No doubt many of you have heard the announcement that Wizards of the Coast owners Hasbro have announced that a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons is in development, and the Nerdiverse was agog with... well, mostly ire. This is extremely common. New editions always fuel edition wars. The switch to 4e was so disliked that it caused a whole new game, Pathfinder, to be born based on D&D 3.5 rules under the d20 open license.
Now, I do not love every edition of D&D, but as the graphic says, whatever is being played, I will play it. I am not a huge fan of 2nd Edition or 3.5e, but those are mechanics based dislikings rather than spite for change. What Hasbro is doing that is semi-smart is asking for player input.
The biggest problem with edition wars is how silly they get. The major complaint about 4e is that it does not foster role-play and is too much like World of Warcraft. This is sill on several levels. First, role-play is just a style of playing. You can role-play Yatzee if you really want to. The mechanics of 4e are primarily for combat, but in truth there have never been hard-and-fast rules for role-playing in any edition. Sure, 1st Edition had charts on what races got along or hated each other and provided modifiers to interaction based on these, but ultimately it was up to the Dungeon Master. You, as DM may say that dwarves and elves get along swimmingly, or that half-orcs are considered rare and beautiful. Throw those charts out the window then. A modern example is in my current game where the DM has decided that Lloth is not in fact evil, and the drow are more of an unknown that a race predisposed to malevolence. I have seen it mentioned that when you try to role-play in 4e it angers the combat-centric players. That, my friend, is not the edition's fault but rather the people at your table.
As long as we are talking about player input, here are some (mostly) edition-neutral things I would like to change, though most are things that a DM could demand of his group.
Multi-Classing: the character who is multi-classed is bad at two or more things. the whole concept comes out of a 1st edition (2nd edition as well?) ruling that non-humans could only progress so far in any class. Say you are a dwarven fighter and reached your maximum allowable level as a fighter. What do you do? You become a level 1 thief or assassin, as these were the only other classes you could be. Racial class restrictions are a thing of the past, but we still have players who want to multi-class, despite the fact that there is a plethora of classes and at least one will suit your multi-class desire. Want to be a fighter-wizard? Sword mage. Fighter-rogue? There is a build for that.
Memorized Rituals: I do like that wizards can be effective for an entire fight now. They used to be the porn-stars of D&D. They shoot their wad, and that's it for the day. The problem is that some rituals (the replacement for more role-play spells) are useful in combat, but not useful enough to warrant being a power. Take Sun's Glow for example. it is a non-offensive version of light, but you have to use up an attack power slot to get it.
|From my webcomic Clerics Get No Love|
Alright. I'm done. When there is a new edition I will likely play it, and if I don't like it I'll find people who still want to play 4e. D&D is D&D, the rules are just rules. The fun is the important bit.