D&D 5E What is Quality?

The definition you cite for recession is one solely built upon hindsight. The market didn’t actually drop more than 20% from its Nov 2007 max until Nov 2008.

Actual news that a recession was occurring (not potentially going to occur) didn’t happen until last quarter of 2008.
...all economic downturns are labelled in hindsight. No one knew that the Great Depression was happening the day it got started. It would have taken months or years for people to start talking about it that way. That's how economics works. It's always retrospective in analysis, because talking about this specific present moment is incredibly difficult, and talking about the future borders on crystal-ball-gazing.

Regardless of whether the thing began in 2007 (as the consensus of historians and economists agrees it did) or 2008, we can certainly agree that a clear and dramatic sign of Economic Problems had shown up before your cited date of September 2008: the collapse of Bear Stearns, one of the largest investment banks of the time. That occurred in March, and is where we get the phrase "too big to fail." The economy WAS in bad shape well before the June 2008 launch.

Edit for clarifying relevance: This means that we can, objectively, say that 4e launched during a really bad economic context, one that was unforeseeable by WotC even eight months before release. This is clearly an external factor which could (heavily!) influence a product's sales and popularity, even if it were universally agreed to be a good product. Obviously 4e was not universally agreed to be a good product (it would be insane to argue otherwise), but the point stands that there are and were major issues that happened unrelated to 4e's intrinsic characteristics that influenced its resulting success.

By comparison, 5e launched after the economy had definitively recovered (no timeline I have seen says the Great Recession lasted beyond 2013), employed much reduced staff the whole time so staffing was largely a non-issue until after publication (the whole "jury duty for one person delayed the conversion document by a year" thing), didn't try to make digital tools at all, and did not have to fight against 3rd edition partisans but rather had a lot of them actively championing it because they had finally grown weary of 3.5e after more than a decade of dealing with its issues and wanting (what they would call, though I would not call) a "moderate" fix. Combined with very intentional nostalgia bait marketing, a successful albeit not entirely accurate claim to "big tent edition" status, and a very popular (if, IMO, badly mismanaged) public playtest, on top of insanely expansive free advertising after release via Critical Role, Adventure Zone, and other D&D podcasts, 5e had nearly the best possible climate one could ask for to succeed. On top of this, it had radically lowered expectations because it wasn't trying to be a Hasbro core brand anymore, but a vehicle for coordinating with other brands (hence the MTG crossovers) and fostering other monetization (e.g. the upcoming film). Finally, by keeping staff low, outsourcing a significant portion of their work, and overall just publishing fewer books but specifically trying to make it so every book has some little piece in it that most customers will want even if they wouldn't normally buy the book for the rest of its contents, they have kept expenses very, very low while raising the per-book sales numbers.

These totally external factors have contributed to 5e being very successful in terms of sales. Again, this DOES NOT mean that 5e is awful and ONLY succeeding because of these external situational factors. But they are pretty clearly playing a significant part, and that makes it difficult, if not impossible, to conclude that 5e is a quality product solely on the basis of sales or popularity.
 
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The thread premise was how do we measure quality, and my answer is (roughly) 'with much complexity, and the final measurement output (coming from significant discussion and disagreement) still ending up looking like an argument or position synopsis rather than a simple number.
yeah... I think that is wear most of us are.
 

Oofta

Legend
Of course it doesn't. Glad I didn't make that argument. If I had, it would have definitely deserve the thrashing you gave that strawman, though.
The handful of cars that were cheaper at the time were not very good, virtually all other makes were more expensive. As far as durability and being suited to the roads the main competitor there was probably the Willys (same company that made the original Jeep), which was ... wait for it ... more expensive. Of course by today's standards, any vehicle made during that period would be poor quality, although some probably qualify as works of art as much as function.

But I digress. I just wanted to point out that quality is not a zero sum game. You can have multiple things that are all reasonably high quality, it's not a competition. That, and something that is a quality product can likely be improved, because just about everything has room for improvement.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
The handful of cars that were cheaper at the time were not very good, virtually all other makes were more expensive. As far as durability and being suited to the roads the main competitor there was probably the Willys (same company that made the original Jeep), which was ... wait for it ... more expensive. Of course by today's standards, any vehicle made during that period would be poor quality, although some probably qualify as works of art as much as function.

But I digress. I just wanted to point out that quality is not a zero sum game. You can have multiple things that are all reasonably high quality, it's not a competition. That, and something that is a quality product can likely be improved, because just about everything has room for improvement.
Sounds reasonable. Is there any product you would say is poor quality despite popularity/good sales?
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
The handful of cars that were cheaper at the time were not very good, virtually all other makes were more expensive. As far as durability and being suited to the roads the main competitor there was probably the Willys (same company that made the original Jeep), which was ... wait for it ... more expensive. Of course by today's standards, any vehicle made during that period would be poor quality, although some probably qualify as works of art as much as function.
Expanding on your strawman does make it kess full of straw. Nor does you trying to goal post my comments about quality to some argument about cost. Irrelevant.
But I digress. I just wanted to point out that quality is not a zero sum game. You can have multiple things that are all reasonably high quality, it's not a competition. That, and something that is a quality product can likely be improved, because just about everything has room for improvement.
Ok. I mean I've made two previous posts, with explanations, on this exact thing, on how 5e is a quality game in a large group of quality games, so it seems very strange to make this point in response to me. Unless you're stuffing another argument with straw?
 

Oofta

Legend
Expanding on your strawman does make it kess full of straw. Nor does you trying to goal post my comments about quality to some argument about cost. Irrelevant.

Ok. I mean I've made two previous posts, with explanations, on this exact thing, on how 5e is a quality game in a large group of quality games, so it seems very strange to make this point in response to me. Unless you're stuffing another argument with straw?
Many people have been comparing McDonalds to 5 star restaurants. It's comparing apples to gold plated oranges which I don't think really makes a lot of sense. For their target audience the Model T was a quality car in comparison to other vehicles of the time whether or not you accept it. The comparisons to other cars of the time is a quick google search away. 🤷‍♂️
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Many people have been comparing McDonalds to 5 star restaurants. It's comparing apples to gold plated oranges which I don't think really makes a lot of sense. For their target audience the Model T was a quality car in comparison to other vehicles of the time whether or not you accept it. The comparisons to other cars of the time is a quick google search away. 🤷‍♂️
That's not how quality works. You don't get to say that McDonalds is high quality food by only limiting comparisons for food to Carl's Jr. You are engaged in special pleading, trying to limit the scope of comparison solely based on how supportive it is of your desired conclusion.

And I fully encourage people to do that research, but actually look at the gamut of cars -- because all cars is the comparison set for quality. Cost is not a factor for quality. Trying to limit the comparison on cost is using a metric that isn't relevant to quality.
 

Oofta

Legend
Sounds reasonable. Is there any product you would say is poor quality despite popularity/good sales?

I was going to say the Kardasians (Kardashians?) but then I realized they actually do have an aspect that is high quality - the ability to make themselves famous for no reason whatsoever. That doesn't just happen. In addition, entertainment is almost completely subjective. I don't get it, but for their niche they are valid use of their entertainment time.

There are many brands that have let quality lag or tried to switch to a product that was not a high quality. It eventually catches up to them but they can get away with it for a while. In some cases there's so little competition that popularity is more necessity. It was only in the last couple of months that I had a real competitor to our cable company (I'm not using Verizon wireless for my home).

But things that I don't personally find high quality even though they are popular? Sure. I think 80% of people driving pickup trucks don't really need them. So for me they aren't high quality because I'm not the target audience. It's the same way with entertainment, if I'm spending my time on something when I have dozens of other options then it's high quality for me.

There used to be a restaurant that I loved (just a local place) that changed ownership. They got bought out because the owners retired, the new owners kept the menu more or less intact but the quality of the food really dropped. I stopped going after I realized how bad it was (at first I was hopeful that it was just a learning curve) and then a year or so later it shut down, presumably because of lack of customers. That's about as close as I can come.
 

Oofta

Legend
That's not how quality works. You don't get to say that McDonalds is high quality food by only limiting comparisons for food to Carl's Jr. You are engaged in special pleading, trying to limit the scope of comparison solely based on how supportive it is of your desired conclusion.

And I fully encourage people to do that research, but actually look at the gamut of cars -- because all cars is the comparison set for quality. Cost is not a factor for quality. Trying to limit the comparison on cost is using a metric that isn't relevant to quality.

Then we have different definitions. Can you actually define what quality is to you? I took a stab, do you have a different idea?
 

In addition, entertainment is almost completely subjective. I don't get it, but for their niche they are valid use of their entertainment time.
just to remind you earlier you listed BvS and the DC movies in general... they have all objectively made tons of money, more then I bet any RPG creator could hope to make a product have, and you have them listed subjectively at low quality.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Then we have different definitions. Can you actually define what quality is to you? I took a stab, do you have a different idea?
I have, twice already. But it's interesting to hear you state that cost is a factor in quality for you. It appears to be a discount -- as in the higher the cost, the less quality counts? Or is it a cut-off, that at a certain point, cost eliminates a product from considerations of quality with other products in a different category?

I ask because I think it's rather relevant to comparing quality between some low budget but wonderfully designed Indie space RPGs and, say, 5e, which has a relatively massive budget for all facets. Do we discount one or the other, or even exclude them?
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Many people have been comparing McDonalds to 5 star restaurants. It's comparing apples to gold plated oranges which I don't think really makes a lot of sense. For their target audience the Model T was a quality car in comparison to other vehicles of the time whether or not you accept it. The comparisons to other cars of the time is a quick google search away. 🤷‍♂️
I think there’s one clear example of subjective in the quality discussion. What categorizations does one use. McDonald’s to me is clearly lower quality that a 5 star restaurant though I may enjoy McDonald’s more (not big on super fancy restaurants). But if we can’t even place them in the same category to compare then that changes everything.

When I think of quality I think of 2 aspects.
1. Working without breaking
2. Comparative intrinsic and derived performance vs similarly categorized competitors

Compare with value. There may be certain features I recognize as top of the class ‘great quality’ that I may not value highly. For example I may not want to buy a very fast car a 16 year old son because speed in that case while quality is at odds with what I want out of the purchase.

Or in RPG terms. Does D&D breakdown? I don’t think it’s a rare occurrence for it to do so. But it works enough if the time that I’d give it a C+

How does it stack up against the competition? I’d say it’s slightly above average. So C+. There’s just alot of variance in what different rpgs bring to the table - making it hard to have a really good categorization to compare similar ones.

As such is I’d say we are mostly comparing d&d’s value when we talk about it’s quality. And value is a very personal determination.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Sounds reasonable. Is there any product you would say is poor quality despite popularity/good sales?
I'd say a good example is Maruchan(sp?) ramen noodles. The ones that are sold in 10 packs for a dollar (at least the last time I've bought them)

From an overall food perspective they are "junk food".

From a ramen noodle standpoint they dont have the fresh ingredients you would find in homemade.

From a dried store-bought pre-packaged ramen noodle perspective they dont even have the odd dried pea, green onion, or other floaty but of ingredient. They just have the flavored salt packet.

If you were to stack all the ramen noodle dishes in the world in a big quality stack the saltpacket noodlebrick would be at the bottom.

This isn't to say they are unsafe or inedible, but barring a recall (thanks Jif salmonella) nothing at the grocery is.
 

Aldarc

Legend
That's not how quality works. You don't get to say that McDonalds is high quality food by only limiting comparisons for food to Carl's Jr. You are engaged in special pleading, trying to limit the scope of comparison solely based on how supportive it is of your desired conclusion.

And I fully encourage people to do that research, but actually look at the gamut of cars -- because all cars is the comparison set for quality. Cost is not a factor for quality. Trying to limit the comparison on cost is using a metric that isn't relevant to quality.
I do think that people can and do say whether a product represents good quality within certain criteria, namely price range. A lot of product-hunting on online shops involves looking for a quality product within price ranges.

A $20 Espresso Machine may be a great value quality product at the $25 and under price range, but to conclude then, however, that the $20 Espresso Machine is of equal quality as the professional barista grade $600 Espresso Machine would generally be disingenuous IMHO. Moreover, sometimes it is incredibly difficult for lay people to know what to look for in a quality espresso machine. A lay person may look at things like popularity rating, product reviews, general appearance, familiar big name brands, etc. In contrast, a barista will likely have a much better idea about what constitutes a high quality espresso machine and who actually makes them. The low quality espresso machines may, for example, have a bunch of extraneous crap and devices that are meant to simply things but actually complicates things more. The lay person my find this as evidence of its higher quality not knowing why its crap, but a barista may find see it as a red flag.

This does not mean that cheap is bad. The Bialetti Moka Pot is an enduring device of coffee making in many households across Europe, especially around Italy.
 

Or in RPG terms. Does D&D breakdown? I don’t think it’s a rare occurrence for it to do so. But it works enough if the time that I’d give it a C+

How does it stack up against the competition? I’d say it’s slightly above average. So C+. There’s just alot of variance in what different rpgs bring to the table - making it hard to have a really good categorization to compare similar ones.
I think compared to most it's competition I might even get it up to a B... but I agree with you overall
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
Well sure. If you live on just one bite of chocolate a day you'll lose weight. Obviously volume is a factor.
Sorry. Was gone for the week. My point was just that people can't replicate his results. Heck, universities can't replicate his results.

And that just about anything taken to extremes can be quite deadly.

I really do hate that film. He goes in all high and mighty but tends to use pictures, snippets and blurbs of obese people in a mocking manner.

I work in healthcare as a CRNA. See lots and lots of obese people. MOST of them brought it on themselves either through habits or ignorance (some are even honest about it) but not all of them. I feel horrible for them.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Sorry. Was gone for the week. My point was just that people can't replicate his results. Heck, universities can't replicate his results.

And that just about anything taken to extremes can be quite deadly.

I really do hate that film. He goes in all high and mighty but tends to use pictures, snippets and blurbs of obese people in a mocking manner.

I work in healthcare as a CRNA. See lots and lots of obese people. MOST of them brought it on themselves either through habits or ignorance (some are even honest about it) but not all of them. I feel horrible for them.

Can't remember where, but I saw an analysis of the movie that was 100% in agreement with you. Even the "diet" his GF put him on after the fact was deemed terrible, unhealthy and "why would you do that..." The whole film is just a disingenuous terrible piece of media (but it sure looks nice and flows well).
 

I work in healthcare as a CRNA. See lots and lots of obese people. MOST of them brought it on themselves either through habits or ignorance (some are even honest about it) but not all of them. I feel horrible for them.
what factor do you think genetics play? because again even when I diet and exercise my metabolism wont keep up with my buddy matt sleeping and tipple eating me. I have found I need medication including hormone changing ones to effect said metabolism, and in my family (especially my mothers side) it is only people overweight and smokers or drug addicts (and the two that had the stomach staple thing but one still put the weight back on)

I CAN'T believe that me and my great grand dad who had so little in common made the same bad choices...
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
what factor do you think genetics play? because again even when I diet and exercise my metabolism wont keep up with my buddy matt sleeping and tipple eating me. I have found I need medication including hormone changing ones to effect said metabolism, and in my family (especially my mothers side) it is only people overweight and smokers or drug addicts (and the two that had the stomach staple thing but one still put the weight back on)

I CAN'T believe that me and my great grand dad who had so little in common made the same bad choices...
Genetics runs havoc through lots of people's health status. We call it having "poor protoplasm" which is short hand for "their genetics makes them predisposed to... [name your disease]." Meanwhile the dude who smokes, lives on sugar, never exercises, etc., etc. who somehow remains healthy has "good protoplasm."

Unfortunately, it's near impossible to overcome "poor" genetics completely, but it is possible to mitigate some of its effects. Diet, exercise, etc. can help. Ignoring those sorts of things will only hasten along the disease process. It also should be pointed out that Overweight does not necessarily equate to Unhealthy. It probably does, but might not. Surprising I know, but true.

That's why, before I (or any other anesthesia provider) put someone under, we do a thorough health and physical assessment along with questions about immediate family (if known). Tends to irritate patients to hear the same questions again, but ya can never tell what might have been missed.

As the joke goes "We put you to sleep for free. It's making it so you wake up again where we earn our keep."

Anyway. This is a derail of this thread. I'm gonna move on. LOL.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I do think that people can and do say whether a product represents good quality within certain criteria, namely price range. A lot of product-hunting on online shops involves looking for a quality product within price ranges.

A $20 Espresso Machine may be a great value quality product at the $25 and under price range, but to conclude then, however, that the $20 Espresso Machine is of equal quality as the professional barista grade $600 Espresso Machine would generally be disingenuous IMHO. Moreover, sometimes it is incredibly difficult for lay people to know what to look for in a quality espresso machine. A lay person may look at things like popularity rating, product reviews, general appearance, familiar big name brands, etc. In contrast, a barista will likely have a much better idea about what constitutes a high quality espresso machine and who actually makes them. The low quality espresso machines may, for example, have a bunch of extraneous crap and devices that are meant to simply things but actually complicates things more. The lay person my find this as evidence of its higher quality not knowing why its crap, but a barista may find see it as a red flag.

This does not mean that cheap is bad. The Bialetti Moka Pot is an enduring device of coffee making in many households across Europe, especially around Italy.
This is a subtle goal post shift, and part of what I'm pointing out. Here's what I mean -- you can absolutely make a statement that within a price range you can evaluate the quality of items inside that range. However, at no point does that statement improve the quality evaluation of those items compared to the entire range. You can say, "for products less than $X dollars, product Y is the best quality." But you've included those qualifiers, and your statement doesn't, in any way, imply that product Y is of best quality compared to a wider set or the entire set. It's also worth noting that such narrowing of the range should be independent of the desire to claim a product is of a certain quality -- it's disingenuous to claim that product Y is the best quality by artificially limiting the field so that this is true or truthy enough.

So, when I made a statement as to the quality compared to the entire range, a counter argument that artificially narrows that range to achieve the desired outcome is special pleading.
 

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