Mike Mearls Answers Questions About "Dungeons and Dragons Next"

Dannager

First Post
It's a success, really? Because, and I say this as a f4nboy, the 4e Red Box is a lousy product. I really hope that is not how WotC is defining a "good intro product".

Well, first, "success" here is probably referring to the fact that it sold well, or succeeded in bringing more people to the hobby. Quality is subjective, but numbers aren't.

Second, I have seen a few people who call the Red Box a "lousy product" but they're all long-time players. That's not the Red Box's audience. I'd be interested to find out how new players and long-lapsed players enjoyed the Red Box.
 

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Rechan

Adventurer
Second, I have seen a few people who call the Red Box a "lousy product" but they're all long-time players. That's not the Red Box's audience. I'd be interested to find out how new players and long-lapsed players enjoyed the Red Box.
The issue I have with the Red Box is not the adventure or anything like that.

It's that it doesn't really help educate people on making a character or really deal with the rules well. It also only goes to level 2. I just don't think it's a good primer on how to do things.

I think it's legit to compare one intro box to other intro boxes to access quality. Otherwise, you can't really determine it at all.
 

bhandelman

Explorer
The issue I have with the Red Box is not the adventure or anything like that.

It's that it doesn't really help educate people on making a character or really deal with the rules well. It also only goes to level 2. I just don't think it's a good primer on how to do things.

Well, I think you are misunderstanding the product. It isn't meant to educate people about the rules, it was meant to get people interested in buying more DnD products. That's why they refer to it as a gateway product. I can't speak to everyone, but in my personal case it is the product solely responsible for getting me back into the game. I have seen quite a few post, not really here since ENWorld is mostly the old school/hard core crowd but places like Reddit and elsewhere that new people would first go to discuss the game before they find places like this, where people share a similar experience as me.

As Dannager said, the product is not for long time players, but for people new or returning to the game.

I think it's legit to compare one intro box to other intro boxes to access quality. Otherwise, you can't really determine it at all.

Well, assess quality in your eyes, which is still a subjective comparison. You could argue the Pathfinder Beginner's box is more complete because it covers more levels, but I can also show that the Pathfinder set is $15 more expensive which can make a difference for a product trying to rope in new players and players long gone from gaming. I found the quality more than adequate, it got me to go out and buy books and start playing, so in my case it was a success. It was not meant to lure Pathfinder players back to DnD, or convince 3.5 players to move on to 4e.
 

jeffh

Adventurer
Most great RPG innovations seem to come from home games. :) Many of Pathfinder's changes started as Jason Buhlman's home doodling for his personal use.

Not that I disagree with either sentence of this in isolation, but the second sentence is not an example of the first.
 

delericho

Legend
Second, I have seen a few people who call the Red Box a "lousy product" but they're all long-time players. That's not the Red Box's audience. I'd be interested to find out how new players and long-lapsed players enjoyed the Red Box.

Well, I've only encountered one new player who tried the Red Box, and he said he couldn't make head nor tail of it. The Ravenloft board game was a much better intro to D&D for him.

Of course, that's a sample size of one, and the plural of anecdote is not data, so take it with a huge pinch of salt. :)

Also, simply because most of the criticisms on here come from long-time players doesn't make them invalid. Many of the criticisms are valid even (or especially) from the view of the newbie - the "pay for preview" nature of the product, the too-short level range, the fact that the rules are almost but not quite the same as in Essentials proper, the character creation mini-game (that's going to get old very quickly)... Even the low price point may work against it - it makes the game look cheap, which can lead to a "you get what you pay for" attitude. (Of course, the low price point can also take it into "impulse buy" territory, so that's probably a wash.)
 

Erdrick Dragin

Banned
Banned
That second bullet point strikes me as odd. It wasn't until the Ravenloft board game that they realized they should focus on the strengths unique to RPGs, rather than what's popular in gaming-in-general?

Why didn't they realize that sooner? Why did it take a board game to remind them this about role-playing games? Why was it the Ravenloft board game (as opposed to other ones; I can't remember if there were D&D board games prior to that one) specifically?

I don't mean to be cynical, but that really sounds like they're showing up late to the party of conventional wisdom. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard on the internet over the last few years that RPGs should focus on what RPGs do best, and not try to compete with other types of gaming (e.g. video gaming).

That whole thing confuses me. What exactly did Ravenloft board game show about RPGs to them? That D&D should be more like a game board, or less like one? I don't get what it is they found and how they're going to apply it?
 

That whole thing confuses me. What exactly did Ravenloft board game show about RPGs to them? That D&D should be more like a game board, or less like one? I don't get what it is they found and how they're going to apply it?

I was a little confused by the quote too. Ravenloft the board game is in edible but couldn't figure out what he meant by it (it strikes me as a sort of 4e in board game form). I am wondering if they meant they were pondering bringing in more board game elements to D&D but this showed them it isn't necessary my concern is why he would use reaction to a board game to inform his thinking on RPGs. I think it is great that they are trying to listen to their customers and have such a bold design goal for 5E, but statements like this do make me a bit cautious.
 

Insight

Adventurer
There is something to be said for a veteran's view of an intro product to a game he or she plays on a regular basis. Yes, the product is not targeted at a veteran player, but said veteran player can certainly recognize if the intro product is going to effectively introduce a newcomer to the game. All of us who have played D&D for a long time could read through the Red Box and see whether it would give a new person the right impressions of what D&D is really like. For example, if the Red Box told players that their characters would be riding unicorns and throwing fireballs at 3rd level, veteran players could certainly recognize where that would be steering the newcomers wrong.
 

xechnao

First Post
I am wondering if they meant they were pondering bringing in more board game elements to D&D but this showed them it isn't necessary my concern is why he would use reaction to a board game to inform his thinking on RPGs. I think it is great that they are trying to listen to their customers and have such a bold design goal for 5E, but statements like this do make me a bit cautious.

If you read the interview, Mearls clearly says that they did not focus 4e on the strengths of a tabletop rpg but tried to incorporate other trends of gaming, specifically board games.

Hardly a month ago I posted a thread in the general discussion forum, asking readers to discuss on the premisse that "4e is to Descent what Roloemaster is to D&D". That thread got closed by moderators ASAP.

Interesting that Mearls is now comparing 4e to board games.
 

McTreble

First Post
"Why didn't they realize that sooner? Why did it take a board game to remind them this about role-playing games? Why was it the Ravenloft board game (as opposed to other ones; I can't remember if there were D&D board games prior to that one) specifically?"

What is your point? They realized it. Isn't that enough? Guess not. Jeez. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Maybe WotC shouldn't be listening to us.
 
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