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D&D Surges Into Lead In Orr Group Figures

The last two times the Orr Group (makers of the popular Roll20 online gaming tools which cite a user base of close to a million users) produced statistics on which games were being played, Pathfinder held the top spot. Those were in October 2014 and January 2015. However, April 2015 brings us a different picture: it seems like D&D 5th Edition has surged into first place in terms of games played (but not in terms of number of players, a title curiously held by D&D 3.5).

Interestingly, the top 4 spots are all one flavour of D&D or another (including Pathfinder, of course). This matches ICv2's latest hobby game retailer surveys which have D&D regaining the top spot after several years. Paizo's Erik Mona does note, however, that the "post-5th Edition paradigm" has not significantly harmed Pathfinder's sales.


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Von Ether

Adventurer
I'm still holding onto my theory that D&D's 5e and Pathfinder have more of a symbiotic relationship than most people realize. Sure on the Internet everyone complains about every aspect D&D. But on the ground, I think people switch between the games as the mood strikes them, Pathfinder for tactical and 5e for less tactical and theater of the mind.

Sure you could switch that up, but each game has it's strengths.

And I think the die hards in both camps are happy enough to leave the other side alone. Sort of a "Not enough my cup of tea, so why bother making a fuss about it."
 

redrick

First Post
I'm still holding onto my theory that D&D's 5e and Pathfinder have more of a symbiotic relationship than most people realize. Sure on the Internet everyone complains about every aspect D&D. But on the ground, I think people switch between the games as the mood strikes them, Pathfinder for tactical and 5e for less tactical and theater of the mind.

Sure you could switch that up, but each game has it's strengths.

And I think the die hards in both camps are happy enough to leave the other side alone. Sort of a "Not enough my cup of tea, so why bother making a fuss about it."

In support of this, I went and played D&D at a local gaming store last night. Several of the folks playing D&D on Wednesday are also playing Pathfinder there tonight. Many players are more concerned about the game in the abstract than the mechanics of the given system.
 

Kramodlog

Naked and living in a barrel
First is games, second is players.
If we take the D&D numbers, it makes sense that D&D's 8,844 games represent 25,75% of the total 36,514 games they sampled (actually that percentage should be a bit lower), but how is 7,719 players 31,99% of 74,094 players sample?

I wonder what sort of math they did.
 

bmfrosty

Explorer
If we take the D&D numbers, it makes sense that D&D's 8,844 games represent 25,75% of the total 36,514 games they sampled (actually that percentage should be a bit lower), but how is 7,719 players 31,99% of 74,094 players sample?

I wonder what sort of math they did.
Some people play both D&D and Pathfinder.
 

Xodis

First Post
Its all sorts of screwed up, New and old World of Darkness are separate, yet Vampire: The Masquerade is its own separate section as well but we still have a White Wolf entry that says any edition. Dark Heresy (a game taking place in the Warhammer 40K universe) is actually higher than the Warhammer 40K entry?!?! Just seems odd.
 

bmfrosty

Explorer
I'm still holding onto my theory that D&D's 5e and Pathfinder have more of a symbiotic relationship than most people realize. Sure on the Internet everyone complains about every aspect D&D. But on the ground, I think people switch between the games as the mood strikes them, Pathfinder for tactical and 5e for less tactical and theater of the mind.

Sure you could switch that up, but each game has it's strengths.

And I think the die hards in both camps are happy enough to leave the other side alone. Sort of a "Not enough my cup of tea, so why bother making a fuss about it."

It makes me wonder if the D&D team at WotC could handle two games. D&D 5E, and D&D Tactics.

Then I realize that I'm silly. They're not trying to take a bigger piece of the shrinking TTRPG pie, they're trying to make it bigger.
 

Xodis

First Post
You're probably right, my vote would be less Tactical vs. Theater of Mind and more about the level of character customization between the two. Some people prefer to be EXTREMELY specific when creating a character down to minuet choices, others enjoy the general specifics with customization being more about re-skinning for flavor.
 


bmfrosty

Explorer
Yes, but 7,719 is still not 31.99% of 74,094.

It doesn't have to be.

Lets say they have a user base of two people.

They have play each a game of pathfinder and a game of 5e.

So 5e gets 100% of the players *and* pathfinder also gets 100% of the players.

See how that works?
 


Kramodlog

Naked and living in a barrel
It doesn't have to be.

Lets say they have a user base of two people.

They have play each a game of pathfinder and a game of 5e.

So 5e gets 100% of the players *and* pathfinder also gets 100% of the players.

See how that works?

Yup, but that still doesn't explain these numbers: 7,719 players is still not 31.99% of 74,094 players. 7,719 players is 31.99% of what exactly? 23,000 players? Where does that number come from?
 
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bmfrosty

Explorer
Yup, but that still doesn't explain these numbers: 7,719 players is still not 31.99% of 74,094 players. 7,719 players is 31.99% of what exactly? 23,000 players? Where does that number come from?

You're right. That's weird. Maybe 50,000 of their sample don't play any games? Maybe someone hit a 7 instead of a 2 when building the list?
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Yeah, those stats are... weird. I am wondering if we have a mismatch between "instances of play" and "unique users" or something, that make the percentages look strange.
 

I had a several year subscription to Dragon, at various points in time, and I barely used 10% of the material I bought. And probably significantly less. But, I sure miss having a print Dragon mag appear in my mailbox, even if I wasn't using it.

I was the same way, though I only remember using the material from two articles in my campaigns. I just enjoyed reading the rest of it.

Last week I ran across a stash of old Dragon magazines at a used bookstore that were one dollar each. I bought all thirty of them. I doubt I'll find anything in them I'll use, but I'll have fun reading them.
 

GX.Sigma

Adventurer
There are more 5e games than there are 5e players? What does that even mean?

What counts as a "player" anyway? Just someone who clicked that checkbox when they made their account? Does this mean that there are a lot of people playing 5e games who aren't identified as "5e players?" Maybe that's what these alleged "3.5 players" (who aren't playing 3.5) are playing.
 
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redrick

First Post
There are more 5e games than there are 5e players? What does that even mean?

What counts as a "player" anyway? Just someone who clicked that checkbox when they made their account? Does this mean that there are a lot of people playing 5e games who aren't identified as "5e players?" Maybe that's what these alleged "3.5 players" (who aren't playing 3.5) are playing.

Yeah, in short, the "player" data from this report is misleading. It must be useful to somebody?

When you create a profile on Roll20, you are able to list all the games you play. As I understand, the "players" data from this report simply uses that field from user profiles. Of course, the profile has little to no bearing on what people actually play, and many users don't bother to update it. Other users might not bother to fill it in at all. Some people fill in every version of D&D in existence at the time of their profile creation, just in case. (Even though they might not have played AD&D 2e since the late '90s.)
 

dd.stevenson

Super KY
The only way I can make sense of these numbers is to assume that this is a report on the LFG data, rather than an actual survey of extant games/players.

That would explain why there are more 5E games than players, because people recruit for their games outside of roll20's LFG system.

That would also explain why there are so many 3E players--almost everyone knows the game, and feels comfortable clicking that box on their LFG profile.
 

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