Wizards should be exactly the way they were before 4th edition. Vancian, with lots of cool toys. For one simple reason: that's the way over half the D&D fans like them.
It's counter productive to try to fix something that doesn't need to be fixed. Fixing the very few broken spells D&D used to have is a good idea. But that's where it should end.
You'll have both vancian spellcasters and non vancian spellcasters in D&D Next. This should be enough. It's a matter of playstyle and personal tastes. None of your "fixes" will be good enough for pre 4th edition fans because you don't fix something that is working.
The only thing the game designers should worry about is having wizards deal roughly as much damage as their non vancian counterparts so that you can have both of them under the same unified rules.
Well you already know they aren't the transcript that has all the people exited about vancian also clearly states. we are very happy wit the way the rituals system works, though some rituals will be reduced in casting time and material cost.
so when it comes to the new vancian we are only talking about the combat powers not about powers that are coverd by the ritual system.
also the rule of 3 article talks about: Vancian magic also shares many of the same play style elements as the 4E powers system, especially in that, once a spell is expended, you have to rely on the other spells that you have not yet expended; in much the same way, once you've expended an encounter or a daily power in 4E, you must rely on your other powers. To sum up, Vancian spellcasting isn't just a mechanic; it's a play style.
and it seems they waant to keep the play style but it doesen't even hint on keeping the mecanics
The problem isn't just damage though, 3e wizards (hell most of the casters) could obsolete other classes and still be the big damage dealers. Invisibility let you outstealth rogues. Summons could take over for fighters, or if you pick the right monsters clerics. Charm could instantly make a diplomancer superflous. A wizard could essentially do anything you could do better than you, often times they could nail down 2-3 classes and still deal more damage.
If that's the problem, why not remove the offending spells?
Invisibility Summons Charm Knock Instant and absolute death / domination / chaos / hold spells
Why not remove them, or make them worse, or make them super high level so you can only use one of them once per day, or have an absurd material or HP cost, or something like that? Just playing devil's advocate here.
Edit: I just read some people saying in another thread that the real problem was the exponential growth of casters--gaining spell slots, etc. at such a fast pace. If we fixed that, and fixed the offending spells (spells that are overpowered, render other characters redundant, and/or make the game impossible to run), wouldn't it be alright?
Except there are too many contradictory demands. Just for a few examples.
Alignment Lots of people refuse to buy the game if we don't have Paladins who lose their powers if they so much as think of murdering someone as a core rule. About as many people refuse to buy the game if Paladins do lose their powers if they so much as thinking of murdering someone as a core rule.
Vancian System Lots of people refuse to buy the game if Vancian isn't core. About as many people refuse to buy the game if Vancian is core.
Caster Supremecy Lots of people refuse to buy the game if they don't even attempt to balance it. Another lots of people refuse to buy the gam if it isn't 'Wizards and Sidekicks:The 2nd Coming"
And even if you are right about this part..
Less than 50%: the Wizard/Clerics are AEDU.
More than 50%: the Wizard/Clerics are vancian.
Let's be generous and say 59% towards Vancian and 41% against. This means that makign Vancian core is already risking losing 41% of the fanbase, not counting other contradictory wants within that 59%.(Not saying those 41% will never buy it, just saying it already hits their want to buy the game).
There is simply no way they can make this game and please everyone.
The module system, to be fair, stands a good chance at getting those sales lost at launch, if done right, so I'm always hoping for that.
actually, if you go to the D&D site, it's more like 59% DON'T want Vancian core, and 41% DO want Vancian core....check the polls.
The problems with the Vancian System are five for many people:
The fact that you are limited by daily usage means you are going to have spells that have a greater effect than other abilities (otherwise they are useless). At the same time, you can't have too powerful spells. Those unbalance the fun of the game for too many people. Things like Save-or-Suck are this. It just kills the drama, kills the fight, kills the climax you were building. Save or Die are extremes, but even Web can kill all the fun of an encounter when properly used.
You can't have spells that bypass entire situations or overshadow entire classes either. This means Knock, long-lastign Invisibility, Divine Power and things like that need to go away for the game to be enjoyable for many people. If you are able to change your powers around to suit any situation you like, you can't have those powers be stronger than what someone who has that and only that does normally. Having versatility should mean trading away power.
The daily recharge system is prone to abuse, either by taking five minutes workdays or by exploiting downtime thanks to your massive magical potential. If casters have spell that generate permanent effects and that reset every day with no other expenditure, both gameplay and most likely the internal logic of your world start to shatter.
The massive bloat of spells available to a single class increases its versatility to dramatic levels. Even if the power of the single spells is limited the dramatic increase in options and versatility these characters enjoy is terrible for game balance. If a wizard can solve any situation given one day to prepare his spells, then the game turns into "let's see what spells the wizard prepared today". Too much depends on a single character for it to still be a cooperative game.
Magic shouldn't have the monopoly of interesting ("magical") effects. This seems counterintuitive to most, but "we" don't play a fantasy game where in order to do fantastic things you need to have a certain character concept. We enjoy playing high fantasy games where everyone can do cool things. Charge and full attack are not cool things. Shattering mountains is cool (and should totally be possible in epic), but most of us think the very least a non-caster character should be able to do is keep up with his casting partners as he levels up. If the wizard can learn how to fly, you should have the option to learn how to jump à là Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. That doesn't mean that you need to be able to do the same things, but a roughly equivalent amount of cool things should be exclusive to him and to you. For instance, I wouldn't necessarily want a teleporting fighter, but I also wouldn't want a wizard who can break through a 3 meters wide wall of titanium easily. Having more HPs and access to lots of subpar tools and weak gimmicky tricks doesn't qualify you as "cool".
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Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept.
Except there are too many contradictory demands. Just for a few examples.
The module system, to be fair, stands a good chance at getting those sales lost at launch, if done right, so I'm always hoping for that.
QFT, except for the hope part.
No matter how many well-reasoned arguments appear on these boards, and no matter how many excellent alternative ideas we present, we see article after article where WotC defends its sacred cows and claims the game somehow "needs" to keep hold of its flawed, unfun traditions.
I resisted temptation for a long time because I'm mostly an "official rules" kind of guy, but I've finally begun writing up my own set of house rules to fix the things I don't like about 4E. When they stop publishing 4E books, I'll consider my set complete, and that's the game I'll probably end up playing for some time to come. The more I hear about Next, the less faith I have in it.
Unless the initial release includes a "Tradition Is Stupid, So Here Are The Rules For People Who Want To Play A Game That's Fun" module. If that's in, I'm totally on board.
If your position is that the official rules don't matter, or that house rules can fix everything, please don't bother posting in forums about the official rules. To do so is a waste of everyone's time.
I think one of the failings of the 3rd edition was the amount of free spells a Wizard would gain just for leveling up.
I have played in such campiagns, and being a Wizard suddenly becomes easy and convenient (and, unfortunately overpowered).
Gaining new spells for free should be limited to when you acquire a new spell level only, extra spells should be acquired through magical research or transcribing a scroll to your spellbook.
As far as I remember in 2e, preparing a spell from another wizard's spellbook was difficult and required a check each time you were memorizing (now preparing) the spell, which I find a good mechanic to limit players finding too many spells at once.
Except it's not just a matter of preferring one playstyle over another. Vancian casting is extremely difficult to balance against at-will or encounter based options.
Balance doesn't mean anything. Some people think that spells such as Finger of Death don't have their place in the game because they're 'horribly broken'. They're not, they're just another approaches to the same game.
The same goes with spells such as Invisibility Sphere (oh poor rogue, booo Gnarl, booo!) or Wall of Stone.
Vancian casting is exteremly easy to balance against at-will or encounter based options! If your wizard is dealing on average 1d6 damage per level per spell, your at-will classes need to do more than that.
No offense, but this is a non-argument. Balance clearly means something. I'm reminded of a scene from a tv show (I believe it was Malcolm in the Middle, but I can't remember for sure; in any case, I'll assume MitM for the sake of this example). Dewey was playing a (card?) game called "I win." During every single turn when everyone showed their cards he just said "I win" regardless of what he had, because that was the only rule of the game.
Obviously that's at the extreme end of the balance/unbalanced spectrum, but it illustrates the point that balance is important quite nicely. "I Win" is NOT good game design. It's barely even a game at all. Good game design gives everyone comparable odds of success (notice that I didn't say equal, because even a very balanced game can't be completely balanced). Minor differences in balance are fine, and in practice barely noticeable. Glaring imbalances are not ok, and merely make the game more like "I Win." That is to say, it's BAD DESIGN.
For one thing, there's the 5 minute work day syndrome. A Vancian caster can empty all of their spells onto one encounter to force the party to take a rest immediately after trivializing said encounter. Call it poor resource use, but it's something that the DM needs to work around, and it can cause friction within the group (since it's unlikely that all of the players will appreciate this "cheesy" playstyle).
That cheesy playstyle happens to be the one me and my friends have been enjoying for the last 20 years...
That's also the best selling RPG of 2011's playstyle.
Please provide a citation if you're going to make such a claim. As far as I know WotC doesn't release their sales figures so unless you're an employee with access to that information, you have no data to back up your assertion that PF outsold D&D.
Whether or not you (or anyone) enjoys playing a badly designed system grossly imbalanced system is irrelevant. You already have your badly designed grossly imbalanced system, and you're already happy playing it. Why should WotC waste more money intentionally designing out-dated mechanics without learning from the past mistakes of earlier editions?
Furthermore, I'm honestly curious why you find the 5 minute workday fun. It's not even resource management because you're just unloading all of your big guns right away. It prevents the DM from easily designing encounters or a believable narrative, and it creates friction in a lot of groups.
From a mechanical point of view, you're right. But it sure is fun to play with. No wait, it's the most fun magic system I ever played with. That's good design in my book.
See above. I won't even get into the "fun is subjective, and people who want to play Fighters disagree with you" argument.
I will say that it's a lot easier to design an imbalanced game, so there's no reason to pay designers to do it for you (moreso because you already have that game). You want to completely destroy all encounters? Make a spell called "Destroy Enemies." It's Finger of Death, but it affects everyone in the room that the caster wants to die. Does that sound fun? God I hope no one thinks so...
Furthermore, having different modules that allow one person to play a Vancian Wizard and another to play an AEDU Wizard (for example) in the same group will not solve any problems because the Vancian caster can ruin balance for the rest of the party.
That's exactly where you're not getting my point of view. It's hard to explain in a foreign language but I'll try my best.
The problem is not vancian vs. non vancian. The problem is old school D&D magic vs. new generation D&D magic. In the D&D of our ancestors, the one that has been played for over 30 years (minus 3 years of 4th edition), magic could do all the things that a lot of 4th edition players would find totally inacceptable and broken.
Both version are equally valid ways to play the game. If your group likes "new generation D&D magic", then of course if someone plays an "old school D&D magic user" you're going to percieve him as overpowered because he'll do things you don't think he should be able to do.
Now if you want "old school D&D magic" style in your game, a non vancian spellcaster is very compatible (like the 3.5 warlock).
I completely agree that the fundamental differences between different types of D&D players are too great to please with a single game. A player who values balance between all classes and one who specifically wants a certain class to be blatantly better than others cannot be happy playing the same game. Modules will not solve this problem when the issue isn't one of playstyle, but of fundamental preferences in the way the game itself plays.
As for both versions being equally valid, you're right to the extent that anyone is free to play whatever they want. If some groups like their Wizards to be Link to the Fighter's Navi, that's their perogative. I disagree, however, that both versions are equally valid from a game design standpoint. Dewey's "I Win" card game is not as equally valid a game as Poker, or Euchre, or any other actual card game that allows all participants roughly equal chances of success.
One possible solution is a momentum-building mechanic; for example, let's say that a Vancian caster cannot access all of his spells at the beginning of the day, but "unlocks" uses of spells as the party overcomes more encounters. Or you can call it a "recharge" with a smaller number of starting options. Of course if you go this route people will complain that Vancian has been "changed" even if that change was necessary to balance it. And then of course you have those players who like Vancian because it's unbalanced. WotC simply cannot cater to that group of people and those that value balance because they're preferences are mutually exclusive.
It's not a solution. You're looking for a concensus between old school D&D players and the new generation of D&D players. There is none possible. The differences are too fundamental.
My example is not a solution for making grognards happy, but it can potentially make Vancian casting more balanced. In other words, new design like this can make for a better game, even if it doesn't make a game that everyone wants to play (which I agree, is impossible).
I wish you didn't make it sound like there was a general concensus on what balance is... Be open minded a bit! Your way of playing is not balanced, it's just your way.
Yes, balance can be defined, and there are different types, but some kinds of balance are objectively better than others from a game-design standpoint. For example, the "temporal" balance of spellcasters being weak and low levels and getting rewarded by being all-powerful at high levels is not good design. A small fraction of players actually play their characters from level 1 through 20 (or 30, or whatever level your preferred edition caps at). If a group starts play at level 10, the spellcaster "weakness" is completely circumvented, and anyone who wants to play a Fighter is out of luck.
For my part, I had the opposite problem that many people did with 3.x. I prefer spellcasters, but our usual DM almost exclusivly ran low level campaigns (1-3), we never kept characters more than a few sessions, and his favorite class was the Fighter. Our resident power gamer's class was also the Fighter. So I got crapped on simply because I like to play a certain archetype (which I didn't even really get to play because I'd fire off my handful of spells impotently and then resort to being more like an annoying fly to my enemies than a legitimate threat). It sucked but seeing as that was when I was new to RPGs in general I just figured that's the way it had to be. It was still more interesting than playing "I Win," but from a mechanical perspective it felt pretty similar.
Good balance is when everyone can make valuable contributions at any level because it's the only way of ensuring that balance is actually relevant in practice.
Then you have to consider that even if they do succeed against all odds, future imbalances (or even just inevitable power creep) will affect Vancian casters disproportionally because of the very nature of their mechanics. For example, if an overpowered daily is introduced in 4E then a player who takes it gains an advantage in one fight per day. If an overpowered spell is introduced, however, then the caster can use all of his relevant spell slots to prepare that overpowered spell and become proportionally more powerful than a non-Vancian character even if the degree of imbalance between the power and the spell is the same. Because balance becomes tougher to achieve as the number of options increases, Vancian casters will become more and more overpowered as more splatbooks are released. It certainly happened with 3.xE (heck, imbalance became worse even as more powerful monsters were released thanks to Wild Shape and Polymorph).
I hope by now you got it! This is your very own definition of balance and it's not the one everybody shares. You won't have to use the "old school" material if you don't want it in your games. But let those that want it have it. And don't try to "fix" things for these "old school" players. We don't want your way of doing things, we don't want your fixes, we don't want your definition of balance. Play with your toys, let us play with ours.
Again, the problem comes from the fact that when 1 person in a group wants Vancian magic, he forces an imbalance on the whole group. This is mostly a problem because the designers are claiming that PCs of very different playstyles and complexities can exist in the same party. What they will end up with is an imbalanced game that will fail to please a large portion of their fans, and instead they'll be catering to players that have been playing happily with their older books, as well as angering customers that were already loyal to them (those that want the game to evolve, as it did with 4E) in favor of customers that already abandoned them once (for PF) and may not even come back. This whole fiasco looks like it's shaping up to be a bad mix of bad business and bad game design.
Why try to please everyone (and endeavor that is sure to fail, and they can't be so naive as to think otherwise) if it means sacrificing the quality of the product?
I resisted temptation for a long time because I'm mostly an "official rules" kind of guy, but I've finally begun writing up my own set of house rules to fix the things I don't like about 4E. When they stop publishing 4E books, I'll consider my set complete, and that's the game I'll probably end up playing for some time to come.
I'd be very interested in seeing this list. I've been thinking about doing the same thing myself, but I'm no professional game designer so it would be helpful to get other opinions on possible fixes.
Some changes will be pretty straightforward (i.e. free Expertise and Improved Defenses), but others like a re-vamp of the magic item system (IMO 4E's worst quality) will be more tricky, especially if it means providing some of the more item-dependent classes with some new perks (Warlocks come to mind, and to a lesser extent Druids).
I cannot believe this... I'm basically telling you that there is more than one way to play D&D, and you just answer that there shouldn't. It's ludicrous. I respect your notion of a balanced game even though it's not my kind of fun, is it too hard to ask for you to do the same? Seriously, who do you think you are to question my personal tastes?
And your arguments on balance, on my god... Seriously? Have you ever played the former editions of D&D? Do you really think D&D would have survived 30 years with the totally broken unplayable rules you're talking about? How can you even say that balance is an absolute concept when people call Rope Trick broken.
And about those idiots that have been playing D&D for 30 years, don't you think they deserve an upgraded version of D&D as much as you do? 4th edition has a lot of really interesting mechanical concepts and some great support tools for DM never seen before in the other editions of D&D. Seriously, their approach on save or die is brilliant. It's full of really ingeneous ideas that I would love to see in my 2nd edition flavored games.
And I think my concerns about people wanting to "fix" the wizard are perfectly valid. As a 2nd edition fan, it's my role to remind people that this vancian wizard you despise so much is part of the 2nd edition flavor. And D&D Next is about bringing all D&D fans under the same unified rules; all the fans, that's you and me alike.
But if this thread is, as I know suspect it to be, about brainstorming on how to make a vancian spellcaster "balanced" in the 4th edition sense, then please proceed. I am curious about what makes 4th edition so popular.
Honestly, I believe the way wizards, and for that matter all spell casters, should be fixed in 5e is for WotC to take the same approach on casting that they did in their Wheel of Time RPG. The shear number of spells known is dropped, at level one mages have to choose two affinities (schools of magic which they have practiced and are relatively good at) and every other kind of spell takes a spell slot higher to cast, spells don't level with you instead their power (damage, duration, DC, etc.) is based on the slot you cast it in, and finally allowing them to overchannel (i.e they can try to continue casting after they use up all of their spell slots at the risk of possibly damaging themselves and/or can try to cast higher level spells, again at an immense risk of damaging themselves).