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Wizard Watch: Are we “Uniting the Editions” or just selling more books?

Q: Which of these orcs is not like the others?  A: ALL OF THEM!

Q: Which of these orcs is not like the others? A: ALL OF THEM!

Today I read Monte Cook’s new Legends and Lore column, Uniting the Editions Part 2 , and I have never been more flummoxed about D&D Next.  In my previous blog, Wizard’s Watch: The Quest for Grand Unified D&D? I apparently was lead to the erroneous conclusion that WotC designers were looking for a way to create a form of D&D that can be played by enthusiasts from all editions, and will have appeal to D&D players regardless of what edition they currently enjoy.

But from today’s article, it appears that something else is going on, and honestly, I cannot figure out what it is.  According to Monte, the main goal of D&D Next is to create a system which all editions can use:

To be clear, we’re not talking about creating a bridge so that you can play 1E and 4E at the same time. Instead, we’re allowing you to play a 1E-style game or a 4E-style game with the same rules. Also, players at the table can choose the style of character they want to play.

While this is a praiseworthy idea, as a veteran D&D gamer, I have to ask myself this question:

If they don’t plan on creating a bridge between editions, aren’t they just “reinventing wheels” that gamers already own, and are already happily using year after year?

The THAC0-Monster -Magic Incompatibility

In order to try and create a unifying combat and magic system for D&D Next, the designers have a real conundrum on their hands.  The first, and probably most obvious, stumbling point is the decision about how a monsters and heroes attack each other – in other words, combat.  In the first few editions (Basic, AD&D, 2nd Edition) of D&D, we used an armor class system ranging from AC 10 to AC -10, and a “to hit” system revolving around THAC0 – To Hit Armor Class 0.  For those D&D gamers joining the editions at 3rd or later, THAC0 is a completely unknown entity, and they have likely never even heard about such a strange concept.  There is an excellent write-up about THAC0 in the Dungeons & Dragons WIKI, by the way, and I have to admit reading through it again was both nostalgic and a bit boggling.

So in order to create a unified D&D Next, the designers will have to either convince the original edition D&D enthusiasts to either abandon THAC0, or to have newer edition gamers learn a new system to determine hits and misses in combat.  I’m pretty sure that neither of these things seem likely, leaving only the possibility that the designers plan to sell a combat/AC/”to hit” system that requires conversion depending on what additional “modules”, as Monte refers to the game complexity add-ons, the players and DMs decide to use.

And then there are monsters to consider…

In every edition, there has been a paradigm shift with how monsters are designed, how their stat blocks are presented, and how many diverse powers a beastie has to use in order to turn heroes into a delicious meal or worm food, depending on the creatures appetites.

For instance, 1st Edition (AD&D) monster stat blocks were very simple, with little or no variance between monsters of a particular type, and very little advancement possibilities to create higher level versions of a monster.  In essence, 90% of the time in AD&D, an orc was just an orc: it had around 1d8 of hit points, and delivered 1d8 of damage when it hit a hero.  Done.

Now by 3.5, we have an orc that is now much different from its first edition ancestor.  It has a CON bonus to hit points, it has a STR bonus to damage, and it can be advanced to higher levels by adding character classes as overlays, making a simple tribal orc into a champion of its kind as a cleric, fighter, or wizard!

And should I even get started on 4E orcs?  Here we have orcs which can be advanced to any level, given a wide range of powers, and can even be turned into Elite and Solo creatures, capable of challenging heroes of ANY LEVEL – even Epic characters!

And last, but not least, there is a magic system to consider…

All previous editions before D&D 4E used a Vancian magic system, with memorized spells in spell slots which were forgotten after they were cast.  Wizards and clerics had to prepare their spells, and were stuck with what they had in their repertoire, and when they ran out, they were reduced to using weapons to fight, just like the fighters, rogues, and rangers – unless they had a wand, rod, or staff with some charges in it, ready to blast away at their foes.

But even the Vancian magic system changed from edition to edition, particularly with the number of spells that they could use.  For instance, by 3rd edition, Wizards finally gained bonus spell slots for high Intelligence in the same way that Clerics did in 1st Edition, and Clerics were given a new boon of Domains to grant them new powers.

Of course, D&D 4E has a magic system of powers which refresh after each short rest, and allow spellcasting heroes to battle on for hours and hours with their arsenal.  Daily powers aside, a caster is never without a spell to cast, even if he only has his At-Wills left.

So are 4E gamers going to freely move to a Vancian system, just because that was the “norm” for the previous editions?

I think the real question here is which system is going to have to make a sacrifice in D&D Next and get used to a completely new style of play in order to be part of the new paradigm?  And just which players of which edition are going to have to settle for a change in order to be brought into D&D Next system?

Like selling ice to frost giants…

I think the sad truth is that the answer to my previous question is: NO ONE.  I honestly cannot figure out exactly who D&D Next is going to be sold to as the new gaming paradigm for playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Players who love their 1st and 2nd Edition games have no reason to run out and buy new books, learn a bunch of new rules, and give up their simple stat blocks and THAC0.  They have everything they need to continue to play their D&D games the way they want to.  If they wanted to change to a new edition, they had several new ones to try, but yet they remained true to the original rules system.

Gamers who play 3rd/3.5 Edition have, by this time, either moved over to Pathfinder, or continue to enjoy their plethora of 3rd Edition or 3.5 materials in order to enjoy what D&D means to them.  To them, the inherent D&D-ness that Monte and the rest of the designers at WotC are seeking, is already in their hands, amidst the piles of sourcebooks, splat books, and 3rd party PDFs they purchased years ago.

D&D 4E enthusiasts have a very specific idea of what D&D is to them too, and adopting any of the previous D&D concepts like THAC0, a Vancian magic system, or simplified monster stat blocks with no powers is not going to work.  Like the players of previous editions, 4E players will just hunker down, use the resources they were given, and entrench themselves in the game that they have come to love.

Based upon this recent Legend & Lore article, I think calling the new proposed system D&D Next is a terrible misnomer.  It should really be called D&D Generations (apologies to STNG fans), because it is trying to link together editions and time periods that are very disparate from each other.

Trying to create a basic unifying combat-magic-monster system is simply impossible given the differences in the editions, and frankly, I have no idea who the Marketing Department thinks it’s going to be selling all these new books to, when EVERY D&D GAMER is going to feel that they have to compromise their editions’ unique D&D-ness in order to opt in.

If Wizards of the Coast wants to create D&D Next, they need to seriously start looking at revamping their newest version of D&D 4E, and take it to the next level.  They need to clean up things like feat-creep, power proliferation, and actually design a much better skill system, and designe D&D Next to be all about taking the paradigm started with 4E into the future.  There’s a lot that can be done to make 4E an even better system, and none of it begins with adding retro-edition elements to the game.

And by the way, WotC… I really think that the days are gone where D&D gamers might have fallen for the old “if we print it, they will buy it” scheme.  That might have worked when you guys had all-star writers on your team, and D&D gamers followed their favorite authors’ product lines like avid collectors – but Hasbro’s firing policy certainly ended that practice.  In my opinion, if you create a new version of D&D, and force every gamer to compromise their editions’ own unique qualities in order to buy in, you’re going to just have a lot of books stacked in Hasbro warehouses, and a dead franchise being played around the world using your previous editions.

So until next blog… I wish you Happy Gaming!


About The Author

Editor-in-Chief
Michael is an Adept of a Secret Order of Dungeon Masters, and dwells in a hidden realm with his two evil cat-familiars, deep within the Vale of Wolverines, called by some "Michigan". He has been esoterically conjuring D&D Campaigns for nearly a Third of a Century, and has been known to cast ritual blogs concerning Dungeons & Dragons every few days with some regularity. Michael has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast, and writes reviews of D&D and other Role-Playing Game products on EN World News.

Comments

20 Responses to “Wizard Watch: Are we “Uniting the Editions” or just selling more books?

  1. Ryan says:

    The best thing they can do is just support all the editions of D&D and not insult the public

  2. Alarian says:

    There is no way they will simply update 4th. They’ve already said 4th was a mistake (not a bad system, just too different from the core of what D&D is/was) and there is no way they would ever bring back most of the old D&D players by using 4th as it’s core. To a very large percentage of gamers 4th isn’t D&D, its a game system that was created by the people that owned the rights to name it D&D. Whatever 5th will end up, they have already said they will be going back to the core of what D&D was. And for a vast majority, thats Basic through 3rd. I’m really looking forward to 5th and whatever it may bring. But… If it’s based on 4th, I will not even buy the core books this time around.

  3. @Alarian – I hear what you’re saying, but what about all those people that bought 4E and loved it? Isn’t WotC simply going to create another schism and another group of gamers that hate them for abandoning their game platform? Ryan was right, they need to “support all the editions”, but how can Wizards do that if they are retreating back to a game system that folks already own? There are people on the other side of the fence from you Alarian – those folks love 4E, want to see it move forward, and would be disinherited by a system “thats Basic through 3rd”, as you call it. What do you think the odds are of those gamers buying the D&D Next Core books?

  4. Arbanax says:

    WOTC has a big problem in that, from what I understand, they need to sell stuff to remain in business. Saying this is a marketing ploy is redundant, of course it is – they’re not a charity, commissioned to preserve the brand. They’re a business and what Hasbro has done to designers they’ll do to the brand if it doesn’t pull its weight. But when D&D does well, so does the whole industry. Hopefully this might also proceed with a re-release of old material a new OGL, and a new wave of interest.

    I hear what you’re saying here and I think you’re point about, why would gamers abandon what they’ve got to play what is offered, is a valid one. But the one thing I would say is WOTC wants to allow those players to play in the same game with new gamers, so that old don’t feel their giving up too much, and new don’t have to stray too far and both can have a better time. A worthy ambition, which we’ll all have a chance to see if it can be made to work.

    Perhaps this supposed audience doesn’t exist, or if it exists their motives for playing are more limited than WOTC supposes. Either way I wonder if this is going to be make or break,. After all if 4e (which I play and like a lot) didn’t do so well, one has to wonder if this doesn’t work, will Hasbro retire the whole system to be relaunched some time in the future? What might that do for the industry as a whole. I hope they do suceed, even if it does seem like catching lighting in a jar.

  5. Dave Wainio says:

    Our dear Editor-in-chief has fleshed out the same general thoughts I had when I first commented on this topic here. The different paradyms of design between 1-3.5x and 4E are too different to logically combine. Well, I suppose you could have the basic D&D character be like a 3.5 one and than have all the 4E super-powers added as an add on module I guess ……

    Simple facts. Hasbro owns WoTC, and Hasbro has share holders that expect a return on investment. When Hasbro looks at unit sales of D&D they are probably dismayed at the dip in units sold. The are also probably upset that it apears that a big chunk of their fan base moved to Pathfinder. My local Barns and Nobles used to be where I got my 4E books. They added a section of board games and dropped all their FRPG books just recently. Things like that make Hasbro unhappy and to tell WOTC to figure out a way to sell more books. Now gosh darn it !

    So my assumtion is that WoTC is motivated primarily by a desire to sell more books. They may be attempting to create something so wonderful that everyone will coming running with thier money held out. I hope that’s what they’re doing instead of rehashing whats been done to crank out new core books – regardless of their motivation.

    But I don’t think that they can succeed in making the grand overall awesome killer D&D everyone wants. There are too many different customer opinions of what that creature would look like. And if they once again drop support of a fairly recent system (4E) they will just anger part of what is left of their fanbase.

    Heck, if I was WoTC I would be tempted to go the D&D Classic route and print updated, hopefully improved 3.5 version rules as my “classic” line and continue my 4E/Heroes of Forgotten Kingdom (or whatever they call the psuedo 4E). Yeah, convincing stores to double your shelf space will be hard but hobby game stores will stock the flavor of D&D that appeals to their customer base and internet sales can have as many tems “on the shelf” as you want.

    Ironically, I smell D&D Next as the end of my D&D gaming approaching. I’ll take my 4E campaign to around 10th to 12th level to finish the plot lines of the characters and end it. I rather suspect that above that level 4E kinda breaks down anyway. I’ve already started rewriting the FRPG rules we published 20 years ago for my own use – ironically with a few concepts borrowed from 4E.

    WoTC is in a real pickle over sales and trying to rejuvinate D&D. If nothing else it will be interesting what their strategy and final attempt to save the game from dissapearing from the market looks like.

    Dave Wainio
    Three Sages Games

  6. DiscerningDM says:

    4e got me back into D&D. I have to say, it’s hard to think about vancian magic and reduced melee class options. That said, you cant play the same game forever. I like the idea that all of my previous D&D books can be useful in a DDN game. Walking away from Powers and martial class enhancements and Wizard at wills just seems backwards though.

  7. Alan Skinner says:

    First off, I don’t think Wizards has ever promised us a game that would let us use supplements and modules from all editions without conversion. I don’t even know why they would do that, as it would probably just hurt their sales. They have clearly said all along that they wanted to create a new version of D&D that will cater to the play styles of fans of all editions. That’s still a tall order, but it MAY be achievable.

    Secondly, I’m not convinced that the things 4e fans like about 4e, 3e/PF fans like about their games, 2e fans like about 2e, and so on, are entirely incompatible. There will always be grizzled Edition Warriors who insist that anything but their preferred edition is “dumbed down”, “unrealistic”, or whatever – I knew many back when 2e came out, and I’m sure they weren’t the first ones – but I do believe that they are the minority.

    People who love and still play 2e, Basic, and so on usually extol the simplicity of the game and the focus on telling great stories. The 3e/PF crowd either like having rules for everything, or being able to fine-tune their characters with a bazillion classes and options. 4e fans usually love how deep and tactical combat is, or how 4e gets rid of most of the rules baggage that DMs had to carry in previous editions (especially 3.x). These things are very different, but not absolutely opposed, especially if it’s even easier for groups to add and remove chunks of the rules to fine-tune them to their tastes. This has always happened to some extent in D&D anyway; I hardly knew anyone who ran a game without any house rules, or without limiting the rules to certain books. That brings up an important related point – I’ve never know anyone who was totally HAPPY with their preferred edition of D&D, either. Even Pathfinder players complain about many aspects of the rules.

    It’s theoretically possible to come up with an edition of D&D that won’t be all things to all people, but will have enough of the things that most people have loved about D&D that players of any edition can be tempted to play it. D&DNext may not be that game, but Wizards is the ONLY company in the industry that is positioned to make and sell the game that could meet these goals. So, I’m glad that they’re trying.

  8. Aaron Freeman says:

    To answer the question posed, I believe that everyone will have to make a sacrifice to play this new edition, but old school gamers and 4e players will likely be making the biggest sacrifices to play the new edition. From what has been shared about the game so far, we know that old school players get a streamlined character generation and growth and a base mechanic where ability scores and modifiers take a larger role in the game, also possibly rolling dice as the preferred means of generating scores. 4E players get character themes, a higher degree of customization (which we still know little about), feats that unlock at-will powers for SOME classes and re-done rituals… which hopefully see more play than 4E rituals did on my table.

    From my point of view, this new system caters heavily to 3.5/pathfinder players, but again we don’t know much at this point and I think I will reserve total judgement until we have a playtest. I absolutely love 4E and the main reason I am looking forward to D&D Next is because my group was fractured on its release. I had to rebuild my gaming group to continue playing 4E and I hope that this gives every player something they like about D&D to latch onto.

    I absolutely agree with you Mike (can I call you Mike?) that D&D Next’s goal is lofty, and originally when they started the project, they probably did want to find a way to make all rules compatible. But I think they came to the same realization that you have. Now the designers are just doing something more realistic, trying to find something to appeal to every edition. Only time will tell if their goal is attained. I guess I am just an optimist though, since we won’t have a play test until sometime in Spring I am trying to just be positive.

  9. @Alan – You bring up some valid points about what the various editions offer to those currently playing them, and about how no edition is perfect, and is likely house-ruled to meet the needs of the individual gaming group. That said, what then in the attraction for a group to buy in on a new set of D&D Next books? The people playing 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5, and Pathfinder have found what they are looking for, and don’t have to compromise in order to get what they want from a game. Heck, I could go into my storage space, and pull out all the books for any of the previous editions and start playing them, and I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars of WotC’s blessing to do it!

    And btw, rehashing the old D&D system to make a basic core system was already done – it’s called d20 – and it has been successfully translated into not only D&D and Pathfinder, but Traveller, Call of Chtulhu, and several other genres and settings.

    So again, why are we reinventing a wheel that has already been made, and not moving on to perfect a new game system, one that has attracted newer and younger gamers, and try to make that system appealing to a wider audiance? Like 4E maybe?

  10. Marlett says:

    I am also quite confused about the purpose of D&DN.. Does anyone think that the folks who jumped to Pathfinder are going to come back just because it has a different logo on it?

    PF isn’t hugely different than 3.5, and most people playing it had tons of 3.5 material to play with for the next several decades… SOMETHING made them change over. It seems to me that the PF people left because they didn’t want to play a WotC product for lots of reasons.

    If WotC really wanted to own the whole market, then Hasbro should have stepped up to the plate and just bought out Paizo – lock, stock, and barrel. That would prove whether or not they think tabletop RPGing is a viable business market.

    I see very little 4e influences in what information is publicly available, and several negative comments about 4e from the Dev team. This worries me that there will be another exodus of the 4e folks – and therefore another edition schism…

  11. Philo Pharynx says:

    Mixing editions will need to be more about style and feel than about specifics like THAC0, AEDU powers, feats, or demihuman level caps. If you are looking for specific rules, you probably won’t be happy. If you are looking for a playstyle, then there’s a chance you can find what you want.

    Supporting all editions sounds good, but it’s not a strategy that a big corporation can do profitably. You need a development team for each edition, which either means producing a small amount for each system or having lots of employees. And it’s far from clear how big a market there would be for all of the older editions. Some people say they’d love to buy new material for old editions. Others complain that they already have more than enough material. There are two ways this could work. 1) a small team just reformats old material for current sales, but no new material would be developed for old editions. 2) license older editions to separate companies who would then support them. Of course any descision these spin off companies made would face the usual wrath of the internet.

    @Arbanax, I think you hit the nail on the head. 3e was incredibly successful and transformed the industry when the economy was booming. 4e wasn’t as successful and came when the economy wasn’t doing well. If they are expecting 3e-style profits, I think they’ll be disappointed. If they expect to do better than 4e, I think they’ve got a shot.

    @DiscerningDM, I think that D&D next will feel a bit sparse at first for 4e and 3e lovers. Then again, a new system will always feel sparse at first when you compare it to a mature system. I’m hoping that their options to add complexity will be enough to make us happy. I do think that they will add more support for more complex ideas. We know the wizard is going to be Vancian with some optional ways to get at-wills. But I think the warlock will be closer to a 4e class with at-will, encounter and maybe daily powers. I think the fighter will be something like the essentials fighter when you trick it out.

  12. Josh Armstrong says:

    Heck, I could go into my storage space, and pull out all the books for any of the previous editions and start playing them, and I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars of WotC’s blessing to do it!

    That’s the key – why, if you were happy with 1e, did you buy 2e, or 3e or 4e?

    Whatever made you buy those books will drive you to buy the D&D Next books. Maybe it turns out to be a perfect system, maybe it’s just intriguing enough to get you to look into it or maybe you’re a completionist.

    Basic, 1e and 2e are fairly similar so it’s hard to say why one would choose one of those early editions over another definitively – 3e was a huge change in mechanics and 4e a huge departure from the norms thereby alienating those that played previous editions.

    3e was a success. 4e not as much. But you bought all of them. Why would you change that pattern now?

  13. Alan Skinner says:

    @Mike – you said “The people playing 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5, and Pathfinder have found what they are looking for, and don’t have to compromise in order to get what they want from a game.”. But I don’t think that’s true. I play Pathfinder and 4e, and I’d happily play 2e or a different edition if I had a group.

    Each edition scratches a different itch for me. I like the tactical combat of 4e, but I like the freedom fom the battle map that I get from pre-3e versions. I like the customizability of 3.x/PF, but I also dislike the complexity to the point that I won’t DM those editions again. In a very real way, I compromise my tastes with every version of the game I play, and I know I’m not alone.

    So there is certainly room for a new edition, just like there was an audience for 2e, 3e, 4e and Pathfinder. I believe that the licensing will be a bigger factor in the game’s success than the rules themselves. I’m worried that Hasbro won’t allow Wizards to go back to the OGL, but I think that’s what they really need to do.

  14. benensky says:

    The short answer is the D&D portion of Hasbro & WoC is interested in selling books, minis or whatever will grow there profits. Lets be real, it is a a-moral capitalist company with one goal, to make profit. If they thought burning the name D&D and naming it the boot on a stick game would sell more books they would do it in a hart beat.

    The current edition is losing sales and it reached the trigger point that they believe launching a new edition is the next step for increasing sales. It worked before with 3E, 3.5 and 4E. Say what you like about 4E, but initially sales of 4E core rule books broke records according to WoC at the time. Also, it works for Magic their premiere product, they obsolete older editions and continually introduce new ones.

    However, I do think they want to modularize the game and make it so different edition players can play together. There game designers may be spinning it differently because they think th task is overwhelming or they want to invent the game as they think it should be. Of course, it could be a little of both. However, the upper management probably has been sold that primary reason 4E did not continue sell well is because it fractured the community. The management believes the sellers of that idea know all the answers and will reunite the community and make record profits.

    Then, why would I and other want to play that? So that I have more people to game with. If they create a game so all the pathfinder players and 1E and 2E players would join in on then it would be easier to find a group of players that fit my schedule. Playing more often or with more people would be worth making some compromises for.

    Finally, I hope that they still work on gaining new RPG players. This game can only go on so long with older folk.

  15. Kilsek says:

    That same exact section of Monte’s article threw me for a loop too! Still, it’s so early, so I’ll have to reserve judgement.

    Hopefully the previous editions’ “magic” does get brought back, somehow, someway. That’s the one thing I want most out of D&D 5e.

    Right now, D&D’s a little too mechanical and rulesy, with combat’s overlong average duration crushing adventuring pacing.

  16. Hunterian7 says:

    Good article and good read. D&D Next is coming out too soon and it sucks that resources will be pulled from 4th edition deign to D&D Next design. Wizards has their sights on the Pathfinder crowd and wants to keep their 4th base. The whole support all editions speech sounds like a response to the 4th critics that says it isn’t D&D. I view D&DNext as one edition to rule them all.

    To me the 4th edition era ended with the firing of Andy Collins, Rob Heinso, Dave Noonan, Stacy Longstreet, Randy Mac-Farland, Richard Baker, Stephen Schubert, Logan Bonner, Steve Winters and the departure of Bill Slavicek. The releases after Dark Sun and the Tomb of Horrors just haven’t been the same calibre. And how has James Wyatt stayed on the D&D staff? Did he sell out?

    I’m staying with 4th edition. I have enough material to last my lifetime. If I had liked 3.5 better than 4th I sure as hell would not have bought Pathfinder. A copy of a copy of a copy.

    To the editor- have you read Ryan Danceys Enworld stuff on the $50 million companies versus the less than $50 million dollar companies under Hasbro? Powerful read.

    To those that hate 4th- don’t care. No more than I care about D&DNext. I got my dream edition of D&D- that is 4th and no one can ever take it back!

  17. CT says:

    “D&D Next” will be a simplified 4E framework that plays much like OD&D and 1E. This framework will be expandable, at the players and DM option, all the way up to the complexity of 4E today. That’s pretty much it. WoTC does not think 4E is a bad game they just think the anti-4E crowd doesn’t understand what it is and were turned off by the original marketing and art work. So they are revamping the marketing with all the current public articles and eventual play test, and will be redoing the artwork to have a more old school look and feel. Hiring Monte Cook is part of the marketing effort (to please the 3E crowd). I would guess a large inspiration for Monte taking the job was not just the regular paycheck but, more importantly, a nice opportunity to write a D&D novel trilogy. Montes been trying to convert to a full time author for a few years now and hasn’t been able to do it on his own.

    That’s pretty much it, so don’t get too excited. If you have a version of the game you like to play now just stick with it.

  18. Chip Warden says:

    THAC0 was a 2E system. 0E/1E used to-hit tables.

  19. @Josh – The reasons I switched to newer editions varied wildly from edition to edition. With 2nd, I jumped out of 1st when Skills&Powers came out – I love the deconstructed character classes and the ability to build my own heroic experience… not to mention I had been playing AD&D for 11 years, and was getting bored. 3rd Edition was a switch because a portion of my friends hated 2nd Ed S&P (traitors!) and bailed for the new edition. Rather than lose my gaming group, I bought into the new edition and dealt with it. 3.5 came along, and like many other gamers out there, I felt that if I wanted to still have a corporate support my D&D game, so I’d have to make the switch. I chose 4E because it fixed the problems I felt existed in previous, such as a Vancian magic system and unbalanced character classes – ie. melee classes that became jokes after about 7th level when the wizard and sorcerer could smoke an encounter single-handedly. So again, what does this new system have to offer me? Pretty much nothing, except the end of the D&D version I finally feel was my fav.

    @Hunterian7 – Right there with you guy. I’ve heard and read nothing yet that makes me want to give up on 4E. If it comes down to it, I’ll just houserule the crap outta my 4E materials, fix the stuff that WotC could have in a new edition of 4E – if they had not fired all their great 4E designers- and just keep enjoying my current version of D&D.

    @CT – You’re missing out on the fact that this edition needs to be the end-all-be-all of D&D. Hasbro is expecting a $50mil a year return on its IP, and if we a great majority of D&D gamers “have a version of the game you like to play now just stick with it”, then WotC is never going to get the game out the door, and certainly never reach sales goals. I don’t see how rehashing old edition concepts into some bastardized D&D-GURPS-esque abomination is going to work, particularly when the nuts and bolts of the systems – combat, monsters, and magic – vary so drastically over the years. And just how many books will players and DMs have to buy to get from the simplified 4E framework to a game that mostly resembles 4E? Like the title said, it’s not so much a unification of the editions, but a ploy to meet the unrealistic sales goals set by a company (Hasbro) completely out of touch with the role-playing game community.

  20. metatsu says:

    The various versions of D&D have more in common, that what seperates them. The trick is how to present it as core with optional rules. It is a find line they will have to balance. However, the other side of the coid is how they treat third party developers in regards to being able to modify or create new content for D&D Next, or have access to D&D Next tools like character builder or virtual table top. To be successful, not only does the game need to evolve, but they need to change their business practices.

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