D&D: the Future

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Predicting is always a tricky prospect. Where will D&D be in five years? 10 years? 20?

rpg blog carnival logoWhile I would love to sing D&D’s praises to the highest, I’m afraid that five years down the road, I won’t be playing it. What I mean is, that it’s unlikely I’ll be playing whatever the current edition of that time is. Most likely, I’ll still be playing 3.5 ed with the occasional “beer and pretzels” 1st ed game.

You see, I actually left the D&D fold completely after the introduction of 2nd ed. After playing (pretty much exclusively) D&D for almost 10 years, I got far more intrigued by other games: Amber, GURPS, Ars Magica, Trinity, World of Darkness, Traveller, various home-brew systems, including my own. I’d gotten frustrated with 1st ed’s limitations — that a thief always had the same skills as every other thief, etc., not to mention the whole alignment controversy (which I won’t go into here).

It was 3rd ed. that brought me back. The addition of skills and feats meant that I could have a thief that was more of a highway man, or a magic-user who was a “people person” and not a high-powered blaster. But despite the new additions to the system, I felt it still managed to keep the flavor of D&D. Now don’t ask me to quantify why — I can’t. It’s just to me it still, for some untangible reason, “feels” like the 1st ed. D&D done better.

Now 4th ed. doesn’t do a thing for me. To me, it feels like an MMORG brought to the tabletop. Not a bad thing, if that’s what you’re into and I can see how it would be very accessible for brand new players. It looks like, from my read-throughs, that it’s a good game in it’s own right. It’s just not my cup of tea for a number of reasons. And, to me, it doesn’t feel like D&D. Again, that’s an emotional, gut-reaction and I can’t put my finger on why. But because of it, I’m very unlikely to buy anything from the line.

Will there be a D&D in the future? I think there’ll still be something called “Dungeons and Dragons”. It’s staying power has been proven. Will I be playing it? That all depends on what the game does between now and then.

This post is part of the RPG Blogger’s July Blog Carnival.

3 responses to “D&D: the Future

  1. So why does 4e seem like an MMO? Have you played many MMO? Have some real comparisons to draw?

    Or are you just parroting what you read from the edition-war trolls?

    • @Tom Hi Tom. Thanks for posting. I try very hard not to just parrot what I hear; I look, read, and think before I express an opinion. For me, the biggest turn-off from 4th ed was the idea of party “roles”. I can see how they’d be very useful for brand-new players, but they don’t fit the way I run my games or the way I like game as a player. I also was disappointed by the range of races. It felt to me too much like trying to match the “cool” races from MMO games, rather than the traditional D&D races. Not a bad thing for a new game, but disappointing to me.

      I have tried several MMO’s and I have nothing against them in general, I just don’t enjoy them myself. I feel like my choices are constricted — when I’m at a tabletop, or even playing PBeM (I haven’t tried play-by-post yet, mostly because of lack of available time) where I can attempt to do anything I can think of. To me (and this is a gut-reaction thing) I find the whole concept of a specified party role, even if it is a guideline, feels to me much like the canned phrases I have to choose from when I talk to NPCs in MMOs.

      And just in case I haven’t made myself clear in post above — I’m not knocking 4th ed as a game. If you play it and enjoy it, more power to you! It’s not my intent to tell others how to play or what to play. I’m merely stating that, to me, it seems to miss the essence of what has been D&D in the past. Maybe I’m just a old-fogey when it comes to game systems.

      • I dont think it is unfair to say 4e has turned into a table top “mmo” feeling game. Exactally as Jade said, Wizards has pigeonholed classes into specific roles. Fighters and paladins now need to be tanks. While they can do some decent damage, they cant match the damage done by a “striker.”

        The problem lies in with 4th edition, sure each level lets you choose 4-8 different utilities/dailys/encounter abilities – however there really is only 1-2 REAL choices since 1-2 of them are quite useful while the rest are rather lackluster.

        What I REALLY enjoyed with third edition is if I had a character concept in my mind, I could create it. You cant do this with 4th edition. The bland multiclass feature is very boring.

        I dont mind playing 4th edition casually, however I do prefer 3rd edition for the more options, and you can’t even argue “Well wait till 4th edition has been out as long as 3rd edition and has as many supplemental books” … no, thats not it at all, the way classes are setup, you are left with a small selection of abilities, where they dont do much difference from level 1-30 other than 1-5 more dice to roll and maybe 1-2 more squares for area of effects.

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