April 6, 2012

5E Friday

-The more I hear from WotC, and their polls/blogs/articles, the more I think they really have no system yet. I have to wonder what exactly the "playtesters" back in December were testing. I had assumed that they had the majority of the system in place and they were just fine tuning it. Now I think I was wrong in that initial assessment. After their first announcement back in January (now 3 months ago) there has been no concrete information released as far as mechanics; just a bunch of "we're thinking about doing it this way...or that way...or another way we haven't even discussed yet."

It almost seems like they are hesitant to release any solid "final" information. I sort of don't blame them. Once they do release a "final" system mechanic, such as the magic-user system of learning/memorizing spells (vancian or other), every blog/forum poster that either hates WotC or the system mechanic will leap down their throats with negative words. I worry that WotC is has become too "gun-shy" to make any formal declarations.

WotC almost has to release the final design all at once. If they release bits of design slowly they run the risk of alienating potential customers over those individual parts. For instance, if they release the magic-user system there are sure to be some who hate the implementation. And they will dismiss 5E. Same for whatever they decide with the healing, class, race, ability, save or death, etc systems. If they release these final systems one at a time they will lose another set of potential customers each time.

If they release the final design all at once, then potential customers might say "well I don't like what they did with save or death, but I do like a lot of the other things they did for 5E; I'll give it a look when it hits print form". A complete system will allow potential customers to judge 5E on its overall design rather than dismiss it over singular designs.

However, whatever buzz and potential excitement their initial announcement of 5E had is quickly evaporating away. They need to start making some decisions on design or risk becoming a non-event.
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