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What's Wrong With Not Liking Current RPGs?


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Author Topic: What's Wrong With Not Liking Current RPGs?  (Read 5058 times)
randalls
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« on: May 09, 2008, 05:12:05 pm »

I had to remove a comment on the blog this morning. I don't think it was up long and with Google's on and off again server problems today, I doubt many people saw it. Thankfully. It was a diatribe against people like me who do not support current editions of D&D. Normally, I would have left such a comment up and replied to it, but the comment was made to my post on Gary's death, almost 10% of the words in the post were profanity, and there were insults to Gary in the comment.

However, I'd like to toss out a couple of the arguments made in the comment -- stripped of their childish profanity and rude tone -- for discussion. The poster's argument was basically that those of us who refuse to "get with the program" and abandon older editions for the latest edition from the current publisher are harming the D&D hobby by:

  • not buying current books which hurts the profits of WOTC and Hasbro making it less likely that they will continue to publish D&D materials.
  • fragmenting the hobby. When everyone plays the same edition and plays it by all the books, it makes it easier for players to find games. The more people refuse to upgrade to the latest version every few years, the more fragmented the hobby becomes and the harder it is to find players.

The poster had a few other arguments, but they were incomprehensible to me as written (e.g. "the [profanity omitted] Coolness factor you [profanity omitted]") or were really just attacks on Gary for not strongly supporting newer editions.

I don't know about you, but I don't feel any obligation to keep WOTC or Hasbro in the black and I feel that the second argument makes as little sense as saying that American Football fans should stop watching their favorite sport and support Soccer (Football to the rest of the world) because Soccer is the more popular game.

What do you think? Are we fans of older versions of D&D hurting the hobby by our refusal to fall in love with, buy, and play the current edition of D&D?
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Philotomy
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2008, 07:21:34 pm »

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not buying current books which hurts the profits of WOTC and Hasbro making it less likely that they will continue to publish D&D materials.

This guy sounds like a zealot.  Wotc/Hasbro gets my money when they offer products I want to buy.  I'm not in gaming to support WotC or to support the health of "the market" or "the industry."  I'm in gaming to have fun.  I buy what I like, and I play what I like. 

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fragmenting the hobby. When everyone plays the same edition and plays it by all the books, it makes it easier for players to find games. The more people refuse to upgrade to the latest version every few years, the more fragmented the hobby becomes and the harder it is to find players.

More zealotry.  Again, I "upgrade" if I like the changes.  I don't upgrade to "support the hobby."  Frankly, I don't really care if the hobby grows and is "unified," or not.  I'd be perfectly happy with a smaller, more hobbyist market.  What concerns me is having fun with my gaming.  I've never had a problem finding players, so that's just not an issue, to me.

Also, I think diversity in the hobby is healthy.  I think the market is healthiest when it's driven by competition and purchases.  The market adjusts to the needs and desires of the consumers; that's healthy.  Trying to force everyone under one banner is just silly, IMO.
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brianm
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2008, 08:36:07 pm »

Or, to put another spin on what Philotomy has said, yeah, it probably is bad for the RPG industry when I don't buy their newest game.  Just like it was bad for the Detroit-based auto industry when customers decided they preferred Japanese cars that had the features they wanted and were cheaper.  Just like it's bad for Hollywood that I don't like cop dramas and romantic comedies.

But in all of those cases, the problem isn't the consumers, and to say so is to utterly miss the point of how a free enterprise economy works.

Now, I'd prefer to have a thriving, dynamic, and strong RPG industry.  But if they want my money, they can earn it by creating products I want to buy.  It's not difficult.  Heck, by posting on message boards and my blog, I've done the hard work for 'em by explaining what it is I want in a product.  If they still can't be bothered to create product I want to buy, then [expletive] them.  Grin

- Brian
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Richter_Bravesteel
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2008, 02:00:53 am »

I got a lot of flack for not liking newer editions from some people- which is funny, because I never once said they were worse in anyway, just different from what I like.

I really don't get the need for everyone to like the same thing.
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JimLotFP
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2008, 03:51:30 am »

Quote from: randalls
not buying current books which hurts the profits of WOTC and Hasbro making it less likely that they will continue to publish D&D materials.

Sounds good to me. Smiley I dare say that if there was no "current" edition, it would be easier for us to find players willing to play previous editions.

Quote from: randalls
fragmenting the hobby. When everyone plays the same edition and plays it by all the books, it makes it easier for players to find games. The more people refuse to upgrade to the latest version every few years, the more fragmented the hobby becomes and the harder it is to find players.

I agree. Fragmenting the hobby is horrible. The problem is, I think everyone should play my favorite version (Basic Fantasy, right now). Why should Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro decide what my Dungeons and Dragons rules will be?

But "finding players" is the sign of someone who isn't trying. Nobody in my gaming group here in Vaasa ever played the games or editions I've run before I came along. (hmm, it probably is more of an issue if you're a player looking for a group... if you're running the games, you get to dictate what's being played... Tongue)

Quote from: randalls
What do you think? Are we fans of older versions of D&D hurting the hobby by our refusal to fall in love with, buy, and play the current edition of D&D?

We are the hobby. We follow (and embrace) the history of role-playing, we are not swayed by current marketing and trends, and we tend to create and share our own stuff amongst each other. We connect yesterday and today. Get rid of us, and this hobby floats in space, not connected to anything, and it becomes susceptible to death if the current producers make bad business decisions.
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Greyharp
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2008, 05:15:49 am »

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not buying current books which hurts the profits of WOTC and Hasbro making it less likely that they will continue to publish D&D materials.

Tell someone who cares. You'd have to be an idiot to spend good money on products you don't like, purely out of loyalty to a company that has consistently shown no loyalty to its long-standing customers.

Nothing destroys diversity and creativity like a monopoly.

Are we fans of older versions of D&D hurting the hobby by our refusal to fall in love with, buy, and play the current edition of D&D?

Not at all. If anything, the distaste many feel towards 3e and the glimpses we've seen of 4e, has resulted in new heights of creativity and "sharing the love". Over and over again on various forums, I have seen people returning to the hobby, often because of this reaction and the resulting output of new work. And those people often talk of new people they have introduced to the hobby. If anything, our collective dislike of Hasbro's current D&D seems to be causing the hobby to grow and expand.   Smiley
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randalls
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2008, 07:56:52 am »

I really don't get the need for everyone to like the same thing.

I'm not sure when the idea that we all had to like and buy the same things became the norm. It was fairly common when I was in grade school during the 60s. At least I can remember kids who would only be your friend if you like the same TV shows, sports, or whatever they did, but most of outgrew that silliness long before we hit junior high.

These days I often encounter it in adults. People who think I'm weird because I prefer original Star Trek (and to a lesser extent TNG) to whatever Paramount has decided is Star Trek this year) and feel the strong need to save me from this weirdness by trying to force me to watch and like later. People who are offended because I will not buy CDs from their favorite groups. Etc.

I suppose I should not be surprised that so many RPG players today seem to be offended by people who don't play the same game (and edition) they do. However, I find it strange. I don't think D&D 4.x has much in common with the type of D&D I enjoy, so I'm not going to play it. Since I am not going to stop people who like it from playing it, I just don't see why anyone should really care that I did not jump on the 3.x bandwagon and am staying clear of 4.x.

Like you, I just don't get it. Perhaps it is that "generation gap" thing?
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randalls
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2008, 07:59:08 am »

I dare say that if there was no "current" edition, it would be easier for us to find players willing to play previous editions.

ROFL!  Welcome to the Forum, Jim.
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edsan
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2008, 09:49:18 am »

I had to remove a comment on the blog this morning. I don't think it was up long and with Google's on and off again server problems today, I doubt many people saw it. Thankfully. It was a diatribe against people like me who do not support current editions of D&D. Normally, I would have left such a comment up and replied to it, but the comment was made to my post on Gary's death, almost 10% of the words in the post were profanity, and there were insults to Gary in the comment.

Good grief...kids these days eh?

The poster's argument was basically that those of us who refuse to "get with the program" and abandon older editions for the latest edition from the current publisher are harming the D&D hobby by:

  • not buying current books which hurts the profits of WOTC and Hasbro making it less likely that they will continue to publish D&D materials.
  • fragmenting the hobby. When everyone plays the same edition and plays it by all the books, it makes it easier for players to find games. The more people refuse to upgrade to the latest version every few years, the more fragmented the hobby becomes and the harder it is to find players.

The first argument is partly valid, I concede that. If people do not buy a company's product in sufficient number it will tend to be phased out. Just look at all the gaming companies which went belly up when the Magic:TG and D20 crazes began.

However, the poster forgets none of us is under any obligation whatsoever to purchace any company's products. he might as well attack my grandfather accusing him of never having bought a RPG or boardgame or video game during his lifetime, thus "harming" the industry  Roll Eyes

The second argument is silly and bears a hint of gaming facism. The poster is basicaly whining that if not everyone plays his favourite game there is a possibility that any particular gaming group he finds will not be running it...duh.

It's like advocating the banning of hollywood action movies because you feel they aren't doing enough romantic comedies.

I don't know about you, but I don't feel any obligation to keep WOTC or Hasbro in the black and I feel that the second argument makes as little sense as saying that American Football fans should stop watching their favorite sport and support Soccer (Football to the rest of the world) because Soccer is the more popular game.

Amen.

I don't buy gaming material to "keep a company afloat" or anything like that. Actually, at this point in life I have an extended RPG library and I don't believe I have the need to purchase any RPG material for years to come. That's how long it would take me to literary use all the stuff I own if I wanted to. Not to mention that the current avaiability of free material on the internet these days, including fully playable rule systems that cater to a diversity of tastes extend this period even longer.

Unless WoTC comes out with a brand-new, revolutionary, "kick-ass", unique, remarkabely user-friendly (from both the GM and player prespective) roleplaying game which appeals to my personal tastes and cannot be emulated by any of the current games I own...they will not be seeing a penny of my money.
 
What do you think? Are we fans of older versions of D&D hurting the hobby by our refusal to fall in love with, buy, and play the current edition of D&D?

Of course we are. Exactly the same way "the hobby" hurts us fans of older versions of D&D by its refusal to produce, promote and market material for our older editions of D&D.

What goes around comes around...
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King_Barrowclaw
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2008, 10:30:17 am »

Honestly, from your description it sounds more like a rant than any sort of reasoned argument. With such an untenable position as the fellow you speak of I'd say he's got the "fanatical fear-mongering" down cold.

His use of the terminology "fragmenting the hobby", "harming the hobby" is the type of white-wash/tar-us-all-with-the-same-brush attitude that does FAR MORE HARM than what he's ranting about.

As far as I'm concerned it's this type of "Cultic" thinking that is going to do the greater damage by forcing us all to take sides where there aren't any! It's as ludicrous as telling crafting hobbyists that the grognard "sock puppet enthusiasts" are fragmenting the hobby by not taking up "scrapbook making" instead. Why don't they get with the program....rant...rant. I can see it now. Dozens of flame wars on sock puppet and scrapbook message boards.

Let's put this in perspective for heaven's sake! This is getting to be utter, unforgivable nonsense!
 Roll Eyes
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randalls
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2008, 11:17:10 am »

I don't buy gaming material to "keep a company afloat" or anything like that. Actually, at this point in life I have an extended RPG library and I don't believe I have the need to purchase any RPG material for years to come.

Same here. I could run a weekly RPG session for the rest of my life and not have to buy anything except replacements for lost dice. I have more adventures than I would ever run -- especially as I like to create my own and play using game systems that encourage that. I might buy an adventure or setting every once in a while if something really caught my eye, but I'm not going to be keeping any company afloat on my purchases.

This is one of the reasons I really think simulacrum games need to be published with the aim of attracting new players, not just being a set of rules publishers can use to publish material for older editions of D&D under the legal cover of the OGL. Most of the people playing older editions now probably don't need enough new professionally published material to make publishing such material a truly profitable activity.
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JimLotFP
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2008, 11:21:42 am »

Quote from: randalls
This is one of the reasons I really think simulacrum games need to be published with the aim of attracting new players, not just being a set of rules publishers can use to publish material for older editions of D&D under the legal cover of the OGL. Most of the people playing older editions now probably don't need enough new professionally published material to make publishing such material a truly profitable activity.

There is the belief that "no new products" = "dead game" = difficulty in getting new people to play it. So then, "new products" = "living system" = grow the player base... just by virtue of new products existing.

I don't think it's that easy... but it certainly doesn't hurt.
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Greyharp
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« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2008, 05:41:54 pm »

There is the belief that "no new products" = "dead game" = difficulty in getting new people to play it. So then, "new products" = "living system" = grow the player base... just by virtue of new products existing.

I don't think it's that easy... but it certainly doesn't hurt.


It certainly is a mindset that is both narrow and blinkered and the paranoid cynic in me thinks it's probably a result of subtle propaganda by the big companies (or should that be company?)

On the other hand, new products are both exciting and encouraging. I've said before that the whole retro-clone movement has excited me more about role-playing, than anything that has been produced since the early 80's. The fact that the retro-clone movement began at all, demonstrates how incorrect the whole "no new products" = "dead game" thinking actually is.
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randalls
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« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2008, 08:24:10 pm »

There is the belief that "no new products" = "dead game" = difficulty in getting new people to play it. So then, "new products" = "living system" = grow the player base... just by virtue of new products existing.

I know that belief is out there, but considering the huge number of products for D&D and AD&D available at very low cost in PDF format, I'm not sure that just having new adventures for these older systems is going to bring in many new players. I think Labyrinth Lord is an example of a more effective way: a retro-clone game that is a complete "new game" package. Yes, its primary purpose it to allow people to publish adventures "for Labyrinth Lord" that are compatible with B/X D&D. However, it was packaged as a complete new game with a catchy title. I can see someone seeing Labyrinth Lord in a shop and deciding to give it a try. I can't see that as very likely with OSRIC (at least the first edition. What might help even more is a retro-clone game with an edition aimed at new players with art and layout more like current games.

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I don't think it's that easy... but it certainly doesn't hurt.

You're right. It definitely can't hurt.
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King_Barrowclaw
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« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2008, 11:26:05 pm »

I'm not sure about this point of view that "no sales = dead system". I can understand the reasoning, but it's definition of dead is very narrow. What do you think? Is this a large part of what decides if a system is dead? Or only one point of view? Is it only sales and being serviced by some company that decides it?  I have recently been reminded by boards like this that the point of the original rules was to make you independent as far as house-rules, design and adventures were concerned. When I bought the magazine "Fight On" from lulu.com it reminded me with it's crudely drawn maps that this was something that I could do myself. And have great fun with! I had spent so much money on 3e I had forgotten this. (I was cleaning up after a game and had, no joke, 14 books under my arms. I said to my daughter, "Hey, how about a quick pickup game of D&D?" We both laughed.)

I'm going to look at this Labyrinth Lord, it sounds interesting.

Interesting thread topic.
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