Saturday, August 18, 2012

Overreaction Saturday

It's been a while since I spent some time on D&D - it's time to rectify that, and there's plenty of material to work with!

  • Future of D&D video from Gen Con is here. I like a lot of what I hear - see below.
  • Every product for every edition and every setting is going to be available electronically. No timetable yet,  but this is exactly what they should be doing both from a financial sense - you have something people will pay for and can make it available at a low cost to the business - and from a customer satisfaction sense -different people like different parts of D&D - give it to them!
  •  I was a little disappointed that so much time was spent on "The Sundering" which is a) not a game product and b) not ready to be discussed in any detail at all.
  • They also mention that they expect the playtest process to take two years total, so we're looking at 2014 for an official new edition. 
  • New playtest packet is here if you haven't already downloaded it. Yes I have it. No I have not yet finished reading it or trying it out.

Things I wonder about: 
  • Reprints of core rulebooks for older editions combined with PDF's of supporting material for those editions mean I could flip through my DMG at the table while reading the adventure off of an iPad. This could lead to a resurgence like we have not seen before - but will the easy availability of OSR material like Labyrinth Lord lessen the impact? Do the people who really care about playing older versions of D&D already have the material they want? Does the "D&D Brand" really carry that much weight? The convergence here of hobby, technology, and business really interests me and I do not have a good feeling for how this might go.
  • The 2-year gap before Next  left me wondering what the heck they intent to sell during that time to stay in business - obviously the PDF's will be a big part of bridging that gap, and possibly the reprints - is that all? Can WOTC flourish through 6-8 quarters of not selling new rulebooks every month? That has to cause chaos in the cash flow and I wonder how they intend to manage it.
  • Pathfinder: How does this impact players and Paizo? It does give them a nice window of being the closest thing to D&D in print, but it could disrupt even that if 3E PDF's go live soon. Do Pathfinder players still care whether it's "D&D" branded or not? Time for Pathfinder 2E in 2015? 
  • Finally, 4th Edition - will people still be playing it a year from now as the bustle of Next grows? Is it considered "done" and the player base will drift off to Pathfinder or something else? So much of it was tied to D&D Insider, will those subs lapse as people decide to stop paying for support for a "dead" game? Conversely will they stop playing if they don't want to pay for DDI anymore? I might be ringing the bell early but it is Gen Con 2012 this weekend and WOTC has nothing to say about 4E as far as I can tell. Outside of the RPGA events there's nothing about it  coming from WOTC - lots of stuff about Next though. Ah well, I suppose it had to be this way once they made the announcement but it's still disappointing.


SAROE said...

You are assuming PDFs. I believe WOTC said digital format. It might be some sort of controllable medium. Maybe through DDI (I thought they shut that down-but really wasn't paying attention). WOTC pulled the old PDFs because of 'piracy' issues. I can see them trying to control the material more than a PDF allows.

Blacksteel said...

Hi SAROE - DDI is still functioning the same as ever and the monthly content they post is in PDF format. Most RPG publishers that do have digital versions of their products use watermarked PDF's as well. I agree that they didn't say "PDF" but until we hear more that seems like the most likely approach based on what they do now. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

Barking Alien said...

While this doesn't impact me directly, I too am interested to see how this all plays out.

The release of old content in digital format is intriguing but whether it's openly available PDFs or some DDI, "you must be a member' crap, will greatly influence whether I give into nostalgia to pick up items I'm pretty sure will never see use. Well, maybe bastardized for use in other games perhaps.