Fresh from the game

These will kinda be stream of consciousness and not heavy analysis-laden, just my thoughts fresh from the table.

* Fun (but anything I do with Jason, Jim, Eppy, Matt and Saif is so this was a given)

* Mechanical fun – I did enjoy the abilities I had and the powers I could use at any given time (when I hit, that is. We were rolling like shit all night!)

* not any more or less complex than D&D 3.5, complexities are just shifted around.

* some things that used to be feats are now common to everyone (Precise shot no longer needed to shoot into melee without penalty)

* some things that were common to everyone are now feats or different rules that apply for limited conditions (no 1.5 times strength bonus for 2 handed weapons)

* Some base combat rules were just changed around and were ok (Charging adds +1 to hit only but you suffer no AC loss)

* level 1 characters are way more meaty in that there are lots of things to do to choose from. No longer is it “swing swing swing dead next” or “cast my 1 spell and wait for the fighters to clean up”

* minis are 100% needed in all cases of combat. Period. This is a mini combat game above all else.

* Clerics can both fight and heal simultaneously and easily

* Going into negative hit points was not really that worrisome as a result of the above. My character went into negative hit points in 2 different fights but at the end of each fight I was healed to full or near full hp without much effort from Matt’s cleric.

* The term “getting aggro” was used and not as a joke. My paladin and Jim’s fighter used powers to “mark” our targets and “hold aggro” on them so they fought no one else but us. I like this mechanic but it distanced me from D&D and brought me closer to World of Warcraft.

* Skill challenges system¬† was used once.¬† We were already talking about “playstorming” new methods for implementing it so I am not holding out any hope that D&D 4 did anything revolutionary with it and using it as is (even with the errata) might not be the best course of action.

* Tactics tactics tactics. Forcing your enemies to move around and moving yourself is crucial. Positioning is everything. Its easier to move in D&D 4. Again, this is more of a mini tactics game than ever before.

* I like the different attack roll “sources”. INT vs. WILL defense and DEX vs. AC or Reflex Defense. Helps to define the nature of the attacks better.

* To me, it’s missing the flavor and feel of D&D. I guess nostalgia weighs more heavily for me in this whole test than I thought. It feels like some other fantasy game. More like the Warhammer Fantasy mini game than D&D. D&D 3.5 was no slouch in the combat emphasis, let me assure you I am under no illusions about that. I guess D&D 4 embraced its tactical mini nature fully, and makes no apologies for it. It leaves behind the small bits that kept D&D 3.5 a Roleplaying Game and not a Wargame.