Feedback from initial reading

Okay, so I just read the playtest document and see a number of things I like, as well as a number of things I don't like. So far at least I am happy that these characters look more like the D&D characters I have come to expect. There is a little too much 4E in there for my taste. Not crazy about bringing back some of the 4E-like powers as feats (especially stuff like the fighter surge, which I wouldn't mind if you could use all day long, but not digging the 2 times a day). Clerics getting Divine Channel abilities x/per day is something I would hope to see changed to either use as much as you like or one time a day (if you need to scale for texture and power balance, then just make different clerics more or less effective at them rahter than having more per day). I like backgrounds. I really like them a lot. Don't like the HD mechanic. The description of healing looks like it was cut and pasted from 4E. I think in general my chief complaints are 1) giving each class special abilities as they advance in level (for a fighter or thief, I frankly don't want to keep track of these kinds of things and some of them extend resource management to mundane classes) and 2) The healing system with HD: adds resource management (why not just give people more HP per day), could create believability issues and is more complex than I want.

I love that monsters have actual XP. If I never have to read CR or EL charts again I will be happy. Like that combat doesn't appear keyed to a battle grid (and seems simple enough on first reading that it won't get bogged down).


So there are some changes I hope to see. The HD is still a deal breaker for me personally (but I suspect it won't be for most people). Powers aren't a dealbreaker depending on how they are done, but would really like to see them as options.

Again this is all based on my initial reading. Entirely possible I am misunderstand some elements. But figure first impressions are important.  

Just to be a bit more helpful in terms of giving you demographic data: I am someone who was not entirely happy with 3E (it felt too super-hero/anime to me and had balance issues), but liked it enough to play. Didn't like 4E when it came out and switched to other games and older editions of D&D. So I am not a current customer (haven't bought a wizards products since the 4E PHB and DMG). Started gaming in '86, started GMing regular when 2E came out (and my overall impression of D&D was probably formed during the 2E era more than any other).       
   You should receive an email within the next 30-60 minutes with instructions on how to download the playtest materials.
Rather than starting a new thread, I'll offer my own initial impressions here, as well. For perspective, I started with hybridized 1E/2E under my dad's tutelage. I started DMing a little while after. I moved onto 3E and have largely stuck with it since, as I wasn't happy with the direction of 4E. I currently DM and play Pathfinder.

Likes


  • Hit Points: The L&L article had my weary over this, but seeing the system in game, it looks like it'll work fairly well. Hit points shouldn't skyrocket at higher levels (thanks to ever increasing Constitution bonuses). This will hopefully lessen the problem of hit points outscaling damage at higher levels and keep combat shorter.

  • Spellcasting: If the wizard's arcane magic info is indicative of spellcasting in general, this is a nice improvement. Giving wizards powerful spells that are difficult for them to use (making them be sure to avoid damage) is similar in feel to older editions. The spells in general feel more like pre-4E magic, which is something I was really hoping for, and minor spells/cantrips look like they'll work well.

  • Finesse Weapons: Coming from 3.x, this is something I've been planning to add to house rules for my next game, so it was a welcome sight.

  • Skill Mastery (Rogue): I was worried after the article on rogues which mentioned "automatic successes," but the new Skill Mastery mechanic really won me over. Always rolling a minimum of 10 instead of just assuming a 10 (the way it worked in 3.x) keeps dice rolling, which I think is almost always a net positive.


Ambivalence



  • Advantage/Disadvantage: While the mechanic is intuitive and easy to use, it needs a bit in the way of explanation. What happens when you have disadvantage and roll a 20 and a 5? Do you still auto-succeed or is that a failure? Likewise with advantage and a natural 1 and a 15.

  • Six Saving Throws: While the simplicity is nice here and I'm glad we're no longer using the 4E style of saving throws, I think I'd prefer three categories to six. Six categories means every stat is important to everyone, and that's going to make having a low stat hurt far more than it needs to.

  • Target AC/DCs: I'm running on assumption with this, but keeping roll modifiers fairly simple is generally good. I do worry that the system math will remain too low throughout the game, but I can't verify that without seeing higher levels. There's some indication in the DM material that a "master" in an ability should be able to hit 23-26 DCs, though, so maybe there are more ways to advance your modifiers than the information we have now lets on. This is important because characters should feel that they're getting better at the things they do, and if they specialize in something, they should feel like they're better at that than someone else. Right now, with ability scores being the main chunk of your checks, there doesn't seem to be a lot of room for specialization or improvements as you level. Hopefully, further playtest documents will shed positive light on this.

  • Removal of Full Attacks: I've struggled with these in Pathfinder, as they can cause some un-needed complexity and also slow down gameplay somewhat. However, swinging multiple blows in a round can be fun, so I hope there's some support for this (especially for things like two-weapon fighting and higher level "Fighting Man" types). I just hope it doesn't get to the point of slowing down the game.

  • Racial Immunities: I'm torn on these. They're easier for gameplay than the old +2 bonus type stuff, but outright immunity is a pretty big change. Would the advantage system work better for these?

  • Monster Stat Blocks: I'd like to see more information presented (spell descriptions being with the monster would be nice, for instance), but I do like that these are fairly simple and should be easy to use at the table. I do miss CR, though, as it was a helpful tool for on the fly prep. I was never really a fan of having to "eyeball" a creature to decide if your group can handle it.


Dislikes



  • Daily Powers: I don't mind daily spellcasting, but I'm weary of daily powers for non-spellcasters, at least when those powers are not magical in nature. While the two we get (for the fighter and the rogue) in the playtest documents are fine, daily powers can often cause story and mechanics to become dissociated. Not every player minds this, but it's something that's important to avoid for me. I would prefer that these sorts of powers are avoided for "mundane" classes wherever possible. Beyond dissocation, I'd also prefer that not every class has resources to manage, as not every player will want to manage resources, and indeed, the system benefits from having a range of varying levels of resource management between characters.

  • Apparent Lack of Human Racial Traits: I'm not sure if this was an oversight, but there's now no reason to play human. This was a problem in earlier editions when played without level restrictions (which was fairly common) that was reversed in 3E when the bonus feat was too good to pass up for nearly every character.

  • Skills in DM Material: While this may not be a reflection of the final product, skills need to be explained to the players, not just the DM. Players need to know when their skills are relevant so they can decide which ones to focus on (by having appropriate abilities for them, and so on). This may have been a consequence of the nature of this early playtest though.


That's my initial list. I haven't playtested anything yet (and I'm not sure I'll be able to because of time, unfortunately), but I'll be watching the forums and the documents closely, at the very least.

While there's no special abilities for humans, someone on ENworld looked at the ability scores and posited this:
Most races give +1 to one or more abiity scores, and classes also add +1 to an ability score (as we've heard before). These pregens were made with the same set of ability scores or die rolls, and from these two assumptions we can derive this:
Humans get a +1 to all ability scores at character generation.

I haven't checked this myself, but I think that the human being the only character with a 9 in an ability score backs this up.
With 6 saving throws, a +1 to all abilitys scores when you roll is pretty powerful. Eyeballing it, it seems as good as the other racial traits we've seen. Possibly outdone by the Halfling's Lucky ability. 
While there's no special abilities for humans, someone on ENworld looked at the ability scores and posited this:
Most races give +1 to one or more abiity scores, and classes also add +1 to an ability score (as we've heard before). These pregens were made with the same set of ability scores or die rolls, and from these two assumptions we can derive this:
Humans get a +1 to all ability scores at character generation.

I haven't checked this myself, but I think that the human being the only character with a 9 in an ability score backs this up.
With 6 saving throws, a +1 to all abilitys scores when you roll is pretty powerful. Eyeballing it, it seems as good as the other racial traits we've seen. Possibly outdone by the Halfling's Lucky ability. 

That's a nice catch. If that is the case, I could definitely get on board with that.
KC, thank you for a well-written article showing your breadth of experience and your overall knowledge of gaming systems.  If I may, I would like to tag upon your excellent structure and offer my initial opinions on the same:



  • Hit Points:
    The L&L article had my weary over this, but seeing the system in game, it looks like it'll work fairly well. Hit points shouldn't skyrocket at higher levels (thanks to ever increasing Constitution bonuses). This will hopefully lessen the problem of hit points outscaling damage at higher levels and keep combat shorter.


This one is very interesting to me, because there appears to be a divorce between character HPs and monster HPs reminiscent of 4e.  The fact that PC HPs appear to stay low while big monster HPs escalates is good for me in that it cleverly hides the elite monster trait that allows for a 4- or 5-on-1 epic battle, but worries me for the later stages in the game where the 20th level dwarven fighter is going beast mode at 20th level with 140HP but the elven wizard is scared out of his mind with 56HP.  HPs are comparative, of course, but the 20th level wizard is probably relying on lack of ability to damage him from low-level opponents rather than thinking about how he has merely 2/3rds of the HP of your typical ogre.

This may be great design and may work out very well.  I am merely stating that it is difficult "to go backward," meaning that due to damage and HP inflation through gaming systems, it is difficult for many to be excited about lower numbers.



  • Spellcasting:
    If the wizard's arcane magic info is indicative of spellcasting in general, this is a nice improvement. Giving wizards powerful spells that are difficult for them to use (making them be sure to avoid damage) is similar in feel to older editions. The spells in general feel more like pre-4E magic, which is something I was really hoping for, and minor spells/cantrips look like they'll work well.


My take on this is quite positive on the outset.  The mechanic for taking a "kit" to increase your low-level spellcasting options is quite nice and would appeal to sage/loremaster types, and provides a nice incentive with RP flavor.  The mechanic of giving more spells at will early on is a nice balance while adding a daily spell selection on top of it, and there does appear to be the option for rituals for more elaborate spells.

My overall concern is that the wizard should AT LEAST be as powerful as the fighter, and the fighter is so strong that it would be easy to actually leave the wizard behind.  In Pathfinder, for instance, one can trick out fighters now so much that arcane spellcasters are no longer the highest sustained damage dealers.  In 4e, the arcane caster appeared to take a severe backseat in exchange for some modest control ability.



  • Skill Mastery (Rogue):
    I was worried after the article on rogues which mentioned "automatic successes," but the new Skill Mastery mechanic really won me over. Always rolling a minimum of 10 instead of just assuming a 10 (the way it worked in 3.x) keeps dice rolling, which I think is almost always a net positive.


In my opinion, this is a brilliant addition to the game.  Very difficult tasks can still fail, while more ordinary tasks are practically automatic.  This alone is one very strong reason to play a rogue character.



  • Advantage/Disadvantage:
    While the mechanic is intuitive and easy to use, it needs a bit in the way of explanation. What happens when you have disadvantage and roll a 20 and a 5? Do you still auto-succeed or is that a failure? Likewise with advantage and a natural 1 and a 15.


I never thought that was an issue.  In the first example I presume it is a failure.  In the second example, take the 15, with no auto-failure.  I doubt it is complicated at all. 

I think that this addition will be one of the mainstays of the new game.  It allows one to easily unravel many, many pages of situational rules and speeds up the game while allowing the DM greater control.  MUCH MUCH better over the hardly used +2 to check DM handout.



  • Six Saving Throws:
    While the simplicity is nice here and I'm glad we're no longer using the 4E style of saving throws, I think I'd prefer three categories to six. Six categories means every stat is important to everyone, and that's going to make having a low stat hurt far more than it needs to.


I think this is part of a "but we've always done it this way," discussion.  Although it would be cumbersome to have to calculate out and document six saving throws--if we can keep the system as written without adding an unnecessary burden of iterative bonuses then it could be extremely elegant and intuitive.

Illithid blasts your psyche!  Make a charisma save.  'nuff said.  You don't even have to read the rules to figure out what kind of saving throw you have to make.



  • Target AC/DCs:
    I'm running on assumption with this, but keeping roll modifiers fairly simple is generally good. I do worry that the system math will remain too low throughout the game, but I can't verify that without seeing higher levels. There's some indication in the DM material that a "master" in an ability should be able to hit 23-26 DCs, though, so maybe there are more ways to advance your modifiers than the information we have now lets on. This is important because characters should feel that they're getting better at the things they do, and if they specialize in something, they should feel like they're better at that than someone else. Right now, with ability scores being the main chunk of your checks, there doesn't seem to be a lot of room for specialization or improvements as you level. Hopefully, further playtest documents will shed positive light on this.


I am not worried about this at all.  The listed feats are already so incredibly powerful that I imagine that it would not be terribly difficult to ramp up at least a couple of skills into the stratosphere.



  • Removal of Full Attacks:
    I've struggled with these in Pathfinder, as they can cause some un-needed complexity and also slow down gameplay somewhat. However, swinging multiple blows in a round can be fun, so I hope there's some support for this (especially for things like two-weapon fighting and higher level "Fighting Man" types). I just hope it doesn't get to the point of slowing down the game.


Are they gone?  Since we are only seeing characters of level 1-3, I do not know if that actually means that there aren't iterative attacks to some degree available to higher-level characters.  Will there be feats like Many Shot?  I imagine so.


In either case, I agree that iterative attacks combined with feats can slow down the game, so hopefully it will be kept in check.



  • Racial Immunities:
    I'm torn on these. They're easier for gameplay than the old +2 bonus type stuff, but outright immunity is a pretty big change. Would the advantage system work better for these?


I was telling my Pathfinder players just last night that I was not a fan of outright immunities.  However, in this case I fully support it because it is a racial ability, and I've felt that race did not matter very much or was cherry-picked for certain abilities.  I am tired of seeing all the fighter-types as half-elves so they can get the bonuses vs. mental attacks/charms to cover up the "fighter's weakness."



  • Monster Stat Blocks:
    I'd like to see more information presented (spell descriptions being with the monster would be nice, for instance), but I do like that these are fairly simple and should be easy to use at the table. I do miss CR, though, as it was a helpful tool for on the fly prep. I was never really a fan of having to "eyeball" a creature to decide if your group can handle it.


I was a big fan of the 4e monster stat block presentation because I could instantly tell what they could and couldn't do.  A hybrid of 3e/4e would be fine in my book. 


I agree on the critique of CR.  I don't want to see CR back, but I would like an easy way to gauge monster power.  XP may be the way if there's an easy way to decipher it.



  • Daily Powers:
    I don't mind daily spellcasting, but I'm weary of daily powers for non-spellcasters, at least when those powers are not magical in nature. While the two we get (for the fighter and the rogue) in the playtest documents are fine, daily powers can often cause story and mechanics to become dissociated. Not every player minds this, but it's something that's important to avoid for me. I would prefer that these sorts of powers are avoided for "mundane" classes wherever possible. Beyond dissocation, I'd also prefer that not every class has resources to manage, as not every player will want to manage resources, and indeed, the system benefits from having a range of varying levels of resource management between characters.


I do not mind daily powers for non-spellcasters as long as they do not come from feats.  Feats that get to be too situational or 1/day is a lot to keep up with and generally I do not favor that type of game design.  Class abilities, however, since they come up often are just fine.  I just do not want them listed as "Daily Powers" or some such like they were in 4e.  These are not super-heros in cape and mask, they are D&D adventurers.



  • Apparent Lack of Human Racial Traits:
    I'm not sure if this was an oversight, but there's now no reason to play human. This was a problem in earlier editions when played without level restrictions (which was fairly common) that was reversed in 3E when the bonus feat was too good to pass up for nearly every character.


They appear to get bonuses to ability scores if you compare the dwarven and human clerics, although it is difficult to exactly surmise how this is occuring.  I doubt that they get +2 to two stats and +1 to two others, although that is about the difference between the two characters.


My overall reaction is somewhere between greatly enthused and highly excited.  I believe this stripped-down start is evidence that they have really heard the overall community and are prepared to deliver a game that is still highly identifiable as D&D but blends in elegant sophistication without overly burdening either the player or the DM.


Of course, we have not playtested this yet, but so far so good!















My overall concern is that the wizard should AT LEAST be as powerful as the fighter, and the fighter is so strong that it would be easy to actually leave the wizard behind.  In Pathfinder, for instance, one can trick out fighters now so much that arcane spellcasters are no longer the highest sustained damage dealers.  In 4e, the arcane caster appeared to take a severe backseat in exchange for some modest control ability.


Casters haven't been the highest sustained damage dealers for at least all of 3rd Edition, and they arguably weren't prior to that, either. They've always to some extent done less damage than a well-built fighter because that's all the fighter can really do. Either way, wizards in 3E/Pathfinder are the most powerful class, even if they don't do a lot of damage. Low caster damage *is* kind of a problem, though, in that not everyone plays the "God" wizard and thus feels inadequate at the table as a result.

This is part of why I think the lower hit point thresholds as a whole will be good for the game (that is, if monster HPs work the same way, anyway) as it makes the wizard's lesser damage still significant in far more situations.
I am not a fan of rolling for hit points, though CON being a minimum rather than a bonus helps the problem a bit.

Also, I *really* want wizards to retain the control they're famous for in 4e. "Ray of frost" is reassuring in this regard.

As a fan of 4e, here's what I like and dislike, from reading over the packet.


I like the background features, and wouldn't mind having more, or maybe the ability to choose between a few. I hope there will be some flexibility in terms of what skills you choose, though.


Having what to me seems like important class features divorced from the class is interesting, such as having defender be a theme.


Overall it seems that classes are less tactically interesting and complex than they might be. The fighter is just a guy who hits things hard; I would prefer some complexity and more options over a lot of damage. At the very least something like switching from an offensive to defensive stance, choosing to hit harder but put yourself more at risk, or something like that. Rogues are also not as interesting in-combat as they might be.


I like what was done with wizards, especially the fact that you have a few options in terms of at-will attacks which grant some level of control. I'd like to see wizards have more options for being controllers than blasters, though - wizards should be clever and their abilities should reward cleverness. The fact that spells like burning hands are explicitly described as having out of combat use is nice, though.



Daily powers of any sort was something I was hoping would be taken out.


Overall, I hope there are options for more complexity in combat. I like the out of combat roleplay features and hope that characters will get more of those and have some flexibility in what they choose within a theme. As a player, I prefer to have lots of options and be able to think up clever things to do with those options, rather than just brute force.  But in this playtest I've been seeing more of the latter than the former.



  • Advantage/Disadvantage: While the mechanic is intuitive and easy to use, it needs a bit in the way of explanation. What happens when you have disadvantage and roll a 20 and a 5? Do you still auto-succeed or is that a failure? Likewise with advantage and a natural 1 and a 15.




My reading of it is that you take the lowest roll with disadvantage and highest with advantage, thus your other rolls don't exist.  So you would have a 5 and a 15 in your circumstances, both the 20 and 1 are ignored once you determine which is higher/lower.  

Likes:
- Hit Dice (though they need to be renamed to something more familiar with healing and less familiar with determining your total hit points)
- Buttons to push for fighters and rogues 
- Spells being more effective against hurt enemies.
- Being able to break moves up

Requires more information:
- I don't want to be handed character sheets, they don't tell me where these bonuses to attack and damage bonuses are coming from (seriously, can you tell me where the fighter's attack and damage are coming from?)  
- Does flanking get you advantage?  I can't see anything that says it does, so where do rogues get advantage for sneak attack (for example)?
- Why isn't there a full skill list on the character sheets?  Or a statement of what ability goes with the skills the classes have?
- An understanding of how dual wielding will work would have been nice.

Dislikes:
- The return of spell slots.  I HATE Vancian casting.  It has felt and always will feel wrong to me.  Why not take a look back at 3.5 psionics?  That power point system feels so much more natural.  Not a deal breaker yet, but could easily become one if it goes the way of 3rd.  I dislike how limited 4th edition was about spells, but going back to spell slots is even more frustrating.
- Ambusher feat: Make this how stealth functions normally or stealth will be all about finding ways to hide in plain sight (in the stealth entry you have to be hidden at the time of the attack, not at the start of your turn).
- As it sits it looks like the rogue only exists to function as a skill monkey (sneak attack does not seem easy to acquire and they do less base damage than a fighter).  Wizards feel like controllers and that's okay, but I would like to be able to play a blaster wizard too...
- Why do clerics get fewer spells than wizards (at every level)?

Demographically: Played 3.5 and 4th.  Currently play and DM 4th.  Prefer 4th > 3.5 because balance > flexibility (which to me is the defining difference between the two).
Alright, here are my impressions:

Advantage/Disadvantage system - I was leery of this upon first reading it, because not having playtested it yet or examined the math too thoroughly, I wasn't sure how much of an impact it would have.  It's growing on me, though.  Adding yet more modifiers for situational advantages has been done to death, and isn't particularly exciting.  There's a tactile satisfaction from getting to roll 2 D20s, however (just as a 4E Avenger!), and ultimately I think it will play better at the table than it looks on paper. 

One concern is that as a flat bonus/penalty it's less flexible considering that certain situations should call for more of an advantage or disadvantage.  As boring as conditional modifiers are, they do this really well.  Perhaps the solution is to not apply advantage/disadvantage as widely, or to add optional variants of it in a different module. 

Cautiously optimistic?

Carrying Capacity - Perhaps this is nitpicky, but as was the case in 4E I think they're too generous.  Much too generous.  An average human being encumbered only beyond 100 lbs?!?!  As an experienced backpacker I can attest that this is NOT the case!  Besides D&D, the other game I currently play is The One Ring, and in that game avoiding encumbrance and travelling light matters a LOT.  I like that sense of realism, and it emphasizes immersion into the Exploration pillar much more adequetely.  For those that don't like that stuff, well that's what Bags of Holding are for!!!  I mean, that item is a staple in D&D and generous (unrealistic) carrying capacities serve to downplay it.  As nitpicky as it sounds, this is a big deal to me.

Jump Rules - Not much to say other than that I don't really like them.  They seem clunky and inelegant, but perhaps playtesting will change that.

Prone - This condition is weaksauce since standing up only costs 1 square of movement.  I'd prefer if it took up half of your movement speed.

Surprise - Potentially not severe enough?  Your reward is basically that you're almost guaranteed to go first.  Even if 4E where you could take a single action IMO there wasn't much of an incentive to actually prepare ambushes.  I'd prefer if the ambushing party could take an entire free turn before rolling initiative.  Catching your foes unawares should be a sizeable advantage, and when that's the case smart play is rewarded.

Breaking Movement Up - I love it!  Battles with grids will be more dynamic, characters can emerge from cover to shoot, then duck behind cover again (and they'll have to overcome enemies who do the same), and skirmisher characters will feel more supported. 

Resist/Vulnerability - Easy since it's always half or double, but I can't help feeling that this might be too generic.  Different monsters should have different degrees of resistance/vulnerability.  I mean, just look at wooden vs iron doors.  They should have different DR values.

Death/Dying - Interesting new mechanic.  Not surprisingly, Con saves are incorporated, which is nice since Con kinda got the shaft in 4E.

Intoxicated - This shouldn't be a thing.  Period.  To top it off, providing DR for being drunk is beyond silly.  You may be less sensitive to pain, but since you're less coordinated you're far less likely to avoid injury.  It's also more of a spectrum than a yes/no variable.  Let the player RP it if he wants his character to get sloshed, or simply apply a conditional modifier based on how drunk he is.

Dominated - Where is it?  That's a fun condition!

Armor values - Light armor appears to be too good.  As far as I can tell, Studded Leather is objectively better than Ringmail in every way (including being cheaper and weighing less).  A Rogue with 18 Dex and studded leather matches full plate right out of the gate.  There needs to be a reason to don that heavy stuff.  Perhaps it should grant some DR? 

No Arcane Spells in Armor - Too harsh.  What if you're a Fighter/Wizard M/C?  Arcane Spell Failure would be more forgiving.

Spell Presentation - HATE it.  I don't want to have to read through a paragraph to find out what my spell does.  There should be a fluff paragraph followed by a "stat block" with all of the pertinent information (range, duration, damage, etc.), followed by an "effect" line for any other random, narrative effects they want it to have (i.e. Burning Hands igniting flammable stuff).

Flanking - Does it exist?  How will non-Halfling Rogues apply Sneak Attack regularly?  And speaking of Halflings, it's stupid that they can hide behind larger creatures to gain advantage. 

Too Many Class Abilities? - I'm not sure.  Between feats that actually let you do cool stuff (which is admittedly how I prefer feats to work) and class features like Fighter's Surge and Channel Divinity, I can see having too many "X times per day" abilities being cumbersome. 

Backgrounds - I like these.  The open-ended "skills" are like a hybrid between a traditional skill system and a trait system (well, specifically the trait system in The One Ring that allows you to use a trait for anything as long as you can justify it). 
Dislikes-All of it.

I am the exact opposite of the OP there is not ENOUGH Fourth Edition here. Fighters are back to being useless meat sacks unless you shell out more cash for the module that makes them useful. They can't mark, they can't defend, but don't worry then can do a bunch of damage and have good armor and health.

Wizards are back to being complex behemoths that are more usefull then any other player BUT have almost nothing when it comes to HP. Did we learn nothing from Fourth Edition Wizards? The class can be fun, balanced against other classes, and not have to fear the evil House Cat of DOOM who will shred them apart just by looking at them.

D&D Next or  as I now call it "3.75" is not going to be used at my table ever.
Dislikes-All of it.

I am the exact opposite of the OP there is not ENOUGH Fourth Edition here. Fighters are back to being useless meat sacks unless you shell out more cash for the module that makes them useful. Wizards are back to being complex behemoths that are more usefull then any other player. Did we learn nothing from Fourth Edition Wizards?

D&D Next or  as I now call it "3.75" is not going to be used at my table ever.



Could not disagree with you more.  There is plenty to this that is not 3.X, or 2, or 4, or anything.  This is it's own thing.

I find it hard to believe that there wasn't a single feature of this playtest packet you didn't like, unless you went into it ready to dislike it. 
Dislikes-All of it.

I am the exact opposite of the OP there is not ENOUGH Fourth Edition here. Fighters are back to being useless meat sacks unless you shell out more cash for the module that makes them useful. Wizards are back to being complex behemoths that are more usefull then any other player. Did we learn nothing from Fourth Edition Wizards?

D&D Next or  as I now call it "3.75" is not going to be used at my table ever.



You are aware that this is an alpha playtest and not in any way a finished product? And you are aware that they have said that the characters for this playtest will be really simplified, since the purpose of this playtest was to test the core rules?
Dislikes-All of it.

I am the exact opposite of the OP there is not ENOUGH Fourth Edition here. Fighters are back to being useless meat sacks unless you shell out more cash for the module that makes them useful. Wizards are back to being complex behemoths that are more usefull then any other player. Did we learn nothing from Fourth Edition Wizards?

D&D Next or  as I now call it "3.75" is not going to be used at my table ever.



You are aware that this is an alpha playtest and not in any way a finished product? And you are aware that they have said that the characters for this playtest will be really simplified, since the purpose of this playtest was to test the core rules?




How can we test the core rules when there is pretty much nothing here? The Fighter is back to being a boring basic attack spammer, that's not something that really needs to be tested. You point the Fighter at the baddy and tell him "smash" not much there to test really.
Dislikes-All of it.

I am the exact opposite of the OP there is not ENOUGH Fourth Edition here. Fighters are back to being useless meat sacks unless you shell out more cash for the module that makes them useful. Wizards are back to being complex behemoths that are more usefull then any other player. Did we learn nothing from Fourth Edition Wizards?

D&D Next or  as I now call it "3.75" is not going to be used at my table ever.



You are aware that this is an alpha playtest and not in any way a finished product? And you are aware that they have said that the characters for this playtest will be really simplified, since the purpose of this playtest was to test the core rules?




How can we test the core rules when there is pretty much nothing here? The Fighter is back to being a boring basic attack spammer, that's not something that really needs to be tested. You point the Fighter at the baddy and tell him "smash" not much there to test really.



Hahah, the way you express yourself makes me think of you looking just like your profile picture there.

 The fighter has abilities. He has reaper, he gets things like cleave. Plus, theres more to this game then combat. Also, if you have been following 5e at all, you would know that Mike has said that the fighter will range from simple ones like this one to more complex ones like in 4e.

Seriously, you need to tone down the hate and look at this objectively. This little playtest does not cover the entirety of the fifth edition.
I really like the idea of the advantage/disadvantage. Its simple and very useful.

At first glance I really wasn't liking what I was seeing but as I started to piece things together there is more I like. I think this has more to do with how the packet was put together than the actual content.

I would have found it very useful if we had instructions on making a character.  Right now I look at the character sheets and then the how to play pdf and I can't figure where they are getting the numbers.  
Nothing there?  There's a 30 page rule book.  There's the new mechanic of advantage/disadvantage.  There's 6 saves instead of 3.  There's the movement and atack rules, the initiative rules, the new conditions, increased reliance on atack rolls for spells.
Dislikes-All of it.

I am the exact opposite of the OP there is not ENOUGH Fourth Edition here. Fighters are back to being useless meat sacks unless you shell out more cash for the module that makes them useful. Wizards are back to being complex behemoths that are more usefull then any other player. Did we learn nothing from Fourth Edition Wizards?

D&D Next or  as I now call it "3.75" is not going to be used at my table ever.



You are aware that this is an alpha playtest and not in any way a finished product? And you are aware that they have said that the characters for this playtest will be really simplified, since the purpose of this playtest was to test the core rules?




How can we test the core rules when there is pretty much nothing here? The Fighter is back to being a boring basic attack spammer, that's not something that really needs to be tested. You point the Fighter at the baddy and tell him "smash" not much there to test really.



Hahah, the way you express yourself makes me think of you looking just like your profile picture there.

 The fighter has abilities. He has reaper, he gets things like cleave. Plus, theres more to this game then combat. Also, if you have been following 5e at all, you would know that Mike has said that the fighter will range from simple ones like this one to more complex ones like in 4e.

Seriously, you need to tone down the hate and look at this objectively. This little playtest does not cover the entirety of the fifth edition.



From what I see of the Fighter here it looks simple, basic, and boring. Why playtest that and not the "Complex" Fighter that is "coming soon." That is the one that would need to be tested. Also why do I have a bad feeling that any of the rules I would WANT from 4th edition will cost me money? Its going to be like a pay to play MMO isn't?

I find the Rogue advantage/disadvatntage interesting and may hombrew that into my 4e game.

Dislikes-All of it.

I am the exact opposite of the OP there is not ENOUGH Fourth Edition here. Fighters are back to being useless meat sacks unless you shell out more cash for the module that makes them useful. They can't mark, they can't defend, but don't worry then can do a bunch of damage and have good armor and health.

Wizards are back to being complex behemoths that are more usefull then any other player BUT have almost nothing when it comes to HP. Did we learn nothing from Fourth Edition Wizards? The class can be fun, balanced against other classes, and not have to fear the evil House Cat of DOOM who will shred them apart just by looking at them.

D&D Next or  as I now call it "3.75" is not going to be used at my table ever.




I suppose that's why they are attempting to make all things modular for 5e, so you can use the optional 4e style wizard that does exactly the same amount of damage per power as the 4e fighter, rogue, etc. but not everyone wants to play the exact same character with different fluff.  I have enjoyed a large portion of 4e, but the overly balanced sameness of the classes is not something I favor and welcome the return to classes being different.
Dislikes-All of it.

I am the exact opposite of the OP there is not ENOUGH Fourth Edition here. Fighters are back to being useless meat sacks unless you shell out more cash for the module that makes them useful. Wizards are back to being complex behemoths that are more usefull then any other player. Did we learn nothing from Fourth Edition Wizards?

D&D Next or  as I now call it "3.75" is not going to be used at my table ever.



You are aware that this is an alpha playtest and not in any way a finished product? And you are aware that they have said that the characters for this playtest will be really simplified, since the purpose of this playtest was to test the core rules?




How can we test the core rules when there is pretty much nothing here? The Fighter is back to being a boring basic attack spammer, that's not something that really needs to be tested. You point the Fighter at the baddy and tell him "smash" not much there to test really.



Hahah, the way you express yourself makes me think of you looking just like your profile picture there.

 The fighter has abilities. He has reaper, he gets things like cleave. Plus, theres more to this game then combat. Also, if you have been following 5e at all, you would know that Mike has said that the fighter will range from simple ones like this one to more complex ones like in 4e.

Seriously, you need to tone down the hate and look at this objectively. This little playtest does not cover the entirety of the fifth edition.



From what I see of the Fighter here it looks simple, basic, and boring. Why playtest that and not the "Complex" Fighter that is "coming soon." That is the one that would need to be tested.

I find the Rogue advantage/disadvatntage interesting and may hombrew that into my 4e game.




Because the point of this playtest has nothing to do with showing you all the character options out there. It's the first of many tests that will lead up to the main game. They need to verify that the simple, core rules work well before continuing. This isn't some sort of exposition to get you to buy the new edition. This is literally a part of the development of the game.




I suppose that's why they are attempting to make all things modular for 5e, so you can use the optional 4e style wizard that does exactly the same amount of damage per power as the 4e fighter, rogue, etc. but not everyone wants to play the exact same character with different fluff.  I have enjoyed a large portion of 4e, but the overly balanced sameness of the classes is not something I favor and welcome the return to classes being different.




And that is what really bothers me. As I just edited I have a BAD feeling that the game parts I want will end up costing me. It will be just like some gated Pay to Play game and that does not sit well with me. Where does the "modular" system stop. Ohh you want Spears in your game? $30. Ohh you want your Fighter to mark? $30 MORE. I accept that part of the game is this way, but from all the news I have heard it seems even basic SKILLS will be in another book I have to shell out for.


Also @Above me. If they wanted to test it though why make the Fighter so darn simple and boring. It should be simple for the Development team to see that the class works, it has very little to balance as is. Let me see these rumored "Complex" clases and then MAYBE there would be something to look at. 
The vast majority of the modules that have been discussed up until this point are extremely likely to be present in PHB.  Just because it's a module is no reason to assume that it will be in a separate book, separately paid for. 
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The vast majority of the modules that have been discussed up until this point are extremely likely to be present in PHB.  Just because it's a module is no reason to assume that it will be in a separate book, separately paid for. 



Exactly. They stated that the first set of product/s will allow for a very large depth of play for many different groups. The other products will then probably be more specialized like campaign settings and such.



I suppose that's why they are attempting to make all things modular for 5e, so you can use the optional 4e style wizard that does exactly the same amount of damage per power as the 4e fighter, rogue, etc. but not everyone wants to play the exact same character with different fluff.  I have enjoyed a large portion of 4e, but the overly balanced sameness of the classes is not something I favor and welcome the return to classes being different.




And that is what really bothers me. As I just edited I have a BAD feeling that the game parts I want will end up costing me. It will be just like some gated Pay to Play game and that does not sit well with me. Where does the "modular" system stop. Ohh you want Spears in your game? $30. Ohh you want your Fighter to mark? $30 MORE. I accept that part of the game is this way, but from all the news I have heard it seems even basic SKILLS will be in another book I have to shell out for.




I seriously doubt that it will be something so extreme, but if they do follow such a business plan it will end them as a company.  Maybe I am simply too naive, but i do believe they are honestly trying to make a game that covers as many playstyles as possible.  I expect to have to purchase an additional 2-3 "module packs" to make the game exactly how I want it and that's ok with me.  
I pretty much ignored the rest of the OP's statements after the part where he said he'd like it if you could use Fighter's Surge all the time...HA!
I suppose that's why they are attempting to make all things modular for 5e, so you can use the optional 4e style wizard that does exactly the same amount of damage per power as the 4e fighter, rogue, etc. but not everyone wants to play the exact same character with different fluff.  I have enjoyed a large portion of 4e, but the overly balanced sameness of the classes is not something I favor and welcome the return to classes being different.


What? Are you joking or something? First of all, cut out the edition warrning crap.

Second, the classes in 4E don't all play the same. Wizards are vastly different than fighters. They blast from a distance, inflict mass status effects, and clear out weaker enemies. Fighters get up close, defend, smash things for crippling penalties. If you don't like 4E mechanics, that's fine, but don't throw out some bullshit about all the classes playing the same.
I pretty much ignored the rest of the OP's statements after the part where he said he'd like it if you could use Fighter's Surge all the time...HA!



To be fair, if I were playing a fighter, I would like it if I could use Fighter's Surge all the time, too.  I'd also like it if I had an ability that made it so my minimum roll was 20, and I always crit because I'm awesome.  Additionally, I'd like immunity: all damage.

Why wont Wizards deliver the game I want?!?!
I pretty much ignored the rest of the OP's statements after the part where he said he'd like it if you could use Fighter's Surge all the time...HA!



To be fair, if I were playing a fighter, I would like it if I could use Fighter's Surge all the time, too.  I'd also like it if I had an ability that made it so my minimum roll was 20, and I always crit because I'm awesome.  Additionally, I'd like immunity: all damage.

Why wont Wizards deliver the game I want?!?!



High level fighters will get iterative attacks, and such will kind of be able to do Fighter's Surge all the time.  Kind of.
I do, honestly, look forward to seeing what they do to the fighter at high level.

Right now, my honest assessment of the characters from the playtest material is "yep, look like a group of 1st-3rd level characters, no matter what edition it is."  They're first level characters... a fighter and a cleric have almost never been that far off from each other at 1st level.  Everyone's a fresh-little-baby-adventurer.  The proof of concept (on the fighter, at least) will be in the levels 7+ range when being Really Really Rediculously Really Good At Hitting starts to loose it's mechanical luster.
On the "why the simple fighter" front:


The test isn't just "fighter vs. monster", it's "party vs. adventure". So you are testing groups of various compositions (made up of the 5 pregens) against the various challenges of the adventure, and seeing if anything is either mechanically wrong, or just "feels wrong" from a D&D perspective, etc.


While the fighter may not have complicated things which may be hidden traps ... the 'simple fighter' has skills just like mostly everyone else. He attacks monsters, like everyone else, etc. And, if the fighter is 'ok', you can compare how 'ok' everyone else is by comparing them to the fighter, etc, etc, etc.

If you have a TON of complex parts, and things don't work, it is much harder to pinpoint which part is the problem. Also the reason to start the playtest at early levels. In scientific testing, you minimize the variables to be able to better see what is the cause of the results you are getting. Throw in too much at once, and you may end up with "this encounter is too hard", but not have specifics on if it is because the party hasn't adapted to the new characters yet, the characters are too weak, a specific character is too weak, the monster is too strong, etc, etc, etc.     
On the "why the simple fighter" front:


The test isn't just "fighter vs. monster", it's "party vs. adventure". So you are testing groups of various compositions (made up of the 5 pregens) against the various challenges of the adventure, and seeing if anything is either mechanically wrong, or just "feels wrong" from a D&D perspective, etc.

 



Actually, this isn't true.

To quote the beginning of Caves of Chaos:

"The Caves of Chaos isn't meant to be a hard test of the play balance between player characters and monsters." 
The proof of concept (on the fighter, at least) will be in the levels 7+ range when being Really Really Rediculously Really Good At Hitting starts to loose it's mechanical luster.


This can't be emphasized enough. Doing the most damage at level one is something even the 3.5 could be reasonably expected to pull off, but nobody's holding that up as a model of succesful design. I wish they'd included a list of Fighter Techniques along side the list of Spells in the playtest documents so we could see other options besides Surge and Cleave. Hell, I don't have the document open but I think that the Elf Wizard gets to chose its level-up, whereas the Fighter's techniques are chosen for him.

(Also, Cleave is a level 3 power now despite having a drastically reduced utility.)
I suppose that's why they are attempting to make all things modular for 5e, so you can use the optional 4e style wizard that does exactly the same amount of damage per power as the 4e fighter, rogue, etc. but not everyone wants to play the exact same character with different fluff.  I have enjoyed a large portion of 4e, but the overly balanced sameness of the classes is not something I favor and welcome the return to classes being different.


What? Are you joking or something? First of all, cut out the edition warrning crap.

Second, the classes in 4E don't all play the same. Wizards are vastly different than fighters. They blast from a distance, inflict mass status effects, and clear out weaker enemies. Fighters get up close, defend, smash things for crippling penalties. If you don't like 4E mechanics, that's fine, but don't throw out some bullshit about all the classes playing the same.



There is no edition warring here because as i said before, I liked a lot about 4e.  The class sameness comment is simply an observation of how 4e feels to me, you don't have to agree.  

In my opinion the damage output (by level - i.e. 3rd level daily) for each class is almost identical.  Of course the wizard can blast while the fighter cannot, but their damage output seems to be nearly identical.  This leads to a reskinned feel that makes them seem very similar.  Just because you do not agree with something does not make it bullshit.
On the "why the simple fighter" front:


The test isn't just "fighter vs. monster", it's "party vs. adventure". So you are testing groups of various compositions (made up of the 5 pregens) against the various challenges of the adventure, and seeing if anything is either mechanically wrong, or just "feels wrong" from a D&D perspective, etc.

 



Actually, this isn't true.

To quote the beginning of Caves of Chaos:

"The Caves of Chaos isn't meant to be a hard test of the play balance between player characters and monsters." 

A - I haven't actually been able to download the doc yet (grumble grumble), so I didn't spot that.


B - I didn't say vs. monsters, but against the adventure. And even then, my point was more that D&D characters don't exist in a vaccuum. You have a party, and the party faces challenges. The test isn't "is this monster unbalanced?", but to see how the party does in the adventure, and see if a character isn't pulling his weight compared to the rest, etc. So my main point still stands. Even if the fighter is 'fine', he would be a benchmark to compare the other party members to in terms of how much they are contributing. 
There is no edition warring here because as i said before, I liked a lot about 4e.  The class sameness comment is simply an observation of how 4e feels to me, you don't have to agree.  

In my opinion the damage output (by level - i.e. 3rd level daily) for each class is almost identical.  Of course the wizard can blast while the fighter cannot, but their damage output seems to be nearly identical.  This leads to a reskinned feel that makes them seem very similar.  Just because you do not agree with something does not make it bullshit.


Fair enough, but still, a general damage output progression is a good thing, IMO, because it keeps classes from being useless, and allows developers to design the class differences around the fluff--So we have the base damage curve [bdc] and it's modified by the various role mechanics. So a fighter is bdc[Mark], a Rogue is bdc[extra damage] and a Cleric is bdc[buffs and debuffs]. Controllers never really got a unified type of mechanic, but more variations on a theme, like the Wizard has bdc[area attacks]. And really, it's easy enough to break the damage curve even with the Fighter. The Greatwepon Fighter is typically a better striker than the Monk.

Where the playtest worries me is that by having vast differences in damage output as part of the basic differences in classes, they risk making scenarios which low damage classes are useless, or parties without certain classes are stopped up by something that 'only' a Wizard or 'only' a Rogue could handle.
I pretty much ignored the rest of the OP's statements after the part where he said he'd like it if you could use Fighter's Surge all the time...HA!





My point wasn't to support that specific mechanic, but that I dont like daily abilities for the fighter. Either make it work all the time at will so you dont have the resource metagame going on or give the fighter some built in beefiness that factors into all his attacks. If you want something different that is cool though. The best thing anyone can do is voice their opinion on what they liked and didn't ike. That will give them the info to develop the mechanica going forward. Chances are many of us will be happy with the end result, many will be mildly satisfied and some will be greatly dissapointed. They wont be able to please us all, but they can give it their best shot.

Right now, my honest assessment of the characters from the playtest material is "yep, look like a group of 1st-3rd level characters, no matter what edition it is."



And this is one of the things that drives me up a wall. Low Level characters do not have to be boring, Fourth edition already proved this. Compare how Fifth Edition PCs apporach combat to how Fourth edition ones do. Fourthe Edition PCs feel heroic and are capable of pulling off amazing stunts from level one. I get exicitied when I look at Fourth edition level one PCs. Lots of Options, tons of powers. Sure I can't have them all, but they all still look fun to play.

If the best thing you can say about a level one PC from Fifth edition is "yep that looks like a brand new character" that is sort of sad.
On the "why the simple fighter" front:


The test isn't just "fighter vs. monster", it's "party vs. adventure". So you are testing groups of various compositions (made up of the 5 pregens) against the various challenges of the adventure, and seeing if anything is either mechanically wrong, or just "feels wrong" from a D&D perspective, etc.

 



Actually, this isn't true.

To quote the beginning of Caves of Chaos:

"The Caves of Chaos isn't meant to be a hard test of the play balance between player characters and monsters." 



You are missing the point here, I'm afraid.  This is a party vs. adventure to test the core concepts of gameplay.  Who cares if the medusa is OP?  Does the fact that someone make a dex check break down in certain situations...THAT is what we are looking for.


Right now, my honest assessment of the characters from the playtest material is "yep, look like a group of 1st-3rd level characters, no matter what edition it is."



And this is one of the things that drives me up a wall. Low Level characters do not have to be boring, Fourth edition already proved this. Compare how Fifth Edition PCs apporach combat to how Fourth edition ones do. Fourthe Edition PCs feel heroic and are capable of pulling off amazing stunts from level one. I get exicitied when I look at Fourth edition level one PCs. Lots of Options, tons of powers. Sure I can't have them all, but they all still look fun to play.

If the best thing you can say about a level one PC from Fifth edition is "yep that looks like a brand new character" that is sort of sad.



I heartily agree with this.
Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.

Right now, my honest assessment of the characters from the playtest material is "yep, look like a group of 1st-3rd level characters, no matter what edition it is."



And this is one of the things that drives me up a wall. Low Level characters do not have to be boring, Fourth edition already proved this. Compare how Fifth Edition PCs apporach combat to how Fourth edition ones do. Fourthe Edition PCs feel heroic and are capable of pulling off amazing stunts from level one. I get exicitied when I look at Fourth edition level one PCs. Lots of Options, tons of powers. Sure I can't have them all, but they all still look fun to play.

If the best thing you can say about a level one PC from Fifth edition is "yep that looks like a brand new character" that is sort of sad.





I think people are just coming at this from dramatically different angles. For me, 5e has too many powers like that. I want something much more basic for a fighter. To me powers feel like cards for some reason (like i have a deck of resources I am tapping).