So news has hit like a ton of bricks about the release schedule for DnDnext. EN World got a scoop and have followed up the official announcement over on the WotC main page. Two big things that stand out are a staggered release for the core books with the DMG rounding up the group last. The next bit of news that seems to get a lot of chatter are the prices, which tips in at $50 a book.
That’s pretty hefty. I can totally see how folks could be put off by that. Some also have been pretty vocal about the price of entry for the new edition being too high, so high they aren’t going to bother. What I don’t get is how the starter set is completely ignored by them.
I guess people are imagining the worst with the starter set. Honestly I felt much of the past introduction products for 4E were lackluster. However I have hopes for the new boxed set. I really have a vibe they are going for a more complete product with the introductory box.
One thing that stands out is that the boxed set will allow characters to jump up to 5th level. Hopefully there will be some rules for character generation. Some of which that has been hinted looks positive:
Lots of questions about character creation and the starter set – you will definitely be able to make characters when it comes out.
— Mike Mearls (@mikemearls) May 19, 2014
However there are some other comments that make me wonder if WotC will adopt a more open approach to getting those rules out. There might be slimmed down rule PDFs or an online character generator:
Lots of Q’s about the staggered release: You will not need the MM or DMG to run a campaign. Or the PH or Starter Set to make a character.
— Mike Mearls (@mikemearls) May 20, 2014
This last bit makes sense. The public playtest rules are out in the wild. While torrents are illegal, folks at WotC have to recognize stuff is out there, so why not embrace it somewhat and provide free, legal PDFs of their own? More importantly, if there are tweaks to abilities, spells, and powers, an electronic version can be pulled and a new errata version put up. It could be a nice way to ensure players are bringing up-to-date characters around the table at public play events.
The starter set might be lackluster with just pregens and a simple basic adventure. However it might also be a pretty phenomenal product. It might have the muscle in rules and material to be the only thing needed to play D&D. If you really want options and the full plethora of creatures, treasure, and classes, the core books are the way to go. But if you want to play a game and get a few levels in for some characters, the starter set might be a solid option.
It may very well be the product that everyone points to and says, ‘This is what you need to play D&D.‘ It’s only $20 too. A great price for hopefully a great product to get people playing D&D. Maybe with all the gnashing of teeth and ire over the core books, folks need to remember there is a product that will be out there made especially for those that want to try D&D out, and it’s far less than the $150 price tag of the core books.