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4th Edition and the "Younger Audience"


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

We're going to have to stop cross-posting; we're answering questions before they're asked!

Andoran

Snorter wrote:
We're going to have to stop cross-posting; we're answering questions before they're asked!

Or we're reading each others minds from 4000 miles apart ;)

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's why Pat left; he didn't want to be assimilated.

Andoran

Snorter wrote:
That's why Pat left; he didn't want to be assimilated.

He and I share a mind on a lot of issues, I just can't seem to get that whole "WoD" kernel of independent thinking out of his head. Damn, and he would have made a good soldier in my upcoming "Monty Haul" revolution!

;)


Snorter wrote:
That's why Pat left; he didn't want to be assimilated.

Leaving is futile. Pat will be assimilated.


Reporting to the collective ....

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Snorter wrote:
That's why Pat left; he didn't want to be assimilated.

Meh, I didn't want to derail the thread any more than neccessary. I just hate to see any game derided as 'bad dinner theater', 'hack n' slash' 'WoW on a table' or any of the other things. Dear Asmodeus, we TTRPGers are a vanishing breed, it's what this thread is trying to address no? Mayhap a little respect for other's gaming choices instead of throwing up walls and hurling imprecations on each other's systems.

Anyway, continue on with your noble quest to rope more kids into our Satanic cul ...errr game...

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Patrick Curtin wrote:


Anyway, continue on with your noble quest to rope more kids into our Satanic cul ...errr game...

You are on to something there!

Ever tried playing a CD/DVD backwards? I blame the decline of RPG's on the lack of vinyl records containing back-masked messages. I'll always remember playing a WASP album backwards and hearing "Play AD&D and drink your milk..."

Was it just coincidence that heavy metal and roleplaying both had their hay-day at the same time?

S.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I apologise if I did derail the thread, but it did have a kernel that was appropriate to the topic of how to keep new players' interest.

Let the players make decisions!

Let those decisions make a difference, to the here and now tactical situation, and to the overall big picture.

Add decision points that are not clear-cut, so the players have to discuss them. Choosing the lesser of two evils, or between two paths that both have merit, give the players a higher stake in the result, than if it were a no-brainer. It also causes them to think about the wider setting, always wondering 'what if we'd taken that other road?'.

Don't force the players to listen to page after page of read-aloud text, that make huge sweeping assumptions about the PCs actions. Make bullet points on a list, and let the PCs interrupt, and ask questions in the order they want.

Learn to stop saying 'No' as the default response to players' plans. Instead, ask yourself 'Is there any reason the answer shouldn't be Yes?'.

This is one of the big advantages TTRPGs have over CRPGs, so let's push it, in the examples and advice in the rulebooks, in sidebars in the adventures, and by our own behaviour if we play in, or run a game with less experienced players.

Cheliax

IMO, I think that most of the issues with getting younger (12-16 yo) "kids" to play any edition is the DM who is unwilling to change his style to allow them to learn the game. If the player doesn't understand what the dice do, then teach them. Don't just naturally assume that they "will learn it over time", they might not. Help them learn how to play the game and they will pass it on to others. If you don't, then our hobby will die.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The other thing that D&D (RPG's in general) is good at is giving younger people a sense of control that perhaps doesn't exist their real life. In the D&D game they make the choices, it promotes free thinking with little in the way of boundaries. But having said that it also teaches that there are consequences to actions you take. Being a player is one aspect, but the young budding DM's learn a whole raft of skills in communication, leadership and other excellent qualities. I really think that D&D (while a fun game) has much to offer over the computer based RPG's.

S.


houstonderek wrote:


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


They'll keep with it if they like the people they are hanging out with.

And if they find they like sharing beer and pretzels with real people. :)

That really is the advantage of TTRPGs over MMOs. Chatting over the web, or even over some sort of VOIP set up isn't really social interaction. Spending time with people in the meat world is. Most of my games since I've been an adult have usually just been a pretext to get together, break bread and hang out, with the game being the centerpiece of the occasion.

Well for once we are in complete agreement.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

I have no idea where this thread's been, what's been said, or if there's even any shred of the original topic left to be discussed.

Which, of course, means it's high time I re-enter the debate with some of my special brand of Sebastian quality love and friendship. And this particular quote got me going:

Snorter wrote:


Let the players make decisions!

NEVER!!!

Fact: Players are the enemy.

Fact: They make bad choices when given the opportunity.

Fact: Those bad choices will ruin your carefull orchestrated story and quite possibly ruin your game world. At the very least, it will result in a bar brawl that could take hours to resolve and throw into question the entire possibility that your campaign world could operate with bands of highly armored, magically powered, nigh invulnerable individuals running amok, demanding information, and generally disrupting life as you envision it.

The very last thing you ever, ever, ever want to do in the context of an rpg is let players make decisions.

Thank you.

Spoiler:

I generally assume the sarcasm in a post like this would be obvious to even the most dedicated knuckle-dragging mouth-breather that is capable of operating a computer and using the internet, but these threads seem to attract a particular breed of knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers whose poor reading comprehension defies belief. Should you find that you are such a person, I have added this spoiler specifically for you: the above is not serious. If you believe it is, and warrants a response that treats its contents as serious, please consider the following steps instead:

1. Remove your knuckles from the ground when you walk so they do not drag.

2. Close your mouth. If this means you are unable to breath through your nose, all the better.

Special spoiler for Snorter:

Spoiler:
Thanks for giving me a random bit of quote to riff of while bored! This post is most definitely not aimed at you or your post, you just happened to be the one that inspired me to go off on this nutty tangent.

Andoran

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
houstonderek wrote:


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:


They'll keep with it if they like the people they are hanging out with.

And if they find they like sharing beer and pretzels with real people. :)

That really is the advantage of TTRPGs over MMOs. Chatting over the web, or even over some sort of VOIP set up isn't really social interaction. Spending time with people in the meat world is. Most of my games since I've been an adult have usually just been a pretext to get together, break bread and hang out, with the game being the centerpiece of the occasion.

Well for once we are in complete agreement.

Well, it was bound to happen eventually :)

Cheliax

It's been (literally) years since I checked on this thread- is there a 4th edition moratorium thread in existence? Is it safe to say that 4th edition did not capture the "younger audience" or "new players" or whatever you care to call them? Seriously, I've been out of the loop for awhile, is 4th edition D&D even still something that people play?

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
David Witanowski wrote:
It's been (literally) years since I checked on this thread- is there a 4th edition moratorium thread in existence? Is it safe to say that 4th edition did not capture the "younger audience" or "new players" or whatever you care to call them? Seriously, I've been out of the loop for awhile, is 4th edition D&D even still something that people play?

Still used to introduce kids at our club to RPG's. I personally, and his is true of 3.5e, still have difficulty seeing them as such due to both 4/3.5e having such a strong boardgame component - what passes for combat under these two D&D's.


David Witanowski wrote:
It's been (literally) years since I checked on this thread- is there a 4th edition moratorium thread in existence? Is it safe to say that 4th edition did not capture the "younger audience" or "new players" or whatever you care to call them? Seriously, I've been out of the loop for awhile, is 4th edition D&D even still something that people play?

I know my old friends back at my home town still play 4e.


Kip84 wrote:
David Witanowski wrote:
It's been (literally) years since I checked on this thread- is there a 4th edition moratorium thread in existence? Is it safe to say that 4th edition did not capture the "younger audience" or "new players" or whatever you care to call them? Seriously, I've been out of the loop for awhile, is 4th edition D&D even still something that people play?
I know my old friends back at my home town still play 4e.

Saying that though, none of us were new players when 4e came out and we never got any new players. That's not to say there weren't any... we were a pretty clicky group.

Qadira

I'm using 4th to run games for my kids and my nephews. They're a little young to grasp the compexities of Pathfinder or Other games, especially magic etc.

They can easily get behind the idea of "cashing in" cards during combat to get certain effects or attacks off though. It helps them track it amazingly well.

It does help that I still have the original, no subscription required, character builder though. I can pump out updated cards for them in colour co-ordinated glory in about 5 minutes. I even put some simplified cards together for any feats that might be used.

It seems that the local games shop has two 4th edition games running there as well. Both attended by people between the ages of 13 and early 20's.

Not sure if that helps though.

Cheers


David Witanowski wrote:
It's been (literally) years since I checked on this thread- is there a 4th edition moratorium thread in existence? Is it safe to say that 4th edition did not capture the "younger audience" or "new players" or whatever you care to call them? Seriously, I've been out of the loop for awhile, is 4th edition D&D even still something that people play?

I don't game with kids or tweens, so I can't speak to how well 4e "captured the youth." But I've introduced many people to D&D using 4e, and despite all the so-called complexity, the vast majority made their own characters all on their own and caught on to the rules pretty quick.

As for myself, I still DM 4e and don't plan on switching anytime soon. So I'd appreciate if you'd stop firing snarky little phrases into a four-year old war zone, and come to terms with the fact that 4e isn't just some passing fad. 4e will have its own gamers for many years to come, just like every other edition.

Andoran

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
David Witanowski wrote:
is 4th edition D&D even still something that people play?

I was in a 4e campaign earlier this year and ran a Dungeon Delve a while back, and I recently bought a load more 4e books off Ebay and Amazon to round out my collection. Its a game I definitely would like to play more of (the same can be said for 3.5).

Cheliax

Oh! To tell the truth I am just honestly interested in whether or not 4th edition was successful in capturing what the marketing of the time was touting as its target audience- no insult to the edition is intended. I haven't actually played D&D in years, and have no familiarity with the Pathfinder specific rules, or anything post 3.5, so it's interesting to hear from people who've played 4th edition- my more recent comments were motivated by my hearing that whoever owns the franchise currently (I'm assuming it's still Wizards of the Coast) was thinking of releasing a 5th edition, and so I figured this might be a good time to discuss the end of an era, so to speak. I don't personally know anyone who plays 4th edition, so it's been hard to judge the success of the line. This, in fact, is the first I've heard that anyone has embraced the line at all- perhaps I should have made it clearer that I haven't been on these boards since . . . I don't know, 2009? Anyhow, sorry! Just curious.

Andoran

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
David Witanowski wrote:
I don't personally know anyone who plays 4th edition, so it's been hard to judge the success of the line. This, in fact, is the first I've heard that anyone has embraced the line at all- perhaps I should have made it clearer that I haven't been on these boards since . . . I don't know, 2009? Anyhow, sorry! Just curious.

I am not sure about getting new players into D&D or the RPG hobby in general, I know one person who began with 4e (and since has moved to PF) and at least a few more who started D&D with 4e (not sure about roleplaying in general). But of course this is pure anecdotal evidence.

In terms of whether 4e was a success? I think most people will acknowledge that 4e was likley not as successful as WotC wanted it to be, but in terms of RPGs in general it has been very successful.

For what its worth here are the ICv2's ranking of RPGs for the duration that 4e and PF have both been on sale:
2009 Q4 D&D 1st, PF 2nd
2010 Q1 D&D 1st, PF 2nd
2010 Q2 D&D 1st, PF 2nd
2010 Q3 D&D & PF 1st
2010 Q4 D&D 1st, PF 2nd
2011 Q1 D&D 1st, PF 2nd
2011 Q2 PF 1st, D&D 2nd
2011 Q3 PF 1st, D&D 2nd
2011 Q4 PF 1st, D&D 2nd
2012 Q1 PF 1st, D&D 2nd
2012 Q2 PF 1st, D&D 2nd

As you can see D&D (and here we must assume this is 4e) has been in the top 1st or 2nd place for all those periods, and matches Pathfinder for the number of 1st and 2nd places.

Now the ICv2 rankings are based on a subset of sellers (not including Amazon etc) and on their feedback not on precise sales figures I believe. It also doesn't take into account DDI subscriptions either.

So whilst it must all be taken with a pinch of salt I think it does at least show that 4e has likely been successful as an RPG, though maybe not as successful as past editions of D&D.


DigitalMage wrote:

For what its worth here are the ICv2's ranking of RPGs for the duration that 4e and PF have both been on sale:

2009 Q4 D&D 1st, PF 2nd
2010 Q1 D&D 1st, PF 2nd
2010 Q2 D&D 1st, PF 2nd
2010 Q3 D&D & PF 1st
2010 Q4 D&D 1st, PF 2nd
2011 Q1 D&D 1st, PF 2nd
2011 Q2 PF 1st, D&D 2nd
2011 Q3 PF 1st, D&D 2nd
2011 Q4 PF 1st, D&D 2nd
2012 Q1 PF 1st, D&D 2nd
2012 Q2 PF 1st, D&D 2nd

You know what would be interesting alongside this. A table of the number of products put out in that period for the game involved. Because 5 Pathfinder products selling 1 copy each gives you greater total sales than on 4e product selling 4 copies.

Andoran

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Arishat wrote:
You know what would be interesting alongside this. A table of the number of products put out in that period for the game involved. Because 5 Pathfinder products selling 1 copy each gives you greater total sales than on 4e product selling 4 copies.

What is interesting is that even for the last couple of quarters when 4e releases have been minimal, D&D has still attained 2nd place (maybe helped by the older edition reprints), apparently outselling games like Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Deathwatch, Dragon Age, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying & Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Shadow Lodge

DigitalMage wrote:
Arishat wrote:
You know what would be interesting alongside this. A table of the number of products put out in that period for the game involved. Because 5 Pathfinder products selling 1 copy each gives you greater total sales than on 4e product selling 4 copies.
What is interesting is that even for the last couple of quarters when 4e releases have been minimal, D&D has still attained 2nd place (maybe helped by the older edition reprints), apparently outselling games like Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Deathwatch, Dragon Age, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying & Dungeon Crawl Classics.

Exactly. When Pathfinder is bumping out 10 books for every 1 that WotC puts out, it's a bit disingenuous to say "We're winning!" if Pathfinder sells a few more copies.


David Witanowski wrote:
This, in fact, is the first I've heard that anyone has embraced the line at all- perhaps I should have made it clearer that I haven't been on these boards since . . . I don't know, 2009? Anyhow, sorry! Just curious.

My bad, then. FYI, you might want to watch your phrasing of these kind of questions in the future -- "Is this a game people even play anymore?" is the kind of question that edition warriors throw around to raise hackles. (Just think of me asking the same question of your favorite game/hobby/car/tv show, and you should have some idea why it raised my hackles.)

Anyway, DigitalMage pretty much covered your other question. 4e has undoubtedly been successful, just as other editions have been. Nobody's really sure how successful; some say that it hasn't been "successful enough" for WotC...I'm of the opinion that "successful enough" is a holy grail. No edition will ever be "successful enough" for a large company like WotC -- I'm not even convinced that smaller companies can have "successful enough" rpgs -- so each edition is doomed from the start to be replaced by a newer one a few years down the line.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
No edition will ever be "successful enough" for a large company like WotC -- I'm not even convinced that smaller companies can have "successful enough" rpgs -- so each edition is doomed from the start to be replaced by a newer one a few years down the line.

If your business if built around rules splatbooks, maybe.

If your business (ref: Paizo) is built around setting material and edition changes are something you're not really after, not so much.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Yeah - I really hope they've come to that conclusion. I'd love a world with wotc and paizo both cranking out a couple of dozen books of flavour material a year. The rules lines from either of them are somewhat wasted space on my shelf.


Gorbacz wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
No edition will ever be "successful enough" for a large company like WotC -- I'm not even convinced that smaller companies can have "successful enough" rpgs -- so each edition is doomed from the start to be replaced by a newer one a few years down the line.

If your business if built around rules splatbooks, maybe.

If your business (ref: Paizo) is built around setting material and edition changes are something you're not really after, not so much.

Like I said, I'm not convinced; but maybe that's because I'm interpreting "successful enough" differently than you are.


I think it's safe to say that at least in this instance, "successful enough" was clearly not met. A lot of that is WOTC's own fault, for two reasons.

One is that between the original release and Essentials, their goals and aims seemed to change on a fairly regular basis, making setting achievable targets near impossible.

The second is that they seemed to be banking on being able to focus on the rule set and convincing others to to pay them to use that rule set, saving them the trouble of having to come up with the actual content themselves while raking in the licensing fees. This clearly did not happen; third party publishers from the d20/3.5 era were loath to deal with a licensing agreement that proved to be as toxic to WOTC as the OGL. No successful movie ever emerged. The web presence largely flopped as many of the features promised for DDI either failed to live up to the hype and/or never even got past the development stage. As far as computer games, it's only just now that we're hearing anything about a 4E MMO, and that won't be released until the new ruleset has secured the lion's share of any attention WOTC can hope to get for the DnD brand.

Since Essentials, they seem to have realized these two mistakes, and have been working to correct both of them; they seemed to have regained a clear focus, and have started to try to release content of their own through Dungeon and Dragon, but with the release of the new edition so soon, and the way they just dumped 3.5 almost instantly, there are still too many unanswered questions about what happens to 4E after the formal switch to secure much new support at this point in time.

In the end, however time ends up judging the actual system, it is clear that almost none of the support systems and licensing agreements that WOTC had assumed would simply fall in place simply because of the brand name involved never reached the point they needed to, if they even got developed at all. That is where the "not successful enough" tag really hurt 4E.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:
Exactly. When Pathfinder is bumping out 10 books for every 1 that WotC puts out, it's a bit disingenuous to say "We're winning!" if Pathfinder sells a few more copies.

I think it's safe to say that the lack of D&D product for sale is a consequence of poor sales. I'm sure WotC would love to put out twice as many releases, but it's hard to justify the investment when sales are lacking.

Cheliax

Alright, yeah, I totally see what you mean, Tequila Sunrise- Looking at my posts, I do sound like a total ass-hat! So, yeah, wow, my sincere apologies! To reiterate, I never saw this thread as being a "Pathfinder vs. 4th Edition" board- I really was just curious about the marketing tactics of Hasbro regarding the youth audience, however one wishes to define that much sought after demographic . . . though it did come out of what was being touted by Wizards of the Coast as 4th edition's raison d'etre, at this point I think I might want to shift the discussion to another thread. Is there a 5th edition thread where this conversation might safely go?


Howdy guys, first time poster here. I actually just popped in to see if anybody around here was talking about D&D Next, seeing if there was interest here and whatnot.

I am a big 4e player and can def throw in my own anecdotal evidence about how 4e did pulling in new and younger players. I have introduced a ton of kids to the game over the past 4 years. My Brother and a ton of his friends, two different sets of cousins, a bunch of high and middle school kids at places I volunteered, did practicums or taught in. So at least personally I have seen a ton of people get into the game with 4e.

I also got to say that 4e has really been lagging in the sales department for about two years. Essentials (new starter set with simplified class variants of classes) sort of sunk 4e's boat. Once again relying on anecdotal evidence here but nobody I know who plays 4e has bought more than two WotC products since the middle of 2010.

I do see a ton of people playing however so 4e isn't exactly dead, just hibernating.


lordadvand wrote:
Howdy guys, first time poster here. I actually just popped in to see if anybody around here was talking about D&D Next, seeing if there was interest here and whatnot.

Hi, lordadvand!

lordadvand wrote:
I also got to say that 4e has really been lagging in the sales department for about two years. Essentials (new starter set with simplified class variants of classes) sort of sunk 4e's boat. Once again relying on anecdotal evidence here but nobody I know who plays 4e has bought more than two WotC products since the middle of 2010.

I don't know anyone who went gaga over the 'Essentials'* line either, except perhaps for DMs who love the Monster Vaults. But the sense I get from the various D&D forums is that even the player's option E books with the lame classes have met with success. How much success is up to speculation, but what isn't?

*Gods, I hate that misnomer.

David Witanowski wrote:
Alright, yeah, I totally see what you mean, Tequila Sunrise- Looking at my posts, I do sound like a total ass-hat! So, yeah, wow, my sincere apologies! To reiterate, I never saw this thread as being a "Pathfinder vs. 4th Edition" board- I really was just curious about the marketing tactics of Hasbro regarding the youth audience, however one wishes to define that much sought after demographic . . . though it did come out of what was being touted by Wizards of the Coast as 4th edition's raison d'etre, at this point I think I might want to shift the discussion to another thread. Is there a 5th edition thread where this conversation might safely go?

No worries! There are plenty of 5e threads scattered about the 'net, but I'm not sure any of them are any 'safer' than here. The internet is the internet, whatever thread you're in.

sunshadow21 wrote:
I think it's safe to say that at least in this instance, "successful enough" was clearly not met. A lot of that is WOTC's own fault, for two reasons...

Everything you say may very well be true, and those things would certainly be contributory to 5e's genesis, but I think you're over-thinking things. No edition is immortal, because of diminishing profits. No matter how well loved or well designed an edition is*, there comes a point where it's simply more profitable to start over. A lot of gamers will buy a new set of core books just because they're new, whereas splatbooks (whether crunchy or fluffy) have a more limited audience -- and one that shrinks as the edition grows.

*Oh, and I'm not saying that 4e is or isn't well-loved or well-designed. I use those adjectives to illustrate my opinion that no edition will ever be "successful enough."


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:
DigitalMage wrote:
Arishat wrote:
You know what would be interesting alongside this. A table of the number of products put out in that period for the game involved. Because 5 Pathfinder products selling 1 copy each gives you greater total sales than on 4e product selling 4 copies.
What is interesting is that even for the last couple of quarters when 4e releases have been minimal, D&D has still attained 2nd place (maybe helped by the older edition reprints), apparently outselling games like Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Deathwatch, Dragon Age, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying & Dungeon Crawl Classics.
Exactly. When Pathfinder is bumping out 10 books for every 1 that WotC puts out, it's a bit disingenuous to say "We're winning!" if Pathfinder sells a few more copies.

So, because Paizo has a sound strategy of actually producing product for sales and WotC's strategy is to not sell anything, it's disingenuous to say that Pathfinder is selling better than D&D (at least in the ICv2-surveyed markets)?

Gimmie a break. WotC has/had the same exact "advantage" when they were producing product and "winning" the wonky ICv2 rankings in fact, they still do, considering that the ICv2 rankings for RPGs counts anything with the D&D name on it, including board games, maps, tiles, etc.

By all means, pick away at the fact that the ICv2 rankings don't include any kind of DDI stuff, any kind of Paizo direct subscriptions, isn't a valid sample size, whatever.

But it's quite genuine that Pathfinder is "winning" the ICv2 "contest" when placed on an equal footing with D&D (that is, when the surveyed independent stores used for said "contest" are reporting their sales numbers).


Tequila Sunrise wrote:


sunshadow21 wrote:
I think it's safe to say that at least in this instance, "successful enough" was clearly not met. A lot of that is WOTC's own fault, for two reasons...
Everything you say may very well be true, and those things would certainly be contributory to 5e's genesis, but I think you're over-thinking things. No edition is immortal, because of diminishing profits. No matter how well loved or well designed an edition is*, there comes a point where it's simply more profitable to start over. A lot of gamers will buy a new set of core books just because they're new, whereas splatbooks (whether crunchy or fluffy) have a more limited audience -- and one that shrinks as the edition grows.

To a certain point that is true, but WOTC brings a lot more problems with that cycling than most for several reasons, and the biggest one is their insistence on treating the ruleset as the money maker, rather than the content around the ruleset. It isn't a problem new to 4E; it was already evident in the 3.5 splat book era. Aside from the Forgotten Realms novels, they have never really developed a content stream of their own that was comparatively independent of a specific ruleset; even the miniature line suffered because it was a pure support line, and didn't really generate content in and of itself. The lack of supporting content throughout all of their ownership of the brand has highlighted and made the system changes that much more of a big deal than they might have been elsewhere. I can only thing of one other major brand that focuses on the rules almost exclusively, GURPS, and it gets treated much like 4E has; it has it's supporters, but they are heavily outnumbered.

In comparison, Paizo will eventually need to update Pathfinder, but they will get away with a much longer life cycle because the ruleset isn't their primary focus, but rather a supporting line to maintain their APs and other books about Golarion; most of their other support products, like the item decks and maps, are also not particularly dependent on a specific ruleset. And when they do make changes, don't expect anything like the 3.5 to 4E leap, but rather a slow evolution that eventually gets formally recognized with a new edition; anything else would put the sales of their other products in jeopardy, and that was the whole reason PF was developed in the first place. Similarly, most other, smaller games cycle through new rulesets far less because they are forced from the very start to provide something unique beyond new rules in the form of a world, story, flavor, or something else that is the driving force rather than just the rules.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Brian E. Harris wrote:

WotC has/had the same exact "advantage" when they were producing product and "winning" the wonky ICv2 rankings in fact, they still do, considering that the ICv2 rankings for RPGs counts anything with the D&D name on it, including board games, maps, tiles, etc.

By all means, pick away at the fact that the ICv2 rankings don't include any kind of DDI stuff, any kind of Paizo direct subscriptions, isn't a valid sample size, whatever.

But it's quite genuine that Pathfinder is "winning" the ICv2 "contest" when placed on an equal footing with D&D (that is, when the surveyed independent stores used for said "contest" are reporting their sales numbers).

I agree with you basically, but I spent some time looking into it a while back and, as far as I could tell, its a little more complicated when it comes to the methodolgoy - the board games aren't supposed to be counted, but some stores do, for example.

The survey struck me as close to valueless based on methodology and the issues you mentioned. The distributors telling Lisa that PF was outselling 4E is far more significant, in my view,


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Tequila Sunrise wrote:


I don't know anyone who went gaga over the 'Essentials'* line either, except perhaps for DMs who love the Monster Vaults. But the sense I get from the various D&D forums is that even the player's option E books with the lame classes have met with success. How much success is up to speculation, but what isn't?

It did seem to be a flop but I, for one, thought the whole essentials line was terrific. (Red box excluded, although apparently they sold out of their first printing of that, so it might have been the most successful, sales wise..)

Shadow Lodge

sieylianna wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Exactly. When Pathfinder is bumping out 10 books for every 1 that WotC puts out, it's a bit disingenuous to say "We're winning!" if Pathfinder sells a few more copies.
I think it's safe to say that the lack of D&D product for sale is a consequence of poor sales. I'm sure WotC would love to put out twice as many releases, but it's hard to justify the investment when sales are lacking.

WotC has moved to primarily supplying material for 4E via PDF through DDI.

Jed's CD Emporium sells more physical CDs than Apple's iTunes store. That doesn't necessarily mean that Jed's is a more successful store in terms of overall music sales,however.

Shadow Lodge

Brian E. Harris wrote:
So, because Paizo has a sound strategy of actually producing product for sales and WotC's strategy is to not sell anything, it's disingenuous to say that Pathfinder is selling better than D&D (at least in the ICv2-surveyed markets)?

WotC's primary focus is not on the physical books, which is the only thing that ICv2 is counting. Like I said, it's Jed's CD Emporium vs iTunes.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
I don't know anyone who went gaga over the 'Essentials'* line either, except perhaps for DMs who love the Monster Vaults. But the sense I get from the various D&D forums is that even the player's option E books with the lame classes have met with success. How much success is up to speculation, but what isn't?
It did seem to be a flop but I, for one, thought the whole essentials line was terrific. (Red box excluded, although apparently they sold out of their first printing of that, so it might have been the most successful, sales wise..)

I actually found the red box character creation method very original and a great way to help new players learn character design from a strong concept direction as opposed to rules optimization.

I know of a few new players who started with 4e as it made deciding what to do in dangerous situations in the game much easier for those without experience.

As for which game system was number one, it is interesting to note that Pathfinder was essentially number one through the whole Essentials release when product releases were effectively level in number between the two systems.

Again, how much of this is reliable information and how much is speculation we may never know. So take that last paragraph with a grain of salt. :)


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I'm pretty sure that in one of the blogs Lisa mentioned that the distributors to both bookstores and game shops were reporting that sales of PF were stronger than 4E before the ICv2 reports began to show that. I dont place much store in ICv2, but distributors must be well placed to form a judgement on a significant slice of the market.

I'm probably overanalysing things and overemphasising my own perceptions, but I feel that WotC's focus on old-school style when it comes to D&D:Next is indicative that they have ceded the ground to paizo when it comes to complicated, rules intensive systems. It seems to me their plan is a basic, quick-and-easy style of D&D with complication "added on" for those who want it. I cant imagine them doing that if they were of the view that more people were playing 4E than PF.


I would disagree Steve. 4e not having a solid majority fan base wasn't the problem the problem was Hasbro wanting to get back old markets as well as the one they had and they wanted to hit that 50 million mark (pretty much impossible outside of an edition release). So Hasbro pushed WotC for a new edition that would get back old players.

What they seem to have underestimated are the number of 4e players who don't want to switch over to a system that tosses a lot of what they liked. Frankly I don't see a lot of good things in Next's future.

In fact Habsro and WotC seem to have made the same mistake twice. First they published essentials which didn't sell well at all and pretty much killed the 4e book market without bringing in a substantial number of new players. And now they are trying it again with Next. They are going to loose another chunk of the market (the 4e fans) and not regain a substantial part of the market they lost (Pathfinder fans).

Also I would take anything said by a CEO about a competing company with a shake of salt. especially if it isn't supported by outside data (later of course it became apparent that Pathfinder had indeed caught up with D&D, just not when Lisa said it did)


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lordadvand wrote:

I would disagree Steve. 4e not having a solid majority fan base wasn't the problem the problem was Hasbro wanting to get back old markets as well as the one they had and they wanted to hit that 50 million mark (pretty much impossible outside of an edition release). So Hasbro pushed WotC for a new edition that would get back old players.

What they seem to have underestimated are the number of 4e players who don't want to switch over to a system that tosses a lot of what they liked. Frankly I don't see a lot of good things in Next's future.

In fact Habsro and WotC seem to have made the same mistake twice. First they published essentials which didn't sell well at all and pretty much killed the 4e book market without bringing in a substantial number of new players. And now they are trying it again with Next. They are going to loose another chunk of the market (the 4e fans) and not regain a substantial part of the market they lost (Pathfinder fans).

My views on Hasbro's level of involvement with its subsidiaries are not shared by many. Personally, I think anyone with meaningful clout in Hasbro would respond "D and what?" if you asked them about the latest strategy.

Parent companies dont generally get heavily involved with the operational aspects of their subsidiaries - that's what they pay the executives of those companies for. Especially given D&D is likely to be a decimal point at best on WotC's financial statements (it wouldnt surprise me if the RPG was lumped in with the rest of the "others" on the P&L). Magic has been doing very well (even in the downturn when it was expected to decline) for Hasbro, so they'll be happy.

Quote:
Also I would take anything said by a CEO about a competing company with a shake of salt. especially if it isn't supported by outside data (later of course it became apparent that Pathfinder had indeed caught up with D&D, just not when Lisa said it did)

I dont think all CEOs are created equal. I believe Lisa when she says their distributors were reporting PF overtaking 4E in sales before ICv2 reports showed the same thing (presuming I'm quoting here correctly, if not I apologise). I dont believe her because she's a CEO, I believe her because she's Lisa.

Dont forget my qualifier (I think it's pretty important, but highlights that this is not put forth as well informed opinion. Just opinion :p):

I'm probably overanalysing things and overemphasising my own perceptions"


Yeah I know, all we can really trade on in these subjects are opinions. Sorry if it seems like I am getting on your case. Just making sure my views are being expressed.

Hasbro did in fact decide that D&D needed to make 50 million this is on record. Whether they decided that had to mean recapturing lost markets or if that was a decision by WotC executives or even Mike Mearls (who really didn't like 4e BTW) it certainly happened.

Sorry I just don't believe any CEO of any company would see an opportunity to boost their reputation and not take it. It isn't about being a good person or not it is just about business and making yours better off. I'm not trying to slight Lisa's character here, I'm just not ever going to take anybody on their word about how a competing product is doing.


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lordadvand wrote:
Yeah I know, all we can really trade on in these subjects are opinions. Sorry if it seems like I am getting on your case. Just making sure my views are being expressed.

Yeah, no worries. I'm in a tiny minority anyhow. :)

Quote:
Hasbro did in fact decide that D&D needed to make 50 million this is on record.

No they didn't. Granted i may be misremembering, but I have read the comments from Ryan dancey (I think it was) regarding the fifty million, and they are commonly misreported:

Hasbro had a policy that brands would only receive marketing support from them directly if they were "core brands" defined in a bunch of ways, including a turnover if $50million. WotC adopted a plan to get D&D into that class on 4E's release - it was an attempt by them (or one group within WotC, anyhow) to access some extra support from the parent company.

There was no directive from Hasbro that that's what D&D had to achieve - merely a policy that, unless they did, there'd be no access to the extra hasbro marketing resources.

Quote:
Sorry I just don't believe any CEO of any company would see an opportunity to boost their reputation and not take it. It isn't about being a good person or not it is just about business and making yours better off. I'm not trying to slight Lisa's character here, I'm just not ever going to take anybody on their word about how a competing product is doing.

Yeah, we each have to make our own calls about things like that. I think (besides being a good person) Lisa understands the value of being open and honest - she didn't have to make the comment, after all. ICv2 was already supporting the argument by the time she posted the blog.


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I can't find the direct actual comments but here is some related discussion of the conversation I remember reading.

Silver Crusade

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DDI has any subscribers left? With no new content, VTT killed off and general "4E? We did publish any 4E?" attitude at WotC (The latest Next articles pretty much flat out go "So yeah X was terristupid in 4E, but we're here to make it right for the Next!") I'm pretty sure it's a waste of $$$ at this point.

Having the Biggest 4E Fansite Ever (formerly known as EnWorld) run threads titled "So that's it for 4th edition I guess?" that even don't get locked by the mods any more surely doesn't help :)


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There's still plenty of new content, fwiw. Plus the character builder and so forth.

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