Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Why Crowdsourcing 5e Isn't a Good Idea
By soliciting advice from players, though, the snake is devouring it's own tail and creating something that is less than what already exists because it's not going to be the casual gamers that do the testing, it's not going to be what we really need - new gamers - that do the testing, it's going to be the hardcore gamers. It's going to be the people that blog about games, that design their own games, people who are passionate about the game already - in short, it will be the people that were already going to buy the game when it came out, regardless of what the product ends up looking like.
WOTC has an opportunity here, to try and bring those elusive wild beasts - new customers - into the fold, by designing a game that doesn't appeal to the fond memories of our childhoods, but rather to the zeitgeist of today, or even better, tomorrow. Apple hasn't stayed relevant by pushing their desktop line of computers, they push the products people don't know that they want, or even better, need. RPGs need to do the same - D&D is our gateway drug. It has the name and brand recognition that gets people in the stores buying the games to begin with. WOTC need to ignore the blogosphere, they need to ignore the fans, and they need to come up with the Next Big Thing.
D&D, and RPGs in general, will probably never be as big as they were in the 70s and 80s. Too much of that marketshare has been eaten up by X-Boxes and PS3s, Magic and Pokemon. But that doesn't mean it can't be relevant, dammit. In order to do that, though, it needs to be looking outwards and forwards, not backwards and inwards.
So do the industry a favor. Don't sign up for the playtesting - go outside the RPG World, into the Wrold and find a friend who loves Skyrim or World of Warcraft but has never really roleplayed and get THEM to sign up. Even if their input means that the game we all want to love is fundamentally changed, increasing it's popularity increases the size of the pond we live in, and eventually some of them will get tired of D&D and move out to the outer banks, asking, "What's this OSR I hear about?"