A rising tide lifts all boats and every new person who is introduced to the game via 5E and its iterations is one more person who might also discover so-called old-school gaming through that connection to the community that they very likely would not have discovered otherwise.
Totally. I care a lot about the health of the game overall. Which is why I’m happy for 5e‘s success (even though I rarely play it and never DM it) and hope the Golden Goose - the edition that went culturally mainstream and undoubtedly has the largest player base in history - doesn’t get derailed.
Though none of my current players came from 5e.
Campaign 1: 1 from Basic, 3 from 1e, 4 I was their first DM
Campaign 2: 1 from 1e, 6 I was their first DM
And never say never. When 3E came out I was over the moon about it and was like, "I can't understand why anyone would continue to play 2E when this was available." Now, 20 years later, I am much more likely to go back to playing 2E than to try 3.xE again. My tastes have changed (again) and I figure they may change yet again. Who can say?
I was a “Day One” adopter of 3 editions.
2e, I remember my friend who was later a game store owner and now is a game designer bringing the PHB he travelled many miles for into my room, as the group gathered rapt at these new delights.
… But I didn’t actually like it. Within 1.5 years, I stopped playing D&D and was running unrelated games. It took until 1996 (8 years after 2e) for me to dig out my AD&D 1e materials and start playing with friends who had all dropped. I have never stopped DMing since.
3e, I ignored because I was happy with 1e and had a bad experience with 2e. A friend who I’d brought back to D&D advised me to try it, I became a player in a 3e campaign I enjoyed, and I switched my campaigns about a year late.
3.5e, I switched immediately
and never looked back - still running it today. My players complained about yet another edition change (1e to 3e to 3.5e), but it was largely painless.
4e, I was literally there on Day One -
at the launch event in Seattle, with a signed PHB to prove it. I played for about a year - with the same DM who I’d first played 3e with - but I didn’t like. I never switched what I DM’d.
5e, I largely ignored. Since it and 3e were phenomenally successful, that was apparently a good omen. I bought the PHB early but the only campaign I joined was short lived by a first time DM, and I never was inclined to learn it all to DM it myself. The majority of my playing of 5e has been GenCon Online. It was fun, but I noticed the DM’s were mixing in some earlier rules, which is great - I’m a firm believer in Rule Zero. I remember one GenCon DM saying “huh, I don’t know the rule for this - does anyone know?“ I answered, “No idea in 5e, but in 3e the rule is X” and that’s what he decided.