Best Guess: How many quarters will D&D Next beat Pathfinder on the ICv2 list (if any)?


5th Edition (And Beyond)

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LazarX wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
D&D has the advantage of their brand, but they're going to need that advantage to reclaim the market share they've lost over the last 7 years.

The last few years have seen most of that inertial value in the brand simply has dried up and blown away. In Compleat Strategist in NYC, D+D's sales block has almost entirely been replaced by Pathfinder.

At this point, 5E has a long uphill road to climb, and they need to do a lot of things before they even match Pathfinder never mind exceeding it.

OTOH, D&D hasn't had any real new material to sell for most of that time. And they've got the publicity of a new release to get people in the store.

I'd be shocked if they don't blow by Pathfinder in the first few months. What happens after that is more questionable.


Kerney wrote:

Question: I ran into a person who wished to set up a company that would continue to support 4e. While I thought he was an idiot (for several reasons), I was wondering, is anyone in a position to do a Paizo and divert one source of fans/supporters by providing support for 4e?

I assume the answer is probably no, but truthfully I don't know.

If they are truly serious, then the best bet might be to sign a license agreement with WotC, if they are willing. Otherwise, there may be too many hurdles to make it viable.


LazarX wrote:
At this point, 5E has a long uphill road to climb, and they need to do a lot of things before they even match Pathfinder never mind exceeding it.

Matching Pathfinder initially won't be hard; it might even exceed Pathfinder for a short time without much effort. The challenge will be sustaining any gains they get from the initial spike; that's where the damage done to the brand the last few years will hurt them.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

It doesnt seem to me that they care. Their comments of late are that they're not going to be putting out lots of supplements. They're going to focus on the movies/computer games/other avenues.

I think Tabletop RPGers often misunderstand just how unimportant we are in the big picture. The bulk of D&D's value hasnt been in the TTRPG for a long time, in my opinion. My guess would be that the revenue from novels has dwarfed RPG sales for a long time now, even during 3.5's heyday. Even the films or computer games which flop (and do badly for the studios which develop them) will bring in significant licensing fees.


Steve Geddes wrote:
It doesnt seem to me that they care. Their comments of late are that they're not going to be putting out lots of supplements. They're going to focus on the movies/computer games/other avenues.

While I agree that supplements aren't their main focus, they can't afford to ignore them entirely at the same time. They need to make sure that, at the very least, the tabletop game enjoys a neutral or better reputation so it doesn't drag the brand name down. Launching movies, video games, and other products is going to be hard enough with a reasonably strong product for that brand already out there; the task will be even harder without 5E as a base to start from.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I dont think 5E receiving tepid ongoing support is going to mean much to most people who might go to a D&D movie.

The RPG market is an exceedingly small, but terribly self-important segment of the economy, imo. We just dont matter, despite all the online chest thumping and hand wringing.


Steve Geddes wrote:

I dont think 5E receiving tepid ongoing support is going to mean much to most people who might go to a D&D movie.

The RPG market is an exceedingly small, but terribly self-important segment of the economy, imo. We just dont matter, despite all the online chest thumping and hand wringing.

Where it will matter is at the executive level of WotC and the companies that would make the movies. Even tepid support, as long as it's ongoing, would not hurt efforts in other arenas, but something like the rage at the release of 4E or the apathy showed by the community and WotC to do much to support it after would be a problem. As long as the developers can show that they are putting something out there that is being generally well received by at least a few people, other companies will be far more willing to take the chance and support other projects for the brand. As soon as they see WotC or the gaming community fail to make an effort to directly support the brand themselves, WotC's and Hasbro's task of making the brand more than just the ruleset becomes much harder.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
sunshadow21 wrote:
Where it will matter is at the executive level of WotC and the companies that would make the movies. Even tepid support, as long as it's ongoing, would not hurt efforts in other arenas, but something like the rage at the release of 4E or the apathy showed by the community and WotC to do much to support it after would be a problem. As long as the developers can show that they are putting something out there that is being generally well received by at least a few people, other companies will be far more willing to take the chance and support other projects for the brand. As soon as they see WotC or the gaming community fail to make an effort to directly support the brand themselves, WotC's and Hasbro's task of making the brand more than just the ruleset becomes much harder.

I find that opinion baffling. Not much more to say, really.

I suspect we'll soon see though. As I said, they seem quite clear that they're not going to be putting out as much support as in previous editions.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
I suspect we'll soon see though. As I said, they seem quite clear that they're not going to be putting out as much support as in previous editions.

Honestly, thats a good thing. Splat book fatigue was a big problem for both. Their announced strategy of fewer, but higher quality books, is a sound one if they can actually pull it off. It supports the system sufficiently, but allows the brand to move beyond it to other things. It's not so much they aren't supporting the system as much as it is they are looking for a smarter way to support the system. There is a big difference.


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It's my belief (perhaps wrong) that this is intended to be the last edition of D&D (the last pen-and-paper edition, at least). As such, WotC wants it to be as inclusive, iconic, and evergreen as possible. I think they'll lavish a lot of attention and resources on getting the core books into people's hands, and after that it will become low-key.

Yes, I think maintaining the intellectual property for licensing purposes will be a big motivation. And no, I don't see them getting anywhere near an OGL this time around.

I think D&D will outsell Pathfinder for 2 quarters, maybe 3 if WotC plays their cards right. But then the amount of new material will decrease while Paizo continues putting out its regular slate of product, and Pathfinder will top the chart again.

The new edition will of course alienate most of the players who came on board with 4th edition, just as 4th edition drove us old-schoolers away. On the other hand, some of those old-schoolers will be lured back by the new game. I never bought a single 4E product, but I plan on at least getting the core books for 5E.

Before 4E came along, at least 2/3 of my D&D purchases were of Forgotten Realms stuff. You could say I was a FR superfan, to the point of creating this. But with 4E and the "Spellplague," I'm afraid I avoided it like a roadkilled skunk. I don't know where WotC is going with "the Sundering" (the latest Realms-Shattering Event to update the setting to the new edition). I'd hoped it would split the FR into "Classic Coke" (i.e., a reset to the pre-Spellplague continuity) and "New Coke" (the 4E setting), with novels and such set in both... but that is a faint hope. Too bad... WotC would get a lot more of my money if I could start reading novels about my Realms again.


Andrew Crossett wrote:
The new edition will of course alienate most of the players who came on board with 4th edition, just as 4th edition drove us old-schoolers away.

I don't think 4e drove most "old-schoolers" away, and I certainly don't think that 5e is going to alienate many 4e players. Nearly every 4e player I know is cool with playing 5e. And I'm only using the word "nearly" in case I'm forgetting someone.


I can only go by my own anecdotal evidence, but I and all the old-schoolers I know switched to Pathfinder when 4E came out... some immediately, some eventually.

My local gaming store, where I bought the 1st edition Monster Manual hot off the presses in 1977, no longer even carries 4E because it wasn't selling. They only have Pathfinder and a couple of old 3.5 core books. They will be stocking the 5E books... at least for now.

Even if I like 5E, I have no intention of quitting Pathfinder.


The game store I most frequent has heavy PFS support and participation from the area. The store owner doubled his 5e PHB order from what he originally anticipated it to be hoping that would be enough to meet demand from the feedback he has been seeing. This is the kind of store you can get 1st edition, original print complete with yellowed pages kind of store, though. Even so, given the relative compactness of 5e, I feel most at ease buying previous edition material and dropping systems in without disturbing other rules and balance. I can't say the same about 3.x/PF.

Dark Archive

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Kerney wrote:
Also, how many adventure paths do we need? That is a big part of paizo's sales. If you have 2-3, do you need more?

In my case, the answer turned out to be 12 :) I was a charter subscriber, and stopping my subscription was not a decision I made lightly, but at our rate of play I have enough Paizo adventure paths to last me for the next 20 years.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I just got back from Gencon and was disappointed by the level of 5e support from Wizards. i hoped to get in a demo game of 5e to test drive the new system, but Hasbro only had a handful of tables and they were all booked up. They really seemed to have a low key profile -- especially considering this was their big year. Bummer.


Danbala wrote:
I just got back from Gencon and was disappointed by the level of 5e support from Wizards. i hoped to get in a demo game of 5e to test drive the new system, but Hasbro only had a handful of tables and they were all booked up. They really seemed to have a low key profile -- especially considering this was their big year. Bummer.

I've never attended GenCon, mind you, but from what I understand (and from flipping through the GenCon schedule) WotC was running through somewhere in the neighborhood of 500-600 players per four-hour slot, in addition to a 700-player shared game epic on Saturday evening. I'm guessing they had upwards of 100 tables set up to handle this volume. Is that a "handful", in GenCon terms?

(For what its worth, at a cursory glance it looks like that's in the same neighborhood as the number of tables running Pathfinder Society games; please correct me if I'm mistaken, though.)


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Let's not forget that Paizo is already geared up (or in the process of gearing up) to compete with WotC on all the fronts mentioned in this thread. Card Game? Check. Digital Card Game? Check. Comic Book? Check. MMO? Check. CRPGs? Check eventually. VTT? Check eventually. The only thing lacking at this point is a true board game, and I won't be surprised to see one emerge soon-ish. Any chance we could get a Pathfinder saturday morning cartoon too? :)

It's, frankly, a little amazing to look back at the demise of Dragon and the birth of Paizo (solely on the back of AP production, the very thing they were doing in Dragon) and compare to where things are now.

If Obsidian does a good job with a CRPG and Game Space comes together eventually, I don't think WotC stands much of a chance. I'd give them 2 quarters and that's it. But truely, this is Paizo's game to lose, not WotC's to win.


Danbala wrote:
I just got back from Gencon and was disappointed by the level of 5e support from Wizards. i hoped to get in a demo game of 5e to test drive the new system, but Hasbro only had a handful of tables and they were all booked up. They really seemed to have a low key profile -- especially considering this was their big year. Bummer.

I... noticed they were there, which is a step up from last year.

Apparently they had MMs for sale somewhere, which I would have looked at if I had known. 13th Age got my "random monster book purchase" this GenCon instead.

Cheers!
Landon


Darkbridger wrote:
If Obsidian does a good job with a CRPG and Game Space comes together eventually, I don't think WotC stands much of a chance. I'd give them 2 quarters and that's it.

Uhh. Obsidian definitely will not have a CRPG out within two quarters (more like two years). Hell, it's doubtful that Paizo will have Game Space fully released in two quarters. Neither of these will play any role in whether WotC will hold the number one spot for more than two quarters.

Shadow Lodge

Also, the ICv2 list doesn't count video games sold. It counts hard copy books sold in select gaming stores.


Scott Betts wrote:
Darkbridger wrote:
If Obsidian does a good job with a CRPG and Game Space comes together eventually, I don't think WotC stands much of a chance. I'd give them 2 quarters and that's it.
Uhh. Obsidian definitely will not have a CRPG out within two quarters (more like two years). Hell, it's doubtful that Paizo will have Game Space fully released in two quarters. Neither of these will play any role in whether WotC will hold the number one spot for more than two quarters.

I understand that, but previously in the thread there was discussion/speculation of the long tail and WotC reducing their releases to focus on licensed products... all things that Paizo is also doing, minus the reduced releases of course. The volume of Paizo releases will re-assert itself fairly quickly in my opinion. And if the Paizo licensing pays off, WotC's long term looks bleaker.

Now, I don't think all of these will pay off or even pay off quickly for Paizo. The MMO looks like it will appeal to a limited market comparitively, and the VTT could end up with some of the same challenges WotC faced in 4e. But I still think it is Paizo's ball to drop. Nothing WotC does at this point will affect Paizo in any major fashion for the next few years, unless they do something exceptionally unusual or cool, and I'm not against that happening. Healthy competition from both sides would be infinitely better at this point. I just do not see that happening unless WotC manages to grab the youth market, which has been an elusive target for a good many years in this hobby.

Heck, if the licensing option was there, and if I didn't think it would cannabilize their own customer base, I'd be all for suggesting Paizo develop APs for 5E.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:
Danbala wrote:
I just got back from Gencon and was disappointed by the level of 5e support from Wizards. i hoped to get in a demo game of 5e to test drive the new system, but Hasbro only had a handful of tables and they were all booked up. They really seemed to have a low key profile -- especially considering this was their big year. Bummer.

I've never attended GenCon, mind you, but from what I understand (and from flipping through the GenCon schedule) WotC was running through somewhere in the neighborhood of 500-600 players per four-hour slot, in addition to a 700-player shared game epic on Saturday evening. I'm guessing they had upwards of 100 tables set up to handle this volume. Is that a "handful", in GenCon terms?

(For what its worth, at a cursory glance it looks like that's in the same neighborhood as the number of tables running Pathfinder Society games; please correct me if I'm mistaken, though.)

If that was happening it wasn't clear where that was. Wizards had their own zone in Hall D which was a literally walled off area. Behind the wall they had something like 30 or so tables where they were running their demos. Not all of the tables were for D&D (some were for Waterdeep, etc). On Thursday morning, I tried to reserve a demo for any time during the Con and was told that they were all sold out before the con started.

(In comparison, Pathfinder was in the Sagamore ballroom with 150 tables -- they were doing about 900 players per slot. The space was large enough that they could accommodate walk ins.)

In addition to a prominent position in the Exhibit Hall, Paizo had these massive banners flying at all the entrances. they had a local pub redone to be Pathfinder themed. Wizards had nothing in the exhibit Hall but they did have a banner up at Hall D and a castle themed wall around their space. But mainly their presence seemed to be low key by comparison.

This was particularly striking when you compared Wizards small and out of the way D&D area to its large and centrally placed Magic the Gathering space. Unlike the D&D zone, the Magic area was adjacent to the Exhibit Hall and featured a huge (Sagamore-like) play space. Magic promotional materials were prominently placed through the convention space. I only saw two 5e banners -- one at the entrance to Hall D and another in St George street across from the food trucks. It was clear that Wizards saw the convention as key to their promotion -- of Magic.


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Danbala wrote:

If that was happening it wasn't clear where that was. Wizards had their own zone in Hall D which was a literally walled off area. Behind the wall they had something like 30 or so tables where they were running their demos. Not all of the tables were for D&D (some were for Waterdeep, etc). On Thursday morning, I tried to reserve a demo for any time during the Con and was told that they were all sold out before the con started.

(In comparison, Pathfinder was in the Sagamore ballroom with 150 tables -- they were doing about 900 players per slot. The space was large enough that they could accommodate walk ins.)

In addition to a prominent position in the Exhibit Hall, Paizo had these massive banners flying at all the entrances. they had a local pub redone to be Pathfinder themed. Wizards had nothing in the exhibit Hall but they did have a banner up at Hall D and a castle themed wall around their space. But mainly their presence seemed to be low key by comparison.

This was particularly striking when you compared Wizards small and out of the way D&D area to its large and centrally placed Magic the Gathering space. Unlike the D&D zone, the Magic area was adjacent to the Exhibit Hall and featured a huge (Sagamore-like) play space. Magic promotional materials were prominently placed through the convention space. I only saw two 5e banners -- one at the entrance to Hall D and another in St George street across from the food trucks. It was clear that Wizards saw the convention as key to their promotion -- of Magic.

I'm not sure how you managed to miss all of this, but D&D's presence there was much larger than you're making it out to be. Again, you can check the Gen Con event listings if you don't believe me (or the photos) to confirm how many players they were running.


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I thought this might be relevant to this thread: this afternoon D&D broke through to the number one spot on Amazon's bestseller list.


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Scott, in these lands nary a flight can blemish Paizo's visage.

But really, Paizo has a long way to come in the electronic gaming space. The Neverwinter IP alone is massive and the games are still selling on Gog. Plus, the Neverwinter MMO reached 2 million players last year. It's also about to come to the Xbox One.

Paizo's stance is anything but assured. I don't think they'll be simply shoved to the way side any kind of soon or even at all, but it's always telling when you look at how an organization spends its money. They're doing what they're doing because they're fighting which means not even they are 100% in their position. If they were, they'd do better to spend elsewhere.

Truth be told, some of their line up over the next year miffs me a bit because it feels like they've been intentionally sandbagging juicy material in anticipation just for this period. Some seriously erroneous systems are only now getting addressed in Pathfinder Unchained in spite of issues that were years old years ago. It's simply repetition that competition is good.

It's a great time for us, folks. Enjoy these next couple years. The quality of table top gaming is about to be second to none.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

1d6-3 quarters.


Buri wrote:
Paizo's stance is anything but assured. I don't think they'll be simply shoved to the way side any kind of soon or even at all, but it's always telling when you look at how an organization spends its money. They're doing what they're doing because they're fighting which means not even they are 100% in their position. If they were, they'd do better to spend elsewhere.

Paizo's position could be stronger, but when you look at the leadership they have, and the progress they have already made in a very short time, I would have to agree with several others here that long term 1st place is largely Paizo's to lose with a strong D&D edition helping Paizo as much as it does WotC. Comparing the long term announcements from Paizo and WotC, Paizo is in a a stronger position. WotC will have a strong several quarters with the core books, but beyond that, they have nothing to sustain the initial boost. They don't even have a setting book scheduled at this point, which means that's probably at least a year out from the DMG release date. Rule books, same story as the setting books. Adventures will help a bit, but will still leave lots of room open for people to keep buying books from Paizo and all of the other publishers out there for adventure and system support, especially since many of the adventures and third party books will be made to be reasonably easy to port over, even if they aren't official 5E products. Meanwhile, Paizo has the Unchained book, one small computer app along with a long term partnership with someone to make a CPRG at some point, an MMO, and all of their existing product lines which I'm sure will continue to get support. Paizo would have to something really, really stupid or WotC would have to come out with a truly amazing computer game or movie (not something that ultimately receives mediocre reviews the Neverwinter MMO had) for WotC to be able to make a dent in their position.

The only reason WotC has a chance of competing with them right now is the brand name and the IPs for FR, Greyhawk, and all of the other worlds they control. The ruleset by itself under any other name wouldn't stand a chance, and I am getting the firm impression that WotC both understands this and doesn't really care, since they really only seem to be looking at the system as a minor placeholder until they can finally launch their grand scheme of moving the brand beyond the game itself (something which they have a better chance of doing this time, though it's still a long shot). So I doubt they really care how the system does as long as it's not seen as a failure. Because of this, they won't stay at #1 very long, and may not even compete for that spot every quarter; as long as they are at least in the top 3, I suspect WotC will be perfectly content.


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I think the position that Paizo is or has beat Wizards in all segments is simply wrong. Wizards dominates the electronic gaming space if not by sales (which is already many, many millions from over a decade of experience) then by mere virtue of Paizo's lack of participation therein as PfO isn't even released yet. They're only relatively weak in the table top segment, which, as its own market is smaller. So, not all battlefields are on the same level here. Paizo is fighting up hill in the electronic arena, but, yes, their tabletop presence is strong. Don't assume that as soon as Pathfinder Online is released that it's going to be a hit and Wizards will be scrambling. That's an unrealistic outlook.

The Neverwinter MMO is thriving, reviews be damned. I logged in just last week and easily got a pick up group for instances and saw zones very healthily populated outside of instances. PfO has a lot to prove. Just because they have Ryan who worked for CCP Games for a time doesn't mean the mix of game he's making for the Pathfinder IP will be a hit. That's an alchemy no one has come even close to mastering.

Make no mistake that Wizards has more muscle to flex here if not from money then from sheer experience in the market and if not from that then from a more diverse product offering. They're anything but weak. I could see them still thriving off just IP royalties and other product lines and ending tabletop D&D development altogether. That's a luxury Paizo simply doesn't have. They need success in Pathfinder/Golarion or they die or transform into a fundamentally different entity. Then, there's the ability for Wizards to get access to Hasbro's pockets which makes them more intractible as a corporation meaning they're not going anywhere.

Those are just facts. What I find personally interesting is the us/them dynamic on these boards. There can be no inbetween, and Paizo is seemingly king of all tabletop. All other signs that could even potentially endanger that view is badwrongfun. Paizo has done well for themselves and has a lot to be proud of. I think there's some deification of them, though, as if they are nigh infallible. A lot of this comes from the Paizo leadership. Which, if pride cometh before a fall, then they better brace themselves.


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Buri wrote:
What I find personally interesting is the us/them dynamic on these boards.

Well I certainly don't find it interesting, but I do admit I find it very irritating when it comes up. However I would note that comments like the following don't really help.

Buri wrote:
Scott, in these lands nary a flight can blemish Paizo's visage.


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Personally I hope that D&D beats Pathfinder for several quarters at least, as (provided the sales aren't all people abandoning ship from Pathfinder to D&D) that will give a strong signal that the RPG market is in a strong place. I'm having a lot of fun playing Pathfinder and have always enjoyed Paizo's setting material and APs, but I've never been especially wedded to any one system and think that growing the overall market is a good thing longer term.

Don't get me wrong, I still really like Paizo as a company and by no means want their sales to drop off very much. But if D&D Next is a hit then it has potential to bring new people into the hobby or bring old players back, some of whom will inevitably move onto Pathfinder or other systems.


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Not being able to criticize a company is part of the us vs them dynamic. That comment simply highlights that. It's a problem how?


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I'm in between. I like both companies. :)

Easy.


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Buri wrote:
Not being able to criticize a company is part of the us vs them dynamic. That comment simply highlights that. It's a problem how?

For a couple reasons. I'm not sure how to phrase it exactly. There is the us (Some Paizo Fans) vs them (WotC) mentality which you commented on, but your line I pulled pretty much says "It's us (you and others) versus them (the majority of the posters on this site)."

There are many different ways you could have said that people are ignoring Paizo's weaknesses compared to WotC in this market without making it us versus them.


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Buri wrote:
I think the position that Paizo is or has beat Wizards in all segments is simply wrong.

I don't think that Paizo has beat WotC yet, but I do think they are strong enough that they firmly control their own destiny and very little of what WotC does or does not do will impact that in the near future.


Buri wrote:
Make no mistake that Wizards has more muscle to flex here if not from money then from sheer experience in the market and if not from that then from a more diverse product offering. They're anything but weak. I could see them still thriving off just IP royalties and other product lines and ending tabletop D&D development altogether.

This I don't agree with entirely. They aren't weak, but capitalizing on the brand going forward is going to be harder than many think, especially in non-tabletop game markets. As for experience, at this point, Paizo and Monte Cook each have as much, or more, functional experience as the WotC team. WotC may have overall a more diverse product line right now, but that isn't going to be true for very long, and they are still going to have to rely heavily on the table top game to carry a lot of those lines for at least a little while yet. They are a long ways from being able to discontinue the tabletop game, though they are in a better position to do so now than they were not all that long ago.

In the end, it's not that WotC is losing, but that WotC is not in actual practice necessarily stronger than anybody else right now. They currently have more leverage via the ownership of better known IPs, but no real plans on how to use any of them beyond the release of the core books for the table top game, and a lot of people are going to be wary of jumping on the WotC bandwagon without a bit more evidence beyond a spike in sales for two quarters as they spread out the core books release. At the same time, Paizo isn't at a point where they can relax, but they have a clear plan, a clear path of how to execute that plan, and a wide base of support within the gaming community to help them. Similarly, other spinoffs are winning their own loyal fan bases that will be hard to convince they want to rejoin the formal D&D fold.

Basically, right now WotC has to be very careful about resting on it's past laurels, and while 5E will do well, it won't be enough by itself to win back lost prestige, or enough to hold off a surging OGL and OSR market filled with people that just don't care about WotC anymore. The strength of the D&D brand and IPs like FR and Greyhawk only matters if it's effectively leveraged, and WotC has not shown a strong history of being able to do so on their own, even with all the additional money they have access to. All in all, while I have to say that they are in a far better position than I expected them to be in at this point, they still have a lot of work ahead to firmly secure the majority of their goals.

Shadow Lodge

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sunshadow21 wrote:
This I don't agree with entirely. They aren't weak, but capitalizing on the brand going forward is going to be harder than many think, especially in non-tabletop game markets.

Non-tabletop environments know D&D as a bunch of computer games, a bunch of novels, and a board game that they play on Big Bang Theory. But before you sprain your arm patting yourself on the back for Paizo's victory, consider this: Non-tabletop environments know Pathfinder as an SUV.


Kthulhu wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
This I don't agree with entirely. They aren't weak, but capitalizing on the brand going forward is going to be harder than many think, especially in non-tabletop game markets.
Non-tabletop environments know D&D as a bunch of computer games, a bunch of novels, and a board game that they play on Big Bang Theory. But before you sprain your arm patting yourself on the back for Paizo's victory, consider this: Non-tabletop environments know Pathfinder as an SUV.

Novels that most people don't actually associate with D&D itself and that rely on characters made over 20 years ago. Computer games, most of which that are remembered are at least a decade, and usually several decades, old. Boardgames that may or may not be associated with the core brand. In short, nostalgia weighs heavy, and will be as much of a burden as a blessing. WotC, for all the potential they are sitting on, hasn't really done a whole lot with the brand or any of the IPs that could be considered a major success since 3.5 was released. Maybe they finally found the team to break that streak, but that's still a lot of failures (both perceived and real) and missed opportunities to overcome.

Paizo, while they haven't achieved victory yet, is taking the steps necessary to get it. The lack of history and nostalgia, while it will prove to be a major initial hurdle, also means that they get a clean slate to work with, which when put together with a cohesive business plan, is very powerful. Unlike WotC at this point, Paizo has both the support of the community and a proven business plan. The lack of general knowledge amongst the public is an obstacle, but not as major a one as some make it out to be, given that the rest of the pieces either have already fallen into place or clearly in the process of doing so.

In the end, it's not just what has come before and the totality of the resources available, it's also how the available resources are used. In this arena, Paizo has very clearly succeeded; every resource they use is clearly spent on what ultimately is a clear focus. WotC, for the entire ownership of the brand, has struggled with this. The challenges and difficulties with 4E are the most prominent examples, but other examples are just as notable. The lack of any new novel characters or writers to have secured a notable place beside Salvatore, Greenwood, Drizzt, and Elminster. The lack of a truly successful computer game since NWN 2. The complete lack of any successes in the movie theaters. At this point, Mearls and company not only has to overcome the challenge of missed potential but also the failures in trying to capture that potential that led up to this point.

Ultimately, I don't see either company as having a particularly easier or harder road ahead of them. Each has different challenges, but the relative number of challenges versus advantages is about the same in both cases.


Steve Geddes wrote:

I'm in between. I like both companies. :)

Easy.

^^This

I'll even happily quote the things I *dislike* about *both* product lines.

D&D - Too many editions. I'm fed up with constantly refreshing an entire library of books.

Pathfinder - Too complicated, slow, and rules-heavy.

I'm still buying the 5e core (and I've just added the first two adventure volumes to my preorder) for my collection, and to play a few games that'll look like they'll play out nice and fast.

I still subscribe to Pathfinder, because I love Golarion and the APs.

The 5e Ruleset with Paizo APs would be the perfect mix for me personally, but unlikely to happen.

Shadow Lodge

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Matt Thomason wrote:
The 5e Ruleset with Paizo APs would be the perfect mix for me personally, but unlikely to happen.

One nice thing about rules-light systems...it's a lot easier to convert stuff to work with a lighter system.


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Scott Betts wrote:
I'm not sure how you managed to miss all of this, but D&D's presence there was much larger than you're making it out to be. Again, you can check the Gen Con event listings if you don't believe me (or the photos) to confirm how many players they were running.

I believe you mentioned in a previous post how you hadn't been to GenCon before, so let me explain how you'd miss that.

That's a hall a GenCon. It's not a special hall. It's just one of several gaming halls, including the Sagamore people mentioned above. They all look basically the same.

There were over 56,000 people there this weekend. Most of the gaming spaces were packed, along with CCGs being played in the hallways and people taking games back to their hotels.

Meanwhile, people who aren't actively playing games or participating in events will spend time in the Dealer's Hall. Because that's where every company that wants to sell games has a booth.

Wizards didn't have a booth in the Dealer's Hall.

So, I glanced in Hall D on Thursday, wondering why Wizards' castle was set up in the back of what appeared to be a boardgaming hall. I saw a 3rd party booth in the Dealer's Hall selling a ton of minis and some 5e books. And one of the groups we talked to in our hotel lobby were playing 5e.

That's the 5e exposure I got from 4 days of GenCon. I say that as someone who playtested starting with the first packet, has been following the system closely, and would have liked to look at an MM if I knew they were floating around.

Cheers!
Landon


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:


I'm not sure how you managed to miss all of this, but D&D's presence there was much larger than you're making it out to be. Again, you can check the Gen Con event listings if you don't believe me (or the photos) to confirm how many players they were running.

That's the area that I am talking about. I would estimate there were about 30 or so D&D tables.

Believe me, as large as that space might appear to you in photograph it was comparatively small room that the convention. And it was essentially a nook, surrounded by walls on three sides and tucked away in the very back of a much, much larger hall that was dedicated to board games. (Imagine that behind the walls in the background of the photo there is another hall containing hundreds of additional tables stretching away to the south and west.) There was only one banner that led you the space and that banner was only visible if you approached from one direction.

I found that Hall only because I was very specifically trying to find Wizards to demo the 5e rules. It took me a while to figure out that Wizards -- unlike every other company at the show -- had literally no presence at all in the dealer room. I first I thought that maybe they had skipped the con somehow, I knew that had to be wrong so I started asking around until I eventually found my way to Hall D nook.

I would have expected D&D to be all over Gencon. This was supposed to be its coming out party. It should have been inescapable. I would have thought there would be banners in the hallways (next to the ubiquitous Pathfinder banners) and swag in the swag bag. Maybe they would hand out some buttons at least? Nope. Nothing.

It was weird.

Dark Archive

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I went to Gen Con the first time in 2004. It was the 30 year anniversary of D&D and it was everywhere. Wizards had a huge booth and the RPGA hall was the largest gaming area. Paizo didn't really exist as an RPG publisher. I think they had a small booth for Dungeon and Dragon magazine.

In 2008 Wizards was launching a new edition and they were still very present. Their booth was smaller but still one of the bigger ones. They had the entire Sagamore Ballroom for their organized play.
Paizo had a very nice area in the exibit hall and the Pathfinder core rules beta was flying off the shelves. They had a decent sized room to launch their Pathfinder Society Season Zero in.

2014 was the first year I've been back and wow what a difference 6 years make. Now Paizo is in the Sagamore Ballroom and Wizards has an area about half that. Paizo's retail area in the exibit hall had a line to get in most of the time and I think they sold out of all their new releases. Wizards doesn't even have space in the exibit hall. They had one small retail booth in their organized play area that I believe was manned by Gale Force 9.

I don't know how much that translates into sales, but I was pretty impressed by how much stuff Paizo has and how enthused people were by it.


I'll just leave this here.


If my previous posts sounded too Paizo-fan-boyish, then I apologize. There are plenty of things I take issue with on Paizo product.

I have no desire to play their MMO, and I as I mentioned earlier, I suspect the success will be equal to or worse than Neverwinter (which I also do not care for, for entirely different reasons, and it's also not a 5e product, despite being a D&D product).

I don't think Paizo has managed the "bloat" of their system overly well, and I feel there is a bit of an "arms race" present in the way things have progressed.

They've missed opportunities to tighten and streamline the rules in a variety of places and ways since the CRB was released. They're pretty good at offering new options, less so with offering refinement, but perhaps Unchained will see some significant steps in that direction.

I am disappointed that Game Space will apparently not include rules systems and be, simply a digital battlemap. (I am not sure this is still true, but I recall seeing this several months ago either in the sub forum or a blog post). My original hope was that Game Space would help reduce the time and complexity of playing AND bring together game groups from far flung corners of the country/globe.

Also, my perception of the market is just that... my perception. Despite my personal quibbles with Paizo and WotC, my view of the market is based on what I see both companies doing product-wise. Paizo has made some very aggressive moves in the past year or two and are positioning themselves to do more in the next couple. I'm not seeing that from WotC. New edition? Great! What else? Setting(s)? Adventures? Licensed Products? Hopefully some things will show up after the Christmas push and give some indication of where and how they will push the brand.

I'll still be buying the 3 core books, as I did with 4e (though I am waiting this time for a second printing), but I suspect I will still be playing Pathfinder in a years' time.

There is one last wildcard in this as well. Paizo has some decent third party support since their game is OGL. WotC no longer has this as they killed it almost entirely with 4e, and I've not seen or heard any indication that 5e will re-enable a third party market. From that standpoint, whatever hill climbing WotC has to do, they're on their own to do it. The only help they'll get is licensed non-tabletop products apparently. This is where their parent company could and should be flexing their financial muscle.


Sebastrd wrote:
I'll just leave this here.

Interesting. Thanks for the link!


DaveMage wrote:
Interesting. Thanks for the link!

Glad to be of service :)


Saw reviews on the 5th edition D&D Players Handbook. Got some rave reviews....Say they have streamlined the system and a lot less number crunching....


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Scott Betts wrote:
I'm not sure how you managed to miss all of this, but D&D's presence there was much larger than you're making it out to be. Again, you can check the Gen Con event listings if you don't believe me (or the photos) to confirm how many players they were running.

I certainly missed it. But then again, I wasn't looking for it. GenCon is large enough (and spread out enough) that if you aren't looking for something, it's hard to find.

I must say I'm not certain I like GenCon's ticket system. It probably is the best way to do things, but I heard from a number of people running events that no-shows meant games didn't get run, despite people who would have wanted to play being available, but not realizing that a slot was freed up. But every scheduled slot had someone signed up for it.

Of course, I lived the con at Games on Demand, where people can just show up and are pretty much guaranteed to find a game (not necessarily a specific game, but a game none the less). Ok, looking at the list, it looks like nobody ran D&D or Pathfinder at Games on Demand. But I had fun playing Pulse, Ryuutama, Danger Patrol, Torchbearer, and Monsterhearts.


The 5e PHB is Amazon's Best. Selling. BOOK. now.


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EltonJ wrote:
The 5e PHB is Amazon's Best. Selling. BOOK. now.

And right behind the PHB on the Amazon bestseller list is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Clearly, we are witnessing the ultimate popularity contest in the history of tabletop gaming. Is D&D the more popular pastime, or will it eventually be overtaken by writing term papers?

EDIT: Actually, both are now losing to a critically acclaimed novel by Gayle Forman. I can't wait to see how her cutting-edge game mechanics "change the way [I] look at life, love, and family."

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