Wednesday, January 14, 2015

6 Dungeons & Dragons 5E Predictions for 2015

Continuing in the tradition of "lists of things" that the internet exists for, I offer up six predictions for D&D in 2015 that I suspect will come to pass....

#6. WotC will at some point embrace electronic media for their rulebooks.

Actually, they may very well not....but I have a hard time seeing how they can succeed without providing such an online resource. The D&D Basic page is a step in the right direction, but they need something more robust for the main rule books. Expect it no sooner than August, but it will be coming, probably in the form of a DRM-laden android/ioS app.

#5. The Scheduled Adventurer's Handbook and Princes of the Apocalypse will be delayed until May or June at the earliest

Right now, the only place to find definitive info on these two planned releases is at ENworld. Anyone who's spent the last decade and a half watching WotC's catalog release page knows what it means when a product slated for release in two months is not listed: it ain't coming out then. Morrus at ENworld got someone to send him a couple low-res pics of planned covers that seem legit, but that's it. My prediction: we won't see a new, official D&D 5E release product until the summer.

#4. Forgotten Realms will be the first Setting Book, but not until 2016, with Ed Greenwood prominent in its design

As above, lack of information on this year's schedule seems a bit problematic. We might see a sudden influx of data from WotC in the next few weeks, which would be great, but I suspect they are just now getting their ducks in a row for the future, and projects that are being decided on are still in incipient, hypothetical stages of development. To this end, I predict FR in 2016. I also predict heavy Ed Greenwood involvement.

#3. The OGL will release and it won't look very OGL-like

It will look more like a regular old system license, which doesn't allow for the release of rules content (ala the SRD) online, but does allow 3PP to put the D&D logo on products, with stipulations. It will probably excise some of the onerous and draconian language in the 4E GSL that freaked people out, though. It won't cost anyone anything, either. It will probably be made available by March or April.

#2. WotC will lean on freelance work and commissioned studios heavily this year for later product releases, but still have a very limited release schedule for new content

They've done it with Kobold Press and now Sasquatch (?) for the latest books due. This will be a continuing trend as WotC's actual design team is only 7 people strong, and I don't get the impression that the paper-and-pencil RPG, no matter how much of a hit the new system is, holds high priority for the overall brand name. Expect to see lots of new announcements for more minis games, android and ioS apps, fiction, video game news and maybe even a movie deal....but we'll be lucky if we see six more books this year for the actual RPG, and those books will mostly tie into two super-modules.

#1. D&D will Resume being #1 in sales for 2015, at least in the months it releases product; Pathfinder will stay at #2 or #1 depending on the quarter

Pathfinder still has a chance. I actually just sold all my Pathfinder books this weekend, and felt like a great burden was lifted from my shoulders....I guess if I run it again I'll be using the PDFs (which by the way Paizo sells some pretty tablet-friendly lite versions of the rules).  That said, D&D will still dominate on those months it actually has product to dominate with. Unfortunately right now I am having a hard time seeing the future book release strategy for WotC as being sufficiently aggressive.....and I suspect that a lot of people will (like me) start relying on conversions of older edition modules and even Pathfinder modules to work with D&D 5E. The aging gamer crowd coupled with the busy lifestyles of the younger gamers who have too much media fighting for their attention means modules will actually be more important going forward; people will find it easier to prep a scenario than to do their own, and because of this, Pathfinder will still have an important place in the gaming ecosphere, while D&D 5E remains the "cool rules that you can easily adapt to." With any luck this void will be filled with lots of 3PP releases.....if they do a proper OGL, that is.

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