D&D General Rant: Sometimes I Hate the D&D Community

Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
Note: If you have never participated in any of the acts I'm complaining about below, this post is not directed at you. Good job at not being amongst the people in this hobby that actively piss me off by making it toxic. You're cool and are not the target of this post.

I . . . I don't understand certain people in the D&D community, and it's quite frustrating. We constantly fight over nothing, write thousands of words in huge posts about why someone else's style of play is badwrongfun, and whine about minor changes in the game as if they're the end of the hobby.

The Edition Wars are stupid. Play whatever edition you like and stop caring if other people like an edition you don't. 1e, 2e, 3e/3.5e, 4e, 5e, or either edition of Pathfinder. Play whatever you like. I don't care, and so long as you can play what you like, you shouldn't care either. I can understand being disappointed if a specific setting, race, or class was never updated to your favorite edition of the game. Or if the online implementation of the game you play changes. But people getting into heated debates about whether 4e was objectively bad, if 3.5e is better than 5e, if any edition of D&D made by Wizards of the Coast even counts as D&D, or if Pathfinder counts as D&D is just pointless, and has does a ton to harm and divide the community. Play Pathfinder if you like Pathfinder. Play whatever you like and ignore all the jerks telling you that you're objectively wrong for liking it.

The same applies to settings, races, classes, and so on. People in this hobby really need to stop being so judgmental of other people for liking completely subjective preferences that have nothing to do with them. If someone likes playing magitek crafters (Artificers) and magic "robot"-people (Warforged), they are not wrong for liking those things. If I like Eberron, Spelljammer, and that Critical Role setting (Exandria), I am not wrong for liking it, even if you don't think it fits D&D or don't enjoy playing in that setting. If someone likes Dragonlance or the Forgotten Realms or a Magic: the Gathering setting, they are not wrong for liking that setting, even though I am not fond of it.

If something changes in a new printing of the thing I like or a setting is updated in a way I don't like, I can ignore it and use the older version. If they publish more Forgotten Realms adventures, I can just not buy them. If the reprints of 5e's Core Rulebooks change a rule/option I like, I'll use the older version. If they publish a Manual of the Planes and retcon Githyanki and Githzerai into two more elf subraces, I can ignore that and use the older versions. I'm not going to make a big fuss or refuse to buy the book over one minor piece I don't like if it has other parts I can use. If they completely change ability score generation in 6e to only being based around rolling dice, I'm going to ignore it and just use Standard Array/Point Buy.

I like optimizing the characters that I play. I like finding mechanical quirks that go together in interesting/unique ways and play a character competently built for combat. That doesn't mean I dislike roleplay, I love roleplay, but I also enjoy the "game" parts of the hobby as well as the other parts. My playstyle might be different from yours, and we might not be able to play at the same table because of that, but my version isn't badwrongfun and neither is yours*.

I'm certainly not going to demand that a setting/race/class never gets published again, or say that the game is ruined forever because of one minor change, or say that playing the game in a different way from me is objectively badwrongfun. I'm just going to continue enjoying the hobby and playing how I want to play.

I'm just a guy that likes gnomes, artificers, Eberron, optimizing, and playing 5th Edition. And there's nothing wrong with that, just like there's nothing wrong with liking Kobolds, Bards, Dragonlance, prioritizing roleplay, and playing 3.5e. And the people in this hobby that non-jokingly tell people that they're wrong for liking any of that can mind their own goddamn business.

And I hold myself to this standard, too. If I ever forget this and act like any part of this post isn't true, remind me. And if you feel that I've acted differently in the past, PM me.

* There is a small exception here, which is someone that plays the game in a way that actively hurts other people. If your game is racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive/harmful, you are not protected by the "it's just a different playstyle" defense.
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
You could probably swap out "D&D Community" for "Knitting Community" or "[Sport] Community" or any number of categories of so-called communities out there and little would change about everything that follows in a general sense. People are people after all and they're communicating in a medium that lacks much of the nuance that a face-to-face conversation would have, plus it's anonymous which means there's little to fear in the way of real consequences for being a jerk. There's no changing anyone other than oneself, so I just accept that's how it is, develop a thick skin, and try not to contribute too much to it. (Which is harder than it sounds, particularly when someone is obviously wrong about their preferences. That simply cannot be allowed to stand.)
 


GuyBoy

Hero
Totally agree with you, @AcererakTriple6
It doesn’t matter what edition you prefer, whether you like Greyhawk or FR, or whether you play gnomes or tieflings. If you don’t want to play Radiant Citadel, fine, don’t play it but no need to slam it.
I guess the internet will always have the capacity to magnify silly differences.

But you are also right to stress that the divisive and poisonous stuff coming out of groups like NuTSR is totally unacceptable to decent people. And always must be.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
You could probably swap out "D&D Community" for "Knitting Community" or "[Sport] Community" or any number of categories of so-called communities out there and little would change about everything that follows in a general sense. People are people after all and they're communicating in a medium that lacks much of the nuance that a face-to-face conversation would have, plus it's anonymous which means there's little to fear in the way of real consequences for being a jerk. There's no changing anyone other than oneself, so I just accept that's how it is, develop a thick skin, and try not to contribute too much to it. (Which is harder than it sounds, particularly when someone is obviously wrong about their preferences. That simply cannot be allowed to stand.)
Yeah, pretty much this. Not ideal, but it's humanity.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I agree with you, but I think you might be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees with you. I’m sure there are some people out there who earnestly think that edition X or race Y is objectively bad and people who like it are wrong. But I think they’re a significant minority. Most people are perfectly happy to live and let live, playing the games they like with the rules they like and not caring if someone else has different preferences. However, most people who discuss something online are very passionate about that thing, and it can be easy to mistake a passionately-expressed preference as an attempt to invalidate other preferences. There’s also a strong tendency to incorporate our likes and dislikes into our identity, which can make something that seems to invalidate a preference we hold also seem like it invalidates a part of our identity. This is a recipe for quite heated discussions where both parties are perceiving the other as attacking their preferences and by extension their identities, when neither intended to do so, but merely to defend their own preferences and identities against the attack they perceive from the other.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I agree with you, but I think you might be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees with you. I’m sure there are some people out there who earnestly think that edition X or race Y is objectively bad and people who like it are wrong. But I think they’re a significant minority. Most people are perfectly happy to live and let live, playing the games they like with the rules they like and not caring if someone else has different preferences. However, most people who discuss something online are very passionate about that thing, and it can be easy to mistake a passionately-expressed preference as an attempt to invalidate other preferences. There’s also a strong tendency to incorporate our likes and dislikes into our identity, which can make something that seems to invalidate a preference we hold also seem like it invalidates a part of our identity. This is a recipe for quite heated discussions where both parties are perceiving the other as attacking their preferences and by extension their identities, when neither intended to do so, but merely to defend their own preferences and identities against the attack they perceive from the other.
I can't tell you how often I have watched (and occasionally participated in, though I try very hard to watch for the signs) arguements where both parties are essentially right (and sometimes even on the same side), but they are arguing over a matter of a degree or two.
 

theCourier

Explorer
This fight over preferences is going to happen in a game that's as big as D&D, where so many different groups exist within the fanbase that all want to pull and tug it towards their direction of what's "good."
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

Autistic DM (he/him)
I agree with you, but I think you might be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees with you.
I know people who would read the post, agree with it, and then turn around and say "but Robots shouldn't be in D&D, and neither should Artificers". There are quite a few people that are still salty about Eberron.

I don't think anyone would truthfully, willingly admit that they disagree with this post. And there are also people that will say they agree with it but still try to gatekeep the hobby.
I’m sure there are some people out there who earnestly think that edition X or race Y is objectively bad and people who like it are wrong. But I think they’re a significant minority. Most people are perfectly happy to live and let live, playing the games they like with the rules they like and not caring if someone else has different preferences. However, most people who discuss something online are very passionate about that thing, and it can be easy to mistake a passionately-expressed preference as an attempt to invalidate other preferences. There’s also a strong tendency to incorporate our likes and dislikes into our identity, which can make something that seems to invalidate a preference we hold also seem like it invalidates a part of our identity. This is a recipe for quite heated discussions where both parties are perceiving the other as attacking their preferences and by extension their identities, when neither intended to do so, but merely to defend their own preferences and identities against the attack they perceive from the other.
I agree. A major part of this is just the nature of the discussions happening online. More controversial posts will get more attention, and it will appear that unpopular opinions are actually popular (and vice-versa) just due to that fact. A thread that says something simple like "I like Gnomes" is almost definitely going to get less posts and reactions than one about how they dislike/hate them (or think they shouldn't be a part of the game). Which can be hard to remember sometimes, and certainly doesn't help make the online community feel less toxic.

Don't get me wrong, I don't completely hate the online D&D community. If I did, I wouldn't be active on this site. However, sometimes, the stuff that I ranted about in the OP happens and overwhelms the positive parts of the community.

It also kind of sucks when most of those angry comments about how other people are playing badwrongfun are almost always directed at your specific playstyle (optimizing/powergaming, mostly, but also the occasional Eberron-hater or person that declares everything after AD&D 2e as not being "true D&D").

I know this whole rant is like the world's smallest violin, but it still sucks.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
If we all just agreed on everything, it would get pretty boring. So we disagree. But I guess there is question of how.

The line between stating own my preference and trashing yours can be tricky. Lets take the OP. I am not a big fan of artificers, but I do believe that:

Artificers are a great fit for Eberon. In fact I don't think its really Eberron without them

My truth may look good to you, but if you are someone who likes Eberron without artificers, then we have a point of contention, even some wrong bad funism, though that was not really the intent.
 

I know people who would read the post, agree with it, and then turn around and say "but Robots shouldn't be in D&D, and neither should Artificers". There are quite a few people that are still salty about Eberron.

I don't think anyone would truthfully, willingly admit that they disagree with this post. And there are also people that will say they agree with it but still try to gatekeep the hobby.

I agree. A major part of this is just the nature of the discussions happening online. More controversial posts will get more attention, and it will appear that unpopular opinions are actually popular (and vice-versa) just due to that fact. A thread that says something simple like "I like Gnomes" is almost definitely going to get less posts and reactions than one about how they dislike/hate them (or think they shouldn't be a part of the game). Which can be hard to remember sometimes, and certainly doesn't help make the online community feel less toxic.

Don't get me wrong, I don't completely hate the online D&D community. If I did, I wouldn't be active on this site. However, sometimes, the stuff that I ranted about in the OP happens and overwhelms the positive parts of the community.

It also kind of sucks when most of those angry comments about how other people are playing badwrongfun are almost always directed at your specific playstyle (optimizing/powergaming, mostly, but also the occasional Eberron-hater or person that declares everything after AD&D 2e as not being "true D&D").

I know this whole rant is like the world's smallest violin, but it still sucks.
everyone ends up like this for some reason all communities seem to, I enjoy the spirited arguments when we can see why something may be lacking or could be better implemented like say gnomes but the blind hate you sometimes get is just worthless.
 

OakenHart

Adventurer
Like everyone's said here, online hobby communities can get a bit crazy. I'm not personally familiar with the community, but I've seen a YouTube game channel said she switched to videogaming from being a makeup channel because the YouTube makeup community was unbelievably toxic, which surprised the heck out of me because up to that point I was under the impression that videogame communities were some of the most toxic places you could put yourself in (so to leave the prior community and move towards videogames...).

It's best to just remove yourself from the places where discussions can get way out-of-hand like that. For what it's worth, and I'm not just kissing ass here, I think ENWorld does a pretty good job with its moderation and steering things back on track or halting things before they ever get out of hand. I know your examples are more along the "complaining/gatekeeping" side of things, but I don't think it's particularly bad here. Mostly just giving opinions and not so much saying X is horrible.
 

Like everyone's said here, online hobby communities can get a bit crazy. I'm not personally familiar with the community, but I've seen a YouTube game channel said she switched to videogaming from being a makeup channel because the YouTube makeup community was unbelievably toxic, which surprised the heck out of me because up to that point I was under the impression that videogame communities were some of the most toxic places you could put yourself in (so to leave the prior community and move towards videogames...).

It's best to just remove yourself from the places where discussions can get way out-of-hand like that. For what it's worth, and I'm not just kissing ass here, I think ENWorld does a pretty good job with its moderation and steering things back on track or halting things before they ever get out of hand. I know your examples are more along the "complaining/gatekeeping" side of things, but I don't think it's particularly bad here. Mostly just giving opinions and not so much saying X is horrible.
I hear the beauty community has some strange addiction to tea, which is not the leaf drink to my knowledge it is something else but I am not well versed in matters of beauty.
 

Everyone's going to have their own opinion, and the internet tends to bring out the worst in us. The only real points of contention that should matter are about the direction of the game, since convincing others to your cause might actually help via the surveys. Yes, I could simply not play 5.5/6E, but I'd really rather try to make it something I'd like to buy.
 



pogre

Legend
I like watching heated arguments and train wrecks over minor differences in rpgs from time-to-time. It's a guilty pleasure, but I'll cop to it.

What really gives me joy in the community is reading and feeling people's genuine passion about the game. Sometimes that can come off as one-wayism, but more often I feel their gaming enthusiasm. That is refueling and refreshing. I am not into Eberron or artificers or Gnomes, but I will happily read about you extolling the virtues of your game involving the same. I often read about games that are nearly the polar opposite of mine and are told with such passion - it's really neat so many people love to play the game in different ways.

One of the greatest compliments I received on here, and sadly I cannot remember who said it, was one person posted that I have such enthusiasm for miniatures and terrain and combat, that even though they were a pure theater of the mind person they would love to play a session at my table. I really feel the same way about many of the games I read about on here - the style is not for me, but the deep passion about playing their style attracts me.

People get "judgmental" or "whine" when their styles of game is unsupported or not receiving validation. Their passion for their style of game can lead to some of the posts you hate. Posts like = "I wish WOTC would stop making MTG crossover setting books," can really feel like an attack on your Strixhaven campaign when the person is really just saying they wish WOTC would concentrate their efforts that more closely aligns with their style of play. It can escalate quickly. And, I kind of enjoy reading it. I don't troll to cause it, like some posters do, and I do hit my limit pretty quickly. So I get your point overall. Be tolerant and enjoy the community is certainly a good idea.
 


Remathilis

Legend
So people shouldn't express their opinion on aspects of the game for fear of offending someone else?
There it is.

No one is censoring your opinion, but I think it's fair to understand that your opinion is not fact and that people who don't share it are wrong or bad. It's one thing to say you prefer cake to pie, it's another to say pie has no place in the game and people who like pie are wrong and should feel bad.
 

beancounter

(I/Me/Mine)
There it is.

No one is censoring your opinion, but I think it's fair to understand that your opinion is not fact and that people who don't share it are wrong or bad. It's one thing to say you prefer cake to pie, it's another to say pie has no place in the game and people who like pie are wrong and should feel bad.
Yea, I know. But you wouldn't believe how often people get offended by someone expressing their opinion on an aspect of the game. (That has nothing to do with person A telling person B that their play style is wrong)
 

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