D&D General Deja Vu

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
A version of D&D designed and marketed as a pen and paper game, but its really meant as a stepping stone to online play. To make this happen, certain rules are streamlined and standardized, but new options are added to make the most of the computer-based interface. Electronic demos and initiatives are announced. The e-enhanced version of the game are touted, but it turns out that this is not just a nice add-on, but really the main goal.

Sound familiar….take 4e. The 3d VTT, the character creator, Gleemax, the very obvious concerns about WoW, standardized yet exception based design---with lots of potential exceptions.

But I am actually going back to 1999. Why did 3e streamline some things, but have all this fiddly complexity at the margins? Why did the first wave of PHBs have that CD? What were the Master Tools really about? It was all meant to feed a WotC D&D MMORG.

For 4e, it was just basically fail (I remember seeing an early public demo of the VTT, it crashed and crashed and crashed). For 3e, when Hasbro bought the company, and Pokemon peaked, D&D video game rights were licensed out. This is why Peter Adkinson quit. Oh, and instead of Master Tools, we got E-Tools.

I guess its hard to have a truly original idea. But its easy to fail in the same way.

(For sources, my best ones are buried on the way back machine, but I will find them, some day. Meanwhile you can check Peter Adkison’s entry on Wikipedia, and there is this: Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition )
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The only problem I see with this idea is that DDB is already successful. WotC just needs to plug in new content and maybe some new graphics. I don't think they will hit the same snags they did with their 4e tools.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
It's possible, but wow what a wonderous fail it would be at 130+ million investment.

The only problem I see with this idea is that DDB is already successful. WotC just needs to plug in new content and maybe some new graphics. I don't think they will hit the same snags they did with their 4e tools.

It apparently may be hundreds of millions, as there is D&D beyond and the in-house competing VTT/MMORG mash up (which is very similar to past initiatives). And sure, the base is already and game has never been more successful, but its hard to get to 500 million.
 

jgsugden

Legend
The only problem I see with this idea is that DDB is already successful. WotC just needs to plug in new content and maybe some new graphics. I don't think they will hit the same snags they did with their 4e tools.
The challenge depends upon where they set the target. If they want a true dynamic 3D VTT with advanced graphics, the capability to implement all new D&D content on a TIMELY basis, and a reasonable cost structure that will be purchased by enough people to make it cost effective ... Tall Friggin Order. I think this ends up being a huge failure.

if I were WotC, I'd pull the plug on the idea to monetize the game in new ways, and would instead build upon the 5E approach. After a couple years of image restoration they could get the IP of D&D translated into media success and make money there.

I just don't see a path to a high quality RPG product (a good game from a storytelling perspective) that isn't limited by what they can do on an impressive 3D VTT (as you can't sell a VTT if it isn't impressive when there are free / low cost 2D options out there), that isn't cost prohibitive without a FERVENT fanbase to give you massive economies of scale. If the game, VTT and cost do not all work, this is going to be a disaster.
 


Oofta

Legend
I get that it's fashionable to trash WOTC nowadays, but good grief.

Yes they are making a VTT. Yes, video games are being developed. So? A lot of people play online nowadays. But playing in person is not going away any time soon, they cannot force anything subscribe to an MMO.

The reason to streamline rules like they have is to make the game easier to grasp and play. If you have a program running everything, the details of the rules and exact implementation can be quite complex, even if the concepts areeasy to grasp.

I'm playing Wasteland 3 right now (Fallout clone) where you control a team of 6, each can have different modifiers, conditions and buffs. It would be a pain to trust the table. But it's a video game, so it just has to let you know what's going on.

There may be threats to D&D, but this isn't one.
 

Lidgar

Legend
D&D has always been about the use of your imagination to see the action or the scene the DM is describing.

The more video-gamey VTT gets (with animation, 3d sprites, etc.), the more it will get away from that. And IMO, the game will be less enjoyable, for players and DMs alike.
 

payn

Legend
D&D has always been about the use of your imagination to see the action or the scene the DM is describing.

The more video-gamey VTT gets (with animation, 3d sprites, etc.), the more it will get away from that. And IMO, the game will be less enjoyable, for players and DMs alike.
I don't know, folks spend small fortunes on terrain and minis and dice... I think the slide into digital isn't as far to cross for a bridge as you may think.
 

Lidgar

Legend
I don't know, folks spend small fortunes on terrain and minis and dice... I think the slide into digital isn't as far to cross for a bridge as you may think.
Oh, I agree, and I have experience with both. For me however, I much prefer a more basic interface that enhances the player-DM interaction and experience versus lots of digital effects that distract from that interaction and eliminates some of the descriptive elements of the game.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
I'm playing Wasteland 3 right now (Fallout clone) where you control a team of 6, each can have different modifiers, conditions and buffs. It would be a pain to trust the table. But it's a video game, so it just has to let you know what's going on.
Apparently that was exactly the thinking...in 1999. Which makes sense if you have played 3e.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
I should note, reading through some of the replies, is that the goal is always to bring digital (mostly) in-house. D&D digital products go back to (at least) 2e, and there have been many successes, but usually with TSR/WotC playing a limited role.

Anyways, this is an idea that keeps getting latched onto.
 


ph0rk

Friendship is Magic, and Magic is Heresy.
A version of D&D designed and marketed as a pen and paper game, but its really meant as a stepping stone to online play. To make this happen, certain rules are streamlined and standardized, but new options are added to make the most of the computer-based interface. Electronic demos and initiatives are announced. The e-enhanced version of the game are touted, but it turns out that this is not just a nice add-on, but really the main goal.

Sound familiar….take 4e. The 3d VTT, the character creator, Gleemax, the very obvious concerns about WoW, standardized yet exception based design---with lots of potential exceptions.

But I am actually going back to 1999. Why did 3e streamline some things, but have all this fiddly complexity at the margins? Why did the first wave of PHBs have that CD? What were the Master Tools really about? It was all meant to feed a WotC D&D MMORG.

For 4e, it was just basically fail (I remember seeing an early public demo of the VTT, it crashed and crashed and crashed). For 3e, when Hasbro bought the company, and Pokemon peaked, D&D video game rights were licensed out. This is why Peter Adkinson quit. Oh, and instead of Master Tools, we got E-Tools.

I guess its hard to have a truly original idea. But its easy to fail in the same way.

(For sources, my best ones are buried on the way back machine, but I will find them, some day. Meanwhile you can check Peter Adkison’s entry on Wikipedia, and there is this: Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition )
DDB was already successful.

PR disasters aside, if they release an even adequate VTT linked to DDB, it would be tremendously successful and they could nickle an dime people for electronic tokens and templates til the cows come home.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
DDB was already successful.

PR disasters aside, if they release an even adequate VTT linked to DDB, it would be tremendously successful and they could nickle an dime people for electronic tokens and templates til the cows come home.
And developed by a third party. But yes, but also, they want a lot more than nickels and dimes.
 

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