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Asbestos
2009-12-07, 10:12 AM
So, I went over to One Bad Egg's website to grab ideas for a campaign I'm working on and I discovered that they've stopped publishing. Given that sales barely broke 300 for their 'best sellers' this is hardly surprising, it's sad though because their class, the Witchdoctor, is probably one of the better (if not best) 3rd party classes I've yet to see in terms of design. Anyway, in their blog post detailing why they stopped publishing, found here: http://www.onebadegg.com/egg/ , they mention things like the Monster Builder and Character Builder and how those tools made things difficult for them. For example, if you have a monster builder why would you buy monsters from a 3rd party? I find it interesting because I hadn't thought that the WotC tools might be working against 3rd parties.

Edit: Forgive my typos, the iTouch is not the ideal tool to post with.

jmbrown
2009-12-07, 10:39 AM
It's not surprising as this is the first time Wizards actually got the software side of D&D right. I remember the character builder demo from 3.0 that was never finalized in any form. Even the new GSL license was designed to give publishers less power over publishing 4E material.

I can't blame them for it. The OGL was both a fantastic idea and a shot-in-the-foot business wise. As far as monsters go, perhaps they should have taken a different approach than the traditional list-of-monsters-and-how-they-fight. My favorite part of books like Draconomicon and Open Grave is the ecology side of monsters which the traditional 4E Monster Manuals don't have.

The stats to create a monster are right smacking in the DMG. What isn't provided is how these monsters behave in the generic D&D setting and that's what I'm most interested in.

AllisterH
2009-12-07, 10:49 AM
DDI really cuts the 3pp off at the knees.

Think about it for a moment...In the 3.x OGL days, the difference between using a 3pp book and a WOTC supplement was NOTHING.

The cd-rom that came with the original 3.0 PHB was a POS and never updated (to my knowledge) and thus, if a person could integrate ToB:BotNS into their campaign, they certainly could integrate their favourite 3PP resource.

Now though?

The Monster Builder makes a mockery of any monsterbook (and those were always popular) and without access to the character builder, WOTC's supplementary material is much easier to keep track and integrate into your campaign than a 3pp resource.

Mando Knight
2009-12-07, 11:13 AM
It makes sense, and I don't blame WotC for doing it:

It's hurting the 3rd party publishers because the 1st party material is just as good, is available more easily, is better advertised, is easy to use, and is generally kept up to date. If the other publishers can't keep up or step it up when WotC decides to improve their material, then they weren't strong enough in the first place.

If you want to survive in the D&D 4e publishing business, you'll have to cut your costs, improve your products, learn how to make your stuff compatible with the 1st-party material, and advertise.

Monster books could come with documents for adding their monster files to the Monster Builder (though those could easily be isolated and torrented or whatever). Player options are harder: there is currently no way to fully add custom elements into the Character Builder. Really, I'd like to see WotC implement an AdventureTool that lets the DM/PC create new elements for importing into the Character Builder.

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 11:21 AM
Player options are harder: there is currently no way to fully add custom elements into the Character Builder. Really, I'd like to see WotC implement an AdventureTool that lets the DM/PC create new elements for importing into the Character Builder.

Actually it is possible, it's just clunky and the end result doesn't involve auto-calculations.

R. Shackleford
2009-12-07, 11:23 AM
4e itself isn't the most friendly towards homebrew/3rd party content to begin with.

I think technology marching on hurts as well. PDFs beat the tar out of lugging around books, first or third party. That should be 3rd party designer's medium. The financial practicality and legality isn't something I know anything about though.

I think once custom content can be functionally added into DDI, it's going to open some sort of flood gate. One thing stopping it is, again, 4e's ability to make 60% of mechanical homebrew mechanically redundant. At least, in regards to the character builder.

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 11:35 AM
4e itself isn't the most friendly towards homebrew/3rd party content to begin with.

I think technology marching on hurts as well. PDFs beat the tar out of lugging around books, first or third party. That should be 3rd party designer's medium. The financial practicality and legality isn't something I know anything about though.

I think once custom content can be functionally added into DDI, it's going to open some sort of flood gate. One thing stopping it is, again, 4e's ability to make 60% of mechanical homebrew mechanically redundant. At least, in regards to the character builder.

Luckily most 3rd party publishers, One Bad Egg included, go the PDF route. Goodman and Mongoose's publishing of dead tree copies, some of them hardcover, makes me worry for them. Not only are books more expensive to produce than PDFs, but they are impossible to edit once they have been released. Some otherwise good Goodman Games books are rife with errors that could've been avoided with one or two more passes by the editor and those errors are immortalized in the printed books. Meanwhile, Alluria (a much smaller publisher) updated one of their more popular PDFs several times within a month after customer response brought various errors to light. Updateable PDFs are an advantage that 3rd parties have over WotC and one they really need to exploit.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 11:35 AM
If you want to survive in the D&D 4e publishing business, you'll have to cut your costs, improve your products, learn how to make your stuff compatible with the 1st-party material, and advertise.


GL with that. Licensing issues alone get in the way of compatibility, as you want to keep your stuff distinctly different from WoTCs to avoid lawsuits.

If a "best seller" is selling 300 copies, I suspect cutting costs isn't going to make it profitable, or provide much in the way of advertising money.

dsmiles
2009-12-07, 11:36 AM
So, I went over to One Bad Egg's website to grab ideas for a campaign I'm working on and I discovered that they've stopped publishing. Given that sales barely broke 300 for their 'best sellers' this is hardly surprising, it's sad though because their class, the Witchdoctor, is probably one of the better (if not best) 3rd party classes I've yet to see in terms of design. Anyway, in their blog post detailing why they stopped publishing, found here: http://www.onebadegg.com/egg/ , they mention things like the Monster Builder and Character Builder and how those tools made things difficult for them. For example, if you have a monster builder why would you buy monsters from a 3rd party? I find it interesting because I hadn't thought that the WotC tools might be working against 3rd parties.

Edit: Forgive my typos, the iTouch is not the ideal tool to post with.

I believe this is WOTC's objective. They don't just want some of the DnD profits, they want all of the DnD profits. Damn mega-corporations, always trying to drive the little guys out of business. White Wolf (Sword and Sorcery) isn't even going to publish 4e material.

EDIT: @Asbestos: I like my dead tree copies. We (my group) prefer to not have a laptop at the table. We find it distracting.

Jack_Banzai
2009-12-07, 12:17 PM
I believe this is WOTC's objective. They don't just want some of the DnD profits, they want all of the DnD profits. Damn mega-corporations

I'm sitting at my desk trying not to laugh, seriously, out loud at this declaration of WotC's "mega-corporate" status.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 12:17 PM
I hadn't really spoken to the pdf issue...but I agree, I prefer actual, physical copies. I own the majority of official books in dead-tree format, as well as a decent selection of third party books.

PDFs do have some advantages, but you just can't flip through as conveniently.

oxybe
2009-12-07, 12:21 PM
I believe this is WOTC's objective. They don't just want some of the DnD profits, they want all of the DnD profits. Damn mega-corporations, always trying to drive the little guys out of business. White Wolf (Sword and Sorcery) isn't even going to publish 4e material.

damn companies wanting to make profits off their stuff! crazy i tells ya! why back in my day we'd backupt ourselves twice over just for the heck of it! now these sissy companies with their "oh no, we want to stay financially afloat so we'll go take steps to protect our product & it's identity".

:smalltongue:

seriously though, the OGL was a good concept but horrible follow through. when a competing company can make what amounts to a homebrewed version of your game and resell it as their own, i start raising eyebrows.

then again, WotC aren't in any way required to support 3rd party people and well within their rights to limit things however they see fit. i feel for these guys. i've heard good things about them but WotC isn't obliged to do anything.

Mark Hall
2009-12-07, 12:22 PM
I'm sitting at my desk trying not to laugh, seriously, out loud at this declaration of WotC's "mega-corporate" status.

Hey, chummer, those fragged-up hoop-heads are closer than we'll ever be. Me and Fastjack are planning on hitting 'em soon.

Can't keep a good runner down. ;-)

dsmiles
2009-12-07, 12:25 PM
@Tyndmyr: Yeah, my bad. Wrong name in my head at the time. Fixed it, though...:smallwink:

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 12:27 PM
I believe this is WOTC's objective. They don't just want some of the DnD profits, they want all of the DnD profits. Damn mega-corporations, always trying to drive the little guys out of business. White Wolf (Sword and Sorcery) isn't even going to publish 4e material.

EDIT: @Tyndmyr: I like my dead tree copies. We (my group) prefer to not have a laptop at the table. We find it distracting.

Actually 3rd party publishers only serve to help the brand which in turn helps WotC. It's more of a commensal relationship than a competitive one.

Green Bean
2009-12-07, 12:27 PM
I'm sitting at my desk trying not to laugh, seriously, out loud at this declaration of WotC's "mega-corporate" status.

Hey, you may laugh, but trying to get more customers by improving their products is clearly a sign that WotC is burning babies for fuel!

Mando Knight
2009-12-07, 12:28 PM
I'm sitting at my desk trying not to laugh, seriously, out loud at this declaration of WotC's "mega-corporate" status.

WotC itself isn't, but it's owned by (and thus gets its budget from) one of the largest game and toy companies in the world, second only to Mattel and its blonde omni-occupational doll.

Duke of URL
2009-12-07, 12:31 PM
When I saw the original demos of the "D&D Insider", I had pretty much expected this to be the end result. 3rd-party publishers are going to have a hard time with 4e in terms of mechanics, because without the ability to get their mechanics into DDI, a large portion of their potential user base is going to say, "gee that looks great, but..."

Between DDI and the 4e GSL, the only role I see for 3rd party vendors for 4e is to publish adventures and/or campaign settings. If they want to publish new mechanics, then they'll need to find a way to negotiate with WotC to get them added as DDI content, and that's fraught with all kinds of problems along the lines of how the 3rd-party publishers will get paid for such content via DDI (if at all).

Draz74
2009-12-07, 12:32 PM
I'm sitting at my desk trying not to laugh, seriously, out loud at this declaration of WotC's "mega-corporate" status.

Um. The post didn't actually say WotC was a "mega-corporation." It left the subject of the curse ambiguous.

Apply it to Hasbro, and it actually makes perfect sense.

Jack_Banzai
2009-12-07, 12:36 PM
Um. The post didn't actually say WotC was a "mega-corporation." It left the subject of the curse ambiguous.

Apply it to Hasbro, and it actually makes perfect sense.

Assuming that WotC enjoys the budgetary freedoms of Hasbro is a large and (probably) unfounded assumption.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 12:40 PM
I doubt they do. However, I have no trouble believing that the mega-corporation attitude is foisted on WOTC by Mattel in the belief that it'll lead to more $$.

That said, while third party stuff may not do a lot for wizards directly, I believe they are better served by having the core game everyone expands off of, than forcing the third party publishers to publish competing products.

nepphi
2009-12-07, 12:47 PM
Honestly, this is an example of primary versus peripheral economics. Wizards is producing a core, primary product in their flagship rpg. These third party publishers are nice to have around, in that they allow much more content than Wizards can generate on their own, but their existence isn't vital to the product itself. They're providing peripheral content at best, and if the core product has evolved to the point they can't develop for it, it's time to negotiate with some of their fellow 3pp groups and consolidate, maybe make their own systems or games. Or as some have said, change the focus of what they publish. It's rough, but it's hardly surprising or tragic.

Thajocoth
2009-12-07, 12:48 PM
Isn't anything that's not first party homebrew? I would think most people wouldn't play with homebrew material. I find the idea of charging money for homebrew content to be odd, personally. Also, this is the first I've heard of anyone selling "third party" material for 4e.

I'm pretty sure I'm the average case here. I'm pretty sure THAT is the real reason, above everything else.

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 12:58 PM
Isn't anything that's not first party homebrew? I would think most people wouldn't play with homebrew material. I find the idea of charging money for homebrew content to be odd, personally. Also, this is the first I've heard of anyone selling "third party" material for 4e.

I'm pretty sure I'm the average case here. I'm pretty sure THAT is the real reason, above everything else.

Why is charging money for access to your intellectual property odd? There are a number of companies liscensed to sell 4e material and several Goodman Games and Mongoose books can be found at your FLGS alongside the WotC stuff. Alternatively websites like rpg.drivethroughstuff sell 3rd party PDFs (and used to sell the WotC PDFs as well I think)

Edit: Its the people that refuse to play with any 'homebrew' or 'houserules' and only use official stuff that I personally find incredibly odd and strange.

dsmiles
2009-12-07, 01:06 PM
Isn't anything that's not first party homebrew? I would think most people wouldn't play with homebrew material. I find the idea of charging money for homebrew content to be odd, personally. Also, this is the first I've heard of anyone selling "third party" material for 4e.

I'm pretty sure I'm the average case here. I'm pretty sure THAT is the real reason, above everything else.

More people prefer homebrew than you would think. I think I used my Mongoose supplements more than anything else. Also, had my own homebrew for a lot of things, and my players loved it.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 01:13 PM
Third party and homebrew are similar, but not exactly the same. Third party tends to be more of a complete, nicely packaged product.

It's obviously not true 100% of the time, as there is the occasional crappy book or excellent homebrew, but the general perception is Homebrew: something whipped up for free by one-a few players. Third party: Something published, generally for money, by a non-WOTC publisher.

Just because it's non-WOTC doesn't make it bad. I've purchased many a third party product I'd rate higher than a few WOTC books Ive bought.

oxybe
2009-12-07, 01:34 PM
the main split between homebrew-3rd party-parent, IMO is this:

Homebrew: generally made for a personal game. essentially someone's hacked version of D&D that can be imported into your games. the main problem is that GuyX's homebrew was tailored to his game and it's specific ramifications on my game are hard to judge when it comes to importing it into my game.

i also can't expect errata should something be broken in my game because it works fine in his, and he's got no reason to "fix" it. also, free.

3rd party: usually made by professionals or long-time hobbyists. unlike homebrew, 3rd party stuff goes off the "default" game assumptions, so it's easier to import into most games. since they are getting paid for their services you expect something better tested then homebrew but most 3rd party companies don't have the resources for extended playtests or even errata so some stuff can be broken out of the box and left broken until the customer fixes it himself, or goes online for a homebrew fix.

larger 3rd parties can break this mould, but most (from my knowledge) will dedicate their staff on the next project instead of going back to review their old stuff (unless a large enough mass of consumers have the same problem)

parent: the parent company's stuff should be easiest to import into your games, will have the most support for older products (usually in the form of updates & errata) and should be the better tested product.

now there are sometimes a few bugs in the system. the 3rd ed caster > melee disparity (when you leave the assumed Fightank/skill rogue/healbot/blastard) and stuff like the original Orcus-killer ranger or Orbizard in 4th ed will sometimes sneak through the cracks, but generally speaking the parent company will go to some length to address customer issues.

some issues can be left untreated for a while, but most glaring issues should be addressed.

either way, your mileage will vary on all three. these are my thoughts anyways.

Alex Star
2009-12-07, 01:41 PM
The only people 3rd party publishers have to blame is Paizo. The moment they decided to rename DnD 3.5 and rerelease it as thier own IP therefor abusing the OGL.

The moment it became apparent to WotC that their avid 3rd Party Publishers were willing to abuse their OGL and attempt to become a competetor WotC did the only thing they could. Protect their IP. Gamers always complain about how competition spurs growth. Well here you have it a 3pp forced WotC to vastly improve it's product and the delivery of it

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 01:48 PM
Pathfinder probably was a factor in that decision, yes.

However, abandoning 3.5, and taking a more exclusionary approach to 4e probably only pushes more people towards pathfinder. Lots and lots of people enjoyed, and still enjoy 3.5. Lots of people also have a fondness for buying new, shiny books for their favorite system.

If they had continued to update 3.5, but not taken any care at all to make the new 3.5 updates worked with pathfinder, they would have made pathfinder drastically less attractive to the average 3.5 gamer.

IMO, D&D should have split. 4e should have been one system, 3.5 another. Would have likely worked out pretty awesome for them.

dsmiles
2009-12-07, 01:48 PM
Well here you have it a 3pp forced WotC to vastly improve it's product and the delivery of it

I don't know about "vastly improve." Maybe you should've said "vastly change." Not everyone will agree that 4e is an improvement over 3.5e. Hell, I still don't agree that 2e was an improvement over ADnD.

Thajocoth
2009-12-07, 01:48 PM
To use video games as an analogy: Third party is when a developer who doesn't make a console develops a game for that console, which has no real correlation here. D&D is a game. Adding things to a game is either releasing more content or modding, depending on whether or not the person doing it owns the game. Modding == Homebrew. Some games come with tools to mod them (like Starcraft), but some don't (like Mario). Communities build up to mod things. This sometimes includes modding things that don't come with tools to do so (like all the Super Mario Bros 2 hacks out there.) Selling a mod for profit just doesn't make sense. It's mostly someone else's work (the original developer's work).

4e is a game that doesn't come with tools to mod it and puts a very solid line on what is and is not part of the official game. 3.5 is obviously a game that did come with modding tools, and put a very blurry line on what's part of it.

While people here might not think like I do, I'm pretty sure how I think is the average for those that game. Anyone I talk to outside of this board that plays/played 3.5 seems to play only core, for example, which is certainly not the case on this board. It's the same basic type of mentality, and it's a LOT easier. It ensures good balance, something you can never trust a 3rd party for, as a 3rd party will always want their stuff to have a slight edge to make it more worth using. The DMs don't have to review everything and decide what's balanced. 4e is all about decreasing the DM's workload.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 01:58 PM
I agree with the mod analogy, but disagree with the assumption that third party has to be more powerful to be worth using.

I've seen some nice unintended combos, but in general, the Mongoose and other supplements are not more powerful than official products. In many cases, quite a bit weaker.

dsmiles
2009-12-07, 02:03 PM
I agree with the mod analogy, but disagree with the assumption that third party has to be more powerful to be worth using.

I've seen some nice unintended combos, but in general, the Mongoose and other supplements are not more powerful than official products. In many cases, quite a bit weaker.

Possibly weaker, but generally more fluffy. My groups usually fluff first and crunch second, which makes Mongoose and other 3rd party stuff more desirable to us.

Also, "3rd Party Material" is the industry term for any published material for a game system by anyone other than the parent company. (My sister works at WW, so I get to hear the "technical terms" for things when I talk to her. Not always as interesting as it sounds.)

EDIT: But, yeah, 3rd party stuff is basically published homebrew. Every RPG company had to start somewhere (usually in the writers' patents' basements).

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 02:04 PM
4e is a game that doesn't come with tools to mod it and puts a very solid line on what is and is not part of the official game.
Except it does. Page 42 of the DMG and the Monster Builder are easy examples.

It ensures good balance, something you can never trust a 3rd party for, as a 3rd party will always want their stuff to have a slight edge to make it more worth using.
This is entirely baseless. It assumes that WotC is perfect at balancing and that 3rd parties don't care about balance and even strive to create power creep so people will buy their stuff. When a 3rd party doesn't create balanced stuff I either tweak it or don't use it and, in the future I am less likely to purchase that companies products.

The DMs don't have to review everything and decide what's balanced. 4e is all about decreasing the DM's workload.
I find it easier to determine whether something in 4e is balanced than in earlier additions since each level/category of powers can be easily compared to those of other classes. Looking over a couple of at-wills, some encounter powers and a few dailies isn't a lot of work. I say this as a DM.

Gamerlord
2009-12-07, 02:16 PM
Eh, no loss to me, I prefer official material, can't ever remember using a mod for a video game, and I used free home brew rarely.

Also, gasp! A company trying to boost profits?! Sooooooooooooo evil!

But in all seriousness, this thread is heading straight for a flame war.

Thajocoth
2009-12-07, 02:33 PM
...When a 3rd party doesn't create balanced stuff I...

...shouldn't have to look through it to begin with to see if it's balanced. That's part of the point of 4e. Less work for the DM to get more people to be willing to DM, which, in turn, creates more gaming groups. (I believe this has worked.) WotC's stuff goes through people who've seen just about everything in the game. Third party material doesn't.

-----

For a third party, adding a little power creep, but not too much, will get some people to say "Hmm... I could cheese out here and my DM will never realize it." This would make a person more likely to use their material. Not me... But people into that sort of thing. Adding fluff doesn't really add much as you can re-fluff what's already there.

-----

The DMG has a guide for making your own monsters, yes, but not your own feats, classes, powers, weapons, ect... It does not have the full suite of tools you'd need to make more stuff for a "third party expansion".

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 02:36 PM
But in all seriousness, this thread is heading straight for a flame war.

I see it more as heading towards a thread about the merits of 3rd party publishers (they grow the brand and some produce interesting material not otherwise available, Iron Kingdoms and Dragonmech are great 3.x examples while the upcoming Amethyst and Neurospasta settings/system overhauls may be a good 4e example) and the misconceptions about 3rd party publishers (their material is unbalanced, WotC would rather they didn't exist, 3rd PP=Joe Schmo's homebrew)

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 02:42 PM
...shouldn't have to look through it to begin with to see if it's balanced. That's part of the point of 4e. Less work for the DM to get more people to be willing to DM, which, in turn, creates more gaming groups. (I believe this has worked.) WotC's stuff goes through people who've seen just about everything in the game. Third party material doesn't.

You haven't read Complete Psionics have you?

Zovc
2009-12-07, 02:43 PM
Eh, no loss to me, I prefer official material, can't ever remember using a mod for a video game, and I used free home brew rarely.

Also, gasp! A company trying to boost profits?! Sooooooooooooo evil!

But in all seriousness, this thread is heading straight for a flame war.

Ever played Counter Strike, Left 4 Dead, or Team Fortress?

What about any Unreal Engine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unreal_Engine_games) games? (The current generation of games use Unreal 3, for the most part, check there.)

Half Life 2 and Unreal Tournament 3 are two of the few first party games these days. Now, that's not to say that there are no other games with their own engines, but a lot of games use the mentioned games' engines (more so UT3).

I would consider THOSE to be the closest to a 3rd party game using the game market analogy. You use someone else's engine and plug your 'game' in. (Of course, valve's games would probably be considered 'first party', but they are unarguably mods, for the sake of pointing that out).

A "homebrew" would be a mod for a game that isn't published (or perhaps even a game built from the ground up, but not published). I would consider "maps" for Starcraft and Warcraft III to be homebrew mods, regardless of how popular they are (see DotA).

Not trying to get any farther off topic, this is just my view on the "game" analogies.

Belobog
2009-12-07, 02:43 PM
I don't know about "vastly improve." Maybe you should've said "vastly change." Not everyone will agree that 4e is an improvement over 3.5e. Hell, I still don't agree that 2e was an improvement over ADnD.

The services surrounding the products, though, could definitely be said to be better. They are more willing to listen to the community, and act upon design flaws that are pointed out by player experience (The essential articles, the more substantial and regular errata).

Gamerlord
2009-12-07, 02:45 PM
I see it more as heading towards a thread about the merits of 3rd party publishers (they grow the brand and some produce interesting material not otherwise available, Iron Kingdoms and Dragonmech are great 3.x examples while the upcoming Amethyst and Neurospasta settings/system overhauls may be a good 4e example) and the misconceptions about 3rd party publishers (their material is unbalanced, WotC would rather they didn't exist, 3rd PP=Joe Schmo's homebrew)

Are you kidding? Almost every thread about 4e ends up in a flame war, we have more then enough evidence.

Optimystik
2009-12-07, 02:52 PM
Anyone I talk to outside of this board that plays/played 3.5 seems to play only core, for example, which is certainly not the case on this board. It's the same basic type of mentality, and it's a LOT easier. It ensures good balance, something you can never trust a 3rd party for, as a 3rd party will always want their stuff to have a slight edge to make it more worth using.

No, no, no. Easier I'll give you, but "ensures good balance?"

Core was the MOST unbalanced part of 3.5. Some official supplements helped address that by powering up the weaker classes - most notably ToB and MiC in the official supplement group, as well as some 3rd-party supplements like Hyperconscious. But they did a better job of ensuring good balance than core ever did.

Core gave us the Polymorph line. Core gave us Gate. Candles of Invocation. Natural Spell. Moment of Prescience. Rope Trick. Enervation. Time Stop. So many tools that casters use to make non-casters completely irrelevant are available in a core-only game. Trust me, third parties need no "edge."

Alex Star
2009-12-07, 02:54 PM
The services surrounding the products, though, could definitely be said to be better. They are more willing to listen to the community, and act upon design flaws that are pointed out by player experience (The essential articles, the more substantial and regular errata).

This is what I was referring too as far as vastly improved comparing 4e to 3.5 is like comparing red apples with green apples. Sure they're both apples in the context of composition. But they have distinctly different flavors that appeal to different people. However, the overall product of 4e is far more encompassing in the tools and services it provides.

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 02:56 PM
...shouldn't have to look through it to begin with to see if it's balanced. That's part of the point of 4e. Less work for the DM to get more people to be willing to DM, which, in turn, creates more gaming groups. (I believe this has worked.) WotC's stuff goes through people who've seen just about everything in the game. Third party material doesn't.
Many people working for 3rd PPs are remarkably competent and just because someone has created a system doesn't mean they know anything about it. The WotC published 4e 'guides' for the various classes are clear examples of this.
You are correct that, yes, I would need to purchase something before judging it's balance, but luckily most 3rd party stuff is relatively cheap. Most of it is impulse buy cheapness, the stuff that isn't I make sure to find reviews for.

-----


For a third party, adding a little power creep, but not too much, will get some people to say "Hmm... I could cheese out here and my DM will never realize it." This would make a person more likely to use their material. Not me... But people into that sort of thing.
This is still just making assumptions without any evidence whatsoever.

-----


The DMG has a guide for making your own monsters, yes, but not your own feats, classes, powers, weapons, ect... It does not have the full suite of tools you'd need to make more stuff for a "third party expansion".
Tools for making new feats, weapons, or powers do not need to exist, and haven't ever existed in any edition as far as I know. It's easy to do in 4e, since you can just compare the new stuff to pre-existing stuff (classes are hard just because of the raw number of powers that go with them, it's the reason I let people that get paid for their work make the classes I use rather than making them myself. I've tried it and it's a headache. Making balanced class features isn't that hard though, it's the 100+ powers that are needed that are tedious)

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 02:58 PM
Are you kidding? Almost every thread about 4e ends up in a flame war, we have more then enough evidence.

This thread is hardly about 4e, anyone coming in to start an anti-4e rant is egregiously off topic.
Threads that start with '4e' encompass a lot of things, I really doubt that the 4e Avenger Essentials, 4e Need help with something, 4e Town Guards or whatver those front page 4e threads are, will end in flame wars.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 02:59 PM
The existance of tools is nice, but not nearly as important as legal restrictions. If you don't have a table for me to determine how to cost magic item prices, I can definitely do that on my own with a bit of work.

If you sue me if I release x, well then, that's a problem. That effectively eliminates anything you can reasonably sue me over from the range of third party products.

The existance of nice tools is great, but I think the legal issues are vastly more important.

Gamerlord
2009-12-07, 03:02 PM
This thread is hardly about 4e, anyone coming in to start an anti-4e rant is egregiously off topic.

No no no, not a 4e rant, a "WOTC is ruining mah gaming by bringing it to teh casuals and destroying all teh opposition!!!!!" rant

Gamerlord
2009-12-07, 03:05 PM
This thread is hardly about 4e, anyone coming in to start an anti-4e rant is egregiously off topic.
Threads that start with '4e' encompass a lot of things, I really doubt that the 4e Avenger Essentials, 4e Need help with something, 4e Town Guards or whatver those front page 4e threads are, will end in flame wars.

I meant "What is with people trying to convert me to 4e" and "Clarifying misconceptions about 4e" and all that.

Thajocoth
2009-12-07, 03:06 PM
Ever played Counter Strike, Left 4 Dead, or Team Fortress?

What about any Unreal Engine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unreal_Engine_games) games? (The current generation of games use Unreal 3, for the most part, check there.)

Half Life 2 and Unreal Tournament 3 are two of the few first party games these days. Now, that's not to say that there are no other games with their own engines, but a lot of games use the mentioned games' engines (more so UT3).

I would consider THOSE to be the closest to a 3rd party game using the game market analogy. You use someone else's engine and plug your 'game' in. (Of course, valve's games would probably be considered 'first party', but they are unarguably mods, for the sake of pointing that out).

A "homebrew" would be a mod for a game that isn't published (or perhaps even a game built from the ground up, but not published). I would consider "maps" for Starcraft and Warcraft III to be homebrew mods, regardless of how popular they are (see DotA).

Not trying to get any farther off topic, this is just my view on the "game" analogies.3rd parties haven't purchased the usage of WotC's D&D 4e "engine" as far as I know.


You are correct that, yes, I would need to purchase something before judging it's balance, but luckily most 3rd party stuff is relatively cheap. Most of it is impulse buy cheapness, the stuff that isn't I make sure to find reviews for.I'm not talking about money, I'm talking about time. It costs time to pour through and decide if it's balanced or not. You shouldn't need to look.


You haven't read Complete Psionics have you?

I'm talking about 4e. From what I've heard, half of WotC's official content for 3.5 was actually taken from homebrew stuff and barely looked through. I have no idea if that's true or not, but that's basically what I've been told.


No, no, no. Easier I'll give you, but "ensures good balance?"

Core was the MOST unbalanced part of 3.5. Some official supplements helped address that by powering up the weaker classes - most notably ToB and MiC in the official supplement group, as well as some 3rd-party supplements like Hyperconscious. But they did a better job of ensuring good balance than core ever did.

Core gave us the Polymorph line. Core gave us Gate. Candles of Invocation. Natural Spell. Moment of Prescience. Rope Trick. Enervation. Time Stop. So many tools that casters use to make non-casters completely irrelevant are available in a core-only game. Trust me, third parties need no "edge."

I'm talking about 4e.

Also, this is turning into a debate, so I'm leaving this topic, but you have a general sense from me about how some people perceive the situation. Whether my view is right or wrong, it's sure to help answer the question of why 3rd party stuff isn't doing so well financially.

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 03:11 PM
No no no, not a 4e rant, a "WOTC is ruining mah gaming by bringing it to teh casuals and destroying all teh opposition!!!!!" rant

3rd party publishers are not opposition, they are in fact the opposite. They do well if the parent system does well and the parent system benefits from the increased use of their system (if the system thrives people will likely buy their 1st party stuff before that of a 3rd party) I started this thread because the technology of DDI and the convienece of it may actually be inadvertedly hurting the 3rd Party Publishers, this is something that the 3rd parties need to consider. They either need to update and errata as frequently as WotC, if not more so, or need to produce something truly their own and unique but still using the 4e system (IK in 3.x, Amethyst in 4e)

Optimystik
2009-12-07, 03:11 PM
I'm talking about 4e.


Anyone I talk to outside of this board that plays/played 3.5 seems to play only core, for example,

I was responding to this statement (which I also quoted.)

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 03:15 PM
3rd parties haven't purchased the usage of WotC's D&D 4e "engine" as far as I know.

This is true of most mods as well. They don't have to. It's a decent analogy. The only real exception are bundle packs from those modding teams somehow affiliated with the company. Not really pertinent.


I'm not talking about money, I'm talking about time. It costs time to pour through and decide if it's balanced or not. You shouldn't need to look.

Just because it's from WOTC doesn't make it perfect. It can also be broken horribly. IE, there is no time savings in looking through to determine if it's balanced.


I'm talking about 4e. From what I've heard, half of WotC's official content for 3.5 was actually taken from homebrew stuff and barely looked through. I have no idea if that's true or not, but that's basically what I've been told.

I strongly suggest you not repeat rumors if you have no idea if they're true. This does not match up with any evidence I've seen.


Also, this is turning into a debate, so I'm leaving this topic, but you have a general sense from me about how some people perceive the situation. Whether my view is right or wrong, it's sure to help answer the question of why 3rd party stuff isn't doing so well financially.

Not really, no. If you're wrong, it doesn't answer the question at all.

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 03:20 PM
3rd parties haven't purchased the usage of WotC's D&D 4e "engine" as far as I know.

I'm not talking about money, I'm talking about time. It costs time to pour through and decide if it's balanced or not. You shouldn't need to look.

Effectively the GSL is purchasing the engine because of certain restrictions it has in it about what else that company can publish, there is a sort of financial aspect.
About time: I already said that, in my experience, it doesn't take that much time, though this does bring up another potential subject. Is third party material more likely to get into a game if a player purchases it or if the DM purchases it? My guess is the latter and if I were 'just' a player, I'd be very hesitant to purchase any 3rd party stuff without running it by my DM before I spend my money.


Also, this is turning into a debate, so I'm leaving this topic, but you have a general sense from me about how some people perceive the situation. Whether my view is right or wrong, it's sure to help answer the question of why 3rd party stuff isn't doing so well financially.
There is nothing wrong with debates and I feel positive about this one. It has brought up several concerns that people have about 3rd party stuff and people have responded civily.

Gamerlord
2009-12-07, 03:21 PM
There is nothing wrong with debates and I feel positive about this one. It has brought up several concerns that people have about 3rd party stuff and people have responded civily.

Didn't the "Clarifying misconceptions about 4e" start out as a simple debate?

Thajocoth
2009-12-07, 03:23 PM
There is nothing wrong with debates and I feel positive about this one. It has brought up several concerns that people have about 3rd party stuff and people have responded civily.

Oh, certainly. I just find them to be simply stress and nothing more. And all the looking stuff up... I just don't want to be bothered. I don't enjoy debating in the slightest, so I avoid debates. You guys and gals have fun with it though. I've nothing against debates in general, just against participating in them.

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 03:26 PM
In fact, I have never even considered asking DMs to allow the 3rd party stuff I have as I feel they may just say 'No' on face value. So, my advice would be, were you considering buying 3rd party stuff as a player, check out a review of the product first and ideally pick one that has a free playtest/sneak peek version (the Witchdoctor class from the company that inspired this thread has one of those) After you do that, run it by your DM, realize that they have the right to say No, but encourage them to allow it on the condition that they check out how your character stacks up to the others in the group as that is the only balance the DM really needs to consider.

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 03:30 PM
Didn't the "Clarifying misconceptions about 4e" start out as a simple debate?

Yes, but it was inevitable that it would attract rabid anti-4e or anti-3.x people. The subject of 3rd party publishers is, or at least I would imagine, a much less polarising topic. But this is the Internet so surely there is at least one person out there that is rabidly for or against something that someone has already said here. However, that could be applied to any and every thread made on these forums. Flame Wars are always a risk, but I think that risk is low here and there is no reason to worry about it.

Gamerlord
2009-12-07, 03:35 PM
The way people argue about editions you'd think they were talking about politics* or religion.


*Well, its a sort of Politic, come to think of it.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 03:36 PM
No point having a debate about debates here.

That said, yeah, the "clarifying misconceptions about 4e" was clear debate fodder. What exactly was a "misconception" was bound to have wildly differing opinions, and it's entire topic was based on 4e fans talking to 3.x fans. Correcting them, as it were. Yeah, not surprised that one blew up.

Third party publishers are something else entirely, and while licensing and stuff may differ between versions, this is a topic that isn't version, or even game specific. Thus, the question of which version is preferred is only tangentally related at best.

dsmiles
2009-12-07, 03:36 PM
Yes, but it was inevitable that it would attract rabid anti-4e or anti-3.x people. The subject of 3rd party publishers is, or at least I would imagine, a much less polarising topic. But this is the Internet so surely there is at least one person out there that is rabidly for or against something that someone has already said here. However, that could be applied to any and every thread made on these forums. Flame Wars are always a risk, but I think that risk is low here and there is no reason to worry about it.

BLAHBLAHBLAH!!!DOWN WITH 4E!!!BLAHBLAHBLAH!!!

There, does that meet the flaming quota? We can move on the way we have been, now, right?

Gamerlord
2009-12-07, 03:37 PM
No point having a debate about debates here.

That said, yeah, the "clarifying misconceptions about 4e" was clear debate fodder. What exactly was a "misconception" was bound to have wildly differing opinions, and it's entire topic was based on 4e fans talking to 3.x fans. Correcting them, as it were. Yeah, not surprised that one blew up.

Third party publishers are something else entirely, and while licensing and stuff may differ between versions, this is a topic that isn't version, or even game specific. Thus, the question of which version is preferred is only tangentally related at best.

A good point.

Optimystik
2009-12-07, 03:55 PM
Moving on...

I'm not very savvy about the 4e tools out there, but my take is this: if the first-party stuff is so good that everyone wants to stick with it and sees no need to extensively support 3rd-party material, then the market has spoken. It might be a bit callous towards One Bad Egg and their ilk, but they themselves have cited the superiority of WotC's tools as a reason (if not the main reason) for their downfall.

Ultimately, I would say that the consumer wins. The fact that we don't have to rely as much on 3rd parties for good 4e material as we did for 3.x isn't a bad thing. Right?

Gralamin
2009-12-07, 04:05 PM
Moving on...

I'm not very savvy about the 4e tools out there, but my take is this: if the first-party stuff is so good that everyone wants to stick with it and sees no need to extensively support 3rd-party material, then the market has spoken. It might be a bit callous towards One Bad Egg and their ilk, but they themselves have cited the superiority of WotC's tools as a reason (if not the main reason) for their downfall.

Ultimately, I would say that the consumer wins. The fact that we don't have to rely as much on 3rd parties for good 4e material as we did for 3.x isn't a bad thing. Right?

I think the problem here is a bit of a fear of over-reliance. I can honestly say that the compendium and character builder are so good that it is difficult to play without them sometimes.

Mando Knight
2009-12-07, 04:07 PM
It's a better thing for WotC (since it gets all our money now), but it does mean good things for the players, since anyone trying to compete with WotC's expansions is going to have to either make their products cheaper or better, since they can't advertise more than WotC.

dsmiles
2009-12-07, 04:09 PM
I think the problem here is a bit of a fear of over-reliance. I can honestly say that the compendium and character builder are so good that it is difficult to play without them sometimes.

I have to disagree, my group uses none of the online tools. Paper books only here. It only takes us about a half hour to roll-up a character, and probably about 10 minutes to level up.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 04:11 PM
Moving on...

I'm not very savvy about the 4e tools out there, but my take is this: if the first-party stuff is so good that everyone wants to stick with it and sees no need to extensively support 3rd-party material, then the market has spoken. It might be a bit callous towards One Bad Egg and their ilk, but they themselves have cited the superiority of WotC's tools as a reason (if not the main reason) for their downfall.

Ultimately, I would say that the consumer wins. The fact that we don't have to rely as much on 3rd parties for good 4e material as we did for 3.x isn't a bad thing. Right?

It's not a market issue, though, as the third party products are prevented from competing evenly via use of lawsuits.

WOTC releases a new book. They add the material in there to their tools, which now includes the core stuff plus this.

3rd Party company releases a new book. Not only can they not add the material to the WOTC tools, they cannot produce tools that include the core stuff. This makes a character builder pretty useless.


If the third party groups were allowed to publish plugin modules for the character builder, etc, that worked happily with it, it would neatly fix much of the issue, but I dunno if WOTC really wants to fix it.

Mando Knight
2009-12-07, 04:17 PM
I have to disagree, my group uses none of the online tools. Paper books only here. It only takes us about a half hour to roll-up a character, and probably about 10 minutes to level up.

With the online tools, it takes me roughly the same time... when I have no idea what I want to do. If I know the basics behind my envisioned build, the Character Builder lets me cut the time in half or so.

Gralamin
2009-12-07, 04:20 PM
With the online tools, it takes me roughly the same time... when I have no idea what I want to do. If I know the basics behind my envisioned build, the Character Builder lets me cut the time in half or so.

Agreed. Even with houserules (Such as homebrewed Gestalt rules) or trying to create massively complex characters, the character builder can significantly cut down on how much time is needed.

horseboy
2009-12-07, 04:23 PM
If the third party groups were allowed to publish plugin modules for the character builder, etc, that worked happily with it, it would neatly fix much of the issue, but I dunno if WOTC really wants to fix it.Or 3rd party could just build their own character builder with a spread sheet program and stick it in the "Fan" section of their Downloads page. Kinda like how Heroforge worked for 3.x.

Optimystik
2009-12-07, 04:26 PM
I think the problem here is a bit of a fear of over-reliance. I can honestly say that the compendium and character builder are so good that it is difficult to play without them sometimes.

Exactly. If WotC had made crappy tools (the 3.x character builder is often labeled such) then wouldn't people have spoken with their wallets?


I have to disagree, my group uses none of the online tools. Paper books only here. It only takes us about a half hour to roll-up a character, and probably about 10 minutes to level up.

Your group may find it easy, but judging from your posts in the past, you play with seasoned dice-rollers. Can we hold everyone up to the same standard?

It's the same Wii vs. PS3 argument - the Wii's popularity comes from accessibility to newcomers to electronic gaming, just as 4e's comes from targeting newcomers to tabletop gaming.

I recall the Penny Arcade saga, where "Gabe" got into D&D for the first time. Like really got into it. His story may not be overly typical, given that WotC seduced him with freebies and all for the publicity, but nevertheless it was a story of someone with an aversion to D&D picking up a DMG and screen, and enjoying himself. His story resonated with me as much as it did because digital gaming is my primary bent as well.

Tyndmyr
2009-12-07, 04:37 PM
Or 3rd party could just build their own character builder with a spread sheet program and stick it in the "Fan" section of their Downloads page. Kinda like how Heroforge worked for 3.x.

See above, regarding the licensing changes. This would likely result in a lawsuit from WOTC nowadays.

Mando Knight
2009-12-07, 04:47 PM
I recall the Penny Arcade saga, where "Gabe" got into D&D for the first time. Like really got into it. His story may not be overly typical, given that WotC seduced him with freebies and all for the publicity, but nevertheless it was a story of someone with an aversion to D&D picking up a DMG and screen, and enjoying himself. His story resonated with me as much as it did because digital gaming is my primary bent as well.

While his cohort cackled with delight as he made his foolish convert realize what he had become. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/4/11/) :smallamused::smalltongue:

Optimystik
2009-12-07, 04:50 PM
If the third party groups were allowed to publish plugin modules for the character builder, etc, that worked happily with it, it would neatly fix much of the issue, but I dunno if WOTC really wants to fix it.

But that's what I can't understand; I'm not sure there's an "issue" to fix.

The OP's post amounted to - "one of my favorite publishers can't make a profit designing things for 4E." But if the players are enjoying themselves anyway, was the third parties' input really necessary? If the classes are balanced "out of the box" - or even better, if updates can be applied on the fly - are their proposed fixes relevant? And what's stopping them from simply giving their fans the steps to make approximations using the WotC tools?

It seems to me that the OBE's message was: "why would you buy our monster/class when the tools can easily create the same thing?" To which I answer - well, we wouldn't.

Asbestos
2009-12-07, 05:38 PM
It seems to me that the OBE's message was: "why would you buy our monster/class when the tools can easily create the same thing?" To which I answer - well, we wouldn't.

That's true, it causes me some distress though because 3rd Parties have in the past shown that they can create truly good and memorable material. We may be happy with WotC being the only show in town, but are we not missing out on some potential greatness we may have otherwise enjoyed? What if a setting as complete and interesting as Iron Kingdoms never saw the light of day because the publisher went under? We would be happy, but surely our enjoyment would not be lessened by such a thing being published.

As for the tools allowing us to easily create the same stuff... how long would it take us homebrewing to create something akin to IK? It had it's own core rule books when published and the vast majority of it was original material, it wasn't just WotC stuff reskinned or tweaked. 3rd parties are good because they give us more options and some of these options are truly great, WotC does not come up with or publish every slice of awesome out there.