Monday, July 7, 2014

Wizards of the Coast Release Core Rules for D&D 5th Edition

It has been almost exactly a year since I last updated my DDO blog. But now that I am playing more DDO and Neverwinter, this blog will serve as my inclusive online presence for D&D matters once again.
Speaking of D&D, DDO would not exist without its table top counterpart. Over the long holiday weekend Wizards of the Coast revealed their D&D core rules for 5th edition, or what they are calling D&D Next. Going over the 110 page document, I quickly noticed that Tieflings and Dragonborn are left out of the playable character races.

Furthermore, Paladins, Rangers, Warlords and Warlocks are left out of the character classes. The new rules set is hitting the stores next week on July 15, but we get a little preview to get familiar with this rules set. I have noticed that this is simplified from 4th edition quite a bit. I wondered why they feel a need to dumb down the game, it is supposed to be complex. My friend Chris feels the new model for games is that they need to be fast to learn the basics and difficult to master all of the nuances. Euro board games in particular have moved to this model. He feels that seems to be one of the models they are following and I guess that appears to be the case.

Some have observed that the basic rules feel like a throwback to the “red box” in the unified modifiers. The red box was an amazing product indoctrinating hundreds into this role playing game and making it easy for the masses to get into table top RPGs, we can only hope the new basic set is just as engrossing and just as groundbreaking but I am not holding my breath.

Meanwhile, I am left wondering what this means for 4th edition. I just recently found enough free time to digest the Player’s Handbook and to try and get back into the game, surprise surprise, they go and change the rules on me! I heard a lot of people complain about 4th edition back in 2008 the last time they switched editions on us. Back then the biggest gripe was that it felt too structured, that the role playing elements was heavily missing, replaced instead by a combat heavy, miniature driven game some dubbed table top World of Warcraft.
I can see how some of those perceptions came about but I don’t agree that it diminished the quality of the game or that it stamped out the fun factor. If my local hobby store was any indication, people were still having fun running 4th edition campaigns, and isn’t that the ultimate goal of a game? For folks to have fun playing it? We can only hope D&D Next follows in this tradition.


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