Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What the hell?

Over at Tenkar's Tavern, Erik's alter-ego the Grumpy Dwarf has been posting a series of interesting articles where he takes WotC's various postings about 5E and then skewers them with his commentary.  I'm enjoying the series.

The latest is on Mike Mearls' latest post on the ideas for Wizards in 5E. 

Even without the Grumpy Dwarf's reading between the lines, the article is a big WTF?

They don't want the Wizard to overpower the other classes.  They don't want the Wizard casting too many spells per day.  They want the Wizard to always be able to cast a spell.  They want the Wizard to be a versatile toolbox of creative solutions to problems.  They don't want the Wizard to be a "buffer."  They want the Wizard to be good at buffing the rest of the party.

Seriously, what is going on here?

They want to cut down the Wizard's spell list so they don't have so many options.  But they want to give "at will" cantrips (stolen from Pathfinder) which will include at least one attack power (4E).  So the Wizard will always have "something to do."  But the "real spells" will be more limited.  And with the limiting of the spell list and the desire to not have too many buff spells or 'utility' spells that can lead to creative problem solving, doesn't that mean a spell list limited to mostly attack/defense spells?  I've played a 4E Wizard, and that's what they're describing right there.  And trust me, it wasn't fun. 

Yet at the same time, they want to encourage Wizards to get all creative, and DMs to use the dreaded DM Fiat to rule on such creative uses. 

So instead of trying to build an edition that will bring everyone together, it sounds like they're right on course to piss off EVERYONE, with the Wizard at least.


  1. Hopefully you've seen this movie or the analogy will fall flat.

    WotC is Lane Myer's dad trying to speak to us using, "Youth and the Drug Explosion."

    It's actually amusing.

  2. The design team has absolutely no idea what it's doing. Why? Because the corporate model demands they fix something that isn't broken. Well, 4E broke it. In their desperation to repair the damage to the D&D label and industry that 4E caused--the fracturing of the fanbase into various factions (OSR, 3.5/Pathfinder players, and 4E fanboys)--they're going to further fracture things. I keep saying that they need to just hand the label over to Paizo. Perhaps if 5th edition is a tremendous disaster, they will. However, they could just shelve the IP and mothball it, which would be catastrophic to the roleplaying community.

  3. I am sorry that you did not enjoy your Wizard in the Fourth Edition. I must say that I enjoyed playing one of such immensely, including the At-will Spells, but especially the Rituals.

    However I was equally confused and nonplussed by the article to which you refer. Seems like they want a Pathfinder wizard with some checks and balances, but I am not sure.

  4. I have zero clue what DM fiat means. That DMs, you know the people putting in all the time and effort, actually are allowed the final say to keep the going? Gads!

  5. The DM Fiat is the car that he uses to drive to the FLGS. :)

  6. @Dean - I know you dig on 4th, but I really didn't find much to like in it. We never got a chance to use any rituals, though. It was pretty much just combat after combat, and despite my array of powers, I felt pretty much like a one-trick pony (blast for damage).

    I know you don't feel this way, but a lot of 4E players complain about the supposed boredom of an old school Fighter, with roll to hit, roll damage, repeat. But that's exactly what I got with my Wizard in 4E, and that's not what I wanted in a Wizard.

    And about the "DM fiat" thing, yeah, I have no idea why some people consider that a dirty word, except that they must have had some really shitty DMs in the past.

  7. Too bad, initially I thought they might actually have gotten the right idea with 5th. Sounds like balance is going to be more important than fun once more, with the rulebook authors believing they must solve every potential problem with perfectly balanced rules. The result of such efforts is a bland flavorless mush, as evidenced by past attempts. D*D needs to be wild and have great potential for it to be messed with in all sorts of unforeseen ways. That is what makes it fun!

  8. "For instance, I remember turning what was supposed to be a deadly fight in 3E against an iron golem into a cakewalk simply by throwing grease and glitterdust at the thing."

    Good grief, they are going to dictate all the outcomes again! Intentionally! So, even if you have clever players who use their abilities creatively, the game itself will prevent them from achieving a surprisingly awesome result (or, presumably, a surprisingly awful one) because it will upset the DM's precious pre-made outcome plans. Surprise and randomness is what makes it fun, Mearls! I'll pass, thanks.