D&D 5E What are/will be the main beefs of D&D Next relative to other editions?


The RPG ecology thread inspired this question. Let me better explain this post's title.

It seems that every edition of D&D, at least the last few (if we include the "sub-editions" of 3E and 4E) inspired varying degrees of nerdrage, especially 4E, with rather specific reasons. For instance, with 4E the main complaint seemed to boil down to the view that 4E killed real D&D and took its stuff. Secondary complaints included that it was too reliant on the battle grid, emphasized simulation over imagination, was too video gamey, veered too far away from traditional D&D in terms of fluff (e.g. dragonborn, shardminds, etc), was too tightly designed to easily allow for customization, etc.

The outrage around 3E was relatively mild, but if I remember correctly there was a small group of "grognards" who protested that its streamlined core took away from some of the character of AD&D (the same complaint might have been waged at 2E). 3.5E's main complaint was that it came so quickly on the heels of 3E and thus "required" everyone to enter another expensive spending cycle. But really, the biggest outcry came from 4E (If I remember, the outcry around Essentials was relatively minor, and more of a "Wow, that's a dead-cat bounce if I've every seen one").

So what will it be with D&D 5E, aka Next? We can probably see the beginnings of nerdrage stirring, but as I have largely been out of the conversation for the last year, I'm asking you to fill me in. What are the main complaints? And, from what we can tell, what are people complaining about now that likely won't change when Next is actually published? Can we predict what the inevitable outcry will be like relative to previous editions?

One thing that comes to mind is this, which is more of a possibility than a prediction: Next will be the game that, in trying to please too many, pleases no one. While it seems like it will be a very good game and not truly offend anyone, or at least only those inevitably few that are offended by anything, it also won't make many absolutely fall in love with it, perhaps by being too generic. Again, I'm not saying this is likely but that it could end up being the case.

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Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
There were massive complaints about 3.0e when it came out relative to 2e. My recollection is it was mostly about character optimization, power gaming, required rules mastery, removing power from the DM, a rule for everything, feats that strongly encouraged the use of a battlemat and miniatures (and complaints about feats in general), and the quality of the splat books.

As for Next, I have no idea. Can't really know these things without hindsight. It will be something I'm sure. Probably several somethings...like all prior editions.


First Post
If we can have this conversation without it devolving into edition warring, I'll be super impressed. Not because we don't do a good job normally, but because this is aimed right at the fault lines.

That said, before I try to answer, I've heard several complaints about Essentials from the 4e crowd. Some of it's poor naming (it's no more Essential than PHB4 would be), but some of it's that Essentials represented a change in the direction of design. If you liked the old direction, that's reason enough to be annoyed.

For my part, I don't think the 5e split will create the same amount of vitriol that 4e split did. The RPG market has diversified a lot since then, with WotC no longer being the center of the ecosystem. Even if 5e is unplayably bad, which seems unlikely, there will be a lot less feeling of displacement.

The only people the change is liable to effect are those who like 4e. Some of them will move to the new system and others will just quietly not move on, but a fraction will be upset that their favorite game has been replaced with something they don't like.

So, my guess is that most of the serious complaints will be about loose design, moving backwards, and trying to recapture their old players rather than working with the ones they have now.

If any complaints come from folks who aren't playing 4e anyway, I'd expect them to just be of the form "I was promised a game I'd like and I didn't get it." That's going to be valid for some people, but doesn't seem like it'll carry any long term heat.

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Right, I remember now (re: 3E) - especially the bit about optimization. Was that when the term "munchkin" originated or was it before?

The reason why I think we should be able to get a sense of what it will be with Next now, is that unlike 4E, the development is much more open. With 4E it seemed that it just showed up, fully developed, out of nowhere (relatively speaking). So when thousands of old-time D&D players flipped open the Player's Handbook and saw that nasty eladrin picture (among many others), there was a collective gasp and then boil of nerdrage.


I am getting the feeling that the most outraged at the moment are 4e fans who are feeling a little betrayed. For almost everyone else there just doesn't seem to be enough passion to really be upset at 5e. Its more like a bit of a "meh."

I do think that the goal to be all things to all people (so to speak) is going to, in hindsight be a bad decision. But the games not out yet and they may still pull it off. Maybe.


First Post
I think 3e fans will complain about the lack of customization for characters. 4e fans will complain about the lack of interesting combat options. 5e fans will complain that the adventures suck. :D



Probably about the flat math and how everyone is the same and/or about how the splatbook material is simply so much better than the core stuff because at some point they will increase the power curve for them.


It seems that every edition of D&D, at least the last few (if we include the "sub-editions" of 3E and 4E) inspired varying degrees of nerdrage, especially 4E, with rather specific reasons.

As Mistwell says, there were some fairly vociferous complaints about the 2nd->3e change. Indeed, the changeover from 1st->2nd also had some major complaints. The reason the 4e ones seem larger is that the internet is now ubiquitous.

I fear, however, that the release of 5e won't see the same level of complaints. And, if so, that's a bad thing because it would mean nobody cares. Nerdrage or not, the complaints about the 1st->2nd change meant that people cared passionately about the game. The complaints about the 2nd->3e change meant that people cared passionately about the game. The complaints about the 3e->4e transition meant that people cared passionately about the game.

If there aren't any such complaints about the 4e->5e transition (and I haven't seen them thus far, certainly at nowhere near the intensity of the last time), then I worry. Unless 5e is so good that it sees a near-universal adoption by the player base (yeah, right...), then a lack of an Edition War is a really bad sign.

(Oh, and I agree with Storminator - I expect the big complaint to be that the adventures suck.)


Staff member
I think only time will tell. There are many things that may seem obvious problems, but if the game actually makes those things together well within its system, those might not be the issues that grind on people's nerves.

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