How Wizards could get my money and how I could get D&D back

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I’ve really been wondering what Wizards could do to start getting my money again and maybe the money of other long-time fans as well as new gamers. In return for my money, Wizards would give me back the D&D I’ve come to know and love.


The easiest short-term way to get my money would be to release Ravenloft and/or more Gamma World stuff but that isn’t happening. But giving me back D&D would certainly work and it would be long-term.


I think if Wizards was willing to shift focus just a bit they could reel in lapsed gamers and get new gamers. I get the impression Essentials is not bringing back lapsed gamers (it didn’t work with me).


However, I still want to give Wizards some money if I can have D&D. Here’s how they can get it.


Dear Wizards,


First, please ease off on the fear of piracy. I know some deadbeats steal your stuff. However, I find it very hard to believe that the piracy would not be offset by the goodwill of your loyal customers. I pay for stuff, I won’t steal from you. So give me back the PDFs I’ve already bought and that you’ve yanked, and let me buy new PDFs. I do not steal and Wizards you should trust me and the majority of us gamers.


Gamers feel ownership in D&D too and there are enough of us loyal fans to overcome piracy issues if you’d just trust us. Some companies even give the rulebook PDFs away for free like Eclipse Phase and the upcoming the Void. Wizards, every other game company I buy from also provides me with the option of purchasing PDFs. Why don’t you?


Second, give me back the core rulebooks (PH, DMG, and MM) with updates included. Call it 4E or 4.5 or 4.75 or 5E it doesn’t matter. But pick the rules and don’t errata these books anymore unless a true mistake (a misprint or missing rule for example) actually crept in (try to avoid big mistakes here however, such as the majority of the 4E MM or skill challenges in the 4E DMG). Sell me these updated books, don’t change the rules all the time, and let us all play D&D.


I’d like stable classes (eight total, two of each role), stable feats, stable rituals, stable magic items, stable math/DC/damage mechanics, stable skill challenges rules, and stable monsters. Don’t shift all the core rules around anymore. Let the game breathe. Spend less time on errata and more on world building and adventure writing.


Third, give us around four to six rulebooks a year including player books (magic items, a book of new rule options like extra powers for the PHB classes, a stronghold book, how to do steampunk D&D, Asian adventures etc.), DM books (planes books, books about gods and world building, Underdark book, undersea book, etc.), and monster/NPC books (even a themed book would be great—villainous adventurers for example or Asian monsters etc).


Fourth, in addition to the four to six rulebooks, release maybe three to four campaign books (maybe softcover to keep costs down) a year. When the core rulebooks re-release, I’d love for Wizards to be bold and release a new world to go with the updated rules (maybe one of the world contest runner ups tuned for 4E). In addition, that year add one or two books to the existing worlds of Nentir Vale, FR, Eberron, DS, and GW.


After that, add three to four books to the existing worlds each year. Don’t make any new worlds for a few years after the one 4E new world releases. Let the existing worlds slowly grow and support the rulebook releases. For example, if the new world had a strong horror theme in one location (maybe pulling in some Ravenloft ideas), the rulebooks that year could include a player book for playing gothic themed monsters, a horror-heavy monster manual, and a DM book on running haunted campaigns ranging from Gothic horror to eldritch Lovecraft to zombie-geddon.


Finally, publish at least six good adventures a year (aim for two Heroic, two Paragon, and two Epic). Again, some of these adventures could tie in to the campaign world releases (a horror adventure for example).


Hire freelancers if needed, but make the adventures good. If a default 4E setting is created set most of the adventures in that world to give context to the modules. Make the modules good (did I mention that?). Explore lots of different themes—wilderness, city, dungeon crawl, sand box, castle/town/kingdom building, underwater, Underdark, plane walking, negotiation, trailblazing, horror etc.


The modules need a memorable location (not just tactical maps but the overall feel of the whole location), interesting NPCs (not all have to be monsters to fight), a theme, a hook to draw the PCs onward, and a plot twist to surprise and delight (and maybe confound just a bit) the players. The modules should be driven by the actions of the PCs and not just by tactically interesting set piece battles. Keep those battles if they fit the module, but focus the adventure on the actions of the PCs and the reaction of the world around them. Plunge the characters into a thrilling world and immerse the players in the skies-the-limit experience of playing D&D.


To recap, bring back the core rulebooks and PDFs, give us a few rulebooks a year, in depth world building support, and some excellent adventures.


Slow down adding new rules and do away with most errata. Make a core world and create great adventures in the world. Add a few campaign books to explore world building. Let me play D&D again with pencil and paper while copying and pasting info from my PDFs for home use.


Wizards you can have my money again. I’ll also bring six players along who like to spend some money too. And maybe some other DMs would do the same. Do you want our money? ‘Cause I’d like to have D&D back in a user-friendly format. And I’m willing to pay for it.

thats all?
/signed, +1, QFT, and AMEN
That's a tall order, but kudos for taking a stand and not settling for what you feel is not worth your money. Personally, I will resub once I see a working virtual table top. 
That's a tall order, but kudos for taking a stand and not settling for what you feel is not worth your money. Personally, I will resub once I see a working virtual table top. 



I know the electronic part of D&D matters to a lot of people as well, but I think Wizards should straighten the game itself out first and then enhance it electronically as a real option. I don't want electronics to be a needed component of D&D but I certainly think it should be a great option for those who like it. But I think putting the electronics first won't work with a tabletop RPG. Wizards might want to consider outsourcing the electronic stuff to experts so everyone can win.

As to the rest, Wizards managed most of the book releases in a similar way in years past. I'm not quite seeing why they couldn't go back to that model.
you mean the one ive been playing on since november beholder?
frothsof, as far as I know, the one you refer to is in beta stage. I'll wait til they think it's good enough to launch before I check it out.

hmm its launched. seeing as adventure tools never got the word 'beta' taken off of it, you will prbably never be a subscriber again. but it is launched. you just have to pay for it, you dont get it for free. as for them thinking its good enough, they clearly do, as ddi subscribers are enjoying it daily. im personally looking forward to the andok sur event this weekend (maps straight from the mags)

good luck with your wait

froth the vt is technically still in beta in that it is not available to the entire population

however people sometimes tend to associate "beta" with "completely nonfunctional and unfinished" which is not the case.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
well, if you opt in you will get put in, theres over 9000 in there now
So the point here is "Start publishing awesome D&D again and I'll pay for it?" I can get behind that.

well, if you opt in you will get put in, theres over 9000 in there now



... my time with the internet almost refuses to let this pass without comment, but I think I can restrain myself (though I guess this constitutes a comment, so whatever...)
The problem is that while most people can agree on certain points, many people want different things from Wizards in terms of D&D. I respectfully disagree with some points.

release Ravenloft and/or more Gamma World

My current group plays homebrew, my previous x groups played homebrew, and most campaigns I have played over the last 20 years have been homebrew. I couldn't care less about additional settings, and I'd be happy to pick from one of the existing settings if I decided to do so.  If I really wanted to play Ravenloft, I could pick up the books from a previous edition and adjust for 4e.  An argument could be made that the older-edition books might not be readily available, and I would agree with that if not for the following two points: one, you're looking for Ravenloft/Gamma World because you've played them in previous editions (otherwise how do you know about them?), and two, you most likely already own or have access to the older edition books.

let me buy ... PDFs

Very much agreed.  Trust your clientel.  I own the books, but if you had a PDF service that had all of the updates continually included (a tad tricky due to page layout and the need to keep page numbers consistent for rule lookup, probably solvable with creative movement of fluff boxes and illustrations), I would sign up for a subscription for that service (especially if part of DDI) in a heartbeat.

don’t change the rules all the time

I disagree.  There are still things being discovered that don't work [well] or that are broken/abusable. Errata to things that need errata is healthy for the game.  Errata for errata's sake is very unhealthy for the game.  I wouldn't want there to be a decree that so-and-so rules are "locked in" from here on out regardless of future developments.  That would be more likely to make me stop buying 4e than anything else, as that would indicate that innovation for this edition is over.

stable classes (eight total, two of each role)

As many balanced classes as is healthy for the game, IMHO.  Fix Vampires and Seekers, get some feat/power support for Runepriest, Seeker, Artificer, etc.  Which 8 classes are you going to come up, within the confines of the 4 roles, which won't leave a major archtype uncovered?

stable ...

I'm not sure what you're meaning by "stable".  If you mean "static and unchanging", then you're calling the edition dead, which I cannot stand behind.  If you mean they should fix the problems, I can get behind that.  Obsolete the many feats that are, in fact, obsolete.  Finish magic item rarity or remove it. Cook the math into the appropriate tables and remove the associated cruft (expertise).

Spend less time on errata and more on world building and adventure writing.

Couldn't agree less. Spend more time on fixing the mechanics of the game and less time telling us what to imagine.

four to six rulebooks a year

As many rulebooks per year that can be well-produced (content not unplayable like the Vampire, new classes not obsoleting other classes like the Hunter > Seeker) and playtested.  I doubt that's 4-6 (probably 4 maximum), but if it's good content I'll buy it.

three to four campaign books

three to four books to the existing worlds each year.

Even if I was into campaigns, this would be too many.  Sure, existing settings could be fleshed out more, but one or two books maximum (and I don't mean per year) would be the limit before you'd risk saturating new players with too many choices. As far as new settings, you're not attracting older players to anything they haven't already played, and you're providing too many options for new players when campaigns are generally mutually exclusive.

six good adventures a year (aim for two Heroic, two Paragon, and two Epic).

I agree, more adventures. 5-3-1 heroic-paragon-epic would be a better ratio than 1-1-1 as many campaigns don't make it past x level, and new-to-DnD players want choices they see as quickly usable.
That's a tall order, but kudos for taking a stand and not settling for what you feel is not worth your money. Personally, I will resub once I see a working virtual table top. 



I know the electronic part of D&D matters to a lot of people as well, but I think Wizards should straighten the game itself out first and then enhance it electronically as a real option. I don't want electronics to be a needed component of D&D but I certainly think it should be a great option for those who like it. But I think putting the electronics first won't work with a tabletop RPG. Wizards might want to consider outsourcing the electronic stuff to experts so everyone can win.

As to the rest, Wizards managed most of the book releases in a similar way in years past. I'm not quite seeing why they couldn't go back to that model.

I agree with you wholeheartedly, but I think I know why they don't outsource.  I suspect, strongly mind you, that they want to move into a fully digital arena going forward, which means they can't outsource because that would be outsourcing the whole business. So instead we are watching the pains of a publishing company, with only so much available resources, trying to transition into an online publishing/digital subscription company.  

That would explain for me why the online tools are in such a state atm.  But I still don't know why 4E is suffering the Sybill/MPD identity crises of WoTC not being able to pick a design direction, its a mess.  All the errata, then essentials, then erratta to the essentials, then backpedaling off essentials...kinda.  Do we even know what 4E looks like anymore?  Does WoTC?  So I am in total accord about how fixing that needs to be the top priority right now.  Also it would be helpful to address the actual issues with the game (like the mess that is magic items and rituals for instance) instead of them reorganizing and rewritting the whole game and design direction, thereby creating whole different problems instead.  My 2 Cents.
Okay, in short you want .pdfs, no errata, more flavorful books (like campaign settings), an more adventures.

I have bad news for you.

Developers have said repeatedly that adventures are loss leaders for them.  Not enough people buy them.  They have often said that's exactly the sort of thing third-party publishers should be making, because the profit margins make sense for smaller shops, but not for Wizards.  So you will only see one or two adventure books a year, tops.

Also, sales of setting materials, other than Forgotten Realms, drop off exponentially after the first two books.  That's why they only release two settign books and an adventure for any setting.  So I doubt you'll see very much new Gamma World stuff.  Maybe Ravenloft will get a setting release (2 books and an adventure) in 2012 or 2013.  The only exception is Forgotten Realms which sells sufficiently because it is by far the most popular setting Wizards ever produced.  This is one reason Neverwinter nights is getting the campaign setting release this year.

I don't disagree with you about .pdfs, but it seems pretty clear that Wizards has no interest in selling that way.  I have no idea why.

And I also don't think you're going to ever see an end to errata.  Regular errata is actually one of 4e's selling points.  The game is predicated on tight balance, so they are always tinkering with it.  Even if they were to release an updated set of corebooks (and the Rules Compendium is sort of that way), it would become obsolete again within a year.  I don't foresee this startegy changing for this edition.

Sorry.
To win me back as a DDI subscriber, there are a few things I would want changed back to how they used to be:

* Offline CB - Yeah been discussed to death but it was a deal breaker for me as I could no longer take my laptop to the game table.
* Offline magazine content - I commute on a van to work, I want something to read on the van ride.  Being online exclusively eliminates that ability.
* Better content - I can't really speak to this as I am no longer a subscriber, but the volume of content went down and it seemed like a lot of advertising of product before I stopped my subscription.  That would need to improve with more interesting articles and adventure content I could make use of.

Since none of those things are likely to happen, I won't be returning as a subscriber.  The model changed, and it no longer fits my needs.

To get me to buy books again, this probably won't happen, but it would need to be mainly adventures/generic campaign content with new poster maps, not reprints of things done in the past, and not maps that are unique to a particular adventure (so I could reuse them).  I am done with the splatbook treadmill, and the constantly outclassing prior generation classes... it's power creep and it sucks.  More monster books would be the only other thing I could imagine purchasing, and they would need to be unique new monsters, not rehashed critters like was done with the Essentials Monster book.

Perhaps I just burned out a bit on 4E... who knows.  I love the game engine, I think it's very well done, but I have been burned out with all the changes that were made to the point where I rarely even look at 4E resources any longer, both in retail and online.
Getting me back as a subscriber would be pretty simple, complex dungeon magazine material bursting with flavor. I would particularly take notice of complex encounters. Any encounter in dungeon that is just some terrain and some random monsters is a waste of time.

Give me set piece battles with 6 different things happening and monsters with cool synergy between them that has been play tested so that I have some confidence that all the different moving parts will fit together. Stuff like this: slamdancr.com/wp/2011/05/grind-4e-week-5... even if you don't like save versus death mechanics, this just has a complexity to it that is way beyond 95% of what I saw in dungeon when I subscribed.

There needs to be more going on in an encounter than enemies and terrain.


I would also love, LOVE dungeon if it provided me with complex and well thought out skill challenges. Imagine a skill challenge that was a chase through a city, and someone thought through all the likely uses of skills one would apply and how which skill the players use and whether they succeed/fail branches the story of the skill challenge. As well as changing primary skills depending on the current situation. Think of it almost as writing a choose your own adventure book.

ie, the killer dashes off into the crowded streets. What do you do?
primary skill checks:
Endurance: chase after him muscling your way through the crowds
Acrobatics: perform some parkour stunt to make better progress through the crowd
Streetwise: head in a direction you think is a shortcut

If the players chose endurance, and succeeded, go to section A. If they failed, section B.
If the players chose streetwise, and succeeded, go to section C.

where A and C then provide entirely different kinds of situations with different primary skills. Provide some extranous notes and examples on how if your party comes up with something not listed here, how you can work on the fly to determine which section you should guide the story towards.

If something is simple enough that I could have come up with it in an hour or so on my own, that is not useful to me. If something is big and complex with lots of moving parts such that it would take me more than a day to write and balance on my own, that is extremely useful.

edit:
I think I have edited this post something like 15 times now
Okay, in short you want .pdfs, no errata, more flavorful books (like campaign settings), an more adventures.

I have bad news for you.

Developers have said repeatedly that adventures are loss leaders for them.  Not enough people buy them.  They have often said that's exactly the sort of thing third-party publishers should be making, because the profit margins make sense for smaller shops, but not for Wizards.  So you will only see one or two adventure books a year, tops.

Also, sales of setting materials, other than Forgotten Realms, drop off exponentially after the first two books.  That's why they only release two settign books and an adventure for any setting.  So I doubt you'll see very much new Gamma World stuff.  Maybe Ravenloft will get a setting release (2 books and an adventure) in 2012 or 2013.  The only exception is Forgotten Realms which sells sufficiently because it is by far the most popular setting Wizards ever produced.  This is one reason Neverwinter nights is getting the campaign setting release this year.

I don't disagree with you about .pdfs, but it seems pretty clear that Wizards has no interest in selling that way.  I have no idea why.

And I also don't think you're going to ever see an end to errata.  Regular errata is actually one of 4e's selling points.  The game is predicated on tight balance, so they are always tinkering with it.  Even if they were to release an updated set of corebooks (and the Rules Compendium is sort of that way), it would become obsolete again within a year.  I don't foresee this startegy changing for this edition.

Sorry.



While Wizards may feel this way about everything you've mentioned, many other game companies do not. I'd say Wizards is unique, especially in regards to PDFs, and not in a good way. In fact, the handful of smaller successful RPG companies do just about everything the opposite way that Wizards does things. I think the way Wizards conducts the business of RPGs is what leads to frustration for its customers and former customers. It isn't 4E that is the problem at all; it is strange business practices and decisions that don't match the expectations many RPG customers have.

Why Wizards thinks these practices secure more sales is likely based on internal numbers and business plans. But I see other small successful RPG companies hiring new staff (Cubicle 7 just hired and Paizo and FFG are hiring), and making more product (same companies have a lot of RPG output) and Wizards not doing either (staying current or shrinking product lines) and I wonder how successful the current Wizard's plan really is.

So I just have to spend my money elsewhere for now. This thread was just thinking out loud about what Wizards could do (I don't think they'll actually listen to me) to get me back as a customer.

Do I think it is going to happen? No. Would I like it to happen and for Wizards to be more like other RPG publishers especially in regards to PDFs? Yes.
many other game companies do not. I'd say Wizards is unique


Wizards is unique.  They are the largest RPG company and they only sell things in large volumes.  Smaller companies can make do making less money on items that garner fewer sales. 

I agree with you on .pdfs.  I don't know why they aren't selling them.  With respect to the rest of the items mentioned, however, they have been very clear.
One of the huge issues is the fact that the "primary purchasing client" is intelligent, all of us like different things and that is hard to market to.

The need to provide content for several different 'worlds' - most of us have a favorite. How many of you have books for FR but run games in your own world. I have books for Eberron, Dark Sun and the Realms but I run games in my own world - pulling from each to make a cool homebrew... but I am at this point where I am content with my ability to just create everything I need. I don't really need new books. I only buy books that offer my players options.

So. With a fan base that is diverse, my age group 30-40 is probably the primary purchasing power of their books. We don't really pirate stuff and actually frown upon it when one of our players says "I have every book made on PDF." - I want my book on the bookshelf. Most of you are probably the same.

What can WotC offer us that would put me back into the spending seat?

1. A 4th Edition version of great classic modules released through the DDI and not .pdf based. Maybe even once a month VT versions of the modules. Charge $1-5 to get the VT import or something. I would spend $5 for a fully completed VT adventure.

2. Spelljammer redone completely for the Astral Sea. Just one book... maybe a book for players and a dm book. It doesn't really need more than that but offer it up.

3. Find a way to embrace the piracy in some way. Almost every company that has found a way to get along with the piracy has turned into a massive hit and has even crossed over into different "client bases". I personally do not like it but I have had players that brag how they have it all and never had to pay a dime. I told them in order to use a character they need to bring the book to the table. He got the PHB but he would never have even ever played if he hadn't pirated books. It sounds counter intuitive but it works.

4. Supporting Brick and Mortar stores as the only people that can host D&D Encounters should stop. Offer it as a DDI thing. Charge a fee to get the materials for the Encounters and allow DCI Judge Gamemasters to host D&D Encounters at home.... for a fee. I would do this because I have around a dozen people I play with all the time with no game store within a one hour drive (that has room to play) - there are a lot of others out there in the same boat.

5. Support DM's - DM's are the voice of Wotc on the streets. We are an unofficial street team that constantly looks for new players, other DM's too and we buy the books, love the game and really create a "Point of Light" from a sales perspective. The DCI Judge stuff (RPGA GM) should support DM's with cool stuff and create perhaps affiliate links for players to purchase the books through them... almost like Avon has sales reps... turn the DM into a street level salesman.

Sorry, it ended up turning into a how can WotC get my money into a how WotC should try to make more money post.

One of the huge issues is the fact that the "primary purchasing client" is intelligent, all of us like different things and that is hard to market to.

The need to provide content for several different 'worlds' - most of us have a favorite. How many of you have books for FR but run games in your own world. I have books for Eberron, Dark Sun and the Realms but I run games in my own world - pulling from each to make a cool homebrew... but I am at this point where I am content with my ability to just create everything I need. I don't really need new books. I only buy books that offer my players options.

So. With a fan base that is diverse, my age group 30-40 is probably the primary purchasing power of their books. We don't really pirate stuff and actually frown upon it when one of our players says "I have every book made on PDF." - I want my book on the bookshelf. Most of you are probably the same.

What can WotC offer us that would put me back into the spending seat?

1. A 4th Edition version of great classic modules released through the DDI and not .pdf based. Maybe even once a month VT versions of the modules. Charge $1-5 to get the VT import or something. I would spend $5 for a fully completed VT adventure.

2. Spelljammer redone completely for the Astral Sea. Just one book... maybe a book for players and a dm book. It doesn't really need more than that but offer it up.

3. Find a way to embrace the piracy in some way. Almost every company that has found a way to get along with the piracy has turned into a massive hit and has even crossed over into different "client bases". I personally do not like it but I have had players that brag how they have it all and never had to pay a dime. I told them in order to use a character they need to bring the book to the table. He got the PHB but he would never have even ever played if he hadn't pirated books. It sounds counter intuitive but it works.

4. Supporting Brick and Mortar stores as the only people that can host D&D Encounters should stop. Offer it as a DDI thing. Charge a fee to get the materials for the Encounters and allow DCI Judge Gamemasters to host D&D Encounters at home.... for a fee. I would do this because I have around a dozen people I play with all the time with no game store within a one hour drive (that has room to play) - there are a lot of others out there in the same boat.

5. Support DM's - DM's are the voice of Wotc on the streets. We are an unofficial street team that constantly looks for new players, other DM's too and we buy the books, love the game and really create a "Point of Light" from a sales perspective. The DCI Judge stuff (RPGA GM) should support DM's with cool stuff and create perhaps affiliate links for players to purchase the books through them... almost like Avon has sales reps... turn the DM into a street level salesman.

Sorry, it ended up turning into a how can WotC get my money into a how WotC should try to make more money post.




I think we're thinking along the sames lines. I don't mind WotC making money (employees have to eat, shareholders have to be fed) and I don't mind paying them if I get what I'm looking for. I'm not expecting something for nothing but more of an even exchange.

As for the DM as salesman, it seems like this should be possible though the character builder. Maybe the DM can have designated players and the players get a discounted character builder without the DM tools and magazines. I agree that anything that helps the street level DM get and keep players can only be good for the gamers, Wizards, and D&D as an RPG.
I couldn't get multi-quote to work but I wanted to reply to two points.

As to more world books or less, stories sell. If the settings are interesting enough I believe small world lines would work. I know lots of different settings (heck even different rulesets) work for other RPG companies. Especially if the world has good adventure support.

As to stable rules, what I mean is the game shouldn't mutate and completely change in a one or two year time. If I played D&D now it would be nothing like the D&D I played before Essentials. I would have a hard time even finding new players with my core rulebooks.

I don't mind fixes (like the problems with the skill challenges in the DMG). But the fact that two-thirds of the MM requires a fix or that the base damage/DC matrix in the DMG is completely wrong does not inspire confidence or trust in me as the possible consumer of the goods Wizards wants to sell me. The very core numbers D&D is supposed to be based on in 4E were wrong in the core books.

Those numbers should be fixed and then not change. Math works or it doesn't. The core assumptions should not flucuate so wildly. The core underlying math-based rules (damage and DCs by level etc.) should be stable.
I couldn't get multi-quote to work but I wanted to reply to two points.

As to more world books or less, stories sell. If the settings are interesting enough I believe small world lines would work. I know lots of different settings (heck even different rulesets) work for other RPG companies. Especially if the world has good adventure support.



I think this is why we are going to see more things like Gloomwrought, Hammerfast. Not exactly settings in and of themselves, but small bits iof setting that are detailed enough that a DM can just grab and drop into their homeworld. It deosn't require as much world-building work and is probably more popular and has a higher sell-through than a setting.

I don't mind fixes (like the problems with the skill challenges in the DMG). But the fact that two-thirds of the MM requires a fix or that the base damage/DC matrix in the DMG is completely wrong does not inspire confidence or trust in me as the possible consumer of the goods Wizards wants to sell me. The very core numbers D&D is supposed to be based on in 4E were wrong in the core books.

Those numbers should be fixed and then not change. Math works or it doesn't. The core assumptions should not flucuate so wildly. The core underlying math-based rules (damage and DCs by level etc.) should be stable.



The problem with that assumption (that the numbers don't chnage from the start) is the following: It's not that the numbers are changing, it's just that the players are using the numbers in a way that couldn't be predicted by the designers. The designers, when they come up with something (be it a power, feat, class or monster) have a very limited number of playtesters as compared to the overall number of players. And it is *impossible* for them to predict how most players will use what they created. They can make a good guess. Sometimes the guess aligns well with what the public does, sometimes it doesn't.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
So the point here is "Start publishing awesome D&D again and I'll pay for it?" I can get behind that.

well, if you opt in you will get put in, theres over 9000 in there now



... my time with the internet almost refuses to let this pass without comment, but I think I can restrain myself (though I guess this constitutes a comment, so whatever...)



lol wow. please dont beat around the bush. if you think what i said is untrue just say so. you arent a subscriber, thus you wont/will never be invited, but those who subscribe, have opted in, and let it be known they want in will get in.
froth, he's referring to the "over 9000" meme, not doubts as to the veracity of the number of people using the VT.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
The problem with that assumption (that the numbers don't chnage from the start) is the following: It's not that the numbers are changing, it's just that the players are using the numbers in a way that couldn't be predicted by the designers. The designers, when they come up with something (be it a power, feat, class or monster) have a very limited number of playtesters as compared to the overall number of players. And it is *impossible* for them to predict how most players will use what they created. They can make a good guess. Sometimes the guess aligns well with what the public does, sometimes it doesn't.



And here's where I fall out of the target market for D&D 4E. I want decent rules not perfect rules. Given the choice between decent and usable now with two or three pages of errata or aiming for perfect with 32 pages of errata and more every month I'll take decent and usable now.

I understand Wizards has chosen to shoot for perfection and that DDI is the only way to keep up. But I don't like the decision and I do wish it was otherwise. I miss playing the most current version of D&D. But I'm not buying Essentials or getting DDI so by default I'm already using an old ruleset.

Also, perfect rules are an illusion. The DMG writers were 100% sure their numbers were spot on. Now other developers have those writers' jobs and the numbers have changed. They will change again next month. D&D just doesn't seem like storytelling and roleplaying as much anymore but more like accounting or doing calculus. Fun for some people (and you can make money at it) but it is not for me. Too much math and fiddling around with numbers and not enough enjoying the nice books my friends and I bought and want to use.

Can I just use the books as written? Sure if I could play D&D by myself. And which books? DMG? DMG 2? Rules Compendium? And needing a group means I need to be able to use a core set of rules everyone agrees on. And that core set of rules doesn't exist for D&D anymore. Everyone has a different definition of D&D 4E now.
froth, he's referring to the "over 9000" meme, not doubts as to the veracity of the number of people using the VT.



which is of course true, with more being added all the time

while were on the subject mand i have an andok sur game sat if yould like to play. 330 eastern, thread in the beta forum
As for the DM as salesman, it seems like this should be possible though the character builder. Maybe the DM can have designated players and the players get a discounted character builder without the DM tools and magazines. I agree that anything that helps the street level DM get and keep players can only be good for the gamers, Wizards, and D&D as an RPG.



They *used* to support this somewhat.  D&D Gameday Material was great.  DMs spend 8 hours of their time learning the adventure and running it, in return got a poster map, a 4 hour adventure and 8 or so minis.  It was terriffic, and gave a chance to really show 4E off to people who hadn't played it yet.  Then they pulled back on the minis and went with generic pogs.  Interest from players and DMs dropped off a little.  Then they pulled the program completely and replaced it with Encounters, which is fine, it's fun and works somewhat but it's not the same as it was when I could fill a game store with 9 tables of D&D for a promotion of a new book.

Let's also not forget that they pulled back D&D Rewards, which cut further into the stable of DMs willing to run the games and promote at our monthly meetups.

Basically, it kind of felt like a kick in the teeth for some of us who bent over backwards promoting 4E to have lots of support pulled back... burned me a little bit anyhow. 
I agree totally. You have gone past errata into actually changing the rules.
WOTC Podcast: "The web is a shortcut" "Piracy was a big thing"
Well I'm not as versed in the issue as I could be, but I want more fluff. Honestly I've been saying it for years around my local stores but now I just want to say it here. Bring Mystara back. Also I agree try not to change the rules unless its a serious mistake that breaks some form of game mechanic. Also rather than "fixing" established rules why not make new ones. I'd like to see a box set on players being able to take their own kingdom and deal with political issues rather than just "slay the monsters". I know as a DM I could create those rules but it'd just be nice to see Wizards support expanding the D&D franchise beyond just a dungeon crawl. I came up with that idea because I was looking into Traveller (Sci-Fi PnP RPG) and they had an old out of publish book about "Pocket Empires", what it was was a book that had rules that instructed players and DMs in the creationg of minor Empires in space. It had tables for fleet construction, building armies, building planetary assets and so forth. Sure it changed the focus of the game but it was meant for players who had "maxed" out their characters while adventuring the normal way. "So what do you do with all your money, wealth, contacts, and power? Why not build a minor space Empire!"

Anyways I agree with the OPer, try not to fix things that arn't broken. Just make new stuff and I'll drop my money on that.

Oh and lastly, more "small group" support please. You know 1-3 players, sometimes even 2. That'd be nice. The starter boxset had a great adventure that was provided by the book and didn't even need a DM. It was fun, and I enjoyed it. 
many other game companies do not. I'd say Wizards is unique


Wizards is unique.  They are the largest RPG company and they only sell things in large volumes.  Smaller companies can make do making less money on items that garner fewer sales. 



But is this true?  It's rare to see a D&D product even in the top 5 of RPG sales at Amazon (an indirect measure, obviously, not taking into account local gaming stores), which is typically dominated by Pathfinder products.  And when there is a D&D product in the top 10, it is usually whatever is just about to come out, or something no longer in production like a PHBx or the 3-book set.

At the time of this writing D&D products are doing well, at sales rank #4 (Shadowfell) and 6-10; but this is not ordinarily the case.  But position #7 is the PHB2 and #13 is the PHB1!!!  I see this as a real problem for more recently developed WotC products.  They can't even compete versus the old, much less rivals.  And if a rival company is doing better, can WotC still be said to be the dominant force?
Well I'm not as versed in the issue as I could be, but I want more fluff. 



well they just came out w shadow box that is nearly all fluff, do you have it yet? i see a lot of people wanting fluff but it seems that few realize just like a week or so ago a box of fluff came out
many other game companies do not. I'd say Wizards is unique


Wizards is unique.  They are the largest RPG company and they only sell things in large volumes.  Smaller companies can make do making less money on items that garner fewer sales. 



But is this true?  It's rare to see a D&D product even in the top 5 of RPG sales at Amazon (an indirect measure, obviously, not taking into account local gaming stores), which is typically dominated by Pathfinder products.  And when there is a D&D product in the top 10, it is usually whatever is just about to come out, or something no longer in production like a PHBx or the 3-book set.

At the time of this writing D&D products are doing well, at sales rank #4 (Shadowfell) and 6-10; but this is not ordinarily the case.  But position #7 is the PHB2 and #13 is the PHB1!!!  I see this as a real problem for more recently developed WotC products.  They can't even compete versus the old, much less rivals.  And if a rival company is doing better, can WotC still be said to be the dominant force?



of course wizards is the dominating force, they move people to come on their forums and post unreliable data. any company that has that kind of control over some dudes life is the dominant force in gaming. otherwise the guy would get a life and go to a pathfinder website. dont you think?
So the point here is "Start publishing awesome D&D again and I'll pay for it?" I can get behind that.

well, if you opt in you will get put in, theres over 9000 in there now



... my time with the internet almost refuses to let this pass without comment, but I think I can restrain myself (though I guess this constitutes a comment, so whatever...)



All you have to do is tell them you want in, and you're in. It's available to all DDI subscribers.
many other game companies do not. I'd say Wizards is unique


Wizards is unique.  They are the largest RPG company and they only sell things in large volumes.  Smaller companies can make do making less money on items that garner fewer sales. 



But is this true?  It's rare to see a D&D product even in the top 5 of RPG sales at Amazon (an indirect measure, obviously, not taking into account local gaming stores), which is typically dominated by Pathfinder products.  And when there is a D&D product in the top 10, it is usually whatever is just about to come out, or something no longer in production like a PHBx or the 3-book set.

At the time of this writing D&D products are doing well, at sales rank #4 (Shadowfell) and 6-10; but this is not ordinarily the case.  But position #7 is the PHB2 and #13 is the PHB1!!!  I see this as a real problem for more recently developed WotC products.  They can't even compete versus the old, much less rivals.  And if a rival company is doing better, can WotC still be said to be the dominant force?



You are so incredibly wrong that it hurts. D&D is consistently at least half of the top ten bestsellers on Amazon in their category. But those numbers there mean absolutely nothing because Amazon releases no sales figures to go alongside them. Without sales figures to actually prove anything it's just a relative gauge of what's currently selling better and doesn't mean anything else. You can't infer that D&D is doing better or worse without numbers to go along with it because for all you know the difference between 1st and 4th place is five books sold, or it could be a thousand books sold.

So basically you're making a really, really illogical assumption based on a complete lack of any real information.

edit: hell, it'd be much more solid to infer that D&D is doing leagues better because only two PF books are in the top twenty while fifteen D&D books are in the top twenty. 
Errata isn't bad as long as it's intelligent errata. If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it (and fail). For example, the errata to Blade Cascade was necessary. The errata to the cleric is ridiculous and pointless.

edit: hell, it'd be much more solid to infer that D&D is doing leagues better because only two PF books are in the top twenty while fifteen D&D books are in the top twenty. 



That doesn't mean much, when the #1 book is selling at overall sales rank 900 and the #20 book is at overall rank 11,000.  I was focusing on the top 5 RPG products because those tend to be in the top 3,000 of all books sold.  But looking at the entire chart, as you suggest, I think there's plenty of evidence found to demonstrate WotC is going in a direction that doesn't interest consumers.  For example, find the PHB1 on the chart (it's #11).  Now find the shiny new HotL (it's #25).  The even newer Forgotten Kingdom book is #35, showing a distinct tapering of interest from the first to the second.  Even PHB3 beats both of them at #21!  Who knows what they'll be tomorrow, as Amazon #'s fluctuate depending on sales, but these are consistent trends.
   
My point is: Older (some would say obsolete) books like PHB1 are still near/in the top 10 on a consistent basis, while newer, much advertised products like HotFL is at sales rank 11,318 (RPG category #25).  HotFL was just released, and has plummeted.  Yet WotC is altering their game design and updates to reflect the poorer selling item rather than those which have consistently sold well.  That sounds like a recipe for disaster - it would be one thing if the older books were no longer selling, but they consistently outperform the "new and improved" ones.

Additionally, I pointed out that they have competition (mostly Pathfinder) which routinely outperforms them in the short run, though it does taper off in the long run (with the exception of their core rulebook).  The PF Core Rules have fallen now to #20... But where are the Essentials (aka the 10 products which will always be available and should be considered the design going forward)?  Well, we can find the Rules Compendium at #10.  But the players books?  Only Heroes of Shadow, which does not have the word Essentials appearing in its title, is anywhere near the Top 10, or even 20 (although the Red Box makes a showing at #17).

I would agree that WotC is a dominant force, but are in an active process of marginalizing themselves.  The only Essentials book that shows up routinely in the top 10 is the Rules Compendium, and the Essentials player books never even approach it.  So I stand by my question: is it really valid to still consider WotC the leader in the RPG field?
But is this true?


Yes, It's true.  Erik Mona of Paizo, Wizards' closest competition has said numerous times that Wizards' sales are at least five times that of Pathfinder.  And historically, that's about right.  D&D has always gobbled between 60-80% of the RPG market once they started getting competition.  I think one quarter, Pathfinder tied Wizards in sales, in a quarter where Wizards was not releasing anything huge and Pathfinder just released its Advanced Players' Guides, one of their topsellers for the year.

This isn't saying anything bad against Pathfinder.  Pathfinder is doing as well as any non-D&D RPG culd ever hope to achieve.  It's probably doing as well as White Wolf did at the height of the World of Darkness craze, and it's possible Paizo will be able to sustain that success better than White Wolf did.  (At its height in the early 2000's, White Wolf claimed to have captured more than 25% of the RPG market, which, at the time, was unprecedented.)

There is very little hard sales data out there, and whatever you can glean is both unreliable and anecdotal.  All we have are the quarterly consumer surveys put out by the local trade magazine, and the ocassional snippets of info revealed casually by executives at various RPG companies, who really are the only ones who might know how the business is faring.

But for the thirty years I've been following RPGs, the story has basically been the same.  D&D and its related games (like Gamma World) takes up about 60-80% of the market.  There's usually one big competitor who takes up another 15-20% of the market (Paizo now, previously White Wolf, and Steven Jackson before that), and the rest of the RPG world divides the remaining 5-20% of the market amongst them. 

That might someday change.  But for now, I haven't seen any hard evidence that it has changed.
But is this true?


Yes, It's true.  Erik Mona of Paizo, Wizards' closest competition has said numerous times that Wizards' sales are at least five times that of Pathfinder.  And historically, that's about right.  D&D has always gobbled between 60-80% of the RPG market once they started getting competition.  I think one quarter, Pathfinder tied Wizards in sales, in a quarter where Wizards was not releasing anything huge and Pathfinder just released its Advanced Players' Guides, one of their topsellers for the year.

This isn't saying anything bad against Pathfinder.  Pathfinder is doing as well as any non-D&D RPG culd ever hope to achieve.  It's probably doing as well as White Wolf did at the height of the World of Darkness craze, and it's possible Paizo will be able to sustain that success better than White Wolf did.  (At its height in the early 2000's, White Wolf claimed to have captured more than 25% of the RPG market, which, at the time, was unprecedented.)

There is very little hard sales data out there, and whatever you can glean is both unreliable and anecdotal.  All we have are the quarterly consumer surveys put out by the local trade magazine, and the ocassional snippets of info revealed casually by executives at various RPG companies, who really are the only ones who might know how the business is faring.

But for the thirty years I've been following RPGs, the story has basically been the same.  D&D and its related games (like Gamma World) takes up about 60-80% of the market.  There's usually one big competitor who takes up another 15-20% of the market (Paizo now, previously White Wolf, and Steven Jackson before that), and the rest of the RPG world divides the remaining 5-20% of the market amongst them. 

That might someday change.  But for now, I haven't seen any hard evidence that it has changed.



If Paizo tied WotC at ANY point in time. It indicates that WotC is on the downhill slide and Paizo is moving up. Even if Paizo is only at 35% of the market and still growing while WotC is at 65% and shrinking, it should be a wake-up call to WotC that they are losing out. Also they new Essentials rule books are complete game so they appeal to new players as well as experienced players so if they are consistently behind the original PHBs, then it actually is a bad sign. It tells us that internet savvy people like 4E-Pre-E better than Essentials. It may not be all of the market, but you better believe it is a sizable portion of it...

I left for a month because it seemed WotC was bent on driving D&D into the ground. It looks as though nothings changed...

Anyone know of a good 4E clone that has great customer service and doesn't issue C&D every time someone turns around?
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
...
Dear Wizards,

First, please ease off on the fear of piracy. I know some deadbeats steal your stuff. However, I find it very hard to believe that the piracy would not be offset by the goodwill of your loyal customers. I pay for stuff, I won’t steal from you. So give me back the PDFs I’ve already bought and that you’ve yanked, and let me buy new PDFs. I do not steal and Wizards you should trust me and the majority of us gamers.



Indeed.  Compile the magazines.  It's cool if you don't want to sell PDF books, but at least compile the digital only options for your paying customers.  People who want to steal your stuff will steal your stuff.  If I can (as joe schmoe) compile the articles with two mouse clicks, and with one highlight and drop I can take the articles and  post a torrent folder to steal instead of one file, the only people you're really hassling is the paying consumers.

...Second, give me back the core rulebooks (PH, DMG, and MM) with updates included. Call it 4E or 4.5 or 4.75 or 5E it doesn’t matter. But pick the rules and don’t errata these books anymore unless a true mistake (a misprint or missing rule for example) actually crept in (try to avoid big mistakes here however, such as the majority of the 4E MM or skill challenges in the 4E DMG). Sell me these updated books, don’t change the rules all the time, and let us all play D&D.


Like it or lump it, there is a rule compendium, DM guide, and Monster Vault that all basically do this.  That the books aren't straight reprints... "you can't always get what you want..."
Third, give us around four to six rulebooks a year including player books (magic items, a book of new rule options like extra powers for the PHB classes, a stronghold book, how to do steampunk D&D, Asian adventures etc.), DM books (planes books, books about gods and world building, Underdark book, undersea book, etc.), and monster/NPC books (even a themed book would be great—villainous adventurers for example or Asian monsters etc).


2011, let's see...Heroes of shadow (player), Shadowfell (DM), Monster Vault 2 (DM), Heroes of Feywild (player), Book of vile Darkness (DM).

Clearly falls between 4-6 books/products (and yep, each of those has a "book" in them).  Also there is a rumored return of the Magic Emporium in 2011, bringing the total to 6.

Fourth, in addition to the four to six rulebooks, release maybe three to four campaign books (maybe softcover to keep costs down) a year. When the core rulebooks re-release, I’d love for Wizards to be bold and release a new world to go with the updated rules (maybe one of the world contest runner ups tuned for 4E). In addition, that year add one or two books to the existing worlds of Nentir Vale, FR, Eberron, DS, and GW.

I'd love some GW material, but WotC is pretty committed to not blowing up with campaign material, because it is not a seller like generic material.

Plus, note that most of the new material is Nentir Vale setting material.  So the two MV's, the Shadowfell box, much of these items are creating a basic campaign setting.  Also the Super adventure due out later this year also reinforces the "core" setting.

Finally, publish at least six good adventures a year (aim for two Heroic, two Paragon, and two Epic). Again, some of these adventures could tie in to the campaign world releases (a horror adventure for example).



YMMV on the definition of good, but ALL the encounters stuff is set in the core setting of Nentir Vale, and each Vault-esque product has more encouter and adventures than you can shake a stick at.  Plus, Dungeon Magazine does have some interesting material, with some good adventures.  It would be nice to see an adventure campaign like SoW or the Age of Worms though.
My main thought is that they are doing a significant amount of what you are asking for right now.  If they are basically doing what you want right now and you're still not satisfied...

What more can they really do? (with out pulling ANOTHER about face on brand direction.  That would be even more "unstable")
My Blog, mostly about D&D.
57304548 wrote:
I imagine that Majestic Moose plays a more "A team" type game than most of us. By that I mean he allows his players to make tanks out of a backyard playground set since the players have more "fun" that way.
Actually I much prefer The Losers.
Show
When I and my friends sit down we want a game of heroic fantasy. Rare is the moment when I have cried out in a video game or RPG "that's unrealistic." (Unless there is no jump button. Seriously makes me mad, single handedly ruined the N64 zelda series for me, but that's a digression of a digression.) I mean, we play games with the force in galaxies far, far away, with supernatural horrors, dragons and demi-gods, alternate cosmologies, etc. Reality and it's effects hold little sway to what makes a Heroic fantasy game fun IMO. Just repeat after me: You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are not how much you've spent on WotC products. You are not whatever RPG you play. You are one of tens of thousands of people that spend money on a hobby. You will not always get what you want
It's probably doing as well as White Wolf did at the height of the World of Darkness craze, and it's possible Paizo will be able to sustain that success better than White Wolf did.  (At its height in the early 2000's, White Wolf claimed to have captured more than 25% of the RPG market, which, at the time, was unprecedented.)



I still like the new World of Darkness, and loved the first edition of Exalted. However, the second edition's system for combat turns pisses me the hell off and is so intigrated into the system I can't just scrap it in favor of a standard one, so it sits on my shelf, unused. I regret selling off the 1st edition stuff to buy it.

But White Wolf seems to be going to a very reduced publishing shcedule, and I half expect they will be purely a print-on-demand company for RPGs soon, favoring the WoD MMO that their new Nordic overlords seem to be pushing. Which is sad. The core WoD game is pretty good.
No one wins in the Edition Wars. The whole hobby loses. Wizards did not lose me as a DDI subscriber with the Online CB, they lost me long before that. And I have let my Herald Level GM Status lapse after 8 years. Wizards lack of support and the Edition Wars Trolls that are poorly moderated just managed to take all the fun out of public events. ~~ KT
It's probably doing as well as White Wolf did at the height of the World of Darkness craze, and it's possible Paizo will be able to sustain that success better than White Wolf did.  (At its height in the early 2000's, White Wolf claimed to have captured more than 25% of the RPG market, which, at the time, was unprecedented.)



I still like the new World of Darkness, and loved the first edition of Exalted. However, the second edition's system for combat turns pisses me the hell off and is so intigrated into the system I can't just scrap it in favor of a standard one, so it sits on my shelf, unused. I regret selling off the 1st edition stuff to buy it.

But White Wolf seems to be going to a very reduced publishing shcedule, and I half expect they will be purely a print-on-demand company for RPGs soon, favoring the WoD MMO that their new Nordic overlords seem to be pushing. Which is sad. The core WoD game is pretty good.



It's actually my preferred system, mechanically. You only ever really need to know one core mechanic.