Modules, it turns out, apparently DO sell

Imaro

Legend
Ok, put it this way:

I think that there are many companies that deliver high quality material apart from Paizo.

So what is it that separates Paizo from the others?

What, in your opinion is it that Paizo is doing that no one else can match? What is it that Chaosium, Mongoose, Green Ronin, Fantasy Flight, Open Design and the rest of the very competent bunch of companies out there aren't doing?

Are you saying that only Paizo is giving people quality? That only Paizo is in tune with what their customers want?

Is quality the sole defining factor of Paizo's success?

That I don't believe for a second.

/M

When did I say only Paizo is giving people quality... are you saying no one else publishing rpg's has any business acumen? And the only thing I was defining was why they, as opposed to WotC, are able to succesfully implement a model of mostly selling adventures and fluff books... not why they as a whole are a successful business.

However I do believe quality can entail many areas within a company and few have the total overall level of quality that Paizo has... As an example, I can't think of a single company you've listed that has the same quality of interaction with their fans and customer service. This is another facet of quality that I think greatly helps their success as a business. In the end I think them being a quality company has more to do with their success than a subscription model and being in the right place at the right time... especially over the longterm. That, for me at least, is why I support their company.
 

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darjr

I crit!
Quite a few of the LFR RPGA adventures are good. Not crap. And some of those authors are no longer 'no names' because of it.

Wasn't the SWSA Dawn of Defiance adventure path written by Rodney Thompson?
 

darjr

I crit!
I think that if a LFGS sets up the pathfinder society at their store they can get the adventures for free... I think.

I actually considered running it here locally for a while.
 


Maggan

Writer of The Bitter Reach
When did I say only Paizo is giving people quality...

So what is the defining difference between Paizo and the rest?

Come on, I've given my thoughts clearly and straight. So what, in your opinion is it that make Paizo so successful that they have taken the number 2 spot as the best selling RPG company?

What is it that the others aren't doing, that they should be doing?

It can't be quality, others are doing that, so it has to be something else.

As an example, I can't think of a single company you've listed that has the same quality of interaction with their fans and customer service.

Fantasy Flight. They have hands down the best customer support in the industry.

Loose a component for one of their games? They replace it.

Have a damaged collector's edition slipcase? They replaced it.

And I'm in Sweden, on another continent. I have found FFG customer service to be leagues better than Paizo's, and Paizo's is still one of the best in the business. Just not the best.

Also, Chaosium is tight with the fan base. And Open Design ... the fan base is part of the design process. Can't get much more in tune than that.

I think you are right about one thing. We're going to have to agree to disagree.

EDIT:

are you saying no one else publishing rpg's has any business acumen?

I am of the opinion that common business sense is very uncommon in the RPG business, both at many publishers and at many games stores. So if we want to polarise my viewpoint, yes there are only a few publishers with enough business acumen to build a stable and growing business out of RPGs.

/M
 
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James Jacobs

Adventurer
Hey everyone... first of all, let me just say thanks for all the kind words in this thread. And that first thread, the one that pointed out how many pages of adventures and stuff we've produced over the past few years helped explain to me why I'm so tired all the time lately! :)

Seriously, though... adventures do sell. Paizo more or less exists as a game company today (and not merely as an online RPG store) because adventures sell. If they're done right. And by "right," I mean "fun to read."

Because I suspect that the majority of adventures published by game companies are never actually played by most of those who read the adventures.

Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE hearing stories about how much fun folks have had playing adventures, and I'm really pleased with how robust our messageboards are with just this type of feedback, but the truth is that there are more gamers than there are gaming groups. And you don't STOP being a gamer when you're not actually playing an RPG.

So, gamers who don't currently have groups and gamers who want to enjoy their hobby on days when they're not gaming need something fun to read. And adventures, which tell stories, ARE fun to read. (If they're built to be read.)

If someone plays an adventure that Paizo publishes, I count that as MUCH as a successful adventure as if someone reads an adventure and uses an idea in his home game AND as much as someone who just reads an adventure one rainy afternoon and enjoys it.

After all... there are lots of movies and books and comics out there; reading one doesn't fill the urge to read more. The same goes for adventures.

I'm pretty confident that adventures, as long as they're fun to read, will remain popular and profitable (and yes, our adventures ARE, as a general rule, profitable—the Adventure Path line is quite profitable).

And if an adventure is fun to read, chances that the person who had fun reading it will want to share that experience by running it for his/her friends, I think, DRAMATICALLY increases. At least, that's how it works for me. If an adventure's not fun to read, has dull maps, and/or has lame art, it goes right back on the shelf and stays there.

Anyway... I gotta run! Gotta get started on the next 5,000 pages of adventures! :p
 

Treebore

First Post
Ok, put it this way:

I think that there are many companies that deliver high quality material apart from Paizo.

So what is it that separates Paizo from the others?

What, in your opinion is it that Paizo is doing that no one else can match? What is it that Chaosium, Mongoose, Green Ronin, Fantasy Flight, Open Design and the rest of the very competent bunch of companies out there aren't doing?

Are you saying that only Paizo is giving people quality? That only Paizo is in tune with what their customers want?

Is quality the sole defining factor of Paizo's success?

That I don't believe for a second.

/M

Its not the sole factor, but it is definitely the biggest with me. Like I have posted before, I do not play or run Pathfinder, and have no desire to do so, ever. So the MAIN reason I buy stuff from Paizo is that their quality of productions, and most especially, content, is the best in the business. Again, IMO, and yes, I do buy a lot of stuff from Green Ronin, Mongoose, AEG, Goodman, and a few others.

As much as I like the other companies, they come no where near to matching Paizo on several fronts. First is, once again, the top production values in combination with the content being top notch. Next is value for my money. Who else gives me free PDF's along with the print copy if I subscribe? No one else, period. Plus they give me a modest discount on the print copy, which almost pays for the shipping.

Plus who else talks to their customers on their forums anywhere as often as Paizo does? I know Mongoose, AEG, Goodman, and Green Ronin certainly do not.

There are only 3 RPG companies who get me to buy directly from them. 2 of them because they have given me free PDF's along with my print copy. 1 of those 2 is Paizo, the second is the guys who have Mongoose as their publisher and have given us Doctor Who, Qin, Wild Talents 2E, etc... Cubicle 7, who have given me free PDF's with my pre orders. The only other company I buy directly from on a extremely regular basis, like, every product they have made, is Troll Lord Games, because they give substantial discounts when you wait for their sales, which I do.

Every other company I follow, Mongoose, AEG, Green Ronin, FFG, etc... only sells to me via Amazon.

So Paizo is definitely the best of the best, in my book, at least.
 

JoeGKushner

First Post
I think this is again where WoTC failed in that they didn't provide a core setting that was continuously supported with a lot of printed adventurers.

Older editions had a ton of adventurers and the play experience of those helped to expand the game.

I think people want stories. Every adventure, every adventure path, and every setting sourcebook, feeds into that shared experience. The lack of variety on the WoTC side is staggering in comparission.
 

Treebore

First Post
I am of the opinion that common business sense is very uncommon in the RPG business, both at many publishers and at many games stores. So if we want to polarise my viewpoint, yes there are only a few publishers with enough business acumen to build a stable and growing business out of RPGs.

/M

I take it that you are not aware that across the business world, for every one business that lasts/succeeds, there are a bunch that do not? I do not remember the exact ratio, but I believe its greater than 1 to 5.

So "common business sense" is uncommon across the business community, period.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Your point would be valid if the material produced was in the realm of a few hundred pages.

But 5000+ pages of material, a great website, a top notch and dedicated staff, etc...these things don't exist without cash flow.
Indeed. We might not know the numbers, but the fact that Paizo keeps churning out this amount of adventure and setting material means that they are making good profits out of it, otherwise they would alter their strategy.
 

Imaro

Legend
So what is the defining difference between Paizo and the rest?

Come on, I've given my thoughts clearly and straight. So what, in your opinion is it that make Paizo so successful that they have taken the number 2 spot as the best selling RPG company?

What is it that the others aren't doing, that they should be doing?

It can't be quality, others are doing that, so it has to be something else.



Fantasy Flight. They have hands down the best customer support in the industry.

Loose a component for one of their games? They replace it.

Have a damaged collector's edition slipcase? They replaced it.

And I'm in Sweden, on another continent. I have found FFG customer service to be leagues better than Paizo's, and Paizo's is still one of the best in the business. Just not the best.

Also, Chaosium is tight with the fan base. And Open Design ... the fan base is part of the design process. Can't get much more in tune than that.

I think you are right about one thing. We're going to have to agree to disagree.

Are you being purposefully obtuse or not reading my posts... I think a combination of overall quality in all areas is the key to Paizo's success...

And since we are calling poarticular companies out, here's an example... while pretty, the books in FFG's new WFRPG 3e are flimsy and of poor quality, also the amount of actual game and world info you get for the amount of money is poor. I don't see reps from Chaosium or FFG coming to gaming forums they don't own and chatting with fans... Hey look, there's James Jacobs above me now posting on a site other than paizo.com with gamers.
 

Rechan

Adventurer
I think using Paizo as the example really Isn't Fair. When someone says "Paizo", you think adventure modules. Paizo has produced adventure modules since the days of the print magazines, and then started doing JUST the modules until the PFRPG came out. All of their resources were put into making the best modules in the market. They have the best writers in the market.

To say "Hey modules sell, Look at Paizo" is a little unfair because Modules are What Paizo Does (until recently).

Not to mention that Paizo didn't HAVE to produce rules UNTIL after 4e came out. All the rules they needed were in the SRD.

The question is not "Do modules sell (for Paizo)?" but "Do Modules Sell for anyone ELSE?" Ask Necromancer, or any other 3PP if the amount of purchasing for modules are worth it?
 

James Jacobs

Adventurer
We've been doing more than modules for a while, actually—campaign setting stuff, player crunch, board games, card games, generic RPG accessories, all before we tackled the Pathfinder RPG last year.
 

guivre

First Post
And since we are calling poarticular companies out, here's an example... while pretty, the books in FFG's new WFRPG 3e are flimsy and of poor quality, also the amount of actual game and world info you get for the amount of money is poor. I don't see reps from Chaosium or FFG coming to gaming forums they don't own and chatting with fans... Hey look, there's James Jacobs above me now posting on a site other than paizo.com with gamers.

They also effectively killed 2E by deleting all of the forums and support content needlessly, didn't finish rolling out the promised PDFs for 2E, and are going to pull the ones they did release (though hopefully they got some integrity and decided not to go ahead with that plan). Enforcing their skewed vision of WFRP just made it that much worse. They've also yet to resolve productions issues with Warhammer Invasion.

FFG has good service, but it's not "hands down" the best by any stretch of the imagination. (I'd give that title to Privateer Press but that's besides the point) Many, many game companies provide a fairly high level of service compared with what you'll find outside the industry. FFG is right there in the middle.

I've encountered Paizo issues here and there but they're right there in customer service too. If one of these companies is better than the other in that respect it's by the narrowest of margins.

I don't even see why the comparison is necessary. Paizo is making smart choices, involving their fans, and putting out quality product (similar to PP). It shouldn't be surprising that they're doing well.
 
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Dark Mistress

First Post
I am going to add to what Treebore said up above. Paizo is top or near top in the following ways.

1) Quality Production values(WoTC and a few others are as good maybe better)
2) Quality of writing/material (once more there is a few companies up there with them)
3) Customer Service (some of the best, personally Iron Crown Enterprise has given me the best but paizo is close)
4) Making you feel apart of things. Posting on the forums, engaging in conversations, posting on other forums and acting like a gamer geek like their fans. (a few companies do that but not many)
5) Cost, for what you get paizo is some of the cheapest products out there. Aka bang for your buck.

Now I personally don't know of another company that does all 5 things as well as paizo does. yes some others are as good in one or more area's but I don't know of any that is as even close to as good in all area's. I think that has a effect on their sales.

As for adventures selling, well part of why I think the AP line of adventures sell is 1/3rd of it is other non adventure stuff.

Edit: You know what? I am not completely sure which side of the debate i am on anymore. I guess I am just posting cause I find the topic interesting.
 
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ProfessorCirno

Banned
Banned
I think it's also important to note that Paizo has experience. When it messes up, it learns from the mistakes and, on the next module or AP or what have you, they know what the mistake was and fixes it. They try to keep experienced writers around...not kick them to the curb.

It also might help that their CEO knows just a few things about the gaming industry ;p
 


Edgewood

First Post
I came to the Pathfinder AP party late but when I did, man I was glad I came!! I have started reading them from the very first and continue to do so. I have to say without any embellishment. I actually have fun reading them. Not playing them or adapting them, to my campaign or anything like that. Just simply reading them.
Once I have that round of fun though, get this, I then get the joy of mining them for ideas for my game. So to me that's twice the fun. Finally, the maps are top notch quality, which I get to use. So, not only do I get the joy of simply reading them, I also get the joy of using them for my game.
And after all of that, if I want to, I STILL have the option of running them as a full adventure. The untapped usefulness is still there.
To me the Paizo modules and APs have helped me to recapture my love of reading and GMing. They deserve my hard earned dollars.
 

Windjammer

Adventurer
Hey everyone... first of all, let me just say thanks for all the kind words in this thread. And that first thread, the one that pointed out how many pages of adventures and stuff we've produced over the past few years helped explain to me why I'm so tired all the time lately! :)

Seriously, though... adventures do sell. Paizo more or less exists as a game company today (and not merely as an online RPG store) because adventures sell. If they're done right. And by "right," I mean "fun to read."

Because I suspect that the majority of adventures published by game companies are never actually played by most of those who read the adventures.

Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE hearing stories about how much fun folks have had playing adventures, and I'm really pleased with how robust our messageboards are with just this type of feedback, but the truth is that there are more gamers than there are gaming groups. And you don't STOP being a gamer when you're not actually playing an RPG.

So, gamers who don't currently have groups and gamers who want to enjoy their hobby on days when they're not gaming need something fun to read. And adventures, which tell stories, ARE fun to read. (If they're built to be read.)

If someone plays an adventure that Paizo publishes, I count that as MUCH as a successful adventure as if someone reads an adventure and uses an idea in his home game AND as much as someone who just reads an adventure one rainy afternoon and enjoys it.

After all... there are lots of movies and books and comics out there; reading one doesn't fill the urge to read more. The same goes for adventures.

I'm pretty confident that adventures, as long as they're fun to read, will remain popular and profitable (and yes, our adventures ARE, as a general rule, profitable—the Adventure Path line is quite profitable).

And if an adventure is fun to read, chances that the person who had fun reading it will want to share that experience by running it for his/her friends, I think, DRAMATICALLY increases. At least, that's how it works for me. If an adventure's not fun to read, has dull maps, and/or has lame art, it goes right back on the shelf and stays there.

Anyway... I gotta run! Gotta get started on the next 5,000 pages of adventures! :p

Someone brought up that post on another forum, and I decided to cross-post my response there on here.

----

It's an interesting post, if old old news, as Jacobs has said this time and again. See, what he glosses over is the context in which his "adventures are also there to be just read, not played" posts usually arise on the Paizo boards, and that is when customers point out how Paizo's simultaneously catering to the audiences Jacobs mentions, to wit

(1) GM running module as written
(2) GM stealing an NPC here, a location there
(3) GM without a group, just likes to read,

is not without problems. Just look at the first 20 pages of Burnt Offerings, Jacobs' own flagship instalment in the Pathfinder adventure path series, and you'll see what it means when an author entirely compromises the needs of audience (1) to cater to the needs of audience (3). WotC does it the other way round, all their modules are solidly geared towards audience (1) and don't give a flying :):):):) about audience (3); which is, incidentally, why they sell so poorly: I really can't imagine that anyone casually browsing 4e modules in a bookstore on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Barnes & Modules gets his imagination fired away. By contrast, every Paizo module to date has had the instant effect of visually and verbally scoring a bull's eye on the casual reader. That's the legacy of Paizo running Dragon magazine, which they had to design in such a way that casual readers on news stands or Barnes & Nobles bookshelves would feel prompted to pick them up and quickly peruse them... that being the point at which Paizo (as Erik Mona once said) already considered their product a success. Needless to say, this type of customer context is utterly alien to audience (1). When I GM a module, most of the visual and verbal effort in Paizo products often comes as a hindrance, as it's not even geared towards the players at my table; 95% of the text doesn't concern the actual adventure at the table, very little is cast so as to make it easy to convert it into read-alout text (or into something I can paraphrase as such without 'reading it alout from the book'), very few pictures work as table devices since they don't just show the baddies but also some other heroes fighting them, and so on and so on.

Paizo has very clearly dedicated its efforts to writing modules for group-less GMs, which also includes GMs who have a group but not the time to run another Pathfinder campaign for them (either because they're running a campaign of their own - which is where (2) above comes in - or because they're already running an earlier Pathfinder campaign). Which, come to think of it, is 95% of all their customers. Heck, I myself got probably 3000 pages of Paizo content on my shelves with only a thin chance of using 10% of that material at my gametable in the foreseeable future.
 

Maggan

Writer of The Bitter Reach
Are you being purposefully obtuse or not reading my posts... I think a combination of overall quality in all areas is the key to Paizo's success...

Ok, in your opinion they are the best in all areas. Fair enough. That's where we'll continue to disagree.

I don't see reps from Chaosium or FFG coming to gaming forums they don't own and chatting with fans...

I've seen Jay Little on Strike-to-Stun. Aint that many more WFRP boards outside the FFG ones.

But I agree with your point. The amount of direct interaction between Paizo and the fans is unmatched. Good delivery of a smart sales and marketing strategy in my opinion.

/M
 
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