D&D 5E Late Stage 5e Characters... Do they differ greatly from early 5e characters?

Hmmm...I went back and looked over the party composition for my beginner groups at school from the past four years, and I'm not seeing a ton of changes. Still more humans than anything else, and then elves.
While there have always been people that play humans because they like playing humans, I think it's telling that for all the weird and wild and exciting options that came along since 2014, human's abilities still appeal to folks.
 

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Li Shenron

Legend
We are entering the twilight years of original 5e. It's made me reflect on what it was like at the beginning, the excitement of trying out these new classes, finding interesting combinations, recognizing great or poor designs...

Over time more options have been added, and older options have been analyzed to death, undeath, and death again. I'm curious if that has changed character-build choices at your table.

Have you found that characters have changed over the course of 5e? Are the characters being made now at your table much different than the ones made at the beginning of 5e (or whenever you first started playing)? Or are they more or less the same?
For me they are more or less the same, but I suppose it's mainly because I've never adopted Tasha's book, and I avoid playing with hardcore fans and prefer casual gamers (family, friends and workmates).
 

ad_hoc

(they/them)
Mostly the same.

We have Tasha's and Xanathars but people don't tend to use much out of them.

Maybe 1 character has a new subclass on average. The new spells get used and we also tend to have 1 of the lineages that were added later.
 

Irlo

Hero
My late stage spellcasters have very different spell selections than they did years ago. Sometimes that means suboptimal PCs, but I want to play casters differently than I've done and that I've seen played by others. I'm pretty well sick and tired of the go-to "best" spells.
 

Clint_L

Hero
The trend I am seeing is that there is a significant chunk of players who pretty much stick to the more traditional fantasy species: humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, orcs or half-orcs. Maybe two thirds of players. And the other third were always open to more exotic options, and now have more choices. So while that core 2/3 hasn't changed much, the remaining third is increasingly diverse. In the past, it was usually tielfings, goliaths, and dragonborn, but now I also see tortles, kenku, tabaxi, hollow ones, etc.
 

jgsugden

Legend
This is going to change from table to table and player to player.

Personally, I have a running list of characters I'd like to play. It has heritage/race, class(es), and personality written up. When I get an opportunity to play, I pick one of them based upon what makes sense for the campaign/game I am joining. I add to the list as new options pop up. I've played over 120 PCs in 5E and the list of options I still want to play is thill several hundred long. There are pretty basic things on there and some convoluted ideas mixing several subclass benefits or reskinning classes to represent something else.

All in all - options expanded, but people still select some of the basics amongst the expanded options available.
 

Have you found that characters have changed over the course of 5e? Are the characters being made now at your table much different than the ones made at the beginning of 5e (or whenever you first started playing)? Or are they more or less the same?
There's one real change I've seen - people like Humans just as much as ever, but the "standard D&D races" have basically vanished, replaced by Tieflings, Dragonborn, Warforged, Goliaths (pre-Giants), Satyrs, Lizardfolk, Hobgoblins, Aasimar and so on. And removing fixed ability scores has made this more of a thing.

Note that this is not a case of optimisation - Elves and Elf-variants are some of the most optimal races with free stat placement, Dragonborn (we don't have the dragon book version) some of the worst - they're picked more because people like the idea and nothing is stopping them. Humans are still common - I think every single group has at least one - something not consistently true in 2E, 3E, or 4E I note - but dwarves and elves are largely replaced (I did play a Wood Elf pretty recently), with only Half-Orcs and Half-Elves making the odd appearance from the "boring" races. We never saw much in the way of gnomes and halflings, and both are particularly uninteresting in 5E so they're even less likely to be seen.
 

ECMO3

Hero
We are entering the twilight years of original 5e. It's made me reflect on what it was like at the beginning, the excitement of trying out these new classes, finding interesting combinations, recognizing great or poor designs...

Over time more options have been added, and older options have been analyzed to death, undeath, and death again. I'm curious if that has changed character-build choices at your table.

Have you found that characters have changed over the course of 5e? Are the characters being made now at your table much different than the ones made at the beginning of 5e (or whenever you first started playing)? Or are they more or less the same?

In my games yes. Recent characters almost always have some late stage options. I am still playing early game options though too.

Right now I am playing:
20th level Stout Halfling (early) Bladesinger18 (late), Death Cleric 2 (early) with Gift of metallic Dragon (Late) and Second Chance (Late), custom background (early), mix of PHB and late spells.

10th Level Dhampir (late), Long Death Monk 8 (late), Death Cleric 1 (early), Shadow Sorcerer 1 (late), mostly PHB spells, Fey Touched feat (late), Wildspacer background (late)

4th level Goblin (late), Enchantment Wizard 3 (early), Lunar Sorcererer 1 (late), custom background (early), all PHB spells so far.

3rd level Tiefling (early), Rogue 1 (early), Bard 2 (early), Haunted one Background (late), all PHB spells so far.
 
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