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Don't Like D&D Fourth Edition? Beware the Moving Goal Posts

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I've been following discussions about D&D's Fourth Edition on various message boards for several months now. I've seen a lot of 4E fans complain that those who publicly state that they don't like 4E (or who discuss things they see wrong with 4E) don't play 4E and therefore aren't qualified to have an informed opinion on it.

On the surface, this sounds like a legitimate issue. However, the goalposts have been moving over the last couple of months. Those who like 4E and make this complaint keep raising the requirements someone who does not like 4E needs to meet to be "allowed" to comment negatively on the game.

Before 4E was published, those who read the preview material and said they would not like 4E were told that their comments could not be considered seriously until the game was published and they had purchased copies and read them cover to cover.

Once the game was published, people who bought and read a copy and still commented negatively were often told that reading the rules wasn't enough to have their "I don't like 4E" comments taken seriously, they needed to play in a 4E session. Oh, and Shadowfell wasn't good enough as it was designed to show off the system, not to be a real play session.

When people play in a "real" session and still don't like 4E, I've seen them told that they really need to play in multiple sessions before they can form a valid opinion of the game.

I fully expect that people who bother to meet this latest "moving goalpost" requirement and still don't like 4E will be told that they need to play through a complete level 1 to level 30 campaign before their "I don't like 4E" comments can be taken seriously.

Not only are the requirements for negative comments to be taken serious constantly moving, but those who state they like the Fourth Edition don't have any requirements for their opinion to be taken seriously. Their "I like it" comments were considered valid even before the game was published and are valid even if they haven't read all the rules, played in one or more real sessions, etc.

Color me "Not Impressed" with the moving goalposts and double standards of some of Fourth Edition's stronger and more vocal online proponents. The opinions of those who do not like D&D 4E are just as much right to state and defend their opinions of those who like 4E do. And if there are going to be extra requirements for having a "valid opinion" on the game then those requirements need to be the same for all.

3 comments:
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Robert Fisher said...
July 7, 2008 at 6:45 PM  

I loved AD&D when I first started playing it.

I hated AD&D after a few years.

A few years later, I enjoyed it again.

When 3e came out, I thought it was the perfect form of D&D.

A few years later, I found I preferred classic D&D to 3e.

So, where should the goal posts be?

I guess we all always have the right to state our opinion, but we should also be clear about the experience it’s founded upon.

And—here’s the hard part, at least for me—we should respect each others opinions. (^_^)

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Randall said...
July 8, 2008 at 7:00 AM  

Respect each other's opinions? I wish more people would, especially on something as subjective as whether or not one likes a particular game. It's like a favor of ice cream, it's not a crime to like it, nor to not like it. Unfortunately, where 4E is concerned, too many people online seem to feel that it is a crime to feel differently that they do about it.

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Zweihander said...
July 9, 2008 at 2:06 PM  

"Unfortunately, where 4E is concerned, too many people online seem to feel that it is a crime to feel differently that they do about it."

Hear, Hear!

I think this is very much a problem as the noisiest folks out there have brutally supressed the middle.
Nowadays, you express an opinion about 4e and you're seen as siding with those who think 4e killed the hobby or those who think 4e is so great you have to just try it "the right way", which is often elsuive in it's description.

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