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Anybody Bothering with 4.0?
Would there have been a D&D without the groundwork laid by Chainmail?
I'd say quite possibly.
I used to think there was a direct progression from Chainmail to D&D (in fact I did a geeklist based on regarding the origins of Ameritrash a ways back). Yet, the more you dig into the early days of D&D the murkier the picture becomes. Consider that various first hand sources indicate that Gary Gygax did not use the Chainmail rules at all in his early D&D games.
Peronally, I think Chainmail has a big hand in getting D&D out- but from the perspective of getting Gygax confidence and connections publishing a game, and some money rather than from any direct evolution of the rules.
The bottom line is we'll never know. Gygax is now dead, and even when alive, he, Arneson, and the other people involved often gave contradictory (including self-contradictory) stories about how D&D got started.
Well, I've played about 10 encountners so far. I don't love it. I don't hate it either. I think it fails to do any one aspect of gaming really great and is clearly designed for maximum marketibilty. More than anything though it playys like a pen and paper mmorp:
The multiple powers with different refresh rates, the ability to hold aggro, the focus on self healing and charater buffing.
I'm expecting a whole wave of products (as usual) but this time I expect to see more emphahsis on game aids, minis, power cards. I wouldn't be surprised to see whole a whole slew of products released simultaneously for one aspect (arctic modules, a handbook, and arctic minis for example)
Steve"MY 2 cents"Avery
I spent part of the weekend at my sister-in-law's place; her husband is a gamer geek, so I got to chat with him quite a bit about 4e vs. 3.5 vs. Pathfinder's current Alpha. The big thing for me that I hadn't noticed before (I was checking out Wizard and Cleric mostly) was that a fighter is strictly melee now. There is no concept of the fighter wielding a bow and a sword; the ranger occupies the "strictly ranged" or the "two handheld weapon" fighter area. As my brother-in-law put it, they created a "Drizzt" character class.
The occasional times I'd play a fighter, I'd always have a short bow and a sword. Shields? Bah! Creeping along and being at one with the forest? Hell no! I'm a fricking mercenary, and I expect to have to occasionally take people out at distance.
The special abilities may all be melee oriented, but that wouldn't stop you from still having a bow to make distance attacks with. You just won't be nearly as good at it as a range dedicated ranger - but really, would you expect to be?
But that's precisely the point: 1E, 2E, and 3.x didn't slant things so heavily in the melee fighter's favor, but 4e does. My brother-in-law summed it up rather nicely when he mentioned that the Barbarian is unnecessary because the Fighter has become the Barbarian. The Ranger has now slanted itself more toward the old pre-4e's Fighter territory, especially now that the Ranger has had the funky Ranger wilderness things (and the old spell casting) removed from it.
The more I see the traditionally combat oriented classes, the more I suspect that the Paladin is rather superfluous. The Cleric is moving more toward the area where the Paladin used to cover, and I don't see any unique thing that the Paladin can point to and say "this is what I've done since 1e."