D&D General Does D&D (and RPGs in general) Need Edition Resets?

Whatever the downside of edition changes I am very happy WotC hasn't tried to maintain compatibility with an RPG from the 70's. D&D is more popular and accesable than ever before - I believe that is in large part because the designers were willing to let it evolve into the best version of the game possible.
 

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soviet

Hero
I think of it this way, the first 4-5 editions of D&D were the development of a new complex way of gaming. Significant changes, that would not work in an incremental way just would not have been sufficient. 4E was a change in gaming paradigm that didn't work. Hopefully 5E is mature enough that it can just have minor changes for many decades to come. Of course, it may not have a sustainable business model.

Well the notion that 5e is the natural culmination of D&D's evolution is ludicrous. It's a very different game from the TSR era and as with any paradigm shift, some important things have been gained and some important things have been lost. Is 5e a natural culmination of 3e's evolution? Yeah probably. Was 4e that also, but in a different direction? Yes probably.

As for Magic, sure a deck from 1998 can still be used against a 2023 deck, but they are not competitive. Do you really want D&D to be like MTG or YugiO where every few months you have to drop $125+ for a new deck so you can get benefits of the newest rule change? That model doesn't work well with campaigns and characters that last many years. And it would drive me away faster than almost any other rule change they could make.
I play Legacy format in Magic, which is basically 'use a bunch of my old cards from the 90s'. But as you note, power creep means that every few months I am required to buy the new broken rare or mythic rare to stay competitive.

I mean, there is another solution. Me and my friend used to play X-Wing, but rejected the second edition and so kept playing for a good while using just the stuff we had already. There is no reason at all that any given edition of D&D has to still be in print for it to be played.
 

Whatever the downside of edition changes I am very happy WotC hasn't tried to maintain compatibility with an RPG from the 70's. D&D is more popular and accesable than ever before - I believe that is in large part because the designers were willing to let it evolve into the best version of the game possible.
That’s something that is probably important to consider. While D&D has evolved on a lot of things and the game today is quite different from what was played in the 70s, there’s still plenty of areas where change could be made. We used to have save or die mechanics, is it that far fetched to think a new player in 2043 could be flipping through their dad’s old 5e PHB, amazed that you used to have to actually roll to hit!
 

soviet

Hero
I think that edition changes are fundamentally a bad thing. Corrections, slight revisions, new covers? Cool. Big changes that invalidate previous material and/or playstyles? Not cool.

This is where what works commercially and what works artistically are in conflict. I would love it if the D&D that was still in print was still some version of AD&D, either in a modern format or (preferably) the original format preserved (like a lot of classic comics get 'facsimile' editions these days). I would love it if the same was true for MERP/Rolemaster, Cyberpunk, and WFRP as well.

Particularly as the market leader, D&D has unique pressures on it to both i) update in search of new potential markets and ii) reformat in search of re-purchases from its existing markets. 'Malibu Stacy has a new hat'. It's unfortunate but it's largely inevitable.

I think the notion that this coming D&D will be evergreen is naive. The people in charge of D&D now won't still be in charge of D&D in ten years time. I don't mean it won't still be owned by Hasbro, because it will, but that the people inside Hasbro/WotC will have changed. Also the market will have changed, and sales will to some degree or another have stagnated, and Hasbro's ambitions for the brand may have changed. Eventually Malibu D&D will always need a new hat no matter how perfectly the old hat fitted.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
That’s something that is probably important to consider. While D&D has evolved on a lot of things and the game today is quite different from what was played in the 70s, there’s still plenty of areas where change could be made. We used to have save or die mechanics, is it that far fetched to think a new player in 2043 could be flipping through their dad’s old 5e PHB, amazed that you used to have to actually roll to hit!
You had paper books and plastic dice!
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I think that edition changes are fundamentally a bad thing. Corrections, slight revisions, new covers? Cool. Big changes that invalidate previous material and/or playstyles? Not cool.

This is where what works commercially and what works artistically are in conflict. I would love it if the D&D that was still in print was still some version of AD&D, either in a modern format or (preferably) the original format preserved (like a lot of classic comics get 'facsimile' editions these days). I would love it if the same was true for MERP/Rolemaster, Cyberpunk, and WFRP as well.

Particularly as the market leader, D&D has unique pressures on it to both i) update in search of new potential markets and ii) reformat in search of re-purchases from its existing markets. 'Malibu Stacy has a new hat'. It's unfortunate but it's largely inevitable.

I think the notion that this coming D&D will be evergreen is naive. The people in charge of D&D now won't still be in charge of D&D in ten years time. I don't mean it won't still be owned by Hasbro, because it will, but that the people inside Hasbro/WotC will have changed. Also the market will have changed, and sales will to some degree or another have stagnated, and Hasbro's ambitions for the brand may have changed. Eventually Malibu D&D will always need a new hat no matter how perfectly the old hat fitted.
But the thing is, they can do that without changing the operations of the game. Hasbro are, in fact, masters of that. Monopoly is the best selling board game, but it doesn't go through radical rules revisions.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I think that edition changes are fundamentally a bad thing. Corrections, slight revisions, new covers? Cool. Big changes that invalidate previous material and/or playstyles? Not cool.

This is where what works commercially and what works artistically are in conflict. I would love it if the D&D that was still in print was still some version of AD&D, either in a modern format or (preferably) the original format preserved (like a lot of classic comics get 'facsimile' editions these days). I would love it if the same was true for MERP/Rolemaster, Cyberpunk, and WFRP as well.

Particularly as the market leader, D&D has unique pressures on it to both i) update in search of new potential markets and ii) reformat in search of re-purchases from its existing markets. 'Malibu Stacy has a new hat'. It's unfortunate but it's largely inevitable.

I think the notion that this coming D&D will be evergreen is naive. The people in charge of D&D now won't still be in charge of D&D in ten years time. I don't mean it won't still be owned by Hasbro, because it will, but that the people inside Hasbro/WotC will have changed. Also the market will have changed, and sales will to some degree or another have stagnated, and Hasbro's ambitions for the brand may have changed. Eventually Malibu D&D will always need a new hat no matter how perfectly the old hat fitted.
I think you got it wrong. Malibu D&D will need a new hat, not be redesigned to the point Malibu D&D has a new house, car, boyfriend, Lillie sister, etc… again again.
 

soviet

Hero
I actually find alignment quite a funny thing that has been lost/diminished. I mean sure alignment languages are silly, and mono-aligned races are (mostly) silly, but as a soft tool for figuring out PC worldviews it seems quite cool and iconic. You only have to look at all the 3x3 alignment charts that exist for just about every media property in history to see that it has cultural cache.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
It is a "good" think if I like the "new" thing and is a "bad" thing if I don't. For the company selling it, whether to do a refresh or an incremental change is decided based on what they think will make them more money. I think the VTT and the need to support it will keep things evolvement incrementally.
 

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