D&D General What *is* D&D? (mild movie spoilers)

TheLibrarian

Explorer
Haven't seen the movie yet. But anecdotally what I've observed from the biz strategy of Hasbro/Wizards over the last 5 or so years is that D&D seems to be moving from a game to a brand. Its something that can be engaged with casually if you want, but ultimately being sold to me as a product I can identify with or identify as, whether I play or not.

What I fear that will lead to is a watering down of the actual content and an eventual dilution of the game itself. Like Marvel and Star Wars, they'll ride high for a while, and then slowly devolve in to meh.
 

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Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Haven't seen the movie yet. But anecdotally what I've observed from the biz strategy of Hasbro/Wizards over the last 5 or so years is that D&D seems to be moving from a game to a brand.
um not just the last 5 years. The whole D20 shift was about building brand and its not like marketing and merchandizing wasnt behind the DnD cartoon, video games or 2000 Movie. Hasbro is just much better at it
 

um not just the last 5 years. The whole D20 shift was about building brand and its not like marketing and merchandizing wasnt behind the DnD cartoon, video games or 2000 Movie. Hasbro is just much better at it
I mean, it's fair to observe a difference over the last 5 years, specifically.

In 2014, D&D was considered a very low-value brand by WotC. The reason 5E was allowed to be made was because WotC didn't think D&D was going to make a lot of money after 4E, where their marketing/branding efforts had largely failed to get traction, or at least to get the traction they wanted. That's also why the "slow-and-steady" product release cadence was chosen, and why D&D went back to the OGL in 2016, after abandoning it in 4E.

But in the last 5 years, particularly through the pandemic (but starting before), D&D has exploded in popularity, and WotC's approach to marketing and merchandizing has become significantly more aggressive. Stuff like the VTT project would have been completely unimaginable in 2014, because the VTT development (allegedly with 350 employees) has to be costing WotC about as much as they were expecting D&D to even pull in back in 2014. And stuff like the cadence of products, and what the products are is also changing or has changed.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
But in the last 5 years, particularly through the pandemic (but starting before), D&D has exploded in popularity, and WotC's approach to marketing and merchandizing has become significantly more aggressive. Stuff like the VTT project would have been completely unimaginable in 2014, because the VTT development (allegedly with 350 employees) has to be costing WotC about as much as they were expecting D&D to even pull in back in 2014. And stuff like the cadence of products, and what the products are is also changing or has changed.
yeah one thing I noticed about the movie is that Hasbro is named, no mention at all of WoTC. Hasbro bought WoTC in what 2000? So they must have seen it as a good investment then. But they reorganisation only happened in 2019-21 and there has certainly been exponential growth since then - as I said Hasbro is much better at marketing
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
As far back as 2006, when I started my ongoing campaign with a mix of newbie and experienced players, I knew I wanted to give them a classic D&D experience and did, in fact, make a list of what elements said "D&D" to me, rather than just generic fantasy or something that spoke to my tastes personally.

Even at this point, I continue to try to put iconic stuff like mimics and gelatinous cubes into games when we're playing D&D (I include OSR and Pathfinder as part of the D&D family), as I feel like those iconics are now a core part of that experience.

It's the same as if I was running a game of Vampire: The Masquerade. I would find a way to have a nightclub scene and you'd better believe there'd be at least one edgelord with a katana and a trenchcoat. It's part of the essence of the game now, to me, no matter what the rights-holders may argue.
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
So do DMs trying to schedule around several players.
For this purpose I have always valued the ultra-simple website made for this: WhenIsGood

I have scheduled multiple different gaming things (not just D&D) using this, and helped others schedule their own games with it. Certain modern features (like some paid stuff in Discord) are slightly better now, since they do things like dynamically adapting to the user's time zone without needing user input. But when you just want a simple way of getting everyone on the same page (and especially if it's F2F play so you don't need to worry about time zone), WhenIsGood can't be beat.
 
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