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%

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
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
Sure, and I say they made a good choice here.
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.
This is a really good point I hadn't considered (I don't stream, watch streaming, or have any social media, so I tend to be "out of the loop"). I've marveled at the popularity of Twitch and its ilk and never really understood it, but its influence in popular culture is unequivocal. So in your view it's the rise of streaming together with the ease with which 5e can stream, is that it?
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Sure, and I say they made a good choice here.

This is a really good point I hadn't considered (I don't stream, watch streaming, or have any social media, so I tend to be "out of the loop"). I've marveled at the popularity of Twitch and its ilk and never really understood it, but its influence in popular culture is unequivocal. So in your view it's the rise of streaming together with the ease with which 5e can stream, is that it?
Essentially, yes. There are a number of other factors which primarily broke in WotC favor, such as the generational gap now favoring parents who grew up with Basic & Advanced D&D sharing that with their kids, the art style being more inviting to a broader demographic (my wife finds a lot of older edition art very off-putting and upsetting as a woman, not 5E art), the overall slow rollout marketing strategy, etc. But the combined rise of streaming and streaming friendly rules being new and shiny is the big combo, I think.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I wonder what proportion of newer gamers got into D&D through their gamer parents, or parents of friends? I know of a handful of late 20-somethings who came to RPGing by that route, as well a several younger ones.
I think that is a real factor, for sure. Or people who got into CRPGs who were curious what the TTRPG original was like, and finding 5E an easy on-ramp.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Oh, another big factor going around now is that a huge number of people rising up in the entertainment industry (writers, actors, musicians, artists, etc.) played D&D in the 80's or 90's, and those influences are starting to seep into the general pop culture (Big Bang Theory, Stranger Things, Rick & Morty, etc.). Now we are getting more and more big fantasy TV and movie productions that tie into D&D style themes keeping it fresh in people's minds.
 

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
Oh, another big factor going around now is that a huge number of people rising up in the entertainment industry (writers, actors, musicians, artists, etc.) played D&D in the 80's or 90's, and those influences are starting to seep into the general pop culture (Big Bang Theory, Stranger Things, Rick & Morty, etc.). Now we are getting more and more big fantasy TV and movie productions that tie into D&D style themes keeping it fresh in people's minds.
Yeah, I do think the fact it's almost (--almost) "cool" to be a nerd today has helped a lot.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yeah, I do think the fact it's almost (--almost) "cool" to be a nerd today has helped a lot.
It's just mainstream: people like superheros and heroic fantasy.

C. S. Lewis was arguing in his literary criticism that people actually liked what he called "Romance" 80 years ago, when it was deeply uncool, and put his money where his mouth was. I think time has proven his point, now that people have a more free flow of information.
 


Oofta

Legend
I wonder what proportion of newer gamers got into D&D through their gamer parents, or parents of friends? I know of a handful of late 20-somethings who came to RPGing by that route, as well a several younger ones.
My nephews play now, I corrupted them taught them D&D long ago, they came back to the game with 5E because it's more streamlined and easier to get into. So I think that is one of many factors.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
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?

2 large factors which might be the biggest ones:

D&D is inclusive now.
People want to be social away from screens. This is a huge reason why boardgames have exploded in popularity. D&D is like that but more imaginative and cooperative than most board games (also has less structure which enables more time to be social)
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
2 large factors which might be the biggest ones:

D&D is inclusive now.
People want to be social away from screens. This is a huge reason why boardgames have exploded in popularity. D&D is like that but more imaginative and cooperative than most board games (also has less structure which enables more time to be social)
Absolutely agree with those factors as well: it's such a perfect storm that I doubt it's possible to pinpoint one major contributor.

Just about the only thing that hasn't broken in WotC favor for 5E is major multimedia breakout with a hit video game, TV show, or movie: if they can manage that with even modest success, then the game will likely benefit even more than we are seeing now.
 

South by Southwest

Incorrigible Daydreamer
The stated release date for the D&D movie is next March. Does anyone know: are they still on schedule for that? Because so long as it isn't a stinker, that could put a real bump in sales and popularity.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
The stated release date for the D&D movie is next March. Does anyone know: are they still on schedule for that? Because so long as it isn't a stinker, that could put a real bump in sales and popularity.
Insofar as anyone knows: they finished filming it a while ago. And whether the movie is good, mediocre or bad...Hasbro will probably go full court press with the toy, which is potentially exciting.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Oh, another big factor going around now is that a huge number of people rising up in the entertainment industry (writers, actors, musicians, artists, etc.) played D&D in the 80's or 90's, and those influences are starting to seep into the general pop culture (Big Bang Theory, Stranger Things, Rick & Morty, etc.). Now we are getting more and more big fantasy TV and movie productions that tie into D&D style themes keeping it fresh in people's minds.
Not only that, but a ton of famous people in demographics people don't associate with nerds (actors are nerds, writers and directors even moreso) have talked about playing and have shown up on actual play streams and such, from major basketball and football players and pro wrestlers to superfamous rock band guitarists.

Then, add in the impact of inclusion and representation in the books on the same in the actual play and indie creator spaces, and I don't think the buildup of popularity is going to slow down any time soon.

But yeah, to think that CR had anything less than a massive positive impact on building the momentum of all of this is just silly, IMO.

Of course, it's also wild to me how many people ignore the impact of Aquisitions Inc on helping to create the space for CR to even happen in the first place.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Not only that, but a ton of famous people in demographics people don't associate with nerds (actors are nerds, writers and directors even moreso) have talked about playing and have shown up on actual play streams and such, from major basketball and football players and pro wrestlers to superfamous rock band guitarists.

Then, add in the impact of inclusion and representation in the books on the same in the actual play and indie creator spaces, and I don't think the buildup of popularity is going to slow down any time soon.

But yeah, to think that CR had anything less than a massive positive impact on building the momentum of all of this is just silly, IMO.

Of course, it's also wild to me how many people ignore the impact of Aquisitions Inc on helping to create the space for CR to even happen in the first place.
For sure, I think CR has had a significant and positive impact.
 

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