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Author Topic: D&D Next  (Read 4472 times)

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Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #50 on: June 01, 2012, 01:39:11 AM »
Agreed, but at least WoTC LISTENED to their players and made an attempt at changing and fixing what was considered broken.  Unlike most other companies out there.  Maybe they weren't as successful, but they are trying to make good on the game.

Yeah but they lost as much as they gained. They listened but in some cases they were overruled by Hasbro. Like electronic distribution. I had friends who literally lost 2/3rds of their dnd collection with that 2 day pull order. Military guys can't always carry books around and I know a dozen or so who lost out to deployment lack of access.


Offline TentacleFan

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #51 on: June 01, 2012, 02:18:46 AM »
Yeah but they lost as much as they gained. They listened but in some cases they were overruled by Hasbro. Like electronic distribution. I had friends who literally lost 2/3rds of their dnd collection with that 2 day pull order. Military guys can't always carry books around and I know a dozen or so who lost out to deployment lack of access.

Yes, their pulling out of the PDF market was an incredibly short sighted move. Pirated copies are always going to be an issue online but just like with the record companies before them they are robbing people who want to pay them for their product in the way they want to consume it from the ability to do so.

Offline clrpurp

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #52 on: June 01, 2012, 02:42:24 AM »
Wait, they had online distribution? I never knew. Funny that they pulled out. It's not like someone couldn't just scan a source book and upload it as a PDF.

Offline TentacleFan

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #53 on: June 01, 2012, 02:43:47 AM »
Yeah they did for a time. And scanning the books is pretty much what does happen I think.

Offline clrpurp

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #54 on: June 01, 2012, 02:45:44 AM »
Oh I know about the scanning. But was piracy a real concern that caused them to pull out? I guess I just don't get the way publishers think.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #55 on: June 01, 2012, 10:37:11 AM »
Oh I know about the scanning. But was piracy a real concern that caused them to pull out? I guess I just don't get the way publishers think.

That was their excuse. Basically, they came out one day saying they weren't going to supply the pirates with a high quality scan to steal, quoted some outrageous numbers on how small the buyers market was and told venders like Drivethrurpg and Paizo they were to cease sales IMMEDIATELY and that they were to take the online stock off their servers in 48 hours (Some prior buys could be downloaded by people who had bought the PDFs)

A LOT of folks, particularly folks like folks I worked with overseas didn't find out in time and lost access to the PDFs they had bought legally. One aircrewmen I knew had lost his backup and was literally sitting on the edge of a road somewhere waiting on station to be sent after his target and was out of communication for a week. He told me he had lost like 500 bucks worth of sourcebooks.

SUPPOSEDLY when wizards comes up with a way to securely sell their product online, they will resume sales. It's been like 3 years and nothing yet. I lost access to about a dozen classic modules and a handful of sourcebooks.

Net result, eBay prices on some out of print books doubled, you can't find older stuff unless you want to look through the pirate sites and a lot of ill will to Wizards for their high handed handling on a non issue.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #56 on: June 02, 2012, 02:34:50 AM »
This is going to sound odd, but I really prefer D&D when you as a player have few to no choices about how your character developed. This, to me, was the really big bad of the post 3e D&D age. And I kind of worry that many people are so accustomed to this idea that D&D as a property can't pull back from it. Though I do have high hopes for Next.

In my opinion, players simply do not need a lot of choice related to the game mechanics of what their character does. And the more they are given the worse it is, mainly because it seems impossible to implement. As the amount of choice increases, one of two things happens: 1) you fail to make all choices equally valid (the trap choices of 3e, the essentially mandatory +to hit feats in 4e); or 2) all choices are so inconsequential or similar as to be meaningless (the majority of 4e falls into this category). 1 is bad all around, and 2 is the same as providing no choice, but with a lot more paperwork. I really prefer to create my character at character creation and know from day one that there is a specific path laid out that is playtested, balanced, and ready to go.

A few, big, significant choices can make things more exciting and go a long way to prevent characters from becoming carbon copies of one another; think of things like Specialist Mages across the editions, Kits in 2e, Cleric Domains in 3e, or Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies in 4e. These are major choices that matter and shape your character, but that also put you specifically into something that is well defined and that you know ahead of time works. Contrast that to picking minor, samey feats every two levels (most of my players in 4e quite literally forget about half of their feats every gaming session and it makes for absolutely no difference) and the later just comes off as petty busy work. There is this sweet spot that comes early in the economy of choice and often tabletop games seem to blow right past it.

This is one of the reasons I like Basic so much: 36 levels of advancement and you know right from day one where it's going to take you with a few, key choices along the way: alignment, what you do at name level, what path to immortality you follow, etc. And these are hard choices not because you have to pick out the one best or non-broken path, but because all of them are equally good and appealing. I find that when you get your players focusing less on making lots of little choices about what their character can do mechanically they get a lot more focused on what their character does in the game (not to mention making the choices that they do have a lot more appealing and meaningful to them).

Plus, and this bit is highly subjective: it jives better with my notion of fantasy from the fantasy fiction I read. Gandalf has potent fire magic not because he took a feat last level up and woke up better, but because he was gifted the Ring Narya. Characters like Conan and John Carter have comfortable, archetypal sets of abilities and powers that don't tend to change without some significant in-story explanation and even then only a few times across their entire run. Or to use a modern example: Harry Dresden. He gets personally more powerful in his core class of wizard with all the crazy oddities and strange abilities coming from the creatures he has interacted with and the magical artifacts he acquires (all of which come with big choices and consequence). It's not like he just pops back in the next book going: Oh, I can totally get a +2 bonus to all radiance and fire damage. Took it when I leveled up during downtime. In short I guess I just like the idea that you make these big choices at character creation (and maybe a few critical junctures thereafter) and what changes your character over the course of a campaign are the significant events over the course of your campaign rather than this pseudo-detached system of quantized extra choices.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #57 on: June 02, 2012, 03:18:37 PM »
Yeah but they lost as much as they gained. They listened but in some cases they were overruled by Hasbro. Like electronic distribution. I had friends who literally lost 2/3rds of their dnd collection with that 2 day pull order. Military guys can't always carry books around and I know a dozen or so who lost out to deployment lack of access.

Correction, that PDF debacle was pure Wizards.  Hasbro is pretty hands off with most of their subsidiaries, the let the subs do what they think is right without them messing around, as long as they make money, and so far, out of all the RPG companies, WoTC is still the most profitable pure RPG division.  Even Paizo has to supplement their sales of PFRPG with their novel section, their mini licensing ang selling of 4e products as well.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #58 on: June 02, 2012, 07:53:06 PM »
Correction, that PDF debacle was pure Wizards.  Hasbro is pretty hands off with most of their subsidiaries, the let the subs do what they think is right without them messing around, as long as they make money, and so far, out of all the RPG companies, WoTC is still the most profitable pure RPG division.  Even Paizo has to supplement their sales of PFRPG with their novel section, their mini licensing ang selling of 4e products as well.

Really? I had heard the decision to kill all PDF sales was a hasbro decision. I know that the open license changes were due to the staff changes having eliminated the majority of the supports of Open License standards.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #59 on: June 02, 2012, 08:46:08 PM »
I know a couple of people in Hasbro, and they say that the decision to kill PDFs came from high up in WoTC.  And they clarified Hasbro's stance on subsidiaries, namely their hands off approach.  As long as you're making the Big H money, they figure you know what you're doing so keep doing it!

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #60 on: June 02, 2012, 10:25:22 PM »
I know a couple of people in Hasbro, and they say that the decision to kill PDFs came from high up in WoTC.  And they clarified Hasbro's stance on subsidiaries, namely their hands off approach.  As long as you're making the Big H money, they figure you know what you're doing so keep doing it!

Don't suppose they know why Sean Renolds left the DnD Next project? I know him and Merls have done enough work at Malhavoc that I don't see him leaving because of personality conflicts.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #61 on: June 03, 2012, 02:46:02 AM »
You'll have to ask Wizards, as again, Hasbro has no control over that.

Offline AndyZ

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #62 on: June 05, 2012, 01:49:19 AM »
Didn't read through everything, but I signed up for and got the D&D Next stuff, and I'd love to get the chance to playtest if someone wants to run the adventure.  Ideally a Wizard, but I'll take what I can get.

Offline Dhi

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #63 on: June 09, 2012, 09:11:50 AM »
Don't suppose they know why Sean Renolds left the DnD Next project? I know him and Merls have done enough work at Malhavoc that I don't see him leaving because of personality conflicts.
Sean K Reynolds hasn't been involved with WotC for years, I believe you're thinking of Monte Cook.

As for why Monte left, at first I thought it might be a change in direction away from making 5E into 3.5 part deux. But we can see by the playtest rules that no division like this actually took place. It is still the same Monte baby that we were seeing leaks of months ago.

I used to pay close attention to this stuff. Very close attention. As soon as I heard the design team for 5E, I knew what we were going to get. I knew Rob Schwalb was going to trash skills. I knew Monte Cook was going to design like 4E never existed, because the general consensus based on his Legends & Lore editorials is that he's never actually read the 4E rules.

It's not really a secret that Monte Cook has an ego. He once rallied his fans to boycott Best Buy because their returns policy had jilted him out of a few dollars. A lot of folks know that he worked on 3rd Edition, and in fact takes most of the credit for it by referring to himself as "the author of the DMG". Monte later worked on a failed setting, the Diamond Throne. During its launch, Monte said some curious things. He said that Diamond Throne was the D&D he always wanted to design. He implied that while he was being paid to do design work for 3rd Edition, he had been holding back his good stuff for Diamond Throne. He said that all the modularity of 3rd Edition and the power in the hands of the players was actually a bad thing and he regretted ever doing it. The rift that had started forming between WotC purists and third party supporters, Monte grabbed up his shovel and he dug them deeper and deeper along with the likes of Chris Pramas. He made his own message board and surrounded himself with people who agreed with him.

Monte is a self-promoter, but he also seems to believe what he says. After Diamond Throne died, Monte took a chance on the pet project relative unknown freelancer, Mike Mearls. The project, Iron Heroes, was much more successful than Diamond Throne had been. What does it say on the cover of Mike Mearls' book? It says Monte Cook Presents: Iron Heroes. Monte believed that his own name needed to be on the book for people to buy it. Understand the ego at work there.

Monte Cook continued to have trouble with failed projects of his own. Ptolus, Monte Cook's World of Darkness, Dungeon-A-Day. I'm not disparaging any of these, but they did not succeed. For a time Monte said he was getting out of the RPG business entirely. While Monte floundered, Mike Mearls was going places fast. Mearls went to work for WotC, and did so well with 4E that he was named head of design. This means that when Monte Cook went back to work on 5E, Mike Mearls was now his boss. The upstart whose big project Monte branded with his own celebrity was now his boss. He was coming back to a table full of designers who had moved on and learned new things with the 4E system that he had avoided, and he was still publicly upset from being panned for his supposedly triumphant return in the Legends & Lore column. And Mike Mearls was his boss.

So why did Monte leave? I feel like some conclusions can be drawn.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #64 on: June 09, 2012, 11:00:45 AM »
Sean K Reynolds hasn't been involved with WotC for years, I believe you're thinking of Monte Cook.

As for why Monte left, at first I thought it might be a change in direction away from making 5E into 3.5 part deux. But we can see by the playtest rules that no division like this actually took place. It is still the same Monte baby that we were seeing leaks of months ago.


D'oh! Thanks for the correction!

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #65 on: June 09, 2012, 11:55:35 AM »
That's seems like a pretty likely analysis Dhi. I like some of the things Monte has done, but I would never work on a team with the guy. The one time I met him I found him quite rude. I also get the impression from some of his products that he is one of those fellows with a great imagination and cool ideas, that is in too much of a hurry to slap them into rules and move on without thinking about how they would actually play. I think it's a phase that most game designers go through, but he seems to never have left it (could be a factor of surrounding himself with fans and not doing well with criticism).

Offline Chris Brady

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #66 on: June 09, 2012, 09:23:17 PM »
My biggest beef with the man has always been that he's a Magic fan, and an old school D&D magic fan.  This is why I wasn't keen on him working on D&DNext.

Let me explain:  First off as a Magic: The Gathering fan, he liked the idea of 'trap cards', cards that look good on the surface, but weren't in play.  The feat system was riddled with these, all the flat bonus feats, like Lightning Reflexes and the original Toughness.  Secondly, as he once mentioned in his PTolus design notes, he loved magic so much that when a player saw a polymorphed adventurer in a minotaur and he freaked, the rest of his party explained to him that was 'normal', Mr. Cook's reaction to them treating magic as mundane was nothing short of ejaculatory.

These design philosophies show throughout his productions at both WoTC and his personal stuff.  The entirety of 3e (not 3.5) was full of traps, bad classes (Like the Fighter) and the magic, especially clerical, was overboard in terms of utility and power.  With about 5 spells a 7th level Wizard could BE the entire party.  Scry, Fly, Invisibility and Knock replaces the Rogue and any of the level based Summons could replace the meat shields.  The only issue was healing, but since you could buy wands that anyone can use, just get Wands of healing and you're good to go.

And that was the accepted way to play.

This is what I disliked.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #67 on: June 10, 2012, 08:03:23 AM »
Personally, I've never bought the idea that the 'trap' feats and other bad options were the result of deliberate Ivory Tower Design; it always smelt like an after-the-fact ass-covering excuse to explain why they designed and released a game that was, effectively, 50% playtested and only playtested that far according to a specific paradigm.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #68 on: June 10, 2012, 09:37:23 AM »
I'm with TheGlyphstone. I think that a big problem with 3e and 4e was lack of thorough playtesting and almost more importantly a lack of playtesting multiple styles of play. This is what happens once you reach a certain level of complexity as a game, the amount of playtesting has to increase (and not just linearly with complexity).

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #69 on: June 10, 2012, 10:05:31 AM »
I'm with TheGlyphstone. I think that a big problem with 3e and 4e was lack of thorough playtesting and almost more importantly a lack of playtesting multiple styles of play. This is what happens once you reach a certain level of complexity as a game, the amount of playtesting has to increase (and not just linearly with complexity).

It's more-or-less on record, though where I couldn't quote. When 3e was playtested, they focused almost all of the testing on the 1st-10th level bracket, and very little in the upper levels. End result, high level play is extremely unbalanced. Moreso, their playtest groups adhered to the playstyle and game formulae of 2e play - the fighter with sword and shield 'tanks', the wizard throws fireballs, the cleric heals, the thief disarms traps and backstabs. They forgot that 3e's more rigid grid structure meant fighters no longer had effective tanking ability, that inflated HP meant direct-damage magic was much less useful, and had a ton of spells they wrote but didn't consider implications of stuff such as Polymorph. End result, incredible disparity in potential between 'magic-users' and 'mundanes'.

I can't speak for 4e, because I don't really like it. But I can recognize it was a good game according to its design intentions (that I disagree with), and was much more thoroughly playtested according to those intentions. CharOp still managed to break the game with at least two infinite-damage builds before the books were officially released, but WotC was also quicker on the ball in paying attention and releasing errata for stuff like that.

Offline Chris Brady

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #70 on: June 10, 2012, 02:36:49 PM »
Personally, I've never bought the idea that the 'trap' feats and other bad options were the result of deliberate Ivory Tower Design; it always smelt like an after-the-fact ass-covering excuse to explain why they designed and released a game that was, effectively, 50% playtested and only playtested that far according to a specific paradigm.

Actually the 'trap feats' were Monte Cook's idea.  There's an article out there where he pretty much says so, and his apparent anger at 3.5's changing of the delicate 'balance' he created.  I wish I could find that article.

Online Changingsaint

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #71 on: June 10, 2012, 03:02:17 PM »

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #72 on: June 10, 2012, 03:22:03 PM »
Actually the 'trap feats' were Monte Cook's idea.  There's an article out there where he pretty much says so, and his apparent anger at 3.5's changing of the delicate 'balance' he created.  I wish I could find that article.

I know, and I, as said, strongly suspect he's just BSing after the fact rather than admit the design team screwed up. Considering he doesn't even understand what a Timmy Card is despite working in the same building as the people who coined the phrase, it's not heartening.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 03:24:36 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Online Changingsaint

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #73 on: June 10, 2012, 03:29:30 PM »
Considering Cookes absolute love for casters and them trodding over fighter types, I can easily see him being on board with the ivory tower design from the get go due to that reason.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: D&D Next
« Reply #74 on: June 10, 2012, 03:32:18 PM »
Considering Cookes absolute love for casters and them trodding over fighter types, I can easily see him being on board with the ivory tower design from the get go due to that reason.

Yeah, but it still smells like the kid on the playground who trips and faceplants, then stands up and shouts "I meant to do that!"