Thursday, 8 October 2009

4th Edition, 38 products and rollin'

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.

Keep Rollin'


  1. Drew~

    While I get what your saying, I think you're maybe forgetting the pace of releases for 3rd edition, and even for the latter half of 2nd edition. I don't really think that it's that faster.

    As for the release schedule being "at the expense of a Game known and loved by millions of fans" I disagree. The game is still loved, even this new edition. It's still D&D, and while it isn't to your taste, it still brings people to the table to roll some dice.

    So, like you say, keep rollin!

  2. Erm, Im not - I wasn't remarking on those rather crappy Editions - merely 4th. TSR tried the same marketing tactic with Second Edition AD&D (all the different Character Class Handbooks, Modular Monstrous Manuals, Cards, players screens and loads more) and in the end it cost them the company. Destroying TSR's cridibility amongst the RPG buying customer base and leaving D&D free to be brought out by WoTC. One of the reasons that 3rd and 3.5 was dislike was the too many books syndrome. As for it being D&D thats arrant nonsense. As Gary Gygax himself remarked - "The new Game is too rule intensive. It's relegated the Dungeon Master to being an entertainer rather than master of the game. It's done away with the archetypes, focused on nothing but combat and character power, lost the group cooperative aspect, bastardized the class-based system, and resembles a comic-book superheroes game more than a fantasy RPG where a player can play any alignment desired, not just lawful good" - I personally think there was no real bitterness in that statement, and I have to agree with him totally. Modern (not) D&D is a Miniatures Game with Roleplaying elements built in - its been that way since the 3.5 edition. You can put as many rules and systems in place as you want, but all that does is make the whole shibang overly complicated and inter-dependant upon other products - which AGAIN facilitates the sale of more product. WotC are rapidly becoming the Games Workshop of the RPG world. They have even withdrawn ALL of the older edition PDF's from Sale - according to someone I know who's "in the loop" to stop gamers playing older editions (thank goodness for OSRIC and the like). The claim they aren't happy with the current DRM in place. That was done a long time ago now - and I see no sign of them releasing PDF's with any new form of security.

    I've bought and run every Edition of D&D since the White Box, those of you who like 4e (or 3rd or 3.5 for that matter) Edition, have to realize they might be playing a Fantasy RPG with some elements of D&D/AD&D – but they AREN’T Playing D&D/AD&D – its a derivite.

    D&D/AD&D was written/created by Dave Arneson & Gary Gygax. Anything else (even products that might hold the license) created/produced not under the direct control of those two very missed individuals is NOT D&D/AD&D.

    Its like reading a Discworld story not written by Terry Pratchett, it might be ABOUT Discworld – possibly even legally and professionally produced. But its NOT from the mind of Terry Pratchett, so it can never be truly Discworld.

    You can argue as much as you want, its NOT D&D - it can't be - merely a copy.

    Original D&D/AD&D had it right, unfortunately MOST people either can’t see it or are too stubborn to admit it.

  3. I wouldn't say even "merely a copy". The retro clones are more in that vein.

    I would say merely an imitation.

    Like John Carpenter's The Thing ;)

  4. @rainswept - thats brilliant Lol!