One of the things that bothers me the most about companies like WotC is the fact their games come over as just 'product' now.
Whilst I am sure some of the design team are truly behind D&D 4e as a game, I have no doubt in my mind that as a whole it is regarded as a saleable entity with little or no regard as any other product produved by any other corporate entity.
Why do I think thats such a bad thing? Because D&D 4e i fairly soulless IMHO - now I know 4e has its detractors and its admirers and I really REALLY am not trying to start a flame war (I hate arguments they really stress me out)but when alls said and done, there really is something not quite right with (not) D&D 4th Edition.
I truly believe any Role Playing is a good thing, its a healthy hobby with benefits way beyond those of just playing a game - Stress Relief, the Social Aspect, encourages Literacy and Numeracy etc . . . .
But in just 17 Months since its release they have released 38 products (including a Starter Set and the 4th Edition Core Rulebook Gift Set) and whilst not all are important for play, they are promoted in such a way certain gamers will either think they need them all or simply want them all.
4th Edition is brilliantly laid out, the Artwork is evocative and eye catching - I'm not even going to debate rules here; as rules are like food - not everyone likes the same thing. But its so slick, its soulless and just lacks any kind of passion of joy (for me at least, and I started buying the range).
I am aware companies need to make money to survive, but to make it at the expense of a Game known and loved by millions of fans seems wrong to me.