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 5e AKA D&DNext.

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seti
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PostSubject: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:22 am

I'm wondering what the people who like 4e (all of you) thoughts are on 5e. There's lots of talk about 5e, but it's frustrating for me to read and comment on WotC's 5e forums, as it's a crazy free for all of various forms of edition war. Same with other RPG sites I frequent.

My opinion:

I think this is the first time in the game's (almost) 40 year history that the new edition doesn't seem to be built on the previous one. 2e made 1e better, 3e made 2e better, and 4e...changed A LOT. But, also made it better. The 4e hate out there is probably due to shock at such a seemingly big change in the game many have been playing since the onset of adolescence.
Also, 4e made it so some players could no longer 'win' the game through loopholes, caster dominance, and other tricks. It takes a certain personality type to abuse a cooperative experience like a table top RPG, IMO. Some may call it sociopathic, or selfish, or greedy tendencies. I call it all of those Smile. Avarice and cooperation laced with empathy don't mix.
So, the screaming match began. Some, like me, embraced the changes of 4e. Some complained, whined, and bitched that the game they used to be able to so easily 'win' was ruined forever. That screaming match continues. I almost, just a few minutes ago, got sucked back into it on the 'D&D Next' WotC forum.

So...Why isn't 5e built on 4e? Sure, it sort of has healing surges. And sort of has at-wills for casters. But, other than that...It's (so far...Obviously, I'm talking about the playtest packets.) pretty much what most would call a retro-clone. Why do this? 3x people have Pathfinder. And WotC isn't winning them back at this point. It's been about 5 years. True old-schoolers have 1e and 2e. I have 4e. Rather, I should say, we have 4e. WotC says it wants to unite D&D players across editions and invite them to open their hearts (and wallets) to this new game, probably to be released, ready or not, on the 40th anniversary of D&D.

I think the 'brand' D&D is worth more to Hasbro than anything. Hasbro loves their branded properties. After all, the moniker D&D is bigger (and has more profit potential; to Hasbro execs) than a table top RPG could ever have. So, maybe the folks at WotC that are working on D&D now can pretty much do whatever they want. And what they want is to relive those afternoons in someone's rec room or basement playing D&D in the 70's or 80's.

That's not going to happen. Ever. Again. Sure, I loved Gygaxian obtuseness; back when it was pretty much the only option. But, take off those rose-tinted goggles, WotC. It's 2013. I'd never go back to a confusing and seemingly arbitrary ruleset.

Anyway, sorry for the mini-rant. I'd love to hear what you guys and gals* think.



*Hope there's a few women here, lol. The gamer stereotype. Neckbearded unwashed unmarried dudes. My wife loves 4e too. And I showered and shaved today. Take THAT, stereotype!
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:22 am

I think they abandoned many design goals I thought should have been developed and moved forward and took up many techniques which I think belong solidly in the past that is why I am here.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:21 am

I think 5e is the inevitable end point for a game designed by a skeleton crew of people who were better at playing office politics than actual design work.

I think 5e is both Mike Mearls vanity project (its clear from his past credits he never really GOT 4e and his preference would be pretty much a 2.75e) and a desperate attempt to preserve his job (rather like DC's New52 was a desperate attempt to keep their jobs via trying to recapture the glory days of comics for them and letting nostalgia for the Silver Age stories dominate their decisions because that's when the comics were selling strong... while ignoring all the other reasons they were selling that strongly back then).

And I think from Hasbro's point of view it's a way to juice sales up a bit before they try to either licence off the TTRPG rites or possibly even offload the property entirely. I think Hasbro actually wants OUT of the TTRPG market entire because its just not big enough nor does it show enough signs of growth to be worth trying to develop it themselves. If they still think the D&D name is worth something outside of TTRPG's they'll probably just try to license the property out to some other TTRPG company so they can make money off of it with zero risk to themselves. If they don't think its going to worth anything (because they have other fantasy IP licenses already) they might just offload it entirely. Either way, juicing the sales with a new release before doing the licensing/sell-off is just sound business sense.

The net result, I believe, is that 5E will be the last edition of D&D produced by WotC and most of the promises outside of the core books are going to turn out to be vaporware.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:06 pm

As much as I love 4e I like earlier editions also (as well as mixing and matching from editions). So I am pretty excited about DDN and hope that it lives up to its modularity goal.

I the mean time I am having fun playing standard 4e with my adult group as well as my 4e-lite with the kids. It's a shame WotC never realized/exploited how flexible the 4e basic structure was.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:58 pm

WotC's main problem is they keep throwing the baby out with the bath water. Every time people begin to get used to a system and understand and like it they throw it out the window. They did it with 3.0, 3.5, Core 4e, and now Essentials 4e. The smartest thing to have done would've been to take their current fanbase and worked with them to move the game forward and further. Now they've alienated everyone and will need to start a fanbase from mostly scratch again.

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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 14, 2013 4:12 pm

Each new edition seems to be an over reaction to the perceived problems of the previous edition.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:05 pm

Fjw70 wrote:
Each new edition seems to be an over reaction to the perceived problems of the previous edition.
Maybe but I found 4e fixed issues that were endemic to 1e and to me they had never reacted enough to them in Decades!!!!!

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:46 pm

seti wrote:
Anyway, sorry for the mini-rant. I'd love to hear what you guys and gals* think.
I downloaded the last play test packet, and haven't been bored enough yet to pop it open.

I'm not going to buy or DM 5e, unless it turns out to be one big April Fool's joke. I've seen enough editions come and go now that my bar for investing in the next one has gone from "I'll probably buy it just cuz" to "This has to give me something original and solid that 4e doesn't already have." Obviously, it also has to be something I want.

From what I read back at the beginning, and what I've heard via the forums, the only new thing that 5e has is the really slow bonus advancement. It's kind of a novel idea in D&D, but I'm not at all sold that it's a desirable goal. That combined with the insipid "It's not about the math, it's about the story!" comments don't inspire my interest at all.

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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:01 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
The net result, I believe, is that 5E will be the last edition of D&D produced by WotC and most of the promises outside of the core books are going to turn out to be vaporware.
Eh, it'd be cathartic to see this happen, but I don't think it will. I think 5e will be remembered as The D&D Edition. Not because it'll capture the game's spirit or because it'll unify the fanbase, or whatever. ('Cause it won't.) But 5e just won't have anything particularly memorable about it. 1e was the flagship game, 2e had lots of settings, 3e had better rules and customization, 4e has even better rules and balance...what will 5e have? From what I can tell, nothing really noteworthy.

It'll be on the shelves for a few years, and it'll have its fans -- even if only because it'll be the edition that will introduce a few years worth of newbies to the hobby. And I suspect that a portion of the veteran fanbase will find their own reasons to love 5e. It's the nature of demographics.

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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:29 pm

Felorn Gloryaxe wrote:
WotC's main problem is they keep throwing the baby out with the bath water. Every time people begin to get used to a system and understand and like it they throw it out the window. They did it with 3.0, 3.5, Core 4e, and now Essentials 4e. The smartest thing to have done would've been to take their current fanbase and worked with them to move the game forward and further. Now they've alienated everyone and will need to start a fanbase from mostly scratch again.
Really? I get the sense that WotC's edition ADD is warranted at least in part by the fanbase's schizophrenic nature. It doesn't take a year after a new edition comes out before fans are bitching about this and that. There are fans who get disillusioned with every edition once they start noticing things like the 'monster treadmill' and start hearing about the CharOp goldenboy builds. Like D&D gamer goldfish.

And then there are all those gamers who WotC can count on to buy the core books just for being the next edition of D&D. Recently I've been amazed by how many posters on an ENworld thread who don't see anything appealing about 5e whatsoever, but are planning to buy the core books just to support the dev team and the hobby.

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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:10 am

"I think 5e is the inevitable end point for a game designed by a skeleton crew of people who were better at playing office politics than actual design work.

I think 5e is both Mike Mearls vanity project (its clear from his past credits he never really GOT 4e and his preference would be pretty much a 2.75e) and a desperate attempt to preserve his job (rather like DC's New52 was a desperate attempt to keep their jobs via trying to recapture the glory days of comics for them and letting nostalgia for the Silver Age stories dominate their decisions because that's when the comics were selling strong... while ignoring all the other reasons they were selling that strongly back then)." -Chris24601

This is an interesting point...I didn't think about office politics, and job preservation.

I already know I won't buy 5e books... I might stumble blindly into pdfs online to read...Although piracy is a crime. So I won't seek them out, or download them.

The D&D fans I don't know personally often seem strange to me. You'd think being into cooperative ttRPG gaming would unite us, for the most part. After all, we're into a hobby that isn't anywhere near as mainstream as sports, videogames, TV watching, cooking, or gun ownership. Yet, on the internet, it seems most of us d20 rollers are fickle, intolerant, argue-beasts who don't have a 'united as a team' mentality like so many other interests, political leanings, religious beliefs, and hobbies have.

I figure Hasbro will 'lease' out the ttRPG liscense (sorry, don't know the right term, not a business guy) after 5e runs its course...But, they won't sell the D&D brand. From what I've read, Hasbro holds onto its properties like Disney does. They'd lock it away forever, so no one else could use it, before they'd sell it.

Who knows? What if (a pretty big 'if') it does REALLY well, and becomes known as the edition? Spawning a whole merchandising monster...A movie. A cartoon/tv series. Toys. T-shirts. Video games. Kitchenware. A theme park.ROFL
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:12 am

The proper term would be 'license' and yeah, if they see ANY value in the D&D property outside of the TTRPG market they'll hold onto it with a death grip.

The reason why I think they MIGHT consider selling off the D&D brand though is because the D&D name hasn't proven itself truly viable in ANYTHING outside of the TTRPG market.

Likewise, the notion that Hasbro NEVER sells anything off is a myth. As recently as 2001 they sold off their entire interactive division (including all of the rights to their videogame properties) to Infogrames. Basically, if its something that's doing poorly enough and where they don't see being able to grow that market into something acceptable to them, then they actually will sell off chunks of their company.

As such, I could totally see them dumping the D&D brand at some point, especially if 5e proves to be the failure it looks to be (my prediction is that it'll be known as the Porridge Edition... a flavorless mass of nothing truly distinct).
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:21 pm

Same here Chris. Since the begin 5e has looked like nothing more than a mish-mash of poorly executed ideas from previous editions. It's bland, boring, and all around redundant. Everything in 5e has already been done else where. And it's not even combing its elements in a unique way. IMO the most natural thing to have done would have been to work with the 4e system. Tweaking it and upgrading it. Cause at this point they killed off another fanbase, and probably won't get much from the 3e fans, or any AD&D/OD&D players.

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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 15, 2013 4:26 pm

That's the thing that really makes no sense to me... they're making a product for which there is literally NO demand. Sure, there was a segment of former players who utterly hated 4E, but few of those actually want a new edition... they just want 4E to die and go away so they can be "right."

I STILL think there's non-trivial chance that the entire thing turns into vaporware due to Hasbro's annual holiday layoffs and, if it is actually published, another non-trivial chance that Hasbro kills the whole line before they can release anything more than the core books.

That said, I don't much care about what goes on with 5E other than in a purely "state of the entire industry" sense. My interest is entirely in the realm of seeing third-party additions/modifications to 4E and perhaps even a true spiritual successor down the line (13th Age is interesting, but isn't truly the successor to 4E in the way that Pathfinder was for 3.5e).

Which is, of course, why I'm here and not still trying to beat my head against the wall over at the WotC site.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:50 pm

Hmmm a true spiritual successor I kind of argue would actually make developments beyond but in similar directions to those of 4e (Pathfinder was I feel far too much about pure preservation)

And something that just preserved wouldnt be 4e like at a fundamental level.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:57 pm

Oh, I agree that improvements could certainly be made in a spiritual successor. My point is that I don't think a true spiritual successor has arrived yet (ie. as much as some people want it to be 13th Age has too many differences to actually qualify as 4E's successor... more of a second cousin).
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:00 pm

13th Age is pretty different without a doubt in my mind. The game contains lots of the designs philosophies of 4e but is not the Pathfinder of 4e. Heck they even call the system its own thing not d20.

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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:07 pm

The guys with 13th Age even say 13th Age is not a 4e Pathfinder in their FAQ:

"Q:This is basically 4e Pathfinder, right?

A:No. 13th Age inherits lots of ideas from 4e, but it’s an OGL (3.5) system that incorporates ideas pretty evenly from several editions of D&D, plus many cool new ideas and ideas from the world of indie games.
"

Though to be honest looking through it I think there could have been a little more emphasis on the lots part of it.

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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:02 pm

Chris24601 wrote:
Oh, I agree that improvements could certainly be made in a spiritual successor. My point is that I don't think a true spiritual successor has arrived yet (ie. as much as some people want it to be 13th Age has too many differences to actually qualify as 4E's successor... more of a second cousin).
Which is why I started the thread on 4e's Design Goals... I actually feel the guys at WOTC suffer from a combination of corporate amnesia due to firing schema as much as if not more than Mearls not "getting 4e".

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:10 am

I think part of the problem is that the guy in charge of development is trying so hard to make D&D Next "D&D" --regardless of what that means -- that he's willing to visually throw out 4E (while quietly slipping it through the back door) to do it.

That, plus he has to consider the niche that it's supposed to occupy:
  • Slow progression, heavy emphasis on story is already done with Dungeon World.
  • New ways to look at old things, and mechanics that make the game feel like any edition of D&D, in what could be the system that unites all editions? Oops, that was the same idea behind 3E, 3.5E, and 4E, and 13th Age seems to be the d20 system that bridges the gap between 3.5E/PF players and 4E players.


The only marketing gimmick they have left is "introductory to tabletop roleplaying", which if you ask me is *still* better done in other systems; I'd even recommend Dungeon World to absolutely new groups, since the system provides lots of good GMing lessons and tips that newbie GMs really ought to pick up on.

Garthanos wrote:
Hmmm a true spiritual successor I kind of argue would actually make developments beyond but in similar directions to those of 4e (Pathfinder was I feel far too much about pure preservation)

And something that just preserved wouldnt be 4e like at a fundamental level.
Personally I feel that 13th Age *is* the spiritual successor of 4E, because a lot of the things done in 4E have been maintained and even expanded upon, even if it changed up a lot of things, enough to make it avoid the distinction of being 4E's Pathfinder.

[ In the event that someone wants to convert their 4E character to 13th Age, they could do so, with most of the changes happening on the scaling of attacks and damage as well as positioning, but otherwise their powers would be left largely intact. ]

I think some people want their 4E Pathfinderspiritual successor simply because they want to play 4E, with all the existing kinks worked out (even though there are some kinks that stem from the core design of the system). Unfortunately, I think part of the reason why 13th Age *had* to make itself look VERY different from 4E AND the authors attempt to disassociate itself from 4E is because of possible copyright infringement cases compliments of 4E's GSL; this opinion however could be proven wrong should the GSL be shown to be more 3PP friendly than it's rumored to be (which I doubt, given how PF exists because of 4E's GSL).
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:24 am

OK according to just a quick perusal of web stuff.... 13th age lacks dailies for martial characters... hides rituals under the need to have dailies and many things that really dont at all make it seem to have been guided by 4e sensibilities.

Significantly speaking I think all characters independent of class getting or having the potential for Climactic Peak Performances is absolutely vital to the 4e experience.

Expanding on the versatility of non-casters is another element

Emphasizing team play is another.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:47 am

What I've seen of Points of Light looks a lot like classic 4e with the kinks being worked out, and I hope it ends up as a true 4e spiritual successor. Being free means I won't have to convince anyone to buy it. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:20 am

For me, the core of 4E's design philosophy was to question EVERYTHING that's been considered a sacred cow before and, if it gets in the way of reasonable balance and fun... kill it with fire. This led to a lot of people who liked those sacred cows not being happy but DID lead to a much better designed game than anything people who's experience is limited to D&D had ever seen before.

But even the 4E developers held back on some things. For example, the ability scores are still relics of the original 3d6 rolling schema with the bottom results filed off. If they had just done away with the scores and used the bonuses as the scores (i.e. -1 to +5 instead of 8-20) then the +1 ability score increases would have totally wiped out the need for the math fix feats (you'd get a net +4 bonus to all checks/defenses associated with two scores and +2 to all the rest over what we have now).

As an example of questioning even the way 4E did things; I question whether half-level bonuses could have been done more intuitively by instead giving more frequent stat bumps akin to how games like Dragon Age let you bump up three stats every time you leveled. If, instead of every even level getting a half-level bonus to checks, you instead got +1 to all ability scores/bonuses and every odd level after 1st you got +1 to a choice of three ability scores/bonuses you could do away with every feat, item and enhancement bonus from the game because characters will be able to get those numbers through ability scores alone and magic items can be about cool effects instead of needed for the math to work.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:28 am

How about using dailies in the power system? even applied to spells they are a complete mismatch for myth and legend.(where ability tied to timing is more on the summer equinox or at exactly midnight or similar things)
I think a system that used combos and the action economy could work much better at creating those encounter changing empowerments - without the book keeping of a fatigue system.

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One suspects Lugh Long-hand Samildánach (a wright/carpenter, a sailor, a smith/bronze craftsman, a healer, a champion, a harpist, a poet/historian, a sorcerer, cupbearer) would agree.
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PostSubject: Re: 5e AKA D&DNext.   Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:35 pm

Could you clarify what you mean by combos? Do you mean something like... If you hit with power X and then power Y you can then use power Z? If so that's WAY too fiddlely for my preferences (it's actually one of my least favorite design elements... basically just a variation on 13A's flexible attacks, my stance on which has been laid out in another thread).

I don't anything wrong with daily powers if you're playing a narrativist style of gaming. If I had to go with something else in a 4E successor my preference would be for resource points that only partially recharge over time (ex. a mage might have 60 mana points that recharge 15 points between each encounter). This allows the character to go deep into their resources when needed (like dailies allow), but still leaves them some resources for the next encounter no matter how deep you went (like encounter powers allow).
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