One of the most controversial times in D&D was when they made the jump from 3.5 Edition to 4th, and, for the first time, D&D was knocked off the top.
Dungeons & Dragons is the 800lbs gorilla of the RPG industry--it sits wherever it wants. D&D has been the best-selling RPG in the US for years--in fact, since Wizards of the Coast took up the IP and launched 3rd Edition, there's only been one time when D&D wasn't topping the sales charts: the days of 4th Edition.
But where did this Edition, at once reviled and beloved, come from? How did it come about, and what made so many people flock to a brand-new entry into the RPG scene that was at the same time more of the same? Let's take a look, and journey back more than a decade to the dark days of 2008, when the country was in the midst of one of the worst depressions we've seen in years, when Katy Perry had kissed a girl (and liked it), and Rihanna and T.I. sampled Dragostea Din Tei bringing a meme from the past into the present.
Onto this stage came 4th Edition, to a Wizards of the Coast that had been going through a surprisingly long cycle of the 3.x edition, during which they refined the process of listening to what players want. It was a productive cycle that saw the release of the OGL and brought with it a wave of independent publishers who served up book after book of interesting looks ...