Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Three Important Points on Type V

1. Contrary to popular opinion in the OSR, I don't think it's impossible for WotC to release the PDFs. Avalon Hill, owned by Wizards of the Coast and also familiar to many in the OSR, has had the PDFs for Diplomacy available for free download for years. This isn't even a question of an older game competing with a newer edition; it's the same game available at the same time. If one WotC game catering to gamers can do it, so can another.

2. WotC isn't a person you can hold a grudge against. People are people you can hold a grudge against, and people employed by WotC change. Type V D&D is being headed by Mike "I build my adventures using OD&D and play OSRIC with Delta's Target 20 system" Mearls and Monte "I left WotC and wrote my own megadungeon following quite a few principles held by the OSR and then got blessed by the OSR Pope for being such a good guy" Cook. My interpretation of what's happening is that WotC has them in charge because they want to make right what they've messed up; the complication is that WotC has made so many different groups mad that it's going to be difficult to make up to all of them. My understanding is that the people who made the decisions to do a lot of the crumby things WotC did with 4e aren't in charge anymore. It makes sense not to hold the team working on Type V responsible for what other people did.

3. Even if you still want to hold WotC as a company responsible for the decisions that some of their employees made, giving second chances is fair-minded and "three strikes and you're out" is a good rule to live by. I'm not saying that we should mindlessly commit to becoming WotC customers, but I am advocating giving WotC a chance to prove itself. If it can deliver on things like making PDFs of older editions available, its promise to make products compatible with whatever edition of the game you invested in and if it uses something more like the OGL than the GSL, WotC will have corrected its mis-steps. That, just as a moral act by the people making decisions over there, is worth some recognition; that kind of behavior is rare and we should give them a chance to succeed. Why would we want to discourage that kind of behavior in our hobby?


  1. "three strikes and you're out" is a good rule to live by -- 3rd edition, 3.5 and 4th edition? Haha ;)

  2. There's a reason I haven't made a 5E post on my blog yet. We really don't know much of anything, except that WotC seems to be willing to work with everyone on 5E.

    And seriously, it makes sense for them to do that. They're hoping they can make an edition that they can sell to OSR types, 3E/Pathfinder die-hards, as well as their current 4E crowd, PLUS one that can attract new blood to the hobby. That's a tall order, but I'm willing to wait and see how it turns out.

    And if it looks like something I might have fun playing, I'm quite likely to invest in it.

  3. I don't doubt that Mearls and Cook understand old-school gaming and are acting in good faith, but being all things to all people is a tall design order. I'm not going to throw out my S&W or LL books whatever happens, but I'll keep a hopeful eye on 5e. I've actually been surprised by how little bad feeling the 5e announcement has stirred-up in our little community.