Mixed feelings about feelings on D&D Essentials

September 15, 2010

I’m intending to check out D&D Essentials, after I handle some bills and medical costs, but seriously? I didn’t know the hate-on for Mike Mearls and 4E had reached these levels.

I understand that D&D has to compete with it’s own 30 year history, at all times. (And the Old School Renaissance per OGL means D&D has to compete with versions of itself that can take advantage of the old rules and new innovations simultaneously).

But still. I’m not happy to hear the reason for a new version of the game isn’t solely design improvements, but rather “Argh, it’s not like how D&D used to be” nerdrage. (Question: why weren’t these people nerdraging about 3E the whole time? I mean, look at prestige classes – “Dwarven Shadow Nipple-Shaver” is the kind of stuff we started getting after a point. 4E certainly didn’t begin the “WTF” departure from the core concepts.)

I’m sure WOTC has their business reasons, and I guess they know how much money they are, or aren’t making. Still, I’m frustrated because one thing that D&D did well with 3E and 4E was making significant design changes with each edition, not merely minor tweaks and a new cover like most RPGs out there.

The conservative design bent of gamers in general, is not a good thing to follow. It’s exactly why a lot of rpg game design got stuck for 20-odd years doing the same thing, over and over.

ETA: The Escapist has put up the full, unedited interview with Mike Mearls.

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