Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA!

I normally don’t blog about things like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) here.  I figure the few readers I have want to hear about RPGs, comics, or other nerdy pursuits.  Today, I felt I had to make an exception.

I am not pro-piracy.  In fact, I believe strongly in voting with my dollars when it comes to the things I like.  I want the people who make these things to get paid so that they will continue making them.

I can even understand the frustration of the people who watch their intellectual property get pirated over and over.  While I disagree with him strongly on SOPA, comic book writer and novelist Peter David sums up this frustration over at his blog.

None of this justifies a bad law like SOPA though.  SOPA assumes guilt without proof.  I don’t want an Internet where the mere accusation of piracy can get a website removed from DNS servers, effectively erased from the web.  Under the current Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) companies like Warner Brothers have issued takedown notices for files they have never looked at based solely on the filename.  Do we really want to make it easier for this sort of thing to happen?

So I urge you you to contact your congressman and tell them you are opposed to SOPA.  Sites like Stop American Censorship make it easy to get this contact information.  Congress is supposed to represent the will of the people, not that of corporate lobbyists, but it is up to us to let them know what our will is.

Stop SOPA!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jeff Grubb on D&D 5E and the “Edition Wars”

Since I already posted my initial rambling thoughts on Dungeons & Dragons 5E, I figured it was worth pointing out this interesting post by Jeff Grubb:

A Game Divided Against Itself

Not surprisingly, Jeff brings a lot of historical perspective to the discussion of D&D 5E.  It is easy to think of the “Edition Wars” as something new and forget how often D&D has been its own worst competition in the past.

Is an ultimate edition of D&D possible?

Wizards of the Coast has officially announced Dungeons & Dragons 5E.  This probably isn’t a shocker to people who follow the industry.  The rehiring of veteran game designer Monte Cook, especially considering the tenor of his recent Legends & Lore articles, pointed to a new edition.  Recent rulebooks have also seemed more willing to experiment with the existing D&D 4E rules, reminiscent of late D&D 3E books like the Tome of Battle.

And of course sagging sales of D&D 4E products probably sped things along.  After all, traditionally nothing sells as well as the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual.

What I find interesting is that D&D 5E was announced so early in the process.  Even though it was obvious a new edition was in the works, I expected them to keep mum out of fear that they would torpedo the sales of upcoming 4E products.  After all, why would you buy books that will soon be considered obsolete?

Well, according to Mike Mearls they intend on conducting open playtests and soliciting feedback from the gaming community.  Of course this is a great marketing line, but the fact that they would risk hurting sales of these upcoming books makes me think that they are serious about getting feedback from the gaming community on D&D 5E.

The real question is whether or not this will work.  Wizards of the Coast is hoping for an “ultimate” edition of D&D that will help unite the fractured fanbase.  I’m not sure if this is even possible.  D&D means different things to different people, and when products are designed to please everyone they often end up pleasing no one.

Nevertheless I remain hopeful.  There are a lot of talented game designers behind this new edition at WOTC and if RPG blogs have taught me anything it is that there is a lot of untapped talent in the gaming community.

In any case, this new approach to creating the new edition has piqued my interest.