What's Wrong With 3.5?

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I've read some of Wizard's claims, about how "3.5 is so confusing," or "3.5 desperately needs and update." I was wondering, "WHAT?!?" when I read some of these things that Wizards was saying.

If 3.5 needed an update, maybe they shoulda done it when they updated 3.0

What is so wrong with 3.5? Sure, the rules may sound confusing at first, but if you take like 45 minutes to sit down with the PHB and read some of the stuff, it all makes sense. Now, Wizard's is making their entire website devoted to 4E. What I mean to say is, WERE NOT THERE YET! That's right. They're trying to get us all pumped up about 4E. If they were really smart, they would have added all these things into 3.5.

Of course, now the WizO's are going to send me private messages, and post opinions on "Oh, that's ok, express your own point of view, but remember to buy 4E!" or, "4E is not as bad as you make it out to be." It is.

So, I want your opinion, Wizard's community. Thumbs up, or thumbs down on 4E. And what the heck's wrong with 3.5 in the first place?

Let me go first:

4E: :thumbsdow

3.5: NOTHING.
I agree with my sig
...whatever
So, so many things wrong with 3.5, and d20 in general.

Here's the beginning of a post I was going to write recounting my experience trying to teach 3.5E to my brother and his friend over a camping trip. I never finished typing it up, and now I don't even remember the other stuff, so just take it for whatever it's worth. Some of the problems persist in 4E; it's an honest description of the problems I faced trying to teach 3.5E, so of course d20 problems not specific to 3.5E came up as well:

I went on a 3-day camping trip over Christmas with some family and friends, and decided to bring along the 3.5 SRD, the Serenity RPG, and The Riddle of Steel Quickstart rules, and try to introduce tabletop roleplaying to my younger brother (8th grade) and our family friend (11th grade). I was excited about TROS, having heard great things about it, and as I read it, it did have some great ideas, but ultimately, the rolling mechanics were too unwieldy and not very user-friendly. (You roll X number of d10s at a TN of Y, and the number of successes, Z, is contrasted against your opponents A number of d10s at his TN of B, which results in C successes? Way, way too many numbers.)

We were going to do Serenity, whose rules system has an excellent balance of realism and simplicity in my opinion, but in the end decided we were more in the mood for a lighthearted fantasy game than a structured sci-fi one. So I pulled out the 3.5 SRD and started explaining.

And it just dawned on me how terrible the d20 system is, particularly 3.5E. I mean, just seriously crippling, particularly for new players. I was so used to the game, so intimately familiar with its quirks, that I had forgotten how completely retarded portions of it are, when exposed to the judgment of new players who have not already invested anything into the system--in other words, the judgment of marginal revenue.

We started with ability scores, then picked classes and chose races, then did skills and feats before finally finishing with spells and equipment. They ended up as a human sorcerer and a dwarf fighter. Some notes:

We rolled stats, and some odd numbers came up. I decided to save them the headache and didn't mention why a 9 WIS was pretty much the same as an 8 WIS.

They asked me why anyone would want to play a Bard, if it was as weak as I told them it was. I had nothing to say.

I realized when I went down the list of 11 classes, that I explained Druid as "basically a cleric. But of a nature god," and Paladin as "basically a holy Fighter," and I couldn't explain sufficiently clearly, to someone who had no conception of the Vancian casting system, the difference between the Sorcerer and the Wizard.

Neither here nor there, but my brother told me the class "Paladin" sounded about 100x as cool as "Fighter," and I immediately remembered when I was first introduced to D&D in the 90s, how dumb I thought the name "Fighter" was for a warrior class.

The friend asked about the monk, but, not wanting him to suck, I told him he was better off picking another fighting class.

When I went down the list of races and tried to explain their major mechanical benefits, it was a mess. I ended up saying stuff like "and he's a little bit better than average at throwing daggers and rocks at people, just like hobbits from LOTR... and he's a little bit better at climbing and jumping and sneaking around... and he's not very strong but he's nimble... and he's good at defending against fear, just like hobbits from LOTR... and he's got good ears so he can hear well... and..." In the end, none of the little skill or attack bonuses ever matter. In none of the games I've ever played, was keeping track of those little marginal benefits ever worth the trouble.

My brother, when picking a race for his sorcerer, thought that the gnome was a pretty lame race. Not making this up--he crossed out the gnome because if he was going to be short, he would rather be a halfling. In the end he picked human because he didn't think a halfling sorcerer was particularly imposing.

There was considerable boredom when we were picking skills. It was a pretty long list of seemingly random things, and as they all had a bunch of paragraphs and tables each, I simply gave each a sentence of description. Much skepticism and mirth came out of Use Rope. Also, my brother was confused as to why it wasn't worth it for his sorcerer to get a skill called "Use Magic Device."

With only 8 and 12 skill points, respectively, they both ended up putting one or two points into a bunch of skills. I hadn't the heart to tell them D&D rewards specialization, even in skills.

When picking feats, they were about to die of boredom. I pretty much did it for them.

My brother asked me what "HD" was, when reading the description of the sleep spell. I told him to think of it as levels. I was glad we were never going to get to the point where I'd have to explain what LA or ECL was.

He thought Touch of Fatigue was an excellent spell and picked it as one of his cantrips, and truthfully, if you didn't know how little the Fatigued condition does, it does seem like a great, flavorful ability.

I decided to skip equipment due to the story (they were going to start the game stripped of possessions, locked as cellmates in a dungeon.)

Now, we started the game. (Many jokes about how beautiful my brother's character was (18 CHA) and how ugly his friend was (6 CHA) have been running for a while.) When they attacked the guard bringing them food, I realized how bad a 5-ft grid system is:

Characters take up 5' squares, and can't share squares. But prison corridors are pretty much 5' wide. So when Dwyane Wade the stout dwarf warrior bullrushed the guard out his cell door and into the corridor wall, the rules made it pretty much impossible for Dwyane to finish his turn (and bull rush) outside his cell. Lame.

More importantly, before the bull-rushing even happened, there were three rounds of nothing. Miss. Miss. Miss. Miss. Turns out, Dwyane Wade's powerful attacks (13 STR) were better by the barest of margins than a regular Joe's attacks, owing to the complete dwarfing of a +1 by the size of the random factor--d20. I realized this after playing Serenity for a bit: d20 is way, way too big of a die to roll when the difference between an average human and an human of legendary abilities is about a +3.

Reply to thecasualoblivion:

You do seem to side with 4E. But don't you think they should have taken a closer look at their "revision" of the 3E rules? I mean, if Mike Mearls has so many complaints about 3.5, he shoulda playtested a bit more with it to get all the bugs out. He shoulda spoken up when he had the chance. I'm not ready to dish out 500 more bucks for a new edition.
To the OP:

How many times can a level 7 rogue with Haste and two weapons make a grapple check to break out of a grapple each round?

THAT is what's wrong with 3.5.
I don't plan on buying or playing 4E. Not because I think it will be a bad game, but because it is not the style of game I have fun playing.

I also do not think 3.5 is anywhere close to perfect. It has alot of problems that could be improved upon, but I still prefer it compared to what I have seen of 4E.

Personally, I'm actually tempted to stop playing D&D and expand out into other RPG systems.

EDIT:
How many times can a level 7 rogue with Haste and two weapons make a grapple check to break out of a grapple each round?

Number of grapple checks is based on BAB, not number of attacks, so one grapple check for his +5 BAB. I believe this is explained in one of the Rules of the Game articles.
So, so many things wrong with 3.5, and d20 in general.

Here's the beginning of a post I was going to write recounting my experience trying to teach 3.5E to my brother and his friend over a camping trip. I never finished typing it up, and now I don't even remember the other stuff, so just take it for whatever it's worth. Some of the problems persist in 4E; it's an honest description of the problems I faced trying to teach 3.5E, so of course d20 problems not specific to 3.5E came up as well:

It sounds like in that story that you weren't even taking time to explain some of the things that weren't "worth it" to your brother and his friend (like the monk class). It seems that the biggest problem in that story is that you didn't understand that you can make small exceptions to the rules in special cases (when they tried to bullrush out of the cell, for example).
Hooray! We have a winner!

Now let's change that over to being an 8 HD animal with two claws and a bite.
@ ancalimohtar

Wow! that's an interesting post. I agree with hardly any of it but definitely an interesting opinion.
To the OP:

How many times can a level 7 rogue with Haste and two weapons make a grapple check to break out of a grapple each round?

THAT is what's wrong with 3.5.

If you read calvinNhobbes's reply to your comment, you would understand what I'm saying. If you just take a little time to settle down with the rules, you would know the answer to your question. All 3.5 takes is some time to read. If you don't like to do that, move back to the 40-page 1st Edition manual.
The fact is this:

Yes, they could have done another revision. However, that revision would have either retained some of the most obvious problems of 3.x (such as the progression barrier, where things reach the point where rolls - sometimes rolls critical to survival - are nigh-unfailable for some characters and nigh-unmakable for others, and the horrible balance problems at every level) or would have been a new edition anyway in the process of trying to fix those.
Hooray! We have a winner!

Now let's change that over to being an 8 HD animal with two claws and a bite.

Once again, if we are just talking about grapple checks, we look at its BAB, which for an 8HD animal should be +6/+1, so 2 grapple checks. However, usually animals do more damage if they just make their normal attacks at -4 to hit. Flavorwise, it makes more sense as well. If you grapple a bear, its not going to try and wrestling with you, its going to bite and claw you.
If you read calvinNhobbes's reply to your comment, you would understand what I'm saying. If you just take a little time to settle down with the rules, you would know the answer to your question. All 3.5 takes is some time to read. If you don't like to do that, move back to the 40-page 1st Edition manual.

Hey, I know how grapples work. Didn't for years, ran them wrong for years, but know now.

I don't like having to explain to new players - you know, those things we need or our groups stagnate? - how grapples, turn undead, and other horribly overcomplicated subsystems work.

Plus, grapple hits the progression barrier very early, far earlier than most other things. A dedicated grappler can have a grapple check that's nigh-unbeatable by anything but another dedicated grappler by level 5; other aspects of the progression barrier don't hit until 10 or later.
Optimization is what is wrong with 3.5.

Now, I'm a big fan of optimization. I enjoy twisting the system around until it gives me a good mechanical representation of my character.

A lot of people don't and the system doesn't work well for them.
You do seem to side with 4E. But don't you think they should have taken a closer look at their "revision" of the 3E rules? I mean, if Mike Mearls has so many complaints about 3.5, he shoulda playtested a bit more with it to get all the bugs out. He shoulda spoken up when he had the chance. I'm not ready to dish out 500 more bucks for a new edition.

When 3.0 was introduced, it was a BIG improvement over 1 and 2e. It had a lot more in terms of classes, more detail, a real skill system, feats were brand new and really cool. All classes shared the same XP and level progression. Multiclassing was radically simple. It was well nigh impossible to be right in every aspect, as so much was new. However, it was well received and was certainly a good system.

3.5 was a clear improvement over 3.0 in almost every area that it touched upon*. While still remaining 3.x, it could hardly have done more. As it was, there were complaints by people almost equally on each side of the "too many changes for a .5 version" and "not enough change to be worth the extra money".

Now they are releasing a brand new version, and truthfully, they have taken a no sacred cows approach. They want to stay relevant, and game technology (meaning the crunchy mechanics and math behind the tables and fluff) has advanced, so while remaining true to the d20 mechanic, and the concept of clear class separation with slow level advancement but significant power jumps per level, they rewrote the game. Honestly - what would you expect them to do at this stage?

*note: the odd area that was not widely received as an improvement has actually been fixed with 4.0. One example that springs to mind is weapon sizes for small creatures (see the released halfling Paladin character sheet)
The fact is this:

Yes, they could have done another revision. However, that revision would have either retained some of the most obvious problems of 3.x (such as the progression barrier, where things reach the point where rolls - sometimes rolls critical to survival - are nigh-unfailable for some characters and nigh-unmakable for others, and the horrible balance problems at every level) or would have been a new edition anyway in the process of trying to fix those.

Well, I wasn't exactly saying that they could have done another revision. I was saying that they should have fixed the problems when they "revised" 3.o

They should have seen this coming with their "many hours" of playtesting. If Wizard's truly cared about improving the game, they should have done it with 3.5, instead of making us pay for a whole new edition.
Hey, I know how grapples work. Didn't for years, ran them wrong for years, but know now.

I don't like having to explain to new players - you know, those things we need or our groups stagnate? - how grapples, turn undead, and other horribly overcomplicated subsystems work.

Plus, grapple hits the progression barrier very early, far earlier than most other things. A dedicated grappler can have a grapple check that's nigh-unbeatable by anything but another dedicated grappler by level 5; other aspects of the progression barrier don't hit until 10 or later.

If the situation gets so horribly overcomplicated, DON'T PUT THE PLAYERS IN THAT KIND OF SITUATION! That's right, you can as a DM avoid explaining all of these complicated rules to your players by not involving those types of encounters at all!
Well, I wasn't exactly saying that they could have done another revision. I was saying that they should have fixed the problems when they "revised" 3.o

They should have seen this coming with their "many hours" of playtesting. If Wizard's truly cared about improving the game, they should have done it with 3.5, instead of making us pay for a whole new edition.

Except that we had our horribly, deeply, level 1-20 flawed game - better base philosophies than 2e but overall very bad execution. They were 5 years of R&D away from having their new edition, which would fix these flaws, finished. They could put together a revision that would mitigate the flaws greatly and allow them to continue to develop supplements for a system that was flawed in known ways but playable, or they could have us keep trying to play the terribly broken one while R&D on the new, far better edition was being done.

I'm very glad for 3.5. I got 5 years of a lot more fun than I would have had with 3.0 out of it.
If the situation gets so horribly overcomplicated, DON'T PUT THE PLAYERS IN THAT KIND OF SITUATION! That's right, you can as a DM avoid explaining all of these complicated rules to your players by not involving those types of encounters at all!

And when someone says to me, "I'm going to grapple him"?
Except that we had our horribly, deeply, level 1-20 flawed game - better base philosophies than 2e but overall very bad execution. They were 5 years of R&D away from having their new edition, which would fix these flaws, finished. They could put together a revision that would mitigate the flaws greatly and allow them to continue to develop supplements for a system that was flawed in known ways but playable, or they could have us keep trying to play the terribly broken one while R&D on the new, far better edition was being done.

I'm very glad for 3.5. I got 5 years of a lot more fun than I would have had with 3.0 out of it.

If you're glad for 3.5, why are you complaining so much about it?
Reply to thecasualoblivion:

You do seem to side with 4E. But don't you think they should have taken a closer look at their "revision" of the 3E rules? I mean, if Mike Mearls has so many complaints about 3.5, he shoulda playtested a bit more with it to get all the bugs out. He shoulda spoken up when he had the chance. I'm not ready to dish out 500 more bucks for a new edition.

Because what was wrong with 3.5E was in the core baseline system. Nothing short of a complete revision from the ground up could fix the inherent imbalance in the core mathematics and the spellcasting system.
...whatever
I am going to give a tentative for 4e. I don't know if I will like the final product, but I really like what I have read so far. I also love the rules used for Star Wars Saga more than I can express in words, so I have high hopes for 4e.

As for what I dislike about 3.5 edition, the list is way to long for me to put a comprehensive list here. I could just state EVERYTHING (the way you stated NOTHING), but in the interest of accuracy here were my top 10 concerns with 3.5 edition.

1) Static and unchanging classes that created the need for a plethora of prestige classes. This would in turn mean that character concepts that did not fit the static norms would often be hard to realize without having me (the GM) create a new prestige class for my players, or the NPC I was building. (I like the ability to pick and choose what abilities my character will get from his class level.)
3) Poorly balanced classes and prestige classes.
2) Inconsistent internal rules.
3) A combat system that led to very long character rounds, which often led to players sitting around and doing nothing for long stretches of time during combat.
4) As a GM, building quests and creating NPC's was FAR to complex, and not very rewarding.
5) It was impossible to build characters who fill more than a single "skillfull archtype" (due to the lack of skill points and class skill/cross class skill system used).
6) The same was true in regards to feats.
7) Levels 1-3 or 4 were not really worth playing. Characters had a tendency to die from a single lucky hit, or not get hit at all, which made building a story arc for these levels cumbersome. If I didn't fudge rolls, characters would often walk through an encounter without a scratch, or not walk through the encounter at all. Unlike some GM's, I don't enjoy character death. Characters should fear death and injury, but when my group actually dies the story I wrote for them is lost without every actually having been enjoyed by anyone.
8) I didn't like the cut and dry alignments. I felt these pegged people into a number of very finite niches that would remove from the complexity of a story I could create if I included morally gray characters.
9) Characters often felt broken without magic items to boost certain abilities (such as defense).
10) Some of the classes were definitively boring to play. In the end, a fighter pretty much did the same thing every round: he rolled to attack as many times as possible. (I like tactics and decision making to be a feature of every class, not just magic using classes.)

As for this "shouldn't they have gotten 3.5 edition right then?" complaint, no edition will ever get something fully right. The nature of persistent games is much like the nature of biological organisms, they adapt to the world around them. 3.5 was a good step from 3.0, which was a good step from 2e. Its time for the next step though, because 3.5 was far from perfect...
And when someone says to me, "I'm going to grapple him"?

If you hate the grappling mechanics so much, why don't you take them out? You said that you hate teaching the system. Then don't! That's what I do with my players, 'cause they agree with me that it is too complicated. So I just leave it out, and we have a great time.
I don't like having to explain to new players - you know, those things we need or our groups stagnate? - how grapples, turn undead, and other horribly overcomplicated subsystems work.

Have to agree with turn undead. Very odd rule.
The grappling rules could definitely be condensed and explained better, but I at least find the intuitive and consistent with the d20 mechanic. In fact, I think other rules should just be melded into grapple and be other options, like trip and bullrush.
Mike Mearls joined the company well after 3.5 had been released. Around mid-2005, I believe.

What's wrong with 3.5? It's not a bad system. In fact, it's a good, solid system. But the hangovers of old D&D versions persist, such as Vancian casting and save-or-suck rolls. As a DM, I avoid modifying monsters via templates or classes if I can help it, because it's such a fricking chore. Ditto for creating high-level NPCs, especially ones with spells. I'll bet that many 3.5 groups keep facing sorcerers or warlocks because their DM can't bear to spend ages making a wizard, just to get it flattened in the first combat round.

Many classes exist which are outright suboptimal. There's something wrong when a gamer who wants to run a monk, fighter or paladin is told "No, those suck, play this instead". There are also unintuitive subsystems, such as grapple and undead, which cause headaches at the table whenever they come up.

Races & Classes (pg 13) mentions an email from James Wyatt, who says
"When the game gets to the point where we know the holes and pitfalls in the rules well enough that we constrain our design in order to avoid them, it's time for a new set of rules."

Essentially, asking what's wrong with 3.5 is a bit like saying "This spoon works OK for eating my dinner, so why invent a fork?"
If you're glad for 3.5, why are you complaining so much about it?

Because it is still a deeply, inherently flawed game. It's much better than 3.0, and I was glad to have it to play for these five years. However, 4e looks far better than 3.5, less flawed and more elegant, better balanced and better designed.

I enjoyed 2e. 3.0 was more fun than 2e. 3.5 was FAR more fun than 3e. 4e looks to be a marked improvement over 3.5.

You asked what was wrong with 3.5. I told you. I don't honestly see it as complaining.
I'm not going to list everything that is wrong with 3.5, as there are many, many threads that go into as much detail as you want, both on these forums, and on the dev blogs.

I'll just say, that 3.5 does work. People enjoy it, people buy it, people play it.

However, saying "they should have fixed it with 3.5" is rather unhelpful. With that line of thinking, heck "they should have fixed it with 2ed!"

The fact is, the game evolves. 2ed fixed and elaborated on 1ed. 3.0 fixed and overhauled 2ed. 3.5 fixed a lot of issues with 3.0. 4ed will fix and overhaul 3.5.

The game evolves, and gets overhauled. Not because the developers were inept when making 2ed, 3.0, or 3.5, but because as people play, and get to know rules systems, lo and behold people think of BETTER ways to do things. Just because an old system is playable, doesn't mean that there can't be ways to streamline and improve the system.

Just my 2 cents.
If you hate the grappling mechanics so much, why don't you take them out? You said that you hate teaching the system. Then don't! That's what I do with my players, 'cause they agree with me that it is too complicated. So I just leave it out, and we have a great time.

So I'm supposed to tell my player who wants to grab the monster, "No. You can't."

Sorry, sir, but I'm not that sort of DM.

Plus, I rather like a lot of monster powers that base off of grapple, like Swallow Whole. If I didn't use grapple, I'd have toss out a whole other set of monsters from my 3.5 games - and I've already tossed the save-or-lose monsters.
If you hate the grappling mechanics so much, why don't you take them out? You said that you hate teaching the system. Then don't! That's what I do with my players, 'cause they agree with me that it is too complicated. So I just leave it out, and we have a great time.

When a game is so full of mechanics that large sections of the game are ignored due to their problematic nature, even by development teams writing new products, its time for a new edition.
OP title = loaded question. Actually, two questions. You're asking both "What is wrong with 3.5?" and "Did it justify making a new edition?".

First question takes me longer to answer, though I've got a big list.
Second question is the reason it's pointless for me to do so. They don't need any justification for making a new edition outside of "It might be an improvement". You don't need to buy their justification and you don't need to buy their new edition. Whether or not the new edition is worth your time is going to be specific to every group.

So, to answer the OP:
4e - my thumb stays firmly in my fist until I actually see 4e, no point in prejudging it.
3.5 - nasty class imbalance straight from the start that was never fixed, tedious rules that demand much bookkeeping and backtracking over the char sheet (skills, carrying capacity, vancian spell slots), inability to balance different types of abilities (compare feats to spells, in general), not enough DMs willing to throw out the core casters in favor of Psionics+Pact magic+martial adepts;), and others. Moreover, there are a lot of things that aren't 'wrong' per se but can be done better.
What's wrong with 3.5? It's been 7 years and the sales are waning. The rules aren't "bad" but they could be better.

Your opinion of 4E itself aside, what's wrong with taking a decent system an trying to make it better? There are a lot of little things in 3.5 that I don't like and a lot of others don't like as well. Just because YOU may not want to change it doesn't mean it doesn't need to be changed.

ancalimohtar: I recently did the same thing with my wife and son. My son is just now getting old enough to play and my wife hadn't played in years and ad forgotten everything. So I sat down and tried to help them and had a very similar experience to yours. The problem wasn't the rules though, the problem was that they weren't willing to sit down and read the PHB on their own. If someone is going to play this game they need to spend time understanding the rules. The same went for 1st and 2nd edition.
"god! this is the 21st century, where is my "Choke someone through the internet" button?" - Herrozerro
I believe this is explained in one of the Rules of the Game articles.

This. This here.

If the system so convoluted that it requires a monthly (weekly?) online supplement to explain something that is supposedly covered in the first book players are supposed to buy, it's broken. Seriously, they had to have one of the designers go on the internet and explain the various exceptional circumstances of a rule that they wrote in what was supposed to be the simplest, most straight forward book of the game. Fail.

To the OP:

4E:

3.5: They did what they could to resuscitate a dying system that was, in turn, basically a d20 port of another failed system (2E). The effort was doomed from the beginning. Be happy you got the years of support for it that you did before they threw up their hands in frustration and started over.
Yeah...I have been studying the rules since 2002 and I still don't understand the polymorph rules...:P
I've read some of Wizard's claims, about how "3.5 is so confusing," or "3.5 desperately needs and update." I was wondering, "WHAT?!?" when I read some of these things that Wizards was saying.

If 3.5 needed an update, maybe they shoulda done it when they updated 3.0

What is so wrong with 3.5? Sure, the rules may sound confusing at first, but if you take like 45 minutes to sit down with the PHB and read some of the stuff, it all makes sense. Now, Wizard's is making their entire website devoted to 4E. What I mean to say is, WERE NOT THERE YET! That's right. They're trying to get us all pumped up about 4E. If they were really smart, they would have added all these things into 3.5.

Of course, now the WizO's are going to send me private messages, and post opinions on "Oh, that's ok, express your own point of view, but remember to buy 4E!" or, "4E is not as bad as you make it out to be." It is.

So, I want your opinion, Wizard's community. Thumbs up, or thumbs down on 4E. And what the heck's wrong with 3.5 in the first place?

Let me go first:

4E: :thumbsdow

3.5: NOTHING.

Things I found myself commonly changing about 3E...

Making Half-Orcs and Half-Elves suck less.

Class bonuses to unarmored AC.

Making Elves into more Druid/Ranger types.

Ditching favored classes.

Dumping automatic racial bonuses against other targets.

Making Spellcasters less overpowered.

Making Fighters more powerful.

Evil Paladins.

Making Rangers non-magical.

Dumping familiars at 1st level.

Introducing Action Points.

Consolidating skills.

Consolidating weapons.

Making the party less reliant on a Spellcaster for healing.

Removing lots of spells, especially the save or die spells, and moving resurrection spells to higher levels.

Using spell points or spontaneous casting variants of casters instead of prepared Vancian casters.

Simplifying grappling rules.

Simplifying Attacks of Opportunity rules.

Simplifying modifiers, cover, etc.

Condensing Lizardfolk, Troglodytes, and all the other reptilian critters into a single race. Same thing for Locathah/Sahuagin, Sprites/Pixies/Nixies/Brownies/etc, and most Demons/Devils (no Blood War for me).

Making alignment less constrictive.

Reducing importance of and reliance on specific magical items

Incorporating more concepts from modern fantasy movies, games, and comics, as well as non-European myth/fantasy.

Creating an environment where I, as the DM, I placed much more emphasis on the task of facilitating and enhancing the players' and characters' aspirations, and less on trying to show them the great world/story I worked on. Also, trying to create adventures that are more dynamic, adventerous, and daring, but not necessarily more lethal.

So on and so forth...


When I first hear about 4th Edition, I thought, "Hmm. A new edition." When I saw a lot of the stuff they were changing though, I started getting more excited.

It's not that I hate 3E. It's the fact that 4E looks like it'll have a lot of things that I currently houserule built right into core. Not that I won't have my own houserules, but it looks like they'll be a lot fewer, and more of them will be adding rules, while in 3E, I was usually just modifying/removing them.

I say thumbs up with 4E so far. As to what's wrong with 3.5? It could stand to make a lot of change for the better. One thing I could never do was make 3E as easy to learn as alot of other game system.
The problem is that you're asking the wrong question. The question isn't What is wrong with 3.5? The question is what makes 4e better?

There was nothing really wrong with DOS. But for most of the world, Windows was better. There was nothing wrong with the rotery phone. But a touchtone phone was better. There was nothing wrong with the horse and buggy. But the automobile was better. Sure - there are still holdovers on all of those counts. But for most people, the inovation changed the way they did what they did. That's 4e. It is taking what we did before and making it work better and more efficiantly.

Of course, once you begin playing 4e, many of the quirks of 3.5 become highlighted. Kind of like saying "Man, can you believe there was a time when we had to load video games from a tape cassette rather than a hard drive? Uggg, how did we survive?
The problem is that you're asking the wrong question. The question isn't What is wrong with 3.5? The question is what makes 4e better?

There was nothing really wrong with DOS. But for most of the world, Windows was better. There was nothing wrong with the rotery phone. But a touchtone phone was better. There was nothing wrong with the horse and buggy. But the automobile was better. Sure - there are still holdovers on all of those counts. But for most people, the inovation changed the way they did what they did. That's 4e. It is taking what we did before and making it work better and more efficiantly.

Of course, once you begin playing 4e, many of the quirks of 3.5 become highlighted. Kind of like saying "Man, can you believe there was a time when we had to load video games from a tape cassette rather than a hard drive? Uggg, how did we survive?
Just because a system is fun, doesn't mean nothing was wrong with it. Plenty of 3rd Edition was clunky, but it was a smoother ride than the two editions before it. Hopefully 4E will be smoother still, and 5E smoother than that.

Here, let me tell you some of the problems I had with the game.

  • Recurring attacks bogged the game down way too much.
  • Summoned creatures, familiars, companions, and the leadership feat all slowed the game even more. No one likes 20 minute game rounds.
  • Prestige classes had no balance whatsoever. They ran the gamut from useless to absolutely broken in power level.
  • The blatant power difference between spellcasters and the rest.
  • The often exploitable ways that class features and feats sometimes interacted with each other. Divine Metamagic + Persistent Spell = Win
  • The way alignment spells could break your chance to run a plot. Why think about trusting the strange man we just met in the woods when we can just detect evil on him and find out for sure? We'll even run a few more detect spells to make sure he isn't running something to prevent being detected as evil.
  • Death effects. Nothing is more annoying than an ability that has a 50% chance to kill you right away.
  • Immunities were just a method for benching certain characters so the rest could shine.


And that's just what was on the top of my mind.
Fighters.

Also a gutting of fun magic, but I don't see that being fixed like, ever.
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.
Fighters.

Fixed.
Also a gutting of fun magic, but I don't see that being fixed like, ever.

Ok, now I am intrigued. Which fun magic in your opinion was gutted? My memory isn't that detailed.
- Shapeshifting of all kinds (it took me one hour to balance it, WotC still hasn't and has instead shattered it into more spells that you can ever take with a single character with no purpose other than combat/puzzle solving)

- Flight of all kinds (either you float like a balloon now or you're a thirty second rocket) all because some people can't DM.

- Haste (needed one sentence to fix, instead as neutered)

- Out of combat buffs (Animal's Characteristic spells had thier durations reaved to the point that they were ONLY for combat. Now I can't make myself more eloquent for parties )

- Darkness. Seriously, what in the seven interlocking hells was that about?

- Magic items got stupid expensive. Wings of Flying, I'm looking at you. Slot affinity pricing was an insult to all that was right and holy.

To add insult to injury, the actual broken stuff was left alone entirely. Disjuction and Wail of the Banshee still ran wild and free. As did an EVEN WORSE version of Shapechange.

Also alchemy became useless as the characters that *used* alchemy lost access to it.

If 3.5 was a girl, it would be the biggest tease ever. "Come look at my more awesome bard and integrated monster creation" she'd say. Then the second you're on a date, she'd rip up your sorcerer's character sheet and laugh and laugh at your tears.

Then she shows you her BoED and Frenzied Berserker and you realize that if you had a rabbit, dude would be on the stove right now.
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.
If the system so convoluted that it requires a monthly (weekly?) online supplement to explain something that is supposedly covered in the first book players are supposed to buy, it's broken. Seriously, they had to have one of the designers go on the internet and explain the various exceptional circumstances of a rule that they wrote in what was supposed to be the simplest, most straight forward book of the game. Fail.

Of course, I have to wonder, is it really that some of the 3.5 mechanics are really that difficult, or are they just presented that badly. For the most part, the Rules of the Game articles just explained the rules differently, they didn't errata them. When I play 3.5 I usually have the internet open to the SRD d20 with hyperlinks since it can be hard to find the info in the actual books some times.