Bigger Picture?

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I'm not speaking to the playtest so much as the bigger picture of where D&D might be (it's all speculative at this point, I know) headed. 

I'm also not saying I'm right, you're wrong, and/or I know it all.  Far from it.  So please read this as more open-ended questions than statements in stone, especially since I've NOT participated in the playtesting thus far.  Although, the posts of those who have seem to have little more idea about the overall picture.

It was stated that Pathfinder is outselling 4e by a significant margin and that's part of the reason for "Next."  I don't know that to be true or not but I can see how it might be.  Would it not be because Pathfinder pandered more to the 3e players at the time who were extra resistant (already having gone through the 3.5 headache) to 4e which was a fairly major overhaul?  Even those who later latched on to 4e (as I did myself despite some prolonged resistance) felt the pull of Pathfinder.  It seems to me that it grew fast in popularity as it was an easier supported convert and promised all sorts of imaginative/flavor freshness to boot.  Not to mention Monte's Arcana Evolved and the OGL competition in general.  That lesson should figure centrally in the future of D&D.  Anyway, the objective is to reclaim 3e players and, apparently, 1 & 2e players.  Fine and good.  I understand that and the staying competitive/revenue argument.  But it's a double-edged sword here.  With that in mind...

Even if you're trying to reclaim alienated players who want an older style/edition of play, why create a SINGLE, new, 'tween edition?  Am I wrong?  Is that not where we're headed?  Who's to say the alienated players won't just keeping using the old materials, Pathfinder, etc.?  You can buy 3e cheap off Ebay & Amazon.  I also hate to see D&D work against the now well established 4e in any way, essentially dropping 4e DDI and 4e support generally speaking in the long run.  I can't see how that helps the overall game popularity, how it doesn't turn off 4e players.  How can it not?  It would seem we're teetering on the edge of repeating past mistakes.

I'm not saying 4e is perfect either.  Even I would like to see some better way of handling all the modifiers in combat with varying durations that can make for a headache.  Though, I think electronic tools can help that.  However, I don't see how you can combine all the systems into ONE system and please everybody by a long shot.

Rather than what seems implied to me by a "Next" system, why not appease the rules interests of all as painlessly as possible by creating/supporting more than one edition (already doing that to a degree with the rerelease of old material anyway) and put more creative energy into setting creation and expansion?  Alongside the current 4e flagship, support something semi-3e (seems unlikely WotC would just support straight 3e again due to the OGL and the competition it created so I imagine 3e would have to have a new "avatar" going forward.  Makes me think the 3e debacle is the primary reason for creating a whole new system: Hide 3e within 5e, avoid the OGL by doing so, and maybe get the 3e fans back.) and a 2e version of some sort.  

Also, do not things like DDI not help with continued revenue?  Let's face it, you can't, as a company, put out a product and rest on your laurels.  I understand that.  Fact of life.  But new support and continued online/electronic improvements to 4e (maybe with higher levels of membership for advanced features) could help with that.  There's alot more room for online/electronic tool expansion/development for 4e.  I'd like to see easily updated .pdf versions of 4e books to fix errata become the mainstay.  Why not start there?  You could create new revenue and even player gratitued by putting out such support for all the current materials with errata updates included (and free updates going forward).  The online "Compendium" is okay for quick lookups, but I'd rather have a full book that I wanted in the first place in front of me so I can read it in the context of the rest of the book, along with all its art and flavor as further reference.  Print books are becoming a thing of the past.  Kindle Fire, Ipad3, laptop, etc., versions should be the frontline, not print books which are a huge upfront cost/risk to Wizards in the first place and make errata fixes a nightmare.  Add to that the used copy competition/revenue loss.  If D&D doesn't continually look forward it's going to get gradually left behind.

What are your thoughts?  Are you looking forward to/prefer a single, new edition?  Other ideas?  Things I've missed?  My main interest is in satisfying all parties and bettering D&D as a whole.

PS - KUDOS to Wizards for being open to feedback/input and maintaining a forum like this.

I have a strong affinity for 4e. I got several people into it and have ran a lot of games. I prefer it to 3.x for a lot of reasons. I think 4e had not fully run its course. I'm still waiting for an oriental adventures book for 4th edition (and... well... might never get one). I'm not a fan of essentials, tbh... but, I see its value and why it would be fun.

However, after running some DDN... DDN feels more like D&D. Which is a good thing, but it's an emotional response and hard to explain. I hope that DDN really does pull in everyone. I'd like to see edition wars end. In response to your main inquiry, I think a "Next" update to each edition could occur, but I don't think it would be profitable. 

Wrt/ the transience of media, I still prefer print books. I'd like digital copies of books I buy to be available to me (for quick searching at the table). However, I have several 3.x and 4e books which might be rendered obsolete by this transition. If DDN can make all prior editions pertinent again... I'd be pretty happy. 
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
There are pros and cons to each version of dnd.

Many players have strong preferences for one verion or another.

I am not sure you CAN please everyone.




As far as I am concerned, 1E/2E slightly beats 4E, and 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder is garbage.

But many will prefer pathfinder or 4E. Tastes vary.

I have a strong affinity for 4e. I got several people into it and have ran a lot of games. I prefer it to 3.x for a lot of reasons. I think 4e had not fully run its course. I'm still waiting for an oriental adventures book for 4th edition (and... well... might never get one). I'm not a fan of essentials, tbh... but, I see its value and why it would be fun.

However, after running some DDN... DDN feels more like D&D. Which is a good thing, but it's an emotional response and hard to explain. I hope that DDN really does pull in everyone. I'd like to see edition wars end. In response to your main inquiry, I think a "Next" update to each edition could occur, but I don't think it would be profitable. 

Wrt/ the transience of media, I still prefer print books. I'd like digital copies of books I buy to be available to me (for quick searching at the table). However, I have several 3.x and 4e books which might be rendered obsolete by this transition. If DDN can make all prior editions pertinent again... I'd be pretty happy. 

"However, after running some DDN... DDN feels more like D&D. Which is a good thing, but it's an emotional response and hard to explain. I hope that DDN really does pull in everyone. I'd like to see edition wars end. In response to your main inquiry, I think a "Next" update to each edition could occur, but I don't think it would be profitable."

RE: My guess is that it feels like D&D due to nostalgia which can be a powerful thing.  I recently started listening to 80s music again for the same reason.  No, I'm not kidding:-)  Yes, 4e has a bit more comic book pulp/video game style play to it and tactical/grid combat which some earlier edition players apparently don't care for (although I played 3e on a grid back in the day so I don't notice a big difference there outside how powers are handled).  I think you need to have support for more than one system if want to hold the loyalties of fans of each.  I think a single new system spells disgruntled fans of every system (more so for 4e fans since it was fully supported and the others previously weren't in any capacity).  However, I'm feeling that D&D is moving on from/dropping 4e.  How can a modular system recreate something close to 4e AND 2e inside the same system?  At some point they have to become seperate systems to be true to themselves.  No, I'm thinking 5e is just going to be a new system ultimately.  I just hope they continue Character Builder and Compendium support for 4e for at least a few years since the subscriptions still make for revenue.
From reading the interview transcripts it seems likely that 5E will be a back to basics 1E or 2E core system, with one or more module addons. I can completely see how you could tack on a 3.5E or 4E styled game to the simpler 1E or 2E core system. In fact, I would turn the discussion on it's head and ask why there is so much resistance from 4E fans to relegating 4E to an advanced module of the core system? 

My suspicion is that it merely comes down to a turf war. 4E fans don't want to be dethroned from their current flagship status.

But just think of all of the new players you'll have playing the game that you'll be able to introduce to the advanced (4E) version if 5E is a commercial success. Apparently 4E has not been a commercial success so it can't remain the game's flagship anymore because it isn't bringing home the bacon.

I do agree the WotC needs to not only keep the DDI tools, but they really need to take a step back and redo those tools from the ground up. The VT is no where near to being ready for prime time. Without an adequate game lobby I don't see how it will ever catch on. The Dragon and Dungeon articles are great, and I think they've done are really good job bringing that along.
The cover of the 1st edition Player’s Handbook by artist D.A. Trampier. A motley crew of adventurers, the bloodied bodies of lizard men, the hint of arcane malevolence surrounding the idol, the daring thieves prying the jewels from the statue. This is arguably the most iconic piece of art in all of RPGdom.
I can completely see how you could tack on a 3.5E or 4E styled game to the simpler 1E or 2E core system.


I think this is true. Consider Book of Nine Swords. While a lot of people disliked it (for reasons I never fully understood) it displayed how a power system could work in 3.x. Similarly, a Bo9S-like module could expand the basic classes with 4e-like powers. 

To KlingonJedi's point wrt/ nostalgia - you could be correct. But, I don't think that's quite it, though. In 3.x my groups used grids (usually graph paper grids, but it worked). I liked Bo9S, so I tried to implement those mechanics for all classes. Naturally when 4e did this I was sold. I think what made 4e feel unlike DND was to mechanically limit improvised attacks rather than allow for on-the-fly resolutions. Of course, a lot of DMs can handle when a PC wants to make up an attack which is not strictly a power... but, when there is a power which does the PC's goal...? Consider a paladin who wanted to improvise a Tide of Iron-equivalent (a slash followed by a shove with a shield) attack? Is he allowed? Can it be repeated?

I know how I'd run it at my table - and a lot of DMs can easily look at this and say how they'd resolve it. This type of freedom/creativity/improvisation can be resolved in 4e, don't get me wrong, but a lot of players looked to their powers instead of their imaginations. 

I will say that 4e made everyone at my tables feel useful and awesome in combat. I think a middle ground between the tactical awesomeness of 4e and the improv-ability of earlier editions can be found in DDN.

I won't say nostalgia isn't part of it, but I think there are mechanical aspects involved which "feel like D&D".

(What 80's tunes?) 
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
it's a turf war, yes, but not the one you're talking about.

basically, we're looking at a lot. it gets bulldozed over every so often and something new gets put up.

then bulldozed.

the built on.

then bulldozed again.

it's a vicious cycle.

now, instead of leasing the lot to a private company, city council is asking the community for it's input. some people want it to be park, others an office builting, others want a community center, others something entirely different.

at this point it's pretty obvious they're tossing ideas around and seeing what sticks but that lot, even if it has been bulldozed over several times, still has some sentimental value to a lot of people.

so we're each fighting tooth and hopeing the council will listen and have the lot look like something we want. 
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"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2