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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Trust me that they've actually put AT LEAST as much thought into it and how it relates to and effects their market than, say, Gary did when he named Advanced D&D (mostly to screw Arneson out of royalties).
That's the thing: sure, just calling the 2024 rules "D&D" without specifying an Edition ID is self-servijg marketing BS...but at least it isnthe crazy-pants Bananas self-defeating marketing BS of "AD&D and D&D are two completely incompatible game lines" or a "half edition."
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
A bit. I once (only once, mind) had to convince a father that the 4e PHB1 that he'd grabbed off our blowout shelf, in spite of being a "good deal" was NOT going to help his kid play D&D (5e) with his friends and that he NEEDED to get the "more expensive" one.

Mostly, though - people come in and say "Where's your D&D" and we point them to the big shelf of 5e books, and if we need to (which we usually DO) we explain what books are what. I mean, the giant shelf of various titles (mostly Adventures) is pretty daunting for the "normies", forget Editions. Often, that sort of person will buy a Starter or Essentials set, otherwise a PHB. It's not terribly complicated, and they usually get it after a bit of explaining.

This is a very regular occurrence. I think us "nerds" overestimate how much "research" your average person will do...

OTOH, there's certainly plenty of people that will look stuff up on the internet, of course. Sometimes that makes them know what they're talking about. Other times, not.
Yeah, the slow and steady proliferation of books over the years is more confusing than the new Core, I would suppose, but at least rhy do what they say on the tin: here is Vampire D&D (Curse of Strahd, here is Pirate D&D (Ghosts of Saltmarsh), here is frozen tundra D&D (Icewind Dale), here is D&D in Hell (Descent into Avernus), here is D&D in Spaaaace, etc...so people can go with what flavor tickles their fancy, if any.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Frankly, if literally anything I've ever written lasts for over 100 years, I'll consider myself extremely fortunate.
The scary thing to me is that much of what you've written probably will, to be aggregated and analyzed by AI. Most of us have given up our right and ability to be forgotten.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Just because someone doesn't have an account on ENWorld or on r/DnD, it doesn't mean they'll be oblivious about the upcoming books.

If you play D&D and you're on social media, you will be getting D&D content in your feed, because The Algorithm™ knows what you're interested in. And once the 2024 PHB is out, a lot of that content is going to be of the kind "The 10 biggest changes in the new Dungeons & Dragons! Number 3 is game-changing!"
I was talking to my son about this on the drive home from school today. He says among the players in the three groups he plays D&D with (about 20 but some are very casual, and drop in and out), he thinks only he and his friend who DMs two of the groups know about the new upcoming revision. They are all online, but most are not search and consuming D&D related social media content. It is just something they do on the occasional saturday. Most don't even own any books. The DM holds onto their character sheets and they just show up and play.

For my son and his friend who do kinda follow this stuff, they don't have strong opinions either way. When I ask my son if they'll use the new rules, he just shrugged "I dunno, we'll see." He's not even that interested in discussing it.

If WotC knocks their in-house VTT out of the park, especially if it will be available for consoles (PS4/5 especially, at least with my sons and his friends), that could create a lot of excitement and interest. Thinking about it on the one hand makes me sad, because I love seeing junior high kids getting together over pen and paper and away from screens for most of day. On the other hand, it would make it easier for get together for shorter sessions more often for what I think is a more enriching experience than Fortnite, Overwatch, etc.

As for the books, it is not like they are trying to save up their allowance to buy new books or begging their parents for them. If they do move to the new books for in-person play, it'll likely be because I or another D&D-loving dad (father of the main DM kid) gifts them the books on a birthday or at Christmas.
 

The scary thing to me is that much of what you've written probably will, to be aggregated and analyzed by AI. Most of us have given up our right and ability to be forgotten.
That's actually more comforting than scary. Even if I'm forgotten to time by everyone else, at least the AI will still remember me.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
This seems to be very much the intention, to create a new market, but given who is head of D&D, it will not stop there - his entire CV is about transition people from purchases to subscriptions - so if the 3D VTT takes off there will be strong attempts to persuade essentially all D&D players to use it, I would suggest.
Yes, I expect this is true. For me, personally, I am in favor of this. I wouldn't mind at all just subscribing to the VTT as a service if it does a great job supporting the rules. It would have to be a much better experience than all other VTTs I've used. And I don't mean 3D rendering. That is currently a negative to me. Even if the 3D terrain experience is great, if it doesn't support and automate rules, especially AOE spells, I just have no interest.

I've finally moved beyond all DnD all the time. I expect I'll be rotating systems for my campaigns going forward. I would be happy to pay for a subscription for 6-18 months and cancel it like a streaming-show subscription, so long as while subscribed I had access to the entire rule set, including any updates. If I really find that I love the system and if the books are very attractive and fun to browse, I buy them. But I never use physical books when running my games any more.

I'm probably the target market for WotC, except for my willingness to start and stop my subscription depending on what I'm currently running. This is why I think they will continue to sell (even require you buy) the digital books. It keeps you more invested and a reason to come back to the site/tool, even if you've cancelled or downgraded your subscription.

The other thing that makes DDB sticky to me is that I have a subscription that lets me share my content with my players. This also serves as a kind of "family plan" where I can just share my content with my son without having to repay for him to have the same digital content. Just like I'm less likely to cancel a streaming-show subscription that I'm sharing with family members, I'm more likely to keep my subscription to DDB if family and friends are making use of it, even when I'm not.

We may even see Beyond shut down (or stuff stops being added to it) in an attempt to force people to the 3D VTT- obviously that's a terrible idea - it's also absolutely the approach a lot of companies have taken with various products, and actually it's not been entirely unsuccessful.

Possible but I don't think so. What would make more sense is that they bundle and integrate. When you want to pull up rule text in the VTT it could pull that from DDB or link to DDB, opening a new tab. With adventures, it would be tougher without some coding in the background DDB. More likely you'll need to have to buy the adventure content in the VTT, either paying again, or perhaps there would be some deal where you buy it once but have it in both places. Ideally, there would be tight integration between DDB and the VTT where they are just different interfaces for the same owned or subscribed-to content. There are a lot of ways WotC can do this in a way that makes many of us pay for the convenience without upsetting those of us who have poured a lot of money into DDB.

Beyond find-a-game I believe a mention was made in an interview a while back of being keen to try AI DMs and so on, and I suspect we may well see adventure modules, even campaigns for the 3D VTT designed around the limited functionality of an AI DM or even just choose-your-own-adventure fixed choices instead of really allowing D&D-style play. The idea is to get people on and buying MTXes and subscribing and maybe also buying virtual books, really go through their pockets.
Initially, I say "yuck", but I did enjoy Baldur's Gate. If you can solo play through adventures with an AI DM, it might be fun. But TTRPGs are all about getting together with my real human friends. For solo play I much prefer a more curated and designed experience that a video game like BGIII provides. I don't even like MMOs. But I can say never. At the pace AI is developing I can see it being something I would enjoy.
I remain optimistic about the future of D&D because I think the 3D VTT will be an absolute car crash that never recoups its costs (if it really has 250 people working on it) and that Beyond will trundle merrily along, being basic and usable.
History tends to support your prognostication, but I hope you are wrong. I would love a well designed VTT specially tailored to support a specific system. This is also part of the reason I'm backing the MCDM RPG and why I'm following Foundry VTTs Crucible project. I'm rather worn out on generic VTTs that try to support any system.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
For my son's group of five 12-15 year olds, a few of the others might own a book but they never bring them. They all make and update their characters on beyond and even my son (who owns all of them) just beyonds/googles the various rules when things come up.
The highlighted part is where I think DDB really needs to improve. There are so many times where I found it easier to just search on Google or Bing for a rule answers than DDB. Especially with Bings built in AI or my ChatGPT plugin from Chrome that simultaneously runs my Google searches through ChatGPT.

One thing that sucks about 5e's insistence on "natural language" in writing its rules is that searching for, say a condition, will pull up a long page of hits and the filters just don't help that much. Every time I need to make a time sensitive, in-game search in DDB, I'm reminded how terrible the search experience is.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
That's actually more comforting than scary. Even if I'm forgotten to time by everyone else, at least the AI will still remember me.
Scary is the wrong word, but my brain is too tired to put my thoughts into better words. But AI doesn't remember anything. I guess I'm at the stage in my life that I just want to have a positive impact on those I interact with and am fine with the idea of passing out of living memory. I've never creating anything that will have a meaningful impact on people living generations after I'm dead, but I'm fine with that. I am also grateful that I grew up in a time where my thinking and personality could evolve without it all be logged and available for scrutiny throughout and after my life.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
My group and myself prefer physical books for reading and reference, pdf for cost and storage. Art is nice, but not a major factor in purchase.
Fair enough. I'm that way with PDFs. Actually, one of my biggest complaints with most TTRPG PDFs the publishers do very little to take advantage of the medium. They basically just have the digital version of the print book and maybe include bookmarks. The layout and graphics get in the way of using them and even reading them on digital devices. Require larger screens, make it difficult to jump around, etc. That's why I really appreciate DDB and the Cortex Prime online ruleset. I can easily read and reference them on nearly any device. They could offer more tools to bookmark, highlight, make your own cross links, build your own reference pages, etc. but at least they are usable even on a phone.

With most TTRPG books, I can't even put them on my Kindle. I basically have to read them on a laptop. Forget about using on a phone. DDB and Cortex Prime are the only smartphone friendly TTRPG rules content I can think of.

But I don't use books at the table any more. I travel too much and can't lug them around. Even if I was playing in person again at my home, while I could tab out my physical books to make it easy to flip to rules, I can even easier bookmark and mark up my PDFs. The only reason I buy books now is if they are something nice to have on my book shelf that I can enjoy reading or flipping through out of game. Even if the book without fancy art and layout is sold very cheaply, there is no reason for my to buy it, when a PDF is going to be more convenient in game. I am much more willing to pay USD 30-50 for a book with great layout and artwork that is best enjoyed in a physical format.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I would be very much unsurprised if they announce a long-term public playtesting process sometime in 2030 or maybe early 2031, with its own ridiculous buzzword title like "D&D: Resurrected" or whatever. Especially if the revised version of 5e ends up being, as some have argued here, effectively identical apart from rewriting some of the classes and subclasses.
And a new adventure: "Vecna Lives AGAIN!"
 

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