JP On Gaming

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mike Mearl's "call for unity" is BS!

For a few days now, I have been thinking about how to react to Mike Mearls’ blog (see the full article here) where he calls for "gamer unity". The message is simple and concise: he wants people to play the game and unite by a love of D&D. But the more I think about your message, the more I think there is something not right about it. It feels wrong and sounds wrong at the second reading.

Would he REALLY be trying to feed us that unity spiel if 4e was the leader and everyone played 4e? Did they post similar kind of messages during the 3e days? (Yes I realize Mike Mearls wasn't the head honcho in those days) Did anyone at WotC post any such "gamers, unite by your love of D&D" anytime before?


I cannot escape thinking that what he saying is "4e and 5e are the only paths to the future. Everything else is a fad." He is calling for people to "play D&D". But many of us don't want to anymore. Many of us dislike what D&D has become. Since there is no turning back according to WotC (not just Mearls), I see no point in going back to a bad RPG. It reeks of the 90s era TSR, when TSR put out something and we'd swallow it up. We were so starved for new content that we'd buy whatever TSR would put out, and a lot of it was interesting and new. Today, this is no longer the case. I do not see the creativity today that TSR exhibited in the early 90s. Back when they were coming out with new Campaign Setting on a yearly basis. People are leaving the D&D boat for other boats in large numbers. The boat is sinking and calling people back to it won't work. The edition war is lost for WotC. 3.5 is winning by the day.

I CALL BS on that call for unity!

I do not consider myself strictly a D&D player, I am an addicted to role-playing games (I say it as the games as a whole, not because I'm a "role" snob, even though I kinda am a little). RPGs are my thing, whether Call of Cthulhu, Mutants & Mastermind, Marvel Super Heroes, Savage Worlds, Doctor Who, Pathfinder or any other game where I can sit down and take part in a story. It's like saying that I drive a Honda. No. I drive a car (which happens to be a Honda).

In a previous interview, he tells us that "If you're unhappy with 4th Edition, I say take a look at Essentials and see where we're moving." Essentials - which according to some readers is not 4.5 - but according to Mike Essentials is not 4e. So which is it? It should be clear that many in the community have said "NO" to 4e. Re-branding (or 4.5ing it) is not going to bring back the people who turned their back

Malibu Stacy can have a new hat... I STILL won't buy.

If she were to move to move back to Denver, change her name back to Mary, stop dying her hair, throw away her hybrid car, her house, her slutty clothes, her dog and dump her metro-sexual boyfriend Ken. Oh wait. She could keep the clothes. Yes... Then, maybe I'd buy a "Denver Mary" doll again.

But as long as she keeps getting a new 1983 red hat as a sales gimmick, she will remain on the shelf.

Mike, how about this for gamer unity "Stop playing 4e and join the rest of us!" That's a call for unity I can get behind.

I won't buy the new hat.



  1. Interesting post. Yeah, I think the call for unity would have been better had it been focused on gaming in general and about the community and not just a sales pitch for D&D and asking gamers to put aside their dislike for a system that they have consistently stated, "3.5 sucks and it's our way our the highway."

    No. I'm done with WotC bully tactics and elitism. If people want to play 4e, more power to them, and I support their desire to game and have fun :) For me though, there are way too many other treasures out there (Paizo, Green Ronin, Pinnacle, and Evil Hat to name a few) that have shown that they care, genuinely, for their fans.

  2. Oye... just... oye... there is probably a bit of bad form walking and and tut tutting someone's rant but, I gotta...

    "according to Mike Essentials is not 4e"

    No. Essentials is 4e, I don't think that they are trying not say it's /not. It's just 4e presented a different way. The mechanics are basically the same, perhaps smoothed a bit, but still the same. The classes are built a little different, but it's not a real departure. Which isn't to say you will like it, but there have been a number of folks who were against 4e, who tried essentials and went "huh, yeah, this isn't nearly as bad as I thought." So, re-presentation actually might bring people back, so long as they are open minded.

    *shrug* Obviously, play what you like... but I'd suggest you try to let go of the bitterness... it doesn't serve anyone. Which, IMO, is what Mearls is getting at with the unity stuff. He plays the older games. And not just 3e, but older stuff too. So, he does play stuff "like the rest of you", he just plays 4e too.

  3. The point of Mike's article was a rebuttal to the edition wars that still rage. Non-D&D games were not part of the subject matter. HE was not in any way talking about any other sort of game other than D&D. This did not imply in any manner that he hates all other games other than D&D. What he was saying is its ok to play non 4E D&D and not feel like you are "doing it wrong". And that includes Pathfinder, all the retro-clones, etc.
    If you want his opinion on non D&D games I'm sure that would be a completely different article, but since his article was posted on the WotC site you have to expect the article would be exclusively about D&D.
    Stop reading between the lines to find what is not there.

  4. @Callin: What edition wars? Paizo won the edition wars and proves it everyday by doing good will to their customers AND the third party pubisher. Go enjoy your 4E, 4.5E, Essentials or 5E or what ever they will be calling it. I play and enjoy Paizo and Pathfinder, you know the "retro clone" that sells as well as the "real one".

  5. @LPJ: The fact that blogs like this can garner such attention by posting nothing but rants - for weeks at a time - about games the author doesn't play is evidence enough that no one won the edition wars. The anti-4e/anti-WotC crowd can't let ANYTHING go. If they were truly content, they wouldn't spend time bashing something that doesn't interest them.

    Every time WotC does something that's really not worth getting hyped up over, the same crowd crawls out of the woodwork to post rants, open letters, and predictions of doom. And then to have the gall to claim that the edition wars are over and Paizo won? That's like proclaiming that peace reigns throughout the kingdom while spraying bullets at the "enemy's" trenches.

    It's puerile.

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  7. (Decided to re-word what I had previously posted)

    Scott, aren't you ranting at us too?

    Aren't you "the same crowd crawling out of the woodwork", everytime JP posts his opinions? Proving how much we suck and how awesomely correct and superior you are?

    Just askin'.

  8. @Scott, Actually my original prediction of doom was actually pretty positive for 4e, WotC and the RPGA. I was predicting it would all go away only to return re-branded later.

    This post is my opinion about MM's call for unity. I think it's BS. If he posts his opinions and open letters publicly, he is asking for people to respond. He is asking for people to stop telling him he is working on a bad product.

    He is telling us that "if you didn't like 4e, check out the Essentials, its 4e, but with a whole new packaging." Oh wait... That's Malibu Stacy with a new hat!

  9. @Kendawg: Nawww. Though the idea of agreeing with you on my superiority and utter correctitude is pretty tempting. :)

    @JPChapleau: Right, and that's cool. It's your blog to do with as you see fit. But to have a commenter declare that the edition wars are over and that the side he likes best won, right below a blog post that is effectively another cannon volley, strikes me as a little comical. Maybe he just has really good earplugs.