Sunday, October 14, 2007

Points of Light

Fourth Edition Sneak Peaks.

It's been pointed out to me by the Prussian Gamer that another aspect of the transition to 4E will be the concept of Points of Light. (This is an article by Rick Baker on the new WOTC website, and you need to register in order to read it. Registering, signing a usage agreement and eventually paying a subscription fee are also part of the concept of 4E.)

What Points of Light boils down to is that they want to make the worlds a lot more wild with fewer city states and their politics to deal with. The focus will be on making the PCs heroic and getting them out of the shadow of major NPCs who populate the worlds the PCs live in.

Now, on Rick Baker's blog has a post where he reacts to the strong negative reaction to this change. He says:

One quick point of clarification I'd like to make... Don't assume that we're going to apply the 'Points of Light' conceit to existing campaign worlds. I think Realms and Eberron would prosper if they got just a little more points-of-lightish, but we're not going to overthrow worlds with that much breadth and history.

That might be just a little bit reassuring if WOTC hadn't been denying that they were even working on a fourth edition right up to the moment they announced they were launching it.

Hi, Liar. Here's my lunch money.

Anyway, Points of Light is perfect for straight and pure D&D where the DM is making up his or her own campaign world, and would make it easy peasy to drop in modules as you go along and the PCs explore a little bit further into the wild world. That's pretty much what the original concept was for D&D and it makes a lot of sense...but if you are playing in a published campaign setting you have already chosen not to do that work and are relying on the game company to provide richly detailed material.

Based on past history, here is what I think...they know that the only way to keep people playing is to emphasize "home brew" inclusions even in the published campaign worlds, but they can't keep their hands out of it and are so addicted to proprietary protection of their published material that it won't be long before the points of light concept is defeated by their own R&D team....because they know a home brew DM isn't addicted to their published material.

And so, I remain firm in my satisfaction at having stuck with second edition all along. My Realms isn't run by Hasbro, and that's a very good thing. Oh, and it is plenty wild, thank you very much.

But, even I am an addict that will probably drop the e-version of the monthly dime bag from my pusher by signing up for the $9.95 D&D Insider membership, and continue to drop $300 for three cases of minis every time a new set is released...and out of curiosity will buy the new campaign setting just to see what they've done to my world.

If they can count on every single D&D player out there to do at least that much, they've done a lot better than break even on their little experiment.

I guess if what they want to prove is that we are dumb enough to keep buying their schemes, then it makes sense to want to dumb down the game system for us dumbies.



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