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Roll20's Latest Usage Report: D&D Steady, Cthulhu Down!

Roll20 has released it's latest quarterly report -- and has a new format which features less numbers but prettier graphics! Everything is percentages now, rather than absolute numbers.

D&D is in the lead as ever at 52.7% (down 1%), followed by Call of Cthulhu at 11.9% (down 4.4%) then Pathfinder at 3.2% (down 0.2%) (Pathfinder users apparently use Foundry these days). That's a big drop for Cthulhu which has been on a steady rise for the last year or two.




orrreport-2021-q3-in2.jpg


Some systems are called out --
  • Tormenta (Brazilian) rose 45%
  • Vampire the Masquerade rose 500%(!)
  • Powerd by the Apocalypse is up 130%
  • World of Darkness overall is up 550%
  • WFRP is up 50%
  • Modiphius' 2d20 is up 160%
Screen Shot 2021-11-12 at 1.25.13 AM.png
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Roll20 has the lion's share of VTT users. Proportionately, PF2 should be higher there if it's being widely adopted - even if a good chunk of the players are on Foundry.
But the PF2 fans will cite any exception to make it look like the system is widely in use.
No one's playing on Roll20? Well, that's because everyone is playing on Foundry.
Books languishing on store shelves? Well, that's because everyone is buying online, using Archives of Nethys, etc.
Numbers are low on Amazon? Well, that's because everyone is buying directly from Paizo.
Can't find local PFS events? Well, that's because of the pandemic, everyone's playing on Foundry, etc.

It's okay to like a system that isn't popular. I'm running a PbtA game and a WFRP game at the moment on Roll20. I'm not under the illusion that either system rivals 5e in popularity.
You seem invested in “proving” PF2 isn’t popular. I mean, they are playing on Foundry.

PF2 isn’t as popular as 5E, of course. Nobody is claiming that.
 

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Retreater

Legend
Then I'm not understanding what makes that better for PF2 than roll20?
The explanation was for 5e, not PF2.
PF2 on Foundry has the blessing of Paizo. They can access the entire PF2 SRD (which is basically every rule, supplement, character option, monster, etc).
There's a great PDF importer tool you can link to your purchased adventures and load them into Foundry
 

Retreater

Legend
You seem invested in “proving” PF2 isn’t popular. I mean, they are playing on Foundry.

PF2 isn’t as popular as 5E, of course. Nobody is claiming that.
Third party publishers aren't producing PF2 stuff in large amounts, as I'm sure you're aware as a third party publisher.
So these theoretical PF2 players aren't buying books through traditional channels, aren't playing on the biggest VTT (the only one that gives stats), aren't purchasing 3rd party products, aren't playing in local game events. Even if only some of these metrics applied to only some of the players, we'd see a proportional increase if there were a widescale adoption.
The only thing we can go on is the personal testimony of a few very loud fans online. It fails in every other quantifiable metric we have access to.
 
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Myrdin Potter

Adventurer
The Foundry “excuse” of private networks should apply to Fantasy Grounds, but they can report the number of sessions. Only FG publishes actual numbers that can be tracked over time. Roll20 uses percentages and total number of accounts and changes how the percentages are calculated. Foundry does not give out any stats at all.
 

Myrdin Potter

Adventurer
It would be really interesting to see truly accurate numbers and breakdowns on a each game system and edition and from all the various online gaming platforms. Roll20s are just done so crazy that getting a real number about anything is just pure speculation.
Fantasy Grounds also publishes a similar report but they give actual numbers out.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Third party publishers aren't producing PF2 stuff in large amounts, as I'm sure you're aware as a third party publisher.
So these theoretical PF2 players aren't buying books through traditional channels, aren't playing on the biggest VTT (the only one that gives stats), aren't purchasing 3rd party products, aren't playing in local game events. Even if only some of these metrics applied to only some of the players, we'd see a proportional increase if there were a widescale adoption.
The only thing we can go on is the personal testimony of a few very loud fans online. It fails in every other quantifiable metric we have access to.
The fact that folks are playing PF2 on Foundry rather than Roll20 has nothing to do with books or 3PP stuff or the general popularity or lack thereof of PF2. It just means that the folks who are playing PF2 on VTTs are doing so on Foundry.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
It would be really interesting to see truly accurate numbers and breakdowns on a each game system and edition and from all the various online gaming platforms. Roll20s are just done so crazy that getting a real number about anything is just pure speculation.
They used to. They stopped recently.
 

Retreater

Legend
The fact that folks are playing PF2 on Foundry rather than Roll20 has nothing to do with books or 3PP stuff or the general popularity or lack thereof of PF2. It just means that the folks who are playing PF2 on VTTs are doing so on Foundry.
Not upset at all. I'm happy anyone is playing any system they want, in person or on any VTT they want.
Even though PF2 didn't work for me, I have lots of systems I do like. Hopefully Level Up will be a good fit when we get around to trying it.
 

ChaosOS

Legend
Related, the Savage Worlds community pretty strongly prefers Fantasy Grounds and Foundry - PEGinc has clearly been pushing Foundry support with all their official content for the platform, including the Savage Pathfinder adaptation.
 

ReshiIRE

Adventurer
The Foundry “excuse” of private networks should apply to Fantasy Grounds, but they can report the number of sessions. Only FG publishes actual numbers that can be tracked over time. Roll20 uses percentages and total number of accounts and changes how the percentages are calculated. Foundry does not give out any stats at all.
Fantasy Grounds, if I understand correctly, has an inbuilt Cloud service that they directly report. I'm not sure if they use any telemitry with their LAN versions, but this makes it much easier for them to report stats.

Foundry, in contrast, is significantly more decentralised. While there are hosting services such as Forge, none of them are 'official' official; I suspect there's a good amount of Foundry users who host locally or host via free AWS accounts. This makes it more difficult for Foundry to gather accurate stats. The most accurate you would get is from Forge.

However, another thing to point out is that, if I understand Roll 20's business model correctly, for a large amount of games you can effectively play for free and just use it as a VTT (without necessarily having inbuilt system support, but if I understand correctly 5e's SRD is freely available there). Foundry requires an explicit license that the GM has to buy, and Fantasy Grounds has a mixed model (there is a 'free seats' model for Fantasy Grounds that means a GM can buy a more expensive license and nobody else has to pay; but they do then have to pay for the system in most cases, in my understanding).

This probably biases the data in some way. I am making a big assumption, but I think it may be a fair one; since 5e is so dominate and so popular, I can imagine a large amount of people use Roll 20 because it's also relatively free and inexpensive - and in some ways, not as ''hardcore' or 'dedicated' in their purchasing decisions.

I imagine, then, for other VTTs, if we were to get data from them, would be biased by those users being more 'dedicated' or 'hardcore' in some ways, and this may change what games are being played.
 

Myrdin Potter

Adventurer
Fantasy Grounds, if I understand correctly, has an inbuilt Cloud service that they directly report. I'm not sure if they use any telemitry with their LAN versions, but this makes it much easier for them to report stats.

Foundry, in contrast, is significantly more decentralised. While there are hosting services such as Forge, none of them are 'official' official; I suspect there's a good amount of Foundry users who host locally or host via free AWS accounts. This makes it more difficult for Foundry to gather accurate stats. The most accurate you would get is from Forge.

However, another thing to point out is that, if I understand Roll 20's business model correctly, for a large amount of games you can effectively play for free and just use it as a VTT (without necessarily having inbuilt system support, but if I understand correctly 5e's SRD is freely available there). Foundry requires an explicit license that the GM has to buy, and Fantasy Grounds has a mixed model (there is a 'free seats' model for Fantasy Grounds that means a GM can buy a more expensive license and nobody else has to pay; but they do then have to pay for the system in most cases, in my understanding).

This probably biases the data in some way. I am making a big assumption, but I think it may be a fair one; since 5e is so dominate and so popular, I can imagine a large amount of people use Roll 20 because it's also relatively free and inexpensive - and in some ways, not as ''hardcore' or 'dedicated' in their purchasing decisions.

I imagine, then, for other VTTs, if we were to get data from them, would be biased by those users being more 'dedicated' or 'hardcore' in some ways, and this may change what games are being played.
FG grabs the game system when the license check handshake is made.
 

Higgs

Explorer
Supporter
Roll20 has the lion's share of VTT users. Proportionately, PF2 should be higher there if it's being widely adopted - even if a good chunk of the players are on Foundry.
But the PF2 fans will cite any exception to make it look like the system is widely in use.
No one's playing on Roll20? Well, that's because everyone is playing on Foundry.
Books languishing on store shelves? Well, that's because everyone is buying online, using Archives of Nethys, etc.
Numbers are low on Amazon? Well, that's because everyone is buying directly from Paizo.
Can't find local PFS events? Well, that's because of the pandemic, everyone's playing on Foundry, etc.

It's okay to like a system that isn't popular. I'm running a PbtA game and a WFRP game at the moment on Roll20. I'm not under the illusion that either system rivals 5e in popularity.
My dude, no one (and I mean no one) is under this illusion that PF2 (or, you know....any other fantasy rpg I can think of) is "rivaling 5e in popularity." You are putting a LOT of thoughts and feelings into other people's head with this post, and making some pretty sketchy assumptions all the way around.
 

Higgs

Explorer
Supporter
There could be good reasons PF2 players haven't adopted roll20 while PF1 players did.

Say PF2 had poor support on roll20 while another VTT had much better support. Say PF1 was heavily supported on roll20 and not very supported anywhere else.

I don't know enough about the community to say.
You pretty much nailed it. Roll20 isn't exactly HOSTILE to PF2, but playing in Foundry is a night and day difference.
Also, and I'll only speak for myself on this one, but as very progressive individual I feel much better about playing on Foundry than anything on roll20. In stating this, I'm now prepared for people to whinge about social justice virtue signalling.
 

Retreater

Legend
My dude, no one (and I mean no one) is under this illusion that PF2 (or, you know....any other fantasy rpg I can think of) is "rivaling 5e in popularity." You are putting a LOT of thoughts and feelings into other people's head with this post, and making some pretty sketchy assumptions all the way around.
The original post I was elaborating on was in regards to people saying "1.5% (or whatever the amount of PF2 games on Roll20 is) isn't a fair metric of the popularity of the game because people aren't playing PF2 on Roll20 and are instead elsewhere." So my argument is that if PF2 is widely adopted, even if Roll20 isn't the best VTT for PF2, the numbers aught to reflect more than 1.5% by virtue of the popularity of the platform.
 

ibenny

Explorer
It’s really nice that Foundry is so much better than Roll20 for PF2 and many more systems (I tried it once as a player, it was really good, I’m not denying that), just don't forget the fact it's also much more expensive (really expensive for us, for example) so it's basically out of the question, no matter how good it is, actually.
 

jsaving

Adventurer
Foundry is a great resource for PF2e but is there any actual evidence that more PF2e players use Foundry than Roll20? It's just very strange that when people ask for that, the rebuttal is "people are playing on Foundry," which some no doubt are but which doesn't in any way answer the question.
 
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It’s really nice that Foundry is so much better than Roll20 for PF2 and many more systems (I tried it once as a player, it was really good, I’m not denying that), just don't forget the fact it's also much more expensive (really expensive for us, for example) so it's basically out of the question, no matter how good it is, actually.

It really depends on your internet connection. If the group helps a GM buy Foundry, the cost for the program itself isn't bad: $10-$12 per person.

Now if you don't have a great connection to host... well, that's where it gets expensive. As someone who has surprisingly good rural internet, this hasn't been a problem for me. But if you don't have the speed to host, you'll have to probably pay a monthly fee for a server. And if you want to use the integrated video, you'll also likely have to do that. Really hoping someone finds a way to integrate Discord's video feature into it, as it'd allow me to remove one side window from my games.

An unverified and unverifiable claim, though possible.

I mean, it's unverifiable through numbers, but if you spend time with the PF2 community it's pretty obvious that it is at least something. Foundry is the first, second, and third recommendation from the Paizo Boards to Reddit and just about anywhere else PF2 gets talked about. I've not seen this sort of push from any other game, though I'll admit there are plenty of game communities that I'm not a part of.
 
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teitan

Legend
Yeah just spend some time in the P2 groups on Facebook, YouTube or on Paizo. Paizo supports Foundry, foundry actively develops P2 materials. Roll20 does not. They have the core rulebooks and some of the early Adventure Paths for P2 and then it is hit or miss. In April Paizo even announced an official partnership with Foundry.


You can be a naysayer but the fact remains, until we can consolidate all the VTT statistics then they aren't really a good judge on any of this beyond... people play D&D and everything else is kind of... there.
 

BigZebra

Explorer
It’s simply not true that Roll20 doesn’t actively develop PF2 content. One month ago they released AP 3 and 4 of Strength of Thousand Suns as well as Guns & Gear and Lost Bazar.
They are actually trying to stay current on the Paizo releases and also just released a Starfinder adventure.
 

It’s simply not true that Roll20 doesn’t actively develop PF2 content. One month ago they released AP 3 and 4 of Strength of Thousand Suns as well as Guns & Gear and Lost Bazar.
They are actually trying to stay current on the Paizo releases and also just released a Starfinder adventure.

Eh, there were problems in the past (ironically their slow scheduling had been a reason for people to say that things weren't going well), but the bigger thing is that Foundry as a platform has just been better for PF2 players.
 

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