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Default D&D - Was 4th Edition meant to be a MMO?

January 9th, 2012, 21:35
While not directly cRPG related, there are actually a couple of interesting articles about D&D today. First up the Examiner looks at comments from insiders and concludes 4th Edition was designed to help WotC transition to an in-house MMORPG:
Hasbro, envious of the success of Marvel's superhero properties into a lucrative transmedia juggernaut, gave each of its brands the goal of $100 million annual sales. The problem was that each of Wizards of the Coast's brands were viewed in isolation, which left Dungeons & Dragons, "a $25-30 million business" according to Dancey, in dires traits. The Dungeons & Dragons team hit on the idea of using the online Dungeons & Dragons Insider (DDI) to grow the brand to $50 million and potentially beyond:
"The Wizards team produced figures showing that there were millions of people playing D&D and that if they could move a moderate fraction of those people to DDI, they would achieve their revenue goals. Then DDI could be expanded over time and if/when Hasbro recovered the video gaming rights, it could be used as a platform to launch a true D&D MMO, which could take them over $100 million/year."
In the second, Rock, Paper, Shotgun points out an article in the New York Times about the decline of D&D and the plans for a new edition:
But there might yet be hope for Dungeons & Dragons, known as D&D. On Monday, Wizards of the Coast, the Hasbro subsidiary that owns the game, announced that a new edition is under development, the first overhaul of the rules since the contentious fourth edition was released in 2008. And Dungeons & Dragons’ designers are also planning to undertake an exceedingly rare effort for the gaming industry over the next few months: asking hundreds of thousands of fans to tell them how exactly they should reboot the franchise.
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January 9th, 2012, 21:35
Well it sounds like it's more accurate to say that DDI was designed to transition to a MMO then to say that 4th edition was. DDI is a system which allows you to track new rule changes and sourcebooks online, as well as do things like build your character online and read articles digitally. It allows you to have access to everything you need for your character digitally without buying a million books. Overall it was a really good idea, but it's pretty seperate from any edition. It would have been great to have had it for 3rd edition as well.
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January 9th, 2012, 22:23
Cool link to X-Com screens, but I kinda wanted to read the Examiner article with that first link…
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January 9th, 2012, 23:09
I think this was the intended link: http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-natio…to-be-a-mmorpg
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January 10th, 2012, 01:06
I couldn't get into D&D 4th ed.
To me 4th ed. wrote a defining line in D&D history. Up to 3.5, D&D was a fantasy world simulator. 4th ed. made it a fantasy *game* simulator
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January 10th, 2012, 02:24
I played full set 4e with my 10 and 7 year old this weekend. They loved it and it still captures the magic of DnD. The combat is only one aspect of the experience afterall.

I will say I need a laptop and Open Office spreadsheets to track the combat. It takes 30-90 minutes for an encounter depending on size. If my kids don't get bored that is saying something.

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January 10th, 2012, 03:17
I've been playing 4e once or twice a month for a couple years now, and I enjoy it. However, I basically consider it to be a small-scale war-game with miniatures, where each unit has really cool powers. Definitely more structured and a far-cry from some sessions I had as a kid where we'd basically wing it for a night. But it's fun to play and I enjoy advancing my character.

Oh, and the online component is a really welcome addition. I love the constant updates of all add-on books and even Dragon magazines. If they continue to do this and do it well (the move to a web-based application was a step backward, IMO), then I'll likely play whatever they release…
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January 10th, 2012, 03:29
I've tried 3.5e and 4e but they seem to be more geared toward tabletop battle simulation with miniatures rather than roleplaying.

I'll take AD&D 2e or OSRIC any day over these other editions.
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January 10th, 2012, 04:08
I've played every edition going back to the days when elf was a class rather then a race. I think 3.x and 4 are both very good editions, each one has it's strengths and weaknesses. I find both sets of rules to be vastly superior to 2e and earlier.
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January 10th, 2012, 04:40
I'm not much of a D&D player (at least in the PnP way) but I think my most favorite is 3.5e and in close second is 2e. I don't like many things they did with 4e and don't even bother having anything to do with it anymore. I hope they can make it worthwhile again but I doubt it.
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January 10th, 2012, 06:55
Well, the tactical additions to the game is a welcome change from my 6th grade experience back in 1982! After ToEE I would never be able to go back to so called "Advanced D&D". I suppose if I had to chose a rule set it would be 3.5e. However, I wanted my kids to play the latest in case they wanted to continue with it on their own. Its still a damn fine game. They certainly loved it. Jaded adults LOL

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January 10th, 2012, 07:57
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
I couldn't get into D&D 4th ed.
To me 4th ed. wrote a defining line in D&D history. Up to 3.5, D&D was a fantasy world simulator. 4th ed. made it a fantasy *game* simulator
That's a very good way to describe it. When I looked through the 4E rulebooks it definitely felt more like reading a Diablo/WoWesque game manual than a set of rules for recreating a fantasy world.

Some people like it, and defend it with all the rabidity normally reserved for politics and religion, but Hasbro's overall treatment of their fans - the condescending ads on why it's the best thing ever and the pulling of all the the classic products to remove competition from their past selves - and the viciousness of the new fanbase just soured me on the whole brand.
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January 10th, 2012, 12:06
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
Cool link to X-Com screens, but I kinda wanted to read the Examiner article with that first link…
Fixed on the front page - thanks.

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January 10th, 2012, 12:15
3.5 > all.
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January 10th, 2012, 18:20
Played 4th for a while. Too focused on combat for my taste and felt too limited in creating a unique character. It simply felt as though they had focused too much o making it balanced ad not enough on making it fun.

It was still pretty fun to play as a character, and pretty easy to be DM. The streamlining of the rules did make them easy to understand which is a pretty big plus to new players.
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January 10th, 2012, 18:51
Fourth Edition disappointed us. We switched to Pathfinder. Pathfinder seemed to really hit all the magic buttons for us —- it gave us the flexibility of 3.5, plus refinements to the rule system, but really seemed to get back to the flavor and emphasis on story of earlier editions (and other games).

What really drove it home was the Advanced Player's Guide - for me. While D&D 3.5's new classes felt like they were mechanics variations in search of some rationale for their existence ("This is a priest class that casts spells like a sorcerer…"), which felt a lot like "filler" to me, the new classes for Pathfinder honestly felt very different and exciting. They were cool concepts with mechanics custom-made to fit the idea and balance them out with the other classes.

So yeah, while I'm mildly interested in the new edition of D&D, 4e really failed me. I'm a big Pathfinder fan now.
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January 11th, 2012, 00:26
I'll have to check out Pathfinder based on these recommendations. I do wonder about some of these opinions though, didn't we all start playing this as kids? What do kids think of 4e? I know mine like it but of course they have no benchmark. Anyone else witness 4e with the 9-12 year old range like when many of us started?

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January 11th, 2012, 15:42
Something I still can't quite understand is why modern computer RPGs often use pretty simplistic combat mechanics. Computers can easily handle advanced calculations and the results could be spectacular combat, instead of "hit point based health battles of attrition + a couple of cool effects".

Turn-based combat or RtwP-combat could easily be many times as advanced without becoming confusing: Pain, bloodloss, torn muscles, broken bones, concussions, damage to internal organs, long-term injuries, infections and so on. All with various penalties.

Is the added development cost simply not worth it?
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January 11th, 2012, 16:25
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
Something I still can't quite understand is why modern computer RPGs often use pretty simplistic combat mechanics.
Something I rather do not understand is why computer games have so little use of social skils.

But I said that often enough, I believe.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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January 11th, 2012, 17:19
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
Turn-based combat or RtwP-combat could easily be many times as advanced without becoming confusing: Pain, bloodloss, torn muscles, broken bones, concussions, damage to internal organs, long-term injuries, infections and so on. All with various penalties.

Is the added development cost simply not worth it?
I think the bigger question is how fun would it actually be in practice. The "hardcore", never-saving, gotta eat every 5 minutes or die and sleep every 15 or it deletes your character demographic that would most appeal to is pretty small, thank Azathoth.

Done well, it might work, but I'll leave it to others to figure out how exactly to do that.
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