I've been following the D&D Next playtest lately, and while I've been prepping for a Play-by-post D&D Next game, I've been thinking quite a bit on what I want out of D&D Next.
First off, I want a boxed set to make it easy for new players to get started. Whenever I've introduced new people to the game, I've always had problems explaining that, if they wanted to be able to run the game like I did, they'd have to drop nearly a hundred bucks on the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual. A boxed set would fix that nicely. Essentially, I want a beginner's set that supports play from level 1-5 and includes everything needed to play. Dice, monster/player tokens, at least one adventure included (though I'd prefer two or three, to take players up to level 5), and DM/player guides. Ideally, this boxed set would only cost around $30, to make it cheap enough for new players to pick it up without worrying too much about cost.
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For the boxed set, I also want it to be completely compatible with the full core game. Players should be able to build identical characters with the boxed set and full game (though I would expect the core game to have more options). This was my big problem with the 4th Edition Red Box: if you wanted to go from the Red Box to full 4E, you had to rebuild the characters from the ground up. That, to my mind, is a mistake.
For the full game, I like the standard format of the three core books. Ideally, I'd like to see some content that was either cut from or not included in the playtest packets, most notably the Warlock and Sorcerer classes. Given D&D Next's promise of modularity, I'd really like to see some sidebars with house rules or optional rules included, similar to how the playtest packet includes point-buy for ability scores as an optional rule.
I really want to see the tier system from 4E come back. I wouldn't mind having the core books only go to 20th level, but I really would like to see an expansion that takes the game all the way up to 30th, with all the epic-level adventures that 4E had.
Art-wise, I want to see a wide variety. I love the 3.5 aesthetic, but I also like a lot of the classic art from previous editions. Honestly, I'd like to see different art styles for different supplements: more classic, old-school illustrations for books that support that style of play, and more of the modern style art from the 3.5/4E aesthetics for books like the tactical rules expansion. Similarly, I'd like to see unique art styles for whichever different settings Wizards ends up publishing.
That brings me to my next point. I want to see more settings. Wizards seems to really be pushing the Forgotten Realms as the flagship D&D setting. While I occasionally enjoy a Forgotten Realms novel, it is far from my favorite setting, and I've honestly never been super interested in playing a game set there. So for D&D Next, I want official support for a wide variety of settings: Eberron, Dark Sun, the Realms, the Nentir Vale/Points of Light setting, Dragonlance, and possibly a new setting or two.
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Along with settings, I want high-quality adventures for D&D Next. I want adventures that are like The Sunless Citadel, The Forge of Fury, Keep on the Borderlands, and The Temple of Elemental Evil. D&D Next has to compete with Pathfinder's Adventure Paths, and those are, for the most part, very high quality.
So, here's what I want, in list form:
1. A boxed set compatible with the full game.
2. Core rules that go to at least level 20, with expansions going to 30.
3. A lot of setting support.
4. Good adventures.
I don't think that's too much to ask, right?