WotC's Chris Perkins Talks About... Everything! Upcoming Storylines, Products, Staffing, Other World

WotC's Chris Perkins, Principal Designer for Dungeons & Dragons, was at Gamehole Con a couple of weeks ago. He took part in a panel there in which he covered a lot of things - product schedules, partnerships, other worlds, story flavours, staffing, upcoming storylines, Greyhawk, and so much more. You can listen to the whole (90-minute) audio recording here, but for those who prefer to read it I've quoted the highlights below. It's well worth the read, but if you have the time I strongly recommend you listen to the whole thing.

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[h=4]On Products & Schedules[/h]
My job, and the job of our team going forward, is to try to make sure that anything that we do that ties to D&D is firmly rooted in story first. If we don't have a story to tell, we're not going to release any products to support it. Gone are the days, in 3rd and 4th Edition, when we were bound by the model of having to release a book a month or two books a month, or three books a month. We have no commitment or desire to do that going forward.


And part of that is just driven by business realities, part of it is driven by our knowledge of certain facts that we've obtained through surveys, through talking to people at shows, that there is kind of a certain amount of material that people can actually absorb before the stuff that we're releasing no longer has any value and is no longer serving anybody. A lot of 3rd Edition products, I'm sure, and 4th Edition products, I'm sure, that maybe you've bought or your players have bought are sitting on shelves having never been used, or used precious little. We don't sell products so that 5% of our audience can use 5% of it. We're now trying to sell products that 100% of our audience might use, and they'll use all of it.

The perceived value of D&D goes up, people actually having common shared experiences that they can talk about at cons, with their friends, and our stories actually get out there.

In the olden days when you had the early adventures TSR put out, everybody played Tomb of Horrors, and everybody played Keep on the Borderlands. Everybody played Temple of Elemental Evil. And those stories have transcended the game experience to the point now where people go to a convention and a 13 year old and a 40 year old and a 65 year old can all talk about Tomb of Horrors and know what they're all talking about.

[h=4]On Partnerships[/h]
Our first story that we launched with 5th Edition was Tyranny of Dragons, and we partnered with a number of different companies to tell that story. We partnered with Wolfgang Baur's company, Kobold Press to do a pair of TRPG products, we partnered with Gale Force 9, we partnered with WizKids, we partnered with our folks, Cryptic, the company which produces the Neverwinter MMO; we set up all these partners to tell that story.

[lq]One of the things we are going to be doing in the future is looking out at some of our other worlds[/lq]

[h=4]On Other Worlds[/h]
All these different elements [setting info in the core rulebooks] are contained there so that in future stories we don't have to limit ourselves to one world. And so while Tyranny of Dragons, and Elemental Evil, and Rage of Demons, have all fundamentally been Forgotten Realms based, one of the things we are going to be doing in the future is looking out at some of our other worlds. That doesn't mean we won't come back to the Realms, or have adventures that visit multiple different locations, start in one place and end in another... one of the goals with our stories is to go beyond Forgotten Realms, safe to say.

The other thing that we're driving to with our stories is to, whenever possible, draw upon the past, key elements from the history of the game that have not seen a lot of attention lately.

Sadly we won't be doing any stories round the D&D cartoon, and that's because we don't own the characters! CBS does!


[h=4]On Story Flavours[/h]
The story that follows Rage of Demons is not going to be anywhere near the Underdark, and it will have its own feel, its own flavour, its own atmosphere, its own thing. The story that follows that is going to be very different. It allows us to do things like ... Princes of the Apocalypse and the Elemental Evil story was very dungeon driven; it was a dungeon-based story... in the future we want to maybe do intrigue. What story would we have to tell in D&D that is fundamentally an intrigue story. Would it be like city based? Would it be planar based, where you're basically on some sort of planar hunt for something? And then maybe the story after that is ... [audience member suggests "horror"] ... horror, or something more light-hearted and flaky, or a little off-track, or like Eberron, a little more steampunkish, or Victorian pulpy... making sure every story has a different feel, flavour, making sure we get to visit some of our other worlds, and making sure that we're always going back to the source material and picking the best things out of the last and bringing them forward.

[h=4]On Staffing[/h]
The size of the D&D team at Wizards has changed over the years. I've been there since the TSR acquisition... when we first came to Wizards of the Coast with all the TSR folks, the D&D team numbered just under 50 people. And they were supporting a number of campaign settings that had held over from 2nd Edition, there was a Dragonlance team, there was a Forgotten Realms team, there was a Greyhawk team, every world still had its own team.... now there isn't dedicated teams for worlds, because there just aren't that many worlds that are actively supported any more. And so our team now numbers 15, and not only do we work on TRPG stuff, but we also support our novelists, we also provide support to our business partners working on digital games, miniatures, and game accessories. And we've also got part of our team whose brain space is dedicated to coming up with new ideas, new ways of getting D&D out there in the world. Loot Crate partnerships, for instance. Very, very beneficial for us, because they give us enormous exposure.

My story team consists of me, I have an art director named Richard Witters who I stole from the Magic team, who's brilliant... and I've got a storywriter named Adam Lee, who I also stole from Magic... and we're in the process of hiring a new concept artist.

[h=4]On Upcoming Storylines[/h]
I can't talk about specific storylines that we're working on presently, and at this time we're working on four. We've got two stories to tell next year, and then we've got two more stories in fairly developed states, and we don't even know necessarily when they're going to appear yet.

On the next storyline -- That's a tough one to answer. To a certain extent, obtusely, I've already answered it with the three things I called attention to. Once could speculate based on what I've told you what might happen.... we do have an upcoming story that does go back to a past adventure... doesn't feature dragons, so it won't be anything from the Dragonlance saga... I think it's safe to say if you look at the things we haven't played with yet which are fairly intrinsic to D&D [he asked the audience to suggest D&D monsters, and the vampire is shouted out] ... the vampire has been around in D&D, it's not a unique D&D monster by any stretch, but we would be remiss if we didn't do something with vampires at some point. I can almost assure you that we will get around to doing that. Certainly gothic ... and Victorian, and that sort of feel.. the question is all about timing. When is the time to do it? When is it going to surprise and delight the most people?

[lq]Turns out we can't keep folks excited for a year. There are too many other distractions in the world today.[/lq]

That's another thing about our stories, is that we don't want to be predictable. In fact, we've even changed out release plans so we don't even tell people. Five years ago, Wizards would tell people a year in advance what products we were releasing. Now we don't do it until literally months before it comes out. Part of that is simply Shock and Awe. And because we've evaluated how long we can keep peoples' excitement. Turns out we can't keep folks excited for a year. There are too many other distractions in the world today. Too many entertainment properties competing for peoples' attention. 3, 4 months, perfect window. People can remember and stay excited for 3-4 months about something.

So, yeah, vampire, classic monster, yeah, we'll do a story with vampires... [more classic monster suggestions].. yeah, we'll do a story with giants.

[lq]Yeah, we'll do a story with vampires[/lq]

On codenames -- I'm doing two playtests here at the show. One is for a story codenamed Cloak, and one is for a story codenamed Dagger. All of our stories now have codenames ... it's necessary because we have to submit all of our story names for trademark search... there are a lot of titles in the world out there today, and we often have a title that we like that gets rejected .. because it was the name of a video game that was made in 1979 ... it's getting harder and harder and harder to come up with names. So until we have a name that is actually trademarked, we go with codenames.

Cloak -- ... they were going up into the icy mountains, and this temple under a mountain that's basically become a repository of evil. There was this sect of good-aligned wizards and paladins who were keeping this temple, and all of the evil within it, trapped there, to keep the world from going, you know, crazy. Keep the world safe. But that was 400, 500 years ago. What's in there enow? Well, maybe the wizards have all died off. Maybe they sort of succumbed to the evil there. Who knows? But it's an interesting story, and that's a piece, or a fragment, of a story that is going to be important in the future.

Dagger -- Dagger is a story in which you're going around and pillaging the ancestral mounds of barbarian tribes. And that has a slightly different feel, don't you think? It feels a bit more pulpy, and oh, you're got an airship! Great!

Now, by telling you that, I haven't actually given anything away about the main plots of those stories, I assure you. But it's tantalising...

[h=4]On shorter modular adventures[/h]
We are doing that, but we're doing it now though Adventurer's League. So our shorter module adventures are all Adventurer's League adventures, you can play many of them here, you can also download them. Because we've discovered that because now here stories are these experiences that are meant to last a period of time, our typical stories usually have a marketing plan associated with them that runs for about 4-6 months, we'e discovered that that's actually good for us because it goes enough people the chance to discover it and experience it and then talk about it before they get taken off on the new thing. And part of the goal with the stories is to bring people together with common experiences, and the shorter, more modular things tend to be fleeting, and don't get that resonance The other challenge with them is when it comes to actually selling modules. Their presence on the shelf is significantly less. When they're shelved in, they don't have spines, they disappear and get lost more quickly, the stores that buy them don't give them as much credence or as much weight, whereas when we release a bigger book, or a box or something, that has a little bit of "oomph" behind it, it tends to get the stores and the distributors more excited, and it tends to give us a bigger buildup. People get more energised, they start saving money for it, they know that they won't have to buy six things from us, they can just buy one..and a lot of that is driven by, just like a World of Warcraft model. You can't imagine Blizzard releasing six expansions a year. They don't ... they want to release a mammoth, not a bunch of mice.

[lq]You can't imagine Blizzard releasing six expansions a year. They don't ... they want to release a mammoth, not a bunch of mice.[/lq]


[h=4]Other Assorted Items[/h]
Home-brew vs. published -- A great bulk of those who play D&D run homebrew settings. But of those home-brew campaigns, over half of those homebrewers do pillage from other settings ... 15% or 50% of the world they've created has hawked stuff from other worlds. They're comfortable pillaging our products for ideas. That homebrew number, I can't remember the exact percentage, but I think it's like 55% homebrew. And then it's like 35% Forgotten Realms, and then everything else ... Very few people right now, turns out, running Dark Sun campaigns. A sliver of a sliver. Very few people running Hollow World campaigns. Very few people are running Mystara campaigns. It pretty much goes Homebrew, Forgotten Realms, I think Greyhawk's at 5% ands then everybody else is at 2% or 1%.

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Consultants -- As far as with working with people... it's another change in how we do business at WotC. We never used to do this before. We consult. 5th Edition was very good to us. The company supports us wholeheartedly, they have given us large amounts of money to basically bring people from the outside who have some cachet or who are creative titans in their field, bring them in an actually have them consult with us on our stories. They help us develop the stories. The way it works is we drive a dump truck of money up to their house, and we say "Come with us to Renton, Washington for a week and sit down for a week's worth of meetings to break a story." And we don't even know that we're necessarily going to do this in product yet. We just ant to get these people out here and pick their brains and see what comes out of it. One of our most successful endeavours was Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time. He came out for a week, spent some time with us in meetings, and a marvellous story came out of that wacky coalition of elements that you'll be seeing in the not too distant future. We've had other consultants as well. For instance on Out of the Abyss we naturally brought in Bob Salvatore. RA Salvatore writes the Drizzt novels, since Drizzt was going to be sort of an anchor for the story, we brought him in to consult on that. But we are looking at bringing in consultants beyond the range, beyond the pale... people that obviously love D&D may not actually have ever worked on a D&D product. Or maybe they have! Who knows? If I could resurrect Gary Gygax I would bring him in as a consultant, certainly. But we have to stick to the living.

[lq]It is incumbent upon WotC to spend some amount of its time, effort, mindspace, and resources to ensuring that the roleplaying hobby and the D&D enthusiast hobby, the gaming hobby, is healthy[/lq]

On inclusiveness and growing the hobby -- We are going to see D&D stories that are fresh, that are going to attract new people to the hobby, and I think it is incumbent on us probably more so than any other company ... it is incumbent upon WotC to spend some amount of its time, effort, mindspace, and resources to ensuring that the roleplaying hobby and the D&D enthusiast hobby, the gaming hobby, is healthy, that people are always coming in, that we have stories that are welcoming to them, that are inclusive, that are going to appeal to more than just middle America white guys, that are showing D&D to people in a whole new light, in a way that's fresh, that's welcoming, in keeping with the age in which we live, and I don't want anybody feeling discriminated against by our D&D stories, by the products that we're releasing. I don't want anybody to feel that they can't play because of some perceived barrier, because their mother told them it was satanists ... D&D has always been safe and fun and smart and friendship-inducing.

Level ranges - Tyranny of Dragons, the TRPG products that were released for it, took you from levels 1-15. Elemental Evil, same, 1-15. Out of the Abyss, our Rage of Demons adventure, 1-15. We're going to be changing up that model in the future. So you may see future stories which are strictly low-level, you may see some that are sort of set in the middle, you may see some that are set strictly high-level. Or you may see a story that can be told at level 3, level 10, and level 15. We're going to change that up for a couple of reasons. 1) We don't want to be boring and predictable. 2) We've discovered that when we give people 4-6 months to play an adventure, they won't necessarily get to the end. Tyranny of Dragons, most games did not make it to the end. Elemental Evil, most games did not make it to the very end. Out of the Abyss remains to be seen. So, for the next one, we're going a little shorter, and for the one after that we're going a little shorter still. That doesn't necessarily mean that the products will be getting tremendously shorter; for instance one of the upcoming products that we're doing it enormously replayable. It's a short adventure, but you can play it 200 times and never have the same adventure twice.

[lq]Tyranny of Dragons, most games did not make it to the end[/lq]

Non-story based products like SCAG - Will we do more of that in the future? Yeah, part of our goal in that is to surprise and delight ... if all we did were big adventure books, that wouldn't be surprising. So the question is "What is the next Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide?" Who knows? I don't know. ... But let's say we did a Greyhawk adventure, Greyhawk has been out of circulation now for how many years? Although you can still ... there's nothing stopping you from running a Greyhawk campaign because everything out there is still there and its still timely. And it remains, as far as I'm concerned it's an open question whether we would even change the timeline. Greyhawk's current timeline is perfectly cromulent. So is its original timeline. So the question then becomes "Is it a better user experience to put all the information you need to know about Greyhawk in the adventure product because it's really for the DN's information, or is it better, and it's going to be better received, if that information is parcelled, divorced from the adventure as a separate thing that you have to buy? That you have to spend money on now."

On Greyhawk -- The other problem that we have with Greyhawk, speaking honestly, is that it's D&D at its most core. The problem is if I were t say that to somebody in an elevator, they'd go "I have no idea what you mean. What the hell do you mean, Greyhawk is like D&D at its core? What is core D&D?" "Oh, it's monsters and magic and wizards!" "Well, you just described The Hobbit. You just described Dragonlance. You just described Forgotten Realms." What makes Greyhawk, Greyhawk? Is it Gary? What else about Greyhawk makes Greyhawk, Greyhawk? Is it low magic? Because you have Mordenkainen - he is not low magic. So it's that magic is more exclusive in Greyhawk? Unless you goto the Valley of the Magi, where it's not. It's got barbarians, a whole lot ... look at the Greyhawk map, there's a whole lot of barbarian territory up there. We don't know a whole lot about them except that they're tigers and... we've got Scarlet Brotherhood which are aryan monastic wanna control the world type organisation, somebody at work, I can't remember it was Mike Mearls or somebody else, described Greyhawk as almost Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser-esque, Fritz Leiber, Lankhmar-esque. That would certainly make sense based on things I heard about what Greyhawk was like when Gary was running it, sort of maybe he felt that way. Certainly Fritz Leiber was a friend of Gary's and the Gygax family, and Gary loved his works according to Empire of the Imagination.

If we were to do a Greyhawk story, one of the things I'd be sorely tempted to do is focus on Iuz. I'm not going to give you a full campaign setting. I'm going to tell you a story about Iuz and all of the **** that he's doing right now and all of the repercussions that are happening because of that... Iuz is going to be the glue that holds this story together.

The full audio is a 90-minute podcast available from Gaming and BS. I've covered the salient points, but there's plenty more there to listen to!

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
Yeah but whoever does own the rights could be making money off of it by licensing it out to Netflix the why they haven't is still a valid question it just isn't a question for them.

Is this not exactly what you want to see happen? The longer they sit on their IP the more money they will make in the long run, right?

D&D might not be a billion dollar license but it is certainly at least a million dollar one, and no small publisher is going to take on a million dollar license for a product they literally can't win on. No matter what if you print a D&D book, about half the vocal internet community will absolutely hate it. Write your own thing and you don't need to worry because the niche you wrote for is the only audience you need to worry about pleasing. Rather that than spending a butt ton of money just to be allowed to write something you are quite possibly going to get threatened over, no matter what you do with it. See that's the other half of the problem the d&d license is worth a ton of money (print a phb and print money no matter what), but it is unfortunately career damaging to work on it. For instance given your appreciation for the current D&D team, will you ever buy books attached to Mearls ever again after he gets done with D&D? If he came out with some solo project would you be pumped to see it? Unfortunately a large set of the hardcores won't, because they dislike his handling of D&D. D&D is a highly profitable, but also highly risky IP. That's just not a gamble anyone is or should be willing to take, especially given how the RPG market is at the moment (way too much competition for a small company to take such a gamble). Anyone big enough that they could handle the risk is already doing fine on their own product line and had no need to take on the extra risk and workload grabbing a D&D license would bring.

If it is so hard to make DnD stuff then why are we still seeing DnD stuff? Turns out that even if you make a so-so product that gets panned by half the internet critics, it can still sell 100 thousand units.
 

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Orlax

First Post
Is this not exactly what you want to see happen? The longer they sit on their IP the more money they will make in the long run, right?



If it is so hard to make DnD stuff then why are we still seeing DnD stuff? Turns out that even if you make a so-so product that gets panned by half the internet critics, it can still sell 100 thousand units.

When we are talking about sitting in an IP I mean not producing any new content and letting the existing content continue to make you money. Licensing out the D&D cartoon for streaming would be lucrative as it's literally a payment and they do nothing but show off your product. Licensing the D&D game on the other hand leads to someone else defining an era of your product line for you and you have little to no control over that era. However even if you do get a decent deal and you have some oversight you're running the exact same deal you've got now except you aren't the one making the profits, again that's a dumb idea. These are two very different IPs with very different licensing. Comparing the two in that manner is a shady conversation tactic that draws equivalencies that don't exist.

The whole problem that corpse had here is that they aren't putting out enough stuff, and aren't making the right stuff. My position is that they are making what they can to meet their business needs and that they can't just make everything because that is a terrible business model that would result in the shelving of the table top game.
 

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
Wait, what? Baby killing? Did your auto correct crap the bed or something?

No, just [MENTION=22779]Hussar[/MENTION] trying to give WotC a free pass for killing Dragon/Dungeon by Godwinning the thread.

Dont worry about it, no real Babies were killed in the making of this Parody.
 

delericho

Legend
Well this is just patently false - WotC never decided to bring Dungeon and Dragon magazine in house because of falling subscription rates. It was because they felt they could make more money by bundling the baby killing and whatever in an on-line subscription then they could by licensing out their baby killing and expecting people to do their own whatevering.

While you're right that the motivation for bringing the magazines home was about using them as a pillar of the DDI, [MENTION=22779]Hussar[/MENTION] is right that there was an absurd over-reaction to them choosing to do so - because WotC were indeed well within their rights; because the license agreement had expired naturally anyway (and so they didn't cancel it; they just didn't renew it); and indeed because WotC allowed Paizo a several month extension to their license to allow them to see out the "Savage Tide" AP.

I was sad to see the magazines leave Paizo, and extremely disappointed to see them cease print publication. Indeed, I consider their failure to renew the license the single worst mistake they've made in their ownership of D&D, since I believe it was this, much more than the OGL, that led to Pathfinder, and led to Paizo changing from being their #1 cheerleaders to their #1 competitors.

But WotC actually went above and beyond in their handling of the situation. They really didn't deserve the rage directed at them.
 

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
While you're right that the motivation for bringing the magazines home was about using them as a pillar of the DDI, [MENTION=22779]Hussar[/MENTION] is right that there was an absurd over-reaction to them choosing to do so - because WotC were indeed well within their rights; because the license agreement had expired naturally anyway (and so they didn't cancel it; they just didn't renew it); and indeed because WotC allowed Paizo a several month extension to their license to allow them to see out the "Savage Tide" AP.

I was sad to see the magazines leave Paizo, and extremely disappointed to see them cease print publication. Indeed, I consider their failure to renew the license the single worst mistake they've made in their ownership of D&D, since I believe it was this, much more than the OGL, that led to Pathfinder, and led to Paizo changing from being their #1 cheerleaders to their #1 competitors.

But WotC actually went above and beyond in their handling of the situation. They really didn't deserve the rage directed at them.

Did not deserve the rage for killing Dragon?

I can not even agree to disagree on that one.
 


Shasarak

Banned
Banned
It would almost certainly have been dead by now anyway. At least it was allowed to go out on a high.

Go out on a high?

Am I really the only one who remembers what actually happened to Dragon...when it got to the stage when they could not even be bothered to package it into a single "Dragon" pdf?

But you are right. How could I expect Dragon magazine to survive when even DnD itself was dead in the water for two years? Now that would be crazy.


Hey, I did think of one good thing about the Dragon license - it proves that WotC can write a license where they do not lose control of their IP for years requiring a lawsuit to get back.
 

delericho

Legend
Go out on a high?

Am I really the only one who remembers what actually happened to Dragon...when it got to the stage when they could not even be bothered to package it into a single "Dragon" pdf?

Ah. Sorry - for me, Dragon ended with #359. I consider eDragon to be something else entirely, and as for Dragon+...

Hey, I did think of one good thing about the Dragon license - it proves that WotC can write a license where they do not lose control of their IP for years requiring a lawsuit to get back.

Yep, no argument there.
 


Reinhart

First Post
How can WotC get bitten by licensing that they did not even do? It is not as if it was a big surprise to them that they could not make movies. o who do we blame for WitC legal not being able to write up a licensing agreement?

It is not as if DnD has had any decent games since Baldurs Gate and ToEE anyway so no great loss there ...

I suspect that TSR did not have anything to do with the cartoon other then vague managerial oversight ...

So the important thing to remember is that TSR was the firm that licensed out the TV rights to Marvel Productions, video game rights to Atari, and movie rights to Sweat Pea. For all my criticism of WotC, they had zip to do with that beyond their decision to acquire TSR in that state. The "problem" with most Hollywood style of licensing deals is they tend to come with renewal options. Options, as a legal and economic term, are legally binding promises. It means that if the licensee wants to continue the license at the time the contract has expired, and the licensee meets the renewal requirements, the lincensor cannot deny them. I use "problem" in quotes because many licensees aren't willing to work without them. Who wants to build a reputation and brand just to have it taken away from them? Of course, the licensor is still getting paid for all these extensions. They are, however, stuck with their original terms and that's why Hasbro has been so unhappy. TSR didn't have the advantages that Hasbro can leverage, so what looked good to TSR doesn't look so good to Hasbro. Also, TSR's licensing agreements were from a time when video games and fantasy movies weren't quite the huge commercial juggernauts they are now.

TSR was the first to dilute the D&D brand with too many settings and product lines, but some of those licensing agreements also contributed to D&D's brand dilution. We all can see now that the licensing agreement with Sweetpea wasn't great for the brand. And while Bioware's use of the D&D license was pretty outstanding, the products Atari made with other studios haven't been so great. For the past couple of decades there was very little coordination and consistency between the various D&D product lines. Right now, if you ran into an advertisement for a game expansion with the D&D logo on it, you'd have to already be very familiar with the brand to know which of these it's for:

1. A "generic" expansion for the current rules of the D&D tabletop RPG.
2. A supplement for one of D&D's countless fantasy settings.
3. One of D&D's several board games.
4. One of D&D's two totally separate MMO's.
5. One of D&D's other video games (currently Sword Coast Legends, Arena of War, and Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition.)

And technically, all of the above categories have gotten some sort of expansion recently, even though Forgotten Realms is the only setting being explicitly used for all of them. So it's not just the D&D community that's fragmented by settings and editions, there's also fragmentation of the product which creates confusion about the identity of the D&D brand. Only a D&D enthusiast is likely to be up to speed with all of these and so only D&D enthusiasts can actually parse whether the new product is actually valuable to them or not.

So what's WotC doing about it? Well, their options are limited for those products which are already out the gate. They seem to be trying to make good with what they've got. Instead of marketing products for each individual fragment of the brand they're trying to make product launches that involve as many as possible. Who is Rage of Demons for? Well it's for Neverwinter Online, Sword Coast Legends, the Forgotten Realms novel fans, and the table-top RPG. Now this tactic is still far from perfect. There's still a confusing mess even for people familiar with the products. For instance, there was a Rise of Tiamat article in Dragon+ written by the Neverwinter Online team that involved their new currency system and then inserted three different stat-blocks for dragons from three totally different games. And remember how some of us thought that Out of the Abyss would include Drizz't or a scenario with Orcus commanding an army of alhoons? Yeah, I'm sure that they factor into at least one of those Rage of Demons products, but I'm still unclear which. And let's not forget that despite WotC's "deep involvement" with Sword Coast Legends it was wildly different from what many of the fans expected it to be.

Basically, there's definitely an intent to streamline and unify D&D to make it more marketable, but the reality is that D&D is still pretty darn messy.
 
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GobiWon

Explorer
The whole problem that corpse had here is that they aren't putting out enough stuff, and aren't making the right stuff. My position is that they are making what they can to meet their business needs and that they can't just make everything because that is a terrible business model that would result in the shelving of the table top game.

This is the truth. As much as I would like every D&D setting to be detailed with a book as beautiful and well crafted as 3.5 Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting Book, I understand that it would be a bad business decision. It would be like telling Ford to mass produce the Ford GT Supercar even though demand for such a product is in the 10s not 1000s and then wondering why Ford has not lowered the price of their offering so more people can buy it. You are mad just because a company isn't willing to go into the poorhouse to produce what you want them to produce.
 

Corpsetaker

First Post
This is the truth. As much as I would like every D&D setting to be detailed with a book as beautiful and well crafted as 3.5 Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting Book, I understand that it would be a bad business decision. It would be like telling Ford to mass produce the Ford GT Supercar even though demand for such a product is in the 10s not 1000s and then wondering why Ford has not lowered the price of their offering so more people can buy it. You are mad just because a company isn't willing to go into the poorhouse to produce what you want them to produce.

Not a good analogy because Ford puts out many different models to choose from.
 

GobiWon

Explorer
Not a good analogy because Ford puts out many different models to choose from.

You might not like the Ford Taurus as much as you like the Ford GT, but Ford is going to focus their energy on producing thousands of units of Tauruses because that is what they can sell a ton of and make a profit on.
 

Corpsetaker

First Post
This is the truth. As much as I would like every D&D setting to be detailed with a book as beautiful and well crafted as 3.5 Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting Book, I understand that it would be a bad business decision. It would be like telling Ford to mass produce the Ford GT Supercar even though demand for such a product is in the 10s not 1000s and then wondering why Ford has not lowered the price of their offering so more people can buy it. You are mad just because a company isn't willing to go into the poorhouse to produce what you want them to produce.

It's not madness and it's not going into the doghouse.

That is the nature of this industry and it's D&D that began it and exposed many different people through many years. Multiple settings still make wizards money it's just how you go about doing it. Nobody says you have to go the 2nd edition route. We get a lot of one extreme to the next without exploring the middle.

Multiple settings have not much to with cost because I believe Wizards is smart enough to pull it off. The problem is gaining brand identity. At this moment there is really no difference between D&D, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Conan, and many of the other fantasy genres. You can't sell "D&D" to the public without giving it a face or multiple faces. Just like "Marvel" couldn't just sell "Marvel" to the populace, you have to pull specific things from "Marvel" in order to grab peoples attention and those things were Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, etc....

To make it easier for them to gain brand identity they needed to look at the setting that is the most popular and that is Forgotten Realms. It does have an iconic character they could build off of and go from there. Wizards have already said they are thinking long term and they have their sights on something bigger than the RPG down the road. It's not that multiple settings will cause them to lose money, it's that they think there is something down the road that will make them lots more money.
 

Corpsetaker

First Post
You might not like the Ford Taurus as much as you like the Ford GT, but Ford is going to focus their energy on producing thousands of units of Tauruses because that is what they can sell a ton of and make a profit on.

Not sure where you are going with this. One model of a car may get produced more, but I can still get the newest model of a more expensive model even though they may make less.

You aren't using a good analogy.
 

GobiWon

Explorer
It's not madness and it's not going into the doghouse.

That is the nature of this industry and it's D&D that began it and exposed many different people through many years. Multiple settings still make wizards money it's just how you go about doing it. Nobody says you have to go the 2nd edition route. We get a lot of one extreme to the next without exploring the middle.

Multiple settings have not much to with cost because I believe Wizards is smart enough to pull it off. The problem is gaining brand identity. At this moment there is really no difference between D&D, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Conan, and many of the other fantasy genres. You can't sell "D&D" to the public without giving it a face or multiple faces. Just like "Marvel" couldn't just sell "Marvel" to the populace, you have to pull specific things from "Marvel" in order to grab peoples attention and those things were Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, etc....

To make it easier for them to gain brand identity they needed to look at the setting that is the most popular and that is Forgotten Realms. It does have an iconic character they could build off of and go from there. Wizards have already said they are thinking long term and they have their sights on something bigger than the RPG down the road. It's not that multiple settings will cause them to lose money, it's that they think there is something down the road that will make them lots more money.

You are right about consolidating the IP. They do want to associate the Realms and their iconic characters with D&D for the long term strategy beyond just the table top game.
 

GobiWon

Explorer
Not sure where you are going with this. One model of a car may get produced more, but I can still get the newest model of a more expensive model even though they may make less.

You aren't using a good analogy.

Sure Ford produces 10 of these cars a year. That's not practical for WotC. They could produce what you want, but it would be either so expensive that you wouldn't buy it or priced so low that they wouldn't make a profit. Ford gets away with making the GT because they can write it off to marketing cost and R&D. The fact that they sell 1000s of Tauruses allows them to lose money on the GT. WotC doesn't have that luxury.
 

wedgeski

Adventurer
To make it easier for them to gain brand identity they needed to look at the setting that is the most popular and that is Forgotten Realms. It does have an iconic character they could build off of and go from there. Wizards have already said they are thinking long term and they have their sights on something bigger than the RPG down the road. It's not that multiple settings will cause them to lose money, it's that they think there is something down the road that will make them lots more money.
If this is true then tell me this: why is it "Sword Coast Legends" and not "Forgotten Realms Legends"..? Why is it "Princes of the Apocalypse" and not "Forgotten Realms: Elemental Evil"..? Why "Out of the Abyss" and not "Forgotten Realms: Madness of the Underdark"..?

For a company so hell bent on forging a FR brand identity, they sure seem to suck at it.
 

Shasarak

Banned
Banned
Sure Ford produces 10 of these cars a year. That's not practical for WotC. They could produce what you want, but it would be either so expensive that you wouldn't buy it or priced so low that they wouldn't make a profit. Ford gets away with making the GT because they can write it off to marketing cost and R&D. The fact that they sell 1000s of Tauruses allows them to lose money on the GT. WotC doesn't have that luxury.

So what I am hearing here is that just because Ford can make the products their customers want, we should not expect WotC to do the same? :Scratches head:
 

Orlax

First Post
So what I am hearing here is that just because Ford can make the products their customers want, we should not expect WotC to do the same? :Scratches head:

Yeah pretty much. Ford had a ton of money and a product line that does so well that it can provide the profits to cover the losses of the other product line. WotC doesn't have that luxury because of how Hasbro silo's the products. MtG money is MtG money. D&D money is D&D money, and never the two shall meet. Because of this D&D can't split it's own purchasing stock by immediately labeling books as books half the customers don't want by placing them in a specific setting. I mean to my understanding the scag is designed in such a way that I could take elements from it and stand the sword coast up in my homebrew game (hence why it isn't marked as a forgotten realms book).
 

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