D&D players: Are you ready for a reboot?
Although fantasy role-playing might owe it all to Dungeons & Dragons, the game itself is struggling to stay relevant in a world full of RPG options. Gaming analysts say that D&D sales have been on the decline for years, and D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast’s ex-VP told the NY Times that the market peaked a decade ago and has been steadily falling since 2005.
Controversial rule changes, highlighted by the latest revision of the game in 2008’s 4th edition, have broken up the fan base. When you couple this with all of the modern RPG competition out there, you can see why the people at Wizards of the Coast feel like it’s time to try something new.
So today, manager of D&D’s R&D Mike Mearls announced that they are in the process of developing the next version of the game – and they are turning to D&D players to help them shape it.
From a post on the Wizards site:
[W]e are excited to share with you that starting in Spring 2012, we will be taking this process one step further and conducting ongoing open playtests with the gaming community to gather feedback on the new iteration of the game as we develop it. With your feedback and involvement, we can make D&D better than ever. We seek to build a foundation for the long-term health and growth of D&D, one rooted in the vital traits that make D&D unique and special.
We want a game that rises above differences of play styles, campaign settings, and editions, one that takes the fundamental essence of D&D and brings it to the forefront of the game. In short, we want a game that is as simple or complex as you please, its action focused on combat, intrigue, and exploration as you desire. We want a game that is unmistakably D&D, but one that can easily become your D&D, the game that you want to run and play.
So Wizards of the Coast is looking for fan participation. They have already started a small playtest for Friends & Family, which basically amounts to internal employees and friends. The next step is a special playtest at the D&D Experience convention later this month. The final step is the open playtesting that will involve the release of rules and other materials through the website. This will all begin sometime this Spring.
“We seek to reach as many people as possible, from the gamer who just started with D&D last week to the gaming group that has been together since the early-1970s,” said Merals. “For this process to work, we want to give a voice to all D&D fans and players of all previous editions of the game.”
Players that want to participate in the playtest can sign up for email notifications.