Why the Vancian system is anti-fun

There's an article from WotC about putting the antiquated Vancian system back into D&D. We moved past this system with the fourth edition. Why is it even being considered now?

The article briefly explains:

It's good for gameplay. It requires casters to think about what spells they want to cast ahead of time. It requires them to use their abilities judiciously. In other words, smart play is rewarded. You need to have an idea of what kind of adventure you are about to undertake to optimize your character, which often takes planning and perhaps research.

It is not good for gameplay.

It prevents people from playing their characters

When a wizard has run out of spells, that character has effectively ceased to be a wizard. Put another way, if you can cast two spells per day, you can be a wizard only twice per day.

Wizards of the Coast seems to agree, and it already has a solution: 

As a result, we'd like to include Vancian spellcasting as only one type of magic in the game. 


One idea we’re considering is a magical feat. These feats represent magical abilities that a character can use all the time. 

If the the antiquated Vancian system requires the introduction of a new system to address problems, why inject the antiquated Vancian system to begin with?

It's the source of the 9:01 am problem

The easiest fix around having such limited spell activity during the day is to wait until the next day. The problem this immediately generates is, of course, the day's adventuring is done at 9:01 am. After all, why make the player playing the wizard sit around and do nothing special?

By the by, telling the rest of the party that we can't proceed to the dragon's cave to save the village right away, because the wizard has to sleep overnight and prepare anti-dragon spells for later, is the height of heroism, action, and adventure, wouldn't you agree?

It addresses a symptom, not the problem

To many of my objections, particularly of only having a few spells to cast at low level, I've heard the retort that at mid- to high-level play, wizards rule the roost in terms of power. What fighter can turn someone to stone, for example? Thus, having few things to cast at low level, while letting the fighter have something to do all the time, makes up for the fact that the fighter has less to do in terms of impacting the campaign at high level.

No. The correct response is: "Make sure everyone has fun all the time." The wizard should not have a sucky time to start to have something better later, and vice versa the fighter. 

Also, no one plays high-level campaigns. The supposed benefit that the player at the table was supposed to be enjoying only rarely actually happens in real life. They paid a price and never got the product.

Choosing spells is not "smart gameplay"

I refer to this, by WotC:

In other words, smart play is rewarded.

There are so many things wrong with this statement.

One thing: It implies that only smart people should play the wizard. Of course by extention, people who play the other classes can be dumb.

But, setting that aside, here's a very important question posted on Twitter:

How are fighter players rewarded for smart play?

He reported later that no one had given him a serious answer.

Choosing spells presents a real-world at-the-table delay in gameplay. Aside from the physical act of the player going through the list of spells they know to pick them for each level, there's the "research" portion of the gameplay that WotC put in the article:

You need to have an idea of what kind of adventure you are about to undertake to optimize your character, which often takes planning and perhaps research. 

Which only delays everyone else's enjoyment of the game, correct? If your retort is that the act of researching can/is its own adventure, well then aren't you already adventuring? Yo, dog, I heard you like to adventure so I put an adventure into your adventure. Then why have spell choice to begin with? What purpose is it really serving other than being a hoop everyone has to jump through?