D&D 4E is a WoW clone? Really?

Preface: I am posting this in the Future Releases forum because of the all too common tendancy for people who don't like 4E to use the comparison of 4E and WoW as a reason that D&D Next should not cater towards 4E players. I want those people to come up with reasons to change D&D Next, not excuses.

Okay. That's it. I have had enough. Time to sit down an write my rationality for why the people who think D&D 4E is a World of Warcraft clone are just plain wrong. In fact, of all the D&D Editions 4E is the one that plays the least like WoW. Not the most, the least, and I can back that up. Of course, those people will stop reading now because they have based years of opinion on something they haven't actually thought about clearly, and they don't want their opinion to be challenged by such awkward things as facts.


I will preface this by saying that I do play World of Warcraft. Not as much as I used to, but still a few hours a week in general. I have played all the roles in WoW and many of the classes. I enjoy the game, and know enough about it to be able to base my opinions on the gameplay of WoW, not just the descriptions. I will be using PvE play style for my comparisons, because that is the play style that most resembles D&Ds cooperative play style.


For most people WoW is a game of combat. You fight enemies to get better equipment to make the next combat easier, so you can get better gear, and so on. So when looking at comparisons between the two systems you look at how the character and combat mechanics of the two games compare. They are complicated mechanics, with lots of facets to look at.


Here is how I am going to do this. I am going to pull a concept from WoW or D&D and compare it to the other. See which ones are similar and which are different. I will also grab the common reasons given by people as to why they think 4E was a WoW clone and look at those.


At the beginning of each game you pick a class to play. That class dictates what style of character you want to play. With WoW once you have picked your character and spec your choices of abilities and play style are pretty much locked down for you. This is very similar to the concepts of all D&D editions, except for 4E. In 4E you get to pick your own abilities as you play the game, and they dictate your play style. You aren't limited to the choices that were mostly pre-destined by that initial class choice. 3(.5) had some ability to customize as you progressed but no where near as much as 4E did.


You customize your character in WoW with talent choices, the same as you do with feats in D&D. So in this regard both 3(.5) and 4E are on an even footing in the comparison. It's worth noting that this talent system is being almost completely removed in the next WoW expansion.


Once your class and spec decisions are made, in WoW you level fast and spend most of your time playing at the highest level, currently 85. Then you improve your character through getting better equipment. In D&D you level as you play, and improve your character through getting better equipment. In WoW if you strip your character naked they lose most of their power, the level of a character is mostly a limitation of what equipment you can wear. So WoW is an equipment chase. Of all the versions of D&D the one that is least like this is 4E. Yep, least. Why? Because in 4E most of the power rested within the character, not with the gear they were wearing. 4E was the first edition of D&D where stripping your character naked because they were captured, or ambushed while they weren't wearing their equipment wasn't crippling. You could still do most of your attacks, albeit less effectively, but not as flat out crippled as a high level character from any of the previous editions was without their armor or weapons. WoW is all about the gear, as was every edition of D&D until 4E.


So let's look at combat itself, starting with the Buff mechanic. Buffing is such a core part of WoW that when doing the harder content you are expected to have them. Which version of D&D had this concept? 3(.5)! 4E barely has them at all. In 3(.5) characters would be expected to learn the spells that gave buffs for a number of minutes so everyone could benefit from them. You would try to cast them at the start of every fight and try to get the most out of them before they wore off. Never in 4E have I had concerns that a fight was started without the buffs being cast. Buffing before a fight is a WoW concept that is almost exclusively in 3(.5).


Let's now look at healing. In WoW a healer is someone who's job is to keep the other players alive. That us what they do, and most of the time that is all they do. Of all of the editions of D&D the one that is least like this is 4E. Yep, least again. Prior to 4E you would have a healing class, often a Cleric, who would memorize spells solely for the purpose of healing their comrades, and they would spend their turn using those spells. In 3(.5) you could memorize other spells, generally buffs, but you would then often use their power to heal someone anyway. The healer healed, that was their job. In 4E healing isn't like this at all for several reasons. First of all everyone can heal themselves to a limited degree, but more importantly the classes that could provide healing benefits did it while they were using their divine power to actually do other things. They don't wait around for someone to get hurt and then heal them, they get into the battle and then use their healing skills to supplement those. When it comes to someone being responsible for keeping the group alive, 4E is least like WoW.


What about play style in combat? Well, WoW is actually more like playing D&D without miniatures than it is playing on a battle map. In WoW creatures don't get in each others way. You can't stop an enemy from moving somewhere by standing on front of them, which is very much a 1st and 2nd Ed D&D concept. 3(.5) sometimes had it too, but as most people say, 4E is heavily driven by position and movement. The main movement in WoW is "don't stand I the fire".


In WoW each player is generally doing their own thing, and success results from each player doing it right and everyone surviving to the end of the fight while doing their job. Healing is the exeption, but I have already covered that. Again, the edition of D&D that is least like that is 4E. In 4E every class has the ability to provide benefit not just to themselves, but to their allies. I am not talking about buffs here, but about short one shot cooperative abilities. In 4E a characters abilities are designed around working as a team, and every action you take can effect everyone else to a greater or lesser degree. 3(.5) had this too, but not as clearly. 1st and 2nd had it to a very limited degree. WoW doesn't have that concept at all. In WoW you don't get two dps classes working together to better effect, in D&D you do, especially in 3(.5) and 4E.


So where is this 4E is a WoW clone come from? That's simple. The character roles listed in the PHB. WoW has four roles; Tank, Healer, Melee DPS and Ranged DPS. I know most people consider melee and ranged dps to be one role, but they play differently. 4E has four roles; Defender, Leader, Striker and Controller.


You know how important roles are in D&D? Not very. It is a classification to help you chose what sort of play style you might prefer. There are no rules specific to your role, and there are no role sourcebooks that give specific rules based on your role. Even though I play D&D a lot, I had to look up the roles to confirm I had them correct. Once you chose your class, they are almost meaningless.


Leaders are similar to healers, except as I have already covered, they do a lot more than heal. They use their abilities to battle enemies, inspire their allies and also to provide some healing.


Striker and Controllers are similar to the WoW DPS classes. A striker does best focusing on one target, a controller does better against multiple targets. In WoW the DPS classes are balanced to be as close as possible in both situations, so there is no direct correlation there. Crowd Control as it exists in WoW is rare in D&D, though I do remember it in previous editions, in 4E it has not come up at all.


So that leaves Protectors and Tanks, and I get the feeling it is here that 90% of the opinion of 4E being a WoW clone comes from. In WoW a tanks job is to keep the enemies hitting him because a hit on a non-tank is likely to be fatal. Tanks wear gear designed specifically to reduce damage taken, and many of their abilities are based on being able to do enough damage to creatures to get their attention.


Protectors in D&D don't generally gear for protection, though they might wear a shield rather than swing a bigger weapon. They don't force every enemy to attack them, but they do encourage creatures to do so my Marking them, which generally provides a slight penalty if the enemy makes an attack that doesn't include the character that marked. It's worth noting that some non-Protectors have marking capabilities. Marking is the closest thing in D&D to the WoW Taunt mechanic, which is a key ability of Tanks.


So Marking becomes the thing that causes all this hatred of 4E. And yet as a mechanic in play it's a positive contribution to the game. In all previous editions of D&D it has been a strong temptation to just kill the healer to stop the healing or the Wizard because he isn't wearing much armor. Why doesn't this happen? Because the DM contrives a reason for the enemies not to because it wouldn't be fun for the player who gets picked on every time. This contrivance may make some sort of sense, but it happens to keep the game entertaining. With Marking 4E just put a simple mechanic in place to make that contrivance easier. If you make an attack that doesn't include me, it is less likely to hit. Compare that to WoWs mechanic of having so much threat that the mob will only ever attack you. They are similar, but not similar enough that it turns a whole complicated fantasy gaming system into a clone of WoW.


In fact if you look at PvP in WoW, the kill the healer or the person in cloth armor concept is there with a vengeance. Taunting doesn't work in PvP so in that regard WoW is more like the D&D editions that don't have marking.


All of this is the reason whenever someone makes a comment about how WotC turned D&D into a WoW clone and that made it bad, I tune out. They either don't play WoW or they don't play 4E. It's a silly argument used by people who are looking for an excuse to hate for 4E because it was presented differently to previous editions. It has very little basis in fact.

- Originally posted on Vorpal Thoughts. (external link)
My thoughts on what works and what doesn't in D&D and how D&D Next may benefit are detailed on my blog, Vorpal Thoughts.
Damn nice analysis, and spot on.  A few minor quibbles (there are a few 'I help you' abilities in DPS classes in WoW, but they're pretty minor) but overall it's highly accurate.

"You fools!  Kill the one in the dress!" - Lord Victor Nefarius, Blackrock Spire, World of Warcraft
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Why is this in the future releases forum? Do we really want to rehash this here, where we are supposed to be talking about desires for the new edition, rather than hashing it out for the nth time in forums dedicated to 4e?
Why is this in the future releases forum? Do we really want to rehash this here, where we are supposed to be talking about desires for the new edition, rather than hashing it out for the nth time in forums dedicated to 4e?


Because this is where the baseless 4e-bashing is taking place?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

Because this is where the baseless 4e-bashing is taking place?



There is some of that, but that's not a reason to contribute it. Most of the bashing of any edition is at least done in the context (sometimes weakly) of proposing ideas for the new edition. This post doesn't do any of that. It's just out of place here unless the purpose is to start a thread for bickering over 4e (of which we have plenty).
From "The State of D&D: Present":


Coinciding with the release of 4th edition D&D in 2008, Wizards of the Coast launched an advertising campaign that reached out to MMO players. "If you're going to sit in your basement pretending to be an elf, you should at least have some friends over to help," the text of one ad read over a shot of a bored young man in front of a computer. Paradoxically, one of the most frequent complaints with 4th edition was that the rules too closely mimicked World of Warcraft or EverQuest. The concept of certain classes described specifically to take or deal damage in 4th edition mirrors the role of tank or "DPS" in MMOs.

Collins admitted that 4th edition was influenced by MMOs but was quick to point out that the design took inspiration from many contemporary sources. "As professional game designers, we look at all games for lessons," he said last year. "Certainly, the lessons we learn from online games are going to be the most obvious ones because they have a lot of people familiar with the sources, but there's also lessons about turn management from European board games, interface ideas from card games."


Pulling from so many different sources, especially videogames, may have worked against the reception of 4th edition D&D. "I think the mistake people sometimes make is to think that we can attract more players if we ape the experience of videogames. I think a better approach is to emphasize what makes pen and paper RPGs unique and fun," said Pramas.


Why is this in the future releases forum? Do we really want to rehash this here, where we are supposed to be talking about desires for the new edition, rather than hashing it out for the nth time in forums dedicated to 4e?


Because this is where the baseless 4e-bashing is taking place?



Mmmhmmmm.


Rant Of Awesome



Soooooo you're kinda my hero now. I cannot reward you with gold, nor gems, nor land, titles, or hot princesses. All I can do is give you a cookie.

 

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Defenders: We ARE the wall!

 

I've replaced the previous Edition Warring line in my sig with this one, because honestly, everybody needs to work together to make the D&D they like without trampling on somebody else's D&D.

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
From "The State of D&D: Present":


Coinciding with the release of 4th edition D&D in 2008, Wizards of the Coast launched an advertising campaign that reached out to MMO players. "If you're going to sit in your basement pretending to be an elf, you should at least have some friends over to help," the text of one ad read over a shot of a bored young man in front of a computer. Paradoxically, one of the most frequent complaints with 4th edition was that the rules too closely mimicked World of Warcraft or EverQuest. The concept of certain classes described specifically to take or deal damage in 4th edition mirrors the role of tank or "DPS" in MMOs.

Collins admitted that 4th edition was influenced by MMOs but was quick to point out that the design took inspiration from many contemporary sources. "As professional game designers, we look at all games for lessons," he said last year. "Certainly, the lessons we learn from online games are going to be the most obvious ones because they have a lot of people familiar with the sources, but there's also lessons about turn management from European board games, interface ideas from card games."


Pulling from so many different sources, especially videogames, may have worked against the reception of 4th edition D&D. "I think the mistake people sometimes make is to think that we can attract more players if we ape the experience of videogames. I think a better approach is to emphasize what makes pen and paper RPGs unique and fun," said Pramas.




Rebolded for different spin?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Why is this in the future releases forum? Do we really want to rehash this here, where we are supposed to be talking about desires for the new edition, rather than hashing it out for the nth time in forums dedicated to 4e?


Because this is where the baseless 4e-bashing is taking place?



24/7
Why is this in the future releases forum? Do we really want to rehash this here, where we are supposed to be talking about desires for the new edition, rather than hashing it out for the nth time in forums dedicated to 4e?



You are correct. I should have prefaced with my reasons for posting this in the Future Releases forum. So I now have. Thanks for pointing this out.
My thoughts on what works and what doesn't in D&D and how D&D Next may benefit are detailed on my blog, Vorpal Thoughts.
As a fan of pathfinder who is hoping for another enjoyable game that I can get involved in with 5E I have to say that I'm put off by everyone telling me how much I suck for bashing 4E... when I don't.
As a fan of pathfinder who is hoping for another enjoyable game that I can get involved in with 5E I have to say that I'm put off by everyone telling me how much I suck for bashing 4E... when I don't.


When you don't what?
Suck?
Or bash 4e?
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse."- John Stuart Mill “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”― William F. Buckley "The straw in your man is amazing."- Maxperson Original Hipster of the House of Trolls: I was hipster before hipster was cool Resident Hater Mini Hate Machine
As a fan of pathfinder who is hoping for another enjoyable game that I can get involved in with 5E I have to say that I'm put off by everyone telling me how much I suck for bashing 4E... when I don't.



If you arent bashin, then obviously it doesnt apply to you... now does it?
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

As a fan of pathfinder who is hoping for another enjoyable game that I can get involved in with 5E I have to say that I'm put off by everyone telling me how much I suck for bashing 4E... when I don't.



I havent seen you bash 4e Magnir and I as a 4e fan have never bashed 3/3.5/PF, but there are pleanty of fans of both that do bash the other.
I'm second from the left in the picture.


D&D Home Page - What Class Are You? - Build A Character - D&D Compendium

*Whole bunch of well-presented awesome*



If only I were to have another child to name after you.  
As a fan of pathfinder who is hoping for another enjoyable game that I can get involved in with 5E I have to say that I'm put off by everyone telling me how much I suck for bashing 4E... when I don't.


I feel ya, man.  As a 4e fan, I get really tired of sweeping generalizations about 4e fans and being repeatedly told I'm not even playing a role-playing game.  That's the bitch with edition wars, though.  When mud is getting thrown everywhere, it hits you whether or not you were throwing it first.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
Well if the wizard isn't saying "im spent" and pulling out a crossbow after casting light so the rest of the party could see in the dungeon... its not the D&D I grew up with (and love). And I see similarities with 3e (feats like power attack) & 4e (marking, encounter powers) to several computer games (not just WOW), but heh Baldur's Gate was fantastic and that was 2e

- Originally posted on Vorpal Thoughts. (external link)



Nice analysis with a dose of rant - I like it.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

Well if the wizard isn't saying "im spent" and pulling out a crossbow after casting light so the rest of the party could see in the dungeon... its not the D&D I grew up with (and love). And I see similarities with 3e (feats like power attack) & 4e (marking, encounter powers) to several computer games (not just WOW), but heh Baldur's Gate was fantastic and that was 2e



1e was pac-man... I mean run around a pointless maze collect the gold(for xp)  avoiding the monsters (cause fighting evil is stupid) level up so you can beat on a few of the monsters except its real easy to die so you end up rinse wash and repeat.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

As a fan of pathfinder who is hoping for another enjoyable game that I can get involved in with 5E I have to say that I'm put off by everyone telling me how much I suck for bashing 4E... when I don't.



If you arent bashin, then obviously it doesnt apply to you... now does it?

When the posts have sweeping generalizations about people who simply prefer to play the other systems (3.X or Pathfinder, specfically). Touting that I am unimaginative or afraid of change or incapable of critical thinking, etc., etc. ...

Then yeah, it does apply to me, doesn't it?

How about we just shelve the crap and talk about moving forward with a different game and an open mind?
As a fan of pathfinder who is hoping for another enjoyable game that I can get involved in with 5E I have to say that I'm put off by everyone telling me how much I suck for bashing 4E... when I don't.


I feel ya, man.  As a 4e fan, I get really tired of sweeping generalizations about 4e fans and being repeatedly told I'm not even playing a role-playing game.  That's the bitch with edition wars, though.  When mud is getting thrown everywhere, it hits you whether or not you were throwing it first.



Thank you for the mature, non-trolling response.
For most people WoW is a game of combat. You fight enemies to get better equipment to make the next combat easier, so you can get better gear, and so on. So when looking at comparisons between the two systems you look at how the character and combat mechanics of the two games compare. They are complicated mechanics, with lots of facets to look at.


Your characterization of WoW does not match my experience with the game at all.  My human rogue grew up as an orphan in Stormwind, worked hard at being a world reknowned jewelry crafter (incidently learning a whole lot about mining on the way), got caught up in the heroics of saving all the little villages from their troubles by sneaking through any obstacle, and dreamed of someday marrying a hot Ambassador who was way out of his league as a guild officer.

My point is, different people play WoW differently.  Different people play 4e differently.  While your experiences with 4e may not have felt much like WoW, it is very possible that others' experiences may have more resembled WoW.
As a fan of pathfinder who is hoping for another enjoyable game that I can get involved in with 5E I have to say that I'm put off by everyone telling me how much I suck for bashing 4E... when I don't.



If you arent bashin, then obviously it doesnt apply to you... now does it?

When the posts have sweeping generalizations about people who simply prefer to play the other systems (3.X or Pathfinder, specfically). 
 


Show it to me in this thread or post? I saw "Time to sit down an write my rationality for why the people who think D&D 4E is a World of Warcraft clone are just plain wrong."

The preference is not in question ( its usually the secondary WHY clauses, ie the excuses that are very often uncritical and unfounded, or ignorant.) the original post was addressing one of those. Not calling you a CoDzilla lover or something.

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

Howdy folks,

While the original post of this thread is insightful and discussion worthy, we're seeing a lot of edition bashing and warring going on in the rest of the thread.

Please try to stick to the topic.  The thread will be closed if the edition warring continues.

Thanks.

All around helpful simian

For most people WoW is a game of combat. You fight enemies to get better equipment to make the next combat easier, so you can get better gear, and so on. So when looking at comparisons between the two systems you look at how the character and combat mechanics of the two games compare. They are complicated mechanics, with lots of facets to look at.


Your characterization of WoW does not match my experience with the game at all.   .



My daughter 6ys old will tell you D&D is not killing monsters to take there stuff, its about fighting evil and recovering lost treasures and helping the weak... and that this is true in WoW too.

Lesson what you bring to a game is often what you get out of it. If you dont bring an attitude which is positive getting something positve out of it is very difficult.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

Question to the OP.


 Are willing to enter a discussion about why people refer to 4e as a WoW clone, or was you original post just an attempt to disprove the claims?


 If you are willing to discuss it I would be happy to provide some counter points, but if not I will be on my way, no harm done.


Question to the OP.


 Are willing to enter a discussion about why people refer to 4e as a WoW clone, or was you original post just an attempt to disprove the claims?


 If you are willing to discuss it I would be happy to provide some counter points, but if not I will be on my way, no harm done.






I am happy to see your thoughts, though I reserve the right to disagree with them.


My point with all my posts, here and on my blog are to make D&D better. I don't pretend to know the best way to do something, or even the right way to do something, but if I put my thoughts out there, other people can bounce off them and maybe between us we will make D&D better for everyone.


Just a reminder. This post wasn't about which edition was better or to say that people who don't like 4E are wrong. It just got tiring to see the same response over and over as to why 4E was bad with no actual rationality.

Update: If I like your counter points I would like to ask permission to quote/paraphrase them on my blog. I would prefer to see good counters there than just flat out support, though everyone loves support. 
My thoughts on what works and what doesn't in D&D and how D&D Next may benefit are detailed on my blog, Vorpal Thoughts.
The matter is one of image.  I do not personally believe that D&D 4th edition is like WoW.  I do believe, though, that D&D 4th edition took on, in many ways, the image of a videogame and that people have a tendancy to say WoW because it is among the most popular and accessable fantasy Video Games

1) Focus on competitive balance
No one said balance was a bad thing... well, maybe someone did, but I don't think that it is.  Balance is good, but I think many people see balance being made at the expense of versimilitude.  You can have it both ways -- a game that is balanced can have versimilitude, and a game with Versimilitude can be balanced.  I do not personally feel 4th edition managed: it failed in the opposite direction that 3rd did.
Why People Scream "WoW": WoW maintains a competitive balance of its classes
Why They're Wrong: And Warhammer maintains a point-for-point balance across its armies.  Balance is a factor of game design, albeit one that's more seen in the digital world thanks to constant patches and tweaks
But I hear this bad response all the time: "You just want casters to own everything again!".  No.  I'd like versimilitude as well as balance, and given the choice between balance with a comparitive lack of versimilitude and versimilitude with comparitive imbalance, I chose versimilitude.  Why?  Perhaps my players just aren't twinks, or perhaps I realized as DM I can tailor encounters to create balance in an imbalanced system (Golems...).  Or perhaps I just took my prefrence.  Does that mean I hate balance?  No.  It's what 4e lost that bothered me, not what it had.

2) The Power System Makes People Play Too Similarly
This is probably one of my biggest beefs with Core 4th edition (essentials was better about it) -- there was a lack of uniqueness to individual characters.  They had their distinct features and flavors, but ultimatley the mechanics themselves were not flavorful (If you want an earfull about Flavor and Design, and mechanics having flavor on their own, read articles over on the Magic site, specifically "Making Magic" by Mark Rosewater).  This was a major turn off for me, and I think it hurt the opinions of others as well
Why People Scream "WoW": Warriors, Death Knights, Rogues, *shudder* Feral DPS -- the Melee classes of World of Warcraft have as much to keep track of as the casters, if not more
Why They're Wrong: I suspect these people have not played WoW.  One of the things that World of Warcraft does very well that I honestly thing D&D *might* stand to learn from is that different people care about different resources: A rogue's energy, a warrior's Rage, and a Mage's mana work differently and managing them takes a different tactical approach to the battle.  If you really hate WoW comparisons, you could learn the same lesson about resources from Magic: the Gathering, but it wouldn't be as obvious.
But I hear this bad response all the time: "You hate Martial characters and want them to be boring!".  No.  I want them to be different.  I want them to be a distinct tactical and role playing experience from arcane characters or divine characters.  The 4th edition system largely fails at that for me -- things are too homogenized.

3) "It's just a kitchen sink of cool... which isn't cool"
I put this one in air quotes because I don't agree.  I can take exception to Dragonborn.  I can dislike the Nentir Vale.  I might question their design choices but I don't think any of those are really out of line with D&D.  Perhaps things have gotten a but more exaggerated and weird... Oh right, Dungeonland and Beyond the Magic Mirror -- I think we've been weird from day 1.  "Dungeon Punk" is a little bit new and different, but we were seeing it in 3e too.
Why people Scream "WoW": Wow's prety darn kitchen-siny-ish itself.  Like a fantasy trope?  It's probably somewhere on Azeroth or Outland.  It's also got some dungeon punk around the edges, at least.
Why they're Wrong: See my intro paragraph
But I hear this bad response all the time: "If you don't like it, don't use it in your game."  For those people who take exception to 4th's presentation, I would not begrudge them their exception.  How would the rest of us like it if all the art was done in crayon?  How would the dungeon punk fans like it if the core setting was more "dung ages".  Not very much.  The fact of the matter is that the presentation of Core and the presence of elements in it does matter, and is a legitimate reason for someone to buy or not buy an RPG product.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

Ok then. I will collect my thoughts on the matter and try my best to present them in an intelligent manner despite the horrible writing skills I posses.

One element often cited as a similarity to WoW is that martial combatants have a repertoire of known moves in some sense 4e is the first edition of D&D for whom this is really true (I hear 3e started it but it was so heavily directed that one effectively was a one trick pony or way behind others on the curve if you tried to diversify) 

I like fighting men having a repertoire of known moves it creates a style with mechanical impact ... the fact is you can go beyond those and even achieve potentially bigger effects (by leveraging the situation in an interesting way, see page 42 of the DMG for some basic guidelines - which I think need expanded) this really shows that while it is a similarity the DM and Player and there imagination, limit or undermine that similarity.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

How about the fact that Kurt from game geeks.com in his review of 4th ed said that he felt like he was reading a table top version of WOW, more so then the acutal D20 WOW books.
How about the fact that Kurt from game geeks.com in his review of 4th ed said that he felt like he was reading a table top version of WOW, more so then the acutal D20 WOW books.



My point exactly. But I have to ask, what were his reasons for saying this?
The point of my post was to indicate that first impressions don't necessarily line up with fact. If I didn't cover this well enough in my OP then I apologize. 
My thoughts on what works and what doesn't in D&D and how D&D Next may benefit are detailed on my blog, Vorpal Thoughts.
So some grognard blogger says it so it must be true? Hey, you read it on the internet, it must be true .
So some grognard blogger says it so it must be true? Hey, you read it on the internet, it must be true .


You're right, Gunthar.  I've personally been working on inventing lying, mis- and underinformed opinions and spin o the internet, but it won't be ready until december 21 or so.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
  I want them to be a distinct tactical and role playing experience from arcane characters or divine characters.  


Roleplayin is internal.. and not something readily measureable but tactical decisions of the classes, those can be looked at and I see most are very distinct. The only same element is the frequency they are allowed to leverage powerfule lime light garnering climactic abilities. After that battlefield roles can create some similarities but actual roles are more complex than the 4 that are called out. There are instanaces where because of the simplicity of a strikers role that you "can" build characters across source that have similar tactics but its not intrinsic.

Lets say I point at A Fighter(I am the wall beyond which you shall not pass - prevents engagement) and a Swordmage(he kites the battle field doesnt prevent engagement but rather nerfs the damage delivered by his marked enemy seriously).  In play and tactics highly different. Same role and different sources.

I can build a Duelist rogue who uses isolating tactics so they arent distracted by enemies or allies for that matter... this character is not a combat advantage hound and is not trying to flank (ie move behind enemies and stand beside the fighter so much) he is an in your face fighter and built to be such, and that is distinct from others of his own class. Some of those distinctions are feats that modify class features and others are power choices.
Note his tactics are superficially similar to a certain Avenger build, but the avenger gets there another route and is a precision master and crit hound with the divine guiding his hand.

People criticize one way saying inflexible roles or they criticize the other way and say the classes arent distinct. Roles are a component of the class differences (all the way back to 1e) but how your character approaches that role can be very different.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 



*Wall of juicy awesomesauce*



Bravisimo!!

That thing in your hands? That's the nail...

So some grognard blogger says it so it must be true? Hey, you read it on the internet, it must be true .


You're right, Gunthar.  I've personally been working on inventing lying, mis- and underinformed opinions and spin o the internet, but it won't be ready until december 21 or so.



December 21st? Slacker! Tongue Out 
 

1) Focus on competitive balance 



Actually no, competitive balance if that were a goal is a complete wash.

Contributive Balance, is another story. And contributive balance means
all players have the same opportunities for there characters  shine
due to their characters abiities and it kind of needs to include in the most
common in genre scenarios.  Further its not strict balance that is
desireable... nor has that been accidentallly achieved (otherwise the
char op boards wouldnt have such fancy colored lights on them.)

The assertion that 4e's attempt to balance the horribly imbalanced  "went to far"
are often asserted as "this game isnt a competition" why do we need balance but
really there is a point of competition even in a cooperative game and that needs
balance and that is exactly "opportunity for show time"

Except you cant build a CoDzilla nor a PunPun, nor really hopeless hannah (without
really trying). You can build a character who is great out of combat and a support
only character in combat.
 
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

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

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

 

4E is as much a WoW clone as 3E is a Diablo clone.

The proclamations of the former right now are amusingly similar to the proclamations of the latter back then.