On the practice of marketing


4th Edition

1 to 50 of 60 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Suppose you’re a car manufacturer, and your marketing department is assigned the basic task of convincing people to buy this year’s car.

Marketing strategy #1 that you will see all car manufacturers use: "New car is great! Shiny, fast, roomy, affordable, good traction, lots of zoomy camera shots in the commercials! Yay!" This strategy, sadly enough, works really well.

Marketing strategy #2 that you will see manufacturers use if their cars are too similar to other manufacturers’ cars: "New car is better than Other Guy’s New Car! Better mileage, better handling, people like our cars, new improved new car smell! Yay!" This also works fairly well.

Marketing strategy #3 that you will hardly ever see manufacturers use: "New car rules over our car from 5 years ago. You know, the one that had the big factory recall, and terrible mileage, and the parts were really expensive, and things tended to fly off at freeway speeds. You remember. Sure, it looked great, and the kids loved it, and it’s paid for, but still, it kind of sucked. You need to buy a new one. And we’re the people who are going to make it! We’re fixing everything! Honest! Yay!" This really doesn’t work very well.

Marketing strategy #4 that I’ve never seen, and the people at WOTC don’t necessarily realize they’re using: "New car rules over our car from last year. Better mileage, better handling, fancier styling, whatever. Last years model? Sucked. This years model? Won’t suck. Honest."

See, the people playing D&D don’t think of it as a five-year-old game system. They feel like it’s still fairly new, and that the supplements that they’ve been buying have been constantly updating the game system, the way some people feel they still have a new car after five years of routine maintenance: that 3.5 with all the Completes and the Races of and the new Monster Manuals and Fiend Folii isn’t a five-year-old game system, it’s a game system from this year, like an encyclopedia with 10 years’ worth of Annuals. And so, with WOTC using marketing strategy #4, they’re like owners of a one-year-old car, thinking, “Well, sure, I could stand to get a little better mileage, and that door handle does kind of stick, and I did have to replace the brakes… but now it’s got new brakes, and I can get a tune-up to improve the mileage, and I still like the way it looks and handles, and it’s still got a few years left on it, so I’ll keep driving it, and, a few years from now, I’ll read up on what Consumer Reports has to say about New Car.”

Sovereign Court

Colin McKinney wrote:

Suppose you�re a car manufacturer, and your marketing department is assigned the basic task of convincing people to buy this year�s car.

From what I understand, from a standard marketing point-of-view, WotC is doing many things right. "Managing the brand" involves a coherent strategy, everyone speaking with one voice toward a common vision of the product, and so forth. However, they have made a crucial mis-step, IMO, my forgetting who their particular (current) customer is.

I completed a number of WotC customer surveys last year. I help design surveys IRL. Theirs was bland: customer demographics and purchase habits.

Something that's important, particularly when there is a lot of interaction with customers, is learning a customer's values. What does the customer care about? I refer to deep values that are difficult to measure empirically. These are often learned from long experience with customers.

I suspect that two commonly held values among D&D players are "collaboration" (let's work together) and "authenticity" (do I smell a rat?) Our well-known game designers at WotC have started using a shared code language that they have never used before ("unfun," etc). To no surprise, this set-off alarm bells. Similarly, we are used to a measure of collaboration with our game companies, as "payment" for our loyalty as life-long customers. Yet WotC has become what many feel (rightly or not) is secretive, deceptive ("there is no 4th edition"), and exclusive.

I'm NOT saying that customer values / expectations are right or wrong -- that would painfully equate 'what is' with what should (or should not) be. Scott Rouse has said he is surprised by the negative reaction. From a purely marketing perspective, I'm not.

OK, must get to real job...


Thanks for sharing that perspective. Very interesting.

To continue the car analogy, how about marketing a vehicle where you're expected to buy new parts every year? Or at least new decorations?

(It breaks down to some extent because games are not cars, but it's fun.)

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Dario Nardi wrote:
Scott Rouse has said he is surprised by the negative reaction.

He's an idiot if he actually is surprised. Dude, these people are rolling more natural 1's on the customer relations rolls then my red d20 does (despite the fact that I always hope that today is going to be the day that that red d20 is going to roll good). They started of by saying that the game we have now sucks. It doesn't, end of story. Yea it could use some improvements. To use the car analogy from the OP, we don't need a new car simply because the door squeeks; all we need is a little oil.

Grapple is terrible so we need a new edition, ummm no. All we need are some 3rd party variant rules. The designer of Power Attack says Power Attack should get away from his sight. Well how about a variant feat that takes a static penalty and a static bonus?!? And they're trying to convince us that everything we spent the past 5 years buying off of them was terrible. Well frankly if they're turning their back on their own work; that is at best "unprofessional" and at worst "repugnant" and I don't want to buy from an "unprofessional" company.


It seems almost as if WotC was in a negative political ad campaign against itself from 5 years ago.

"Those guys? They sucked! Did you see what they did with Grapple? We're here to fix it and do it better. It's time for a change! Vote WotC in 2008!"

And negative ads can often backfire.


varianor wrote:

Thanks for sharing that perspective. Very interesting.

To continue the car analogy, how about marketing a vehicle where you're expected to buy new parts every year? Or at least new decorations?

(It breaks down to some extent because games are not cars, but it's fun.)

That's why I tossed in the bit about the encyclopedias... we're really just buying reference books, here, and so long as we're okay with flipping through the main edition, then five or six annuals, we're okay with what we've got.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

There is another strategy used when selling cars, particularly cars with pedigree. That is you sell your car as the newest in a long line of classics.

This is the marketing strategy I would use if I was WOTC. Play up the new features sure. But even more, play up the history of the brand and the way you envision the newer version of carrying on a proud tradition of excellence.


Krypter wrote:

It seems almost as if WotC was in a negative political ad campaign against itself from 5 years ago.

"Those guys? They sucked! Did you see what they did with Grapple? We're here to fix it and do it better. It's time for a change! Vote WotC in 2008!"

And negative ads can often backfire.

The major mistake in such a campaign is that if you like the edition and have found no real problems with it, it's a case of guilt by association- "It sucks? Monte sucks? I SUCK?"

A backhanded insult just makes folks resentful and is the wrong foot to get off on.

Thanks to the Green Ronin Sale, I'll not be voting for a few more years- thanks Paizo!


I think there is a central issue nobody has talked about.

Their marketing strategy assumes that nobody who hasn't played earlier editions will buy 4th edition.

Since that is their chosen demographic, they don't need to compare to other products, only their own. If they can sell us on the fact that 4th edition is better than 3rd, they expect us to buy 4th. And since nobody else will even consider buying 4th, they don't really lose that much...

Lots of warning bells here...

Liberty's Edge

Krypter wrote:

It seems almost as if WotC was in a negative political ad campaign against itself from 5 years ago.

"Those guys? They sucked! Did you see what they did with Grapple? We're here to fix it and do it better. It's time for a change! Vote WotC in 2008!"

And negative ads can often backfire.

Actually there is a bigger problem, as alluded to b others. There are still quite a few of "those guys" among the "new guys."

So they are trying to sell a system based on "Boy did we screw that one up! Whooooo doggy! Nobody could design for that piece of junk. Our new system will be for everyone. What's that? How did we design for that system? Ummmm . . . Look! A shiny rules system!"
Yeah.
Right.
The annoying thing is, confessing to sins and promising to do "better" this time can work in politics. But will it work in gaming?


Corian of Lurkshire wrote:

I think there is a central issue nobody has talked about.

Their marketing strategy assumes that nobody who hasn't played earlier editions will buy 4th edition.

Since that is their chosen demographic, they don't need to compare to other products, only their own. If they can sell us on the fact that 4th edition is better than 3rd, they expect us to buy 4th. And since nobody else will even consider buying 4th, they don't really lose that much...

Lots of warning bells here...

Excellent point there- from what I read on the boards, they've managed to spilt their existing market badly, without yet exciting their new targeted demographic. If they think they can do so just through Gleemax and such, without a substantial cash outlay for a marketing blitz, they may regret it. And in any case, I resent being dropped from their consideration because I'm an unhip meatgamer who falls outside their new age range. What? My money isn't green enough for ya?


I've said this elsewhere, but I think part of the marketing had failed because there has been *no* attempt (that I have seen) to win over the gamer who really *LIKES* 3.5.


The most recent Ampersand article confirmed one of my biggest fears and what is now my biggest gripe with them. Here is the article for anyone who doesn't feel like going to the WoTC site.

Spoiler:
Why I'm Thankful
by Bill Slavicsek
11/21/2007
Ampersand Archive

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I've been thinking about what makes me thankful in regards to my work here at Wizards of the Coast. Not only do I have the coolest, most fun job in the world (at least as far as I'm concerned), but I get to interact with an amazing collection of talented individuals on an hour-to-hour basis. From the R&D teams to the Brand Teams, Sales to Finance, Creative and Production Services, and our various support teams, Wizards is all about creativity and imagination, and I'm thankful that I get to work in this environment every day.

I'm also thankful, as far as work is concerned, that we're getting closer and closer to putting the finishing touches on the first 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons products, and I'm thrilled at how those products are coming together. Our playtests have been running very well, with a good mix of reactions ranging from "that's cool," to "that works fine," and even some "that needs work." Just the kind of reactions we hope to see, reactions that help us refine and improve the game one rules mechanic at a time. To everyone who's participated and provided feedback, you have my heartfelt thanks. You're helping us make the best product possible, and I appreciate the effort.

And speaking of getting close, this is the time when we begin to share more detailed information with D&D players everywhere. I'm thankful that we can finally start to open up a little more and let you see what we're working on, so to speak. Some of this takes the form of a couple of preview products that are about to release, as well as the newest set of D&D miniatures, Desert of Desolation, which debuted two weeks ago.
Preview Products

Wizards Presents: Races and Classes hits the store shelves in a couple of weeks. This is the first of two 4th Edition preview products designed to provide you with a behind-the-curtain glimpse of the making of the 4th Edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game. (The second is Wizards Presents: Worlds and Monsters, on sale in January.) Full of concept art, designer essays, and insights into R&D's thinking, Races and Classes previews the new version of the game from a player's perspective.

Races and Classes provides a bunch of great information and reveals a number of secrets, including:

* The nature and first look at the as-yet-unrevealed new player character race.
* A timeline of the design and development of 4th Edition, including notes from the design team.
* The top-secret 4th Edition design tenets.
* An overview of Player Handbook classes and power sources.
* A preview of classes slated for future development after the launch of the Player's Handbook.
* All kinds of background information, in-world stories, and anecdotes about what it takes to create a new edition.

Check out Races and Classes (and its companion volume, Worlds and Monsters) for amazing artwork, intriguing spoilers, and a ton of information on what's coming in the new edition -- from the first set of core books to future products later in the line. I know all this stuff, and I couldn't stop reading. Not only is it fascinating material, but it got my mind racing about characters I want to play and campaigns I want to run using the new edition. I think you'll have the same reaction.
Desert of Desolation

The newest set of D&D miniatures, Desert of Desolation, provides a different kind of look at 4th Edition. First off, every creature in the set exists in 4th Edition D&D and almost all of them will appear in the first Monster Manual. (One monster receives special treatment and will get its first updated statistics on D&D Insider.)

Second, this set showcases the first of our updates to the look and feel of D&D monsters. Now, when a monster looks just great, we've left it alone. But in cases where we felt we could improve the look of a monster, we've taken this opportunity to do so. Our new look for angels, for example, debuts in this set with the Angel of Vengeance. It's otherworldly, looks powerful, and has just the right mix of awe-inspiring and creepy to better define these servants of the gods. Another update can be seen in the Feral Troll, which continues the artistic evolution of one of the terrors of D&D that has been updated with each new edition of the game.

Third, this set reveals some monsters making their debut in 4th Edition. The Cyclops appears for the first time since 2nd Edition and looks fantastic, and the Fire Archon unleashes the first of a new elemental force on unsuspecting adventurers everywhere.

Finally, after thirteen sets, I've got my Gelatinous Cube at long last. I've been asking for this figure since the very beginning, and those early conversations got us to experiment with clear plastic and eventually led to the inclusion of the actual monster in this set. It's a great miniature, and it alone makes this set something special. Add those other elements I've talked about, and you begin to see why we're so excited about Desert of Desolation.

Of course, most of that focused on roleplaying. For skirmish players, this set marks the first time you'll be able to play the new edition of the D&D Miniatures Game. In January, we're putting the new rules online for everyone to use, and we're also providing updated stat cards for all of the figures in this set. Consider it our after-the-holidays gift to everyone who wants to start test-driving the new minis rules before the April launch.

That's all I've got time to talk about right now. Have a happy Thanksgiving and remember …

Keep playing!

--Bill Slavicsek

Instead of finally offering us some good previews of what is to come in the new addition and some insight into their thought processes and reasons for creating a new addition, they tell us to go buy two of their books. That is b+&$!!$@. I repeat, b*~#~&#*. I'm one of the people sitting on the fence about whether to buy 4e or not and so instead of offering some decent previews and information in an attempt to show and explain why a new system was needed and what's great about it they tell me to go buy a book?! That's ridiculous.


Wicht wrote:

There is another strategy used when selling cars, particularly cars with pedigree. That is you sell your car as the newest in a long line of classics.

This is the marketing strategy I would use if I was WOTC. Play up the new features sure. But even more, play up the history of the brand and the way you envision the newer version of carrying on a proud tradition of excellence.

This thread was inspired by the Mercedes commercial currently running, where the guy says "Why did we build a car with [everything you'd ever want in a car]? Because we wanted to build a Mercedes."

The problem with that is that in order for us to buy it, they would have had to be supporting their legacy all along, rather than trotting the banners out now. So, they would have had to have produced more d20 stuff for Greyhawk, Birthright, Planescape, Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Oriental Adventures... instead of maybe one Living whatever book, or a couple modules.

And they seem not to have done that.

Oh, and, they're really have to follow up by publishing all that stuff for 4th edition as well.


Aaron Whitley wrote:


by Bill Slavicsek
11/21/2007

Wow, the arrogance and self-congratulation in that article is just mind-blowing. Any normal person's cheeks would be blushing from embarassment at complimenting themselves so many times, but I guess Bill & Co. think they're rock stars now because they work at WotC. I mean, I don't think even Stephen King had the balls to write a whole books-worth of paeans to himself, and he at least has the international reputation to go with his ego.

Now that's hubris, and methinks nemesis is urgently on the way.


Bill Slavicsek wrote:
Third, this set reveals some monsters making their debut in 4th Edition. The Cyclops appears for the first time since 2nd Edition and looks fantastic, and the Fire Archon unleashes the first of a new elemental force on unsuspecting adventurers everywhere.

Um, Bill, the cyclops appears twice in 3.x - Deities & Demigods as well as, IIRC, the Shining South FR book.

*shakes head*


Ampersand wrote:
Third, this set reveals some monsters making their debut in 4th Edition. The Cyclops appears for the first time since 2nd Edition and looks fantastic, and the Fire Archon unleashes the first of a new elemental force on unsuspecting adventurers everywhere.

Ahem . . . nice to know how well they keep track of their own products. Guess they never looked at page 64 of Shining South. And for everyone keeping score at home that agrees that FR needs a reset because its hard to keep track of 1st and 2nd edition lore . . . its seems that its too hard to look at a 3.5 reference as well.

Edit: Heh, DaveMage beat me to it. Guess that's what I get for going out to lunch with my wife before I finish posting.

Liberty's Edge

Wicht wrote:

There is another strategy used when selling cars, particularly cars with pedigree. That is you sell your car as the newest in a long line of classics.

This is the marketing strategy I would use if I was WOTC. Play up the new features sure. But even more, play up the history of the brand and the way you envision the newer version of carrying on a proud tradition of excellence.

I agree. One of the things that has me worried is the so called "firing of the old customers" theory that has floated around. I don't know if I believe that entirely but there are times I wonder what is going on.

I have to say, some of the things I have seen have really interested me as a player. I think the game could have promise. The marketing puts me off a bit. It places me squarely on the fence. 3rd edition was necessary. I am not so sure 4th is and therefore the burden of truth lies on WotC for showing me why a new edition is going to change gaming as we know it. 3rd edition was a quantum leap that still preserved the feel of older editions. As a long time consumer I would like to know that is still the case. But that might not be what the company is seeking to do with this new edition.

Their previews have been hit and miss. But I honestly believe the designers are really trying the best they can. Their arms are tied I am sure and some of these "previews" were written at different times, some were written months ago and others are very recent. The most common tact a lot of them are taking feels like a "gamer talking to a gamer". The "blog format" can sometimes come across as self gratifying when I think it is supposed to portray excitement.

With that said, I wish their retrospective video would have been more respectful and less tongue in cheek. It had some comic moments but I want to know these guys are carrying on a proud traditon of roleplaying and not poking fun at the stuff that came before. But then, it is not unusual for companies to change their look and feel "overnight". I think what we are seeing is much more similar to a retail chain changing their image to net a younger crowd.

D&D has a rich history. I can understand designing a game that is easier to get into on the ground floor, but I thought 3.x already did a fantastic job of that. As a long time consumer it would make me feel better if things were handled with a deal more respect. It would certainly help to know 4e is a continuation of this great tradition no matter what the end mechanics look like.

Or perhaps, I have already got my answer in that regard and I am unprepared to admit it. I can recognize not everyone feels the same way and that the game might be moving past me.


Bill Slaviscek wrote:
...And speaking of getting close, this is the time when we begin to share more detailed information with D&D players everywhere. I'm thankful that we can finally start to open up a little more and let you see what we're working on, so to speak. Some of this takes the form of a couple of preview products that are about to release, as well as the newest set of D&D miniatures, Desert of Desolation, which debuted two weeks ago...

Note: Emphasis mine

Now, I understand that the two books mentioned and the new miniatures line are not going to be the only previews that they plan on releasing but only the start, but I still don't think this is the way to start. Maybe I miss understood the point of preview material but I thought it was supposed to excite those already interested, get new customers interested, and to get those sitting on the fence to join you. I don't see how telling someone to buy a preview is going to accomplish any of that. Buy previews?! It just doesn't make sense to me. This is the material that they should be/have been releasing on the D&D site in-between the announcement and the launch.


As someone who is pretty much sitting on the fence, I don't see a need for a new edition of the game but I am willing to at least take a look at what they have to offer, what I want most is the thought processes and reasoning that went behind their decisions. What problems did they see in 3.5E? Which of those did they see as inherent to the system (i.e. couldn't really fix without having to completely alter the fundamental principles on which the mechanics run)? Why do they think big changes in previous canon were needed? Essentially, why is a new addition that is largely incompatible with the previous addition needed? Especially so soon after 3.5?

I want them to show us some of the 3.5 mechanics, identify the pros and cons of it, and then tell us how the 4.0 mechanic is supposed to improve on that. Giving us the thought processes behind the 4.0 changes (what the goal of the change was, its pros and cons and how ultimately its pros out-weigh the 3.5 mechanics pros) would be a huge incentive.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Im sure this has probably been mentioned before but would it really kill them to hire a profesional spokesperson or advertising specalist to promote 4th edition? I mean when selling a car to the public you dont have the car designer come up with the advert for it.


alleynbard wrote:
Wicht wrote:
... I want to know these guys are carrying on a proud tradition of roleplaying and not ...

Nicely said.

Perhaps the folks at WotC might do better to think of themselves as "brand stewards" rather than "brand managers." Alas, stewardship requires patience, inclusiveness, dialog, compromise, humility, and many other traits that are counter-intuitive to off-the-shelf business practices. I'm not condemning a profit motive; some companies learn to walk what is a fine line in an unusual market like role-playing.

What's painful (for me): So far I tend to like most of what I see about 4th Edition, and under normal circumstances would likely be jazzed. I agree the designers are surely doing their best and are talented. But the day I learned that Dungeon and Dragon were going away was the last day I posted or even visited wizards.com. It has been like someone I just don't want to see around anymore.


Kevin Mack wrote:
Im sure this has probably been mentioned before but would it really kill them to hire a profesional spokesperson or advertising specalist to promote 4th edition? I mean when selling a car to the public you dont have the car designer come up with the advert for it.

I suspect that was folded-in as part of Scott Rouse's job role. Unfortunately, IMO, WotC has rolled out Scott far better than they have rolled out 4th Edition.

Liberty's Edge

Reminds me more of the Mac vs. PC ads, only it's the same company. Maybe D&D is being sold more like a computer operating system. The old one still works fine, but you need the new one to run any of the new "better" applications. Nothing has ever gone wrong with software marketing AFAIK. ;)


WotC's marketing was something I brought up in the "Younger Audience" thread. I posed the question of "where is their advertising?" If their plan is to cultivate the teenybopper set, they should really be using this opportunity, with the "free" period on the website, to start drawing those new customers in. To date, I have yet to see any moves made to bring people in off the street. I haven't seen any ads in any medium addressing 4th ed. I flippantly put it in the other thread as "where are the ads on MTV or in 16?" If anything, they're working against themselves by not putting the COMING THIS SUMMER! message in front of eyeballs and not making the website more accessible to the casual visiter (who potentially could get hooked). In short, WotC needs an awareness campaign if their plan is going to succeed. Otherwise, come next year, they'll be praying that there are enough loyal or non-alienated customers left to float the 4th ed. endeavor. Personally, that is exactly what I see happening — the teenyboppers won't be impressed with WotC's half-arsed website or flimsy "gamers as hipsters" message, and WotC will be back producing for their old, core audience again...

Dark Archive

The problem is that a lot of their current customers are really ticked off at them right now. The cancelling of the magazines alone made many people angry enough to boycott them. Their horrnedous PR since the 4e announcement hasn't done anything but further alienate even more customers. They aren't rolling ones on their PR, they are "taking 1" on them.


If Wotc had a professional PR guy handling all the communication between R&D and the public, we'd be complaining about how they never tell us anything.

We've got the R&D guys blogging the development of a new edition. This is unprecedented. I admit, it's a real drag hearing them dis a beloved game, but these are game designers! They look at something they worked on five years and a dozen supplements ago and cringe, because they've learned so much in the meantime. I take it with a grain of salt. They don't mean "3e sucks". They mean "compared to what I know now, 3e sucks".

At least we're getting their opinions, warts and all.

And man, grappling does suck. So does tripping, disarming and every other special melee attack where you have to roll more than two dice. ::ducks::


No advertisement in other media means no new customers. They will end up producing for the old crowd again, and they know it.

Their advertisement focuses on the old crowd. "See how much better 4 is than 3?" doesn't make much sense to new blood.

Further, it seems to me that what I have seen so far smacks of faction book madness a la old World of Darkness. We have several different spellcasting traditions in their new system, and likely other cultural and other separations that warrant their own rules. In short, it is a system designed for maximizing the number of possible splatbooks. Let me just remind you of Clanbook: Ventrue, Clanbook: Tremere and so on. Second time around, they put the clans together two and two, then three and three. Along the way, they put new clans in the game, meaning even more splatbooks, all with just enough new material. It worked. And when WotC does it, it will work again.

Liberty's Edge

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:
It worked. And when WotC does it, it will work again.

I really doubt that it will. You see, if they don't get new gamers, they have to get the existing customers to buy more than they were for third edition, and buy enough to 'replace' all of the customers they've lost. That means that not only do you have to buy a copy of each book for yourself, you have to buy a second copy to equal my previous purchases. Since I bought MOST of the books, by yourself you wouldn't be able to do it (unless you were a 3 core books last time around and will now be an every book guy).

So, every customer they've lost is one they NEED to make up in some manner to be successful. Lackluster sales won't cut it for a new launch. If they fail to exceed the 3rd edition benchmarks, they're going to be in a lot of trouble.

With any corporation you have to justify the resources used in comparison to profits earned. Of course, I suppose 4th ed could be developed 'on the cheap' and the resources committed are fairly small.

In any case, I think their marketing strategy's success desperately needs new gamers to play. And that is why I think it will fail.

Dark Archive

Corian of Lurkshire wrote:
Their advertisement focuses on the old crowd. "See how much better 4 is than 3?" doesn't make much sense to new blood.

Doesn't make much sense either to the old crowd who, you know... actually likes 3.5.

That's where the marketing is fundamentally flawed, IMHO: either you cater to the younger audiences and try to get new customers and you reach out to 16 mag and such, like you said, or you cater to the old guard, and you present compelling arguments that 4E is the way to go, that your 3.5 campaign can evolve and translate itself smoothly to 4E, or that you can use 4E elements in your 3.5 games if you choose to do so.

What we're seeing is basically marketing that is de facto targeted towards people who already play D&D and do not like 3.5.


Benoist Poiré and a few others have brought up a good point and that is that there are a lot of people who like 3E. While WoTC should be hyping up their new addition I think they have failed to provide a coherent message for the those who like 3.5 as to why they should switch.

There are people that are happy and content with 3.5 and those are the people that they are doing a poor job of reaching out to. Those players and DMs should have been the focus of their efforts from the beginning, not those who were already interested in a new addition.


Above all a marketing campaign should make customers feel good about themselves and the product they're about to purchase. Right now WotC's marketing makes people who bought 3.5E feel like chumps, and that's a serious mistake.

It's also too focused on the designers, as if they were rock stars, and not enough on the game. Toyota doesn't sell its cars by pimping its senior engineers on tv.


Krypter wrote:

Above all a marketing campaign should make customers feel good about themselves and the product they're about to purchase. Right now WotC's marketing makes people who bought 3.5E feel like chumps, and that's a serious mistake.

It's also too focused on the designers, as if they were rock stars, and not enough on the game. Toyota doesn't sell its cars by pimping its senior engineers on tv.

And that is why I don't buy Toyota :P


They sure want to make sure I'll never drive a WotC again!

I mean, the way they're slandering 3e, and how the Realms were before they went at it with a sledge hammer, it seems they want to insult us into buying 4e.

Whenever I read something new someone from Wizards writes, I get the feeling that they're telling me I'm an idiot for liking the stuff.

Some examples:

Power Attack: I don't see a problem with this feat. Never took more than a couple of seconds to decide what amount of smash I put into it - and those seconds were spent while other characters or the DM's mooks were acting. But when you hear about how it was soo bad and cumbersome and took the fun away, I get the impression they put it past us to put two and two together.

Forgotten Realms host of deities: Not just several Deities - several Pantheons. Over a hundred deities. I loved it. Races didn't have the "God of Elf Cliche" or "God of Dwarf Cliche", but several deities. And whatever your character concept, chances were that there was a deity that did really fit. The rest you could ignore.
But listening to them you get the impression that they think only a jerk would actually want something like this.

They sure have elevated pissing people off to an art form.

Dark Archive

HERE is how they should be marketing. =P

Dark Archive

DangerDwarf wrote:
HERE is how they should be marketing. =P

Great way to make the guys who enjoy 3.5 feel better about themselves and not feel resentment against WotC, you're right... (rolls eyes)

Liberty's Edge

DangerDwarf wrote:
HERE is how they should be marketing. =P

Okay, I can take a joke and I did find it kind of cute in an endearingly condescending way but I have to know, is that what you did with your 2e books when 3e came out DangerDwarf? :)

Dark Archive

alleynbard wrote:
DangerDwarf wrote:
HERE is how they should be marketing. =P
Okay, I can take a joke and I did find it kind of cute in an endearingly condescending way but I have to know, is that what you did with your 2e books when 3e came out DangerDwarf? :)

I was without a doubt a Smeagol.

And after all of the crap I took for it, it is now immense fun to do the same. Whole viscous circle and all.

But relax Smeagols of the world...I do it out of jest.

Liberty's Edge

DangerDwarf wrote:


But relax Smeagols of the world...I do it out of jest.

Like I said, I found it cute and funny. I was being sarcastic but I meant what I said too. In my mind its okay to poke a little fun when you have been on the recieving end of the joke before.

Even after the release of 3e I found myself playing 1e and 2e fairly regularly. I even ran a few games using the old D&D Rules Compendium. If I do end up switching to 4e (the jury is still out) I plan on playing all of these games occasionally. I like older editions for various reasons and I see no problem in prefering an earlier edition. So, to all those people who gave you a hard time, I think they can stuff it.

Liberty's Edge

alleynbard wrote:
Even after the release of 3e I found myself playing 1e and 2e fairly regularly. I even ran a few games using the old D&D Rules Compendium. If I do end up switching to 4e (the jury is still out) I plan on playing all of these games occasionally. I like older editions for various reasons and I see no problem in prefering an earlier edition. So, to all those people who gave you a hard time, I think they can stuff it.

This makes me think of something that has been playing on my mind lately. This is sort of on-topic but if I stray too much let me know, I can spawn a new thread.

One of the things Monte Cook wrote on his site rang very true for me. The competition a new edition faces is not with other game systems produced by other companies. The true competition is in previous editions of the game.

You have to convince people who enjoy their game to move on to a new edition. I think WotC expects to lose people who refuse switch. That's just part of the model. A small number of stalwart players are an acceptable loss.

I wonder how this line of thought changes now that we have the OGL. Companies can keep producing 3.5 compatible material. They can essentially re-issue the PHB after making certain choice changes to bring it inline with the restrictions of the license. Sure they can't call it Dungeons and Dragons but with proper marketing a company can insinuate they maintain the proud tradition of "3rd edition fantasy gaming" and thus net a portion of that pie that will not switch editions.

A number of players will switch not because they hate 3e and want 4e. They might already have a good familiarity with 3e and have utilized "fixes" for what they feel is wrong. Instead they want to move to the system that is current. They like new material. They like growth. If both editions can remain "current" does that mean the "small number of stalwart players" will end up being larger in the end?

Can a company, or a group of companies, utilize proper marketing to convince players who enjoy 3e that they are the inhertiors of the 3e future? Is the 3.5 OGL enough of a "brand" to maintain a larger active community than past editions have been? Is the D&D brand so strong that it would simply crush the OGL brand?

Is such a state even plausible and what companies do you think would be able to achieve this end? Would they even consider this a viable route to take? Would it take a strong company to lead the charge?

One of the things I noticed in recent years was a push from some third-party publishers to impress upon consumers the importance of the 3.5 OGL as a brand. I don't think it was ever very focused but it was moving that way. If 4e had not been announced I feel this trend would have continued. I think we would have seen a few companies get together and create a unified 3.5 OGL brand look. In other words, each company's "trade dress" would have been unique and familiar to customers but each company would have used a consistent 3.5 OGL logo to show cross compability. There would have been a higher consumer conciousness concerning the exact nature of the brand and what the 3.5 OGL meant for them. Was this a possible scenario or was I simply hallucinating?


I saw the TV commercial for World of Warcraft recently. It was the one with Mr T. Now it didn't tell me anyhting about the game, but I thought the commercial was enjoyable and cool so it made those feelings associate with the game as well. Maybe 4E needs Mr T.
[/threadjack]

If you want to see the video: Click Here


I think Paizo should tell 4e to drop dead and instead do their own thing:

Dragons and Dungeons: A d20 Based RPG.

It would be mostly 3.5e with some nice fixes and lots of ideas for house rules.


DaveMage wrote:
I've said this elsewhere, but I think part of the marketing had failed because there has been *no* attempt (that I have seen) to win over the gamer who really *LIKES* 3.5.

That could be part of it. Another part could also be that they made a major tactical error in releasing news that they were releasing a new edition 11 months before it was due to be released. Take it from someone who knows directly how releasing information prematurely for a product can have very bad ramifications on a fanbase, principly through gossip, innuendo, rumormongering, loads of speculation, chronic boredom, and the considerable anticipation to devour any news that's released and dissect it into more rumors, speculations, and theories.

I think Wizards should have held off announcing 4e until they were at least past playtesting at a minimum, or if they didn't want to miss their precious GenCon window, they should have started development on 4e years ago. I'm sure someone will now correct me on how they have been at it for years now, to which I say, it obviously wasn't early enough then. Also, Wizards is working at a considerable disadvantage compared to previous editions. 3.x and AD&D had Dragon to vehicle new edition news, which I think allowed them more lead time to test and get the systems debugged. Fans these days come with the expectation that if you announce it, it had better be released soon enough before fan attention wanes, or you'll end up with a lot of damage control, as witnessed by threads like this one. Have a nice day.


If they just jumped out from behind a potted plant and shouted "FOUR EE NOW!", they'd have been beaten do death not just by fans but also by publishers who have lots of 3e products planned and in production that would now come out after 4e's release.

If anything, the warning would have to come earlier than it did.

I still think the main problem is them badmouthing their own product, pissing off actual customers to have a chance at potential new customers, disregarding 30 years of the game's history, and so on.


I guess my biggest problem with the whole thing is what seems like insincerity in how they are portraying 3rd edition. They are talking down 3rd edition simply to sell 4th. It just seems so..so..political. Grrr. I am going to give 4th edition a shot but I do not have good feelings about it. There are so many resources for 3.5 right now that as an older gamer I may be dead before I run out of crunch to use. As for Paizo, I can still use their fluff not matter what edition they end up supporting.

Goo


DangerDwarf wrote:
HERE is how they should be marketing. =P

Yup, cuz gods knows they've not reached their contempt quota yet for all the meatgamer saps who where bilked into buying rule accessories that would be redundant in a year or so.

If 3.5 was such bollox, why were they so ardent to hawk it to us?
New and improved? To think we suffered through thirty odd years of benighted ignorance with old and crap. Those Gygax and Arneson guys really must have been gits.

Please.


I don't think their intention has ever been to really talk down third edition that much. I think their big video tried to put a bit of humourous spin on the evolution of the game, and poke a little fun about certain aspects of the mechanics. However, gamers are a freaking sensitive bunch. Everyone seems to taken it as big shot at their beloved game and many have even gone so far as to saw that wizards is trying to make them feel like idiots for liking or playing older editions. Well relax, you're reading way too much into things if you are thinking like that.

Looking at the current state of the game, I think that there is a lot of room to make things more choherent and restore some balance. A lot of new feats, spells, items and such have crept into the game that are bit out of whack- just have a look at a few of the campaign journals to see some of the ridiculous tactics players are using to exploit all the new rule options. Of course in those options there is also a lot of cool stuff. For instance, some of the new classes are much better designed than the core classes, and I think the core classes need some retooling to bring them up to date. I think that over the past five to six years a lot has been learned about how the game plays, and I think that enough learning has been done to go back to the design table and overhaul the game system. I predict that the new system will be a good product, and in the end most people will give it a shot. I just won't be buying all the junk they put out before hand, but really what else can they do. They can't just have 6 months without putting out a single product. I think that would sink them.


P.H. Dungeon wrote:

I don't think their intention has ever been to really talk down third edition that much. I think their big video tried to put a bit of humourous spin on the evolution of the game, and poke a little fun about certain aspects of the mechanics. However, gamers are a freaking sensitive bunch. Everyone seems to taken it as big shot at their beloved game and many have even gone so far as to saw that wizards is trying to make them feel like idiots for liking or playing older editions. Well relax, you're reading way too much into things if you are thinking like that.

Looking at the current state of the game, I think that there is a lot of room to make things more choherent and restore some balance. A lot of new feats, spells, items and such have crept into the game that are bit out of whack- just have a look at a few of the campaign journals to see some of the ridiculous tactics players are using to exploit all the new rule options. Of course in those options there is also a lot of cool stuff. For instance, some of the new classes are much better designed than the core classes, and I think the core classes need some retooling to bring them up to date. I think that over the past five to six years a lot has been learned about how the game plays, and I think that enough learning has been done to go back to the design table and overhaul the game system. I predict that the new system will be a good product, and in the end most people will give it a shot. I just won't be buying all the junk they put out before hand, but really what else can they do. They can't just have 6 months without putting out a single product. I think that would sink them.

I think the video was meant as good humour that didnt work for a lot of people. However, the blogs and a bit of the podcasts does seem far more talking down 3rd edition. They seem to be changing their style a bit which is a good thing.

Maybe a lot has been learned in 6-7 years, but I already had to buy a new version of D&D in that time, 3.5. So far I don't think what they learned are the same things I learned. Heck I dont want more special rules for monsters to learn. Will I'll give 4e a read, probably. But then again I dont want DI which I'll need for the eventual updates.

Liberty's Edge

Arelas wrote:
Will I'll give 4e a read, probably. But then again I dont want DI which I'll need for the eventual updates.

This is one of my fears. Officially the DI is not required for play, but it is a new distribution channel. They want it to succeed, so I expect they may be unable to resist the temptation to put things like errata in it.

I can't trust that it won't be required so that is definitely a major concern - I won't even consider a switch 'til I see what happens with that.


DeadDMWalking wrote:
This is one of my fears. Officially the DI is not required for play, but it is a new distribution channel. They want it to succeed, so I expect they may be unable to resist the temptation to put things like errata in it.

I've said this before, but I think it bears repeating: we'll be able to gauge the success of the DI based on how essential it becomes. If enough people sign up and utilize it simply because it exists and provides functionality they want, it will remain purely an optional extra, as stated. However, if it under-performs in terms of subscriptions, I expect we'll see it become de facto required.

My guess is that, after the initial sales boom from the release of 4E, numbers will decline and WotC will start migrating more stuff to the DI in an effort to prop up the numbers. I give it 18-24 months after 4E's appearance before the DI ceases to be merely an optional extra.

1 to 50 of 60 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Gamer Life / Gaming / D&D / 4th Edition / On the practice of marketing All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.