Monday, March 19, 2012

Game Night & What is 'Next'

Tonight we game. Rob (Bat in the Attic) will be running our second session playtesting D&D Next. In a way I think it’s smart not to tag it with another edition number. Not that it will stop another edition war or keep people calling in 5th edition, but I think it detaches, even if just semantically, from the line of progression of the editions. Each edition got farther away from the original.

Now while I can’t go into detail. I think it’s been hinted at that this version will not follow that path. It will not stray even farther away from its origins. I am not an edition basher, and 4th edition was a game unto itself. The leap from 3.5 to 4 was a huge change. To the point where many gamers didn’t even recognize it as D&D. Forth edition has a huge following and I’ve played it and had fun. Bought and read the books, even a few of the side gadgets, but in the end it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t the game I liked to play. It wasn’t the game I was willing to invest countless hours into.

With D&D Next on the horizon, playtesting is full swing and I believe they just closed the first round of testing. So what is Next? Like I said, I participated in one game and tonight we continue on. I’ve read the packets.

I like it. Not sure if I love it. But I like it better than 4th edition.

Excuse me while I step on this soapbox. It’s a little one.

Hypothetically. Let’s say D&D Next is a system that rocks the gaming world. For me, the system wasn’t the only problem. I think the biggest failing was their attitude towards its customer base. I won’t go into a blow by blow account. I think WotC or Hasboro, not which or both, needs to get back to being open to 3rd party publishers. To be a bit more fan friendly.
That’s it. Stepping off my soapbox.


  1. Tim.. Why I love your blog so much is you actually add some good stuff on a daily basis! I've even come to love sleestaks :) I really did want to love 4e as well, We had a great DM and it really was fun at first, but we all started to tire of it, even our DM.. So we took a vote and moved to Pathfinder, and really haven't looked back. I'm hopeful for D&D Next and hope it will get me back into the D&D fold.

  2. OK, I signed up my email address for playtesting at the WotC site. Why am I not getting any invites to playtest?

  3. I think D&D 4th was a mess of a game (ironically because they spent so much time trying to make so tidy), particularly because of the way Hasbro/WotC decided to deal with other publishers and players.

    5th Edition is an opportunity to re-assess that and hopefully mend the fences.

    I'll admit the new Forgotten Realms book they're on about appeals to me a great deal, because I do so love "classic" 'realms.

  4. I think it will be interested in seeing what they do, both in the final game version and the marketing/consumer interaction.

  5. It's an interesting situation.

    I think many people (meaning through all the editions) will have the mixed feelings.

    Are people going to be content playing something they are "just happy with" rather than something they are completely stoked about?

    It will all come out in the wash, but it will be interesting to see the result.

  6. Ok, now what I'm about to say is most likely going to get me into a lot of trouble, but what the hell - to me, D&D is just that: D&D. I've never gone in for all the latest editions, I never worried about the rule system too much either.

    So long as my players were having a good time, that things flowed smoothly, immersion was high and the role playing was in keeping with the characters, then all was good.

    I think any DM/GM/player who knows what they want from any rpg system can tweak it here and there to allow for streamlined game play. If something doesn't fit, take it out, tweak it or replace it with something else altogether, so long as logic and common sense rule the day, an rpg session shouldn't be all about the rule book.

    Yes, I've had those players who quote line and verse from said rule book, but only when it suited them, which only reinforced my thinking of how much of an interference rules can be, bogging down game play over nit-picking of rules. Other times they were quite happy to muddle along if they thought it would give them the upper hand... which it rarely would.

    I've seen this kind of splintering within the online gaming community when a newer version of a game is released. Then it's all smack talk about who should go back to the previous version and 'learn to play'. Elitism is an unhealthy thing and can fester at the core of any regular massed social event/gathering if it is allowed, and I'm noticing this divide cropping up regarding 4e versus this, and 5b versus that (and yes, I know I've most likely got those wrong, but quite frankly, I don't give a flying shag) - a game, is a game, is a game, no matter the name, edition or system. It is just a game. Nothing worth starting feuds, arguments or rivalries over. There's enough of that crap out in the real world.

    It saddens me to think that the one thing that has brought me and my friends so much fun, pleasure, excitement, heart break and acts of daring-do, not to mention the camaraderie it brings between a long-standing group of rpg friends, has gradually been turned into a war of edition.

    I'm just glad I haven't fallen foul of it and my group is no more than a collection of distant, yet happy memories. At least those don't have to be upgraded for the sake of marketing.

    To close, I wish to make clear that I am not trying to upset the 'balance' or alienate people, just wanted to throw my pebble into the pond.

    Good luck with D&D Next, I hope it fulfills expectation.