Mechanical Stuff 4E Did Right: What do non-4E players like about 4E?

Here are some things I appreciate about 4E that no one really complains about.  I hope they keep some version of these.

Retraining.  Players can switch out a power, theme, feat, or skill when they level.  In  LFR you can switch out even more.  Yeah it effects a few people's immersion, but it works really well in practice.  No more getting stuck with a feat that looks good on paper but doesn't really help your PC.

Ended day long buffs and pre fight buffing.  No more going through a list of spells you cast before you kick in the door.  Almost all the combat effecting powers and abilities don't kick in till combat starts.  Maybe some people didn't like this, but I don't remember reading many complaints.

Long work days.  You can regularly go 4-6 encounters without needing a extended rest.  The flip side is that it was a bit harder to challenge PCs if DMs wanted a big solitary battle that day, but you could still do that if you wanted.

Standard/Move/Minor/Free.  It works well for the most part and is easy to understand.  Doesn't seem to effect anyones immersion.

DM prep time.  Its a lot easier to just throw an encounter together in a couple of minutes and still have it be a fun challenge because the xp budget made sense.

I am sure someone out there will complain about some of this, but can you think of any others that even most people who don't like 4E still like? 

Constructive comments from people who don't like 4E, but have borrowed stuff from it anyways, are appreciated. 

Edit: There are lots of other threads to comment about what you don't like about 4E.  I would apprecitate it if replies were limited to what people like about 4E.

Second Update:  Here is a general list of the things multiple people seem to like.  I won't list all of them or tally how many people like them or anything.  And some people say that they don't like these even in this thread, but should be a decent summary not counting what I already mentioned above:

Healing surges

Disease Rules

Scaling raical and feat bonuses that stayed useful over time, i.e. dragonborns breath attack and weapon focus (altough IMO they could have done the racials attack scaling a lot better) 

No crit confirmation and crits are interesting

Ongoing Damage

Petrification

Rituals

No HP rolling and good starting HP

At will casting for spell users

Martial encounter powers

Monter Desgign: Entries having all the information there.  Related to this is that monsters and PCs did not work or advance the same.  And monsters are easy to scale

Less need for PCs to rest all the time: Encounter based desgin vs daily based design

Fluff alignement

Branching Class paths

Cleric was insteresting - healing did not take up whole turn most of the time.  And other classes could heal too.

Tactical combat

Idea that you are a hero

Posion

Saving Throws

Self healing (second wind)

Skill challenges & low number of skills

Useful high level fighters

Attack rolls vs defense/NADS/static defenses/attacker always rolls

Minions

No randomness in PC generation

No facing

Simple initiative system

Delay and ready actions

More fey/lovecraft fluff.  Good  Cosmology (feywild, shadowfell)

Well codified mechanics: standard keywords for instance.  Very clear rules overall.

Armored spell casters

Diverse Pantheons

Action Points

Reskinning/flexible fluff

Both AEUD and Essentials styles.

Marking (and different defenders marks worked differently)

Different Mechanical feel for races

No racial Penalties to stats

Power source features (like Channel divinity)

Turn Undead worked better

Leader granted attacks

Backgrounds

Monk movement techniques

All classes get build options

Easy magic item creation

Paragon Paths and EDs

Exception Based Design

Online Content

No save or die or ability and level drain and no magic item stat bonuses

Tiles and tokens

Bards are good (OP note: this is the first edition where I ever wanted to play a bard)

Static Proficiency bonuses to weapons

Through about the first 80 posts

- Retraining - not only a good idea, it makes in-game sense.

- Standard/Move/Minor/Free - I like how this simplifies things while retaining options.

- DM prep time - 4e undoubtably took prep time and chopped it more than in half.  If you don't appreciate that, you're a masochist. 

- Scaling racial abilities - things should get better as you do.

- Scaling Feat bonuses - see above.

- No rolling for HP - we ended up taking the average in 3.5 more often than not.
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- Having all information about a monster's abilities in the monster's entry. A major thumbs up from me.


- At-will spells for wizards.  


- Less need for players to rest to move the story along.     


   


  
IMAGE(http://www.forum-signatures.com/wizard/Sigs/2010/final1329876348159.jpg)

- No rolling for HP - we ended up taking the average in 3.5 more often than not.



We ended up doing half + half a roll in 3.5.  Wizards got 3-4, rogue 4-6, cleric 5-8, fighters 6-10, and barbs 7-12.  A little randomness, but never a 1 for anyone and fighters always got more than wizards.
I don't have much good to say about 4e most of the time -- I almost wish I had known it better despite my practical experiences with it having been decidedly poor times.  However, there are a few concepts that I think it really did get right.

- Fluff Alignment: While I prefer the nine alignments as better general descriptors (in my mind deeper thanks to having more than one axis), I do like that they are just that in 4e -- descriptors.  This game can be played without Detecting and smiting evil, even if capitol-E Evil (like, say, a Baernaloth) exists alongside capitol-G Good.  Especially for mortals as opposed to planar exemplars, alignment represents general tendancies, a category into which you can broadly file unique personalities.

- Branching paths.  4e suffered badly from class bloat, but I think one thing that was well handled was a particular element of progression: Divergence.  That is, two characters who start off very similar at level one may angle for paths that ultimatley make them very different, and there is a clear roadmap for doing it.  This existed in 3rd as well, as Prestige Classes, but those were handled rather poorly: By in large, warnings that they should be special were disregarded.  I don't think Paragon Paths were perfect, but I do think they were probably a step in the right direction.  In my ideal 5e, major branches might be represented similarly to the Paragon Path, and would be mutually exclusive:  that is, if you start levelling as a generic "Wizard" you may get a chance to specialize and become an "Enchanter" a "Necromancer" or maybe even an "Artificer".  If you do, you can't become any of the others.  However, if the generalist option exists at level 1, it should still exist at level cap -- you shouldn't be forced to take a "new direction", so it's important to have a path that represents the middle road you started on.

- The "cleric" was no longer a bullet to be taken.  That is, there was not this requirement for one character to sit by being a box of bandages for the others.  I think this could have been addressed better, but at least it was addressed.  My ideal? Step back to having a defined Healer, but make healing non-exclusive with providing positive progress to the party in combat.  Imagine a 3.x "bandaid" cleric, and quicken all his or her "Cure Whatever Wounds" spells, leaving your move and standard action for doing things that aren't healing.  It would be overpowered thanks to 3.x math expecting a different economy of actions, but if balanced somehow it would be more fun.  The problem wasn't that someone had to heal, you see, so much that it was whoever healed didn't have the time (actions) to do anything else.

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The problem wasn't that someone had to heal, you see, so much that it was whoever healed didn't have the time (actions) to do anything else.



They almost went far enough with this in 4E and did after PHB1.  The cleric, but not the warlord or later published leaders, has a lot of standard action utility powers including the "Cure light wounds" type powers.  They don't have to take them and had other good options, but something like 40% of cleric utilities are standard actions in 4E and most of them are not worth taking.  They are the only class that has this problem, though they did errata a couple of them down to minors.
My two biggest axes to grind with 3E -- vancian spell casting and clerics being boring -- were handily answered with 4E.

The combat in 4E was fantastic -- very entertaining and tactical, like WOW and Warmachine had a pen-and-paper baby.  It would sometimes bog a bit, but I'll take a few minor hiccups in exchange for an otherwise stunning vibrato performance.

I also like the idea of 'power sources' to help get a sort of Unified Field Theory for powers in 4E.  Sort of fits in with all of the other story bits I like about 4E.

The Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies were a little rough, but I'm willing to forgive the dust I had to blow off them.  They were, IMHO, a good refinement of the Prestige Class idea in 3E.

I also like the entire design theory behind 4E -- this is a game about you being a badass fantasy hero.  They decided to work with the powergaming rather than trying to fight it.  Minmaxers are much easier to work with in 4E -- they think they're min-maxing, but they're really just making normal characters.  That was a deft move, IMHO.
Seperation of Monster and Player advancement.  I like very much that monsters do not build and scale in the exact same manner that players do.  I like the Monster roles, I like Elite and Solo monsters.

At-will powers for spell casters.

Healing surges.

They way healers can heal while attacking or heal and make another action.

Racial powers I like that they scale with level but I think they should improve more often than every 10 levels.
Skill Challenges. They introduced a way to give xp for non-combat situations as well as employing non combat skills into a combat heavy game. It was a perfect template for events beyond the battlemat, and I think even Paizo used them as a basis for their chase rules.

Though it's also the one thing I hated most about 4E. I had never seen one done right, or even if done right, still not enjoyably. I would always cringe when one came up and the party as a whole would breathe a sigh of releif when the next encounter was a combat. Not that it was the DM's fault all the time, skill challenges were a great idea, that they half thought out and tried to make it "balanced" with  bonuses that were arbitrary to the challenge and more geared for some scaled to level percentage chance rather than reflecting any real resolution. Even after errataing it, they still seemed to miss the point that the scaling is not what needed to be polished.

Halber
Theres only one thing I can say I like as-is and thats the 20 is THE crit again. There are many other things like skill challenges that were a good idea but designed poorly IMHO. 4e from the begining to today feels unpolished with many good ideas that need revising and playtesting. Not so much individual powers but concepts like how powers work to begin with.
I played 4th for a while, then switch to Pathfinder. There were, however, many things I really liked in 4th, such as:

DM work load - this has to be brought over to 5th edition. I'm older, and have many demands on my time. DMing 4th was a true pleasure.

Combat - with standard, move, and minor. I would not be in favour of too many of the swift/free actions, but otherwise liked this set up quite a bit.

Poison - this was another great little gem in 4th and I would like to see it in 5th.

Retraining - I'll mention it since everyone above has. I never thought this need to be codified into a rule. I always allowed retraining in my games. It just made sense, and made my players happy.

Saves - I liked that saves had become defenses that someone had to overcome. Saves in 3.0/3.5 were a problem, they didn't scale well, hense the need to introduce some many ranged touch spells. Having saves be a defense like AC is perfect.

Spells - casters having spells that can be cast many times a day (unlimited would be fine).

Hit Points - I like a little randomness in HP, but would be fine with 4th's set number each level.

Criticals - I like rolling for critical hits. It adds tension and excitement to the game. I'd like to keep them.


  • Not having to confirm, and occasionally be robbed, of a crit.

  • Hit points. I prefer gaining a specific amount every level over a random die roll.

  • Self-healing: Second Wind or powers that allow you to heal yourself without a cleric/leader.

  • Saving Throws. They're simple and easy to remember across the board.

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I'll answer from my original D&D/AD&D perspective.

(1) The scaling of the ability of fighters (and broadly, fighting classes) to dish out damage as levels progress. Even in my beloved earlier editions, the introduction of extra attackes per round and weapon specialization did not quite make the idea of a brave knight taking on a giant or a dragon even plausible. Magic Users could. Even thieves had scaling backstabbing to make high hit dice monsters worry. Fighters, not so much, nor even rangers with their bonus agaist humanoids/giant class (who, admittedly, do get a scaling bonus).

(2) Static (and boosted) hit points for PCs. While ability scores were the result of one initial role and remained constant, the fact is that in older editions, these mean relatively less to success (and AD&D provided a multitude of ways to generate stats that more or less guaranteed a good array), the idea of a single roll sticking with a player his whole career never sat well with me. We often hand-waived rolling to allow relatively high hit points per level and/or allowed re-rolling every level. Also, while I admit the goodness of having players advance through 1st to higher levels, the fragility of 1st-3rd level characters was, in my view, so frequently handled by various house rules as to suggest something like 4e's higher hit points for 1st level. (I am less convinced of the need for higher hit points for monsters/NPC, but that's a different discussion.)

(3) Healing mechanic without the need for clerics, while still allowing the iconic role of clerics as healers. Clerics in OD&D and AD&D were, despite their reputation, not especially good at healing (Cure Light Wounds was a 1st level spell, and Cure Serious Wounds, only twice as good, was a 4th level spell, and clerics could not prepare lower level spells to fill higher level slots.), but they were, apart from potions (not especially easy to find or acquire) the only way to heal during an adventure. While I appreciate the "resource management" aspect of the older style, I like 4e's moving the resource of healing (through second wind and rests after encounters, as well as healing surges) to everyone, giving the cleric special capacities to provide healing over and above what everyone could do to some extent.

(4) Alignment system. I started with the five-alignment system of Holmes and the first Monster Manual (LG, CG, N, LE, CE), and hardly noticed the nine-alignment system of AD&D in any meaningful way. After all, how many LN or CN monsters are there anyway, or even NE or NG for that matter? I knew the old Law/Neutral/Chaos model and, read from a Three Hearts and Three Lions perspective, and quite honestly from the Medieval romance/Arthurian spin which suited my tastes, was more or less all I needed. I "got" the 9 alignments, and never really had the trouble many people seemed to have with them, but the fact of the controversy made an easier system more helpful. I think 4e's version of five alignments (LG, G, U, E, CE) keeps enough of the legacy while bringing things back to a saner simplicity.

(5) Enrichment of magic system with spells of differing frequency and rituals. Elsewhere on these forums I have been, and am, a defender of the so-called Vancian system. It is a legacy that, in my opinion, is definitive of D&D magic while also, with the proper kind of spell lists, can reduce the dominance of magic in a campaign. (I know the 3e folks will differ, but that was not so much the same kind of worry for OD&D and AD&D.) Even so, the idea that some spells might be, by their nature, able to be cast more regularly, and indeed that other spells (especially an array of utility spells) are rituals that can be cast as needed, but drawing other kinds of resources (i.e. gold), was an interesting way to keep Magic Users (and Clerics to some extent) useful without being continuously center-stage.

The thing is, one could bring many if not all of these into an OD&D, AD&D, or "classic" D&D game (i.e. anything from 1974 through 1999) and still be recognizingly playing D&D, and that is, in my book, all for the best!
Its interesting that about 80% of the posts are an exact list of the things I do *not* like about 4e. I'm especially intrigued about the fondness for short rest/healing surge mechanic + high HPs becasue its the #1 thing that's wrong!

Some good things:
#1 All attacks have a defense - its simple and more fun for players because they are always rolling to hit...something. (But the 4e "Saving throws" mechanic and all the statuses...make it stop!)
#2 Less skills than 3.5, (although the only skills that anyone cares about are perception and stealth...).
#3 I always appreciated the the way monsters were statted compared with other versions. 
#4 I always enjoyed DMing with minions (then there's Solos...wow, epic fail). 
#5 Lots of character options - who doesn't like lots of character options?
 
I realy like 4e's NADs. An attacker roles an attack roll vs an appropriate and varried defense. Nice.
I like THAT 4e is the most balanced edition (just not HOW it was balanced).
I liked that there were no random elements to character creation.
I really like the idea of seperating spells and rituals (if not the implimentation)
I like the uniform game design overall. 3e tended to wander around quite a bit in design philosophy over time.
I like that the mechanics are CLEARLY defined (although they do suffer from presentation for this).
I like the racial seperation of elves so that they're no longer complete Mary Sues.
I liked the CONCEPT of healing surges.
No Facing Rule is something i always liked.

Initiative. Rolled once to set order speed things up. 

Delay and Ready An Action Rule too to allow acting elsewhere in this order.

The Disease track run with DC to improve or worsen. 
Fast DM Prep time
The online adventure monster tool is just amazing now I think, it's really becoming a mainstay for me.

Skill Challenges
Need tweeking though but I just home brew mine anyhow.

Fast Character Creation
With the online tools you can really crank out a character pretty fast and still have them be completely unique and customized.

Faster Combat Resolution

Monster Roles and Powers
Really gives you a nice base to build a tatically challenging experience.

Power Card System
The cards are fun to use and tangible. You can plan your moves and remind yourself what you have in your arsenal to use.

Player Roles... leader/striker etc.
I love the way they handled this in 4e for one massive reason... every class can have a time to shine. In previous editions there were always a few classes (bard/clerics) that were more like the pink elephants in the room...they were there but no one wanted to play with them.

Online Tools
See above.

I like that...

1) Fighters are a class again (classes have class abilities), but I don't like the way this was done.

2) Ritual casting was a nice way to reduce the spells that needed to be prepared by the wizard. But I liked the way Unearthed Arcana did it better. They were too costly in 4th ed, both in money and relevance.

3) .... that is about it I guess, fixed HP, Healing surges, minions, all very annoying as both a player and as a DM. I actually found that 4th ed took longer to DM rather than shorter. This is probably because I DM on the Fly, and I am very good at it. But 4th ed was not as conducive to that. Also I hate modules and 4th ed was ripe with these.
Im sorry but ADEU is a French word for goodbye, not a combat system. You say, "Encounter Power" and I stop listening to you. [spoiler Have Played/Run] D&D 1st ed D&D 3.5 ed D&D 4th ed Shadowrun Star Wars SAGA Cyberpunk Interlock Unlimited Run.Net [/spoiler] I know my games, don't try to argue about them. [spoiler Alignment Explained] This is a very simple problem and I will outline it below. Their are two types of people Type 1: a lot of people (not all, but a lot) who play see alignment as "I am lawful good thus I must play lawful good" Type 2: a lot of people (not all, but a lot) who play see alignment as "My previous actions have made people and the gods view me as lawful good. The difference is subtle but it is the source of the misunderstanding. Alignment does not dictate how you play your character. All it does is tell you, the player, how the rest of the world views you, and your previous actions. Any future actions will be judged by their own merits. Say you're a baby eating pyromaniac. You are most likely chaotic evil. But one day you decide, "Hey all I really need is love." So you get a wife, have a kid, and get a kitten named Mr. Snook'ems. You become a member of the PTA and help build houses for the homeless. You are no longer chaotic evil. And just because you were once chaotic evil it does not mean that you have to stay chaotic evil. Alignment never dictates what you can do, it only says what you have done. Now that is cleared up here is a simple test. What is the alignment of... A Police officer: The average Citizen: A Vigilante: The answer is simple. The Police officer is lawful good. He uses the laws of the country and city to arrest people and make them pay their debt to society. The Citizen is Neutral good. He wants to live is a place that is Good and follows moral and ethical principle, but he sometimes finds the laws impedes him, and he wonders why we spend so much on poor people. The Vigilante is Chaotic Good. He wants to uphold the morals and ethics of society but finds that the bad guys often slip through the cracks in the law. He takes it upon himself to protect the people from these criminals. That is the basic breakdown of the good alignment axis. What needs to be remembered is that any one of these people can change alignments, easily. The Police officer could be bought off by a local gang, and suddenly he drops to lawful neutral. The average citizen might find that his neighbors dog is annoying, barking at night and keeping him up. So he poisons its food, now he is no longer good, he is stepping towards true neutral. Maybe the citizen really goes crazy also kills the neighbor, hello neutral evil. It is possible that the Vigilante realizes that the cops are actually doing a pretty good job and decides to become an officer himself, leaving his masked crime fighting days behind him. Now he is Lawful good. Your alignment is not carved in stone, it is malleable and will change to reflect your actions.[/spoiler]
•static defenses rather than saving throws
•increased ability of martial classes to move opponents about and apply debuffs, etc.
•combination of spot/listen into one skill
•improved mechanics around crits (for martial characters, at least)
•expanded fey- and lovecraft-themed fluff 
Free/Minor/Move/Standard actions (especially using Minor actions for doing stuff you had to do, like healing and sustaining powers, and standard for tactical decisions)

It's always the attacker that rolls: feels right.

No random elements in character creation

Minions

Encounters and dailies for fighters, at-will for casters: the concept was really right. But I agree this went a bit overboard and now many classes feel too similar mechanically. But I feel it's good for  fighters to have some meaningful micromanagement and for wizards, expecially low-level ones, not to be screwed after the first fight of the day.

The idea of rituals. It's only that the only resource used for them was, at the end of the day, money. But I'd love to see powerful spells that need important resouces to be cast; XP is clearly not the way to go, but other stuff (HPs, actions in combat, etc.), expecially if group based, could be.
At-will Powers for Wizards
Maneuvers for Martial Classes (be they disciplines, exploits, or whatever)
Being able to wear armor and still cast spells (seriously.... I never understood this unless you were wearing something like plate... and even then, the most gesturing a wizard is described doing in the flavor text is 'waving' his hands)
Status-effect powers being more relevant, this tied into the 'saves' bit as defenses

I think that 4E did right PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING.
I read most posts above and I can't help agreeing with them.

The only things I think are NOT done well are multi-classing and the respective Paragon (something they later fixed, although leaving multiple, clashing options), and the proliferation of weird playing races (while still leaving "core" ones out of the game) which also includes the difference of material support among different races, worst of which the "Monster Manual" ones, which might as well not be put there as playing races.
I *LOVE* the concept of at-will powers for all classes, esp the spellcasters.  No longer was the wizard left to casting his ONE spell at first level (typically Magic Missile), and then being dead weight until the next day.  Now the wizard could deal damage with the best of them, though his AC still sucked (understandable, though, given the devotion to study he/she has to endure).  I like the spellbook class feature that gives versatility to the wizard's repetoire (sp?).

That being said, I think that the concept of stances/tricks for the martial classes makes more sense than specific at-will powers, but I'm sure that a fighter can have the option of choosing one stance and one at-will power.  Gaining power strikes and the additional stances/at-wills are excellent substitutes for daily powers for the martial classes.  An interesting option would be allowing spellcasters to choose whether they would take an additional at-will power OR a daily power when the time to choose a daily power arrives.

Cantrips should also be expanded to all spell-casting controller classes, and a cantripist feat should be introduced to allow non-controllers access to those powers.  Non-spellcasting classes could take the cantripist feat if they have taken training in Arcana.

Multiclassing should be expanded for all classes to allow up to three multiclass options.  If a multiclass shares the role or the power source of the main class, then the feat takes up one "slot" (ie, a fighter multiclassing as a warlord (martial power source) or as a swordmage (defender role).  If a multiclass shares neither the role nor the power source of the main class, then the feat takes up two "slots" (ie, a fighter multiclassing as a wizard).  If a multiclass shares both the role and the power source of the main class, then it takes up NO "slots" (ie, a wizard multiclassing as a binder warlock).

The nine alignment axis is a better description of the alignments/worldviews than the current model, and should be brought back.

Something else I like is the concept of domain powers for the deities.  I also like the idea of favored weapons/associated weapons of said deities.  Divine characters ought to have proficiency/a bonus using the associated weapon of their deity.  Divine defenders and leaders ought to have proficiency in decent armor, as well as light shields.

Martial practices are a real boon to the martial classes, letting them do more than just be the bashers and choppers of the party.  They act in the place of rituals in many cases.

Martial styles are good fluff for the martial classes, giving small bonuses to powers, though if they are to be retained, they may need to be redesigned for the stances.

'nuff said, for now.
I'm actually a 4e player, but I think I prefer 3.5 as a player (but 4e as a GM.) One little, tiny, thing that I really liked were the deities.
They were better than the 3rd edition ones in three ways:
1. They are no longer given a single representation, but instead appear in different guises (race, gender) to different people.
2. There is at least one evil deity (Bane) who could plausibly be worshiped by many non-evil followers. (At least the way I read it.)
3. There are more deities which appear as females. I was bothered by the 3.x default pantheon which had only two female deities, one of which was a nature deity, and the other was a death god.
The use of standard keywords and stat blocks. Once you know what the keywords mean (like 'shift', 'implement' etc) you can read just about any power description, any monster stat block, any magic item block and know exactly how it's supposed to work. Compare 3.5/PF's "the character can take a number of five foot steps equal to his Dex modifier without incurring attacks of opportunity" with the 4e equivalent: "you can shift 4 squares". 

Interestingly I DM'd an introductory game for 4 friends last night. They play a combination of 1st and 2nd edition with their current DM. I used the Quick Start character sheets and spent 10 mins going over what was on them, then we got right into it. They 'got it' right away. One guy was playing the paladin and by the second encounter had figured out how to use Divine Challenge in exactly the right way - just by reading the sheet! We played 3 encounters (from the Chaos Scar adventure, 'Stick in the Mud') in one evening - they told me they would have been lucky to get through the 1st encounter in that time under the old rules. 

Sure there have been errata, and the Q&A forum is quite active, but these have to some of the clearest rules I've seen for an RPG. 
What i like in 4e:

* @ wills for casters (we implemented this via house rules back in 3.XE)

* some form of self healing so if a party doesn't have a cleric/druid, they aren't screwed (as badly) even though it may not make sense

* formalizing minions (we used to do this back in 2e and 3e already, although not fully happy with how 4e did it; the concept is sound)

* static defenses (we do this in 3.5e/pathfinder currently....not very hard; just added to our character sheet template, a calculated value for each class so even casters have something they can use to roll with for any spell if the spell allows for a save).  speeds up gameplay more than anything; game wise; doesn't actually make a difference who does a roll (end result is the same)

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Things I like in 4th ed.
Healing Surges
Rituals
At-Will Powers

I say "like" rather than "did right" because I believe that their implementation was extremely poor.
 
Things I like in 4th ed.
Healing Surges
Rituals
At-Will Powers

I say "like" rather than "did right" because I believe that their implementation was extremely poor.
 



I agree with the Deacon on this one. I would also like to add 'Give a good attempt at reducing DM prep-time'.
Here are some things I appreciate about 4E that no one really complains about.  I hope they keep some version of these.

Retraining.  Players can switch out a power, theme, feat, or skill when they level.  In  LFR you can switch out even more.  Yeah it effects a few people's immersion, but it works really well in practice.  No more getting stuck with a feat that looks good on paper but doesn't really help your PC.

Ended day long buffs and pre fight buffing.  No more going through a list of spells you cast before you kick in the door.  Almost all the combat effecting powers and abilities don't kick in till combat starts.  Maybe some people didn't like this, but I don't remember reading many complaints.

Long work days.  You can regularly go 4-6 encounters without needing a extended rest.  The flip side is that it was a bit harder to challenge PCs if DMs wanted a big solitary battle that day, but you could still do that if you wanted.

Standard/Move/Minor/Free.  It works well for the most part and is easy to understand.  Doesn't seem to effect anyones immersion.

DM prep time.  Its a lot easier to just throw an encounter together in a couple of minutes and still have it be a fun challenge because the xp budget made sense.

I am sure someone out there will complain about some of this, but can you think of any others that even most people who don't like 4E still like? 

Constructive comments from people who don't like 4E, but have borrowed stuff from it anyways, are appreciated.

minions -great

surges - why can't my cleric heal the world?  Not everyone has a surge to spend

turn sequence

action point simplification


no save or die


easy dming set-up

blending certain skills together (no need to take climbing and swimming and jumping)

longer work day/better lowbie spellcaster surviability

character build points

set hitpoints

I played 4e ONCE at a store: bought the book, played a game and never came back to it. However there was one mechanic that was very nice and that was the repeatable powers. Classic old school RPG's were slower paced, with daily abilities. What was a plus for me was seeing powers that could be re-used at a more frequent pace. Reminded me of the tome of battle book in v.3.5 that allowed for frequent power re-use.

Definately where RPG's need to go!
Diseases were done well. The rules could also be used for curses and other things as well.

Less prep time.

Supporting re-skinning.
Being one of the people who still played 4e (if my group insists on it) while prefering the likes of 3.5 or pathfinder (yay 4.0), I figure this post is probably aimed at me.

AEDU, not a bad system overall, just don't use it for every single class.  I'd personally love to see some classes just have a version of vancian spellcasting, and others have AEDU....maybe a 3'rd or 4'th system as well.  To me its a touch more fun if the classes play different.

Essentials: Classes that do just one thing:  I hate to even bring this up but..I know some people who when faced with the AEDU system...we had to train them to stop saying "I hit em" and even still they take forever on their turn, as all they want to do is swing the weapon and get it over with (in the end we made em rangers..with a lot of off turn or minor action attacks..and twin strike).  So having a class thats boring to play...but plays well with the balance curb is a touch important.....it'll grab people who find even AEDU too complicated.

Healing Surges:  A way to keep the maximum amount of healing one can have in check?  And a way to represent draining a bodily resource without doing hp damage?  Sign me up!  Might need to tinker around with the surge value...not really sure there to be honest (to have it or not have it, etc).

Everything else I'm honestly kind of meh on.
Knew I was forgetting one: spreading the healer role around.  Leaders in all their forms were a fun addition to the edition.
I like 3.x more than 4e, but I am perfectly willing to say what 4e did better. Both editions had their perks, after all. I like the 3.5 system, but always felt that wizards should be able to use some mor ebasic spell as often as they like- I usually let my mages use a magic missile that required an attack roll and only scalled up to three missiles at will anyway, figuring that that wa sone spell that any mage should be able to use 'at will.' Sometimes players wanted another spell for that so I modified another to fit. As such the vancian magic system had flaws over the power system. I just wish 4e had a variety of spells or at least an encopunter slot for utility spells like jump, climb etc- that wizards often studied for adventuring use. From what I've seen thats relegated to rituals or magical items now.

Surges: reminded me of the movie hero getting up after an almost fatal attack on willpower alone. As a player that played 'to make the noise' and tell a story, an incredibly fun tool.

4e caught fighters up with wizards. Big plus.
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I've never played 4th edition. My 3rd edition books weren't worn out yet.

I like most of the design philosophies of 4, but feel they got taken too far or implemented badly.
Example: classes really needed more balance in 3.X, so 4th gave balance by... well this has been beaten to death.

Things I like

-Good saving throws and the like just a one time bonus, so that they don't keep diverging further and further as levels progress. Simple and efficient.

-Higher hit points at first level

-Saving throws working like armour class

-Racial abilities that grow with level

-Mark mechanic
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Diseases were done well. The rules could also be used for curses and other things as well.

Less prep time.

Supporting re-skinning.



They were very well done. I used them as part of a skill challenge for drunkeness, and for (magically induced) hobby addiction.  
Self-contained, ready to use monsters. 

I haven’t had the time to read the whole thread, but the things I think 4E did better than 3.5 are:


Races – they really feel mechanically different in 4E, and more recently the ability to select stat bonuses to some extent has really opened them up in terms of class selection.


Skills – I generally liked the 3.5 skill system. It irked me though that while a 1st level character could make a skill check on something they had no ranks in and still have a chance of success, the same could   not be said of a high level character. The feeling I had in 3.5 was that my character always stayed good with some skills, but effectively GOT WORSE in others as they levelled up.


DM prep time – I’m not a DM myself, but I appreciate that 4E is much less work for them. That matters to the game, even if it isn’t reflected in my enjoyment of the whole process.


Magical Gear – I LOVE the fact that my character is what matters in 4E, not my characters’ loot. I have seen too many 3.x characters coalesce around the combination of particular pieces of equipment rather than the other way around.  The flip side (unfortunately) is that 4E loot is pretty bland and not memorable.


Clerics – more specifically, the fact that one isn’t a virtual necessity in a 4E group. I’ve never been a fan of clerics from a flavour perspective so the fact that there are many other classes that can heal their allies is a real bonus for me.


Alignment – In 3.x choosing alignment felt like a tag that had mechanical effects regarding what spells you vulnerable to. I much prefer that you can effectively “opt out” of it in 4E, and that it doesn’t carry mechanical implications. I specifically love the fact that Paladins can be of any alignment now and that they aren’t walking “detect evil” radar systems anymore.

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Here are some things I appreciate about 4E that no one really complains about.  I hope they keep some version of these.

Retraining.  Players can switch out a power, theme, feat, or skill when they level.  In  LFR you can switch out even more.  Yeah it effects a few people's immersion, but it works really well in practice.  No more getting stuck with a feat that looks good on paper but doesn't really help your PC.


I think this is one we can all get behind. Retraining needs to be in 5e, in the core book and clearly labeled.

Ended day long buffs and pre fight buffing.  No more going through a list of spells you cast before you kick in the door.  Almost all the combat effecting powers and abilities don't kick in till combat starts.  Maybe some people didn't like this, but I don't remember reading many complaints.


It took away a little flavour, but did make things cleaner. I'm yet to be swayed in either direction, yet.

Long work days.  You can regularly go 4-6 encounters without needing a extended rest.  The flip side is that it was a bit harder to challenge PCs if DMs wanted a big solitary battle that day, but you could still do that if you wanted.


And yet 4e did nothing to prevent the 5 mintues work-day. A party was always at their most powerful after an extended rest, and without a pressing reason not to, the correct move was always to rest after each encounter. This is also true of Pathfinder, and was true of 3.X, and I'm sure, earlier editions, too. I hope 5e comes up with a way to stop the 5mWD.

Standard/Move/Minor/Free.  It works well for the most part and is easy to understand.  Doesn't seem to effect anyones immersion.


3.X became bloated with all its different action types. Keep it to the basic 4.
If anything I say is wrong, clueless or spelt incorrectly, it is because, I am, in general, wrong, clueless and... Well, I'm usually spelt correctly.
Though I'm an active 4e player, here's what I thought they did right compared to previous editions

- No penalty for being a race (clearly this changed with Revenant, and more so with Shade)
- Channel Divinity and other power source wide features
- Static HP
- Static Defenses
- Reduced Skill set
- At-will/Encounter/Daily/Utility powers for all classes
- Retraining
- Much improved Turn undead compared to 3.x
- Power Augmentation abilities (either encounter powers, feats etc)
- Long Work days
- Grant Attack abilities
- Standard/Move/Minor/Free actions
- Action Points
- Paragon Paths/Epic Destiny dynamics
- Backgrounds
- Healer's Word (and similar)
- Healing Surges
- Consolidation of Deities
- Representation of Deva/Aasimar
- Minions
- Online Builder
- Downloadable PDFs (originally)
- Dedicated Mark Mechanic, unique to different classes
- Roles
- Power Sources

  • Static HP

  • Minions

  • Power Sources

  • Multiple Healers

  • Martial Classes

  • Skill Reduction

  • Healing Surges, mainly outside of combat.

  • Backgrounds, though none of my players use them.

  • Feats, especially the ones that get rid of Armor Check Penalty and Speed Penalty, before it was useless to take because it only lowered it by 1 rank.

  • Monk movement techniques.

  • Race selection, though it can be hit or miss.

  • Every Power Source has at least one of each Class Role.

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