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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition is on the way...

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As a straight sim, DnD was never the best choice anyhow.


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As a straight sim, DnD was never the best choice anyhow.

 

No, as a straight sim it was not. As a game with fantasy simulationist elements, however, it was very good. In 4E design, though, WotC seems to have utterly and without any regret ignored any notion of the simulationist group.

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One issue I have with the 4th edition is that it seems to completely shut out simulationist gamers. I recall that WotC market research found that RPG gamers fall into 4 quandrants with approximately 20% of gamers in each (and about 20 percent smack in the middle). One of those quadrants was analogous to simulationist gaming and others to other concepts. I understand why WotC would want to sacrifice 20% of their customers to please 80% of their market, but it still hurts to be on the losing side and being a simulationist gamer I am rather miffed by this and unsure whether I will pick up the 4th edition.

 

If that's what they're doing they'll lose more than 20% though, at least in theory. This because elements that appeal to sim gamers overlap with those of other groups.

 

What are the four groups btw? I've only heard of three (and not from WotC). Those would be Simulation gamers (who try to simulate living in a fictive world), Storytelling gamers (gamers where telling a story takes precedence over everything else, not to be confused with White Wolf's ruleset) and Stat gamers (gamers where character building and progression is at the core, rules are important here. Probably should be named better).

 

In my experience D&D is heavily biased towards the last group. Not saying you can't use the system for any of the others, all rules can be used by all classifications. There is also a lot of overlap and while most gamers fall into one of the groups, most enjoy elements of the others as well.

 

Now, it's very hard to design rules that appease all three groups. Specifically between Storytelling and Stat gaming. The former typically sees the rules as an obstacle to telling a good story, while the latter sees the rules as the means of doing so.

 

(Personally I fall into the simulation style when playing PnP. And me and my group would never use D&D for our gameplay if we can get away with it, it just doesn't suit our needs. This is not to say it's a bad system, just not designed for us. But when playing cRPG I fall much more on the stat side of the fence, and then I like D&D a lot more)

 

Edit: I forgot my actual point. I don't think WotC will lose asmuch s 20% of their customer base by omitting the simulaton aspect altogether. I have a feeling that the players who buy D&D fall quite heavily into the Stat gamer group. So I'm guessing they'd rather try to dominate that demographic rather than try and please everyone. However, the automatic skill progression I've read about is something that Stat gamers would hate, so it seems WotC are alienating them as well. My guess is that they view D&D as an entry point into role-playing and thus wants the rules to be easier to just pick up and play.

Edited by Spider

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One issue I have with the 4th edition is that it seems to completely shut out simulationist gamers. I recall that WotC market research found that RPG gamers fall into 4 quandrants with approximately 20% of gamers in each (and about 20 percent smack in the middle). One of those quadrants was analogous to simulationist gaming and others to other concepts. I understand why WotC would want to sacrifice 20% of their customers to please 80% of their market, but it still hurts to be on the losing side and being a simulationist gamer I am rather miffed by this and unsure whether I will pick up the 4th edition.

 

If that's what they're doing they'll lose more than 20% though, at least in theory. This because elements that appeal to sim gamers overlap with those of other groups.

 

True, but not all simulationist gamers will be lost either, since no matter how hard they try to expunge it, some degree of simulationism will remain.

 

What are the four groups btw? I've only heard of three (and not from WotC). Those would be Simulation gamers (who try to simulate living in a fictive world), Storytelling gamers (gamers where telling a story takes precedence over everything else, not to be confused with White Wolf's ruleset) and Stat gamers (gamers where character building and progression is at the core, rules are important here. Probably should be named better).

 

Actually, it appears that I have conflated two systems of categorization together. My apologies for the confusion. WotC research ostensibly found different four categories:

 

http://www.seankreynolds.com/rpgfiles/gami...RPGPlayers.html

 

The model you were thinking of and which in my shoddy memory merged with the one above is this one:

 

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?board=3.0

 

To be honest, I prefer the latter model, as I consider myself to be a simulationist gamer (though I do enjoy other aspects of RPGs), but I don't know where I would place myself on WotC's scale.

 

In my experience D&D is heavily biased towards the last group. Not saying you can't use the system for any of the others, all rules can be used by all classifications. There is also a lot of overlap and while most gamers fall into one of the groups, most enjoy elements of the others as well.

 

Yes, this is the case for me - I enjoy DMing and playing D&D 3.5E in PnP, but the simulationist aspects, although subdued, are important to my enjoyment of the game. I also enjoy D&D in CRPGs.

 

Now, it's very hard to design rules that appease all three groups. Specifically between Storytelling and Stat gaming. The former typically sees the rules as an obstacle to telling a good story, while the latter sees the rules as the means of doing so.

 

(Personally I fall into the simulation style when playing PnP. And me and my group would never use D&D for our gameplay if we can get away with it, it just doesn't suit our needs. This is not to say it's a bad system, just not designed for us. But when playing cRPG I fall much more on the stat side of the fence, and then I like D&D a lot more)

 

Edit: I forgot my actual point. I don't think WotC will lose asmuch s 20% of their customer base by omitting the simulaton aspect altogether.

 

I was not trying to imply that they will lose the full 20%, just saying that these 20% are being completely ignored in terms of the design decisions made. In any case, I conflated the two systems of categorization. Using the Simulationist, Narrativist, Gamist (SNG) system we don't know what percentage of players falls into which category, so the 20% figure is moot anyhow.

 

I have a feeling that the players who buy D&D fall quite heavily into the Stat gamer group.

 

I would not dare to put a percentage on it, but I would say that there are very significant numbers of other gamers present too. Still, the gamist group might be predominant.

 

So I'm guessing they'd rather try to dominate that demographic rather than try and please everyone. However, the automatic skill progression I've read about is something that Stat gamers would hate, so it seems WotC are alienating them as well. My guess is that they view D&D as an entry point into role-playing and thus wants the rules to be easier to just pick up and play.

 

I agree with your assessment of WotC's decision-making, but it does not make me any happier about the fit of 4E for my gaming needs.

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One issue I have with the 4th edition is that it seems to completely shut out simulationist gamers. I recall that WotC market research found that RPG gamers fall into 4 quandrants with approximately 20% of gamers in each (and about 20 percent smack in the middle). One of those quadrants was analogous to simulationist gaming and others to other concepts. I understand why WotC would want to sacrifice 20% of their customers to please 80% of their market, but it still hurts to be on the losing side and being a simulationist gamer I am rather miffed by this and unsure whether I will pick up the 4th edition.

 

I don't think that D&D has ever been too strong in simulation game play. I mean, we are talking multiple forms of instant healing, over half the classes empowered by some form of magic, and people talking to animals, ghosts, gods, etc. on a fairly regular basis. Sim gaming seems to have better chances with almost any other system, especially GURPS or Shadowrun (Though a lot of house rules would need to go in place for SR).


My blood! He punched out all my blood! - Meet the Sandvich

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One issue I have with the 4th edition is that it seems to completely shut out simulationist gamers. I recall that WotC market research found that RPG gamers fall into 4 quandrants with approximately 20% of gamers in each (and about 20 percent smack in the middle). One of those quadrants was analogous to simulationist gaming and others to other concepts. I understand why WotC would want to sacrifice 20% of their customers to please 80% of their market, but it still hurts to be on the losing side and being a simulationist gamer I am rather miffed by this and unsure whether I will pick up the 4th edition.

 

I don't think that D&D has ever been too strong in simulation game play. I mean, we are talking multiple forms of instant healing, over half the classes empowered by some form of magic, and people talking to animals, ghosts, gods, etc. on a fairly regular basis. Sim gaming seems to have better chances with almost any other system, especially GURPS or Shadowrun (Though a lot of house rules would need to go in place for SR).

 

D&D has certainly not been designed around simulationist game-play, but it has been reasonable at supporting it. The key question is what we seek to simulate. I look for the simulation of a fantasy world, so having magic and supernatural effects is not a problem, so long as these are explained in the world and the mechanics correspond to the explanation. Gamist concepts, such as 'per encounter' spells that appear in the 4th edition, however, break this for me.

 

Besides, I really don't want to switch to another system. I like many D&D tropes and monsters that simply don't appear in other systems, so if I decide not to change to 4E, I will simply stay with 3.5E - I will not look for another system.

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Actually, I wonder: How many of the rest of us who are not particularly enamored by the 4th edition based on what has been released so far also fall into the simulationist category of gamers?

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Actually, I wonder: How many of the rest of us who are not particularly enamored by the 4th edition based on what has been released so far also fall into the simulationist category of gamers?

 

It does seem that most of the complains I've heard are either A) They are making it too gamey/too easy, or B) they are changing my beloved , where is a monster or setting change.


My blood! He punched out all my blood! - Meet the Sandvich

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Thanks for the links, I hadn't read either before (only had the latter described to me)

 

Just out of interest, which of the classification systems do you prefer?

 

Both have their merits. If I have to chose I do prefer the SNG system though. If for nothing else that it's a theoretical model constructed by gamers as an attempt to analyze the games we play, rather than market researchers doing the same.

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The idea that the new ruleset is too easy strikes me as monumentally stupid. The basic rules have never been the determining factor of difficulty in the game. Never. NEVAR!

 

That's why Sand's complaints lead me to believe that he is a theorists rather than an actual gamer. It has always been the responsibility of the DM to balance the game. Any iteration of the rules can be too easy or too hard with a bad DM. For someone to complain that the new rules make the game too easy, they must have been relying on the rules to make the game difficult or easy all along. I cannot think of a good DM who would have such a reliance. The rules facilitate fun, but the level of difficulty has always been the sole demesne of the DM. Other than the specious nature of Sand's arguments, and the errant bragging about his uber dual wand wielding fighter/warrior/elf/celestial who shoots lazer beams out of his eyes and healing rays out of his arse, I find the underlying premise just plain bogus.

 

Now, if we get away from the difficulty idea, which is worth only scorn and little else, then we come to specific ideas. If someone says that, say, they don't like the threat confirmation rolls, then that's a topic. It's not a matter of easy or not. It's a matter of how you like to see those rules translated. That's why I don't really take the Magister or Spider to task for their comments.

 

Perhaps it's a matter of understanding. Is it not ease so much as simplification? Do you find the new rules too "easy" because you don't think they're robust enough? That at least is a more reasonable complaint. Certainly more than saying the game will be too easy for the players. Any halfway decent DM should be ashamed of making such a claim.


Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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What the hell are you talking about, Cant? When the hell did I ever said my character was an elf or celestrial, or shoots lazer beams? Really, show me the f***ing post, Cant. Really. Where the hell did I say that? Nor did I say they are making the game easy. I said they are making low level characters too powerful. BIG WORLD OF DIFFERENCE, Cant. Get it right.

 

You make the PCs more powerful, then you need to make the adversaries more powerful in order to be a challenge. Then you have to make the PCs even more powerful so they can overcome the challenges, then you have to make the challenges even stronger to challenge them. In case you haven't noticed Cant but their has been an escalation of power with each edition. From 1st, to 2nd, to 3rd, now 4th. 4th Edition makes the 1st level newbies practically super heroes, and once they get to mid to high levels they would become gods. That's okay with you, because their adversaries would be just as ridiculously uber as well. :thumbsup:

Edited by Sand

Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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Methinks the man doth protest too much. I mean, 3.5 was good, at least that's what I'm getting from you. But I think the difference, in terms of character strength isn't particularly significant, from what I understand, other than the first few levels. Those are the levels that could use the most work in terms of balance anyhow. *shrug*

 

So, the characters will be too powerful? ...but aren't you the one who says that you make really powerful characters? Well, maybe not "uber." Maybe not ELVISH. hahahaha I guess they aren't celestial, but this:

 

I have been a player and DM of Dungeons and Dragons (in its many versions) for over 25 years, Cant. Though I do contemplate character builds, especially when I am bored at work, I do play the game. I am currently in a Eberron campaign, which is going quite well and has been quite challenging. I am playing a fighter (2)/wizard (5) which I am building to craft and dual wield wands. Imagine unleashing 2 fireballs in a given round at once.

 

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

 

The feat progression is:

Two Weapon Fighting (PHB)

Craft Wand (PHB)

Double Wand Wielder (CA)

Wand Mastery (ECS)

Reckless Wand Wielder (CA)

Wandstrike (CA)

 

is worthy of comic book guy status. I guess you can create an uber (oh, I'm sorry, you didn't say uber, did you?)... I guess you can create some really POWERFUL (wait, you didn't say elvisih, uber, celestial, or all that and a bag of chips either!) even in the old edition. Really, be like DR. I think her posts sound unhinged, but at least she calls a spade a spade. ...Or are you saying that your... not UBER... not POWERFUL... hmm, whatever you want to call your character, is just the right amount of powerful?


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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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Of course that build is powerful but it will take a long time of game play to reach that level of power as it should. In the campaign I am in now it has taken us a year or so in real time for my character to reach level 7. By the time I reach to the point that I have all those feats I will be close to 20th level, which will probably take another 2 years in real time to get to.

 

In comparison, 4e starts you out pretty much the equivelent of a 3rd to 4th level 3.5e character right off the bat. A complete newb that can use powerful abilities at will and without consequence. Not even my 7th level character can do that. Escalation of power, Cant.


Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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Anything beyond the basic rulebooks is escalation of power, Sand. That's why, along with everything else, your position is hypocritical. You don't mind escalation of power. You mind escalation of power in this edition. You didn't, say, mind the escalation of power from 2nd to 3rd? Or the escalation of power associated with any particular splatbook? Or the escalation (which I perceive) in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting?

 

You claim: "[ i]n case you haven't noticed Cant but their has been an escalation of power with each edition. From 1st, to 2nd, to 3rd, now 4th. 4th Edition makes the 1st level newbies practically super heroes, and once they get to mid to high levels they would become gods." So, all the other escalations between editions are fine? All escalations within editions that arise from extraneous add-ons are fine? This one edition is terrible because it's easier on the 1-3 level players?

 

You state: "[t]hat's okay with you, because their adversaries would be just as ridiculously uber as well." Apparently, in each edition and each extraneous addition to each edition, it's been okay by you.

 

Frankly, I don't care about 4th edition one way or the other. I'm not going to purchase it because I'm heavily invested in 3.5 and I don't want to spend the money on 4th edition until the set is on the shelves and I have a clearer picture of what the new edition does to the game. However, your arguments about the "meaninglessness of death" and the "uber 1-3 level characters" put me in a position of defending the edition simply because your assertions, so wild and strident, are unfair.

 

Well, I'll let you last word me on this. I've been a bit mean to you, so you can even be a meanie to me and I won't hold it against you.


Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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Mean? MEAN!??!?

 

I was having fun!

 

:thumbsup:


Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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Actually, I wonder: How many of the rest of us who are not particularly enamored by the 4th edition based on what has been released so far also fall into the simulationist category of gamers?

 

It does seem that most of the complains I've heard are either A) They are making it too gamey/too easy, or B) they are changing my beloved <X>, where <X> is a monster or setting change.

 

Hmm, in that case it does seem that it is the simulationist gamers among us who tend to dislike many of the changes introduced by the 4th edition. The too 'gamey' complaint is likely a complaint about removal of simulationist elements. I think the 'too easy' complaint is also really just a transfered complaint of one of these two:

 

1) Too much simplification to the point that it reduces simulationist aspects beyond a point of personal comfort

OR

2) Emphasis on instant gratification reducing a sense of long-term gratification for the person presenting the argument

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Thanks for the links, I hadn't read either before (only had the latter described to me)

 

Just out of interest, which of the classification systems do you prefer?

 

Both have their merits. If I have to chose I do prefer the SNG system though. If for nothing else that it's a theoretical model constructed by gamers as an attempt to analyze the games we play, rather than market researchers doing the same.

 

I also prefer the SNG system, because I can actually place myself somewhere in that system, whereas I cannot do so in the other system.

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One issue I have with the 4th edition is that it seems to completely shut out simulationist gamers. I recall that WotC market research found that RPG gamers fall into 4 quandrants with approximately 20% of gamers in each (and about 20 percent smack in the middle). One of those quadrants was analogous to simulationist gaming and others to other concepts. I understand why WotC would want to sacrifice 20% of their customers to please 80% of their market, but it still hurts to be on the losing side and being a simulationist gamer I am rather miffed by this and unsure whether I will pick up the 4th edition.

 

I don't think that D&D has ever been too strong in simulation game play. I mean, we are talking multiple forms of instant healing, over half the classes empowered by some form of magic, and people talking to animals, ghosts, gods, etc. on a fairly regular basis. Sim gaming seems to have better chances with almost any other system, especially GURPS or Shadowrun (Though a lot of house rules would need to go in place for SR).

 

By the way, let me assure you that I would buy a 4E D&D CRPG from Obsidian Entertainment regardless of whether I buy the PnP version of 4E or not. Whatever objections I may have towards the lack of simulationism of 4E in PnP don't really apply to the computer medium.

Edited by Magister Lajciak

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Thanks for the links, I hadn't read either before (only had the latter described to me)

 

Just out of interest, which of the classification systems do you prefer?

 

Both have their merits. If I have to chose I do prefer the SNG system though. If for nothing else that it's a theoretical model constructed by gamers as an attempt to analyze the games we play, rather than market researchers doing the same.

 

I also prefer the SNG system, because I can actually place myself somewhere in that system, whereas I cannot do so in the other system.

 

I'm like Spider on this one. The WotC version, amongst other things, seems a bit slipshod to me. That wouldn't matter, except that they aren't some small indie company. They're an established voice, perhaps one of the largest, in the gaming industry.


Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
Obsidian Plays


 
Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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Shields just grant special defensive abilities and don't improve AC? Rings sound interesting... almost like they're making them into artifact type items.

 

I think I'd rather have seen even less dependence on magic items, but I'm probably in the minority there.

 

That's easy. Don't drop a high number of stat boosting items for your players and balance encounters accordingly. Doh...

Edited by Stephen Amber

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That's easy. Don't drop a high number of stat boosting items for your players and balance encounters accordingly. Doh...

 

I was actually thinking more as a player. I really enjoy my character being the source of cool stuff, and would gladly have seen even fewer magic items. The fact that the game is balanced to have characters given magic weapons of lesser bonuses at certain levels is alright, but I'd rather just not have magic weapons that boost stats.


My blood! He punched out all my blood! - Meet the Sandvich

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