Reply To: 4th edition DnD

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  • Markshire PCs:

@Thrym wrote:

I’m sure Mule or Cayle are ready to hop in and state that this is done elsewhere already, etc.

Did I feel my ears ring?

I can’t comment on the current state of the art vis-à-vis PnP and whether or not what T described exists somewhere as I’m still stuck in the 80’s and regard Twilight 2000 with a homebrew combat system as the height of awesome (hey, it actually took the muzzle velocity and bullet grain weight into account for the damage tables) and never fully bought into 2E.

I think I can comment on why the bloody hell WoC created this thing as they were pretty open about it.

Remember, that bookshelf full of 1E, 2E and 3E material may make you a longtime D&D loyalist, but it does not help WotC’s bottom line in 2008. The oldtimer crowd can’t support the company forever. Each year, more and more decide that they are happy with what came before and stop buying new books. If WotC relies only on the grognards, it will wither and die. Sure, they may be happy if the oldtimers also buy the new books, but 4E is an attempt to escape grognard capture. Here is a quote from a terra nova article on that theme.

When I worked on WWIIOnline we used Grognard to describe the hardcore sim players who would question every tweak we did to a vehicle or game play.

While I loved the WWIIOnline community (some of the most dedicated MMO players there are), it is also clear that if you cater your game to Gorgnards.. you will most likely only retain Grognards.

If we consider it, its not surprising that Grognard may adequately describe a large percentage of the population of small niche MMO’s.

Go back and watch the videos that WotC released during GenCon 07. Watch carefully and read between the lines. Then read the original escapist article that turned the word grognard into a game design meme. WotC does not regard white wolf as their competition. They regard WoW as their competition. They feel that people may choose on any given evening whether to play D&D or go on a raid. They are trying to expand the PnP market to take in all those people who came to WoW. This is why they openly said that they were making D&D more like combat in an MMO.

Why was WoW so successful? Most hard core MMO fans will point to other games as their favorite, so it certainly does not cater to the hardcore PvP (they play EVE Online), crafting (A Tale in the Desert), gritty and difficult PvE (Tabula Rasa, Everquest 2), roleplay (NWN, Second Life, Saga of Ryzom) etc. crowds. What WoW has is that it is easy to learn the ropes and that it is accessible to the casual player. “Casual” has been the buzzword in the MMO design space for a couple of years now and WotC want to get the casual player to play D&D. This casual player does not want wizards being few and far between and does not care about mystery. He knows tank/nuker/healer and thinks in terms of DPS.

4E is not an update to D&D. It is a completely new game using the same IP and name recognition and aimed at a different market. Mark my words, 4.5 will introduce DPS into PnP.