Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An Intervention

I need to talk to you, yes you, the tabletop gaming bloggers. You're my friends, my mentors, my inspiration but I right now I need you to listen. The relationship you have with Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons and Dragons, it's not healthy, and it's not right, they're abusing you and you need to realize it.

Dungeons and Dragons is successful I won't deny that, it's dashing and still looks good even now, I know it's got lots of fans and lots of players, but you the blogging community it treats like crap. Ever since 4th edition came out I've heard about Wizards sending out legal notices to it's most adamant fans as they post material just trying to drum up some enthusiasm. They've brought out a sub standard product that even the most enthusiastic of you is starting to question the wisdom of, and now they've yanked all the PDF's away from you, even the old editions which are out of print now, and they do this while one of the original founders a man that started this great hobby lies in a hospital bed!

I've been hearing about your frustration, your dissatisfaction, your reminiscence about the "old days" when DnD loved it's fans, you're obviously not happy but still you return to them whenever they make a paltry attempt at reconciliation with another sub-standard supplement. Wizards doesn't deserve fans like you, and it's becoming more and more apparent that they don't want your loyalty and your encouragement.

Look at how Paizo and White Wolf are treating their fans, and their fans aren't half as loyal as you are to DnD. Those companies would bend over backwards to have fans as loyal as you.

And don't give me that crap about how they're just misunderstood, that pulling PDF's is just a sly marketing move. That's BS and you know it, if they actually gave a crap about you guys then they would have announced an alternative source for digital material AS THEY PULLED THEM. They didn't.

So please, take a good long look at the relationship you have with DnD and decide where you stand because frankly I'm sick of seeing this cycle of abuse played over and over again across the internet. Dungeons and Dragons is not the only Role Playing product out there and the sooner you and Wizards of the Coast realize this the better it will be for us all.


  1. "Abusive relationship"? I love hyperbole as much as the next guy, but that's in very poor taste. A company deciding to no longer sell an entertainment product is in no way similar to the physical or emotional abuse of one individual by another.

    More to the point... White Wolf is the company you want to put up there on the pedestal as far as fan relations go? Really? Maybe they've revised their fansite policy since I last looked at it, but I seem to remember it had a few issues...

  2. @ Scott: Coming from a person who had to intervene on behalf of a dear friend who was having her life ruined by an absolute dickhead my taste is pretty fine, because honestly from where I'm sitting this isn't Hyperbole it's an exact mirror of what occurs in an abusive marriage. The PDF thing was just the icing on the cake, the relationship equivelant to the abuser turning the locks around and trapping the person inside.

    Here's the thing, I understand the WoTC isn't being malicious but that doesn't make the blogging D&D fans any less abused. The cease and desist orders started it. Then everyone started to complain about 4e, I saw what seems like a dozen posts titled "D&D and I are DONE!" everyone would complain about it, and then they'd start to reminice about the good old days and they'd forget how they made a committment to stay away. That's how abuse plays out every time. The abused individual gets hurt says they're done, then remembers the good times get's an apology and figures that things aren't so bad so they come back just to get hurt again.

    The thing is Wizards yanking PDF's might actually make financial sense, they are selling really well and 95% of their sales are probably paper copies so their margins might actually improve by this move. The thing is bloggers ARE D&D's biggest fans, and a good portion of those fans have moral objections to piracy so they don't pirate, but rather buy the PDF's legitimately because they're the exact target market for them. Pulling that service from your most vocal fan-base is complete disregard for where your bread is buttered, in the PC business component manufacturers appeal to the power user because they're the ones the regular user goes to for advice, even though they only account for less than 5% of the market.
    Wizards could and should have released an alternative to PDF's when they pulled them, but they didn't. Sure they probably will but the fact that they didn't do it simultaneously means they don't care about the fallout. That means that they either don't believe that their fan bloggers are worth anything, or they just don't want them. Either way it's pretty abusive.

    And what about the people who get multiple PDF copies committed to their accounts when they purchase? Pulling them is like snatching the book out of the consumer's hands after it's purchased. They can do this and will probably get away with it because they believe (and unfortunately so do a lot of players) that they're the only viable product out there. That gives them the (perceived) power to treat their proponents like crap and get away with it.

    I'm putting forward all this not because I want to argue but to show you what I'm basing my admittedly inflamatory statements on. I don't feel that what I'm saying is in bad taste because I believe it to be true, and while I am lacking in tact I can't apoligize for that because I believe I've got an obligation to say it. I do thank you for taking the time to comment with an opposing opinion and appreciate it.

    As for White Wolf's fansite policy of the few fansites I know of (edexalted, keychain of creation, freedom stone) I've never heard of them posting any cease and desist orders but I admit I haven't looked very hard. I do know that they managed their official chats like crap and eventually drove them into the ground, but that was more one idiot's doing than a company effort. However, my point is, there are lots of companies out there not just White Wolf or Wizards, and when one compa

  3. Sorry got cut off there. - However, my point is, there are lots of companies out there, not just White Wolf or Wizards, and when one company treats it's fans like crap those fans have an obligation to seek out an alternative.

  4. I have played multiple roleplaying games over the years, but for now, when I even have the time to play, it's mainly D&D because that's the game it's easiest to convince casual gamers to play, especially in the wake of the LORD OF THE RINGS movies. And at almost 40, pretty much all my friends are "casual" gamers, since work and family doesn't allow most people to make more of a commitment.

    Your bizarre ranting about D&D and its players is bordering on the evangelical, my friend. I think it might be you who needs an intervention.

    I don't know about all of this PDF and blogging business, since all I need to play are the three core books and some creative friends, but for me and my gaming situation D&D works just fine. WotC sounds like it's acting like any other company protecting a major brand that is the dominant power in its industry. TSR was run by nerds; WotC is run by businessmen. You can accept that and continue to play a system that is still as fun as an individual DM makes it, that everybody recognizes, that is simple and easy to get beginners into, that can still allow for all the role-playing opportunities you can stand, or you can move on to Paizo with the rest of the 3.5 fetishists, or you can run GURPS or Stormbringer or Shadowrun or some other bizarro game that none of your friends have ever heard of and don't really want to play.

    And that's really what it comes down to, for me. I have other games. I've played and GM'd a crapton of different brands over the years, but D&D is familiar to people and what they want to play. You can make it any sort of game you want to make it, and the business decisions of WotC don't really effect anybody unless they've devoted their goddamn lives to D&D, in which case they have bigger problems than disappearing PDF's.

    Pardon the unfocused reply: I just got up.

  5. @Ogre: Lol. Maybe it's all the Republicans vetting me for my Obama hating cred that's got me in such a tiff about D&D... gotta hate something after-all. Honestly I get what you're saying and in your case you're right for a casual gamer D&D is the way to go for sure, and the casual gamer doesn't give two shits about PDF availability, as long as the book is available in a Chapters then it's all good. The rant is more the result of seeing the 100th Blog rant about how D&D is screwing it's fans but they all say that every time Wizards pulls one of it's dick moves and they still keep going back. I try to ignore D&D and just focus on the games that I like but like the GOP member being bombarded by Obama news every 5 minutes I eventually have to rant a little.

    As it stands I still would play the game and might yet buy the other three books now that I've got the Players Handbook 2 (a gift that I need to blog about still), I think more than anything I'm just annoyed at the echo chamber effect from the RPG blogs and wish they'd just move on. (And yes I realize I'm contributing to the problem in that sense.)