Friday, May 18, 2012

Open Friday: Open Playtest

Next Thursday, May 24, is the day Wizards of the Coast is supposed to release the first playtest documents for "D&D Next" (how I loathe that name) to the public. I've heard some disappointing this regarding how "open" it will actually be, which, if true, will keep me away from participating myself, despite my curiosity. Nevertheless, I'm curious how many readers of this blog are interested in participating, so use the poll below to let me know. Feel free to use the comments to elaborate on your answer, especially if you chose "I'd Like to, but ..."


123 comments:

  1. I went with maybe because I will find time to look at the playtest documents, but I can't say I'll actually be moved to test it out at the table.

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  2. I'm just curious to see what they are planning/doing. 

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  3. I can't wait to get my group playtesting 5e.  It's probably my only chance to get them away from 4e.

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  4. I am curious about everything I've heard so far, and haven't decided one way or the other as to what I do or don't like. I shall have to see when it gets to the table.

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  5. While I am not 100% sold on what I have heard on the system or in the process, the only proof is in the playing.  So yes, I am going to try it out, play and send in the feedback.

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  6. I'd like to but....my wife is having a baby the day before!  I guess I'll be playtesting D&D 8.0 with him in twelve years.

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  7. I'm sorry signing a non-disclosure agreement (that includes crazy talk language like allowing WOTC to own any and all feedback you give them) for an "open" playtest is a deal breaker. 

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  8. Unfinished rules for a game that by definition can't accomplish what its designers and developers hope! That sounds like a really great use of everyone's time.

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  9. I'd like to, but... Wizards of the Coast has taken the game in an entirely different direction from the one that I play. I really am not hopeful that they can improve on the way I like to run D&D, and I have a fairly large playgroup of folks that all stick to AD&D for that very reason.

    I feel left behind by Wizards and the entire D&D paradigm... and even if Mike Mearls is sincerely trying to integrate all the editions and bring in players of my type (which I actually believe he is, reading a few of the more recent entries on the game), Wizards is asking him to accomplish an impossible task.

    I might play it, but I am almost positive I won't enjoy it, which is a sad thing to say. I really do want D&D to do well, but I want it to do well in the direction that I appreciate rather than that which will sell the most copies.

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  10. ...Like to, but...I don't think it is open. If they had done it like Goodman Games had done it (another system that I had zero interest in learning), I absolutely would have done it (just as I did w/ Goodman Games, and was converted from "hardly even curious" to "I could build a really fun funnel around this for a campaign, and holy smoke! D7!"

    It's not even a small company/big company difference, either.   There's no reason why D&D couldn't openly distribute some testing materials, push free material to the stores (no need for "free RPG Day" for them) and invite informal write-ups and troubleshooting.

    ...but they won't. So I won't.

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  11. I signed up for it months and months ago. As I followed the progress of the project on the wizards website, I became more and more disillusioned with it. As near as I can tell, they are taking the the "best" bits of 3rd and 4th editions and smooshing them together with language that pays lip service to the OSR.

    I have zero hope for the project.

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  12. Gygax and Arneson just did too good of job for me. I anticipate 4 elven races (Eladrin Next!) and a Furry Splat book for $39.99 each.

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  13. Sadly mandatory boilerplate for any corporation with open testing. Because there's always someone that thinks that they should be compensated for the free feedback that they supplied.

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  14. I voted yes but I won't be off it a good start if they plan on making me jump through hurdles to do so.

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  15. My understanding is that they are going to be openly distributing testing materials. Supposedly the playtest materials will be available through the D&D website, freely available for download:

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/news/323228-playtest-package-contents.html

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  16. I want to, but doubt it will happen. I have been openly critical of Mearls and the process, and have not heard back from them since I applied. Applied twice. I suspect the lack of resposce to my application and my vlog criticism are connected issues.

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  17. Wow. A lot of commenters seem surprisingly down on this whole thing. I get feeling like WotC has left you behind, or feeling like the fame doesn't meet your expectations anymore, but if that's the case, then isn't that all the more reason to try out the play test and provide your feedback? Certainly if you want D&D to return to something more inline with your play style, you'd have better luck providing official feedback rather than simply complaining about it on a blog comment thread right?

    Personally, I'm excited about this. If they can manage to put something together like Zack did when he wrote up his Type V posts, I think there's a chance that this can work. And even if it's not great, or not your style, there's no reason it can't be a good game on its own, or even present some new ideas that you can use in your own games anyway.

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  18.  An NDA is not necessarily the same thing as their "online playtest agreement". And tpmoney is exactly right. Without such an agreement, if WotC (god forbid) actually *used* someone's feedback from the open playtest, there will be shouts of "THEY STOLE MY IDEAZ!" An agreement like that is basically WotC saying "Here's some free stuff, test it, break it, tell us what you think. In return, let us use your feedback to shape the game."

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  19. I wonder if they got the name idea from Pepsi Next?

    http://www.yumsugar.com/Pepsi-Next-Taste-22621796

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  20. Hi James:

    I agree with you that the name D&D Next sounds terrible, but fortunately I think that's just a placeholder name. WotC uses those in their development process for other games like Magic, where a trio of new sets will get code names like "Shake", "Rattle", and "Roll". 

    I'm curious to know more about what you've heard that makes you feel disappointed about the playtest's openness (or lack thereof)...

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  21. I think most gamers worth their salt, opposed to WotC's methods or not, are going to at least take a look at the playtest rules. Come on, that's just human curiosity, and gamers are probably more curious than most (not curious as in strange, mind you ;-) when it comes to new rule sets. I would be willing to be even the most staunchly opposed to D&D 5E will be taking a good look at what WotC puts out next Thursday. 

    Me, I'm feeling like I want to give this whole thing a fair shake, and I've pretty much ignored all the scuttlebutt, supposition, and speculation that's been running rampant leading up to 5/24. Come on, folks, let's be real here: can you really pass judgement before you've actually seen/read/experienced/tested something? You can only get so much from dissecting Mearl's words.

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  22. I'd like to, but, realistically, I won't take the time away from other things I'm doing to make room for the play test.

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  23. I'd like to but can't bring myself to do so. I really think the open playtest isn't so much about playtesting as it is advertising/ olive branch to fans. Its aping what Pathfinder and DCCRPG have already done. Yes I'm cynical.

    I wish Wotc nothing but good fortune but I believe the hobby has moved beyond the age of an industry and back to its hobbyist roots. Heck I'd reckon Vornheim alone was one of the best products to come down the Pike in years, and it rivalled most anything Wotc has done in recent memory.

    My wish would for Wotc to rerelease all the older editions up to 4e and support them with adventures, while concentrating on developing their IP in other media. /soapbox

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  24. Why don't you have a Hell No or Can't - too busying playing B/X, LL, OSRIC, S&W, or any other flavor of "the world’s oldest fantasy roleplaying game"

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  25. I guess I'll take a look at it, but I don't particularly care about it...

    And the name could've been worse, like "D&D Returns"...

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  26. I am not a huge fan of D&D, but other members of my group are, so I signed up for the playtest on their behalf more than out of personal interest.

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  27.  What do you mean by you've "applied"? Do you just mean you've signed up for the playtest? If so... well you're in the same boat as all of us. There's nothing to "hear back" about yet.  We're all just waiting for the 24th.

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  28. From what little they've leaked, it already looks like something I have no use for.  By the time they're finished playtesting and their current fanbase has had their say, I'm fairly certain that I won't be playing 5e. 

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  29. What worries me is the text of the playtest agreement one has to sign to participate. We don't yet know what wording that agreement will contain, so it may be innocuous, but I'm not hopeful. I didn't have to sign any such agreement to look at the Pathfinder or DCC RPG playtest drafts, so I'm not sure why 5e should be any different.

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  30. I'm looking forward to giving it a try.  I've actually developed more of an interest in vaguely (emphasis on vague as I'm only using the term very very loosely) "old school" play lately and over the course of the summer will be getting lots of different game systems and materials.

    I'm actually thinking I might try to use Dwimmermount as a way to test out several different game systems and compare them, D&D Next included.

    The games I'm interesting in trying out/will be getting/have recently gotten are: D&D Next, Adventurer Conqueror King, DCC RPG, AD&D via the reprints, and Myth & Magic the 2e "retroclone". I think a big dungeon full of interesting features and monsters that I can probably adjust fairly easily to whatever system I want should be a good (and fun!) way to compare systems and see what I like and don't like about them relative to one another. Hell, maybe I'll even run some folks through in 4e.

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  31. I have little to no expectation that 5e will be anything I have any interest in purchasing or playing, but I would like to see the playtest version just out of curiosity. So yeah, I expect I'll download them at some point, depending upon the restrictions WotC places on my doing so.

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  32. After hearing about the rough version from a WotC demoer/proponent/what-have-you at a recent meetup I hosted, I'm both intrigued and completely uninterested. According to him, from the rough draft he was privy to, it's supposed to allow players of ALL versions of the game (Brown Books through 4E and beyond) to sit down at table together with characters from their preferred version of the game and gaming together. Considering the vast differences between the editions (monster stats/strengths alone boggles the mind), I can't see how they'll pull that off without scrapping everything except a d20 roll. Still, it'll be curious to see if they CAN pull it off.

    That said, as interesting as it'll be to see if they can pull it off, there just aren't enough hours in the day for me to add yet another game to my bookshelf, especially when there seen to be enough OSR games popping up locally to keep my attention for many years to come, especailly now that I have a new generation of kids just hitting the same sweet spot of 10-13 years old I was at when I first picked up the Holmes Blue Book way back when.

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  33. The application process is almost certainly automatic. Large companies don't have the time to care about individual people. The likelihood that someone saw your vlog and decided to specifically remove you are pretty small.

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  34. I'm definitely gone to read whatever I can get my hands on, but I don't know if I'll actually run it in playtest form.  Too many games, too little time.

    I love the goals they've set for themselves, but simultaneous think they're attempting the impossible.  They're trying to please too many people at once. In particular, the idea that different players would essentially be playing with different rules at the same table while maintaining at least rough balance seems impossible.  Either you'll penalize the person playing the simple fighter because the player playing the carefully built fighter will be better tuned for the likely situations in play, or the custom build options will be so meaningless that they won't be interesting for people who like tuning their builds.

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  35. I'm not sure if my information is up to date, but the last I saw the open playtest was going to be run in waves--basically rolling out some prefab level one characters in limited classes, and expanding on the class selection/increasing level of characters to "test" different mechanics in later releases.

    Honestly, that approach feels more like marketing than it does playtesting to me.

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  36.  WotC is not a large company. It is a small company. Hasbro is a large company, but the two are not interchangeable.

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  37.  I applied back in January and heard nothing and I am not expecting to hear anything on May 24th because I am a cynic.

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  38. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 18, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Fool me once, shame on you.

    Fool me twice, shame on me.

    Fool me three times... no thanks, WOTC.

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  39.  Nobody who signed up through the regular sign up system has heard anything directly. I'm certain it's an automated system and the fact that you've heard nothing has zero to do with what you have or haven't said online, and everything to do with the same reason I and everyone else I know who signed up haven't "heard back." They haven't sent any e-mails to anyone who signed up.

    Now you have probably heard that there are some people who have been playtesting, but that's been a sort of "friends and family" playtest where they've specifically approached people they know or are interested in working with to "pre-playtest" stuff. But that's a fairly small group and was hand-picked by actual humans. It had nothing to do with the regular public playtest sign up that they started up back when they announced all of this.

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  40. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 18, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    That sounds like it would be interesting in the same way watching a train wreck is interesting.  Why not just claim you're going to teach people how to juggle, eat chocolate chip cookies, and play the harmonica at the same time?

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  41. I'll definitely give 5th edition AD&D its fair hearing.  Nobody can yet say whether they'll accomplish all their aims, but the design team is at least aware of all the problems which have plagued previous editions.

    4th edition is way too proud of its finely-balanced (and time-consuming) combat engine, its verisimilitude-killing gamist mechanics, and all the sacred cows it slaughtered.  It looks like they're trying to avoid that nonsense this time around.

    3rd edition is bloated with too many character-building options, and so 5th edition will package skills and feats up into "backgrounds" and "themes", so that instead of picking a dozen things, you're only picking two.  And that's assuming that the DM even allows backgrounds and/or themes in his particular campaign.  (I'll very likely be using backgrounds but disallowing themes; I like skills, but I despise feats).

    And, of course, every edition from 3rd on back (but 3rd was the worst offender by far in this regard) suffers from the problem of godlike high-level spell-casters.  Yes, even 1st edition and 0D&D; don't even bother trying to deny it.  If 5th edition does wizards right, they'll get D&D right, perhaps for the first time ever.  And it looks like they're on the right track, building wizards around the idea of a few cantrips which can be cast at will; spells that generally don't scale unless you memorize them in a higher-level spell-slot; and (according to rumor) the option to trade several low-level spell slots for an extra high-level slot later on, to keep high-level mages' lists of memorized spells more concise and manageable.

    Too many people here, I think, are expecting another 4bomin4tion.  I seriously doubt that WotC could make that mistake all over again.  They tried to get cute with their little "let's rewrite D&D" experiment, it failed, and now they're returning ad fontes.  We -- the OSR -- won.  Sit back and prepare to enjoy the victory, along with its glossy, high-production-value spoils. 

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  42. I don't have time to playtest due to life in general.  I am doubtful D&DNext will be the next great thing.  It's sink or swim time for Hasbro.

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  43. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 18, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    "D&D The Next (Character) Generation".

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  44. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 18, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    I really would have liked a Hell No (or something stronger).

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  45. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 18, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    "Come on, folks, let's be real here: can you really pass judgement before you've actually seen/read/experienced/tested something?"

    YES.  It's called a track record.  If WOTC has already produced two editions of munchkin rubbish, why should I believe this edition will be any different?

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  46. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 18, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    "I'm not sure why 5e should be any different..."

    Because they can (or think they can).

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  47. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 18, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    You said it.

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  48. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 18, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    "Too many people here, I think, are expecting another 4bomin4tion.  I seriously doubt that WotC could make that mistake all over again."

    I consider both 3 and 4 to be abominations, so I fully expect WOTC will follow their proven track record and produce another heinous abortion of a game.

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  49.  I assume signing an NDA is as much a Hasbro thing as anything.

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  50. Maybe but...

    I'm not enamoured with 4e's mechanics, yet I've been playing it pretty much since release, with our campaign slated to wrap up in the next month or so. Great stories can outweigh poor (IMO) mechanics. I simply don't see what innovations 5e is going to offer that are going to turn the franchise in the direction of a game I want to play. I can harken back to the 3e era, but it's funny how the reasons I _think_ it's better don't hold up after scrutiny.

    I think my biggest thing with 4e is that I actually prefer combat to be "I hit him with my sword" and 4e brings in what feels to me like an artificial balancer of combat. I don't find flipping through a stack of cards makes combat more fun, and hate - hate - hate the dividing of utility/at-will/encounter/daily powers. There are a lot of really fun OSR (and others!) rules-lite games that I prefer and hope to play once 4e wraps up.

    So if my group really wants to playtest I will likely get pulled along for the ride, but I'm sure most of my group will buy 5e when it comes out. Whether or not it gets into regular rotation at that point will depend highly on how awesome the games are that we're playing at that time.

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  51. 3e was deeply flawed, but at least it was still recognizably D&D: specifically, 2nd edition Player's Option AD&D, cleaned-up and consolidated.

    People forget, the reason that 3rd edition looks it does is because WotC was trying to take the huge mess that 2nd edition had become and make some sense of it.  They completely fumbled the ball when it came to spell-casters, and they made a lot of the same mistakes over again by replacing kits and proficiency with prestige classes and feats, but that hardly merits calling it an "abortion".

    I therefore reject your curmudgeonly hyperbole. =)

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  52. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 18, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    And I invite you to give WOTC more money if that's your pleasure.  They'll get no more from me.  ;op

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  53. "why should I believe this edition will be any different?"

    Well, I guess that depends on what kind of person one is. I try to be positive in my initial approach to things, or if not positive I at least try to keep an open mind. Just as an individual, in my daily life I have to believe that change is possible. So I think that it is possible for WotC to "get it right" this time around and buck the trend/track record. Now, as far as 3E being "munchkin rubbish," I think that there are a lot of people who would disagree, especially when it comes to the "chicken and egg" aspect. Did 3E really foster munchkinism, or is it rather the players who bring the munchkin? Look, when I played 1E and 2E, there were munchkins in my group! Could it be argued that 3E and especially 4E were more prone to creating munchkins? Maybe. But the fault lies with the individual in most cases, and not the tool/game. I believe that people who are not given to munchkinism do not become munchkins just because they play 4E.

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  54. Honestly, I'm very busy with real life right now, and I don't have much time for gaming.  I don't want to spend that time playtesting.  I'd rather play something else with my kids.

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  55. Hey James! But, would you agree that just because you or I would have no use for it, that doesn't mean it might not have it's own merits? I think it would be a win if 5E truly does have some nods to the OSR in it, because that would be a true sign that the movement has influence on corporate folks AND that they corporate folks ain't all that bad. I'm staying positive and will give it a look.

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  56. I think I'm detecting a pattern here.

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  57. --There are more good RPGs in the world than I have time for. 
    --The games they put out and call D&D are bad and nothing like D&D.

    I don't understand what people are thinking.  My time would be better spent reading Arduin or something. 

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  58. "Great stories can outweigh poor (IMO) mechanics."

    Bravo, thanks for that! I am a big believer in good roleplaying and cooperation at the table can transcend the "limitations" of any system. While I do believe system does have some impact on style of play, if you understand/appreciate the fundamentals of old school style gaming, you can inject that into any system, old or new. Thanks again!

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  59.  I'm surprised there was no agreement for the other playtests. I assumed that was a standard practice (and, depending on the terms,  not unreasonable in my opinion). A large company like Hasbro probably does have additional legal concerns and considerations and a longer list of people to keep satisfied (stockholders, board members, etc) than a smaller company like Paizo or Goodman, though.

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  60.  Sink or swim time? D&D is barely a blip on Hasbro's radar.

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  61. I'd like to, but I don't think the players of my current game are all that interested.  D&D fatigue, I suppose.  I'd like to pitch in on the development, but I don't seriously think that my "vote" will make much difference, so I'll watch from afar.

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  62. I think I am going to pass as much of what I have heard about 5e Wizards of late clings to 4e which while a perfectly serviceable game is not what I want in D&D.

     

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  63. I'd like to, but as I work for Bioware there's always the possibility that I wouldn't be able to sign whatever agreement they require. I'm still generally positive about the development of 5e in that I think it will be more popular than 4e, and will hopefully get more people back to playing the same game.  I'm really hoping for a robust D&D community going forward, and a ruleset that we all like (if not love) would go a long way towards making that happen.

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  64. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 18, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    The WOTC editions of D&D promote munchkinism because no 0ne can just be a fighter.  They have to be a Grade A Class One Azure Crystal Hellforged Black Mamba Deluxe Supreme Seeker/Slayer/Destructor or some such tommyrot.  It sounds like 12 year olds with body issues wrote the rulebooks.  I won't go into the chicken and egg aspect any further for fear of causing personal offense.

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  65. I don’t know.

    At first, I was interested. The talk of having a core much like classic D&D sounded good. And I liked the thought of being able to give input. I would like the in-print D&D to be new player friendly and grognard friendly in ways that I don’t think Wizards’ editions ever have been.

    But I have very strong doubts that this game will ever be something I’d choose over classic D&D. I have very strong doubts that there will be anything in it that I find worth borrowing for my own game.

    I have very strong doubts that my points-of-view would be given much weight. And, honestly, why should they? I think it was a mistake that the opinions of people who didn’t like classic D&D and AD&D were the ones that Wizards listened to when making 3e. (Even if I was one of them at the time.) I think it was a mistake that the opinions of people who didn’t like 3e were the ones that Wizards listened to when making 4e. So, it seems like a mistake to be listening now to people who don’t like 4e. I really don’t want to watch 4e fans go through what the rest of us have had to.

    And the way they’ve described the playtest... It sounds like a very good structure to get the feedback they need, but I don’t want to playtest their scenarios or try out mechanics that I’d probably ignore even when published.

    I’ll still be looking at the playtest documents. While I have doubts, I could be wrong. Maybe I’ll playtest it; maybe not.

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  66.  No, a playtest the way Paizo did Pathfinder is saying "Here's some free stuff, test it, break it, tell us what you think. In return, let us use your feedback to shape the game."

    A playtest the way WotC apparently is going to do it is simply a declaration that WotC's people making legal decisions are still as stupid as they were four years ago.

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  67. Christian LindkeMay 18, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    From what I've seen of the playtest rules, I'm very much excited about the public playtest.  

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  68.  The others couldn't be released under an NDA; they contained Open Game Content not owned by the companies doing the playtest.

    And, well, the legal attitude of Hasbro is going to be a major factor as to whether Next can succeed at reuniting D&D at all.  If Hasbro is paralyzed by those concerns into not releasing under Next under the OGL, then Next will be just another 4e in the market, whatever its mechanics.  NDAs are (weak) evidence that the lawyers at Hasbro/WotC have failed to learn anything from the failure of the GSL.

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  69. Christian LindkeMay 18, 2012 at 5:02 PM

     When Pelgrane relesed 13th Age for playtest, all they required was an email stating "I won't share this other than what is needed to properly run a playtest."  What they found was that the 13th Age material was being spread like wildfire with little or no care, and that there were public conversations regarding the content of the game and what people did and didn't like.

    While such information can be useful as feedback, having the information public could be devastating.  What if all the complaints gave people a negative opinion of the game -- a lasting one -- even though Pelgrane listens to feedback? 

    There is a reason for simple NDAs, and the bigger the company the bigger the reason.  With Pathfinder, they didn't have one because they were using existing mechanics.  But look at your rulebooks -- especially the Ultimate books -- how many of the spells and abilities therein weren't in the public playtest at all?  Not an insignificant sum. 

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  70. I'm just the opposite. That sounds like real playtesting to me, not marketing.

    "Take these very specific components, the same for everyone, and run them through this very specific process, the same for everyone, and tell us how it went. Then we will give you a little more to add on and do it again." That is indeed how you rigorously test something. Had it just been a bunch of shiny previews or a big rule book-dump, that would strike me as a marketing ploy, and one far less likely to result in substantive change based on player feedback.

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  71. I was one of the early folk to sign on to this playtest. But as time passed, and I heard more and more from WotC, my interest waned, and waned, and waned. Though I might no longer be interested as I was I'll still shoulder on, if only to know if I've a reason to dislike it's direction.

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  72. I signed up when the first announced it because I am curious, but I will only actually playtest it if the rules appeal to me. What I have heard on their various blogs has not been particularly appealing.

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  73. I would like to, but only because I am nosey. I have lost interest in WotC since I tried to play 4e, and became so mired in the rules, cards and subsets etc that it lost what RPGing was all about. I am over 40 and learnt to RPG in the 1970's so now I run a PBeM 1eAD&D campaign and I am looking for a game of 1ed or 2ed or maybe traveller to play in person because that is what it's about.
    That said, if it gets more role playing - then that can't be a bad thing, best thing that happened to me (birth of both kids excepted!)

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  74. Tunnels and Trolls (V 5.5), Savage Worlds, Swords and Wizardry, Mutants and Masterminds, and Spirit of the Century fulfil all of my roleplaying needs. I have a friend that runs a great pathfinder game that I sometimes sit in on. No need for another DnD product. I'm not interested. I am interesting in seeing people rant about it though. :)

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  75. Meh.  Hate WotC.  Hated 4E.  Have invested in Pathfinder (and love Paizo).  Don't need another Fantasy RPG, and I seriously doubt I'd find anything appealing in 5E anyway (and the Hasbro marketing guy/gal who came up with the name "D&D Next" should be immediately bludgeoned with a 4E DMG until he/she starts bleeding from the ears).

    My current rotation beyond Pathfinder is A Dirty World, Wild Talents, d20 Modern, BRP, Call of Cthulhu, Mutants and Masterminds, Dresden Files, Traveller, and Star Wars Saga Edition.

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  76. played it months ago in a private game. already read all the material. been too busy to playtest it with our group. 
    wont say anything about my impressions on it for now. 

    side note: game systems are generalized tools to make your characters function in stories. nothing more. i dont even care about the title or "brand name" of these systems anymore. just get something out that is easy to navigate, keeps the pace fairly consistent, and has generalized functionality for any situation.a huge problem with "modern" games (3e and beyond) is that they constantly feed into incentives and gamification to appease the computer-brained players of the video game age. "identity" of character comes in where you put modifiers instead of imaginative scaffolding. your crutch is a dependency on numbers.  all post-3E games feed into it. toss it.

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  77. While I would love to do the play test of D&D next I would love to down load a manual and play with my group...the way we did with Pathfinder. God that was awesome. Even took the time to Run a Bard through Castle Caldwell...I know that they have not done the very thing they need to do - divide the game into an online video game tournament (MMO) where the rules of play can be as mechanical as possible to avoid system errors and a home-play manual that is as simple as possible so it can be played by children with a few roll of the dice and a bit of story telling.

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  78. An open playtest can be a very good thing, as Pathfinder has shown. In WOTC's case, however, it seems like pandering. "See, we care about player input, too! Honest!" Rest assured they'll take all suggestions into consideration--as long as those suggestions are in line with what they had planned to do anyway.

    Even if I believed this playtest were anything more than a marketing ploy, I suspect that the majority of playtesters will be 4e fans, which would drown out any voices of reason from other quarters and lead to lots of (in my opinion) terrible design decisions.

    But maybe I'm being too harsh on WOTC. It could just be that they have absolutely no clue what they're doing and need the public to do their jobs for them.

    In any event, I don't plan to contribute any unpaid effort to a game system which will probably be replaced in five years or less.

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  79. Certainly if this comment thread is any indication, the 4e fans will drown out any OSR or even 3e fans simply because everyone seems to have written D&D Type V off before they've even gotten a chance to see it. That's really sad to me. Here we are talking about our love of 0, 1 or 2e D&D and how we all feel the direction WotC took D&D with Type 4e (and to a lesser extent 3e) moved away from what we like, WotC is stepping forward and saying OK, we know things have been bad before, and we know we've screwed up, so here's you chance to help us make the next D&D something you would want to play, and most people here are saying "tough luck".

    Maybe their goals are impossible (though as I mentioned, if you read any of Zack's Type V posts, you would see how it could be done), and maybe it is a marketing ploy (though as someone mentioned earlier, the way they seem to be planning on rolling it out is actually how you're supposed to do play testing), and maybe all of your feedback will go into the circular filing cabinet. But at the same time, if you don't play, and you don't provide your feedback, it is 100% guaranteed that the next version of D&D will not be one you want to play.

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  80. Not only can it not be a bad thing if it gets more people roll playing, but if it gets 1e and 3e and 4e people all sitting around the same table like they hope to, it would be a fantastic thing.

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  81. "most people
    here are saying "tough luck"."

    If most people are saying that -- and I don't think they are -- it's because they've already got a version of D&D they like and the odds of WotC's changing that are slim. They're not so much opposed to 5e as disinterested.

    Even so, I don't blame anyone who thinks the burden is on WotC to make a good game worthy of the "Dungeons & Dragons" moniker. Their recent track record is poor in this regard, so skepticism is completely reasonable in my opinion.

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  82. Whenever I hear someway say that 4e is good because at least it’s getting more people role-playing, it sounds to me like a soccer fan saying American football is good because at least it gets more people playing football. ^_^

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  83. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 19, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    I think on sober reflection I actually dislike 3E more that 4E, and I think it's precisely because 3E is more similar to the older editions of D&D.  3E feels like an actual travesty to me, whereas 4E feels more like an entirely different game that I dislike but can't get excited about.  What sticks in my mind the most about 4E is the ludicrous label inflation that comes with the prestige classes and templates ("You encounter a Half-Fiendish Warforged Lich Artificer/Footpad.  Roll for initiative.") and that mainly just makes me laugh.  3E actually makes my skin crawl.  So I won't be buying 5E or anything WOTC makes ever again.  Sorry, they don't get three bites at this apple.

    That said, I don't mean to suggest that others shouldn't buy or play it.  And if you do buy and play it, I certainly hope you enjoy it.  That's what it's all about.

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  84. Bioware & Green Ronin did something like that. The Dragon Age tabletop game was designed as a tabletop RPG rather than trying to bring the computer game’s system to the tabletop.

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  85.  First, they have dropped caring about what the old school want because it is pretty evident that they don't want what they are working on. So they are changing the names of things and giving it a new coat of paint.

    Second, Urine in a Coke can. If I hand you an empty can that says Coke on the side and you confirm it says Coke and then you hand it back to me and I fill it with urine and hand it back and say 'Drink Up!' are you going to drink it? It says it's Coke and that's what matters, right? So drink up.

    The problem is not that Wizbro is making a new game. It's that they are putting the wrong material in the container marked D&D.

    And third, f*** facist bully boy tactics like Wizbro have employed by threatening store owners with non-compliance issues and threats of 'pulling programs' if the shop owners don't dance like trained monkeys when they tell them to dance (to the point of sending 'spies' into FLGS to check up on things).

    Proof?

    http://dungeonsmaster.com/2011/09/dd-encounters-only-on-wednesday/

    Trust me, they read ALL these blogs. They know what is going on. Hell, they hired Zak and Tracy (Sarah Darkmagic).

    And the other little nasty tricks as well trying to convince people that they still matter. Like how they were able to move into first place in sales last year after the #1 slot had been called for Paizo (dumping stock at low prices to dist. and shops to show an 'increase' in sales put Wizbro back on top that Q ) and how, as we speak, the 4e fanboys are not bothering to tell new people that 4e is dead, like if they can just get enough people to buy in they will keep making it. Sorry, the discount table has already started being stocked:

    http://blackdiamondgames.blogspot.com/2012/05/d-and-turn-rate-tyranny.html

    http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?622732-4e-books-heavily-discounted-in-Toronto


    I will be 100% enthused to take a look at D&D as soon as the IP moves to another company and I mean ALL the IP.

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  86. Im going to ignore everything as usual and just keep playing AD&D like its 1979.... Word

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  87. "
    game systems are generalized tools to make your characters function in stories. nothing more."

    Duh.

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  88.  Did you actually delete my post James? Seriously?

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  89. Take Two



    First, they have dropped caring about what the old school
    want because it is pretty evident that they don't want what they are working
    on. So they are changing the names of things and giving it a new coat of paint.

    Second, Urine in a Coke can. If I hand you an empty can that says Coke on the
    side and you confirm it says Coke and then you hand it back to me and I fill it
    with urine and hand it back and say 'Drink Up!' are you going to drink it? It
    says it's Coke and that's what matters, right? So drink up.

    The problem is not that Wizbro is making a new game. It's that they are putting
    the wrong material in the container marked D&D.

    And third, to hell with facist bully boy tactics like Wizbro have employed by
    threatening store owners with non-compliance issues and threats of 'pulling
    programs' if the shop owners don't dance like trained monkeys when they tell
    them to dance (to the point of sending 'spies' into FLGS to check up on
    things).

    Proof?

    http://dungeonsmaster.com/2011/09/dd-encounters-only-on-wednesday/

    Trust me, they read ALL these blogs. They know what is going on. Hell, they
    hired Zak and Tracy (Sarah Darkmagic).

    And the other little nasty tricks as well trying to convince people that they
    still matter. Like how they were able to move into first place in sales last
    year after the #1 slot had been called for Paizo (dumping stock at low prices
    to dist. and shops to show an 'increase' in sales put Wizbro back on top that Q
    ) and how, as we speak, the 4e fanboys are not bothering to tell new people
    that 4e is dead, like if they can just get enough people to buy in they will
    keep making it. Sorry, the discount table has already started being stocked:

    http://blackdiamondgames.blogspot.com/2012/05/d-and-turn-rate-tyranny.html

    http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?622732-4e-books-heavily-discounted-in-Toronto


    I will be 100% enthused to take a look at D&D as soon as the IP moves to
    another company and I mean ALL the IP.
     

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  90. I chose Yes, but my answer is actually, Yes, but...

    I signed up for the main purpose of getting a copy of the Caves of Chaos intro adventure. I'm a shameless B2 fangirl and collect anything related.

    I'll take a look at the rules, but my hopes for them allowing anything resembling old school play (I use BECMI 'basic' D&D) have dwindled with every update and teaser they've posted, especially the playtest chat they had a few days ago.

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  91. Likewise, Sword & Sorcery and Sony went this route with the Everquest D20 RPG. 
    There are even sections in the manuals that discuss the differences between playing the MMO and playing the tabletop RPG, the reasoning behind those differences, and thoughts on incorporating material from the core D20 system (read: D&D 3rd edition). 

    If you're going to make a tabletop version of an MMO, or even a film or book series, this is how to do it.

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  92. I'll try it before I judge it.

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  93. No No and NO, why buy into yet more D&D crapfest thats overpriced and now amongst one of the worst rpgs out there? A bloated behemoth without a head.
    I used to love AD&D, way back when it required good involvement by DM and players to make it great, without idiot proofing, without the banal 'place your ability card' crap and pointless, badly though out skill system.There are so many games out there that are much better and cheaper such as MRQ2, Legend, Elric, Deathwatch etc that dont try and rob you with an online only sunscribo character gen system. Full games that don't require a dozen more source books to run fully. D&D may be the grand daddy but he should retire now before he makes more of a fool of himself.Rant over.

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  94. No, not seriously. I wasn't even awake when you posted your original. However, Disqus allows others to flag comments they believe are inappropriate, which removes the comment from the thread until an administrator approves it (or deletes it permanently).

    Since you've since reposted your original thoughts sans profanity, there's no need to restore the earlier comment. As I've said elsewhere, I don't mind strong opinions if they're stated respectfully and without rancor. I appreciate that some people feel strongly about these matters, but doesn't make this a free-for-all, where anyone can post whatever they want. I'd like this discussion to remain as "gentlemanly" as possible.

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  95. I think you mean 3E with the comment about label inflation. 4E doesn't do that.

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  96. I sort of feel like 'I already know how to play D&D'.

    Not in the sense that 'they could never improve on Basic/AD&D'. If I thought no one could ever improve on older editions I wouldn't be so interested in making house rules.

    I feel like I'm pretty familiar with the various rules structures that D&D and other RPGs have used. They don't seem to be claiming that the new edition will have any rules breakthroughs, so it's likely that the new edition's rules will be some combination of stuff I already know.

    I'm always potentially interested in new settings, but they're talking like the game will be in the 'vanilla D&D setting', and I already know that setting.

    Anyway they're mad if they care what I think, since I never buy anything.

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  97.  PS I was interested in the idea of having Basic-style characters able to play in the same party with 3rd edition-style characters, but I'm not sure if they're still doing that (or if it could be done).

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  98.  Mmmm....so anyone can decide they don't like someone's opinion and just zap it?

    And as for 'profanity' the post above is exactly what I posted before sans one self-censored word (I was being a gentleman-see Tim Brannan for the full fledged F-bomb attack). I don't even use profanity on my own blogs because I want to be able to have anyone drop in and read without having to click through an extra screen of warning.

    I think it's time for a change.

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  99. Yeah, I'd at least like to play totally through the first release.

    Not really sold on a lot of the stuff I'm hearing, but I wanna see for myself before I cast any harsh judgements.

    I'm sure even if I like it though, I'll stick stick with 4e at least until after 5e hits the shelves if not for a while after that.

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  100.  "so anyone can decide they don't like someone's opinion and just zap it?"

    Temporarily, yes. A flagged comment disappears until the administrator has had a chance to review it to see if the comment should be restored.

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  101. Yes, it truly is shocking that when WotC says, "We'll give you D&D Encounters, free of charge, but you can only run it on Wednesdays," and you don't run it on Wednesdays, they'll stop giving it to you. How terrible.

    Similarly, isn't it awful is it that they read feedback online about their products?

    And, yeah, it's terrible that people currently enjoying 4e aren't actively campaigning to information people that they game they love is "dead" (where "dead" is, naturally, defined as "Will continue to be supported with new products for at least another year and will continue to be played by fans for many years to come.")

    Your comparison to you peeing in Coke cans is spot on. Except, of course that you aren't actually licensed to use the Coke trademark to identify your urine.  And that (almost) no one is excited about the possibility of drinking your urine. And that you, the purveyor of urine, know it it's terrible, would never drink it yourself, and certainly aren't doing ongoing development to improve the taste and are encouraging others to provide feedback into that development process.  But other than every single detail, it's a compelling analogy.

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  102. Maybe if they turn Spelljammer into the next default setting. Sadly, it's more likely that they'll call it "D&D 2: Kobold Boogaloo"

    (What? 4e didn't really have an edition number, and who said that only movie franchises can have sequels with the same title as previous ones?)

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  103. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 19, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    I guess literally nothing sticks in my mind about 4E then.

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  104. "lol" at your "Duh" since 95% of you whiny babies of nostalgia just sit around on blogs and message boards writing reactionary/quasi-theistic rants about "pure classic gaming" (this blog is an altar to it). 


    keep dreaming of a golden age that never existed. ill keep playing in any system (4e, Garbage-finder, basic, AD&D, 2E, etc) any of my friends/group want to run.

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  105.  Wow...does anyone now what they are talking about here?

    If you going to take the time to post take the time to read what you are posting about. You sound like a 4e fanboy, grabbing bits to poke at. The last time a game company pulled a stunt like WotC does on a regular basis they got sued. Remember Nintendo and Toys R Us and Sega? Yeah...Nintendo THOUGHT they owned those stores...didn't work out to well in the end for them though.

    And by 'me' let's clear that up with a soda company name that is appropriate and you can get the picture from there. If you are going to label a product the container should contain that product. Get it? Good.

    And yes, it brings out the hate when you see people lying to newbies and trying to convince them to buy into a DEAD game system (at full retail price) as if it were current and not hitting the clearance racks. Nothing wrong with playing out of print and dead systems. Just let people know that the current supported rpg is NOT D&D and that support is ending. Computer games aren't killing D&D...the players are.

    And you have to be joking about listening to customers. They are the WORST at listening to their customers of any company in gaming. That's not even funny.

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  106. You sure put us whiny babies in our place.

    As a gamer who was 12 in 1979 when he discovered D&D, I'd like to paraphrase what Teri Hatcher said on Seinfeld: The "golden age" of gaming was real, and it was awesome.

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  107. Bad analogy. 4e is a lot more like roleplaying than American football is like international football.

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  108. I always like to give new things a spin. Just far to busy, winding down a RuneQuest campaign and starting an Eldritch Skies (Unisystem) game for the summer.

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  109. It is a good analogy because it accurately describes my reaction.

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  110. So much rage...

    When you say WotC is threatening store owners if they don't dance like trained monkeys, what you really mean is that they are asking store owners to follow the predesignated schedule for a product, in exchange for free product and promotional material. My god, the horror! And by sending "spies" I assume you mean local marketing reps that just about every company has and sends to their clients.

    As to "not bothering to tell new people 4e is dead", how is it dead? One store has started clearing out inventory they're not selling, and a used book store chain has 4e material for a low price, with no information in the link you provided as to whether that's new or used material anyway. Is that really you definition of a "dead" product? Never mind they're still producing new material, or that they will be for at least another year. And never mind that even if they never produce another 4e product, people who buy the 4e source books today, tomorrow or even the day after 5e is released can continue to play and enjoy that game for years or decades and there's nothing WotC, Hasbro or anyone else can do about it.

    I get you don't like WotC and Hasbro, I get you don't like 4e, but seriously, the hyperbole does nothing except make you sound bitter.

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  111. I'm not interested in D&D Next. I mean, if they do some nice stuff -- like disregard the last decade or so and focus entirely on making a more balanced AD&D -- I might consider buying it. Otherwise, I'm not interested. My main problem with D&D as it is comes from the skills/feats system, which allows for a character to be hopelessly broken, eliminates the need to roleplay ("I'll just use option X"), and makes D&D more like a videogame than an actual RPG. Other issues I have is the nonsensical "infinite AC" system that they have (-10 to 10 was a good range to have), the fanbase (players of 3.x and 4th edition tend to powerplay), and the lack of creativity (AD&D gave us information on the creatures and religions of the worlds in massive amounts, and it's just been rehashed with minor revisions over and over).
    WoTC made a mistake with 3.0 onward, in my opinion, and this is the perfect opportunity to bring things back to the way they were.

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  112. "...so here's you chance to help us make the next D&D something you would want to play..."

    "...if you don't play, and you don't provide your feedback, it is 100% guaranteed that the next version of D&D will not be one you want to play."

    You're taking it for granted that this is a real playtest. That's fine, but I (and I doubt I'm alone on this) think it's just a hype-generating gimmick. Sure, they'll send you materials to play with, but I firmly believe that the content of those materials will be guided not by the playtesters, but by the Hasbro marketing men that hold the reins of WOTC's designers.

    Even if I did believe that it was a genuine, feedback-accepting playtest, my statement about 4e fans drowning out the rest would still hold true. They're the only ones who currently have anything invested in WOTC. 3e fans have mostly moved to Pathfinder (or continue to play 3.5). Fans of older editions are still happily playing those editions (or their clones). This whole thing is an attempt to generate interest from people who mostly have no reason to care anymore. Judging from the comments here, it's not entirely unsuccessful. But these few pre-4e players who are willing to give WOTC another chance aren't enough to overcome the legions of 4e players who are currently supporting WOTC.

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  113. The_Shadow_KnowsMay 21, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Agree 100%.

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  114. To put it another way...

    Wizards is asking us to invest our time & energy into this. In return, we’re promised that we will “help shape the game”.

    But do I trust Wizards? Will my feedback (mine in particular) truly matter? Even if Wizards proves trustworthy and my feedback does make a difference, will I like the end result?

    I invested my time & energy into the C&C playtest. In the end, I didn’t find any reason to prefer the final result over classic D&D. The dissatisfaction with C&C ended up kickstarting OSRIC and the rest of the retroclones.

    The more I consider it, the more I feel my time & energy are better spent places where the ROI is surer.

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  115. I've signed up to playtest it.  I'm set up to run a game via voice chat on the Sunday following release, and I'm recruiting players via rpg.net.  We'll give it a fair shake and see how it runs.

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  116. I suppose it could be a hype generating gimmick, but the question is why bother? According to your own analysis, this is targeted at people who have nothing invested in WotC anymore. Which makes them more costly to win than current 4e players, and less likely to be forgiving if the released material turns out to be hype. I suppose you can assume that WotC has learned nothing at all over the last few years, and they're also equally stupid enough to think they should dump a bunch of money into fooling people who aren't even their customers, all while running the risk of alienating their existing customer base, but to me, that just seems too far fetched. What is the business case for wasting money marketing to people who aren't even your customers if you don't plan on delivering what you're marketing? Surely that money and effort would be better spent convincing current 4e people that this will be the next logical step for their game.

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  117.  PPS  I wonder if they got that idea from Labyrinth Lord, which has expansions to let you make AD&D or OD&D characters?

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  118. I guess you meant a full can of American beer 

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  119. "Except, of course that you aren't actually licensed to use the Coke trademark to identify your urine."

    Yes, WotC is allowed to mark their urine as Dungeons & Dragons. That doesn't make it D&D, it's just urine by another name.

    "And that (almost) no one is excited about the possibility of drinking your urine."

    Just as there aren't enough people exited about playing 4E. That's why 5E apparently has much more in common with 3E and Pathfinder then with the game currently being put out under the D&D name.

    "And that you, the purveyor of urine, know it it's terrible, would never drink it yourself, and certainly aren't doing ongoing development to improve the taste"

    WotC isn't improving 4E, they're dropping it for a new system. Apparently, the basic rules for 5E were derived from the home rules of one of the designers, who therefore, wasn't playing 4E. Also, over the years Mearls has posted several times about playing AD&D and Basic D&D in his homegames. And James Wyatt was writing the Dungeon Craft column for a long time without being able to get a campaign of the ground. Seems to me several designers weren't drinking their own urine.

    "and are encouraging others to provide feedback into that development process."

    Encouraging others to provide feedback, yes. Actually listening?

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  120. ILT, But doubt I can get a game together for a playtest, and I'd rather math out the probabilities than roll dice on my own unless I'm creating something myself.

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  121. Why does anyone expect anything good from WOTC?

    Can't write decent mechanics and have no sense of aesthetics or understanding of suspension of disbelief. 4E proved that.

    Can't deliver a coherent setting without severe genre and flavor issues. Eberron proved that.

    Can't even really deliver an adventure with depth beyond fights, fights and more fights.

    Add pernicious attempts towards subscription models for online software and other such crippleware tactics and you have a foregone destination.

    And these guys are gonna deliver the Unite the Clans edition of D&D? The same guys who were thoroughly convinced that 4E was oldschool, and that ze game remains ze same? The same guys who thought healing surges were a good mechanic, that splitting elves into two races and adding a contrived name and white eyes was a cool idea, the same guys who designed and named the warlord and thought it was a legitimate design for a core D&D class? The same guys who invented the shout-heal? And art directed the look of dragonborn (let alone the concept, like something from a bad homebrew)? Who botched skill challenges and neutered the magic out of magic items?

    Uh, no. D&D Next has the same folks behind it, and after those mis-steps and many others, I'd trust most of the writers of this thread to do a better job designing a new edition than WOTC.

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