Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wizards of the Coast Cannot Win

There has been quite a bit of discussion, some negative, over the release schedule WotC has revealed through the coming summer.

Before we get into that, we need to realize that since 5th Edition's launch we've had six table top rpg products, a DM screen, several spell card, and miniatures releases from Gale Force 9, blind box miniatures and a miniatures game from WizKids and two novels (not counting the Sundering), as well as an expansion for an MMORPG, all of that in a seven month span.

This does not include the Adventurer's League Expeditions or Epic convention events, and also overlooks the Basic DnD PDFs.

I don't know what the future holds for D&D 5E, but that's a pretty heavy release schedule.

Looking at the first six months of 2015, we only have one table top rpg product (which I'm disappointed about), but I think we need to realize that Hasbro/WotC is delegating releases, so instead of the Elemental Evil board game and miniature game products being developed in house, they're still support for DnD and are being led/driven by WotC.  Its an unusual plan, but its where DnD lives right now.

There has also been quite a bit of anger of two recent lay-offs (and losing your job sucks), but looking at Chris and Jennifer's design credits in 5E products, I think it was more of a corporate mandate being fulfilled, and less of a let's "screw DnD over".  Who knows, maybe Chris and Jennifer will follow several other talented former WotC employees and create their own company and still contribute to the industry (I can only hope).

On top of the already released products, we've had about 18 months of DnD releases on dndclassics.com.  I think its important to acknowledge these, because I truly think WotC expects us to mine all editions moving forward.  Would I like a series of conversion guides?  Sure.  But let's be honest, either your comfortable doing the conversions, or your not going to go to the hassle, or some creative soul online is going to do it for fun.

Would I like WotC farther along on some fronts?  Sure.  Do I get frustrated at their lack of digital tools?  Yes (but in watching Project: Morningstar and what they had achieved in the time given them and their kickstarter track record, I think WotC made the right decision to part ways).

I think, like always, those in charge of DnD are truly trying to shepherd the best line they can while being a part of an international corporation that merely wants to replicate the success of Magic: the Gathering.

Here is what I know from running a gaming store:  I've sold close to 100 Player's Handbooks in these first six months and my Adventurer's League nights have swelled from 5 players to over 30.  While, some stores may have had that level of success with Pathfinder and Pathfinder Society, I never did.  95% of those 30 players are taking advantage of my preorder and discount programs for participating in the League, but sadly 80% of my Pathfinder players subscribe to Paizo for product (not that I hold it against them, its a brilliant program, but it hurts me).

So, we can gossip about what WotC has or has not done, but meanwhile I'm going to be very busy finding and training Dungeon Master's to run some games of DnD.

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