March 30, 2012

5E Friday - What if You Owned the Rights to D&D?

Today, I'd like to ask the question...What would you do if you owned the rights to D&D?

For a lot of us, we immediately started thinking of how we would release (or re-release) the best edition of D&D. We would make sure it included all the things we feel are essential to what D&D is. It could be vancian magic, save or die, low starting hp, random character generation, or a myriad of other things that are all vastly important to the "real" D&D. We would then follow that up with additional books that included those little extra things we like so much, such as the bard class or gnome race or maybe even a critical hits table; all the things we believe would make the game even better.

And thus we would be putting out a product that has an audience of 1. Ourselves. It would be a selfish work. Sure some people would buy it simply because we put the official D&D label on it. And some would even like some of the things we like, though not everything we like.

WotC is not trying to put out a game for 1 person; they are trying to, and almost have to, appeal to a vast majority of gamers and game styles with 5E. That is their stated goal. They could simply put out another edition like 4E, made for an audience of one (the lead designer) but instead they are trying to reach a broader audience. Yes, it is so they can garner the most money, but they understand to do that they have to appeal to everyone.

It is very easy to create something for yourself; much harder to create for others.

WotC's goal is a hard one, most would say impossible, but it is still their goal. They are the ones who own the rights to the D&D name. Instead of just giving us what they want, they are trying to give us all what we each want. Even if they fail, I have to at least applaud their attempt.

What would you do if you owned the rights to D&D and your goal was to reach as many players as possible? What approach would you take? Or would you just say that everyone else can go stuff themselves and you'll only release what interests you?

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