Monday, August 29, 2011

Two things that bug me

Edit--note to self, don't post right before bed next time.  I may mess up the post title.  :)

Yeah, another 4E post.  Those of you who can't stand to hear anything negative about that edition (Woodstock, I'm typing at you) feel free to click that back button on your browser right now.

In my post the other day about the skill chapter, I mentioned the lack of a feel of progress in certain areas due to shifting goal posts.  Skill bonuses go up with level, but so do target DCs.*  They'd do just as well having skills linked to your ability score, with bonuses for training, and that's it.  Then just keep the DCs static as well.  Same difference, and it would save everyone time erasing and rewriting their skill bonuses every two levels.**

The other thing that's bugging me right now is the idea that every battle must be EPIC!!!  Seriously, do we need kobolds with 30-40 hit points?  Does a fight with kobolds need to take an hour or more?  I've still only played 4E at level 1, but wouldn't having these "epic" fights all the way from level 1 to level 30 make the ones up there at the top just feel like more of the same?

Basically both of these problems come down to a feeling of lacking growth/progress.  There's something to be said about starting out weak and ending up strong.  It felt good to have a 20-something level Fighter in BECM who only rarely failed saves and could face down dragons with relative ease, knowing that once upon a time he wasn't so strong and every group of goblins or giant spider potentially had his number.  Or having a similarly leveled Magic-User, with Death Spells and Disintegrates and Teleports at his fingertips, who used to venture into the depths with a single or small handful of spells once upon a time.

I used to be the weakling Bat-Boy.  Now, I'm Batman!

*I realize this was inherited from 3E.  It's one of the things that soured me on high level 3E play.
**Yes, there are some skill DCs that are static, you get better at them as you level.  Why not just add level bonuses to THOSE skill checks since they're in the minority?  KISS principle failure here.


  1. choir preach here

  2. It seems like most 4E criticism applies equally well to 3rd, or at least 3.5 and pathfinder. WotC just can't get it right.

  3. You nailed it. ALL growth in 4E is meaningless, because you are never effectively "better" against foes despite gaining power. Your foes become that much more powerful, DCs increase along with your skills, and so on. Even finding a magical weapon is not something wonderful that gives you an edge, rather it is something the designers expected you to have, given your current level, and have factored in to all the challenges you will be facing. It's a lot of paperwork, writing/erasing for no real benefit. In a word, LAME.

  4. I take that "lame" comment back... a more appropriate and more damning word would be "boring." And yes I am speaking from experience having played it for a year or so.

  5. "There's something to be said about starting out weak and ending up strong."

    That right there is one of my main beefs with 4E.
    It could be my age & background, but there's an "instant gratification" aspect of the starting power level that just plain rubs me the wrong way.
    There's also kind of a vague "cover the world with pillows" / "everyone get's a trophy" vibe going on, but I can't put my finger on anything specific that really nails it.