The heritage of 4th edition: What would you like to see in 5th?

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Given the announced death of 4th edition, i would like to see your opinions about which where the best features of this edition, so they could take the core concepts into the emerging 5th edition, and wich where failures, so mistakes are never commited again. Heres my list:

Things i liked and would like to see in the future:


  • a wide variety of eleganltly, well defined and balanced races: this was a highlight for me, to have the chance of playing extremely cool races, that before where available only by level adjustment/Dms permission

  • at will powers: this changed the way magic and supernatural powers where handled, and gave a sensation of both power and true magical feel , while being completely balanced.

  • unique power selection: to me, it was the greatest selling point: each character class had unique features, both in the mechanical and descriptive way, giving the diferent character classes an appeal for each kind of player.

  • simplified battlefield rules: i remember 3.5 with a nice smile, yet it was horrible to even cast a spell, when you had to calculate areas, blasts, squares, movement, etc. making it simple was the best of choices

  • elengatly designed classes: most clases, with the exception of "V" classes, where designed with parameters that made them elegan in both functionality and description, due to proficiencies, visual description and so on.

  • rituals: even if most where poorly designed, giving "role-play magic" to the game was win. it allows for true role play and new game options while keeping your combat arsenal intact.


Things that "failed"


  • the "AEDU"  structure for all classes: different character concepts require a different game structure, due to the nature of the power sources, and basci functions of each class. while this could have worked out for mostly arcane classes, giving it to martial classes was a failure that created some "desserters" to 4th edition (i know more than 10 people that didnt change to 4th edition and played Pathfinder instead, and this was one of the main reasons)

  • the "robotic" feel of most powers: while there was a good definition most of the time for each given power, most powers didnt separate well from each other in terms of power source, effects and so on. 

  • lack of "ingame logic": i know its a fantasy game, but even inside fantasy, there should be some limits, or some logical limitations, to give a small bit of realistic flavor to the game. powers that push/prone/slide, some martial abilities that made no sense whatsoever, and "ping-pong" powers, gave the game a low credit in front of the more traditional. a few limitations, if taken into account for game balance, can be accepted, if they are minimal and keep the "logical fun factor"

  • game balance: one of the reasons of 4th edition existance was to bring balance, and it failed miserably from day ONE. in PHB1 where published the ranger (most broken class of all, by far, and with all nerfs), the warlord(who has all what a leader can be, with no weak points), and on the other side, we had the warlock (a class that even today struggles to be a "decent", not even good, striker). and all the broken stuff was there from day one, not due to power creep or anything similar.



well, so far, thats my list, what say you????

I've said my peace in a few threads, but two things I like.

Combat Roles - But not as restricitve as to say a class is only potentially one role and maybe one secondary role. I've seen some ideas about how to do that, which I'm not arguing yet, but simply the need for roles to describe how a character fits into combat situations.
Powers - I like them. I've read some of the old class descriptions. I like powers being powers and not class features. I think presentation is an issue, and I think there needs to be something that shows 'magic users' different as well as those that are dependant on nature, or martial training. Perhaps a different layout for how each class gains powers.
Not really a CO answer or concern, but to me, 4e's greatest strength (or one of, anyway) is monster design and balance. By taking monsters off the PC math and design charts, and normalising out PC power expectations, it's so much easier to read, use and design monsters in this edition than previously. I absolutely love this edition for DMing.
A Beginners Primer to CharOp. Archmage's Ascension - The Wizard's Handbook. Let the Hammer Fall: Dwarf Warpriest/Tactical Warpriest/Indomitable Champion, a Defending Leader. Requiem for Dissent: Cleric/Fighter/Paragon of Victory Melee Leader Ko te manu e kai i te miro, nona te ngahere. Ko te manu e kai i te matauranga e, nano te ao katoa. It's the proliferation of people who think the rules are more important than what the rules are meant to accomplish. - Dedekine
Not really a CO answer or concern, but to me, 4e's greatest strength (or one of, anyway) is monster design and balance. By taking monsters off the PC math and design charts, and normalising out PC power expectations, it's so much easier to read, use and design monsters in this edition than previously. I absolutely love this edition for DMing.



With you.

I want hybrid race rules, an abundance of races (regardless of feat support), and a return to multiclassing freedom.
my biggest problem is with feats and utilities. Because the game is so combat oriented you can't really justify taking something cool if it doesn't help in combat.
I wish they'd take the non combat stuff out and let you pick that separately
I absolutely adore the simplified geometry used in 4e.  Square fireballs?  No extra movement for diagonals.  Bursts and blasts rather than cones and radius...es?  Radii?  Whatever.  I love it.  It's such a simple thing and I am happy that it will almost certainly be in the next iteration of D&D.

I like aspects of the Essentials design philosophy.  Like most of you, I want to see classes balanced but of variable complexity.  A player in my group really likes his Slayer because it's simple.  Simple isn't wrong, and there's definitely a place for both simple and complicated in the game as a whole.  The technical-minded player with the Weaponmaster is playing a different game than the smashy type with the Slayer but both can have fun and enjoy themselves and be optimized.  I'd love to see more of that carried over into the next game.

I want treasure divorced from the system math. 

I want the system math checked over and over and patched if it turns out wrong.  Feat taxes are wrong and unconstitutional.

If they build a game where each ability score is used for attacks and damage then they should include basic attacks for those ability scores.  A battlemind not having a melee basic attack is not acceptable, just because he happens to attack with Constitution instead of Strength.

I want to see them be more mindful of how a class is actually played when they are designing content for those classes.  The monk's unarmed strike is a particularly frustrating example.  Even if you're a stonefist monk with a respectable Strength score, you are still using a weapon attack with an implement-based class.  There's no reason for that.  They missed it when they designed the class but they just didn't fix it.  And when they did eventually produce content for the monk, they missed the mark there, too.  Letting you use Dexterity in place of Strength for the attack you weren't going to make anyways?  For the price of a feat?  Come on.  When they design classes for 5e, I'd like to see them be patched if they need to be.  You're not going to catch every mistake during playtesting but you can sure as hell fix them afterwards.

Do away with printed books; I'll buy e-books just as easily.   Also, if you're going to keep providing us with DDI, please give us some actual content.  This ridiculous Cormyr fluff and preview crap that we get week after week is nonsense.  Stop hoarding the three bits of crunch until the last week of the month.  It's annoying and insulting.
I had no trouble taking non combat utilities.. just sayin.  it depends on your gm a bunch what sort of encounters he throws at you. I just started playing dark sun and I tell you my eladrin psion adores his autohypnosis feat and arcane mutterings utility power.. out of combat stuff but wow, maxing arcane as a skill sure is sweet.

anyhoo, magic items not having pluses as standard, they were going to try this for 4th but chickened out. It's the last piece of the puzzle to make the Dm's Job easy. i.e. just about storytelling and setting up cool action sequences. The monster design has been fabulous in ,4th long may it continue.

the racial balance has been exquisite! any race is great huzzah!

at wills and encounters are great, dailies.. well for at least martial classes should be looked at very carefully, not sure if they are warranted

I didn't at first but ,gosh darn it, square everything is magnificant

Rituals are pretty cool, though they need to be used by people who like to do a lot of homework;P

having non combat encounters that everyone can help in if their imagination is good enough.

those are some main ones I can think of right now
 
Defenders.
You all have very valid points. i think this is a matter of CharOp, since the optimization of the new edition will be directly proportional to the rules, as always. and good things should be kept, at least the basic concept, if modified and refined. there are other things that i also thought about:


  • to make magic items independant from game structure: this would be optimal, and would draw a LOT of "old school" gamers, since it gives magic items the "fantastic, special" feeling again, instead of the "must have/my character need/ im underpowered if i dont have" feeling. actually, a sistem when magic items have no levels, and would actually "attune" to the carrier would be optimal, since it would reduce the "obligatory treasure by level" thing.

  • one of my very important desires:  REMOVE CRAP MATERIAL: i prefer less, but solid, powers/feats/rituals, so at least 95% of them is actually useful and desirable, than a wide variety of CRAP, that is only filling space and not used by mostly no one, given that players use the optimal 5-10% of published material. published "contamination" has plaged 3rd/3.5/4th editions, and i see no use, neither in game quality, neither in economical rentability to it.

Some things that I'd like to see in the next "iteration":

Ability Score flexibility
:  Classes that use a variety of ability scores as their primary stat.  Better yet, classes that allow the player to choose their primary ability score(s).  Wisdom-based fighter using intuition and his own style of combat?  Sure!  Strength-based rogue who overpowers opponents through his sheer aggressiveness?  Go for it.

This would allow for a feat system which could cater toward the individual ability scores.  Such feats could be of value to any character who possessed the given primary ability score, regardless of class.

Ability Score balance:  Ability scores that are balanced against each other.  This balance should take into consideration noncombat uses for said ability scores.

AEDU:  Or something similar.  I realize that this was a turnoff for some, but in my opinion, it is leaps and bounds better than any other dnd class design to date.  Fighters who don't just "swing their swords" and whose role isn't to simply "stay alive long enough for the casters to kill everything" is great.  I believe that such class design allowes for all classes to be viable across all levels, and that's a good thing--furthermore, AEDU made such class balance/viability easier to achieve.

Weapons:  This may sound funny to some, and I can understand.  But I think it would be nice to have a system that allowed for each weapon group (slashing, piercing, hacking, crushing...if you will) to have representation across all stat ranges.  What I mean is that if there is a slashing weapon that is +3 1d8 high crit, there should also be piercing, hacking, and crushing weapons that are +3 1d8 high crit.  Why?  Because players sometimes have a hard time "fluffing it." Personally, it's not a big deal for me to fluff my character's d12 fullblade as a really big hammer, for example.  But for others, it's not so easy.  Furthermore, I have have played under a DM or more who have been resistant to fluff--such that when I attempted to roleplay my fluff, the DM made sure to correct my roleplay--"my character smashes the goblin with his hammer"..."no, you slash the goblin with your sword"...sorry but that's a real fun-killer.

No proficiency bonuses:  If the above suggestion is not adopted, I would at least want to do away with weapon proficiency bonuses.  It's a game of fantasy, and in my fantasy I prefer that heroes can be just as accurate swinging a club as they can a longsword.

/shrug
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23
Monster design. The monster system in 4e is one of the only things I call categorically and unequivocally better than the equivalent system in 3.5. (4e has its advantages, but there's not much I call absolutely categorically better.) It made the CR system sane, it made cobbling together new monsters a piece of cake, and I honestly think it was the single most important step towards balancing the system. I really hope that the monster system in 5e resembles the one in 4e.
Fumble Rules
I miss them and the comedy it provided.
Mechanically relevant martial classes at all levels.

  • Keep the monster design/build concept from 4e.

  • Keep all the races. Having a large swath to choose from that does not require level adjustment is great.

  • Keep the powers. I really like not having to read a wall of text to know what my character can and can not do at a certain level. I know this was something that drove away 3.X players but I think its just so much easier.

  • Give every class a melee basic, or at least a power that can be used as a melee basic, so you are not forced to waste a feat.

  • Eliminate useless feats and repetitive feats that just get renamed and refluffed for different races and classes. This includes separating out roleplay feats from combat feats so you do not get penalized in combat effectiveness for taking a feat that fits your character concept. Maybe have feats, aka combat enhancers, and traits, roleplay enhancers, as two separate independent "things".

  • Make multiclassing easier so you can effectively multiclass any two classes and not just some. I understand the need for balance but there has got to be a middle ground where certiain combos don't just make pure crap.

  • Have a character builder and monster builder that works without an internet connection. The internet is not always available everywhere every time you need to change a character or monster.

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I like / would like:
- AEDU.  Finally, I can play a magic-user who doesn't run out of cool things to do halfway through the night!
- having a non-trivial MBA and/or RBA available at level 1, based on class concept.
- the Striker 'extra damage' mechanisms do not duplicate each other
- balance between arcane and martial power at all levels (no 'meet Superwizard and his sidekicks')
- being able to design Generic Monster stats, and fluff it out to fit the dungeon du jour
- being able to decide if I am a sniper or a smasher, and pick feats to suit
- magic gear upgrades (as opposed to 'total replacement due to outgrown')
- cool powers and properties in my magic gear (4e item daily powers are underpowered)
- having enough money to maintain my gear and buy a supply of neat consumables or a luxury
- rules to take unwanted properties out of magic items and replace them with something else of equal or lower level (ex: take the daily Dire Radiance out of a Master's Wand of Dire Radiance and replace it with the attunement feature of an Apprentice's Wand)
- get a single new-class feature when you multiclass into something
- each magic item slot has a theme of what they do
- inherent bonuses, especially in low-magic settings
- flexible adventure rewards (LFR: any magic weapon/implement of your level or lower) so we don't give the Bard a rod he can never use

I don't like:
- math fixes and resultant feat taxes so I can actually hit the broadside of a barn.  At every level, I should have the same base % chance to hit an equal-level opponent; it should get naturally easier to hit a given opponent as I get higher level than him
- mish-mashed class concepts that are not teased apart and considered separately during design (see PH1 Warlock - spellcaster plus melee combatant but sans weapon)
- class designs that do not play nice with necessary combat features (AC-incompetent builds, auto go-last unless you boost initiative)
- not having some 'typical monster powers' for the DM to use as guidelines
- permanent poverty because cool equipment costs more than the rules hand out as treasure
- having to fund all my character's magic gear all at once from scratch (LFR at L1) and sufferig near-death experiences until I have every last piece of it equipped
- rarity rules in a nutshell: everything is scarce-to-unfindable
- no rules to construct (or enhance) customized magic items
- one-hit-per-day magic weapon powers, and if I miss it's gone (my flaming sword WENT OUT ?!)
- pre-memorized spellbooks.  I can't predict each morning what's going to happen to me!
- multiclassing that is too clunky and expensive to get the new features on my character

Best complements I have yet received:

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Making it up as I go along:

{BRJN} If I was writing the Tome of Lore, I would let Auppenser sleep. But I also would have him dream. In his dreaming he re-activates the innate powers of (some) mortal minds. Or his dreaming changes the nature of reality - currently very malleable thanks to Spellplague &c. Or whatever really cool flavor text and pseudo-science explanation people react positively to.

{Lord_Karsus} You know, I like that better than the explanations for the Spellplague.

 

Prepped ahead of time:

I started the thread "1001 Failed Interrogation Results" (which seems to have faded into that great electronic goodnight, alas)

{ADHadh} These are all good and make sense! I just can't come up with something that's not covered here and is not completely ridiculous.

 

My 4e characters:

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Active:

LFR Half-elf StarLock8 Gondolin Nightstar

AoA Dwarf Guardian Druid8 Narvik from House Wavir

Character Ready-to-go:

Neverwinter Dwarven Invoker / Heir of Delzoun, worships Silvanus (!) "Truenamer" - speaks Words of Creation

Concepts I'm kicking around:

"Buggy" Wizard - insect flavor on everything.  His DMPC version is going to become a Lamia.  Becauae lichdom is so cliche.

Halfling Tempest Fighter - just because nobody else is doing it

Shifter Beast-o-phile Druid - for Nentir Vale campaign

I'd like to see fewer boring "mandatory" feats (expertise, I'm looking in your direction), and a reduction in the feat costs of multiclassing.

Seems to me like most people play in heroic tier, and it's frustrating to not be able to pick feats which would be cool either mechanically or thematically, and unable to effectively multiclass beyond just an entry feat.

Hybrid races would also be cool, but they would have to make rules on what can and can't hybrid with what.  It's hard to imagine a hybrid shardmind-anything, and a "Half-Half-Elf" makes no sense.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
I'd like to see fewer boring "mandatory" feats (expertise, I'm looking in your direction), and a reduction in the feat costs of multiclassing.

Seems to me like most people play in heroic tier, and it's frustrating to not be able to pick feats which would be cool either mechanically or thematically, and unable to effectively multiclass beyond just an entry feat.

Hybrid races would also be cool, but they would have to make rules on what can and can't hybrid with what.  It's hard to imagine a hybrid shardmind-anything, and a "Half-Half-Elf" makes no sense.



We already have a "hybrid race". It's called the Revenant.
I'd like to see fewer boring "mandatory" feats (expertise, I'm looking in your direction), and a reduction in the feat costs of multiclassing.

Seems to me like most people play in heroic tier, and it's frustrating to not be able to pick feats which would be cool either mechanically or thematically, and unable to effectively multiclass beyond just an entry feat.

Hybrid races would also be cool, but they would have to make rules on what can and can't hybrid with what.  It's hard to imagine a hybrid shardmind-anything, and a "Half-Half-Elf" makes no sense.



I was going to make the joke that you should be able to hybrid Human and Elf. Or Human and Orc. But I'll have to settle for the 0.25-elf joke. I like the idea, but a lot of combinations are hard to see. Dragongnome (Gnomeborn)? I'm sorry, how did they conceive? Shardelf? That must've hurt.
I'd like to see fewer boring "mandatory" feats (expertise, I'm looking in your direction), and a reduction in the feat costs of multiclassing.

Seems to me like most people play in heroic tier, and it's frustrating to not be able to pick feats which would be cool either mechanically or thematically, and unable to effectively multiclass beyond just an entry feat.

Hybrid races would also be cool, but they would have to make rules on what can and can't hybrid with what.  It's hard to imagine a hybrid shardmind-anything, and a "Half-Half-Elf" makes no sense.



I was going to make the joke that you should be able to hybrid Human and Elf. Or Human and Orc. But I'll have to settle for the 0.25-elf joke. I like the idea, but a lot of combinations are hard to see. Dragongnome (Gnomeborn)? I'm sorry, how did they conceive? Shardelf? That must've hurt.


Gnome with a (serious) draconic blessing(/curse) or just an odd case of old genes coming to the fore from a kobold/gnome mating, and oddly calcified elf from falling asleep in some mystical cave.
Warforged/whatever work through horrific experiments/relentless self improvement/prosthetics. Pixie/Goliath might take some explaining... possibly better to limit it to the medium races perhaps. 
"I am the seeker, I am the stalker, I am the walrus"
Minimize tracking of bonuses and penalties. Give all classes a way to push/slide enemies around.
So skills.  One of the things I always liked about the White Wolf system was that the storyteller could call for a skill roll with any combination of skill/attribute.  It's something I often houserule in my own games.  For example, Clerics can use Wisdom instead of Intelligence for Religion skill checks; Intimidate can be used with either Charisma or Strength, depending on the situation.  I'd like to see the next edition of D&D do something similar, both as a way to inject a certain amount of believability/realism into the game, as well as being a way to stimulate player imagination and problem solving.

But more on topic, I do love the way 4E has dealt with monsters.  Monster roles are an enormous help in encounter design.  The math has been ironed out now and works very well for creating exciting fights.  The design team has worked to make the numbers function the way they should, and their ongoing effort to get things right is to be commended and continued in the next edition.
I'm hoping that essentials is being designed for 4th e. to transition into 5th e. I don't want 5th e. to be overwhelmingly similar to 4th e., but it sounds like they're trying to make 4th e. compatible within the new system, and that's something I'd enjoy.
One of the things I always liked about the White Wolf system was that the storyteller could call for a skill roll with any combination of skill/attribute.  It's something I often houserule in my own games.


Ideally, I'd like to see a complete overhaul of the skill system into something entirely different. Failing that, this would also please me. The fact that a good Acrobat can't necessarily jump because the latter uses Athletics, which keys off Strength, is ridiculous. Especially if it's an Iron Soul or Centered Breath Monk who can do all sorts of crazy wu xia shenanigans but can't take a simple long jump.
This will sound like I don't like 4e, but I just notice problems more when I run my games. I like it quite a bit more than any other D&D edition.

The Good:

 - Healing surges. I like that the Cleric or equivalent is not an indispensible character, and that he is not responsible for the entire group's wellbeing.
 - Monster setup, for all monsters other than major enemies
 - PC survivability. I actually find PCs die quite often in my games, but I like how in 4e you normally don't just die instantly, so there is more tension as to whether or not you can get out alive.
 - Adventure prep is easy, even if I am making my own monsters, since there are templates to follow. 5e should definitely remain on board with this; it is much easier than the CR system.
 - At-will powers. Ideally, I would like to see a LOT more of these in 5e. Maybe a system where you attack and then have a list of additional things you can do at the same time? I think everyone, really, should have 4-5 or even more at-will powers or things like them.

The Bad:

 - Prep time is easy, but running the game is not. There are normally a lot of monsters on the table and a LOT of active effects going on at the same time, which is because damage is undervalued, so PCs generally constantly throw out effects onto the monsters and themselves. Combat can be painfully slow in 4e in a way I never encountered in 3e. Wizards needs to find a way to speed things up, as currently you need a very experienced DM to keep things moving quickly.
 - Rituals. This is not a bad idea, but their situational nature, long casting time, and need for expensive material components renders them useless.
 - Skill Challenges. I like the idea of complex skill checks, and awarding XP for completing them, but everything about these past that idea is broken even after the errata, rendering them either cakewalks or completely impossible. 5e's equivalent should be more freeform.
 - Simpler monsters are great for standard monsters, but not for villains. Two things at play here. One, solo monsters are easy and thus the climactic encounter becomes a joke, unless you add enough minions that the encounter is like twice normal XP. Two, one thing I really liked in 3e was how the main villains would outsmart or beat the PCs with spells they know and often have casted. Ideally, I'd like to see PC, Monster, and Villain be distinct classes in 5e.
 - Everyone using the same layout was more limiting than anything. I like how non-casters are viable at all levels, that is good. But since every class works so similarly, it becomes painfully obvious when a character is inferior, and the classes are not distinct enough for the inferior character to contribute anyway, which is bad for new players.

The Ugly:

 - The amount of errata in 4e, for even basic things (monster damage, defenses, and attacks, skill DCs, dozens of powers) is absurd, and has rendered my books completely useless unless I keep a summary of how to update everything on the fly. Furthermore, while clearly the monsters have been completely reworked, I notice I cannot filter out all the old ones in the Compendium. If there is a mistake, fess up to it, Wizards.
 - Given all the errata and later content essentially subsuming earlier content, 4e is not at all newbie friendly. The number of options available is staggering, and you may not be aware of things that are basically game updates released as new rules, like the Expertise feats and Improved Defenses. Yes, a good DM will point these out to a new player, but you can't just make a character with the 4e PHB and expect them to be decent now, whereas you could do that in 3e. Given that 4e was an attempt to be newbie friendly, this is a serious shot against it.

I really hope the open playtest will at least prevent the last two incredibly frustrating problems from going forward into 5e.
The Bad:

Oddly, my experience disagrees with yours on most of these...

- Prep time is easy, but running the game is not. There are normally a lot of monsters on the table and a LOT of active effects going on at the same time, which is because damage is undervalued, so PCs generally constantly throw out effects onto the monsters and themselves. Combat can be painfully slow in 4e in a way I never encountered in 3e. Wizards needs to find a way to speed things up, as currently you need a very experienced DM to keep things moving quickly.

I agree about prep time. And 4E combat does drag sometimes, but not nearly as much (in my experience) as in 3E.

- Rituals. This is not a bad idea, but their situational nature, long casting time, and need for expensive material components renders them useless.

Yep, in a party of three PCs the most rituals they ever used before setting out for the day was three (and never less than one); including later ad-hoc usages, I don't think they ever went over eight rituals in a day. Useless.

- Skill Challenges. I like the idea of complex skill checks, and awarding XP for completing them, but everything about these past that idea is broken even after the errata, rendering them either cakewalks or completely impossible. 5e's equivalent should be more freeform.

Skill challenges need some work on design and a lot of work on presentation. But they work pretty well.

- Simpler monsters are great for standard monsters, but not for villains. Two things at play here. One, solo monsters are easy and thus the climactic encounter becomes a joke, unless you add enough minions that the encounter is like twice normal XP. Two, one thing I really liked in 3e was how the main villains would outsmart or beat the PCs with spells they know and often have casted. Ideally, I'd like to see PC, Monster, and Villain be distinct classes in 5e.

Really, the concept of a solo enemy and the concept of effects that last a set number of rounds or EOYNT are not compatible. An EOYNT effect is WAY too powerful against a solitary solo, unless the solo gets saving throws against it - and then the EOYNT effect is so completely gutted that the PC who has that power is devalued.

As for major villains, I don't see the need for a separate set of build rules. If you want to go all-out, use PC rules; if not, build a monster. Nothing says you can't build a pair of elites who each get two turns per round, and have five powers each.

- Everyone using the same layout was more limiting than anything. I like how non-casters are viable at all levels, that is good. But since every class works so similarly, it becomes painfully obvious when a character is inferior, and the classes are not distinct enough for the inferior character to contribute anyway, which is bad for new players.

Yes it DOES become painfully obvious, making it easy to demonstrate and steer the newbie away from classes/builds that don't fit with the party. However as long as the entire party is at a similar level of effectiveness, it's easy for the DM to adapt - no matter whether that party is highly optimized, or a pack of vampires using multiclasses and themes to fill all roles.

Limiting? I've not found those limits yet. I have a dog, a dancer, a Disney princess, a non-damaging wizard, a nudist, a vampire using multiclassing and themes to be a healer...

Every class using the same layout means I never have to wonder how to attach a shoe-sole from one class to a shirt-collar from another. The pieces go together. They may not make a pretty picture, but they fit together without any fuss. 
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
What I'd like to see from 4E:

  1. At-will, Encounter, and Utility powers- At-wills guarantee that no one runs out of battery mid-combat, ever. Encounters give some extra flare to classes that would feel boring and repetitive. Utilities split auxilliary options with combat-oriented powers. I always disdained choosing between turning invisible or chucking a fireball as a wizard in earier editions.

  2. The health system- HP, healing surge, second wind, short rest, extended rest. All these aspects were easy to understand and easy to keep track.

  3. Variable primary ability scores- The fact that Avengers don't need a good strength score to swing a sword prevents MADness and diversifies skill choices between classes.

  4. Class Roles- All classes having a goal in combat simplifies character building and also makes it easier on the devs to create functional classes. Previous editions had many schizophrenic, unfocused classes that were often difficult to build for combat.

What I'd like to see improved:

  1. More uniqueness in class features- This is more blatant for strikers than any other roles. It's fairly boring for Warlocks, as an example, to deal an extra d6 damge the same way a ranger does.

  2. Less choices between combat-oriented features and noncombat-oriented features- The inclusion of utility powers is a good step towards this, but I feel that combat-aiding utilities are far too valuable in 4E compared to, say, a utility power that only helps during skill challenges. Either utility powers and class features should be divided according to use (combat/non-combat), or they should be multipurpose. For example, one utility power can give combat advantage for the next turn, or give a bonus to the next stealth check, all in one package.

What I'd like to see removed:

  1. Feat/item taxes- It's frustrating to be forced to make certain choices just to keep my character up to standards when a system change could have been made to prevent this. Taxing should be prevented at all costs.

  2. Repetitive class templates- this was being improved during the essentials line, but before that, the fact that all classes were built on the AEDU system gave the feeling that all the classes were too similar. This is not to say that the AEDU standard should go (I actually like it), it's just that all classes shouldn't be built around that standard.

  3. Splitting powers by class- It's fine that all classes have unique tricks and spells that define them, but a Warden dealing 1[W] damage and sliding shouldn't have its own block if a Fighter power does the same thing.

  4. Filler classes- We don't need one class for each power source for each role.  It's more practical to make classes only when they need to fill a niche in a role-playing standpoint. Why do we need Avengers when a Striker-based Paladin could have been written to fill that "Holy Avenger" striker role?

I would honestly not mind seeing classes go the way of the dodo.  Replace them with Power Source.  You have Shadow as a source, you could be an assassin-type, a warlock-type, a necromancer-type, a blackguard-type, a vampire-type, whatever - you pick from a list of any Shadow power, build a chassis out of a set of Shadow class-features.  Martial, Arcane, Divine, Shadow, Primal - and maybe even give Hybrid/Multisource options to dip into two or more sources. 

I hope they keep at-will powers, but I want to see more stuff like 3.5's Wall of Stone, Fabricate, Major Creation, Planar Binding, or even just Continual Light - stuff that can affect the -world-, permanently.  Stuff that works for combat, but can also be used in a wide, variable way to allow a PC's creativity to shine.  I want to go back to the days where my wizard could summon elemental allies to help build his castle, while he throws up Walls of Stone to make the basic shape of it, and Fabricates or Major Creates most of the rest.  Setting up a wizard's tower was something I loved doing.

Things I don't miss from 3.5 and won't miss from 4e:

* Grapple rules from 3.5.
* 4e's over-reliance on push/pull/slide and cookie-cutter powers.
* Charging.  Seriously, can we have an edition where the best option isn't charging?  Please?  From leap-attack Lion Totem barbarians in 3.5 to literally-any-class-at-all-that-charges-with-Eldritch-Strike, I'm done charging for an edition.
* 4e's casters not feeling any different from martial types.  I don't mind the martial types getting their own tricks, but I hate feeling like there's nothing to differentiate my Fighter from a Swordmage from a Paladin from a Battlemind.  In my TT group, I'm not sure we even realize, ICly, that our Battlemind is psychic.  He's just a soldier.
Don't expect them to drop classes, its an integral part of the DnD world and I don't expect them to change it.  

I think classes need more at wills, and need to have additional at wills as they level up.  I have played a battlemind for example and getting new powers for him was very different than the other classes I played because his became at will and immediately went into combat where as a new encounter or daily would be used once and then its done, the at wills really make the character in many cases.

I think they need to be very careful on how damage bonuses are added to the game.  The idea of having specific bonuses item, feat, racial, enhancement, power etc.. worked great until a host of untyped bonuses started showing up.  I could see them make untyped its own category and limit it to only 1 just like every other damage category.  This should bring dual wield more into line, make damage bonuses from all the charging items be limited, and work to make each bonus more important than finding ways to stack as many untyped bonuses the goal.  Imagine if you had two feats, Wpn focus that gave you +2 damage and Power attack that gave you -1 to hit and +4 damage, both as feat bonuses.  Could you envision some characters taking one or would one be clearly better than the other?

Simplification - DnD talking about releasing all these new feats, but a large group of them were the same feat over and over again, specifically the feat damage bonus to specific damage types.  Not only did these have prohibitive stat requirements, but compared to weapon focus, they were incredibly limiting as well.  The introduction of implement focus should have been at the start and not just because they wanted to fill the feat list with a bunch of feats.  The same goes from 3.0/3.5 from the host of +2 to two skills feats,  this was just useless book filling when a feat that said, "pick two skills, you gain a +2 bonus to both of them" would have been enough.  

Rituals - some players don't mind spending the money on them for each game day for minor rituals, but many of the abilities covered by rituals used to be relatively easy to use with a spell slot or two, especially at the higher levels in 3.5.  Now its a monetary drain in a game where your are expected to maintain a specific level of weapons/armor/neck slot just to keep up with the monsters.  This created a situation where using rituals in all of hte campaigns I have played in a plot device rather than a true skill of the character.  The cost was too high.  Take a simple ritual like endure elements.  Use to cost you a first level spell slot, now its 10g.  Imagine doing this ritual on a daily basis, for a 3.5 caster its insignificant, for 4th edition its a huge monetary drain even if you as players only 'pay' for it on your gaming days.   Rituals were a great idea, but their execution left a lot to be desired.  A new mechanic needs to be done that keeps them both separate from combat abilities but allows players to use them without draining a required resource.  Hit points, healing surges, found components, focus or one time costs or balances built into the rituals work much better than the current system.  Allowing ritual casters to pick and cast certain rituals either 1/day for free or specific rituals for free would work too.
 


  1. Filler classes- We don't need one class for each power source for each role.  It's more practical to make classes only when they need to fill a niche in a role-playing standpoint. Why do we need Avengers when a Striker-based Paladin could have been written to fill that "Holy Avenger" striker role?




Definitely not agreeing with you on your example (though the general point mostly stands... but each role/power source combination ends up looking a lot like a roleplaying niche). Avengers are very different mechanically and thematically to a striker-based paladin. The loosened alignment restriction lets you play the "I'm going to hell, but I'm taking you all there with me" character if you want to, and where a Paladin is mostly about protecting the followers of a god (and innocent people for most of the good/lg gods), an Avenger is all about going after the enemies.
The Oath is different enough mechanically to justify a new class (and has a tendancy to interact oddly with some elements anyway, since you will hit a lot more than the math for other classes assumes), and each of the censures brings something unique that wouldn't fit all that snugly under the Paladin concept (aside from unity, which I have to admit would). Where Paladins are protected by hulking great plate, a nice big shield, and their trusty blade/hammer, the Avenger stands before the monsters with nothing but his robes and a massive two handed sword/axe. While the Paladin has the charisma to settle things peacefully, and talk his way out of things, the Avenger is far more useful in combat, and even the intelligent ones care for little knowledge other than about their deity.

Anyway, if we need to fill a role (though I'd agree that "need" is the wrong word here...), I'd prefer a new class for it than some horrendous stretching of an old class to fit into it's new hole. That said, I'm all for cross-class powers, as has been suggested many time before in these threads, so long as the class features let each class do something special with them (even if, for the Avenger, that something special is "hit more often")

Of the Divine characters, all the role filling is done with good roleplaying separation (for PHB 1-3 at least), same for the Martial characters, and the arcane characters for the most part (once all classes went AEDU, the sorceror kind of lost it's "thing", and only really seems unique to me when played as a wild sorc (for all the randoms!), but that might just be my lack of experience with the class). Psionics I don't really know a ton about, having never played any of them long term, but they all seem fairly similar from an rp perspective (Psion and Ardent especially). The Seeker probably wasn't needed, or should have been a sub-build of ranger (like the hunter became later, though neither worked out great), but the rest of Primal is solid (wardens and barbarians risk looking similar to fighters, but the forms and rages respectively mean that only lasts the first few levels). The less said about shadow the better...

In my opinion, most of the classes that didn't turn out that well either from a mechanical or story perspective, or could have been easily subsumed into other classes weren't from role filling, but were the ones that were second in their role (sorceror vs warlock, seeker vs druid), wheras the clear role fillers, where sometimes the roles don't seem to fit the power source too well, have turned out to have some very nice rp which separates them from the rest (swordmage, invoker, bard, artificer, warlords (shouting people better!)). Of course, just having good, distinct fluff, doesn't make something in any way a decent class (vampire...)
"I am the seeker, I am the stalker, I am the walrus"
I remember when I was first reading about 4e, and my only complaint was that there wasn't enough material out yet.

I would like to see fewer and cleaner classes.  I would rather every character have lots and lots of options for building, rather than have weird offshoot classes that are mostly a more limited version of an existing class.  For instance, I would like to see Clerics as clerics, not templars or runepriests or warpriests.  Those ought to be paragon paths.

I would like to see elemental-themed sorcerors.  One of the big things that turned me off on the sorceror class was the way power sources worked.  It felt warlock-y.  I want to see fireball and lightning bolt sorceror powers.

My friend wanted to be a striker but he also wanted to be a swordmage.  If we had fewer classes and we fleshed them out further, there's no reason why you can't have a class that is capable of multiple roles depending on your build.  The role system rewards specialization well enough on its own - you won't see strikers cherrypicking defender abilities.  Heck, look at the mess that is blaster wizards, they may as well support that more consciously.

I would like action points to be per-combat and to see the milestone system eliminated.  It's an unnecessary complication.  Some large, RP-heavy groups only have a couple fights per session.

I would like to see dailies replaced with "you may use X number of this list of powers you know per encounter, and must use them each before the list resets" to prevent hoarding.

I would like to see a bigger library of at-will powers and let each player pick more of them.  It would make lower-level combat more interesting and allow us to make more flavorful, situational choices.

For the most part, though, I think the transition to 5e should probably be smaller than previous transitions.  Short of moving to a classless system or something equally dramatic, there simply aren't any enormous sweeping changes to make without making the game a lot less playable.
Classes:
Good- Allowed for thematic advancement  
good: allowed a decent enough feel of viability

bad- Forced players to go a certain way, players often feel compelled to hybrid for originality in feel which is generally severely limited and makes them subpar
Bad- Each class is designated as "Striker, defender, leader or controller" making for redundant classes and sometimes a lack of choice for how you want to play (Recommended change is simply to allow a secondary effect to each power for the role a player picks on his class)
Bad- The incompatability of many classes with their own different paths, A beast master ranger was unable to use ranged attacks, it would be better to simply allow the player to pick from a list of class benefits upon creation.

Races:
Good-Wide variety, most of which are extremely viable

bad- Favoritism, as a player who likes monster races, I felt saddened by the fact that wizards was trying to compell me to be an elf, or one of the hamanish races all the time.

 General:
Good- I liked themes, They allowed for more versatility later in the edition
Good-  simplified skill check system allowing for characters to not has as many ridiculous rolls (Improvement suggestion would be to allow the characters to pick 2 skills that stack based on their primary and be treated as trained for these skills upon creation)

Bad- The feats were usually redundant and typically became outdated. rather than adding new feats that destroyed old ones it should be noted that
Bad: Unfair reactions/opportunity attacks for many ranged classes, OA's should simply allow a player to make an attack, within reason, if it is triggered the idea of "Melee basic/ranged basic for any class seems redundant for any class that has a melee attack at all or a ranged attack at all in their at-wills,
Bad- Prof and damage bonuses on weapons based on type should be swapped out, a one-handed sword should not do that much more damage than another one-handed sword, because that takes from roleplay, it is suggested to have a "grey-gold" standard on weapons and only separate them by their effects and groups.
 
I remember when I was first reading about 4e, and my only complaint was that there wasn't enough material out yet.

The problem I had when I first read the 4e PHB, was that they set the power level far too low. I remember being surprised that Frostcheese was really the only feat combo that existed in the entire system, and that most feats were just appallingly bad.

I thought they'd done this so that they could power creep up over time, but they've, for better or worse, released most feats along the power curve of the PHB, with the notable exception of the feat taxes.

This made the ecosystem boring.

Similar complains can be made about the at-wills in the game. When people imagined Vancian spellcasting going away, they imagined being able to toss out a fireball every round. They didn't imagine cloud of daggers.
I absolutely adore the simplified geometry used in 4e.  Square fireballs?  No extra movement for diagonals.  Bursts and blasts rather than cones and radius...es?  Radii?  Whatever.  I love it.  It's such a simple thing and I am happy that it will almost certainly be in the next iteration of D&D.

I like aspects of the Essentials design philosophy.  Like most of you, I want to see classes balanced but of variable complexity.  A player in my group really likes his Slayer because it's simple.  Simple isn't wrong, and there's definitely a place for both simple and complicated in the game as a whole.  The technical-minded player with the Weaponmaster is playing a different game than the smashy type with the Slayer but both can have fun and enjoy themselves and be optimized.  I'd love to see more of that carried over into the next game.

I want treasure divorced from the system math. 

I want the system math checked over and over and patched if it turns out wrong.  Feat taxes are wrong and unconstitutional.

If they build a game where each ability score is used for attacks and damage then they should include basic attacks for those ability scores.  A battlemind not having a melee basic attack is not acceptable, just because he happens to attack with Constitution instead of Strength.

I want to see them be more mindful of how a class is actually played when they are designing content for those classes.  The monk's unarmed strike is a particularly frustrating example.  Even if you're a stonefist monk with a respectable Strength score, you are still using a weapon attack with an implement-based class.  There's no reason for that.  They missed it when they designed the class but they just didn't fix it.  And when they did eventually produce content for the monk, they missed the mark there, too.  Letting you use Dexterity in place of Strength for the attack you weren't going to make anyways?  For the price of a feat?  Come on.  When they design classes for 5e, I'd like to see them be patched if they need to be.  You're not going to catch every mistake during playtesting but you can sure as hell fix them afterwards.

Do away with printed books; I'll buy e-books just as easily.   Also, if you're going to keep providing us with DDI, please give us some actual content.  This ridiculous Cormyr fluff and preview crap that we get week after week is nonsense.  Stop hoarding the three bits of crunch until the last week of the month.  It's annoying and insulting.




I agree with pretty much everything you said, but I'll give my particular clarifications:

1) I loved the race, class, skill, and power systems.  It could use some tweaking, but 4E hit all the right buttons for me because of this.

2) Feats are great, but they needed to be more organized.  They were literally all over the place in terms of power and usefullness, and attempts to search for particular feats and abilities were aweful.

 3) Math fix.  The math fix feats were aweful.  I'm not sure how nobody noticed those number issues before 4E's release.

4) Complexity.  I loathe Essentials classes because they have so little room for character design.  I'm not saying they are bad I'm just saying I found them uninteresting.  So uninteresting that I basically took a break from DnD for a whole year while all the content they released was Essentials material.
If you are going to release content like Essentials, release content with a different focus as well, so all audiences can keep their interest up.


5) Fluff vs Crunch.  For me, 4E really started to get the right balance with Primal Power, and the addition of Theames.  Unfortunatley, it can be really hard to make choices based on fluff, when you need to make a workable character.
I feel like there should be "build slots" for fluff, with minimal crunch, and "build slots" for crunch and less fluff.

For example, there are a number of feats that are just useless because they are mechanically very useless.  But I really liked some of them!  When I was a DM, I let my players pick a few extra feats as they went, with the restriction "it can't impact your combat skills, or apply a static bonus to a skill check you are trained in"

Know what happened?  People picked up Mounted Combat,  Ritual Caster, dabbled in a new skill.  Someone took Nature training so he'd be better at training his pet wolf, and I worked with another to handwave some custom RP bonuses.

It gave the players some freedom to take the feats they wanted to take, but were unwilling to give up those attack/damage bonuses for. 

I realize the DM is free to do this already, but by building it into the framework of the game you help remind people what the game is for, and help provide a more consistent delivery system. 

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There are a lot of great observations listed on this thread.  I agree with most of them and won't waste our time by rewording my favorites, but I'd like to add a new observation:

One thing I just love about 4E that hasn't come up yet is retraining.  Was that feat or power situational, currently irrelevant or a poor choice?  Presto, change it up when you level.   One ability that both enables your character to evolve and fixes bad choices is a keeper; it also allows an existing campaign to incorporate new material as it comes out.

On the other hand, I always get stressed out by the things I couldn't retrain later; I always put a ton of time into choosing my stats (crap, I can't get that epic tier feat) and paragon paths (I'm stuck with this encounter power for 20 levels; I better always want to do this). 

Misha
Classes:
Bad- The incompatability of many classes with their own different paths, A beast master ranger was unable to use ranged attacks,

Incorrect or misstated. Of the two best uses of a beastmaster's beast, one is almost exclusively to the benefit of ranged attacks and the other is more useful for the bow-ranger than for the melee-ranger.

Neither of those best uses involve taking powers with the Beast keyword though. And very little stuff with that keyword was ranged. Frankly, Beastmaster is a mediocre-at-best striker in a class that otherwise leads in the role; many of us think that conceptually it might make a better controller.

Bad- The feats were usually redundant and typically became outdated. rather than adding new feats that destroyed old ones it should be noted that

There's something lacking in that sen


"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
I wanna see my $1000 investment (cough) in 4e , not go to waste with 5e.
 
I wanna see my $2000 investment and time in 3e , not go to waste with 5e too.

This may be way waayyy too much to ask.


sad

Here comes your 19th forums breakdown ... ohh who's to blame, it ain't 5E driving you insane.

 

Isn't it pretty much the definition of an edition change that the new mechanics are incompatible with the previous mechanics?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Isn't it pretty much the definition of an edition change that the new mechanics are incompatible with the previous mechanics?



well, not this time

A few opinions of mine:

Streamlined: the new streamlined feel of 4E was great. I loved it. But a lot of times (especially in video games *cough* Dragon Age II *cough*) simplifying the system omits some of the 'fluff' that I partcularly love. I cant even remember all the times I was reading through one of my 4E supplement books and thought about how little flavor it had. The art is there, the organization is there, but the content wasnt. Most of the content was for combat, which was no doubt 4E's best quality. But, hey, its nothing they screwed up, they just left some stuff out.

Class Distinction: I like for my character to feel unique and have a specific and integral part on the battlefield (and off). Some of the classes they released, especially in later supplements like PHB2 and PHB3 seemed like only slight variations to the core classes. This was probably great for some people who didnt quite like the core class and instead preferred the variation of it, but it felt like WotC was simply reusing content.

Lack of Content for Epic Tier: I realize that 4E has much more content for higher levels of play than 3.5, but it felt like all the content was for your character. It was hard for me as a DM to find a variety of monsters to throw at my party sometimes. One thing I PARTICULARLY want is information about the gods and how to kill them. Almost everyone in my group wanted to kill the gods and I scoured the internet and bookstores and found only a few resources that had actual stats for the deities. It was a very incomplete list at best, and I kept wondering why WotC hadnt released a book dedicated to information and actual data of the deities.

 
"What do we say to the God of Death?" "Not Today."
Here's something I like about 4E that, from what I'm reading on the 5E threads, may be lacking in the initial release:

Precalculation.

Most of the time, I can look on my character sheet, find the number I want, and I'm done. No situational modifiers. Combat or non-combat. All the calculation was done while preparing the spreadsheet, NOT during the encounter.

I was once in a situation where there were four situational modifiers - but only once, and each of them was pretty clear. Plus it took a terrain feature and cooperation between two players to create that situation. And each modifier was two points, nice and consistent. And then one of the modifiers didn't matter because it was only for attacks on my character, and my character wasn't attacked.

I remember in 3.5E having four or five situational modifiers routinely. 

Now they are talking about, when you want to be sneaky, starting - in encounter - with your Dex stat. (Or modifier. Not entirely clear, it's early days.) Then looking the situation over and deciding if your Stealth skill bonus applies. Then looking for what other bonuses apply.

This is being done to make the game simpler and faster. 
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose