I am glad we are looking at 3rd and 4th for ideas, but how much innovating is on the table for D&DN?

Like the title says, how much room for completely new design will there be in D&D Next?  I see and understand the speculation about what from 4E will be kept, what from 3.x will be reaquired, and that Monte is datamining us for what we want, which mostly boils down to us stating what we have liked from previous editions (not much innovative coming out of us either).  

But will D&D Next just be a compliation of previous ideas, or is there some design space set aside to innovate?  

I ask because if these forums could tell you, across any edition, how to make the next best D&D, then how did we end up here on the cusp of 5E?  Its not like everyone here hasn't been making their preferences heard for years now, thru both 3rd and 4th eds, so how will this be different?  
Also I fear that if WoTC tries to please all of the people all of the time they might end up pleasing no one, so what if anything will be done to try to prevent that? 

So I wonder if we shouldn't just let the pros at WoTC do their thing,  pick a vision and design philosophy, flesh it out, and wow us with it.  My wandering thoughts anyway.  Thanks.
There's always room for new design.  It's why my efforts here are most focused at asking questions that are centered around "Is this way really the best way?  What does it do well, what does it do poorly?  What ways are better?"

There's a lot that can be done.  And a lot that is being done, even with what little came out of the DDXP seminars.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
There's always room for new design.  It's why my efforts here are most focused at asking questions that are centered around "Is this way really the best way?  What does it do well, what does it do poorly?  What ways are better?"

There's a lot that can be done.  And a lot that is being done, even with what little came out of the DDXP seminars.

I am curious what they have in mind along those lines, because reading the legends and lore kind of gives you an idea of what they are looking at, but none of those really explore options other than one that was in 4E or one that was in 3.x.  Not that those aren't good choices, it just leaves me curious about innovation.  

Like what other systems besides Vancian and AEDU are being seriously considered for magic?  Have they thought about trying to step away from per day mechanics entirely to go with per encounter instead?  Things like that.
I really don't want innovation. It's likely that attempts to seek it will alter the game in ways that are undesirable to me.
DDN will be the 'anniversary edition' of D&D.  It's a golden opportunity to highlight the many, many things that have made the game special and unique.  All players, any edition, all at the same table.  It's a huge order but I'm all for it.  40 years is something to celebrate.

I wouldn't want the game to be purely retro though.  DDN is also a perfect opportunity I think to set the course for the next half a century.  That's something else that we should be thinking and talking about.  I hope the designers will be listening.

What will D&D look like in the future?  Will it still be primarily a tabletop game?  Or might it move more heavily into video games and MMOs?  Print vs. digital formats?  Online tools?  I've never had to consider these things much myself, 'til now.  

These sorta things will have to addressed during DDN; pure nostalgia won't cut it, the game will have to look to the future.  New game design is just the tip 'o' the iceberg I think ;).
/\ Art
I think there is always room for innovative design. A rule can be presented in many different ways, after all. 

About the polls, though, I really hope D&D Next will be based on them, since many times the options I have to choose from for the questions that are being asked are sometimes limited, sometimes irrelevant, sometimes not the answer I was looking for, and I fear I am not the only one that feels that way.

What I really hope for D&D Next is to take the best features from all previous editions and mix them together along with new rules or, even better, a new system with an old school feel (but not too new to feel unfamiliar with).

So, the million dollar question is, what are the best features from previous editions? In general, those rules that made the game interesting (sometimes just even fluff, like crafting), sometimes a little unbalancing (but not too much) and, most importantly, fun. Also, as evidence has shown, players don't like excessively complex things that slow down the gameplay or that require excessive book-keeping (I am look at you, 3e-grapple & 4e end of my turn, end of his turn, and aura x powers! ).
D&D as a finished product really shouldn't be dabbling or trying to be cutting edge.  That's what for splat books are for.  3E did this fairly well by introducing Warlock-style casters and The Book of Nine Swords to test drive 4E mechanics.  And 4E introduced a bunch of extraneous mechanics in Essentials and such.

But a core set should be fairly rock sold in execution, simple to run, and easy to play.  It's hard for a veteran to imagine, but basic d20 rules aren't so simple that you can just walk off the street and master them.  Save the experimental stuff for the more advanced players and KISS.
One of the things that seemed to be popular about 3e was all of the subsystems that the classes used.  People like that there were spontaneous and prepared spellcasters; that psionics and magic worked sort of differently.  People generally like Tome of Battle, and the subsystems introduced in Tome of Magic.  Some people like Incarnum and the ones that did seemed to have liked it a lot.

As far as ToB being a 'test drive' for 4e I don't know what went wrong because ToB to me seemed a much more elegant product than 4e was.  You had 3 classes that had a few class specific features, and exclusive maneuver lists, as well as overlapping lists.  The overlapping lists gave the 3 classes a certain feel of native multiclassing; which is something that would have been extraodinarily beneficial to 4e's design.  Instead we got extensive lists of class power lists with no overlap between classes, with a tacked on, outright bad multiclassing system.  

The Bo9S system was far more extensible than the 4e one as well, which seems like it should have been a design goal for 4e if it wasn't.  

One of the design goals for 4e was to (as an example) make an elven fighter feel different than a human fighter.  Which in my opinon was a pretty big fail.  You could have easily had an Elven Powers list (you are natively 'multiclassed' as an elf when you choose that race) to select your AEDU in place of powers that you had access to based on your class.  That seems like a great way to accomplish that design goal, or at least it would have given the players more options to make their elf (or whatever) hew more closely to an archetype if that was their desire.

Last I read the ability and skill system in 5e sounds like something very different from 3e and 4e. There's not necessarily a set skill list, abilities are used for almost everything and you can take bonuses to certain actions. The target number for actions is geared to be equal to the ability score needed to perform it automatically, so if the difficulty of breaking down a particular door is a 15 then if you have a 15 Strength you can break it down automatically (kind of like having the DCs set to be the same as taking 10 on the roll in 3e/4e). They've also talked about possibly flattening out the level bonuses for attacks and ability rolls. Meaning as you level up you gain new abilities but your base attack and defense don't necessarily go up very often, the benefit being that you avoid having an arms race of player characters gaining base attack bonus and defense bonus but monsters gaining bonuses at the same rate making the whole thing kind of an illusion. With the flatter curve DMs could use a wider range of monster levels in encounters without worying about imbalances as much.

So it sounds like they're definitely trying out new things when it comes to abilities and skills and the level bonus. Of course they've also indicated various things they're looking at keeping in some form or another from both 3e and 4e too, so my guess is 5e will be a hybrid 3e/4e system with some new things mixed in too (and maybe a couple things from 2e, who knows?)
I really don't want innovation. It's likely that attempts to seek it will alter the game in ways that are undesirable to me.

Problem is, if they don't innovate anything, cjances are we'll just end up with "Edition X, Mk2". If this ends up happening, there is no reason to buy 5e.
My friends and I are mostly interested in how the game will be delivered, as compared to how the content is designed.

Truth is, no edition of DnD will ever satisfy the legions of various fanbases that exist. Certain personality types are always going to love the way 2nd edition did nonweapon proficiences, etc, etc, etc.

The thing my group is most concerned with is delivery:
1) The DDI toolset is awesome, but could be so much better.
2) We're now in a digital age of iPads, Kindle Fires, laptops, wifi.
3) There are a lot of gaming groups that don't use any physical books.
4) The Character Builder character record sheets could be greatly optimized in terms of space.

Players in their 30s & 40s have an obscene amount of nostalgia of going to their local hobby store as a kid and sifting through books. Kids these days are digital, and this trend is only going to continue. My son is 22 months old and can unlock my iPhone, turn on Netflix and start watching Yo Gabba Gabba. I know a 3 year old with an iPad loaded with digital books. My son looks at books on my wife's Kindle Fire.

Bottom line:
1) Get more digital
2) PDFs (routinely updated with errata for redownload)
3) Lower the prices...you wanna put out a new edition every 5 years, lower your prices. 
Personally, I'm a huge *fan* of the AED mechanic for powers *and* the fact that they've used that mechanic for all classes (mostly).  That said, I think 'Daily' is a poorly chosen descriptor, because people assume that means 'once a day', rather than 'it tires me out, so I can't do it very often'.

When I next start a 4e game (My group is currently in the middle of a Pathfinder campaign), I'm going to tinker with house rules for using healing surges to power 'Encounter' and 'Daily' powers.  It'll take some tinkering to find the right balance, I'm sure, but my initial idea is to give additional surges equal to the number of Encounter powers plus 3 times the number of Daily powers the character has.  Then allow the player to spend surges to activate powers at a cost of 1 point per Encounter and 3 points per Daily.

Additionally, short rests and extended rests will recover surges differently.  I'm thinking that characters will get back about 3 surges after each encounter (short rest) and 1/2 of their surge total after an extended rest.  That means essentially you can *either* get back some of your encounter powers *or* a daily after each encounter.  It also means parties which successfully manage their power use can extend their 'working day' by using fewer big powers, but they can also go in big in more than one fight per day.  Healing will still use those same surges, though, so there would still be an eventual limit on just how long a party can keep going.  It also has the side-effect of keeping a party that was beaten down severely off their feet for more than one night.  (Or at least making that next day a bit more dicey than it might be otherwise.)

It also has the side-effect of explaining why your fighter can't do that uber-move every round.  He can pull it off quite a few times if he needs to, but he's going to wear himself down to the point that he's easy pickings if he does it.
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