D&D 5E When Did 5E Peak Quality Wise?

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Really? You've noticed numerous editing errors in, post Tasha's books? Binding is poor? Bad printing?

What, exactly, is the quality that is declining?
That's deeply unfair and needlessly sparky. From the context of the thread it's clear quality of design and creativity is being referenced.

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Okay, so... this argument again. I'll probably regret it, but I'll bite.

The problem with this position is that it assumes a pretty narrow definition of "quality" without stating that definition, and effectively takes the position that definition is the only one that matters.

Meanwhile, McDonalds pays more attention to quality management and assurance, and cares more about measures of its quality, than your favorite Michelin star restaurant. But they are just managing the quality of aspects you, personally, probably don't give a fig about. They measure and pay much attention to the quality of aspects that lead to popularity. The resulting popularity is an indicator of that quality.

And it is okay that you, personally, don't care about those aspects. But if you don't look beyond your own cares for ideas about quality, you miss a great deal.

As a personal example, I'll raise a movie from 2005 - Sin City, starring Bruce Willis and many other big names.

I hate this film. I find it both physically and emotionally unpleasant to watch. But, I recognize that I hate it because it is an incredibly well-crafted, high quality film. It does what it intends to do extremely well. But what it is doing is something I intensely dislike.

We could further go into dishes made with cilantro - to many, this is one of the most common and welcome herbs in their cuisine. But, for biological reasons, to some folks it tastes strongly like soap. For those latter people, they will have a bad experience eating a dish with a lot of cilantro in it, coming away feeling they've just eaten a bar of Irish Spring - but that doesn't mean the dish is low-quality, poorly made.
Then why allow the thread to continue? Sounds like any discussion of quality is too subjective to be worth talking about.

Well, the best WotC 5e product I have read is Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, and I haven't read anything published since, and the worst WotC 5e product I have read is The Sword Coast Adventurers Guide. Which would imply the quality is still improving, it has not yet peaked.

But statistical honesty forces me to state that the data actually suggests there is no underlying trend, just a random dispersion around a mean.
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Mod Squad
Staff member
Then why allow the thread to continue?

Because moderation is much more about being a hall monitor than a content editor.

Sounds like any discussion of quality is too subjective to be worth talking about.

Well, what's "worth talking about" is also subjective. I, personally, have seen lots of interesting thought come out of discussion of subjective things.

Darth Solo

As the title says. When was 5E "golden age"? At least for you. Product wise since 5E is almost complete, WotC stuff only (mostly so people are somewhat familiar with it).

For me round 2017-19 Xanathars to Eberron. YMMV of course. Don't care about the adventures but the splat and campaign books I like the best are from that timeframe iirc.
What do you mean "Golden Age"?


I recognize this is all personal opinion, but I think like everybody else, this is all based on how much folks are getting out of the game. For me, once I got the 5E starter set (with Phandelver), my interest and desire to engage began climbing dramatically. Curse of Strahd’s release was for me the absolute high point - I was in heaven to have a 5E version of my favorite adventure, with a vast expansion into a full-on campaign. For a while I was hooked on buying just about everything that came out (I was extremely picky with adventures, only grabbing the ones I planned to actually run - but most of the others struck me as good quality). Xanather’s has become my most-used add-on.

However, Tasha’s was the first book I ran across that wrinkled my nose - mainly with the change to ”races” and what I saw as power creep. Overall, I found nothing in it really worth adding to my game or that interested me (Artificer had already been in Eberron, and is about the only other thing I’ve considered is the revised Ranger). After that point, I started to become disinterested in the books and skipping them. None of the 2023 books interest me, with the exception of Planescape - but with how poorly Spelljammer was handled I’m not expecting it to be very good. As for 2024, since the release of 5E I’ve made up my mind I’m not going to a new version, and reprints of existing books I have are right out. If what comes following the Core OneD&D is not compatible - or requires significant modification - to 2014 D&D, I’ll not be picking it up and thus WotC D&D will be past glory days/dead for me.

So, for me, WotC D&D is on a steep decline. 3rd party D&D is still climbing - I‘ve found that while I buy little WotC D&D products lately I’ve been accumulating quite the 3rd party collection.

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