Tidbits from Gameday

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I apologize if these have already found their way onto these boards somehow. I didn't see them anywhere, so I thought some of the people here might be interested in discussing them. These were from questions asked by Iceberg3k of RPG.net and posted there originally. Quoted stuff in italics.



Mike is awesome. Very fun to talk with in person, and I'm looking forward to talking to him again. I had to bow out fairly early (around 12:30) because hunger was striking with a vengeance, but I did get a few answers:

First, I told him that anything he told me would be on the internet in a few hours. He laughed.

Alignment will not be as tightly coupled with the system. He gave the example of a paladin who is a devil fighter - the paladin will be able to smite devils, but not necessarily, say, orcs.

Multiclassing is currently in flux because there is a group at WotC who thinks that the current multiclassing draft is too good and a group who thinks it's not good enough, so they're trying to hammer it out and get a version that's just right. In general, it sounds like multiclassing will have to do with talent trees, and though you won't be as deep into the other class as somebody who took that class, it will make you better, you won't have the thing where you take a level of wizard and it's like, whoopie, I got no BAB, some decent save adds and a cast of magic missile.

Fighters are nothing like the WoW Warrior class. He emphasized this. If you want to be the guy standing in the front line doing a ton of damage, you want to be playing a fighter. He mentioned that the fighter has a number of abilities to hamper the movement of enemies near him, but specifically said that they do not have an "aggro" mechanic like MMO characters.

Ability bonuses are derived the same way as currently - ability score/2; it's going to be (ability score/2)-2 instead of (ability score/2)-5 as it currently is.

Wizards are still going to have schools, but they will get abilities the same way as any other class, instead of the current way, where basically any down time they get makes them more powerful.

One of the other guys who was standing near me started by asking, "Why do we need a 4th edition?" and walked away with a look like, "Yeah, this sounds pretty cool."


Also on RPG.net, Matthew L. Martin added the following:

To elaborate, he said that if you want to be a paladin who fights devils, for example, you pick abilities to help counter the kinds of abilities and tactics that devils typically use.

When I asked him "What can you tell us about alignment?", he said "That's a story team issue; I'm on the mechanics team"--which, as he agreed, tells us a bit right there.


On multiclassing:

The goal is that you'll be able to fill your role well by default, and then you'll be able to do some customization to either deepen your role or branch out into other abilities.

He said that one of the goals they were shooting for was not to punish characters for cool story choices--like the rogue who has a conversion experience and multiclasses into cleric. 'That's a great story,' he said, 'but the way 3E works, it makes for a lousy character'. The idea is that if you multiclass, your new abilities will be useful to a character at your level right away.


And a few other bits:

A few other things I picked up when I stopped back later after lunch:
--Turning undead will no longer short-circuit the encounter, and no longer requires a table lookup.
--Disrupting spellcasting is out as a default--he pointed out that it was largely a one-skill tax on PC spellcasters, and it tended to swing to extremes. Either you had your Concentration maxed and could ignore the problem, or you didn't and it was far too easy for a spellcaster to be unable to cast. Instead, you can pick up powers that can mess with spellcasting and other abilities.
--The PH2 was a big success for them, and will be the model for the 4E PHx books going forward.
--He's been pleasantly surprised about the positive reaction to mechanical changes online; it sounds like most of the negative feedback they're getting is more on the story side. (I told him I loved what they'd done with demons and devils and to pass that on to the story team. ) I pointed out that there still seemed to be some skepticism about monsters, but he expects that once DMs start using the system and building their own monsters, that will vanish--he compared it to the initiative system in 3E, which got a lot of skepticism but which everyone loved once they tried it.
Everything there is good news. Wonderful stuff really.
Ability bonuses are derived the same way as currently - ability score/2; it's going to be (ability score/2)-2 instead of (ability score/2)-5 as it currently is.

Okay, this completely changed what the numbers mean on the Spined Devil card...

Speculation:

The numbers along the bottom are straight bonuses. Both the claw attacks and the spine rain are dex-based, the claws might be finessed by default, just add a lvl 6's 3/4 BAB, a +4, and you get the same numbers. Take that +4, and add it to the claws' damage, and we get BAB to damage. No strength involved.

The +2 on the spine rain damage becomes, possibly, half the con bonus, while the '5' on the poison, which I'm still pretty sure is duration, could be directly derived from the con bonus. (considering it's got near-straight 5's across the board for bonuses, this could be any number, but the con just makes sense from previous info, and is speculation.)

This also makes the defenses make sense. Straight modifier at 5, +1/2 level at 3, gives us 18's, +2 overtop of the reflex (I guess?) from natural armor.

HP is kinda nonsensical, unless they're getting less than full bonus from con per level.
Link, for anyone who is interested.
HP is kinda nonsensical, unless they're getting less than full bonus from con per level.

Have we even had any sort of hint on how hitpoints are determined in 4e? Since there's been a move away from randomly rolled attributes, we might not have randomly rolled hitpoints. (Engaging baseless speculation) what if your Con bonus was the largest portion of your hit points per level, and classes with reasons to have more hitpoints get a few extra per level?

We can't really tell from a monster card, since they've said a lot about monsters being generated entirely differently from players.
Alignment will not be as tightly coupled with the system. He gave the example of a paladin who is a devil fighter - the paladin will be able to smite devils, but not necessarily, say, orcs.

Sounds like the paladin mugged the ranger and stole his favored enemy. lol

Fighters are nothing like the WoW Warrior class. He emphasized this. If you want to be the guy standing in the front line doing a ton of damage, you want to be playing a fighter. He mentioned that the fighter has a number of abilities to hamper the movement of enemies near him, but specifically said that they do not have an "aggro" mechanic like MMO characters.

If fighters are defenders, yet do a ton of damage in combat, what is the strikers' specialty? Do i need a rogue when i can have two linebackers that also deal a ton of damage?

Ability bonuses are derived the same way as currently - ability score/2; it's going to be (ability score/2)-2 instead of (ability score/2)-5 as it currently is.

That is odd indeed considering it means those with below average stats can still get bonuses instead of penalties. The PC with a Str of 8 still gets a +2 Str bonus for example.

When I asked him "What can you tell us about alignment?", he said "That's a story team issue; I'm on the mechanics team"--which, as he agreed, tells us a bit right there.[/i]

Thank god alignment isnt all tied up with mechanics.
If fighters are defenders, yet do a ton of damage in combat, what is the strikers' specialty? Do i need a rogue when i can have two linebackers that also deal a ton of damage?

I don't know if you've ever played Team Fortress, but my impression is that the difference between the Fighter and the Rogue is similar to the difference between the Heavy Weapons Guy and the Spy.

So pretty much the difference between saying:

"That guy is a holy terror, I wouldn't want to get in his way."

and saying:

"Hey I wonder where that other guy.."
I don't know if you've ever played Team Fortress, but my impression is that the difference between the Fighter and the Rogue is similar to the difference between the Heavy Weapons Guy and the Spy.

So pretty much the difference between saying:

"That guy is a holy terror, I wouldn't want to get in his way."

and saying:

"Hey I wonder where that other guy.."

My impression was that the main role of the striker was to do lot of damage. If the fighter is doing just as much as the rogue, plus has superior AC and the ability to stop enemies from going around him, then what exaclty is it that a striker brings to the table that makes his role just as valid as the fighter?
If fighters are defenders, yet do a ton of damage in combat, what is the strikers' specialty?

Mucho mobility, and extra damage against certain foes or in certain situations.

Ranger - favored enemy
Rogue - sneak attack
Warlock - it 'was' enemies he cursed; now we don't know.

Perhaps the aforementioned 'paladin as devil hunter' ability is a talent tree to give him some Striker-like capabilities?
My impression was that the main role of the striker was to do lot of damage. If the fighter is doing just as much as the rogue, plus has superior AC and the ability to stop enemies from going around him, then what exaclty is it that a striker brings to the table that makes his role just as valid as the fighter?

From what the playtests have described of the Rogue, Ranger, and Warlock it seems that these classes all have mobility as part of their nature.

These classes also get bonus damage when they have something called 'combat advantage'.

The fighter has to thus wade through the hordes of minions to get to the BBEG while the Striker hits the BBEG and then runs back to a safe spot behind the fighter.
I suppose mobility is a valid attribute considering it may allow a striker to get to an enemy a defender cant, even if it is possible to build a fighter that does at least as much as a rogue.

The one thing im worried about is striker damage being too situational. In such a case we may wind up with defenders that routinely do more damage than strikers.
My impression was that the main role of the striker was to do lot of damage. If the fighter is doing just as much as the rogue, plus has superior AC and the ability to stop enemies from going around him, then what exaclty is it that a striker brings to the table that makes his role just as valid as the fighter?

I should have been clearer. I think the important part of the quote (which is by the way being filtered through a secondary source), was that fighters do a ton of damage "on the front lines." I think strikers will excel at piercing the front lines one way or another. The ranger will probably be able to just shoot through them or skirmish in and out of them, the rogue will be able to sneak around them, and the warlock will apparently be able to teleport about. Also, I'll point out that the quote didn't say the fighter does "just as much damage as the rogue."

I think it's important that the fighter be able to do lots of damage, especially since there's no "aggro" mechanic. The effective "aggro" will be the enemies thinking "Uh, guys, if we don't do something about that sword-wielding maniac in the middle of the field, he's going to quickly become the sword-wielding maniac in our back lines, rolling our mages like toilet paper on Halloween." But I doubt the fighter will be able to dish out the same sort of quick, "burst" damage that a rogue will be able to with a backstab. The striker seems like he'll wreak a lot of havoc on the battlefield wherever he wants, while the fighter will wreak just enough havoc to hold down the front lines.

The one thing im worried about is striker damage being too situational. In such a case we may wind up with defenders that routinely do more damage than strikers.

Well, given how very little we know about any of this, you might as well worry that a PC being on the front lines is too situational (since it was way too situational in 3e where most classes could just flit around the fighter or summon monsters to replace him.) It's assumed that if care is being specially taken to ensure that one class isn't obsolete by its very nature that the other classes aren't either. In fact, I think that's probably the entire reason the developers divided things into roles; as much for their good as for ours - so that when they are designing they can say "Ok, is this type of character still doing something fun?"
I think it's important that the fighter be able to do lots of damage, especially since there's no "aggro" mechanic. The effective "aggro" will be the enemies thinking "Uh, guys, if we don't do something about that sword-wielding maniac in the middle of the field, he's going to quickly become the sword-wielding maniac in our back lines, rolling our mages like toilet paper on Halloween." But I doubt the fighter will be able to dish out the same sort of quick, "burst" damage that a rogue will be able to with a backstab. The striker seems like he'll wreak a lot of havoc on the battlefield wherever he wants, while the fighter will wreak just enough havoc to hold down the front lines.

They should he also gets Knight's ability to make movement past him difficult: So the Fighter may have borrowed from Crusader and Knight. That was why 3.5 Fighter sucked unless Spiked Chain for tanking (not very fantasy image).
"If you can't believe in yourself, believe in me who believes in you." and "Go beyond the impossible, and kick reason to the curb" Kamina, from Gurren Lagann
I think it's important that the fighter be able to do lots of damage, especially since there's no "aggro" mechanic. The effective "aggro" will be the enemies thinking "Uh, guys, if we don't do something about that sword-wielding maniac in the middle of the field, he's going to quickly become the sword-wielding maniac in our back lines, rolling our mages like toilet paper on Halloween." But I doubt the fighter will be able to dish out the same sort of quick, "burst" damage that a rogue will be able to with a backstab. The striker seems like he'll wreak a lot of havoc on the battlefield wherever he wants, while the fighter will wreak just enough havoc to hold down the front lines.

I kinda get the impression that they are trying to do more for defenders to keep enemies busy than just damage output. The fighter killing the knight and taking his stuff gives us a sign as well as some of the things they've mentioned in the podcasts about the fighter's AoO abilities they were messing around with.

Well, given how very little we know about any of this, you might as well worry that a PC being on the front lines is too situational (since it was way too situational in 3e where most classes could just flit around the fighter or summon monsters to replace him.) It's assumed that if care is being specially taken to ensure that one class isn't obsolete by its very nature that the other classes aren't either. In fact, I think that's probably the entire reason the developers divided things into roles; as much for their good as for ours - so that when they are designing they can say "Ok, is this type of character still doing something fun?"

My concerns about damage have come from the latest podcast where they were talking about the fighter's damage output being difficult to balance (among various class abilities) as well as blog entries that made it sound like fighters/paladins were doing tons of damage (im not totally pulling this concern out of the air based on 3E precedent in other words). If its so easy for defenders to do respecable damage, im just wondering what rogues are going to have that will make them as viable in combat. Are they going to be sooo fast that they can literally run 30' past the guys on the front line and hit the BBEG in the back and return all the way safely behind the fighter? Are they going to be sooo sneaky that they will be able to run past the front line, stab the BBEG, and then disappear without having to make it back to cover?

When it comes to striking, its easy to see how a ranger or a warlock would have advantages over a frontline fighter, even if they deal the same amount of damage, simply because these strikers can hit from a distance. The same cannot be said for the rogue however, since, unless they have significantly changed the class's concept, it is not intrinsically a ranged class and thus must be viable in melee. To be viable in melee as a striker the rogue needs to either do an appreciable amount of damage more than a defender or have the ability to strike foes the defender can not. While its easy to imagine how other strikers accomplish one of these tasks, it is yet unclear how the rogue pulls it off.
Ability bonuses are derived the same way as currently - ability score/2; it's going to be (ability score/2)-2 instead of (ability score/2)-5 as it currently is.

This makes no sense at all. Maybe someone looked at the Spined Devil card and jumped to conclusions? I seriously doubt this came from Mike.
When it comes to striking, its easy to see how a ranger or a warlock would have advantages over a frontline fighter, even if they deal the same amount of damage, simply because these strikers can hit from a distance. The same cannot be said for the rogue however, since, unless they have significantly changed the class's concept, it is not intrinsically a ranged class and thus must be viable in melee. To be viable in melee as a striker the rogue needs to either do an appreciable amount of damage more than a defender or have the ability to strike foes the defender can not. While its easy to imagine how other strikers accomplish one of these tasks, it is yet unclear how the rogue pulls it off.

In my mind, the rogue will be mobile through some combination of stealth and agility. I would expect to see them focus heavily on abilities like tumble to make their way through an enemy line, along with distractions that would enable them to hide. Their damage would be dependent on making their target unaware of their presence (or at least unaware of an attack) and disabling or incapacitating them quickly. They would take a few rounds to get into position to attack, then unleash the equivalent of several rounds' worth of fighter damage in a single attack.

When battle is joined, the fighter and cleric charge and start hacking, getting stuck into the enemy defenders and leaders. The wizard hangs back, picking off targets and waiting for the best opportunity to use a powerful blast to maximum effect. The rogue... is nowhere to be seen, until the enemy caster stops mid-cant because there's a dagger lodged in the back of his head.
My concerns about damage have come from the latest podcast where they were talking about the fighter's damage output being difficult to balance (among various class abilities) as well as blog entries that made it sound like fighters/paladins were doing tons of damage (im not totally pulling this concern out of the air based on 3E precedent in other words). If its so easy for defenders to do respecable damage, im just wondering what rogues are going to have that will make them as viable in combat. Are they going to be sooo fast that they can literally run 30' past the guys on the front line and hit the BBEG in the back and return all the way safely behind the fighter? Are they going to be sooo sneaky that they will be able to run past the front line, stab the BBEG, and then disappear without having to make it back to cover?

When it comes to striking, its easy to see how a ranger or a warlock would have advantages over a frontline fighter, even if they deal the same amount of damage, simply because these strikers can hit from a distance. The same cannot be said for the rogue however, since, unless they have significantly changed the class's concept, it is not intrinsically a ranged class and thus must be viable in melee. To be viable in melee as a striker the rogue needs to either do an appreciable amount of damage more than a defender or have the ability to strike foes the defender can not. While its easy to imagine how other strikers accomplish one of these tasks, it is yet unclear how the rogue pulls it off.

Yeah, I'm getting the impression that "striker" doesn't mean the same thing as "dps" in the MMO sense. It seems more likely, especially in regards to ranger and warlock, that a striker's strength is flexibility in where it deals damage, i.e. it can output a lot of damage to any target it picks regardless of where that target is. If that's correct, it remains to be seen how a rogue accomplishes this without ranged attacks -- maybe they can hide in combat or something like that.
Yeah, I'm getting the impression that "striker" doesn't mean the same thing as "dps" in the MMO sense. It seems more likely, especially in regards to ranger and warlock, that a striker's strength is flexibility in where it deals damage, i.e. it can output a lot of damage to any target it picks regardless of where that target is. If that's correct, it remains to be seen how a rogue accomplishes this without ranged attacks -- maybe they can hide in combat or something like that.

I think the key is mobility. Defenders are the front-line, but Strikers are the ones who reach out and hit the Controllers in the back-lines, whether that be through opportunistic ranged attacks or through high mobility spring attacks.

Then again, I could just be talking out my rear end here.
Fighters are nothing like the WoW Warrior class. He emphasized this. If you want to be the guy standing in the front line doing a ton of damage, you want to be playing a fighter. He mentioned that the fighter has a number of abilities to hamper the movement of enemies near him, but specifically said that they do not have an "aggro" mechanic like MMO characters.

Ok, thx a lot for this one. Fighters stay fighters - woot ;)


[i]To elaborate, he said that if you want to be a paladin who fights devils, for example, you pick abilities to help counter the kinds of abilities and tactics that devils typically use.

Hm, not sure about this one. Sounds a little like paladin is becoming a ranger in full plate... but we will see.

Ceterum censeo capsum rubeum esse delendam

I was at the London Dungeon Open Game Day from about 7:45pm till 9:30pm, so unfortunately I couldn't commit to a session, even though several cool people invited me (the guy with the monthly Living Greyhawk session flyer – near Tottenham Court?) to a table.

But I did corner David Noonan for about a half an hour and he's a really mellow guy (very clean too). Well as we can expect they have to a bit vague and tight lipped about info, but I'll try to put down a few tidbits I squeezed out of him:



-Changes to reach – some creatures may not be able to make an AoO with a bite attack for example, past a certain range. So maybe a Huge creature would have reach with its limbs out to 15 ft (3 squares), but only have a reach of 5 ft. (1 square) with its bite attack.

-Certain spells are gone, period (wish for sure).

-I heard a cryptic mention of their "Magic Spreadsheet" with the entire math laid out.

-He told me one of his fellow designers/play-testers was happy and relieved to go back to being a DM in 4th, as I guess being a player can be quite taxing/involved.

-He said as DM you don't have to deal with alignment, but the players might have it on their sheets as an aid.



I'll try to get back with any more info, if I can remember. I know I could have asked him a lot more questions, but we ended up just talking about all sorts of things – older editions/RPGs, funny rules, travelling, nightmare players etc.

As for the London Dungeon, yeah, it's pretty nifty; the guys let me tour the Hall of Mirrors by myself – scary, somebody hold me! The only bummer is that the 4th Ed stat card I was so looking forward to is our old Spined Devil, so nothing new in that department.

The giant Troll and d4s were cute.
Hm, not sure about this one. Sounds a little like paladin is becoming a ranger in full plate... but we will see.

I did not get this feel in what was said of the Paladin.

The Paladin gets abilities to 'counter' the devil's abilities. 'Counter' is fairly different from Favoured Enemey which gives a bonus to attack. Counter means that the Paladin might have things to cut through the 4e equivelent of DR. It might also likely means that the Paladin might be 'mystically' tough and not suseptible (with the right talents) to the devil's abilities to use things like mind enchantments (lures), poisons, or other Procs on the Paladin.
That is odd indeed considering it means those with below average stats can still get bonuses instead of penalties. The PC with a Str of 8 still gets a +2 Str bonus for example.
.

Agreed. And people with scores of 6/7 get a +1??? Wtf.
Looks like they're inflating the #s/bonuses & making it so that all but the absolutely lowliest scores seem special.
Sorry, I just don't see anything heroic about granting bonuses to the weak....
Agreed. And people with scores of 6/7 get a +1??? Wtf.
Looks like they're inflating the #s/bonuses & making it so that all but the absolutely lowliest scores seem special.
Sorry, I just don't see anything heroic about granting bonuses to the weak....

One possibility is that the numbers may represent a whole different scale. For example, Str 5 may now represent what the normal human average is while an 18 is well beyond what a normal person is usally capable of (the 3E equilalent of Str of 24). It just means that heroes have the potential to be superhuman at level 1.

On the other hand, it could just be a matter of PoV. Indeed, a 10 year old boy with a Str of 8 may deal slightly more damage than an old lady with a Str of 7 but instead of representing that with a smaller penalty, the devs are choosing to represent it with a smaller bonus. I tend to lean towards this theory, and since there has been mention that they are using a spreadsheet to balance all the numbers, i feel that this change is a product of statistical balancing.
Fighters are nothing like the WoW Warrior class. He emphasized this. ... they do not have an "aggro" mechanic like MMO characters.

Hooray! It all sounds good, but I'm really happy the 'aggro' MMO mechanic is not making its way into 4e.
I did not get this feel in what was said of the Paladin.

The Paladin gets abilities to 'counter' the devil's abilities. 'Counter' is fairly different from Favoured Enemey which gives a bonus to attack. Counter means that the Paladin might have things to cut through the 4e equivelent of DR. It might also likely means that the Paladin might be 'mystically' tough and not suseptible (with the right talents) to the devil's abilities to use things like mind enchantments (lures), poisons, or other Procs on the Paladin.

It was more of an example, really. It was in contrast to the 'detect evil/smite evil' abilities of the 3E paladin; instead, Mearls said, a paladin who, for example, chooses to focus on fighting devils would pick out powers and abilities that negate the typical strengths of devils (he made reference to 'flipping through the Monster Manual and taking a look at what devils do', but I imagine there will be alternatives to that approach).
This makes no sense at all. Maybe someone looked at the Spined Devil card and jumped to conclusions? I seriously doubt this came from Mike.

It didn't; Iceberg3K's clarified this elsewhere. It's just his own speculation on how to figure the bonuses from the stats we have.
Ability bonuses are derived the same way as currently - ability score/2; it's going to be (ability score/2)-2 instead of (ability score/2)-5 as it currently is.

This may be the first thing I've heard about 4e that I really don't like. So a 10 gives you a +3? +3 is average now? I'd sure like to know the thinking that went into this decision.
I actually like this change to how Ability Bonuses works. It really removes luck as the deciding factor at lower levels, while at higher levels that +3 bonus will hardly be noticable (IMHO, of course). I think it'll also make multiclassing and MAD a bit easier to deal with.

As for NPC's, as long as the median statline is around 8/6/6/4/4/2 I'd be more then happy. This will allow some variation within an NPC population, and allow proffession choices to make a bit more sense (As they would be just a tiny bit more proficient at things then other people).
This may be the first thing I've heard about 4e that I really don't like. So a 10 gives you a +3? +3 is average now? I'd sure like to know the thinking that went into this decision.

It's not a decision. It was just speculation made by the original poster based on the Spined Devil stat card.
This may be the first thing I've heard about 4e that I really don't like. So a 10 gives you a +3? +3 is average now? I'd sure like to know the thinking that went into this decision.

Well, 18 would give +7, so yeah, +3 would be slightly below average.
It's not a decision. It was just speculation made by the original poster based on the Spined Devil stat card.

Regrettably, that is not the case. Apparently this is information that someone gleaned from Mike Mearls at Game Day.
No, it's speculation. This has not been confirmed. Just someone seeing the Spined Devil stat card for the first time.
Ok. Show me where the spined devil is even mentioned in the initial quote.

Don't get me wrong. I hope you're right, but I'm reading it differently than you are and not seeing where you're getting your position.
Ok. Show me where the spined devil is even mentioned in the initial quote.

Don't get me wrong. I hope you're right, but I'm reading it differently than you are and not seeing where you're getting your position.

You could take a look here.
For emphasis: "This is derived from the 4e preview stat card for the Spined Devil."
You could take a look here.
For emphasis: "This is derived from the 4e preview stat card for the Spined Devil."

Thank God! And thank you for the link. I can sleep much easier now.
This may be the first thing I've heard about 4e that I really don't like. So a 10 gives you a +3? +3 is average now? I'd sure like to know the thinking that went into this decision.

If it's really a change, I actually like it.

You kind of have to loook at it from the perspective of someone who plays small characters.

The average kobold has a str modifier of -4, giving an average kobold a strength of 6. Let's say he's using a dagger, for a small character, that's a 1d3. With an average strenth giving a -2 bonus, the average kobold can only do 1 point of damage max with his dagger. Since it's can't go below 1, that's also the minimum dammage the weakest, granny kobold in the world can do. That doesn't make any sense. If it scales up from the very bottom, very low strengths will be distinguishable from medium strangths.

Basically, the system as it is breaks down at the low end.
Basically, the system as it is breaks down at the low end.

I should also point out that it fixes the retarded logic of someone with a low Dex getting an increase in AC when he's denied his dex 'bonus' or that an immobilized PC with a dex penalty still takes that penalty despite being unable to move (that is, unable use his dex) (depending on how it's ruled, but both interpretations are stupid).
A formula of modifier = (ability score/2) would be even better. No negative modifiers and no real need to even write down your modifier separately.

Still, there is no indication that modifier will be anything else but the well-known (ability score/2) - 5. This Game Day tidbit is just idle speculation. It was not something revealed by Mike Mearls.
I should also point out that it fixes the retarded logic of someone with a low Dex getting an increase in AC when he's denied his dex 'bonus'

That was never the case, since you loose your bonus, not your penalty. However, lots of people misunderstood it that way.


or that an immobilized PC with a dex penalty still takes that penalty despite being unable to move (that is, unable use his dex) (depending on how it's ruled, but both interpretations are stupid).

Any immobilized PC has a Dex of 0, and therefore a Dex penalty of -5.

If something feels to follow a retarded logic, there are three possibilites:

a) you misunderstood it
b) you don't understand it
c) It is really retarded.

From my experience, a) is almost always the case, b) sometimes and c) close to never.

Ceterum censeo capsum rubeum esse delendam

Any immobilized PC has a Dex of 0, and therefore a Dex penalty of -5.

You're right about being imobilized, of course. I shouldn't have said it, I was trying to point out that someone denied their dex bonus is odd.

Take, for example, 2 PCs, one with a large dex bonus, one with a slight dex penalty. If caught unaware (flatfooted) the person with the high dex bonus is much easier to hit, while the person with a penalty is no more difficult to hit.

That seems very awkward to me, and certaily smacks of being retarded.

I'm a fat, clumsy guy and I know a little something about people sneaking up on me and, well, tickleing me instead of trying to stab me... but the D&D mechanics would be basically the same, right? When someone sneals up on me it is, in fact, even easier for someone to tickle me than if I was expecting it. A surprised, clumy PC should be even easier to hit than normal, IMO.

That was never the case, since you loose your bonus, not your penalty. However, lots of people misunderstood it that way.

Right, that's why I included it as a possible interpretation... I've had groups fight about this before, which just shows that it's an unintuitive, awkward mechanic. I won't be sad if it changes...
I'd propose to just get rid of having an ability score AND an ability bonus. Seems to me like things could work just as well with just one number.