GeekRant: Dungeons & Dragons Fourth?

If there is one thing that really pisses me off, it's money-hungry companies. If it's something that really really pisses me off, it's the ones that control a niche market.

Such is the case with Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons & Dragons. Many moons ago, D&D was owned by a company called TSR. Not perfect, but they made D&D and AD&D (Advanced), with a biiiig gap between releases. TSR goes bust - after all, you apparently can't carry on making money from people that buy what they need and that's that. Not long after Wizards takes over, they announce D&D 3rd Edition (3e).

Everyone was happy - the rules were overhauled, made clearer, the artwork was changed, and, in general, D&D came forwards to a new crowd. We went out and spent a fortune replacing our AD&D books with 3e books, and all was good in the world.

Then, suddenly, three years later, Wizards decide 3e is flawed, and announce - then release - version 3.5. And re-write ALL the bloody books. So, we bought some books, and had some books bought for me.

And now. Now! The bastards come out and announce 4th Edition, due out in less than a year.

And re-write all the books.
And add funky new features.
And try to bring it into line with MMOs and use "technology".

Now, granted, I've not been playing D&D properly since we lost Bethy - I lost my creative mojo for some reason - but the fact is, that for groups to remain playing together, they either have to ALL buy the books (bear in mind, the 3e and 3.5 core books, of which there are three, cost £25 EACH, and you need them to play), OR one or two people per group buy them, and end up having to share (which is a complete pain in the ass), or the group falls apart. We saw it happen when our tabletop group went from AD&D to 3e, as well as our online groups, and saw online groups split when 3e went 3.5.

It also looks like they are trying to do away with the whole Pen & Paper aspect of the game, and pushing people to play over the internet. Which is all well and good, but to do so, everyone in your group needs to own the books. Or you play with others online. We played most of our games online, but back when we had lots of gamer friends locally, there was nothing better than a decent group playing together around a table.

Now, granted, they are sticking to the core rules of the d20 system, but are changing the rules. And, if I heard correctly, making the fancy tools a monthly subscription service.

Money, Money, Money.

And then, will this be limited to D&D? The d20 system spawned a few offshoots - d20 Modern, d20 Cthulhu, d20 Future - will they ALSO get overhauled and re-released?

More AND!! Looking at the Wizards of the Coast homepage, they are still churning out books, settings, scenarios and everything else - and you can imagine they will need tweaking to play with 4th Edition. And then there are the little publishers out there that release the occasional thing here and there - how will they be affected?

And I get that most of you will think I am prattling about crazy things, but I just had to whine.

But.

There's always a BUT from me.

Maybe this is what I need to get my Role Playing mojo back on? Will getting 4th Edition help me out, get me to restart playing D&D regularly, and *gasp* socialising again? See how Wizards work - they know the geeks will be pissed off, they know we'll piss and moan and rant and rave - but they bloody well know we'll still go out and buy it.

I can't help but think, while part of me is hacked off, if this is going to be a good thing for me. At the start of this year, I stopped running my online D&D games because I just couldn't focus on them. Maybe a new system with new tools will help me out and get things rolling once more.

The release schedule is May, June and July of next year for the three core books, which means I will either buy them as they arrive, or will get them from people for my birthday next September.

Sorry to bore the rest of you ;) Normal service to resume soon.

Edit: I say to Jo "would you believe they are releasing D&D4e" with disgust and indignation in my voice. Her reply? "Oh yeah, Dad told me - he was at the seminar at Indy GenCon". Pah. My Information Super Highway is gridlocked.

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One Response to “GeekRant: Dungeons & Dragons Fourth?”

Andy said...

Feel better after venting? :)