log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E Musings on the likelihood of future products

Mercurius

Legend
Re: the last two posts, I think the key is finding that sweet-spot between "pretty new covers, but why should I buy this book?" and "Ugh, you're telling me I have to buy this to be fully compatible with what is next?" In my opinion that is 5.1 or 5.2.

WotC is a company, and a subsidiary to a larger company. Company = business = driven by economics = money. The 50th anniversary is a good opportunity to make money. The key is how they do that, and doing it in such way a way that feelings of exploitation are minimized and are far outweighed by happy customers. Again, 5.1 or 5.2.

I'd even argue that "5.25" is the tipping point. If they can pull 5.2 off, that would potentially be the most lucrative, but it is also playing a bit close to the edge. 5.1 is safer, but without as much upside (that is, it doesn't improve the game as much, and will have more people saying "why should I buy this just for pictures and a new foreword?"
 

log in or register to remove this ad

WotC has got a strategy about the parper-printer books to be sold. And if today they can make money selling PDFs in DM Guild then the sourcebooks from the previous editions still can be useful.

My suggestion for the anniversary is to republish a limited of the older editions. I don't advice to try sell the same books with some extras. Don't you remember when any gamers would rather to wait to buy the goty edition of that new videogame?
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I don't think new rules that sit on top of old rules is impossible if they're offered as an addendum, not as a replacement. Like if they put out a new fighter in a hypothetical "50th Anniversary PHB", with 3 new subclasses instead of Champion, Battle Master and Eldritch Knight, and with 5 different fighting styles. It comes with a spelled out caveat that this is NOT a replacement for the PHB fighter, but just a different, fully compatible fighter.

To me, that's the best of both worlds, it's new content for those looking for it but nothing is invalidated. I mean, I have several revised versions of PHB classes I use in my own games, that doesn't mean I don't also allow the PHB version if the player prefers it.
A "Player's Handbook" missing classic subclasses with new subclasses ... isn't the Player's Handbook. It's a book like Xanathar's. I am not at all against that type of book. Don't take any of this as my preference, this is my prognostication - what I think will happen. And I think they have no reason to attempt something that had a large backlash last time they did it and with no real advantage if it works.

Personally, I am all for new content that isn't an overlap or just another way to realize something already covered but with different mechanics. I think they'd put that into it's own book that everyone would buy. Not a 70% reprint of the PHB with some changes.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Are you talking about Essentials? That was two years after the core rulebooks were released, not ten.
No, I am not talking about Essentials. I am talking about 4e rewriting whole subsystems via errata.

Anyhow, it is a spectrum--with degrees of alteration from errata to a new edition. I don't agree with the idea that anything beyond errata is a significant enough revision to create backlash. There will be a small minority that are upset about any changes--there always are--and people who feel that WotC is "forcing" them to buy new books, no matter what they do beyond reprints, but I just don't agree with the notion that minor revisions and added parts is such a bad idea 10 years in.
I've provided historical context why I feel this would be a big deal that they would stay away from. Please provide support for your comments. Just repreating them gives them no more weight than before as an unsupported opinion that does not match what has happened historically.

Also, please justify this in the only context I have been speaking about - the forecast of the 50th Anniversary core books. Because your arguments seem to be around what you want, and want isn't part of this discussion. I do want revisions - I was very happy with the UA Class Features. However, the comment you are replying on is entirely about what I expect to see in the 50th Anniversary book release, not about what I want to see published, in that book or others.
 

Undrave

Hero
No, I am not talking about Essentials. I am talking about 4e rewriting whole subsystems via errata.
What, you mean refining the Skill Challenge system?

A "Player's Handbook" missing classic subclasses with new subclasses ... isn't the Player's Handbook. It's a book like Xanathar's. I am not at all against that type of book. Don't take any of this as my preference, this is my prognostication - what I think will happen. And I think they have no reason to attempt something that had a large backlash last time they did it and with no real advantage if it works.
'Classic' in what way? The Champion isn't any more classic than any other version of the Fighter. My suggestion would be to reprint the Cavalier, since it's a name with history in the franchise, and then make a new version of the 'Brute' as a variation on the champion's concept of a simple fighter, and so forth.

I wouldn't replace ALL the subclasses (the Thief for one is pretty classic and the Eldritch Knight is a serviceable gish) but I would replace some that are just incarnations of a vague concept. Beastmaster could be replaced with a new version that use the Beast of the Land and Beast of the Sky concept, just give it a different name and nobody will complain much. You can still use the old version or use the new one, whichever work.

The idea would be to bring back some older names to the fore but using the ten years worth of designing experience to make interesting new subclasses.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Are you talking about Essentials? That was two years after the core rulebooks were released, not ten.

Anyhow, it is a spectrum--with degrees of alteration from errata to a new edition. I don't agree with the idea that anything beyond errata is a significant enough revision to create backlash. There will be a small minority that are upset about any changes--there always are--and people who feel that WotC is "forcing" them to buy new books, no matter what they do beyond reprints, but I just don't agree with the notion that minor revisions and added parts is such a bad idea 10 years in.

Or something like so:

5.0 reprints with errata
5.1 as above, plus new art, index, minor additons (e.g. a sub-class here or there), no rules changes beyond clarifying language.
5.2. as above, plus minor tweaks to things like monster stats, maybe a new class or two, or new version of old class (e.g. ranger, sorcerer).
5.3 as above, but more.
5.4 as above, but more significant adjustments.
5.5. significant revision.

Or something like that. My guess is that Wizards settles on 5.1, but I think 5.2 is possible - and doesn't "require" anyone to buy new books for forward compatibility.

So to @Parmandur , I agree that they don't want to "make anyone feel that they need to buy a new book," but I do think they would want to make people feel that the want to buy new books, but don't need to. To me that would be 5.1 to 5.2.
WotC isn't going to do anything above 5.0 at least for a long while.

Ever heard of "if it 'aint broke, don't fix it"? I don't mean this for 5E itself (a lot of players do have problems with the ruleset), what I mean is that 5E has proven EXTREMELY profitable for WotC under its current release schedule.

If anything, sales of D&D have accelerated in recent years. The PHB, DMG, and MM remain the best selling books of 5E; why would WotC even try to jeopardize that strong position?

The answer is they won't. In fact, their Hasbro overlords may even block an attempt if they ever tried (viewing it as a cash cow attempting suicide). No, 5E is far more likely to stay the course by pumping out new adventures and settings that gradually add more options and rules. Another Xanathar's is probably coming as well (the first just sold so well), but that type of content requires way more testing to ever be released annually.
 

Mercurius

Legend
No, I am not talking about Essentials. I am talking about 4e rewriting whole subsystems via errata.

I've provided historical context why I feel this would be a big deal that they would stay away from. Please provide support for your comments. Just repreating them gives them no more weight than before as an unsupported opinion that does not match what has happened historically.

Also, please justify this in the only context I have been speaking about - the forecast of the 50th Anniversary core books. Because your arguments seem to be around what you want, and want isn't part of this discussion. I do want revisions - I was very happy with the UA Class Features. However, the comment you are replying on is entirely about what I expect to see in the 50th Anniversary book release, not about what I want to see published, in that book or others.
I didn't realize that we were engaged in legal proceedings ;-). And yes, I too am talking about 50th anniversary core books. But I remain unconvinced by your argument, which I think hasn't negated my view on this. Ultimately I don't know--none of us knows. I am merely presenting what I think makes most sense. This may diverge to varying degrees to what I think they'll actually do and what I'd like them to do.

Historical Context: With 5E we're in uncharted territory. Not only is the game thriving in an unprecedented way--or at least since the early 80s--but they're also taking a very different approach to product, with quality-over-quantity or "less is more" approach. Couple that with the increased role of the internet and the cultural-societal context, and it is a very different ball-game. Part of that is uncertainty: bigger issues (beyond RPGs) aside, we don't know how long this period will last, whether it is a bubble that will eventually burst, or if it is a rising tide. At some point there will be a slowing down, but we don't know if it will be followed with a crash or a plateauing. With that, we also don't know if WotC has plans to maintain the 4-books-a-year approach, go back to 3, or up to 5, even with possible other products, new game lines, etc. It is all speculative, and should be fun. With that in mind, let's look at history...

4E: You keep mentioning this as if it means anything. It doesn't, or very little, for a variety of reasons. For one, the community response to 4E was far more negative. Secondly, the edition cycle was very short: less than four years, with really only three years of extensive support. To compare revisions within the first 2-3 years of 4E to a 10-year core ruleset isn't very useful. 4E was a different game, the community response was different, the product support was different (remember one hardcover a month?).

Edition Cycles: OD&D came out in 1974, with the game splitting into Basic and Advanced starting in 1977. The edition format started with AD&D, that's core rulebooks were complete by 1979. The two lines saw the following edition cycles, with new editions in bold, and major revisions/expansions in regular, and re-packaging in parentheses.

Basic.x: 1977, 1981, 1983-85, 1991, (1995).
AD&D: 1977-79, 1985*, 1989, 1995.
D&D: 2000, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2014, ???

*I don't really consider Unearthed Arcana a revision, but some do as it did expand the core game somewhat, which is why I include "revisions/expansions" as the same category. Similarly for the minor-to-moderate adjustments of the Basic line.

So from that, we can ascertain a couple things:
1. Every edition has received some kind of revision or expansion, with the possible exception of 1E, depending upon how you consider UA.
2. The revisions or expansions within a 2-6 year timeframe of the new edition.
3. The time between major editions is 10, 11, and 6 years.

Given all of that, the historical precedent clearly supports at least the possibility of a 50th anniversary revision, to whatever degree. But it is worth pointing out again that we've never seen a revision after 10 years--it has always been within 6 years, and in the last two editions, 2-3 years.

But again, historical precedents have limited value. We are in uncharted waters. As I've said several times, I highly doubt that WotC will do a true revision (5.5) in 2024, or even a moderate revision (5.3-5.4). I see three likely scenarios:

1. They put out 50th anniversary versions of the core rulebooks with fancy new covers and maybe a foreword of some kind commemorating the history of the game ("5.0 reskinned").
2. As above, but they add a few new bells and whistles and a few minor tweaks ("5.1").
3. As above, but more bells and whistles and tweaks ("5.2").

Anything beyond that would be unlikely. They will almost certainly make sure it is fully backwards compatible, and that people don't "need" to buy the books to continue playing 5E. But they will also do enough that people will want to.
 

Mercurius

Legend
WotC isn't going to do anything above 5.0 at least for a long while.

Ever heard of "if it 'aint broke, don't fix it"? I don't mean this for 5E itself (a lot of players do have problems with the ruleset), what I mean is that 5E has proven EXTREMELY profitable for WotC under its current release schedule.

If anything, sales of D&D have accelerated in recent years. The PHB, DMG, and MM remain the best selling books of 5E; why would WotC even try to jeopardize that strong position?

The answer is they won't. In fact, their Hasbro overlords may even block an attempt if they ever tried (viewing it as a cash cow attempting suicide). No, 5E is far more likely to stay the course by pumping out new adventures and settings that gradually add more options and rules. Another Xanathar's is probably coming as well (the first just sold so well), but that type of content requires way more testing to ever be released annually.
Because 2024 is four years from now, things can change, and it is an opportunity to sell even more books. I'm not a business person, but I imagine that long-term planning in any business doesn't base the future on the idea that things won't change.

5.1 or 5.2 doesn't "fix" anything. It adds to and improves on something that already exists. It isn't major renovation, but a new paint job, and maybe a tweaking here and there and a very minor addition (e.g. a new vanity or bookshelf).

My sense is that there's an underlying viewpoint, among those who think even a minor revision is unlikely, that equates anything above 5.0 with 5.5, even if subconsciously. This is why I keep going with the refrain of recognizing a spectrum of possibilities (5.0, 5.1, 5.2, etc). I just don't think a 5.1 or 5.2 jeopardizes anything, especially if they do it (and spin it) right.
 

5.1 or 5.2 doesn't "fix" anything. It adds to and improves on something that already exists. It isn't major renovation, but a new paint job, and maybe a tweaking here and there and a very minor addition (e.g. a new vanity or bookshelf).
Irrelevant as printed products. They would just release errata.
 

Mercurius

Legend
I came across this survey follow-up from five years ago that probably still remains valid, considering most of the folks who would have taken the survey then are probably still around today, even if part of a much larger community of D&D players. But in short, Mike Mearls offers "three distinct clusters" of popularity among classic D&D settings:

The popularity of settings in the survey fell into three distinct clusters. Not surprisingly, our most popular settings from prior editions landed at the top of the rankings, with Eberron, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, and the Forgotten Realms all proving equally popular. Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Spelljammer all shared a similar level of second-tier popularity, followed by a fairly steep drop-off to the rest of the settings. My sense is that Spelljammer has often lagged behind the broad popularity of other settings, falling into love-it-or-hate-it status depending on personal tastes. Greyhawk and Dragonlance hew fairly close to the assumptions we used in creating the fifth edition rulebooks, making them much easier to run with material from past editions. Of the top five settings, four require significant new material to function and the fifth is by far our most popular world.

(A few people asked about Al-Qadim in the comments field, since it wasn’t included in the survey. The reason for that is because we think of that setting as part of the Forgotten Realms. Why did Kara-Tur end up on the list, then? Because I make mistakes!)
So while he says, at first, the first tier are "all equally popular," later in the same paragraph he says that of the top five, "four require significant new material to function and the fifth is by far our most popular world." I think it is clear which one that is.

So I would suggest the following:

Most Popular D&D World: Forgotten Realms
First Cluster: Dark Sun, Eberron, Planescape, Ravenloft
Second Cluster: Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Spelljammer
Third Cluster (after steep drop): "Everything else" (including Mystara, Kara-Tur, Ghostwalk, etc).

Since he wrote this (July of 2015), we've seen The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, Curse of Strahd, and Eberron: Rising from the Last War.

In other words, pretty much like clockwork, we've seen three of the top five settings receive some degree of treatment.

The two remaining? Well, Dark Sun and Planescape. Dark Sun is strongly tied to psionics, and also various other unique concepts like defilers/preservers and dragon-kings/agathion. Planescape is, of course, the planes.

The point being, there is no reason to believe that these clusters don't still hold true. This would further the viewpoint that Dark Sun and Planescape, in some order, are up next.
 

Ash Mantle

Adventurer
A trend I've noticed, and I'm sure others have also noticed, is that the campaign settings books bring to prominence certain rules in the DMG, and then elaborate on them. For Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica it was the Renown rules, for the upcoming Mythic Odysseys of Theros it'll be Piety rules.
Hopefully other campaign setting releases will also focus on the other optional rules in the DMG, which'll then be elaborated on accordingly.
Perhaps forthcoming will be campaign settings that will focus on the Honor rules, and the Fear and Sanity rules, and so on.
 

We shouldn't bet Dragonlance as "serie B". If Dreamworks could produce a decent movie or serie the heroines of Dragonlance may become more popular than Disney princesses.

If they create special rules for fear and sanity/madness they will want to know the feedback. Maybe somebody would rather like sanity points from "Call of Chulth" but others like the one by "Unknown Armies".

Maybe you think Jakandor and Dark Sun are too different, but that is not totally true. Both have got a primal-punk lool style. I guess Jakandor could be used as a "guinea pig" to test the reaction by the public in a future adaptation of the DS franchise.
 

We shouldn't bet Dragonlance as "serie B". If Dreamworks could produce a decent movie or serie the heroines of Dragonlance may become more popular than Disney princesses.

If they create special rules for fear and sanity/madness they will want to know the feedback. Maybe somebody would rather like sanity points from "Call of Chulth" but others like the one by "Unknown Armies".

Maybe you think Jakandor and Dark Sun are too different, but that is not totally true. Both have got a primal-punk lool style. I guess Jakandor could be used as a "guinea pig" to test the reaction by the public in a future adaptation of the DS franchise.
Last time you were talking about Disney making this fabled Dragonlance adaption, now you've gone to Dreamworks. I await your speculation of Aardman Animation's adaption next.
 


I feel a great curiosity about how would be a Dragonlance adaptation by Disney, at least the concept art, but if Paramount has got the exclusive rights, then it should be by Dreamworks. Why not? Think about it: as blockbuster Hasbro could be selling toys based in Dragonlance for years.
 



I mean I feel curiosity about how would be the look of the heroes of Dragonlance with a style as Disney art. To explain it better with an example, a studio made a "Disney" version of Games of Thrones.


Do you think people would buy that as toys?

And who would dare to say Guardians of Galaxy would be a blockbuster? Or the teleserie of the Witcher. If the producers make a good work, it could be the most popular line among the no rpg fandom.

Althought I wonder about if Dragonlance and other D&D lines will suffer a reboot or something like this.
 


Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top