D&D 4E Ben Riggs' "What the Heck Happened with 4th Edition?" seminar at Gen Con 2023

Hussar

Legend
A very rough estimate was that they changed off between the thirty-two page player guides and the sixty-four page campaign setting supplements each month, so they published roughly forty-eight pages of those every month for twelve years, i.e. five hundred seventy-six pages a year.

There were just over thirty hardcover books in that twelve-year period, each one roughly two hundred fifty-six pages, so two-and-a-half of those per year is about seven hundred forty pages.

They put out an adventure path publication every month, which was usually one hundred pages even, so that's twelve hundred pages right there.

The stand-alone adventures are some of the hardest to calculate, as they changed publication rates and pages (going to slower releases with thicker pages toward the end of their life-cycle). From what I can estimate, they made forty-five thirty-two page adventures (one thousand four hundred forty pages altogether) and fifteen sixty-four page adventures (nine hundred sixty pages). So two thousand three hundred forty pages, divided by twelve, gives us two hundred pages per year of the stand-alone adventures, on average.

So let's add that up. In a single year we got:
  • 576 pages (player's guides and campaign setting supplements)
  • 740 pages (hardcover books)
  • 1,200 pages (adventure paths)
  • 200 pages (stand-alone adventures)
Altogether, that's 2,716 pages per year. And that's not counting the sixteen-page Free RPG Day supplements, novels, map packs and flip-mats, comic books (though Dynamite published those), card games, pawn boxes, etc. Not to mention the various Pathfinder Society modules, which were PDF-only products.
Damn... just WOW.

I, speaking purely for myself, am very grateful that WotC did not go this route. By those numbers, Paizo has banged out more material in a year than WotC has done for most of 5e. There's just no way I would even begin to play this. That's... just jawdropping. How in the hell do they do it? How in the world are they producing that much material for that long, maintaining very high quality (give credit where it's due) and still make a dollar?
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Damn... just WOW.

I, speaking purely for myself, am very grateful that WotC did not go this route. By those numbers, Paizo has banged out more material in a year than WotC has done for most of 5e. There's just no way I would even begin to play this. That's... just jawdropping. How in the hell do they do it? How in the world are they producing that much material for that long, maintaining very high quality (give credit where it's due) and still make a dollar?
WotC is probably averaging ~900-1000 pages a year across 5E, just in a handful of big products, so about a third the amount of material per year compared to Paizo.

Paizonrelies on subscriptions from their core customer base, ao thw volume is an important part of subscriber retention.
 

Voadam

Legend
Damn... just WOW.

I, speaking purely for myself, am very grateful that WotC did not go this route. By those numbers, Paizo has banged out more material in a year than WotC has done for most of 5e. There's just no way I would even begin to play this. That's... just jawdropping. How in the hell do they do it? How in the world are they producing that much material for that long, maintaining very high quality (give credit where it's due) and still make a dollar?
I believe Paizo uses a bigger team of experienced writers and designers than WotC uses to hit the volume and schedule, and a lot of data and market strategy to make it profitable. They also apparently did not pay staff that well for a long time, cashing in on the dream job aspect of gamers working in the RPG field.

I was a subscriber midpathfinder 1e era for a little while in adventure paths and setting/monster sourcebooks but then dropped them and mostly got their great deals on certain PDFs and occasional great deals on older print stuff. I have run three adventure paths, a couple of modules and used a bunch of setting and monster stuff. I was not someone who would run through running an adventure path every six months, though I know such groups exist. APs are always multi-year things for me at the leisurely rate I DM Plots. It is nice to have a bunch on hand from sales to use as options depending on different tastes at different times, but I do not expect to use everything I have gotten and there are a lot of Paizo APs and modules I have not gotten.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Damn... just WOW.

I, speaking purely for myself, am very grateful that WotC did not go this route. By those numbers, Paizo has banged out more material in a year than WotC has done for most of 5e. There's just no way I would even begin to play this. That's... just jawdropping. How in the hell do they do it? How in the world are they producing that much material for that long, maintaining very high quality (give credit where it's due) and still make a dollar?
I eat up adventure material and setting as fast as I can get it. Rules is a different story. Those I tend to take in small bits.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
If you're to that point though, don't play that game? I mean, if you are to the point of having a problem with a games underlying structure, why on earth would you play it? There's a reason I won't play AD&D. Or Paladium games for that matter.

Well, especially when the game is D&D 5e there can be a whole lot of networking/social issues involved that add up to "The only game in town". I think if it came to that I'd just drop out of the hobby, but I can understand people who aren't quite as far over on the limb as I am feeling otherwise while struggling with a lot of frustration.
 

Damn... just WOW.

I, speaking purely for myself, am very grateful that WotC did not go this route. By those numbers, Paizo has banged out more material in a year than WotC has done for most of 5e. There's just no way I would even begin to play this. That's... just jawdropping. How in the hell do they do it? How in the world are they producing that much material for that long, maintaining very high quality (give credit where it's due) and still make a dollar?
Remember how there was a big fanbase of people who bought D&D stuff for the lore and settings in earlier editions? Where do you think they went. They buy Golarion stuff now.
 



Parmandur

Book-Friend
Remember how there was a big fanbase of people who bought D&D stuff for the lore and settings in earlier editions? Where do you think they went. They buy Golarion stuff now.
Well...no?

First, based on the sales dat Ben Riggs has shared, the audience for that material was always somewhat limited.

Second, based on the sales data we have for 5E, they are buying books like Spelljammer and Planescape now.
 

Hussar

Legend
Well...no?

First, based on the sales dat Ben Riggs has shared, the audience for that material was always somewhat limited.

Second, based on the sales data we have for 5E, they are buying books like Spelljammer and Planescape now.
Again, how big is big?

I think that's something that always gets lost in these conversations. By me as well. What's big for WotC and what's "big enough" for everyone else is just so different. But, my point was that Paizo's hardly a small company. It's not just a couple of guys working in a basement banging out PDF's. They're a pretty sizable company. Which means they have pretty sizable expenses and no one is doing this for the good of their health.

I was just commenting on being surprised that they can bang out that much material and still keep going. It's bloody impressive.
 

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