Wizards of the Coast recently gave us a taste of the new Swordmage class, who is a new Defender-role character you can add to your 4E D&D campaigns. He is the class that you can choose if you would like to play both a warrior-type character and a spell-casting-type character at the same time, and going by what abilities I looked over, he seems to be somewhat nature-based (or at least, elemental-based). So thank you WotC for a fighting/casting class. But… where is the druid?
Okay, seriously, I know where the druid is. He is (presumably and supposedly) coming out in the next Player’s Handbook (PHBII), using possibly some new power source for which we will need to purchase several new splat books to get all the information necessary to use. I guess that question I mean, instead of “where is the druid,” is “why are we having to wait for the druid?” Again, I know that at least part of it is financial/monetary – WotC has a business to run, and instead of making new books as “optional” (such as Tome of Magic, Tome of Battle, etcetera), they are instead putting many of our beloved and iconic races and classes in these second core books so that we will need to spend more money with them to play D&D with all our favorite archetypes. But logically….
The Forgotten Realms, as anyone who has played a lot in it, is a very nature-oriented campaign setting. They have (or at least, had) multiple deities of nature, and many important NPCs were nature-based – most notably, of course, Drizz’t and Dove Falconhand – so why was the new class introduced in the Forgotten Realms book not the druid? It would have been the epitome of of fantastic ideas, because it would have actually made sense! They would introduce a class that everyone is waiting for, that logically is very important to the Forgotten Realms, and that covers a very similar role to the class they did introduce, but which has no true importance or history with the Realms.
I’ve so far been at least semi-pleased with 4th Edition D&D – I’m not a hater, I have all three core books, and plan on getting more. My current campaign, Memory Fading, is running 4E, and we’re having a good bit of fun so far. But I just can’t shake the feeling that WotC is making too many mistakes with their new multiple core book releases and their leaving out such iconic classes and races that people have been playing with for twenty-plus years now. It’s just a feeling, I have no facts. The only fact I have is the Swordmage is no Druid, and with the Forgotten Realms now out and for sale, without no druids all across Faerun, it is a less magical place.