March 6, 2015

5E Friday - Responsive

This week we saw a new survey from WotC on 5E. Also listed there is some feedback from the first survey, mostly Ranger and other issues. I find it interesting that they responded fairly fast and did not really hedge on their response. They readily acknowledged that a good percentage of people are unhappy with certain aspects of the Ranger class. They haven't revealed how they plan to "fix" it but it was revealing how they plan to approach the idea.

In the past WotC has released errata to "fix" things. When the errata became to massive they even released a half edition (3.5). I believe they are trying to avoid going that route. From their comments they want to leave what is already written alone, almost carved in stone - "as opposed to a rewrite of the Player’s Handbook.". Seems like they will adding new rules and new options that allow a player to make additional choices that will allow them to circumvent/ignore the "poor" choices currently available - "People who don’t like the ranger should feel as though the new options allow them to play the ranger they want to create."

I like this approach. People who like the Ranger can keep playing it as it currently is. Those who do not can try the new options. And most importantly, we will not need a second errata printing of books. One thing that annoyed me about previous editions was that every time they made a change the books changed and my book became outdated at each printing. Of course, we'll still need to get the new material in whatever form they release it as...which for now has been free downloads.

Personally I like this level of responsiveness on the part of WotC. While they are writing rules and making choices they are not arrogant enough to ignore feedback. Some companies say "we know better, trust us that these rules are for the best", while ignoring what the mass of community is saying. One of the fears of DnD Next while it was in playtesting was that the rules would be a mess as the writers tried to incorporate the feedback/desires of 10,000+ different people and viewpoints. However, WotC has shown with the 5E rules that, while they are willing to listen, they also know where to stop listening and just write some rules. I like this balance of listening but not being afraid to make decisions.

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