Zealots: Edition Wars are essentially Religious Intolerance

Mar 10, 2011

The hard line extremists in any debate get air time. Most of us just shrug it off as the media playing up a story which is not a story. Still, as a community, role players are prone to the same level of antipathy and zealotry. Far too many people espouse the benefits of one edition over the next. Much like one religion explains how their particular interpretation is the only true form. The feedback cycle explodes with people claiming they are more correct than the previous author.

Let me ask a simple question. How does something you read affect your gaming? Just because he disagreed with your edition choice, does it matter? He’s probably a Catholic and your a Muslim. Are you going to flame him for that? We all have preferred game systems. Individual style is not to be disparaged. It should be encouraged. How we interpret and play a system comes down to one simple truth: It’s a game. Games are meant to be fun.

The discourse over how we play should also be encouraged because everyone has an opinion. Going on a tirade and making absolute claims on how people should approach gaming is not useful. In three decades, I can point to no single individual who stuck by an interpretation over the entire course of time. Gaming styles shift based on parties, people, and products. In my perspective, the people are the most critical factor.

When people draw a hard line in the sand, the discussion deteriorates into zealotry. Tolkien had one ring. Look at the antagonism resulting within his characters. The Koran and the Bible have the same fundamental teachings. Yet people keep twisting and interpreting them to be significantly different. Both speak to compassion and interacting with others as you would like to be treated.

The time has passed for antagonism. It was gone when Basic crossed into 1E. Then 1E into 2E. Then 3E into 4E. Why are we arguing about how someone choose to play the game? How exactly does it impact our life? The game isn’t going to shift us back into a feudal society or religious intolerance. We’ve merely picked a framework we enjoy. It’s that simple.

Nothing can be gained from absolute declarations. If and when we shift to that stance, we are doing little more than belittling the people we disagree with. How is that useful? Do you get some rush from trying to overwhelm him or her? Do you just want to be right?

There is no right. Nor is there a wrong. It is a game. Try to have a level headed discourse about how we get more fun from it. I’ve failed on several occasions but I aim to do better.