Critical Role Why Critical Role is so successful...

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Critical Role is as successful as it is because Matt Mercer is probably the best DM in history who spends countless hours developing NPCs, the world, plots. combat scenarios, and every aspect of the game. He runs the game in a way that makes it easy for anyone to play effortlessly incorporating rules as needed for any situation without slowing the flow of the story. Couple that with a charismatic and creative group of voice actors as players who can bring characters to life at the table on a growing media site focused on gamers and geeks with an established audience ready to eat up such material and you have Critical Role.

It's one of those right place, right time, right people scenarios. Matt and his crew likely could have taken most games and created a monster.

I started watching Critical Role by happenstance when I was playing 5E. I kept watching Critical Role because Matt Mercer and his crew are awesome at RPGs. Even after I quit playing 5E and grew bored with the game, I kept watching Critical Role.

Sam's improvised songs were hilarious and awesome at the same time. I missed his bard when he left. Laura and her bear were cool and Laura brings the heart and creativity. Grog was hilarious. Taliesin and Liam are the more serious players bringing that bit of drama and intensity. Marisha has moments.

And Matt Mercer is the greatest DM I have ever seen. He is without compare.

I'd watch the Critical Role crew play almost any RPG. I'd love to see them do a space game or a Shadowrun type of game. It would still be awesome.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
What I don't understand is how anyone could think Pathfinder doesn't compete against D&D...

They're geared towards exactly the same niche of exactly the same genre, with a similar emphasis on mechanically balanced combat, and sharing maybe 95% of the same heritage, tropes, and history...

Just baffling.

But even if you somehow manage to ignore all that, D&D is the behemoth of the ttrpg world - every other game competes with D&D to some extent.

Some more, some less. Maybe Powered by the Apocalypse, or Maid the RPG, are examples of the former.

But if there's a single game that is in the latter category, it's Pathfinder. Paizo is, by far, WotC's most direct and most prominent competitor.

If you understand business, then you understand there can be multiple players and all can still be profitable. Paizo has never been as profitable as Wizards of the Coast. And certainly can't compete against Hasbro.

There's such a thing as a second player. Like car companies with a big dog like Toyota and then some smaller players like a Nissan. They go after different segments of the same market.

PF and D&D are in the same market. D&D went after a certain segment of the market looking for a simpler game and made a great game that caught on.

Paizo went, "We don't have the resources to go after D&Ds market directly. So where can we compete? How about we listen to our fans and make a game that our fans helped build. Then we can retain our PF fan base by cleaning up the D20 system and making it more balanced, playable, while still having the customization and crunchy bits our player base expects."

You seem like an intelligent guy. I am sure you can understand when a company deliberately builds a game to go after a different segment of a market as no one game, even as popular as D&D 5E, will capture all of the market. Paizo made a very purposeful decision to make a game based on the feedback of their player-base. That is who they are targeting. It is not a direct competitor to D&D as it is targeting a different segment of the RPG market. If it can maintain it's place as the 2nd big player in the fantasy RPG market, then it is doing fine.

Just like game like GURPS go after another segment of the market and so on and so on.

We will see in time if it is a successful strategy.
 

MarkB

Legend
If you understand business, then you understand there can be multiple players and all can still be profitable. Paizo has never been as profitable as Wizards of the Coast. And certainly can't compete against Hasbro.

There's such a thing as a second player. Like car companies with a big dog like Toyota and then some smaller players like a Nissan. They go after different segments of the same market.

PF and D&D are in the same market. D&D went after a certain segment of the market looking for a simpler game and made a great game that caught on.

Paizo went, "We don't have the resources to go after D&Ds market directly. So where can we compete? How about we listen to our fans and make a game that our fans helped build. Then we can retain our PF fan base by cleaning up the D20 system and making it more balanced, playable, while still having the customization and crunchy bits our player base expects."

You seem like an intelligent guy. I am sure you can understand when a company deliberately builds a game to go after a different segment of a market as no one game, even as popular as D&D 5E, will capture all of the market. Paizo made a very purposeful decision to make a game based on the feedback of their player-base. That is who they are targeting. It is not a direct competitor to D&D as it is targeting a different segment of the RPG market. If it can maintain it's place as the 2nd big player in the fantasy RPG market, then it is doing fine.

Just like game like GURPS go after another segment of the market and so on and so on.

We will see in time if it is a successful strategy.
There's also the fact that, as D&D grows, it grows the RPG market in general. Pathfinder probably has a larger customer base now than they would have done without 5e's success.
 




robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I'd watch the Critical Role crew play almost any RPG. I'd love to see them do a space game or a Shadowrun type of game. It would still be awesome.
Agreed, and I’d say that’s because the one thing they hold in highest regard is engagement with the world (i.e, exploration) and that would translate to any RPG.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
If you understand business, then you understand there can be multiple players and all can still be profitable. Paizo has never been as profitable as Wizards of the Coast. And certainly can't compete against Hasbro.

There's such a thing as a second player. Like car companies with a big dog like Toyota and then some smaller players like a Nissan. They go after different segments of the same market.

PF and D&D are in the same market. D&D went after a certain segment of the market looking for a simpler game and made a great game that caught on.

Paizo went, "We don't have the resources to go after D&Ds market directly. So where can we compete? How about we listen to our fans and make a game that our fans helped build. Then we can retain our PF fan base by cleaning up the D20 system and making it more balanced, playable, while still having the customization and crunchy bits our player base expects."

You seem like an intelligent guy. I am sure you can understand when a company deliberately builds a game to go after a different segment of a market as no one game, even as popular as D&D 5E, will capture all of the market. Paizo made a very purposeful decision to make a game based on the feedback of their player-base. That is who they are targeting. It is not a direct competitor to D&D as it is targeting a different segment of the RPG market. If it can maintain it's place as the 2nd big player in the fantasy RPG market, then it is doing fine.

Just like game like GURPS go after another segment of the market and so on and so on.

We will see in time if it is a successful strategy.
Just "let's not compete with the market leader head on" is in itself not a commendable business strategy. You seem to give Paizo a pass simply because their game isn't like 5E, as if that is enough of a reason.

When PF2 comes across as not having learned a single lesson taught by 5E's success, I doubt their strategy. When even a bit player like EN Publishing realizes that Paizo has inadvertently* left the space as Hasbro's satellite and as the provider of "D&D just how you like it, but more", the alarm bells should ring.

*) I know they quite deliberately wanted to sever their dependency on WotC. I don't think they wanted to leave the clear No. 2 spot in the D&D sphere.

I think "advanced D&D" is a much much larger potential market than whatever market Paizo gunned for. I think Level Up! has a real shot at overshadowing PF2, relegating that game to the outskirts of the D&D sphere, where lots of other games have gone to slowly wither away...

And what market did Paizo gun for exactly? Their game certainly isn't anything like d20 or Pathfinder 1, cleaned up or not. It's far too obtuse to attract the new breed of gamer ushered in by 5E. As I see it, it's a market for gamers attracted by 4E-style presentation and approach to magic items, which is a very dodgy market given how that game tanked. It plays much better than it looks, but my best shot at defining that market is "a brand new segment only the curious even finds, much less sticks to".
 

Wishbone

Paladin Radmaster
Agreed, and I’d say that’s because the one thing they hold in highest regard is engagement with the world (i.e, exploration) and that would translate to any RPG.

I found it very frustrating when they tried new systems like Savage Worlds and viewer suggestions screwed with their ability to do just that without leaning into memes or other silly behavior.
 

I think "advanced D&D" is a much much larger potential market than whatever market Paizo gunned for. I think Level Up! has a real shot at overshadowing PF2, relegating that game to the outskirts of the D&D sphere, where lots of other games have gone to slowly wither away...
Really? We know most branches of RPG's really are just different settings. Very few try to be original.

But to say their is a larger potential market share for an advanced D&D, might only be true if it has the D&D name. Paizo is crunchier than D&D. But D&D seemed to increase their market share by making things less complex, not more. So I would think growth is actually in the opposite direction.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
Just "let's not compete with the market leader head on" is in itself not a commendable business strategy. You seem to give Paizo a pass simply because their game isn't like 5E, as if that is enough of a reason.

When PF2 comes across as not having learned a single lesson taught by 5E's success, I doubt their strategy. When even a bit player like EN Publishing realizes that Paizo has inadvertently* left the space as Hasbro's satellite and as the provider of "D&D just how you like it, but more", the alarm bells should ring.

*) I know they quite deliberately wanted to sever their dependency on WotC. I don't think they wanted to leave the clear No. 2 spot in the D&D sphere.

I think "advanced D&D" is a much much larger potential market than whatever market Paizo gunned for. I think Level Up! has a real shot at overshadowing PF2, relegating that game to the outskirts of the D&D sphere, where lots of other games have gone to slowly wither away...

And what market did Paizo gun for exactly? Their game certainly isn't anything like d20 or Pathfinder 1, cleaned up or not. It's far too obtuse to attract the new breed of gamer ushered in by 5E. As I see it, it's a market for gamers attracted by 4E-style presentation and approach to magic items, which is a very dodgy market given how that game tanked. It plays much better than it looks, but my best shot at defining that market is "a brand new segment only the curious even finds, much less sticks to".

What are you even talking about? A pass? I stated what they did. They are not trying to make a 5E game. Period, not disputable, they weren't even interested. They did a massive playtest targeting their players to build the game. They worked with their fan base to make the game their fans said they wanted.

If it fails to capture the market they went after, then so be it. Businesses fail all the time. If some other company comes up that takes the number 2 spot, then so be it.

I'm telling you what Paizo did. I'm not giving them a pass or what not. I and my group like their game. If some other great game came out, we would probably play that if we liked it more. Same as we did when World of Warcraft took out Everquest.

That's competition. I'm not some Paizo fanboy loyal to the core. I just like PF2. So does my group for now. As long as the game stays fun, we play. If it doesn't, then we go. Simple as that.
 



Exploration has always been at the heart of all my campaigns. The rest is filler. I imagine my players to be visitors of a themepark. Each village or locale they visit, is another Disneyland. I fill those areas with sights to explore. One of the wonderful things about running a D&D campaign, is showing how weird and wonderful this fantasy world can be.

711eeeeIHwL._AC_SL1050_.jpg


It's kind of like visiting Diagon Alley. Wherever you go, wherever you look, there are strange and wonderous things to see. Behind every window, around every corner... A world filled with wonder. I want my players to have that sense of awe when they explore. There are no generic medieval towns that look 'just like another town'. They are all unique. While this does mean a lot more preparation, I think DM's would do well to care about their world to this degree.

If the players visit a townsquare, think about what it is called, and why. Is there a statue there, of a local saint perhaps? Can the players inquire about this saint? Does the square tie into the plot some how? This is the level of detail I aim for with my campaigns. The more cross connections you can get in there, that tie the location to other plots in the campaign, the better and more memorable it will be.

If the players visit a magicshop, what does it look and smell like? Does it perhaps look very different from other buildings, or have quirky features on the inside and outside? What wonderous things are on display behind the store window? Which things does the store owner refuse to sell? Just this detail alone will make those shopping trips a whole lot more interesting to play out.
 
Last edited:


An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top