Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Cord is Cut

The news is out all over the web. I'm not even going to bother linking to the actual news reports since, if you're actually reading this blog, you already know all about it, but I can't resist linking toJeff's Visceral Reaction to the whole thing. Johnny Cash says it well with only a gesture.

That said, I have to ask if anybody here actually doubted such an event would come to pass eventually? At some point, a beancounter at Hasbro and WOTC would have to look out and notice that people were still buying copies of older editions and not trying out the newest flavor and they would come to the conclusion that anybody not buying the newest version of D&D would be bad for business.

Of course, we can all rant and rave about how horrible a decision this is, how WOTC is, basically, throwing out money and locking out people who were willing to throw them a few bucks now and then for some products in favor of grabbing the teens and tweens with mommy's credit card and getting X% new subscriptions the DDI (or whatever they call that trash now) and Hasbro's latest vaporware product (I refuse, now, to pay for something that I cannot hold in my hands). We'd be right, at least in part, that WOTC is trying to drown out the presence of people who play a game that is not beholden to the corporate masters in Washington state and try to present 4ed as the only D&D, at least right up until 5th edition comes out, and then 4ed players will be dropped like a great big pile of stink (at which point I will have myself a great big laugh again at the wailing and the gnashing of teeth that goes on).

Or, we could look at this as an opportunity. This is the point where those who have in the past and will continue to resist "upgrading" to 4ed will look for new material in their particular idiom. Those who are looking for AD&D material, or BECMI and 0e material, are going to start looking around and eventually, those who didn't already know about them, will find Labyrinth Lord and Swords and Wizardry and OSRIC and they're going to realize that they aren't left completely high and dry anymore.

This is the chance for this OSR to take the reigns and become more than just a bunch of neckbeards grumbling across the internet at each other and growling at the whipper snappers to get off their lawn. Now's the chance for this old school revival or rennaisance or whatever it is to actually take back control of their hobby, or at least their corner of it, and start inviting people in rather than mumbling about how those young kids "aren't doing it right" and mumbling about what should be "orthodox old school" or even if there should be an orthodox.

Old School gaming now should be about inclusiveness, not exclusiveness. The movement should be extending the hand often and repeatedly to those who are becoming dissillusioned with the corporate model of D&D and show them that there's another way.

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