Is D&D Next dtf (doomed to fail)?

It's pretty hard to imagine it meeting WotC/Hasbro sale expectations when 3.5 couldn't. And well...3.5 seemed to have at least a less fragmented user base to deal with. Now Next has to worry about competing with Pathfinder, AND towing the line to 4 editions worth of players. 
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
It's pretty hard to imagine it meeting WotC/Hasbro sale expectations when 3.5 couldn't. 

I think 3.5 died more to kill the SRD and less for failing sales...

It's pretty hard to imagine it meeting WotC/Hasbro sale expectations when 3.5 couldn't. 

I think 3.5 died more to kill the SRD and less for failing sales...




Yeah.  Pathfinder has sold as well as 4e and it is basically 3.5e.   Heck 3.5e is basically 3e.  So 3e has basically been running now for 13 years.

I agree that WOTC regretted the OGL.  With just the tiniest bit of foresight they could have had an OGL that was both very productive and also less damaging to their own bottom line.  The Apple App store is the model they should have used.  Take a small cut of everything sold.  
It's pretty hard to imagine it meeting WotC/Hasbro sale expectations when 3.5 couldn't. 

I think 3.5 died more to kill the SRD and less for failing sales...




SRD wasn't a problem (Paizo) until they killed 3.5. The word is that 3.5 was ready to be put out to pasture because it wasn't meeting sales goals and 4e was an attempt to get enough money to please Hasbro.
It's no more doomed to failure than 3.5 or 4E was.
3E lost its share of D&D fans, but brought in new ones.
3.5 lost disenfranchised fans, but brought in new ones.
4E split the player base hard, but brought in new fans.
Each edition has come about with the threat of competitive games lurking.
3E had WoD to compete with.
4E had scores of OGL games to compete with.
5E has the same issues.
It will either succeed or fail, but I feel it won't be subtle. It will either succeed in spectacular fashion, or fail epically. I don't see it just moderately existing.
Doesn't really matter to me, though. I've got enough old-E material to keep me happily rolling dice until I depart this world. If it succeeds, it'll be one more version of D&D to add to my collection. If it fails...meh...doesn't affect me in the slightest.
It's pretty hard to imagine it meeting WotC/Hasbro sale expectations when 3.5 couldn't. 

I think 3.5 died more to kill the SRD and less for failing sales...




SRD wasn't a problem (Paizo) until they killed 3.5. The word is that 3.5 was ready to be put out to pasture because it wasn't meeting sales goals and 4e was an attempt to get enough money to please Hasbro.



I'd like to take a moment to frame this discussion,  because it's a bit more complicated than what's being indicated in this thread.

Hasbro,  seeing Marvel developing their properties into a strong product line that reached beyond it's traditional market,  decided they wanted to emulate that.  The rule was issued that for a product to see active development,  it had to be pulling in $50 million per year,  and if it didn't,  it wouldn't get significant development dollars.

The way Hasbro decided what a product line was,  was very biased with D&D.  The Rulebooks were one line,  the novels were a different line,  video game revenue was something else.  The rules were basically that the product had to be inline with,  and support,  an active rulebooks/setting.

WOTC had no choice but to reconfigure.  It wasn't that 3.5 wasn't selling well,  it was that it was now a disassociated set of product lines and didn't work under Hasbro's new rules.  So they changed editions,  made the FR realms novels support the setting by nuking the setting,  dropped Dragonlance because while the novels sold well,  they sold to more non-gamers than gamers and couldn't be reconfigured into the new mandate.  Dragon/Dungeon were folded back in and made digital in order to pull in more revenue by encouraging people to subscribe to DDI.

At the same time,  you can see Hasbro trying to farm out their properties into movies,  which is how we got Battleship.  There were movies of things like the Oijia boards in the works.

It's very likely the rules have now changed,  as their initiative didn't pan out across the board.  5th edition likely has a very different set of rules it's operating under.     
I would like to speak to the competing with P.F. part of your post O.p.

I actually bought Pathfinder as a result of being utterly bored with the Next playtest as of December. I have purchased 7 books and a GM Screen in 5 months. For me-There is no comparison. Pathfinder is a great game. I'm having an awesome time! My players love it. Thumbs up Paizo Publishing. 
Do I believe that 5th Editon can compete with P.F.? I suppose time will tell. As it now stands for me- There's no way in hell. I am not impressed in the least by wotc's paltry offerings. It's like driving a Cadillac ( P.F.) vs. driving a 71 Pinto ( Next).
I am not the entire player  base so I cannot speak for other fans. I can say I now understand why the 3.0-.5 crowd loves P.F. and the Paizo company so much. Unless wotc makes some major changes in their design strategy I won't be spending my money on 5E. I can't wait to buy more Paizo products. Beastiary 4 is coming out  Yaaah.. " Pulls out wallet". 
It's no more doomed to failure than 3.5 or 4E was.
3E lost its share of D&D fans, but brought in new ones.
3.5 lost disenfranchised fans, but brought in new ones.
4E split the player base hard, but brought in new fans.
Each edition has come about with the threat of competitive games lurking.
3E had WoD to compete with.
4E had scores of OGL games to compete with.
5E has the same issues.
It will either succeed or fail, but I feel it won't be subtle. It will either succeed in spectacular fashion, or fail epically. I don't see it just moderately existing.
Doesn't really matter to me, though. I've got enough old-E material to keep me happily rolling dice until I depart this world. If it succeeds, it'll be one more version of D&D to add to my collection. If it fails...meh...doesn't affect me in the slightest.

I could have written almost the same post in my bad english.

Where I do not agree is that my groups abandoned 2nd edition for WoD, and some other games, before the 3rd edition. We returned to D&D with the 3.5. So from our points of view, 2nd edition has done more wrong to D&D in the end than any other edition. 
It's pretty hard to imagine it meeting WotC/Hasbro sale expectations when 3.5 couldn't. 

I think 3.5 died more to kill the SRD and less for failing sales...




Yeah.  Pathfinder has sold as well as 4e and it is basically 3.5e.   Heck 3.5e is basically 3e.  So 3e has basically been running now for 13 years.

I agree that WOTC regretted the OGL.  With just the tiniest bit of foresight they could have had an OGL that was both very productive and also less damaging to their own bottom line.  The Apple App store is the model they should have used.  Take a small cut of everything sold.  


Given the amount of unplayable crap that came out with the OGL, it was inevitable that it was killed.

Seriously, there are only three systems out now that use it.  Actually, no I tell a lie.  Two.

Pathfinder which is a 3.55, essentially a clone.

And Mutants and Masterminds, which has tried to distance it's way from the ruleset, because anything 'D20' is a dirty word to them.
It's pretty hard to imagine it meeting WotC/Hasbro sale expectations when 3.5 couldn't. 

I think 3.5 died more to kill the SRD and less for failing sales...




Yeah.  Pathfinder has sold as well as 4e and it is basically 3.5e.   Heck 3.5e is basically 3e.  So 3e has basically been running now for 13 years.

I agree that WOTC regretted the OGL.  With just the tiniest bit of foresight they could have had an OGL that was both very productive and also less damaging to their own bottom line.  The Apple App store is the model they should have used.  Take a small cut of everything sold.  


Given the amount of unplayable crap that came out with the OGL, it was inevitable that it was killed.

Seriously, there are only three systems out now that use it.  Actually, no I tell a lie.  Two.

Pathfinder which is a 3.55, essentially a clone.

And Mutants and Masterminds, which has tried to distance it's way from the ruleset, because anything 'D20' is a dirty word to them.

Well there are 109 companies on paizo that make pathfinder stuff so with pathfinder itself, your looking at 110 companies using OGL.

This thead will no doubt get locked, so before that happens, I would like to point something out.

I don't believe it's accurate to attribute Paizo's current dominance to a superior product. If that were the case, WotC would only need to return to 3.5 to regain their position as #1.

I think people like Paizo better for three different reasons:

First     Paizo products have a higher production value that what Wotc has been producing. Thier stuff is elegent and beautiful, and easy to use. Nowhere is this more evident than Paizo's beginner box, which puts the Essentials Red Box to shame.  (note: the only exeption to this is the miniatures. The Pathfinder minis are still inferior,  but then WotC isn't make Minis anymore)

Second  Paizo has focused far more on published adventures and game aids than "splat books." In 5 years, they've put out only 3 or 4 sourcebooks devoted to character powers and options. Contrast that with Wotc. In only 3 years: Martial power, Divine Power, PHBs 2 & 3, Adventurer's vault... the list goes on. Splat books are self-limiting. The more WotC makes, the less each one sells.

Third      Paizo runs a better organized play program. Pathfinder society makes it easy for players to jump into games, and encourages DM's to run more adventures. Encounters, Lair Assault, LFR, Game days; those are a disjointed, conflicting mess.

In essence Paizo is the Apple to D&D's Microsoft. It doesn't matter which is the superior product, the one that is better managed, better promoted, and more user friendly wins.

In essence Paizo is the Apple to D&D's Microsoft. It doesn't matter which is the superior product, the one that is better managed, better promoted, and more user friendly wins.

LOL And I'd take microsoft everytime. The last time I wanted anything apple, it was my apple IIC, back in the good old days when it was still cool to have apple.

IF people find the new version to be fun, it will not fail. If enough people do not like the game or think it is un-fun for whatever reason, it will not sell.

Doomed to failure from the start? I don't think anyone can make that call.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
Considering how far along 5E is in development, and how amateurish it's looking, I'm getting the feeling it will be DOA.  Slinging stuff at a wall and seeing what sticks is not a good way to design a game system.

@mikemearls don't quite understand the difference

I don't make the rules, I just think them up and write them down. - Eric Cartman

Enough chitchat!  Time is candy! - Pinky Pie

IF people find the new version to be fun, it will not fail. If enough people do not like the game or think it is un-fun for whatever reason, it will not sell.

Doomed to failure from the start? I don't think anyone can make that call.

Well... There is a difference between a normal fail and a hasbro fail. It could make 49 million a year and harbro thinks that's a failure.

IF people find the new version to be fun, it will not fail. If enough people do not like the game or think it is un-fun for whatever reason, it will not sell.

Doomed to failure from the start? I don't think anyone can make that call.

Well... There is a difference between a normal fail and a hasbro fail. It could make 49 million a year and harbro thinks that's a failure.




I think between the board games, miniatures, subscriptions, new edition, book sales, old edition reprints, D&D pdfs that Hasbro will realize the revenue they expect on the combined brand sales.
Will the TTRPG have enough support to stand on its own two feet against dedicated companies like Paizo's Pathfinder? Time will tell. It could end up being 20 years from now:

8-Track is to D&D what MP3 is to Pathfinder.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
IF people find the new version to be fun, it will not fail. If enough people do not like the game or think it is un-fun for whatever reason, it will not sell.

Doomed to failure from the start? I don't think anyone can make that call.

Well... There is a difference between a normal fail and a hasbro fail. It could make 49 million a year and harbro thinks that's a failure.




I think between the board games, miniatures, subscriptions, new edition, book sales, old edition reprints, D&D pdfs that Hasbro will realize the revenue they expect on the combined brand sales.
Will the TTRPG have enough support to stand on its own two feet against dedicated companies like Paizo's Pathfinder? Time will tell. It could end up being 20 years from now:

8-Track is to D&D what MP3 is to Pathfinder.

You sir have more hope than I.

At a mini-con this weekend there was a ton of D&D action. Each edition (including an extra table for pathfinder) had it's own table. The only table that didn't get a group actively playing it throughout the night was 5th edition.

It really is doing a terrible job at fixing the fragmentation between fans. The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that D&D Next is not the edition that they want to play. 
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
The only thing everyone seems to agree on is that D&D Next is not the edition that they want to play. 

It IS something a lot of us can agree on, Hmmmm.....
So, I found the last survey rather telling. They focused on what we liked least. The intent, I'm guessing, is to get it up to a level where we'd all say, "It isn't my game of choice, but if my buddy wants to run it? Sure. I'll show up for the first session."
What I'm wondering is if in the following year they'll go for what we liked most. Will they make subclasses be kits 2.0 (a part of AD&D which some fans of that edition loved). Will there be engaging maneuvers available (similar to Bo9S/4e) for fans of that? Once they've covered the core basic essence of what is acceptable, will they spend the next year on what will rock?
Who knows? All I can say is that I've moved into the apathy bracket w/ so many others.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
All I can say is that I've moved into the apathy bracket w/ so many others.

Pull up a chair and have a beer while we wait.

Thanks! I appreciate it. Hope there aren't any membership dues...
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Thanks! I appreciate it. Hope there aren't any membership dues...

There most likely are, but nobody in the apathy club has the energy to collect. Wink

IF people find the new version to be fun, it will not fail. If enough people do not like the game or think it is un-fun for whatever reason, it will not sell.

Doomed to failure from the start? I don't think anyone can make that call.

Well... There is a difference between a normal fail and a hasbro fail. It could make 49 million a year and harbro thinks that's a failure.




I think between the board games, miniatures, subscriptions, new edition, book sales, old edition reprints, D&D pdfs that Hasbro will realize the revenue they expect on the combined brand sales.
Will the TTRPG have enough support to stand on its own two feet against dedicated companies like Paizo's Pathfinder? Time will tell. It could end up being 20 years from now:

8-Track is to D&D what MP3 is to Pathfinder.



I don't believe Hasbro actually count all of that towards WoTC D&D total.

The problem is that from what I've read the expectations of profits for D&D unfortunately do not include everything with the name D&D on it.

From your list board games probably fall under their board games division and book sales (if you mean novels) don't count either. That takes a huge chunk of money away.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There is a nice little self created divide here. Shame there can't be more acceptance instead. I feel that is where the future of the game should be.

All this vitriol, pushing away, retroactive retaliation, and preemptive striking needs to stop.

I keep trying but some won't let things go. Will you?

 

Because you like something, it does not mean it is good. Because you dislike something, it does not mean it is bad. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it everyone's opinion. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it truth. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it the general consensus. Whatever side you want to take, at least remember these things.

If it is doomed to fail, then there will be major repercussions, and not just in WotC. DDNext must be the most focus-groupped RPG system ever, pouring over every little aspect, and double-checking to make sure that the public is on-board with every change. If it fails to grab the public's attention after bending over backwards for the public's opinion, I think that the RPG industry as a whole will use it as a cautionary tale.

And because the industry lacks subtly, it won't just take this with a grain of salt. No, pundits will proclaim that feedback is anaethema and we must return to the era of the Gygaxian Ur-Designer who designs his system on the mountaintop. He will stride down like Moses and deliver his perfect system after he smashes the Golden Calf of Popular Opinion.  

 
This thead will no doubt get locked, so before that happens, I would like to point something out.

I don't believe it's accurate to attribute Paizo's current dominance to a superior product. If that were the case, WotC would only need to return to 3.5 to regain their position as #1.

I think people like Paizo better for three different reasons:

First     Paizo products have a higher production value that what Wotc has been producing. Thier stuff is elegent and beautiful, and easy to use. Nowhere is this more evident than Paizo's beginner box, which puts the Essentials Red Box to shame.  (note: the only exeption to this is the miniatures. The Pathfinder minis are still inferior,  but then WotC isn't make Minis anymore)

Second  Paizo has focused far more on published adventures and game aids than "splat books." In 5 years, they've put out only 3 or 4 sourcebooks devoted to character powers and options. Contrast that with Wotc. In only 3 years: Martial power, Divine Power, PHBs 2 & 3, Adventurer's vault... the list goes on. Splat books are self-limiting. The more WotC makes, the less each one sells.

Third      Paizo runs a better organized play program. Pathfinder society makes it easy for players to jump into games, and encourages DM's to run more adventures. Encounters, Lair Assault, LFR, Game days; those are a disjointed, conflicting mess.

In essence Paizo is the Apple to D&D's Microsoft. It doesn't matter which is the superior product, the one that is better managed, better promoted, and more user friendly wins.



And I would disagree with every one of your points. Paizo's huge books and adventures are not easy to flip through for information I don't know exactly where to look for. Overall, Paizo has (and is) producing more physical product than WotC has, and it's my opinion that adventures and fluff books have an equal diminishing-returns to it. Encounters/Lair Assault/LFR provide 3 very different playstyles, which seem like a bonus to me.

But you're not wrong to think that Paizo has been successful. They have. I just feel that the public was ready and eager to buy what Paizo was selling. It's not that Lisa Stevens did market research and remade her company to focus on this untapped market. They just kept on doing what they had always done, just without help from WotC, and the fanbase embraced it. Paizo and its fanbase have a great compatability, in that what the Paizo staff wants to make is nearly exactly what its customers want to buy from them. That's an excellent place to be in, but they do need to be wary for the time when the market shifts. TSR in the '90s kept acting like it was still the '80s, and that didn't turn out well.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

For me unless there are substantial changes which I simply don't see being made it is already a failure.  It doesn't matter one bit if the game "succeeds" if it is something I have no interest in playing.  WoW is spectacularly successful but to me it is currently a huge failure as I have zero desire to participate in it.
 


 
This thead will no doubt get locked, so before that happens, I would like to point something out.

I don't believe it's accurate to attribute Paizo's current dominance to a superior product. If that were the case, WotC would only need to return to 3.5 to regain their position as #1.

I think people like Paizo better for three different reasons:

First     Paizo products have a higher production value that what Wotc has been producing. Thier stuff is elegent and beautiful, and easy to use. Nowhere is this more evident than Paizo's beginner box, which puts the Essentials Red Box to shame.  (note: the only exeption to this is the miniatures. The Pathfinder minis are still inferior,  but then WotC isn't make Minis anymore)

Second  Paizo has focused far more on published adventures and game aids than "splat books." In 5 years, they've put out only 3 or 4 sourcebooks devoted to character powers and options. Contrast that with Wotc. In only 3 years: Martial power, Divine Power, PHBs 2 & 3, Adventurer's vault... the list goes on. Splat books are self-limiting. The more WotC makes, the less each one sells.

Third      Paizo runs a better organized play program. Pathfinder society makes it easy for players to jump into games, and encourages DM's to run more adventures. Encounters, Lair Assault, LFR, Game days; those are a disjointed, conflicting mess.

In essence Paizo is the Apple to D&D's Microsoft. It doesn't matter which is the superior product, the one that is better managed, better promoted, and more user friendly wins.



And I would disagree with every one of your points. Paizo's huge books and adventures are not easy to flip through for information I don't know exactly where to look for. Overall, Paizo has (and is) producing more physical product than WotC has, and it's my opinion that adventures and fluff books have an equal diminishing-returns to it. Encounters/Lair Assault/LFR provide 3 very different playstyles, which seem like a bonus to me.



I agree with all three of the points. As a player who has been heavily involved in DMing and playing 4e, 2e, and Pathfinder over the last 3 years after taking a hiatus in 1999, I can say that his points are eminently factual and are a goal D&D should strive for. Paizo is a community based RPG company. They give the community the game the community wants.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
For me unless there are substantial changes which I simply don't see being made it is already a failure.  It doesn't matter one bit if the game "succeeds" if it is something I have no interest in playing.  WoW is spectacularly successful but to me it is currently a huge failure as I have zero desire to participate in it.
 



This exact thing was said when 4E rules started showing up on the internet.

"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft



 
Paizo is a community based RPG company. They give the community the game the community wants.


This is the key to being the #1 RPG company on the market. Paizo understands it's community and is very pro gamer. WOTC is a Hazbro puppet who throws it's fans to the wolves every couple of years. Paizo is a game "for gamers- by gamers" company. This company listens and responds to it's fans. It also obviously extensively playtests every product so that there is continuity within the system. The practices of the Paizo publishing company make you feel part of the game and appriciated. The entire experience of being part of their fanbase invokes product loyalty.
For me unless there are substantial changes which I simply don't see being made it is already a failure.  It doesn't matter one bit if the game "succeeds" if it is something I have no interest in playing.  WoW is spectacularly successful but to me it is currently a huge failure as I have zero desire to participate in it.

I would like to speak to the competing with P.F. part of your post O.p.

I actually bought Pathfinder as a result of being utterly bored with the Next playtest as of December. I have purchased 7 books and a GM Screen in 5 months. For me-There is no comparison. Pathfinder is a great game. I'm having an awesome time! My players love it. Thumbs up Paizo Publishing. 
Do I believe that 5th Editon can compete with P.F.? I suppose time will tell. As it now stands for me- There's no way in hell. I am not impressed in the least by wotc's paltry offerings. It's like driving a Cadillac ( P.F.) vs. driving a 71 Pinto ( Next).
I am not the entire player  base so I cannot speak for other fans. I can say I now understand why the 3.0-.5 crowd loves P.F. and the Paizo company so much. Unless wotc makes some major changes in their design strategy I won't be spending my money on 5E. I can't wait to buy more Paizo products. Beastiary 4 is coming out  Yaaah.. " Pulls out wallet". 

Funny...I'm exactly the opposite. I also bought Pathfinder Core after playtesting D&DNext, but I've come to the conclusion that I will never DM a Pathfinder or 3.5 game again. I have found that the number of rules and modifiers needed to adjudicate a game in those systems is something I never want to go back to. I had huge homemade boards with 3.0, 3.5 and 4e rules/modifiers all over them. When I look at them now, I get nauseous.

I love the way D&DNext is so easy to DM. Yes, there are issues with monsters, PCs, etc, but if D&DNext makes it easy for me to DM without a DM screen and other notes, I'll buy it in a second.

I've also played in 4 or 5 sessions of a Pathfinder campaign since beginning the D&DNext playtest, and I still like the feel of D&DNext better than Pathfinder (granted I've only played a cleric and only levels 1 and 2).

I think when D&DNext is finally published, DM and player tastes will play a huge part in whether D&DNext is successful. Also, if it is easier to DM, and more people DM it...then, it will be easier to find a game so more players will at least try it.

A Brave Knight of WTF

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

For me unless there are substantial changes which I simply don't see being made it is already a failure.  It doesn't matter one bit if the game "succeeds" if it is something I have no interest in playing.  WoW is spectacularly successful but to me it is currently a huge failure as I have zero desire to participate in it.
 



This exact thing was said when 4E rules started showing up on the internet.


True to an extent, but the major difference here is we're seeing the innerworkings of the startup while we just had rumour for 4e. I wouldn't have thought I'd feel more at ease with 4e rumours...

Regardless of the game's merits (I'm reasonably comfidant that D&D Next will end up as something that's at least "fine"), Next will enter a market that looks pretty different than the world that 4e entered even just a half-decade earlier and that 3.0/3.5 entered before that. I think that if Next is "doomed to fail" it'd be because it was entering a world where almost no novel D&D TTRPG system could succeed at the levels that counts as success for D&D. (In the low-margins world of TTRPG publishing, what's "ruinous failure" for D&D is "dream sales" for the overwhelming majority of other TTRPG publishers, in part because of the opportunity cost of wasting the brand name.)

Do we actually live in a world where it isn't possible (or where it's extremely unlikely) that a new D&D system really just can't succeed? My intuition is that we don't; it's an extraordinary claim to begin with, and the people who actually have the market research don't seem to think so.

That said, is it a harder world to succeed in than in recent history? I think it may be, for the following reasons:

- The number of RPG systems available trends upward with time, generally. That means that there's more competition. Heck, the number of D&D systems goes upwards with time; Next is competing with more previous iterations of D&D than any D&D system ever has had to before. RPG systems don't really go away (especially now that .pdf distribution means that systems essentially never go out of print or become hard to find.) They're also much less consumable than many comparable products; not only do I not need several new RPG systems every year, I can't use that many.
- At the same time, increased internet connectivity makes it (slightly) easier for people to find fellow gamers whose tastes align. In the past, you were more likely to end up stuck playing with whatever system most people right next to you were already playing. The fact that this has changed (a little) slightly diminishes the advantages of being the "big dog" system.
- Similarly, it's easier to hear about appealing alternatives to the big dog systems; if I'm exactly the sort of person that OSR Ruleset #213 or Look Everyone I Fixed 3.5 RPG appeals to, I'm reasonably likely to run across it.
- Videogame penetration increases with time. I know that videogames are for stupid zombie babies and that anybody who's WORTHY of TTRPGs will recogonize their obvious superiority (or something like that), but if we're being real, pretending like other entertainment options aren't increasingly competing for entertainment dollars from D&D's core audience is silly.
- Piracy. This isn't brand new, but some portion of your audience is just not paying for the product. It's not clear to me to what extent 4e's attempts to add value in a less pirate-able format did much of anything.
- TTRPG saturation behaves virally. Being super popular feeds itself, even to the extent of D&D becoming a national fad. Being less popular makes it harder to be popular at all.
- I don't think we live in a world where as many current D&D players consider a new edition to be an automatic purchase as we used to. This was never "every D&D player", of course, and it's still "a lot of D&D players", but probably not quite as many.

There are some balancing factors too, of course -  you could make an argument that the stigmas associated with nerdy hobbies aren't as strong as they used to be, for example. While the giant public playtest probably has some pros and some cons, I have no trouble believing that overall the exposure is a good thing.

I think that Next has to be savvier (not the same as "better", although better can be a componant of that) than any recent edition to do nearly as well, and even more savvier if it wants to do a whole lot better. "Produce a novel RPG system that captures the majority of the market" is something that's been done only a very tiny number of times in history, depending on how you count. "Do it without being able to simultaneously discontinue the system that currently holds the overwhelming majority of the market" has been done even fewer times. (There's currently no such system in the way that there was when, say, 3.0 came out, and there's an extremely large, extremely similar competitor that isn't going anywhere.) Even with the D&D name behind it, simply walking in and trying to take control of the market is a difficult task, and maybe harder than ever.

If I had to put my money somewhere, I would put it on DDN doing well, but my brain won't explode from confusion if it has a bit more trouble.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
this thread is really silly, how many dnd next will fail do you need to get your point across. there is more than a dozen, i for one will be buying 5th edition. all the things i didnt like about 3rd or 4th are optional or removed and that will bring me back. the last item i paid for in the dnd line was some 2nd edition stuff to complete my collection right around 3rds launch. so this old timer will buy wotc products again. i was a part of a beta test group when second was being made and this is the first time in years i can say this game looks like dnd.
If it is doomed to fail, then there will be major repercussions, and not just in WotC. DDNext must be the most focus-groupped RPG system ever, pouring over every little aspect, and double-checking to make sure that the public is on-board with every change. If it fails to grab the public's attention after bending over backwards for the public's opinion, I think that the RPG industry as a whole will use it as a cautionary tale.

And because the industry lacks subtly, it won't just take this with a grain of salt. No, pundits will proclaim that feedback is anaethema and we must return to the era of the Gygaxian Ur-Designer who designs his system on the mountaintop. He will stride down like Moses and deliver his perfect system after he smashes the Golden Calf of Popular Opinion.



Well, I think that's also going to depend on how Exalted 3e fares.  There's a difference between being focus grouped and paying attention to the community.  Next is absurdly focus grouped, like you said, every single thing gets surveyed.  But there's almost no interaction going on here.  Mike Mearls does not post on these forums and have conversations with the player base.  While there's a ton of focus group testing going on, there's almost no interaction.  You go to White Wolf's forums, meanwhile, and the devs are right there talking to people, answering questions, getting them excited.

That's what we're not seeing from the development team of Next.  A blog post most Mondays and occassional posts on Twitter aren't the same thing as having a whole bunch of developers right here talking with us.  Next is being focus grouped, but without any personal connection to the developers, it's also about as ivory tower as it gets.


If Justin Bieber can sell CDs, everything is possible and nothing is doomed to fail.

May 11, 2013 -- 2:40PM, Alter_Boy wrote:

If it is doomed to fail, then there will be major repercussions, and not just in WotC. DDNext must be the most focus-groupped RPG system ever, pouring over every little aspect, and double-checking to make sure that the public is on-board with every change. If it fails to grab the public's attention after bending over backwards for the public's opinion, I think that the RPG industry as a whole will use it as a cautionary tale.

And because the industry lacks subtly, it won't just take this with a grain of salt. No, pundits will proclaim that feedback is anaethema and we must return to the era of the Gygaxian Ur-Designer who designs his system on the mountaintop. He will stride down like Moses and deliver his perfect system after he smashes the Golden Calf of Popular Opinion.




Well, I think that's also going to depend on how Exalted 3e fares.  There's a difference between being focus grouped and paying attention to the community.  Next is absurdly focus grouped, like you said, every single thing gets surveyed.  But there's almost no interaction going on here.  Mike Mearls does not post on these forums and have conversations with the player base.  While there's a ton of focus group testing going on, there's almost no interaction.  You go to White Wolf's forums, meanwhile, and the devs are right there talking to people, answering questions, getting them excited.

That's what we're not seeing from the development team of Next.  A blog post most Mondays and occassional posts on Twitter aren't the same thing as having a whole bunch of developers right here talking with us.  Next is being focus grouped, but without any personal connection to the developers, it's also about as ivory tower as it gets.


This is a good point. Even a developer representative could help stimulate interaction and break down the feeling that WotC works in an ivory tower. I would rather the developers keep working on the game, but it would be nice to have some interaction.

The Google Hangout sessions were a good way to have direct interaction Developer to Playtesters.

A Brave Knight of WTF

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

I would like to speak to the competing with P.F. part of your post O.p.

I actually bought Pathfinder as a result of being utterly bored with the Next playtest as of December. I have purchased 7 books and a GM Screen in 5 months. For me-There is no comparison. Pathfinder is a great game. I'm having an awesome time! My players love it. Thumbs up Paizo Publishing. 
Do I believe that 5th Editon can compete with P.F.? I suppose time will tell. As it now stands for me- There's no way in hell. I am not impressed in the least by wotc's paltry offerings. It's like driving a Cadillac ( P.F.) vs. driving a 71 Pinto ( Next).
I am not the entire player  base so I cannot speak for other fans. I can say I now understand why the 3.0-.5 crowd loves P.F. and the Paizo company so much. Unless wotc makes some major changes in their design strategy I won't be spending my money on 5E. I can't wait to buy more Paizo products. Beastiary 4 is coming out  Yaaah.. " Pulls out wallet". 



 But but but you're a grognard!!!!!! (Paizo makes sexy books). Frank Mentzer is working on the Razor Coast btw.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

D&D Next isn't what is doomed to fail.  D&D is doomed to fail.  Next could come with a winning lottery ticket and a horny supermodel and it still wouldn't meet Hasbro's expectations.  There simply isn't enough of a market for TTRPG's in general to please a giant uber company.  Our hobby is niche so the games should be designed by niche publishers, this is only logical. 
All I can say is that I've moved into the apathy bracket w/ so many others.

Pull up a chair and have a beer while we wait.




 Something we agree on. I don't hate D&DN it is just a bit meh.

 Otherwinse in the spectacular success or spectacular fail camp. Just not sure which way it will go.  

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

I think there needs to be a business re-appraisal of 'D&D' as a brand as opposed to 'D&D' as a game

The former is a lot more commercially valuable than the latter but, I feel, is significantly damaged if the game itself cannot meet the gamer expectations of what the 'essence' of the game is. 

That is, the D&D brand is founded on the notion of it being the first RPG and is consequently the identifyable icon that sells spinoff games, movies and books. The game's place in the market is continually forced to compete with other games, but the brand itself outsells possibly the entire rpg market put together! The damage to the brand partially comes from not being the market leading RPG currently, but also because of the claims that the game itself 'isn't D&D' anymore. 

As such, regardless of the unit sales of the game itself, the Next iteration of D&D needs to convince old time gamers that it is indeed the real mccoy, regarless of whether they buy it, or play it or not.