A dungeon by any other name

Many of you don’t know me – which, I guess could have gone without saying. But that being said, I am a huge D&D player. I think it might be the only other place in my life that I am “more hardcore” than when it comes to consoles and video-games. I have recently started running a 5th edition campaign. Having played for over 10 years, and having played 3rd edition for the entirety of that time – I can’t speak to the quality of the earlier D&D editions. But, I can speak to the ones that came out after. 3.5 always seemed like a good idea – but the thought of switching books (after having purchased a number of them) didn’t. 4th edition, well, just looked bad. But 5th is like Batman from the second Nolan film. It’s the edition we deserve.

With that said, I think it’s time someone take another stab at making a D&D videogame. I know, people love Neverwinter. It’s a good game. Well, NWN2 was. anyway. I hear the new one on the Xbone is great – but I’ll have to wait until I get one to say one way or another if it lives up to standards.

D&D Online – well, is/was a failure. I knew without even trying it, that the system was bad. It tried so hard though. For that, I will give you a single clap. Trying to make a WoW clone based on the convoluted rules of the 3rd edition player’s handbook was doomed to fail before it began.

That’s why I think now is the time to try again. The 5th edition rules are 3rd at heart, but simplified to the point that the gameplay has become so streamlined and straight forward. I’ve shown D&D neophytes the light within a session. A few hours in and they’re jonesing for more. That’s exactly the inspiration and experience that it was meant to convey. Given the bump in technology, including the advancement (at least in some games) of AI, I think that the simplified rule set could create a conducive atmosphere.

It doesn’t have to be an MMO. I think the play-style of a game like Diablo 3 or Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would work extremely well with the way D&D works. I mean, Diablo is effectively based off of the premise of D&D. Only, I’d want something less linear and more free-to-move. It could be one of the first non-MMO truly open world and open ended games.

The market is crying out for such right now. Everyone wants open-world. Give it to them. Show them what a truly open world game would look like.

The thing about D&D that I feel like is keeping it from being one of those great gaming experiences (in the context of video games, I mean) is the stigma that it’s too “geeky”. People still mock it. People still mock people who play it. But when I ran my first session, in a generally public setting, and people who had never played sat and watched. A lot of them walking away saying they want to play. I could run 3 games easily from that day alone.

So give the public the game it doesn’t even know it needs. Let the love and fun I’ve experienced through great play and great times with my friends be something that can be enjoyed by an even wider audience. The concept should be simple – give players the customization and choice that any real D&D game offers. Work from there to include all of the fun packed into the three core rulebooks.

People who do play talk like doing this is the impossible. I really don’t think that it is. I know that it’ll be a challenge. The game doesn’t totally lend itself to other mediums. But I think with the right developers and Wizards of the Coast backing it – we can get there. I look forward to seeing what’s in store.

– The Ego


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