Let's discuss why 4th edition failed

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Pathfinder now sells at least as good as D&D (if some indicators are correct), and WotC has decided to pull the plug on 4th ed at least 2 years early. So 4th ed failed, but why? Lets look at the mistakes that were made so that 5th edition is not doomed to repeat them.

-1- Mixing up digitalization and rules update
When 4th ed was announced, a lot of people were wondering what the digital game table buzz was about. WotC ended up having to explain to people that D&D was, in fact, still a pen & paper RPG. As stupid as the "4th edition = WoW" meme is, WotC started it themselves.
Marketing FAIL

-2- Not delivering the big new product
Announcing the virtual game table at the same time as new game rules was stupid enough, but the following failure to deliver said product made it even worse. Now the people who didn't want a virtual game table were pissed off, and those who wanted one were pissed off too.
Product management FAIL

-3- Killing the Ecosystem
3rd edition thrived in part because the system was open - any small publishing house that wanted to contribute to the game could do so. As a consequence, even gamers who had no plans to play D&D itself were purchasing Wizards products to use with their D20 campaign. An smaller companies filled the niches that WotC couldn't serve, keeping more players with the system. 4th edition was not open, so no ecosystem. Instead, the 3rd ed ecosystem gave birth to what is now D&Ds biggest rival.
Strategy + Legal FAIL

-4- Killing off the magazines
Seriously, if you have no intention and no means to do it better, why kill the 2 magazines that tie your core fanbase? This doubled the damage of -3-. Channel management FAIL

-5- Firing all important designers
Being an RPG designer is not a glorious job, but working for WotC must be a special kind of hell. Every big name in the industry is now doing video games, because at least you'll have a job after Christmas. HR FAIL

-6- Ugly books
3rd edition books were beautiful. Loads of artwork from big names, and professional, easy to read but artistic layout. 4th edition books look like a database dump, illustrated by people who can't draw feet.
Art direction FAIL

(EDIT) -7- Arrogance
While 3rd edition had some wonky corners, like the Grapple rules, the designers publicly made fun of these during the 4th edition announcement. While probably intended as good-natured self-referential humor, it came off as arrogant and angered many fans who were happy with the current ruleset.
Customer communication FAIL
(thanks to Resurrection_Man)

NOT -8- Game design
Surprisingly, 4th edition is a well-designed game that is buckets of fun to play. It's really everything around it that failed. All of these mistakes drove many more people away from the system than a mere rules update would have.
I dunno if you're exactly right and 4th edition's (relative) failure had little or nothing to do with game design, but I agree with the basic message to Wizards: you screwed up big time on a bunch of things that have nothing to do with the 4th edition rules set (Remember Gleemax? Does the mere memory make you want to die?) , and you have got to do better this time. 4th edition must have an open, generous license for third party publishers. You must have a clear, generous fansite policy from day one. You must communicate with the fanbase constantly about important stuff, answering questions and hopefully actively posting on the forums. You must outsource, and pay big bucks for, excellent digital tools from day one. You must do all of these things, Wizards, or 5th edition will fail.
I agree more or less with most of your points however the style of books is more personal taste. I never found anything appealing about 3rd edition's style. The covers just seemed tacky and the the pages intentionally looked like some of the worst books in my house. The art never caught my attention except maybe the tome of magic (cause the big spectral thing is cool), I don't find 4e's much 'cooler' but i wouldn't call it bad.


Also, how is "Surprisingly, 4th edition is a well-designed game that is buckets of fun to play. It's really everything around it that failed." your 7th point of failure?



I'd also add the errata making books useless fast when someone can just get DDI and save cash also hurt profits. Not to mention CB abuse before the move online (which also caused loss of customers).


As you mentioned, the lack of the promised digital tools, impacted 4e's launch heavily. Luckily the tools we have now should be easily adapted to 5e, even if they did something completely and radically different, the framework and stuff is all set up. The VTT likely barely needs changes at all, dice rolls are still dice rolls, and so is moving squares on a board.
That is an insightful post, though the game design for 4th edition was a large part of the problem; otherwise, Pathfinder would not have been so successful.



I heard Pathfinders success was based on things like making great adventure material (I will have to take peoples word for it never or hardly ever use premade stuff as it doesnt fit my heros) and having positive interactions with the customers.  Found a niche that had been premade by OGL. 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

Yeah 4e has generally been a PR nightmare, even people who like 4e don't necessarily like WoTC.
That is an insightful post, though the game design for 4th edition was a large part of the problem; otherwise, Pathfinder would not have been so successful.



I heard Pathfinders success was based on things like making great adventure material (I will have to take peoples word for it never or hardly ever use premade stuff as it doesnt fit my heros) and having positive interactions with the customers.  Found a niche that had been premade by OGL. 



Yep, you heard right. I will have to dig up the quote, but I remember one of the designers saying that while the hardcover books sell well, their bread and butter is their adventure paths (that's not including setting material books and single modules).

EDIT: Found the quote from Vic Wertz. Pretty insightful stuff IMO.
-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*
D&D is on the 5 year track that has been talked about for years on these boards.  To make money there needs to be a new edition of the core books every five years.  When TSR went away from this with 2nd edition it was one of the thinks that killed them.  

For the x-mas layoffs, this is one of the two times of year that there are mass terminations in every industry.  The other is near the end of the fiscal year.   
 
I an only speak from personal experience.

I tried 4e. I tried it a lot. I didn't care abotu Vitual Tables, erratas, marketing, art direction or ANYTHING else on the list of things that you say helped kill it. For me, the reason that I switched from 4e to Pathfinder was because I honestly thought that 4e was a poorly designed and unfun system. WotC stopped getting my money because I thought their product was crap. Although I can speak only for myself, I KNOW that I am not alone in this regard.

If I like 5e better than Pathfinder, then I will happily spend my money on it.
Bloat, poor playtesting, feat fixing (using feats to fix problems) real competition (pathfinder) fighting yourself (Digital vs Hard copy), bungled promises (digital matierial etc) dying market knee jerk.
The essential theme song- Get a little bit a fluff da' fluff, get a little bit a fluff da' fluff! (ooh yeah) Repeat Unless noted otherwise every thing I post is my opinion, and probably should be taken as tongue in cheek any way.
I agree more or less with most of your points however the style of books is more personal taste. I never found anything appealing about 3rd edition's style.



This! I love the 4e style of books and I only hope that it will contine this way in the new edition. White pages with no background so to be actually readable, that's the only thing I ask...
English is not my native language, so I ask for your patience...
I thought the separate hit point and damage systems for monsters and characters in 4E was lame.  Monsters had alot of hitpoints but did little damage.  Characters had fewer hit points but did more damage.  The game system design also meant that combat took more and more time at higher and higher levels.

WOTC should aim for balanced combat lengths across levels.  A 12th level fight shouldn't take twice as much time as a 6th level fight.

Players must be able to play any monster, race, or class they want to.  In 3rd edition, players had far more freedom in character design.

The complexity of 3rd edition was a killer though.  It took days to create a well-designed 12th level character.  3rd edition also had feats that would never be chosen.  If no one would pick it, why have it?  Make it better until someone actually chooses it.


          
I agree more or less with most of your points however the style of books is more personal taste. I never found anything appealing about 3rd edition's style.



This! I love the 4e style of books and I only hope that it will contine this way in the new edition. White pages with no background so to be actually readable, that's the only thing I ask...


Nearly everything I've seen illustrated in a 4E product that wasn't a potentially playable character or something worn by one (e.g. monsters, landscapes, magic items other than weapons and armour, and so on) has been gorgeous.

The characters, and especially their fashion choices - hideous grotesqueries. Realistic weapons and armour look pretty damn cool, people. Most of the ones in 4E try to look cool, fail, and come out comical instead.

3E was more of a mixed bag. Most of it didn't do much for me in either direction, but the worst of it was better than the worst of 4E.

Never much liked the general look of the covers for either of the previous two editions. If I had to pick one I'd say I preferred 4E's overall trade dress, but I'd be holding my nose while doing so.

Second edition was the high-water-mark for D&D art direction. If I had to rank the editions on various aspects that contributed to my enjoyment, that's one of probably only two categories where 2E would come in first, or indeed, anywhere other than dead last.
Jeff Heikkinen DCI Rules Advisor since Dec 25, 2011
wotc failed with the 4e for a vareity of reasons. and these reasons differ between those who bought or looked at the product.


so its all each to their own. 
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
I really liked 4E, but something felt off to me. One problem I've been able to narrow down was the inclusion of the magazines as core from the get go. This added to the system bloat, and system bloat really slowed down character creation for me and my group. How many feats are there in the game? How many powers? How many items?

3E had a lot of spells, but at least many of those spells applied to multiple classes. 3E also had a lot of feats, but I had made a master list of feats for my players and it wasn't a huge document. I tried making a master list for 4E and I gave up midway through. And while I loved powers at first, they bloated too quickly as well; even making a 1st level character means reading through 16 at-wills, 12 encounters, 10 dailies, and 100 feats to pick your choices.

3E's magic item design was genious, though: it was tied to spells, and the costs for general things were given right away.

While I don't want to see D&D become something it's not, I would like to see a feat system that follows some semblance of structure from the get go. Mutants and Masterminds, for instance, has it's entire system built around point costs, and while the point values of some powers aren't really comparable to others, it makes designing feats easy: feats are worth 1 point of a power. This makes it very easy for DMs to create their own feats, and ensures that designers follow a similar power level. 
Poe's Law is alive and well. Emerikol is right*
The OP forgot a horrible marketing campaign when it was launched. I remember podcasts of designers who were laughing at eliminating what people viewed as cool.

Not making it compatible with not only the previous edition but the whole history of  the game might also have chase some fans away.



This.

They lost me at 3rd edition. Fair enough, no hard feelings. 3e was just wasn't something that I thought that I would be interested in playing as it did not fit my style. But I bought a load of 3e books and used them adjusted to my home-brew game. 

The run-up to 4th caught my attention and I listened to some podcasts and checked out some of the pre-release material available.

It was the only time in my life that I thought that a set of game designers owed an apology to their past and potential customers. Without even producing a single book, the "PR" that Wizards put forth alienated a measurable amount of their fan-base.

Most all of those guys have long been fired from WotC, but I am still waiting for my apology.

Yes, I am just a grumpy old man. Now get off my lawn!!! Yell
what lawn you live in an apartment
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
That is an insightful post, though the game design for 4th edition was a large part of the problem; otherwise, Pathfinder would not have been so successful.


Because sales figures are the only indicator of quality. It's not like drek frequently outsells quality (See Psychonauts) and people certainly don't pirate things, and it's definitely not possible that pathfinder got a lot of revenue based on nostalgia.
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58280208 wrote:
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192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
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56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
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195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
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Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.
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57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
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I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
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.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
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I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
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I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
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56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
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98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
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Show
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116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
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56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
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This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
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HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
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56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
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143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
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56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
I an only speak from personal experience.

I tried 4e. I tried it a lot. I didn't care abotu Vitual Tables, erratas, marketing, art direction or ANYTHING else on the list of things that you say helped kill it. For me, the reason that I switched from 4e to Pathfinder was because I honestly thought that 4e was a poorly designed and unfun system. WotC stopped getting my money because I thought their product was crap. Although I can speak only for myself, I KNOW that I am not alone in this regard.

If I like 5e better than Pathfinder, then I will happily spend my money on it.



Well said, you saved me a bit of typing.

Now PF isn't perfect, but for myself & the people I play with it's at least alot better than 4e....
what lawn you live in an apartment



And you kids keep your darn 8-track players turned up too loud! I'm calling the cops!Yell

Op: I think you've written an insightful and reasoned post. I enjoyed reading it.

I think your topic stinks, though. Needlessly provocative and something that some, who are invested in 4th just as much as others were invested in 3rd, AD&D and OD&D, might well consider an insult. I almost passed your poost because of the title and not wanting to read another flame-war. You could have done better in picking another topic line, I think.

Getting past the "no it isn't" and the "I told you so's", what it is really about from here on out is giving WOTC feedback so that we can get the best set of rules for D&D under the 5th edition (or D&DNext) banner that we can. 

We've got work to do. Cool

We've got work to do. 



Presumably that does not include pointing out what hasn't worked?

Here's a fact; people groaned when 2nd Edition came out, people groaned when 3rd edition came out, people groaned when 3.5 came out... and when 4th Edition was announced, people groaned... when details on 4th edition came out, and then when it actually did come out, the uproar was unprecidented. 

There are those who love it, and those who hate it. There are those who think it's a solid system, and those who think it lacks a single redeeming quality, but the irrefutable fact is that it is more heavily disliked than any D&D system to date... and no matter how much those who like it defend it, that fact remains, and if we don't identify why (and I'll be honest, most who don't like it aren't good at articulating why), then we may end up with a similar situation. 
D&D4e was a failure of presentation
the core rules were solid and every new addition to the game improved it.

It was the presentation that angered old players. Look at how happy Pathfinder players are with At-will, encounter, and daily powers for martial classes. It's just called something different.

4e can be reskinned for 5e, as long as the presentation is in the form of damning 4e, groveling for older edition players to come back, it can carry on into 5e.
(and I'll be honest, most who don't like it aren't good at articulating why)



I liked the system at first.  But right off I didn't like the implementation of powers: how it made the classes section a horrible mess to navigate and use, and how there was so much sameness between so many powers.  Mind you, I liked the *idea* of powers, just not the implementation.

I liked Roles, though I think they could've used better terminology if only for the sake of subtlety. 

I liked Minions...  and probably a few other things that I'm forgetting...

But ultimately what put me off the system after several weeks of running it was the focus on tactical movement and positioning.  In prior editions I didn't need to so closely follow character/NPC movements and positions that a battlemap and some form of mini was required for combat.  3rd put a little added importance on it, but I found it relatively easy to remove AoOs from the game and wing it with Flanking.  But with 4E it would take a major retooling of the Powers soup in order for me to run combat without some form of minis.  Every encounter felt like a board game and the process didn't get any smoother for me over time.  It was just too much of a pain for me to run as a DM.
At least I have my proper avatar now, I guess. But man is this cloud dark.
Op: I think you've written an insightful and reasoned post. I enjoyed reading it.

I think your topic stinks, though. Needlessly provocative and something that some, who are invested in 4th just as much as others were invested in 3rd, AD&D and OD&D, might well consider an insult. I almost passed your poost because of the title and not wanting to read another flame-war. You could have done better in picking another topic line, I think.



So? I'm just stating a fact. From a business standpoint, 4th edition was a failure. It never sold as many books as WotC hoped, it never gained enough Insider subscribers (30.000, IIRC...), it split the fanbase, it drove a number of game designers out of the industry...

Now, you might be insulted by the fact that it was a failure, but it still is.

Getting past the "no it isn't" and the "I told you so's", what it is really about from here on out is giving WOTC feedback so that we can get the best set of rules for D&D under the 5th edition (or D&DNext) banner that we can.



The point I am trying to make here is that 4th edition did not fail because of its ruleset. It failed because of bad business decisions. If these bad decisions are not addressed and rectified it doesn't matter what the 5th edition rules will look like, they will still fail.
For me, the reason that I switched from 4e to Pathfinder was because I honestly thought that 4e was a poorly designed and unfun system. WotC stopped getting my money because I thought their product was crap.



Well, it's quite natural that people have different tastes. Some like dark chocolate, some like white chocolate. You can't please everyone (and I hope the designers won't even try).

However, objectively, 4th edition is not a bad RPG. A lot of the rules changes were big improvements IMHO, although it's perfectly fine if someone prefers some other edition, or some other RPG. We're all gamers, after all. The problem really was the way these changes were communicated. Rather than quietly keeping with their preferred edition, a lot of players were alienated to the point that they quit D&D altogether, and quite vocally (even though they are still playing D&D, just under a different name, by a different company).
However, objectively, 4th edition is not a bad RPG. A lot of the rules changes were big improvements IMHO, although it's perfectly fine if someone prefers some other edition, or some other RPG. We're all gamers, after all. The problem really was the way these changes were communicated. Rather than quietly keeping with their preferred edition, a lot of players were alienated to the point that they quit D&D altogether, and quite vocally (even though they are still playing D&D, just under a different name, by a different company).



First of all the "goodness" or "badness" of a game is sujbective, no matter how strongly you feel that your opinion is correct. I do apreciate that you quantified "big improvments" with "IMHO", though.

Semantics aside, you state that the problem was a failure of communication and not in the game itself. I wonder how true that actually is. I'm not questioning that 4e had a rocky start. I know that it made and broke many promises. I'm well aware that significant errata was quickly required. However, I'm not completely convinced that THESE are the reasons that "most" people left the D&D brand. Does anybody have actual statistics on this? Polls? Marketing figures? Something substantial besides speculation?

Again, I will speak from persona experience. I left 4e because I thought it sucked as a game. I played it for over a year. I played nearly every race and class and at nearly every tier. I played short games and long games. My dislike of 4e is NOT a knee-jerk reaction. I dislike 4e because I dislilke 4e. Again, I know that this isn't a unique story. I'm just curious as to how common it really is.

I agree with you here. Fourth edition is poorly designed and not a worthy successor to third edition, hence the success of the Pathfinder RPG (not just the adventures, but the system itself).


I appreciate your support.

I wonder if you'll also agree that 3.x was also pretty poorly designed. It has some major flaws in it. In fact, 4e DID get rid of many of these flaws, but it did so with nuklear weapons. "Magic system overpowered? Get rid of it!" "Classes not balanced? Make them all follow the same template!"

Pathfinder fixes many of 3.x's problems without completely gutting the system. Is Pathfinder still broken? Sure. Do many people consider it to be better than 3.x anyway? I think the answer is obviously yes. It does "fix" quite a few things. It rebalances many of the classes and streamlines some of the core rules. Magic is still overpowered, unfortunately. It's not a perfect system, but it IS what many "grognards" think is the correct direction for the game to be going.
However, I'm not completely convinced that THESE are the reasons that "most" people left the D&D brand. Does anybody have actual statistics on this? Polls? Marketing figures? Something substantial besides speculation?



Obviously it's speculation, on either side of the argument. Online discussions aren't necessarily a good indicator, because they tend to attract a small, vocal, and heavily invested fan base and does not represent the big group of casual players well.

I left 4e because I thought it sucked as a game. I played it for over a year. I played nearly every race and class and at nearly every tier.



I switched from 2 to 3, and from 3 to 4 and I wouldn't want to go back, even though I had fun in all editions. As I said, white and dark chocolate. You can't please everyone. I'm not worried about people who played 4th edition for a while, decided it's not for them, and switched to something else. However, the way 4th edition was announced also created a group of players who dismissed 4th edition outright, before it was even published, and refused to even try it. This shouldn't happen again.
Pathfinder now sells at least as good as D&D (if some indicators are correct), and WotC has decided to pull the plug on 4th ed at least 2 years early. So 4th ed failed, but why?

4e 'failed' in more than one way, each for a different reason:

4e failed to win over die-hards.  Every ed of D&D has had the problem of die-hard fans who cling to the prior ed.  But, that problem was solved via the simple expedient of not giving them anything to work with.  The 0D&D and BECMI and AD&D die-hards faded into obscurity, playing in insular home games and having little impact or influence in the broader hobby.  The difference here was that 3e wasn't just D&D, it was a d20 /open source/ game.  Which meant ongoing support was readily available - Pathfinder provided that support, and the die-hards love Paizo for it. 

4e failed to deliver promised content.  Repeatedly.  There was going to be a whole suite of DM tools, there was only ever a Monster Builder.  The VTT was very late and unremarkable.  There were going to be Ki and Elemental and other power sources. 

4e failed to stay on track.  4e was a great, innovative version of D&D, but being innovative requires you to keep innovating - you have to keep going forward, or at least, not backwards.  With Essentials, 4e backpeddled disasterously, disapointing those who wanted a quality game, and not caving nearly enough to those who just wanted it to suck in the accustomed ways. 

The ultimate way 4e failed is, of course, in the business sense.  It failed to deliver the revenue WotC promised to their souless corporate overlords at Hasbro.  It failed because they promised, way, way too much - far more than any RPG had ever come close to delivering in the history of the hobby.   Had everything else gone perfectly, every dime of Pathfinder revenue flowed to WotC, had every book and tool been delivered as promised, had the ed only continued to improve over it's short life, it'd've still failed.  


The funny thing is that two of the things that made 4e fail, 5e is already signed up to repeat.  d20 is still out there, the 3.5 die-hards can't be brought back by anything short of a 5e that builds directly on 3e.   And, 5e is being concieved as a something-for-everyone modular, compromise system.  Y'know, like 4e tried to do with the underwhelming success of Essentials.  


5e has little chance.  


Of course, I felt the same way about 4e when it was in it's vaporware stage.  A game even more tactical than 3.5, with casters & melee types /balanced/?  Impossible!  

I'd be delighted to be as wrong about 5e.


Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

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

First of all the "goodness" or "badness" of a game is sujbective, no matter how strongly you feel that your opinion is correct. I do apreciate that you quantified "big improvments" with "IMHO", though.


No it's not. Well, technically nothing is truly objective, so I guess it's technically correct, but there are principles of good game design. For example, rolling a d10,000 12 times for stats that never actually come up in game. Just because some people like pointless busywork doesn't make it not a terrible gameplay element.
Zammm = Batman. Bronies unite. "I'd call you a genius, but I'm in the room."
It's my sig in a box
58280208 wrote:
Everything is better when you read it in Bane's voice.
192334281 wrote:
Your human antics and desire to continue living have moved me. Just kidding. You cannot move me physically or emotionally. Wall humor.
57092228 wrote:
Copy effects work like a photocopy machine: you get a copy of the 'naked' card, NOT of what's on it.
56995928 wrote:
Funny story: InQuest Magazine (I think it was InQuest) had an oversized Chaos Orb which I totally rooked someone into allowing into a (non-sanctioned) game. I had a proxy card that was a Mountain with "Chaos Orb" written on it. When I played it, my opponent cried foul: Him: "WTF? a Proxy? no-one said anything about Proxies. Do you even own an actual Chaos Orb?" Me: "Yes, but I thought it would be better to use a Proxy." Him: "No way. If you're going to put a Chaos Orb in your deck you have to use your actual Chaos Orb." Me: "*Sigh*. Okay." I pulled out this huge Chaos Orb and placed it on the table. He tried to cry foul again but everyone else said he insisted I use my actual Chaos Orb and that was my actual Chaos Orb. I used it, flipped it and wiped most of his board. Unsurprisingly, that only worked once and only because everyone present thought it was hilarious.
My DM on Battleminds:
no, see i can kill defenders, but 8 consecutive crits on a battlemind, eh walk it off.
144543765 wrote:
195392035 wrote:
Hi guys! So, I'm a sort of returning player to Magic. I say sort of because as a child I had two main TCG's I liked. Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon. Some of my friends branched off in to Magic, and I bought two pre-made decks just to kind of fit in. Like I said, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon were what I really knew how to play. I have a extensive knowledge of deck building in those two TCG's. However, as far as Magic is concerned, I only ever used those two pre made decks. I know how the game is played, and I know general things, but now I want to get in the game for real. I want to begin playing it as a regular. My question is, are all cards ever released from the time of the inception of this game until present day fair game in a deck? Or are there special rules? Are some cards forbidden or restricted? Thanks guys, and I will gladly accept ANY help lol.
I have the same problem with women.
117639611 wrote:
198869283 wrote:
Oh I have a standing rule. If someone plays a Planeswalker I concede the game. I refuse to play with or against people who play Planeswalkers. They really did ruin the game.
A turn two Tibalt win?! Wicked... Betcha don't see that everyday.
Is this my new ego sig? Yes it is, other Barry
57461258 wrote:
And that's why you should never, ever call RP Jesus on being a troll, because then everyone else playing along gets outed, too, and the thread goes back to being boring.
57461258 wrote:
See, this is why RPJesus should be in charge of the storyline. The novel line would never have been cancelled if he had been running the show. Specifically the Slobad and Geth's Head talkshow he just described.
57461258 wrote:
Not only was that an obligatory joke, it was an on-topic post that still managed to be off-topic due to thread derailment. RP Jesus does it again folks.
92481331 wrote:
I think I'm gonna' start praying to Jesus... That's right, RPJesus, I'm gonna' be praying to you, right now. O' Jesus Please continue to make my time here on the forums fun and cause me to chuckle. Amen.
92481331 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
It was wonderful. Us Johnnies had a field day. That Timmy with the Grizzly bears would actually have to think about swinging into your Mogg Fanatic, giving you time to set up your silly combo. Nowadays it's all DERPSWING! with thier blue jeans and their MP3 players and their EM EM OH AR PEE JEES and their "Dewmocracy" and their children's card games and their Jersey Shores and their Tattooed Tenaged Vampire Hunters from Beverly Hills
Seriously, that was amazing. I laughed my *ss off. Made my day, and I just woke up.
[quote=ArtVenn You're still one of my favorite people... just sayin'.[/quote]
56756068 wrote:
56786788 wrote:
.....would it be a bit blasphemous if I said, "PRAYSE RPJAYSUS!" like an Evangelical preacher?
Perhaps, but who doesn't like to blaspheme every now and again? Especially when Mr. RPJesus is completely right.
56756068 wrote:
I don't say this often, but ... LOL
57526128 wrote:
You... You... Evil something... I actualy made the damn char once I saw the poster... Now you made me see it again and I gained resolve to put it into my campaign. Shell be high standing oficial of Cyrix order. Uterly mad and only slightly evil. And it'll be bad. Evil even. And ill blame you and Lizard for it :P.
57042968 wrote:
111809331 wrote:
I'm trying to work out if you're being sarcastic here. ...
Am going to stop you right there... it's RPJesus... he's always sarcastic
58335208 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
112114441 wrote:
we can only hope it gets the jace treatment...it could have at least been legendary
So that even the decks that don't run it run it to deal with it? Isn't that like the definition of format warping?
I lol'd.
56287226 wrote:
98088088 wrote:
Uktabi Orangutan What the heck's going on with those monkeys?
The most common answer is that they are what RPJesus would call "[Debutantes avert your eyes]ing."
56965458 wrote:
Show
57461258 wrote:
116498949 wrote:
I’ve removed content from this thread because off-topic discussions are a violation of the Code of Conduct. You can review the Code here: www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_... Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks. You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively. If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.
...Am I the only one that thinks this is reaching the point of downright Kafkaesque insanity?
I condone the use of the word Kafkaesque. However, I'm presentely ambivalent. I mean, that can't be serious, right? We're April 1st, right? They didn't mod RPJesus for off-topic discussion when the WHOLE THREAD IS OFF-TOPIC, right? Right.
57545908 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
Save or die. If you disagree with this, you're wrong (Not because of any points or arguements that have been made, but I just rolled a d20 for you and got a 1, so you lose).
58397368 wrote:
58222628 wrote:
This just won the argument, AFAIC.
That's just awesome.
57471038 wrote:
57718868 wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THE BEAR PRODUCING WORDS OF WILDING?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
That's what RPJesus tends to do. That's why I don't think he's a real person, but some Magic Card Archive Server sort of machine, that is programmed to react to other posters' comments with obscure cards that do in fact exist, but somehow missed by even the most experienced Magic players. And then come up with strange combos with said cards. All of that is impossible for a normal human to do given the amount of time he does it and how often he does it. He/It got me with Light of Sanction, which prompted me to go to RQ&A to try and find if it was even possible to do combat damage to a creature I control (in light that Mark of Asylum exists).
71235715 wrote:
+10
100176878 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
57078538 wrote:
heaven or hell.
Round 1. Lets rock.
GG quotes! RPJesus just made this thread win!
56906968 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
143359585 wrote:
Blue players get all the overpowerered cards like JTMS. I think it's time that wizards gave something to people who remember what magic is really about: creatures.
Initially yes, Wizards was married to blue. However, about a decade ago they had a nasty divorce, and a few years after that they began courting the attention of Green. Then in Worldwake they had a nasty affair with their ex, but as of Innistrad, things seem to have gotten back on track, and Wizards has even proposed.
You are my favorite. Yes you. And moments like this make it so. Thank you RPJesus for just being you.
On what flavor text fits me:
57307308 wrote:
Surely RPJesus gets Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius?
56874518 wrote:
First: I STILL can't take you seriously with that avatar. And I can take RPJesus seriously, so that's saying something.
121689989 wrote:
I'd offer you a cookie for making me laugh but it has an Upkeep Cost that has been known to cause people to quit eating.
56267956 wrote:
I <3 you loads
57400888 wrote:
56957928 wrote:
"AINT NO LAWS IN THE SKY MOTHER****." - Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
10/10. Amazing.
For starters, if 5E means that 4E failed, then 4E means 3.5E failed.

1. D&D has had digital support for a long time. Wizards in no way ever suggested that D&D was going to be all-digital or require digital elements. Those who got this idea into their heads were panic-mongers.

2. The digital tabletop was never an issue for me, and I don't know anyone personally who felt otherwise. Certainly some people were looking forward to it, and the failure to deliver it was an embarrassing mistake for WotC, but I don't think it's as big of a thing as some people make it out to be.

3. /Shrug. I never used any non-Wizards products in 3.5E, so I can't really speak to the open-source issues. I think 4E not being open-sources had nothing to do with Pathfinder, because D&D 4E and Pathfinder have largely different demographics. Those who play Pathfinder exclusively do so because they don't want to play 4E, not because they wan't to play a non-WotC game.

4. I'm not privy to WotC's marketing department, so I can't say how profitable Dungeon and Dragon magazines were to the company, nor how their digitalizations affected the bottom line. I suspect you aren't, either.

5. Times have been tough for everyone since well before 4E's release, and I imagine WotC is not immune to financial hardships. Few companies in the gaming industry have gone without losing important people.

6. I think 4E books kick the pants off of 3E books, aesthetically. To each their own.

7. I never perceived arrogance as you have. Might be due to my policy of not assuming the worst about people's intentions, in order to avoid perceiving hostility or offense when none is intended.
Ever feel like people on these forums can't possibly understand how wrong they are? Feeling trolled? Don't get mad. Report Post.
For starters, if 5E means that 4E failed, then 4E means 3.5E failed.



5E two years early means that 4E failed. Plus all the other reasons I already mentioned, none of which apply to 3E.

1. D&D has had digital support for a long time. Wizards in no way ever suggested that D&D was going to be all-digital or require digital elements. Those who got this idea into their heads were panic-mongers.



And Wizards marketing is at fault for creating that panic. "Stupid customers got it all wrong" is not a viable excuse.

3. /Shrug. I never used any non-Wizards products in 3.5E, so I can't really speak to the open-source issues. I think 4E not being open-sources had nothing to do with Pathfinder, because D&D 4E and Pathfinder have largely different demographics.



Before the 4th edition / Pathfinder split, they were one demographic. And that is one of the main problems here. And really, how many demographics are in the "male, 15-35, nerd, plays pen & paper RPGs" range? (Yes, I know there is a minority of females and over 35 year olds)

4. I'm not privy to WotC's marketing department, so I can't say how profitable Dungeon and Dragon magazines were to the company, nor how their digitalizations affected the bottom line. I suspect you aren't, either.



Uh, what? The point is that Dungeon and Dragon were never published by WotC, but Paizo. Killing Dungeon and Dragon sent a big "screw you" to other publishers, gaming stores, and the core of their fanbase. The point is that they needlessly killed a product that was an important part of their ecosystem because it was not done in-house.

5. Times have been tough for everyone since well before 4E's release, and I imagine WotC is not immune to financial hardships. Few companies in the gaming industry have gone without losing important people.



It's not just the fact that WotC fired people, but the way they did it. You can't develop a product in the long run if you regularly axe senior people because they get too expensive. It's no wonder 4th edition completely lost direction, none of the original designers were left after just 2-3 years.

6. I think 4E books kick the pants off of 3E books, aesthetically. To each their own.


Really? 4th edition can't even put padding on both sides of text in a box (shudder). And all the races which are drawn without iris or pupil in their eyes? It makes drawing them easier, but it looks horrible. And all the white space at the end of chapters just shows how they didn't put any effort into the layout at all. Bah.
For starters, if 5E means that 4E failed, then 4E means 3.5E failed.



5E two years early means that 4E failed. Plus all the other reasons I already mentioned, none of which apply to 3E.

Heh.  AD&D went over 10 years (though it was really only compete for the last ~10).  2e went almost exactly 10.   3e went 8.  It ended two years early, so it failed.  4e aparently has about 2 years left, for 6.

Seems more like cycle times are shrinking.  At this rate, a mythical 7e will last 0 years.  (Don't laugh, it could be like the Alternity version of Gamma World, cancelled between the printer and the store shelves).

Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

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

I am now a casual player of dnd, though I played 3.5 quite obsessively when I was younger. I believe that 4.0 was an improvement on 3.5, and it had to be in order to sell any of the material it did. Coming from a more casual player though, the amount of books and online material became absolutely overwhelming. For new players and generations younger than myself, DnD has almost become obsolete before it even began. When new players are interested they visit the website or look at the books and see the sheer quantity of information and are turned away almost immediately.

This game is based upon social interactions. It lets people from all walks of life get together once or twice a week, gather around a table, eat food and relax. It provides downtime, away from full-time jobs, parenting, schooling or whatever may be going on in your life and allows you to escape. I would say that books accomplish the same task. They let you live a thousand lives instead of just one. What DnD can do is allow us to live these other lives in a more interactive way than books can.


If WoTC does anything with 5e I hope that they focus on this idea: that DnD is a gaming experience that provides face-to-face social time with people we know and love, or strangers we now have the oppurtunity to learn about.


4.0 provided DM's with a lot more help and as my groups DM I appreciated that. Giving monsters certain roles and combat tactics was amazing. It helped me create more exciting encounters and challenging situations. What I think 3.5 did better, and hopefully this is articulated well since that's what seems to be the real issue currently with 3.5 players discrediting 4.0, is that 4.0 lost its genuineness.


It became a cookie-cutter rpg, limiting character options and forcing specific classes to fulfill certain roles. Some classes were changed far too significantly, so that in reality the only thing that was similar was the name of the class itself. The players who enjoyed 3.5 liked those classes because they were genuine. A ranger was exactly like the rangers out of a tolkien novel. The monk fought unconventionally, mimicking the moves we saw Jackie Chan pull off in karate flicks. The paladin was a righteous holy warrior who smote undead mercilessly.

And for those who didn't adhere to the original classes, those who thought a bard should lead armies into battle, a fighter become a thief, or a rogue pick up a shield and defend his allies.....could do so. 

4.0 designated roles to classes, and the powers system further reinforced that role. I would find it interesting to see how powers would work if they were universal, and were bought on a cost basis instead of how they were done in 4.0. The powers themselves were brilliant, evolving the boring 3.5 combat into something thrilling and exciting, but limiting nonetheless.  

Let's, as a community, focus on this next edition and discuss some of the finer points from each edition. The reality of the situation is that if dnd is going to survive, we as the player base have to make some compromises with each other. We have to progressively stop focusing on the problems, and think about the solutions. I hope that everyone moving forward can cooperate and we can help WoTC make this game an edition that the majority of us can be united in playing, and rejoice that we helped create the product we've all come to love and enjoy over the years.

Pathfinder now sells at least as good as D&D (if some indicators are correct), and WotC has decided to pull the plug on 4th ed at least 2 years early. So 4th ed failed, but why? Lets look at the mistakes that were made so that 5th edition is not doomed to repeat them.

Well I think it's that piazo and hasbro have a different idea of 'fail' or 'success'. No one's said that 4e hasn't been making money, just that it hasn't made ENOUGH money for hasbro. When the entire pathfinder crowd didn't come over to 4e en masse after essentials, wotc had to come up with something to keep their overlords thinking more money was going to be coming in.

-1- Mixing up digitalization and rules update
Fail from the start and they still don't have it right. Then taking away the pdf's and off line CB and not bothering to collect mags into pdf's further push people away.

-2- Not delivering the big new product
This goes in with #1 Pretty much the same fail.

-3- Killing the Ecosystem
Cutting off third parties is the main reason they've got pathfinder against them in sale instead of working with them. Really shot themselves in the foot with this one.

-4- Killing off the magazines
?? don't get this one. Both mags are around. Or are you talking about the physical copies?

-5- Firing all important designers
You need to look upstream to hasbro for this one...

-6- Ugly books
Shrug... Looks fine for me but then I'm not getting a book so I can hang it on a wall and stare at it. I'm looking for crunch and don't really care about the fluff.

(EDIT) -7- Arrogance
Tone is hard to read on the interwebs. I have to agree that some of the 3e nails needed to be hammered down, painted over and never looked at again. Honestly I think they did a good job of saying how 4e was different that 3.5e, so they could attract people that didn't like those very things. However attracting them pushed away the pathfinder crowd into piazo's arms.

NOT -8- Game design
It was going fine until they tried to make a 180 with essentials. Since then everything has taken a back seat to 5e game design...
I, for one, hope beyond hope that 5E does away with classes altogether, or at least, doesn't name them the same things that they've been named for the past 30 years.

Too many people think that the name of a thing defines it. They whine that the 4E wizard isn't the same as a 3E wizard. That a 4E monk is too different from a 3E monk. Or that duskblades don't exist in 4E.

These complains all stem from an obsession with names. In order for them to see a duskblade class, WotC would need to print a class with the name "Duskblade" instead of just giving options that allow you to create a character that is, essentially, what the duskblade was.

Also, I defy anyone to show me a non-vampire character that is so similar to all other characters of the same race/class combinations as to be described as a "cookie cutter" character. 4E currently has such a plethora of options for every class that I would daresay (without actually crunching any numbers) that there are more viable options for more classes in 4E than in 3E.

And even without examining the figures, I can attest that in all my time playing 4E, I haven't seen any two character who appeared to be too similar. 
Ever feel like people on these forums can't possibly understand how wrong they are? Feeling trolled? Don't get mad. Report Post.
So how would you handle a game that has no classes? Would every ability, feat, skill be purchased with a system?
So how would you handle a game that has no classes? Would every ability, feat, skill be purchased with a system?


More or less, yeah. Most RPGs are classless, you know. It's not like it would be uncharted territory. In fact, many of the people with whom I game are of the opinion that classes are an outdated mechanic. I don't ENTIRELY disagree with them.

I know D&D will never be classless, and for several good reasons, but a guy can dream, can't he?
Ever feel like people on these forums can't possibly understand how wrong they are? Feeling trolled? Don't get mad. Report Post.

Well if something needs to change in this edition maybe that's exactly it. There are many game mechanics currently being used in RPG's that are there because that's all we know. 5.0 is going to have to be very innovative to draw a crowd in big enough to justify the funds being spent in R&D. I think right now, especially because of video games like WoW, the players mindset is stuck in the idea that we must all fulfill a very stringent and specific role in the game. Maybe having no classes at all will finally lift that strict adherence to roles and provide players with a truly limitless style of play.


Also, what several reasons would you consider good that disallows this next edition to be classless?

In order to keep characters interesting and useful in a broad high fantasy setting, classes are essential to D&D. If all abilities are for purchase without exclusivity, then all abilities must be balanced in combination with all other abilities.


I agree that not all abilities should be accessible to all characters in combination with all other abilities. However, to say that classes as they have existed in previous iterations of D&D are required to adjudicate who gets access to what is simply short-sighted in terms of game design. There are many ways to dole out abilities, and not only are classes sort of done-to-death, but they've got a lot of baggage on them from previous versions of the game.

Classless systems work well within genres that are more narrow, where character parameters are not as diverse as in high fantasy- for instance, where everyone is a vampire, or an everyday man in a Cthonic nightmare made real.


There's also Deadlands, where there are several different kinds of magic users, gunslingers of several varieties, con-artists, and many other character archetypes without ever being spelled out or collected into any classes.

I actually think that D&D is well-benefited from having classes, and that it suits the high-fantasy genre well, but there are aspects of how classes are handled that should be changed, in my opinion. For one thing, I think they should become a smaller character option, rather than the all-defining one that they are now.
Ever feel like people on these forums can't possibly understand how wrong they are? Feeling trolled? Don't get mad. Report Post.
What do you think of Warhammer's career system?