Back in the early 80s, a friend of the family introduced me to fantasy roleplaying games when I was about 12 years old. It was the Dungeons & Dragons Basic game in a red box, and I was hooked! Being in the military, my family moved around a lot so it wasn't always easy to find the right group to play with. Sometimes, there was no one around to share my hobby that had become my passion. As I grew into adulthood, changed jobs and locations (and even relationships), my love for the game stayed with me. Yet, I still kept up with the books, the supplements, and almost every product even remotely associated with the game. Every edition. Admittedly, fourth was the hardest for me to accept, but like with every edition before it, I found enough strengths and considerations to keep me vested in the game. I hung out for as long as I could, but the moment the Next edition was announced, I decided that I was done because, frankly, I'm just really tired of buying into new games I already play.
So why did I wait this long to say anything until now? Why do I even bother? Because I am 42 years old. I've been playing
living with this
game for about three decades. I have spent thousands of dollars and hours in one way or another. I believe I'm entitled to have a say in it whenever I
decide. But as a loyal and dedicated fan, and now a former
customer, I want it to be understood why some people, like myself, are done with all of this. I want it to be understood why I, at least, am no longer going along for the ride, or even care how good (or bad) the next product will be.
I am tired of spending more money for more versions of the same game I already have. Fourth edition was more different, which I actually appreciated, but it wasn't different enough. And I still have most of my previous editions, which are already tested and, more or less, complete. None are perfect, but after all these years, I've figured out how to avoid most of the common problems and pitfalls. I guess you can add that I'm tired of learning how to deal with new systems since they all have flaws, too.
I am tired of being dictated by this industry of what a roleplaying game is supposed to be and how to play it. I neither need nor want a wall full of text books to explain all the basic rules and the advanced rules, the variant rules and expansion rules, compendium rules, errated rules, discontinued rules, banned rules, and rules for making more rules. Nor do I need a character system with so many choices and options that most players become incapable of making any decisions in a reasonable amount of time before and during play. You don't need one million options available just so you can make the right one.
I am tired of companies being greedy. If you produce a good, quality product and make a profit from selling it, I'd say you're a successful and respected business. But if you spend more effort trying to create a business model that will get consumers to continuously give you more money for a product of poor or questionable quality, then you will inevitably end up in a boardroom with whatever remains of your various project teams and managers, scratching your heads while trying to figure out why your competitors are now doing so much better than you.
I am tired of paying for virtual goods and rented services in order to play a game. Yes, I can write out a character sheet by hand. I've been doing that probably since before a lot of gamers on these message boards were born. Doesn't mean I don't want to, especially with as much detail that is needed to fill out a functional
character sheet for fourth edition (i.e. I shouldn't need to reference details on every one of my character abilities by looking it up between several handbooks, or even a virtual database). And I'm tired of character sheets that require multiple pages with an index.
I am tired of reading articles about what halflings are supposed to look like and how to recognize monsters we've seen for reimagined and reinvented for many years. I am tired of reading about modularity for a set of rules that has yet to show any real signs of stability. I am tired of hearing how our voices and opinions are important, except for those who do not want to move into another edition. I'm tired of assumptions being made that I would actually want
to be sitting at a table with players playing the same game with different sets of rules. If I want to play first edition rules with first edition players, guess what?... I'm not inviting them to a table for Next edition! That game (and those players) already exist!
I'm tired how the type of die you roll is actually connected with the "feel" of true Dungeons and Dragons. Its not (or at least, it shouldn't be)! Its a game mechanic, and a very bad one at that. I would like to think that professional game designers would not hold themselves to an archaic and tired piece like the d20 in favor of better and different game mechanics. Its been more than 30 years, after all. Why are we still looking for ways to reinvent the same game system, over and over and....
(And in case you might ask, the true "feel" of any DnD game (to me) has very little to do with mechanics. It is a group of people, sitting around a table with make-believe characters and stories, collaborating to tell stories of adventure, action, suspense, and glory! It is about people having fun, not digging in rulebooks to find some obscure detail, or arguing about how all characters can be no better or worse than anyone else's, or whining about when/how their character is going to stand out in a table full of like-minded people wondering the same exact thing, etc.)
And finally, I am really tired of listening to other players who simply refuse to think for themselves. Whether it is at the game table, or on a message board, I can hear/read the same arguments and complaints caught in an endless loop. I know full well that writing this will prompt any number of responses from people who feel the need to defend against some imagined slight against them, their peers, their game, or their patron sponsor. And they will think I am a moron who needs to be reminded of what is so painfully obvious, like businesses need to make money, or no one is going to take away the games I already have, or that this little speech is based off someone else's somewhat famous rant (or the true original).
I am not here to rain on anybody's "happy", or pick a fight on the internet (because its just stupid and I don't have that much
time to waste). I don't expect development on the new game to suddenly stop, or designers to suddenly rethink their strategy, and I certainly don't expect the new edition to fail. There is a lot of new blood ready to jump on with whatever comes on for the next 20-30 years before they, too, will grow tired. Maybe one day they will be making a statement like this, and that will be fine because I know the game is still going on. I couldn't tell you how its doing, and I probably won't care by then anyway.
My point is that its still just a game, or at least it should be treated like one. It may be a very important and influential one, as it has been to me, but I think it is important that I am able to let someone know why I (and maybe others like me) have decided to stay with what we have, make the best of what we got, and say goodbye to whatever may come. We are just tired of this business. Not the game.
on Mar 15, 2013 - 11:03AM