Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

I’m not totally sure but I think so. This Character Concepts gives me some hope.

For starters there are some very cool powers scattered around the PHB. Some of them enable a player to do things in 4e that 3rd edition or 3.5 couldn’t come close to emulating. There seems to be a nice assortment between damage dealing and attacking different defenses. Plus every class has something at higher levels that I can see producing that “wow” factor that’s been missing so far.

On the downside, it looks like the fun doesn’t really begin until the Paragon Tier. There are some nice things 10th level and lower but not much that I can get excited about. I mean, relative to my character’s level and the enemies we’ll be fighting, Fireball and Lightning Bolt are old standbyes for fun. But they’re a far cry from Elemental Maw or even Lightning Serpent (admittedly a 9th level Daily, so pre-Paragon. Still, 9th level before the first really cool power appears in the Wizard’s repetoire?).

I’m still disappointed in the watered down and restrictive multiclassing rules. As the author, Peter Shaefer writes “Paragon tier is when multiclassing comes into its own.” First off, I don’t want to wait 10 levels before that multiclassing feat I took starts to “come into its own.” Secondly, I really don’t see much of a payoff or a change in the character going all the way to the Epic Tier summary. The example characters still strike me as a basic warlock or fighter, with a smattering of powers pilfered from the second class(es).

I still intend to try out the multiclassing for myself, so my opinion of it might change in a year or two. For now I still feel like there’s no point in multiclassing, and that makes tailoring a character a distant dream.

Returning closer to the point of the article, I am heartened by the fact that thematic characters are easily done. Either of the two Schaefer gives as examples would be fun to play. Better yet, it makes me wonder what themes I’ll be able to come up with and experiment upon. Already I’m looking forward to developing my dragonborn wizard along the storm theme. With more books coming I eagerly await the new feats and powers.

What I’m not looking forward to, but might be forced into by the rules, is the whole swapping of powers thing. Again and again Schaefer has his examples swapping this power for that, and some times he switches back two levels later. Everytime I saw it I cringed. I mean, it makes no sense to me that one day my character can use Dread Star and the next she can’t. That’s like me suddenly forgetting how to drive but suddenly knowing how to fly a helicopter. To me, that stands out as the worst part of 4e. Unfortunately it’s clearly a fundamental basis of the whole set of rules.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

About the swapping of powers,I tought about something for my game. What if the PC could learn new powers without losing old ones but wouldnt be able to use them more than a couple times a day. I know its not really clear but Im still trying to figure out how it could work without unbalancing the game.