D&D 5E Is 5E Special

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I have no idea where you're getting any of this. Do you have an actual reference to back it up? Even if you're correct, I disagree that the game was totally geared towards old school gaming. If it had been, it would be far more lethal, have save or die everywhere, no short rest, etc. Or maybe it would have just been a cleaned up 3.5.

Nowadays 5E has been growing double digits every year, so of course new players outnumber old.

As far as cultural shifts and growth of the game I find it hard to believe that 4e towards the end of its life cycle would not have also benefitted from the same cultural shifts and changes. It didn't.

Don't get me wrong, I think if 4E had not been labeled D&D a fixed up 2nd version (or been given proper development time)could have maintained a sizeable niche. I just don't think it ever could have been as popular as 5e, it simply caters too much to a specific target audience. Nothing wrong with that, I just don't see it as having as broad an appeal. Of course now we'll never know.

I just find it odd that people can't simply accept that the game is actually pretty good. The authors put out a decent product. There doesn't have to be this "it's practically a minor miracle 5e is successful".
Did you reply to the wrong person, perhaps?
 

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GreyLord

Legend
Where is someone getting that D&D has 50 million active players today?

It is primarily a United States Game (or if you include Canada, a North American Game...sorry Europe, you have numbers but majority seem to be American from what I've seen).

They are stating almost 1 in 7 people play D&D in the United States. That would be, young, old, babies, elderly, etc.

50 million would far outnumber the tweeny audience people are saying are the majority of the audience today if that's how many active players there are (mostly in the US again).

Game of Thrones had 44 million viewers.

Walking Dead at it's peak had 17 million viewers.

I think someone CLAIMED it had 25 million players, but that's over 5e's lifetime, not specifically active right now.

Another claimed something like 15 million.

I know one source that CLAIMED 50 million players over the ENTIRETY of D&D's lifetime. I know another that claimed 40 million TOTAL players since D&D started (I think that COULD be a reasonable number).

I have NOT SEEN any source claim 50 million active players. If you have it though, post it.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Game of Thrones had 44 million viewers.
The statistics released by WotC are what we are going off of, and that as much as we can kmow at any rate.

I higihg this point, particularly, to show.how plausible numbers are, though. Game of Throne is an adult only show, whereas children play D&D and read D&D materials like those of Jim Zub. Both if which are.for sale in Target nationwide.
 

GreyLord

Legend
The statistics released by WotC are what we are going off of, and that as much as we can kmow at any rate.

I higihg this point, particularly, to show.how plausible numbers are, though. Game of Throne is an adult only show, whereas children play D&D and read D&D materials like those of Jim Zub. Both if which are.for sale in Target nationwide.

I don't recall them saying 50 million active players. In fact, I remember them distinctly NOT saying that.

So...if you have the reference...post it.

I know someone CLAIMED 50 million total players since the beginning (and another 40 million), but that's not ACTIVE players, that's TOTAL PLAYERS EVER since 1975.

WotC didn't claim 50 million active players that I've seen (we are talking active players... NOT TOTAL players for the game ever...those are different numbers). However, if you have the link that shows they made that claim, please post it.
 

Smackpixi

Adventurer
Why does it even matter how many people actively play D&D? I know some people like stats, I like stats, but the only relevant question is do you have enough people to play with today that you want to play with? If you’re alone, millions don’t matter but for hope, if your group is the last 5 in the world, all is good.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I don't recall them saying 50 million active players. In fact, I remember them distinctly NOT saying that.

So...if you have the reference...post it.

I know someone CLAIMED 50 million total players since the beginning (and another 40 million), but that's not ACTIVE players, that's TOTAL PLAYERS EVER since 1975.

WotC didn't claim 50 million active players that I've seen (we are talking active players... NOT TOTAL players for the game ever...those are different numbers). However, if you have the link that shows they made that claim, please post it.
Google D&D 50 million. They don't claim "active players"...but "active" isn't something that matters much to selling D&D t-shirts. It's the only number we have to go off of, and that is ten times what the same number was 25 years ago. And I doubt the 1e year olds in question are former players.

We do know from the Beyond purchase disclosures that D&D Beyond has 10 million active users, so that the baseline. Question is, how many active players douse Beyond?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
This is what I asked you.
1) By definition, you can't be a new player and old player at the same time.

2) Logic dictates that people with will have different preference than other people 20 years older than them.

If 40% of 5e players are under 25 and 5e was not designed for the fantasy preferences of people under 25, the 5e was not designed for 40% of their audience.
 

GreyLord

Legend
Google D&D 50 million. They don't claim "active players"...but "active" isn't something that matters much to selling D&D t-shirts. It's the only number we have to go off of, and that is ten times what the same number was 25 years ago. And I doubt the 1e year olds in question are former players.

We do know from the Beyond purchase disclosures that D&D Beyond has 10 million active users, so that the baseline. Question is, how many active players douse Beyond?

Is it though?

They 40 million claim was with 15 million 5e players, which implies 25 million players prior to 5e were included in that number.

As I said, They did NOT claim active players because there are NOT 50 million active players for D&D currently.

I'd be surprised if it is even 20 to 25 million.

Just because people into the hobby WANT it to be that popular does not mean it IS that popular. I've said this before, but when looking at popularity in culture, compare it to things of like numbers. If it isn't having that type of impact on society in a similar field, chances are, it's not having the numbers to that level.

I stated Game of Thrones because I don't even see D&D getting that much of popular notice in culture as GoT still does.

I expect the movie will cause a spike in articles, searches, and popularity, but that will probably be more focused on the film itself than actual playerbase. It will probably cause a spike in the player base, but the movie probably will be the more popular search and experienced item in the general population than the game, or that's my expectation.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
1) By definition, you can't be a new player and old player at the same time.

2) Logic dictates that people with will have different preference than other people 20 years older than them.

If 40% of 5e players are under 25 and 5e was not designed for the fantasy preferences of people under 25, the 5e was not designed for 40% of their audience.
2 is not logical, and does not follow. Again, Pokémon, Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Still popular 30 years later with the next generation in my experience.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
2 is not logical, and does not follow. Again, Pokémon, Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Still popular 30 years later with the next generation in my experience.
Pokemon, Power Rangers, and TMNT changed throughout the years to match the new group of kids.

I think in the new TMNT RAPHAEL is the leader for the first 2 seasons.
RAPH! The rude one!

That's my point. Long running fanchises who rely on new incoming generations tend to cater parts of their style to the preferences of the new gen. D&D 5e, more or less, waited 6 years to cater to people under 40. 5e only got away with that because it's 2022 and not 2008.
 

2 is not logical, and does not follow. Again, Pokémon, Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Still popular 30 years later with the next generation in my experience.
And only because they have very dramatically changed. In ways that, believe it or not, significantly upset many of the older fans, while leaving the new ones blissfully ignorant.

We keep going around this circle. You are acting as though nothing whatsoever has changed about properties that are 30-50 years old, and that's obviously ridiculous. Unless and until you recognize that D&D will have to change, in some ways, whatever they may be, in order to keep up with the new demographics, there's nothing further to be said.

Consider, for example, a smaller microcosm: MMOs. MMOs haven't been around nearly as long as D&D has (no surprise there, D&D inspired most of them.) Yet the field has already seen major changes. Take someone who's a big fan of FFXIV or WoW or GW2 and have them go play Ultima Online or an original, unpatched, day-1-release version of EverQuest. They'd hate it. And we can say this with confidence, because we've seen it happen with literal actual live games. Blizzard released WoW Classic--and it did decent! It wasn't as big a phenomenon as mainline WoW, but it brought people in, to be sure. It also had mountains of bug reports...about things that were intentionally included in order to be maximally faithful to the "vanilla" WoW experience. WoW Classic was a "warts and all" remake, and people genuinely weren't as enthused about it as they thought they would be, even though many of them had actually played "vanilla" WoW on release!

Point being, your ironclad confidence that absolutely nothing whatever has changed about gamer preferences in the past decade, to say nothing of the past 40 years, is completely misplaced. Some things will, most assuredly, remain the same. Other things will change. Neither you nor I have any idea which specific things they'll be. But we can be absolutely certain that, whatever the different preferences of the new blood, those will be what WotC chases. Because yes, preferences really can shift even within the original founding population--if you're legitimately looking at a new population, it would be ludicrous to the extreme to suggest that no meaningful changes will occur.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Pokemon, Power Rangers, and TMNT changed throughout the years to match the new group of kids.

I think in the new TMNT RAPHAEL is the leader for the first 2 seasons.
RAPH! The rude one!

That's my point. Long running fanchises who rely on new incoming generations tend to cater parts of their style to the preferences of the new gen. D&D 5e, more or less, waited 6 years to cater to people under 40. 5e only got away with that because it's 2022 and not 2008.

And only because they have very dramatically changed. In ways that, believe it or not, significantly upset many of the older fans, while leaving the new ones blissfully ignorant.

We keep going around this circle. You are acting as though nothing whatsoever has changed about properties that are 30-50 years old, and that's obviously ridiculous. Unless and until you recognize that D&D will have to change, in some ways, whatever they may be, in order to keep up with the new demographics, there's nothing further to be said.

Consider, for example, a smaller microcosm: MMOs. MMOs haven't been around nearly as long as D&D has (no surprise there, D&D inspired most of them.) Yet the field has already seen major changes. Take someone who's a big fan of FFXIV or WoW or GW2 and have them go play Ultima Online or an original, unpatched, day-1-release version of EverQuest. They'd hate it. And we can say this with confidence, because we've seen it happen with literal actual live games. Blizzard released WoW Classic--and it did decent! It wasn't as big a phenomenon as mainline WoW, but it brought people in, to be sure. It also had mountains of bug reports...about things that were intentionally included in order to be maximally faithful to the "vanilla" WoW experience. WoW Classic was a "warts and all" remake, and people genuinely weren't as enthused about it as they thought they would be, even though many of them had actually played "vanilla" WoW on release!

Point being, your ironclad confidence that absolutely nothing whatever has changed about gamer preferences in the past decade, to say nothing of the past 40 years, is completely misplaced. Some things will, most assuredly, remain the same. Other things will change. Neither you nor I have any idea which specific things they'll be. But we can be absolutely certain that, whatever the different preferences of the new blood, those will be what WotC chases. Because yes, preferences really can shift even within the original founding population--if you're legitimately looking at a new population, it would be ludicrous to the extreme to suggest that no meaningful changes will occur.
Sure, it changes: that's what 5E mixed perfectly, adopting to modern tastes while going back to what worked before. Which has also worked for those other franchises over the years. Tradition and progress go hand in hand, and have to ba balanced. Which D&D did not do well since...maybe ever until 5E.

And sometimes, going back is progress of the road is a dead end. WotC has a testing regimen in place that lets them iterate and adapt based.on market realities.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Sure, it changes: that's what 5E mixed perfectly, adopting to modern tastes while going back to what worked before. Which has also worked for those other franchises over the years. Tradition and progress go hand in hand, and have to ba balanced. Which D&D did not do well since...maybe ever until 5E.

And sometimes, going back is progress of the road is a dead end.

5e didn't adopt modern tastes in a serious attempt until nearly 6 years after publication.

I mean, 5e hasn't even published a new setting that isn't a MTG conversion yet.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
5e didn't adopt modern tastes in a serious attempt until nearly 6 years after publication.

I mean, 5e hasn't even published a new setting that isn't a MTG conversion yet.
MtG is modern tastes. As Is the Forgotten Realms. Again, Pokémon, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles. Just because something is 30-50 years old doesn't mean it isn't appealing to current tastes.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
MtG is modern tastes. As Is the Forgotten Realms. Again, Pokémon, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles. Just because something is 30-50 years old doesn't mean it isn't appealing to current tastes.
Forgotten Realms. Again, Pokémon, Power Rangers, and Ninja Turtles. changed with the times.

The 5e PHB, MM, and DMG, and VGTM was written with 70s, 80s and 90s lore.
The whole point of MGTM is publish 5e PC and Monster content with 2020s styles and flavor.
 

Smackpixi

Adventurer
5e didn't adopt modern tastes in a serious attempt until nearly 6 years after publication.

I mean, 5e hasn't even published a new setting that isn't a MTG conversion yet.
Anyone else notice that on dmsguild all the AL stuff pre 2019 is now tagged with the Legacy Content disclaimer? Mentioning cause your 6 years comment.

I’m not sure your point, but WotC is all about pleasing what they think gets new players in. existing can adapt or rant on the internet, most will adapt and giggle at those that tilt at windmills.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Anyone else notice that on dmsguild all the AL stuff pre 2019 is now tagged with the Legacy Content disclaimer? Mentioning cause your 6 years comment.

I’m not sure your point, but WotC is all about pleasing what they think gets new players in. existing can adapt or rant on the internet, most will adapt and giggle at those that tilt at windmills.
The original question is:

"if it wasn't 5E (pick a different edition, it doesn't matter) but all the other circumstances were the same -- a new edition in 2014, references in the media, Critical Role and streaming in general, etc... -- would D&D still be having a major pop-cultural moment?"

My answer was Yes. The circumstances of 2014 are perfect for covering an edition's weaknesses and pulling an edition to the mainstream due to the changes in tech, media, and culture..

2014 was perfect for covering 50 years of D&D fandom. Something 2008, 2000, or the other editions release dates would have been terrible for and required a ton more work.
 

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