They aren't going to change the stat line for it because it isn't "broken" according to their aim for weapons, which (for whatever reason) was not to make each weapon a "worth it" choice - so the trident being just a spear that you spend more money on and weighs more is not a failure to accomplish their goals for including weapons.
I'd have preferred they just not put it on the list at all, so that just like people wanting their character to wield a katana can use a longsword and call it a katana, people wanting a trident could just use a spear and call it a trident.
However, they might eventually have some kind of feat or other feature that benefits a trident, which might fix the problem of it seeming to be a useless line on the weapon table.
I think it's a very interesting weapon. It's unusual compared to most on the list and I love that - but no, I've not heard of anything being done with it.
I've just been looking at this~
Quote from DDB Compendium - Combat
When adventurers pursue sahuagin back to their undersea homes, fight off sharks in an ancient shipwreck, or find themselves in a flooded dungeon room, they must fight in a challenging environment. Underwater the following rules apply.
When making a melee weapon attack, a creature that doesn't have a swimming speed (either natural or granted by magic) has disadvantage on the attack roll unless the weapon is a dagger, javelin, shortsword, spear, or trident.
It is at least one of the few 'underwater' weapons, but then, so is its nemesis: the spear. Speaking theoretically as a suggestion, perhaps it could have some additional benefit related to underwater combat? Thoughts?
“It is a better world. A place where we are responsible for our actions, where we can be kind to one another because we want to and because it is the right thing to do instead of being frightened into behaving by the threat of divine punishment.” ― Oramis, Eldest by Christopher Paolini.
The trident costing more makes sense to me, as the pointy end of a trident has much more material than a spear. Tridents being classified as martial weapons makes sense as well seeing as the majority of people being trained in something would be handed a spear instead (because they are easier to make, cheaper, and have only one pointy end to focus on stabbing with.)
That being said certain characters such as aquatic peoples or super flashy fighters with disarm thingies could certainly prefer tridents if they are trained well enough to not get the extra pointy bits stuck in things while trying to stabkill everything. Overall I don't think that the discrepancy in weapon stats needs to be "fixed" as much as people just need to use their weapons with the same flair that their characters were built with.
Most weapons are good choices. I actually enjoy it when the weapon mechanics are simple instead of being so unique and in depth that they require feat trees to specialize in.
Meh.. They cost more as they are significantly more difficult to make than a spear (I've seen both made and trident really can be an ass to make).
Functionally they would work really quite differently depending on trident design but damage wise they would counter point one another. I don't see why they should have different stats but I might consider giving role play bonuses in circumstances, maybe a slight parry bonus/called action to focus on disarming by twisting the tines.
Personally I'd just use a trident over a spear for role playing purposes period. They look cooler, npcs you interact with might comment or be aware of the exotic/higher price/more skill required. It could make an interesting piece when describing an intimidate check. An odd habit of pretending to be an old salt/expert fisherman when introducing yourself.
Either way.. Different stat blocks just get in the way of good role playing potential and creativity. Use what you think would be fun not just optimal.
In real life, weapons are hardly worth their damage/usefulness alone, it also depends on build, rarity and region, particularly hand-to-hand weapons (let's set firearms aside for a moment).
A straight steel knife is cheap. A curved steel knife could count as decorative or somewhat exotic, and could get a better price in certain markets, while using the exact same rules. I'm not even mentioning two very similar knives can cost from $50 all the way to $ several hundreds realistically, for no reason easy to explain, it's usually about looks alone, and I guarantee the damage of a cheap but very sharp industrial chinese knife can beat many hand-tailored damascus knives.
So a trident being just like a spear in stats might or might not be right, but the relation with its price is just easy to point to the trident being a slightly rarer, more exotic, harder to build type of foreign spear.
If you look at it purely from an economics standpoint (I.e. the price is determined by supply and demand, not the damage it deals) then a trident costs more than a spear because a trident is more rare than a spear. From a realism standpoint, it makes sense that the trident costs more than an item that you buy from your local wood store.
Honestly, the cost of a trident is largely irrelevant under the default rules of the game. Basically unless forced it is better to take the starting gear the class options offer rather than rolling for gold. Then you either just talk to the DM about starting with one, or buy it after the first game session. (Or have it commissioned to be made).
Idk why everyone is talking about the weight and cost of the trident compared to the spear when, as everyone seems to have realised, those things make sense. The real issue is that the trident requires a character to be proficient in martial weapons to use effectively, yet offers no incentive to do so as it uses the numbers for damage and thrown range as the spear. But unlike other mechanically indistinct weapons, if the trident wasn't in the game and you wanted to use one, you would just use a reskinned spear, whereas if the longsword wasn't included using a battleaxe to determine its stats wouldn't be immediately obvious. It's just sad that this won't actually be fixed.
Seems to me that having 3 holes poked into you by a trident vs 1 hole with a spear would cause more damage, so a trident should be a die roll higher in damage.
The force behind the blow would be spread across 3 locations, making it less likely to reach vital organs.
My own justification for Tridents is that they are made entirely from (non-rusting) metal, making them much more durable for underwater races than wooden-hafted spears or iron weapons. Even on land- they're be harder to break than spears.