Home » Ancient Posts » An Open Note to 4e Fans Upset at the Direction WOTC Appears to be Heading with 5e    
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@Parple: The reason the designers are ignoring the 4e way so often is the 4e way probably does not meet what appears to be the primary design criteria of 5e: get back as many D&D players who stopped buying WOTC D&D products because they did not like the very different 4e way of doing things.

While 4e looks to have been very popular with those who liked it, it apparently was not nearly popular enough to make the bean counters at Hasbro happy. Therefore the marching orders for 5e appear to be "do whatever it takes to get as many of former customers back as possible." As a tactical version of D&D, 4e was a successful game. As a commercial product, it apparently was a flop when it came to meeting the sales and profit goals set by the corporate bosses.


The comparison 'older editions were thrown under a bus for 4e so it is the same as 4e being thrown under a bus for 5e' is asinine for one extremely obvious reason:

There wasn't a public playtest and polling about what features should be in 4e, and certainly not one that went out of its way to excise possibilities from 3.x before the polls were posted.

5e professes to consolidate -all- previous editions, explicitly including 4e. When every new poll or article comes out, the designers specifically dismiss the idea of doing something the way 4e did even when they are stating that it is basically the perfect way to do what they want.

That, and all of the things they are bringing back are things that people -already know- don't work, whereas 4e was trying new and different things.


i hope the 4E players have fun making characters off-line. it'll show what a blast the game is if you dont have computer programs to make a character just to move your mini around. being constrained to a grid and "powers" that are useless without a grid is just an overly complex board game ("yo, thats SIM-play, bro." not really)

there will definitely be some 4E ghosts in the game rules, but it will also mix itself with other editions ghosts and some new things too.

theyre forgetting that the "modular" aspect proposed should probably cover their garbage grid rules, etc.

where'd phantasmal force go in 4E? oh yeah, it doesnt fit into a battle grid. instead of creating imagination scaffolding – you should only think about how efficient you can be with your 3 actions on a grid while annihilating numbers and their miniature representation. boring.


I just want to put out there that a lot of 4e players are in worse condition than older editions if WotC stops supporting their game. Many of the people I know who play(ed) 4e didn't buy books they got the Insider subscription and are totally reliant on WotC continuing 4e support in order to be able to play the game they like. So as much as I personally dislike 4e I have to say there's a whole heap of them who don't "have their books" and might not be in the "same" situation as the older edition players. So if they want to keep up 4e play they'll have to purchase the system again 2nd hand when the edition finally goes belly up. Paying for the rules twice is not fun.


I would be surprised if there won't be a rule module in 5E/DDN that uses very 4E like rules.


Battered Players' Syndrome.

=This= time it'll be different, really!



I think Raggi said it best with his "An Open Letter to my 4th Edition D&D Brothers and Sisters". Google it.


@dungeoncurmudgeon — ha! That was great.

I'll be interested in the outcome but I think I've spent enough dollars on new systems. I wouldn't be tinkering with retroclones otherwise, and supporting outfits smaller than Hasbro. I wish the 4E players luck, but yeah, karma is a bitch.


Cancer Fund Update: We've hit $1500 point! (Thank you one and all). Drawing for EPT will be Monday evening!


@Will Mistretta: Sadly true about WOTC being more about marketing than designing. I was afraid this would happen the minute I heard Hasbro bought them. The purchase was great for the people who owned WOTC, but was bad for the tabletop RPG hobby.

@Dungeoncurmudgeon: That was a great post you linked to.

Old Guy

I don't know how many times I've heard 4e fanboys tell the "old timers" that if they want to keep playing older editions, WotC isn't stopping them. After all, they still have all the older editions books.

It would be quite ironic to see those same 4e fanboys suddenly become "old timers". Although, if I get a vote, I don't think I want to share the clubhouse with them.


Gotta agree both with the post and those who pointed out the past vitriol.

Pardon me if posting a link here is a faux pas, but I wrote something about that, and this in general, even before 5e was announced:


Chad Rose

My own personal feelings about 4e aside, I hope that 5e realizes some of what the 4e players liked about D&D as a modular piece.

If not, they can do what other folks did ala Pathfinder and the OSR movement.

Right now the best advice for anyone, of course, is just wait until we actually have something substantial to base any worries on and this would be the public playtest. For now, ignore everything you see, read or hear about as it's all just guesses, hype or grief.


From what i read online, 4e requires a steady flow of errata to be playable, so if WotC stops 'supporting' it, the 4e players may indeed be SOL. 😉

Will Mistretta

Patronize WizBro with the the full knowedge that they see the downtime between new edition sales spikes as only a necessary evil or not at all, IMHO. They're not "by gamers, for gamers." They're by marketeers for disposable gamer income. They rely on blatant planned obsolecense just as much as Apple does with its line of i-gizmos.


As a fan of 4e (or at least someone who plays it and thinks it has some good ideas), my own personal issue is just that I don't want to see the game take steps back into things I didn't like. I admit it's totally selfish reasoning. And really, I'm not incensed so much as "concerned" that they'll go back to far… I actually wouldn't mind a melding of 3e and 4e, as there are parts of both I like… I just don't see a need to go back to far. 😛

"The self-proclaimed "4vengers" were a nasty little bunch throughout forums in 2008 and beyond, and many deserve to get what they gave."

There's plenty of angst and nastiness on both sides of the issue, and hopeing the other side gets f'ed over doesn't really do anyone justice. 😛

Robert Saint John

I don't think they're being thrown under the bus at all. But based in part on the past behavior of WOTC, many seem certain that this is the case. As a result, some seize upon the smallest words and phrases related to the discussion of Next, assume the worst, and go into a rage. I would argue that the 4E player base is the most numerous and most vocal within the outlets where WOTC is primarily seeking feedback, and they've been listening to their feedback overall for nearly 4 years now. There's no reason to assume that those voices, desires, playstyles etc. will be given any less weight than the others WOTC is evaluating. It's too early for anyone to be freaking out to the degree it has been, and I'm surprised that these 4E players choose to ignore the fact that what little word that has come out of playtests — mostly from current 4E players — has been quite enthusiastic.

OTOH, I'll echo what Aaron said. The self-proclaimed "4vengers" were a nasty little bunch throughout forums in 2008 and beyond, and many deserve to get what they gave.

Aaron E. Steele

That should read "WOTC owns the rights to "our" game and can SLAP IT AROUND whenever they like."

I feel for the 4E fans, although it also gives me a certain amount satisfaction to see their angst, considering how arrogant and unsympathetic they were when 4E broke the hearts of myriad 3.X fans.


I'm not sure why anyone feels like they are being thrown under the bus. They have their fourth edition books, they can play fourth edition till the cows come home and there really isn't anything WotC can do about that.

Oh maybe its the fact that D&D will come to mean something other than what it has meant for them…

Well as has been the advice to us old timers who weren't fond of being misunderstood when we talked about THE D&D, suck it up. WotC owns the rights to "our" game and can slap that label on whatever they like.