Monday, January 9, 2012

News! Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition

5th edition announced by Wizards of the Coast

   We all knew it was coming (well some people denied it when I talked about it before GenCon), I expected the announcement as part of WotC's "Big Announcement" at GenCon. But not it's official, for soem reason they decided this time to use the New York Times as a precursor announcement. Followed up by an article that is obviously written by someone without a clue as to the RPG world.  There's a Forbes article which is written by someone who plays, that's written more clearly.

   It' is heartening that Wizard's is taking a clue from Paizo in the development of 5th edition. The use of community playtesting and feedback. One of the reasons Pathfinder became such a success was the fact that they worked with the gaming community. The gaming community that is notoriously arrogant. The gaming community that every game master has their own set of house rules, whether that be just a few rule tweaks or entire forests of changed information. When Wizard's excluded the community during their secret development of 4th edition, and the wholesale slaughter of many sacred cows; well, let's just say many in the community were butt-hurt about it. I know I was.

   I was pissed from the false announcement that 4th edition was not in development during GenCon, followed by the next year's announcement that it had been in development for years! (Especially since I thought the Rules Compendium was a book to help clarify issues before moving on, as I wasn't as involved in the community at that stage.) I watched the design boards on the website each week as they discussed the new system. I went from slightly optimistic,  to completely confused, to supporting Pathfinder when they starting asking the community  if they'd support a "3.75" project. I looked at 4e when it was released, but didn't get it. I was one of those that felt it was too balanced, and video game like from the beginning.

   Now for a bit of personal history. I have quit D&D twice before to play other games. I quit playing AD&D 2nd edition because my own house-rules became too cumbersome to new players in my games, so I moved on to other RPGs. I started again when 3rd edition was released, and I saw the innovations in it, a built-in skill system, and the feats! I quit when 3.5 was announced because I had already gotten most of my stuff for 3.0 and  was once again pissed about having to buy books again. I didn't actually come back to 3.5 it until Eberron was released, ironically enough, because of DDO. Which sucks for bringing the world of Eberron to the computer screen. (see tangential rant below). 

   This time I had an alternative that I had invested time into, I play-tested Pathfinder from the word Alpha. I gave enormous amounts of feedback, I even seen some of my feedback in the design of things like the qinggong monk. (look up Xaaon's monk on the Pathfinder boards). I understand why they left the monk as similar as it was left in the Core book. Will I have a similar investiture of time in D&D5e? It's not likely, but I will be commenting on the development of it on the blogs, my first feedback will be from the Gaming Club teacher, Mr. Schmid, I have a feeling he's very excited about it. I'll let you know tomorrow (if gaming club is on, but, I have a feeling after the break there will be meetings).

   Wizard's needs to make something amazing to bring back paizoans and grognard's alike. It could be what brings D&D back or it could be the death knell of the original franchise, only time will tell. There's a spark of hope, Monte Cook. Monte Cook is one one of the most incredible and dynamic designers in the industry, if he can bring his ideas to the table, there's a good chance it will succeed. Only time will tell. I'm signing up for the 5e development to let my ideas be heard. As I'm one of the vocal community. I am the 99%...wait, wrong slogan. I am the 55% (or something) So from the Forbes article, I garner that the framework of 5th edition is there, and has been tested in closed testing under NDA.

   Let's see where it goes, shall we? I will watch the development and report on it, and of course I will comment on it, What does Epic think? I will also ask people about it at Cons and the Game Stores, and then I'll tell you what they're thinking as well. Get ready to answer San Diego gamers, I may ask you "What do you think about the announcement of 5th edition."

I got a list of demands,
written on the palm of my wait, on my blog.

Honor Gary Gygax AND Dave Arneson in the next edition with a dedication page. Because without them we wouldn't be talking about this at all.
Don't release 12 hardbound books per year...they're expensive and HEAVY to carry.
Bring back Dragon and Dungeon magazine in print.
Stop the power-creep when releasing splat books.
Don't consider grognards a lost cause, and especially don't bash them on your website.

TANGENTIAL RANT: Eberron in DDO, Stormreach. Such small slices of far-spanning, RICH worlds, in a microcosm of blah. Like visiting Earth and only being allowed to go to Fargo, when you know how much is out there from the books you've read. Pathfinder Online sounds like it's going down the same dark road. Pathfinder Online should be about visiting the entire world of Golarion, not just squabbling over the River Kingdoms...otherwise the name just sucks.