When Wizards of the Coast announced 4e, I felt fury - pure, elemental fury, that boiled over into distilled nerd rage and galvanised me into a paroxysm of angry forum commenting and furious name calling. I was incensed that my game was going to be superseded by "$th edition" , and vowed I would not be playing, or paying, for it.
Of course, I was wrong. I feel ashamed to admit it now, but I was one of the hundreds that got hold of the "accidentally" leaked .pdf's of the new books, and quite quickly, I found myself beaming at what an awesome game 4e was. As soon as they were released, I had purchased multiple copies of the dead tree books, as well as (back when you could still buy them) .pdfs.
Now, only a few years later, before any of my campaigns have even reached epic level, 5e, or D&D next or whatever it's going to be called is announced, and despite some fairly distant release times, it feels (especially over at the D&D website) like 4e is winding down with great speed.
And my feelings this time?
Oddly enough....nothing. No rage. No anger, and worst of all, no real interest. By the time 4e was announced, we had been playing 3.0/3.5 for a good few years, and the cracks were well and truly showing. We had pretty much houseruled it into another game, with custom spell point rules, damage vs armour type rules and a host of other rules too. 3.5 actually needed an overhaul - be that Pathfinder, or 4e - and once my initial anger had died down, I realised it was a good thing.
4e hasn't failed me yet. We have a few houserules regarding action points, critical fumbles and how we use fortune cards, but generally we play the game as it is, and it works. It works incredibly well for us. The idea of D&D Next (I'm typing 5e from now), is a nice one, but me and mine simply don't need it - 4e beautifully captures our style of play, and we are really starting to find the best ways to play it.
I know that many struggle with high level 4e play, and I know that some folks feel (for reasons that honestly, make no sense at all) it doesn't support roleplay, but personally, I have found it to be the best system I have played to date (and remember, I have played since the original red box). I don't currently feel the need to change, and although I will almost certainly buy the three core 5e books, I simply can't see myself changing again.
So, I wonder, how many other folks feel the same? And let me be clear, I'm not just talking about 4e players.
Wizards of the Coast are great game designers, and I may look back on this in a few years and laugh at my stupidity. However, I'm massively sceptical about a game made by committee, not to mention, not convinced that folks will abandon the games they have stubbornly defended and stuck by, to try a new game that essentially, does the same thing. I could be wrong, and I do actually hope it does really well. However, I just wish Wizards had decided to try and push the 4e envelope a little more before giving in, and gambling the future of D&D on a new edition...
Let me know what you think!