|Nice while it lasted...
||[Aug. 22nd, 2007|12:58 am]
one dour badger
Last week at GenCon, Wizards of the Coast announced that they will, next May, be releasing the 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. The D&D website has full coverage of the announcement, with links to video of the GenCon seminar on YouTube.|
I'm not going to rant about everything I didn't like in their presentation, and let's not even get started on how quickly they decided to invalidate all the books I've purchased this time around, but a couple of things they said caught my attention more than the rest. One of them was "subscription-based," and the concerns this raises are obvious enough. But far more worrying to me was this:
"We're defining the roles of the character classes. Like a sports team, you're going to know what your character, depending on what class he is, is supposed to do in encounters and in the game as a whole."
This does not appeal to me, not one little bit. I started playing D&D about the time 2nd Edition came out, and it whetted my appetite for roleplaying, but the rigid class definitions got stale the instant I first encountered a game which didn't have them. Starting with Palladium games (perhaps the stiffest system still on the market), and then moving to the likes of Storyteller, Legend of the 5 Rings, Earthdawn, the old d6-based Star Wars game, Ironclaw/Jadeclaw, and even Deadlands: I've seen a fair number of gaming systems, and learned a lot about what I like and don't like. And toward the end of the '90s, I had started working on a gaming system (and world) of my own, trying to gather together the good bits and avoid the bad from all the games I'd played.
D&D 3rd Edition was released in 2000. The core rules were pruned, multiclassing was simple and viable, and the skill and feat systems allowed a fair degree of character customization. It wasn't perfection, but nothing about it distinctly turned me off... and with the WotC marketing powerhouse behind the D&D trademark, it rapidly became the game that everyone knew how to play, which was the most important thing. Much as I resigned myself to Windows at about the same time, I've played almost nothing but D&D since 3rd Edition was released.
But now, as best I can interpret, we have been told that D&D is bucking for a slice of the WoW pie, and as such will soon become more rigid again. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe stronger guidelines won't actually hinder you straying off the path... but I think I'd like to prepare myself for things being just as bad as I expect.
I'm pulling my old project off the shelf. Expect updates.
This post, and others on the subject, will be mirrored at lapsing.blogspot.com.