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D&D 5E Is 5e really that different?

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The High Aldwin
Why does 5e make so many people upset?
Such as what complaints? I would think when people complained that would explain why.

What many people complain about is often seen by others as a feature of 5E, not a bug.

For example, I don't like the lack of rules and/or incomplete rules on my things, but others like that they can just make a "ruling" in the moment instead of having concrete "rules."


Great Old One
The last new version I learned to run was 4e. I wasn't bad, thought I still prefer earlier editions. Why does 5e make so many people upset?

I'm not sure that it makes many people upset, it's by far the most popular edition ever. It's usually people who like 4e who are upset by 5e, for a number of reasons:
  • 4e was very innovative (although quite disruptive, in both good and bad ways), and has taken the brunt of displeasure for what some people consider bad reasons.
  • 5e is the complete opposite of 4e in design philosophy if you look at the D&D editions.
  • 5e's innovation are partially based on some of 4e ideas, and some people feel it's not recognised enough.
  • 5e's innovations are along lines that some people really like and others don't and in particular:
    • It is not a technical edition at all, there is little inherent crunch (it's not the intent anyway, but some people don't like that principle)
    • It is written in natural language instead of technical jargon, and while it's certainly a reason for its very large success outside of its usual "geeky" market some people would prefer more precise rules.
    • The whole bounded accuracy is feeling a bit too limiting to some people, who would like more difference between lvl 1 and lvl 20
And possibly many more. But a lot of people (myself included) love 5e, and don't think that it upsets that many people...

5e upsets people?

The only complaints I've heard is that it's too popular, making it harder to get people to try different games. But that's usually rooted in a desire to play another specific game - ie it somewhat hard to convince people to switch to Pathfinder 2e.

This is because the majority (vast majority, I think) of people playing 5e don't have any real complaints. Even here - we have criticisms and stuff we'd like to see improved, but we want basically more 5e, because it's fun and we like having fun.


Your can't possibly make EVERYONE happy!

But, my group is a combination of 3e and 4e lovers who, while they didn't like 4e (the 3e lovers) or 3e (the 4e lovers) are all happily playing 5e together.

Does it do everything well? Hardly! But as long as you recognize what works (especially for your group) it's a pretty good game that seems to unite D&D lovers.


Some people just like to vent? Nothing is perfect and it's impossible to please everyone. There will always be compromises in decisions. A lot of pushback seems to be from people that were big fans of 4E because even though 5E borrows some things from it, the majority of it was tossed aside for older styles and concepts.

Then you get the never-ending fights about what D&D should be because it doesn't include something that people want. People tend to believe that just because they want it and some of their friends at least seem to agree that there is widespread demand for something. Whether that's more technical rules, rules on how to run kingdoms or what a fighter should or should not be, different people have different desires.

In some ways I think this is an issue because 5E is more flexible than the previous couple of editions which attempted to be more and more prescriptive. That if only the designers could lock down a specific style, have rules that encompassed more aspects of the game that people would stop arguing. Except that doesn't work either because it just becomes a never-ending rabbit hole.

I think that decision, to have rulings over rules is a big part of why 5E is as popular as it is. But with flexibility comes a cost in lack of precision and not having concrete answers while not giving enough flexibility for some people. I still see people saying we were "promised" a modular system which, as far as I've ever seen, was just a one time comment by Mike Mearls when 5E was still very early in development. Point out all the optional rules that we now have, everything from feats to things introduced in Tasha's, does not count of course. But they expected something that simply wasn't (and probably turned out ot be incompatible with other goals) be delivered.

Last, but not least, it's an easy target. Want to get noticed on social media? Talk up how horrible something really popular is. You'll get plenty of eyeballs just from people who disagree along with people who have only heard of the game.


5e upsets people?

The only complaints I've heard is that it's too popular, making it harder to get people to try different games. But that's usually rooted in a desire to play another specific game - ie it somewhat hard to convince people to switch to Pathfinder 2e.

When I've seen people "upset" this is generally the reason. I have a good friend who dislikes the fact that when he goes to gaming conventions, so much of the air is taken up by 5e (generally followed closely by pathfinder). Or that if he wants to find a game, 5e games are simple to fine but ANY other system is difficult to impossible.

My theory in that is the simple fact that 5e and Pathfinder, in addition to being the biggest, also have BY FAR the most premade adventures out there - which makes a huge difference in people wanting to run games

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