2015-10: If existing users have had trouble logging in or posting, this should now be fixed. Sorry! --Morbus.
Personally, I've been reading the "Wizard Presents" preview books, and I'm pretty anxious to see 4th Edition. Those two books gave me a nostalgic feel for the various 2E Handbooks, and the world rewrites appeal to me. The rules system does seem to inherit some decisions from current MMORPG play (only sane for a new game product, in this day and age, I think), but I tend to throw out rules anyways.
The virtual table top, though Windows only (Mac and Linux users, of which I am one, have a decent amount of ways to emulate Windows if your hardware is recent enough), may become the defacto standard amongst all the current alternatives available. I'll try it out, even for the monthly fee, just because I suspect they'll be a much larger built-in player base.
I'm actually going to be out of commission for a long while right around the time 4e comes out, but, if I can, I'll definitely look at it a bit. D&D isn't my favorite system, but it's always been fun. Also, it does look like it's going to be really cool. Not sure I like everything but...just like Morbus said, if I don't like it, I'll replace or get rid of it.
Aye - the surprising thing is, I actually kinda like the ideas they're implementing in the new rules. Self-healing, proximity buffs to healing for clerics or, as one article in the preview book stated, clerics will only spend a single action per round healing - the rest will be doing other things. Likewise, duration-timers and upkeep are gone - they last for the encounter only. Both of those things are pretty common in MMORPGs but, when applied to D&D, they actually feel good.
If you've read my posts in many various places around Gamegrene, you'll know I'm eagerly looking forward to 4E.
The virtual tabletop is a brilliant idea. How many gamers do you know that quit gaming because their group moves away?
Well, sure. But the flipside of that is "ARGH, NO MAC OR LINUX SUPPORT?!!". I /agree/ with the laments that there's a very good chance that one person in a gaming group runs a non-Windows machine. Can they no longer play anymore? If one person can't play, does the entire group not play using Wizards' interface? I've heard good things about the (free) MapTool and the (for pay) klooge.works, both cross-platform. Wizards ain't gonna change their release anytime soon (both because its tied to DirectX and because they outsourced its creation), so I'll be curious to see if that makes a dent in sales. Me, though a Mac user, have alternatives (Parallels runs on my laptop, and I dualboot Windows for things it can't do).
Yeah, no Mac or Linux support is kinda goofy, espically considering that the majority of people who use Linux are cheap gamers.
I could see WotC making an Mac/Linux update after the release, but you're right, it's iffy, and will be a while even if it does happen.
I will probably buy the PHB for reference, and because I'm bound to run into a group that's playing it. As fantasy adventure games go, 4e will, I think, be top notch. But as role-playing games go, there are far better options, and I think I'll be spending more of my money on those instead.
As I am running what might be termed an 'old school' long-haul campaign in a quasi-medieval setting (yes, quaint, I know) and don't intend to follow WOTC's suggestion that I wrap up my existing campaign to enjoy the delights of their shiny new product, then the answer would be no. We (that is, my 25-year-old gaming group) only migrated from 1e to 3.5e last year. That was a painful process. 3.5e fixes many problems that 1e runs into once characters reach level 10+, and fixes the multiclassing issue. But the conversion process was a tough one. People have now settled into 3.5e and are reasonably comfortable with it; they wouldn't stomach another conversion so soon after that one.
The 4e rules might well be an improvement on 3.5e, but I have a suspicion that the implied setting will have moved even further away from the pseudo-historical feel of 1e, which happens to be the style choice of my campaign.
Besides which, I have now invested pretty heavily in 3.5e material, and didn't do so merely because I like the look of it on my bookshelves....
Certainly, the virtual table top is a nice idea. I've heard you will be able to switch off the rules engine. If so, I may find a use for it, though my own group has managed to stay together without it for 25 years, albeit with a few lineup changes along the way to keep things interesting. I have a suspicion that, whatever noble intentions this feature may have at the outset, it will gradually, over the course of time, mutate into an MMORPG. I hope I'm proved wrong.
I'm wondering how long it will be before the retro community develop their own virtual tabletop that supports earlier releases of the rules...if they haven't already.
Linux support? I don't think WOTC would have the slightest intention of porting the virtual tabletop to a Linux platform. I think they're aiming for a far more mainstream target demographic.
So - have fun with 4e, but I don't think I'll be joining you. I skipped 2e and it didn't hurt.
I'll give 4E a look when it's out. I'm wary of it's MMOG-ness, but I'll reserve judgement.
In any case, my group has quite a few system waiting in line to be tried out (I'm hoping for a Mage campaign when the current M&M one is over), so no rush here.
I will want to see what they do in Eberron, though.
I think that much of the "It's all MMORPGed out!" claims are largely unfounded. It's still D&D, even if it looks a little different. People tend to cite per-encounter abilities and the over all streamlining of the ruleset as fact of this, but to that I say... "What?"
I've been using Fudge mostly, where the good guys whomp on the bad guys and keep on going to whomp on even more bad guys without a second of slowing down. That's what I want in an RPG. Fast-paced, exciting action, with ease of prep for GMs. And that's where 4e is going. So I'm on board. I've already pre-ordered the core rule books. And I don't buy RPGs.
So, yeah. Bring on the 4e. I'm excited.
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