Dungeons & Dragons Edition Wars: Wrap Up
Last week I was trying to figure out why Edition Wars are cropping on the Blogshpere. I am not emotionally tied to any one edition of D&D and wanted your thoughts about the “superiority” of one edition over another. What I discovered is that Dungeons & Dragons has loyal followers in whatever edition is played.
Orginal D&D: The main consensus is a nostalgic love of the game. Lots of folks waxing enthusiastically about the games they used to play. Lots of folks stating they’d play this game today if there were any games being run.
(Hey Wizards, you might have a market for reprints of D&D Classic)
Advanced D&D: What surprised me about AD&D as the like/dislike of the sheer amount of material produced for the game. Folks loved the voluminous settings produced for this ruleset. Folks disliked the number of splat books produced.
(Hey Wizards, Maybe it’d work better to release campaign settings as opposed to multiple editions of the core rulebooks)
D&D 3.5: The clear consensus is that the current revitalized state of the industry can be directly attributed to the OGL of 3.5. 3.5 fixed some inherent problems introduced with AD&D but broke some things as well.
(Hey Wizards opening up 4e to an OGL might not be a bad idea)
D&D 4e: The biggest complaint I’ve heard is “It’s not the way we’ve played D&D before,” (or some variation). This is a semi valid complaint that I’ll address shortly. The other complaint is that combat takes too long in 4e. “There’s not enough time for RP.” “It’s all kill monsters and lot their treasure.”
Why did Hasbro/WotC publish 4e in its current form? Honestly I think it’s a very astute business decision on their part. Mike Blanchard (owner of The Core) has noticed that although there’s still a market for comic books and RPG amongst my generation, very few of us are passing our love for the game onto the next generation. That’s not to say every Geekdad is failing to pass on love of the game to his kids, just that most teens that come through the door come through on their own.
Hasbro has produced a game that emulates the MMORPGs and first person shooters that teens are playing. The business model follows suit with the CCG and collectible minis games that teens have recently been playing (though according to Mike that market has gone somewhat soft). Hasbo/WotC is trying to market a game they think will play into what today’s teens want to play. Is it your Father’s D&D? no. Is it D&D? yes, get over it.
The other complaint about combat taking too long? We just started a brand new 4e campaign with 1st level characters and found that not having to keep track a whole multitude of unfamiliar feats and powers sped up combat tremendously. The other thing that our DMdid to speed up combat was to use an assistant whose sole responsibility was to keep track of initiative. While Nick (DM) was dealing with the PC who’s turn it was, Mike (assistant) was informing the next PC that they were on deck so they could KNOW what they were doing on their turn.
Is D&D 4e D&D? Yes, Hasbro has decreed it to be so. Get over it. 4e isn’t going away. If you don’t like 4e, grab an earlier edition and play that.