I’m something of a newb when it comes to D D.; I was aware of it, but it never caught my eye until a couple of years ago when I saw some people playing it on a stream. They were having a blast and seeing them play piqued my curiosity. While I’ve picked up a few of the relatively recently released Essentials materials, I haven’t had the chance to sit around a table and play a game as of yet.
Even so, I couldn’t help but take notice when Wizards of the Coast announced that they were beginning the early planning stages of a new iteration for the popular game. They posted an announcement on Jan 9, 2012 giving readers a general idea of what they were hoping to accomplish with this new edition. They wanted to get fans input to see what people liked and didn’t like to try and create the best game possible. They’re even taking volunteers to partake in play testing to try out the preliminary mechanics.
It’s a nice idea in theory, but as others have pointed out, the D D; fanbase can be rather divided at times. There are still edition arguments both for and against each of the iterations that have been released so far. Considering how passionate the fanbase is, and how everybody has a different opinion, it’s not surprising. Still, it can make for a problem when you’re trying to take a consensus on what people like as people like different things and you may end up with conflicting reports.
On the other side of this coin, there’s the sense that WoTC wants to try and take the stuff that worked throughout the 4 and 2 half editions, toss aside the stuff that doesn’t and create a sort of D D; amalgam or Frankenstein. Considering how well that worked for the DC Animated Universe, I can’t say that I’m opposed to this particular strategy.
Who knows, it may even quell the aforementioned edition arguments. If they do pull this off, then all players will be able to find something that they like (in theory anyway). I highly doubt it will go that far, but it’s a fascinating idea.
One of the major criticisms is that it’s too early. 4th edition came out only a few years ago and they later released the also aforementioned Essentials material. The ball seems to be rolling for this edition and telling people that a newer version is coming could vex people.
As I said, I haven’t really dived into tabletop RPG’s yet, but I do get the sense that this is not a new problem. Almost every long running game has put out more than one edition over the years. It’s sort of the nature of the beast.
It does seem a bit early, but this may be the standard timetable for games like this? Another thing to take into consideration is that they are only now beginning work on it, which means that it won’t be released for well over a year at the minimum (judging by the feedback that I’ve read). As such, by the time, the product is ready to ship, people may be more open to the idea.
Considering how hard Wizards of the Coast is working to draw in new players, a new edition seems to make sense as you’re giving people a nice jumping on point. Then again, that was the theory behind both 4th edition and the Essentials line and both of those ended up with results where the mileage certainly varied.
As my interest in the game was only piqued long after 4th edition had gotten underway, I’m interested in jumping in on a new release. How it fares both for long time players and for accomplishing the goal of drawing in newcomers remains to be seen. As the game is still so early in production, it’s hard to even make a preliminary judgment. People will basically have to wait and see how the development plays out and see how things look as more information is released.