D&D 5E If it fails, this is one reason why...

Evenglare

Adventurer
The thing that turns me off with 5th edition (other than wizards rampant use of the word iteration explicitly used to side step the word "edition") is when it started with 4th edition. Let me clarify. I love 4th edition, absolutely love it. I also love 3.5, pathfinder etc etc. But wizards has this way of hyping their game up then abandoning it before it's "done". So let me explain. 3.5 was out and I had bought every 3.5 book available and was a very loyal customer. They then announce 4th edition which was the 2nd coming of christ. It would fix all our issues with the game and would be the best edition ever etc etc. Then it comes out and us 3.5 supporters basically have to buy the same books over again with new rules. I mean... essentially that is exactly what happened. That's fine. 4th edition did fix the rules etc etc. I was annoyed but OK, this is THE D&D. Great!

Then they announce essentials, the ever green product that would be the foundation of D&D for the foreseeable future, it would provide an entry point and be compatible with 4th edition products but the new rules would be in the essential format which should satisfy those 3.5 people who liked THOSE rules..... Ok.... So we buy the essentials books, and then people have issues with it. It wasn't what was promised, or at least it didn't live up to the hype.

Fast forward to the beginning of last year. D&D NEXT is announced this new "iteration"! It will address the complaints of past editions (as 4th edition claimed to) and unite the fans with old school rule styles (like essentials claimed to). And now guess what?! You get to buy all the books again you bought for 3.5 and then AGAIN for 4th edition (i never played 2nd but I can only imagine this feeling is compounded by the people who have all THOSE books).

I'm pretty damn tired of being gouged by wizards to buy their most current version of D&D when , as history tells us from 4th edition, they will just abandon the damn game and start a new edition if enough people complain. Why I say "abandon" is that 4th edition was not finished... at all... they did not give us a DM 3 guide which should have addressed epic tier play. It pisses me off the more I think about it. Mike Mearls and clan always seem to say " HEY LOOK AT THIS NEW THING WE ARE GOING TO DO!!!!!" then they do it, and contract some sort of ADD where they abandon what they are trying to do and say " HEY STOP LOOKING AT THAT THING WE JUST DID AND LOOK AT THIS COOL NEW THING!!!".

Then I know many people will come back with "Hey, you don't HAVE to buy the books, just play with what you have" And to those people I say "I enjoy playing a game that is supported by the company that makes it". I don't want to convert rules from the newest edition the old one I am playing, I want my game to be supported.

TLDR; FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP CHANGING EDITIONS AND STICK WITH ONE !
 
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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
TLDR; FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP CHANGING EDITIONS AND STICK WITH ONE !

I'm going to come right out and say, "That's never going to happen." And, for the most part, it has rarely happened with any RPG with any longevity. The designers think of new things to add, the game gets cluttery with stuff from disparate supplements and needs to be cleaned up and revised, and, boom, they come up with a new edition. For the most part, this is a good process. But then, for most games, the changes are incremental. A shift in ship building or the addition of a regular task resolution system for Traveller, an increase in the number of education-based skill points for Call of Cthulhu, the reorganization of martial arts into separate maneuvers to buy in Champions, and so on. By the time a new edition may come along, there may be hundreds of these changes but they tend to leave the feel of the game and the game play pretty close to the previous edition. You can often use the same supplements or adventures planned in one, modestly converted, in the subsequent edition, extending the life of the items you shelled out money to buy a year or two ago.

And then there are less successful changes. Traveller morphs from the Marc Miller system to the GDW in-house Twilight: 2000 system in New Era, D&D 3.5 gives way to 4e, Cyberpunk 2020 goes to Fuzion. These all break with previous editions so significantly that it's very hard to use the same supplements, you almost certainly can't use the same stats from them, and the feel of game play may radically change. Your investment in other materials to support the game now requires a lot more work to continue to use unless you resign yourself to playing the older, out of print game that will inevitably have a declining player base.

I may be pretty biased here since I've felt burned more than once in an edition change (I was a BIG fan of Traveller and it's follow-up in MegaTraveller - not so much for New Era, big fan of D&D though 3.5 - not so much for 4e), but I generally favor an evolutionary approach to edition change. That way the things I buy, that I may not run right away, can be brought out a few years down the road and used relatively seamlessly with the new edition we picked up and adopted because it fixed one or two sore points in the rules. We played/ran a hybridized 1e/2e game pretty much as soon as 2e came out because it was so easy to do so. The 1e adventures and source books I bought were still over 90% useful without conversion necessary. It was very convenient. The shift from 2e to 3e was less convenient but not too hard to convert, moreover many of the same assumptions could still work within the game. But the shift from 3e to 4e? Not so easy.
 

Wicht

Hero
TLDR; FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP CHANGING EDITIONS AND STICK WITH ONE !

I feel your pain.

I think I would reword it however to: Stop changing the core and stick with one set of gaming assumptions and make edition changes incremental. I'll echo what Billd91 said, the change from 1e to 2e was a breeze. The switch to 3e was intuitive and felt natural. 4e was the deal-breaker with its new set of assumptions (non-intuitive assumptions), reworked cosmology, and a whole different feel. Skipping that, the change from 3e to Pathfinder was as easy as the 1e to 2e change, or even easier.

WotC needs to settle on a core game and then go from there. Permanently (or as close to permanently as possible). "Edition" changes need to be minor things, fixing a few things here or there, making tweaks. Not rebuilding the game every 5 years from the ground up.
 

lutecius

Explorer
TLDR; FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP CHANGING EDITIONS AND STICK WITH ONE !
Well, a company has to sell something. As much as I disliked 4e, 3.5 was pretty much "done", as you put it. The most important parts were covered and niche products like option books and settings don't generate enough revenue. Pathfinder may have been backward compatible but it was still a new take and also involved buying new core books.

As for 4e, yeah, the marketing was a bit arrogant but I'm sure they honestly thought it would be widely acclaimed and would last longer than it did. Game designers aren't psychics, though. What would you have them do when a significant (or, at least, vocal) portion of their fan base hates the new direction and flock to a smaller competitor… when the books (including the essential line) and their online model don't sell as much as they hoped?
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
TLDR; FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP CHANGING EDITIONS AND STICK WITH ONE !
Or, as I keep arguing for, more than one. Support 3.5 and 4e. We could be have Complete Incarnum 3 by this point if they hadn't shut down the line. They could have run 4e with 3 books a year, a PHB, DMG and MM X. Build a character builder to support 3.5 along with 4e. Occasionally put out campaign settings that are gazetteer style. Separate books for the campaign setting with 3.5 crunch and 4e crunch. Get ambitious and restart the 1e or BECMI lines! It would be exciting, and the one thing that WotC hasn't been able to do in a while is get us excited. The last true excitement I felt for a Wizards release was the PHB3.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
Or, as I keep arguing for, more than one. Support 3.5 and 4e. We could be have Complete Incarnum 3 by this point if they hadn't shut down the line. They could have run 4e with 3 books a year, a PHB, DMG and MM X. Build a character builder to support 3.5 along with 4e. Occasionally put out campaign settings that are gazetteer style. Separate books for the campaign setting with 3.5 crunch and 4e crunch. Get ambitious and restart the 1e or BECMI lines! It would be exciting, and the one thing that WotC hasn't been able to do in a while is get us excited. The last true excitement I felt for a Wizards release was the PHB3.

I agree with this. Recent threads here on EN world on issues like hp/ hits on a miss etc, have illustrated how entrenched and divergent edition based play styles are. Personally, I liked 4th ed because of its willingness to slaughter sacred cows and try new things and therefore support a different style of play. I dont understand why there is such valuing of past editions and legacy in the D&D community, such that it is a principle of game design in DDN. When DDN was released I though a common game framework was possible and desireable, now I just think it is fantasy.

Do we really need to have a common ruleset? It just seems idealistic to me.
 

Evenglare

Adventurer
Or, as I keep arguing for, more than one.

YES! That would be GREAT! I also should have prefaced my TLDR with a sort of time frame. Let's say 20 years inbetween editions. Not 4 or 5. This isn't a video game console cycle, there is no need to upgrade the graphics every year.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I dont understand why there is such valuing of past editions and legacy in the D&D community
It's called tradition.

There's many ways they could improve baseball, but it doesn't happen - tradition.

The Indy 500 - the cars improve and change all the time but they've still got to go 500 miles around that track - tradition.

I want to be able to look at (and play) today's D&D and be able to at least vaguely relate it to the D&D I played 30 years ago; and all the play in between. It ain't so easy to do this any more.

TwoSix said:
Or, as I keep arguing for, more than one. Support 3.5 and 4e.
No. Support 1e/Basic and 4e as different games with different names geared to different audiences, and abandon 3e as lost to Paizo. Failing that, support 1e/Basic and 3e as opposite ends of a D&D spectrum and either abandon 4e or spin it off as something else.

Lan-"if something done 20 years ago isn't relevant now, it probably wasn't relevant then either"-efan
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
No. Support 1e/Basic and 4e as different games with different names geared to different audiences, and abandon 3e as lost to Paizo. Failing that, support 1e/Basic and 3e as opposite ends of a D&D spectrum and either abandon 4e or spin it off as something else.
So you're saying you think they could support two lines, but not three?
 


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