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D&D 5th Edition


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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ciretose wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Zmar wrote:
So the fact that the part of the players didn't like 4E is their fault rather than designers not determining right what their audience expects/wants?

What makes you think that the word "fault" even applies to a situation like whether something lines up with one particular person's preferences? If a hot dog stand on the street corner only sells hot dogs, is it his fault if you don't buy from him because you hate hot dogs? Is it your fault for not liking them? Trying to assign blame in this situation just seems petty.

The marketing team overestimated their audience. It happens all the time. Their audience, predictably, went through their routine and in the end WotC wound up with fewer customers (both from "fans" who wailed and gnashed at the pre-release marketing, and fans who heard from other "fans" about how awful they imagined the marketing to be).

And of course, from people who played the game and didn't like it as much as other products.

Sure, but that particular subset of D&D players walked away from 4e for reasons that had to do with the system, rather than an imagined marketing slight.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Sometimes people post things that are remarkably revealing about their attitudes and biases without realizing how revealing it is. This is a good case in point. In creating the ridiculous untrue straw man of the 3.5 fan here, you've done an excellent job in revealing your own depth of arrogance, condescension and smugness. Thanks for letting us know how you really feel about people you disagree with. Not that I hadn't figured it out already, but this should open other folks' eyes.

Are you seriously telling us that his caricature of the deisgner/fan interaction isn't a fairly accurate representation of exactly the sort of thing we saw? Fans did exactly what he described. You'd be lying to say otherwise.

In fact, WotC became so used to its fans biting the hand that feeds them info that they quickly instituted a new formal policy of interaction where they would just not discuss anything, and those same fans still reacted in exactly the way Snorter described: "Why won't you tell us anything! We demand to know what you're doing!"

Well, tough. WotC ultimately chose the best course of action for dealing with an audience that cannot handle pre-release information - don't give them any.


noretoc wrote:

I don't have a problem with you pointing it out, I have an issue with the WAY you pointed it out, which (unless I am overestimating your intelligence) you know quite well.

I've had this discussion a dozen different times in a dozen different ways. You can't point out an unpleasant quality on the internet in a way that gets the point across without ruffling feathers. There was a time when I cared about tip-toeing across the eggshells, but that's past. I'm not looking to offend you - you need to understand that - but I'm not going to bother mincing words, either. You're welcome to continue this discussion, but don't throw yourself into the line of fire, as it were, and whine that I was aiming at you all along.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Whenever I hear the "answer" to a failed objective to be described as "the target audience was too stupid" or "too irrational" I get a pretty good idea of where the lack of intelligence or rationality actually is.
That wasn't my answer. My answer was "The marketing team overestimated their audience." I wasn't blaming the audience. I placed the responsibility for failing to optimally market at the feet of the marketing team.

Are you kidding me. Is your arrogance so overwhelming that you think the people you are talking to are going to just forget what you said. Hey here is your exact phrase, including what you just left out.

Scott Betts wrote:
It is my opinion that they overestimated the levelheadedness of the D&D player base. Any successful marketing to that base will bear in mind that a great many of the people they are speaking to will tend to be over-invested, over-entitled, and uninterested in nuance. These are traits that are present in everyone, certainly, but I think that they are more intensely felt in the D&D community, especially as relates to D&D itself.

overestimated the levelheadedness of the D&D base. - this is like considering "I'm sorry your are a jerk" an apology. This is EXTREMELY enlightening from a person who just said "I don't mince words"

Andoran

Scott Betts wrote:


Sure, but that particular subset of D&D players walked away from 4e for reasons that had to do with the system, rather than an imagined marketing slight.

If that were the issue, 4E would have started in 2nd place, rather than starting in 1st place and fading to 2nd place.

The fact is they came out as the worlds most popular role playing game and have faded to 2nd.

You can't say that it because no one gave them a chance when more people were using them to start with.

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:
often cancelled due to poor ratings for simply being too intricate or literate for much of the audience to follow.

So was 4e too intricate or were/are the 3.5e/PF fans too illiterate to follow 4e?

;)

Just yanking your chain Scott. I just found this statement sort of like a veiled insult to random tracks of society.


noretoc wrote:
Are you kidding me.

No.

Quote:
Is your arrogance so overwhelming that you think the people you are talking to are going to just forget what you said.

Of course not. And mind your tongue.

Quote:
Hey here is your exact phrase, including what you just left out.

This ought to be awesome.

Quote:
overestimated the levelheadedness of the D&D base.

Yes. They overestimated their audience. The marketing team failed to accurately size up their audience. The ability to do so is very important to the success of a marketing campaign. I'm not sure why you're still confused about this.

Quote:
- this is like considering "I'm sorry your are a jerk" an apology.

No, it's not anything like that at all, actually.

Do you think I'm out to insult people? You might want to recalibrate the way you're approaching the things I'm saying to you.

Quote:
This is EXTREMELY enlightening from a person who just said "I don't mince words"

That's right. I don't.


Stefan Hill wrote:
Just yanking your chain Scott. I just found this statement sort of like a veiled insult to random tracks of society.

It's not an insult, nor veiled, just simply a statement of fact. A good product can fail if it overestimates (or underestimates, for that matter) some of the defining traits of its market. The closer to spot-on your conception of your audience, the better chance your marketing has of being successful.


ciretose wrote:
If that were the issue, 4E would have started in 2nd place, rather than starting in 1st place and fading to 2nd place.

2nd place behind...what, exactly?

Pathfinder wasn't on the market at 4e's release, so what would it have started in 2nd place behind? Who would have been in 1st place?

Andoran

Scott Betts wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:
Just yanking your chain Scott. I just found this statement sort of like a veiled insult to random tracks of society.
It's not an insult, nor veiled, just simply a statement of fact. A good product can fail if it overestimates (or underestimates, for that matter) some of the defining traits of its market. The closer to spot-on your conception of your audience, the better chance your marketing has of being successful.

Or if is way ahead in sales, then falls behind because it isn't as good.


ciretose wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:
Just yanking your chain Scott. I just found this statement sort of like a veiled insult to random tracks of society.
It's not an insult, nor veiled, just simply a statement of fact. A good product can fail if it overestimates (or underestimates, for that matter) some of the defining traits of its market. The closer to spot-on your conception of your audience, the better chance your marketing has of being successful.
Or if is way ahead in sales, then falls behind because it isn't as good.

Sure, or that.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

i think for 5ed to succeed big, wizards really need to decide what it is going to be. That I feel was a problem with 4ed. They started out trying to make it more video gamey. (People may yell at this, but there is no doubt in my mind. Things like daily powers for all classes, marks, etc are staples of a multiplayer video games.) They were trying to pull some of the market which is understandable, because it is huge. The problem is that they cant compete with a video game. While there are definite overlaps, most video game players are visual. When they hear about D&D it will sound cool, and they will want to try it, because of a lot of the shared elements, but most will go back for the visual stimulation.

4ed also jumped on the card market. Not because they were trying to get card players, I don't think, but because it is a good revenue stream. That though turned some people off and made the game a bit harder to get into for anyone that was of the "Gotta have the best" mentality. They try to have a huge online presence with promises of VTT and the work on the character builder, but support items are only going to go as far as the base game goes.
So they are not pulling the people they want and figure, they need a change and go essentials. Easier, better for new people etc. That of course doesn't help the situation cause it does fragment the market a bit. Then people start realizing that it is really just another game. A bunch of elements thrown together and start looking around for other things. It is like D&D never had a chance to define itself.
5ed needs to go back and look at the people who play. They should not go after the online market, because online games do that better. They should not go after the collectable people because there are better collectable games out there and they compete with themselves. They should not go after the tactical game people because those that play tabletop tactical really are dying out. I mean, why go to the table when you can have games like that online that do the figuring for you and look beautiful. (Now 1st ed did a good job going after the tactical market, but remember that there weren't real alternatives to war games back then. D&D was a perfect mix during that time, but today the online options are too great. Who does that leave...

The best bet is to go after the readers. The people who already read the stories and imagine the people and places in their head. Give them a way to put themselves in the story. Make it just complicated enough to be fun, but here is the big thing. Focus on being part of the story. Make reasons for the abilities and powers that make sense in the context of the game. Then follow up with adventures. I don't think Wizards can get along and make a good 5e if they just focus on the rules and rule books. They need to draw people in with good narratives and keep giving them reasons to want to imagine themselves as whatever they are playing. I really think that is the secret to wizards coming back strong.

Well, just my opinion.

Shadow Lodge

Scott Betts wrote:
A good product can fail if it overestimates (or underestimates, for that matter) some of the defining traits of its market. The closer to spot-on your conception of your audience, the better chance your marketing has of being successful.

Unless the idea was to not market to your current audience (who were seen as aging and "lapsing" out of the profit stream) in an attempt to carve out a new audience from other markets--namely, it seemed, the 12+ Million MMO subscribers.

"Beaconing" is often designed to try to pull people from close markets into your market, attracting them by what (hopefully) will be perceived as a similar-but-better experience/product or at least an additional-similar experience/product.

Sometimes this works, and you grow your product while still keeping your core. Sometimes, unfortunately, this creates a backlash within your core because it's seen (partially correctly) as an abandonment of the current market in favor of a "greener" one. And those in the old core are now faced with a new product that's no longer designed to their wishes, it's altered to attract the new market.

I think WotC may have misinterpreted both their new target and old core audiences and ultimately failed both. I think this is why we're already seeing the push for 5e to be seen as an "inclusive" system that will appeal to "all" audiences.

Of course, how you pull this off without diluting the experience for any particular segment remains to be seen. I'm not sure a D&D variant of GURPS is likely to bring people back to D&D, but it's hard to have a "universal" game that isn't either overly bulky or else overly generic.

And, in this case, each edition of D&D has a very unique "feel" and mechanical structure to it that's not immediately replicable in the other editions.

WotC has gone from targeting a new audience to targeting every potential-possible D&D audience segment with one "umbrella" system.

I think creating and marketing a single system to handle everything from the Rules Cyclopedia to 4e and Tactical Miniature Combat to Deep Immersive Roleplaying without marginalizing someone somewhere seems...difficult...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Not that anyone cares, but here's my test for whether of not someone making a generalization about a group of people is being a jerk:

Take that person's generalization and pretend they are describing a racial minority of your choice instead of the actual group under discussion. If, after making this substitution, the result is something that would lead the average reader to suspect that the statement's author is a racist, the author is being a jerk.

Sadly, there are enough posts in this thread proving the effectiveness of this test that I have neither the time nor the patience to go back and flag them all. So carry on, I guess.


ValmarTheMad wrote:
Unless the idea was to not market to your current audience (who were seen as aging and "lapsing" out of the profit stream) in an attempt to carve out a new audience from other markets--namely, it seemed, the 12+ Million MMO subscribers.

I think it's safe to say that the Gen Con-attending, D&D website-reading gamers that make up the audience we're discussing were not a new audience.

The people who chose to be offended by marketing were not getting offended at marketing designed to target MMO players. They were getting offended at marketing directed at them, and that marketing simply misjudged the audience's reaction.


Epic Meepo wrote:

Not that anyone cares, but here's my test for whether of not someone making a generalization about a group of people is being a jerk:

Take that person's generalization and pretend they are describing a racial minority of your choice instead of the actual group under discussion. If, after making this substitution, the result is something that would lead the average reader to suspect that the statement's author is a racist, the author is being a jerk.

Sadly, there are enough posts in this thread proving the effectiveness of this test that I have neither the time nor the patience to go back and flag them all. So carry on, I guess.

This may surprise you, but marketing, as a field, is predicated on the ability to make generalizations about groups of people. Those generalizations are not always going to shine a favorable light on those groups of people. That doesn't make those who discuss them jerks. In fact, I'd argue that it's counter-productive to paint people trying to have an honest discussion as jerks just for the sake of trying not to accidentally offend people who are looking to be offended in the first place.

We're talking about marketing. If generalizations (including negative generalizations) bother you, you don't need to participate.

Also, I'd consider finding a different test for jerkitude.

With that, I'm off to play Pathfinder. Catch you cats later.


I think the world wasn't ready for 4e yet. Too ingrained with the rules running every faucet of play, being exactly represented via rules (like Cha being an exact representation of looks), and earlier tropes.....er Sacred Cows that make D&D what it is. I guess people like the game having faults and the requirement of system mastery and wizards who own encounters by 9th level.

Problem is, they can't make 5E like this because Pathfinder already does this as does v3.5 and those customers probably aren't coming back. It certainty doesn't appeal to 4E people for obvious reasons and I'm not seeing too many avenues that connect the two. I'm interested to see what they do but Monte is working on it and that scares me because.....well I've seen a lot of his design ideas and I daresay it was very hit or miss with me

Osirion

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

Not that anyone cares, but here's my test for whether of not someone making a generalization about a group of people is being a jerk:

Take that person's generalization and pretend they are describing a racial minority of your choice instead of the actual group under discussion. If, after making this substitution, the result is something that would lead the average reader to suspect that the statement's author is a racist, the author is being a jerk.

Sadly, there are enough posts in this thread proving the effectiveness of this test that I have neither the time nor the patience to go back and flag them all. So carry on, I guess.

I think that's an absolutely terrible test for jerkitude.

Racial background is something one is born into, that is completely out of your control. Making generalisations about someone based on such a thing is very likely to be ill-informed and prejudiced.

Making predictions about how someone will act, based on their actions and choices to date, seems eminently logical.

Eg. "Racial Minority X are more prone to crime" = bigotry.
"Recently released offenders are more prone to crime" = on the ball, actually.

"Racial Minority X reeeeaally love to git themselves some o'that fried chicken" = tedious stereotype
"Our survey shows that the regular customers at KFC come for the fried chicken" = Well, DUH.

"Racial Minority X are more likely to stick with PF" = ???Where do you get this nonsense from???
"Players who were mostly happy with the 3.5 ruleset, apart from a few areas, are more likely to stick with PF" = Well, DUH.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Scott Betts wrote:
noretoc wrote:
The world according to Scott. You don't like the new game? Clearly you are in the wrong.

Yes, because I said that, right? In a post? Somewhere?

Well, two posts up from this one you state wotc 'overestimated' it's customers. That seems to strongly imply you think the customers were in the 'wrong' to me. As does the tone and content of the generality of your posts in my opinion. You seem to believe most of us who didn't like 4e never played it, or never were going to like it, that we are all overly emotional, irrational creatures, unable to see the light because of our childish tantrums. That ultimately we have no valid reasons for disliking 4e.

Y'know you post as if you have a hotline to the ultimate truth about everything connected to this subject, you present opinions as facts as much as anyone, yet I strongly suspect if we'd asked you last year whether the advent of 5e (and by implication the commercial failure of 4e) would have been likely to be announced before the end of January 2012 you'd have poo-pooed the very idea. Indeed you still poo-poo, or at the least imply doubt, that PF is in fact outselling 4e (or matching it, which amounts to the same difference) over recent quarters - something just about everyone else online seems to accept to be the case.

I'd respect your position more if you just said; hey, I have perhaps overestimated the support for 4e amongst the customer base, however I love 4e, I think it worked. Clearly many people did not, let's hope wotc ensures it does the right things to make 5e liked by more people.

That you continue to mount a relentless campaign of (forgive me) often slippery seeming, post-chopping, arguments, ignoring questions you find too difficult to answer ... I dunno, what good does it do?

Blaming, or implying blame on, those of us who did not like 4e for reasons we believe to be good, for it's own failure is getting really old. Really quick.

As to wotc overestimating it's customers - that's rubbish, and Mr Mearls himself agrees. He said 4e aimed too low, that it assumed it needed to aim at the lower denominator, not the higher. If anything wotc has admitted it underestimated it's audience with 4e.


Scott Betts wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Sometimes people post things that are remarkably revealing about their attitudes and biases without realizing how revealing it is. This is a good case in point. In creating the ridiculous untrue straw man of the 3.5 fan here, you've done an excellent job in revealing your own depth of arrogance, condescension and smugness. Thanks for letting us know how you really feel about people you disagree with. Not that I hadn't figured it out already, but this should open other folks' eyes.

Are you seriously telling us that his caricature of the deisgner/fan interaction isn't a fairly accurate representation of exactly the sort of thing we saw? Fans did exactly what he described. You'd be lying to say otherwise.

Interesting, well perhaps you could link us to an example in any sense comparable Scott. Shouldn't be difficult, they're all over the net right?

Shadow Lodge

Diffan wrote:
I think the world wasn't ready for 4e yet.

I think it wasn't ready for 4e to be "D&D".

And, not that it matters or that we'll ever know, but I wonder if WotC had spun what became 4e off as a "Chainmail" derivative or MtG RPG, (or whatever non "D&D" IP you want), if it would have been considered successful...

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:
Are you seriously telling us that his caricature of the deisgner/fan interaction isn't a fairly accurate representation of exactly the sort of thing we saw? Fans did exactly what he described. You'd be lying to say otherwise.
Rockheimr wrote:
Interesting, well perhaps you could link us to an example in any sense comparable Scott. Shouldn't be difficult, they're all over the net right?

All over the net?

No need to link to anything, they're allover this thread.
Take your pick.


Scott Betts wrote:
Zmar wrote:
So the fact that the part of the players didn't like 4E is their fault rather than designers not determining right what their audience expects/wants?

What makes you think that the word "fault" even applies to a situation like whether something lines up with one particular person's preferences? If a hot dog stand on the street corner only sells hot dogs, is it his fault if you don't buy from him because you hate hot dogs? Is it your fault for not liking them? Trying to assign blame in this situation just seems petty.

The marketing team overestimated their audience. It happens all the time. Their audience, predictably, went through their routine and in the end WotC wound up with fewer customers (both from "fans" who wailed and gnashed at the pre-release marketing, and fans who heard from other "fans" about how awful they imagined the marketing to be).

If he wanted to sell me a hot dog and I didn't want one it's nobody's fault. If he put majonaise on my hot dog without asking and I didn't want it that way it would be his fault for not asking whether I want it that way. If I expected the hot dog to taste good it would be my fault, but if it didn't it's my fault for buying it perhaps, but the hot dog seller can't expact me to praise it for it among my friends or not to be wary of his fare when he announces a new improved recepture.


Snorter wrote:

I think it paraphrases the reaction perfectly.

Yes, of course it's a caricature. But like any caricature, it stings because it is formed around a core nugget of truth.

When you make something up and attribute it to someone as part of your argument, that is the very definition of a "straw man" Snorter. I don't care how you try to rationalize it. It is what it is.

Snorter, I don't need an out. Whatever connection there may be between the CEO of Paizo and WotC at any period is meaningless. My comments about the reputation of WotC stand on their own merit. Again, if you think I am the only one on this planet who accused WotC of not sticking to their promises and leading buyers on, then you haven't even been reading this thread. The reputation existed. That's what I said. That's the truth. Whether you think I am "insulting" anyone or not is immaterial. A large portion of the Gamer community has a poor opinion of WotC marketing.

I know you don't share that opinion and that you denigrate and insult anyone who does.

I don't care. It doesn't change facts. Your inability to recognize and deal with reality is not my problem Snorter. Any more than it is my problem that you routinely set up straw men because it's an easier target for you to shoot at.


Snorter wrote:

...

WotC suggest there may be things worth changing in the 3.5 ruleset, and produce a lighthearted video to illustrate the point = insult taken, and fans burn with righteous indignation, of the power of 10,000 Hiroshimas.

Paizo suggest there may be things worth changing in the 3.5 ruleset, and carry out an long in-depth dissection of those rules, on a public forum, where the intelligence, experience, integrity and the parentage of the writers and players of every edition (OD&D to 3.5) is savaged and ripped apart by some of the most rabid trolls in the gaming community = pats on the back all round, job well done, good to see the community spirit, makes one glad to be alive in such a period of cooperation...

The ridiculous bias in the perceptions between the two events is staggering.
If one thousandth of one percent of the bile and vitriol from the PF playtest forums had been allowed to leak into the 4E marketing, it would have been a sacking matter.
Yet people who weathered the boards here, where you would face daily accusations of being mentally retarded, for holding a certain view on a game mechanic, will see the 4E marketing, cry out that they have been mortally wounded to the core of their being, and pretend to faint, like a Victorian maiden aunt, getting an attack of the vapours after seeing a piano leg without its cover.

...

I'd like to point to this thing again. It might be just the thing that was pretty important.

Instead of saying that the game will be this way, there was a question to the fans whether they want it that way. Even if it would be just a feeling of participation (and I think that it was more than just that). It created a lot of positive resonance. Asking the fans not just what they want, but also how they want it. 4E was at great disadvantage here, because it wasn't meant to release mechanics to the public and I think that this may exactly be the thing that 5E playtest is aiming at. And I indeed think that unless someone screws it up terribly, it will suceed in creating similar feeling.

Osirion

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

I'd like to point to this thing again. It might be just the thing that was pretty important.

Instead of saying that the game will be this way, there was a question to the fans whether they want it that way. Even if it would be just a feeling of participation (and I think that it was more than just that). It created a lot of positive resonance. Asking the fans not just what they want, but also how they want it. 4E was at great disadvantage here, because it wasn't meant to release mechanics to the public and I think that this may exactly be the thing that 5E playtest is aiming at. And I indeed think that unless someone screws it up terribly, it it will succeed in creating similar feeling.

A good point, Zmar.

The playtest should hopefully make a difference.

I do believe that the WotC designers genuinely thought they had designed the game to the exact specifications they were given by the customers.

They had eight years of feedback, telling them that players hated caster superiority, martial PCs becoming obsolete, non-combat spells like knock and find traps making rogues pointless, the huge gap between skilled and unskilled bonuses, long prep time, complex rules for proving you had used the exact math for monsters, long laundry lists of SLAs that a monster would never use, having to equip minions with magic items to allow them to affect PCs (the 'wheelbarrow full of +1 swords' effect), etc.

The feedback is right there, in the mail sack, on email, on the forums. It's virtually unanimous, that these are the things that are bugging everyone. Change those things, and you'll have the ideal game, right?
We can let the customers in on the fact, by releasing a video that shows we've heard their suggestions, and we're on board with them.

Trouble was, the mailbag didn't tell the whole story. Turns out there was a significant section of the player base that didn't have a problem with these areas (or had house-ruled their own workarounds, and didn't want the game to change*). But these people never bothered to communicate their satisfaction to the publisher. Turns out, contented customers don't write in. Whoulda thought?

And that's why I can't make myself angry with WotC. They did exactly what they said they'd do (respond to customer feedback). They gave the customers exactly what they asked for. Or, rather, they gave the customers who were actively involved in their forums exactly what they asked for.

Some people are butthurt, because the game was changed "without their permission", but whose fault is that? Every company is desperate for feedback, and solicits it, often for free. How many of us ever fill in the pre-paid rating card inside every new DVD? How many of us complete the survey in the bottom of the game box? How many of us write a thank-you letter to a publisher? How many of us poke our favourite designers on Facebook to say "Keep up the good work!"? How many of us answer the online polls or add a post to the publisher's forum to congratulate them for keeping the core of their game consistent?

If you're not doing these things, then you're not an active part of the community, and you can't whine about not being heard. Getting angry about the fact that WotC chose to aim their game toward the active, vocal members of their community, and not to the silent hermits, is akin to demanding that "They should somehow, magically, know I bought their game, hire a private detective to track me down, and find out what I want, by READING MY MIND!".

*aka The Oberoni Fallacy ("My DM house-rules that, so we don't have a problem, therefore the official rules don't need changing.") <facepalm>

Andoran

My, this just goes on and on. The people have already voted by making Pathfinder the most popular roleplaying game. 4E is dead and gone. Most people are quite satisfied with Pathfinder, and it continues to grow in popularity. Reach out to former and present 4E players to engage them in the Pathfinder community.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Scott Betts wrote:
This may surprise you, but marketing, as a field, is predicated on the ability to make generalizations about groups of people.

Incorrect. Marketing, as a field, is predicated on the ability to analyze trends in data gathered during market research. And, by definition, that sort of statistical analysis cannot be a generalization; to be fully defined, a sample-based statistical analysis must include a properly-calculated margin of error, at which point it becomes a statement that applies in full to an entire population.

So yes, I consider anyone making unfavorable generalizations (as in, statements not based on actual statistical analysis) to be a jerk.

Snorter wrote:
Making predictions about how someone will act, based on their actions and choices to date, seems eminently logical.

Making predictions about how one particular person will act based on that person's actions to date is perfectly logical. Making statements about the behavior a hypothetical, supposedly-representative member of a larger population based on anecdotal evidence involving some other member or members of that group, on the other hand, is entirely irrational.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Reach out to former and present 4E players to engage them in the Pathfinder community.

I am (for one) plenty engaged.

Each company does better if the other is thriving. Growing the market and providing two diverse rulesets (one more simulationist, one more gamist) is a far better scenario than two companies looking at an ever decreasing market and struggling to poach one another's customers.


Well, I do fill the polls that occasionally appear at Wizards site, but pre-paid cards? Certainly not from where I live (they pay postage in US only). I don't think that these polls are hard to compare with an actual playtest and throrough test by fire (and flame war) on the message boards. You can get moche more mechanical imput there than via often general poll IMO.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Well, let's see. I am a customer of both Paizo (I have a subscription for AP after all and own several of PF core books) and WOTC. Do I play both games ? In a word, no.

I do play 4E. Why ? Because for me and my players, the rules were closer to what we wanted in a role playing game, be it called D&D or something else. What I will tell, though, is that, even if the rules are better IMHO, the fluff and the scenarioes, were at best lacking any real consistencies in my taste. Hence why I bought AP, and the world of PF, and the rules, to get inspiration for my 4E games.

Was I ever slighted in any way by the marketing campaigns you talk so much about, even though I play d&d since the coloured boxes ? Not one bit, I don't even remember that video you talk about, to be honest.

Am I excited about a new edition ? Too early to really tell. I like 4E, heck I even like PF from what I read, it's my players who don't really enjoy to get back to anything so closely related to 3.5E. I will say this though, I have yet to encouter any edition of d&d that didn't have merits on its own. I have yet to be disapointed by any rulesets, be it advanced, 3rd ed, 4th, or even Pathfinder, that I consider still as d&d. And I consider 4E as d&d, as well, but a different facette of it.

I will consider 5E. I will read anything I can find about it and buy the first books, and test it. Beyond that, I can't know for sure. I just hope that WOTC will understand that good rules are fine, but good fluff and good scenarioes are as much important than the rules...


Rockheimr wrote:
Well, two posts up from this one you state wotc 'overestimated' it's customers. That seems to strongly imply you think the customers were in the 'wrong' to me.

Only if you have no idea what I was talking about.

I said that the marketing team overestimated how levelheaded their audience was. It doesn't mean that they're somehow wrong for having a certain preference.

Quote:
As does the tone and content of the generality of your posts in my opinion. You seem to believe most of us who didn't like 4e never played it, or never were going to like it, that we are all overly emotional, irrational creatures, unable to see the light because of our childish tantrums. That ultimately we have no valid reasons for disliking 4e.

I've said, repeatedly, that many people disliked 4e for system-related reasons, and that some of those reasons were even valid!

I'm not forcing you to read what I say, but it would be nice if you did before imagining up devil horns to fit atop my head.

Quote:
Y'know you post as if you have a hotline to the ultimate truth about everything connected to this subject, you present opinions as facts as much as anyone, yet I strongly suspect if we'd asked you last year whether the advent of 5e (and by implication the commercial failure of 4e) would have been likely to be announced before the end of January 2012 you'd have poo-pooed the very idea. Indeed you still poo-poo, or at the least imply doubt, that PF is in fact outselling 4e (or matching it, which amounts to the same difference) over recent quarters - something just about everyone else online seems to accept to be the case.

It's more than a little hypocritical to accuse me of presenting non-facts as facts and then immediately turn around and criticize me for correcting people when they try to present non-facts as facts.

Just because a lot of people accept it (again, nowhere near everyone) doesn't mean it's true.

I think you would have a much easier time of things if you stopped imagining that I have said or believe things that I haven't said and don't believe.


Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
My, this just goes on and on. The people have already voted by making Pathfinder the most popular roleplaying game. 4E is dead and gone. Most people are quite satisfied with Pathfinder, and it continues to grow in popularity. Reach out to former and present 4E players to engage them in the Pathfinder community.

You don't really seem to do anything except occasionally pop in to tell us that Pathfinder is the most popular roleplaying game (it probably isn't, and you're just guessing), and that 4e is dead and gone (4e is still printing and releasing new material daily, so that's definitely a lie).

This is radicalized language you are using. It has no basis in reality, but you're saying it in order to spread it as gospel.


Epic Meepo wrote:
Incorrect. Marketing, as a field, is predicated on the ability to analyze trends in data gathered during market research. And, by definition, that sort of statistical analysis cannot be a generalization; to be fully defined, a sample-based statistical analysis must include a properly-calculated margin of error, at which point it becomes a statement that applies in full to an entire population.

That's a small (though significant) part of marketing. If you think that marketing doesn't involve making decisions based on generalizations about population groups that are not grounded in exhaustive statistical research, you're fooling yourself.

Out of curiosity, though, if it turned out that I did have statistical data to support those generalizations (ignore, for the moment, whether or not that strikes you as ridiculous), would you still consider me a jerk?

If so, why? Someone is a jerk for having an honest, fact-supported discussion?

If not, why not? My message and intent are both the same; the only difference is that you would know that what I'm saying is true, rather than doubting it.

I don't think it's really outlandish to suggest that the D&D community wildly overreacted during the lead-in to 4e. I think that's pretty much hashed out, at this point. The level of vitriol was really very disproportionate to any actual harm or insult that WotC was dishing out. The only remaining question is why we saw the reactions we saw. I've put forth my theory, you're free to put forth yours.

Finally, consider for a moment that over the course of this thread I have been called stupid, arrogant, slippery, a jerk, irrational, and probably a few choice jabs I've glossed over. And yet you chose to call me out for an imagined jerkitude to my arguments. Are you sure you're actually pulling for a civil discussion? Or just piling on the incivility?


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
When you make something up and attribute it to someone as part of your argument, that is the very definition of a "straw man" Snorter.

He's not saying that all the people who disliked 4e did that. He's saying that some did, and that's what it looked like. Frankly, that is what it looked like. You can tell us we're wrong all you want, but we've experienced it firsthand. We witnessed it. So accuse us of arguing against strawmen. We don't care. We'll just tell you that you're incorrect, and you're going to have to leave it at that.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

Couldn't disagree more. The OGL didn't save D&D - the early OGL stuff was total crap and after buying some of it I never bought any more - D&D was saved by WotC launching 3e. Suggesting the OGL was responsible for that seems nonsensical to me. I was there - the OGL stuff at the time of the 3e launch was terrible, only WotC was putting out quality. Maybe that changed after but by then 3e was established. I'd argue its resurgance was more due to benefitting from being the only game in town as RPGs were in the beginning of their long term decline (which is probably continuing) and receiving the financial backing of WotC (and then Hasbro) after years of mismanagement under TSR.

In fact, the OGL was responsible for the atomisation of D&D by allowing, in perpetuity, so 3e to be supported by rival companies - witness Paizo. Whether this is good for the hobby is debatable - but it certainly isn't good for WotC. In the old days, once a system was superceded by a new edition, it's official support was gone. You can hardly be surprised that WotC are not keen on relaunching OGL as it was, on balance, bad for WotC. So anyone expecting nu-OGL is probably going to be disappointed.

ciretose wrote:

First off, the OGL came out in 2000, with 3.0

A revised OGL for 3.5 came out in 2003 with 3.5, but the OGL came with 3.0. Look it up.

Where did I suggest it didn't? Try reading my post.

ciretose wrote:

Second, of course it was awful at first, no one knew the system. It got better as people learned the system and learned how to write for it.

Half of the problem with 4E is the closed nature basically means if it isn't created in house it isn't created.

The fact is Paizo is operating under the OGL and thriving while WoTC abandoned it and isn't.

Well, you could argue that WotC put in all the effort and by giving the fruits of that effort away for free allowed someone to produce piggy-back on their hard work at little cost (R&D is expensive - and Paizo don't do much it any) - which is still bad business. But in any case your claim was the OGL saved D&D - it didn't. It saved Paizo. WotC saved D&D ten years earlier.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

...

You can hardly be surprised that WotC are not keen on relaunching OGL as it was, on balance, bad for WotC. So anyone expecting nu-OGL is probably going to be disappointed.

...

AHalflingNotAHobbit wrote:

I guess we'll find out soon enough. But I think competition from Paizo is just the tip of the iceberg for Wizards. If I'm understanding Dancey's ENWorld posts correctly, then Wizards is really up against it--their distribution network is dissolving, their delivery medium (hardbound books) has an uncertain future, and their market is declining. Any one of these alone can (and has) killed much bigger and much better-run operations than D&D under WotC.

So I doubt their OGL decision will be made in isolation. I recall reading somewhere that Mearls was going to address the D&D business model in the months leading up to 5E's release. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with.

EDIT: BTW, Aubrey, your PbP games are freaking awesome. I've been following them for a couple of years now.

Dancy maybe isn't entirely unbiased, but I suspect there's something to that. My suspicion is that they will try and ramp up the subscription business (which is basically how Paizo operate now) to create a more sustainable revenue stream, which will take away from the need to sell books (which is a declining market anyway). I have nothing other than a hunch to back that up, but that's mine. For me, the main issue they have is support for the product - I don't know which idiot at WotC thought that adventures were not worth producing but for most players they are the main support for the game, and the decision to outsource that aspect at the advent of 3e has reverberated through WotC's business ever since. Never mind the OGL.

And thanks for the kind words - flattery is always welcome.

Qadira

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
We have opinions but no decent reason to think they're accurate.

Well, my opinions have been a pretty solid guide to what's actually been happening in the marketplace, so I think that's a pretty decent reason to think they are accurate.

From the release of 4e I have been predicting that 4e would have a short shelf life and that it would lose market share.

From the release of Pathfinder I have been predicting that Pathfinder would attract frustrated gamers who dislike 4e and prefer the Pathfinder game and would grow marketshare.

A year ago I predicted Pathfinder would overtake 4e in sales.

I based all of this on my "anecdotal data analysis."

All of it has turned out to be accurate. I think that's a decent enough reason to satisfy me.

Never mind that s+!%, what are the next Eurolottery numbers?


Scott Betts wrote:
Rockheimr wrote:
Well, two posts up from this one you state wotc 'overestimated' it's customers. That seems to strongly imply you think the customers were in the 'wrong' to me.

Only if you have no idea what I was talking about.

I said that the marketing team overestimated how levelheaded their audience was. It doesn't mean that they're somehow wrong for having a certain preference.

Quote:
As does the tone and content of the generality of your posts in my opinion. You seem to believe most of us who didn't like 4e never played it, or never were going to like it, that we are all overly emotional, irrational creatures, unable to see the light because of our childish tantrums. That ultimately we have no valid reasons for disliking 4e.

I've said, repeatedly, that many people disliked 4e for system-related reasons, and that some of those reasons were even valid!

I'm not forcing you to read what I say, but it would be nice if you did before imagining up devil horns to fit atop my head.

Quote:
Y'know you post as if you have a hotline to the ultimate truth about everything connected to this subject, you present opinions as facts as much as anyone, yet I strongly suspect if we'd asked you last year whether the advent of 5e (and by implication the commercial failure of 4e) would have been likely to be announced before the end of January 2012 you'd have poo-pooed the very idea. Indeed you still poo-poo, or at the least imply doubt, that PF is in fact outselling 4e (or matching it, which amounts to the same difference) over recent quarters - something just about everyone else online seems to accept to be the case.

It's more than a little hypocritical to accuse me of presenting non-facts as facts and then immediately turn around and criticize me for correcting people when they try to present non-facts as facts.

Just because a lot of people accept it (again, nowhere near everyone) doesn't mean it's true.

I think you would have a much easier time of things if you...

Interesting you mention being called slippery (by me) as an insult downthread - I honestly think that's how your responses seem.

You regularly do not answer straight questions, preferring instead to snip or focus on one line of a long post as if by refuting that you can refute the entirety of the thrust of the post.

Someone else (can't recall who) called you on this habit recently and I agree with them.

Re your point above, yes it doesn't mean it's definitely 100% true, but do you actually believe it's not? Do you not believe the statistics seen online are broadly correct in this instance (that PF has caught up with and possibly slightly beaten 4e's sales)?

You didn't believe 4e was a commerical failure for wotc for the longest time ... and that clearly was the case. You are not always right Scott. (-shock-)

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
noretoc wrote:
Zmar wrote:
So the fact that the part of the players didn't like 4E is their fault rather than designers not determining right what their audience expects/wants?

The world according to Scott. You don't like the new game? Clearly you are in the wrong. You think Wizards may have have made a mistake? No, that just means you don't understand them.

I am taking that a bit too far, but honestly, Zmar you have hit it on the head. When your product turns off customers, it is not the customer's fault. When your actions turn off customers, again it is not the customer's fault. This isn't a person saying the wrong thing and then saying "Well, f' em if they cant take a joke". This is a business whose existence is reliant on those customers. You don't do stuff and hope they go along. You find out what they want and give it to them. Sometimes you do it well, sometimes your don't, but it is never the customers fault if your stuff isn't good enough for them.

Why can't WotC create adventures that outshine Paizo? People are saying paizo does so well because the numbers take the adventure paths into consideration... Well, why can't wizards create awesome adventures and compete? Or is that the customers fault too for not giving their adventures enough credit?

The customer isn't always right. Anyone who has every dealt with customers knows that some are just unreasonable. I saw those videos, and I know that people I respect get really bent out of shape by them. Me, I thought they were mildly amusing. I guess some people felt disrespected by them but frankly that more an individual issue than anything else. In and of themselves they are harmless. And some people can't take a f'ing joke, no. And conflating the quality of the product with the nature of the marketing is also an example of that - WotC's adventure design has nothing to do with the marketing of the 4e release, and suggesting otherwise is, well, unreasonable.


Rockheimr wrote:

Interesting you mention being called slippery (by me) as an insult downthread - I honestly think that's how your responses seem.

You regularly do not answer straight questions, preferring instead to snip or focus on one line of a long post as if by refuting that you can refute the entirety of the thrust of the post.

I'm sorry if it seems that way. I don't have the time or inclination to respond to everything from everyone who disagrees with me. But when asked a straight question I do make a point of responding. If you feel I've avoided one, point it out to me and I'll address it (as long as it's relevant to the topic).

Quote:
Someone else (can't recall who) called you on this habit recently and I agree with them.

Oh, it happens all the time.

Quote:
Re your point above, yes it doesn't mean it's definitely 100% true, but do you actually believe it's not? Do you not believe the statistics seen online are broadly correct in this instance (that PF has caught up with and possibly slightly beaten 4e's sales)?

I think there are good indications that it may have recently caught up to 4e physical book sales. I think that this is in no small part due to the slow publishing schedule of the last year, and I think that some doubts remain beyond that. I also think that any analysis of market positioning is uselessly incomplete without a knowledge of how digital sales and subscriptions are playing out. Beyond that, I don't believe that any of this shines any reliable light on how popular the two games are with respect to one another.

I think that looking at the shreds of data that we have available to us and using it to draw conclusions like, "Pathfinder is the most popular roleplaying game!" (like what Martin Kauffman said a few hours ago) is clearly premature - so clear, in fact, that anyone who decides to try and draw those conclusions anyway probably doesn't really care about what is and isn't the case.

Finally, I've said all of this many times on these very forums. I understand that it's a more nuanced view than some people take of the issue, but that doesn't allow you to ignore it or assume that I believe something entirely different.

Quote:
You didn't believe 4e was a commerical failure for wotc for the longest time ... and that clearly was the case. You are not always right Scott. (-shock-)

I still don't believe that 4e was necessarily a commercial failure. We don't know what benchmark they use for success or failure, and we don't know that the 5e announcement was motivated by the determination that 4e was a commercial failure. A product can be a commercial success, and the company responsible can still decide that they could be more successful by introducing a revised product to try and capture more of the market.

Again, drawing the conclusion that 4e is a commercial failure is not something that you can do. There's no way for you to know one way or the other, because you don't know how strong its sales were and you don't know what its targets were. You can pretend to know those things, and you can guess at what those things might be, but that's all.

As for me being wrong, you don't have to look any further back than the day before the 5e announcement, when I said I didn't think they would announce 5e. I acknowledged I was wrong (and it's a little weird that I'd be put in a position where acknowledging that feels like apologizing, given the number of people who made wrong predictions about 5e here over the past two years and were never bothered about it, but that's unfortunately the sort of community this is) the next day.


Well, 4E was probably doing alright, but not well enough to be considered success.

On less related matter - about 3E crowd reactions to 4E... could there be found some similarity to 4E crowd reaction to Essentials? I heard all manner of "Mammoth steps backwards" etc. Have you seen something similar too?

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Not really. Essentials is still compatible with all earlier 4e stuff so it doesn't mean you have to get rid of your old books to play the new stuff. What Essentials does is provide simplified - but still fully functioning in 4e - character classes. Personally I don't care for Essentials much but frankly I've been able to ignore it and still enjoy the stuff which has come out of WotC before and subsequently. And I'm not aware of much geek-fury - certainly nothing like the general anti-4e stuff on this site - as it doesn't invalidate any past or future purchases.


Sure that the reaction is weaker by a margin, but still the reasons and rage are of the same type.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I'm not sure what you are trying to say - no, actually, I know exactly what you are trying to say - but I'm afraid the comparison isn't really all that telling. I'm not aware of anyone who declared they hated WotC as a result of Essentials and were never going to but their products again. I pretty much gave you the reaction - if you liked it, you liked it; if you didn't, you didn't; and then you simply got on and played the version of 4e you liked (even assuming you thought they were different versions, given that everything except some character classes, many of which shared powers with previous classes, were exactly the same). Try looking in these boards for the terrible raging controversy over Essentials and you'll find maybe a couple of threads (and probably only one actually devoted to the subject, which I started as I didn't know anything about Essentials and wondered if I should) where the subject is discussed calmly without hysteria and histrionics. So I'd say that trying to draw some sort of comparison between the introduction of 4e and the introduction of Essentials isn't really tenable.


On these boards I doubt much people actually cared for Essentials, but people I've met on the game day here voiced their displeasure over them pretty often.

I'm trying to point out that the crowd is all the same with the difference created only by the scale of the change. The reaction of part of the crowd is something along the line: "Why is my perfect game changed?" +/- mouthfoaming rage roughly co-relating to the change scale. No matter whether 4E lovers or 3E lovers the reaction is similar.

It seemed that PF fans are somewhat accused of being the hysteric haters of 4E, but I just wanted to point out that 4E crowd houses the same type of people who'll probably rear their heads soon. We're the same people with two different preferred systems, but otherwise we'd probably be the same. We also share certain vocal minorities.

Andoran

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


ciretose wrote:

First off, the OGL came out in 2000, with 3.0

A revised OGL for 3.5 came out in 2003 with 3.5, but the OGL came with 3.0. Look it up.

Where did I suggest it didn't? Try reading my post.

You said the release of 3.0 was the salvation while the OGL was a problem. They were released simultaneously, so how can something so detrimental be part of the rise from bankruptcy?

3.0 itself was very, very flawed. Hence the emergence of 3.5 3 years later. The OGL allowed it to go through a needed evolutionary process, as well as bringing in 3PP support so that WoTC wasn't carrying all of the burden of innovation themselves.

As to the 2nd point, you act as if rule design is the costly part of the game. Writing content for the games it part that is labor intensive, which was where the freelance market of the OGL helped tremendously once freelancers learned the rule systems.

The WoTC rules team was largely Cook, Tweet and Williams. This isn't manufacturing, you are wildly overestimating R&D cost. Additionally, WoTC already had the internal logistics with FLGS from Magic, and brand recognition from the fact that they bought the brand.

The OGL was what brought more people in, and more systems in. It meant when they released Star Wars and Modern, everyone already knew the system. I personally didn't buy a 3.5 book until I was into the game for over a year, since I could get most of the rules online. Then I spent hundreds of dollar on books.

They are having problems now because they abandoned a successful product because they wanted everyone to move to another system, starting over with new books.

They could have accomplished this by putting out a revision rather than a replacement. They didn't, because they thought they had squeezed all the money out of 3.5 they could get.

Paizo has clearly demonstrated there was plenty of profit left in 3.5.

Paizo is under all of the same "restrictions" WoTC was. If anything the OGL they use is more open, as the rules supplement books (always a cash cow of WoTC) are also open. And of course, Paizo has none of the brand advantages and had very little of the logistical infrastructure.

Yet last two quarters...

The OGL was why 3.0 succeeded, and why WoTC was able to take a bankrupt company and make them profitable.

Keeping it is why Paizo was able to stand up to the 800lb Gorilla, and why the 800lb Gorilla is on it's 2nd reboot in 5 years and 3rd major revision in 10.

Andoran

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Not really. Essentials is still compatible with all earlier 4e stuff so it doesn't mean you have to get rid of your old books to play the new stuff. What Essentials does is provide simplified - but still fully functioning in 4e - character classes. Personally I don't care for Essentials much but frankly I've been able to ignore it and still enjoy the stuff which has come out of WotC before and subsequently. And I'm not aware of much geek-fury - certainly nothing like the general anti-4e stuff on this site - as it doesn't invalidate any past or future purchases.

Essentials was a good idea, but it didn't fix the underlying problem.

System quality aside, the cost of entry between the two games is

Pathfinder = Cost of dice.
D&D = Book or subscription + Dice

If I'm a noob wanting to try something out, Pathfinder is all online for free.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
ciretose wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Not really. Essentials is still compatible with all earlier 4e stuff so it doesn't mean you have to get rid of your old books to play the new stuff. What Essentials does is provide simplified - but still fully functioning in 4e - character classes. Personally I don't care for Essentials much but frankly I've been able to ignore it and still enjoy the stuff which has come out of WotC before and subsequently. And I'm not aware of much geek-fury - certainly nothing like the general anti-4e stuff on this site - as it doesn't invalidate any past or future purchases.

Essentials was a good idea, but it didn't fix the underlying problem.

System quality aside, the cost of entry between the two games is

Pathfinder = Cost of dice.
D&D = Book or subscription + Dice

If I'm a noob wanting to try something out, Pathfinder is all online for free.

Maybe - but irrelevant to the point I was making.

Andoran

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:


Essentials was a good idea, but it didn't fix the underlying problem.

System quality aside, the cost of entry between the two games is

Pathfinder = Cost of dice.
D&D = Book or subscription + Dice

If I'm a noob wanting to try something out, Pathfinder is all online for free.

Maybe - but irrelevant to the point I was making.

Not really.

You said "Personally I don't care for Essentials much but frankly I've been able to ignore it and still enjoy the stuff which has come out of WotC before and subsequently."

This wasn't a viable option with 4E as they ceased to support the old product and 4E was incompatible with 3.5.

There is little geek fury about essentials because nothing was lost from the game before. Essentials adds in the same way the Beginner Box adds.

WoTC attempted to kill an old product line because to many other were also profiting from it. Rather than taking the "A rising tide lifts all of us" approach, they cut off their nose to spite their face.

The whole discussion is about why WoTC is putting something new out that appears to be designed to replace 4e.

They took the essentials approach and it didn't work. Why? Because when they abandoned OGL, they left the market behind. Until that changes, they will remain off on an ever shrinking island to themselves.

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