D&D 5E Am I no longer WoTC's target audience?


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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Errm. I don't think that's true.
Of course it is. They've said it plenty of times that they don't care if you buy old stuff off of DMs Guild. They just want you to play, not that you have to play 5E. That's been a clarion call for Mike et. al. from the beginning.
 


I think the main challenge here is the comparably slow release cadence of 5e. E.g. with both 2e and 3e, my primary interest was in setting books, monster books and books about magic items, not in books containing additional mechanical options or in published adventures. But because the release frequency was so high, there was always enough to buy (in fact a lot more than I could afford). With 5e, that's not so much the case.
I.e. the policy for 2nd and 3rd edition was to sell as much crack as possible to existing addicts, whilst the 5e policy is to create lots and lots of new addicts.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I’m sure the shareholders disagree.
If the shareholders of Hasbro had any sway on Wizards of the Coast, and specifically the D&D department... we would have seen at the beginning the exact same publishing strategies we got for 3E and 4E-- pump out more and more books quickly for people to buy.

But Nathan, Mike and the others specifically told everyone that there was nothing wrong with not making the switch to 5E. If you were a 2E player, they were making a game that hopefully would bring out the same feelings you got while playing 2E if you decided to try it... but if you weren't going to make the switch, they shortly after made all the 2E stuff your heart could desire available to you on DMs Guild. Getting people to play ANY D&D was more important that getting them to play 5E specifically, because they were trying to break down the walls that separated everybody. If you called yourself a D&D player, that's all that mattered.

I mean, I'm not the only one who remembers all of this stuff they talked about back in 2014-15, right?
 


Oofta

Legend
TTRPGs are a funny business. No one needs anything other than the core books for hour upon hour of entertainment. A single campaign book? The DM buys it and 7 people have entertainment for months on end for the purchase of one book.

So they have to cater to a variety of people and preferences if they want to make a product. The new book will sell well for a while and then may only sell enough to provide the slimmest of margins over the cost of printing and distribution.

Critical Role is immensely popular, no one should be surprised that they went after that market directly. It may not be targeted to you in particular, but for most people new to D&D this may well be exactly what they want. It's current, it's popular, it has name recognition. The old settings simply don't have the same kind of lightning in a bottle aspect that the CR stream does, old grognards (myself included) would only be interested because of nostalgia. Many people that will buy the book weren't even born when those old settings were a thing.

So yes, it may not be for you or me. That's okay as long as D&D remains relatively popular and I can find fellow gamers I'm happy.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I've never really asked myself if I'm in a target audience. I just buy what I think I'll like and don't by what I don't think I'll like. I've skipped all the tie ins like Stranger Things, Acquisitions inc, and Rick and Morty. I also skipped Ravinica and Eberron.

I love Avernus though, and I think I'll grab the Essentials kit too.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
I have run and played D&D (sometimes exclusively) since the 80s until 5th edition came out. I was no longer interested in another edition after so many decades when I already had more than enough material to run games and campaigns for a lifetime. That's when I decided that I was no longer their target audience. The decision was ultimately mine, not theirs.

But since the interest from newcomers has grown immensely, I would be a fool not to offer to run it for those who specifically request it. In fact, the demand for good GMs is greater than ever. So I still invest in the core books, as well as the Starter/Essential sets for teaching the game, and a couple campaign books that strike my fancy.

Most notably, I have bought everything I can find to run the ultimate Tomb of Annihilation campaign, including several support products from DMs Guild. Nothing else in 5e has really grabbed my attention before or since.

Of course, since I have discovered other systems offering different kinds or experiences and styles of play, 5e (and D&D in general) are no longer my preferred games of choice. But that doesn't mean they're not a choice at all, either. And maybe one day WotC, or someone else, will put out a D&D product that will get my interest again, or at least for that particular line or product.

My point is you don't need to be married to one system or edition to become a part of their "target audience". If you're a living, breathing consumer with expendable income looking for something to spend your time and money with, you're a target for them. Whether you choose to be a part of that audience is entirely up to you, and there is no commitment necessary. I may never run or play another D&D game again, or I might go back to an earlier edition. That might remove me from their perceived targets for marketing, but I am still a part of the audience.
 

Oofta

Legend
One advantage to the Wildemount setting is that it's a fully realized, reasonably logical system and not another Forgotten Realms book. Same with Ravnica and Eberron. FR has been around for so long and has had so much content thrown into it that it feels overstuffed and illogical.

Probably better to start publishing books with new, clean foundations, each with it's own target market and feel. So I could see something like DarkSun coming back because it could be sold as post-apocalyptic campaign but if they're going to do a medieval inspired world setting you could do worse than Wildemount.
 

Warpiglet

Adventurer
I'm reading about Mercer's new campaign sourcebook coming out from WoTC, and I've decided that I'm no longer WoTC's target audience. Maybe that puts me in the minority of gamers, and I would imagine that WoTC knows exactly what they're doing with some of the books and supplements they've come out with recently.

I've been gaming since high school, like many people here, and high school for me was around the late 80s. So, that puts me starting with 1st as a player, GM'ing 2nd edition, and then moving (gladly!) into 3rd, skipping 4th, and absolutely loving 5th. I make my own campaigns, so campaign modules are not of interest to me. I'm also a huge fan of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. It's literally more campaign world than I could ever possibly use, so I don't need any more. I loved Xanathar's Guide, and I LOVED Volo's guide. One of the best books WoTC's ever created. I was lukewarm on Mordenkainen's, since many of the monsters I'd never use (and really, who needs a dozen demon lords, anyway?).

But I keeping seeing things like Acquisitions Incorporated, and a Rick and Morty module, and I can't help but think those are probably popular products - for someone... but not for me. I've no interest in that stuff. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here anxiously awaiting a follow-up to Volo's so I can snatch that, maybe a Monster Manual II, or something that gives me a ton more magical items that I can use, or something else that will add value to my game. I'd even settle for a version of Tales of the Yawning Portal that didn't actually suck (I wanted to like it, I really did, I just couldn't).

Am I alone?

wow. I could have written this save for not playing 2e. We stayed with 1st for a long time. And I did not hate yawning portal.

however, I hope/think we are still the target audience....too.

if we both love playing and buy the books I’d say it is good for us. If we like it and buy it, we are a target.

now as for the cartoon crap and streaming stuff? Not for me. Either it seems silly or watered down...just sort of not a fit.

but so much else is.

The tent has expanded my friend. And it’s good. They are printing the hell out of the books. New people are playing. You might even lure some of them into some old school goodness! Sometimes the newbies dig the grit and seriousness of something different!

the game lives! Rejoice! As long as they give you products that allow you to play your style in updated and innovative ways, there is no problem.

just skip rick and Morty stuff. That does not diminish your fun andmight be cool for someone else.

but I feel ya
 

What do you, as an experienced DM who can do his own homebrew world and has got a favourite theme for it also, need from Wotc? I bet you are able to convert stuff from almost any edition properly to 5e.

Not the OP, but some content WotC can publish to support DMs who homebrew:

Lairs
Encounters
NPCs
Factions
Caravans
New monsters
Plug and play settlements
Content for adversaries like undead, dragons, etc.
Maps
Magic items
Large-scale combat rules

Yes, DMs can create these on their own, or convert content from earlier editions. Of course, the same can be said for campaign settings and adventures. WotC doesn't need to publish anything except the core rules. But I have money to spend on my hobby, and I'm always eager for material that will make running my game easier. From my POV, WotC is leaving a lot of money on the table.

IMHO, the best way to ensure D&D has a fresh intake of tables playing the game is to support DMs and keep them happy. However, I have my doubts that really is the goal of WotC (or other RPG publishers). I suspect most RPG books are bought by people who don't actively play. So the practical utility of a book doesn't matter nearly as much as its appeal to people who enjoy the vibe of a game but will never use the books for anything but reading material.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
But I keeping seeing things like Acquisitions Incorporated, and a Rick and Morty module, and I can't help but think those are probably popular products - for someone... but not for me. I've no interest in that stuff. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here anxiously awaiting a follow-up to Volo's so I can snatch that, maybe a Monster Manual II, or something that gives me a ton more magical items that I can use, or something else that will add value to my game. I'd even settle for a version of Tales of the Yawning Portal that didn't actually suck (I wanted to like it, I really did, I just couldn't).

They're working on another Xanathar's-like book. I am curious why you didn't like Yawning Portal? I like it quite a lot.
 

Warpiglet

Adventurer
Not the OP, but some content WotC can publish to support DMs who homebrew:

Lairs
Encounters
NPCs
Factions
Caravans
New monsters
Plug and play settlements
Content for adversaries like undead, dragons, etc.
Maps
Magic items
Large-scale combat rules

Yes, DMs can create these on their own, or convert content from earlier editions. Of course, the same can be said for campaign settings and adventures. WotC doesn't need to publish anything except the core rules. But I have money to spend on my hobby, and I'm always eager for material that will make running my game easier. From my POV, WotC is leaving a lot of money on the table.

IMHO, the best way to ensure D&D has a fresh intake of tables playing the game is to support DMs and keep them happy. However, I have my doubts that really is the goal of WotC (or other RPG publishers). I suspect most RPG books are bought by people who don't actively play. So the practical utility of a book doesn't matter nearly as much as its appeal to people who enjoy the vibe of a game but will never use the books for anything but reading material.
I would pay for a nice group of plug and play encounters/lairs!
 

oreofox

Explorer
I mean, I'm not the only one who remembers all of this stuff they talked about back in 2014-15, right?

I have a memory of them saying something like that. I also remember them saying they were going to make Next very modular, so you could make 5e play exactly like an older edition of D&D. As you can see, that didn't exactly happen. That was one of the biggest selling points of 5e for me, being able to use my 2e stuff with no problem with 5e.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy 5e. It's the most fun I've had since early 3e. But I feel similar to the OP. Xanathar's, Volo's (well, half of it anyway) I have gotten a lot of use out of those two books. I also have the starter and essentials box sets. Only one adventure interested me, and that was PotA, because it had the sense that it would be similar to ToEE. It was a huge let down. I'm a DM that has a homebrew world. Been using it for 17 years now. The only thing that really interests me from WotC is the generic books, like the core 3, Xanathar's, and half of Volo's (the first half was useless garbage to me as it had no use for my world). I thumbed through Mordenkainen's, but that was more of the same with Volo's, where half the book was useless garbage to me, so I didn't bother spending the money on it.

If WotC would make more generic, non-adventure books, they'd make a lot more money, especially from me. So long as they don't fill it with the crap they did in Volo's and Mordenkainen's books. Those 2 definitely aren't worth the $50 price tag (or even the $30 that Amazon had them for).

But that's just me. I know others have found the first half of Volo's to be useful. I just found it to be a waste. Now, if they'd reprint Volo's and Mord's books without it, I'd buy them in a heartbeat (maybe not Volo's since I already have it. Maybe).
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Apparently. I mean, I remember some things Mike Mearls said, but the less said about those the better.
Wow, Morrus, you gave the message board a full 24 minutes to respond before declaring yourself correct. How the heck were you ever able to restrain yourself for that long? ;)
 


dave2008

Legend
I've never really asked myself if I'm in a target audience. I just buy what I think I'll like and don't by what I don't think I'll like. I've skipped all the tie ins like Stranger Things, Acquisitions inc, and Rick and Morty. I also skipped Ravinica and Eberron.

I love Avernus though, and I think I'll grab the Essentials kit too.
Same with my, I skipped all of 2e and 3e (well except for the draconomicon) before I started buying again in 4e and 5e. I just but what I like and don't buy what I don't.
 


GMMichael

Guide of Modos
I'm reading about Mercer's new campaign sourcebook coming out from WoTC, and I've decided that I'm no longer WoTC's target audience. Maybe that puts me in the minority of gamers, and I would imagine that WoTC knows exactly what they're doing with some of the books and supplements they've come out with recently.

I've been gaming since high school, like many people here, and high school for me was around the late 80s. So, that puts me starting with 1st as a player, GM'ing 2nd edition, and then moving (gladly!) into 3rd, skipping 4th, and absolutely loving 5th...

But I keeping seeing things like Acquisitions Incorporated, and a Rick and Morty module, and I can't help but think those are probably popular products - for someone...
WotC's casting a wider and wider net, is all. I wonder if that's what the invention of Planescape was: a call to any DMs who might be interested in third-party settings to stay with D&D, because Planescape allows access to all settings.

I caught the not-target-market whiff back when the book of Incarnum came out, but I think they recovered nicely with the Complete (Class) series of books (Incarnum was before these, right?).
 

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