Hey there, Internet! Welcome to this week’s edition of Captain Z. This is my first article of the new year and my first since the holiday season (I know, a bit late), so I hope my readers had as great of a holiday as I did, whatever that holiday might be. Over the break, the tabletop gaming world was shaken to its core by the announcement that Wizards of the Coast is currently in development of the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, and in their official announcement on their website which you can find here, they had a surprising aspect to reveal.
“…we are excited to share with you that starting in Spring 2012, we will be taking this process one step further and conducting ongoing open playtests with the gaming community to gather feedback on the new iteration of the game as we develop it. With your feedback and involvement, we can make D&D better than ever. We seek to build a foundation for the long-term health and growth of D&D, one rooted in the vital traits that make D&D unique and special. We want a game that rises above differences of play styles, campaign settings, and editions, one that takes the fundamental essence of D&D and brings it to the forefront of the game. In short, we want a game that is as simple or complex as you please, its action focused on combat, intrigue, and exploration as you desire. We want a game that is unmistakably D&D, but one that can easily become your D&D, the game that you want to run and play.”
Now, I give a lot of credit to Paizo, who playtested Pathfinder to a ridiculous degree. They made sure they delivered a product that their target market would want, and Wizards appears to finally be taking the hint and doing that themselves. The big picture of this announcement means a couple things, most importantly that Wizards is admitting defeat. 4th Ed has many critics, and it appears that Wizards is giving in to those critics and declaring 4th Ed a failure, as it’s being put to rest well before its time. No official release date has been set, but if it is released next year, then that will be only five years since 4th Ed’s release. This also means that D&D will most likely be getting a major facelift.
Is this the right move? I’ve got mixed feelings about it. I really enjoy 4th Edition, but it has its issues, the biggest one being that Wizards painted themselves into a corner with the power system. There are only so many options that a class can go with, and with multiclassing being nearly eliminated, you can only play so many combinations of a class before you get bored. This also means that there is only so much new material you can create before everything has been done. There are a lot of things that they did do right, however, so I think we may see a best-of-both-worlds situation between 3.5 and 4th for 5th. The skill system will probably resemble 3.5′s, but don’t be surprised if the power system doesn’t go away. I can see powers being selected based off of feats and skill prerequisites rather than being given to specific classes. There are a lot of fun ideas that could float around, and it’s up to the lucky fans who get to playtest this puppy to shape it into a game we can all enjoy.
What do you think about this announcement? Comment below, and come back next week for my first review of 2012, Erisian Entertainment’s pride and joy, Lady’s Rock!