Ristin's Campaign Construction Center
Look…I like 4th edition.
I think it does the general thing a RPG should which is be simple enough to allow good roleplaying but detailed enough to handle power balance and combat.
Some specific things I like is it solves the DnD 3rd issue that you win the game at character generation and when you plan out your over-complex carefully min-maxed cross-classed to heck character. And if you do anything not power-gamed you just don’t compete.
Also, you ‘win’ 4th edition not at character generation but as a team when your group works out the synergies between the characters. Ways one character can trigger another’s class features. I like that.
I also like the way that you pick what your character is good at early on, and then you get better at everything as you level. Yes, I like that. I know a bunch of people hate it but I like how people get more experienced but without going into the ludicrously godly skill levels of 3.0, 3.5 and Pathfinder. So your level 8 wizard is better at sneaking than he was at level 1 even though he doesn’t specialize in it…good. In 3.0 and 3.5 and Pathfinder (a bit less, though) there’s a strong case for not bothering to invest skill ranks in a ‘non-core’ skill, because you’re ‘wasting’ points on a skill that can’t match a specialist. Pathfinder’s “you get plus three to a class skill when you put the first rank in” thing helps. And there’s chances to take skill based feats if you want too.
Like all DnD, I think the handling of magic items is horrible.
Too Much Magic?
Now…some people really dislike the at-will spells some classes get. Um…no. I couldn’t disagree more. The argument is that casters with at-will (not slot) spells somehow cheapen or diminish magic in DnD. But i’d argue then that a fighter type class who can use all their combat feats (or ranger with their feats and class features, etc) cheapens weapon attacks.
In 4th edition it’s the powers the characters have that make the attack special, be it the attack with a weapon or a spell or something else. They are comprable too, so, it’s down to style statement. A bit like in an anime where the different characters will have different signiature attacks.
I also think DnD 4th does a great job of giving all classes utility powers that suit the class. Yes, casters get at-will cantrips or orisons…but the other classes end up with cool uility powers too…and to me there’s good balance there too. Or in other words, there’s powers that characters would conceivably use in everyday non-adventuring life. And so your clerics and wizards have magic, your rangers have good perception and wilderness survival stuff, fighters have sure-footing or feats of strength stuff…which makes sense.