Hello and greetings, I just joined this forum after seeing the link for it posted in the rpg.net forums in the ED4 discussion and I've already said a few things about ED in that thread but since I am new here I am just going to begin by speaking my heart.
First and foremost... Earthdawn has always been one of my favorite rpgs of all time and it is indeed my favorite fantasy rpg game of all time. It was honestly my first fantasy rpg as well. Previously I had played Marvel from TSR, Star Wars WEG, one session of a Shadowrun game but I didn't understand it, Battletech, and then Earthdawn. I hadn't ever played D&D until a couple years before d20 came out and after playing Earthdawn I can say D&D was a crap. Earthdawn smoked it and was way way better... had a world that drew me in, had a system that made actual sense, had actual in world reasons why the character's were the way they were, why they had Circles and what the Disciplines were focused on... Everything made sense.
Then Earthdawn was cancelled... and the d20 explosion happened and it wasn't until ED3e came out that I even knew there had been a 2nd edition of the game or even a Classic version (I wish I had gotten all the Classic books though because by this time in gaming I had no Earthdawn books in my collection for which I am ever saddened by).
I didn't really get into 3rd edition, than the implosion of Redbrick happened (I am still saddened by it but I hold no grudges against the company at all because I wasn't personally involved in anything that happened) and now here we are with a potential upcoming 4th edition in the works.
I hope it succeeds... I want it to succeed. I feel very passionately about it. I'd love to be a playtester for this game. I'd be more proud of being a playtester for ED4 than I was for Marvel for MWP.
Some of my own opinions I stated from the other thread I can repeat here.
I feel that the timeline should be greater than 5 years. If 1st edition Earthdawn came out twenty years ago than make 4th edition also twenty years later... give us a real sense of time and history in the game, that this is a New Earthdawn game. That some things ARE Different in the world to warrant a really fresh update on Barsaive.
I feel that this game should be approached as if it's a fresh, new take on Earthdawn and treat it as if the previous editions don't quite exist. Combine a couple Disciplines together (Sky Raiders and Air Sailor for example). Keep it at 15 Circles. Make each Talent mean something for the Discipline it's under and yes here the name of the Talent really means something. Do away with duplicate skills of talents, and make Skills more unique in and of themselves.
Keep some kind of the Dice Step system, but if the dice system finds itself being changed to something else, please do NOT use the d20 system. The Dice Step system has been used in a few other games over the years in some form or another... Alternity, Serenity, any Cortex Plus game (Smallville, Leverage, Marvel Heroic, Firefly), and then there are other systems like the Roll and Keep that could be modified to fit Earthdawn (R&K sort of like that in Legend of the Five Rings or 7th Sea) or even a dice pool system could be used...
It might be time to really update the Dice Step system... or do away with it completely.
Oh... If you guys did an open playtest similar to D&DNext or how Paizo does their open playtests that would really show all of us fans that you are willing to really share how 4th edition will progress.