Saturday, October 22, 2011

On Yesterday's Poll

After over 1300 (!) responses so far, I think the results are pretty clear: close to two-thirds of my regular readers entered the hobby in the first decades of its existence, which more or less corresponds with the era I call "the Golden Age of D&D." That's hardly a surprise given the focus of this blog, but it is interesting that the results I've gotten so far mirror those from an earlier poll on ENWorld from 2006, as pointed out by Delta.

It's interesting because ENWorld in 2006 was the center of the online D&D III universe. If you hung out there back then, chances are you liked and played 3e. Fourth edition hadn't been announced yet and the old school renaissance barely existed. Yet, even there, the vast majority (60.36%) of those who participated in the poll entered the hobby by 1984. Again, the results there are hardly scientific, but I don't think it's untrue to say that ENWorld's audience and mine aren't identical, even if there's undoubtedly overlap. Yet, the results of the two polls are fairly similar nonetheless.

What that suggests to me is two things. Firstly, D&D's status as the 800-lb. gorilla of the hobby was probably the result of a non-replicable fad. Barring some completely unforeseen turn of events, tabletop roleplaying is never again going to be as popular as it was in the first decade of its existence (and especially between the years 1979 and 1984). Secondly, the success of 3e was in large part driven by older gamers returning to the hobby after a long absence, not by the creation of hordes of new gamers. That's not to deny either the incredible feat that WotC accomplished in 2000 or that there were new gamers created in the wake of 3e. However, I think both those things tend to get exaggerated by gamers still running on the warm fuzzies Peter Adkison generated by saving Dungeons & Dragons from oblivion after the near-death of TSR in the late '90s.

47 comments:

  1. I'm not sure the results are so clear. It seems to me that the older the gamer in an old school community, the more likely that person is to actually vote, as a badge of pride maybe, or from a feeling of belonging or duty. Not least with language like 'golden age' being used. If so, there could be a skew.

    It doesn't tell us much about regular readers either, in the sense it's only been a day so far, suggesting the numbers represent the part of the overall reader base that's more dedidated. It could be that over the course of the week the proportions will change as the more casual readers pass through. It might even be that a week doesn't catch everyone.

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  2. I think it's important to keep in mind all of the gamers who do NOT discuss D&D on message boards or the internet in general. Many newer player - those who have not been obsessed with the game for 20 or 30 years are unlikely to be attracted to these sorts of internet D&D hotsprings.

    In all honesty, it's always the truly obsessed that come here, EN World, and the like. If I has to guess, a larger percentage of the older crowed fits that bill. You've got to be really into the game to spend a lot of time reading about it intellectually, and that can also be said for those who have been playing for multiple decades.

    I know a fair number of games in real life and it's only the older fellas who frequent these sorts of sights. The youngsters (exuding myself) tend not to dedicate themselves to a single game and thus would be wasting their time obsessing over D&D, especially old school renditions.

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  3. With the exception of my first group who inducted me into the hobby, every D&D player in every group I've run I've personally introduced to the game. So I've never been under the impression that D&D is particularly popular with the mainstream.

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  4. I totally agree with what James says here. On top of that, I think it also echoes (a) the era of greatest sales figures for D&D, and (b) the extensive surveys that WOTC did on acquiring TSR. Personally, I think that's the most important thing to understand about D&D, to the extent that I've had the chart of the ENWorld data hung up on the wall over my computer for the last 5 years.

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  5. In my mind, there is only one game that really created legions of new gamers since the days of the late 1970's-early 1980's D&D driven boom and that was Vampire back in the early 1990's

    Third Ed brought a lot of folks back into the fold who'd been thoroughly disillusioned by AD&D 2nd Ed (me, for starters), and undoubtedly created a few new gamers, but I think White Wolf actually did more on that front back in the 1990's than anything 3rd Ed D&D did.

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  6. My 3e group at the turn of the century has 11 players. 6 of us were old timers who had never left. 5 of us were youngsters who were 7 or younger by 1984, 3 of them had no RPG experience at all.

    I'm the only one of that group who is likely to have answered this poll.

    I got to play with some of my son's highschool D&D club last week. The club plays 3e and none of them were until the mid 90's. Their club has about 10 kids and there are 3 or 4 times that many that inquired according to the faculty adviser. The youngsters are out there, they just don't tend to socialize with their people the age of their parents (and older). They sure aren't online reading Grognarida they are playing online shooters and Facebook apps.

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  7. I was introduced to the game in early 2003, and have only done the bulk of my gaming with D&D over the past year. There will always be people interested in the hobby independent of it's origins (of which I honestly don't really care about) and keeping it going for decades to come.

    If anything, the thing D&D did best in the 80s was get embroiled in controversy. Thanks to it's initial hype and status as a "geeky" thing, as well as being stigmatized and linked to dubious satanic acts, most of North America knows
    what D&D is (regardless of specifics). It's a part of our pop culture history, and will always exist in one form or another.

    As a new gamer, I like the freedom of an RPG that has the potential to be truly open ended, and allows for limitless choices by the player (and a multitude of
    stories and characters by the DM). It can be far more flexible, immersive, and engaging than any video game. Plus, it's collaborative nature is new to a lot of gamers used to playing games alone at home.

    While I think it's great that people who were there from the very beginning still enjoy the hobby, I often feel that their shared history and years of built up lore is alienating to new players. They may be keeping the hobby alive, but I feel that it's a very exclusive niche. Say what you will about newer editions of the game, but at least they've incentivized new players who are new to the game.

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  8. Confirmation bias. It's a terrible drug.

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  9. In my mind, there is only one game that really created legions of new gamers since the days of the late 1970's-early 1980's D&D driven boom and that was Vampire back in the early 1990's

    I suspect you're absolutely correct.

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  10. I think Ian and JDJarvis bring up good points. Younger folks are not likely to join enworld or read this blog.

    Something I found interesting in the poll was how the 1985-1989 lagged behind the 1990-1994 and then as the weekend came along, it quickly caught up and then surpassed 1990-1994.

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  11. Younger folks are not likely to join enworld or read this blog.

    Read this blog? Sure, I agree with that. But not read ENWorld? Is that forum now consider a fogey hangout too? Where do the young'uns go then?

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  12. "Where do the young'uns go then?"

    The billion dollar question. Not accounting for inflation or a possible change of currency.

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  13. The billion dollar question. Not accounting for inflation or a possible change of currency.

    That's what always bugs me about these discussions. I see lots of suggestions that this poll or that one is biased or doesn't have a large enough sample or whatever and I'm sure that many of those criticisms are valid to varying degrees. But, barring some massive effort by a well-funded research firm, all we have to rely upon are flawed data from a handful of sources, most of which suggest that the number of active roleplayers today is much smaller than it was a quarter-century ago. That doesn't seem like a controversial conclusion to me, but what do I know?

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  14. Given the numbers involved this poll could have a lot to say, so long as we take the limitations into account. For me personally the fact of the outcome is less relevant than the act of looking for it. That we want to know says plenty about our corner of the hobby.

    More interesting I think is what happens next. I see a lot of wonderful new work being done, but very little has the relationship to the world around it that D&D had to the world it came into. Some obvious exceptions are the thinking on fiction at NetherWerks, Talysman's approach to mechanics and S. P.'s guerilla gaming idea. I think there are some explorers who are on the very edge of breaking into a new space. But that's nothing that need leave us out in the cold; rather the opposite, that fresh interest ought to mean old school gaming getting even more love.

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  15. For all the talk of youngsters being tech savvy and used to the web, I don't see them ranging far. My kids have lived their entire lives in an internet connected home and they still don't use search engines well or stray very far from websites they enjoy. I read hundreds of webpages and blogs a week they go on facebook and youtube. They just aren't looking.

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  16. They just aren't looking.

    I've heard similar things from other people. Heck, I've even read a few studies that suggest this, too, but I have no way of knowing if it's true or how widespread the phenomenon is. Are, for example, blogs a medium primarily used by old folks like us?

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  17. In reply to JD Jarvis, this is a natural progression, and doesn't really seem to be limited to kids either.

    As somebody who used to write a political blog, and still reads a number of others, I find myself narrowing, not increasing the sites I read to the ones I like. And from a niche that was booming years ago, the number of political blogs is steadying, if not shrinking, though the biggest of them keep getting more and more web hits.

    I would suggest, however, that everybody uses Search Engines. But most of the time when somebody uses a Search Engine these days, they're looking to find something specific, read it or do it, and get out afterward. The days of webcrawling for the sake of finding interesting and cool new sites (as opposed to being pointed to them by friends on Facebook, Twitter, other social media) have long since been buried by the sheer volume of web sites, blogs, etc. And the rather static nature of blogs (one to a small handful of posts a day in most cases), doesn't begin to compare to following a twitter topic, or a Facebook thread.

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  18. To those wondering about "Us youngins" and where we go for D&D blogs and discussion, the majority of folks my age who're hardcore into the game visit a suite of message boards and blogs.

    If I'd have to guess at a few most popular, I'd suggest the WotC D&D site and forums, along with blogs like Dungeon's Master, Sly Flourish, as well as a ton on 4eblogs.com

    Also, Grognardia is still a wicked great blog for ideas and updates, as well as the suite of info. Plus, gotta support the local guys.

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  19. I am one of those who started in 1981-1984 range. I have 8 players in my group. Four I recruited from family and friends. One came from Meetup ad, and three I met at the local game shop. I have played all editions except 3rd. I am one of the few in my group who has played games outside of D&D. Though me and one player both bonded over that fact our first real ongoing campaign was in the Marvel RPG from the 80's.


    I am the only one I know who reads OSR blogs. One of them reads WotC blogs and forums. One reads a couple blogs that are geared toward Pathfinder or 4th edition. The rest don't bother with sites on gaming from what I can tell. Three of the players started playing with 4th edition. One started in the same time period of me and stopped playing in high school until now. One started with 2nd edition and played Pathfinder for a while. Three started with 2nd Edition and skipped 3rd Edition.

    7 out of 8 players played World of Warcraft. Which I am starting to think is the biggest gateway to D&D and Pathfinder you can find in this day and age. Where people want to be able to go outside the lines and borders that a video game creates for them. I help run encounters at the local game shop. We generally have 10-15 regulars and 2-10 others who show up on a given week. I think you have a 65/35 male/female split with ages from teen to early 40's. Seen quite a few new people want to play after trying an introductory game at a video game con. PAX here in Seattle brought in players both years I have volunteered. Both Pathfinder and WotC run these introductory demo games and they seem to work. The shop I volunteer at is not an RPG shop. 99% of their events and stock are board or card games for all ages. They only carry 4th edition books and nothing else. They are an interesting model since many who play at encounters come from outside the traditional RPG introduction and have no background in the hobby beyond RPG elements in board or video games.

    If this poll has a bias I think is that it is in the RPG corner of the world. You have to actively seek out this blog. Overall I believe it represents a good healthy cross section of who reads this blog (which is a great blog). I was drawn to it by the reviews of the older products and history of the industry. But, for every RPG person cruising the internet and engaging the material there. How many only play and not invest into it beyond the experience at the table? A far greater number I presume.

    I also 2nd that White Wolf kept RPG's alive in the 90's.

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  20. It is very well worth keeping in mind about EN World is that it was the place we went to discover news about 3E when it was still being worked on. (When it was Eric Noah's 3rd Edition News site).

    The initial base of people are thus people who were introduced to previous versions of D&D.

    As the years have rolled on, EN World's members tended towards professionals and towards highly knowledgeable D&D players. The discussions reinforce that: EN World isn't where you go to discuss how to play D&D. It's the place you go to analyse D&D.

    As such, it isn't the best place for a newcomer. New players of D&D - the few who visit forums - are far more likely to gravitate towards the Wizards forums.

    I've recently been running a poll on EN World about which rulebooks are owned by people. As I type this, it's running at:
    AD&D 78%; 3.5E 77%; 2E: 70%; 4E: 60%; "Red Box" 42%; original D&D 18% (249 voters)

    However, figures from the RPGGeek database paint a different picture:
    4E: 773;; 3.5E 713; AD&D 606; 2E: 465; "Red BoxL 385; OD&D: 93

    EN World isn't typical - it's a place for more experienced gamers. Unfortunately, we can't poll the Wizards boards for their numbers...

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  21. I feel I should comment as somewhat of an outlyer; I wasn't born when the good versions of D&D came out, I cut my teeth on 3.5 in 2007, played 4e when it came out, and then rapidly found my way back to the TSR-era style of play.

    The people I play with at University don't tend to be the kind of people to trawl through a whole bunch of blogs, or even en world, and are more likely to be on the WotC mothership, or to not be playing D&D any more. We have a high incidence of the Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying games, World of Darkness, and Serenity. D&D tends to be the game people play first and move away from, barring a couple of people who keep on with some or more editions of it.

    Whether this is typical of people in the hobby in their early 20s or not, I don't really know, as we're a society of maybe 25 people, all of whom are pretty wildly different from each other.

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  22. Another point about RPG blogs and readership: RPG blogs draw an awful lot of DMs. Sure the audience isn't all DM's but an awful lot of what is out there is most certainly written to them as are the older edition style games. Does a player ever need to own the rules, do they really need to even read all the rules? They certainly never have to read all the spells in the game or absorb all the details on the monsters. If yuo like playing Dwarven Fighter/Thieves how much time are you going to spend reading about eleven poets or the breed habits of magenta dragons? Sure an educated player is a good player but there is a decidely lower investment of time required to have fun playing as a PC as compared to DMing.
    A DM has a traditional D&D buy-in of MG, MM & PHB, the player could get buy with just the PHB and doesn't' even really need to do that with pre-character build editions.
    Young DMs have books full of information at their hands they already have a lot to read to be able to play the game, what need do they have to look elsewhere? Many youngsters have to make a few mistakes now and again before they listen to their elders.

    I'm rambling here but in my close gaming circle and I'm the only one I know who reads, replies and writes on blogs and forums with any degree of regularity. There are a lot of players out there that simply aren't.

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  23. On young people and the Internet: all of us here grew up in a world where cars are commonplace. So, naturally we're all expert mechanics and could enter the Monaco Grand Prix with a good chance of winning, right?

    As Saint Merric of B said, new players are likely to follow the path of least resistance and end up on the WotC website, since that's the one mentioned on the books. They'll never see this poll or vote in it.

    The impossibility of getting good data doesn't make the data you have any better, sadly. But 1300 responses is good data; you just need to decide what it's good data about.

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  24. I'm like JDJarvis. I voted for myself. If I added the six people I most frequently game with, 4 entered with 3rd ed or some d20 variant. Only one (my brother) entered with me in the 80's. I know anecdotal evidence only goes so far, but I do know most of these people are never going to spend much time pursuing D&D online. They play it and love it, but aren't exactly "lifers."

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  25. I started in the mid ninties, playing AD&D. Good times.

    Mind you, I've seen a weird variety of poll results.

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  26. I only found this blog recently but i concur with the general trend of the polling. Comic book websites have a similar issue of limited information on markets, fanbase, and sales figures that get published but argued over incessantly. However there as here the trends are in agreement and multiple sources are in agreement, so picking over one or two elements seems unnecessary.

    Arguing that kids today don't use computers? Come on.

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  27. Where do the young'uns go then?

    No one place. I mean, aside from Facebook or their own bloglist. Hanging out on a specific forum or mailing list is definitely fogey behaviour, especially since the fogeys (who've been on these forums since they were young) tend to dominate discussion in those forums, often making them unfun.

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  28. The danger with 4e is that it is turning DnD into World of Warcraft. I started playing with 2nd Edition but I was far more comfortable with Advanced 2nd Edition. Yet 3.5 has provided the most satisfying gaming experiences. 4e has unfortunately now got my in DnD stasis. I was wondering if trying Open RPG looking for 3.5 games is worth my while.

    http://bytesanddice.wordpress.com/
    Jon

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  29. One critique that isn't holding water: Over the weekend the polled skewed a bit even more towards the old-timers. (Who arguably might have more reason to now be "casual players".)

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  30. I think the poll also reproduces what I see around my local game store. That being said, when I was 10 years old, I didn't play D&D in a game store. I played it on my friend's dining room table or on the cafeteria table at lunch. I got my first D&D set at Kay Bee Toys, not a hobby shop. I discovered the game stores later.

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  31. Are, for example, blogs a medium primarily used by old folks like us?

    I'm 25. Players in all of my three groups (around 12 people) are of similar age. As far as I know, I'm the only one reading these blogs.

    We all entered the hobby between 1995-2005 with rise and fall of Dračí Doupě, czech dnd retroclone.

    (sry for my english, not my native language)

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  32. And the rather static nature of blogs (one to a small handful of posts a day in most cases), doesn't begin to compare to following a twitter topic, or a Facebook thread.

    Conversely, I loathe Twitter and use Facebook only as an external address book for contacting people whose email addresses I don't remember.

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  33. But 1300 responses is good data; you just need to decide what it's good data about.

    If it's difficult to extrapolate to the wider hobby, can we at least draw some conclusions about the old school renaissance itself? The OSR is, to a great extent, a Net-driven phenomenon, so its participants are almost certainly going to be readers of blogs and forums.

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  34. They certainly all spend huge amounts of time online, but they seem to spend the vast bulk of that time playing games or watching videos of things; in-depth “text-based” research on a topic of interest is pretty darn rare. Now, it’s not that my gamers aren’t readers - at least half of them are in the gifted programme, and most of them can be found lugging a weighty novel around, but for the vast majority “looking into” a topic means checking Wikipedia and then watching every You-Tube clip ever posted that even remotely relates to the subject.

    This jibes with my own (albeit limited) observations as well.

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  35. World of Warcraft was released widely in very early 2006. It has since sapped many millions of potential tabletop RPGers. Not coincidentally the number of D&D players since that time has gradually shrunk from the height of 2000. If WoW would have existed in say 1985 my friends and I would have stopped playing D&D right then and never logged off WoW, I can pretty much guarantee it.

    When you add in the mutliplayer aspects of consoles I think it is pretty clear where all the young uns go for their escapist hobbies. Just consider every WoW player a potential tabletop gamer and you have found where the tabletop audience has gone. Their needs are being fulfilled by an electronic medium so they never bother to look at the tabletop, why would they? Maybe WoW took only a small number of active D&D players over it's history from the tabletop but it has certainly taken the vast majority of potential tabletop gamers away from the tabletop. Once the "potentials" are gone the growth stops.

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  36. This means if we want to publicize X about the OSR we should be considering making YouTube videos?

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  37. @rob quite possibly.

    @the whole response population in general:

    I am pretty sure that the "non-replicable fad" theory is not accurate. This post is in the vein of the "What Happened?" post and I have been bringing my skills as a computer security analyst and trained historian to bear on the question. All evidence that I have seen indicates that it was not the result of a fad but rather the result of other factors. However, getting it into a form that I can distribute is proving to be a huge task because there is so much to look at and present.

    That is the long way of actually saying "I know what happened, it was not a fad, and I know why D&D is not longer sticky." (to borrow a term from Malcolm Gladwell). More to come, I promise.

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  38. Random thought: I often hear people say that "most D&D players aren't represented online". I believe this statement is based on a survey that either TSR or WotC did back around 1999 from index postcards in all their products. Is this assumption still true in 2011? I find it hard to believe anymore (mostly based on the fact my 85 year old father has a Facebook account :) that "most D&D players" aren't online in some capacity in 2011, and at least marginally aware of online D&D discussion forums like RPGNet or EN World, if only in a lurker capacity, perhaps even actively participating.

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  39. "This means if we want to publicize X about the OSR we should be considering making YouTube videos?

    Why would anyone want to publicize the OSR at all? I thought the whole point of it was to return the game to its simple, niche roots, and enjoy it as is. Wouldn't growing the OSR base lead exactly down the path D&D has already taken? The OSR as it exists today consists of a small group of people that have very similar tabletop RPG tastes and preferences. As more poeple are added to this group the less likely those preferences will remain as they are. Then the game begins to expand in an attempt to please everyone, just like D&D has over the last 30 years.

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  40. @Steamtunnel

    I am pretty sure that the "non-replicable fad" theory is not accurate.

    Hmm. OK. You might get me on board with the it was a fad (though I doubt it), but I'm really curious to see what part of the fad that was the early 1980's RPG boom could be replicated by pen and paper RPGs (as opposed to the myriad other, similar fads that have come and gone since the RPG growth phase).

    I'll be curious to see your conclusions, as well as the evidence.

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  41. Just consider every WoW player a potential tabletop gamer and you have found where the tabletop audience has gone. Their needs are being fulfilled by an electronic medium so they never bother to look at the tabletop, why would they?

    This is, I think, where the RPG industry has really fallen down on the job. Instead of taking their cues from video games, they ought to be playing and promoting the things that tabletop RPGs still do better than their electronic competition. That they're not is their greatest failure.

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  42. This means if we want to publicize X about the OSR we should be considering making YouTube videos?

    *shudders* :)

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  43. I am pretty sure that the "non-replicable fad" theory is not accurate.

    If you can prove that to any degree of plausibility, I'd be very be interested.

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  44. Why would anyone want to publicize the OSR at all? I thought the whole point of it was to return the game to its simple, niche roots, and enjoy it as is. Wouldn't growing the OSR base lead exactly down the path D&D has already taken? The OSR as it exists today consists of a small group of people that have very similar tabletop RPG tastes and preferences. As more poeple are added to this group the less likely those preferences will remain as they are. Then the game begins to expand in an attempt to please everyone, just like D&D has over the last 30 years.

    I (mostly) agree with this. I'm actually not all that interested in "growing" the old school community in any kind of concerted way so much as providing a building up a stable community for the minority of a minority of gamers who prefer old school gaming.

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  45. Just consider every WoW player a potential tabletop gamer and you have found where the tabletop audience has gone. Their needs are being fulfilled by an electronic medium so they never bother to look at the tabletop, why would they?

    I've not been in the hobby all that long, though I've been aware of it for quite a while. In my limited experience though, there are two things that always seem to kill a group, or even keep it from getting started:

    1) DM burnout
    2) Unable to coordinate schedules

    From my understanding, all the great long running campaigns had two things going for them to help counteract this problem:

    1) Multiple DMs
    2) A steady schedule at a fixed time and location with a rotating cast of players (come as you can play)

    These days however, when I look around, I see fixed size groups with a single DM (or occasionally a guest DM) and a fixed time commitment.

    WOW and other MMOs mean that a player can play any time and the DM never gets tired, and they never have to schedule out their times. Sure there are guilds and groups that have coordinated play time, but if a player wants to play on his own, or only some players are available, the game can go on.

    D&D as a hobby desperately needs to learn from this, we need more larger, semi-permanent settings with room for multiple groups and multiple DMs. A way to easily migrate characters from game to game (FLAILSNAILS is a start) and an online 24/7 gaming lobby, where if you can't coordinate locally, but have a hankering to play, you can find someone in another state or another country who wants to and is ready to play right now, live not PPB.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a difficult problem to crack. There's issues such as the divide between your local group and an online group, what software to use and how to make it all work (a lot of virtual tabletop software doesn't lend itself to quick jumping in and going). Really what I think needs to happen is something akin to the chat rooms and online games of old.

    We need a simple VT software, not much more complex than the white boards and paper you use in real life. We need some form of quick chat, preferably voice. And we need a tracker, a central location (or multiple central locations) where people who have the VT software up and running can have their software registered as LFP/LFG and can accept invitations and requests.

    Jeff and Zack have gone far with the Google+ FLAILSNAILS games, but I'm thinking this needs to go even a step further than that.

    If you want to attract people away from WOW, you need to answer the failings that D&D as it is now has, that WOW can answer.

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  46. "D&D as a hobby desperately needs to learn from this, we need more larger, semi-permanent settings with room for multiple groups and multiple DMs. A way to easily migrate characters from game to game (FLAILSNAILS is a start) and an online 24/7 gaming lobby, where if you can't coordinate locally, but have a hankering to play, you can find someone in another state or another country who wants to and is ready to play right now, live not PPB"

    To me, that basically describes MMOGs as they exist today. They don't need to be created they are here and there are many of them. As I said above, THIS is why table top D&D has shriveled. Really no other reason. In a way, more people than ever are playing "D&D" just not around a tabletop. Granted there are differences in the game from the strictly tabletop days but there are differences between all versions of tabletop D&D as well. The game hasn't died it has transformed into an online version and focuses on the things computer games do well and minimizes the things they don't.

    WoW and the like prove that playing D&D like games is something that appeals to many many people and more people would be doing it around a tabletop if they had no other avenue. Since the online "D&D" games remove barriers that the tabletop presents more people are able to play the game (online) than ever before.

    Again, as I said above, think about yourself at 12 or 15 years old and having World of Warcraft available to you and your friends as it is today. I am sure 90% of you at that age would have abandoned tabletop D&D as well in lieu of the online experience. That's whats been happening in the gaming industry since around 2006.

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  47. The game hasn't had an independent entry vehicle since they shut down the last fully playable introduction in 1991. People have to enter the hobby via extant groups, like it was before Holmes turned up. That's much slower than people getting into it on their own.

    There's no way to understand 4e by reading it cold (proponents still say you need to /play/ it for six months to understand it), and no game to play in the so-called basic set.

    Why would anyone expect new customers when there's no way for an actual new customer to play the game? Character creation sessions? Shwa?

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