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Easy Contest #2: What do you like about 4th Edition & what do you loathe?

Written by MythicParty - Published on March 28, 2013

PHB4ed-thumb-300x300So our initial ‘Easy Contest’ for a Softcover 3.5 PHB really seemed to get people motivated.  All 3 of our earlier Thursday Treasurepiles received bunches of new comments.  To close out the month, thought we’d do the same thing but from the other end: a 4th Edition Player’s Handbook; the one for Arcane, Divine, and Martial Heroes.  A 320-page perfect-bound hardback book from 2008 (MSRP $34.95)

To win ours for free (its in decent condition- not mint from a Gen Con trip that squished a few corners but not needing a Revive Dead either), all you need to do is 2 simple things:

  1. tell us in the comment section both what you like & loathe about 4th edition of D&D
  2. have a comment in each of the 3 Thursday Treasurepiles + Easy Contest #1 giveaways

We’ll be picking the winning ‘+5 comment’ for all of these contests over the weekend, then doing a post on Monday, April 1st to announce the winners & ask them to contact us so we can mail out the books.  Yes, we’re covering all the postage & tracking info too, no fooling.  With us, free books really are 100% free books.

Again, we’re doing this to help get some discussions going as well as to thank DMing’s readers for returning after our hiatus.  We appreciate you coming back after our Reincarnation, want to continue this loyalty & hope to find good homes for these good gaming books.

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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Thanks for reading.

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Easy Contest #2: What do you like about 4th Edition & what do you loathe?, 4.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings » Leave a comment



21 Responses to “Easy Contest #2: What do you like about 4th Edition & what do you loathe?”
  1. Chris says:

    What I liked:
    Ease of DMing – seemed to be easier to find sweet spot for group encounters until high levels
    Tactical play – class synergies seemed to be fun for groups to maximize
    Minions – loved the formal idea of minion in the game

    What I loathed:
    The number of conditions players at high levels could make monsters into wimps unless you house ruled or changed monsters
    The lack of class distinctiveness, the abilities of players muddied together at higher levels making some of the uniqueness in the class be lost

    As with any edition there is good and bad, some house rules need to be made. I think in any edition there is little bit of play to continue to make game fun.

  2. RaiseDead says:

    The thing I loved was definitely the character builder. Having all the rules options and possibilities at your finger tips made character creation less of a chore than flipping through endless books. And it even did the math for you.

    However, the thing I loathed was also the character builder. A practical dependency on the thing made it practically impossible to work with houserules of any kind and the “rules” became the default king of the game instead of imagination and good storytelling.

  3. Mason says:

    While there are a ton of options in 4E, I felt like it’s less complicated and way more accessible than 3.5.

  4. Joshua says:

    Loved: How the game gave each player something interesting to do each round of combat. A fighter no longer just “attacks the nearest bad guy with [insert uberweapon name here]. The tactics of the game introduced with push, slide, with minions, made combat in the game a challenging and creative puzzle.

    Loathed: I could say that I don’t have a group anymore…But really nothing about the game itself. More about the community. Specifically the complaints that 4th doesn’t allow for roleplaying. Its such nonsense. The game has similar roleplaying skills that 3.5 and Pathfinder have. But that’s not what roleplaying is about. It is about the players and DM using their imagination. I, for one, find that much more interesting with well developed classes and abilities that make each character unique while highlighting their role in regard to the party as a whole.

  5. Dean says:

    I liked the tougher characters at 1st level. Low level playability was great.

    I absolutely detested the fact the game felt like a tabletop video game. Most of us old school gamers can’t get past tbe fact there is no uniqueness to the classez after 5th level or so.

  6. Bobby Jennings says:

    Loved the ease in which I could DM. How I could fill an encounter with a ton of minions to throw at my players and they’d wreak havoc on them. I love themes, once they came about, I love the bloodied status. So did my players when they’d see a red poker chip.

    Loathed how healing worked. Nothing made the game, IMO, tougher to create challenges than a group who could nearly be fully healed all-the-time. I loathed how skill challenges were implemented. I loved the concept, but loathed how it was never explained clearly enough. And I loathed how the adventures from WotC were never beyond a “move from here – kill this thing” to “then move here and kill this thing”. Keep on the Shadowfell, I’m looking at you. You had such potential!!

  7. Chris Waldrip says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately while playing the D&D Next play tests.

    I can’t break it down easily into like/dislike, but i can sum it up quickly.

    I like the table-top game play, although I don’t consider it D&D as there seems to be less role playing than in the older editions.

    The power system (at-will, encounter, daily powers, etc) are fun, but again, not what I would have called D&D years ago.

    The variety of characters and races is both amazing, and totally overwhelming. I quickly calculated, based on searches in the compendium, that there are over 4000 combinations of classes and races. FOUR THOUSAND!!! In fairness that’s just pure math, 77 classes by 52 races, I’m sure there are technically fewer. Regardless, that’s a little overwhelming, and in my experience with 4th edition leads to players not playing a wider variety of characters, but mimicking the same type over and over again.

    Or, in worse cases, playing totally asinine (in my opinion) characters like Vampire Pixies or something… (no clue if that’s even possible, I refuse to play with pixies or vampires when at all possible).

    I really hope that D&D Next doesn’t fall into the trap of “We have to anticipate every class a player would want to play and make it available”. A system where the player and the DM can build a character through flavor and aspects (skills, feats, etc) is my preferred method.

  8. EdTheMad says:

    Loved: Interesting and fun combat, every class is interesting, monsters are easy to create, DM and read, nice streamline of planes, ritual system.

    Loathed: Slow combat (too much dice and modifier), grid is a must, HP bloat, hard to house rule without breaking, healing surge killed traditional dungeon (you are full health and generally save the daily to obliterate the final boss of the dungeon), caster feel the same as anyone else, ritual using gold (costly at first, trivial latter).

  9. sverbridge says:

    I loved how easy it was to DM the game after playing 3.5 for years before.

    What I absolutely hated was that the PCs were basically all the same, power wise, with no real distinctions between the classes unless you were RPing. It also felt more like a tactical miniatures game than the RPG I loved in the past.

  10. I love 4E with all of my heart.

    * streamlined rules
    * streamlined and separate rules for PC and monster creation
    * monster roles, and minions
    * getting rid of alignment dependence, especially in the classes and spells
    * fighters are the bomb
    * power sources
    * at-wills and encounters

    The only things that annoy me, having played in a campaign that made it to lvl 30 (even by skipping a few levels)

    * magic items are not that magical
    * daily powers still do not do it for me, especially on magic items. magic items that do not have a property or an encounter, for me are basically a waste of space (outside the required bonus)
    * magic item dependence
    * high level play is insane with all of the powers and options. This is still better than 3E by leaps and bounds… but still…
    * D&D Next backgrounds should be core in 4E!!!

  11. Mtrentz says:

    Things I loved about 4E…
    * Rewarding tactical minded players during combat with awesome intra-player power/feat synergy.
    * Set up time as a DM and the ease of scalability for encounters.
    * The sheer number of combinations of playable races to classes and the addition of a Role.

    Things that were brutal at time…
    * Some times picking feats/powers that we cool for RP or exploration were a complete bust in combat.
    * Running high level campaigns and keeping track of the buff/stack/trigger/power/feat combinations that could be unleashed.
    * The tracking multiple conditions on NPCs during combat and when they could expire/interact.

    With any addition, there was some great innovation and some things that shouldn’t have made it out of Beta.

  12. Fullovstars says:

    4th ED?

    Loved – absolutely nothing, I consider it a very dark time in the history/story of D&D

    Loathed – absolutely everything about it. The way it changed a gaming concept I have loved since 1st edition into a squad based table top war game. The way quests became just a series of skirmishes. The rules heavy, dice heavy, accesory heavy tackiness of it all. The loss of roleplaying and the introduction of roll playing. In fact the only reason I can see for its existence is hobby shop play with a group of strangers who play warhammer and your trying to introduce them to D&D with a gateway product.

  13. Fullovstars says:

    Oh and I really, really don’t want any 4th Ed prizes… ta very much… (if you hadn’t already guessed…. chuckle.)

  14. Daryl says:

    I like the character builder and all the flavor a monk now has, what a fun class to play

    I really dont like the hp boost on enemies especially brutes of any kind they tie up defenders for way too long

  15. Liselle says:

    I actually love a lot of things about 4e, but I’ll try to boil it down: the streamlined skills and powers, the way spellcasters are full members of the group instead of being virtually useless after casting a few spells, and how easy it is to put together an interesting encounter and scale it for the level and number of PCs you have.

    What I loathe: the daily magic item uses. I agree with James O’Neill that having items that only do something magical once per day are kind of a waste, especially when the item daily powers are generally pretty lame, like get extra 1d8 fire damage or resist 5 damage for one round. I don’t limit daily item uses like the rules say, but the group still doesn’t tend to use them much. I mean, why would anyone use an elixir, the way the rules are written?

    P.S. I don’t agree with people who say you can’t role play this edition. This is the first D&D game I’ve run where I’ve actually had an entire session of nothing but roleplaying. It’s really a matter of the players you have and their gaming style. The PH2, PH3, and various supplements spend a lot of time talking about how you can build your character’s background and have it benefit you in the game.

  16. Kitsap Charles says:

    When 4E first came out, I was appalled at its emphasis on tactical combat and its near-mandatory requirement for battle-mat and minis. I’d just come from a (unfortunately curtailed) 3.5 campaign where multiple sessions might pass without a single combat roll. And I’ve never considered myself a strong tactician, so the game still seems to hit my weaknesses more than my strengths.

    That being said, I like the fact that every class can do *something* on every turn at every level. Wizards and clerics no longer complete dominate the game at higher levels, rogues have something to do even when there are no locks to pick or traps to disarm, fighters (as mentioned above) have a much more varies repertoire of actions, et cetera et cetera et bloody cetera.

    What I simultaneously love and loathe: Living Forgotten Realms. It’s great having dozens of ready-made scenarios that you can play in an evening (or so) at every level of the game. It’s bad that only a few of these have any continuity whatsoever. And it’s horrid that some of the most recent offerings require you to have played in scenarios that are only presented at major conventions in order to get the “best” rewards.
    For the vast majority of players who can’t go to one of these events, this amounts to a cruel joke.

    Anyway, I think that 4E has turned out to be more positive than negative overall.

    P.S.: @RaiseDead, I don’t know anyone who played 3E or 3.5 without a spreadsheet to build and manage characters. (HeroForge, for example.) That WotC actually provided and supported a working program for 4E character building was a very pleasant surprise, despite its frequent bugs and even when they moved the whole thing behind their D&D Insider paywall.

  17. Having only played a little bit of 4th edition, I don’t have a lot of experience with it. I think the best thing about 4th ed is its simplicity. The streamlined rules make for quicker combat, especially.

    However, as someone who enjoys high level play, I absolutely hate that WotC introduced an “end” to the game. Tabletop gaming should be completely open, and the idea that level 30 is the standard ceiling for 4th edition just rubs me the wrong way.

  18. Sean Holland says:

    Like: Minions and interesting monster

    Loathed: Seeming sameness of classes, focus on combat above all else in the rules.

  19. Jason Hobson says:


    Putting my player hat on, I love that at first level your PC is a bad ass. I love the tactical play. I love how easy 4E is to pick up. The barrier to entry is incredibly low. I love how streamlined the underlying mechanics are. Purely as a DM, I love how much easier it is to prep for combat or skill-based encounters. I love the variety of monster types to build interesting encounters. And most of all I love the digital tools. Character Builder is a god send.

    The game doesn’t scale particularly well. As a DM I struggled to really challenge the characters past level 14. Skill challenges, while nice in theory were never as flushed out as I would have liked them to be. I would have loved WoTC to publish a real campaign builder (ala Masterplan. They made some huge leaps with the CB and AT, but never sealed the deal.

  20. Adam says:

    I loved the tactical combat aspect to the game – though this aspect I could get from many of the non role-playing games I participate in. Also I found there to be a lot less indecision in players due to overwhelming options during combat. Combat round decisions now come down to do I use my daily or hold on to it, then which encounter do I want, followed by which “standard” attack do I use. I have run a lot of combats, and it has broken down to “I attack x with power y” just to speed things up.

    What I dislike: The game feels like I am playing a computer game on a tabletop. Every time my group gets together, someone makes the comment about how much simpler it would be to just have an online interface to run everything, players select the power they want to use, and move their token across the virtual game board. The DM doing the same in response. Also having played many different classes, they all begin to feel the same – there are many powers tat are similar across classes eventually eliminating any unique feel to a class.

  21. MilwaukeeJoe says:

    The freedom it gave to DMs to create interesting combats and scenarios. Case in point – the FOURTHCORE style of gameplay that emerged from 4E by fans. Evocative dungeons, indeed.

    The rift that came about because of the edition wars. Sometimes difficult character creation, needing the CB to do it.

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