Wizards of the Coast GenCon 2012 Keynote: A Brief Summary

Photo thanks to @geeksdreamgirl

Just finished watching the livesteam of the GenCon Keynote address given by Wizards of the Coast. Here are the highlights:

1) Though other settings will be supported, the initial focus for D&D Next will be the Forgotten Realms. As part of the transition to the new edition, they will release The Sundering, a 6 novel series written by six different Realms authors:

  • The Companions by RA Salvatore
  • The Godborn by Paul S Kemp
  • The Adversary by Erin Evans
  • The Reaver by Richard Lee Byers
  • The Sentinel by Troy Denning
  • The Herald by Ed Greenwood

To use Ed Greenwood’s words “The Sundering will right the Realms.”

2) Early in 2013 WotC will begin releasing the Dungeons and Dragons back list of products from all editions electronically. To me, this is probably the biggest news of the night, though not entirely unexpected (@newbidm). I’m hoping this also means they’ve found a way they feel comfortable using to release D&D Next in a digital format when the time comes.

3) Playtesting will run for approximately 2 years, since we’re a couple months into playtesting, this seems to point to the game not being released until 2014, perhaps at GenCon, though that seems like a quick turn around from the end of playtesting to production.

4) Also on the playtest front, even though we just had a playtest packet release 3 days ago there will be two new playtest classes released tomorrow. The Warlock, and the Sorceror. The idea is to show off three different versions of magic, and showcase the promised modularity of the system. Also, though I don’t recall hearing this during the livestream, @wizards_dnd tweeted just afterwards that there would also be a new adventure released to the playtesters tomorrow. You’ll find the playtest packets here, though I can’t promise what time tomorrow the updated packet will go live.

5) Flumphs! What else can I say…Flumphs!

My Reactions: I’m glad to get the chance to view an event like that live from the convention, and I think the feeling of being a part of the action made even these little bits of information more exciting.

As a Greyhawk fan, and becuase it has seemed like they were trying to toss a few bones to old school gamers, I thought perhaps Greyhawk might become the default setting for D&D Next, especially since it seems to have been left out of 4E. So while I understand the reasoning behind focusing on the Realms, and look forward to the novels, I’m a little dissappointed.

While I’ll have to wait and see what the pricing looks like, I’m sure I’ll find a couple gems among the electronic releases to purchase and relive past gaming glories.

And perhaps the most exciting news, the playtest releases. Not sure why they just didn’t wait a couple more days for the new packet, but I do want to see how the different forms of magic balance against each other. I think the long playtest timeline is a good thing, though I wasn’t sure they’d get the chance to stretch it out so long. Hopefully all that public playtesting will lead to a stronger finished product.

And while not mentioned above, they did show off a number of pieces of artwork. The style seems a bit more classic. Monsters feel very weighty, while characters had a more classic fantasy feel.


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