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The Douchey DM » General Gaming, RPG Industry BS » Yet Another Blog Post on the Mearls Column

Yet Another Blog Post on the Mearls Column

In case this is the only RPG blog you read, go here and read Mike Mearls call for peace in the DnD edition war.

There are all kinds of people giving their take on this — some are Zero-Edition players, 3.5/Pathfinder players, etc. All of the discussion has been very DnD-centric, of course. Mearls’ column is very DnD-centric, of course. Since I’m not DnD-centric, and Happy Jacks isn’t DnD-centric, and Doucheydm isn’t DnD-centric, I’m not quite sure why I care…

The True Cost of the Edition War

Unlike most bloggers, I can’t read Mearls’ mind, so I can only guess at his motives — and I’m guessing the edition wars have hurt WotC’s market share in the RPG market, and they are ready to play nice.

How do I guess this? Here’s how:

Several months ago, Happy Jacks RPG Podcast ran a listener survey. We had 225 respondents. Not a huge sample, but pretty good for a rinky-dink show like ours. One of the questions we asked was: “What game system(s) to do play on a regular or semi-regular basis?”

Not surprisingly, DnD4e came it at #1 with 19% of our listenership. 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder came it at #2 with 12%. To me, these numbers seem kind of high for a show that doesn’t talk all that much about D20-based systems. I’d imagine that both numbers would be much higher in the RPG community generally (or if we were primarily a D20 podcast).

However, I assume that the relative proportions between 4E and 3.X/Pathfinder players is probably fairly accurate — as I can’t think of any reason our show would skew toward one or the other.

And that’s the rub, right there. You can make a very persuasive argument that those 12% in the 3.x/Pathfinder column would have been loyal WotC customers had the edition war never started.

If those numbers truly are accurate, that’s almost 40% of WotC’s market share. That’s gotta sting.

The Mind of Mearls

Here’s what I don’t understand: it’s admirable that Mearls wants the constant sniping between the 4E and 3.xE DnD players to end. It’s not good for the hobby, as it makes us all look like idiots to the outside world; and it’s not good for WotC.

I get that. But it won’t work. Does anyone think it will?

Written by

Stu Venable is the producer of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast and writer and editor of DoucheyDM.com. He is founder and director of the Poxy Boggards and a member of Celtic Squall. He holds a degree in Journalism and Public Relations from California State University, Long Beach. He is a husband and a father. He hates puppies.

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2 Responses to "Yet Another Blog Post on the Mearls Column"

  1. ClanHannaNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve gotten rather sick and tired of defending my decision to run a 4e game to people who aren’t in my game. I have played very little D&D of any edition, and I wanted to try to run the classic high-fantasy game. I chose 4e because it was the current edition in print. Plain and simple. I chose players who I thought would enjoy the game, regardless of system.

    Nearly every other gamer I’ve talked to about the game I’m running has an initial response of “Oh, god, I HATE 4th Edition.” For the first several MONTHS, I would concede to several of their complaints about the system as compared to 3.5, would talk up some of the advantages, and would point out the single biggest point in 4e’s favor: it’s in print.

    But now, after running this game for six months, and still meeting people who accuse me of being stupid or worse for even considering playing, let alone running, a 4e campaign, I’m fed up with it all. My standard response is now, in the most insulting tone of voice I can muster, “Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t ask you to play in it, then.”

    I don’t particularly care about edition. I don’t particularly care for some of the gameplay decisions that WOTC has implemented in 4e, but as DM I get to choose whether or not to implement them in my game. What I really am sick and tired of is getting sucked into a war I want no part of, by people who can only naysay.

    Badmouth the edition(s) and publisher all you want. Leave the players and the DMs alone.

  2. cisco academyNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t particularly care about edition. I don’t particularly care for some of the gameplay decisions that WOTC has implemented in 4e, but as DM I get to choose whether or not to implement them in my game. What I really am sick and tired of is getting sucked into a war I want no part of, by people who can only naysay.

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