This post was prompted by a post over at The Geek Emporium, "The Evils of Making Money?", where I was going to leave a HUGE comment - but then decided to politely leave it here instead. And then.. it turned into this big rant.
In his post, Tomcat says:
"The term “sell out” is always a problem for me. Companies exist to make money. We all need to step back and stop criticizing the companies that succeed in that goal. Instead, we need to criticize with our wallets when we disagree with a company’s practices. Really, that’s what they’ll listen to anyways. Wouldn’t you?"Personally, I don't have a problem with a game company trying to make tons of money - I mean.. they are a COMPANY, it is what those entities DO. Of course, market forces will always push and pull - and our money is our vote.
In this regard - I think this will be the last version of Dungeon & Dragons that WotC produces. The changes are too great, they have lost a huge part of their fan base to their own Frankenstein (d20, OGL, and 3E). The company, in my opinion, is addicted to publishing new shiny things that were already printed before. After all, PUBLISH OR PERISH is the mantra for people in my field and for publishing companies. They HAD to make another edition of D&D to stay profitable - otherwise they were just going to run out of expansion products and ideas.
What they really need to do is completely change their business model (DDI doesn't count - that's vaporware). More and more gamers are turning to the internet and not to published hardback books for their materials. The RPG bloggers network alone provides me with enough material for more campaigns than I could ever run in my lifetime! And then.. there's bittorrent. Come on, how many of you have REALLY paid for all your 4E books? But i digress...
While I'm ranting, I figured I should throw these other things out on a separate note: The following things can be very annoying about said company (WotC):
- Making and hyping a new revision of a product simply because the old revision has saturated the market and you need new buyers to stay in the black (4E D&D)
- Ignoring a 30 year tradition of game rules and making new ones simply to sell the new product to the old audience (4E D&D; ok.. i like 4E - but it should have been called something else like "LaZzors & Clerics" or something)
- Killing a product with a 30-year tradition (or two), then rewrapping them as a new product while hyping a third product that will never see the light of day and charging people more for it (Dragon, Dungeon, DDI),
- See #3 and add in that the RPG community is doing it without them (Kobold Magazine; and see Mad Brew Labs recent post)
- A company that thinks it can control a market (the fan-base) for a product that is based on creativity and rule bending. Good luck. (the new GSL)
The current DDI debacle is one prime example - do the current developers even know what happened with FLUID and the previous attempt at "shiney new cool software for D&D that has laserbeams"? Anyone else remember "Master Tools?" IT FAILED and should have been listed on the failblog.
I will leave you with a few more questions:
- How many of the current people who work on the development of 4E D&D worked at WotC while 3E was in development?
- How many worked there while 2E was still around?
- Is there anyone there who used to be a TSR employee?
- Any 1E developers still involved with D&D?
I believe Wizards of the Coast suffers from corporate amnesia - can someone please help them?