Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Who Could Have Predicted A Fifth Edition?!?

I don't think I ever mentioned this before but...I have a gift.

Not like a new pair of wool socks or a toaster oven. When I say a gift I mean 'The Gift'.

You see, I am Psychic (with a capital 'P'). I knew, about a week after purchasing 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, that there would be a 5th Edition. Seriously. I am amazing like that.

Barely four years have gone by and we are already seeing the announcement I predicted. Do my powers know no end?!

OK, kidding aside, there will be tons of speculation, commentary and the like about this new edition just as there was for the previous one(s). WotC has made an excellent and well handled PR move by asking fans what they want to see. This is doubly brilliant as it makes it seem like they are listening while simultaneously getting their market research done. But who are they expecting to hear from?

Any fan of 4th Edition (are there any real fans of 4th? I'm sure there are somewhere...) is going to want more of what they have.

Anyone who hated 4th and went over to the OSR is going to ask that things return to the old days.

They certainly aren't going to back track and go 3rd Edition or 3.X or whatever.

So...what could the end result possibly be?

Don't know. Don't care. Not really interested.

I am going to predict that the end result will be better than 4th but no where near as popular as D&D in its heyday. I also predict that this will upset Hasbro, who will wonder why they are not getting the 10-35 year old video gamer or MMO player, thus prompting either unnecessary added rules or a 6th Edition (or both).

This would be a great time to play something else.

I predict most won't.

Barking Alien


  1. They certainly aren't going to get back the the fans of 3.5e because we are all playing Pathfinder and are happier than pigs in poop to be so doing.

    Here's what I find amusing:

    1e AD&D: 1977-1989. 12 years.
    2e AD&D: 1989-2000. 11 years.
    3e & 3.5e: 2000-2008. 8 years.
    4e: 2008-2012. A mere four years.

    Previous editions have lasted a decade, give or take a few years. 4e hasn't even lasted half that. Based on these numbers alone, I think it's safe to say that 4e is a commercial failure.

  2. I think it was fairly easily predictable. Their previous core releases have roughly followed a 4-5 year cycle, much like consoles.

  3. Yeah...

    I own a store, and I witnessed about half a shelf worth of merchandise just devalue itself with the announcement.

    Beyond that, based on announcements, it seems like they are trying for the "one ring to rule them all" vibe they got from 3.0/D20 initially. A "universal" system that you can pick and choose which rules sections you play with.

    GURPS tried it... they do okay...

    HERO Games tried it... they're currently fighting for their corporate life (again)...

    Savage Worlds does okay with it...

    All this said, there will be no "universal" system that will appeal to everyone. Not even if it has the D&D brand backing it...

    As a retailer, I will stock somewhat heavy on the core books initially, then wait and see.

    Meanwhile, I have some D&D4E books I'm willing to let go at a discount... =P

  4. EP: that 3E line should say 3E 2000 - 2003, 3.5 2003 - 2008. It was a pretty big change that angered a lot of people. Also 4e isn't quite "done" yet. It will probably be current into 2013 though I agree with GopherDave above that the books are going to be a little harder to sell now.

    As much as I've come to like 4E I'm still amazed at the way they bungled the launch. The OGL/GSL fiasco alone cut it off at the knees in year one. At least they do seem to be trying to communicate with people this time.

    Ah well, no shortage of games to play here anyway.