Author Topic: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)  (Read 6751 times)

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Necrosnoop110

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D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« on: September 28, 2011, 06:59:12 PM »
[This thread is not about edition X being better than edition Y]

I've been playing some form of D&D since AD&D 2nd Edition. I am familiar with all editions from the basic red box up to 4E. I've talked to many different age groups of players, old school and new. I get the impression that for every permutation of D&D, every new edition, there is always a core group who stays behind for whatever reason. During AD&D 2E I knew some diehards who were still using 1E, during 3E's reign I new a college group that still drug out 2E, etc. With that said, at each passing of the edition torch it seems like the majority of D&D players have upgraded to the newer edition, only a few would stay with the older editions. That was until 4E came upon the scene.

I have no actually numbers to back up any of this (if anyone does have statistics please post/link them as I'd love to see them) but it seems to me that D&D players have almost been split in two with the 3E vs 4E system controversy. It doesn't seem like it is just a few diehards but a significant amount of would-be D&D-ers have stuck with 3E or an alternate version of 3E.

I would argue that in an important sense 1E "revised and improved" upon 2E, 3E "revised and improved" upon 2E, however, 4E (regardless of whether you judge it good or bad system in its own right) largely abandoned this "revise and improve" path and created a "new game" altogether.

My open question for the forum is: where do you think this is all headed?

Will the OGL repackagings such as Pathfinder and the homebrews systems be enough to sustain the path of 3E minded D&D gamers? Will the classic 3E movement fade-out down to a few diehards? Will an official 5E D&D system come out that "revises and improves" upon 3E, hoping to reconsolidate the D&D gaming community?

Thoughts?

Cheers,
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« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 09:27:36 PM by Necrosnoop110 »

veekie

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2011, 07:26:25 PM »
Well, I don't know the details, but I think Pathfinder is currently neck and neck to 4E, so it's definitely pretty healthy.
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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2011, 08:42:41 PM »
^ that was my unscientific belief as well.

I think that 5E will present a real choice for WotC -- either go back to something more like 3E in critical ways (multiclassing, etc.) or revise and refine 4E.  I do believe that 4E split the fan base in a way that was pretty unprecedented.  Although that's not the only system that did it -- I think the nWOD did as well, although as far as I can tell it mostly succeeded in just killing the fanbase off.

Despite strong sales, I don't know if PF really is the new standard-bearer for 3E.  As has been illustrated on these boards at length, there is still a great amount of both skepticism and annoyance with their basic design philosophy.  Further, I think reviews complaining about very shoddy mechanics in their Ultimate Books of X lines (those are just the reviews I read on Paizo's own website) have undermined their ability to supplant 3E for the "hardcore" 3E fans.  I think unless PF/Paizo alters its design philosophy to a significant degree, there will still be a significant part of the 3E community (say 20% maybe?) that is active and relies on old 3E books or homebrew or smaller press productions.

For what it's worth, I have always felt that 4E was really the spiritual successor to AD&D.  Sure, there are lots of different mechanics, the resource management is totally different, and so forth.  But, in AD&D saying "I'm playing an Elven Ranger" told me a ton about your character.  In 3E, it tells me very very little, given multiclassing, ACFs, and just various build things. 

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 09:15:28 PM »
Naw, I remember reading that their sales were tied, but can't remember the source.

Remember, as far as the public is concerned, game mechanics doesn't matter. It needs to be saleable, it needs to grab your target audience's attention, and PF does all that. The design complaints are with the optimization community, which is a rather tiny slice compared to the people who would complain repeatedly and vocally if certain changes were made. The target audience is 'people who want to have 3E continue', they will do nothing to jeopardize that.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 09:47:48 PM »
Threshold

If done properly, I think Threshold (or rather the approach) is *the* approach a lot of customization centered players are looking for. A system that actually lets you piecemeal the person you play, and build the entire PC from the ground up, using a personal concept not a preconceived template... That's the ultimate leap for role-play (in my opinion >_>). Obviously structure is needed, and templates can still be used to provide boxed classes or builds to help familiarize people with a build-it-yourself system.

I'll admit I get a bit over-excited when I think of the possibilities, and I haven't had the time to delve into Threshold's guts, but the IDEA is stellar, imo. It's a system design I've toyed with, myself, for a long, long time. If a group could harness that properly, I think that would not only be a logical evolution, but in a sense, a 'revise and improve' step as well. Especially coming from a system as liquid as 3.5 is.

>_>
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 09:49:45 PM by SquishE »

kitep

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 09:51:28 PM »
I haven't been to a convention in years.  What are the majority of games there - 3E or 4E?

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 10:14:26 PM »
Naw, I remember reading that their sales were tied, but can't remember the source.
It's true, but isn't exactly a good sign. 4e isn't selling that well, with several books being cancelled and main designers from it sacked. Not to mention they've officialy moved into 4.5 Essentials now

Remember, as far as the public is concerned, game mechanics doesn't matter. It needs to be saleable, it needs to grab your target audience's attention, and PF does all that. The design complaints are with the optimization community, which is a rather tiny slice compared to the people who would complain repeatedly and vocally if certain changes were made. The target audience is 'people who want to have 3E continue', they will do nothing to jeopardize that.

On the other hand, most "casual" D&D players I know around my area don't even know pathfinder, let alone play it.

In the net forums, I get more of the impression that the people who do like PF treat it more as yet another splatbook to 3.5 than any kind of "sucessor". Grab whatever you like and don't use the rest. Check out this gitp discussion for example. Also if you check the 3.5 section there you'll see there's relatively few threads specific about pathfinder.

So meh, pathfinder may be selling, but in terms of raw number of players, 3.X is the true king, with each group using their own houserules around the main core of 3.5, which provides more than a lifetime's worth of material, before you count all the homebrew out there.

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2011, 12:36:41 AM »
Quote
So meh, pathfinder may be selling, but in terms of raw number of players, 3.X is the true king, with each group using their own houserules around the main core of 3.5, which provides more than a lifetime's worth of material, before you count all the homebrew out there
For once... I agree with Oslecamo, I see that as well. People play a hodgepodge of 3.X and houserule. I'm in a few gaming circles and pay close attention to what goes on at about 3 flgs as far as events. I know of 1 4.X game and 4, 3.X games, I know anecdotal evidence doesnt' count for much but thats what I've witnessed.
  I have a hard stance against some of the rules changes that pathfinder made, but I am glad that someone is still putting out some form of 3.X material.

Quote
Will an official 5E D&D system come out that "revises and improves" upon 3E, hoping to reconsolidate the D&D gaming community?
It'll take a while to realize inadvertently splitting the game along edition lines is what ruined the market for Wotc. The might do this but...
They won't be able to do this for a while because no one trusts them. I suspect there'll be a shelving of the product and some whoring out of the title to a few videogames, but ... hasbro is smart even if the dev team is not. It'll take years and then they'll have a D&D resurgence. However, they can do a lot to shorten that time by getting a cartoon up and having an actual GOOD video game on the home platform. I think. . .
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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2011, 01:31:10 AM »
Well, I don't know the details, but I think Pathfinder is currently neck and neck to 4E, so it's definitely pretty healthy.
I thought PF was doing better, but I don't have any sources to cite. I know 3.x is to date D&D's most popular edition.
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veekie

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2011, 04:21:26 AM »
Paizo's profit model is to keep their core customer base happy (thats the people who shot down a good number of fixes) and publishing adventures and setting supplements over rulebooks. They had a good reputation for those and damn if they aren't going to milk it for all its worth.

Bit hard to contest against 3.5's decade long reign, but they aren't planning to beat it, just make a neat little pile of cash.
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2011, 05:14:09 AM »
My open question for the forum is: where do you think this is all headed?

Will the OGL repackagings such as Pathfinder and the homebrews systems be enough to sustain the path of 3E minded D&D gamers? Will the classic 3E movement fade-out down to a few diehards? Will an official 5E D&D system come out that "revises and improves" upon 3E, hoping to reconsolidate the D&D gaming community?
I find it strange that with all the talk of 5e D&D, nobody mentions the inevitable arrival of 2e PF. I also find it odd that discussions like this always talk about the gamer community as if it's a static ageless population.

In short, I think that games are cyclical. There are always past-edition diehards, but those gamers will never incentivize WotC or Paizo to stick with any given edition, or to truly 'go back.' A new edition will always be the best eventual business strategy, because there will always be a good chunk of the gamer population willing to buy into the new edition just to stay 'supported' (see Midnight's comment), and there will always be brand new gamers who don't care about the older editions.

That's not to say we'll never see 3e style multiclassing again, or whatever, but WotC will never officially revamp 3e. And Paizo will eventually have to publish a new game too, even if it's called PF 2e.

For some more detailed and self-indulgent thoughts of mine, This Has All Happened Before, and This Will All Happen Again.

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 12:31:38 AM »
I was lurking at gamingden, where they have one of this type of thread.
Someone posted a link to "guesses" from gaming store owners,
as to what is selling. PF and 4e/Essentials are neck and neck.
idk how accurate all those game store dudes wanna be ; I just don't know.

Amazon - otoh - uses a rather straightforward ranking metric.
And they do it for all those other 99.999% of the books and stuff they sell.
PF and 4e/Essentials are again very close.

Very strangely both the 3.0e and 3.5e PHBs are (still !!) on the list at #10 and #16.
I don't know wtf is this interwebs joojle thing like whatever.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 09:00:03 PM by awaken DM golem »

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2011, 12:33:23 AM »

So meh, pathfinder may be selling, but in terms of raw number of players, 3.X is the true king, with each group using their own houserules around the main core of 3.5,

which provides more than a lifetime's worth of material, before you count all the homebrew out there.

This.

Quote
Will an official 5E D&D system come out that "revises and improves" upon 3E, hoping to reconsolidate the D&D gaming community?

It'll take a while to realize inadvertently splitting the game along edition lines is what ruined the market for Wotc. The might do this but...

And this.


If they figured out an el-cheapo way to merge 3e + 4e ...  ???
« Last Edit: October 21, 2011, 12:36:50 AM by awaken DM golem »

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2011, 10:26:26 AM »
Well, if I got exactly what I wanted with 5e, it would be the balance of 4e with the versatility and options of 3.5.

4e is a lot more balanced. But it plays like a MMORPG, it's very limited to what you can do. That is what makes it so unappealing to me.
3.5 have all these wonderful options for you to really do a lot of fun stuff, but the balance is sorely lacking.

If I had to choose I would pick 3.5 with some houserules every day of the year.

As to where it's heading...
Wherever it needs to go for WotC to earn money. For both good and bad
If they think they can get more money going with the attitude they had with 4 edition, that's were they're going to go.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 10:28:27 AM by Shadowhunter »
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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2011, 03:39:14 AM »
4e is a lot more balanced. But it plays like a MMORPG, it's very limited to what you can do. That is what makes it so unappealing to me.
3.5 have all these wonderful options for you to really do a lot of fun stuff, but the balance is sorely lacking.
If I had to choose I would pick 3.5 with some houserules every day of the year.
+1

There is definitely a market out there for such a beast, one that takes the balance of 4E and marries it with the options of 3E. Pathfinder has failed to do that in my opinion. Maybe 2E PF will have a better go at it like Tequila Sunrise had suggested. As I indicated in the OP a hardcore group always stays behind as the the editions evolve and new gamers come online but what I like about the state of 3E is there are so many different groups and projects for revisions and houserule patches. With the OGL and a strong 3E online community I'm excited about what will come down the line. Whether this D&D evolution is an "official and premier D&D edition" will matter less and less, I suspect, as self publishing becomes cheaper and better. I make no claims to certainty on anything I'm just curious as how things will pan out. 

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2011, 05:04:04 AM »
With all the questions I've been asking around here, I can tell you this:

A new game is on the rise.

3.x is a lot more balanced if the group is well-acquainted with the rules.  (Banning infinite and nearly-infinite loops also helps.)  House rules exist largely to aid balance and clarify the ambiguous ("wuh?") stuff.

Part of 4E's design strategy was reducing options and making things closer in power to one another.  If 3.x could do the same, and were fun, people would love it.  Calling it D&D may help with recognition, but it doesn't need the D&D logo.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 05:05:59 AM by Endarire »
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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2011, 08:41:17 AM »
^^
The problem was reducing options.

You ever seen people when you take their candy away?
The mind transcends the body.
It's also a little cold because of that.
Please get it a blanket.

I wish I could read your mind,
I can barely read mine.

"Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. At 2:15, it begins rolling up characters."

[spoiler]
"Just what do you think the moon up in the sky is? Everyone sees that big, round shiny thing and thinks there must be something round up there, right? That's just silly. The truth is much more awesome than that. You can almost never see the real Moon, and its appearance is death to humans. You can only see the Moon when it's reflected in things. And the things it reflects in, like water or glass, can all be broken, right? Since the moon you see in the sky is just being reflected in the heavens, if you tear open the heavens it's easy to break it~"
-Ibuki Suika, on overkill

To sumbolaion diakoneto moi, basilisk ouranionon.
Epigenentheto, apoleia keraune hos timeis pteirei.
Hekatonkatis kai khiliakis astrapsato.
Khiliarkhou Astrape!
[/spoiler]

There is no higher price than 'free'.

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Necrosnoop110

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2011, 03:02:36 PM »

archangel.arcanis

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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2011, 04:49:50 PM »
Well I guess I'm kinda the odd man out. I loved 3.5 for a long time and still play d20 derivations of it, currently in a WoT game, but I'm pretty much done with it. I realized that I wasn't getting what I really wanted out of the game. If I played a caster I had to self gimp so as to not over shadow the group and game, If I played a non-caster I always felt like I should be able to do more than I am (and often still had to self gimp to not overshadow the other players).

I have played a little 4e and it is fun and quick, but it lacks depth. I know I would quickly get bored with it if I tried to play a campaign using those rules.

I have pretty well determined I'm moving on to another gaming system and have been looking for years for one that I liked. GURPS wasn't it, it is too intricate and lacks the quick ease of making an adventure. WoD didn't really do it for me, though the old books were incredibly well written and entertaining. Right now I'm looking at a fledgling system (Arcanis) and liking what I see, but it is still young and slow to develop as it is by a small company. So the search will continue, either way I know 3.X won't do it for me anymore, 4e isn't it, 5e will get consideration but likely not much more.
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Re: D&D Edition Battle Royal (There Can Be Only One?)
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2011, 07:36:31 PM »
I am shocked that I still find interesting things to play and new and interesting combos in 3.5 D&D, which I play in a moderately house-ruled gentleman's agreement variety.  It's helped a little bit that I'm with new players, who are still trying stuff out -- my gf started playing her first real wizard character just recently. 

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You may want to check out Wild Talents/Godlike.  I like the system quite a bit, and it's very different from D&D and d20. 

That being said, I have found absolutely no other gaming system where it's as easy to whip up adventures as D&D.  In part, it's a genre thing:  D&D plots are real easy to put together.  But, I think it's really just the big fat monster manuals that I know reasonably well.  In other games, I have to spend the time making NPCs and the like, which is a huge time sink.