A lot of discussions in the forums revolves around an interesting question:
Quoting Chodeaboy who responded to the Uniting the Editions, Part 2 article:
"No offense here, but if the objective is to satisfy all the people who play pre-existing editions why not just sell different editions of D&D?
and be done with it?"
Obviously, there is a point here (ignoring that fact that there is a business desicion behind every new edition). If players and DMs still find old material relevant and useful, re-prints could make them very happy.
My old AD&D books are all worn out, and sometimes I'd rather leave them be than pick them up and risk another cracked binding or torn page. If these books were re-printed, I would certainly buy a new copy. Same goes for Basic D&D. A good-quality digital version would also be nice, but I understand the issues involved.
So D&D Next, with its aim to take the best of each world and adhere to different play styles DOES sound like a good idea.
But what is the best of all worlds?
For me, these are the highlights:
- Basic D&D: Simplicity
- AD&D: Grittiness
- D&D 3.5e: Versatility
- D&D 4e: DM Friendliness
In order for D&D Next to be adopted in my groups, I would require it to be very simple in its core, keep the players on the edge with mortal characters, be versatile and allow the players to create what character they want, and be as friendly as possible to the DM in terms of rules, encounter building, adventure design and session management.
IMHO, no version can do all of the above out of the box. I can fudge and mess with the internals of ANY version to make that happen, but as a 35 years old software engineer with a wife, 2 kids and some private life out of the gaming community, I have very little time for such tweaking.
Hopefully, D&D Next will do that for me.