Some of my fellow RPG nerds have been doing these 'D&D 4e, a year later' posts, and I figured, "Hey! I like posting about nerdy gaming stuff. Why don't I hop on this?" And so I am.
About this time last year, D&D 4 was on the shelves, and gamer nerds were still split on whether it was the most awesomest [sic] ever, or whether it was bringing death and ruin (and not the cool kind) to gaming. Ohhh, the D&D4 = MMORPG/WoW threads were so long. sigh. Good times.
Before 4e came out, I'd sworn off D&D. I'd gotten fed up with 3.x, and had gotten somewhat heavily into the indie gaming scene. I had a blast with some of these games, and as I've mentioned before, it was a great run for me, because it really opened my eyes up to a lot of neat stuff about the deeper theory and mechanics of gaming. As a total aside - posting sentences like that always makes me cringe just a little. But hey, nerds get into whatever they're nerding out about. I'm sure that somewhere, right now, someone is posting about the minute differences in two brands of fishing rods. /nerdtastic
Back on track: I followed the pending release of D&D4 like a stalker. You ever sit on a forum and hit 'refresh' like you're pushing the trigger on a morphine drip? That was me. I was stoked. Finally, I thought, a D&D that I can get back into.
So it came out, and I got my gamer buds together, and we ran some D&D. It was pretty awesome. Games were easy to prep for, mechanically speaking. "Powers", both for player-characters, and for monsters and bad guys were cool and fun. The players had a good time, and I had a good time. In the end, the arrival of babies in our lives put a nix on the game, but to be honest, after running the game for a little over six months, I'd begun to get burned out, mostly with the game system itself. So yeah, I'd gone from "D&D4 may be one of the most awesomest [sic] things ever", to "Eh, its fun." in six months.
Part of what turned me off was the combat system. I'm not trying to say that it was not fun or cool, just that after six months, the time it took to run even a simple combat had begun to outweigh the cool and fun. As a high fantasy tactical combat game that borrowed from action movies and games like final fantasy and world of warcraft, it excelled. But the fights were the focus of the sessions.
I'll pause here and concede that this has as much to do with system as it was the way I was running the game, but this quickly devolves into the System Does Matter argument. I was running the game, mechanically, as it was intended. We had time, in our game sessions, for about two fights, and some exposition and story before, between, and after the fights.
Anyway, my objective was not to rag on D&D4e. I suppose, instead, my goal was to compare Then And Now.
As I've posted here, I've begun to run some Labyrinth Lord games, which is a reworking of "old school" D&D, and have thought some about games like Shadowrun, and even Vampire the Masquerade (not Requiem, but that's for another post). D&D4 was fun, and I know a couple of folks who are still playing in other 4e games.
And that's all I've got.