So I heard today that Wizards of the coast is gunning for the World of Warcraft market and this helped shape the design of the fourth edition of Dungeons and Dragons. Now, I don't know how true this is - and I don't play 4th edition myself, although one day I may give it a spin.
Assuming this is true, this strikes me as being very silly indeed. D&D has been the number one roleplaying game for 35 years. It was the first roleplaying game and I know first hand that there is magic in this game. I can't quite say how it is invoked, but it's there in play, captivating us as players and keeping us coming back for more. Some people have been playing it for decades. So does Wizards of the coast perhaps not have faith in its own product any more - that it can't stand on its own legs and must instead copy another game which itself wouldn't exist if it weren't for their own game?
I'll let you into a secret. In thirty five years, all the computer hardware that people are playing World of Warcraft on will be relegated to landfills and museums. The servers will have long ago been switched off or will be running some other game, the next big thing on the massively multiplayer front. World of Warcraft will be remembered fondly but it will be /dead/.
But in 35 more years, there will still be people playing Dungeons and Dragons, picking up polyhedral shaped dice and simulating throwing fireballs around at supernaturally regenerating trolls, kicking doors down and searching chests for traps.
If what I've been told is true, then Wizards of the coast have it all backwards and need a reality check. Competitors to D&D have always experimented with different formats, rules systems, become popular and come and gone. Some of them are still with us, but then so is D&D... because it really was sprinkled with magic by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson all those years ago.