So yeah fifth edition has been announced. I've been reading the Legends and Lore articles on wizards.com and they've given me hope that 5th edition might be better than 4th edition. Yet I can't really say that I am truly optimistic. Will they create a game that can handle my play style? Will it avoid the obsession with balance that IMHO made it difficult to run anything that's non-linear in 4e? Will combats not take hours each to resolve? Will it show more respect for the history of the game?
I don't want an edition where what has come before with regards to "canon" is cast aside. I don't want archons to be elemental warriors, or eladrin to be faerie elves. I want the Great Wheel to be the default cosmology, or at least not all that different from the default cosmology that I have to do a lot of changes to monsters and the like to use the Great Wheel . I want Greyhawk to be the default setting or at least playable with the core materials without lots of houseruling races and the like. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of the Realms I don't want them to have been blown up. Seriously, if you can't play the most generic of settings in a new edition without a lot of work, something has gone wrong.
The focus on making sure everything is balanced makes it difficult to do a non-linear game. Thing is the assumption is that you're players will have exactly x encounters, get x amount of treasure, etc. That doesn't really jive with a game where the assumption is that these things will all be determined by the choices of the players and they're successes and failures. Never mind the idea that failure is often considered to be a thing the DM should avoid.
Well, we'll wait and see. Just might be me and a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised.