Sunday, July 24, 2022

The Ages of RPG’s: The Bronze Age, Maybe II

 The previous five posts, were originally posted in an earlier iteration of this blog. I believe I wrote them over a 6 month period around 2010-2011. I have reposted them here with no editing at all for context. A lot has changed in the last 12 years, these were written when we were 2 years into 4th Edition D&D and 4 years prior to 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons (D&D5E). At that point D&D5E was not even being considered let alone talked about anywhere. D&D5E hit the game industry like a cement truck. After the tepid failure of 4th Edition, I don;t think anyone was expecting much from D&D5E . Boy, were we wrong.

D&D5E went through a very long public playtest process, where Wizard of the Coast (WotC) made the draft versions of the game available to anyone who wanted them and actively asked for feedback and they got it. The end product was really really good, it was streamlined and the learning curve was very shallow at its beginning staged and became more complicated only as the individual groups needed it to be. The game lent itself well to scale and allowed for interesting customization. The game also gave plenty of choices for both role players and power gamers. You can easily play a combat monster of a fighter that does massive amounts of damage every turn or you can play the Cheese Makers Son turned Artificer, both can exist in the same game and neither be overshadowed by the other.

On top of this we saw the advent of game groups streaming their games on YouTube and Twitch. Critical Role, Acquisitions inc, D&D NPC Man and a host of others have become extremely popular. These streaming groups have brought in hundreds of thousands of new players. For many of these players, this is their first real exposure to the game. Throw in the websites like Roll20 that allow groups to play online and the COVID epidemic, that kept everyone at home for 2 years, you get a critical mass of players. D&D5E  is without a doubt the most popular iteration of the game. WotC has sold millions of copies and has become the primary profit center for HasBro games, the owners of WotC and D&D.

So where does that leave us now? Are we now in the Iron Age of RPG's or are we in a 2nd Golden Age? As I said in a previous post, the problem with setting “Ages” is you really rarely know where you are until long after its over. So I guess the answer is, we don't know and probably won't for a few more years. The next Edition of D&D has been announced, it is being worked on and will be released in 2024, 10 years after D&D5E  was introduced. WotC has said it will be mostly a revision of current edition, more of a 5.5E than anything else, I am pretty okay with that. I like D&D5E  and I can see us playing it for many years to come.

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