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A gamble bigger than the last… Dungeons & Dragons 5e

Hi everyone!

In light of the recent announcement from Wizards and the fact that we aren’t releasing a show this week so you can hear our thoughts, I thought I’d just get a case of verbal diarrhea and give my impressions.

First let me say that when news broke about 5e, I was far from shocked. Joe had been explaining to me literally 2 days previous about the Hasbro business model. To sum it up for those who aren’t as familiar, all Hasbro brand names have to make a minimum baseline every year or the upper management just kills it. I think it’s something like 50 million, but don’t quote me, I don’t have a source on that. So having that in mind you look at how poorly 4e did, and the recently influx of WotC board games, books, and miniatures to hit our local game stores and boom there it is… the desperate attempt to make their bottom line before D&D goes the way of Pokemon. And as much as some of us would like to see 4th Ed do a swan dive off of something high on to something sharp, I think it’s safe to say it would be a sad day indeed if D&D was no longer produced. (At least by Wizards, who knows maybe somebody like Paizo could buy the license? /wink wink )

So there you have it, a classic “Oh Shit!” Moment artfully disguised in a press release about making it something the fans want and can build together with the industry leaders.

Now… that being said, here’s what I think. WotC is betting on the house again, and it’s probably the third morgage, not the first. WotC has to “Out-Pathfinder” Pathfinder. I’m certainly not the one to tell you what rules to change or mechanics to tweak though, seeing as how I have a mental block when it comes to successfully engrossing myself in a d20 game. But you know who does know how to out do Paizo? The millions of gamers out there who have put millions of dollars into 3.5, Pathfinder, and the occational fan of 4th Ed. They have house rules, and sections of the books they throw out because mechanics are ‘broken’ or not fun. So WotC did the most logical thing it could have after the gamer community tried to tar and feather them, they asked for help. And if gamers raise to the cause, they just might pull this off.

Will it be a revolution in gaming, one that turns the industry on it’s head and alters gaming as we know it?!

I highly doubt it.

It will be exactly what it needs to be in order to keep books from getting dusty on the shelf. Something I’ve noticed about gamers is that they tend to hang on to their favorite game and system and scream to the world to pry it from their cold dead hands. How many people still play Vampire Masquerade? (Not that there is anything wrong with that, the 20th anniversary book is gorgeous.) How about AD&D? I know a few die-hards out there who still roll their eyes when I ask how THAC0 works again.  So yeah, people will buy it and play it. I do not think it will be the legions who showed up for Pathfinder, because Pathfinder didn’t have the army that 3.5 had. But it’ll be enough to keep Dungeons & Dragons in WotC’s iron grip.

And you just watch… in 2016, we’ll all be sharing our opinions on 6th Ed.

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  • I hadn’t heard anything about this yet, Nicky; thanks for breaking the news to me!
    I did a little googling and found this too:
    http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/01/5th-edition-dungeons-and-dragons/

    John

    January 17, 2012

  • 2016 for 6E? My column this week is just looking at the announcement itself. The next column I do will be on the rhythm of these things, and since WotC took over the brand, new editions come out (or at least are announced) in the same year as a presidential election. It is just a coincidence, but an interesting one.

    Robert GrumpyCelt Sullivan

    January 18, 2012

  • A new D&D is a thing… Its aleays gonna happen eventually. I look forward to seeing what they come up with… But I’m likely gonna play it a couple of times and then go back to an older Edition… Just like always 🙂

    Moltenink

    January 26, 2012

  • I wouldn’t count meslyf as an authority but I’ll certainly pass along my opinion. The reason Pathfinder is better than D&D is pretty simple, I think. When Wizards made D&D 3.5 they fixed plenty of game errors and made their system both more comprehensive as well as player friendly. It was a solid game. Solid. But that’s not to say it didn’t have it’s own problems. And to compensate, us players made our house rules -the little fixes to the eyebrow-arching-WTFs of 3.5. But, as I’m sure some graph some where can prove, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft was making strides in the gaming arena and very slowly D&D was losing it’s footing. Unfortunately, Wizards’ answer to this dilemma was firstly, in printing way too many pointless books (how many Monster Manuals are there anyway? Sheesh!). Then when that didn’t pan out, they made a game that well, basically played like WoW tabletop. They strayed too far from the game we all loved. This D&D 4.0 wasn’t an upgrade, it was a whole other game. Paizo and their game, Pathfinder, became what we really wanted. It’s our D&D game with all the house rule fixes built in. Paizo immediately made their material accessible, encouraged alternate rules, created unique classes (that weren’t Recycled Prestige Classes) and basically started up where Wizards’ so happily left off. It’s D&D 3.75, if you will.If nothing else, it seems to me that Paizo is working on a gaming community where as Wizards is working on publishing more stuff.

    Chandan

    July 10, 2012