It had been a while since the last rules update (the brief, but excellent july errata), and some of us were starting to think that issuing errata was no longer considered a priority for Wizards. Nothing farther from the truth! Last week, and coinciding with the monthly DDI update, they released a truly massive errata changing well over a hundred rules issues for almost every book between Player's Handbook and Divine Power.
Some of these were merely typos or minor stuff such as missing keywords, but there is also a whole lot of very significant concerns that have been fixed, including some of the most broken magic items in the game, and fundamental changes in the gameplay of classes such as Avengers, Barbarians, Swordmages and Warlocks. It's impossible to comment on all of it - the whole errata document, including previous updates, now covers a whopping 58 pages, but I'll talk about the highlights. Also, I have compiled a list of changes for each book, which I provide at the end of the article.
1- Adventurer's Vault.
AV is the book that is changed the most, both in number and significance of the changes. The most striking one is probably the complete overhaul to the rules of double weapons, which were way too good, particularly in the hands of Tempest Fighters and Rogues. The new ruling now treats each end as a separate weapon with different keywords - among other things, not all of them count as off-hand anymore. Also, a new keyword 'Stout', has been defined to allow some of them to count as two-handed (which is no longer the default assumption). Finally, the weapons themselves have been adjusted - For example, the infamous Double Sword has a reduced damage die and loses the Heavy Blade keyword, whereas the Double Axe is no longer Defensive.
Apart from that, there are lots of revised magic items, including well-known offenders such as Reckless and Bloodclaw weapons. Most items causing saving throw penalties have been weakened, too, though a few are still missing. Other notable changes include preventing Ritualist Ring from granting discounts to item creation, and stopping reagents from working with at-will powers.
This is a change that will affect almost every Avenger character out there, as Armor Proficiency (Leather) is no longer a valid feat choice. The Armor of Faith class feature has been changed to work only in Cloth Armor, removing the potential for ridiculously high AC scores (well above those of any Defender class) at Epic Tier. A well deserved fix, in my opinion, since the class' defenses and HP are quite good even without Leather.
The first of the Barbarian fixes is a small one: Halflings and Gnomes can now be Barbarians! These races' inability to wield two-handed weapons ruled out most PHB2 at-will powers from that class, but these have been modified so that versatile weapons wielded two-handed are a valid option. Not that they will make particularly powerful builds, but at least they will be possible.
The second fix is balance-related, as it consists on weakening the two strongest encounter powers of the class (and, it could be argued, the whole game). Storm of Blades and Hurricane of Blades were multiattack powers capable of dealing absurd amounts of damage. This change leaves Hurricane of Blades as a bit too good to my taste, but tolerably so. Storm of Blades, on the other hand, seems very reasonable to me now.
The silly rule about losing your Swordmage Warding when you were knocked out has been removed, which makes a lot of sense. Although it didn't come up too often, that was an annoying drawback for a class that didn't really deserve it. As another minor boost, the Ensnaring Aegis feature from Arcane Power (as well as any other Aegis that may appear in the future) is now compatible with the feats Double Aegis and Total Aegis, which is a good thing because they are almost essential for high level Swordmages.
If there is a thing I always hated about the Warlock class, it was its complete inflexibility regarding your selection of at-wills, once you had chosen your pact. There is a change in this rule update that is a small step in the right direction, in this regard: the power Eldritch Strike, which was published as a power card handed out with the Player's Handbook Heroes minis, has been errata-ed so that it can now be taken instead of Eldritch Blast. The power itself is a bit weird, in that it is a melee weapon attack (and a basic one, to boot) on an otherwise completely ranged, implement class. But anything that gets rid of Eldritch Blast is good, in my book.
With this, I have barely scratched the surface of the update, but you can probably have an idea of the most relevant modifications. I strongly recommend to take a look at the whole thing, but you should be warned that it is not a light reading by any means. I don't know how useful it will be, but below you can see a list of all the changes made, for each book.