Friday, May 23, 2014

Weighing in on the DnD 5e annoucements

First off we don't know enough of Wizard's marketing and distribution plans to do a critical review of what they are doing. Except that they should quit the dribbles, drabs, and teases of information and just tell us. I understand they need to get the distribution process going which means pre-orders and cover images on Amazon, game stores, etc. But only telling half of the story just means the peanut gallery is going to make up the other half.

As to what I think about what has been announced? I am cautiously optimistic. I will get the books just I did with all other previous edition. I still feel that DnD Next will be a good second choice for the OSR. A game that we can play and enjoy at conventions and game stores but still continuing to use our favorite editions as our main system.

I think that the signs are there that Wizards is going to distribute a set of character creation rules covering the basics. That it will probably look similar to the B/X style character creation rules both in content and brevity. 

Continuing the speculation, it will be a end run around Paizo if Wizards prints this as well as a freebie that anybody can pick up at their game store. Especially if they consider this primarily a marketing tool and use the marketing budget to fund it. Then turn around and use what they saved on the Starter Box budget to pack it additional content they otherwise could not include.

I don't consider pre-gen characters bad as long as they are an addition to the regular character creation rules and not in liu of it. I am also open minded that they just may found a better way of distributing a RPG ruleset other than putting everything in a box or books. 

I will also point out that while the Pathfinder Beginners Box set is pretty good, it still a sealed game box. To somebody in the game store, they have to buy the box and open it before they can see what it truly is. If Wizards is smart and has a printed booklet sitting in the stores, this allows gamers to read something substantial before deciding whether the Starter Set is worth buying. 

But in the end until Wizards get their marketing communication straightened out we are all guessing. 


Scott Anderson said...

If they don't tell you what's in it, I could be anything. At least some people will buy it based on speculation.

Plus, this is a lot of free buzz being generated by the grog ards.

Finally, OSR players are not their persuadables-- we've all already decided whether to buy. It's the moms and kids who see it in wal-mart they are going after. Wisely so.

I'm kind of pissed off at the marketing, but it makes a lot of sense from a business standpoint.

Clovis Cithog said...

I think it is fair to distinguish between Ryan Danceyz WoTC and Hasbroz WoTC

2nd edition was a TSR product
(Gary already forced out of the company) while
3rd edition was a WoTC product; WoTC bought TSR about 1998
latter WoTC got bought out by Hasbro then
Ryan ( a dedicated gamer) was made executive vice president of something or somewhat..
He quickly became discouraged with Hasbroz corporate goals and he resigned.
4th edition was a Hasbro product
(Ron Heinsloo) and rapidly DnD became second fiddle to Pathfinder

Piper said...

I'm looking forward to the new edition and plan to buy the boxed set. If I like it I may invest in the books as well.

John Middleton said...

This sort of marketing is, unfortunately, pretty common now.

I am big time into analog and digital synths.

Roland teases like this for months, slipping out a blurry photo, or a close up of some bit, before letting some tech specs out. They did it for a ear with their new Aira brand of gear.

Love to neck punch the idiot that developed this marketing technique.

Cross Planes said...

Clovis, DnD 3.5 was a Hasbro product too and planned as soon as Ryan's DnD 3.0 launched.

I've never seen that Ryan really did anything for the industry except the OGL and I personally feel it was a self-serving decision in case he was still in the RPG business down the road.

It's easy to praise Paizo for taking a well thought of ruleset, tweaking just enough and then running with it. It's also easy to say they won, when WotC hasn't releases anything in 2 years.

In truth I don't think WotC even factors Paizo and Paizo is a smart enough company to see that. The worst case scenario for them is to support Pathfinder, develop Pathfinder 2 and if there is an OGL for 5E produce product for it as well.

As much as people want to jump on the 4E Hate bandwagon, ANY company in the rpg business, besides WotC, would have loved a flop with its numbers.