The 4e Problem – Reconciliation

For quite a while, I had a large problem with 4e. To explain this well, I need to give you all some history of myself and gaming. If I’ve shared this here before and you’ve read it, bear with me.

I’ve been a fantasy fiction geek since around 1st grade. As I was growing up, I was exposed to D&D via the original Red Box by my cousins, but I never really played. Come college, I discovered the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale games and learned a decent amount about 2e. Just after the release of 3e, a buddy of mine asked if I wanted to play D&D with him and his girlfriend and that was that. For the next 7 years, or so, I played 3e and 3.5e.

When 4e came out, I ended up talking to some friends from my former gaming group and we decided it would be a good idea to start playing 4e. I loved it. I ran a game for the first time and for about six months, all was well. Then, things got busy, I got burnt out (bad job, 1-hour drive to the session each week) and I stopped running and became a player.

The game went pretty well for a month or so. Then things started to not go well between myself and the DM. It had little to do with the game (nothing, in fact) and everything to do with our friendship to that point. I ended up leaving the group after a particularly bad session.

Time passes and I’m getting a strong desire to play again. I formed a group using my family and when it came time to choose a system to use, I picked 3.5e. I missed my Vancian spell system and the familiar comforts of the game that I had played the longest. Or at least, I told myself that. What I realize now is that, even though I did enjoy 3.5 quite a bit, I was mixing my feelings for how my previous 4e game ended and the game itself. I was doing 4e quite a disservice.

Over the last few months, I’ve been giving “The 4e Problem” quite a bit of thought. I had spent too much time bashing the system, bashing WotC, and generally hating on the D&D scene in. Not good. Not good at all. I started looking at the 4e conversations that I was seeing on Twitter and I started listening to the real merits of the system.

All of this came to a head recently when I played in my first 4e game in two years. And you know what? I had a blast. All of the concerns that I brought up about the lack of roleplaying or how combat was limited to a group of same-y powers across the classes, all of that is gone now. That’s not to say that those issues can’t exist, but it depends heavily on the group you’re playing with or the DM running the game as to whether or not they do.

I’m over my angst. For me, I can now appreciate D&D 4e for what it is, even while I enjoy the hell out of playing Pathfinder. It’s a nice place to be. Frankly, it takes too much energy to be that angsty about a game and now I’ve got an entire world of gaming open to me that I had previously closed off.

And all of this couldn’t come at a better time. I’ll be attending PAX East in a few weeks and there’s bound to be some great 4e games that I’ll be able to get in on. I’m looking forward to it.

[tags]rpg, rpgs, role playing games, D&D, dnd, 4e[/tags]

5 thoughts on “The 4e Problem – Reconciliation

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  1. There are a few things I really like about 4E: it’s easy to get a character up and running, combat is fast and furious, and I love the healing surge and at will/encounter/daily power system. That being said, it’s so damned entrenched in its own world that I can’t seem to use it to run something in a Swords & Sorcery vein without serious tinkering, and I also go quite crazy trying to remember which similar sounding powers do what. I wish that there was a good meeting point between 3.5 and 4E, although really 3.5 is too complicated for my taste, too. Maybe. I don’t know. Nothing will probably make me truly happy.


  2. I know I still miss a lot of things about 3rd Edition, especially, as someone who loves/ed playing wizards, the spellcasting! But I also can’t deny that 4e is more balanced (especially now) and easier to plan around as a DM.

    I don’t think either edition was better at “encouraging” role playing than the other. It’s up to the players and the DM to bring that element to the table.

    If I had the opportunity to play both Pathfinder and 4e, I absolutely would.

    Welcome back to the land of Powers & Skill Challenges!


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