Deserter from the Edition Wars

If you’ve ever talked to me about Dungeons & Dragons, you know I’m not a huge fan of 4th Edition (if you have never talked to me about D&D, the following may or may not upset you). I have mellowed my stance over time and I no longer seethe with a barely contained rage at the desecration of My Game. Because really, nothing was desecrated (I still have all my 3.5 books after all, they didn’t disappear with the new edition) and it wasn’t My Game, it was everyone’s game. The undeniable fact is, many people like playing 4E and at the end of the day that is what matters: people playing a game they like.
The flip-side, of course, is that people are welcome to not play a game they don’t like. And 80% of the time I fall into that camp with regards to 4E. Most of the time it just doesn’t do it for me; I need a broader palette of choice and complexity to run and play the game I want to play. That other twenty percent? Sometimes I do want to just stroll through a dungeon and lay an unholy amount of smack-down on some monsters. For those times, 4E is the perfect platform to enjoy my monster apocalypse.
That said, there is something about the game-play direction of 4E that I have never liked. I won’t bore anyone (including myself) with details, because if you really want that you can find it online. In general, though, I did not like the way the game was simplified. It is possible to simplify something in such a way as to stimulate choice and creativity; I felt (and still feel) that 4E went in the opposite direction from that. The limited choice of character builds (unless/until you get the next book(s)), the focus on combat over role-playing…never been a fan.
All of that is to explain why, when I followed this link about D&D Fifth Edition, it honestly took me about two minutes of re-seething rage to clue in that this was a joke. While I am now calmed down, I have to admit there is a little part of me scared that this “joke” is the start of a viral marketing campaign for an actual D&D product. OR, that WotC looks at this and goes, “Hmmmm…”. Either way, this “evolution” was probable enough for me to have several moments of spine-chilling dread.  And if you think that WotC can’t turn an RPG into a card game, you obviously haven’t looked at Gamma World too closely.
As my final shot in the Edition Wars, I have this comment to make: when I heard that WotC was going to release “Basic D&D” my first thought was, “So, isn’t that just the D&D Miniatures game?”
And now I am officially deserting from the D&D Edition Wars. I just don’t have the energy to waste on it anymore. I’m a gamer because I play games. If you are a gamer you also play games. To generate an artificial ghetto-ization of certain gamers because they play a game I don’t like is pointless, because it misses the point of the hobby. The gaming hobby has always been inclusive, welcoming anyone that wanted to play. Tacking on the addendum, “…except for you [insert game name here] players, because [insert game name here] suxxors!” is a bit like crouching in a leaky life-raft and refusing to let certain people bail because they use a boot instead of a bucket.
Didn’t like that comparison? Hmm, okay. Let’s put it in religious terms (because that won’t piss anybody off): sectarian squabbling can kill a religion. Introducing exclusion to gaming because you want to argue your interpretation of dogma is pointless and harmful.
I am a gamer. And I welcome all my gaming brethren and sistren to my table. I may decline to play a game I don’t like, but out of courtesy I extend the same right to all of you. And while I welcome spirited discussions on gaming and game design, I will enter into these discussions without judgment or partisanship.
And now, linkage:
– If you live here in Edmonton and have ever had questions/concerns/total WTF moments about our urban planning, The Charrette is the site for you.
– If you are a fan of Monte Cook, Malhavoc Press and/or Ptolus (and if you aren’t why are you on my site?), this is the sale for you!  Happy 10th Anniversary, Malhavoc Press!
– For those of you saddened by the lack of an Apocalypse this past weekend, fear not!  Apparently that was a test…
– Do you live in Edmonton and suffer from a disturbing lack of balloon animals for your next celebratory function?  You need a visit from The Balloon Fairies!
Game on!

One thought on “Deserter from the Edition Wars

  1. I know what you mean Dorklord. I felt the same sense of betrayal when 4E came out. Oversimplified, combat over role-playing, pandering to MMORPG players, I thought. But as you said, my 3.5 books didn't burst into flames when 4E came out, and really, Pathfinder is my game of choice. So that's what I'll play, and if someone likes their D&D with training wheels on they're welcome to play that.

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