D&D 5e?

Like many others, I am an old school D&D gamer having first rolled a d20 in 1979.  D&D opened the door to so many other great gaming experiences; Gamma World, Traveller and even all those great tabletop strategy games from Avalon Hill.  D&D taught me there was more to tabletop gaming than Shoots & Ladders or Monopoly.  Unfortunately, as with many others, life soon took over and my rpg’s were shelved and I was eventually forced to embrace my new roll as husband/father.

Thankfully in the last few years life became a little more forgiving allowing me to return to the things I had long given up, gaming immediately returning to the forefront.  I started reading online and running around to hobby shops and comic book stores, trying to gather all the details I could about what “the kids” are playing these days.  Having last played 2e D&D, I was overwhelmed with all the versions, their differences and exactly where should I put myself for ease of enjoyment.  I started up again with version 3.5 since there was alot of support for it in my nearby community and from bloggers online.  It didn’t take long for the fever to build and my thirst for more grew.

Wizard’s Encounters got me out on a Wednesday night late last year to give their 4e Essentials a try.  I wasn’t getting my fill with my weekly 3.5 game, I needed more and I figured it was an awesome way to test drive the latest flavor of D&D.  So, in short, I had a good time and met a good group of players that had a similar history to my own.  I started going pretty regularly to the 2 hour sessions and I started to buy up D&D 4e material to support my new habit.  I was excited, I was a part of the latest D&D wave and had a regular game that fit well into my lifestyle.

All good things come to an end?  Yes, a question since at this point everything is just speculation but seems to be mostly supported by those “in the know” within the gaming community.  The rumor mill talks of an announcement from WoTC at this years upcoming GenCon about a release of D&D 5e in 2012.  The speculations were caused mostly by announcements made in January 2011;  cancellation of WoTC minis and the release of several anticipated D&D 4e books that had been scheduled throughout 2011.

To be honest this was rather disheartening, even if it doesn’t turn out to be accurate.  I know this has been beaten to death, but the economy is forcing people to be more stringent with their dollars these days.  Taking on a new version of D&D is a decent investment, especially with WoTC’s current model ($20 books, $30 box sets, cards, monthly online membership to the tools, etc).  Having already dumped over $100 into 4e in just a few months I’m not ready to start buying a whole new version in the near future nor will I keep spending money on 4e material that might be obsolete in the near future.  What incentive is there to buy into 4e at the moment, especially with future releases being scrapped?

This is increasingly alarming because of all the splintering already present in the D&D community; 2d players, 3.5, Pathfinder, 4e and Essentials.  I play with one group that won’t touch 4th edition and have a pretty negative view of the current situation at WoTC.  I know they aren’t alone because of seen much of their arguments repeated online throughout the community.

I love these games and I’m so excited to be playing again after all these years but I think my timing may have been a bit off.  Is this progress?  Is this “the future” of roll playing games?  “Back in my day….”   Oh boy, I’m at that point in my life already?

I have used all this version chaos as an excuse to venture out into other games like Pathfinder, Traveller and Dragon Age.  I’m having a good time with these other games but still keep an eye on WoTC hoping  they finally solidify the D&D product line.   I just hope they don’t further divide their player base in the process.

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