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D&D 5th Edition Announced

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Bakustra
PostPosted: 2012-01-25 02:45pm 

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Spoonist wrote:
No, instead you demand that WoTC should never create those cards or combos and instead create all cards to be equal. So that whichever choices you make when putting the deck together they will all end equally good.


The only conceivable way to consider this a bad thing in the context of an RPG is to presume that equality means sameness. I would like a clear reason why exactly fighters should be inferior to wizards, or vice versa, or why trap powers and trap feats (or conversely, feat taxes and power taxes) are essential and indeed beneficial.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2012-01-25 03:34pm 

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From the point of view of the designer, if equality does not mean sameness, it means an enormous amount of work.

It's easy to balance classes when you only have two variables to worry about (say, hit probability and damage). It gets harder when you introduce a third variable (say, limits on the number of uses of an ability due to ammo or spell slots). It gets even harder when you introduce the fourth variable (say, a flat probability that a wizard's spell will have save-or-suck/die/lose effects). The more variables you introduce to the system, the harder it is to enforce balance. How do you ensure that a wizard who concentrates on raising zombies from the dead is balanced with a guy who hits things with a sword? You can try, but if you forget anything important (the fighter's life is on the line whenever they enter combat; the necromancer's life is not on the line when their minions enter combat), then you lose balance.

3rd and earlier editions are unbalanced, and they have many variables: magical abilities can do many different kinds of things, there are a wide variety of monsters with different strengths and vulnerabilities, and so on. The easiest way to impose balance on the system is to reduce everything to its most basic form: all classes are oriented around dealing damage, or on inflicting a limited set of broadly similar status effects. Then you can balance easily. You can force wizards to be blaster-oriented, which makes them easy to balance with sword-swinging fighters since they're just different forms of "roll to hit, roll for damage." You can force a cleric that locks down his enemies with paralyzing magic to be balanced against a 'tank' fighter who locks them down by forcing them to roll attacks against an impossibly well-protected target, because they're both doing nearly the same thing from a practical point of view. Do the math and you will by god have balanced classes.

The price is that all the classes do essentially the same things in combat- the wizard cannot get creative and start doing things like flying through the air to bomb the orcs from above, because if he could do that it would unbalance the game by giving him a power the swordsman can't match.

Equality need not mean sameness- but the easiest way to get equality is to impose sameness, and that's what RPG designers are most likely to do on their own.
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Bakustra
PostPosted: 2012-01-25 08:36pm 

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And to counterpoint, the Ranger and Rogue in 4th edition both play the same part, but each plays very differently because they rely on different means to fulfill that role, while still remaining balanced. So I guess that your verbiage was largely pointless in the end. Or I could mention something like Apocalypse World where the party can consist of a bartender, courier, assassin, and psychic and still be entirely balanced because of the way that the game works.
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Torchship
PostPosted: 2012-01-26 12:32am 

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I agree with Bakustra; balancing DnD is not a matter of making classes identical, but giving them different ways to do similar things.
Damage is already fairly well spread out among the classes, but utility is not. A Wizard can fly, pick locks, turn people to stone, charm NPC's, envelop the battlefield in cloud, scry, teleport, swap planes, summon assistance from other planes, turn invisible, put enemies to sleep and emit arcane death from their hands. A Fighter can... hit things, I guess? Pick up some strictly-inferior-to-Wizard-spells skills with their terrible number of skill points (skill points which, I hasten to add, the Wizard gets more of)?
Why should the Wizard get such an absurdly huge amount of utility, when the Fighter gets nothing? Share a bit of that utility out and suddenly DnD is a lot better balanced with very little investment of effort (for a game company).
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Stark
PostPosted: 2012-01-26 04:16am 

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How related are these issues to the decades of player-focus driven pressure games like this have been under? Looking at the versions of DnD I'm familiar with, there's a pretty clear trend of increasing not just the power but the emphasis on magic in all its forms throughout the game and setting. I imagine this is due to people asking reasonable questions like 'why can't a wizard fly/open a lock/etc', and the lack of perspective many developers seem to have with understanding how intended game play and actual game play may differ.
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Erik von Nein
PostPosted: 2012-01-26 04:43am 

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Mmm, I suppose there's something to that. 3.0 (and 3.5) increased what and how much a magic user could do, possibly in response to player pressure. I wasn't aware enough of player attitudes at the time when 3.0 came out. Although, versatility was pretty solidly set for magic users in the core rule book for 3.0, so it didn't really increase much throughout 3.0's lifetime. There were, here and there, boosts to magic users, though I'd say non-magic users (or alternative magic users) got significantly more help. I wouldn't say the settings became more magically oriented (or more so than adding more spell versatility already did) throughout the edition changes, as Living Greyhawk, Faerun, and Planescape were all pretty heavy on the magic front. Ebberon was more of an apotheosis of 3.0's focus on magic, I think, than any other setting.

Lack of perspective was something that 3.0's design team had in spades. They all assumed the game would be played with healbot'ing clerics, wizards who focused on blasting, fighters who sword/boarded, and rogues being trapmonkeys. All the spells were almost afterthoughts, or something one of them thought would be cool. I'm trying to find a blog post one of the designers made about their attitudes when designing 3.0 but I can't remember who it was that wrote it. Hrmm.
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-01-26 06:36am 

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Am I really that bad at expressing my points?
I thought that we had already established the basics, if you insist on playing D&D you only have two options;
accept its flaws ie Roll with it, or
talk about what doesn't work for you and then let the DM fix it.
You hoping that any release will magically fix power disparity is futile, it has always been there, troughout all the releases and versions it has never been fixed, only moved around.
I'm not defending D&D, I'm not defending TSR or WoTC system design. I'm merely pointing out that if you are the GM and insist on playing D&D, then you must take the flaws into consideration, if you allow broken characters to spoil the fun then you are part of the problem. Since you insist on playing D&D you should know that on this scale money dictates that content quantity goes before testing quality and it will continue to be like that - it is not going to change.
Gunhead wrote:
Spoonist wrote:
This shouldn't be complex or hard unless you overthink it.
Characters builds are a part of the system so in essence a system is broken if it allows builds that are overpowered or imbalance the game to favor certain types builds over others. This is a flaw of the system and while a GM can do whatever to correct this, it doesn't make the system better as is. The Gandalf example is pretty flawed too at least in this case. If a system allows one character to be Gandalf and other to be, say Pippin with both being same level character the system is pretty borked. Now of course characters will have different strengths and weaknesses and a GM has to take this into consideration when running the adventure so everyone gets a little time in the spotlight. Having Gandalf's player "let" other characters shine is a pretty shitty proposition too, since it simply relies on the player to not steamroll over encounters leaving rest of the party to twiddle their thumbs or the GM has to remove Gandalf from encounters to allow other players to do something useful too which usually leads to stupid railroading by the GM. Of course the GM should have a clear idea what kind of a campaign he's going to run and rule out character types that will have nothing to do, but this has nothing to do with the system in use.
Did you read p5 & 6? We have been through this already. ie Talk about it - fix it or fuck it.
The more broken the system is the more the GM has to do to compensate for it. Because D&D is broken the GM have to do things like this if he allowed characters with a gargantuan power disparity. If you would be playing a less broken system the GM does not have to be as blunt about it. The Gandalf example is perfect in context, if you had been playing something other than D&D the wizard does not necessarily have to "let" the fighter shine, but because you are playing D&D the wizard have to "let" the fighter shine or ruin the fun for the fighter. ie LoTR the short version where Gandalf takes the ring bearer hops on the eagle flies into mordor and dumps ring and bearer into mount doom.
Your point is completely valid, but miss the context of these people insisting on playing D&D and knowing about its flaws they still don't think that the DM is partly responsible for broken characters. Which means that they have chosen this power disparity, actively.
Gunhead wrote:
Well basically WoTC is enabling the 1 to 2 turn combokill decks and this again is a flaw in their game, but I think comparing a card game to a RPG is a pretty bad analogy as is, since RPGs are governed by a single person who has the power to change rules and his ruling is always final. Torchship is right saying it's not the responsibility of an individual card player to root out game breaking combos, this is what WoTC should do. Being a dick is not a measure of how a certain rule set works. When comparing game systems you are not discussing some relative concept of fun, you are discussing how well a system gives results in given situation and how it measures up to another.
Again, a completely valid point which has nothing to do with my post in context. The point of CCG's is the more potential combos, the more costly testing would be, thus we can rule out testing as profitable, thus we can rule out a 'fair' system. Cards and thus decks are not equal. The same is true for D&D. Because of the high potential of combos and choices, any testing to rule out broken character options would be costly, thus profit dictates that WoTC will not test enough and instead release more content and more stuff than test things, therefore we know that power disparity will continue in D&D, so if you play D&D the GM must take this into consideration IF it spoils the fun for the group.
Torchship wrote:
Spoonist wrote:
I think that you are putting too much into the concept of "fixing broken characters". Its not "many, many hours of reading and editing" beyond what a DM would normally do. Instead its when the group notice that something ruins the fun, then the DM applies his "existing" knowledge of the game and tries to make amends. ... This shouldn't be complex or hard unless you overthink it.
Take Fly (and related spells) for example. If you get tired of players totally ignoring many of your challenges and just flatly ban Fly, suddenly no-one can play the massively popular archetype of a flying Wizard (or flying anyone). Might work in certain circumstances, but I doubt many people would find that acceptable.
So, instead of banning Fly, you decide to re-work it. Now you have a lot of questions to answer. What level should your new Fly come in? How do you make Fly more available to non-casting classes, so as to make them more than passengers in any situation where Fly is used to solve a problem? What counters should be available to Fly? What duration should it have, what investment of resources should it require? You're going to have to answer all these questions (and more, probably) if you wish to turn Fly into a non-gamebreaking spell... and that's a lot of work. And then, once you've done that, you get to do it again for the next gamebreaking spell, feat or class that's turned up!
You are overthinking it. Focus on what is fun.
Torchship wrote:
Or take the Truenamer. If a player wants to play that archetype (which is a surprisingly common one in fantasy novels) and actually wants to contribute, then you're practically going to have to redesign the class from the ground up. What's an appropriate DC scaling for the skill check? What's an appropriate duration for certain utterances (many are contradictorily defined)? What's an appropriate range and radius for certain utterances (same)? How do you redesign many of the utterances so they aren't useless or almost useless at the levels which they are acquired? These are all questions you're going to answer, and answering them thoroughly is a significant time investment.
You are overthinking it. Focus on what is fun.
Torchship wrote:
Even taking the Gandalf example; how do you reliably convince the Gandalf player not to use any of their absurdly good powers without making them feel resentful?
Remember me telling you to talk about it? "Hey guys, turns out the system is crap and spellcasters outshine non spellcasters. Is that a problem for you guys, if so , how should we fix it?" ie Talk about it - fix it or fuck it - then roll with it.
If a player feels resentful at the GM for the system being broken, then you have bigger problems than a broken system.
Torchship wrote:
Additionally, how do you keep up the tension in a campaign with Gandalf in it; there is very little risk of failure because Gandalf can just step in and win the day alone if the party fails. Granting IC advantages to certain characters may work from time to time, but I doubt the majority of Fighters are going to be happy being a Baron if they still totally fail to contribute in combat.
Is the jug always half-full in your playing group? Its us old-timers who should be grumpy and mean, not the other way around. This will only be a broken record conversation.
You are asking me a direct question like "how do you keep up the tension in a campaign with Gandalf in it;" I could point out a thousand ways to make that fun and exiting, to which you will respond to each. "No, because if I do X then Y will be fucked", to which I would respond with a "but the DM can fix that too, its not difficult" to which you will respond "but its not the DMs job to fix things".
Instead lets skip that, its not me forcing you to play a broken D&D system, its you insisting on playing D&D. As long as you are insisting on playing D&D power disparity is a fact of life, the only question is how to handle it? Me I'm saying that as long as you talk about it the DM can handle it.
- do you really think LoTR books or films didn't have any tension because Gandalf was in it? They handled the power disparity, why can't you? You can, trust me. I've played and had fun playing D&D campains not only with non & casters, but also with a level disparity of 4 players being 1-3rd level, being led by two 10+ level characters. If we could do that surely you can handle a wiz and a fighter in the same party.
If you can't I'd go with my other suggestion - fuck it. Skip D&D for a less broken system.
Stark wrote:
How related are these issues to the decades of player-focus driven pressure games like this have been under? Looking at the versions of DnD I'm familiar with, there's a pretty clear trend of increasing not just the power but the emphasis on magic in all its forms throughout the game and setting. I imagine this is due to people asking reasonable questions like 'why can't a wizard fly/open a lock/etc', and the lack of perspective many developers seem to have with understanding how intended game play and actual game play may differ.
I'd say very strong, from AD&D onwards. Basic D&D was not as magic saturated. Also its no fun if the next supplement doesn't add cooler spells/items/skills than I already got, so the increase is definately in there. Usually due to demands from the fan base (yes even back in the stone age with Gygaz and Zeb).
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Gunhead
PostPosted: 2012-01-26 08:03am 

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Fair enough, I see your point Spoonist. I think we agree, just needed some clarification. It does beg the question, why would 5th edition be any better than any of the previous? They are stuck with the basic flaws no matter how they try to wiggle around them. The way I see it, they are trying to add complexity to a very simple base system and that is a really ass backwards way of doing things. In my experience, you can simplify a complex system but adding complexity to a simple one.. now that is hard. It's like a Dilbert comic. WoTC is the pointy haired boss
I seriously think WoTC is taking the Magic CCG route with D&D and just reboxes their old system with few new rules and stuff, hoping their customers really want to by all the shit they have again.

-Gunhead
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-01-26 11:19am 

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By the way, they are looking for testers right now. Go to
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/
and sign up for the big playtest.
Last chance to make a difference, you know.

Forgot one point about testing in this context. As soon as they announce a new E, the sales of the current E will drop rapidly. So keeping the beta - ready to launch as short as possible is really necessary. Otherwise everyone will be waiting and hold off on buying stuff.
Gunhead wrote:
Fair enough, I see your point Spoonist. I think we agree, just needed some clarification.
Thanks, yes
I think that everyone agrees but the frustration from the D&D spills over into projection, so anything that looks like it might be an apologist will be a red sheet for an angry bull.
Gunhead wrote:
It does beg the question, why would 5th edition be any better than any of the previous? They are stuck with the basic flaws no matter how they try to wiggle around them. The way I see it, they are trying to add complexity to a very simple base system and that is a really ass backwards way of doing things. In my experience, you can simplify a complex system but adding complexity to a simple one.. now that is hard.
Completely agreed.
D&D's huge appeal in the beginning was accessability. It was simple - it was fast - it was fun - it didn't take itself too seriously. That route dissapeared after a while in the AD&D track all through up to 3.5 with more and more stuff added on top. Not just fluff - but complex choices.
Which was why they tried to make an overhaul with 4e to a more basic system. However you don't make massive money on supplements alone, you need to have a cash bringer which is selling core books. So the divide of the core into several hardbacks is very tempting. Thus nowadays you have the "Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game" red box etc ie a back to basics theme.
Gunhead wrote:
I seriously think WoTC is taking the Magic CCG route with D&D and just reboxes their old system with few new rules and stuff, hoping their customers really want to by all the shit they have again.
I think that WoTC got the message with 4e, so I'd bet they do a new retake. But as you said they can't leave their roots or it wouldn't be D&D and they can't go the route which TSR did since that was not a valid business idea.
So I think that we are going to see a big overhaul away from the parts of 4e that got the most flack. But they will be bound to go the hardcover books approach since that was a key moneymaker - so lots and lots of complexity in choices and options. But add to that I think that they had some brilliant business ideas in spin-off products like the minis - there they should expand to make more revenues, its not only kids anymore, its well off adults as well willing to spend a lot on fringe stuff.
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Gunhead
PostPosted: 2012-01-27 08:14am 

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Me testing 5th Edition D&D? That is a hilarious idea.
I don't think WoTC will do a major overhaul of the system, though they might as well. Last time I checked 4th Edition wasn't such a hot move for them and many people stuck with 3.5. I am curious if they'll do something with d20 or whatever their OGL system is called these days. Got me thinking, how do the D&D edition changes go? It's D&D then AD&D, 3rd edition, 3.5 ed, 4th and now 5th right?
I only have RPGs that use the AD&D system, like Ravenloft and Buck Rogers. Man.. if they do a 5th edition Buck Rogers I might buy it. That shit is the shit. :lol:

-Gunhead
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Spoonist
PostPosted: 2012-01-27 08:46am 

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Gunhead wrote:
Me testing 5th Edition D&D? That is a hilarious idea.

That was not directed at you but more at the thread in general, since there was at least 5 players upthread who actively run D&D3.5 stuff and was bitching about stuff both in 3.5 and 4.
This is their chance to make a change.

Gunhead wrote:
Got me thinking, how do the D&D edition changes go? It's D&D then AD&D, 3rd edition, 3.5 ed, 4th and now 5th right?
Missed a few like 2e. Check out the wiki its easier.
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Gunhead
PostPosted: 2012-01-27 05:26pm 

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I know Spoonist, I just find the thought extremely funny. Back on track, I read the wiki and It's an interesting thing. Current D&D has it's roots really in the 3.0 since this was the first major release after WoTC bought TSR. But as far as I can tell no one pined back to 2nd edition when 3.0 was made public. So how badly will the active 3.5 crowd bite at WoTC? I mean if they rejected 4th edition and as it seems they are either hidebound fanatics who refuse to switch or 3.5 is really a system that does what they expect it to do, what kind of a rabbit can WoTC pull out of the hat to keep it's players buying? I mean it seems they cannot please both crowds at the same time and if they make what is really a D&D 3.75, it could really end badly for WoTC.

-Gunhead
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Grandmaster Jogurt
PostPosted: 2012-01-27 05:55pm 

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I don't know if it was as big as the backlash from 4th but I do remember there was grumbling when details of 3rd Edition started to come out. From what I remember it was pure grognardism, with complaints about THAC0 being replaced with something that made sense and stuff like that. Yet 3rd Edition was a pretty big success, so people clinging to an old edition for no good reason doesn't seem to be a big threat.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2012-01-27 06:54pm 

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I liked THAC0 well enough...

But yes, I think most people moved gracefully from 2nd to 3rd, by and large. As Solauren pointed out, Wizards of the Coast made the transition graceful by writing interesting updates to the 2nd Edition settings, and by creating conversion systems for turning 2nd Edition characters into 3rd.

The 3 -> 4 transition didn't have that so gracefully, and it hurt them. If they don't manage 4 -> 5 better, they're really in trouble if you ask me.
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Alan Bolte
PostPosted: 2012-01-28 05:31am 

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I've found this conversation enlightening, since my experience so far has only been with 4E, SAGA, and (recently) oWoD Vampire. With all this talk of "if you insist on using DnD" though, I want to ask those more experienced - what system does what DnD does, but better? The Storyteller system is... an interesting change from 4E, but I couldn't make myself read through the Wikipedia article on Exalted, and I'm not sure it's really the same concept.
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Bakustra
PostPosted: 2012-01-28 09:09am 

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Alan Bolte wrote:
I've found this conversation enlightening, since my experience so far has only been with 4E, SAGA, and (recently) oWoD Vampire. With all this talk of "if you insist on using DnD" though, I want to ask those more experienced - what system does what DnD does, but better? The Storyteller system is... an interesting change from 4E, but I couldn't make myself read through the Wikipedia article on Exalted, and I'm not sure it's really the same concept.


Well, there are a couple depending on what exactly you're looking for from D&D. If you like the ability to do awesomely heroic stuff, I've heard lots of good things about Legends of Anglerre, which uses the FATE system. I can give a quick rundown of that if you like, and genericized rules are available here. If you like the whole milieu of exploring dungeons, then there's Old School Hack, which is a free and very slickly-designed game. If you like the thought of immersing yourself in a character, then there's Burning Wheel, which emphasizes conflict over beliefs in its basic systems. You can get the meat of it for free as well.

When it comes to tactical combat, though, I think that D&D 4e is probably the best game on the market right now, and there are several ideas kicking around for improving its faults, though not many are beyond the ground stage right now.

Also, you really should try to get your fellow Vampire players to use a better system. You can get a conversion doc for oWoD->nWoD for a dollar, and while that system has its problems, at least you can resolve more than one fight a session.

Simon_Jester wrote:
I liked THAC0 well enough...

But yes, I think most people moved gracefully from 2nd to 3rd, by and large. As Solauren pointed out, Wizards of the Coast made the transition graceful by writing interesting updates to the 2nd Edition settings, and by creating conversion systems for turning 2nd Edition characters into 3rd.

The 3 -> 4 transition didn't have that so gracefully, and it hurt them. If they don't manage 4 -> 5 better, they're really in trouble if you ask me.


The reason the 2-3 transition was so "graceful" was because a) TSR was dead in the water when WotC bought it, and players knew it, b) the passage of time has largely erased all the people insisting that 3e would be Diablo on paper or whining about the changes to the Forgotten Realms, and c) the whiners turned out to be a vocal minority. I'm going to guess that b) and c) probably still apply and the extent of people angrily refusing to play D&D 4e at all is much smaller than its vocal presence indicates.
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Zinegata
PostPosted: 2012-01-30 12:03am 

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Going from 6 millions players playing 3.X to 1 million players playing 4E is not a "vocal minority".

Most people did in fact not switch to 4E; which is really why it "failed". It's what got virtually all of the 4E staff fired; and it's why Wizards is now actively acknowledging that the Edition War did in fact happen. They lost most of the 3.X base and they knew it. They want them back.
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Agent Sorchus
PostPosted: 2012-01-30 12:10am 

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Here is a question though, did they all stay with 3.5 or a SRD based game at all? And how far inflated were 3.5's numbers?

Because that is the central assumption of your argument, that they all stayed with 3.5 and not go with a different game. That is a bad assumption since we have seen a literal explosion of none WoTC based games at around the same time that 4e came out. And there is the MMO market growth that might also have siphoned off players from PnP rpgs.

In other words those numbers alone are not a good way to observe the actual voice of protest over the change. You have to try and figure out how many people dropped out of the pool in addition to those numbers.
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Zinegata
PostPosted: 2012-01-30 01:05am 

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Agent Sorchus wrote:
Here is a question though, did they all stay with 3.5 or a SRD based game at all? And how far inflated were 3.5's numbers?


We don't have an exact figure of how many dropped out entirely or stayed with 3.X, but the figure of 6 million has been quoted in various news articles so we can probably say it's fairly reliable. Certainly, it's much lower than the maximum number of D&D players I've seen quoted (which goes as high as 20 million - including 1E and 2E)

Moreover, this is backed up by the fact that there have been times wherein Pathfinder equalled or even outsold 4E. That's a definite sign that the 3.X base still remains and is significant compared to 4E.

Quote:
Because that is the central assumption of your argument, that they all stayed with 3.5 and not go with a different game. That is a bad assumption since we have seen a literal explosion of none WoTC based games at around the same time that 4e came out. And there is the MMO market growth that might also have siphoned off players from PnP rpgs.

In other words those numbers alone are not a good way to observe the actual voice of protest over the change. You have to try and figure out how many people dropped out of the pool in addition to those numbers.


That a maximum of 1 in 6 players shifted from 3.X to 4E already shows that very few people actually shifted from the 3.X base; especially when you consider that 4E was supposed to attract new blood.

Even if they shifted from "playing 3.X" to "not playing D&D at all", that's still going to count against the positive feedback for 4E. "I shifted from 3.X to Exalted" or "I stopped playing D&D because I'd rather play a videogame than an RPG trying to be a videogame" is not a victory for D&D.

And again, take a read at the newest design columns. The acknowledgement that a 3.X vs 4E Edition War did indeed exist features quite prominently in a lot of them.

Would WoTC talk about this if they hadn't lost their base? I'm fairly confident that no design team would bring up such a divisive issue unless they want to reconcile with an alienated base that forms a big chunk of their potential market.

Every indication shows that it is not merely a "vocal minority" that didn't like 4E. And there is significant evidence to show that it may even be the vocal majority which rejected 4E altogether.
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Bakustra
PostPosted: 2012-01-30 09:11pm 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2005-05-12 07:56pm
Posts: 2822
Location: Neptune Violon Tide!
Zinegata wrote:
Agent Sorchus wrote:
Here is a question though, did they all stay with 3.5 or a SRD based game at all? And how far inflated were 3.5's numbers?


We don't have an exact figure of how many dropped out entirely or stayed with 3.X, but the figure of 6 million has been quoted in various news articles so we can probably say it's fairly reliable. Certainly, it's much lower than the maximum number of D&D players I've seen quoted (which goes as high as 20 million - including 1E and 2E)

Moreover, this is backed up by the fact that there have been times wherein Pathfinder equalled or even outsold 4E. That's a definite sign that the 3.X base still remains and is significant compared to 4E.


ICv2 is shoddy for drawing statistically significant conclusions about the popularity or sales of Pathfinder vis-a-vis D&D, for a variety of reasons, chief of which being that it's a subunit of a subunit of the market, and hobby stores are certainly not representative of the market as a whole for a variety of reasons that anybody who bothers to assert opinions should be able to conclude for themselves. Hobby-store owners who complete the ICv2 survey may also not be representative of hobby stores as a whole, and that double uncertainty renders the whole thing entirely useless before we note that that is a cherry-picked example from a period when D&D had barely any new products released and Pathfinder was producing its regular complement of supplements, or indeed the specific distortions. I suppose that you could be presuming that the CEO of Paizo Publishing a) is supernaturally able to determine sales of other companies and b) is perfectly objective about her own products, but either way, this is a mockery of analysis. You should fall upon your own sword had you any dignity whatsoever.

Meanwhile, what is the context of the 1 million and 6 million figures? Is the 1 million a measure of D&D Insider subscribers? An estimate? What about the 6 million? Without reliable data or methodology, we cannot put these into the proper context to measure whether there was an actual decline at all, or how drastic it was, let alone speculating on what caused it! Oh, wait, I forgot that 3e was perfection in RPG format and 4e is literally a Satanic Verse and an MMO on paper. Whoops!

In short, Zinegata, you are horrendously incompetent at statistics. Please educate yourself before fouling this intellectual crucible with your presence any further.
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Zinegata
PostPosted: 2012-01-31 01:25am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2010-06-21 09:04am
Posts: 2277
:wtf:

I'm not gonna talk to Bakustra, as he was just embarassed by the fact that he presented ZERO actual evidence; and his unsubstantiated opinion was blown away by the data that was shown.

Instead, I will again present what data that we already know. And I'm going to ignore Bakustra's strawman argument that I don't know statistics because it's just him trying to look good to his cronies in New Testingstan.

To repeat:

I. D&D Ended its 3.X run with 6 million active players

In 2007, near the end of 3E's run, we had about 6 million D&D players. Even qiki quotes it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons

Quote:
As many as 6 million people played the game in 2007


II. By the time of D&D 4E, it had dropped to 1.5 million active players*

In a seminar held by WoTC in 2010, they showed a slide saying the number of ACTIVE players in the 4E period:

http://tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?p=141119

And it says the number of active players is 1.5 million.

Interestingly, it also cites the figure of 24 million lapsed players - meaning folks who used to play D&D but now don't.

* Whoops, I misremembered, it was 1.5 million as opposed to 1 million.

III. Additional Ancecdotal Data - Pathfinder Sales equals or even exceeds 4E sales at certain times

ICV2 tracks the sales figures for various sales channels in the US. While not the most ideal source for statistical data, it's the only real source of sales figures we have. Bakustra would like you to discount it because of a bruised ego; but I'd say that anectodal data is better than no data at all. Heck, Pathfinder was able to claim (without blinking) that it was the best-selling RPG of 2011; which was never contested by WoTC.

-------

In short... the facts:

- The active player base of D&D dropped from 6 million to 1.5 million in 2-3 years. During the transition from 3.X to 4E.

- That means D&D lost 4.5 million players in the transition from 3.X to 4E. It therefore failed to convert a majority of 3.X players to 4E. You don't need a statistical model to know that 1.5M out of 6M is not a majority.

Therefore: The idea that only a "vocal minority" rejected 4E is is false until data can be shown otherwise; which is highly unlikely as the figures come mostly from WoTC!

In fact, given the data, it is more correct to say that a majority of players rejected 4E, in favor of playing other stuff (it could be videogames, it could be Pathfinder, it could be Exalted. In this regard, we have no data except anecdotes by ICV2 which indicate they stayed with 3.X)
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Grandmaster Jogurt
PostPosted: 2012-01-31 01:52am 

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Joined: 2004-12-16 05:01am
Posts: 1725
Location: Bangor metro, Maine
What are these anecdotes that show people stayed with 3.5? I don't recall any data posted on 3.5's usage since the release of 4th Edition, which means there's nothing showing that the people who "rejected" 4th aren't also "rejecting" 3.5.
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Zinegata
PostPosted: 2012-01-31 01:59am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2010-06-21 09:04am
Posts: 2277
Grandmaster Jogurt wrote:
What are these anecdotes that show people stayed with 3.5? I don't recall any data posted on 3.5's usage since the release of 4th Edition, which means there's nothing showing that the people who "rejected" 4th aren't also "rejecting" 3.5.


The anectodal information is from ICV2, which roughly tracks the sales of RPG books through various game and hobby channels. In the later stage of the 4E cycle, Pathfinder (which is basically a 3.X list of house rules) was selling as-good as 4E, to the point that they claimed to be the #1 RPG in 2011 (I don't know how they substantiated that claim however). This indicates a significant base of old 3.X players still wanting new stuff for their system.

Funnily, the P&P thread in this same forum shows a fairly similar trend - lots of mentions of 3.X / Pathfinder or some other derivative, very few of 4E.

That being said, as I've said twice already - we don't have solid data where those 6 million D&D players went. Maybe they got too old to play RPGs or started playing WoW. All I'm saying for certain is that the 3.X base rejected 4E pretty strongly; there are just indications (not certainties) that they stayed with 3.X.

Last edited by Zinegata on 2012-01-31 02:00am, edited 1 time in total.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2012-01-31 02:00am 

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Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 21958
It may be that use of 3.5 was already declining, and that 4E simply failed to either recapture old players, draw in new players, or maintain iron brand loyalty among the current players.

Which is a shame from Wizards of the Coast's point of view, since I'm sure their marketing department intended to accomplish at least two out of three.

EDIT: A priori, there's no reason to expect a 3E player who decides 4E sucks to stay with 3E indefinitely. Especially not if "upgraded 3E" is available with Pathfinder, and if a constant stream of other new RPGs, both tabletop and computer, are coming out all the time. As long as 3E was growing, with new content coming out all the time in rulebooks, modules, and magazines, it could easily keep a large fraction of its playerbase 'in play.' But once 3E stopped growing, why would people keep playing it indefinitely?

Just because they rejected 4E as inferior to 3E doesn't mean they think 3E is the best game ever and will keep using it no matter what.
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Zinegata
PostPosted: 2012-01-31 02:04am 

Jedi Council Member


Joined: 2010-06-21 09:04am
Posts: 2277
Simon_Jester wrote:
It may be that use of 3.5 was already declining, and that 4E simply failed to either recapture old players, draw in new players, or maintain iron brand loyalty among the current players.


Certainly possible. Like I said, the top-end figure for the number of D&D players is around 20 million. That there were "only" 6 million players by 2007 does indicate a decline of sorts; but I'd note that the 20 million figure includes the 1E and 2E players - when D&D was truly huge (TSR days) and had no competition from videogames.

But going from 6 million to a mere 1.5 million players between 2007 to 2010? That's a pretty steep decline to be easily attributed to players simply dropping out; it really can be traced to the 4E launch in 2008 and its failure to capture the above three markets you mentioned.

So yeah, maybe the 3E base didn't stay with 3E and decided to play something else or switch to video games (again, no data save anectdotes). But ultimately, the onus falls on 4E for failing to at least maintain the same player base as 3E; or at least soften the decline.
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