Bits Of My Brain

Gaming, Fiction, Rants, Raves, and other Tidbits, from Todd @ BrushOrDie.com

Fourth Edition: Critical Hit or Fumble?

Posted by Todd on August 24, 2007

Yes, the folks at Wizards of the Coast announced the upcoming arrival of D&D v4.0 at GenCon, and the oline world of gamers is a-buzz about it.  So why not chime in?

First, let’s get our “facts” straight, by means of links to what I would consider reliable sources on the topic. 

The first place to look should be Wizards’ own site.  The next best place to take it all in could very well be YouTube.com.  In a series of videos, you can see the presentation that Wizards gave at GenCon, and some behind the scenes interviews.  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  etc.  Of course, it may be possible that they are a bit biased, as it is their product that they are pimping. 

EN World has an entire page dedicated to the latest scoop on 4e that though admittedly not a direct source from Wizards, does give many insights and “insider info” to consider.

Since we won’t see it until May of 08, everything is based on speculation, even the stuff coming from WotC  because it’s so far off who knows what they’ll change their mind about.

From my perspective, it’s a  double-edged sword either way (nevermind the pun). Here’s my quick and dirty:

Cons:

  1. All of the old books are going to be out of date. Sure, we can do some converting, but that just adds to prep time.
  2. The rules seem to be slated to be “dumbed down”. I’m all down for simplicity, but not so simple that there’s no challenge.
  3. Reduction of core classes and addition of “defined roles”. To me, one of the things that made versions 3.X better than the ones before it are the variety of character types and customization of the same.
  4. Fourth edition will not be Open in the sense it is now. Players may submit items to Wizards’ site (and then they can use it as if it were their own), and companies can produce lisenced supplements, but that implies that they pay for it. No more freebies.
  5. It just plain leaves a bad taste in my mouth. From the beginning of the GenCon presentation, it seems way too marketing oriented

Pros

  1. No one says we have to “upgrade” to 4. There is plenty of 3.5 stuff out there, and from what I hear, while v4 isn’t OGL, all the other companies can still produce 3.5 compatible stuff (which, I imagine they will).
  2. Dungeon and Dragon Magazines will be online editions. This is something I had always sort of wished for.
  3. The addition of other online resources. If the DM aids and other programs they speak of become a reality (and are worth a crap) then I feel this will be a great stride in the right direction. Has anyone else been frustrated with the limitations of “e-Tools”?
  4. They might just surprise us. Like I said above, no one has any susbtantial information concerning specifics. Maybe the changes will be for the better. I liked 3rd ed better than 2nd. and I liked that better than 1st.

We’ll just have to wait and see…That’s all I’ve got for now.

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