EDITION #3: 4E
I thought this would be short. Mainly because I didn't play 4E vary long before my group (at the time) returned to BECMI. Why BECMI and not 3E? We were past 3.X by that point - it had too many fiddley bits and doo-dads for us. Don't get me wrong we had plenty of fun playing 3E between 2000 and 2005, but I don't have the interest anymore in what the system offers. Maybe my thoughts on the various editions will be my next blog post.
Anyway on with the 4E classes ...
This was the first class I played when we first got 4E, and we got it as soon as it came out. I had eagerly followed any scrap of information I could about 4E when it was being developed. I even bought those two preview books that came about the world and classes or whatever they were called. The books came (in the gift slipcase thingy) and I tore into them and they seemed pretty awesome. Then we started playing. Somehow the game was less awesome. Let's get to the good stuff first.
No Vancian spellcasting. Now I've stated before that I support Vancian spellcasting in 5E, but I've also said that it's not my favorite spellcasting system. 4E promised to do away with the venerable system and it did (though one could argue that the at-will /encounter/ daily mix is Vancian in another form). I enjoyed being able to cast certain spells every round if I wanted to. The power mix of At-Will / Encounter / Daily is supposed to give you interesting options to pick from each round, but really I mostly fell back on Magic Missile over and over again dropping the Encounter powers once each, each encounter. Then when the big end of adventure fight came I'd start with my Daily and then it'd be wash, rinse, repeat.
Basically, that was my big problem with 4E - every encounter kind of went the same way. That probably had to do with us as a group and the way encounters were structured, but it didn't endear the game to me. Went on a tangent there, sorry. I don't have a lot else to say about playing the Wizard but that. Otherwise, it ran (as a class) a lot like 3.X, but with less skills.
I played a Swordmage for awhile and it felt a lot like playing the Wizard. This was my other problem with 4E - the two classes I played kind of felt the same. As a melee combatant (Swordmage) I never used a basic melee attack unless it was a bonus attack. That just felt wrong. Basic melee attacks where you just swing your sword so to speak were the heart and soul of combat in every other version of D&D and now it wasn't even a reasonable choice. Even if you didn't need all the effects of an at-will the amount of damage was better enough that you'd be dumb to use your basic attack.
Anyway, I did have fun playing the Wizard in 4E and would do so again.
I liked the 3.5 Warlock enough that I was happy to see it get kicked up to PHB status. I also liked the ability to pick different pact types which I thought were pretty neat conceptually. All in all I like the concept and flavor of the Warlock even if I never got to play one.
Next time I'll wrap this thing up with a look at OD&D, 1E, and 2E.