D&D (2024) The WotC Playtest Surveys Have A Flaw

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I am assuming they're not lying re: the 70% approval threshold.

Which leads directly to, if not incompetence, then certainly something that could very easily look like it.

It's certainly not the primary goal, it's a "nice to have".

The primary goal seems to be "don't rock the boat"/"don't kill the golden goose".

The thing is, I don't think there was really a serious risk of either from any design changes/UAs that 5E has ever had. I feel like they could have gone the wildest, most risky choice possible in almost every single UA over the years, completely ignored surveys, and I'm pretty sure 5E would be just as successful as now, if not slightly more successful. For example, what if they'd put in a properly-balanced and playtested version of the Mystic (really a Psionicist)? Would the game be less successful or popular? No. There's just no way. No-one would have quit. There'd probably a widely-loved Critical Role character who was a Mystic, and it'd be like, one of the mid-popularity classes, or at least above the bottom ones (sorry Druids - you're actually pretty good!). Some tiny portion of groups would ban it, sure, but that's the same sort of assorted races, classes, subclasses.

Even with these 2024 UAs, the only stuff I've seen that would have actually have caused serious ructions and maybe dented sales by like, 5%, would have been the proposed Druid and Warlock changes. Like the Aardlings, what if they'd pushed them through? No-one would have quit or been seriously mad, or so few people that they were balanced out by the dear Furries who were delighted by it. I guess if they'd pushed the "you are really one race" hybrid thing through that would have caused some real blowback, especially outside the US, but I'm not sure they're not going to, and it's different in nature to the other issues the UAs have covered.
"Don't Rock the Boat" seems to me to be the reason we are getting bland mechanical options(when we get them at all) and a ton of adventures and light settings. Interesting mechanical options have a high potential for more fun, but also some potential to rock the boat. The same with details in settings. The more detailed you get, the more likely someone is not to like that detail, potentially rocking the boat.
 

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Couple reasons rooted in the fact that I've used a vtt with attached display for years of in person GM'ing now.

The. Vtt use splits in two ways. Firstly you have a pretty battle mat replacement that might sport some dynamic lighting and fow, all of the game is still handled outside the vtt even if sometimes parts are still done with the vtt itself. While that battlemat replacement is more than functional enough and looks amazing it still adds some prep work on top of the usual gm prep.at the other end you have GMs who go woo out and try to configure the vtt to handle everything the vtt could manage or automate... That's an extreme timesink that collapses back to a battlemat replacement as soon as the players try something unexpected or decide to blaze their own path. In the middle is a little of each as convenient.

You can get around both of those and get more data if you build the vtt to be played like a video game with loadable adventures rather than like d&d. None of those are really going to give you great data about actual d&d play without some agi listening in to crunch the conversation for analysis though
I think you're taking an all-or-nothing attitude to metrics that WotC won't and indeed that doesn't really make sense.

The first usage you describe is fine - it still gives useful metrics, it just doesn't give 100% metrics. It's an insane gain on the "no metrics" they have right now. It would tell them a ton about what races/classes people actually playing, how classes are being played in combat, how characters that are actually played are built (something Beyond cannot tell you), what sort of spells/abilities people typically use, and a ton of other information.

The second usage is just the same but better for WotC - it's more data. You say "Oh soon as they go off-piste it's just a battlemat again", and I say that's not meaningful - because if you're using the VTT for rolls, you're using it for rolls. So you might not know exactly why they're rolling perception, and stealth, then religion or whatever, but you know they are, and that's important and useful information.

Again in the middle, that's fine, more metrics.

As for the "load like a videogame", well that is certainly something WotC seem to want to be possible with the 3D VTT, and I strongly suspect they're going to push the 3D VTT towards that, because what WotC want with the 3D VTT Is two-fold:

1) To expand the number of people "playing D&D" - right now, there are countless people, WotC believes (this mentioned with 4E and implied in some statements re: the 3D VTT), who aren't playing D&D not because they don't want to, but because they can't/won't find a group IRL. WotC believes (and indeed, has believed, since 4E) that those people could be made to play D&D by providing them with a 3D VTT which is very streamlined and easy to use and has tools to find groups and so on.

Once you've got them inside the ecosystem, then you can get cash out of them - for the subscription to the 3D VTT (remember Dan Rawson is Mr Subscription - it's entire deal in terms of his history at Microsoft - converting people from one-off purchases to ongoing subscriptions), for the cost of individual books, and for microtransactions for appearance or gameplay stuff.

2) To give WotC new ways to get money out of existing players and DMs. The first one is microtransactions, of course - literally in the first presentation of the 3D VTT, they discussed immediately how there would be microtransactions to buy character appearances, monster models, etc., and possible (they literally mused about it) board pieces for the DM to use. The second one is they can re-sell you adventures "upgraded" into 3D VTT-compliant versions, with all the work done for you - you see this as "not D&D", and I sympathize, but WotC very much sees it as what they want out of D&D. If nothing else they can say they're selling you the pieces and art. Nobody they'll take the drug dealer's approach and go with "the first hit is free" and have Phandelver or something as a baseline, and have it exceptionally well-done, so you suddenly think this is going to be great. Thirdly, they can sell you smaller mechanical packages, like microtransactions for subclasses, individual species, etc., that you just wouldn't buy with Beyond normally. They can even make stuff exclusive to those microtransactions.

And I agree - I even said, the metrics on that won't tell you how D&D is really played, but why would they care? How much money can you get out of people playing at an actual table as compared to people who do the following?

A) Need to a monthly subscription to play (no doubt higher than Beyond minus 3D VTT)

B) Need to pay you to make their character look cool.

C) Also have to buy digital books etc. just like they were at the table

The metrics from these guys are potentially much more important and profitable than us physical slobs. Thus if the 3D VTT is a success, expect future rules design to reflect 3D VTT metrics, not what might make sense on the tabletop.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I think you're taking an all-or-nothing attitude to metrics that WotC won't and indeed that doesn't really make sense.

The first usage you describe is fine - it still gives useful metrics, it just doesn't give 100% metrics. It's an insane gain on the "no metrics" they have right now. It would tell them a ton about what races/classes people actually playing, how classes are being played in combat, how characters that are actually played are built (something Beyond cannot tell you), what sort of spells/abilities people typically use, and a ton of other information.

The second usage is just the same but better for WotC - it's more data. You say "Oh soon as they go off-piste it's just a battlemat again", and I say that's not meaningful - because if you're using the VTT for rolls, you're using it for rolls. So you might not know exactly why they're rolling perception, and stealth, then religion or whatever, but you know they are, and that's important and useful information.

Again in the middle, that's fine, more metrics.

As for the "load like a videogame", well that is certainly something WotC seem to want to be possible with the 3D VTT, and I strongly suspect they're going to push the 3D VTT towards that, because what WotC want with the 3D VTT Is two-fold:

1) To expand the number of people "playing D&D" - right now, there are countless people, WotC believes (this mentioned with 4E and implied in some statements re: the 3D VTT), who aren't playing D&D not because they don't want to, but because they can't/won't find a group IRL. WotC believes (and indeed, has believed, since 4E) that those people could be made to play D&D by providing them with a 3D VTT which is very streamlined and easy to use and has tools to find groups and so on.

Once you've got them inside the ecosystem, then you can get cash out of them - for the subscription to the 3D VTT (remember Dan Rawson is Mr Subscription - it's entire deal in terms of his history at Microsoft - converting people from one-off purchases to ongoing subscriptions), for the cost of individual books, and for microtransactions for appearance or gameplay stuff.

2) To give WotC new ways to get money out of existing players and DMs. The first one is microtransactions, of course - literally in the first presentation of the 3D VTT, they discussed immediately how there would be microtransactions to buy character appearances, monster models, etc., and possible (they literally mused about it) board pieces for the DM to use. The second one is they can re-sell you adventures "upgraded" into 3D VTT-compliant versions, with all the work done for you - you see this as "not D&D", and I sympathize, but WotC very much sees it as what they want out of D&D. If nothing else they can say they're selling you the pieces and art. Nobody they'll take the drug dealer's approach and go with "the first hit is free" and have Phandelver or something as a baseline, and have it exceptionally well-done, so you suddenly think this is going to be great. Thirdly, they can sell you smaller mechanical packages, like microtransactions for subclasses, individual species, etc., that you just wouldn't buy with Beyond normally. They can even make stuff exclusive to those microtransactions.

And I agree - I even said, the metrics on that won't tell you how D&D is really played, but why would they care? How much money can you get out of people playing at an actual table as compared to people who do the following?

A) Need to a monthly subscription to play (no doubt higher than Beyond minus 3D VTT)

B) Need to pay you to make their character look cool.

C) Also have to buy digital books etc. just like they were at the table

The metrics from these guys are potentially much more important and profitable than us physical slobs. Thus if the 3D VTT is a success, expect future rules design to reflect 3D VTT metrics, not what might make sense on the tabletop.

i disagree because it lumps prep & such into the same metrics as play while the play is already being glimpsed through a swiss cheese chinese wall. Will there be data? Yes... Will it be interesting data?... maybe... Will that data be solid or detailed enough to confidentially draw many conclusions from?... no not really11
 

i disagree because it lumps prep & such into the same metrics as play while the play is already being glimpsed through a swiss cheese chinese wall. Will there be data? Yes... Will it be interesting data?... maybe... Will that data be solid or detailed enough to confidentially draw many conclusions from?... no not really11
Oh you sweet summer child.

When did the crap-ness of metrics ever stop a corporation obsessing about those metrics, and acting, often precipitously, on those metrics?

(Also I have no idea how "prep" is lumped into the metrics, that makes no sense. You don't sit there rolling dice in Roll 20 when you're doing prep, do you? I know I don't!)
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
How do we know this .01% statistic is true? Did someone at Wizards say or publish this?

Reverse that .01%. How many feedback forms have they received? How many people play D&D? If we do not have those two numbers, we can't possibly figure out that percentage.
I'm not sure where that 0.01% number came from; my number was about 600x higher.

I can tell you where my number came from, though. In the first post, I write that I'm the only person out of the 18 people that I play Dungeons & Dragons with regularly, who have even heard of OneD&D...and 1/18th is roughly 6%.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Unless you have secret insider information, you have absolutely no basis to make that claim. It's just straightforwardly a lie presented as a fact.

Mod note:
With respect, no. Be more careful of what you call a "lie".

A lie is speaking that which you know to specifically be untrue.

Unfounded assertions are just that - unfounded assertions. They are not known to be untrue, as they are not verified either way.

If you can be polite about it, you can point out when assertions are unfounded - talking horsehockey isn't good for a discussion. But calling people liars is fraught, and when you are wrong about it, that is a problem.

So maybe, next time, don't. Thanks.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
The. Vtt use splits in two ways. Firstly you have a pretty battle mat replacement that might sport some dynamic lighting and fow, all of the game is still handled outside the vtt even if sometimes parts are still done with the vtt itself. While that battlemat replacement is more than functional enough and looks amazing it still adds some prep work on top of the usual gm prep.

I don't think I really agree; I'd argue it just moves that prep from in-game to pre-game. If I'm using a battlemap at all, I either have to draw it or place it at some point; so you can either take up time in game or out of game, so I just think it moves around when.

(People can absolutely get carried away doing things they wouldn't do face to face, but that's not the same as just having a map and some tokens down).
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I don't think I really agree; I'd argue it just moves that prep from in-game to pre-game. If I'm using a battlemap at all, I either have to draw it or place it at some point; so you can either take up time in game or out of game, so I just think it moves around when.

(People can absolutely get carried away doing things they wouldn't do face to face, but that's not the same as just having a map and some tokens down).
Kind of yes but it also depends on how easy it is to build stuff in your vtt of choice and how much you can just load or import. A lot of the time I just import s map from Google or take a preexisting .rwmap and maybe make some tweaks real fast.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Kind of yes but it also depends on how easy it is to build stuff in your vtt of choice and how much you can just load or import. A lot of the time I just import s map from Google or take a preexisting .rwmap and maybe make some tweaks real fast.

And for a lot of uses I can just import a battlemap in, plop down some tokens and be done. Barring making up my mind to use the map, I don't think it takes five minutes.
 

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