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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Wizards of the Coast - D&D 4th Edition Launches June 7th

Default Wizards of the Coast - D&D 4th Edition Launches June 7th

May 20th, 2008, 20:58
Gamebanshee posts a press release from WotC on the Fourth Edition ruleset soon to make its appearence. Here's an except listing some of the features:
June 7th sees the global launch of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition with the addition of a new online, interactive element, allowing traditional play formats to be enhanced with unique web tools and content. DDI (D&D Interactive) is a suite of tools being rolled out with the launch of 4E, designed to make managing the game a bit easier, and allowing fans to play with one another remotely. The service includes some free elements, as well as some elements available as part of a paid subscription. Among the elements are:

* Two online magazines (Dragon and Dungeon), which have been published as paper magazines for 30 years but are now moving online. Dragon has traditionally been focused on the game and the players, while Dungeon is focused on dungeons, adventures, and being a Dungeon Master (DM).

* A rules database that allows you to look up rules, powers, classes, creatures, and so on, to be updated with the release of each new supplement.

* A character generator that allows you to build, advance, manage, and maintain your character. It autofills character features from the rules database, and you can print out your character as a conventional character sheet.

* A digital tabletop that allows the DM to build a dungeon or other environment and then control the movement of virtual miniatures on it. Along with voice chat and other features, it allows players to play the game over the internet, as well as share their dungeons and adventures with other gamers.

* A very sophisticated character visualizer that allows you to create 3D models of your characters. These can then be used as illustrations on your character sheet, exported if you just want a cool picture, or converted into a custom virtual mini of your character for use on the digital tabletop.
More information.
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May 20th, 2008, 20:59
As a long-time player of D&D (since the 80's) I must admit that this newest edition leaves me feeling very put out. The rules have changed quite a bit over the years and while I've had some issues, the spirit of the original game seems to have been retained. I think this rule-set breaks that - they seem to have homogenized the character classes because "everyone must have fun things to do all the time!" (a barf bag, por favor!) and otherwise mucked things about to make the game more suitable for those wanting a less strategic and faster-paced game. Also, there are already tools to allow collaborative adventuring online (duh!) - I suppose they want in on the action. And having to *buy* content that should be released in the print books you buy in the first place? The forums have been buzzing with discontent for some time, not that they've paid any attention - "Hasbro want more munney"! I suppose the newer players will embrace this as being "cool" etc, but a lot of us "old(er) timers" may well hang up our pointy hats and move onto to other things (or game systems like World of darkness which seem to be stable and have a fairly simple and robust game mechanic). It will be a sad farewll - I grew up with AD&D - but I suppose all things come to end.
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May 20th, 2008, 22:27
I have my reservations, but I'm stupid enough to buy this edition and test it out with my group.
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May 20th, 2008, 22:34
The "Hasbro wants more money" is a recurring theme.

It is prominent among Star Wars collectors. Because they've increased the pace with which they bring out new products, considerable. Too much (read: too fast) for some collectors like me.

What also strikes me is that imho everything they do points towards an MMORPG of some sorts, maybe in 3D, maybe without.

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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May 20th, 2008, 23:12
I don't particularly like the language, like "artillery" or "controllers" for character classes. Some say that it's like taking D&D back to its wargame roots, but I'm not sure about this. But there is a certain similarity to tactical boardgames in the combat descriptions.

I'll wait and see. I'm not excited about the new edition, but D&D is not really high on my interest list at the moment.
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May 21st, 2008, 00:11
Somehow 4th edition makes me feel like DMs might start saying things like this: "And you see an wizened, old elf before you with a blue exclamation point floating over his head."

But maybe I'm just a grumpy old gamer, in fact I'm fairly certain I am. I'm just one of those freaks who thinks the pacing in 1st edition campaigns was just fine, thankyouverymuch.
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May 21st, 2008, 05:38
Play your PnP games on your own time, wierdos. The question here is, is 4th ed better for CRPGin'? I've been playing BG2 again, trying to finally break through my mid-game malaise, and I certainly see places where 2nd ed was laming it up. 3rd was definitely a step up, and the mechanics of NWN were much more intuitive because of it. What I've seen of 4th is certainly confusing, after a lifetime (yikes) of the other editions, but if the new system better lends itself do some turn based tactical dungeon crawling… well that would be nice.
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May 21st, 2008, 10:56
The question over everything is : What do the Wizards try to achieve by this revision ?

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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May 21st, 2008, 11:43
Looking for an explanation in layman's terms.

So D&D had the 2nd edition rules for like 25 years and the 3rd edition for only a few? Why the need for new rules so soon?
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May 21st, 2008, 14:34
Originally Posted by Reyla View Post
Looking for an explanation in layman's terms.

So D&D had the 2nd edition rules for like 25 years and the 3rd edition for only a few? Why the need for new rules so soon?
I think that they are dumbing the game down to gain a newer audience. They look at the popularity of MMORPG's and say "hey our game should be like that".

I predict that 4th Edition will be a massive flop. People are not going to adopt this.
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May 21st, 2008, 16:40
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
The question over everything is : What do the Wizards try to achieve by this revision ?
Originally Posted by Reyla View Post
Why the need for new rules so soon?
Both questions are related: The sales of 3.x had dwindled to nearly nothing. There were no good topics for new books left. A new edition is first and foremost an attempt to bring your existing customers to buy all those books they already own all over again. "New and improved", of course .

The second reason was to make the game easier for new players and especially DMs. D&D 3.x made rules more logical than prior versions, but this came at the price of high complexity, especially with higher levels. Many DMs complained about the increased prep work. On the other hand, players loved the options 3.x gave them. 4e is the attempt to make prep work easier for the DM but to keep the "cool gimmicks" for players.

The idea is good, but I'm not convinced of the execution.
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May 21st, 2008, 17:13
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
I think that they are dumbing the game down to gain a newer audience. They look at the popularity of MMORPG's and say "hey our game should be like that".
I think the same. Or rather: Towards an action-RPG audience.

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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May 21st, 2008, 19:25
I *really* liked the logic of the 3rd ed rules, but many many people didn't and preferred the flavour of 2nd ed. 4th ed seems to be a bit more like 2nd ed in a higher reliance on rules/exceptions than just being able to work something out from logic. So 4th ed is more complex than 3rd ed, not at all dumbed down, and that's not something I like about it.

However, combat looks like it'll be ace, and far better suited to a cRPG environment than any previous edition.
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May 21st, 2008, 20:19
Originally Posted by Turjan View Post
Many DMs complained about the increased prep work. On the other hand, players loved the options 3.x gave them.
I never ran a 3rd edition campaign. I don't even have the books. So that's interesting.

I've only run (modified) 1st and 2nd campaigns. But personally I always loved the prep work for a campaign. Sure, half of it goes to pot when your PCs, well, do what PCs to best, something unexpected (well at least if you're lucky to have a good group), but it's still worth it and can usually be recycled or brought into play later in the campaign. To me, prep work is for the DM what character creation is for the player (which is, of course, tons of fun). I had not considered that it was unpopular.

Of course perhaps it's a different kind of prep work they are talking about. I'm talking about fleshing out the world, story and NPCs. Encounters were really the only part I found a bit tedious.
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May 22nd, 2008, 17:17
Originally Posted by Guhndahb View Post
Of course perhaps it's a different kind of prep work they are talking about. I'm talking about fleshing out the world, story and NPCs. Encounters were really the only part I found a bit tedious.
I'm afraid it's about NPC and monster stats and abilities. As all NPCs and monsters are supposed to have statblocks that equal those of PCs, it can take hours to get everything halfway right. Experienced DMs might be able to wing it, but this takes lots of practice and intimate familiarity with the system.
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May 22nd, 2008, 18:30
Originally Posted by Turjan View Post
I'm afraid it's about NPC and monster stats and abilities. As all NPCs and monsters are supposed to have statblocks that equal those of PCs, it can take hours to get everything halfway right. Experienced DMs might be able to wing it, but this takes lots of practice and intimate familiarity with the system.
Ah okay, thanks for the info. That would likely be at least mildly unpopular with me as well. Of course, personally I think the occasional outlier easy fight and "we are going to die! RUN RUN RUN!" fight is good for a PC. Heck, one of my favorite all time campaign experiences as a player was the panicked escape of our level 2-3 party from a HD7 creature.
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May 22nd, 2008, 18:53
I think it is fair to say that every edition of D&D, from the original in 1974 to the forthcoming 4th edition has been greatly influenced by the times, trends and tastes of the era in which each version was produced.

Original D&D was very much influenced by Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance and Tolkien layered on top of a rules system that had its fan base deeply rooted in tabletop miniatures. It began as a simulation of the fantastic. Sure, it departed from simulationist design when it had to - but simulationism was still a driving idea behind the game.

AD&D 1st edition did not alter that OD&D model much, but added to it a broader based appeal fantasy lit fans and a deemphasis on boardgame and miniatures players.

AD&D 2nd Ed was not a great departure in terms of its rules, but in terms of its settings and flavor, 2nd Ed was a move towards power gaming and away from grim n gritty. The struggle between gameist and simulationist design principles was front and centre in its peripherals market - but the grognards at TSR were not prepared to change the rules further…. YET.

3E was a further giant step away from the simulationist roots of AD&D and towards a gameist design ethos. Flavor of the game changed significantly. By design - every five levels in the game altered its flavor rather dramatically. 1-5th level (grimmish and somewhat gritty) 6-10th (heroic), 11-15 (SuperHeroic bordering on Epic Heroism) and 16-20 moved the game clearly to out-and-out Superheroes: 4 color.

4th Ed is a game which is being released into an environment where the dominant form of fantasy entertainment and - FWIW - RPGs generally, is nowhere near Jack Vance and hasn't even HEARD of the Grey Mouser. The dominant media and WotC's main competition is World of Warcraft. A game that is so successful that every other title on any other platform discussed on this entire site - COMBINED - is chump change compared to the financial success of WoW.

And from what I can see, 4th Ed is a move towards a still even more gameist design which has been greatly impacted by WoW. There is WoW - and then there is everything else, combined. That's how important WoW is.

I'm not sure that they are wrong to do so. The flavor that any player may or may not like is available to them from a large volume of already published material. There is nothing which makes your 1st, 2nd or 3.xx books "not work" on June 7, 2008 and, indeed, it appears that professional quality top rate 3.x OGL material from Paizo will be available for quite some time to come in the future.

But for new players - which is the focus of WotC - the paradigm they are looking for with 4E is a face-to-face WoW session. Given the runaway success of WoW, I cannot seriously suggest they are wrong to at least TRY to do so - and I think anybody who disagrees with this focus is thinking in terms of their own tastes, and not in temrs of what is best for WotC's financial health in the longterm.

Because the perspectives between personal tastes of established gamers and what's key in attracting new 13 yr old gamers are NOT the same.

.Robert
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May 22nd, 2008, 19:05
Gray Mouser come on!

I'm not interested in the 4th edition but I lost interest in playing PnP D&D many many years ago. I guess this will have an impact on future CRPGs made so it does have an influence that way.
Last edited by woges; May 22nd, 2008 at 19:13.
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May 22nd, 2008, 21:20
Originally Posted by Steel_Wind View Post
Because the perspectives between personal tastes of established gamers and what's key in attracting new 13 yr old gamers are NOT the same.
… Which sheds quite an interesting light on the prospect of what future C-RPGs might probably consist of when these currently 13 years olds are around 20-30 , and game developers …

Or, to use a different word for it : "Influence" …

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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May 22nd, 2008, 22:07
I just hope that they scale back the feats and such some. I'm sure they won't, but the most unenjoyable part of NWN2 OC was trying to figure out which feats to pick. I liked the idea of being able to do spells silently or with extra power, but with so many spells, it got confusing. All those extra options were just way too much.

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