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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.

Comments

open_design
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)
jdigital
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.
the_monkey_king
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. :)
maliszew
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.
the_monkey_king
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.
maliszew
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)
the_monkey_king
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.
maliszew
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.
mouseferatu
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.
the_monkey_king
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)

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