Constructive Criticism

There is a proper way to constructively criticize a system, in this case an edition you don't like. The first thing to do is realize that you may not dislike the entire system, and only parts of it. The next thing you need to do is to define in detail exactly the specific mechanics that you don't like.

For instance if you say something like "I hate monopoly, its too much like an MMO." that isn't helpful to anyone, it doesn't convey any meaningful information. MMO's are a wide group of computer games with many many features. When someone says they hate monopoly because its too much like an MMO do they mean the images used are computer generated? Does it mean that monopoly tokens have abilities that recover on a timer? Does it mean its a team game that usually takes 4 or more players cooperating to defeat a challenge in the game? Does it mean any of a hundred other features of various MMOs?

Now if you were to examine it very closely you might not like that monopoly has each player having the exact same abilities (they each roll dice to move and can buy properties they land on after they pass go once, they all pay the same rents on the same properties). Now this is information that is useful and its not insulting to anyone. Its also information that the developers of the next edition of monopoly can use to improve the game.

Another tip is to make sure what you are saying is actually what you mean. For instance if you were to say that "I don't like monopoly because the game is all about buying up properties." You may not actually mean that. When you examine the reasons you might find that you really think that the property buying phase of the game takes too long and can easily be fixed by randomly divvying up the properties before the rest of the game starts. You might say "I don't like monopoly because you move around the board and pay rent." When you might actually mean you think moving and paying rent takes too much time in the game and that you enjoy other parts of the game more like drawing cards or landing on free parking or passing go. This can be fixed by adding more card spaces and more go spaces to the game. "Moving around and paying rent." can't be fixed without ripping half of what the game is about out of it.

What are some other constructive criticism tips that people can use to communicate better their likes and dislikes of various mechanics?

(Note: Please do not reference a specific edition of D&D so as to not incite arguments in this thread that will result in it getting locked. Instead use non-rpg games as examples.)

"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.
Start with your personal impression/subjective feelings. Expand on the factual.
Draw a clear line from the subjective to the factual.
Step back. Breathe.
Start with your personal impression/subjective feelings. Expand on the factual. Draw a clear line from the subjective to the factual. Step back. Breathe.



Good advice! Smile
"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.
I got so mad yesterday I almost rage quit. Not over the game, mind you, but over the flame wars.

We've got to do better as a group. And I support your thread for it.
WOW Surprised

This is the 2nd Civil thread I've read today. OMG. It's the end of the world isn't it?

Seriously, I agree that we as a group need to work together better to make a game that's a viable product and that we can enjoy. However, sometimes you just have to realize that there are jerks here that love trolling, or that have an agenda against cooperation. I can only suggest walking away from the thread.
I've removed content from this thread. Baiting and trolling are violations of the Code of Conduct.

You can review the Code of Conduct here: company.wizards.com/conduct

Remember to keep your posts polite and on topic and refrain from making personal attacks and remarks. 
6 posts before modding!

Not a bad record in these parts.

:-)
...What are some other constructive criticism tips that people can use to communicate better their likes and dislikes of various mechanics?

(Note: Please do not reference a specific edition of D&D so as to not incite arguments in this thread that will result in it getting locked. Instead use non-rpg games as examples.)

Well, not sure if I'm alone in this. (God I hope I'm not starting something I can't stop.) But when it comes to referencing something from history or fiction, I personally would like to see less emphasis on the root of the inspiration and more emphasis on the mechanics themselves. If X mechanic is cool, then it should be considered for what it is, and that consideration should be completely separate from the history/fiction that inspired it.

A detached example to avoid stepping on toes. In Touhou, there is a character named Yukari who can open portal like "gaps" at-will. I would love to see that as an (epic level?) ability. Saying "gaps are cool, I think there should be an ability to create small portals at-will in D&DN," is a legit consideration. Saying, "gaps should be in D&DN because Yukari could make them," is flawed.

I know D&D in the past has dipped in mythology and fiction a lot, but I'd like to think it has grown out of that just a little. Should Vancian casting be in because some people like the mechanic, or simply because that's how it worked in some books many of us probably haven't read? Should inspiration be in because some people like the mechanic, or because drill sergeants can yell and make people do things IRL? Many debates I've seen around here act like the latter reasons are how mechanics are decided in D&DN. If you can just keep bringing up mythological, fictional, and real life characters that used a similar ability, then everyone will agree it should be in D&DN! Oh, and of course, counting out a mechanic simply because it didn't show up in fantasy before is equally frustrating. Should things be excluded because they weren't in any books I personally can recall?


So, am I just cray cray, or do other people agree?
Well you're def cray.

But I agree. There's a problem with justification by example because of individual perception. Of course justification by example is supposed to be a form of argument from precedent.

But few agree on what the example actually depicts.

So what can you do?

This is where I think we need to be able to say, "I'd like to be opening a number of small portals/gaps at high level and having a mess of fun with them." And then looking for a WAY to do that (like a 5-6 level spell) and starting there.

"You shouldn't get portals because N" isn't helpful to the discussion. But "this has potential to be broken in the following ways..." Is helpful. From there we can try to limit abuse and get a game element that you like & want to use as well as one that isn't causing a bunch of people to complain because of N.

Ya dig?
So, am I just cray cray, or do other people agree?

I completely agree.  Talk about the mechanic itself.
It is just as important to note what is NOT constructive.

Not Constructive:

Jumping down someone's throat when they do mention an aspect of an edition they do not like.

This includes (but is not limited to):
1) Assuming they read the rule wrong without supporting evidence.
2) Assuming they applied the rule wrong without supporting evidence.
3) Assuming they are biased toward that particular edition without supporting evidence.
4) Assuming they are intentionally nit-picking to find faults without supporting evidence.

Not Cosntructive:
Labels intended to negatively lump fans of various editions together.

This includes (but is not limited to):
1) H4ters
2) F4nboys
3) 4vengers
4) Grognards

Not Constructive:
Debating the person instead of the topic of discussion.

This includes (but is not limited to):
1) Grammar nazi-ism
2) Fallacy nazi-ism
3) Strawman building
4) Disregarding their views under the assumption they belong to one of the aforementioned labels
5) Personal insults levelled at other posters or developers
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
I self identify as a 4venger.

I'm considering NOT doing that anymore.

Not for shame (I love 4E) but b/c I don't want ppl to automatically discount my opinion.

I never considered myself a 4venger...does that count for anything?


I never really liked labels anyway though.

Personal opinion...

Good thread.    Something to consider - the psychology of the fan.  "Fan" is short for "fanatic" and, when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy geekdom, fanbases can get pretty fanatic.  The primary source of any given flame war is something relatively simple.  Fans tend to personally identify with whatever they are a fan of.  Thus, a portion of their identity ends up being wrapped up in it.  Take, for example, a Batman fan.  Tell that fan that Batman could never beat Captain America in a fair fight and suddenly you have a 10 page long flame war.  Why?  Because the Batman fan took an insult against Batman as a personal insult.  They felt attacked and felt the need to defend themselves.

The same thing applies to editions of D&D, including D&D Next.  Generalizations and derogatory remarks about an edition are taken as personal insults by that edition's fans.  Once that happens, logic, reason and constructive criticism all go out the window. 

So, its helpful (not to mention less stressful) to consider how what you type might be taken by a fan.  And consider your own fan bias as well.     

All around helpful simian

+1 to Crazy Monkey.

I've found myself in this trap. Bleah to that.
Yeah....

but what about Darth Vader vs. Batman? I think the case for Vader would be ironclad...... 
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
Yeah....

but what about Darth Vader vs. Batman? I think the case for Vader would be ironclad...... 

If they are not in front of each others, there's no combat, as they can't turn their heads and see the other with their rigid costumes.
I self identify as a Grognard, although I'm a 4e fan as well. Just been playing since dirt, so wear My grognardiness with pride!

I agree though, its better to focus on the issues than the lables, self professed or slung like mud! 
Want continued support for 4e, check this out, 4e Lives and Breaths

Check out MY eZine, Random Encounters Seuss (lordseussmd on YM)
I self identify as a Grognard, although I'm a 4e fan as well. Just been playing since dirt, so wear My grognardiness with pride!

I agree though, its better to focus on the issues than the lables, self professed or slung like mud! 



Just to give a snapshot of myself:
I was completely into wargaming, with such notable games as Squad Leader, Sniper!, and others when a small group of the regular gamers kept going on about something called Dungeons & Dragons. I had played Chainmail a couple of times and didn't particularly care for it compared to the other games I played. I watched them play a little, and laughed it off as some sort of bizarre upstart fad that would blow over within a couple of years. I mean, Magic-Users and Clerics in a miniature wargame? Silliness!

By the time I actually got into D&D, it was just after the "E" in BECMI had been released. I haven't stopped playing it since then. Were it not for the negative connotations now associated with it, I would gladly call myself a grognard. Any more, it just means you fear change, wish D&D had never changed from whichever old-E you prefer, don't want the younger generation ruining D&D, and all sorts of other nonsense that amounts to "get off my lawn".

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
My experience following World of Warcraft arguments for years is that when a player says that they are no longer going to subscribe because of some change they didn't like, Blizzard would immediately revert the change to keep from losing that customer.  So telling Wizards how you're not going to buy 5e unless they do X will probably also work.

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Psych!   

"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
My experience following World of Warcraft arguments for years is that when a player says that they are no longer going to subscribe because of some change they didn't like, Blizzard would immediately revert the change to keep from losing that customer.  So telling Wizards how you're not going to buy 5e unless they do X will probably also work.

Show


Psych!   




LOL.  Well played. =)

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

It is an interesting point.  I don't JUST want 5e to be a good game.  I want it to be D&D.  Now what that means is subjective I agree.  But I still feel that way.  I think a lot do.

So even if God appeared and said - I'll give you the best fantasy rpg every conceived for your next edition of D&D - I would ask - yeah it's good but is it D&D?

So I do feel like the argument that anything that would work well is okay.  I feel the game has roots.  And the game should try to stick with those roots.    
It is an interesting point.  I don't JUST want 5e to be a good game.  I want it to be D&D.  Now what that means is subjective I agree.  But I still feel that way.  I think a lot do.

So even if God appeared and said - I'll give you the best fantasy rpg every conceived for your next edition of D&D - I would ask - yeah it's good but is it D&D?

So I do feel like the argument that anything that would work well is okay.  I feel the game has roots.  And the game should try to stick with those roots.    

I agree completely. Also, kudos to Lokiare. Great thread. One thing I feel is very constructive is when players and DMs post the actually results of their playtest sessions and then comment on how the game or specific moment in the game worked or didn't work well (or how players/DM felt throught the session). Observing actual play is interesting and informative, for me. Sometimes, I look at a rule or idea and it sounds good or bad on paper, but when I DM or play it, my opinion changes. (I guess that's why there is a playtest) Also, DMing and playing give people a chance to see the game from different perspectives, something I love to do. That's always good to keep in mind.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

What I don't get is when people fanatically argue about a rule that is obviously going to get polka-dotted - a rule that will have various incarnations that are optional to suit a certain playstyle.

A lot of people seem to be arguing (vehemently) that D&DN should have x rule or y rule, when unless the whole thing is re-written, it will in all likelihood have rule x, y, z, and possibly rule yorkshire in a later suppliment.

Much of the argument should be over "this is what people brand new to D&D should experience by default" which is difficult to do, because it requires a seperation between "what I want" and "what I think would be best for new people", and the acknowledgement that these two things can and will be frequently different.

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Although I think "grongard" is not an edition-label, but more a statement of mindset - that tradition and nostalgia should trump newer and better mechanics in all cases. It's a direct relation to "back in my day, uphill both ways, snow-sand-thunder-storm every day, kids get off my lawn". I cannot say that a term comes to mind for those that hate tradition and want to seperate from it as much as possible, using newer untested rules even over older ones that work well - something just as ill-founded.

Supporting an edition you like does not make you an edition warrior. Demanding that everybody else support your edition makes you an edition warrior.

Why do I like 13th Age? Because I like D&D: http://magbonch.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/first-impressions-13th-age/

AzoriusGuildmage- "I think that you simply spent so long playing it, especially in your formative years with the hobby, that you've long since rationalized or houseruled away its oddities, and set it in your mind as the standard for what is and isn't reasonable in an rpg."

I self identify as a 4venger. I'm considering NOT doing that anymore. Not for shame (I love 4E) but b/c I don't want ppl to automatically discount my opinion.


If they discount your opinion because you like a certain edition, they aren't people worth listening to anyways.
It is an interesting point.  I don't JUST want 5e to be a good game.  I want it to be D&D.  Now what that means is subjective I agree.  But I still feel that way.  I think a lot do.

So even if God appeared and said - I'll give you the best fantasy rpg every conceived for your next edition of D&D - I would ask - yeah it's good but is it D&D?

So I do feel like the argument that anything that would work well is okay.  I feel the game has roots.  And the game should try to stick with those roots.    



  For me, D&D is more about the world than the mechanics.

  I started playing with 3E, and even then, we had a bunch of houserules and made ample use of the Unearthed Arcana rules.  To me, a point-buy game with Generic or Gestalt Classes with defenders rolling their AC vs attacks, HP/Vitality, and a spellpoint system is still D&D.

     Certain retro-clones may be closer mechanically to 1E or 2E than 3E was, but I don't consider them to be D&D.  Pathfinder may be closer mechanically to 3E than 4E was, but I don't consider Pathfinder to be D&D.

  To me, D&D is the game where characters get together and solve various problems while dealing with with the Elves, and the Dwarves, and the Halflings, along with Mindflayers, Metallic Dragons, and Drow.  It is isn't necesarilly tied to any particular mechanic as much as it is tied to particular races, ideas, and settings.  The tendency for D&D to be adapted to a wide number of settings is another reason I think for its appeal and popularity.  It's, for all intents and purposes, and for good or ill, the "generic fantasy RPG".
      The call for "constructive criticism" is routinely a con job, meant to dodge criticism, by labeling it "not constructive", which is only vaguely defined.  Not here the condemnation of a short "I hate.." comment, but no objection to an equally meaningless "+1".
      Now true, some comments are more useful than others, but the idea that some are to be condemned as "not constructive" is itself "not constructive."
As an example...D&D should have an alignment clause. The reason why is to give the player a persona to role play rather than allowing the player to just metagaming his/her real world value judgments into the game by choosing "unaligned"

now, does this mean I want alignment mechanics? Not as core, no. I think alignment should be core and required, but mechanics surrounding alignment should be optional.

does this make sense? 
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
As an example...D&D should have an alignment clause. The reason why is to give the player a persona to role play rather than allowing the player to just metagaming his/her real world value judgments into the game by choosing "unaligned"

now, does this mean I want alignment mechanics? Not as core, no. I think alignment should be core and required, but mechanics surrounding alignment should be optional.

does this make sense? 

I have to say, I'm scratching my head over this. IMO alignment should go hand in hand with it's mechanics as a package deal. Why deal with alignments is they do nothing? it's like saying 'roll a die and it's your sanity roll'. When the players ask what it is you say "it doesn't do anything but it somehow helps you roleplay'. If I'm the player, I look at you funny and cross out the block that has that stat and pretent it doesn't exist. You be better off with a big list of actions that your character would/wouldn't do if you want to do what you are saying.

Example; My character would help someone in need. My character would attack a defenseless foe.  My character will keep his word. My character values friends. My character would steal from his party. ect...

Some nebulous alignment with a single paragraph description seems more 'meta', IMO, than either dropping alignment all together or  making a real list of the characters personality and ethical quirks. Alignment always seemed a poor replacement for fleshing out a personality and I've never met anyone that 100% agreed what someone with an alignment would do/not do. IMO, it's begging for a disagreement. I know some think it's better than sliced bread and to them I say 'great for you!' but I'd rather not have to even deal with a toothless alignment.

As an example...D&D should have an alignment clause. The reason why is to give the player a persona to role play rather than allowing the player to just metagaming his/her real world value judgments into the game by choosing "unaligned"

now, does this mean I want alignment mechanics? Not as core, no. I think alignment should be core and required, but mechanics surrounding alignment should be optional.

does this make sense? 

I have to say, I'm scratching my head over this. IMO alignment should go hand in hand with it's mechanics as a package deal. Why deal with alignments is they do nothing? it's like saying 'roll a die and it's your sanity roll'. When the players ask what it is you say "it doesn't do anything but it somehow helps you roleplay'. If I'm the player, I look at you funny and cross out the block that has that stat and pretent it doesn't exist. You be better off with a big list of actions that your character would/wouldn't do if you want to do what you are saying.

Example; My character would help someone in need. My character would attack a defenseless foe.  My character will keep his word. My character values friends. My character would steal from his party. ect...

Some nebulous alignment with a single paragraph description seems more 'meta', IMO, than either dropping alignment all together or  making a real list of the characters personality and ethical quirks. Alignment always seemed a poor replacement for fleshing out a personality and I've never met anyone that 100% agreed what someone with an alignment would do/not do. IMO, it's begging for a disagreement. I know some think it's better than sliced bread and to them I say 'great for you!' but I'd rather not have to even deal with a toothless alignment.




there would be no "alignment roll" so your analogy doesn't follow. Alignment is just a shorthand for how (in general) you are going to behave as your characters personality. Mechanics surrounding it are an entirely separate issues.  Now, of course when there are mechanical implications it means alignment has more "bite" but as a pure role play aid with no mechanical implications it is extremely important to the soul of D&D.
otherwise the personality of the player can just metagame into the game without actually pretending to take on another role entirely.

role play...

"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
As an example...D&D should have an alignment clause. The reason why is to give the player a persona to role play rather than allowing the player to just metagaming his/her real world value judgments into the game by choosing "unaligned"

now, does this mean I want alignment mechanics? Not as core, no. I think alignment should be core and required, but mechanics surrounding alignment should be optional.

does this make sense? 

I have to say, I'm scratching my head over this. IMO alignment should go hand in hand with it's mechanics as a package deal. Why deal with alignments is they do nothing? it's like saying 'roll a die and it's your sanity roll'. When the players ask what it is you say "it doesn't do anything but it somehow helps you roleplay'. If I'm the player, I look at you funny and cross out the block that has that stat and pretent it doesn't exist. You be better off with a big list of actions that your character would/wouldn't do if you want to do what you are saying.

Example; My character would help someone in need. My character would attack a defenseless foe.  My character will keep his word. My character values friends. My character would steal from his party. ect...

Some nebulous alignment with a single paragraph description seems more 'meta', IMO, than either dropping alignment all together or  making a real list of the characters personality and ethical quirks. Alignment always seemed a poor replacement for fleshing out a personality and I've never met anyone that 100% agreed what someone with an alignment would do/not do. IMO, it's begging for a disagreement. I know some think it's better than sliced bread and to them I say 'great for you!' but I'd rather not have to even deal with a toothless alignment.



Really, what I've found I much prefer over either of those is something like Fate's Aspects system.  I absolutely loathe mechanics that say "no, your character wouldn't do that", because they inevitably end up being too general or simplified to accurately cover my character's personality, or come with "you must have X personality flaw if you have Y personality strength" like Exalted's Virtues, a system I really hate.

Aspects are different because you're encouraged to write Aspects that have both positive and negative connotations.  You can spend fate points to boost rolls where your Aspect would come into play in a positive light, but the only way to get back fate points is to willingly invoke your Aspect's downside in a situation where it would be problematic in a way that makes the story more interesting.  You can choose not to invoke a complication if you think your character wouldn't do something, but adding drama being the only way to get back fate points encourages players to write characters with narratively interesting flaws.


there would be no "alignment roll" so your analogy doesn't follow. Alignment is just a shorthand for how (in general) you are going to behave as your characters personality. Mechanics surrounding it are an entirely separate issues.  Now, of course when there are mechanical implications it means alignment has more "bite" but as a pure role play aid with no mechanical implications it is extremely important to the soul of D&D.
otherwise the personality of the player can just metagame into the game without actually pretending to take on another role entirely.

role play...


LOL roll has nothing to do with what I was talking about. Rolling sanity makes as much sense to me as picking an alignment as neither one means anything. I could have said 'pick a favorite color' as it too has no effect.

The thrust of he argument is that some of us don't find alignment to be a 'role play aid' and in fact find it a hindrance to roleplaying. People are MUCH more complex than a paragraph of alignment and IMO trying to put everything they are into two letters is folly. For my it's a straightjacket and for you it's a role playing aid. Both POV are fine but as far apart as they are, can't you see why it shouldn't be default?


Really, what I've found I much prefer over either of those is something like Fate's Aspects system.  I absolutely loathe mechanics that say "no, your character wouldn't do that", because they inevitably end up being too general or simplified to accurately cover my character's personality, or come with "you must have X personality flaw if you have Y personality strength" like Exalted's Virtues, a system I really hate. 

I didn't mean to say I like those kind of mechanics or ANY roleplaying mechanics. I was saying I like a 'my character would/wouldn't do that' system over a two letter alignment system. No set in stone rules but a set of guideposts for what I and other could expect me to do. IMO it's a much better 'role playing aid' than alignment could ever be [for me].

It is an interesting point.  I don't JUST want 5e to be a good game.  I want it to be D&D.  Now what that means is subjective I agree.  But I still feel that way.  I think a lot do.
So even if God appeared and said - I'll give you the best fantasy rpg every conceived for your next edition of D&D - I would ask - yeah it's good but is it D&D?
So I do feel like the argument that anything that would work well is okay.  I feel the game has roots.  And the game should try to stick with those roots.



The problem with making constructive arguments about any edition of D&D as compared to 4th edition is that technically 4th edition is the better system in the group.  Its just superior in its design, its streamlined,  its balanced, its packed full of well though out features and really stands out as not just one of the best systems in the D&D line but as one of the best on the market.  Its tough for an old D&D player to make a solid argument for playing 3rd edition for example when their system is in fact full of balance issues and mechanical holes that in an argument are easy to expose, notably holes that 4th edition does not have.  The result is always the same, people default back to "opinions" rather than strong arguments.  They use words like "feel" to describe their experiance, something that is to anyone making an argument a completetly irrelevant point as it is not the basis for an discussion.  How can you make an argument against someone who says "I like it better cause it feels more like D&D".... 4th edition players try to pull it out of people and when they do, the discussion derails because 4th edition players know that mechanically their system really is better and I do believe that statement to be technically correct.  None the less completetly and utterly irrelevant. 

The point I guess is that its completetly irrelevant because  D&D players play D&D for the D&D experiance and I agree with Emerikol that this is a real and tangible thing.  Something that is rooted in mechanics that when removed or heavily altered, is lost.  This is the proboblem with 4th edition.  Between the heavily altered classes, a completetly different combat and power system (AEDU), foreign concepts like healing surges, an abandonment of Van magic... somewhere in all those changes the experiance was lost.  You can't make a solid arguments about the balance and quality of the changes, but I guess its fair to say that many of the things that were broken about D&D and fixed in 4th edition, where in fact the D&D experiance people love.

  

"Edition wars like all debates exist because people like debates"

4th edition players try to pull it out of people and when they do, the discussion derails because 4th edition players know that mechanically their system really is better and I do believe that statement to be technically correct.  None the less completetly and utterly irrelevant.

Even if this is how you feel, all this is going to do is start or continue a fight. I'm a 4e fan and I feel it's a better made game FOR ME. For others, their version of D&D may have better features than 4e for their game style. 'Better' is a matter of opinion and NOT a fact. Stating it as such is what I'd call edition warring.


What are some other constructive criticism tips that people can use to communicate better their likes and dislikes of various mechanics?

(Note: Please do not reference a specific edition of D&D so as to not incite arguments in this thread that will result in it getting locked. Instead use non-rpg games as examples.)




One tip from me.

"Winning the edition war on the message board" is meaningless.  WOTC's not designing 5th edition by examining who wins the edition wars on the message boards,  driving out players of the opposing side is not going to make WOTC change the direction of 5th edition.

OTOH,  a community that works together to design a viable alternate solution or solutions in a civil manner is able to capture the attention of WOTC and present the idea.

Right now,  I doubt highly WOTC even pays attention to these boards,  there's no useful information here,  and due to the present culture of these boards,  I sincerely doubt WOTC would reference them for any kind of feedback.

Either the community starts having dialogue,  or the community is effectively useless.  Fighting the edition wars isn't going to change anything. 
I self identify as a 4venger. I'm considering NOT doing that anymore. Not for shame (I love 4E) but b/c I don't want ppl to automatically discount my opinion.



You now have my utmost respect.  I look forward to engaging you in constructive debates!


there would be no "alignment roll" so your analogy doesn't follow. Alignment is just a shorthand for how (in general) you are going to behave as your characters personality. Mechanics surrounding it are an entirely separate issues.  Now, of course when there are mechanical implications it means alignment has more "bite" but as a pure role play aid with no mechanical implications it is extremely important to the soul of D&D.
otherwise the personality of the player can just metagame into the game without actually pretending to take on another role entirely.

role play...


LOL roll has nothing to do with what I was talking about. Rolling sanity makes as much sense to me as picking an alignment as neither one means anything. I could have said 'pick a favorite color' as it too has no effect.

The thrust of he argument is that some of us don't find alignment to be a 'role play aid' and in fact find it a hindrance to roleplaying. People are MUCH more complex than a paragraph of alignment and IMO trying to put everything they are into two letters is folly. For my it's a straightjacket and for you it's a role playing aid. Both POV are fine but as far apart as they are, can't you see why it shouldn't be default?




It cannot be a straight jacket if it has no mechanical interference or effect on the game. If however, it prevents you from ethically injecting your metagame personality into the game then I can see why you wouldn't like it. Since it is a role playing game, trying to behave in a manner similar to a particular ethos stereotypical to the setting is part of the challenge. Likewise, there is no penalty whatsoever to you if the mechanical aspect is optional. 
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson

It cannot be a straight jacket if it has no mechanical interference or effect on the game. If however, it prevents you from ethically injecting your metagame personality into the game then I can see why you wouldn't like it. Since it is a role playing game, trying to behave in a manner similar to a particular ethos stereotypical to the setting is part of the challenge. Likewise, there is no penalty whatsoever to you if the mechanical aspect is optional. 

If you, as the dm, are going to "prevents [me] from ethically injecting your metagame personality into the game" then YOU are adding mechanics that aren't there. So you are saying I should be under the alignment mechanics no matter which option I pick. No thanks.

Second, I fail to see how it's a  "metagame personality" to play a character that doesn't fall under the VERY narrow alignment restrictions/paragraph and instead play an organic personality that is more than two letters. Explain how using NG is so much better and not 'metagame' and playing a consistent personality that's NOT stuck into a premade 'box' is. I'd really like to hear your POV because I don't understand it.

It cannot be a straight jacket if it has no mechanical interference or effect on the game. If however, it prevents you from ethically injecting your metagame personality into the game then I can see why you wouldn't like it. Since it is a role playing game, trying to behave in a manner similar to a particular ethos stereotypical to the setting is part of the challenge. Likewise, there is no penalty whatsoever to you if the mechanical aspect is optional. 

If you, as the dm, are going to "prevents [me] from ethically injecting your metagame personality into the game" then YOU are adding mechanics that aren't there. So you are saying I should be under the alignment mechanics no matter which option I pick. No thanks.

Second, I fail to see how it's a  "metagame personality" to play a character that doesn't fall under the VERY narrow alignment restrictions/paragraph and instead play an organic personality that is more than two letters. Explain how using NG is so much better and not 'metagame' and playing a consistent personality that's NOT stuck into a premade 'box' is. I'd really like to hear your POV because I don't understand it.


A DM couldn't "prevent" you (under RAW) if not using mechanical rules for alignment. What it would do however is serve up a conversation. There is an expectation that you rationalize your characters actions inside of alignment as framework. Usually comes into play when the Player wants to do something the character wouldn't honestly do, or is an excuse to play sociologically. It also serves as a "hook" so to speak to draw characters into a plot. Evil is the hardest to role play well, but it can be rewarding without devolving into PvP anarchy.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson

A DM couldn't "prevent" you (under RAW) if not using mechanical rules for alignment. What it would do however is serve up a conversation. There is an expectation that you rationalize your characters actions inside of alignment as framework. Usually comes into play when the Player wants to do something the character wouldn't honestly do, or is an excuse to play sociologically. It also serves as a "hook" so to speak to draw characters into a plot. Evil is the hardest to role play well, but it can be rewarding without devolving into PvP anarchy.

Prevent was YOUR word, not mine. YOU said alignment WOULD prevent something and as such, it falls under a mechanic. A guideline prevents nothing.

MY issue is that "expectation that you rationalize your characters actions inside of alignment as framework". What if I make a character that would act 'good' in one situation but 'evil' in another? I'm more interested in doing something my character WOULD honestly do, not what a two letter alignment TELLS me I should. I'd rather take my characters motivations and background as the framework for how my character acts instead of 'alignment' that someone else has premade for me. What person can be boiled down into a simple alignment?