Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Demonstrating D&D Next

I love watching the Penny Arcade guys play D&D with Chris Perkins, Scott Kurtz, and Wil Wheaton. I mean, these people would be funny even if they just played Monopoly, but a roleplaying game gives them so much more space to shine. The earlier podcasts and videos of them playing served as a great demonstration of 4th edition D&D. They managed to show both the strength of that rules system, as well as showing that the rules weren't all there is to a game, giving plenty of freedom for roleplaying.

In comparison, they PAX 2012 game was less impressive. Still fun to watch their antics, but as a showcase of the new rules the game was very weak. At one point Chris Perkins even said "make a whatever roll", and that was a bit how the rules system felt to me. There were some nostalgia moments like Jim Darkmagic casting a Rope Trick spell, but they might as well have played D&D 3.5 and there would have been barely a difference. D&D Next as a rules system failed to stand out in any significant way, it was all just very generic.

What was very visible, and a big disadvantage in my opinion, is how the spell-casters had so much more options than the other players. Binwin, the fighter, had options to hit hard or to hit harder, which is certainly better than having no options at all, but not quite the same quality as being able to summon extra-dimensional spaces or shooting lightning bolts. I'd hate it if certain characters in my group had a monopoly on all the cool moves. Aeofel made up for a lack of options by roleplaying, but not every player is a professional actor like Wil Wheaton.

So overall the video was fun, but it sure didn't have that "I must go out and get that D&D Next system" feeling.

I think the lack of options for the fighter is supposed to be like that.
Every class should have cool options, regardless of the number of options it gets.

I'm still waiting for more material to look at D&D next again.
We'll see. I'm hoping 5th edition captures the best parts of 4th and mixes it with more conventional play style options from prior editions, but so far nothing in it stands out as being a better choice than 4E or Pathfinder for me, right now.
could you post a link to the episode you're referring to?
Isn't the existing link working for you? It is to part 1, but then part 2 should be in the YouTube sidebar.
My mistake I forgot that 4th Ed came before Next
When are you guys going to stop calling this game D&D? Call it "WotC Next", or "Hasbro Next". D&D is the game that was made around 30 years ago by Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, Eric Holmes, Tom Moldvay and Frank Mentzer.
@GaelicVigil It is called D&D Next on the box so that is the name. Quite a few teenagers/students weren't around 30 years ago to remember the original.
Note that it isn't being called D&D5. The title gives a nod to its parentage and clearly states that it is not an update to the D&D game, but is instead a reimagining of the concept.

PS. I think of Wil Wheaton less as a professional actor but more of an inverse ascended fan-boy.
I have been a little disappointed in NEXT abandoning almost everything interesting out of 4E, but I think it will play more to those who really prefer a simulationist experience.

Some people don't like a meta disconnect between rules and narrative.
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