You cannot take alignments out of D&D… PERIOD.

You cannot take alignments out of D&D… PERIOD.


 I've seen, read, and participated in the whole I hate/love alignments threads, but there seems to be one factor I haven’t seen discussing alignments… they are a VERY strong meme in and of themselves.  Alignments have become part of geek and internet subculture, there are endless thread postings, T-shirts, demotivational images and posters.


Even if you were (wrongly) to remove alignments from D&D they would still be talked about, referred to, etc.


In short, like it or not, alignments are, have been, and always will be part of D&D…   

"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
Of course you can.  It would be child's play to do so.

What do you say to something like this? I have been on the fence, and I like them, but I've started to become convinced that they might work as fluff more so than game mechanics. I don't have any good arguments to say that you aren't correct. You can take the alignments out of D&D but you can't take D&D out of the alignments, it will be dragged there by the internet.

AD&D 1st Edition Character (Simplified)

BIOGRAPHY
Name: Brother Michael
Adventuring Class: Cleric
Adventuring Experience: 1446 out of 1501
Bonus Experience: 10%
Languages Known: Common, Orc, Elven.
Alignment: Lawful/Neutral Good
ABILITY SCORES
Strength: 10
Dexterity: 10
Intelligence: 11
Charisma: 11
Constitution: 14
Wisdom: 16
WEAPONS: HIT; MEDIUM; LARGE
Footman’s Flail: 1d20; 1d6+1; 1d4
Hammer (Thrown): 1d20; 1d4+1; 1d4
Sling: 1d20-3; 1d4+1; 1d6+1
MAGIC
Today’s Prepared Spells: Cure Light Wounds x2, Command x1
Spells Spent: Cure Light Wounds x1
Other Cleric Abilities: Turn Undead
Spell Failure: 0%
Magical Attack Adjustment: +2
DEFENSES
Armor: 5 (-4 Armor, -1 Shield)
Maximum Health: 10
Current Health: 9
CONSUMABLE ITEMS
Water Skin
7 Days of Trail Rations
7 Pints (Flasks) of Oil
1 Ounce (Vial) of Holy Water
4 Parchments
12 Sling Bullets
6 Pieces of Silver
8 Pieces of Twine

That's like saying that you can't eat healthy food because you've been eating slop your whole life. 

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

You cannot take alignments out of D&D… PERIOD. I've seen, read, and participated in the whole I hate/love alignments threads


I find it hard to believe you've participated in alignment threads and haven't noticed that the developers have been very clear that the approach is as follows:
Alignment Entries are Opt-Outtable
Alignment Mechanics are Opt-Innable
So calm down.  Alignment isn't going anywhere and you'll be able to import the mechanic if you want.
I like alignments depending on the campaign being played. In a classic good vs. evil game, it works.... in something complex like Game of Thrones, it just gets in the way.

So they should be part of the game, only optional.
Alignment has been a part of DnD for a long time, but many people do not like it and many tried void using it in other editons.

So to me the question is not if alignment should be in DnD nex but in what way. 
and in my opinion there are 3 options

1) as part of the core meaning classes spells and other recources need major re-write  and might be un playeble if you try to remove alignment, this would not be apealing to the we don't like alignment crouwd.

2) the game would have a modual to take out alignment and classes and spells and other game recources would be written so that alignment can be taken out using the rules and guide lines in the modual without cousing any major problems.

3) the base game would have no alignment system but there would be a modual allouwing you to add alignment as part of the game. meaning  classes and spells and other game recources would be written asuming alignment is not used. This might not give the in dept impact that people who like alignment might like to see.
Yes, I can, I do it frequently.

I agree that they shouldn't be taken out of the D&D rulebooks, but that's another thing entirely.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition

Alignment Entries are Opt-Outtable
Alignment Mechanics are Opt-Innable


As they should be.

Alignment is completely fine as a roleplaying tool if groups want to use it. It's onyl when it starts telling me how I need to roleplay or else I get x penalty that I start having a problem.
Awhile ago I started a thread in which I offered my attempt at a DDN version of the paladin's detect evil ability.  Though I focused the ability on detecting hostile intentions the thread had opened up a can of worms.  That can of worms was filled with conflicting ideas about what constitutes an evil character, an evil action and others forms of hostility personal to the paladin.  The problems I opened up had been fixed years ago without my knowing.  Alignment defines good and evil in the realm of D&D and resolves conflicting opinions about good and evil, and when these alignments are debatable the DM can resolve the issue by changing the alignment.  Alignments for the purpose of defining good and evil in a game setting are too important to give up.  We don't have to use them, but explaining them and including them as options in the game gives the DM control over how their world is defined. 

I am not advocating alignment based mechanics, after all alignments are invisible and should not IMO be interacted with as part of default mechanics.  I see exceptions to the statement I have just made, and exceptions are fine to have.

I hope this isn't too preachy; I worry it is so my apologies.

You cannot take alignments out of D&D… PERIOD.


 I've seen, read, and participated in the whole I hate/love alignments threads, but there seems to be one factor I haven’t seen discussing alignments… they are a VERY strong meme in and of themselves.  Alignments have become part of geek and internet subculture, there are endless thread postings, T-shirts, demotivational images and posters.


Even if you were (wrongly) to remove alignments from D&D they would still be talked about, referred to, etc.


In short, like it or not, alignments are, have been, and always will be part of D&D…   





I think I understand your message.   There are dnd games out there like Crypts and Things that don't have alignment in them.    Its just assumed everyone is a baddie.   Dark Sun might not have alignment too.
aside from being inflammatory and confrontational, what was the point of this thread?


the OP obviously hasn't following along with the development of 5e or they'd know that alignment will be in the game (it just isn't going to be forcefed to people who don't want it).

It’s so bizarre when I feel like a thread has the answer posted, and somehow discussion keeps happening that could just be pointed to a higher post, and in this case Wrecan, has said it. That is how it should be, the mechanical portion is a mod you can put into the game, and the fluff is there and can be taken out. He phrased it a bit more elegantly but it is done. Unless you don't agree with him, in which case there is more discussing to be done? Honestly it seems like the route to go to satisfy the most people. Will the module be present in the core, with examples of spells and class restrictions listed in the back chapter on modules? This reminds me of Vat19.com answered questions.

AD&D 1st Edition Character (Simplified)

BIOGRAPHY
Name: Brother Michael
Adventuring Class: Cleric
Adventuring Experience: 1446 out of 1501
Bonus Experience: 10%
Languages Known: Common, Orc, Elven.
Alignment: Lawful/Neutral Good
ABILITY SCORES
Strength: 10
Dexterity: 10
Intelligence: 11
Charisma: 11
Constitution: 14
Wisdom: 16
WEAPONS: HIT; MEDIUM; LARGE
Footman’s Flail: 1d20; 1d6+1; 1d4
Hammer (Thrown): 1d20; 1d4+1; 1d4
Sling: 1d20-3; 1d4+1; 1d6+1
MAGIC
Today’s Prepared Spells: Cure Light Wounds x2, Command x1
Spells Spent: Cure Light Wounds x1
Other Cleric Abilities: Turn Undead
Spell Failure: 0%
Magical Attack Adjustment: +2
DEFENSES
Armor: 5 (-4 Armor, -1 Shield)
Maximum Health: 10
Current Health: 9
CONSUMABLE ITEMS
Water Skin
7 Days of Trail Rations
7 Pints (Flasks) of Oil
1 Ounce (Vial) of Holy Water
4 Parchments
12 Sling Bullets
6 Pieces of Silver
8 Pieces of Twine

The OP isn't coming from a game mechanics perspective. (I think-- lol)

I take his post to mean that Alignments are iconic to D&D's culture and removing them will be a marketing mistake.  He might just be right, for I know people who know nothing about D&D but still know the term "Lawful Good. Chaotic Evil" for instance.

Can you take alignment out of a game, campaign or setting?  You sure can.  I have been doing it for 30+ years now.

The question is this: Is alignment such an iconic part of D&D, or even geek culture, that its value as a strong brand identifier supersedes the issues it creates during play?


The question is this: Is alignment such an iconic part of D&D, or even geek culture, that its value as a strong brand identifier supersedes the issues it creates during play?



The answer is this: no.

Alignment Entries are Opt-Outtable
Alignment Mechanics are Opt-Innable


As they should be.

Alignment is completely fine as a roleplaying tool if groups want to use it. It's onyl when it starts telling me how I need to roleplay or else I get x penalty that I start having a problem.



I'll probably use it as a guideline, maybe expand from there.  Personally, I want D20 Modern style allegiences.  That was a mechanic/general concept I really liked.

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

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
in something complex like Game of Thrones, it just gets in the way.




Or perhaps it's where the concepts would shine most.
The Brienne of Tarth chapters would be an amazing example of a Lawful Good character struggling with a world in disorder.

You just have to keep a few things in mind:
1-The great majority of people tend towards neutrality. The world, even a fictional one, is not full of Yodas and Darth Vaders.

2-Alignments are general guidelines as to how your characters behave. You can't define a character precisely with two words, so don't even try it.
It's just what your character inclines towards.


Use it like that and you'd keep the aligment system cool with more "realistic" fantasy such as Game of Thrones. 


I've run games with and without alignments, and honestly I can't tell if there's a better option here.
It's mostly dependant on your players.
Some groups role-play better without them, others seem to shine on the challenge of playing characters with a more pre-defined behavior that is not necessarily the same as the player's.
Hey haven't you heard? The Next Paladin will have detect " Snarkey" and protection from "political incorrectness". He will end up weilding a +1 sword of you get "butterfly feelings".  He will destroy undead with his cool Therapy session ability, after he uses his empathetic tear spell on them to know their felings are all icky but it's because of their bad childhoods. Innocent 
Hey haven't you heard? The Next Paladin will have detect " Snarkey" and protection from "political incorrectness". He will end up weilding a +1 sword of you get "butterfly feelings".  He will destroy undead with his cool Therapy session ability, after he uses his empathetic tear spell on them to know their felings are all icky but it's because of their bad childhoods. Innocent 

I don't know, man.  I heard that the DDN Paladin will be able to detect undead, demons, and devils and have a more simple divine protection that just keeps him safe from things that try to hurt him.  He'll use a shiny sword charged with divine power to Smite whatever he pleases in the name of his god. Wink

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Hey haven't you heard? The Next Paladin will have detect " Snarkey" and protection from "political incorrectness". He will end up weilding a +1 sword of you get "butterfly feelings".  He will destroy undead with his cool Therapy session ability, after he uses his empathetic tear spell on them to know their felings are all icky but it's because of their bad childhoods. Innocent 

I don't know, man.  I heard that the DDN Paladin will be able to detect undead, demons, and devils and have a more simple divine protection that just keeps him safe from things that try to hurt him.  He'll use a shiny sword charged with divine power to Smite whatever he pleases in the name of his god.

Sounds like a "vanilla" priest. Not a paragon of all that is Good and righteous to me. oh, I see you want the Non aligned Holy warrior rather than a real paladin. " I call upon the module gods " Poof" Ignoreo alignmentos stupidious. There you go.
Hey haven't you heard? The Next Paladin will have detect " Snarkey" and protection from "political incorrectness". He will end up weilding a +1 sword of you get "butterfly feelings".  He will destroy undead with his cool Therapy session ability, after he uses his empathetic tear spell on them to know their felings are all icky but it's because of their bad childhoods. Innocent 

I don't know, man.  I heard that the DDN Paladin will be able to detect undead, demons, and devils and have a more simple divine protection that just keeps him safe from things that try to hurt him.  He'll use a shiny sword charged with divine power to Smite the ever loving **** out of whatever he damn well pleases in the name of his god.

Sounds like a "vanilla" priest. Not a paragon of all that is Good and righteous to me. oh, I see you want the Non aligned Holy warrior rather than a real paladin. " I call upon the module gods " Poof" Ignoreo alignmentos stupidious. There you go. 



Maybe the pally should be a module on top of a Holy Warrior?  That way, those who want their paragon of good champ, the paladin, can have such.  Otherwise, those who want non-alignment base pally can just refluff holy warrior as such.  A fair deal, I'd say.

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

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
I like the idea of Alignment being a paladin only kind of thing. Gives it something special other than just being a warrior priest Now to see what they give ranger...
My two copper.
There ya go. Allow the paladin Paragon to exsist along side the Vanilladin divine champion. and then folks have a choice.  not destroy and or remove the Paladin from the genre and deny everyone iconic paladins because "I want to be one without the roleplaying requirements. I can't decide where my moral compass points.. What is really good? what's evil? He had a bad childhood and is a product of his environment he's not a Chaotic evil  serial killer. He's misunderstood.. Your good isn't my good".
I’ve removed content from this thread because profanity, even when veiled, is a violation of the Code of Conduct.

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The OP just means that Alignment will always be sort of a part of D&D's culture. You can obviously remove the silly nine-boxes alignment system with no trouble at all.
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.
To the OP: If you are concerned about the devs removing alignments in D&D Next, they have stated that they don't plan to. They intend to make them optional. So groups that like alignments can use them, and groups that think they are silly can remove them.

Also, on the topic of paladins, I think it was said that the pally would be changed so that its abilities are not centered on specific alignments, but on which virtue it chooses. So instead of a LG paladin, I play a paladin of Justice. This seems fine to me.
The OP just means that Alignment will always be sort of a part of D&D's culture. You can obviously remove the silly nine-boxes alignment system with no trouble at all.



Exactly.
But, based on the responses in this thread, most seem to have not realized that. 
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
I think that like "backgrounds" and "specialties," a nine-box alignment system can be very helpful in stimulating character concepts for a certain type of player. Ideally, the player will use that simple building block to build up a more complex personality for his character.

I'm glad "alignment" will be on the character sheet because it's one of the only things that forces the player to make a choice about their character's personality, and not just their combat mechanics. Of course, more advanced roleplayers may well have entire backstories and complex moral codes charted out before their pencil ever hits the paper, but for beginning players it can be useful to stimulate them to think about their character's worldview and attitude beyond just, "He has black hair, violet eyes and a greatsword."

This is why it's also great that alignment won't be baked into the mechanics - that "lawful neutral" you jotted down at level one might get you started on thinking about your character's psychology, but further down the line those ideals may well get complex enough that they don't map onto the alignment system so readily.

I preferred the alignment in 4th edition, is that an option for me. Although personally I’d rather see a 3 axis scale between three continuums, Lawful, Good, and Concern (as in Unaligned or Neutral people who aren’t seeking balance, that just don’t care would exist further up on the Z axis away from the people who care on the plane of X-Y Laws and Goodies. 4e Paladin, who fights for his virtues, which would be with fluff tightly bounded to certain alignments easily, even though you can play them without the fluff of alignments (as written). I don’t like nine-box for two reasons, likely because I got use to 4th’s style and don’t like the Non-Z format. As well as the fact it doesn’t exist as a plane where I can put a dot somewhere on a giant grid that doesn’t exist only as 9 points, but millions. I don’t know where I’m going with this now. Good points in favor of it though Clockwork Necktie.
 

AD&D 1st Edition Character (Simplified)

BIOGRAPHY
Name: Brother Michael
Adventuring Class: Cleric
Adventuring Experience: 1446 out of 1501
Bonus Experience: 10%
Languages Known: Common, Orc, Elven.
Alignment: Lawful/Neutral Good
ABILITY SCORES
Strength: 10
Dexterity: 10
Intelligence: 11
Charisma: 11
Constitution: 14
Wisdom: 16
WEAPONS: HIT; MEDIUM; LARGE
Footman’s Flail: 1d20; 1d6+1; 1d4
Hammer (Thrown): 1d20; 1d4+1; 1d4
Sling: 1d20-3; 1d4+1; 1d6+1
MAGIC
Today’s Prepared Spells: Cure Light Wounds x2, Command x1
Spells Spent: Cure Light Wounds x1
Other Cleric Abilities: Turn Undead
Spell Failure: 0%
Magical Attack Adjustment: +2
DEFENSES
Armor: 5 (-4 Armor, -1 Shield)
Maximum Health: 10
Current Health: 9
CONSUMABLE ITEMS
Water Skin
7 Days of Trail Rations
7 Pints (Flasks) of Oil
1 Ounce (Vial) of Holy Water
4 Parchments
12 Sling Bullets
6 Pieces of Silver
8 Pieces of Twine

There is no need to remove alignments, but don't enforce them as a method to balance a class. They can still be present for special abilities, spells, etc. when it makes sense like smite, protection from evil, etc.
Alignment doesn't exist in real life, good and evil is determined by each people and not as something as a whole.  What you call villain in his eye and his follower, you are the villain and he is the hero.  Thus alignment doesn't exist...

Paladins did masacre and genocide of inocent people.  Your enemies see Paladins as tyranical executioners of a society that want to exterminate them...

There is no good....there is no evil... 
To me, it's just odd that somebody can say that they enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons, but hate the traditional alignment system.  To me, that's just like saying that you don't like classes or levels--it amounts to saying that you want to rip out an absolutely essential part of the game, without which it doesn't feel like D&D. 

I just can't relate to that mentality.  Hearing somebody say that they don't like the alignment system makes me wonder if they really like D&D at all.  I can't imagine taking part in a game of D&D with someone who felt that way.

Why don't you like it?  You find alignment needlessly restrictive, but you're totally comfortable with classes and levels? 

In D&D Next, I'm not looking for a freeform "build-your-own-tabletop-RPG" kit; I think the game needs to preserve some traditional features, make some assumptions, and enforce certain fairly general stereotypes.  To me, alignment is a tool for doing that, just like classes and levels are.  4E's alignment system felt bland and unsatisfying, and I am pleased to see the classic nine alignments return in this latest edition of the game.

If you have to resort to making offensive comments instead of making logical arguments, you deserve to be ignored.

There ya go. Allow the paladin Paragon to exsist along side the Vanilladin divine champion. and then folks have a choice.  not destroy and or remove the Paladin from the genre and deny everyone iconic paladins because "I want to be one without the roleplaying requirements. I can't decide where my moral compass points.. What is really good? what's evil? He had a bad childhood and is a product of his environment he's not a Chaotic evil  serial killer. He's misunderstood.. Your good isn't my good".



You already can do that.  If you have paladins of all alignments (or alignment does not exist at all, preferably), then you can have a righteous zealot paladin alongside other champions.  A further demonstration of why alignment should be removed.
To me, it's just odd that somebody can say that they enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons, but hate the traditional alignment system.  To me, that's just like saying that you don't like classes or levels--it amounts to saying that you want to rip out an absolutely essential part of the game, without which it doesn't feel like D&D. 



The fact that alignment is contentious, along with the fact that it can be removed easily, demonstrates that it is not at all essential.

Alignment is D&D's appendix.  It just kinda sits there, and you forget about it, until you realize it doesn't do anything but cause you problems; then you remove it.
To me, it's just odd that somebody can say that they enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons, but hate the traditional alignment system.  To me, that's just like saying that you don't like classes or levels--it amounts to saying that you want to rip out an absolutely essential part of the game, without which it doesn't feel like D&D. 

I just can't relate to that mentality.  Hearing somebody say that they don't like the alignment system makes me wonder if they really like D&D at all.  I can't imagine taking part in a game of D&D with someone who felt that way.

Why don't you like it?  You find alignment needlessly restrictive, but you're totally comfortable with classes and levels? 

In D&D Next, I'm not looking for a freeform "build-your-own-tabletop-RPG" kit; I think the game needs to preserve some traditional features, make some assumptions, and enforce certain fairly general stereotypes.  To me, alignment is a tool for doing that, just like classes and levels are.  4E's alignment system felt bland and unsatisfying, and I am pleased to see the classic nine alignments return in this latest edition of the game.

It's more like not being a fan of demi-human level limits. If you try to lift out classes or levels, you have to completely rearchitect the system, and will probably end up with something that plays a lot differently. If you just remove or replace the traditional alignment system, however, you end up with something that plays very similarly, but without a silly and ineffective alignment system clumsily stapled to it - and the removal/replacement is extremely easy because of how profoundly inessential the traditional alignment system is.

It's not that anybody finds alignment needlessly restrictive; it's just a very poor model of what it's trying to model and not very useful. I ditch in favor of a much more elegant, evocative and useful (for both DMs and players) FATE-style system of priorities, tendencies and allegiences. Other DMs I've played with simply drop it completely and just let intuitive ideas about what it means to be a paladin or a druid or whatever stand on their own.

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.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />It's not that anybody finds alignment needlessly restrictive;



Some of us do.
"I know how to play a musical instrument, so I have to have a particular belief system."
"I like to punch people, so I have to have a particular belief system."
"I fight angry, so I have to have a particular belief system."
"I think trees are neat, so I have to have a particular belief system."
Ridiculous and ludicrous don't even begin to sum that up.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />It's not that anybody finds alignment needlessly restrictive;



Some of us do.
"I know how to play a musical instrument, so I have to have a particular belief system."
"I like to punch people, so I have to have a particular belief system."
"I fight angry, so I have to have a particular belief system."

Ridiculous and ludicrous don't even begin to sum that up.

Ah yeah, I was talking more about alignment in general. Nonsensical class-based alignment restrictions are a whole 'nother level of absurdity. I actually think that class-based behavioral systems for belief-based classes like Clerics are okay, but such is the profound unsuitability of the nine-boxes system for the task that no alignment restriction expressed using it has ever been neccessary or sufficient. 3.5 understood this at least a little bit; it put the real, sensible behavioral restrictions (A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god...) alongside the fakey, artificial neither-necessary-nor-sufficient nine-boxes restrction (A cleric’s alignment must be within one step of his deity’s...).
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.
You cannot take alignments out of D&D… PERIOD.



Watch me!
Ok that's basically the kind of thinking that I find alien.

I like tootsie roll pops, doens't mean I like to eat the wrapper or the stick, or the little sharp bits that heppen when you crunch a bubble in the candy shell, I don't like the hard kernels of popcorn even though I like the rest of it just fine. You can dislike aspects of something without disliking the whole.

Classes and levels both have a history of being handled  better by the game rules than alignment (and given how borked 3e classes were that's saying something).

Alignments are a problem for 2 main reasons, inconsitent treatment within the rules, and inconsstent treatment from DMs. The second is really a symptom of the first so I'm gonna focus there.

See in 3e, and from what I gather it was similar in pre-3 games but don't quote me on that, alignment was a real hot mess. You had more than half the classes ignoring completely, a few classes had it as sort of a personality/background straight jacket (which in the case of many such as bard or barbarian didn't even begin to make sense), clerics were using it as a sort of cosmic faction card dictating their planar allies and enemies, and a few classes (wizards and such) had as a sort of list of specific actions taken (due to certain spells such as animate dead having alignment descriptors).

Then there were paladins who ended up trapped by the DM's idea of lawful good. I'm not talking about traps set by DM's consiously, that's just being a jerk, what I mean is that DMs would hold up the Paladin to the DMs' idea of lawful good behavior despite what the player may have envisioned, and unless you are of the same philosophical bent as your DM then it can be a major issue.

So in my experience alignment as anything but a quick little descriptor with no game mechanics attached is a bad idea. Didn't mean I hated 3e, it just meant I stuck to classes that didn't care, or chaotic classes because then I could justify anything I wanted. Any other alignment class had to live up to almost comic-bookish levels of behavior in order to "maintain your alignment".

It's not a good system.

IF you want alignment mechanics then they need to be improved from the 3e garbage.

Basically pick one purpose for alignment and make it apply consistently.

1. Cosmic faction card, your alignment is based on your side in the great cosmic conflicts between such beings as angels, demons, and formians, it determines your avenues of access to divine magic and ability to use many magic items based on such magic. It has little bearing on mortal ethics and morality.

2. Personality test -  Don't even bother there are chaotic monks and lawful barbarians throughout the mythologies and a few characters that blur the lines between them.

3. Record of actions taken/attempted - Alignment is a point based system with certain actions giving out points to various alignments your totals in the various alignments can alter your class powers, feat selection, and interaction with magic items.

4. RP aide - no rules required.

I'm serious, until people decide what they want alignment to be then it's not going to be a good mechanic.
I have no problem with Alignments being in the game as things that define player's actions. I do NOT like features and abilities that only work against one very specific thing in the game and sits there collecting dust when it's not applicable. 

As for taking it out, yes it's quite simple to do so and people have been doing it for pretty much as long as D&D has been around. Should D&D take it out "officially"? No it'll be there, as it's always been, as something any group can incorporate or delete from their games.  
Ah yeah, I was talking more about alignment in general. Nonsensical class-based alignment restrictions are a whole 'nother level of absurdity. I actually think that class-based behavioral systems for belief-based classes like Clerics are okay, but such is the profound unsuitability of the nine-boxes system for the task that no alignment restriction expressed using it has ever been neccessary or sufficient. 3.5 understood this at least a little bit; it put the real, sensible behavioral restrictions (A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct required by his god...) alongside the fakey, artificial neither-necessary-nor-sufficient nine-boxes restrction (A cleric’s alignment must be within one step of his deity’s...).



I prefer the 4e 'once the powers are yours, they're yours' system.  The power-loss business is just as subjective as alignment change nonsense, since the DM is still the one who calls that shot (as he 'roleplays' the gods).

Roleplaying actions should have roleplaying consequences, not mechanical ones.