Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wizards of the Coast Starts the Sorry Tour

How exactly do you say your sorry for releasing a game system that was a huge risk? One that you justified by promising online play and easier access to new players. One that seemed to be making all o the character classes similar and forcing the use of miniatures or tokens. This is reality of the task Wizards of the Coast has with the release of the new Dungeons and Dragons edition (FKA 5th Edition)

WOTC is hoping that 5th Edition is the answer to that question. It is a little over a month away from the release date but this has been the edition where most of the surprises have already been revealed. The public play test of what is now to be called simply "Dungeons & Dragons" lasted well over a year. To get the play test materials all you had to do was ask. The answer to what is it like is simply that it is much closer to 3rd edition than 4th. It looks like they have removed all the MMOG power structure and returned D&D to its roots.

Now that Pathfinder has established itself as the main fantasy RPG how do you get players to even look at your new D&D rules? How about making them free? Yes, that's right the basic rules for D&D will be a free PDF download. Essentially WOTC wants to woo you back to the fold and a free copy of the rules as their gateway.

The other item that 4th edition was lacking in was third party support. The open licensing for 3.x editions and later Pathfinder ensured that many companies contributed material to the library of adventures and settings. The new edition is rumored to be working with third party designers right now to release non-official but authorized content for the new game. 

OK, so, root style play, free rules and third party support but that only gets us back to where we were before 4th edition. How about a spiffy new battle game based on the flight path mechanics of the Attack Wing games from WizKids? That's right Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing will be released within the year. It will add ground units to the Attack Wing system and dragons can move between the ground and the sky. It looks great and the dragon miniatures look like they'll be in 25 mm scale as will the other troops available.

Am I going back? I don't know for sure. I have leafed through the play test materials and pre-ordered the initial three books. I saw the Attack Wing game being played at Origins and I must say it looks very cool. But Pathfinder has become the new best friend when you old friend moved away. If he moves back you will always wonder if they'll move away again. The new D&D will have to go a ways to make up for its past misdeeds. As a game 4th edition was not bad, just not D&D. If they would have called Forgotten Realms Tactics or something like that they would have sold some new material while cultivating their existing audience. 

Here is the link where WOTC talks about free Basic D&D

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