D&D 5E Has 5E Restored or Diminished Your Faith in WotC?

My take: I have less faith in WotC's ability to stand by a product, try to improve it, and to try to nurture the fanbase. For better or worse, they have given up, pulled products from the queue, and said "we're cutting our losses with this piece of junk (4e)."

They are listening to other companies' customers (chief among them Paizo) more than their own (those who currently play 4e). If this trend continues, who's to say that they won't change 5e again to appeal to Goodman Games' customers or those from other hobby games (Warhammer)?

From what I've read, the design goal is to take the game back to pre-3.x. I've already got those books, and retroclones exist that are cheaper.

Between Pathfinder, retroclones, and this debacle, I think I've finally realized that I don't need WotC to play D&D.


I think one thing to consider, yes 4e fans are their customers, but most pathfinderplayers used to be WOTC customers. They lost a good chunk of the market and are trying to win it back. But as your post shows, they could just lose more of the market if they arent careful.

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I don't need "faith" in WotC. They'll put out a product. I'll like it, or not. No need for faith there.
I don't agree; I think people like to have faith in a company. It hearkens back to the earliest notions of consumerism. Putting your faith (lowercase "f") in a company feels good, it establishes a bond. It says "I enjoy/depend reliably on this product." Whether it's frivolous (D&D), a necessity (FORD or CHRYSLER, etc.) or absolutely critical to your very life (MERCK or PFIZER), "faith" in a thing gives people a sense of grounding. In the cases of pure consumer goods, it makes spending money on the item a little easier.

If WIZARDS OF THE COAST was plowing ahead with 4e as is, no changes, no announcement of a new edition that listens to older editions as well as recreates itself, and had announced the re-printing of the core AD&D books, I doubt if I'd buy them. My attitude would be entirely different. But that they're now willing to listen to me as a customer again shows that they're worth considering again as a company I'll buy things from - that little "f" faith shows its face!

Or, if it is more palatable: I consider it rewarding good behavior. And their behavior this go 'round is very, very good indeed.


First Post
I found myself showing less interest in Wizards of the Coast and their products when I found that 4th Edition was not really a fit for me. I now find myself show more (much more if truth be told) interest in them the more I learn about 5th Edition. They have no more obligation to make products I like then I have to buy their products I don't.

Faith never entered into the equation.


First Post
Eh, can't say I'm all that pleased. It's way too soon for a new edition--4e has a lot of life left, especially on the heels of Essentials. And the early snippets of 5e sound like the designers didn't care for any of the advances made in 4e (from the refined skill system, the way combat and utility powers were silo'd, or that spellcasters can do something cool every round). That old-school vibe is nice, but I don't want nostalgia winning over sound gameplay.

But 5e is motivated by Hasbro's internal profit expectations for the hobby, so its unfair to hold too much ire against WotC. Part of me will be happy if they can keep D&D afloat, even if I don't care for its next incarnation.

EDIT: Also, if there's one saving grace, it's the open playtests. That's the right way to go.
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So far, it has restored my--not faith in, so much as sense of connection with, certain people at WotC, especially Mike Mearls.

Playing Iron Heroes made me think of Mearls as a guy who saw gaming fundamentally the way I do, such that I would likely "connect" on a gut level with games of his design. Iron Heroes had a lot of flaws, but underneath it all was a feeling of "Yeah--this is what I'm looking for." That feeling was somewhat undercut by his association with 4E, which I felt had a great deal more polish than Iron Heroes, but far less soul. However, since Mearls actually took the helm of D&D, that feeling has been coming back. Essentials restored a lot of it, and what I've heard about 5E has brought it back even more. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what's ahead for us.

I will add that after reading some of Ryan Dancey's recent posts on the subject, I think I have a better picture of why 4E went the way it did (in short: ultimatum from Hasbro to raise D&D revenue to impossible levels, or have the whole brand put on ice, leading to 4E and DDI as a kind of Hail Mary pass), and I have a lot more sympathy for the folks in charge of the project, who were really in an impossible position. I obviously don't know the internal politics going on in Wizards/Hasbro executive offices, but I get the feeling 5E is not being made under the same kind of "do or die" pressure, which is reassuring.

As far as NDAs and keeping stuff under wraps, come on! Everyone from DDXP says the rules were very rough, clearly an early draft. We've been promised an extensive open playtest. If the playtest proves to be not what we expect, or WotC doesn't seem to be taking our feedback into account, then we can go after them for not being open enough. Right now, however, everything looks fine to me on that front.
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Consonant Dude

First Post
Alienating fans, zipping their lips on the details, not reaching out to internet fans, etc.

Fact: WotC has never been so forthright when releasing an edition. Ever.

Some people will counter by saying "3rd edition" but 3e was two years in the making when fans learned about it and the game was in a much more advanced state. They only started working on DnD Next 9 months ago.

They have also never reached out to fans so openly and inclusively. This will be the largest playtest in the history of DnD.

I fail to see what more they could do.


For my own personal faith in WotC, I'm going to be neutral until I see the printed product in my hands. We'll see, hopefully they will put out something that will be cool or give me ideas at least.


I don't need "faith" in WotC. They'll put out a product. I'll like it, or not. No need for faith there.

My faith in the internet community's ability to read everything in the worst possible light remains undiminished, though.

I gotta spread my XP around, but Umbran put it succinctly, I think.


Really? How is announcing an open playtest and actually demoing the prototype game at a con NOT reaching out to fans? I'm seeing the opposite of what you're describing.

I think the NDAs are really rubbing some people the wrong way. I can sympathize even if I'm not really in agreement. So far we've gotten:

1. "Hey, we're making a new edition! We want your feedback and we're having OPEN playtesting!"

2. "Hey, we've got public playtesting here at DDXP! It's really great, all you have to do is come to Fort Wayne (no thanks) and sign an NDA! That's right, a whole bunch of people are playing and they can't tell you anything about it!"

3. "Hey, we had a great public paytest, so glad you could all come out. As for the rest of you (who are the vast majority), well we're still not telling you anything except the vast majority of your speculation is wrong."

We're an instantanious society. If you say you're going to give us something it had better be downloadable yesterday. It's also that for a supposed "open/public" playtest, very few people have been privy to anything. *shrugs*


Mod Squad
Staff member
I think people like to have faith in a company.

Well, you're talking "like to have". I'm talking "need".

Last week, I went into a sandwich shop to get lunch. I ordered my sandwich, paid my money, and headed back to work. At my desk, I discovered a square of tasty dark chocolate in the bag, along with my sandwich and chips.

I liked to have the chocolate, certainly. It made my day better! But I didn't need it. I was happy with my sandwich at the price I paid for it, and would have (in fact did) happily purchase a sandwich not knowing it came with chocolate.

As a consumer, I need to have some measure of faith in a company if I'm going to put some sort of investment in their product sight-unseen. This is not the case with WotC - they'll put out a product, and I'll be able to look it over, and decide if I want it or not. Faith is not required, on my end.

Now, faith is nice to have. I like to feel good about the company ahead of time. And, just to be clear, I like how they seem to be handling the run-up to the new edition, too. They're clearly paying attention, and playing it smart. But, if anything, what they are doing is reducing my need for faith - their eventual release of the beta-rules will give me a free taste ahead of time!

Or, if it is more palatable: I consider it rewarding good behavior. And their behavior this go 'round is very, very good indeed.

I have no problem at all with folks rewarding the company when it does things they like. Reactions like your make my moderating job *sooo* much easier :)

Tequila Sunrise

Between Pathfinder, retroclones, and this debacle, I think I've finally realized that I don't need WotC to play D&D.
Welcome to the club! We have +1 oatmeal cookies in the members' lounge.

Faith implies a degree of emotional investment I reserve for family and friends. WotC is unworthy of both my faith and my moral outrage, as are other game-makers.

Charwoman Gene

It sounds like they are taking away choice. In 4e, it's fairly easy for me to realize a character concept, with very few restrictions. I would rather have seen them take that a step further, and build a system where you could realize any concept. Alas, they are going back to cliches and straight jackets.

Please explain more. They've released the most rudimentary core, and no character creation details. How did you get the impression that 5e isn't going to allow wildly dynamic character concepts?


I was shocked to learn about the immanence of the Fifth Edition and the death knell of the Fourth, although I had felt more betrayed previously when the Essentials were foist upon us.

I am more and more displeased with the hints and statements being made from on high about the Fifth Edition. The diminishment of Powers and Fighters, feat taxes to buy back the options of the Fourth Edition for our characters, saving throws based on all six abilities, Vancian spell lists, certain classes relegated to themes, healing regressed according to some vague reports, skills made complicated, alignment made strict again with the restoration of the great wheel, the Forgotten Realms put front and centre, halfhearted promises to keep the on-line resources for the Fourth Edition.

Nonetheless even though I have very little faith in the Fifth Edition, I do appreciate that the Wizards of the Coast have made a bold move as a company, which may save them from what was looking like certain oblivion. If the Wizards do well with this new edition among Old School grognards and fanatics of Pathfinder and the Third Edition, then their survival should ensure the vestigial survival of the Fourth Edition as well. I do hope that the Wizards make a proper Red Box this time, which actually teaches a relevant core of the game and offers more than 2 levels of play: that would bring new gamers into the fold with the rest of the players of the new system.


Well, you're talking "like to have". I'm talking "need".
Tomato/to-MAH-to, but fair enough. I think we're on the same sheet of music, just different verses is all.

I have no problem at all with folks rewarding the company when it does things they like. Reactions like your make my moderating job *sooo* much easier :)
Well if you need some excitement with your job I can certainly go back to being an irascible, reactionary edition-warrior. :D I'm kidding! I kid...!

Jeff Carlsen

I slowly lost respect for WotC through the first couple years of 4E. But, never completely. If I recall, it was Martial Power 2 that finally made me stop buying their stuff. Something about that product's existence rubbed me the wrong way.

Essentials restored some, but by then Paizo had already earned a huge amount of respect from me, and to this day I can't stop comparing them.

But, the 5E news has given me a small piece of hope. I get the feeling that they really want to make an amazing game that I'll love. And they have the talent to do that. But until I see the actual product line on shelves, and until it's been out for a year or two, I'm not going to know if I can truly respect them they way I used to.

Lastly, for the serious fans of 4E, don't assume you're being abandoned yet. We know almost nothing about the more complex end of the 5E design. They've said very clearly that they want to build upon a simple core, and that getting that core right first is critical. I suspect that the first public playtests will involve that core, with more modules being added over time as they get the more basic stuff ironed out. So, right now, it seems like they're ignoring you, but by necessity they have to save the stuff you'll like for later.

Vyvyan Basterd

It's also that for a supposed "open/public" playtest, very few people have been privy to anything. *shrugs*

That's only because people aren't paying attention. The playtest at D&DXP was *public* as in anyone was welcome, but not *open*. The open playtesting begins in the spring.

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