Dungeons and Dragons, Edition 4.1

With the Essentials line on the horizon, a new era is coming for Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition.  Wizards has made it clear that this will not be edition 4.5.  The new content will be compatible with the old, and the new versions of the fighter, cleric and wizard will be alternate builds rather than brand new classes.

At the same time, the presentation is aimed at new players, and I’ll bet that the mechanics of those new class builds will stay on the simple side.

With the focus on online content via the DnD Insider, Wizards has been able to fix mistakes, clarify wording and even alter 4th edition rules since the beginning.  In a sense, those of us who keep up with the errata haven’t played 4e for nearly two years.  We’ve been playing 4.01, 4.02, etc…  and this is good.  We haven’t had to wait to get the rules updates.

This resembles software patches.  With The World of Warcraft for example, Blizzard has been able to resolve bugs, improve the interface and add content all along the way.  WoW players didn’t have to wait for Burning Crusade to enjoy game improving adjustments.

It’s disingenuous to say that Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition in September will be exactly the same game we played in the summer of 2008.  At the same time, it’s not the drastic reboot gamers experienced with 3.5.  All the little changes are moving toward something notable with the essentials line, especially with the Rules Compendium.  I like to think of it all as D&D 4.1

Now if they’d only revise those first two Monster Manuals to include the later math changes…

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4 Comments

Filed under 4e D&D, Legacy D&D, News, News, Reviews & Culture

4 responses to “Dungeons and Dragons, Edition 4.1

  1. “It’s disingenuous to say that Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition in September will be exactly the same game we played in the summer of 2008. ”

    You’re talking about a very small percentage of overall D&D players. I keep up with all the online stuff because I’m a publisher, but do I include the errata in my game? Heck no.

    My players aren’t the kind of optimizers to whom most of those slight tweaks matter, and none of us want to be shuffling through a bunch of extra papers at the table. None of us want laptops at the table, and we don’t use the character builder.

    I think the blogosphere tends to forget that there are FAR more groups like mine than there are groups where every member (or even just the DM) is dedicated to keeping up with all the latest books and updates.

    • I probably didn’t make it clear that I was also including rules changes that appeared in later books. Skill challenges and stealth rules (to name a few) were notably changed from how they originally appeared.

      Do you happen to have the data on how many active (or even semi-active) D&D players are also DDI subscribers? In my weekly group, only one doesn’t subscribe.

      I’m also interested in what you think of the Essentials line, or, more interestingly, what your fellow players think of it. Will it be nice to have the rules all together, including mechanics updates?

  2. Hmm…I’m not so sure.

    About half of US households own a computer and have online access.

    The RPGA, which has thousands of active members, are required to use the updated errata.

    All game stores that run WotC Encounters or D&D game nights use updated errata.

    The thousands that use DDI automatically keep up with errata as well.

    In fact, out of the hundreds of players I’ve met from game stores, conventions and online, I know of only perhaps a dozen or so that don’t actively keep up with the errata, and they tend to play older editions (AD&D, 2e, etc) as much as 4e. I’m not saying that everyone else knows all the rules, but they know errata exists and will apply it if it’s pointed out to them.

    I know my perspective is skewed because of where I’ve met these players, but not any more so than others who say that their groups don’t keep up with errata and use that to extrapolate to how others play.

    I think it’s a mistake to think that it’s only a “very small percentage of overall D&D players” that keep up with errata.

  3. Not to sure that I am that hooked on 4th Ed. I mean after all I played one of the very first round tables with the man Gygax himself before TSR was a household name. The whole card thing reminds me of pokemon or WOW.

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