The End of 4th edition?
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Post Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:54 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:So this will be the third (or fourth) set of rules
changes for D&D since 1999?


Suppose we could look at the timeline:
74 OD&D
77 Holmes basic
77 AD&D 1
81 B/X/etc.
89 AD&D 2
95 Option books
00 D&D 3
03 D&D 3.5
08 D&D 4

Classic (81+) & AD&D 1 seem to be the truly long-running editions, at about a dozen years each. Otherwise, 3-6 years is the norm. Of course, this perspective counts the Option books as a new edition, which really depends on how seriously one's gaming group took them. My 2e group in the late 90s did, so I do.

Edit: On second thought, the way the editions are split up makes all the difference. Defining them more inclusively leads to this longevity ranking:
OD&D + Holmes 7 years
Classic 13 years
AD&D1 12 years
AD&D2 11 years
D&D3 8 years
D&D4 2 years & counting

Or even more inclusively:
OD&D to 1994, 20 years (I'm not counting the 1999 basic set, because the numbers are aligned to AD&D. Were there any more Gazeteers published after 94?)
AD&D 1&2, 23 years
D&D 3&4, 10 years & counting

& most inclusively of all:
Rules with descending AC, 26 years
Rules with ascending AC, 10 years & counting

So ultimately I don't think they were premature in wanting to release new stuff, but calling it "4th edition" was a miscalculation. In hindsight, the best course would have been to maintain the 3.5 core books, then release the Essentials line, new tactical rules, sets of cards & all other assorted junk as supplements to the existing product. The core books could have been phased out gradually.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:08 pm 
 

sauromatian wrote:Edit: On second thought, the way the editions are split up makes all the difference. Defining them more inclusively leads to this longevity ranking:
OD&D + Holmes 7 years
Classic 13 years
AD&D1 12 years
AD&D2 11 years
D&D3 8 years
D&D4 2 years & counting


Excellent points.

My age is showing.  
When I was in high school ('78-82), the time span
between editions seemed like an eternity.

Now, of course, the decade of the 2000s has flown by.
And so, it seems like a quick "wham, bam, thank you ma'am"
succession of editions from 3e to 4e.

Something else, though, is the perception of the early
D&D and AD&D editions.
Most players I knew did not distinguish between AD&D and the D&D (B/X) counterparts.
They considered them to be the same game.
For folks like me, who dug deep into the rules,
there were obvious differences.
But I'm not sure the average player really cared.

Then again, maybe the average player today doesn't care about 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.0 essentials, etc

Just my two cents'
And interesting discussion

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:41 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:The "source" is a group of people saying this will happen ... um ... just because, I guess. Not a scintilla of evidence; not even a random quote.

I'm not seeing it. Essentials and 4e seem to be complimentary, not competitive, lines.


I have to question the official line because WotC has long said that TSR made a mistake in maintaining more than a single brand line (referring to the D&D/AD&D split). Having WotC do the same thing makes me suspicious.

That suspicion, coupled with my GSL experience (beginning at a publisher-only meeting at Gen Con pre-publication of 4e) in how what is said at one time about what is going to happen doesn't mean that it's going to happen as said, adds to my total suspicion over if what is being said is going to really happen.

If the essentials line sells very well in comparison with current sales of 4e material, the purchasing audience will easily accept a "business decision" as a good reason why what was said didn't happen. And I expect the above to have already been considered before the first essentials began development. It's just business running various scenarios before committing.

"We had no intention of ending the production of the hardbacked 4e material, but the unexpected tremendous success of the essentials line demands that we focus on supporting that overwhelmingly successful product line. For our older customers, we're still gladly supporting the DDI and, as everything essentials is easily compatible, we expect continued gaming fun and excitement from that avenue. Thanks for the tremendous support from all our customers on the essentials line and we look forward to making the great products you've come to expect from us."

It's just business.

joe b.


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:01 pm 
 

http://newbiedm.com/2010/07/27/regardin ... 4e-rumors/

One perspective.


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:07 am 
 




4.5 Ruleset anyone?   :lol:


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:33 pm 
 

Still digesting the data on this.

Hasbro bought CCGs and D&D.
If something bottoms out they don't sell the line (unless someone is stupid enough to pay their price); they archive & revive later.

But they can't do that here; if they cede the hobby market they never get it back. So they have to keep D&D active. But the ROI is below target, not a Loser but not making enough. So what do they do? Well, they get nervous. The rest is tba.

I looked over the new Redbox. Slick... but offputting thereby. The glossy paper sucks for making notes in pencil. In the rewrite of the Intro stuff (remember my original?), some idiot wasn't smart enough to learn from it. They left out some of the elements that I had incorporated (and I'm not talking game details; learning tools, psychological hooks, all that). So it works but I'm less than impressed. I get the feeling that it's what THEY decided would be kewl -- not what the CUSTOMERS think is kewl. Wups.

As I said I'm still digesting. Most of the 4e crashed at the auction, either kinda or bigtime, depending on the product & time slot. Now that might NOT be a true market indicator because the kids who love 4e don't go to GenCon.. and those who go to the con don't play 4e (unless they're railroaded by RPGA events).

Hm. Things to think about.

F

  

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Post Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:37 pm 
 

ExTSR wrote:
But they can't do that here; if they cede the hobby market they never get it back.

I get the feeling that it's what THEY decided would be kewl -- not what the CUSTOMERS think is kewl. Wups.



*nods vigorously*

That is the mistake they made allowing Pathfinder to be born.

I am not a WOTC hater (not saying you are, Frank).  I want them to succeed.   But, their decisions seem to reflect a lack of understanding of their core market.


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Post Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:43 pm 
 

ExTSR wrote:Still digesting the data on this.

Hasbro bought CCGs and D&D.
If something bottoms out they don't sell the line (unless someone is stupid enough to pay their price); they archive & revive later.

But they can't do that here; if they cede the hobby market they never get it back. So they have to keep D&D active. But the ROI is below target, not a Loser but not making enough. So what do they do? Well, they get nervous. The rest is tba.

I looked over the new Redbox. Slick... but offputting thereby. The glossy paper sucks for making notes in pencil. In the rewrite of the Intro stuff (remember my original?), some idiot wasn't smart enough to learn from it. They left out some of the elements that I had incorporated (and I'm not talking game details; learning tools, psychological hooks, all that). So it works but I'm less than impressed. I get the feeling that it's what THEY decided would be kewl -- not what the CUSTOMERS think is kewl. Wups.

As I said I'm still digesting. Most of the 4e crashed at the auction, either kinda or bigtime, depending on the product & time slot. Now that might NOT be a true market indicator because the kids who love 4e don't go to GenCon.. and those who go to the con don't play 4e (unless they're railroaded by RPGA events).

Hm. Things to think about.

F


I think the big indicator for 4e as a failure are the ebay sales. Brand new releases being sold at 30-50% off of suggested retail. For a store it is the new product that brings in the profit and deep discounting these releases means that a stores primary income source is drasticly reduced. Stores just cannot afford to stock items that cannot sell for a marginal profit, and 4e seems to be very much marginalized.

Take a look at pathfinder, their new releases sell for near retail on ebay and their older releases sell at near retail or above.

Pathfinder is the new D&D

  

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Post Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:57 pm 
 

I agree that 4e ain't what it should be; that much is obvious. Encounters and Essentials and RedBox and DarkSun are new and will sell. I don't think they'll dare 4.5 but I do think they'll try other marketing avenues. If they can hit big with ANY of these it can rejuvenate 4e rulebook sales, at least to clear the backlog in the warehouse.

JasonZavoda wrote:Pathfinder is the new D&D

Disagree (strongly), tho it IS the new 3.5

F

  

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Post Posted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:22 pm 
 

ExTSR wrote:I agree that 4e ain't what it should be; that much is obvious. Encounters and Essentials and RedBox and DarkSun are new and will sell. I don't think they'll dare 4.5 but I do think they'll try other marketing avenues. If they can hit big with ANY of these it can rejuvenate 4e rulebook sales, at least to clear the backlog in the warehouse.


Disagree (strongly), tho it IS the new 3.5

F


Pathfinder has taken on a life of its own while wotc has definitely dropped the ball. I never did follow D&D past the introduction of AD&D but I do not see any RPG repeating the success of D&D and AD&D back in the 70's and 80's but in this sad 21st century niche of pen and paper RPGs Pathfinder has creativity and interest that should have gone to WOTC. I think Pathfinder (whether it is merely 3.5 or not) is the mainstream and 4e is definitely in second place. I can see a store owner making a profit selling and stocking Pathfinder, but making only a marginal profit on 4e, and that is not the hallmark of D&D. D&D is the mainstream, and that is Pathfinder, while 4e is a strange red-headed stepchild.

  

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:12 am 
 

JasonZavoda wrote:
Pathfinder has taken on a life of its own while wotc has definitely dropped the ball. I never did follow D&D past the introduction of AD&D but I do not see any RPG repeating the success of D&D and AD&D back in the 70's and 80's but in this sad 21st century niche of pen and paper RPGs Pathfinder has creativity and interest that should have gone to WOTC. I think Pathfinder (whether it is merely 3.5 or not) is the mainstream and 4e is definitely in second place. I can see a store owner making a profit selling and stocking Pathfinder, but making only a marginal profit on 4e, and that is not the hallmark of D&D. D&D is the mainstream, and that is Pathfinder, while 4e is a strange red-headed stepchild.


Although I agree with the preference for Pathfinder over 4.0, Pathfinder is not yet mainstream. Clearly, Dungeons and Dragons (4.0) is still the elephant in the room (talk about him or not). Sales of Pathfinder would have to exceed 4.0, and I don't think that that would happen for awhile...


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:45 pm 
 

I like the idea of Pathfinder as the new D&D.  I don't think it quite has that designation...yet.

I do believe that Pathfinder's existence has dealt a hard...possibly mortal...blow to 4th Edition.


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:53 pm 
 

Pathfinder would not need to be had not WotC been full of money grubs. The GSL debacle, I believe, even before there was a 4th edition, was the telling move.


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:18 pm 
 

ExTSR wrote:
I looked over the new Redbox. Slick... but offputting thereby. The glossy paper sucks for making notes in pencil. In the rewrite of the Intro stuff (remember my original?), some idiot wasn't smart enough to learn from it. They left out some of the elements that I had incorporated (and I'm not talking game details; learning tools, psychological hooks, all that). So it works but I'm less than impressed. I get the feeling that it's what THEY decided would be kewl -- not what the CUSTOMERS think is kewl. Wups.

F


Is the Redbox part of this D&D "Essentials" line that's been discussed?
Or is this just an intro to 4E?

Concerning the future of RPGs --

The term itself, "D&D", has become part of the urban culture, similar to "Google" or the way the word "Coke" is used here in the south: an umbrella term.

If Pathfinder could find a new wrinkle to separate it just a bit from the D&D association, it might actually take over as the new RPG of choice, but it would have to be something out of left field that enabled Paizo to maintain and build on the or current high quality.

akp


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:59 pm 
 

Paizo says it best:
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game builds on more than 10 years of system development and the largest open playtest in the history of tabletop gaming to create an unparalleled fantasy roleplaying experience.
If you separate the Pathfinder RPG from the Pathfinder line they are putting out, they had success with it even before then.  The Pathfinder 6-part adventures/Golarion world setting drew in the core 3.x fan base before they took on the new Pathfinder RPG rules.  Could Paizo seriously jeopardize that, even though Goodman Games did (granted they profited from those of us who enjoy the older editions as much as the 3.x crowd).  They listened to their fans, they talked with their fans, and fans support that with dedication.

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:32 pm 
 

Does Paizo make any products that are not related to Pathfinder?

I guess I could go to their site and check, but I'm a fat, lazy slob.

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:09 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:Does Paizo make any products that are not related to Pathfinder?

I guess I could go to their site and check, but I'm a fat, lazy slob.

akp


They have some semi-neutral rpg support products under their "Gamemastery" line, basically maps and item cards, etc, they also publish Planet Stories a line of classic pulp sci-fi and fantasy books (reprinted), and they have a few tabletop non-rpg games (Dr. Lucky, and a couple others).

  


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Post Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:23 pm 
 

I actually have quite a bit of sympathy for the folks trying to make 4e go; I think they're in a difficult position.  They're expected to make D&D highly profitable, and tabletop RPGs in general do not have a high profit-to-labor return margin.

4e's not my cup of tea, but I'd like to see it do well nonetheless; if D&D fails, the fallout is likely to be considerable.

That said, I think Essentials reflects the fact that they tried to drastically shift the profit model for 4e away from "book a month" and towards "monthly fee for online content"...and it didn't work.  Gleemax collapsed; D&D Insider proved to be a vastly more complex undertaking than I think they imagined.  As a result, all of the wonderful online functionality promised by the 4e hardcover books when they first came out just isn't there.

That leaves them back where they started: how do you keep the line profitable enough to satisfy Hasbro without driving away your customer base?

WotC has to bring in new players; it's really the only way they can make it work.  Essentials seems to me to be one more step in that effort.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:58 pm 
 

This blog describes D&D Essentials if any of you are interested.

http://rpg.brouhaha.us/?p=2743

There are others as well ... This one was just easy to read ...

akp


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Post Posted: Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:21 pm 
 

I just had a look to this interview with Mike Mearls and Rich Baker:

http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/essentia ... rich-baker

The people of WotC at the interview put tons of boring uninteresting verbiage to justify themselves... a sign that even they don't know what this new product is useful for, or worse, they know is useful for nothing, besides redundant. So yes, maybe this is just another marketing campaign to sell people what they already have, twice.

Besides, the boxed set comes with something additional: power cards. So they're using it to introduce another redundant element to the game that will be sold, I predict, in random packs, like those of the new Gamma World. Another crappy unnecesary thingy for the game, so they can get more unwinned money. Seems they learned a lesson after Fantasy Flight did it in advance with the new edition of Warhammer Fantasy rpg.

  
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