I Am A Liberal Gamer

rollIf you know me personally, my political preferences are well known. But what I refer to today is my preference in game design.

I’m a big proponent of change in game design. If something isn’t working, don’t just patch it, teardown and rebuild. This puts me in opposition to what I will respectfully call the “Conservative Gamer” contingent, who prefer that games preserve much of their makeup from edition to edition. Their reasons are certainly strong ones: ensuring backward compatibility with existing products, keeping the game familiar to previous fans, and so on.

But, that’s not for me. I prefer to see innovation in game design. I’m all for taking an existing game in brand new directions, especially if the end result is new and interesting, but- here’s an important part of a successful redesign- while maintaining the core feel of a game. Not only that, but the tastes of audiences change as time goes on, and new editions should take that into account. I also feel quite strongly that in ANY kind of design, be it game design, graphic designer, programming, what have you, the fact that something is traditional is not enough justification by itself to keep an element in.

This all probably will not surprise many of you with my support of D&D 4e, Fallout 3, Twilight Imperium (despite my negative experiences with it) and more recently, the newly announced Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay edition. In every case, they took an existing game, and decided to take it in a new rules direction, often featuring new components and styles. I’m quite happy they did: in each case, they tried to bring forward the essence of the previous edition or editions while introducing new gameplay and appealing to a wider audience beyond those who already had the previous edition. To put it more bluntly: a new edition with minimal changes or only superficial changes is unlikely to bring in new players. Many gamers unfamiliar with a game aren’t really going to care that “Class X or Card Y was broken” in the previous edition, but now it’s fixed, so you should really play. They’re more likely to be brought in by “the combat system was streamlined” or “there’s a really neat new set of options.”

Of course, not all revisions are successful, and are going to always be judged on various personal criteria both by existing players deciding to switch and the new audiences they want to appeal to. Ultimately, I’d rather them try something new and fail then play it safe and have moderate success (though a game company’s accountants may disagree.)

Am I picking on fans of older editions? No, not at all. In fact, I think there’s a fair number of retro-clones that are doing exactly what I’m talking about, and are trying to bring forward the essence of an older game by emphasizing those aspects that they enjoyed and trying some new things in other areas. Nor am I completely an adopter of every new edition (Mage: The Ascension 2e forever!) but I don’t ever begrudge new editions of games coming out.

In fact, that gets to the heart of my main complaint about the other site of this argument: you can still play your older edition, or older edition with house rules and other patches… but if I don’t get a new edition, my only recourse is to make a new innovative game myself, which is a lot of work. And you know how I hate that.

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, the Geek's Dream Girl.

Comments

  1. Delibriand says:

    Awesome. I think EVERYONE should read this.

  2. Very interesting post, I’d have to agree with you, with the note that you have to try not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. You Americans have some wacky definitions of Liberal though.
    .-= Canageek´s last blog ..Televised Dungeon Crawling: Excess and Advertisements =-.

  3. Sometimes all you need is a patch. When my car gets a flat tire, I don’t junk it and get a whole new car.

    But I also understand that sometimes you just want a shiny new car and take any excuse you can find to trade it in.

    Sometimes the car runs just fine mechanically, but there are cosmetic things that aren’t mission-critical repairs but you eventually get tired of looking at them.

    Moving away from car metaphors…

    Whether a new edition still “feels” like the same game is entirely subjective, of course.

    How far can you change a game and still be able to call it the same game? I don’t know. This, too, is probably largely subjective.

    The issue as I see it isn’t one of new mechanics. It’s one of marketing, branding, and consumer trust.

    My concern with doing a scratch-rebuild of a known brand is that it limits creativity. What restrictions are designers faced with when creating all-new mechanics but trying to keep some sort of feel, or at least legacy mechanics and terminology, by keeping to an established brand? At what point would it be better to call a new game by a new name, to break free of the legacy and establish it as its own thing?

    I can try to sell New Game X and hope to build a market share, or I can capitalize by slapping an Established Name on it and hope to draw in an existing fan base. I understand why companies, especially in this niche industry, do it.

    See also: New Coke (forcing consumers into a change) vs Coke Zero (a complimentary product that maintains the core product intact).

    I also understand why fans could feel betrayed. They’ve spent a lot of money on a game, and now all of that stuff is incompatible with the new system. They WANT to be loyal fans, but if they go along with game’s new direction you’re making all the stuff they’ve already paid for obsolete. You’ve asked them to buy in, and now you’re asking them to chuck it all and buy in again. People can feel pretty screwed over by stuff like that. People can see the publisher as more interested in their own financial interests than in the best interests of their players and loyal cash-spending customers.

    (Aside: Blu-Ray players can play DVDs. It’s a real upgrade, not a new lifestyle choice. Just sayin’.)
    .-= Berin Kinsman´s last blog ..Hell’s Kitchen: TAS Show Notes =-.

  4. Delibriand: Thanks!

    Canageek: The metaphorical baby is the “Essence” of the game, which is hard to pin down and can certainly vary from person to person. I’m sure that phrase has been tossed around plenty, but I’m arguing it’s worth trying. (Also, I tried to go with more of Liberal = change, Conservative = stay the same sort of distinction, not anything to do with our politics.)

  5. Ah, Mr. Bear, the person whose comment I was waiting on. Allow me to respond…

    I’m not big on metaphors though, so let’s skip to the heart of the matter here.

    “My concern with doing a scratch-rebuild of a known brand is that it limits creativity. What restrictions are designers faced with when creating all-new mechanics but trying to keep some sort of feel, or at least legacy mechanics and terminology, by keeping to an established brand? At what point would it be better to call a new game by a new name, to break free of the legacy and establish it as its own thing?”

    While the essence of a game is quite subjective, I think they often can be broken down into pretty simple elevator pitches. Then, the goal is to say, “OK, how can we best represent this feel that is associated with this particular game?” And I think that’s strongest when that’s the starting point, not “how can we keep backward compatibility and most of the same terms?”

    I don’t think it’s just a matter of calling it something new, either. If your game is associated with a particular feel, and you’re trying to make the best game that evokes that feel, why not call it the same thing?

    As hard as I’m trying not to veer this into a discussion of whether particular games made successful upgrades or not, 4e is an example of this I can cite. One of the stated goals of the game was to be able to pull any of the classic D&D modules off the shelf and run it with 4e and still have it feel similar. (Again, I’m not commenting here if that was successful or not.) But it makes sense to still call that D&D because the goal is to play D&D with it, rather than saying it’s “The World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game” that happens to be able to run D&D adventures.

    “I can try to sell New Game X and hope to build a market share, or I can capitalize by slapping an Established Name on it and hope to draw in an existing fan base. I understand why companies, especially in this niche industry, do it.”

    Right, I’m arguing that’s it’s good for the game, not just as a marketing move, but that’s certainly a piece of it. More important to me is getting people playing and enjoying the game than worrying about how much money it will make, which is why I think it’s important for a game to change. Game X may have some name recognition, and convince non-players to give it a try based both on name recognition and having heard something about a previous edition but running into a stumbling block that could be changed.

    “See also: New Coke (forcing consumers into a change) vs Coke Zero (a complimentary product that maintains the core product intact).”

    The dreaded New Coke analogy :) I don’t see it as the same for one big reason: Coke is an expendable resource, whereas RPG books are not. Old RPG books can be passed around and enjoyed still, whereas Coke cannot. So if you prefer an older flavor, you can still get that and enjoy it, or get the new recipe.

    “I also understand why fans could feel betrayed. They’ve spent a lot of money on a game, and now all of that stuff is incompatible with the new system. They WANT to be loyal fans, but if they go along with game’s new direction you’re making all the stuff they’ve already paid for obsolete. You’ve asked them to buy in, and now you’re asking them to chuck it all and buy in again. People can feel pretty screwed over by stuff like that. People can see the publisher as more interested in their own financial interests than in the best interests of their players and loyal cash-spending customers.”

    I’ve felt that too, my Mage example being the big one where I was really, really mad when I found out about Awakening. Similarly in some editions of Warhammer 40k and Magic: The Gathering.

    But I’m not sure that feeling is useful. Feeling betrayed? I think that should be reserved for some dick moves (which I could certainly provide examples of) but redesigning the game to get a new audience and more people playing really shouldn’t feel like a betrayal… if done for the right reasons, a game designer makes a new edition to get people to experience the same awesomeness you have had with a game but ran into issues (and those deep issues often require a reboot).

    “(Aside: Blu-Ray players can play DVDs. It’s a real upgrade, not a new lifestyle choice. Just sayin’.)”

    Again, I quibble with the analogy for a couple reasons. A piece of technology can be upgraded in pretty objective methods by increasing the raw numbers, which is not the same in an RPG system. Plus I can usually play the same “movie” in an RPG from one edition to the next.

  6. Great article. I am also a liberal gamer. I am a huge fan of D&D 3.5, but when 4e came out, I was just as excited to switch over to it.

    My biggest problem with playing the same game year after year, is that I love mechanics. I love to see how the designer models the game world using the rules. I get bored with the rules to a system, no matter how much I love the system (believe me I had a near perfect 8 yr run of d20 games).

    RPG’s should expand and grow with different editions. They should grow with the market, they should take into account changes in game design. This hobby was not etched in stone in 1974 or 2000. It continues to grow and change, and so should the rules.

    At the same time, previous editions are preserved. There will always be players of every flavor of D&D, right back to the White Box, and that is great.

    I will take that one step further, and I would say that besides being liberal in mechanics, I am liberal in settings as well. I cannot live on a gaming diet of only Fantasy. I have to have SciFi, and Modern games.

    Great Article.

  7. DNAphil: That means a lot to me coming from you, so thanks.

    And I agree with you on settings. After doing only D&D for over two years now (except for cons), I’m chomping at the bit to also do other genres. And even in those two years of D&D, I’ve already changed the setting once, and probably will do it again.

  8. Great article, Dave!

    Funnily enough, I was more intrigued by your comments on TI3. That’s a game that (unfortunately) gets a lot better with its expansion (which replaces the action and objective cards so you no longer have the “I take Imperial” problem)… but it’s still more money on a game that doesn’t hit our table that much.

    Of course, very few of our boardgames hit the table a lot, because we have so many good ones, but you know what I mean. :)

    I wonder when I’ll get a version of D&D that I’m *really* happy with and I don’t want to move on when the next edition comes out? I thought it might have been 3.5e, but high level games and the difficulty of the DM’s preparation role managed to undermine this. Will 4e be the one?

    Cheers,
    Merric
    .-= Merric Blackman´s last blog ..Games, games, games =-.

  9. I agree and disagree. I’m all for systems exploring new ideas and pushing the game system forward when there is merit behind the change. Innovation is always welcome. However, I don’t believe that change is always necessary when it means new volumes of less than useful verbiage, which could have been easily accommodated by the previous version.

    Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of change in rule systems just to validate putting out a new edition. I truly despise that practice. There is a very fine line to walk to consider something innovative versus repackaged. Retaining the core of a game system is just as hard, if not more difficult when pushing forward. Innovation by definition is going something new not just expanding something already in place. Too be truly innovative, you need to break from the past and push significantly forward.

    I think mechanics have become more of a hindrance than an asset. Purity and good players are better than page after page of rules. Yet, the detailed mechanics still hook new players and that’s a good thing.

    I’m more conservative than you by far but you raise great points.

  10. I prefer a less radical, more gradual refinement of parts that work over a complete reinvention. Seems as though many things are, in general, just stripped down and reinvented for the sake of appealing to the public. I’m becoming more a fan of the Pathfinder RPG, though it too is a different game, just one I’m more interested in playing. I say to each his own.

    On another note, I was considering picking up Twilight Imperium as it looks to be a fun ride and I certainly dig all the pieces, especially the plastic ships. However, a gamer in the store told me it takes hours to days to play and was wondering if that’s been your experience?
    .-= AWizardInDallas´s last blog ..Munchies: More Pathfinder RPG Production Values =-.

  11. Pekka Pekuri says:

    I most vehemently agree.

    For example, I play Basic D&D with my daughter, use 3.5/d20 in many different settings and games and run a 4E campaign.

    Backward compatibility is usually a non-issue since in most games converting stuff requires minimal effort.

  12. As you probably know, I’m with you 100%.

    I also don’t understand the argument that it is necessarily hard to convert or write for 4e. I’ve managed to write up such a sheer amount of stuff for D&D 4e that people have called it unnecessary.

    I turned everything I ever did for 3.5 into 4e, and after that I made more. In about six months or so I’ve retooled 2 years of 3.5 work and added ON TOP of it.

    Some people think I just write D&D 4e stuff to jerk myself off nowadays. No, I just want to be a living embodiment of the system being a lot more open to creativity than people think it is.
    .-= Wyatt´s last blog ..Might of Eden: Destinies of Eden =-.

  13. Dave: More important to me is getting people playing and enjoying the game than worrying about how much money it will make, which is why I think it’s important for a game to change.

    If it does just come down to “feel” — and I agree, I think it does — then system doesn’t matter. And if it doesn’t matter, why do you need huge mechanical changes other than for sales and marketing purposes? I ran a D&D using Risus last year. If had all the tropes and the players agreed it felt like D&D. I played in a great D&D game using the Savage Worlds rules a couple of months back, and it felt like D&D.

    People have stated that they embraced 4e because they were getting bored with 3e and wanted something new. Okay, so the change resparks your creativity and fires you up. That’s absolutely a good thing. For that to happen, the rules don’t need to be better, they just need to be different. For those purposes, I don’t think you need a scorched earth reboot though.

    What baffles me is the whole idea of wanting something new that still feels the same.
    .-= Berin Kinsman´s last blog ..Hell’s Kitchen: TAS Show Notes =-.

  14. On the one hand, I totally agree with you. On the other hand, why on earth did you decide to combine one of the /other/ flame-i-est topics on the intarwebz into the edition wars? =P

  15. Thasmodious says:

    “why on earth did you decide to combine one of the /other/ flame-i-est topics on the intarwebz into the edition wars?”

    Well, it makes sense. Conservative gamers have their crazy rhetoric too – 4e=WoW (the Birthers), and “clearly 4e has been a sales failure” (the Deathers). :p *ducks and runs away

  16. A Paladin In Citadel says:

    Interesting. I too am a liberal gamer. And yet, I feel just the opposite. I don’t see any need for change simply for the sake of change. I guess the liberal tent is big enough for all of us.

    There’s no need for you to design a new, innovative game yourself, if the latest, or previous, version of D&D is broken. There are lots of authors out there, publishing new games, and those games include those that are incredibly interesting and innovative. Just look at Mouse Guard, or Savage Worlds (I don’t play either, but I hear tell they are innovative). Is this post really about championing innovation in game design (which I support), or justifying change to the D&D brand for the sake of change (which I have a difficult time with). Are we I spending money on 4E because its a better game, or because if we fail to do so, (and fail to “bring in new players”), it might mean the death of “the brand”, and therefore, part of our identities? It is just me, or is it getting warm in here?

    I have no issue with 4E. Nice artwork. Like the idea of powers. It’s great that people are playing and enjoying it. But is the rhetoric, on both sides, driven by sound argument, or nerd biology, in an attempt to ensure the survival and dominance of either the 3.5 or 4E D&D species?

  17. I’m all for innovation and something new. It may just be better and that’s great, but I’m not for “scorched earth tactics” (as described above). WotC took down the previous edition PDFs from the PDF sellers, thus making it harder those who prefer a different game to the current. I can’t get the White Box edition now if I wanted too (without being a pirate or having deep pockets – whereas I could before).

    If a game is changed radically enough then give it a new or a modified name. There’s thousands of versions of Monopoly, but they’re called xxx Monopoly (e.g. Star Wars Monopoly) not just “Monopoly”, and plain old Monopoly in its standard edition is still available at the same time.

    Now we have the situation where people say:

    1. “Want to play D&D?”
    2. “Great! errr Which edition?”
    3. “X”
    4. “No thanks, I play Y”
    (Insert your favourite edition) – and so on.

    As for new editions reaching out to new fan bases. I’m not so sure. I personally haven’t seen an influx of new gamers from a new edition (just a conversion of some of the old, fractioning among editions). The last major influx I saw was with Vampire and that had nothing to do with it being a new edition of anything but instead a whole new game.

    In essence “Hurrah for innovation”, “Boo for scorched earth tactics”.

  18. Tim Jensen says:

    So as someone interested in innovative game design, have you tried many of the indie/small press RPGs?

  19. I’ll note, it took a full 10 comments to hear “change for the sake of change” in response to this post. I know how Dave feels about that saying, and actually much of this topic because we discuss it pretty regularly.

    @A Paladin In Citadel: I think it would be rather ridiculous to expect a group, or the culture as a whole, of gamers to play any Edition of D&D and noticing issues with it decide to play a different game instead of longing for an updated/new edition of D&D itself.

    The fact of the matter that I see is that no matter what, there are people out there who want to play D&D plain and simple and not other games. These people each have an individual line that once crossed they would stop playing D&D, perhaps for some 4th Edition crossed that line in one way or another and perhaps others they would not stop playing D&D even if it never involved rolling a d20 at all.

    @Berin: I don’t think it should be baffling that people want a new system that still feels like the same old game, but it is definitely difficult to explain and a complex concept to understand. The most base concept I can think of is played 2E and 3E I really enjoyed it, but I longed to be able to play D&D and be a Wizard that didn’t at some point or another just resort to the only combat option was running up and beating something with a staff. I wanted a game, essentially, with a variation on (or a different system than) Vancian magic, but I still wanted to be playing D&D. This is, at its root to me, one of the primary ways a person could want a new system that still feels like the same game. I hope that helps to understand it a bit better! :)

  20. A Paladin In Citadel says:

    @Bartoneus: As I said earlier, I have no issue with 4E. Nor do I have an issue with people enjoying it. The changes WOTC has wrought appear to be embraced by many RPGers.

    I think I was trying to do four things. First, point out the hollowness of the original poster’s argument, that if D&D had not been updated, he would have been forced to develop an innovative game himself (he didn’t say an innovative D&D game, but sometimes we fail to say what we mean). I pointed out that if he simply wanted to enjoy innovative games, that itch could be scratched quite easily. Perhaps he was being a tad glib or hyperbolic? If so, no foul, we all do so occassionally.

    Second, point out that the “teardown and rebuild” comment sounds eerily close to “change for the sake of change”, in my ear, at least. If a machine isn’t working properly, you replace the faulty part, you don’t smash the machine and build a new one. That’s bad management, unless the new machine promises to improve productivity and profitability.

    Third, observe that there is a lot of rhetoric on both sides of the pro/anti 4E fence. I don’t dispute that 3.5 had problems. But the original post seemed a rambling, post-facto defense of making wholesale changes to D&D, rather than addressing the whats and whys of the need for change.

    Fourth, note that people become personally vested in their game system of choice, and therefore react emotionally when threatened with the extinction of that game system. There are interesting “biological imperative” implications to this, revealed in the “bringing in new players” comment.

    As a final thought, I didn’t find the concluding appeal, “you’ve got yours, I want mine”, compelling.

    Don’t take this as a call to arms. You certainly have a right to your opinion. I merely found the logic of the original post to be somewhat inscrutable. Others found it clear and persuasive, however, so the fault likely lies with me.

  21. I don’t mean to pick on you in particular, APiC, but the machine analogy is flawed, as most machines have a straightforward series of parts, with straightforward functions. If you replace the battery in a car, you don’t risk unforeseen complications with the transmission.

    As an engineer, however, I can tell you that a design is a far different monster. If I change one thing in my bridge design (lets say the concrete mix), I have to go over every part of that design bit by bit, as that simple change can have far-reaching effects. It may mean, for instance, that the bridge deck will now take too long to set, or the piles will be too weak. It may make the piles too strong, resulting in a redesign being necessary for economical reasons. But that one innocuous change can affect the entire project.

    This is so extreme, sometimes, that the best process (both to create the best design and the most economical process) is often to set the design aside and start over from the beginning.

    As it is with any theoretical design, game rules included. D&D isn’t a machine, where the physical parts interact in only one prescribed way. It’s closer to a computer program, where different processes reference other processes, and can do so at any time.

    This isn’t to say that 4e should have been a tear-down or shouldn’t have, but just that a tear-down method is not only a valid method for redesign, it is often the best method.

    Aside from that, I’m going to stay out of this topic. But design (and design-fixing) methodologies are something I am very familiar with, and the various people calling this out as a bad method are, well, lets just say uninformed.
    .-= Graham´s last blog ..Damn you, Dave! You and your… logic… =-.

  22. A Paladin In Citadel says:

    @Graham: As I mentioned earlier, I did not find the original post to be clear and pursuasive, and do not agree with Dave’s solution to all game design problems, when he says “If something isn’t working, don’t just patch it, teardown and rebuild.”

    If I can summarize your position, you did find the original post clear and pursuasive, and agree with Dave’s solution to all game design problems, when he says “If something isn’t working, don’t just patch it, teardown and rebuild.”

    I guess we will have to disagree on this one. Peace out.

  23. APIC: The easiest analogy for teardown/rebuild being a better way is programming, since both game design and programming fall under complexity theory. In computer programming, applying patches and tweaks leads to more lines of code, as well as unintended consequences elsewhere in a program. By tearing down and rebuilding, you try and ensure it’s a unified whole with fewer lines. I find game design to be similar, though that’s my personal style of designing as well.

    The reason “change for the sake of change” is annoying is because often when critics use it, I can point to where the designers explained why they made that specific change. You may disagree with the reason, but it’s not for the sake of change… it’s change for a design reason that has been explained.

    Sorry if you found my style rambling and unpersuasive. It was unintended to be comprehensive, nor was it supposed to be a point by point defense of 4e, just that style of redesign.

  24. Tim Jensen: I have a decent-sized library of Indie RPGs and think they’re great. I think they are the home of real innovation (and the arena where nobody would flinch at having an RPG filled with cards and custom dice). I think it’s all the big boys that are catching up to them in terms of trying new things, and then getting all the flack :)

  25. A Paladin In Citadel says:

    @Dave: As I mentioned earlier, I have no issue with 4E, nor those playing it.

    If a system is fundamentally sound, I see no reason to do a teardown and rebuild. The fact that teardown and rebuild was applied suggests that D&D 3.5 was unsound. That being the case, teardown and rebuild was an appropriate approach.

    I abandoned D&D several years ago. The 4E reboot brought me back, as I was interested in seeing how WOTC “fixed” D&D. I like some of their fixes.

    One of my quibbles with the original post was the one-size-fits-all solution being espoused. Considering your “liberal” leanings, I would have expected a more reformist argument, and the championing of pragmatism: using the appropriate tool for the appropriate job.

    The fact that you did not makes me suspect you are a radical, not a liberal!

  26. Thasmodious says:

    “The fact that teardown and rebuild was applied suggests that D&D 3.5 was unsound. That being the case, teardown and rebuild was an appropriate approach.”

    The later years of 3.5 were about half new systems (new magic systems, rules and setting expansions, etc), the other half were tweaks and patches. But some fundamental problems were never patched away and couldn’t be. The big, glaring one was the power gulf between casters and melee. Attempts were made, Tome of Battle was a big patch, but it didn’t resolve the issue, just improved it a bit. Such a power gulf is fine if we are playing Wizards & Their Mostly Insignificant Hit Point Pool of Friends, but obviously we aren’t. The only option was a teardown and rebuild. A 3.75 would not have fixed some of the glaring issues (see Pathfinder).

  27. @APiC -

    You don’t seem to understand my post.

    I am not commenting on Dave’s assertions, and I do not believe that the appropriate answer is always a teardown. All I am saying is that, depending on how deeply the problem lies, it can easily be the best solution, and it is a very common solution in engineering design and computer programming (both of which share similarities with game design).

    As I said, I don’t wish to become involved in the core argument of whether tearing down 3e was appropriate, and I did not mean to pick directly on your argument. You were just the latest in a series of commenters who had balked at the idea of a teardown methodology, and I balked at the idea of ignoring such a methodology.

    .

    As for the conservative/liberal discussion, we need to ignore the political definitions (which no longer really represent the roots of the words completely accurately) and go back to the actual meanings.

    Liberal: Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.

    Conservative: Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change.

    As soon as we start mixing this topic with politics, it becomes pointless to discuss.
    .-= Graham´s last blog ..Damn you, Dave! You and your… logic… =-.

  28. A Paladin In Citadel says:

    @Graham: You forgot to add the definition of radical: “Favoring or effecting fundamental or revolutionary change in current practices, conditions, or institutions. The opposite of conservative is radical, not liberal.

    A Conservative would oppose change. A Liberal would favor evolution. A Radical would favor revolution. The suggestion that all design problems should be solved with a teardown sounds pretty radical to me.

    I understood your post. My reply was intentionally obtuse, as the alternative was a flame-out. Frankly, I don’t know why we’re arguing. You and I both agree that a teardown is not always the answer, but it may well have been in this case.

    Peace out.

  29. One thing I thought was funny while reading Thasmodius’ assertion of Tome of Battle being a good patch: a lot of players flat out refused the patch! The (frankly ridiculous) assertion that Tome of Battle was “overpowered” lingers on to this day, along with the silly but less logically stupid assertion that it is “too anime for D&D” or “too magical for fighters”.

    A lot of late 3.5 was indeed composed of new systems – and oddly enough, the magical ones tended to receive a much warmer welcome than anything for the martial guys. Pact Magic and Shadow Magic for example were extremely well received. Incarnum seemed more a whimper than a bang, but people still seemed to jive with it more than poor ToB.
    .-= Wyatt´s last blog ..The Feats of Eden I: Weapons =-.

  30. APIC: Again, I’m not arguing about 4e specifically, I’m arguing about the design philosophy. And you’re right that it’s not the right tool for every job, but my point was that it’s probably the best tool if you’re going to undertake an edition change (at least, those changes that are more than a “.5″ or “Revised” edition) since it can fix deep flaws AND is more likely to attract a new audience moreso than incremental changes.

    And like Graham points out (and was pointed out by others) the Liberal vs. Conservative terminology carries with it a lot of baggage and was intended as a shortcut and snappy title, but perhaps I am a radical. I have certainly been accused of it before.

  31. A Paladin In Citadel says:

    Nothing wrong with being a radical. Nor with being a liberal or conservative. All bring perspectives that should be respected and considered.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your clarifications above. Peace out.

  32. Amen, brother, amen.

    I just resurrected an old gaming session for some visiting friends, converted their characters, etc. from 3.5 to 4. Our gaming experience was soo much more immersive that at one point we were all scratching our heads — “Whadduahmean _five_ hours have passed?”

    I am hopeful that DMG2 will help those who have not yet given 4e a real chance. It is the bomb.