Well, it’s happened again… an online retailer has beat WOTC to the punch in announcing release dates future material. The Barnes and Noble webstore has pages for two 5e products, a starter set valued at $19.99 and the Player’s Handbook, which arrives with a cover price of $49.95. The items release on July 15th and August 19th respectively. Interestingly, there’s no listing for the Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual. Whether they release on the same day as the PHB remains to be seen, although I would be inclined to believe that they are.
Also, the game is simply referred to as “Dungeons and Dragons”, the “next” monicker is thankfully gone. So, thoughts… I have them. The first one is “yay!”, we are getting a shiny new D&D this summer. Awesome. I’ll be lined up at Gencon getting my copy, no doubt. It’s exciting to me as a gamer and fan of the brand. A rising D&D lifts all ships, or so says the hive. 🙂
My next thoughts are just personal opinions on D&D as a published product, and my personal preferences. If you don’t care about opinions, stop reading, follow the links I provided, and enjoy the great news. We have release dates! Habemus D&D.
On a personal level, I’m a bit disappointed in that the 3 book release format (assuming this is the way it’s going to be released, and I have no idea if it is) will once again be the way we get D&D. While it’s part of the D&D tradition at this point, I really would just prefer one single fat book with all I need to play, with supplements available as PDFs. Single books in the style of Edge of the Empire, 13th Age, Rules Cyclopedia, and to an extent even Pathfinder which includes most you need to play in one book (since monsters are all freely available online using the SRD). I would gladly pay $60-$70 for a book that includes everything I need to get rolling. A $50 PHB sounds like a similar price is coming for the other two books (if the 4e model holds). That’s a hefty $150 for all three books. Oh, and PDFs? At this point I expect them to release alongside print, and would be really disappointed if they weren’t an option. Even if it’s a waiting period of a few months after the print launch, I want to see pdf’s.
Having said that, chances are we will find the books cheaper online once they release, so I doubt most would pay full price for their D&D experience anyway, but still, price is a concern for more than one gamer. Not everyone has deep pockets.
As far as the starter set is concerned, I was so disappointed in the 4e red box that I’m not even thinking about this as an option for me. Starter sets are important products that shouldn’t be seen as after thoughts. I hope they get this one right. They should look at Pathfinder’s for inspiration.
Personal opinions aside, we have a release date. August 19th for the D&D Player’s Handbook. It’s going to be a fun summer…
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