Mearls is saying the next topic on Legends and Lore will be “Transitions”, specifically getting the various edition lovers to come together and both enjoy and support D&D Next. This is to me quite simply the ultimate (and clearly very difficult if not impossible) main goal of D&D Next.
I was a fairly active troll a while ago on these forums wrongly thinking with the right argument against what I perceived as unnecessary revisions, I might make a difference. But it was like trying to stop the waves of the ocean with a squirt gun. I knew that many older kitchen table gamers who only lurked on these forums agreed with my opinions but were choosing to wait and see rather than try and make their voices heard over the very loud and prolific younger gamers.
Though I am not participating in the playtest, (players in my area simply aren’t interested) what I read about the packets on these forums I found more and more disturbing as time went on.
Dice pools, AOO’s, a huge slew of unpopular (amongst my group) 4e rules being brought back, generic weapons, and most importantly the assumption that DM worlds will all likely be very high magic settings with many playable race/class/player options as opposed to the traditional grittier and more dangerous lower magic settings with the fewer options of basic/AD&D, and my faith in Mearls and the team of actually achieving their ultimate goal as I saw it became next to nil.
I had to assume that’s because what I wanted from D&D Next was simply an update of the game I really loved from back in the 80s, instead of returning to the types of fantasy-superhero RPG’s more like WOW than Tolken that seem to proliferate my gaming store.
I also knew I wasn’t going to be happy with just being “familiar” with the new system, I wanted a return to what I thought made D&D popular in the first place, simplicity and the right of the DM to actually create, improve, and adjust as desired as opposed to having to fight to overcome what I perceive as the modern player’s growing sense of entitlement and setting/rule assumptions that seem hammered into the core of the game (regardless of a few pacifying sentences about empowering the DM and the DM being allowed to use the rules they want.)
Though I HATE the pathfinder rule set and world (too much magic, too fast progression through middle levels and almost all games obliterated by unbalance caused by power-creep and system mastery by 12th level) I’m starting to wonder if it would just be better to stick with it like all the players and DMs in my area are telling me they plan to do, maybe house rule the hell out of it to get it to be the game I actually want to run.
Yesterday, at the table, I mentioned that I was going to check out these forums again, and asked if anyone’s opinions had changed and if they might change from Pathfinder once Next came out, one of the players at our game says…
“The D&D Next forum reminds me of kids watching Tinkerbelle die, it’s like they all shut their eyes and are all clapping their hands saying ‘I believe in D&D Next! I believe in D&D Next!’ and that if they whip themselves into a strong enough frenzy the game WOTC is proposing will be magically better than it really is and people will want to play it more than Pathfinder, but ya see this (and he tapped his hands on his large stack of pathfinder books/materials) Its not perfect but its good enough, so we got no reason to change to D&D Next, I got all I need right here.”
And that to me will be the most difficult transition for Mearls to create, to get people (like my gaming group) who are currently happy “enough” with PF to see a big enough difference and improvement in Next to shell out hard earned money and change back to D&D….
It’s probably too early to say this, but right now, I’m not seeing it… Next is just not the game that I wanted, and so far it does not seem to have enough big improvements over PF to get my players to put away the books they already own…
So to those of you who are actively participating with the playtesting… what about you…?
1) what was your favorite edition or version of D&D (but don’t tell me why, that seems to get people banned)
2) Do you think Next has done it? Do you believe that Mearls and the team have successfully overcome your loyalty to previous editions, your enjoyment of PF or other games currently on the market to such a degree that you and everyone you game with would be willing to put everything else aside if the release day was today?