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4E Where was 4e headed before it was canned?


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The trouble with this, and most of the speculation, is that is fun but meaningless.
Kinda like RPGs. ;P


In a certain sense, the question is unanswerable; to fans of 4e the untimely death of the produce means that the unreleased products in their mind were AMAZING AND AWESOME in the same way that people speculate about future seasons of Firefly or the unreleased music of Jimi Hendrix; the sad fact is that any product would never measure up to what is in your head. And, perhaps, it is best that way.
I mean- I can still think about how awesome D&D would have been if Gygax never left, forgetting inconvenient facts like, um, Cyborg Commando.
Or Dangerous Journeys.
I can't help but thinking that 2e'd've been better with him on board, though.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
In the alternate timeline where 4e's sales goal was less than the size of the total industry, and the lead programmer was well-adjusted & decided to port to android apps, and the VTT was on-time, and nobody much fretted da Math let alone edition-warred, and the economy didn't implode, and an OGL/SRD was released concurrent with the PH, and KotSF didn't suck quite as hard...
That first two parameters are why the production rate was higher than could ever be supported and also directly reflected in the slow slow rate for 5e.
 

That first two parameters are why the production rate was higher than could ever be supported and also directly reflected in the slow slow rate for 5e.
I'd think they'd've gotten over any reticence by now, if the slow pace were /just/ because of low expectations & cost cutting going into devlopment. Either it was an honest change in philosophy from the get-go (making a virtue of necessity), or they figured: hey, the slow pace of release is causing books to fly off the shelves (correlation = causation, ftw!) so we better keep (not) doing it (too fast)!
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
In a certain sense, the question is unanswerable; to fans of 4e the untimely death of the produce means that the unreleased products in their mind were AMAZING AND AWESOME .
Err we actually stretch a lot I think to figure out "what" they might have been the product release rate in 4e was downright unparallelled a lot was already covered.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
hey, the slow pace of release is causing books to fly off the shelves (correlation = causation, ftw!) so we better keep (not) doing it (too fast)!
Anything that can be attributed to... well logical fallacies and misattribution might as well be, it seems very human.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I'd think they'd've gotten over any reticence by now, if the slow pace were /just/ because of low expectations & cost cutting going into devlopment. Either it was an honest change in philosophy from the get-go, or they figured: hey, the slow pace of release is causing books to fly off the shelves (correlation = causation, ftw!) so we better keep (not) doing it (too fast)!
Why not both?

WotC has said they settled on the rate of release based on customer research. If data analysis suggests a causal factor, it is worth an honest change in philosophy, the moreso once it works.
 

based on customer research. If data analysis suggests
Meh, customer research and data analysis suggested that fixing 'static combat' and a lot of other play-functionality issues, and betting on an on-line subscription model, would let them print $50-100mil/year and keep Hasbro from shelving the IP.

Why not both?
Yeah, I actually went back and added "virtue of necessity" as that occurred to me, too. I mean, MM might not've had a lot of resources to develop 5e, but he was looking back at the early game (he said so repeatedly), and in addition to picking up on the primacy of the DM to excellent effect, maybe he also noticed: "hey, EGG was doing one book a year, /literally/ using the proceeds from one to publish the next, and that made 1e, which was wildly successful..."
 
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Parmandur

Legend
The trouble with this, and most of the speculation, is that is fun but meaningless.

The sad fact is that 4e was announced in 2007 (GenCon) but was already dead by the time Essentials was released (2010). The two years between the release of Essentials and the announcement of 5e was just running out the clock until the announcement.

In a certain sense, the question is unanswerable; to fans of 4e the untimely death of the produce means that the unreleased products in their mind were AMAZING AND AWESOME in the same way that people speculate about future seasons of Firefly or the unreleased music of Jimi Hendrix; the sad fact is that any product would never measure up to what is in your head.

And, perhaps, it is best that way. I mean- I can still think about how awesome D&D would have been if Gygax never left, forgetting inconvenient facts like, um, Cyborg Commando.
Essentials was an honest attempt to right the ship: 4E wasn't quite down for the count yet, but the previous publishing and marketing scheme crashed and burned for sure.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Meh, customer research and data analysis suggested that fixing 'static combat' and a lot of other play-functionality issues, and betting on an on-line subscription model, would let them print $50-100mil/year and keep Hasbro from shelving the IP.

Yeah, I actually went back and added "virtue of necessity" as that occurred to me, too. I mean, MM might not've had a lot of resources to develop 5e, but he was looking back at the early game (he said so repeatedly), and in addition to picking up on the primacy of the DM to excellent effect, maybe he also noticed: "hey, EGG was doing one book a year, /literally/ using the proceeds from one to publish the next, and that made 1e, which was wildly successful..."
More than 1E, the best selling pre-5E editions were B/X and BECMI, which had Adventure and setting focused release schedules that were, by page count per annum, probably slower than 5E much of the time.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Essentials pretty much canned it as far as I am concerned. It abandoned the spirit of the game. The attitude was gone. They stopped producing new lore material. Nothing experimental like we see in DMG 2 and Dark Sun. If Essentials was the cure I would have preferred to see it die.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Essentials pretty much canned it as far as I am concerned. It abandoned the spirit of the game. The attitude was gone. They stopped producing new lore material. Nothing experimental like we see in DMG 2 and Dark Sun. If Essentials was the cure I would have preferred to see it die.
If you havent tried HotFW I highly recommend it lots of experimental and cool stuff
 

More than 1E, the best selling pre-5E editions were B/X and BECMI
To be clear: the Basic Set, back in the fad years, moved units like no other single book (the Red Box, at the height, something like 1.2 million IIRC). That doesn't imply that BECMI or the nominally nearly indistinguishable but mechanically distinct B/X that preceded it were more popular or driving the fad relative to AD&D (or even 0D&D). Players migrated from Basic straight to AD&D all the time, some, I'm sure, went from Basic to 0D&D or even Arduin.
 

Parmandur

Legend
To be clear: the Basic Set, back in the fad years, moved units like no other single book (the Red Box, at the height, something like 1.2 million IIRC). That doesn't imply that BECMI or the nominally nearly indistinguishable but mechanically distinct B/X that preceded it were more popular or driving the fad relative to AD&D (or even 0D&D). Players migrated from Basic straight to AD&D all the time, some, I'm sure, went from Basic to 0D&D or even Arduin.
But were they, really? Across the board? I'm not sure. I've heard plenty about people who did, but a ton appear not to have done so, or played BD&D with AD&D elements blended in. TSR sure didn't keep solid data, so it's hard to say. It was selling well enough to keep material coming until the Clinton administration.
 

Mycroft

Explorer
It's pretty telling that the two biggest edition warriors of all time are active in this thread; I mean, since 2008, and when the WotC forums melted in 2015, some came to roost here, unfortunately.
 

But were they, really? Across the board?... TSR sure didn't keep solid data, .
No, they didn't but one factoid to make it out of TSR - according to some WotC insider, I think, was that the Basic set was the biggest selling D&D book of all time, 1.2 mil - units, not $ - is what's stuck in my mind, but I'll admit to a dodgey memory at this point in my life.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Comes in to a thread marked with an earlier edition which is explicitly asking for speculation re that editions potential direction ... then whines about people speculating about possibilities of said editions direction then cries about edition warring LOL.

Hand puppet
 

Mycroft

Explorer
Right on time (both); love illustration.

Apologies to others (genuine types), just bored of the Cold War garbage, is all.

Game on...
 

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