Friday, August 12, 2011

Much Ado About Neverwinter

In the wake of a recent press release from Wizards about the new Neverwinter "Campaign Setting," for 4th edition D&D, it seems many in the old school blog world are outraged.  After all, Wizards blatantly proclaims it as "the first-ever RPG book focused solely on one city."  I can see how many of my fellow grognards could be outraged over this gaffe.  Despite the fact that not only is Neverwinter not the first city focused RPG supplement, it's not even the second, third, or probably even the 100th RPG book focused on urban sprawls.  This was obviously some sort of ad-copy oversight, and many are dismissing it, but should they?
I think at the heart of the matter, folks like Rob Conley, and others who have expressed outrage, understand that this was simply a bad marketing press release, but the bigger issue I think is one that has been brewing for a long time.  That is, the continuing and growing sentiment from old school gamers that Wizards is completely abandoning the roots of the hobby for the sake of making a few bucks, all the while dismissing the foundation of the hobby's history.  Is that an overreaction to what is obviously some sort of marketing stumble?  Perhaps, but there is a bigger picture, and this is simply a small stroke on a much larger painting. 
That said, I can't say I share the same sentiment as many of my fellow old schoolers.  I have said multiple times that I'm not an edition wars guy.  I don't care for anything beyond 2e, and to me, these later incarnations do not seem like D&D to me, but some other game, with different mechanics and a different rule base.  D&D in name only.  But if that's what people enjoy playing, I certainly would never begrudge them that.  Point being, I personally am not outraged over the marketing mistake, but I can understand why many in our niche hobby would be.  D&D, it seems, only exists in its current version, and everything before it doesn't matter.  That's the sentiment many feel, and even the smallest of mistakes in a press release only seeks to reinforce this idea throughout our small community.