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4e thoughts from non-WotC playesters

 
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Saracenus
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:28 pm    Post subject: 4e thoughts from non-WotC playesters Reply with quote

Hello All,

Ari "AKA mouseferatu" Marmell has weighed in on his experiences with 4e here:
http://mouseferatu.livejournal.com/519850.html
and a parallel thread on ENWorld.com:
http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=217629

John Rogers has piped up on the Ari's ENWorld thread as well:
http://www.enworld.org/showpost.php?p=4019147&postcount=91

For all our bitching about the Fluff, it does sound like my main complaints about 3e are being addressed, specifically prep time and rules bloat.

In Service,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
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Vormaerin
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I've generally been of the opinion that the game would be well designed. Wizards has generally done a good job with game design and these particular designers are not noobs. The "issues" with 3rd are 99% a result of excessive build up from all the rules supplements. I only use the three basic books and a very few cherry picked options from a handful of other sources, so most of the complaints about 3e don't really ring true for me.

I do agree that making characters choose between roleplaying abilities and combat abilities (as 3e does and 4e apparently does not) is bad design. I'm glad that's gone.

What I am concerned about is not whether the game will work, but whether it will work for as wide a range of gameworlds as D&D traditionally does. It sounds too anime/wuxia oriented for a lot of grittier campaigns.. which mine tend to be.

The rest of the gripes are mainly marketing incompetence and a general dislike of keeping the same terms with new definitions, especially in the fluff department.
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bubbagump
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll admit I've had some doubts concerning WotC's proposed mechanical changes (I won't go into how much I hate the fluff changes), so I'm glad to hear a suggestion that things might be working out.

However, I can't say I find Ari's comments all that credible by themselves. First, Ari has something of a reputation as a WotC bootlicker. I'm not trying to insult the man. I'm just mentioning that he has that reputation - which makes me wonder about the validity of his comments. Second, I wonder that he is one of only a few playtesters who is allowed to make comments. If all the playtesters have been given permission to speak, where are there comments? I may have missed something, but I'm aware of only two other than Ari, and both share his reputation as a WotC shill. Third, I don't think he's really saying anything new. Three large combats in four hours? No problem. In fact, I do better than that practically every time I play. I'm not saying I'm a super-DM, but there are methods of handling combat that tend to speed things up. My personal belief is that the many stories of long, boring combats arise due to failings on the part of players and DMs rather than on the part of the system.

Nevertheless, I remain uncommitted on the subject. I await further developments.
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Saracenus
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bubba,

You either respect Ari or not. I can't make you change your mind about him.

I personally like his work and I respect his opinion on the game as someone who actually knows something about development. So, for me personally, this is a ray of hope that the crunch of 4e at least will be good.

As for the other play tester that posted, I don't remember him being involved in any WotC projects and he isn't angling for any in the future so I don't see how his views are tainted.

Granted, WotC can control the flow of info by only allowing those with favorable opinions to speak and not releasing anyone else from their NDAs. If true, that speaks to WotC and not the play testers themselves.

To me this gives me hope, but is not definitive. I will reserve my final judgment until I see the product in my hands.

In Service,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
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bubbagump
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saracenus wrote:
Bubba,

You either respect Ari or not. I can't make you change your mind about him.

As for the other play tester that posted, I don't remember him being involved in any WotC projects and he isn't angling for any in the future so I don't see how his views are tainted.


Just to clarify, I meant no disrespect to any of the playtesters. I have no personal opinion regarding Ari or the others who've spoken up since I don't personally know them. I simply intended to say that these individuals have a certain reputation. In addition, certain individuals whose opinions I tend to respect have confirmed that the "shill" status is more-or-less correct. I'm not saying they are WotC bootlickers, I'm merely saying that I've been told they are and therefore I can't accept their statements without suspicion.
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EileenProphetofIstus
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bubba said:
Quote:

In addition, certain individuals whose opinions I tend to respect have confirmed that the "shill" status is more-or-less correct.


What exactly is "shill" status bubba....new word, I can kinda guess but I'd rather get a better explanation if you'd be kind enough to provide it.
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Saracenus
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
Bubba said:
Quote:

In addition, certain individuals whose opinions I tend to respect have confirmed that the "shill" status is more-or-less correct.


What exactly is "shill" status bubba....new word, I can kinda guess but I'd rather get a better explanation if you'd be kind enough to provide it.


Shill, noun.

1. a person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating, as at a gambling house, auction, confidence game, etc.

2. a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.

I am more interested in who says that Ari and the other posting play testers are shills. Do they know what a shill really is. Ari is publicly know to be working freelance with WotC and potentially Necromancer on 4e publications so the idea that he is posing is ludicrous.

BTW, Bubba you can't have it both ways... you either believe that the posting play testers are corporate suck-ups or you don't. You are being coy by saying, "I don't say it is so, but unnamed people I trust do." Name them, link to their posts or have them post up here.

In (Unhappy, non-shilling) Service,

Bryan Blumklotz
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bubbagump
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saracenus wrote:
You are being coy by saying, "I don't say it is so, but unnamed people I trust do." Name them, link to their posts or have them post up here.


Alas, I cannot for fear of exposing several who have also signed NDAs. I should have known that making such a statement would likely upset Ari's friends, but I simply wasn't thinking. For the offense inadvertently given, I humbly apologize.

In spite of all this my reasoning, I think, is sound. Under normal circumstances I would have accepted Ari's assessment without hesitation. But having been told by those whom I trust that his comments might be heavily biased I require more proof. It would be easy to argue that if I am unwilling to produce the names of Ari's accusers that I should withdraw my comments. If I could, I would. Those comments were ill-considered and poorly worded. Unfortunately, what I have said I have said and I cannot change that. Further, though I deeply regret any unintended besmirchment of Ari's reputation, I stand by the gist of my comments - I still require more proof.

And for the record I'm not trying to "have it both ways". It was not my intention to accuse Ari and then lay the blame for the accusation on someone else's doorstep, though I can see that's the way it might sound. I simply wished to express that in spite of his comments I still have my doubts about 4e. Not wanting to sound as though my opposition was entirely blind, I sought to express the reasons behind my doubts. I suspect that June will reveal the truth of the matter for all to see, and those who then will be unbound by NDAs will be more than willing to step forth and express their opinions.

I can certainly understand your reasons for being upset, Bryan, and if Ari were my friend I would no doubt leap to his offense as you have done. Your loyalty is to be commended.
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Saracenus
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bubba,

I don't know Ari from a hole in the ground. I like his work and respect his contributions to 3e. But to characterize me as his friend is dead wrong.

My objections to how he is been characterized here and other forums is the fact that it is total hearsay and its being presented as fact. Which is completely unfair.

The fact that you are helping spread such stuff is personally disappointing to me because you are one of the people I respect on this board.

I am sorry those that talked to you are constrained by their NDAs but telling you their story and then your spreading (on your own or at their behest) of it is low.

In effect, you are expending your own reputation to spread the whispers of people I don't know or respect.

In (Disappointed) Service,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
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bubbagump
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thus the admission that I wasn't thinking at the time, my confession that my comments were ill-considered and poorly worded, and my apology.

It truly was not my intention to make unsubstantiated statements or to cause anyone harm - and yet I did. Again, I apologize.

By the way, thanks for your respect. I hope I can regain it someday.
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Saracenus
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bubba,

Your contrition and public apology speaks volumes for you. Most people (myself included sometimes), would equivocate or add a "but" to it. You have maintained my respect just for that. I am acknowledging and accepting your apology which I would have done in my last post if I hadn't been cast as an Ari partisan/friend.

So, I too apologize, you received the brunt of my general discontent about what has happened, and I am sorry if I came across as overly harsh. Its a fine line between being direct & honest vs. total **** when speaking plainly.

In (Accepting) Service,

Bryan Blumklotz
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Vormaerin
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't really see how it matters one way or the other. There's no rational reason for WotC to allow negative speech about a product still under development. After all, the whole point of playtesting is to find problems and get them fixed.

This isn't an open beta in the computer industry where most of the participants are just waste space thinking they are getting to play for free. I reckon that Ari and that comic writer and whomever else is speaking does actually believe the game is better or good or whatever they are saying. And WotC has doubtless let them share those thoughts because it wants to drum up excitement.

I've never in 10+ years of working as a playtester for for computer and board games ever seen a company authorize an exception to the NDA to allow criticisms of their work. I'm kind of surprised they are being allowed to speak at all, excitement generation or not.

Anyway, it is almost impossible for the game not to be faster and smoother than any supplement intensive 3.5 game is. The two questions that really matter, imho, are

1) Does the new game system still support a wide range of campaign styles.. from gritty RE Howard types to wild Moorcock or action intensive wuxia? Or will the power level and feel just be incompatible with the lower fantasy options?

2) What are they going to do to allow a continued strong revenue stream without repeating the bloat of 3.5 (which I didn't participate in, but is the root cause of much of the grousing about the game by others).?

When the game comes out and the NDA expires, I expect we'll see full and balanced reviews from playtesters... as well as examples of shilling and slander.
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Ragr
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect that Ari has been let loose in order to deflect/defuse some of the criticism Wotc has received from sections of the gaming community it had expected to win over easily; not us, obviously.

The problems are all of Wotc's own making. If they hadn't felt the need to take such a hyperbolic stand on self promotion they may have kept a few more friends; using phrases such as "cool stuff" and "rock your world" are clumsy attempts to get "down with the kids", and instead of coming across as hip and trendy they ended up more dad at a wedding dancing to the latest hip grooves, complete with rear facing baseball cap. Not cool. Not trendy. Just embarrassing.

I take issue with the attempt to claim the moral high ground by saying that he only criticises in private. That's commendable, but if you work in the public domain you get feedback in the public domain. Imagine the Rolling Stones releasing a new album you didn't particularly like. Are you going to moan about it with friends, discuss its failings on a site or magazine, or are you going to 'phone Keef and Mick up to request a quiet chat. Hmnn!

I have no doubt that 4e will have some good, even innovative crunch, but the fluff has been poor and the promotion dire. I'm actually looking forward to reading the Phb just to see what I can use but just think how much better it would have been if they'd said; "Guys, we're working on a new fantasy game that we hope you're going to like. It's close enough to D&D to warrant keeping the name but it's also going to be a lot different. We look forward to your continued custom and so we'll be releasing tidbits of the game so we can see the feedback." Too old fashioned? Not brash enough? I don't know, but I'll always remember the sour taste I had in my mouth in the months before I was able to read the published game.
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Saracenus
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I am just forgetting to protect myself from horrible memories, but I do not remember the transition to 3e being this nasty on the forums (I am speaking broadly about all the available forums).

Perhaps it was the sedate pace that information was being doled out in Dragon magazine? WotC hadn't seen the power of the internet until Eric Noha's 3e site...

Flash forward to today and the print version of Dragon is dead. Everything is coming out and is immediately commented on and torn apart. Rumors and hyperbole seem to rule the day.

I don't know, I guess having been through several edition changes now, I am not so worried about it. I just can't muster the energy to get bent out of shape day in and day out about rules changes.

I understand why we are lamenting the fluff here at Canonfire, it has the biggest impact on our shared gaming world. I think this will probably make it hard for many of us to transition to 4e in the context of our GH home games.

And we seem to vacillate between wanting to preserve GH in some static form or another and yet we also crave new "official" material. Well, if GH is going to get official 4e treatment, it definitely will not be tied to what we know to be Greyhawk given the editorial stance at D&D R&D.

So here we are... on the cusp of something new (not necessarily better or worse than before), something that is probably going to energize the hobby because there are going to be new tool sets and new ideas while we are going to become increasingly a backwater of the hobby holding on to our memories. Gods I hope we don't become a later day Dragonsfoot.

At least that is where my thinking is today, right now. I am so tired reading the fear & loathing, personal attacks and the Strum & Drang.

I am going to work on my home game. Enjoy the time I have with my friends doing what I and they have done for decades now, play a game we love.

Right now it is Greyhawk... tomorrow I will worry about what tomorrow brings then, but not now.

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Bryan Blumklotz
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Greyson
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:32 am    Post subject: NDA Reply with quote

bubbagump wrote:
Second, I wonder that he is one of only a few playtesters who is allowed to make comments. If all the playtesters have been given permission to speak, where are there comments? I may have missed something, but I'm aware of only two other than Ari.

Just to clarify, Dave Noonan gave special permission to Marmell and Rodgers to make general comments about their initial feelings of the 4th Edition game thus far. The rest of us are still bound by the full restrictions articulated by the NDA. That is why only two people have spoken about 4th Edition - because only two people have had their NDAs temporarily loosened.

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Saracenus
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greyson,

Actually, Nick Logue (play tester/freelancer), was give permission and has posted up on Paizo's message boards yesterday. I have heard there is a fourth play tester who has posted but I have not personally seen it.

http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/community/gaming/4thEdition/comingOutOfTheCloset

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Bryan Blumklotz
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Nellisir
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saracenus wrote:
Maybe I am just forgetting to protect myself from horrible memories, but I do not remember the transition to 3e being this nasty on the forums (I am speaking broadly about all the available forums).

Perhaps it was the sedate pace that information was being doled out in Dragon magazine? WotC hadn't seen the power of the internet until Eric Noha's 3e site...


There was also a real dislike of 2e that doesn't exist for 3e, and frankly, 3e was a surprise. That was the one and only Gen Con I've ever attended, and I went to the big WotC seminar thinking, well...it'd be an interesting seminar by D&D designers. I don't think anyone was expecting them to announce a new edition of D&D.

From what I recall, most of us were analyzing our t-shirts afterwards (we got t-shirts with checklists on the back, with stuff like Gnoll Ranger [Yes] and Rules You Don't Use Anyways [No] checked off). And yes, I still have the t-shirt. I wear it to conventions and gamedays. ;)
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shocked Whose Ari?

Just kidding. Laughing

I've decided to do the most logical thing and as much as I don't like most of what I'm hearing/reading, I'll wait until the blasted thing is released and actually give it a try.... never liked green peppers as a child...now I love em! so, I'll give this time, as we all should. I'm just as guilty as most out there in being pre-mature about this whole 4th Ed stuff, however I've never been labled as being pre-mature....a least from the ladies Wink
Happy
The online issue for 4th ed is interesting and I remember a few buddies and I looking at such a platform at GenCon 2006, as half of our group where in NS and the other half in ON. Such a system would definitely be nice to stay in touch and keep a campaign going. If 4th ed sets this up, it could be a kudos for the new rules system. Smile

The webcam experience had its moments, and still does....I just prefer human company....or semi-human, where ever us gaming types fit in Happy

Later

AncientGamer Cool aka BusterBudd

{PS....I still think its only D&D in name, not is spirit! Shocked }
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ratlord
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note that in Logue's playtest confessions post on Paizo, he essentially confirms that WotC gave him/them permission to discuss things they like about 4e.

This doesn't cast any aspersions on Logue or Marmell or others, but it does lend credence to the idea that their posts concerning their 4e playtest experiences need to be taken with a grain of salt.

And for the record, I personally don't care for 4e from what I've seen of it on WotC's site. However, the opinions of the individual users and admins on this site will have no impact on the status of canonfire as edition/system neutral. CF is about Greyhawk, not any specific game, and will continue to be so.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shocked
Quote:
the opinions of the individual users and admins on this site will have no impact on the status of canonfire as edition/system neutral. CF is about Greyhawk, not any specific game, and will continue to be so.


You said it RatLord! Happy

...on another note... does anyone know when the next OJ will be coming out? Maybe I'll have time to submitt something.

Cheers.

AncientGamer Cool aka BusterBudd
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