D&D 5E Rob Schwalb and what it was like at WotC during the 5e dev and launch.


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titanguy654

Villager
"The development and reception of Dungeons & Dragons' 5th edition were marked by significant uncertainty. When I was finalizing the edition, there were many doubts about its future. Many of us at the time felt as though we were writing our own farewell letters. Some even humorously suggested that instead of calling it "D&D Next", it should be named "D&D Last" due to the prevailing doubts about its success and longevity.

Surprisingly, the edition saw immense success. Several factors contributed to this outcome. The timing of its release perfectly aligned with current popular culture – though I wouldn't solely attribute its success to shows like "Stranger Things", they certainly played a part in popularizing it. Moreover, the rise of streaming platforms and the increasing popularity of live D&D plays were emerging trends during the late 4th edition. By the time 5th edition rolled around, these trends amplified its success.

The 5th edition uniquely captured the collective mindset of the gaming community, which further worked in its favor. The game's design and adaptability during this era were key to its widespread appeal."
 

titanguy654

Villager
Translation:
"The development and reception of Dungeons & Dragons' 5th edition were marked by significant uncertainty. When I was finalizing the edition, there were many doubts about its future. Many of us at the time felt as though we were writing our own farewell letters. Some even humorously suggested that instead of calling it "D&D Next", it should be named "D&D Last" due to the prevailing doubts about its success and longevity.

Surprisingly, the edition saw immense success. Several factors contributed to this outcome. The timing of its release perfectly aligned with current popular culture – though I wouldn't solely attribute its success to shows like "Stranger Things", they certainly played a part in popularizing it. Moreover, the rise of streaming platforms and the increasing popularity of live D&D plays were emerging trends during the late 4th edition. By the time 5th edition rolled around, these trends amplified its success.

The 5th edition uniquely captured the collective mindset of the gaming community, which further worked in its favor. The game's design and adaptability during this era were key to its widespread appeal."
 


BookTenTiger

He / Him
There were folks who wanted to make it more like older versions of D&D and folks that wanted to make something that he says would have been entirely different.

He puts it much better than I.
You know, this reminds me of something I learned about the California coast... Unlike coastlines in other parts of the continent, the California coast is balanced in this tug of war between tons of different interest groups: fishers, oil companies, conservationists, surfers, tourism industry, real estate, etc etc etc. Because of this, no single interest group gets to dominate its use, and the California coast remains incredibly accessible to everyone.

I wonder if, in a way, the push and pull of the different factions helped 5e be a very accessible edition?
 



Ondath

Hero
You know, this reminds me of something I learned about the California coast... Unlike coastlines in other parts of the continent, the California coast is balanced in this tug of war between tons of different interest groups: fishers, oil companies, conservationists, surfers, tourism industry, real estate, etc etc etc. Because of this, no single interest group gets to dominate its use, and the California coast remains incredibly accessible to everyone.

I wonder if, in a way, the push and pull of the different factions helped 5e be a very accessible edition?
I guess one way to make a big tent edition is... To have many sides of the big tent actively pushing for their vision in the development.

To be fair, it could've gone horribly wrong. It could've been an incoherent mess that tries to do many things but fails to do any of them well. Right now, I think 5E does most of the things it wants to do decently. Sure, you might have better editions/games for specific things, but 5E occupies a great middle point.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I guess one way to make a big tent edition is... To have many sides of the big tent actively pushing for their vision in the development.

To be fair, it could've gone horribly wrong. It could've been an incoherent mess that tries to do many things but fails to do any of them well. Right now, I think 5E does most of the things it wants to do decently. Sure, you might have better editions/games for specific things, but 5E occupies a great middle point.
One of the things I liked early on about 5e was its willingness to be a little weird and quirky... to have a Wild Magic table that turned you into a plant, but also have the first three levels be genuinely dangerous... to have legacy spells be just a little more powerful, but also to have these Backgrounds that just give you free shelter or transport. I like that quirkiness! I wonder now if that's a product of the different factions wanting the game to be different things.
 

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