D&D General Why Is D&D Successful?

Zardnaar

Legend
One of the things I learned in business school was that being first entrant into a market is the single biggest factor correlated to success in that market. More than 60% of market leaders across all industries were the first entrants (or successors in interest).

That advantage isn’t unassailable, clearly, but it’s huge. The #1s still need to work hard and adapt to maintain their power or they’ll be surpassed by competitors.

Yup RPGs still to niche fir a competitor to emerge. Unless D&D defeats itself.

I suspect a Sci fi rpg might one day beat D&D if I had to guess a genre.
 

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Among different reasons the 5 Ed is the product after the decades of attempts and failures, watching what works better and what is more accepted by the new generation of players. We can say 5E is the best option to start from zero.

Other reason is the creative freedom to create your own adventures and stories according to your own styles. If you want your games are child-friendly or grimmdark. D&D is the perfect game for the fandom who loves to create their own fanart plots.

And I add the creative crisis in the rest of entertaiment industry. Now the technology is more advanced very much, but the plots have lost a lot of originality and power to cause surprise. Maybe they are making more money than before, but their franchises are losing popularity. The people is losing excitement for the release of a new movie or videogame. Now the feeling is the companies are selling the same product but with a new cover.

D&D could lose the throne, but Hasbro worries a lot this brand didn't make more money. World of Darkness would need a powerful "sponsor" to be a serious rival for D&D. This is possible, but nobody could safe this to happen in the comingsoon future.

And what about about the isekai animes? Even when those fantasy worlds are fictional virtual CRPGs some possible influence is possible.
 

Iosue

Legend
I'll throw out one possible reason I don't hear a lot about:

Subclasses.

The idea that you have these straight forward core classes but zillions of potential subclasses that can really change up what the class feels like and you get these by 3rd level. 3rd edition had prestige classes. 4e had paragon paths end epic destinies. But those took forever to get to. With subclasses, you get a nice big branch in your character at a really low level – low enough that it can feel like 3rd is where D&D actually begins.

I think subclasses gave 5th edition a lot of legs. It meant players could play in dozens of campaigns for a decade and not run the same character twice. It was just crunch enough to give players something different about their character and not so complicated that it bogged down the whole game. You could get all your subclass options on a single page.

I think it's a brilliant design in D&D history and one of the big reasons this game has as much staying power as it does.
Another factor here is how class design ramps up complexity. You get a feel for your class at Level 1 with only two primary features, then another feature at Level 2, and then your subclass at Level 3. You've got a fairly complex character now, but new players haven't been bombarded with too many choices too soon. And what choices they do have to make are now additionally informed by what they know from play about the kind of character they want to be.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Another factor here is how class design ramps up complexity. You get a feel for your class at Level 1 with only two primary features, then another feature at Level 2, and then your subclass at Level 3. You've got a fairly complex character now, but new players haven't been bombarded with too many choices too soon. And what choices they do have to make are now additionally informed by what they know from play about the kind of character they want to be.

They're still very new after a handful of sessions though.
Usually experienced players and/or DM helps out.
 

Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
And what about about the isekai animes? Even when those fantasy worlds are fictional virtual CRPGs some possible influence is possible.
Isekai anime are quite popular, and likely are influencing newer gamers. A lot of people talked about the anime-ization of D&D.

In many ways it's an interesting example of cultural exchange: American tabletop games influenced by Japanese cartoons based on American MMORPGs influenced by Japanese console RPGs influenced by an American tabletop game.
 

GreyLord

Legend
KISS.

It's a lot more simple than some other WotC versions have been such as 3.X or 4e, even with the additional rules added on.

It's not so simple that it turns people away, it's complex enough that it gives each class and other subjects of the game their own flavor that you can feel as you play, but not so complex that it's hard to learn.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
So you think it is pop-cultural and not a function of the game itself?
I think it is exactly this. 5E popped at a time on confluences in pop culture that brought about substantial growth. The game itself... how the game is and rules play... have little to do with it.

I don't see it any differently as to the HUGE reinvigoration of professional wrestling in the Stone Cold Steve Austin / New World Order years in the late 90s. After the mid 80's Hulk Hogan Rock N Wrestling craze died out in the late 80s, no one expected pro wrestling to ever reach those heights of cultural cache again. But then in the late 90s through a conflux of fortuitous cultural connections... the WWE and WCW resurged to new heights that no one expected. And while the players involved were all good-- Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall all had skills but they weren't considered the "best" wrestlers technically (the wrestling equivalent of "How good the rules of the game are")-- it was all the hoopla around their situations culturally that built wrestling back up to a new golden age. Both companies just happen to have the right characters in the right stories at the right time to blow the business up huge... even bigger than what had originally been the breakout of the business in the era of Hogan.

But the heights of the "Attitude Era" / "Monday Night Wars" eventually died out once more... just like the heights of Dungeons & Dragons will die out again eventually (in three years, five years, or whenever some new "big thing" explodes.) And when that happens... D&D will return to the equilibrium that pro wrestling is currently in... where it's the hardcore diehards that are still all-in on the product, but the "casual fans" who showed because it was a part of the pop culture zeitgeist will move on to the next thing... because it wasn't the game but the pop culture phenomenon they really clung to and what got them involved in the first place.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
One other factor that, IMHO, contributed to 5e enduring (and increasing) success, is the willingness of the D&D team to adapt. When 5e came out, it mostly appealed (quite successfully) to the existing fan-base. When, due to many factors already discussed in this thread, it started to expand and gain an ever-increasing following among younger players, the game (especially the lore) was updated to be more in sync with the younger generations.
 

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