Grognard view of One D&D?


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Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Anyhow, we don’t need sales data to see it’s not been from strength to strength with new editions.

1e is the edition that was a cultural phenomenon.

2e the edition when TSR went bankrupt and stopped printing. DOWN.

3e was a literal renaissance (rebirth, after bankruptcy). UP.

4e split the brand with PF taking a substantial part of the audience. DOWN.

5e has been during a cultural renaissance for D&D, where it became nearly pop culture. UP.

What will happen with 5.5/6/One is unknown, but the chances look 50/50 on up or down to me.
This looks like fun! Let me try... ahem...

1e the edition your parents and your pastors warned you about. Most popular with cultists and kids on bikes.

2e the edition that took you everywhere you didn't know you wanted to go and forced you to make some tough choices like when your parents divorced. Most popular with college kids still trying to hang on to their adolescence while rebelling against their parents for forced visitations.

3e the edition brought to you by Pokemon and the people who made a fortune on those card games. Most popular with fans and hobby store owners who thought they had witnessed the demise of D&D; much less popular when Hasbro tried to hit the "reset edition" button way too soon.

4e the edition that tried to win back everyone, including the shareholders, by changing the game with more modern design ideas and digital tools while trying to claim it is still the same game. Most popular with new players who have no idea what D&D was like before, and old players who thought it was time for a change but felt it didn't go far enough.

5e the edition that unapologetically walks back to everything that was simultaneously good and bad in previous editions, but secretly built on some of the best ideas of the last edition hoping no one will notice. Most popular with people who believe it is meant to played in front of an audience, and those who don't care anymore. Whatever. Let's just play already!

OneD&D? It's already making the same promises that every other edition has made and failed to deliver. Who will enjoy it? Probably people who haven't grown tired of this treadmill yet.
 

I think I'll jump in again before we jump further headlong down that rabbit hole and plead (again, not as a mod, just someone voicing a preference) with people to remember that the sales data tangent isn't the primary topic, and if this thread is to be hijacked by relitigating it once again to please at least have some overarching point you feel those numbers show and explain what that is. We've been over this so many times and after people go AD&D vs BX/BECMI or 4E vs 3E or PHB vs total books or initial run vs lifespan or 5e vs anything before, people tend to leave of the, 'and from that, I believe that ______ {some specific point}.
3.5 lost gas after about 3 years on the market because the OSR was born and started the market split and the release of 4e caused an open wound in the market that Pathfinder bandaged up by being the new edition that 3.x players were wanting when 4e came out.
I have to say, I haven't heard many people suggesting that it was the OSR that did in 3e. Prevailing wisdom, so far as I've experienced, has been that it just lurched to a close as more and more expansions sold worse and worse mostly because people already had more books than they used.
It's pronounced groan-yard, right? Not grog-nerd?
For the English language to appropriate a word from another language but not replicate the pronunciation would be rather quixotic, wouldn't it?
"How now, brown drow?" said the liches with stitches in their britches, while the kobolds cobbled cobblestones and the goblins gobbled gobbledygook.
And the flinds did reference wind, settling that particular question not at all.
 

16643006804858982869210575633625.jpg
 

teitan

Legend
I have to say, I haven't heard many people suggesting that it was the OSR that did in 3e. Prevailing wisdom, so far as I've experienced, has been that it just lurched to a close as more and more expansions sold worse and worse mostly because people already had more books than they
The market began to split about and there was a definite change happening before 3.5 was coming to close. If you watch the development and rise of OSR it started in 2006 with OSRIC and 2004 Castles & Crusades and the explosion of BX variants before 4e is even hinted at but sales of 3.5 were obviously starting to hit a downward skid and D20 sales had stalled. Other examples of the nascent OSR movement include the Mongoose version of Runequest in 2006. So the market split was happening before 4e came it was just more pronounced by 4e’s launch and 3.5 players rejecting it. New adopters of 4e are largely ignored in the conversations because someone was obviously buying and playing it because it still led the market. I’m not saying the OSR was a massive threat like Pathfinder was to 4e but it was definitely the beginning of the market split as DMs became burnt out by the complexity of 3.5 and the sub-game of system mastery it encouraged. 3.5 was still THE game, as WOTC learned but the OSR was strong enough that WOTC was actively engaging OSR developers and fans in the development of 5e.
 

teitan

Legend
Its extremely hard to find solid sales numbers on almost any RPG products, and when you do it involves taking the company involved at its word. That's why you see so many attempts to use secondary metrics to determine popularity so often.
In this case there is a whole book of them mentioned in this thread.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
As time marched, trends within adventure fantasy changed. The main story of the WOTC era of D&D is how much the different styles grew and how WOTC dealt with it.

I think for the bigger companies and the biggest one WOTC, focusing on one style of D&D just wont get the numbers "corporate" wants. It's make a lot of sales but wont hit the artificial benchmarks. The old school, the middle schools, and the new school will have to share or deal with smaller companies.

And in about 10 years, a newer school will be erected to split it more.
 

The market began to split about and there was a definite change happening before 3.5 was coming to close. If you watch the development and rise of OSR it started in 2006 with OSRIC and 2004 Castles & Crusades and the explosion of BX variants before 4e is even hinted at but sales of 3.5 were obviously starting to hit a downward skid and D20 sales had stalled. Other examples of the nascent OSR movement include the Mongoose version of Runequest in 2006. So the market split was happening before 4e came it was just more pronounced by 4e’s launch and 3.5 players rejecting it. New adopters of 4e are largely ignored in the conversations because someone was obviously buying and playing it because it still led the market. I’m not saying the OSR was a massive threat like Pathfinder was to 4e but it was definitely the beginning of the market split as DMs became burnt out by the complexity of 3.5 and the sub-game of system mastery it encouraged. 3.5 was still THE game, as WOTC learned but the OSR was strong enough that WOTC was actively engaging OSR developers and fans in the development of 5e.
Correlation is not causation though. That the OSR and the decline of 3.5 sales coincided doesn't have to mean that OSR prompted the decline. Certainly little OSRIC didn't prompt it by itself. It could well be the reverse - that the 3.5 decline itself prompted the growth of the OSR once OSRIC appeared. Or it could be both - OR it might all be a massive coincidence. One thing is certain though - 4E was a dud that drove a lot of people to other games and other editions, even if SOME people liked it. It wasn't that it was inherently bad - it could have made a fine system with some other name on it. It just wasn't what customers wanted for their D&D.

And yeah, I think 5E benefits more from good marketing and circumstances that managed to get people to look at it than from being all that spectacular of a system. But it's hard for me not to be biased. I still prefer 1 (and 3.5 when 3.5 sticks closer to lower levels).
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
I think its more likely that the OSR was simply a slightly delayed reaction to 3e and any failure on the main line of D&D was largely unconnected, since most of the people who pursued the OSR were ones that had either not followed into the 3e era or had quickly peeled away anyway.

(For those who were not around at the time, there was a subset of D&D fans who were really, really hostile about 3e; some of them had already not been happy about the directions AD&D2 had gone in, and 3e was simply a bridge way too far. The OSR and retroclones were a natural reaction to this group).
 

teitan

Legend
Correlation is not causation though. That the OSR and the decline of 3.5 sales coincided doesn't have to mean that OSR prompted the decline. Certainly little OSRIC didn't prompt it by itself. It could well be the reverse - that the 3.5 decline itself prompted the growth of the OSR once OSRIC appeared. Or it could be both - OR it might all be a massive coincidence. One thing is certain though - 4E was a dud that drove a lot of people to other games and other editions, even if SOME people liked it. It wasn't that it was inherently bad - it could have made a fine system with some other name on it. It just wasn't what customers wanted for their D&D.

And yeah, I think 5E benefits more from good marketing and circumstances that managed to get people to look at it than from being all that spectacular of a system. But it's hard for me not to be biased. I still prefer 1 (and 3.5 when 3.5 sticks closer to lower levels).
I didn’t say or imply it did.
 

Haplo781

Legend
Correlation is not causation though. That the OSR and the decline of 3.5 sales coincided doesn't have to mean that OSR prompted the decline. Certainly little OSRIC didn't prompt it by itself. It could well be the reverse - that the 3.5 decline itself prompted the growth of the OSR once OSRIC appeared. Or it could be both - OR it might all be a massive coincidence. One thing is certain though - 4E was a dud that drove a lot of people to other games and other editions, even if SOME people liked it. It wasn't that it was inherently bad - it could have made a fine system with some other name on it. It just wasn't what customers wanted for their D&D.

And yeah, I think 5E benefits more from good marketing and circumstances that managed to get people to look at it than from being all that spectacular of a system. But it's hard for me not to be biased. I still prefer 1 (and 3.5 when 3.5 sticks closer to lower levels).
4e outsold every previous edition.
 




CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
False. It outsold 4e in core game stores.
I'm not making it up. Here's my source:

In Q1 2010, shortly after the release of 4E Essentials, Dungeons & Dragons lost the top spot for the first time ever, and kept falling. It eventually dropped all the way to #5, behind Pathfinder, Star Wars, Fate, and Numinera. D&D didn't get back to #1 until after the release of 5E.

Here are the relevant graphs:
1664511937700.png


1664511948436.png


I'm not trying to hate on 4E, it was what it was. A lot of folks look back on it with rose-colored glasses, others look back with daggers in their eyes, and both are valid.
 
Last edited:

Haplo781

Legend
I'm not making it up. Here's my source:

In Q1 2010, shortly after the release of 4E Essentials, Dungeons & Dragons lost the top spot for the first time ever, and kept falling. It eventually dropped all the way to #5, behind Pathfinder, Star Wars, Fate, and Numinera. D&D didn't get back to #1 until after the release of 5E.

Here are the relevant graphs:
View attachment 262681

View attachment 262682
BASED ON DATA FROM ICV2


Maybe you should actually read links before responding to them.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I'm not making it up. Here's my source:

In Q1 2010, shortly after the release of 4E Essentials, Dungeons & Dragons lost the top spot for the first time ever, and kept falling. It eventually dropped all the way to #5, behind Pathfinder, Star Wars, Fate, and Numinera. D&D didn't get back to #1 until after the release of 5E.

Here are the relevant graphs:
View attachment 262681

View attachment 262682
Yeah, that’s about 4e’s performance in the markets ICv2 polls - mainly the game store market. That doesn’t cover direct orders, mass market bookstores like Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.
Exactly how things compare in those channels is anybody‘s guess since it isn’t public for most of the publishers.
Now, whatever other sales are, this was NOT good news since it pointed to a failure in marketing to their core market. And that’s a big hit to the hardest core gamer mindshare.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Now, whatever other sales are, this was NOT good news since it pointed to a failure in marketing to their core market. And that’s a big hit to the hardest core gamer mindshare.
I think it less displays a failure of marketing but a failure for designing for every major subcategory of D&D player.

D&D playstyles have more or less diverged into 4-5 different paths. WOTC's main struggle in 3e, 4e, and 5e is designing a D&D that is attractive every substype of D&D gamer. 4e sold a lot to 4e style gamers but the numbers Hasbro wanted required OS, 3e/PF, 4e, and the upcoming 5e players to all buy it.

5e was designed to snatch back the first 2 groups to hit projected numbers. However instead it pulled mostly 5e style players. What One D&D is shaping up is a strategy of being able to hit the numbers without the sales of the first wave of grognards and relying more of the coalition of post-2000 editions' fans.
 

We’re too early in the playtest cycle for me to say where I think 6e is going
Yep. I have a feeling that the playtest will last 12-18 months, then it will be closed and WotC will do whatever they want regardless of feedback. If OneD&D is just fixes and tweaks to a half version from 5E to "5.5E" why even bother having a playtest? My bet is that we will see an entirely new edition based on the d20 chassis of 3,x and 5E, but thats just my opinion.
 

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