First, if you are now, ever have been, or plan to be a DM, go here:
Back? Okay, a few points here. If you have not already figured it out, I am a big fan of @TheAngryGM. I have learned so much in the last year or so of reading his posts. As a DM, and more importantly about D&D 5E, and how it really works. His posts are for the most part a great resource and he does find some really good topics. My only quibble is he does have a little touch of George R.R. Martin/Robert Jordan syndrome: why explain a point with a thousand words when 2 thousand would do.
As for the actual topic of this latest rant: is D&D 5E too easy for the players. The first thought I have is that this topic reminds me of when my brother once overheard a friend of mine and I talking about a teacher being an ‘easy A’. He said that we shouldn’t be focused on the grade, but instead on how much we can really learn.
If my game is too ‘easy’ or too ‘hard’ there is a reason and method to my madness. Was my initial campaign with the boys a little too Monty Haul? Sure it was, but if I was hard core, no magic items and limited treasure, there was the danger that the boys might not have enjoyed it. Is this new campaign maybe a little too hard, too little loot and treasure? Not now, now that I have them hooked, and that they are beginning to learn and explore the mechanics a little more.
One of my favorite role playing game arcs was also one of the most brutal I have ever been in, with everyone either dying, or coming very close, cheering our very survival. But on the other hand one of the best GM’s in general that I have ever played under was notoriously soft on the players, letting us get and do pretty much what we pleased, so long as it fit in the story arc.
What it really boils down to (with the exception of convention games) is that whether a game is easy or hard is up to the players, and most importantly up to the GM. If I am running the game, and get the feeling that the players want me to ratchet up or down, that is the option that I have. So far I have seen that D&D 5E is capable of running gritty, low magic just as well as it could run flashy four color crazy magic.
In my view no game is ‘too easy’ or ‘too hard’. What it really comes down to is the group, and most importantly the GM. Because, to paraphrase one of the best movies of all time for role playing one liners: ‘Easy, hard, I’m the GM running the game’.