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4E Black Humor

Funny Onion-styles news report over at pats_quinade, Fourth Edition D&D Kills 3, Wounds 1.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth is getting a little out of hand for a game no one but a few playtesters have seen yet.


( 21 sutras — Your wisdom )
Nov. 11th, 2007 12:03 am (UTC)
May I humbly suggest an edit for accuracy?

The wailing and gnashing of teeth is getting a little ridiculously out of hand for a game no one but a few playtesters have seen yet.
Nov. 11th, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
WotC has sort of set themselves up for this reaction, so I wouldn't go so far as to call it ridiculous. They haven't brought the rest of the industry inside the clubhouse, and that doesn't win them any friends. The things one hears privately are a little discouraging; some playtesters are not as happy as you are, Ari.

I'm sure WotC will pull a rabbit out of their hat by June, but the sense of... abandonment? Indifference? from WotC is of their own making. 3E was more inclusive, big-tent stuff. And they had Dragon then, cheerleading, which helped.

The tone this time around seems a little more didactic to me. It's not a tragedy that makes me want to rend garments or anything, but they have been unable to turn it around.

I'm still enjoying the show. My 3E campaign is a delight. 4E can come calling any time, but I'm in no rush.

Edited at 2007-11-11 04:31 am (UTC)
Nov. 11th, 2007 07:03 am (UTC)
You're right, Wizards does have itself to blame for how poorly received fourth edition is - I can't help wonder if this could have been handled better. That said, they've certainly left enough time between now and then, so I'm somewhat optimistic that the anti-4e brigade will burn themselves out on 4ed hate by the time it actually arrives.
Nov. 11th, 2007 07:18 am (UTC)
Yeah, but there's two kinds of burnout possible.

One is the grognard path of "Damn kids, I'm fed up and from now one I'm ignoring your shiny nonsense". The other is "Ok, I'm all out of hate. What's this thing actually do well, if anything? Convince me."

It's not entirely one side or the other: the most extreme fandom is ... unhinged over a game they haven't seen yet. And WotC seems to be stoking the flames as often as they are calming the fears.

Could go either way. Long-winded way of agreeing with you. :)
Nov. 11th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC)
One is the grognard path of "Damn kids, I'm fed up and from now one I'm ignoring your shiny nonsense".

That's me. I'm too old and too exhausted to deal with the latest fashions in fantasy. Unlike a lot of people, I didn't start playing D&D in the late 70s because it was the only game in town (it wasn't) but because I liked the particular kind of fantasy that inspired its creators. Each subsequent edition of the game gets more and more away from the Howard, Leiber, and Vance and 4E, from the little we've seen, has been presented as positively contemptuous of it. So that's it for me; I'm done.
Nov. 11th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
Every new edition is a great time to start with a game, or a great time to drop one.

I did the same thing with L5R. Samurai Edition rolled around, and I just never picked it up.
Nov. 11th, 2007 04:22 pm (UTC)
That's a very sound and reasonable approach, I think. It's possible I might change my mind at some point in the years to come, after the full extent of what 4E is and is not becomes apparent, but I doubt it. After 25+ years of purchases, there's really not a lot anyone can sell me for D&D that's not just gilding the lily.

(Except periodicals and the occasional adventure. I'd love to see more of that kind of stuff)
Nov. 11th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
I'll keep making magazines as long as people are buying them.

I think that the discontent from veterans is probably fine for the WotC business managers. The average "gaming lifespan" of a D&D player is about 4 or 5 years, so the rest of us are huge exceptions to the rule.
Nov. 11th, 2007 07:06 pm (UTC)
The 4-5 year turnover seems about right. That's why I have a hard time getting angry at WotC anymore. Their priorities as a business are not my priorities as a gamer Now that I fully realize and accept this, I can just move and be happy about it. Truth be told, I probably should've done so sooner than I did.
Nov. 11th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC)
I'm sure WotC will pull a rabbit out of their hat by June, but the sense of... abandonment? Indifference? from WotC is of their own making. 3E was more inclusive, big-tent stuff. And they had Dragon then, cheerleading, which helped.

I guess I just don't see it. I'm not denying that there could be differences between the 3E and 4e rollouts--I wasn't in the industry at the birth of 3E, so I'm sure I'm not in the best position to judge--but all that said, I was certainly paying what attention I could at the time. And with the exception of the fact that WotC had Dragon at the time to release their monthly "Here's what's coming" articles, I'm really not seeing all that big a difference.

I agree that it would be better if they'd gotten materials to other companies, but I'm confident--for a couple of reasons--that they'll yet do so. Hopefully, it'll happen relatively soon.
Nov. 11th, 2007 04:15 pm (UTC)
"Here's what's coming" makes a big difference (and man, I'd be thrilled to run a WotC preview in KQ, though I know it's a pipe dream). It's good to have something tangible for the upcoming game, something to drool over.

There's none of that now, just posts and pixels. They're trying pretty hard, with the staff blogs, but they are redacted enough that some of it just doesn't work as marketing. The coyness about the "new secret race" is meant to be a tease, but it is so transparent that it's just irritating. I've seen a million PC races: why should I care about this one?

The answer "because it's from WotC" is no longer sufficient, because I've played great PC races from Malhavoc (Oh the giants! AND the Littorians!) and my own.

The other big difference is the playtests. For 3E, everyone was a playtester, including all of the people who became 3E's third-party champions. You don't see the difference because you're in the loop, but for the rest of the world, it's a little different this time. The external playtests started too late to affect the core rules deeply, and the number of playtesters strikes me as smaller. But then, last time I was a lot closer to the closed content world.

Maybe the Net and Open companies have spoiled me for choice since last time. I'm not sure.

I am still waiting for the "Welcome to 4th Edition" group hug. The longer I wait, the more I just say: "Eh, I'm enjoying 3E. Get back to me when you have something to share." I'm less patient than last time, because I've seen this circus before. I just want it to ship, so I can make a decision.

Edited at 2007-11-11 04:17 pm (UTC)
Nov. 11th, 2007 01:42 am (UTC)
I've been loosely following the 4e transition ... I say loosely because why would I want to wade in on the bloodbath that has been a few of Gleemax? (WotC community forums). Saw your .02 on a particular post regarding the Editor of Dragon --- well done --- and what seems like a pretty awesome response to KQ!
Nov. 11th, 2007 04:33 am (UTC)
Thanks, KQ has done extremely well, but then it pretty much has the field to itself right now. Dragon is dead as a magazine, and the website using the name is off to a slow start.

There's not much competition in the magazine field. No Quarter and White Dwarf are about the closest, and they are both firmly wedded to their parent companies.
Nov. 11th, 2007 05:19 am (UTC)
Well the if the response of other posters is indicitive of how well KQ is being received... then KQ is definitely punching a hole in that niche.
Which leads me to wonder... the_monkey_king makes a strategic move to launch KQ around abouts the time that Dragon gets slayed..?
Strange coincidence? Psychic phenomenon...? Or clever monkey_king?
Nov. 11th, 2007 07:19 am (UTC)
Clever, clever monkey king. :)
Nov. 11th, 2007 05:42 am (UTC)
I'm not too shocked at the reactions over the new edition, as gamers fear change -- especially when that change is largely unknown and/or unwanted (in their view I mean). The canceling of the print editions of Dragon and Dungeon at the same time really didn't help the situation I think, as it's yet more change.

Personally I'm going back and forth between curiosity and apathy. I'm sure that I'll pick up the three core books to see what all the fuss is about. I just wish that they came out at the same time, perhaps in a box set.
Nov. 11th, 2007 07:16 am (UTC)
What's telling is how vehemently people are defending 3.5, when a few years ago these same people were vehemently defending 3.0 on the same terms. It's simply the case that the only people still playing D&D 3.5 now are the people who are happy with the system, and given the limited information available, any perceived advantage right now is offset by the bad feel of making their proud collection of books obsolete.

I heard somewhere that the release dates had been pushed closer together so that all three core rulebooks would be released in the same month. I may or may not have completely imagined this.
Nov. 11th, 2007 07:24 am (UTC)
Nope, you're right. All three books are currently scheduled to ship in June. Probably not all in the same WEEK, but there will be a big crowd checking it out then.

Yeah, I hate change as much as the next guy, but... I'm an optimist. No one at WotC *wants* to kill the franchise. They have some extremely talented folks.

I'm more worried about the weirdness of the minis/MMO/it's-not-tabletop-gaming vibe. And the lack of a d20 license for 4E.
Nov. 12th, 2007 10:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, I hope that you're right about the release dates. It makes sense to have the core books come out at the same time, or at least within a month of each other. Three months is far too long, especially if they want people to start adopting it right away -- you need the tools to do so.

People forget quickly, and thanks to the anonymity that is the internet they can get all riled up and say whatever they want today without having to worry about the impact, or sticking with what they said, tomorrow. So I'm expecting that the majority of the most vocal critics today will be 4th edition users this time next year without a thought about their complaints.
Nov. 11th, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC)
I saw the same kind of knee-jerk reactions to Exalted 2e and Warhammer 40,000 4e, not to mention every single 40k supplement since then. Gamers react this way to everything new that comes out, and I've grown rather cynical of any reaction not based on actual play.

Personally, I've read I think everything on the WotC cite about 4e and like what I'm seeing so far. That big issue I have is that fact that people think 4e is going to invade their home and burn their old books or something. People can just keep playing 3.5, or 3.0 or 2.0 or any other bloody version or system they want if they don't like 4e.

As for the online stuff, I see it as a boon. I'll be either moving across the state in January or going who knows where for grad school in the fall of 08, and I can't be sure I'll find players. Having the online functionality will make my life easier, provided I actually have the time to run or play. And for those lucky enough to still have a table and real live friends to play with, it'll just add to the experiance or they can ignore the completely optional features.

Concerning the open game licensce, which I have some stake in as a fledging freelancer, I'm confused, since I keep hearing that there is no license, but no wait there will be. So I'm not going to hold my breath and I'm going to see where things go. It's not as if I have time for design until 08 anyway.
Nov. 15th, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC)
Given all the wrangling and fan kvetching, it's as if they'd renamed it DUDGEONS & DRAGONS.....


( 21 sutras — Your wisdom )

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