This past weekend, for GaryCon, I ran some friends through some pre-release D&D 4e stuff.
Here are the thoughts from one of the players:
There were a number of us trying it out, and the class structure was
interesting. Our level 1 group of misfits tore a bunch of kobolds a new
one, then using the new superpowers handled a young black dragon which at
first was quite scary but Pally taunt + Warlock Sliding Nightmare power +
Quarry = Dead Dragon, then we tried our luck with some skeles. Things I
liked: Second Wind as a Last effort do not cause your charrie to die
(twice in our campaign, let's say the newb's did something stupid, like a
mage or the cleric running in front of the meatshields and getting smacked
down by the numerous kobolds/skeles, secondwind causes heroes to have at
least a few hitpoints when they get smacked down to negatives, assuming the
negative number is not negative bloodied), class powers making it so that
the mage does not cast 1 magic missle and then sit for 2 hours of combat,
every class had something they could cast, pray, throw, shoot, or swing
every round, that was cool. "Marking" or as I call it, The impact WoW
has had on D&D. Tanks can now taunt to the detriment of the mob. The
Pally taunt is BRUTAL (mob's were taking 8hp of damage everyround it tried
to attack someone NOT the pally we dropped the dragon because of it's
numerous attempts on attacks of opportunity) Maddie played a fighter
pregen, and we did not use a power of hers until the end but the fighter had
the ability to attack on 5 ft steps if the monster was trying to move to
another person and if successful, stop the mob in its track. Rangers
finally get the DPS they deserve, lol more WoW influence. New Healing
Surges rule and 5 min rest rules. New "Bloodied" rules and what that does
for MOBS that get bloodied.
Things I did not like too much: combining a daily power with an encounter
power for Maximized result and still fizzling because I rolled a 1.
Nothing is more brutal then losing two big powers on a bad role.
The rate of Action Point earning. You have to get to the third encounter
to get the next your second AP point, With the fizzling of powers, AP
points to replace the fizzle is possible but it may take awile if you have
to get to encounter 3.
The game is fun now but it does feel a little like a cross between Final
Fantasy and WoW sometimes. I'm sure that there will be mobs now with
THOUSANDS of HP maybe hundred of thousands, and you'll need a part with HP
in the several hundreds to compete with them. The whole time the Final
Fantasy fight song will be going in your head.
Overall, I thought the good outweighed the bad. It was a lot of fun and the
players only stopped because the DM was tired :). Will I buy a ton of
books to play? Not sure, but maybe if there was a good DM and a consistent
game, I just might.