This morning, in the New York Times, and followed up by a new Legends & Lore article, it was announced that Wizards of the Coast is working on the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons. The combination of the WotC staff playing in games of all editions, plus the hiring of Monte Cook, plus the subject of the previous Legends & Lore articles, all added up to a “D&D Greatest Hits” edition, with the goal of bringing D&D players of all stripes together instead of driving further “edition wars.”
At the beginning of December, I was flown out (along with a number of other folks) to Seattle to consult on some upcoming programs. While not the primary purpose of our visit there, we were able to find out about this new game before the official announcement happened. Many of the goals were outlined for us, and we were given a very early demo. While there is a limit to what I’m allowed to talk about- not just for the usual secrecy reasons that they are notorious for but because of how early into the process it all is- I’d like to just put a few bullet points out there about my impressions of the entire presentation.
- Wizards is aware of the divisions that have developed within the D&D community, and moreso, is aware that Pathfinder and other versions of D&D are doing quite well. My impression is that Wizards of the Coast is going to be walking a fine line between producing products that fans of other games will want, while also still wanting to sell its core rules to as many players as possible.
- Many of those annoying issues that D&D fans have complained about for the past few years (regardless of their edition preference): There are plans to fix them, in ways that fans have suggested. Those changes, probably more than anything else, are what have me excited about what’s to come.
- Along those lines, since the designers are trying to bring forward the best parts of every edition of D&D, expect this edition to be very DM-friendly.
- As I mentioned, it’s still really early in the process. The takeaway from this is that there’s still plenty of time to make your voice heard in what you want to see. There will be a large playtest for this new edition, possibly starting as early as the spring. In order to make the best D&D they can, they’re looking for opinions from very diverse opinions of what D&D is. I’m sure this will register as a good thing to some of you, and a bad thing to others.
- The message from the top levels of D&D is that they’re done trying to force a new game on players, and instead make the D&D game that fans are asking for.
- How all this plays out and what the eventual game turns out to be all still remain to be seen, so I recommend reserving some judgment… for now.
For some further reading, check out coverage by ENWorld, Forbes, The Escapist, and CNN. For my prediction back in September before I had any real knowledge, check out The Future of D&D Might Be Its Past. For some wishes for what a new edition of D&D could have, here’s an older post from Sly Flourish. For a look back, here’s our post on the initial announcement of fourth edition. The classic take on why 5e will be terrible (from two and a half years ago) contains this quote:
Edible power cards that must be consumed to use a spell?!?! What an awful, though admittedly tasty, idea. –Mike Mearls
I can definitively tell you that the version that I played did not feature edible power cards.
Editor’s note: I predict a lot of strong feelings one way or the other on this topic, so I will be moderating the comments on this post very strongly. Edition wars (even among those editions not created yet), random vitrol, and normal violations of our comments policy will not be looked kindly upon. In addition, there will be questions that I just can not answer, so I hope you’ll respect that.