Monday, June 25, 2012

Reprints, Reprints

For those few of you who haven't already heard the news via other blogs, here it is: Wizards of the Coast is reprinting not just the Gygaxian AD&D rulebooks next month, they're also reprinting the v.3.5 books in September.

I have no insights into WotC's motivations, so I won't hazard a guess as to why the company is doing this. I'll only say that I'm glad of it, even though I'm not a fan or player of 3.5e. My fond dream would be to see WotC reprint and (at least minimally) support several versions of Dungeons & Dragons. I think that's be the ideal way to pay homage to the game's nearly forty year history. It'd also be an ideal way to regain the trust and interest of gamers who are devoted to an earlier edition. Goodness knows I'd be much more likely to buy reprints of certain older products than I ever would be to buy 5e.

Now, I don't expect that either the 1e or v.3.5 reprints are anything but one-time events, but a guy can dream, can't he?

39 comments:

  1. Indeed, he can.

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  2. I think that they are testing the market. Why? I suposse they know Pathfinder, Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC and many other games are being published with success. If they are retroclones and do so well... why don't try with the original stuff?

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  3. I have to agree. They lose so many people when they switch their systems, but even nominal support for old systems would bring them back again.

    I'd love to get some support for AD&D 2e, for example, and I'd even buy wizards products again if they did.

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  4. I would like to think they are testing the waters for continued support but I would think they would have printed 1e and 2e before 3e but... I will hope a little more they are going to. Would be great if they continued supporting older versions. I really would kill to get my kids a copy of the original red box.

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  5. The general consensus on my site is these are just for the collectors. Of course the simple reason as to why they are printing these is "because the can".

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  6. I was wondering, if they do the reprint, but omit the OGL, does that affect future use of the SRD & OGL? Could they in effect take back the OGL and prevent future products from using it (I assume existing products are OK)? I assume they now regret the OGL.

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  7. Wizards did not include the OGL in the PH, DMG or MM. They included it in the D20 System Reference Document. There's nothing they or anyone else could do to revoke the OGL in the products they previously published with the license.

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  8. Neither 3.0 or 3.5 were released under the OGL, instead a separate documents called the d20 System Reference Document was created and released as open content under the OGL. Much of the content of the core rulebooks was duplicated in this document. It is still available from Wizards at http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/srd35

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  9. The most valuable commodity Hasbro can have right now is attention. The reprints (1e and 3.5) are a good way of saying "hey remember us, we were around before all those clones, you know the original"

    This can help them get some momentum for 5e.

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  10. I took their survey and indicated that I didn't need any Third Edition reprints but I'd like to see a Rules Cyclopedia reprint with updated art and formatting.

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  11. The reason for reprinting 3.5 is pretty simple. It still sells, used compies of the PHB are still $35-50 on amazon.com.

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  12. Anybody that would want them has got them already. I don't know why people are paying for new copies as you can find them in the bargain bins at game shops.

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  13. 3.5 books are not bargains. They sell for more than their cover price.

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  14. 3.0/3.5 wasn't a version I played so I didn't understand the OGL/SRD thing fully. I just wondered if it was a way to stop future publications based on it. I figure it's best to always look for an underhanded motive when corporations do things.

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  15. I already own everything they've been reprinting so far, so I'm almost certainly not going to pick up any of it. (My AD&D 1E books are still in good shape - If they'd rerelease Oriental Adventures 1E or Unearthed Arcana and some of the other poorly bound 1.5Ed stuff, I'd definitely get those though.) That said, I think these reprints are great ideas and I'm fully behind the effort.

    If they'd put out the Rules Cyclopedia (as others have said), I'd pick it up in a heartbeat. B/X is my favorite version, with BECMI only a bit behind. I'd also really like a copy (even a reprint) of OD&D, which I've never owned.

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  16. I would totally buy the revised and reprinted 3.5 books -- if they paid Rich Burlew a boatload of money to illustrate them in the style of "The Order of the Stick." (And I know I wouldn't be alone.)

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  17. I'm guessing there were some lingering legal reasons that prevented them from reprinting 2e before 3.5. My theory is they don't own the rights to reprint the artwork after so many years.

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  18. I want to grab both reprints (except possibly the 3.5 DMG - somehow I have that version all on its lonesome. I'm not even sure myself anymore), but my local game store closed a few months back, taking my AD&D preorder with them, I should imagine. Not really sure how I'm going to go about either without online orders now...

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  19. This reprint is a clear fork in the eye of Paizo and Pathfinder. The 1E reprint was a clear shot across the bow of the retro-clones. They are softening up the competition for the release of 5E which they hope will bring these groups of players (retro-clones and Pathfinder) back into the Hasbro fold. They know the re-releases cost them very little but buy them very much attention and some good will. It paves the way for acceptance (or at least a look-see) at 5E and, at the same, shakes the timbers of the competitors.


    They'll eventually get around to the BECMI crowd with the rules cyclopedia. I think the only ones left out of the re-release festivities will be 2E and 4E. The former because it is too convoluted rule-book wise, and the latter because it is still in print.

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  20. Fingers crossed, come on Rules Cyclopedia!

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  21. Those of us who were involved in discussion of the draft of the license back in 2000 seriously worried about a future Hasbro trying to claw back the content. Our concerns were fully addressed in the final text. The OGL is perpetual, and gives Hasbro no way to rescind it or withdraw Open Game Content.

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  22. James-I'm wondering why you are so adamant about not supporting 5th Edition D&D (which looks more "Old-school" than any product WOTC has released since purchasing the franchise), even though it's a ways from release. We all know which version you prefer, but it strikes me as a bit curmudgeonly to refuse to even experiment with ALL post-1981 D&D rule sets. What gives?

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  23. Antonio EleuteriJune 26, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    They could release only the 2e PHB, DMG and MM. It works perfectly, and there is nothing convoluted about it. That's what I have used for 20+ years without any splatbooks. After all they haven't released Unearthed Arcana, nor the Survival Guides for 1e.

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  24. Antonio EleuteriJune 26, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    I would have preferred 3.0 instead of 3.5. It's less cluttered overall, less anal about combat grid, and many of its mechanics still have a resemblance to class D&D ones (e.g. monster immunity to magical weapons, many spell effects and names etc.) Plus, it has the charm of the "first of its genre" much like AD&D 1e.

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  25. I like 3.0 better than v.3.5 myself, too (it's the one I played the most), but I'm pretty sure we can all figure out why WotC went this route instead.

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  26. I got off the new edition edition train back in 2007 and have no desire to get back on. If the final published version of 5e is reported to be good by people with similar sensibilities to my own, I might pick up a copy. Right now, though, I have too many other projects and distractions to spend any time playtesting it. Besides, what I've heard so far doesn't give me anything I don't already have from TSR editions, so what would be the point?

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  27. Andrea Tupac MollicaJune 26, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    I just don't understand why WotC are doing this. It has no "nostalgia" meaning, nor it has anything else special. Moreover the WotC guys should look at the widening of the old school fans and seriously think on reprinting the earlier masterpieces James talks about in this article.

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  28. Andrea Tupac MollicaJune 26, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Me too!

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  29. Couldn't agree more. 3.0 still feels like D&D to me, something I can't say about 3.5 & Pathfinder.

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  30. To look "more OS than any product WOTC has released since purchasing the franchise" it's not very hard. Vampire The Masquerade is more OS than 4e!

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  31. Consider me edified, James.

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  32. Christopher SpatolaJune 27, 2012 at 5:47 AM

    I concur Antonio!

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  33. 2nd edition seems to be remembered for its settings rather than its rules, and I'm told that the rules are quite similar to 1e anyway. So maybe they'll reprint some of those.

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  34. The Recursion KingJune 28, 2012 at 7:02 AM

    You're not wrong. 3.5 is fairly hard to get hold of.

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  35. Yeah, I have used to the SRD for years in my play-by-post Ravenloft game. It's very handy.

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  36. It sold like hotcakes, did it not?

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  37. WOTC may be doing this in an attempt to re-establish D&D's network effect.

    One side effect of the 4E debacle was pretty much ruining the D&D brand as a trusted default that everyone played. If WOTC can convince people to play "D&D" again, any edition, then they may repair some of the damage done by driving people away to retroclones, Pathfinder, or, as in many cases, giving up D&D entirely.

    At least, that's my theory. The thinking that drove 4E - "people will buy it no matter what we do because D&D/FR is written on the cover", has been proved to be a big old arrogant mistake, and almost destroyed the brand. It's definitely no longer trusted as it once was, so reprints may be an attempt to remind people that games they like are called D&D too.

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  38. Received my AD&D reprints today and they're beautiful. After just a quick scan the only thing that would make me believe they weren't the originals were the cover and the smooth paper. Beautiful books - gold trimmed edges, faux leather covers, blue/red/black bookmarks, and the classic contents we all hold dear!

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