Monday, May 28, 2012

DnDNext Details (Updated)

This week's Legends and Lore by Mike Mearls at does a really nice job of walking through the different pre-generated characters that come with the playtest package. Each of the characters gets a spotlight put on it and some of the newly tweaked mechanics gets a brief explanation as well. I also think this is a hint from the designers, essentially saying "these are the things we are really looking for feedback on."

Over the past year the Legends and Lore column has repeatedly played it coy in regards to providing any real details about DnDNext, instead remaining rather vague with hints and teases about what the designers had looked at in earlier versions of the game and were now possibly considering using in this latest version. It was somewhat reassuring to see that the designers really were doing their homework, but at some point you can only say nothing about something in so many ways. Perhaps now that the playtest is finally released this weekly article can start providing a little more meat to the discussion.

I don't envy the position that the designers find themselves in. On the one hand the chance to actually work at Wizards on DnD is most likely the opportunity of a lifetime for many, if not all, of them. On the other hand anything and everything they say or do will get completely over-analyzed and/or repeated as some sort of gospel. The 4E experience has certainly had its share of mistakes along the way, but frankly making mistakes is a vital part of any learning process. I wish Wizards was a little more open about what is going on, but no, I don't blame them for being so secretive either.

I think Wizards is a little snake bit as well. The first release of the Character Builder (CB) really didn't take into account the Web2.0 environment that was right on its heels. Then the second release of the CB didn't take into account the tablet based environment that was getting ready to explode. Even with the release of the playtest materials last week their servers got overwhelmed. There will certainly be a DnDNext version of the CB ... I wonder what will go wrong there?

Update: Obviously there are a lot of DnDNext playtest articles/blog posts being written following the initial results from games played this past weekend. The most comprehensive I have come across is at (here).

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