Mike Mearls' AMA on Reddit makes me feel a lot better about D&D Next

Link here, for the curious. I'd strongly encourage you to read through his posts - he addresses a LOT of issues I've seen discussed on this forum. Whether or not you think he can deliver is still up to you, but as far as the goals and design philosophy of 5E, I'm a lot less worried.

Here are a few choice quotes that make me feel like we're not being completely ignored:

One of the big things we learned from 4e is that having a robust math system is a big help for the game.

If you look at where we are right now, the core game leans more toward combat as war. Fights are fast and reward people who can get advantage or force the monsters to commit piecemeal. You can become overwhelmed if you let all 10 goblins rush you at once.

For combat as sport, that is 100% where the full blown tactical rules module is aiming. This is one of those areas where groups have very different tastes, and modularity should help us bridge that gap if we do it right.

We're introducing a system of combat maneuvers, and we're also looking at stuff like the Book of Nine Swords, psionics, and the focus feats from the 3.5 PH 2 for inspiration for martial characters. In many ways, the key is finding a way to express those options that preserves the feel and flavor of D&D while also keeping the classes unique.

We're completely re-working armor. We're bulking up heavy armor, giving medium armor a better definition, and slightly pulling back on light armor.

1. We didn't have the fighter stuff done, and we also wanted to see if it felt weird to have clerics who can both pew-pew and bash-bash, so that's what we went with. A more complex fighter is in the works.

2. Here's the biggest thing people don't see when it comes to magic missile vs. the fighter - the fighter's multiple attacks at higher levels. Of course, if it's still unbalanced we'll fix it.

3. A full combat system is something that we expect will be in the core, but a formal interaction system is likely to be in a module. At this stage, combat speaks more directly to making healing, the actual combat rules, and character balance in a fight key. In other words, it provides an environment that better matches what the core covers in terms of core mechanics. That said, in reading play reports we're definitely looking to see if DMs are adding in those elements themselves, or if they need more mechanical pointers to bring those things into play.

You could say it [regarding 18 rats as an encounter] was a good idea in that it gave us a lot of immediate, aggressive feedback to never, ever, ever do that again and to immediately, right now, fix that.

First, I think that 4e fans will see more stuff they like - the tactical rules module, maneuvers for fighters, other magic systems - as we move along. So, that's one I think we can fix. What I hope for people who liked 4e is that they get the balance they want and the options to have cool, complex tactical battles that move much faster.

The key to me is to get out of the business of dictating what D&D must be for all groups, and instead give individual DMs the ability to shape the game as they see fit.

Regarding his article from 7 years back on the DM-may-I issue:
This is an easy one - we have a maneuver system in process. Also, the tactical rules module I'm writing as a lot more detail and removes DM adjudication to some parts of the rules (cover) for groups that want that.

The key to that post is that different players like different parts of the game, and their mechanical needs are much different. If you like combat as a tactical challenge, it's irritating if the challenge becomes much more about convincing the DM to let you do stuff rather than using the rules to come up with tactics to overcome an enemy.

People who like combat like the rules as arbiter more than the DM as arbiter. OTOH, people who like interaction and getting into character probably want the DM to take an active hand in judging things, rather than manipulating rules.

So, my outlook has not changed, but what has changed is the idea that one person's outlook should shape how everyone else runs D&D. It really speaks to modularity - let people shape the game to fit how they want to play.

And finally,
I mean, when we talk about modularity and making the game that people want to play, it's not like this enormous prank or something. We're aren't printing the first draft of the playtest as the final, unalterable game. That would defeat the purpose of the playtest.

57029358 wrote:
... congratulations, Monkeygentleman.
You won the unwinnable.
68773941 wrote:
monkeygentleman, you are the worst thing to happen to the CharOp forums since Mearls took over WotC.
This is exactly what a multistage playtest is for, guys.
Link here, for the curious. I'd strongly encourage you to read through his posts - he addresses a LOT of issues I've seen discussed on this forum. Whether or not you think he can deliver is still up to you, but as far as the goals and design philosophy of 5E, I'm a lot less worried.

Here are a few choice quotes that make me feel like we're not being completely ignored:

One of the big things we learned from 4e is that having a robust math system is a big help for the game.

If you look at where we are right now, the core game leans more toward combat as war. Fights are fast and reward people who can get advantage or force the monsters to commit piecemeal. You can become overwhelmed if you let all 10 goblins rush you at once.

For combat as sport, that is 100% where the full blown tactical rules module is aiming. This is one of those areas where groups have very different tastes, and modularity should help us bridge that gap if we do it right.

We're introducing a system of combat maneuvers, and we're also looking at stuff like the Book of Nine Swords, psionics, and the focus feats from the 3.5 PH 2 for inspiration for martial characters. In many ways, the key is finding a way to express those options that preserves the feel and flavor of D&D while also keeping the classes unique.

We're completely re-working armor. We're bulking up heavy armor, giving medium armor a better definition, and slightly pulling back on light armor.

1. We didn't have the fighter stuff done, and we also wanted to see if it felt weird to have clerics who can both pew-pew and bash-bash, so that's what we went with. A more complex fighter is in the works.

2. Here's the biggest thing people don't see when it comes to magic missile vs. the fighter - the fighter's multiple attacks at higher levels. Of course, if it's still unbalanced we'll fix it.

3. A full combat system is something that we expect will be in the core, but a formal interaction system is likely to be in a module. At this stage, combat speaks more directly to making healing, the actual combat rules, and character balance in a fight key. In other words, it provides an environment that better matches what the core covers in terms of core mechanics. That said, in reading play reports we're definitely looking to see if DMs are adding in those elements themselves, or if they need more mechanical pointers to bring those things into play.

You could say it [regarding 18 rats as an encounter] was a good idea in that it gave us a lot of immediate, aggressive feedback to never, ever, ever do that again and to immediately, right now, fix that.

First, I think that 4e fans will see more stuff they like - the tactical rules module, maneuvers for fighters, other magic systems - as we move along. So, that's one I think we can fix. What I hope for people who liked 4e is that they get the balance they want and the options to have cool, complex tactical battles that move much faster.

The key to me is to get out of the business of dictating what D&D must be for all groups, and instead give individual DMs the ability to shape the game as they see fit.

Regarding his article from 7 years back on the DM-may-I issue:
This is an easy one - we have a maneuver system in process. Also, the tactical rules module I'm writing as a lot more detail and removes DM adjudication to some parts of the rules (cover) for groups that want that.

The key to that post is that different players like different parts of the game, and their mechanical needs are much different. If you like combat as a tactical challenge, it's irritating if the challenge becomes much more about convincing the DM to let you do stuff rather than using the rules to come up with tactics to overcome an enemy.

People who like combat like the rules as arbiter more than the DM as arbiter. OTOH, people who like interaction and getting into character probably want the DM to take an active hand in judging things, rather than manipulating rules.

So, my outlook has not changed, but what has changed is the idea that one person's outlook should shape how everyone else runs D&D. It really speaks to modularity - let people shape the game to fit how they want to play.

And finally,
I mean, when we talk about modularity and making the game that people want to play, it's not like this enormous prank or something. We're aren't printing the first draft of the playtest as the final, unalterable game. That would defeat the purpose of the playtest.


Mmh, many great promises... when I see I will believe...
No more vancian. No "edition war" for me, thank'you.
Here's a post that has me worried:

Classes also give ability bonuses, so the ideas is that a human is more balanced than other races and that the other races are a little more focused vs. the generalist human.
Anyone can take maneuvers.
We talked a lot about this, and the big key fell in two places - it inflates AC unless you take Dex out of that equation, and it creates big gaps in accuracy unless you take Str/Dex out of attack rolls.
That's the plan, though you'll need to seek out character options for that.
Healing is definitely going to get a number of dials to let DMs tweak it to fit their games. You can imagine a range that starts with "Festering wounds and missing limbs" on one end and has "Sleep cures all ills" on the other.




Everyone can take maneuvers, so martial characters get no unique toys.  Now combine that with this:

Right now, it's mainly a feel thing. We could easily change some classes to themes, but the key lies in what feels right for the game. Also, some classes have enough unique mechanics that we might be overloaded the theme system if we tried to make that work. 
For instance, right now a theme gives you one thing at level 1. Would that feel correct for a paladin or monk? My sense is that it come across as a little too thin. OTOH, if a class feels like it could work in that way, we'll explore it. The assassin comes to mind - aside from poison use, a lot of the key assassin elements can be covered by the rogue.



Themes only give one ability per feat. This means that a level 20 fighter is capped at 10 maneuvers, ever. But a Cleric could get those same 10 maneuvers, and also have his spells. Someone please explain to me how this helps the caster dominance problem? 
I think because the fighter is going to have more feats, like 3.5.


Themes only give one ability per feat. This means that a level 20 fighter is capped at 10 maneuvers, ever. But a Cleric could get those same 10 maneuvers, and also have his spells. Someone please explain to me how this helps the caster dominance problem? 




Well, don't forget the two themes thing the fighter has going for him, doubling his potential manuvers.
Well, don't forget the two themes thing the fighter has going for him, doubling his potential manuvers.

I still think that idea is a cheap copout in lieu of doing actual design work on the Fighter. The Rogue gets Schemes that give him sets of unique tricks, why doesn't the Fighter get Forms or Schools that allow the same? Something roughly analogous to 7th Sea's schools would work very nicely, I think. Want an aggressive, single-blade Fighter? Choose langes schwert, which focuses on devastating efficiency with a long blade. Want a defensive brick wall? Choose legionnaire, which builds his defense around trapping opponents between his shield and his weapon. Want a lightning-quick style that attacks from all directions? Choose florentine, which fights with a blade in either hand. That kind of thing.

Themes only give one ability per feat. This means that a level 20 fighter is capped at 10 maneuvers, ever. But a Cleric could get those same 10 maneuvers, and also have his spells. Someone please explain to me how this helps the caster dominance problem?

Where are you getting this from? You're making a lot of assumptions about how Themes and Feats work, when we have no real data on either. Is there any particular reason why the Theme that grants combat maneuvers shouldn't work like the Magic User Theme and grant several at once?

And the "caster dominance problem" is something they've said they're addressing elsewhere in the math. To actually answer your question, though; a Cleric could take those same maneuvers, yes; but every round he's using one of those is a round he's not using a spell of his, and he's not taken any Themes that make his spellcasting stronger.

I'm just fine with combat maneuver systems being available to anyone, just like MU is available to anyone. A Fighter who busts out a magic missile instead of a crossbow when the fight happens at a distance is no different from a Wizard who reaches for a longsword instead of a shocking grasp when the fighting gets up close and personal.

...That is contingent on the Fighters also getting something more, however, as I said above. 
Well, don't forget the two themes thing the fighter has going for him, doubling his potential manuvers.

I still think that idea is a cheap copout in lieu of doing actual design work on the Fighter. The Rogue gets Schemes that give him sets of unique tricks, why doesn't the Fighter get Forms or Schools that allow the same? Something roughly analogous to 7th Sea's schools would work very nicely, I think. Want an aggressive, single-blade Fighter? Choose langes schwert, which focuses on devastating efficiency with a long blade. Want a defensive brick wall? Choose legionnaire, which builds his defense around trapping opponents between his shield and his weapon. Want a lightning-quick style that attacks from all directions? Choose florentine, which fights with a blade in either hand. That kind of thing.

Themes only give one ability per feat. This means that a level 20 fighter is capped at 10 maneuvers, ever. But a Cleric could get those same 10 maneuvers, and also have his spells. Someone please explain to me how this helps the caster dominance problem?

Where are you getting this from? You're making a lot of assumptions about how Themes and Feats work, when we have no real data on either. Is there any particular reason why the Theme that grants combat maneuvers shouldn't work like the Magic User Theme and grant several at once?

And the "caster dominance problem" is something they've said they're addressing elsewhere in the math. To actually answer your question, though; a Cleric could take those same maneuvers, yes; but every round he's using one of those is a round he's not using a spell of his, and he's not taken any Themes that make his spellcasting stronger.

I'm just fine with combat maneuver systems being available to anyone, just like MU is available to anyone. A Fighter who busts out a magic missile instead of a crossbow when the fight happens at a distance is no different from a Wizard who reaches for a longsword instead of a shocking grasp when the fighting gets up close and personal.

...That is contingent on the Fighters also getting something more, however, as I said above. 



I agree; I think a fighter should get a discipline (or something) that is similar to the role scheme plays wih a rogue.  It would go a long way to addressing the fighter's issue in 3e in my opinion. 
I'm with the OP on this, I like what they're saying.  Now I want to see it put into action.  And like Kalranya, I'm okay with all classes having access to some maneuvers, as long as Fighters are Kings in that Castle. 
I think because the fighter is going to have more feats, like 3.5.





Well, don't forget the two themes thing the fighter has going for him, doubling his potential manuvers.



Oh yay, the fighter gets more feats. Why does this sound familiar?

Oh yeah, that's what 3.5 did, and Fighters absolutely sucked there for good reason.

Seriously it's sloppy lazy design that doesn't actually fix anything. 


Themes only give one ability per feat. This means that a level 20 fighter is capped at 10 maneuvers, ever. But a Cleric could get those same 10 maneuvers, and also have his spells. Someone please explain to me how this helps the caster dominance problem?

Where are you getting this from? You're making a lot of assumptions about how Themes and Feats work, when we have no real data on either.

Is there any particular reason why the Theme that grants combat maneuvers shouldn't work like the Magic User Theme and grant several at once?



Read the second quote from mearls I put up in the post you quoted. He says that themes are only giving one ability at level 1. That means he's saying all feats are one ability. That implies the magic user theme has probably already been altered so they don't give more than one ability at level 1.


And the "caster dominance problem" is something they've said they're addressing elsewhere in the math. To actually answer your question, though; a Cleric could take those same maneuvers, yes; but every round he's using one of those is a round he's not using a spell of his, and he's not taken any Themes that make his spellcasting stronger.



But the Melee Cleric isn't casting most of his spells in combat. A lot of his spells are buffs. Even his heal is a non-action. Any maneuvers he gets are just gravy.

You can't fix the problem of option diversity with math. It just doesn't work that way. You can balance out combat damage output that way, maybe. But it doesn't fix casters dominating, it just limits their domination a little bit. But when you can have a caster who can put all of his spells into passive buffing and then take the Fighter's maneuver set on top of that? It's a recipe for trouble no matter which way you look at it. This is without even saying that all classes deserve to have a unique ability.

I'm just fine with combat maneuver systems being available to anyone, just like MU is available to anyone. A Fighter who busts out a magic missile instead of a crossbow when the fight happens at a distance is no different from a Wizard who reaches for a longsword instead of a shocking grasp when the fighting gets up close and personal.



Sure, if someone can spend a feat to get a couple cantrip-equivalent maneuvers, that's fine. I don't care if the wizard or cleric can pick up bull rush or whatever with a feat. What I do disagree with is making it so the only things that Fighters get is something that everyone else can also get. 3.5 went down this route, it didn't work. It doesn't matter if the math works and you can still deal level appropriate damage when everyone else has access to tons of options you don't, while you have no unique options of your own.
Neat read.

I'm honestly not that intriqued about the "what we're going to do" specifics at this point though.  I'm interested in seeing the next playtest iteration though.
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)



Themes only give one ability per feat. This means that a level 20 fighter is capped at 10 maneuvers, ever. But a Cleric could get those same 10 maneuvers, and also have his spells. Someone please explain to me how this helps the caster dominance problem?

Where are you getting this from? You're making a lot of assumptions about how Themes and Feats work, when we have no real data on either.

Is there any particular reason why the Theme that grants combat maneuvers shouldn't work like the Magic User Theme and grant several at once?



Read the second quote from mearls I put up in the post you quoted. He says that themes are only giving one ability at level 1. That means he's saying all feats are one ability. That implies the magic user theme has probably already been altered so they don't give more than one ability at level 1.




To me, saying that it "gives 1 thing at level 1" indicates that it will be giving more at higher levels. That is, maybe they will give "1 power at level 1, 2 powers at level 5, etc.", meaning it could possible grow with you. Or the feats underlying the theme maybe have more powerful versions, so the level 1 feat only gives 1 power, but the level 3 feat that requires the level 1 feat gives 2 powers, and so on and so forth.

Also, specifically he said that THEMES give you 1 thing at level 1. This could mean 1 FEAT at level 1, not feats giving you 1 thing only. Based on what he specifically said, it puts the limit on 1 feat at level 1 for a theme, not 1 ability per feat. Remember, feats and themes are two different things.

Granted, this is speculation so we won't know until we actually see it.
Themes only give one ability per feat. This means that a level 20 fighter is capped at 10 maneuvers, ever. But a Cleric could get those same 10 maneuvers, and also have his spells. Someone please explain to me how this helps the caster dominance problem?

Where are you getting this from? You're making a lot of assumptions about how Themes and Feats work, when we have no real data on either. Is there any particular reason why the Theme that grants combat maneuvers shouldn't work like the Magic User Theme and grant several at once?


If they live up to what they've said, then you will get "an entire suite" of maneuvers for just a single feat.  This was said in the live chat if you feel the need to check it for yourself.

That being said, I do still think the fighter needs something more unique than "Rawr!  Moar Damage!" and "Rawr!  Me swing again this round!"

Also, I do think the fighter damage bonus could be expressed in a better way if they opt to keep it.  A +2 basically amounts to upping the die type by two (on average).  The idea that a fighter is deadlier with all weapons seems more evocative to me if the fighter does 1d12 with a longsword, instead of 1d8, than it does if he gets a simple +2.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

i'm pretty sure one of the newer blog post by Bruce cordell indicates Themes give out feats at a rate of one every uneven level:

"As earlier noted, Seren also has the Magic User theme. A theme reflects the manner in which she (and other characters) interact with the world. So as she gains experience and knowledge, her theme grows with her, adding to her expertise over time. As the rules iteration currently stands, a theme is how a character gains feats. Like earlier editions, feats offered by a theme come at specified levels. Currently, we’ve set the default for feat acquisition at character levels 1, 3, 5, and so on. Which means that Seren, when portrayed as a 5th-level D&D character, has three feats. Her 1st-level feat gives her two extra minor spells, her 3rd-level feat gives her a familiar (Seren likes ravens), and her 5th-level feat gives her a flourish with a favorite spell. In Seren’s case, it’s fireball, baby!"
 
now, whether the 5th level fireball is because there's a feat that lets you cherry pick spells or a byproduct of the "magic user" theme is still unclear, as it stands we know how feats are currently gained and it's tied to themes. 

it also seems that themes might simply end up being a full-package of pre-planned feats rather then simply starting feats as well backgrounds each providing a singular trait:

"Skills (and one trait) are provided in a story package called background, and feats (and a level progression) are provided in a story package called theme.

it also seems that while you can pick feats as you level the game might, by default, have you pick the entire feat progression pre-game then "lock" you in your theme/package (yes i know you Rule Derp it away, but the current iteration still makes some assumptions):

"The guidelines we’d provide for such a total customization option would tell you to encourage your players to create a background that matched the skills they chose, and come up with a theme to explain the feats" since, as previously mentionned, the feats offered come at a specified level.
Here's a post that has me worried:

Everyone can take maneuvers, so martial characters get no unique toys.  Now combine that with this:

Themes only give one ability per feat. This means that a level 20 fighter is capped at 10 maneuvers, ever. But a Cleric could get those same 10 maneuvers, and also have his spells. Someone please explain to me how this helps the caster dominance problem?


They mentioned at one point that it might not be a 1:1 thing, i.e. that you might spend one feat and generally get the ability to use maneuvers.  I'm sure this is still heavily in development.

Fighters will still have the best attack bonuses and whatnot, and they did say that they may give fighters an extra theme or something to help "pay" for maneuvers and make them special other than just "I have teh biggest maths."  Personally I love the idea of playing a smashy cleric who bought fighter maneuvers (or even better--a "smashy" cleric with Dex who bought rogue maneuvers), but you're right, a fighter needs to feel extra-special to compete with that.

However, I can see a table with three melee characters being balanced and having fun, in this scenario: the "simple" fighter has a double dose of feats, all combat-focused, who basically cuts things in half with every basic attack; the "complex" fighter does less damage on a swing but can knock opponents around, make himself sticky, and all the other fun stuff a 4e fighter (non-slayer) could do; the melee cleric does less damage than either, and his maneuver feats are in part wasted because he spends half his actions casting rather than making melee attacks, but of course he does have both options.

Then the laser cleric shows up, with feats optimizing his casting, and nukes everything singlehandedly. /snark

"Edison didn't succeed the first time he invented Benjamin Franklin, either." Albert the Alligator, Walt Kelly's Pogo Sunday Book  
The Core Coliseum: test out your 4e builds and fight to the death.

Upon a further readthrough of the AMA, the one question I've been wondering about for seven months now has been answered, in exactly the manner I expected it to be. Paraphrasing from two points in the subreddit:


Redditor: If edition x is already my favorite game ever and gives me exactly what I want, why should I switch to Next?

Mearls: Don't! Keep playing your favorite edition! 


Vindication, straight from the head of D&D RPG R&D. I wasn't planning on supporting the new edition anyway, but now I don't even have to feel bad about it. The project lead just told me to not buy his product. Done.
I think I actually might have gotten the last question in.

Anyway: Tons of questions, answered honestly. Fighters will have just as many bells and whistles as they did in 4E, should you so choose. They're committed to the modular design. People will get to play how they want, rather than only how the designers or edition-avengers from any particular camp claim is 'best'. I'm happy about it.
A most excellent article and thread.  I find it very pleasing to see that it appears our feedback from the play test(s) is being acknowledged.

I find I am liking the promise that D&D Next is showing.  Hopefully, the devs will be able to deliver.
Tons of questions, answered honestly. Fighters will have just as many bells and whistles as they did in 4E, should you so choose. They're committed to the modular design. People will get to play how they want, rather than only how the designers or edition-avengers from any particular camp claim is 'best'. I'm happy about it.


That's what they're saying, which is why I'm hopeful, but I'm skeptical enough to wait to see the final execution.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

@anyone it applies to: "What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." - Mike Mearls

Don't be that guy. 
This quote caught my eye:



Mike Mearls:

For instance, if a wizard can turn invisible we have to be cool with rogues having an almost entirely assured chance of success to hide or sneak up on people. It's unbalanced if the guy who is supposed to be stealthy has a real chance of failure, while the wizard's magic has 100% chance of success of turning someone invisible.




I think I would rather have the Wizard have a percent chance of failure, than have the Rogue auto-succeed.

Getting better at spells is a prevailing trope. Sometimes an invisibility spell works well, sometimes notsomuch.

Maybe, when “attacking” with an invisibility spell roll once versus the Wisdom of all creatures in the room. A successful “hit” means they cant see you. A “partial hit” means your obscured, and you gain a +2 cover bonus.
@anyone it applies to: "What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." - Mike Mearls

Don't be that guy. 



Why not?  Until we are actually SHOWN it's not true, what Mearls says (or any other Dev) can (and should given Wotc's past history) be taken with a rather large chunk of sodium chloride.  In short, Talk is Cheap.  Show me.  [Same with the 'demonstrably untrue'  That's more talk with very little to back that up.]


-Polaris

Why not?  Until we are actually SHOWN it's not true, what Mearls says (or any other Dev) can (and should given Wotc's past history) be taken with a rather large chunk of sodium chloride.  In short, Talk is Cheap.  Show me.  [Same with the 'demonstrably untrue'  That's more talk with very little to back that up.]


-Polaris



If you can prove it false, then by all means, go nuts.


Until then, all yuo're doing is pretending to knowledge and wisdom that you do not possess.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.

Why not?  Until we are actually SHOWN it's not true, what Mearls says (or any other Dev) can (and should given Wotc's past history) be taken with a rather large chunk of sodium chloride.  In short, Talk is Cheap.  Show me.  [Same with the 'demonstrably untrue'  That's more talk with very little to back that up.]


-Polaris



If you can prove it false, then by all means, go nuts.


Until then, all yuo're doing is pretending to knowledge and wisdom that you do not possess.



Now you are playing the "shifting of burdens" game.  The burden of proof is on those that want to prove/show a positive statement...in this case a new edition of DnD.  I have every right to assume/think contrary to them until I am shown otherwise....especially given Wotc's record of.....um...shall we say 'exaggeration' over the past decade or so.  Enough said I think.


-Polaris

Why not?  Until we are actually SHOWN it's not true, what Mearls says (or any other Dev) can (and should given Wotc's past history) be taken with a rather large chunk of sodium chloride.  In short, Talk is Cheap.  Show me.  [Same with the 'demonstrably untrue'  That's more talk with very little to back that up.]


-Polaris



If you can prove it false, then by all means, go nuts.


Until then, all yuo're doing is pretending to knowledge and wisdom that you do not possess.



It's prevalent on forums.  I'm...  Well, I don't think WotC has the best track record; however, I'm still in the wait and see category.  I think the current attitude of attempting to interact with the fans is a bit of a departure, at least that's my perception, from the their past behavior.  I think it could go either way.


So, we'll see...  But then maybe Polaris's approach is better.  If they fail; expectant fans will be disappointed.  If they succeed; Polaris should be so surprised and happy.  Is it better to set yourself up to be pleasantly surprised?  Or to be bitterly disappointed? 
Is it better to pointlessly doomsay for a year on the feedback forums 'til the release, while assuming the entire staff of the company you're giving feedback to is just flat lying to you, or is it better to chill out and just go have a sandwich?
Is it better to pointlessly doomsay for a year on the feedback forums 'til the release, while assuming the entire staff of the company you're giving feedback to is just flat lying to you, or is it better to chill out and just go have a sandwich?


Obesity is a serious issue, I think he should be burning calories with fear instead of eating comfort food. ;)
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.
Oh lordy, here we go again.

I can't help but think that maybe, just maybe, threads would generally be more consistently palatable if we didn't keep getting "They're lying!  We can't trust them!" and "We have to trust them!  We don't know, they said they were making us cookies - they're probably exactly the cookies you want!  Because they know, man, they know."

EDIT: Oh oh, can't forget: "Hey, you can't tell how the food will taste just looking only at the ingredients in the pot right now!  They've promised you'll like it, and you should give them a chance, and stop complaining about all the animal feces they've put in the pot, because you can't judge it until you've tasted the final product.  With animal feces in it, and everything."

Any other genearlized disruptive positions I can throw in?


Actually on topic:, Again, I think this is one of the better bits of information we've read.  But I'm not going to base my comments around elements of the game we haven't seen; it does make me look forward to seeing more and new stuff.
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's prevalent on forums.  I'm...  Well, I don't think WotC has the best track record; however, I'm still in the wait and see category.  I think the current attitude of attempting to interact with the fans is a bit of a departure, at least that's my perception, from the their past behavior.  I think it could go either way. 




The fact they are intecting with the fans at all is the only thing I am hanging any shred of hope on (because it does stand in stark contrast with 2007-8).  I would also be delighted if I was totally wrong about 5e....but all the indications so far including the public playtest sure don't seem to indicate that...and I'll leave that there.

The other problem is I am more than half-convinced that the entire public playtesting is being done in bad faith which isn't helping my disposition...and contrary to what some may want to claim, that is not an outlandish or outrageous notion.  We already know that Pathfinder's public playtesting was largely done in bad faith.  Almost no meaningful decisions were made based on the much ballyhooed public playtesting of Pathfinder (and honestly for good design reasons).  I have little expectations that this is different.  In short, I think this is a big marketing game.

I also more than suspect that the actual state of 5e is a lot more advanced and a lot less 'compatible' than is being let on.  I think this for two reasons:

1.  When 5e was announced in January, Wotc essentially killed it's own ongoing product line (4e) in the head.  No one wants to buy or invest in a dying edition.  There is simply no way that Hasbro will tolerate letting a product line lie fallow for a year and a half while it's sucessor is being developed.  That in turn tells me that we should expect 5e (or DDN if you like) by this X-Mas season or perhaps very early (Q1 or Q2) 2013.  The raw economics won't let them hold it back any longer than that, ready or not.

2. I know (as do many others here) that the friends and family playtest was far more complete quite different in many important respects than what was released "in the wild" (i.e. publically).  That tells me that the public is getting an OLDER version of the rules, and that the important design decisions have largely already been made, public commentary and insistance to the contrary.


-Polaris                
Is it better to pointlessly doomsay for a year on the feedback forums 'til the release, while assuming the entire staff of the company you're giving feedback to is just flat lying to you, or is it better to chill out and just go have a sandwich?



If I absolutely didn't have faith in a company's ability, I just wouldn't be posting on their forums (well, at least not a regular basis).  That's just how I handle that sort of thing personally.  I love DnD; however, I think Cryptic's Neverwinter game will fail miserably due to mismanagement by Cryptic (which has a worse track record than WotC in handling IPs in my opinion).  I post, but only once or twice a month. 

But then that's just my point of view and is based on not infringing on others expectations and not wasting my time...  
Upon a further readthrough of the AMA, the one question I've been wondering about for seven months now has been answered, in exactly the manner I expected it to be. Paraphrasing from two points in the subreddit:


Redditor: If edition x is already my favorite game ever and gives me exactly what I want, why should I switch to Next?

Mearls: Don't! Keep playing your favorite edition! 


Vindication, straight from the head of D&D RPG R&D. I wasn't planning on supporting the new edition anyway, but now I don't even have to feel bad about it. The project lead just told me to not buy his product. Done.




OK, so can we expect that you'll stop posting here? 

Afterall, if you've no interest in the coming edition, why should you have any influance in how it's formed? 
Upon a further readthrough of the AMA, the one question I've been wondering about for seven months now has been answered, in exactly the manner I expected it to be. Paraphrasing from two points in the subreddit:


Redditor: If edition x is already my favorite game ever and gives me exactly what I want, why should I switch to Next?

Mearls: Don't! Keep playing your favorite edition! 


Vindication, straight from the head of D&D RPG R&D. I wasn't planning on supporting the new edition anyway, but now I don't even have to feel bad about it. The project lead just told me to not buy his product. Done.




OK, so can we expect that you'll stop posting here? 

Afterall, if you've no interest in the coming edition, why should you have any influance in how it's formed? 



That's all well and good for all DnD players save one:  Players of 4th edition.  They don't get to play their favorite game after DDN is finished because Wotc can and will kill it (see GSL).


-Polaris
Upon a further readthrough of the AMA, the one question I've been wondering about for seven months now has been answered, in exactly the manner I expected it to be. Paraphrasing from two points in the subreddit:


Redditor: If edition x is already my favorite game ever and gives me exactly what I want, why should I switch to Next?

Mearls: Don't! Keep playing your favorite edition! 


Vindication, straight from the head of D&D RPG R&D. I wasn't planning on supporting the new edition anyway, but now I don't even have to feel bad about it. The project lead just told me to not buy his product. Done.




OK, so can we expect that you'll stop posting here? 

Afterall, if you've no interest in the coming edition, why should you have any influance in how it's formed? 


Oh, how I wish that were true.  I've seen so many people saying things like "I hate edition X," or "I don't even play edition X," or "I won't buy edition X" while posting on edition X forums.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

I'm unclear how the rat problem is being solved.

 
You could say it [regarding 18 rats as an encounter] was a good idea in that it gave us a lot of immediate, aggressive feedback to never, ever, ever do that again and to immediately, right now, fix that.



Are rats being turned into interesting monsters who won't bog down encounters, or will WotC just not write adventures with that many rats? If the latter, then there's nothing stopping a stupid/bad DM from doing it themselves, or worse, a PC jumps into a nest of rats and the DM's best tool to adjudicate this is 20+ rats.  

 
Upon a further readthrough of the AMA, the one question I've been wondering about for seven months now has been answered, in exactly the manner I expected it to be. Paraphrasing from two points in the subreddit:


Redditor: If edition x is already my favorite game ever and gives me exactly what I want, why should I switch to Next?

Mearls: Don't! Keep playing your favorite edition! 


Vindication, straight from the head of D&D RPG R&D. I wasn't planning on supporting the new edition anyway, but now I don't even have to feel bad about it. The project lead just told me to not buy his product. Done.




OK, so can we expect that you'll stop posting here?  



I seem to recall you posting here while 4ed was the latest D&D edition, and being quite critical of it. Now you're telling people who don't like the latest D&D edition that they don't get to do what you did. Bravo.  

Afterall, if you've no interest in the coming edition, why should you have any influance in how it's formed?



That argument could have been used to keep 4th edition as well ("Everyone who plays 4ed likes it, so why should we listen to people who don't buy it?"). Obviously, that's not something you'd want, so try to use arguments that are based on fairness and intellectual openness, not "It's my treehouse, so I'm in charge. First rule: we can't go to anyone else's treehouses, because then I wouldn't be in charge." 
  
And on the benefits of only listening to people who religiously buy your products, check out the market research of what remains of Palladium:

forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?630755-Pall...


 

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

As a note, my quip about not posting is how I would personally handle "disappointment".  I don't want that miscontrued as me advocating that certain posters not post their thoughts.  It's just how I personally would handle it for myself...


I'm still on the fence; part of me believes that new edition will be great, and part of me thinks it's just too much for WotC and it will flop.  For me, it's way too early to make any conclusions...  
I'm just hoping most of these things are modules, so I can play around with them once they're available.  Keep them if I want them or toss them out if I don't.

Crazed undead horror posing as a noble and heroic forum poster!

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
I'm just hoping most of these things are modules, so I can play around with them once they're available.  Keep them if I want them or toss them out if I don't.



The problem I have with that (modules) is this:  Module is not a magic word you can throw around to avoid making difficult design decisions.  Module doesn't exempt the designer from making a solid and robust system at the very heart of the game.  Indeed, a modular system demands that even more because the entire stability of the game depends on a rock solid skeleton on which the various (and often very different) modules can be bolted on, and quite frankly I am seeing anything but a solid and robust framework on which modules can be bolted on.  If the foundation of a building is built on sand, then it doesn't matter how good the rest of the building it, it is unsafe.  Likewise in a modular game, it doesn't matter how good the modules are, if the fundamental skeleton/foundation of the game is shakey, then the success of the game is....problematic.


-Polaris
I'm just hoping most of these things are modules, so I can play around with them once they're available.  Keep them if I want them or toss them out if I don't.



The problem I have with that (modules) is this:  Module is not a magic word you can throw around to avoid making difficult design decisions.  Module doesn't exempt the designer from making a solid and robust system at the very heart of the game.  Indeed, a modular system demands that even more because the entire stability of the game depends on a rock solid skeleton on which the various (and often very different) modules can be bolted on, and quite frankly I am seeing anything but a solid and robust framework on which modules can be bolted on.  If the foundation of a building is built on sand, then it doesn't matter how good the rest of the building it, it is unsafe.  Likewise in a modular game, it doesn't matter how good the modules are, if the fundamental skeleton/foundation of the game is shakey, then the success of the game is....problematic.


-Polaris



Having done "modular" programming, I agree.  A good design is essential; without it, your modules just fall off and don't operate right.  So, you gotta sit down and plan your "program" and its modules out very carefully. 

I'm not in th DDN warrooms; so, I won't pass judgement on the current design as it stands now.  I had the fortune (actually misfortune) to be included in some key command wide decisions very early in my military career (and late in my career too for that matter).  I learned from those experiences not to make assumptions of things that are happening and why they were happening.  Without sufficient access to the "war room", there's just no (well very limited at the very least) way to see the entire big picture in most cases.
 
What do you think is made out of "sand" at this point?  Just curious...

What do you think is made out of "sand" at this point?  Just curious...



The entire feedback process depends almost entirely on DM Fiat as the main rule mechanic.  That's "sand" if I ever saw it.  There are other technical criticism I could (and did in my playtest feedback as DM) make, but that's the biggest foundation of sand that I see.


-Polaris

What do you think is made out of "sand" at this point?  Just curious...



The entire feedback process depends almost entirely on DM Fiat as the main rule mechanic.  That's "sand" if I ever saw it.  There are other technical criticism I could (and did in my playtest feedback as DM) make, but that's the biggest foundation of sand that I see.


-Polaris



Not certain why that would be sand.  It's the literal foundation of -everything- in the game, even all the way down to your ability scores (ie, the DM determines your rolling style/pointbuy total/pool size/etc).  To start with the basic assumption that the DM is going to have to make judgement calls, additional modules can then be assigned that lessen and coordinate the number of calls that will need to be made according to each individual DM's strengths and preferences.  If you make the assumption that 'x' is needed as your absolute basic framework where 'x' includes a lot of codified mechanics, you're not going to have modular strength when dealing with x minus lots of stuff.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."


What do you think is made out of "sand" at this point?  Just curious...



The entire feedback process depends almost entirely on DM Fiat as the main rule mechanic.  That's "sand" if I ever saw it.  There are other technical criticism I could (and did in my playtest feedback as DM) make, but that's the biggest foundation of sand that I see.


-Polaris



Not certain why that would be sand.  It's the literal foundation of -everything- in the game, even all the way down to your ability scores (ie, the DM determines your rolling style/pointbuy total/pool size/etc).  To start with the basic assumption that the DM is going to have to make judgement calls, additional modules can then be assigned that lessen and coordinate the number of calls that will need to be made according to each individual DM's strengths and preferences.  If you make the assumption that 'x' is needed as your absolute basic framework where 'x' includes a lot of codified mechanics, you're not going to have modular strength when dealing with x minus lots of stuff.




Not true.  It is easier to remove things and keep things reasonable than it is to add them.  That may seem odd to you but it's true.  I am not objecting to DM Fiat.  All TRPGs have that.  I am objecting to DM Fiat as the primary game mechanic.  That is NOT a solid foundation on which to build any kind of game, not even a TRPG.


-Polaris