[D&D Next] Think Before You Rant, An Appeal For Constructive Feedback

Posted: January 12, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Advice, Articles, Dungeons & Dragons, Roleplaying Games
Tags: , ,

D&D Next has been on the top of everyone’s mind in the RPG community as of late, and already the fires are burning hot.  Staunch advocates of any one of the four editions of the game have begun to air their opinions, a result of WotC’s declaration that they were willing to listen.

And in the midst of this situation are people like me.  I afford the D&D brand the respect it deserves.  It was the first popular rpg and it ushered in an entirely new hobby that I enjoy.  As such, I acknowledge that what is happening to D&D at this point is a Very Big Thing ™.

That said I think it’s time for us to all show that we’re willing to reciprocate the apparent goodwill that the WotC design team has extended by saying that they’re letting us take part in creating D&D’s 5th iteration.  They’ve taken the time to extend the olive branch, as it were, to make offerings of peace and compromise to a fanbase that feels betrayed.

It’s easy to talk smack about them, to point out that you know better, that they should have listened to you the first time.  But this isn’t the time for that.

Here’s our chance to actually step up and bring up issues to be considered and discussed.  They’ve literally given us a golden opportunity, one that can be made use of best by laying out your points in a clear, calm and well-considered manner.  This isn’t about blame or hurt or “I told you so.”

I’ve seen several excellent blogs take to the news and start digesting it.  Some are optimistic, and are clearly well on their way to taking apart their experiences and understanding of mechanics that were fun to them in an effort to give real feedback.  Others on the other hand, are too caught up in blaming people, hating other editions, and hating other games to actually be able to contribute.  Needless to say, we need more of the former than we do of the latter.

So, here’s what we need to do:

  1. Think about your favorite iteration of D&D – At this point all editions are open for consideration.  Think about your games, and how they were good or bad.  What made you enjoy these games?  Was it a function of what the rules did, or the fact that there weren’t any rules to get in the way?  Try to list down those things that stood out and write a little bit as to why.
  2. Think about the times when a D&D game sucked for you – When you were a GM, did you fall into despair at the realization that statting out the BBEG took you six hours?  When you were playing, did you ever feel pressured to sacrifice fun for the sake of optimization?  Did certain rules, like save-or-die rolls piss into your bowl of Cheerios?  Take note of those too, sometimes just because a rules mechanic is clever doesn’t mean it’s fun. Write those down as well.
  3. Think about elements from other games that you enjoyed – Action points?  Traits? Merits and Flaws?  Stunt bonuses?  These are all awesome mechanics that deserve to be looked at.  Think about your favorite ones from other games. D&D may have been a pioneer, but now that it has so many other peers, there’s no point in it having to be completely different from all the rest.  There’s value in learning from what other people have done, so bring it up.
  4. Make an effort to speak out – Post your findings on the community site (http://community.wizards.com/dndnext) or on your blog.  Email it to the design team. Do something that gets your opinion out there.

There’s little doubt that there’s a really poor signal-to-noise ratio right now with regards to D&D Next, but that doesn’t have to be the case.  If you love D&D, and you really want to do something for it, then make the effort to make yourself heard in a fashion that is respectful and considerate to people involved.  Check your hate and snark at the door and contribute positively to the discussion.  Who knows, they might just decide to implement your suggestion.

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Comments
  1. Hikkikomori says:

    /rageface

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