D&D 5E Over 10 Years Since the Open 5e Playtest Began!


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
On May 24, 2012, WotC launched an open-to-the public playtest of DND Next. In the first year, over 120,000 people registered as official playtesters.

What's your story of starting to play 5e?

For my group, we started playing in that first year, with a combination of our prior players from 4e and 3e (two of whom I had played 1e with in distant years past), and the introduction of a couple new players for 5e. On September 17, 2012 Roll20 was released and we played online using that platform for 5e starting May 10, 2013. That campaign went on hiatus about four years later (my last entry looks to be March 8, 2017 but I think we played a bit after that), and one of our players became a DM for a new campaign, and then another after that.

We're still playing 5e together to this day. Same group of players, now adventuring through Tomb of Annihilation (one of our best campaigns ever).

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Morkus from Orkus
My group has been together since the early 2000's(some earlier). When 5e came out we looked at it and liked what we saw, but we also liked 3e and didn't want to give up all the options for creating any concept we could envision to drop down to a PHB worth of options, so we stuck with 3e. Due to the glacial release rate of character options, it wasn't until late 2019 before we decided there was enough out there for us to give 5e a try. We all liked it enough to still be playing, though 2 of the 5 of us would prefer to be playing 3e.


He / Him
We had been playing 4e for a while, and wrapped up a campaign that ended at 30th level (I think that was the highest epic level?). We were pretty burned out on D&D.

We had been doing a little tour of other systems: Fate, Dread, Fiasco, etc. We did the playtest as part of the tour. I was really excited by the choices 5e was making, but the rest of the group was definitely still tired of the D&D genre.

I wound up running 5e one-shots for other friends (especially ones I'd played a lot of 3e with).

Then the main group was ready to return to D&D. 5e had been out for a couple of years, so we leapt right in and fell in love!


He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
My main long term group was pretty locked up into Pathfinder adventure paths at the time. Most of the group were full or nearly full time players who didnt have much of an appetite for learning new systems. (They didnt want to do 4E so I played that with another group. Switching to PF was easy since they liked 3E). So, I found a secondary group to playtest 5E. Was ok, didnt knock my socks off. I liked what I was seeing over 4E, but felt PF was still more to my taste.

A few years later some co-workers wanted to do a lunch hour game. I joined as a player at level 3 and we went to 20 in a campaign. So, I dont mind 5E but prefer other systems. If a GM I know can rock a good story and game I'll gladly sign up. Not currently playing 5E tho.

I do find playtest intriguing and will sign up for them when I can! (PF2 was a fun playtest, tho prefer PF1).


I had been playing 1e (with some 2e elements) since 1981. All through 3e. All through 4e. Then 2012 happened and we started with the playtest. The first adventure we ran was Phandelver (the playtest version), then KotBL. We've been playing 5e pretty much since (with other sessions using my own Chromatic Dungeons OSR game).


We were playing 4e and had seen the playtest and I looked at some of the Next adventures, but never bought them. I think we finished the campaign we were running in 4e about the time the 5e books came out and just converted over with LMoP as the starter.

I remember talking to the group about trying the box adventure to be more by the book before we started with house rules. Not sure how long that lasted and I know some things just ported over from 4e and even 3e with some ideas. Flanking had been the big one.

My friend (primary GM) had a friend at work who got interested in this "RPG stuff", so decided to run a game for him. This happened to be right when 5E was released, so he used that as a simple introduction to roleplaying. It's been our main gaming system ever since, primarily because said friend from work has a real hard time getting out of the D&D bucket.

I was going to play regardless, but I found 5E to be massively better than most prior editions of D&D. I had never been happy with AD&D 2E, and found 3/3.5/4 to be miserable slogfests. 5E simplified things down to a refreshingly enjoyable experience. Even if experience has given me plenty to gripe about in 5E, I still don't particularly mind the system.

On May 24, 2012, WotC launched an open-to-the public playtest of DND Next. In the first year, over 120,000 people registered as official playtesters.

What's your story of starting to play 5e?
My group splintered with PF and 4e. So my smaller group (all but 1) was super happy with 4e but missed our other friends... the compramise was to try the play test (we ran 1 playtest per week and my and my budies 4e games went 2 on 2 off togather so we could play them.

When 5e came out we started a game about 3 months after the PHB cam out. the first year to year and a half my smaller group was still finishing 4e campaigns.

We are all tied of 5e though... only the promise of updates in 2024 are our hope... because D&D may die for us (at least until 6e) if this isn't updated the way we would want.


I crit!
Wednesday night gaming was drying up. There was a growing enthusiastic PF group and groups. I was among them. Still I wanted something more old school. I was running a lot of different games looking for something modern but yet had old school leanings, I ran a ton of DCC.

Then the playtest hit and I’d figure I’d run a game. That first day was kinda bleak, but the next week it was packed. I remember recruiting DMs in the spot to form tables. And it only grew from there. Many of those new DMs continue to run.

Then I saw people I missed from 3e days and from earlier show up in increasing numbers.


We skipped about half the play test and stayed with 4e for years but did eventually come over.
We have been waiting since day 2 promise 1 for the “flexible customization “ so we could play more things like a 4e fighter and a 2e wizard in the 5e framework.

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