Just a little while ago, Wizards of the Coast announced a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons – news that was even leaked early at the New York Times – and as you’d expect, gamers have a lot to say. Most of it isn’t very hopeful, at least from what I’ve seen.

I had a much longer post written about the whole thing, but after I looked it over, I realized that I wasn’t saying anything that anyone didn’t already understand, and I was really just writing a sermon for those folks in the pretty robes over there near the organist. So I’ll just go over my general opinions and be done with it.

Companies like Hasbro have to make money. The problem with roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons is that it’s very possible to enjoy them for years without spending any more money on them – and from a corporate standpoint, that’s bad.  So they have to find some way to keep people spending money.

On top of that, the roleplaying hobby faces a pretty bleak future.  Technology threatens a pretty nasty flanking attack – on one side with multiplayer video games that become more immersive every year, and on the other with the impending death of print and smartphone apps that replace dice and possibly even miniatures, a combination which may make one wonder why they shouldn’t just avoid all of this trouble and play an MMORPG instead.

Hasbro has to do something to keep up with this – and if it doesn’t work, then we may eventually see them drop the Dungeons & Dragons name.

The thing is, just as there will always be wargamers, storytellers, and amateur actors, there will always be roleplayers. Even if we were to see Hasbro close the doors on D&D completely, there would still be gamers playing every edition ever printed, along with the retroclones that they have inspired.

D&D: the business may not work years from now, but D&D: the game always will. It’s happening right now with games that are no longer in print – Star Frontiers and Marvel Super Heroes and all of their supplemental material are available for free online.  This is not to mention classic games from other companies – and the new indie games we’ve been seeing lately as well. People will continue to play them, and game designers, writers, and artists will continue to produce them, even when it doesn’t become financially feasible anymore.

So don’t get all caught up in edition wars and all that mess. Play what you enjoy, find others who want to do the same, and have some excellent adventures.

wjw

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