The Escapist Fails at Giving Credit Where its Due, and Mike Mearls May or May Not Be Off the Kool-aid
So the Escapist magazine has published an interview with Mike Mearls, where they talk hard talk about 4e and the new Essentials line. They talk a lot there about Justin Alexander's article on 4e, as if his point about how 4e's mechanics bare no relation to their setting, as if this was some brand new revelation. Maybe it was to the people at the Escapist, but that's what I had been saying since the moment I heard of powers and Skill challenges, and I've been saying it on here for no doubt longer than Mr. Alexander.
They have since gone on to thank theRPGsite, in a letter I thought I'd reprint here:
"Reading the varying reaction to my interview with Mike Mearls on Penny Arcade, RPG.net, theRPGsite, and Wizards.com has been a fascinating case study on the differences in the different communities...
Anyway, I'm glad at least one community understood where I was coming from with regard to disassociated design (no surprise it would be you guys!).
For those of you who wanted to get more detail on Mearls' thoughts, a follow-up article is planned with the complete (12-page) interview. I don't think it's necessarily going to make Heinsoo 4e true-believers feel better, though. From what he said in the interview, I genuinely think Mearls' philosophy is closer to the classical D&D approach.
Publisher, The Escapist"
My response would be this:
Oh, we certainly get what you said about disassociated design. I was talking about that LONG before Alexander was. But hey, I get it.
As for Mearls, you may want to be careful about that. I think Mearls WANTS to be a regular gamer, but he has all this brainwashing from the Forge, which he just can't seem to finally and certainly admit to himself was a disaster. He's like the guy who got out of Scientology but can't quite say "Hubbard is a Douchebag" yet.
So the danger is he could yet relapse. Particularly when his other weakness is his having to answer to the WoTC corporate board overlords, who may want to make a joint decision based on their typical fucking pig-ignorance that could instantly derail anything Mearls is planning ("I know,this essentials game needs more Dragonborn!! That'll do it! And Warforged Wizards! That's what we'll tell gamers they want! We could sell action figures!"); and mearls would have to try to staple on his happy underling face and try to convince people online that its a great idea. Because he's not actually running the whole show.
So its very nice that they're FINALLY listening to me and putting out a basic boxed game in the toystores (yes, I was pushing that all along, since like before 2005, or do you want to credit that to Mr. Alexander as well?), but we cannot be too quick to claim that the worst is over yet. Mearls was at the helm of game design for basically all of 4e's disastrous history, after all. And he justified and he made excuses and he outright lied for it, like a boy with a black eye who loves his insane alcoholic mother. So I have no confidence yet in his mental state allowing him to make a game that will bring 4e back to regularity, much less the vanguard; or in his ability to actually defend the game that he wants to make from people who are hell bent on fucking it up.
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