This post could go any number of ways… let’s see what happens.
Ran the Pathfinder Beginner Box adventure, and it would seem my players had the same reaction to Pathfinder that I did many months ago. Liked it, didn’t love it. It’s familiar enough to D&D to be enjoyed by D&D fans… and its familiar enough to D&D to not warrant investing in new books.
Jason made a comment that I’ll repeat here, and he can elaborate on if he’d like. He said that he hasn’t gotten enough ROI on D&D to start thinking about a switch.
My response to that is that I don’t think that someone who’s heavily invested – and I’m speaking in terms of time AND money – in 4e as we have could possibly get ROI on it. I’d rather cut bait than lament the loss of my lure.
I don’t know if I’m all-in for Pathfinder yet, but I’m certainly mostly-out for 4e. The pro of Pathfinder is also its con. I was able to run the entirety of the beginner adventure – 10ish encounters in 3 hours. That’s strong. The downside is that while there are combat options, there’s not nearly as many as 4e. The standard "I whack him with my sword" isn’t nearly as cool as those 1st-level 4e powers. Its more the monsters and environment that make the different combat encounters unique and less the individual PC builds. I’m going to miss those 4e powers. I’m not going to miss shelling out money to WotC for … anything, really.
Okay, you caught me. I’ll be paying WotC one more time. My kid will be running some LFR at the next OwlCon, and he asked me to resubscribe to DDI… so, fine. Until the con.
I wasn’t looking to take a side in the edition wars. And really, I guess I haven’t – if you dig 4e, have at it. If you still dig it after paragon, good for you – I hope it continues to be fun for you. It just hasn’t for me. My preliminary OwlCon schedule has no 4e on it, and that just seems weird to me.
My non-con gaming is… well, it doesn’t exist, really. My LFR guys don’t seem to interested in D&D or Pathfinder – having turned to WH40k, Magic, xbox, and having a life (losers). I don’t think I’d be successful in starting Pathfinder Society in my neck of the woods – at least not enough to get ROI on my time and aggravation – and I don’t want to drive over an hour to play (though that’s what I suspect I’ll be doing) with an established PFS group.
4e is a lot of great ideas poorly excuted. Pathfinder is well-executed, but not nearly as sexy. I’ll tell you what, though. I’m just fine giving money to Paizo. They seem like a gamer company, whereas WotC… well, WotC’s the company that hired Sarah Darkmagic, then fired Rich Baker at Christmas.
Oh! We should probably address WotC hiring Monte Cook, for what many are speculating is his writing 5th edition. Never met the guy, but I like him – based on stuff I read. I don’t know the exact quote, but once at a con someone asked him about DMing. He responded that everything he had to say about DMing was written in a book called the Dungeon Master’s Guide. What a great line. Yeah, I know – he elaborated after that. I still dig the line.
And I dig his vision. Have you seen the size of Ptolus? I’ve always wanted to try it.
But one has to acknowledge that 3rd edition needed a .5 update about three years in. For a company that just had the essentials.5 debacle, they need to tread carefully.
WotC has to know that while a 5th edition may be necessary, it cant be expected to fly off the shelves. Between people losing faith in WotC and other people that don’t want to buy a whole new set of books, who’s really looking forward to "DUNGEON5 & DRAGON5" (I’m so going to cybersquat that URL)?
It’ll be interesting to see how WotC tries to sell it. I’m imagining a core rules cardset that’ll be updated and re-released every year, with three new splat card sets to go with it. These splat rules set will periodically phase out, depending on what rule variant you use. As long as the online table’s ready on release day, people will buy it.