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Comment: Re:Flaws? (Score 2) 173

by lgw (#47715107) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

The problem with 4e is it dropped everything else. The fixes to combat make it much more accessible to a new generation, and that's great, but a D&D session shouldn't play like an MMO. You need just as much richness in the setting, in open-ended exploration, in diplomacy, in absurdly over-engineered traps, and so on. 4E got some pieces very right, but it's too tightly wound IMO - too much focus on combat, and especially on well-balanced combats. It's a poor system to accommodate cleverness and tactical elements not captured by player abilities.

4E adventures tend to be a set of very-well-balanced encounters all very level appropriate for a party, but that loses much of the charm of D&D. 4E is poorly suited mechanically for "crazy plans that just might work" to take on foes far out of the party's level range (unless they're scripted into the module). E.g., the party wants to kills a group of foes far more powerful than they, so they gather intelligence by diplomacy, intrigue, and seduction, discover a good time and place for an ambush, arrange to blow up a cliff face to drop an avalanche on the foes as they walk past on a marrow path, then attack before the dust settles. Pre-4E, it's fairly natural for a good DM to figure out how that all works and run a fun session around it in a way the players find fair. In 4E you have so little to work with for any of that, unless it was part of the script.

Comment: Re:Flaws? (Score 1) 173

by lgw (#47713755) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

Old school RP is a tiny corner of the gaming world, and really well served by rules-light RPG systems, I think. Risus is great IMO for anything where you don't need "tactical simulation rules" (hmm, TSR, someone should make a game company ....), or one of the many Emo Goffpire games. I just see the broken-rules problems in RP-land that plague the tactical world.

Here's the problem: it's boring to be in an encounter where you have nothing to contribute. And bored players make problems for games, one way or another. With social encounters, most players can enjoy what's going on even if they're just arguing about what the charismatic rogue should say, but it's different in tactical combat, where too great an imbalance in ability to contribute can ruin the game.

Comment: Re:Flaws? (Score 1) 173

by lgw (#47713683) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

becomes an arms race between players to find the most powerful, game breaking combos. Spreadsheets, forums, and research on things that can be abused. It leaves the non min/maxers in the dust, ...

You can roleplay the smartest/strongest guy around, or you can abuse the rule system to become the strongest/smartest guy around. When your level 5 character has godly powers to influence the game through some clever min/maxing, it really ruins the experience for others.

All I can say is: that just isn't true of every game system. It's horribly, horribly true of 3.5, which is the fundamental problem with 3.5. If careful min/maxing gives you a 20% combat advantage over a naive build, likely at the cost of non-combat stuff, that's not going to be a problem. Heck, it could be 50% more powerful without hurting the game if the DM is willing to shape encounters a bit (not ideal, but workable). But 3.5 is so bad that some classes simply can't contribute except in carefully contrived encounters, while others (with expert play) won't have any challenge without equal contrivances. Heck, 3.5 has infinite HP builds, infinite damage builds, and so on, though that stuff is less worrying as its so blatant.

On a side note, there were enough base classes in 3.5 that you could almost make whatever character you wanted by dipping into them a la carte. See my rogue/scout/ranger/fighter.

I always liked that part, though I'd say it's a bit of a 3.5 flaw that you have to do that awkward dance to realize what's likely a pretty clear and sensible character concept (just not one of the D&D archetypes).

Comment: Re:Big Data (Score 1) 164

by lgw (#47710161) Attached to: Netflix CEO On Net Neutrality: Large ISPs Are the Problem

as anyone who's ever wanted to save a Netflix movie for offline viewing on a flight

They offer that service separately, and I use it all the time: DVDs - but for most people that's a corner case. The problem most people have with Netflix (myself included) is the tiny amount of streaming content in the first place. Even with the DRM they can barely get any content owners contracted. The studios just have recto-cranial inversion over streaming in the first place - the DRM is just a distraction from the real issue.

In both cases - content owners and big ISPs, you've got abuse of government-granted monopolies. The real issue is our alleged democracy selling monopolies in the first place!

Comment: Re:Big Data (Score 2) 164

by lgw (#47709931) Attached to: Netflix CEO On Net Neutrality: Large ISPs Are the Problem

Hastings, Netflix, and 99.999999% of all streaming customers give approximately 0 fucks about DRM. They pay Netflix, they see the content, there's simply no problem. And they're right. Technology makes life better by working. If it "just works", then it's fine. This ISP-throttling-Netflix BS, OTOH, is punishing customers until Netflix caves. That's not fine.

Comment: Re:Flaws? (Score 4, Insightful) 173

by lgw (#47709861) Attached to: Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

Min/maxing is half the fun of the game, unless it leaves the PCs woefully unbalanced between one another. What you want is a system where min/maxing produces reasonable character concepts, and reasonable character concepts produce well-optimized characters. That was the huge flaw in 3.5 - it was impossible for the new player to figure out what worked mechanically and what didn't. When I play an RPG, I want to play a hero, dammit. I can play the flawed loser in real life, thank you very much.. But I shouldn't have to know or care that if my idea of a hero is a martial monk that I'll bee all but useless in any encounter, while if it's a pure caster that I'll have an "I win" button if I do it right.

That's the problem. Not the idea that if I'm going to be a wizard, I'm going to be the smartest guy around, or if I'm going to hit people in the face with my axe, then I'm going to be the biggest, toughest guy around. Those are totally viable character ideas, especially your first time playing before you've grown bored of the shallow archetypes. And yet, that's min-maxing. Bah, min-maxing is fine. It's a broken system where in order to be an non-cliche character you have to be disadvantaged mechanically, because the game is build on archetype enforcement, that's the problem.

OK, it's worse still if you buy what you thought was an RPG and it turns out to just be miniatures combat rules. 4E got combat right, but the game had little else. At least in 3.5 with a veteran DM guiding new players to make effective characters, or any previous D&D version, there was a deep game there that only occasionally focused on combat.

Comment: Re:Chess (Score 1) 273

by lgw (#47709785) Attached to: Of the following, I'd rather play ...

Which is why chess is dull as dirt, IMO. It's the element of chance that makes a game interesting. That makes "strategy" meaningful. It's easy to even out the luck in an organized event, but it's the element of chance that makes it all fun. Like physics, it's not deterministic, but you can still determine the optimal path, the "path of least action" to victory. The trick is, well-designed game, predictable play gives your opponent an advantage. It's that element of "do I do the obvious, and walk into whatever plan he has, or do I do something not quite as good, but unpredictable". Chess is just missing that - there's one optimal play, period, just a matter of seeing it; might as well be doing my taxes.

Comment: Re:Oh god so what? (Score 1) 189

by lgw (#47707617) Attached to: C++14 Is Set In Stone

You can definitely over-do auto typing to the point where a human can't figure out the types involved, but that's just a team coding standards thing. For sure, auto is better than any type spec that doesn't fit on a single line in the editor. Obviously class v struct is a historical relic, but I like it. I use class and struct for different things - all members private in the former, vs all public in the latter. I also like the convention that struct is the right keyword to declare an interface, since C++ has no 'interface' keyword.

Comment: Re:Oh god so what? (Score 1) 189

by lgw (#47706683) Attached to: C++14 Is Set In Stone

If you don't use obscure features of C++ just for fun, you won't have that problem. Most of the obscure features in C++ exist to solve a very specific sort of problem. If your job is to solve that problem, you already understand what the relevant C++ feature does - to you it's not obscure, it's quite handy and much cleaner to have in the language than to write an test yourself.

No one needs to master all the obscure crap, because there's no single software product than needs it all - but all of it is needed by someone, somewhere.

And if you're being deliberately obscure, well, others have mentioned the C obfuscation contest. No language is maintainable without at least some basic effort to reject needlessly obfuscated code through code reviews.

Comment: Re:Oh god so what? (Score 1) 189

by lgw (#47706571) Attached to: C++14 Is Set In Stone

Well, you'd just need a chuckugly type declaration for it. The new ability to use auto in declaring the parameters to the lambda expression itself - that's one I don't see how you'd do without auto, as it's effectively templating in a place where you can't syntactically declare the template.

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves. -- Lazarus Long

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