Monday 9 January 2012

Once more unto the breach...

Earlier today I news started to appear announcing that Wizards of the Coast are about to embark on development of a new edition of D&D. As the day has progressed various Blogger's have repeated the story and cited the announcement in the New York Times and this article on the D&D site itself. It seems only a short while ago that 4th Edition was released so will 5th Edition be what is needed to revive the franchise?

Mike Mearls, lead designer for D&D at Wizards has said "Most people will think of this as the fifth edition of D&D. In many ways, though, we want this to be a version of the game that embraces the entirety of D&D's history....One that all D&D fans can turn to and use." It all sounds very laudable and positive, but you know what, I've heard it all before. Several times.

On the plus side Wizards recently rehired Monte Cooke (lead designer of 3rd edition) and have announced he will be the lead designer of the revamped game. I like his work and I'd like to think that with Cooke back at the helm 5th edition could be a positive move for the game. But I guess I'm a cynic at heart and right now I despair at the thought of having to buy the core rulebooks yet again.

Its early days and development has not even got started yet. I guess release will likely be sometime next year but a lot will depend on financial and business pressures to get the new game published. 


  1. D&D is one of those games I would love to try, I had a friend who almost started collecting the books but in the end decided for other projects. Still hoping someone in the group will pick it up in the future :-)

  2. I still use 3rd edition, never took the plunge with 4th and doubt I will for 5th either

  3. I don't roll play that often any more as quite a way(way,way) back I switched almost exclusively to tabletop wargaming, but I did try the 4th edition with a group that did roll play at our club. The campaign died out mainly due to the combat system taking ages to resolve and so I wouldn't be surprised if that had something to do with 5th edition being released.


  4. You would think that after 35 or so years they would have gotten the game right by now! I always say this about GW's games as well.

  5. This is interesting news. I played 1st edition and one of my sons plays 4th edition. If he buys the new edition, I'll read it.
    When I showed my 1st edition copy to him, he gasped "Can I have that when you die?"

  6. I think we should just toss aside the rule book and make it up as we go along. Oh that's right, we often do.

  7. Don't get me wrong, I love D&D. I have been playing it for 30 years through every edition since the 'Red Box' days. But I have become disillusioned over the year as each version of the rules has strayed further and further from the core concept of the game.

    For me D&D has always been about storytelling and I firmly believe you don't need 850 pages of core rulebooks to tell a good yarn.

    I'm playing 4th Edition now but I can honestly say its not my favourite version of the rules and I would gladly go back to something a lot simpler if I could persuade my group to follow me.

  8. I still use 2nd. Largely from memory :D There's very little you can't do if everyone has decent character sheets with THAC0 on.

    *rests slippers on footstool, stokes pipe* Why, when I was a boy....

  9. Chuckle... THAC0...ahh yes

    What I'd like to see is a streamlined rulebook (note the singular) where the rules are intuitive, easy to learn, uncluttered, adaptable and most importantly the emphasis is on storytelling/roleplaying.

    Unfortunately it looks as if WoTC are looking to the power-gamers populating the forums for advice on how to 'improve' the game. God help us!

  10. Ever since Advanced or 1st Edition D&D was published in 1977 the periods between new editions have been getting shorter.

    1st Edition - 1977-1989 (12 years)
    2nd Edition - 1989-2000 (11 years)
    3rd Edition - 2000-2008 (8 years)
    4th Edition - 2008-2013 (5 years)
    5th Edition - 2013-????

    At this rate I predict that 6th edition will be released sometime in 2016 and subsequent editions on a yearly basis after that!!

    Now that's what I call progress.

  11. When was D&D published, that's the version I played; little brown box with three booklets in it. I bought that copy in '74 and used it for the next five years. I rally feel out of touch now.

  12. Been playing this game on and off since I started back before the first edition advanced dnd was released back at the old King John School and Mr Eagle, followed by Mr Ellis. 2nd and 3rd were improvements even though our campaingns never last past areound 7th level (too powerful for us). 4th just has not worked for the group so far with only a few brief dark sun games having been run. But of course I will buy 5th...


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