December 19, 2013 – Renton, WA – Wizards of the Coast today announced that the highly-anticipated new rules system for Dungeons & Dragons will release in summer 2014. After nearly two years of an open public playtest and more than 175,000 playtest participants, the rules are complete. Players will be immersed in rich storytelling experiences across multiple gaming platforms as they face off against the most fearsome monster of all time.“Just like a perfectly balanced party, Wizards has worked cohesively with fans, designers and partners to create the next generation of D&D,” said Nathan Stewart, Brand Director for Dungeons & Dragons. “We whole-heartedly thank all of the play test participants, whose feedback has proven instrumental in shaping the future of Dungeons & Dragons.”More information about the exciting Dungeons & Dragons entertainment offerings will be available in early 2014. To learn more about D&D, visit dungeonsanddragons.com. (from the Launch Announcement)
Last night it was announced that the next version of Dungeons and Dragons will launch this upcoming summer. The safe money has the official launch date coming in August at GEN CON 2014 as was the case with Third Edition Dungeons and Dragons; though it would not be that surprising if they released the Player's Handbook in June as both the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons editions released their Handbooks in that month.
I signed up to join the open playtest and was actually able to download it on the first day. I've really been digging a lot of what's been going on with the new system and the possibility that I can ethically talk about it soon has me just thrilled. But like so many of you out there, I have concerns about the new system and I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss them.
Price Point: While it isn't discussed in the official release, and the folks at Wizards proper have been way too closed mouthed about the subject for my liking, I'm really nervous about the price point for this product. I started playing with Third Edition Dungeons and Dragons and bought my books for $30.00 each. I have purchased a ridiculous amount of books for that system because the price was affordable whether I was working part-time and single, or full-time with a family to support. By contrast, Fourth Edition was on the cusp of being out of my price range at $40.00 a book; which is why I only own five books from that entire edition, and three of them were bought used for twenty dollars a piece.
So for me, the price is going to determine how much of a financial commitment I can make to this system, and anything over $35.00 is going to find a very limited level of engagement on my end.
Third Party Licensing: I have no interest in publishing my own materials for the system, but I have a lot of companies that I trust when it comes to purchasing their third party products. So if I'm going to become committed to this edition I need to have people like Green Ronin and Mongoose Games able to crank out some top notch products for it.
I was on the line with the core products, but these guys set the hook.
An Introductory Box: I firmly believe that one of the biggest problems for Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons came when they attempted to drop the system flat on us without an introductory bridge. They attempted to rectify this with the Essentials line and with the "Red Box" but in many ways it was too little, too late.
I want an Introductory Boxed Set for this edition of the game.
Dungeon and Dragon Magazine: I want these magazines back, and I want them back in a way that matters.
I fully understand that if they come back it will be as a house organ and not as an industry wide magazine, that's all well and good. But when you bring them back make them something worth subscribing too again. I want short stories from authors that matter in the world and authors just starting out. I want to see articles from people who have a vested interest not only in Wizards of the Coast but in the hobby as a whole. And I don't want to see a magazine that has six articles and expects me to pay ten dollars for them.
The Name: I will hate this edition forever if the damned fools actually keep the "Next" in the title. Call it 5e or even better, Dungeons and Dragons, but not Next. That is the sort of name that you give to a character you have no interest in playing for longer than five minutes - and the same would hold true for an edition calling itself that.
Things that Aren't Bothering Me
that Probably Should
I've seen quite a few people focusing on the lines: ". . . Players will be immersed in rich storytelling experiences across multiple gaming platforms as they face off against the most fearsome monster of all time . . ." (from the Launch Announcement). I have no problems with this statement as it seems to hold in line with what Greg Leeds said earlier this year (see Greg Leeds, C.E.O. of Wizards of the Coast, On the State of Everything) and with the Sundering Event that has been running since August of 2013.
With the Sundering Event we've seen Wizards integrate their Encounters program with video games and books creating an immersive and engaging program that has me - traditionally a passionate anti-Forgotten Realms Dungeon Master - actually enjoying, and even loving, the Forgotten Realms. So let's say that comment has me cautiously optimistic, rather than worried.