Monte Cooke talks about playtesting.

Below is a link to an article wrote by Monte Cook about playtesting. Read it well, as he has some very good points on why a lot of feedback on here is much less helpful than they think. It gives you good insight on what you can do to be a good playtester, and what you can do to avoid being a poor one (Hint, it has to do with sharing opinions instead of concrete feedback). I found the article to be very insightful, and figured it might help some of you budding playtesters out! Enjoy.

Oh, and braaaaaains....

Edit: And I just realized I mispelled his name in the title.
My two copper.
Yeah most of the stuff on this forum is probably unusable, especially considering the new package only just came out. I'll be test-running it later in the week but everything I've said so far is mostly opinion (except in cases where things have been altered from a previous mechanic that I've actually had tested). I can't help the re-designing thing tho, lol. 
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Thanks for the link! Good read. I wish WOTC did this. Maybe then we'd have less speculative garbage on the forums and more useful feedback.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!


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Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!


Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

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Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus


WotC does have stuff like this in their stickys. But who reads those? Am I right?
My two copper.
While my own opinions on what goods or ills Monte Cook as done in the past, I will never claim that he was unprofessional.  The article is informative, and tells the reader what a designer is honestly looking for in a playtester.  I am sure, in one of the many documents that are out there relating to D&DN, there is something similar to this, though I cannot honestly remember seeing it.

I am sure that I have contradicted many of the points brought up about it,  but after reading, I would hope that I would remember to take heed not to speculate or twist the rule to fit my need in attempting to state my case.  I think the best example brought up in that whole article is the aspect of the coconut pie, as I for one, am not a fan of coconut.

If ever put in that situation, I would probably have simply stated, "I do not like coconut," and moved on, but now, after having read it, I think I would try that coconut pie.  After having suffered through the more than likely terribly bites of fiberously textured chomps, I would them offer comments unrelated to the taste of coconut.  Such as its smoothness, or ease of eating, smells, etc.  Things that would indeed be constructive.

Of course, thinking of pie, now I crave coffee.  This is something I must rectify most hastily. 
Thanks for the link! Good read. I wish WOTC did this. Maybe then we'd have less speculative garbage on the forums and more useful feedback.

Useful feedback here is generally drowned out by "It's just a playtest, you can't expect it to be perfect! Stop complainging! It's only a minor issue! I actually liked it anyway!"

It's also hard to give useful feedback when surveys do things like "How happy were you with Hit Points?" without allowing you to give any context as to why you're happy or unhappy (fortunately the more recent surveys are much better).

Edit: Also, I;m pretty sure I disagree with this part of the article (bolding mine)
As an aside, I will add that commentary on names of things or similar “this is what I thought of when I read through the document” kinds of feedback isn’t the most valuable playtesting report you can give. Frankly, as a playtester, I’d probably skip that kind of stuff. If you’re being asked to playtest, you’re being asked to play the game and report what happened. Names of things, rules phrasing, and things like that are part of the game developer’s and editor’s job. It’s important, but it’s not playtest feedback material. Again, let someone else worry about the cup holders.*

Rules phrasing, in a game that's just a collection of rules, is like the cupholders on your car - an unimportant cosmetic feature?

So, don't mention where you found the rules confusing, because things like the phrasing of rules are "cupholders". Or I guess do mention it, but only if it comes up in play (which it might not, for many reasons, one of which is "we had no idea what to do with this rule").

Other stuff, like "The monster xp values and challenge chart seems way off" is something that's unlikely to come up during a play session but will ruin an ongoing game if it's left alone.

I would suggest that if a designer doesn't want feedback on something, they don't include it in a playtest packet. The whole debate about XP values, encounter difficulty chart, etc would have been avoided by simply leaving those rules out until they were ready for release.
@ Furtivedog

I'm saving this link so I can read the article tomorrow.. But if the part you bolded (and the surrounding text) came from MC ... That really explains a lot hahaha. But your post has actually peaked my interest enough to read his article.

Now I can't wait, I have a feeling I'm going to be laughing while reading his article... Hey just cause I think he didn't help D&D as much as some people think he did... doesn't mean I can't enjoy something he wrote. :p

Of course I'm in the boat of renaming sneak attack to "back stab" and think it is something that WoTC needs to be told about relentlessly ... *shrug*
Of course I'm in the boat of renaming sneak attack to "back stab" and think it is something that WoTC needs to be told about relentlessly ... *shrug*

Actually, I think that saying "don't argue about pointless things like the name of something" is a valid point.

Sneak Attack / Backstab  / Shadowstrike / The Cherry Blossom Falls Hauntingly To The Lake / Ninjariffic Fun Fun Happy Hit could be called "Rogue Special Ability 1a" as far as anyone should care right now.

What's important is that it works, balances with other abilities, is fun, and the rules for it are clear enough that people aren't having to ask questions like "What happens with my offhand weapon?" or "so can I do this with a mace?"
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