Friday, August 17, 2012

Where D&D Goes, So Goes the Hobby - So, What's Next?

I was giving this some thinking after watching the D&D Keynote Presentation last night. I have to say, as much as D&D Next, at least the parts I've seen, are certainly not for me, I truly do wish it success. Heck, I wish it is extremely successful, because success for D&D Next will be a success for the hobby as a whole.

Am I taking anything away from Pathfinder? No. But D&D is still the marque name for the hobby. Even if you play Pathfinder, the act of roleplaying is often referred to as "playing D&D".

Sure, if there was never another single item released for RPGs, there is still enough out there to last me several life times. So if D&D crashed and burned, and the hobby went to ashes with it, I'd still have more than I'll ever need. But that's being selfish.

For a hobby to live and breath and God forbid, actually grow, it needs fresh blood. If D&D Next is done right, it will bring in fresh blood to the hobby.

One thing D&D Next HAS done right is dial back the 3x / Pathfinder complexity level. A simpler core game with hopefully an inexpensive buy in should lower the entry bar to the hobby, and that is a good thing. D&D has been in the past, and should be in the future, the "Gateway Game" to the hobby.

If they are wise, they will publish the core rules as a boxed set. The Pathfinder Beginner Box is by far the best introduction to the hobby currently in print. WotC should do whatever it takes to do it one better with D&D Next.

I doubt I will ever play it (again - I did an early beta) but I will buy the first rules release when it comes out.

I'm not going to invest in the 6 book series that will reset the Forgotten Realms YET AGAIN! I'll wait for someone to give the plot summaries in a blogpost somewhere when they are published. That's just too much of a money sink for something I'll never read.


  1. Well I've always thought the initial release (Core Set) should be called Basic D&D, and the rest Advanced D&D.

    I don't know if your title premise is accurate. I think the OSR/Pathfinder/whatever migration has shown D&D to be more than just D&D. I don't know if WOTC has the reigns anymore. A lot of people seem to have switched horses. What will it be like in two years when it finally comes out? I think a lot of people will buy the initial release(s), maybe play a few games and then continue on with what they were playing up to that point.

  2. I agree with you, Erik, in that D&D leads in new players then directs them; it is synonymous with the wider hobby to outsiders and always will be. I still find myself explaining roleplaying as "Dungeons & Dragons" to help let people know what I'm talking about.

    SAROE, I think you might have a point too, saying the established playerbase is unlikely to be heavily swayed. But given that the people in the hobby are always changing -- perhaps not much, but a little -- with new players coming in and old players lapsing, I think we have to accept that the playerbase will come to be composed of at least some element of people who cut their teeth on D&D Next. And that will influence things for all of us, as time goes on.

    At least, that's the way I see it. :)


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