No low level magic rings

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Why?

What was the reasoning behind deciding that PCs cannot wear magic rings before 11th level?

I've been in many a game where organisations in game handed out low level, minor enchanted rings to their members as rewards. They didn't spontaneously become roaming monstrosities of doom.*

How does having a ring suddenly become too powerful for a lowbie character?




*Well, except one. But that was a very special ring. We don't talk about it.
Why?

What was the reasoning behind deciding that PCs cannot wear magic rings before 11th level?

I've been in many a game where organisations in game handed out low level, minor enchanted rings to their members as rewards. They didn't spontaneously become roaming monstrosities of doom.*

How does having a ring suddenly become too powerful for a lowbie character?




*Well, except one. But that was a very special ring. We don't talk about it.

I think it's part of the design concept. Correct me, but I don't believe -any- magic items exist below level 11, except perhaps a few utility items.

I think this is because they want levels 1-10 to be a bit more mundane, and they want to reflect that in the equipment the PCs will use.

Then again, if you want the low-power rings, use them.

Just remember what Gandalf said, "There are many magic rings in this world, Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly."

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

I think it's part of the design concept. Correct me, but I don't believe -any- magic items exist below level 11, except perhaps a few utility items.

I think this is because they want levels 1-10 to be a bit more mundane, and they want to reflect that in the equipment the PCs will use.

Then again, if you want the low-power rings, use them.

Just remember what Gandalf said, "There are many magic rings in this world, Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly."

There's a whole list of magic items and there are plenty below 11th level. Death to Middle-Earth influenced rules (which they don't go by anyway )
I think it's part of the design concept. Correct me, but I don't believe -any- magic items exist below level 11, except perhaps a few utility items.

Incorrect. Here are some sample items, all Heroic tier. [Edit: Quasi-ninja'ed. Mine has a link, though. :P]

I think that rings were just blocked out as inherently more special in 4e for the sake of being able to expand the number of body slots as you went up in level. The ring slots were the most convenient to add since they're sort of an all-purpose body slot not linked to a specific theme like the feet (speed & movement) or the head (perception & thought).

(Side note: I hated how Forge Ring was a separate feat in 3e. Did anyone ever bother taking that feat?)
Well, I did ask to be corrected. Thank you to those that pointed that out.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

I never took it and none of my NPCs do.
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There's a whole list of magic items and there are plenty below 11th level. Death to Middle-Earth influenced rules (which they don't go by anyway )

Yeah, references to why 4e should be run a certain way just because LoTR did it is sure beginning to bug me...
Thanks for the replies guys.

Well, I can see a future house rule on this already if any of us decide to play 4e here.









That and Healing Surges. Ugh what were they thinking?
Thanks for the replies guys.

Well, I can see a future house rule on this already if any of us decide to play 4e here.









That and Healing Surges. Ugh what were they thinking?

That it sucks that someone HAS to play a cleric in 3rd Edition or the party is crippled.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Why?

What was the reasoning behind deciding that PCs cannot wear magic rings before 11th level?

I've been in many a game where organisations in game handed out low level, minor enchanted rings to their members as rewards. They didn't spontaneously become roaming monstrosities of doom.*

How does having a ring suddenly become too powerful for a lowbie character?




*Well, except one. But that was a very special ring. We don't talk about it.

Just make them minor enchanted wonderous items that you wear on your finger.

Rings are not minor in 4E. They are major by default.
"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
Yeah my view is rings are not simple little enchanted items, like other magic items.

Magical rings are a collector of magical torrents that circle the world, that feeds into your character's body and enhances his abilities. Or collects and releases this built up energy in either powerful subtle ways or very potent wild-magic.

This isn't something I imagine a non-paragon character could easily control, having a object that feeds and channels all the magic that exists in the world.
That it sucks that someone HAS to play a cleric in 3rd Edition or the party is crippled.

Oh I don't mind the idea that everyone has some way of staying in the fight. I just don't like how it's been implemented.


And I've had Clericless parties before. They often do quite well through good tactical thinking.
I like the idea of magic rings being more important and powerful than other items. This implementation appeals to me both from a mechanical perspective because it's a magic item slot that you gain as a reward for level advancement and from a story perspective because it takes a mighty hero to master the power of a magic ring.

In order to implement the type of low-level or utility item the OP suggests for the specific story purpose of denoting and rewarding membership in some organization, I would suggest adding a "badge" or "insignia" item slot. Badges could have an inherent limitation that states that they have a maximum item level of 10, thus cementing their place as a heroic tier magic item that provides a character with minor powers. Beyond that, any further limitation you want to put on them is up to you and the needs of your game.
Eh, I'm not too hot on the idea of level limited magic items.

Too "Diablo-ish" for me.

That a higher level character can better utilise a magic item sure. Or that it would be dangerous for a lowbie to use a powerful one, great.

But not an outright "No you don't meet the level requirements for this item. Go grind on some wolves till you level up so you can use it."
And I've had Clericless parties before. They often do quite well through good tactical thinking.

That'd be hard. I mean they could do OK just like a party of 1 commoner/bard, 2 samurai, and an aristocrat could do OK. But that's cause it's a roleplaying game. In terms of "How the game was designed" there's just no way that any quantity of tactical thinking could let you fight through the same situations that a party who had a character who can revive the dead and heal hundreds of damage would be able to manage. Now I think that what I just said is a legitimate design flaw but I do think it's there.

In addition I'm going to say that the idea that certain levelled characters simply -cannot- use certain items is lame and simply isn't present in almost any fantasy setting. Of course this also refers to the LoTR but that's nothing to be ashamed of. The LoTR is what this hobby and, essentially, all of modern fantasy is based on so let's not be hatin on it. Now I support the DMG telling you what level the items are appropriate to put into your game but it is SUPER lame that my character could pry the sword from the stone and not be able to use it before he "dinged" two more times cause it's too high a level. It feels very video gamey, and very very metagamey and I dislike both of those notions.

ADDITIONAL!:
Eh, I'm not too hot on the idea of level limited magic items.

Too "Diablo-ish" for me.

That a higher level character can better utilise a magic item sure. Or that it would be dangerous for a lowbie to use a powerful one, great.

But not an outright "No you don't meet the level requirements for this item. Go grind on some wolves till you level up so you can use it."

I agree with everything you've said here
I can see two reasons for level limits on rings.
The first being the most oft stated, they are too powerful for low level characters. Let's take a look at what else is being done with magic in the game, number of spells per day are being reduced, that includes at will and encounter powers. Non combat powers are mostly being converted to rituals, things like fly, animal friendship and feather fall. These will probably will not be transferable to magic items in general.
Secondly and this may seem to be a strange reason, rings are small and easily stored, other magic items are either large, hard to exchange or too rare/specific to have more than one. A pouchful of rings could be game breaking.

Bel
Originally Posted by WotC_RichBaker In related news, I'm afraid I'm going to have to confiscate your 3.5 rulebooks, and force you to convert to the new edition. Where do you live?
And I've had Clericless parties before. They often do quite well through good tactical thinking.

Buying wands of CWL/Lesser Vigor is tactics?

Eh, I'm not too hot on the idea of level limited magic items.

Makes just as much sense as levels really.

Besides rings have always been wierd in that you only get two, regardless of the number of fingers/hands you possess.

Edit: It should be noted that Nephlite has already given the answer to your issues. Lesser magic rings are wonderous items. Rings are items that require a Ring slot. Just like potions are 1st-3rd level spells in a bottle, and elixers are misc items you drink.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
I've played in a very successful party without a full-progression healer. The group consisted of two highly-broken melee damage dealers that were built to work in tandem with one another, an optimized archer, and an optimized bard. No, seriously -- an optimized bard, built to maximize the abilities of the other characters to land hits and deal damage. When you output enough damage to drop threats of a CR 8 levels higher than the party level in 3 or 4 rounds, you don't need a lot of healing.
I've played in a very successful party without a full-progression healer. The group consisted of two highly-broken melee damage dealers that were built to work in tandem with one another, an optimized archer, and an optimized bard. No, seriously -- an optimized bard, built to maximize the abilities of the other characters to land hits and deal damage. When you output enough damage to drop threats of a CR 8 levels higher than the party level in 3 or 4 rounds, you don't need a lot of healing.

Yeah but, that doesn't seem fun, or dramatic. And I'm one of those drama-losers. I like intrigue as much as I like attacks of opportunity. But being able to quickly drop something probably twice your level in CR? No thank you, that doesn't sound fun.

Mind you, I played a druid that got -very- -very- lucky by preparing elemental resistance and flame blade the morning of the day we were going to very accidentally bump into that Cryo Hydra. The DM didn't expect us to get to the hydra, and because I was able to through up DR, and deal double damage with very high Dex, the druid essentially squared off with the hydra, the rest of the party hacked on his torso while I kept the attention of his heads.

The party gave me "first share" of the loot of that hydra because they all said it would have killed them if he hadn't been there. The DM agreed.

Anyway, I don't like it when every character is able to make short work of -every- opponent. Monsters should present challenges, and those challenges should differ every time you experience an encounter with that creature. If you're not learning anything, you're not gaining XP.

"Not only are you wrong, but I even created an Excel spreadsheet to show you how wrong you are." --James Wyatt, May 2006

Dilige, et quod vis fac

Eh, I'm not too hot on the idea of level limited magic items.

Too "Diablo-ish" for me.

That a higher level character can better utilise a magic item sure. Or that it would be dangerous for a lowbie to use a powerful one, great.

But not an outright "No you don't meet the level requirements for this item. Go grind on some wolves till you level up so you can use it."

Well, from a design point of view, here are some points:

  • first off, they're reducing the amount of "+X items" so a lot of the lowest priced rings won't have a place (good riddance, Ring of Protection +1 for every NPC);
  • second off (and a tangent of the first), they're tying effects more closely to the "body slot" of the item, so some of the +X rings that might see a translation might become other stuff (boots of jumping instead of ring of jumping? cloak of invisibility instead of ring? etc.);
  • third off (and a consequence to the other two), if you remove the "cheap rings" and turn some others into "other stuff", what rings are left? The whoppers, like the elemental command or 3 wishes or such. Those are way too powerful to go around in low-level groups, in a "this breaks the game" power level.


So, their solution was to block ring use before level 11. I think it's a good idea, because it is something that's easily "ruled back in" if the DM really wants to do a "the One Ring" kind of adventure. Also, keep in mind that the article on magic items says that artifacts do not strictly follow these rules (so Frodo might get the One Ring even if no one else could use a ring of spell turning).

And about the "feeling Diablo" of limiting ring usage, I think we might find out that there's enough going on with "becoming Paragon" that helps explain this. After all, PCs would already be getting some new stuff at the same level (Paragon Path, Epic Destiny)...
Secondly and this may seem to be a strange reason, rings are small and easily stored, other magic items are either large, hard to exchange or too rare/specific to have more than one. A pouchful of rings could be game breaking.

How would it be game breaking? So what if I have 20 rings if I still can only wear 2 at any 1 time? What would say, make a ring of X more powerful than say, another magic item that grants the exact same properties, but occupies another body slot?

The first being the most oft stated, they are too powerful for low level characters. Let's take a look at what else is being done with magic in the game, number of spells per day are being reduced, that includes at will and encounter powers. Non combat powers are mostly being converted to rituals, things like fly, animal friendship and feather fall. These will probably will not be transferable to magic items in general.

Then just design rings with weaker properties to keep them in line with the power levels of other magic items of the same lv. What is so difficult about that?

This seems like some random and arbitrary decision that makes no sense whatsoever. Why specifically rings? In theory, any item slot can easily possess the same properties, and be just as powerful as any ring. This sort of thing ought to be mutable.
An odd thought: Could you use UMD to possibly bypass the level restriction?

It really does feel immersion-breaking for a completely metagame concept like level to be so visible to your character. ("We need to find the legendary assassin who has disguised himself as a member of the common palace servants? No problem, just make them all put this ring on. If it starts glowing, that's the guy we're looking for.")
How would it be game breaking? So what if I have 20 rings if I still can only wear 2 at any 1 time? What would say, make a ring of X more powerful than say, another magic item that grants the exact same properties, but occupies another body slot?

Let's see; can't see whats on the other side of the door, I use my ring of X-ray vision, a 10' pit in the middle of a corridor, I'll use my ring of Flying, it's like having an extra spellcaster that doesn't need to recover his spells.

Then just design rings with weaker properties to keep them in line with the power levels of other magic items of the same lv. What is so difficult about that?

This seems like some random and arbitrary decision that makes no sense whatsoever. Why specifically rings? In theory, any item slot can easily possess the same properties, and be just as powerful as any ring. This sort of thing ought to be mutable.

Okay.

Bel
Originally Posted by WotC_RichBaker In related news, I'm afraid I'm going to have to confiscate your 3.5 rulebooks, and force you to convert to the new edition. Where do you live?
Let's see; can't see whats on the other side of the door, I use my ring of X-ray vision, a 10' pit in the middle of a corridor, I'll use my ring of Flying, it's like having an extra spellcaster that doesn't need to recover his spells.

And with bags of holding confirmed in 4e, this is different from having multiple amulets, or cloaks, or other misc wondrous items how?:P
Let's see; can't see whats on the other side of the door, I use my ring of X-ray vision, a 10' pit in the middle of a corridor, I'll use my ring of Flying, it's like having an extra spellcaster that doesn't need to recover his spells.

Those items specifically will probably have been altered into something more appropriate. A ring shouldn't be able to affect your vision or your locomotion. It's on your finger. That's the design model they're going for. For X-Ray vision, it would probably be Goggles of X-Ray Vision, and for flying it would be Boots of Flying or Cloak of Flying.

Rings in 3E are basically a way to get an extra effect that would normally go on a different slot. If you already have Boots of Jumping and you want Boots of Spider Climb, you get a Ring of Spider Climb instead and get both effects simultaneously. In 4E, rings will be cool, unique, and special. When you find a ring in treasure, it should be something that all party members go "ooh, I want", and not "oh, another ring" that you get in 3.x.

Saying that the inability to wear a ring until a character reaches Paragon status is dumb is taking a 4E mechanic and applying it to one's experience with 3.x, and not looking at the rule in its context.
Yes, I am a defender apologist. A Rock and a Hard Place: A Warden Handbook
And with bags of holding confirmed in 4e, this is different from having multiple amulets, or cloaks, or other misc wondrous items how?

Because a bag of holding represents an expenditure of resources, similar to the character simply paying for wands of the relevant spells instead. Also, non-slot items duplicating the cost of a normally slotted item cost 2x the normal price. Rings are about as close as you can get to a non-slot without actually paying the increase. If X costs (more) money and Y does not, X != Y.

Saying that the inability to wear a ring until a character reaches Paragon status is dumb is taking a 4E mechanic and applying it to one's experience with 3.x, and not looking at the rule in its context.

That context being roleplay, correct? How is it a good thing for players to find a ring (great roll on a treasure table) and go "Ooh, I want!" only to then find out nobody can use it when there is no in-game (fluff) reason why not?
That context being roleplay, correct? How is it a good thing for players to find a ring (great roll on a treasure table) and go "Ooh, I want!" only to then find out nobody can use it when there is no in-game (fluff) reason why not?

I think the context being referred to is the 4th ed rules in general. Perhaps there is a good reason for the limit, but then again, a good reason to one person is a dumb reason to another. For myself, I'm taking the "wait and see" option; I'll give it a try before deciding if the ruling needs to go.

Besides, level limits on items are nothing new, they are just putting a limit on the players this time around instead of or in addition to the items themselves.

On a side note, do people really still use random treasure tables after the first few games? While it may be fun to roll up a nice magic item with some lucky rolls, rolling up random crap that no one can use isn't exactly what I call fun. I've found that the junk rolls tend to outnumber the good rolls in the long run.
We have only heard that it is impossible to use the magic in the rings before, not that it is impossible to equip them. Why then would a level limit be unlogical? Afterall you may not cast fireball when you are level 1, neither invisibility. Why would not rings follow this? Especially since they seem much more powerful than their 3:e counterparts.
To be honest it is as much inlogical as third editions limit to 2 rings, and the limit on the maximum spell able to fit in a potion.
Eh, I'm not too hot on the idea of level limited magic items.
Too "Diablo-ish" for me.
That a higher level character can better utilise a magic item sure. Or that it would be dangerous for a lowbie to use a powerful one, great.
But not an outright "No you don't meet the level requirements for this item. Go grind on some wolves till you level up so you can use it."

I'm probably weighing in a little late here, but I feel the need to say this anyway: you guys are thinking about this way too mechanically. With video games like D2, there is no difference between playing the game and metagaming; all the numbers and mechanics are part of the interactive game experience. With D&D, the game is supposed to play out like a story, and you're supposed to immerse yourself in the game world. Combine that with the fact that you have a DM, and you should never end up in the situation you describe.

If I were a player and got hold of an item that I wasn't technically high enough level to use, I'd be really annoyed because it would break the immersion, but the DM shouldn't let this happen. I get the impression that loot won't be so randomly generated in 4e, so I don't think we'll be getting any more of those "ooh cool I got 'roll again' for a third ability" swords. The magic items the party gets should be doled out intentionally by the DM, so you'll just never encounter a ring until 11th level.

The entire 4e magic item list has appropriate levels attached to each item. The devs wrote this in so that DMs know when to give out certain items and maintain game balance, but since we have a DM (this is the big important thing to remember) we don't necessarily have to stick to it. It may somehow be appropriate for your party to get a more powerful item sooner, and this may include a ring. The DM might, for story reasons, want to give out a ring early, so he weakens one. These rules needn't be more than guidelines if you want to toy with the balance for some extra fun.

Finally, you're all being a little arbitrary here. I doubt you'd argue that a +3 sword shouldn't be given out to 5th level characters, but since this level equivocation applies to an entire class of items rather than specific items you're all hot and bothered. I honestly don't see any reason why having specifically a ring would ever be of unique importance; just use a different item.

Cheers

Kyle

P.S. to the guy who mentioned having people put on rings to see who's the higher level person in the group: if your party is doing this sort of metagaming regularly, you should probably stop playing D&D cause you're kinda missing the point methinks.
That context being roleplay, correct? How is it a good thing for players to find a ring (great roll on a treasure table) and go "Ooh, I want!" only to then find out nobody can use it when there is no in-game (fluff) reason why not?

It takes someone truly powerful to use a magic ring.
Done.
On a side note, do people really still use random treasure tables after the first few games? While it may be fun to roll up a nice magic item with some lucky rolls, rolling up random crap that no one can use isn't exactly what I call fun. I've found that the junk rolls tend to outnumber the good rolls in the long run.

I still do, but not in a vacuum. I notice that if I customize my own treasure hoards, I tend to just end up with the same old combinations with minor variations here and there, which can get repetitive over time.

Random generation at least help keeps treasure hoards unique. Plus, there is nothing stopping me from altering the makeup after rolling, but it can help me come up with interesting items to fill which I otherwise may not have considered.

Besides, level limits on items are nothing new, they are just putting a limit on the players this time around instead of or in addition to the items themselves.

Yeah, because if a ring was powerful enough that it should not be used before a certain lv, you would think that the DM had enough sense not to introduce it to the players before then...

We have only heard that it is impossible to use the magic in the rings before, not that it is impossible to equip them. Why then would a level limit be unlogical?

What is the difference? Seems like a matter of semantics. The point is - what is it about rings that I am not able to benefit from them at all before lv11? What differentiates them from other magic eq, which do not appear to face similar restrictions?

After all, if a ring has some very powerful effect, this would be balanced out by its comparatively high gp cost, which ensures that a player with it would not be any more advantaged compared to other players who chose to spend their wealth on other magic items. Thus at the end of the day, he should not be any better or worse off.

Like I said, I just don't see a need for lv limits. A gp limit, combined with wealth guidelines, seems more than adequate.

P.S. to the guy who mentioned having people put on rings to see who's the higher level person in the group: if your party is doing this sort of metagaming regularly, you should probably stop playing D&D cause you're kinda missing the point methinks.

What is the point? It would hardly be metagaming to realize that only people of high caliber can wear those magic rings with inbuilt lv limitations. It would hardly be revolutionary to discover that low lv commoners cannot benefit from them at all. An abstraction of his point would need to be done to "reflavour" it to fit into the game to remove the "metagaming" connotation, but otherwise, the concept behind it is quite sound, IMO.
I still do, but not in a vacuum. I notice that if I customize my own treasure hoards, I tend to just end up with the same old combinations with minor variations here and there, which can get repetitive over time.

Random generation at least help keeps treasure hoards unique. Plus, there is nothing stopping me from altering the makeup after rolling, but it can help me come up with interesting items to fill which I otherwise may not have considered.

Fair enough, I can see how that might work.



Yeah, because if a ring was powerful enough that it should not be used before a certain lv, you would think that the DM had enough sense not to introduce it to the players before then...

One would hope that this is true, but it isn't necessarily true simply because we hope it is. Here's two ways to put forth the idea of limiting rings:

Player's below 11th level cannot use magic rings.
Player's below 11th level shouldn't have magic rings.

Obviously some people would prefer the 2nd sentence but they chose the first. Personally, I don't see any reason to get upset over this rule...yet. I'd first rather see why they decided to take this stance and then decide whether or not it makes sense. Perhaps there is some plausible reason for the decision and it's not just some random decision they made too upset people by "forcing" them to adhere to arbitrary restrictions.

I guess I just don't see why this particular rule is any harder to swallow than any of the hundreds of other rules that make up the game.
I just wanted to point out that "balance" or items being "too powerful" has NOTHING to do with the limit on rings. Nor is the level limit on rings a "suggestion".

All magic items have a "level". THOSE are "suggestions". Notice, however, that there is nothing that says that a 1st level character can't use a 30th level magic item. So obviously "power balance" is not the issue.

We don't know what the deal is with rings yet, so we can't really say why they're limited. It's possible that the powers of rings are tied to the tiers of play in such a way that even if a 1st level PC put on a ring, it would be useless because he doesn't have the Paragon or Epic ability that the ring effects. (Kind of like how an amulet that makes your spells harder to save against is worthless if you can't cast spells to begin with.)
We don't know what the deal is with rings yet, so we can't really say why they're limited. It's possible that the powers of rings are tied to the tiers of play in such a way that even if a 1st level PC put on a ring, it would be useless because he doesn't have the Paragon or Epic ability that the ring effects. (Kind of like how an amulet that makes your spells harder to save against is worthless if you can't cast spells to begin with.)

If that was the case, than the problem would solve itself. I for one sure would not bother wearing an epic ring if I could not yet benefit from it because I lacked access to some qualifying ability.

For instance, if my fighter cannot cast spells, I sure won't be inane enough to have him purchase metamagic rods. Same concept with rings. The assumption is that people will optimize their magic item selection to best suit their PCs, and I feel this alone will more than suffice.
  • first off, they're reducing the amount of "+X items" so a lot of the lowest priced rings won't have a place (good riddance, Ring of Protection +1 for every NPC);
  • second off (and a tangent of the first), they're tying effects more closely to the "body slot" of the item, so some of the +X rings that might see a translation might become other stuff (boots of jumping instead of ring of jumping? cloak of invisibility instead of ring? etc.);
  • third off (and a consequence to the other two), if you remove the "cheap rings" and turn some others into "other stuff", what rings are left? The whoppers, like the elemental command or 3 wishes or such. Those are way too powerful to go around in low-level groups, in a "this breaks the game" power level.

I feel that this is the thought process behind the scenes. It makes sense.
For instance, if my fighter cannot cast spells, I sure won't be inane enough to have him purchase metamagic rods.

(Bolding added by me)
I'd just like to point out that they said, and thank god for it, that the "magic item shop" no longer exists. So, while, RAW for 3.X implies that you can go out and buy any magic item you want, 4th seems to feel that only things the DM wants you to have should be available. Hence, I don't really see a problem, as you just shouldn't get any rings prior to level 11 anyway, unless your DM decides to add some low level ones (presuming that rings as they are presented in RAW in 4th are fairly powerful.)
That context being roleplay, correct? How is it a good thing for players to find a ring (great roll on a treasure table) and go "Ooh, I want!" only to then find out nobody can use it when there is no in-game (fluff) reason why not?

Wouldn't the treasure table rolls take into account the level of the party/encounter? I'd imagine that, given the 4e rules for no low level rings, the low level treasure tables won't have any rings.
I'd just like to point out that they said, and thank god for it, that the "magic item shop" no longer exists.

Who is this diabolical "they" who said this?

So, while, RAW for 3.X implies that you can go out and buy any magic item you want, 4th seems to feel that only things the DM wants you to have should be available.

3.5 implied nothing of the sort. It merely suggested that PCs ought to be equipped adequately for their lv, if they are to be able to take on challenges commensurate with their EL. If your PCs can get the custom gear they want/need from looting treasure hoards, then good enough. But if not, then magic shops (or some variant thereof)/item creation will have to come in to fill the void. Else, they will be much weaker than they should because they cannot make full use of their magic gear.

Likewise, there would be no way I can buy metamagic rods from a magic shop if my DM refuses to stock the shop with them. I don't see how this is any different from any edition.

Hence, I don't really see a problem, as you just shouldn't get any rings prior to level 11 anyway, unless your DM decides to add some low level ones (presuming that rings as they are presented in RAW in 4th are fairly powerful.)

The problem is that it sends contradicting signals.
Why bother having lv limits on rings if they are not meant to be accessible prior to lv11 anyways (The DM can just choose not to implement them before then)? If they are to be allowed before lv11, then naturally, the PCs should be expected to be able to use them (why else introduce them into the game then?), in which case a lv limit ...

This sort of thing ought to be a conscious in-game decision to be made by individual DMs, not hard-coded into the game mechanics, IMO.

first off, they're reducing the amount of "+X items" so a lot of the lowest priced rings won't have a place (good riddance, Ring of Protection +1 for every NPC);

What?!? I thought it was pretty much standard that npcs used potions of prot from good to simulate a cheaper version of rings of prot...:P

At least, I never really bothered with such minor magic items because potions gave much more benefit at lower cost.

third off (and a consequence to the other two), if you remove the "cheap rings" and turn some others into "other stuff", what rings are left? The whoppers, like the elemental command or 3 wishes or such. Those are way too powerful to go around in low-level groups, in a "this breaks the game" power level.

And what DM allows a low lv party access to a ring of 3 wishes...?
Why bother having lv limits on rings if they are not meant to be accessible prior to lv11 anyways (The DM can just choose not to implement them before then)? If they are to be allowed before lv11, then naturally, the PCs should be expected to be able to use them (why else introduce them into the game then?), in which case a lv limit ...

This sort of thing ought to be a conscious in-game decision to be made by individual DMs, not hard-coded into the game mechanics, IMO.

Because if you have a level limit but no slot limit you can ware 5 at 11th level.
Who is this diabolical "they" who said this?

I don't remember exactly where I read it, but I distinctly remember reading (might have been a report from a playtest, now that I think about it) something that basically said "Rejoice! The magic item shop is no longer in existence." I dont remember exactly where it was, and I don't feel like spending an hour looking for a link, so take it with a grain of salt.

3.5 implied nothing of the sort. It merely suggested that PCs ought to be equipped adequately for their lv, if they are to be able to take on challenges commensurate with their EL. If your PCs can get the custom gear they want/need from looting treasure hoards, then good enough. But if not, then magic shops (or some variant thereof)/item creation will have to come in to fill the void. Else, they will be much weaker than they should because they cannot make full use of their magic gear.

Likewise, there would be no way I can buy metamagic rods from a magic shop if my DM refuses to stock the shop with them. I don't see how this is any different from any edition.

Maybe I'm going crazy, then, but there was definitely a feel of "magic item shop" that developed in 3.X that didn't exist previously. In earlier editions, you took whatever you found, even randomly rolled stuff (I'm still mad at the DM who gave my character a broadsword of giant slaying in 2nd edition. He rolled randomly, and got the one stinking item in that game that did less damage against large creatures than it did against medium. Who on earth would have even made such a stupid thing in the first place!) and that was good enough. With 3.X increasing the need for magic items, it was either have magic item shops, or just "coincidentally" put that item the character wants in the treasure horde, which just sucks, imo.

Anyway, maybe it was the 3rd edition stuff that implied it, not the 3.5. I skimmed a lot of the 3.5 stuff that wasn't directly related to mechanics, and that was years ago.

The problem is that it sends contradicting signals.
Why bother having lv limits on rings if they are not meant to be accessible prior to lv11 anyways (The DM can just choose not to implement them before then)? If they are to be allowed before lv11, then naturally, the PCs should be expected to be able to use them (why else introduce them into the game then?), in which case a lv limit ...

This sort of thing ought to be a conscious in-game decision to be made by individual DMs, not hard-coded into the game mechanics, IMO.

I can certainly get on board with this. But the implication is that rings are so powerful that only truly powerful and experienced people can actually harness them.

Rings: This slot has changed quite a bit. A starting character isn’t powerful enough to unleash the power of a ring. You can use one ring when you reach paragon tier (11th level) and two when you’re epic (21st level). And before you get started about how Frodo sure as hell wasn’t epic, let's be clear: the One Ring was an artifact, not a magic item any old spellcaster could make. Artifacts follow their own rules. 3.5 Equivalent: Rings.

I added the bolding, but I think the point is fairly clear. Rings, generally speaking, have very powerful effects that would cause balance issues at lower levels. Hence, this allows you to actually have rings occur in game, yet not allow characters access to the powers of the ring. I realize you could just DM fiat it that way to begin with, but it's nice to have something official to point to. I don't know, I don't really have an issue with it because from what they say it seems that rings will have active abilities rather than passive ones, so I can understand not being able to use it at lower levels.
There's a whole list of magic items and there are plenty below 11th level. Death to Middle-Earth influenced rules (which they don't go by anyway )

Even if I ever do run a 4ed game, I fully intend to ignore this rule entirely. I am capable of balancing my game, and if a ring will unbalance things if handed out at 7th level, it won't get handed out. If it won't unbalance things, there's zero reason to wait for 11th.