After getting back fomr Origins I don;t think WotC will ever have a GC like years past. The AWESOME sponsorship they have at Origins could never be recreated at GC.
"The AWESOME sponsorship they have at Origins could never be recreated at GC."
What awesome sponsorship that they couldn't recreate? They gave away appox. 1500 bags of looting that touted being "filled with loot" Actual experience they gave away 300 per day on the coupon book coupon (note timing and limits weren't indicated on the coupon) with some reserved for those who paid for the $100 D&D experience. While the bag was nice quality, their definition of "filled with loot" really meant filled with 4 pieces of card stock - one of punch out Giant Standees ( promoting the next adventure path - and usable as game minis) and 3 flyers for seminars at the con (granted the backs were printed as DM aids, but weren't anything special). Note- as adds for the seminars, they were not timely in many cases depending on what day you managed to get your bag. They sponsored the bar coasters and pint glasses at Barley's across the street. That is it. No booth in the hall, basically a few seminars and the bags.
The DDAL gaming at Origins was run by Baldman games the same people running it at Gen Con. The room it was in has been used before, and had many more tables running in the past than were in there this year - even counting the D&D Experience rooms on the balcony. So I really don't see what AWESOME sponsorship WotC engaged in at Origins that they Couldn't have done at Gen Con.
The sponsorship of not being outclassed by Paizo/Pathfinder at Gencon? I'm sure that was getting a little embarrassing.
Everyone is correct- WotC did very little; Baldman Games ran that show.
WotC has been dwindling for years now. Paizo is supreme and I don't expect to ever see WotC be a big presence as GenCon again. Too bad, too, because the Dungeons and Dragons Brand really started the whole shebang.
It's unfortunate. I assume this has more to do with Hasbro that it does with WotC choosing to diminish their presence.
That's most likely true... Hasbro controls the purse strings, after all.
Hasbro seems clue free on what the gamers come to GENCON for.
Also, WotC sold lots of merchandise years ago, however it started to fizzle out year to year. I miss the old Milwaukee GENCON's when Wizards had the GIANT castle in the middle of the vendor room.
I kind of feel bad for BMGs with some of these cons
A nice dice or tote bag, with some fun cardboard miniatures and basic DM aides? I'd consider that a fun and neat handout from what is a (relatively speaking) small outfit that runs con games and the like.
The problem is, they're the backbone but WOTC is the face. And so people see D&d, WOTC, and Hasboro and expect something a bit more substantial by an actual national corporation that should have an entire department dedicated to marketing/customer engagement.
From something like baldman, that "swag" would be reasonable.
From a company like Wizards, it seems like mailing it in.
In a lot of ways, Wizards doesn't do BMG many favors with how things get presented. And I hope those who run BMGs realized that and realized where the complaints and frustration are really coming from.
And from what I heard about origins, it doesn't sound significantly more in depth than Gencon two years ago. With the whole outside event with the different faction meet up points, themed food trucks, mini museum of "artifacts" etc. And while the castle setup was neat, I'd happily trade thst for a private ball room like Paizo has had and like BMG will seemingly have this year.
I still have one more slot to go, but I wanted to come and say quickly that the Baldman Games area in the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis was far better than the 2015 experience, and the GM's I had in my sessions this year were fantastic!
The only thing I missed was the quick ability to purchase a 5E Player's Handbook, as one of my friends left his at home and was in conflicting slots with me. However, I was able to borrow one from a kind BMG staffer.
I have no intention of going to PAX - not enough time in the schedule. For those that do go to Wizards' "new home", I wish you all the best, but I feel like we are being very well served by BMG. "So long and thanks for all the fish", Wizards, but it would be great if you returned someday to Gen Con.
Im one of those people disappointed that WOTC doesnt have a big presence at gen con like i am used to from years before. BMG has done a good job of filling some of that void, but i also think there is more to the story than whats being said. When asked about it a couple of days ago one of the gen con employees basically said WOTC wants nothing to do with gen con as if there is some kind of rift between the two. I have no idea whats true, but this wouldnt surprise me since all the official reasons given for why they are not in attendance just dont quite add up for me and i just dont really believe the statement on the D&D site explaining why they are not here.
I just finished the D&D Experience at Gen Con this year, and I give huge props to Baldman for organizing these events. It was nice to have the Hyatt ballroom set aside for D&D.
But, the private room set aside for the XP players was crowded and extremely noisy. It was very difficult to hear our DM. As well, I don't think a guaranteed high tier DM, same players, and an exclusive adventure track was worth the $150 price tag. Our DM was great, but not more so than any of the "redshirt" DMs I played with in the main hall. The exclusivity of the 4 part HULB series has no value to me, since it only translates to a few unique certs and dubious bragging rights.
IMO, for what they offered, the price tag for XP should be $60. Four games @ $10 each (like the normal games), plus an additional $20 for a private (quiet!) space, a dedicated DM, and the same players.
As for the lack of WotC presence, I miss it as well. Even the increased presence at Origins didn't really have an impact on visibility. As impressed as I was by the BMG improvements this year, it wrenched my heart every time I walked by the Sagamore ballroom and saw how grand the Paizo spectacle was, in a space that was synonymous with D&D since the move to Indy. Not to mention the gigantic Paizo space bear the entrance to the exhibit hall, the 3 towering Paizo banners greeting every gamer walking into the main doors of the convention center, and its co-sponsorship of the whole show. That used to be TSR/WotC's bailiwick, and although I like Pathfinder, I truly miss the dominating presence of the first and most popular RPG of all time.
So had a great time this year at Gencon. In terms of setup, this was FAR better than when I was there in 2014 and we were in the middle of the convention hall.
I'll echo Eryndur above regarding the DDXP; it was extremely hard to hear our DM. The private ballroom for the DDXP was a nice addition, but there were so many people in such a small space that it made it very difficult to hear anything. Our DM was an exception DM, but in terms of vocal projection he was lacking. But beyond that, the DDXP was great.
In terms of what it's worth? Hard for me to say. Would I prefer if it was less money? Yes. Yes I do. Will I pay $150 next year to do it? Yes. Yes I will. So they don't have a huge incentive to decrease the amount. To have the same party members, same DM, running a coherent storyline, with easy mustering for the final 3 games, easy access to ice water, in a private hall, complete with our own mini-epic....I didn't feel like I was cheated for the cost. Did it feel expensive? Yes. But not unreasonably so.
My friend and I also lucked out and managed a back-to back-to back session of HILL with generally the same group, and the same DM, each time which was also extremely fun.
A little more official WOTC presence, or D&D presence across the entire Con, would be nice. I get the comments about Paizo and the jealousy with their setup. But overall, it was a better setup than I saw in the past, even when they DID have more WOTC support.
My one disappointment was the Sunday epic. It wasn't that it was bad, it just didn't feel truly "epic", but rather a mini one similar to in the DDXP. Kryptgarden in 2014 definitely felt more "epic" and had a more unique feel to it. And I've still yet to see them do anything to rival some of the epic events I've peeked in and watched Paizo do, complete with overhead projectors and the like. But overall, it was a great time.
Sadly, D&D was one of my few disappointments this year. The Hyatt ballroom was very loud -- they need false walls or something every so often to break up that noise. Additionally, my DM was deaf in one ear and the other one was not great. So he couldn't hear when someone else was trying to get his attention, which caused him to just focus on one player for most of the game. We also realized that he was just smiling and nodding at times because he couldn't hear us. This was my sister's first year doing an official D&D thing and it left a bad taste in her mouth. She spent most of the adventure just sitting there or trying and failing to get attention to do something. :(