D&D 5E Innovation Vs Tradition

S

Sunseeker

Guest
Oh it certainly can. It drove away a sizeable portion of the once loyal customer base and triggered the creation of WotC biggest competitor on the RPG market. Financially it also performed below expectations from Hasbro when you believe the rumors and that it got pulled so suddenly also is not a sign of doing well.

You don't have the numbers to prove that. All you've got is your opinion and feelings.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
It does us little good to perform a superficial analysis of the market. Markets are complex and there are a lot of forces at work. I don't find it contentious that a sizable portion of the market did not find 4e's rules palatable. I will however contend that:
  • There is no telling how sustainable the market was. Would those players who are still playing/running 4e really have stayed on for a Pathfinder like iteration of D&D? If so why are they not currently playing Pathfinder?
  • Firing some of your most capable and prolific content creators months prior to the release of a new edition of the game was a big mistake. What would the market look like if Paizo was still responsible for Dungeon and Dragon? I don't think you can underestimate the impact of letting their design expertise and business acumen go free. Paizo also delivers superior customer service and does a much better job communicating with their fans.
  • While I feel emphasizing your content on gameable material makes for a better game the economic reality of the hobby is that when it comes to selling books the division of spending between players is very lopsided. A good deal of spending comes from people who buy books for vicarious enjoyment. I think WotC underestimated the value of the reader effect. Paizo does a wonderful job of catering to that market.
  • The marketing effort was led by game designers. Game designers are much better at designing games than marketing. They tend to be opinionated and outspoken.
  • Presentation matters. Compared to the 4e core rules Pathfinder is a bueatiful book. Paizo understands graphic design and has consistant art direction.
  • Poor adventure support. The initial adventure offerings were not written to take advantage of the strengths of the game.

Take a look at other recent successful RPGs. Edge of the Empire, Numenera, Shadowrun 5e, FATE Core, etc. They are all games with strong metagame mechanics, tight themes, and at least the ability to drift towards more Story Now oriented play. They also have strong branding, consistent art direction, excellent graphic design (Shadowrun has some layout issues though), material for readers, etc.
 

Blackbrrd

First Post
The short of it, I don't see a big outcry.

What I do think is an issue is that WotC is facing the same issues that Pathfinder was, but they've worked themselves into a corner. One of the big design tenants behind Pathfinder was that they needed a rule system that was compatible with existing product (even if it may have later evolved beyond that). They were designing around letting the player base continuing to use their APs - old and new.

We seem to be seeing some of that for 5E - Caves of Chaos, etc. I think there is a faction out there (like me) that wants continued content, but don't want or need a new ruleset. WotC needs a living ruleset for new players, but existing players only really need new adventures, possibly new monsters or rule-module add-ons (say, like Magic of Incarnum). New rules for an existing base is the hard sell and design point.

WotC might be able to throw 1/2/BECMI (and possibly 3E) compatible products together, but also making it 4E compatible just throws in a monkeywrench. If 4e'ers aren't included in the go-forward design space, they're leaving out a significant and recent portion of their customer base.

I think you are right, 5e adventures will be more or less compatible with 1/2/BECMI, partially with 3e and not 4e. That is, if they include the stat blocks. If they instead just "name" the monsters or just supply the stat blocks for other editions as web downloads it could be pretty compatible all over the board.
 

Stormonu

Legend
I think you are right, 5e adventures will be more or less compatible with 1/2/BECMI, partially with 3e and not 4e. That is, if they include the stat blocks. If they instead just "name" the monsters or just supply the stat blocks for other editions as web downloads it could be pretty compatible all over the board.

There has been products like that in the past, but personally, I've shied away from them. I don't buy adventures so I can do half the work myself.

<EDIT> If they made the stat-blocks available via download or subscription, I *might* go for that. But that would put an extra load on the designers.
 
Last edited:

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I'm not seeing any great evidence of a backlash. My bigger fear, though, is that 5e will be met by a collective "meh" - that it'll be okay, but nothing more than okay. Indeed, it might prove to be everyone's second-favourite version of the game. But then, why would anyone play their second favourite version, when they can play their favourite instead?

Because your favorite people might have as their first favorite game something different from your first favorite game. But, they might all like 5e as their second favorite, along with you.

Ultimately I think people trump system version, for most gamers.
 

delericho

Legend
Because your favorite people might have as their first favorite game something different from your first favorite game. But, they might all like 5e as their second favorite, along with you.

The thing is, for us at least, we have lots of different games being run by lots of different people - the DM chooses the system, and then people sign up. It's possible that we've just been really lucky, but we don't tend to have people refuse to play a game simply because of the system.

But what that means is that if my favourite remains 3.5e, and our 4e DM's favourite remains 4e, and our PF DM's favourite remains PF, then there's no place for 5e. Even if it wows everybody else in the group, if it doesn't wow at least one of those three DMs then there's no place for 5e.

(Excepting, of course, the other two possibilities - one of our non-D&D GMs might run it, or one of our player-only members might step up as a DM. But neither of those seems terribly likely for one reason or another.)
 

Pour

First Post
Take a look at other recent successful RPGs. Edge of the Empire, Numenera, Shadowrun 5e, FATE Core, etc. They are all games with strong metagame mechanics, tight themes, and at least the ability to drift towards more Story Now oriented play. They also have strong branding, consistent art direction, excellent graphic design (Shadowrun has some layout issues though), material for readers, etc.

I'll add 13th Age to that list of games that hewn away from 'your dad's D&D', and yet through presentation, PR, and merit of their designers alone they're welcomed with open arms and a flare of trumpets. Looking over the list above, it just makes the wonder, how many people really dislike 4e and how many people actually just feel cheated, snubbed, peer-pressured, aesthetically turned-off by 4e's looks, want to belong to a prolific, 'officially' supported community, like buying stuff monthly, like 3rd party, hold loyalty to past designers, buy in to the 'WoW' or 'for new-age kids' hype, enjoy hating on something or being 'right', annual layoffs, terrible technology and customer support, canceled books and failed promises, or any combination which turned them against 4e. Was it really the rules? Was the game ever allowed to succeed?

I'm going to say the game itself didn't have nearly as much with its underperformance than it really 'should' have, if you believe a game's merit should be based on... well, the game. It was not given a fair shake. It was not properly presented, sustained, or supported. 4e is forever the blacksheep edition, the one some people will always roll their eyes at or cringe, and it's such a shame. I say this a lot, but it's the edition not even the designers really got till it was so late that by the time decent support and adventures began they pulled the plug and turned efforts toward 5e. We should have seen it coming. I remember, the day before 5e's announcement, the silly and exuberant notion that they were going to clean everything up in a 4.5 Edition. Hah!

I'm not looking for any sympathy or anything. And I'm sure many people didn't like it for the rules, just not all that currently decry and despise it. Not by a longshot. But hey, despite it all, a solid fan community, small, yes, but talented, formed around the edition. The forums became an essential part to its continued playability, at least for me. A few fan efforts really helped me make the most of it and the wisdom of dozens of posters. And I have a few 4e games that will be going on for awhile yet.

Admittedly, I'm turning sights to 13th Age and checking out a few other systems right this moment. If anything, 4e's treatment and the advent of 5e have only helped me find the gumption to check out other offerings. Definitely one of the '5e looks like more work than necessary to find the play experience I want'.
 

Kinak

First Post
I think they're trying to straddle the line with modularity, allowing both innovative options and traditional ones.

Which is either crazy enough to work or just plain crazy. History will have to be the judge of that.

It's not what I would have done, but props to them for trying to thread the needle.

Cheers!
Kinak
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top