Monday, January 7, 2008

Condition: Critical

Just finished this Des&Dev article from Jan 4, 2008.

I'm not impressed.

Basically, they've done away with confirming your critical threat. Now a natural 20 is a critical hit. Every time.

And there's no more doubling (or tripling or whatevering) of your damage. Instead a critical results in maximized damage. It's just that simple.

And just that boring.

Logan Bonner says "Yes, the confirmation roll is gone. So why did we get rid of it? Because we, like so many players, had rolled crits only to have the confirmation roll miss. And we didn't like it. We don't think that many people did."

Okay. I'll agree that having that natural 20 followed by a pitifully low d20 roll dims the original excitement a bit. I mean, you go from the high of having that "20" sitting on the table to seeing a "7" and it kind of sucks. But you know what? That's part of life. Sometimes highs are followed by terrible lows. You accept it and move on.

Only with 4th Edition WotC has decided to not only dumb the game down but to eliminate any chance of a player feeling sad for any reason. It's all a big happy love fest full of Care Bears and gum drops. No more of that icky hard math. No more missing criticals. No more losing characters to the random chance of that ogre rolling a nasty critical. No more worries and no more need for thought. Just figure out the maximum damage a bad guy can do, and keep your hit points at or above that. Easy peasy.

Now, I'm not a "math guy". Big numbers make me wince. But I've never had any problems totaling up my pluses and minuses and adding that to the result of a die roll. Sure, rolling a second attack roll to confirm a critical is a bit of a pain, but it takes all of 3 seconds. For starters you've already done the math. Just replace the natural 20 with a new number between 1 and 20. That's not so hard. And that feeling of confirming a critical more than makes up for the critical opportunities missed.

As I've said before, the randomness is what makes this game so great. Having the chance of a critical hit and then failing or confirming is, in my opinion, a lot more fun than simply maximizing damage whenever fate gives you a natural 20. Talk about sucking the fun from the moment.


Crwth said...

This, from the guy who insists that a natural-20 should beat out concealment?

Adrian said...

I'm pretty ok with this. Simplifying yet another game mechanic will add more to other parts of the game.

I don't see why you can't still get that sad feeling from the roleplaying aspect. I'd much prefer to have a dm outwit me rather than have fate take away victory because of bad rolls.

Anonymous said...

Now a 1st level mage has the same chance to crit an ancient dragon as a 40th level fighter.