As Paizo's Pathfinder Roleplaying Game nears final release, the edition war seems, to me at least, to be picking up steam.
There are multiple posts on the RPG Bloggers Network as well as countless message boards discussing this very topic. Whether players are in the 4e, 3e, or retroclone camp doesn't seem to be as big an issues to me as the fact that so many people are talking about Dugeons & Dragons with a passion that has been missing for some time. While some claim that the anti 4e sentiment is reminiscent of what occurred when both 2e and 3e were released, I don't agree.
Granted the internet is much more prominent than at the time the other editions were released, but even in my local gaming community I am finding a great deal of discention in the ranks of gamers. In the shops that I get to visit on extremely rare occassions, gamers of all ages are picking sides in this discussion and surprisingly many of the younger gamers I've spoken with are either sticking with 3e/Pathfinder or going with retroclones. I don't know how it is in other areas, but some of the most vehement supporters of 4e seem to be the older gamers. Chalk it up to older gamers having experienced edition changes in the past and understanding, even looking forward to the experience of learning a new system, and younger gamers being protective of the first edition that they learned to play, but I find that kind of interesting.
For a while I was in the anti-4e camp myself, but I came around and have openly admitted that I was wrong, 4e is a good system. However, I find that I still prefer 3e and am axiously awaitining the arrival of Pathfinder. I've liked what I've seen in the beta and have gotten all my old 3e books out of the closet to start preparing 3e games once again. I've even discussed it with some of my group and so far it looks like 3e is back and here to stay with us. I'm not going to abandon 4e and will likely buy the occassional book, but 4e isn't my game of choice anymore. It had a short lived stay at the top, and it may once again, someday, but for now 3e is back. In case you haven't noticed the 3.5 resurgent logo on the sidebar, I'm sticking with 3e and happy about it. BTW, thanks 6d6 fireball for coming up with that.
This gets me back to my point. Having support for multiple editions, thank you Paizo, is great for the industry as far as I'm concerned. This can only help both the industry and retailers in the long run.
Those of us that are sticking with 3e will have continued support for our preferred edition, old schoolers have seen an incredible resurgence of retroclones to feed their gaming need and 4e players have new books coming out all the time. How could this be bad?
The only part of all of this that kind of bothers me is that gamers are tending to get at each other's throats in declaring their edition "the best" or "real" edition of D&D. As far as I'm concerned it simply doesn't matter. What ever edition you prefer playing is completely legit and you should enjoy it without feeling you need to defend that decision or attack a fellow gamer's preference. If you feel like Paizo's Pathfinder (3.75 or 3.52... whatever you want to call it) is the only true D&D then so be it. Granted it technically isn't, but I'm on board as that is the edition/rules I plan to play with as well.
While I hold no ill will against 4e, I can't help but feeling the the anti- WotC feelings, which I share and believe is well deserved in many regards, will help to keep the 3e movement alive. Then again I hope 4e has a long life, I just doubt that it is doing as well as some say it is doing. (If you want to read the great response to the post in that link check out Wonderous Imaginings... ) Then again I am not an industry insider and have nothing more invested in the success in one edition over the other than my personal preferences. So like I said before, play the edition of the game you prefer and have fun. After all that's what gaming is all about, but that's just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions.