Monte's new association with WotC


4th Edition

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Gorbacz wrote:


I am located in Poznan, some 300km west of Warsaw. If any Paizonian ever manages, by some unlucky accident, to find himself in my town, drop me a line - I'll come to the rescue, scaring the polar bears and drunken locals away.

Polar Bears? I thought those where the locals.


Coltaine wrote:
Josh M. wrote:
Justin Franklin wrote:
I was just wondering would the forum mod even have known? Not questioning if it happened at all as that seems like something that could happen.

That's a very good question. I'm guessing since there had been no official announcement at that point, the mod was just assuming that it wasn't being worked on. That, or maybe they got a memo saying not to feed into conversations like that. Who knows? I'm not citing some crazy conspiracy or anything.

We all knew a new version of D&D was coming. This was simply a case of "I told you so/called it" that actually came true. Creating a new edition of D&D from scratch is a pretty time consuming process, so we could've simply guessed it was being worked on as it was.

What you are remembering is Eric Noah, the founder of EN World, reporting that he had heard substantive rumors about 4E, and that it was going to be made in such a way that you would need to buy multiple products to have a "complete set" (i.e., not all the "core classes" would be in one book etc.). And he did, indeed, receive a lot of flack for it, though i do not think there were official or specific denials from WOTC, though i do recall some slick wordplay when enquries were made at Gencon.

That's a pretty hefty presumption, assuming you knew exactly the thread a total stranger on the internet looked at casually 5 years ago.

The thread I read wasn't about what was involved in the product itself, it was just an alarm call that 4e was on it's way, adn the rest of the thread contributers laughing them out and calling BS, all while they were right all along. The person who made the thread was a casual gamer, not the founder of a gaming site or anything that I can recall. Maybe the thread starter read the thread you are referring to, but I did not read that one.

I've derailed this thread enough. If everyone is finishing telling me what I saw, maybe we can get back on topic.


That was my guess, not trying to tell you what you saw, but what the thread was. In fact here is the original post made by Eric Noah:

18 Sep 2006 12:02 PM
From Eric Noah:

On a more serious note ... it is ironic that even yesterday I got some major scoops about the future of D&D. It is sounding like some of our most paranoid fears are in fact in the works.

-4E already in the works? Check.
-Even more miniatures-centric? Check.
-Much smaller bundles of game info, packaged and sold separately? Check.
-A plan to possibly sell off RPGs entirely? Check. (Apparently only miniatures and Magic are making any money for WotC).

Unfortunately I can't go into how I got the info or who gave it to me. And I don't think even WotC knows when they're going to announce anything. I got the impression that timing such an announcement with GenCon was no longer seen as optimal or necessary. But please take all as unsubstantiated speculation ... as usual!

and;

Well here's some more...

I just heard from a high-up at WotC. He says the info is so wrong that he suspects that my source is out to torpedo "my reputation" by giving me something this far off the mark.

I trust my source's intentions, though as I've said earlier my source could be misunderstanding something, or I could have misconstrued something.

Hopefully if the WotC person doesn't mind outing himself he could post here to verify and share what info he is allowed to share.

In any case, I responded to him as I respond to all of you: I'm out of the "D&D scoop business" and so this is the last you'll hear from me on anything 4E related.


Josh M. wrote:


That's a pretty hefty presumption, assuming you knew exactly the thread a total stranger on the internet looked at casually 5 years ago.

The thread I read wasn't about what was involved in the product itself, it was just an alarm call that 4e was on it's way, adn the rest of the thread contributers laughing them out and calling BS, all while they were right all along. The person who made the thread was a casual gamer, not the founder of a gaming site or anything that I can recall. Maybe the thread starter read the thread you are referring to, but I did not read that one.

I've derailed this thread enough. If everyone is finishing telling me what I saw, maybe we can get back on topic.

Thing is I think a lot of people where getting the impression that something was going to have to change in the not to distant future.

I could probably search up a thread in which I argued for a perpetually evolving online model (with subscriptions) for 3rd edition. The jist of my idea at that time was this was the only way I could see going forward with 3rd edition. Otherwise we would have to have 4th some time pretty soon.

What was giving it away was the splat books. I did not have solid numbers but there was a vibrant 3.5 community at Paizo and when people talked about the game or argued the rules etc. everyone had access to the first wave of Complete Books and a whole host of other WotC splat books from the first half of 3.5 but if you started talking about something from Book of Nine Swords and half the posters would not have that book. Start talking about something in Complete Scoundrel and the majority of the posters did not have that book, maybe only 1 in 5 would own it.

When the books were selling only to a minority of such a hard core audience the gig was clearly up. I think many, many, posters could see this and if they could not put a date on when the gig would end they could at least recognize that something was going to have to change at some point in the not to distant future.


Regarding the original topic (Monte Cook and Wotc), is it possible he was required to abandon "Dungeon a Day" as a prerequisite to him being employed by WotC? Seems to make sense to me. Ah well, not that I used the product, but a bit of a disappointment to those that do I bet. And quite ironic as well.

A well known 3E designer creates a 3E product specifically for people who are not migrating to 4E then the 4E company highers that creator contingent upon him abandoning the very 3E customers that were paying for his 3E product. Fascinating (to me at least).


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
cibet44 wrote:

Regarding the original topic (Monte Cook and Wotc), is it possible he was required to abandon "Dungeon a Day" as a prerequisite to him being employed by WotC? Seems to make sense to me. Ah well, not that I used the product, but a bit of a disappointment to those that do I bet. And quite ironic as well.

A well known 3E designer creates a 3E product specifically for people who are not migrating to 4E then the 4E company highers that creator contingent upon him abandoning the very 3E customers that were paying for his 3E product. Fascinating (to me at least).

Monte stepped down as lead writer for Dungeon A Day long before this. In fact, they just announced he's coming back for a small dungeon. So whatever his relationship with WotC is now, it has no effect on him producing material for Dungeon A Day. I'm fairly certain the fatigue of writing 5+ encounters a week for over two years and 15 levels was what made him need a break.

Also, DaD became dual statted 3.5/Pathfinder for the end of the first dungeon (with backfilling the rest slowly happening) and is Pathfinder from here on out.

Contributor

Josh M. wrote:
Scott, I have nothing in the way of proof other than my word, which accounts for jack-squat on the internet, I know this. This was a thread I read, first hand, and from what I recall, not an April Fool's joke. Someone had leaked info about 4e in development and ran into the forums like Paul Revere hollering about the red coats. Everyone flamed him as a troll, and WotC damage control came in saying the 4e wasn't even being developed.

I actually remember that, or a very similar instance on the WotC forums. I suspect though the thread in question vanished, either during the forum upgrades or during the Gleemax period when one of the former community managers had a habit of selective deletion of material. Of course it might still be around somewhere, but not something I kept track of since it seemed baseless at the time, followed by a strong denial of there being a 4e in the works.


Todd Stewart wrote:
Josh M. wrote:
Scott, I have nothing in the way of proof other than my word, which accounts for jack-squat on the internet, I know this. This was a thread I read, first hand, and from what I recall, not an April Fool's joke. Someone had leaked info about 4e in development and ran into the forums like Paul Revere hollering about the red coats. Everyone flamed him as a troll, and WotC damage control came in saying the 4e wasn't even being developed.
I actually remember that, or a very similar instance on the WotC forums. I suspect though the thread in question vanished, either during the forum upgrades or during the Gleemax period when one of the former community managers had a habit of selective deletion of material. Of course it might still be around somewhere, but not something I kept track of since it seemed baseless at the time, followed by a strong denial of there being a 4e in the works.

Indeed. That prompted many (including me) to believe that 4dventure was an April's Fool joke. As far as I can tell, this news was released late on March 31st. You can still find a few European treads discussing this (its possible that with the time difference, Europeans discovered 4dventure on the 1st of April).


Laurefindel wrote:
Indeed. That prompted many (including me) to believe that 4dventure was an April's Fool joke. As far as I can tell, this news was released late on March 31st. You can still find a few European treads discussing this (its possible that with the time difference, Europeans discovered 4dventure on the 1st of April).

Do you have any evidence of this? 4dventure was the 4th Edition announcement tagline, and was introduced on the D&D website splash page when 4e was announced - at Gen Con, in August 2007. See this ENWorld forum thread from mid-August for a discussion of the reveal, and the tagline.

I'm not sure where you're recalling 4dventure from, but the only place I remember seeing that was the 4e reveal, which did not take place in March or April. In fact, Google doesn't show anything talking about the tagline being used anywhere near April Fool's Day. If it had been done on March 31/April 1, I guarantee you that there'd be more than just a handful of "European threads" talking about it.

Just as a courteous reminder, this is how stubborn internet rumors are both started and fueled.


Scott Betts wrote:
Do you have any evidence of this?

Ah c'mon Scot, we thrive by internet rumours :)

You may be right however. I think I found the article I remember reading, but it seems to date from October 2006

wizards.com wrote:
Following on the heels of its successful, yearlong "Countdown to Third Edition" promotion for the new version of its Dungeons & Dragons game, Wizards of the Coast announced today that it would begin the "Countdown to Fourth Edition," which is due out April 1, 2011. A Wizards spokesperson, citing continuing strong sales of third edition D&D, said the company decided that "ten times the countdown," should result in "ten times higher" sales of Fourth Edition. Though initially reticent on the issue, former D&D Brand Manager Bryan Rancey admitted (after we poured salt on his wounds) that the Fourth Edition countdown was beginning. "Yeah. Sure. Whatever," said Rancey. "Let me go." Sources say that the new edition will use the revolutionary d30 system, but this is, as yet, unconfirmed.

It has a April's Fool-esque feel to it, and refers to the release date on April 1st 2011 (and four times as long as 1-year = 4 year. Subtract 4 years from 04-01-2011 etc).

I can swear I can remember reading threads with "Tomorrow is 1st of April; we know WotC have been known to make pranks on that day before" type of discussion regarding 4E.

Back to google...


Laurefindel wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Do you have any evidence of this?

Ah c'mon Scot, we thrive by internet rumours :)

You may be right however. I think I found the article I remember reading, but it seems to date from October 2006

Er... going by the URL, it seems to date back to 2001 - which would also explain the "ten times higher" countdown.


Matthew Koelbl wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Do you have any evidence of this?

Ah c'mon Scot, we thrive by internet rumours :)

You may be right however. I think I found the article I remember reading, but it seems to date from October 2006

Er... going by the URL, it seems to date back to 2001 - which would also explain the "ten times higher" countdown.

this site at least posted comments about it on October 6th 2006. I remember reading this at my desk at work, which I didn't get before 2005.

But yeah, 10 times, not 4 times...

I wonder if that was an obscure 2001 joke that people kept bringing back to freak everybody out...

Scarab Sages Reaper Miniatures

At the risk of adding fuel to the fire, As for why a company might say "we are not designing a new edition" and then design a new edition - I have two examples from my actual work experience in the industry.

The first is a game we produce called CAV. We announced a CAV 2nd Edition in 2006, to be released in spring 2007. Sales of CAV immediately fell by a significant margin - and it took us not one year, but three to finish the game. In those three years, we endured a lot of ire from our fans, who had stopped buying product in anticipation of new rules, and we lost of revenue in sales that were no longer coming in. For me, though, the furor and fury of our fans was actually far worse than the sales - we were making our customers into our detractors. We learned a valuable lesson.

The second was a game we produce called Warlord. We had no plans in spring 2008 to release a second edition. We had launched it 3 years before, and had no plans to relaunch. We said as much to the rumormongers that were saying one was coming (a lot of this was because a new splatbook had come out with some new mechanics - they argued it presaged a new edition). Well, we denied it. It was true. Later Spring 2008, however, we decided that a new edition bore looking at, and developed one, released in 2009. We took some heat for lying - but what we said was true the day we said it. It changed in the succeeding weeks, but that was irrelevant. If on Monday you have no plans to go to Mars, and on Tuesday your boss calls and tells you you're going to Mars, you were still not planning on going to Mars on Monday.

Not that any of this is strictly 100% relevant, and may or may not apply to the thread at all, but at least it's food for thought.

Beyond that, I look forward to seeing what Monte does, and hope it works out well for him and all involved.


Matthew Koelbl wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
Do you have any evidence of this?

Ah c'mon Scot, we thrive by internet rumours :)

You may be right however. I think I found the article I remember reading, but it seems to date from October 2006

Er... going by the URL, it seems to date back to 2001 - which would also explain the "ten times higher" countdown.

Also going by the URL, the article is in fact from April 1st 2001 :)


Laurefindel wrote:

It has a April's Fool-esque feel to it, and refers to the release date on April 1st 2011 (and four times as long as 1-year = 4 year. Subtract 4 years from 04-01-2011 etc).

I can swear I can remember reading threads with "Tomorrow is 1st of April; we know WotC have been known to make pranks on that day before" type of discussion regarding 4E.

Back to google...

Yeah, I think this might be the case of a handful of fans getting their wires crossed over what they think they might have remembered about an April Fool's joke. I'm not seeing any evidence that WotC pulled an April Fool's joke related to 4th Edition's release any later than 2001, so I think it's probably time to put the whole "marketing stunt in bad taste" line to rest.


Scott Betts wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:

It has a April's Fool-esque feel to it, and refers to the release date on April 1st 2011 (and four times as long as 1-year = 4 year. Subtract 4 years from 04-01-2011 etc).

I can swear I can remember reading threads with "Tomorrow is 1st of April; we know WotC have been known to make pranks on that day before" type of discussion regarding 4E.

Back to google...

Yeah, I think this might be the case of a handful of fans getting their wires crossed over what they think they might have remembered about an April Fool's joke. I'm not seeing any evidence that WotC pulled an April Fool's joke related to 4th Edition's release any later than 2001, so I think it's probably time to put the whole "marketing stunt in bad taste" line to rest.

The only 4E-related April Fools' event I remember WotC doing was right before the new edition launch, when they released a preview of the new character sheet with lots of inflammatory stat lines to freak out the gullibles. I LOL'd.


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Accidentally posted this on the wrong thread:

Just came across this, on the Candlekeep Forum:

A contributer quoting Eric Noah of ENWorld wrote:

03 Aug 2006 : 21:28:26
From Eric Noah:

On a more serious note ... it is ironic that even yesterday I got some major scoops about the future of D&D. It is sounding like some of our most paranoid fears are in fact in the works.

-4E already in the works? Check.
-Even more miniatures-centric? Check.
-Much smaller bundles of game info, packaged and sold separately? Check.
-A plan to possibly sell off RPGs entirely? Check. (Apparently only miniatures and Magic are making any money for WotC).

Unfortunately I can't go into how I got the info or who gave it to me. And I don't think even WotC knows when they're going to announce anything. I got the impression that timing such an announcement with GenCon was no longer seen as optimal or necessary. But please take all as unsubstantiated speculation ... as usual!

...

Posted - 04 Aug 2006 : 23:44:44

Eric Noah posted this evening:
quote:

Well here's some more...

I just heard from a high-up at WotC. He says the info is so wrong that he suspects that my source is out to torpedo "my reputation" by giving me something this far off the mark.

I trust my source's intentions, though as I've said earlier my source could be misunderstanding something, or I could have misconstrued something.

Hopefully if the WotC person doesn't mind outing himself he could post here to verify and share what info he is allowed to share.

In any case, I responded to him as I respond to all of you: I'm out of the "D&D scoop business" and so this is the last you'll hear from me on anything 4E related.

Just thought people ought to read it, given the discussion about rumors and denials during 4e's development...

The second post is on page two, about halfway down.

For the record, 4e wasn't announced until August of 2007, and had been in development for two years previous to that.


Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
Just thought people ought to read it, given the discussion about rumors and denials during 4e's development...

Yeah, I don't think that's really a credible rumor, and I can certainly understand why it set the WotC higher-up back on his heels. While it's true that 4e was already in the works, and that it's arguably more miniatures-centric, the entire latter half of the rumor turned out to be both highly inflammatory and false. It's just as likely that the rumormonger who came up with it guessed at all of those things.


The point is that it caused Eric Noah to come to the conclusion that WotC wasn't working on 4e. And so did just about everybody else. Otherwise, the August 2007 announcement wouldn't have been such a surprise.

Maybe the "higher-up" wasn't stating a WotC-approved stance about the game's development, but WotC could have addressed the issue officially, and didn't. They let people think 4e wasn't being worked on.

That could have been simply an oversight. But I wonder if anybody was fired over at WotC in August or September of 2006...


Scott Betts wrote:
It's just as likely that the rumormonger who came up with it guessed at all of those things.

The "rumormonger" was Eric Noah, the same guy who got all the information about 3rd edition before it came out, and printed it on his "Eric Noah's Unofficial D&D 3rd Edition News" website, the site that eventually became ENWorld. (The "EN" stands for Eric Noah.)

As a "rumormonger", Noah has a lot of credibility, and his sources were pretty reliable.


Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
It's just as likely that the rumormonger who came up with it guessed at all of those things.

The "rumormonger" was Eric Noah, the same guy who got all the information about 3rd edition before it came out, and printed it on his "Eric Noah's Unofficial D&D 3rd Edition News" website, the site that eventually became ENWorld. (The "EN" stands for Eric Noah.)

As a "rumormonger", Noah has a lot of credibility, and his sources were pretty reliable.

The rumormonger I was referring to was the guy who delivered the rumors to Eric, not Eric himself (thus my referring to "the rumormonger who came up with it"). I'm well aware of Eric and his reputation, and I understand that he was merely reporting on the rumors (with the responsible caveat that they are just rumors, which is probably much less than his source said). I don't think he bears the responsibility for the fallacious nature of the rumors.


Jerry Wright 307 wrote:

The point is that it caused Eric Noah to come to the conclusion that WotC wasn't working on 4e. And so did just about everybody else. Otherwise, the August 2007 announcement wouldn't have been such a surprise.

Maybe the "higher-up" wasn't stating a WotC-approved stance about the game's development, but WotC could have addressed the issue officially, and didn't. They let people think 4e wasn't being worked on.

Okay, so what should WotC have said?


It really doesn't matter what WotC could have said.

The fact is that in August of 2006, a rumor came out of WotC that 4e was in the works, and they had a "higher-up" deal with it. End of rumor.


Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
Scott Betts wrote:
It's just as likely that the rumormonger who came up with it guessed at all of those things.

The "rumormonger" was Eric Noah, the same guy who got all the information about 3rd edition before it came out, and printed it on his "Eric Noah's Unofficial D&D 3rd Edition News" website, the site that eventually became ENWorld. (The "EN" stands for Eric Noah.)

As a "rumormonger", Noah has a lot of credibility, and his sources were pretty reliable.

Apparently not since 50% of that rumor was false, and at least at every school I've attended, a 50% is a failing grade.


Figured I'd be the first to post this one from Margaret Weiss

LINK

Shadow Lodge

It's not if 5E is coming, it's a matter of when 5E is coming...


Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
It really doesn't matter what WotC could have said.

Er...

So you're acknowledging that WotC didn't do anything inappropriate, then, yes?


The actual content of the rumor is immaterial.

What WotC could or should have said is immaterial.

The fact is a "high-up" at WotC quashed a rumor that 4e was in the works.

It happened on August 4th, 2006.

It is documented.

And before anybody says that Eric Noah lied about the rumor:

No one knew in 2006 that there was going to be a 4e within two years Except WotC.

No one knew in 2006 that there would be a controversy about whether WotC denied 4e's development or not.

There was no reason for Eric Noah to lie about anything in 2006.

I personally don't care about this issue. I'm just tired of the absolute certainty that accompanies every statement about things no one can really know anything about.

I doubt this will resolve anything, but at least there is some information available now.


Jerry Wright 307 wrote:

I personally don't care about this issue. I'm just tired of the absolute certainty that accompanies every statement about things no one can really know anything about.

I doubt this will resolve anything, but at least there is some information available now.

I'm not sure what you think this shows. I don't think anyone has called Eric Noah a liar or even come close to implying that. What people are saying is that he probably got hold of some bad information, presented it to the public (with the disclaimer that it was an unconfirmed rumor), and then it turned out to be no better than a guess two years later.


Jerry Wright 307 wrote:

The actual content of the rumor is immaterial.

What WotC could or should have said is immaterial.

The fact is a "high-up" at WotC quashed a rumor that 4e was in the works.

It happened on August 4th, 2006.

It is documented.

Not quite. We have documentation of Eric Noah telling us that a "high-up" at WotC quashed a rumor.

Now, I'm not saying that I think he was lying. I don't think he was. But we don't know what the exec actually said to him, other than in the most general terms. And of those terms, what we do seem to know is that the WotC exec seemed to have pointed out the specific rumor itself (which did contain quite a few errant claims) as being wildly inaccurate.

Which is a different thing from having actual evidence or someone, on-record, as saying 4E was not in development.

So... yeah, given we have second-hand knowledge of a paraphrased negative response to a specific rumor that was outright incorrect in several ways... I'm not sure this actually provides the actual clarity you may be looking for.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Diffan wrote:

Figured I'd be the first to post this one from Margaret Weiss

LINK

They said it on the internet. It must be true.


Bryan Stiltz wrote:
The first is a game we produce called CAV. We announced a CAV 2nd Edition in 2006, to be released in spring 2007. Sales of CAV immediately fell by a significant margin - and it took us not one year, but three to finish the game. In those three years, we endured a lot of ire from our fans, who had stopped buying product in anticipation of new rules, and we lost of revenue in sales that were no longer coming in. For me, though, the furor and fury of our fans was actually far worse than the sales - we were making our customers into our detractors. We learned a valuable lesson.

The key mistake here was announcing a specific date, and missing it by a wide margin. WOTC made the opposite mistake of working on, promoting, and actively pushing 3.5 right up to the day of the 4E announcement, and than following up the surprise announcement with a concentrated effort to basically discredit everything they had just recently been pushing as the greatest thing on earth. Neither extreme is good, and will upset a lot of customers.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Diffan wrote:

Figured I'd be the first to post this one from Margaret Weiss

LINK

They said it on the internet. It must be true.

And heard it from a friend of a friend. That's like, double confirmation, right?


sunshadow21 wrote:
Bryan Stiltz wrote:
The first is a game we produce called CAV. We announced a CAV 2nd Edition in 2006, to be released in spring 2007. Sales of CAV immediately fell by a significant margin - and it took us not one year, but three to finish the game. In those three years, we endured a lot of ire from our fans, who had stopped buying product in anticipation of new rules, and we lost of revenue in sales that were no longer coming in. For me, though, the furor and fury of our fans was actually far worse than the sales - we were making our customers into our detractors. We learned a valuable lesson.
The key mistake here was announcing a specific date, and missing it by a wide margin. WOTC made the opposite mistake of working on, promoting, and actively pushing 3.5 right up to the day of the 4E announcement, and than following up the surprise announcement with a concentrated effort to basically discredit everything they had just recently been pushing as the greatest thing on earth. Neither extreme is good, and will upset a lot of customers.

Wouldn't the extreme actually have been, say, promoting 3.5 right up to the day of the 4E release? Rather than giving an entire year's notice of the upcoming launch? That doesn't, to me, exactly seem what one would consider a "surprise announcement".

Similarly, given that many of the products that had been released in the final years of 3.5 were testing out new concepts that they put to use in 4E, I'm not sure where you got the idea they were out to discredit everything they had been recently promoting.

Rather, they explained what they (and many fans) saw as the weaknesses in the system, and what changes they were making to address them. They didn't do the best job of this (since game designers are not actually PR folks), but I think your take on their approach seems a bit of an exaggeration of what actually happened.


sunshadow21 wrote:
WOTC made the opposite mistake of working on, promoting, and actively pushing 3.5 right up to the day of the 4E announcement,

Yes.

Clearly, they should have stopped stopped making D&D completely prior to announcing 4e. That would definitely have made the fans happy, made them tons of money, and surely not given away the fact that 4e was on its way.

Man, people. Man.

Only in bizarro internet land is it a sound business decision and not at all a mistake to stop trying to sell your product to consumers just because you are planning on announcing a new product at some point in the not-too-distant future.


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deinol wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Diffan wrote:

Figured I'd be the first to post this one from Margaret Weiss

LINK

They said it on the internet. It must be true.
And heard it from a friend of a friend. That's like, double confirmation, right?

Given what I know of Weis' reliability in the past, and her tendency to say things publicly that company mouthpieces prefer to keep under wraps, I'm rather inclined to believe her.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:
Only in bizarro internet land is it a sound business decision and not at all a mistake to stop trying to sell your product to consumers just because you are planning on announcing a new product at some point in the not-too-distant future.

I know, it's like all those people who got angry because they just bought iphone X the day before iphone X+1 was announced.

A company will deny or ignore all rumors of upcoming products prior to official announcements. Paizo does it. Wizards does it. Apple does it. Every corporation large enough to have a legal consultant does it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Scott Betts wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
WOTC made the opposite mistake of working on, promoting, and actively pushing 3.5 right up to the day of the 4E announcement,

Yes.

Clearly, they should have stopped stopped making D&D completely prior to announcing 4e. That would definitely have made the fans happy, made them tons of money, and surely not given away the fact that 4e was on its way.

Man, people. Man.

Only in bizarro internet land is it a sound business decision and not at all a mistake to stop trying to sell your product to consumers just because you are planning on announcing a new product at some point in the not-too-distant future.

If their marketing for 4E had been different, I might agree, but to deny even the existence of a new edition leading up the the new announcement, and spend the next year going "all that stuff we previously said was great, well it actually had so many problems that we decided to not even try to fix the vast majority of them, and oh yeah, the new stuff we came up with is great, certainly better than this old stuff, even though we can't actually tell you much about the details of it aside from general previews that don't actually show how this will work in the complete system" is not a good marketing scheme. Way too much negative, and not enough concrete positives. "This version is going to be so much more fun than anything that came before, we promise" with very little concrete details about what would make the new system so much more fun doesn't promote the new system, it trashes the old one.


sunshadow21 wrote:
If their marketing for 4E had been different, I might agree, but to deny even the existence of a new edition leading up the the new announcement, and spend the next year going "all that stuff we previously said was great, well it actually had so many problems that we decided to not even try to fix the vast majority of them, and oh yeah, the new stuff we came up with is great, certainly better than this old stuff, even though we can't actually tell you much about the details of it aside from general previews that don't actually show how this will work in the complete system" is not a good marketing scheme. Way too much negative, and not enough concrete positives. "This version is going to be so much more fun than anything that came before, we promise" with very little concrete details about what would make the new system so much more fun doesn't promote the new system, it trashes the old one.

Again, that sounds like an overexaggeration of the actual situation.

Yes, I do remember them occasionally choosing their wording poorly or being overeager in how they felt they had fixed things. But I also recall them offering pretty solid explanations as to what was being changed, and why.

You may not agree that certain things needed to be fixed, and you may well feel their execution of the fixes were poor. But this insistence that they didn't have any reasons for what they did, that they didn't offer any concrete details about the benefits of the changes... that's all rubbish.

Glancing back at the Design and Development articles after 4E was announced, I'm not seeing a lack of details or explanations. In the second article, on PCs, they tackle the introduction of 'roles' (not so much as a play mechanic, but as a design mechanic.) As a specific example of what they mean, they say "Unlike their 3e counterparts, every Leader class in the new edition is designed to provide their ally-benefits and healing powers without having to use so many of their own actions in the group-caretaker mode."

Yes, that directly compares things to 3rd Edition. And, guess what? Many people felt that "Who is stuck playing the cleric?" was an issue in their games, and this was a direct response to that situation and explanation of how they were tackling the problem.

A later column tackles encounter design. What does it say about 3rd Edition, in regard to that? It refers to the Challenge Rating and Encounter Level system as "great tools", but "not always (an) accurate one".

And so it sets the goal of having more accuracy via more consistent monster formulas, along with a system that defaults to assuming a group of monsters rather than a single one, specific roles for monsters so a DM has an easy idea of how they operate, along with more focus on traps/hazard/terrain as part of an overall encounter.

They were rolling out info pretty soon after the initial announcement. Some of it later changed, sure, and some of it did include comments that were presented as more universal than they should have been.

But even if you feel that 4E made changes you didn't like, even if you feel their comments on 3rd Edition were insulting to those who enjoyed the game, I don't see any indication that they were stingy about explaining what they were changing and why, or that they simply stood their waving their hands in the air and chanted about it being "fun" without offering anything of substance, or even that the negative comments themselves were anything other than the smallest fraction of the overall discussion as a whole.


sunshadow21 wrote:
If their marketing for 4E had been different, I might agree, but to deny even the existence of a new edition leading up the the new announcement, and spend the next year going "all that stuff we previously said was great, well it actually had so many problems that we decided to not even try to fix the vast majority of them,

Also, the specific problems with this statement:

1) Of all the stories offered so far about WotC 'denying the existence' of a new edition, none of these happened "leading up to the new announcement", but instead were close to a year before the announcement, and nearly two years from the actual release of the game. And, for the most part, appear to be hearsay or heard about second-hand, with few details about what they actually said.

2) Where did you get the idea that they "decided to not even try" to fix the problems they felt needed fixing? Wasn't that what 4E was all about - providing solutions to what they perceived as problems?

You can feel the problems weren't an issue for your group, or that their execution was poor. But we can pretty directly point to the problems they felt the game had, and the changes they made to try and address them.

Claiming that they made no effort to fix them seems, to me, to tie back into the entire "WoW" mindset. Rather than acknowledge that they made changes that they genuinely felt could improve the game, you seem to want to instead pretend that they stole these 'new' mechanics from WoW, not to improve the game, but simply to 'attract the MMO crowd'.

It is an easy way to try and again divorce the designers from 'true fans' of the game. But the truth is that they are fans of the game just as much as you might be, and yes, they felt there were areas of the game that needed improvement.

And thus they set out to improve them and fix what they saw as problems. Even if it might be easier for you to believe that their plan was instead to knowingly create a bunch of bad mechanics 'copied' from WoW, and keep their existing crowd by badmouthing the last edition and brainwashing folks into buying the new thing.

It is certainly an entertaining theory, I suppose. But I don't see any real support for it, either then or now.


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In hindsight, perhaps making all of those comparisons was not such a good idea. They tried to present it as a clean break from past problems, but then instead of focusing on the new ideas, and letting the consumer fill the gap between the two systems as much or as a little as they felt like,they insisted on routinely bringing up the old problems. I would have much preferred to see more focus on what the system as a whole would look and feel like and less focus on "and this is how we resolved this specific complaint." For going in a new direction, they seemed too fixated on the past.


sunshadow21 wrote:
In hindsight, perhaps making all of those comparisons was not such a good idea. They tried to present it as a clean break from past problems, but then instead of focusing on the new ideas, and letting the consumer fill the gap between the two systems as much or as a little as they felt like,they insisted on routinely bringing up the old problems. I would have much preferred to see more focus on what the system as a whole would look and feel like and less focus on "and this is how we resolved this specific complaint." For going in a new direction, they seemed too fixated on the past.

Wait a second - your first complaint was that they didn't give enough explanations of what they changed, and why. Now, once it was pointed out that did indeed give those explanations, your complaint is that they offered those explanations, and you feel that was the actual problem!

Seriously, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize the launch of 4E or the specific mechanics or any number of other things.

But your criticism of WotC seems to shift to whatever allows you to attack them at any given time. You've done this before - offered one criticism, and when it was pointed out that your claims (based on subject matter you had not actually read) were completely inaccurate, you instead shifted to blaming WotC for doing the very thing you were insisting upon in the first place.

In any case, 4E was a continuation of 3rd Edition. Explaining what changed, and why, was an important thing for them to do, and doing so was the right call. They could probably have used a bit more editing in some areas and avoided certain language, but the answer was neither to:

1) Announce the system 2-3 years before release, when next to nothing was certain about how it would actually be designed; nor
2) Avoid all comparisons between it and 3rd Edition, and refuse to answer questions about why they made the design decisions that they did.

sunshadow21 wrote:
I would have much preferred to see more focus on what the system as a whole would look and feel like

What, precisely, do you feel would have provided you that information? What do you believe that focus could have looked like, which you claim you would have preferred?


Matthew Koelbl wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
In hindsight, perhaps making all of those comparisons was not such a good idea. They tried to present it as a clean break from past problems, but then instead of focusing on the new ideas, and letting the consumer fill the gap between the two systems as much or as a little as they felt like,they insisted on routinely bringing up the old problems. I would have much preferred to see more focus on what the system as a whole would look and feel like and less focus on "and this is how we resolved this specific complaint." For going in a new direction, they seemed too fixated on the past.

Wait a second - your first complaint was that they didn't give enough explanations of what they changed, and why. Now, once it was pointed out that did indeed give those explanations, your complaint is that they offered those explanations, and you feel that was the actual problem!

Seriously, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize the launch of 4E or the specific mechanics or any number of other things.

But your criticism of WotC seems to shift to whatever allows you to attack them at any given time. You've done this before - offered one criticism, and when it was pointed out that your claims (based on subject matter you had not actually read) were completely inaccurate, you instead shifted to blaming WotC for doing the very thing you were insisting upon in the first place.

In any case, 4E was a continuation of 3rd Edition. Explaining what changed, and why, was an important thing for them to do, and doing so was the right call. They could probably have used a bit more editing in some areas and avoided certain language, but the answer was neither to:

1) Announce the system 2-3 years before release, when next to nothing was certain about how it would actually be designed; nor
2) Avoid all comparisons between it and 3rd Edition, and refuse to answer questions about why they made the design decisions that they did.

sunshadow21 wrote:
I would have much
...

The problem is that there was too much explanation in areas that really didn't need nearly as much attention as they got, and not enough explanation in the areas that needed more. Explaining the parts of 3.5 they didn't like was fine right after the announcement; the preview books, while poorly edited and something that could have been reduced down to a single book, were fine enough in concept, even if poorly executed. Right before launch a year later, it was a bit tedious to still see previews that were still as much about 3.5 as they were about 4E. They never fully made the transition from comparing 4E to older editions to explaining how it was going to stand on its own, at least in my opinion, and judging by the fallout when the release hit, in many people's opinion.

Given all the changes they made, that was a bad thing. 4E taken as 4E works fine, because the mechanics fit the concept they were looking for, and enough elements from the past remain for a new person to identify it as such. 4E as a successor of 3.5 does not work, because the concepts underneath the mechanics are so different, and WotC seriously underestimated the backlash that would occur when the full extent of the differences were finally revealed.

I don't agree with a lot of WotC's decisions, but I would have been able to retain a lot more respect for them if they had simply accepted that a lot of players would not make the transition, and focused on a much clearer message to new players to make up the losses. As it was, they tried to play both angles, and suffered for it when they later completely pulled all 3.5 pdfs, making a lot of those older players who did make the transition feel used.


sunshadow21 wrote:
The problem is that there was too much explanation in areas that really didn't need nearly as much attention as they got, and not enough explanation in the areas that needed more. Explaining the parts of 3.5 they didn't like was fine right after the announcement; the preview books, while poorly edited and something that could have been reduced down to a single book, were fine enough in concept, even if poorly executed. Right before launch a year later, it was a bit tedious to still see previews that were still as much about 3.5 as they were about 4E. They never fully made the transition from comparing 4E to older editions to explaining how it was going to stand on its own, at least in my opinion, and judging by the fallout when the release hit, in many people's opinion.

I never bought the preview books but the mystery on how they were going address some of the problems of 3E made it more interesting to me for one. I wanted to see how they handled them, I wanted to see how classes were better, and I wanted to see the changes they made at first for curiosity's sake. Then, as I read what the Devs were doing, how they were making race a more prominent mechanic, how fighters were going to be better, how a day in adventuring wasn't determined by how many spells your cleric or wizard has left remaining really made me hunger for the new edition. These were problems I had at the table, and I'm sure many others as well.

I think a lot of people took WotC criticism of their older products a bit too personally as well. Honestly, if (as a player) they couldn't identify the issues WotC were discussing then I don't think we were all playing the same game. So yea, I took it as very Tongue-in-Cheek and not overly sensitive because it is a game after all.

sunshadow21 wrote:
Given all the changes they made, that was a bad thing. 4E taken as 4E works fine, because the mechanics fit the concept they were looking for, and enough elements from the past remain for a new person to identify it as such. 4E as a successor of 3.5 does not work, because the concepts underneath the mechanics are so different, and WotC seriously underestimated the backlash that would occur when the full extent of the differences were finally revealed.

Thats because there are many that don't want another 3E Revision. Paizo had a good opportunity to pounce on the drastic changes 4E brought where NO OTHER COMPANY had an opportuinity before. They catered to fans who didn't like 4E changes. I have a good suspician that if there was a very popular and strong 3PP that kept continuing the 2E/AD&D line at 3E debut, we'd have seen the same thing happen. And honestly, underneath the mechanics are practically the same stuff that 3E came up with: d20 + Mod vs. a static value. That's pretty much the basic of D&D in a nut-shell for system mechanics. They eliminated BAB because it's math doesn't work very well at later levels in play. Magic became such a mess for DMs to deal with (24-hr spells, instant-win spells, min/max cherry-picked spells, low-level spells that grant +3 or better weapon properties *cough*wraithstrike*cough*, the list goes on...), Multiclassing on a level-by-level basis practically encourages min/maxing on a very basic level, and the entire system promotes System Mastery. So, as a DM, if you have a player who has better system mastery than you do then there is a good chance your game could be ruined because of Pun-Pun shenannigans or Divine Meta-Magic Persist or Cheater of Mystra characters.

Yes 4E is 3E successor because, admit it or not, the game-rules are simple at it's core mechanics. And really, if WotC were to re-invent 3E again I can't be so sure the company would be here today. The very fact that v3.5/PF and 4E are so different should be considered a GOOD thing! They should BOTH be played for their different values and reasons and they both cater to a specific play-style. Diversity is the spice of life and that can be said for RPGs too.

sunshadow21 wrote:

I don't agree with a lot of WotC's decisions, but I would have been able to retain a lot more respect for them if they had simply accepted that a lot of players would not make the transition, and focused on a much clearer message to new players to make up the losses. As it was, they tried to play both angles, and suffered for it when they later completely pulled all 3.5 pdfs, making a lot of those older players who did make the transition feel used.

So you really think it's a good buisness idea to tell your existing fans "Hey, this game might not be what you like. So, in all honesty, tough! We're moving the game in a better and more linear direction because we feel On-Line tools are the wave of the future. On-line content can be accessed from ANY computer, so no more toting around 15 books and 11 magazines for your characters. No more hand-cramps with doing your character's stats, and no more requring of 30+ books to be used for your games. We're making the game better for EVERYONE who likes to play, not just for those who like low-level fighters, high-level planeswalker mages, and those forced into the Cleric role. So if this style isn't for you, go look somewhere else cuz we'll probably find a game to fill your shoes."

Yea, that'd go over much much better than attempting to appeal to everyone.


Diffan wrote:

So you really think it's a good buisness idea to tell your existing fans "Hey, this game might not be what you like. So, in all honesty, tough! We're moving the game in a better and more linear direction because we feel On-Line tools are the wave of the future. On-line content can be accessed from ANY computer, so no more toting around 15 books and 11 magazines for your characters. No more hand-cramps with doing your character's stats, and no more requring of 30+ books to be used for your games. We're making the game better for EVERYONE who likes to play, not just for those who like low-level fighters, high-level planeswalker mages, and those forced into the Cleric role. So if this style isn't for you, go look somewhere else cuz we'll probably find a game to fill your shoes."

Yea, that'd go over much much better than attempting to appeal to everyone.

Except that isn't really what they would have had to say. Simply saying that they felt the game had gone as far in the current direction as they felt they were comfortable taking it, so they were going to let the OGL take that particular system over while they explored a different direction would have been sufficient. That, along with leaving the 3.5 pdfs out there, would have been enough to keep people who didn't care for the new direction to keep their opinions about the new direction to themselves because they still had access to the stuff they enjoyed. When you're not likely to get a significant chunk of the older players anyway, you're better off accepting it and finding ways to keep them at least neutral to your new line. That makes easier for those who do try to push the new line and makes it more likely that the neutral people will still consider other current and future product lines that do interest them.

Again, I didn't have a problem with the preview books; what I had a problem with was that they should have let the preview books cover all the "here is what we did differently and why" answers, with everything else being mostly about the new edition. I didn't take offense to the constant references to the past systems; I just felt they failed to focus on 4E itself enough to really give it a fighting chance to stand on its own at release. When your advertising is all about bringing back the "glory days," and the system you release is not yet ready to hold it's own against those "glory days," you give detractors one strike, if not more, against the system to play up. By the time it was able to stand on it's own, they had already lost the attention of most of their target audience.


I think this is the last post on the page and is a good transition point....does anyone have more on Monte?

P.S. I liked this whole marketing discussion de-railing, as it is not really an edition flame war, but it is about the business of the game we love. However, I want to hear at least one new fact about Monte so we can start rumor mongering exponentially.


sunshadow21 wrote:

Except that isn't really what they would have had to say. Simply saying that they felt the game had gone as far in the current direction as they felt they were comfortable taking it, so they were going to let the OGL take that particular system over while they explored a different direction would have been sufficient. That, along with leaving the 3.5 pdfs out there, would have been enough to keep people who didn't care for the new direction to keep their opinions about the new direction to themselves because they still had access to the stuff they enjoyed. When you're not likely to get a significant chunk of the older players anyway, you're better off accepting it and finding ways to keep them at least neutral to your new line. That makes easier for those who do try to push the new line and makes it more likely that the neutral people will still consider other current and future product lines that do interest them.

I think it's a pretty common business strategy to stop distribution of previous products in lieu of new products. Pretty much every company does this, so why is WotC being singled out? And your saying that they should've known they were taking a hit with older players, so still appease them because.......that's the nicey thing to do? That line of thinking doesn't generate any revenue, it doesn't promote their current product, and it doesn't influence newer gamers to try their new product. All of those things are BAD for a buisness. What I think WotC underestimated was how good Paizo was doing and the uncertanity of what path they (Paizo) were going to follow by the tail end of 3E. My guess was that WotC would put out the GSL and thought Paizo would follow. They didn't and it gave those who have felt "slighted" to go to another system/company.

sunshadow21 wrote:


Again, I didn't have a problem with the preview books; what I had a problem with was that they should have let the preview books cover all the "here is what we did differently and why" answers, with everything else being mostly about the new edition. I didn't take offense to the constant references to the past systems; I just felt they failed to focus on 4E itself enough to really give it a fighting chance to stand on its own at release. When your advertising is all about bringing back the "glory days," and the system you release is not yet ready to hold it's own against those "glory days," you give detractors one strike, if not more, against the system to play up. By the time it was able to stand on it's own, they had already lost the attention of most of their target audience.

As I can only speak for myself the lead-up to debut had me wanting to see what 4E was about. I had just about enought of 3E that I could take at the time so aside from my initial "WTF is this?!?!" moment with the 4E PHB I thought it was a great departure from previous styles. It was fresh, it was exciting, and it was in-depth for character advancement. Maybe I was just a good example of their target audience but I really don't know what more people wanted. A Free Beta could've went a LONG way to smoothing over things at Debut, for sure, but might have caused an even bigger backlash of the product.


Monte's columns should be interesting to read and generate plenty enough to discuss. If they continue in the same vein as last week's especially.

Diffan, not pissing the older players off is not the same thing as appeasing them. Simply letting it go after the preview books, and truly focusing on 4E, instead of constantly bringing up the past iterations, after that would have shown the older players that WotC had moved on, and was no longer going to actively support 3.5, but would let those who were reluctant to switch over immediately to keep playing the game they wanted to play until they could see the new game in action. Continuing to actively support it is something that few people would have reasonably expected, but allowing a system that had served them well for the last decade to gracefully die in its own time, rather than trying to forcefully kill it immediately would have retained a lot of good will that could have been tapped in the future, even if it didn't result in immediate sales. Even Microsoft hasn't made the mistake of trying to instantly kill old operating systems; they continue to provide critical security updates for a time to give people time to transition.

As for the playtest, I don't think a full blown playtest would have been needed, but a mini adventure with simple pregens and a couple of encounters (one combat, one skill challenge) would have given people a better idea of how everything fit together before getting hit with the full blown system. The preview columns were nice, but left me wondering how everything was supposed to fit together, and the shock of sheer differences in the overall feel was something that fed all the discontent. Without that shock, the discontent would have still been there, but it would have had much less to feed on. Something like a mini adventure would also have helped in limiting what ever preconceptions and guesses people came up with in the vacuum of actual knowledge and experience. Aside from a brief sample like this, they did pretty well, but that was a critical omission.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

They pulled the PDFs because pirates were copying the new (4E) books within hours of release. Anyone trying to claim it was primarily to prevent people from having access to older books is really twisting the facts. I'm fairly certain that for every 10 people who complain about the pulling of PDFs, only one of them had actually purchased any to that point.

The older books (including material from Basic, AD&D, and 2E) were available for over a year after 4E's release. By the time that happened, most people had already decided they didn't like 4E. Part of the reason it was easy for them to pull the plug on that is because hardly anyone was purchasing them. Wizards revenue stream from PDFs was so small, they hardly noticed the change.

I do think that they could have taken other measures. Like FFG who delays the release of PDFs for a few months after the print release. By that time pirates will have already pirated things.

Dark Archive

Devils Advocate:

Most of the pirated copies floating around were leaked from the inside. Someone passed me a copy of the file they sent to the printers almost a month before release. I didn't keep it, I'm just pointing out that the pirates were able to leak and pass around the copies *before* WotC released them. I would hazard that neither having them up for sale or taking them down really made am impact on the amount of piracy. Pirates will pirate.

However, this doesn't rule out the possibility that putting them up for sale made it easier to track the pirating, thus giving WotC a more accurate assessment of the problem.

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