Let me ask you this: are you going to be EQUALLY interested in 4E supplements as you were previous editions? My bet, if you were honest on this point, is that you won't buy as many. There's too big a financial risk in going out and purchasing a bunch of supplements and then watching those dollars go waltzing off into the sunset again. You couldn't SAY that reasonably about 3E, because WOTC hadn't yet proven they would disrespect the investment of its players. But now that we see that they will pump a TON of stuff out (over 100 supplements)...and see that they will allow 4 editions in 8 years, you can now SAFELY say that WOTC will do it again.
Huh.. I had owned the "Skills and Powers" books for about a year or so when 3E was announced. And those were many books too :p
Not true. The only part you got right was that birds fly by nature...
1.. Bats are NOT birds
2. Dinosaurs are NOT birds.
3. The largest flying bird is NOT a swan. Heck, it is not even close. It is a wandering albatross.
The Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird, with the average wingspan being 3.1 metres (10.2 ft). The longest-winged examples verified have been about 3.7 m (12 ft), but... reports of as much as 5.3 m (17.5 ft) are known.
So, the largest verfied living animal has a wing span of over ~12 foot. If we go back to the extinct animals, they exceeded ~40 foot wing spans.
So, you may want to revisit how difficult it is to have a larger, flying creature...
Magnificent nitpick :p
But I'll grant you bats. As for size I didn't care about wingspan, since that is for gliders and not fliers (and with enough wingspan humans can glide - it is called a hangglider ) What I meant with swans was weight. A swan weighs 30 lbs and is pretty close to maximum self-propelled flying weight. (Research made to be able to reply to this post has told me that bustards can fly at 40 lbs, but when they get up to 45 lbs they are too heavy, so I was apparently misinformed about the swan, even if it was comparatively close. In comparision an albatross weighs only 20 lbs)
And this also has them being aerodynamic and having troubles taking off - so I'll let you put wings on a gnome and have him get a running start to fly, but nothing else.
As for the dinosaurs, we do not know how well they flew, even if we can assume that they could. That time also saw dragonflies that were several feet long, though, so apparently things had an easier time flying in the far past. Still, I'll base my "realistic" suspension of disbelief upon what I can see through the window, thank you
As for the dinosaurs, we do not know how well they flew, even if we can assume that they could.
Pterosaurs had nothing to do with modern birds (the evidence for this is partly based on the structure of the wing*) -- but pterosaurs aren't even dinosaurs anyway. They are a distantly related and contemporary branch of animals that were about as closely related to dinosaurs as to crocodiles. Same goes for icthyosaurs and some of the land-dwelling reptillians of the time -- they aren't dinosaurs but often get called that just because they lived at the same time.
What we have evidence for is that one branch of the therapods (which includes velocioraptors, t-rex, ornithomimus, and -- oddly -- stegosaurus) developed feathered wings, and eventually full flight, and became the Avian family.
Flight is evolutionarily interesting -- it's clearly a very valuable ability, because it has evolved four different (known) times in earth's history. Birds, bats, insects, and pterosaurs all developed flight independently (meaning none of them were related to the other fliers).
That time also saw dragonflies that were several feet long, though, so apparently things had an easier time flying in the far past.
Actually, the only reason giant dragonflies don't work now is because insect breathing mechanisms are too inefficient to allow very large bugs to get enough air. It wasn't easier to fly in the far past -- it was easier to breathe! As far as we can tell, there was more oxygen in the atmosphere at the time and that's what allowed the giant insects to survive.
* A pterosaur wing's main joint is its "knuckle" joint, and most of the wing is connected to a single long, thick "pinky finger" bone. By contrast, a bird's main wing joint is the "wrist", with the majority of the wing supported from bones that correspond to a human's palm and fingers (which have all fused into a single structure in most birds -- the hoatzin being the unique exception with two climbing claws growing from the middle of their wing). Bats are, of course, completely different, with all four fingers used to support the wing membrane.
ermm...you do know that that's not a rational argument, right?
WOTC are not psychic, especially in an industry notorious for lack of knowledge about its consumer base. Many are the companies that are now defunct or which lost a ton of money producing products that they firmly believed were "better" than their previous products. Even companies with resources far more vast than those at the disposal of WOTC, have made such mistakes. Even worse, if 4e was "worse" somehow it might not be apparent for a few years as it fails to draw new gamers into the hobby. It could look great at first, we could all think its great, and then slowly it fades out as people find better things to do.
That said I'll make the following disclaimer: I really do think WOTC are trying, in earnest, to make the best game possible. They are gamers, after all, and they probably look upon it as an artist does.
Even if they do make the "best" game possible, that's still no guarantee.
Coca Cola were being hammered by Pepsi because according to the blind-trials, Pepsi was actually preferred by more people than Coke. It apparently just tasted better (I disagree, personally, but that put me in the minority).
So long story short : they did their research and came up with New Coke - something that performed better in their blind taste trials than original coke. So according to all their research, they produced a "better" coke.
But it failed. In fact, the colossal failure of New Coke actually drove sales of Original Coke back into the top position in response (Coke had to return the old flavor to the shelves - they had taken it off the market in favor of their new product)
So even if WoTC can produce a "better" game, there's no guarantee that it will be a more popular product.
No no no. Look at the title of my reply. I am agreeing with you. I am not "forgetting" anything. i am saying that neotism IS the reason why people will buy this...and I am saying that those who buy those initial three products are going to be VERY cautious about what and how much more they buy from WOTC. Which means they need to slow down their schedule and let the market saturate more than they did in 3.0, because they have now probven with four editions in eight years that they care little or nothing for our investment in it. It also means that those who like 3.0/3.5 well enough will just say the heck with 4E. some may buy the PHB just so they can be "up on it' but really wont be the buyers they were in previous editions. NEOTISM will drive sales but a sense of betrayal will lead many to minimize their investment in it.
The thing you're forgetting is that these same people you mentioned felt compelled to go out and buy each and every sourcebook they could find...almost compulsively. This pattern leads me to believe that they will do the exact same thing with this edition too.
Keenath, look at the names of the designers of 2E. now look at the Designers in 3E. Now look at 4E's leaders. Do you see very many people listed on all three? I don't.
So what THESE designers think of another edition is irrelevant. Completely. Utterly. They don't make the decisions on whether this should go forward. They can recommend all they want.
To deny that 4 editions in eight years happened is to deny fact. I don't recommend doing that.
So if it is fact, then I need to know why you think people ought to DOUBT that there will vere be another edition. Lets ASSUME you do not doubt it. that you know for a fact there will be. The next question is WHEN? Well, history seems pretty clear with this company. since you have the word of designers who won't even be in charge next time, that means nothing. So how then do we plan for that? Lets assume that the game ITSELF is good, truly good. the core three books are what you need to play. So we buy them. Okay, now what? Supplements. But the thing is, the last huge run of supplements (and dont forget the OGL stuff which had merit on occassion) were by and large unnecessary. The more of them you bought the more true that became as the time frame to USE them dwindled in relation to the volume of choices available.
Perhaps you dont know that they came out with all new books for 2E RIGHT before 3E. Perhaps you didn't know that. Did you also know that the PHB II and DMG II are barely a year old? I mean, we are talking about a company that puts stuff like this out on the very EVE of a new edition. And you now question that people will be a little hesitant to go after books they dont necessarily need? How many times did a player come to me (we play 48 times a year, about 12 hour sessions) and say the fateful words "I'd like to try this Prestige Class" from Masters of somethingorother" and you look at it and wonder how in gods green earth the "developers" whose words you're hanging on let this one slip out. The most controversial on both sides of the argument, was the Exalted deeds book, but boy were there a lot of others like Mystic theurge right in the DMG. I dont see how it matters since you make the point, whether its from other settings. IMPORTING stuff from other settings is extremely common and there's a ton of stuff that is very easily ported in 3.5 so that the FR Book of Magic says FR makes no nevermind to me. Almost all of its useful in other campaigns. So you're point in trying to minimize the huge number of supplements is kind of lost on me. So also is your suggestion that 2E had more supplements going out than 3E. You clearly didn't play 2E, if you're saying that. I can count about six books that were more or less necessary (3 core, 2 more MM's, Dragonlance book) and then after that was pretty much it. i told people who played warhammer to take a flying leap for years because I wasn't going to spend $500 to play their hobby when mine had only cost me $100 and mine didn't keep changing like theirs did. Little did I know.
I don't know. I think that people should be slow to pull out their credit card on this edition. I say buy the three core books if yer running it and maybe the PHB if yer not. But I also say that you need to expect MUCH lower returns on WOTC's future supplements and we will see in four years whether or not the deluge of "stuff" has sunk them. I think they will be unpleasantly surprised at the sales of those supplements and they will be FORCED to slow it down or sink. Talk to you in four years. I'll save this e-mail til then.
I can really only speak for myself, but my strongest urge is to have a game that's balanced and interesting for every character class. "Here's a thing that is new" only works on me when it's accompanied by "...and here is why we felt it was necessary to do so." I'm on board for 4e because I tend to agree with their reasons -- in short, that there were a number of problems with 3rd edition that were at the very heart of the system (such as, for example, the nature of the Sweet Spot).
But do we really only switch versions when one version is exhausted? I'm not interested in the switch because I think I'm "done" with 3.5; I want it because I want the changes that make the whole game faster and fairer. I haven't had an adventure in an arctic environment to take advantage of Frostburn? So what?
Buying because of novelty is the definition of neotism. It's not a different form...
I disagree there. The initial releases are there to get certain material out as soon as possible because they know that material is in high demand. There are a LOT of players who will want to get their 4e Forgotten Realms game going, and putting off that book until next year would be foolish.
Again, I don't think anyone is supposed to "use up" book X before they buy book Y. A new book adds new information to the system that a DM can draw on or not, as he needs.
You lost that bet, m'friend. I'll buy suppliments for 4e with the very same interest I did for 3rd - "Does this book fit into my game? Does it have information I'm interested in?" I never bought any of the 'environment' books (Cityscape, Dungeonscape, Frostburn, Sandstorm, and Stormwrack) because I didn't feel I needed more help with any of those. I did buy Complete Arcane and Complete Scoundrel and so on, because those caught my interest.
I never was a person who would buy anything WOTC put out. I purchased the books that were interesting to me or useful to my game -- and that isn't going to change just because there's a 4 on the cover.
100 supplements? Really?
Does that include counting novels? Dungeon Tiles? Minis? Because those aren't actually "suppliments". Does it count all the FR books, all the Eberron books, and all the core (settingless) stuff? Because most people don't buy every book for every setting -- I never purchased a single FR book because I have no interest in playing there; and I didn't even get all the Eb books even though I love the setting, because "Religions of Eberron" and "Forge of War" and such, just aren't of interest to me.
Anyway, so what? They try to release a book or two every month. That's many, many less than what 2nd edition ever did. (Though I will happily admit that I never played 2nd edition -- the new 3rd edition was what got me into this game.)
What you meant is "I think they will..." You have no proof, and in fact quite the opposite -- all the devs have said they have no interest in doing a 4.5 or even THINKING about a new edition.
I think you may not understand how much work it is, and how HUGE an undertaking, to start a new edition. It's not a money grab. It's an incredible investment to produce something like this, and an enormous risk. If the player base doesn't agree that a new edition is a good idea, they risk losing a huge quantity of money -- that's not the sort of thing you do if you really need income.
If you're desperate for income, you stick with what has been working in the past. You quickly release a lot of suppliments of inferior quality. You stop using expensive hardcovers and release lots of softback splats; you give up on glossy paper and full color illos and start going with simplistic black and white.
Oh, wait -- I just described TSR.
Actually, we know the devs don't want to do that again. 3.5 wasn't a good idea, and they admit as much. It was an attempt to fix the system, but it didn't -- couldn't! -- address the real root causes.
It's not a "strategy". The designers are as interested -- or more interested -- than we players in making the game as good as it can be. Sometimes that means a new edition because the problems have just become too much to deal with.
I'm a computer programmer. This happens from time to time in the computer world. It's usually better to try to refactor an old program than rewrite it. You want to patch it and fix it instead of trying to go back to zero. That's what 3.5 was; a patch. It worked okay, but it couldn't address the problems that were down at the base level. Problems like BAB. Like caster progression. Like CR. Like LA.
You've clearly made up your mind about WOTC, so this is all probably futile. I can't help it, though... I guess it's just in my nature to argue against venom.
What I meant with swans was weight. A swan weighs 30 lbs and is pretty close to maximum self-propelled flying weight. (Research made to be able to reply to this post has told me that bustards can fly at 40 lbs, but when they get up to 45 lbs they are too heavy, so I was apparently misinformed about the swan, even if it was comparatively close. In comparision an albatross weighs only 20 lbs)
I call this false too! Natural things can fly an far greater weights that this. It is quite a natural result for hippos to fly when they are propelled by high efficiency jet engines.
But I think that unlike with 2E, which had been around so long that people were thinking they needed to replace their worn out PHB anyways by the time this 3.0 thing came along (and house rules were voluminous); the people entrenched in 3.5 will be far more solidly entrenched than were 2.0 players. The VAST amount of materials out there has barely been looked at by the majority of DM's. All these incredible ideas (and bad ones too) that came out for 3.5 et al are so innumerable that for anyone to try and say they have explored its breadth and width of possibilities is a flat out lier. Even if you read it all (and no one on earth probably has outside of WOTC and unemployed cellar dwellers), you havent seen but a tiny fraction of it in actual play.
Thing is, you're just wrong.
I played D&D back in 2000. There was no difference. Very few people had read every AD&D 2nd edition book, but this is irrelevant. Why? Because third edition was better. The same is true here; you don't go reading some random 3.x splat which is probably terrible when you can instead tear into new core books, which are always very meaty and have much higher average quality than splatbooks.
Your argument is one against reality; while it is true that no one but a DM has likely played one of every class (some DMs have, in fact, thrown in at least one of every base class; I'm working my way through them, but I know others who do) it doesn't really matter because you could play a 4e class, get a new experience, and get a BETTER experience than with a 3.x character. And most people will go this route, unknowingly.
People were just as solidly entrenched in 2nd edition, but they switched over as well.
This is an argument which has been made previously, and has been very wrong previously.
So neotism is going to be the driving force. It's quite easy to see that 3.5 could not have exhausted its possibilities at ANY table.
Have you played a wizard? Then you've already seen the strongest class in 3.x. And if you've played a wizard and a druid, you've had every ability every other class combined has. :P
The other reason to switch is that 4E is "better" qualitatively. I suspect it will be hard to see it as better, but I think it would be easy to see it as different. Buying it because its different or novel is just neotism in a different form. IN the end, beleive that "new" or "different" or "novel" will describe why people buy the initial books. But I think WOTC better scale down their intense release schedule a little because future pubs from 4E are going to be eyed with suspicion (and rightly so) based on how they brutalized pocket books with 3.0/3.5 supplement. Before anyone has really even TRIED to collect all that STUFF, let alone use it ingame, they sent us a new edition!
No they won't. You're out of touch with the reality that, in fact, people forget, and most people weren't "brutalized". Indeed, the "brutalized" people are the people moving OUT of the 1-5 year range; the fresh blood will be just as "brutalized" and it won't matter, and people like me will buy our 1d4 splatbooks per year and be happy with them.
Let me ask you this: are you going to be EQUALLY interested in 4E supplements as you were previous editions? My bet, if you were honest on this point, is that you won't buy as many.
People who play for 1-5 years buy the most D&D books. If you were "brutalized", then you were in this range. The reality is, however, that it doesn't matter; a new crop of 1-5 year people are coming up behind you. You'll drop into grognardism, where you buy a splatbook every few months.
See, you're just leaving this category, but you're assuming your behavior is universal and will spread across everyone. It simply doesn't work that way. I'll actually buy more 4th edition splatbooks than I did 3.x splatbooks in the last two years simply because I knew 3.x was almost over and I wasn't going to get much use out of new splats. The last book I bought was Lords of Madness or Sandstorm (or whatever it is called); I haven't gotten one since. I'll be buying the three core books this year, and maybe a splatbook; I'll buy the PHB2 and maybe a couple of splatbooks next year, ect.
You couldn't SAY that reasonably about 3E, because WOTC hadn't yet proven they would disrespect the investment of its players.
Only the brain damaged didn't know that 4th edition wasn't going to come out eventually, especially given how broken 3.x was.
And WotC is not disrespecting your investment; that is a stupid argument. They aren't burning your books or anything. A new system is NEW, and it isn't going to be backwards compatible, and anyone who thought otherwise wasn't.
They WILL put a 5th edition out if 4E doesn't sink them and it WONT be more than four years from now.
5th edition will likely come out between 2016 and 2020, with my guess leaning more towards 2016-2018. They aren't going to release a new edition every four years because it isn't worth it. You may not understand the business cycle, so let me explain.
It costs a lot of money to make a new edition, and while being able to sell a new crop of core books really helps, the up-front investment is also being recouped via splatbooks. Their 4th edition splatbook model is a very good one for getting regular income, and it gives them a good, long time to make PHBs. At the rate of one PHB and 2-3 power books per year, they can have the edition last quite a while and still sell books. But at some point, they'll need a new edition, and they are aiming for 2016ish.
Moreover, people will not buy an edition every 4 years; 3.5 showed that. WotC knew it was going to be a bad idea, but they also knew they needed to slap something together to placate the masses. So they pretended to fix the system while not at all fixing the system and not coming up with any real mathematical basis for it. It sold some books, and led to an overall higher quality product (the 3.5 splats are way better than the 3rd edition ones), but it was no new edition and WotC knew it wasn't and wouldn't sell like one.
Releasing a new edition every four years is actually bad for them because it is too short a time; if a splatbook comes out after two years, that'd give them only two years to sell it; three, and only one, and really more like half of that because once the new edition is announced sales will drop horribly.
Keep in mind that 3.5 was a commercial success.
Not by WotC's standards. It wasn't like a new edition in terms of sales, and it killed off several years of their own splatbooks. You might THINK that's not a big deal, but consider that their 3rd edition splatbooks had, at most, a less than three year lifespan and lots had more like one year...
You're probably thinking "well, that just meant they got to make new ones" and while that is true, making new material costs a lot more than printing stuff you've already made; 3.5 did not help their sales as much as you'd think, mostly because it completely killed three years of releases. People still buy the Complete Warrior, but no one buys Sword and Fist.
Do you thinkt that they will not change, or add new rules in the yearly core books??? What, exactly, do you thinks those books will contain?
The same sort of thing the PHB 2 for 3.5 contained. It is a splatbook. The new "rules" will pertain to the new classes, and marginally to extant ones.
To deny that 4 editions in eight years happened is to deny fact. I don't recommend doing that.
Three editions, not four. 3e, 3.5, 4e (and this is a bit hard to claim, as really, 4e comes out about the same time of year 3e did, so really in no 8 year span of time do you really have three editions even in that time period). 2e had been around for 12 years prior. And 3.5 is not really a new edition; it is a patch to 3rd edition. It uses the same core engine, and to deny that is to deny reality. 3.x has lasted eight years, and that's about how long you WANT an edition of a RPG to last as far as I can tell; shorter than that and people lose interest and you hurt your own sales, longer than that and you kill yourself because you run out of splatbooks to produce.
I agree with pretty much everything you say in this post.
you could play a 4e class, get a new experience, and get a BETTER experience than with a 3.x character.
This is largely subjective. Your experience and the quality thereof is dependant on what you want to get out of the game.
If you're a gnome enthusiast who just plays D&D to be a gnome then you might not get a "better" experience from 4th edition for example.
A game can be better in many objective ways, but the "experience" is entirely subjective.
People were just as solidly entrenched in 2nd edition, but they switched over as well.
Many did. Many more did not. Their number is almost impossible to calculate since playing 2nd edition makes a group more insular and decreases their purchases or contact with the larger community.
I know many people who prefer 2nd edition, some of whom are willing to play 3rd edition to find a group others are not. While I don't share their opinion, I respect that they're playing the game they love.