Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Great D&D Counter-Reformation

I'll admit when push comes to shove, if a gun was put to my head, I would prefer AD&D 2nd Edition to any other iteration of the game, with the Rules Cyclopedia "Basic" game coming in second.   As I harp on every other month on my Apathy of New Releases posts, I am nowhere near the demographic that WotC has been shooting at for the last 15 years.

I understood the financial necessity of 3rd edition when I was a retailer.  By the time Fourth Edition rolled around, I was completely uninterested in spending money on books I wouldn't use and the unnecessary extra accessories and maps I didn't need.    I ran 3rd for store events and found it serviceable, and I did give Fourth a go and found it uninspired and, well, overwrought crap.

I've actively avoided the whole D&DNext (5th Edition) situation, but this past week, geek web sites have compiled data from WotC press releases and Amazon placeholders to determine the release schedule for the Fall.

I'm not impressed, but I am curious. 

Hopefully, next month's Game Trade will start the pre-orders for the new books, and I'll go over them in better detail then, but from a preliminary look, I've surmised the following:
  • Most hardcovers look to have a 20% price increase, AGAIN.  Fifty bucks for a core book does make more sense than some random supplement.  A $50 Player's Handbook would make a poor gateway purchase, if not for the...
  • Beginner's boxed set for twenty bucks or so that gives the very basic classes, basic combat, and a few races to mix things up.
  • And if THAT wasn't mildly appealing, the rules will be available on PDF from WotC, for free, and from what I'm read, it's not some generic d20-style universal document.  It is conceivable that you can get the pdf and play D&D for years without paying WotC one red cent. 
Wizards may have learned some lessons from the previous edition.  They may be willing to sacrifice some initial tithes to the Church of D&D to prevent further schisms that helped create the demoninations of Castles and Crusades and Pathfinder.    In a hobby when Edition Wars over printings of products erupt, a peace offering to the players to ease the eventual financial heartbreak of a new edition should be appreciated.
  • Oh yeah, the artwork sucks even more now.

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