D&D General Hot Take: D&D Has Not Recovered From 2E to 3.0 Transition

Voadam

Legend
As I recall it's less that they were invented, and more that, with prayer, meditation and offerings, you convince your deity to grant you the new spell. The Tome of Magic points out that Gods can have access to other Spheres and spells than those they normally grant, but in times of need or crisis, can suddenly grant access to their priests (this was done to explain the new Spheres printed in that book, as well as the existence of Quest spells that exceeded the normal power level of Clerical magic).
Tome of Magic says

"The introduction of new priest spheres can pose a logical problem in some campaigns--if an existing Power has influence in a certain sphere, why did his priests never have these spells before? Why do they wake up one morning and suddenly have access to spells never before seen?
The DM can use several solutions to this question. The first is most effective for such esoteric spheres as Thought and Numbers. In this case, few (if any) existing Powers have access to these spheres. Instead, priests arrive (as did wild mages) from distant lands, spreading the word of their god. These NPC priests have strange powers never before seen. In some locations, they may be accepted, while in others, they may be driven out with vengeance. As new player characters are created, this "new" faith with all its advantages and disadvantages becomes an option.
Another explanation, particularly useful for the spheres of War and Wards, is that the Power always had access to these spells, but never had the need to grant them. A deity of war could reasonably withhold spells of the War sphere until the threat of war exists. To introduce the War sphere into the campaign, the DM need only create a little border tension and massing of troops -- the perfect background for many adventures.
Certain deities may be too aloof or remote to become involved in the affairs of men until the need arises. This is particularly appropriate for the spheres of Law and Chaos. A shift in the "harmony of the universe" might warrant the attention of these Powers to "set things right."
The introduction of subdivisions in the elemental sphere can be effected in a similar manner. Foreign priests may enter the campaign region and introduce the concept, or existing priests might discover their own deities suddenly taking a more active interest in their spells. Conflict or rivalry on the elemental planes can be used to justify rigid adherence to a particular element. A fire god, feeling the rising power of a sea god, may enforce strict elemental selection to bolster the devotion of his priests.
Of all the new priest material, quest spells are the easiest to introduce. These are given by the DM only when special conditions warrant. It is easy to justify that conditions have never yet warranted the need for quest spells."

So ToM mostly poses it as a narrative problem of introducing new spells, and suggests some narrative solutions for introducing them. If you have stuff from the beginning there is no narrative problem of new spells.
 

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Voadam

Legend
I think less so in 1e? They were strongly focusing on a particular model instead of all fantasy pantheons
1e AD&D had less new spells developed over the course of the edition so it is less of a thing. Mostly Unearthed Arcana and a bunch of Forgotten Realms articles/sourcebooks which started pumping them out in 1e, but really ran wild across 2e.
 

glass

(he, him)
the important point is it did infact shut down, something important to remember when thinking about trusting WotC with a digital only purchase that is locked behind a severer.
TBF, they did give a few weeks warning, so anything that could be downloaded (ie Dungeon and Dragon) could be downloaded. I got quite a few of them, but I still kick myself that I ran out of time to and did not download them all. Doesn't help with the CB or Compendium of course.

"Players and DMs should be aware that while the standard rule is that priests have free access to all spells on their respective lists, a more useful ruling is to use all common spells in allowed spheres.
I think you may have bolded the wrong bit. AIUI, @Alzrius's point was that that not all the spells in those 288 pages would be in the "allowed spheres" for any given priest. EDIT: Actually, they said "notwithstanding sphere access" so I might have got the WEOTS. EDIT2: Although even if it wasn't their point it can be mine: 2e Priests had access to a lot of spells from the start and especially by the end of the edition, but not quite as many as those page counts might suggest.
 
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Yora

Legend
There was a time when WotC had a lot of AD&D books for Forgotten Realms as free downloads on their website. Until they were gone.

My copies of The Savage Frontier, The North, and Volo's Guide to the North are actually still from that free download.
 
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Zardnaar

Legend
There was a time when WotC had a lot of AD&D books for Forgotten Realms as free downloads on their website. Until they were gone.

My copies of The Savage Frontier, The North, and Volo's Guide to the North are actually still from that free download.

I still have some of them as well.
 

Dausuul

Legend
They shut DDi down in January 2020, well after the period for which we had minimum figures and well past well past the end of 4e as current edition. Nobody thinks it was still making massive money into the 5e era, but it was making enough that they kept it going for 5.5 years. Damn those inconvenient facts, getting in the way of your edition warring!
Edition warring? I played 4E and liked it. There are several mechanical elements of 4E that I wish they would incorporate into 1D&D. And I still mourn the return to the creaky old Great Wheel cosmology after the brilliant redesign of the World Axis.

None of that has anything to do with whether DDI was a cash cow. It clearly was not, or 5E would never have happened.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
For Corporations, just being profitable isn't enough sometimes as well.

I'm fairly positive that Hasbro had set certain ROI thresholds. And if their 'opportunity cost' thresholds were not met - they pull the plug based on the idea that they could make 'more money' investing in something else.
Yes, it's pretty clear that they did (the whole core brands thing). But they also had some other issues to maintain - brand strength, loyalty, and market position. And 4e was delivering negatives there.
 

None of that has anything to do with whether DDI was a cash cow. It clearly was not, or 5E would never have happened.
For sure.

I love 4E, and I loved DDI, but whilst it was a lot faster and smoother to use than, say D&D Beyond (which is a fairly unresponsive app with a poor quality search design and still arguably less functionality than the DDI rules-wise), it felt very much like a niche product, maybe in late beta, rather than something professional and which you'd be happy to show a non-player or new player.

Even the billing was incompetent, via Digital River. At one point they started billing me twice, wouldn't stop doing it, for months, and eventually they refunded me after repeated complaints, but for like 30% more than I was actually owed (by my calculations). I was far from the only one with billing issues with them, I know from discussion at the time.

It was definitely not the sort of product you'd have if you were making tons of money of it.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Clerics have always had open ended control and a lot of versatility.*

*(4e being the exception by limiting their spells/powers instead of choosing from everything any day).

By the end of 2e there were three 288 page volumes of the priest's spell compendium for clerics to choose spells from each game day.
Keep in mind many of those spells were setting-specific and thus not open to all, and were called out as such by a symbol next to the write-ups.
 

glass

(he, him)
Edition warring?
Yes, edition warring. You were pushing the edition-warrior lie of 4e being a financial failure, when in fact it was stupendously successful by any standard other than "Hasbro Core Brand". I cannot read your mind as to your motivations for doing that, so if you quack like a duck I am going to think you're a duck.
 
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Voadam

Legend
Keep in mind many of those spells were setting-specific and thus not open to all, and were called out as such by a symbol next to the write-ups.
While the compendium noted some spells with setting icons, they do not specify that these are only available in those settings. There is nothing to indicate that say something marked with the Al-Qadim Arabian Setting symbol would not be appropriate for a fantasy Arabian Baklunish deity in Greyhawk. When they describe the setting icons (volume 1 page 9) they only discuss the general themes of the settings, so how elemental magic varies in Al-Qadim versus Kara Tur or how in Birthright bloodline abilities augment magic. This seems more to explain the context of say a wood elemental spell from Kara Tur versus saying only Kara Tur priests may cast such spells. Restrictions by source seem up to individual DMs with some suggested categories for differing from the default rule of open access.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
While the compendium noted some spells with setting icons, they do not specify that these are only available in those settings. There is nothing to indicate that say something marked with the Al-Qadim Arabian Setting symbol would not be appropriate for a fantasy Arabian Baklunish deity in Greyhawk.
It's a while since I looked at them but I thought there was a disclaimer saying setting-flagged spells were specific to that setting only unless the DM decided otherwise.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
Yes, it's pretty clear that they did (the whole core brands thing). But they also had some other issues to maintain - brand strength, loyalty, and market position. And 4e was delivering negatives there.

Being outsold by a clone of the previous edition was an unacceptable situation - even though they were only getting outsold by a little bit.

D&D outsells its nearest competitors by orders of magnitude. It is not a first among equals RPG IP.
 

Voadam

Legend
It's a while since I looked at them but I thought there was a disclaimer saying setting-flagged spells were specific to that setting only unless the DM decided otherwise.
Its possible, but looking I did not find such an explicit restriction reference. The Wizard compendium has them too and the same context descriptions of the various settings. They seem more like theme descriptors (Fantasy Arabian spells, Fantasy Savage Land spells, etc.) and historical notes for D&D trivia (this is one of the few Red Steel origin spells) or for those DMs who want to tie stuff to different settings if they are running a multisetting spelljammer or planescape game.

Page 3 of Priest compendium 1:

"Spells associated with specific campaign worlds (other than the Forgotten Realms or World of Greyhawk settings) are marked with a special symbol so they can be easily recognized. See page 9 for a summary of these symbols. Spells associated with a specific monster or nonhuman race (dragons, elves, and so on) are noted, the race name is separated from the spell name by a dash. Specialized priests with unique spell lists, such as the NPC savant-cleric, from DRAGON Magazine are also specially noted."
 
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Emerikol

Adventurer
according to wotc (and I don't care if you believe them or not) 3e out sold 2e, 3.5 out sold 3e. 4e outsold 3.5, and 5e out sold 4e by such an order of magnitude it isn't even funny... now maybe 1e outsold 2e (I don't know) but 3e didn't out sell 4e and 4e didn't out sell 5e.
Do you have a place that verifies what you are saying? I definitely did not think 4e outsold 3e/3.5e. Pathfinder rose during the 4e time and actually went ahead in sales for a while. There is a reason there was such a strong kneejerk reaction. Now that might have just been bad feedback but I'd like to see the sales figures somewhere if what you say is correct. I am not claiming to know for certain myself.
 

Do you have a place that verifies what you are saying? I definitely did not think 4e outsold 3e/3.5e. Pathfinder rose during the 4e time and actually went ahead in sales for a while. There is a reason there was such a strong kneejerk reaction. Now that might have just been bad feedback but I'd like to see the sales figures somewhere if what you say is correct. I am not claiming to know for certain myself.
okay, 1 pathfinder did do amazing, but it never caught or over took 4e. 2 I am starting to comple resources to dispell these myths... here is what I have so far.

I still need to find teh orginal mike merls quote about each one overtaking the one before BUT I think they are only talking core books and 4e does muddy that

obody has hard oh so outside data with small windows compared to


and before you say it...5e was out this wasn't 4e propaganda

Mar 14, 2013
#1
There's a page on the WotC site that lists all the current DDI subscribers. Someone on ENWorld tested it to make sure that if you unsubscribe, you're taking off the list. You are.

There are ~81k current subscribers. At the cheapest subscription rate, that's $486,000 dollars a month.

That means the DDI alone, not counting books and minis and whatnot, is generating about half a million dollars a month for D&D.


ICV2 only reflects a portion of the sales, game stores. It doesn’t look at offerings in the period it examines either and how that impacts sales rankings. Paizo had multiples releases a month and Wizards went months without new D&D product and a string of product cancellations before Pathfinder took the number 1 spot and then took up residence during the edition neutral release schedule aside from the release months. You can look at the release schedule for D&D during that time period and leading up to 5e launching to correlate with ICV2 data very easily and see how the months that WOtC released Heroes of Shadow for example corresponded to D&D being number 1 on ICV2 again and the next month it was Pathfinder with no new releases for D&D of significance. It’s like when Vampire was topping D&D during the TSR bankruptcy and TSR couldn’t get their books distributed by Random House or from the printer due to owing money. Would Vampire have been top dog in those months? It would have been pretty close but TSR was greatly weakened by poor business practices and a crumbling fanbase.


Four people who would know



 

Zardnaar

Legend
okay, 1 pathfinder did do amazing, but it never caught or over took 4e. 2 I am starting to comple resources to dispell these myths... here is what I have so far.

I still need to find teh orginal mike merls quote about each one overtaking the one before BUT I think they are only talking core books and 4e does muddy that

obody has hard oh so outside data with small windows compared to


and before you say it...5e was out this wasn't 4e propaganda

Mar 14, 2013
#1
There's a page on the WotC site that lists all the current DDI subscribers. Someone on ENWorld tested it to make sure that if you unsubscribe, you're taking off the list. You are.

There are ~81k current subscribers. At the cheapest subscription rate, that's $486,000 dollars a month.

That means the DDI alone, not counting books and minis and whatnot, is generating about half a million dollars a month for D&D.


ICV2 only reflects a portion of the sales, game stores. It doesn’t look at offerings in the period it examines either and how that impacts sales rankings. Paizo had multiples releases a month and Wizards went months without new D&D product and a string of product cancellations before Pathfinder took the number 1 spot and then took up residence during the edition neutral release schedule aside from the release months. You can look at the release schedule for D&D during that time period and leading up to 5e launching to correlate with ICV2 data very easily and see how the months that WOtC released Heroes of Shadow for example corresponded to D&D being number 1 on ICV2 again and the next month it was Pathfinder with no new releases for D&D of significance. It’s like when Vampire was topping D&D during the TSR bankruptcy and TSR couldn’t get their books distributed by Random House or from the printer due to owing money. Would Vampire have been top dog in those months? It would have been pretty close but TSR was greatly weakened by poor business practices and a crumbling fanbase.


Four people who would know




Just to be clear I don't think Paizo themselves claimed Pathfinder oursold 4E in total.

They did say something like by late 2010 it's likely they were outselling 4E and it became official 2011.

So all statements could be true. We know 4E sold more near launch then fell off a cliff later being outsold by Pathfinder.

So lifetime sales 4E cod still win based on that early surge.

We also know now 3.5 didn't do that well so early 4E sales could beat it.

We don't have 4E figures and it's been a while since some 3E ones were floated and can't verify them now (from memory 250k Pathfinder Circa 2013, 3.0 500k, 3.5 250-350k).
 

Just to be clear I don't think Paizo themselves claimed Pathfinder oursold 4E in total.
right, but the problem is the numbers are not a 1-1 4e sells 3 books in 4 months and PF sells 5 books in the same 4 months and do you compare 5 books each sell 200 copies to 4 books that each sold 250 copies and say both sold 1,000?

it gets worse near the end when 4e put out 1 book per quarter and some months PF put out 2 or 3 books... do you count 12 books selling 5k each as 60,000 sales compared to 1 book selling 30k and say "PF outsells 4e 2 to 1" or do you say each 4e book out sells PF books 6 to 1...

and with this we are back to Samuel clemins there types of lies "Lies damn lie and statistics" (and I am a math guy that can make number say different things when I want.

The
They did say something like by late 2010 it's likely they were outselling 4E and it became official 2011.
yeah but they are partial numbers at best... no one that has a connection to both or even either Piazo or WotC ever said PF was beating 4e, just that it came closer as 2nd as anyone else (maybe since White wolf but that is debated too)
So all statements could be true. We know 4E sold more near launch then fell off a cliff later being outsold by Pathfinder.
except we DON'T really know 4e fell off any cliff. We ONLY know that it didn't hit the (maybe pre pandemic unhittable) number Hasbro wanted.

In my day job I see this all the time. "We want to sell a billion of this item" turning into "We only sold 900 million of them, so it failed" and I have to constantly run reports showing that 900 million is a huge profit and still should be 'good' not 'fail'
So lifetime sales 4E cod still win based on that early surge.
Tbh I don't see anything that EVER looked like PF came close to a 1 to 1 sale with 4e book per book. They just got way closer then anyone else...

The big take away I can't believe that WotC DIDN'T take was that D&D is the only real competition to D&D... and they should have put out a PF Adventure and support both games, but instead they decided it was more important to 'win back' as many PF players as they could
(even though I have not seen even 1 2ePF book I have been told it takes a lot FROM 4e)
We also know now 3.5 didn't do that well so early 4E sales could beat it.
again early ( I want to say even before PHB2 marls said that 3e out sold 2e (not sure if he would even really know that) and that .3.5 out sold that and 4e out sold that, and now they claim 5e not only did that but out sold all of them added together.
We don't have 4E figures and it's been a while since some 3E ones were floated and can't verify them now (from memory 250k Pathfinder Circa 2013, 3.0 500k, 3.5 250-350k).
 

Zardnaar

Legend
right, but the problem is the numbers are not a 1-1 4e sells 3 books in 4 months and PF sells 5 books in the same 4 months and do you compare 5 books each sell 200 copies to 4 books that each sold 250 copies and say both sold 1,000?

it gets worse near the end when 4e put out 1 book per quarter and some months PF put out 2 or 3 books... do you count 12 books selling 5k each as 60,000 sales compared to 1 book selling 30k and say "PF outsells 4e 2 to 1" or do you say each 4e book out sells PF books 6 to 1...

and with this we are back to Samuel clemins there types of lies "Lies damn lie and statistics" (and I am a math guy that can make number say different things when I want.

The

yeah but they are partial numbers at best... no one that has a connection to both or even either Piazo or WotC ever said PF was beating 4e, just that it came closer as 2nd as anyone else (maybe since White wolf but that is debated too)

except we DON'T really know 4e fell off any cliff. We ONLY know that it didn't hit the (maybe pre pandemic unhittable) number Hasbro wanted.

In my day job I see this all the time. "We want to sell a billion of this item" turning into "We only sold 900 million of them, so it failed" and I have to constantly run reports showing that 900 million is a huge profit and still should be 'good' not 'fail'

Tbh I don't see anything that EVER looked like PF came close to a 1 to 1 sale with 4e book per book. They just got way closer then anyone else...

The big take away I can't believe that WotC DIDN'T take was that D&D is the only real competition to D&D... and they should have put out a PF Adventure and support both games, but instead they decided it was more important to 'win back' as many PF players as they could
(even though I have not seen even 1 2ePF book I have been told it takes a lot FROM 4e)

again early ( I want to say even before PHB2 marls said that 3e out sold 2e (not sure if he would even really know that) and that .3.5 out sold that and 4e out sold that, and now they claim 5e not only did that but out sold all of them added together.

If well we have sales figures for 2E confirmed now and they were in line with ones floated earlier.

If those 3E ones are accurate it outsold 3E.

The only claim Paizo actually made was PF outsold 4E at a certain point in time not lifetime sales.

Anythy beyond that is internet scuttlebutt. The claim is in Paizo retrospective that's was on their website.
 

Emerikol

Adventurer
okay, 1 pathfinder did do amazing, but it never caught or over took 4e. 2 I am starting to comple resources to dispell these myths... here is what I have so far.

I still need to find teh orginal mike merls quote about each one overtaking the one before BUT I think they are only talking core books and 4e does muddy that

obody has hard oh so outside data with small windows compared to


and before you say it...5e was out this wasn't 4e propaganda

Mar 14, 2013
#1
There's a page on the WotC site that lists all the current DDI subscribers. Someone on ENWorld tested it to make sure that if you unsubscribe, you're taking off the list. You are.

There are ~81k current subscribers. At the cheapest subscription rate, that's $486,000 dollars a month.

That means the DDI alone, not counting books and minis and whatnot, is generating about half a million dollars a month for D&D.


ICV2 only reflects a portion of the sales, game stores. It doesn’t look at offerings in the period it examines either and how that impacts sales rankings. Paizo had multiples releases a month and Wizards went months without new D&D product and a string of product cancellations before Pathfinder took the number 1 spot and then took up residence during the edition neutral release schedule aside from the release months. You can look at the release schedule for D&D during that time period and leading up to 5e launching to correlate with ICV2 data very easily and see how the months that WOtC released Heroes of Shadow for example corresponded to D&D being number 1 on ICV2 again and the next month it was Pathfinder with no new releases for D&D of significance. It’s like when Vampire was topping D&D during the TSR bankruptcy and TSR couldn’t get their books distributed by Random House or from the printer due to owing money. Would Vampire have been top dog in those months? It would have been pretty close but TSR was greatly weakened by poor business practices and a crumbling fanbase.


Four people who would know



When I said sales I meant sales of the core game. The three basic books. Pathfinder was ahead of 4e for sure at some point during 4e and prior to 5e. I am aware 5e did very very well. I did not dispute that at all.
 

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