Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition Rant…

Hi all…

Ok, I need to vent a little… I’ve been playing D&D since junior high… maybe 1983… yes, I know I’m old… I’ve purchased books from multiple vendors for different editions going forward, most recently for 3rd edition (3e) and 3.5 edition (3.5e)… Now next year we’re looking at 4th Edition (4e) coming out.

In the software world, when a new version comes out you have an upgrade path. Your old stuff doesn’t just immediately go defunct, but you have to upgrade to the new stuff before you can take advantage of any new features that may have been added in the new release.

However, Wizards of the Coast is evidently sidestepping the issue and just starting 4e without an upgrade path. Their statement is that you can play 3e or 3.5e as long as you want… But all the new stuff that’ll be coming out will be written for 4e — that includes all the major settings… Dragonlance, Eberron, Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and so on…

So now that I’ve invested in two sets of books for D&D in the last 10 years (3e came out in the mid 90s and 3.5e came out a few years ago)… I invested in lots of 2nd edition (2e) books before that… And now they want me to invest in 4e books?

Funny thing is, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) is a business. They’re in the business of selling books and games and all the accessories to customers. So new editions are good for them. New customers buy books and old customers buy books. And WotC makes money.

I get it. I just wish there wasn’t this “keep up with the Joneses” kind of mentality brewing. Wizards opened the door this year when they stated 4e was coming out and their message boards have been booming since then…

But it’s like dropping a meteor in a lake… there’s big ripples. The entire d20 industry, individuals and small companies developing gaming settings and additions, will need to change to keep up with things. And that’s time and energy that may kill a lot of independent publishers.

And as a publisher, I have to say that I want to focus on content, not rules — but when 4e comes out, the rules change. You don’t have a choice but to retool and tweak your content to match it. Balancing issues come up, any rules that you’ve written to add to the base have to be reconsidered and looked at to see if another rule has cropped up in the base and made your change obsolete, etc…

And as a publisher, this is why I’m not a d20 content producer… The Moebius Adventures system is a unique system that we can add or remove rules from and settings without affecting tons of folks downstream.

It just makes me feel bad for the 100s of small publishers who will be affected by this large fireball from WotC.

Anyway… That’s my rant for the day. Back to your business. 🙂

–Fitz

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