How not to sell D&D Next

1st: Editors and research

I know we love Monte Cook, and love some of the polls. Last time he was in D&D team, he designed stuff, he also managed to sell some popular fixes to it quickly. The only bad things his ranger fix didn't make it in core books, so you had to ask which version of ranger someone is going to use? A well thought out system needs less fixes than that because things are considered in advance.

I seen his poll about modifiers vs dice "tricks". And I was wondered: if Monte Cook managed to do some of the math and know how +d6 changes the average, why he haven't checked the probabilites. As you have more dice, your results will send "less random" and gravitate towards the average. While a static bonus only changes your average outcome, a bonus dice changes how "random" your performance will be.

It changes the feel of scenarios, it changes how your character sees risks, how he / she will make decision, and how the said character will see the world. It influences decisions, stories, roleplaying and more. And yet we only hear about fun dice tricks. If decisions in the system are based on this sound research I have to worry about the system.


2nd: Service and advertisement

I know how D&D hates piracy and how they think PDFs as a source of piracy. I can't blame them. I understand their position in PDF controversy. But I know a player buys miniatures, books, etc. as PDF only isn't comfortable. But hardcover only isn't comfortable either, as you don't want to carry two sports bags worth of books with you, if you don't use a car. And I also know that if you want to show the game to a friend online you have to share the content with him. If he loves the game he will buy products. If he doesn't noone lost income since he wouldn't buy it anyway.

But for this, when he RPes in an MMO I should tell him how RPGs are better. But if he sees tactical combat... He says he has that in WoW, Starcraft 2, etc. too. We should be able to talk him into trying the game, we should be able to let him try the game, and then he might buy.

Keeping him away from game because we fear that the shared content would lead to widespread piracy, telling him it is tactical and it is about killing monsters and not about RP? We are lost it. The game isn't designed with him and other potential players in mind. It isn't designed with me in mind, it isn't designed with people who left D&D in mind. It is designed with a fraction of current players in mind.

3rd: Ever accelerating lifecycle

AD&D 1st edition had a long life, same is true for 2nd editon. And it was ok to mix them, as 2nd edition seemed to be a clained up and revised edition of AD&D. Then came D&D 3, and its revised edition called 3.5, their lifecycle was short. Even their combined lifecycle was shorter than 2E or 1E lifecycle. Then came 4. In some quick years Essentials came. And now 5E.

With the accelerating lifecycle we can ask: who starts to buy a whole set of new products for like 2-3 years? But with the struggles WOTC / Hasbro has with getting enough new players and keeping D&D alive I can understand fresh tries, but as long as things don't improve there is no reason to invest money in products with this short lifecycle.

Conclusion: WOTC managed to show me why shouldn't I even consider buying D&D Next. Hint: I won't buy other WOTC products either.
(Edited: Baiting)  Most of the people here are pretty thoughtful and open-minded. Given that these are the official WotC forums, you have to expect a greater percentage of people who are favorable to 4e. There is nothing wrong with that; 4e fans are part of the discussion just as non-4e fans are. That's the whole point of the forums.

So far I like the consideration I'm seeing from the designers (getting to your point one). 5e won't be a re-hash of any edition, so I think we can expect some fundamental changes, many of which may be optional (dice tricks being an example).

I do agree that WotC needs to provide PDF versions. As many have noted elsewhere with respect to piracy, it is a service problem first and foremost. If you don't provide the convenient, electronic documents people want someone else will.

I'm not sure what to do about the life cycle. Big companies want a dependable, ongoing revenue stream, not a spike when a new edition launches, followed by a decline. I think churning out book after book will be annoying to many people (I don't buy many after the core). On the other hand, adventures and supplements for use in creating and carrying on campaigns always get my dollar. Paizo seems to be doing well with adventures. No reason WotC couldn't also, if they do a nice job with them. Also, electronic tools are an ongoing revenue stream. If they play their cards right, we won't have to see another edition after 5e for some time. If a 6e looms after 3 or 4 years I think WotC will be done.

I have to second this point, emphasizing tactical combat is a disservice to the game and the potential fanbase. I can get that from Warhammer 40k or any number of computer games. A roleplaying game must provide context for these actions, a deaper meaning than just a higher killcount.

Don't get me wrong, I happen to like tactical encounters and spend absurd amounts of time working out the proper weapons, feats, and positioning for mooks that will die the moment a spellcaster says fireball. I love this stuff, but it isn't why I spend ludicrous sums of money on D&D books. I want a world to play in and a ruleset that encourages me to build my own. I devoured the "Races of" books, reserved copies of the terrain books, read and reread HoH, FC & FCII. Even if I barely ever used a tenth of the content in any given book, they were worth the price for the interesting options and inspiring flavor. Those books built a world that I am still exploring.  That is where 4E lost me. It had interesting new takes on old races and classes, but the splatbooks after that felt more like I was buying a booster pack of power cards than an actual book to expand my game, expand the world we all adventure together in. 

I love playing D&D and will undoubtably buy the new core books regardless, but I won't be around for the long haul if the edition isn't supported properly. New monsters and spells are something I can make on my own. New classes, new races, new locations, new sub-systems (ToB, ToM, Incarnum, ect) and all the flavor to bring them together into a living world are what hold my interest.
Point 2: Service and advertisement

I think you underestimate the appeal of D&D, especially to gamers weaned on video games.  Even just in tactical combat, tabletop games provide something video games cannot: the ability for innovation by the player to matter.  Furthermore, most players' enjoyment is not limited to either combat or RP.  Most enjoy both to some degree, and many, myself included, like to mix the two.  Trying to pidgeonhole D&D into one or the other only weakens it.

Point 3: Ever accelerating lifecycle

We're probably nearing the end of this one, at least for D&D.  Mearls has made at least one comment to the effect that WotC would prefer a single, long-running edition that provided a more stable revenue stream.  I'm pretty sure they intend Next to be that edition.  If they succeed, they won't be releasing a 6e anytime soon.  If they don't, Hasbro will likely shelve the IP, and we won't see a new edition soon anyway.

Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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 Many of us have different preferences and experiences with the game, but with the possible exception of a few outliers, we all want D&D to be great.  



Damn right :D

Personally I don't care one way or another about dice tricks. I'm ok if the game uses them and I'm ok if it doesn't. I realized last night that one of the reasons Monte's poll about dice tricks might have come up recently is that the designers probably want to figure out whether or not and how often they plan to use dice tricks fairly early in the development. After all it could potentially affect many different parts of the game, including attack and damage and ability rolls, as well as modify how they present all types of abilities (eg should an ability give +2 or should it change a die type up a notch?).

So even though I personally don't care one way or another about dice tricks I can see why the designers are probably thinking about it at this point and asking for feedback. It might be something they want to nail down now so they can move on to figuring out how to later write up other game mechanics that depend on whether you use dice tricks or static modifiers.


I think you underestimate the appeal of D&D, especially to gamers weaned on video games.



I judge it by the revenue stream it generates. After all that is what people who buy Hasbro stock care about, and if the income isn't great they will be impatient. The current appeal isn't good enough, and it doesn't focus on greatest strength.

And besides: do you know what was the most driving force to develop first person shooters? Immersion. It isn't "immersion or combat". Even video game industry focuses on immersion, and in this area RPGs are good. Creative freedom and pleyer created content are linked, and ability to shape the world is pretty much tied to the sandbox way.


We're probably nearing the end of this one, at least for D&D.  Mearls has made at least one comment to the effect that WotC would prefer a single, long-running edition that provided a more stable revenue stream.  I'm pretty sure they intend Next to be that edition.  If they succeed, they won't be releasing a 6e anytime soon.  If they don't, Hasbro will likely shelve the IP, and we won't see a new edition soon anyway.



Or they will try once more. Not sure about that. But they would have prefered long lasting editions even before since steady revenue without a lot of costs involved in developing and marketing a new edition is a good choice. But sadly what they want and what we want and what they can achieve this way is different.


Or they will try once more. Not sure about that. But they would have prefered long lasting editions even before since steady revenue without a lot of costs involved in developing and marketing a new edition is a good choice. But sadly what they want and what we want and what they can achieve this way is different.



I'm not sure that what WotC wants and what we want is so different.  Most gamers don't want new editions too often, the problem is that the basic RPG business model has been to produce books.  The problem with that is that you have to keep writing new books, which eventually bloat the edition and have diminishing returns on sales.  The modular approach, if I'm reading them right, might actually work, because they'll be able to produce more books withut bloating the edition(since not all books will be expected to be available in each game), while at the same time providing useful online tools that work on a subscription model.  Once they have a wide variety(and thus, a large number) of gamers happy with Next and subscribing to the online tools, then they could focus more on settings and adventures to keep them entertained, and thus subscribing.  It might work.

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'm not sure that what WotC wants and what we want is so different.  Most gamers don't want new editions too often, the problem is that the basic RPG business model has been to produce books.  The problem with that is that you have to keep writing new books, which eventually bloat the edition and have diminishing returns on sales.



If we go to "marketing talk", and speak about SWOT analysis, I would put the need to publish more and more books as a "threat". Not a weakness, not a stregth, not even an opportunity. But what can we learn about such threats? We can work hard to reduce their impact, we can make them unlikely to happen, or even better turn them into a strength.

Lots of books can mean "infinite depth" and make the game more attractive with that. And if you are done with that, try to focus on a regular influx of new players. This infinite depth (a strong lore) can help to capitalize by IP by offering licences to develop CRPGs based on it. You can build a strong franchise.

I would forget about PHB, DMG and MM. I would have a *single* book for rules. But it would have no classes, spells, items, monsters, etc. all such stuff would be moved to player / DM guides for specific settings, but we can have a book for classic / generic one.

As you can guess. This way a setting would come with 2/3 core books, maybe a boxed set.

Later you can add more specific boxed sets.

Lets see some example. Drow is one of the most iconic race in D&D. Sadly it didn't help them much. Often we try to portray drow as evil, and at other times we speak about how Spider Queen was Neutral good. In the later case we can think about how they don't have a "source of fresh souls" so any soul they lose (converts, etc) leads closer to extermination of the race. And with this, with some known ties between high elves and demons, jealousy, etc. we can make drow fight for survival.

As both sides, and even renegades like Drizzt, and other good drow (worshipers of Eilistraee) could make sense, you can make a popular campaign based on drow, both in novels and CRPGs. What would stop Wizards from offering a boxed set for drow fans. With drow related material, yet easy enogh to start.

You can focus on such boxes, etc. on multiple settings and themes, from Blood Wars, to Time of Troubles, to War of The Lance...

As you see for each and every chronicle you can create a "core box" (with Rules cyclopeda, few dice, etc included) and a smaller box for veterans.

As you see someone who loves the drow wouldn't have to buy a few core books with "several volumes" a setting book, some drow accessory... but would walk in the store and would pick up the drow starter box.


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Thank you for reopening the thread.

Sadly I have to say, D&D Next development process relies heavily on feedback we would provide here. To make this process work it should be a friendly place that welcomes the people who provide feedback. It should be friendly and welcoming to people who don't like 4E.

So far wherever and whenever I seen any thread here, all such comments about 4E both now and in past met with comments that try to invalidate it and blaming the player for not linking 4E. In an environment like that you won't get useful feedback and it ends up in an edition war. It is a problem even your stickies recognize.

As your current development strategy tries to build heavily on feedback how useful the forum is for gathering feedback is a key question that can determine success or failure of D&D Next project. Without going into any detail as you made it clear that you won't allow that on forum, I have to keep the conclusion simple: We speak about a foreseeable failure here, as your system for collecting feedback here doesn't work.

"D&D 5, the edition that tries to unite players by listening to most vocal 4E defenders who stomped on feedback. It is even more 4Ei come people, even if you hated 4E you should buy it" isn't a strategy to win. You are a DM, if some character would propose a this solid bussiness strategy in your game you would know he would fail. If things don't change D&D 5 will fail due to reasons not to be discussed here.

After failure, when you will have plenty of free time, hope you will enjoy seeing it.

In depth analysis of such bussiness practices are best reserved for other mediums. Not your customer service links, because that could help in individual cases but won't change the general trend. But on AGM where bringing up question will make other investors (of Hasbro) and management aware.

If you want feel free to shut down this thread. Keeping it open wouldn't make D&D Next success, and it wouldn't make the forum a friendly place to submit feedback.



And this time I will be less polite now, your other source of feedback is at blog posts and polls. Monte Cook tried to explain how in dice tricks equal to static modifiers. We see saving throw or spell attacks. Multiple attacks questions, etc. all just the "how we roll dice in a tactical combat environment". More important aspects (challenging situatin, vs focusing on in character decision, etc) aren't even considered. Anyone who mentions other playing style learns it is best to avoid Wizards forums, how should anyone expect a change?

Accepting this and your focus on system mechanics and the math behind them. Your editors don't even think about the key difference between modifiers and extra dice. Yes: The question is about normal distribution or uniform distribution.

You know the differences between 1d100 and 11d10-10? Both are 1-100 rolls, and the average roll will be 50.5 in both cases. Not only the lot of counting for the later. But on the former you will roll 1 (deadly for you) once in every 100 rolls, so you won't stress your luck repeatedly as it would come soon. On the later you would get the critical failure once in 1 billion rolls. Now when you think about "should I risk the neck of my character" those options are quite different.

In D&D, we have 5% chance for critical success (natural 20) and for critical failure (natural 1), success and failure is determined by dice rolls mostly, as you get maybe a few points of modifiers, but the difference between 1 and 20 is still 19 points. etc.

You speak about tactical combat, yes it became more important than roleplaying and in character decision. But is it good for tacticians? When your tactic makes a few points of difference, but you roll an 1d20. And you have better tactical experience in video games, boardgames (warhammer), etc. anyway.

Scaling modifiers to dice rolls, determining how random things will be, etc. are all core decision. How it looks when your key designers seem to ignore all this question and care about "saving throw, no saving throw" question?

How do you expect to see *any* meaningful discussion where probabilities, etc. are considered when the norm is "if you don't like 4E you do it wrong" "tldr" and other such stuff? How your editors see where people see the problem if the discussion cannot even start and they don't ask these questions themselves?

As you see we cannot turn to those polls, blog posts to fix things and we can't expect to see your editors consider them themselves.
It should be friendly and welcoming to people who don't like 4E.

It is friendly and welcoming to people who don't like 4E. There are reasonable and polite users here that dislike 4E, and that's perfectly okay.

Just approach your likes and dislikes with a friendlier tone, and you'll be more likely to have a friendlier tone returned. This can be done, for example, by not stating your opinions as facts, or by not threatening to leave D&D if you don't get your way.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I would add to Crimson's list: not decrying any edition as "a failure" (particularly given that all editions are currently in [more or less] the same boat: abandoned, after they weren't financially viable).
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
It should be friendly and welcoming to people who don't like 4E.

It is friendly and welcoming to people who don't like 4E. It isn't friendly or welcoming to people who don't like 4E and are unreasonable and/or elitist pricks about it. There are reasonable and polite users here that dislike 4E, and that's perfectly okay.



Just seen your edit while I wrote this message, so I changed a few things.

Any analysis that is in depth and touches different areas (as they are interact with each other) is long. How would you encourage analysis with "Yes. Now, could somebody please give me a tl;dr of this?" type comments? Mind if I ask what happened first: Your such comments, or when I said it isn't contributing? Maybe the order of things show how friendly this place is. To have any detailed analysis we need long posts and we should take time to consider them.

Are you sure that people who go into any analysis with reasoning, details, etc. when the basic reaction starts with "too long to read?" Wizards said they need this analysis and at this point it won't happen. Do you see the problem? Even if it is a joke, as you see a lot of problems I describe are related "discarding without understanding" type reasoning.

And I have to admit it is hard, after all you love 4E and see how it works for you and has no reason to understand why it can't work for others. And you would quick to jump it is about preferences presented as facts and used to bas your edition. I know I would feel the same.

Basic respect dictates we should try to understand each other. Common sense says: Without putting effort into understanding each other, without discussing details D&D won't win thouse guys back. Time to step back. Time to forget about assumption. Time to forget all reflexes to counter what you think is "same old edition bashing", take a deep breath, read it again, try to understand it, and discuss.

Without this, without time spent to understand things, nothing will work.

The first thing to understand is: not every critique is based on preferences. Far from that.

What makes an edition a failure? Failing to meet the goals setfor it. And if it is worse than the pessimistic scenarios you presented to investors, you are see how bad itis. Such failures come from failure to keep some player and more importantly failure to attract new players. As you see it is a mostly objective definition of failure.

But how design decisions can lead to that kind of failure?

Lets analyse just one of my pet topics, encounter balancing. Be prepared, it will be long. Very long. But each and every bit of it counts. Even if you see it as common sense and think there is nothing new in it.

We both know that a good DM can change the rules and make things work no matter what do you see in DMG. As you fix issues on the fly you can find strenght of D&D and can focus on them. And in 4E you can change xp value of encounters, can rebalance stuff, and with good DMing skill it will work. Noone denies this. Most experienced DMs know what they want, how their party will handle the given combat and balance encounters without consulting encounter design rules, so how would it present a problem?

But a game should work well even for new players, even if using premade adventures, etc. after all without this you won't have new players. And noone is born as an experienced DM. So we can't relly on the DM here, but we have to see how rules work, so we should stick to published works for this discussion. And the whole picture changed. We took out DM experience from it, we took out freedom and liberty of DM from it.

And at this moment you can say. "But I almost always used my DMing skills when I designed encounters for 4E" and after a few rough rides it was smooth, smoother than ever. But it won't make the game work for new players and new DMs.

So we need a solid system that meets its goals without much help from an experienced DM.

When you design encounter balancing mechanism you can have many different goals.

1st) You might want challenging encounters that require really clever tactics even just to survive.
2nd) You might want perceived danger, that is always there. But normally players just roleplay and only need tactics when things would go wrong based on unlucky rolls.
3rd) You want to keep things relaxed so they can focus more on roleplaying (and keep thinking IC) even after bad rolls.

As you see these goals would lead to very different encounters. The first one would be far harder than the 3rd one.

In a fight, your character would have to decide in a fraction of secound, under effects of Adrenaline, when he cannot think straight. If you see a tactical challenge, you spend considerable amount of time, the combat will be less chaotic, etc. and very different decision.

Immersion and tactical mindset would lead to very different decisions.

To make things more interesting: A new player should meet the community. The focus of game determined social contract and expectations. Design of the system, what designers say, etc. changes what do you expect from the game, and with this, it influences social contract strongly. And as you see it defines what DMs expect from players how they balance encounters. And if you want thing differently it can be a problem.

For you, as an experienced D&D 4 DM the rules for balancing encouters aren't important. You are happy and content with designing your encounters without much guidance anyway. You would buy D&D 4 products regardless of encounter balancing rules in it. Probably you neither like nor dislike that part of system as you don't use it. You are probably indifferent about it, and only sympathise with it, because it is an often attacked part of your favorite game.

For me, I seek a group where my playing style would work. But with or without encounter balancing rules they would play the same way. It wouldn't change much. Most published content aren't good for me, so my feelings about encounter balancing rules are somewhat negative. But it isn't important at all. And some drow character worked well anyway. So I wouldn't bring it up. Maybe I would say "tone down encounter difficulty in published modules" would be the only comment.

For a new player, who roleplayed even in MMOs, and want to try a real roleplaying game. He won't optimize. And when he sees the battle, he imagines it and he considers how would his character decide so quikly under effects of adrenaline. And even worse even if he would use somewhat tactical mindset he doesn't know the game well. What will he experience? If your system aims to present challenging encounter, his characters will die. His party won't be happy with him. And he would feel "D&D is like hardcore raiding I have to go back to WoW if I want to RP".

At this point we not only see how these rules became important, but also that these design choices can be the difference between succes and failure. Designing rules with new players and target audience in mind became very very important. And this isn't as much about my preferences, and it determines if D&D can attract new players well or not. This is why I presented this part of it as analysis of facts and not as preferences.

But even there, I wouldn't say current tactical focus is a bad thing. It is a decision they made to favor some players. After all you can send game for experienced RPG players who want tactical gaming. In fact current rules are good for existing 4E fanbase, if I would want to target them, I might use these rules as well. They would be still perfect rules. But lets get back to an earlier statement...

"What makes an edition a failure? Failing to meet the goals set for it." You want to please the new players who want to roleplay. Newbies who has to relly on published content and want to roleplay much. If the system doesn't please them it fails to achieve its goals. Still it wouldn't be a bad system. After all reaching the goal could be impossible and the rules could be still the best candidate to meet those goals, right?

So we have to see which players can we attract and how? Are there better ways to attract those players:

And this is how we came back to my point about tactical gaming. Warhammer is a good game. Battletech as well. Starcraft 2 as well. I don't like them, because I don't like tactical gaming. But I know for sure, if tactical combat would be my primary interest I would find that there. While in D&D I have to make character, would deal with a lot of work, and it wouldn't be better than them for tactical combat.

As long as a game stays as RPG it won't be a favorite for people who want a pure tactical game. Targeting this audience is a mistake.

While we say literacy is ok, as most of the people can read around us. But we hear how people sign up dangerous contracts because they aren't good with understanding written text. In litaracy their skills are limited. I know such people love simplicity, but as long as you want to sell books targeting them is a mistake. They won't like lore but will like simple tactical combat. Too bad Starcraft II is better for them. Luckily for us, there are other groups of people.

On the other hand if a customer wants roleplaying, loves lore, depth, reads up on that for every game he plays, a roleplaying game can be the *best* choice, it can be advertised as such and it might keep the said customer happy. So if we want to attract new players focusing on this area pays. Of course suggesting RP focus is good for D&D, but wouldn't be good for Battletech. Not even if I would still love roleplaying on a Battletech board.

If I would speak about my preferences, this discussion would be about challenge (what do I have to do to win) vs choice (what do I choose, how it influences story) based gaming, as I prefer the 2nd option more. But it is a personal preference. You will see how will I move away a bit from that, and why.

Because I don't believe in extremes. I think the key is a good compromise.

If you prefer challenge, and I prefer choice, we can be in a party where it is difficult for you to do your job, while I have enough freedom to roleplay in combat as winning and survival isn't a challenge for me. Of course game balance between our characters wouldn't be best. You would have to work for something I have for free. If we are in a balanced party either of us wouldn't have much fun.

How to make a good compromise then? Something that pleases us both, and has as much balance as possible to keep gamists happy as well? Not trying to reach a comprimise makes playerbase smaller and more fragmented, so it is a bad decision, if you want a profitable game. It isn't "not my prefered decision" but a "Bad one".

Lets see 3 wishes:

A choice (and immersion) based gamer would say: The game shouldn't have encounter balancing mechanisms at all (except the "is it worth it?" question), as the characters are free to decide how dangerous "jobs" they would accept.

A challenge based gamer would say: The game should be challenging for the characters to make the game fun, and "why would we consider **** as adventurers" (even if they adventure, but they aren't efficient).

A guardian of balance: Both characters should be at same strength.

So how could I aim to please all?

The first and foremost: I wouldn't focus on tactical gameplay. I wouldn't focus on balance. And I wouldn't focus on choice only. As a system is a system different parts interact. We can't fix encounter difficulty / encounter design related problems by touching those rules only. So I would focus everyone by designing the game from ground up.

I would say: all classes and character types should have *tactical* and *story based* builds, and at same level both tactical and story based builds should perform well in similar encounters and they should be somewhat comparable in strength.

But abilities for story based builds shouldn't depend on tactics and optimization much, while tactical builds should aim to maximize the importance of tactics. I would choose between things based on IC motives, etc. and stay equally efficient, while you would have a chance to think tactically and win. Even dice mechanism for different power types could support this well.

Of course we would also have a chance for *cinematic* builds who would work like storybased ones till disaster strikes, then from some points they can shine. After all D&D Next can be modular to support more playing styles. Different character types would be compatible in the party.

We would both enjoy the same adventure even if we go by the book! And we would be comparable in strenght, so game balance would be ok. Mixing the two kinds of abilities, etc wouldn't be supported in a modular system. And of course often with good tactics you could end up a bit more useful, but nothing drastical. The game is enjoyable for all.

Then, in encounter design, I would focus a bit more on story balance. All characters should be useful in most scenes, but all characters should "shine" in their areas. This way people won't say "even with reflavouring they are the same". Encounters that focus on different strengths of different characters could help this. And with this a character who isn't that combat focused would make more sense. Overall contribution would stay, your challenge would stay, etc.

Even in a published adventure you can add "Optional" encounters, where your DM can run some parts of adventure differently based on what kind of characters you have in party (combat monsters, social types and all) and this modular structure would let people who are weaker in combat but stronger socially, etc. into adventuring. Yes, of course there can be challenges where you are tested about what you (and your character) knows about lore, and it is possible to focus on some areas. Optional encounters in a modular adventure helps this. And we would see the same adventure and story with small changes.

As you see: What I propose is a modular design that wouldn't change much for fans who loved 4E style gameplay. Would you lose anything important with it? No.

Would a lot of players gain something important (for them) with it, as the game would support their playing style more? Yes.

Would you have more DMs, more parties, etc? Yes.

Of course Wizards would be able to keep the edition active for longer time with this modular design, it would be possible to sell more books.

Your preferences and mine are equally important. But if *both* of us can be happy, and others would be happy as well at same time we all win. Not doing it because you focus on one group only is a bad bussiness decision. And as it won't let you meet your (economic) goals, is a road to failure.

I am sure that if Wizards would meet this economic failure and decide they are done with D&D, you would see that just as bad as me. This is why respecting others and caring to think about it is important.

But as long as I don't see it happen, even if I look at many pages, it won't work. And often it doesn't work for the very same reasons we see everywhere. I hope you understand my problem now. Even if you like a design and think it is good, it can be a bad. Not only in the sense someone not liking it. But as a devastating decision that prevents economic success and threatens the long term existence of D&D franchise and brand.

And when reasoning and existing economic data about how something sells shows things are this bad, when Wizards tell us they didn't want it to happen and now they trying to listen more, it is easy to understand Wizards made mistakes on this level.

And while you might trust some editors because you like their previous work such trust won't work for all. And sadly some blog posts already shown how the said editors don't even deal with problem. So without players telling them what to do we can't expect a good game.
@Eneria
You proved your point.  I really tried I did to read the whole thing.  

I think many ideas for 5e are succinct and good.  In some caes it takes some text.  I think more good will come out of it if we are less antagonistic and more open to at least previewing ideas. 
It is friendly and welcoming



Sorry for coming to this, but... As you see you wrote your post. I started to reply. You edited to make sure it doesn't look like an implied insult. I seen it, was happy, decided my comment needs further editing before I post it. When I posted, and seen how your post is edited to remove the explaination, and it looks like an implied insult. I am sure it wasn't you. I am sure you know this as well. And I am sure that if I would see I would say "you attack someone who is unhappy" and we would get back to the problems.

Mind if I attribute the edit to the company and their policy / staff? Not a specific moderator, not a specific moderation. But Wizards as a company.

And mind if I also say: I explained why tldr, not trying to understand things, "you run it wrong" feel disrespectful. Even if you just joked, it didn't help with discussing stuff. But I am sure that if you would know it comes of as bad thing you wouldn't use the joke. And it might be true to others, but if you don't know when you hurt me, how to react. I am sure telling it helps. In old times accusing others of trolling was bad, now people often say "I am just trolling" even when they put a half joke comment. In fact even if I feel how you poke, pinch, with a friendly joke in most threads I would like that.

But as I see someone told how I shouldn't care, I am not the first one who sees some people offensive. So it isn't about that issue either. If users can notice how an user is unfriendly, how rude comments even in PM can happen and the company lets it go, then the place is unfriendly for the people who don't like 4E and would provide feedback. And as both on irc, from other friends, etc I keep hearing about this trend and I hear how stupid it is to try to reason here, I fear it is a trend.

It is a half bad trend. If you would go to a meeting of fans of a sports team and start telling how some of their rivals is much better, you would even get a beating. These forums are home of such dedicated fans. If Wizards tries hard to get feedback people will see what they don't like in 4E. Luckily it isn't a meeting for sports fans in Manchester, so noone gets a beating but some comments will seem bad.

Worse yet: What would be a rude thing to comment in 4E parts of board, is perfectly good here if it is backed by reasoning. On 4E forums you don't call 4E bad. Hey, even if you speak about what involves pre 4E feel, pre 3E feel for you, even that can provoke comments, but some will be friendly and helpful. But here we speak about decisions that are good or bad for the game. Yes, in an economical sense, in a bussiness sense, etc. and you will call some parts of some editions bad. And even stress the points in looooooong posts.

Analysis, when it comes to bussiness decision is a serious matter. What is normal around a gaming table is rude if you visited an AGM and ask your questions here. As this part of forum seems more like a place to make decisions I think reading a lot, understanding stuff, more serious tone is important. As you see it changes what to expect here, what should work here.

We are gamers. We both understand when some joke even some "friendly trolling" isn't an insult at gaming table. And I know we all love arguments about our favorite games as it strengthens our love for them But the feedback we provide here can determine the future of RPGs and it made things more serious.

As it isn't an issue with a specific moderator, or moderators in this case. It is an issue about what kind of communication Wizards wants here.

Moderating everything but analysis (backed up with reasoning) out of topic would make sense. Even if it would be a tough decision. After all we both know streamlining, tactical focus, extensive use of miniatures, etc were goals in D&D 3, and it tried to go back to classic 1E dungeon crawl. But many 3E fans blame 4E for actually achieving these very goals with a well executed plan. What? They have celebrated these goals and the aim for game balance in 3E. Now they have them reached and have balance and they complain?

It is probelamatic, as it makes some 3E fans look strange. But it is essential, as Wizards made the decision for futher streamlining, etc. based on their support. Their own feedback led to the changes they hate now.

To me 4E wasn't a surprise, it was a logical step forward, and was executed well. But to me this trend was bad enough at release of 3E already.

Before 3E was released I would have wanted an edition that is more or less compatible with some older books, but with significant updates to the setting. Don't get me wrong. I don't want to move back to 2E times now, that system is as old as its age suggests. But you can clean up a system, fix what is broken, improve what you can improve and release a new edition. This way people don't have to discard everything at once, and yet they have a new, less bloated and better edition.

For the same reason I would prefer if 5E would be based on 4E even if I don't like 4E. If the books you buy now would be mostly useable in 5E and would get updated much later so they would last for like 5 years, I am sure you would be happier to buy the said book, right?

So we have to take 4E appart and see how to improve it. And for this reason I will call several rules as bad, as they would be harmful (economically, etc) in a new edition. So it we would also deal with who is too weak, who is too strong, etc. type talks. But we can keep it analysis. And mods can help that. Even if they haveto moderate much from both sides.

But was that happened? No. They decided what was felt as insult, harmful stays, what was discussed about how feedback for 4E worked removed, as well as anything that asks for ceasing off topic / flaming.

How the tread looks after this? Anyone who reads doesn't know what was in moderated parts, so sees it rather one sided. They don't know why you have responded in a way I feel offensive, but they see "moderators seen me a problem". So I must have insulted people, I came here to attack others and claim how bad they are... lets not listen to this bad person. Would you agree with that picture?

Of course you wouldn't. After all you probably wouldn't try to help then. And this is when I ask: After this would you help the company in question? Why would I post anything meaningful if I can expect this kind of answer and this kind of treatment from the company? Yes, this time the company asked for my help.

And mind if I also note it was the same company that decided that how to limit discussing this part of how their company and staff operates? Of course that decision was made by same person. After all it is easy to edit problem out and say "customer is bad for questioning him". Ok, ok, of course I know. Here they can edit comments. Whats the point of bringing stuff up, if they delete what was the problem and only how they reprimand the customer stays. 

Hey as they can remove how I said it stops feedback, and hurts development process, noone sees what was in it. They can say it wasn't about development process and feedback and the communication here. In fact he can even say I made comments about his mother. It might even look like that. With a honest company you don't discuss moderators on board because it would have no impact on how company runs. Even if they are honest and trusted people discussing them would be off topic and rude. Sadly there we can't discuss a problem with how a company operates because the problem itself can prevent that. I have never imagined I would have fear this kind of editing.

As I said, the company can decide "Even if majority here are 4E fans, we should make sure noone feels hurt by their comments because we want feedback", or they won't have a friendly place to discuss things and won't get feedback to base 5E design on. It is about policies a company can decide on.

As you see from the recent events the company done something else. After all if you defend the company, they defend you when you (against your will) hurt someone else, you will be on same team, and this bond between you and them will make you buy 5E... And 6E in 2 years (will we see 5.5E before that?), and 7E in 1 more year. It is a way to capitalize on loyal fans and core books. Sadly it might destroy the value of the brand. But if I wouldn't believe in future of RPGs and I would run for quick profit, I think I would even consider this option.

But sadly if I would forget the fun I had with older edition, I would see D&D with or without these incidents in a bad enough light to see it as a threat to Hasbro. Something to get rid of. So I would understand if Wizards took this approach.

I think you can understand that when I say these boards are unfriendly I don't blame you or anyone. I blame Wizards.

If they would want to listen to people who don't like 4E they would try to listen where they are. They decided to go the "Come to our clubhouse and tell us what we do wrong... and let our fans beat you while our staff assists them" way.

I think many ideas for 5e are succinct and good.  In some caes it takes some text.  I think more good will come out of it if we are less antagonistic and more open to at least previewing ideas. 



Thank you for your support. But let me try to explain why discussing things in a very friendly environment would be vital.

In your signature there is a link that compares 4E to new Coke. It is a good point. And explains why we are in a pretty dangerous situation.

How would 5E look like?

To fans of 4E it is a change they didn't want. They would prefer more support for 4E. Won't an incompatible 5E be the new Coke for them?

At 3E we seen some edition wars, we seen how Wizards had to fix the game. And it was New Coke to many.

And there is no classic thing to bring back. If you turn to 3.5E, lots of broken things will alienate both 4E and 2E fans. Wouldn't it be "bringing back New Coke, because some fans of it left when we brought Coke Classic back" - an even worse mistake than New Coke?

This is why the place where we discuss the future of D&D is vital. As one thing we learned from new Coke: You should listen to your (potential) customers. If your way to do market research is ineffective for *any* reason (even one person can ruin it, even some of your customers can ruin it) it could be a disaster for a brand.

The first and foremost priority is to avoid that,
Hi,

I just wanted to address a few points.

1st of all, everyone should be aware that these forums and the polls on our own site are not the only venues for feedback that we are using. We are getting feedback from many different places, including playtesting, and soon the open playtests will be available. Everyone who wants to give it will be given a chance to give feedback.

Keep in mind that fans of 4th edition *also* get to have a voice, and that voice is most likely going to be pro-4th edition. That's fine and expected, and they get to say that. Just like the fans of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd get to say they prefer *those* editions.

We are doing everything possible to make the D&D Next, as well as all forums, as open and friendly as possible. Our moderators are trained and experienced in our policies and expectations. So far as I can tell they are following our expectations. While we ask that you report any post which you believe violates the Code of Conduct, we use our own judgement to decide if the post should be removed or edited.

With all this in mind, any further posts that reference moderation or policies in this thread or any other will be reported as conduct and actioned accordingly. Please stay on topic. The topic is D&D Next.

Thanks,

Monica

Monica

Wizards of the Coast Online Community Coordinator

A friendly dragon.

Getting to Know Your Magic Online Client

Basic Dungeons & Dragons FREE


I seen his poll about modifiers vs dice "tricks". And I was wondered: if Monte Cook managed to do some of the math and know how +d6 changes the average, why he haven't checked the probabilites. As you have more dice, your results will send "less random" and gravitate towards the average.



I feel I need to correct a common error here.

More small dice are less random than fewer big dice. However, adding a die always increases randomness.

Why?
Let's keep this simple: what's the smallest die-size? D1. Not a die anyone uses, but the smallest definable die-size. My friend, who collects strange dice, has one.

So, D20+2d6 is equivalent to a D20+7.

You're adding more dice, so by your logic it'd be less random. Except, that you're not; you're replacing 7d1 with 2d6, you're replacing 7 small dice with two big ones. Thus, you're increasing randomness.
How would you encourage analysis with "Yes. Now, could somebody please give me a tl;dr of this?" type comments?

Because that tells us what you're talking about. I'm going to be totally honest, I haven't fully read any of your posts in this thread. It isn't that I don't care what you have to say. It's just that, again, your posts were really, really long. If I weren't curious what you were talking about, then I wouldn't have asked for a summary.

Most people, including me, don't want to read something really, really long without having any idea what it's about. That's why abstracts exist in scientific publishing. That's why I don't go see movies that I haven't seen a trailer for (unless my friends are dragging me along or something). That's why novels have little summaries on the back cover. That's why TVs shows usually end with a little preview of the next episode.

I'm just trying to give you some advice here. If you want people to read what you have to say, then you need to make it accessible. How does that one saying go? "Brevity is the soul of wit"?

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
It isn't that I don't care what you have to say. It's just that, again, your posts were really, really long. If I weren't curious what you were talking about, then I wouldn't have asked for a summary.



Sadly sometimes even the summary is long, as we deal with rather complex topics. Lets speak about two words. System and Trust, I will even wait with the "trust part" for a later post. What does the word "system" tells you? It tells you that the rules aren't independent from each other.

When you design a system you start with understanding who would buy the game? Why would he choose roleplaying games? Why would he choose D&D on this market? Each and every question depends on the previous one.

When you know this, you think about what would certain groups want. Then you decide how to balance these needs. Then you check what would be "turn off" for some groups. Then you check how to avoid that. You see a direction you can take when developing the system. And then add how these decisions influence what most players will expect to see at gaming table, how it will change social contract.

Now at each and every point, for each and every group of possible players, and each and every point you made justify it with short reasoning. Nothing detailed, nothing complicated, keep it short, as you can discuss things later.

This is how we will have a long summary. You want to see what else is in a long versions? Which is intentionally left reserved for much later?
Keep in mind that fans of 4th edition *also* get to have a voice,


Pff. Prove it. Because Cook sure isn't. 
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
Keep in mind that fans of 4th edition *also* get to have a voice,


Pff. Prove it. Because Cook sure isn't. 



If they would have understand the problems with 4E we wouldn't have a D&D Next announced now. The "we don't want a new system again" problem won't go away when they offer 5E now. Why? Because those guys just invested money in their favorite game: Pathfinder. Wizards is trying to force "yet another edition" on them.

Going to support multiple editions with setting products, and offering reprints of older editions could make people happy and would let them more open towards 5E when it would come. New edition hurts both 4E players and PF players just as much.

You have a voice. Just it isn't heard. If you feel being ignored this way is an insult, you are free to complain *elsewhere*. Bad news: 4E isn't OGL so it won't be continued by another developer.
If they would have understand the problems with 4E we wouldn't have a D&D Next announced now. The "we don't want a new system again" problem won't go away when they offer 5E now. Why? Because those guys just invested money in their favorite game: Pathfinder. Wizards is trying to force "yet another edition" on them.

It didn't work with Essentials; I don't expect it to worth with DDN either. 

Going to support multiple editions with setting products, and offering reprints of older editions could make people happy and would let them more open towards 5E when it would come. New edition hurts both 4E players and PF players just as much.

But they can't do that, because it would weaken the brand identity. Remember that the community of players is just as integral to an RPG's success as individual customers. I think WotC's goal of reuniting the entire RPG community is admirable. Foolish, shortsighted and futile... but admirable.

You have a voice. Just it isn't heard. If you feel being ignored this way is an insult, you are free to complain *elsewhere*. Bad news: 4E isn't OGL so it won't be continued by another developer.

No, actually I'm free to complain here. I'm also free to complain on the playtest feedback forms whenever that starts. And I will. Because Cook and his team are utterly failing me in terms of building a "universal edition" for all players. Right now, what they're building is a "universal edition for all players except 4e players", and they're doing it on purpose on the assumption that the less DDN looks like 4e, the better it will sell to the people who didn't like 4e. And those of us who do like 4e? We get left out in the cold.

There is a fairly simple binary at the end of all of this: either Cook & Co. make a game that is empirically better than 4e, or they don't. If they make a better game, then I switch to it, because it's a better game. If they don't, I keep playing 4e. My confidence is high that my 4e books will see many more years of use.

-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
And I will. Because Cook and his team are utterly failing me in terms of building a "universal edition" for all players. Right now, what they're building is a "universal edition for all players except 4e players", and they're doing it on purpose on the assumption that the less DDN looks like 4e, the better it will sell to the people who didn't like 4e. And those of us who do like 4e? We get left out in the cold.

There is a fairly simple binary at the end of all of this: either Cook & Co. make a game that is empirically better than 4e, or they don't. If they make a better game, then I switch to it, because it's a better game. If they don't, I keep playing 4e. My confidence is high that my 4e books will see many more years of use.



Even though I'm one of those people that got left out in the cold on 4e, I hope it is not so.  I do think that those who believe 4e is the highest form of game design ever instituted are going to probably not be happy with 5e.  Those who like that some balance issues got fixed and that martial classes have some cooler powers will perhaps find they like 5e.  I agree though that it would be insane to play a game thats less fun if the one you have is more fun.  

I believe DDN will be a streamlined d20'ized version of 1e/2e.  Then on top of that they will build on modules that favor a 3e perspective and a 4e perspective.  At least thats my belief.  Even the stuff that favors X ed will be improved and more balanced.  I just think the vancian wizard will not make the true 4vengers happy.  I think they'll give us several magic user classes and groups can pick and choose what they want.   The class really is the simplist way to be modular.

 
A very wise stuffed tiger once said, "I don't wonder, I know."
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
a Because Cook and his team are utterly failing me in terms of building a "universal edition" for all players. Right now, what they're building is a "universal edition for all players except 4e players", and they're doing it on purpose on the assumption that the less DDN looks like 4e, the better it will sell to the people who didn't like 4e. And those of us who do like 4e? We get left out in the cold.



I doubt if it would be universal for all. So far it isn't universal for me. With 2-3 friends we run a page about roleplaying games. Some of us love games like Mage (and Vampire, and...), I don't. Yet both of us say: if Monte goes this way it won't be an edition we like. I think it will be a game universal for all Monte Cooks on dev team.
I doubt if it would be universal for all. So far it isn't universal for me. With 2-3 friends we run a page about roleplaying games. Some of us love games like Mage (and Vampire, and...), I don't. Yet both of us say: if Monte goes this way it won't be an edition we like. I think it will be a game universal for all Monte Cooks on dev team.

That's about my sense of it, yes. The difference is everyone else I know is sparklevampire lovestruck over DDN and I seem to be the only one of my group who doesn't think Cook walks on water and ***** gold. It's sickening.

-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
Sadly sometimes even the summary is long, as we deal with rather complex topics.

I've never seen a subject so complex that it couldn't be summarized in a paragraph at most. If your summary is still long, then you haven't summarized enough.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Kingreaper: You are pretty wrong here.

Feel free to open Wolfram Alpha, and enter 1d20+2d6 and enter 1d20+7

You will see the difference quickly. With 1d20+7 all outcomes have same probability to happen.
With 1d20+2d6 that isn't the case. Extremes are far more rare than average rolls.

I am sure the difference speaks for itself, and explains why they aren't equivalent, even if you say they are.

When something is "less random" for a gamer means you can predict the outcome of the events more often. With normal distribution you can do that more easily (you can expect average results). When we speak randomness in math sense, we want to know how we get the results, and with more dice we would "increase randomness". When we speak about it as a gamer, is is about "how predictable the result of an attack roll".

So when you want to keep players happy it makes sense to determine a few things first.


  • How much information I want from the roll (normally one result. But in SR3 you might roll the same test against different TNs and you will see how many successes you have against each TN.)

  • What would the ideal probability distribution to support the playing style you want to support

  • How complex your mechanic can be to support the playing style you want to support

  • Do you want to give choice after roll is made?


When you made these choices, you can choose how to roll dice based on these choices. Going in reverse won't work.

Sorry for keeping you waiting for the answer. I thought about answering someone else as well. But I came to the conclusion, if Wizard didn't understand so far that they aren't the "number one" anymore. That the internet is big and things will be discussed in many places. And how they ignored their players often was a show of disrespect.

They want to show us they changed. They won't forget about their players anymore. But I see how some changes show they ignore their current players quickly. They didn't change. So there is no point in discussing things.

At many companies and publishers they say: "If your customer feels hurt, you done something wrong". If they ignore this for many 4E players now, ignored it for many 3E players now, it realy isn't a place where you would touch respecting others as a subject. Because anywhere near Wizards it would seem offtopic. And the personal side of things aren't the most interesting part anyway.
That's about my sense of it, yes. The difference is everyone else I know is sparklevampire lovestruck over DDN and I seem to be the only one of my group who doesn't think Cook walks on water and ***** gold. It's sickening.



Some might like his work. Some don't. It is partly about preferences, partly about trust.

If an important editor creates content, it gets published, then he starts selling fixes to it as his own company, you have to ask: Why the system was broken in the first place? It led to "which version of ranger are we using?" question that led to many incompatible variant products, and issues.

You might "trust him" because he fixed your favorite class which was unplayable, and based on your trust you will see his books as good. You would define his books as: "Nothing that cannot be fixed by a good DM"

You might not trust him, because he was behind broken stuff in first hand, and he can always hope to sell fixes later. And as you won't trust him you will be skeptic when you see his work. And you will define his books as: "Nothing that doesn't need to be fixed by a good DM"

And as some sees "all of his books are good" while others see "all of his books are broken". Two sides of the "Yep, that is Monte" feeling.
I've never seen a subject so complex that it couldn't be summarized in a paragraph at most. If your summary is still long, then you haven't summarized enough.



Often a short summary doesn't tell you much, you would see "nothing here, only common sense". It will be a short summary, yes. But will it tell you what is in the long post?

This is why executive summaries that are 1-2 pages long (printed) are a common thing to see. But a 2 pages long summary (around 10K characters) would be a very long post here in itself

Of course a paragraph long intro text (maybe from conclusion), an 1-2 pages long executive summary, and a well formated PDF (graphics, etc also included) and a forum post looks different. But sadly we don't even have attachment support here.
Kingreaper: You are pretty wrong here.


As you'll see, if you actually pay attention, I'm not.

Feel free to open Wolfram Alpha, and enter 1d20+2d6 and enter 1d20+7

You will see the difference quickly. With 1d20+7 all outcomes have same probability to happen.
With 1d20+2d6 that isn't the case. Extremes are far more rare than average rolls.



They're ALSO more extreme.
You haven't decreased the probability of getting 27+, you've increased it. In 1d20+7 you have a 5% chance of gettting 27 or higher, 0% chance of 28 or higher. In 1d20+2d6 you have a ~8% chance of 27 or higher, ~5% chance of 28 or higher


Which means that, when it comes right down to it, it's more random.


I am sure the difference speaks for itself, and explains why they aren't equivalent, even if you say they are.

Equivalent =/= equal. As I said, 1d20+2d6 is more random. You see:
When something is "less random" for a gamer means you can predict the outcome of the events more often.

And it's easier to predict for the 1d20+7.

The lowest probability event in the 1d20+7 case has a probability of 5%.

The highest probability event in the 1d20+2d6 case has a probability of 5%. Most events have lower probabilities. ie. the 1d20+2d6 is harder to predict.

It's more bell-curved, sure, but it's also more random. Just like 1d100 is more random than 1d20.
Kingreaper: It depends a lot on how do we see it. As you see on 1d20+7 if we assign "critical failure" to lowest roll possible and critical success to highest roll possible we would have a critictical failure in 5% of rolls, and critical success in another 5%.

In 1d20+2d6, the chances for minimum roll: 1:720 (less than 0.2%) and same for maximum roll.

If your core system uses such "dice tricks" heavily use it to make such extremes somewhat rare.

When we speak about core mechanics, we don't know what a roll of 28 will mean. But we can know that the highest possible roll is one extreme, a lowest possible roll is another.

It doesn't matter if we roll 1d20 or 1d100, the "top 25%" high rolls will be high rolls, the lowest 25% will be low rolls.

When we look at the characteristics here, we will play with modifiers, difficulties, etc. and scale them so the events will be "as random as we want".

The other way around by designing modifiers and TNs first, base dice rolls next, and desired distribution of rolls later won't work
Often a short summary doesn't tell you much, you would see "nothing here, only common sense". It will be a short summary, yes. But will it tell you what is in the long post?

If that's how you would summarize, then I don't know what else to tell you other than that you should practice summarizing so you can get better at it. I'm just telling you that all of those thoughts that you're typing out are completely going to waste if you're not presenting them in a way that actually makes people want to read them, and part of making somebody want to read something is making it the appropriate length for the situation. That's my advice, so you can take it or leave it. Just don't reply to it with 25 paragraphs again, because I won't read it and neither will anybody else.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I'm just telling you that all of those thoughts that you're typing out are completely going to waste if you're not presenting them in a way that actually makes people want to read them, and part of making somebody want to read something is making it the appropriate length for the situation.



Yes, but we have 2 situations here.

1st: What is here for gamers. (I would say: You can't sell D&D to Starcraft 2 / Diablo 3 fans, but you can sell it to guys who roleplay and seek lore / depth even in WoW)
2nd: What is here mostly for developers, bussiness types who would ask why and would need many reasons to justify why Starcraft 2 fans / Diablo 3 fans aren't a good audience, why roleplayers are, etc, etc

You know, corporate types. Who need a 3 pages long summary to say / understand "don't pirate"

After all they have to sell the game mostly to D&D players and other roleplayers. Even if Wizards would be keen on targeting everyone else, and by trying to copy video games just to copy that audience. After they understand the reasoning to support this, we can talk about rules, and then we will see shorter summaries