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Indy Gaming Message Board General Gaming › Why 4.0?

Why 4.0?

A former member
Post #: 2
I'm having problems finding a gaming group because everyone is switching to 4.0, while I would like to play 3.5. I've heard 4.0 is basically the equilant of playing WoW or EQ and it just doesn't appeal to me. Can someone tell me if it really is better, and what the pros and cons are verses 3.5?
Indianapolis, IN
Post #: 3
I just picked up a copy of the 4.0 Player's Handbook while the wife and I were at InConJunction over the holiday weekend. I love 3.5 but decided to take a look at 4.0 to see what all the fuss is about. I still love 3.5 and am not entirely impressed by 4.0. The game has been simplified, which is great for the newbies, but done at the expense of 3.5's supreme flexibility in the ways you could customize your character. I was disappointed that they left out the Monk as a PC class, but somewhat comforted by the promise of its inclusion in a future book. In 3.5, Clerics and Wizards had access to literally hundreds of spells, and could change their mix depending on the expected challenges. In 4.0, they have access to a comparative handful of prayers(cleric) and spells(wizard), with only a limited ability to change the lineup and not nearly as much variety. This is only weakly addressed by the inclusion of rituals, which any character can learn if they take the Ritual Caster feat. I am especially disappointed in the multiclassing options. In 3.5, you could take levels in another class or classes and gain their full capabilities. In 4.0, you spend a feat to gain the basic capabilties of another class, and must spend additional feats to gain their other capabilites. In 3.5, you had the prestige classes, in which any character who met the prerequisites could take levels. In 4.0, you have paragon paths that can be chosen at 11th level, they are specific to each class (4 for each, but perhaps more choices in later books). In 4.0, you also have Epic Destinies which you can chose from at 21st level. There are only 4 to choose from, 2 that can be taken by anyone, 1 with prerequisites, and 1 that is specific to the Wizard. Maybe they'll offer mor choices in future books. I haven't read any of the other books yet, but my impression is that once you choose your class in 4.0, you're basically shoehorned into that role almost exclusively regardless of how you might like to branch out. 4.0 is ok, but I really don't see why they went there in the first place as I do not think it is an improvement over 3.5.
Indianapolis, IN
Post #: 22
Can someone tell me if it really is better, and what the pros and cons are verses 3.5?

I find it very disheartening that almost all of the negative comments I read and hear about 4E are from people that have never played a session of it.

Angela, I've played every edition of D&D (since 1982 in fact). My group were playtesters for 3E and I've written many articles and adventures for Dragon and Dungeon Magazines and other d20 companies. I've also worked as an editor and playtester for Kenzer & Company's Kingdoms of Kalamar d20 products.

I can honestly say that as a player, writer, editor, and especially a Dungeon Master, that 4E is the best version of the game yet. It's far simpler and, most importantly, less broken. The biggest complaint about 4E that you'll hear is that it has fewer options than 3E... Well, of course it does. After 10 years in the market, 3E had gotten completely out of hand, terribly unbalanced, and overly complicated. The designers themselves said that, toward the end of 3E, they were finding it almost impossible to create anything under the system without breaking something else. Now, a lot of the options are being slowly brought back into 4E—with better balance and playability in mind.

One of the biggest issues with 3E (and all the earlier editions of D&D) is that the classes didn't really have the powers they needed to fulfill the roles they needed to play in an adventuring party. 4E has changed that and the entire game runs better because of it. There are fewer characters stepping on each other's toes and everyone has a moment where they shine in most encounters. Heck, in my honest opinion, D&D has had the worst magic system in the RPG industry since its creation and 4E is worth trying just because the designers were brave enough to kill that sacred cow and build a fantantic new one from the ground up.

And as far as D&D 4E being like WoW or any other video game—it's not. Video games have been trying to be more like D&D for years now and, consequently, they've had a few good ideas along the way. Thankfully, the 4E designers noticed some of the really good ideas and subtly implemented them into the game. D&D is a better game for it and, most importantly, it's a hell of a lot more fun. You'll also hear people comment that all of the "roleplaying" aspect of the game have been removed. That is also incorrect. As a matter of fact, 4E is the first edition to include rules for skill-based encounters (called skill challenges) that make them just as important and worth just as much XP as combat.

Please, don't take my word for it. Play in a 4E game and see what you think. If you'd like, I'd be happy to run something for you or you could set in on one of our games.
Fishers, IN
Post #: 205
More like an MMORPG? I've heard that a lot. And it's true to me only in so far as it has made the character play options very compartmentalized.

Having played 4.0 a few times.. I didn't like it because it stripped out the skill point distribution which, to me, was the most important part of character generation. I'm the kinda player who likes to have a once a week dinner party with 4 or 5 of my closest personal friends during which we have capricious adventures with our finely tooled, well loved charcters that we have created unique mini's for. It's all about the character, the story and the experiance of going on adventures with friends.

While playing 4.0 for an entire weekend at The DnD Experiance I noticed that the system did allow someone to click into the game quickly. The removal of all those alternate rule sets and expansions stripped out a large % of the things that players would argue over. It had a very distinct.. shut up, sit down, play.. now, wasn't that fun? Feel.

I found it to be a couple notches over Descent.. which I also like playing.

A GOOD DnD game requires time and other people who will play with you first and foremost.. after those things everyone has a different interpretation of what comprises a "good" game. I wouldn't look too deeply into the technical differences.. just do whatever you have time to learn and other people to play with.

There are people still playing the basic edition and having a lovely time. No Dungeons and Dragons game will ever result in the construction of a real life water treatment plant or cure to hepititus.. so if you are sweating the rules, statistics, structure, and details that much you should be applying your giant brain and massive store of spare time into generating something tangible. Otherwise, find the time and whoever is willing to play with you and have a good time.

However.. I add this from having demo'd Hackmaster with the creator of the game at Origin's this year ( I never knew how deeply I loved 3.5 till it was too late apparently).. dnd 3.5 is the greatest RPG rules set of all time. It allowed you to create any character from any world with comparitive simplicity for the level of customization your character would have. 4.0 gets you playing faster and reduces infighting.. apples/ oranges in my book. I'd run either based on the group I was playing with.

Peace, Love, and Natural 20's!
user 10004142
Indianapolis, IN
Post #: 3
The biggest pro, in my opinion, is that the classes are actually reasonably balanced now. Playing a fighter-type is a lot more fun when they can actually perform the tank role they're "supposed" to thanks to game mechanics. For the most part, everyone has something interesting to do every round of combat in a well-designed encounter; at the bare minimum, you have at least two at-will abilities to choose from, so ideally a battle is less likely to break down into "I hit him with my sword again." Wizards at first level can throw magic missiles all day--no more feeling useless when you've run out of spells! Conversely, wizards at mid-to-high levels do not automatically become overpowered. The ritual system replaces non-combat utility magic; it could use a few tweaks, but the principle isn't bad. While casters in 3.5e had more options, many of the same abilities are still available in some form or another. You just generally can't have one wizard turn a whole party into flying invisible hasted giant-sized bruisers or use some other spell combination/trick to control the entire battlefield.

The simplified skill system really isn't actually bad; it guarantees that your character will be good at x number of skills, considerably better than anyone else of their level, and considerably reduces the potential for making "bad" choices. In fact, that seems to be a major design goal of 4e--make it much harder for players to make "bad" choices during character creation that will result in them being forced to play weak or uninteresting characters later (the retraining option is a great example).

Arguably, the biggest "con" is that the game's rules are a little thin on how to handle various non-combat situations. But what do you need rules for those things for anyway? If you need to test the character's social skills, you have Diplomacy and other checks you can make; beyond that, I see it as being a system that encourages you to improvise or go with whatever makes sense when the rules don't cover a particular issue. I've always found that to be one of the most liberating game design principles as a DM, so I can't really complain too loudly that it's a flaw.
A former member
Post #: 66
I have to agree with all the points Rob mentioned earlier.
I was downright upset at the announcement of 4e. Being an avid gamer of RPG's. I bought the little preview books which softened me a bit I suppose. When my 4e core books arrived (Player's guide, Dungeon master's guide and Monster manual), I read them, my group played two weeks later. That first game although had a few minor kinks as we were trying to forget the third edition rules and use the new ones; we probably had the most fun in a long long time. Every class fell into have an actual role to play that was important to the group organism. Teamwork is emphasized in 4e and felt by the powers each player used. Now don't get me wrong 3e was brilliant in many respects. And 3e does have more options with character design, but we are only into the first year with 4e. I expect in the years to come more options, specializations, and peculiarities will manifest and soon that will not be a viable response.

I guess long story short, Try 4e with an open mind. In my opinion it is probably the best D&D system yet. It is straight forward to play, judge, and create(monsters, items, player characters) within its rule set. I find myself and my players role-play more in 4e than we did with 3e(I think the rp argument is very subjective). I also found in my experiences that most negative comments about 4e seem to generally come from those who never played it.
user 3162591
Indianapolis, IN
Post #: 20
I agree that there were some great points to the previous editions of the game, but as players got more powerful the gap between power gamers and regular players got bigger and bigger. Also, certain classes were able to slaughter other as they advanced. I had a sorcerer just before we switched over and at level 12 he was out damaging everything around him. I could do almost double my HP in damage with a single attack.

My group has been playing 4ed since it came out, and I can tell you that so far the discrepancy is less. As a DM I find encounters are able to be difficult without being ridiculous. I also like the additional options that they have provided with terrain and other hazards.

I agree that 4ed is combat heavy and has let some of the RP slide away, but in my opinion a good group of players and a good DM can make up for that without a problem. We have still been able to have puzzle sessions with almost no combat, and the skill challenge system has allowed some of the players that are not just beat sticks to really shine in tough situations.

Everyone should at least give 4ed a try. With all the splat books and options that Wizards has put out you can make a very diverse and unique character that can function in combat and out. To be honest I still miss the complexities of THAC0, but that doesn't mean I think it was the best system for the game.
Indianapolis, IN
Post #: 48
<---Still playing 2nd Edition (mostly with me 10 year old son) when he has time to play at all.wink
Michael D.
user 10746596
Bloomington, IN
Post #: 1
All awesome points here. I like to point out Heather's counterpoint to the "4th ed has done away with the roleplaying" argument. She's totally right. How you play the game is up to you and no game or ruleset is gonna change that. Hell, you can roleplay with Monopoly if you really wanted to. It's just up to you and your friends and how they want to play.

Now that some time has passed since the OP, I hope people see that 4th edition was started with "limited" options because they were planning on releasing more addons that actually fit into the game instead of as an after thought like previous versions. All the extra books work completely well within the estabilished system. Want more spells? Buy the Arcane Powers book. Want more classes? Buy the Players Handbook 2. Want more monsters? Buy the Monsters Manual 2.

I know the arguement is that they want you to buy more and more books but I ask you this, don't you want them to stay in business? Also, let me tell you that the "Core Books" have PLENTY of options. The additional books just expand on those options for people who want more than the base to play with. You absolutely don't need to buy anything beyond the PHB and the MM to fully enjoy D&D. The same has thing with any other previous version. This one just has added books that work by initial design.

4th edition is by far the simplest version to date. Is it for everyone? Nothing is for everyone. If you like tweaking absolutely everything you could imagine but have some really breaking mechanics then play 2nd. You like things to click together like a puzzle and everyone be balanced yet have less than unlimited options? Play 4th. Want something in between play 3rd. The choice is yours.
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