D&D (2024) The future of edition changes and revisions

Mercurius

Legend
Most things - including opinions - exist on a spectrum, from one extreme to the other. In the case of "pro and con WotC," these two extremes can be caricatured as:

  • WotC sucks - everything new sucks, I hate what they've done to D&D, at least now, rather than back in Ye Olde Days, when it was better.
  • WotC is great - everything they create is golden, and all change should be embraced and gloried in, no matter what it is or does.

(Actually, this either/or X-axis spectrum is part of the problem - as I'll illustrate in a bit)

Now obviously literally no one holds either view, but most tend to constellate towards one end or the other. Meaning, if the former is "0" and the latter is "10," everyone is somewhere in the 1-9 range, but most people are 3-7.

But the problem arises - not unlike in other contexts - when we act as if people we disagree with are more extreme than they actually are, which creates a strong polarization of two camps or tribes. "Wait, you don't agree with me and those I agree with on every little nuance?! You're one of them!!!!"

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So everyone from 1-4 is treated as a 0 by those in the 6-9 range, and everyone from 6-9 is treated as a 10 by those in the 1-4 range (and woe are the 5s, as they either stay out of it, or are pushed to one side or the other, depending upon who they are talking with).

This is a cultural problem that has been exacerbated over the last few years. In my life time at least, discourse of all kinds has never been so polarized, and it leaks into every little aspect of cultural discourse, even something as relatively inconsequential as D&D. Perhaps even more damaging is that there's a tendency to inflate relatively small things to larger proportions than they probably should be, so every little thing becomes part of a larger conflict resulting from said polarization.

One way to address this problem is by uprooting what I feel is an underlying shared delusion: the belief that there are two tribes (whether that belief is conscious or not; meaning, even if we realize there aren't two tribes, we tend to act as if there are). So the solution is the realization and enactment of the following: There aren't two tribes, but countless variations; and more so, the spectrum isn't simply on an X-axis, but there's also a Y-axis. Meaning, sometimes people who seem to be over there because they're not here, are actually in a different part of the "Y-axis."

Or sometimes a person who is frustrated about certain aspects of what WotC is doing, but not others. Meaning, not only is the two tribes erroneous, but actual individuals hold nuanced views. And sometimes people disagree with certain things not for the reasons we think they disagree ("because they're one of them!").

So we have someone saying, "I don't like a lot of the recent D&D art" (or whatever), and another responds, "You're a hater! Go back to your 1970s-era man-cave and enjoy your bigoted art!" And the first person responds, "Wait, who said anything about bigotry? And I'm 34 years old and never saw the 70s!" Or we have someone saying, "I generally like the direction that WotC is going," and another says, "You're trying to erase history and push out anyone who likes older stuff! You think everything WotC creates is great, no matter what!" And the first person says, "Wait, I'm just saying that it is more good than bad - we've got lots of settings, a good amount of product but not too much, and billions of new D&D players..."

And around and around we go.

Maybe we can find a middle ground: where we realize there aren't two tribes, but countless variations. Maybe we can all enjoy the fact that our beloved game is thriving, even if we don't like everything WotC puts out. Maybe we can also tolerate some difference of agreement, and recognize that even if we like where the game is going, it is making others feel left out or forgotten about - and it probably isn't because they're bad people or hold wrong views.

The in-fighting doesn't get us anywhere. We all share a love of D&D, and D&D is a vast and varied thing. There's room for all of us, and the actual Dave Johnsons of the world are very rare. The vast majority of fellow D&D players are basically good people, even if we don't agree with them on everything.

I apologize if I sound preachy, I just feel that we endlessly end up in these back-and-forth dynamics and miss the forest for the trees.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
If someone is suggesting that complainers are hypocrites because they only complain about some changes and not others, or that complainers are so few in number as to be irrelevant, or that even the complaints themselves are unimportant, that's an attempt to intimidate and shame complainers into silence. And it certainly isn't showing respect for their point of view, or seeking to understand that point of view.
Well, in the grander scheme of things, we have encountered to take any online discussion with a giant grain of salt. Nothing here is representative.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Sure, it can be apparently true that "there are few complainers" - though plenty of folks could be complaining about any particular problem, out of sight of this particular forum - but how often is that point raised as a way to further discussion and understanding? I'm having trouble seeing that as anything but an attempt to make the complainers feel small and irrelevant.


It's a very small step from "the complaints are unimportant" to "the complainers are unimportant." And if you want to debate the relative merits, then you'd engage with the relative merits, not refocus the discussion on the grand cosmic significance of the complaints themselves. I mean, is a family argument over finances less "important" than arguments about global warming? Sure, but suggesting that the family argument isn't "important" enough to be worthwhile is just rude at best.
The reason to relativize the complaints is to understand better what WotC has done, and may do in the future. I have seen the argument thst WotC would surely want to aloud X, because of all the complaints they got about Y...but then they do X. It is helpful to sift and judge, to understand.
 

Forms of dnd complaining that I find annoying
  • people who assume they are in the majority and feel entitled that the current edition/products of dnd match their preferences
  • related to the above, people who refuse to try other games
  • unsubstantiated and decontextualized claims about what "old school" or "traditional" dnd involved (e.g. debates about racial asi)
  • unsubstantiated claims that wotc 'doesn't care about long term players'
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Forms of dnd complaining that I find annoying
  • people who assume they are in the majority and feel entitled that the current edition/products of dnd match their preferences
  • related to the above, people who refuse to try other games
  • unsubstantiated and decontextualized claims about what "old school" or "traditional" dnd involved (e.g. debates about racial asi)
  • unsubstantiated claims that wotc 'doesn't care about long term players'
So, basically anyone who doesn't like the current direction of the game?
 

So, basically anyone who doesn't like the current direction of the game?
Oh I should add to that list: assumptions about the "direction" of the game ;)

But seriously... what annoys me sometimes is a tone of resentment and entitlement, rather than the content of the complaint. It makes discussing wotc's product schedule the focus of conversation in the hobby (many times a focus for proxy conversations for other things). It crowds out discussing even other dnd editions, let alone other games.

btw, many of the above also apply to newer players making assumptions about older editions or who refuse to consider diversifying their game library.
 

Hussar

Legend
The toning down of Kender (yeah yeah Kender) and changing the Tower of High Sorcery and how the 3 different robed mages works is a prime example.

I’m actually anxious to see if they mention that Orcs (this Half-Orcs) and Drow don’t exist in Krynn. Or that Draconians are strictly evil during the War of the Lance time period.

This is actually a pretty good example.

We have no idea how many people are happy or unhappy about the changes. So why start from the position that many people are unhappy? Why not just say “I am unhappy about the changes”?

Note, I’m not thrilled about the changes either. But I know right now that Draconians won’t be strictly evil. That writing is on the wall pretty clearly.

Yet, the idea of non-evil draconians is not new. That’s been around for almost twenty years now. Long before Dragonborn.

So should I dig in my heels to fight a losing battle? Or just accept that my tastes are likely out of step and now it’s up to me if I want to do the work changing it back?

Because here’s the thing. Non-evil draconians supports everyone better than all evil ones do. If you want all evil draconians that’s no problem. Just convince your table that that’s how things are. For other tables they can make that choice too.

So instead of WotC telling everyone the right way to play, they are leaving it up to individual tables.

Isn’t that a better way to do it?
 

DarkCrisis

Reeks of Jedi
This is actually a pretty good example.

We have no idea how many people are happy or unhappy about the changes. So why start from the position that many people are unhappy? Why not just say “I am unhappy about the changes”?

Note, I’m not thrilled about the changes either. But I know right now that Draconians won’t be strictly evil. That writing is on the wall pretty clearly.

Yet, the idea of non-evil draconians is not new. That’s been around for almost twenty years now. Long before Dragonborn.

So should I dig in my heels to fight a losing battle? Or just accept that my tastes are likely out of step and now it’s up to me if I want to do the work changing it back?

Because here’s the thing. Non-evil draconians supports everyone better than all evil ones do. If you want all evil draconians that’s no problem. Just convince your table that that’s how things are. For other tables they can make that choice too.

So instead of WotC telling everyone the right way to play, they are leaving it up to individual tables.

Isn’t that a better way to do it?
They could be non-evil AFTER the war.

These are creatures made via an evil goddess using her evil clergy to cast highly evil magic to make corrupted creatures that were pressed into service to fight a war.

Sure you and your DM can say Draconians are also good and fight the good fight during the War that WotC wants to center things on, but that again changes fluff of the war to a massive degree, which why even have it or the War of the Lance at all.

Me, I can't imagine say playing a LotRs game as an Uruk Hai. It makes zero sense to the established world might as well just play in Faerun.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
They could be non-evil AFTER the war.

These are creatures made via an evil goddess using her evil clergy to cast highly evil magic to make corrupted creatures that were pressed into service to fight a war.

Sure you and your DM can say Draconians are also good and fight the good fight during the War that WotC wants to center things on, but that again changes fluff of the war to a massive degree, which why even have it or the War of the Lance at all.

Me, I can't imagine say playing a LotRs game as an Uruk Hai. It makes zero sense to the established world might as well just play in Faerun.
Found the issue.

She made sapient beings and then pressed them into service. None of this requires they be evil, just pawns of evil.

Of course, we then again get into values dissonance, as you have to encourage murdering the conscripts in order to see the cool things they do when they die.
 

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