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4e Points Of Light & Greyhawk
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EileenProphetofIstus
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh I don't expct this to happen anytime soon. Perhaps I am in the minority but it seems like WOTC is making many of the same mistakes that TSR did towards the end of their run. Maybe I'm wrong (wouldn't be the first time), but my prediction for the game is that eventually this is what will happen, WOTC will over extend themselves. It may take a few years at the very least.

I don't see any specific game company being the type of business that keeps its doors open for 15-20 years or more. I think that there are a lot of variables which decree whether or not they will succeed. They produce a product that keeps changing, along with their fan base. Keeping up with this change in a manner which suits enough people and continues sales after 10, 15, or 20 years to me seems quite difficult, and as a result eventually, the game eventually changes hands once again.

Making a lot of changes in D&D could turn out for the better. It could also end up having the opposite effect as well. If they want to delve into the computerized version of D&D it is an awful big bite, one that they may not be able to swallow. At this point there is no way of knowing.

I know that when TSR suffered their losses all of the sudden my dragon magazine subscription stopped arriving right in the middle of it. I couldn't get a hold of anyone and had no clue what was going on until I made my big trip to the gaming store in the Twin Cities, so it took me several months to find out.

The point is that it might not happen soon or at all. I just think it is a probablility in the long run. Acutally a greater possibility than the chance of them giving up the license to D&D. That I don't see happening at all.

Only time will tell.

In the meantime I hope they improve the game. Although what my idea of improvement is compared to someone elses surely differ. Too many changes to the game I feel are more hurtful than good. Not saying that I'm not up for improvements or new ideas, just saying that they need to be in moderation to work and be accepted.

The core D&D fans are established, far exceeding the number of new people they will pull in within the next few years. For me the POL idea isn't a big leap of faith, nor is the elves (though I find it irritating). Now totally getting rid of the character class idea, their most popular game worlds that exist such as Forgotten Realms or Ebberon (or making sweeping changes within them) are the type of ideas that are going to truly lose their current fan base. Other losses could result in making the power play simply to heavy so that we feel we are playingsome kind of video game, or making it electronic dependent. The final possibility I see
(although not likely in the case of 4th edition) is that more people than they expect will stick with 3.5 edition because of the money they spent in the first place.

It's my understanding that TSR ran into trouble primarly as a result of sudden novel sales loss. Now perhaps that isn't true. I never talked to anyone from TSR about it. Either way, sweeping changes in the game or the products they produce could change things. They could get better or they could get worse.

So far as Greyhawk is concerned and honestly, if it wasn't for the love of the game world itself I would probably be playing some other game. For me Greyhawk is first, then D&D (if that makes any sense). Oh I agree with you, WOTC won't sell the rights to Greyhawk and keep D&D at the same time. I don't see that happening at all either.

What I see is a company attempting to make big changes. Maybe they will work, maybe they won't. I think they are taking a bigger gamble then they want to let on.

I apologize for the misdirection of the post but did want to answer to Saracenus.

Thanks for commenting on my thoughts. I may be new to Canonfire but it doesn't take a long time to realize that most of the people that post on Canonfire are very respectful of others opinions and that is always appreciated, it is also one of the reasons I hope to be around for a long time. It is ok to disagree, in fact that is what makes others think. Saracenus, your post was very considerate even when you disagree, thanks.
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Saracenus
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eileen,

You are welcome, welcome to our little corner of the hobby (though I am a relative new comer to the site like you).

I see no reason for being rude, even when I disagree with a point being made here on the forums... though I am sure I break this unsaid rule occassionally.

I understand your feelings about the brave new world that WotC has embarked upon and it seems like WotC is headed down the garden path... but there is some info out there that will help illuminate the difference between the end of TSR and where WotC is now...

For the story on why TSR died (the reasons are many fold) Ryan Dancey can sum it up better than just about anyone... he is the cat that scouted out the husk of that dead company for WotC before they purchased it.

Quote:
In the winter of 1997, I traveled to Lake Geneva Wisconsin on a secret mission. In the late fall, rumors of TSR's impending bankruptcy had created an opportunity to made a bold gamble that the business could be saved by an infusion of capital or an acquisition with a larger partner. After a hasty series of phone calls and late night strategy sessions, I found myself standing in the snow outside of 201 Sheridan Springs Road staring at a building bearing a sign that said "TSR, Incorporated".

Inside the building, I found a dead company.

In the halls that had produced the stuff of my childhood fantasies, and had fired my imagination and become unalterably intertwined with my own sense of self, I found echoes, empty desks, and the terrible depression of lost purpose.

The life story of a tree can be read by a careful examination of its rings. The life story of a corporation can be read by a careful examination of its financial records and corporate minutes.

I was granted unprecedented access to those records. I read the TSR corporate log book from the first page penned in haste by Gary Gygax to the most recent terse minutes dictated to a lawyer with no connection to hobby gaming. I was able to trace the meteoric rise of D&D as a business, the terrible failure to control costs that eventually allowed a total outsider to take control away from the founders, the slow and steady progress to rebuild the financial solvency of the company, and the sudden and dramatic failure of that business model. I read the euphoric copyright filings for the books of my lost summers: "Player's Handbook", "Fiend Folio", "Oriental Adventures". I read the contract between Gary and TSR where Gary was severed from contact with the company he had founded and the business he had nurtured and grown. I saw the clause where Gary, forced to the wall by ruthless legal tactics was reduced to insisting to the right to use his own name in future publishing endeavors, and to take and keep control of his personal D&D characters. I read the smudged photocopies produced by the original Dragonlance Team, a group of people who believed in a new idea for gaming that told a story across many different types of products. I saw concept artwork evolve from lizard men with armor to unmistakable draconians. I read Tracy Hickman's one page synopsis of the Dragonlance Story. I held the contract between Tracy and Margaret for the publication of the three Chronicles novels. I read the contract between Ed Greenwood and TSR to buy his own personal game world and transform it into the most developed game setting in history - the most detailed and explored fantasy world ever created.

And I read the details of the Random House distribution agreement; an agreement that TSR had used to support a failing business and hide the fact that TSR was rotten at the core. I read the entangling bank agreements that divided the copyright interests of the company as security against default, and realized that the desperate arrangements made to shore up the company's poor financial picture had so contaminated those rights that it might not be possible to extract Dungeons & Dragons from the clutches of lawyers and bankers and courts for years upon end. I read the severance agreements between the company and departed executives which paid them extraordinary sums for their silence. I noted the clauses, provisions, amendments and agreements that were piling up more debt by the hour in the form of interest charges, fees and penalties. I realized that the money paid in good faith by publishers and attendees for GenCon booths and entrance fees had been squandered and that the show itself could not be funded. I discovered that the cost of the products that company was making in many cases exceeded the price the company was receiving for selling those products. I toured a warehouse packed from floor to 50 foot ceiling with products valued as though they would soon be sold to a distributor with production stamps stretching back to the late 1980s. I was 10 pages in to a thick green bar report of inventory, calculating the true value of the material in that warehouse when I realized that my last 100 entries had all been "$0"'s.

I met staff members who were determined to continue to work, despite the knowledge that they might not get paid, might not even be able to get in to the building each day. I saw people who were working on the same manuscripts they'd been working on six months earlier, never knowing if they'd actually be able to produce the fruits of their labor. In the eyes of those people (many of whom I have come to know as friends and co workers), I saw defeat, desperation, and the certain knowledge that somehow, in some way, they had failed. The force of the human, personal pain in that building was nearly overwhelming - on several occasions I had to retreat to a bathroom to sit and compose myself so that my own tears would not further trouble those already tortured souls.

I ran hundreds of spreadsheets, determined to figure out what had to be done to save the company. I was convinced that if I could just move enough money from column A to column B, that everything would be ok. Surely, a company with such powerful brands and such a legacy of success could not simply cease to exist due to a few errors of judgment and a poor strategic plan?

I made several trips to TSR during the frenzied days of negotiation that resulted in the acquisition of the company by Wizards of the Coast. When I returned home from my first trip, I retreated to my home office; a place filled with bookshelves stacked with Dungeons & Dragons products. From the earliest games to the most recent campaign setting supplements - I owned, had read, and loved those products with a passion and intensity that I devoted to little else in my life. And I knew, despite my best efforts to tell myself otherwise, that the disaster I kept going back to in Wisconsin was the result of the products on those shelves.

When Peter put me in charge of the tabletop RPG business in 1998, he gave me one commission: Find out what went wrong, fix the business, save D&D. Vince also gave me a business condition that was easy to understand and quite direct. "God damnit, Dancey", he thundered at me from across the conference table: "Don't lose any more money!"

That became my core motivation. Save D&D. Don't lose money. Figure out what went wrong. Fix the problem.

Back into those financials I went. I walked again the long threads of decisions made by managers long gone; there are few roadmarks to tell us what was done and why in the years TSR did things like buy a needlepoint distributorship, or establish a west coast office at King Vedor's mansion. Why had a moderate success in collectable dice triggered a million unit order? Why did I still have stacks and stacks of 1st edition rulebooks in the warehouse? Why did TSR create not once, not twice, but nearly a dozen times a variation on the same, Tolkien inspired, eurocentric fantasy theme? Why had it constantly tried to create different games, poured money into marketing those games, only to realize that nobody was buying those games? Why, when it was so desperate for cash, had it invested in a million dollar license for content used by less than 10% of the marketplace? Why had a successful game line like Dragonlance been forcibly uprooted from its natural home in the D&D game and transplanted to a foreign and untested new game system? Why had the company funded the development of a science fiction game modeled on D&D - then not used the D&D game rules?

In all my research into TSR's business, across all the ledgers, notebooks, computer files, and other sources of data, there was one thing I never found - one gaping hole in the mass of data we had available.

No customer profiling information. No feedback. No surveys. No "voice of the customer". TSR, it seems, knew nothing about the people who kept it alive. The management of the company made decisions based on instinct and gut feelings; not data. They didn't know how to listen - as an institution, listening to customers was considered something that other companies had to do - TSR lead, everyone else followed.

In today's hypercompetitive market, that's an impossible mentality. At Wizards of the Coast, we pay close attention to the voice of the customer. We ask questions. We listen. We react. So, we spent a whole lot of time and money on a variety of surveys and studies to learn about the people who play role playing games. And, at every turn, we learned things that were not only surprising, they flew in the face of all the conventional wisdom we'd absorbed through years of professional game publishing.

We heard some things that are very, very hard for a company to hear. We heard that our customers felt like we didn't trust them. We heard that we produced material they felt was substandard, irrelevant, and broken. We heard that our stories were boring or out of date, or simply uninteresting. We heard the people felt that >we< were irrelevant.

I know now what killed TSR. It wasn't trading card games. It wasn't Dragon Dice. It wasn't the success of other companies. It was a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy. TSR died because it was deaf.

Amazingly, despite all those problems, and despite years of neglect, the D&D game itself remained, at the core, a viable business. Damaged; certainly. Ailing; certainly. But savable? Absolutely.

Our customers were telling us that 2e was too restrictive, limited their creativity, and wasn't "fun to play'? We can fix that. We can update the core rules to enable the expression of that creativity. We can demonstrate a commitment to supporting >your< stories. >Your< worlds. And we can make the game fun again.

Our customers were telling us that we produced too many products, and that the stuff we produced was of inferior quality? We can fix that. We can cut back on the number of products we release, and work hard to make sure that each and every book we publish is useful, interesting, and of high quality.

Our customers were telling us that we spent too much time on our own worlds, and not enough time on theirs? Ok - we can fix that. We can re-orient the business towards tools, towards examples, towards universal systems and rules that aren't dependent on owning a thousand dollars of unnecessary materials first.

Our customers were telling us that they prefer playing D&D nearly 2:1 over the next most popular game option? That's an important point of distinction. We can leverage that desire to help get them more people to play >with< by reducing the barriers to compatibility between the material we produce, and the material created by other companies.

Our customers told us they wanted a better support organization? We can pour money and resources into the RPGA and get it growing and supporting players like never before in the club's history. (10,000 paid members and rising, nearly 50,000 unpaid members - numbers currently skyrocketing).

Our customers were telling us that they want to create and distribute content based on our game? Fine - we can accommodate that interest and desire in a way that keeps both our customers and our lawyers happy.

Are we still listening? Yes, we absolutely are. If we hear you asking us for something we're not delivering, we'll deliver it. But we're not going to cater to the specific and unique needs of a minority if doing so will cause hardship to the majority. We're going to try and be responsible shepards of the D&D business, and that means saying "no" to things that we have shown to be damaging to the business and that aren't wanted or needed by most of our customers.

We listened when the customers told us that Alternity wasn't what they wanted in a science fiction game. We listened when customers told us that they didn't want the confusing, jargon filled world of Planescape. We listened when people told us that the Ravenloft concept was overshadowed by the products of a competitor. We listened to customers who told us that they want core materials, not world materials. That they buy DUNGEON magazine every two months at a rate twice that of our best selling stand-alone adventures.

We're not telling anyone what game to play. We are telling the market that we're going to actively encourage our players to stand up and demand that they be listened to, and that they become the center of the gaming industry - rather than the current publisher-centric model. Through the RPGA, the Open Gaming movement, the pages of Dragon Magazine, and all other venues available, we want to empower our customers to do what >they< want, to force us and our competitors to bend to >their< will, to make the products >they< want made.

I want to be judged on results, not rhetoric. I want to look back at my time at the helm of this business and feel that things got better, not worse. I want to know that my team made certain that the mistakes of the past wouldn't be the mistakes of the future. I want to know that we figured out what went wrong. That we fixed it. That we saved D&D. And that god damnit, we didn't lose money.

Thank you for listening,

Sincerely,

Ryan S. Dancey
VP, Wizards of the Coast
Brand Manager, Dungeons & Dragons


Now that is a huge meal to digest. But let me put this in context today:

1) Since this posting by Dancey, Hasbro purchased WotC.
2) WotC does insane amounts of customer research.
3) WotC/Hasbro are ruthless in dropping what doesn't work.
4) A successful product at WotC is measured by its financial return it generates, not buy the more ephemeral subjective quality of its content. What is successful for a tier two or three company (WW, Green Ronin, etc.) gets the ax there.
5) Hasbro has a rep for recycling stuff over and over again (How many monopolies are there out there?)

Finally, WotC has a customer service group that deals with customers on a daily basis. They do what TSR couldn't, listen to the customer base. Even better, they now work with a bunch of different departments creating a feedback loop within and without the company.

Does this mean that WotC can overreach itself and implode... sure. But comparing WotC with TSR is an apples to oranges comparison. WotC is no where near death like TSR.

As to what threats to WotC and the D&D brand are out there? I would say it is outside forces... Mostly online gaming (WoW and its ilk) and consoles (xbox, PS2 or 3, Wii).
Also, the newer players that we need to capture are way more computer savvy than our aging hobby, they demand much more from their online experience (web delivery of product, blogs, user participation, etc).

So, in that context, the DDI and streamlining D&D make business sense. Believe me in order for Hasbro to approve the budget they now have to hire a team to build the online tool set and DDI, someone had to cost justify it based upon solid marketing info. WotC/Hasbro does not do things from their "gut."

I too am hopeful that WotC won't stumble with their chosen direction, because there just isn't a new WotC out there to pickup the slack if they do. It would be a disaster for the hobby if WotC were to implode.

My Two Coppers,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
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EileenProphetofIstus
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sracenus:

Thanks for the posting, it was rather intresting. I knew there was more to the story than the little bit I heard, as I mentioned, I never talked to anyone related to TSR, just people in one of the country's biggest gaming stores, and that doesn't mean that they would know and even if they had a better idea of what happened, that doesn't mean they are going to tell me, I'm just another customer. So thanks for the input.

I still see WOTC making some of the same mistakes (perhaps disguised a bit better) but time will tell. I hope nothing happens to the game that I would feel is negative. I would just as soon see it thrive to new heights (hopefully in a way that I would like). I said that what I would like to see is not necessarily the same as what others would like.

I don't expect Greyhawk to come back, never did even with the vague promises at the beginning of 3rd edition, using it for their core world. I don't expect to see support in 4th edition. I'm just saying that the day may come even if it is a ways away.

I hope WOTC is continuing their research, I'm sure they read their forums quite a bit (though I think they need to crack down on the people being nasty to one another, the rudeness of the forum readers is terrible.)

I wish D&D well in any edition it turns into. I just hope it remains D&D.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saracenus: Thanks for posting that. I too had heard rumors and hints about the dissolution of TSR, and filtered them through my own experiences with D&D and business. But now I know for sure.

I used to resent WotC for buying out TSR; the more I learn about the company and about 3rd edition, the more I respect them. No, it's not the same game we played in jr. high, but that's not all bad. Mr. Dancey's letter cemented my opinion of WotC as a good gaming company.

TSR's story is an excellent example of why good business management [i]matters[\i]. Regardless of how creative or passionate you are, bad business decisions will sink you. (Of course, all the best practices in the world will not replace having a good product.)
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am I the only one who finds these two quotes from Dancey's post unintentionally ironic:

"Our customers were telling us that we produced too many products, and that the stuff we produced was of inferior quality? We can fix that. We can cut back on the number of products we release, and work hard to make sure that each and every book we publish is useful, interesting, and of high quality."

"Our customers were telling us that we spent too much time on our own worlds, and not enough time on theirs? Ok - we can fix that. We can re-orient the business towards tools, towards examples, towards universal systems and rules that aren't dependent on owning a thousand dollars of unnecessary materials first. "

I also found this quote a little telling as well....
"Our customers were telling us that 2e was too restrictive, limited their creativity, and wasn't "fun to play'? We can fix that. We can update the core rules to enable the expression of that creativity. We can demonstrate a commitment to supporting >your< stories. >Your< worlds. And we can make the game fun again. "
I don't remember 2ed limiting my creativity.....
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bubbagump
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, super, I noticed that as well. It occurs to me after reading Dancey's words that perhaps a similar blind spot is occurring now.

It also occurs to me that perhaps there's an additional blind spot that I haven't seen mentioned lately. I remember in the old 1e days that Dragon magazine frequently contained articles on the subject of how to play the game. I haven't seen much of that lately. I'm just thinking off the top of my head here, but I wonder if there isn't some correlation between the newfound emphasis on rules and pre-prepared setting supplements, and the downfall of so-called "old school" gaming.

Perhaps what we really need isn't another edition or another setting (or even more support for Greyhawk). Maybe we need to go back to our gaming roots and remember (or learn for the first time) how to really play D&D. I know everybody has their own way of playing, but there are certain commonalities. I'm not sure I like having a corporation - or any other "authority" - telling me how my game should work.

Just a thought; probably needs work.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must admit, I was kind of surprised to see how much DUNGEON outsold DRAGON by. It's too bad it's almost impossible to release a CD/DVD anthology of all the old DUNGEON back issues, and the DRAGON back issues that came after the first anthology. I would pay very good money for those.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bubbagump,

Please remember that Ryan Dancey wrote this years ago when he still working for WotC. Many things have changed since then. Tastes have changed. WotC adapts.

Also remember when Dancey was talking about WotC listening to its customers, he is speaking to a very broad spectrum of gamers (which we Greyhawkers are but a thin slice) and they will go where the numbers and the bucks are.

As for whether WotC is making a genius move or one that will doom 4e to the dustbin, its too early to tell. We are trying to see the elephant by touching small parts of it, because we are blind. Until we see the rules as a whole and take them out for a spin, its just not realistic to think we can see what is going on.

My Two Coppers,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
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GVDammerung
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ryan Dancy is entitled to his opinion and I stress OPINION. I personally disagree with this opinion to the degree to which it has seen Wotc willing to support only FR and Eberron. Dancy's little ditty is in large measure why GH, Dark Sun, Planescape etc. all went begging with 3x and will likely continue to go begging with 4e. Dancy's "solution" was to take a blunt instrument to the problem when a scapel would have sufficed and that is my OPINION.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It occurs to me that with the the Moathouse being within walking distance of Homlet and the TOEE within a days ride of Verbobonc, with bandits and monsters encountered all along the journey, a version the "points of light" concept may have been occuring all along in the World of Greyhawk.

Lizard men and Sauhagin just down the coast from Saltmarsh in the Kingdom of Keoland are another example of the feasability of trying the idea out, anyway.

Just my 2 CP.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The comment about creativity is truly odd Confused

Since when does more rules result in an explosion of creativity, if the playing public can't be bothered to create the characters and world around them without crying out for a corporation too spoon feed them...

Personally I never found the early rules restrictive and as the game evolved so did the rules, we did it ourselves rather then ask for more rules.

This is becoming something of a pet peeve; on another board a thread about how certain skills and feats need to be taken so characters can behave a certain way. The thread went into shock when I suggested the players just RP his characters' personality rather then a sheet of numbers and stats defining the characters personality. It never occurred to many of them to take creative control of their own characters.

If that is the new creative gamer, I am proud to be a dinosaur.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GVD,

I agree with you that Dancey's market research and the business decisions that came of that made all non-FR/Ebberon settings the bastard stepchilden of WotC.

I would go further that there is institutional hostility to the GH setting at WotC (as I have said, individuals there might like it, but WotC like TSR wishes it would just go away).

Back to market research. WotC does amazing research on what people want from their games and how people play their games. In a pure numbers game GVD, you and I are in the minority. So while we are vocal, mostly coherent, we are not the norm. If we were 3e would have failed, badly.

While I think Dancey may make some out there predictions, he is the man who brought us D20. He is the man that did save D&D (though some would say that it wasn't the same) and helped shepard in 3e. For that I am grateful. It is what brought me back into the hobby, because frankly I hated 2e.

I am not worried that WotC is going to continue to ignore the setting. That means we can play with it as we will. Most of Greyhawk stuff is now available in PDF format making it available on a larger scale. We have CF and other sites to continue holding the torch. Greyhawk has survived every version of D&D and will continue to do so.

The real question becomes, not what WotcC can do for GH, but what CF and Greytalk can do for GH. We need to figure out how we are going to reach out to the disenfranchised LG players and introduce others to our favorite game setting.

Otherwise we will become a dying world.

My Two Coppers,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saracenus wrote:
Bubbagump,

Please remember that Ryan Dancey wrote this years ago when he still working for WotC. Many things have changed since then. Tastes have changed. WotC adapts.

Also remember when Dancey was talking about WotC listening to its customers, he is speaking to a very broad spectrum of gamers (which we Greyhawkers are but a thin slice) and they will go where the numbers and the bucks are.

As for whether WotC is making a genius move or one that will doom 4e to the dustbin, its too early to tell. We are trying to see the elephant by touching small parts of it, because we are blind. Until we see the rules as a whole and take them out for a spin, its just not realistic to think we can see what is going on.

My Two Coppers,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus


Forgive me, I was unclear - by "we" I meant those of us who have been around a while and have a deep appreciation of the game's historical identity. I see lots of grognards like myself complaining that 4e will ruin their games - it won't. I was simply suggesting that the aforementioned "we" should take a step back toward D&D's original philosophy rather than complaining about new editions of the rules or whether or not our favorite settings are going to receive further support.

Concerning WotC, I've said repeatedly that I believe they're making a brilliant business move here, even if it is at the expense of old-schoolers like myself. As a corporate entity they seem to be adapting beautifully to their current customer base. I'm fully aware that I represent a fraction of that base that lies very far from the norm. They've suggested several changes that I don't particularly like, but my complaints against them are concerned more with their methods and philosophy rather than any particular alterations to the game itself.
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GVDammerung
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Joined: Aug 05, 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bubbagump wrote:
Concerning WotC, I've said repeatedly that I believe they're making a brilliant business move here, even if it is at the expense of old-schoolers like myself. As a corporate entity they seem to be adapting beautifully to their current customer base. I'm fully aware that I represent a fraction of that base that lies very far from the norm. They've suggested several changes that I don't particularly like, but my complaints against them are concerned more with their methods and philosophy rather than any particular alterations to the game itself.


I can't know if all the rumored changes - Great Wheel getting dumped, wizards and spellcasting becoming unrecognizable, races being redefined etc. - will come to pass as the snippets of information released to date suggest.

While I agree Wotc is doing something smart from a business standpoint, in theory, I think the risk is huge if even so much as a quarter of the existing fanbase balks. Even a fifth. I say this as I don't see D&D attracting THAT many new gamers, let alone more on top of the new gamers necessary to make up for the number who balk. I think Wotc could end up with less active fans overall, if things go badly. At best, I see them only holding steady, once they have made up for the fans who balk at 4e.

Given this thought, I think there could have been a happy medium that would have lessened the risk of a significant percentage of the existing fanbase balking. This thought, apparently, either did not occur to Wotc or was disgarded as 4e went "all in." Time will tell if Wotc crosses "the river" successfully or drowns in it.

IMO
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bubbagump
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Joined: Jun 25, 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed. This is a big risk for them. I'm not sure it's that big, though. I did a little informal research recently, just to get a feel for what other types of gamers are saying, and my findings were both negative and positive.

On the negative side, plenty of current gamers complained about proposed changes - that much should be obvious to anyone who's seen these boards. Gamers who have been around longer seem to be more negative than those who started playing since 3e. Also, there's been a lot of complaining about the need to buy new books.

On the positive side, many of those who have complained, whether old or new, have stated in certain terms that they intend to buy 4e anyway - not a bad thing for WotC. Even I, who am virulently opposed to another new edition of D&D, intend to buy at least the first 3 books. I've also seen a lot of enthusiasm from newer gamers, and more than a little excitement from some who left D&D years ago and are now intending to come back.

I think the key will be whether or not WotC can manage to get the online gaming crowd to come into the fold. I'm pretty sure they're betting that they can, and if they pull it off they're definitely gonna make it.
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