D&D 5E 5E, The Edition Wars, and Shooting Ourselves in the Foot.

Will you be positive and refrain negativity about others' preferences?


Oni

First Post
A new edition is coming and I think it's fair to say that most of us want two things, we want it to accommodate our preferences and we want it to be it to be as popular with as many gamers as possible so we have lots and lots of people to play with. I do not think either of those are unreasonable desires. However we must take care that in our attempt at the first goal we do not hinder the second. Right now everyone is trying to make their voice heard and communicate their preferences to the designers by making them known to the community at large, mostly by saying what we do and do not like about previous editions, and that is also not unreasonable. Where we are shooting ourselves in the foot, though, is the way in which we are stating our preferences. When you throw around a lot of negative language and loaded terms it creates a toxic environment and makes people feel attacked for their preferences. When someone feels attacked it gets their hackles up and puts their back to a wall, and when you put people on the defensive it puts them in a position where they say things they might not have otherwise said, it makes it harder for them modify their own positions or accept that yours might also be valid. And that behavior breeds like behavior in others as they react to those reactions. In short it creates a self-perpetuating atmosphere that breeds partisans and makes them ever more so.

We can do better.

It is just as easy for us to frame our preferences in a positive manner as it is to frame them in a negative one. Instead of focusing on what we don't like and trying to explain why it is so terrible, we should be focusing on what we do like and why. When you attack another person's preferences as being shoddy, immature, rudimentary, some form of entitlement, et c. then it can seem you are by proxy attacking them, their own personal sense of taste. A person that feels insulted and belittled isn't going to want to come back to the collective table, especially if it requires some compromise on their part in doing so, every time we engage in that behavior we're killing our hobby a little bit. We're shooting ourselves in the foot.

I'm not guiltless when it comes to such behavior and I write this as much as a reminder to myself to be conscientious of how I say things as I do to encourage others also to be mindful of how we talk to our fellow fans. We'll be the death of our own hobby if we keep drawing lines in the sand and trying to push our preferences at the expense of others'. I think we really need to focus on communicating to the designers what we like in the hopes the next edition of D&D will be able to support the styles of play we enjoy, rather than to trying to keep what others might enjoy out, because as long as we're all using the same book, even if we're using it in different ways, it will give us common ground and make it easier for people to branch out into trying other ways of playing, maybe your way of playing. To that end, I'm pledging here to make an effort to frame my preferences in a positive manner, one that shines a light on the things I enjoy, rather than tears down the things that other people love. I can only assume that if you're posting here that you love D&D and roleplaying and you would like to see the hobby continue on for future generations of gamers to enjoy, even if you do not personally care for one iteration or other of the game, and so I ask others to make a pledge of positivity as well, in the hopes that we can help create an environment that gives the next edition an opportunity to live up to its potential and stand on its own merit, rather than being killed on the vine.
 
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FireLance

Legend
Good call. If you've read Terry Pratchett's I Shall Wear Midnight, one phrase that I keep repeating to myself as a mantra is, "Poison goes where poison's welcome."

So, don't welcome poison, and keep it out of the boards, please.
 

Ichneumon

First Post
With Oni's wise words in mind, I do solemnly swear to keep the following reminders at hand when partaking in discussions.

Someone who likes D&D with different elements to what I prefer is not a howling ignoramus with a density rating that's off the scale.

Such a person does not need my careful guidance to lead them away from the game they can't possibly be enjoying back to the hallowed realm of goodrightfun.

We can still have a discussion, and learn something from each other's viewpoints.

Yes, that's both of us. Not just them.

Many topics are contentious, and link to my flashpoints. I must be aware when I'm morphing into the Incredible Hulk, and take a moment to cool down.

Edition X is not a Y. No. It's not. Furthermore, all editions are D&D.

A poster's lack of eloquence doesn't mean they don't have a point.

When I advocate my wishes for 5e, I'm hoping for the reader to conclude: that would be cooler than a polar bear on ice skates.
 

I think saying what we don't like and don't want in 5e is perfectly fine, in fact now is the time to voice such concerns. There is nothing wrong with being clear you dislike surges or 3e multiclassing and explain why. Where it becomes a problem is when people assume bad faith or dismiss other peoples' preferences. It is one thing to say I don't like X, quite another to say if you don't like it too then you are lying, misinformed or close minded.

I voted no, but should clarify. I pledge not to make personal attacks or belittle/dismiss other peoples' preferences. But I am not going to stop arguing for my position on where 5e should and should not go. If someone disagrees with me, that is great. It will be helpful to 5E for wizards to see how people feel about these things.
 
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mkill

Adventurer
I think that there are ways to play the game that are Badwrongfun. These aren't tied to any edition, these are tied to DM and player attitudes, and the social contract of D&D. There are ways to behave at the table that destroy groups and drive players off the hobby, sometimes forever. I reserve the right to call these things out and claim "this is not D&D". (But yes, ad hominem attacks on a gaming forum are not D&D)

Also, while "good game design" is hard to achieve, and exists in mysterious arcane ways and multiple dimensions, bad game design is like pornography - I know it when I see it.
 

Oni

First Post
I think saying what we don't like and don't want in 5e is perfectly fine, in fact now is the time to voice such concerns. There is nothing wrong with being clear you dislike surges or 3e multiclassing and explain why. Where it becomes a problem is when people assume bad faith or dismiss other peoples' preferences. It is one thing to say I don't like X, quite another to say if you don't like it too then you are lying, misinformed or close minded.

You could talk about not liking surges or 3e multiclassing and why, but my contention is that you could convey the same information in a more positive manner by talking about why you like the old HP system, or how you might like the concept of surges and what changes you might make and why you would enjoy those changes or how you not having multiclassing improves the game for you, or the reasons you liked a different version of multiclassing or what changes you might make to 3e style multiclassing and why that would improve you enjoyment, et c., et c., et c.
 

You could talk about not liking surges or 3e multiclassing and why, but my contention is that you could convey the same information in a more positive manner by talking about why you like the old HP system, or how you might like the concept of surges and what changes you might make and why you would enjoy those changes or how you not having multiclassing improves the game for you, or the reasons you liked a different version of multiclassing or what changes you might make to 3e style multiclassing and why that would improve you enjoyment, et c., et c., et c.

I see what you are saying but feel negative feedback is just as vital as positive. And being overly diplomatic about it could obscure the actual criticism. The issue with edition wars isn't people stating what don't like. It is
A) people going beyond negative criticism of a mechanic and passing judgment on those do like the mechanic (ie "i guess if creativity doesnt matter to you, i can see how you might like that")

B) People taking criticism of a mechanic they like as an attack on their preference. Or people taking someone disagreeing with their dislike as an attack.

C) Failure to allow other preferences to exist. The posters who just wont let it die. I.E. If you dislike this mechanic, you are ignorant. Or if you say ths mechanic is unbalanced you are just playing wrong. or "watch while I take twenty posts and ten hours of research and semantic wrangling to show you how factually wrong your opinion is"

Personally, there are things about 4E and 3E i really dont like and dont want to see as part of the core of 5E. It is great to say what aspects of other editns i do like, hoping the implication that I dont want surges or prestige classes will be apoarent. But if the issue is I don't like these two elements isn't it a whole lot easier to be clear and say so? As long as we are mature about it and polite I dont see the issue.
 
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BryonD

Hero
You could talk about not liking surges or 3e multiclassing and why, but my contention is that you could convey the same information in a more positive manner by talking about why you like the old HP system, or how you might like the concept of surges and what changes you might make and why you would enjoy those changes or how you not having multiclassing improves the game for you, or the reasons you liked a different version of multiclassing or what changes you might make to 3e style multiclassing and why that would improve you enjoyment, et c., et c., et c.
If only it were that simple.


Just to reference one of your examples here, I have described in great detail how I like HP and how surges are simply not compatible with HP as I like them. And people will respond to me with absolute assurance that surges do nothing whatsoever to change what I like about HP, and/or HP are abstract therefore it is completely unreasonable to not embrace other abstract things. The choices become "embrace surges" or "edition war".


The most efficient way to shoot yourself in the foot is to pretend that something that sucks doesn't suck.
 

trancejeremy

Adventurer
I think the trouble is, every time there was a new edition, you had people who were happy with the old edition, and those that thought it was flawed.

Repeat several times and you have a very fractured and surly fanbase. Sure, we all love D&D, but what we think of as D&D is different.

There's just going to be a lot of friction.
 

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