Critical Role To Critical Role or not...That is the question

Did Critical Role influence D&D and how do you feel about CR?

  • Critical Role is the biggest reason for 5e's popularity and I love CR

    Votes: 2 1.3%
  • Critical Role is the biggest reason for 5e's popularity and I like CR

    Votes: 5 3.2%
  • Critical Role is the biggest reason for 5e's popularity and I'm neutral to CR

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • Critical Role is the biggest reason for 5e's popularity but I dislike CR

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • Critical Role is the biggest reason for 5e's popularity but I hate CR

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Critical Role is a factor in 5e's popularity and I love CR

    Votes: 15 9.5%
  • Critical Role is a factor in 5e's popularity and I like CR

    Votes: 46 29.1%
  • Critical Role is a factor in 5e's popularity but I'm neutral to CR

    Votes: 54 34.2%
  • Critical Role is a factor in 5e's popularity but I dislike CR

    Votes: 10 6.3%
  • Critical Role is a factor in 5e's popularity but I hate CR

    Votes: 6 3.8%
  • Critical Role isn't a factor towards 5e's popularity but I love CR

    Votes: 2 1.3%
  • Critical Role isn't a factor towards 5e's popularity but I like CR

    Votes: 2 1.3%
  • Critical Role isn't a factor towards 5e's popularity but I'm neutral to CR

    Votes: 8 5.1%
  • Critical Role isn't a factor towards 5e's popularity and I dislike CR

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • Critical Role isn't a factor towards 5e's popularity and I hate CR

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • Critical Role...what's that...oh, and I think Matt Mercer is hot

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Critical Role...no idea what that is, but Matt Mercer needs a haircut

    Votes: 2 1.3%
  • Critical Role...don't ask...but I eat puppies and kittens for lunch

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Critical Role...Yes...yes...I'm critical to RPGs...why do you ask

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Critical Role...go for the eyes boo...go for the eyes!!!

    Votes: 2 1.3%

DRIZZN'T

Villager
As an older player who started with B/X and now runs 5e games, I'm pretty happy with 5e. It's fairly streamlined and easy to learn, which makes it easy to bring in new players. I get why people might like crunchier rulesets like 3/3.5e or Pathfinder, but they're just not for me. My DM style is sort of "rules casual", in that I'll mostly follow the rules of the game but I like coming up with situational rules on the fly that I feel follow the spirit of D&D as I remember it from back in the day.

Critical Role? Meh. Its not my thing. Not that I dislike narrative-heavy games! Love them actually, its just hard to find players who are really into RP. The Critical Role people all just seem to be talking over one another all the time in order to get more spotlight, every time I turn it on, it bothers me. I like that they have helped make a thing that I used to get beat up for in grade school, cool. I love that D&D is "cool" now.
 

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I'd say it is a factor, but not the only one. When I still watched CR (season 1), there were loads of people who said they started to play bc. of CR, but CR viewers still make up only a fraction of 5e players if we trust the numbers published by WotC. Generally, it's probably more RPG streaming as a concept that helped 5e to take off. Plus, 5e is a decent game if you are into the sort of experience it offers (which seems to be true for a large number of people, especially in the US).

Closing note: these days im neutral towards CR - I don't think I'll go back to watching, but I'm glad for the people who still enjoy it and it doesn't bother me in any way.
 


Oofta

Legend
I watch critical role while exercising or doing some other activity. I enjoy it but it's more just a handy distraction than anything.

As far as the effect on the game despite what some people claim I just don't see it, at least not to the extent that some claim. The 5E trajectory was already double digit growth after an unexpectedly successful launch long before CR was a hit. WOTC stated in 2020 that 50 million people have played D&D, around 1.5 million people watch any given episode of CR. Since the game has continued to grow since then, the number of people that watch CR is dwarfed by the number of people that play D&D.

As far as the show itself, I appreciate the style of game that they show. In general it feels like the style of game I run myself. Admittedly we can't get together for 3-4 hours each week so we have less time spent on RP since I want to keep the plot moving. I also make no claim that we are anywhere near as entertaining as they are, but we joke and laugh, have stupid character interactions and so on. For the most part CR feels real to me, at least when they're not performing for a live audience. Are they acting for the viewers? To a certain degree I'm sure they are. Just like my home game, they're also acting for each other because that can be a big part of the fun.

I think the biggest reasons they're successful is that it doesn't feel like they're running a joke campaign or a campaign solely designed to entertain. It feels like they have fun playing the game first and entertain second.
 


Bluebell

Explorer
Having actually come from the internet circles where CR is very big, I would definitely agree that it's a factor in 5e's success but not the sole reason for it. There was a lot of hype for 5e among new players when it first released because we all heard how accessible it was. CR just happened to come along when that hype was already going, and I'd say their success is due in part to people who were already interested in DnD, but had never played it themselves, wanting to watch it in action.

I'd say a less well-known show, but still very significant in bringing in new players, was The Adventure Zone, which started before Critical Role did and also continues to have a solid following.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I hate CR. I think it is garbage, boring, and not representative of most D&D games IME; and Vox Machina is a travesty in representing D&D. I have no clue why people would watch others play D&D when they could play themselves. 🤷‍♂️

INSHO if you have time to watch CR, you have time to play D&D instead. Yeah, I know, people are busy, they can't find players, etc. Crap IMO. You think it is hard to find and organize a game now? Try it in the 80's before gaming, video games, anime, comics, and such things were NOT mainstream in any way, shape, or form. To be clear I am not saying finding a game or group is easy, but you can do it if you really want to IME.

All that being said, not just CR but online videos of gameplay, advice, etc. have ALL contributed greatly to the popularity of D&D and increased its general acceptance. Now when I tell people I play D&D, instead of getting a strange look or cringe, I get an "Oh, I've heard of that. That's cool" more often than not. Many people still aren't really interested in trying it, but at least few people treat my like I have leprosy when I tell them I play D&D.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
I like it. I don’t have the lifespan to watch all of it, but I listen to it like a podcast when I’m cooking or doing dishes and it’s quite good. It gave my partner enough of an example of D&D actual play to feel comfortable trying it, and of course loved it. Many of my coworkers who (now) play D&D had similar experiences. One would be a fool to assume it hasn’t been a significant factor in D&D’s current popularity, but to call it the biggest factor would be overselling it. D&D was already on the rise when CR started, which is part of why they played it.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
It's a minor factor, IMO most followers are people who were already into RPG.

I don't dislike it because I think it's very well made, but at the same time I never watch it because it feels like wasting my time.
 

Lycurgon

Adventurer
I hate CR. I think it is garbage, boring, and not representative of most D&D games IME; and Vox Machina is a travesty in representing D&D. I have no clue why people would watch others play D&D when they could play themselves. 🤷‍♂️

INSHO if you have time to watch CR, you have time to play D&D instead. Yeah, I know, people are busy, they can't find players, etc. Crap IMO. You think it is hard to find and organize a game now? Try it in the 80's before gaming, video games, anime, comics, and such things were NOT mainstream in any way, shape, or form. To be clear I am not saying finding a game or group is easy, but you can do it if you really want to IME.
I completely disagree with your statements that if you have time for watching CR you have time to play D&D.
I play 3 games current, just about start a 4th. I have time to play D&D and other RPGs. I also have time to watch CR. These to things do not take the same commitment and are not equatable. Playing an RPG game means organising time to play with others. It involves forward planning to schedule and effort to run for at least one of the people playing. It also involves social interaction with others and some people only have a limited amount of that that they can copy with.
It is not the same as putting on an Internet show. Like many others I mostly watch/Listen to CR while doing other things. I cannot play D&D while cooking dinner, or doing house cleaning etc. I know a number of people that watch/listen to it while working because their job allow for doing so. And it takes a lot less forward planning or energy to watch. Just turn it on and there it is.
 

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