I am a BIG fan of Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons and Dragons products. I buy and collect whatever I can because I find them to be aesthetically pleasing and the content much aligned with where I like my idle pursuits to wander. But I receive some passing judgement by others of my ilk that I do not take it seriously enough. I may not own more books than the next guy, but generally they are in better condition because I do not read or use them as much. I just like having them.
That puts me in a unique position, I feel. I like having new product, but I don’t really use it for its intended purpose. Am I still a D&D gamer, or just a collector with a penchant for Fantasy Gaming?
Earlier today, the New York Times ran an article about Wizards of the Coast and their call for input on the next edition of D&D. When I saw this, I couldn’t help but hear the imagined voices of all the gamers I know that are still playing 2nd and 3rd edition D&D. “4E is pointless, 4E is World of Warcraft with dice, 4E sucks . . .” And now we are talking about a 5th Edition?
Well, if that means more art and well presented content, than I’m all for talking about it.
Meanwhile, as pointed out in the article, WotC has suffered a decline in market penetration due to an up-rise in competitive alternative to its product. A consumer base that for their own reasons have not appreciated the 4th Edition product went elsewhere.
I’ve looked at those alternatives, but they never quite do it for me. It seems to me that there is always something off-putting about those titles. I generally ask myself, “Are you being elitist?”, but I always answer “No” based on the idea that I often times do not care as greatly as others about text that is printed on the pages. And generally the Art or Presentation of the content is not as pleasing to me as what WotC produces. So clearly I’m not of the same mind as many other veteran gamers. For my own purposes, I need new content. Otherwise, I’ve nothing left to buy or collect.
What ever happens for Wizards of the Coast, I hope they can win back some of the fan base that they have lost. I think its hard for the fans to remember that WotC is a business and it needs to produce products that people will buy. And as for input on the next version, perhaps WotC just needs to think about how it has impacted the gaming market in recent years. Maybe more books, more often is not the approach (as much as that saddens me). I think your fans WANT to buy your beautiful product, but as an option and not a necessity to keep up with the times.
- Charting the Course for D&D – Your Voice, Your Game by Mike Mearls (wizards.com)
- Gamers React To New Dungeons And Dragons (forbes.com)
- Fan Input Wanted for New Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (tor.com)