pa_kid nails it. Considering that WotC did indeed reboot the Dark Sun setting for 4E, you could say that he was right and the people taking a very dogmatic line were wrong.
I am all about choice, however, so I am going to keep up the drumbeat for Mysteries of Athas.
You threw a cat amongst the pigeons with this, but I agree with you.
Having reckoned with the death of all my childhood icons over the past few decades, It seems to me one tough but essential lesson everyone has to learn is that we’re all psychologically hard-wired to be heavily biased towards the first version of any media we ever experienced. The younger we were when we experienced it, the more biased we are now, and the more hostile we are to change of any sort. (Try visiting the original trilogy section of a Star Wars forum and you’ll see what I mean…)
While nostalgia on its own isn’t a bad thing, it can be a trap. Ultimately, too much loyalty to defunct material traps that particular media in the past, making it harder to introduce to new audiences and new generations.
I love Dark Sun. I especially love all the development that has gone into its history and geography since first edition. But I don’t love the prospect of it becoming too overdeveloped and too precious to allow players a chance to make their own heroic marks on the world. (MERP anyone?) It would bring me great joy to see it become a vibrant new setting in 5th edition, even if they have to make changes.
Hell, if we don’t like the changes, we’re DM’s aren’t we? Just fix them back!
Athas is unique in that there is so much latitude for mixing things up. For example, you could have a campaign where you do the whole Prism Pentad thing complete with Rajaat and Cleansing Wars and whatnot, and later do another campaign where that never happened.
If Dark Sun had launched with the Revised Campaign Setting, it never would have become popular. The original boxed set is the model for Dark Sun games, and there are a lot of permutations that can happen from there.