Did WotC miss the point of their own project or did I?

OK, so I've calmed down a bit since my first read through.  I still don't like it.  But more to the point I think I've come to a bigger question.

What was the point of this project?

Wasn't the point to build a sort of "edition neutral" version we can all rally around and then mod to suit our tastes?  Or did I miss something?

What I see is a write up that is heavily biased towards pre-4e editions, which seems to defeat the whole purpose of the project.  It seems to have spawned a big number of discussions on hp values and 4e elements being gone.  I also see a lot of pet project-ism in this write up that doesn't relate to allowing players to have genuine choice, rather the illusion of it by being able to pick between pre-packaged groupings as the default.  I thought this was supposed to be "D&D for all", a sort of "One Book To Rule Them All" edition.  In my mind, that means building a midpoint edition that can be modded up or down as the groups prefer.  If the point is something else, I may be participating here for the wrong reasons.

What I see in Packet 2 is a very specific vision of D&D heavily biased towards the pre-4 editions, and towards DM control over most aspects.  So far it's all variations on ways to control and the channel a player down specific avenues.  Between that and the build towards an extreme (pre4e editions), right now, I feel like it's just not for me. I thought inclusion was the point?  I'm not looking to be catered to, just to meet in the middle, which this write up pointedly is not.  I would be happy with a middleground we can all agree is "close enough" and with modules to adjust it to suit.  To do that it's got to start in the middle, not on one end or the other.  Anything else tells one group or another their preference is secodnary.  If the divide between editionists is to be smoothed over it's got to be  amiddle ground, doesn't it?  If not, what am I missing?

If the point at this stage is to be testing out what will become optional features, I'm still game, but if this is intended as the shape of things to come, it feels like a pet project that doesn't have players like me as a consideration. 

Please help fill a fella in.  I quite possibly missed something foundational here.  Did Sauron break his own ring with this?  How should I be looking at this packet? 

You should be looking at it as one step in a two-year process.  There are 4e elements in there and I hope to see a lot more by the time the process is done.  But if 4e fans rage-quit before seeing the process through, then Wizards won't be able to craft it for you.

Moreover, 4e is a design-heavy edition.  It takes a lot of work to achieve what Wizards managed with 4e in the sense of the number of powers, the balance, and the math.  Assuming one were to start designing all five (including BECMI) editions simultaneously, I would imagine there ould be a lot more presentable in the BECMI, 1e, 2e, and 3e, before you would see a lot of 4e.  So the key for 4e fans is to stay involved, to present your preferences in the requested feedback and to do so in a calm but insistent manner, with reasoning.

If you looke at each release with the question "What if this were the finished product" you're going to get upset for no good reason and you are unlikely to contribute meaningfully in a way that will make Next something you might like.  If you look at each release as "Okay.  This is what we've got so far, what would I like to see added, removed, or changed" it will be a lot more useful and -- more importantly -- more likely to result in the game you want.

If you don't have the patience to wade through another three releases (assuming a new playtest every two to three months) before you start to really see 4e material, then take a break.  Play 4e.  Forget about the playtest.  Come back in six months and see if things improved in you absence.  Jump back in at that point to help polish the final product if you like it or don't come back if you don't.

But if you are sincere about treating this like a playtest and part of long, grueling, exhausting two-year process, and I hope you and all 4e fans do, then stay, play, critique, suggest, and offer feedback. 

I hope that helps address your concerns.
You should be looking at it as one step in a two-year process.  There are 4e elements in there and I hope to see a lot more by the time the process is done.  But if 4e fans rage-quit before seeing the process through, then Wizards won't be able to craft it for you.



Then perhaps Wotc needs to do a better job at reaching out to the fans THEY ALREADY HAVE and keep them from rage-quitting, yes?

-Polaris
You can't stop someone from rage-quitting. You just can't. They have very blatantly told everyone that 5E/DDN is 2 years away, and what we're seeing now is the barest of bare-bones rules that are being "considered" for the final game. If anyone reads a single word of what we now have available for playtest and rage-quits over it, then they already had their minds made up. You can't reason with people like that.
I also kind of don't agree at all about the pre-4e bias.  There's at-will stuff, Warlocks now have Encounter powers, themes that became specialties, Hit Dice are Healing Surges, every stat is a defense is an extension off every stat can contribute to a defense, and the monster design in the second packet.

The monster design in the second packet feels like everything I hated about monster design in 4e (and no, I'm not anti-4e, I liked 4e, I just hated the battlemap and the monster/encounter design--I liked playing it and hated running it, basically).  I'd like to take a step back to the first packet in that regard...
You should be looking at it as one step in a two-year process.  There are 4e elements in there and I hope to see a lot more by the time the process is done.  But if 4e fans rage-quit before seeing the process through, then Wizards won't be able to craft it for you.



Then perhaps Wotc needs to do a better job at reaching out to the fans THEY ALREADY HAVE and keep them from rage-quitting, yes?

-Polaris

Perhaps people like you should indicate any sort of possibility that what they might reach out with would actually get heard, accepted, and recognized.

Yes?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Then perhaps Wotc needs to do a better job at reaching out to the fans THEY ALREADY HAVE and keep them from rage-quitting, yes?


Nope.  I think they are reaching the rational people just fine.  The irrational people rage-quit.  Rage-quitting is, by definition an irrational response.  FOrtunately, the OP got over his initial emotional reaction to come here honestly to seek advice.  Good for him.

Other people rage-quit and leave.  And yet others just come to the forums for the sole purpose of poisoning the well for reasons I will never quite understand.
You should be looking at it as one step in a two-year process.  There are 4e elements in there and I hope to see a lot more by the time the process is done.  But if 4e fans rage-quit before seeing the process through, then Wizards won't be able to craft it for you.



Then perhaps Wotc needs to do a better job at reaching out to the fans THEY ALREADY HAVE and keep them from rage-quitting, yes?

-Polaris

Perhaps people like you should indicate any sort of possibility that what they might reach out with would actually get heard, accepted, and recognized.

Yes?



Wotc has a lot of bridges to repair with me first.  I know I am not alone in that.  Show me that Wotc is acting in good faith (and I need a LOT of showing right now) and...we'll see.

The burden is on Wotc not me.  I don't have to buy anything, but Wotc has to see me their product to stay in business.

-Polaris
There are some bridges that should not be repaired.  In fact there are some bridges I think Wizards should do a better job at burning.
There are some bridges that should not be repaired.  In fact there are some bridges I think Wizards should do a better job at burning.



I love you too.

-Polaris
You should be looking at it as one step in a two-year process.  There are 4e elements in there and I hope to see a lot more by the time the process is done.  But if 4e fans rage-quit before seeing the process through, then Wizards won't be able to craft it for you.



Then perhaps Wotc needs to do a better job at reaching out to the fans THEY ALREADY HAVE and keep them from rage-quitting, yes?

-Polaris

Perhaps people like you should indicate any sort of possibility that what they might reach out with would actually get heard, accepted, and recognized.

Yes?



Wotc has a lot of bridges to repair with me first.  I know I am not alone in that.  Show me that Wotc is acting in good faith (and I need a LOT of showing right now) and...we'll see.

The burden is on Wotc not me.  I don't have to buy anything, but Wotc has to see me their product to stay in business.

-Polaris



They've shown me that they're acting in good faith.  You, on the other hand, have refused to believe even the most direct communication they've provided. 

If the burden has to be proved to you, what makes you worthy of such proof?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
You should be looking at it as one step in a two-year process.  There are 4e elements in there and I hope to see a lot more by the time the process is done.  But if 4e fans rage-quit before seeing the process through, then Wizards won't be able to craft it for you.



Then perhaps Wotc needs to do a better job at reaching out to the fans THEY ALREADY HAVE and keep them from rage-quitting, yes?

-Polaris

Perhaps people like you should indicate any sort of possibility that what they might reach out with would actually get heard, accepted, and recognized.

Yes?



Wotc has a lot of bridges to repair with me first.  I know I am not alone in that.  Show me that Wotc is acting in good faith (and I need a LOT of showing right now) and...we'll see.

The burden is on Wotc not me.  I don't have to buy anything, but Wotc has to see me their product to stay in business.

-Polaris



They've shown me that they're acting in good faith.  You, on the other hand, have refused to believe even the most direct communication they've provided. 

If the burden has to be proved to you, what makes you worthy of such proof?



I pay for product.  That's the only worthiness I need.

-Polaris
Actions do speak louder than words.

Many points taken though.  Thanks Wrecan.  Please keep the perspective coming, everyone. 
There's a good chance that stuff like the current hp system is in this playtest just to see fan reaction.  They might not have a plan to actually incorporate the current hp system; they just want to see the reaction.  If enough people like it, they might add it.  If enough dislike it (based on feedback not necessarily here on the forums), they'll probably go with plan B in the next package.  Then, they'll go with plan C in the next one.  After a few iterations, they might come up with another system (or go with the lesser of x number of evils).
I agree whole heartedly with the orignial poster.  It looks like we are headed for a sort of retro clone.  This edition seems to be breakind everything that 4th was supposed to fix.  We are back to one shot wizards and killer house cats at low levels.  (What happend to "expanding the sweet spot"?  are there really that many fans that like first level characters that blow?)  We are back to pretty much needing a healbot cleric who will use their spell loadout keeping everyone else alive instead of doing something cool.  By having more daily and fewer encounter resources we seem to be headed back to the 5 minute work day.  And while I haven't obviously seen higher levels yet, I have a dark feeling that high level casters are going to end up dominating the game again.  I don't see a "game for all styles" here, I see a game that is shoving a fawning veneration of early editions on me, and its not a game I want to play.  Or spend my money on.  I realize there is alot of real estate left before we get to the final cut, but so far I am not likeing where this is going.
You should be looking at it as one step in a two-year process.  There are 4e elements in there and I hope to see a lot more by the time the process is done.  But if 4e fans rage-quit before seeing the process through, then Wizards won't be able to craft it for you.



Then perhaps Wotc needs to do a better job at reaching out to the fans THEY ALREADY HAVE and keep them from rage-quitting, yes?

-Polaris

Perhaps people like you should indicate any sort of possibility that what they might reach out with would actually get heard, accepted, and recognized.

Yes?



Wotc has a lot of bridges to repair with me first.  I know I am not alone in that.  Show me that Wotc is acting in good faith (and I need a LOT of showing right now) and...we'll see.

The burden is on Wotc not me.  I don't have to buy anything, but Wotc has to see me their product to stay in business.

-Polaris



They've shown me that they're acting in good faith.  You, on the other hand, have refused to believe even the most direct communication they've provided. 

If the burden has to be proved to you, what makes you worthy of such proof?



I pay for product.  That's the only worthiness I need.

-Polaris



Paying for something doesn't mean that you get to dicate the design.  Every individual customer is not always right.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Possibly.  However, you got to start somewhere.  If I were in charge, I would start with first and second edition and incorporate those.  Then I would move on to third and finally fourth.  I like numbers.  I think incorporating fourth is problematic due to some fundamental differences between fourth and prior editions.  It's something that, at least in m opinion, is going to take time.  I wouldn't expect a measurable incorporation for a few iterations of the playtest. 

In addition, I don't think we got an "as intended" final version.  I think certain things were used in this playtest just to gauge response without a serious thought of incorporating it into the final version. 

However, I can't see a good methodology of incorporating pre-4th and 4th edition into the same edition. 
Possibly.  However, you got to start somewhere.  If I were in charge, I would start with first and second edition and incorporate those.  Then I would move on to third and finally fourth.  I like numbers.  I think incorporating fourth is problematic due to some fundamental differences between fourth and prior editions.  It's something that, at least in m opinion, is going to take time.  I wouldn't expect a measurable incorporation for a few iterations of the playtest. 

In addition, I don't think we got an "as intended" final version.  I think certain things were used in this playtest just to gauge response without a serious thought of incorporating it into the final version. 

However, I can't see a good methodology of incorporating pre-4th and 4th edition into the same edition. 


4e isn't as different from past editions as people pretend it is.

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.

They have very blatantly told everyone that 5E/DDN is 2 years away,


Wait, when did they announce this?
There's a good chance that stuff like the current hp system is in this playtest just to see fan reaction.  They might not have a plan to actually incorporate the current hp system; they just want to see the reaction.  If enough people like it, they might add it.  If enough dislike it (based on feedback not necessarily here on the forums), they'll probably go with plan B in the next package.  Then, they'll go with plan C in the next one.  After a few iterations, they might come up with another system (or go with the lesser of x number of evils).



When people are trying to trick you into picking the lesser of X evils, usually they are blocking you from seeing the not evil choice. This happens in bipartisan politics and you see it here too. Its not either or. They could throw in a 3 setting dial with gritty, average, and heroic and everyone would be happy...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
You should be looking at it as one step in a two-year process.  There are 4e elements in there and I hope to see a lot more by the time the process is done.  But if 4e fans rage-quit before seeing the process through, then Wizards won't be able to craft it for you.



Then perhaps Wotc needs to do a better job at reaching out to the fans THEY ALREADY HAVE and keep them from rage-quitting, yes?

-Polaris

Perhaps people like you should indicate any sort of possibility that what they might reach out with would actually get heard, accepted, and recognized.

Yes?



Wotc has a lot of bridges to repair with me first.  I know I am not alone in that.  Show me that Wotc is acting in good faith (and I need a LOT of showing right now) and...we'll see.

The burden is on Wotc not me.  I don't have to buy anything, but Wotc has to see me their product to stay in business.

-Polaris



They've shown me that they're acting in good faith.  You, on the other hand, have refused to believe even the most direct communication they've provided. 

If the burden has to be proved to you, what makes you worthy of such proof?



I pay for product.  That's the only worthiness I need.

-Polaris



Paying for something doesn't mean that you get to dicate the design.  Every individual customer is not always right.



Go study economic theory and come back to catch up with us.

Its not an individual purchase. Its the average of all purchases that dictate a products value...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
They have very blatantly told everyone that 5E/DDN is 2 years away,


Wait, when did they announce this?


This is getting rather significantly misquoted.  It was said that the playtest is a two-year process, not that it's two years out from now.  Given that the playtest started at the latest in January, that's a pretty big gap to round off.

The direct quote is in the GenCon keynote address.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
They have very blatantly told everyone that 5E/DDN is 2 years away,


Wait, when did they announce this?



They didn't, but didn't in a way to make a lot of people think they did.  What Mearls said was they were in a process that they have a two year timeline on.  At no time did he actually promise that DDN was really two years away, and he didn't promise it in a way that almost nobody noticed.

-Polaris
There's a good chance that stuff like the current hp system is in this playtest just to see fan reaction.  They might not have a plan to actually incorporate the current hp system; they just want to see the reaction.  If enough people like it, they might add it.  If enough dislike it (based on feedback not necessarily here on the forums), they'll probably go with plan B in the next package.  Then, they'll go with plan C in the next one.  After a few iterations, they might come up with another system (or go with the lesser of x number of evils).



When people are trying to trick you into picking the lesser of X evils, usually they are blocking you from seeing the not evil choice. This happens in bipartisan politics and you see it here too. Its not either or. They could throw in a 3 setting dial with gritty, average, and heroic and everyone would be happy...



Don't get it.  From a design standpoint, I would want to see issues from low starting hp and a higher hp setting.  I would address those issues.  This is an iteration of the playtest that's looking at the issues for a low starting hp.  If they put a high setting in this iteration, they might not get good feedback on the issues of a low setting.  They might put in a multiple setting situation, or choose the least objectionable.  I don't see it being evil; just an information gathering exercise at this point. 
Hey all, I have another theory, hear me out here. The devs are adding the elements from 4e. little by little over the course of each playtest to not scare off those who are spooked by mechanics earmarked as from said edition. As more acceptance follows things like the new Fighters ( C.S.) and Rest  mechanics catch on they will advance those concepts and introduce more (powers) ( dailies) (surges) through way of H.D. healing, and such as to not shell shock the same fans who were dumbfounded by the scope of the system before. I'm looking forward to it as the affair moves deeper into the process and like the elements I have recently learned about through fans of the system and what I see in the play test this time . It's just the tip of the ice burg so to speak. The rest is beneath the water right now. You guys be encouraged ,if I can learn to dig its elements progressively so can others like me.
It's also very fairly possible to miss, assuming you don't have all your fingers on the pulses of the various streams through which design comments come out from the team, some of the over-arching picture of what they're thinking. That's not anybody's fault; it's only so easy to communicate what's going on during a fairly open design process like this, and to the public no less. However, they have communicated that it's their intent to eventually include options that more closely resemble 4e; those options are just harder to use as a core, because 4e is more of an engineered system and takes more building up to. When you strip away most of the stronger stances various editions have taken on things, you get a core that looks more like an earlier edition in most ways than like a later edition, particularly 4e.

That's not to say that there's not any reason for someone who's looking at an experience like 4e to be cynical (although I would encourage my fellow 4e players to give the system as it is a shot; it's basically a fun experience, and I really like the new fighter mechanic introduced in the most recent playtest). While there's been a number of developer comments indicating that more 4e-style stuff is coming, there's also been a small number revealing an almost embarassing lack of knowledge of some pretty basic stuff about how 4e works. Now, there's really no guarantee that Next is going to end up with a bunch of options that recreate something like the 4e experience, but it's getting there (and is in many cases adopting 4e-style philosophies where it's not adopting direct mechanics), and I have hope that even if it doesn't have much that looks like 4e, it will still have a lot that's in 4e's spirit - something that people who consider 4e their favorite edition will enjoy.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
There's a good chance that stuff like the current hp system is in this playtest just to see fan reaction.  They might not have a plan to actually incorporate the current hp system; they just want to see the reaction.  If enough people like it, they might add it.  If enough dislike it (based on feedback not necessarily here on the forums), they'll probably go with plan B in the next package.  Then, they'll go with plan C in the next one.  After a few iterations, they might come up with another system (or go with the lesser of x number of evils).



When people are trying to trick you into picking the lesser of X evils, usually they are blocking you from seeing the not evil choice. This happens in bipartisan politics and you see it here too. Its not either or. They could throw in a 3 setting dial with gritty, average, and heroic and everyone would be happy...



Don't get it.  From a design standpoint, I would want to see issues from low starting hp and a higher hp setting.  I would address those issues.  This is an iteration of the playtest that's looking at the issues for a low starting hp.  If they put a high setting in this iteration, they might not get good feedback on the issues of a low setting.  They might put in a multiple setting situation, or choose the least objectionable.  I don't see it being evil; just an information gathering exercise at this point. 



Actually as a Game Software Developer I understand exactly what they are doing, unfortunately they don't understand how it works. When you do your matrixes with different options to test varied settings across the board, you have to do them in isolation.

What they are doing in the play test that everyone thinks is 'typos' or 'wording errors' are really trying to test the most stuff (high, medium, and low) in the smallest timeframe and lowest number of pages. The problem comes in when each variable they are testing interacts with the other variables they are testing. They will see the high highs, and the lows lows, but the middle highs, and the middle lows will be obsfucated by the low highs, and the high lows and they won't get the information they want.

What's going to happen is people will point out the glaring errors and miss the not so glaring errors that will break the game. For instance throwing low hp in there makes people miss the medium hit points of the first test which was a little too low if you wanted a reasonable chance of surviving a day. Instead they are going to gripe about having too low hp to survive a single encounter...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
There's a good chance that stuff like the current hp system is in this playtest just to see fan reaction.  They might not have a plan to actually incorporate the current hp system; they just want to see the reaction.  If enough people like it, they might add it.  If enough dislike it (based on feedback not necessarily here on the forums), they'll probably go with plan B in the next package.  Then, they'll go with plan C in the next one.  After a few iterations, they might come up with another system (or go with the lesser of x number of evils).



When people are trying to trick you into picking the lesser of X evils, usually they are blocking you from seeing the not evil choice. This happens in bipartisan politics and you see it here too. Its not either or. They could throw in a 3 setting dial with gritty, average, and heroic and everyone would be happy...



Don't get it.  From a design standpoint, I would want to see issues from low starting hp and a higher hp setting.  I would address those issues.  This is an iteration of the playtest that's looking at the issues for a low starting hp.  If they put a high setting in this iteration, they might not get good feedback on the issues of a low setting.  They might put in a multiple setting situation, or choose the least objectionable.  I don't see it being evil; just an information gathering exercise at this point. 



Actually as a Game Software Developer I understand exactly what they are doing, unfortunately they don't understand how it works. When you do your matrixes with different options to test varied settings across the board, you have to do them in isolation.

What they are doing in the play test that everyone thinks is 'typos' or 'wording errors' are really trying to test the most stuff (high, medium, and low) in the smallest timeframe and lowest number of pages. The problem comes in when each variable they are testing interacts with the other variables they are testing. They will see the high highs, and the lows lows, but the middle highs, and the middle lows will be obsfucated by the low highs, and the high lows and they won't get the information they want.

What's going to happen is people will point out the glaring errors and miss the not so glaring errors that will break the game. For instance throwing low hp in there makes people miss the medium hit points of the first test which was a little too low if you wanted a reasonable chance of surviving a day. Instead they are going to gripe about having too low hp to survive a single encounter...



Yeah, there are issues.  And there are issues that will be missed, at least in this iteration.  However, they got time to test different levels out.  I got a feeling that there's going to be quite a few of them. 

But, WotC has had some serious issues with the math in third edition, fourth edition and the Star Wars RPG.  They do need to get a statistician on the payroll.  That is an area of concern. 
They have very blatantly told everyone that 5E/DDN is 2 years away,


Wait, when did they announce this?



They didn't, but didn't in a way to make a lot of people think they did.  What Mearls said was they were in a process that they have a two year timeline on.  At no time did he actually promise that DDN was really two years away, and he didn't promise it in a way that almost nobody noticed.

-Polaris


lol, was about to say "How the hell did they get Hasbro to go along with 2 years?"

But, WotC has had some serious issues with the math in third edition, fourth edition and the Star Wars RPG.  They do need to get a statistician on the payroll.  That is an area of concern. 



In this I agree, absolutely, 100%.  However, in 4E they at least tried to get the math right (with some spectacular failurea and oversights such as skill challenges and Orbizards and other things that should have been caught be any decent statistician).

Right now especially after the keynote speech, I am getting the distinct feeling that the developers don't care anymore and it's up to the DM to figure it all out....and right now IMHO DDN shows it.

-Polaris
However, in 4E they at least tried to get the math right (with some spectacular failurea and oversights such as skill challenges and Orbizards and other things that should have been caught be any decent statistician).


IIRC, they(WoTC) actually had some CharOpers do a quick playtest of the current 4e rules, pretty much telling them "do your worst." Math problems like you mentioned and the ones Improved Defenses and "x" Expertise were added in to fix were found quickly. WotC then took all the info and pretty much ignored it.

Luckily they seem to be doing a better job of listening this time around.
However, in 4E they at least tried to get the math right (with some spectacular failurea and oversights such as skill challenges and Orbizards and other things that should have been caught be any decent statistician).


IIRC, they(WoTC) actually had some CharOpers do a quick playtest of the current 4e rules, pretty much telling them "do your worst." Math problems like you mentioned and the ones Improved Defenses and "x" Expertise were added in to fix were found quickly. WotC then took all the info and pretty much ignored it.

Luckily they seem to be doing a better job of listening this time around.



Yes, they are only ignoring 85% of feedback opposed to 100%...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
However, in 4E they at least tried to get the math right (with some spectacular failurea and oversights such as skill challenges and Orbizards and other things that should have been caught be any decent statistician).


IIRC, they(WoTC) actually had some CharOpers do a quick playtest of the current 4e rules, pretty much telling them "do your worst." Math problems like you mentioned and the ones Improved Defenses and "x" Expertise were added in to fix were found quickly. WotC then took all the info and pretty much ignored it.

Luckily they seem to be doing a better job of listening this time around.



Yes, they are only ignoring 85% of feedback opposed to 100%...


To be fair its hard to tell how much they're taking feedback versus how much they're ignoring. Its still fairly early on, and we don't know what the surveys are telling them. They also seem to be moving rather slowly, and its hard to know if they're working really hard to make lots of changes or if they're just doing what they want regardless of what they hear. I definitely sympathize with the frustration though.
"So shall it be! Dear-bought those songs shall be be accounted, and yet shall be well-bought. For the price could be no other. Thus even as Eru spoke to us shall beauty not before conceived be brought into Eä, and evil yet be good to have been." - Manwë, High King of the Valar
However, in 4E they at least tried to get the math right (with some spectacular failurea and oversights such as skill challenges and Orbizards and other things that should have been caught be any decent statistician).


IIRC, they(WoTC) actually had some CharOpers do a quick playtest of the current 4e rules, pretty much telling them "do your worst." Math problems like you mentioned and the ones Improved Defenses and "x" Expertise were added in to fix were found quickly. WotC then took all the info and pretty much ignored it.

Luckily they seem to be doing a better job of listening this time around.



Oh I remember that incident.  Vividly.  I didn't say they listened when making 4E (they didn't), but they at least tried to get the math sorta right.  That's all I was saying.  It's one reason I am not convinced they are listening now either (Mearls was on that team making 4e.)

-Polaris
You should be looking at it as one step in a two-year process.  There are 4e elements in there and I hope to see a lot more by the time the process is done.  But if 4e fans rage-quit before seeing the process through, then Wizards won't be able to craft it for you.



Then perhaps Wotc needs to do a better job at reaching out to the fans THEY ALREADY HAVE and keep them from rage-quitting, yes?

-Polaris

Perhaps people like you should indicate any sort of possibility that what they might reach out with would actually get heard, accepted, and recognized.


Yes?


WotC are the ones who want to sell. The buyers lose nothing if they rage-quit due to WotC not reaching out far enough. There's such an innumerable number of sellers competing for their wallets and free time that someone who just walks away from D&D forever loses nothing as there will still be a ton more free time activities than he could ever pursue in his free time.

WotC on the other hand just lost a customer, something which they always have just too few of 


Nope.  I think they are reaching the rational people just fine.  The irrational people rage-quit.  Rage-quitting is, by definition an irrational response.  FOrtunately, the OP got over his initial emotional reaction to come here honestly to seek advice.  Good for him.

Other people rage-quit and leave.  And yet others just come to the forums for the sole purpose of poisoning the well for reasons I will never quite understand.

No, it's not irrational. It's evaluating the current offer, WotC's vague promises, WotC's track record of keeping promises and deciding that it's simply not worth to waste valuable free time to stick around.

They've shown me that they're acting in good faith.

No, they just babbled out a lot of  "marketinglese" which is just as worthless as deo companies promising you to be chased by a horde of beatiful women after applying their product.

 

You, on the other hand, have refused to believe even the most direct communication they've provided.  

 Which is sensible given their track record of following up on their marketinglese

 

Actions do speak louder than words.

Exactly. It's not that I haven't lied to customers in the past when I have been told to and won't to it again.

I don't hold it against them, but I also won't give a ### about anything they merely said or promised while making my decisions




Would have been better to show nothing than to show something that so heavingly leans toward only one side of the rift the claimed they wanted to mend.


E.g. better show two fighters, one leaning toward pre-4e and one toward 4e, that way both party would have reason to have faith into the design than to preview 4 classes leaning toward pre-4e and have the rest of the fans saying "kkthx goodbye have a nice life, there are a 100 other vendors wanting me to spend my spare freetime with their product just over there"


This is getting rather significantly misquoted.  It was said that the playtest is a two-year process, not that it's two years out from now.  Given that the playtest started at the latest in January, that's a pretty big gap to round off.

The direct quote is in the GenCon keynote address.

I am not sure that this doesn't include internal lead time that's already spend. I can't believe that the bean counters at Hasbro would just sit by and let WotC continue to generate next to new revenue for 2 years without interceding 

 

They seem facts to you because you are being a pessimist.

A pessimist us a realist with experience

 

and we don't know what the surveys are telling them.

Well, the surveys will telling them whatever is most convinient to them. Because that's what they will do and then just claim that it was what the surveys told them and no individual can prove them lying. 

Already been there and done that, it's an 101 marketing trick if you want to convince people that what you did as best for yourself is actually what they asked of you as best for them

At this stage (which I consider to still be alpha), they are trying lots of things out and getting feedback.
I personally have no idea where they got the idea that they needed to slash HP down to the ground and  that the Wizard was good as is, but then again, I don't read all the feedback they are privy to. I have only my play test experiences (DM for 2 groups, player in a third), these forums, three other sites I'm on, and some friends remote to glance off.

I'm still in the observe, use, give feedback and make constructive suggestions phase of my playtest. I'll rage quit when they ask me for money and I don't like the product. And by rage quit, I mean not buy it and refuse to play or run it.
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
To take up the OPs point of starting at 'edition neutral' or 'midpoint' or what have you, why is it assumed that its everything Pre-4th vs 4th as the see-saw?  Why should 4th get more weight to it than, say, 2nd?  Why should Basic, 1st, 2nd and 3rd all be on one side, and 4th on the other?  Wouldn't it make more sense for the pie to be cut in 5 slices and not just 2?

I'd trade it all for a little more! Grognard? Is that French for awesome?

Off-hand I was thinking that 1>2>3 are all to some extent the same game.  Same stat ranges, same spell descriptions, improvements on the same content over time, but 3e is just 1e with much better math and options.  Or so I felt watching it evolve.  4e was the radical departure from that mold. 
That's an oversimplification, and not quite accurate I know, but comparing 4e to that model is a vastly different proposition.  In 3e, you still moved and attacked, like in 1 & 2, you just did it with more options and style.  In 4e you moved, attacked and bounced around and stunned a dude and got moved by an ally and a micro heal while you did it, etc.  Night and Day in the divide.  There's divides between all editions, sure, but that one's the most observable I think.

I'm not sure I'm defining it very well, but that's basically my feel for it.  I think one of the biggest distinctions is the starting HP, which I think is what is probably behind a lot of the discussions going on right now. 

It's not strictly 3 v 4, and I'm not against a 5 way pie either.  Essentially, I would prefer as nice middleground we can all easily mod up or down to suit, only then does everyone win, in my mind.  Everyone has something because it's built to that point on all fronts.  However, likely no one will have everything, but they can get everything by modding.  Build vanilla, add toppings.  A mish mash of mechanical elements isn't necessarily what would do that for me either. 
To take up the OPs point of starting at 'edition neutral' or 'midpoint' or what have you, why is it assumed that its everything Pre-4th vs 4th as the see-saw?  Why should 4th get more weight to it than, say, 2nd?  Why should Basic, 1st, 2nd and 3rd all be on one side, and 4th on the other?  Wouldn't it make more sense for the pie to be cut in 5 slices and not just 2?


There is a perception, and I will not venture whether it is correct or not, that 4E was a major break from the rest of the franchise. 
To be sure, the internet war over it is intense, and that can lead to polarization.
I personally see the fault lines in the franchise to be TSR, 3E, and 4E.
The changes from Basic to Advanced and between 1st and 2nd were existent, but, in my opionion, they were not different games (in concept), merely attempts at refinement of the same game.  However, that is simplification. I simply feel the differences between the TSR products (until the Players Option and DMs Option suite of books) was far less jarring than the TSR => 3rd edition and 3rd =>4th divides.

So while I see a pie with three slices, you see one with five.
Sadly, many people see only two. The slice they like best, and all the rest. 
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
I agree w/ Bright. The game is stripped down and new variables are being tested.
Lokiare does have some good points about possible data problems with what they're testing.
But, Mearls and co. Have stated a few things multiple times. One of which is the feedback from the first playtest they're acting on. While some of the solutions need tweaking, there is an obvious attempt to address people's complaints.
I hope anyone who ragequits due to lack of 4e checks out the final product. I'm guessing it'll have more of what they recognize than this current playtest.
"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
I also kind of don't agree at all about the pre-4e bias.  There's at-will stuff, Warlocks now have Encounter powers, themes that became specialties, Hit Dice are Healing Surges, every stat is a defense is an extension off every stat can contribute to a defense, and the monster design in the second packet.

The monster design in the second packet feels like everything I hated about monster design in 4e (and no, I'm not anti-4e, I liked 4e, I just hated the battlemap and the monster/encounter design--I liked playing it and hated running it, basically).  I'd like to take a step back to the first packet in that regard...



??? Why do you hate 4e monster design? As a DM I love it and running 4e is much easier and rewarding than any edition before.

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