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D&D 5E What is up with the popularity of watching other D&D groups play the game?

Haffrung

Adventurer
Not sure this explains why watching other D&D groups is popular, but it may directly answer the question of why, as a DM, you SHOULD watch.

Great Authors voraciously read other authors
Great Filmmakers watch hundreds or thousands of films
Great Musicians listen to a variety of styles and composers
Great Painters study other's art
Great Video Game designers play other games

Before streaming and podcasts, the ability to expose yourself, as a DM, to a wide variety of other DMs work was difficult, if not impossible. With streaming, you can easily do it. And the games you watch whose playstyle you don't like personally can be just as important to improving your game as the ones whose style you do like. To a lesser extent, it can also help players become better as well, by watching how other's play the game and incorporating ideas that appeal to you that you'd never thought of.
Agreed that watching others DM can improve your craft - though that's an argument for watching lots of different streaming games, rather than watching one for 100+ episodes.

But I've been surprised to learn that most of the top boardgame designers, like Reiner Knizia and Martin Wallace, rarely play other people's designs. And many fantasy and sci-fi authors rarely read genre fiction anymore. Though in both cases they played/read lots when they were younger.
 

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embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
I, for a long time, thought this wasn't for me. I couldn't get into critical role, I tried!

But recently I've discovered the Dungeon Dudes, and... well it's working for me :) This is something I do while doing something else - chores etc - a good way to make them a bit less tedious.
I'm pretty much in your boat.

CR doesn't really hold any interest for me. But I do enjoy listening to GM advice podcasts, partly as background noise at work and partly as a source of advice to improve my own GMing.

I think another analogy is this:

I find it often difficult to watch an entire sports match, be it an entire 9 innings of baseball, 4 quarters of football, or more than the last 4 minutes of any basketball game. But I do enjoy Sportscenter for the little highlight nuggetness with a soucant of snark.

Do I have it in me to watch an entire session of someone else playing D&D? No. Just like I don't have it in me to watch 18 holes of golf or three hours of football. But if you break it up into little chunks and offer commentary and analysis, that's something I can do.
 

I'm not so sure it breaks down entirely by generation. I also remember the days of the Atari and Commodore 64. I remember being able to remove the rubber controller cover and smack my brother on the forehead with it so that it would create an imprint of concentric circles, but I digress... As I said earlier in the thread, I don't watch Critical Role, but I do listen to shorter Actual Plays. For me the only barrier really is the time - I'm sure I'd love Critical Role if they released it in hour-long episodes rather than four hour ones.

It's generational.

I've been playing D&D for as long as I've been playing video games. And I've been playing video games since the days of the Atari 2600 and the Commodore 64.

I wondered about the audience for Twitch streams. When I was a boy (get offa my lawn), sitting there and watching your friend or sibling play a game was torture. I don't want to watch. I want to play. And yet, there's a robust audience to watch gameplay.

Nor did Greedo say "Maclunkey."
Han did not shoot first. That is a common misconception.

To say "Han shot first" implies that Greedo shot second. Greedo was dead before he could get off a shot.

Han did not shoot first because Han was the only one who shot.
 


G

Guest 6801328

Guest
I think it would be interesting to learn what behaviors correlate. E.g., "People who enjoy watching others play D&D also don't like the taste of cilantro" or whatever.
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
*Which in the US is primarily shashimi with green-colored horse radish
This is vastly less true than it was ten years ago. If you are getting sushi at a place that doesn't have sushi as it's primary focus, maybe, but even then most places I go that aren't cheap or "Americanised jumble of foods" have a range of sushi and sashimi on the menu, and most of the menu is genuinely sushi, not sashimi.
 



Ambivalent about both CR and cilantro. I don't dislike either, but I won't go out of my way to put cilantro in a dish. However, I will say that fresh cilantro is way better than dried, and can really make some foods pop.

Now paprika and cinnamon, those are my spices (not necessarily together).

Sorry, cilantro lover here, also a CR lover.

More data needed! Someone make a poll!
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
This is vastly less true than it was ten years ago. If you are getting sushi at a place that doesn't have sushi as it's primary focus, maybe, but even then most places I go that aren't cheap or "Americanised jumble of foods" have a range of sushi and sashimi on the menu, and most of the menu is genuinely sushi, not sashimi.

If I had a dollar for everyone that's ever told me that I just haven't tried "good" sushi/shashimi I could afford to go out for a nice meal with real food that I actually enjoy eating. ;)
 


TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
I really enjoy watching Critical Role because it's not so much about the game but about their adventures, their voice acting talents and their natural chemistry. I don't feel like watching a D&D game but just watching some really good friends improv a story. I get attached to the characters, their backstory, their adventures and I'm as intrigued as them when they discover things. Matt Mercer is also a big part of why it's enjoyable to watch. I think he's a good DM for sure, but I think he's a better storyteller.

I can't stand watching regular groups playing roleplaying games. I like playing it, not watching it. I enjoy watching and rewatching Matt Colville's videos, but I couldn't get into his campaign. Nothing wrong with it, but it wasn't an immersive storytelling experience for me, it was a group of people playing D&D.

My relationships to televised sports is the same. I don't care about watching people play a sport, I prefer to play it. But sometimes thing just align the right way and a story comes out of it, and that I'm interested in.
 

ART!

Adventurer
My mind wanders too much while listening to that kind of thing, and then I lose track of what's happened, and then lose interest*. I can't imagine sitting and committing the time to actually watch one.

*I have a similar problem with audio books. :(
 

Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
So I watched relatively little of this stuff.

how much die rolling combat is actually going on in these things? Seemed to be mostly narratives. Surely did not see anyone have to be revived...
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
So I watched relatively little of this stuff.

how much die rolling combat is actually going on in these things? Seemed to be mostly narratives. Surely did not see anyone have to be revived...
Considering that one PC death resulted in Matt Mercer having to issue a public apology to Critical Role fans, I suspect there's not much of that going on anymore.
 

Retreater

Legend
Tried to get into Critical Role when my girlfriend (now wife) was into it. Didn't like it. His gaming style just doesn't mesh with mine. Then I tried to watch Matt Colville's livestream, and despite liking the rest of his content, oddly didn't like his DMing style.
Makes me wonder if I run games wrong.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Considering that one PC death resulted in Matt Mercer having to issue a public apology to Critical Role fans, I suspect there's not much of that going on anymore.
Your suspicions are incorrect. And the apology wasn't for killing Mollymauk, it was for people feeling that he had broken their trust. It's not an apology as far as the things that went on at the table go - it's an "I'm sorry you feel that way, but this is how the game works and how the narratives unfold" apology.
In fact, 3 more PCs have been KIA in the campaign since Mollymauk's death, it's just that other PCs have had revivify available to save their bacon - something that wasn't available to save Mollymauk.
 
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Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
Considering that one PC death resulted in Matt Mercer having to issue a public apology to Critical Role fans, I suspect there's not much of that going on anymore.
Just read that.

yeah, crying over a character is....different than where ai am coming from.

the people watching this gotta be a different breed than me and mine....

yeah. Can’t relate to an apology over a game like this. Wtf?
 

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