In Which I Balk at Another's Point...

Still reading through Wayne Rossi's great, but sadly not currently active, blog Semper Initiativus Unum, and I came across the following quotes from this post:

...[sic] The hidden-map game is not just one mode of play in D&D....
...characters have well defined movement rates, there are rules about the rate of exploration, opening doors, listening at doors, setting off traps, finding secret doors, running into wandering monsters. There are a number of internal timers built into the game, including the time needed to search, various upkeep items (rations, torches etc), the break every 6th turn, and of course random encounters...
...Later games branded as Dungeons & Dragons didn't have this; they subsumed the hidden-map game into a larger "game system."

...this simple set of mechanics was at the center of a very light game engine. Other systems were developed for things like fighting monsters, determining treasure, casting magic spells and so forth - but in the early days of gaming these were not front and center. This is sharply differentiated from 3rd and 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons. 3rd edition was not about exploring the hidden map to find what was on it (and whether you'd survive), as much as it was a character-building game in which the DM provided combat-based "challenges" to the carefully crafted PCs...

Now, I do realize I chopped the hell out of his post, but read the thing...I certainly didn't take it out of context.

I have no desire to call Mr. Rossi out on his opinions, or to flare up another battle in the long-fought "Edition Wars." but I do think there is quite a bit of disinformation in what was said regarding the newer editions of D&D. Take mind that I don't care to defend 4th Edition, but what I have to say on the matter is perhaps just as relevant to that system as it is to 3.x/Pathfinder.

In the above paraphrasing, Mr. Rossi seems to imply that only the older editions had elements that promoted exploration and the "bookkeeping" aspects of the game, such as how long light sources last, etc.

While yes, I understand that the point made in his post is that he feels the focus of the games have changed, as far as design is concerned...exploration, in Wayne's eyes, has been put on the back burner in favor of an encapsulating system that downplays the exploration aspect of the game, which in most old school gamer's minds is the key principle of the game, and brought to the fore more detailed combat rules, and so forth.

It's true that combat, character building and other aspects of the game did come to the front in 3rd edition, but it all stemmed as a natural rules progression from AD&D, in my opinion, and has little to no bearing how the game is actually played. Exploration and survival are still the keys of the game that I play, which I still gladly call Dungeons & Dragons, and I'm not so convinced that treasure and encounter generation weren't as, or even more, prevalent in older editions of the game. After all, the LBBs set forth that treasure was the key to advancement in the game, and that the guardians of said treasure were some of the primary obstacles to adventurers seeking it...even if sneaking past them was preferred.

My group tracks light, encumbrance, rations and water, we still run into random encounters and approach every door as if death itself waits behind it, and we explore the worlds laid out before us. Just because there are adventure paths out there doesn't mean that (even in the course of said path) players will stay on rails just because they play X system.

I guess my whole point is that it's fine to have opinions, and to have preferences, but one shouldn't disseminate misinformation, even if what is stated can be forgiven somewhat by ignorance on the subject at hand. These newer systems, while too crunchy for quite a few gamers out there, still have the ability to support a broad depth of play styles, even those adhering closely or paying homage to the "old school" way of play.

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