1st edition players didn't need their 2nd edition... 2nd edition didn't need 3e. Nobody needed 4e 😁 though everyone (except 4e players) liked 5e. And now, we get 6e... 5.5e... 5.1e... I mean, One D&D.
I think the guys of Penny Arcade said it so well twelve years ago...
(Click image to enlarge.)
Frankly, I stumbled accidentally over the PA comic whilst considering the implications of the arrival of a new edition. I started with AD&D (2E) liked 3E, ignored 3E5, severely disliked 4E, and was pleasantly surprised by 5E.
Is it fair to dislike 6E without having played it? I guess it isn't 😅 but... I'm not looking forward to buying yet another set of core rule books.
What I wish for is that it will be an incremental increase / improvement on 5E. 5E is pretty straightforward, so why not make 6e an improved version, with the two versions more or less compatible, or at least upwards compatible? This part of the FAQ looks promising...
What does backward compatible mean?
It means that fifth edition adventures and supplements will work in One D&D. For example, if you want to run Curse of Strahd in One D&D, that book will work with the new versions of the core rulebooks. Our goal is for you to keep enjoying the content you already have and make it even better. You’ll see this in action through the playtest materials, which you will be able to provide feedback on.
Perhaps also add some bits of the early 3E approach, where upgrade / conversion rules were given for many books / rules / worlds / whatever.
I understand the blind hanging-on to previous editions, and find myself doing it. Maybe, just maybe, I should give WOTC a chance to give it another go...
Let's just hope they won't make it an utter mess like 3E5, and that it isn't all a quick money grab, which 4E could be accused of. Let's give WOTC the benefit of the doubt.
Okay. We talked money. Now there's one thing where I think WOTC has to improve a bit... Things are way too expensive. A group of four players typically buys 4 PHBs, one DMG, one MM, and one adventure, just to play. That's more than 400 dollars to play a game.
Yeah, I know you can share the PHB around, but nobody does that. So, personally, I think pricing is an issue. The free Basic Rules provided a pretty good solution, but I've always been surprised WOTC never considered selling a cheap version of the PHB, which would effectively be the BR. Add to that a 'Basic DMG' which would contain a selection of rules from the real DMG, some monsters, and two to four adventures. Now that would be a great way to hook new players, give them something physical, and make the hobby affordable.
You might even consider a 'shrink wrap gift pack' with four BR PHBs and that one BR DMG. You know, there's nothing wrong with a 'starter set' being a book...
Free is great, but people in general have no issue spending money on something they like. It's just a hard sell to spend 400 bucks for a first encounter...
Wait. Does 'One D&D' stand for 'D&D 5.1' perhaps? Not 5.5? Oh whatever. Here, take my money.