4th ed. Announced TODAY

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NegativeK
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Post by NegativeK » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:17 am

D&D, WoD, and HERO (don't know anything about GURPS) have gone through the rapid first few edition release schedule, then all of them slowed down. White Wolf has increased the release time between every release, HERO released 4th edition in 1989 (with Fifth revised being completely compatible with Fifth, and not really necessary beyond extra clarifications.)

Time will tell on D&D. If they clean up the mechanics a whole hell of a lot (like fixing the even-Gods-botch-a-twentieth-of-the-time,) I won't complain as much. But looking at their time line, they are speeding up their release schedule.
Sun Tzu said: "Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand."

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Post by kbm99 » Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:31 pm

NegativeK wrote:D&D, WoD, and HERO (don't know anything about GURPS) have gone through the rapid first few edition release schedule, then all of them slowed down.
This is true, but the same argument could be made with regards to D&D, which underwent quite a few revisions (not really new editions, but lots and lots of changes) between 1974 and 1978 (when "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" was launched), then was pretty static for an 11 year period*. Second Edition came out in 1989 and went nowhere for another 11 years until the new owners revealed 3rd Ed. in 2000.

(*Not strictly accurate, because the AD&D "launch" was spread out over several *years* thanks to TSR's lousy business practice. I picked 1978 because that's about the middle of the 3-year process. Also, TSR loved tacking on new rules in supplements like "Unearthed Arcana" rather than addressing the basic rules system. So the game changed in fits and starts between 1st and 2nd edition, but the essential core rules were not systematically revised.)
NegativeK wrote:White Wolf has increased the release time between every release, HERO released 4th edition in 1989 (with Fifth revised being completely compatible with Fifth, and not really necessary beyond extra clarifications.)
HERO was also effectively dead for several years between 4th and 5th edition. In fact they very nearly went out of business when the ICE/HERO partnership disintegrated.
NegativeK wrote:Time will tell on D&D. If they clean up the mechanics a whole hell of a lot (like fixing the even-Gods-botch-a-twentieth-of-the-time,) I won't complain as much. But looking at their time line, they are speeding up their release schedule.
If they are speeding up the release schedule (by which I assume you mean the release of new editions of the core game) then I'd argue it's because the game and rules were so moribund for so long, and WOTC doesn't want to see those mistakes repeated.

From a business perspective, the "correct" schedule for revised editions of the core rules system is the one that maximizes WOTC's return on investment. Release too often, and you risk upsetting your customer base, release too infrequently, and you go broke. I'd argue that not only is this the correct schedule from the business perspective, but also from the *player's* perspective as well.

In the short-term, we'd all of course prefer not to spend a hundred bucks on new core rulebooks any more often than absolutely necessary. But in the longer term, unless we want D&D to return to where it was in the late 90s (limbo, essentially) we have to accept periodic revisions and improvements to the rules, and the associated costs.

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Post by Abaddon » Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:21 pm

Well said kbm99.

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Post by Cripple X » Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:59 pm

kbm99 wrote:
WOTC exists to make money. Complaining that they are doing stuff to make money is nonsensical. If WOTC stops making money, they'll go the way of TSR, and someone else will end up owning D&D.
I wasn't bemoaning them making money, but how they choose to make it. They way they're doing it now is alienating the customer base. See below.
I agree with you that the release of 3.5 put a little bit of a bad taste in most folk's mouths. 3.5 is, in many ways, what 3.0 should have been, and my guess is that if 3.5 had never been released, you wouldn't be as unhappy about 4.0 coming out next year.
That's it exactly. If 4.0 shows significant changes that improve the game then the rules revision is warranted. It's releasing 3.5 and the like that I have a problem with, it makes me feel as though they feel they can half-ass something, and sell me what they should have in the first place later at a 30% price hike. That's definately not going to encourage me to continue buying. Maybe 4th will be cool, but if they do a 4.5 I'll never buy from them again.

P.S. Did you get my PM Abbadon?

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Post by kbm99 » Fri Aug 17, 2007 9:23 pm

Cripple X wrote:
kbm99 wrote:
WOTC exists to make money. Complaining that they are doing stuff to make money is nonsensical. If WOTC stops making money, they'll go the way of TSR, and someone else will end up owning D&D.
I wasn't bemoaning them making money, but how they choose to make it. They way they're doing it now is alienating the customer base. See below.
What would you prefer they do, then? It all boils down to getting your money away from you for one thing or another. They need to sell you core rules, or splat books, or web subscriptions - *something* - or they might as well just go back to Magic cards and forget about D&D. I'll take a reworking of the rules - assuming it's an improvement - every 5 years or so over an endless series of supplements for character types and settings that don't interest me.

As far as alienating the customer base goes, no doubt some very vocal people will be decrying this is as a greedy move or what have you. These same sorts of people tend to sit around complaining that their favorite game store closed while they browse discount on-line vendors for mail-order product.
Cripple X wrote:
I agree with you that the release of 3.5 put a little bit of a bad taste in most folk's mouths. 3.5 is, in many ways, what 3.0 should have been, and my guess is that if 3.5 had never been released, you wouldn't be as unhappy about 4.0 coming out next year.
That's it exactly. If 4.0 shows significant changes that improve the game then the rules revision is warranted. It's releasing 3.5 and the like that I have a problem with, it makes me feel as though they feel they can half-ass something, and sell me what they should have in the first place later at a 30% price hike. That's definately not going to encourage me to continue buying. Maybe 4th will be cool, but if they do a 4.5 I'll never buy from them again.
You should, of course, spend your money how you think best, and I certainly don't expect you to buy from a company that you think is ripping you off (ask me about Eve Online some time if you doubt me.)

For my part, I found a lot of value in the 3.5 books. WOTC certainly didn't intentionally release a flawed product in 3.0, and I think the improvements and clarifications in 3.5 were spot-on. Some of them probably should have been foreseen, others came about as a direct result of player input, but they were by and large good changes. WOTC also published (for free) a complete list of the crucial rules changes, which meant that no-one was obligated to buy new rule books unless they wanted to. In other words, unless they saw some value in them.

The reason for the 30% price hike is pretty simple - AD&D was DEAD AND BURIED when TSR folded. WOTC sold their re-working of the rules as a loss-leader in order to win back the disaffected fan base. It's not that 3.5 was too expensive but more that 3.0 was far too cheap, because trying to release an unproven new edition at the higher price point would have been a disaster.

In the final assessment it's all luxury spending any way. Lots of people still play 3.0, or 2nd Edition, even 1st edition. This time next year, lots of people will still be playing 3.5 (and 2nd edition, etc.) So long as WOTC is able to keep the game moving forward and keep the accountants happy doing it, I expect to be playing some version of D&D for many years to come.

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Post by Steve » Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:51 pm

I know everyone feels strongly about this, but lets not forget we are all local and friends. And everyone here believes in supporting their local store owners I don't think that is even a question. I'll look though them and if I like them I'll put some money in Jon's register, and if I don't I'll start a new army and still put some money in Jon's register. :D :D

I think we have a great community in Athens with great retailers that are really good to their customers and we owe it to them to show our thanks by supporting them.

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Post by Abaddon » Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:34 am

Yeah i got your guardian stuff bradley.

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Post by JeremyS » Sat Aug 18, 2007 4:02 pm

It's been mentioned, but the release of a new edition in no way obviates your old editions. If you're happy with 3.5, why change? Role-playing games never really become obsolete.

The one argument I can see is this: if WOTC needs to do this to keep the financials on pace, what would have been wrong with, say, producing an entirely new game in a new setting? Granted, D&D is guaranteed money in this industry. But they have access to other licenses. The "saga" edition of Star Wars looked to me to be a complete waste, as it seemed to be just the last edition with a chunk of content removed for 'simplicity'. Couldn't they have done a more serious retooling and marketing of that instead? Were sales THAT bad?

Even so, WOTC has to take care of itself... not much point in being a business if you're not gonna try and make a profit. I'll be happy anyway, as maybe now I'll be able to afford to upgrade my 3.0 core books to match all my 3.5 supplements. :-)


Jeremy S.

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Post by kbm99 » Sat Aug 18, 2007 8:12 pm

JeremyS wrote:The "saga" edition of Star Wars looked to me to be a complete waste, as it seemed to be just the last edition with a chunk of content removed for 'simplicity'.
I have to disagree. It's a fairly complete overhaul and I think it's a substantial improvement. We're playing ti right now and so far I like what I am seeing.
JeremyS wrote: Couldn't they have done a more serious retooling and marketing of that instead? Were sales THAT bad?
I think they did as complete a retooling as they could have without moving substantively away from the d20 system. As far as sales go, I couldn't tell you, but I am sure WOTC has a pretty good idea of what they were like.

I don't know of anyone who played the old version of d20 Star Wars at all.

As far as new games or major new settings go, one of the things WOTC talked about at the launch of 3.0 was how badly TSR had diluted the market by spamming out product. The RPG market doesn't grow very rapidly, if it grows at all. What is more likely to sell, D&D 4th Edition, or some new, unknown game system and setting? It's all the same dollars that WOTC is trying to win in the end, I am sure they are going with the sure bet.

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Post by CleverName » Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:29 am

Well, having spent the weekend reading, and watching youtube for update information, I'm petty excited about 4e. The rule changes are substantive and, seemingly positive.

Tired of it taking hours to make up a character? They sped it up, without removing many of the fiddly bits that make D&D, well, D&D.

Tired of dead levels? You get choices and kewl stuff every level, just like SW SAGA.

Tired of having a low-level wizard need to go back to sleep after the first hour on an adventure? They have gotten rid of most of the Vancian magic system in favor of spells that are one-use, per day and per encounter.

Tired having your character have to spend XP, just to make the fighter a kewl set of drawers? No more XP cost for magic items. + 6wands too!

Tired of fighters becoming less and less interesting after medium levels? Now they have incorporated Book of Nine-swords like feats and talents to give them maneuvers that (like wizards) are always, per day and per encounter. So your fighter can continue specializing or not.

Tired of ECL and races that become less meaningful over time? No more ECL, inclusion of racial feats that become available over time -- so a high level dwarf has fighter has high-level feats that are only open to dwarves.

Tired of the Alignment system, of Paladins that can only be lawful good -- as if that the only moral code one might choose to champion.

Tired of the plethora of Prestige classes? Well, with the new Feat and Talent systems, there are new systems for giving that kind of specialization, without making PCs have hard choices.

Tired of having to play a cleric? Well, now other classes such as bard and Druid can fulfill that role.

Tired of having to learn a new set of progression rules for "epic" play? the rule systems are now unified. Character levels 21-30 are now just, well, levels.

DESIGN THEMES:

Take out the un-fun, useless rules
- Grapple is dead! No more Use Rope.

Focus on the key elements of D&D: character roles, party co-operation, action, and adventure, etc. Rules that get in the way of that need to be re-tooled or ditched. Even the sacred cows like alignment got re-worked. Amazing.

Make it easier to DM. Online tools, easier encounter building, less math, focused monster design.
Last edited by CleverName on Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Glass half full...

Post by CleverName » Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:52 am

Some cool resources for 4e lore:

http://youtube.com/user/GamerZer0

http://forums.gleemax.com/forumdisplay.php?f=686

http://www.enworld.org/


As far as the edition warz goes, well, I guess it is inevitable. I can understand why some folks are upset, though I personally do not feel that way. I was one of the gamers that left D&D during 2nd edition due to the confusing state of the rules and tendency to repackage the same thing, over and over again.

I don't buy games as a personal investment, they are entertainment. I dont expect them to hold or even increase their value over time. I never buy a book without the intent to enjoy reading it, and hopefully using it in a game. I can say I enjoyed and used most of the 3e stuff I bought. 4e does not change that.

If the game is better I will buy and play it. Having actually played SW SAGA, I am VERY happy with the direction the rules seem to be going in.

BTW, I found it very amusing to hear the 4e developers dancing around the 3.5 issue. They all but admitted it was a mistake, at the same time not apologizing about working on or even having to "lie" about 4e. So, I think that an 8-year cycle is going to be the norm now, with "updates" taking place on-line as options and SRD updates, and "erratta" corrected printings. So, 4.5? Probably not. 5e? Pretty much a sure thing in 2016.

That's okay with me.

Also, I'm trying to find it, but I saw a great post re:new editions for games. If my memory serves, Keith is generally correct. D&D generally releases slower than any other in-print RPG - though the 3.5 edition really cut into this stat.

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Post by Steve » Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:28 am

I have to say the more I read about 4th the more I'm warming up to the idea. I have not heard a bad word said about SW SAGA and it seems 4th Ed. will be very similar to that.

The one thing I worry about is compatibility, I'm buying adventures allot these days as I enjoy DM'ing them more than trying to spend weeks planning something from scratch, and I don't look forward to having to rewrite every encounter in the book to fit the new system. I'm hoping the designers will take that into account and make converting existing products to the new system. I mean they are releasing at least 4 more adventures between now and then and if they expect to sell any of them they had better have some kind of answer to this concern.

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Post by CleverName » Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:55 am

Steve wrote:I have to say the more I read about 4th the more I'm warming up to the idea. I have not heard a bad word said about SW SAGA and it seems 4th Ed. will be very similar to that.

The one thing I worry about is compatibility, I'm buying adventures allot these days as I enjoy DM'ing them more than trying to spend weeks planning something from scratch, and I don't look forward to having to rewrite every encounter in the book to fit the new system. I'm hoping the designers will take that into account and make converting existing products to the new system. I mean they are releasing at least 4 more adventures between now and then and if they expect to sell any of them they had better have some kind of answer to this concern.
What was said about this was that most adventures pub. between now and then will have 4e content for them. Vague, but hopeful.

I also KNOW that when 4e hits there will be plenty of new advs. published via their online services (D&D insider).

The deal with D&D insider is that it will be free for the next 8mos. then they will charge for its use, but, for the money, you will be getting a heck of a lot. I plan to try it out. The paid for content includes:

-Character generator/tracker with 3d modeling for pcs.

-online gaming table/voip service - for

-online content = to both Dungeon and Dragon magazines.



Also, Wizards committed to producing the same amount/quality of free material on the web. I'm sure they will be teasers for the pay content though.

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Post by kbm99 » Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:49 pm

CleverName wrote:Also, Wizards committed to producing the same amount/quality of free material on the web. I'm sure they will be teasers for the pay content though.
So, in that same vein, what about the OGL? Any news?

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Post by Abaddon » Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:45 pm

Online character tracker/generator sounds good. Actually sounds pretty exciting in general!

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