Why not focus on D&D Next instead of Microlite74? I’ve been asked this question several times over the last couple of months. I have an answer that satisfies me, although it does not seem to satisfy those who have asked the question.
I was initially somewhat hopeful about D&D Next, despite the name. It looked like they wanted to return to a simple set of core rules that would like a lot like a slightly updated form of TSR D&D. They’d then have optional rules for people who like 3.x style character creation, for people who like the very gamist combat of 4e, for people who liked shared narrative control, for people who hate vancian magic, etc. This seemed to be something I could live with and play.
Unfortunately, it became clear from the very first playtest document, that D&D Next was not going to be much like what I thought WOTC was talking about at the start of the process. All sorts of new things are being added at the core level from new (and not very generic) classes, to a new healing system that seems very similar to the healing surges of 4e. Instead of starting with a clean and simple set of core rules and building on that with options, the D&D Next designers seem to be trying to create another very different version of D&D — just as WOTC has a history of doing with D&D. The newer playtest rules make it very plain that D&D Next is unlikely to ever become my “go to” version of D&D.
Rather than waste my time hoping that D&D Next will suddenly change course toward what I had hoped it would be, I am continuing to work on my personal version with rules somewhere between those of 0e and 1e with my house rules and some material from BECMI tied together with the best of the basic D20 system (like ascending AC). Why should I put Microlite74 on hold until D&D Next comes out “just in case D&D Next is so good that M74 is not needed any more”?
The goal of making one edition of D&D that can satisfy the majority of those those currently playing any edition of D&D has always been a pipe dream, IMHO. People want too many different things from D&D — many of them are nearly complete opposites of what others want. (See my post A New Edition of D&D Designed to Unite D&D Players — Can It Be Done? from last year for some examples.) I don’t see any reason to put my game on hold just in case WOTC manages to pull off a miracle and turn that pipe dream in reality, especially when the early versions of the playtest rules show they seem to be heading off elsewhere. I’m sorry, but no apologies for those think I should.