So I'm calling out Wizards of the Coast here. Consider this an open letter of complaint. The number of books is too damn high!
I don't mean that in the way that there are million of books or whatever out there. I'm saying that in the sense that I bought the core books when the game started and I look up errata and it says "the rules are different, screw you" or whatever.
I mean there are too many books that have the core rules. Best I can tell there are three different sets of core rules. There's the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master Guide, which are the game basics since I started playing in 2nd edition. However then we have a starter box, which from what I can tell starts you on different rules. Then there's the Rules Compendium and the Dungeon Master's Kit.
I hardly know what I'm looking at here. What I do know is that they did this before, except they called it 3.5 when they did. Apparently they wanted a new version without making a new version. Now it seems worthless to buy these "new versions" because they're working on a real new version.
Now normally I don't mind new version because they flat out say they're new versions. I still play my first edition Legend of the Five Rings. It's on the shelf with the second and third editions. However normally they don't just change the rules in the core books. The core books are always the core books. Heck I wouldn't mind so much if it were at least a little obvious as to what I was looking at here.
So I ordered the Rules Compendium in the hopes that that book plus what I have will set me straight. I'm not holding my breath though and am going to assume I'll have to drop another $40 in books before this is all figured out.