Well. I have played hours upon hours of 4E, 3.5, Traveler, and NWoD with a huge collection of books around my room. I can say without a doubt that the biggest reason for the hatred of 4E is what the edition represented as Wizards response to the new generation’s interest in Online Gaming. The Essentials Red Box was their reply to criticism and thus plays more like 3.5 as the classes have limited powers. Its a simpler version of the game only because the classes provided are meant to replicate the feeling of traditional 3.5 classes.
Really the two games are near identical besides the way power scales and some terminology and of course… the caaaarrrrrddddssss. That is my biggest argument again 4E. The cards of course are meant to simulate the many different powers and abilities MMO characters receive and firmly removed the edition from the whimsical and familiar lands of 3.5 into a chaotic hellhole of loud flashy special effect attacks and the complete lack of a reason to use a “basic attack”.
While it can be argued that 3.5 made DnD more like a wargame; Fourth was the edition that jumped the shark. Simply put Fourth feels like it is restricting the creativity and development of 3rd party content which provided hundreds of new settings and companies to go on and become quite famous! Furthermore the power system prevents the easy design of new character classes which is a fun thing to delve into with 3.5. I could go on for days and days about amazingly fun prestige classes you could play and have a fun experience with. For instance in a Star Ship Troopers book you can play a Marine that is cybernetically linked to an attack dog called a Neo Dog.
I have had a look at Fifth and I’m pretty excited for it. I have recently started playing Traveller and I have enjoyed it so far as well. I recently have been playing an amazingly fun Post Apocalyptic setting called Darwins World by RPGObjects. While I hate their business policies its hard to argue with the quality and originality of the writers. The setting provides a fun mutation system along with a much needed recap on the level Adjustment system which is very nebulously confusing to find reading material on.
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