D&D 4E review: Overview of the preview books
I read the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition previews Races & Classes, and Worlds & Monsters last week and a few things jumped out right away:
- Dungeons & Dragons still feels like Dungeons & Dragons.
- The Wizards staff working on 4E seems to be very respectful of D&D enthusiasts.
- WotC spent a lot of time on this new edition.
- Why should anyone buy these books – they’re only previews, right?
D&D still feels like D&D
The world is still medieval and fantastic. Wizards still blow things up. Dragons still rule. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Sprinkled throughout the preview books are mentions of this new D&D – still the same gaming experience but with an increased cool factor.
The Wizards staff working on 4E seems to be respectful of D&D enthusiasts
There are a couple reason why I say that through the 4th edition development WotC has been respectful of the hardcore D&D gamer. First of all, throughout the preview books, they share the design views, the development guidelines, their thought process and even some concepts that didn’t make it into the new edition. Secondly, the online D&D community seems to have influenced the 4th edition heavily – especially when it comes to classes, races, and character building. WotC noticed that some concepts from the 3E core rulebooks were not widely used while some supplements concepts were. That was taken into account in 4E development.
WotC spent a lot of time on this new edition
They date the early design work in 2005. Over 3 years working on a new edition. It seems like a lot of work to me. The impression that I get is that they didn’t work on only 3 core rulebooks (now scheduled to be released at the same time in June 08). They worked on the D&D experience as a whole, including mechanics and concepts that won’t be featured in the core books. I am confident that the supplements of 4E will be well balanced, for easy inclusion in your D&D game.
Who should buy or read these books
If you’re interested in game design, the preview books will definitely be fascinating. Otherwise you might want to grab one of these books out of curiosity. They’re broken down into independant sections and are fun and quick to read.