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About kwinland

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    Warren, Rhode Island, United States
  1. Howdy, ABSOLUTELY! Getting the best you can out of the digital medium is KEY. I have game files that I can instantly search chain together reference links, which are simply impossible with the published form. I agree with you *completely* - the problem lies with implementation. Having the option of a printed game (either PoD, home-printing, or traditionally published) is great, and that is slowly giving ground to software (pdfs and the like). The fans, market and the companies LOVE this and it *is* the way of the future. Having subscription-based online support is fine (it has both worked and failed in the past, depending on implementation). I would argue that having subscription-based online support *only* is a horrible idea. In theory, this model means that the company can update the rules anytime with no fuss to you, can manipulate the files or data in useful ways (in theory), add new content continuously (paid by the subscription revenue stream). The problem lies in the fact that you do not OWN the game or support, and have little voice in its direction beyond the power of the wallet/purse. The game company goes out of business or changes direction? Say goodbye to your game. You don't like the game updates (DH 2.0, anyone)? Hopefully, the nice company lets you have access to old versions. You don't like the way the content is refrenced or the data is presented? Suck it up. Don't like the new content or the game becomes content-starved? Too bad. Don't have internet access at home or at the con? No game night for you.* With a dead-tree edition of the book and/or a pdf, YOU own the game. It is a face-to-face tabletop RPG - these require the rules, dice (usually, but not always), and some form of record keeping. That's IT. You can try to impose additional requirements (online-required gameplay, online-only books etc), but how much do these add value to the experience or how do these limit the experience? Hardware and software are getting better all of the time. Having material that YOU can own and manipulate is what the market will support. Companies would LOVE to restrict access and maximize money and control, but would the market support this? Cheers, Ken * I am sure that in the future, connectivity will be universal (along with my flying car and jet-pack). Right now, only about 6 out of 10 in my gaming group have WiFi. At GenCon (the largest RPG convention in The West), several of the RPG halls have NO connectivity. At one of the largest NE gaming cons (TempleCon), much of the the RPG crowd is in the basement with NO internet access (which sucks because the con programs and support are ONLINE ONLY. Organizers fail to see the irony in this). In the future everything will be online, and print will be a niche. Restrictions and limitations of support imposed by companies will dictate the success and failure of tabletop pen-and-paper RPGs, which as a medium of entertainment really doesn't REQUIRE *any* of those hurdles.
  2. Howdy, ....Or you are simply failing to elucidate your position properly. Or that it is simply your opinion. My opionion is that online support is GREAT. Online support (or an online-unique game) that has a limitation such as platform specificity, online-only requirements, non-printability, etc is BAD. We have already seen these limitations with some tabletop games (in various combinations), and the fans and market have spoken. How *would* you argue that these limitations are a GOOD thing? I am all ears. Cheers, Ken
  3. Howdy, PLEASE read the previous dozen-plus posts in this thread. The variables that I cite (non-printable, platform-specific, online-required, yadda yadda) are examples of CURRENT or PAST limitations on some of the online or software support of some companies. They are all BAD ideas. Non-printable is often a DELIBERATE choice by the company to make pirating difficult and to ensure online-loyalty/business. It *really* pisses off the customer base (Field of Glory, anyone?) and is too restrictive. Yes, you can HACK the software/file to print it, but why she the customer HAVE to do that? Platform-specific? Some companies want to sell on iTunes and also enter restrictive licensing, making their apps and support ONLY available on iPads/iPhones. Sucks to be you, Android users. Online-only required support for tabletop pen-and-paper games? Some companies have required it, and their games have paid the price. I think that you are getting your wires crossed in this. I (and others) are NOT criticizing online support or publications - I though at least I made that clear. Companies have been posting play aids, pdfs and publishing on the web for YEARS, and that is one of the BEST things to happen to the tabletop pen-and-paper gaming hobby EVER! The problem is when companies restrict support (or even restrict the game itself). Requiring a face-to-face pen-and-paper RPG to be played only when online is BAD design and market choice. Not being able to print or port your games or support to the platforms that you do use is a FAIL. Cheers, Ken
  4. The problem is that you're assuming that your opinion (that an online-only ruleset is bad) is universally held, when that is not the case. I can't comprehend how you can state that every single possible iteration of always-online content could not work, when there's so much precedence. There are myriad ways of implementing an online ruleset, many of which would work perfectly well and even improve the game, but you seem to automatically assume the worst. Howdy, What precedence are you referring to concerning the success of an online-only and online-required tabletop pen-and-paper RPG game? Please share with us. By all means, fell free to illustrate how online-only/internet-required, proprietary, platform-specific, non-printable material would improve the tabletop pen-and-paper roleplaying experience (as opposed to traditional pdfs and software) and how you would encourage the target audience to buy it. You are correct - it is my opinion. However, several tabletop lines that have relied on online-only/online-required, proprietary format, non-printable material have suffered. Cheers, Ken
  5. Howdy, It depends on your taste of system and flavour of roleplay. MMOs have to rely on programs to run the NPCs and the world. Since programs can only handle so much, interactions are often simplistic. With tabletop pen-and-paper RPGs, the human GM moderates human and enviroment interaction, and in FAR more complex ways. Some recent games (i.e. D&D 4e) have tried to model MMO-based mechanics to tabletop give a simplified, (and to the MMO crowd) familiar gaming experience. Things like drops, aggro, etc. This was easily handled by GM-Player interaction. Now you have mechanics to handle this, where some would view this as artificial, unneeded, and non-immersive. THAT is where you get MMO-to-tabletop system comparison and critiques - their concerns or tastes may be different from yours. Cheers, Ken
  6. Howdy, If you read my message, I said *at some point*. Many MMOs that I play MOSTLY focus on raids and instances with 5-10 people. Yeah, I can hang out with hundreds at the inn or spaceport, but almost all actual gameplay usually revolves less than a dozen of us. Not so far off now, is it..... I did point out that online content and aid has proven to be a great idea. HOWEVER, when you offer online-only and connection-required content and/or platform specific, non-printable and restrictively-licensed material, that is a set-up for FAIL. Roll20 looks *great*. My friends and I have been playing on conferencing and virtual tabletops for several years - there are a number of neat options out there (and more coming). Before that, we did MUDs, message gaming (on CServe in the late 80s) and even THE PHONE. Whatever works. As I said before, the problem is NOT WITH PDFs OR ONLINE CONTENT, it is with with online-only, internet-required, non-printable, platform specific, yadda yadda materials. DTRPG is the way of the future and PDFs are *wonderful*. But trying to force tabletop pen-and-paper gaming to be solely playable or only supportable online is simply a BUST. Cheers, Ken
  7. Roll20 is a virtual tabletop interface that allows people who are geographically separated to play together. There are a number of alternatives out there and people have been doing things like this for a number of years. You are essentially playing a pen-and-paper tabletop RPG, with assistance from a dice roller, chat system, and customizable maps. It is really a bundle of game aids. It is NOT a game that REQUIRES connectivity to play in a tabletop setting or contains unique online-only content, proprietary formats, or restrictive licenses. THAT said, at some point one *could* call something like this an MMO, although one where the mechanics and record keeping or done off-line and the AI is human. A really pong MMO, but maybe a really advanced MUD? Cheers, Ken
  8. Howdy, No, but requiring a tabletop pen-and-paper RPG to have online-only content or requiring connectivity to play is changing the paradigm of the game. A change that is unneeded and restrictive. Actually, by definition your game WOULD be an MMO, albeit one with non-existant graphics, no AI, and requiring human interface and some off-line records and storage. Ugh. Cheers, Ken
  9. Like it or hate it, we as a society are moving toward constant connectivity. With the increasing ubiquity of smartphones and tablets, as well as internet being present in more devices that previously weren't internet-capable, I'd be surprised if an online-only RPG wasn't released in the near future. In this regard, WotC were innovative, even if they didn't quite deliver. Think about it - if you treat the RPG content like a computer game, it's almost the same. You can release splatbooks as DLC, and apply errata as patches. It would eliminate piracy from scanned books and hacked pdfs, although I'm sure there'd still be some piracy. You don't have to lug around a dozen hardcopies, and you could access the game from anywhere. Hell, you could even add interactivity. Howdy, Many tabletop RPGs and tabletop games rely on pdf and online supplementation (to some degree), and that is GREAT. However, I think that complete reliance on proprietary digital formats and cloud-only content is a set-up for failure. Some popular tabletop games (i.e. Field of Glory) relied on a proprietary digital-only format and they flopped. Having a pdf on your tablet (and being able to print it) is one thing, but having a proprietary format that is non-printable, possibly platform-specific, and potentially subject to arcane licensing is a recipe for fail. With a tabletop RPG, I want maps and notes that I can pass around. I don't want to worry about batteries (and at cons, theft), bad interfaces, and prolonged referencing. With my WoD game, I can find any rule in a matter of seconds with the 3-4 books that I bring. With my tablet or kindle, it just simply takes longer and can be a pain. And if I need to access the cloud, I HOPE there is decent connectivity. I noticied the ubiquity of tablets at RPG games at GenCon around 2011 - players using them for dice and notes, and the GMs using them for pdf references. That is DEFINATELY part of the future. Most GMs that I run into don't rely on the cloud for tabletop games at cons because of connectivity issues (heck, at one local con all of the RPGs were in the basement with NO web access). Cheers, Ken
  10. Howdy, ....Yet everyone makes money with DTRPG. No irony here - I PRAISE Paizo and rebuke WotC for pretty obvious and popular reasons. The D20 Open License was a great idea and it really generated a LOT of business for WotC and third party companies - a number of industry insiders cite the OGL as helping to resurrect the RPG industry in the early 2000s after Magic the Gathering sucked most the money out of the tabletop RPG hobby in the 1990s. The restrictive "Open" License of D&D 4e was a BAD idea, and third party support dried up almost IMMEDIATELY. Protecting sales and IP is critical, but misguided restrictive measures regarding software and content support is just DUMB. And WotC reaped the dividends of this. Paizo did everything "right" - followed the OGL to the legal letter and filled a market niche. WotC dropped the ball with design, support, and licensing. The market decided who the winner would be - Pathfinder usurped D&D a few years ago for a *reason*. Had WotC designed a "better" game, had they fulfilled their promise of print and online support, had they been less restrictive with software aids, and had they encouraged third party material, this conversation would be moot. Instead, they stopped support of one of THE flagship RPGs a few *years* ago and are hoping to correct all of their errors for the next edition next year. I wish them luck. Ken
  11. Howdy, It *is* a publicity stunt, and also a great way to make money through the back door (like it or loathe it, they have your $20, plus more if you buy the hardcopy). But it can also be smart marketing. With an open beta, they can judge their customer reactions, and no company wants to release product to see it fail. Apparently, based on convention and internet feedback, they decided to change course. You may love the current DH 2.0 (and thanks to the beta, you will always have it), but they have to tailor their products to projected audience and sales. Cheers, Ken
  12. Howdy, You can talk to game store owners. You can also comb through sales numbers from Diamond and Alliance (really the same company). You can also talk to WotC and Hasbro emplyees at GenCon (I live in RI near Hasbro headquarters and have a friend or two there, but I also used to go out to drink with some of the WotC crew at GC). It really is no secret. A more overt clue? When a company stops main support for a game for 2+ years (D&D Next is not until 2014), that's never a good sign.... Cheers, Ken
  13. Howdy, The "open license" for D&D 4th was VERY restrictive, which is why there was very little third-party support, and one of the reasons why 4th failed. The 3rd Edition and 3.5 Edition open licenses were VERY open, and EVERYBODY made money - WotC and all of the supporting companies. Some would argue that there was TOO much support and market saturation, but that is still argued. It was a *great* model. WotC made money with the initial sales of 4th, but it TANKED. HARD. So much so that WotC stopped supporting 4th almost 2 years ago - they have been publishing "special" editions of previous incarnations of D&D (1st and 2nd Editions) just to keep the revenue stream up. Paizo and Pathfinder (basically D&D 3.75) overtook D&D in popularity and sales a few years ago...
  14. Howdy, Even "refined", some of the new systems are problematic. Change for the sake of change is NOT a good model for any business. If the new DH 2.0 system offered a compelling mechanics or an infrastructure that modeled the genre or source material better, then change is certainly warrented. Ditching compatibility and a supportive customer base for mediocrity (at best) is never a good idea... The system *has* evolved from DH through OW. Just because it still bears resemblance to the WFRP engine from 8 years ago is NOT a compelling reason for change. Heck, FFG drank the Cool Aid of D&D 4th Edition and gave the Warhammer Fantasy crowd WFRP 3rd Edition, which was a clear misstep.... Cheers, Ken A lot of people have been characterizing the beta as "change for the sake of change", which I believe is a mischaracterization. While the progression from DH to OW has been an improvement, there's only so much you can do with the core system. DH2 was an attempt to create a new system with a resemblance to the original. I think the fact that they attempted it shows that FFG has at least acknowledged that the base 40k mechanics are not as smooth or maintainable as they'd like. I'm sure that DH2 will be better than OW, mechanically, but how much refinement can there be before you have to start from scratch? D&D 4E is a result of the same - the core mechanics of the game were fundamentally flawed and WotC revamped them from the ground up. This is not change for its own sake, but change in pursuit of a more fun, more balanced game. I can't speak to WHFRP3E as I haven't played it, but the ideas are at least interesting and prevent the line from being a fantasy flavored version of what we have in the 40k games (which is good from a product diversity standpoint). Haven't they used the same mechanics in their new Star Wars game? Howdy, ...And why do they have to start from scratch? The system is popular, and it does reflect the genre and flavour of the source material it is modeling. DH 2.0 was a mess, and really didn't offer anything new mechanically or really *better* as far as system modeling. D&D 4th was an attempt to draw MMO and non-RPG tabletop gamers into the game (as well as sell WotC figures). It was a failure on all fronts. D&D 3.5 had NUMEROUS flaws, but it was HUGE and VERY well supported not only by WoTC, but by NUMEROUS third-party companies. All of that went away. Pathfinder (basically D&D 3.75 - still flawed) trounced D&D, and WotC stopped support of 4th almost 2 years ago - nothing until D&D Next at GenCon 2014. THAT said, WotC is still flogging new printings of D&D 1st and 2nd Editions, as they have to show SOME revenue stream to their Hasbro masters.... or else. FFG tried something new with their props and dice mechanic for WFRP 3rd, but again the previous edition STILL outshines it in popularity. With both D&D 4th and WFRP 3rd, the changes were attempts to draw NEW audiences into the fold (and both failed in varying degrees). What was the purpose with DH 2.0? Nothing innovative or prop-driven to appeal to new crowds. Nothing new or superior as far as mechanics. It *does* seem like it was change-for-change's sake. And we won't even get into compatibility issues and marketing... Cheers, Ken
  15. Businesses listening to their customers is certainly an unfortunate development, and one that needs to be stomped out forthwith! Consumers prefer companies that sneer at them when they have a concern, this is just established fact. In a word: yes. If I hire a professional to do a job, I expect them to do it. I can criticize my electrician for installing all this fancy new wiring when all my old stuff was working fine, but I bloody well expect him to tell me what's right and what isn't, and not just lean over and do as I tell him to. If I don't like what he's doing, I can fire him. I was worried about this when the first beta update came out. FFG were doing what we were suggesting almost verbatim. I was glad that they were listening to us, but worried that they were doing this with very little personal thought. This is taking that problem to the limit. I hire professionals because they know better than I do (at least I must assume that they do). If it turns out they didn't, I'll hire someone else. If I wanted something done my way, I'd do it myself. Here's the real worry, whether you liked the beta or not: They now have two months to quickly cobble together something, practically from scratch. The budget is going to be smaller. The deadlines are going to be shorter. There won't be time for a (sufficient) internal playtest. You thought this beta felt rushed (it did)? Oh boy. Howdy, Good thing that Electricians are not a consumer-impulse entertainment commodity.... ...Like gaming. We are involved with a business that NEEDS to listen to its customer base. Cheers, Ken
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