D&D 5E Where does Next fit in terms of RPG ecology?

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I think Next fits in a nice middle space between all the editions of D&D... taking what most people think to be solid evolutions of each edition and combining them together. It's a good emulator of past editions, and will probably end up being a good game unto itse;f when it's finally released.

Of course... there are plenty of people who actually prefer the outliers to each edition's rules that the majority are quite glad to have moved on from... and those people will certainly not like the game. But if you're a devout fan of those parts of the rules that most others think suck... you probably aren't the type to want to move on to another version of the game anyway.

Speaking personally... I went back and tried looking at the older editions to consider replaying them (as I did when they were first released)... but found dozens of things from each that we've moved on from as a gaming culture that just made my skin crawl thinking about going back. AC going down... thief skills that are automatically set with no customization... clerics being the only class with any meaningful healing... etc. I just couldn't do it. So many irritating things like that we've evolved from, and I've been glad we did

Now I'm sure once I start playing 5E I'll find a host of things that the game won't have that I'll occasionally be in the mood to want (just like I did with 2E, 3E, 3.5, & 4E)... which is why I don't expect (not require) it to be the "end all and be all" of a Dungeons & Dragons experience. But if it can continue to emulate many parts of all those editions that were fun while continuing to round off the jagged bits that most players have agreed were worth sanding down (and I find myself usually agreeing with the majority on the rules and mechanics that tend to bite)... then 5E will be a worthy addition to the Dungeons & Dragons pantheon.
 
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Salamandyr

Adventurer
Next is the edition that lets to play the most playstyles without being the best at them. It is mostly balanced, a bit stable, and somewhat tactical but not as much as 4th. If gives some freedom and options but not 3./Pathfinder level. Some bonds and links but not 13th Age level.

It's like a game with many play modes. Not better than a game dedicated to a genre but the lack of dedication keeps the "flaws" of those genre away.

In the narrative style of play I am concerned with, it gives me more options than Pathfinder, which like 3.5 before it, is more concerned with making mechanically complex one trick ponies than with creating fully rounded characters.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
In the narrative style of play I am concerned with, it gives me more options than Pathfinder, which like 3.5 before it, is more concerned with making mechanically complex one trick ponies than with creating fully rounded characters.

Given the number of options available in PF (like 3.5 before it), I have to say this is far more a player issue more than a game issue. The game engine may reward more focused development than well-roundedness, but if you run to reward either, you certainly can.
 

variant

Adventurer
I agree that D&D Next feels like AD&D 3rd edition. It feels much more of a natural progression from 2e than it does from 3e or 4e, especially considering how 2e progressed with the accessory books including the black books.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Go and play a real game of 2nd ed and get back to me lol. D&DN is not AD&D 3rd ed for various reasons. I'm playing a 2nd ed hybrid game (ascending ACs, basic skill system) and if you take some of the things 3rd ed did do ok with and plug it into AD&D it is kind of hard to see the appeal of D&DN. Saving throws that function, monster math that kind of works things like that. At best the play styles are vaguely similar except the D&DN stuff has an uber amount of healing available and unlimited spells. Not much resoure management and even wands do not run out of spells. Multiclass works different, spells are different etc.

We did play a bit of 2e right before jumping into the D&D Next play test and were impressed by how much Next can capture an AD&D feel. Storming into the Caves of Chaos, facing down a large number of orcs. Fell right into the old AD&D groove for the most part.

Yes, there are differences. But they didn't significantly detract from the same adventure styling as much as the 3e's grid did, nor as much as 4e's powers overthrew it. For the final version, who knows exactly what that will entail. But our experience with the play test was enough to ensure we'll be checking out the final with more players enthusiastic for the experience than we had for 4e.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
If 4e is the game that you play when you like the combat grid and are hyper about game balance, and 3.5e/Pathfinder the game when you like having lots of options to manipulate, what will be the core appeal of 5e?
5e is designed to offer the emulation of early, 3.x, or 4e D&D game play to each player separately, yet allows them all to simultaneously play in the same game together.

What I'm getting at is where does it seem likely to fit amongst all the competitors?
This is the more difficult question, so I'm answering it second. The game is going to be modular, so it's advantages will lean towards customization. A group could opt for mechanical support to supplement their particular play style. It's even possible this will happen at the individual player level too. We are likely to get BIG, highly complicated campaigns and very small and rules light campaigns. Also very long lasting games with the focus on many small, medium, and large campaign actions along with short, one-off adventures or even single combats. Variety will no longer be largely about character options, but major game changing assumptions.

The drawback is that a modular car isn't a dedicated machine. Same problem with a game. It won't be designed to actually play as 3rd edition as well as 3e is. Or 4e for 4e lovers. Ditto old school grognards.

The major benefit for those non-adopters is D&D Next may still possibly support previous editions with its publications. Adventures and campaign settings may be easily converted. And additional rule modules may be too.
 

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
Throw me in as another who thinks the game feels like AD&D Third Edition. I feel like they took what they learned from Third and Fourth Editions, and remade AD&D. And I like that about it.
 

Salamandyr

Adventurer
Given the number of options available in PF (like 3.5 before it), I have to say this is far more a player issue more than a game issue. The game engine may reward more focused development than well-roundedness, but if you run to reward either, you certainly can.

Yes, there are lots of options and fiddly bits, but in many cases, especially the ones I'm most concerned with--skills and combat, the many "options" are false choices, in that, unless you are built specifically to do something, you suck at it. What looks like an array of options winds up being really only one, whichever one you were designed for.

With 3e/Pathfinder, once you've made your character, 90% of your options are gone. Whereas with 5e, you make very few choices at character creation, but have many more options to make at the table, with decent chance of success.
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
In the RPG Ecology IMO D&D Next will be a classic yet modern game with a robust ruleset + options that can be shaped to one's liking better than any other game with its modularity.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
In the narrative style of play I am concerned with, it gives me more options than Pathfinder, which like 3.5 before it, is more concerned with making mechanically complex one trick ponies than with creating fully rounded characters.

I feel that is more player than game. Few DMs run well rounded games. Few DMs call for checks of all kinds at anywhere near equal numbers. Next does make it easier for rounded PCs to stay in the running though.
 

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