D&D 3.5 is my favorite TTRPG.
It's also a huge mess:
- There are well-documented, major imbalances among the game's classes, even using only core material.
- The game's designers couldn't agree on what the rules of the game actually are.
- There are many examples of silly editing SNAFUs, like drown healing, the entire Truenamer class, and the fact that the Tome of Battle errata was accidentally overwritten by a copy+paste of the Complete Mage errata and never fixed.
- Many parts of the system seem like they were designed without consideration for how they would interact like the rest of the system (e.g., the Polymorph spell, or the tendency for designers to assume players own only Core + 1 splatbook).
How did the 3.5 system come to be this way?
When answering this question, please bear in mind the StackExchange guidelines laid out in the Good Subjective, Bad Subjective post, especially the Back It Up! Principle. Good answers to this question might cite:
- Interviews with game designers in which they reveal details of the design process that could have led to problems like the ones I laid out above.
- Mechanics in 3.5 that were inherited from earlier editions, or even from the tabletop wargame genre that preceded D&D, that led to messiness down the road.
- Blog posts or articles from the design process for later editions of D&D in which there's discussion of mistakes made and lessons learned during the development of 3.0/3.5.
- Personal stories from those with insider knowledge of the D&D design process (though if a publicly available citation is available for these things, that's obviously preferable).
I have my own opinions and impressions of how 3.5 likely came to be the way it is, but what I'm really interested in here is learning something new about the game's design process.