hoo boy…

Let the flame wars commence…

http://www.geeksofdoom.com/2012/01/10/wizards-of-the-coast-announces-fifth-edition-of-dungeons-dragons/#more-132352

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5 Responses to “hoo boy…”

  1. I for one am interested to see what this will be like. Plus I am looking forward to being outraged when I see what they have done to it. Written by the fans? That won’t end well.

  2. I can see the future – Magic: The Gathering – Dungeons and Dragons Edition

  3. Well, I probably have more money than sense, so I guess I will be buying it to check it out :p
    But if it is only just on “we are thinking of…” it will be a good 2 years untill release isnt it?

  4. WotC are a business and need to make money to survive. The staff may (or may not) be keen gamers and passionate about what they do but ultimately any decision about a new edition is a business decision. The company are failing their shareholders if they do otherwise. For this reason I find it hard to be personally offended by this announcement.

    I understand that the core rule books sell more copies than any other books and the number of copies of books sold decreases with each release. Therefore they need to periodically revise the rules not to improve the content but just so that they can resell the core books.

    4e split the audience for DnD with a large part sticking with 3e in the form of Pathfinder. From what I have read on the internet and based on a conversation I had at a convention with the staff on the Leisure Games stall I understand that Pathfinder regularly outsells 4e.

    A smaller audience means fewer sales so I wonder if this is the reason why they have decided to release a new edition so soon after releasing 4e. I think that releasing a new edition so early is counter-productive though. Some players will stick to 3e & 4e which means that 5e will have a smaller player base (and so sell less books) than both 3e and 4e.

    I think this is compounded because 4e was such a drastic change from 3e. 1e, 2e & 3e are all recognisably the same product. 3e assumes that you will be using a battlemap and miniatures rather than the mind’s eye theatre of earlier editions, but like earlier editions frames everything in terms of the fictional game world. The player says what their character does in the game world; the GM translates this into game mechanics and then tells the player what happens in the fiction. 4e on the other hand requires the player to frame things in terms of game mechanics. In theory the GM can work back and describe this in terms of the fiction, in practice this is never done.

    Any players of 3e that hate 4e are not going to like 5e if it has a similar disconnect from the fiction. Any players of 4e are going to hate 5e if it tries to move away from the focus on balanced game mechanics.

    The announcement that “the fans” will be consulted about the game design makes me expect that 5e will not be something that I personally will want to play. WotC presumably mean fans of 4e rather than earlier editions which makes me think that 5e will be further from 1-3e rather than closer.
    I know from my job that designs made by committee at best lack clarity of vision and at worse are horrible compromises satisfying none of the design requirements.
    I assume that the people consulted will be the hardcore fans who, judging by the official forums, are mainly rabidly obsessed with the minutiae of the mechanics, and I can’t see their input being useful in doing anything but making trivial adjustments to try and ‘fix’ mechanics that function just fine for 99% of players.

    In conclusion
    Do I think that I will like 5e? No.
    Will I buy a copy of the 5e core rules? Almost certainly. I will want read it to make my own mind up about whether I like it.
    Do I think 5e will sell well? I doubt it. I think other gamers are more discerning than me in how they spend their disposable income.
    Will this affect me personally? No. I will still have my 1e, 2e, 3e & 4e books and will be able to play them if I chose.

  5. I can’t find much to disagree with in this assessment.

    I don’t really believe the fan consultation to be much more than marketing fluff; as you say, decision by committee, particularly a committee as large, diverse and frankly autistic-spectrum as the D&D community, is doomed to hopeless disjointed compromise.

    Perhaps involving the community in high level design goals might work. A vote to see what the community wants on certain key areas, ie “do you want a more mechanics heavy or RP heavy game”, etc, to determine where to best pitch the product might work, but this would be a market research project more than true involvement in the design process. I have no problem with this as a route, and hope this is what is intended.

    I will be sticking with 4E for our ongoing campaign though. Too much prep time has gone into the SRaO campaign for me to convert the next several year’s worth of adventures (through to level 30) to a new system. For that reason alone I doubt I’ll be investing. On the plus side it should mean I can pick up some 4E material at knock down prices 🙂

    The ever-reducing period between version releases is a concern though; this combined with a shrinking fan-base and falling sales suggests that longer term the product is on a pretty terminal trajectory.

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