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D&D 5E D&D Team Productivity?

The Big BZ

Explorer
So by my calculations in the roughly six and half years since 5e's launch WotC have published 24 D&D books and 2 boxes. 3 of the books have been updates of old material (Saltmarsh etc), 5 of them have been partially outsourced to other companys like Sasquatch, Green Ronin etc and 2 have been almost entirely written outside the design studio (Acquisitions and Wildemount).

Now surely that is a pretty low productivity rate?? I mention this now because it seems like a very very long time that this Candlekeep book has been in production.

All of the above comes from a position of love. I own every 5e product in at least two formats and a lot of them in 3 (standard, special edition and Beyond).
 

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BMaC

Explorer
4 hardback books a year isn't low productivity in my book.
It would be decent productivity if it was in fact WotC producing 4 books of a new content a year. But they're not. Some of their productivity is due to rehashing old material and outsourcing production. The actual content generated by WotC is lower than 4 books a year.
 

Productivity isn't measured in sheer volume, it's measured by the amount of return you get on the investment you make.

WotC obviously made the strategic decision some time ago to manage D&D as a line with relatively low numbers of book releases, which allows them to spend less on their development team (ESPECIALLY on that part of the dev team that playtests or looks for loopholes in new material in conjunction with old material), as well as saving money on warehousing etc, inventory management etc of a huge range of products. And it seems to be working for them, much as I'd personally prefer a to see more energetic release schedule because it might mean they'd release stuff i want sooner.

Still, given the huge proliferation of 5e products on the market, it's not like we're exactly deprived of content, after all...
 

BMaC

Explorer
Productivity isn't measured in sheer volume, it's measured by the amount of return you get on the investment you make.

WotC obviously made the strategic decision some time ago to manage D&D as a line with relatively low numbers of book releases, which allows them to spend less on their development team (ESPECIALLY on that part of the dev team that playtests or looks for loopholes in new material in conjunction with old material), as well as saving money on warehousing etc, inventory management etc of a huge range of products. And it seems to be working for them, much as I'd personally prefer a to see more energetic release schedule because it might mean they'd release stuff i want sooner.

Still, given the huge proliferation of 5e products on the market, it's not like we're exactly deprived of content, after all...
Yes, given the poor quality of bindings and other print issues that we have seen I agree that WotC is definitely cutting corners.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
It would be decent productivity if it was in fact WotC producing 4 books of a new content a year. But they're not. Some of their productivity is due to rehashing old material and outsourcing production. The actual content generated by WotC is lower than 4 books a year.
The writing part is just one factor. Art, layout, and stuff takes ages.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Now surely that is a pretty low productivity rate??

Productivity should not be measured in number of titles, but in value - revenue or net profit would be far better measures of productivity, depending on what parts of the overall team you wanted to measure.

It should be noted that the slow release rate is a planned stategic choice, rather than a failure on the part of the team to produce.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
So by my calculations in the roughly six and half years since 5e's launch WotC have published 24 D&D books and 2 boxes. 3 of the books have been updates of old material (Saltmarsh etc), 5 of them have been partially outsourced to other companys like Sasquatch, Green Ronin etc and 2 have been almost entirely written outside the design studio (Acquisitions and Wildemount).

Now surely that is a pretty low productivity rate?? I mention this now because it seems like a very very long time that this Candlekeep book has been in production.

All of the above comes from a position of love. I own every 5e product in at least two formats and a lot of them in 3 (standard, special edition and Beyond).
Ok, so what?
What you see as a low productive rate seems to the plan. And the plan seems to be working for the company.... So?
 



They've tried the "flood the market with product" strategy before, it was time to try something different.

It seems to be working reasonably well, why would they change? D&D is more popular than ever, the books they do release sell well with relatively minimal investment.
There is an ocean of middle ground between 5e' 1/quarter & the heyday of 3.x when we were getting 1-2+ books a month, that's not a gap that gets crossed instantly if they start doing things like putting out one or two more books a year dedicated to something other than FR or the needs of tables that want something different.
 


Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
I think preference may in part be related to rate of play.

I have barely plumbed the PHB for characters much less my Xanathar’s and tashas, but I am a working family guy and cannot play often enough.

whether we use the product or not is a bigger question.

There are years worth of adventures at this point. The question is how many do you like? I don’t think many folks (operative word, many) have burned through all the APs.

as to characters classes and races....how many combinations Are there? If we include mordekainens Volos along with phb, xgte, tashas...holy Moses that is a lot of stuff.

not poo pooing others desires for more but more is definitely relative.

I like the releases as they are so I can actually evaluate them and be informed about the options. Bloat is not my friend.
 




Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Keep in mind WotC gets a cut of EVERY product sold on DMsGuild. It's a very successful medium for them to "publish" smaller adventure and supplement products that in past eras they would have produced themselves. The increasing willingness to include plugs for DMsGuild in every official release shows that this model is clearly working for them. DMsGuild creators represent an army of WotC freelancers. You may have doubts about how "official" those products are, and certainly the quality varies (as it does in the physical WotC content as well), but WotC is certainly willing to embrace it enough to put their name on it and promote it. And many of the most successful DMsGuild creators are the same people writing the "official" adventures now.

So in a sense WotC is publishing like dozens of 5E products every day. How you choose to classify those products is a subjective choice. But I think the model is here to stay.
 
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