I expect various blogs will explode this week with news of a new edition of D&D rolling out sometime next year. Having a larger group of playtesters and getting more feedback from folks I imagine is a solid step in getting an edition out that people will like, I still think there is such a division over 4E and non-4E mechanics it’ll be tough to seal it up.
Pathfinder had to have struck a nerve with suits at Hasbro. Here is this game effectively a version of D&D and selling well enough to either take a major chunk out of 4E sales, or compete with it neck in neck. Somebody had to have been thinking about trying to woo that group back into the WotC fold. I guess a new edition would be a vehicle for that.
Thing is, if 4E rolled out and was like Pathfinder I’d be disappointed. Patherfinder seems like a fun game. I just think it’s just a step too close to 3.5, tweaked a bit but nothing really innovative. I’m certain for many that is just fine, however I think a more dramatic change to certain mechanics was a step in the right direction.
There are a lot of good things about 4E and a fair amount of problems. I don’t want to bring out a laundry list right now. As many folks might clamor about how awful 4E is, and are eager to bring D&D back to earlier editions, however you still have people that like 4E. I just wonder how a new edition is going to get these different camps under the same tent. I expect a very modular rule system that is light and heavily arbitrated by the DM by default, with increasing rules and complexity as optional rules.
One thing I do expect, a game that isn’t so dependant on a battlegrid (or a least rules that can drop it more easily). While I like the tactical play of combats, I do think it’s a limitation for getting people into the game. You really need a lot of ‘stuff’ on hand to run a game. Again, while folks can wing it and play without miniatures having some more concrete rules would help tons with new players. So I expect miniatures and a grid will still be around, but either be an option or less tabletop intensive alternate rules will be available.
If anything, at least I’ll have plenty to blog about over the next year.