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%


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Parmandur

Book-Friend
The estimates I can find are that Critical Role gets one to one and a half million people watching every episode. While I know not all of them will be playing D&D, it may be that the number of folks who watch CR are a significant fraction (in that space between majority and "small fraction") of the people who play right now.
Well, 1.5-2 million (to put a bigger reqd on fan numbers) is still a pretty small fraction of 50+ million, which is the last number WotC supplied for the D&D fanbase: though maybe that's a quibble over "significance." I'm sure WotC is thrilled with an actively engaged 2-4% of their fanbase...but the overwhelming majority of D&D people are not Critters.

I'm a Critter, myself, and CR is the leading actual play show...but 5E is a much, much larger phenomenon than Critters.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Well, 1.5-2 million (to put a bigger reqd on fan numbers) is still a pretty small fraction of 50+ million, which is the last number WotC supplied for the D&D fanbase: though maybe that's a quibble over "significance." I'm sure WotC is thrilled with an actively engaged 2-4% of their fanbase...but the overwhelming majority of D&D people are not Critters.

I'm a Critter, myself, and CR is the leading actual play show...but 5E is a much, much larger phenomenon than Critters.
But if those 2 million CR fans put together D&D games for themselves and bring in 4 friends who didn't/don't watch CR... you now have 10 million players who are all playing as a result of the show. And if any of those players start their own games too and bring in others to play... then the circle expands and expands and expands, all off of CR as a foundation. So it's really impossible to calculate just how many current players of D&D are due to Critical Role and other Actual Play. But it's probably bigger than we even could guesstimate.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Well, 1.5-2 million (to put a bigger reqd on fan numbers) is still a pretty small fraction of 50+ million, which is the last number WotC supplied for the D&D fanbase

When I do a search for how many players are out there, I get numbers more like 13 million. Can you give a link to that WotC-supplied number?
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
When I do a search for how many players are out there, I get numbers more like 13 million. Can you give a link to that WotC-supplied number?
After edit: Here's the right page, might be kind of a sketchy website for a source, though:

 
Last edited:

Oofta

Legend
The only downside to CR I've had to deal with is the number of fully-played out shopping scenes every time you want to buy something. Not every shopkeeper needs to be quirky.

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:
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
But if those 2 million CR fans put together D&D games for themselves and bring in 4 friends who didn't/don't watch CR... you now have 10 million players who are all playing as a result of the show. And if any of those players start their own games too and bring in others to play... then the circle expands and expands and expands, all off of CR as a foundation. So it's really impossible to calculate just how many current players of D&D are due to Critical Role and other Actual Play. But it's probably bigger than we even could guesstimate.
There is probably some force magnification there: but I think it's more likely for Critters to group together. And it's still not the "main" factor for D&D's current run.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Ah, okay, check the actual quote: "The company claims that over 50 million people have played Dungeons & Dragons to date..."

That's not people currently engaged with the game, that's cumulative number of people over all time who have played.
Yeah, but the biggest chunk of players is under 24, 36% of 50 million. Those are going to be primarily 5E players, and they outnumber Critters as such by a significant margin (probably a healthy Benn overlap...but the chunk is way bigger than Critters).

I'm not trying to poo-poo CR, but let's keep it real: it's just a portion of the picture.
 

Oofta

Legend
But if those 2 million CR fans put together D&D games for themselves and bring in 4 friends who didn't/don't watch CR... you now have 10 million players who are all playing as a result of the show. And if any of those players start their own games too and bring in others to play... then the circle expands and expands and expands, all off of CR as a foundation. So it's really impossible to calculate just how many current players of D&D are due to Critical Role and other Actual Play. But it's probably bigger than we even could guesstimate.
That assumes that people that follow CR DM, if they play D&D at all and that a significant percentage of them wouldn't already be playing the game anyway. I don't think any of those assumptions have much basis.

There are a lot of factors to 5E's success. In no particular order, my guesses would be:
  • A ruleset that supports a wide variety of playstyles and campaign themes
  • An easy to grasp system that's doesn't overly rely on gamer speak.
  • Better marketing and production schedule and not flooding the market, especially early on.
  • Streaming shows people what it's like to play.
  • The acceptance of "geek culture" thanks to superhero movies.
  • Celebrities acknowledging that they have, and many continue to, play D&D
  • The desire for people to interact with others on a more personal level instead of just electronically
If I had to guess? I suspect one of the biggest reasons for 5E's success would be a decent ruleset combined with a backlash against the isolation a lot of people feel. D&D is a good way to meet people and actually connect over a shared hobby instead of just spending more time watching Tik Tok videos.

But it's anybody's guess. I don't think anybody really knows. It certainly took WOTC by surprise.
 

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