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 9.6%
  • Critical Role is a factor in 5e's popularity and I like CR

    Votes: 46 29.3%
  • Critical Role is a factor in 5e's popularity but I'm neutral to CR

    Votes: 53 33.8%
  • Critical Role is a factor in 5e's popularity but I dislike CR

    Votes: 10 6.4%
  • 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%

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yes, but a fraction like 1/10 is a heck of a lot more important than a fraction like 1/200.

And OP indicated they strongly disagree with the idea that CR is the main driving factor, but posted a poll to get others' opinions.
I doubt Critters are actually as much h as 1/10...but even grsnting thst for the sake of argument, it is still a fraction.

I read what the OP wrote, andthe results validate that not many people view CR as the "major" reqson for 5E success, no matter what someone thinks of the show.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
You wrote that OP posited that it was the main factor, but OP posited that it was not. Most people here seem to agree with that.
Specifically, "Anyways, there IS one thing that I dislike about those who are very pro-Critical Role that I've seen. It seems most of them think that the ONLY reason 5e is as big as it is is because Critical Role uses it. That without Critical Role, 5e would not be the booming success it is."

I mean, I love CR, and I don't see how anyone could think that...and few people seem to I'm the poll results.
 

Specifically, "Anyways, there IS one thing that I dislike about those who are very pro-Critical Role that I've seen. It seems most of them think that the ONLY reason 5e is as big as it is is because Critical Role uses it. That without Critical Role, 5e would not be the booming success it is."
Emphasis added. OP was referring only to those pro-CR people who they have seen, and openly acknowledged that it was anecdotal, and that`s the whole reason for the poll in the first place. OP was not generalizing about pro-CR people overall.
 

jgsugden

Legend
As this is a Crit Role thread, I'll restate something for the too manyeth time: If you look at Critical Role and think/say, "This is not the D&D I know. I've never seen any D&D games that resemble Critical Role. I hate it," ... then I suggest you give the style a try, even if you're sure you'll dislike the style. If you've never seen such a game, you can't really understand what it is like to be invested in a game in that way. That style of game has many elements, and even if you're entirely right that you will not like playing that style, you can still learn a lot from trying it out.

As an example, I had a player in one of my games roll up a barbarian. In the very first session, that barbarian was insulted, and responded violently. From that point, the PC was shown to have a very assertive per

I can assure you that many games out there run in a style similar to Critical Role for prolonged periods and are greatly enjoyed by a wide variety of players. None of these games are exactly like CR, but there are a lot of RP heavy games with many similarities. I've played in games that were in the vein of Critical Role with many different dungeon masters. There were people that heavily gravitated towards the RP and enjoyed crafting complex storylines around their PCs ... and then there were players that took a less intensive tract and played characters with less depth. All had a lot of opportunity for fun.

It is not technically hard to role play at that level, although it takes a bit of bravery to put yourself out there in character in the way a Taliesin, Laura or Liam did from the 'start'. The other players (Travis, Sam, Marisha, Ashley) had to develop their chops to be as comfortable doing so, with some taking years to get there and others only months.

Take a look, specifically, at Travis. His first D&D experience was the start of the CR home game. He'd been asked to play many times, but turned down the opportunity, with disdain. He was an actor, he'd done some geeky stuff (he was into comics) - but if not for him being with Laura Bailey, he would not have played that fateful night, as he essentially only went because the wife ... urged ... him to go. A quote from him about his view of the game going into that night:
I didn't know anything about the game. I didn't know anything about the people that pkayed it. I had never seenanybosy else play it. I didn't know what kind of people were interested in it or inspired by it or what effect it had in any way. In my mind, it was just something that people did in the basement. The same thing that I had been told during the satanic panic in the '80s. That was it.
He wanted to be as responsible for as little as possible with a PC because he was very unsure.

When they talked about taking the game to stream, Laura had to convince him to sign on because he was embarassed to be seen playing D&D. Does that describe a person willing ti put themselves out there in a home game, much less a streaming game?

And he didn't. He took the easy way out. Rather than throw himself into a character with a deep backstory like a Percival or the twins, he played a dumb barbarian that could just hit stuff. But, he played that character in a game with an experienced dungeon master that dropped in a few seeds that were easy for them to sprout. They developed the friendship between Grog and Pike, as well as the backstory from his Herd. As Travis said, they slapped on more layers of clay and simulatenously exposed the wires to get at more raw sides to the character. They slowly built up his comfort and then he took a starring role in a few of the storylines with Kraven's Edge, the Herd, etc... From there, you can see his willingness to take on more depth with his next character, etc...

HOWEVER, his development and comfort levels with that style of games isn't a stand-alone self contained benefit. Travis has spoken at length about the therapeutic benefits of this style of game. He has spoken about how it allowed him to work through some fears and negative history. It called back to the (limited) military knowledge and (extensive) sports experiences he'd had going into the game, and gave him ways to express that history. When he made his second character, he thought he'd been a little bit of a 'playing it safe' @#$%& with Grog, and he put himself out there - giving him a chance to explore more of his own self, and of sides ofhis personality that he had been afraid to explore previously. It changed his views on many types of fantasy stories as well - from Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings. I'm not saying that it game him a new interest in these styles of fantasy - I'm saying it changed how he thought about them.

So - you might be right that that style of game may not be as fun for you as hack and slash / optimization / etc... focused games: But there can be things you can learn from trying the style that are worth experiencing.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
It's not a simple matter of how many people watch CR and how many of those play D&D. The answer to this question lies in how many of those people would not be playing D&D if it weren't for CR. And I think that number is pretty low (relatively speaking).


"Wizards announced Wednesday morning that 2020 was D&D‘s best year on record, further confirming sales numbers reported in February. As per Wizards’ stats, they’ve tracked more than 50 million players for D&D worldwide, with a 33% increase in year-over-year sales."

I think the number of current players really is over 50 million. This is worldwide, not just North America.

Since 2014 every year their rate of sales has increased, often by a lot, than the year before.


RPG retail sales in 2020 were estimated to be $105 million up from the $15 million in 2013.

This is just sales, I would assume most D&D players are not buying much individually. It's possible to play D&D on very little money.

So I have no trouble believing that there are more than 50 million people currently playing the game worldwide.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
Specifically, "Anyways, there IS one thing that I dislike about those who are very pro-Critical Role that I've seen. It seems most of them think that the ONLY reason 5e is as big as it is is because Critical Role uses it. That without Critical Role, 5e would not be the booming success it is."

I mean, I love CR, and I don't see how anyone could think that...and few people seem to I'm the poll results.

I've seen the argument usually it's from someone who doesn't like 5e and wants to point to something other than it being a good game for its success. And those people don't like CR too.

So in my experience I have seen it more from people who both don't like CR and 5e.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I've seen the argument usually it's from someone who doesn't like 5e and wants to point to something other than it being a good game for its success. And those people don't like CR too.

So in my experience I have seen it more from people who both don't like CR and 5e.
Yup, that matches my observation as well.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Emphasis added. OP was referring only to those pro-CR people who they have seen, and openly acknowledged that it was anecdotal, and that`s the whole reason for the poll in the first place. OP was not generalizing about pro-CR people overall.
I mean, the poitn was to figure out if that is what people thought. But it is a pretty absurd idea.
 



I occasionally make the mistake of narrating shopkeepers and shopping trips, mostly if it's for unusual magical items. But, since I like to ham it up even for something I find intrinsically boring like shopping, next thing I know everybody wants to go shopping. I'm beginning to think I should go out of my way to make the shopping trips the equivalent of going to the DMV. :mad:
I had this problem with animal companions! I started off narrating every familiar / pet / plucky animal thing the party owned, and it was well received. Too well. Pretty soon the entire party had a familiar or pet of some kind, sometimes multiples. I love making an enjoyable experience for my players, but I ain't got time for that! Strict "RP your own pets" policy now, unless the narrative really calls for me to step in.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I game with an older crowd, and none of them have started playing 5e due to Critical Role. But I do know it's helped grow the hobby as a whole and D&D specifically, and I know a number of the voice actors from other work they have done -- I'm positive toward Critical Role. I've tried to watch it twice and failed both time not completing the first episode. But that was a long shot - I can't stand podcasts or videos or audiobooks of any nature because talking is ridiculously slow compared to reading (for me), and it doesn't hold my attention. Yes, I speed it up, but even then it's not my jam. I have pointed people at CR, I know that speed issue is a me-thing. I have recently watched the Vox Machina series and enjoyed it, but that's much more concentrated on things happening per wall clock time. My biggest two complaints about CR are (a) popularizing the minor cliche of some high-Charisma characters as romantic Players into the Horny Bard trope, and (b) seeing new players holding new DMs up to Matt Mercer and being disappointed. And the second one isn't their fault. But oh, Scanlan, oh.,
 


South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
I’m not so sure about this, actually.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s general popularity is comparable to D&D in terms of viewers compared to active players.
Several of my nieces and nephews only recently got into D&D, and Critical Role was a big part of what got them started. I suspect Mercer & Co. have contributed a lot to it's increasing popularity.
 



SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
I don't think EN World is really a reliable place to answer this question, since most of the members are experienced players who've been in the hobby for some time. (At this point, I must add that I have had to be away from the site for a few years now since I was working a job with limited internet access, so ... feel free to school me if I'm wrong here).

The question is: how many people are coming into the hobby because of Critical Role? I don't think you can really understate this enough. I know many people who have kept up with running and playing AP adventures for the last few years, and they have consistently told me that new players talk about it very frequently, largely because they had an interest where they came across one of the actors in CR for voice work and then found out about the show.

The forums I frequent bring up the issue of new players expecting "the Critical Role experience" all the time, usually as a complaint.

So I suspect it has a very strong influence, but it also isn't an influence on me or the people I play with, since they were already here.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
What would you say is/are the biggest?
The two big factors go together, in my mind: the design of 5E going back to a looser, less formal and fast-paced style of play similar to 80's iterations, and the overall rise of streaming. I know for a fact that WotC wasn't thinking of the streaming breakout when they made 5E, but the design they chose really played to streaming as a medium much more than a 3.x or 4E style game would have. Combine that with a generational trend towards being open to geeky fantasy stuff, and you have a perfect storm.

Now, Critical Role is the largest single streaming group, but they aren't the only ones making a living off of that scene: they are on the pointy end of the spear, but they aren't the whole story. Adventurer Zone and Acquisitions Incorporated are also huge, and there are a multitude of people putting stuff out there, and were doing so even before Critical Role broke out big. It's a whole scene, not just CR. Though I suspect for people who don't get into stremed games, CR is sort of a condensed symbol for the entire scene?
 

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