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D&D 5E Where We've Been and Where We Might Be Going (or, What I Think WotC Is Doing)

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Just to add onto this a bit, the question would be why. It made sense why Paizo created Starfinder; first of all, they're a smaller company, so smaller gains mean more. Secondly, Starfinder came out in 2017, although probably has roots going back to Distant Worlds in 2012, but it all fits within the paradigm of "We've made it big partially because of 4E's issues, but we need to keep growing."
A big reason why Paizo made Starfinder was that they were also planning Pathfinder 2, and they wanted a second source of income both in the year leading up to PF2 (announcing a new edition generally doesn't help sales of the old one) and in case PF2 failed.

5e uses the same OGL licence as 3e.
The license is the same, but the SRD is significantly more hampered. Notably, classes and races only have one sub-version each that's open content. Similarly, there's only one background and one feat in the SRD. Basically, they wanted to make sure it was impossible to Pathfinderize 5e (though we'll see how well Level Up does it).


I think not starting the discussion with 3rd edition misses critical parts of the picture. 3rd edition was remarkably successful and spurred a renaissance in the tabletop gaming community. A key part of this was the license that allowed other publishers to add to the 3rd edition ecosystem, something never before allowed in D&D. And then Paizo and Pathfinder happened, because of that license. That 4th edition was remarkably restrictive by comparison was no surprise. It also contributed to 4th edition's ultimate failure given the volume of 3rd edition content versus the paucity of 4th edition content. Now we have 5th edition with a somewhat more open license even if it's not quite as open as that of 3rd. And again the 3rd party publishers have come forth to add major content to the game and again the edition is a hit. Heck, the people who run this very site just put out a massively successful Kickstarter campaign for a set of 5th edition compatible books just yesterday.

Bottom line: The availability of content is a huge driver in the success of any edition of D&D.
Sorry, missed this one at first.

To some degree, not starting at the beginning (1974, or before) misses key elements, but that would make this more than I intended it to be, which was focusing on D&D going forward. Thus, the important part is the context of 5E itself, how and why it arose, so I think 4E was enough for the purposes of the goal of the OP: to speculate on what WotC is doing, and how they might be approaching the future.

But yes, I agree to an extent that 4E "failed" partially because it was, at least from a game license sense, more restrictive than 3E. Not so sure that I agree as much on your bottom line, or at least I think it was a secondary factor. That extra content is probably more relevant to making long-term/serious fans happy than it is to bringing in new fans.

But as I said to someone else, I was less focused on speculating on all the reasons why 5E is so popular, and more on the phenomena itself and, more centrally, how that might impact WotC going forward, and how they (might) approach 5E.

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone

Borrowing your table, it looks like Spelljammer is certainly making an appearance.

Is it filling a Classic Setting spot? Could be. I am assuming however that the alternative cover with Boo and a Beholder on it is this Spelljammer book, and seems more fitting for an adventure. And that this is also the "Scary, Wonderful, New" setting Perkins hinted at. So I think this book is an adventure, or at least a hybrid of setting and adventure (Strixhaven is a lot like this).

This could also mean that we are getting two big adventures per year (this is a way earlier announcement than normal), or that they're moving the big adventure releases from the Fall to the Spring.


Jedi Master
Given today's UA, I'm thinking 2022 is shaping up to be the Year of the Multiverse. Going off your speculation, here's what I'd guess.

Splat - Monsters of the Multiverse
Story Arc - Spelljammer
Classic Setting - Planescape
Story Anthology - Tales of the Multiverse (Planescape and Spelljammer adventures)
Classic Setting Anthology - A guide to a dozen (classic) worlds of the Multiverse (tie in with Spelljammer)

Voidrunner's Codex

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