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So I guess there’s gonna be a new D&D or something

January 9th, 2012: Mike Sugarbaker says...
So I guess there’s gonna be a new D&D or something

Taste the excitement. For those who missed, D&D Next (that’s all they’re calling it thus far) has been announced, and an open playtest set to begin in the spring can be yours if you go click on one of a selection of shiny red buttons. Here’s what I had to say on the Twits:

  • I don’t envy WotC right now. They can’t possibly do it right for most people, and most people will say so.
  • All WotC’s horses and all WotC’s men want to put the fractured play base together again. (4E didn’t start the breaks, but did worsen ‘em.)
  • And amazingly, they have something resembling clear messaging about just that! It’s all over this Mearls interview.
  • The danger now lies in how that openness comes across. 4E’s strength was you could come in totally cold and actually have a successful game.
  • A D&D-for-everyone has a hard job if it wants to be that accessible. (As I’ve written lately, I think Risk Legacy can be a guide here.)

On the “D&D Next” topic: this is significant. Everyone on Twitter, and I’m sure other places as well, is screaming about “5E” but no one at Wizards is saying the number 5. That’s because (turn back now if you fear rampant speculation) Wizards wants “editions” to go away. They create confusion amongst consumers. Wizards doesn’t much care about our nerdfights – there will always be nerdfights – but once it got so bad that Pathfinder actually made a dent in the consciousness of consumers outside the nerd bubble, that got their attention. By and large, the mass of D&D players (the ones who get it at Walmart-or-whatever) don’t even notice independent games, and certainly not fantasy ones; Wizards would like it very much if those folks never notice those games again.

And as far as listening to your fans… it can be done right, and it can be done wrong. For now, I’ll call it a good thing that it’s going to be done at all.

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