D&D 4e Character Sheets Released


Character sheets for the forthcoming D&D 4th edition have apparently been leaked online, according to a front-page story on Wired.com (although this would seem to be more of a release, as Morbus points out in the comments below). The big question: what are healing surges?

Wired.com story

Leaked Character sheets

Your thoughts?

My first reaction: Damn, that looks like an old school Basic D&D sheet.

Erm, note that "leaked" is the wrong term. WotC wants and encourages people to do this during the D&D Experience. I've been following all the blogs, forums, and liveblogs. There's no clandestine operations here. Everything people see at D&D Experience is fully shareable. As for healing surges, based on what I've read: you get, say, 11 healing surges a day. You will always get 11 healing surges a day regardless of your level. The only thing that changes with your level is how much the surge does - at first level, a healing surge may heal 8 points. To quote from a liveblogger: "Extended rest is 6 hours, fully heals you, regain all healing surges, get daily powers back, and action points are reset to 1. Healing wind- once per encounter, can take a standard action to gain second wind. Gives you hit points equal to Healing Surge value and +2 to all defenses until the start of your next turn. Then lose one healing surge." Also of interest, besides these character sheets (which Wizards has yet to officially provide) is that Rules Primer available at the show (which Wizards HAS put up). They talk about healing surges in #5.

I'm still excited about D&D 4E (says he who launched Gamegrene at the same time that 3E was released, and then rarely played it).

As more information is made available my overall impression of the game grows more positive. However, my feeling that 4e is less of a true RPG than it was before also grows stronger. It'll be a great tactical adventure fantasy boardgame, but a poor RPG engine, unless you're using the most broad definition of "role-playing".

I want to say more but, due to lack of time, I'll summarize to: a) I've never found an role-playing rules system I like (probably because I find myself having trouble following the conventional rules of the greatest RPG ever, being Life) and b) The GM and the players are responsible for role-playing, not the rules, and c) Eh. yeah, they're pushing the combat of the system to use their damn miniatures, but the other areas they're focussing on (primarily: more things to do, more MMORPGish powers, etc.) seem to me to be the right direction. I know I, for one, will probably be quite interested in getting a Gamegrene D&D Game Table group going. Not with me as DM (I haven't DM in, Jesus, 15 years now?), but definitely as a player.

Let's see, a simpler, more condensed character sheet. Me likey.

D&D has never really been a system that promotes role-playing, but it has never truly prevented it either. I'll be the first to admit that the best experiences I've had while playing D&D were moments when the ruleset wasn't being used at all. 3.5 is a good system, if a little clunky.

I really like that they're streamlining the rules so that combat is both easier and faster to run. Combat can really bog down in 3.5, and I'm happy to see that they're at least trying to fix that.

I'd love the idea of a Gamegrene D&D Game Table. Count me in.

A new link:
A review of 4E from a un-WotC-affliated playtester. What he has to say really excites me, except for the little weirdness that appears to be Epic play:





"So, back to this whole 'evolution of role-playing games'. See, role-playing games used to be a fish. A stinky fish. And then it crawled out of the primordial ooze that was Gary Gygax's beard. And then it became modern gaming."
-Chad, from the Fear The Boot

My feelings echo some of the things said here already.
While I like the move toward simplified, streamlined rules (such as combat), I dislike that this feels more and more like a MMOG (with or without RP in the middle).
The fact that 6 hours of rest heals all of your wounds.
The fact that characters have no reason to use normal attacks (they have at-will powers which are plain better).
The fact that in all the WotC articles I've read, the fact that combats are now more streamlined and quick is used to enable more complicated combats, and not to reduce the amount of combat in a session.
The fact that the game is now more class-based than ever.


Yeah, and the accentuated miniature slant.

As I posted on the official forums. The new rules might make it a much better game, but it will also feel much more like a game and much less like "heroic fantasy simulation".

I agree with a lot of what you've got to say, zip. I really do worry about the mmorpging of dnd. First, I really hate WoW, and most other online games like that. But one of my main complaints with dnd 3.5 was the blatant lack of rules. By this I mean rules for the world. A world needs to have rules set in (a.k.a. laws of physics cannot be broken, or this particular law of physics cannot be broken, etc.) that help define it. Typical dnd had no rules. No where was this more evident than in the rules for healing and hp. So here they make it even worse. It sounds cool in some ways, but in others, I really don't like it. I especially hate the 6 hours of rest thing. I'm excited for cooler classes, but there's a lot of things to fear here, too. For this reason, I still have 15 gigs of 3.5 on my comp, and it'll prolly stay there for a good long while.

What a complete load of crap

Wait, My new favourite brand of toilet paper!

I couldn't agree more with Aeon - this system looks fun, although a definite ROLL playing game. At this point, if I'm looking for ROLE playing, I tend to turn towards Savage Worlds or WoD. Don't get me wrong, I still crave a good dungeon crawl now and then though...

Look, just because the focus in D&D 4th is more on challenges then it is on exploring a world or drama doesn't make it any less of an excellent game. It is a game of tactical combat... that being said, the addition of a system for quickly resolving questions like "Does the duke help you or does he get so offended he sends goons after you?" is a giant step in the right direction.

(And, in my humble opinion, if you never want to pick up the dice in an RPG, then something is seriously wrong with that RPG. For more on this subject, Pick up a copy of Bliss Stage or Dogs in the Vineyard.)

That depends on the RPG, Elliot. Games that want to heavily emphasize the "role" part do good not to include dice if they can find a way to resolve conflicts without them. I agree with you, however, if you mean a game without any conflict mechanic: that's a nightmare. But you only find that on online rping (the stuff where they post what their character does and what happens), which is ok, but not nearly as fun as table-top with a way to resolve your actions.

The big problem with most complaints about whether this is a "roll" playing game or not is that if you don't like aspects of the game, you can toss them. For instance, in my group, skills like diplomacy, etc., were an addition to the real roleplaying. I don't care if you rolled a natural 20, insulting the Duke will get him pissed at you. I'm going to buy 4th in a few hours, so I can't say much concerning it, as I haven't checked it out yet, but the nice things about bigger games like DnD and WoD is that if I don't like something, I can just remove it or change it. Whereas with indie games, the system's are more tightly bound to each other, so to change one aspect requires a complete overhall. This is why I'm willing to spend $100 on DnD books, something I'd never spend on an indie book (unless it is at the same level). I know that any dissatisfaction I have with material in the book can be changed, whereas I couldn't change aspects of Dogs or Don't Rest Your Head without major problems.

Dogs in the Vineyard is awesome, by the way. I recommend it to anyone who liked to have fun while being challenged.

Well, we got 4th Edition of D&D. We like it enough to get rid of all our 3.0 and 3.5 books. We appreciate the epic nature of healing to full overnight. It removes unnecessary down time where 5 of 6 characters are fine, but one is stuck on bed rest for weeks.

They have removed the whole, "Well we have a cleric, a mage, and a thief, so YOU get to be the fighter!" stigma, as well. (Yes, yes, we all know you can throw out whatever the !@#& you want to make it fun for you, but some people think it's fun to play with the recommendations.)

THIS MEANS: You can have an entire party of rogues, and it works fine with encounters in the same level range. You can have an entire party of any one class, and ditto. Each race IS actually different now, instead of, "Well, those elves are blue, and these ones are green."

Anyway, I don't really care what you people think about 4E. I like it.

Scordias, considering I have not yet read the books, how is 4E more conducive to single-role (as in combat role: defender, controller, leader and striker) parties than previous editions?

I remember some 2nd edition "Complete" books having tips on single-class campaigns.

I have yet to delve fully into my new books (they're shiny!), but as far as I know DMing in every respect is much easier, which fills me with inordinate happiness (love to DM, hate to spend forever calculating xp only to realize that you forgot to divide in by four, or that you actually should have divided it by three, or that you've been looking at the wrong column...). Talking to a friend who's read through the DM's guide and is working on the PHB, she says that figuring out what to challenge your party with is much easier. For instance, we're going to be running a 4th ed single player campaign. I remember spending hours playtesting and getting down notes to figure out how to run a game for a party size that, God forbid, actually wasn't four. In 4th, they make this much easier, telling you how to adjust things for smaller or bigger parties, up to 12, I think. All in all, it's been radically simplified. True, many of it's ideas are not realistic, but with a game like DnD, realism really doesn't help it. If you need it grittier, then you can change it. I drastically changed many of 3.5s mechanics to run a horror game to the hilt, with my players not only in danger of losing their lives, but also their minds, and their souls, too. What I'm saying is that the change will be good for the game. There will inevitably be some things I don't like, but won't really bothers me I can change or learn to live with. There are other games out there. It's not like I'll be playing only DnD.

Scordias, it's nice to see so many people hitting the site, especially with new opinions of 4th, but I think we'd all be much better off if we accepted each other's opinions and tried to verify our own. Comments like, "I don't really care what you people think about 4e. I like it," don't really help the atmosphere we're trying to create here. This is not a flaming site. We like to have intelligent discussions here, which include give and take. I'm saying that you have to hate 4e (as many of the site's users don't), but arguing about it intelligently is what we want. So I liked the first part of your comment, but the last wasn't necessary. Maybe something as simple as "I like it," would've gotten your point across. I don't know. But I ask that we all try not to be offensive here (fully aware of my mistakes on that area).

hate to spend forever calculating xp only to realize that you forgot to divide in by four, or that you actually should have divided it by three, or that you've been looking at the wrong column...

Use this. It's much easier!


Honestly, people keep talking about how the system is going to lack Role Play.

I'm sorry, but shouldn't Role play come from the group, regardless of rule mechanics?

My DnD group has always embraced character development and role play, even if there weren't exact 'rules' for it. Isn't the POINT of Role play freedom not skewed by the rules?

Regardless of the rules, Role Play will happen if the group makes it happen, nuff said.

That's been my argument all along, yep.

Perhaps, but a system can be conducive to RP or be the opposite (or neither).
For example, I find that the Morality scale, the Vices and Virtues in WoD are supportive of role playing.
A lot of people will go down the route suggested by the sysem, not bothering going against the grain in supplementing (or removing) game aspects including (but not limited to) role playing.

Does this make sense?

I agree with both zip and Absolam. Of course, no matter the system, it's the groups decision to rp. My group, while we play DnD and other systems not particularly known for their efforts at being conducive to rping, is a group very focused on role playing, because that's what makes the game rewarding to us. So of course a great deal of it depends on the group.

However, zip's right. Well-made system's encourage what the creator wants them to encourage. This is part of what I love about indie games, because, focused as they are, their mechanics are much better used to influence the kind of game you should be playing with that game. A great example is Don't Rest Your Head, where you lack anything like hit points, but keep track of your character's well-being through madness and exhaustion, both meant to influence key aspects of the game and your character. And WoD, as a mainstream game, is also a great example. They influence roleplaying even down to their experience system, which doesn't even consider the number of enemies killed as a part of character growth, but how good that particular player played his/her character. That's a radically different style than DnD, where, even if the Paladin is the one breaking laws (in the name of goodness!) and finding every way to circumvent both his/her character and his/her class, it doesn't matter, cause he/she helped kill all these enemies and so gets xp and advances anyway. You can argue that you could just change it and reward xp based on rping, but this is actually much more difficult than it sounds. Many DMs offer a little xp for roleplaying, but it's really only to give the characters the 100 xp they need to get into the next level and survive against the next big boss. When the system is set up a certain way, many DMs, I know me at least, have a hard time changing it in major fashion like that because of the work involved and because the likelihood of unfair adjudication rises a lot higher than is comfortable. The fact of the matter is, DnD simply does not promote rping like it could, and especially not like many other games. It has many strengths, but that is a major weakness.

"Regardless of the rules, Role Play will happen if the group makes it happen, nuff said."

I respectfully disagree. The medium is the message. 4th Edition is a duck. Roleplaying games are a dog. Making the duck wag its tail is not enough to call it a dog.

Here is why I call 4th Edition a duck:

1) They share the dice with the monsters. Roleplaying is about perspective; specifically the perspective of the players. To support roleplaying the players must respond to the action as it is presented. They need to participate in the result. This participation can be with or without the use of the dice. If events happen without any participation from the players then a roleplaying element has been removed. The "to hit" mechanic (which I disagreed with before) has been expanded to include what was once called "saving throws." The dice are less in the players’ hands than they ever were. Quack!

2) Roleplaying involves making choices in the game world that affect the destiny and abilities of your character. D&D allows players to pick powers and abilities from the rulebook. This is not roleplaying. Quack!

3) Skill mechanics determine results not possibilities. Roleplaying games are about unlimited possibility bound by the shared conception of the participants where uncertain results are determined by the use of randomization. In D&D 4th Edition rolling well on a spot or search roll results in being given an answer. In a good roleplaying game the result of a successful interaction skill is a question (a detailed description versus a simple one).
Rather than apply a role-playing game logic to the skill, they applied a logic that is easily emulated by a computer. The problem I have is that the result is a single target (Do you notice the trap door). One number that determines pass or fail in noticing, changing, or affecting what you want. The role-playing is over before it begins. Players are not hanging on the words of the DM, because the narrative is not connected to the roll. Quack!

I must ask Gilgamesh, why a duck? And don't you know that ducks are Mighty!? Many high school mascots say so (and several movies)...lol

Anyway, you carry a very strong point, but I think you're missing something here. DnD, even as 4th ed, is, ultimately, a game of potential. It's not a game that comes off the shelves with everything you want, but it's one you can mold to what you want. All 3 of these complaints are manageable, changeable aspects of the game.

1) The to hit mechanics can easily be jazzed up. For instance, instead of keeping static numbers, you can have the players remove ten from their various defences, roll d20, and add the remaining number. That way, they are actively involved. That's what I do, and it's what I'll still do. If that's not good enough, devise some way to to penalize them if they don't creatively describe what they're doing to avoid the blow. Meow!

2) 4th ed actually has a lot more in keeping with what you want here than any previous DnD edition. Here I'm speaking of the epic teir, which, though not quite what you're looking for, is very easily geared toward it. The epic teir is patently designed to be the point at which adventurers resolve their focal conflicts and retire into wealth or whatever. While, in the book, this is more for describing the players moving on to "greater things" (like Godhood, in one case), it can easily be made to fit into resolving all the conflicts of the main characters. For example, my character Asura would finally avenge his father and return to his family. My character Virago would finally cleanse his bloodline or face a downward spiral if not. You get the point. This is specifically made to address your concern here. The way it strikes me, the epic teir is the teir most geared towards having the players write up their own epic destinies, thus telling the DM how they want to resolve their major conflicts (this strikes me as obvious considering the extremely low number of epic teir "classes" compared to all the other teirs). This is an attempt to reconcile one of the worst problems in 3.5. Granted, it's not as good as, say, the experience system in Dogs in the Vineyard (one you'll probably like, Gil), but it does the job. Also, any talented DM can further implement what you want here, especially if allied with talented and willing players. I know in my games, even in 3.5, this was one of our mainstays. One of our players, who was playing a gnome Beguiler with characteristic verve, starting to multiclass into being a Ranger. Why? Because through roleplaying conversations with another character, a Druid who was in many ways the counselor or wise man character of the group, she became enamored with the natural world and his teachings. This was a decision that was not wise in most any way from a power gamer standpoint, but it worked for her character. The examples are endless. It's your job, as a GM, more than anybody else, to encourage and set the tone for this kind of roleplaying. It's true that DnD is not the best system for this kind of roleplaying, but it does well enough in the right hands. And it's gotten better, as far as I can see it. Meow!

3) Dnd 4th is here lightyears better than 3.5. It's set up it's skill system to be more like extended conflicts in WoD, which greatly encourages exactly what you're looking for. Also, you only roll when it's important, moments of stress and tension. A good GM can take this where it needs to go, describing well the events as they take place, especially if he/she receives feedback from the players, particularly, in the form of, "Ok, if this part of the cliff leads up to a wide shelf I can't reach over, I'm going to move to the left where it's rougher for more handholds." It's the give and take of a good group that makes it. A bad group can ruin the best made games with the most roleplaying just because they are a bad group. Meow!

Ultimately, Gil, your concerns are mostly 3.5 concerns. Also, the system is maleable and full of potential. IMHO, this system still remains the best, or has regained the position, for long-term fantasy rping (granted, however, that I have yet to look at the majority of fantasy games). It's well-made, well-thought out and expands the universe in so many ways. It's still got problems, but most of them are fixable with small tweaks and house rules. Really, like pets, it's what you buy. If you want a dog, you don't buy a duck or a cat, you buy a dog. With DnD, you buy it with a certain style and way of doing things in mind. You'll keep that style, most likely, no matter what they try to do. So, when you go to the pet store, you've made your decision, whether it be a hamster or a cat. Like Mr. Scruffy! You make the game, in the end. Nobody plays Monopoly by the real rules.



1) The to hit mechanics can easily be jazzed up.
-- would you jazz up the hit versus Will etc. Would you go back to a saving throw? What you describe sounds like a swing versus parry/dodge mechanic. This is a huge departure from the armor class mechanic. Once you start parrying and dodging armor hinders and certain weapons (shields) enhance greatly. I agree with the jazz, but aren't you now on the slipperly slope to a new game mechanic? Also, you slow the combat down unless you assign a base attack value to the villain and have the players roll the defence.

2) My problem isn't with the material -- it is how and where they present it. Presented in the player's handbook are the majority of the skills, powers, and magic items. Their options are dressed out in front of them and they shop for skills in a book spending the currency of their XP (soul-blood voodoo money). They shop for their powers. They shop for their magic items. It is a game tailored to the most consumer driven society that has ever walked the face of the earth. The game (1st-4th) is devoid of exploration and discovery when it comes to the potential of the character. The only thing worth finding in this game is a monster with treasure. Kill the monster ... take the treasure. Become super-powerful so you are better at it until eventually you achieve godhood/salvation. This is the path to heaven? Not piety nor devotion; not service nor selflessness; no, heaven is accessible through war and violence -- become powerful through destruction and rip down the gates of heaven to take your equal seat with the god(s) that made you. I know that I have extrapolated a detail. The details matter belie the foundation and premise of a game.
"It's your job, as a GM, more than anybody else, to encourage and set the tone for this kind of roleplaying. It's true that DnD is not the best system for this kind of roleplaying, but it does well enough in the right hands." Agreed, but the game mechanic creates a drift. Like a car that always pulls to the left there is a disposition built into the rules. It is an insidious struggle that does not end.

"Ultimately, Gil, your concerns are mostly 3.5 concerns. Also, the system is maleable and full of potential." I'll be playing a game in a few weeks and will have more to say then. Most of my concerns did start with 3.x (that I was only recently exposed to over the past few months). I'm an old school 1st-2nd edition DM who (with my group) has been isolated from the gaming community for 15 years. I came out of isolation about three years ago because I wanted to understand the market (I am finishing an RPG) to see if what I like has a niche/need. I settled here.

Well, if there's any place to put down roots, this is it. I was introduced to gaming through 3.x DnD, so I owe it a lot, despite it's many and variable flaws. And I just finished reading the PHB of 4th today, so it'll help me in this discussion.

1) Actually, that change is a variant rule suggested in the 3.5 DMG. I, like you, want the players to have the dice in their hands often (when it's called for), so I implemented it. It actually doesn't make it take any longer. You both just roll at the same time and compare final results. It really takes about as long as it did before. And it makes combat more fluid, more interesting, especially for the players. As for the slippery slope, well, sure. But that's the point I'm trying to make. Ultimately, nobody has to take the system as is. That's one of the great things about a roleplaying game compared to a computer game or an MMO. If I don't like that mechanic (not because it makes my character less cool), I can change it. If you feel the need to make an entirely new mechanic, do so. I'm already thinking about it. I like most everything about 4e, but I'm really bothered by the mechanic for saving throws. It strikes me as something they threw in because they needed a mechanic there but didn't know quite what that mechanic should be. So they choose a 50-50 mechanic, which makes zero sense. So, if I can find a satisfactory way to do so, I'll change it. Any ideas?

2) That's a fine speech, Gil, and I'll admit, you've got me pinned here. In fact, I totally agree with you. So you know what you should do? Run a game that lays bare this apparent hipocracy in the game world. That's just rich with philosophic fun! Dude, I'd love that kind of game. Explore the undercurrent here in-game. Hold the debate and see where your players go with it. If you see the game world set up so flawed, rip it open and show it for the farce it is in game. See what the players try to do about it! Just thinking about it makes me antsy to play in or DM that kind of game.

Also, I think your cars been to the mechanic and come out the better for it. In 4e, they addressed that concern by making every tense situation (whether it be combat or negotiations) an "encounter" which is what you get experience for. I have yet to read the DMG (that's next!) but I have a friend who is probably the most "role"-playing bent person I've ever meant, and she's given it her stamp of approval. Also, much of this problem can be resolved by adjudicating. I'll agree, however, that that isn't satisfactory, and I'd prefer a different set up than one so arbitrary. However, experience, by what I've seen, is the bane of all games, so much so that many games just choose to ignore and get by as short games, ones that last several sessions. One of the best games I've ever played, Dogs in the Vineyard, still has trouble with it's experience mechanic. In this game, you only get experience (xp is very different here than DnD but still representative of the same thing) by rolling a 1 at a particular time. This is something that every game struggles with, and, admitting that I'm no expert on roleplaying games, I've yet to find a system that really succintly sums up what we mean when we talk about experience.

Don't you have a website dedicated to your game, Gil? I'm pretty sure you or someone else posted the link somewhere, but I've yet to check it out. Wanna repost it? Now that I've got more time for a little while I would not mind checking it out. Good luck with your 4e game. I think it's a good system, good enough for DnD. I don't play DnD for rping mechanics - I've other games more geared towards that. I play DnD to be a hero, or to insidiously play with the hero ideal, both of which DnD is excellent at.

Gil's game is called Epic Fantasy, at www.epicfantasy.net.

I'm afraid there's not much to see there, though. Mostly "coming soon" signs :)

Jason Bulmahn of Paizo's take on the 4e GSL:


Another take on the GSL - this one had me giggling uncontrollably for a few minutes:


Came across this very nice (and fairly rant-free) analysis of 4e which I thought I'd share:


Aye, that is pretty nice, and similar to my feelings (the whole "gamist vs. narrarist" argument). Whilst I still plan to collect 4E obsessively (eh, it's what I do), I am eyeing the forthcoming Pathfinder core book, based and revised from 3.5 rules and currently in public alpha, with interest. Paizo's stuff tends to be top-notch.

A very well-written article, though I do have some trouble for it. There's no doubt that 4e has many of those aspects (moving in squares is an excellent example and one aspect I'll prolly drop), but I don't see it as much of an overall charge in that direction. In 3.x, you moved in squares, too, but they were just divided by 5 feet increments. It's incredibly unrealistic to think that everyone moves in 5 feet increments. In that sense, whenever combat is done in a grid-like style (the best way, outside of video games, really), it detracts from the simulation. However, this grid style is necessary because it keeps combat fair, keeps the GM or the players from arbitrarily deciding things that seriously tip the scales. "No, you can't hit the bad guy with your gun because Jared's in the way." "I am? I haven't even moved yet." "You started that way." Things along those lines. Perhaps a game designed specifically with non-grid combat in mind would do excellently without it, but we all know D&D has never been such a game. Also, 3.x was never very kind to the simulationist player anyway. What justifies having 300 more hit points at epic levels than at lower levels? Realistically, nothing. The fact of the matter is that when you play D&D, you have to let go of your simulationist leanings, accept that it's a fantasy game (so reality's gonna get played with) and go from there. I consider myself either a simulationist of a dramatist (usually the former, but I have my moments), but I recognize that D&D isn't conducive to that. So I don't attempt to force it. The important things for me to simulate (my character's mannerisms, his conversations) are things that I know won't be screwed with and that I can do as I like. I let go of realism in D&D combat a long time ago. If I want realistic combat, I'll play World of Darkness. As I see it, D&D has moved more dramatist (3.x was very gamist) and the expectations placed on it by simulationists has only brought back the pain brought in from 3.x over again. It was unrealistic to think that it would go that direction when it's been more successful for them to go the other. The only thing to do is to accept it and move on. Realize why you play D&D as opposed to another game and, when you want whatever you play D&D for, play it. But if you want something else, play that instead.

I don't think that simulationism and realism are quite the same thing. You can have a desire to simulate something unrealistic, yet believable within its own frame of reference. Any world of the imagination that introduces elements such as magic, psionics or tech that hasn't yet been invented is unrealistic but that doesn't mean we should be happy to abandon the desire for a realistic feel altogether.

I agree that the whole 'movement in squares' thing might be seen as a weak example, in fact, because yes creatures moved in squares in 3.x as well. It's just that the underlying imperial measurement system was more explicitly stated, particularly in the spell descriptions, and you had to know your 5x table and sometimes be able to do a bit of mental arithmetic to figure out how many squares (or use a calculator if you were 'challenged' in that department). Stating everything in terms of squares is maybe less immersive because for some people it makes the fantasy world seem more 'granular' - quantized into big 5' chunks if you like. Though it will make the game easier to play for some people. (I suspect those 'some' people will stick to their gaming consoles, actually, but that's another matter).

I won't deny that 3.x can be played in a very 'gamist' sense and it might be harder to 'game' 4e at the moment (wait for the rafts of supplementary material to issue forth, though - feature creep is a characteristic of a sales-driven ethos). However I think the main area where I would agree with the author is the swing between simulationist and dramatist. Just as one example, I never liked the idea of per-encounter powers (first introduced in 3.5e in 'Complete Scoundrel' with Skill Tricks) because an 'encounter' is an artificial story element, and I prefer a game based in a continuum of time. Labelling a particular chunk of time an 'encounter' seems artificial and disturbs the simulationist perspective.

Yes and no, with regards to encounter powers. I understand where you're coming from, but they actually nerf that concern very nicely. Basically, the idea is that the power is draining, and so can't be used until the characters take a small rest (like, 10 minutes). They only get their encounter powers back if they do the rest - you can easily make things very, very difficult for the PCs by driving them and not allowing them their rest time. I actually see this as a major improvement over 3.x because it better simulates becoming tired. If you just drive on for combat after combat, you'll start to see it mechanically. If the PCs take their time to rest a little, they'll be fine. The thing about 4e is that on the surface it does look very gamist, but as you delve into the game it actually carries many simulationist traits. They're just not particularly obvious.

However, per day powers, something introduced, I think, in 3.x, is highly unrealistic. Perhaps from a magic item or object, but not from a personal perspective. I can't think of a single thing that I can only do once per day that doesn't also wipe me out completely. The best way I can think of to resolve this is to assume that fantasy heroes have a "power source" from whence their daily powers come, which is a part of the rules. That doesn't completely satisfy me, however, but I'll let it go for the purpose of having fun.

That's really what it's all about. Having fun. If it's fun in a particular moment to be gamist, I'll do that. If it's fun to be simulationist, I'll do that instead. And if it's fun to be dramatist...you get the point. I think that 4e is an improvement as is really more simulationist than 3.x. It's just harder to see. Most of the complaints people have are really small things. Perhaps little things that make a bump on your simulation, but nothing major or worth truly worrying about. When they start trying to prevent me from playing my character the way I want to play my character, then I'll be worried.

Also, I don't mind the options. I usually only latch onto a couple of additional options in the other books and use the core for everything else. The extra options help the rules visualize the character as I visualize him.