First (Level) Impressions: D&D 4e

(To those of you coming in via search: this article was written after the D&D XP convention, which featured only a limited preview of 4e. This is not a comprehensive review of 4e. –ed)

With four games under my belt, along with talking to some of the designers and developers at length, I’m ready to give you my Critical opinion of D&D fourth edition! Of course, this was only a preview, and things could still change, but many of these are pretty core to the system.

Critical Hits:

  • More choices for everyone. Just judging by what you can do at first level, I’m quite looking forward to higher level characters.
  • Combat really is more dynamic. More movement around the battlefield, and they managed to do it WITHOUT changing the interesting tactics that existed in 3e. You still get attacked if you withdraw from combat and aren’t careful. You still have to plan your movement around. But there’s more powers and abilities that move around, and more advantages to doing so.
  • Diagonal moves are always 1’s rule. Seriously, this might be my favorite change, and one that makes me angry when people say “it’s not hard!” No, it’s not hard to do 1-2-1-2, but it’s ANNOYING, and easy to get wrong. It’s a memory condition that makes it take longer for someone with high movement to take their turn. Good riddance! (Same goes for reach giving opportunity attacks.)
  • Combinations and emergent properties. I feel like in 3.x, the powerful combinations came from abusing feat/class combinations, often by ignoring the spirit of the rule. In 4e, the way the different powers in different classes interact gives a good amount of synergy and creates powerful combinations on purpose. As a really minor example, Danny used a power to push a goblin back into a room. This put the goblin within range of the other goblins so that the Wizard could use sleep on all of them. There’s nothing devastating about that combo, but it felt really, really fun, and made me want to seek out more of those situations.
  • Durations are so much better now. I’d be willing to bet I haven’t played a game of D&D 3e where someone didn’t ask once per combat, “How many rounds do you think it’s been since I cast this?” Don’t tell me it’s the player’s and DM’s job to keep track… that’s just paperwork, and it’s annoying. Last for the day/for the encounter/until saved/one round is much, much cleaner.
  • As far as being like the game that the media portrays it as, D&D is a lot closer now. To explain, if you watch a tv show with an evil wizard, you’ll see him firing energy blasts every round, with heroes ducking behind rocks or deflecting them, or being knocked back. Previously in D&D, that didn’t happen… the wizard would talk about re-memorizing his spells, and warriors would just charge it and start wailing on him. D&D 4e gives that experience for the first time.

Critical Misses:

  • Marks and similar mechanics. These are abilities that let you designate a certain foe that has certain effects. This is fine in theory. However, the paladin and fighter’s marks counteract each other, while the ranger’s and warlock’s don’t. Paladin, Fighter, and Ranger can only have one mark at a time, but the Warlock can have many. Ranger and Warlock can only affect the closest enemy, others can only mark certain people. What should be one consistent mechanic not only does a different thing for each class, but acts different in play.
  • Easily forgettable bonuses are still in full force. There’s still plenty of “I give you an AC bonus this round”, then “Oh wait, I forgot his AC bonus, it actually misses. Wait, was that this round or last round?”
  • The character sheets had a really nicely formatted set of powers BUT there were pieces on the front that I needed that acted like powers. (In fact, in one game, I missed a key ability because it was on the front of my sheet.) I really wanted my “charge attack” to be a power instead of rules elsewhere, my “run” to be a power, my “Second Wind” to be a power, and my “opportunity attack” to be a power. Instead, I became annoyed that I had to flip the sheet over for those things.
  • Not sure I like 50/50 saving throws. There are abilities that modify it, but generally, it doesn’t matter how powerful you are, it’s going to be 50/50 to shake off an effect.
  • The first level pregen character did not have Cure Light Wounds. Is the spell still in? Was it a casualty of finally declaring (rightly) that Hit Points are abstract? Not sure, but I was disappointed at its absence. (Especially with the Wizard still having plenty of classic power names.)
  • I don’t like “milestones” and the way action points are given out. I love the new action point rule- so simple and yet an agonizing decision. But the milestone system feels very much like a “patch” on the 15 minute adventuring day, a way to encourage players to keep going by an entirely OOC reward. Then there’s this whole system where APs are restricted to one a combat, and they get reset? There goes some of the interesting management and tense feeling.
  • It could just be that I suck at rolling, but first level felt very swingy. Lots of luck on both sides. I don’t think I can judge that fully until I see later levels, though.

Critical Misc:

  • If every DMG came with Mike Mearls to DM for you, everyone would play 4e. He ran by far the most fun session I played, AND looked like he enjoyed every minute he was playing.
  • Warlock powers are still hilarious. “I unleash my Curse of the Dark Dream… with bats, snakes, and blood!”
  • As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I see nothing to indicate that this edition will be any worse or better for roleplaying than any previous edition of D&D. I will come right out and say that rules can contribute to roleplaying- the two are not independent. But 4e does not change the essential atmosphere of D&D for roleplaying.
  • It really is a paradigm shift for D&D in most ways. Some people prefer more simulation in their games, and 4e really isn’t built for it. For me, D&D4e supports the type of play I like. Your mileage may vary, but I keep coming back to one point: there are lots of RPG systems out there that support different styles of play, and if you prefer something that “makes more sense” then I highly suggest checking out one of the many excellent options. For me, I’m going to 4e.
About Dave

Dave "The Game" Chalker is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Critical Hits. Since 2005, he has been bringing readers game news and advice, as well as editing nearly everything published here. He is the designer of the Origins Award-winning Get Bit!, a freelance designer and developer, son of a science fiction author, and a Master of Arts. He lives in MD with e, their three dogs, and two cats.


  1. So the transition from Fantasy Roleplayng to Fantasy Action Roleplaying that was started in 3e continues in 4e.

    I hope they’ll fix the mark thing otherwise I’m really looking forward to all this.

  2. Marcel Beaudoin says:

    Thanks for the review!!

  3. Yaezakura says:

    Wow. Thank you for this. While I’ve been among the pro-4E crowd since the beginning, I find reviews that show positive and negative views the best, because they show someone can still be for the new edition but not blinded by it to the point of ignoring potential flaws. You’ve helped reinforce my beliefs that 4E will definitely be a system worth using. ^_^

  4. Anonymous says:

    4E still sucks. Boo. Down with WotC, you evil megalomaniac corporation! You killed D&D’s spirit and you’re brainwashing a bunch of WoW morons to play it too.

    I’ll stick with the best edition ever, 3rd Edition, thank you. Screw playing side by side with 4rons.

  5. What a well-crafted critical response!

  6. I vote for this Anonymous guy!

    Seriously though… for a lot of players, D&D it never was about all fun all the time.

    I’ll try to post about this but many of us grew attached to some of the warts of D&D and this transformation from stern often incoherent taskmaster to Sexy Soccer mom is going to be too much for some.

    4e is perfect for the Rule of Cool addicts like you, I and Graham, but the simulationists and grognards will stay away I think.

  7. Yeah, see, different tastes are fine (as I point out in the review) but calling the company megalomaniac and people who happen to like another game morons doesn’t fly with me.

    (Not that it matters, but I don’t even play WoW.)

  8. “Warlock powers are still hilarious. ‘I unleash my Curse of the Dark Dream… with bats, snakes, and blood!'”

    OMG I can’t wait to see those and use a warlock again. You should scan in and post that professional piece of artwork I created to demonstrate how warlock powers work.

  9. Oh no…

    I don’t want to know where the bats come in…

    As for WoW, I tried it, and decided that, well, Hell is other WoW players. It made me missed Guild Wars, the single-player MMO, where everything is instanced.

  10. Shekeka says:

    Gotta say I love the review. I find your comments usually quite insightful.

    But I just don’t think this 4e thing will be for me….several powers/abilities just sound “goofy”/dumb….Shielding Smite- I hit a foe and an ally nearby gets +3 ac bonus….too goofy for me…

    but I do like some of the ideas and may steal them for my 3.x game.
    But for all you 4e fans…I really do hope it is to your satisfaction.

  11. TheMainEvent says:

    I like the term ‘4rons’ even if I don’t agree with the sentiment. I just hope that the different powers you can choose from in character creation/development actually are a choice. It would be a shame to see virtually every ranger/fighter/whatever with a slightly competent player pan out close to the same way. Nothing so far indicates it will be that way, but then again nothing so far indicates that it won’t be that way.

  12. I started developing house rules for my 3.5e campaign, and then previews for 4e came along. I like what I see so far. It looks like 4e is what I’ve been trying to do to 3.5e. I want combat to be more ‘fantasy’ and less ‘realistic.’

    Still, I am disappointed that the long-standing Druid is out while the splat-book Warlock is in. Guess I will also buy the PHB2.

  13. TheMainEvent – They have said each class will take about 15 pages, so I don’t think we have to worry about lack of significant choice.

    And I believe “4rons” has been stolen from 4chan, though I could be wrong.

    Now, then, to think up a combination of “three” and “grognard” or “luddite”.

  14. Still mixed about 4e…gonna discuss with my group back home over spring break whilst playing some d20 modern…

    Also, anonymous is omniopinionated…there’s another version of him that will say the exact opposite…and be just as offensive…

    Ah, good times…

  15. Oh!


    That one works!

  16. can I have a mountain dew?
    Where are they?
    Do I see him?
    Ok then Im going to get drunk.. are there girls here?, if there are girls here Im gonna hit on them!

    ..thats all I gotta say to that!

  17. Opinionated is fine, disagreeing is fine (though I doubt he even read my review), but insults on my site are not. Thanks to everyone else for keeping it civil and for the kind words about the review (whether you’re going to 4e or not.)

  18. Does that mean that Ad hominem argumnents are off?

    And here I was getting geared up with references to Horses asses and inbreeding…


    Seriously, I’m the greatest defender of civil discourse and debate.

    You are doing a stellar job and I’m 100% behind you guys!

  19. Ironwood says:

    I had the opportunity to sit with Dave Chalker at one of the Forgotten Realms tables (Escape from Sembia… and die anyways…).

    Although the mechanics work as presented, it does not feel like D&D at all. If you’re an idiot at resource management, this game is for you. I can only hope that seeing more of the rules changes my opinion otherwise.

    Dave – I wish I could have done more against the hobgoblin archers. – The Paladin

  20. Although the mechanics work as presented, it does not feel like D&D at all.

    May I ask why, specifically?

    “If you’re an idiot at resource management, this game is for you.


    Why can it not be that someone (read: me) is not an idiot at resource management, but doesn’t like it getting in the way of playing a game? There’s a reason that, when playing a spellcaster, I will always pick sorcerer, and it has nothing to do with my ability to manage resources.

  21. Ironwood: We would have faired better using the -actual- 4th Ed. dying rules (stabilize once you save, no need to keep rolling until you die or roll a 20), and perhaps I (as the Cleric) would have had a far better shot at healing the party.

    Again, this is not intended to be a slight in any way to RPGA or their DM’s, it’s completely understandable that rules would be confused or incorrect as the game is still in development and was taught relatively quickly.

  22. OriginalSultan says:

    One thing I noticed about 3.x was that when my gaming group started to get really precise with the combat rules (as opposed to earlier days when things were ‘fudged’ a bit more) we found it beneficial to use a board to track everything that was going on. Over time this ‘benefit’ of using a board became a ‘necessity’, to the point where the DM would not arrange to have any combat unless one was present.

    Given the increased movement around the battlefield in 4e, and the increased importance of movement in combat, would you feel that having a battle map or battle board to be more of a necessity in 4e even than it was in 3.x?

  23. This is the most balanced review I’ve read so far. I’ll certainly save my final opinion for after I read the new books. The impression I’m getting right now though is 4e is trying to simulate a low-budget made-for-TV series. I’m more likely to be inspired by something closer to reality.

    Of course, D&D has always been easily modified. The snip-its of new rules we see all are easy to modify or replace. I suppose the critical part of a decision to run 4e is determining how much of the system to change to suite your tastes.

  24. Zee: “I’m more likely to be inspired by something closer to reality.”

    So wait, you play D&D?

    OriginalSultan: I’d say it’s no more or less a necessity to have a battlemat set up for 4th than it is with 3rd.

  25. Ogre1000 says:

    Heck yeah! Great photo!

    I was playing the ranger that is in the foreground of this picture. Mearls was an incredible DM with great descriptions of everything that was going on. Misses weren’t described as just “Meh, you didn’t get him”. Instead it was a glancing blow that cleaved off a chunk of rotting zombie flesh, however it appears to have not been a structural piece of the zombie… Man that guy really had some great descriptions for everything.

  26. Ogre1000: Are you the guy we gave our extra tokens to?

    That picture is actually not of the game Mearls ran, but of the very first delve Dave and I went through at the same table / dungeon. Agreed on everything about how good Mearls was though, what a pleasure that game was to play in.

  27. Ogre1000 says:

    Yup I was the token receiver, thanks to your gift I was able to get the Shadar Kai Sojourner RPGA card, now I just need to wait on the Monster Manual to find out if I have chosen poorly.

  28. The saving throw thing strikes me as rather lame. Making most saves nearly a coin flip seems to take some of the glory out of having a dwarf with a high constitution…in a bar!

  29. Trask – I see your point. But Dwarves will get a +5 on saves against poison (according the the D&DXP sheets). Plus the Con bonus applies to your Fortitude Defense, making it less likely that you’ll be subject to those effects in any case.

    As an aside, it’s never made much sense to me that a Dwarf is somehow stronger against being lit on fire, anyways.

  30. Dwarves are made of stone, much the same way Elves are made of wood. Therefore, Elves should take EXTRA fire damage…

  31. Heh. That is one way to look at it, I suppose. 🙂

  32. Ogre1000 says:

    Since Dwarves are made of stone… they can’t float… so they are heavier than a duck… Therefore there are no dwarf witches.

  33. brother rasmus says:

    just played 4e last w/e after a 25 year hiatus. 3.x got too complicated for me (3tard). i really liked playing 4e as it was pretty simple and quick to pick up which is a bonus for those of us older folks who can only spend a small amount of time gaming. i also thought this is move more towards mini gaming (warhammer, 40k) not toward mmorpg (evidence the dnd insider lack of content). count me in for a return with 4e.

  34. D&D 4.x –

    Each player now has the ability to choose an adventuring party including Defenders, Strikers, Controllers, and one HQ unit.

    In the Grim Darkness of Dungeons & Dragons, there is only teh phattest l3wt.

  35. “As far as being like the game that the media portrays it as, D&D is a lot closer now. To explain, if you watch a tv show with an evil wizard, you’ll see him firing energy blasts every round, with heroes ducking behind rocks or deflecting them, or being knocked back. Previously in D&D, that didn’t happen… the wizard would talk about re-memorizing his spells, and warriors would just charge it and start wailing on him. D&D 4e gives that experience for the first time.”

    Making the game play more like TV shows is a MAJOR flaw in planning. Do you actually *watch* TV? If your roleplaying style is Hollywood based, then you have my deepest sympathies. This should be looked at as a drawback!

    And for those who haven’t seen the books or played this yet – run screaming. It’s a terrible terrible system that plays like a video game. It panders to the Power Gamers and lurpy freaks that do shit like call themselves by their character names IRL. if you’re looking for a game that has any, ANY level of grit to it, this is not for you.

    I personally feel like WoTC has not only dropped the ball on this but has lit it on fire and then pissed it out as well.

    Party Roles?
    Level based ‘powers’ ?
    No true skills?
    flat HP gain per class/level?

    Yeah, sounds like the designers play too much Warcraft and not enough D&D. They have lost a customer in me, I will NEVER buy any of this crap.

  36. Thanks for your review. You’ll notice that my review is a critical review that covers both positives and negatives, and never resorts to name-calling of any other play styles. I wonder which review is more convincing? Have fun ranting some more, though.

    And yes, we here at Critical Hits do watch tv.

  37. Bring back save-or-dies and impossible numbers, PLZ?

  38. If your roleplaying style is Hollywood based, then you have my deepest sympathies. This should be looked at as a drawback!

    Or, y’know, a stylistic choice? Like playing sci-fi vs fantasy? Or court intrigue vs sneaky infiltration?

    So the system somehow appeals to video gamers, and to those who call themselves by their characters’ names outside of gaming? Aren’t those two opposite ends of the spectrum? Yet somehow according to you, it can’t possibly appeal to anyone in the moderate range in between?


    Look, I don’t care who plays what system. 3e, 4e, 1e, BESM, WW, whatever! There are legitimate reasons to not play 4e.

    There are not legitimate reasons to insult anyone who disagrees with you just because they happen to disagree with you. Your opinion is not the be-all end-all of opinions on the subject. This type of rant makes you come across as a spoiled child, who is upset that he isn’t getting his way.

    Why won’t people like you just let people like me fucking be without telling us that the way we’re doing it is somehow wrong?

    Graham’s last post: Final thoughts after marathon 4e release day events

  39. Remember Graham, according to that guy in another post, we’re what’s wrong with the industry. Never mind we’re the ones bringing new people in, playing with 20-somethings (both men and women), using our disposable income on all sorts of games (not just D&D), writing about games online, talking to our friends about games, and having a good time playing a game of our choice. We’re clearly the problem, and that guy is the solution.


  40. Playing with 20-somethings? We are 20-somethings! Well, at least I am. I have no idea about anyone else around here.

    Females? In gaming??? Pfft! 3 of my 6 players are girls. And we’re all 20-something! OMFG!!!



    Graham’s last post: Final thoughts after marathon 4e release day events

  41. I found it interesting that the entire review was about Combat. Combat is only half of D&D.

  42. Casey, this review was from March after the D&D Experience convention where we played in the Delves, which were pretty much all combat, so that’s all I had to review on. It is not a review of 4e as a whole, being an article that predates its release.

  43. I was enthusiastic about getting the new books, and i’ve been playing the game avidly since the 1st edition.
    For the most part, i’ve given every edition a try, always approaching it as a new system and not as an improvement of the old. Its interesting that I always had a way to make it fun for me and my players. With all the system changes, I took it in stride and dove in to explore the possibilities.

    1st and 2nd had a feel to them, like a classic fantasy novel. It felt like true fantasy. I have fond memories of them.

    3rd edition and 3.5 didn’t have that feeling. The art was more flashy, the monster descriptions were more brief, and so on. SO, while I did approach the whole system optimistically, I felt It was up to me to bring about that old-style feeling in play, and I was able to do it with a bit of work. A lot of times I even relied on 2nd edition material for detailing monster ecologies and things.

    I love 3rd, it’s wonderful, and it runs so nicely (though keeping a balanced game is harder).

    Half-way through the 4th edition book, I put it down. I didn’t even finish it. I mean, I WANT TO LIKE IT, but there seems to be no flexibility at all.

    So, every single rogue is a striker now? Every fighter is a defender? With abilities that they can use every round?

    But my biggest complaint is the spell-casting classes. I am accustomed to having virtually THOUSANDS of spells available to give my players, that do TONS of different and unique things. They could scry in a dungeon pool, reverse gravity, stop time, create invisible mansions on extrademensional planes of existence, ect.
    Seems now everything is for combat, which is only one part of a beautiful fantasy world to explore.

  44. And how on earth do I describe the action when one of my players uses a “healing surge”???

    “Suddenly you catch a second wind, and, though bloodied and battle-scarred, you shake off your injuries and fight on!”……….. That’s the best I can do. Healing surges suck.

  45. I’d argue that having thousands of spells is a bug, not a feature (and one thing I’m happy about in the new edition.) It was very easy for adventures to go off the rails and make a DM’s job even harder by casting one obscure spell. (It also made the game grind to a halt looking spells up.)

    If you want non-combat spells, you should have kept reading past the half-way point: the rituals in the PHB are exactly what you’re asking for. But if you want old school thousands of spells, available only to a few character classes, each with their own set of exceptions and pains, 4e is not going to be for you.

    And I’ve had 0 problems explaining healing surges, and 0 complaints at the table. Hit points don’t make sense anyway.

  46. Well, it’s certainly different. I’ve thought about giving it a test run, maybe I will.

    It’s just that, one of the things that made the other editions beautiful was the level of detail they put into the descriptions, ecologies, and places. The books have very little of that.

    Still, if I can bring old-school life to 3rd, maybe I can for 4? Sad to say, it’s getting harder and harder.

    Dungeons & Dragons is not a miniatures game. It is a game where the players try to imagine what they see, and the experience is largely in the player’s mind. With something to see, and references and effects that cause game pieces to move certain numbers of squares and all sorts of things like that, it detracts from the experience greatly.

    Often, especially in 3rd, I did use the miniatures rules to play out some damn awesome combats. But even then, my group is pretty hardcore… we let the rules fall into the background and don’t refer to them too much during play. We wrote very short references for spells and things on index cards, to the point where we eventually could do everything from memory. grappling, trip attacks, ect.

    But basically, the action was described as though straight out of a book, with very little reference to squares or penalties. (it was always still there, but my point is, in D&D your playing it right if the rules fade into the background.) Live in the imagination.

    How am I going to do that now? In 4E, they don’t give explanations for their rules or any comparison to reality. Things work THIS way because the rules say so, and that’s it.

    It’s going to be a lot harder. Do you get my meaning? I still may try it, but my aim is for imagination, and the way these rules are built, it won’t be very easy to see with the mind’s eye.

  47. Zodd,

    It’s wonderful that’s how you play D&D, and what you consider D&D to be. But saying things like “it’s not a miniatures game” and that you only play D&D “right when rules fall into the background” are not true for everyone. It is one style of play.

    When I played Lejendary Adventures with Gary Gygax, he used miniatures, combat maps, and plenty of rules. The same is true when he ran OD&D that same weekend. Like it or not, preferred style or not, there’s plenty of precedent for the kind of D&D that you seem to be decrying as incorrect.

    I have played plenty of RPGs that were more immersive, were more about roleplaying and storytelling, and so on. I have played hours and hours of roleplaying without any rules at all to the extent that it could no longer be called a game. But that’s not how I play D&D. Neither of us are necessarily more correct. However, the new edition of D&D, to me, is a great balance between tactical combats, interesting decisions, storytelling, and roleplaying. Your experience may be different, but asserting that your playstyle is “correct” is not a useful way to look at it all.

  48. In that you are correct. What i’m looking for is that feeling of fantasy. This doesn’t feel like the mythical fantasy.

    Which is not necessarily bad. There’s other modern stuff out there that is super cool. But I saw a hilarious rant on youtube about 4E, look for skritz rant 4th edition review. Nails it right on the head.

    But alas, if people like this, and are having fun with it, then by all means!! There’s nothing wrong with that.

  49. Well, I still like having thousands of spells. Even if it’s more complex, that’s true wizardry! It’s what made wizards feared and awed, truly.

    On the plus side, the system does look like it’s a lot easier on the brain. Maybe it really will draw in new players, though I doubt it. With all the options for games out there, the main audience for this one is people who already played. And most of them so far as I can tell are disappointed. At this point in time, the odds are very real that it may go the way of the dinosaur, where no one wants the books and Wotc stops making them.

    I opted to give 4E a try, and told my players about test-running the game, and they all sneered and told me that they were going to be extremely cynical. I can’t blame them, but i’m still going to try to amaze them and give it my very best shot.

    So, what i’m going to do is throw together a classic 1st level adventure (they all meet in a tavern, LOL. prey on their nostalgia)

    I’ll create a village and a nearby kobold lair for them to explore. I’ll really try to impress them, lol. But after that, it’s all up to vote.

    If they vote 4E down, we’re jumping into a d20 modern apocalyptic campaign to experience the zombie take-over of the world, Dawn of the Dead style ^_^.

  50. Cool. Be sure to let us know how it goes. I’ll tell you right now that reading it and playing it are two very different beasts, and many people who were put off while reading it were turned around by playing.

    Honestly, though, this game may not end up being for you, which is fine. 3e wasn’t for everyone either. d20 Modern is one of my favourite systems, anyways.

    You mention that the main audience for 4e is the people who already play. Perhaps at first. But not attempting to bring in new blood is a good way to ensure that your company dies (just as the old blood does eventually).

    (By the way, “most” of the older players have not been disappointed. Those that are are the most vocal, of course, and enworld has a disproportionate amount of naysayers. But from my experience, the reaction has been largely positive, especially after playing it. I don’t think WotC has anything to worry about.)

    Oh, and that Skritz rant? Holy crap, I couldn’t even listen to that. Aside from his inability to form complete, coherent sentences, when he did form them, most of what he was saying was such uninformed bile that I had to turn it off.

    Graham’s last post: Final thoughts after marathon 4e release day events

  51. Another vote from me for d20 Modern being awesome (and a game that I never use a grid for.) In fact, if 4e were to fail for my group for some reason (which seems unlikely) that’s what I’d be running next for sure… hacked a bit.

  52. Vesavius says:

    It’s a nice review, but…

    Theres always a ‘but’ right?

    You fail to touch upon the most grating issue, to me at least.

    Backwards comapatability.

    IMO, if we are talking about bringing new players into the game, there is *nothing* 4e achieves in it’s wiped clean slate approach that could not have been achieved with revising and streamlining the current base rules, while still keeping the system backwards compatiable. The truth is though that they would have made waaay less money that way right?

    Non compatibility was a deliberate bussiness descision. One made at your expense. You should be angry at that.

    I won’t throw out over £600 worth of WotC rule books because someone tells me grapple is too hard (which, for the record, it isnt. It’s actually easy). I do not find 3.5 ‘hard’ personally, but then I am not afraid to read a book and learn a few rules.

    With regards to 4e’s much touted ‘simplicity’… Give it 2 years and it will be every bit as ‘bloated’ as 3.5 is, and then they will use that as an excuse to sell you an even simpler and even more DungeonQuest like 4.5… The nature of the game demands expansions to generate revenue, so why you all don’t think this will be true with 4e is confusing.

    I will not be sold a new game, that I didnt ask for, simply because WotC need to sell more books and minis to bring their profits up to what Hasbro’s board demands them to be. I am not even gonna go into ‘insider’ here… The whole drive to wring every last penny out of the customer base is sickening to me.

    4e is not D&D.

    It is a *brand new* RPG that has been simply branded D&D to sell copies. This dosent make it ‘bad’, it just means that it casts off just too much of the core game system that I enjoy for me to buy into it.

    I personally will be sticking with 3.5 and Pathfinder to get the game engine I want.

  53. Y’know what, I could debate and refute nearly every one of your points, Vesavius, but I won’t, because you pissed me off too early in your comment. All I have to say is:

    “You should be angry at that.”

    Do NOT tell me how to feel! Do NOT tell me what I should be angry at!

    There is absolutely nothing I “should be” angry at!

    And this alone tells me you aren’t worth arguing with.

    Graham’s last post: Final thoughts after marathon 4e release day events

  54. I’m going to go with Graham’s righteous anger on this one. Not only is there no reason I should be angry, I’ve never bought a version of D&D that was compatible with the old one, and so your argument is flawed from the very beginning. I’ve also written plenty of articles stating why grapple is a bad rule, why saying “this is not D&D” is flawed, why tearing down and rebuilding is the BEST thing you can do for a game design. I’m tired of arguing with all of these drive-by commenters who think it’s their job to cry about WotC on every blog they can find who has anything positive to say about 4e. Unless you have some good argument to make, and actually do your research, I’m not interested in listening anymore. This is just getting ridiculous.

  55. Vesavius says:

    Y’know what, I could debate and refute nearly every one of your points, Vesavius, but I won’t, because you pissed me off too early in your comment. All I have to say is:

    “You should be angry at that.”

    Do NOT tell me how to feel! Do NOT tell me what I should be angry at!

    There is absolutely nothing I “should be” angry at!

    And this alone tells me you aren’t worth arguing with.

    Well.. I am sorry that you cannot control your anger in order to discuss something rather then yell and hissy fit like this. This alone tells me also that you arnt worth discussing anything with.

    And, yes, are are angry at entirely the wrong thing. You are angry because someone on the interweb tells you that you should care about being ripped off, yet you are happy to be ripped off?

    /sigh… fanbois…


    I had no idea you were so sensitive.

    3.5 wasnt 80% compatable with the old one? It didnt only require a minimum of tweaking to work with my 3e stuff?


    Try again?

    Wow, you both went to personal insults and tantrums really really fast.

    And ‘The Game’… Why the hell do you post public blogs and opinions if you are really so sensitive about this?? You put your opinions in a public place, and you treat those that dare respond like worthless crap that you cant be arsed with?

    I didnt attack you, or your work. Quite the opposite. I just dared to mention an aspect of 4e that bothers me deeply and that will stop me purchasing it.

    Really guys, why so angry?

    I think it’s you both that need to take a step back and get some clarity.

  56. Ah, how did I guess you were going to take the “it’s only an innocent opinion, don’t get mad at me” tact.

    Your criticisms are in no way relevant to the post at hand. You are stating an untenable position in “4e is not D&D.” (Fact: It is.) You present your opinions as fact and in a condescending way. Even in your reply post, you are insulting, telling us that we’re getting ripped off, yet you have not made the case for such.

    Had you been the first to do so, I might have decided to take a higher road. But the fact of the matter is that I’m sick of people stopping in, making sweeping declarations about why WotC is evil and how 3.5 is better.

    I run this blog to share my opinions, and enjoy discussing them with people who want to have a reasonable discussion. Even those who disagree with me usually end up being fairly reasonable. But when someone comes along and states the same old tired “WotC wants to abuse its customers” and similar paranoia, I find that they’re not worth discussing with. Seriously, why the hell do you put your inflammatory opinions in a public place and get offended when people respond in kind?

    To answer your one salient point: 1e to 2e didn’t work as a conversion without heavy work. 2e to 3e didn’t work as a conversion without heavy work. 3e to 3.5e was the easiest to translate concepts, certainly, but after trying to run it I found that 3e stuff still required work to translate (work that could be spent actually planning and playing) and I was better off just using 3.5 stuff exclusively without having to worry if the damage reduction was different or the classes were in line power-wise.

    Hell, 3.0 to 3.5 could be considered much more of a money grab! Buy all new books to get the same classes, the same races! At least with 4e, I know I’m buying a new game, which is much easier to justify spending money for.

    Have fun with Pathfinder. I’m sure you’ll find plenty of players who agree with you there. Good thing there’s different games for those of us who don’t feel like they should be angry, right?

    EDIT: Nice job calling us “fanbois” in an edit and once again proving our point that you’re not worth arguing with. I think if you actually bothered to look around the site, or even really read this post, you’ll find that I’m in no way a blind adopter and lay out both pros and cons of 4e.

  57. Some pointless name-calling was redacted.

  58. Hey wait a minute, I thought I was the hot-headed ego ’round these parts?

  59. Let me just say that I have no problem with Vesavius’ opinion, and never even said he was wrong, though I said I would normally attempt to refute his points.

    We have had (and continue to have) good dicsussions with the pro and con side both represented. The fact I got pissed off has nothing to do with his opinions.

    It has fully to do with the way he stated those opinions, and how he stated that we were wrong for not believing that. It is even more grounded in the fact that Vesavius had the gall to tell us how we “should” be feeling about this thing.

    I’ll debate any topic I have an opinion on. I’ll argue with someone who disagrees with me until we’re both blue in the face, and then I’ll buy him a beer.

    But I will not tolerate someone telling someone else what they should be thinking.

    And if that somehow makes me a “fanboi”…

    Hell, I’m not even remotely upset about his opinion about 4e. I don’t know how that makes me a “fanboi”.

  60. Clearly, no matter what, we’ve gone far afield of what the topic and content of the post was about(and in fact, this post is very out of date, simply serving as to first impressions to basically a playtest version of a game that is now out.)

    I’m closing comments for good here, since any further comments would be about the final 4e, which is not what this post is about. If you’d like to discuss 4e, I recommend seeking out one of the more current topics on our homepage. Thank you.


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