RPG Evolution: Looking Ahead to 2022

Predicting anything is a risky business; predicting the future of the hobby business even moreso, as the ups and downs of the industry aren't necessities and therefore harder to judge. But there's some trends in 2021 that point to what we can expect in 2022.

RPG2022.png

Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

The 5.5 Edition Shuffle Begins​

The announcement of a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons by the 50th anniversary of D&D in 2024 wasn't necessarily a surprise, but a half-edition may not have been what everyone expected. Promises that everything will be backwards compatible (a promise similar to 5E's) will rely primarily on how transparent Wizards of the Coast is with those changes. So far, those changes have been signaled early on. There will come a turning point where signaling compatibility with the upcoming edition will matter to consumers. It's a long way off for most gamers, but not too soon for publishers, especially those with print products planned in the latter half of the year. Expect to see more of them begin showing their hand by indicating 5.5E compatibility this year.

D&D's Digital Dominance Expands​

We've discussed in depth how Wizards struggled to develop a coherent digital strategy until finally just outsourcing the whole business to third parties. But there's a new CEO in town, and Chris Cocks' background in digital seems rooted in plans for the future of both D&D and Magic. Cocks led the creation of a Digital Games Studio and a revamped technology team, coupled with the curious rumblings of WOTC's plans for a virtual tabletop and the registration of the digital-focused trademark of "Atomic Arcade" adds up to all of the company's digital plans for D&D and Magic coming in house.

Unions Will Accelerate​

The ingredients that create unions (suppressed wages, economic uncertainty, industry abuse, high-risk jobs) have been percolating for some time now, but the pandemic seems to have finally pushed employees to action. The most emblematic in the industry is Paizo's new union, but it seems unlikely unionization will be merely confined to that one company. Hasbro already has a union, but it's not clear if there is representation in Wizards of the Coast. Other large companies in hobby markets may well have their own unions soon.

We'll Learn to Live with the Pandemic​

In-person gaming is particularly vulnerable to pandemics: talking, laughing, and being in close-proximity are all considered "high-risk activities" that can potentially spread a virus. To a certain extent, online gaming blunted the damage, but that left in-person events like conventions in a tough spot. Slowly but surely, conventions are adapting. We'll probably see more of this, with digital/in-person hybrid events, testing and vaccine requirements, and attendance limits on future conventions. One thing is becoming apparent: it's no longer possible to simply delay long enough until the "pandemic is over."

The Supply Chain Will Eventually Unclog​

As I recently discovered when I ordered a prop helmet for my son's costume a month-and-a-half before Halloween that still hasn't arrived, the world is currently experiencing supply chain issues. These disruptions have impacted many tabletop gaming companies, particularly during the holiday season. This is bad, bad enough to sink Dust Studios, and there will surely be more. Worse, supply chain problems will continue well into 2022. It should get better by the end of the year, but by then frustrated customers may have changed their buying habits and impulse buys will be a thing of the past.

Please Be Better 2022!​

2021 was marked not so much by what it achieved but by what it didn't. 2020 set the bar low, and 2021 just didn't perform as high as we expected. Here's hoping 2022 will be incrementally better.

Your Turn: What are your predictions for 2022?
 
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca

ruemere

Adventurer
Right? I used the heck out of that CD for a few years. IIRC, didn’t that project turn into something called “CodeMonkey”? I thought a full character builder appeared, but too little too late.
CodeMonkey Publishing is the name of the team who produced commercial material for PCGen, an open source initiative for a generic/universal character generator.

The web page for the open source generator: PCGen – A d20 RPG Character Creator

It's cross platform, uses Java (it's fast, as long as you have enough RAM), and currently supports:
  • Pathfinder 1e
  • Pathfinder 2e (coming)
  • d20 Modern
  • Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition
  • Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition
  • Starfinder
(and more)

The bad news is that it is no longer developed due to original team stepping down. The last release was on FEBRUARY 15, 2021.

PS. As a person who worked on Scarred Lands datasets for 3E (and then homebrew 3.5 conversion), I would like to say that I loved working on application stuff... however life happens, and so I moved on.
 
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Tsuga C

Adventurer
There is a line in there that they will hopefully not cross. That line is doing all they can to push narrow-minded, anti-inclusive people away from the game without turning it so generic that people may as well play any of the other generic games out there.
For many of us who grew up playing earlier editions in earlier decades, the line you speak of has already been crossed and pointedly spat upon.
 

Rogerd1

Adventurer
There are so many good 3rd party publishers for 5e it is great.

Deep Magic, and Spheres of Magic have been mentioned.
Tales of Arcana is just excellent fun, Kisarta is an interesting book where playeres can end up when they die instead of heaven / hell
Age of Antiquity
Farland
Svillard
World of Alessia

And a ton of great KS stuff too. I am having to stop myself here, there are just so many.
 

Ghost2020

Adventurer
I predict that my D&D purchases from WOTC will probably slow a lot unless they announce an undead book or a planar book and the changes are still compatible with what I already have without forcing me to buy Multiverse. I am getting the new CR adventure. My D&D plans are to branch out to Kobold Press and continue my support of Goodman Games with a probable shift to Dungeon Crawl Classics.
Almost exactly the same here. Aside from the Netherdeep book, nothing on the WotC release plans interest me. This was the same for me back in the d20 days. Third party producers are making the interesting items. I have stacks of 3rd party 5e material from Kickstarter that is way more interesting than the products from WotC, for me anyway.
If Kobold Press keeps having home runs on their products, and I'll keep supporting them. Great stuff coming out from those folks.

We've also been playing the back catalog of games, Dead Reign, Call of Cthulhu, Starfinder, etc.
 



Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I predict...

  1. At least 3 nerd properties will get an RPG next year, and that at least one of them won't be 5e, and at least one of them will be a surprise (Community the RPG anyone?!?).
  2. Planejammer confirmed
  3. There will be more MorkBorg + Mothership crowdfunds combined than 5e
  4. There will be at least ten RPG crowdfunds that hit the $1M mark
  5. WotC will try a crowdfund, it just won't be Magic or D&D
  6. There will be a merger in the VTT space
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I predict too many threads will be clouded with posts about changes to races and rules..... Rather than the topic.
And more people not reading the changes in the errata and race changes before whining about it. (Oh, and Unearthed Arcana. There were a ton of people complaining about things they thought were in the Spelljammer UA that weren't actually in it.)
 

And more people not reading the changes in the errata and race changes before whining about it.

I predict even more fights at the table between players with older printings of the books and players with the latest printing over what is no longer errata because their copy includes the changes and is thus the only official version of the rules. And because it will mostly be new players with the newest printing, these older curmudgeons will chase people away from the game with their gatekeeping over printing versions.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I predict even more fights at the table between players with older printings of the books and players with the latest printing over what is no longer errata because their copy includes the changes and is thus the only official version of the rules. And because it will mostly be new players with the newest printing, these older curmudgeons will chase people away from the game with their gatekeeping over printing versions.
The exact same thing happened with Tasha's, so I expect that you'll be correct.
 

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