So, Wizards of the Coast has done the entirely expected and announced the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, a mere three and a half years after the release of the fourth edition. (Okay, 5E isn’t what they’re calling it – not yet, at least – but until they give us a real name, we’re gonna do the logical thing and call it the edition that comes after the fourth.)
Okay, admittedly, I didn’t believe it was going to be 5E until I saw the announcement. I thought the “big announcement” would be bringing back PDFs or hype for Dungeons & Dragons: Book of Vile Darkness, or something. Turned out that instead, it was vindication.
Because, well, if there’s something we can get out of this, it’s that 4E wasn’t doing very well. It means there was something to those Icv2 reports that Pathfinder RPG was outselling it, after all. Basically, it means I was right or mostly right all along.
Also, the best quote that’s come out of this, thus far:
“4e is broken as a game and business and it needs to go away.” – Scott Rouse, former D&D Brand Manager
It’s not as harsh as it looks when you read it in context, but man, I just want to frame that and put it up on a wall.
But enough of that. There will be time enough for schadenfreude and gravedancing later.
We don’t really have much to go on at this point. What is known is summed up on EN World’s 5e news page. The most interesting and concrete things we have this close to the announcement are that they’ll be taking a page out of the market leader’s book and doing an open playtest, and the statement “The Forgotten Realms has a rich history and we will support all of it. It is for the gamers to decide which time they would enjoy playing in”, which has generally been interpreted to mean that they’ll do a timeline-independent Forgotten Realms. The new game is being designed, among others, by Monte Cook and Bruce Cordell, who aren’t known for half-assing things.
So, it looks like they’re not setting out to fail right out of the game this time around. Will it be enough? Time will tell. For my part, I’m willing to give the game a shot as a player. WotC still has a long way to go before I’ll actually buy anything from them. Besides, I already have Pathfinder RPG and some 200 different D20 books to fulfill all my crunchy D&D needs and Lamentations of the Flame Princess and the D&D Rules Cyclopedia for the old school.
Well, good luck to them. They’re going to need it.