Ch-ch-changes… (4th edition) pt. 3Posted: June 12, 2008
Randy Lander’s post on 4th edition got me thinking about 4th edition again. (Randy’s piece was nice enough to link to my previous outings on this subject as “well-written think pieces”. Randy, you are far too kind) I don’t want it to go down in the historical record that I was a complete hater of the newest incarnation of D&D.
While I stand by all the criticisms brought up in my previous posts, I think it would be wise to take some time to point what I liked about the new edition. The combat rules are incredibly streamlined and accessible to new players. Much of what could cause the rules to break down in D&D 3.0 has been stripped out of the game. There is really nothing obvious to my eyes that would throw off players and DMs.
One can not complement enough how well laid out by the Player’s Handbook (PHB) and the Dungeon Master’s Guide (DM) are. Everything is where it should be, you almost don’t need an index (though the index is still very useful). This is a marked improvement over the 3.0 books.
As I noted in an earlier post, I think the fundamental rules that form the spine of the game are great. In many aspects the show a great deal better design sense than the 3.0 rules. But the way this new sense of design is implemented, especially in the way classes and player races work, feels fundamentally disperate from what I think D&D is.
Put another way, as the 4th edition of the d20 rule set this is a fine, even great, game. As the newest incarnation of D&D is leave something to be desired.
All of my criticisms of 4th edition doesn’t mean I hate the game, far from it. I’m greatly looking forward to a chance to actually put my 60+ dollar investment to good use; that is to say, actually play the damn game. Hopefully that chance will come sooner rather than later.
Until then I am very interested in hearing from others’ experiences with the game.