Author Topic: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?  (Read 8854 times)

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Endarire

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4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« on: July 06, 2009, 06:14:22 PM »
D&D 4e's been out over a year, allowing many who initially withheld comment about the system time to play it.

After playing 4e, how does 4e compare to your expectations?

What do you prefer about 4e over 3.x?  Where does 3.x do it better for you?

Do you see yourself sticking with 3.x, 4e, or some other tabletop system?
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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2009, 08:21:01 PM »
After playing 4e, how does 4e compare to your expectations?
It's as I expected, a well-done action-oriented combat system that I can layer on plots and adventures. All of my 3.x house rules go away, because 4E handles the situations I made house rules for.

What do you prefer about 4e over 3.x?  Where does 3.x do it better for you?
I prefer 4E for the variety of actions a player has, and the ease that a DM can throw together a series of encounters for an adventure. I really like that Paladin's no longer can just see who the evil villain is right from the start. I like the better balance of classes. I like that races have things that make them unique from one another.

For 3.x, I still like the Saving Throws. As a DM, I like to be able to toss a spell at a PC and force them to roll the dice to save themselves. Its more exciting than the players just hoping that I roll low.

Do you see yourself sticking with 3.x, 4e, or some other tabletop system?
I mostly DM, and will probably only DM for 4e from now on. I'm tired of building encounters in 3.x. I'm tired of trying to justify why I want to give a monster +x AC with feats and powers. I'm tired of long 3.x monster stat blocks.

4E seems geared towards my one-shot games too, which is I run 95% of the time.

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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2009, 09:00:52 PM »
Quote
After playing 4e, how does 4e compare to your expectations?

Poorly. They took the best parts of the Bo9S (encounter-based abilities that can recharge themselves), the worst parts about spells (Rituals have the longest casting times, and impractical durations to make up for it, and cut into your WBL considerably), and threw out one of the best guidelines they had (the WBL chart was turned into the whole "Parcels" idea, which means a DM has to spend hours trying to figure out how much treasure a party needs to be able to take on encounters), then put it in a blender. Then they decided that classes shouldn't have a unique Recovery mechanic, and that damage should be the only option (I'm for that last one, but not when the encounters have HP in the hundreds by level 8).

And then there's multiclassing...
Quote
What do you prefer about 4e over 3.x?  Where does 3.x do it better for you?

HP, that's about it. 3.5 has Home Brew support, a WBL chart, classes that are not carbon copies of a freaking cookie cutter, and better fluff for a lot of classes. Oh, and they will never print a 4E version of the MoI that will satisfy me, as the original system is completely incompatible with 4E.

4E's combats tend to be very bland use of the Spam button. 3.5 did have its novas, but in 4E you have to mini-nova every encounter that doesn't consist of 95% minions or else you waste too many resources recuperating from the damages. You can't do a time-attack style situation without the players running bone-dry after 3 encounters, as the benefits for getting a milestone are wasted when you take an extended rest.

In 3.5, you can do a stamina or time-attack style dungeon and never have to worry about the players, provided they catch on within the 2nd battle. The players have the option of going nova and dying after 2 battles or spacing their abilities out and never needing to rest until after the 7th fight. If they are the right classes, you can end up going much longer than that. I've done games where the players cleared a 15 encounter dungeon without stopping to refresh spells (they took 2 minutes to heal up with wands about 1/3 of the way through, and the occasional 10-minute break to refresh a few maneuvers/ritual feats, but that's it). They had a hard time with that one, but felt it was worth-while.

I can't do that in 4E. Ever!

Quote
Do you see yourself sticking with 3.x, 4e, or some other tabletop system?

Let me put it this way: I'm the last 3.5 DM in all of my entire city. Everyone within a 15 mile radius of my house (which is situated nicely near the middle of town) prefers 4E, as they think it's less broken (of course it is! They hit everyone with a nerf bat, then gave the encounters the best abilities).

I'm the kind of person who plays FPSs for the sake of testing my ability to adapt to situations where I'm either outgunned or outclassed. In 3.5, I found I was quite capable of dealing with damn near anything my players could think up, and I was always able to put myself a step ahead of them with a little preparation. When I played instead of DMing, I ended up being the most flexible and  reliable player in the group due to my optimization skills and solid tactical thinking. The enemies could not stand up to me unless they were 6 or more levels above me, and I even held back at times to draw things out.

I've tried starting my own system (it didn't even get out of mapping, though I did get some good ideas from the experience). I'm working with a few others to try and design one, though I haven't got much done for that one either.

If I could start a 3.5 game IRL, I'd do my best to keep it floating. I'd have to design my own module to do that, which would take a month or so (not counting the effort needed to get maps for the encounters).

I don't see myself DMing another 4E game for a long time.


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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2009, 09:12:13 PM »
I like it fine - it's a great action-adventure game.  I never really played 3.X the way Sinfire Titan describes, so I don't miss any of that.  I play and run quite a bit of 4E through the RPGA, but I still like 3.X as well.

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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2009, 09:58:22 PM »
I prefer 3.5E but I do like 4E and I intend to play the two in parallel.

Disclosure of my bias:
1) I like to have varied & "cool" mechanical options so in 3.5E that led me towards caster (or casterish - Binders & co) or ToB characters. I'd play a 4E Fighter, not a 3.5E one.

2) I care about out of combat stuff as much as combat stuff.

IMO 4E does well on 1), bringing options to every class and toning down classes that were potentially out of hand, but not so well on 2). Rituals are clunky (10 minutes ? why, oh, why ?), utility powers too limited in number to be able to afford quirky but suboptimal ones.

Good 4E stuff:
- meaningful tactical combat (I'll focus on movement here). In 3.5E movement is about Tumbling, there are few ways to move enemies (Bull Rushes suck except for specific builds), alternate movement options like teleportation too often take a standard action... In 4E you can move allies, enemies.

- teamwork is built-in. Too often in 3.5E it doesn't matter if people work together or separately.

- more streamlined

- better balance out of the box, so less need for houserules

- hybrids are a decent replacement for multiclassing. They're often a bit too weak but hopefully that will get better (without letting already good combos go out of hand !).

Bad stuff:
- regarding skills: Skill Challenges don't work as written. I'd have kept a few more skills around.

- not quite enough options for my taste. I'd rather have more daily item uses, more encounter powers, etc... as early as the Heroic tier.

- padded sumo monsters - the DM has to fix that manually by lowering their HPs. This is probably not a problem for super-optimized parties though.

- rituals: weak, costly, too long to use.

- they threw away a lot of interesting stuff like illusions. Silent Image, where art thou ?

I'm forgetting a lot of things but it's a start.
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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2009, 10:21:39 PM »
My main complaint about 4e is how it handles out of combat stuff. Nearly all powers are strictly for use in combat (all attack powers, obviously, plus a vast majority of utilities - there's a few skill-enhancers thrown in, but that's about it), and rituals are ridiculously expensive and impractical to use. However, I like the way many spells and abilities in 3.5 could essentially do double-duty, being effective both in combat and out of combat.
I like the tactical aspect of 4e, and how it basically forces DMs to use maps in battle. I've never been a fan of narrative combat, because I have a hard time forgetting about the tactical movement aspect. In battles without combat maps, I very often find myself asking "with my 20 ft. movement, can I move to flank this guy", "How many enemies will I hit with my Grease spell", etc.
The teamwork reliance touched upon earlier is, for me, a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is true that the whole role system emphasises teamwork and unity within the group. On the other hand, I play pretty much exclusively play-by-post, and mostly on myth-weavers.com, as I haven't seen any 4e games here. Now, MW uses an application system that practically forces people to have their characters already done when the game starts, with little to no chance of knowing who else will play. This very often results in completely asynergistic parties where each character is basically on his own all over again, and often I'm the only (or one of maybe two or three) optimized character in the group. Of course, I can't tell anyone what they should play, and when I maqke suggestions in the direction of emphasising power, I usually get poor (albeit not necessarily unfriendly) responses. I realize that this problem is largely confined to me and people that play mostly PbP like me, but it frustrates me and has colored my view of the edition nonetheless.
Finally, mayn people have complained that they oversimplified 4e in comparison to 3.5. While noone can deny that many things about the system are vastly simpler than in 3.5, I find this criticism to be very exaggerated much of the time. 3e's complexity is, however, still one of its major draws for me, as I love to mess around with numbers and big, complicated rulesets.

To sum it up, I quite like 4e despite its shortcomings, and will continue to play it, but I am and will likely stay primarily a 3.5 player.
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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2009, 12:17:49 AM »
I enjoy both 3.5 and 4e.
In general, I enjoy DMing 4e more than 3.5, but it can get old really quickly.
I enjoy playing both of them quite a bit.

I haven't gotten a hold of it, but rumor has it that the Monster Manual 2 did a better job balancing monsters (less HP, more damage, a few other things), and if so, I'll be using it a lot more than MM1.

I'll likely end up playing a lot more 4e than 3.5, but only because it's far more popular.
Given a chance, I'd play in either one.

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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2009, 01:12:28 AM »
I like both, and I'll pretty much only play 4e from here on.

3.5e is a more ambitious ruleset.  It appeals to my simulationist leanings by trying to model large amounts of the underlying 'physics' of the gameworld.  4e is far looser, which is why many people (including me) find a lack.  4e is also significantly more successful.  I like that it is comparatively balanced, and that you can actually play up in epic levels.  I like the ability to craft encounters quickly as a DM.  I like the absence of that sense of mechanic-related doom that came upon 3.5e games as they got higher in level.

I think as 4e matures, I should be able to craft it into exactly what I'm after.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2009, 01:15:39 AM by anomalousman »

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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2009, 04:07:22 PM »
D&D 4e's been out over a year, allowing many who initially withheld comment about the system time to play it.

After playing 4e, how does 4e compare to your expectations?

What do you prefer about 4e over 3.x?  Where does 3.x do it better for you?

Do you see yourself sticking with 3.x, 4e, or some other tabletop system?

I've gotten to play a decent bit over the year though not a lot.

I'd say 4E plays pretty well so far but then I have only played and DMed heroic tier so far.

One thing I think they did good in improving for 4E is making races more mechanically distinct.  This is even better in that they did it without using penalties to do it.

4E also does a good job of making combat more tactical in nature.  There is a lot of eb, flow, movement, and interplay throughout combat that is enjoyable and I am certain some prefer that tactical aspect more than 3.5's generally less tactical and more strategic play.

I currently still prefer 3.5 over 4E but both are enjoyable and in general I do not try to compare them.  To me they are similar but different fun games each which brings its own style to the table.

For miniature combat type stuff I think 4E is much better and it pretty much necessitates miniatures. 3.5 benefits from them as well but they are less demanded by the nature of the game mechanics.

I think that is probably one of the reasons I still prefer 3.5 over 4E.  Most of my D&D years had been done without Minis and I like the flow that we had without using minis.  We had very interesting combats but they did not take as long so the story aspects of the game could progress more fluidly.  I realize that much of that has to do with the particular DM we had at the time however.

As I explained to one of my friends I somewhat consider 4E a fantasy Battletech but with a much better minis combat ruleset.  That is not to say that 4E is purely a combat game without RP.  As a DM I have been able to easily enough encourage RP during my 4E game and have gotten more RP out of these guys than they normally do in our usually 3.5 games.  RP is a matter somewhat independent from the mechanics but certainly impacted by them and the amount of support they give for RP related mechanical feats.

I look forward to playing more 4E, especially as more materials come out with greater ability to create characters that fit various concepts. I certainly hope to play a great deal more 3.5 as there are many many character concepts I would still like to play that at this point are not well supported in 4E.

I've not really given it much thought but I think that particular game systems lend themselves to types of character concepts.   As one mucks around within the systems ideas/concepts come to mind or even are rejected because of lack of system support.

For example there are the god-style casters that just are not nearly as feasible a concept in 4E due to it's more balanced approach.  This balance between classes is not a bad or good thing really in my mind, it just is, and it can be tons of fun.  But then, no longer do we have the world shattering casters of 3.5 which again, just is.  Each system lends itself to it's own type of balance and therefore I think their own types of story lines and adventures though often they can and do share there same ground.


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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2009, 04:37:58 PM »
After playing 4e, how does 4e compare to your expectations?
What do you prefer about 4e over 3.x?  Where does 3.x do it better for you?
Do you see yourself sticking with 3.x, 4e, or some other tabletop system?

1) It was mostly what I expected from the combat portion.  Everything is very well done, well balanced, and fun.

I am very disappointed in the non-combat portion of the game.  In the preview stuff they said things like "The decisions you make when building your character from a combat perspective won't impact the non-combat portion of the game, and vice versa."  I am kind of pissed that they accomplished that by practically removing the non-combat portion of the game. I think the ritual system could have been expanded to include things like using Nature to set up a camp for the party mundanely instead of magically, etc.  And they could have not made rituals completely worthless to bother casting: remove the money cost from almost everything. Make the cast times like 5 rounds,  that still wouldn't be happening in combat, but it doesn't make it always better to just mundanely solve the problem.

2) I prefer combat and the ease of DMing.  I am also a fan of not requiring 10x the amount of time to play a caster. I am a huge fan of fighters that are awesome at doing their job instead of just relying on GM fiat so that they can defend their friends.

As for 3.x, I liked the freedom of the system and the more options available.  4E is making progress here, hybrid classes look particularly promising, but we still don't have near as many options as we did from 8 years of 3.x.

3) We're going to be using 4E for the foreseeable future.  Above everything else, I think its mainly that it brings the fun back to DMing.  We'll also be sprinkling in other games though, we played some generic World of Darkness, some Vampire, and some Alpha Omega this summer.  If anyone had the time to prepare something for 3.x, we would all happily play it, but I know at least for me, I would rather spend that time making a more robust 4E campaign than agonizing over how to make my BBEG not get insta-killed by the party in 3.x

dither

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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2009, 08:02:06 PM »
After playing 4e, how does 4e compare to your expectations?

What do you prefer about 4e over 3.x?  Where does 3.x do it better for you?

Do you see yourself sticking with 3.x, 4e, or some other tabletop system?

On paper, 4e looked bland to me, at first. I still have yet to play in a 4e game, but many of the things that looked bland now look brilliant.

...

In 4e, I actually like the multiclassing (having played and enjoyed Guild Wars, I appreciate the primary/secondary class system), though I think there should be a lot more support for it; honestly I haven't spent that much time looking into it. I hate paragon paths and epic destinies. They're just ... boring. I prefer 3.x prestige classes.

I miss the fluff from 3.x. The Monster Manual is my favorite book in every edition except 4e. The art is nice and all, but there's no substance to the book. It's just pages and pages of stat blocks, and I hate it. Where are monster ecologies? Don't tell me I have to go out and by the Dragon and Undead books ... that's just stupid. All the PCs get their flavor right in the Player's Handbook. Hell, monsters in Diablo 2 and WoW have more flavor because at least they're animated.

Encounters and monsters are easier to make than ever. Considering how little effort now needs to go into creating the monster stat block, it's monumentally disappointing to see how they lack all the interesting tidbits of information that used to make monsters so interesting. I love the Skill Challenge system (on paper). Finally, it looks like a combat-style way of dealing with tense, non-combat encounters, and it works just like combat for awarding experience. I plan to import the Skill Challenge system into 3.x.

Character and monster roles seem like something that could have been applied to 3.x via an Unearthed Arcana series.

<edit>
The skill system is really lacking. The skills are too focused and are difficult to apply to general situations; they ought to be more diversified. Perhaps have some "attack powers" based on skill use. *shrug* I don't know.

In general, I think the classes actually have too many different powers and options -- I think it'd be better if the "base" classes became the new prestige classes, since they seem so inclined to make them conform to roles and have particular contributions to combat. In this case, characters should be defined by their race/class 1/class 2 combination; rather than try to have multiple different types of character types available from a single class.
</edit>

In general, I appreciate the lack of class and power fluff because it lets the players and the DM fill in the ideas they have for their characters. I dislike the lack of fluff on the part of the monsters because that puts more strain on the DM to come up with what the monsters are doing there and why.

...

Overall, I will never buy 4e primarily because Wizards of the Coast lied to me and alienated me as a consumer. For several years they claimed they weren't working on a new edition of the game, when they, in fact, were. Then they announced 4e and continued to pump out a couple books for 3.x to "round it off." Why? Why would I trust them again, or even buy a product from them again? Why buy more books for a system they were abandoning themselves?

I will continue to play and run 3.x for a while and I'm considering running 4e games. I'm falling away from the Dungeons & Dragons brand in general, simply based on how badly the edition changeover was handled. If I do run 4e games, I will use the free books I received for review purposes (a bribe I received from the RPGA to stop running 3.x games) and books borrowed from the library. I might even consider writing and publishing adventures for 4e, but with the same circumstances. I won't buy any D&D products from WotC again.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 08:16:49 PM by dither »
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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2009, 08:15:45 PM »
Being a big fan of GuildWars i too like the primary secondary system for the classes but still think it needs some work to be as effective as it is in GW.  My friend is actually planning on running a GW campaign using 4e, we will be grabbing the maps and even recording the cut scenes and trying to run the group through the story line of the original game.

Now that to the OP.
I haven't played it yet as we haven't finished our 3.5 game that began before 4e was released. I do like the multiclassing system but it needs work. I also like that PP & ED don't take anything away from you, just give more options. This also fixes some of the issues in 3.x where you really had to plan a character out before the first session if you wanted to be able to get into a PrC or 2.  The other big draw for me, that i think they took from GW as well, is that the monsters are built using the same system as the PCs.  This is huge because the only way to challenge a party in 3.x was to pick a monster and give it class levels anyway.  Now it feels more natural that a monster could do the same tricks as a PC but have some monster only tricks as well.
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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2009, 08:34:32 PM »
I still think it sucks.  It's a boring, uninspired system where balance is God and King.  The developers had a few decent ideas but decided that doing a good job was too hard, so they implemented a bunch of half-ass shitfixes, and then they ripped the 3e PHB in half and masturbated vigorously as druid, bard, and barbarian players have to shell out an addition $30 to play their favorite classes.  On top of that insult, the entire system ends up failing, as demonstrated here.

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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2009, 08:43:27 PM »
I still think it sucks.  It's a boring, uninspired system where balance is God and King.  The developers had a few decent ideas but decided that doing a good job was too hard, so they implemented a bunch of half-ass shitfixes, and then they ripped the 3e PHB in half and masturbated vigorously as druid, bard, and barbarian players have to shell out an addition $30 to play their favorite classes.  On top of that insult, the entire system ends up failing, as demonstrated here.

I got fed up with having to purchase new books. I'm just gonna wait until WotC forgets about the major piracy, and then download the inevitable torrents show up.


[spoiler][/spoiler]

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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2009, 10:27:14 PM »
I still think it sucks.  It's a boring, uninspired system where balance is God and King.  The developers had a few decent ideas but decided that doing a good job was too hard, so they implemented a bunch of half-ass shitfixes, and then they ripped the 3e PHB in half and masturbated vigorously as druid, bard, and barbarian players have to shell out an addition $30 to play their favorite classes.  On top of that insult, the entire system ends up failing, as demonstrated here.

I got fed up with having to purchase new books. I'm just gonna wait until WotC forgets about the major piracy, and then download the inevitable torrents show up.

Like you can't do that already :P
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dither

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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2009, 11:23:40 PM »

I got fed up with having to purchase new books. I'm just gonna wait until WotC forgets about the major piracy, and then download the inevitable torrents show up.

Like you can't do that already :P

Some of us pretend to be above such things -- as if we weren't already doing it with 3.x books.
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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2009, 12:11:58 AM »
I still think it sucks.  It's a boring, uninspired system where balance is God and King.  The developers had a few decent ideas but decided that doing a good job was too hard, so they implemented a bunch of half-ass shitfixes, and then they ripped the 3e PHB in half and masturbated vigorously as druid, bard, and barbarian players have to shell out an addition $30 to play their favorite classes.  On top of that insult, the entire system ends up failing, as demonstrated here.

I got fed up with having to purchase new books. I'm just gonna wait until WotC forgets about the major piracy, and then download the inevitable torrents show up.

Pssst, they're already out there.  Don't tell anyone.
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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2009, 12:17:56 AM »
I still think it sucks.  It's a boring, uninspired system where balance is God and King.  The developers had a few decent ideas but decided that doing a good job was too hard, so they implemented a bunch of half-ass shitfixes, and then they ripped the 3e PHB in half and masturbated vigorously as druid, bard, and barbarian players have to shell out an addition $30 to play their favorite classes.  On top of that insult, the entire system ends up failing, as demonstrated here.

I got fed up with having to purchase new books. I'm just gonna wait until WotC forgets about the major piracy, and then download the inevitable torrents show up.

Pssst, they're already out there.  Don't tell anyone.

Wait.... No one knew about them? Wow.....



As for my opinions on 4e, they're not the greatest. I have played it once as a player and DM'd it (just a trial) and neither felt like something I liked. Skill challenges system is just clunky and disgusting. There doesn't feel like enough skills to do anything specific. Rituals suck. Every character, to me, feels the same with slightly different abilities.
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Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

Sinfire Titan

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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2009, 12:22:58 AM »
Pssst, they're already out there.  Don't tell anyone.


Then I'm just having trouble finding the MM2, and any Eberron splats.


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Nanshork

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Re: 4e's been out a year. What do you think?
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2009, 12:45:28 AM »
Let me get home and I'll PM you the site I use.
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