Posted by : David Guyll March 22, 2011

So, Mearls has revealed his grandiose plans behind all the polling: dialogue. Yep, that's right, dialogue. He likens it to "convention dialogue", with the polls allowing you to respond (that, and the D&D Insider email link inviting you to pitch in your two coppers). Apparently, some people thought that they were for market research (despite WotC obviously already having an actual department for that), which doesn't surprise me given how a vocal minority seems to perceive WotC's understanding of the consumer base. Of course, and even smaller percentage are more than happy to take it to the next level.

I find it very odd how a (thankfully) minority of Paizo's fans are not happy--or even content--with their 3rd Edition re-hash Pathfinder that, to varying degress, does what they want. Apparently, that's not good enough. They have to put a spin on any D&D release, purported change, and commentary from the staff as not only a sign that 4th Edition is obviously floundering, but that Paizo is likewise obviously much more successful. They hope that any day now the designers over at Wizards of the Coast will realize the "errors" of their ways and come crawling back...but of course by then it'll be "too late".

"Many people are leaving 4th Edition for Pathfinder (often coupled with WotC making obviously stupid decisions and/or blatantly disregarding the "majority")", "not going with the OGL was a major mistake, and WotC is suffering from it/Paizo is thriving because of it", "4th Edition is dying, and Pathfinder is set to replace it", and so on and so forth. These statements, and many more like them, smack of a combination of desperation, insecurity, and ignorance.

Remember awhile back, when that quarterly report was released that showed both D&D and Pathfinder tied for first place? Some fans of Pathfinder took that to mean that either 4th Edition was dying, Pathfinder was picking up, or both...except those sales reports only took into account what store owners reported, and doesn't include actual sales data (or online sales, including DDI subscriptions). In all actuality, both games are doing well enough that their respective companies still create content to support them (though I doubt Pathfinder is even doing as well as D&D).

Mearls started doing these articles to talk about the history of the game, its future, and to get a handle on what we think about the game, "we" being those that respond to the polls or send feeback email messages. Me? I really can't go to D&D XP or GenCon, so this is the best (only?) way for me to voice my opinion and ask some questions of my own. I'm glad that he took the chance to engage in some kind of discourse, and it's kind of petty that people are trying to twist these columns around. At any rate, it's nice that out of all the people that responded, around two-thirds prefer 4th Edition to the rest. :-P

{ 5 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Anyone that thinks this is market research really has no idea about what market research really is.

  2. So, as someone not playing D&D4E or Pathfinder but who buys things from both companies, how does your post (which is similar to the rhetoric sprouted by the "pathfinder trolls") in any way help?

    I understand being frustrated with the forums/communities, but this kind of post doesn't help.

  3. @morrisonmp: I think that it's an interesting observation on the behavior of the anti-4e crowd, and really solidifies a lot of my own thoughts on the matter in a single, well-worded post.

    I also have a hard time believing that the post looks ANYTHING like the rhetoric we see from the "Pathfinder trolls" (nothing to do with being pro-Pathfinder, and everything to do with being anti-4e). Their rhetoric is extremely radicalized and reactionary. More than once, I've found myself wondering at the tactical similarities between the anti-4e crowd and the Tea Party movement. The subject matter is different, but the motions are the same.

    Does Antioch's post "help" the situation? No, but neither would anything else he could have said.

    All that said, the Paizo forums have really improved over the last couple of years. There are lots of reasonable people active over there now. The old trolls remain, of course, and take every available opportunity to spin things exactly as Antioch describes, but they're dealt with relatively swiftly and the majority of the Paizo fanbase treats WotC with relatively polite indifference. It could be a lot worse.

  4. @Scott: That really about sums it up. This post isn't about helping anyone, but a behavioral observation. I think it's important that you said "anti-4E", because liking Pathfinder doesn't lump you in with that crowd (which is why I stated that they were a minority in the above post).

  5. So why no March of the Phantom Brigade, Week 7 (or 6)?



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