D&DNext: Please Stop Whining, 4E Fanboys

This is what people reading your comments see in their heads. Really.

Ahh, the shoe is on the other foot and the whining and nerdrage from the 4E fanboys can be heard throughout the internets. Thing is, if they’d actually READ the rules, they’d realize that 4E is all over the place in there.

So here is what I see: a conversation about 5E comes up, and before you can count to 20 (seconds or posts, depending on your conversational medium), somebody who loves 4E and only 4E pipes up about how their version of the game is getting screwed. They complain that all the 4E elements of the game are going away, and they have no love from the designers. Usually here is where some comment about “4E is going to the way of the dodo in favor of pandering to crusty old grey-haired grognards who whined all the way through the last edition” comes up.

I have a couple things to say to these kinds of folk:

1) You now understand first hand how the AD&D/3.X loyalists felt when 4E was launched. Think about that– the feeling that you have right now, they have had for the entire life of 4E. You should probably think about that. 

2) YOU ARE WRONG. If you’d actually stop and take a look at the playtest rules, you’ll see 4E all over the place in there.

  • fully differentiated class mechanics– each class has a specific job and is GOOD at that job.
  • Hit Dice– not EXACTLY the same thing as Healing Surges, but they give the character the ability to heal themselves without any outside aid– something no other edition has
  • Themes & Backgrounds– not part of the official game until 4E
  • cantrips and at-will spells: many of these are exactly the same as their 4E counterparts, just without the pretty green bar and flavor text
  • the fighter’s ability to deal damage on a miss– this might as well be a 4E at will power, too
  • FEATS being very small, concise pieces of rule that modify another rule. 3E had feats, but they were entirely different in scope.
  • The designers have said REPEATEDLY that the crunchy tactical rules WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE CORE GAME, but they’re not ready for playtest yet. The designers have also repeatedly said that there will be several iterations of playtesting, and that the tactical rules will be in there at some point.
  • Likewise monsters– read those descriptions again in the playtest booklet. Several of the monsters have 4E-style abilities (you’d call them powers) that I’ll bet no other monster has. Even if they don’t, with such simple statblocks, I have no doubt that creating a monster from scratch is going to be super easy. And again, the designers have said that the monster rules are undergoing a major overhaul right now. We should see something different in the next iteration of playtest.

And there is a lot more, but really– the bones of 4E are in there, just as much as 1E, AD&D, and 3.X are in there. As far as I am concerned, it’s a remarkably successful mashup.

And one more thing: THIS IS A PLAYTEST. If you’re so pissed off that you feel 4E isn’t being represented, make sure you say so in the playtest feedback AND DO SO IN AN INTELLIGENT, CIVILIZED MANNER.

Contrary to popular internet opinion, this qualifies as neither intelligent nor concise.

I guarantee you that, “5E iz teh suxxors! I’m never giving my money to Wizards ever again!”whilst incredibly ironic to those of us who have been around for more than 1 edition – won’t get you anything, and won’t make anyone listen to what you have to say. Make your case in concise language in the playtest feedback forms, and use specific examples. That’s why it’s a playtest– so everyone can speak up and get their opinion heard. But if you come across as a douchebag (like many of the 3.X fans did at the beginning of 4E… never forget that this is a cycle, folks), you comments will have about as much weight as those of a douchebag should.

Which is to say none.

(oh, and if this is your first time to my blog and you’re feeling inclined to write a flame about how I’m just a grognard and I hate 4E, I suggest you read through my backlog of posts before you prove yourself to be exactly the kind of asshat I’m talking about in the post above. I *WILL* mock your stupidity.)

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7 Responses to D&DNext: Please Stop Whining, 4E Fanboys

  1. dreadfantasy says:

    J stop being a grognard. Also, Sounds like they will be keeping alot of what you liked in 4th, at least as far as reducing GM prep time. I need to take a look at it all sometime, but for now I’ve been dealing with apartment stuff, also, found out the are going to give me an early honorable, so I’m excited to get back to college and things come September and beyond.

    -David

  2. Siskoid says:

    What I find as hilarious as it is disheartening is that depending on the blog, you have 4e gamers screaming about how it’s all dated old school crap, and older gamers screaming at how it’s cajoling new school crap. Thanks for taking a more reasonable middle road. I totally agree with you.

    • I think what it really proves is that WotC might truly be on to something awesome with this new game. If you’re making all sides a little annoyed but not totally repulsing anybody, THAT’S CALLED COMPROMISE. Everybody get mostly what they want.

  3. vlad3163 says:

    I was going over some of the 5e stuff a couple days ago with some friends, and so far I have to say that it’s looking pretty good so far. Kinda bummed there isn’t any character creation stuff up yet, but like you said it’s just a playtest, and I’m sure they’ve got a ton more stuff waiting to be revealed.

  4. Philo Pharynx says:

    I’m not ranting and I’m not whining, but there’s one thing I do miss that I don’t think they’ll add back completely. The rules content in 4e was written with structure and precision. Most of the rules questions that came up were answered by rereading the way the rules were phrased. I think that 4e went too far at removing flavor, but i think that a good balance between flavorful prose and precise mechanics can be acheived.

    As to the rules vs. rulings debate, Mr. Lizard had a great post on this: http://mrlizard.com/rants/common-law-vs-statutory-law/
    I tend to like statutory law myself because it’s easier for me to make a ruling based on a strong framework than to pull something out of my rear. I also hate being inconsistent and off-the-cuff rulings can be hard to keep straight after a while.

    Finally, If you shout at the whiny 4e players you should also shout at the whiny 0e players who are bitching at anything that sounds vaguelike 4e being included in the game. :)

  5. oldguygaming says:

    Very nice post, and a refreshing viewpoint.One thing you left out though, that many 4e-fanboys overlook (and most grognards overlooked throughout the life of 4e), is that no matter what WotC does, your existing books still work! Everyone is free to play whatever version they choose regardless as to what the “official” version is. Personally, I didn’t care for any version entirely as written. Instead, I look at each version as merely source material from which I take what I like and leave the rest.

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