I thought I had read somewhere that WFRP 3rd edition was 5 years in development from conception to release, but did I dream this?
This obviously puts the date well before FFG obtained the licence from GW, which would mean that the original mechanics were being developed for a different background, which makes me think I did dream it, but then again perhaps this was originally going to be a RPG based in a different world, Terrinoth perhaps?
Anyway, aside from being frustrated from the poor marketing and mis-information that has come from FFG leading up to gen con (which considering the amount of discussion 3rd ed is now generating on the boards, may not have been such poor marketing afterall. Theres no such thing as bad publicity and all that), the more I read about 3rd ed, the more optimistic about it I am becoming.
It seems to me they are using a few ideas that have appeared in other games they have produced, the narrative dice rolling system, from its description so far, appears in a very much simplified form in their Grimm RPG. The stances, as someone else metioned seems a bit similar to the skill sliders in Arkham Horror, as do the crticial hit injury/insanity cards also sound like their counterparts in that game.
I don't have a problem with information that would previously have appeared in "a book" to now appear on cards, certainly not with regards to the action cards we've seen pictures of so far. I have a little more reservation for things like spells and equipment (do we even know yet if equipment is going to be card based) just because it makes it a little bit more difficult to add fan based material to the game in that respect. Obviously, it can still be done, the difference between official spells and fan based ones could just be more glaringly obvious becauss one is on a pretty card and the other isn't (potentially). Although some of the fan based material produced for FFGs board games that I own is top notch, it just means, I guess GMs might need to prepare to be a more sparkly in their creation of home brew stuff.
I can certainly see why FFG have done this, and the reasons must surely include to a lesser or greater extent some of the following.
1. A chance to create a game whose rule set is THEIR OWN. the 1st/2nd edition rule set is just fine and dandy (some may disagree) but it wasn't something FFG created and therefore when it comes to interpretation of a rule, other than FFG staff representing "the company", the interperation of the rule is no more offical than a fans. Back when BI held the forums, rule clarifications would be going back to GR on a periodic basis to get clarification from the "source". FFG with the current rule set, i assume, simply aren't in a posistion to do that. I certainly haven't seen that on the boards, but i may have missed it?
2. The biggie. Opening up the game to a wider audience. This is surely crticial for the future of the game and the hobby as a whole? Money simply can't be made by niche market games, certainly not enough to make continuation of the game a high priority for those involved. From what I see, the way the game is going potentially opens up the game to someone who previously would have only been happy playing a board game, because they got a bit confused by the whole rpg thing and the lack of components (so you just sit round a table and talk? where's the fun in that? as some of my non-rpg friends would often say..). It also opens the game up to people who can rpg a bit but again perhaps needs a bit of help with the whole process. Its all very well for someone who has been playing rpgs since first edition to go on about how the gimmicky cards aren't neccessary (and perhaps they aren't) but for someone new to the hobby, they might be a real god send in helping visualise whats going on and as an aid in running the game itself.
3. More sets getting to the gaming table. This could be a slightly selfish motive, but with the expansions looking the way they very well may look, I wouldn't be surpised if more expansion sets make their way to a single gaming table than they do now. Everyone is going to have their own adventurers tool kit, and subsequent character expansions, rather than just one person buying one book and eveyone getting to generate characters and use info in it. I'm sure FFG aren't quite as cynical as this, but it must be a consideration. Yes, for us it potentially makes a hobby more expensive and may turn people off, but as a company they aren't going to continue making stuff where a sufficient profit isn't achieved. Share holders won't allow it. I offset this in my own mind, with the idea that if 3rd ed does show good profits, more stuff gets generated for it and its a lovely increasing circle rather than a vicious decreasing one.
4. The sets are also probably going to be a bit more hassle to use pirate copies, which is again a major loss of revenue for FFG, i would assume. sure there are creative people out there who will scan all the components and people will take those scans and use them, but it is a more difficult process than just gettings a scanned pdf copy of the rulebook and running adventures using that.
I seemed to have rambled an awful lot in this post, where my intention was only to originally find out if anyone could confirm my 5 year rumour. Anyway, i have been reading posts and opinions every since the first inkling of 3rd ed came out, but i have only posted my thoughts about it now.
I am curiously optimisitc about what 3rd ed might be and what it has the potential to be. I have some concerns ( that all the 1st/2nd edition books i have bought won't be completely useless/ that it won't stifle gm creativity because the idea does fit within the card set, etc) but i also have a relatively positive vibe about it, which is getting bigger with each piece of official info we get about it.
On a personal note, I'd like to thank DagobahDave, whose reasonably calm and concise comments on the boards over recent days helped me see through all the vitirol (on both sides of the V2/V3 argument) to see that V3 could perhaps be something special and worth waiting for.
I certainly now wait to hear more about V3, whereas after the initial press release, I perhaps would not have cared less.