Next please

Two things consumed over the weekend. First, while out running, my iPod shuffled in an old WotC podcast. I was about to hit ‘forward’ but listened on for a bit. Turned out it was Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford being interviewed on the day of the very first Next playtest release.

Today I checked out the same guys on a Google Hangout, again, talking about the playtest.

My feelings? Well, I think I’ve heard and seen two professional, erudite and totally reasonable men talk with passion, enthusiasm, love and respect about D&D. I think they do a largely thankless job with this project, and I think they knew that going in, which makes their classiness even more striking.

This playtest isn’t really for me. My players aren’t really engaged enough with the future of the hobby to really want to stress test it. Also, I don’t want to have to keep updating myself on rules that might not survive for longer than a month. I still read them through and enjoy watching the new game unfold. I then make the stupid mistake of going to fora to find out what the wider community think about it. The level of vitriol and hyperbole is beyond the internets usual low standards. I’m seeing matters of taste being addressed as stupidity or incompetent or malice. That’s not right.

I think Next has an impossible goal ahead of it, but I’m willing it to succeed. I respect and admire the people trying to help that happen.

So there you go. A positive note about Next.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Next please

  1. Richard

    You know I concur about having nothing but good wishes for the success of Next but I’m finding myself looking back rather than forward for some D&D love and that has to be an issue for the guys sorting Next out. If I want some contemporary “modern” fantasy gameplay I’m going with Pathfinder and for the reboot of my Greyhawk campaign, albeit in pbp format, I’ve gone to AD&D 2e. If I was looking for “new” fantasy it’d be 13th Age, of course. How on earth is Next going to shoulder its way into such a crowded space knowing that making money is an issue with corporate masters probably demanding profit?

    When I speak with friends about D&D these days we no longer view it as THE first port of call for fantasy gaming and only talk about good things from the past with scant expectation that it will offer good times to come. Sad, really.

    I would love it if they knocked my socks off with something brilliant.

  2. Well, I know Mike would like you to be able to play in Greyhawk with a 2e style, plus some new gubbins from Next that you might like along the way. Same with 3e (as PF is of course). That’s the goal, the ability for fans of every edition and style, which are not necessarily the same thing, to sit down together and use Next as some kind of Rosetta Stone of D&D. Like I said, it’s a challenge.
    There are three broad markets to appeal to, existing D&Ders, existing RPGers, and future gamers. In each and every case the game will have to be good enough to lure people away from what they already have in front of them. Future gamers seems easiest then, but arguably that might be a relatively small number compared to the existing fanbase. Again, a challenge.
    Modularity is seen to be the answer, along with a three fold structure of basic, standard and advanced games all within one box called D&D. (Product strategy is even more important that system I reckon). I think it can be done, but I don’t think it can be done without howling criticism and genuinely angry people. Worth a go? Absolutely.

  3. Richard

    Good call.

    I’m not sure about modularity. I mean, it’s an interesting approach but my mind is more fixed on specific horses for courses these days.

    For me, 2e fits Greyhawk to a tee, Pathfinder doesn’t fit at all. Pathfinder works brilliantly for the Raging Swan stuff I’m running. 13th Age has its own specific setting. When I get OpenQuest later in the year I’ll use the setting produced for that.

    I wonder whether modularity may be the jack-of-all-trades, master of none argument writ large for gaming.

    This is tough, I want to be positive about Next but I’m struggling. I’m certainly not going to get angry or hyper critical though. What wound me up about 4e was not the game but the ludicrous hyperbole and disingenuous statements made at the time by those involved; heck, even some of the guys from the US I speak with were critical of the BS machine. That certainly doesn’t seem to be happening at all this time.

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