This article is being dissected over at Dragon’s Foot, where-in Mike Mearls calculates the complexity increase over editions of D&D.  While I find his means of counting complexity a little odd, I do agree with the conclusion that complexity is most certainly increasing.  And like the posters at DF, I also wonder at his motivations for posting this info and then delaying any real conclusions for a week.  Is 5e on the way?  Will the outcome of his poll actually impact the direction of a new edition?

What I find really disturbing though, is the results at the bottom from previous polls:

Legends & Lore: Poll #2 Results

How much player content would you feel comfortable reading and incorporating into your campaign each year?

  • 97 to 128 pages per month (about 1,200 pages per year): 20.0%
  • 33 to 64 pages per month (about 600 pages per year): 16.4%
  • 241 to 320 pages per month (about 3,600 pages per year): 15.9%
  • 65 to 96 pages per month (about 960 pages per year): 13.4%
  • 129 to 192 pages per month (about 1,800 pages per year): 11.8%
  • 1 to 32 pages per month (about 300 pages per year): 11.8%
  • 193 to 240 pages per month (about 2,400 pages per year): 6.6%
  • Nothing new; all I want and need are the core rules: 4.0%

What kind of stuff do you want the most?

  • More character options (spells, classes, weapons, armor, gear): 24.8%
  • More adventures: 24.3%
  • More info for existing settings: 17.5%
  • More DM options (NPCs, monsters, treasures): 13.4%
  • New settings: 11.4%
  • More optional rules for DMs (variant critical hits, alternate XP rules): 8.6%

Are these numbers for real?  The majority of players want more character options and at a rate of about 1200 pages per year?  Good golly, am I ever out of sync with the average Wizard’s blog reader.  My D&D books are 64 pages each, for a whopping total of 128 pages, and that’s plenty for me.  The only item in the second list that is at all appealing to me is more adventures, every other option is something I’d flip past quickly and ignore.

There are only two possible conclusions for the numbers above.  The pessimistic view might think the numbers are cooked to justify the direction D&D is already taking.  The pragmatic view might point out that most people going to Wizard’s site and posting on polls have already drunk the kool-aid, and like the direction recent editions have gone, while those of us who disagree avoid that site entirely.

Whatever conclusions you want to draw, I can at least say this for certain: I continue to have no interest at all in what Wizards does to a game that happens to have the same name as an old game I love.  As sad as it makes me, I am clearly no longer their demographic, and I might as well stop reading any news they publish as it’s likely to just make me grumpy.