Stop The Presses will be our little section where we post news that couldn’t wait to be written into an entry. But our first Stop The Presses, is one that is sending sonic waves through the Tabletop Community.
Wizards of The Coast is releasing a 5th Edition of the now infamous game Dungeons and Dragons.
While this should be good news, a lot of diehard D&D players are a little hesitant to jump in headfirst for the following reasons:
1) Let’s be honest, there are already too many editions of the game to choose from. -D&D does have Basic, Advanced, 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 editions already now available for play. While many of the older formats are now hard to find, many gamers stay true to their starting format.
2) Many fans have already jumped ship due to the recent release of 4.0-4th edition as many people know it as, created insane backlash for “dumbing down” the series and making it so simple and non-challenging, that many people compare it to World of Warcraft or video RPG’s. While their intention was to keep the game simple, they made it so simple, that there was no need to be creative. And as such, many fans refused to accept the system.
3) Thanks to the D20 OGL that was started by Wizards of the Coast themselves, D&D now has some serious competition.–The D20 Open Game License was created by Wizards of the Coast to allow small 3rd party publishers to create their own adventures using the rules created by D&D as their reference point without having to pay royalties to the main company. Unfortunately for Wizards, they created a Pandora’s Box that they could not close even though they did try.
As a result of this, many new systems have risen like phoenixes from the ashes of the failure of 4.0. Many systems like World of Darkness, Castles and Crusades, Mutants and Masterminds have come into being and have taken their share. Their biggest competition in their field to date, comes from some of their own former employees, who founded Paizo Publishing and created the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. A game system which was built on the 3.5 OGL, and has now evolved into the second biggest D20 RPG behind D&D. So unfortunately, Wizards is somewhat responsible for their own problems.
4) Thanks to the rise of technology and digital RPG’s, many people do not want to do it the old-fashioned way. —Paper? Pencils? Use my imagination? Require me to have interactions with people face-to-face? MADNESS! Although many of the current gaming generation are descendants from the Pen/Paper days, thanks to technology, it’s getting harder for players of the next generation to get involved as many children prefer to play online and digital gaming over face-to-face ones. Even former D&D players themselves are going that route as well. Add to the fact that only a few D20 RPG systems have digital copies of their rulebooks available, it makes gaming difficult for many who wish to use tablets and E-readers for their rulebook references. Along with staying updated in their gaming while the rest of the gaming world has evolved.
But at the end of the day, we have to give it up to the creators of D&D. Although 5th edition may not be the plan “to save D&D” many of us had hoped for, it has shown, that they can see where they have gone wrong and what can happen when you do not stay true to your core base. They have pledged an open line to their fans and is allowing this spring to new play testings of the designs that they have worked on. Whether or not people will return to the format is still up in the air, but I do have a few suggestions about how to heal the great rift between old-school fans and the future of the series.
1) Actually listen to your fans this time! Many players cried foul when 4th edition came out and Wizards did not listen to their fan base until most of the damage and dissent to other systems had begun. Although we all know, that they aren’t going to please everyone, if you listen to the fans, you will at least be able to build a system that new and old players will be able to work with.
2) For those who do not wish to convert, give people the opportunity to play the older versions by re-prints or digital only. Pathfinder is one of the biggest systems that allows their players either the book, or the ability to have it via PDF for your tablets or E-readers. (And if you are a subscriber, you get a discount on the book and the PDF version for free and a week earlier than those of us who wait till release day.) You can still make money off the oldies but goodies, and have a new edition for those who are starting fresh. There is nothing wrong with having and utilizing your options of gameplay.
3) Take all the books, and create one Core Rulebook to last from now and until forever…. Paizo Publishing did it correctly in creating Pathfinder. There is only ONE Core Rulebook in the entire system, and according to Pazio, it will be the ONLY Pathfinder Core Rulebook ever. They will have expansion books as they do now, but if push comes to shove, so long as you have the Core Rulebook, you can play the game.
Wizards could definitely take a hint from their competitors and create one master Core Rulebook for all the systems now available. Then, each system and game organizer can customize rules and character building to their own desires, but it would give new and old players an opportunity to get into the game, no matter what system the Dungeon Master is running.
Only time will tell as we see what happens to the future that is Dungeons and Dragons. But one thing is for certain, things will not be the same in the tabletop realm.