An open letter to WotC
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 10 February 2014, 4:23 am
Dear Wizards of the Coast,

I am a customer of your company for many years, and have spent quite a lot of money on your products. I am also currently a subscriber of your D&D Insider service, providing you with a continuous stream of income. Recently I bought two of your latest adventure modules, Murder in Baldur's Gate and Legacy of the Crystal Shard. Although they were principally designed for D&D Next, which I don't plan to buy, I bought the adventures because you included conversions for older game systems. Now you sent me an advertisement for the adventure Scourge of the Sword Coast. Imagine my disappointment when I found out that in spite of announcements to the contrary, that new adventure did not offer conversions for older editions of D&D. Therefore I didn't buy it.

I do not want to fight the edition wars here. Let's just say that the editions of Dungeons & Dragons are sufficiently different from each other to each appeal to a different group of potential customers. To me it would appear obvious that serving all of those potential customers would be in your best interest. But Scourge of the Sword Coast now has me worried that you are planning to abandon support for previous editions. I am particularly anxious that you might stop supporting the tools for 4th edition on the D&D Insider website. I use the monster builder and character builder and compendium a lot, and they are the reasons why I am subscribed to D&D Insider. I would cancel my subscription if those tools were to disappear and be replaced by D&D Next tools.

I consider 4th edition a brave experiment to drag Dungeons & Dragons into a new millennium. It created a game which is very different from previous editions, and very different from D&D Next. While not everybody might like that different game, there sure are also many people who prefer that version over the others. Surely the cost of adding a few pages of conversion to your adventure modules, or keeping 4E tools running on your website, are rather small compared to the added revenue from 4E fans!

Now you might think that you can "convert" the fans of 4th edition to D&D Next by force, by offering them "D&D Next or nothing". You added some token elements from 4th edition to D&D Next so that you could claim that D&D Next is for everybody. But I can assure you that very few 4E fans were fooled by that. By offering us all beta playtest access to D&D Next, we are very well aware that D&D Next is mostly reversing the changes that made 4th edition different. If we wanted a game with old school rules, we would have plenty of options even without D&D Next. If you cut off support to 4th edition, you only create the market for the next "Pathfinder", a third party product for the customers you left behind, for example "13th Age". You simply do not have the monopoly power any more to force everybody to play the same system.

So I would urge you to realize that making ONE D&D that pleases everybody is completely impossible at this point in time. You would keep far more customers and make far more money if you supported many different editions, kept 4E tools on the website, and made adventures usable for different systems.

Regards,

Tobold
Tobold's Blog



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