Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

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Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Bouv » Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:47 pm

To partner with my other thread http://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=10031, what are somethings you felt that WotC got wrong/dropped the ball on/missed the boat/or just plain messed up with on 4E? This can be anything, from rules, products, artwork, fonts, or even pricing!

1. Too much exclusive online content - I'm all for exclusive, pay only content available online but I think Wizards really messed up focusing on putting so much content online and expecting everyone to dish out the money for it instead of paying for a physical product. What I think Wizards forgets sometimes is not only adults are buying their product. As a kid I bought many new products, the most important being Dungeon magazine. Now Wizards only puts it online? Tough for a 12 year old to pay the $$ for that (especially if mom & dad won't!)

2. Limiting their campaign settings - I don't mind that WotC didn't put out a dozen different campaign settings but I was disappointed with the lack of support for their three they did put out (Forgotten Realms, Ebberon, Dark Sun). Except for FR, each only had 3 books (and even then, that was the original plan for FR). Not saying each one would need 2nd-era amount of books, but a few more adventures or another sourcebook would have been nice.

3. Lack of published adventures - when 4E came out, Wizards hit the ground running with adventures - the P, H, and E series modules, Tomb of Horrors, Dungeon Delve, Revenge of the Giants all came out pretty quickly. After that, we only got a few more (and some encounters in other products). I LOVE published adventures and they can be so easily changed to different systems or modfied to fit anyone's campaign setting. It wouldn't have been all bad had Dungeon been in print to get some that way.

4. Lack of Dragon & Dungeon "annuals" - WotC put out an annual for each of these ("volume 1") but that was it. I would have liked to seen more of these. They don't need to be hardcover books either. They were a good way for us non-DDI subscribers to get some of that material that was available online

5. Focusing a lot of combat on minatures - while I know this trend started with 3.x, 4E seem to expand on the combat and minatures aspect of the game. I've never been big into minatures and it's just an added expense and added time to the game (to set up the tiles and then the minis for combat).

6. Changing the spell system - to me, the spells didn't feel like spells anymore, just powers with everyone else has.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby rabindranath72 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:48 pm

- Too focused on the grid, almost to the exclusion of everything else. This trend began with 3.5 (3.0 was much less anal about minis) but 4e brought the idea to its extremes (though it was less burdensome than 3.5.) This was a deal-breaker for me.
- The idea that balance=all classes are structured the same
- magic not being magical anymore. Almost all spells which really made for interesting roleplaying (e.g. charm) were neutered by forcing them to be battlefield tools.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Angel Tarragon » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:06 am

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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Havard » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:06 am

I can't find the article right now, but Paizo's Eric Mona suggested that with 4E WotC had removed themsleves too much from the roots of the hobby. Rules-wise the game is very different from its predecessors, but this could have worked if they had not also removed themselves so much in terms of setting/fluff as well.

Either/or could have worked, but when both rules and setting/archetypes feel different many will jump ship.

Not that 4E was a failure, it just explains why many 3E fans went to Pathfinder instead of 4E.

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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby ghendar » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:14 pm

Havard wrote:I can't find the article right now, but Paizo's Eric Mona suggested that with 4E WotC had removed themsleves too much from the roots of the hobby. Rules-wise the game is very different from its predecessors, but this could have worked if they had not also removed themselves so much in terms of setting/fluff as well.



I agree with him.
I prefer a system that is evolutionary, not revolutionary.
Fluff would have helped but would not have made the mechanics any different.

I played one game where the party finally caught up to the bad guy, a werewolf, and we proceeded to beat him down, only to see him get up and keep fighting. It was exhausting and frustrating. By the end of the fight, there was no euphoria that we had finally beaten him. We were all complaining that if it had been 3.5, he'd have been defeated much, much sooner. It was then that I decided I'd had enough of 4e.
In another combat, I watched a monster with shifting keep moving, over and over again, beyond the reach of my weapons. Another profoundly frustrating encounter.

A lot of people like the fact that the classes were so similar in power levels. However, if I want to play a wizard, I want to play a powerful game changing character. It doesn't matter that a fighter can't do what a wizards can't do. They aren't supposed to be on an even playing field. Players should know that going in. They should know that if they are going to play a martial type, they are not going to be able to visit destruction on a large scale. It's all about expectations.

4e was an experiment and one that ultimately failed, imo. The fact that 5e has been in development for months now is proof of that.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Dragonhelm » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:58 pm

The top thing for me was the presentation. It didn't feel like the D&D we all knew. It was very war-gamy (is that a word?) in nature. It's a good game for combat and tactics, but doesn't present itself as a role-playing game for those of us who are more focused on story.

I don't like that you don't have negative ability score modifiers. There is no way to properly represent a gully dwarf in 4e.

I like paragon paths, but I also think that they come a little too late in game play. Many games falter in the heroic tier. So how can players expect to reasonably go up to 10th level to achieve their paragon path.

Honestly, I sometimes wish I could find a game that is somewhere between C&C and 3e with some 4e-isms added. *sigh*
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Morfie » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:25 pm

Lack of conversion support for previous editions.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby dulsi » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:51 am

Dragonhelm added it to the things they got right so I figure I needed to add it to the things they got wrong. Gamma World could work really well with 4e rules but I feel they screwed it up. The card mechanic was obviously designed to bring in money. The bigger problem being that the latter sets just started increasing the power level of starting characters. With player card decks you could make some sense of the random powers but if the base character types aren't balanced I have to start fixing things.

I don't think the "Too much exclusive online content" was a flaw. I think the problem is they didn't embrace it enough. WotC thinks of themselves as a book publisher with some online tools. I think they should of embraced the digital more and made books secondary. They were creating monsters/powers/etc in new publications. Some time later someone was tasked with putting that content into the online tools. That is wasting people's time. Monsters should have been entered into the monster database but not made publically visible. When publication time came they should be able to select the creatures and export them to their publishing program. (Ideally it would have all the layout and just export but I suspect the level of effort to do that would be a little too high.)
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Bouv » Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:33 am

Since I was just looking them over, a lack of Player's Handbook Races books. We got 2 - Dragonborne and Tieflings and while there is an abudance of older material for elves, dwarves, & haflings (and bit on gnomes), it would have been nice to see more books in this series, especially with the elderain and gnomes (since they changed gnomes up a bit). They weren't big, were inexpensive but added a lot more roleplaying opportunities to the game and these classes.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Bouv » Tue Mar 26, 2013 4:51 pm

Complex character creation - the first time I sat down to create a character, I was scratching my head. Yeah, some things, like stats, were easy to figure out as were some of the skills/powers/feats to chose. But I couldn't figure out weapon proficiencies - do you automatically get the whole list? Get to chose ones? If so, how many? And there seemed to be a lot to character creation - backgrounds, themes, powers/skills/feats, bonuses, ability scores, gear. I'm sure with some more practice it would become easy but as the game went on, there was a lot of flipping into different books.

Power creep - it seemed that each Player's Handbook added a bit more power creep. Why play a human when I can play a elf? Why play an elf if I can play a Gensi? Why play a gensi when I can play a goliath? I know they were suppose to be more balanced but it seemed the other races had more natural "powers" going for them.

Magical "standard" gear - while maybe not a 100% 4E deal, having "orbs" and others items available for purchase at the beginning. I don't mind a "focus" for magical energy but having to buy or being able to buy magical stuff out of the gate I don't like.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby TBeholder » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:31 pm

The main problem seems to be an attempt to cross a snake with hedgehog and then sit between two chairs on it. That is, 4e is a mix of D&D3.5, "The Book of Fightan Magic", and... something else.
Not trying to dress a new game as D&D and palm it off under "D&D" brand would leave it only with its own bugs and maybe gems (if any). With something other than a misshapen hybrid, there's always at least a fair chance.
But forcing the designers to put everything in one pile and deal with the whole panopticum at once cannot improve the situation.
And if they needed to ask or vote for basics, they already were happlessly floundering and didn't know what exactly they are trying to make. I'm not going to believe 5e is anything sane until seeing it for exactly the same reason: if it starts by trying to catch average values of the lowest common denominator of a vocal minority, is there a reason to assume it will raise above this level?
Add to this continuing the old good 3.0 - 3.5 trend of turning everything more and more into one bizarre "WoW: Plastic Miniature Game". I'd be inclined to call "Diablo", but the "fluorescent snot" style of art (my apologies to all painters and drawers who read this line) splattered over 3.5 really seals it. :twisted:
Using "cool-sounding" words (e.g. "Eladrin") picked out of earlier edition's glossary pretty much at random just illustrates general quality of the game and maturity of decision-makers.
Same goes for FR4e (aut bene aut nihil).
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Bouv » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:24 pm

Something that just occured to me - the reformating of Dragon magazine. I don't mind it being all official content but I didn't like that its only focus was on D&D. I would have liked to see a primary focus on D&D but maybe reviews of other games, like they had in the past. Also, I miss the ads & comics.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby rabindranath72 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 9:47 am

Dragonhelm wrote:Honestly, I sometimes wish I could find a game that is somewhere between C&C and 3e with some 4e-isms added. *sigh*

Well it exists now, and it's called 13th Age :D
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Bouv » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:23 pm

Another thing I'm not too sure if it's a "3e-ism" or "4e-ism" but the magical implements (orbs, etc.) available right off. I don't mind a focus for magical engery and (pardon me if I'm wrong, it's been a while since I've read the rules) all but having something that the PC's can buy that's magical right out of the door or even later on has always left a sour taste in my mouth. A few things can be common (potions of healing)
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby dulsi » Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:15 pm

Changing the monster creation rules which meant that the early Monster Manuals didn't have the right toughness to the creatures.

I also found the monster manuals very bland with there extremely limited fluff text.

The spread from 1 to 30 levels at the start. I had no problem with increasing the max level to 30. However, in DMing 4e I seem to find myself without enough variety of monsters at the level I need. By splits monsters into various roles and then spreading them out to 30 levels, they have made the options at any particular level more limited. Granted this can be resolved somewhat with there online tools giving access to everything.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby TBeholder » Sat Jun 22, 2013 2:02 pm

Bouv wrote:Another thing I'm not too sure if it's a "3e-ism" or "4e-ism" but the magical implements (orbs, etc.) available right off.
It's 3e Global Magical Market thing and 3e "MUD gets into settings so hard it slams their broken pieces into mechanics" - in that CR assume availability of magical weapons and protections per level.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Bouv » Tue Aug 20, 2013 6:49 pm

No random encounter tables. I know combat is much more complex, especially for a DM in set up bu gosh-darn-it, I miss my random encounter tables!

While I believe it started in 3.x, no more "simple" magic items - a sword +1, a dagger +3, etc. It seems every magic item has to do something else on top of it's normal enchantment bonus (especially weapons and armor). And I'm not sure how I feel about magic items in the Player's Handbook...as a player, score! As a DM...err...
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Havard » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:29 pm

When 4E was announced, WotC stated that they were going to release one new setting per year. Although I am not sure if every setting is suited for 4E, I was disappointed that so few settings appeared. Lisencing out the old settings like in the 3E era would have made me happy.

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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby TBeholder » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:01 am

Bouv wrote:While I believe it started in 3.x, no more "simple" magic items - a sword +1, a dagger +3, etc. It seems every magic item has to do something else on top of it's normal enchantment bonus (especially weapons and armor).
It started in Forgotten Realms - the principle "there's no such thing as dagger +1, but lots of mildly enchanted daggers with Light at will or Dispel Magic 1/day, or Detect Gems 3/day, of whatever" was pushed by Ed Greenwood quite consistently, and back from before FR became an official AD&D1e setting.
Out-of-universe this helps to give magic a more immersive (non-CRPG) look&feel and in-universe before 3e "global magic market" all trinkets were made with some specific purpose in mind, which means that raw weapon enchantment almost never gets to be the only requirement - there are always extra attack, protection or utility enchantments that would make an item significantly better for this specific purpose. Consequently, items get noticed and named. As such things go, Namarra is the classical example - no one knows its origins, so where it got an unrelated nickname and why it was made to float in water are mysteries.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Bouv » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:43 pm

I'm also disappointed with how humans are treated in 4E.

Example: Base class Eladrin gets +2 Dexterity and Intelligence, Low-Light vision, +2 to Arcana & Education, one extra skill, +1 to Will, +5 save vs. Charm, "Trance" (sleeping 4 hours instead of 6) and Fey Step. Many of the other races are similar (bonuses, racial ability)

Human: +2 to one ability score, One extra at-will power for class, 1 bonus feat, one bonus skill, +1 fortitude, Reflex and Will

Just seems kinda...blah compared to other races (more so without level or class limits). You could argue that the feat or extra power is like a "race ability". But most other races get some of what the human gets too (bonuses to FRW, saves, extra skills, etc).

I think I would have done bonuses to two ability scores at the very least.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Bouv » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:38 pm

I've been playing with the character builder lately and I do enjoy it. But I've said it before...magic just doesn't feel like magic. As a wizard, I don't get to go out searching for new spells, finding scrolls and putting them into my spell book and getting to fill that up with dozens of spells. Nope...here are my "spells" (powers) and I may get to chose between a couple of them.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby ghendar » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:44 pm

The wizard changes are one of my biggest issues with 4e.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Bouv » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:54 pm

I forgot to mention it earlier but I also miss a lot of the random aspects that previous editions had - from ability scores, hit points, to random generators for most everything. If you go up against an NPC party...if you figure out their level, you know what powers they might have and how many hit points they're going to have.
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby Bouv » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:42 pm

As I play around with converting Castle Amber into 4E, one thing I've run into is, compared to other editions, the lack of monsters. From the mundane (regular animals/creatures) to the bizarre (Brain Collectors) to plants, 4E just doesn't have as much. I'm going to end up repurposing a lot of creatures to fit in where I need them (I suspect the core of a mind flayer will become the core of a brain collector).
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Re: Things 4E got wrong/missed the boat on?

Postby BotWizo » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:35 pm

the presentation to the community was bad.

I really disliked the amount of books. I felt more rules/classes/races should have all been in the ph and just a few supplements after that, too many ph's etc.
they could have churned out settings and modules instead of tons of phs and dmgs.
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