It seems that Wizards of the Coast is on a reprint kick. Of course, it’s easy to figure out why. 4th Ed. is on its way out, and at this point that’s more reality than speculation. Books haven’t been announced, and yeah, Dungeon/Dragon content is still being released, but…. obviously 5th Ed. is king right now at WOTC. The playtest is the new hotness and that’s where most of the attention is going. Due to no new 4e material, there are edition neutral products like new Dungeon Tiles, Ed Greenwood’s Forgotten Realms, and Menzoberranzan and boardgames on shelves to help provide WOTC some income besides just DDI subscriptions. Then there are reprints…
When WOTC announced the reprints of 1e, they highlighted the fact that it would partially help fund the Gygax Memorial. A noble cause, and a welcome one, as for years fans have asked WOTC to make older material available again. And it seems that they heard the fans. 1e was released as a new set of gorgeous books. This was followed shortly by the surprise announcement of a special reprint of the 3e books. Although at this point in time I ask myself who would play this over Pathfinder? I’m not sure who the intended audience is for these particular reprints… but I digress.
But it doesn’t stop here. In fact, searching the Amazon site, which unfortunately serves as a spoiler/unofficial press release for WOTC ALL THE TIME, we can see that there are plans to release a whole bunch of other stuff for D&D. Including 2e core books. Putting on the shelves every edition of AD&D ever printed. 1e, 2e, 3e and the current 4e stuff that still sits on shelves. That’s a lot of D&D. There are also adventure hardbacks coming for 1e stuff, along with other 3e books besides the core three.
Lets see what Amazon has as far as reprints right now:
1e Unearthed Arcana. Barbarians and Cavaliers, reprinted in all their glory. Lets hope the binding works this time, no? No need for loose pages in 2013 :)
The 2nd edition Core D&D books coming out in May. I sincerely hope we get the yellow versions and not the later black ones. I really prefer the older 2e stuff to the later books.
The 3.5 magic Item Compendium and Spell Compendium. Again, I wonder who the target audience is for these books. Pathfinder players?
Dungeons of Dread: S Series Adventure Compilation. Okay, this is cool. A hardback collecting the S series of adventures. I wonder if the artwork will be updated… This is great.
Against the Slave Lords: A Series Adventure Compilation. Again, I wonder about the artwork. I can’t help to be excited about this.
The cool thing about these adventure compilations is how easily they probably translate to D&D Next. They are due for release in 2013, well before the playtest is over, if we believe the assumed 2014 release of Next.
So Wizards is listening (or they need to generate tons of cash before Next books are released). Either way, this is what fans of older stuff have been asking for and there it is. Remember that at Gencon they also announced the digital catalog would be coming back. So they definitely have heard the fans.
So what’s missing from this? What would I like to see? Well, let me preface this by saying that I have a particular opinion about so many different D&D books sitting on the shelf. I feel that it can be confusing for new people entering the hobby. I have written about that before so I am not going to get into it here….
So having said that, and since they are reprinting everything… I’d love to see a new reprint of the Rules Cyclopedia. This is a gorgeous D&D book, released in 1991, which collects all the rules from the Basic D&D Boxes in one hardback. For me, this book alone is a complete game. It has rules for characters up to level 36! It has monsters, it has a setting (Mystara and Hollow World), it has rules for mass combat… It is a whole and complete game in one book. I own it, bought it off ebay for a ridiculous price some time ago. A reprint would be very welcome by the community in my opinion.
I would also love to see a reprint of the 80′s BECMI boxed sets. Not updated, but fully reprinted in their old school glory. Same artwork, same covers, same fonts, same everything. For many folks this was their intro to D&D, and I think a limited release of these classics would be welcome. Perhaps setting up a pre order system would let WOTC gauge interest in something like this and determine if it would be worth it or not…
So here’s my prediction for what’s next… I predict that the next big reprint from WOTC, leading up to both the 40th anniversary of D&D in 2014, and the release of D&D NEXT will be…. a reprint of the original 1974 pamphlets (TSR 2002). I predict an expensive collector’s edition in a wood grain box and everything, as the originals were released almost 40 years ago. I also predict that this will sell like hotcakes. Time will tell if I am wrong….
So it seems that the floodgates have opened and WOTC is throwing everything but the kitchen sink on the shelves, both physical and digital. I have my doubts as to how well this serves D&D in the long run (although financially I won’t argue with the cash that it is likely to generate). But what do you all think? Is this good? Why? Is it diluting the brand? What are your thoughts? Discuss!