Black and white doesn't prevent reading, and doesn't prevent discerning details. There are a lot of details (eg visual textures, saturation) that can be discerned independently of colour.
Dim light/partial obscurement strikes me as the bigger issue, although I think someone with good eyesight might be able to read large text held close, even in dim light.
Being able to read isn't affected by the lack of color. It's simply due to not having enough light to make out the letters regardless of contrast.
I really encourage you to try the experiment I mentioned where you try to read 10 feet away from a candle, tablet/smartphone on flashlight mode, or similar light source in an otherwise dark room. You can read very easily when you're adjacent to the light, but moving just 10 feet away makes it impossible, and 10 feet away is where there's dim light. You can probably make out the letters on the cover of the PHB, but you really won't be able to read the contents at all.
I'd want more creatures to have heightened senses though. Gnoll, Owlbears, etc. should have a better sense of smell for example that they could use to hunt in the dark. This is something you could even give to creatures that aren't necessarily bestial, such as Vampires.
Where as I'd allow; Drow, Duerger, Deep Gnomes, Mind Flayer, Beholder, Drider, Gargoyle, Quaggoths, Umber Hulks, Formorian, Hags, Merrow and Merfolk to all have Darkvision... these all make sense to me. Anything else, not so much. I especially hate the idea of Kobolds, Goblins, and Orcs having darkvision as I consider them "starter enemies", and I like to encourage my players to use tactics to take down the enemies. If they get used to the enemies all having "I can always see everything" vision, they'll never try cleaver tactics in the future.
Owlbears have owl eyes. Which are eyes designed to work in the dark. Vampires are "children of the night". Do you really want vampires having to carry around lanterns while sneaking about?5th edition darkvision is actually sub-par for what I would expect.
I'd say your hatred carries a bit too far, particularly that kobolds, goblins and orcs are subterranean/cave dwelling races that evolved underground. Orcs used to have a penalty to hit in 1st edition from light sensitivity IIRC. Also, as noted, 5E darkvision sucks. It just gives you crappy 60' vision, at disadvantage. -5 to passive perception is hardly "I can see everything" vision. Its more like "can your 10 dex untrained doofus not roll a 4 or less to sneak past me" vision.
Neither owls nor bears having Darkvision though... check the animal listings.
Admittedly what people are describing sounds more like Low Light Vision to me. The problem I have is them being able to treat dim light as bright light, and complete darkness as dim light. It's too much I feel. Still creature by creature I could make an argument... Vampires for example, fair enough; Zombies, Skeletons, Wraiths etc. no, they don't need Darkvision.
Yeah, but that's because they abstract everything too much. As far as I'm concerned passing a Stealth check means nothing if your moving past any creature that can see. You auto-fail the Stealth check. Why? Because you can no more stealth in a room without cover than you can Swim in a pool without water. You can roll as many natural 20s in Athletics as you like, you can't swim if there's no water. The same goes for Stealth. So yes, technically RAW Darkvision is a lot less powerful than I first thought, but that's because the writers didn't write practical skills into the game, they just put in arbitrary contests. As far as I'm concerned Darkvision should be like Infravision of previous generations, and it should be limited to a few magical creatures, and Underdark races. Even Orcs etc. shouldn't get it I feel, because depending on your campaign setting they're not strictly subterranean; same goes for Dwarves. (in fact the number of subterranean creatures in general is too damn high; most animals live in forests, jungles, grasslands, and where possible; along rivers and coastline. They don't all pile into miles of underground caves... some do sure, but most don't.
Why? Because you can no more stealth in a room without cover than you can Swim in a pool without water.
I'm just about sick of Darkvision.
So do others agree, and if so, would you house rule a change to this?
I don't need to do the experiment - I won't be able to read in bad light 10 feet away!I really encourage you to try the experiment I mentioned where you try to read 10 feet away from a candle, tablet/smartphone on flashlight mode, or similar light source in an otherwise dark room. You can read very easily when you're adjacent to the light, but moving just 10 feet away makes it impossible, and 10 feet away is where there's dim light. You can probably make out the letters on the cover of the PHB, but you really won't be able to read the contents at all.
I would personally really like to understand the thought process behind giving both elves and half-elves access to darkvision.
Like, what game or story or balance reason is there for making that continuity break with every single past edition of D&D? Just to be different?
In 5e, darkvision is also low-light vision.
And, I don't remember about the half-elf, but in AD&D, the elf did, indeed, have infravision and could see in absolute darkness.