5E on the horizon?

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When was the last time there was a good 5E speculation thread? A few weeks ago? A month. Long overdue! Anyhow, I missed all the fun here - by the time I noticed the thread it had already devolved into the inevitable debates about semantics, interpersonal communication, and rules minutia. I also just noticed that Bill Slaviscek is "leaving" (fired?) WotC. So let's see...

- 4E didn't do as well as planned for, with the D&D community more fractured than ever before, which paved the way for...
- Pathfinder, the first serious contender for the throne, at least since Vampire in its hey-day.
- 4.5, aka Essentials, not doing as well as hoped, or at least not bringing in the droves of new fans and long lines of lapsed players.
- Mike Mearls starts writing a bunch of pieces about the core/essence of D&D.
- D&D head honcho Bill Slaviscek announces he's leaving.

= 5E on the horizon!!!

Could it be anything else? It may still be a year or two out - say, GenCon 2012 or Spring, 2013 - but I would think that it is certainly not too far off.

I just got an image of a massive construction site beyond the horizon that is just out of visual range. Every once in awhile the head dude pops his head and starts talking about architectural abstractions, asking questions like "What do you like in a building? What are the core qualities you want in a living space? What is the essence of good living?" And so forth.

I mean, let's look at it another way. If 5E was not on the horizon, don't you think that Mearls' articles would be a bit odd? Slaviscek's departure unexpected? D&D in general in trouble?

As a secondary question, if 5E is on the horizon, does it represent a move of desperation - or at least a last ditch effort - from WotC to return D&D to greatness? If it isn't a wild success, could it be that we see a massive reduction in the scale of production? Of course we're already seeing that now - with less physical products and more emphasis on DDI, but perhaps 5E would be one more attempt to enlarge the scale of production back to 2008-10 or even 2000-07.

Just some ruminations. What do you think?

p.s. EN Mods - maybe its time for a 5th Edition thread prefix? ;)

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First Post
I heard they're going to announce 5e at Gen Con this year.

And that WotC, White Wolf, and Games Workshop are going to merge into one super gaming company. All current employees in each will be let go, and in house operations will shift somewhere overseas, maybe China or India.

This company will cut all tabletop RPGs and Wargames and focus only on video games and that 5e will just be a video game for the next iteration of Xbox. Any miniatures produced will simply be 54mm collector's items made of resin that cost $50 a piece, can only be ordered online, and you have to paint yourself.

How's that for "doom and gloom" for ya?


Edit: or did I just give some corporate mook a great idea... :eek:


That there will be a 5E someday is obvious. And 6E, 7E, 8E, until the company goes out of business or transforms so radically as to be unrecognizable. New editions are how WotC rejuvenates the product line. As to specifics... well, I agree that much of what we are seeing now (like Mearls's articles) will feed into 5E down the road. And I am quite certain that a 5E project is under way at WotC. 4E was in the pipeline years before it was announced, after all.

This doesn't mean a 5E announcement is right around the corner, though. Wizards faces a formidable challenge: Enticing Pathfinder players back into the fold, without driving off 4E players who have embraced the new way. The worst-case scenario is that they split the 4E fanbase without making inroads into Pathfinder, in which case they'd have been better off to stick with 4E. And the likelihood of that is higher if they do it too soon.

My guess would be we see 5E announced in 2013 or 2014. They need to give people on both sides of the divide time to start hankering for something new. And they also need time to figure out how to square the 4E/Pathfinder circle (pun most definitely intended). Expect to see a lot more "experimental" material in the next few years as they try to find the right balance.
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First Post
We've seen the same claims before - I don't see any real indications that 5E is 'imminent'. Pretty much none of the suggested evidence is, well, remotely plausible in the actual context of the situation.

I think, sure, they are gathering ideas, both for future editions and for the direction of this one, which they do seem to be somewhat playing about with these days.

My expected timeline is that the first basic concept-brewing on 5E will start in a year or so, and serious development a year after that. We'll see an announcement, thus in 2-3 years, and 5E will be along in 2014 or 2015, which is about what I was expecting from the start.

Melba Toast

First Post
Dude... I am so out of the loop on 4E. Did they ever even manage to get their digital initiative off the ground (i.e. virtual gametable)?


Gosh, I'd like to be the mook who gets to design 5e. I have some really great ideas, actually. Big changes, but I think they'd be acceptable.


No 5E.

You increase staff in the lead up to a new edition, you don't reduce it.

Unless I'm mistaken, we're only talking about one person - Bill Slaviscek - and it may be that if they want to take a different direction and are unhappy with how 4E has done then it makes sense for him to be gone.

Based on WOTC's edition churn in the past, I'll be surprised if 5.0 is released later than 2013.

Given that the gap between 1E and 2E was 10-12 years, 2E to 3E 11 years, and 3E to 4E 8 years, it would make sense that the gap between 4E and 5E would be 7 years or less. Furthermore, the gaps between edition and "sub-edition" has decreased - from six years between 1E and Unearthed Arcana and 2E and Skills and Powers, to three years between 3E and 3.5, and just two years between 4E and Essentials (well, two and a half really). The gap between sub-editions and new editions has been a bit more stable: 4, 5, and 5. But if we take Essentials and add 4-5 years we come again to 2014-2015.

If I had to bet money I'd say 2014 but I wouldn't be surprised to see it come out in 2013. I also wouldn't be surprised to see them take a similar approach to Pathfinder's alpha and beta testing, with an Alpha edition coming out in some form or another starting in late 2012, Beta in 2013, and 5E in 2014.


First Post
not to release 5th edition would be a big mistake from WotC. Or does anybody think they still make much money with the rpg as it is now? Maybe Heroes of the shadow was sold 1 Mio times :), what do I know, but I guess a more realistic number is rather 30k. How much money this makes can everybody calculate for himself.

IMO the whole 4e release was a major failure from WotC, not only from the rpg side (its more boardgame than rpg) also from a monetary side. A big black hole where the money goes with the effect that half the fans play another systems now and D&D is about to loose its Top Dog position on the market which it had since decades. Isnt this enough to let roll the heads of the managers responsible?

Thats why I think thats the reason why WotC lays off his personel. Or the reason why M. Mearls checks out the ground with polls and odd retrospektive articles. It seems atm WotC dont have a clear business vision like those creative heads at Paizo.

So if I am looking into the glass sphere: IMO 5th edition will be coming soon and it will be different to the 4th edition. One of the major changes will be the real option to play the game without a board. It will be simpler than 4th edition and much simpler than 3rd in order to remove the entry obstacles for casuals and totally new players.

D&D will be the game for the unwashed casual masses which had no idea what the term "roleplaying" means, 1 week ago. It will be the "Volkswagen",of roleplaying again (or rather the first time since BECM)
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Why is it every 5E speculation thread has to start with the OP claiming it's because 4E "didn't do very well" and that Paizo's taking it's place? None of us here STILL have absolutely any freaking idea what WotC's sales numbers were, nor any idea what their expectations for sales numbers were... so why the need to take potshots at them right off the top? I suspect this is why these threads always devolve... because they are started with a black cloud of negativity already over them at the beginning.

Why not just say "5E is going to happen at some point... maybe sooner, maybe later. Based upon things that have been done/said up to this point in time, where do we think things are leaning? What can we speculate as to where WotC's headspace is with regards to 5E's design?"


Let's not forget the cancellation of several books. That could mean they pulled those developers to put on the new edition.

I honestly do not believe they are working on 5th Edition. If they were it would be so close to what they already have so as to not waste all the investment they put into DDI.

I do wish they would hire more developers though. I really think that DnD can use alot more DM aids.

El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
That there will be a 5E someday is obvious...

You know...I don't think it is.

With some of the things Mearls has been talking about lately, and DDI being the future of D&D, I don't think new editions are a necessity or inevitable.

I can see an ever evolving DDI based game. New ideas are incorporated, rules are modified, approaches and emphasis are shifted, and the game slowly morphs from month to month, year to year, and a new edition is never actually developed. 10 years from now D&D will look a bit different than it does now - but it won't be called 5E.

Even more, I expect that mention of editions (except in a historical context) will eventually disappear also (officially - not necessarily by customers). You'll have rules online set up in various degrees of complexity and approach (simple and fast, complex, simulationist, story telling, tactical, etc.) - an ala carte RPG courtesy of online DDI.



First Post
Unless I'm mistaken, we're only talking about one person - Bill Slaviscek - and it may be that if they want to take a different direction and are unhappy with how 4E has done then it makes sense for him to be gone.

Nope, it's another lay-off and it's three persons:

From http://www.enworld.org/forum/genera...aving-wizards-coast-others-2.html#post5601451
Just seen a tweet from Monte Cook:

I wish the best for those laid off from Wizards of the Coast today. Some were good friends. All, I'm sure, are talented and capable.

and from http://www.enworld.org/forum/genera...aving-wizards-coast-others-2.html#post5601457
I have heard word that Michelle Carter and Stephen Schubert are also leaving as of today, though I haven't confirmed those yet.

Edit: Their departure is now confirmed.


First Post
Unless I'm mistaken, we're only talking about one person - Bill Slaviscek - and it may be that if they want to take a different direction and are unhappy with how 4E has done then it makes sense for him to be gone.

Who is 'they'? Who is coming up with some wildly divergent idea for D&D, and why would he be so opposed to it they need to remove him?

I suspect you've got several much more likely possible reasons:
1) Layoffs were coming for coming, for whatever reasons. As is often the case, a senior employee might volunteer to leave, knowing that by departing with their higher salary, it would mean not having to cut 2-3 staff members lower in the ranks.
2) Alternatively, this involves a follow-up to the reorganization from last year, when they split into the board game and RPG divions. The context of that different approach might have resulted in some positions not being as needed, or needed in different ways.
3) Or this may indeed be blowback from a failed initiative. I don't know one way or another if Essentials has 'failed', but if it did end up getting oversold to management, and ended up underperforming, the blame might end up hitting up high.

I don't know if any of those are the case. But it doesn't seem likely, to me, that this sort of thing would be indicative of 5E being on the horizon. It actually seems evidence that isn't the case, since I don't think, if there had been any forward momentum on such a thing, that they would disrupt it midstream in such a fashion.

Given that the gap between 1E and 2E was 10-12 years, 2E to 3E 11 years, and 3E to 4E 8 years, it would make sense that the gap between 4E and 5E would be 7 years or less.

I'm not sure that is a large enough sample size to make any really accurate predictions... especially given the different contexts of some of these editions.

I mean, my one theories are only a year or two behind yours - I don't think it impossible that 5E is approaching, just that it isn't especially close, and that all these current 'signs' and 'evidence' have basically nothing to do with it at all.

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