Next Cant Hold My Group's Interest During Long Sessions (We Only Have Long Sessions)

76 posts / 0 new
Last post
My group is soldiering through the Playtest and tomorrow I am about to join a separate group as a player instead of DM.

However I really need to voice that at present the game cannot hold my interest as a DM or my groups interest as players for very long at a time. In any situation where we are just roleplaying it is a non-issue but whenever is a mechanically focused portion of the session as I have said elsewhere there is just not enough depth and too much repetition too maintain interest. 

This is a serious problem because of the way my group actually plays. We are all Adults and live scattered across about 100kms due to urban/suburban split in living conditions. Sometime we play on Roll20 and others we meet in person but this is largely dependant on system as Roll20 is very weak for some systems currently. This means that sessions are planned once or twice a month in advance for large blocks of time set aside for RPGs, we are simply too dispersed geographically to just have quick games when everyone can spare the time. As it is we are only bothering with sticking to Next at all because we want to help in the playtest but at the current level of simplicity is getting fairly straining to actually have the occasional 8 hour sessions that work for our schedules.  

In specifically combat heavy situations we have gotten so bored after 2 or so hours that we just stop playing for a while and do something else.

Now before anyone even says have less combat heavy adventures: We do. However not every story can be told without a lot of combat and sometimes the players think violence is the best way to solve a particular problem. The mechanics related to combat currently lacking in depth is directly resulting limiting my narrative options because I wont be trying to run any combat heavy adventures and the players have been discouraged from initiating any actions that will result in a lot of combat. 
Insert snide comment reminding everyone why 4e is best e.

BUt yeah, basically that's what simple fast combat gets you. Especially when you have to balance the classes to use either at-wills or dailies, and not a lot of in between options, remove minor actions, triggered abilities, most of the monster special powers, and try to make it look like old-school dnd which had a very shallow approach to combat rules. Some of it will get better as time goes on and the game gets improved, hopefully this wytaa nonsense will be replaced with a codified minor action equivalent for example, but my research (talking to older players mostly) indicates that 3e and 4e were the most complex editions from a tactical combat perspective and that 5e is trying to be more like earlier editions.
I know a guy who runs a 1e campaign, and he basically leaves an open invitation for people to join.  I've taken him up on it exactly twice.  He is one of the most brilliant DMs I've ever known, and his world is incredible, but I just can't get past those 1e rules.  Combat and character advancement are SO BORING.

So yeah, I know exactly what you mean.  In fact, now that you mention it, playtesting Next often feels like one of those dullsville 1e combats.  I couldn't put my finger on it before because the rules are so different, but yes.  If this is what they intend by hearkening back to "iconic" D&D, I have to say there are dozens of more interesting game systems out there.
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
For the OP, I feel your pain. This is the main reason I stopped running/playing in all but one 4E game. Combat would stretch on to patience-testing limits time and again. We got tired of the maps, tired of the minis (and lack thereof....this M&M is actually a goblin, that Hershey Kiss is actually an elemental), tired of the power-sources, tired of Skill Challenges.....just plain tired. It became more work than fun. The game simply couldn't keep us entertained for more than abut 2 hours, so we stopped. The 1 group I still play 4E with is happy to just go from combat to combat (Dungeon Delve style). The rest of my groups went back to BECMI and 2E. That immediately solved our problems. I suggest going back to whatever edition made you and your group happy. Being part of the playtest is great, but if no one is happy, then it's simply not worth it.
Now before anyone even says have less combat heavy adventures: We do. However not every story can be told without a lot of combat and sometimes the players think violence is the best way to solve a particular problem. The mechanics related to combat currently lacking in depth is directly resulting limiting my narrative options because I wont be trying to run any combat heavy adventures and the players have been discouraged from initiatingany actions that will result in a lot of combat. 

Keep soldiering on i say! If you only test the parts of the game you find fun its not really a test. test and give feedback its the only way the game can get better!

I suggest going back to whatever edition made you and your group happy. Being part of the playtest is great, but if no one is happy, then it's simply not worth it.



That would be 4e or not playing D&D at all. Personally after this I would rather play something unrelated to fantasy tropes at all. 

I think the real problem is Mearls saiid the core is practically done. Now we can debate what the core means, but if a lot of people are having issues with things that are core related, it gets a little hard to keep going on when Mearls said specifically the core is done. Not to mention Mearls and co. are further ahead in the playtest than we are. This leaves it almost certain nothing core related is going to be changed.
I think the real problem is Mearls saiid the core is practically done.


And then went and changed a lot of it.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I think the real problem is Mearls saiid the core is practically done.


And then went and changed a lot of it.



That is rather irrelevant. He said it was practically done and that is still what everyone knows. I don't think the core has been changed much, unless you count the horirble changes to the rogue. But if the changes are just going to go to horrible, then he might as well not change anything. So yeah even if things do get changed after he said that, it still gives people the sense that the core isn't going to change.

For example, should i really expect Disadvantage and Parry to go away, and monsters to stop being wimps, I would say no. 
Especially when you have to balance the classes to use either at-wills or dailies, and not a lot of in between options, remove minor actions, triggered abilities, most of the monster special powers, and try to make it look like old-school dnd which had a very shallow approach to combat rules.



This to me is exactly what 5e is, a severely trimmed down 4e to make it look like old school D&D but really isn't. Sure all those triggered abilties and extra actions slowed down 4e combat with big groups and at high levels but it was having those options that made the combat tactical and fun.

Like the OP, my group finds the game boring after an hour or two at a time. So we play over skype when everyone has an hour to play but otherwise play 4e or WoD during our 'normal' RPG sessions which consist of 4-8 hours over a weekend.

5e has the framework to provide very interesting combat, it's just that the classes and monsters tend to be rather lame.
I'm hoping that the a future Tactical Module will add other rules for combat that will give you the chance to play longer more complex battles using additional rules that give you a more 4e feel.   Since it will be a module, not everyone will have to use it, which is ok by me.   When the whole D&DNext is ready to go, I'm looking for both the fast and easy, story driven style, and the more tactical focus on combat so that sometimes I can "zoom" in and make a special combat encounter more important (and longer lasting).

A Brave Knight of WTF

I'm hoping that the a future Tactical Module will add other rules for combat that will give you the chance to play longer more complex battles using additional rules that give you a more 4e feel.   Since it will be a module, not everyone will have to use it, which is ok by me.   When the whole D&DNext is ready to go, I'm looking for both the fast and easy, story driven style, and the more tactical focus on combat so that sometimes I can "zoom" in and make a special combat encounter more important (and longer lasting).



Yeah, some groups like tactical combat and others like more descriptive combat. What engages what group is largely a matter of playstyle preference and not so much rules.

It's really something you need a module for to please multiple groups.
I agree with Rhenny and would like to have the option of multiple play styles. That's why BASH Fantasy is currently my FRPG of choice. BASH has grid based combat built into it, but this can easily be treated as optional. I want to have that same flexibility with DDN.
Children believe what we tell them, they have complete faith in us. I ask of you a little of this childlike simplicity, and to bring us luck, let me speak four truly magic words: "A long time ago...." (Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast) Winner of You Build the Character #12, YbtC #22, YbtC #24, YbtC #28 and YbtC #35 Winner of You Make the... Contest #8
I'm hoping that the a future Tactical Module will add other rules for combat that will give you the chance to play longer more complex battles using additional rules that give you a more 4e feel.   Since it will be a module, not everyone will have to use it, which is ok by me.   When the whole D&DNext is ready to go, I'm looking for both the fast and easy, story driven style, and the more tactical focus on combat so that sometimes I can "zoom" in and make a special combat encounter more important (and longer lasting).



Yeah, some groups like tactical combat and others like more descriptive combat. What engages what group is largely a matter of playstyle preference and not so much rules.

It's really something you need a module for to please multiple groups.



It also depends upon what you are playing at the moment
Is it tabletop roleplaying or is it a PBEM
I think once again Rhenny nailed it. Core can work with both. We need a tactical module and monster templates/adjustments for it. More people happy, win for next.

The OP has some interesting thoughts and I enjoyed reading Quellist's point of view, but I think what we're seeing here is an inevitable reality of any product: it won't be for everybody.


Rhenny's mention that a tactical module will help this is spot on. It's worth mentioning that every version of D&D has had a tactical sourcebook of some kind that expands the game's use of mats and minis and I don't see why 5e would be any exception to that.



My group has been really happy with the format of 5e (though we quibble about certain classes and such) and I've easily carried on a combat heavy game without any complaints. Granted, we're not in the habit of using tactical mats and that sort of thing so it does make a certain amount of sense.

Of course the core of 5th Ed is done, it was done in the first few pages of the the 1st How to Play doc (ability scores, ability checks, AC, HP; that's pretty much it, everything else is window dressing), that's the beauty I have experienced with 5th Ed, so easy to tweak to your heart's content and convert/drop stuff in (from other editions).

I like that for some battles it may be TotM, another a quick pencil sketch on a scrap of paper, and another full blown tape-measure/grid/tiles/miniatures, etc, all in the same adventure.
Sorry I don't agree with most of these posts.

While I do agree that the game needs more depth in terms of tactical options and weapons.

I think the core is really good and leaves more liberty to do what you want to do rather then what the rules tell you you can do... which was my biggest problem with 4E.

Once their is more spells, feats and options and the like, I think the game will really begin to shine.
One of the players in my group just told me that he doesn't trust WotC to actually listen to what people's concerns are about because most devs wont change their core mechanics even when they are flawed. He had a few more colourful things to say that I can't really post here either. 

For now my group is through with the playtest. I will still check out the next packet but its fairly safe to say that that Next has been a waste of our time and we will not be supporting it commercially if WotC doesn't do something to actually show us that they want our money.  
Like you've been told before, play whatever current edition makes you happy. Next isn't meant to be an edition worthy of full play yet. You cannot run a campaign using Next. Some things are still missing.

Set piece fights are harder in Next. 4e made every fight into a big set piece, so it was easier to just tweak a fight and make it a dramatic long battle.
Next isn't set-up for big crazy fights without adding extra elements. We haven't seen rules for terrain and environmental effects yet, which are needed for big fights. Just throwing more creatures into the mix won't change the dynamic as much.
Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: 
What Would Wrecan Say?

5 Minute Workday

My Webcomic
Updated Tue & Thur

 

One of the players in my group just told me that he doesn't trust WotC to actually listen to what people's concerns are about because most devs wont change their core mechanics even when they are flawed.



Do you think the core mechanics of 5th Ed are flawed, and if so, which one/ones?
You cannot run a campaign using Next.



Of course you can.
I think the real problem is Mearls saiid the core is practically done.


And then went and changed a lot of it.



That is rather irrelevant. He said it was practically done and that is still what everyone knows.


Wait.

You're really telling me that what "everyone knows" is what we go with, despite the fact that reality contradicts that?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
You cannot run a campaign using Next.



Of course you can.


Not as written and without applying house rules.
You level-up after four to six fights. It's quite possible to level-up twice a session and play through the entire game in five nights. And there isn't a heck of a lot of monster diversity yet. 

I do like the direction they're taking Next, as it's looking like it will be a pretty solid foundation. But it's not ready to replace my twice-monthly game for the next couple years.
Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: 
What Would Wrecan Say?

5 Minute Workday

My Webcomic
Updated Tue & Thur

 

You cannot run a campaign using Next.



Of course you can.


Not as written and without applying house rules.




Of course you can, please, I will not agree with you.
You cannot run a campaign using Next.


Of course you can.

 
Not as written and without applying house rules.


Of course you can, please, I will not agree with you.


Fair enough. 
I like Next but I'm not swapping my game entirely over to Next. Even if you're only playing once a month I don't think there's enough there or that content is coming fast enough to make it the only game you play. A side game, sure. Something you play before your main game, fine. But an exclusive only next game...? That just feels repetitive. 
Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: 
What Would Wrecan Say?

5 Minute Workday

My Webcomic
Updated Tue & Thur

 

You cannot run a campaign using Next.



Of course you can.


Not as written and without applying house rules.




Of course you can, please, I will not agree with you.



I am running D&D Next for a weekly Ptolus campaign and a bi-weekly Neverwinter campaign with a hand-full of House Rules and custom NPCs/Monsters

The core is there and it works... the rest is just icing on the cake.

My players just understand that their characters will change drastically with every playtest update.
You cannot run a campaign using Next.


Of course you can.

 
Not as written and without applying house rules.


Of course you can, please, I will not agree with you.


Fair enough. 
I like Next but I'm not swapping my game entirely over to Next. Even if you're only playing once a month I don't think there's enough there or that content is coming fast enough to make it the only game you play. A side game, sure. Something you play before your main game, fine. But an exclusive only next game...? That just feels repetitive. 




Hey, I think we're on the same page, I'm not saying I don't drop things into 5th Ed all over the place, but when all is said and done, you can play for years as it currently stands (some people have campaigns just using the Basic-Moldvay Rulebook).
As options for specific combat abilities increase, the less I feel like I can actually do.
It starts becoming "Pick from this list" rather then innovate a combat experience.

I liked 4ed, but for us it became a tabletop skirmish game. Because of this I really struggled getting older, experienced Role-Players engaged in 4ed combat, and would routinely have to drop the system rules at critical moments to let players feel more active in events as the they unfurled. My players enjoy combat experiences where each combat feels unique, and the solutions are often outside the bounds of the system mechanics. They usually want an action movie, not a raid boss.

After 20 years of RPG, I've learned to like lots of different sytems for different reasons. If Next becomes heavy on mechanics and tactical combat I'll be okay with it, but I'd prefer it start as an open, clean, and minamilistic system. DMs and source material can increase complexity, as needed.

In other words, I don't want Next Designers to cater to me and my players. I want Next Design to be flexible, simple, and accessible to multiple playstyles. This means their will be compromise, and no one playstyle will get it exactly how THEY want it. But if it's simple enough then THEY will have the power to bend it to their style. If it's too focused on one playestlye, then it's useless to the rest of us. 

PS: It would be nice if the forums weren't used to threaten the Devs into making a game JUST for them, or they are going to take their ball and go home. 

Cheers. 

My mind is a deal-breaker.

As options for specific combat abilities increase, the less I feel like I can actually do.  



Normally I would disagree with you and mostly I still do (improvisation in 4e is great and I as the dm have cool mechanics to back end when somebody goes beyond the rules)..

But wrt D&D NEXT when they split what I could do with parry into pieces.. and give you fewer choices from one packet to the next its feeling that way to me too.

  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 



PS: It would be nice if the forums weren't used to threaten the Devs into making a game JUST for them, or they are going to take their ball and go home.



Why shouldn't people, this is a consumer driven economy and we participate in it by voting with our wallets? We are consumers, WotC is a corporation, our wallets is all they will ultimately listen to.

Because there is also value in doing things for the art of it.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Not according to the 4e haters.
Because there is also value in doing things for the art of it.



Artistic Integrity only exists in consumer products when said integrity is merely the manifestation of a designer's Ego not letting them bend to the will of the market. I don't think you understand how to be a good consumer which is a shame because the market is only as anti-consumers are it is because so few people know how to be good ones. You need to make companies fight over your money and you never give a cent to anyone who doesn't give you exactly what you want. 
And that's bad...why?

Not everything popular is right.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
And that's bad...why?

Not everything popular is right.



If you give a corporation any money at all for something that isnt exactly what you want they will interpreted it as you wanting what you paid for and do that more. It has nothing to do with popularity, it means taking your ball and going home is the only way to reacted like a smart consumer. 


Why shouldn't people, this is a consumer driven economy and we participate in it by voting with our wallets? We are consumers, WotC is a corporation, our wallets is all they will ultimately listen to.




3.X E D&D fans and pre 4E FR fans has been saying that to themselves since 2008. Sounds logical, if the 4E fans will have the same reaction
And that's bad...why?

Not everything popular is right.



If you give a corporation any money at all for something that isnt exactly what you want they will interpreted it as you wanting what you paid for and do that more. It has nothing to do with popularity, it means taking your ball and going home is the only way to reacted like a smart consumer. 


That's assuming the company making the product is expecting you to react like a smart, market-driven consumer.

Not everything is dominated by market ideology.  People often act contrary to what market assumptions would predict.  Simple example:  I don't think anyone at Apple thinks that the public gave them a ringing endorsement of their new map system, despite yet another record launch of a new iphone model.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
People, individuals, yes, people as in the masses less often.

That said this is a chaotic time for DnD. 
I don't have a problem at all with people making arguements about what can make Next the best it can be, or even declaring that they are unhappy with it thus far. 

But..

Ever heard "A spoonful of sugar.... makes the medicine go down?" I think the effect of soft wallet threats does not increase your visibility to developers, their reaction will be either with grace give your opinion the same weight as it had before, or with less grace pay less attention. 

None of us here represent the dominant market. I'd imagine that the target market first and foremost is NEW players. Either way, If they are going to pander to any audience here, it's going to be to the ones that give them respect. I'm sure they are aware that people who don't like the game won't buy it.  They know if they pander to any one faction they will lose some members from another. They also know that the people who show the highest level of frustration, are going to be the pickiest, and least inclined to pick up the new game.

If they review the forums, it's for ideas, not ultimatums. 

My mind is a deal-breaker.