D&D 5E Is DnD next chasing a pipedream?

dd.stevenson

Super KY
I don't think WotC was ever even actually PLAYING that game. ;)

True; nobody that I'm aware of has tried to compete with Paizo's adventures in terms of both quality and quantity. (Though I wish someone would--how cool would THAT be?)

However, if I were to go back in time and inform the WotC staff that their adventures would be no match whatsoever for Paizo's offerings, I believe they would vehemently disagree--I believe they would argue that they were putting plenty of resources into their adventure development, and that what they lacked in quantity they would make up in quality.

Well. Those days are over, and nothing Mr. Mearls has said so far indicates that he intends to try that approach to resource allocation a second time. My money says that they'll wind up putting out adventures that look an awful lot like the playtest adventures, and that the majority of their fluff (read:advertising) dollars will go toward campaign settings.

'Course, I could be utterly and completely wrong...
 

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Hussar

Legend
Let's be honest here. WOTC has never really been an adventure provider. They've had the odd good one, but, that's more through luck than anything else. Paizo has hit on a pretty winning formula. I think what remains to be seen though is how long the "great to read" wave will continue. After all, Paizo's already produced more adventure paths than any one group could ever play. Go forward a few years and we're looking at a wall of adventures that no one will ever have the time to play. But, the subscription model does seem to be a pretty winning one.

Which kinda brings me back to something earlier in this thread. People talk about WOTC losing market place, but, never seem to question what the market actually is. What we do (sort of) know is that in dead tree products sold in brick and mortar stores, Paizo is selling better than WOTC. But, how relavent is that? D&D gets pegged at a 30 million a year industry. DDI is worth about (75000 subscriptions * 7 buck=) 6 million a year (or about 20% of the total market). Does that mean 4e is a catastrophic failure? None of that gets factored into the "state of the market" discussions.

I mean, WOTC is sitting on its heels for almost two years, not producing any new material for sale, and it's solid enough economically to actually be able to do that. That's gotta mean something. I wonder just how much dead tree paper products actually factor into things anymore.

I honestly believe the comments about "catastrophic failure" and the like have far more to do with pushing a particular edition agenda than with any objective observations of the industry.
 

Stormonu

Legend
True; nobody that I'm aware of has tried to compete with Paizo's adventures in terms of both quality and quantity. (Though I wish someone would--how cool would THAT be?)

Well, there was Goodman Games with their Dungeon Crawl Classics lines. Where Paizo's into deep, rich storylines, DCC is into exploring and kicking butt. They had a pretty successful run with over 50 adventures.
 

delericho

Legend
However, if I were to go back in time and inform the WotC staff that their adventures would be no match whatsoever for Paizo's offerings, I believe they would vehemently disagree--I believe they would argue that they were putting plenty of resources into their adventure development, and that what they lacked in quantity they would make up in quality.

Depends when you asked. It was a key plank of the d20 strategy that WotC wouldn't do anything beyond minimal adventure support - they'd let the third-party providers fill that void for them. The reason for this was simple: adventures were relatively expensive to create for relatively low returns; the money was in selling PHBs.

After a few years, of course, the third-party publishers mostly came to exactly the same conclusion. Whereupon they promptly abandoned their own adventure efforts in favour of their own splatbooks and OGL games. (At least, mostly - there were always a few companies doing adventures.) At that point, WotC felt they had little choice but to get back into adventures. And I suspect you're right - at that point, they would have made the "quality vs quantity" argument you outlined... they would also have been wrong.

Let's be honest here. WOTC has never really been an adventure provider. They've had the odd good one, but, that's more through luck than anything else.

Yep.

I think what remains to be seen though is how long the "great to read" wave will continue. After all, Paizo's already produced more adventure paths than any one group could ever play. Go forward a few years and we're looking at a wall of adventures that no one will ever have the time to play.

It's an interesting one. My guess (and it's just a guess) is that most groups who do play through their APs will start playing "whatever's current", and will get the APs in between for reading purposes. So, they might have played Runelords, and only bought Crimson Throne and Second Darkness, then played Legacy of Fire, and only bought Council of Thieves and, um... and then played Kingmaker... and so on.

If that's the case, I think their model might prove to have surprising longevity - although on the face of it the group has "more than they will ever play through", the ones they don't play get forgotten. And, because the commitment is sufficiently low, people are happy to sign up and then forget about it.

But we'll need to see, obviously.

But, the subscription model does seem to be a pretty winning one.

Yes. My advice to anyone starting a new RPG company (other than "don't!", obviously) would be to consider how you're going to get to a point where you have 50,000 subscribers. Once you've got there (or some similarly high "magic number"), you get the freedom of knowing your company is more or less secure - and can do what you want to do. Until then, you're stuck either always doing the book that will sell (whether it's actually any good or not), or stuck ploughing money into a loss-making venture.

Which kinda brings me back to something earlier in this thread. People talk about WOTC losing market place, but, never seem to question what the market actually is. What we do (sort of) know is that in dead tree products sold in brick and mortar stores, Paizo is selling better than WOTC. But, how relavent is that? D&D gets pegged at a 30 million a year industry. DDI is worth about (75000 subscriptions * 7 buck=) 6 million a year (or about 20% of the total market). Does that mean 4e is a catastrophic failure? None of that gets factored into the "state of the market" discussions.

It gets brought up, but because the answer for all of us is "we don't know", it's impossible to do any meaningful analysis.

My guess (again, just a guess), is that 4e is considered a failure by WotC, but made them money across the piece. Furthermore, in the hands of any other company, including Paizo, it would have been considered a runaway success. Simply because WotC have higher expectations - when held up against "Magic" and "Transformers", it just doesn't look too good. And that's not fair... but that's life.

And you're also right - sales of physical product, and especially physical product in brick'n'mortar stores is only a piece of the puzzle, and an increasingly small piece. DDI subscriptions, and likewise Pathfinder subscriptions, are critically important (and will become more important). Sales of electronic versions of the books are becoming increasingly important. And, of course, there are the licensing rights - TV, movies, video games...

So, we'll see. Right now, I think I would rather be the guy in charge of the Pathfinder RPG than the guy in charge of the D&D RPG. But if I could choose to be the owner of one of the brands, D&D is still the winner. Of course, it would be even better if they could just get those movie rights back. :)

(Oh, and finally... it's really not a good sign that WotC can basically put out no new product for nine months and still be solidly #2 in the industry. I mean, it's good for WotC I guess, but it surely shows just how weak the marketplace really is.)
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
Depends when you asked. It was a key plank of the d20 strategy that WotC wouldn't do anything beyond minimal adventure support - they'd let the third-party providers fill that void for them. The reason for this was simple: adventures were relatively expensive to create for relatively low returns; the money was in selling PHBs.
....snippage...

So much truth in that post, I wish I could XP it.
 




carmachu

Adventurer
I would define success as maintaining or increasing sales (by $ value), maintaining or increasing profit, and maintaining or increasing market share. Games Workshop's high price approach seems to have worked for them at least in the former two; they have probably lost some market share recently but remain dominant.
They do seem to have got in trouble recently over their aggressive approach to IP; it's all very well sending C&D letters but don't go to court (vs Chapterhouse) unless you can show you do actually own the IP you claim to own!
The problem with that is they have lost market share, and they have lost customers. Staying afloat as profitable by continuously raising prices cant last. You have to grow your customer base, not shrink it. They aren't nearly as dominant as one thinks, too many shallow cuts. No one game will take them down, but each one takes a bite here and there.
 


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