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Mike Mearls is trolling...


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)


[url=http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20110322 wrote:
Mike Mearls[/url]] The idea behind the gnome effect is simple. Let’s say you’re planning on releasing a hypothetical edition of D&D. You want to determine which races are important to the game, so you conduct a poll and find that only 10% of gamers play gnomes. That might make it seem obvious that you can safely cut the gnome without much trouble.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Malaclypse wrote:
[url=http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20110322 wrote:
Mike Mearls[/url]] The idea behind the gnome effect is simple. Let’s say you’re planning on releasing a hypothetical edition of D&D. You want to determine which races are important to the game, so you conduct a poll and find that only 10% of gamers play gnomes. That might make it seem obvious that you can safely cut the gnome without much trouble.

Or at means at least one out of every ten gamers likes gnomes enough to play them and you don't dare remove them.


LazarX wrote:
Or at means at least one out of every ten gamers likes gnomes enough to play them and you don't dare remove them.

Context: For the last few weeks, Mike Mearls has been asking about what people like and don't like about various editions of D&D. See the article I linked in the original post.


This line is more interesting, and more illuminating, to me:

Quote:


It’s interesting to see the answers, but we’re not about to base any major business decisions on them.

Not to mention this one:

Quote:


A theoretical D&D release schedule could focus on the middle ground of the audience, while something like the open gaming license would allow other publishers to fill in the gaps for those who want even more content.

Maybe WotC is going back to the OGL system?


Let's wait until after GenCon. This year, next year at the latest, to see about hypothetical...


LazarX wrote:
Malaclypse wrote:
[url=http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20110322 wrote:
Mike Mearls[/url]] The idea behind the gnome effect is simple. Let’s say you’re planning on releasing a hypothetical edition of D&D. You want to determine which races are important to the game, so you conduct a poll and find that only 10% of gamers play gnomes. That might make it seem obvious that you can safely cut the gnome without much trouble.
Or at means at least one out of every ten gamers likes gnomes enough to play them and you don't dare remove them.

Well, apparently not...


Are wrote:
Maybe WotC is going back to the OGL system?

Yeah, I was wondering that, too. I guess they read the 3pp blogpost and realized that it was a bad decision to kill the OGL for 4e and use the GSL.

Maybe...just maybe...they are actually capable of learning from experience.

:)


Are wrote:


Maybe WotC is going back to the OGL system?

I'll believe that when I see it.

Of course, since it seems to be that 4e is falling while PF is rising, and the two have just met in the middle, they might see that development as PF taking a running start to kick 4e's ass, and they might look at reasons why this is so.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
KaeYoss wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Malaclypse wrote:
[url=http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20110322 wrote:
Mike Mearls[/url]] The idea behind the gnome effect is simple. Let’s say you’re planning on releasing a hypothetical edition of D&D. You want to determine which races are important to the game, so you conduct a poll and find that only 10% of gamers play gnomes. That might make it seem obvious that you can safely cut the gnome without much trouble.
Or at means at least one out of every ten gamers likes gnomes enough to play them and you don't dare remove them.
Well, apparently not...

Reading the full article shows the dangers of quoting out of context. What was quoted was the first part of what Merals was describing as the "gnome effect" I'll quote it in it's entirety below.


Gnomes, Options, and Groups

The idea behind the gnome effect is simple. Let’s say you’re planning on releasing a hypothetical edition of D&D. You want to determine which races are important to the game, so you conduct a poll and find that only 10% of gamers play gnomes. That might make it seem obvious that you can safely cut the gnome without much trouble.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that we don’t play D&D by ourselves. We play with a group, and when looking at rules changes or any other alteration to the game you have to consider its effect on the group. Let’s look back at our gnome example. One out of ten gamers plays a gnome. However, let’s say your data shows that the average group consists of five players (not counting the DM). That means, roughly speaking, half the gaming groups have one player with a gnome character. That number is likely lower, since some groups might have more than one gnome, but it’s a rough approximation that serves to illustrate the larger principle. You cannot measure change and its effects on the individual level. You must look at it on the gaming group level. Delete the gnome from the game, or change it in a way that gnome fans dislike, and you’ve given about half the gaming groups out there a good reason to tune you out.

With that in mind, we can quickly see how all of the options presented in a poll are important. In an ideal world, we would aim our design work at the most popular options but include the ability to slide along the scale from one extreme to the other. In this manner, you can be assured that in a diverse gaming group everyone has the options they’re comfortable with.

Even a topic such as the volume of content released per month falls into this category. Gamers who don’t want more content can easily ignore it or disallow it in their games. A theoretical D&D release schedule could focus on the middle ground of the audience, while something like the open gaming license would allow other publishers to fill in the gaps for those who want even more content. In many cases, the trick to keeping everyone happy lies in areas beyond game design.

The selective quoting before can give an erroneous impression of what was meant to be conveyed.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Anything that we are going to see at GenCon this year has already been written, more or less. It may still be in post production i.e. editing but if Mearls is canvassing it would be for longer term plans.


LazarX wrote:
The selective quoting before can give an erroneous impression of what was meant to be conveyed.

You assume this is not intentional ;p


LazarX wrote:


Thanks for posting this portion of the article since I can't get to it now.

Looks like Mr. Mearls is doing some serious navel gazing on game design. Glad to see it. Very glad Paizo and the OGL were around to give him the "inspiration" to do so.

Like I've said before the 4E designers are in a tough spot. I would not want to be competing with the Paizo braintrust, with capital, buoyed by the OGL if I were in game design.

I think the smartest thing for them to do now would be a Pathfinder RPG version of Greyhawk (and any other legacy setting they thought would sell) and simultaneously go in a 100% electronic direction with 4E/5E and a VTT. This way they get revenue from the 3E customers with no rules support overhead and can concentrate on developing the paperless model for the generation they are cultivating with 4E.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Not entirely sure how his quote constituted trolling either. Looking for a joke or a play on words from the OP, can't find it.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
cibet44 wrote:

Looks like Mr. Mearls is doing some serious navel gazing on game design. Glad to see it. Very glad Paizo and the OGL were around to give him the "inspiration" to do so.

Like I've said before the 4E designers are in a tough spot. I would not want to be competing with the Paizo braintrust, with capital, buoyed by the OGL if I were in game design.

What Paizo did from a game design perspective was hardly genius. They tweaked an already existing system. 4e is a more radical solution to the issues and problem which 3e threw up, and arguably more successful from a design perspective albeit that some of the changes went too far for some.

cibet44 wrote:
I think the smartest thing for them to do now would be a Pathfinder RPG version of Greyhawk (and any other legacy setting they thought would sell) and simultaneously go in a 100% electronic direction with 4E/5E and a VTT. This way they get revenue from the 3E customers with no rules support overhead and can concentrate on developing the paperless model for the generation they are cultivating with 4E.

I think the chance of them supporting PF is zero.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Malaclypse is trolling

Mike Mearls wrote:
Nothing remotely inflammatory....

FIFY


cibet44 wrote:
I think the smartest thing for them to do now would be a Pathfinder RPG version of Greyhawk (and any other legacy setting they thought would sell) and simultaneously go in a 100% electronic direction with 4E/5E and a VTT. This way they get revenue from the 3E customers with no rules support overhead and can concentrate on developing the paperless model for the generation they are cultivating with 4E.

That is probably the wisest thing they could do; focus on one area where there is little or no competition, but keep their foot in the door to the rest of the community. However, I don't see them having the corporate support needed to do that unfortunately.


Taliesin Hoyle wrote:

Malaclypse is trolling

Mike Mearls wrote:
Nothing remotely inflammatory....

FIFY

I found the post inflammatory since, after doing polls for a few weeks where asked for which features and properties of various editions were liked by players, he then starts talking about a hypothetical new edition of D&D, shortly after having released Essentials and finally having a functioning online character builder for 4E and 4EE.

Which was also why I bolded that part in the original quote.

The part about cutting the gnome was just a reference to what happened when they released 4e.

On a side-note, the PF Gnome refluff is one of the things I like best about PF.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
cibet44 wrote:


I think the smartest thing for them to do now would be a Pathfinder RPG version of Greyhawk (and any other legacy setting they thought would sell) and simultaneously go in a 100% electronic direction with 4E/5E and a VTT. This way they get revenue from the 3E customers with no rules support overhead and can concentrate on developing the paperless model for the generation they are cultivating with 4E.

That would be possibly one of the WORST things they can do at this time. Right or wrong they've put out a substantial amount of 4th Edition product. The most important thing to do for them right now is to keep faith with the customers who've bought into it, and demonstrate continued commitment to the system. Splitting attention design wise, and especially commitment wise is a recipe for disaster.


Malaclypse wrote:

The part about cutting the gnome was just a reference to what happened when they released 4e.

I think that whole section, including the part about the hypothetical new edition, was a reference to 4e. It didn't scream "we're going to release a new edition soon" to me, anyway.


cibet44 wrote:


...and simultaneously go in a 100% electronic direction with 4E/5E and a VTT. This way they get revenue from the 3E customers with no rules support overhead and can concentrate on developing the paperless model for the generation they are cultivating with 4E.

First they need to release the VTT and evaluate just how well it does. Is it hitting 20% of their customers? 50%? 80%? The answer to that tells them if this is a failure (a tool in search of an audience) a reasonable alternate revenue stream or a phenomenal success where they should focus their efforts.

Andoran

Personally, it doesnt matter what WOTC does now. I am boycotting all their products as well as anything made by HASBRO. They have amply demonstrarted that they are untrustworthy and dont give a hoot about those who previously supported their products.


Are wrote:
Malaclypse wrote:

The part about cutting the gnome was just a reference to what happened when they released 4e.

I think that whole section, including the part about the hypothetical new edition, was a reference to 4e. It didn't scream "we're going to release a new edition soon" to me, anyway.

Obviously they wouldn't scream it, especially with a few books still lined up to come out this year. But there is the question on why he would do this poll right now (and not e.g. before the release of Essentials). That's the trolling part ;)


To give him the benefit of the doubt, he may be doing these polls to see what effect Essentials is having. It is clearly with the intent of what to keep in mind when designing their new system, but the questions are generic enough that they probably are more to shape the philosophy behind a new system rather than the mechanics.


LazarX wrote:


The most important thing to do for them right now is to keep faith with the customers who've bought into it, and demonstrate continued commitment to the system. Splitting attention design wise, and especially commitment wise is a recipe for disaster.

This is exactly what I am saying they do. Concentrate the bulk of their development resources on 4E and beyond while "farming out" their older settings to the PF RPG as a cash cow. The only things they would release as PF compliant material would be setting based stuff they aren't doing anything with anyway (like Greyhawk) while the majority of their resources are dedicated to 4E and whatever comes next. They offload the rule support to the PF RPG for classic settings and keep it in house for the current edition and beyond.


The biggest problem presented with OGL, is 4E can't compete, because any idea that is good in 4E, can be copied over to an OGL implementation. So unless the product is a new idea, or broadly supported, it will fail. All Pathfinder has to do is sit and wait, pick what they like (including ex-staff). Maybe WOTC finally understands that the OGL can not be undone.

I personally wish a new system would be developed, but they probably can not take that risk again with Hasbro, after the luke warm response 4E has recieved.


Malaclypse wrote:

I found the post inflammatory since, after doing polls for a few weeks where asked for which features and properties of various editions were liked by players, he then starts talking about a hypothetical new edition of D&D, shortly after having released Essentials and finally having a functioning online character builder for 4E and 4EE.

...

The part about cutting the gnome was just a reference to what happened when they released 4e.

Yes, but so was the 'hypothetical new edition'. It was all a reference to what happened when they released 4E. None of it was hinting at a new edition - and, in fact, the article specifically seems to be designed to address that sort of conspiracy theory!

Read the first two paragraphs of the article:

Mike Mearls wrote:

I thought it would be useful to pause this week and talk a little bit about the polls that have been appearing in this column. Some folks think of them as poorly disguised marketing research. In all honesty, they’re simply an attempt to engage in a dialogue. We already have an entire department here at Wizards of the Coast dedicated to collecting data, running official surveys, and so on. Plus, I also took enough statistics in college to understand that a self-selecting audience is by no means a sound foundation for the sort of polling we’ve been running in Legends & Lore.

Instead, think of this column as something similar to a virtual panel at a convention. It gives me a chance to talk about topics that interest me and, hopefully, you. The polls—and the invitation to send feedback to dndinsider@wizards.com—are the Q&A portion of the panel, your chance to react and my chance to pose a question. If you’ve been to a panel held by D&D R&D at any of the major cons, you’ve probably seen us ask how many people in the audience are DMs, how many own a specific sourcebook, and so on. Think of these polls as something like that. It’s interesting to see the answers, but we’re not about to base any major business decisions on them.

The entire purpose of this week's column was to explain that this isn't market research, but is simply a chance to get some basic ideas on where his audience stands and what topics may be of most interest to them.


Well it seems clear that the audience that is responding is mainly their current base. With more then 60% saying that 3.X was to complicated and almost 70% saying that 4E is just right.

Their player demographics are interesting as well. Over 40% of the respondents has never played 1st, 2nd or BECMI but almost 90% have played 3rd.

Clearly they have a fairly young audience but not one so young that it was not already playing when 3rd hit the market.

I suspect that this indicates that they probably don't want to abandon 4Es basic fundamentals in a return to 3.X as its pretty clear that their audience is perfectly aware of how 3.X played and made a conscious choice to move to 4E.


Matthew Koelbl wrote:
The entire purpose of this week's column was to explain that this isn't market research, but is simply a chance to get some basic ideas on where his audience stands and what topics may be of most interest to them.

Which is still market research. It may not be market research to determine anything specific, but it definitely is informal market research into what is working with Essentials and the rest of their material, while getting people to think about what they would like in a new edition, so that when they do decide to announce it, whether that announcement be tomorrow or 3 years from now, people are not caught completely off guard. The tone of this article made it clear that they are not ready to announce even hints of developing a new system, which means that they are still probably in the early, if not very early, stages, but to think that the only use they plan on getting out of these polls is to determine what is written in one column is foolishness. They will find some way of utilizing it outside of this column.


sunshadow21 wrote:
Matthew Koelbl wrote:
The entire purpose of this week's column was to explain that this isn't market research, but is simply a chance to get some basic ideas on where his audience stands and what topics may be of most interest to them.
Which is still market research. It may not be market research to determine anything specific, but it definitely is informal market research into what is working with Essentials and the rest of their material, while getting people to think about what they would like in a new edition, so that when they do decide to announce it, whether that announcement be tomorrow or 3 years from now, people are not caught completely off guard. The tone of this article made it clear that they are not ready to announce even hints of developing a new system, which means that they are still probably in the early, if not very early, stages, but to think that the only use they plan on getting out of these polls is to determine what is written in one column is foolishness. They will find some way of utilizing it outside of this column.

I'm sure it gets added to all the other stuff percolating around in Mearl's brain, but I don't think it has any more weight in terms of actual research than... random anecdotes at conventions or other stuff like that.


Mike Mearls wrote:


Some folks think of them as poorly disguised marketing research. In all honesty, they’re simply an attempt to engage in a dialogue. We already have an entire department here at Wizards of the Coast dedicated to collecting data, running official surveys, and so on. Plus, I also took enough statistics in college to understand that a self-selecting audience is by no means a sound foundation for the sort of polling we’ve been running in Legends & Lore.

The only "folks" I saw making marketing research comments and questioning the veracity of the polls for such research were here on the Paizo boards. So I guess he's reading what Paizo customers are saying as well...good for him!


Matthew Koelbl wrote:
I'm sure it gets added to all the other stuff percolating around in Mearl's brain, but I don't think it has any more weight in terms of actual research than... random anecdotes at conventions or other stuff like that.

Which when determining the guidelines under which a new system will be developed, can have as much influence as actual research if enough of those "random anecdotes" start to sound strikingly similar. These polls, like those anecdotes, are worth nothing individually, but taken as a whole can show the developers where to focus their attention. And if the answers the polls provide don't cover the full gamut of possible responses, it can, eventually, indirectly reinforce bad decisions down the road.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Taliesin Hoyle wrote:
Malaclypse is trolling
Mike Mearls wrote:
Nothing remotely inflammatory....
Malaclypse wrote:
I found the post inflammatory since, after doing polls for a few weeks where asked for which features and properties of various editions were liked by players, he then starts talking about a hypothetical new edition of D&D, shortly after having released Essentials and finally having a functioning online character builder for 4E and 4EE.

So....market research = trolling?

I'm sure you'll be the first one to scream for Paizo's blood, when the next open playtest is launched.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Personally, it doesnt matter what WOTC does now. I am boycotting all their products as well as anything made by HASBRO. They have amply demonstrarted that they are untrustworthy and dont give a hoot about those who previously supported their products.

So, when you're round your folks at Christmas, and (for example) your Gran suggests a game of Monopoly or Cluedo, you'll be sure to kick the pieces all over the floor, tear the board, stamp on the money and scream at her for raping your childhood, before giving her a punch in the mouth?

After all, to do anything less would be letting them get away with it!


Snorter wrote:
I'm sure you'll be the first one to scream for Paizo's blood, when the next open playtest is launched.

I would, and did, but I realized it's pointless since it's all about PR and 'fun' and not about improving the mechanics. But that's another topic for another thread/flamewar ;)


I hereby predict that this thread will also end well.

Productive morning, folks.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Malaclypse wrote:
I would, and did, but I realized it's pointless since it's all about PR and 'fun' and not about improving the mechanics. But that's another topic for another thread/flamewar ;)

Well, as long as you're consistent, we can't ask for more than that.

A lot of the responses to the earlier blog, re cover rules, were hysterical denunciations of 4E, for taking away the GM's right and ability to apply common sense exceptions, or scaling cover mods.

Totally ignoring the fact that this change was introduced in their beloved D&D3.5.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Snorter wrote:
Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Personally, it doesnt matter what WOTC does now. I am boycotting all their products as well as anything made by HASBRO. They have amply demonstrarted that they are untrustworthy and dont give a hoot about those who previously supported their products.

So, when you're round your folks at Christmas, and (for example) your Gran suggests a game of Monopoly or Cluedo, you'll be sure to kick the pieces all over the floor, tear the board, stamp on the money and scream at her for raping your childhood, before giving her a punch in the mouth?

After all, to do anything less would be letting them get away with it!

I take it to the next level - I won't eat potatoes because Hasbro owns the rights to Mr. Potatohead. I am actually working on my application to join Al-Queda as well. My theory is that Hasbro is a U.S. corporation that trades on a U.S. stock exchange. In order to oppose them, and all the evil that they stand for, I have no choice but to advocate the destruction of the U.S. government and the capitalist system that allows Hasbro to exist. If it were up to me, we'd have war crimes for the employees of Hasbro, and their children would be forced to watch as they were beaten and tortured for the evil that they have done.

Anyone who disagrees with my position clearly hates D&D and is unworthy of playing it or any of its derivatives.


Sebastian wrote:

I take it to the next level - I won't eat potatoes because Hasbro owns the rights to Mr. Potatohead. I am actually working on my application to join Al-Queda as well. My theory is that Hasbro is a U.S. corporation that trades on a U.S. stock exchange. In order to oppose them, and all the evil that they stand for, I have no choice but to advocate the destruction of the U.S. government and the capitalist system that allows Hasbro to exist. If it were up to me, we'd have war crimes for the employees of Hasbro, and their children would be forced to watch as they were beaten and tortured for the evil that they have done.

Anyone who disagrees with my position clearly hates D&D and is unworthy of playing it or any of its derivatives.

I have to say this post is not up to your usual standards. It feels like you're just going through the motions. Where is the caustic wit? :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
cibet44 wrote:
This is exactly what I am saying they do. Concentrate the bulk of their development resources on 4E and beyond while "farming out" their older settings to the PF RPG as a cash cow. The only things they would release as PF compliant material would be setting based stuff they aren't doing anything with anyway (like Greyhawk) while the majority of their resources are dedicated to 4E and whatever comes next. They offload the rule support to the PF RPG for classic settings and keep it in house for the current edition and beyond.

I don't understand how this would help them. It costs them the same ammount of resources to write Greyhawk for 4E as it would for Pathfinder. So why wouldn't they support their own brand? That's one of the main things WotC has going for them, they own the rights to many beloved worlds. So if they produce material for Greyhawk or Planescape or Ravenloft, why wouldn't the use the rules they already have? Even if they outsource the production to a 3PP through license, they would be crazy not to have the 3PP release the material for 4E.

I mostly just hope that they have learned their lesson and either release some portion of 4E under the OGL or move to OGL whenever they do 5E. Then again, Mike Mearls was one of those guys who has written OGL material, so I'm pretty sure he gets it. The real question is can he convince the management at Hasbro.


cibet44 wrote:
The only "folks" I saw making marketing research comments and questioning the veracity of the polls for such research were here on the Paizo boards. So I guess he's reading what Paizo customers are saying as well...good for him!

There was a pretty substantial thread on ENWorld about this very topic. I'm sure they do check out the Paizo boards every once in a while, but ENWorld is a much better indicator of how their own fans react to their decisions than the Paizo boards are.


Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Personally, it doesnt matter what WOTC does now. I am boycotting all their products as well as anything made by HASBRO. They have amply demonstrarted that they are untrustworthy and dont give a hoot about those who previously supported their products.

This is an entirely reasonable position and is not at all crazy or a hilarious overreaction.


Scott Betts wrote:
Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Personally, it doesnt matter what WOTC does now. I am boycotting all their products as well as anything made by HASBRO. They have amply demonstrarted that they are untrustworthy and dont give a hoot about those who previously supported their products.
This is an entirely reasonable position and is not at all crazy or a hilarious overreaction.

A fairly common one though.

It'd take alot for me to buy any of their DnD stuff again.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I think we're done here. Personal attacks or insults directed at other members of the Paizo community, or other companies in the industry, will not be tolerated.

If you want to discuss what Mearls has written, please create another thread, with a less inflammatory title.

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