D&D 5E How close will the final product be to the last playtest?


How much of the final product will be like the playtest? I mean, the two can't be very similar because if they were, then there would be no need to even buy the books. You already have a free copy.

log in or register to remove this ad


I don't have any idea how these things usually work out.

But from experience, just because you have access to a playtest doesn't mean the final product will be the same or that it won't sell. I have the alpha and beta pdfs for Pathfinder, and I still got the Core rulebook when it came out. If anything reviewing those pdfs (even when I disagreed or disliked) made me more likely to buy it.


Quick aside, Tovec, as someone with access to the alpha and beta to Pathfinder, I heard that the playtests were quite a bit more radical in their changes than the final product wound up being (disappointingly in my case). In your experience, was that the case? I never saw the alphas or beta pdf's, only the final product.

In response to the original question...I've got a feeling that the final product is going to be, in broad strokes, pretty similar to what we got in the last packet. I wouldn't be surprised to see some difference in the details, though.


Honestly I don't even remember what my specific objections were - I could do some digging - as I remember distinctly disliking many of the proposed changes. I happen to have a rather fuzzy memory for little (and sometimes large) details the further away from something I get. What I do remember is thinking how much I expected to like 4e and dislike PF prior to the releases and then subsequently ended up swapping opinions of both based on the details I actually saw from the final products. That is part of the reason why I still have the door open on trying 5e before fully giving up.

After looking briefly at the alpha playtest document, a lot of what I am seeing made it into the final product. So, I'm thinking it must have been specifics that bothered me as opposed to the broader changes. It is also possible that some of the things I dislike have either become less pronounced (still bother me but not as much as they used to) or that they were changed for the final product.

In either case, the alpha and even the beta documents are far less finished than the final product that was released. And as I said, seeing the iterative process in that case I think made me much more likely to buy the final product as I understood the reasons behind a lot of changes. Also just to have a finally codified and tested version of the rules was the major reason to buy.

And funnily enough the early stuff of 4e looked really interesting and promising. I liked the idea of the rejiggered cosmology, but I thought it was a streamlining, not a rewrite of what I knew. What finally turned me off in that case wasn't that gnomes and elves were from the feywild but that there were no longer high elves, or that eladrin got gutted. Things like that. Some of the cosmological stuff has even made it into my personal setting and tainted projects I'm working on up to the present. I just think they lost more than they gained.

But Salamandyr if you want me to actually go through the pdf for things that didn't make it, or if you want me to go hunting for my old posts during the time of development I can, but I suggest we continue via PM instead of this thread. I would send you the pdf but I think that is probably a bad idea, legally.

Jeff Carlsen

I suspect that the last packet is rather close to the structure of the final game, but it's clearly missing content, particularly in the form of subclasses and feats. And that doesn't include the modules they're working on with the targeted playtests. Sure, there will be some changes, based on the last survey, but don't expect much.

Access to the free playtest packets will have little to no negative effect on sales of the final product, in the same way that the SRD being freely available has had little effect on sales of 3.5 or Pathfinder. People do place value on art, layout, and the sense of ownership form purchasing a product.


I'd be absolutely shocked if the 5e release isn't much less like the final playtest packet than the Pathfinder Release is like the Pathfinder Beta. (I never saw the alpha.) Pathfinder underwent some minor adjustments (many of which just made it MORE like 3.5 again) between the beta and the launch, whereas we already know about more significant changes that have been at least considered - and sometimes tentatively or firmly implemented - after the last Next playtest packet. Additionally, while the PF beta was essentially complete, I suspect that there'll a lot of additional material that'll make it into the final 5e product (including at least one class and probably a giant pile of options.)

I can sort of imagine somebody feeling like, because they have the PF beta, they don't really need PF, but I'd be surprised if the 5e release isn't a much more substantial upgrade over the packet on several fronts.


Relaxed Intensity
I remember there being a series of combat feats that formed a fighting game style combo chain that really set the Paizo forums off. Initial hp were also set higher with options for lower hp. Monks had full BAB. I actually really liked what I saw with the alpha, but most of the stuff that excited me got cut.

How much of the final product will be like the playtest? I mean, the two can't be very similar because if they were, then there would be no need to even buy the books. You already have a free copy.
I doubt very much they can restrain themselves from making sweeping changes. There wasn't a package that had a similar version of the fighter, I don't see them being stable now.

Li Shenron

How much of the final product will be like the playtest? I mean, the two can't be very similar because if they were, then there would be no need to even buy the books. You already have a free copy.

The SRD in 3e era didn't prevent it to be a huge commercial success, so I don't think the above is true. Even if the final product is the same (which it won't), I wouldn't worry.

Anyway, I expect the final product to be significantly different at the lower scale: actual numbers, bonuses, x/day, and any details of a mechanic or a spell can change in the next few months. Class features may move up/down in level, be shoved into a subclass or viceversa, and some will probably disappear and be replaced by something new.

But at the higher scale, the game won't change except maybe a couple of things, that might revert to previous iterations (but I cannot guess which ones). For example, I don't expect any change to how combat and spellcasting work, to multiclassing rules, to the mechanic of skills and feats, to rules of proficiencies, etc.

Now when it comes to content of the books, I would really like to know what they plan to include. I would expect the core 3 books to have at least all the stuff shown in the last playtest packet, but that is not a guarantee. They might decide to scrap some parts off, e.g. the exploration rules, but I hope they won't.

And more specifically in terms of character material, I would certainly like to have more than just 2 subclasses per class (which is the case with many of them), and at least a triple amount of feats because they are very, very few... if you want something else than combat feats or feats that grant spells, you end up always with the same few feats. Unfortunately IMO the current packet is quite large already, and once you factor in the artwork there might be no space left for additional character material in core, especially if they want to include Sorcerer and Warlock. :(

I'd rather have few magic items than few feats, because magic items in 5e are allowed to be more free-form which means a more relaxed job at balancing your own custom magic items, but IMHO if you make your own feats you still have to balance them carefully with the existing ones.


There's a few things we can be certain of for the final product...

1) Some numbers will change. The playtest we have has not decent testing of the math, so I'd expect to see a large number of small changes that don't change the feel much, but do add more balance and rigour.

2) Lots more content. More subclasses, more fighting styles, more feats, more backgrounds, more spells. A few more classes, but not many.

3) The real meat of the game. Advice for players, advice for GMs. Better explanations and a plethora of examples.

We can probably also expect to see some larger structural changes. Actually codifying what the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced games are might take a few months of releases, but it'll be a big difference to what we have now. The modules WotC have talked about will also provide some big structural tweaks.

There will probably be some surprises as well. I just hope they're good or neutral ones :)

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads