My Impressions

Haven't had a chance to play, but gave it a good read and talked it over with my gaming geek buddy.

The Good

Classes are strongly differentiated again, and seem to have some great -- even elegant -- powers to make them more of what they are. That bonus action for fighters, the new implementation of divine channelling, and minor spells are great. 

 Advantage and disadvantage are great innovations.

I like moving to six kinds of saving throw. The three defenses, with your choice of stats for each, felt like essentially making three dump stats per character.

The  Themes are something I've wanted for ages. I hate the "add yet another core class" model that seemed to explode in late 3x and 4. Themes could keep us to just a few core classes, with meaningful variations within. 

Good power levels at first level. A reasonable number of hit points, but not as complex starting out as the 4th ed guys. 

The Bad

I really preferred spells being an attack against some defense -- and now they're not. 

Monster stat blocks should have all information you need to run the monster. Please, please, please include a description of each spell a monster has -- don't just list the spell and make me look it up.

Hill Dwarf and Mountain Dwarf were identical in game terms -- so what's the point of having both options?

Bring back spontaneous casting of healing magic, or make it an orison. 

The Ugly

Obviously a first effort, with details to work out. I think somebody mentioned how ray of frost is totally broken. And the module they included admits it outright. 

Overall, though I'm happy with it, this feels more than anything else like taking elements from earlier editions and mashing them up. If we're going retro, Wizards has to make something better than Pathfinder...and this isn't. Yet.



A great first draft, Wizards. I'm excited about where this is headed.
Next feels very strongly like a move to make both people who love 4e and 3e happy, but I'm afraid that it might accomplish neither. As a person who loves 4e, I find Next to have very limited and poor tactical combat options. I think I understand that they were just trying to make it possible to run without minis, but then I might as well also run it without dice, it's just as arbitrary.

And I've already seen a lot of complaints from 3e crowd about introducing abstract 4e elements such as Fighter "always damage" attack.  

I think perhaps rather than developing one system to please the all, they should have focused on TWO different products - one towards the skirmish lovers, and another towards the hardcore-pure-rpg type people.
Agree that they're in danger of pleasing nobody by trying to please everybody. 

Disagree about running without a grid. I though 4E went overboard on relying on a grid and minis (and let's not pretend that wasn't intentionally done to sell more minis).  I play with minis sometimes, but always feel like they take something from the game. Instead of imagining the fight in our heads, we're now playing a board game. Sometimes -- for example in complex, multi-combatant tussles -- it's necessary to avoid going nuts. But I also like the option to run it in our heads, and tht's not arbitrary in any sense. Just challenging in different ways.

 
I just received my packet, and my first impression was 3.5

I'm not saying "oh that's bad", and I only looked at the two cleric characters to start, and the rules, but it seems to be back to spells per day and other various 3.5 items.

Now, that said, the constant 4e changes drove my group to Pathfinder eventually, so for me, this isn't such a bad thing as I enjoy that system.  But it does make me have to ask, so why move to this? 

I do have to point out however, I HATE the name "D&D Next", absolutely hate it.

I will however run this a few times with my group to get a feel for it and a more open opinion.

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

"The three defenses, with your choice of stats for each, felt like essentially making three dump stats per character."

Generally no, with any balanced character you generally only had one dump defense. Fighters generally had low Will, wizards had low Fort, and so on. Static defenses worked pretty well for me, it saved quite a lot of time in combat.

"Monster stat blocks should have all information you need to run the monster. Please, please, please include a description of each spell a monster has -- don't just list the spell and make me look it up."

Seconded, incredibly frustrating to see a spell on even character sheets with no explanation. I make my own custom sheets, and the very first thing I'm doing is making a spellbook sheet with all your spells at a moment's reach. Monsters, even worse - I get that they're simplified, only two lines, but it's not saving any time when you still have to look it up.

"Sometimes -- for example in complex, multi-combatant tussles -- it's necessary to avoid going nuts."

I take advantage of the grid to set up much more complicated encounters. Difficult terrain, layers, obstacles, cover, reinforcements arriving from different angles, lanes of attack etc. Even when I played 3.5 we used the grid as reference, not as a replacement for imagination. On this one I'm not arguing, however - to each their own, and I look forward to the "gritty realism" expansion with OAs and flanking brought back in. If there's one thing I really do like 5E for (besides the incredible nostalgia factor) it's the promise that there'll be expansions to suit my gameplay style eventually.
My first impression was 2nd edition with highlights from 3rd and 4th.  I think 3.5 people will like it for its likeness to traditional D&D and 4E people will have complaints because it isn't what they are used to.  The big problem with trying to please both crowds, though, is that they hate and love the same things.  4E hates Vancian, 1-3.5 loves it, 3.5 loves customization, 4E loves roles.  

I'll be highly impressed if both groups like it more than their current edition, but I like it so far. 
So far I'm excited.  I know this is a playtest, so I'm not butt-hurt by certain things.  I find the advantage/disadvantage rule new, at the least, and effective at best.  I find it awesome you can break up your movement to before and after an attack without the investment in 741907423 feats like in 3.5e.  
My first impression was 2nd edition with highlights from 3rd and 4th.  I think 3.5 people will like it for its likeness to traditional D&D and 4E people will have complaints because it isn't what they are used to.  The big problem with trying to please both crowds, though, is that they hate and love the same things.  4E hates Vancian, 1-3.5 loves it, 3.5 loves customization, 4E loves roles.  

I'll be highly impressed if both groups like it more than their current edition, but I like it so far. 




3.x loves unrestrained godmode casters 4e (and to a lesser extent 1 and 2e) prefer a balance between the classes (I say to a lesser extent because the things they did to reign in godmode casters did not work as well in 1 and 2e).

So far I'm not sure if i will like the final product but from what I've seen so far there are some severe oddities and things I'm really not fond of.  I do hope that some of the things I have problems with will either be explained or changed to resolve my issues (armor and other equipment being a biggie) 
As a person who loves 4e, I find Next to have very limited and poor tactical combat options.


As I understand it (from the piles of L&L articles discussing the topic), the stated goal is that "tactical battlemap combat" will essentially be an optional layer that can be applied to any game and the characters therein (along with all the pieces that make that work but would hinder mind's eye combat).

We just haven't seen it yet.  
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