LOL. I Remember my first year at Gen Con...had never played 4e DnD and played there for the first (and last) time. After my first session I walked up and down the trade hall looking for a PHB and could find one NOWHERE for sale.
So yeah, the poster who said "I just don't get WoTC", had it right on the nose. These guys don't have a clue how to market a rpg and whoever let these guys in charge should be shot.
I do play 5e now and have bought into many of their pre packaged adventures but I refuse to use their FR money making TM and always mold their material into my own homegrown campaign.
But hey if you love Magic otoh, GenCon's right up your alley. WoTC seem to think it's the only game that makes them money and its the only thing I've EVER seen them invest any real attention to at these things anymore.
Paizo, as the above poster mentioned, DOES take GenCon VERY seriously.
Unfortunately for us few gamers, D&D has more value to Hasbro as a brand than it does as a role playing game. Hasbro wants to grow all of their brands into franchise brands (look at their investor presentation). D&D is never going to be a franchise brand off the strength of its RPG sales - only through video game licensing, movie licensing and toy merchandising does the brand have the potential to reach monetization levels needed to join the other seven franchise brands. Hasbro does need an RPG for a presence in the market, but from their viewpoint, it is more important to sell items to the general population than a niche gamer market. From a business standpoint, Hasbro gains more by being at comic-con (movie / television licensing) and PAX (video game licensing) than at Gencon (no licensing / minimal book sales). Yes, it would gain some goodwill from the die hard portion of the hobby, but not to the same levels that the other cons would.
Also, I don't think Hasbro really cares about selling books to us. D&D already has global name recognition, and they would rather be the entry-level RPG that new hobby enthusiasts get into. That was the reason for 5e - Paizo was risking taking that entry level option for the general population away from them. However, Pathfinder is years (if ever) from taking away the brand recognition from D&D.
Things change. Embrace it.
People can him-n-haw at this or that but the proof is in the pudding and the statements have been made a ton in many places.
1> Wotc doesn't want to sell you books. They want you to buy them from your FLGS. They haven't sold books themselves at Gen Con in like 5-6 years. I want to say prior to 4E coming out. Their strategy is a strong gaming market and support system is better for them then selling you books at full retail at a convention (thus screwing all the local stores out of those sales). There is zero point to them being an exhibitor at Gen Con. They are not a direct sale company. Have not been for a long time.
2> They are on something like their 26th hundred printing of 5E. It is selling like free hotcakes at a pancake junkies support group. It is outselling everything else so I guess that speaks to the marketing.
3> Numbers are up. On all fronts. I'm in the trenches at a lot of shows. I consult and help friends out at a lot more on top of that. Demand is up, players are up, and we are struggling to get DMs to handle it (and a front I've put a lot of effort into myself the past 12 months with the Herald's Guild).
The only things they are not doing, and the thing that has some here all riled up, is having a big shiny expensive presence at Gen Con. I would say "Who cares?" but this thread shows that some do. Why? Yes I get they used to own Gen Con, D&D started the industry, blah blah blah. I get it. I've been around a long time. How does Wotc deciding to spend $50K, or $100K+ or even $200K+ at this specific show somehow make the game better? How does it bring in the number of new players it would take to offset that cost? It really says nothing more then "We are successful enough at what we are doing to blow $XXXX in making a big fancy statement at show YYYY for everybody to oohhhh and ahhhhh at". The people I see complaining are already enfranchised players who know exactly what D&D is and exactly how to go about acquiring / playing it. How does them spending $20K to bring in a giant statue for you to take your picture next to exactly help?
Instead they are taking that money and going all over the country to smaller shows (compared to Gen Con) and meeting their consumers. Lots of shows. Sitting at tables and talking. Running games for fans. A bunch will be at Origins in a few weeks. Odds are somebody is going to get lucky and end up with Chris Perkins running a game of D&D for them or Mike Mearls. Next year they may pick a whole new slate of shows to attend and maybe one will be right up the road from you and you can actually sit down and chat with one of them over a beer or burger.
D&D is still running at the show. Thousands of players young and old are going to roll some dice and have a blast. That happens regardless of the above. The above for the vast majority of those players means absolutely nothing. They will make new friends, new memories, and come back next year to do it again. People can scream they are idiots and doing it wrong all day long. While I can see where their thoughts are rooted they need to take a step back and see the big picture. Because in the big picture 5E is kicking ass all day long. It shows in all the articles going up on this site and in every industry sales post I see.
I actually don't disagree with anything you've said Wavester. They run their business like almost every business on this planet run it...for profit.
I was just amazed that not a single one of these "retailers" who WoTC DEPEND upon didn't sell a single one of their books even though that's what a huge portion of GenCon's attendees go to GenCon for.
I just thought that was bass ackwards and counter-intuitive to what a classical example of supply and demand is supposed to mean. I mean they certainly didn't mind having direct sales of Magic nor did they mind spending 10's of thousands of dollars on marketing THAT game system on the trade floor. Which was great if you're a Magic player.
I agree 5e IS popular and for good reason. I just wish (for a change) a company would actually be more interested in keeping it's consumers happy than its investors.
But then I have that complaint about almost every corporation in America.
The thing is, it might not be that the people didn't have it, it might have been that they were all sold out. Every year, there are a few "Hot" items that sell out less than half-way through the show, sometimes even before Thursday ends.
Last year it was Bring Out Yer Dead by Upper Deck and Firefly (to the point they started raiding their Win-A-Box events for copies to sell). When the 5e PHB launched, it went pretty quickly too. And lest we forget: HeroClix used to have a big release every show.
The other thing is that WOTC doesn't control what stock their vendors bring to Gen Con either. Perhaps if 4e had been out for awhile, none of the vendors felt like they would make any money by bringing it.
I won't argue that WOTC hasn't sold product at GenCon for as long as I have been going to the con which I started attending GenCon in 2002.
However it is more a matter of marketing and their presence being at the largest gaming convention for their industry.
They have held large events in honor of D&D such as a murder mystery dinner to celebrate the start of The Sundering storyline where authors such as R.A. Salvatore and Ed Greenwood were present.
Now not even having a presence there is just pathetic. GenCon was never about making money for them by being there. It was helping support the convention that was started by TSR and is synonymous with D&D.
They should have a presence there to get players interested in their games and should use GenCon as a major marketing event. Their decision to use the Comic Con conventions as marketing events seems backward as they will always be secondary to the comic book related stuff that goes on there.
In fact, they're so dead-set on staying away from Gen Con, they held a Pro Tour in Vancouver, BC the same weekend as Gen Con last year.
Hmm it may well have been 2012. I just remember swarms of people surrounding the Magic display on the trade floor and not a DnD book in sight. OH I'm quite sure somebody there had a PHB....I just didn't have the patience to track one down. Pathfinder is ALWAYS big though.
I get all that stuff from Amazon now anyway. Maybe I'm nostalgic or just naive but I tend to think along the same lines as xanathon: DnD MADE GenCon, now the producers of DnD treat it like the red headed step child that it has to tolerate...instead of its baby.
The D&D Open is an Origins event not a Gen Con event. Every show doesn't get every thing.
Tons of single mods to play at the show all over the place. Just none for levels 11+. Higher level content is extremely limited and has been throughout the campaign (and documented as to why on the AL website). While there are some who want 11+ content that is not what the majority of players at Gen Con are looking for.
We have lots of changes this year. We made the ones that were requested the most by the players. We will see how they work, make some tweaks, then make some more exciting changes next year.
The thing that people seem to be forgetting is that WOTC no longer has final say on these types of matters. WOTC is owned by Hasbro now.
Hasbro makes the call, and if they feel that GenCon isn't profitable for them, they are going to make sure WOTC's focus is somewhere else. Maybe another Convention gave them a much better deal. Who can say? For now though, Hasbro has made the decision that it wants to focus on other conventions.
WOTC has been owned by Hasbro for quite a while now. Yes Hasbro calls the shots I won't disagree there.
Whether people say WOTC or Habro the comments still all remain the same. They are making a mistake by not attending.
Saying that high tier content has been limited since the beginning is misleading. First, remember that this is still a relatively new campaign so high tier wasn't really needed for the first two seasons. That has since changed. We are wrapping up a fourth season for Adventurer's League this summer, plus there have been several hard back home play campaign books released. People have had time to play and level their characters, and there are actually quite a few high tier characters floating around in the campaign. The number of high tier characters will only continue to grow as the campaign progresses. I have no doubt that you have seen this yourself.
Second, remember that levels 11-16 are an officially supported tier in Adventurer's League. Yes, AL will always have a disproportionately large number of low tier mods because they are the launching spot for new story lines and, more importantly, they are the place where new players can get started. We need mid tier mods because, unlike low tier, you can't just blow through mid tier in a couple of games. However, high tier is still well represented and people DO play it. We have 2 double length mods for high tier, two Epics that support high tier, at least 3 admin mods that I know of that can be run at high tier, three campaign books that take characters well into (and possibly past) high tier, as well as four new mods for high tier that your company is introducing. You may also note that at least one admin mod can even be run at levels 17-20! At this point you can't use any kind of limited content excuse for limiting high tier mods.
The "Experience" tracks are not an answer for a variety of good, solid reasons. First, there was the complete mess with these tracks last year that soured many people to the "Experience"- and rightfully so. Second, they are expensive- $150 a player, and if you bring a spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/child/whatever you are now spending $300, or $75 per GAME. That is nothing to sneeze at. The tickets may also very well sell out, or you may only be at the show for a day or two, or have other scheduling conflicts that can't be moved.
So we have an official AL tier that has official AL support that the official representative for running AL at the biggest gaming show in the country is basically blowing off for play outside of the "Experience". Players do look forwards and work towards trying to play their high level characters at Gen Con- that is THE place to do it. While they may not be the "majority" of players not seriously offering players a chance to play at this level is obviously a problem. This needs to be fixed.
It's fine that you are making tweaks and trying new things this year, but you still need to cover the basics.
Well maybe it's not a meat grinder anymore? Nobody knows exactly what to expect this year now that is a D&D AL legal event. That is part of the fun. I think new players will be just fine and have a blast playing it.
we'll do our best to make sure that part still happens. Just for you.
I have played D&D since 1.0 and have gone through every edition, but currently have stopped at 4th edition. I like it and our group(s) like it. I and my group are casual gamers and will probably stay on 4th edition for a long time, but I have a different take on this. When my son and I went to Gencon for the first time a few years ago my exact words were "My God! I can't believe how many people are playing Pathfinder!". Again I am a casual player, and this is my observation. I would have never considered Pathfinder, but last year my son and I tried a game. I felt like it was D&D 3.x, and wasn't my cup of tea, but I suspect that WotC didn't really see a return on investment in going to a show (few vendors do does by the way), and the thought of seeing your main competition dwarf you would not be something I think they want people to see.
Just my 2 cents.
That's because WOTC or Hasbro allowed Paizo to dwarf them by treating GenCon as an afterthought.
Paizo seized an opportunity that was given to them through the ineptitude that WOTC or Hasbro was displaying. If I was faced with that opportunity I would do the same thing.
My point is that it should never have happened. It appears that WOTC or Hasbro doesn't fully understand the marketing potential that GenCon has. Paizo certainly does and look how far it has taken them.
Even if their strategy is to participate in other conventions they should have never abandoned GenCon. It is a idiotic decision on their part and I hope somebody loses or lost their job in making that decision.