Playtester Profile - Matt James

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We sat down with freelance designer Matt James and talked D&D Next in this week's Playtester Profile!
Trevor Kidd Community Manager
Great interview Matt !

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

And another interviewed that started back on the 80s...so they only interview +30 years old people?

Why not interview somebody that didn't care for OD&D and AD&D?
And another interviewed that didn't started back on the 80s...so they only interview +30 years old people?

Why not interview somebody that didn't care for OD&D and AD&D?



Because D&D encompasses over 30 years of gaiming and they want to hear from people not only into 4e?  
I can't speak for everyone that has been interviewed, but I was referred by other people. I don't know if WotC necessarily cares how old those of us who have been interviewed are or not, or what edition we started with. I think that's why the first question is usually "tell us about your history with D&D".
And another interviewed that didn't started back on the 80s...so they only interview +30 years old people?

Why not interview somebody that didn't care for OD&D and AD&D?



Because D&D encompasses over 30 years of gaiming and they want to hear from people not only into 4e?  



I don't mean only 4e...what i mean is, is like if WotC didn't care for the people that got into D&D in the last 8 years...8 years is ALOT of time.
And another interviewed that didn't started back on the 80s...so they only interview +30 years old people?

Why not interview somebody that didn't care for OD&D and AD&D?



Because D&D encompasses over 30 years of gaiming and they want to hear from people not only into 4e?  



I don't mean only 4e...what i mean is, is like if WotC didn't care for the people that got into D&D in the last 8 years...8 years is ALOT of time.



I find it amusing that somehow not caring about OD&D and AD&D means you only care about 4e.

They seem to be targeting a certain demographic, but you have ton consider that by targetting people 30-40 range your targetting the people that both play D&D and pay for their kids who are playing D&D. Another part of it is the maturity level. It maybe a unfair, but there is always an assumption that older people are more mature.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke
I can't speak for everyone that has been interviewed, but I was referred by other people. I don't know if WotC necessarily cares how old those of us who have been interviewed are or not, or what edition we started with. I think that's why the first question is usually "tell us about your history with D&D".



I think this is probably it. They probably get lists of referrals, or target bigger names in the community (the enworld guy was interveiwed, right?). Not saying that anyone under 30 isn't a big name. 

I figure keep sending in referrals, calmly voice your concern that you've noticed that a specific subset of players have been interveiwed, and change will likely happen.
And another interviewed that started back on the 80s...so they only interview +30 years old people?

Why not interview somebody that didn't care for OD&D and AD&D?


Hi, I'm 28, and I started with 3e.  I was interviewed.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
And another interviewed that started back on the 80s...so they only interview +30 years old people?

Why not interview somebody that didn't care for OD&D and AD&D?


Hi, I'm 28, and I started with 3e.  I was interviewed.



Oh true, you and mallored too...maybe i am getting mixed up with the developers the ones that doesn't have anybody who didn't started on the 80s =V

Isn't there younger tabletop game designers? 


I find it amusing that somehow not caring about OD&D and AD&D means you only care about 4e.



I find it amusing that someone could care about 3.5 and not care about OD&D and AD&D, considering that 3.5 is deeply rooted from its past and 4e is not.


I find it amusing that somehow not caring about OD&D and AD&D means you only care about 4e.



I find it amusing that someone could care about 3.5 and not care about OD&D and AD&D, considering that 3.5 is deeply rooted from its past and 4e is not.



We will have to agree to disagree. 3.0e changed D&D just as significantly as 4.0e

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke


I find it amusing that somehow not caring about OD&D and AD&D means you only care about 4e.



I find it amusing that someone could care about 3.5 and not care about OD&D and AD&D, considering that 3.5 is deeply rooted from its past and 4e is not.



We will have to agree to disagree. 3.0e changed D&D just as significantly as 4.0e



BWAHAHAHA! okay...you're right we will have to agree to disagree.
I don't think he's got the monk history entirely correct.  Fighting-Man, Magic-User and Cleric were the first three classes in the original brown book.  Thief was introduced as a class in Supplement I: Greyhawk along with the Paladin, while Monk was introduced in Supplement II: Blackmoor as a "sub-class of Clerics which also combines the general attributes of Thief and Fighting Man" while Assassin was a subclass of Thief (Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry was the one that introduced Druids... and psionics).


I find it amusing that somehow not caring about OD&D and AD&D means you only care about 4e.



I find it amusing that someone could care about 3.5 and not care about OD&D and AD&D, considering that 3.5 is deeply rooted from its past and 4e is not.



4e draws on many of the things that were ideas in 3e's time.  I'm not really sure how you can consider 3.5e to be firmly rooted in its past, and 4e's growth as somehow completely different.


I find it amusing that somehow not caring about OD&D and AD&D means you only care about 4e.



I find it amusing that someone could care about 3.5 and not care about OD&D and AD&D, considering that 3.5 is deeply rooted from its past and 4e is not.



4e draws on many of the things that were ideas in 3e's time.  I'm not really sure how you can consider 3.5e to be firmly rooted in its past, and 4e's growth as somehow completely different.



Many of 3.0 and to a smaller extent 3.5 has many mechanics and ideas that were seen in earlier editions from before.  Many of the campaigns (albiet from third party) even made it back into the game.  The skills from 3.0 are enhanced versions of the proficiency sets that 2nd attempted to improve on over 11 years in its run.  Most importantly is that 3.0 and 3.5 still had some possibility of being played without staring at a board and minatures the whole time.  4e that is not the case.  So yes the very function of 3.5 is very different than what you have with 4e.  3.5 is related to the earlier editions, while having many things about it that was unique with better implementation.  4e is almost an entirely new game.

So unless you want Next to only be an updated version of 4e, getting input from people whom have played other editions is important as well as 4e.

And 4e's skills system was an evolution of 3e's, designed to eliminate the fact that high level heroes tended to be all-or-nothing when it came to character capabilities.  D&D has always been a miniatures game being derived from tactical wargaming, and 3e was no different- 3e was the edition that introduced flanking, full attacks without movement and attacks of opportunity, things that all require you to know exactly where everyone is on the battlefield.   3e really could use a battlemap when you have multiple opponents, same with 4e.  I know 4e had a bunch of older modules adapted for it, so it would kind of help if you would be clearer as to what you were looking for.

If 3e is related to earlier editions and 4e is a new game, then what's 5e?
I'm 31. Most of my playing time spans 2.5 and 3.x. Just because I have played OD&D doesn't mean that I am from that era. I might not have been as clear in my interview Cool

Also, I goofed in my hastily answered question to WotC. The original classes were indeed the fighting-man, cleric, and wizard. Thief and Monk came in the subsequent supplements. I asked for them to help fix my oversight. 
Matt James Freelance Game Designer Loremaster.org

Follow me on Twitter!


If 3e is related to earlier editions and 4e is a new game, then what's 5e?



A combination of multiple editions that are optional so players have the option to play more old school or more new school.  Chain Mail was the founding of the minatures game and inspiration for D&D.  It became something more than that, but always allowed the use of them in game.  Many did.  Many found graph paper and pencil to be just as adequate however for more complicated fight scenes.  In the latest incarnation that is not really possible at all.



If 3e is related to earlier editions and 4e is a new game, then what's 5e?



A combination of multiple editions that are optional so players have the option to play more old school or more new school.  Chain Mail was the founding of the minatures game and inspiration for D&D.  It became something more than that, but always allowed the use of them in game.  Many did.  Many found graph paper and pencil to be just as adequate however for more complicated fight scenes.  In the latest incarnation that is not really possible at all.




I haven't had to do much to play 4e with just character sheets and dice. There are aspects that get lost playing that way, but nothing that your going to missing if you choose to play that way in the first place. since squares = 5' I just do the conversion in my head and talk in feet instead of squares. Conversion is the big issue. Its just not possible to easily convert monsters and NPCs you have stated out, but the amount of time it takes to setup 3e made me give up on trying to DM 3e. I just hop in a game or two no and again.

Big Model: Creative Agenda
Love 4e? Concerned about its future? join the Old Guard of 4th Edition
Reality Refracted: Social Contracts

My blog of random stuff 

Dreaming the Impossible Dream
Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

"It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the publick to be the most anxious for its welfare." - Edmund Burke