Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
I was trying to be funny, not condescending. And I fully admit ignorance of 4e. I'm sorry if I offended.

My impressions of 4e were that all abilities got shoe-horned into the AEDU "powers" framework, and that at every level, everything got pegged at that level, regardless of your class. I recall when 4e was announced, it was proclaimed that 4e would provide something D&D had never had: "perfect game balance." It just struck me that "perfect game balance" worked out as "perfect lock step". If that wasn't the case, by all means, educate me.

That said, what were the best things about 4e? Was the Essentials line really that bad?
I certainly agree with a lot of the other posts. Everyone contributes, ease of DMing, accessibility of info/not having to look things up. The one other thing about the AEDU system that I really enjoyed was that character concept was no longer linked to complexity of play. For most of D&D, and most RPGs, frankly, the recommendation is for new players to play martial types because they're easy. Magic is a system on top of the basic system that you get to play once you've mastered the basics. Now, I'm not opposed to simpler and more complex classes, but I'm really tired of easy martials and complex casters. 4e gave me Fighters and Wizards that were equally accessible to my new players and equally engaging for my advanced players in a way no other edition has.

As to "perfect balance," I think that's an exaggeration that was never really meant. "A lot more game balance" is certainly the case. The unified power structure is only part of that, however. A lot of it comes from the rules being written in a more effects-based manner. This means more of what is out there can be measured with an apples to apples comparison.