Encounters and Lair Assaults: Help! I want to play them too.

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So I live/work in a place where there is no affiliated store which sells DnD products. We have a group of 7 that play 2-3 times a month using published adventures. Stores in nearby cities kind of give us the cold shoulder as we're not regular customers and they say their materials are for regulars only.  

My questions are: 


  • How can a group of us from a small town in the middle of nowhere experience the same Encounters and Lair Assault seasons as players in large cities? 

  • I pay for DnD insider, why aren't previous seasons available for me if people are playing them for free every Wednesday??

  • Has anyone had a good experience with Wizards of the Coast customer service? I've gotten no response from them what so ever with my questions about this topic. 





Any help would be greatly appreciated. 
1) You really can't, unless you shell out big bucks on ebay. Its a pity really. 4e really shines with both of these programs (I'm partial to Lair Assault), and its a shame that more of these types of modules aren't readily available to "the folks."

2) Don't know, really. I assume the argument would have something to do with supporting your FLGS, however, many of us don't have those stores around us and many of those that do still don't have access to these programs.

3) Nope, your current experience is on par with the vast majority of the rest of us. 

I think the scarcity of the materials is a way that they try to incentivize DM's for both Encounters and Lair Assault.  The DM's generally keep the modules.  Now they either have a rare gem for their collection or they can turn a quick buck selling it.  


If these modules were freely available, that incentive goes away.  For most DM's in organized play, this is not the primary reason they are there, but I think it is certainly a factor.  


However, even with e-publishing the modules, the printed maps that come with the kit would still be a big deal.  Some of those maps are really great and you can see why some people might pay a premium to get a hold of them.


TjD 

I’ve removed content from this thread because Encouraging Illegal Activities is a violation of the Code of Conduct.

You can review the Code of Conduct here: company.wizards.com/conduct

Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks.You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively.

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1) You really can't, unless you shell out big bucks on ebay. Its a pity really. 4e really shines with both of these programs (I'm partial to Lair Assault), and its a shame that more of these types of modules aren't readily available to "the folks."

2) Don't know, really. I assume the argument would have something to do with supporting your FLGS, however, many of us don't have those stores around us and many of those that do still don't have access to these programs.

3) Nope, your current experience is on par with the vast majority of the rest of us. 



Currently EBay has Lair Assault adventures for pretty cheap ($33-$50). I shake my head at stores that receive a product for free and then instead of doing what is right with the product and allowing the community to experience it they instead turn around and sell it on eBay (it is like stealing and it's low). Shrug.

Chris has alluded to the fact that they might start offering as part of the DDi subscription previous D&D encounters. The Lost Tomb of Tamochan was in last month's Dungeon issue. It runs for about $125 on eBay as it was a special release module given as a reward. I'd keep tuned to DDi and see what Chris stirs up for us.
I’ve removed content from this thread because Encouraging Illegal Activities is a violation of the Code of Conduct.

You can review the Code of Conduct here: company.wizards.com/conduct

Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks.You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively.

If you wish to report a post for Code of Conduct violation, click on the “Report Post” button above the post and this will submit your report to the moderators on duty.


I think it's fantastic and not surprising to see a mod/staff member not reply to the issue at hand but rather edit a post and leave a cut/paste reply.

Thanks WOTC!!
I’ve removed content from this thread because Encouraging Illegal Activities is a violation of the Code of Conduct.



You know what REALLY encourages Illegal Activities? Not having a flexible business model which gives your customers what they wish to PURCHASE. Not even responding to emails/posts or phone calls make it even more frustrating. 

The customer service I've experienced is horrendous - how can you blame someone when they find a torrent file with every book, adventure, and such in PDF that they want to download it instead of buying your merchandise. 
If you are having problems with CS now, try asking them a rules question.

Its actually rather amusing to see how far off some of their responses can be. 
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I’ve removed content from this thread because Encouraging Illegal Activities is a violation of the Code of Conduct.



You know what REALLY encourages Illegal Activities? Not having a flexible business model which gives your customers what they wish to PURCHASE. Not even responding to emails/posts or phone calls make it even more frustrating. 

The customer service I've experienced is horrendous - how can you blame someone when they find a torrent file with every book, adventure, and such in PDF that they want to download it instead of buying your merchandise. 


There's so much wrong with the way Wizards manages their games and communities, it's not even funny anymore. They're slowly (very, very slowly) starting to get a grip on how to handle Magic: the Gathering related stuff, but if you're expecting any useful service whatsoever for other titles, you're SOL. 

Sure, they have services, but as observed they don't actually solve the problems plaguing D&D and its community. Or maybe they consider the part of the community that actually voices complaints on (Wizards' own) public forums such a small minority that they don't bother to put in much work to fix them. 

You're better off just accepting that's the way it is, and vote with your wallet. I know I do (you know how because you've read my removed comment and PM).
 

My questions are: 


  • How can a group of us from a small town in the middle of nowhere experience the same Encounters and Lair Assault seasons as players in large cities? 

  • I pay for DnD insider, why aren't previous seasons available for me if people are playing them for free every Wednesday??

  • Has anyone had a good experience with Wizards of the Coast customer service? I've gotten no response from them what so ever with my questions about this topic. 




I had a similar situation about a year ago. I asked a FLGS in Murfreesboro, TN that DOES run the Encounters/Lair Assault program if I could run an Encounters session AFTER Wednesday, for people like myself who have circumstances that prevent Wednesday evening play. We would abide by all the rules of Encounters, use the Twitter buffs retroactively, with the only exception being that you can't play if you played on Wednesday... everything to continue the game play experience for a whole slew of folks who can't experience the 'official' version.

The owner was excited about the prospect (gets more folks into his store on another night, so he can sell more stuff) and asked his WotC rep. What we were told was that we could NOT run Encounters on any night other than Wednesday night, as it was intended to be a wide-ranging gaming night and offering it on other nights lessened that for the other players (wtf?) the killer though, was that any store offering Encounters on an off night COULD (not necessarily WOULD, but COULD) have their licensing pulled for future Encounters events.

With that in mind...

1. You can't, is the simple answer. Definetly not in an "official" way. Your desire for participation doesn't matter to WotC.

2. This is a question that has been asked since Season 1 ended. They could release the old season as the new season started as a Dungeon magazine article. No dice.

3. Never, though after my initial slapping in the face over the Encounters thing, I have gone widely out of my way to avoid talking to them. The model is silly.

It amazes me that Hasbro has not caught on: People would BUY THESE PRODUCTS SEPARATELY. If they would sell them. PDF, hard copy (a la Keep on the Shadowfell, et al), Dungeon article... they could MAKE MONEY from products they already have. I'm dumbfounded, truthfully. Every season.
So many PCs, so little time...
These should be available for sale as PDFs.

They're available as pirated PDFs rather easily so why not make legitimate copies available for sale?

(That's a rhetorical question. Nobody in WotC has the clout to tell the Hasbro lawyers that banning the sale of PDFs just made it a lot easier for those who want PDFs and who are willing and able to pay for them to instead get pirated copies.

This is why you don't let lawyers run businesses. They offer legal advice - the better ones offer strategic advice - but it's also in their blood to manufacture risk to justify their existence/perceptions of importance.)
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
The model is silly.

I have bigger issues with D&D, but I'd like to try playing devil's advocate here:

- WotC has previously sold adventures, but doesn't make very much money on them
- Hundreds of excellent (official) adventures are available for free at LFR
- The value of lair assault/encounters is primarily their rarity
- FLGS's are the most likely place to generate new players
- WotC needs to support FLGS's in order to maintain a large player base
- These events draw in new players, and provide an excellent incentive to procure DM's for them.

It might be frustrating, but in perspective: there are better adventure available for free (that you probably haven't even touched yet). So let WotC have some unique events. The health of D&D (and/or your FLGS) might just depend on it.

I mean, they'll probably be available in some format eventually (nothing ever goes away permanently, especially in the digital age)... but acknowledging that right now would lower their current perceived value, quashing the whole gig. Don't harsh the gravy train, man.

The model is silly.

I have bigger issues with D&D, but I'd like to try playing devil's advocate here:

- WotC has previously sold adventures, but doesn't make very much money on them
- Hundreds of excellent (official) adventures are available for free at LFR
- The value of lair assault/encounters is primarily their rarity
- FLGS's are the most likely place to generate new players
- WotC needs to support FLGS's in order to maintain a large player base
- These events draw in new players, and provide an excellent incentive to procure DM's for them.

It might be frustrating, but in perspective: there are better adventure available for free (that you probably haven't even touched yet). So let WotC have some unique events. The health of D&D (and/or your FLGS) might just depend on it.

I mean, they'll probably be available in some format eventually (nothing ever goes away permanently, especially in the digital age)... but acknowledging that right now would lower their current perceived value, quashing the whole gig. Don't harsh the gravy train, man.




If it's cool, I'll answer in bullet point.

- A little money from legit sales is worth more than no money from potentially pirated copies online. Take the money people are SCREAMING to pay!
- I have a number of those adventures downloaded, and have played in a few LFR games. Some are good, some are great, some not so much. But a great resource, to be sure.
- The value of Lair Assault/Encounters is primarily their rarity AT THE TIME THEY ARE BEING PLAYED. After that, their run has been had; why deny everyone else the opportunity to EVER play them?
- FLGS ARE most likely to generate new players. So keep the current system in place, just release the content AFTER the fact to the loyal people who have BEEN buying your stuff.
- FLGS do need WotC support, so I agree 100% on that point.
- The events DO draw in new players, and provide incentive for more experienced players (some of whom have never DM'd before) to run the games for everyone else, broadening many areas of the gaming culture. Again, I don't miss Encounters because I want to - my priorities don't really make it available to me. Boss-hiss responsibilities, but there it is.

My sour grapes really comes from the fact that I pay a monthly subscription fee to a company, for tools that used to be offline but are now cloud based (I understand the reason they change: disagree, perhaps, but understand), for online magazines that vary in their utility month to month (some good adventures, some bad, some good character crunch/fluff/ideas) and yet because I can't make the one night they choose to sanction these events, they are completely cool with telling me "Sorry, dude. Thanks for the money buying our books, computer games, adventures, etc, but this thing.. this thing right here, that everyone really likes? Yeah, you can't have it if you don't make it on our night."

Spoiled kid syndrome? Yeah. I admit it. But damn. I've played every incarnation of D&D that has been, I have supported this hobby FOR DECADES, and this is the FIRST TIME with regards to D&D I can recall being told that I can't EVER see the Cool Thing, because I'm just not lucky enough to not have obligations on Wednesday nights.
I'm okay with not having other sanctioned game nights. I'm even okay with them not wanting the stores to run an "off" night game, though I do find that a bit ridiculous. But to NEVER make it available for me to experience that flavor of the hobby that I enjoy so much? It sucks. When I think things suck, I try to harsh gravy trains in revenge.

So many PCs, so little time...
- A little money from legit sales is worth more than no money from potentially pirated copies online. Take the money people are SCREAMING to pay!

People screaming to pay may ultimately be worth more than the legit sales (kinda like a nightclub denying access).

- The value of Lair Assault/Encounters is primarily their rarity AT THE TIME THEY ARE BEING PLAYED. After that, their run has been had; why deny everyone else the opportunity to EVER play them?

That value goes away if everyone knows that the adventure is just going to be published later... like the value of a Rare miniature or MtG card after it's announced that it's going to be reprinted as a Common. The fact that these adventures are so important to you (even though there are better adventures available for free that you haven't used yet) is an indication that it is working.

I can recall being told that I can't EVER see the Cool Thing

Many major conventions have unique adventures that can only be played there. Hardly anyone was ever able to play "The Sun Never Rises" or "The Dawn of Night" (thus few players legitimately started "Council of Spiders" with the surprisingly useful "Pendant of Lolth" item card). But that's just the incentive to attend things like Gencon and PAX.

... and there I've done it... I've let people know about more Cool Things that they are denied access to ;)



SNIP to avert wall of text syndrome


Many major conventions have unique adventures that can only be played there. Hardly anyone was ever able to play "The Sun Never Rises" or "The Dawn of Night" (thus few players legitimately started "Council of Spiders" with the surprisingly useful "Pendant of Lolth" item card). But that's just the incentive to attend things like Gencon and PAX.

... and there I've done it... I've let people know about more Cool Things that they are denied access to ;)




A good point. But realistically that just feeds into the "exclusive material" concept. Why not release them later? A season? A year? The drive to participate is still there - people always want to be in on the new thing first. But to not make the product ever available just seems silly.

Will I live without the Encounters seasons, or Gencon/PAX adventures?  (I knew about those, btw... but since I've only ever been to one Gencon, those are out of reach, mentally, so they sting less than something that is going on two miles from my house when I can't be there..)

Sure I will. But it would still be nice to get a chance to read them, play them, later down the line if I choose.

But... I cannot deny the effectiveness of the campaign. I want to play them, I just never will be able to.
So many PCs, so little time...
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