This post, folks, comes from Big Joe, who previously posted an article on this site:
So I have noticed that the vast majority of games these days, at least the ones people are talking about, are so different from the way they used to be as to become almost unrecognizable. Dice towers or dice rolling apps, digital character sheets, highly elaborate “gaming tables”, along with the preponderance of “novelty” characters point to one thing:
If your players are bringing more and more gadgets and gizmos to the table, or staring at their phones between their turns in combat you are doing something wrong. Nature abhors a vacuum and if there isn’t any substance to your storytelling that void will be filled with one note goofy novelty characters and fancy dice towers. I see this being reflected in the latest edition of D&D with its barely customizable disposable characters you can crank out in five or ten minutes and slap a thin veneer of personality on. This reminds me of what fans of the elder scrolls series whinged about when Skyrim came out.
Nerdy stuff now has mainstream appeal, but not mainstream accessibility. Most people want things spoon fed to them, they don’t want to read very much, they don’t want to do math, so things get watered down. Like nerd culture has become watered down these days, watered down so much that old hands in these hobbies are abandoning them. I guess this is what we wanted when we were arguing with the meatheads and religious nuts, desperately trying for if not acceptance, at least the right to play our games in peace. we won those arguments too well, and now every celebrity with glasses talks about playing D&D and has a story about their hobgoblin necromancer who thinks they are a cleric that just heals people right on the brink of death, never mind that the best necromancers are clerics.
D&D has become a game dominated by social media, everybody looking for that perfect interaction with their wacky characters to post, or podcast about. Everyone squeezing their throbbing excitement when they hear another celebrity admitting that they play D&D, WOTC desperately sucking up to the new demographics and leaving the people who made them rich by the wayside. This game used to be about telling a story, the ancient ritual of verbal storytelling. Sitting around a fire and creating worlds in the imagination of your friends and family. Not about jerking yourself off with your pathfinder gnoll summoner that is actually a power ranger. When games become character driven rather than story driven the spotlight invariably shines on whoever is the loudest, and the rest of your players are just sitting around, playing on their phones and waiting for their turn.