When did I stop being WotC's target audience?

Jeff Wilder

First Post
Since the release of 4E, and most recently in some threads about the upcoming change in the D&D miniatures lines, I've read many times (not always in direct response to me) that "you aren't WotC's target audience, so they don't really care what you think."

I bought every 3.5 book WotC ever released. I bought multiple cases of most of the miniatures sets. I bought the dungeon tiles.

Now I buy almost nothing from WotC. I'm not interested in 4E. The 4E cross-pollination with DDM means I dropped the skirmish game and cut way, way back on buying the minis. (I am still buying the dungeon tiles.)

When did I stop being WotC's target audience? And why? Why did WotC decide to forego the money I was giving them? Are people like me so rare that WotC actually can't make a profit from us? Considering how much I spent on a monthly basis, I find that difficult to believe, but I guess maybe ...

It seems very, very, very (yes, three verys) odd to me that I was a WotC completist for eight years, and then -- bam! -- I'm no longer their target audience. How can it be that the division between "consumer" and "irrelevant" is so sharp? Is it because I turned 40 in May?

It really seems to me that "you aren't WotC's target audience, so they don't care what you think" has the cause and effect backward. I stopped buying WotC's stuff because it became clear that they didn't care what I think. So why and when did they stop caring?
 
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DaveMage

Slumbering in Tsar
It seems very, very, very (yes, three verys) odd to me that I was a WotC completist for eight years, and then -- bam! -- I'm no longer their target audience. How can it be that the division between "consumer" and "irrelevant" is so sharp? Is it because I turned 40 in May?


I can't answer your question, Jeff, since I'm sitting in the same boat with you. (Although I'm much younger than you at 38. ;) )
 



Snoweel

First Post
I didn't buy much in the way of 3.5 stuff - the Core books, FRCS, Manual of the Planes, Oriental Adventures, Eberron... I steered away from mindless splatbooks and bought a few things from 3rd party publishers.

I enjoyed 3.5 but never felt the need to buy everything.

And now I love 4e. But no way am I going to buy everything. I have the Core books and I bought that piece of crap Keep on the Shadowfell but the next book I'm going to buy will be Manual of the Planes. Maybe Draconomicon if I like it after I've flicked through it.

Am I WotC's target audience? Who cares. I'll buy what appeals and use the internet for (free) inspiration.
 
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Sunderstone

First Post
When did I stop being WotC's target audience?

When Hasbro started dreaming they could tap into the WoW market.



B-)

edit* fwiw, they lost me when they made all these crazy splats (imho, the early attempts at WoW- type munchkinism). My WotC buying dropped sharply, but 3rd party publishers picked up more of my money.
To everyone, try not to take my post as flame bait. Its my opinion.

2nd edit* Im 39 as well in case anyone is keeping track.
 
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Serendipity

Explorer
The bottom line, really, is this - if you aren't buying 4e then, no, you aren't WotCs target audience. Not slinging mud but that's pretty much the facts of it IMHO. It's naught to do with age or other possible demographics.
Of course, it's also 5 in the morning here and I might well be missing the point of your post. ;)
 

Jeff Wilder

First Post
Which is it? Are you not interested in the game or are you not buying because you think they aren't listening to you?
Why do you assume they're mutually exclusive, when -- since I wrote both of them -- you should be assuming they're not?

I'm not interested in 4E, because 4E was designed by people who weren't listening to me (or people like me). I am not saying 4E was designed while listening to nobody ... I'm saying 4E was designed without listening to me. And I'm wondering why, and when, WotC decided to stop listening to people like me.

Why, and when, did WotC decide I wasn't their target audience?
 

I remember when 3x came out the people playing before (long time veterans) felt they were ignored as a "new" audience was targeted. They went on about the armor becoming more sci-fi and pictures having pierced noses and eye brows.

The game evolves.

That said.... going ditital instead of having magazines I still consider an afront to me but that is another subject.

What I found interesting is I kinda feel the same way and I'm 39. Is it just a generation thing?
 

CharlesRyan

Adventurer
The reasons each of us enjoy D&D are many and complex. The "target customer" isn't a discreet profile; rather, its a spectrum with very fuzzy edges. As WotC makes adjustments to D&D--and hence, to what makes D&D appealing--it's inevitable that that fuzzy zone wiggles one way or the other. Before, you were within that zone; now you seem to have fallen out of it. That's disappointing to you, and, I'm sure, to WotC, but it's inevitable that it will happen as the game evolves.

In other words, it's not that WotC said, "forget those completists who buy every book--there's no money in them!" It's that, for presumably a variety of reasons, they felt the game had to change. And that meant that some customers would inevitably fall away. Presumably it also meant even more would be picked up.

[And as for the "I bought everything--surely people like me are valuable?" viewpoint: Every RPG ever published has had some number of fans who bought everything ever made for it. The question isn't whether those fans are valuable--they clearly are!--but whether they are sufficient to sustain and grow the business. One certainly hopes that in D&D's case the answer is Yes, but hundreds of games have died and left behind fans bewildered by the fact that their loyalty wasn't enough to keep the game going.]
 

Jeff Wilder

First Post
The reasons each of us enjoy D&D are many and complex. The "target customer" isn't a discreet profile; rather, its a spectrum with very fuzzy edges. As WotC makes adjustments to D&D--and hence, to what makes D&D appealing--it's inevitable that that fuzzy zone wiggles one way or the other. Before, you were within that zone; now you seem to have fallen out of it. That's disappointing to you, and, I'm sure, to WotC, but it's inevitable that it will happen as the game evolves.
This is getting to the heart of what I'm trying to figure out. I understand what you're saying, and I'm not exactly disputing it. But if the edges are "fuzzy," then how did I go from "completist" to "nearly nothing"?

Since I'm not an all-or-nothing gamer, generally speaking (there are many games for which I only have a modest selection of books), doesn't the fact that the demarcation is so extreme kinda call into question the "fuzzy edges" idea?
 

Dragonhelm

Knight of Solamnia
Maybe it was when you no longer needed WotC. You've collected an entire edition's worth of material (a hefty feat, to be sure!).

WotC reached a point to where they put out just about everything they could for 3.5. It reminded me of the end of 2nd edition. So when the ideas run out and profits sink, it's time to put out a new edition and get the higher dollar amounts one gets with core books. Enter 4th edition.

So here you are with everything from 3rd edition and the idea of collecting everything...again...is there in your thoughts. You may feel like you've been there and done that. You're not the target audience because you have it already; the target being those who don't.

I know that I feel that way at times. I had a pretty hefty 1e/2e collection, and I collected many of the same books in 3e as well (some better, some worse). Now here's 4e. I've already got two editions of Draconomicons and class/race sourcebooks. Now they're doing it again. It gets worse because of the ever-expanding core. So now this edition will have more than one Draconomicon, for example.

At some point, you have to ask why you need all this info again. The answer is that you don't. Of course, you don't need anything beyond the core three books. You don't need WotC to give you all the good dragon info (example) because you already have the Draconomicon from 3e. You don't need WotC to give you all the class options, because you have them already. And so on and so forth.

I could be off and this is just a guess. But it's a theory at least. My advice is to stick with 3e, if that's the game you like to play. You have plentiful resources which can provide years of fun to come. Maybe you're no longer WotC's target audience, but you may be the target audience for other companies. Take a look at what Paizo is doing.

Don't worry about being a target audience and buying things because it is WotC. Perhaps now is the time to focus on the fun you're going to have with all those 3.5 books. :)
 

avin

First Post
Why, and when, did WotC decide I wasn't their target audience?

I remember when 3x came out the people playing before (long time veterans) felt they were ignored as a "new" audience was targeted.


That's it. There was AD&D fans thinking Wotc ignored them, now you are thinking you're not their target audience.

Reason is: they need to sell and editions need to be different to sell well.

So far I'm fine, playing 3.5 and 4.0. I hated AD&D silly rules, maybe I'll find 5e a crap too :)

Keep playing 3.5, it's a solid and nice edition :)
 

Nebulous

Legend
Hmm...i'm 36 and not liking a lot of changes 4e is making, although i'm playing the game and enjoying it (and still buying the hell out of minis). I wonder when someone officially becomes a "grognard"?
 

As much as we like to think that its just Hasbro enjoying being evil and stomping on us we can't ignore some basic truths.

1) Hasbro is not out to "get" anyone.

2) Hasbro is a large company with shareholders. Shareholders want profit. Competitive games, especially collectible ones, make more money than roleplaying games.

3) The D&D IP is a source of revenue. Hasbro will want to generate as much revenue from it as they possibly can in the best interest of thier shareholders.

4) The D&D IP has value, and roleplaying games have a much lesser value (in $$). The splitting of the two was inevitable from the moment Hasbro acquired the rights. Some far seeing individuals saw this coming and created the OGL.

5) Roleplaying games and profit-first motives do not mix. A company can make money producing roleplaying games just not the kind of money that attracts shareholders.

The whole process is a result of Hasbro having the best of intentions for thier shareholders rather than the worst for roleplayers. We are of course, left hanging by this process but the OGL still exists and small private companies that care about the hobby are still around.

As a disclaimer I am in no way saying that 4E in its current form is not a roleplaying game. If future editions are purely collectible card and mini based then I will go so far as to say that, even if it says D&D on the package.
 


Jeff Wilder

First Post
[Many good points.]

You're not the target audience because you have it already; the target being those who don't.
But that hasn't really turned out to be the case, has it? 4E fractured D&D fandom, sure, but many people who bought many 3E books have started in again with 4E books. Right? Also, I'm relatively certain that if 4E had been an evolution of 3E -- fixing its problems, introducing some new systems -- I'd still be buying.

I recognize that it's very subjective, but I honestly feel that it's not that I decided to stop buying WotC products, but rather that WotC decided to stop making products that I want to buy.

(I want to be very clear that this is not some backdoor into an edition war. If nobody, including me, ever mentions editions, that's fine with me. I'm just trying to figure out how I went from buying everything to buying almost nothing, and then being told that my opinions about things don't matter because I'm now buying almost nothing.)
 


scruffygrognard

Adventurer
Since the release of 4E, and most recently in some threads about the upcoming change in the D&D miniatures lines, I've read many times (not always in direct response to me) that "you aren't WotC's target audience, so they don't really care what you think."

I bought every 3.5 book WotC ever released. I bought multiple cases of most of the miniatures sets. I bought the dungeon tiles.

Now I buy almost nothing from WotC. I'm not interested in 4E. The 4E cross-pollination with DDM means I dropped the skirmish game and cut way, way back on buying the minis. (I am still buying the dungeon tiles.)

When did I stop being WotC's target audience? And why? Why did WotC decide to forego the money I was giving them? Are people like me so rare that WotC actually can't make a profit from us? Considering how much I spent on a monthly basis, I find that difficult to believe, but I guess maybe ...

It seems very, very, very (yes, three verys) odd to me that I was a WotC completist for eight years, and then -- bam! -- I'm no longer their target audience. How can it be that the division between "consumer" and "irrelevant" is so sharp? Is it because I turned 40 in May?

It really seems to me that "you aren't WotC's target audience, so they don't care what you think" has the cause and effect backward. I stopped buying WotC's stuff because it became clear that they didn't care what I think. So why and when did they stop caring?

Ditto for me. The BIG plus-side to this is that I'm saving a lot of $$$$ that I used to dump into gaming stuff. I'm guessing that WotC wanted to crush the OGL (as much as it possibly could) and restrict its IP a lot more when it designed 4th edition. I also think that they aimed at producing more modular books, so that 4th edition customers would have to invest more $$$$ in order to have the same number of options that they had in the core books for 3.X. The PHB (in my opinion) was deliberately scaled back so that customers who wanted the "core options" they had in the past now needed to buy additional installments of the PHB. They have also pushed Dragon magazine buy having this e-zine offer previews of these "missing" options. To me it seems like 4th edition offers less bang for the buck by design.
 
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CharlesRyan

Adventurer
This is getting to the heart of what I'm trying to figure out. I understand what you're saying, and I'm not exactly disputing it. But if the edges are "fuzzy," then how did I go from "completist" to "nearly nothing"?

Sorry, what I meant by "fuzzy" wasn't that the slope away from hardcore to nothing was necessarily gradual, but that the factors of appeal are very complex, making the edges of the target customer profile hard to pin down.

Let's take a hypothetical 2E player (since we're all quite old enough to remember them!). There are a million reasons he might like D&D, some of which even he probably isn't fully aware of. Along comes 3E, and he finds he just isn't into D&D as much. He likes the rules OK, and isn't put off by buying new books. So why? Perhaps part of appeal was the imagery--the Elmore/Parkinson/Caldwell look. The look changed, the game just didn't fire his imagination, and his interest fell away. Being a hardcore fan takes some energy, and when the payoff wasn't there, even in subtle ways, he was no longer motivated to put in that energy. (Or dollars.)

By changing the look of D&D, the publisher didn't intentionally refocus on a different target audience. But any pronounced shift in the game's appeal will be enough, I think, to undermine some of fans' enthusiasm--enough for them to drop out completely, even if they were really into it before.

Sad for you, sad for WotC (I'm sure they'd love to keep every hardcore, purchasing fan!), but hopefully offset by even more new fans. . . .
 

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