It’s Monday, and time for you to enjoy my opinion. I’m fed up with the 4E-bashing, for several reasons.
- It’s been almost a year and still people are complaining about the quality of a game they don’t play.
- The complaints are usually in vague and relative terms, rather than critical terms that could be used to improve the game or measure its flaws.
- Some compare the game to something else (WoW, PokÃ©mon, anime), but have neither tried the game nor the something else (and the something else is actually rather good).
- Some insist that 4E players can’t possibly enjoy the game (however, they have no problem accepting difference in taste in film, videogames or other forms of entertainment).
- Logic is sometimes optional: “You can’t roleplay, because they took out the craft rules.”
- Finally, the 4E bashing began before anyone had sampled the rules, since they were to replace an edition most current players enjoyed and were heavily invested in.
If you’re going to wail on D&D4, at least give some solid reasons. Take the following examples:
- The Player’s Handbook is full of horribly cheesy lines and ridiculous, over-specific fluff.
- A lot of important D&D tradition is thrown out the window. Spell preparation is gone, there are five alignments instead of nine, the elemental planes are mushed into one mess, driders are a reward instead of a punishment, and any number of other changes that would make a Greyhawk fan feel faint.
- Miniatures are no longer optional. There are too many movement and area-based abilities to get away without a combat grid, like you could in third edition.
- The game focuses primarily on combat abilities. Although some roleplayers will find renewed interest in the new combat system, the rest are laboured with learning a new combat system they’ll rarely use.
- The class system is less flexible. Practically all class abilities gained past level one are 1/day or 1/encounter powers, usually offensive spells or fighting techniques. There are few non-combat or always-on abilities such as Trapsense, Uncanny Dodge, Aura of Courage or barbarian damage reduction.
- The Player’s Handbook is a jungle. The Character Builder software is almost necessary, since the sections on character generation levelling up are murky.
- The whole thing is much more tightly balanced. That’s arguably a good thing, but many players complain the game loses some of its character if it’s too safe and sanitized. It’s harder to be proud of a really powerful character.
- Solo combats should be exciting, but they’re boring. Dragons have so many hit points that you need to wail on them for quite a while, which is potentially quite frustrating; on the other hand, knockout spells like Sleep can make it ridiculously easy.
- There’s no conversion guide to introduce third edition players to fourth edition.
Feel free to levy your own criticisms on the game, but remember that your input is much more valuable when it’s in concrete, measurable terms.