/essentials "updgrade" or release a new edition.




There's a huge difference, DDI. There are at least 62,000 DDI subscribers right now, which at $7 a month on the average is what, $420k a month? That's equivalent to selling 15,000 books a month, month in and month out. Of course both DDI and books cost money to put out there, but I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that maintaining a physical distribution channel, plus all the physical production costs of books, is outweighed by the costs to maintain DDI and publish content there. So it may well be that you'd have to sell 20k+ physical books a month to match DDI. While I don't know squat about overall 4e books sales numbers I'm kinda thinking that DDI is a pretty honking big factor in the equation at this point. I'd also note that 62k DDI subscribers is a lower bound, that's how many have Community accounts, there could be 1000's or 10's of thousands more that never bothered to visit the boards and sign up. It is quite conceivable that DDI is now the main source of revenue generated by D&D.

Notice too, that DDI is far less subject to the 'decay effect' and the 'DM material doesn't sell effect' than books are. Anyone that wants access to the CB/Compendium/MB needs to keep subscribing. The VTT will soon join that equation too, as may other applications. The draw of DDI can only grow with time, and once an application is finished and works it is just there, generating cashflow. Particularly if crunch additions to the game are very limited the amount of maintenance required is small and they can always trim back development if and when things are tight, the money comes in anyway, at least in the near-term, so you can increase profitability. Then of course you've got the 2 magazines. Obviously they need monthly content, but since you don't have to worry about how much any given adventure sells you can just keep pumping them out on Dungeon until doomsday. Printed adventures OTOH really only sell when someone needs a new adventure. Likewise Dragon can continue to put out advise, news, general articles, minor tweaks and additions to crunch, support for other products related to D&D like the board games and '4e system' games like GW if they really run low on pure 4e content.

What does all this point to? Well, for one thing there's not a real pressing need to update 4e in this model. In fact updates to 4e rules become sort of a disadvantage at a certain point because they drive cost, you need an R&D team to write it, programmers to put it into CB etc. You're actually better off NOT putting out new rules past a certain point. People will, at least theoretically, keep subscribing as long as the game has players. Clearly there's a point at which the game would fade into obscurity, but how long will that take? Is it even guaranteed? What if they just put out an evergreen set of 4e player-side books (maybe they're '4.5', whatever). From that point on new players can pick those up, or buy electronic versions, subscribe to DDI, etc. DM-side books might not even ever have hardcopy, or just have POD. Realistically some day the material would get rewrites, but I'm not convinced the underlying rules would really have to change or that there would be a vast impetus to do that anymore. As I pointed out somewhere recently, Traveller hasn't changed in 30 years, rules-wise. You don't really have to keep churning out new rules, you just have to keep people playing and sell them SOMETHING. Traveller doesn't have a "DDI", but if it did it would probably make a small but steady income for another 30 years.
That is not dead which may eternal lie

... Notice too, that DDI is far less subject to the 'decay effect' and the 'DM material doesn't sell effect' than books are. ...

... What does all this point to? Well, for one thing there's not a real pressing need to update 4e in this model. ...



This is all well and good, but how does WotC direct new players to their product?  If they go with the all electronic model they shun some of the old-school players or people who would rather have books (maybe an acceptable loss - as the electronic format they are going with now has to be more cost effective).  The WotC crews seems to think that PDF materials spell doomsday for the company.  New gamers aren't able to walk into thier FLGS see a game going on and get interested enough to buy materials.  

I agree with most of your analysis regarding the ease to update and maintain content for players with a DDI subscription.  Where you lose me is how this fits in with WotC's goals on customer retention, little lone growth of the customer base.
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The issue is that all this stuff that you mention has not been released yet because these are traditionally the poor sellers compared to Core and Splatbooks. Since WotC has run out of top sellers to release they can either be content with making due with the poorer sellers (race books, environment books, settings, adventures), find a way to re-start the Core-Splat-Circle with a .5/essentials "updgrade" or release a new edition.



It might be poor selling material, but I think there is a payback in the number of players that find there way to the product.  This game's success rides on the backs of the DMs out there.  4E has taken some great strides towards that end, in making it easier to be a DM.  Adventures are the stuff that any group of friends can go and pickup and start playing the game.  If they are well made adventures, chances are the group will carry on with DnD - and consequentially buying more product.  Sure only 1 person bought the Keep on the Shadowfell book, but 5 players had fun playing DnD because of it and will continue to buy WotC stuff.  

The Encounters program is one way WotC is using adventure materials (and volunteer DMs) to lure more players in (buy stuff from participating FLGS that run Encounters).  However, a lot of people are more comfortable to play with a group of friends at someone's house, on a schedule that works for all of them - Encounters doesn't cater to this demographic.  
"Do androids dream?" Rick asked himself.

... Notice too, that DDI is far less subject to the 'decay effect' and the 'DM material doesn't sell effect' than books are. ...

... What does all this point to? Well, for one thing there's not a real pressing need to update 4e in this model. ...



This is all well and good, but how does WotC direct new players to their product?  If they go with the all electronic model they shun some of the old-school players or people who would rather have books (maybe an acceptable loss - as the electronic format they are going with now has to be more cost effective).  The WotC crews seems to think that PDF materials spell doomsday for the company.  New gamers aren't able to walk into thier FLGS see a game going on and get interested enough to buy materials.  

I agree with most of your analysis regarding the ease to update and maintain content for players with a DDI subscription.  Where you lose me is how this fits in with WotC's goals on customer retention, little lone growth of the customer base.



Well, to continue in this vein. You shift your physical product strategy. Instead of pumping out endless player splat books supplements, which puts you on the edition roll train forever, with all the expense involved in revamping the digital (profit center) side of the equation and all the community angst and customer defections involved in that, you put out 'gateway' products. These would be for instance board games that are closely based on simplified 4e mechanics, and tied into the D&D intellectual property. You can also sell physical 'game aid' products like cards, dice, tiles, gm screens, miniatures, a TT skirmish game, etc. You then run a bunch of in-store events and contests, etc to draw people into the stores to buy those products. You also still have the physical evergreen books, which aren't going to sell like hotcakes forever, but are pretty inexpensive, fairly compact, and low enough priced that they are a reasonable entree to the game.

In other words you follow the exact business strategy that WotC is following right now. Clearly this is what they ARE doing. Now, again, lets consider the implications of this in terms of version rolling the game. You can certainly make some updates to this product line over time, and not all these products are so tightly coupled to any specific set of rules that you can't make changes to the game system without invalidating them, BUT you probably don't want to have to update and reissue all of this stuff for a whole new significantly different edition. You can of course, and probably will anyway, keep putting out new material along these lines, but it doesn't seem like a strategy that forces you to do version rolls very often nor encourages it particularly. You'd also probably continue to branch the game out into new markets with video games, an MMO perhaps, and other non-game products like movies and cartoons and whatnot. Again all things WotC is clearly moving forward on, albeit slowly in some cases. Another dimension would of course be other RPGs based on the 4e system, like Gamma World, which can broaden the appeal of the system, and could be tie-ins with 3rd party IP as well. A robust book line would clearly be another aspect.

Really, I didn't invent any of this. I'm just analyzing what WotC IS doing right now as we speak. The larger the 'D&D family of products' is, the less likely it is that they'll want to make frequent major changes to the core product. It certainly isn't precluded, and you could argue that maybe they've decided 4e as it is now isn't the 'eternal D&D' they wanted after all, and they're going to try to rush out some '5e' to fix that ASAP. It isn't IMPOSSIBLE, but it seems unlikely, especially considering the lack of any sign of a big ramp up in the resources available to the D&D product group.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Since there are 5 players to every 1 DM, sales thus live and die on players buying books and/or subscriptions. There's no way WotC could ever, really, sustain a business model that focused solely on the DM.

4E is hardly tapped out but it did require a radical change in direction because the designers/developers pushed too much player content out the door too quickly, both in terms of books and the D&DI.
5e is mostly going to be a business model shift.

1.  I expect the "core game" to be free to play.  Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings, Fighters, Wizards, Rogues, and Clerics will all be free to download from levels 1-10 with WotC's proprietary content viewing and character building software.  (online only) 

2.  The only physical book published at launch would include these core classes/races. but would be geared toward DMs (it would have all the rules to play the core game levels 1-10, plus a variety of basic heroic-tier enemies)  Months later the paragon and epic tier versions would be released.  Each will cost about $30.

2.  More a-la-carte purchases, aka, microtransactions.  New Races are $0.99 each.  levels 1-10, 11-20, and 21-30 of a class are $1.99 each ("paragon paths" and "epic destinies" will be built into these)  Packs of similarly themed feats or skills or powers (or whatever) might be $0.99 a piece.  All these would be available indefinitely on aforementioned viewer/builder program once you purchased them.  There would be some kind of go-between currency akin to the "points" you use for buying stuff on your X-Box.

3.  DMs would supplement their monsters and adventures via a similar system, probably $0.99 for a half-dozen similarly themed enemies, $1.99 for a 3-encounter "delve", 3.99 for a 10 encounter "adventure", and $9.99 for a 30 encounter "campaign."

4.  At the end of each year (6 months?), a book is published with the best (most popular) bits of content released during that period, probably with a standard $30 price tag.  These will include all the accumulated errata, since they'll be "playtested" for months beforehand by those who bought them a-la-carte.


In other words you follow the exact business strategy that WotC is following right now.

Really, I didn't invent any of this. I'm just analyzing what WotC IS doing right now as we speak.





I agree completely. WotC is clearly shifting their sales model away from physical print products and towards a total digital delivery for new material. I believe the whole purpose behind the Essentials books was to act as that evergreen entry point that will fly the flag at gaming and comic stores. In fact, Essentials was marketed as exactly that... "An on-ramp for D&D" they kept calling it. Lots of posters on these forums saw Essentials as 4.5 but from a business standpoint it's more of a 3.9.

For myself, the proof for this fundamental change in business model was the game store only release for MME. WotC is testing the market for small print run DM books designed to hook gamers who go to stores.

Here's something to think about... I'd bet a lot of money that in the upcoming year more new game elements will be released via Dragon/Dungeon than by all the new books combined. Anyone care to take that bet? D&D has already become a digitally based game.




It certainly isn't precluded, and you could argue that maybe they've decided 4e as it is now isn't the 'eternal D&D' they wanted after all, and they're going to try to rush out some '5e' to fix that ASAP. It isn't IMPOSSIBLE, but it seems unlikely, especially considering the lack of any sign of a big ramp up in the resources available to the D&D product group.



This is where I disagree. The ramp up of resources is there but you can only see it if you realize that production has dropped off considerably but yet the core R&D staff is still employed. I've noticed over the last year a steady decline in the number of publications by the big guns of D&D at WotC. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, James Wyatt, Bruce Cordell and Chris Perkins have been almost absent authors but are still working for WotC. What are they doing? You can bet they're just as busy as ever before (Hasbro doesn't retain people who don't work) so what are they working on? Meanwhile, Bill Slavicsek leaves and Monte Cook arrives. Something big is clearly being worked on and they're keeping it under wraps. If it's not a new edition, then there's a lot of people working on something incredible for 4e. Given that many people consider 4e to be "exhausted" I can't imagine what that might be.

I'm certain 5e is on its way, but it'll take a while to get here. Until then, 4e will be best served through digital offerings via DDI coupled with entry level evergreen print products.
I don't see the big slack off in products that you do. They are just working on DIFFERENT products than before. We still have books on the schedule. Back in 2008 they were putting out a book a month, but they also have a considerably larger staff back then. They are putting out now roughly a book every 2 months, and in the interval months a boxed set or D&D related board game. I'd also note that they've upped the output of stuff on DDI somewhat as well lately, which is another sink of resources.

Honestly I don't know exactly how many people were there and what exactly all of them did before, and I can't say exactly how much work each thing they've put out is and thus how many man hours went into each product and thus if there are any 'missing hours' that would need to be accounted for, but again I don't perceive any kind of huge secret project.

If they are working on 5e it is at a very low level, which of course is entirely possible. Nobody will ever be able to tell one way or another at this stage. I just don't see where there's a huge payoff for making 5e that makes it a compelling story. It will just royally piss off the 4e people, or at best annoy everyone with a too-soon version roll, require totally retooling DDI, another big expense, and its chance of magically capturing the interest of the OSR/PF crowds (whatever quantity of them don't already purchase at least some WotC products) is really immeasurably close to zip IMHO.

As other people have said, 4e has plenty of life left in it, the business strategy they're pursuing now clearly doesn't REQUIRE vast amounts of new player side crunch every month, so what would be the payoff? It isn't cheap to launch an edition.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I'm seeing a lot of people talk about how much life 4th edition has left and make it seem like there is vast untapped amounts of material that hasn't been covered. Well nobody has taken the time to actually address this vast amount of material that hasn't been covered. It's all good and everything to claim that there is much left to create but how about back that up with some examples.

In all honesty, none of you know what Wizards plans are and how far along, if it even is, 5th edition is.  It's actually possible that 5th edition is almost complete but nobody really knows.

You can type out a 9 paragraph post about why you think 4th edition has so much left and that 5th edition is either not here or in it's infancy but again none of you know.

Wizards has to be really careful how much stuff it puts out because all we would have is just a bunch of bloat that people don't want. Also the more bloat mechanics you put out the greater the chances are that you have errors.
There is still room in the design space for new classes / expansions of current class / revisions to "essentialize" classes.

The mind-blade (or whatever it was called in 3.x) Psionic rogue that creates its own weapons - a class I've been looking forward to.

Expansion of the vampire and blackguard, and just paladins in general.

Feats for new races.

New races / revisiting existing less supported races.

just off the top of my head.
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There is still room in the design space for new classes / expansions of current class / revisions to "essentialize" classes.

The mind-blade (or whatever it was called in 3.x) Psionic rogue that creates its own weapons - a class I've been looking forward to.

Expansion of the vampire and blackguard, and just paladins in general.

Feats for new races.

New races / revisiting existing less supported races.

just off the top of my head.



I think you are talking about the Soul Knife. They aren't going to make 4th edition versions of all the classes from 3rd edition.

We have plenty of races, we have plenty of feats and I believe the above classes you named are pretty much done. When you start to add and add and add you just end of with a lot of bloat.
You know, I would really rather they just stop producing material for 4E than go the 3.X route and publish any- and everything that comes across their desks. If that means 5E, then so be it. If that means 4.5, that's cool, too. I just don't want to see 4E slowly whiddled down by the constant addition and replacement of things.

How many relevant classes do they have left in them? By relevant, I don't mean sub-classes, half-classes, add-ons for classes....I mean new classes that are able to stand on their own that aren't just a series of copy/pastes from existing classes with a few keywords changed.

I guess that would depend on what they want to tap into for inspiration. It would seem that oriental-style classes are just getting themes and maybe sub-classes. What other directions are there that make sense for D&D?

Races I'm not too worried about. There are eleventy million possibilities with races, and only a handful have been utilized. They've got tons of breathing room with races.

Campaign settings I could not care less about. If they do updates to Spelljammer, Plane Scape, DragonLance, or Mystara, then cool. I'll probably buy it, whatever it is. If they don't, then that's cool, too. I've got every campaign setting going back to 1E to use. I can do the minor conversions necessary to make them 4E-friendly. Since those traditionally don't sell too well (according to other posters on the forums...I don't know the sales figures, personally), it wouldn't surprise me if we didn't see any more full-blown settings. More likely, we'll see more DDI campaign setting material like the Kara-Tur stuff.

A new setting, however, might galvanize sales. Much like Eberron was something new and fresh for the 3.X years, a new setting for 4E would be nice. Unlike all of the established campaign settings that have been around for years (some for decades), a new setting would be something to really look forward to. You'd have to buy it to find out what it was all about. If they release 4E Spelljammer, I could likely predict just what changes would be made, and what it would take to blend it into 4E. I might not buy a 4E Spelljammer for that reason. A new setting, though...I would have no idea what it was about. Curiosity would eat me alive.
Bull.

We didn't see the really good stuff in 3.5 (Eberron, Incarnum, Tome of Magic, Tome of Battle, the Factotum) until they had exhausted every other option.



And that's the irony.

When the edition begins, the first supplements are what we want. As the edition goes, the designers start making the things the edition really needs.  The designers know that the system isn't perfect, but they try out solutions in the current edition that can be used in the next one. The Warlock, along with Tome of Battle, Complete Mage, and Complete Scoundrel, really pushed 4ed design into what we have know.


As someone who came into 3ed roughly at the same time WotC was starting on 4ed, I don't have a problem with that. I say try many different approaches to representing the Fighter, Thief, Cleric, and Wizard. I'll buy which ones I want, and you can decide which ones are the best.  

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

They aren't going to make 4th edition versions of all the classes from 3rd edition.

I'd like to know how you know about this
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Just wait until Pathfinder 2e arrives.  That'll put the cat amongst the birds.  For a whole variety of reasons, heads are gonna explode.  In a good way.





Pathfinder 2 will be coming out a few months after D&D 5E comes out, to scoop all the people that are throughly  offended that 4E isn't going to be supported anymore... and they'll do 4e "right!"

The biggest news I heard is that yes, it will be similar to 4e in many respects.  One great idea they had was to keep the concept of power sources but eliminate the Martial power source to make magic special again.  Also, PCs won't have "powers" as such anymore but they're going to expand the spell selection list for caster classes greatly.  Another thing I read was that they want to give the "martial" characters more maneuvers they can perform, but with bigger penalties to keep them from getting more powerful than an equal level spellcaster.  I think these are all great ideas that will restore what used to be the beating heart of D&D and finally unite the fanbase under the banner of a company that actually cares enough about their customers to voluntarily give away their product for free.





Normally I wouldn't do a stacked qoute like this...

But honestly, I was just joking.  If that's true, the pathfinder guys are even bigger vultures than I thought.
Preferences... Not where they should be. Asking someone if they're Trolling you is in violation of section 3 of the Code of Conduct.
Yeah, I think they blew their wad a bit.

Thought they would have learned from previous editions, but get ready for the Complete Gnome Cobblers Handbook

I would buy that.
Pathfinder 2 will be coming out a few months after D&D 5E comes out, to scoop all the people that are throughly  offended that 4E isn't going to be supported anymore... and they'll do 4e "right!"



The biggest news I heard is that yes, it will be similar to 4e in many respects.  One great idea they had was to keep the concept of power sources but eliminate the Martial power source to make magic special again.  Also, PCs won't have "powers" as such anymore but they're going to expand the spell selection list for caster classes greatly.  Another thing I read was that they want to give the "martial" characters more maneuvers they can perform, but with bigger penalties to keep them from getting more powerful than an equal level spellcaster.  I think these are all great ideas that will restore what used to be the beating heart of D&D and finally unite the fanbase under the banner of a company that actually cares enough about their customers to voluntarily give away their product for free.



Lol
Pathfinder 2 will be coming out a few months after D&D 5E comes out, to scoop all the people that are throughly  offended that 4E isn't going to be supported anymore... and they'll do 4e "right!"



The biggest news I heard is that yes, it will be similar to 4e in many respects.  One great idea they had was to keep the concept of power sources but eliminate the Martial power source to make magic special again.  Also, PCs won't have "powers" as such anymore but they're going to expand the spell selection list for caster classes greatly.  Another thing I read was that they want to give the "martial" characters more maneuvers they can perform, but with bigger penalties to keep them from getting more powerful than an equal level spellcaster.  I think these are all great ideas that will restore what used to be the beating heart of D&D and finally unite the fanbase under the banner of a company that actually cares enough about their customers to voluntarily give away their product for free.



Lol



You do realize that this was what Pathfinder did and it was a complete success. Also it hasn't stopped the fans from buying the books and other material.
I'm pretty sure most of the reason Pathfinder did it was because lots of people already played the same game for years and new all the rules before they launched their version.

If you do it out of the blue, I'm not sure if you'd get the same kind of reception. There's quite a history going into this one.
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