Sorry WotC: No More Books Till 5e For Me

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I've thought about writing this for a long time. I've read through all the sourcebook offerings to date, followed activity on this site and elsewhere, run and played in a bunch of 4e games so far. And I think this is the right time to say I can't give you any more of my money, WotC.

I thought about carefully organizing and listing my grievances and disappointments, but I can already hear the angry cries of me wasting my fellow forumites' time. And I do think most of the people here are worthy of respect, part of a hobby that promotes creativity, passion, and imagination - so I'm going to keep it short and hit the high points.

I don't like what D&D has become, I don't like how you've handled it, and I don't like where it's going. It's not that I think it's a bad game, and I know you worked hard on it. I'm glad that there are players out there who do enjoy it and think it has improved the hobby more than it's hurt it.

I just can't get excited about it. It feels like a pale shadow of what I wanted 4e to be, and it's not what I want out of my D&D. I think you listened a little too intently to those who clamored for balance, to be honest, and sacrificed too much in attaining it. I'm a fan of many options, and I think too many were lost or made uninteresting.

The "it's a movie and the PCs are the stars" tack 4e has taken, with increased abstractions and focus on either carefully channeled mechanics (i.e. combat) or DM fiat in other situations to "get back to the action", just doesn't mesh with the living, breathing campaign worlds I like to play and DM in, though I'm sure other people like it.

There are many improvements made in 4e, and I am glad to see it progressing along those paths. For each improvement I see though, I notice something that was either made worse or (more commonly) tossed by the wayside as "unworkable", rather than taking the time to perfect what might have merit. But I understand you are a business and can't always afford spending forever in R&D, just as I understand the tools I like for my games are not universal.

This is why, all of the above I can forgive, even though it's the reason I'm prefer the previous edition (with its many flaws requiring houserules). But I don't think you've handled 4e all that well either, and I'd like to help point out where you could improve so that you have input for the future.

The three core books, the only 4e books I own and ever plan to, have become badly smudged in places due to the poor quality ink. They are also scribbled all over in red with me keeping up with the errata, sometimes replacing entire sections (like Stealth). I very much appreciate how responsive you've been with those errata updates - but I think it would do wonders for your customer goodwill if later books don't require so much of it to function - and that you are more careful in the future about what printers you used.

I know you're now printing core with updates included and better ink, and I applaud it - but it doesn't really help me. My books are going to become unusable at some point due to blurring, and I'm not buying new ones due to someone else's mistake.

DDI is a problem. It is damaging to your customers to make promises or generate buzz you can't back, and even moreso to avoid admitting you screwed up out of some fear of showing weakness. Showing your customers a human side and that you're willing to improve and make amends can have surprising results.

I am just fine with paying for your online material, but I am not fine with the amount you're charging, especially when it is more like a beta than a finished product. I was hoping you would learn from Magic Online that making people pay the same price for bits on a server that they do for physical, tangible product is a bad idea. Also by your own admission it is a set of "bonus tools" for D&D, not part of the primary experience itself - so why you are charging as much as an MMO (complete unto itself), I can't fathom.

Some people may be willing to pay your price...but even then, it has to do what you've said it will. If you feel out of your league, know you have a vast pool of potential employees that often land on the "tech savvy" end of society.

Finally, I can never agree with how you changed Forgotten Realms, or more particularly, the manner in which you went about it. Forcing a self-described "stand-alone campaign setting" to conform to core defeats the purpose of a unique setting, and much was changed or removed that either caused more confusion to the settings' existing fans or simply subtracted more than it added (as I said, I'm a fan of options).

In general it seems like you went into this edition with the goal "let's make 4th edition ours!" While there is nothing wrong with that sentiment on the surface, in Forgotten Realms doing it without regard to existing customers' opinions, without clear goals, or without seriously examining the ramifications was a mistake.

So let's recap:

Personal Dislikes:
1) balance obsession,
2) unexciting,
3) "like a movie" design philosophy,
4) loss of varied options.

Mostly (but not 100%) Objective Dislikes:
1) first release quality,
2) DDI problems,
3) FR treatment.

Again, I'm not saying 4th edition is a bad game - it is just the nature of this thread to critique the negatives. Despite the many improvements it has made, I consider these factors to outweigh the positives. I will still be playing 4e - but only because friends of mine are running a game. I am playing to enjoy their company in their chosen tabletop rpg, not for the system itself.

I'm not saying my opinion can't change either. It's just that out of the offerings I've read so far, I don't see anything that would make it change. Editions often get better as they become more fleshed out, and maybe 4e will catch up to my expectations. From what I have seen so far and my estimation of its trends, however, I don't foresee this taking place.

So for now, I won't be buying any more 4e books - but I will keep an eye out for something that may change my mind. I am glad you are working towards expanding our shared hobby, and I hope you get even more creative with your products in the years to come!

Until then, I hope you file this wherever you keep your customer feedback (even if just in your head)...maybe glance at it six years from now for 5e.

And to the rest of you - I can't believe you read this whole thing! Congrats? And enjoy whichever edition you choose.

* * * * *

EDIT: Due to positive feedback, here is a snippet of me further explaining my position later in this thread - click the little arrow to go there.

Warweaver;17162676 wrote:
To make a really bad analogy, I like playing with Legos more than modeling clay. If you make a sculpture out of modeling clay, others can Ooo and Aaah at it, but they really have no idea what you did to get there. With Legos, anyone (given enough time) can reproduce your work - you've done something creative that still conforms to the ruleset everyone understands.

To think outside the box, you first need a box.

I've thought about writing this for a long time....

While I loved discussing things with you, this post is a complete waste of your time.

Upon review,
Personal Dislikes:
1) balance obsession,
2) unexciting,
3) "like a movie" design philosophy,

These things, and I mean it in the nicest most polite way possible, are in your head. These things only exist in your attitude towards the game.

FR thing is totally legit, though.
And to the rest of you - I can't believe you read this whole thing! Congrats? And enjoy whichever edition you choose.

I skimmed until I saw there was a Cliff's Notes halfway through.

They still don't have a smiley beating a dead horse, so you'll just have to put up with this one: :whatsthis
LOL. Getting stuff off your chest isn't a waste of time, Wires. It makes you feel better in the long run.

Sorry it's just not right for you, Weaver, and I'm really sorry for how they trashed the Realms (I don't even look at it anymore). I hope they release something soon that's so amazing you can ignore all of the glaring annoyances and WotC's handling of the Edition in general. It's probably not all that realistic of a hope, but we'll see. ;)



EDIT: To the people about to turn on their Flamethrowers: Back off. I harp about Trolls not giving me the respect I deserve for putting so much effort into my posts, and if you can't respect Weaver for expressing himself in a polite and intelligent manner, then you have no reason to post in this Thread.
Resident Logic Cannon
While I loved discussing things with you, this post is a complete waste of your time.

Probably. I was trying to organize my thoughts, but I guess I failed in trying to do that and send a message. I suppose a more point-by-point examination of 4e problems/plusses would be more helpful to WotC, but really, aren't there a million-bajillion of those threads already? I was trying to go for the more macrocosmic view... *shrug*
Probably. I was trying to organize my thoughts, but I guess I failed in trying to do that and send a message. I suppose a more point-by-point examination of 4e problems/plusses would be more helpful to WotC, but really, aren't there a million-bajillion of those threads already? I was trying to go for the more macrocosmic view... *shrug*

Meh, crimson makes a good point. It's probably not a waste of your time. You should express your feelings. I just really don't like the 'suicide note' format of many of these posts.

I should just be thankful that you didn't start with "Dear Wotc,".
There is that. I mean, I hope you do enjoy your games, but i don't see the point of many of these posts, aside from giving a place for trolls to....roost? Flame? Gnaw? Troll? I guess troll would be the best word, but I'm just loathe to use the same word twice....

(Wait, so if Trolls troll, do sheep sheep?)

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Defenders: We ARE the wall!

 

I've replaced the previous Edition Warring line in my sig with this one, because honestly, everybody needs to work together to make the D&D they like without trampling on somebody else's D&D.

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
I like what happened to Forgotten Realms. And despite the common belief, I also liked the Realms before.

Honestly, nothing can be done to the Realms as bad as what 2e did. Killing Bhaal and Myrkul Though it made for fascinating stories.

Though Wild Magic was kind of awesome.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
(Wait, so if Trolls troll, do sheep sheep?)

Yes, and the resemblance between the two is uncanny!
Resident Logic Cannon
I hope they release something soon that's so amazing you can ignore all of the glaring annoyances and WotC's handling of the Edition in general. It's probably not all that realistic of a hope, but we'll see. ;)

Thanks CL, I hope so too - if nothing else I've informed WotC they'll have 1 more customer if they 'kick it up a notch'. Bam. Maybe not realistic, but I do love surprises. :P

10_Foot_Pole: We might not agree on much, but your name is awesome.

This thread might not accomplish much, but it was just something I had to do I guess. At the least, I won't be posting any more of these - my view, generalized as it is in that post, is here and here alone. I'll only bring it up elsewhere if it's part of an active debate.

Instead, I'll return to what I'm better at - debating intelligently and civilly about the game we all love, trying to lead by example in not being an a$$hat. Usually...we all have our off days, after all.

There is that. I mean, I hope you do enjoy your games, but i don't see the point of many of these posts, aside from giving a place for trolls to....roost? Flame? Gnaw? Troll?

Good point, I don't mean for this to be a troll...er...nesting ground?

Maybe it can be a troll roach motel! "They check in, but they don't check out." I'll see if I can hook up some sort of device that roasts them in their own flames...

Though Wild Magic was kind of awesome.

Indeed! If only 4e had a d100 table so suicidal/awesome! Seriously, in 2e you were lucky if you made it to 5th level as a Wild Mage...I had some good times, heh.

EDIT: Not to sound unfair, but 4e seems like its version of wild magic would just have you roll a d4 and get between -/+2 to an attack 1/encounter (as per DMG p.42). But again, I'd love to be proven wrong. :P
EDIT: Not to sound unfair, but 4e seems like its version of wild magic would just have you roll a d4 and get between -/+2 to an attack 1/encounter (as per DMG p.42). But again, I'd love to be proven wrong. :P

Isn't that all it was in 3.5?
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
Personal Dislikes:
1) balance obsession,
2) unexciting,
3) "like a movie" design philosophy,
4) loss of varied options.

Mostly (but not 100%) Objective Dislikes:
1) first release quality,
2) DDI problems,
3) FR treatment.

I like Balance, when things arn't balanced the game tends to warp in a weird way, and as we only play once a week, non of us hard core enough to construct or maintain a house rule book of sorts, having a simple balanced game that we don't have to fix works for me and mine.

Exciting is a strange term to use, I successfully ran a dragon encounter for the first time ever just a few days a ago... not the first dragon encounter, I did plenty of those in 3.5, just the first successful dragon encounter, and it was exciting, there was humor and action, and tension. It worked, and I found myself enjoying it more as I described what was happening in an exciting fashion. Again, it worked for my group.

I actually don't prceive it as being like a movie, more like a serialized television series in which there are arcs, but enough recaping and disconect that you can watch episodes from time to time and not be washed out by continuity. There is more emphasis on the players (which is how it should be, I hate making NPCs anything other than catalysts and targets for the PC's fun) yes there is a focus on the PCs being the stars, but that is how it should be.

Options, in my opinion, suck. I only have so much time in my life to devote to this game, and really I want my creativity to come in character portrayl via role playing and interacting with my friends, either as a DM or fellow player, and while having options is nice, they are mostly just clutter, I have numerous books from 3.5 that I used to less than 5% of their actual girth, and honestly cannot now justify to myself why I bought so many (a chief reason as to why, like yourself, I will retard my purchases to monster manuals until I see a real lack of variety in play between those who use my books). But I see your point, options don't have to be used, only presented, and without them the game seems shorter somehow, but with brevity comes completeness, I feel that I got a complete game with the first three books, and that is enough for me at the moment, and probably for a while.

As for quality, I guess I am just shallower than you when it comes to the examination of mechanics, I just haven't found as many problems as you seem to have. My book had some weird errors with odd bends on a couple monster manual pages, but aside from that I haven't had problem with ink or errata.

And something that shows how out of the loop I am, I don't know what DDI is, so I can't comment.

As for the Forgotten Realms, my opinion seems to run the exact opposite direction, I like that they changed everything, because I found the Realms to be an absolute mess of rules, characters, history, and NPC's that just rubbed me wrong. I have never liked the setting for reasons that have always escaped me. I know from being a reader of comic books that a paradigm shift seen as unnessesary is something that can really jilt fans, so I am sorry that your setting got the screws put to it in all the areas you liked, but for me, it was a welcome change to an eligant simplicity.
Personal Dislikes:
1) balance obsession,
2) unexciting,
3) "like a movie" design philosophy

Which can be summed up as "too much game, not enough simulation". Which is understandable, since 4E has made a deliberate attempt to be a fully fledged game rather than an inelegant sim hybrid, much to the disappointment of those who preferred the latter.
4) loss of varied options.

It might be that there are still plenty of options, they are just realised differently to those that you are used to.
What did they change about Forgotten Realms? I never looked at the new one, but I thought the Orc King book sucked lol.
I am just fine with paying for your online material, but I am not fine with the amount you're charging ... why you are charging as much as an MMO (complete unto itself), I can't fathom.

I respect your opinion, and deeply respect the way you stated it. I do, however, need to correct this point. For the last year of World of Warcraft, I paid $15/month. That's $180 annually. I just subscribed to a full year of D&D Insider for $60*. Five dollars a month. That's one third of the cost of an MMO.

So. You might want to amend your post, as you are mistaken on that point.


EDIT: It occurs to me that with WoW, we were purchasing month by month, whereas DDI offered a good enough deal on a bulk-buy ($8 per issue or $5 per with a year's subscription) that we went with that. If someone knows the discount for a year's subscription to WoW, sharing it would help the accuracy of the math here. I think it was something like $12/month, but I don't know for sure.


__
* In actuality, the disparity is even bigger for our household; my roommate and I were dropping $360 annually to be able to play WoW's content together. Since I'm the DM, and my DDI stuff will be appearing in the game my roomie plays, we're both getting the same bang for our five bucks. Hell, if you want to get truly communist, have each member of the party kick in a buck a month as a gift to the DM to elevate your game!
(I employ zie/zie/zir as a gender-neutral counterpart to he/him/his. Just a heads-up.) Essentials definitely isn't for me as a player, and I feel that its design and implementation bear serious flaws which fill me with concern for the future of D&D, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't going to destroy the game that I want to play. Indeed, I think that I could probably run a game for players using Essentials characters without it being much of a problem at all. Time will tell, I suppose.
Hey Warweaver. Your post was well written and quite reasonable so I felt like replying with my own (perhaps) too long post.

I agree that perhaps too much time has been spent on balance; but this is a problem more broadly with D&D than just 4E. My reasoning for this is that D&D is, and always has been, quite a combat heavy RPG. This therefore always puts pressure on the designers to make a game that is fair, and therefore more fairly challenging. To use a bad analogy, I see D&D combat a bit like chess. The problem is that in previous editions, one side didn't have a bishop, and now they've leveled this out, it has created further difficulties, in that now it feels too much like chess. To put in perhaps better terms, the balance highlights the fact that D&D is primarily a game of combat with roleplaying almost as an optional extra. It will always be an issue in D&D; but if the designers reverted back to unbalanced system, it would feel more like an actual roleplaying game because its broken.

Your argument that 4E feels like a game for action heroes, is a difficult one for me. This is because for me the game doesn't feel like an action-hero style game. Its still same old D&D that gets bogged down far too often in arguments about the rules. I feel to truly achieve a movie-style game would require a complete overhaul of the rules, slightly back towards AD&D 2E; a move away from miniatures in a way. I have always felt that miniatures are great for simulation style RPG games; but for a true cinematic game, it needs to be completely theater of the mind. An hour-long miniatures encounter is not cinematic.

Smudging is an issue I have become tired of discussing, but errata isn't. The core rules are pretty streamlined; as you pointed out, they left many things out, because for the time being they are unworkable (familiars, bards, druids,). So you'd think that such drastic changes do not need to be made straight after release, especially to something as basic a stealth rules. I've also always felt a bitter sense of irony at the fact that on release, people were lauding p.42 of the DMG as the greatest thing to happen to D&D since Arneson and Gygax published the first ruleset. Then it was errated.

DDI is also something I won't be bothering with. I think the idea goes to much against the idea of RPGing as a Do-It-Yourself hobby, and frankly, I have enough things on my credit-card like gas, water and electricity to be worrying about D&D. Instant re-new of payment is something I really don't want to bother with.

Finally, FR is a non-issue for me, I don't like the setting, but I can see how it would really upset FR fans. Maybe its a good time to start home-brewing is my only suggestion.

I realize now that this post his heavily critical of 4E, but I feel I should assure you that I'm generally pro-4E and have been enjoying the game since release. The thing is, I take 4E for what it is, an RPG game that is rules-heavy, combat-heavy and clunky. And 4E seems to have more streamlined rules than previous editions, is a bit less clunky, and combat is a little more tactical, which suits D&D as combat-heavy game.

Jimbo
The only response really worth it is "Okay, bye."
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
Isn't that all it was in 3.5?

Nah, they had a wild surge table in 3e. But I think it was only 20 or 50 entries, vs 2e's 100. Not nearly wild enough if you ask me. :P But with 4e's pulling-away from random tables whenever possible, I doubt we'll see a...resurgence? (Sorry couldn't help it.)

I like Balance... (etc.)

Thank you for that well-reasoned response. First I'd say I like balance too, and definitely though it was one of the key improvements of 4e compared to 3e. I just think they hit the mark and then went way past it, getting a little overzealous in the streamline-balancing. I think they threw a lot of babies out with the bathwater just because they couldn't figure out how to perfectly balance them within the time limit they were given for 4e release, and threw out others that were literally impossible to balance, yet I considered essential, memorable, and hugely fun parts of D&D (like the Wish series of spells).

I can definitely understand how someone doesn't have time for a ton of options and would rather just concentrate on the game in-play. We just have very different styles - I enjoy toying around in a system as much as roleplaying in it, so 4e's a little too "straight-laced" for me. I'm not a character optimizer or anything (not all that good at it even), I just like finding little nuances in mechanics.

As for dragons, I thought they made for some pretty epic fights in 3e too - and I'll agree they're huge and dramatic fun in 4e...for the first couple rounds. When you're on round 10 and everyone's been down to at-wills for 5 rounds and the dragon's not even bloodied, though... :P

Which can be summed up as "too much game, not enough simulation". Which is understandable, since 4E has made a deliberate attempt to be a fully fledged game rather than an inelegant sim hybrid, much to the disappointment of those who preferred the latter.

True, I won't deny it. I like the options in an inelegant sim hybrid to not having them at all - and I think it would be inevitable that they could've refined the "sim hybrid" idea with 4e if they had gone that direction, at least a little. But, some people prefer gamist. I'm just not satisfied with a tabletop rpg that's this close to a plain ol' boardgame.

It might be that there are still plenty of options, they are just realised differently to those that you are used to.

Possibly. The combat is more tactical in 4e, so that adds some new options. There's more teamwork involved. I meant "varied options" in PC creation, development, and spells/abilities deemed too "unbalanced" to exist in 4e (stuff that last longer than an encounter, don't do damage, Wish, etc.). I think the number of these 4e discarded was much greater than what it gained in tactical options, but everyone's welcome to their opinion.

What did they change about Forgotten Realms? I never looked at the new one, but I thought the Orc King book sucked lol.

You'd have to go to the FR boards to find that out - the changes are far too extensive to relate here, sorry.

I respect your opinion, and deeply respect the way you stated it. I do, however, need to correct this point. For the last year of World of Warcraft, I paid $15/month. That's $180 annually. I just subscribed to a full year of D&D Insider for $60*. Five dollars a month. That's one third of the cost of an MMO.

Is this the price for the full DDI? I was under the impression $5 just paid for magazine pdf access or somesuch. When (if?) the online tabletop and other apps arrive I think you'll be paying the full $15. For me, $5/mo is still too much for non-physical articles, most of which I won't even use, and $15 is too much for an online tabletop - there is just no way the DDI tool suite has as much "meat" to it as, say, WoW. It's an addition, not a game in and of itself. Though I did hear about them having kind of "piece-meal" packages, which is a good move - even if they only did it because they didn't have it all ready when they claimed.

In actuality, the disparity is even bigger for our household; my roommate and I were dropping $360 annually to be able to play WoW's content together. Since I'm the DM, and my DDI stuff will be appearing in the game my roomie plays, we're both getting the same bang for our five bucks. Hell, if you want to get truly communist, have each member of the party kick in a buck a month as a gift to the DM to elevate your game!

Well, that only sort-of works. If your gaming group has one or more members across the country (more and more common these days), you'll have to pay the full price for each person to use that online gaming table. There's no "guest accounts" or anything that I know of. Thus, it is a small wonder so many have gotten tired of waiting and gone over to stuff like Open RPG - which is, y'know...free.

To put in perhaps better terms, the balance highlights the fact that D&D is primarily a game of combat with roleplaying almost as an optional extra. It will always be an issue in D&D; but if the designers reverted back to unbalanced system, it would feel more like an actual roleplaying game because its broken.

This is true, but I think 4e could have done a lot better. Rituals, for example, were one thing I was super excited about - magic anyone could use with a little effort, and pretty much rules-mandated to be out-of-combat effects. But I found their actual implementation to be disappointing - they were either essential (Raise Dead, Enchant Item) or so situational and expensive as to be near useless (Wizard's Sight)...and there was nothing like a Wish ritual, which I would think is made for "out of combat high level magic".

Finally, FR is a non-issue for me, I don't like the setting, but I can see how it would really upset FR fans. Maybe its a good time to start home-brewing is my only suggestion.

Oh yeah, I'm old-hat at homebrew so I'm not out in the cold due to FR. It just broke my heart to see what and in what way they changed it. I'd support changing 3e FR any day, but it was a case of too much too fast - less an alteration than a total re-write. If I think they went overboard in some ways to balance 4e, I think they went overboard in a lot of ways to make 4e FR appeal to a "new crowd" or "make it our own". There's a reason I stopped at the 3 core, when the FR books came out next.

The only response really worth it is "Okay, bye."

Whether it's the only worthy response is in the eye rays of the beholders, but it's perfectly valid. Enjoy 4e, and I'll see you in 6-8 years Vaal. ;)
LOL. Getting stuff off your chest isn't a waste of time, Wires. It makes you feel better in the long run.

Sorry it's just not right for you, Weaver, and I'm really sorry for how they trashed the Realms (I don't even look at it anymore). I hope they release something soon that's so amazing you can ignore all of the glaring annoyances and WotC's handling of the Edition in general. It's probably not all that realistic of a hope, but we'll see. ;)

Heh. The nice thing about the Realms, is that it's complete fluff. You can happily use your 3ed books for who's who and what's what and DM your merry way through 4ed with them.

EDIT: To the people about to turn on their Flamethrowers: Back off. I harp about Trolls not giving me the respect I deserve for putting so much effort into my posts, and if you can't respect Weaver for expressing himself in a polite and intelligent manner, then you have no reason to post in this Thread.

I agree. He did a great job at setting forth his reasons for not liking 4ed as it stands, without attacking it or those that play it. Too bad the same can't be said for some of those responding to him.
I like what happened to Forgotten Realms. And despite the common belief, I also liked the Realms before.

Honestly, nothing can be done to the Realms as bad as what 2e did. Killing Bhaal and Myrkul Though it made for fascinating stories.

Though Wild Magic was kind of awesome.

Heh. I liked what they did in 2ed and 3ed, but not 4ed. Just goes to show, we're all different in our tastes. Luckily, we can also all play the Realms to fit our tastes, no matter what the edition.
Isn't that all it was in 3.5?

Pretty much. Everyone I knew just pulled out the 2ed Tome of Magic and used the chart from there, made their own, or did both.
I like Balance, when things arn't balanced the game tends to warp in a weird way, and as we only play once a week, non of us hard core enough to construct or maintain a house rule book of sorts, having a simple balanced game that we don't have to fix works for me and mine.

I think he meant balance taken to an extreme(sounds odd, I know). Balance itself is not bad. However, it comes with diminishing returns. Once you hit that point, the closer to the perfect balance point you try to bring the game, the more you end up harming it.

In my opinion, 4ed went too far with balance. Not so far as to destroy it as a game, but too far for some of us to enjoy it.
I will still be playing 4e - but only because friends of mine are running a game. I am playing to enjoy their company in their chosen tabletop rpg, not for the system itself.

So for now, I won't be buying any more 4e books - but I will keep an eye out for something that may change my mind.

It's interesting that you think this is a significant stand. Many people, whether by choice or circumstance, do this without it being a statement to WotC.

Frankly, if you can have fun with your friends with 4ed, then it is a good system.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

I've thought about writing this for a long time. I've read through all the sourcebook offerings to date, followed activity on this site and elsewhere, run and played in a bunch of 4e games so far. And I think this is the right time to say I can't give you any more of my money, WotC.

I thought about carefully organizing and listing my grievances and disappointments, but I can already hear the angry cries of me wasting my fellow forumites' time. And I do think most of the people here are worthy of respect, part of a hobby that promotes creativity, passion, and imagination - so I'm going to keep it short and hit the high points.

I don't like what D&D has become, I don't like how you've handled it, and I don't like where it's going. It's not that I think it's a bad game, and I know you worked hard on it. I'm glad that there are players out there who do enjoy it and think it has improved the hobby more than it's hurt it.

I just can't get excited about it. It feels like a pale shadow of what I wanted 4e to be, and it's not what I want out of my D&D. I think you listened a little too intently to those who clamored for balance, to be honest, and sacrificed too much in attaining it. I'm a fan of many options, and I think too many were lost or made uninteresting.

The "it's a movie and the PCs are the stars" tack 4e has taken, with increased abstractions and focus on either carefully channeled mechanics (i.e. combat) or DM fiat in other situations to "get back to the action", just doesn't mesh with the living, breathing campaign worlds I like to play and DM in, though I'm sure other people like it.

There are many improvements made in 4e, and I am glad to see it progressing along those paths. For each improvement I see though, I notice something that was either made worse or (more commonly) tossed by the wayside as "unworkable", rather than taking the time to perfect what might have merit. But I understand you are a business and can't always afford spending forever in R&D, just as I understand the tools I like for my games are not universal.

This is why, all of the above I can forgive, even though it's the reason I'm prefer the previous edition (with its many flaws requiring houserules). But I don't think you've handled 4e all that well either, and I'd like to help point out where you could improve so that you have input for the future.

The three core books, the only 4e books I own and ever plan to, have become badly smudged in places due to the poor quality ink. They are also scribbled all over in red with me keeping up with the errata, sometimes replacing entire sections (like Stealth). I very much appreciate how responsive you've been with those errata updates - but I think it would do wonders for your customer goodwill if later books don't require so much of it to function - and that you are more careful in the future about what printers you used.

I know you're now printing core with updates included and better ink, and I applaud it - but it doesn't really help me. My books are going to become unusable at some point due to blurring, and I'm not buying new ones due to someone else's mistake.

DDI is a problem. It is damaging to your customers to make promises or generate buzz you can't back, and even moreso to avoid admitting you screwed up out of some fear of showing weakness. Showing your customers a human side and that you're willing to improve and make amends can have surprising results.

I am just fine with paying for your online material, but I am not fine with the amount you're charging, especially when it is more like a beta than a finished product. I was hoping you would learn from Magic Online that making people pay the same price for bits on a server that they do for physical, tangible product is a bad idea. Also by your own admission it is a set of "bonus tools" for D&D, not part of the primary experience itself - so why you are charging as much as an MMO (complete unto itself), I can't fathom.

Some people may be willing to pay your price...but even then, it has to do what you've said it will. If you feel out of your league, know you have a vast pool of potential employees that often land on the "tech savvy" end of society.

Finally, I can never agree with how you changed Forgotten Realms, or more particularly, the manner in which you went about it. Forcing a self-described "stand-alone campaign setting" to conform to core defeats the purpose of a unique setting, and much was changed or removed that either caused more confusion to the settings' existing fans or simply subtracted more than it added (as I said, I'm a fan of options).

In general it seems like you went into this edition with the goal "let's make 4th edition ours!" While there is nothing wrong with that sentiment on the surface, in Forgotten Realms doing it without regard to existing customers' opinions, without clear goals, or without seriously examining the ramifications was a mistake.

So let's recap:

Personal Dislikes:
1) balance obsession,
2) unexciting,
3) "like a movie" design philosophy,
4) loss of varied options.

Mostly (but not 100%) Objective Dislikes:
1) first release quality,
2) DDI problems,
3) FR treatment.

Again, I'm not saying 4th edition is a bad game - it is just the nature of this thread to critique the negatives. Despite the many improvements it has made, I consider these factors to outweigh the positives. I will still be playing 4e - but only because friends of mine are running a game. I am playing to enjoy their company in their chosen tabletop rpg, not for the system itself.

I'm not saying my opinion can't change either. It's just that out of the offerings I've read so far, I don't see anything that would make it change. Editions often get better as they become more fleshed out, and maybe 4e will catch up to my expectations. From what I have seen so far and my estimation of its trends, however, I don't foresee this taking place.

So for now, I won't be buying any more 4e books - but I will keep an eye out for something that may change my mind. I am glad you are working towards expanding our shared hobby, and I hope you get even more creative with your products in the years to come!

Until then, I hope you file this wherever you keep your customer feedback (even if just in your head)...maybe glance at it six years from now for 5e.

And to the rest of you - I can't believe you read this whole thing! Congrats? And enjoy whichever edition you choose.

(The Rumplestix appears to have found undisturbed feeding grounds.)

I have to agree with you on most counts Warweaver.
I'm an old school D&D gamer (very early 80s) who prefers to play a game where I don't need miniatures and can do battles in my head.
Granted, I could do the mapwork entirely in my head, but I prefer to actually play with people instead of by myself.:P
My gaming group is going to try 4th out pretty soon and I have been practicing in the 'delves'. It can be fun, but it still leaves me wanting to play D&D.
It can be a good game in and of itself so I hope everyone has fun. It just isn't D&D to this old fan.
I won't even start on the FR bit...

(The Rumplestix returns to foraging amidst the nutritious threads and posts.)
I've been reading some source books and the like, trying for myself to get a feel if I'm going to like 4e. While I have yet to partake in a game, just reading the source and stepping through encounters on my own I still do not know if I'm going to like it. I am however withholding final judgment until I get more knowledge and some familiarity built up in some games, hopefully damn it.

I don't think your post was a waste of time, not mine anyway. You are a paying customer and to voice a grievance is within your right. And I think you did so respectfully and with forethought, even if it was a bit of a suicide note like someone mentioned. I like that description, haha. But not that bad though, a bit of a different topic title is all it would take to fix that.

I am trying to determine how far I want to take this 4e thing and reading your likes and dislike does help. Via reading folks' testimonies here on the forums I've learned that there is an ink problem with early prints, and what appears to be A LOT of error inducing errata bonsai waves haha. At this point I would hope I wouldn't be unlucky enough to pull one off the shelf with the ink problem. But as a faithful and long time, I mean long time hahaha, D&D player/psudo-DM I would hope that these poor folks or myself that have purchased faulty material (i.e. the ink problem) would have an avenue available to them to get these materials replaced with copies of the expected quality. Expected on BOTH sides. Of course the consumer believes they are entitled to a quality product, but as Management or Stockholders, I'd expect my company to produce and release high quality goods and services. After all my reputation does depend on my product being of a high standard. And if something did slip through the cracks I would expect to reimburse or exchange faulty materials my loyal customer base had purchased.

Guess I'd go broke in today's business world hahaa...

FD
The only response really worth it is "Okay, bye."

Amen. I just wonder why you felt the need to screed.

And the FR changes were necessary at best. But that's what you get when you update the "Kitchen Sink" campaign setting.
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Thanks for the responses folks - agreeing, dissenting, or undecided.

I would hope that these poor folks or myself that have purchased faulty material (i.e. the ink problem) would have an avenue available to them to get these materials replaced with copies of the expected quality.

Yeah. Unfortunately I don't think that'll happen. They're already on later printings, and they've already got my money.

It's interesting that you think this is a significant stand. Many people, whether by choice or circumstance, do this without it being a statement to WotC.

True, but it's one thing to just know some people aren't buying your product for whatever reason, and quite another for them to state those reasons. Obviously WotC's not breaking out in a cold sweat because they'll lose a couple bucks from lil' old me - I'm one voice in a sea, but I'm just trying to give feedback so if they hear other voices saying the same, well, they'll have something to compare.

Frankly, if you can have fun with your friends with 4ed, then it is a good system.

I've played some pretty terrible systems and still had fun with my friends - just like you can watch a terrible movie and enjoy it with others. I'd say it's much more a testament to your friends than the game. The point is, if it's a good game you can enjoy it on more than just that one level.
I think a lot of things involving 4th Edition are way overblown. People complain about a balance obsession, when there really isn't one. The fact that developers are trying to maintain a sense of parity between classes has nothing to do with, and is vastly different from the false notion that all they care about is balance. It'd be like claiming that hospitals are "obsessed with dead people" because they have a morgue.

Balance is something you either try for, or you don't. If you half-ass trying to balance a game, you don't have game balance at all. This is a lose-lose decision for the company. Either they refuse to balance the game and retain the issues that people wished to eliminate from 3rd Edition, or they try to balance the game and are accused of being "balance obsessed". Either way, someone walks away from the table with a sore taste in their mouth.

That said, the one personal dislike I agree with from warweaver is the fact that it has a "like a movie" design philosophy. I think it better called a cinematic quality, but I otherwise agree. The game is relatively fast-paced and semantics and realism are intended to take a backseat to whatever the players and DM consider fun. However, I do disagree in that I don't see this as a bad thing. Movies are the second most profitable form of entertainment in the world (just under videogames nowadays), and there's nothing wrong with learning a little something from the giants. If D&D could be as quickly paced, captivating and profitable as the average movie is, I don't see why we would shun that. Considering how much 3rd Edition did to increase the popularity of roleplaying games and how well some enjoyed it, you'd figure that any attempts to continue that would be lauded, but they don't seem to be.

It reminds me of arguing with someone about the terminal velocity in 3rd Edition, and I remember them bringing up the fact that reaching terminal velocity should take around 5-7 turns and should deal far more damage than it does. I argued, and I quote: "Who gives a ****? Most people don't know enough about physics to care, rules to simulate such physics would be annoying complicated, and hit points are a poor representation of health." As far as I'm concerned, as long as the mechanics work, and they represent something to a good enough degree that I can perceive it in my mind, I don't really care about the individual semantics of it all. Who cares if Come and Get It pulls people in like a vacuum? Who cares if it's too easy for everyone to become a spellcaster through the Ritual Casting feat? If it's fun, there shouldn't be a need to justify something beyond that.
If it's fun, there shouldn't be a need to justify something beyond that.

Definitely - trouble is, everyone's definition of fun is different. And unlike a movie (and most video games - and definitely on a level beyond all video games made so far), D&D is a very interactive game, a kind of collaborative storytelling. Thus you get all these different versions of "what is fun" roiling together in an environment where you're not just passively accepting (or rejecting) someone else's version of fun like a movie. And you end up with, for example, the idea of a fighter casting a ritual actually impacting someone else's fun negatively and taking them out of the mood. (Though personally, I love the ritual mechanics - just not the individual rituals themselves.)
Definitely - trouble is, everyone's definition of fun is different.

My question though, and I'm going to try and phrase this as nicely as possible because you've generally been at least polite in your dislike -- Why do you feel the need to constantly tell people, over and over, in great detail, what you didn't find fun?

I mean by it's midpoint, the first first impressions thread became 80% you and another person saying the same thing over and over and over. And this thread is pretty much a distillation of that.

At this point, War, and I'm saying this as a friend, we get it. You don't have to keep telling us.
Sig to be rebuilt soon The Descendants-- the webserial that reads like a comic book! World of Ere-- A campaign setting that puts style to the fore.
To the OP

No one cares what you think. You're wrong. Your opinions are shallow. You are not a unique snowflake. There are millions of more important people who like the product and you DO NOT matter. :D

-This message has been approved by John McCain-

There are enough people who don't like 4E that it will hurt product sales. 4E should have been a homerun. Instead it came out with incredibly mixed fanfare.

If 1st edition DnD was Star Wars, 3rd edition was Return of the Jedi, and 4th edition was Phantom Menace.

It will make money because of previous editions but was kind of a letdown to true fans.
If 1st edition DnD was Star Wars, 3rd edition was Return of the Jedi, and 4th edition was Phantom Menace.

It will make money because of previous editions but was kind of a letdown to true fans.

Your metaphor emplies that 2ed was the best, as was Empire Strikes back. And that 3.5 is equivalent to the remastered Star Wars which has Greedo shooting first and Hayden Christianson as a force ghost on Endor.

If you want to insult D&D with a Lucas film saga, use Indiana Jones, first edition was the classic Ark, second edition was a weird diversion like Temple, 3rd was a return to the dungeon and core philosophy like Crusade, and 4th edition is Shia Labuff swinging through the jungle leading a group of monkey commandos followed in short order by a freaking UFO. See, a much more elequant metaphor, but still geeky.:D
Definitely - trouble is, everyone's definition of fun is different.

The real trouble is that everyone's definition of fun is an overintellectualized rationalization of an irrational feeling. Reasonings founded in pointing out the most subjectively obvious differences between something they like and something they don't like.

It's generally an excercise in confusing correlation with causation.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
True, but it's one thing to just know some people aren't buying your product for whatever reason, and quite another for them to state those reasons. Obviously WotC's not breaking out in a cold sweat because they'll lose a couple bucks from lil' old me - I'm one voice in a sea, but I'm just trying to give feedback so if they hear other voices saying the same, well, they'll have something to compare.

But for some people, buying the PHB is a statement of approval to WotC. The supplement books aren't necessary, and some people don't or can't buy them. I'm just saying that your disapproval is enough to send a statement to WotC, tha they could do better.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

true fans

But what is a "true fan"?

It could be argued that Phantom Menace was unpopular with "fans" because adults who had enjoyed the earlier movies couldn't ignore the simplistic character development (original trilogy was on the simplistic side too, but not as blatantly so) and disliked the de-mystification of the Force.

In contrast, what is "classic" D&D? For me, "classic D&D" is a mixture of Basic Edition (3rd version thereof) and the Baldur's Gate / Icewind Dale computer games. Dungeon crawling, fantasy make believe, stories and socialisation are all part of this. Being a board/war gamer, I didn't mind when 3E encouraged a more tactical approach to resolution.

Thus, to me, 4E is a combination of these early "dungeon crawl" / adventure style games with the 3E tactical engine. However, I find the 4E engine to be a lot cleaner than the 3E (and 1E/2E) engines yet with the freedom of the Basic set, plus more interesting options. Does this make me a "true fan"? I don't know. I certainly doesn't make me "let-down", unless "best D&D edition (for me) yet" is a let-down.

Which doesn't mean that Warweaver (or yourself) shouldn't feel "let down"; when "new and improved" ends up tasting "different and slightly odd", it's understandable to be let down. But Warweaver is only making those claims for himself, not some elite group of "true fans" who somehow have more right to the game than those who think the current edition is the best incarnation yet.
At this point, War, and I'm saying this as a friend, we get it. You don't have to keep telling us.

I know you get it Vaal, and I'm sorry if I sound repetitive - I know how annoying that can get. There's a few reasons I tend to talk about it a lot.

One is we should keep in mind there's lots of new people (especially lurkers) coming and going at these boards every week. I don't think it's a terrible thing to expose them to the downs as well as the ups of 4e - for one they'll know what to watch for in their own campaigns, for another they what's good from other editions. The vast majority of folk don't tend to be as prolific on these boards as people like us, so it's inevitable the "hardcore" forumers (for lack of a better term) start sounding like broken records to each other. That doesn't mean such statements are useless to new people, though.

Another reason is my view of 4e has actually shifted quite a bit due to these very debates. In fact the only reason I made this thread was I feel like I'm at a "stability point" - I've identified almost exactly what I really dislike and like about 4e, instead of what were just symptoms or irrational biases.

But I meant it when I said this is the only "open letter" 4e thing I'm going to start - I agree there's plenty of these already, and I'm not a troll to go around starting thread after thread of "4e is teh suk!". So hopefully you'll get less sick of me as time moves on. :P

But for some people, buying the PHB is a statement of approval to WotC. The supplement books aren't necessary, and some people don't or can't buy them. I'm just saying that your disapproval is enough to send a statement to WotC, that they could do better.

Right, but it doesn't tell them what they could do better. If I state my disapproval but am unclear as to the hows and whys, it's a guessing game what would please my "customer template". Considering they overshot the guess in that respect with 4e, I'd like to avoid the same happening again.

Granted I could have been a lot more specific here, but it's my opinion that doing so would actually drown me out more, since there's plenty of "here's every niggling thing I hate" threads, and they are for the most part ignored. I was shooting more for a "umbrella of problems that most who are dissatisfied with 4e can get under", so that they can at least identify the "big ones". If I've failed in that respect...well, all I can say is I tried.
Definitely - trouble is, everyone's definition of fun is different. And unlike a movie (and most video games - and definitely on a level beyond all video games made so far), D&D is a very interactive game, a kind of collaborative storytelling. Thus you get all these different versions of "what is fun" roiling together in an environment where you're not just passively accepting (or rejecting) someone else's version of fun like a movie. And you end up with, for example, the idea of a fighter casting a ritual actually impacting someone else's fun negatively and taking them out of the mood. (Though personally, I love the ritual mechanics - just not the individual rituals themselves.)

Then the question becomes why fighters with rituals impact their fun? To me, this sounds like one person taking offense to another person's idea of a fun character. I wouldn't entertain this anymore than I would if one of my players complained about another player making his character gay. Unless one person's character is detrimental to the entertainment of everyone else by means of devaluing them, harming them (player killing for kicks, and other such nonsense) or simply trying to do whatever without thought of the other players at the table, I see no real reason to put my foot down.

However, I again disagree that D&D is all that different from a movie all around. Much as with most movies, it takes several people working together to make it great, and D&D is no different. The only real difference between the two is the fact that D&D tends to be largely improv (while the DM often runs what amounts to a freeform script, the player's decisions are candid actions done on the fly). Even on an aesthetic layer, movies can run as varied a style as campaign settings can. The only real difference is the interactivity, in which case D&D is effectively comparative to improved movies like Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan or the Jackass movie (not necessarily in quality, mind you, but in style).
There are enough people who don't like 4E that it will hurt product sales. 4E should have been a homerun. Instead it came out with incredibly mixed fanfare.

If 1st edition DnD was Star Wars, 3rd edition was Return of the Jedi, and 4th edition was Phantom Menace.

It will make money because of previous editions but was kind of a letdown to true fans.

Yeah, and anyone who liked 3rd Edition wasn't a true fan because they were just Diablo fanboys porting over from the videogame culture.

Same complaint, different edition.
Right, but it doesn't tell them what they could do better. If I state my disapproval but am unclear as to the hows and whys, it's a guessing game what would please my "customer template". Considering they overshot the guess in that respect with 4e, I'd like to avoid the same happening again.

Alright! Money where your mouth is time!

Pick a ritual and tell me what you would like to change about it. Do not simply say "make it cheaper." Give me a gp cost. Give me a cast time. I would also love an explanation for the choices you make.

I want to know what it is you would consider an improvement and see if it's actually something I could get behind so I can finally decide whether or not I should be concerned with whether or not you like 4e. I will be as objective as humanly possible.

Humor me.
It will make money because of previous editions but was kind of a letdown to true fans.

Don't speak for "true fans" of anything.

truth/humor
Ed_Warlord, on what it takes to make a thread work: I think for it to be really constructive, everyone would have to be honest with each other, and with themselves.

 

iserith: The game doesn't profess to be "just like our world." What it is just like is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Any semblance to reality is purely coincidental.

 

Areleth: How does this help the problems we have with Fighters? Do you think that every time I thought I was playing D&D what I was actually doing was slamming my head in a car door and that if you just explain how to play without doing that then I'll finally enjoy the game?

 

TD: That's why they put me on the front of every book. This is the dungeon, and I am the dragon. A word of warning though: I'm totally not a level appropriate encounter.