I have to admit that I was totally oblivious to WotC’s big announcement (which was first published by the NY Times) until my team member Youseph told me about it. But I don’t really follow D&D news for quite a while now. But since D&D is the grand daddy of all roleplaying games out there you can’t really ignore it either.
So, what the news at WotC? What the community suspected for quite some time now, is actually true: WotC is already working on a new edition of D&D. If it will be called D&D 5th Edition or something else is still unclear, but Mike Mearls obviously likes the idea of just calling it “Dungeons & Dragons” and drop the edition number altogether.
This time they want to do it right and bring back the highly fragmented D&D community. This also more or less proves that D&D 4th Edition wasn’t as successful as the decision makers at WotC and Hasbro hoped for. I suspect the success of Paizo’s Pathfinder and probably even the Old-School Revolution are responsible for that.
While their goals are laudable I fear they are doomed to fail. They plan to create a new edition of D&D that shall please both fans of the recent D&D 4E but also bring back the OSR crowd. They intend to manage this by creating a modular ruleset and community involvement during the design and playtest phases. I have to admit that a highly modular D&D game could be quite interesting. The Unearthed Arcana book for D&D 3.5 was one of my favorite books back when I still played D&D. Being able to pick and choose the rules options you like in your D&D game might be pretty nifty, but in my opinion it’s very hard to pull off.
Community involvement in the design phase may also be pretty problematic. Only a small portion of gamers does participate in online communities or attend gaming convention. How do you make sure that the game appeals to this silent majority and not only to the quite vocal minority that actively participates in the design process?
I have to admit that I’m not that invested in that topic as I was a couple of years back. I wish WotC all the best and if the next iteration of D&D is a roleplaying game that sounds fun to play, I might give it a try. But if it’s not my cup of tea I’ll just play something else. There are so many interesting games out there, so that I am not dependent on Dungeons & Dragons.
Before I let the team speak their thoughts, let me share you some interesting links for you to check out later:
Charting the Course of D&D (Mike Mearls, Official D&D site)
- Wizards of the Coasts announces new edition of ‘Dungeons and Dragons’(CNN)
- Gamers React To New Dungeons And Dragons (Forbes)
So, what are my fellow team members’ thoughts on that topic? How do you feel about WotC’s announcement?