Mon
Jan 9 2012 10:45am

Fan Input Wanted for New Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

The New York Times is reporting today that the most popular and enduring roleplaying game of all time is set for yet another makeover. Even though a new edition of D&D was released in 2008, Wizards of the Coast is set to release a 5th edition.  However, unlike the controversial 4th edition of the game, this time the Dungeon Masters at Wizard of the Coast are asking for fan input!

According to Liz Schuh, director of publishing and licensing for Dungeons & Dragons:

“We’re really lucky that we have such passionate fans and we anticipate they’ll roll up their sleeves and help us in this effort.”

A testing period will be open for a significant amount of time after the new editions is finalized a move the powers at Wizard of the Coast are hoping will assuage any fan fears of over-simplified rules or any other emphasis that might perceive as being wrong. Specifically, this new effort is centered around the notion for face-to-face interaction between gamers in a traditional tabletop play environment. James W. Ward, the former vice president of TSR Inc. (the originator of D&D) had this to say on the virtual versus live gameplay:

“The fun of growing a character while your friends do the same thing around a table munching on M&M’s and other snacks is difficult to duplicate.”

Schuh agrees, asserting that the company is “absolutely committed to core tabletop game-play because “People want that face-to-face experience."

Head over to the official D&D website for more information on how you can be part of this new edition and check out this article on the whole process over on The Art Order.

[News via The New York Times]

19 comments
James Whitehead
1. KatoCrossesTheCourtyard
The edition flame wars will start anew sadly. Wasn't a big fan of the 4th edition; some neat ideas but a little too reminiscent of today's video games for my liking (probably doesn't help that I grew up w/ 'basic,' 'expert,' & AD&D). ;-)

Thinking this next version of D&D could fracture the fanbase all the more; especially if not handled well by WoTC. WoTC's track record with this franchise has been less than stellar up to this point.

Kato
Kristoff Bergenholm
2. Magentawolf
Sigh. 5e already? 4e was fun... but I ended up getting far too annoyed with the way that they kept issuing errata for various things. It felt far too much like getting fresh patch notes in WoW, with seemingly-random abilities getting nerfed and changed.
TW Grace
3. TWGrace
5th Edition...

And I gave up D&D when 2nd Edition came out...
Walker White
4. Walker
They asked for fan feedback from first edition to second edition. In my opinion it was a disaster. At the fan, I did not have good design instincts at the time, and many of the things that I (and others) ended up being awful. And they were awful because they were bad ideas, not because they were implemented badly.

If you want good design, you need someone with a vision, like the vision Jonathon Tweet had for 3.0. Game design by committee rarely ever works.
Chris Meadows
5. Robotech_Master
I've seen some speculation that WotC's edition overdrive might stem from its ownership by Hasbro, who are dictating a more toy-line-like approach to the property. Toys get new "editions" every year.
mordicai
6. mordicai
I run my campaign on the World of Darkness system, but I'm excited about this anyway! I think 4e had a lot of experimental promise-- there are things they did that are worth keeping-- but it was ultimately a failure, if you ask me. A simple system that can be scaled upward in complexity & supports robust non-combat stories is what I want to see in 5e.
Skip Ives
7. Skip
Bring back THAC0!

I’d love the rulebooks to be interactive epubs, more than I care about technical revisions. New editions belong to a book publishing mindset and while I understand the reason for needing to sell something new, I’d much rather they go the app/epub route. I’d love character sheets that updated themselves for you, and a DM program that allowed communication, mapping and design elements. In the long run I’d think it would go much better than tying it to the paper rulebooks. After all you can share a rulebook, but your character sheet app?

That’s my wish anyway, I think anything that pulls the players into the game is great, and a GM with his head in a book or rolling a ton of dice takes away from that. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting a closed system, I want a system you can play completely fine with just paper and pencil, like we did when I started playing in the 70s. I just know that if I sit down to play with 10 people now, there are probably 7 laptops, 4 tablets and at least 10 phones that could help with all the process of playing. So why not cater to those people, especially when they are already used to paying for apps and games.
j p
8. sps49
I like 3.5; magic users weren't overpowered if you followed the letter and spirit of the rules (spell components, XP costs, resting time) for me, and understanding die rolls with their modifiers was more intuitive as compared to "v1" (AD&D) and the original.

(We will ignore the even numbered versions.)

I understand the owners want to sell more materials. That doesn't mean I want to buy publications that will make my current investment obsolete.
Nathan Martin
9. lerris
Beyond die-rolling mechanics and creature names, I found 4th edition to be unrecognizable as D&D. It wasn't so much a new edition of the same game as it was a new game, which made the previously optional miniatures necessary.

@7 : I'd rather not see THAC0 back; the increasing armor class as a target for the directly modified die-roll introduced in 3rd edition is more straightforward and mathematically equivalent to the old THAC0 approach. This was the most-important development of 3rd edition: a single, straightforward, d20 mechanic to cover all situations, as opposed to one system for attacks, one system for saving throws and yet another system for skill checks.
Evan Langlinais
10. Skwid
I'm a huge fan of 4E, and I think we'd be much better off with a 4.5E than 5E. Scrape 4E back to the basics, fix those, and build from the huge collected knowledge of what didn't work in 4E. If you scrap everything and start over, you're throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

(And no, Essentials is not 4.5E.)
Joseph Kingsmill
11. JFKingsmill16
I can’t help but feel this is more of a money grab than them wanting to update the system, especially since they seem to be pushing towards miniature play with each supplemental release. Then again, I am still a little annoyed that my early Magic cards are obsolete. :-/

I had to be drug kicking and screaming to play 3.0 and after I got used to it I was pleasantly surprised with the changes they made with the d20 system. I was never ever good at math and I was very happy when THAC0 went away.

Then after 4 or 5 years of not playing D&D my friends convinced me to come back and try Pathfinder. It isn’t perfect but with a few “house rules” tweaks I now love it.
Adam Whitehead
12. Werthead
It certainly is a money-grab, and one dictated by Hasbro rather than by WotC. There were significant lay-offs from the D&D department last year and several projects privately acknowledged to be in-development behind the scenes (such as the campaign setting to follow DARK SUN, probably DRAGONLANCE) were canned. D&D 4E's core rulebooks have sold okay, but the expansions and the online D&D Insider concept both under-performed significantly against expectations. The destruction of the FORGOTTEN REALMS setting and the attempt to transform it into a post-apocalyptic fantasy hybrid thing against both fan advice and even the preferences of its creator was also an own goal of mythic proportions. At the same time, Paizo's PATHFINDER game (which continues the evolution of the 3.5 rule set) has done very well indeed.

Bringing 5E forwards by several years, abandoning the foolish 'play online' idea and bringing in fan-favourite designer Monte Cook to help design it are all clear fan-pleasing moves designed to try to win back goodwill from a fractured fanbase, but now they have a new problem. 4E does have its fans, and many of the hardcore 3E fanbase has already moved on to PATHFINDER. Switching back to a 3E-style ruleset will alienate the 4E fans and will risk being ignored by those who have already decamped to the rival product. Sticking with 4E but tweaking a few things won't win back fans either. Switching to something completely new will likely annoy both. So I'm not sure there's much or anything WotC can do with 5E that will solve their issues long-term.
Jack Flynn
13. JackofMidworld
I started playing D&D when I was 9 and have gone from the red box all the way through D&D, AD&D, 2nd ed, 3rd ed, and into 3.5. I still have an entire shelf of 3.5 books resting comfortably and I haven't bought a WotC book since the announcement of 4th ed; I picked up the Pathfinder core book & just use ,my 3.5 library to bulk it up.

Fan assistance or not, there's no way that I'm getting back on the D&D train, all apologies to the late and great Mr. Gygax.
mordicai
14. Disgruntled
sorry you lost me to pathfinder... like the most of every one ells...
4th E was epic crap, its WOW on paper...
mordicai
15. Shaun Gibson
I played 2nd and 3rd and to a lesser extent 3.5. I have to say the d20 system is probably the single best version of any rpg I've seen. It was simple but elegant.
mordicai
16. mordicai
Wert-- well, they could buy Paizo. Or license the words "Dungeons & Dragons" to them. But I'm cuckoo bananas, so what do I know. I doubt either of those things will happen. Still, I think being upset that WotC or Hasbro want to sell books is a little disingenuous...that is sort of the point of a publishing company, yeah? The sweet spot is wanting to sell books...to an audience that wants to buy them. I want to want to buy them; I want them to make books that I want.
mordicai
17. Mad Irishman
I've been playing D&D for thirty years now. They should really consider doing more of a 4.5 and let it do what 3.5 did for 3rd. I own quite a few forth edition books and if they do a whole new game. I'm going to be stuck with bunch of really expensive toilet paper and I will not be happy. I play both 4th and Pathfinder and they both have their place in my gaming library but I might just off load all my 4th stuff and convert completely to Pathfinder.
mordicai
18. Mattrad
I began playing with the original D &D set. Really liked it, but when the new editions began coming out, I was turned off. My friend has picked up the 4th edition and says it is pretty good. I have been looking for a good roleplaying game that I could get back into. Hopefully they will come out with something good.
mordicai
22. Nemojedi
This is starting to be as bad as the Hard 8 group from Knights of the Dinner Table. Errata this, press that edition. Recend update number... Sigh. KODT is supposed to be a comic example not a business plan.

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