First of all, it’s not like this kind of thing is new. How many editions of GURPS are there? HERO System? Shadowrun? Tabletop RPG’s are supposed to be evolving, ever-changing. Otherwise, we’d all still be using Dave and Gary’s original rules.
Second of all, 4th Edition sucks. Let me just say that right up front. Your mileage may vary, but this is my blog, so I say it sucks. And when I say it sucks, I mean that it just isn’t D&D anymore. It’s an MMO on paper. 4E tries too hard to emulate the button-mashing strategies of MMOs and video games, and leaves behind the nuanced playing and social interactions that D&D pioneered. In short, with 4E they left the D&D track, and now they need to get back…er…on track.
That being said, it’s still a fun game. The problem I had with it the few times I played was that I got easily confused about what my character could do, and when he could do it. So much so, that I found myself concentrating on that, rather than enjoying the story. Maybe I should say it sucks “for me.”
So, what would make a “perfect” edition of D&D? Well, in my opinion (shut up, it’s my blog, I said!) they already did that with 3.5. 3E was innovative in that it created a game that works, no matter how many or how few of the rules you use. At it’s core, using a very few rules can garner a very enjoyable game. But, it also provided tons of rules to make the game as crunchy or as smooth as you like. In short, if people were willing to open their minds to the possibilities presented in 3.5, and get rid of the notion of “If it’s in the rulebook, you have to use it,” it could be ANY game they wanted it to be.
Can WotC do that again, and do it better? Probably. Based on their announcement, they are relying heavily on massive playtest feedback. This will no doubt inundate them with varying ideas. But, I can see that the most popular ones will get some good treatment. And as long as they keep the game itself flexible, the rest can work as well.
|One of my all-time favorite|
D&D illustrations. Inspired me on
many levels as a 12-year old boy.
|I think I still have a copy.|
However, as a business in it to make money, these may not be valid considerations.
In short, I want a flexible game that allows me to be as detailed or flowing as possible. One that caters to as many different play styles as possible. And most importantly, one that allows for improvised rules on the fly. That right there is, from a rules standpoint, the one issue that separates Tabletop from Computer. If my character wants to improvise by throwing his shield, he should be able to do that without much fuss, and with a reasonable chance for success. Can’t do that at all in WoW.
I wish them luck, and I will no doubt buy at least the core books when it comes out. If for no other reason than to have the right to bitch about and bash them.