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Saturday, December 18, 2010

My thoughts on 4e

Day late, dollar short, I know. But I've never really done a post about D&D 4e. I tried it back when it came out. At the time, I was pretty excited, because, quite simply, I was burned out on 3e.

The various marketing ads about less stats for NPCs, less skills to track, and faster combat all sounded great. Unfortunately, I didn't really care for the game. It seemed more like an "Advanced Runebound" than it did D&D. I think some of the ideas were kinda cool, but it just fell kinda flat for me. There were too many conditions to track, and it actually made combat take longer. This was likely due to still learning the new system, but after two session, my friends and I dropped that game. Maybe I'm just jaded, or I just don't like learning all new systems anymore (which is at least partially true), but I didn't feel the game was worth investing any more time in.

I actually wanted it to be wildly successful, even though I didn't care for it. More gamers = more potential people to play with. Unfortunately, it appears to not be doing so hot. It's still the top of the market, but as several people in the know have stated (including WotC in court briefings), sales are much lower than 3e. Which is too bad, because the slow dying of the industry is truly in full swing when the big gorilla feels the effects. (That's not even including the near-complete withdrawal from tabletop by White Wolf, which was the other slightly smaller gorilla).

I understand part of this is due to the OGL, and especially Pathfinder. Many people are sticking to what they know, and I really can't blame them. I know I actually prefer BFRPG and S&W, which are based on old editions, but with the good bits of 3e added in. As long as games like that are available, my needs will be met. But the overall industry (that can support writers and artists), is slowly dying.

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