WotC WotC partners with Start Playing to connect players and DMs and form tables.

Juxtapozbliss

Explorer
I just want to be clear that I understand what you are saying: you believe that people coming to SPG to hire GMs to run games for them don't know about 5E and WotC?
I was reacting to the statement that “no one new” would start playing because of this adventure. I interpreted “no one new” as someone who hasn’t played a role-playing game before, not someone who’s never heard of D&D5e before. “Learn to play” and “Beginners Welcome” is very common on SPG as a game-listing parameter. I know that SPG even sometimes runs Google ads specifically driving to those games Two of the five players at my paid table had never played D&D before. One of them hadn’t played since first edition. I’m just saying that this partnership could pull in a lot of people potentially searching to play for the first time.
 

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Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I was reacting to the statement that “no one new” would start playing because of this adventure. I interpreted “no one new” as someone who hasn’t played a role-playing game before, not someone who’s never heard of D&D5e before. “Learn to play” and “Beginners Welcome” is very common on SPG as a game-listing parameter. I know that SPG even sometimes runs Google ads specifically driving to those games. Two of the five players at my paid table had never played D&D before. One of them hadn’t played since first edition. I’m just saying that this partnership could pull in a lot of people potentially searching to play for the first time.
Right. Sorry. I was suggesting that people using SPG would be very unlikely to not know about 5E, and therefore the exposure value would be very limited for WotC. However, I see what you are saying: it is mutually beneficial if people who want to try D&D do so at SPG.
 

So has this thread inspired anyone here to start their own campaign on Start Playing? There are lots of players out there who would enjoy an Enworld quality game.
 


Hussar

Legend
So has this thread inspired anyone here to start their own campaign on Start Playing? There are lots of players out there who would enjoy an Enworld quality game.

I did do it for a few months. But after that I had very bad luck at getting another game off the ground. Couple of one shots but that was it. There are a LOT of games available at any given time.

Something like this though could be a huge boost to people wanting to give it a shot.
 


MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
It seems weird to me that with so many people entering the hobby, folks still have trouble finding GMs.
I'll give a paying player's perspective.

I've been using Start Playing for a few years. I've used the Roll20 find-a-game site even longer, for both free and paid games. My work and travel schedule has made it impossible to commit to an in-person game. Even for online games, I can't commit to being a player in an ongoing campaign. Paid games have been the best way for me to find one-shots, at a time that works for me, with GMs and players I enjoy playing with. And I can usually find a good game on very short notice, especially at Start Playing.

Free games are more difficult, because most DMs running games for free on find-a-game services are looking for players who can commit to a campaign on a regular schedule. As for free one-shot, pick-up games, they are hit or miss. Some are GMs who are into a less-popular system and are just using it as a way to recruit players and it feels more like a performance interview than just enjoying a one-shot game. I've had more awkward personalities (both DMs and players) with random free one shots and both DMs and players are more flaky with free one shots, leading to games being cancelled at the last minute, not starting on time, etc.

My best experiences with one shots are those that are run by people who are (for lack of a better word) "evangelists" for lesser known systems. Some game companies (DCC comes to mind) have their staff regularly run free one-shots to introduce people to their systems and these sessions tend to be a lot of fun.

But if I want to play a one shot of a more popular system, Start Playing is a great resource. If I find myself in a hotel on a friday night with nothing to do, I can almost always find a one-shot that looks interesting. Start Playing makes it easy to filter by date and time, game system, DM play style (self-reported), number of games the DM has run, and player reviews for the DM. I have, surprisingly, never had a bad experience and have never regretting spending the USD 20-50 for a 4-6 hour game.

It is also a good way to familiarize myself with systems that I am thinking of running. Some professional GMs, however, get a little touchy about this, especially if I start asking about how they've configured certain aspects of their VTT setup.

Apparently there is a cost per game for the service. That may limit interest in the long run. I saw "$10 off first game session", so that implies each session cost more than $10. After the initial interest, this may be a big impediment.

I wonder how much WoTC will get from this.

Before 2019, before my job change, when I was running games in person and didn't have a crazy travel schedule, I still didn't have time to both run my campaign for my friends and play regularly in another campaign. Other than some games with old friends over the Christmas break, the only time I played was at a convention I went to each year. The amount I spent at the convention was less than I would have spent if I payed a GM for a year's worth of weekly 4-hour sessions. I mean, I guess there are other things conventions offer, but nothing I'm interested in. I go there to play. That and to browse merchant stalls (which inevitably leads to spending more money, because I'm a terrible impulse buyer at game conventions).

Instead of going to a convention, I can spread out my play time and costs, to play one-shots in a variety of systems over the year. I mean, if one can't afford it, they can't afford it. For me it is paying and playing through Start Playing rather than going to a convention. Also, as I'm not GMing my own campaign in person any more, I've stopped buying terrain, minis, and other physical game aids years ago. Even with regular use of Start Playing, I'm paying less on the hobby than I did before 2020 and it is much more convenient.
 


Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I'll give a paying player's perspective.

I've been using Start Playing for a few years. I've used the Roll20 find-a-game site even longer, for both free and paid games. My work and travel schedule has made it impossible to commit to an in-person game. Even for online games, I can't commit to being a player in an ongoing campaign. Paid games have been the best way for me to find one-shots, at a time that works for me, with GMs and players I enjoy playing with. And I can usually find a good game on very short notice, especially at Start Playing.

Free games are more difficult, because most DMs running games for free on find-a-game services are looking for players who can commit to a campaign on a regular schedule. As for free one-shot, pick-up games, they are hit or miss. Some are GMs who are into a less-popular system and are just using it as a way to recruit players and it feels more like a performance interview than just enjoying a one-shot game. I've had more awkward personalities (both DMs and players) with random free one shots and both DMs and players are more flaky with free one shots, leading to games being cancelled at the last minute, not starting on time, etc.

My best experiences with one shots are those that are run by people who are (for lack of a better word) "evangelists" for lesser known systems. Some game companies (DCC comes to mind) have their staff regularly run free one-shots to introduce people to their systems and these sessions tend to be a lot of fun.

But if I want to play a one shot of a more popular system, Start Playing is a great resource. If I find myself in a hotel on a friday night with nothing to do, I can almost always find a one-shot that looks interesting. Start Playing makes it easy to filter by date and time, game system, DM play style (self-reported), number of games the DM has run, and player reviews for the DM. I have, surprisingly, never had a bad experience and have never regretting spending the USD 20-50 for a 4-6 hour game.
Thanks for that reply. I had not considered that angle before.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
Almost a minimum wage job.

I don't charge but thought about it.
Going rate seems closer to $40 per person, per session. A DM who builds a reputation might be able to charge more.

Four players per session . . . four hour session . . . about $40 per hour of live gaming, not including prep time. Even better if you are running games for larger groups.

You're not going to get rich, but I can see how some folks who really enjoy this kind of work and are good at it, can make a decent living in areas with reasonable cost-of-living.

Seems like for a lot of DM's this makes for a fun and decently paying side gig. And in this economy, side gigs are becoming more and more of a necessity, sadly.
 

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