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GameDoc wrote:My impression is most of the detractors have looked through the books and formulated an opinion without actually playing the game. I haven't heard or read a negative review by anyone who actually sat down with a group and played 4E. I have seen posts by players who found that the reduced mechanics covering role-playing actually promoted more creative role-playing when the time came (this is what my group experienced too).
Put me in this category, too, please. When 4E was first announced, I hated the idea. I railed against it openly to any who would listen. Even after I got a look at some of the rules, there were things that I didn't like. But once I played my first real game using the rules, most of those doubts disappeared.
Is it perfect? No, not hardly. There are issues that I have with it; but then, I also have issues with True20
, which is one of my favorite systems. There are elements that I don't like. However, the good outweighs the bad.
My players and I have found that it is no more unfriendly to role-playing than any other system. The focus seems to be on combat, but that just frees you up to use your imagination when it comes to non-combat encounters.
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GameDoc wrote:4E supporters' posts tend to reference their experience playing the game; 4E detractors' posts tend not to.
I guess I am saying, don't knock it until you try it. At least, that's my philosophy.
I think my experience is a little opposite.
A lot of the supporters opinions that I have read have been 'I can't wait to play, it looks so good,' while a lot of the detractors I have read have been more along the lines of, 'my first game went this way, I didn't like it for all these reasons.'
I think it may be mainly because I want to read about what people are experiencing, and I may just be hitting the more negative posts.
The other experience I have with those who have played is those that I have talked to in my area. I haven't met anyone yet who had the fervent support for 4e that I see on these message boards. The unfortunate one was a game store owner who had a hard time saying anything good about it, and it was obvious he was trying as he wanted to sell the product, it just seemed that he didn't want to lie about it.
There are a lot of experiences in this world that I don't need to try to find out I wont like it, but as I have said previously, I will wait and see how things go before I give up completely. I just don't want to devote an amount of time to something that I don't think I will like, and that my gaming group has no interest in playing.
And, secondly, while I appreciate the positiveness of your philosophy, I can think of many things that you probably shouldn't try to see if you like, just because of what they are.
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GameDoc wrote:I"ll make an observation that seems to hold for this forum, as well as the other's I have seen at EN World, Wizards, etc.
4E supporters' posts tend to reference their experience playing the game; 4E detractors' posts tend not to.
My impression is most of the detractors have looked through the books and formulated an opinion without actually playing the game. ((SNIP))
Doc - - count me among those who HAVE played it and aren't pleased. But I have only played it in two sessions...is that enough? Will it satisfy an average 4e fan that it's just not for me?
I ask that question not to get an answer, but to allow me to make an additional observation, based not on this forum, but ENworld, RPGnet and a few other places...the same places you mention.
I will absolutely agree that play is the ultimate means to judge, and I will also agree that MANY people who criticize 4e are doing it based solely upon the texts. True in all the places you named.
However, what I have also seen in these other forums flows like this:
P1 - I don't like this and that about 4E
P2 - It's because you haven't played it. If you did you'd love it.
P1 - Actually, I played it last night, and this is how I feel
P2 - Well, I can't imagine how you'd expect to get a good understanding of how it plays based on just one session. So your opinion is not valid.
P1 - In fact it was our third session - we played for the past two weekends, and that's my conclusion.
P2 - Three sessions?!? That would only give you experience with one class - you need to play through it in more depth and try more classes to understand how great it is.
There are definitely a ton of people knocking without trying, but in those same forums people who do post play experiences that they didn't like get slammed, and another internet fight begins.
The problem I have is that the book as read contains rules that I think are either not my style, too vast a break with old D&D (minor), and not supportive of the type of campaigns I typically run. The game as PLAYED did nothing to remove this feeling for me. It felt far too much like a skirmish game combined with a little D&D and M:TG. When I tell supporters of 4e it's as if this is attacking them personally, and they insist that I don't have enough experience, I had the wrong DM, etc.
When our kids don't want to try something like hummus, we still make them take a 'No, Thank You' Bite....How much play time is required to count as my NTYB for 4E?
This is all aggravated by the complete lack of compatibility with 3e - - do I have to scrap all my old campaigns and dedicate myself to 4E for a year before I can decide whether or not it's for me? Two years?
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There's nothing wrong with disliking a game. 4th edition has some design principles and concepts that are completely at odds with what some people want.
I've got no problem with those complaints, and no one should. Taste is taste, and it is an entirely personal matter. No one's taste is 'wrong', they're just different.
I decided in one session that I actually liked 4th ed. If I can like it in one session then another person can dislike it in one session. It doesn't take a large sampling to realize that something isn't for you.
I know a couple of people who have played 4E and concluded that it wasn't for them. But most of the people I know who have played it found that they enjoyed it. They may not love it, but they had fun and that's really all that matters.
One friend of mine hates RPG combat. She finds it dull and uninspiring. She played a rogue in our first 4E game and loved it. She enjoyed the personality she gave to her character, how she interacted with the other players, and how she interacted with the world. And the party was glad to have her around, with her insights, creativity, and fun-loving character. She delighted in the combat system, how she could move herself and her opponents, how she could make the fight dramatically different by her choices and actions, and how she could use her character's abilities to reflect her character's personality.
The system isn't for everyone but it can be surprising who actually likes it.
The system has flaws. Which features are flaws and which aren't depends largely upon taste. Mechanically, it's difficult for PC to languish in bed for longer than a day, barring disease. Depending upon what you want to do, this may be a feature or a flaw.
But criticism should be based upon those flaws, not upon things that are system independent.
Role playing is almost entirely system independent. 4E supports role playing, and it does a good job of doing so; as good as, or better than, any system you want to point to. Which is why I defend 4E's role playing support.
4E supports tactical combat. Movement and position is very important, with teamwork and planning able to turn a fight from a party wipe into certain victory. Some people see this as a flaw, others see it as a feature, but it is a real aspect of the system and shouldn't be denied.
And so on.
As for the jerk defenders, there are jerks on the internet. They can be found in every topic, and always make everyone (even loosely) associated with them look bad. Which is why I make an effort to apologize for when I act like a jerk. Not everyone is as self-aware, nor do they all try to be polite (really, I do try. It may not seem like it, but I do).
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So, I'm about to start a 4e campaign, and I'm really excited about it. Let's look at the reasons why I'm using 4e and not a more elegant system like True20:
1. Easy Encounter Design
D&D has a plethora of interesting monsters and traps. They are organized both thematically and by level, and are easy to adjust if need be. The basic capabilities and function of the monsters are easy to identify so you can mix and match to get a variety. And, it's all balanced pretty well; at least, it's "close enough" that an encounter of the appropriate size and level won't be pushovers or a total party wipe. In other words, as a DM, the concept -> implementation process is faster, more flexible, and better balanced than in any other game I have seen (including M&M, which previously held this honor).
I had a bunch of other reasons, but they are all pretty minor compared to that one. I love to DM but my time and mental energy are very limited, so the more work the rules system can do for me, the better. That's kind of why I buy rules systems, really.
I should point out that I'm not really eager to play D&D as a player, because I think the opposite is the case: The concept -> implementation process for PCs is agonizingly slow, complicated, and horribly restrictive. Fortunately the group only has to go through this once, at the start of the campaign, but still, I wonder what the design team was thinking when they thought that was a good idea. True20 is way more character-creation friendly, and thus, more interesting to me as a player, because I would get to play the character that I really want to play.
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77IM - I will completely grant that encounter design seems easier out of the box.
For 3.5, I've already adjusted most encounters to get rid of all the feats and nonsense and reduce the creatures to something very similar to what 4e does.
Where 4e loses me is in the sea of names and roles for monsters - the Mogmon Grenadier, Mogmon Artillery, Mogmon Flanker, Mogmon Pepperpot, etc. It definitely makes setting up a multi-faceted encounter a breeze, but something about the names, the feel/mechanics, or both is what reinforces for me the tabletop miniatures skirmish game comparison that is out of line with my d&d needs.
But I will give you that encounters are easier to design
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I still haven't bought the books. Too busy making my own to bother with other companies books ATM.
I know a guy though, who swore he'd never buy a 4e book, but guess what, he bought the players handbook, and can't stop talking about it.
I haven't talked with him in a little while, but apparently he likes the system, which is something I'd never have expected from him. It's sometimes strange how people change their tune like that.
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I would like to clarify that I accept that 4e might be an awesome system, and might be mechanically better in many ways than 3.5.
However, my group and I agree on something which may make us unique - - feel follows from mechanics.
So if someone came out with a system called Shadowrun, that ran fifty times better than 3rd edition (I know little about 4th), but used d20s or percents, and only required one die per action, it would not FEEL like Shadowrun. 4e seems to do this and far more. Shadowrun is about trolls, elves, deckers and street mages, but it is ALSO about rolling a mighty handfull of d6s...is it a pain in the rump to count, roll and total the 23 d6s that this physical adept needs to roll whenever he climbs up a wall? Yep, but it's Shadowrun. I might be labeled a grognard, but it's not so much because I worship the system and think it's flawless, but that the feel of the game is mechanics dependent.
That's why I focus most of my dismay on the defenses in 4E - - it absolutely stinks that a failed saving throw in 3rd could kill you off, but D&D for us involves saving throws. That's why I'm less annoyed by the wiping out of skills in 4e than I am by these other mechanical changes.
Obviously saves aren't my only gripe...I'm not a big fan of any of the hit points and healing changes, in particular the idea that magic fails to work on someone who's 'already healed enough' in one day. And the idea of a strike here healing a friend there probably works great in terms of keeping battles rolling and keeping everyone in the action, but it goes a bit too far for me.
Whether this is a good thing or not remains to be seen, but the problems I have with 4e make it more likely that I'll be producing and marketing adventures and other material for 3.5, Pathfinder, and True20.
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I am glad to see there are in fact people have tried 4E and don't like it. I knew they had to be out there. As someone stated earlier in the thread, the gamers who post here are a little more mature and broad-thinking than in some other places, with reasons for their likes and dislikes. That's good - fanboys on either side of a debate can ruin the discussion for everyone.
Whatever system(s) you all use - happy gaming!
"Sometimes I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe..."
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