My excellent colleague NewbieDM asked a question this weekend that we've seen many iterations of over this past year in gaming.
"Why get upset over a new edition of a game? Your books don't disappear... You can still play the old one, what is the big deal?"
That's a great question, and as it is asked in the shadow of the 3rd Edition/4th Edition split of Dungeons & Dragons, I'll try to look at it in that context through my experiences.
Let me back up for a moment--there was a point during 3e D&D (likely The Book of 9 Swords, but possibly before) where I began to realize that a lot of the things 3e was doing--over-codification and formalization of character ability, for one, stylistic direction for another--really wasn't jiving with my idea of D&D. I enjoyed games that were kin to d20, but stripped out some of the bulk (Microlite 20, more recently Castles & Crusades).
Then came 4e, and that was even further away stylistically and system-wise from what I wanted.
And so you wake up one day and realize the game you've supported since your awkward adolescence is no longer for you. It isn't for your play style, or there are games that do it better. It still has that brand name that you were an adherent of, but you aren't the target audience. And for me, that stung. And I griped when each new 4e announcement came out--upset that they were going so far from what I wanted out of the game. When you're a part of something for so long, and then no longer feel like you're a part of it, one of the ways you react is to lash out.
But you know what? I eventually got over it. I think it's fantastic people are having fun with 4e. I love reading ChattyDM's recaps. I realized that while one company might control a certain name consisting of two consonants and an ampersand, the spirit of that was alive in countless other products. And the more time I spent griping meant the less time playing the stuff I liked. Which meant there was a staggering increase in the kobold populations of our campaign worlds during that time, inversely proportional to a shocking drop in Player Character mortality rates. Clearly, that couldn't stand.
There are people with other reasons for being upset with the new edition. Some of them having nothing to do directly with the game itself, but in wanting to support WotC, but not feeling they can, either because they aren't selling what they want, or because of their former ineptitude in Public Relations. And, of course, whatever the edition or game, you have the purists and the self-absorbed, stunned that anyone wouldn't care for their game, or having to validate their own preferences by denigrating those of others.
I'd like to say the last one isn't the most common online, but we all know it likely is. And if people want to stay upset, it isn't as if WotC isn't good for a PR flare-up every quarter or so. But, at least for some of us, I'd say some of the anger was in just part of learning to let go and take this new path. The Game didn't remain the same. But we just had to remember Our Game never left.